Sunday, March 18, 2007


My dad reprimanded me for not reading the papers as often and as thoroughly as I should. This issue came up when I asked him who the Magsaysay guy running for Senator was. After which I asked him where the other Magsaysay is. I really seem oblivious about those Magsaysays.

Of course my dad answered my questions. But in return he must have silently wished that I do what every responsible and committed writer should do: read the newspaper.

That’s what I did today. Read the papers—well at least most of it. Despite my efforts, I seem to repel the front page. I scheme through its headlines then proceed on reading the part of its body typed in boldface. If I deem the news interesting, I read through the whole article, otherwise I abandon it and leave the rest of the story to my hunches and imagination. I look at photos, too, as well as their captions. That’s mostly it.

I wonder if the likes of Tessa Prieto-Valdez and Tim Yap read the front page. They both have a regular writing gig—with the Philippine Daily Inquirer at that—but I don’t think they’re the type who’d be interested in politics. Probably they are into politicians and their wives for socialization, parties and photo ops. That’s mostly it maybe.

Going back, I seem to do better with the newspaper’s lifestyle section. I guess, human interest wasn’t called such for nothing, at least for me.

This Sunday, PDI featured several fitting rooms of department stores and fashion shops. Their selected establishments were visited by their correspondents who in turn evaluated the fitting rooms based on the following criteria: size, cleanliness, basic amenities (hooks, shelves, locks, and chairs), mirror and lighting, number of fitting rooms, and service.

I shall not delve on the exact content of the report. I however hope that the managers of the stores cited use the series of articles to improve their business, for their best interest.

I myself have my own fitting room stories. For starters, I’m not fond of them. The small space isn’t healthy for me; I get kind of claustrophobic. The ones at Megamall’s department store are especially bad. Once I’m inside, I feel the floor shaking and the walls closing in on me. That’s when I start to hyperventilate. I almost panicked the first time I got my attack of claustrophobia. It really takes a lot of mind control to overcome it. Often times I change with my eyes shut just so I wouldn’t see how cramped the space is. Also, it helps to spend the shortest time in there as possible.

The dressing rooms of Bench, although well lit, are relatively cramped, too. I guess that’s how stores go these days. The space provided for the fitting rooms isn’t generous at all. For someone who’s as claustrophobic as I am, perhaps the ideal fitting room size will be as big as Cinderella’s and Bayo’s (at Megamall). If only Cinderella’s rooms were kept clean I’d say it’s the best.

It was mentioned in the report that the fitting rooms of Folded and Hung have heavy mirror doors that are hard to open. I observed that, too. And just as the one who did the report, I also waited for my turn to get inside for quite a while only to realize that it was empty. It was clean alright but it is by far the most unwelcoming fitting rooms I’ve ever been to.

Then there is Celine’s (Megamall) fitting rooms where you can literally die of suffocation. Once you’re inside, little or no air at all gets in as the whole room is sealed like a vault. I wonder what the management was thinking.

I have to admit that my important newspaper stop has a lot to do with the entertainment section. PDI has a column called “Only in Hollywood” which is authored by Ruben V. Nepales. Now, I don’t know anything about him. Nothing except that his job requires him to interview big Hollywood stars, the meat of which he publishes every week. Yes he gives us the details of his encounters but it will be awesome to share his experience.

This Sunday, Nepales featured Hugh Grant which ran for, I think, three pages of the broadsheet. I can imagine the words I was reading being enunciated by Hugh himself. And even in print, I find his words sexy. Well, we’ve got to hand it to the Brits. They’re eloquent and regal even while joking.

Incidentally, I saw Jay Leno’s interview with Hugh for the movie Music and Lyrics. In the middle of their chitchat, I noticed Hugh scratching his eye. (I can’t remember which—the left or the right.) Later, Jay noticed, too. Hugh had to comment how difficult it was to have a misplaced contact lens on live tele. Still, he insisted that they go on with the interview. It is enlightening to know that even celebrity contact lenses misbehave sometimes.

Jay, then, seized the moment to inject his humor. He asked Hugh, “do your soft lenses go hard when you’re excited?”

I know I wouldn’t think of my contact lenses in that light.

Another hot Hollywood buzz is Angelina Jolie’s 3rd adoption. After five-year-old Cambodian Maddox and two-year-old Ethiopian Zahara, she adds three-year-old Vietnamese Pax Thien to the family. I’d hate to think that Angelina is into collecting third world kids. Chances are, she really cares for children as it was reported early on that she and partner, Brad Pitt, visited the Vietnamese orphanage where Pax lived, bringing gifts for the orphans and even playing with them.

Angelina’s chosen children are lucky. Aside from being tucked in bed by Mama Angie, they all get a good-night kiss from Papa Brad. They are also ensured a bright future, what with the pay their new parents make just by smiling in Hollywood?

Then again, these kids do have a price to pay for the better life promised them. First in the list is being uprooted from their native lands and being transported to a foreign speaking country populated by white people. Next is trading their quiet orphanage life to a Hollywood life filled with flashbulbs. Then there’s the silent mystery: amongst all the kids their new parents can have, including the ones they can produce like Shiloh, why were they chosen? Probably the last thing these children will wonder is why they are being raised in a family that isn’t officially a family. Brad and Angelina are not married and if they were, there is a huge possibility that they won’t last—they’re a Hollywood couple for crying out loud!

Yes, I do worry about these kids. I don’t have anything to do with them but I wish them all the best.

Just as the Jolie-Pitt kids, I feel somewhat attached to Ellen Degeneres. Well, I watch her whenever I can and I have slowly morphed into a fan. Besides, after playing Dory who wouldn’t love Ellen?

Anyway I saw a rerun of her show aired the day after she hosted this year’s Oscars. The show featured the highlight’s of Ellen’s best Oscar moments plus the bonus behind-the-scenes which included Ellen’s first time to enter the Kodak theater for rehearsals, her suit fitting, script brainstorming at her house, and, believe it or not, her pre-Oscar beauty regimen.

After the Oscar clips were shown, Ellen was seen in tears. “I am crying because, well, I’m tired.” She explains and adds that she is just overwhelmed by the experience and the privilege. It wasn’t really a moving, dramatic moment. It’s Ellen. Even in tears, she is funny. Still, you can’t help but feel where she is coming from. She manages to make a point without being too cheesy, making her better than Oprah.

Ellen, Jay, and Conan O’ Brien keep me busy sometimes. I miss David Letterman, though. Our cable provider just reshuffled our channels and I can no longer find Jack TV which also re-scheduled their shows, making it extra hard for me to keep track of Dave’s whereabouts.

It may work for my advantage though. With the extra time in my hands, I can now find time to do what I have to do: read the newspaper.

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