Blogging “The Godfather”

The first book I finished this month is Mario Puzo’s “The Godfather”. I have seen the first movie, but as every bibliophile know, there’s nothing like reading the book.

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My dog-eared copy of Mario Puzo’s opus. Took this pic while waiting for my pasta in a restaurant., but I forgot the cannoli.

As I type this, the much publicized President Duterte’s “War on Drugs” is going on in the Philippines, and the crackdown on the druglords has intensified ever since The Punisher has risen to power (More on druglords later, I guess, coz the third book on my reading list this month is Mark Bowden’s “Killing Pablo”). He even has a diagram of the hierarchy of drug personalities involved. How is this connected to “The Godfather”? Two words – ORGANIZED CRIME. Perhaps another set just as apt, that got the story rolling- NARCOTICS.

This is what has once more challenged the peaceful and organized rule of Don Vito Corleone. An upcoming underboss named Virgil Sollozo has offered the Don financial rewards in exchange for protection in his new drug business. The Don politely declined, saying “… if I were a part of it, could damage my other interests.He also quoted his friends from high places. “They would not be so friendly if my business were narcotics instead of gambling. They think gambling is something like liquor, a harmless vice, and they think narcotics is dirty business. No, don’t protest. I’m telling you their thoughts, not mine. How a man makes his living is not my concern.”And we all know what happens next: he makes an attempt at the Don’s life; murders Luca Brasi and other buttons. Michael Corleone retaliates and a full scale war known as the Five Families War of 1946 ensues (and we learn Sicilian idioms like “go to the mattresses”and “sleep on the bottom of the ocean”). Soon, Don Vito’s era as the boss ends, and Michael takes over the family business, and does his best to make the family legal.

Here are my favorite bits from the book:

On family. “A man who doesn’t spend time with his family, can never be a real man.”

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Constanzia Corleone’s wedding. Photocredits to The Godfather Wikia.

On goodness. “He helped them all, Not only that, he helped them with goodwill, with encouraging words to take the bitter sting out of the charity he gave them.” But let me just note that Vito is also a businessman, and he knows himself. “[ all that he does] of course was not pure Christian charity. Not his best friends would have called Don Corleone a saint from heaven. There was some self-interest in this generosity.”

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This cat wandered in the set and Brando just picked him up and made him a part of the scene. Photocredits to entertainment.time.com

On power and responsibility. Michael, the next Don, said the following words in an exchange with his future wife Kay Adams: “My father is a businessman  trying to provide for his wife and children and those friends he might need someday in time of trouble. He doesn’t accept the rules of society we live in because those rules would’ve condemned him to a life not suitable to a man like himself, a man of extraordinary force and character… But his ultimate aim is to enter that society with a certain power..”

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The Godfather’s inner circle: the consigliere, the caporegimes, and sons. Photocredits to holloywoodreporter.com

Everything is personal. Yep. Damn straight. Stop saying it’s only business, not personal (Walang personalan, trabaho lang. Heeeeeeeey is this the literal translation of the famous quote??) Michael said the following when they were planning to execute Sollozo: “Tom, don’t let anybody kid you. It’s all personal, every bit of business. Every piece of shit a man has to eat everyday of his life is personal. They call it business, OK. But it’s personal as hell. You know where I learned that from? The Don.My old Man. The Godfather. If a bolt of lightning hit a friend of his the old man would take it personal. He took my going into the Marines personal. That’s what makes him great. The Great Don. He takes everything personal. Like God. He knows every feather that falls from the tail of the sparrow or however the hell it goes. Right? And you know something? Accidents don’t happen to people who take accidents as a personal insult.” (Phew, that was loooooong!)

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Passing on the torch.

Hoping to get ahold of Puzo’s The Sicillian!

Meanwhile, time for me to go watch the rest of the trilogy! 😀

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Straight from the Introverts’ Kitchen: the baking of “Cupcakes” Part 1

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The Introverts of Iloilo. (From L-R) Quezzy, Loi, and Roxy.

Viola, Ophelia, and Portia. A few years ago, we were together in a play called “Cafe Shakespeare”and those were our characters’names. Quezzy played the Irish coffee-drunk in love Viola; Loi was as the espresso-guzzling teary-eyed Ophelia; and me, Latte girl Portia.

A few more years down the road, and Quezzy is now an English teacher/quality analyst, Loi is making a name for herself with Homebakes, and I a gradschool student and university instructor, who had just arrived home from two years of Cambodian adventures. We decided to catch up over coffee, song playlists, and love life (or the lack thereof).

