Thursday, December 08, 2005


Dear John
And today
While roaming
Strawberry fields
I closed my eyes and saw the light
A hundred and one slivers that cuts the night
I, Me, Mine
The Ballad of John and Yoko
And a thousand rays of silky black brightness that enveloped my soul
Commencing a Magical Mystery Tour
The rush and thrill never bores my hallucinogenic mind
In my heart
I knew the reason behind the man and the music
Those diluted laughter and obscure Helter Skelter views
The lifeless grace and red orbs, the purpled words and gray sincerity
That coated your kaleidoscopic world!
I understand the dark gestures and the complexities of your answers
As well as the hues of your inactions that were subtly painted by your pale palette in the canvas of life
while aboard the Yellow Submarine
behind the blues and beneath the shades
I saw Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds!

John Lennon…
the prolific singer- songwriter, the war- activist, the Peacenik, the former Beatle, the Dreamer, the Working Class Hero, was shot and killed on the evening of December 8, 1980 by Mark David Chapman just outside the Dakota Building near Central Park, NYC.

The music died twenty- five years ago today?

Let me take you down to Strawberry Fields…

I remember watching him lying in an open casket on black & white TV half- a world away in the Philippines. I was ten and my attention was caught when a playmate blurted out what he heard on TV that, “John Lemon is dead!” which her aunt, a certified member of the flower- power generation promptly corrected him that it’s “John Lennon not John Lemon who was killed by a deranged fan” which elicited laughter among us.

In my young mind then, I only know him to be the leader of the Fab Four, The Beatles, whose vinyl records dominated my Dad’s Radiowealth Stereo Phonograph's playing time and couldn’t comprehend the extent of his death to music fans around the world. It was only years later as I grow older when I was exposed to a lot of Beatles’ articles and materials that I began to understand the man.

When I was thirteen, I purchased a cassette tape of his album -The JOHN LENNON COLLECTION for Php 35.00 from a local record store which was part of the prize money I won in an essay writing contest sponsored by the Mayon (Albay) Chapter of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) during a Provincial Jamboree that I have attended in the summer of 1983. It reigned on my Sony Cassette players for years until the time when finally a CD of his songs replaced it. I began to study the guitar and the first songs I learned where his signature song- Imagine followed by the other Beatles Classics like Revolution, In My Life, Across the Universe and A Day in the Life, just to name a few.

As I went further into my journey into the deep into Beatlesland, I was able to appreciate the kaleidoscopic Lennonscape more clearly. I was transformed into a certified Lennon Fanatic that finally culminated to a visit on Strawberry Fields this year, the Garden of Peace in New York City’s Central Park named in honor of John in 1981 which is said to be his favorite oasis in the park.

John Lennon, so much has been written and said about him- critics tried to paint him in a different light. Chapman tried to silence him forever but failed miserably.

His songs are easy to understand and people can relate easily to his lyrics. His voice is one of a kind; it has a distinct sound that people can feel all his angst and feelings. He sang from the bottom of his heart and bared his soul in his music.

Most of all, he is his own Man.

So long as there are people who love real music- his memory will not be forgotten, his relevance will continue and his music will live forever...

No Virginia, the music did not die that day…

IN MEMORIAM: John Winston Lennon (Oct. 9, 1940- Dec. 8, 1980)

NBC's E- Ring: "The Forgotten" Episode

E- Ring's "The Forgotten" Episode

The notoriety of the Philippines' Islamic Terrorist Group Abu Sayyaf ("Bearer of the Sword" in Arabic) have reached the United States TV audience during the night before Thanksgiving episode of the latest NBC TV Series, E- Ring which is being top billed by Benjamin Bratt who portrays the battle- tested Major James "JT" Tinewski, a battle-tested Green Beret, Ranger and Delta Force operative and Dennis Hopper as Colonel Eli McNulty, a highly- decorated soldier and a former Vietnam War POW who came out of retirement after the 9-11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center to head the United States fight against the terrorists on a global stage. Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, E- Ring is based on the fictional Special Operations Division (S.O.D.) inside the Pentagon's National Operations Command, whose main draw is to show to the viewing public the works of the men of the shadowy Special Operations Command and how they are confronting the growing menace of terrorism worldwide. The show is now gaining popularity among US TV viewers.

The November 23, 2005 episode entitled "The Forgotten" is about Scott Navarro, a Navy SEAL long thought to be dead but is said to be alive as relayed by a CIA operative to the SOD and is in fact in the hands of the notorious Abu Sayyaf bandits and being held in their stronghold in the mountains of Jolo, the main island of the Sulu archipelago in southern Philippines. When Colonel McNulty learns of the news, he immediately put the plan for his rescue into motion. As is always the case in real life and in real situation, in the corridors of power of the United States Department of Defense headquarters where critical decisions are made and decided upon, politicking, professional jealousy and intrigue abounds.

The show captures the conflict between the military and the civilian authorities on their views and the dilemmas they face be it with regards to the matter of national security, foreign policy or saving the life of a serviceman left behind. The viewers learn about the critical decisions made inside the air- conditioned rooms of the Pentagon by intelligence officers/ analysts and the execution of those decisions in the field by covert operatives.

So, when McNulty's plan to rescue the Navy SEAL was thumbed down by a Civilian Department of Defense Bureaucrat, he and his team in the E- Ring had to devise an alternative which lead to the so-called "backdoor" option just to get the soldier back on US soil and into the arms of his father- alive.

The show in an effort to add authenticity, made mention of some of the Abu Sayyaf's real- life notoriety like the infamous Sipadan Hostage- taking incident as well as that of the kidnapping of the two American Missionaries from the Dos Palmas Resort in the island of Palawan who although they refrained from mentioning the names of the Burnham couple, it is quite obvious whom they're referring to when they said that, "the husband was killed during the rescue attempt by the Philippine Security Forces." But all these came out hollow for aside from being ignorant of the Joint Republic of the Philippines- United States Military Treaty, they were also at a loss on the capability of the Philippine Military as well as the Abu Sayyaf which was evident in the lines delivered by the casts during one of the E-Rings brain storming sessions. This is unforgivable for a big- budgeted made for TV- series from a big TV player like NBC. The scriptwriters for this episode had suffered from what spooks would term as "Failure of Intelligence."

The producers tried hard to impress upon the viewers the excitement and the drama in the inner circle of the Pentagon's E-ring but failed. It is not because of the characters fault but rather of the scripts' lack of depth in tackling the topic. They could have dug deeper into the plot and not resort to the fast- paced visual effects to mask the shallowness of the story.

In the end, Colonel McNulty and his men have outmaneuvered the civilian bureaucrat which only shows that when it comes to military matters, nobody knows the ins and outs of special operations like the men in the Pentagon's E- Ring. If only President George W. Bush have consulted them before invading Iraq in the guise of looking for Saddam Hussein's Weapons of Mass Destruction which turned out to be a big embarassment for his administration but that is another story. Only time will tell though whether the new NBC behind-the scenes Power drama will again suffer or not from "Failure of Intelligence" and endure the forever changing and demanding American Television Market.

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