Sunday, April 08, 2007

Gone to seed

MANONG Willie Baun insists that Republic has been rated substandard. It wouldn’t set or cure properly. More appropriate for mixing tough mortar suitable for construction purposes would be the old-fashioned quicklime or apog made from burnt, pulverized seashells and corals, usually wrapped in peppery betel leaf plus a bit or two of areca nut for the traditional chew—nganga-- that is believed to toughen fangs.

We thought that brand name of Portland cement suggested a stwrong republic. Stwrong may take out the sting and honey of spelling bees but it has a nice wring to it.

Now we have to make do with quicklime as we chew like ruminants at the cud of such sound bite or insufferable cackle as “Itanim sa Senado.” That last term refers to a major branch of the national government that draws up, reviews, amends, or chucks outright certain laws. That fat branch is housed in a building that stands on a Pasay City landfill site, more likely on shifting sands or fine aggregate that usually go into mortar or concrete mixture for pouring.

Rustic old-timers, the simon-pure, and the naïve will likely take such a behest of planting something into a major branch as a job strictly for horticulturists—most voters aren’t exactly into that line of work that calls for a certain technique in asexual propagation. We shudder at the repercussions and implications of such a mode of propagation…

Such mode of asexual propagation is called grafting.

Just maybe an undertaking like that calls for the expertise of, well, undertakers.

Why, quicklime or apog is used to cover rotting corpses to stanch the stench. Talagang pakapalan ng apog ang kailangan upang matakpan ang karima-rimarim na sansang at alingasaw.

Centuries back, parishioners were asked by curates to bring eggs to the parish—the albumin was mixed with burnt seashells and corals—apog—as binder for huge blocks of adobeng bulik cut off river banks or hewn off mountains, and piled high upon another without reinforcing steel bars that became the enduring architecture of ages old churches. Yolks turned up as must ingredient for chocolate espesso or were made as custard that went into equally yummy leche flan, tocino del cielo, or brazo de Mercedes.

With an ubiquitous cackle like “Itanim sa Senado,” we can pore over the fond memories of yesteryears when we went out for some hormone-tugging task as paniningalang pugad, that is, gazing up at some heavenly yet downy dark delights nestling between the thighs of an unsuspecting chick. A hen sounds out a cackle after laying an egg, does she not?

The cackle must have been a hen’s cry of apprehension and protestation over the prospect of its unhatched young getting spirited to the local parish. And the unborn is spilled out, its white thrown into a gooey amalgam of powdered burnt shells and corals, the fetus-to-be whipped up into a potage of custard that faintly echoes through the centuries the Church’s unflinching stand against family planning and women’s reproductive rights.

So how do we make sense of that cackle, “Itanim sa Senado?”

One, it calls for a lot of quicklime or apog.

Two, an undertaker ought to be called for such an undertaking.

Three, all it takes is 60 days for bok choi, pak choi or hakusai—Brassica rapa-- to grow from seed and go to seed. This crap, oops, we mean crop needs a lot of manure.

Four, whatever ye sow ye shall reap a thousandfold.

Five, that’s GO in both Cantonese and Nihongo, mwa-ha-ha-haw!

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