Monday, October 30, 2006

not-so-fresh press

gave up on seeing it in print two weeks after i submitted it, but PDI's youngblood finally printed my article last Saturday. To my legions of fans (yes, that's you, mom), you could (re)-read the piece here.

John says it's badly edited, and he has a point. Osteen's name comes out like a surprise left hook -- all you could mutter is, 'where did tha come from?'

(*photo from shutterstock)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

we all need a nathan

Kevin "the token white guy" recently made a post on the nathan of our lives. and he's right. we all need one in our lives.

come read Ü

sa buong magdamag

ailene's casual mention of a woman singing "yayakapin kita, mahal ko, sa buong magdamag..." propels me to a memory, a wish, a dream of cool nights, hot lights, and a woman singing her heart out, twisting one's soul to pudding. my knees buckle, my breath quickens, and once again, i am among the throng of bodies bumping, watching from afar.

do you remember?

the woman's captivating voice ensnares me, and whisks me away to a room dark, but not blinding; hot, but not suffocating. the rhythm thrums, my head sways, the cold drink makes me even more thirsty, and our eyes meet. careful. uninhibited. calculated. free. mysterious. familiar. she's mine, and she never is.

an unguarded moment and a heady opm that floods me are all it takes to make me remember things i thought i'm past doing: dancing with someone. a kiss worth worlds. getting lost in the crowd. pulsating loins. a heart about to burst.

i love being in love.

(*photos from shutterstock)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

easy days

Yesterday's holiday was a godsend -- woke up to an ethereal peaceful morning and proceeded to play games all day. was finally able to finish both the evil and good campaigns of EA Games' Battle for Middle Earth 1. Next stop: BFME II. (thanks to Glenntot for giving me the games).

Was also able to sneak in episodes of How I Met Your Mother and Grey's Anatomy. Robyn is so dreamy. hehehe. I'm going to watch LOST later, if i have the time. Thanks to ida for her downloads.

Merienda was fun. Donuts and hotdogs and puto bungbong and isaws. Leah was hungry so we pigged out.

This post is pointless... but so relaxing. kinda like my day yesterday.

let's have more of that, shall we? Ü

Monday, October 23, 2006

talking in shadows

and perhaps it was fitting that we talked in shadows.

because there are things that we do that we keep in the dark. we lie and keep it hidden... precisely because we know that it won't last long in the light.

but we have to. because aren't we more than conquerors of these things? isn't our birthright worth more than this warm porridge, inviting as it may seem while we're ravenous with hunger but utterly worthless compared to what we're exchanging it for?

we drag our skeletons out in the day, painful and shameful as they may be, because we know -- WE KNOW -- we've been purchased out of the dark. So we exorcise our demons, our bondages, our illicit thrills, because as princes clothed in robes as white as snow, wallowing in the muck is an abomination to the King who is in us.

so in your quest of deliverance from these things that haunt you, some things remain. Your King is still with you. Transgressions would need to be exposed and thrown into the abyss. I still stand with you.

it will hurt.
we will bleed.
and we will lose some of the things we cherish.

but we will be free.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

300 to a million

holy crap.

I'm too lazy to research now, but if memory serves right, the Battle of Thermopylae was where these 300 o
r so greeks fought a gazillion persians. Or maybe that's just a million -- but with odds like that, who's counting?

Frank Miller, known for his work in Sin City, tells us that these 300 greeks were spartans -- of course, other greeks were busy philosophizing if a tree that fell in the forest is good for anything than insect condo. Miller's graphic novel is once again translated into a movie.

WATCH THE TRAILER. I swear, when I saw it, I was like, "HOLY CRAP -- THIS IS ACTUALLY HOW MY DREAMS LOOK!" For some reason, they got it -- the lights, the texture, the eerie glow... it's like i'm watching my dreams while i'm awake.

