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Uncategorized

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.

Categories
music

a fellow music lover

Here’s to Chuck Busch — fellow music lover, Exoticaring member, and big Siesta fan — who left us too soon. I only knew him through e-mail, but he will be missed.

Listen easy, Chuck.

Categories
Pinoy

Kapre.

Ari’s recent posting on pu-pu platter conjectures on the possibility that the kapre of Tagalog mythology — described, at least when I was growing up, as a cigar-smoking, gaunt figure of frightening appearance, living in balete trees — and the cafre, or African slaves brought over to the Philippines by the Portuguese. Fanciful, he calls it (and I agree), but not necessarily: racial imagination gone wild has, after all, conjured up images of Filipinos as monkeys without tails and Jews having horns under their yarmulkes.

This suddenly reminds me of the ancient (and to my childhood eyes, unbelievably tall) mango tree that used to stand by our old gate in my childhood home in Los Banos. Living memory (at least among interviews my father made with LB oldtimers) pegged its age around the turn of the century and, despite my arboreal ignorance, I have no reason to doubt it. But there were apparently various stories about the tree, with people claiming to see balls of fire swirling around it, or mysterious bonfires at the foot of the tree (this I did see once), or a dwende living near it, or, most popularly, a kapre actually living in the tree. Some neighbors (or at least their grandparents) would apparently ask for permission (“Nakikiraan po“) before passing by the tree. Indeed, sometime in the late ’70s, the newspaper delivery kid would keep delivering our newspaper (by mistake, he said) to a woman in a white flowing gown who would be standing by the tree early in the morning.

At some point in the mid-’80s my father wanted the mango tree cut down — or, at least, some of its thick branches, which were hanging perilously over the greenhouse and the plants he sold. No one in town wanted to touch it at all, and the only person he could find lived several kilometers away in San Pablo. The treecutter kept having problems with his treesaw, which either wouldn’t start or wouldn’t cut the tree at all; next, he started complaining about a sudden pain in his neck; and, scariest of all, he died mysteriously (I am not making this up) a couple of months later. My father simply let the mango tree be, until lightning finally hit it in the late ’80s and it caught fire. All that is left of it now is a burned-out, 5-foot high trunk.

Categories
music

The best albums I heard in 2001.

Every year I post a list of my favorites; this year’s list is a little late.

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Uncategorized

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?