Monday, January 31, 2005

New hope

The future of Iraq, its people, and a new government

Victory and hope are heralded worldwide for the Iraqi people as they cast their votes for new leadership. A point I would like to make is this: a distinction should not be made between “red” and “blue” states; right and wrong policies; for it was a victory as well for the United States and all Americans who treasure their freedom. In this instance, we are all Americans, “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” This is an opportunity for us to learn and study the birth and growth of a new government.

With this in mind, many uncertainties remain, and the question I pose is, will the new government evolve into an Islamic Republic or will the frail seed of democracy survive and grow and claim the hearts of the Iraqi people?

A glimpse into the future may reveal neighboring Iran having influence within the new government, giving rise to another concern for the President, a potential reality, and if this is the case, foreign policy will shift to Iran (as it already has), an historically anti-America country that breeds terrorists and insurgent groups, creating new fodder for the American people and the politicians at home. Former policies that were clear-cut will now stimulate complications, and although an election was held, the war is still far from over, bringing optimistic victory, yet constrained and cautious.

How far is the United States willing to go if its objective is to bring democracy to the Middle East; will this mean another war, and will the American people support it? Iraq and Iran are intrinsically connected and to cut the umbilical cord will be difficult. This concern has validity simply because the Islamic religion is pervasive in the daily lives of the Iraqi people. The world watches and waits.

Amidst tight security, Iraqis line up to vote

Iraqis Landmark Election

The first democratic election in over 50 years, Iraqis have cast their ballots amidst violence. The election is officially over and according to CNN, was a success, approximately 72% actually voted, whereas the government had predicted a 52% turnout, although these numbers are very raw and require validation. Let it be a victory for them and the U.S.

President Bush has accomplished his mission, or so we would hope. Plans should be underway to pull out our soldiers and bring them home, as well as deal with the hostage situation.

No one can predict if the election will stabilize the war-torn country, but certainly, it is a new beginning. How this will affect the war on terrorism in the Middle East and around the world remains to be seen.

Let us move on for there are serious issues that must be addressed domestically; a staggering debt, an at-risk educational system, and the failing Medicare/Medicaid programs, just a few among many more.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Halu'u, Chamorro fisherman

Legend of Halu'u

A long time ago in the days of the Great Maga'lahi Atdao (Sun), the lord of the paradise Tano' Guam and beyond, there lived a simple fisherman named Halu'u.

He was a man with simple means and simple dreams. He lived with his wife and family in a very modest home made of latte stones and palm leaves. His life was simple because he believed that simplicity brought happiness and meaning to his existence.

Since the Great Maga'lahi Atdao (Sun) became the exulted ruler of Tano' Guam and beyond, there has been peace among the peoples of Oceania, which stretches from the Mongolian kingdom in the West to the Indio continent, far to the East. The Great War with the yellow warriors of Mongolia had united the many peoples of Oceania under one ruler supported by the Council of the Gods. The Great War bought peace and cooperation among the seafaring explorers who inhabited the islands of the Pacific.

And now, the people were happy and lived in harmony because they were at peace with themselves; at peace with the sea; at peace with the lands; and at peace with the Gods.

Halu'u was never an ordinary Taotao Tano'. His physical features portrayed a man of great agility and great strength. He was quite tall, muscular and remarkably handsome. His brown skin and long, wavy hair made him look more like a god than a man. He was a Matua. Wahoo Game Fish

On this day, as in every day, Halu'u was out beyond the reefs in his masted canoe trawling for toson (Wahoo). It was here that Halu'u first encountered the giant Gaga' Tasi (sea animal) many seasons ago. He was massive and enormous in size with pointed nose and wide dorsal fins. He was a daily visitor to these fishing grounds and Halu'u sometimes wondered whether the Gaga' Tasi came-by to feast on the tosons or just to taunt him.

"hafa che'lu! Kao guaha minaolek?" (Hello brother, any luck?), asked the Gaga' Tasi in a sarcastic tone.

Sige! Sige! Mungnga yu' ma kasi, pa'go!" (Go away! Go away! Don't tease me, today!), replied Halu'u.

"Hafa ga'chong! Kao ti ya-mu yu'?" (What's the matter my friend. You don't like me?), the Gaga' Tasi asked.

"Hagu na gaga' ti ga'chong-hu," (Animal, you are no friend of mine), echoed Halu'u.

"Ha! Ha! Ha!, Ha! Ha! Ha!" laughed the creature.

"Chalek nai, atmariao!" (Laugh, you crazy!), said Halu'u.

"Ha! Ha! Ha! Hunggan ya-mu yu' sa' ya-hu hao!" ( yes you like me because I like you!), the Gaga' Tasi cried back with a snicker.

"Sige! Atmariao!" replied Halu'u as he threw his long harpoon spear and narrowly missing the fish.

"Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!" laughed the Gaga' Tasi as he swam away from his reach.

Halu'u disgustedly reeled in his harpoon on to the canoe. He thought out loud, "One day, one day I will catch you with the tip of my spear and my people will have you for dinner."

In seasons past, Halu'u has been haunted by the Gaga' Tasi. For too long, he has been unsuccessful in catching any toson because of the dreaded creature. Each day he came to fish and each day the Gaga' Tasi has frustrated his efforts. As the sun rises in the talo'ani (midday), Halu'u could be seen paddling his canoe back through the Tomhom (Tumon) channels, dejected and somber. Another day, another failure.

"It would be nice to return with the Gaga' dragging at the ends of my spear. Then the Taotao Songsong (village people) will rejoice at my feat. But today will not be the day. I am coming home with nothing," Halu'u said to himself.

"I have to find a way to catch the Gaga' Tasi," he thought. "Maybe if I use my Taotaomo'na spear. Maybe if I use more sennit rope. Maybe....Maybe..." his thoughts died out as he stepped off the canoe and on to the sandy shores.

"Tata" (Father), he heard his youngest son Ayuyu calling from the distant shoreline. "Tata! Alula! Mamamaila' i pakyu!" (Father! Hurry! The typhoon is coming!), the boy cried out.

"Sige, hanao nahgong gi kantit!" (Go, take shelter in the cliffs!), Halu'u ordered. "Sige! Sige!" (Go! Go!), he shouted.

Hearing his father's commands, the boy obediently turned around and headed for the cliff-lines, where all the Taotao Songsong took refuge from the impending storm.

The winds were blowing hard now and the rains came. Halu'u was suddenly struck with a passionate desire to seek his revenge on the Gaga' Tasi. He ran home and secured his family's belongings. He took a large spool of sennit rope, his Taotaomo'na harpoon and returned to the shore. He quickly commandeered his proa (ancient Chamorro fishing vessel) back through the channels. He fought hard against the winds and the rain enroute to the fishing grounds. And that was the last time the people of Guam ever saw Halu'u again.

When the pakyu subsided, the Great Maga'lahi ordered a search party to go out and find Halu'u. They searched for days and days. They searched as far North as Agrihan and as far South as Belau. After weeks of searching in vain, the party returned and reported their fruitless efforts to the Maga'lahi.

As is the custom of the land, a ceremony was held at the shorelines to honor and remember the passing of a Taotao Tano'. The men of the Songsong began exchanging ideas and thoughts about Halu'u and what may have happened to him.

"I think he was overcame by the winds and the rain and he was swept out to sea," one Matua said.

"I believe the pakyu swept him all the way to Mongolia and he is now the prisoner of the yellow people," another cried.

"If you ask me, I think Halu'u was eated by the Gaga' Tasi," a third man added.

Just then, the Great Maga'lahi Atdao overheard the rumors circulating among the men. He interceded and said, "Don't fear, my good people. Our brother Halu'u is alive and well. I spoke to him just last night in my dreams."

The people were shocked. They begged and pleaded for the Maga'lahi to them more ...

The Maga'lahi continued, "Here is what happened. Halu'u went back to the sea to seek his revenge on the Gaga' Tasi. He found the abominable creature in the fishing grounds and he speared him. As big as the animal was, fifty canoe size, he dragged Halu'u and his proa all the way to Sa'ipan and back. He dragged him all the way to Chuuk and back. Somewhere enroute to Guam, the Gaga' Tasi thought he had rid himself of Halu'u because the canoe hit a small mass and it broke up. But Halu'u saw this in time and he grabbed at the sennit rope. My people, Halu'u is still riding the great beast until he tires."

