Friday, November 30, 2012

Fifteen Styles of Poetry That I Know



Today, I learned a new word-an acrostic poem. Learning a new word is exciting and I thank my friend (VV) who is a budding poet and writer for this new knowledge. This experience inspired me to do some internet search on the types and styles of poems. I found an article that is very informative and was written by Gary Hess. In his article he listed 55 types of poems or poetry. Some of the types or styles I have never heard before. Allow me to quote 15 of the types that I have heard before as follows:

A Chateau Du Mer Acrostic Poem by Vic Vizarra

1. Acrostic
Poetry that certain letters, usually the first in each line form a word or message when read in a sequence.

2. Ballade

Poetry which has three stanzas of seven, eight or ten lines and a shorter final stanza of four or five. All stanzas end with the same one line refrain.

3. Blank verse
A poem written in unrhymed iambic pentameter and is often unobtrusive. The iambic pentameter form often resembles the rhythms of speech.

4. Elegy
A sad and thoughtful poem about the death of an individual.

5. Free verse (vers libre)

Poetry written in either rhyme or unrhymed lines that have no set fixed metrical pattern.

6. Haiku
A Japanese poem composed of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five morae, usually containing a season word. .

7. Limerick
A short sometimes vulgar, humorous poem consisting of five anapestic lines. Lines 1, 2, and 5 have seven to ten syllables, rhyme and have the same verbal rhythm. The 3rd and 4th lines have five to seven syllables, rhyme and have the same rhythm.
type of writing.

8. Ode

A lengthy lyric poem typically of a serious or meditative nature and having an elevated style and formal stanza structure.

9. Quatrain
A stanza or poem consisting of four lines. Lines 2 and 4 must rhyme while having a similar number of syllables.

10. Senryu
A short Japanese style poem, similar to haiku in structure that treats human beings rather than nature: Often in a humorous or satiric way.

11. Shakespearean

A 14-line sonnet consisting of three quatrains of abab cdcd efef followed by a couplet, gg. Shakespearean sonnets generally use iambic pentameter.

12. Sonnet
A lyric poem that consists of 14 lines which usually have one or more conventional rhyme schemes. .

13. Tanka

A Japanese poem of five lines, the first and third composed of five syllables and the other seven.

14. Verse
A single metrical line of poetry.

15. Visual

The visual arrangement of text, images, and symbols to help convey the meaning of the work. Visual poetry is sometimes referred to as a type of concrete poetry.

I hope you learned a few words today.

Reference: 55 Types of Poetry Forms by www.poemofquotes.com

Thursday, November 29, 2012

My top 25 Favorite Quotes for Inspiration



There are several hundreds of quotes for inspiration and motivation published in the Internet. However, the following 25 quotes inspires and motivates me when I feel down, depressed and useless. Do you have a favorite?

1. Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

2. Great men are they who see that spiritual is stronger than any material force - that thoughts rule the world.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

3. I intend to live forever, or die trying.
Groucho Marx

4. Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.
Helen Keller

5. A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.
Bruce Lee

6. Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.
Eleanor Roosevelt

7.

8. Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.
Salvador Dali

9. I like thinking big. If you're going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big.
Donald Trump

10. We learn our virtues from our friends who love us; our faults from the enemy who hates us. We cannot easily discover our real character from a friend. He is a mirror, on which the warmth of our breath impedes the clearness of the reflection.
Jean Paul

11. Dreams are necessary to life.
Anais Nin

12. Just as a flower which seems beautiful and has color but no perfume, so are the fruitless words of the man who speaks them but does them not.
John Dewey

13. Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.
John Dewey

14. Competition is not only the basis of protection to the consumer, but is the incentive to progress.
Herbert Hoover

15. Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation.
Michael Jordan

16. Take your victories, whatever they may be, cherish them, use them, but don't settle for them.
Mia Hamm

17. Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.
Napolean Hill

18. In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
Bill Cosby

19. The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination
Carl Rogers

20.

21. Given the choice between the experience of pain and nothing, I would choose pain.
William Faulkner

22. A man lives by believing something: not by debating and arguing about many things.
Thomas Carlyle

23. The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.
Bertrand Russell

24. The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.
Vince Lombardi

25. Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.
Emily Dickinson

Source: famousquotes.123.com

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Senator Corker Plans to Avoid the Fiscal Cliff Crises

Do you think Senator Corker Plan will solve the Fiscal Cliff?

