Friday, June 29, 2007
I'm glad these two have reached the magic numbers, which will probably assure them of enshrinement in baseball's Hall of Fame. More than that, though, I'm glad because they're two of my favorite players.
What I like about Biggio is that he's always been a scrappy type of player; he always comes to a game ready to play. He'll do anything to help his team win, whether it'll be to get a key hit to drive in a runner, or sacrifice himself to move a player into scoring position. In addition, what makes Biggio's accomplishment special is that he's one of the rare and vanishing breed of players who have spent their entire careers with one team. Biggio is truly one of a kind.
While injuries and age have slowed him down considerably, Frank Thomas continues to be a dangerous and disciplined hitter. At the start of his career, Thomas set a record by averaging more than 20 home runs, 100 runs batted in (RBI) and 100 walks for eight straight years.
His combination of power and plate discipline established him as one of the most dangerous hitters of the 90s.
Biggio and Thomas are two players whose playing styles are very different, but, through a twist of fate, are entwined through the milestones they set, both on the same day.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Even though I hadn't been following professional wrestling for a while now, one of the wrestlers who still stands out for me was Chris Benoit, also named "The Canadian Crippler." His pure ability and skill in executing the various wrestling moves in the squared circle was a joy to behold. Watching him execute the triple German suplex was like a complex dance move. His finisher, the Crippler Crossface, must have been excruciating for his opponents to experience, if it was actually applied, wrestling, of course, being a scripted event, rather than an actual sporting match. Still, it requires skill to apply these moves without seriously injuring an opponent, and Benoit was truly one of the best in the business.
Chris was also one of the more multi-awarded wrestlers, winning championships in the WCW, the WWE, and various other federations.
This is why was jarring to read about Chris Benoit's death, along with those of his wife and 7-year old son, which apparently happened over the weekend. It was even more shocking to hear that it was an apparent murder-suicide. I don't know much about the wrestlers' personal lives, but it makes me wonder what demons must have been raging for the Benoit family to be killed in one blow.
What made the event surreal is that, in the current WWE storyline, owner Vince McMahon is supposed to have been killed in a car explosion. Benoit's family's death promptly put an end to that storyline, as McMahon apparently appeared during what was supposed to be his funeral service to confirm the deaths of the Benoits.
My prayers go out to the members of Benoit's family, as they go through this harrowing period. And, for Chris and his family, I pray that they be at peace.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Worth1000.com is a web site which holds various contests photoshop enthusiasts. One can send in entries of animals made into vehicles, of movies or celebrities mashed together. I'm impressed at the level of skill the entries display; it makes me want to try it out myself.
Try going to worth1000.com and surf through myriad galleries of photoshop art. The most entertaining ones for me are:
Mate a Movie (12 galleries) - Want to see Jimmy Neutron in the Matrix? Now you can!
Movievision (5 galleries) - Merging TV and movies. Similar to Mate a Movie.
Animal Crossbreeds (1 gallery) - Doctor Dolittle would have fits.
Bad Ads (3 galleries) - Of course, a lot of these are based on American ads, but still fun to view. Warning, though: some of the ads are rather gross, so you may want to pass on them.
And these are just some of the things one will find on the site. There are a lot.
Friday, June 22, 2007
The reason for the lack of traffic was that classes today start in about an hour or so, at 1 pm. This is due to the celebration later at 5 pm of the Mass of the Holy Spirit, the first schoolwide Mass in the high school. The reason for the late time is to allow the students' parents to be able to attend the Mass, and join in committing themselves to their sons' formation for this school year.
After the Mass, there will be a salu-salo in each classroom, and, from what I hear, some of the classes have some really elaborate numbers planned. Unfortunately for me, I won't be able to go around and take in the sights. As a class moderator, I'll more or less be stationed with my class, and entertain the various guests who'll be arriving. Moreover, I won't be able to leave early, as I have in the past two years when I wasn't moderating, since I'll have to stay and oversee my class's activities. Oh, well. C'est la vie. At least it's only once a year.
The school year has started out slowly for me, as I'm in the middle of several projects, dividing my time between school, sidelines, and family. It's not a perfect mix, but I'm making do with it. I'll be coming out of some of my projects soon, so that'll free up time for me. Not much, but every little bit counts.
One of the nice things about having classes in the afternoon is that I have the whole morning to prepare for my classes, as well as do other things, such as sleep. Of course, I'm working with the knowledge that the earliest that I'll be getting out of here will be sometime around 8:30 to 9 pm, but that's okay. It's only once a year.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
I haven’t lost a phone due to theft since I left my very first cell phone, a durable second-hand 5110, on a newspaper stand. The other two phones that I had, another 5110 and a 3310, I had to give up due to phone breakdown.
This time, the new phone I got less than two months ago, was stolen when it fell from my belt hook, most likely while I was loading the car. Yeah, I probably should’ve secured it more, but I’d been careful about it in the past. I guess I was just too tired to realize that it had fallen off, and only noticed that it was gone when we got home. When I tried ringing it, it registered the ”the subscriber could not be reached" message, meaning whoever found the phone turned it off, and most likely removed my sim card. Argh.
