Welcome to Marinduque-My Island Paradise

If this is your first time in my site, welcome! If you have been a follower, my heartfelt thanks to you, also. Help me achieve my dream, that someday, Marinduque will become a world tourist destination not only on Easter Week, but also whole year round. You can do this by telling your friends and relatives about this site. The photo above is Mt Malindig in Torrijos.
Please do not forget to read the latest national and international news in this blog . Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on the infringement of your copyrights. Cheers!

Marinduque Mainland from Tres Reyes Islands

Marinduque Mainland from Tres Reyes Islands
View of Mainland Marinduque from Tres Reyes Islands-Click on Photo to link to Marinduque Awaits You

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

You have to Fail in order to Succeed!

Macrine and I during the Christmas White House Tour during the Clinton Years

Macrine and I- Christmas White Tour-1995
David and I- Christmas White Hour Tour-1995

You have to fail in order to succeed | ViewsHound

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I do not play games in Facebook. No Invitations, Please!

To all my Facebook Friends: I do not play any of the games in FB. Please do not send me any invitation, since it will just be ignored and you are wasting your time. As of today, I have over 100 invitations to play Farmville and other games.

I do however, enjoying reading and viewing links on current events, environmental issues, news about Marinduque, funny articles and videos, classical music, photography and any thing pertaining to blogging, gardening or photography.

Thank you so much for reading and commenting on my blogs and articles in ViewsHound. Your comments are highly appreciated.

The next time I received an invitation for games from anyone, I guarantee you will be in my "unfriend" and chopping list. Thanks again to all my more than 650 friends and hoping you will have a happy and safe Christmas Holidays.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Guest Article :Dymystifying Corruption in the Philippines Presidency

The following is a guest article from Isabel P. Ball, a member of Marinduque International, Inc. Isabel had been a columnist since 1996, appearing in various publications. She is a published author of a book titled "Tenacious Devotion: Conquest of a Purdah Belle". She is also a poet and screenplay writer. Last but not least she is an activist who desires improvement to our mother country, the Philippines.

The content in this article is her own and do not necessarily reflect my own views or any other individual or organization. This article was published by www.americanchronicle.com dated November 23, 2011.

Dymystifying corruption in the Philippine presidency

You and I, and the world are the witnesses to the political malaise characterizing the Philippine presidency.

A stark fact is that about every change of administration since Marcos, the Philippine government has been prosecuting Presidents for corruption.

Marcos, as Philippine President, has been dubbed as the greatest theft known in world record for corruptions he committed in his 20-years in power ostensibly by way of martial rule. Billions worth of assets in dollars were pilfered from the country´s coffers in behest to his cronies and family.

That had set a trend in wanton corruption among his political peers and predecessors in the presidency.

One incident with relevance to the Marinduquenos, Marcos had showed an overwhelming hospitality and had allowed the pristine forest, discovered to be so much fecund in minerals, to be mined by foreign mining companies with so much leverage.

His true motive ultimately surfaced when he clinched the major partnership with Marcopper. Historically, we can now point our fingers to that political machination as one big cause of our island´s environmental debacle.

Moral turpitude since took an upside turn, and corruption was becoming a vogue among the succeeding presidents, save for Cory Aquino.

Ramos, a military man, supposedly honed in military discipline and values did not escape controversies. The Amari Deal topped them all, and allegedly bagged him hefty dollars in sums.

Then, Estrada, a rogue politician, having hoodwinked the poor Filipinos turned as much corrupt as his predecessor, Marcos, in a brazen attempt to enrich himself and his families and friends. While in the position, he was like filling up an empty inexhaustible vessel, he was insatiable and his seeming octopus hands were dipping in everywhere it can to siphon of funds from tax funds and on illegal gambling of hweteng. If it wasn´t for Singson, a bosom friend of Estrada, turning a traitor to him over a row on preferential treatment, he might have left the treasury efficiently drained. The incoming President Arroyo put him in jail which was another ludicrous political episode of incarceration and ending in pardon.

Just when Filipinos have thought that corruption was to end and decency in the presidency would be restored, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, her administration was similarly marred in controversies that had involved her husband Mike, alleged to be the deal maker in the purloined purchase of helicopters for the PNP and in election frauds, to more upcoming charges and anticipated legal battles. Millions and millions in estimate could sum up to billions of pesos she has reportedly gotten for herself.

Like in the time of Estrada where the trial proceedings competed with the Filipino soap operas, Arroyo´s legal proceedings would again burn in the primetime TV. The glaring reports in the newspaper have made me to wonder what mindset, attitude and values these leaders might have in dominance to do such unprincipled act while in office. A short memory seems to have made them to repeat transgressions of their predecessors with impunity. Or what other psychological makeup could have driven them to jump into the same fray with so much audacity and seeming impudence to the consequence?

I would like to see the academe take interest into studying the underlying causes behind such truly a senseless behavior. Attempt to find and identify the phenomenon and to come up with some scientific explanation, and to make the roots of such blatant disregard of these leaders of the constitution and the people to emerge? Or, in the oddest of chances, the data might validate, for all to know, about my theory that Filipinos´ apathy and forgiving nature reflects their true nature to belie that propensity to commit illegal acts; thus, they condone and propagate corruption.

Ceaucescu of Romania and his wife, Elena, during the time of Marcos, was beheaded by the indignant citizenry for corruption, and that seemed to have straightened up the politicians in the country. Should equivalent form of punishment become the resolve of the Filipinos to end corruption in the Philippines for good? And this could apply in retroaction.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Is America an Atheist Nation?

Christmas White House Tour, Washington, D.C., 1995

I received the following from my e-mail today!

We now have to stand up for everything that is being taken away from us. It's done by stealth because we don't say anything.

Apparently the White House referred to Christmas Trees as Holiday Trees for the first time this year which prompted CBS presenter, Ben Stein, to present this piece which I would like to share with you. I think it applies just as much to many countries as it does to America .

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejewelled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are, Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a cr?che, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God ? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Hurricane Katrina).. Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'

In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbour as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said okay.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit.

If not, then just discard it.... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Another Book Review of Cloyne Court by Dodie Katague

This book review was published in madmoosemama.blogspot.com dated Wednesday, November 23, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Cloyne Court by Dodie Katague

Posted by Heavensent1 at 5:52 PM

Cloyne Court is a Literary Fiction.

It's the 1970's and Cloyne Court has just become a co-ed student co-op. Derek Marston has been attending college while living at home, that is, until the day a mysterious women tells him to go live at Cloyne Court.

Derek first arrives halfway through his freshman year; against his parents wishes. Derek is unsure as to what to expect and slowly becomes meshed into the framework of Cloyne Court and her politics.

It is in Cloyne Court that Derek learns Karate, falls in love and has his heart broken, makes great friendships and destroys others. Some of the people pass through his life briefly, some leaving lasting impressions and others who do not. It is here that Derek learns the merits on how to become an adult.

The life lessons that Cloyne Court teaches Derek puts him on his path in life; the people, the culture and the times helped shaped the building blocks that would become Derek's destiny.

I thought Cloyne Court was a well-written novel. I loved the nuances and the details that the author wrote, sharing with the reader the life of Derek. I enjoyed the 1970's history shared within the pages and the pop culture aspect that I felt as I read the passages.

Dodie Katague wrote with such a fervor that one couldn't help but be transported to the time, walking beside Derek as each life lesson unfolded. I loved the different characters found throughout the pages and how each of them interacted with Derek.

I thought this was a well-placed book in that the impressions shared and the dialogue written was very in the "times". You could feel the life coming into the students as the times began to change in a more liberal aspect. Sex, drugs and rock'n'roll were the hallmarks of this era and the author uses it to an agreeable advantage. The mind set of some people astounded me, as it often does when I read such things. I thought the book was delivered in a very entertaining way.

I would give Cloyne Court a four out of five stars, while I enjoyed it, I felt the direction was lacking. It was wonderful story of coming of age and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys period pieces with a bit of real life thrown in.

Cloyne Court

The Real Animal House: In 1946, the "real" all male "Animal House" was born when Cloyne Court become a student co-op. In the 50 & 60s, the "beasts" waged war with the Berkeley Chapter of Beta Theta Pi, an athletically-oriented fraternity. That feud ended when Cloyne's archenemies moved across campus. However, the real story begins when Cloyne Court went co-ed in 1972 with the arrival of sixty-two women. Katague's sexy, reveal-all creative memoir takes place in the late 70s, soon after the women moved in. All it takes is one kiss to transform animals into horny princes.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Day to All

I received this in my e-mail yesterday. It is just too funny not to pass it around.