Senator Bob Corker, a freshman Republican senator from Tennessee has proposed a $4.5 trillion plan on how to avoid next year Fiscal Cliff. His plan is for a 10 year period which included a less inflation adjustment for Social Security, and a gradual increase in the Social Security retirement age to 68 and the Medicare eligibility age to 67. This plan will affect millions of senior citizens and to me this is not acceptable.

Another item in his plan is to include $749 billion in higher tax revenue by capping itemized deductions at $50,000. This proposal will affect the wealthy taxpayers the hardest. I agree on this plan.

According to the news, no Democrats has offered any support. His plan however is very specific which is very rare in Capitol Hill. I commend Senator Corker for his initiative and effort.

Senator Corker also offered a broad outline of the 242-page measure on the editorial page of Monday's Washington Post. A more detailed summary circulating on Capitol Hill contains a fuller description, including higher Medicare premiums for upper-income earners and new revenue from Medicare co-payments and deductibles.

This proposal will hit Federal workers with higher contributions to their pensions and would receive an $11,000 voucher payment to finance their family's health insurance, saving taxpayers about $7 billion a year. I like this proposal.

Do you agree with this proposal?. Do you think this will solve the coming Fiscal Cliff? What are the specifics of the Obama plans? I will welcome any comments.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Improve Your Sex Life by Dancing the Argentine Tango

Yong and Ivy Dancing the Argentine Tango-Photo by Jun Punzalan

I was reading yesterday issue of the Philippine Inquirer- Philippine national daily newspaper with world wide readership. In the Lifestyle Section, there was an article titled Argentine Tango Hits Manila. In that article,Macrine's ( my spouse of 55 years) first cousin and his wife, Young Nieva and Ivy Almario were featured as Argentine Tango practitioners and enthusiasts. The article also hinted that the sex life of the Nievas are much better with their Argentine Tango activity.

I would tend to agree, since dancing is a form of exercise. Exercise improves ones health, thus ones sex life. Allow me to quote an excerpt from that article written by Marge Enriquez.

“Interior designer Ivy Almario and husband-restaurateur Guillermo “Yong” Nieva were awed by Halley’s lithe and graceful presence when she performed the Argentine tango in her birthday party. They invited their traveling group, composed of happy couples, and took some lessons with Ogie Mendoza. They also danced the tango by the sea in Halley’s beach house. Almario had never danced in her life. She kept fit with gym workout. A natural dancer, Nieva would yank her out from her desk and get her to dance at 9 a.m.

“I like to distract her from her work. If not, she will keep on working for hours,” he says. “Ivy is the biggest miracle. She’s a quick learner. Now if you get her a DI, she will twirl and dance nonstop.”

Almario’s main advantage is that she is dancing with her significant other. While most women dancing with a DI will feel a certain connection, this couple is euphoric about the intimacy that it brings. “Our energies are so together that even when we stop dancing, I still feel it,” says Nieva.

Asked how dancing together has enhanced their sex life, Almario replies, “Why, does it need help? Seriously, if you’re fit, the sex is always better.”

The article above reminds me of my teenager days in the 1950's, when my father( now deceased) was teaching us how to dance the tango ( not Argentine), the rumba and the jitterbug. The tango taught by my dad is similar to the current American smooth tango.

Do you know that there are five styles of Tango? They are the Argentine, French, International (Smooth), American, and then one that is still danced in the lower class sections of Argentina. Each of the styles is its own, but there are many similar movements for all styles.

I love watching Dancing with Stars. In this TV program, the Tango Dances are a mixture of International style and American style depending on the professional. The main difference between the two is that in International style, the couple stays in a closed frame, while in American, they separate more often. Below is a video from the show featuring Shawn Johnson.



Speaking of Dancing with Stars( one of my favorite TV shows), last night episode was the first day of a 2-day dancing finals. The finalist were all women. My prediction is that Shawn Johnson and her partner Derek Hough will win.

Monday, November 26, 2012

My Contemporaries are Dying-Dr Teyet Pascual, Ph.D.

PASCUAL with Mrs Imelda Marcos-Photo from philstar.com

Several months ago, I received news that two of my high school contemporaries had died. There were no fanfares or a national press release about their death but just an announcement in FaceBook. Last week, however, one of my classmates in Chemistry from University of the Philippines died and his death was front page in the National Inquirer-The Philippines National Newspaper with a wide readership worldwide. His name was Dr. Eleuterio “Teyet” Pascual. Dr Pascual was one of my ten classmates that graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry in 1955, at the University of the Philippines(UP), Diliman, Quezon City. He also had obtained a Ph.D degree from Switzerland.

