May 31, 2010

Remembering Gary Coleman and Dennis Hopper

Coleman’s road was both more and less difficult than those of his cast mates. He was unquestionably a superstar, overshadowing them with his radiant charisma and boundless energy, but the kidney condition that enabled him, even as a teen, to play the world’s most precocious little brother on TV also complicated his life in ways most of us will never understand. We, his fans, grew up and moved on, but he stayed down there, stuck in a show-business netherworld, his increasingly incongruous physical appearance a source of lasting amusement to certain people my age, but never to me. (Click Remembering Gary Coleman w/o irony.)

Also, Dennis Hopper's photographs in Vanity Fair

May 30, 2010

First sister Kris Aquino

SCB: You called Pastor Quiboloy your best friend before he endorsed Gibo (Teodoro)...
KA: Ay inaway ko siya after. Tinext ko siya, “We could’ve been best friends. Ngayon friend na lang, not so close pa.”

SCB: Did he answer?
KA: Yes, sabi niya “You know that in my heart you’re my friend and Noy.” Tapos sinabi ko sa kanya “Not so. Na-miss mo ‘yung friendship.” (The rest of the interview at Manila Bulletin.)


Sound bites

POLITICS is one helluva nasty business!

You’re suddenly surrounded by groupies all trying to paint you as God’s gift to humanity, but clearly just enjoying the free food you serve after every campaign rally.

Then you have your family members at one point, trying to dissuade you from pursuing your candidacy for fear of your safety and that of the family’s. But when your victory seems inevitable, they quickly entertain thoughts of which interior designer to call and measure the windows in your new office for the new drapery.

You also have close friends giving you all sort of contrarian advice just to add more to your confusion on what policy measures to adopt once you are declared the winner. Of course, all these so-called buddies will probably be the first to line up and try to get appointments in your government, or at least get a business contract or two even before you’ve warmed your political seat.

* * * * *

Politics is all about relationships: forming new ones, letting go of those that don’t work, and trying to make the most advantage of the ones still remaining —all in the pursuit of power and administering control of governments or businesses.

And amid the cementing of alliances, there will also be treachery. Two major candidates in the last elections have already publicly experienced that bitter truth. The six-month exercise showed exactly who their real friends and supporters were, and who had stabbed them in the back for the backstabber’s own selfish goals.

For one, you had a presidential candidate who junked his own godfather's political party which he was to inherit at some point, in favor of his President's party of thieves. Unfortunately, the presidentita's own consort supported another presidential candidate in a bid to protect their own family’s financial interests and secure their protection from possible lawsuits.

Then you had a vice presidential candidate who gave his all-out support to his party’s standard-bearer, only for the latter to leave him by the wayside to his own devices. And despite the standard-bearer's own half-hearted announcements of support to his VP candidate, he declined to whip his own family members and groupies in line who supported a corrupt candidate instead.

As noted film director Jean Renoir once said: “Is it possible to succeed without any act of betrayal?”

* * * * *

IN my own case, I’m glad the electoral exercise is over.

As usual, we had to contend with the megalines, hot heads complaining about their missing names, and suffering teachers that seem to be part and parcel of every election. Thank God, the polls were generally flawless, and the results quick enough to determine clear winners, although as of this writing, the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms is still hearing allegations of electoral fraud.

But it’s understandable how many of us were simply putting our lives on the hold, declining to make major business decisions or even taking trips despite it being the summer vacation season, as we were all uneasy about the elections.

I, too, had to bump off a few appointments, and my standard response to lunch/dinner invites from friends would be “after the elections na lang ha?” just to drive home the point how much the run-up to the political exercise was dominating my life.

For another, I wasn’t able to sleep my usual eight-hour beauty rest because I was tethered to my Mac updating a blog aimed at informing the public with news, surveys and other data about their favorite candidates. Stress eating and lack of exercise were also taking its toll on my health, e.g., a three-month cough that wouldn’t quit until I finally managed to catch up on my sleep starting last weekend.

Now I’m back to my asleep-at-2am-and-awake-at-10am routine, still enough time to catch Ted Failon and Pinky Webb giggling and throwing furtive glances at each other on dzMM Teleradyo. (I must agree with Manong Johnny, who by the way, I mistakenly voted for—long story, don’t ask—when he told the radio couple, “Bagay na bagay kayo!” Manong Johnny is very happy!)

* * * * *

MY own relationships with idiot relatives and some so-called friends were also getting caught up in the heat of the debates, especially since we had supported different candidates.

