26 April 2009

Thank You For Being A Friend

One of Mr. B.'s favorite sitcom when he was younger is The Golden Girls. Why a young man would find the adventures of 4 old women living together in Miami and concern themselves with nothing but dating men, I could never understand. But Mr. B. said it's all fun and it has given him lots of laugh as well as insight into the minds of older people. More importantly, I believe Mr. B. learned some of his sarcastic attitude from watching Dorothy, Rose, Sophia and Blanche's zingers and one liners.

The Golden Girls is one of the very rare TV sitcom where all lead actresses won the Emmy. The opening theme, sang by Cynthia Fee also became quite popular and even hit the Billboard chart.

Last year, Estelle Getty, who played the Sicilian mother Sophia passed away due to dementia. Just yesterday, Bea Arthur, who played her daughter Dorothy died peacefully due to cancer.

To Estelle Getty and Bea Arthur, may you both rest in peace.

23 April 2009

Energy Suckers Identified!

Mr. B. usually comes home in the evening totally exhausted. Even with a full 8 hours sleep, life in the funny farm seems to be taking a lot of his energy. In fact, he gets too tired to even complain about anything. I then realize that it's actually not work itself that made him tired. It's the special breed of humans that did the job. These sub-species is called Energy Suckers. After my extensive analysis based on Mr. B. stories, I was able to identify a few of these creatures:

1. The Drama Queens - These are the people (applicable to both genders) who likes to tell you about their life drama - their family, spouse, children and all the minute details that goes on with their lives - mostly things you couldn't care less about. These people always make sure that you listen and show some signs of empathy, although most of the time, they would make a 180 degree turn and leave even before you make any reaction. And yes, they leave taking most of your energy with them.

2. The Life Teachers - These people knows all about life. In fact, they teach you how to live yours - how to handle your family, how to handle your finances, why you should buy a house, why you should take the bus, why you should be concern about the environment. They really don't care if you do any of the things they say, all they care about is to be able to say their piece to an audience (you), then leave you with zero energy.

3. The What-Do-You-Thinks - These people ask for your opinion about everything - what to eat, what to wear, what to say, what to do, regarding any situation. They are one of the worse because you can't just plug your ears and nod. You have to concoct some sort of response otherwise they would know that you don't care about them (which is not far from the truth).

4. The Empty House - Also one of the higher ranking suckers. You talk to them for hours and watch them nod their heads vigorously. Then you realize something is wrong. Your knock their heads and ask "Anybody Home?" and no one answers. So you go back to square one and don't collect $200. (I told Mr. B. to listen carefully if he hears any juggling sounds while these suckers nod their heads because that could be a sign that it's empty up there).

5. The Fighters - Oh yes, these ones argue with you about anything, everything, the purpose of which is, well, to argue. Sometimes they have their points, most of the time they don't. But in all cases, both you and them will lose track of what was originally being argued about, and leave you lying on the floor catching your breath.

By the end of the day, Mr. B, has me to give him back all the energy he needs. I don't care for dramas, I don't like preaching, I never cared about the opinion of others, I am intelligent and I don't like debates.

That is why I am Mr. B.'s best friend.

22 April 2009

The Earth Day Stood Still

Happy Earth Day!

Oh! Okay.... I guess this is something to be "happy" about... Earth Day.... so what are we celebrating about? It is said to be a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment. Fair enough.

Yahoo! turned green. Cliparts of humans hugging the Earth. On top of the search list is Walmart (probably one of the major contributors of global garbage). In their site are advertisements for "green products" enticing people to buy more expensive products that are supposed to be good for the environment. Next in search list is Ford Motors (probably another major contributor) talking about how they "did it!", meaning, expensive hybrid cars, which are also supposed to be environmental friendly. Tips and articles from experts thrown in to make sure surfers are educated on how one should turn off the lights when leaving a room empty. Okay...

Earth Day. Started in 1970. Almost 40 years on, they still couldn't figure out if we should celebrate this for a day (Earth Day), a week (Earth Week), or a month (Earth Month). And don't forget World Environment Day and World Party Day.

And what do people do during this celebration? They show movies about rivers clogged with garbage, smoggy cities and catastropic weather. Experts appear on TV talk shows posed as Nostradamus predicting the end of the world. Some would plant a tree (and probably leave it there to tend for itself after), Others gather in groups and pick up garbage in the parks. Some brings reusable shopping bags (best if they have "I Love Earth" printed on them). Some blame the government. Some blame other countries. Some blame other humans. I won't be surprise if some even blame God.

