Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
"Blood: The Last Vampire" Trailer
And if you can't take that. You can't watch this awesome fight scene:
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
You Sure That Hot Chick on YM is Really a Chick?
Ang julamantraz donchiz
Nyingkamas at nutring
Nyigarilyas at kipay
Nyitaw, nyotaw, zhotani
At mega join-join pa
Nyowang at luyax
sa nyaligid ligid
ay fullness ng lingax!"
from this blog
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Welcome to video games as your ticket to literary Hell
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
DEADLINE: 31 August 2009
I am putting together an anthology of flash fiction in English and Filipino. It will be published by the Academic Publications Office of De La Salle University-Manila in celebration of the University's centennial founding year in 2011. I would like to solicit contributions from aspiring and established Filipino writers around the country and even abroad. Manuscripts should be 2-3 pages (500-750 words), double-spaced. Acceptable font faces are Times New Roman and Arial only, with a font size of 12. Please include a short biographical note.
Manuscripts are sent to: jztorres@yahoo. com.
Attn Iluko Poets and Kapampangan Essayists
The NCCA Writers’ Prize a biennial grant awarded to five (5) writers, one for each of the following categories: Poetry (Ilocano language), Novel (Filipino language), Essay (Kapampangan language), and Drama (Cebuano language/Bicolano language). The grant, in the amount of TWO HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS gross, will assist the Grantee during the writing stage of the project. The grant is good for one year, after which a manuscript of the writing project will be submitted to the NCCA for possible publication or staging.
The NCCA, in line with its mission to “encourage the continuing development of a pluralistic culture by the people themselves,” will be creating the opportunity to have a direct hand in the development of Filipino literature. With the grant, the NCCA Writers’ Prize winners will be freed from the demands of their work and shall be able to focus on the writing of the project for one year.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Lighting Up Cebu
Last week, I joined Chi, Choy and Sansu to Cebu City to meet up with the filmmakers there. And then Chi being Chi, we would also be holding a candlelighting ceremony for Mother's Day. Instead of the usual Hallmark thing, the RH groups wanted to commemorate the mothers who died because of childbirth. Philippines has a high maternal mortality rate because we are holier than thou, thinking of Catholic morality instead of reality. The candlelighting was supposed to be at the Circle which is front of Robinsons Mall. Instead it was transferred in front of the Cebu City Hall, which just happens to be in front of the Church and the Magellan's Cross. So we have the symbol of the Church and the State right there and then. In the afternoon we went to Cucko's Nest, which is the tambayan of the artists. We met up with the owner Bambi Beltran. She also paints but we didn't know that she also acts and writes for indie movies. We learned only about that during the dinner with the filmmakers headed by Publio Briones. More than ten came, which was more than we expected because of the rains. Bambi showed four films and we were impressed. The next night we held the candlelighting. About 300 women came with their purple scarves and all. We were careful not to drip our candles but other than that it was a successful stint. We met some Benguet ladies manning the ukay-ukay shops. Dead giveaway: the country music. Choy bought Fred Perrys and I bought a pre-stressed punk shirt featuring Lou Reed. Our drinking place near our hotel was the Our Place which was where the jaded, bored expats drink. No dried mangoes because the disciples of Quiboloy (the Kingdom of Jesus Christ Church) are hawkign them all across the universe. I bought some books at Booksale including the new Zoetrope featuring Lou Reed's photos. Other than that, we didn't buy much because we were still going to Iloilo.
Rex N on Manny P
If I can only trace that guy laughing coyotically in the last part, I will punch him.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Journalism Training in Germany
Course Contents: Topics to be covered during the IIJ Summer Academy include:
- Media and responsibility: why do ethics matter?
- Functions and limits of press freedom
- Comparison of private, state-owned and public service media systems
- Content and purpose of ethical codes for journalists
- Relevant norms and their pitfalls: accuracy and fairness; protection of sources; conflict of interest
- Investigative journalism and ethical constraints
- Media and conflict: sensitive reporting
- Role of a free press in the development process
Target Group: The Summer Academy is open to young journalists working for print and online media as well as in news agencies. Applicants are expected to:
- have a minimum of two years of professional experience
- be not older than 30 years
- be in permanent employment with good chances of promotion
- be proficient in English.
