Sunday, November 30, 2008

Australia & Dreamtime

We saw the movie, Australia, a 2:55 hour epic-style movie that focuses on the period 1939 til the outbreak of World War II. The first part had some attempts at being comic, which was flat, but fortunately the movie picked up and was engaging all the way to the end.

The movie got me thinking about Aboriginal Dreamtime. We were in Australia earlier this year and I'd read Mutant Message Down Under by Marlo Morgan who went on a walkabout with the Aborigines, and she talked about Dreamtime. In Sydney we also saw an exhibit of Aborignal art with many references to Dreamtime.

Initially I thought Dreamtime had something to do with a separate reality, one that runs parallel to the actual reality; this is not correct. After a bit of research I think I finally got it. The Aborigines believe in spirits or Ancestor Beings. These being were supposed to have surfaced from beneath the earth and they took on the forms of humans, animals, rocks, plants, etc. The journey of these Ancestral Beings who created the natural world is called Dreaming or Dreamtime.

I am sure it is more complicated than that, but at least my mind has caught the gist of this fascinating term.

I still have to understand what the walkabout is. It seems to be a rite of passage, a spiritual journey, but I haven't found details about this. The walkabout book I read by Morgan was fantastic, talking about caves with thousand-year old pictographs depicting the history of the world. I recall that an Aborigine we met in Sydney said Morgan's book is offensive. Likewise the book is not treated seriously by scholars. I wish I could find a good book on the walkabout.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Menu, Thanksgiving Dinner

We had our pre-Thanksgiving dinner last night. It is not low-cal. Menu follows:


Relish Dish – Green Onions, Stuffed Olives, Hot Chili Pepper, Celery Sticks

Main Dish – Turkey with mashed potatoes AND gravy
Green bean Casserole
Corn bread with honey butter

Dessert – Pecan pie with or without whipped cream
Homemade fruit cake

Drinks - Champagne, Sparkling Cider, Beer, Coke, tea
After Dinner drinks – Chambord, Limoncello

Friday, November 14, 2008


Thought #1:
I watched Greta Van Susteren's interview of Sarah Palin last Monday. It was part 1 of 2; I didn't watch the second part. I was surprised at how Van Susteren handled this interview. She was obsequious and simply allowed Palin to prattle on as she wished to whitewash matters such as the $150,000+ clothes and jewelry she and her family had spent during the campaign.

I recall when Greta Van Susteren was a reporter for CNN, along with Wolf Blitzer and Christiane Amanpour. I thought these reporters (and the other CNN reporters) were great; they seemed fearless in wading through dangerous situations to give the audience a good idea of what was going on in the hot spots of the world. This Monday interview was nothing like those CNN shows; this was such a silly interview,if it could be called an interview at all. Greta Van Susteren would say something like, "I checked with one of the McCain campaign people and this person assured me that you never said Africa is a country - what do you have to say about this?" At which Palin did her Palin-monologue to promote herself. (She whitewashed all the negative-stuff that happened during the McCain campaign, and there was this unrealistic bit where Palin prepared Moose-dogs.) This was solely Palin infomercial (as my husband put it). The only thing lacking was for Greta Van Susteren to wipe Palin's shoes. It was the dumbest interview I've ever seen. It seems it wasn't just McCain who sold his soul, but Greta Van Susteren as well. She had created an intelligent image of herself in CNN, now in Fox, she's proven herself lightweight.

Thought #2:
When Obama won, I realized I'd gotten old. He's younger than me, and a younger generation had voted him in. This younger generation is now running the show. The Clinton and Bush years had gone by quickly and suddenly I opened my eyes and I'd gotten old.

Thought #3:
Isn't my cat the cutest? She's lying right in front of my 2 monitors, partly on the keyboard - the purr-fect Muse! (The 2-monitor setup is the brain-child of my engineer son who thinks it can allow me to multi-task - pretty hard to do with a demanding cat batting my fingers every time I type something!)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


While I was in Ireland, I received this from my sister-in-law, Terry Escano Manguerra. She is talking about more development in Old Cebu - the Parian. Exciting news. The gentrification of this area has been faster than we anticipated.

"Last night was a wonderful experience with Val Sandiego's (dance) group called Taytayan. We started with a painting exhibit in the Cathedral Museum. The paintings were all churches painted by Tony Alcoseba and they were all in water color which is very hard to do. Then we went on to Val's house and had dinner and the show right on the street in front of the house. Its a good thing that the weather cooperated. Cardinal Vidal and Ace Durano, the tourism secretary were present the whole time. Although the program had a few kinks, as Val said they were not able to rehearse all together, still it was quite spectacular. I'm sure it will be better next time... I did not see L___ there although he said he would, but there were so many people so he must have been part of the crowd.

"I think we will be getting our wish of having a walking area in Parian, sooner than we think with the presence of government officials yesterday.

