Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Art and Science (or lack of it) of Parenting, haha!

It was Children’s Day at the Bank about two weeks ago and we were supposed to bring our kids to work for them to see what we do at the office. I was surprised to realize I no longer have a “kid” to bring. “Kids” is up to 14 and Ovid is already 19, going 20 in September. Besides, he was not eager to see where I work. He is busy.

Maybe it’s a typical attitude among parents to assume that kids stay as our “baby” forever. But each day we feel their efforts to assert themselves, to show us that they have started to live their own lives (except when they need money, haha!). I could sense Ovid doing that: he always has his own schedule, his own views about anything, his own perspective, his own preferences, his own things to do.We share the love for books and reading, for hanging out at bookstores, for discussions and debates, for chatting about everything.

We share the passion for history, especially military history. We spend time. We bond regularly. But in all of these, I could always feel his ways and views about things in the universe are getting away from my orbit, especially on things political. He seems to stand on the Right in contrast to my essentially centrist views. But I couldn’t really complain because he always has something from the mists of history to back his own conclusions. I mean, he knows the Greek and Roman civilization more than I do!

And boy does he hate boxing, mixed martial arts and contact sports—things that I really am crazy about!“But you always wanted me to be an independent person, to be my own man,” he stressed. “You always told me to think critically, to assess things and decide for myself. That’s what I’m doing and you should be happy about that.”

That’s so true. It’s not because I’m a liberal who wish my child to create his own destiny, to reach his potentials in his own way. Well, that too. But the other reason is that I got married so young and clueless how it is to be a parent the “right way.” So I didn’t really know how to “guide” Ovid except to tell him to consult with us all the time so we could figure out together the answers to life’s day-to-day questions. And it seems like the arrangement is working just fine. So far.

I mean, the boy is no rotten teenager. Like most teenagers, he is crazy about computer games, Japanese anime, and social networking. But overall, he is a nice fellow, sweet to his mom, unspoiled, sensitive, responsible, and sensible. No complaints really, except that he doesn’t have a girlfriend yet.“Well, if you have to wrestle with advanced calculus and physics, you may not want to complicate your life much further,” he said.

The boy has a point there, I must concede.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Brian Viloria's killer right from Hell (We have a new world boxing champion)

Brian Viloria has certainly found the fire back. He knocked Ulysses Solis in the 11th round. Those lunging overhand right after a stiff left jab was the killer. It was there all morning, complemented by a nice left uppercut.

Solis came well prepared, wit his stiff jabs, and a right uppercut counters as Viloria came that found their mark, most often below that belt. Solis also tried to end the brawl with body shots, in an effort to weaken and finish off Viloria especially in the 7th round.

But Brian’s right straight kept on landing on Solis chin, followed by an uppercut as Solis tries to clinch. Solis seems to have abandon defense, sensing he was the more powerful guy. It was only a matter of time before one of them falls.

By the 8th round, Solis was trying to press the action with body shots and right straights, while Viloria simply trying to counter with left cross and right straights, his bread and butter punch. Before the round ended, however, two left jabs hit, Solis mid-section, momentarily stunning him. Solis is weak at the midsection? Still it was a Solis round when he almost decked Brian down with a right to the head as the round came to an end.

By round nine, Brian’s straight right kept on connecting to Solis chin, followed by left cross to the head. Solis practically had no defense against it. One wonders why Solis was still standing. He tried to press the action but it was obvious he was on panic mode. He needed to score a KO before the other guy did. By round 10, Solis accelerated his aggression with most of his punches landing on the shoulders, sides, and gloves of Brian. He probably felt he needed a knock out to win.

By 11th round, Brian kept on throwing his right straights off a left jab and Solis caught them all on his chin. But Solis was the champion, a proud one, and the only thing he knew about winning was by coming forward. He lunged off a feint by Brian hoping to land his Sunday best, only to run smack into a killer right straight from Hell. He slumped like a sack of potatoes, his head hitting the canvas, staying there way beyond the count.

They don’t call Brian Villoria “Hawaiian Punch” for nothing.

We have a new boxing champion.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The books we read (Or why men love bitches)

A friend one time asked me for book titled “Why men love bitches.” I was shocked to learn the title was not available in all the bookstores I called.

“It’s selling like hotcakes,” a Powerbooks staff told me.

“You mean all the girls these days want to be bitches?”

It’s probably a zeitgeist, the spirit of the age. About a decade or two ago, girls in my circles were crazy about the works of Antonio Gramsci, Franz Fanon, Karl Marx and other “socially relevant” writers. They wanted to reengineer society. Now, many simply want to be “bitches,” to be winners in life, be it in the realm of relationships, business, or career.

