Sunday, August 31, 2008
Paul's Benguet Joke
I like Paul's timing. I was reporting in my international class about Foucault and the health system when my phone beeped. Not once but thrice. I briefed my Ilocano friends that I would be going to Laos so I knew no one would text. I was so confident I upped the volume of my text. So it beeped and then there were a few giggles from the class. He he he. Three jokes from Paul. Curiously, Paul and I were previously called the harbingers of death by my friends because we send them only death notices. This plays on the vegetable farmers' obsession of Elf trucks.
Baro: Ading, ay mabalin nan men-arem?
Balasang: Ay, waday Elf mo?
Baro: Kaman kan sigsiguro mo! Ay sinoy kanam isnan itil mo? Halsema Highway???
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Ten of The Most Unreliable Airlines You Do Not Want To Fly With
Unkeeping the Faith
Chu’s Wife in Bed
Chu, my adoring husband,
has returned from another trip
selling trinkets in the provinces.
He pulls off his lavender shirt
As I lay naked in our bed,
waiting for him. He tells me
I am the only woman he’ll ever love.
He may wander from one side of
to the other, but his heart
will always stay with me.
His face glows in the lamplight
with the sincerity of a boy
when I lower the satin sheet
to let him see my breasts.
Outside, it begins to rain
on the cherry trees
he planted with our son,
and when he enters me with a sigh,
the storm begins in earnest,
shaking our little house.
Afterwards, I stroke his back
until he falls asleep.
I’d love to stay awake at night
listening to the rain,
but I should sleep, too,
Tomorrow Wan Chu will be
a hundred miles away
and I will be awake all night
in the arms of Wang Chen,
the tailor from Ming Pao,
the tiny village down river.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Here's a poem by Pete Lacaba included in Frank magazine which I dedicate to my "contented" classmates
Isang masamang panaginip
Ang gumising sa akin, mahal.
Napanaginipan kong ikaw at ako’y
malaon nang patay.
Ang ating libingan
ay maaliwalas na kuwarto
sa ilalim ng lupa, walang
muwebles o anumang adorno,
wala kahit libro.
Sa di ko pa malamang dahilan,
buo pa ang ating katawan.
Nakahiga tayo sa sahig,
ano-ano, may narinig tayong
mga ingay mula sa ibabaw.
Tilaok ng tandang, huni ng maya,
kaluskos ng walis-tingting sa lupa,
pukpok ng martilyo, sigaw
ng magbabalot o magtataho—
hindi natin matiyak kung ano.
Tumayo tayo para alamin
pero pinigilan mo ako at sinabi mo:
”Tahimik na tayo dito. Bakit
Maghahanap ka pa ng gulo?”
Kiangan Joke from Paul Fianza
Pulis: Sino nakakita aksidente?
Ifugao: Siak sir! Nangisit nga van ti nakadungpar dita ubing.
Pulis: Naalam ti plate number na?
Ifugao: Haan ta nakaturnilyo met
Policeman: who witnessed the accident? Ifugao: I did! It was a black van which bumped the child. Policeman: Did you take the plate number? Ifugao: No. Because it was screwed.
Another Word For Blue
On better days, I bathe with Wallace Stevens: dreaming his good dreams before I fall asleep, waves lapping, none of the poorly choreographed crashing they do around here, but waves can read music.
And one afternoon, when I felt a new dream studying me closely, I kept my eyes shut and lay flat, but the dream flew off, leaving me alone again, asleep with reruns.
People who don’t understand what it means to be an artist should be punished, and I know how: make them be one.
Make them write about their own mortal souls in the third person, make them enroll at college, where they would be forced to write creative things about a piece of driftwood, forced to write poems about their moods using colors like “cerulean,” another word for blue.
People don’t understand real artists: bottles with messages wash up on the beach, always a heartbeat ahead of the sea.
It isn’t always a matter of being in the right place in the right time, wearing clothing that makes them notice you: black satin jackets and green string ties and crocodile shoes.
Sometimes it’s a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, unsinkable as Ivory Soap, an aesthetic theory that isn’t much more than a plain bad attitude.
All I ever wanted was an ice-cold beer and a booth with a view of the local scene, that, and the adulation of multitudes.
There’s a little place about a block from here where they never heard of free verse.