The people awed in wonder. Then they smiled and rejoiced. They hugged and congratulated each other on the mighty feat of thier brother, Halu'u.

The Maga'lahi went on, "My people, let us celebrate the great feat of our brother. We can now fish for the toson. I proclaim this day in honor of Halu'u. Let us know this day as "Ha'anin Halu'u" and let us know the dreaded creature as "Gaga' Halu'u"."

As generations past, the Gaga' Halu'u became known only as "Halu'u". Every shark in the ocean became known as "Halu'u". And up to this day, the seafarers and seamen continue to report sightings of the long-hared Matua riding a giant shark and shouting victoriously, "Ha! Ha! Ha! I have you now, Gaga'."

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Shopping Girls

We women, our wants, our needs, gee

Clothes, shoes, more clothes, more shoes. A whirlwind affair with little boutiques waiting for a mark, shop owners with perfectly even, white teeth, spinning the virtues of an item that you simply cannot live without, and darn it, I buy into the hype all the time, only to find that I have no use for it, but some friend might, saving the sinful item for next Christmas or a birthday gift.

With this said, I have come to the conclusion that women are genetically programmed to spend money on things that attract our eye and soulful heart and will go to great lengths to have it, this hypothesis not based on any scientific evidence, however, a day out shopping with the girls is proof enough as well as my own personal experience. Gentlemen, you know what I'm talking about, and please, don't roll your eyes.

We women have a single-minded determination that can prey on unsuspecting male victims, usually a lover, spouse, or best friend. Are we up to something? Have we diabolical minds? Is it a phase which we will leave behind, godwilling? Yes, Yes, and Probably Not, and if you men are in for the long haul, well....

During a trip to San Francisco, I had a rather bizarre experience, although unsuspecting at the time, which was a normal shopping day for me. Having seen a beautiful sweater in a shop window, I walked in, intending to peruse the item, and having found my size, I was looking forward to checking out the other merchandise, when a woman approached me at a brisk pace, abruptly stopped in front of me, and told me in a heightened tone of voice and heavily-laced Altoids breath, that the sweater which I had chosen was hers.

Amusement overcame me, as it usually does when someone says something totally ridiculous and illogical, my manner very polite, I said that I found it on the rack and since it was there, no one had any claim to it. Civility doesn't work when one is dealing with a deranged soul as I soon found out. She yanked the sweater out of my hands and then proceeded to slash me with obsenities, as minute pieces of Altoids flew into my face.

I calmly stood there, thinking, WWMD, "What Would Mother Do?", my mother the lovely and always polite quintessential lady, but a **itch if necessary, saying this with all due respect of course. (I love you mom). Well, genetics took over and I yanked it back, not because I wanted it (the verbal altercation was a big turn-off), but to prove that I could stand up to an obnoxious stranger. A tug of war quickly ensued. She with her foul mouth, and I with my glaring eyes. Ages of women and their wants, needs, expectations, all embodied in that one episode. It was a profound experience.

So, how did it end? Well, we stretched that sweater so badly that er... we both ended up paying half the price for it, in more ways than one.

Women, control your urges! Negotiate, find common ground, leave your ego at the door, and most importantly, don't fight with another sister (at least not in the public's eye) it for the male species. After all, one day, aren't we going to rule the world?

Friday, January 28, 2005

Pristine GabGab Beach, Guam

I like the beach, but prefer chlorine

It's an interesting fact that although I live on a beautiful island, I don't particularly care to swim in our beautiful warm waters, resistance on my part causes great amusement among my friends who love the beach. However, I have no problems swimming in a chlorinated pool... why yes... I prefer chlorine to natural salt water.

Kitesailing, kiteboarding, or kitesurfing, whatever your preference, is a popular extreme sport right now and I enjoy it, however, after having tried it once, realized that I am not a cat with nine lives, preferring to encourage my friends as they cut sharp jetties in the water, then literally being swept up into the air.. high.. high... It's an impressive sight to see. I know.. what does this have to do with my penchant for swimming in a chlorinated pool rather than the blue-green beaches of Guam? Absolutely nothing.

Of course, parachute sailing is a popular pastime with the tourists, but lost its appeal for a time, after a couple was injured when their chute missed a wind pocket and they came crashing down...ouch.

I admit to stereotyping tourists as timid creatures who prefer spending an exorbitant amount of money on Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Cartier, Chanel, all things Mickey Mouse, and other high end accoutrements in our little mecca of upper class-a little-bit-of-New-York-feel, downtown Tumon Bay. However, I was wrong, observing these brave souls as they squeal with fright and delight, taking off in a parasail ride; or jump off a ledge with a bungee cord attached to their ankles. I suppose extreme sports appeal to their inner child.

Every morning as she sips her hot camomile tea, my godmom pages through our local newspaper, looking for a story that tells of a tourist-related tragic accident. How macabre, however, two years ago, we read in horror of a Japanese tourist swimming in Tumon Bay when she was struck by lightning... that was rather tragic, although it didn't stop tourists who brave the waters. Perhaps I'm afraid of being struck by lightning, that occurrence rare, compared to swimming and being struck by a speedboat or jetski.

What really bothers me about the beach?.... the sand, those micro-granule grains of irritating grit that cling to my body, rather bothersome, but I've always been anal that way, or so they say. Perhaps I should move to Iowa.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Lifeblood of a nation

Lifeblood of the American people at stake

Attempting to control a country by stretching our military might is not a guarantee that we can control the beliefs and the heart of that country's people, for to attempt such a change may lead to a nation whose spirit has been shattered beyond human reason. It takes more than fiery sentiment to change the lifeblood of a country. The lifeblood is strong and deep and what makes a people unique. This lifeblood runs through every American and lays the foundation for national unity. It is doubtful that the American Revolution could have happened without it.

Historians have immortalized George Washington as the man who established the Republic. The clergy in those days proclaimed that he was an instrument of God- who saved the country. They called him the "great preserver," "so great a deliverer," and compared him to Moses, Joshua, and Gideon.

Washington was always in the field with his men. His example kept their morale alive. He fought with Congress to procure food and ammunition, and when Congress became helpless, he kept his men alive out of his own pocketbook. Washington understood and protected the lifeblood of the American people. Like no other, Washington put his life, fortune and honor on the line for the cause.

Does the President believe he is ordained by God to bring democracy to the Iraqi people? Has the clergy of the present day decreed his deeds? President Bush is aware of what is at stake if the United States were to lose in Iraq--the fortune of the American people; his honor; and the faith of a nation who placed their lifeblood in their commander-in-chief.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Roy Hallums, American hostage

Mr. President, will you help?

Jan 25, 2005- Roy Hallums, 56, an American who was kidnapped in November in Iraq was recently seen via a televised feed, pleading for his life, a rifle pointed at his head. He was quoted as saying he was being held hostage because he “worked with American forces”.
Interestingly, Hallums’ pleas were directed to Arab leaders to intervene. Another interesting point was that he did not appeal to the United States and President Bush, instead, his family did, urging the President to help the captive. Perhaps Mr. Hallums was told what to say, perhaps not.

What is known is twelve Americans have been kidnapped or are missing in Iraq. At least three Americans have been killed — all beheaded in abductions claimed by an al-Qaida-linked group led by Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

The world watches and waits. How will the President and his advisors respond. What will be the official White House response; will they respond?; or will this difficult situation find itself in the hands of Rice?

Given the upcoming election, the U.S. may decide to postpone an official response and instead, send an ambiguous letter to the family that they will do as much as they can to mitigate the situation. I doubt they will go as far as using the keyword, “negotiate”.

And perhaps, if asked, Mr. President will memorialize Hallums by saying that he is a brave American who is suffering in the hands of terrorists. This is certainly a noble thing to say, given the true nature of its content, but just one last question: Mr. President, do you have any plans in getting Hallums, an American held hostage, released?

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Ancient site in the jungles of Guam where it is
believed taotaomonas still roam to this day

Legend of the Taotaomonas, Guam ancestors

The taotaomonas (people before recorded time) are the apparitions of the ancient people of Guam. The Spanish-Chamoroo War, April 2, 1672 - July 1695 resulted in the deaths of over 150,000 native inhabitants which included the manmakahnas (ancient medicine healers later dubbed suruhanos and suruhanas by the Spanish). Many of the ancient Latte Stone sites were once villages burned and destroyed by the Spanish soldiers. Roaming the jungles are ancestral spirits with unresolved but determined purpose.