A month ago a new supermarket opened in our area.
It has an automatic water mister to keep the produce fresh.
Just before it goes on, you hear the sound of distant thunder and the smell of fresh

When you pass the milk cases, you hear cows mooing and you experience the scent of
fresh mowed hay.

In the meat department, there is the aroma of charcoal grilled steaks with onions.

When you approach the egg case, you hear hens cluck and cackle, and the air is
filled with the pleasing aroma of bacon and eggs frying.

The bread department features the tantalizing smell of fresh baked bread and

I don't buy toilet paper there anymore. HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cloyne Court- Excerpt 25

Photo from Seattletimes.nwsource.com

Cloyne Court, Episode 25
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

A creative memoir about Cloyne Court in Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.

With the warning, student servers wearing thick hot pads on their hands came striding from the kitchen carrying steaming industrial steel platters of food and laid them at one end of each table.

At least, we had table service. In later years, the food would be placed on a serving table by the kitchen door and there would a massive stampede to the front of the line in a free for all. On days when the food was edible, latecomers and slowpokes would starve.

Fred Boduran, who was sitting closest to the food tray, touched it and scalded himself. “Shit, that’s still hot!” He stuck his hand in a plastic water pitcher to soothe his burns.

We should have felt sorry for him, but at dinnertime that was a sign of weakness and the rest of the hungry crowd grabbed, reached and elbowed for the serving spoon, but it sunk to the bottom of the goo.

A woman from the table next to us saw our dilemma. How were we going to retrieve the serving spoon without using our bare hands and contaminating the food?

She didn’t hesitate. She came to our platter, stuck both her hands into the food and searched until she found the serving spoon. She used the spoon and her cupped hand to scoop food onto her plate. When she was finished stealing our food, she handed me the wet spoon.

I scooped a chunk of meat onto my plate. The woman looked at my food. She saw that she had failed to dish up a meat patty from the potage. She eyed my plate as I scooped. I held my fork like a stabbing weapon in case she encroached onto my plate.

Sensing my threat, she stuck her hand back into the platter and pulled out what looked like a chicken patty and held it between her teeth as she walked back to her table.

I scooped more food onto my plate, passed the spoon and ate without waiting for the rest of the table to be served. So much for table manners. I abandoned manners and ‘grace’ before dinner as a matter of necessity. I was hungry, and I didn’t want to pray with these people even if it was a formality. I wouldn’t rediscover those rituals until I had my own family decades later.

I watched Miguel, the only Hispanic in the house. He bowed his head, said grace in silence and crossed himself to emphasize the quality of his devotion. I think he was asking God to protect him from the food he was about to eat.

I turned to Katy. Dan wasn’t paying attention to her as he talked to Polly and Miguel. “Katy, are you an engineering student also?” I assumed this because Dan, Miguel, and Polly were discussing digital phase-lock loops on an integrated circuit, brand-new inventions back then. Polly claimed Berkeley scientists invented it first. Dan wasn’t so sure. I had no idea what they were talking about and still don’t.

“No, but Dan is, and he’s really into it,” she said. “He studies all the time.”

“What about you?” I asked. “What are you studying?”

“Not sure yet,” she said. “I’m at Berkeley because Dan was my high school boyfriend. When we both were accepted to Cal, he asked me to come with him. I figured, why not?”

“Are you two sharing a room?”

“We’re bunkies, but only since the beginning of the quarter. What are you studying?”

“I’m premed because my parents want me to, but I’m also prelaw because it seems like the thing to be, but I’m interested in architecture, and I didn’t get accepted into UCLA film school.” Nothing like a wishy-washy answer to exude self-confidence.

“What is this supposed to be?” Alan said, scooping a grayish sauce and some solid chunks onto his plate.

“It’s supposed to be chicken patties in a cream sauce au gratin,” Miguel said.

“Mine tastes like blackened something.” Mike had scooped food from the burnt side of the serving platter. I had scooped from the opposite side and mine was lukewarm. The meat chunks were cold and gelatinous.

Alan spooned food into his mouth, chewed for a few seconds, then spit it out. “This isn’t meat! This is tofu!” He searched through the casserole with his fork prodding for anything resembling turkey or chicken. “This food is crap! How come there isn’t any meat?”

Everyone shrugged and kept on chewing.

Then, Peter, the food manager walked out of the kitchen with another steel container of slop. “Peter, what is this food?” Alan asked. “How come it doesn’t have any meat in it?”

“It’s vegetarian. Tofu instead of meat.”

“But this isn’t what Central Kitchen was making today. I was there this afternoon peeling potatoes for my work shift. I saw them defrosting the chicken patties. How come we didn’t get the same food all the other houses are getting?”

“You missed the last house meeting. The house voted to serve vegetarian meals one night a week instead of getting it from Central Kitchen. Tonight’s the night.”

“But what is it?”

“Ah, something tofu, bean sprout surprise.”

“But this is the second time this week we’ve had vegetarian. How come we aren’t getting any meat?”

“Remember the barbecue we had a few weeks ago? We used up our hamburger stock to do that little feast.”

“You mean, we’re eating badly because you can’t properly plan and budget a meal. What kind of food manager are you?”

“You elected me to be food manager. I’ll manage it as I see fit. If you don’t like it, go beat your meat.” I’m sure he meant it in a nourishing sort of way.
Cloyne Court was released in 2009 and is currently available to buy at a deep discount to "everyone" at Barnes & Noble.com. There's no telling how long Barnes & Noble will keep this discount where it is.


Amazon is selling Cloyne Court at full price. At least they were the last time I looked--a moment before I posted this episode.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Why I Write for ViewsHound

Image from bloghackz.com

Just a status update on my ViewsHound statistics. As of today, I have written 55 articles, over 15,000 views, 19 followers and 8 bdages. Just still one winning article, though!

Why am I writing for ViewsHound? | ViewsHound

Monday, November 21, 2011

Macrine's Childhod Memories of the Japanese-American War in the Philippines

A Model T Ford, 1930 in Boac, commandered by the Japanese

My first article on this subject was published in Views Hound recently, and was my own personal war time experience. This new story is about the personal experience of my wife Macrine during the Second World War in the Philippines. In comparison to my adventure filled war time story, her experience was confined within the city, although both reflected anxiety, pain and tragedies.

Macrine and her family resided in the town of Boac, Marinduque, the capital of the small and lovely island province in the middle of the Philippines. She was a typical islander who had most of her relatives including her grandparents living nearby or in the next town. Some individuals such as her aunt Blanca moved to Manila for work.

Unlike the larger cities of Manila including my hometown of Iloilo, Boac was spared from any aerial bombing by the Japanese invaders. Life during the war period in the sleepy small town seemed normal, except for the presence of the Japanese troops stationed in town.

She was six years old when the Japanese military invaded the Philippines. She was studying in first grade at the Boac Elementary School. Her family did not leave their home. They stayed in town and had interaction with the Japanese forces who occupied Boac for almost fourteen months, from the middle of 1942 to early 1944.

Macrine was the oldest daughter of Bernardo Jambalos, Jr., a certified public accountant and Elena Decena Nieva, a science teacher. Her younger sister was then four years old. Her paternal grandfather, Bernardo Sr. was a successful businessman who owned and operated several fishing boats. They resided in the coastal village of Laylay about 10 km south of downtown Boac. He had nine children, five boys and four girls.

Her father was the oldest of the five boys. During the war, he continued his practice as a CPA to support his young family. He did not join the guerrilla or resistance movement organized by the locals. However, his four younger brothers were active members in the movement against the Japanese.

The guerrillas had their hideout in the interior of the island. To avoid detection by the enemy, they made covert visits to the town regularly to obtain their food and supplies, and to gather news update about the war. There were some minor encounters between the Japanese and the guerrilla forces, but not as destructive and violent as the war incidents in my childhood island of Panay.

Macrine's maternal grandparents also resided in the town of Boac and were actively involved in the local politics. Her maternal grandfather Juan Morente Nieva was the first governor of Marinduque. During the Japanese occupation period, her uncle was the mayor of Boac. The local officials cooperated with the occupying forces in Boac to keep the peace and order.

The presence of the invaders in the island was unnerving to the local Filipinos. The Japanese were unpredictable and when they felt the need, they would unjustly punish or torture innocent civilians. They established their headquarters in the local elementary school while school was in session.

The Japanese occupation in Marinduque did not meet a lot of resistance from the poorly armed local Filipino guerrillas. The Japanese tried to maintain normalcy by allowing the schools and businesses to remain open. Macrine and her school mates were allowed to attend school. They learned a few Japanese words and strangely, a Japanese military song.

