Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thursday Poem: Recitative

Every night, we couldn’t sleep.
Our upstairs neighbors had to keep
Dropping something down the hall—
A barbell or a bowling ball,

And from the window by the bed,
Echoing inside my head,
Alley cats expended breath
In arias of love and death.

Dawn again, across the street,
Jackhammers began to beat
Like hangovers, and you would frown—
That well-built house, why tear it down?

Noon, the radiator grill
Groaned, gave off a lesser chill
So that we could take off our coats.
The pipes coughed to clear their throats.

Our nerves were frayed like ravelled sleeves,
We cherished each our minor griefs
To keep them warm until the night,
When it was time again to fight;

But we were young, did not need much
To make us laugh instead, and touch,
And could not hear ourselves above
The arias of death and love.

by A.E.Stallings


An axe, electric cables, boiling water and an arrow for his darling in the morning. I think it's sweet.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


I am not afraid as I descend,
step by step, leaving behind the salt wind
blowing up the corrugated river,

the damp city streets, their sodium glare
of rush-hour headlights pitted with pearls of rain;
for my eyes still reflect the half remembered moon.

Already your face recedes beneath the station clock,
a damp smudge among the shadows
mirrored in the train's wet glass,

will you forget me? Steel tracks lead you out
past cranes and crematoria,
boat yards and bike sheds, ruby shards

of roman glass and wolf-bone mummified in mud,
the rows of curtained windows like eyelids
heavy with sleep, to the city's green edge.

Now I stop my ears with wax, hold fast
the memory of the song you once whispered in my ear.
Its echoes tangle like briars in my thick hair.

You turned to look.
Seconds fly past like birds.
My hands grow cold. I am ice and cloud.

This path unravels.
Deep in hidden rooms filled with dust
and sour night-breath the lost city is sleeping.

Above the hurt sky is weeping,
soaked nightingales have ceased to sing.
Dusk has come early. I am drowning in blue.

I dream of a green garden
where the sun feathers my face
like your once eager kiss.

Soon, soon I will climb
from this blackened earth
into the diffident light.

by Sue Hubbard
* Poem inscribed on the walls of Waterloo station, London

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

58 Newspaper Headlines

In Baguio, we used to joke about newspaper headlines we would never want to see. I used to know a whole bunch but the only ones I can remember are: "Small Medium at Large" and "Rabbit Turns Turtle" (referring to the Philippine Rabbit, a bus line).
Here's a list of actual newspaper headlines compiled by journalists (of course) that were not thought through.

