The recent spate of sad events in the Philippines — starting with Typhoon Ondoy on September 26th – really kept me from adding to this blog. But, after the tragedies and doing your best to help those affected, life goes on…
But back to the batcave and the rain/floods: Though we can blame the unusual amount of rainfall on climate change, and the clogged drains on pollution, and denuded forests for the landslides, I always think… it’s been pouring buckets on this country forever! We just never pre-plan anything here (except for the latest product launch and celeb debut, but I digress), and we never learn from from the past.
Just to prove my point, check out this vintage political cartoon from the 1931 Free Press (below):
Hmm, except for the vintage cars and outfits, and a shark in the water instead of the seriously real crocodiles and snakes from the September flooding, this looks sooo familiar…
I really really miss the many mis-adventures of the forever bombed best friends, Patsy and Eddy. I was such a fan while I was at university in the early ’90s that I actually planned my second year classes to all start at 11am so I could have my morning coffee watching Absolutely Fabulous on the A&E Channel. Seriously.
The main cast (without Mother): Eddy, Saffy, Bubble & Patsy
Anyway, I recently read that this Fall, there will be a US version of AbFab executive produced by Jennifer Saunders (Eddy and AbFab’s creator) and overseen by the producer of Arrested Development (which I also loved). Kristen Johnson of 3rd Rock from the Sun will play Patsy while an actress named Kathryn Hahn will play Eddy. Despite the seemingly solid cast and production crew, I still wonder why there was a need to America-fy this classically neurotic, dysfunctional yet loveable British series. I wish they could just show the original episodes in syndication.
American Pats & Eddy : (
Oh well… I’ll just have to comfort myself with my two videos purchased long ago. Despite it being almost 20 years since the first season, this show is still timelessly hilarious. I miss Patsy (played by Joanna Lumley), Eddy, Saffy, Bubble and Edwina’s Mother. I’m chanting as we speak…
Despite what Christina Crawford wrote in “Mommie Dearest”, how can you not love (or love to hate) Joan Crawford? Now she was a total Hollywood diva. After all the stories about her cattiness and nose in the air attidude, the wonderful thing is that she could back up all the airs with top-rate acting and screen presence. From Grand Hotel to her later B-movie attempts, the camera adored her. She even stood out as the hateful Crystal in the original (1939)The Women (one of my favorite movies). And considering she was in that movie with greats like Rosalind Russel, Norma Shearer and Paulette Goddard, that’s saying a lot. Here are more delicious quotable quotes from Christina’s Mommie (I didn’t include “No wire hangers!”):
“I, Joan Crawford, I believe in the dollar. Everything I earn, I spend.”
“Helga, I’m not mad at you. I’m mad at the dirt.” (to her maid)
“If you want my opinion, far too many actresses today are little more than tramps and tarts.”
“We’re paid to turn shit into gold.” (on Hollywood)
“Women’s Lib? Poor little things. They always look so unhappy. Have you noticed how bitter their faces are?”
Ok, so maybe she really was a scary mom...
But bitch-ay or not, you just gotta love her. Unless you’re another Diva like Bette Davis (looove her) who reportedly couldn’t stand dearest Joan, and the feeling was mutual. In several Bette biographies, there are just loads of gems about their ‘little’ feud…
When asked why she avoided Joan at Hollywood functions, Bette stated:
“You hang around that woman long enough and you’ll pick up all kinds of useless shit.”
Love is in the air...
Sigh, these Divas, gotta love them.
Classic Joan photographed by Hollywood photog, Yousuf Karsh
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
- Ferris Bueller from Ferris Bueller’s Day off
John Hughes, writer-director of ’80s classics like Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off died at the age of 59 on Thursday, August 6th. There have been a lot of unexpected and sad deaths of famous people this year, but John Hughes was different in that he wasn’t a global superstar like Michael Jackson, but his death made me feel like I’ve lost a cool friend from my youth. Hughes’ films may have seemed like silly teenage comedies to some, but I feel that they were actually smart and accurate representations of my generation. If you belong to Generation X (hello Douglas Coupland), you can joyously quote a line from at least one John Hughes film.
So today as a tribute to the man… It’s an 80s Hughes flashback!
Sixteen Candles – my first favorite ‘teen’ film.
It's Long Duk Dong!
Sigh, the final scene with Samantha and Jake… and the cake
I just felt like swooning over black and white photos of beautiful classic leading men this morning. Perhaps I’m also swooning because my neighbor is currently fogging his yard with clouds of anti-mosquito poison…
Anyway, watching old Hollywood movies wasn’t easy as a child in the Philippines – if you wanted to see an American black and white film, you had to rent a video. From a young age, I listened to my dad talk about these Hollywood greats and learned to love the movies, the glamor and the actors. As much as I love Brad Pitt, Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, it seems like no one can hold a candle these days to the super actors of yesteryear. These photos below show how timelessly gorgeous they still are.