Historian Benigno Palomo writes, "While it is often said that the ancient Chamorro had no organized priesthood, no temples and no defined religious creed, therefore, no rituals, according to Padre San Vitores 1669, the Chamorros worshiped the spirits of their ancestors, called aniti.

The aniti were sacred and powerful spirits who could help them. When angered, however, they could do harm. As a result, the spirits and relics of the dead, especially of one's ancestors, were feared and venerated. The chamorros had their rituals.

The taotaomona may take the form of a person who appears physically large and strong. The forms taken may be white lady aparitions accompanied by scents of flowers or lemon, large men or 'small children called duendes'. Some of the taotaomonas are described as headless and having deformed bodies. If a person gathers plants in a jungle, they must ask permission "gue'la yan gue'lo, kao sina yu' manule' tinanoum-mu ya yanggen matto hao gi tano'-hu fanule' ha sin mamaisen" in Chamorro.

There is one special taotaomona called Anufat. He is described as very ugly with teeth six inches long. He also has a hole on each side of his head, with ferns stuffed in each hole.

There is a story by the Manhamkos (elderly men and women), that if a person walks through an ancient burial site, they must always whistle so as not to disturb Anufat. If they don’t whistle, Anufat may become startled and cause great harm.

The taotaomonas of Guam roam the jungles and are present around the ancient latte ruins, large basalt and coral boulders and caves, as well as among the thick dense hanging roots of the Banyan Trees.

If you enter the jungles and disturb the taotaomonas, they may pinch you, leaving red marks or swellings on your body, or they may cause illnesses which are difficult to diagnose by conventional doctors.. The only treatment for this sickness is to visit a suruhana (Chamorro female traditional healer) or a suruhano (Chamorro male traditional healer). You may be given herbs or a massage as treatment but almost always you will be instructed to revisit the site where the illness began and ask forgiveness from the "guelotas and guelatas" or ancient grandparents for disturbing a burial site.

The mindset of the Chamorro culture is rooted on respect which is extended to those who have passed beyond the world of the living. Those who enter the jungle, cave or an unexpected clearing under a large rooted tree without exhibiting proper respect will fall ill. Visitors beware!

Monday, January 24, 2005

Brotherhood of soldiers

Blowback and U.S. policies

Blowback... a term invented by the CIA for its own internal use, defined as the unintended consequences of American policies, has become a very grim reality as U.S. forces continue its efforts to reconstruct and stabalize Iraq as that country handles its soon-to-be newly elected government.

A historical perspective must be made here. During the Golf War years, 1991-1998, our U.S. government raised a blockade against Hussein in Iraq, which contributed to the deaths of approximately 500,000 Iraqi civilians due to disease, malnutrition, and inadequate medical care. By 1999, the policy move still had not brought down Hussein's regime of terror, but perhaps ensured that surviving Iraqis were likely to hold a grudge against the U.S. government and its citizens.

Even during this time, teams of weapons inspectors were given the responsibility of uncovering Hussein's efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction. Nothing significant which would garner domestic and international media attention was discovered.

The intimate details of foreign policy is not usually followed by an American public, this fact which supports the belief that mis-directed misunderstandings regarding U.S. policy is greatly misconstrued, hence the division within its citizenry. For example, as a part of history's timeline, it is a fact that at one time, the U.S. was the top salesman of military weapons to countries such as Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Greece, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and China and Taiwan, selling arms to these nation states in ongoing conflict, one of its biggest customers, Hussein, with almost a limitless line of credit because of his country's oil reserves.

Putting historical references in proper perspective assists one in understanding the mindset of a nation of people who strongly believe in a cause that they would fight for, given the circumstances that surround them. By my own admission, this is a rather simple discipline of thought and certainly does not challenge or explain more complicated affairs that would refute this writing. However, a different perspective is welcome from time to time, given the highly volatile and emotional nature of the American people.

With a second term and a new Cabinet, will President Bush invoke a new international diplomatic policy in war-torn Iraq, or is it too late for Iraq and its people? And what of our troops? Shall they remain in a country that has for years shown nothing but resentment and hatred for the U.S. and its citizens?

"Blowback- The Costs and Consequences of American Empire" by Chalmers Johnson, clears away the cobwebs from the reader's mind about U.S. global policies and its historic disasterous effect on those abroad and its lasting consequences at home.

Johnny Carson

Legend Johnny Carson Dies, age 79

LOS ANGELES -January 23, 2005 (AP) -- Johnny Carson, the 'Tonight Show' TV host who served America a smooth nightcap of celebrity banter, droll comedy and heartland charm for 30 years, has died. He was 79. 'Mr. Carson passed away peacefully early Sunday morning,' his nephew, Jeff Sotzing, told The Associated Press. 'He was surrounded by his family, whose loss will be immeasurable. There will be no memorial service.'"

Fitting tribute is paid to Johnny Carson. Long live the king of late night shows. To read more, click here

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Ancient Latte Stones

Ancient Latte Stones of Guam

A unique people, Chamorros from Guam have many legends that are shared with visitors who visit our tiny island. I hope readers enjoyed the legend of the Two Lovers. Here is yet another story of Guam's Latte Stones.

Latte Stones are pillars on which ancient Chamorro may have built their houses as early as 500 A.D. Latte Stones have become a signature icon of Guam and the Marianas Islands and are found no where else in the world. Latte Stones were quarried and built as a two piece structure. The Halagi, or upright supporting column, was quarried from exposed reef formations of coral limestone.

Atop the Halagi column was placed a Tasa, or capstone, made either from coral heads or excavated from a quarry site. The Tasa then may have been carried several miles to the construction site, possibly on a litter like device that could have been lifted by several men. Using sections of coconut palm trunks as rollers, heavier pieces may have moved.

It was the custom of ancient Chamorros to bury the bones of the dead, along with possessions such as jewelry, beneath or next to the base of the upright columns. For many years after the Latte sites fell into disuse the Latte Stones were respected as burial sites and remained undisturbed, the belief that ancient Chamorro spirits, taotaomonas in the native tongue, would harm those who disturbed desecrated grounds and edifices.

Some Chamorros consider the Latte sites to be sacred places, with the Latte Stones creating an iconic link between the ancient and modern Chamorros, thereby providing a grasp of who they were and are.

The eight columns and capstones displayed at the Hagatna Latte Park, were transferred to their present location in Hagatna from Me'pu, their original location in Guam's southern interior.

While Chamorros seem to have been in the Marianas islands for 3,000 years or more, the latte stones did not appear until approximately 1,100A.D.

Carbon 14 dating delineates the pre-historical and history of the Chamorros as follows: Transitional Pre-Latte (AD 1 to AD 1,000), Latte Period (AD 1000, to AD 1521), Early Historic Period (AD 1521 to 1700).

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Marsupial in TTLB ecosystem

Tell TTLB I claim the koala bear

In the TTLB eco-system, I am a marauding marsupial, a subclass metatheria, of the class, Mammalia, which fired up the old synapses, my research skills heating up my keyboard with tired, eyes, but oh, what an eye opener, when reading a small section of an otherwise large biology treatise on Mammalia, a chore my mother would have gladly forked over a huge chunk of money if I had only pursued a degree in medicine, but alas, just a lowly history major and later studies in General Science.

I was quite content with my status, for what woman wouldn’t have fun carrying a kiddy in her pouch, which shows how ignorant I am, having brought up that very thought recently at our local Coffee Beanery, only to be told by friends that I’m subliminally projecting the fact that I’m getting old, my time clock is ticking away, and I need to have a baby! Hmm.. there is that thought which I will certainly peruse at a later time.

Firstly, marsupials are primitive mammals that do not have a placenta, a fact that for a moment caused me great embarrassment, the blogging community led into a false sense of identity into believing that I am primitive at best, and not having a placenta at worse.

Other animals that fall under this category are particularly present in Australia… okay, I’m not going to go there, which include the kangaroo, koala bear, Tasmanian wolf, wombat and wallaby, which isn't too bad since many homo sapiens believe the koala to be quite cute and cuddly, therefore I make a claim and identify myself as Koala Hermit.

Secondly, it is believed that at one time a land bridge connected South America to Australia and through ages of time past, this link disappeared, leaving Australia geographically isolated, permitting the existence of marsupials that do not have to compete with more advanced mammals, a small blessing, I suppose, given my current diminished capacity as a marauding marsupial.