I find these all very amusing, And scary. When will humans come to a realization that this is not an awareness campaign?

I think it all boils down to one thing - that humans (okay, man) should try to be self-sufficient as much as possible and make it their lifestyle to avoid wastage - too much bags, too much clothes, too much food, too much of everything unnecessary every day of their lives. If Earth Day remains to be just about a few people campaigning relentlessly to an indifferent rest of the world (or worse, for its own benefits, like Walmart), I think this could be a lost battle.

And that's just a humble opinion of a self-sufficient bear.

18 April 2009

Susan Dreamed A Dream

I am so amazed at how one's life can change within 7 days. Susan Boyle, a odd-looking Scottish lady sang in Britain's Got Talent which was aired on 11 April 2009. Seven days on...

1. 20 million people have watched her performance on YouTube.
2. Her story appeared in newspapers in the UK, US, Canada, China, Germany, Macau, Australia, Korea and Portugal.
3. She was interviewed (via satellite) by major US channels ABC, CBS and Fox.
4. She has caught the attention of celebrities such as Demi Moore, Drew Barrymore and Patti LuPone (who's I Dreamed A Dream was the definite version in my humble opinion).
5. She has her page in Wikipedia.
6. She now has a fansite.
7. Sony BMG us now talking to her for a possible recording deal.

All in 7 short days.

So why did this humble lady with bushy eyebrows become such a worldwide phenomenon? I think the answer is simple: because humans still do not believe that beauty can come out of a odd-looking shell. Humans cannot comprehend why such a strong contrast can exist within the same person. In short, humans are still very much judgmental about others.

Imagine if Paul Potts is a dashing, irresistably handsome man and Susan Boyle is a sultry, sexy vamp, would people care at all? Perhaps not. So now they call them "inspiring" and place them under the tremendous pressure of having to be the role model of every one not-so-beautiful.

In many ways, it is unfair that they both have to work harder to earn the respect of other human beings than those who are deemed beautiful.

Anyhow, Paul Potts is now a millionaire living his dream, maybe Susan Boyle will follow soon.

13 April 2009

A Pair Of Couch Taros

Today was a good day. Mr. B. took a leave of absence from funny farm and spent the entire morning running around the city to get some official papers done for his brother who is immigrating. He was able to reach home before it rained hard around noontime.
We spent the rest of the afternoon watching Discovery Channel where they showed brown bears catching salmon by the river and other strange hunting practices of other species. Stranger to think that while mother nature provides quite enough for all other species eat and live, humans are the only ones who have to work, to dress, to cook and pay mortgage for the place they live.

Mr. B. made Taro and Chicken Pot for lunch, then indulged in snacks all afternoon (I hope D. is not reading this!). It was fun to just be cuddling (and yes we talked!) together on the sofa doing and thinking nothing.
This is one of those little things that made Mr. B. and I happy.

12 April 2009

He Rises And He Reigns

I know it's so late in the evening (well, morning to be precise) but this cuddly bear has done some reflections on life which is quite befitting considering it's Easter Sunday. Mr. B. told me today is Ascension Day which is probably the same as resurrection, meaning Jesus rose from the dead to return to his home in the spiritual world.

I actually find it quite confusing because some humans believe it and some don't. There are supposed to be a number of evidence to prove that it was real - such as a rock bearing the imprint of Jesus' right foot as he ascended to heaven, or a linen cloth bearing the image of a crucified man.

Regardless of what the truth might be, the world celebrates this day by decorating, rolling, pacing or tapping eggs. Also, rabbits come into the picture. So do colorful costumes and family picnics. I also learned that now, one cannot even call this day Easter Sunday anymore, but just plain Spring Holiday, so as to be politically correct. These make everything even more confusing for a naive bear like me.

Now you understand why I say humans are strange.

Video : Australian Christian pop band Newsboys singing He Reigns.

11 April 2009

Did He Die For Me Too?

Today is Good Friday. The day when Jesus was supposed to have been nailed to the cross and died for mankind. Today was just another day for Mr. B. He had an extended lunch meeting with his boss while chomping down on spaghetti with meatballs and half a roast beef wrap. I am sure it was just another day for many other people as well. When he came home tonight, he lighted two candles and wrote "I ate meat today and forgot that Jesus died for me" in his Facebook.

When he was a little boy, the Holy Week was far from being ordinary. Schools were closed. Shops were closed. There's nothing on TV except reruns of The Robe and some classic religious films. His mother would only serve fish and vegetables, no meat, and everyone at home would be somber.

