6/29/11

You are what you eat?

We've all heard the expression. Is that good or bad? Both, I guess ... it depends.

So does that mean If I eat a whole elephant, my size will increase ginormously? ...naturally it makes sense if you can eat an elephant in one sitting....and if I eat a snake I guess I can become sly slimy and slithery, aye? ..Hahahaa ... No wonder why I hate snakes!  Anyway here's to good health! ...

Let's see what some of these foods have done - or will do - to me ... the first six are my most faaaavorite ones ....I am what I eat?? 
Avocados - I just hope they turn me into someone who is more well rounded ...and hard core! ...ok, not bad!

Almonds - I always prefer raw almonds (vs. roasted) and they have certainly made me raw - as in baaad ...not good?

Tomatoes - These have turned me into a red blushing freak, especially when someone says that I have - or used to have - "almond eyes" ...or the like ....LOL!

Nuts - I like all types of nuts, I go nuts about anything that's nutty! ...So yes, I can be a real nut too!


Salmon - I like farmed (domesticated/tamed) ones but I like the wild ones better. The former make me docile, quiet, civil, gentle and tame. I'm still wondering what wild salmons do to me ...chuckle ...chuckle ....hmmmm.... Consensus withheld!!!  Ok... there >>> ...  LOL!


Apples - They woo me away from my Blackberries (and blueberries) .. And so now I like Apple varieties - like iPod, iPad, iPhone, ...my life is all about I's ...I, i, I,i, I,i, I ... Yes, I have become selfish and self centered since I laid my hands and fingers on apples and applets.  LMAO! (btw, "A'' for Apple! haha)


The following are not that good but we still eat them sometimes - at weddings, funerals, birthday parties, and other Samoan functions.

Corned Beef - It's worked on my complaining about anything and everything; I admit the complaining has subsided because all or any beef  I have about something are just all corny anyway ....

Sugars - Sugar always turns me into the sweetest pal on the planet, that I am oftentimes called honey, and/or sugar ... and no, noootttt  sugar daddy ...hahaha ...

Okay, enough sugarcoating, now a more serious note:
Sugar can be more bitter than sweet - at least bitter sweet!    Read on:

Sugar can suppress the immune system.
Sugar can upset the body's mineral balance.
Sugar can contribute to hyperactivity, anxiety, depression, concentration difficulties, and crankiness in children.
Sugar can produce a significant rise in triglycerides.
Sugar can cause drowsiness and decreased activity in children.
Sugar can reduce helpful high density cholesterol (HDLs).
Sugar can promote an elevation of harmful cholesterol (LDLs).
Sugar can cause hypoglycemia.
Sugar contributes to a weakened defense against bacterial infection.
Sugar can cause kidney damage.
Sugar can increase the risk of coronary heart disease.
Sugar may lead to chromium deficiency.
Sugar can cause copper deficiency.
Sugar interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium.
Sugar can increase fasting levels of blood glucose.
Sugar can promote tooth decay.
Sugar can produce an acidic stomach.
Sugar can raise adrenaline levels in children.
Sugar can lead to periodontal disease.
Sugar can speed the aging process, causing wrinkles and grey hair.
Sugar can increase total cholesterol.
Sugar can contribute to weight gain and obesity.
High intake of sugar increases the risk of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
Sugar can contribute to diabetes.
Sugar can contribute to osteoporosis.
Sugar can cause a decrease in insulin sensitivity.
Sugar leads to decreased glucose tolerance.
Sugar can cause cardiovascular disease.
Sugar can increase systolic blood pressure.
Sugar causes food allergies.
Sugar can cause free radical formation in the bloodstream.
Sugar can cause toxemia during pregnancy.
Sugar can contribute to eczema in children.
Sugar can overstress the pancreas, causing damage.
Sugar can cause atherosclerosis.
Sugar can compromise the lining of the capillaries.
Sugar can cause liver cells to divide, increasing the size of the liver.
Sugar can increase the amount of fat in the liver.
Sugar can increase kidney size and produce pathological changes in the kidney.
Sugar can cause depression.
Sugar can increase the body's fluid retention.
Sugar can cause hormonal imbalance.
Sugar can cause hypertension.
Sugar can cause headaches, including migraines.
Sugar can cause an increase in delta, alpha and theta brain waves, which can alter the mind's ability to think clearly.
Sugar can increase blood platelet adhesiveness which increases risk of blood clots and strokes.
Sugar can increase insulin responses in those consuming high-sugar diets compared to low sugar diets.
Sugar increases bacterial fermentation in the colon

And that's a PSA (Public Service Announcement) from my Malae!

