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Monday, April 30, 2012

Tired From Over Two Hours of Waiting

Aha, it's the last day of April! And it's the birthday of one of my sisters whom I haven't seen for 30 years? Anyway, I already greeted her Happy Birthday on Facebook.

Sooooo tired! God knows how I felt today, while at the office of Pass and ID/Decal Building at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, standing so patiently, but turned uncomfortably, in line with other people, waiting for my turn to be called at the next available window/counter. (Prior to going there, I've just been to First Team Toyota earlier this morning to drop by those signed paperwork for Shawn, one of the business managers there who prepared the paperwork in my  purchasing the new car for our daughter who's graduating college the third week of May, this year. Thanks to God.)
Yes, I was there this morning ten minutes before eleven to get or obtain a new DOD (Department of Defense) decal for our new 2012 ride (our daughter's actually, as our graduation gift for her). When I arrived on base, there was already a long queue in that office, almost all males, in blue jeans, to the point that the main door of the office (on the second floor) was open because the long line of people extended all the way down to the concrete stairs. Like me, they were there probably to renew or secure a new ID card,  get a new or renew DOD/military decal for their vehicle/s.
In the not-so-spacious office, there are five customer service windows on the counter. WINDOW #1 is designated for active duty service personnel in uniform. They have that privilege, to be head of the line. Naturally, when an active military in uniform arrives there, he goes to that line. So that you, (as a retired serviceman or a civilian contract personnel working on base or any military installation), standing in line, get bumped for service or help you need. Actually, there are only four windows available for non-active duty personnel. Now, with the exception of window #1 which is always manned by someone to take care of the needs of active duty Service personnel, the windows aren't all manned especially when it's lunch hour/break for those all civilian personnel working there in the counter. And people keep on arriving, making the office so packed or overcrowded. Ridiculously unbelievable!
Having been standing in line for an hour, I saw one middle age male, not in line but sitting on a chair by the corner of the office lobby. I was feeling some spasms on my lower back but I tried to manage the pain by bending my knees, stretching my legs. When that man in a chair rose up and proceeded to window #5 with a female companion, probably his wife who was in line then, I didn't think twice but to go sit where the chair was. I notified the man behind me to save my spot, after explaining briefly about my situation.
(Prolong standing, sitting, exerting efforts/carrying heavy loads (over ten pounds)---these are a no, no for me for they aggravate my chronic lower back pain/spasms. Friends, I admit, this is one of my so-called physical "disabilities." That's undeniably the truth about me. My lower back has been damaged already. All the seven invasive procedures done for my lower back failed me. With fibromyalgia, pain and agony, and depression, at times, you tell me? I've been living with/in them, after all those procedures and physical therapy, pain relievers a plenty, including acupuncture which, to me, are just temporary relief. The reality is that I have no choice but to live with/in pain. No, folks, I didn't open up to you to gain sympathy. I just want your understanding. That's all. Thank you.)
I got relief while sitting down, for another hour, waiting for my turn. Of course, I kept watch at my spot such that I won't miss it. Then finally, I stood up, vacated my chair when it was almost my turn. There was just another man in front of me. I had to engage in terse conversation to the man behind me who's becoming impatient, too, after two hours plus of standing in line. I thanked him for saving my spot. To window #4, I went when my turn came up. I greeted "Good afternoon" to the old man in the counter, facing the computer monitor. Then, I presented him all the documents (valid driver's license, valid military ID card, vehicle registration form/card, proof of car insurance, pink slip or certificate of State vehicle inspection) required to secure/obtain a new DoD decal for our new 2012 car. Man, it took me another ten-fifteen minutes standing up in front of him answering his questions intermittently while his eyes were fixed on the monitor! Finally, thanks to God! I got what I needed. Time check: 1:20 P.M.
Walking out of the office and downstairs, I saw the longer line of people all the way to the parking lot! Whew! This is likened to a scenario at one DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) office on a Saturday! Thank you, God, for having that chair available for me at the office! (That office is not disabled-friendly, I observed!)
Down there at the parking lot, I placed the newly-obtained DoD decal on the bottom left corner of the windshield, driver side. From there, I drove slowly but safely to the nearest NEX (Navy Exchange). I know, the Commissary is closed on Mondays. My plan is to just have lunch at a Subway restaurant there.
Well, after lunch, using the restroom, walking through the entrance of NEX, I left the base a little heavy and tired. Yes, I just wanted to go home and rest my back. That's what I did. (I saved half of my sandwich for dinner. I also bought two foot-long sandwiches for my wife and my sister-in-law for their dinner, too.)
With your (wild) imagination, folks, here are videos from YouTube that somewhat depicted or described what I felt and did today. I couldn't find a video on YouTube that shows a long line of people standing in an office, but I found this one video, above, in an airport. (The videos are not mine. No copyright infringement intended.) As always, thanks YouTube and the uploaders of the videos I embedded with this blog post. Thanks Google and Blogger, too.
This is all for now, my friends. Until next time around. Thank you for your time. Take care and have a good day, Monday, everyone! Hope and pray you're doing well. Ciao!-chris a. quilpa, 30April2012

Sunday, April 29, 2012

On Yesterday's Visit to C-ville, Today's Mass and Lunch, and Private (Catholic) Education

Hello there, everyone! A spectacular Sunday to you all! Today is the 4th Sunday of Easter, as far as the Catholic Church is concerned. Hope and pray you have participated in today's church service/s. And that you have had the opportunity to reflect on the Word of God today and do good deeds for others. Thanks be to God our Almighty Father. Thank you, Jesus, for your resurrection.

Yesterday afternoon, my wife and I traveled to C-ville to a) visit our daughter in her college dorm, b) pick up important papers (from First Team car dealership) that requires her signature, and c) show her new 2012 car, which we just purchased last week, as our graduation gift for her  (same thing we did for her brother when he graduated college two years ago this May from the same University she's attending now). As usual, for long distance trip, my wife did the driving. Yes, she drove, with gusto, our daughter's new car.
Arriving at C-ville, after two and a half hours on the road, we were delighted to see our daughter again and then proudly showed her new car, a four-door mid-size sedan. No doubt, she likes it. And the color, too. My wife took a couple of pictures of our daughter posing before her car. Imagine just like someone who just won or was awarded a prized car. No, we didn't spend the night over there in C-ville because we don't want to interfere with our daughter's studies, especially nowadays that she's getting ready for her Finals next week. It's good that we're able to do a little grocery shopping for her which she appreciated it, prior to going back home to Hampton Roads.