During our 50th Chemistry Reunion in 2005, Teyet invited the Chemistry class of 1955 for a pre-reunion party in his condo in Makati. I was not able to attend, but four of my classmates did. I asked all those that attended of their impression about the party. All I heard was about the décor of his condo. I was told all the walls was filled with art work including the ceiling in the bathroom, that guests felt they are in a museum. Pascual did not attend our 50 years of Chemistry reunion. However his coffee table book, the Paintings of Juan Luna was on sale. I was planning on buying one, but at that time I had run out of pesos, plus the price of 5000 pesos( about $120), I considered exorbitant at that time and could be put in good use with other gift items instead of the coffee table book.

The other day, when I read the three articles about his life and accomplishments, it reminded me of my own mortality. It appeared that a few readers were jealous of his accomplishments, based on comments on the articles about his life, his friendship with Imelda Marcos, the Macapagals and other the rich and famous in the Philippines social and political life.

Some of the antiques in Pascual Collection- Image from traveleronfoot.wordpress.com

Here's an excerpt from one of the articles, written by Thelma Sioson San Juan, including some comments from other readers. I will not mention the names of the commentators, but the comments are very, very interesting, indeed.

Teyet Pascual: Another ‘man of gentility’ leaves


MANILA, Philippines—Dr. Eleuterio “Teyet” Pascual: Filipino collector, style arbiter and a power behind the throne.
Why? What’s the story about Teyet? I texted back our editor in chief after she sent me the message early last Tuesday morning that I should write it. Is he preparing another stop-the-press type of event worthy of the news page, I asked.
That was when I was told that Teyet had died early that Tuesday morning, Nov. 20. He woke up at three in the morning and told his household staff that he could hardly breathe. They rushed him to Makati Medical Center where he died a few hours later, apparently due to cardiac arrest.

The news of his sudden death spread fast—on Facebook, in text messages, at social gatherings—among artists and the culturati, the café society (or what remains of it), the high society, the old political order, the society snoops, or even just among friends who had had unforgettable lunches and dinners with him, or people who merely knew of him.

Pascual held no position in government or in big business, not even in a culture institution. Yet he was famous, his name denoting not only prominence, but also a certain power that was quite hard to define, partly because it was something he hardly wielded yet he held—behind the scenes. Pascual was one of the country’s foremost art collectors, a patron of the arts and culture, a social arbiter the past three decades.

The following are some comments, I found revealing and interesting including my own.

1. This article reminded of emperor Nero fiddling while Rome burned. there is just too much poverty in the Philippines to gloat in this. fortunately, in the final analysis, you cannot take it with you.

2. Art collector or art thief?!!!!

3. I just wonder if Teyet supported charitable organizations for the alleviation of less privileged Filipinos

4. Why is it a number want to portray themselves as "Holier than Thou" and when we criticize people as if we are the only righteous people here on earth. I may not know the Marcoses and number of their friends but let us not condemned their friends as well. Is it a case of "inggit" because the person was rich? If the had committed evil things let them answer it before God. The least we can do is try to live uprightly if not morally. (Inggit means jealousy.).

5. Can anyone be spoken of as "good" if he keeps thieves, murderers, and liars as his closest of friends? And don't anyone dare tell me that Christ did such a thing, because the good Lord sought to CHANGE those people, not BECOME one of them.

6. "Manila society." HA! You mean the Manila inbred that is so deep in delusion that they can't discern a Marcos from a Cojuanco from an Arroyo from an Aquino... Oh wait, they're inbred so they must all be the same.

7. Another Marcos crony bites the dust, and the world is a little brighter for it.

8. Now I understand why Midas Marquez was so fanatical in defending a corrupt Thief Justice. He must have inherited it from his uncle, who was also loyal defender of a corrupt regime till the end ... must be running in their blood.

9. This is not opulence, this is cultural decadence trampling over cultural sensibilities. Similar to the NAZI's pre occupation in trying to define and defend a cultural direction detached from social responsibility. They called it cultural rennaisance, but it really was the trappings and excesses of a kleptocracy as it tries to redefine escapism as culture.

10. When I visited Teyet in his Pacific Plaza residence more than a decade ago, it was to interview him about his plans for the wedding of Mikey Arroyo to his distant cousin Angela Montenegro. It was an experience like no other for me. Right at the entrance, I was mesmerized by what I saw. As I later wrote in my lead, ““Elegance is not the only word that comes to one’s mind when entering the home of art collector Eleuterio Pascual. Madness too, as one strains to look up at the ceiling and wonder at the sight of masterpieces that should perhaps be kept in a bank vault.