6/22/11

Thank you .... Facebook? ... Huh?

Samoan parents and children don't verbally express their mutual love and affections easily or freely.
"I love you, Dad /Mom" in English, and especially in Samoan, is rarely spoken. And even if/when finally uttered, it seems to feel like some unwritten code or tradition has been breached or broken. How can something that is good and noble invite much hesitancy and, to some, aversion? Good question. Because I too don't remember ever telling my Dad that I loved him (except in writing like that last post/tribute). The reverse is true also. I don't remember my parents telling me that they loved me - though they truly do. And it doesn't mean that we love each other any less. But the silent hesitance and reluctance is always there. Some have crossed the threshold but by and large the reservations still linger.

I've heard some palagis relating to the same dilemma although I had always thought that part of the reason, or excuse, that we Samoans don't do it is because it's a "palagi" thing. Apparently other cultures have the same "problem" and is still largely perpetuated today.

But there is something interesting and amazing about this whole enigma. We seem to be more comfortable and generous in expressing our affections in writing more than speaking - as I alluded to it earlier.

A few days leading up to this past Mother's Day, some of our children changed their Facebook profile pictures to either include their mother or just her, along with the usual endearing notes, tributes and comments written to, for and about her. Father's Day was no different. The kids used my pictures for their profiles and also wrote their expressions of love and appreciation. The comments ranged from a couple of short sentences to deep and meaningful paragraphs. Despite the length, their love, appreciation and affections seemed to have been penned with no inhibitions at all. They were heartfelt, sincere and touching; I could actually feel their love for me through their thoughtful and loving comments. So should I thank Facebook? Uhmmm... I think so! Would my children have been able to articulate the same thoughts verbally?  I doubt it, and I'm sure they would agree. Why? Is it part of human nature?

Again the interesting and ironic - sometimes befuddling - thing is that we were all together as a family during Father's Day weekend, and yet I still had to go to Facebook to get the more complete versions of their expressions of love and appreciation, some of which may never be articulated as effectively in a face-to-face interaction. Close and yet so far? In fact husbands and wives are guilty of the same when in favor of texting  to each other the same or similar sentiments more than expressing them verbally.

Sociability is something that is natural to man according to Aristotle and others, and a whole new dimension of the phenomenon exists in cyberspace today because of modern technology.

So thank you Facebook for being the medium for my children to express their Father's Day wishes. The truth is that such endearments are usually offered only when one is going - or has already gone - "gently into that good night."   :)

.... and, oh FB, I will have a page soon and this is going to be my profile pic ......LOL!!
 

6/18/11

A Tribute to my Dad "Happy Father's Day!"

As a little boy growing up in the village I did not get to see my Dad often since he was in town working until the weekends when he would return home. In his absence, my paternal grandfather and grandmother assumed the role of parents and guardians for me and my siblings.

Some years later, I attended school in town - Leifiifi and then Samoa College - and so I was able to "reunite" and spend time with my Dad. We would leave together Monday morning, stayed in town and then return to the village on Friday. During the week he would make sure that I - and my older brother who attended Samoa College too - had money for bus fare and for lunch as well as our school fees. He was an independent and critical thinker. He had a knack for using quotable quotes, especially when he's giving us (the children) advice and counsel. His favorite maxim is "Usita'i muamua, faitio mulimuli!" (Obey first, complain after.) He especially was an ardent proponent of the following values in my life:

Education
Like most Samoan parents, he would always remind us of the importance of education and gaining useful knowledge. His favorite advice for us as a motive to gain a good education - "ina ia aua ne'i outou ola falolo" (so you don't grow up impoverished and wanting).

Hard work

Dad drives best when he's drunk, though he
never had a ticket for doing so ..lol

Dad was a hard worker. He was active and was always occupied in doing something constructive. On a typical Saturday when he was home, he maintained the yard making sure the hedges and the flowering plants were trimmed and pruned. He always had a plan, even where each specific type of hibiscus was going to be planted. He wanted some kind of order or pattern in the overall look and layout of our yard. He loved gardening, flowers and plants. He could make an excellent professional landscaper.

Dad, remember this?
When he was not doing work around the house and the yard, he would be up in the mountains working in our plantations. On Saturdays, we would load all the tools we needed - machetes, shovels, planting sticks (‘oso), 44 gallon drums (usually 2) of water for the weed killer knapsack sprayer (fagavao - right), etc. - on our Toyota pickup and we would leave early morning and not return until late evening.

