30 March 2009

The Lovers, The Dreamers And Me

I came across this wonderful clip from The Muppet Show where Kermit The Frog (my hero) sings with Debbie Harry of Blondie.

Mr. B. too has fond memories of this song. As a kid, he used to wake up to sunny days, sweeping the clouds away and asking how to get to Sesame Street. He used to have a Cookie Monster puppet, his favorite character aside from Ernie (although he remembered not too happy about it being green in color instead of blue which is the true color of Cookie Monster). He owned a copy of the long-playing album that contains "It's Not That Easy Being Green" and "Rubber Duckie" which he listened to almost everyday. As the muppets matured and did spin-off shows and movies, Mr. B. never got over his fascination of them. Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy and Gonzo were so much a part of his innocent teen years. Now that there is a whole new generation of muppets for a whole new generation of children, he still misses the original creations of the great Jim Henson and Frank Oz.

In a lot of ways, I and the rest of the bear population do exist because of that fascination, because of a heart that refuses to grow up, a heart that does not cease to believe in magic. Maybe some day, I too will be like Kermit and show the world that every wish could indeed be heard and answered.

Thank you, Jim Henson and Frank Oz.

P.S. : It will be 40 years on 10 November 2009 since Kermit first appeared in Sesame Street.

28 March 2009

The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes

Picture yourself in a boat on a river
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes.

Cellophane flowers of yellow and green
Towering over your head
Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes
And she's gone.

Mr. B. today heard of a distressing news that a person he knew took her own life a month ago out of desperation. While Mr. B. knows the story that started more than a year ago which triggered this unfortunate event, he still could not believe that a person can be so exasperated with life to choose to end it.

Pictures flash through his mind of younger, happier days, the age of innocence; of friendship and camaraderie; all destroyed by one particular act of indiscretion. He thought of those who are left behind to forever carry the burden - the parents, the husband, the child.

As he looks at D. during dinner tonight, he remembers how thankful he is to have a comparatively mundane life with someone he cares about sharing simple joys. Life is definitely worth living.

Photo : Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds - Oil on canvas by Ronald DeNota
Lyrics : Lennon - McCartney

25 March 2009

Que Sera, Sera

Humans are strange. When they were just little boys and girls, they asked their mothers (or sweethearts) what will they be. Will they be pretty (or handsome)? Will they be rich? Will there be rainbows day after day? And their mothers (or sweethearts) said to them : Que sera, sera*. Whatever will be, will be. The future's not ours to see. Que sera, sera.

Blame Doris Day (pictured) for this widespread parental inquiries.

Personally, I think the mothers of these poor children should have answered the questions in a more direct and honest way instead of just leaving everything up to fate (the "sera" part).

1. Will I be pretty (or handsome)? Just look at me and your father.
2. Will I be rich? You may become rich but I don't think it's very likely. Don't count on it.
3. Will there be rainbow day after day? Only if you stay by the waterfalls or fountains the rest of of your life because those are the only places where there is constant moisture and water droplets in the atmosphere and also provided the sun is shining bright everday which is needed to form rainbow. Get it?

Mr. B. was told today that there shall be a formal discussion of what he wants to be when he grows up in the place he works. He wanted to say "Whatever will be, will be. The future's not mine to see." But he feared that the person he takes order from might think he was singing or he was mad or both.

The point is that there is no point in the whole exercise. Mr. B. already made it clear what he wanted to be when he grows up a few years ago, but he was given a 2-hour lecture on "why he shouldn't want to be what he wanted to be." Mr. B. came out of the lecture more confused than enlightened. So he said "Whatever."

So the whole rigodon starts again... to the music of Doris Day.

* The phrase Que Sera Sera is an invention of the song lyricist Jay Livingston and is not in proper Spanish, Italian or French language. And I bet you don't know that. Whatever...

22 March 2009

Games People Play

Mr. B. spent a great deal of time playing video games today. No, not the type that sprays bullets and kill other human beings, but those that are fun and require a tiny bit of knowledge. His favorite would be the Family Feud series because it reminds him of one of his favorite TV shows as a child.

For totally mindless fun, he plays Burger Island where you race with time making burgers, fries and shakes to make enough money to please the boss (he burned burgers many times). He also played Kudos, a game where you control your chosen life. You decide where to work, who to hang out with, and what to do to relax and grow your abilities. He is now a reclusive but accomplished surgeon with no friends who likes to take a bath and read books to relax. (hmmmm... doesn't sound that much different in real life...)

