30 June 2009

Closures


They were called the Golden Couple. The Six Million Dollar Man and one of Charlie's Angels. They got married in July 1973, exactly 5 years after their very first date. It must have been a fairy tale wedding with more than 150 guests and held in Bel-Air Hotel in California.

Soon after, their respective careers took off. Farrah Fawcett-Majors starred in the hit series Charlie's Angels for a year. She also sold 12 million copies of that infamous poster in red bathing suit. Lee Majors already had an on-going successful TV series about a bionic man. But the pressure of stardom took its toll. Farrah's Charlie's Angels contract even stipulated that she had to be home every night by 6.30pm to cook dinner for her husband.

The Golden Couple finally divorced in February 1982 after more than 2 years of legal wrangling on who gets what. They never spoken to each other for 23 years.



In the meantime, Farrah met Ryan O'Neal, an actor better known for his good looks than for his acting ability. While they never got married, they were partners on and off from 1982 until her death in 2009. The reason for them not getting married seemed vague. Ryan was supposed to have proposed many times but was turned down. There were speculation that Farrah was afraid of commitment after a failed marriage and after being beaten by one-time boyfriend James Orr or by Ryan himself depending on which write up one wanted to believe.

When news about Farrah's cancer became public, Lee Majors tried to learned about his ex-wife's situation through friends. This past February, her birthday, he decided to call her for the first time in 23 years. They had a 40-minute phone conversation about her life, and the cancer and it was such a lovely moment for the two of them. It was a very good conversation. They joked, and they got a little bit emotional. If Lee hadn't called, they probably wouldn't be able to speak again.

A few days before Farrah died, Ryan proposed to her again. This time, she said "Yes".

28 June 2009

Always Be My Angel



"Once upon a time, there were 3 little girls who went to the police academy..."


Every week, Mr. B. would look forward to that evening when he would watch Sabrina Duncan, Kelley Garrett and Jill Munroe doing their private investigations under the supervision of Charlie, and of course Bosley. That was one of the highlights of his youth way back in the 1970's.


Charlie's Angels was a big hit back then. Even bigger was one of the stars of the show - Farrah Fawcett-Majors, then the wife of the Six Million Dollar Man, Lee Majors. Back then, everyone was familiar with that classic red bathing suit poster, and how many women tried to immitate that feathered hair? After only a little more than a year, Farrah left the show and new angels came and went - Cheryl Ladd, Shelley Hack, Tanya Roberts. But Farrah will always be remembered as one of the original angels. Forget the movies.


Farrah Fawcett at 62 succumbed to cancer on the same day Michael Jackson died of cardiac arrest. But I am sure she will forever live in the minds of many people as the most beautiful of Charlie's group of Angels.

26 June 2009

The World Shall Remember

The breaking news was in all morning programs this morning as Mr. B. was preparing to go to work. "Michael Jackson is dead." he told me with a very sad look. "I don't feel like going to work."

Michael Jackson. Never in the history of human beings (ok, mankind) has one person influenced so many generations across so many continents in the planet Earth. Even a 10-year old bear like me knows his music (I like his Ben in particular for obvious reason, although it was really about a nasty rat).

"How would you remember him?" I asked Mr. B.

"Many things! So many memories!," he replied. "I'll Be There, Rockin' Robin, The one and only Jackson 5 Christmas album which I had to borrow from my classmate, Give Love On Christmas Day, dancing to Thriller in discos with everyone immitating zombies, We Are The World of course, his first concert in Taiwan where many fans fainted because of heat and exhaustion even before the concert started, the ground-breaking Black or White video. Oh! and gloves! I use to wear that in the 80's too..."

"But you know what?" I said. "Some people remember him for other things too. His endless rhinoplasty, his whitening skin, trying to look like Diana Ross, Jordie Chandler, his dubious marriage with Lisa Marie Presley, how his children were conceived, Gavin Arvizo, People vs. Michael Jackson, millions of dollars in debt...those kinds of things."

"It's sad isn't it?" said Mr. B. "People called him a pervert when he was living then a legend after he died."

"Maybe there are 2 groups of people." I started to wonder.

"Maybe. But I know of only one. The one who remembers him for his music. In the end, it is all that matters. How you were able to influence other people's lives with yours." he said.

"Like I influenced yours?" I grinned.

"Yes," said Mr. B. "But you can't moonwalk."

I am sure history will be kind to Michael Jackson. Regardless of his eccentricities, I know people will always have fond memories of his music at some points in their lives. And like Mr. B. said, it is all that matters.

