Life as it happens. Time as it passes.

Archive for February, 2011

Napag-uusapan Lang Naman 28

(Author’s Preface: Due to unavoidable circumstances, the posts for Thursday and Friday had to switch. The hot news on sports came on Thursday, while the need to “opinionate” found its background on Friday. I thought skipping yesterday’s posting was the only way to explain the off-schedule. Nonetheless, I’m giving you my two cent’s worth of perspective on the recently concluded Silver Anniversary of EDSA People Power 1)

I was only three when the EDSA People Power happened. Obviously, I don’t remember much of what had happened 25 years ago for me to give a full recollection here. I only got my sense of the event from history books, documentaries, stories, testimonials and opinions of the people who lived that day.

Yesterday, while on our way home from Angeles, I was listening to an open debate between two broadcasters about their take on the Silver Anniversary Celebrations. Without much in my memory to become the basis of my own opinion, I listened to what each had to say. When finally got to the end of their discussion, it was now my turn to formulate a stand in my head and heart.

I agree to the fact that EDSA People Power 1 restored democracy in our country. And I also agree that EDSA People Power 1 was a shining moment for the Filipino people as citizens of the world.

But.

How are we dealing with this democracy we are now, supposedly, “enjoying?” I may not have lived to experience the corruption, violence and darkness of martial law Philippines, but I think this country has seen worse in terms of graft and corruption in government for the last 25 years. The only difference is that corruption was carried out without the cloak of dictatorship. True enough, People Power taught us to be watchful against anyone who will attempt to cling to power for longer than prescribed. But what about teaching us to be sensible citizens who will not only appreciate the provided freedom, but making it work to its full measure? Go ahead and ask the poor people of 25 years ago–how are they 25 years after EDSA 1? Have we eliminated the dole-out mentality in the last 25 years? Are we better voters now than before? Are we more disciplined citizens than before?

And what about our grudge against the Marcoses? Sure, let’s grant it to those who have lost a loved one during martial law to hold it all against the former strong man. But what difference does it make? Do we really think crucifying the Marcoses for all that had happened during FM’s regime can improve democracy’s function for our country today? I agree, the Marcoses should pay for what ever ill they’ve caused. But what about the new breed of corrupt officials and government leaders, who have probably outclassed Ferdinand Marcos as far as laundering government funds are concerned? And to think they’re not even presidents at that.

I have nothing against EDSA 1. As a recipient of the freedom that I now enjoy, I have nothing but high respect, regard and appreciation for the Filipino men and women who stood their ground on Highway 54 to win back our democracy. I am fully aware of what People Power has restored to our country.

But with how our country’s economy and morals are slowly being flushed down the drain, I’m afraid we’re faring nearly as worse, if not equally worse, from 25 years ago.

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Napag-uusapan Lang Naman 14 (Back Issue Edition)

(Author’s preface: You might say the following post is a Sports post, which usually comes out on Friday. But while it is about sports, this post is more of an opinion on the on-going trade talks in the NBA, so this post still fits the genre for the day. Also, it’s just fitting that we can insert this topic as a filler for the missed count o our ‘Napag-uusapan Lang Naman’ series. So, I decided to squeeze in a ‘sports opinion’ post at number 14)

The smoke of All-Star Break has finally cleared out. The teams are back to their usual grind, including Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams.

But not in the same uniforms.

As of this writing, ‘Melo has just earned his first win as a New York Knick, while Deron Williams has yet to play with a “new jersey” with the Nets. These two blockbuster trades saw the exit of two All-Star players from the Western conference to the East (both were also gold medalists from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing), and are expected to up the rankings of the teams they will now be a part of.

The Knicks are right now standing at spot number 6–not a very comfortable spot, especially if you’re dead last among .500 teams in the East. Philadelphia, Indiana and Charlotte can pull off a late-season run and upset the bottom half of the standings. With ‘Melo off to a good start in New York, things can turn out good for the Knicks and their faithfuls. After all, the last ten games of New York were not impressive with only five wins, and indeed they could use some help from an offensive powerhouse like Anthony (and Billups). But beginner’s luck will soon have to give way to team chemistry, and that’s where the true mettle of a team with two All-Star forwards in Amar’e Stoudemire and Anthony will be tested.