Macrine’s aunt Blanca Decena Nieva was the older sister of her mother. She was single and strikingly beautiful with her mestiza looks inherited from their Spanish ancestors. She had been a hospital nurse for two years before the war. She joined the Philippine army as a nurse and was based in Manila shortly after war was declared.

After the Japanese military attacked Pearl Harbor on December 8, 1941, they invaded the American controlled Philippine islands. There was an initial aerial bombardment by the Japanese to cripple the Filipino and American forces around Manila and the major cities of the country. Soon it was followed by the landing of Japanese ground troops. There was combat in the streets between the invaders against the Filipino and American troops.

The residents of Manila panicked amidst the bombings and the fire fights in the city. Many civilians were caught in the crossfire. On the first few days of the Japanese occupation of Manila, Macrine’s aunt Blanca became a victim of the Japanese forces. She was shot and died from a Japanese machine gun fire at the doorstep of her apartment.

Blanca and her maid fled from their apartment building. They heard about the arrival of the invading soldiers and the ensuing conflict. They realized they had to evacuate to a safer place. She could have survived had she not returned to her apartment to retrieve her jewelry. Her maid survived unharmed to tell the tragic story to the Nieva family.

When my future mother-in-law learned of the violent death of her sister, she was distraught, angered and devastated with the loss of a loved one. She vowed that she will never forgive the Japanese for the tragedy that befell her sister. She wanted to avenge the loss, but first the family had to grieve for the passing of Blanca.

At the latter part of the war, Filipino and American forces started arriving in the island to support the guerrillas. The Japanese forces were retreating, surrendering and on the brink of defeat in Marinduque. Two Japanese soldiers who chose not to surrender were cornered hiding in the attic of the school, where the local Japanese garrison and prison camp was located.

They were shot dead by the Filipino guerrilla forces. Their bloody bodies were paraded in the town square for everyone to see. My future mother-in-law had her revenge realized. She was one of the many civilians who kicked and spat at the remains of the two soldiers.

Her hatred for the Japanese continued through the rest of her life. She stuck with her vow and never forgave them for killing her only sister. When my mother-in-law was still alive, during social events she avoided mingling in the same table where a Japanese person was seated.

A second incident which affected Macrine, and which she vividly remembers to this day involved the harassment and torture of her grandfather Bernardo. One summer day, a squad of armed Japanese soldiers went to his home looking for him. They suspected him of helping the resistance movement and took him away to be punished for the alleged charge of insurgency.

They tied his hands by his back and took him to the sea where they let him stand in the water up to his waist. Later in the afternoon, the tide had risen and the water level was up to his neck. He was left standing in the water under the sun for almost the whole day without food or drinking water.

There were four other civilians being punished at the same time. They were similarly suspected of rebellion by aiding the guerrillas. They were all cruelly punished with their hands tied on their backs, exposed to the hot summer sun, while standing in the sea water waiting for the high tide to possibly drown them.

Macrine’s grandfather was eventually saved from dehydration and possible death from drowning. The local officials arrived and intervened on his behalf. They conferred and convinced the Japanese troops that he was not involved with the resistance movement, but a respected entrepreneur in the community. The other four civilian men were not released from their agony until they almost drowned. The high tide was already above their heads.

The Japanese troops were not aware that four of his sons were in the resistance movement. There was a an occasion when he was entertaining his unsuspecting Japanese visitors in his living room, while at the same time a group of guerrilla fighters including his four sons and their comrades were in his kitchen. They were securing food, rice and other supplies to bring to their mountain hideaway.

Macrine's experience of the Japanese-American war was not as traumatic as mine. Her family never fled from their home and stayed in town versus my experience of moving several times including staying in the jungles of Panay to avoid the conflict. The Japanese occupation of Boac, Marinduque was more peaceful and uneventful compared to the bombings and firefights in Manila and my own hometown of Iloilo.

The death of her aunt by machine gun fire and the punishment of her grandfather were the two incidents that she intensely remembers from the war. However, today, she informed me that the horrors of that war are almost gone and just a haze in her memory. Time eventually heals the trauma of war slowly, if not completely.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cloyne Court- Excerpts 23 and 24

Photo from motifake.com
Cloyne Court, Episode 23
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

A creative memoir about Cloyne Court in Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.

I walked into the dining room at 6:01 p.m. I would not make that mistake again. The place was crammed tight, one hundred and fifty people seated elbow to elbow at every table like livestock in a feedlot. I saw my roommate, Alan, at a table with several men and two women. He waved. “Over here, Derek.” He pulled out a chair he’d saved.

I grabbed silverware and a plate from the side table near the entrance. The plate was still warm and moist as if it had just come from the dishwasher. Its surface was scarred with grayish linear knife gouges from years of abuse. The edge had a tiny hairline crack running from a chipped indent to the middle of the plate in the supposedly durable melamine composite material. It looked useable but the underside had some food encrusted on it. I grabbed another plate and checked my silverware carefully.

I also needed a cup, but there weren’t any. Instead, I found a tray of recycled screw-top glass jars in several sizes—the largest, a Mason jar used for canning. I looked around and saw people drinking from jars. I picked an eight-ounce size that looked like it once held strawberry jam.

As I was to discover later, the house bought new plastic cups each quarter, but they kept disappearing. Nobody knew where they went.

I made my way through the crowded room. Dinner had not yet been served. I sat in the empty chair and looked at the woman seated across from me. It was her! The woman I had noticed sitting on the window ledge at the women’s meeting. I hoped she remembered me.

“Hey everyone, this is Derek,” Alan said. “This is Miguel, Hadas, Mike, Fred, Polly, and Dan and Katy.”

Dan was sitting to Katy’s right across from me. Alan introduced them as a pair, Dan and Katy, as in Gilbert and Sullivan, Anthony and Cleopatra, The Captain and Tennille. The introduction was clear. She and Dan were a couple.

“I’m Katy Lord. I saw you at the meeting the other night.” She remembered me. I leaned toward her to hear better and looked at her eyes as she spoke. She had long russet-colored hair and some pinpoint freckles on her face. When she turned to talk to Dan, I could see she had a prominent nose. The way her eyes looked at me and her constant smile, made me feel comfortable around her. She was like the girl next door, who you wouldn’t give a second glance if you were looking for hotties. Not because she wasn’t pretty, but because she was familiar. Maybe that’s why she stood out among the women I had seen at the meeting.

Dan said, “That took a lot of guts to invade the women’s meeting like you did the other night.”

I blushed as the others at the table made comments of disbelief at the sheer gall of a man attending a women’s meeting.

Mike Zambrano was seated next to Dan. He was wearing a gray pullover hooded sweatshirt and wrinkled gray sweatpants. He looked and smelled as if he had jogged a few miles.

“Learn any lesbian secret techniques you want to share? I’d do anything to get into her pants.” Mike motioned with his head toward a table of women and pointed with his eyes at Joan, who had a striking resemblance to Stevie Nicks, the female singer for Fleetwood Mac. Also seated at the table was Carrie, who had told me to go fuck myself at the meeting, and her lover, Sonya, a butch-looking woman with short crew-style hair wearing a lumberjack shirt and army-surplus pants. The other women at their table were talking and laughing until a male student from an adjacent table asked for some water from the pitcher on their table. The women’s demeanor went from genial to indignant, as if an intruder had invaded their secret garden.

“How do you know she doesn’t like men?” I asked. I made assumptions about people based on their appearances and whom they associated with. I assumed Joan was lesbian, since she was sitting at a table with lesbians.

“Already tried.” He sighed. “I asked her out, but she said she wasn’t interested in men.”

“What exactly did she say?” I asked. “Perhaps she didn’t like you, rather than men in general.”

I hadn’t meant it as an insult. It was an observation. Maybe he wasn’t Joan’s type. Miguel, Hadas and Fred chuckled at my inadvertent put-down.

“Hey,” Mike said, “I met you two minutes ago, and you’re already insulting me. She doesn’t like men. Her exact words were, I’m not interested in penises with attitudes.”

I regretted my remark even more when Dan used the opportunity to razz him. “Didn’t she say she’s not interested in ‘small penises’ with attitudes?” He smiled.

Mike was only five feet tall. I think because of height, he was cocky to the point of being churlish and arrogant. He reminded me of a miniature toy terrier hanging out with the big dogs and first to bark and snarl to show his loyalty to the pack.

Dan wasn’t about to stop. “You’re too short,” he said. “She needs a man with a few more inches. I have ten she’d like.”

Cloyne Court, Episode 24
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

A creative memoir about Cloyne Court in Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.

Katy winced. I guess the last words you want to hear from your boyfriend is that he wants to play ‘hide the salami’ with another woman. She smiled like a Cheshire Cat and delivered her zinger. “I didn’t realize this was ten inches.” She held up her thumb and index finger apart the length of a pack of chewing gum.