Today, my sis-in-law, my wife and I participated in the second Mass at St. Paul's. Like last Sunday, a U.S. Navy chaplain (retired), Monsignor Fred, officiated the Mass. The first reading is from the Acts (4:8-12) of the Apostles. In summary, it tells about Peter explaining the cure of the cripple. It was a miracle performed in the name of Jesus, whom the people had rejected and crucified. there is no salvation except in Jesus. The second reading is from the First letter of Saint John (3:1-2). In summary, it speaks about the Father showing his love for human beings by calling them his children. The world does not recognize the followers of Christ because it did not recognize Christ himself. On the other hand, today's Gospel is from St. John (10:11-18). It tells about Jesus comparing himself to the "Good Shepherd." A shepherd cares for his sheep, lives and dies fro them if necessary. There is to be one flock and one shepherd. (Note: Below is a video from YouTube that I just found today while looking for a video about Sunday Mass. Surprisingly, the Mass video is just taken today, April 29, and the venue of the Mass is in Davao City, Philippines. There's slight difference or modifications of the Mass in this video, i.e., the singing, and especially the response of the parishioners when the priest says "The Lord be with you". They still use the "And also with you" response. In the Revised Roman Missal, the response that we've been using in the United Sates for months now is "And with your spirit". Anyway, thanks to the uploader of this video. No copyright infringement intended. )

Now back to our parish at St. Paul's. In his homily, Msgr. Fred spoke about the different vocations we're all called by God, despite the many voices and distractions we have in life. He mentions about Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and we are his flock. He expressed his thanks to the congregation for celebrating the Mass with him and reminded us to discern on what God wants us to be, our callings, varied though they may be---to serve Him and be religious, i.e. priests, nuns; to be good fathers and mothers, etc. He also talked about how he became a priest after serving in the U.S. Marines.

 After the Sunday Mass, my sister-in-law, my wife and I ate lunch at an American Buffet Restaurant in a neighboring city of Chesapeake. You see, folks, we reside in the northern city of Suffolk. We go to our parish Catholic church in one of the clustered parishes in Portsmouth. We shop, eat or dine out in another city. How strange is that, you wonder huh? That's what we mean by having freedom; we have the choice to go anywhere we want. Thank you, God, for this gift of freedom that we cherish and enjoy in a country such as America. I hope and pray that you're enjoying the freedom to live in a free society such as ours.

Well, speaking of choice, I just came across an article shared by one of our Facebook friends today. Private School Education: Worth the Cost?  That's the topic of the said article. I read the informative article and didn't hesitate to "Like" it and share it to Facebook, too. Now, what can I say about it? My take or comment is this: It's a matter of choice for us parents, especially, to send our children to private school. Talking through experience, private school education is worth it. From it, we learn something that strengthen our Christian and family values. I know, it's a financial sacrifice for us but we did it for our two children. It's just a matter of budgeting and sacrifice. It's also a matter of where lies our priorities for our children: the best education that we can possibly afford, material things that can easily wear out or be stolen? What is our main priority for our children? Of course, the basic necessities they need: food, clothing, shelter. Other than that, what's the next important thing that matters for them/us? Isn't it a good, or the best, education that will help them through in life?
As I've said, my wife and I know how important good education is for our children. That's why we did try our best to send them to private schools. Since my wife and I were both products of private Catholic education, we want them to experience what we have had. And, again, it was our choice to give them what we think/believe is best for our two children. After all, good/excellent education is the best inheritance we could give them. No one can take it away from them, wherever they may go. Material things and possessions are stolen or can be taken away, but not their education. They will always use it (good /excellent education) wherever they go. Any regrets for sending them to private schools, elementary and secondary? Not at all! It's worth our money. And they, our children, deserve the best education they can possibly have. personally, my wish for them is that they be productive, useful, helpful members of society and that they help in nation-building. I believe, our young adult son has been doing that since he graduated college two years ago. Being employed with the AmeriCorp, he's doing his best to teach, educate and reach out the underprivileged or underserved in our midst, in that portion or part of The Capital. Hope and pray for his safety and good health always.

As always, thanks YouTube and to the uploaders of the videos I embedded with this blog post. No, I don't own the videos. No copyright infringement intended. Thank you Google, Blogger, and Facebook, and to all of you people of goodwill.

Well, this is all for now, folks. Until next time around. Take care and have a nice day, everyone!-chris a. quilpa, 29April2012

Friday, April 27, 2012

Jessica Sanchez and Her Performances in American Idol 2012

TGIF (Thanks to God, It's Friday), everyone! And, definitely, we're looking forward to a beautiful, wonderful weekend, and the next!

I'm sure, many of you, friends, have watched American Idol last night. And that you were entertained. And you have had expectations, too. Well, I, for one, am glad and thankful that, so far, the 16-year-old California-native Jessica Sanchez made it to the Top 5 of the American Idol, Season 11, after last night's show! I wish her all the best. I hope and pray she'll eventually emerge the overall winner and that she'll be a successful recording star/artist someday. Way to go, Jessica! Always sing with your heart out and give your best. God bless you and your family!

Reviewing her previous performances on the AI show, via videos on YouTube, all I can say is that she has been so consistent. She's got a sweet, melodious voice. As far as I'm concerned, she's like a professional singer/performer already. I don't know about you, folks, but I believe she'll be a rising pop star on the music and entertainment world someday. Again, let's see and listen to her, via some of the videos from YouTube. (No, I don't own the videos. No copyright infringement intended.)

As usual, I thank YouTube, American Idol, FOX, and other uploader/s of the videos I embedded with this blog post. (I don't own the videos. No copyright infringement intended.) Thanks also to Google, Blogger, and Wikipedia and Facebook, and to all people of goodwill.

Well, until next time around, my friends. Take care and have a wonderful weekend, everyone! May God bless us all!-chris a. quilpa, 27April2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Of Nora Aunor as National Artist, Jonalyn Viray, Social Issues

OMG! Wow, good news? Guess what I found out just for today, a cool but sunny, gorgeous, and wonderful Wednesday! Lots of stuff to talk and think about. But, let me just tackle a couple of things. First things first. Thank you, God and Jesus Christ! Thank you for my life, my family, friends, and relatives all over the world.

Nora Aunor as National Artist! Man, that recognition has long been overdue for her! She deserves it! Just imagine the number of films she has made (300 plus movies, per "Balitang Tapat"), of record singles she has released (more than 360), of songs she recorded (over 200), of albums made (over 50), and her longest running TV show, Superstar (20 years plus), and the prestigious awards and notable citations she has received and continues to receive. (Go to Wikipedia for more info about her.) She has been in the Philippine entertainment (music and movie) industry for over four decades, and counting, with all the body of works she has done or accomplished (as a phenomenal singer-performer and an acclaimed movie/TV/theater actor or artist), the awards (national and international) she earned or garnered, etc. She's the one and only Superstar in the Philippines! I, myself, am proud of her and the cultural impact she has made or contributed to the Philippine entertainment industry. She's a legend, no doubt. Mr. President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III of the Philippines, do the right thing by conferring Superstar Nora Aunor the honor and recognition as Philippines' National Artist! Now is the right time! Thank you very much.
As I've been saying over and over, the power of the Internet continues to amaze me. This morning, while surfing the 'net, I stumbled upon a couple of online Philippine entertainment news articles, and videos that are worth-sharing and thought-provoking. Actually, one of them ( that pertains this move or initiative by a member of Philippine Congress, Representative Anthony Golez, Jr.) to recognize the Superstar, Nora Aunor as a National Artist), I just shared it to Facebook hours ago today.