When they say they took a bath, they don’t mean they spent an hour soaking with Esthetique du Mal, they mean they lost big bucks at the track.
For all they care, Esthetique du Mal could be bath salts.
They know two things: on planet earth “being yourself” doesn’t mean much, And there’s no paycheck in pretending to be something else.
So when I tell the waitress, oh yeah, I could have been another Wallace Stevens – she tells me, oh yeah, so who needs two?
That’s the kind of stuff that goes on the poetry business.
Am I am pleased when I can refrain from expressing myself, refrain from saying anything new: I like saying the same old thing, words that stay put.
Words that don’t go far, letting life remain a mystery for you.
Words that I might say to a small group of friends someday, friends who will sponge me down whenever I begin raving about free verse back in the twentieth century, quoting at length from my own modest book of poems, a visionary book which sold poorly.
Carver Talks to FRANK
Butch Perez gifted me with a collector's copy of Frank (the lit magazine) circa EDSA Reb featuring the Philippines, Sean Penn, Dennis Hopper and Raymond Carver. Here's Raymond:
Every story I’ve written, with maybe one or two exceptions, has had a starting point in the real world. Stories don’t come out of thin air. At least the type of stories I’m interested in. I don’t like to read about writing fiction and so forth. I have very little patience with that. I don’t have much time with this earth and I don’t want to to waste any of it. Usually the first line in a story or poem remains the same, everything else is subject to change. I saw a man once, sitting enxt to me on a plant and just when we were flying into the city, he took the wedding ring off his finger. And this little thing stuck in my head. The story “Fat” in Will You Be Quiet, Please? is about a waitress waiting on a fat man, a story told by me by my first wife many years ago when she was a waitress. She came home from work one night and said, “I waited on this strange character tonight who spoke of himself in the plural. He called himself “we.” “We would like some bread and butter”; “We would like some water”; “We would like some beef tournedos.” And I thought how unusual it was for a man to speak of himself that way. But I didn’t do anything with that story for years and then it came to write the story and it was the question of how best to tell it, whose story it was. Then I made the conscious decision how to present the story. And I decided to tell it from the point of view of the woman, the waitress, and frame the story as if she were telling it to her girlfriend. She can’t quite make sense of the story herself, all the feelings that she experienced, but she goes ahead and tell it anyway.
The School Uniforms in Kanming, China
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Watching the great jazz singer Anita O’Day croaking “The Nearness of You” in her mid-80s in the final moments of “Anita O’Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer,” it is impossible to determine whether she is addressing life or death. What seems clear in the interview that makes up the spine of the movie is that near the end of her life, the so-called Jezebel of Jazz, who had been pronounced legally dead after a heroin overdose in the late 1960s, had few regrets. The portrait that emerges in this documentary, directed by her former manager Robbie Cavolina and Ian McCrudden, is of a woman who always lived by her own rules. Her total disregard for convention applied as much to singing as to a spectacularly messy life that included several marriages, drug arrests and a heroin addiction lasting more than 15 years. Ms. O’Day, who died two years ago at 87, invented a cool, dry jazz singing style that influenced many, most notably June Christy and Chris Connor. It was all about rhythm, improvisation and hip attitude. What repeatedly comes to mind when people invoke Ms. O’Day is her feral, instinctive drive for freedom, both artistic and personal. — Stephen Holden, The New York Times
Last Night's Dinner Date in Vientiane
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Meanwhile, in the US Literati Shores
Project CREEP and Philippines Never Went White
Monday, August 25, 2008
Ada on Spycam
The Devil is using Olympics volleyball to lure young men into group masturbation
Behind the locked doors of America’s Christian bedrooms, young boys are getting swept up in a disturbing trend. “I had a frantic mother come to me the other day in tears,” said Pastor Deacon Fred. “She told me that her son, Timothy, invited several of his friends over into his bedroom for private prayer and devotional scripture studies. What she told me next is enough to send shivers down the spine of every God fearing mother and father in our Christian Nation! Satan is in our midst, my friends! The Devil is using Olympics volleyball to lure young men into shedding their clothes, flopping around and falling off off their beds with him into the pit of iniquity. Lucifer is turning innocent afternoon gatherings of imprecatory prayer into frenzied young Masturbating Baptist Boys’ Clubs!” Ay, more
Also funny are the anti-McCain ads on the right. Melanophobiacs for McCain!