Most of the holidays were spent in the plantation. Even on Christmas day, Dad would arrange for the first five hours - starting at 6 or 7 - at the plantation and the rest of the day for the Christmas games and activities back in the village. Though at the time we as children felt reluctant, in hindsight, his examples had instilled in us lasting impressions and lessons of life.

Independence
Dad had this palpable sense of independence which I think he acquired as a result of being an only child. He was effectively self-reliant and he wanted the same for us. He worked hard so he would not depend on someone else.  He was independent but quite unselfish.  He loved and helped anyone who needed help.

He did have the common follies of smoking and drinking. His favorite brands were Marlboro and Steinlager respectively.(Sorry Dad, I had to include these two. Haha.) I'm convinced that he may have also listened to that one country song: "In Heaven there is no beer, that's why we drink it here." LOL! But it's the same follies that made him who he was as a father and as a person. He was always happy and cheerful - and loved life. 
Although I have some deep regrets for not spending time with him during his final days, I will forever remember him for his unforgettable influence, love and examples.  His legacy has served as a compass throughout my life.

Dad your spirit is certainly not far from us everyday, and especially this Father's Day ...so let me say, on behalf of all of us: "Happy Father's Day!"  Most of us now believe that "Families are Forever" and so someday we'll certainly be together ...again!   I love you Dad!

The stubborn son!

6/15/11

A Reminder for a Growing Problem

By Andrea Whatcott
Deseret News
Published: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 11:19 a.m. MDT

Even today's careers not directly related to technology seem to require employees to be connected at all times. Many of those same employees are also parents and need to be connected emotionally to their children as well.

It's becoming more difficult for parents to set aside their devices and give their full attention to their children, according to an article by Katia Hetter at CNN.com.

Parents will often multitask, juggling their smartphone — where they are responding to an email from their boss, commenting on a Facebook status or jumping on Twitter — with cooking dinner, folding laundry and pushing their child on the swing. [It could also have fatal consequences for little children who might get hurt or injured as a result of the parent's/mother's inattention.]

While adults believe they are attentive to many tasks at once, according to a recent Stanford University study, parents are doing themselves a disservice with all the high-tech juggling. The researchers suggest that by doing less, people will be able to do more, as the ability to perform decreases with an increased amount of tasks.

Child psychologist Dr. Jennifer Hartstein provided suggestions to parents in a CBS News report. She suggests parents set a "no phone" time, including no technology during dinner and also to pay attention to hints from children and even spouses. "There could be a lot of feelings of jealousy and competition for your attention," Hartstein said. "You're constantly doing this (looking down) or on the computer and your kid is asking for you and you are not paying attention to that cue."

According Dr. Sherry Turkle in an article in the New York Times, because parents feel an increased amount of pressure to be productive from their employers, [or just to socialize online] they are constantly checking their phones, unable to put them away. Yet this causes children to experience feelings of jealousy, competition and even hurt because of their parents' excessive use of technology.

In a January 2011 article in the Deseret News, Sara Israelsen-Hartley reported on a mother and her three teens who decided to take on the challenge of unplugging in order to really connect. They experienced a deeper bond from doing so.

6/14/11

The GOP Debate - The Obambardment!

I was just watching the CNN GOP Debate and here's my take on it. Most pundits expected two things to have happened - Romney to be attacked by fellow GOP candidates because of his status as a frontrunner, or Obama to be discredited and disparaged as an inept and failed President.

Well, the former did not happen, only the latter. It was all Obambardment!

But like all such debates, we often analyze the candidates' performances for any standouts, and/or who emerged as a winner or winners.

Overall, no one really scored high enough to stand out from the rest though I think Newt Gingrich had a slight edge. He showed his usual brilliant side on political issues and factual knowledge. His main problem however lies in the trustworthy area and therefore is still not seen as someone who can become an effective leader. This was evident last week as most of his campaign staff quit. He might become a good advisor to the President more than being one.

Michele Bachmann was good too, although I did not detect any Presidential vibes from her. Her main highlight was using the debate to announce her official filing of the papers to enter the race.

Tim Pawlenty performed well, though he lost some points when he backed off from his recent criticism of Romney, in which he used the "ObamneyCare" label to accuse Romney of being a major contributor to ObamaCare. Even when John King (moderator) pressured him into yielding, he intently avoided any direct confrontation with Romney. Instead he circumvented the whole accusation.

Rick Santorum seems too straight and almost too pure and undefiled. He is "Huckabeeish" and therefore may be a favorite of the Evangelicals and fellow Catholics.  He even exhibits a choir boy countenance.  Notwithstanding he seems a viable candidate.

