The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Sunday, November 24, 2013

On Compartmentalized or Selective Adoration

If my son loves also Bieber 's music, then he could, I don't mind. All I need to remind him of is simply to teach him how to adore compartmentally or selectively. Meaning, he could choose any popular individual and make him an icon but only for the positive things this certain icon does and not necessarily the bad things or everything that this popular celebrity does.

Congratulations to the Philippine boxer Manny Pacquiao for winning the fight with Rios. It was a fairly good match.

While I don't encourage arrogant winners and bitter or sore losers--I don't see anything wrong in having a deep fascination or adoration for certain icons--be it in sports, music, politics, academics, or any other field.

Generally, I think every person simply needs icons whom they could look up to for inspiration and empowerment.

In the end, the key is finding a good balance in such adorations. Or, adore with the right reasons.

And lastly, learn to compartmentalize such adorations. Meaning, if you adore Pacquiao because of his boxing bravado, don't assume that everything that he will do will be great and seamless.

Or, if you like Miley Cyrus's or Justin Bieber's music, then go ahead; but you should not be compelled also to follow other stuff that they do that you think is self-destructive.

You may like Nirvana's or Blind Melon's music, but you don't need to applaud or celebrate even the suicides of the bands's respective frontpersons, Cobain and Hoon.

That's what compartmentalization means--selective adoration or adoring with the right reasons.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Nobody Up There, Sorry; Only Humans Can Help Humans

May mga nababasa at naririnig nga rin ako na tinututya ang Pilipinas at mga Filipino na kesyo bakit daw kaya sa Pilipinas pumunta ang superbagyo at pumatay sa napakaraming tao at sumira sa napakaraming gamit, na para bang sinasabi na kasi makasalanan o mga gago ang mga Filipino kaya dapat ngang parusahan at bawasan.

Alam mo, ang problema sa mga taong ganyang mag-isip e di relihiyon ang isyu...kundi e mga kapos sila sa kaalaman at pinag-aralan.

Bakit kamo?

E kung malawak ang kaalaman nila sa History at Anthropology at Geography na lang e dapat alam nila na ang mga sumusunod:

1) Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79, leading to the destruction of the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum and killing thousands of people.

2) The Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 - which, according to Japanese Police Agency, 15,883 died, 6,150 injured, and 2,651 people missing across twenty prefectures, as well as 129,225 buildings totally collapsed, with a further 254,204 buildings 'half collapsed,' and another 691,766 buildings partially damaged.

3) The Katrina Hurricane of 2005 in the USA - at least 1,833 people and total property damage of an estimate of $81 billion (2005 USD).

4) 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake's effect on Thailand - The Thai government reported 4,812 confirmed deaths, 8,457 injuries, and 4,499 missing after the country was hit by a tsunami caused by that earthquake.

At napakarami pang iba, in any given era and country or continent in the world--and these are all natural calamities--which are natural but many of the destructive effects are caused also by human irresponsibilities.

So, in view of all these examples, it's absurd and stupid to claim that all of these catastrophes were punishments from a god. What a dumb reasoning!

15 Recommended New Wave / Postpunk Albums

An acquaintance of mine at work, when I told him that New Wave is my favorite genre of music, quipped, "Oh, you're stuck in the '80s!"

What? I replied, "Who taught you that New Wave is only '80s music?"

Maybe he should listen to these albums...

15 albums that I have also been listening to these days. 

'Weird Pop' (2011) by Tones on Tail
'In the Flatfield' (1980) by Bauhaus
'Foot of the Mountain' (2009) by a-ha
'Wild Mood Swings' (1996) by The Cure
'Kaleidoscope' (1980) by Siouxsie & the Banshees
'Water Came Running' (1990) by Identity Crisis
'Black City Parade' (2013) by Indochine
'Ten Portraits' (2013) by This Final Frame
'Love in the Age of War' (2012) by Men Without Hats
'The Small Price of a Bicycle' (1985) by The Icicle Works
'Pacific Street' (1984) by The Pale Fountains
'Coldest Winter for a Hundred Years' (2011) by The Wild Swans
'Ultramarine' (2013) by The Ocean Blue
'Machineries of Joy' (2013) by British Sea Power
'Roxy Music' (1972) by Roxy Music

10 Recommended New Albums

November 11, 2013

10 albums I am listening to these days include
'English Rain' (2013) by Gabrielle Aplin
'Songbook' (2009) by Family of the Year 
'Great Dirty World' (1987) by Gowan 
'The Lumineers' (2012) by The Lumineers 
'Lousy with Sylvianbriar' (2013) by Of Montreal
'Flags' (2010) by Brooke Fraser
'Former Lives' (2012) by Ben Gibbard
'Helplessness Blues' (2011) by Fleet Foxes
'Babel' (2012) by Mumford & Sons
'The World from the Side of the Moon' (2012) by Phillip Phillips

(Finding) Love in the Logic of Life

November 11, 2013

I picked up my bandmate mandolin/guitar player Dave this late noon and we practiced some songs at my place. We finally finished the structure of our version of The Cascades' "Rhythm of the Rain," our own song "Remembering 'Lorain,'" and we began working on a new original whose intricate Celtic-sounding riff came from Dave. He asked me to come up with the words; he just gave me his idea--that the song is about the realization that, despite the struggles and difficulties that we all must face in life, we still need to enjoy happy moments.