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Grounds for Coffee
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Bloc Party: $25-30,000
Common & N*E*R*D: $75-80,000
Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley: $60-75,000
Death Cab for Cutie: $75-80,000
Drive-By Truckers & the Hold Steady: $25,000
Gnarls Barkley: $50-60,000
Hip-Hop Live! Talib Kweli, David Banner & Little Brother: $30-35,000
Kings of Leon: $35,000
Lupe Fiasco: $35-40,000
Method Man & Red Man: $35,000
Panic At the Disco: $125-150,000
Ray LaMontagne: $35-40,000
Regina Spektor: $30-35,000
Robert Randolph and the Family Band: $35-40,000
Staind & Seether: $85-100,000
The Bravery: $25,000
The Fratellis: $15-20,000
The National: $20-25,000
Third Eye Blind: $50-60,000
Vampire Weekend: $25-50,000 (depending on convenience to itinerary)
Willie Nelson w/Jakob Dylan: $80-100,000
Wyclef Jean: $60,000
Ninoy for Beginners
Friday, August 22, 2008
Encheferizer Translator. Bork! Bork! Bork!
Remember the sadistic Swedish chef from The Muppet Show who nobody can decipher what he's saying? Until this: The Encheferizer!
This is the first part of the poem below encheferized:
It ves leeke-a thees: yuu vere-a heppy, then yuu vere-a sed, zeen heppy egeeen, then nut. It vent oon. Yuu vere-a innucent oor yuu vere-a gooeelty. Ecshuns vere-a teken, oor nut. Et teemes yuu spuke-a, et oozeer teemes yuu vere-a seelent. Mustly, it seems yuu vere-a seelent—vhet cuoold yuu sey? Noo it is elmust oofer. Leeke-a a lufer, yuoor leeffe-a bends doon und keesses yuoor leeffe-a. Bork! Bork! Bork!
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Atienza and Tatad Use Withdrawal Method. As Usual.
Environment Secretary Lito Atienza and former Sen. Kit Tatad, both
opponents of the Reproductive Health Bill which is set to be
deliberated in Congress, withdrew from their scheduled debate at ANC
Atienza and Tatad are instead going to be replaced by newspaper
columnist Joe Sison and Paranaque Rep. Eduardo Zialcita. They will be
pitted against either Rep. Edcel Lagman, former Health Secretary
Alfredo Romualdez or economist Dr. Philip Mendalla. The anti-RH group
also wanted no winners or losers declared and also called for text
voting for best speaker.
The debate is on Square Off hosted by Twink Macaraig from 8 to 9 pm.
Update: Dr. Quasi Romualdez and Mendalla pounded the holier-than-thous
and Dr. Quasi won the best speaker in the texting division, proving
once again that the withdrawal team still has much to swallow
Oz: The Map
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Holy Patience and Internet
Guns n Roses
But no. Volume-Addict in the comment has informed us that Dr. Pepper wagered a bet that they would give all Americans a can of DP if the album is released this year.
Meet the New, Improved Glen Campbell
What appear to be strange song choices on paper are risks that pay off. His version of U2's "All I Want Is You" reveals a soulful voice that is not always apparent on country-influenced songs. Green Day's prom theme, "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)," has the potential to arrive as a tall glass of schmaltz, especially when served by a septuagenarian. Campbell keeps it sprightly and detached, and in the process makes the song something entirely new. Despite the treacly lyrics, his interpretation is forward-looking and surprisingly fresh.
It Was Like This
It Was Like This: You Were Happy
It was like this:
you were happy, then you were sad,
then happy again, then not.
It went on.
You were innocent or you were guilty.
Actions were taken, or not.
At times you spoke, at other times you were silent.
Mostly, it seems you were silent—what could you say?
Now it is almost over.
Like a lover, your life bends down and kisses your life.
It does this not in forgiveness—
between you, there is nothing to forgive—
but with the simple nod of a baker at the moment
he sees the bread is finished with transformation.
Eating, too, is a thing now only for others.
It doesn't matter what they will make of you
or your days: they will be wrong,
they will miss the wrong woman, miss the wrong man,
all the stories they tell will be tales of their own invention.
Your story was this: you were happy, then you were sad,
you slept, you awakened.
Sometimes you ate roasted chestnuts, sometimes persimmons.
~ Jane Hirshfield
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
What Kind of a Frontman Are You?
