Thursday, October 9, 2014


Starbucks carved signage, happy Jollibee, and Coke alarm clock:
Such stuff dreams and addiction are made of.

I'm free of the evil root of loving money. But not of the sin of loving the beautiful things money can buy. The buying is limited by the amount of money, so when I'm broke I sell other items in my Stamp Room to sustain this strange fascination for stuffs that stir the heart, even if the mind struggles and tries to remind me to stay within budget. In the end vain material wins over the weak spirit. I just put some band-aids on my wounded pockets.

A few days ago I sold a framed sheet of 100 of the 1898 Spanish-Philippines King Alfonso XIII 3c issue to a picker. Part of what I earned was quickly dissolved the next day when I paid for four Beatles books and magazines; the remaining amount was used to pay for the frames of four posters I had bought earlier at the Collecticon event at SM Megamall.

Antique stamps for Beatles books, mags
Speaking of spirit weak or otherwise, I saw that five-liter Heneiken beer can as a work of art that must occupy its proper place in my work room -- work sometimes consisting of searching OLX! and eBay for some elusive Batman memorabilia, posters, comics, Funko Pops, Hot Wheels Batmobile; Coke signages and alarm clocks and books about Coke collectibles; a few vintage 7up bottles,
Vintage & scarce 7up bottles
Beatles books and magazines, even Marvel plush seats from Toy Kingdom. I figured the Heineken must not feel lonely and -- voila! -- a green Heineken bottle joined in. Coming home, the Heineken pair joined the San Miguel keg and its little green brother.

There are things that cannot be priced at market value because they were not intended for made for purposes other than selling, like the Starbucks signage made of heavy inch-thick wood on which the famous coffeehouse's logo was carved. The story is that there were inaccuracies found in the design and the manager of the Boracay branch rejected it. Eventually it wended its way to Manila, where I found it at a friendly picker's home. The logo's black siren mesmerized me and told me I should negotiate for it because she's coming home to stay. A cheerful Jollibee doll and a tiny Coke alarm clock went along to take the edge off a strange day. 

Heineken can with little green brother with San Miguel keg and bottle
And sometimes what is deemed precious to collectors is just given as gift to others, triggering social contortions among us to get our hands on the gift, which cannot be found on the market. A few months ago, three editors of a broadsheet, my wife among them, each received a boxed set of Coke plastic bottle and can. I was happy to get my wife's share. She told me that her two colleagues removed the bottles and cans from the boxes, leaving them at their desk. I asked my wife if her colleagues were willing to part with the boxes. The next day I got them. To this day, however, I have not been able to get a bottle with my name printed on the label. I used to fret because I cannot travel to promo sites where Coke bottles and cans were printed with collectors' personal names or tags. Eventually I just relaxed and let matters go their own way. In short, "Don't force things. Have patience and what is due will come; what is not will not." Something like that.

Happy wife with personalized Coke.
Then there are three boxes (and four Beatles).

When dwelling in the material world, passion or greed can drive people to meanness and dishonesty, setting aside the fact that there are intangibles much more valuable than a vintage Rolex, that $3,207,852 Action Comic book, a warehouse full of vintage cars, and the fount of  rare posters and bottles.  I had the good luck of meeting online some good collectors who were generous with their kindness and information; they offset the few who were nasty and crafty. Everyday, when I see hundreds of gorgeous collectibles, I have to remind myself of Suze Orman's motto: "People first, then money, then things. Now you stay safe." I have learned this serves, or cuts, both ways.

Thank you for your artwork, Tepai Pascual. You make life an art, as you should.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Asin at Sampaguita by Odette Galino

Asin at Sampaguita
By Odette Galino

Naikuwento sa akin ng anak kung si Aldrin Galino na may dalawang bata, naglalako daw ng Asin at Sampaguita sa school nila, at dahil sa natutuwa siya sa mga bata palagi siyang bumibili ng paninda nila.

