Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Binging on the Widely Acclaimed TV Series-Damages

Last week, I started watching an old TV series that I have heard but have never watched. The series is titled Damages which premiered in 2007. It has 5 seasons and I just finished Season 1 and 2. I enjoyed these two seasons very much so I did some web search on this series and here's a brief summary from Wikipedia.

Damages is an American legal thriller television series created by the writing and production trio Daniel Zelman and brothers Glenn and Todd A. Kessler. It premiered on July 24, 2007, on FX, and aired for three seasons before moving to the DirecTV channel Audience Network in 2010, airing for two further seasons and concluding in 2012.

The plot revolves around the brilliant, ruthless lawyer Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) and her newest protégée, recent law school graduate Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne). Each season features a major case that Hewes and her firm take on while also examining a chapter of the complex relationship between Ellen and Patty. The first two seasons center on the law firm Hewes & Associates (located in New York City). Later seasons center more on Patty and Ellen's relationship as Ellen attempts to distance herself from Hewes & Associates professionally and personally.

Known for its depiction of season-long cases from the point of view of both a law firm and an opponent, the series is also noted for the technical merit of its writing, including its effective use of plot twists and nonlinear narrative. The series has received critical acclaim and various award nominations, with Close and Željko Ivanek winning Primetime Emmy Awards for their performances.

Other established actors in the cast include Ted Danson, William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden, Timothy Olyphant, Martin Short, Lily Tomlin, John Goodman, Ryan Phillippe, Dylan Baker, Janet McTeer and John Hannah.

Season 1 focuses on a class action lawsuit against the fraudulent multi-billionaire CEO of a defunct company; the plot was inspired by various corporate scandals and characters involved in them, most notably the 2001 Enron scandal. Season 2 deals with the energy industry and related environmental issues; the story is influenced by recent and ongoing environmental cases in the United States in the mining industry and by the events of the 2001 California energy crisis. The writers were guided by environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who shared his experience in the field with various corporations and CEOs. Season 3 is largely based on the 2009 Bernie Madoff scandal. Season 4 describes events based on the Blackwater Security Consulting scandal. Season 5 storyline was inspired by the vicissitudes of the whistleblower website WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.

Looking forward to viewing Season 3,4 and 5 in the next three weeks. If you like legal drama, mystery and thrillers, this is a must viewed TV series.


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Links on My Ancestral Roots and the Nieva Clan of Marinduque

Some of the David Balleza Katague and Macrine Nieva Jambalos Clan during our 60th Wedding Anniversary, May 8, 2017

Last week my daughter and grand daughter called me that they are discussing genealogy and asked me for the links of my ancestral roots as well as Macrine, my spouse of over 60 years. I have written several blogs and this subject since 2009, but in order to facilitate retrieval of these information, just in case my other grand children and other relatives will be interested in their ancestry in the future, I am listing the following links.

These will include my ancestry both on my father side of the Family- K(C)atague, and my mother side ( Balleza). The ancestry of the Macrine's mother side ( Nieva Clan of Marinduque) is also listed. I do not have any information on Macrine's Father side of her Family (Jambalos). The Jambalos clan is a big clan from Marinduque.

1. https://chateaudumer.blogspot.com/2015/01/genealogy-of-balleza-and-kcatague.html

2. http://davidbkatague.blogspot.com/2016/08/victoriano-catague-and-marcelina.html

3. http://davidbkatague.blogspot.com/search?q=balleza+ancestry

4. http://davidbkatague.blogspot.com/search?q=nieva+clan

5. http://lifeinus1960present.blogspot.com/2015/09/chapter-7-prominent-descendants-of.html (Chapter 1 to 8)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Some of My Favorite Quotes on Solitude and Creativity

Several months ago, I received the following e-mail from Joel Cuello, current President of the Philippine-American Academy of Science and Engineering. His e-mail inspired me do some search on quotes from the famous (dead or alive) personalities on the subject/topic about Solitude and Creativity. I am listing 15 of my favorite quotes below.

Here's Joel e-mail:

"In the foregoing link and in reference to Abueva's career longevity, the sculptor was quoted as saying that "the artist must possess the inner drive, passion, and LONELINESS of a long distance runner to go very far.”

Personal Note: Napoleon Abueva is Philippine National Artist for Sculpture who was my contemporary at the University of the Philippines, Diliman in the mid 1950's. (http://davidbkatague.blogspot.com/2017/10/napoleon-abueva-famous-living.html)

Quite notably, this sentiment was echoed just this past week by Cecile Licad, the world-renowned pianist, who was in the Philippines to perform Chopin Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Personal Note: My wife (Macrine) knows very well Cecile's Aunt Gloria Licad Lanot in the mid 1950's. My wife at that time was employed by Mr. Serafin Lanot( deceased) in his(Printing Press). Gloria Licad Lanot was married to poet-essayist-journalist-astrologer, Serafin Lanot. He was a former director of the Bureau of Printing and head of Tamaraw Publishing House, Inc. I also have the honor meeting Mr. Lanot once in his office when I visited Macrine. For more details on Mr Lanot life and achievements read: https://astrologyphilippines.blogspot.com/2013/09/100-years-life-and-work-of-serafin.html

Gloria Licad was the sister of Dr. Jesus Licad, M.D( father of Cecile). Gloria(deceased) was also a pianist and a retired music teacher from the University of the Philippines College of Music. She finished Music, major in Piano at the St. Scholastica’s College, and was praised by her professors at Chicago Musical College, where she obtained her M.A. in Piano.

