The Roots of it All (Part I)

Pamilya – in Tagalog, this translates to “family.” Anyone who knows anything about The Philippines knows that a huge emphasis is put on the family. Many can relate to having many lolos and lolas, titos and titas, and a ton of cousins at large gatherings, but you were never really sure if they were blood-related or not. Your parents said they were family, and you … Continue reading The Roots of it All (Part I)

Hope I Die Before I Get Old: The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

That stanza, famously sung by The Who’s front man Pete Townshend in their classic song “My Generation”, initially reflected the first-time experience I had with the slick, glamor-filled displays at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, located along the lakefront in Cleveland, Ohio. But as much as that attitude drives much of the greatest music within the fuzzy confines of this musical genre, the … Continue reading Hope I Die Before I Get Old: The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Freedom Isn’t Free

Freedom – it’s a wonderful concept, but quantifying it isn’t always easy. Over the millennia, money or the currency of the moment has become associated with the concept of freedom. But unlike money, freedom isn’t doled out in round numbers, nor can you stash a little freedom underneath your mattress in case of emergency. But what you can do with your money, and what you … Continue reading Freedom Isn’t Free

Flipping On the Flip-side

A confession: up until relatively recently, I wasn’t interested much into learning my ancestry.

After all, I was born here in America, not the Philippines, and I bought into whole American melting pot ideal I saw happily sung on those Schoolhouse Rock segments. Yes, I did hope native Filipinos did well in international competitions (the 1992 Zamboanga City Little League World Series Championship and resultant scandal was particularly disappointing) and similar, but I wouldn’t be one who would betray my country of origin, my country of citizenship.

Then, there was a progression of things. A presidential election in 2016 and a distinctly growing atmosphere of anti-immigrant and anti-perceived-to-be-immigrant sentiment that is in reality not all that new. Tensions only grew when COVID hit, with a number of politicians happily going along with the blame game. Finally, it hit home for me in a personal way, when some enlightened soul told me that I needed to go back to China.

I took a long deep hard look at myself in the mirror shortly after that. Unless I wanted to go the Michael Jackson route re: lose my skin color and had crap tons of cosmetic surgery, a certain segment of my country’s population was never going to accept me as American. I figured shortly thereafter that was a good a time to dig in more deeply and explore my roots.

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The Track Less Traveled

Many folks I’ve encountered have a distinct tendency to romanticize the past. Everything was more pure and carefree, and times were far more simpler. Truth is this nostalgic-tinged view of times gone by is something of a crock. While there are a number of factors involved, I think the driving factor behind this phenomenon is human nature – very few people actively choose to dwell … Continue reading The Track Less Traveled

Lull-ville Lullaby (Part 2)

Call me angel and take my handWishing you could be my manBut I can tell if its truth or liesWhen you’ve got bourbon in your eyesTell me something that I don’t knowThen I dare you to prove it soI’d ask you to try this on for sizeBut you’ve got bourbon in your eyes“Bourbon in your Eyes” – Devil Doll Last-second substitutions played a role in … Continue reading Lull-ville Lullaby (Part 2)

Lull-ville Lullaby (Pt. 1)

“Take me back to Louisville,Take me ‘neath that southern sky,Long to hear the whippoorwillComin’ home, Louisville,By the railroad track.For the choo-choo train to take me back.I’m so happy I could cry!Here I come, Louisville.”“Louisville K-Y” – Ella Fitzgerald My father-in-law, who has spent a fair amount of time in Kentucky, calls The Derby City Lull-ville. I had no idea if that was a personally quirky … Continue reading Lull-ville Lullaby (Pt. 1)

Mo’ Meta Blues

Facebook, or the company formerly known as Facebook and would like you to forget it ever was Facebook, has tried to go the Prince route. Like his Royal Badness, they still have a bunch of asses like we have always seen. And the ride…and the ride…ain’t so smooth. If you haven’t been paying attention, Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been under fire on several … Continue reading Mo’ Meta Blues

Aliens unto Aliens

Graphic from The History Channel

Since 2010, “Ancient Aliens” has proven to be a solid ratings winner for both The History Channel and the A&E Network. This is despite the show’s reliance on unique and often unproven theories; in fact, one of the show’s biggest criticisms is how the show presents these theories as if they were indeed factual in nature (the low-end production values didn’t help, as noted in this review published in the McGill Tribune.)

I admit I’ve watched a few episodes of “Ancient Aliens” with a sense of bemusement on random late nights. But as my interest in history grew in my later years, I realized there was a deeper undercurrent of something more disturbing within shows like “Ancient Aliens” – the whole concept that ancient peoples (especially those of indigenous or non-Caucasian societies) couldn’t have possibly built all the fantastical structures themselves.

This concept is hardly a new one – despite their own encounters with savagery, disease, and superstitious beliefs, European societies developed a sense of superiority which led to a cultural imperialism – in the four centuries between 1500 and 1900, European powers had conquered 84 percent of the globe.

In reality, what was presented to them in lands outside their borders was merely different. The judgment of inferiority was strictly their own creation, and it led to laughable, dire, and sometimes fatal consequences for the eventual colonists.

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Jojo’s Playground: Massachusetts

“I’m in love with modern moonlight128 when it’s dark outsideI’m in love with MassachusettsI’m in love with the radio onIt helps me from being alone late at nightHelps me from being lonely late at night” “Roadrunner” – Jonathan (Jojo) Richman & The Modern Lovers In terms of raw numbers, Massachusetts outdid all the states we traveled through in terms of overall activities. With that said, … Continue reading Jojo’s Playground: Massachusetts