(by the way, I don't have a soundcard in the office, so I don't know the sounds they used in this trailer. but deaf-watching it is amazing. promise.)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

a flash of joyce

so i was walking along the pathway of the office -- going to the bank across the street to encash a check when i saw a vaguely familiar face. i slowed my brisk canter to stare at the face when it came to me -- it's her -- the "pantasya ng bayan" herself...

ms. joyce jimenez.


at the Network.

most boys my age would agree -- in the sexy star explosion of the late 90s and early 2000s, Ms. Jimenez is one of the few who REALLY put bomb in the often-used adjective "bombshell."

i haven't really watched most of her movies but whenever i walk in a dark, dingy, sweaty Manila street, i remember scorpio nights 2, and i remember ms. jimenez. i traverse these streets, look up to the wooden windows of the crowded houses and wonder if there's a woman up there eating chocolate, dripping all over because of the heat.

in any case, the old joyce and the joyce i saw today looked very different from each other. she's not as voluptous, for one -- losing some pounds but retaining her nice curves. And she was wearing glasses, with minimal makeup and this white flowing dress -- so.... womanly. If i didn't recognize her as the actress, I'd peg her as a pre-school teacher.

A thunder-in-your-chest, hot-like-a-nova pre-school teacher, that is.

in any case, i'm glad she's no longer stripping. and i'm glad she dropped by the office today. jologs na kung jologs, pero astig na makita ang pre-school teacher look ni miss joyce.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Call for Champions

John wrote the first episode here, and i continued the story here. This is the third installment of our ongoing DotA saga.

The light of Elune bathed all of Kalimdor in a soft, milky white light. Malfurion Stormrage [better known as Furion to the rest of the Sentinel] stood high up on a bluff, the north wind carrying his heavy locks to air, taking in the waste that lay before him.

Tsk tsk… the ancient wood elf let out something close to a smile in his mind. Archimonde will never know now how close he was to destroying the Nordrassil, the world tree. Even he himself had doubted what the wisps could do to protect their ancient. But he could still remember the blinding light, the burst of energy that almost set his own mana on fire, and the Dreadlord Archimonde’s scream as the wisps literally consumed him. The Scourge’s irresistible advance was finally stopped. And yet his high-elven gift of foresight knew…

Read the rest of the story here at the Stories that Wander.

Monday, October 16, 2006

To the faithful departed

Cops and criminals:
When you're facing a loaded gun, what's the difference?

Martin Scorsese's The Departed thrums with an excitement -- an underlying rhythm that escalates throughout the movie. There's a beat, an energy, a nervousness, a desperation that carries the viewer right from the first shot and through the film's abrupt end.

"The rats are dead. Long live the rats," says one movie reviewer. And he has identified the core of the film's plot. The Departed is about the 'twins' -- two police officers who take differring career paths that inevitably pits them against each other.

Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) grows under the wing of Frank Costelo (Jack Nicholson) and quickly rises to the police ranks even while feeding information that keeps his benefactor a step ahead of those that plot against him. Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a messed-up kid with with dark familial background who goes undercover in Costelo's crime ring and slowly gains the trust -- if one could call it that -- of the mobster. While Sullivan has the easy smile and funny one liners that puts everyone at ease, Costigan is the angsty, drowning-in-the pressure undercover who has to resort to drugs to keep his heart from bursting from his chest. Despite their differences, however, Scorsese masterfully rendered the film to show the two 'rats' are the two sides of the same coin -- two facets of the same shadow unknowingly circling each other, inescapably headed to a violent collision course.

It is a movie dripping with testosterone, with the interesting addition of showcasing how power is a fickle bitch. Blink and power escapes those who thought they had it -- drowning them in the lies and deceit that they all wove.

While The Departed will not need most of your braincells to understand the plot and to catch the symbolisms and devices (Nicholson's flowing beard to DiCaprio's sprouting goatee; Damon's cold, calculating intelligence to DiCaprio's emotional, instinctive pulls; the psychiatrist Madolyn who 'nurtures' the two lead cops to Nicholson's Machiavellian manipulations), it is an unquestionably enjoyable film. The cast is terrific and the script is superb, but it's the film's electric rhythm that will keep you at the figurative edge of your seats.

Friday, October 13, 2006

We're worth more than what we let on

About 20 years ago, the American James Fallows visited the Philippines and got disturbed with what he found. According to Fallows, the Philippines is “a society that had degenerated into a war of every man against every man.” The Filipino’s reaction back then, upon reading Fallows, was to figuratively burn him at the stake, but recent critical reviews have started to reconsider the knee-jerk reactions to Fallows’ report.

