Friday, July 28, 2006
I got curious, and took a look at some of the worst dictators the world has ever known, and guess what I found out?
Pol Pot - Cambodia had a parliamentary monarchy before Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge came to power.
Idi Amin - Uganda had a parliamentary system in place when Idi Amin seized power in a coup in 1971, and became a dictator.
Benito Mussolini - Italy had a parliamentary monarchy before Mussolini came to power and established Italy as a fascist state.
Adolf Hitler - Germany had a hybrid presidential-parliamentary system before Hitler became Chancellor. And we all know what happened after that.
It seems to me that it doesn't matter what type of government is in place for a dictator to flourish. If a person is determined enough to wrest power by any means, then he (or she) will become a dictator.
I think that the Sigaw ng Bayan convenors have to rethink their arguments, because, from where I'm standing, Sigaw's arguments for pushing a parliamentary system ring hollow.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Yesterday, due to the incessant rain, and maybe due to the President's State of the Nation Address (SONA), classes were called off, which was a good thing, because it had been raining non-stop the night before.
Last night, I received a text from my chairperson that classes would again be cancelled today, and, no wonder, because, even as I write up this post, the rain is pounding mercilessly outside. Hazel and I decided to do our groceries, and the strong rain caused flooding in our area, making the return home a little difficult, not to mention hazardous.
Of course, my students are probably rejoicing, as are we teachers (what, you think students are the only ones happy when there aren't any classes?). There will be a bill to pay, though, the cost being what topics and lessons will be affected by the cancellation. But still, two more days of rest isn't so bad now, is it?
Not for me, anyway.
Monday, July 24, 2006
Sunday, July 23, 2006
All it took was one mix-up, and my Friday night was totally screwed up.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Monday, July 17, 2006
Friday, July 14, 2006
Ever since I saw the trailer for "Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest," I'd wanted to watch it. I liked the first movie, and I enjoyed the performances, particularly Johnny Depp's Oscar-nominated role as Captain Jack Sparrow. I felt that he captured the rougish, foppish Sparrow and made the role his very own. I also liked the story, which was a classic pirates caper complete with all the trimmings. Thus, I was excited to watch the next installment in the series.
Yesterday, I got my chance.
The movie was everything I'd hoped for. It had swashbuckling action, colorful characters, and a rollicking story that kept me and the audience glued for well over two hours.
The story begins with the interrupted wedding of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley - rowr!) as they are accused of aiding in the escape of Captain Jack Sparrow. The bearer of the arrest warrant, Lord Beckett (Tom Hollander), makes a deal with Will: his and Elizabeth's freedom, in exchange for Jack Sparrow's compass.
Meanwhile, Jack Sparrow, sailing the seas in his beloved Black Pearl, discovers that he is living on borrowed time. It turns out that to be able to sail the Pearl, he made a deal with Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), the supernatural captain of the Flying Dutchman, to have the Pearl for thirteen years. And now, time has run out, and Jack must figure out a way to save his skin.
And that's all about the story I'm going to share. Anything more would give away too much, and spoil the story.
As for the rest...
All in all, the various settings for the movie captured a lot of the pirate-y flavor. Tia Dalma's (Naomie Harris - rowr!) abode, the cannibals' home, and Tortuga all added a flair to the movie. The design of Tortuga, in fact, contains images from the actual ride.
Some of the action scenes were amazing in their choreography, and I felt a little for sorry for the stuntmen would have to pull off the scenes, but they did a bang-up job in the fight scenes. The same goes for the sea shots, especially the battle between the Pearl and the Dutchman.
I also liked the design of the cursed crewmen of the Dutchman, who sported all sorts of marine life features, which added to the aquatic atmosphere of the Dutchman, as well as to their menace.
Aside from the setting and the scenes, it's the characters who make the movie run. At the foremost is Depp, as Cap'n Jack Sparrow, who has some of the best lines in the movie. The two bumbling pirates from the first movie, played by Lee Arenberg and Mackenzie Crook, also provide some comic relief, as well as some really colorful dialogue.
Of the new characters, it's Jones and Tia Dalma whom I like the most. Nighy is able to bring a insidious air to Davy Jones, and makes him as memorable as the first movie's villain, Barbossa, played by Geoffrey Rush.
Naomie Harris, as the voodoo woman Tia Dalma, is at once both sultry and creepy, and the way she colors her voice to reflect this makes for another memorable character.
