Death of the author: J.D. Salinger

To the author whose Catcher in the Rye accompanied me during my teenage years and whose writing style influenced me more than I would care to acknowledge:

J.D. Salinger (1919-2010), see you in the river or something, anywhere, except in a goddamn cemetery because we do not want people coming and putting a bunch of flowers on our stomach on a Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you’re dead?

Nobody.

“Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them – if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.”

Mr. Antolini, Catcher in the Rye, 1951.

Rants before I go:

Living in the humid tropics gives everyone a hard time breathing. And mildews, they’re all over. I already opened all my windows to let air in and replace the stale night air trapped in my room, but it seems that opening them is futile. The air is still reeking with deadly spores from unknown species of fungi yet to be discovered by Science. But the worse part is that they all decided to make my room their giant petri dish.

Marlene Aguilar, notwithstanding her being a good mother to her son, should be incinerated head first with her tentacles-of-Ursula do be fed initially to the makeshift hell (as with the looks of it, the do will take longer to melt than the rest of her body).

I’ve been regularly seeing her on primetime TV newscast, and I beg to be delivered from her. With all understatement, her mouth is unstoppable. She kissed like a seahorse last night, blabbered like a koala, cried like a sea turtle, and neighed like, well, a horse (my apologies go to those members of the animal kingdom mentioned).

Oh, and she sang like a mutant armadillo.

Every time she spews a word, she becomes  a grand spectacle of herself, relishing her much-awaited-but-long-overdue debut with all her diva-esque acts she has kept in her stacks all these times.  She says something pitiful like this, then concocts another equally pathetic story, and then caps her statement with something laughable using that cute accent.

When will they finally gag her using the trimmings from her hideous do?

I’ve seriously considered writing ABS-CBN to ax Kung Tayo’y Magkakalayo when I completed watching one episode of a Kris Aquino-starrer teleserye last night. She can’t act, unconvincing, and sounded forced. Another wrong casting decision. No need to write the network, maybe, because it dawned on me that after an episode, I’ve had enough of it, and I will simply shut my eyes whenever it is shown in the carinderia where I have my dinner. Seriously, it is a badly made, badly cast, bad program.

Or can’t ABS-CBN consider moving it to the 4 am slot just before Umagang Kay Ganda?


The first thing I did when I woke up this morning was to watch a VHS ripped copy of Deep Throat, a 1972 American pornographic film written and directed by Gerard Damiano, starring Linda Lovelace. Why can’t today’s porn producers make something as interesting as this one? Yes, yes, yes, I am well too aware that the nature of a porn does not allow it to experiment with well-established, more developed, and less corporeal storylines. But we can have something more original than say a MILF wanting to be f*cked by a barely 18, an old man raping a barely 18, or a barely 18 doing herself, can’t we?

I do not want to conclude this post with anything nice to to say except to wish everyone a great weekend.

‘Till when shall I wait for Godot?

http://www.beckettinvermont.org

When was the last time you waited for something or someone?

At 23 there are some aspects in life where I am already a bit confident in making generalizations about. Waiting, which I’ve never been good at, is one of these difficult games whose rules I am beginning to learn, and am hoping to eventually master.

No wonder I was caught in the absurdist* play by Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot. I first read the play when i was in high school. However, my 16-year old mind then, obviously, was not able to fully comprehend why Didi (Vladimir) and Gogo (Estragon) are waiting for someone they’re both unsure who or whether the man they call Godot is worth the wait.

Waiting is, for me, the hardest thing to do because it is the most intellectual of all activities. Modern society, owing to its tendency to simplify a lot of things, is slowly relegating this art to the dark cracks, away from the tip-of-your-finger comfort and convenience, away from the cerebral task of thinking while waiting. Contrary to what most people believe, waiting is never an empty exercise. The mind of a person who is waiting constantly wanders, always discontent with the explanations as to why he has to wait.

In the end, as one matures, he’ll realize that the act of waiting is more important than the reason for the wait because the act allows him to synthesize thoughts that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible should the person he is waiting comes too soon. So he endlessly waits, ignorant of the fact the Godot has arrived because the pleasure of thinking and the intellectual stimulation are more significant than finally meeting Godot.

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*Absurdism posits that, while inherent meaning might very well exist in the universe, human beings are incapable of finding it due to some form of mental or philosophical limitation. Thus humanity is doomed to be faced with the Absurd, or the absolute absurdity of existence in lack of intrinsic purpose.