Ron Paul was his old self (no pun intended). As a former doctor, part of his introduction included the fact that he delivered hundreds (or thousands) of babies. But tonight he did not deliver! He's still the same libertarian and constitutionalist from previous debates.  Nothing new, although he is convinced and told Anderson Cooper that Americans are starting to "come his way".

Herman Cain had an average performance though he exposed his lack of political executive experience by dwelling on rote textbook approach. His insistence on "first understand the problem" as the answer to almost every question did not leave a good impression of someone who wants to be President. Too pedantic as far as I'm concerned.

Mitt Romney at the end of the debate managed to retain his frontrunner status. For one thing, none of his fellow GOP foes showed any desire to attack him, and another he managed to articulate his answers as always. Again, Pawlenty, the anticipated Romney nemesis in the debate, backed off from a direct criticism of Romney's assumed role in Obamacare. Personally, I think that the rest of the candidates did the right thing not to focus on Romney, especially for those who may be eyeing the possibility of being picked by Romney to be his running mate in the General Elections. It may very well be his/her own path to being President in the next several years, if Romney prevails.  Moreover, the GOP is looking for someone who can take Obama head on, and so far, at least in the polls, Romney seems to be that candidate.

Interestingly enough, in the 2008 Elections, it was widely believed that the one GOP candidate that the Democrats feared most was Romney.  Will their fears be finally realized?  Hmmmm....

6/13/11

My NewsStand

OOOOPPPSS!!
The NBA.  For those of you who care, like the Germans who cheered for Nowitzki, well the Mavs Beat the Heat (and that's Neat!) to become the World Champions!! Congratz Mavs!.

Guess who else are happy for the Mavs? The Cavs! Yesssir, The Cavs and the Mavs are Favs. Certainly, the Cleveland Cavaliers are still angry with Lebron James for jumping ship, and so how do we describe the Cavs' reaction?  Schadenfreude  baby! - Thank you Germans!

(Pic: See the blooper by the Miami Herald? Sorry!)

Before game 5 in Dallas, Nowitzki was under the weather and had a bad fever ...still played though. Wade and James made fun of Dirk's sickness ...uhmmm...reaaally?  So who are the real sickly  ones now? Huh? So while the Mavs celebrated, the "Trio" was deflated - their egos, that is...especially the misnomer "king james" ...What's in a name?  Sometimes, not much, other times, a LOTTT!

For example, "Weiner" ...is a Weiner! ...'nuff said! ...and the same advice to the whole media blitz! ...Nuff ..is enough! The guy is a weiner! ..Okay? A weiner by any other name is STILL a weiner!  He is another sickly weiner.  I heard he's gone in for treatment ...of course he definitely needs to be treeeeaated!.

And from a weiner to a winner ....

Mitt the Man is enjoying a boost in the polls since the announcement. Tonight is the CNN GOP Debate so watch for all Romney's fellow Republican foes go after him!  C'mon you fellow GOP candidates, unless a woman or maid comes forward claiming Romney to be the father of her child,  Mitt is It! ...the GOP nominee....even despite his Mormonism.

....and speaking of Mormons, again and again - yes it's presidential elections time again ...and so the Mormons are back in center stage and are newsworthy, I guess.  Here's an excerpt from a news article on the BOM Broadway musical that won NINE Tony Awards:

The profane and hysterical "The Book of Mormon" [Broadway musical] took home nine Tony Awards on Sunday including the prize for best musical, a considerable achievement for a pair of first-time Broadway playwrights known more for their raunchy cartoons featuring potty-mouthed kids.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of the Emmy Award-winning "South Park," found a kindred soul in Robert Lopez, who co-wrote the Tony-winning "Avenue Q," and all three found themselves with plenty of awards when they collaborated to gently mock Mormons and send-up Broadway itself.
Collecting the best musical prize, a subdued Parker, ... said he'd be remiss if he didn't thank his late book co-writer —— Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon religion.
"You did it, Joseph! You got the Tony!" Parker said looking skyward and holding up his award.
So the best musical contains the "profane, hysterical ..raunchy and the potty-mouthed."????

Wooow, are these guys (Parker, Stone and Lopez) geniuses, or what?  No, they are fools! ...LOL! ...Fools? Why?  Ridicule Joseph Smith and you are a certified fool! ...LOL! ...according to LDS scripture... well, here:

"The ends of the earth shall inquire after thy name [Joseph], and fools shall have thee in derision, ...." D&C 122:1

Is the musical a some sort of fulfillment of scripture or what? ...LOL!  I think they're after the wrong guy, they should be ridiculing Harold Camping ...though he has been ridiculed enough in the last several weeks .... and recently Camping has suffered a stroke. Could his world be ending soon? ...

