My photo
ALBERT B. CASUGA, a Philippine-born writer, lives in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, where he continues to write poetry, fiction, and criticism after his retirement from teaching and serving as an elected member of his region's school board. He was nominated to the Mississauga Arts Council Literary Awards in 2007. A graduate of the Royal and Pontifical University of St. Thomas (now University of Santo Tomas, Manila. Literature and English, magna cum laude), he taught English and Literature (Criticism, Theory, and Creative Writing) at the Philippines' De La Salle University and San Beda College. He has authored books of poetry, short stories, literary theory and criticism. He has won awards for his works in Canada, the U.S.A., and the Philippines. His latest work, A Theory of Echoes and Other Poems was published February 2009 by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House. His fiction and poetry were published by online literary journals Asia Writes and Coastal Poems recently. He was a Fellow at the 1972 Silliman University Writers Workshop, Philippines. As a journalist, he worked with the United Press International and wrote an art column for the defunct Philippines Herald.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

(Voices from Three Generations)

(For my Grandchildren)

We will see so/ little of the world that it is/ important for you to see this/ tree, to envision rooms and/ stairs where there is only air/ and leaves, to place the first/ board against the bark. --- From “Treehouse for God” by Hannah Stephenson, The Storialist, 10-25-11

Come summer, we will build
another treehouse on an oak
overlooking the creek, there
is more of you now to gather
remnants we can put together. 

Nothing bigger, but higher,
maybe closer to the clouds,
nearer to the stars, away from
the giggling girls next door.
We will see less of the world. 

Or more of it below: yelping
dogs lining up for the lift-leg
tree astride our river bank,
are easy slingshot targets off
stouter, steadier branches. 

O, and there is soldier-boy
doing it with the wife round
the clock since he came back
wounded from Iraq, Libya,
and all on the eastern crack. 

Shush, buddyboy, that’s not
what treehouses are for. What
are they for, gramps? To espy
on sparrows, robins, jays, owls
talk to each other on sundowns. 

So, if we build it a bit higher,
we can also build a treehouse
for God, can we not, gramps?
Why ever for, laddie? He is
everywhere. But nowhere near? 

Cool. A treehouse for God on
the river bend. Then, maybe,
just maybe, we can visit him
anytime, gramps, ask for help
for starving kids in Somalia. 

Hook him up on a telephone
line, strings and cans and all,
and maybe Dad can provide
Him with a Bell Internet link,
alert Him on the Facebook! 

So he can stop all killings and all
and punish priests who molest
altar boys and girls, and...Whoa!
Whoa, boys, we are building a
treehouse, not His jailhouse. 

Could we build one for God,
anyway, gramps? We got boards
and plywood and shingles and
nails, and...borrow mom’s cross,
to protect Him in His treehouse. 

Winter is almost here, boys,
we need to firm things up here
so it would not fall off. We will
build another come summer
on that oak bent over the creek. 

(He wipes clammy sweat off his
forehead, winces at a strange jab
of pain on his chest, tingling on
his arms.) Time to climb down,
boys, before we nail Him down,

--- Albert B. Casuga


MY THREE POEMS ON FINDING MEANING IN MEANINGS. What is the meaning of life? These are poems as answers to the Big Questions. This post was prompted by Brain Pickings link on Leo Tolstoy's "Finding Meaning in a Meaningless World." It was likewise prompted by an Albert Camus post on the meaning of a life worth living as a moral obligation to find happiness. (See my Timeline on Brain Pickings a year ago below.) --- Painting of the suckling mother by UK artist par excellence Janet Weight Reed.


(For All Who Care to Find Meaning)

Missing the many splendored thing
is one way of looking at this search.
How really far out there do we need
to fly, or espy for the god particle we
seemed to have lost in the process?
Why look behind the stars or in them?
Did we not lose our angels coming off
the crib or the direst cranny for shelter?
They do not grow with us, nor guide us.
Absconding, they quietly creep away.
Courage and devilment open our eyes
to what stories we could live with or by,
or what places to board up or occupy.
Orphans at birth, we are alone at death.
What we mean here is what we make.
The womb is a meaning we cannot do
without: our final breath is a call:
Mother, hold me. Our first cry is a call:
Mother, love me. And then we grow old
shaping up all excess purposes and ends.
The tomb is yet another meaning we
scarcely begin to understand before it
pulls us to its urgent demand: living
to die trying to live while dying is easy
may yet be the meaning we struggle for.


