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The House That Telepaths Built

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Saturday Stories April 14, 2018

Even before Jack opened his eyes he already knew where he was. He found himself in a middle of a field, surrounded by untouched grass, as if he had popped out of thin air.

He was back where his uncanny abilities come from. It was also where he must find the world's most powerful telekinetic before it's too late.

Of all the characters of Stephen King, my favorite is Jack Sawyer, the hero of Black House, his second collaboration with Peter Straub. Their first, The Talisman, is when Jack was still a young boy, when he first possessed the powers that will forever mark him different from ordinary men.

And of all the mental movies I've "directed" as I read novels, this is one of the most epic. My "scenes" as Jack with Kevin Costner (Dale Gilbertson), Morgan Freeman (Speedy Parker), Robert Downey Jr. (Henry Leyden), Jeff Bridges (Beezer St. Pierre), Joseph Gordon Levitt (Bobby Dulac), Charlize Theron (Tansy Freneau), Viola Davi…

What Is The Sound of One-Hand Clapping?

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Saturday Stories April 7, 2018

There is a story I want to tell. "All I need is to create the first sentence and everything will flow," I told a friend yesterday. While I was thinking about it, he was playing with Google Assistant on his Android. 
"Hey Google," he asked, as Ironman would ask Jarvis, "did Jonathan get laid last night?" Google said: "Yes!" We laughed and I told him the truth – which I won't share with the public.

"Ask him how to describe the color red to someone who is blind," I told him. It only responds to the voice of the owner of the mobile device.

"Explain that heat, such as a fire or candle flame, or a hot stove burner, is red," answered Google. "Red can usually be thought of as heat, or even a burn. Tell the person, 'If you have ever had a sun burn, your skin turns a red color. Or, if you have felt embarrassed and blushed, that heat on your cheeks looks red.'"

"Hey Google,"…

Where Science and Religion Finally Met

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Saturday Stories March 31, 2018

There is a scene in Dan Brown's Angels & Demons where one of the main characters made a speech that I still remember after all these years.

In the story, the Vatican was held hostage by a mysterious group called the Illuminati, and it was set to be detonated by anti-matter – in an explosion powerful enough to destroy half of Rome.

Carlo Ventresca, the camerlengo, spoke at the papal enclave in a live broadcast shown all over the world. He said the Church has lost – and Science is now the new God. 

But the price is too high, he says. The new God gives us power but without the moral compass to show what is right and wrong. If a man cannot explain natural phenomena, does this make him more ignorant than the man who defies the power of nature?

And since we reject the idea of a Creator, then everything came from  random chance, and "we would rather believe in mathematical impossibility than in a power greater than us."

His speech made me see religi…

What Does Heaven Look Like?

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Saturday Stories March 24, 2018

"I believe in angels, something good in everything I see..." This line from ABBA's timeless song "I Have A Dream" says what I want to say a lot better. 

I still believe humanity is inherently good. I think we human beings have more in common with each other than we realize. 

We all want to live in peace, we all want our lives to be meaningful, and we all want a better future for ourselves and for those we care about.

We also hold on to the promise of a life after life. Whatever name we give to the source of our being, we want to see a better world than this.

Our ideas of the afterlife have evolved through the millennia but the core elements remain. There is no more boat on a river called Styx, yet there is still a passage. There is no scale to weigh our hearts anymore, yet we'd still see our whole life unfold before us.

A friend and I composed a poem about what awaits after the hour of our death. We named it "Heaven" becau…

Do You Have A Superior Mind?

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Saturday Stories March 17, 2018

I was six years old when I learned a wise lesson. In front of our first-grade classroom, above the blackboard, was a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt I would remember forever: 

"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." 

As time goes by, I see its wisdom more and more. I notice that people who only talks about people are those who spread gossip and intrigue. 

Imagine a whiteboard. Using a marker, put a dot in a corner. Now draw a circle around the dot. A small mind is like this: it magnifies the unimportant and perceives things out of context and out of proportion.

Now erase the circle. The dot is still there, yet it is insignificant compared to the rest of the white spaces. This is how broad-minded people think - they see things in the proper perpective.

Character has nothing to do with intelligence. It's not about how high is the IQ: it's about how open is the mind.

I have the highest respect for those…

Embracing Your Authentic Self

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Saturday March 10, 2018

One of my greatest self-discoveries is that I am free to be who I really am. I'm not obligated to wear masks to gain other people's acceptance. Sometimes I felt like an outcast, but as I've said a million times: I'd rather be me than by anyone else. 

And then I found Nicolai Hel. "Never have I identified with a character with this soul-stirring intensity," I wrote in "Shibumi: My Favorite Novel," a 2013 blog post.

As I write about my favorite novel, by coincidence, I also have the theme of my favorite movie as our featured Filipino song of the week. 

The story of Nicolai is my inspiration for "The Art of Understated Perfection," a 2014 two-part blog story in 2014. "I have chosen a path where I found inner peace. Then the story of a young man led me to an even deeper understanding."

"Like Nicholai, I, too, am an orphan with a disdain for the superficial, a need for solitude and an unfathomably deep streak of…

My Favorite Miriam Santiago Jokes Part 2

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Saturday Stories March 3, 2018

I have five close friends from way back who are not active on Facebook but we are constantly in touch through PM. Three of them want to see what I look like now. That's 3 out of 5: not bad, and to think that 2 out of that 3 are my ex. So I sent them my latest photo.

Then another friend asked through Messenger for a "Part 2" of my English translations of my favorite Miriam Santiago jokes. This would be fun, and though it's not "Due to insistent public demand," here is the sequel to our Miriam lines.

I
Gosh you're rude! You didn't even knock but you went straight into my heart!

II
A crush is like a math problem: if you can't get it, just stare.

III
Let's play, but anything except hide-and-seek – because someone like you is hard to find.

IV
Let's have an exhange gift: What's yours is mine and I'm yours.

V
Are you Google? Because everything I'm looking for I found in you.

VI
Can I walk you home? Because my mother …