Naalala ko tuloy noong araw ng kasal ko.
Unang regalo natanggap namin ay isang Karitong Asin galing kay Mang Joe na kapitbahay namin.
Ilalako sana ni Mang Joe ang paninda niya pero ng napadaan siya sa bahay namin nakita niyang lahat ay abala sa pag-hahanda.
Natigil sandali ang pag- make-up sa akin ng ipatawag ako ni Kuya Carlito dahil sa ako raw dapat mismo ang tumanggap ng regalo.
Nakaka-touch: grabe kasi; imbes na kumita sa Mang Joe sa araw na iyon ay mas pinili niyang iregalo ang paninda niya. 

Sampaguita - meron kaming suki noon na batang babae na naglalako ng Sampaguita sa kanto ng EDSA and Quezon Avenue.
Tuwing madaling araw inaabangan niya ang pag-daan namin.
At dahil siguro sa antok at pagod niya, palagi siyang naka-simangot kaya binsagan namin siyang Simang.
Sa tuwing tinatawag namin siyang Simang napapangiti siya at nababawasan ang pagod niya madalas kasi pinapakyaw namin ang paninda niya. Kaya nakakauwi siya ng maaga.
Lumipas man ng maraming taon, hindi ko makalimutan ang tulad nila Mang Joe at Simang.
Kamusta na kaya sila?

Friday, August 8, 2014

Childhood's church

Apo Church: Angeles City, Pampanga
I used to fly kites at noon on the basketball court in front of this church when I was a boy. I remember the sun directly above me, making my shadow a round, dark puddle at my feet. The silence seemed to ring from the dark interior of the church and from the cool shades where the dusty leaves bowed. The tree has aged exactly as I did since then. Last time I passed through the place, the bleachers on both sides of the court (now just a parking place, I think) were gone. The silence and the kites too. The tree will live on even after my memory of this place melts in the sun.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Batman's Odyssey

Today, 2014 July 26, Comic Odyssey and Fully Booked branches in Metro Manila and many other comics outlets in the US and other countries celebrated Batman's 75th year of fighting crime and selling loads of comics and fostering nostalgia to members of my generation.

My plan was to go the nearest Fully Booked outlet (SM North's The Block), but somehow the taxi driver and I decided to go to The Fort in Taguig, where the main celebration is being done at the Fully Booked building on 11th Street. When I entered the store, friendly salespeople gave me and Sogo free Batman comics and cardboard Batarangs, and we have not bought anything yet! For every P500 worth of goods, I got a green raffle stub that gave me  the chance to win an awesome Batman drawing by a talented local artist. I got three stubs, but I had to leave early so at least I have a photo of the three stubs. I hope they will still be valid at the Batman centenary celebration in July 2039.

That Batman comics with the black cover I will frame; also the Aria Preview issue with the beautiful artwork. The duplicate copy belongs to the set #1-#4. Suddenly I find myself with a complete set, with each copy discounted at P100 each from P150. The Batman is cheap at P400; the Peanuts issue with Snoopy (and Woodstock) cover is a P200 sentimental trip to my college days, when I made improvised poster of the Beagle and his bird companion.

At one side of the store, on the 4th Floor, are long tables where several local artists sat, drawing various sketches for clients. I browsed through one big folder and bought three black-and-white Batman ink sketches, which the artist graciously signed. Used to be that I just bought comics, placed them in Mylars and placed each set in a binder. Today I realized that these artists who sat quietly in their corner, quietly producing one artwork after another, have at one time been involved in the penciling or inking of Marvel, DC, and Indie comics. 

Oh yes, I also bought a big Iron Man artwork. All will be framed, as soon as I procure some more walls to hang them. Facebook friends, acquaintances, ex-unfriends and unblocked creatures should really speed up their donation for the P7 million house of many walls I have to buy. At last count I need only about P6,999, 918 to reach my target. Come on, guys!