Here's a poetic response to the Big Question: Why is There Something and Not Nothing? (The Strange Ways of Being)*

If another twig falls in the night,
as silently as it grew as a sapling
toward the sky, would that mean
anything anyway to anyone?
The graveyard of a fallen tree
may tell untold stories that stay
untold until a struggling stray root
breaks through dry rot and ground
for yet another flushed cherry tree.
The inexorable is also axiom here:
life begins in death in a spun gyre
twirling into flowers, forever moving.
Nothing is everything here, but there
where leaves had once fallen, broken
twigs spring back as fluttering birds
twittering on branches like new leaves.

*Simon Blackburn, The Big Questions: Philosophy, Quercus Publishing Plc, London, UK, 2009.

Giving up on giving up is a better choice,
when being sensible and clear are futile.
Words would lose meaning, ours will not.
Where you see a vine leading its tendrils
up to a broken branch shedding a last leaf,
you make me see its undulant plummet
to the parched pond mottled by blackened
and brittle leaves long dead even before
the end of this long hot summer. It is real.
Is this not our faultless way of knowing
what we pretend to know when we can
no longer see the dancer from the dance?
Would not the falling of that lonely leaf
trace the slower climb of a clinging vine?
Like seeing both sides of the wall at once.



Ascot Media Group, Inc.

8:55 AM (9 hours ago)
to me
Dear Albert Casuga:
When it involves poverty, the outpouring of generosity from the developed nations of the world is awe-inspiring. In the past five to six decades, more than $1 trillion has been donated to the nations of Sub-Saharan Africa with little to no improvement, despite the overwhelming advantage these nations have in possession of natural resources. Hence, according to retired Maryland neurosurgeon Dr. Sylvanus A. Ayeni, it is obvious that no amount of foreign aid will alleviate the grinding poverty in these nations unless there is a major reversal of the widespread leadership failure.
In his new book, Rescue Thyself: Change In Sub-Saharan Africa Must Come From Within, Dr. Ayeni outlines exactly what needs to be done to help make the people in these nations self-sufficient.
I would like to send a copy of Rescue Thyself in consideration of an interview or review from you. Please read the press release below and let me know if I may schedule an informative interview with Dr. Ayeni. If you would prefer to run this story, I would be happy to send you JPEGs of the author and the book cover.  Thank you.