No, indeed, I am not complaining, I humbly carry my burden in the world of blogging, as well as in my pouch…and perhaps, in the near future, I will evolve to, at the very least, playful primate, a thought out of the blue, reminding me of our leaders…

An idea that has lodged itself in my mind, categorizing President George Bush and his motley Cabinet, as well as members of Congress, on TTLB’s order of evolution.

For those who take this article too seriously regarding Mr. President and cohorts, relax, take a chill pill, slumber down in a dark cave, and dream sweet dreams of koalas, kangaroos, and wallabies.

Friday, January 21, 2005


Here I walk

Lessened pain degrees of muted waves
My memory a distant voice
A link of light beyond the realm
To grasp the thought of a long-forgotten dream
My tomb a barren coffin which lies a ghostly corpse
Tomorrow's wake nimbly passes by another day
When a songbird shall sing for me
A sweet homecoming melody
Awakening I quiver from slumber's past
Where flames eternal no whisper of wind
To light the path of this Hermit's walk, bound to earth
A chosen journey through shadows and light
A pilgrim's walk on scoured feet
For rest is in my bed of death
Embrace my pain and bleed for me
Forego the light and claim the shadows
A moment's rest for a weary soul

Stunning view of Two Lovers Point
Read legend below

A local Chamorro Legend

We Chamorros, the indigenous people of Guam, have preserved our culture and heritage through oral and written stories and songs passed down through generations of artists, craftsmen/women, and storytellers. We are a proud people, deeply religious, our faith, the Roman Catholic Church, and are known to be very hospitable.

We live on Guam, (along with other diverse nationalities from other countries) a tiny island in the Western Pacific. Guam is an unincorporated Territory of the United States and serves as a military installation base.

We are proud U.S. citizens and our men and women in the armed forces and the National Guard also fight alongside our U.S. brothers and sisters in Iraq. We have had our share of casualties and our island deeply mourns our Chamorro brothers who have paid the ultimate price for freedom. I sincerely hope you find our tiny island to be a tiny glimpse of heaven. Here is one of Guam's legends. Simple, yet poignant.

The Legend of
Puntan Dos Amantes (Two Lovers Point)

Once long ago, in the time when Spain ruled Guam, there was a proud family living in Hagatna, the capital city. The father was a wealthy Spanish aristocrat and the mother was the daughter of a great Chamorro chief. The family owned land and were highly esteemed by all, Chamorro and Spanish alike.

Their daughter was a beautiful girl, admired by all for her honesty, modesty, and perfectly natural charm. Her beauty bestowed the greatest pride and dignity unto her family.

One day, the girl's father arranged for her to take a powerful Spanish captain as her husband. When the girl discovered this, she was so distraught that she ran from Hagatna all the way to the north of Guam until she found a secluded and peaceful shore.

There, on the moonlit shore, she met and fell in love with a young warrior from a very modest Chamorro family. He was gentle, with a strong build, and had eyes that search for meaning in the stars.

When the girl's father learned of the two lovers, he grew angry and demanded that she marry the Spanish captain at once. That day at sundown, she stole away to the same high point along the shore, and once again met her Chamorro lover.

Her father, the captain, and all the Spanish soldiers pursued the lovers up to the high cliff above Tumon Bay. The lovers found themselves trapped between the edge of the cliff and the approaching soldiers. All the young warrior could do was warn them to stay back, and the father ordered the soldiers to halt.

The lovers tied their long black hair into a single knot. And acting as if they were entirely alone, they looked deeply into each other's eyes and kissed for the final time. Then they leaped over the long, deep cliff into the roaring waters below.

Her father and all who remained rushed to the edge to stare in great anguish.

Since that day, Chamorros have looked to the jutting peak above Tumon Bay with reverence. The two lovers remain a symbol of true love--a love in which two souls are entwined forever in life and in death. Forever after, the high point on the cliff was known as Two Lovers Point.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Library of dreams

Children's books rock

A second childhood isn't that bad, considering I just grew up a few years ago. Seriously, my oldest niece, Hanna, loves to read and she has a wide variety of books, of which I avail myself. Okay, the Harry Potter books are great, and I thoroughly enjoyed them, but there are hundreds of other children's books that spike my imagination and take me to another world.

My special girl, Megan, learned to read when she was two. Amazing isn't it? At the age of six, she was writing complete, complex sentences in her journal. At ten, she had read the Harry Potter series, Volumns 1-4.

I would like to recommend two books that are a pleasure to read, no matter what your age. "Inkheart", author, Cornelia Funke; and "Eragon", author, Christopher Paolini; are two such books that will please all critics, simply for the literary style and complicated plots. I enjoy watching the faces of my nieces when they've learned a new concept, or when their imagination is captured by a story and these two do just that.

I grew to love the writings of Terry Goodkind and Robert Jordan, two talented fantasy writers whose plots are mindblowing and addictive.

Growing up, my parents emphasized that a good education will get one anywhere one wants to go in life, at the time, a repetitious mantra that didn't mean much to me. Reading and writing were two activities that were a constant in my life. Today, it makes perfect sense and I hope to instill that valuable concept in my nieces.

Literary styles of writing are intrinsic to the writer and becomes a source of inspiration or frustration. Writers of all ages and genres start off by finding their own literary style. I've tried writing the short prose, inspired by Hemingway; but Umberto Eco's sytle of wit and subtle intellect enticed me to write longer, complex sentences, a challenge that continues to this day.

I love the written word and the role it plays in our world. Communication is tantamount if we are to understand the content of ideas and inventions. It is a part of each of us, including those who profess to "hate" the English language.

Celebrate literature and if you have the opportunity, help a child's mind grow. It's a beauty to behold.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Loyalty to one's country, or Loyalty to one's conscience

A distinction must be made between loyalty to one's country and loyalty to one's heart. I will use myself as an example. I am from Guam and although I am from Irish and German stock, I consider myself to be a native Chamorro. On the other hand, I am also a United States citizen, and an American. Many Americans' are loyal to the United States, however, some have expressed that in their heart, they do not agree with recent and even past policies that are made by those in the halls of Congress and the Oval Office. Humankind does have a moral conscience, or so I'd like to believe.

We were concerned when our President, against the will of the people, decided to invade a country, which seems to have personal overtones rather than actual legitimate reasons. But my opinion is just this-- an opinion. All are entitled to express themselves in whatever means they choose.

Once again, I must choose between my loyalty to my country and what I know in my heart to be wrong. Recently, Secretary of State nominee Condoleezza Rice went on record saying that at the time, the U.S. was prepared to invade Iraq, furthermore, was prepared for all contingencies which would include post-war containment and reconstruction. But the facts speak for themselves and this would lead me and others to believe that she is misdirecting the American public or actually believes her own truth, and in this sense, she too has loyalty, but to her President and not to her country.

Foreign policy has reached complicated proportions and although the United States remains the most powerful nation, it cannot control the entire world.

North Korea, Iran, Zimbabwe, Cuba and other nation states have their own political agenda which does not jive with U.S. policies and the role it plays in the international arena-- that of Big Brother. How many more shallow decisions will come from the Oval Office? Only time will tell.

I suppose the question of the day is, what is going on with Iran and what plans are being made, if any? I'd like to put North Korea in the mix as well, since Guam is a neighbor of this nation state. Comprehensive foreign policies must be of the utmost importance during this new term for Mr. President. Think tanks such as the CATO Institute and the Heritage Foundation are sure to have much to write about as George Bush, once again, takes his seat in the Oval Office. An election was won. Let us hope that we put the right person in office.

This is my observation and opinion and anyone who cares to comment may do so, of course.

Political blogs bother me

Something is definitely wrong. The recent articles I've written sparked my political outrage and I just had to say something, and I blame this otherwise loathsome prattle, in allowing political blog sites to annoy me. Stop! Time for retrospect and shaking off the angst. I hope this doesn't happen again, the guarding of my mind and the click of my mouse urging me to move on! Move on! Don't read this political blog! But this doesn't work. I must read it and in so doing, leave with heightened blood pressure and a frown between my eyebrows, which, as a woman, is quite detrimental to my overall appearance as other women will tell, we forever trying to avoid frown lines.

And what about you, dear blogger? Do certain categorical blogs drag your mind into unfamiliar territory, where you must say something, but are not sure so you just slog (is this a word?) your way, praying that what you're writing makes sense to someone, anyone!