Times have changed. Apparently, Francis Fukuyama didn’t call the collapse of Berlin Wall “the end of history” for nothing.

But come to think of it, zeitgeist actually shapes our reading habits—or at least, my reading habits. Not the other way around.

Recently, I found myself reading books about snipers (War of the Rats; One Shot, One Kill, Sniper One, Point of Impact). I seemed to have lost interest in political economy, international trade, or globalization. Maybe it’s because all these books are proving to be inadequate to explain the global financial and economic mess were are in. Remember Alan Greenspan’s “The Age of Turbulence”? Or Thomas Friedman’s “The World Is Flat?” I use to read these types of books. Since September 2008, however, they all started to look like the works of charlatans.

Why books on snipers? It’s probably an escapist thing, a passing fancy.

In these times of uncertainty, however, books on snipers are getting to be interesting. In the world of a sniper, a problem is analyzed through a 12-power scope and solved with a well-placed shot. The world is simple: you are either on the right side the barrel, or the wrong side.

I still keep Plato’s the Republic at my bedside, though.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

At the coffee shop

Just another crazy poem, hehe... Sometimes you can't help but see scenes like this.

Her lush ebony strands of hair,
Stream down like lingering lust
Over a tight frame caressed by summer.
Her piercing eyes burn like ember,
Her rippling flesh struggles
Against tank tops and barbarians’ trousers—
White silken, flowing garments,
As thin as heathens' prayers.
She’s a bewitching happy face;
Like a mermaid’s midnight song.
An angel from the heavens,
In a sinner's thong.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Lilith

We all write crazy poems and I do wrote mine. In fact, I do it all the time just for the heck of it. Creative expression? Angst? Whatever. You may read it if you have time to waste. Ha ha!

The lilith crept up my nightmares
Through a narrow bridge unlit.
She came in drifting
Like a ghost from Innana's lair,
A beguiling striptease in the wind
Sweeping across the rugged hills,
An earthly lover in ghostly realm.

But like the morning mist,
She slips through my claws
As the roosters break the dawn.
With a temptress' smile she fades away
From the last strands of darkness
To escape the warmth of day.

Because she is a lilith
From the twilight of history,
A tormentor of ruthless hunters,
Who comes dressed as Ishtar's daugther,
She slips stealthily into the night
To posses men's hopes and dreams,
Across a heartless bridge unlit.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Penalosa versus Lopez, Margarito versus Mosley: new entries in my boxing blog

Could Gerry PeƱalosa beat Juan Manuel Lopez? Will the Shane Mosley suffer the fate of Miguel Cotto in Sunday’s boxing with Antonio Margarito? You may read my thoughts on boxing in my new blog entitled “Sweet Science.”

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Next Manny Pacquiao

Is Bernabe Conception the next Pacquiao? You may read my take in my other blog called Sweet Science.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The global financial crisis and its impact up close and personal

I sure did expect that the global financial crisis would somehow touch people’s lives in very personal ways. But International Herald Tribune's story (January 1, 2009) on how the crisis in the US is turning divorce on its head shocked me.

In normal times, divorcing couples sell their house and divide what is left after paying the mortgage. Or a partner buys out the other to maintain possession of the house. Then each one moves on with his or her life. But with the collapse of the house prices, many couples find that the values of their homes are less than what they owe the banks. There is no money to divide if they have to sell the house. There is no money to start afresh.

Result? Some estranged couples, many of them undergoing divorce proceedings, have to continue staying in the same roof. There are cases, the story says, where the husband has to occupy the first floor and the wife the second, with each of them bringing in a new lover, thus adding a new layer of complexity in their relationships.

A tragic dimension to this global financial storm, shall I say.

But let me digress. That story also reminds us what really drives social policy on marriage and divorce. Somehow, economics plays a great part in estranged couples’ decision whether or not to part ways. When a country has reach a point where its economy provides enough economic options for each, or specifically for the women, there would be greater clamor for divorce’s legalization.

In the Philippines, women’s groups have been crying for the legalization of divorce but to no avail. There is simply no political market for such a policy—at least not yet. A suffering partner, most likely the woman, would simply grin and bear a lousy marriage knowing that her life would be economically worse if she leaves the conjugal house. But wait until the country’s per capita GDP has reached a certain level (and let me hazard a guess: 5000 US dollars), and there would be massive clamor for divorce. That seems to be a long way to go, however.