Kelly Landrum
Ascot Media Group, Inc.
Post Office Box 2394
Friendswood, TX 77549
281.333.3507 Phone
832.569.5539 Fax
(This press release may be reprinted in part or entirety by any print or broadcast media outlet, or used by any means of social media sharing)
Why Is Sub-Saharan Africa Still The Poorest Region In The World Despite Its Abundant Natural Resources And Generous Foreign Aid?
Bethesda, MD, July 26, 2017 ― Why has foreign aid failed to alleviate poverty and promote development and economic growth in Africa? If an influx of more than $1 trillion in aid over five to six decades hasn't solved the problem then it's obvious nothing will help unless there is significant improvement in the performance of the leadership, says Dr. Sylvanus Ayeni – retired neurosurgeon and founder of the non-profit organization Pan Africa Children Advocacy Watch. His new book, Rescue Thyself: Change In Sub-Saharan Africa Must Come From Within, is an in-depth, bold and holistic examination of this region. The discussion about the profound deficits in virtually all areas of human development in these nations engages several  audiences including government policy makers in the West and in Asia, the foreign aid community and Africans in the continent and the Diaspora.
The author strongly suggests that there should be significant rethinking of the open-ended "giving” approach of many of the donors, including the rich and developed nations of the world. Sure, the donors are very passionate about alleviating the suffering of the populations in these nations. However, they should demand more accountability, transparency, honest governance and true commitment to the rule of law from the leaders of these nations.
The most formidable barriers to progress and development in many of the nations in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are Sub-Saharan African leaders who have presided over the decimation of the subcontinent. Some of these nations certainly need help. But first, they must start helping themselves. Several possible solutions are proposed, all anchored on a new type of leadership, quality education, superb infrastructure, respect for the rule of law, and a different strategy by the donors.
The murderous activities of Boko Haram in Nigeria, Niger and Chad, including the abduction of hundreds of female students in North Eastern Nigeria and the 2014 - 2015 Ebola epidemic in West Africa have been well publicized. Recently, the UN says it needs $1.4 billion to help refugees escaping conflict and famine in South Sudan. The country has been embroiled in a catastrophic civil war since 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his deputy, Riek Machar of plotting a coup. Now, nearly 2 million South Sudanese are seeking refuge in neighboring countries. These are three examples of the disasters that plagued and continue to inflict pain and suffering on the people in SSA.
These situations, plus the destitution in many of the other nations of SSA, all make it imperative that a blunt, deep analysis and discussion of the failure of these nations should take place. While the agony in most of these nations affects the majority of the population, the children, the youth, and the elderly have been particularly impacted. 
The book is a comprehensive and rather provocative examination of the calamitous state of most of the nations of SSA; written by someone born in Africa, and educated there from primary school to medical school. He has also been involved in development issues in the sub-continent for many years, mainly in the education and healthcare sectors.
No amount of foreign aid to these poor-performing nations will reverse the poverty in the region unless there is significant improvement in the performance of the leadership. The case is also made that Sub-Saharan Africans have been bequeathed with all the tools needed, i.e., human and natural resources, to develop their nations. Thus, they need not continue the culture of dependency on the rest of the human race.
Available at online outlets including,, and some bookstores.
RescueThyself: Change in Sub-Saharan Africa Must Come From Within
By Dr. Sylvanus Ayeni
Publisher: Hamilton Books
Language: English 
April 2017
ISBN-10: 0761868917
ISBN-13: 978-0761868910
Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services, Canada: "[Dr. Ayeni] has for years been involved in the education of children in Africa as well as in attempts to improve Africa's healthcare sector. If anyone knows about the ins and outs of Africa's decades old problem of little to no progress, it's Dr. Ayeni. He delivers his message with incredible doses of passion, love, logic, and statistics.
His quotes from many sources are appropriate and well placed. And many of his own are also worthy of being cited elsewhere. One memorable one for me, when he debunked any excuse Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) might have as to why it is still in trouble was "Except in the Garden of Eden, no society started out rich.” Another one is: "The color of the skin does not determine the quality of the output of the human brain.”
He goes where others have feared to tread and this is to ask the question, "Is democracy the appropriate form of government for the nations of SSA?” But the bottom line of the good doctor's message is this: it is time for the foreign-aid community to rethink its strategy… In his last chapter as well as his epilogue, the author gives some very practical suggestions as to what can be done now. And he also warns us of what may well happen if these things are not done. Scary. This is a must read for anyone working with NGO's in Africa. It's also a must read for pastors and mission leaders, and of course the individual who cares about helping his or her less fortunate brothers and sisters in the world. Well done, doctor.”

Ascot Media Group is compliant with the can-spam act.  Contact Information:  Ascot Media Group, Inc. Post Office Box 2394, Friendswood, TX 77549. Main: 281.333.3507.  Fax: 832.569.5539.  If you would prefer not to receive press releases and other information from Ascot Media Group, Incorporated, please respond with the word "remove” in the subject line. Please note the removal process can take up to 48 hours before it is fully in effect. Thank you.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

POWS Revenge

Ascot Media Group, Inc.

Jul 17 (1 day ago)
to me
Dear Albert Casuga:
More than 40 years ago, two naval aviators endured unspeakable pain as POWs in Vietnam. One soldier buried his demons and built a successful career in law enforcement. But the other followed his demons down a dark path toward the ultimate revenge.
In The Oath, author Dennis Koller expertly weaves the gripping stories of two former POWs with a modern-day murder investigation to create a mystery-thriller with enough twists and turns to keep readers guessing until the end.
Please allow me to send you a complimentary copy (or pdf) of The Oath in consideration of a review, interview or feature.
Dennis Koller makes a dynamic guest. Please contact me to schedule an interview, or let me know if I may send a review copy of the book. If you would like to run this story I'd be happy to send you a JPEG of Koller and the book cover. Thank you.
Sarah Carter
Pen Books
117 Southwind Drive
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