1. Something Went Wrong In Jet Crash, Expert Says

2. Police Begin Campaign To Run Down Jaywalkers

3. Saftey Experts Say School Bus Passengers Should Be Belted

4. Drunk Gets Nine Months In Violin Case

5. Survivor Of Siamese Twins Joins Parents

6. Farmer Bill Dies In House

7. Iraqi Head Seeks Arms

8. Is There A Ring Of Debris Around Uranus?

9. Stud Tires Out

10. Prostitutes Appeal To Pope

11. Panda Mating Fails: Veterinarian Takes Over

12. Soviet Virgin Lands Short Of Goal Again

13. British Left Waffles On Falkland Islands

14. Lung Cancer In Women Mushrooms

15. Eye Drops Off Shelf

16. Teacher Strikes Idle Kids

17. Reagan Wins On Budget, But More Lies Ahead

18. Squad Helps Dog Bite Victim

19. Shot Off Woman’s Leg Helps Nicklaus to 66

20. Enraged Cow Injures Farmer with Ax

21. Plane Too Close To Ground, Crash Probe Told

22. Miners Refuse to Work After Death

23. Juvenile Court To Try Shooting Defendant

24. Stolen Painting Found By Tree

25. Two Soviet Ships Collide, One Dies

26. Two Sisters Reunited After 18 Years In Checkout Counter

27. Killer Sentenced To Die For Second Time In 10 Years

28. Never Withhold Herpes Infection From Loved One

29. Drunken Drivers Paid $1000 in ‘84

30. War Dims Hope For Peace

31. If Strike Isn’t Settled Quickly, It May Last a While

32. Cold Wave Linked To Temperatures

33. Enfields Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide

34. Red Tape Holds Up New Bridge

35. Deer Kill 17,000

36. Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead

37. Man Struck By Lightning Faces Battery Charge

38. New Study Of Obesity Looks For Larger Test Group

39. Astronaut Takes Blame For Gas In Spacecraft

40. Kids Make Nutritious Snacks

41. Chef Throws His Heart Into Helping Needy

42. Arson Suspect Is Held In Massachusetts Fire

43. British Union Finds Dwarves In Short Supply

44. Ban On Soliciting Dead in Trotwood

45. Lansing Residents Can Drop Off Trees

46. Local High School Dropouts Cut In Half

47. New Vaccine May Contain Rabies

48. Man Minus Ear Waives Hearing

49. Deaf College Opens Doors To Hearing

50. Air Head Fired

51. Steals Clock, Faces Time

52. Prosecutor Releases Probe into Undersheriff

53. Old School Pillars are Replaced By Alumni

54. Bank Drive-In Window Blocked By Board

55. Hospitals are Sued By 7 Foot Doctors

56. Some Pieces Of Rock Hudson Sold At Auction

57. Sex Education Delayed, Teachers Request Training

58. Include Your Children When Baking Cookies

Its vs It's

For those who can't tell the difference...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Banner Ads comes up with a two articles on banner ads - one is a list of the 5 most annoying banner ads, while the other is about what those darn ads are really saying.
Looks like the guys on Cracked have a pet peeve, but I can't say I blame them.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Writer's Block: The Overtones Project

The guys from the band formerly known as Fusion, got back together lately to jam. No rehearsals, no theatrics - this is just how the guys have fun (though I think the person who took these videos could have done a much better job).
This is their jam of Morocco/St. Elsewhere, Louisiana Sunday Afternoon/Feels So Good, Emily/Pick Up The Pieces, and The Power of Cool - featuring Arch. Jonnie Abubo (sax), music vet Egay "Teng" Buning (guitar), piano teacher Teddy Liberato (who has to settle for keyboards here), and wife of my childhood friend - Pia Trinidad (vocals). Joining them are my neighbors Jess Brazil (drums) and Jerry (his last name escapes me - also on guitar), Dr. Ronnie Paraan (soprano sax), and photographer Rick Maniquis (guitar/back-up vocals).

Morocco/St. Elsewhere

Emily/Pick Up The Pieces

The Power of Cool

About the band:
For those who were old enough to recall - you may remember these guys from the days of Songs (Patria de Baguio) in the 80s/early 90s.
Well since then, the guys have moved around a lot (duh). I caught them at Cafe San Luis in the late 90s and pretty much followed them around like a groupie over the past ten years (?).
Finally Jonnie put up his own music school where he teaches young kids to play the sax and seduce girls with the "dagger look". At night, the school transforms into a bar where the band just jams.
The guys still maintain their low profile despite their high profile contacts in the music industry - mainly because they've got families/careers to think about, and for them - it's just all about the music. Darn, I miss these guys. - wmf
* For more videos - just click on the title.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

South Parked and Simpsonized

Me - as a Simpson

...and this is what Wendy of South Park should look like.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Writer's Block: The Beatles go "Across the Universe"

Something for Beatles fans out there:
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration
(NASA) said it will broadcast the Beatles' "Across the Universe" towards the North Star to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the day the British group recorded the song, as well as the 50th anniversary of NASA's founding.
According to NASA, the broadcast will start at 0000 GMT Tuesday and will travel toward the Little Dipper constellation's brightest star at the speed of light, or 307,000 kilometers (186,000 miles) per second. It is scheduled to reach the North Star in 431 years.
The song, recorded in February 1968, was composed by John Lennon while he was busy ignoring his then wife, Cynthia.
The Sanskrit phrase is said to translate to "salutations to the guru".
Anyway, here's the schedule for wherever you're gonna be:

Feb 4th 3pm Anchorage
Feb 4th 4pm Los Angeles
Feb 4th 5pm Guatemala
Feb 4th 6pm Chicago
Feb 4th 7pm New York
Feb 4th 7pm Montreal
Feb 4th 8pm Rio de Janeiro
Feb 4th 11
pm Reykjavik
Feb 5th 12.00am Liverpool & London