What I'm holding is a very big copy of Captain America, for heavy reading. Not really: it's a poster featuring the cover of a Silver Age issue. I saw it displayed on the Comic Odyssey poster bin; I looked for a copy on sale, but the salesgirl who helped me search said the stock is depleted. I asked if I can have the one on display; she said she will ask her boss, Sandy of Comic Odyssey. Sandy himself came over and suggested I wait till a new batch comes in, in about a week or two. I said I will not be able to sleep if I cannot bring that poster home. Now, if you are in the collecting business, people or requests that seem warped, unusual, offline, are not so; I guess it just fits in the course of a business that deals with irregular minds. Sandy said something like, "I guess you will not be able to wait." Later, when Sandy brought the poster to me, I realized that he took the trouble and time, on a very busy day, to remove it from its cardboard backing so I can be at peace. Last time someone gave me a treat  like that was in college. Wow. 

There you are, Batman's 75-year odyssey have launched thousands of personal odysseys among comic geeks like me. Thank you Ning, Sandy and Rowena of Comic Odyssey.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Joey's painting

That's a framed print of Joey Velasco's Hapag ng Pag-asa, the late painter's version of The Last Supper. Many months ago, I was fascinated by the stories behind each street-urchin who Joey adopted and made to pose for his painting. I remember one of the girls was raped by her father, another lived in the cemetery, a boy was called Onse because of the two lines of snot that kept flowing from his nose, another holds the agony of knowing his father was selling his mother's flesh to make ends meet, or to sustain a gambling habit. The book, however, did not give the names of the children, but the You Tube video did. 

Big prints of this painting no longer adorn the back of buses, no more giant billboards either in front of malls. Its ascension to popularity has waned. So my heart jumped when, after buying some books and comics from Book Sale, I saw this framed edition of Joey's painting (P495) at the St. Paul branch nearby. It is home now, with foundling Jun-Jun, now also in our home, looking at the new addition to my Stamp Room. Problem is I'm looking for wall space to hang this splendid painting, which reminds me that my problems are piddling compared to what the children in Joey's painting had gone through.

Di ba tapos ito,. See blog sa ibaba nito...

Friday, June 27, 2014

A bright idea

Shown here are four framed comics, two Marvel superhero plush seats, and a small, white foundling -- all recent additions to the Project 8 house at the end of the street.

Now we have a small problem which, luckily, you, dear friends, can easily join in solving: I have run out of walls to hang my frames (and more are scheduled to be added soon), so the happy solution is to buy a big, new house with many rooms to hang frames, to scatter cushions and seats around, and to board cute kittens and bigger cats (about 20+), and dogs (4), and four humans (us).

I have turned to the real estate ads: there are big houses available but they are not fit for the artistic integrity of the comics and insufficient to carry the cuteness of pets. However, I finally found one, which the splendid gate alone will get inked thumbs of approval from Curt Swan, Jim Lee, or Marc Silvestri. The only hitch is the house is at the high end; ah, sort of expensive, say P7,025,004.25. I have the P25,004.25; all I need now is the P7,000,000, which can easily be procured by the generosity of Facebook friends. Acquaintances are also very welcome to participate in my inspired idea; those I have unfriended or blocked I can befriend or unblock so they can send their share -- a half million here, a quarter of a million there, even small amounts can add up, so don't be ashamed of your offer.

There are some who ask about repayment . Now, that's a thought; interesting too. Sogo, my assistant, says "Yes of course." I fully agree: we pay back the donations from our Lotto jackpot winning, from which we can buy a second and colossal house for the thousands of comics, posters, superhero toys and cushions to be added.

A brief explanation: Entering politics came into mind, but after Drilon assured the public that there will be no PDAF next year for senators and representathieves, the idea quickly bounced out of consideration. Besides, winning the Lotto is not so difficult. I even came out with an effective way to win: (1) First, I must bet. Sogo has pointed out that the main reason I don't win is I refuse to part with my P20. From now on I will spend P20 daily toward repaying the P7,000,000 donations from my FB friends, acquaintances, ex-unfriend, and unblocked creatures of the swamp. (2) Don't change the combination of your numbers; faithfully bet on the same six numbers until I win. Statistically I have a many-many-million-to-one chance of getting the jackpot, but hey!, we can wait, can't we?