Last but least is my comment as follows:

11. Dr Eleuterio Pascual was my classmate in Chemistry at the U of the Philippines ( 1951-1955). I remember him to very friendly. During our 50th Chemistry Alumni, he gave a pre-reunion party in his condo in Makati. I was invited but was not able to attend due to a schedule conflict. This was an invitation that I always regretted, since I was not able to see his art collection in person. I only saw his coffee book ( Juan Luna Paintings) that was for sale during our reunion in UP. May his soul rest in Peace, Amen

Finally may I ask “Who among you my dear readers had a classmate whose death made front page in a National Paper”?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Favorite 10 Quotes on Aging



The following 10 quotes about aging from famous names and personalities of the world are my favorites. These quotes, I believe should be an inspiration to all senior citizens of the world. If you are a senior citizen, I hope that you are aging gracefully. Do you have a favorite quote in this list?

1.“I had to wait 110 years to become famous. I wanted to enjoy it as long as possible.” Jeanne Louise Calment (1875-1997) – This French woman is the oldest documented living human.

2.“You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred.” Woody Allen (1935- )

3“Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty.” Coco Chanel (1983-1971) The fashion icon.

4.“Do not try to live forever, you will not succeed.” George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

5.“By the time you’re eighty years old you’ve learned everything. You only have to remember it.” George Burns (1896-1996)



6.“He who is of a calm and happy nature will hardly feel the pressure of age, but to him who is of an opposite disposition, youth and age are equally a burden.” Plato (427-346 B.C.)

7.“At age 20, we worry about what others think of us. At age 40, we don’t care what they think of us. At age 60, we discover they haven’t been thinking of us at all.” Ann Landers (1918-2002)

8.“Because I could not stop for death – He kindly stopped for me.” Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

9.“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be.” Robert Browning (1812-1889)

10.“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” Betty Friedan (1921-2006)

Source: seniorhealthmemos.com

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Shopping

Black Friday Shoppers

Last Thursday, just after our thanksgiving dinner my two daughters went shopping. This was their very, very, early black Friday shopping spree. I may even call it early gray Thursday shopping day. If you live in the US, Canada or UK, the term Black Friday should be in your vocabulary, But for others, it may not mean anything. So this article is for all my readers from 164 countries besides US, Canada and the UK who are not familiar with the terms black Friday and cyber Monday.

The day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, traditionally the beginning of the Christmas shopping season has been called Black Friday. On this day, most major retailers open extremely early and offer promotional sales to kick off the holiday shopping season.

It is not an official holiday, but many non-retail employers also observe this day as a holiday along with Thanksgiving, giving their employees the day off, thereby increasing the number of potential shoppers.

The name originated in Philadelphia, where it originally was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. The use of the term started before 1961 and began to see broader use outside Philadelphia around 1975.

It was common for retailers to open at 6:00 a.m., but in the late 2000's many had crept to 5:00 or even 4:00 for the last 10 years. But it was not until 2011 that this was taken to a new extreme, when several retailers including Target, Kohls, Macy's, Best Buy, and Bealls opened at midnight for the first time.

This year, Walmart led several other retailers in announcing it would open its stores at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, prompting calls for a walkout among some workers. This walkout was on the news last night.
Black Friday Riot at Walmart

I did not shop last Friday, but plan on shopping on-line this coming Monday. This coming Monday is sometimes called Cyber Monday. The term was invented in 2005 by the National Retail Federation. The term is now popular all over the world. I plan on shopping on Overstock Clearance site, Amazon and other sites for my Christmas gifts.

How about you? Did you fight with the crowds last Friday? Were you able to buy a bargain Christmas gift? In my entire life here in US, I had only shop once during a Black Friday event. It was an experience I will never forget. To me it is not worth it. I will shop on line this coming Monday in comfort and no crowds pushing me. Happy Shopping to All!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Photo Memories of Our Golden Wedding Anniversary

Dave and Macrine, Christmas, 2011

The following are some of the photos taken during our Golden Wedding Anniversary Celebration in 2007 in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines


















Thursday, November 22, 2012

My Favorite Quotes For Our 52-Year Thanksgiving Day



Today is our 52 year celebrating Thanksgiving Day here in US. It's a day when my wife uses her real china and silver for a formal dinner-table setting. The following are some of my favorite quotes for this day. We thank the Lord with all our hearts and soul for all the 52 years of Thanksgiving Day, that my family had enjoy.

Here's some quotes for your dessert, just in case you did not have enough turkey or honey baked ham.