God bless your beautiful soul, MJ!

25 June 2009

A Case Of Oniomania


Your heart beats real fast once you set foot on the ground. Very quickly, you scan the environment. You check the map and make very swift decision on which direction to take your next step. Then you start to walk real fast, almost sprinting, until you arrive to your first destination. Very quickly, your eyes and brain suck in as much information as possible, deciding on your target. Once you spot your target, you walk, no, run to it, grab as many as possible, without much thinking (no, you don't have the luxury to think!). Next to run to the nearest cashier and whip out the magic plastic card so you can take your stuff out. Then you go for the next target, very quick!

That is not war strategy or Olympic competition. That's a human being let loose in a factory outlet.

What is this factory outlet that humans invented? It is a place for humans sicked with shopaholism, and it is a very contagious disease that results in serious amount of debt.

I do not understand why humans need more than 2 bags, 2 pairs of shoes, 2 pairs of pants or 2 bottles of cologne. Mr. B. has enough bottles of fragrances to last him another 5 years. He has bought shirts and shoes that he has stocked away and completely forgotten about. He has enough DVDs to open up a Blockbuster. And to think he is not even the worst kind!

I found it quite amusing that humans work so hard to spend their hard-earned money to buy things that their already have, more things that they probably don't need to have and even more things that they probably wouldn't ever use. But I guess I will never understand the bliss that comes with really spending the money you earn on something just because you can.

I overheard Mr. B. and D. planning a luxurious trip in the near future to visit the Mecca of the shopaholics - the Woodbury Commons Premium Outlet. All of 220 shops, name brands, up to 65% price off... I wish they will remember to buy me a shirt or something.

20 June 2009

The Fine Art Of Anger


Anger is defined as an emotional state that may range from minor irritation to intense rage, with physical effects of increased heart rate, blood pressure and level of adrenalin. It usually happens when one chooses to take an action to immediately stop the threatening behaviour of an external force - the unsuspecting party.

Bears get angry when other bears threaten to steal their salmons, or pose harm to their cubs. In order to avoid this confrontation, bears keep within their own territories. But I found that this could not be applied to humans as they must go to the farm to toil daily with other humans.

Mr. B. said he is angry today because he couldn't show his anger.

"Why not?" I asked.

"Because it's not worth it!" he replied.

Further investigation revealed that there were actually a number of things that made him irritated in the past few days:

1. Provocation from energy suckers - those who abuse his kindness to the point of disrespect.
2. Stupidity of others that wrongly reflects his own - the one unforgiveable characteristic no human can tolerate.
3. Misinterpretation of his intension - the frustration coming from the fact that no amount of explanation can ever correct this.
4, Narrow-mindedness being forced upon him - I don't understand why humans must be condescending to other humans who do not see things their way.

"But they are not worth increasing your blood pressure over!" I said with indignation. "It's time you take actions! Otherwise, you might as well write the word Welcome on your forehead and lie down by the door so people can step on you on their way in."

In fact, the course of action is very simple for each:

1. Be disrespectful back.
2. Keep saying "Don't you ever think?" enough times until it rings in the recipient's mind.
3. Say "That was not my intention. If you insist on thinking of it that way, it's your choice and it's your problem, not mine." Then take a sip of tea.
4. Totally ignore and do not respond or look at the person talking. Lean over and untie then re-tie your shoes. Better if you come back up 5 minutes later when the other person is gone. Point will be taken.

"Sounds exciting to me." Mr. B. replied.

"Just do it and report back to me next weekend!" I said as I turned away. I can now imagine the fear in the farm workers' eyes!

18 June 2009

This Ever-Spinning Playground


Mr. B. told me that one of the topics discussed at lunch today was child play. As a boy, Mr. B. enjoyed puppeteering (although he never actually used that term). Perhaps inspired by Sesame Street or maybe his early love for music and stage, he used to gather his brothers and sister on one side of the large bed and made every dolls and stuffed toys at home sing and dance (usually to Gloria Gaynor's Never Can Say Goodbye!). One of his favorite is a red and white teddy bear named Bonami ("good friend" in French). Although not particularly soft and cuddly as a result of several washings, Bonami was one of the mainstays in the song and dance routine. There were other characters, of course. Litlit and Loolit were "twins" 6-inch plastic dolls who would do a double dance as The Sisters (they also do air flips). On a much later stage, Cookie Monster (of Sesame Street) also made appearances but Mr. B. wouldn't put any cookies in his mouth for fear that it would stain the fabric.