Understanding his reasons for wanting to be the next president of the Philippines

I could hear incidental giggles of people around in the audio file of my friend, Rodelo Pidoy, while he was being interviewed by a journalist in the iReport CNN internet site. In fact the sarcasm in the voice of that journalist was too perceptible that I felt bad for Rodelo. But it seemed that my friends was unfazed.

He was his usual serious self, speaking as if whatever he said was of utmost importance. He could not be bothered by his mis-enunciation of most words containing the vowel ‘e’ especially the long ones and some schwas.

He sounded prophetic, and at times like my old professor when I was still an undergrad at the University of the Philippines.

For most people, Rodelo comes so close to the edge that separates the black and the white.  He transcends understanding because, unlike most of us, he neither seeks nor craves for it. The Comelec may simply refer to him as nuisance because it is meant to think that way – in simple terms. But Rodelo is unaffected. He is steely focused to a point of ‘rational’ obsession.  He shall be, according to him, the 15th President of the republic.

No one believes he will be. Neither do I.

But Rodelo is too proud to found his beliefs on other people’s faith. He’ll pursue his plans of becoming the next president, and in the event he fails, I know he would be able to find something grander to run after.

If only all of us were as brave as the guy to present an alternative way of looking at the world and challenging both its spoken and unspoken rules. Only people like him can create revolution.

“I love that article you wrote about me, only that the part that says we drank beer in the afternoon is too unbecoming especially that I am running for the highest office in the land.”

“So you want me to crash out that part?”

“No, just keep it that way. After all it’s already done.”

On a Wednesday

The English god Woden, after whom ‘Wednesday’ was named.

I often find myself in the city on a Wednesday either spending the entire afternoon at my sister’s place reading or at the gym pumping iron. But not this Wednesday.

I do not have any particular affinity to this day of the week, unlike Friday which I always look forward to, or Sunday which I hate most because it means the next day is the dreaded Monday. Wednesday is a neutral week. It does not signify anything meaningful or extraordinary. Just like today. I woke up a bit late, cleaned the house, did some facebook-ing, replied to emails, and went on reading the book I was reading last night before I slept on it.

I feel well-rested today. No classes, no student consultations, just an entire morning and afternoon spent doing the thing I love most (that is, not doing anything).

And of course catching up on sleep.

For President of the Republic of the Philippines: Rodelo Pidoy*

Picture of Rodelo Pidoy taken this afternoon, January 6, 2010 at the parking lot adjacent to the College Union Building University of the Philippines Visayas, Miagao, Iloilo, Philippines.

Profile of the 51st Presidential Candidate and the would-be 15th President

Full name: Rodelo Suyom Pidoy

Nickname: Ugong

Place of Birth: Bugasong, Antique

Date of Birth: March 8, 1984

Present Address: Netura Street, Ubos Ilaya, Miagao, Iloilo

Home Address: Sitio Hines, Tagudtud South, Bugasong, Antique

Highest Educational Attainment: BS Biology UP Visayas

Parents’ Livelihood: Selling vegetables, firewood, and bamboo shoots

What he already did:

-Written more than 1000 poems

-First used cell phone in November 2008

-Sold more than 50 cell phone units as of November 2009

-Has bought and destroyed more than 50 units of AM-FM radio

-Repaired, modified, and sold electronic equipment after that

-Avoided using computers unless so necessary from 2000-2008. But as of May-June 2009 repaired, set-up, and sold computers already without using manuals (used electricity from relatives as own house has none).

-Was able to cure any kind of diseases (stroke, asthma, hypersensitivity reaction, colds, fever, insomnia, kidney trouble, stomach pain, canker, cancer, hemorrhoids, enlarged heart, toothache, goiter, eyestrain, migraine, skin allergy, chronic cramps, irregular menstrual cycle, child-bearing problems, depression, nervous breakdown, ulcers, bone fractures, and many more even those not biologic in origin – or that which are not caused by food or water taken.

-Did the healing without the aid of western medicine.

-Invented 50 inventions/gadgets; once made one invention a day for 30 days.

-Developed a technique for planting several millions of trees in one day.

-Planted 2000 trees in less than a minute.

-Made a device that can turn off neighboring FM radios

-Made a device that can control rains, typhoons, earthquakes, ice and hailstorms.

-Made a device that can pinpoint the part of the body that is weak and uses it as a diagnostic tool in treating patients.

What he can do and still needs to do:

-Intends to study at Harvard. He likes to take medicine.

-Will try to patent his inventions and mass produce some.

-Intends to sell his weather controlling device for a price enough to cover all the debts of the Philippines and with enough money for him to launch a national campaign; however, he thinks it is better to keep it into himself and use it for the country to develop for it might go to wrong hands and we will be victims. To utilize its potential, however, he needs to be the President.