(This press release may be reprinted in part or entirety by any print or broadcast media outlet, or used by any means of social media sharing)
The Oath — The Desire For Revenge Never Dies
Pleasant Hill, CA, July 17, 2017 ― A lifetime ago, two young naval aviators took an oath to "defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Both were shot down over North Vietnam and endured years of brutal torture in the same prisoner-of-war camp.
Now, one is a San Francisco homicide inspector, with his allegiance firmly anchored in the law. The other remains steadfastly allegiant to the oath and is systematically eliminating Americans who had visited North Vietnam to aid the enemy's cause — Americans he views as domestic enemies. The lives of these two former POWs are about to intersect again, and the consequences will be explosive.
In The Oath, author Dennis Koller creates a gripping, stay-up-all-night mystery-thriller that expertly intertwines the compelling stories of two former POWs with a modern-day murder investigation.
The book opens with the cold-blooded murder of a famous San Francisco newspaper columnist. Homicide Inspector Tom McGuire is called to investigate a scene that's unlike any he's seen before. The victim was shot in the head — execution style — and her arms were bound behind her, the rope knotted tightly from shoulder to wrist.
Awash in an eerie chill of recognition, McGuire is transported back in time to the infamous Hanoi Hilton where as a POW he endured rope torture many times, his arms tied in exactly the same fashion.
The medical examiner — already on the scene — explains that the victim was shot and killed before she was tied up. The killer, it seems, is leaving a calling card that only a select and unfortunate few would recognize.
As the killer's identity slowly comes into focus, McGuire is forced to face his own demons and reluctantly pursue a brother-in-arms. Will McGuire remain allegiant to the law or to the oath he shares with the killer?
Born and raised in San Francisco, author Dennis Koller was the Executive Director of the SS Jeremiah O'Brien, a World War II Liberty ship berthed at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco.
In 2013, Koller figuratively "jumped ship” to write his first mystery-thriller, Kissed By The Snow, about a secret FBI drug taskforce that devises a plan to finally win America's war on drugs. The book placed fourth in the Ink & Insights national writing contest.
He is also the author of The Custer Conspiracy, published in October 2016, which was named a 2017 Distinguished Favorite in the thriller category by Independent Press Award.
The Oath, released in May 2016, won the 2016 Bay Area Independent Publishers Association Book Award for Best Fiction and the 2017 Independent Press Award for Military Fiction.
Koller is a member of the Naval Order of the United States, the Navy League of the United States, the Military Writers Society of America, the California Writers Club, the Independent Book Publishers Association, the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association and is on the Board of Directors of the nonprofit Bethlehem Shipyard Museum. Koller holds an undergraduate degree in philosophy and a graduate degree in business administration, both from Saint Mary's College of California. He lives with his wife in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The Oath
Pen Books
ISBN-10: 0692656731
ISBN-13: 978-0692656730
Available at and all book stores upon request.
Autographed copies are available at
Q & As available on request.
The Irish Herald Book Review: "Dennis Koller's mystery-thriller debut is a strong one. The novel has it all: intrigue, politics, murder and romance. Combined with characters and dialogue that are ultimately believable, The Oath is a real page-turner.”
Military Writers Society of America Review: "An intriguing plot and artful writing make Dennis Koller's The Oath an entertaining read. Readers will appreciate the author's ability to bring a scene and its characters to life with just enough detail to make it all pop, without becoming bogged down in over-descriptive narratives. Adventure and thriller fans' appetite for a rush will be well satiated with the twists and turns throughout this book. Koller displays an innate understanding of the plight of Vietnam POWs as well as the intricacies of police work. He weaves these experiences together to create a plausible and compelling picture of the immense struggles attached to both. That the homicide investigator survived the same prison camp as the killer he now seeks creates a clear conflict — as he must choose between his allegiance to the law and the oath he and the killer once took. The tension builds as readers are drawn into both Tom McGuire's character and the man he reluctantly hunts. The Oath's suspense pulls its readers through each page with a force of its own.”
Mike Billington, author and Army veteran who spent two tours in Vietnam (awarded Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Combat Infantryman's Badge): "A dying former POW, four dead women, a world-weary homicide cop and the Vietnam War are expertly woven together in a masterful piece of storytelling that will leave you guessing right until the last few pages of The Oath. This is an excellent book with just the right amount of social commentary woven into its pages to make it not just another murder mystery.”
Capt. Kris Carlock, USN (retired): "This is the book today's sailors, soldiers, marines and airmen want to take on their long deployments for those short moments they can get away and unload their minds on an entertaining novel. It's a good read that might be hard to put down when you have to go on watch or patrol, but in the end, after the twisty-turny story and after the good guys and the bad guys duke it out, there's the great military lesson. The oath that we all took to 'support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic' is repeated over and over in this novel, reminding us, and perhaps all of society, of our military's responsibility and why we are such a great country. Great book!”

Ascot Media Group is compliant with the can-spam act. Contact Information: Ascot Media Group, Inc. Post Office Box 2394, Friendswood, TX 77549. Main: 281-333-3507. Fax: 832-569-5539. If you would prefer not to receive press releases and other information from Ascot Media Group, Incorporated, please respond with the word "remove” in the subject line. Please note the removal process can take up to 48 hours before it is fully in effect. Thank you.

