Condé Nast Traveler on San Francisco

(Gone: “Advice to Son . . . “)

Self desperately trying to limit herself to two posts a day, but failing miserably. Why is is that everything self reads these days, she finds illuminating?

Exhibit A: The following quote, found on p. 166 of the Condé Nast Traveler’s March 2008 issue:

Aside from the unpredictable weather, San Francisco’s only real drawbacks are a near-useless public transportation system and a shortage of taxis.

A statement with which self finds herself in absolute agreement.

A few pages further in the same issue, self happens upon a reading list aimed at anyone who longs to steep him or herself in San Francisco culture:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Son Is Home — Tra-La Tra-La Tra-Laaaa!

Son is home, and this is what we have done today:

Watched “The Incredible Hulk” — and Edward Norton is just incredible. So is Liv Tyler. So is William Hurt. And Tim Roth! No one makes malevolence so magnetic (other than John Malkovich, that is).

And self was so glad that son is still OK with watching movies with her! And that she got to watch the preview of “Hellboy II” again! And got her first glimpse of The X-Files movie (opening next month), “I Want to Believe”!

And now hubby is exerting himself to the max, doing the backyard barbecue thing with six juicy rib-eyes (which self purchased from Costco just this morning). And it seems like forever since we’ve had a backyard barbecue. We kept urging son to invite his Sacred Heart friends, but he declined, saying he’d meet them all somewhere after dinner.

Meanwhile, self went all the way to Daly City to fetch Dearest Mum. And self has already ferried her to Marshall’s and Target, where she returned some of her purchases yesterday.

To tell the truth, self would be perfectly happy, except that Dearest Mum, ensconced on couch the last two hours, seems to be getting bored with the CW. She was engrossed with “Gossip Girl,” but then the episode ended and now she seems (exceedingly) bored with “One Tree Hill” and keeps asking self for the phone numbers of this and that Tita. Which makes self exceedingly nervous, for when Dearest Mum gets bored, there is hell to pay.

* * * *

And then (in self’s life, there is always an “and then”), at the tail end of this very long and emotionally intense day, son delivers this zinger: “Mom, I am thinking of joining the Peace Corps.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

(Most Cryptic) Quote of the Day

It has always been well known that women are undoubtedly the best at looking after baby calves.

    Posted at 11:18 p.m., after self cracks open Liz Kavanagh’s Home to Roost, a book that was given to her over 10 years ago, by dear friend Father Haslam, now retired and living in Dublin.

Reading for the Day: Excerpts from Rafael Zulueta y da Costa’s “Like the Molave”

Note: This is only a series of excerpts. Self inserted asterisks to indicate a jump.


My American friend says:

show me one great Filipino speech to make your

people listen through the centuries;

 show me one great Filipino song rich with the

soul of your seven thousand isles;

 show me one great Filipino dream, forever

 sword and shield —

Friend, our silences are long but we also have our

Father, with my whole heart I forgive all.

 Believe me, your reverence.

Speeches short before the firing squad, and yet

    of love.


My American friend continues:

you are a nation being played for a sucker;

poor fish swallowing hook, line, and sinker.

And I answer with parable of analogy:

brown brother and packed for home,
one adventured into port and called us brothers;
we fed him the milk and honey of the land;
he filled his pockets by the sweat of the little
taking with him but one song for souvenir:
O the monkeys have no tails in Zamboanga.

The little brown brother opens his eyes to the


created equal;

sea where dwell his strong brothers.

sound of the Star-Spangled;
dreams to the grand tune of the American dream;
is proud to be part of the sweeping American

*     *     *
sings the American epic of souls conceived in liberty;
quivers with longing for the brotherhood of men
envisions great visions of the land across the
And then the fact. The crushing fact of a world no



shining through the exalted word;
the world where the deed is, the intolerable

*     *     *

The expatriate returns sullen and broken . . . We know



Filipino Pickpockets; the loneliness, the

woman denied.

the story, the black looks, the scowls, the

in the restaurants saying: Neither Dogs nor

Allowed; the warning at the fair: Beware of

Yet what say you, repatriate? America is a great


— Written 1940 by Rafael Zulueta y da Costa (1915- 1990)

Late Sixteenth-Century England

A time of religious upheaval. Shakespeare was a young man. A martyr named Compton, author of the Ten Reasons and a staunch and defiant Catholic, was given a show trial (attended by Queen Elizabeth herself), tortured, and then hanged. Here is how a saint was made. The following excerpt is from Stephen Greenblatt’s Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare:

They then brought Compton to the scaffold at Tyburn, hanged him, and chopped his body in quarters before a huge crowd of observers. One of the bystanders, a Protestant named Henry Walpole, was close to the place where the hangman was throwing the pieces of Campion’s body into a vat of boiling water. A drop of the water mixed with blood splashed out upon his clothes, and Walpole felt at once, he said, that he had to convert to Catholicism. He left for the Continent, became a Jesuit, and was sent back to England, where he too was arrested and executed as a traitor. Such are the works of saints and martyrs.