How I wish I belonged to an entrepreneurial family where members gather and agree to support different candidates to protect their business interests. For instance, in one political/business family with interests in the banking industry during the Marcos regime but are also considered power brokers today, two brothers supported the fake impoverished presidential candidate, while their youngest brother placed his bet on the candidate whose only claim to fame is having famous parents.

So no matter which presidential candidate wins the election, this family’s businesses are safe. They’ve kept their eye on the bigger prize, and the entire family won. With such an understanding, no one gets hurt if one brother airs his views favoring his own candidate over his other brother’s bet, and vice versa.

Unfortunately, as I discovered in my case, some family members turned out to be users and were only loyal to whoever gave them the most funds for their campaign, instead of being grateful to the one who nurtured their careers in the first place. Yes, I hear you...that’s politics. But I simply detest such hypocrisy and their defense of the crooked politician they had attached themselves to. I now wonder if it’ll ever be safe for me to go home to my province after this.

Some of the campaign issues also divided a few buddies and me and have resulted in some irreconcilable differences. I know, I know, people always say that the safest discussion is nonpolitical talk.

On Facebook alone, a couple of long-time friends have been unmasked as traitors to the cause, and have thus been either deleted/blocked or walled out by my extremely high-privacy settings. (It’s silly, I know, but on Facebook, it’s much easier to detect who is being true to his word, or just giving you a whole lot of BS for the sake of friendship.) Some I caught telling me one thing privately, and seeking alliances and, right on their wall, saying exactly another.

I’ve been spied at bitched at, and lied to, but then, yes, I only have myself to blame for being so vocal about my own opinions.

Perhaps, when we’ve all become too busy again to care whether the President-elect takes his oath before a barangay captain or a ship captain, some of these broken fences will be mended again. Then again, maybe not.

(Unabridged version of my column May 28, 2010. Something Like Life is published every Friday in the Life section of the BusinessMirror.)

May 19, 2010

I'm baaack!

HEY there folks! Sorry I've neglected this blog for quite some time. I had to focus on the elections and informing the voters about voting procedures and all news about their favorite candidates. The counting may not yet be over esp for the Presidential and Vice Presidential slots, but at least the pressure to publish timely news for my readers over there has eased.

In fact, it's been quite a sleepless period for me since I put up Pulitika2010 in January as I had to upload news and opinion pieces from various newspapers and broadcasting networks from 12 midnight until close to 5 a.m. If I happen to nod off in between those times, w/c I sometimes do as my brain just automatically shuts off, my work sometimes ends at 7 am instead. The effect was a really crabby me (okay, more than the usual crabbiness), and a persistent cough that didn't go away 'til I finally got my 8 hours of straight sleep last weekend.

Many readers have asked me if I intend to continue that blog, but I'm not inclined to as I'm still super tired. I need a vacation quick. Besides I put up that blog merely to inform the public about their candidates and other electoral issues. And since the elections are now over...well, let's see. There is a need to keep a close watch on the new President after all. Ach. Btw, I did enjoy learning how to tweet the news, although it can be quite obsessive. I don't know if I should use Twitter for this blog as well, but lemme assess in the next few days if it's necessary.

Anyhoo, I'm back (key in Poltergeist theme here), and I promise to resume writing about my favorite topics like food and travel soon enough. Meanwhile, here's a cute video from Glee (yay Glee!). Try to spot a favorite Filipino brand in the background. Enjoy!

May 08, 2010

Magic tricks

(Due to technical issues, BusinessMirror's April 30, 2010 issue wasn't published online. Here's my column from that edition.)

Something Like Life
I’M hardly the fashion plate that will give Carrie Bradshaw a run for her money, but I think I know all about correct proportions and style. This means, I have enough good taste (and common sense) to know whether a piece of clothing looks good on me or not (and for that matter, other women).

As a woman matures and takes on Rubenesque proportions, for instance, there are just some types of clothing or fashion trends that just scream, “HELL NO!”

For instance, there’s nothing more tragic than a 160-pound woman—60 pounds of which rests on her thighs—wearing leggings. I curse the designers that have brought this article of clothing back in fashion again! The last time I wore leggings was about 30 years ago when I was 30 pounds lighter, and I don’t intend to get suckered into this trend again.

But strangely enough, there are some huge women who think if they wear their leggings in black, their gams will look as thin as a walis tingting. Leggings are clingy…it’s still gonna hug your fat thighs hon!