Tonight, he received an email from a friend J. who announced her civil wedding in the US. Mr. B. and J. has been friends for about 20 years although they seldom get in touch since J. works in Shanghai (China). Mr. B. never met the boyfriend but from J.'s description, he seems to be a great person with much success in life. Most likely, J. will be moving to the United States for good and Mr. B. felt kinda sad because it will be much harder to see each other in person now. (And it's strange because it's not like they keep in close touch all these time).

Well, that's human life. So different from Kudos. It just keeps moving along. You can't just quit and save the game to play later.

21 March 2009

Reboot Time

Mr. B. did not go to work today. He was on holiday. Waking up to a squeaky clean house (his cleaner just got back from a 2-week vacation herself). He spend the day having foot spa - foot bath + foot scrub + foot massage.
After that, he went shopping for food and bought bread (yummy!), fruits, cereals and other supplies for the next few days. He then came home to cook Chicken and Pork Adobo - a popular dish from the Philippines. He also bought Singaporean dried pork (which D. forbade him to eat because of its high fat content).

Since D. will be cramming for a licensing exam on Monday, Mr. B. expects to spend the weekend all by himself. He already install a number of games in his computer in anticipation of this 'alone time'. I guess he was really looking forward to this planned long weekend.

That's good. We bears can have more time cuddling with him this weekend!

17 March 2009

In The Land Of The Rednecks

Last week, an opposition party lawmaker in Taiwan accused Kuo Kuan-ying (pictured), head of information chief at Taiwan’s office in Toronto, of having posted articles describing Taiwan as a "ghost island" and native Taiwanese as "rednecks" and "Japanese pirates" under different aliases in various blogs over a period of time. There was an overwhelming amount of public uproar regarding this incident. All the more embarassing is the fact that this hoopla comes at the time when 1600 mainland Chinese is in the island for a visit. While Kuo faces disciplinary action of allegedly insulting Taiwan, many are not satisfied with the government's decision to recall him from Canada to be transfered to a non-executive position back home.

Guilty or not, I find it quite amusing for humans to insult and degrade his own kind this way. Even when Mr. B. agrees that there are indeed some "rednecks" in his place of work, he really wouldn't generalize this to the whole of Taiwan population.

Now I am convinced with the power of blog and blogging. Before I get chastised, I am now officially retracting my inappropriate earlier comment about another species of bear - the panda - about how lazy they are spending their days sleeping or sitting around, doing nothing but chewing on bamboo and had everything done for them.

15 March 2009

Salvation From Misery

Mr. B. and D. went to see Slumdog Millionaire last night, a movie about the underbelly of Mumbai from the eyes of a working class Irish-Catholic director. Do you see the problem here? (Okay, he did Trainspotting, but that was his neighbor and not across the world).

Mr. B. said he finds the film entertaining "if you don't expect anything hugely overwhelming as promised by the 8 Academy Awards it received in the last Oscars."

So the film depicts the triumph of human spirit over life's given misery. Coming from a middle-class family in so-called third-world country, Mr. B. is not at all a stranger to the harsh realities of life. He understands what real poverty (not the "oh, I can't afford that new Gucci bag 'cause I'm too poor" poverty) can do to a human spirit - it destroys faith to the very limit until it evolves into a peculiar form of fatalism, that everything works to an inevitable end. And the film did show that, for Jamal Malik, the central character, succeeded because "it is written".

In the end, regardless of the many flaws and criticisms, the film succeeded in entertaining (especially the Bollywood style ending) although it did not bring anything new to the table.

13 March 2009

I Don't Mean To Be Rude

Part of Mr. B.'s job is to develop TV commercials for his products. This morning, the creative agency that handles the project presented 5 different storylines to choose from. Even while the stories are being presented, Mr. B. already knew none of them would work. When it was his turn to give comments, he reluctantly said "I'm sorry but none of these storylines attracts me."

The room must have turned 10 degrees colder for a few seconds, and the creative director demanded to know exactly what Mr. B. meant by that. The answer was quite simple, very simple in fact that it was so hard to explain in too many words. It was just plain bland and as exciting as watching coffee drips from the machine. How can you wrap that in colored paper?