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
― Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance

“I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.”
― Jon Stewart

“Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.”
― Erma Bombeck

“I like football. I find its an exciting strategic game. Its a great way to avoid conversation with your family at Thanksgiving.”
― Craig Ferguson

“Thanksgiving Day, a function which originated in New England two or three centuries ago when those people recognized that they really had something to be thankful for -- annually, not oftener -- if they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, during the previous twelve months instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors, the Indians. Thanksgiving Day became a habit, for the reason that in the course of time, as the years drifted on, it was perceived that the exterminating had ceased to be mutual and was all on the white man's side, consequently on the Lord's side; hence it was proper to thank the Lord for it and extend the usual annual compliments.”
― Mark Twain

“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual…O how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches. No run on my bank can drain it, for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment.”
― Henry David Thoreau

“Thanksgiving was nothing more than a pilgrim-created obstacle in the way of Christmas; a dead bird in the street that forced a brief detour.”
― Augusten Burroughs, You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas

“The funny thing about Thanksgiving ,or any big meal, is that you spend 12 hours shopping for it then go home and cook,chop,braise and blanch. Then it's gone in 20 minutes and everybody lies around sort of in a sugar coma and then it takes 4 hours to clean it up.”
― Ted Allen, The Food You Want to Eat: 100 Smart, Simple Recipes

“There is no Thanksgiving back in the old country where I come from. You know why? Because being thankful is a sin.”
― Craig Ferguson

“I know there is poor and hideous suffering, and I've seen the hungry and the guns that go to war. I have lived pain, and my life can tell: I only deepen the wound of the world when I neglect to give thanks for early light dappled through leaves and the heavy perfume of wild roses in early July and the song of crickets on humid nights and the rivers that run and the stars that rise and the rain that falls and all the good things that a good God gives.”
― Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

“Let us give thanks to God above,
Thanks for expressions of His love,
Seen in the book of nature, grand
Taught by His love on every hand.

Let us be thankful in our hearts,
Thankful for all the truth imparts,
For the religion of our Lord,
All that is taught us in His word.

Let us be thankful for a land,
That will for such religion stand;
One that protects it by the law,
One that before it stands in awe.

Thankful for all things let us be,
Though there be woes and misery;
Lessons they bring us for our good-
Later 'twill all be understood.

Thankful for peace o'er land and sea,
Thankful for signs of liberty,
Thankful for homes, for life and health,
Pleasure and plenty, fame and wealth.

Thankful for friends and loved ones, too,
Thankful for all things, good and true,
Thankful for harvest in the fall,
Thankful to Him who gave it all.”
― Lizelia Augusta Jenkins Moore

Source: www.goodreads.com

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Calling All Filipino Americans For Action

Calling all Filipino Americans-I Need your Help!
If you are a Filipino-American I am asking for your support in urging and lobbying President Obama to appoint Filipino-Americans in senior level positions in the Federal Bureaucracy in his coming second term. You can do this via your local or national Filipino-American Associations or e-mailing directly the White House. The White House has set-up an e-mail system ( typed in Google search, E-mail White House or E-mail Obama) that will directly connect you to the White House. You have up to 2,500 characters to send your message.

I did this the other day and still waiting for a response. In my e-mail I stated that three of the groups that assured the reelection of President Obama were the Latin Americans, Asian Americans and Women. I reminded the President of these facts even if he is no longer qualified for a third term. Women, Minorities and Asian -Americans specifically Filipino-Americans are not well represented in the senior levels of employment in the Federal Bureaucracy.

I also informed the White House that I know personally of two women who are well qualified for Federal Appointments, since both of these women are now occupying high level positions in the State of California. The first woman has Hispanic roots and the second woman has Filipino ancestry. These two women are willing to relocate themselves and their families to the Washington D.C. area in spite of the poor climate ( compared to Northern California), if they are offered a high level positions in the Federal government.

My family and I have resided in the State of Maryland for 12 years. So, I know what I am talking about when I compared the climate and weather in the tri-state area of Maryland, Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. with that of the Sacramento area.

Finally, if you know of a Filipino-American who is qualified for a high level positions in the Federal Government, let me know. I will add his or her name in the list that I will send to the White House. Include a short biography of your nominee, reasons why you are nominating this person and positions desired in the Federal Government. I am planning to send this list by mid-December. Thank You!

