Wednesday, October 31, 2007
I decided to have breakfast at McDonald's in front of Ever Gotesco. And the crew was observing the Halloween spirit by being in costume.
With the ladies being in as little costume as possible.
Most of the female crew were channeling either Elvira or Vampirella, dressing up in skimpy costumes, baring the midriff, and wearing short skirts. It left me wondering whether I had actually entered McDonald's, or a girlie bar that had opened at around 8 in the morning.
I wonder what brain in their management came up with the brilliant idea to exploit the crew's, um, physical assets. Whoever it was forgot that McDonald's is a family fastfood restaurant, and maybe such costumes were way out of place.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
In the end, the comeback kids prevailed.
The Boston Red Sox defeated the Colorado Rockies 4-3 to complete a four-game sweep and win the World Series, their second championship in four years.
I wasn’t able to watch the game, more’s the pity, but I caught a smidgen of it when the Sox were leading 2-0 in the fifth inning. I was on the road when my dad texted me that the Red Sox had won 4-3, so it was a close match.
It appears that the long layoff worked against the
Cleveland Indians team which led, 3-1 in the American League Championship Series. The long break dulled whatever edge the Rockies had, and apparently, it was difficult for
It was an uphill climb for the Red Sox, much like the last time they won the Series, and the results were about the same, as
Of course, that works under the assumption that Boston has what it takes to make a return trip. Two key components, Curt Schilling and World Series MVP Mike Lowell, will be free agents, although I'm fairly certain Lowell will be re-signed. With its core intact, the team looks to get back to the World Series.
As for the
Monday, October 29, 2007
He was a 3rd year honors student.
He was a Tulong-Dunong scholar, considered to be the best of his batch.
He had recently gotten a girlfriend (according to Principal Fr. RB Hizon, SJ).
And he was taken away much too early.
Last Thursday, the High School bid farewell to Alvin Espinosa, a 3rd year student who had succumbed to dengue the day before.
I didn’t know
It’s tragic that he died so early in life, with so much promise, but sometimes, that’s the way it is. One never knows when one’s time is up.
The student body was unusually quiet during the Mass, but that’s to be expected. None of them probably would expect that one of them would leave this life this early. I suppose that
Listening to former President Joseph Estrada deliver his first speech as a pardoned criminal last Thursday gave me the clear and distinct impression that he was not one iota contrite for the crimes for which he was convicted.
In his speech, he continued his insistence that he was innocent of all charges, although that doesn’t explain why he sued for pardon. He said that, despite the fact that he had committed mistakes in life, corruption was not one of them. Yeah, right.
I don’t know what implications a free Estrada will mean for the country. I doubt it will be the unity and the rule of law that President Arroyo so blithely tried to sell to the businessmen she was addressing. In fact, it will probably steel the anti-government faction to working harder to throw her out of the office that she has corrupted.
* * *
One of the opinions about Estrada’s pardon that was from way left field was that of Charter Change fanatic Carmen Pedrosa. In her Saturday column, she opined that the presidential prerogative of granting pardon was one of the reasons why Charter Change was necessary; if the Constitution was changed, then this prerogative can be removed. She continues by saying that people who are angry about the pardon should be angry at our present Constitution, which allows for such.
First and foremost, I don’t think many people are against presidential pardons in general, just this particular one, because of the haste. Even if the Constitution was changed, I’m pretty certain that if Estrada was up for pardon, it would’ve been granted one way or the other. Therefore, the granting of a presidential pardon is not a valid argument to change the Constitution.
Pedrosa called those who were against the pardon and, at the same time, against Charter Change, as hypocrites. Is it hypocritical to criticize an obviously politically expedient pardon? Is it wrong to condemn a pardon wherein it appears that the government is falling over itself to grant it, even if the convicted hasn’t even asked for it? Is it wrong to speak out against this injustice? No.
I don’t dispute that there are sections of the Constitution which probably need changing, but to allow a government such as this one manipulate the Charter? The Arroyo government will simply change the rules to benefit itself. That’s the main problem, and fanatics like Pedrosa are too blind to see that.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Yesterday, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo officially pardoned former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada for the crime of plunder.
