A passage from an old book I’ve been reading

It seems relevant right now. And well, I’ve always admired the Japanese for many aspects of their personality and culture, least of all their manifold contributions to the arena of, uh, sensual entertainment.

“The leaders of Nippon were stupid. They took all of the gold out of Tokyo and buried it in holes in the ground in the Philippines! Because they thought that The General* would march into Tokyo and steal it. But The General didn’t care about the gold. He understood that the real gold is here —” he points to his head “— in the intelligence of the people, and here —” he holds out his hands “— in the work that they do. Getting rid of our gold was the best thing that ever happened to Nippon. It made us rich. Receiving that gold was the worst thing that happened to the Philippines. It made them poor.

— Goto Dengo
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

  • The General the character is referring to is Gen. Douglas MacArthur. If you have to know, the entire book is a mishmash of WWII, crypto, and Yamashita treasure hunting. Cool.

of death and anticipation and a living celebration

first of all, peace to francis magalona. a courageous battle indeed… some people never die because they never lived (thanks mick). he wasn’t one of them. he died, a full-throated screaming punctuation of a life well-lived.

i’ll probably slink away quietly, pathetically, dying of some malaise of the soul. blogging on borrowed time helps delay the inevitable. i still wish to be buried in a ferrari, so i have to spend my waking hours slaving away to pay for my extravagant burial. says something about my outlook in (the after)life…

and i just got my copy of sylvia plath’s ariel. the restored version, as differentiated from the supposedly bastardized version that ted hughes masterminded. i have been leafing through it. a reproduction of the original manuscript of lady lazarus was reason enough to buy it.

i almost bought another hp lovecraft compilation, too. i hesitated because the book was in bad condition for something that expensive, and half of the short stories there were already in the two other compilations that i had.

anyway, i have an .html file of all his stories… but dead tree editions are so much more tangible. and easier to read. i’m an old fogey. i like the smell of yellowed books. they print the new ones on acid-free paper. takes the charm of rotting books away.

also managed to acquire a very tattered copy of fables for a hundred bucks. it pains me to see a comic book treated as such, but then i hope it got battered because of the constant, loving, thumbing-thru reading that penniless readers often do in national bookstore. issues 11-18 was about big bad wolf getting snow white preggers.

dammit. wolves.

if it’s any consolation, i still have that temple of the dog CD that i always forgot to give you. and the discount card. and that pack of frenzy.

and that last memory of your artifacts on a table, under the light of a jaundiced lamp: a lighter, a sony ericsson cellphone, a pack of marlboros, a couple of law books, some coins.

self-gratification, and gratitude.

thank you to everyone who took the time to greet me on my birthday. yes, today, if you were wondering.

my mom sent me a flower arrangement which just happened to come with a small furry white rabbit. i haven’t ascertained its sex yet. not that i’m being misogynist to a mere animal, but i was hoping to find him/her an appropriate friend to go with a nice roomy cage that i’ll be buying. and i haven’t named him/her/it yet. my daughter votes for bunny.

i’m not really one for sentiment, and i’ve been having quite a harried week so far, but i’ve been touched by the thoughtfulness of people. so much so that i found myself teary-eyed when barbie zhu lost her family fortune and her fiance in love at the corner. i tried to console myself that it was just the stress of being stuck in transit at carmona exit, but then i got home and saw the rabbit.

awww rabbits.

but before i got home i made a stopover at national bookstore to buy a gift for s’s classmate. and ended up buying a copy of another h.p. lovecraft compilation (necronomicon) and neil gaiman’s fragile things.

the necronomicon was a hefty tome, a black leather-bound and gold-lettered bible to dark things, and it gave me the same shiver that other well-loved compilations gave me: tolkien’s boxed set of LOTR books, the moldy red copy of poe’s complete works, a spare white edition of jd salinger’s catcher in the rye, the booksale veteran with movie-tie-in cover ruggedness of frank herbert’s dune, the bloody smiley face of alan moore’s watchmen, the numerous carefully wrapped issues of gaiman’s sandman series, even the ancient covers of edith hamilton’s mythology. heck, even the bible gives me the same thrill, with its vivid imagery of revelations and the footnotes on shekels and aramaic.

still looking for plath’s bell jar, ee cumming’s viva, brian herbert’s butlerian jihad, neal stephenson’s snow crash or anathema, william gibson’s spook country…