Personal Note: I am a retired Federal Employee(FDA). At the time of my employment with the Food and Drug Administration (1990-2002), I attained a GS-14 level position in the Center of New Drugs Chemistry. At that time, as far as I knew, I was the first Filipino-American who attained the title of Chemistry Team Leader with first line supervisory responsibilities in the history of FDA.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Are you over 75 and still Blogging?


If you are, I would like to be friends with you. We have something in common. And at our age, to be able to blog and be active also in social media sites, it is a reason to celebrate. Everyone, young or old bloggers had a reason for blogging. I have already stated my own reasons in several of my blogs. But in case this is your first time to read my blogs, the main reason why I blog is because I love to write and second to advertise my small beach resort in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines.

The latest information I have read on demographics of personal bloggers showed that gender wise, the percent between male and female is about the same with slightly higher female percentage(50.9% vs 49.1%). Majority of personal bloggers are from the US, followed by UK and Japan.

According to data published by sysomos.com, the most active bloggers are younger people who have grown up during the blogging "revolution", which started about nine years ago. Bloggers in the 21-to-35 year-old demographic group account for 53.3% of the total blogging population. This group is followed by the generation just behind them - people 20-years-old or under are 20.2% of the blogging landscape. This group is closely followed by 36-to-50 year -olds (19.4%), while bloggers who are 51-years-old and older only account for 7.1%. There is no specific data on bloggers over 75 years or older. I would guess less than 1% is a probable number.

Thus if you are over 75 and still blogging you are a rare breed. I would like to be friends with you. You can reached me via my personal blog and autobiography at http://davidbkatague.blogspot.com or via my Facebook Account under David B Katague.
I am looking forward to hear from you! Happy Blogging! Note: this invitation is also open to all readers of my blog.

Monday, November 5, 2012

My Failures Inspired me to Success

The White House Tour and Annual Christmas Card Greetings from the Clinton's during Bill Clinton Administration were two events in our life here in US that my wife and I will always cherish and remember.

Have you ever looked back in your past and remembered your failures? Have you realized that without those failures you could not have succeeded? The common saying that you have to fail in order to succeed applies to the following past events in my life.

The first event in my life to support the above statement occurred during my elementary school days. When I did not receive the first honor award (I got 2nd honor award) during my elementary school graduation both my parents and I were very disappointed. My parents even contemplated filing an official complaint to the school superintendent against my teacher and principal for nepotism since the valedictorian was a close relative of the teacher and principal.

However, I convinced my parents not to do it. I told them I would work harder in high school to be number one, to show the teacher and principal they made a mistake in the selection process. The whole four years of high school, I competed with the top five honor students from my elementary school. Needless to say, I graduated valedictorian of our high school class. My classmate who was the valedictorian in my elementary school got the salutatorian award (second place). I was happy and felt vindicated. My teacher in elementary school congratulated me but without looking straight into my eye, when my parents invited her to my high school graduation party at our house.

The second event in my life illustrating the statement "you have to fail in order to succeed" was during my graduation with my Bachelors degree in Chemistry from the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City in 1955. When I missed graduating cum laude (with Honor) by just 0.24 points, I told myself I would pursue my Ph.D. in the United States to show my professor in Differential Calculus who gave me a "4.0" (condition) grade when I received only 69% in the final exam(I missed 1 point to get a C). I took a retest and passed it with flying colors.

In my chemistry class, there were only 15 of us and only one graduated cum laude. That showed how hard it was to graduate with honor in chemistry at that time. That grade of "4" certainly did deflate my ego and self-esteem. Two years later, my self-esteem was redeemed when I passed the National Board Examination for Chemists, taking 3rd place nation-wide.

My four years average including the "4.0" that I got from Differential Calculus was included in the calculation (not my passing grade of 3.0 after a retest the next day) turned out to be 1.99 (not high enough for honor). But if you calculate my four year average with the 3.0 that I got after the retest, my four year average turned out to be 1.74, enough to receive the cum laude (with honor) award.

When I found this out, I was so furious, I wished my calculus professor be run over by a car or misfortunes fall on her every day of her life. When I saw her in the hallway, I gave her a stare of hate (like an arrow that pierced her heart that did not stop bleeding until she died).

But I vowed to the whole world, I will obtain a Doctorate Degree in the United States to show to my Professor in Differential Calculus what she did to my ego. Looking back, I think I should thank her for what she did, because there were numerous times during my first year in Graduate School, that I wanted to quit. But once I remember the incident, it reminded me of the vow I made to myself not to quit at any cost.

The third event in my life illustrating you have to fail in order to succeed was the culmination of my 22 years of experience working for private industries here in US. I lost my first job in industry of my own free will. I wanted to receive a 20% raise in income as well as move to a warmer climate (West Coast of the US).