In retrospect, Mr. B. told me he felt like Simon Cowell (whom he respects a lot). Mr. Cowell tells it like it is with no frills. You take it or leave it. But in almost all cases, his instinct was right. Instinct that came from his years of working in the music industry. Now Mr. B. studied screenwriting from a respected and award-winning screenwriter. Humble as he is, he knows what works for the audience and what doesn't. In the end, the person he takes order from and people he give orders to tried to iron out the situation by trying to explain what Mr. B. thought. So the room was again filled with a cloud of comments.

Yet the bottom line remains that they were not good enough. Why waste time trying to explain? Why even be apologetic about it? Mr. B. said he can argue with Ang Lee why he thinks his movies are lacking in humanity and he can tell him why he disagrees but the point is that, they still don't work for him. How can that be challenged?

With that, Mr. B. vowed to always speak his mind regardless of what others think. This bear says, "You Go, Mr. B.!!!"
photo credit : www.towleroad.com

11 March 2009

Will I Lose My Dignity?

We bears hunt for our food. We go to the stream and catch salmon, my personal favorite. A particular species of us munch on bamboos all day long, but generally, we get our own food. It's a totally different story with humans. They cover themselves with clothes, squeeze their necks (as in the case of Mr. B.) with a long piece of fabric rightfully called ties and go to a place where they "work". That's how they get something called money to buy their food.

In that "work" place, there are other humans whom you take orders from, and those you give orders to. The stress, as Mr. B. says, comes from trying to make it work smoothly.

Mr. B. has been quite stress of late primarily due to another human he takes orders from. This particular human has made him either toss and turn in bed trying to sleep on some nights or drift into unbelievably violent nightmares on others. By his own admission, he says it must be his own doing. He must have pasted the word "Welcome" on his forehead so he can be stepped on like a doormat. But that doesn't make him feel any better.

You see, some humans like to play the corporate games. In my opinion, they probably have no life other than the one in that "work" place so they somehow need to feel a sense of achievement - and that's in the form of making the lives of others miserable. And to what end? To be admired? Hated? Feared? Liked? Is there really dignity in surrending to this power tripping? On the other side of the coin, will one really lose one's dignity in choosing not to fall into this seemingly endless trap? After all, "working" is just a means to an end which is to "eat".

I'd rather go fishing.

09 March 2009

The Big Bad Bear

Can you believe that? I recently found out about this wildly popular Japanese cartoon character called Gloomy Bear. Supposed to be an antithesis to trying-to-be-cute characters such as Hello Kitty (the English cat with no mouth), this huge 2-meter tall pink bear is violent and attacks and eats human. And kids find him "kawaii" (cute in Japanese language).

The designer of Gloomy Bear, Mori Chack, believes that humans and animals are incompatible, and that animals are wild by nature. That is why Gloomy Bear is often shown blood stained and striking humans. He is even said to attack the little boy who rescued him from abandonment.

Maybe this Mori Chack has some social or political message he wishes to convey through his creation. But whatever it is, I don't get it. And using a bear character like that is definitely unacceptable to me. It gives us bears a bad name.

06 March 2009

From Both Sides Now

Music is one of human's greatest gifts and Mr. B. wants to share one of his favorite songs tonight.

I was in grade school when I first heard a beautiful song on the radio and was so fascinated by the music that I hummed it to the girl sitting next to me in class and ask if she knows the title of the song. "I am not sure," she said. "From Both Sides Now or Both Sides Now." I didn't know the singer. I didn't even know what "feather canyon" was. I just knew it sang about clouds, about love and about life - things that I've never given much thought about as a 9-year-old kid. But the music was hauntingly beautiful. I had to wait for it to be played again on the radio.

In 2000, the same singer did a remake of that same song and tonight, coming home from work in a cab, I listened to the original recording again and again and yet again in my iPod. How time flies. How things changed. How true were the lyrics. Listening to it as a child then and as an adult now. After all these years, I may have seen different sides of people, places and events, but I never really know clouds, or love, or life, at all. I felt a lump in my throat.

God bless your beautiful soul, Ms. Joni Mitchell.

