Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sisyphus is happy

...because he knows why he has to roll that stone up the bleeding hill. He can take comfort in the fact that he gave the Gods the dirty finger.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

10 More Things...

When you get tagged by the likes of Gerry Alanguilan, there ain't much you can do but respond in kind, and tag someone else.

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The Rules

Each blogger starts with ten random facts/habits about themselves.
Bloggers tagged need to write on their own blog about their ten things and post the rules.
At the end of your blog you need to choose 10 people you`re going to tag and list their names.
Don't forget to comment on their site that they`re tagged.

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CONTENT ADVISORY: satire, self mockery, jaundiced humor
  1. I have an ego the size of Texas

  2. I have two dads, and their names are Morrissey and Robert Smith.

  3. I wish I had not been heavily influenced by Richard Bach in my youth. His writings are pure horse-sh!t, but for some reason I can't completely discount them.

  4. Jessica Zafra is one of two women from Albay whose opinion of me matters.

  5. If I don't talk or write or draw or paint I'll go insane. I'm one of those people whose brains are hard-wired to chase their own tails. Blogs are a safety valve for me.

  6. Really, I want so much to turn off my brain and be like everyone else. I've tried. I'm sorry, everyone. You're pretty much destined to do one of three things: abandon me, medicate me or burn me at the stake. People in general haven't proven me wrong on this yet.

  7. On principle, I dislike women. But I love Heart; my grandkid; my sisters, biological and metaphorical ...

  8. It doesn't matter where I am. Even when I'm sporting short hair and a goatee, people in the service industry almost invariably call me "Ma'am."

  9. I like to cook. people. I mean, for people.

  10. I'm taking a page from Dick Bach. What you read here is pure horse-sh!t. What you read here is also true.
Tagging my son, his brother. his friends jean and garet, icheb, my pal jason, my uncle, my motherly friend and coleague, and if Gordon Sumner and Matt and Tracy Thorn had multiply accounts I'd tag them too.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Dragons of Summer Pain

There's yet another fire in my QC neighborhood as I type. On one of my old blogs I noted that there has to be a damned fire here every three months usually because someone somewhere leaves a cigarette in the wrong place. Or maybe because someone thinks that the jury-rigged electrical system in the makeshift wooden structures can handle just one more electrical appliance.

On a Malthusian level, it makes sense that people take themselves out of the gene pool. (Insert sweeping economist jabber here). "That effectively decongests the neighborhood and allows for the reclamation of idle real estate that could propel growth and expansion in key areas of the barangay." Have you ever heard such BS?

ANyway it looks like they've done with the fire. I'm almost certain the volunteer fire brigade already has all the routes to this place mapped out. Reminds me, we should give 'em something for Christmas.

Friday, April 18, 2008

On Poetry


Did anybody ever tell you that I dislike poetry?

I do. I hate it with all my heart. Because people turn to words, to satire, to reams of inutile academic discourse when they cannot act. Poetry, dear friends, is yet another manifestation of this kind of impotence: the writer feels so strongly about something that he cannot act, except to commit something to verse.

Maybe he gets lucky. Maybe the poem affects people who feel the same way but cannot articulate their feelings. Maybe the song becomes a hit and the writer becomes another Morrissey. Or maybe the writing is so potent that it helps kick-start the Civil Rights Movement. More often than not, the writer cannot taste any success beyond the personal "Hey, I got something written!"

Unfortunately, "Hey I got something written!" cannot by itself get you fed, clothed, housed, and (especially) laid. Your needs still drive you, and if you're as much a poet as I am, your automatic response is to write reams upon reams of (say it with me) useless poetry. I could have spent that writing time by actually getting me fed, clothed, housed and, yes, laid (Getting a better paying day job is often a step in that direction).

The awful truth is that nobody really reads, much less appreciates, poetry. Okay, some people do, but often, they're neither numerous nor rich enough to matter. The perception is that poetry is either--

  1. nothing special as any five-year-old can break a long coherent sentence into lines and call it poetry or
  2. it's so specialized that most people who have "jobs" and "real social lives" cannot relate to it.

Besides, it does not make us better people. Bin Laden is a poet. So was Hitler. A sensitive thug with literary leanings is still a thug, albeit a more sophisticated one. If you ask my ex, being a poet only makes people think of you as a smooth-talking snake oil salesman. Or a smooth-talking snake oil peddling thug.

(So before you run off with someone because he is an artiste do try to remember that the insensitive clod who's forgotten how to say "I love you" probably got that way taking action --and not writing poetry-- to meet the needs of your belly and those of your kids.)

The point is, poetry sucks. When it isn't trumpeting your triumph to the world after the fact, poetry's like opium. It keeps you distracted writing when you could be taking action instead. When there is a venue for action, when one is empowered to realize his desires, there is much less poetry. I fear that there are quite a few of us who are lock-stepped into being nothing more than poets, forever writing about actions we will likely never take.

Still it's a beautiful activity, and one of the reasons why I write is that I am plugged into a higher power when I write my best poems, even when these are the most useless kind-- the interminable whining about aborted romantic liaisons.

The price I pay for loving poetry is that I hate it with a passion.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Reprint from Last Year

Amazing how you can recycle old blog entries, especially if they're apt. This is an old Words for the Week entry I dug up from my archives dated sometime February.

karoushi

(Japanese) occupational sudden death; death from exhaustion, stress or overwork.

I swear my friends will keel over from this, and will likely take me with them. I've also lately put myself under karoushi-inducing conditions. At least I'm getting paid.

satori
(Japanese) in Buddhism, literally "to understand."; a deep state of enlightenment.

It is something I so severely want to impart. Because I really want my students to understand that the "th" and "sh" sound in English is different from the "s" sound. More importantly I want them to understand that the means of producing the "s" sound is in keeping the tongue behind both sets of teeth, with the tip touching the bottom set. Because if they can get that down pat, they are guaranteed to beat that odious IELTS test.

I also want someone to understand that yes-I-meant-every-word-it-is-no-fluke I am genuinely fond of her.

Satori is something that I definitely do not have. If I did, I would quit this little dalliance and sign up for life in a monastery. After getting ordained, I'll get myself attached to an orphanage somewhere. I love kids, you see, and for some reason kids are the only people I know who do not find me creepy.

B.S.
(noun) contraction of the expletive "Bull sh!t!";
  1. an incredible statement; an outright lie or exaggeration;
  2. a ludicrous idea
  3. an unacceptable situation or circumstance
  4. something horribly unpalatable that I've had to eat in spades last year and the year before that. I am not eager to partake of this delicacy since I am at the same age someone else was when he decided accept a hot heaping plate of the stuff in Roman times.

synonyms: cow dung. caltrops. horse puckey. (see: spin, advertising)

satiety (sa-TIE-e-tee)
(noun) The state of being full or gratified to or beyond the point of satisfaction.

I can count with the fingers of two hands the number of times I actually felt this on multiple levels. Twice this month is a world-shaking record, and I'm still thankful.

I still owe God a date.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Market Day

I went to market this morning, bought a hundred pesos worth of chicken and two hundred worth of (really thin) steak-grade beef. It was at once scary and refreshing to have to walk to the wet market and look red meat in the proverbial eye in the elusive search for "quality."

I'm trying hard not to relate this experience with women, just so you know.

Bottom line: I want to do this again. Going to the wet market is a good thing, even if you no longer do it with a partner.

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*Giving poem a day a rest for a bit. I'll make up for them in a few days.