Monday, July 30, 2012

Harold Hebbenmyer is Joe America?

What's in a name, eh?

Would you read this blog if it were written by Harold Hebbenmyer?

Would you read it if it were by Jose dela Cruz?

And what kind of image do you conjure up in your mind when reading these off-the-wall commentaries? Do you imagine that old bearded geezer in the right column? Or a guy slightly younger with the kind of impish smile a satirist like Jonathan Swift might wear? You know, always carrying around an inside joke.

I'll bet he wears glasses, right? Anybody who reads as much as JoeAm does has gotta wear specs.

What do you figure JoeAm WANTS, anyhow? You think he is a malcontent rabble rouser, a rebel, a discontented, frustrated Tea Party kind of guy who wants to remodel the Philippine social environment? Or maybe an intellectually engaged know-it-all going nowhere in particular, like a tenured college professor of no great ambition? Somebody with a silent agenda, maybe setting himself up with the credentials to tell the Philippines who to elect as president in 2016?

Do you figure he is making money from all the advertisements over there . . . er,up ther. . . er, by selling book rights?

Well, by jumpin' juju beans, I'll TELL you who JoeAm is!

He's what you get when you take all the values of the Philippines, all the values of America, all the preconceptions and biases of both countries, mix them up, rip them to shreds and throw them out. What's left standing is Joe America.

He belongs no where.

He is going no where.

He just is.

It's all rather zen. You see, JoeAm is a push up. He is a good intellectual romp on the treadmill for you. Or the stair climber. A hard-pumping bike ride up the hill and a free-wheeling coast down. A good jog on the beach, occasionally stealing a glance at what's passing in a bikini. He is a guy exercising his life, his brain, his imagination and sharing what he discovers. He is a guy doing crossword puzzles without any squares. Telling punch lines without any jokes.

Let me ask. What do YOU want to be when you grow up and up and old?

Do you want to be lively and fun or a dull drudge people put up with? Do you want your mind to get sharp as the sharpest tack or flatten out into a dull kind of pasty grey gruel? Do you want to wallow in self-pity and an inconsequential zero-ness or do you want to kick a rock down the slope to see if the mountain follows it?

Joe Am chooses to kick rocks.

Every day he kicks one.

There is a discipline to this. To get up every morning, find a new path up a new mountain. Strain over the big boulders, up vertical cliffs, across deep gorges. Ever higher. Through rain and wind and sun and more sun. Then find just the right rock. Roundish and about a foot in diameter. Roll it to the edge just like so . . .  and kick . . .

That's what he does.

The great thing is when others are on the ridge with him, pointing and laughing as the rock tumbles. Watching to see if it shatters or makes a landslide or hits a moose. Many like to kick their own rocks, and that is spectacular. Let the good times roll!

The "Joe" in Joe America comes from all the Filipino kids shouting "Hey, Joe" as he ambles along. They laugh, he laughs. He loves it. Maybe in secret "Joe" means "white turd", but what does Joe care? Some of the kids yell "Daddy!" Maybe that means he is a sexual animal, or maybe they want some of his money. He doesn't exactly know what it is supposed to mean. So he ignores those kids.

The "America" name comes from wanting to point out that he brings a bias, a background, a perspective to Philippine issues that is likely different than a Filipino view. And it is the difference that most are interested in, he suspects. The difference between Western and Filipino norms and ways of thinking and doing. How does an outsider view the Philippines? What should a wise Filipino aspire to be? American in style and thought, or Filipino? Or his own person?

Joe somehow thinks Harold Hebbenmyer simply would not do the job as well as JoeAm. It's like short people can't dunk and tall people can't get under the kitchen sink. A guy named Hebbenmyer simply CANNOT discuss Filipino issues with any kind of credibility.

Joe America can.

He does.

We all understand that a rolling rock gather no moss, eh?

And a big, round rock just sitting there, inert, on the mountain?

What a horrible waste of discovery . . .


  1. Let me welcome you, Joe. Mi casa es su casa.

    Rock-kicker sounds more diplomatic than ass-kicker. But the functionality is the same.

    Thank you.