"Also I have some good news for you. Do you remember Odette Jereza the lady who brought us around the Rizal Museum? She has been tasked by the City to (do) research on the Cebu Beauty Queens and maybe to revive the tradition. I told her to go to your website to seem Mama's picture and she is very inspired. She loved her clothes and even her throne and I think will use your pictures as a way of inspiring our officials to revive the carnival and the Cebu Queens. She is hoping to do something on Jan. 17 and hopes we will be present for whatever plans they will be having. I said yes and that you will be around. Also there are now moves to do something about the Old Carreta cementery as suddenly some people are coming in to study the place. Jobers Bersales, who is the curator of the Old Provincial Jail Museum visited the place and he hopes that something can be done. I will be encouraging him to try his best to encourage Gwen and maybe our church officials to make some moves as soon as possible. That will be like making Parian and the port area the center of old Cebu."

Monday, November 10, 2008


I have a lot of catching up to do. I got caught up with US politics, then went to Ireland, then got caught up with US politics again. I'm teaching a creative writing class at UCLA Extensio, and have a couple of deadlines to finish before Christmas.
So...I may be quiet for a spell, but then again, maybe not. We don't know what'll happen...stay tuned dear Readers, stay tuned.


Thursday, November 6, 2008


I know I should get on with my life, but I can't help smiling at how the McCain aides are now smearing Sarah Palin. First, I am fully aware that some Republicans are meeting to discuss the future of the GOP; this is why the McCain aides, who are pissed at Palin, have flooded the news with negative press about Sarah. They say:

1. She lacks knowledgeability - Not only does she think Russia is directly behind her house, she thought Africa was a separate country, not a continent; she didn't know that Canada, the US, and Mexico were in the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA); and we know the old-stuff that had been revealed in the Couric and Gibson interviews;

2. She is a Wasilla hillbilly looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast - a reference to the over $150,000 that Palin spent on clothes, luggage, and jewelry, courtesy of the Republican Campaign (apparently spending around $30K for the First Dude). A Republican Party lawyer will reportedly be dispatched to Alaska to inventory and retrieve items still in her possession;

3. She is a diva and an electoral liability - she apparently had tantrums over negative press reports about her; she was upset over the disastrous Couric interview but she never prepared for it;

4. She went rogue - she criticized the McCain campaign publicly, and she didn't inform the McCain campaign when the person whom she thought was French President Sarkozy arranged to talk to her by phone. (It was a prank call.)

5. She wanted to give a concession speech before McCain, and two McCain aides had to tell her this was not appropriate.

I believe there are more complaints circulating, including a story that she sailed into a room with 2 male McCain aides wearing nothing but a towel.

I have to ask myself why I find all of this amusing. I suppose it's because I already had a sense of what kind of person she is, and I think I've already written something that likened her to Imelda Marcos.

I've had to ask myself why it is that some people engender good feelings, like Barack obama for instance; you connect with their humanity and find yourself rooting for them, wishing the best for them. And then there's someone like Palin who must reflect some dark, icky side of myself because I can't stand her and I cannot say that I wish her the best. I look at her and see a greedy, opportunistic person who uses her sexuality to get what she wants. And it annoys me that she does get what she wants. I realize that this is my problem. I do not know her personally, and obviously have been projecting some dark side on her.

Well, I should really wish that poor woman the best as she struggles on in the political world, handicapped if you will, with a lack of education and intelligence.
There's even a part of me that wishes the Republicans will make her their presidential candidate in 2012 because she's a woman that many people like to hate.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Even though the polls and pundits suggested Barack Obama would win, I never really believed mainly because I was afraid to believe. I kept wondering what tricks the Republicans would have.I still remembered Gore's loss in 2000. Put simply the presidency had been stolen from Gore; the Republicans had caused many votes to be disregarded. The Republicans had even used the Supreme Court to their favor (a Supreme Court stacked with Republican-appointees).

These past eight years I've been feeling the United States is actually run by some kind of politburo, a bunch of people controlling the country with a front man. With Bush in power for eight years, everything seemed to be unraveling - the wars, military torture in Guantanamo, the housing bubble, the economic meltdown. I watched the dollar sink in value against foreign monies; I watched foreigners treat America with less and less respect. Sometimes, when foreigners talked about America's policies in a negative way, all I could say was, "I didn't vote for Bush."

In 2004, I too got caught up with the 9/11 matter, and didn't fully mourn Kerry's loss of the presidency. I understood that Bush was a wartime president and wartime presidents usually stay in power. There was talk that there was cheating during that election as well; but I suspect there are always complaints of cheating in any election. The feeling then was FEAR of Bin Laden and the Al Queda, so much so that our brains were muddled and we failed to question why America attacked Iraq as a reaction to Bin Laden.

That's one thing I learned about Bush - he likes to pressure the American people to get what he wants. Take the 700 billion dollar bailout that he proposed in September. Many people say the bailout was necessary; but the way I look at it, the economy had/has to run its course. The quick fix, Bush promised didn't happen. And meantime the housing bubble had burst, and people were losing their jobs and their pensions.