If you are a constant visitor of BlogExplosion or BlogClicker, you know exactly what I mean, however, I'm assuming that you actually take the time to read a few.

Share please!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Proud and Unapologetic

America- Land of the Free, Home of the Brave

Having begun my odyssey in the blogging community, I couldn't help but notice that many bloggers have definite views about their government. Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, and all else outside and in-between these traditional political parties inherited the same passion and are not shy to tell it, which is what makes America so unique from other nation states.

It has been said that Americans' are truly blessed but have forgotten the sacrifices made to achieve freedom, as my godmother tactlessly puts it to anyone who cares to listen. Generations have passed since the Revolutionary and Civil Wars and today, freedom is enjoyed and accepted and has become ubiquitous--the freedom that our forebears fought so passionately, many now take for granted.

Which brings me to this. Not long ago, Communist Russia was our sworn enemy, until former President Ronald Regan and Russia's Mikhail Gorbachev forged a bond that transcended politics and reached into the soul of humanity and in the process, led to the end of the Cold War.

Today, the enemy is world terrorism, brought intimately and devastatingly home on 9/11. The United States of America- the most powerful country in the world-fell victim to a terrorist attack and the men and women who died and those who gave their lives to save and rescue, have not gone quietly into the night. May we have the same loyalty, respect and grieving memory for our troops and allies who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq.

Americans' at home and overseas united, mourned and prayed, and began rebuilding the "spirit" of America. The enemy would try to topple a nation of ethnic diversity, but it can never contain and control freedom, for freedom lives in the heart and spirit of its citizenry and cannot be bought or destroyed.

During the 2004 election, America was divided; Americans have adopted different ideological and political systems-- the war in Iraq had taken its toll, but the people spoke and George Bush was re-elected. There are rumors that the U.S. plans to invade Iran, but perhaps not merely a rumor but fact, according to a journalist who stands by his sources whom he vouches are reliable. Pentagon officials were incensed when the story hit the newsstands, vehemently spewing nebulous statements, but neither confirming or denying the story. If the President decides to invade Iran because its nuclear arms program is still active, then it is only logical that he will invade North Korea as well. Can America sustain its economy on the domestic front by invading Iran? Iraq, Afghanistan.. how much more can the U.S. coffers sustain?

President Bush will soon deliver his Inaugural Address; what is expressed will hopefully heal a country rift with unrest and uncertainty, and validate his right to lead the world's most powerful nation. Make good decisions, Mr. President for an entire nation rests in your hands.

Are you a Republican, a Democrat, a Libertarian, or a member of another political group? Whatever group you claim, the ultimate truth will cast its mighty wings and overshadow any party line you choose, for that mighty power is, "I am an American". I am an American and I will make no apologies for being who I am and what I stand for. There will always be grumblings among a people of diversity, but some truths are deeply rooted in the heart. Let the nation heal and let us remember that a nation that cherishes freedom, must be prepared to fight for it.


Monday, January 17, 2005

Blue Lady Hermit

Where earth ends and life begins

Her soul embraced death today
She fought
but her attempts were futile
She has returned to the Divine
Now eternity is her reality

She is content
watching from a distance
No memory of

Her soul flies

Born into death
Resurrected by fire
Her blood a salve for truth
She is my sister

The why is hidden from me
although I walk the path
A fool of the universe
the path of the hermit

To live my life carries a price
of condemnation and servitude
Prepare the way for sighs of despair
loss love a mere ripple
forever my lovers

Flowing blood over
my life for a soul
until my vapor vanishes
from malkuth
into ether
and my soul served up
for judgement

I will soar and we will meet again
and travel the heavens together
do not forget me
wait for me

So mote it be
the sign of silence

Sunday, January 16, 2005

The mystery of Babylon, the Temple of Ishtar

Ancient Babylon a Victim of War

The ancient city of Babylon has become a casualty of war in the Middle East where U.S. and Polish coalition forces stationed themselves, using the ancient site as a military depot for the past two years, as reported by Rory McCarthy and Maev Kennedy, writers for "The Guardian".

Babylon was chosen as the site for the US military base in April 2003, just after the invasion of Iraq. I must point out that "The Guardian" is a liberal, anti-Iraq war, newspaper, its articles biased against the U.S. and its allies. However, the facts cannot be disputed.

As a history major, this disturbs me. Yes, this is Babylon, a city that was occupied by King Nebuchadnezzar in the Old Testament. "Babylon is a city renowned for its beauty and splendour a thousand years before Europe built anything comparable," according to the article.

This situation brings to mind the fact that even historical sites can be destroyed on this earth and preserved in history books, a very unfortunate fact. Cynics reading this will think, nothing lasts forever.

Archaeologists are protesting the desecration and have called for an investigation. Polish troops have since turned over the site to museum officials. Just a casualty of war, among thousands of other atrocities.

A profound thought is realized here, that a site that has survived human machinations for thousands of years can be destroyed in two years, a testament to this world's meme of "destroy or be destroyed", a parasidic attitude that has infected our civilization.

Perhaps what is left can be preserved for future generations to visit and study. It's a maudlin thought that future historians must relegate themselves to reading about the ancient city, rather than touch the edifices and stones that were touched by an ancient civilization of ages past.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Lava lamp in bedroom

Lazy cleaning day and farewell to my lava lamp

A day of cleaning is a day of reckoning as my godmom sneeringly pointed out, having spent the entire morning at her place, cleaning my room. Goodness! Is that where that blouse was? I thought a friend had borrowed it without my permission although she has a propensity of returning borrowed pieces.

Cleaning has never been my forte, however, it is a chore that must be tackled frequently, for being called a pig and living in a pigsty is not complimentary, although some male friends would disagree, one even proudly expressing that his room actually smells like a garbage can left unattended for weeks and reeking of some foul odiferous smell... and he likes that. Needless to say, he doesn't date very often.

Why can't I just ram everything into a trashbag and throw it away, my thought, as I sorted through the endless, even meaningless mess. Of course, it is for the simple fact that sometime ago, I actually spent money to acquire it and it would be like throwing my money away, which is a crime in some countries, or so I was told by a much older lady who can only afford a complete meal at McDonald's which leads me to wonder how she spent her money, but I can't feel sorry for her for I too enjoy visiting the golden arches too many times that I'd care to share.

As I continue cleaning and sorting, I realize that if I could better apply my time and re-prioritize, I'd have a clean room, which makes for an orderly and disciplined mind, or so my godmom constantly tells me, a mantra that is forever embedded in my brain, so you would think I'd have gotten the message.... Isn't she wise? Oh, did I mention that she frowns upon my shopping sprees, saying I have enough clothes and shoes to last me til Armaggedon, but how would she know? Perhaps all the natural and man-made disasters are a sign that the world as we know it is coming to an end and Christ's return is closer than we all thought. And honestly, a girl can never have enough shoes.

Going through my messy room makes me realize that I do not need the hassle of having to do this all over again (until I plan for another splurge)... so... off to the Salvation Army, a worthy organization to which I frequently donate items, and they have pretty unique stuff to sell too, recalling a time not long ago in which I found a lava lamp in perfect condition and was enjoying it until I read a consumer report which said that lava lamps are known to explode...

and oh, here it is, tucked safely away in a box, and folks, that lamp is going back to the Salvation Army but I think I'll write a warning label and tape it onto its base so the next owner is fully aware of the dangers of lava lamps...

I wonder if I should ask a friend over to help me clean and in return they can have anything in my room including my lava lamp, complete with a stylized warning label.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Ancient flames embrace mystic alchemy
light the path in the dark places of the soul

I am the Hermit

This blog was created one lonely night having gone through the day of deep soul-searching, a dark night of the soul and heaving bouts of insecurity, not over a relationship, for mine is a blessing, although my godmother would not agree. Insecurity and guilt about the circumstances in my life, realizing long ago that I was not in control, even now, nor will I ever be, submitting to a Higher Being to make sense of it all.

Born and raised a Catholic, converting to fundamental Christianity in the twelth grade and attending a fundamental baptist bible college was rather shocking, enduring cynical remarks and sometimes uncontrollable rantings from my deeply religious Catholic family, which spiked my stubborn thermometer, providing the impetus to rebel in a rather benign way. However, years later, my belief system was not feeding me spiritually, emotionally, or mentally, and so the search began. Thinking in retrospect, my life had reached complicated proportions and appeared to always be in a state of flux. Each day seemed endless and hopeless, the nights even worse, no sleep, and talking to myself, trying to understand what was my purpose in life.