There's the other one video that profiled the vocal range and lung power of this female pop singer, Jonalyn Viray, one of the members of the singing trio La Diva. She's amazing, isn't she? What a powerful voice she has! Well, see and listen for yourself, folks, with the video embedded here. (No, I don't own the video/s. No copyright infringement intended.).
Now, here are two videos above that may demand debate, discussion and/or further scrutiny. Why? The social issue may, or may not, deal with racism or ignorance or something else? Let's find out and seewhat you, friends, think. The topic has something to do with English language usage/proficiency, and  outsourcing of jobs overseas, i.e., in the Philippines. Again, I don't own the videos. No copyright infringement intended.

Social issues are very much present and alive in our life. They're everywhere where there's a group of people or a community living together. Corruption, injustice, poverty, inequality, illiteracy, ignorance, racism, human trafficking, etc. Our world, like life, is so complex that we have to have a common thread that bind us all together. After all, we're one big human family, imperfect, independent yet interdependent, wandering and wondering on the Planet Earth. We're supposed to live with (and love) one another harmoniously and peacefully. That's the ideal, isn't it, folks? That's what God, our Heavenly Father and Creator, wants us to be. Though we're all unique and different, we're the same and equal in the eyes of God! Agree or disagree with me, folks? What's your view/s?

Well, this is all for now. Until next time around, my friends.  As always, thanks YouTube and the uploaders of the videos I embedded with this blog post. (Again, I'd like to specifically mention that the videos used here are not mine. No copyright infringement intended.)Thank you, Google, Blogger, Wikipedia, and Facebook. And, to all of you people of goodwill, thank you all for the good things you do. Take care and have a good day, everyone! Peace to all of you!-chris a. quilpa, 25April2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

On Earth Day, Wet Weather Today, and Music in the 60s and 70s

Good day, Sunday, everyone! How  are you, folks, doing? How's the weather in your area? Hope you/re having a restful and relaxing day. By the way, Happy Earth Day, everyone!

Well, it's a rainy day today, the 3rd Sunday of Easter, over here in 757, a.k.a. Hampton Roads. Grey skies, a little windy, with no sign or sliver of sunshine, while the ground is soaking wet, everywhere..! What a Spring storm or nasty Nor'easter we have in the East Coast! But, happy are the shrubs and bushes and trees, and flowers for they needed raindrops to grow and feel refreshed. They all look lovely and pleasing to the eyes. Green leaves, green grass, verdant valleys, hills and mountains...what a healthy living we have envisioned! Thanks to God!

And it's Earth Day, today! But because of the wet weather, I learned that, in Hampton Roads and elsewhere, there were cancelled scheduled activities today supposedly to celebrate/observe this worldwide event (more than 175 countries observing it, per Wikipedia) that aims to increase awareness and appreciation of the Earth's natural environment. As for me, everyday is, and should be, Earth Day! It's everyday that we do, or should do, something benevolent or positive to save/protect Mother Earth from numerous environmental issues, such as oil spill, air/land/sea/space pollution, deforestation, soil erosion, global warming, climate change, etc. Yes, we all can do something to make a difference for Mother Earth, i.e., minimizing consumption/consumerism, reusing/recycling things, observing environmental protection laws such as no littering, proper disposal and management of wastes; wise utilization and conservation of natural resources, especially water; planting trees; reporting environmental violators to proper authorities, etc. This time, I remember participating in Clean the Bay Day program, when I was still active duty in the U.S. Navy. Tons and tons of debris and other things polluting the waters were removed each year. There was also this workshop that my wife and I participated in years ago. It focuses on Keeping America Beautiful. That was very educational and informative activity. Anyway, friends, all of us can do something for Planet Earth, as I've said. We can be environmental activists or plain law-abiding citizens who care about the Earth we live in. Let's all step up and do our part to save and protect Mother Earth. Thank you all.

All right, despite the wet, but mild, weather, my sis-in-law, my wife and I managed to participate in today's Mass at our parish. With our parochial vicar, Reverend Fr. Jarek, celebrating the Mass with us, parishioners, we graciously welcomed newly-baptized children as new members of the Catholic Church. We prayed and sang to, and praised and worshiped God, our Heavenly Father, and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, together as one family of faith. Once again, we received Jesus, through the Holy Eucharist. Thank you, gracious God. Thank you, Jesus, for coming into our lives. We'll forever believe and trust in you, and acknowledge you, our Savior and Redeemer  for all the sins we've committed. We'll always praise and glorify your name. Amen.

Now, after Mass, as usual we ate lunch at a Seafood Restaurant in a neighboring city. But, of course, we did pray for God's grace before and after meals. As usual, I enjoyed the fish-and-fry food with coleslaw, and a glass of sweet iced tea, with a slice of lemon, while listening to the overhead music played in the 60s  and/or 70s, the likes of Diana Ross of The Supremes, Michael Jackson's Ben, etc. We were the very first diners today, having just gone to church service today. Eventually, older, or elderly, couples, in pairs of two, kept arriving to dine, like us, with their best (formal) church attire, too. I, personally, found that restaurant a wholesome, cozy place to dine and relax, even for thirty minutes to an hour, while outside it keeps on pouring down! Not cats and dogs, though. Just a consistent downpour, that's all. But the variety of music played in the 60s and 70s made the day, for me, a relaxing, "feel good" day. You see, appropriate (and upbeat) music that lifts the spirit and soul, like those church songs, is such a powerful panacea, for me. And a comforting, relieving one, too. But, of course, there are music out there that serves different purpose/s. (I, for one, love to listen to classical music when in bed, getting ready to retire for a long day, you know.) But when dining out, upbeat, "oldie but goodie" songs, like the ones in the video below, always make me feel good. Thanks to God to/for those artist-singers and musicians who shared their talents and were able to produce good music for humanity. For those who have gone to another life-world, like legendary pop star Michael Jackson, may they rest in peace. Amen. (Now, let's enjoy the music, shall we, folks? Thanks for listening.)

Back home, here we are writing this blog post. This is all for now. Until next time around, folks. Thank you for your time. Take care and have a wonderful, Earth-friendly day, everyone!-chris a. quilpa, 22April2012

P.S. As always, thanks YouTube and the uploaders of the above videos I embedded with this blog post. Thanks Google, Blogger, and Wikipedia, and all people of goodwill. May God bless us always!-caq

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Of My New (Boot Camp) Haircut and Celebrities, Jessica Sanchez, Charice

A pleasant Saturday  to all of you, friends! Hope and pray you're doing well, if not great, this springtime.

This morning, I came across a couple of videos on YouTube while contemplating on what to write or talk about here in my blog. I was about to start with that initial reaction of or comment made by my wife when she arrived yesterday afternoon from her school-work and saw me with my clean-shaven head. "Wow, Bembol Roco!" That's what she said when she was surprised to see me with my new military or "Boot Camp" haircut. She asked me what in the world I was thinking that I have had to "revisit" my early U.S. Navy days back in San Diego, CA, with my "Navy-induction" haircut? I just smiled and said, "Yes, I did it, finally! I've long wanted to have this haircut, again!" Well, does she like it? She doesn't have any choice but to accept my "new" look, haircut. I think I look good. Thanks to God.

(By the way, Bembol Roco is an award-winning Filipino actor who has played the role of Kumar in the Australian-U.S film "The Year of Living Dangerously" (1982), with Mel Gibson, Sigiourney Weaver, Linda Hunt, and Kuh Ledesma (another Filipino actor-singer/pop diva).