Cecile Licad was quoted by the Philippine Daily Inquirer as saying that, "I understand it that people are truly proud of you and want you around most of the time. But an artist needs to withdraw from that crowd, to be cloistered like a nun and to be able to reflect on her calling. It is not an easy profession. You have to live life, but you also make sure your art is enriched by it."

The need for such "alone time," of course, is familiar to most artists, scientists, scholars and writers. It is part of the calling.
I believe, however, that many of us can attest that such "alone time" is not a lonely time -- but indeed a time for searching, questing, discovery and, on occasions, enlightenment ". Best regards, Joel
The following are fifteen of my favorite quotes on Solitude( Being Alone) and Creativity

1. “Talent is nurtured in solitude … A creation of importance can only be produced when its author isolates himself, it is a child of solitude.” ~ Johann Wolfgang Von Göethe

2. “Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.” ~ Franz Kafka

3. “The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone—that is the secret of invention: be alone, that is when ideas are born.” ~ Nikola Tesla

4. “Without great solitude no serious work is possible.” ~ Pablo Picasso

5. “Every kind of creative work demands solitude, and being alone, constructively alone, is a prerequisite for every phase of the creative process.” ~ Barbara Powell

6. “A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds.”  ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

7. “The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.” ~ Aldous Huxley

8. “The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.”  ~ Albert Einstein

9. “History shows that the majority of people that have done anything great have passed their youth in seclusion.”  ~ Thomas Carlyle

10. “To be creative you must create a space for yourself where you can be undisturbed… separate from everyday concerns.”   ~ John Cleese

11. “And here in my isolation I can grow stronger. Poetry seems to come of itself, without effort, and I need only let myself dream a little while painting to suggest it.” ~ Paul Gauguin

12. “Artists with serious aspirations need to be left alone to follow the course of their own imagination.” ~ Robert Genn

13. “Often whole days pass without my speaking to anyone.” ~ Vincent van Gogh

14. “My work is always better when I am alone and follow my own impressions.” ~ Claude Monet

15. “Because I cannot work except in solitude, it is necessary that I live my work and that is impossible except in solitude.”  ~ Pablo Picasso

Personal Note: To me, Being Alone and Loneliness are not the same. I could be alone for hours writing and never feel lonely.
Do you have a favorite quote?

Monday, January 1, 2018

Improve Your Parenting Skills as a New Year Resolution

The 4 D's from Left to Right: Dinah, David III, Me, Macrine, Dodie and Ditas, 2016

Today is Day One of the Year of our Lord, 2018. To most of us we believe in a resolution to improve our lives. So, If you are a parent, I suggest you improve your parenting skills.

The other day while talking about my children careers, my Italian-American neighbor asked me if Macrine and I had good parenting skills. Without hesitation I said yes, because all my four children are successful in their chosen careers. (http://davidbkatague.blogspot.com/2017/12/dinah-and-david-iii-professional.html).

I know we were not perfect parents, But we did try to be good parents. Are you a good Mother or Father? Read on...

There are six qualities to possess to be good parents: Patience, a good Listener, very Understanding, Consistent, show empathy, and excellent ability to express love. If you possess 4 to 6 of these qualities, I believe you have good parenting skills. For details and specifics on these qualities read:


Sunday, December 31, 2017

Franz Schubert's Impromptu Op.90, No.3 by Carlos Avila

Lets end this year 2017 with some piano Music of Carlos Avila

I received the following e-mail a couple of months ago after I introduce Carlos piano works to Philippine-American Academy of Science & Engineering (PAASE). I hope this will inspire Carlos to continue with vigor his career in classical piano music.

Carlos, your Aunt Macrine and I are proud of your musical accomplishments. Keep up with good work.



Dear David,

I am grateful to you for introducing to us Carlos Avila and a sampling of his superlative work.

I also came across the link below to his interpretation of Franz Schubert's Impromptu Op. 90 No. 3, and the sonorous tone with which he imbued the piece is simply remarkable.

He allows the piece to be tender and tremulous, yet ably controls it so that it remains far from mawkishness.

Carlos Avila is a revelation.

Best regards, Joel

Joel L. Cuello, Ph.D.
Professor of Biosystems Engineering
Director, Global Institute for Strategic Agriculture in Drylands (GISAD)
Department of Agricultural and
Biosystems Engineering
507 Shantz Building
The University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 85721

Currently Joel is PAASE ( Philippine- American Academy of Science & Engineering-President-Elect


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