Finally, here are the most recent headlines from Obamanation:

"Obama pushes jobs plan ...."
"Obama announces plan to cut government waste."

What? Plan? Is Obama just now making plans? What has he done in the last two and a half years? ...I think he bet all his money on Osama. Well a word for you Mr. Prez: "Osama will not save Obama in 2012!" As they say: "It's the Economy, Stupid!"  .... Could his term be ending soon?

6/11/11

To be Trusted is better than to be Loved

"E sili atu le faatuatuaina nai lo le alofaina."

Okay, hold on, let me explain... :)

This maxim is largely - if not absolutely - true in the regular and normal context of parents-children relationships. In the context of deviant and dubious relationships, conversely, it may not apply - of course.

When I first came across the maxim, I had to stop and think for a minute. It’s one of those profundities that takes some thought and rumination for it to finally click, especially when it "challenges" the deeply-held, universal belief and truth about Love. We have been taught that Love - especially Compassion - is the inviolable epitome of human and Christian values. And so whenever something - albeit seemingly contradictory - breaches such core belief, a good and reasonable explanation is always a welcomed antidote.

It was the scriptures that presented an issue that led me to ponder the principle behind the maxim and then used it to shed light on some questions that I had.

Some time ago, I was teaching the Old Testament course in our Sunday School. The particular lesson was on Joseph who was sold into Egypt. And I was somewhat bothered by the fact that Jacob favored Joseph more than his other children; I was not however troubled by the fact that God, too, favored Joseph. I guess I was only ready to question someone with whom I can relate and identify as a mortal parent. As someone who believes in the scriptures’ role in teaching moral truths, the question I had was how a parent can favor, or love, one child over the others. And so I questioned Jacob’s parenting skills (haha).

The pattern - of a favored son/child - is common in the scriptures. For example, Abel, Isaac, Jacob and others. (And it’s not necessarily because of any divine "predestination", otherwise free will and agency will have been negated.)  Nephi (of the Book of Mormon) was/is also a favored child - of his parents and God.  Generally, whenever a "favored" status is assigned by a parent to a child, we immediately equate that exclusively with "love" which, in turn, essentially means that the parents love their children unequally - which is wrong! So in trying to settle the issue, I asked myself  "How can a parent explain the "favored status" without divvying up his/her love among the children?" (Yes, like the Samoan faitama faapito concept.)

Interestingly, it took the scriptures to provoke and stimulate the issue, but it also took the scriptures to broaden my understanding and perspective on the adage and the principle behind it.

The whole enigma has to do more with TRUST than LOVE.

Basically, parents love their children equally, but trust them differently. Trust therefore is an added bestowment, and needs to be earned. Let’s consider God, the ideal parent. Here’s a familiar scripture - often quoted out of context by many by not including the conditionality of verse 35.

"...God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him." (Acts 10:34-35)

If I may, let me rephrase that in support of the subtle - yet profound - difference between Trust and Love.

"...God loves all persons, but in every nation he that is obedient and righteous, is trusted by Him."

That’s the same concept at home. As parents, we love all our children the same but when it comes to trusting them, then they are at different levels. For the latter, it’s regrettable and sad but true. Good parents always "favor" - based wholly on TRUST - the ones who are good, obedient and more diligent in keeping God's commandments.

I’m sure Jacob loved all his children the same but he favored Joseph - as we all know - because he was a good, faithful, obedient, honest, righteous and loving son/child.  In other words he was more trustworthy.

"You can be trusted and therefore loved - at the same time - but you can be loved and may not necessarily be trusted."

6/7/11

Tautoga Gausia - The Flaw in Sam's Death

I am convinced that the makers of Tautoga Gausia were more concerned about exonerating themselves from the ensuing accusations of promoting suicide after the release of Part I, and so the cause of Sam's death seems to have been altered in response to such accusations. In the process however the film-makers committed a flub.

Bar none, the single most riveting and pivotal event in the whole movie (Parts I and II) is Sam's death. It's the one event that gives Part I its climactic content and suspense; and Part II its footing and validation. Everyone looked forward to Part II to see how Sam died. Any yet, it turns out to be largely irrelevant and effectively disconnected from the entire storyline.
Consider this scenario:
Suppose that you only watch the last fifteen minutes during which Sam drowns while his friends look on unwilling and fearful to help; and then the resulting ifoga (apology). How much do you have to know before that point to understand and make sense of the two events? Practically, nothing!  The two events represent a distinct cause and effect incident.