WWF to EU: Stop Bluefin Tuna Fishing

From an ad in The Economist of 7 June 2008:

Stop Bluefin Tuna Fishing Now or Lose it Forever

Mediterranean bluefin tuna is on the verge of collapse. Every day 10,000 tunas are being caught in the Mediterranean sea, much more than is sustainable. There’s more than the survival of a species at stake too. Unless the EU closes the Mediterranean bluefin tuna fishery immediately, fishing communities as well as the wider marine ecosystem would be put at risk. WWF is calling on the European Commission to push through the immediate closure of the fishery. Waiting for the season to officially close on June 30 will be too late. If you don’t want overfishing to destroy ocean life, go today to

* * *

To put the above in context, ad appeared in June 7 Economist, and on June 13 this happened:

EU bluefin tuna fishing ban for Mediterranean

By Charles Clover, Environment Editor for The Telegraph, UK

A ban on fishing for bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean and Eastern Atlantic has been announced by the EU for large industrial vessels after widespread evidence of illegal fishing.

  • EU to act on bluefin over-fishing
  • France forced to stop illegal drift net fishing
  • Tuna fishing ban for South Pacific zones
  • * * *

    And here’s the latest:

    EU rejects calls to drop planned tuna fishing ban

    BRUSSELS (AFP) — The European Commission on Tuesday rejected calls from France, Italy and Spain to drop a planned ban on industrial bluefin tuna fishing, defending its decision to close the fishing season early.

    Dismissing accusations that its decision was based on faulty figures, the commission said unnamed EU member nations were failing to keep track of catches, running the risk of overfishing.

    “The commission therefore cannot seriously be expected to consider their very poorly based request to suspend its well-founded decision,” EU Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg said in a statement.

    The commission sparked a wave of protest on Friday from Europe’s leading tuna fishing nations — France, Italy and Spain — by announcing plans to close the season early for big industrial operations in the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic.

    Walking: Downtown Burlingame

    It was a beautiful day — Well, OK, just a tad warm.

    Self had gone shopping in Marina Market (Is it just her imagination or are there really more non-Asians — read: “whites” — shopping there now? One blonde woman took a call on her cell phone and chattered excitedly to someone, self guessed her husband: “Yes, I’m having a lot of fun just wandering around and looking at everything!”). Afterwards, on impulse, self decided to drop by Daly City, to uncle’s house, where Dearest Mum is currently ensconced. And there she found uncle in the process of preparing a very hearty breakfast for his two grandsons, who he seemed to be babysitting. And this is what he prepared for the two 10-year-olds (who were so rapt with their laptops that they never even looked up once, not even to thank him):

    • 10 strips of bacon
    • “coddled” eggs
    • slices of apricots and peaches
    • toasted English muffins

    What a breakfast! Self wanted to sit right down and join them. But she was not invited, so she held her tongue.

    Then, self inquired if Dearest Mum wanted to go anywhere. And Dearest Mum said that she had in fact the urgent need to go to a bank. So self offered to drop her there. And, since it was nearly lunchtime, Dearest Mum decided we should eat somewhere in downtown Burlingame. And she revealed that yesterday, she had treated out uncle, aunt, and a number of other relatives to breakfast at Copenhagen. So today she wanted to try something different. And she settled on Crepevine. And self and Dearest Mum shared something that turned out to be Eggs Benedict, only fancied up with Canadian ham and spinach. Also, a dessert of cherry blintzes with vanilla ice cream. (Self all the while wondering if the prawns she had bought from Marina Market would survive two hours in her car, under hot sun, or whether they would start to smell, and if so, would Dearest Mum say something, etc etc)

    Anyhoo, there were several interesting things self noticed while on this walk:

    • Dearest Mum insists on crossing the street anywhere she feels like it. Self tried to steer her to the pedestrian crosswalks, but Dearest Mum insisted that self’s aunts and uncles cross wherever they like, it is the “usual practice.” So, because self already has the reputation of being a real “stick,” among Dearest Mum’s side of the family especially, who are so flamboyant and free-spirited, she kept quiet.
    • Dearest Mum started out walking on self’s right, but as soon as she realized she was in full sun, she crossed over to self’s left. And then, whenever we encountered slower-moving pedestrians, she would consider it a matter of pride to maneuver around them as quickly as possible, even if this meant crossing from the shady part to the sunny part of the sidewalk. And, as we encountered many many slow-moving pedestrians today, Dearest Mum was constantly cris-crossing in front of self, which put self in mind of her beagles, who always end up tangling their leashes.
    • Dearest Mum had a list of books she needed to get for Dear Tel Aviv Bro. Self forebore to look at the list. But, after entering a Books Inc., Dearest Mum suddenly lost interest in the whole proceeding and pushed the list into self’s bag, telling her to go and get the books and she’d reimburse self later.