With all of this as backdrop the presidential campaign took place - like an epic play with characters strutting across the stage - the drama was something else! It was painful to see Hillary Clinton lose; it was insulting to see Sarah Palin introduced into the stage as "Hillary's replacement." It was mind boggling to see John McCain (the angry old man) stop his campaign to run off to Washington to "solve" the financial meltdown, which he didn't solve. It was nerve wracking to watch the presidential and vice-presidential debates. It was amusing to watch the Palin interviews with Katie Couric and Charles Gibson, and to watch Tina Fey in Saturday Night Live as Palin - and in some cases Fey just repeated Palin's inane words verbatim. And it boggled my mind to think Americans really liked Palin. I doubted the wisdom of all Americans. I thought about the political candidates I had supported and who lost (my mind, I had decided, is differently wired from the average American.) I worried that my rooting for Obama would jinx him. I had made the transition from Hillary to Obama, thanks in large part to my reading Obama's fine book, Dreams From My Father, which gave me a glimmer of the intelligence and goodness of this man.

Every day I found myself googling "political news, political polls" and spending hours reading about every political twist and turn. I was even watching YouTube political clips; I must have watched the Palin-Couric interview 6 times! (I wasn't alone; some other friends were just as obsessed as I was.) I watched when the McCain campaign brought up Obama's supposed association with Ayres; I watched how, within the day, the Obama campaign posted YouTube clips of McCain's involvement in the Keating scandal. I watched when the McCain campaign brought up the video reportedly showing Obama in the dinner for Palestinian Rashid Khalidi; and I watched how the Obama campaign quickly released information that McCain had headed a group that donated some 800 million dollars to Khalidi's group. It was remarkable how prepared Obama's campaign was to handle every dirt that the McCain campaign brought up. McCain's campaign members were the same people in Bush's campaign - Karl Rove, Steve Schmidt, Mike McDonald, Mike DuHaime and many more which I've listed in a blog entry "Who Are the People Running the McCain Campaign?" To me, they are part of the politburo that has been running the US for 8 years.

It was all a roller coaster ride.

And to my shock and delight, yesterday the American people spoke. In an orderly way a revolution occurred. Guns were not fired in this revolution, but in a loud way, people made it known that they want Obama to be their 44th president. Voter turnout was exceptionally large with voters waiting for hours. My husband and I waited 40 minutes, and I made sure the markings on my ballot were really there; I even held up my ballot and scrutinized it to make sure there were no smears, no strange markings. I didn't want any "hanging chad" to invalidate my vote. And the people roared; Obama did not win by a slim margin but by a landslide -349 electoral votes for Obama vs. 174 for McCain, with a couple more States to go. No need to quarrel over the results; no need to turn the matter over to a biased Supreme Court.

On TV last night I saw someone hold up a placard that said, "Bush You're Fired." And I saw a young African American woman, a student I surmised, on her knees, doubled-over, weeping for a long time. Many people wept; and while I grew teary, I had already wept the night before when I finally digested the notion that this man with the strange name, this son of a Kenyan student, had a good shot at being president of the United States.

The American people have spoken. The eight dark years of war and torture and fattening-up of Bush's cronies will be over. A new beginning is here for all Americans, and dare I say, for the rest of the world.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I got the following from TimesOnline:

10 Worst Presidents:
James Buchanan, Franklin Pierce, Martin Van Buren, William Harrison, Richard Nixon, George W. Bush, Herbert Hoover, Warren Harding, James Garfield, Millard Fillmore

10 Best Presidents:
Abraham Lincoln,George Washington, Franklin d. Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt,Dwight Eisenhower, Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan,James Polk, Woodrow Wilson

Here are some thoughts running through my head today. This election is the most important I've ever participated in. The US is and has been in a terrible situation for years now. Even the perception of the rest of the world toward the US has been very negative. I don't know what the election outcome will be; polls indicate Obama will win and I pray that he does, but it has occurred to me that the people who had voted Bush into power, TWICE, owe the rest of us an apology. After all Bush and the damage he has caused the US and world happened because of their support for him.

Monday, November 3, 2008

YOUTUBE VIDEOS - Election theme and More

To tell the truth I'm so tense about tomorrow (Election Day), so instead of filling my brain with more political stuff, I found these interesting YouTube videos:

Obama Girl's I Got a Crush on Obama -

You Can Vote However You Like -

Yes We Can -

McCain's YouTube Problem Just Became a Nightmare -

Nora the Cat that plays the Piano -

Nora: The Sequel -

Otters Holding hands -

Sunday, November 2, 2008


This has been one of the most nerve-wracking and at the same time, interesting presidential campaign. My brain is overflowing with so much political news and polls and YouTube clips, I'm relieved there's an end to this. I hope that people everywhere will pray that the American people will vote wisely. It's an important election, and indeed time for great reflection. In this blog, I am not going to push for any candidate but just encourage all Americans to vote.