The men at the table roared with laughter. If anyone would know about the actual size of Dan’s private parts, I guessed it would be her.

Dan glared at her in disapproval. Her smile vanished.

Polly was the other woman at our table, and she wasn’t smiling either. She was a rare commodity, a female engineering student at Cal. I think she was uncomfortable with the sex jokes. She saw Dan’s look at Katy and quickly changed the subject.

“Derek, are you into anti-establishment like sit-ins and nonviolent protests?” she asked. “There’s an antiapartheid rally next week at Sproul Plaza. I heard a bunch of students are going to take over Sproul Hall until the University stops doing business with companies that do business in South Africa.” She sipped from a can of Coca-Cola, which ironically did a hell of lot of business in South Africa. “I’m thinking about joining the sit-in. If you’re interested, you should talk to people at that table.”

I looked at a table at the far side of the room. The men and women there were dressed in black with red armbands. One was wearing a black beret. This was the table for the radical militant leftists. Most were members of the Revolutionary Student Brigade, but during meal times, they welcomed Trotskyites, Leninists, and some Maoists, who sat in the middle of the table to separate them from the members of The Spartacus Youth League, wearing yellow with a black-fist emblem, who sat at the other end of the table.

I looked around the room. I saw a table of residents wearing yarmulkes sitting at one table. I assumed it was the Jewish group. At another table were the vegetarians, who were already eating a rice dish. Their group cooked separately from the house kitchen. They set up menus and cooking schedules and sat by themselves eating their tofu and bean-sprout casseroles. They looked like a congenial group. I was to learn later, they had serious disagreements on whether eggs and milk were a violation of the vegetarian code.

The druggies sat a table across the dining room closest to the exit. They had glazed eyes or were staring into the distance or nodding off, their heads jerking up whenever they leaned too far, and some were twitching and shaking from the early symptoms of withdrawal. Fortunately, the house had a no smoking policy in the dining room. The potheads would have to wait until after dessert before lighting up.

The center table caught my attention the most. This table had six men and six women, regular looking people, slightly older, probably juniors and seniors, engaged in polite conversation. There were two empty chairs at the table, yet no one coming in late approached them.

“What’s so off-limits about that table?” I asked Katy. “No one else is sitting there.”

“That’s the committed couples table,” she said. “The couples there like hanging out with similar committed couples. It’s as near to married as you can be here.”

As far as I knew, there were no married couples living in the house. Sitting there were Casey and Lisa, Kimberly and Ren, Chet and Jenny and other couples I didn’t know.

“There are two empty chairs,” I said.

“Yeah, Dick Fine and Julia used to sit there, but they split. I knew it wouldn’t last. Dick isn’t that type of guy.”

“What do you mean?”

“Julia and Dick were together for two months,” Katy replied. “Almost a lifetime around here. When she and Dick started sitting at the couple’s table, she made sure everyone in the house knew about it. I think it was a signal to the other women to keep their hands off her boyfriend.”

Polly’s ears perked at the mention of the word ‘boyfriend’. She turned from the engineering discussion and joined the gossip. “I heard that the other men at the table didn’t want Dick sitting there anyway.”

“Why is that?” I asked.

“Because he’s slept with most of the women at the table before they coupled up with their current boyfriends. The men were too uncomfortable knowing their girlfriends had experienced Dick’s enormous appendage.”

Looking around the room, I realized the groups were like high school. The social stratification was still there. Nothing had changed. There were the geeks, the jocks and the stoners. Yet everything was different. Now there were political divisions, religious and ethnic groups, and sexual relationship groups. It was college level Social Skills 101.

I was a failure at social groups in high school. I hung out with my friends, and we were labeled misfits, geeks and nerds. Nothing had changed. That bothered me, because I did not know how others would categorize me. I wanted a dining table that I could call home.

There were, of course, groups of people who sat together because the seat was available at the table. Later, Alan told me he picked the table we would sit at nightly because it was nearest to the kitchen, and the food arrived first. Others at our table had also figured this out and in later years, there would be a rush to fill the eight seats at ‘my’ table.

It was now 6:20 and dinner had not yet been served. I was hungry and so was everyone else. Some students stomped their feet and banged their dinner plates on the table like a scene from a prison riot movie and our table joined in. Now I understood why the plates were chipped.

As the banging and drumming had a rhythmic beat, Mary Jewell, our resident music artist, began singing The Who’s Magic Bus to the beat of the pounding.

“I think we’d get our food faster if we drummed out Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk,” Miguel said.

“That song has been banned,” Polly said. “It’s USC’s theme song. We hate USC as much as we hate Stanford.”[1]

Peter, the kitchen manager, came out of the kitchen and stood on a chair. He knew why we were pounding the tables. We quieted to listen. We were that hungry. “Listen up, fuck heads, the fucking dinner is ready! The fucking serving trays are fucking hot! So fuck you very much!”


[1] Too bad this was 1977. Queen’s “We Will Rock You” would have been fun to do.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cloyne Court- Excerpts 21 and 22

Phi Kappa Sigma Hazing-photo from peoplehowstuffworks.com
Cloyne Court, Episode 21
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

Cloyne Court, Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.

Three weeks and nine lecture hours later, Ms. Barbara had said all she could say about feminism and nothing about Virginia Woolf. I looked at my notes. I had a page-and-a-half of three-word paraphrases and abbreviations and the symbols:

I looked at Karen, the woman seated next to me. She had thirty pages of notes and obviously reviewed them. She had paragraphs highlighted in different highlighter colors. I made a note to try to borrow her notes and decipher her color scheme.

After class one day, I walked with Karen through Sproul Plaza toward Telegraph Avenue. She was attractive in that Max Factor way with makeup (before ten a.m.) and not a hair out of place. I wanted to ask her out but was afraid.

Karen came to class dressed in a skirt and blouse and on cold mornings, with a sweater tied around her shoulders. The preppy look was unusual for Berkeley. Most students wore blue jeans, a T-shirt, and running shoes and carried a REI or Northface book pack. Karen carried a large-oversized purse that held one textbook and notebook, her cosmetics and a dozen highlighter pens in different colors.

“You sure take lots of notes,” I said.

“Stuff worth learning, don’t you think?” She had a reverent tone of voice as if the 'stuff' was the word of God handed down to Moses.

“It’s thought-provoking,” I replied, not wanting to offend her. If Rhetoric taught me anything, it was to know your audience and try not to offend them. “I don’t think one’s entire interaction with people should be perceived as men versus women.”

“It’s more than that,” she said, correcting me. “It’s information that empowers women. Virginia Wolff’s work has subthemes. She questions whether a woman can produce art as good as Shakespeare can, and there are more subthemes written all over it.”

“I take it you’ve highlighted the different subthemes in different colors?” I asked. “You sit next to me. I’ve seen your notes.”

“Precisely,” she said.

“Well, I guess as a lowly male, I can’t see that point of view from under your Famolares. Perhaps you can enlighten me sometime?”

She smiled at my sarcasm.

“I’d be interested in hearing what you think the subtext is. Perhaps we could meet and review notes some time,” I said.

“I’ve seen your notes. They are pathetic.”

“But I’ve read the book, as you have. I highlight the book. Not the notes. The notes are only an aid to memory.”

Fortunately, the book was in my backpack, and she couldn’t confirm I was lying. The book was still in pristine condition. I could sell the book back to the bookstore at the end of the quarter and receive full trade-in value for it.

Karen and I walked in silence. We couldn’t be heard over the raucous chanting of an antiapartheid protest going on at the steps of Sproul Plaza. We stood at the crosswalk at Bancroft Avenue waiting for the light to change.

“OK,” she said, breaking our silence. “Let’s study together right before midterms. I’m a Kappa Alpha. Do you know where the house is? Corner of Piedmont and Haste.”

I was well aware of the huge gray mansion on Greek Row with the two Greek letters K and A in snow-white paint affixed to the front of the house like Hester Prine’s scarlet letter. According to Alan, Kappa Alpha was the snobbiest of the sororities.

“What fraternity do you live in?” she asked.

“I live in a house on Northside on Ridge Road," I said truthfully. I remembered Alan’s warning about revealing my housing status.

“Are you an SAE,” Karen asked, “or Chi Omega?” She rattled off Greek letters as fluently as she spoke English. What could I say? Rush week had been over for months. Bids had been made and pledges had been initiated into their fraternities and moved into their houses.

I thought for a second. I knew that my answer would be a defining minor moment in my life—a precedent that could change my ethical integrity for years to come. I could have taken the path of honesty and high moral values and told her the truth. However, truth would have been sexual suicide. She would not have given me the time of day after that, and I wanted her time of day. I wanted her time of night. How should I answer her?