-Likes to experience true democracy and not a false one.

-Can make the country be united as one and develop.

-Likes to create a million jobs the first month he sits in office.

-Likes the next generation of Filipinos see the Philippines as their paradise.

Before these happens, however, he needs to qualify as a candidate. He is only 26 by the time of the election and so he is disqualified. He needs to change the Constitution. He can do it alone. However there is not enough time. He needs the cooperation of everybody and the help of everyone who needs to experience true democracy and true freedom. How could we have true freedom to participate when one of the requirements for President is “at least forty years old at the time of election” while also having “be able to read and write as a criterion”? Most grade one pupils know how to read and write and so a forty year-old who has finished grade one only is allowed while a twenty year-old college graduate cannot?

The “be able to read and write” gives us a false feeling of freedom for it includes almost all of us. The “at least forty years old” however gives us a restriction. Therefore we think we are free but actually we are not. Age limit for Presidents then must be lowered. It must be lowered to at least twenty years old. If not, he will wait until he is old enough to be corrupted by the corrupt society he is in and become a corrupt president later on. The choice is yours. Now is the time to make history. Let us make democracy the rule of the masses – the poorer class – because we are the majority.

We are not having oligarchy as our type of government so at least one from our ranks needs to be the President. In that way elite rule will not continue. If it does continue at least we are not disenfranchised citizens. I did this because I was called. I have come upon your calling. And so recognize that I am the one whom you are waiting. Cooperate with my cause and I will cooperate with you. Together we can fight Global Warming, and warming here in our country due to much politicking. I myself if I will not contribute my help, this nation will be ravaged not only by war but by violent typhoons and strong earthquakes.

We need to participate in politics. I know you do not want to be dominated by evil men. Let me quote what Plato – one of the great Greek philosophers – “It is the price of good men who hesitate to involve in politics ruled by evil men”. Allow me to be your voice and your representative. This country needs only one man for it to change – I.

Say this also and together we will be united by the same belief. Only then will we be one.

Wish anything reasonable from me and it shall be done.

*The text in this post was taken verbatim from the campaign materials being distributed by Rodelo Pidoy. I am here to help a friend who needs to establish some presence in the internet.

To you who attempted to knot a cherry stem with your tongue

I was there sitting on a chair in the corner of your room waiting for you to finish sending emails and making calls. I tried not to appear fidgety and kept myself from making impatient sounds so as not to distract you from what you were doing that night. You looked to my direction every once in a while checking if I was still there. I had a hard time precluding thoughts of walking out on you. I assured you that I was ‘okay’ in as many times as you asked if I was okay.

I wasn’t very comfortable with waiting, still I stayed. Looking back, I never regretted I stayed.

There are more things I could remember (and write) about you than this page can contain. But I do not want to reduce you to something language can contain because you are more than that; however, let me. May the limits of my vocabulary grasp your complexities (and your countless idiosyncrasy).

You came to my life while I was in the middle of those insufferable ‘unbearable lightness of being’. And thank you for pulling me back, because had you not come, I would’ve gone past the clouds, the stratosphere, the Van Halen belt, until I would never be seen again. Just in time, as timely as you came, you held my hands and let me hug you while we sleep, these meant a lot to me.

If I did not sing karaoke with you, did not bring you to Miagao, did not hold your hand while we’re walking, if I reacted violently whenever you call me J.R., I’m sorry and I promise to make it up the next time. I’ll only do things that will make you happy.

I’ve never been used to expressing feelings for any particular human because I was more attuned to the generalities of the universe. When you came, unconsciously I, little by little, began to experience that ‘shift of paradigm’, that it is possible for all the love I feel inside to converge in a singularity I call you.

Ours is something most would refer to as ephemeral, but despite this, I intend to keep whatever we have now and to hold on to it as strongly and as tenaciously as I can so long as we are each other’s.

I still daydream about the conversations we had before we went to sleep, the unending teasing, the serious discussions that told me a lot of things about you and made me appreciate our differences. In the middle of the everyday, mundane things I do, I get caught in the memories of the things we did together – riding a bangka to Guimaras and looking to the vast sea before us while sitting on a bamboo bench, you singing my ‘baduy’ favorite song and me singing for you a song that would otherwise make me blush to death, carrying you on my back, the questions on what’s the right tee to wear, and the silence that never failed to give me peace knowing that you’re right beside me.

In the end, it is comforting to know that despite the distance, we remain each other’s.

To you who attempted to knot that cherry stem using your tongue, but failed: I couldn’t ask for more.