The second private industry job that I lost was due to the company moving and closing their agricultural research division and also consolidating their research facility in one location to save money. I lost my third job in private industry because the firm wanted to save money and also wanted to get out of the pesticide business.

My fourth job loss was the most heart-breaking episode in my career. I had only one day of notice. After working for the firm for 12 years with good performance, it took management only one day to tell me that they not need me any more, good bye, and to look for another job.

That feeling of anger, loss of ego, shock and envy (for those who were not fired) was indescribable and humiliating. I vowed I would never worked for a private firm again in my life. My determination to work for the Federal Government was achieved when I worked for the Food and Drug Administration(FDA) in the Fall of 1990. David III and Me at the Portico of the White House Waiting for the Private Tour of the White House, 1995 Inside and Outside envelop of Christmas card from the Clinton's, 1995.

Working for FDA was the best move I have ever made in my career. My 12 years in the FDA was filled with awards, accomplishments and personal growth. Our life in the suburb of Washington, DC was filled with civic involvements, social and cultural activities, humanitarian projects and pleasant memories. The highlight of our stay in the Washington, D.C area was a private tour of the WHITE HOUSE.

Receiving a Christmas card from the White House for four years during the Clinton administration was the ultimate fulfillment of a Filipino student dream. Working for the Federal government was icing on the cake. Had any one of the four private firms not failed me, or had retained me as an employee, I would not have had the courage and incentive to work for Food and Drug Administration. Fireplace inside the White House with me and Macrine in our winter Outfits

The above three events in my life showed that you have to fail in order to succeed. How about you? Can you recall a past experience in your life that inspired you to success? I will be delighted to hear from you.

Are you curious why my wife are in the Christmas list of the Clinton's during the Clinton-Gore Years? Not because we were registered Democrats but I believe because our youngest son was then working in the Office of the President Management and Budget and my youngest daughter was a Presidential Intern in the Vice President Office. Those days are gone and I believe we will never be in the Christmas list of any President or Vice President of the US now or in the future.

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Highlights of My Professional Career

In my more than 40 years of professional career, I have experienced both working rank and file, as well as supervising the work of subordinates. I have worked in four private firms and the Federal Government, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), where I retired. I enjoyed the challenges and difficulties of both types of job situations. This is the highlights of my work experience story.

My first job after completing my doctorate degree was a Chemist for Chemagro Corporation in Kansas City, Missouri. It was a subsidiary of Bayer Corporation, a German conglomerate. I worked for the analytical chemistry department comprised of about fifty people; half that number was either chemists or biologists. My specific task was to develop analytical methods for the detection of pesticide residues in plant and animal tissues. I worked on my own, similar to six other bench chemists, and we all reported to the same supervisor.

The firm sponsored my visa conversion from a student to a permanent resident, and I was able to legally work and reside in the United States with my family. The company generously took care of its employees. At the end of each successful year, everyone received a 13th month salary bonus. The employees and their families celebrated wonderful annual Christmas parties in a downtown Kansas City hotel, with dancing and free drinks for the whole night.

Inasmuch as I enjoyed and loved working for Chemagro for five years, I found a new job which offered a substantially higher pay. Due to my exemplary work performance, my supervisor preferred and lobbied for me to stay with the company. I had to turn him down because they could not match the package presented by my new employer. It was also a chance for me and my family to move and live in the US west coast, where the mild winter climate is bearable compared to the Midwest.

My next job was at the agricultural research division of Shell Development Company in Modesto, California. I was a Research Chemist, and again I worked individually, same as five other chemists who all reported to a supervisor. My specific duty was similar to my previous job. I worked for them for five years, until the company decided to get out of the pesticide business. They closed their research facility affecting the jobs of more than 200 employees.

My third industrial job was with the agricultural research division of Stauffer chemical company, located in Richmond, California. I was a Senior Research Chemist doing the same project as my two previous jobs. I worked for twelve continuous years for the company, with outstanding annual job performance. I became a Principal Research Chemist, the highest attainable non-supervisory position.

One day in 1986, my supervisor informed me that my job had been eliminated, and I had one day to vacate the facility. It was the most dreadful lay off experience in my life. I felt anger, sadness and humiliation to be dismissed from work with one day notice, after all the years of hard work invested for the company. This was an unforgettable incident and was the gloomiest point in my professional career.
The company terminated sixty research employees, who were upset of the bad news.