Cloyne Court, Episode 22
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

A creative memoir about Cloyne Court in Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.

As a devout Catholic in high school, I would have answered such moral dilemmas by asking myself, “What would Jesus have done?” But Jesus, the almighty God, would have either not have been interested in dating women or he shagged all the women he ever desired.[1] Secular knowledge wasn’t helping me now. Jesus would have done nothing, because he would never be in this position. I had to set my standards lower.

I thought, What would my parish priest, Father Steve have done? Because Father Steve was probably a latent child molester and drank the holy wine when the parishioners weren’t looking, I was certain to receive the answer I wanted to hear. The answer came to me in a flash of libido. He would have waffled the truth to receive this woman's communion wafers.

“I’m in Delta, mumble, mumble, cough. When do you want to meet?”

“Delta Lambda what?" She asked. “I didn’t hear you. You had something in your throat.”

“That’s right. You heard it.” I fudged. “Delta Lambda, uh, (Semper) Phi.” I improvised. I’m sure there could be a Delta Lambda Phi somewhere in America. I hoped she didn’t know every fraternity in the Greek system at Berkeley.

“Oh yeah, that one. It used to be on Waring Street, I think. Your chapter must have moved.”

She looked at me queerly, but her defensive demeanor went from red alert to yellow. She was visibly relaxed as we walked.

“Yeah, that’s it. New chapter house.” I lied, but I was on a roll. “Keg parties every Saturday night. Extraordinary bunch of guys. Great camaraderie. We have guys who are on the gymnastics team and the water polo team. Some are going to be the future Mark Spitz of America.” When in doubt, name drop. It works every time.

She wrote her number on a slip of notebook paper and gave it to me. Instead of giving her my house number, I told her I would contact her. I couldn't risk having her calling Cloyne Court and discovering where I lived. We parted at the corner of Channing and Telegraph. As I watched her walk toward Greek Row up Channing Avenue, the crowded, dirty streets of Telegraph Avenue didn’t seem so repulsive. It never does when there's something pleasurable to think about.

I returned to Cloyne that night and told Alan about my encounter with the blondest, most dreamy-eyed, sweetest, Kappa Alpha I had ever met. I hoped he would be jealous. I wanted to convince him you didn’t have to be in a fraternity to meet sorority women. I explained that I had made up the Delta Lambda Phi fraternity at the spur of the moment.

Alan looked at me with a ghastly expression. “There is a Delta Lambda Phi. It’s the gay fraternity.”

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wedding Pictures Not Worthy for your Album

Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort Wedding Venue

Wedding ceremonies and receptions are the main source of income of the Cheateau Du Mer Conference Hall in Boac, Marinduque. As of today, we have celebrated a Beach wedding as well as a Garden wedding in the resort. We have also hosted more than 60 wedding receptions since 2009. Thanks to the OFW from Marinduque and their relatives who patronize the Hall and to all our other clients for their patronage. We hope
2012 will be better year.

Here are some wedding photos from golmao.com for your enjoyment.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cloyne Court- Excerpts 19 and 20

Dick Fine-Photo from touristseason.tumblr.com
Cloyne Court, Episode 19
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

Cloyne Court, Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.

Months later, as I became friendly with the people in the house, Lorna, who did have a slight mustache and a deviating left eye and buckteeth, recounted her date. "A lot of women in the house said I should ask him out. They assured me that Dick wouldn't say no. They told me he was an experience I shouldn't miss. I'll never do that again."

"You were disappointed?"

"Not at all. It was earth shattering, but he was enormous. I couldn't fit it all in."1] She sighed. "At least I can say I rode the big one."

I didn’t like showering when Dick Fine was there, because I knew the women, and some men, were looking at him, then looking at me, and looking back at him and making a mental comparison. It was a low blow to self-esteem. The downside of showering in a unisex shower was just as I could see women in their birthday suits, they could see me naked and think the same things I was thinking about them. How humbling. I was a typical young man with average everything and the law of averages meant nobody was ever going to take an interest in me because of my body.

The shower room was not the sexual playroom it could have been. First, there were too many people going in and out to give any couple or group sex any privacy; second, the militant feminists wouldn’t have permitted it. The shower room was supposed to be a safe, nonsexist, utilitarian place to wash. With some private exceptions, it was.

The co-ed shower idea was supposed to be the epitome of an egalitarian ideal that nakedness should have no sexual overtones. When the unisex shower proposal was introduced at a house meeting, the feminist women supported it. Guilt and shame over the naked human body were religious indoctrinations that had no place in the free exchange of new ideas and social theories, as we were to discover at Berkeley.

However, it is not easy teaching an old dick new tricks. My little William and I would learn the hard way from experience.

As I quickly showered, dried and dressed, the blood rushed back to my brain saving me from embarrassment. I grabbed my books and ran down the back steps toward the campus. Once I crossed Hearst Street to the university, I had gone from Venus to Mars in my little galaxy that I now called home.

Cloyne Court, Episode 20
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

Cloyne Court, Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.

Rhetoric 1A: Intro to Logical Writing

Rhetoric is the difference between rape and seduction. It is the ancient art of logical argumentation and discourse for decisions that are decided by emotion. I chose to study this subject over English, because I felt persuasive writing was of more practical use to me than the study of Jane Austen.

Graduate Teaching Assistant Ms. Barbara Zimmer taught this small class of twenty. She was feminine in her brusque manner, but a feminist in all other respects. She exuded the same attitude of Berkeley graduate students forced to be teaching assistants. She was a “there’s-only-one-correct-answer, do-it-my-way, why-do-I-bother-teaching-undergrads” dictator with the power of my future in her grading pencil, and she wielded it like an old-style Catholic nun with a ruler. Whack!

The assigned reading was Virginia Woolf’s essay, A Room of One’s Own, a selection from the class textbook, The Feminist Reader: A Feminist Approach to American Fiction.

Ms. Barbara taught Woolf's Room as if it were a landmark in feminist criticism. Like Mao’s Little Red Book, she disseminated to our blank freshman minds the revisionist view of Marxism, lesbianism and modern feminism.

“Men have different degrees of access to the mechanisms of oppression,” she said. “Almost every man and woman encounter has sexual overtones designed to reinforce the sexual dominance of men.”

I dutifully wrote the statement in my notebook. I didn't know when the quote might come in handy at some cocktail party.

Ms. Barbara walked down the rows of chairs glaring at the men but gently touching the desks, and sometimes the shoulders of the women students as she continued to pontificate. “Men are socialized to have sexual desires and to feel entitled to have those desires met, whereas women are socialized to meet those desires and to internalize accepted definitions of femininity and sexual objectification. As men cling to the idea that their sexuality is an absolute expression of their need and dominance, they prevent women from effecting new attitudes, self-realizations, and behaviors.”

I translated that to, "Men are horny bastards and women let it happen to their detriment." Perhaps, from the top of the ivory tower, Ms. Graduate Student Barbara’s view of the sexual battlefield had the masculine missiles of October menacingly pointed at the feminist motherland, but she was wrong.

I knew from watching my parent’s marriage and the male-female interactions at Cloyne Court, that women actually run society but let men think they do.

However, I could never state that blasphemy in Rhetoric 1A. My viewpoint would not be given any credence in her classroom, because I had a Y chromosome. Therefore, I suffered in silence at the indignity of learning that I, as a man, was the oppressor of women, the cause of famines in underdeveloped Third World countries, and the inventor of hot pants and disco music done under aegis of politically correct scholarly dogma.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cloyne Court- Excerpts 17 and 18

Cloyne Court, Episode 17
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

Cloyne Court, Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.
Astronomy 10: Heavenly Bodies

I grabbed my toiletry bag and towel and headed to the basement. Leaving the shower room was Laurent, the house drug dealer. He was of French, Middle-Eastern descent, had a full but well-trimmed beard and like any successful commissioned salesman, he was gregarious and friendly to a fault. He was wearing a silk bathrobe with a designer logo on the front-left pocket.

“Derek,” he said, as if we were best friends, “I’m Laurent in room 8A. You should stop by, and we should party sometime. You are into partying, aren’t you?”

“Sure, Laurent,” I said cautiously. Why did he want to party with me? We didn’t have much in common. I wasn’t female, and I didn’t have any spare cash to buy what he was selling. Why was he acting friendly?

“Awesome! I have some quality shit from Hawaii—Maui Wowee. It’ll send you on a wicked trip. If you want anything special, let me know. I can usually obtain it at a good price. Leave a note in my message box.”

I could not see myself spending money I didn’t have to buy any of his goods, and I didn’t need too. The weekend parties at Cloyne were accentuated with a distinct reefer smoke that permeated the hallways and furniture and lingered for days. You could get high just breathing the secondhand smoke.

