Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lowery's Benediction

Last Wednesday early morning, I watched (with millions all over the world) as America inaugurates its first African-American President.

I found that the highlight of the event was the benediction by Rev. Lowery. It's not just the words that makes his prayer powerful, but also the way he spoke it - a voice quivering with old age but full of wisdom.


God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou who has brought us thus far along the way, thou who has by thy might led us into the light, keep us forever in the path, we pray, lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee, lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee. Shadowed beneath thy hand may we forever stand -- true to thee, O God, and true to our native land.

We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we've shared this day. We pray now, O Lord, for your blessing upon thy servant, Barack Obama, the 44th president of these United States, his family and his administration. He has come to this high office at a low moment in the national and, indeed, the global fiscal climate. But because we know you got the whole world in your hand, we pray for not only our nation, but for the community of nations. Our faith does not shrink, though pressed by the flood of mortal ills.

For we know that, Lord, you're able and you're willing to work through faithful leadership to restore stability, mend our brokenness, heal our wounds and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor or the least of these and from favoritism toward the rich, the elite of these.
We thank you for the empowering of thy servant, our 44th president, to inspire our nation to believe that, yes, we can work together to achieve a more perfect union. And while we have sown the seeds of greed -- the wind of greed and corruption, and even as we reap the whirlwind of social and economic disruption, we seek forgiveness and we come in a spirit of unity and solidarity to commit our support to our president by our willingness to make sacrifices, to respect your creation, to turn to each other and not on each other.

And now, Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance.
And as we leave this mountaintop, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family. Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, or wherever we seek your will.

Bless President Barack, First Lady Michelle. Look over our little, angelic Sasha and Malia.

We go now to walk together, children, pledging that we won't get weary in the difficult days ahead. We know you will not leave us alone, with your hands of power and your heart of love.
Help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid; when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right.

Let all those who do justice and love mercy say amen.


REV. LOWERY: Say amen --

REV. LOWERY: -- and amen.

AUDIENCE: Amen! (Cheers, applause.)


Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Kitchen and the Gay Guy

Last Friday I went to Landmark's third floor, where they sell kitchen and other home stuff. I went there to buy some glass bottles where I can put all my kitchen ingredients and materials, like white sugar, brown sugar, confectioner's sugar, etc.

I noticed that many of the people there are actually gay guys, going through the display racks and buying cooking materials. Of course, there are the straight gals and guys buying pots and pans, plates, etc. but most of them went there to buy something: they pick up what they went there to buy, pay and leave. Majority of those that linger are actually gay guys or straight gals - people who would buy souffle dish or cake serving plate because of the nice gloss and it will make serving cooked food look good, or the different types of kitchen glass containers to hold dry ingredients just because it will make the kitchen look good. Wait, that's me.

Oh well, I'm gay and I love watching cooking shows. Nevermind, that I don't know how to cook many recipes. What's important is that my kitchen will look fabulous.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Transient Lives

Yesterday, after lunch and during yosi break, two of my officemates, a Chinese-Panamanian and a Filipino who loves cars, were talking about the price of gasoline and cars. Then, the Chinese-Panamanian said that if he is staying here in the Philippines, he would buy this particular model of car (being not interested in cards, I forgot the model).

Early evening last night, I went to Shopwise to do some grocery. While there, I bought the sort of indoor grill and was searching for a pepper mill. On the way home, I thought of how I am buying stuff for my apartment considering that I am only renting there and may move to a new apartment in the future, thus having to move a lot of stuff. Then, how I thought the boyfriend told me that I shouldn't buy this wall fan that I need since I still do not own a house. (My good friend told me that I was nesting). I then thought of whether I would be buying household stuff or not if I were living and working abroad, just like most of my college friends.

I realize that for people, buying household stuff is part of settling down. Only done when we feel that we are no longer transients on a place. And even then, buying stuff is not necessarily a priority even if people own a house. Only when people have families do we buy household stuff. Maybe this is settling down.

