Thursday, December 28, 2006

Deaths come in threes

25th: James Brown
26th: Gerald Ford
27th: UCLA football

as someone on a fanboard optly pointed out.

After bringing down the Goliath of college football just four weeks ago, the Bruins rolled over and played dead as the Florida State Sooners went on a rampage in the 4th quarter to rack up 21 points to a come-from-behind-win.

Reasons were many, the biggest of which was Florida State's secret weapon which nobody from our team anticipated.

How can you expect our players to stay focused and concentrate on the tasks at hand when one of the star players on the opponent team has a name like this?

By the time I was able to breath again after seeing his name scrawled across the big giant TV screen at the Newport Beach sports bar, Florida State had scored 17 unanswered points over a short span of 6 minutes never to look back.

Do you see this as a sign of immaturity on my part? I once met a minister of Korean decent named Reverend Sin, but this Florida State player takes the cake. God bless him.

That's all I have to say about that.

Have a Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Family Discussion

This clip had me on the floor.

I think there is a lot in this clip that everyone, Filipino or not, can relate to. I hope you all had a good time with your family this Christmas.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Handel's Messiah

Along with the typical Christmas music we find ourselves constantly bombarded with this time of the year is Handel's Messiah.

Familiar to your ears may be the glorious Hallelujah chorus and the rendition of For unto us a child is born performed by choirs and orchestras around the world.

We typically hear Handel's Messiah only around this time of the year, but pigeonholing it as Christmas music is nothing short of doing this breathtaking work of art grave injustice. In fact, the portion of the oratorio deemed relevant to the birth of Christ consists of less than ten movements out of 53 all together.

As Paul Harvey likes to say, here's the rest of the story.

The first section primarily draws from the Old Testament which prophesies the coming Messiah who was to come and deliver the world from darkness. After a succession of the prophesies, this part concludes with Christ's birth.

The second part concerns the Passion which extensively covers the sacrifice, the scourging and agony on the cross and Christ's ultimate triumphant resurrection. This part makes Handel's Messiah celebratory of, and relevant to Good Friday and Easter as much as Christmas if not more.

The last part speaks of the future. It is about God's final victory over death and sin.

I think our selective hearing of Handel's Messiah reflects what we choose to hear when it comes to the story of Christ. Shelved and ignored are his suffering and agony followed by the empty tomb.

No 23. Air (Alto)
He was despised,
and rejected of men:
a man of sorrows,
and acquainted with grief

No 24. Chorus:
Surely He hath borne our griefs,
and carried our sorrows;
He was wounded for our trangressions;
He was bruised for our iniquities;
the chastisement of our peace was upon Him

The majestic Christ sung in the Hallelujah chorus is but a small fraction of the story. The majestic Christ is not complete without the story of his suffering and death.

To echo my favorite author Philip Yancey:

We worship a risen Christ. We worship a crucified Christ. Anything less is not enough.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Excellent movie review

While I spent the weekend dragging my roommate to the local theatre for a second viewing of Borat, a thinker has written on her blog a beautiful movie review of The Nativity Story.

That crystalizes the vast divide between myself and you people with decency and honor.

Go read the review. Now I want to go see it myself

Friday, December 08, 2006

Blog Symposium - What is Hope?

"And now these three remain, faith, hope and love."
1 Corinthians 13:13

If you are a Christian, you should know that faith, hope and love are three of the most important traits believers are called to strive for. But I find it interesting that while there is no shortage of sermons and books on how to strengthen one's faith in God and to love Him and other human beings, I cannot recall a single sermon on the topic of hope. In this prominent Evangelical pastor's collection of sermons, for example, you won't even find a category for hope, while there are five for faith, and three for love.

Why is that? Does anyone else find it intriguing? Why does a concept of that much prominence and importance garner so little attention and study?

What is hope to you*?

Every definition I have heard sounds very much like that of faith, and I am sure faith and hope go hand in hand and must co-exist, but what gives hope its own distinctive identity, if you will?