Sam's death IS an accident, and therefore does not need to be placed in an incriminating context stemming from any prior acts or events. Simply, the death is effectively a disconnect from the entire story. It is a contingency and is more independent than prodigiously pertinent to the overall context of the movie. The ifoga - the main event that supports and validates the Forgiveness title and theme - is therefore ad hoc and embedded. I can understand how the film-makers seem focused on implementing the ifoga which epitomizes the forgiveness theme of Part II, but in doing so, rather hastily and without much forethought, the cause of Sam's death, connectedly, is carelessly designed.

Moreover, the fact that the culprits (two friends) do not appear until the end of the movie does not help either. These two characters are supposed to play a major part in the overall story and plot, yet their actual role is brief, insignificant and circumstantial - let alone in a flashback and backstory mode. The maladroit and trivial cause of Sam's death and the subsequent ifoga are both standalone events - take them out and Tautoga Gausia remains largely intact. It would have been better if the cause of Sam's death were to remain a mystery or, again, retain its suicidal intimations - even amidst any controversy. Personally, I believe that it's better to be controversial than to be trivial. Some of the best works of art are controversial in nature.

Suicide is a grave (pun intended) and painful truth for the Samoans. During last year's Christmas holiday season, if I remember correctly, there were about five deaths by suicide in Samoa. Had the makers of Tautoga Gausia stayed with the obvious suicide subtext of Part I, the movie would have been a voice in the wilderness for a very real and serious problem facing the Samoans.  Succumbing of the film-makers to a few critics and unfounded fears may have cost Tautoga Gausia a more esteemed, lasting and deserving repute.
 
Ron Silver, an American actor, director and producer said: "Artists speak the truth to the public without fear of retribution or damage to their careers."

2012 Update

MSN - Poll shows Romney beating Obama

"Eighty-nine percent of Americans say the economy is in bad shape; 57 percent say the recovery has not started and 66 percent said the United States was seriously on the wrong track.

Forty-five percent said they trust congressional Republicans over Obama to handle the economy, up 11 points since March.
The poll shows Obama leading five out of six potential Republican presidential rivals but in a dead heat with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
Among all Americans, Obama and Romney are tied at 47 percent each. Among registered voters, Romney is ahead 49 percent to 46 percent."

Most people believe that it's still too early to make something out of these polls. True. However, I'm sure to the two candidates one is worried while the other gains confidence, even despite the volatility of the polls. There is one condition that if true now, and remains so in October and November next year, Romney, or someone other than Obama will win, and that is the state of the economy. If the economy rebounds between now and the middle of next year then Obama may regain his edge. But if it continues to decline, then Obama may very well start counting his days in the White House. This fact is not lost to Obama and may be the very reason his top economic adviser will resign/quit in the next few weeks.

6/6/11

"Mormons Rock!" ~Newsweek

"[The Mormons] have conquered Broadway, talk radio, the U.S. Senate-and they may win the White House," goes the lead of a Newsweek article on Mitt Romney and the Mormons.


By virtue of his second place in the 2008 GOP Primary - and now a lead in recent polls - Romney is seen as the 2012 frontrunner to challenge Obama.

This Newsweek cover picture depicting Romney as a dancing missionary is better than Romney and five "Little House on the Prairie" costume-clad women dancing around him. The latter may be a thing of the past, though it may still be possible today, but only if the publisher has an intolerant religious agenda sponsored and financed by the audacious liberal arm of the media.

But even this Romney cover is tamer and less offensive - if at all - especially when compared with this cover caricature of Obama in which he is portrayed as a Muslim wearing a turban, while bump-fisting Mrs. Obama. (And what's with the gun?)

The fact that the Romney cover reflects a much kinder and gentler treatment of the LDS Church, does speak - hopefully - for a change and shift in old attitudes and opinions about the faith. Other pundits agree that these such treatments mean that the LDS Church is finally - or has begun - entering mainstream, and Main Street, I should add.

Speaking of main street, one of Broadway's hottest musicals now is based on the Book of Mormon. Though presented in parodic and satirical fashion, it still reflects part of a somewhat repulsive initiation phase for the Church, and one that is obviously changing.

With Romney as a serious and credible candidate, Jon Huntsman Jr. - also Mormon - is waiting in the wings. Huntsman is still considering a run. But whether he will or will not enter the race, just being in the political and public limelight now helps in projecting the LDS Church as an up and coming force in presidential politics.

And despite the many enemies of the LDS Church still lurking, ironically, in churchyards and pulpits across America, as well as in other covert hideouts and facades of religious intolerance and bigotry, the truth about the Mormons' resilience may be slowly percolating.  Hence, I think the Mormons should loudly declare - with unabated confidence - "We're here! "  Or at least as the Newsweek article states: "Mormons Rock!"