One of the chemists was distressed and expressed his outrageous anger by threatening the company and its workers. He told his supervisor of his intention to bomb and burn down the laboratory. He was immediately escorted by the security staff out of the building and into his car. He was informed to leave behind his personal belongings; they will be mailed to his residence. He was warned never to show up again near the company premises or risk getting arrested.

My supervisor was kind and allowed me to take my time to pack up my belongings. It took me two days to clear up my workplace, after toiling for a long period in the same jobsite. We were provided clerical help and office space, in preparation to look for another job, such as updating our resumes, and using the computer and copy machine. We were given six weeks of separation pay plus benefits.

Fortunately, with the help of a friend who is a Church parishioner, I found another job thirty days after leaving Stauffer chemical company. He hired me as a senior research chemist and as a group leader with two technicians to supervise. It was in the same field as my expertise in my previous three jobs spanning the last twenty one years. My new employer was Chevron Chemical Company, and which was located in the same area as my former employer.

This job gave me the introduction and basic knowledge of managing the work of subordinates. I worked for Chevron Company for four and a half years. The company decided to consolidate their research facilities in Texas, and lay off all its research employees. This time I had enough distress and agony from working, and eventually getting laid off from several private companies. To avoid going through any more miserable layoffs, I made a vow that I would never again work for a private company.

In my work experiences, there were noticeable and unavoidable jobsite occurrences. One can never miss the office romantic relationships between co-workers, both illicit and permitted. Though it was frowned upon, there was a boss and staff relationship, which was used as a ploy to get ahead in the company. Some relationships had chemistry, no pun intended, but some never worked out. Oftentimes, there was a sense of distrust among bench chemists for some workers who unjustly obtained preferred work assignments.

Some employees resorted to bribing superiors to get special privileges, such as being able to attend choice conferences and meetings in exciting venues or locations. Likewise, politics was always present at the worksites. It was during an era when various forms of harassment, equal opportunity and discrimination laws were not yet enforced in the workplace. Occasionally, an unexpected chemical explosion happens in a laboratory setting, where luckily no one got seriously hurt.

In the three private companies I worked for, I was able to publish scientific journals for some of the research studies and analytical methods which I developed for the respective companies of Chemagro, Shell Development and Stauffer.

After deciding and making a vow to avoid working in the private sector, I made my new goal which was either to work for the state of California, or the Federal government in Washington, D.C. Four months after I lost my job in Chevron, I was lucky and joyful to be hired by the Food and Drug Administration as a review chemist in the fall of 1990.

In 1994 I was promoted as an Expert Research Chemist with a GS-14 rating. My expertise was on Anti-malarial and Anti-parasitic drug products. In 1997, I was again deservingly promoted to Chemistry team leader, supervising the work of six Chemistry reviewers including five with doctorate degrees.

As team leader, I was responsible for prioritizing, assigning, and assuring the technical accuracy of all chemistry, manufacturing and control issues for all new drug applications submitted to the Division of Anti-Infective Drug Products, Center of New Drugs.

It was part of my responsibility to give advice, instruct and promote high morale and teamwork in my group. My work in the FDA is confidential, until the drug patent on the products I worked on has expired. There are manufacturing supplements that I have approved that are now open for the public in the Internet.

In 1998, I won the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Award. The citation reads, “For outstanding accomplishments in fostering the objectives of the EEO Program by hiring minorities and encouraging their professional growth while providing excellent leadership.” I have received numerous certificates of appreciation, awards in leadership and communications, commendation for teamwork and excellence in the accomplishment of the FDA mission. I have also received several letters of appreciation from private industry for my review work.

There are many good things working as rank and file while enjoying doing one’s job individually. It is a humbling, satisfying and productive experience, if one can work in harmony with one’s immediate supervisor. Working individually develops one’s skills in goal setting and scheduling. But in general, the financial rewards are less than a person who has supervisory responsibilities.

Managing the work of others has its challenges. Moreover, it develops one’s skill in handling and developing people, and the compensation rewards and benefits are better. Due to additional duties, responsibilities and leadership, supervisory work can be more stressful than working as a subordinate. However, supervisory jobs give one more personal growth and satisfaction, based on my personal experience. My work in FDA as a team leader managing the work of six scientists had been the happiest and rewarding work experience in my career in Chemistry. You might also like:

Comments

Write a Comment

David B Katague

Hi, David, thank you for your comments.

Monday, September 17th, 2012 at 11:54am

David Oles

It seems that you've had a very interesting and exciting career!

Sunday, September 16th, 2012 at 05:04pm

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