Now, going back to the videos I mentioned above. One of them is about this vlogger/video uploader Australian? guy who, I presume, is an avid fan of Filipino YouTube sensation and pop singer Charice Pempengco. I watched and listened to him discussing about, and comparing American Idol finalist Jessica Sanchez (a U.S. citizen whose Mom is originally from the Philippines, and her Dad, a U.S. Navy veteran, of Mexican ancestry) and Charice (a Philippine-born singer). I believe that what he (pjwhyte75) was saying has some truth in it about becoming a famous or successful singer in the U.S. See and hear for yourself, folks. Any comment/s? Raction/s? Feedbacks?

Anyway, from this video, I became more interested in knowing and listening more about AI (American Idol) finalist Jessica Sanchez (although I've seen and heard her perform and compete in a couple of editions of American Idol via Fox channel. I'm mesmerized at her singing performances on some videos on YouTube. Man, she has a powerful and beautiful voice! Indeed, she's one of the finest young pop singers to date. I like her renditions of the late Whitney Houston's songs. I'm sure you'll agree with me when I say that she'll definitely be a successful recording star, like Charice! Kudos, Jessica, and more success and power to you! I wish you all the best and hopefully you'll be the next American Idol, Season 11 winner. hang in there, Jessica and give your best every time you perform. God bless you always!)

Like Charice, who competed and won in various singing competitions in the Philippines, Jessica did compete in America Got Talent when she was eleven years old. Although she didn't win, she continued pursuing her dream to be a professional singer. That's why she's in the current American Idol, Season 11 competition . Here are a couple of videos from YouTube that I'd like to share with you, friends. I don't know if you've seen them but I'm just as delighted as you are, I'm sure, to listen to her. (No, I don't own the videos. No copyright infringement intended.) I thank the uploaders of the videos, and, as usual, thanks YouTube, American Idol, Google, and Blogger, and Wikipedia for all the information afforded to us all. Again, Good luck and I wish you, Jessica, all the best! May God bless you and your family!

Well, folks, this is all for now and until next time around. Thanks for your time, my friends. Take care and have a blessed and fantastic weekend, everyone! God bless us all!-chris a. quilpa, 21April2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

What A Clean-Shaven Head on Friday! Or, Navy-Induction Haircut Revisited

A fun-filled and fantastic Friday, everyone! TGIF! Thanks to God, It's Friday! I'm sure, most, if not all of us, are looking forward to a wonderful weekend! With bright, sunny day today, Spring is certainly in full bloom! Enjoy the wonderful weather, folks! Thanks to God for Nature at its best!

Well, today, I have had the stamina and will to go out and have, first of all, a haircut at a barber shop at NEX in a neighboring city. I've long wanted to have a a haircut but, whenever I attempt to go, there's always something that comes up. Yes, this time, I was successful. I now have a clean-shaven head! Almost completely bald, as I've wanted it to be! My barber, who did prepare and signed my Navy retirement papers in June 2005 when he was still working at PSD (Personnel Support Detachment), said that now I don't need to worry about what shampoo to use. Indeed, that's true! Well, on my part, I was telling myself that I just need a low-maintenance haircut. Same as when I was in Boot Camp (1985). That's all. what matters is I got what I wanted. And I'm happy for it, irrespective of what others say about my new haircut. I think, I look good. Thanks to God.

After my haircut, I went to the Commissary and bought some grocery supplies, i.e. fruits and vegetables, bags of vegetable salad, salad dressing, a bag of rice, organic milk, orange juice, sausage, pork scalopini, Danish cake, toilet paper, two cases of bottled water. No, I didn't have my lunch there because we have left-over food (that I cooked yesterday) at home. Driving our van, I dropped by at our bank to just find about our accounts balances, using the ATM. Since I passed by a gas station, on my way home, I dropped by and filled up our car. Man, gas prices are soaring! I wonder how much more when it's summer.

Back home, I felt a little tired, sore on my lower back. But, I'm okay. I'm glad and thankful I'm home, chilling out now. After putting out the grocery stuff in, with the exception of those two cases of bottled water that are still in the trunk of our van (sorry, wife, I can't do heavy lifting!), I had lunch, with TV on, but alone, as usual, on weekdays! I've gotten used to it already, folks! That's the way it is---life of a retired person, with sort of physical disability.

As always, thanks YouTube and the uploader of the video I embedded with this blog post. Thank you, Google and Blogger. From one of the videos above, imagine how I look now with my new haircut---recalling my early Navy days, folks! Hahaha...Just luv it!

Until next time around. Thanks for your time, folks. Take care and have a wonderful weekend, everyone! May our Dear God bless us all!-chris a. quilpa, 20April2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April is National Poetry Month

What better way to celebrate the month of April than to read, write, and enjoy poetry? Why don't you start scribbling poetic lines that capture your imagination and keen sense of observation? One (if not the best) way to learn something is doing it. Go ahead and try. You'll be amazed at what you did!

Veteran educator E.D. Hirsch Jr., a professor emeritus at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, and author and/or editor of more than a dozen books, including "The Core Knowledge" series, and "Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs To Know," wrote that ,"one way to bring our children into the spirit of poetry is to read it aloud to them; another is to encourage them to speak it aloud so they can directly experience the sounds of language." Through poetry, children can understand the power of language to create vivid word pictures. "a child's knowledge of poetry should come first from pleasure and only later from analysis," he said.

I love (listening to, and reading and writing simple) poetry. Poems inspire; they can make you smile; they can entertain and also give you (new) meaning to/in life. They can educate and liberate; they can unite, and change, people and the world.

(Thanks to God, I have had the privilege of attending or participating in one of the open-mike poetry readings here in the Hampton Roads area. I've had the chance to meet and hear local poets, too. Years ago, I have had the opportunity to hear and see, in person, one of the former U.S. poet laureates, Robert Pinsky (1995-1997), when he was the guest speaker at a Literary Festival at ODU (Old Dominion University) in Norfolk, VA.)

When I was younger, growing up in the Philippines, we used to memorize and recite short poems in class. Remember those funny "Mother Goose" nursery rhymes? Those tongue-twisting alliterations?

"Hickory, dickory, dock,/ The mouse ran up the clock,/ The clock struck one,/ The mouse ran down,/ Hickory, dickory, dock."

Here's another one: "Hey, diddle, diddle,/ The cat and the fiddle,/ The cow jumped over the moon;/ The little dog laughed/ To see such sport/ And the dish ran away with the spoon."

And here's another from Humpty Dumpty: "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall;/ Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;/ All the King's horses/ All the King's men/ Couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again."

On a serious note, the month of April is designated as National Poetry Month in the United States. Marie Bullock founded in 1904 the Academy of American Poets "to support American poets and to foster the appreciation of contemporary poetry." The academy started observing or celebrating the National Poetry Month in 1996 to increase awareness of poetry in the public, and the media, and to encourage more Americans "to enjoy reading and writing poetry, while creating more interest in the art form." To accomplish this, the academy sponsors poetry readings, creates displays in bookstores, gives tips in the teaching of poetry through workshops and on how to teach poetry to different audiences.