At that time of the morning, the communal shower room was as busy as Grand Central Station. Two women and one man were taking a shower.

When I tell people about the co-ed showers, they titter and wonder what kind of depraved lifestyle I was living. However, the novelty of seeing naked bodies everyday in the shower room wore off quickly and became nothing more than a hygienic, morning ritual.

The naked female bodies in the shower that morning were typical of what I would see while I lived in the house. One woman, Betsy, had firm breasts with pink areolas, bushy pubic hair and nicely shaped hips. She was washing her hair with a lavender scented shampoo.

"Good morning," I said in a pleasant voice.

She gave me the once-over and went back to washing her hair.

Because most of us at Cloyne Court were eighteen, nineteen or twenty, I did see some gorgeously shaped female bodies. While I lived there, I ogled only a handful that could have been Playboy centerfold material. However, for every attractive eye candy I saw in the shower room, I also saw a mélange of bulges, flabbiness, tattoos, birthmarks, scars, moles, skin rashes, and unusually hairy body parts, including backs, necks, legs and armpits. Actual nudity without the proper mindset did not live up to its billing as a sexy experience.


Cloyne Court, Episode 18
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

Cloyne Court, Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.

After a few weeks, I attributed private body characteristics to people when I saw them at meal times or walking down the main hallway. Just as I would meet people and recognize them by a distinctive facial feature like a big nose or a dimpled chin, I would also think, “That’s Susan, nicely trimmed pubic hair, or there’s Jennifer, big half-dollar sized areolas.”

The other woman taking a shower was Cindy, who I had first met at the telephone switchboard. Her breasts were shaped like pears and sagged. This morning, she wasn’t sporting the nose ring, but as I looked her over, I saw a flash of gold in her shaved pubic region. She had a gold ring attached to her labia. I had never seen one before. As I imagined how and who did the actual piercing, a tingle went through my groin.

Before becoming desensitized to seeing a naked female body in the shower, I worried about embarrassing myself by getting an erection. While that possibility always remained, fortunately for most of winter quarter at that time of morning, it was cold in the large shower room and nothing could coax a chilly Willie to raise its bulbous head in excitement. At least, not mine anyway.

The man showering opposite the two women was Richard Hein, whom the women in the house nicknamed 'Dick Fine'. He was a six-foot tall Adonis with short curly blond hair, a muscular V-shaped chest and a washboard stomach. Richard didn’t earn his nickname from his six-pack abdominals. He had a ten-inch long male member that was two inches thick in its flaccid state, and I was only guessing. I never actually measured it. I had no idea what it looked like in an erect state, but many women did, hence his nickname. He was a second-year senior, graduating in five years instead of four. At twenty-one, he had more worldly experience than a freshman. He walked the halls and played basketball in the courtyard with a self-assured air and an innocent smile that attracted women like night bugs to UV lights. He had certainly zapped his share.

Down in the showers after a basketball game when it was just the guys showering, someone tried to get Dick to tell stories about his love life. "So, Dick, who are you fucking this weekend?"

Dick was a gentleman and wouldn’t brag. "I have a dinner date with Lorna tonight."

"Lorna?" someone said. "She's the ugliest women in the house. Are you desperate?"

"She asked me out."

"And you said yes? You'll need three paper bags. One to put over your head and two to put over her head in case one breaks."

Dick just smiled with confidence.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cloyne Court- Excerpt 16

Cloyne Court, Episode 16
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

Cloyne Court, Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.

"What is it with men and their need to overpower their natural environment?" Carrie, the lesbian, asked the day after Alan went on a Saturday afternoon marathon of loud music in the backyard.

I replied, "The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.1]"

She huffed. "You men are all alike. You stick together even when you know you're wrong."

"Wrong about what?"

"His choice of music. Making fun of transvestites just leads to violence against transgender people. Besides, The Kinks are so passé."

"Lola was only one song out of the dozens he played," I said, and thought she should have objected to Alan's airing of Village People's Macho Man, which he played repeatedly. I was humming the chorus for days afterward.

I told Alan what Carrie had said. The next Saturday he proclaimed it "Transgender and Crossdresser Appreciation Day" and recorded a cassette tape of songs that included Pink Floyd's Arnold Layne, Little Richard's Long Tall Sally, Led Zeppelin’s Royal Orleans, Rebel, Rebel by David Bowie, Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side and Monty Python's The Lumberjack Song, which he played repeatedly all afternoon.

* * *

Our third roommate was Mark or Mike or Matt. I never actually knew his name. Alan and I hardly saw him. When we did, he was asleep. He was an engineering student from the San Jose area not far from Berkeley, so he went home most weekends. He may have had a girlfriend back home, but he was shy, didn’t talk much, and Alan and I didn’t get to know him well enough to learn anything about him.

One weekend, Alan came into the room looking worried. He said, “I met some homeless dude downstairs. He doesn’t live here, but I think he sleeps in the basement. He knows I have some cool, stereo equipment. I think he’s been peeking in our window.”
“Alan, everyone with ears knows you have expensive stereo equipment. I think everyone within six-blocks knows.”

“Well, I think we need to take some precautions. Someone may want to steal it."

“What do you want to do?"

“Let’s take a bed sheet and cover the window, so thieves can’t look into the room."

We looked at all our possessions. We did not have a spare bed sheet to cover the window. Our absent roommate did. It was on his bed, neatly made.

“Let’s use our roomie’s bed sheet," he said. "We’ll have to put it back before he returns Sunday night.” He pulled the sheet off the bed.

"We should use duct tape to hang that up," I said.
"Naw, these thumbtacks will do just fine."

For weeks, after Mark or Mike or Matt left for home on Friday afternoons, Alan removed the bed sheet from his bed and thumb tacked it over the window. Every Sunday afternoon, we would have to remember to take it down and put it back on his bed. This worked fine until the end of the quarter during finals, when both of us forgot to remake his bed and Mark or Mike or Matt returned to find his property covering the window. He didn’t say a word. He took it down, made his bed and moved out at the end of the term. His only complaint was left in a written message in my telephone message box at the front switchboard. It said, "There were thumbtack holes in my bed sheet". I knew we should have used duct tape.

This episode is based on a true story.

Although seventy-five percent of this memoir is factual, liberties were taken with the other twenty-five percent for plot purposes. That is where scenes were recreated from memory when they were not clearly defined in the journals written by the author from 1976 to 1980.

Individual characters are composites of several people and do not represent any one person, and the names have been changed to protect innocent people that may be guilty of indiscretions in their youth.


[1] However, as I was to discover in my mid-forties, the price of a sports car is inversely proportional to the amount of hair remaining on your head.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ten Tips to Delay/Prevent Alzheimers Disease

Image from laughitout.com
I am going to be 77 years old by the end of this year. I know my memory sometimes goes to a blank stage I called senior momentitis. However, most of the time (99%) my mind is clear and sharp, inspite of some aches and pains in my joints and other body parts, etc., a reality of growing old.

Here's my ten tips to all senior citizens or senior citizens to be reading this article. I believe if you follow these 10 items rigorously, you will maitain a sharp memory and perhaps even delay or prevent the dreaded Alzheimers disease.

1. Quit smoking if you are a smoker. The earlier you quit, the longer your life and hopefully dementia and Alzheimer's disease will not be in your future. I have never smoked in my life, but I know nicotine addiction is hard to break.

2. Join clubs or organizations that need volunteers. If you start volunteering now, you won't feel lost and unneeded even after you retire. In my case I do volunteer work as a medical mission volunteer sponsored my Marinduque International, Inc. in the Philippines.

3. Develop a hobby or two. Hobbies help you develop a robust brain because you're trying something new and complex. In my case I play bridge and other computer games on-line.

4. Take dance lessons, yuga or tai chi. In a recent study of nearly 500 people, dancing was the only regular physical activity associated with a significant decrease in the incidence of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. The people who danced three or four times a week showed 76 percent less incidence of dementia than those who danced only once a week or not at all. My wife and I were dance champions in the 1980s.

5. Start gardening or have daily walks for at least 30 minutes per day. Researchers in New Zealand found that of 1,000 people, those who gardened regularly were less likely to suffer from dementia Not only does gardening reduce stress, but gardeners use their brains to plan gardens; they use visual and spatial reasoning to lay out a garden. I have a big garden at Chateau Du Mer in Boac, Marinduque and I did all the landscaping plans and plantings in the beach resort. I walk for at least 30 minutes daily.

6. Read and write daily. Reading stimulates a wide variety of brain areas that process and store information. Likewise, writing stimulates many areas of the brain as well. I have 8 blogs that I maintain daily and read about 3 hours per day. I also write articles for ViewsHound.