6/4/11

Over 90 and loving it!

Hahahaha ...no I'm not 90, though very close! LOL!   Wow, I was just watching this documentary on PBS of people who are between 90 and 100+ years old.  If you need some motivation for longevity, try to catch it on local PBS programming.  It's uplifting, to say the least.  You can also check it out from one of the PBS websites. 
What I learned is for one to enjoy and feel great during old age, he/she needs to stay busy, creative, be interested in acquiring knowledge and learning new things, exercise, be happy and feel grateful, help and love others, etc.  Generally scientists believe that longevity is 30% genetics and 70% lifestyle.

Here's a Youtube segment of the film, but again watch the whole film and you'll appreciate more what it offers.  Most of those who are featured in the film look more like they're in their 70's if not 60's.  The Senior Olympian is amazing and so is Granny D who walked - literally - across America at 89/90 years old.   There are many more incredible people in the film.
Over 90 and loving it

6/1/11

Tautoga Gausia - Faamagaloga (Part II) Review

Finally I got around to watching Part II and I'm sure a couple of readers may be looking for my reviews since I have written some for Part I also.

Before I proceed, I want to make one thing clear - and in categorical fashion too - that notwithstanding my reviews, Tautoga Gausia’s nascent milestone within Samoa's film-making history is unmatched, archetypal and will certainly prevail.

But critical reviews are also part of such a milestone and accomplishment - or any movie or work of art for that matter. So I hope you read and peruse my comments in their proper context and light.

With the release of Faamagaloga - Part II, the truth is now revealed that Sam did not commit suicide, contrary to most people’s prognostication - including mine. And the makers of Tautoga Gausia are apparently elated, absolved and exonerated while at the same time proving their critics wrong.

However, though these filmmakers have succeeded in that particular aspect, the decision - planned or extraneous - to circumvent and elude the suicide issue altogether, has caused some obvious setbacks to the overall movie, especially from the technical and artistic guidelines of typical and genuine movie making. The general enthusiasm of the viewers also suffers.  Most say that Faamagaloga is boring, and I agree, though it’s more than just boring. Faamagaloga has some flaws and weaknesses hence contributing to Tautoga Gausia’s overall regression and mediocrity. To some Tautoga is a disappointment. Therefore, all things considered, Faamagaloga  is anticlimactic and is subsequently dull, boring and lethargic.

No conflict, no story ...no good movie
If there’s a single principle that underlies the making of good and great movies, it is the critical role of conflict and tension. It is the conflict that holds any movie together and keeps the audience charmed and transfixed. The makers of Tautoga Gausia said that the movie is based on a true story, but a true story does not always make a good movie, especially without conflict which has to be present, and if not, the filmmakers have to write the story in such a way that conflict is added to the script. Tautoga certainly has conflicts - notably in Part I.  Unfortunately, the conflict - involving Sam's death - that brings about the ifoga (apology) is non-dramatic, minor and mostly incidental. As a result the ifoga is more illustrative and demonstrative than didactic and comprehensive.

Part I, despite its obvious rudiments, still is able to maintain conflict especially among the principal characters. The contentious relationship between Filemoni and Sam drives Part I even to its climactic and suspenseful ending. But Part I’s excitement and drama also contribute to Part II’s lacklusterness and mediocrity. Tautoga Gausia is like a movie of a seafaring journey of 200 miles where everything - a violent storm, mutiny, a hole on the side of the ship, a broken mast, etc. - happens during the first half. During the last half, everything is back to normal but monotonous and the characters just sit around, drink and talk about their prior misfortunes.  In other words, the structure of Tautoga Gausia collapses from trying to explain and resolve an unexciting event of Sam’s death. The denouement takes up the whole of Part II which goes to prove inept storyboard planning on the part of the filmmakers.

The lack of dramatic elements and sustained conflict are also created by Sam’s death which, again, is more accidental and incidental than dramatic. So in Part II, the failure of the filmmakers to maintain, or at least spawn new sustained conflict contributes to the regression of the movie. If anything, you don’t kill, or let the principal character die in medias res. Otherwise it’s downhill from that point on - which is exactly how it is in Part II. You can’t do much to the story - especially another full movie’s length - without the main character and backbone of the story. Much will, and can only be told through a backstory and/or flashback but again, if the end has been given away - that the "protagonist" dies - then the backstory better be creative and dramatic and/or passionate to justify the untimely death of the protagonist. As I mentioned before, a martyrdom is usually an option in such a case and concept.

