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The Price of Philippine Books

Ari’s entry on Resil Mojares’s wonderful-sounding new book — which he selects as pu-pu platter‘s first Book of the Month (if you were an online store, you’d be giving us all a discount!) — raises the question of why it is that a Philippine university press book costs so much money. It’s a puzzle indeed — obviously the paperbacks wouldn’t cost $25 in Manila, or otherwise UP professors won’t even be able to afford them (certainly not on UP salary). For instance, my good friend Jojo Abinales‘s book Making Mindanao costs 285 pesos at National Book Stores all over the Philippines, but is marked up to a whopping $24 by the University of Hawaii Press, not including shipping and handling! (My book, Displaying Filipinos, costs about P200 pesos in Manila, but routinely sells for about $20 — if you can find it — in the United States.)

I can only assume that the markup comes from shipping and handling, plus various taxes and whatnot? Still, I am all for more money going to Philippine presses, though this looks like a slightly sneaky way of doing it.

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that's a lot of sensor tags!

# Gucci dress (white): $1,595
# Marc Jacobs thermal top: $760
# Yves Saint Laurent blouse: $750
# Natori handbag: $540
# Dolce & Gabbana handbag: $525
# Eric Javitz hat: $350
# Eric Javitz hat: $225
# Rhinestone hair band (black): $140
# Rhinestone ponytail holder (black): $120
# Rhinestone hairclip (black): $110
# Rhinestone hair bow (black): $110
# Cashmere blend socks (beige): $80
# Beaded purse, two (black): $55 each
# Saks socks, two pair (cream): $38 each
# Donna Karan socks, one pair (brown): $20
# Calvin Klein socks, two pair (gray): $16.50 each
# Calvin Klein socks, one pair (purple): $16.50

You probably already know whose shopping bag these items were found in.

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2012 Olympics — San Francisco?

I honestly can’t think of a worse idea. While I’ve said to close friends (and students) time and again that I couldn’t think of anything more boring than sports, this sentiment is not the root of my naysaying. No, it’ll be the even more unbearable traffic, the hordes of jaywalking tourists, the longer lines at restaurants, the great stinking mass of people cheering on their country’s runners or divers or emaciated gymnasts. To the Olympic Committee or whoever it is that decides for the US: give New York the sympathy vote. Please. Let them have the Olympics. I just want to get on with my life.

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Kwela lang po.

Something forwarded from my brother.

Dear Son,

Medyo mabagal akong magsulat ngayon dahil alam ko na mabagal kang magbasa.

Nandito na kami sa probinsya para tirahan ang bagong bili na bahay pero hindi ko maibibigay sa iyo ang address dahil dinala ng dating nakatira ang number para daw hindi na sila magpapalit ng address.

Maganda ang lugar na ito at malayo sa Manila. Dalawang beses lang umulan sa linggong ito, tatlong araw noong una at apat na araw naman nung pangalawa.

Nakakainis lang ang mga paninda dito katulad na nabili kong shampoo dahil ayaw bumula. Nakasulat kasi sa labas ay FOR DRY HAIR kaya hindi ko binabasa ang buhok ko pag ginagamit ko. Mamaya ay ibabalik ko sa tindahan at magrereklamo ako.

Noong isang araw naman ay hindi ako makapasok sa bahay dahil ayaw bumukas ang padlock. Nakasulat kasi ay YALE, aba eh namalat na ako sa kakasigaw ay hindi pa din bumubukas. Magrereklamo din ako dun sa nagbenta ng bahay, akala nila ay hindi ko alam na SIGAW ang tagalog ng YALE, wise yata ito!

Mayroon nga pala akong nabili dito na magandang Jacket at tiyak na magugustuhan mo. Ipinadala ko na sa iyo sa DHL, medyo mahal daw dahil mabigat ang mga butones kaya ang ginawa ko ay tinanggal ko na lang ang mga butones at inilagay ko sa mga bulsa. Ikabit mo na lang pagdating diyan.

Nagpadala na din ako ng tseke para sa mga nasalanta ng bagyo, hindi ko na pinirmahan dahil gusto kong maging anonymous donor.

Ang kapatid mo nga palang si Jude ay may trabaho na dito, mayroon siyang 500 na tao na under sa kanya. Nag-gugupit siya ngayon ng damo sa Memorial Park, okey naman ang kita above minimum ang sahod.

Wala na akong masyadong balita. Sumulat ka na lang ng madalas.

Love, Papa

P.S. Maglalagay sana ako ng pera kaya lang ay naisara ko na ang envelope. Next time na lang ha?

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Crime in the city

My little obsession for today: San Francisco crime statistics. Since we’re thinking of moving at some point, I’ve been checking crime rates in different parts of the city. Alas, one property we kind of like boasted 13 robberies this year — probably having to do with the two liquor stores at the corner. Breaking into cars, as I’ve long noticed (my poor car is still without stereo and speakers), is quite rampant in our “plot;” there was a time about a couple of years ago when I would walk Shelby around the block in the morning and find a vehicle with the rear triangular window broken every week. So the neighborhood we live in has had 46 crimes so far this year, including (yeesh) two rapes, 13 car thefts and 11 burglaries.

I suppose it’s a big trade-off: buy a desirable house in a marginal neighborhood (and get worried every time I walk Shelby at night, not to mention worrying about Madeline and Izzy), or one of those rather boring Doelger houses that you see in the Sunset down to the Westlake District in Daly City. But then we’ve lived in our neighborhood for a little over five years, and (with fingers crossed) haven’t been the victim of anything major (except for my poor car cd player and speakers).