7. Listen to classical music. A growing volume of research suggests that music may hard wire the brain, building links between the two hemispheres. Any kind of music may work, but there's some research that shows positive effects for classical music, though researchers don't understand why. I have several collections of classical music both in my blogs and my CD collection.

8. Pray, meditate or go to church regularly. Daily prayer appears to help your immune system. People who attend a formal worship service regularly live longer and report happier lives according to a recent study. My wife and I attend Catholic mass every Sunday rain or shine.

9. Be sure you get enough sleep. Studies have shown a link between interrupted sleep and dementia. I sleeped between 7 to 8 hours every day. Last but not least

10. Eat more foods containing omega-3 fatty acids: Salmon, sardines, tuna, ocean trout, mackerel or herring, plus walnuts and flax seed. Flax seed oil, cod liver oil and walnut oil are also good sources . Eat more fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants in fruits and vegetable helped repair some of the damage caused by free radicals, one of the leading killers of brain cells. I am not a vegetarian, but I consumed a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and sea foods in my diet.

Do you have another tip? I will love to hear from you.

Reference: Wikipedia

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cloyne Court- Excerpts 14 and 15

Alpha, Epsilion, Pi Fraternity Logo

Cloyne Court, Episode 14
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

History 4G: The Modern Greeks

I awoke forty-five minutes before my eight o’clock morning class. During the second week of January, my room was still dreary and dark at dawn. I cursed myself for deciding early classes would give me more time to do the things I wanted to do, because now, at 7:15, I wanted to stay in bed.

One of my roommates, Alan, was still asleep, snoring gently, hidden under a pile of bedding and blankets. He was a large, rotund man with a hairy chest, legs and back. I wondered about the beauty who would want him lying on top of her, humping the hairy beast.

Alan was living at Cloyne Court by default. He needed a cheap place to stay for one quarter as he rushed the different fraternities. The Co-op was a wayside inn for his true housing and social goals.

Alan made no secret about his reasons to join a fraternity. "My father was in a fraternity at UCLA in the mid-1950s,” he said. “He met my mother at a sorority party. He loved the Greek system. It was the best thing that happened to him in college."

According to Alan, his parents, Marvin and Rachel Schwartzman's college romance revolved around the Greek system at UCLA. Therefore, he wasn’t surprised that they expected him to follow their example.

However, Alan was at Berkeley, not UCLA. Instead of following his father’s goose step, he sidestepped, skipping and hopping around what was expected of him. Alan was outright relieved, but his father’s influence had done its damage.

Alan explained one of his many fraternity secrets to me one day. “Never tell a sorority woman you live here in this dive or you live in the co-op housing system. That’s like telling them you’re a communist sympathizer. Lie and tell them you live in the dorms. People start at the dorms and move to fraternities or sororities. But telling them you live here means you’re too poor to afford the dorms or you’re too freaky to join the Greek system. No sorority woman will go out with me until I’m in a respectable fraternity with an outstanding reputation.”

He went out most nights during rush week visiting different fraternities, drinking beer, trying to act cool and impress these guys, and act as if he belonged. But each evening, he'd come back to Cloyne Court and kvetch about the whole experience.

"What a bunch of idiots. I went to a jock frat last night. They took one look at me and ignored me. One guy told me that I should find a fraternity with my kind, because I wasn't their type."

"What type were they?" I asked.


"Why do you want to belong there?"

"I don't. I just want someone to tell me they like me enough to want me to live with them."

"Isn't that what a girlfriend is for?"

No matter how persistently Alan tried to find his type, he came up lacking. With a last name of Schwartzman, it was obvious he was Jewish. He looked Jewish. He had the Jewish nose. He talked like a New York Jew, though he was from Southern California. I am not saying fraternities are anti-Semitic. Alan’s father was a Polish Jew who found social success in the Greek system. Alan needed to find a fraternity that had Jewish members who would mentor him and champion his admission into their brotherhood. He was having no luck. Alan did not fit into the milieu of rich, white-boy suburban snobbery.
Cloyne Court, Episode 15
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

Cloyne Court, Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.

Alan was also overweight. Not obese, but fat enough for women to scan a group of young men and unconsciously not give him a second glance.

Alan said, “Getting into a fraternity is like going out on a blind date. You keep wondering as you're talking to these guys whether they’re going to call you for a second date.

“I asked the recruiting chairman at the Pi Delta Phi's frat house what type of members they're looking for and he said it was a je ne sais quoi feeling. I don't even know what that means."

"How do you feel when you meet them?" I asked. The feeling had to be mutual if there was going to be any chance for a long-term relationship.

"All I get is a stomachache and gas." He punctuated his point with an explosive example.

On the final day of rush week, after Alan received no bids from any fraternity, he said in a pique of sour grapes, "I don't know why I wanted to join a fraternity. I'll have better luck losing my cherry in a place where I can shower with naked women and watch them sunbathe nude in the backyard than at some snobby fraternity."

His admission to me that he was a virgin bonded us in mutual support and common need. It overcame our different upbringing and culture. And if we hadn’t looked like Laurel and Hardy standing next to each other, the boys in room 4C might have been more successful in our endeavors.

Room 4C was a ground-floor triple on the north side of the building. Trees shaded the large set of double-hung windows with thick black security bars bolted to the outside window frame, so even on the sunniest days the room rarely received any natural light. The windows had no curtains permitting any passersby a full and unintentional view of a room with its false ceiling of water-stained acoustical tiles, a cold linoleum floor and fake wood paneling on three of the walls. Each of the three occupants claimed possessory rights to one wall. We decorated and furnished the room with what we could scrounge like the plastic milk crates stolen from a 7-Eleven store. The red bricks and pine-board shelves gave it an eclectic early college, post prison ambience.

I didn't put up my Cheryl Tiegs and Farah Fawcett Majors posters I had in my room during high school. I was a college man now, not some pimply adolescent groupie having wet dreams about television idols. Whatever I exhibited would have to reflect my experience, my good taste and be a conversation piece. My walls were bare.

Instead, I had one of my artistic color photos of my best friend Jeanette in a five-by-seven black frame on my dresser. I hoped the picture would lead to a conversation about my photography and of course, the women who came by my room to see my artwork would learn about the talented, sensitive, caring, Renaissance man I was, or trying to become. Who knows what would happen? Weren’t women looking for that type of man?

Alan decorated his wall with the same panache. What would create the most attention for women to notice us? He used his first scholarship check to buy the most powerful stereo system he could piece together and placed the two five-foot tall, floor speakers in each corner. He put on his shelves the Marantz turntable, a Sony preamp and tuner, and the envy of audiophiles everywhere, a TEAC dual cassette deck, the newest technology in the market at the time. When Alan cranked up the volume, no one in the house was spared.

This episode is based on a true story.
Just in case this is your first time reading this post.

Although seventy-five percent of this memoir is factual, liberties were taken with the other twenty-five percent for plot purposes. That is where scenes were recreated from memory when they were not clearly defined in the journals written by the author from 1976 to 1980.

Individual characters are composites of several people and do not represent any one person, and the names have been changed to protect innocent people that may be guilty of indiscretions in their youth.

"Cloyne Court" was written by Dodie Katague my oldest son in 2009. As his father who is also a blogger and an aspiring writer, I am really proud of my son's writing accomplishments, considering this is not his primary job. He is a prosecuting attorney for a local county in Northern California speciliazing in computer crimes.

Below are several reviews of his book as published by www.virtualauthorbooktours.com. I hope you have time to read his book, Cloyne Court.

"In 1977, when 18-year-old Berkeley college student, Derek moved into the student residence co-op, Cloyne Court, sight unseen, little did he know he would learn about life, love, sex, drugs, music, alcohol and co-ed showers—all on the first day.

Located one block North of the University of California, Berkeley campus, this real and notorious student-run house has provided an alternative, counter-culture, hedonistic, raucous, and unique living experience for the “Clones”, as the students call themselves, who choose to live here each year, despite the public and parents calling for a permanent shut down of this enduring and historic building.

Based on his journals and memories of his college days at this real-life “Animal House”, author, Dodie Katague weaves true events of life at Cloyne Court co-op into a zany, wild, and nostalgic story about the carefree time of every college student’s life.