Fallows coined the term “damaged culture” – pertaining to the Filipinos’ attitude towards his fellowmen. He has observed that Filipinos do exceptionally well anywhere in the world – except in his own country. The Filipino is undoubtedly just as talented and as gifted as any American, Japanese, Korean or any other nationality, but somehow, we end up with a backwards country. As a European executive remarked, “You’re such a wonderful people. How did your country end up in such a mess?”

Fallows tries to answer the question with his observation:

"Individual Filipinos are at least as brave, kind and noble-spirited as individual Japanese, but their culture draws the boundaries of decent treatment much more narrowly. Because these boundaries are limited to the family or tribe, they exclude at any given moment 99 percent of the other people in the country. Because of this fragmentation, this lack of useful nationalism, people treat each other worse in the Philippines than in any other Asian country I have seen . . . the tradition of political corruption and cronyism, the extremes of wealth and poverty, the tribal fragmentation, the local élite's willingness to make a separate profitable peace with colonial powers - all reflect a feeble sense of national interest. Practically everything that is public in the Philippines seems neglected or abused."

We see this everywhere. Corrupt officials (not just politicians) are ready to take advantage of anyone to advance himself, if given the opportunity. Our people is engaged in voluntary diaspora. We're willing to screw anyone if it forwards our family's estate -- as if 'taking care' of our family excuses our atrocious acts. Our illustrados are willing to sell us to anyone willing to pay. It seems that we no longer believe in ourselves as a nation.

The author and publisher Franciso Sionil Jose once wrote:

"We are poor because we have lost our ethical moorings. We condone cronyism and corruption and we do not ostracize or punish the crooks in our midst. Both cronyism and corruption are wasteful but we allow their practice because our loyalty is to family or friend, not to the larger good . . . I am not looking for a foreign power for us to challenge. But we have a real and insidious enemy that we must vanquish, and this enemy is worse that the intransigence of any foreign power. We are our own enemy. And we must have the courage, the will, to change ourselves."

We are our own enemy. Our lack of belief in ourselves and our willingness to take advantage of any opportunity – even if it harms the greater society – has crippled our systems and ingrained corruption in our roots.

Ala Paredes thinks that our country is jam-packed with culture -- and I agree. Makulay ang buhay dito sa Pinas. But ours has a disease, a cancer eating our nation from the inside.

John calls me a racist
because I seem inclined to antagonize Americans. I think this attitude was triggered by our people's long history of preference for the caucasians over our own countrymen. One time, I overheard an acquaintance, an old lady, speaking to her friend about her niece. Her niece had a boyfriend, but her family was pushing her to choose this foreigner whom the girl met only a week before. I couldn't stop myself, I had to ask, "You're pushing your niece to go for a guy you don't even know?" Her answer was emphatic - "Oo naman no! foreigner yun eh!" ("Of course! that's a foreigner!"). The sad part is, her friend readily agreed with her, and as I have heard this a thousand times before, I suspect most Filipinos would. We pimp ourselves without hesitation and think that's practicality.

I agree to John's label that I'm a racist -- but not because I'm against Americans or any other nationality foreign to us. What I abhor is how our people embrace these colonists, and how willing we are to hate our own. I have no issue with foreigners, or even with Filipinos who left our country for their own growth or to earn a living or whatever. My quarrel is with those who have readily given up on the Philippines (whether or not they stay here) and are so willing to screw everyone else for a few pennies. What I do believe in is that if we are going to stand for something or someone, we might as well stand for ourselves because sure as hell, no one else would do that for us.

If our country has any hope of recovering from this muck we are in, we must believe that we are worth fighting for. We must stand for the should-be-obvious fact that Filipinos -- our own countrymen -- deserve the same respect we so readily give to foreigners. If we have any hope that our nation could get better, we must first heal -- first believe that we are worth saving.

Only then, perhaps, can we start having this 'strong republic' the almighty in Malacañang is raving about.

* photo from fotosearch

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Present that is Pain

Dr. Paul Brand
Detours to Happiness
Chapter 4, Soul Survivor
By Philip Yancey

"Unclean! Unclean!"