Denver was able to keep their spirits up with a win over Memphis yesterday minus Carmelo and Chauncey in the roster. The Nuggets, like New York, are also at number six in the standings in the West. But that’s just it–being number six in the West spells more danger than being number six in the East. As of this writing, the Portland Trailblazers, the team trailing Denver, are just a game behind them. One loss could loosen Denver’s hold on their spot. A few more could drop them off the playoffs. And that’s a problem not far-fetched, now that they’ve got no ‘Melo to bail them out come crunchtime.

On the other hand, trading Deron Williams was an inevitable option for the Jazz, whose concern is more on the franchise’s long-term goals, than on the immediate target at hand, which is to get into the playoffs. The Jazz are right now at number 9, just two games behind Denver. Greg Miller gave a sensible rationale for the trade–D-Will’s contract ends by 2012, making him a free agent. For the past couple of weeks, no one from D-Will’s camp had assured the Jazz’s head office that he will be staying for an extension, or from going out. This non-committal from Williams prompted Miller to trade him for New Jersey’s Devin Harris and Derrick Favors, rather than end up with nothing should Deron opt to leave. The trade was the only option Utah can still get something (though Harris and Favors combined, compared to Deron, are of lesser value) out of losing their marquee player. Acquiring Deron by trading Harris and Favors gives New Jersey a better control of how their long term targets can be met, and with just enough cap space to throw in some chips for the next trade session next year.

I agree with Miller’s decision, only that losing D-Will right in the middle of the season will not do Utah any good in the standings. Some are saying Deron’s exit from Utah is the signal of Utah’s exit from the playoffs this season. This, we have yet to see.

For now, D-Will’s role is to help improve the Nets’ record for the season. By 2012, Williams will be taking a more central role in New Jersey.

From my own point of view, the choice of letting Deron go was better than letting Carmelo go. Here are the reasons why:

1. Deron will be going to a team with no other all-star player. That makes him the go-to guy, and a point guard at that. The team will be definitely building around him, giving the Nets a better direction to follow. On the other hand, Carmelo will be sharing the spotlight with Amar’e. Both are forwards, all-stars, and the “give-me-the-ball-and-get-out-of-the-way” type of players. Good thing Chauncey came along, to help dispel the imbalance that could occur when you’ve got two power forwards wanting each a fair share of their time on the floor.

2. Carmelo is moving from one playoff contender team to another. That in itself is a pressure–pressure from your new home crowd to deliver and make sure that you will carry them to the promised land. As for Deron, he moves to a team whose only goal right now is to have a good finish for the season. He can think of upping his game next season.

3. Since the prospect of entering the playoffs isn’t as big a deal as losing a marquee with no one to fill in the spot, Utah’s choice of trading Deron fits their franchise’s philosophy. On the other hand, Denver will be putting pressure immediately on Felton, Gallinari and Chandler the moment they wear their Denver jerseys because they will be taking on the default role of season savior for the Nuggets.

4. Lastly, Denver doesn’t have much options when the season closes by June. New Jersey, on the other hand, does. Being one of the last six, they can do a lot of maneuvering when Draft day comes, giving them a free hand on building on Williams.


Oo Nga Naman 42

The local town priest was on his way home when the need to take a leak beckoned on him. There was no stop-over on the road in sight. Running out of options, the priest pulled over to the next best thing–the local bar house down the corner from the church.

Everyone in the bar joint were wild and rowdy. This was the first time that the priest had entered the club. Innocent about the ways of nightlife, he immediately observed in snapshots what disco life was like. The disco lights would usually blink every now and then, but there was often a lengthier interval that the lights were off. The music was blaring and ear-wrenching. The people inside (who were mostly the priest’s parishioners), took on a different get-up fit for the party.