    Such were the fascinating observations self made today about Dearest Mum, who is an ever-changing kaleidoscope of interesting behavior.

    Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

    Commencement Speakers of 2008

    Oprah was at Stanford. She said, “Don’t just measure success by money; you should do what gives your life meaning” or something to that effect. (Self heard it over the car radio on her way to meet Stella K at Jollibee for dinner this evening, and though normally quite adept at paraphrasing, this one was a little tricky) It’s the kind of statement self will refer to from now on as an “Oprah-ism” — yeah! And, meanwhile, you know, you just know, 89.75 % of the students in the audience are thinking, “To heck with meaning! I’m going to make my first million before I’m 30!”

    Gavin Newsom was at San Francisco State. He said: “What is the secret of all success? Winston Churchill, he said it was moving from failure to failure with enthusiasm.” (Go, Gavin, Go!) — Since self quoted the aforementioned from The New York Times, it is 100% accurate.

    Al Gore was at Carnegie Mellon (Wow, cool! How did CM land him?)

    Jessica Lange was at Sarah Lawrence (It figures) She told the students: “Be present.” (Quote again courtesy of The New York Times)

    Richard Serra was at Williams (Oh, that is too, too cool). He said: “The virtual reality of the media, be it television or the Internet, limits our perception in that it affects our sense of space. It immobilizes our ability to apprehend actual physical space. Don’t let the rhetoric of simulation steal away the immediacy of your experience.” (Great, just great. This quote again courtesy of The New York Times)

    J. K. Rowling was at Harvard. She said: “. . . rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” (Go, J.K., go! And thank you, New York Times, for the quote!)

    Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor spoke at Gettysburg College. She said: “The only job offer I received in the private sector on my graduation from Stanford Law School many years ago was a job as a legal secretary.” (Thank you, New York Times, ad infinitum)

    The Jollibee at 4th and Howard

    Yes, it is just like being in Manila. And who cares that it is friggin’ cold outside, and the flags in front of the Moscone Center (hosting, today, an Endocrinologist Convention) are whipping around in a stiff breeze, and everyone else is in a parka (while self, you hopeless suburbanite, are dressed in only a thin T-shirt and a lightweight cardigan).

    From the moment self walked in the door, and gazed on the displayed menu items that included (Be still, self’s beating heart) palabok, spaghetti with chopped sausage, and fried chicken in addition to the regular hamburgers —

    From the moment she walked in and saw the pinays behind the cash registers. Pinays with Filipino accents —

    From the moment she tasted one bite of that (sweet) spaghetti. And the fried chicken (each serving accompanied with little plastic cups of gravy) that tasted as if it had been marinated in something —

    From the minute she partook of the palabok, and had that frozen ube drink with the sago balls —

    She was there. In Manila. She was so there.

    Blissful (June 08) Saturday

    Ahhh, what bliss: it is Saturday.

    And even though self woke up with an extreme crick in her neck, she is ready with a post on her various activities yesterday:

    • Self bought the most gorgeous doggie bed in the world. From Costco. For $21.99
    • After a morning spent writing and reading and doing errands, self fell asleep on the couch. Had nightmare. Something involving knives. Woke up, none the worse for wear.
    • Self used left-over roast chicken to make a salad with baby spinach, sliced red onions, sliced almonds, sliced tomatoes (from Costco, salmonella-free), and shavings of Asiago cheese: dee-lish!
    • Self called Dearest Mum in Las Vegas, to wish her luck before her concert tonight (in a friend’s house). Dearest Mum all happiness: only 25 people had been invited (as friend’s townhouse quite snug), but, apparently twice that number are coming. Dearest Mum’s friend is having a heart attack, but Dearest Mum herself is unperturbed, says guests will only be too happy to sit on the floor, on the stairs.
    • Self watched (after hubby came home) “The Hunt for Red October” and was struck by the young Alec Baldwin’s good looks and also surprisingly good acting ability, Scott Glenn’s inimitable intensity, and the patience of the script, which took its time instead of jumping from one action scene to the next. Also, self wondered how Tom Clancy could know so much about nuclear subs: it has to be all research, but the story has plot and character. All hail, Tom Clancy!
    • Then, in the middle of the very exciting movie, self fell asleep once again (Boy, the week must have really tired her out). When she awoke (around 11:30), the first thing she did was grab the remote and switch to the Sci-Fi station but — alas! — showing was “Doctor Who”, and self gnashed her teeth at the thought that, for the second week in a row, she had missed “Battlestar Galactica.”

    Tonight, dinner in the city followed by concert at Davies. Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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