Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Inanities - Sports Thoughts

I really hope Larry Brown will stink up the joint with the New York Knicks, and that he and Isiah Thomas get the boot. The franchise has been moribund the past few years, and no one can make some headway with the bad contracts they have been taking on.

Besides, I believe Larry is a manipulative pr*ck who deserves his comeuppance. Ditto for Isiah.

I keep on wondering why more people don't see Kobe Bryant for who he is - a flawed human being. It's not as if he is a demigod or anything (on the one hand) or a certified devil incarnate on the other. Yeah, I think Phil will fall flat on his face in getting them to championship contention. Unless they find a way to trade Kobe for some pieces (to Memphis most probably, natch). Kobe is a great player, no doubt, but there are layers and layers of being a winner, and not just championship rings and megabuck contracts.

The Miami Heat are an exciting but flawed team - I still believe in having etiher a star-less system or megastars surrounded by role players. Expect Antoine Walker and Jason Williams to sublimate their egos to Shaquille? Or how about James Posey, who is living proof that mediocrity shouldn't be over-rewarded? I like Miami, mainly because of Shaq and Wade. But please, I'd rather avoid that crapshoot.

The Pistons are looking very good. Vulnerable, but very good. Dumars is a classy guy, but the rest of their brain trust --- hmmm. Dumars deserves more credit than he is getting. A few years ago, the PR quotient of Detroit was equivalent to a train wreck. No wonder Grant Hill walked (I think it wasn't for the money).

The Spurs are the best. If they don't win another championship next year, it means some team has transcended its current capability as a group.

(Let's take a move in another direction)...

Sportswriters, next to entertainment writers, are perhaps the most unforgiving journalists and however, the most subject to hype. How many athletes have we deified on the say-so of these people? How many flashes-in-the-pan have we elevated to the level of "next... (fill in the blanks)"? At the same time, people have to understand athletes in a continuum - the signs of the times, the athletes they competed against, the general popularity of the sport - to make judgments.

Well, of course, there is always the matter of gambling in sport. Need some excitement to stoke up the desire for gambling. How many fortunes were made and destroyed because of sports gambling. And so, the hype machines go off, the oracles are crowned (or self-proclaimed), and the legion of analysts come forth.

So where now is the purity of the game, of humans struggling against one another, of the drive to achieve and succeed against odds? On the one hand you have the passion and bravado of a dedicated athlete. On the other, you have the spectator, wanting to connect with something greater than himself or herself.

Put in gambling, sex, bigotry, us-against-them and unused aggression and the whole kit and caboodle explodes!

Still, though...

Would I give up ogling at Maria Sharapova, Amanda Beard, Jennie Finch? Hell, no!

Would I give up looking and thinking of the what-might-have-beens on my favorite teams? Probably not.

Would I forego the use of obscenity in the search of a cool line, especially those uttered by athletes? Definitely not.

Hehe, gotcha there!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Failure, Inevitably

I am an addict for nostalgia. It comes with the territory of primarily being desk-bound at work - lots of time to think on and off the job.

The hard part of nostalgia is reliving all the memories - both the good and the bad - and normally the bad memories stick out like sore thumbs. The design of emotion is such negativity will come up much more quickly over the positives. Or is it just me? Reminds me of Lennon's "God" where he says "God is a Concept by which we measure our pain."

Whichever is true, it still surprises me how people react to the prospect of failure. Since we are finite beings, inevitably there will come a time where we will fail at something. That's a hidebound, set-in-stone guarantee. I still wince, though, looking back at the failures in my life...

I have failed to keep my weight at a consistent level.
Earlier in my career, for a variety of reasons, I have failed to hold down jobs, even those of the cakewalk variety, or where I have even been an ideal fit.
I have failed to sustain a number of relationships that would have led to my making a lifetime commitment with someone.
I have failed to live up to my potential through my academic career (a failure which haunts me to this day).
I have let so many friends down during critical times.

It hurts to remember the failures. Still, it is liberating to be free of the baggage that came with those failures. I have accepted that I have failed and whatever consequences I have already reaped (and may, still, in the future) are already part and parcel of my life. They have defined me until this very moment; and despite the uncertainty of my future, I have already ceded control over those parts of my life's equation.