Of course, the lackeys of the administration will try to explain the pardon as being in the spirit of unity and forgiveness, but, like the Marcoses before him, Estrada has shown no remorse or contrition for his crimes, so how can there be true forgiveness?
The reason for the pardon is clear: the administration needs some goodwill after all the recent scandals it has endured. By pardoning Estrada, the GMA administration is making an attempt to appease the pro-Estrada crowd, and, hopefully, get it to cease its attacks on the administration. In short, it is a political move, and has nothing to do with unity and forgiveness.
The haste with which GMA pardoned Estrada is almost obscene in its speed. Barely a month after Estrada was convicted, he is already pardoned. Where is the justice in this? Why the haste in granting the pardon? Once more, the answer is that it was politically expedient to do so.
The timing of the pardon is convenient for the administration, as most schools are on semestral break, which means that mobilization for protests is minimized, the students being one of the main sources for rally fodder. At the same time, the administration is counting on the current apathy of Filipinos weary of all the scandals, that they have been desensitized to it. What’s another scandal, considering that this has been an administration so steeped in corruption that it’s difficult to distinguish one scandal from another?
The Estrada pardon sends out the wrong message to the Filipino public: that one can get away with one’s crimes. Sure, the administration mouthpieces will say that Estrada has been punished enough, having spent six and a half years under house arrest. They forget that plunder is a serious crime, one that was originally punishable by death, but, of course, the government did away with that. Are six and a half years commensurate to a life sentence? I think not.
The Estrada pardon is a continuing indication of the moral bankruptcy that is pervasive in our society today. It is a clear indication that, in the
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Even more laughable is the Daily Tribune's Ninez Cacho-Olivares, who, in her column today, expresses incredulity at the possibility that what happened last Friday was an accident. She writes, "Incredible! Such a blast, with so much damage, was accidental? Come, come, Filipinos are not so stupid not to see through their attempts at cover-up." and ends her diatribe with, "Wow, it was such a huge blast and it was all an accident? That’s really insulting the intelligence of the Filipino people. It’s yet another cover up job."
It would be nice if columnists like Cacho-Olivares would do their research, instead of spouting such idiocy. Apparently, Cacho-Olivares hasn't heard of Chernobyl or Three Mile Island, for one; will she go out and say that the Soviets and the Americans would actually deliberately irradiate part of their own country?
Lest it be retorted that the above were nuclear-related accidents, I took the liberty of Googling "gas explosions in history", and came up with three separate incidents:
- On October 20, 1944, two liquid gas tanks explode in Cleveland, Ohio. 130 people were killed, and more than 200 were injured.
- In Daegu, South Korea during the construction of its metro system, a gas explosion killed 101 people and injured 143.
- On November 2, 1994, a benzine explosion killed more than 400 people.
As it is, I'm more inclined to follow the accident angle, barring any new evidence. DJB, of Philippine Commentary fame, has a more detailed explanation of the accident angle.
If the government is really responsible for this tragedy, I'd rather have concrete evidence in my hands before making such an accusation in public. Otherwise, these people who have spoken out should refrain from making baseless accusations, and perhaps concentrate on helping the victims of this horrible tragedy.
Monday, October 22, 2007
After the Sox managed to win Game 5 of the American League Championship Series (ALCS), 7-1, sending the ALCS back to Boston, Garko was quoted as saying, " "The champagne tastes just as good on the road as it does at home," which meant that the Cleveland Indians were going to go on and win the ALCS.
While Garko now says that his comments were taken out of context, there could be no denying that what he said lit a fire under the Red Sox, who were down in the best-of-seven series, 3-2.
Back in Fenway Park, the Red Sox proceeded to do what only a few teams have done before: come back from a 3-1 deficit. However, this was nothing new for Boston; the team had to climb out of a 3-0 hole to win 4 straight games against the Yankees to make it to the World Series.