Loved him in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Cool Hand Luke and Butch Cassidy…
Woo hoo, Paul Newman
My mom’s ultimate favorite (along with Alain Delon) and star of the tragic A Place in the Sun…
Gorgeous Montgomery Clift
In this photo, he’s playing Jett Rink, my favorite character in Giant…
Swoon, James Dean
Super talented anti-hero star of Cape Fear and Night of the Hunter…
Robert Mitchum : )
My mother’s faaavorite actor, and beautiful Frenchman…
Gorgeous and still really active today…
Before his spaghetti western days... Clint Eastwood
Channeling Hugh Jackman, another photo of Clint Eastwood…
So last night I saw “The Sound of Music” for the first time with my 3 year old daughter. It was another ‘maman moment’ as I realized I finally had a daughter to share this lovely film with, much like my mother did with me ages ago (boo hoo, tears of happiness). Anyway, at 3, she was a little bored with all the ‘talking parts’, so we just forwarded to all the songs. She especially loved watching the kids, especially little Gretl.
It got me thinking… Where are the actors who played the Von Trapp children today? Then I remembered that a few months ago, my friend Lara sent me an email with these photos (below). Enjoy! And I only have these comments: What happened to Kurt and Liesl?! and wow, Gretl aged really well.
She’s done it again. Just when I thought I was familiar with Southern domestic goddess Paula Deen’s arsenal of deep-fried, bacon-wrapped, sugar-stuffed recipes, she manages to produce another eyebrow-raiser.
Enjoy this video of her putting together a great sandwich. Watching this sends a chill down my spine : O ….
Whenever I hear the words ‘population explosion’, I always think of the Philippines. When I used to live in Canada, this would always come up about the Philippines in my Southeast Asian Government classes. Now, I don’t need to study facts or statistics, I simply need to leave my home to see children everywhere — playing on dusty sidewalks by busy intersections, clutching their young mother’s hand while she begs for money, sleeping in wooden carts in empty lots.
I always wondered how one can live in this country and not even consider the idea of a reproductive health plan. I am against abortion, but am pro-birth control. Underprivileged women need the information and free birth control to help them gain control of their lives. As a nation, we seriously need to keep our population in check if we are to begin the long process of eradicating poverty.
The Philippine Star details the story of the UNFPA (United Naitons Population Fund)’s 20th World Population Day:
[The UNFPA released a statment that] calls on governments to promote women’s reproductive health and prevent maternal and child deaths through family planning programs and the use of contraceptives. Even the person in charge of direct aid for the poor in the Philippines, Social Welfare Secretary Esperanza Cabral, is pushing for the passage of the Reproductive Health Bill as resources shrink in the recession and the population continues to boom.
The UNFPA points out that an investment in contraceptive services could be recouped four times over in terms of savings in public education, health care and other social services. The UN agency also says that family planning alone can reduce maternal deaths by up to 40 percent.
So “Happy World Population Day” and may everyone in government seriously think about giving the Reproductive Health Bill a shot. Just look out your windows, people! Look.
Political Cartoon from 1937 shows this is not an new issue
Fabella Hospital, Manila's "baby factory" as 20% of Manila's babies are born here to indigent moms.
I don’t know why wax lips are still in joke shops when there are now women who actually pay to achieve this bizarre ultra-plump-pouty look. Maybe part of the fluid injected into your lips makes you instantly believe you look like Angelina Jolie. Aside from Megan Fox (who can kind of pull it off), the rest of these women remind me of the freaky melting women from Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun video. Creepy!
Why Brittany, Why?
There was NOTHING wrong with her to begin with
Olivia Newton-John’s daughter, Chloe Lattanzi, felt she needed duck lips at 23
Dearest Donatella… no no nooo
The Philippines hasn’t been spared…
The one who can probably pull it off: Megan Fox Before & After
Great parting shot… Donatella is now Janice the Muppet!
Below is the CIA’s list of the Top 10 Wealthiest Nations in Asia. No surprise that Las Islas isn’t on the list but it was depressing to see that Malaysia, our former ‘not so successful’ neighbor (when I was a kid), is now at number 8. It also says something that when I google’d photos of Malaysia, not one had a shanty, a mountain of garbage, or a half-dressed child. But all is not lost, the Philippines stands at number 13, just behind China and ahead of Kazakhstan(Borat’s home). Not bad, at least we’re still ahead of Indonesia!
Top 10 List of the Wealthiest Countries in Asia (c/o CIA World Factbook, rank based on GDP per capita)
Singapore – 27,800
Japan – 23,400
Hong Kong – 23,100
Macau – 17,500
Brunei – 17,400
Taiwan – 16,100
South Korea – 13,300
Malaysia – 10,700
Thailand – 6,400
Turkey – 6,200
Despite not making the Top 10 of Asia’s Wealthiest, the Philippines apparently ranks 14th out of 143 nations the in the New Economic Foundation’s Ranking of the World’s Happiest Places. The basis for ranking being:
life expectancy (ours is 71 years)
people’s happiness with their lives (55% of Filipinos are apparently thrilled with theirs)
and environmental impact (hmm…)
Costa Rica was crowned the happiest and greenest place on earth (take that, Disneyland). The highest ranked Western nation is the Netherlands at 43, with the US at 114. So yay to South America and to us: Viva and Mabuhay! Let’s dance!