Did you know that each year the Library of Congress appoints or designates a Poet Laureate whose mission is to promote the reading and writing of poetry in the United States? According to Wikipedia, this position was modeled on the Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom. Formerly known as the Consultant of the Library of Congress, the present title was devised and authorized by an Act of Congress in 1985. Currently, the Laureate receives a $35,000 annual stipend and gives an annual lecture and reading of his/her poetry and usually introduces poets in the Library's poetry series.

Our present United States Poet Laureate is 84-year old Philip Levine, a native of Detroit, Michigan. Appointed by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington in August 2011, Levine, therefore, serves as the nation's official Poet for 2011-2012. He is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet best known for his poems about working class Detroit. "Philip Levine is one of America's great narrative poets," Billington said. "His plainspoken lyricism has, for half a century, championed the art of telling 'The Simple Truth'---about working in a Detroit auto factory, as he has, and about the hard work we do to make sense of our lives," added Billington.

Levine has  taught for over 30 years in the English Department at California State University, Fresno, and other institutions of higher learning such as New York University, Columbia, Princeton, University of California, Berlekey, among others. Among his awards include: Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1995) for his work The Simple Truth (1994); National Book Award for Poetry and Los Angeles Times Book Prize (1991) for "What Work Is (1992)"; Ruth Lily Poetry Prize from Modern Poetry Association and the American Council for the Arts (1987); Levinson Prize (1981) from Poetry magazine; Guggenheim Foundation fellowship (1980); National Book award for Poetry (1980) for his book "Ashes: Poems New and Old;" National Book Critics Circle Award (1979) for "Ashes: Poems new and Old---7 Years from Somewhere"; Harriet Monroe Memorial Prize from Poetry (1978); Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize (1977) for "The Names of the Lost" (1975); and American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, Frank O'Hara Prize, Guggenheim Foundation fellowship (1973). His poetry book collections include News of the World (2009), Stranger to Nothing: Selected Poems (2006), Breath (2004 and 2006), The Mercy (1999), What Work Is (1992), The Simple Truth (1994 and 1996). He has had English translation work of different authors, too.

On the other hand, the Commonwealth of Virginia has also a poet laureate. The Poet Laureate of Virginia was established on December 18, 1936 by the General Assembly, originally for a term of one year. But later on the procedure was changed. Beginning in 1998, the Governor may appoint a poet laureate from a list of nominees submitted by the Poetry Society of Virginia. Each poet laureate shall serve a term of two years with no restrictions or reappointment. The Virginia General Assembly confirms the governor's appointment. The current Poet Laureate of Virginia is Kelly Cherry, 71, award-winning author and poet, and professor emeritus, who has received numerous literary and academic honors. Her notable works include "We Can Stll Be Friends", "Girl in a Library: On Women Writers and the Writing Life," and "Hazards and Prospects: New and Selected Poems."

As always, thanks YouTube and to the uploaders of the videos I embedded with this blog post. Thanks to Wikipedia, Google, and Blogger.

Well, this is all for now. Until next time around, folks. Thanks for your time. Take care and have a pleasant Wednesday, everyone!-chris a. quilpa, 18April2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Day of Remembrance: The Virginia Tech Massacre, 5 Years Hence

Today marks the 5th year anniversary of the deadly shooting rampage/massacre that took the lives of 33 including the gunman/killer Seung-Hui Cho at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.

Five years ago, today, I still recall that moment when I was fixed on the TV watching the breaking news about the Virginia Tech Massacre on a cold Monday morning. I remember sending a text message to my son who was attending college at UVA (University of Virginia). I informed him about the ongoing incident and told him to call a number of his friends and former high school classmates who, at that time, were studying at Virginia Tech. I assumed he was having a class at that time for he didn't respond to my text at once. It was only after an hour or two that my son called me, letting me know that his friends were okay.

That sad news of the day dominated media coverage all over the United States and the world. According to Wikipedia, the Virginia Tech massacre is the deadliest shooting incident by a single gunman in U.S. history. it was also the worst act of mass murder on college students since Syracuse University lost 36 students in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

The two separate shooting attacks, in two separate school buildings, by Seung-Hui Cho, himself a Virginia Tech student, yielded 32 people dead and 25 others wounded, before killing himself. Per Wikipedia, the attacks received international media coverage and drew widespread criticism of U.S. laws and culture. It sparked intense debate about gun violence, gun laws, gaps in the U.S. system for treating mental health issues, the perpetrator's state of mind, the responsibility of college administrators, privacy laws, journalism ethics, and other issues. On the other hand, it also led to the passage of the first major federal gun control measure in more than 13 years. The law strengthening the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) was signed by then President George W. Bush on January 5, 2008.

I remember, on a Virginia Tech Convocation, aired on TV, commemorating and honoring the lives of the victims on April 17, 2007, American poet and distinguished Virginia Tech English professor, Nikki Giovanni, delivered a passionate chant poem "We are Virginia Tech." Here's a part of the poem, "We are Virginia Tech/ We are sad today/ And we will be sad for quite a while/ We are not moving on/ We are embracing our mourning/ We are Virginia Tech/ We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly/ We are brave enough to know we must laugh again/ We are Virginia Tech..."

This Monday morning, at Virginia Tech, students gathered together, just after midnight (per WAVY TV news broadcast) for an informal moments of silence and candle-lighting at the school campus to commemorate the victims of the Virginia Tech shooting spree. Flowers and wreath were laid to the markers representing the 32 victims. Prayers were silently said, too. Andy Fox of WAVY TV reported, on WAVY TV News at Noon, that there's a community picnic on the drill field this afternoon and there will be a candlelight vigil tonight. To grace the commemoration, Former Gov. Tim Kaine and current Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnel will be in attendance, per WAVY TV news report.

May the souls of the faithful departed brothers and sisters rest in peace. Amen. And to the families and friends and relatives of the victims, may they all find comfort and consolation, and peace of mind. May God give them the strength and courage, and the wisdom to move on with their lives. Amen.

As always, thanks YouTube and the uploaders of the videos I embedded with this blog post. And, my gratitude to Google and Blooger, and Wikipedia, and Facebook. Thank you to all people of goodwill. Thank you, God our Loving Father, and Jesus.

Until next time around, friends. Thank you for your time. Take care and have a blessed and wonderful day, everyone!-chris a. quilpa, 16April2012

Beautiful, Colorful Springtime, with "Trees" by Alfred Joyce Kilmer

Aha, its undeniably springtime! And in full swing over 757! Thanks to God for all the natural beauty around us! Colorful flowers, a source of our delight, are everywhere! Trees, our source of oxygen, are full of leaves again! Yes, they're a source of relief and comfort, food and life! Thank you, Almighty and gracious God, for the trees!

Now, just look around us, folks. Signs of the season of spring are everywhere, notwithstanding in the malls (where spring fashion collections abound with lots of yellow and blue colors are), and grocery stores and supermarkets, and in gardens or nurseries...Easter lilies, daffodils, dandelions, tulips, crocus, cherry blooms, cute little fancy flowers in our lawns, birds flocking around in our backyards or open deck or patio, chirping and hopping from fence to fence, from one area to another pecking something (worms, perhaps) on the ground, and in the open fields, mountains, and hills fully covered with verdant grass, wild flowers, and the golden sun and the clear azure skies---what a beautiful sight to behold! Wow, nature is basically beautiful, colorful, wonderful! I love springtime! I feel as if I'm invigorated! Look around us... tall and small (fruit) trees with their greenish, virgin leaves and blossoming flowers that some, if not many, turn to organic, luscious fruits. Yes, these trees are alive again, after months of bareness and dryness!

