Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

illustration by Rickey Beckett

DAVID & GOLIATH is my second Malcolm Gladwell read after THE TIPPING POINT (eight years ago) and the author once again provided intriguing and inspiring simplification of seemingly complex ideas and stories rooted in the socio-cultural layer of our history.

Three thousand years ago on a battlefield in ancient Palestine, a shepherd boy killed a mighty warrior with nothing more than a pebble and a sling. David & Goliath were never part of a myth as David's story is more than a legend and more than a piece of inspiration. With support from history scholars and scientists, Gladwell was able to explain that things do not really mean what they seem---especially when you look down at the underdogs and misfits. And turning the table to the one who cast a look; the very thing that makes people so intimidating can be the source of their greatest weakness.

Additional to David and Goliath story, sample stories of the French Impressionists, the German bombing of London, the Northern Ireland conflict between Protestants and Catholics, the American Civil Rights Movement, even up to the modern day coaching of basketball prove that misfits can significantly overcome obstacles and disadvantages by using the "disadvantage" itself, among other rules (and breaking of some rules).

Gladwell made it clear that David is the complete antidote to Goliath no matter the size and the skill differential. You cannot fight fire with fire as David became water to Goliath's fire and we all know who emerged victorious and who is left lifeless on the ground with a hole in the head from that glorious day of battle in ancient Palestine.

Genre: Non Fiction, Strategy, Psychology, Business
Rating: 4 big fishes in a small lake


All You Zombies by Robert Heinlein

I saw the movie Predestination and most viewers compare it as Inception or Looper of 2014. Learning that it was inspired by a Robert Heinlein short story titled "All You Zombies" published in 1960, I looked for a copy online and I got lucky.

It's amazing how Robert Heinlein was able to create a very tight narrative in a world composed of one character, special thanks to H.G. Wells's invention of the time machine as a fictional device. There are actually two fictional devices here, but I leave the other for you to find out just to keep this short review spoiler-free.

The temporal agent disguised as a barkeeper wearing the Ouroboros ring is a pretty cool idea as an allusion of predestination stuff where there is no such thing as a parallel universe and one reality is created and recreated.  I think at the time this story was written, Heinlein never thought of a parallel universe as a result when you play with your past.

Genre: Sci Fi, Short Story
Rating: 4 shots of Old Underwear drink


A letter to my 24 year old self on my 34th birthday

I know what you've been through but take it easy brother, it's all worth it.

You were never born rich, your family has no influence whatsoever, no social status to bank on but be strong to maintain at your age the values of incorruptibility and trustworthiness. You will face hard decisions especially when a lot of people are involved but follow your heart and your conscience. Both will guide you to a path of righteousness.

Amid limitations and problems, believe that you can rise to the challenge starting on your own effort. When you're at the bottom, there is nothing else to do but to climb but do it one step at the time. Be aware that others are climbing the ladder too so be respectful and be helpful. Even if you choose to live a simple life, know that you still have to work for it. Just don't forget to laugh and learn from others. Treasure your folks and know your place in this part of the world.

Do not be afraid of leaving your comfort zone. Who said that a comfort zone is always static? Nobody. How about trying to see it in a different light? Make it reside in your heart so that you don't need to leave it, you carry it anywhere you go. Just be inspired and keep on dreaming. You have the strength to transform any place to become a piece of heaven. Use it to help your brothers and sisters. Share your blessings and practice humility. Appreciate kindness. Love and forgive but never forget the lessons. Say sorry when you need to. Appreciate somebody who comes along especially if she's the only one who can make you smile.

Knowledge may lead you somewhere, but attitude is everything. Take heed that nice words are nothing if they come from the carnivorous sheep. You will meet a lot of them. If you want to win, play it by God's rules and nothing more. Let them play by their own dirty rules. It's not all about winning, but learning and becoming a better person.

Don't throw away what you have learned. Use them well. You will find soon enough the importance of having a basic background before you take the next steps. You can study on your own but you can also learn from the group so choose your tribe wisely. Sharpen your tools as you wait, and respect the virtue of patience because, it really is a VIRTUE.

Last but not the least, remember about what Master Yoda said to the young Skywalker. It's either you do or you do not. There is no try. You can actually try, but most of the time, it's all about doing it or not doing it. Trying will only lead you to a lot of excuses. Choose to say "I will." It simply means you walk the talk and execute your plans. If the unexpected happens, don't worry there's still another day of possibilities waiting for you.

Seeking wisdom and guidance from Above wont hurt. So good luck!


Ang Alamat ng Panget & Many Other ni Apol Sta. Maria

Naispatan ko lang ito kahapon sa entrance ng Aklatan - Bayanihan Center. Unang inilimbag at inilathala noong 2009, kahapon lang ako ulit nakatsamba ng ganitong klase ng babasahin. Dahil panget ang title, panget din ang drawing. Absurd pero nakakatawa. Nakakatawa pero absurd. Ano nga ba ang tamang diskripsyon nito? Wasak. Wasak dahil matagal na itong nasa baul ng iilang kolektor at mga kakilala, at sintagal na din nito ang expression na Wasak! noong buhay pa si Tado.

Gusto ko dito yung eksenang "Codename: Error," "Nay, Anay Yan" at "Malayo sa Bituka Yan." Pero sa totoo lang, naaala ko ang Nardong Tae ni Louie Cordero habang binabasa ko to... Shit, ganun na pala ako katanda.

Para sa mga batang mambabasa, isipin nyo na lang ang sinabi ni Osho na "Seriousness is a sickness." Parte ng buhay ang tumawa.

Kategorya: Komiks, Katatawanan (Humor)
Marka: Tatlong hiwa ng mantekilya