Lepers in biblical times were required to say those words to warn other people when they are passing by. Not only did they suffer physical and social trauma, they had to shout that indignity to the world -- and to their own hearts.

Two thousand years have passed and the fate of millions afflicted with leprosy have not changed until Dr. Paul Brand came into the picture. Aside from Jesus, it was only he who was brave enough to touch and treat not only the dread disease, but also the individual souls plagued by leprosy.

Stories say that Dr. Brand was born in the Kollis Hill country of India. His parents were missionaries there who worked tirelessly not only in spreading the gospel, but actually working to help the needs of the indigent in their community. Paul's father was a doctor.

While local people were always welcome in the Brand household, one day three strangers came to the house and received a different reception. Their skin had patches of white, their fingers were but stumps and one didn't even have toes.

In amazement, Paul saw his father put on gloves before washing the feet of the strangers, put ointment on their sores, and bandaged their feet. His mother brought a basket of food for them, but kept well away.

When the strangers left, Paul went to pick up the basket but his mother's shrill "NO!" instantly drew him back. He watched in astonishment as the basket was burned and his father scrubbed his hands with hands with hot water and strong soap, and changed all his clothes.

That was the day that the child Paul Brand first knew lepers. That was the day the child of two loving parents learned fear.


The pain and shame that lepers receive not only from society but also from their families cannot be underestimated. Brand has met thousands of intelligent, delightful persons who were rejected, beaten, and cursed by their own families upon the first sign of the disease. In those days, rare would be a hospital who would allow victims of leprosy to enter their doors. Some doctors would consent to take a look at the patients -- but only from afar. If not for violence, lepers only received fear and disgust wherever they went.

Later interviews with patients of Dr. Brand would testify their cries -- and bewilderment -- when Brand treated them. For the first time in years, here are hands who actually touched them not with blows or revulsion, but with gentleness and intimacy. For a reason that may only be known by Dr. Brand and his Creator, Paul was able to go beyond the thousands of years of fear and prejudice and touch the human beneath the disease.

Dr. Brand was famous not only for the pioneering hand surgery techniques he developed, but for finding out the real reason why leprosy patients go blind, lose their feet, have claw-like hands, and disfigured bodies. Before him, everybody thought that the disease itself eats the flesh of the victims. Dr. Brand discovered that leprosy bacilli only attacks the nervous system, disabling the pain receptors and rendering the victims numb. The victims then injure themselves because they no longer have the most effective warning system ever designed in the cosmos -- our capacity to feel pain. The eye goes blind because it cannot feel its own dryness and therefore doesn't blink; the hand holding a hot pan doesn't let go; the feet would keep walking through the shattered glass because it cannot feel itself being lacerated. The injury becomes worse, and subsequent infections would finish the job.


"If there's a gift that I wish I could give my patients, it would be the gift of pain," says Dr. Paul Brand. While theologians and smart alecks try to figure out why a good God allows pain, Dr. Brand does the opposite -- he praises the Lord for such a wonderful gift. He cannot think of a greater gift for the wondrous human body in this fallen world, he says, than the gift of pain.

Yancey remembers his first interview with Dr. Brand:

How could a good God allow such a blemished world to exist? Brand had responded to my complaints one by one. Disease? Did I know that of the twenty four thousand species of bacteria, all but a few hundred are healthful, not harmful? Plants could not produce oxygen, nor could animals digest food without the existence of bacteria. Indeed, bacteria constitute half of all living matter. Most agents of disease, he explained, vary from this necessary organisms in only slight mutations.

What about birth defects? He launched into a description of the complex biochemistry involved in producing one healthy child. The great wonder is not that birth defects occur but that millions more do not. Could a mistake-proof world have been created so that the human genome, with its billions of variables, would never err in transmission? No scientist could envision such an error-free system in our world of fixed physical laws.

"I've found it helpful to try to think like the Creator," Brand told me. "My engineering team in Carville has done just that. For several years, our team worked with the human hand. What engineering perfection we find there! After operating on thousands of hands, I must agree with Isaac Newton: 'In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God's existence."