Gone are those days. Litlit's head was detached and fell off the apartment window never to be found and Bonami mysteriously disappeared while Mr. B. was in college.

Some people would probably look at Mr. B. and think what a sad creature he is, and yes, there are people who shake their collective heads in disbelief. So what's wrong with being a child at heart? Must humans think of nothing else but their jobs and their mortgage? Must their minds be constantly filled with the worries of poor economy and failed government? To them I say, you are even sadder not to have a happy childhood to look back to.

To Bonami and friends, who I am sure are now all in Toys Heaven, I thank you for being a part of Mr. B.'s childhood. He is grateful for the boy that he was and the life that he had then. Now, having us with him, you can all rest assured he is in very good hands/paws.


14 June 2009

When I Think Of Home

In the musical The Wiz (based on The Wizard of Oz), Dorothy's farewell song Home is a particularly poignant one. Saying goodbye to her newfound friends the Tin Man, the Lion and the Scarecrow, she is now prepared to go back to the real world with the click of her shoes. Dorothy imagined her home to be a place where love is overflowing, where the wind makes the tall trees bend into leaning and where snowflakes sprinkles the scene. She longs to be back to the place with the things she's been knowing. Yet somehow, leaving her friends after a long journey together must have been hard. Should she stay? Should she leave?

While bears live in dens by themselves, humans have many other choices to stay refuge and store their food (and other valuables). They call them by different names too - apartment, flat, duplex, house, studio, mansion, villa, castle - depending on the size and the structure. Modern humans made the buying, selling and renting of these refuge into a huge business. The type of dwelling that one has also determines his or her socio-economic status with those who don't own their own space frowned upon. That is why it is not unknown for humans to work themselves to death or disown family members in order to have a property in their possession.

It makes me wonder. When God created the world and ask humans to populate it, did He actually required rent from them? Or perhaps pay by installment? Did he tell anyone that they have to suffer more in order to have a bigger lawn? Or ask them to pay tax to the leaders every year in order for the property not to be confiscated? I doubt it.

So why are humans so obsessed with it?

When Mr. B. adopted me about 10 years ago, I knew I found a home. Then my other bear friends arrive and we all became one big, happy family. I couldn't care less if Mr. B. owns the place or not, or if we ever need to move to another place. As long as we are together, I believe I am always home.

Going back to The Wiz, the song Home is one of my favorites. Mr. B. said it always makes him cry to hear that song. He said the song has a very special meaning to him - being away from his family for a long time. Maybe just like Dorothy, Mr. B. doesn't know whether to click his shoes or not. Or maybe he is not sure where it might lead him. But I will hold on tightly to him. Because he is my home.


Video: American Idol finalist Melinda Doolittle singing Home

10 June 2009

Specks Of Bother


I've been reading Joe Orton's What The Butler Saw in the last few days (okay, so maybe not ALL bears read but I do and I am on my last few pages). It is a two-act farce about a bell-boy caught in a dizzying carnival of chaos in a madhouse. A true display of human animality, I would say. I assume every living humans has read this otherwise you don't deserve to read this blog. Okay, I am just kidding. But really, the more I read, the more I am amazed at the absurdity of humans.

Tonight, Mr. B. appears quite upset about something. "A lot of things." he said. So i tried to be Doctor Prentice and ask him to make a list of the things that is bothering him this very moment. Here is his list:

1. The house is a mess.
2. I am late in paying the telephone bills.
3. I want to kill a rabbit in the farm.
4. I am fat and I need to go to the gym.
5. My cleaner is ill and I don't know how to help her.
6. My cousin hasn't called about the house in Gulang Island.
7. I have to pay so much money for income tax this year.
8. I have to get my hypertension medication.

Suddenly, I am lost for words. None of these things he mentioned ever happened to me. Perhaps these are human experiences. Humans have to deal with things we bears don't have to - pay bills, pay tax, deal with stupid rabbits, be a friend, be a son, be a lover, be a healthy person. I would probably go mad if I had to worry all about these trivial human things in my little head.

So I just give him a nice, warm bearhug and told him everything will be just fine (like they always say in American movies, even if the person being addressed to is dying).
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I wish I could help him like D. always does, but for now I am sure he will appreciate my being here with him. I may not be able to clean up his house, but I will try to clean up those little specks of bother in his life. I promise I will.

08 June 2009

The Cooking Therapy


Mr. B. enjoys cooking, Although not a particularly great one, he always thought of cooking as a therapy. It keeps his mind away from the hustle and bustle of daily living. It is also a way for him to bond with very close friends.