One marvelous Saturday, however, I came over Little Theater’s office to find both actors’and writers’workshops in progress. Turns out, Loi has been formulating a recipe for a play about different kinds of love and lovers based on cupcake flavors: blueberries and cream, red velvet, and caramel bliss.

Under Sir Eric’s (USALT) guidance, and over the course of many discussions, the play’s thesis revolves around “home” – the one place or person you always return to. Lifted from Loi’s fresh home-baked products with flavors and smells you’re bound to look for (confession: I adore the Cinanamon Caramel Roll. My goodness! I rarely eat bread, but that’s one bread I have difficulty resisting). Also, it is a homage to Iloilo City, our home and the setting of the play.

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Now introducing, the cupcakes. *cue in Applause

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Blueberries and Cream Cupcakes

Blueberries and Cream Cupcake – Mildly sweet, fruit-based so shelf-life is short thus has to be consumed right away. The type of love or lover: one that’s good for you, the kind that you’ve been waiting for, like the old pair of slippers that you come home to after a long tiring day strutting in high heels. But it has to be now, or never..

Or you wait for a long time for something like it to come along.  😦

Quezzy was tasked to write for Blueberries and Cream, something that she was more than willing (or inspired) to do. The exciting back story is entirely another tale for another post. Only, it’s not my tale to tell, or to post, unfortunately. But if you’re curious, poke around QZ’s blog and you might find a clue.

Eventually the female character was christened Hope Tan, so named because presumably she embodies everyone’s hope for real love. I refused any other surname, and requested (hoped) for Hope to be chinay (pronounced tSi-naI). Since I’m going to play the character, I want it to be a homage to my Chinese roots.

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Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes – A red chocolate cake. Looks good, too sweet. A “red”chocolate cake? Hmm. More on that in a while. We have a word in the Philippines, umay, meaning “tired of something after having been exposed for too long”. But with the red velvet cake, you don’t have to be exposed too long. Its off-the-charts sweetness will overwhelm your tastebuds until you can’t take anymore.The kind of love? Something that isn’t what it seems. The kind of lover? Overwhelmingly good. Or bad. Someone who’s just a bit too much.

I was tasked to write the script for Red Velvet Girl. Honestly, I don’t date so I don’t have that much experience to draw from. Luckily, I have friends who do. HAHAHA!

While conceptualizing the Red Velvet Girl, only one person was on my mind. Clue 1: She looks super good. Nice dress, red lips, rosy cheeks. As for the red velvet cake, yup, coz man, look at that cake. You ain’t hooman if you ain’t tempted to sink your teeth into that deliciously red goodness.

Clue 2: Is she really what she seems? Country girl, geek, hopeless romantic – or – a manipulative, backstabbing, man-eater?  “A ‘red’chocolate cake?”, you ask. “But.. that’s not natural for a chocolate.” My point exactly.

Clue 3: Supermodel Squad goals? Intrigues? Charitable works? Dates? Hits? Demands for companies to change their rules because she didn’t like it? OVERWHELMING. Just like the men that our Red Velvet Girl dates.

Eventually Red Velvet Girl was christened Arvee. Because. Why not?

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Caramel Bliss Cupcakes

Caramel Bliss Cupcake – caramel based-cake, topped with white frosting glazed over with caramel sauce and crowned with salted caramel chewies. You might think this is a sugar-filled treat, but the base itself isn’t too sweet, and the frosting is only enhanced by the sauce. And the salt? Compliments the caramel in a way that puto and dinuguan compliment each other. Or, coffee and tv (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?? BLUR FANS? ANYONE?). Or Oreo’s and milk. Or you and me (char).

This cupcake shows us what love really is: a choice, and hardwork. This cupcake is relatively more difficult to make compared to the other two. Yet here it is.

And all the effort put into making this kind of cupcake shows us how much effort we need to put in for love to succeed: a lot.

Perhaps that is why, we made Loi into a character to represent this cupcake, she’s the best living example of love and effort. She chose to go into the cake business, and we know how much effort she puts into it, and she is succeeding. It is also for her (our collective) love of theater that this particular project is underway. I know it will be wonderful. So far, it already is.

I’m glad she took me in this journey.

(photocreds to Homebakes!!!!!)

Ludic Reader’s Corner: November

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Since I just added The Ludic Reader’s Corner, lemme add past pics of books read.

October:

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September:

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August:

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