Tag Archives: books

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

 

IL BUONO

Whistle, and he’ll come to you

From a wild haze of wind maze

Blowing smokes, looking aglow

On his steed with the blue gaze

Into the windows of your heart

Sealed against pillage of the cabinet

Full of secrets locked tight and fast. 

For Blondie is The Good doing it. 

IL CATTIVO

Watch, and he’ll stand behind you

In a drifter’s hide with a golden watch

Grinning with the blue lamps that glow

Like the phantasmal light of a ghostly torch 

Penetrating the bastion of your spirit

Guarded in the deep forest of your mind

Against a carnage of the spirit with a feat. 

For Angel Eyes is the Bad doing it.

IL BRUTTO

 Wait, and he’ll show you

In a gringo’s hide with a squint eye

Calling you, “My friend!”, following you

Wherever you go, even to a valley 

Laced with tombs of the drifters and solders

Where the dollars are paid for the tribute

To the litany of woes and more woes. 

For Tuco is the Ugly doing it. 

 

Author’s Note: This is based on my viewing of “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” directed by the great Sergio Leone. The film often referred to as the masterpiece of Spaghetti Western, is in fact far superior to any other western movies made by Americans in terms of storyline, plots, settings, and cinematography. 

For example, in this film, all of the characters are morally ambiguous and ethically challenging, which makes them realistic and relatable. Besides, compared to the perfected appearance of typical “American” characters, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly are all scruffy-looking and unhygienic even, and yet they all look quite stylish in their naturally rugged ambiance and masculine outlooks, especially well manifested by the iconic piercing gaze of Clint Eastwood as the Good and the amazingly chiseled face of Lee Van Clef as the Bad. What’s more, even though director Leone had never been to the States before making the film, he was excellent in portraying the Wild American West during the Civil War by filming it entirely in Spain. 

The music by Ennio Morricone also plays an integral part in this film, creating timbres for each of the characters, so that whenever the character appears on the screen, the unique thematic music is played, indicating the moods of the characters without having them narrated in words. Hence I wanted to write about the impression of this unforgettable film that’s engraved in my Hall of Fames.


 

fortune’s compass

150px-RWS_Tarot_10_Wheel_of_Fortune

Her eyes are blindfolded, her hands are rapid

In a paroxysm of wild ecstasy at the Great Rotary,

Spinning it around and around like a delirious maenad,

Changing the positions of the compass willy-nilly,

Bringing tears and sorrows, beams and windfalls

To the names of the stars the compass indicates

till the stars above fall, the earth below collapses

and her game of fortune the god of gods terminates.

Author’s Note: This self-evident poem is about the Wheel of Fortune, a popular medieval folk belief that human lives are governed by the whims and caprice of Goddess Fortuna. She is said to spin the wheel at random, blindfolded, by which human fates are decided despite our efforts through constant trials and errors. It may sound bleak and fatalistic, but it also means that it’s not our faults to go through the ordeals of life, but that such is our fates, a force majaeur circumstance beyond our mortal controls, that we have to endure with stoic attitudes toward the vicissitudes of life. It is also a way of positive outlook on life because by attributing the ups and downs of life to the force of fates, we don’t jeopardize our self-worth and thus blame ourselves. 

How well they’re read, to reason against reading!

I have recently read an article about popular instapoets from one of my subscription magazines and been appalled at the author’s dyspeptic raillery on the poems of the known poets and brazen-faced mockery on the literary merits of the works by playing a role of agent provocateur following the instapoets just to mock their works with malice.

Just because one does not like another’s work doesn’t ipso facto endow the person with right to desecrate the work and to insult the author by putting him/her in the pillory and, thus dispiriting the mind and the heart that are indeed “noble” and respectful. As a hobbyist writer of my blog who has the temerity to write in English, I am now indeed in more sorrow than in anger that there might be agents provocateur or double agents in hides of followers intent upon deriding my amateurish but sincere writings.

The instapoets, bloggers and anyone dabbling in the craft of writing are the cult of Knut Vonnegut’s maxim: “To practice any art, how well or badly, is to make your soul l grow. So do it.” I hope the author and his likes will understand it with magnanimity of the learned literati who will not use their learning to reason against these noble spirits.

New Order, New Oat Milk Drink

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Once upon a time, there was a natural beverage called Milk from a cow out of which people made a variety of victuals to live and enjoy. Then when the age of reason hit the zenith of ethical paeans and scientific progress, people engineered offspring of Milk to their likings and called them low-fat, 2% reduced-fat, fat-free, or even lactose-free. And that’s not the end of hubris. It bellows to encourage people to try extremes like that of Dr. Frankenstein. The results are almond milk, soy milk, and now oat milk, which Starbucks has recently added to its beverage menu.

It appears that Starbucks has finally nodded to the growing demand for vegan alternatives to dairy products, attracting more upscale, environmental and health-conscious clientele supporting Greta Thunberg’s noble environmental activism. Thanks to globally strategic campaigns about the alleged maleficent effects of cow milk on the grounds of health, environmental, and ethical issues, drinking cow milk has become something diabolical. Subsequently, dairy sales and related industries have drastically fallen and continued, causing many companies to file bankruptcy and even more people to lose their jobs. I wonder if these so-called upscale people have even worked at ordinary jobs and understand the dreadful consequences of unemployment, prior to pontificating about their virtue-extolling manifestoes.

I am unsure of whether Starbucks will hit a bonanza by selling the new vegan addition to its menu due to the facts that (1) only 13 locations in the U.S. Mid West and a few selected locations in the U.S. will sell the oat milk drink; and that (2) there are still many people who are not ardently militant against cow milk when it pairs deliciously well in their favorite cold drinks. For me, I may try the new oat milk drink if it becomes available in my location out of curiosity, doubled with a writerly responsibility to see if it’s really worth the replacement and the propaganda for me to jump into the bandwagon.

the future of public libraries

The Great Library of Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt might have been destroyed eons ago, but public libraries in every continent across the seven seas are going strong both as municipal assets and cultural repositories. Libraries are no longer elite academic institutes for the esoteric religious and the moneyed echelons of society whetting their intellectual vanity and superiority. The democratization of libraries as a public institution of shared and exchanged knowledge has made it possible for every class to access the symbolic fortresses of universe knowledge.

According to Stuart Kells, author of The Library: A Catalogue of Wonders and Shakespeare’s Library, libraries are “civic infrastructure,” which functions as pathways to literacy and social engagement where an exchange of information and propagation of knowledge occur voluntarily. In fact, a library is something of a public educational enterprise without expensive tuition, which provides various kinds of educational programs for all ages and all classes and of administrative services (e.g., passport service). That is why a government should fund its public libraries to encourage and fortify communal integrations and progresses instead of grandstanding on its discordant political vitriols to manipulate the number of constituents.

People might deem the future of public libraries to be rather bleak because of the advent of electronic books and online libraries. Yet, as time has been changed, so have libraries with modern resources, catering to the needs and interests of today’s library users. Public libraries have become democratic forums of learning and exchanging knowledge and information. They are vibrant cultural atriums in which the abstract and the physical become wondrously and liberally consummated. For this reason, I think that the future of public libraries is reasonably auspicious.

Author’s Note: This is my thought on a new radio interview with Stuart Kells on the future of public libraries. The subject is universal beyond Australia. Readers are encouraged to listen to the interview and to visit their local libraries.