I searched for answers, diving into the sea of religions and ancient studies, gasping for breath at new ideas, new concepts, perhaps a new beginning. Buddhism, agnosticism, existentialism, the Occult, including ceremonial magick, tarot, astrology, O.T.O., the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Enochian magick, chaos magick, and kabbalah. I must confess that as I surfaced, my mind was imbued with new ideas, new feelings, and new thoughts that I eagerly embraced. I felt alive and different, something I had not felt, ever.

I believe that during that time in my life, these meanderings were necessary and the experiences I endured embedded themselves in my psyche, a good thing, because today, although I continue my journey as the Hermit, I endure persecution and pain with a quiet mind and a steadfast heart. The world does not understand me, although I hide nothing. I have been judged and found wanting, and so I do not judge. As I grow older, the path becomes narrow and perilous, barely lit by the light of the sun or the pale of the moon.

I intuit that knowledge gained reveals my realization that I know nothing, and in knowing this, I am humbled, a speck of dust among billions of infinity of specks. I am in awe of the universe and its mysteries, for I believe that mankind will never gain all knowledge, only that which is necessary for the ages, in order for mankind to continue to exist.

The masters of old said it best, "when the student is ready, the teacher will appear," and "know thyself". Indeed, to know thy self may be deleterious to the psyche, but more is to gain than to lose, and even in sorrow, if one is aware, there is joy in sadness and persecution. And where is the good teacher, for the student is ready. Who will take up the tombs and weave strong roots in the mind of the eager pupil, who will gladly destroy himself for a new arising, as old as the ancient alchemists who searched for the Philosopher's stone, a fire to burn away the dross to reach the desired gold, but within.

Will my brother and sister of humanity know me? Will they understand and accept me? Will love prevail and light the way as the one who carries the lamp when darkness is ever present? Is the world ready for a new awakening? I believe that mankind in on the brink of a new discovery, not without, but within. May it be so. The journey is long and I am weary. I am the Hermit.

Thursday, January 13, 2005


Path of fissures

My life degrees of fissures
a journey trodden of ghosts
whose mysteries my mind embraces
my walk in sodden grass and
leaden steel
brink of insanity
emotional waves
of pain, fissure
transcend my psyche and
no pain, no sorrow
jackals pluck pieces of my humanity

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

I am inside myself, I am

I am me I am the dark night of the soul

A reflective moment is potentially depressing but the trick is to create an umbilical cord to pull yourself out of it and bring with you a profound truth that in its own little way, changes you. At what point in our lives do we realize that we need to grow spiritually, emotionally, and mentally?

A life of contentment does not come easily. As we grow, our perceptions and beliefs change and we bring along with us our childhood, whether good or bad. Philosophers of old wrote of the human condition because somehow, they had to make sense of the chaos that was happening during their time; they were men and women of intellect, refusing to accept the standards of society. I believe that we are all philosophers in our own way. Not all of us will write a book or find a cure, but just the knowledge that we exist is pretty incredible. We take our existence for granted and for many, we end our existence, a profound and sad demise.

Life is hard; it may not get easier, but the very act of being is a cause for celebration. If you don't believe me, look up at the stars, peer closely at a flower, notice the laughter of children.

We have all been through a period in our lives which mystics have called the "dark night of the soul", where the fire is hottest and we are in the middle. A period of trials, of hopelessness and despair, when the soul is weary and hurting and alone. But life revolves in cycles and eventually, everything comes to an end, even the hurting period, and we can look forward to a cycle of happiness and contentment and we grow and build a stronger foundation, not for ourselves, but OF ourselves. In this world of chaos, a sense of peace will prevail when we stop the voices in our head and concentrate on the silence.

Pervasive materialism has invaded our communities and has taken our children hostage, even we have allowed ourselves to fall captive. But a truth that cannot be changed can be invoked in the worse situations. And that truth is love. Love breaks down all barriers and reaches across enemy lines.

So when you're going through your dark night of the soul, a time that you must endure to grow emotionally, mentally and spiritually, stop, reflect, cry or get angry,... take a deep breath, and love.

Post Script: I have a very old and stained, dog-eared, gem of a book. It is there for me when I need it and helps me to put things in perspective. No, it's not the Bible, but "The Faith of Helen Keller", The Life of a Great Woman, With Selections From Her Writings- Hallmark Editions. Only 62 pages, the personal reflections of her life will move even the hardest of souls. For those of you who hunger, I recommend this little book. LVX

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The USS San Francisco is escorted into Guam shores after ramming into an undersea mountain.

Nuclear subs, North Korea and Anne Frank?

Note: This article is a bit off course from my usual dialogue but on occasion, journalistic instincts long ago retired to the back of my mind will whisper in my ear, resulting in an article of note that is better suited in a newspaper rather than my site, however, the familiar tingling in my fingers and an oppressive headache is an indication of the need to write with my usual six-pack of Dr. Pepper and a bottle of Tylenol beside me.

A United States nuclear submarine traveling at full speed, ran head on into an undersea mountain off the shores of Guam. One sailor died and others sustained injuries. I drove down to Apra Harbor where the sub is docked, but security is tight. A nuclear sub cruising Guam's waters? How odd... I find it interesting that over a month ago, CNN reported that a Chinese nuclear sub was discovered covertly splicing into Guam and Japan waters. Since then, U.S. military activities have increased. Guam, for those of you who are not aware, is located in the Western Pacific and is home to over 150,000 residents from all over the world, the indigenous residents claiming the distinct Chamorro heritage. Guam is also a U.S. military installation base.

Am I the only one fixated on the likely possibility of a war with North Korea? After all, the North Koreans have flicked the proverbial finger to the United States announcing that they will not decrease or cease their nuclear arms program, bringing unease and anxiety in the halls of Congress and the Oval Office. Financially and militarily, the United States cannot afford another war on the other side of the globe. The U.S. is the strongest country in the world, but sending U.S. troops around the world to fight wars will tax its coffers. And dare we say the -D- word?

Koreans are a mysterious people culturally. They are proud, stubborn and North Koreans particularly are decidedly anti-American. The internationally recognized protocol does not apply to them.. because they do not accept it. They have a structure and style that is uniquely theirs which is difficult to understand because of its complexity and volatileness.

Don't get me wrong, there are many Koreans who have embraced Western ways, to the dismay of their parents and third generational forebears. On Guam, many Koreans are productive members of our community. But during times of peace, one does not question another's loyalty. Patriotism is an integral part of the Korean community, no matter where they live in the world.
Koreans are a study in contrasts because on one hand, they struggle to safeguard the old ways while on the other, they realize the need to partake in world globalization and the need to find their niche and define the role they play in it.

An interesting fact is that the North Korean government bought the rights to the beloved book, "The Diary of Anne Frank", for translation and publication in their native tongue. This book is required reading in all Korean schools. The purpose is to instill in all North Korean children how NOT to act when one is invaded. Do not hide. Do not be afraid, for fear will defeat you. To them, Anne Frank was a coward. It is certainly a unique interpretation.

The course of a nation is determined by its culture and the mindset of its people, and hopefully, mutual cultural understanding and reciprocity beween nations will prevail, always.

For the full story regarding the USS San Francisco, click here,

Monday, January 10, 2005

Hilary Clinton said it takes a village, I say it takes a heart.

Me, Irene, and a martini for luck. Pass me the dice!

Does it bother anyone that I am heterosexual and have more than a handful of gay and lesbian friends whom I love dearly and would defend? Guam is no stranger to homosexuals many of whom are quite successful and more importantly, are friends who love to shop, and although I will admit to this shallow sin, I will admit to nothing else that will expose me to unkind thoughts and sarcastic posts. There is nothing quite as thrilling as walking through a mall with a gay friend whose dramatic gestures and hyperbolic speech attract people, which of course, is the whole purpose for the exaggerated hip movement and the ever present, "whatever, girlfriend", retort. And did I mention the fabulous spending spree that is sure to follow?

In my tiny part of the world, there is an unspoken acceptance of gay people, most of whom have cute toy dogs and some even languish at home with an exotic animal. I mean really, why would you keep a black panther in your home for no other reason than to inspire jealousy among your gay friends? Or how about a boa constrictor named Mo which leads me to wonder where Mo sleeps...