So there we are, a happy solution for all! Cash is best, but I'll accept check, credit card allotment, Lhuiller remittances, blue-chip stocks, pledges, even inheritance. Please, no cp loads. I can't consume or convert millions of pesos of loads into cash.

With a sunny disposition and an optimistic mindset, I eagerly await the money that will pour in. The excess I will donate to PAWS, other animal centers, and charity. The first sender of P1 million donation will receive a big "Thank you!" from me. Hurry! I might change my mind.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


1861 June 19 - 26 December 1896

What would you think if, facing the sea on a clear bright morning, tied at the elbows from the back, a group of Filipino soldiers, members of the Spanish army, were aiming to shoot your back in a few seconds? Were you born 35 years ago eventually to stand here, deemed a traitor to the land you sacrificed your life for, not even allowed the dignity to face your executioners?

Everyday there had been executions, and the grass where you stand was still wet with the blood of those who preceded you. And yours, wet with dew, will be seen by those who will follow. It's a heavy burden to the mind: that there are people who condemned you as not fit for continued existence: the malignant friars who desecrated God's name for power, the false friends and rebels who betrayed you.

Your poem that you entrusted to Narcisa survived. In one of the stanzas you even consoled us. "I go where there are no slaves, executioners and oppressors, /Where faith does not slay, wherein who reigns is God."

However, the note you hid in your shoe, the message you expected to be found when the Spaniards would bring your corpse to your family, it was not read nor seen; because after the execution the Spaniards and friars, with malignant cruelty, buried you in shallow grave without a coffin, without a decent rite for the dead. It took two years later, in August 1898, to get your remains. The mind that cared so much and that created your lasting legacy, had melded with the earth; the shoes and the notes had crumbled. Your last message remains forever a mystery in our country's history.

But, as long as there are those who educate themselves, who are enraged by injustice and cruelty, you will remain a beacon for us who revolt against systems that oppress.

Rizal's burial place at the Paco Cemetery a few years after his execution.Note the transposed initials of his name beneath the cross.

Monday, June 16, 2014


Privileged spits, June 11

Ayan, nagpatutsada na rin si Sen. Jinggoy. Obviously na-impress ang hunghang sa pakulo ni Revilla nung Lunes. Ewan ko lang, ilusyon ba ni Jinggoy na pag tumayo siya sa podium na pinanggalingan ni Revilla, siya ay makikita nating matangkad at makisig sa halip na punggok at mukhang Lego? Hebigat ang Ingles niya ha, akala mo may pinag-aralan siya at may modo; pero problema na yan nila ng ghostwriter niya.

Sa positive side naman, at least yung asawa ni Jinggoy ay hindi nag-Lani sa gallery na may punas-luhang effect. Isa pang positive eh... ah... Hindi siya mahiyain nung idakdak niya ang kanyang privileged spits.

Balik tayo sa katotohanan. Nagpaumanhin siya sa papa Erap at mama Loi niya dahil sa idinulot niyang stress at sakit ng ulo sa pamilya. Nangarap tuloy akong sumagot si Erap [slurred boses, parang lasheng]: "Alam mo, anak, deja vu ito, yung dawit ka na naman sa pangungupit, yung inihahanda na yung selda at warrant of arrest para sa iyo. Pero after six years ko sa kulungan, anak, huwag mo nang kaladkarin ang aking pangalan. Hanep, kinilabutan na nga ako nang i-thank you ako ni Bong, para akong tinamaan ng flashlight habang bumubungkal ako sa City Hall. Wish ko lang malimutan ni Manong Johnny ang pangalan ko kung gagaya siya sa inyo."