After hammering the music and the arrangement for almost an hour and humming the vocal melodies, I finally came up first with the title and then with the stanzas and the chorus. But this, of course, is still subject to change, as new sections need to be added next time. A song, while it's not yet studio-recorded, always remains a work in progress...

"Love in the Logic of Life"

Stanza 1

A friend of mine asked me, "Shall we ever find love
In the logic of life?" I said,
"Yes, of course; I mean, we should."
That's the logical thing to do--

We struggle to survive
We live and then we smile
We laugh and then we cry
And soldier on and on and on


To find love in the logic of life
To make love with the logic of life
There's life in the logic of love
I live for the love of logic

Stanza 2

When I was a boy, living was already both
Easy and hard; happy and sad.
Don't tell me life was simple
Because in both childhood and age

We stumble and strive
We love and break our hearts
We dream, we fly, we fall
But carry on and on and on


Thursday, November 07, 2013

Responding with Dignity to Poorly Expressed Criticisms


While skimming my eLf ideas blogspot for some old pictures of mine that I have posted there years ago, I stumbled upon a comment posted by a netizen expressed in a not-so-positive way.

It was in 2005. It just shows that there were already detractors as early as that time. And, as usual, I responded responsibly.

Here's the comment: has a message for you about your article "A Poet to His Firstborn."

Hi there!
Its my first time to visit the website of isnare. your poetry caught my attention. I dont want tobe rude, i just thought i'd give you an unsolicited advice. your poem A Poet to His Firstborn, is not a poem. its pure prose and full of cliche's. pls be guided on your poetry basics. better yet stick on essays. I like your essays more than your poems. a friendly comment from a Palanca winner. Good day. I hope to keep in touch."

Here's my reply:

First, I am quoting from a personal letter sent to me by my best-friend Rain Paggao:

"...a writer, as a true child of knowledge, must entertain and care for impressions good or bad, not only for a counterattack (I love a warrior pen!), but also—this more than anything else—for his refinements."

Now, here's my personal response:

When do we consider a poem not a poem? When do we dismiss it as pure prose?

Answering these questions is indeed a feat, for since the advent of free verse the line dividing poetry and prose has become thin and blurry. And even though a number of formalist poets had expressed their disdain for the form—including Robert Frost (1874–1963), who said that writing free verse was like "playing tennis without a net"—there were those who became as highly regarded for embracing free verse—poets like Walt Whitman (1819–1892) and Gustave Kahn (1859–1936).

Carl Sandburg (1878–1967), a known free-verse poet, thus began his "Languages":

There are no handles upon a language
Whereby men take hold of it
And mark it with signs for its remembrance.
It is a river, this language,
Once in a thousand years
Breaking a new course
Changing its way to the ocean.

Here's the poem in question that I wrote:

A Poet to His Firstborn
Finally I found the lady
Who would be your mother and fairy 
Lucky you for 
She is all whom I could ever wish for 

Your mother and I 
Have been friends first before 
We began to love each other 
Or should I say, 
In our hearts we have been loving each other 
Long before we decided to be together 

You may have come late in your parents' lives 
But that's the very reason you are special 
Not only to us but also to all the people 
Who care about us 

I promise you that 
Whatever happens 
We will give you everything 
You will ever need 
I'm sure too 
That your mother will love you 
As much as she loves me and as I love you 

Just promise me two things: 

As you grow up 
Love to learn, read, and write— 
For this is the key to 
Understanding the world and 
Accepting thy neighbors for what and who they are 

And most importantly 
Love and respect your mother and your siblings
As much as I respect and love them 

Saturday, November 02, 2013

On Closed-Form Poetry

In 2004, I embarked on a self-imposed undertaking of writing at least one poem a day. I was able to do the challenge for more than a year, producing more than 400 poems of varying lengths, styles, and themes written either in English or in Filipino. That collection was a voluminous addition to an already existing two books of poetry in Filipino (Pag-aalay ng Bulaklak sa Lumipas at Lilipas, 19881992; and Pagdiriwang Pagsapit ng Panaginip, 19942003).

This is the first poem in the third collection entitled Pagpapagpag ng Alikabok sa Nakalimutang Alaala (20042013).


Sa dilim ng yungib
Liwanag ay tubig
Kabog ng dibdib
Badya ay pag-ibig

Mga likha ng diwa
Alay kay Haámyeda'r
Bawat dulas ng tinta
Alaalang pinundar

Mga akda ko ay hitík
Punung-puno ng pagsinta
Produkto ng pagtatalik
Ng utak, titik, at pluma

While I like the freedom and looseness free-verse (or open-form) poetry affords the poet, I prefer better the stringent qualities of closed-form poetry. Closed-form poetry is a type of poetry that exhibits regular structure, such as meter or a rhyming pattern.

Each of the stanzas of the poem above follows the rhyme scheme ABAB.
Each of the lines of the first stanza has six syllables, the second stanza's has seven, and the third's has eight.