If you think heterosexual relationships are complicated, they are, as I fondly recall a very upset male who couldn't understand why I wanted him to dress up as Little Bo Peep, complete with staff and stiletto heels... (it was Halloween after all!, but that's for another story), hang out with a gay couple and you will appreciate how "uncomplicated" your heterosexual relationship is and how pithy and immature your argument was the other night because wife found Playboy magazines buried beneath last year's summer wardrobe.

Which brings me to this, one can learn valuable lessons from one's lesbian/gay friends. It's all a matter of perspective and who better to dish it out? Gay and lesbian couples are masters at playing mind games and suspicion and jealousy are part of the accoutrements and let's face it-- they play it with style.

If I had the energy, I would create a Guys and Gals and Everything In-Between Monopoly-like board game for gays and lesbians , but instead of buying up Park Avenue, players have to survive a gay/lesbian relationship while still having a life and keeping your sanity. Yes, you can "divorce" your partner, but would have to pay a penalty to do so, which would be depressing for the person who only has a couple hundred left and has to endure his current love. Oh well, in the game of life, is it really any different?

My game would have yellow, pink, and blue punch out figures with accessories and the coolest gameboard complete with penis and vagina dice, martinis, margueritas, and gold silk underwear. Maria, another martini!

The apple did not work.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

And You Thought You Were Smart

This I had to post. Fun and interesting, it should garner a laugh or two. Take the "World's Easiest Quiz". Laughter releases endorphins, the brain's natural chemical that brings bright thoughts and good feelings in our lives, something we all need. So... just how smart are you?

The World's Easiest Quiz
(Passing requires 4 correct answers)

1) How long did the Hundred Years War last?
2) Which country makes Panama hats?
3) From which animal do we get catgut?
4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
5) What is a camel's hair brush made of?
6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?
7) What was King George VI's first name?
8) What color is a purple finch?
9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?
10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?

All done? Check your answers below!
1) How long did the Hundred Years War last?116 years
2) Which country makes Panama hats? Ecuador
3) From which animal do we get catgut? Sheep and Horses
4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution? November
5) What is a camel's hair brush made of? Squirrel fur
6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal? Dogs
7) What was King George VI's first name? Albert
8) What color is a purple finch? Crimson
9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from? New Zealand
10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane? Orange, of course.

What do you mean you failed?

Post Script: Thank you to the poster who informed me that these were trick questions and the answers were meant to throw people off. For those of you who knew this, you really are smarter than the average bear.

A neurotic swirl of endless thoughts

My neurotic mind keeps me company and my thumb controls me

Since I was a child, I've had this urge to rule the world... not just my immediate environment, but everything outside it which would explain my obsessive-compulsive disorder to update and tweak my blog every hour or so, driving my friends to exasperation when they cannot reach me by phone. One actually drove over to see if I was still breathing, as she so eloquently put sweet.

One of my defense mechanisms is to lock myself in my room and read a good novel with complicated twists until I am drained which leads to another neurosis I have... anxiety. How many times must I check to see if I've locked the doors before I leave or glance at the knobs on the stove? A walking cesspool of contradictions and an endless variety of phobias cling to me. Funny how people say it's because I'm a perfectionist. How wrong they are, but I will not be responsible for their malcontent if I were to truly tell them what was on my mind and so, the illusion continues.

Come to think of it, I remember being a driven, mean-spirited child, although my best friend and cousin Lorraine was worse and I know this because my parents would whisper that she was a bad influence during my developmental years. My cousins feared me which leads me to share with you a habit I still have not overcome. Whenever I am angry, I would bite my left thumb which is a precursor to an enraged outburst. Goodness, when I bit my thumb, they would run and hide. Unfortunately, my sister wasn't so lucky for she endured my wrath which included pinching, teasing and other spineless forms of torture which to a child is unbearable and traumatic and can be attributed to her anti-social behavior as she got older.

Reflection is a part of growing up and I realize that I had control issues. Honestly, who doesn't? Life has a way of teaching us there are things beyond our control that we cannot change, just accept, cope, and move on. Today I am more balanced emotionally, and hopefully, a wiser person and when not sure, a long look in the mirror manages to convey those facts.

Sigmund Freud, bless his heart, writes that a neurosis is an ineffectual coping strategy caused by emotions from past experience overwhelming or interfering with present experience.

I believe Freud would agree that neurotic behavior is inherent in all humans and that no one can, or will escape, unless they had perfect parents which we all know, do not exist, and if argued, will eventually lead back to the question of which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Saturday, January 08, 2005

A serving of meatloaf and gravy for Herr Sous Chef. Enjoy.

The lady in the apron is not a chef

A friend who is sous chef at a fine restaurant in one of our four-star hotels cringes when I cook for him, which is not often since his snobbish delicate palette abhors homecooking. Traditional Chamorro fare does not require an artistic hand, to which he arrogantly says is a damn shame. A meatloaf is a meatloaf and for this reason, I will prepare for my nieces because of its simplicity. I give myself a time allowance of one hour, most of it spent in cooking time, but my cousin says an hour and a half is true, and he'd know because he's a fireman. The preparation of meatloaf is never to be spoken in the presence of Herr Sous Chef.

Are all chefs arrogant snobs? The Pillsbury Dough Boy isn't, nor is Chef Boyardee. My Aunt Victoria is a wonderful cook with no culinary pedigree, although I believe she secretly harbors a wish to publish a cookbook of Chamorro recipes, which by the way, would be very successful.

One truly memorable occasion was the celebration of my birthday when Mr. Sous Chef prepared a three course dinner complete with dessert for my friends and me at my place. He had a difficult time for all the courses had to meet his high standards, his line cooks weren't on hand to assist but then he treats them like little munchkins which they don't appreciate, for some a painful reminder of a sad childhood, and he had to settle for a conventional oven, oh horror. The whole preparation was a bit over two hours and I thought he was punishing me as a sous chef is responsible for presentation and serving in a timely manner. Our first course arrived after waiting for over an hour. We were starving. Perfection does have its drawbacks. However, the food was wonderful, prepared "on par" as he smugly put it. Who wouldn't salivate over fois gras and baby potatoes with sauteed garlic and butter sauce? The occasion of the craving for a McDonald's Big Mac slid down Maslow's Order of Hierarchy of needs and was just a distant memory.

I enjoy cooking and believe the culinary arts to be an exact science, until you step into my kitchen where chaos is a friend that pats you on the back for a job well done. I believe that a messy kitchen is the sign of a good cook. Sous chefs earn their pedigree in established restaurants around the world and I respect this, but in my kitchen, grab an apron, wash your hands and get the eggs out of the fridge.

Side-swiped and going into the shop ASAP

Flying cars, ice cream and a date with a judge

I decided to share this profound moment in my life with a flair of the surreal, an analogous emotion which reminds me fondly of Alice In Wonderland. I was driving to a family function, following the speed limit when I attempted to make a U-turn at which time an SUV came flying towards me and side-swiped my side of the van. I sat there thinking, hmm. we've been hit. Curiously, I felt like sucking my thumb. My eyes then locked on a black Toyota 4-runner as it hurdled ten feet in the air and flew 20 feet from point of impact as it excecuted an upside down somersault and smashed violently onto the concrete, then just as violently rolled right side up, pushed its way backwards and finally ended up in a ditch a few inches away from a monstrosity of a power pole. My mind registered this in a slow-motion pan... I felt like an extra in a movie. I was unusually calm. Of course, state police and medics arrived at the scene. Funny, I don't recall how it all happened but was told that I was in shock and not quite "in my right mind". What a funny thing to hear, but I suspect the officer wasn't in his right mind either. I tried to make sense of it, but in the middle of all the confusion, I had a insatiable craving for rocky road ice cream and being of sound mind, ignoring that silly officer, and not in the motherly-way, I was bothered that ice cream was all my mind could register at the time. Shallow? A diabetic-induced reaction?

I'm writing and it's quite late... the incident happened a while ago-- six hours as of this writing... I'm still calm. After the eventful ordeal, I went to my family gathering, had a wonderful time and even managed a couple of songs on the karaoke player. I have a court date with an aging judge who has a hearing problem, is near-sighted, and smells like Ivory soap, this information courtesy of my great aunt, an old colleague of his; perhaps she can put in a good word...