I am free because my flaws have allowed me to narrow my options; and since those options remain my only possible courses of action, I am more eager to do what I can and must in my present. It does give me some pressure, but it's a healthy kind of pressure, a pressure that tells me, "Rise to your level. You're better than this, so strive to be yourself."

It gives me the thrill out of being alive.

The prospect of failure of course remains daunting. Whether I fail or not is the question - failure does come, inevitably; what matters is that whether I will give myself an opportunity to fail --- but more than that, to succeed.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


This article by former Supreme Court Justice Isagani Cruz is so spot-on the sting of it really smarts. Ouch!

Probable theme of the day: Lack of energy - I really need to cut down on some of that fatty stuff. My ankle hurts! (So again, another ouch!) Dampened creativity - need to jump-start my brain...

Mood of the day: Some desperation, some loneliness thrown as my expected correspondents seem to go on with their lives well enough without dropping me a missive. (Third time's probably the charm, I hope.)

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Slightly Random Thoughts

As one approaches this stage of life, it's hard the balancing the cold reality of pragmatism and the innocent dreams of youth. I once walked the streets declaring for a new order, fantasized about creating a new successful brand of communism, one that enables the people to build a stronger economy... oh, wait, the Chinese already have that!

My contemporaries who have their married lives have their lives in orbit around the sun of FAMILY, but I just wouldn't hand them the trophy of "successful lives" just yet. Still, it makes me wonder what exactly I have done in this lifetime. By the way, I have my family around me, anyway, only thing is I don't have a wife yet. (I'm babbling).

After all that is said and done, it never occurred to me that I should be making a record of something. Otherwise, I would have cheapened every act of charity I committed by asking for a receipt. Or insisting on a photo op.

I just wonder though if there is a way to freeze those moments in time. One way the management gurus tell us in reducing stress is to celebrate previous successes, no matter how small they may be.

So now I will have to withdraw into that world for a while until the next ripe opportunity for success turns out to be for real.

Going back though, I would like to refresh those moments of dreaming of a better world. Utopias still exist because there's still so much I have to do. In the spirit of John Lennon's "Imagine," I'd like to put in Florante's "Sana." (The remake never happened, please!)

With thanks to Florante's website.

Sana ang buhay ay walang dulo o hangganan.
Sana’y wala ng taong mahirap o mayaman.
Sana’y iisa ang kulay, sana ay wala ng away...

Sana’y pag-ibig na lang ang isipin ng bawat isa sa mundo.
Sana’y pag-ibig na lang ang isipin, sana’y magkatotoo.
Sana’y laging magbigayan.
Sana’y laging magmahalan.

Sana ang tao’y hindi nagugutom o nauuhaw.
Sana’y hindi na gumagabi o umaaraw.
Sana ay walang tag-init, sana ay walang taglamig

Sana’y pag-ibig na lang ang isipin ng bawat isa sa mundo.
Sana’y pag-ibig na lang ang isipin, sana’y magkatotoo.
Sana’y laging magbigayan
Sana’y laging magmahalan

Sana’y pag-ibig na lang ang isipin ng bawat isa sa mundo.
Sana’y pag-ibig na lang ang isipin, sana’y magkatotoo.
Sana’y laging magbigayan
Sana’y laging magmahalan
Sana’y pag-ibig na lang ang isipin ng bawat isa sa mundo.
Sana’y pag-ibig na lang ang isipin, sana’y magkatotoo.
Sana’y laging magbigayan
Sana’y laging magmahalan

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

How Life Must End

Today is a day of remembering ... for four years he was the guy who was right after me in the class list. For years his mother and mine were always comparing notes about their boys, though we, their sons, tried to go on separate tracks.

I could say he was a natural - he was one of those sorts who earned his "street credibility" because he was so grown-up, almost a man by the time both of us were fifteen. And I knew he was smart - it was just a question of how his intelligence was oriented. While a number of us were in one sense "deluded" by intellectual exercises and world issues, he was coming to grips with his own identity, something that only came to me later in college and in my professional life.

One of my regrets was that I never really bothered to know him. He was on one end of the "spectra" in our homeroom class, and I was always regarded to be on the other.