UFO Ascot Media

Ascot Media Group, Inc.

Jul 17 (1 day ago)
to me
Dear Albert Casuga:
Seventy years ago, UFOs began buzzing Roswell Army Air Force Base in New Mexico. Since then, the subject has remained taboo, despite millions of sightings – including tens of thousands of eyewitness to the Phoenix Lights.
Now, a new documentary and book: Unacknowledged.  An Expose of the World's Greatest Secret by Dr. Steven M. Greer, and a fictional thriller, Undisclosed, by NY Times best-selling author Steve Alten (the editor and co-author of Unacknowledged), are exposing 70 years of lies.
Please read the following press release and let me know if I may schedule an interview with Steve Alten, who wrote Undisclosed and edited Unacknowledged. If you would like to run this story we'd be happy to send you JPEGs of Steve and the two book covers. Steve is well-versed about the secrets revealed in both books and his guest appearances have been leaving hosts and listeners wanting more. Thank you.
Please see YouTube link with Steve Alten at: 
Danielle Malcolm
Ascot Media Group, Inc.
Post Office Box 2394
Friendswood, TX 77549
(281) 333-3507 Phone
(832) 569-5539 Fax

(This press release may be reprinted in part or entirety by any print or broadcast media outlet, or used by any means of social media sharing)
Two New Books Expose The Shocking Truth Behind UFOs, Extraterrestrials, Roswell And Zero-Point-Energy
Washington, DC, July 17, 2017 ― Seventy years after the cover-up of three interstellar craft downed over Roswell Army Air Force Base in New Mexico, two new books and a documentary reveal the shocking truth about covert programs and why the UFO subject remains taboo... even up to the President and Congress!
"It's not about whether these interstellar craft are real,” states Dr. Steven M. Greer, considered by many to be the world's foremost authority on the subject. The author of Unacknowledged: An Expose of the World's Greatest Secret (book), and the executive producer of a new documentary by the same name, has collected testimonials from hundreds of eyewitnesses in the military, Intel agencies, the FAA, NASA, and private defense contractors that expose 70 years of lies. "This is about USAPs ,” Dr. Greer explains. "Unacknowledged Special Access Projects operating illegally outside of Presidential or Congressional oversight, covertly funded over decades by trillions of our tax dollars. What really keeps the subject taboo and outside of the mainstream media are the energy technologies we acquired from these downed vessels – specifically zero-point-energy which would replace fossil fuels. We're talking about a free, clean energy source that would end hunger and poverty, reverse Climate Change, and create millions of new jobs.”
As the editor of Unacknowledged, New York Times best-selling author Steve Alten was given access to these testimonials and used the information to pen his just-released fictional thriller, Undisclosed,  in an attempt to disseminate the truth to the public in digestible bites. "Jimmy Kimmel had President Clinton and President Obama on his talk show and asked both men about UFOs, ETs, and Area 51. They both smiled and poked fun at the subject. But Dr. Greer, the expert who submitted briefings to both administrations as well as members of congress, the CIA Director and the Joint Chiefs, will probably never be allowed on Kimmel or any major talk show to discuss this – not because Jimmy Kimmel wouldn't love to interview him, but because the Intel Agencies refuse to allow it on mainstream media.”
Dr. Greer adds, "Unacknowledged was either the #1 documentary or close to #1 on itunes nearly every week since its release, and it's never mentioned. I flew out to Los Angeles and did a two-hour interview with an entertainment reporter at Breitbart News, only to have the Intel Agency that determines what's allowed to be published cancel it.”
Steve Alten agrees. "There's information in both Unacknowledged and Undisclosed that pulls back the curtain on seventy years of lies, including testimonials from people who have worked in black ops subterranean bases which hold ARVs (Alien Reproduction Vehicles) capable of interstellar travel. Many of these witnesses who held above-top secret clearances would not allow Dr. Greer to publish this information until after they passed on, out of fear. Who could blame them?”
Just how untouchable is the UFO-ET subject?
"I spoke to people very close to Alex Jones,” Dr. Greer said. "I was told the subject was 'too controversial to touch.' This from the guy who claimed the Sandy Hook shooting was fake!”
Please watch the trailer at:
Available at all online outlets
By Steve Alten
Publisher: A and M Publishing LLC
June 2017
ISBN-10: 1943957053
ISBN-13: 978-1943957057
Q&As available on request.