At this time, since April is National Poetry Month, I remember that poem "Trees" written in 1913 by Sgt. Alfred Joyce Kilmer, an American soldier, journalist, poet, literary critic, lecturer, and editor, according to Wikipedia. He was considered the leading American Catholic poet and lecturer of his generation. In recollection, here's the poem: I think that I shall never see/ A poem lovely as a tree./ A tree whose hungry mouth is prest/ Against the earth's sweet flowing breast,/ A tree that looks at God all day,/ And lifts her leafy arms to pray;/ A tree that may in summer wear/ A nest of robins in her hair;/ Upon whose bosom snow has lain;/ Who intimately lives with rain./ Poems are made by fools like me,/ But only God can make a tree.)

It's been said that spring is a time of growth and renewal. Indeed, it's the time to spring forth, to rise up, stretch and spread and move that body that has been kind of "lifeless" in a cocoon for months of cold, wet and stormy weather. With longer days, we can create something worthwhile, such as growing flowers and/or vegetables in our garden or establishing a friendly relationship with our neighbors.

With brief morning showers, then clouds disappearing and the sun smilingly ready to rule the land, there's no doubt in my mind that we have golden, productive days ahead.

As the comedian-actor Robin Williams says, "Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!"

Have fun, folks, and enjoy Spring with  all her colorful offerings.

As always, thank you YouTube and those uploaders of the videos I embedded with this blog post. Thank you Google and Blogger, and all people of goodwill.

Until next time around, friends. Thanks for your time. Take care and have a wonderful day, everyone!-chris a. quilpa, 16April2012

Springtime in Full Swing over 757; Extreme Weather in the Midwestern States

Hello, everyone! A pleasant Good Monday to you all! By the way, how's life treating you nowadays? Do hope and pray you're doing well. Thanks to God, we're alive and doing well. Thank you. Just a reminder, tomorrow, Tuesday, is the deadline for filing federal income tax returns, per IRS (Internal Revenue Service). And, it's also the deadline for requesting filing tax extension for those of us who won't make it (the filing) tomorrow. Thanks to God, our professional tax preparer, from a neighboring city, did it electronically for us. We have all praises for her goodness and professionalism.

Yesterday (Sunday) afternoon, after Mass, and lunch (at a buffet restaurant at a neighboring city Chesapeake with my sis-in-law, my wife, our young adult son who came all the way from The Capital to spend the weekend with us, and one of his friends), and arriving home, I decided to turn on our centralized air conditioning unit because of the warmer weather we have for the whole coming week over Hampton Roads. At first, I wanted to just rely on our ceiling fans on each of our four bedrooms. But it's kinda warm, and humid in our house yesterday. I didn't feel comfy, I admit. That's why I had no choice but to switch on the button, from heat to cold, on our thermostat control unit. Wow, just imagine today, per meteorologists of a local TV station that the high temp is going to be in the mid 80s! With plenty of sunshine! But, a little windy and breezy! Certainly, the heat is on, folks! Undoubtedly, Springtime is in full swing over Hampton Roads! I do hope, you have the same beautiful weather in your area. Let's enjoy the weather, but be safe!

But, it's a different story in other parts of the world, especially in the United States, particularly in the Oklahoma and neighboring states where they've experienced extreme weather this weekend. Yes, they've been hit by destructive and deadly tornadoes lately. To those who lost their lives, may they rest in peace. Amen. Our sincere condolences to the families. Hope and pray that the people in those areas are now safe and coping, and that we pray for their overall well-being. May the Lord God bless and protect them!

Natural calamities, such as tornado and other weather disturbances, are way beyond unpredictable, at times.  Even the world's famous scientists can't fathom the range and depth of Mother Nature for she can be overwhelming, destructive and deadly, at times. Such is a reality we have to face for as long as we live on this planet Earth. Nature, I believe, has her way of expressing and releasing her emotions to the point that we overlook or miscalculate her power and capability. She's just like telling us something that commands our attention and activism to do what we can to save and protect her. I do hope I'm making sense here.

Thanks YouTube and to the uploader of the video (courtesy of ABC's Good Morning America) I embedded with this blogpost. (No copyright infringement intended). And, as always, thank you Google and Blogger, and all people of goodwill.

Well, this is all for now, friends. Until next time around. Thanks for your time. Take care and have a nice day, everyone!-chris a. quilpa, 16April2012

Sunday, April 15, 2012

On the Centennial Anniversary of the Sinking of The Titanic

From The Little White Book (Six Minute Reflections on the Sunday Gospels of Easter (Year B), based on the writing of the late Bishop Ken Untener (1937-2004) and edited by Catherine Haven of the Diocese of Saginaw, MI (2011), we read the following:

"On April 9, 1912, the Titanic spent its last full day in Southhampton, England, having taken aboard 75,000 pounds of fresh meat, 1,750 quarts of ice cream, 6,000 tons of coal, and 2,200 passengers  and crew.

But Fr. Ralph Kotheimer was not on board.

Some years earlier, Kotheimer, a young seminarian from Youngstown, Ohio, had been sent by his bishop to study theology in Mainz, Germany. After completing his studies, he was ordained a priest there on March 4, 1912.

For his return home, he had booked passage on the Titanic. Before boarding, he checked to see if he could celebrate Mass privately each day of the voyage. Permission was denied.

Although he had looked forward to sailing on the maiden voyage of this magnificent new ship, Fr. Kotheimer decided to give up his place and booked passage on the Rhyndam.

It was only when he landed in the United States that the young priest learned of the Titanic disaster. He went directly to St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York to celebrate Mass---his first on U.S. soil---and to ask God's blessings for those who lost their lives aboard the ship he was supposed to be on.

April 14, 1912, 100 years ago, the Titanic hit an iceberg. The ship sank the next day, today, killing over 1,500 of the people on board."

Now, from a Catholic perspective, here's my simple yet perplexing, or thought-provoking question/s: Would it matter if Fr. Kotheimer, the young priest, was given permission to hear/celebrate Mass on board the Titanic? Would that fatal catastrophe have been avoided or never happened with Fr. Kotheimer's blessings and prayers? (Out of the 2,200 passengers, how many were Catholic Christians who could have prayed with Fr. Kotheimer?) We don't know, do we? Divine intervention, possibly? But, it happened. The so-called "unsinkable" ship, RMS Titanic, sank! One hundred years ago today. We, therefore, pray for the lost souls, the departed passengers of the Titanic. May they rest in peace. Amen!

As always, thanks YouTube and the uploaders of the videos I embedded with this blog post. Thank you, Google and Blogger, and all people of goodwill. May your tribe increase! Thank you God. Thank you, Jesus!

Until next time around, folks. Take care and have a blessed day, everyone!-chris a. quilpa, 15April2012

On Matters of Faith: Aren't We "Doubting" Thomas, At Times?