Yancey writes further: "Paul Brand consulted with Mother Theresa, served on committees with Gandhi's disciples, and knew some of India's traditional 'holy men.' In his own life, however, he chose the middle way of balancing off the material and the mystical, the prophetic and the pragmatic. Older acquaintances in the hospital of Vellore remember him not only for his spiritual depth and sacrificial service but also for his practical jokes, love for marmalade and mangoes, and fast driving. As I emerged from the 1960s, a decade never accused of a sense of balance, I needed an example of someone who lived a well-rounded life in the midst of modern society, not off in a monastery or ashram."

If for nothing else, one could admire Dr. Brand for living a counter-culture life even before that term was coined. Offered with prestigious headship of well-known medical institutions, showered with illustrious accolades such as the Lasker Award, Brand nonetheless chose the life where he knew he was called: with the shamed, with the rejected, with the hurt, with the hopeless, with those that no one else would have -- much like what his Savior did, 2000 years ago.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

leaving the church

this is the latest from my most favoritest writer-pastor:

if you never find a way to leave church, you might have a hard time finding God."

it sounds controversial, and is sure as hell prone to be abused by those who want to abuse it... but hey, read
the post first before dismissing it altogether, all right?

I want happiness from the heart

Selecta spoiled me.

Having a get-whatever-you-want ice cream cabinet in the office indulged my cravings for the delightful concoction. While some people walk around to clear their heads while working, I'll be there -- writing that report/memo/speech/article/paper, rethinking the structure of the piece, and grabbing a cornetto cone as a brain catalyst.

And I'd need a brain catalyst every two paragraphs or so.

Maybe I won't be in a mood for a Cornetto. Maybe I'd rather have the melon Twin Popsicles... or a serving of Very Rocky Road, or have an itch to sink my teeth on the chunky cheese of Quezo Real, or maybe I'd go for a whole pint of Buco Salad... no matter... the ice cream cabinet was open for me, and ice cream is perfect to relieve stress.

And the feast didn't end at the office. I'll tell my beloved Tita Elvie (the 'matriarch' of the office) that i'd bring home some ice cream and she'd say "oo naman!" as if it were ridiculous of me to bother asking. I'd find myself finishing a whole Take 2 tub, or a mango sundae, or heck, even a whole half gallon (if I were really distracted) as I watched TV.

Not a bad deal at all, I tell you.

Now that I left the company, the cravings still come. I'll have lunch at the new office and my throat remembers that little piece of the clouds that used to slide down to my tummy regularly. My tastebuds become my master and once or twice a week, I'll let myself to a Double Dutch Ice Cream Stick and remember.

Like an old man enjoying a brief slice of heaven with a hooker, I muse...

I never used to pay for this stuff.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

you and me

i don't usually post mush here, but there are just some songs that make my heart roll even with just a few beats.

what day is it
and in what month

this clock never seemed so alive

you barrel through my bubble, of course, unmindful of the shields i put up.

no matter how long or how far i wander, you're the one who could make me feel most alive.

I can't keep up
and I can't back down

I've been losing so much time

and i wonder sometimes, just what the hell am i doing
wasting time, goofing around
when i know, without a doubt, that when all is said and done,
all of me is yours.

cause it's you and me
and all of the people

with nothing to do
nothing to lose
and it's you and me
and all of the people

and I don't know why

I can't keep my eyes off of you

the world parades itself, and offers me the stars
but you've shown me something beyond all that.
and like the guy who once followed you

i ask,
to whom shall i go?

all of the things that I want to say
just aren't coming out right

I'm tripping inwards

you got my head spinning

I don't know where to go from here

and i stumble and wander

go my way and hurt you
but if i'll be honest with myself
it's me who i'm hurting

cause it's you and me
and all of the people

with nothing to do
nothing to prove
and it's you and me
and all of the people

and I don't know why

I can't keep my eyes off of you

because there's nothing in me that's not yours
amidst the world, despite myself,

i'm yours

there's something about you now
can't quite figure out

you want me to know you
but my eyes are weak yet
soon i'll go blind
and see you for the first time

you and me
and all of the people

with nothing to do
nothing to prove
and it's you and me
and all of the people

and I don't know why

I can't keep my eyes off of you

so it's just you and me,
just as it was
and how it will always be

what day is it
and in what month

this clock never seemed so alive

till then,
my God, with You, I am most alive.