Today, these things don't seem to mean anything to him anymore. I never knew Mr. B. as a religious person but I believe he is at least God-fearing. While not practicing his faith more fervently, I understand that he makes it a point to visit churches in the different countries he goes to in order to give thanks for the wonderful life he is blessed with. I guess as he grows older and wiser, he learned to be more spiritual in a more personal way, stripped of the practices he learned from his youth.

It makes me think. Did Jesus die for me too? Is there a place for me in heaven too? I sure hope so, because Mr. B. will be lonely without me by his side up there.

For now, I guess Mr. B. will just let his trials and tribulations sink in a gentle pool of wine...

Video: Steve Balsamo singing Andrew Lloyd Webber's Gethsemane.

08 April 2009

It's All Rubbish

Mr. B.'s life revolves around trash. No, I don't mean the people he work with although it's close to that (he he!). I mean garbage, or more precisely, the elimination of it. You see, in the area where we live, garbage is collected only on certain days of the week, only at the exact same time - 10.38pm, only at the exact same location and only for 10 short minutes. You miss the truck, you go back home carrying your bag of goodies.

I know it's strange to tell friends "I can't go out with you tonight because it's garbage collection day." But how can he tell people that the pile of garbage sitting in our apartment for a while has started a colony of strange creatures and he has to get rid of it fast! It won't be exaggeration to say that it has affected his social life. And I can't be of help either. What would people say seeing a cute, cuddly bear like me dragging a huge bag of trash in the streets?

Sometimes Mr. B. thinks it would be great if he could deal with people the same way - you can only talk to me on certain days of the week, only at certain times and only for 10 minutes. If you miss me, you have to wait for the next round. But the reality of life is that people dump their garbage on you anytime they feel like it, especially people at work.

In that sense, garbage trucks are better than humans.

06 April 2009

Tell It To My Face!

If humans are not strange enough, Chinese people are even stranger, and this does not mean to be condescending. It's just it. In my observation, these face-loving people can't seem to give or take criticism honestly and directly to the person concern. And in the human workplace, this is most often confused with tact.

Mr. B. looks tired and unhappy tonight after yet again taking another round of implied, indirect, packaged insults from someone at the workplace today. He thinks the other person is too cowardly to criticize him directly and had to go through some long and winding road creating more confusion than clarity. He said he was upset because this means that the ball is in his court and he doesn't know what to do with it. Insult and degradation wrapped with insincere sensitivity and concern. Does one ignore it? Act on it? Tell the other person off? Why can humans just be simple in the way they communicate? Why the need to veil it with false empathy?

I ask Mr. B. "Don't you think you are more cowardly than the other person? Why not just tell that person to tell it straight to your face?"

He nodded and said he wants to go to bed.

04 April 2009

Funny Farm Adventures

I have to say this again - humans are strange. Everyday, they go to one specific place to work for a living. A place comprising of other human beings of all sorts of shapes, sizes and characters. While most people would describe this place as "Hell", Mr. B. thinks of his place of work as a "Funny Farm". Here are some of the strange creatures to be found there (and these are HIS descriptions, not mine):

1. A trying-to-be-neo-holistic person who was suspected to have practiced voodoo rituals.
2. A clueless person who has been a corporate frozen delight forever.
3. A deadweight who finds consolation in a suspected illicit affair.
4. A broken record who can spend 30 minutes deciding where to eat.
5. A whining prima donna playing a victim's role.
6. A scheming person vested as a clown.
7. A frog waiting hopelessly for a prince.
8. A frog who can't wait to have tadpoles.
Those are just some of the many. Obviously, Mr. B. already made himself at home in the funny farm since he was able to survive 6 years in there, but he recently confessed to me that his tolerance does have a limitation, and the threshold is stupidity - defined as the property a person instantiates by virtue of having low intelligence or poor learning ability.

Mr. B. does not claim to be a genius himself but somehow, these patience testers do make his blood pressure go beserk. When he is out of luck, he would sometimes have to deal with 2 to 3 of these for a few days straight.

According to Walter B. Pitkin in his book A Short Introduction to the History of Stupidity:
"Stupidity can easily be proved the supreme Social Evil. Three factors combine to establish it as such. First and foremost, the number of stupid people is legion. Secondly, most of the power in business, finance, diplomacy and politics is in the hands of more or less stupid individuals. Finally, high abilities are often linked with serious stupidity."

I think Mr. B. is in serious trouble.


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