A Blessed Divine Mercy Sunday to everyone! May Peace be with us, always!

Thanks to God, we're doing well! And we (my sis-in-law, my wife, our young adult son, and I) have had the opportunity to participate in today's Mass.

Celebrating the Mass with us today was a Monsignor and Catholic chaplain in one of the hospitals in the area. In his extemporaneous homily,  he spoke about the Divine Mercy of Jesus, our Savior, and the "doubting" or "unbelieving" Thomas (one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ) who said, in the Gospel of John (20: 19-31) today, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in His hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."...Jesus said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe." Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God!"  Jesus said to him, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."

Monsignor E likened Apostle Thomas to most, if not all, of us who always want proof or evidence so then can we believe. This is like our faith in shambles, at times. There are instances or circumstances where our faith is tested and shattered. We are like Thomas who doubts, unless we see. But Monsignor E encouraged us to seek Jesus' Divine Mercy, especially when we're losing faith or having doubts about our faith in God and His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior/Redeemer.

We've been familiar with the statement," To see is to believe." What if we don't see and yet believe? That's faith, isn't it? We don't see God. We don't see Jesus. Yet, we believe in God. We believe in Jesus. That's what we've always been praying/reciting in the Mass; thus, the Apostles' Creed..."I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontious Pilate, was crucified and was buried; He descended into hell; on the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from there He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen."

We have so many unanswered questions, at times, in our life. Questions like, "Where were you God/Jesus when I needed you? Where were you God/Jesus when I was asking for help? Why did you let me suffer? Why did you allow such thing/s to happen? Et cetera, et cetera...We doubt our faith, at times. Why? Because we're human. We have vulnerabilities, weaknesses. That's why. Yet, if we have a prayerful life, religious and spiritual, and honest life, with a strong, solid faith in God and Jesus, we're doing well. Everything will be fine in our life. That's our belief.

As always, thanks YouTube and the uploaders of the videos I embedded with this blog post. Thanks also to Google and Blogger, and to all people of goodwill!

This is all for now. Until next time around, my friends. Thank you for your time. Take care. God bless us all!-chris a. quilpa, 15April2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Nostalgic Memories of Genfest'80 in Italy

Happy Easter Friday the 13th to everyone! Hope and pray you're doing well so far. TGIF! (Thanks to God It's Friday!) Wish you all the best this Friday the 13th! You guys aren't superstitious, are you? Me, either.

For the past days, I've just been chilling out (at home, almost all of the time), trying to do what I can and to stay positive and optimistic, despite my unpleasant physical condition. I have been watching a number of videos on YouTube (informational and educational, and inspirational as well, especially in relation to my Catholic faith, like the ones by wordonfire by Rev. Fr. Bob Barron). And as usual, I also watched my fave international soaps.

Yesterday, I have had the opportunity to "chat" with my relatives and a friend on Facebook, while listening to the Gen Rosso songs on YouTube. I'm thankful to God and to my FB friends that we made it happen. So glad I was to "hear" from them. On the other hand, I'm very thankful to the video uploaders and so glad I am that I was able to come across this international singing group of "focolarinos," Gen Rosso, that is based in Rome, Italy. Ecstatic I was to see and hear Marcy Bautista, one of the lead singers, who's from my native country, the Philippines, I couldn't help myself but did share the link to FB and made a comment about it. In my comment, I mentioned that we (a dozen "young" male people, or "gen" representing the Philippines in the Genfest'80 in Rome, Italy) had a good encounter with some of the members of Gen Rosso in their recording studio and that they even treated us (as a welcome gesture that moment of camaraderie) to the finest ice ream that Italy has to offer. We had fun and had a good time with Gen Rosso. I love their inspirational, melodious music.

Listening and watching them perform, via their videos on YT, truly brought me back memories of my unforgettable Genfest'80 experience, in Rome, Italy (April-June, 1980). We were all together at the Flaminio Stadium, young people from all over the world witnessing that unity is possible with Jesus Christ, our Savior. We were there to somehow "deepen" our spirituality, doing simple acts of love to/for God. We experienced working together, praying together and learning from one another, irrespective of all the barriers we have had. That was truly a fascinating, moving experience, for me, personally! Yes, we sang, we danced, we prayed, we performed, we worked together in unity with one another. We listened to stories, testimonies of our friends, and to the inspirational talk of the founder of the Focolare, Chiara Lubich (May she rest in peace! Amen. I just learned lately that she had passed away in 2008. Same thing with a very pious Austrian SVD priest who had been based in Ilocos, in the Philippines, Fr. Taschner, and who was instrumental in helping me participate in the said event. May he rest in peace. Amen).The following day after Genfest'80, we, the forty thousand young people in the Genfest'80, had Mass with then Pope John Paul II (Blessed John Paul) at St. Peter's Square, Rome, Italy. I felt holy, for the very first time I saw him, the Supreme Pontiff and leader of the Catholic Church! Yes, I saw Jesus in him at that time! He was so charismatic and inspiring! Overall, we spent one and a half months in Italy. One month was spent in Firenze (Florence) and two weeks at the Vatican City, Rome, Italy. Unforgettable, very memorable experience I've had with my fellow gen from different countries all over the globe. Yes, I was once a gen, a member of the so-called young generation. Something worth-mentioning, but a sad note: when she learned that I was in Firenze, our former neighbor in Ilocos, and colleague and friend of my sister Betty, "Manang" Sally (who'd been working for years in Rome, Italy, specifically in Napoli, that time, came over, with a female friend, to see/visit me in Loppiano. We had a good time, took pictures with a fellow gen, Lito, from Vigan City. Now, a year or two, I've learned that Manang (the "Ilokano" word or title given to an older sister, woman or lady) Sally has passed away. May she rest in peace! Amen.) And to our Blessed (Pope) John Paul, pray for us! (Pope John Paul II died on April 2, 2005.)

By the way, watching some of the Gen Rosso videos on YouTube, I came to realize that there are new, younger members now of this popular international singing group. I'm sure, those original members, like Marcy, have retired but are still active in the Focolare Movement. (My experience with the Focolare Movement, participating in Genfest, and attending Mariapolis before, is one that I cherish and treasure forever. I won't ever forget what I learned from such experience and am still trying to use and apply them in my daily life, i.e., doing simple acts of love to others, going against the current, praying for others, etc.)  
As always, I thank you, YouTube and the uploaders of the videos that I embedded with this blog post. (Marcy, of Gen Rosso, is one of the lead singers featured in the above video, Genfest 1983?). On the other video is His Holiness, Pope John Paul II addressing an audience of young (and old) people at various places and at St. Peter's Square, Vatican City, Rome, Italy. He died 02April2005. May he rest in peace. Amen. And, Blessed John paul, pray for us!). Thanks to Google and to Blogger, too. And thanks to all the people of goodwill. Thank you, God and to Jesus, our Savior, and my Inspiration. 

This is all for now. Until next time around, dear friends. Take care and have a blessed, safe, and wonderful weekend, everyone! May God bless us all!-chris a. quilpa, 13April 2012

Monday, April 9, 2012

Tax Deadline is April 17th

Hello, everyone! A pleasant good Monday to you all! How's your Holy Week? Were you spiritually charged and did you experience Jesus Christ's resurrection? Hope so.