To think that I had given careful thought as to what phone I’d get, meticulously canvassing prices at the Cyberzone until I settled on that particular model. I'd just gotten used to using the various functions, too.
More than the phone, though, it’s the loss of the contact list that I’ll regret the most. While a good number of them are in my computer files, the more recent numbers won’t be. Still, it’ll probably just take a bit of work, and, once I get a new phone, I can probably reconstruct most of the more important numbers.
Strangely, I’m not too affected by the loss, because I keep telling myself, “It’s only a phone; I’ll get another.” And that’s probably the way to go; at least I didn’t lose anything too valuable.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
The decision of the President to commute the two life sentences of convicted rapist and former Congressman Romeo Jalosjos sends the wrong message to the Filipino people. Jalosjos’ commutation tells us that victims of rape cannot expect justice, if it means that the monsters who violated them will eventually be allowed to be set free. True, commutation isn’t the same as a pardon; Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita stresses this. But it still means that Jalosjos, who is 66, can expect to be pardoned when he turns 70, considering that the President almost automatically does this. Is this justice?
Remember that the victim that Jalosjos raped was only eleven at the time, so that makes Jalosjos both a rapist and a child molester. Is this the sort of creature we want released into our society? Is this justice?
Furthermore, according to the Inquirer story, Jalosjos was sentenced to two life sentences, which, in reality, runs to about 30-40 years (I’ll need to check that), plus “an additional 8 to 15 years for each of the six counts of acts of lasciviousness.” That’s a grand maximum total of 170 years in prison, which means that, if properly served, Jalosjos should never see the light of freedom; he should die in prison. If we count the number of years Jalosjos has spent in prison, he has spent a total of eleven years, five of it after the Supreme Court affirmed the lower court’s decision with finality. Five years out of 170. Is this justice?
The timing of the commutation, coming off the heels of the recent May election, smacks of political payback, which isn’t anything new under this administration. Jalosjos is said to still have tremendous clout in Zamboanga del Norte, and it isn’t a flight of fancy to imagine that his commutation has something to do with the late actor and 2004 presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr. losing by around 100,000 votes.
As Katrina Legarda so acidly put in her response to the Inquirer story, “What can we say? This President has allowed a Garci (Garcillano), rapist of the electoral process, allowed a Pidal, a rapist of the economy. So she must have wanted to complete the cast of characters and allow a rapist of our children to do as he wants also.”
We have to make our voice heard in this case. We have to send the message loud and clear that Jalosjos should not be allowed such leniency, that criminals will be punished for their crimes. Is this justice? Certainly not.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Well, it’s been a busy week in school, and I haven’t really been able to write anything about the political situation, but I’ve been keeping track of things, so here another set of hodgepodge.
* * *
It looks like it’s a cinch that former Army Captain Antonio Trillanes will manage to get elected as a Senator, and that will be a bully pulpit for him, to rant against the administration. While a number of people are extolling the former soldier’s virtues, I can’t see beyond the fact that he and his cohorts took extralegal means to air their grievances. What will stop other whackos from trying the same thing? Oh, wait, I forgot. With what Jun Ducat did a few months ago, it’s already been done.
Already he’s shown his ignorance of legislative work, by vowing to push for the President’s impeachment. But, isn’t impeaching the President the work of the House? And from the looks of it, that’s impossible to achieve, given the current composition of the House.
* * *
It’s interesting that, last Thursday, when the House commemorated its centennial, Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teddy Casino said that there was nothing to commemorate, considering that, according to him, the House was full of thieves and corrupt officials. But he belongs to the House, so does he count himself among these? Just a thought.
It’s also interesting that the House, in celebrating its centennial, didn’t manage to muster a quorum for its three remaining days of office. As a result, key measures, such as the cheaper medicines bill and the revised UP Charter, among others, will have to be re-filed in the next Congress, without any assurance that they will be passed. Is this what the House is proud of?
* * *
Once more, Pangasinan Rep.-elect Joe de Venecia will attempt to pursue his lifelong dream of leading the country, by putting forth the proposal for Charter Change. First of all, he has to become Speaker again, as it will be from this position that he will lead the charge to Charter Change. However, despite Star columnist Alex Magno’s assertions, de Venecia will have some serious challengers this time around, a few even coming from his own camp. Already, it’s divided the administration allies; it’s one of the things fueling Cebu Rep. Pablo Garcia’s challenge to de Venecia’s hold on the House.
I’m not sure what’s behind Kampi’s political maneuverings to oust de Venecia, but it may have to do with an attempt to break de Venecia’s power base, so that the President will no longer be beholden to the Pangasinan congressman for political favors. It may be a simple power grab by those tired of de Venecia’s leadership.
It will be a while before the dust settles in this political brouhaha. Since Congress reconvenes on July 23, 2007, I guess we’ll be seeing the horse trading go on until then, unless de Venecia can once more weave his magic, and wheel and deal to ensure that he will be reelected as Speaker, for an unprecedented fifth term.