Of course, the movie ends at a cliffhanger (a wonderful one, at that) , but that's only understandable, considering it is a three-movie series. Still, it's a rip-rollicking ride, which only whets my appetite for the final chapter in the story.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Classes in the High School were cancelled due to the heavy rainfall around 11 o'clock. The announcement fortunately arrived in the dying minutes of the class session, so not too much time was lost to the joyous shouting and rejoicing that erupted with the news. In my class, we could hear the ruckus from the third year wing, but, since the students were working on a seatwork, I was able to keep them on course to finish. It was only when the messenger bearing the news passed by the classroom that I allowed the students to celebrate.
I just wish that the announcement came earlier, considering that the downpour was already pounding early this morning. That way, it wouldn't be such a hassle for people to call for someone to fetch them. The sad part for some students is that, since the people slated to fetch them may be tied up elsewhere, they're stuck in school until later this afternoon.
As for me, I'm heading home with the end of this post. Hallelujah!
I can sleep.
I didn't realize how often we went to eat at Fleur de Lys while Hazel was pregnant with Caitlin until the waiter, who was there for most of our visits then (whose name I probably should ask), asked us if Gabby was the baby Hazel was carrying. I'm sure he was just trying to be friendly, considering that Gabby's four, and very talkative, something a months-old baby wouldn't be able to do. Still, it was nice that he remembered us.
Hazel settled for her regular meal, the pesto pasta, and The Next Best Thing, which is a soft, gooey chocolate cake slathered in chocolate syrup and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, for dessert. I decided to try the savory waffle, settling on the sweet chorizo hamonado and scrambled eggs to accompany it.
When the waffle arrived, it was about 5-6 inches square, with a pat of golden butter oozing on top, with two pieces of the chorizo, scrambled eggs, and slices of fresh crunchy tomato. The waffle was pretty good, although I'm still trying to identify the herbs used to flavor it. The chorizo tasted sweet and savory, like a firm tocino, ably complementing the waffle.
Aside from the food, and the great dessert, what I like about Fleur de Lys is that it's fairly cozy, and the service is very good. The waiters were very accommodating with our requests for extra utensils and stuff for Gabby, and they were very friendly.
The next time I visit, I'm having the waffle again, but this time with the smoked Italian sausage, which my brother says is also excellent.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
It's been busy, though, what with the end of the World Cup and French player Zidane's memorable if disgraceful headbutt (see it here!), the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines coming out with their statement not supporting the impeachment bid, and, on the local front, dealing with two daughters with no yaya, and Hazel and I both suffering from physical breakdown. Still, I'm up and about, what with the advisory marks due in two days, so, life goes on.
Friday, July 07, 2006
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Here are just a few links which I found, through various sources:
La Linea was a animated series of line drawings made between 1969 and 1991, wherein the character, a silhouette of a man, walks a straight line, and is subjected to all sorts of shenanigans by the all-powerful drawing hand and white pencil.
Superdickery archives all of the stupid, weird and sometimes disturbing covers and frames that have appeared on comic books, focusing mainly on Superman.
Want to see how Optimus Prime might transform in live action? Go here.
Wondermark is an online comic strip which takes the old classic illustrations, and gives them new hilarious meaning in the form of a comic strip.
Remember the old Matrix-style ping-pong played by two Japanese? Someone posted it on YouTube, which is a great site for finding interesting and entertaining videos.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
I'm not sure what I was expecting, considering that the trailer didn't leave me breathless like I was with "Batman Returns".
Still, it was an interesting way to reintroduce DC Comics's iconic heroes. Unlike "Batman Begins," which was a much-needed restart to the Batman's story, "Superman Returns" begins where the movies starring the late Christopher Reeve ended.
How Superman saves the world again is just something you have to see for yourself.
The story was pretty good, although lacking in action. I can see why my teenage nephew was bored with it. Still, it was a good enough story, with enough pathos and comedy to keep the ball rolling.
As for the actors, I felt they did a good job of portraying the various characters.
Parker Posey plays Kitty, Lex's ditzy companion. Having seen her in "Blade: Trinity", Posey has a good range of playing varied characters.
Frank Langella's portrayal of editor-in-chief Perry White is underplayed and wonderful to see. While not as volatile as Marvel's J. Jonah Jameson, White is still hardnosed and hungry for the next big scoop, and Langella is able to show this in his performance.
Sam Huntington, as Jimmy Olsen, provides a bit of comic relief to the movie. Even though he's been with the Daily Planet for some time, he still shows a bit of innocence about the world around him, moving through it garrulously.
Monday, July 03, 2006