At the outset, I'd like to remind everyone who files income tax returns, the deadline for this year's filing is April 17. I'm sure some, if not many, of you have already done with your tax filing and most likely you've received your refund, if you're entitled to it. And, probably, too, you've spent it or saved it already.

Well, as far as we're concerned, we haven't filed ours. I don't know. I wonder why this year it took us this far on the first or second week of April that we haven't done it so. Previous years, after Valentine's Day, we've already done so with our certified tax preparer from a neighboring city.

This afternoon, though, my wife (who's still off from school-work, their last day of spring break today) and I prepared our paperwork/documents/supporting papers and delivered them to our tax preparer. Hopefully, she'll finish it on time and file it electronically, as usual. We don't anticipate any refund at all. Instead, we'd be paying, just like last year. Both federal and state taxes, that is. We just hope that it won't be that much, this year. But, I have a premonition that we'd be paying much more for both this year. Know why? We'd only be carrying one dependent (our young adult daughter who's in college and graduating May) this year the fact that our young adult son will be filing his this year, his first time.

Before, I used to do our tax returns. But since we have a rental house (our first house, and has been managed by a real estate property management company since 2001), preparing-filing it gets complicated, especially with deductions and other stuff. That's why we've decided to have it done by a certified/licensed tax preparer.

Here's the reality of living: Taxes are inevitable for they're part of life. For as long as we have an income from whatever source, from employment, or  receiving retirement pay/benefits that's higher or over the minimum requirements, we're bound to file tax returns as responsible, law-abiding citizen. And if we fail to do it, you know what the consequence/s in store for us. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will come after you. As they say, you can run but you can't hide. That's the reality of living, folks.

Once again, tax day is just around the corner, fellow citizens. It's time to get ready and beat the deadline, shall we. We don't want to be called "tax evaders", do we? You bet, we still have a week to go. If you guys believe that you'll be late in filing it, then you'd request a tax filing extension date.

As always, thanks YouTube and the uploader of the video I embedded with this blog post. Thanks Google and Blogger, too.

This is all for now, folks. Until next time around. Take care and Have a blessed Easter!-chris a. quilpa, 09April2012

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Brother Jesus

Brother Jesus

You have been callous with pain,
Numb, now, with vexations;
You have been thirsty of love,
Peace and understanding...
You saved my (weary) soul,
you lifted my cross;
You lighted my world 
(c) 2012 by chris a. quilpa

May you Have a Happy, Holy, and Blessed Easter, everyone!

Thanks YouTube and the uploaders of the videos I embedded with my blog post/poem. Thank you, Google and Blogger, and Facebook. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Passion of Jesus Christ

May you have a Holy and Blessed Easter, everyone! May God bless and keep us always!

Last night, I was so engrossed in listening to Gregorian chants on YouTube (even at this time, today, on Good Friday, that I'm writing this blog post). And before I retreated to bed, I have had the opportunity to watch some video clips on YouTube about the Lord's Passion. I also watched one of the videos of EWTN's Life on the Rock program hosted, that time, by Fr. Francis Mary, MFVA, in which he interviewed Kerri Caveziel, wife of actor Jim Caveziel who portrayed Jesus in Mel Gibson's (2004) film, The Passion of the Christ. Kerri talked about her involvement with Crisis Pregnancy Center. No, she didn't talk about her actor-husband, Jim, nor the movie The Passion. After that, I did watch a couple of video clips in which Jim Caveziel was interviewed by  mediamen about his thoughts and experiences portraying the role of Jesus in the said the movie. In between interviews, film clip (or trailer) of The Passion of the Christ was shown. (At that time, I did visit wikipedia to get some info about the actor. I learned that he and his wife are both Catholics, from Washington state where I had the privilege to be stationed there, in Seattle, and where our daughter was born, too. I love/miss that place, the Space Needle, etc! Lots of memories, though, unforgettable, especially on one particular incident/accident that started it all about the (physical or medical) condition I'm having now. But thanks to God that I'm still alive!)

With what I've seen or watched on those videos on YouTube, last night, I thought or recalled about the movie The Passion of the Christ which my family and I have watched eight years ago. I still remember the feeling or experience that time.

This morning, as we observe Good Friday, my thoughts are focused on the commemoration of Our Lord's Passion and  the movie The Passion of the Christ. Now, this time, I remember a part of a lengthy article column (On Easter and Prayer) I wrote and was published in now-defunct La Fernandina Update Weekly News, Vigan, Ilocos Sur, Philippines, March 10-16, 2005. Having a copy of the newspaper, here's an excerpt of what I have written in my column (as a volunteer/guest columnist). Please take note that this was written/published in March 2005:

"...Perhaps you, guys, have seen Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," a movie that has generated a lot of controversy, notwithstanding millions of dollars at the box office, even before it was released worldwide last year. (There is "The Passion: Recut" slated to be shown this year.) The film did not garner lots of nominations  at the Oscar's or Academy Awards.

Anyway, my family and I have watched it last March 5, 2004. Here's what I wrote, on my journal, after viewing it: Mel Gibson's depiction of the last twelve hours of Jesus Christ's death on the Cross in "The Passion of the Christ" is quite frank and brutal, notwithstanding the gruesome, excessive violence in it. Truly, it was so raw and gory, shocking and terribly numbing and moving! The torturous violence was so graphic which made viewers cry and sob and weep. (My eyes were wet. I couldn't help it though!) The sacrifice and suffering of Jesus, our Saviour, was well-portrayed by the lead actor Jim Caveziel, himself a practicing Catholic like Gibson, the movie director-producer, who's also a well-known actor having appeared in movies like Mad Max, Lethal Weapon series, the Academy Award-winning Braveheart, Apocalypto, etc.

I remember, the initial viewing of the film was held by invited religious leaders, including our beloved Supreme Roman Catholic leader/pontiff, Pope John Paul II, who reportedly commented about the movie as "it is as it was." Pat Robertson, founder of Christian Broadcasting Network's The 700 Club in Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA, hailed the movie and encouraged every 700 Club member to see it. Other local pastors and church leaders in Hampton Roads area, in Virginia, and elsewhere, also gave out their honest assessment of Gibson's opus.

I was intensely moved by the beating and suffering of Jesus in the movie. Like my family, I couldn't help but shed tears, as I've said. The beating, the torture, the dragging, and the nailing/crucifying Him, they're so numbing and real! According to Mal Vincent, a local movie critic/reviewer writing for The Virginian-Pilot, "The Passion of the Christ is one of the most violent films ever made." After the movie, I noticed that all the viewers/moviegoers in the cinema were silent, very quiet for minutes as we all walked out slowly. There was (absolutely) total silence after the movie! I believe we were all carried away by the intensity of Jesus Christ's passion."

As always, I thank you, YouTube and the uploader of the video  I embedded with this blog post. Thanks Google, Blogger, and wikipedia. Thank you all, people of goodwill. Thank you, God, and thank you, Jesus, our Savior and my Inspiration in life!

Well, folks, this is all for now. Until next time around. Thank you for having time with me. Take care. And, have a Happy, Holy and Blessed Easter, everyone!-chris a. quilpa, 06March2012