"Ako rin, anak," sabi ni ex-senador Loi, "dedma na lang muna. Di ba sabit din ako sa listahan ng mga whistleblowers? May ipagtatapat ako sa iyo, iho. Nung baby ka pa, nahulog ka sa kuna at bumagsak ka sa sahig, una ang ulo, kaya ang paglaki mo naging crosswise na lang, saka maraming brain molecules ang tumilapon; kakarampot na lang ang nabawi namin. Ganu'n pa man, kahit low IQs ka at arogante ay mother's love pa rin kita. Basta huwag mo na akong banggitin ha?" [End of imaginary dialogues bago tayo ma-cyber libel]

To be fair naman, aaminin kong lisya ang judgement ko nang tawagin kong unggoy si Jinggoy. Mali ang pagtimbang ko sa sitwasyon at maaaring injustice ang naging resulta. Kaya humihingi ako nang paumanhin: sana'y patawarin ako ng mga unggoy, na ni minsa'y di pumatol sa kaban ng bayan, di kapal-mukhang nagsinungaling sa milyon-milyong uto-utong botante, at lalong hindi kampon ng magulo at malikot na angkan. Mukhang unggoy lang ang profile pic ni Jinggoy, pero hindi niya taglay ang katinuan nila. Palagay ko mas safe ang taumbayan kung si Jinggoy ang nasa kulungan at ang unggoy ang nasa labas.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Putsang sinungaling

Bilang na ang araw niyo, peksman.

Puwede ba yun? Magsinungaling nang katakut-takot sa Senate floor, tapos hihirit nang napaka-korning kanta? At nandu'n pa yung kahanga-hangang family members; at least di dala ng kapatid ni Bong ang kanyang mjolnir na pang masahe niya sa likod ng mga kasambahay. Nakita ko rin si Congressman Lani: at last nakita kong live yung luhang buwaya. Lacoste tears, sa Ingles.

Si Enrile daw ang ultimate statesman. Puwedeng competent legislator at lawyer, pero hindi dakila ang Martial Law administrator ni Marcos -- libo-libong buhay ang nalagas noon. Yung mga smuggled na mga sasakyan sa Cagayan, di niya alam iyon? Yung illegal logging, di ba para sa mga posporo factory niya sa Pilipinas? Siya ang may-ari ng lahat ng palito sa bayan. Sinungaling ba siya? Nung nilulusob na siya (at Fidel Ramos) ng mga sundalo ni Marcos noong 1986, ipinagtapat niya sa Bombo Radyo na peke ang ambush na isina-zarzuela nila ni Marcos para mai-declare ang Martial Law. Tapos lumabas yung librong "Enrile," kung saan inihirit yung unang version: tinangka daw siyang patayin ng NPA. Yung libro, sa kanya yung intro o preface, pero ang buong laman ay baboy na Ingles ni Nelson Navarro. Ipinagmalaki pa! Kung dalawa ang version mo sa iisang incident, sinungaling ka. Magnanakaw ba siya? Nangurakot ba siya? Madadala ba niya ang loot sa pupuntahan niyang lugar na mainit?

Kasama sa mahabang Thank You list ni Revilla si Erap. Sanay makipaglaro sa mga journalists si Revilla, at tama siyang nalimutan na nang Alzheimeric na masa na noong 2001, nung pini-People Power 2 si Erap, aba, tinalikuran ni Senator Bong yung matalik niyang kaibigang si Unggoy, este Jinggoy, at pumunta sa Plaza Miranda at binanatan si Erap at sumang-ayon na dapat nang patalsikin ang sugarol at babaerong (look who's talking) presidente. Dahil dito ilang taon siyang di kinausap ni Jinggoy. Si Daboy (Rudy Fernandez) ata ang umayos sa dalawa eventually; pero kwidaw, showbiz bati lang yan: nasa political memory ng father and son ang pagka-oportunista nitong ex-Captain Barbell. Revilla, matagal nang pinanday yung bakal ng rehas na kasasadlakan mo.

Naki-relate by TY si Bong sa lahat ng kasama niya sa Senate, para may uto-impression na nasisira ang karangalan ng Senate dahil magnanakaw daw yung tatlo (so far). Kasama sa thank you si Gloria, na lagi daw niyang ipinagdarasal. (I assume pray siya sa God, number 1 sa Thank you list niya. Bong, kahit dumikit ka pa sa The One, halatang walang limit ang pagka-user mo.) Tapos TY sa Grace Poe, para maisingit niyang pinapayuhan siya ni FPJ noon. Nalimutan na ba nating ninakaw ni Gloria kay Da King ang presidency through Garci noong 2004? Inaasahan ni Bong na by 2016, may amnesia na naman tayo at hahabol siyang presidente sa partido ni GMA. Sa ngayon Thank You din kay Binay (at kay Nancy), achiever daw, na buburikihin niya sa likod sa Election 2016.