Personally therefore, Tautoga Gausia should have stayed with the suicide message. The movie should, at the very least, try not to depart altogether and completely from suicidal overtones and implications of Part I. Though the filmmakers deny and insist that the movie has nothing to do with suicide, all intimations and technical elements of Part I suggest otherwise. Suicide is definitely the predictable upshot based on the drama, the plot, the storyline, the symbolism and allusions of Part I. And the heated and violent confrontations between Sam and Filemoni which eventually lead Sam to push the canoe out to sea have deciding predictability of suicide - or at least suicidal impulses.

The ongoing hostility between father and son and their disaffection and resentment for each other, develops and advances to a climactic point in Sam’s death. But the fact that Sam’s death was a result of his own eventual misfortunes not only exonerate Filemoni but also contribute to the anti-climatic lineament of Part II. The shift also shrinks and kills the tension that all the drama in Part I helps build.

Now if the intimations and predictability of suicide need to be outdone by the surprise and secret of the real cause of Sam’s death, then the surprise should raise the ante tenfold and in much more dramatic fashion for the audience to remain interested and captivated. Unfortunately, the most critical and anticipated riddle (cause Sam’s death) in the movie turns out to be more isolated and effectively independent of the rest of the story. The shift, if not a tweak, in the storyline places Part II at variance with Part I and the entire Tautoga Gausia.  Part I is essentially a round hole and Part II is a square post. The dovetailing is lousy at best and ineffective at worst.  And though Part II is true to its own message of forgiveness, mostly through the gestures and expressions of penitence - albeit ostensibly vacuous - the same trivialities make Faamagaloga - Part II tediously repetitious, monotonous and humdrum.

(Cont’d)

Wuzzhappening?

Evidently, Schwarzenegger and that IMF guy - Dominique - because of their foreign accents have both mispronounced and misinterpreted the word "maid" to be "meidt" or .... "mate"  The first part of their rehab is to learn and understand the proper meaning of the word "maid" .... in English~


Trump and the Tramp
 Ok, "Tramp" as in a person who travels from place to place usually on foot...like there in that picture... And that Tramp - is Sarah (yess...Palin) who is presently traveling or "on tour" across the US. Why? ...nobody knows!

And it so happened that Donald, yes that one - Trump - treated the Tramp and her family to a pizza dinner. Pizza? Really? Trump? I thought the meaning of the word "trump" is "outdo" or "better/best" But pizza dinner? Not lobster and steak? ...kiddin' me, Trump?

Two things are possible - either Trump cannot afford lobster and steak ...Ahem! ...or it could be a reflection of how he thinks of Palin - not as a person necessarily - but as a candidate for the Presidential elections next year.

But if Trump did it because of some selfish motive, then I think he is slowly but seriously thinking of getting into Heaven .... Since it's hard for a rich man to get into heaven, Trump is now acting like a poor dude hanging out at the pizzaria with Sarah ...the Biblical connection of the name I'm sure was also not lost to Donald. Give to the poor Donald, not to the not-so-poor!
Palin was quite impressed with Trump's gesture that she decided to sport a Trump hairdo afterwards.

And what's with this pizza trend? Last week Romney, while making a campaign appearance in Chicago, sent some leftover pizza to Obama's campaign offices not too far away. Leftover pizza? Well, what can you say about a man whose name has "m-o-n-e-y" in it? LOL! Is pizza becoming the food of the rich? Then keep telling kids to order pizza! They will grow up rich! ...hehehe

Sounds like the battle has just begun culminating in the 2012 general elections. Romney looks more and more like the one to win the GOP nomination and will go against Obama.  If Romney wins then we say "Pizza!"

And that special K
K as in Kim Kardashian ..she is finally going to tie the knot! And the lucKy guy is an NBA player who started with the Jazz ...yeaaaahhh Utah!  And the ring is rumored to have priced at $2 million ..Ouch! ...and ouch again! ...must be from Kay's Jewelers...haha  O'reilly ...Bill, that is, of the O'reilly Factor quipped about the huge price that one million is enough ... and donate the other million to the poor ...Hahaha.... yes Kim and your guy, act like Trump and hang out at Walmart's jewelry section...LOL! 
So what was it that attracted Kim to the guy, you ask? It has to do with family tradition! Yeppy, it has to do with the big K - not Kellogg's - but the Kardashians - Khloe, Kim, Kourtney ... so Kris - yes with a "K" not a "Ch" ...see? .. will fit right in ...Reggie would have fit in if his name was Keggie and Lamar is going to change his name to Kamar! LOL! ...oKay? ....KKKKKKKKK!