Women journalists are particularly encouraged to apply.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
|Three finalists of the the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award have been selected from among several thousand qualified writers in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest searching for the next popular novel, sponsored by Amazon.com, Inc., Penguin Group (USA), and Createspace. |
Find out more about the three finalists, read short excerpts of each manuscript, and recommend your favorite to other Shelfari members by visiting the Author Pages located below. Reviews from the expert panel (including Sue Monk Kidd and Sue Grafton) are available at www.amazon.com/abna.
Voting is open until Thursday May 21st at 11:59 PM EDT. Make sure to cast your vote for the Grand Prize winner at www.amazon.com/abna.
The 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Finalists are:
| ||Ian Gibson, Victoria BC, for Stuff of Legends |
The author, who works at a theatre in British Columbia, developed the characters in this novel from a comic strip he created in 2003. Stuff of Legends is a comic fantasy about heroism and celebrity, where a 15-year-old boy's fondest wish is granted and he is teamed with his idol, superhero Jordan the Red, to defeat villains, monsters and demonic armies.
| ||James King, Wilton CT, for Bill Warrington's Last Chance |
A corporate communication specialist for the past 20 years, the author earned his master's degree in Creative Writing in 2008 as a way to achieve his lifelong goal of writing fiction. In the novel, Bill Warrington is diagnosed with Alzheimer's and decides it's time to reestablish ties with his estranged children. After several attempts at a reunion fail, he decides the only way to get his feuding sons and daughter talking is to kidnap his 15-year-old granddaughter.
| ||Brandi Lynn Ryder, Napa CA, for In Malice, Quite Close|
A Napa resident who grew up in the gold-mining town of Sonora, the author draws inspiration for her novel from her passions for Impressionist art and French culture. The novel opens in 1979 San Francisco, where an unlikely relationship forms between 15-year-old Karen, who longs to escape her abusive father, and wealthy art collector Tristan Mourault. Tristan gains Karen's trust and she soon adopts a new identity as his daughter, sending the two on an extraordinary odyssey that spans 15 years and two coasts.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Kidlat in the Street
Blaming Paolo Freire
Getting a Life
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Thursday, May 07, 2009
Twilight and Philippine Corruption
By Robin Hemley
- - - -
Few countries can compete with the Philippines when it comes to corruption—it's always near the top of the list of most-corrupt nations and the G20 nations recently blacklisted it, along with only three other countries, for its banking practices. In polls, Filipinos tag customs as the most corrupt department. And for good reason.
Over coffee one afternoon, a book-industry professional (whom I can't identify) told me that for the past two months virtually no imported books had entered the country, in part because of the success of one book, Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. The book, an international best seller, had apparently attracted the attention of customs officials. When an examiner named Rene Agulan opened a shipment of books, he demanded that duty be paid on it.
The importer of Twilight made a mistake and paid the duty requested. A mistake because such duty flies in the face of the Florence Agreement, a U.N. treaty that was signed by the Philippines in 1952, guaranteeing the free flow of "educational, scientific, and cultural materials" between countries and declaring that imported books should be duty-free. Mr. Agulan told the importer that because the books were not educational (i.e., textbooks) they were subject to duty. Perhaps they aren't educational, I might have argued, but aren't they "cultural"?
No matter. With this one success under their belt, customs curtailed all air shipments of books entering the country. Weeks went by as booksellers tried to get their books out of storage and started intense negotiations with various government officials.
What doubly frustrated booksellers and importers was that the explanations they received from various officials made no sense. It was clear that, for whatever reason—perhaps the 30-billion-peso ($625 million) shortfall in projected customs revenue—customs would go through the motions of having a reasonable argument while in fact having none at all.
Customs Undersecretary Espele Sales explained the government's position to a group of frustrated booksellers and importers in an Orwellian PowerPoint presentation, at which she reinterpreted the Florence Agreement as well as Philippine law RA 8047, providing for "the tax and duty-free importation of books or raw materials to be used in book publishing." For lack of a comma after the word "books," the undersecretary argued that only books "used in book publishing" (her underlining) were tax-exempt.