What a GREAT tribute to ZZ Top from Diesel, taken at this year’s Pitti Immagine Bimbo fashion show in Florence. I hope they played ”Sharp-dressed Man” when these kids walked the runway (see below).
With my husband in a mullet, wayfarers, and a mustache as Frank Beard, and with two furry guitars for the kids, this would also make the perfect Halloween group costume!
Speaking of “Sharp Dressed Man”, here’s the video from 1983 (a GREAT year in music videos if you ask me). You just have to say “Whee-heeew!” I love these classic videos with loose women, that car, and the hilarious makeover storylines (I miss Legs!)… Update: ugh, they just took the classic video off Youtube! Here’s a live version instead. Bummer, I love that ’83 video.
You know you’re a popular president when they’ve turned you into a Chia Pet! Each Chia Obama comes in either a ‘happy’ (above) or ‘determined’ (below) pose, has Obama’s trademark ‘Yes We Can’ written on the side, and most importantly… sprouts green Chia hair. Kinda creepy but definitely kitschy! I personally wouldn’t want this as a present, but for those who do, just click on the photo below to go directly to the Chia Pet site. This would make a great wedding giveaway…or maybe not.
The world is abuzz today about the sad, untimely deaths of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett. As tribute to the two 1970s icons (and beyond for MJ), I thought to post videos from each star in their heyday.
Yesterday, I posted the Jackson 5′s “Enjoy Yourself”, but I decided to replace that video with my all-time favorite MJ song, “Billie Jean“. Listening to Billie Jean and watching this video (the original isn’t available on YouTube due to ‘country restrictions’) really brings me back to my early ’80s childhood. Great memories! For whatever he did or became, it’s wonderful gifts like his music and showmanship that will hopefully live on in our minds forever. Thanks, Michael!
I also HAVE to post “Ben”, which I really loved as a little girl. I had no idea at the time that it was about a rat. (How ironic is that.) It’s also telling of what his childhood was like, having composed at such a young age this beautiful and heartfelt song about his friendship with his pet rat. It’s my second favorite MJ song and really takes me back…
I was obsessed with Charlie’s Angels as a child. Of course, the show’s adult innuendoes were lost on me as I just watched for the action and cool hair. Contrary to what boring critics say, I thought this show did a lot for little girls like me who thought for the first time that we could kick boys’ asses. We’ll miss you, Farrah!
I’m outing my mom here but she used to buy Royalty and Majesty magazines regularly up until Diana died. A few months after Princess Di’s passing, I asked my mom where her new stash of royal magazines were and she replied, “I no longer need those magazines. Who am I going to look at? Camilla?? (said through gritted teeth)” And so since then, I’ve been giving my mom Diana biographies every other Mother’s Day (with maybe a Kennedy or Jackie O. book thrown in). I’m currently reading a brilliant book that was kindly loaned to me by a friend… The Diana Chronicles by Tina Brown. I’m only halfway through but it’s a doozy! I’ve known of Tina Brown since her days in Vanity Fair and she writes so well - a little snide comments here and there and yet quite profound observations. I (and my mom) will miss Diana all over again. Anyone heading for a vacation? Take this book with you.
I’m also reading Anne de Courcy’s 1939: The Last Season as it’s in line with my love for anything from the Golden Age (20s til before WW2). I just finished The Viceroy’s Daughters and quite enjoyed that, so will move on to this one. It’s just hard to get to because Diana’s book landed in my lap and I haven’t put it down since.
The next book I plan to read is a toss up between:
The book ”Philippine Cartoons – Political Caricatures of the American Era 1900-1941″ by Alfred McCoy and Alfredo Roces is a treasure trove of information on how things used to be. Aside from the cartoons featuring the Manila Carnival, and the one about the passing of an ordinance in 1930 to get live pigs off the streets (!), I love these that depict public outrage at UP following the American example and allowing coeducation. We’ve come a long way!
What?! Of course, upon further reading of the article in the paper this morning, it becomes clear- MICE stands for ‘Meetings, Incentives, Conventions & Exhibition.’ It still didn’t make the article less laughable:
[The event] will also provide local MICE suppliers with the chance to introduce their services to the foreign MICE buyers in the MICE mart on July 10 at Shangrila Plaza Mall.
It’s another case of acronym abuse in a country where the list of acronyms is so long, you need reference material when you read the daily headlines. I’m already used to CON-ASS (Constituent Assembly), but imagine a visitor to this country picking up the paper to read: “Former President Ramos hopes PGMA keeps her CON-ASS titillations to herself.”
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front should also consider using their full name because it’s hard not to burst out laughing when you read, ““Army pounds MILF” and “MILF expels Christians from Philippine farms” (gee, that’s one mean MILF!). Compare that last headline with Reuters’ version, “Muslim rebels expel Christians.” See? It can be done.