How people define transience and permanence is relative. A year or two for some might be considered relatively permanent while for some, several years may still be considered temporary. This reminds me of Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's. She has been living in her apartment for quite sometime but she her stuff are still in boxes.

Looking at some religions, many would say that life on earth, no matter how short or long, transient, hence, there is no need to acquire material wealth while living, or to spend on things while alive. Some cultures scrimp while living and splurge on funerals and on tombs. Christianity teaches that whatever we acquire in this world will not matter in the afterlife, and that we should not be stocking on material riches but on spiritual riches, which we will enjoy for eternity after we die. For Buddhism, we live this life, acquire whatever karmas and then reincarnate and live another life based on the karma we acquire.

No matter how transient our life is, I guess all we can do is enjoy life as it comes and life as it lasts. Starting now.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Burn After Reading

Past 12 midnight last night, I watched Burn After Reading. I guess the title comes from notices contained in top-secret documents (like "This message will self-destruct in 5 seconds").

The film by the Coen Brothers has an ensemble cast of George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton, John Malkovich and Frances McDormand. Like most of the Coens' films, the movie has quirky characters whose lives are greatly affected by circumstances.

It's good to watch and unpretentious. The film made me realize how old Brad Pitt is. He still has the figure that young men in 20s or 30s would die to have but his face tells it all. His wrinkles are not smoothed over by make up. Same thing for George Clooney. The film also shows how great an actress Tilda Swinton is.

And while watching the film, I kept trying to see the film editing that has made the Coen Brothers Oscar-nominated for their other films. Sadly, I couldn't seem to "see" it.

I still prefer O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Last night was a productive night for me, in terms of outside work, that is. I managed to watch Vicky Cristina Barcelona, cooked siomai (or what is in intention a siomai) and watch Burn After Reading.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona is a film by Woody Allen (the first and only film of Allen that I watched) set in Barcelona and surrounding locales and starring Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz.

The film is about two friends who went to Barcelona for the summer. They meet a painter, the engaged girl has sex with him one night and the other lives with him for most of the summer, until his wife came and lives with them.

I didn't get to focus on the film since while watching the film, I was also cooking the aforementioned intentioned-siomai (peeling, grating, mixing, wrapping and steaming). I found the film so-and-so, definitely above average but nothing special about it. Penelope Cruz is, as usual, gorgeous.

I guess the film boils down to when people travel to other unfamiliar places, they get to do things that otherwise they wouldn't have done, crazy things even, like having a sex with someone even though you're engaged or having an unusual three-way relationship with a guy and his ex-wife. Maybe I should travel to take out the monotony of my life. As they say, travel is a great investment. A few months savings and I could probably go to Vietnam or Thailand or other SE Asian countries. Europe may come later.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Disaster/ Superhero/ Epic/ Date/ Scary Movie

Yesterday, I went to Makati Cinema Square to buy some DVDs. One of the DVDs I bought is Disaster Movie - from the makers of Scary Movie, Date Movie and Superhero Movie.

Scary Movie 1 has some good laughs. Majority of the jokes are actually and intrinsically funny. Scary Movie 2 is bad. The first part of Scary Movie 3 is ok, but when the President and aliens appear, it's all downhill. Scary Movie 4 has some good jokes but majority is so-so.

Then comes Date Movie. Which is so full of references to other movies and (American) pop culture that the references are supposed to be funny on their own. Similar case with Superhero Movie and now with Disaster Movie. These ___ Movies (except for Scary Movie) have all passed through the IMDB Bottom 100 in the first few weeks or months of release.

Watching the ____ Movies becomes a bore. But why do I still buy and watch them (on DVD). Probably on the hope that somewhere in the movie is a truly funny that will make me laugh or smile. I guess no matter how many bad ____ Movies the producers make, I'll still be watching them on DVD for some cheap laughs.

Tonight, I'll be watching The House Bunny. I don't have much expectations but I do love Anna Farris. I bought The Dark Knight but i made a resolve not to watch it till I get a widescreen LCD TV, at least to give it the proper viewing, which I missed by not watching it in the cinema. Classic, critically-acclaimed and foreign-language films have to wait their turns.