"Sure to entertain any of those who enjoy a good story of the world of the fraternities and sororities. " Cloyne Court" is a fine memoir and a read well worth considering." Midwest Book Review

"If you like the movie Animal House, and have any interest in the going-ons of College in the 70s, or Berkeley in particular, you're also going to love this book. Get it, read it slowly, and enjoy!"-S. Davidian, Amazon Reviewer

"I found this book to be an AMAZING, page turning read. The rich story is very much worth it and leaves you dreaming of college days, and thinking about taking a drive to Berkeley to see the real Cloyne Court."-L. Couture, Amazon Reviewer

"I wish I had as much fun as Derek did in college, I recommend this book for anyone that has gone to college, or plans to go to college, or thought about going to college. Also for anyone who knows someone who went to college, because that buttoned up shirt wearing respectable man might have some stories to tell"-Genoa Dillon, Amazon Reviewer

"Sex, Betrayal, Drugs, Rock and Roll, nudist, co-ed showers, and the politics of the house make for a novel that has to be read. I loved this book."-Lori Cianfichi, Amazon Reviewer

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Philippines-Nation of Fiestas and Festivals

Philippines—nation of fiestas and festivals | ViewsHound

The Philippines is the only nation that has the longest Christmas season starting from September 1 to the first week of January coinciding with the Feast of the Three Kings also known as Little Christmas.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Cloyne Court- Excerpt 13

This is a continuation of Dodie's Katague book, Cloyne Court. Episode 1 to 12 had been posted in this blog about 8 weeks ago (9/15-24/11). Enjoy!

Cloyne Court, Episode 13
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

Cloyne Court, Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.

Wow, I had never seen that before, and it wasn’t just one slide of clitoris rising through the pubic hair, but twenty or thirty slides of buttons in every shape, size, skin color, pubic hair color and vaginal area. I must admit at first I was excited to see color slides of a woman’s erogenous zone, but after the eighth or ninth slide, the presentation was becoming a numb, clinical anatomy lesson.

When the room lights came back on, several men were standing by the hallway doors peering into the room. They had seen the slides of the giant vaginas from the hallway.

Mary Jewell asked them to come in and join the discussion or leave. The men quickly left allowing me to savor my honored role as the token male.

Once the women had become comfortable again, Candace opened the discussion on successful techniques for orgasm. I hoped she had a CliffNotes® version to hand out with the answers, pictures and drawings, but I was overly optimistic. She wanted suggestions from the audience.

A bashful silence filled the room for several minutes, until one brave soul, a woman who lived on the eighth floor with her lesbian lover said, “My partner and I like to use our tongues. It can be supersensitive, and she’s very sensitive down there.”

As I listened to this woman describe a private intimate detail between them, my mind wandered. I imagined her and her partner with their heads between each other's legs.

The discussion continued for several minutes until my fantasy was interrupted by a question directed at me. “Derek, what do you think?" Candace asked. "From the male perspective, because you are the only male here, and of course, we won’t stereotype your answer as being applicable to all the male species, do you have any special techniques that you find helpful for your partner?”

I could feel everyone staring at me. I couldn’t answer this question from experience. I had none. I wouldn’t admit it either, and I wasn’t going to let down the entire male species by not giving an answer. I blurted the first lines I remembered from the October 1976 Penthouse Magazine, the Forum section.

“I like to thrust deeply.”

Several of the men-haters in the group made audible comments. “Typical man!” “It’s always about the penis, isn’t it?” “Animalist!”

I said, “No wait, hear me out!

It appeared to me whatever I had to say would be meaningless to those close-minded women opposed to my presence because of my gender.

“Please go on,” Candace said. “We’re listening.”
“It’s not the penis that is doing the stimulation, but the man’s body rubbing against her repeatedly in rhythmic thrusts.”

I heard more anti-male murmurs and some allusions to rape and violence.

“Gently, at first,” I said. “Slowly building in intensity while looking for signals from her, like her breathing or her muscle spasms or the expressions on her face.”

What did I know about a woman’s muscle spasm or facial expression? Nothing. I was quoting verbatim from page 57 of The Sensuous Man by M 1], but it was working. "I like women who voice their pleasure. It tells me whether I'm doing something right or whether I should try something else."

Several women verbally endorsed the statement. “You tell ‘um, girl,” Keisha said, the only black woman living in the house. Keisha had Bo Derek cornrow braids and light-chocolate skin that made me think of brown sugar. Her show of support was followed by suppressed tittering and giggling from the rest of the room.

I looked around. The women would never think I had anything germane to say. Then it occurred to me that I had actually learned something from the slide show.

“Wasn't the whole point of the slides to show that every woman has the same body parts, but every woman is different? Different techniques for different women.2]”

I continued for a minute or two explaining in the most feminine erotica of terms, the sex scene from some Mitchell Brothers porn movie I had seen at my best friend, Jeannette’s older brother's friend's bachelor party, and attributing it to me. When I finished, the room fell silent. I felt like smoking a cigarette.

Keisha fanned herself in exaggeration. “Wow, I’m exhausted. You can roll over and fall asleep now.” Keisha was wearing a tight Danskin’s Camisole that clung to her dancer’s body. I couldn’t imagine falling asleep with her.

Several of the other heterosexual women in the room murmured in agreement. Carrie and her lesbian lover hugged each other tighter and glared at me in disgust while the other lesbians kept reassuring themselves by repeating their mantra, "A woman doesn’t need a man to satisfy themselves," to anyone that listened. I was proud of myself. I had upheld the benefits of the male penis in front of a legion of lesbians.

At the end of the discussion, Candace held up a reference book. It was the revised and updated version of Our Bodies, Ourselves. She said, “I recommend that your Co-op purchase several copies for your house library.”

“Let’s vote on it at tomorrow night’s house meeting,” Mary Jewell said.

“Can we get it on the agenda this quickly?” Jill asked.

“Not a problem,” Lisa said. “I’ll just show my bunkie the coital positions in chapter twelve. It’ll be on the agenda tomorrow.”

The meeting ended and several women, who I did not know but wanted to know, approached me.

“You were brave to attend this meeting,” said one. “Welcome to Cloyne Court.”

“Yeah, I wish my bunkie would have attended. He might have learned a lesson or two,” said another. “Glad there’s a sensitive man who understands women.”

I basked in the attention. I looked around the room. My mystery woman was leaving. She was cheerless and silent unlike the rest of the attendees, who seemed energized and empowered from the evening’s information. I wanted to introduce myself, but she disappeared up the stairs. I wondered why she looked so sad.

Just in case this is your first time reading this post.

Although seventy-five percent of this memoir is factual, liberties were taken with the other twenty-five percent for plot purposes. That is where scenes were recreated from memory when they were not clearly defined in the journals written by the author from 1976 to 1980.

Individual characters are composites of several people and do not represent any one person, and the names have been changed to protect innocent people that may be guilty of indiscretions in their youth.

"Cloyne Court" was written by Dodie Katague my oldest son in 2009. As his father who is also a blogger and an aspiring writer, I am really proud of my son's writing accomplishments, considering this is not his primary job. He is a prosecuting attorney for a local county in Northern California speciliazing in computer crimes.

Below are several reviews of his book as published by www.virtualauthorbooktours.com. I hope you have time to read his book, Cloyne Court.

"In 1977, when 18-year-old Berkeley college student, Derek moved into the student residence co-op, Cloyne Court, sight unseen, little did he know he would learn about life, love, sex, drugs, music, alcohol and co-ed showers—all on the first day.

Located one block North of the University of California, Berkeley campus, this real and notorious student-run house has provided an alternative, counter-culture, hedonistic, raucous, and unique living experience for the “Clones”, as the students call themselves, who choose to live here each year, despite the public and parents calling for a permanent shut down of this enduring and historic building.

Based on his journals and memories of his college days at this real-life “Animal House”, author, Dodie Katague weaves true events of life at Cloyne Court co-op into a zany, wild, and nostalgic story about the carefree time of every college student’s life.

"Sure to entertain any of those who enjoy a good story of the world of the fraternities and sororities. " Cloyne Court" is a fine memoir and a read well worth considering." Midwest Book Review

"If you like the movie Animal House, and have any interest in the going-ons of College in the 70s, or Berkeley in particular, you're also going to love this book. Get it, read it slowly, and enjoy!"-S. Davidian, Amazon Reviewer

"I found this book to be an AMAZING, page turning read. The rich story is very much worth it and leaves you dreaming of college days, and thinking about taking a drive to Berkeley to see the real Cloyne Court."-L. Couture, Amazon Reviewer

"I wish I had as much fun as Derek did in college, I recommend this book for anyone that has gone to college, or plans to go to college, or thought about going to college. Also for anyone who knows someone who went to college, because that buttoned up shirt wearing respectable man might have some stories to tell"-Genoa Dillon, Amazon Reviewer

"Sex, Betrayal, Drugs, Rock and Roll, nudist, co-ed showers, and the politics of the house make for a novel that has to be read. I loved this book."-Lori Cianfichi, Amazon Reviewer
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