His name was Saturnino Laririt III, dead by his own hand these fifteen years past. I can never confess to be one of his true friends while he was alive, so I will do my best to respect his memory now that he is dead. I had this vision of his eventual fate one day while we were walking to class sixteen years ago, when he told me he couldn't sleep and had to take a whole lot of sleeping pills. It was a sign that I didn't hook up on. But who knew? He was tough, resourceful, resilient, popular with girls --- the kind of guy I would have wanted to be except that I wanted better grades.

Life will come to an end for all of us --- and it would be a false breast-beating to go back over something that cannot be undone --- but I would have appreciated knowing Boying a little more, given the way my life turned out and how his, unfortunately, came to an accelerated end.

In the poignant song by Michael Jackson, the best moments of our lives are now, and the beauty of each person is to be treasured. Easier said than done, but it would be worth trying...

With music by Larry Grossman and lyrics by Buz Kohan

Like a comet
Blazing 'cross the evening sky
Gone too soon

Like a rainbow
Fading in the twinkling of an eye
Gone too soon

Shiny and sparkly
And splendidly bright
Here one day
Gone one night

Like the loss of sunlight
On a cloudy afternoon
Gone too soon

Like a castle
Built upon a sandy beach
Gone too soon

Like a perfect flower
That is just beyond your reach
Gone too soon

Born to amuse,
to inspire, to delight
Here one day
Gone one night

Like a sunset
Dying with the rising of the moon
Gone too soon

Gone too soon...

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

The title comes from Roman satirist Juvenal's 2nd-century poem, and translates to: "But who watches the watchmen?"

The poem was an outright lambast on the decay of Roman morality. Men use the institution of marriage to advance their own careers, without regard for their feelings or commitments to the marriage vows; women, now aware of their bargaining power through the marital relationship, apparently do the same.

I never was a follower of double standards: what's good/bad for the goose should also be the same for the gander.

Yes, this is another rant on the political state of the Philippines under the "faithful watchmen" of our institutions. I quote the poem's most memorable quatrain:

"I hear all this time the advice of my old friends—
Put on a lock and keep your wife guarded behind doors.
Yes, but who will watch the watchmen?
The wife arranges accordingly and begins sleeping with them."

I am willing to take a gamble on the oppositionists, if only they have more to gain in making good on the demands for reform and change. However, I remain wary that their complaints are only for their self-serving agenda will do nothing for the good of the people and for the State.

This, however, does not let the administration off the hook. Likewise, I am tired of the loyalists who claim "pragmatism" and turn a blind eye to the shameful conduct of affairs of this administration. I am sick of them saying "I am not affected by these events, and all the evils in our country are caused by the opposition and the communists."

Sure thing.

I guess it's the opposition's and communists' fault that a conclusive case has not been built against the Estradas, despite all the documentation collated during the impeachment case in 2000-2001. Let's not forget that the Marcoses have subsequently "rehabilitated" their image and that the late President Marcos can earn a burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Mark that against the opposition and communists too.

I guess it's the opposition's and communists' fault that Congressman Mikey Arroyo's net worth ballooned from P5 million to P74 million in two years.

I guess it's the opposition's and communists' fault that despite a clean slate and overwhelming public support, our electoral system has not been modernized. And that we lost something like P800 million to P1.2 billion in the process.

I guess it's the opposition's and communists' fault that a suspected vote-padder (among other things), Virgilio Garcillano, was appointed Comelec commissioner.

I guess it's the opposition's and communists' fault that P200 million was spent on the most-expensive (per kilometer) thoroughfare ever built, and that it was named after the President's late father to boot.

I guess it's the opposition's and communists' fault that no accounting can ever be made of the money OFWs paid for medical benefits, money that was funnelled to secure political support during the 2004 elections and thereafter.

I guess it's the opposition's and communists' fault that cases against the Oakwood plotters, Gen. Garcia, and a number of grafters are not moving.

I guess it's the opposition's and communists' fault our budget will balloon to P1.1 trillion, leaving us in a greater debt hole and sink us into a deeper fiscal crisis.

Too much democracy? I disagree. The involvement of the people in our democracy is at best marginal despite all the signs of "mob rule." Mob rule is not democracy. Mob rule only obeys one rule: the raw emotion of the mob.

