Monday, October 16, 2006

Edge-thoughts for the week

  1. My new bamboo lamp. Bought this “thing” recently for 350 piso. The seller was a semi-naked pot-bellied guy who lives in this house that had a “for rent” sign on its gate a few weeks ago. The thing is a 3 to 4 feet long bamboo that was cut open to reveal the two nodes inside. Black paint on the outside, orange on the inside. It stands on a square wooden base that had been painted all black as well. A 5-watts bulb on each node. Used to be red bulbs. Too dark for my room. Replaced them with clear bulbs. But too bright. Finally settled on two yellow bulbs. Pure enchantment.
  2. An ex-university president lecturing on Marxism. Says Marxism will remain relevant as long as there is inequality and poverty in the world. Don’t think there’s any problem with that. Ideas will always be sensible as long as the realities that have spawned them can still be proven to exist. As the old guru himself puts it, it’s how the ideas are applied and the people who put them into practice that are usually problematic. This is also the case with religions and cults. Believers who came after the revered sources will always be expounding on the “truths” of these ideas and trying to make them a reality. Until then, everything will just be a matter of faith. Be it an irrational trust on a mystical, off-worldly experience. Or a stubborn confidence on some scientific, dialectical rationality. More on the lecture in my friend's blog.
  3. A movie about “rats”. Well, not really rats, but moles. On the surface, Scorsese’s The Departed is a really good take on the world of gangsters, law enforcers and spies. But as always, the really fun part is at a deeper level where the film tries to grapple with ideas of truth, identity, guilt, retribution and justice. What goes on in the head and guts of someone whose whole existence is built on a big lie? The original Hong Kong version of the film (featuring Tony Leung whose role was played by di Caprio and Andy Lau whose shoes were filled in by Matt Damon in the Scorsese remake) had a bit more interesting albeit depressing ending. Just for that, it was still better than the Hollywood version.
  4. Seeing an old friend. She paused for a while as she tried to figure out how many years have passed since we’ve last seen each other at my parents’ house. My eldest child had just turned one or two then. She already told me the story (during the visit itself, or in a recent email), but it must have slipped my mind. She and another classmate did not go to our place because of the baby. Somebody from work had informed her that I was somewhere in the southern part of the country dying from a critical injury. My gutsy friend gave the informant some serious tongue-lashing the next working day.
  5. March of the penguins. A co-worker has recently downloaded this neat award-winning documentary in DVD format. Had the CD for almost a month now, but found some time to view it only during the past two days or so. Have already seen it twice. Haven’t seen the local version dubbed by a popular actress. Bet Morgan Freeman’s narration is still better. His voice is hypnotically tranquil. A sharp contrast to the harshness of the Antarctic environment. Thought penguins would make very good Gaian ambassadors to alien civilizations. I think NASA should consider sending these perky birds to space instead of all those hairy impulsive mammals.

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