"What kind of book is that?" one publisher asked me afterward. "A book used in book publishing." And she laughed ruefully.
I thought about it. Maybe I should start writing a few. Harry the Cultural and Educational Potter and His Fondness for Baskerville Type.
Likewise, with the Florence Agreement, she argued that only educational books could be considered protected by the U.N. treaty. Customs would henceforth be the arbiter of what was and wasn't educational.
"For 50 years, everyone has misinterpreted the treaty and now you alone have interpreted it correctly?" she was asked.
"Yes," she told the stunned booksellers.
The writer David Torrey Peters, who once spent a year in Cameroon (which is even more corrupt than the Philippines), wrote of being pulled out of a taxi by a policeman who demanded that he produce his immunization card. David did this, but the cop told him that he was missing an AIDS vaccination. When David told the man that there was no such thing as an AIDS vaccine, the policeman was indignant.
"You think just because there isn't an AIDS vaccine I can't arrest you for not having one?"
This is the I-will-say-everything-with-a-
During this time, the only bright spot for book lovers in Manila, or at least those who wanted to read foreign as well as local authors, came in March with the sailing into Manila Bay of the M.V. Doulos, the oldest operating passenger ship in the world, built only a couple of years after the Titanic. Destined to be scrapped within the next couple of years, the ship chugged into town, laden with books. The Doulos is run by a religious group and sails around the world as a kind of floating bookstore/library with an international crew of volunteers.
What?!! Volunteers?! Have they no shame?
The sheer shock of a boatload of selfless individuals sailing into Manila Bay must have given customs officials a brain freeze, dazing them long enough for the old ship to make it past the Great Book Blockade of 2009.
I visited the Doulos on one bright Sunday afternoon with Shoshie, Margie, Naomi, and two of Shoshie's friends. We walked up the gangplank into a scene of sheer chaos—a frenzy of book-hungry Manileños. A heartening sight, but not unexpected—the Philippines is one of the largest markets for books written in English in the world and new bookstores with such names as Power Books and Fully Booked have been cropping up all over metro Manila in recent years to compete with the ubiquitous and aptly named National Bookstore.
Throughout February and March, bookstores seemed on the verge of getting their books released—all their documents were in order, but the rules kept changing. Now they were told that all books would be taxed: 1 percent for educational books and 5 percent for noneducational books. A nightmare scenario for the distributors; they imagined each shipment being held for months as an examiner sorted through the books. Obviously, most would simply pay the higher tax to avoid the hassle.
Distributors told me they weren't "capitulating" but merely paying under protest. After all, customs was violating an international treaty that had been abided by for over 50 years. Meanwhile, booksellers had to pay enormous storage fees. Those couldn't be waived, they were told, because the storage facilities were privately owned (by customs officials, a bookstore owner suggested ruefully). One bookstore had to pay $4,000 on a $10,000 shipment.
The day after the first shipment of books was released, an internal memo circulated in customs congratulating themselves for finally levying a duty on books, though no mention was made of their pride in breaking an international treaty.
As the narrator of Aravind Adiga's 2008 Man Booker Prize–winning novel, The White Tiger, says, "Stories of rottenness and corruption are always the best stories, aren't they?"
Now, once again, Filipinos can read those words from a foreign author and customs can reap the benefits. And Shoshie? We were just reading a Filipino folktale the other night about a certain King Crab and his war with the mosquitoes. She only laughed when I suggested she might like to grow up to be Queen Crab.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
How to Cover the Swine Flu
Monday, May 04, 2009
Russia's Best Contraceptive
Saturday, May 02, 2009
The Pacquiao Diary
A great thing happened to me on Wednesday. I got a chance to meet former U.S. President Bill Clinton. He is a great man, and it was an honor for me to meet him. He was eating at Mandalay Bay and wanted a chance to meet me.
He’s a big boxing fan. We talked a lot about boxing. He asked about my fights and he told one of my trainers, Michael Moorer, that he watched his heavyweight championship fight with Evander Holyfield many years ago.It was a treat for me to have the privilege to meet him and talk with him for a few
Yahoo! is exclusively publishing the diaries of Hatton and Pacquiao and wanted us to believe that they're real. Pshaw!