Another pet peeve is seniors who think they can get away with wearing mini-skirts just because they had become recent beneficiaries of scientific breakthroughs. They’ve been freshened up, top up – meaning the boobs have been adjusted to defy gravity, then their faces are line-free and unmoving – and feel they now have a right to show off their spindly legs to the world.

Sure I can understand that a 60-year-old woman who’s just been pinched, pulled and Botoxed can be deluded into believing she is 30 years younger. So she will dare to fit into the skimpy bikini (despite her C-section) or raise her hemline that reflect the inflation rate.

But you know what they say, you can tell a woman’s real age by looking at her knees. So, old dears, next time you get your faces pulled and your lips plumped up, consider having your knees snipped and smoothened over as well. Remember, the knees are covered with skin as well, and as we move into our twilight years, they too will become all wrinkly and saggy just like our faces.

(Have some patience when trying on jeans. Carefully choose the style that will slim down your problem areas or accentuate the positive. From NYT)

You see girlfriends, we just have to be a little more honest with ourselves. When we reach a certain age (or weight), we have to dress and behave more modestly or more appropriately. Sure, we may still have the same bubbly personality as when we were adolescents or when we were just 110 pounds, that doesn’t mean we have to dress the same way as we did then.

I’m not saying we should start wearing granny sweaters any time soon or simply stay at home wearing our dasters. We just need to learn to be more fashionable despite our, uhm…flaws and maturity level. (Also, we ought to be more conscious about how our manner of dressing can affect our friends and family members. As I sometimes tell my 82-year-old mom when I see her try out a dress and the hemline is above her knees, “Ma, bigyan mo ako ng konting kahihiyan!”)

For instance, when I started noticing that I no longer could fit into even the large sizes at the teenage section of my favorite department store, I knew it was time to walk in the foosteps of David Copperfield. See, we women are multi-talented – we can be anything we want to be, even master illusionists! All we need to do is trick everyone’s minds into seeing/believing that we are thinner than we actually are.

So if you have a bit of a paunch, you may consider ditching the two-piece bikini and go for one-piece bathing suits. There are so many colorful and amazing designs for one-piece swimsuits these days, sometimes they’re actually more interesting to wear than the two-piece types. And swimsuit designers have become more creative and imaginative, fabricating pieces that cover up most women’s imperfections – pouchy bellies, teeny boobies, giant boobies, heavy thighs, large waists, etc. You just have to have enough patience to keep trying on those swimsuits until you find the perfect one for you.

If you still want to wear your two-piece swimsuits, go buy yourself a pair of board shorts. So instead of having all those extra layers of blubber spill out over your teensy bikini, the board shorts will keep them all tucked in and well-behaved.

Now if you have love handles, don’t wear a girdle then squash yourself into a pair of tight jeans. Tight jeans around a fleshy middle will push up your abdominal fat and make it bunch up on top of your pants creating that horrible phenomenon called the muffin top! If you must wear jeans, use one that is low cut and sits just below the waist so it will free up your tummy instead of squeezing it.

(There are many swimsuits that are flattering even to the plus-size women.)

Also, if you’re a bit hefty you shouldn’t wear a top made with Lycra. The stretchy fibers will cling to your body and unless you’re wearing Spanx that reaches your boob line, you will look like sausage meat being squeezed out of its casing.

Speaking of Spanx, a number of American women swear by it. For those who don’t know what it is, Spanx is a line of undergarments that shape the body. It’s no longer your run-of-the-mill panty girdles that will flatten the tummy but make you feel asphyxiated and uncomfortable all day. It has tummy tuckers, slimming camisoles that give you some lift up there, power pantyhose that keeps all those extra fats—from your limbs to your tummy—in line, etc. Of course, Spanx became more popular after Oprah Winfrey promoted it on her show. Now it has a line for men as well. (Why men would want to wear Spanx is another story altogether.)

Another pet peeve…seniors who insist on wearing sleeveless shirts or halter-tops. All that saggy skin under the arms makes them look like they’ve grown batwings. Please limit yourself to short sleeved shirts, or if you’ve got the financial resources, have those batwings snipped ASAP!

One last trick…if you have heavy legs but love to wear jeans, consider buying a pair in a solid dark color like black or blue-black. It will create the illusion that you have slim legs, especially if you wear it with heels. See, with just a few magic tricks, we can stay fashionable despite our defects. What’s that song again? “It’s just an illusion…ooh, ooh, ooh, ahah!”

(My column, Something Like Life, is published every Friday in the Life section of the BusinessMirror.)