Friday, June 08, 2007
I'm also easing back into the daily routine of class moderating: coming to the classroom before the first period, checking student attendance and dress code, leading the class for the flag ceremony, and giving the students a short reflection to start off the day. So far, it's all fluff; the real work will begin next week, when I start with the regular school work. It's a good thing that it's a long weekend because of the commemoration of Philippine independence on Monday (should be Tuesday, but that's GMA's "holiday economics" for you). It'll give me a chance to rest and recuperate, and prepare for the coming week's activities.
Monday, June 04, 2007
Another school year is on the verge of beginning, and, once more, I have to prepare the various bits and pieces that make up my teaching. It’s a bit of a return for me, as I will be acting as a class moderator, a position I haven’t held for two years, mainly because I needed the break.
Is moderating a class hard? I’d say it is a tad taxing on the system. Unlike other teachers, moderators are on the go about thirty minutes before classes begin, prepping their classes for the day: checking attendance and the students’ appearance (uniform and haircut), leading the flag ceremony, and giving a daily reflection to start off the day. There is quite a bit of paperwork to deal with, as moderators are the ones who receive and distribute the various letters coming from the various offices of the High School, and then following up on collecting the reply slips from the parents.
More importantly, as a class moderator, I’ll be in charge of helping in the formation of about 42 students who will be under my care. Over the year, I’ll be dealing with class issues, such as possible problems with their subject teachers, or, even, with me, individual issues, such as those with failing marks or disciplinary problems, and parent issues, which can vary from those parents who are extremely hands-on to the point of smothering their sons, to those parents who aren’t happy with the way the teachers handle the class; believe you me, I’ve had my share of that.
But, at the same time, it can be fun, especially during class outings and field trips, where the teachers can let their hair down a little (figuratively, of course), and bond with the students. And I’ve had my share of those, as well.
Moreover, it can be very rewarding, such as the instances when one’s class pulls together and does well in the various school competitions, and succeeds in bringing home a number of banners, which will then grace the windows of the classroom, like some medieval tapestry, telling stories of the class’ glorious victories.
Even more rewarding are the times when I make a point in class, and I’m able to get maybe one or two to see the point, and they use it to enrich their lives. It’s quite an ego boost, knowing that I was responsible for making an impact on these students.
Is moderating a class hard? Yes, quite, but there are perks.
With the exit of the Detroit Pistons via a 4-2 series win by the Cleveland Cavaliers, my interest in the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals wanes. Neither team, the Cavaliers or the San Antonio Spurs, are favorites of mine, so it doesn’t really matter to me which team wins. If I were pressed to make a choice, I’d probably go for the Cavaliers, since I like underdog teams, and Cavaliers, being in their first NBA Finals in team history, make for a feel-good story if they, led by King Cavalier LeBron James, manage to upset a very good and well-oiled Spurs team.
It’s time for me to focus on my main love, baseball, where my team, the Baltimore Orioles, have managed to find themselves in second place, albeit with a losing record, and trailing the division-leading Boston Red Sox for the division lead in double digits. Given the sad recent history of the once-proud Orioles, it’s something. Hopefully, the Orioles can manage to keep it going to the end of the season. Given their recent history, it’s doubtful, but a fan can dream.
And so the slow, slow canvassing of votes continues. Thus far, the Genuine Opposition (GO) has managed to dominate the Senate race, as it currently has 8 candidates in the so-called Magic 12. But the GO cannot rest easy just yet. For one, the count is not yet over. Two, the lead of the Magic Twelve’s last two occupants over their closest rivals is only 200,000 votes. Three, some of the remaining votes to be canvassed are coming from fraud-marred
Despite the fact that the winning candidates for the Senate have yet to be announced, and that the newly elected members of Congress have yet to take their place in the 14th Congress, the political jockeying for the top posts, both in the Senate and the House, has begun. Current Senate President Manuel Villar can probably safely say that he is coming back to the Senate, but whether he will retain his presidency remains to be seen, owing to the fact that some of his companions in the GO are eyeing his post.
In the House, Speaker Jose de Venecia, who is looking to win an unprecedented fifth term as Speaker, is facing a challenge mainly from his own allies. Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Villafuerte is propping up Cebu Rep. Pablo Garcia to challenge de Venecia, citing the House’s low “trust ratings”. The problem here is that both de Venecia, a member of Lakas-NUCD, and Garcia, a member of the President’s party Kampi, belong to the majority bloc. Since the losing candidate for Speaker traditionally becomes the minority leader, we’re looking at a situation wherein the actual opposition is completely shut out in terms of choice platforms from which they can sound out their gripes against the administration.
A complication is that a number of Kampi members, including Negros Rep. Ignacio Arroyo, the brother-in-law of the President, and DILG Sec. Ronaldo Puno, have affirmed their support for de Venecia. So it appears that Villafuerte’s gambit may be selfishly motivated; de Venecia, in fact, has intimated that Villafuerte is eyeing the powerful Appropriations Committee. Perhaps some concessions may be made?
And that’s not all. De Venecia’s own partymate,
We’ll soon see if such maneuvering is real, or simply a ploy to gain concessions, such as the chairmanship of key Senate and House committees. My bet is on the latter, as I believe de Venecia to be too strong to be seriously challenged at this point, while Villar may have to wheel and deal a bit in order to keep his lofty post.