Both Sides Now
by Joni Mitchell

Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It's cloud illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As ev'ry fairy tale comes real
I've looked at love that way

But now it's just another show
You leave 'em laughing when you go
And if you care, don't let them know
Don't give yourself away

I've looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It's love's illusions I recall
I really don't know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say "I love you" right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I've looked at life that way

But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I've changed
Well something's lost, but something's gained
In living every day

I've looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all

05 March 2009

Tatiana's Dream - The Second Shot

And so it goes, 4 kind souls decided that Tatiana should be given another chance to pursue her dream. The much-hated (based on the volume of online hate comments) Puerto Rican drama queen will now sing in the wildcard show of American Idol for yet another chance to be part of the Top 12 circle. I see two sides of human nature here:

One - that humans can be open and forgiving. It is rare to be given an opportunity to live your dream. It is even more rare to be given a second chance after you failed the first time.

Two - that humans can be so cruel. The American public already shunned her once. So for whatever reason (most likely to add excitement to the show), the 4 judges are bringing her back to be snubbed and ridiculed by the public all over again.

I personally think that Tatiana will not make it to the Top 12, and that she will be devastated the second time when voting comes. Poor girl. But we'll see.

Sometimes I really don't understand humans and the message they are trying to send. I should ask Mr. B. about this.

03 March 2009

To Have And To Hold

The topic at lunch today was wedding as one of Mr. B.'s colleague is planning to tie the knots this summer. Somehow the discussion that started with planning, guests list, settings and all that beautiful stuffs turned into an exchange of the reality of life after the wedding day which is not all that beautiful.

Wedding is another strange human ritual as far as we bears are concern. You have two human beings asking a lot of other human beings to come together to eat, drink and make fun of the two being wed. A lot of time, effort and money will be put into the planning of this day, And after all is said and done, the two will pronounce themselves husband and wife, while the rest of the human guests will go home and get on with their own lives.

I am not trying to sound sarcastic. I just do not understand it.

But Mr. B. told me that he too dreamt of a day like that. Being in a relationship for 6 years, he said that it will be great to honor your partner and celebrate that love with people he cares about. He dreamt about an evening of music, food, laughter, most importantly, the blessings of family and friends. I guess it is very important to know that you are loved and accepted, and that joy and happiness is share in that one special day of your life...

Mr. B. said I will be his Best Bear on his wedding day.

02 March 2009

Paper Faces On Parade

Mr. B. is soooo excited tonight! He just booked his tickets for The Phantom of the Opera 11 July evening performance! He must have seen the musical about 6 times (starting in London in 1997). His love for this musical was such that he attempted to play the part (well, the last 20 minutes of it) in a company party many years ago with his colleagues lip-synching Christine and Raoul (see photo for this historical event). When the film version came out a few years ago, he was literally counting the number of day before it opened in the local cinema and was there in the queue on the very first screening (he actually watched it 3 times after).

"There is a little Phantom in every one of us," said Mr. B. "We all have a part of us that we hide, a part we deemed to be imperfect by the society's standards, yet despite of that, we are still capable of giving and loving in our own personal way."

That's probably why he find the musical so real and endearing. He told me he cried everytime he watched it. But for now, he is dancing around the room with ecstacy. I say, anything that makes him forget the annoying, self-righteous people he works with, albeit for only a short time, is good. All good.

This is not a bad day after all.

01 March 2009


Mr. B. has been to many places in his lifetime. He travels a lot for work and for leisure. At his age he has seen things and met people, too many that sometimes he admits having a hard time trying to match faces and places.

In this life journey, it is easy for humans to forget who they are. They mostly assume the role of whatever they do for a living or their status in the community they live in. So this one is the rich doctor, that one is the respected lawyer, the other one is a well-known businessman, that one in the corner is the poor taxi driver.

"Whenever I go back home to the Philippines, I remember who I am." said Mr. B.

Perhaps confronted with old yet familiar surroundings - the sights, sounds and smell of things from decades ago, he is taken back to his very roots, the very essence of who he is. And who he is now is still who he was way before, only better clothed, better fed, better educated, with a bit more money in his pocket.

Is it as important who you are before as it is who you are now? Would an employer care? Would a lover care? Would the society even give it a thought? Does leaving home looking for a better life also means abandoning your old self and assuming a new one? Can one really get away from one's past?

Mr. B. said that perhaps one day when he is already old, he will retire in the Philippines. Maybe when the time comes, he will abandon his current identity and return to be his own person. The person he always was, and always will be.


Related Posts with Thumbnails