By the way, my nieces were in a bit of a shock, but otherwise unscathed. The other driver wasn't so lucky. No, she didn't pass into the netherworld, which I will forever thank the Supreme Being, however, she sustained cuts and abrasions and was transported to the hospital. It could have been worse. We're all safe and that's what counts.

Post Script: A poster asked if I had my rocky road ice cream...Yes, I did.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Crying for the sake of crying and lonely days at the movies

I always carry tissue in my purse when I go to the theater. You see, I'm a crier. You can understand why I would cry while watching "Steel Magnolias", my battle-ax aunt cried too; but what element in the movie, "Ice Ace", would move me to tears? Well, when the child, with the help of its motley companions finds its way back to its parents and left its new found friends--now that was a crying moment. I remember leaving the theater with a warm feeling inside, abruptly short-lived when I found a fresh ding on the side of my borrowed vehicle. Now why would anyone thoughtlessly slam their door into my car. Did they know? Was it deliberate? Was their little devil lowering heaven and raising hell that day? My anger propelled me to walk back to the theater, which by the way, is adjacent to a shopping mall (convenient, really), stand in line to watch another movie to ease my simmering self back to a mellow state of mind. It was at this point I realized that I watch movies to escape my humdrum life. Perhaps I need validation of my existence. But no, a hard pinch will do. Is there a word(s) for people like me. What is this hobby called, if you want to call it a hobby. Am I an "avid movie-goer" or "movie buff"? Has a psychological association identified this as a new disorder? I can describe the symptoms. They are, difficulty in carrying on a conversation which you know is leading nowhere; enjoying a movie by yourself; avoiding crowds that know you; and other such activities that require solitude. Could it be clinical depression? But you can't ignore the movie-going factor. I ponder this with an aching head. I think I'll just cry about it.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Jesus Is My Homeboy tee.. eww

Here I am in my room gazing at one of my Christmas presents and wondering if the friend who gave it to me really knows me (we've been friends for over 5 years). A camouflaged tee with the written word "Chronic", and a handful of marijuana leaves grace the back, and the front, "Jesus Is My Homeboy", completes the design. Hmmm... whatever was she thinking. First off, I'm not comfortable wearing a tee claiming that Jesus, the Son of God, hangs out with me. Sure I strike up a conversation with him, but it's only when I seem to get into impossible situations; We're not THAT close. Secondly, camouflage should only be worn by those in the military. The puke green color serves a purpose for our men and women in the armed forces. I won't even question what that purpose may be. My mind refuses to accept the fact that camouflage was, or is, in vogue. And the marijuana logo? Well... I didn't inhale. Not my style. I believe I'll pass it on to a friend who appreciates eclectic clothes. Tees with tacky words are a turn off. Is this a subtle form of communication? What are you trying to tell me? Another peeve is trucker hats. Why would I dress down by accessorizing with a trucker hat? Okay, perhaps it's the "in" thing. Von Dutch rules, right? (Thank you Ashton Kutcher and Paris Hilton.) I know I'm stepping on some toes here, but I hope everyone who reads this has an open mind. If society had fashionista police, we'd have hundreds of thousands of people in prison... many of them would be fashion designers. Thank goodness this is not the case since our prisons are overcrowded already. Although a glimpse of an inmate in Versace digs brings a smile to my face. I do love my friend; I know she meant well and... it's the thought that counts.

Anyone get a gift they'd like to give away, hide, use as a rag, or pass off to someone with er...poor taste? Share!

Johnny Depp's Angst

Whenever I channel surf and happen to come across Johnny Depp, I see a frustrated writer and poet who sold his happiness for the bright lights of Hollywood. Depp is practically a recluse who keeps to himself unless he's walking the red carpet or promoting a new film. Which leads me to wonder what careers these actors would have chosen if they had not appealed to the masses of a public audience. Here are some thoughts: Mel Gibson- Catholic priest; Ashton Kutcher- local radio announcer; Hally Berry- private secretary; Tom Cruise- electrician; Denzel Washington- college professor; Nicole Kidman- housewife w/home business; Leonardo DiCaprio- FBI agent; Orlando Bloom- zoo groundskeeper; Samuel L. Jackson- evangelist; Kermit the frog- green felt; Brad Pitt- insurance salesman; yoda- George Lucas' wet dream. And the list goes on and on....Add to the list. Post a comment! As an afterthought, choosing acting as a career isn't too bad either.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

For Goodness sake! Write!

Writing is my passion; my hobby; the key to my soul. It is the coming together of words that I truly want to express; not the mediocre diatribe I normally say. Things come out jumbled and misconstrued when I say something, but when I write, it all comes together. Concise. Deliberate. Right on.

When I'm very angry, my fingers tingle for a writing pad and some time to compose exactly what I want to say, rather than the angry, belligerent words that spew out of my mouth. Sometimes I will tweak a sentence to death.. I mean, literally to death.. I'll kill it--erase it--delete it. I know this sounds corny, but I mourn that sentence. It was a good sentence, but I didn't know when to stop; to leave it alone and just let it breathe and grow as people read it. I've tried several times to revive the thought, the words, but it's never the same. Alas, lost forever.

A good tight sentence becomes part of an orchestra of words that form a beautifully flowing paragraph. If you have anal tendencies like me regarding the written word, I'd be interested to know how you cope with beloved lost sentences. For those of you who like writing challenges, visit

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Riding horses rest in the shade at Southern Comfort

Southern Comfort Ranch

A little ranch tucked away in the southern part of Guam is almost an anomaly. Many children visit the ranch because it is home to animals that are not indigenous to the island. Lions, tigers, and bears, oh my! Porcupines, an ostrich, a panther, skunks, a mountain lion, monkeys, a peacock, raccoons, possums, and many more fascinating creatures live a quiet life in their well-maintained habitat. Tourists and residents alike are regular visitors. For those visiting Guam, a drive down south brings a pleasant surprise. A long, quiet drive with a backdrop of the Pacific Ocean and Philippine Sea and the gentle tradewinds breeze by, bringing a sense of contentment and goodwill. I always enjoy my visit and the sense of being in another dimension assails my mind. Lions, tigers and bears, on Guam... oh my! If you're interested in learning more about Southern Comfort Ranch and other local attractions, visit

A stalk of wheat endures a heavy rain. Tranquility is all that is left.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Where do we go from here?

The search for survivors in Southeast Asia has halted in the aftermath of a deadly tsunami that hit Thailand and neighboring islands. Recovery efforts are now underway. Over 140,000 people died or reported missing. Worldwide aid is flooding in for the victims. A few days after the deadly tsunami hit, an article appeared on Yahoo! News. The headline was an outrage. It read, U.S. scientists knew of tsunami, didn't know who to tell. At first I thought it was a headline error. No, apparently not. Scientists were aware that a huge tidal wave was going to hit a country and they didn't know whom to contact. Gee. How about a Thai newspaper; or the Thai government; or how about a fellow scientist in Thailand?; better yet, how about calling the FBI or SOMEONE in the federal government to PASS THE MESSAGE along? Is anyone as outraged as I about this major oversight? It is clear that the Thai government must review and re-evaluate their current disaster plan. Furthermore, perhaps world governments can communicate in a timely manner and care enough to pick up a phone and call someone who can pass the message to someone who has the authority to get it to the right people.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Cliffline & Lady

The Lady is a Witch

There she is.
See her walking along the cliffline? Gliding along the path of gossamer?
They say she is over a hundred years old.
What is her name? I do not know.
The villagers say that she prays. She had a son. He died in the war.
It doesn’t matter which war.

She takes long walks along the cliffs. Spray and mist assail her.
Her thoughts are as the wind that whispers so soft and gentle.
Her SELF died when her progeny died.
I don’t know if she’s happy. I’m afraid to ask.
They say that she is a witch. I think she’s a good witch.
They say she had the whole world once.
But one day, God took it all away.
He wasn’t cruel, though. He took her mother, father and sister. They rest now.
He took her money, her status, her health, her dignity, her pride.
Now she walks alone. She owns nothing now.

I don’t know how she survives. She seems content.
She’s lovely, really. They say she was arrogant a long time ago. She’s humble now.
I suppose the good life is just a faint memory to her. I wonder if she misses it.
I wonder if God loves her.
I wonder if He will allow her into his kingdom.

Goodbye Lady Witch.

Sidebar: For all you aspiring poets, if you have a poem(s) that you'd like published, visit The International Library of Poetry at