    1. Why thank you, Edgar. I appreciate the welcome. And indeed, certain rocks have identical purpose to ass-kicking.

  2. Joe
    You asked if you will get the same attention if you wrote under Harold Hebbenmyer. My sense, yes coz content is what matters. Success is another aspect, Joe Am is more eyecatching like in showbiz. Dolphy might not become king of Philippine comedy as Rodolfo Vera Quizon or John Wayne famous as Marion Robert Morrison. Besides when your blog topic is racial in nature your Jewish name might not be the best front. Is. It German or Austrian Jewish ancestry?

    Got to admit, we share same philosophy coincidentally. Yours is kicking the rock down a mountain, mine is pitching the pebble on the water. Mine makes ripples, yours, rocks the earth. Water and Earth are two of five elements or forces in Feng Shui. Guess, they are similar, their effects during the course and where they end up make the difference.

    Keep rocking and more power

    He he he

    Johnny lin

    1. Content indeed counts. My ancestry is 15/16ths German, but being 5th generation American, not much German is left. The Hebbenmyer name is totally made up.

      Keep making waves . . .

    2. Dissagree with you that Hebbenmyer could not discuss any Filipino issues with any kind of credibility. What is in a name? In real estate you have heard location, location, location. In issues, its content, content, content.

      JoeAm chickened out again. Made up his surname. So Harold is real and more than probable, Jewish name.

      You are 5th generation American? Are you Jewish American? Many are proud to be known FilAms!

      Johnny lin

    3. "Chickened out" to you is "prudent" to me, and I make up the definitions for me. You make them up for you.

      My family's religion is Lutheran. I don't claim one myself. I've been to Israel. More guns there than in the Philippines.

    4. Joe
      I was only using the same words you used in the title of your earlier blog necessitating the word "again", not meant to criticize but prod you to reveal more of yourself.


    5. Ahh, okay, good. I understand. I reveal a lot of myself in the ideas I express, and personal incidents or insights. That's enough revealing for me, thanks. I explain this in the right column.

  3. From: Island jim-e (aka: The Cricket)

    1. I appreciate the "content" and "intent" that
    justifies the site, thanks!

    2. As to what to kick, when to kick, what to kick, or
    who to kick or where to kick
    ....well, it may soon become academic if our
    scientific minds cannot come up with a good way to
    prevent or reduce the forthcoming disasters (man made
    or natural) as a illustration:

    In or by-around 2030-38 a NEO (near earth object)--
    asteroid is scheduled to hit earth! This event may
    be classified as a "earth-extinction" event!

    So we can do as much "kicking"-around as possible
    between now and then..but it maybe inevitable that
    we will all be kicking the same "can" at the same

    My suggestion: Be sure that you treasure each
    day above ground, may all of your "on the rock"
    moments be filled with good "cheers"/"suds", and
    be sure to make as many "camelot" (can-a-lot) moments and
    memories as possible!


    Note; I think it was 2003 that earth had a "near miss"
    by a asteroid that no one knew was even coming until it
    had passed be of good cheer! We now have the
    equipment in place to know more about our
    "heavenly" (rocks) bodies! So I guess that this means
    we can really have a "rocking" good time!

    1. Well, that would be a productive use for all the nukes that inhabit the planet, redirecting an oncoming big rock.

  4. Hi Mr Joe, you're a stinker, I googled Harold Habbenmyer and it says...the guy is supper bored, very honory, washup, have a big chip on his shoulder, try to reach the end of the road, in a dog house(Phl), razzmatazz, tomfoolery, the big kahuna.

    1. That is funny. I totally made it up, and did not google it. Seems like the guy has character. I should not ridicule him so.

  5. Doesnt matter what is your true name, Joe; I am not interested.

    What really matter is keep kicking those rocks downward. I like it very much when it hits something and then explodes big time.

    Its Jack

  6. So your real name is Pieter Bott, nice picture

    1. Gadzooks, Pieter Bott is the name of the rock that looks like a body part, unnamed. It's two rocks, actually, and the guide and I are on the other one.

  7. I see you've been to Litchfield National Park. Loved that one, the three waterfalls all in the one place is worth the effort. (Darwin is five hours away by plane from Sydney).

    1. Yes, I went to several fascinating parks and Litchfield was delightful, especially swimming in those pools. Even spent some time in Sydney, where I lost my wallet down at the Opera House. Made for an interesting time. I was by myself most of the time, with an occasional guide to get me up mountains or out to reefs and back alive. The giant clams are the most magnificent creatures I've ever seen in my life. Our boat was out of Tribulation Bay, not as well-traveled as Cairnes.