Message niya kay PeNoy? Huwag gawing tanging legacy ng administration niya ang pagkulong sa tatlong plundering senators. Huh? Ok lang kung iyon lang ang nagawa ng palpak na Aquinong ito; pero mas mainam kung may halong konting tiga-LP sa likod ng rehas, para masaya ang kosa. Kung sakali, Congrats, Jinggoy, second time around is sweeter (para sa taxpayers).

Message pa ni Bong, huwag daw watakin ni PeNoy ang bansa kundi pag-isahin. Sana nga, 'no? I-unite sa bilibid que opposition man o KKK man. Cosa Nostrang tunay. Sa likod ng lahat ng palabok ni Kap, ibig niyang sabihin kay Aquino at Leila Dilemma, "Oy, huwag ganyan ha. Serious na ito, may kulong-kulong na ito, hindi na biro yan. Oist! Ayusin na natin ito; let's make a deal."

Diyan nagising si Napoles, na malapit nang posasan uli ng pulis. "Aba, hindi lulusot si almighty Enrile!" kalabit ng brand new never-used niyang konsiyensiya. " Nakow, state witnness na po ako. Di na po ako astig (kahit pangit pa rin)."

Conclusion: Hayupaks kayong naglagay sa Senate sa mga magnanakaw at sinungaling at sintunadong crocodiles. Pami-pamilya pa at pakyawan kung magboto kayo sa mga Marcos, Binay, Abad, Agood (*jokes!*), Pacquiao, Reviilla, Estrada/Ejercito/Mayor Guia. Sa talaga lang, huwag makinig sa malanding Ping Lacson, na takot masira ang institution ng Congress. Tibagin na ang putang'nang pugad ng Representathieves. At huwag kalimutang ang kalaban ng mga kontrabida ay HINDI automatic na good guys. Sa away ng mga magnanakaw, lamang ngayon ang mga crony ni Aquino, pero darating ang araw na mabibisto rin ang mortal sins ng mga kabarkada, kabarilan at kaibigan

May araw din kayo, at ginagawa na ang kalendaryo.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Frame by frame stories

The Time issue with Einstein on the cover is the first issue of our baby millennium, year 2000. (The right year to start the new millennium is 2001, but I'm not quibbling; I like the round figure better). I bough the magazine when it appeared very late in December 1999. When I saw the iconic Einstein photo by Philippe Halsman. In an episode of Pawn Star, a man offered a version of that photo, signed by Halsman, and framed beautifully. The man wanted $10,000 and Rick Harrison wanted to pay $5,000 tops. No deal. I thought, "If I had $10,000 I would have bought it. Then that frame would look good in one of the big rooms in my mansion -- if I had millions of dollars to buy a mansion." In 1966 March 14 the United Postal Service issued a postage stamp honoring Einsein. It's a purple Halsman.

 Einstein was named Person of the Century, edging out, by the grace of god, animals like Hitler and Lenin as one whose influence altered the world and changed for ever our view of the Universe: Time, he said,  is the fourth dimension without which objects and the space they occupy cannot be defined. Besides, his  long unruly hair


Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Fully Booked Afternoon

TIME's new Beatles book

About noon, Manilyn and  I were sorting out boxes of used stamps in the Stamp Room when I received a text message. It's from "em of Fullybooked sm n0rth," informing me that "The book TIME:BEATLES INVASION has arrived and reserved under your name..." Dropping everything aside, I said, "Let's go. Bihis na tayo; kunin natin."