The clock is ticking down to 5 minutes, and your football team is down by 21 points. Now granted that there have been miraculous finishes, but 99.99% of the time, your team loses under that scenario.

Can hope do anything? Is it a matter of forcing yourself to feel optimistic about certain things in your life despite the insurmountable odds? At what point does a hope become a pipe dream and wishful thinking?

How often do you hear people say, "One can only hope" as if hope is the last resort in desperation? Don't you think there has to be more to hope than the perverbial "carrot in front of the donkey's nose"?

There is in my life a certain goal which has eluded and mystified me.

When I feel "hopeful" and optimistic, the final outcome consistently turns out below my hopeful expectations leading me to ask why I bother with "hope" in the first place.

Then when I resign myself so as not to get my hopes up, the outcome often turns out worse than my worst fears, leading me to regret not having been realistic and hopeless enough. I realize at least conceptually that pessimism and realism aren't one and the same and either are hope and wishful thinking.

So what is hope to you? And how do you "exercise" it?

You can either leave comments or better yet write a blog entry about it, and I will link it here.

Hope to hear from you.

*I am not necessarily interested in what hope is from a collective perspective be it Christian or not. I want to know what it means to you and how it works in your own life.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


As life goes, I get occasionally pushed into something with reluctance and trepidation and end up really liking it later. Carpooling is one such case.

Just about a month ago, my car's ingnition keybox jammed at work rendering inoperable my only means of transporation. Towed it to the repair shop nearby, and because I had brought in the car so late in the day, the mechanic could not get the necessary parts in time, so I found myself stranded nearly 30 miles from my house here in Southern California, a region with the dubious honor of trailing most of the Third World in the availability of public transporation.

Then it dawned on me that one of the guys in the office lived just a few blocks from my house. Asked him if I could get a ride, and off we went up the 405 taking advantage of the carpool lane through one of the most traffic congested stretches in the country. It took us 35 minutes, reducing our commute by a whopping 20 minutes at least.

Since then, he and I have taken turns in driving to and from work on a regular basis, allowing me to leave my car on the driveway half the time. Per month, I believe I spend about 15 hours less on the road, and save roughly $80-100 in fuel, tolls, and wear and tear on the car.

But all of the said benefits are eclipsed by one thing.

Do you know what traffic is like around here? The delight of zipping right by the poor motorists sitting in bumper to bumper traffic brings about tears of joyous and perverted gratification. And seated on the passenger side, I wrestle with the urge to taunt them with my head protruding out the car window like a dog. Probably not a good idea if I want to continue to carpool.

Okay, this is getting to be TMI, so I shall not go into any more sordid details. Yes, I am a horrible person. Decades of traffic and smog have clearly destroyed my moral certitude.

Just a few weeks ago, I found another carpool partner who has driven with me to work when the other one can't make it. These two guys can't carpool together because of their conflicting schedules, but my flexible work hours as a consultant allow me to carpool with whoever happens to be available on a given day.

In fact, there have been times when one of the guys has taken me to work, and the other back home. They just can't pass up the opportunity to use the carpool lane, so they put up with me.

Just don't call me a carpool whore, okay?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Could it happen again?

I blogged about a USC Song Girl caught cheering for the wrong team.

Was it an abberation? Could it happen again? Folks, I was right there in person to witness this, which was caught on national TV. The clip is only 44 seconds long.

My voice is still hoarse.

I reluctantly accepted an invitation from a friend to the game between UCLA and USC at the Rose Bowl. If you follow college football, you should know that USC was the prohibitive favorite going into the game, and its bitter cross-town rival UCLA was the last team to stand in the way of the Trojans' trip to the BCS Championship game in Glendale Arizona.

USC was supposed to steamroll over UCLA on the way to the second consecutive Championship appearance, but my Bruins refused to roll over and they fought valiently to bring down the Goliath of college football.

UCLA: 13 - SUC: 9

Couldn't ask for a better weekend.