Friday, February 20, 2009

BLOGGIN BAILOUTS: $25 billion to Wells Fargo—zero to the people, Bill Gates’ “awesome” joke, Mark Cuban’s cool gig, and my 99 Cents Store stories

CALIFORNIA lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on budget. So a planned layoff of up to 20,000 California workers that has been called off last week as lawmakers continued to debate budget issues by week’s end may push through, after all.
Then the news heaved and ebbed—now, the people will have to vote over it, I think come middle of May? Okay, I got bored following the news—so after I filed my last news update two nights ago, I sunk myself in my “cave-room” and watched my day’s supply of Redbox ($1) and Netflix movies ($23+ for unlimited supply each month).
The sunny state is facing a nearly $42-billion deficit projected by the middle of next year, and more workers are expected to get laid off within the month—but what should I do? Take it easy, of course—and enjoy my 99 Cents Store and Food4Less visitations (I just got a cool rock ‘n roll poetry collection at $1 and filled up two boxes of “10 for $10” groceries for relatives back home).
It such a quiet delight within to send love to family and kin in Manila each month via these stuff and things. Then, I pacify myself with PBRs, grilled cherry clams, and sappy but entertaining movies (like “Swing Vote” and my old “Gods Must Be Crazy”/”Three Stooges” collection, for example). Last night, I saw a movie adaptation (by Fernando Meirelles, “The Constant Gardener,” “City of God”) of Nobel laureate Jose Saramago’s novel, “Blindness” (Ensaio sobre a Cegueira).
I try not to be such a smartass critic whenever I watch a movie because that’s the only way to enjoy movies, you know.

BACK TO REALITY. State Senator Alan Lowenthal, a Democrat from Long Beach, calls this latest California “budget deficit” conjecture “a catastrophe of unbelievable proportions.” Yes, desperate fathers killing their wives and kids—and themselves—because, after losing their jobs, they don’t see light of hope anymore. State employees reporting for work with no pay in re California’s furlough program (says a DMV staff, “I have to show my boss that I deserve not to be paid off”).
But how do politicians solve the problem? THIS—financial giant Wells Fargo got $25 billion in bailout (or taxpayers’) money one day, the next day it bought Wachovia for $12 billion.
Blatantly immoral, inhuman.

BUT THINGS should be okay, somehow. My monthly readings (with co-Nomad of 4th Street poet buddy, Dan Romo) at Viento y Agua Café & Gallery and Borders Bookstore in Long Beach make me feel like life is not that bad, after all. We even have our own merchandise now—cool t-shirts and buttons, and we are seriously considering self-publishing our books and signing up for spring/summer poetry conventions and track down agents!
In fact, I am hiring an editor and artist (via Craigslist postings) to help me work/finalize my poetry books, “Red is the Color of my Night” and “Velvet Rainbow Down,” plus a prose book, “My Life as a Greyhound.” I am also starting a book—a profile of a lady who shed more than 100lbs (in few months) through religious faith and physical discipline (no help from Jenny Craig, Pilates, or Weightwatchers). She’s been featured in LA Times, Running, Shape etc.
I also decided to cut my LA gigs/readings/bookings, for now—to just concentrate on the monthly Nomads gigs in Long Beach, my current South Bay ‘hood.

I DIDN’T know that Bill Gates has a dark sense of humor that I could relate to. The Microsoft billionaire made headlines a few weeks ago when he released a cloud of mosquitoes at a technology conference. C’mon, the dude was just pointing out the dangers of malaria for the world’s poor. “Malaria is spread by mosquitoes. I brought some here,” he said. “There is no reason only poor people should be infected.” (Fortunately for the terrified attendees, the mosquitoes were malaria-free.)
I remember how I infuriated an ex-GF when I ignored her complaints about being so haggard, and needs to see a specialist in New York City, because she was bitten by a thicke. I shrugged my skinny shoulders and quipped, “I was bitten by an alligator but I just stamped a band-aid on my wound, that’s all. I’m still alive, honey!”
Last Wednesday, I read a poem at Portfolio Café in Long Beach, with a line that goes, “No, I don’t eat snakes or worms / And certainly I don’t eat dogs / except when it’s a Super Bowl weekend.”
Everybody just stared, and then some laughed.
I am just kidding, okay?
I also didn’t realize that Mark Cuban (yup, another billionaire—the acerbic owner of Dallas Mavericks) has some cool projects himself. I just watched a Brian de Palma movie, entitled “Redacted,” about a documented rape/murder of a 15-year girl and murder of her family in Samarra, Iraq by US Marines. Mr Cuban was the executive director. (But nah, I am still a Houston Rockets fan—not unless Yao Ming and Luis Scola transfer to the Mavs.)
Still in regards movies. I just saw this bad comedy, “Ball’s Out” (a forever not funny Seann William Scott)—one of the stupidest, most illiterate movies that I’ve ever seen. Worse than all the “American Pies.”
A character in the movie was supposed to be a Filipino exchange student. The dude was flown to Nebraska on a chopper and was being phonetically tutored (by Mr Scott’s Gary, the tennis coach) how to speak English. Actually, he went to the US on a “pingpong” scholarship.
First, the writer thought that a Filipino is a refugee (eg Cambodians fleeing Khmer Rouge) that has to be flown by Sikorskys to the U S of A, lest he gets kidnapped by inbred roosters from Murphy, North Carolina.
Second, the movie actually thinks Filipinos don’t know an English word. Uhh, it’s the most common language of a people who could speak three more languages and dozens of dialects. Third, Filipinos don’t play pingpong.
This is an example of cultural ignorance when morons stereotype Asians as one tribe of illiterate jungle urchins. The writers: Andy Stock and Rick Stempson. They should just sell iguana burgers at Swap Meet, or fed to Mr Gates’ mosquitoes!

REFUGE in the rain.
There was rain last night (or two nights ago) but they trickled on my roof only for few minutes at a time—although the TV news warned of storm coming. I miss the monsoon rain that fall for hours, even days, weeks—and the elusive sun that reappears afterwards. The waiting was good as I enjoyed what was around me. I wish life was like that again.
I am, at this very moment, listening to Bruce Springsteen’s new CD, “Waiting for a Dream.” In “Tomorrow Never Comes,” he rambles, “He who waits for the day’s riches will be lost in the whispering tide, where the river flows, tomorrow never knows.”
More than ten years ago, I finally decided to leave my country for good—hoping that “the dream” only happens in America. That was the germ that moved my novel (that hasn’t really taken off the ground), “Waiting for Winter.” Winter snow was immaculate, pure, encompassing—like a dream. But up to now, I am still working on a dream. Many times I feel like I am lost “in the whispering tide where the river flows.” Yes, tomorrow never knows. I don’t want to live the rest of my life waiting for “winter.”
I’d rather enjoy the rain.
Meantime, I gotta go. So—live good, love good, and eat only good food!

Lakewood CA
20 Feb 2009. 2:18am
Friday, while watching Headline News