You and Me

* photo by shutterstock

Friday, October 06, 2006


Astig talaga ang Ghostfighter.

I first watched the series waaaaaaaaaay back in first year high school -- that was around a dozen years ago. Every wednesday night, I'd steal away from my friends and go home early to catch an episode in IBC 13.

Of course, I wouldn't be caught dead watching a cartoon at such an age, but one Thursday, in between classes, I was amazed to hear every guy in my class talking neither about x-rated tapes nor Ultimate Fighting Champion episodes -- instead, they were animatedly discussing Hiei's lightning-fast swordsmanship that ends a fight seconds after it began. Suddenly, it was ok to come out of the closet -- after a season of pretending we're all too old for our childhood pleasures, watching cartoons was cool again.

The series ended, of course, as all good things in this earth are wont to do. But the show's popularity was so much that the program was shown again. I was a freshie in college at this time, and again, I was surprised with the show's widespread appeal. One time in our Art Studies (was this Humanities 2?) class, our teacher assigned us to attend an art gallery
opening scheduled at 7 in the evening. After a breath of hesitation, the class declined and asked for a different schedule or activity. The reason? Ghostfighter's timeslot was set at 7 in the evening. Incredulous, the kindly old professor had to ask again if we -- the whole class -- were actually saying no to an assignment because of a TV show; she couldn't believe a bunch of college scholars were risking a '5' for a cartoon show.

Dubbed in Filipino, Ghostfighter is known for its humorous cracks and notable characters. I could tell you all about the various sagas of the show or how they developed each character, but that would lessen the magic. I was so into the Ghostfighter's story that a girlfriend even drew for me an image of Dennis, the human form of the dreaded Youko Kurama.

Ghostfighter (in Japan, Yu Yu Hakusho) is about the adventures of Eugene (Yusuke Urameshi)
, a 14 yr-old misunderstood boy, who is generally known as the toughest kid in town. Due to some unexpected twist of fate, Eugene dies, becomes a Spirit Detective, becomes the apprentice/heir of a spirit wave master, leads his team to the Dark Tournament, dies again and thus triggers the hidden-demon dna in his body and organizes the first Tournament (in place of elections) to determine who will become the leader of Makai (demon world). Not bad for a delinquent teenager who fears, more than anything else in the world, the slap of his girlfriend Kayko.

GMA 7 recently re-launched Ghostfighter -- making it the show's fourth (or is it 5th?) run on Philippine airwaves. What caught my attention, however, is what I saw in the report from AC Nielsen about the program ratings. I found, to my pleasant surprise, that Ghostfighter was at the 3rd place on the top 10 daily programs -- only behind Eat Bulaga and Daisy Siete, besting Wowowee, Komiks, and various drama shows. It is also the no.1 Anime today, in terms of ratings. I'd show you the charts but I'm afraid Nielsen might sue me for publishing it in the Internet. 12 years, 5 series reruns, scores of other anime shows later, it seems that the Rekai Tantei still kicks ass.

Now, i wonder if there's a DVD of the series in Makati Cinema Square...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

preachings by a jolly old giant

G. K. Chesterton
Relics Along the Seashore
Chapter 3, Soul Survivor
By Philip Yancey

If I were asked to come up with a list of writers I would hope to emulate, I would want to include the name of Gilbert Keith Chesterton on that list. I said "I would want to" because in truth, barbarian that I am -- I haven't read a single work of his.

What I know of Mr. Chesterton is mainly from the numerous times that Philip Yancey has mentioned him in many of his books -- and they were all glowing praises.
Wikipedia writes that Chesterton 'wrote around 80 books, several hundred poems, some 200 short stories, 4000 essays, and several plays. He was a literary and social critic, historian, playwright, novelist, Catholic Christian theologian and apologist, debater, and mystery writer. He was a columnist of The Daily News, Illustrated London News, and his own paper, G. K.'s Weekly; he also wrote articles for the Encyclopedia Brittanica."