  8. Whether It's Joe America or Mariano Pacifico your insight does not
    only create ripples but bring a much needed aeration to an oxygen
    depleted pond!

    1. Well, thank you! Breathe deeply! I don't exactly know where Mariano took off to. He used to comment regularly. I miss his acerbic humor.

  9. Joe

    That picture of you behind the phallic symbol, are you sure that is Australia or in one of the gardens in Castro district of San Francisco

    1. Funny to those familiar with the rainbow section of SFO

      Let me see if you find funny and remember the old time commercial with the title of your latest blog " pause that refreshes"

      Do you know why, that when people see a picture of a cable car, they say "rice a roni"?

      He he he

      Johnny Lin

    2. Wow. Some kind of beer, right? Pabst Blue Ribbon? DamnifIknow.

      I'll go for it. Why do they say "rice a roni"?


    3. Old commercial of Coke was "Pause that refreshes"


      Old commercial of "Rice a roni" is a picture of a cable car down Hyde Park road and the commercial goes like this, singing the words:
      "Rice a roni
      The San Francisco treat"

      Always nice to pause with some laughter for it is still the best medicine.
      Keep rockin

      Johnny Lin

  10. Joe
    In this blog, above you have a picture caption of a man covered with paper bag.

    Do you know what is original stage name of this man?
    What TV show did he first appear?

    What major sport US team popularized it later on when its fans started wearing the bag while watching the game?

    He he he

    Johnny Lin

    1. If you can't tell by now, I'm horrid at trivia and find it best to avoid displaying my ignorance by playing. I don't know the name of the man, and the football team, I believe, was Cleveland.

  11. I' m not good either with trivias but since you are pausing and It is best to have fun by exercising the mind before getting Alzheimer; when I saw the picture caption again, I tried to refresh my memory. I assumed you were a fan of him because you featured his famous "unface".

    If my nemory serves me right the name was Unknown Comedian and he first appeared on TV, The Gong Show of Chuck Barris. This paperbag on the head became famous when New Orleans Saints fans started wearing in the games when Coach Jim Mora started losing games in 1995. Jim Mora was not only famous as coach but also as the guy who believed "Elvis is alive". My memory could be wrong. Time to google what I said.

    Cleveland Browns is a good guess because its famous fans called Dawg Pounds almost rioted when the team was moved to Baltimore by owner Art Modell coincidentally in 1995 too becoming Baltimore Ravens. Previous to that, Baltimore had a team called Baltimore Colts before sneekilly moved to Indianapolis by the owner that is why it is now Indianapolis Colts.

    Were you still in US during that time, Remember?


    1. Gadzooks, Bro, how ancient are you? The Gong Show was in black and white!!!

      New Orleans, yes. That's right!

      Short story here, to keep the Alzheimers out of my own cob webs. I have a cousin who once danced with Elvis. She was at a bar with a girlfriend and slipped her wedding ring off. They danced a bunch of dances and Elvis asked if she wanted to leave with him. She got the heebie jeebies (ha) and decided not to. It panned out that her husband ended up being a perfect jerk, they divorced in a couple of years, and she regrets to this day what she missed. It has affected her brain as she has Elvis pasted everywhere, clothes, Facebook, walls. Bathroom. Everywhere. The moral of the story is, if you DO see Elvis alive, follow as if he were Jesus in white spandex pants.

      I lost track of football about 10 years ago. It just went away, as an interest. Peculiar, that. I remember Mora in the haze.

  12. Joe
    Btw, i thought you were good at trivias when you said read your blog Rain and Peace so I went back and also read the piece Cowboys and Indians where you rattled all famous Cowboys.

    The Rifleman was Randolph Scott, isnt it? The actor in Great Escape you were referring was either Steve McQueen or Charles Bronson.
    The cowboy whose horse was Champion was Gene Autry who used to own MLB California Angels.


    He he he

    Johhny Lin

    1. Steve McQueen. Cool dude. Died in the end. Did he play King Rat, too?

      Yes, Gene Autry was a genuine good guy. I was in Los Angeles at the time, visited "The Big A" numerous times.

      The Rifleman was Chuck O'Connor, I believe.


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