Feb 5th 01.00am Europe
Feb 5th 02.00am Baghdad
Feb 5th 03.00am Moscow
Feb 5th 04.00am Karachi
Feb 5th 05.00am Dhaka
Feb 5th 06.00am Bangkok

Feb 5th 07.00am Shanghai, Manila, Baguio
Feb 5th 08.00am Tokyo

Feb 5th 09.00am Sydney
Feb 5th 10.00am Vladivostok
Feb 5th 11.00am Su
Feb 5th 12.00am Auckland

Feb 5th 01.00am Kiritimati

Writer's Block: Taking Men Out of the Life Cycle

Scientists from the University of Newcastle announced that they have managed to create sperm using a female embryonic stem cell (from bone marrow), thus raising questions on whether men will one day be irrelevant to the survival of the human race.
Bad news for men in general , and supposedly good news for women who are either (a) lesbian or (b) single and have no luck with men.
But before women start jumping for joy, the report has not mentioned anything on whether the sperm can actually (a) fertilize an egg (b) undergo meiosis and (c) contain the right amount of genetic material to produce a normal, healthy offspring.
In 2006, researches claim that experiments have already been conducted on mice with sperm created from male cells. The mice produced seven pups, but one died and the other six had health problems.
Since then, scientists started working on female cells - probably because if a man has to be strapped to a chair, gagged and maybe even held at gunpoint just to give up his sperm (every woman's fairy tale dream!) - then how in the world could she convince him to give her his bone marrow?
But what will this world be like if men are no longer needed to make babies? I guess there's a good way and a bad way to look at this.
If the scientists succeed, I suppose commitment-phobe men would no longer have to worry about women looking at them as a potential father to their child. (whew!) Now with that out of the way, the only thing they have to worry about would be if the woman's after their wallet - but hey, it would be one less thing to worry about, wouldn't it? - wmf

Coffee Break: On the Rocks

Pillows that look like rocks ... I gotta admit I like the zen look of it.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Saturday Poem: The Just

A man who cultivates his garden, as Voltaire wished.
He who is grateful for the existence of music.
He who takes pleasure in tracing an etymology.
Two workmen playing, in a cafe in the South, a silent game of chess.
The potter, contemplating a color and a form.
The typographer who sets this page well, though it may not please him.
A woman and a man, who read the last tercets of a certain canto.
He who strokes a sleeping animal.
He who justifies, or wishes to, a wrong done him.
He who is grateful for the existence of Stevenson.
He who prefers others to be right.
These people, unaware, are saving the world.

By Luis Borges
Translation: Alastair Reid

Writer's Block: The Problem with Mergers

Corporate mergers and acquisitions are an all-time favorite in the financial market.
In a world ruled by digits and speculation, the mathematics of it all is a heaven or hell for calculator-punching investors.
It is a fascinating world where companies bleeding red can get back in the green by a mere rumor of a merger.
But between all the speculation and hyperactive stock prices, lies a human slant.
When a marriage between two companies occur, at least 10 percent of a company's workforce could be laid-off, and about a third of employees in an acquisition are at risk.
Companies normally downsize their workforce when it is combined with another, to eliminate overlapping roles and of course, to cut costs.
The sad part is, there really isn't anything ordinary employees can do to safeguard their jobs. No matter how competent an employee is, the big guns are busy building a new organization. And this is where the problem lies.
The economic and psychological impact of mergers on the common worker can be devastating, and it begins even before a merger occurs.
Mere talk of a merger can make employees nervous and lower their morale - especially when information going around is controlled, even on an internal level. Fears of losing one's job, seniority, and/or a promotion can cause anger and anxiety among workers, and this remains until after a merger has materialized.
Afterwards, laid-off employees are more likely to suffer from depression (among others), while employees who remain may end up with a sense of guilt for having "survived" the acquisition - grateful as they may be to be able to keep their jobs.
Unemployment rises, and laid-off employees who get re-employed, usually suffer a wage-cut.
The really sad part of this is that a marriage between companies does not necessarily equal success.
But when millions and billions of dollars are involved, the hard truth is - no one is indispensable. In the world of finance, he who has the gold makes the rules. -wmf