Yesterday (Sunday), Mr. B. decided to invite 2 friends over for lunch. He was to cook Filipino food for them. Knowing him, he usually prepares about 2 days in advance for the menu and for buying stuff. Then he would spend all night chopping and cutting and making everything from scratch.

Too bad he was already feeling a bit unwell on Friday evening blaming the faulty air-conditioning in the farm that made him freeze in one minute and sweating the next.

Anyhow, after hours and hours of stewing, boiling, frying and sauteing, he was able to come up with 4 dishes and a side dish (not in the picture). To make the occasion more authentic, only Filipino music were played in our house all day. Let me try to describe what he served that day:

Classic Pork Adobo - this is one dish that every Filipino needs to master in his own way. Pretty much like every family in Korea has their own recipe of kimchi! Mr. B. tried this dish many, many times but felt he hasn't perfected it just yet. This means D. will have to endure more Pork Adobo days in the future. It sounds very simple really, pork cooked in vinegar, peppercorn. salt, a dash of soy sauce, achuete and dried bay leaves. This is usually cooked the night before and left there to enhance its flavors. But to get it right, one has to be able to get the right mixture of everything.

Beef in Tamarind Broth with Radish and Morning Glory - this one is requested by Mr. B.'s friend. Philippine's answer to Thailand's Tom Yang Gung minus the spicy red broth. The soup is made sour by tamarind which makes one sweat real good. D. cannot take more than one bowl of this hair-raising sourness.

Taro Leaves in Coconut Milk - a dish from the Eastern region, it is made with dried taro leaves (others made this with fresh leaves) and cooked in rich coconut milk seasoned with shrimp paste. This one is an acquired taste.

Chicken Cacciatore - this is Italian and not Filipino. Mr. B.'s original intention was to make honey-cured chicken (like ham) but thought that it will take so much time to grilled all the chicken he bought. He ended up improvising this with canned tomatoes, olives and Italian spices.

(Side Dish) Pork in Shrimp Paste - made with the fatty portions of the pork as well as pork rind, this delicious side dish was place farthest away from D. on the table so Mr. B. won't be seen digging into pork fat all the time.

So lunch was a happy one with and people were able to catch up on the latest. It was the washing and cleaning afterwards that made Mr. B. sicker.

06 June 2009

Razzle Dazzle 'Em

One of the most memorable scene in the musical Chicago is Razzle Dazzle where lawyer Billy Flynn uses his showmanship skills to make a spectacle out of accused Roxie Hart's murder trial thus winning her sympathy votes who was eventually proclaimed innocent and acquitted.

The strategy here is that you cover up the truth with the magic of lights and sounds, and thus even for a short time blind people from reality and get away with it. As Billy Flynn said, "It's all a circus. The whole world is showbusiness!"

Mr. B. was told me today that he needs to put up a show. A circus. A performance. Perhaps even like no other he has ever done before. For what reason, I asked? Well, to entertain a group of humans who has been toiling so hard for the farm lately. Bluntly put, to dazzle them with spectacles so any imperfections and frustrations be forgotten for a while. So Mr. B. has to form a group of jesters and plan for a performance worthy of Tony Awards Night.

Aren't humans so gullible? More amazing is that they allow themselves to believe and won't see right through the grand display. Anyway, perhaps I am talking gibberish here. I am confident that Mr. B. will show them the first rate sorcerer that he is.

Razzle Dazzle
John Kander/Fred Ebb

Give ‘em the old razzle dazzle, razzle dazzle ‘em
Give ‘em an act with lots of flash in it
And the reaction will be passionate
Give ‘em the old hocus pocus, bead and feather ‘em
How can they see with sequins in their eyes?

What if your hinges all are rusting?
What if, in fact, you're just disgusting ?
Razzle dazzle 'em and they'll never catch wise!

Give 'em the old razzle dazzle, razzle dazzle 'em
Give 'em a show that's so splendiferous
Row after row will grow vociferous
Give 'em the old flim flam flummox, fool and fracture 'em
How can they hear the truth above the roar?

Throw 'em a fake and a finagle
They'll never know you're just a bagel
Razzle dazzle 'em and they'll beg you for more!

Give 'em the old double whammy, daze and dizzy 'em
Back since the days of old Methuselah
Everyone loves the big bambooz-a-ler
Give 'em the old three ring circus, stun and stagger 'em
When you're in trouble, go into your dance

Though you are stiffer than a girder
They let you get away with a murder
Razzle dazzle 'em and you've got a romance!