An impressive portfolio, to be certain, but Chesterton's genius is more appreciated when we know how other famous personalities spoke of him. He often debated with men such as George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, Bertrand Russel, and Clarence Darrow -- and these giants could not help but respect Chesterton, despite dissenting with his views. C. S. Lewis, perhaps the most influential Christian thinker of our time, calls Chesterton the 'father' of his faith. Neil Gaiman, respected writer and tale weaver, freely credits Chesterton's "The Napoleon of Notting Hill" as an important influence in his own "Neverwhere." Gilbert, a character from The Sandman, was also based on Chesterton. "Good Omens," a novel by Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, is dedicated to "the memory of G. K. Chesterton: A man who knew what was going on."

Chesterton is widely known for his wit and sense of humor, often employing paradox and 'uncommon sense' in making his point. When The Times asked several noteworthy authors to write essays on the theme "What's wrong with the world?", Chesterton's contribution was as sharp and incisive as an expose is to a scam:

"Dear Sirs,

I am.

Sincerely yours,
G. K. Chesterton"

Yancey praises Chesterton for not shirking against humor and showing the world a sight they rarely see: A Joyous Christian. For Yancey, Chesterton was the antithesis of the churchmates he grew up with -- humorless, pallid individuals who abhored learning and could get guilty over watching movies.

In this world where popular culture and faith has drifted farther and farther apart, Yancey believes that the world needs more G. K. Chestertons. For while powerful elocutors such as "Martin Luther King Jr. arises with power and eloquence enough to address both sides at once, Chesterton had another approach: he walked to the center of a swinging bridge, roared a challenge to any single combat warriors, and them made both sides laugh aloud." At a time when debates about faith could fill lecture halls, Chesterton would arrive late, squint at scraps of paper one can hardly call 'notes,' fumble through his pockets, laugh heartily at his own jokes, and charm not only the audience but also his opponent. In a society that takes pride in despising faith, Chesterton seemed to sense that a stern prophet will not work; he therefore took the role of a jester.

Yancey also credits Chesterton for first bringing up the problem of pleasure. While atheists and agnostics hound believers on the problem of pain, Chesterton argues that non-believers have an equal responsibility to answer why pleasure exists in this world. Yancey asks, "
Why is sex fun? Reproduction surely does not require pleasure: some animals simply split in half to reproduce, and even humans use methods of artificial insemination that involve no pleasure. Why is eating enjoyable? Plants and the lower animals manage to obtain their quota of nutrients without the luxury of taste buds. Why are there colors? Some people get along fine without the ability to detect color. Why complicate vision for all the rest of us?" These questions, Chesterton and Yancey believed, lead to the conclusion on the existence of a loving God.

If I could have half the genius, humor and good nature of Chesterton, I would consider myself lucky. In the meantime, I write struggling pieces such as this:

The trouble lies, I think, not with our God changing His mind, but in our propensity to twist what is perfectly acceptable to God and make it detestable. This is the very character of sin – something pleasurable to God horrendously perverted. Eating becomes gluttony. Drinking becomes getting drunk. Sex becomes sex before marriage. Gentleness becomes cowardice. Strength becomes violence. Firmness becomes cruelty. The desire to do what is right becomes legalism.

In our fear of perverting what God has given us, or (perhaps more honestly,) in our effort to look like we’re not sinning, we run away from the wholesome and delightful pleasures that God purposely made to delight His children.

To know where this excerpt comes from, read the rest of the article here at still earthbound.

Monday, October 02, 2006

emotional surgery

saying goodbye is like getting a tonsillectomy. it's painful, it's hard, and you'll puke your own blood due to the wounds you suffered inside. the pain will remain with you even after a considerable time has passed since undergoing tonsillectomy or saying goodbye, and life would certainly taste different afterwards, but you'll do what you have to do, right?

sure, your reasons may be valid, maybe even to prevent further pain and injury to yourself, but getting that cure -- a tonsillectomy or saying goodbye -- could just be as harmful as the injury to begin with.

nobody dies from either activity, but no matter what angle you look at it, after all is said and done about these 'cures' -- the truth remains:

you're less of a person after going through with it.