Zoom (after a lightning lunch) to SM North's The Block, third floor. From the elevator I had to limp, assisted by Manilyn, a short distance to the Fully Booked branch. The fun thing is, before we reach Fully Booked,  we have to turn a corner to Toy Kingdom's storefront, where earlier last week I tried to persuade Manilyn to snitch this Captain America cardboard figure into her bag. "Magaan naman," I told her, "Maganda sa Stamp Room ito." Apparently, the urban way of plunder has not eroded her provincial probity yet. So I settled for posing beside The Cap. 

The Captain and me on Manilyn's Nokia

Nearby is the more hefty Battle Blade figure. Since stealing this is not within my assistant's consideration (and training) yet, I settled for another pose. 

I'll dream of this tonight.

Leaving the action figures with a Napoles glance, I went to the Fully Book counter and paid for the book. I had the impression that books in that store are somewhat expensive. Still I shake off the temptation to get the 10-volume boxed set of Neil Gaiman's Sandman TPB comics. The P7,999 price tag is a mighty assist to Leena's admonition whenever I'm off on a trek to Book Sale and NBS: "Don't buy anything over P1,000." 

Leena developed this bargain basement attitude after we went to a National Bookstore bodega sale early this year. Chess books that had been tagged at P900 were marked down to P75. Bestsellers (James Patterson, Jody Picault, David Baldacci, Janet Ivanovitch and other pulp pushers) that were selling P350 in other branches were being sold at P30 each.  And then there's her eBook contact, who for P10 per title will email the latest novels and some magazines to your dropbox to download to your eGadget. If you know how to go around Pirate Bay and other Streaming sites, you don't even have to pay P10 for any book, magazine, game or movie.

We browsed in the store for a while, visiting the Sandman boxed set (bow!). Then we moved on t the local titles (Kiko Machine 10 is not available yet), then to a rack of postcards. I picked a picture of a Jeepney, P25. 

I bought it for two reasons: (1) I like the design. (2) I may make a little profit out of it like a picker. I remember I have many 1980 Jeepney  sets in my stock, all as new as the postcard.

Philippine Jeepneys, 1980

I use Mike Wolfe's technique of bundling up two items up to get a better deal, and I hope I get a good result for this.  If my idea works, I'll buy a bundle of this postcard and pair it with my stamps. I'm dreaming of earning my way up to the Sandman box.

After I paid the cashier at the counter, she looked at the postcard and then looked at me. She asked,  "Ibabalot pa natin ito, sir?"  I said, "No. No need, I'll just tuck it in the book." The Beatles book automatically deserved a paper bag, after all, it's P718. But a poor Jeepney postcard, P25, it must hitch a ride. That young woman's courtesy have been fully booked that she forgot that it's how you treat the small guys that gives you cache where it really matters: In your self-worth. I no longer know how it feels like to be a P25 person; I know I have leveled up, to P7,999 maybe?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Blue's birthday

Dec. 24: Happy birthday, Blue, father to multitude of beautiful sons and daughters, grandfather and great-grandfather to the Ragdoll population in this part of the city. Live long and do more multiplication. Your math is awesome.

Happy birthday, baby Blue!

Hunter's New Year message

I woke up late to join the photo session earlier, this last day of 2013, so I have been chosen to represent the human family here, the dogs and several families of cats, including the foundlings, the strays who stayed on; and the cichlids who have grown colorful in the big aquarium, and Mang Ambo's lonesome dove. Pogi says I am more qualified than he to greet you all a blessed and peaceful happy new year, what with his hotheaded propensity to insert some snide political remarks, his impractical suggestion to send many plundering government officials to shake hands with Jesus much sooner than they expect, or his inclination to post his picture here in spite of the fact that I look better, I'm younger, smarter, and I have hair. Hugs and nosekisses to all.

A Christmas greeting  

Mickey and Tabby, in behalf of Pogi, Leena, Neneng, Manilyn, and the other cats inside and outside the house, the chowchows in the garden with askal Chico, the fishes in the aquarium and in the fishbowl, Mang Ambo's dove in the cage, and Pope Francis whom we all love, greet you all a peaceful Christmas, with a little somber prayer for brethren in Tacloban and others sitting in darkness. We share what happiness we have, and send what little strength we can to lift you from your solitude.