Give 'em the old razzle dazzle, razzle dazzle 'em
Show 'em the first rate sorcerer you are
Long as you keep 'em way off balance
How can they spot you got no talents?
Razzle dazzle 'em and they'll make you a star!


Video Credit : Miramax Motion Pictures

03 June 2009

Eating Sydney

Mr. B. always say that inspite of his brain being Western, his stomach has always been and will always be Chinese. Whenever he travels, he likes trying the various local delicacies each country has to offer (no wonder his Chinese tummy is getting so big!), but after a few days, he will start craving for rice, noodles and anything that reminds him of home.


During our recent holidays, we were invited to a Taiwanese restaurant called Blue Eye Dragon owned by a mother-daughter team Jade and Muriel Chen and managed by Mr. B.'s dear friend James Lin. Not your usual greasy Chinese restaurant located in Chinatown, Blue Eye Dragon is located in the inner-city suburb of Pyrmont.


Frequented by Sydneysiders more than local Chinese, this award-winning restaurant offers authentic Taiwanese cuisine in a classy and cozy environment great for a quiet, romantic dinner for 2 or for a group of friends.


Mr. B., D. and their Australian friend M. sampled some of the more popular dishes offered by the venue including Deep Fried Chicken (with Basil and Chinese Five Spice), Pork Dumpling with Chives, Ginger and Shallot, Calamari Rolls with Salted Duck Egg and Seaweed (Mr. B.'s favorite), Salt and Pepper Soft Shell Crab and Tofu Stuffed with Minced Pork and Prawn on Hot Plate (Mr. B. says a Chinese meal is never complete without a tofu dish).


After dining, Mr. B. even had the chance to meet Jade Chen, the matriach of Blue Eye Dragon to complement her on the wonderful food. If it were not a bit drizzling and cold that evening, it would be even more wonderful to walk down Harris Street to the Pyrmont Point Park overlooking the Johnstons Bay, which is just a few meters away from the restaurant.


Blue Eye Dragon is located in 42 Harris Street, Pyrmont. If you fancy trying one of their dishes at home, you can also buy the book.



Since bears are not allowed in the venue (I would have been interested to try their Queensland Wild Caught Barramundi with House Fish Sauce), I stayed in the hotel that night, watched TV and had room service.



Video and photo : www.blueeyedragon.com.au

01 June 2009

Don't You Want Me Baby?


Among the many things that Mr. B and D. did during their holiday was to go clubbing, something they never had many chances to do in Taiwan. Being a club DJ for a couple of years in the distant past, Mr. B. was definitely pleased to be able to explore the latest and the trendiest.

The Sunday they went to the club was a Retro Sunday when nothing but music from the 1970' and the 1980's were played. It was such a nostalgic experience for Mr. B. whose "life soundtrack" consists mostly of Euro-pop, New Romantics, synthpop, New Wave, hi-NRG and the likes. It was even more amazing for him to see the original videos being played along with the music. For just a few moments, Boy George, Donna Summer, Kylie Minogue and Phil Oakey were so young again.

Phil Oakey is the lead singer of the group Human League, one of most popular British act during their time. Mr. B. always thought Phil Oakey was cool wearing make-up, earrings and lopsided hair - things Mr. B. never dared to do in his youth (well, he said he did wear his hair on one side and shaved on the other at some point). Anyhow, one of Mr. B. fondest memory was his organizing a large fashion show (called Dancing In The Nile) for the establishment he worked for before coming to Taiwan and one of the songs used in the show was Human by Human League.

All of a sudden, Mr. B. realized that his most beloved era, the 1980's, is almost 30 years ago! How could time passed so rapidly and so quietly? So what happened to all these people he used to admire and idolize? A quick search in the net shows a fat and bald Boy George and a 60-year old Donna Summer. But Phil Oakey was a different story. From the androgynous glam look he sported in the 1980's complete with lipstick, eyeliner and dangling earring, he is now a shaved (head), Armani suit wearing gentleman in his early 50's. Mr. B. thinks he is still so cool at his age. And judging from the videos of his recent live performances, he still sound pretty much the same.
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Mr. B. told me he felt a bit gloomy knowing that time can indeed be harsh on some people. "Do you think D. will still want me when I am in my 50's? or even 60's?" he asked.
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"I don't know. But I know you will still dance to Human League when the time comes." I replied. "And I sure will still be around to dance with you."

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