The Atlas of Fiction
The Original Hip
You'd be surprised
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Saturday, August 16, 2008
The Catholic Fight Club
You'd be surprised.
Weeping At The Wheel: Crushingly Sad Songs
npr brings us crushingly sad songs
LocustsArtist: The Frames
The Frames' Glen Hansard has a way of ripping out the listener's heart and massaging it tenderly before returning it in better condition than he found it. In "Locusts," he contemplates the emotional wreckage around him and ultimately opts to flee -- hey, just like you're doing! "I'm moving off / I'm packing up," he sings, adding, "I'm willing to be wrong." Fortunately, in Hansard's music, glimmers of redemption and contentment pop up in the grimmest of moments: "The bells that ring in hope are swinging from the ropes / we thought we'd one day perish on." That's the spirit!
AstronautArtist: David Mead
A criminally under-appreciated singer-songwriter, David Mead is at his best when he's ruminating wistfully on places he's had to abandon or pass by altogether. Mead followed his 2004 sleeper masterpiece Indiana -- which uses the titular state as a metaphor for the space between home and where we find ourselves -- with the similarly winsome yearning of an EP called Wherever You Are. In "Astronaut," Mead laments leaving a city he loves, but adds a bit of motivation for his departure: "Then you tell me a lie and say you'll miss me when I'm gone." It's a painful roundabout admission that, while the places we leave exert a gravitational pull, they can never miss us the way we miss them.
Casimir Pulaski DayArtist: Sufjan Stevens
Here's hoping that the specifics of "Casimir Pulaski Day" don't apply to your own tearful drive: In all likelihood, you're not a young man who falls in love at Bible Study and questions his faith after watching the object of his unconsummated love die of bone cancer. If you are? Wow, sorry to hear that. But either way, it isn't necessary to fully relate to Sufjan Stevens' ornate ballad: It just sounds like sadness, what with its solemn trumpet and its cooing mourners and, well, the fact that, in the song, someone dies of bone cancer. If you're sad, "Casimir Pulaski Day" isn't going to cheer you up; let's leave it at that.
Our HellArtist: Emily Haines
The five stages of grief end with acceptance, right? In "Our Hell," Metric's Emily Haines reflects on a relationship and declares, however unconvincingly, that "our hell is a good life." It's a wrenchingly hollow victory -- taking comfort in the fact that an awful existence is worth striving for -- but as you drift along some dusty highway, "Our Hell" at least helps you count your blessings. And, of course, it'll remind you of their insignificance, in the process helping you overthrow the tyranny of hope. "I tried to save you," Haines sings, "but it can't be done."
Your Ex-Lover Is DeadArtist: Stars
A bittersweet narrative unfolds in Stars' "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead," during which former lovers experience an awkward and accidental reunion before applying revisionist history to their difficult past. She's philosophical about their relationship, while he obscures his feelings beneath bogus bravado, but their ambivalence and sadness coalesce around one breathtaking line near the end: "Live through this / and you won't look back." No matter how bad it gets, at least "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead" helps you take a measure of solace in the fact that memories fade.
All He Wants for You to Do is Open the Door
Friday, August 15, 2008
It’s raining women’s voices as if they (were dead) (had died) even in (the) memory
(And) it’s (also) raining you (as well )marvellous encounters of my life O (droplets) (little drops)
(And these) (Those) rearing clouds (start neighing a world of aurical towns)(begin to neigh a whole universe of auricular cities)
Listen if (it's raining) (it rains) while regret and disdain weep to an ancient music
Listen to the (falling lines) (bonds fall off) which (bind) (hold) you above and below
by Ron Padgett
by Roger Shattuck
Guillame Apollinaire wrote this a hundred years ago. A rain of words. A rain of memories of women. Now we have Cueshe feeling the same things but saying it in obvious, pathetic lyrics. And the people croon over them. What has been sung had been said in better form a hundred years ago.
Here's ee cumming's take on the same style:
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Behind The Green Door: Franz Kafka
Last week, Franz Kafka's secret porn stash was brought to light. "Animals committing
fellatio and girl-on-girl action," said researcher James Hawes. "It's quite unpleasant."
A poem from Le Roi Jones
The only thing we know is the thing
we turn out to be, I don't care what
you think, it's true, now you think
you way out of this.