Nadi-discombobulate ako pag medyo pilay ang Ingles ng mga newscasters (pwera sina idol Karen Davila at Karmina Constantino, parehong cute & grammatical). 

UNTIL: "I was calm until I saw Napoles, then I turned green with rage." Nag-iba yung situation pagkatapos ng "until."

UP TO: "I have turned green, and up to now I still like being green because my ding-a-ling remains hulky." Hulk sa simula at hulk hanggang ngayon; alang shift sa situation. 

INUTIL: "Di ko kailangan ang tip mo, berdeng pogi, dahil magaling na ako sa grammar mula pagkabata until now."

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Learning to write

A perplexed friend asked me, "I want to write, but I can't do it.  Is there something I must know first to be able to write?"

"0f course!" I said, surprised that he did not know the obvious answer. "The first ingredients in writing are the alphabets; you know, the 26 letters: abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz." Then my memory, always eager for time travel, returned to the day when I was taught the peculiarity of the alphabets. (Later, my teacher, after she was released from the asylum, said she learned a lot, too.)

"Now, William," she said, holding a flash card with a big, black letter on it. "This is the small letter l; and this (another flash card shuffled up) is the capital L. Now what is this letter?" She plucked a card from the pack, flashing a b.

"An l with a big tummy?" I said, surprised at the way her faced turned from pink to light indigo.

"That," she hissed, "is a b! Now you know what a b is."

"Yes, ma'am, a lot of them pollinate flowers."

"Never mind. And what do you make of this?" It must be a peculiar day, because she picked the same letter, but facing the other way -- d.

"A leftward b?"

"No. Try again." The way she steamrollered the last word so heavily and so blunt, I imagined the word breaking into little pieces and falling to the floor.

Looking at the floor, I tried to appease her with the best answer that came to mind. "A small l with a big butt, like Nikki Minaj's?" Teacher was shaking her head like she wanted to detach it from her neck, so I tried again: "Like Kim Kardashian's?"

"IT'S A D!" She said so loudly I saw capital letters. "And what do you make of thissss?"

Strange day, indeed. She was showing me a p. So I pointed out the obvious: "You're holding a d upside-down, ma'am." She put the card in front of her face, frowned, slowly turned it 180 degrees, looked at the card again, then tossed it behind her shoulder.

Picking another card from the deck, holding it as if it was a rotten fish, she said, "And I suppose this is an upside-down b," tossing the q behind her to join the one on the floor, along with the shattered letters of the word she steamrollered earlier.

"And this, I'm sure, is not upside down, is it?" 

I gulped with embarrassment: she was showing me a pictogram of u. "What do you call that, ma'am?" I hedged.

"It's another letter. What do you think this is?"

Turning away from her, I mumbled, "a breast?"

"And this?" she smiled sweetly (but laced with strychnine) and held up a v. "It's a pointed breast? And thissss," throwing a w in the air, "is Madonna's pair of boobs?"

"Wow! You have an awesome imagination, ma'am. I thought that v is a bird flying. A female bird."

"I'm afraid to ask, but how do you know it's female?"

"Because a boy bird looks like that (me, pointing at a Y), his ding-a-ling is dangling while flying. Ma'am, why are you throwing away that n?"

"That's just a breast upside-down. No use wasting time on double-n, er, I mean m, either. Let's move on to O." 

"The moon! That's the oldest alphabet. I read somewhere that the first thing the first caveman drew was the first object he saw on the night-sky."

Finally catching on, the teacher added, "And this -- Q -- is a cat gazing at the moon. See the tail?" Tossing away the whole deck, she made a straight line on a piece of paper and drew a single v on the line: ____v_____

"I know that," I said. "It's..."

"Yeah, you dope, it's the bird on the wire." [Singing];
♫ Still I run out of time or it's hard to get through,
Till the bird on the wire flies me back to you,
I'll just close my eyes, whisper: baby, blind love is true. 

I wanna lay me down... ♪

Anyway, Happy Letter Writing Day to all!   \(^o^)/