Strongman rule? All too tempting. From Plato down to Nietzsche, the establishment of authoritarian rule by a cadre of supermen has been the prescription for a healthier, more peaceful environment in which we can live.

As with the case of Marcos, he was both a victim and an exponent of our societal decay.

No matter whom we put on the watch, the question still arises - Who will watch the watchmen?

Until Filipinos grow up to be a more mature people, we will wallow in this morass.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Props to Thomas Gray

Gray's "Elegy Written in A Country Church-Yard" has to be one of the most anthologized poems written in English. It has the classic style all over it, with a few moralist tales for good measure. Just fits my mood today, so I guess it deserves some space here.

As for Gray himself, I am shocked that I didn't read up more on him when I was in high school and memorizing (not studying, of course, mind you) this piece. The parts of "Let Not Ambition..." and "Full many a gem..." are so spot-on; one more chafing and tragic reality in the world is that so many children die as thralls of evil politics and exclusion.

That the world is still on its course in this fashion makes me a privileged individual.

Your pardon, Heavenly Father, if I am blind to the blessings You have made possible for me to have.


The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea,
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds:

Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such as, wandering near her secret bower,
Molest her ancient solitary reign.

Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude Forefathers of the hamlet sleep.

The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
The swallow twittering from the straw-built shed,
The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.

For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care:
No children run to lisp their sire's return,
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share,

Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke;
How jocund did they drive their team afield!
How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!

Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
The short and simple annals of the Poor.

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Awaits alike th' inevitable hour:-
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

Nor you, ye Proud, impute to these the fault
If Memory o'er their tomb no trophies raise,
Where through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.

Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flattery soothe the dull cold ear of Death?

Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway'd,
Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre:

But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll;
Chill Penury repress'd their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.

Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood,
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell, guiltless of his country's blood.

Th' applause of list'ning senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read their history in a nation's eyes,

Their lot forbad: nor circumscribed alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined;
Forbad to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind,

The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,
Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
With incense kindled at the Muse's flame.

Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray;
Along the cool sequester'd vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenour of their way.

Yet e'en these bones from insult to protect
Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck'd,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.

Their name, their years, spelt by th' unletter'd Muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply:
And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die.

For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e'er resign'd,
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing lingering look behind?

On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires;
E'en from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,
E'en in our ashes live their wonted fires.

For thee, who, mindful of th' unhonour'd dead,
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;
If chance, by lonely contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate,

--Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn
Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn;

'There at the foot of yonder nodding beech
That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high.
His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that babbles by.

'Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Muttering his wayward fancies he would rove;
Now drooping, woeful wan, like one forlorn,
Or crazed with care, or cross'd in hopeless love.

'One morn I miss'd him on the custom'd hill,
Along the heath, and near his favourite tree;
Another came; nor yet beside the rill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he;

'The next with dirges due in sad array
Slow through the church-way path we saw him borne,-
Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay
Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.'

The Epitaph
Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth

A youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown.
Fair Science frowned not on his humble birth,
And Melacholy marked him for her own.

Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
Heaven did a recompense as largely send:
He gave to Misery all he had, a tear,
He gained from Heaven ('twas all he wish'd) a friend.

No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode
(There they alike in trembling hope repose),
The bosom of his Father and his God.

By Thomas Gray (1716-71).

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


Kung ang buwan ay maliwanag
At iilawan ang ating mundo
Bulag pa rin ang aking pag-iisip
Puno ng lungkot na sa liwanag ay

Kung ang tinig mo ay maliwanag
At babasagin ang katahimikan
Bingi pa rin ang aking kaluluwa
Nagumon ng pagkabalisa't

Liwanag ang layon ng Maykapal
Sa pagbuo ng ating mundo
Liwanag ang lagi mong hinahanap
Sa oras ng paggising mo
Hinulma tayo ayon sa liwanag
At magbigay-ligaya sa lahat ng nilalang.
Saksi tayo ng nag-iisang liwanag
Na nag-alay sa atin ng katotohanan.

Kung ang diwa ko ay may liwanag
At maunawaan ang aking sinasalamin
Ang kinabukasan ko'y walang katiyakan
Balot sa pangagamba, bihag ng