After the first encounter with the disco, the priest remembered his original plan–to take a leak. As he went up to the bartender, the people inside turned discreet upon seeing their town friar.

“Is there a bathroom in here, my son?” inquired the priest.

“Yes, father,” replied the bartender. “But I’ll have to warn you there’s a statue of a naked lady inside the bathroom. And she’s only covered with a single fig leaf on her.”

“Well, then,” said the father, “I will just have to avoid looking at the statue at all.” Then the father entered the bathroom, while the crowd was still in hush mode.

A few 10 minutes later, the priest emerged out of the bathroom. To his surprise, the people began applauding the priest. Puzzled, the priest asked the bartender what had just happened.

“Well, father, the in-house lights went off for the last ten minutes.” answered the bartender.

“Ah, so they were applauding the lights that it had come back?” asked the priest.

Honest as he was supposed to be, the bartender answered.

“Um, no, father. You see, the fig leaf on the naked statue inside the bathroom is the switch to the lights. Every time someone moves it, the lights go off. They’re just happy to know, you’re no different than us.


Lose and Shed: The Weight Reduction Challenge

This is really it–I’m out on a quest to finally lose weight and shed off those inches on my tummy for the next five months!

As a prelude to my goal of trimming down, I already finished 31 days off the supposed 6-month program. I wanted to make sure first I was on the right track before deciding to publicize my “adventure.” Thus far, after 29 days, I have already shed off an inch from my tummy, and 10 lbs. off my body weight. The results only prove I’m on the right track, and all I need to do is to double what I have been doing if ever I want to slash more days off my remaining time frame. Perhaps posting my weight-loss quest-slash-challenge online will give extra motivation (and obligation) for me to fulfill my goal.

I see the next five months to be a piece of cake now for me. The last 31 days have been more of an experimental period for me to find out which diet and exercise program will work. I found out that the exercise system I am following right now has done a great job of taking away those 10 lbs. But it’s with the diet program that I was quite inconsistent. Actually, I was the only one who devised my own diet program. Turns out I was doing more of starving rather than trimming myself in a healthy manner.

Last week a former student of mine e-mailed me a diet program that helped him lose 20 lbs in just 21 days. He did twice that what I had done in 2/3 the time I spent. Just in time, I received a copy of the diet program he followed just as I am about to finish my first month of shaping up. And I am committed to following this new program.

I will not promise anything. If there’s one thing I know for sure, I’ve been through a lot of attempts to lose and shed. And I’ve failed just as many times. That I am here, posting about what I am about to do, only means the last attempt I had at losing weight didn’t work. Hopefully this one (finally!) will do the trick.

I’ll see you after a week here in our blog, and I’ll tell you if I got more pounds off with the new diet I’m following. If it works, you’ll hear from me soon.


Chelsey Grace: Three Months Na!

Chelsey turned three months last Sunday. We celebrated her turning a quarter of a year at Red Ribbon at SM City Sta. Mesa. The lunch-out got me thinking–hindi naman na-a-appreciate ni Chelsey yung kainan namin, di ba? Nonetheless, nag-enjoy na rin kami ni Cess with the simple stroll-out.

Here’s Chelsey when she was born:

Here’s Chelsey last December:

When Chelsey turned two months:

Now, here’s Chelsey on her third month:


Rose Rises, Spurns Spurs

In the words of Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith, there’s a new sheriff.

Derrick Rose scored a career-high 42 points to lead the Chicago Bulls past the San Antonio Spurs, 109-99 in the first of two final games of the season just before All-Star break at LA(the Dallas-Phoenix game continues to ensue as of this writing).

The Bulls avenged a defeat handed them by San Antonio last November 17, a 103-94 loss that did not include a healthy Carlos Boozer on the roster. This time, Boozer gave a 15-point contribution to the cause, the only other double-digit scorer aside from Rose and Luol Deng. From the side of the Spurs, Tony Parker scored 26 and Manu Ginobili with 16. The Spurs, despite the high scoring output of most of their players, were sorely out-rebounded by Chicago, 41-29. The Bulls were also more accurate with their field goals and free throws compared to the Spurs, who will close out their annual Rodeo Road Trip with a 6-3 win-loss card.

The win further certified Rose’s run for an MVP award, just a year after he won Rookie of the Year honors. Rose is appearing in his first All-Star game as a starter for the East, alongside Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, Dwight Howard and Amare Stoudemire. Meanwhile for the Spurs, Tim Duncan and Ginobili will wear the West jerseys as reserves.

The Spurs are now 46-10, while the Bulls have a 38-16 record. The Spurs are still the only team on the 40-win mark, and are leading all teams in the league by at least 6 games.


Gospel Music Review: The Cathedral Quartet

We kick off our music review series with a look-back at one of the most successful Southern Gospel quartets in the Gospel music world–the Cathedral Quartet.

The Cathedral Quartet started in 1963, not as a quartet, but as a trio. Glen Payne, Bobby Clark and Danny Koker composed the trio that usually performed for meetings and services at the Cathedral of Tomorrow, pastored by Rex Humbard. A year later, they added bass singer George Younce. Five years later, Payne and Younce decided to establish the quartet with its own business identity.

In the years that followed, the Cathedrals went through difficult times. Quartet members who usually filled the tenor and baritone parts came and went. It was only in the early 70’s that the quartet had a more stable line-up. Roy Tremble (tenor) and George Amon Webster (baritone) had a lengthier stint with the team compared to the ones that went before them. By 1979, the quartet had gained more popularity thanks to their frequent appearances with Bill Gaither’s Praise Gathering shows.

The final, and perhaps the more well known line-up of the Cathedrals included Younce, Payne, tenor singer Ernie Haase and baritone Scott Fowler. This line-up lasted almost a decade from 1990 to 1999, when the quartet finally retired, shortly after Glen Payne succumbed to cancer.

For 35 years, the Cathedral Quartet produced a total of 73 albums, not including the compilations of their best rendered songs. They’ve won several Singing News Fan Awards for both the group and several individual performances of each of their members. Songs such as “Boundless Love,” “Moving Up to Gloryland,” “Old Convention Song,” “The Last Sunday,” “Champion of Love,” “Oh, What A Savior,” “We Shall See Jesus,” and “This Old House,” are just some of the so many songs and hymns made popular by the powerful, soul stirring singing of the Cathedral Quartet.

Enjoy some of their music here once again!


Oo Nga Naman 41

Picture courtesy of ResumeIT.org

The city zoo was fast losing its revenues to a nearby mall. The burdened zookeeper had to think fast on getting back the zoo’s crowd before everything goes kaput for him and his business.

One day, while walking in the street, he saw his long time neighborhood pal, who was once a mime artist, but had also gone broke. After catching up with each other, the soon formulated a brilliant idea–the zookeeper will hire the mime to dress up as one of the animals, play the role, and earn his keep. The mime artist, also desperate for quick and easy money, accepted the offer.

The formula soon paid off–the zoo’s crowd began to grow once more, thanks to the mime artist, who was faking a gorilla for a show. After some time, though, the audience waned again. The mime artist had to think of a strategy to interest his regular customers. Beside his cage was the lion, who was, at that time, just gaining a following from the zoo patrons. Quick to thinking, the “gorilla” started taunting back at the lion on the other cage. Obviously, the lion went berserk against the gorilla. The tiff became an instant hit among the visitors. And once again the revenues kept pouring in.

The taunting of the “gorilla” and against the lion ensued for a couple of months more, until one day, by sheer mistake, the mime artist accidentally opened the backdoor between his cage and the lion. The feral beast, seeing the gate opened, sprinted towards the primate and pounced on him. The mime tried to run as fast as he can, but the heavy costume slowed him down, making him an open prey. The lion was finally on top of him.

Fearing for his life, the mime artist broke his mum and pleaded to the big cat, “Huwag! Huwag! Saklolo!

To which the lion replied, “Huwag ka maingay! Gusto mo bang masisante tayo?