Sox pitcher, Curt Schilling, the grizzled veteran, dismantled the Indians' offense, and free agent acquisition J.D. Drew drove in 5 runs for a 12-2 rout in Game 6. In Game 7, much-heralded rookie Daisuke Matzusaka pitched well for 5 innings, and Rookie-of-the-Year candidate, second baseman Dustin Pedroia drove in 5 runs, in an 11-2 obliteration of Cleveland's World Series' hopes. The fact that the last two games were complete blowouts will forever haunt Garko, as his mistimed (and, for him, out of context) comments seemed to be the match to the powder keg that is the Red Sox offense.
And now, the Red Sox have an opportunity to win their second World Series since 1918, against the also-hot Colorado Rockies. There are two sides to this matchup, both with interesting spins.
The Red Sox came back in 2004 to make it to the World Series and won it, sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals. The question is: will this time give the same result?
There have been four expansion teams in baseball since 1990: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, and Tampa Bay. Two of them have made it to the World Series, and both have won: Arizona, and Florida twice. Will the Rockies have the same luck going for them this time around?
Whatever the end result will be, it's going to be a matchup to remember.
Friday, October 19, 2007
I hope the police are able to investigate and get to the bottom of this perfidious act, and prosecute those responsible.
As to repercussions on the national level, the tragedy is a reminder that terrorists walk among us, and we have to be alert and ready to respond to all possible threats.
About a week ago, governors, mayors and congressmen were invited to Malacanang, and there, someone, who still remains unidentified, distributed bags containing cash ranging from 100,000
to 500,000 pesos. Ostensibly, these were identified as 'gifts'.
However, Pampanga governor Ed Panlilio blew the lid off the scam by reporting it to the press, although he was careful to label the money as a 'gift' and not a bribe. He also stated that he would return the money if it was not properly documented, and requested the administration for a receipt for the money, which, of course, hasn't surfaced.
Panlilio's admission prompted other local officials and congressmen to admit that, they too, received money when they trooped off to Malacanang.
Now, the President's men are scrambling to do damage control, with little success. Some, such as Natural Resources Secretary Lito Atienza and Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, have added fuel to the growing firestorm by saying that they saw nothing wrong with giving out cash gifts; Atienza, in fact, said that, when he was mayor of Manila, he regularly received such gifts.
Such statements merely punctuate that corruption is alive and well in our country, and that our government officials are so immured to it that they can say without shame that there's nothing wrong with it, even if the evidence is staring at them in the face.
The Office of the Ombudsman has stated that it will investigate this scandal, but, considering the Ombudsman's track record, it's unlikely that anything substantial will come out of it. Remember that the Ombudsman cleared the Comelec officials implicated in the graft-ridden Mega Pacific contract, which the Supreme Court voided and subsequently ordered the Ombudsman to investigate and prosecute those responsible. If Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, who's perceived to be a close ally of the President, cannot do anything about corruption in the Comelec, what will make us think that she will be able to accomplish anything when the corruption happens in the very halls of Malacanang.
As it is, President Arroyo and her merry men are denying any knowledge of the payoff, despite the fact that it happened in the President's own house. If it is true that she has no knowledge of the scandal, then she's not as firmly in charge of her government as she thinks. But I think she knows and is aware; how can she not be?
The tragedy here is that majority of Filipinos will simply say, "So, what else is new?" because we ourselves and sick and tired and feeling powerless to do anything about the situation. Some, like the Inquirer's Amando Doronilla, may think that this current scandal will help overthrow the government, but I'm not as sure. We've gone that route before, ousting Estrada, which is why we have the current situation we face today. People will be less willing to hit the streets in a show of outrage, believing that nothing will change anyway. But, we have to keep slogging on, and expressing our outrage, lest those in power will believe that what they're doing is completely correct.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
I hadn't read the book, which was illustrated by Charles Vess, in a while, so I wasn't sure of the changes made to the movie version.
In the end, it didn't really matter, because the movie was so much fun. A star-studded cast, with really good performances by Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert de Niro (not to be missed), each one giving life to their various characters, added to the enjoyment.
No spoilers here, but I do recommend that you watch the movie when you can.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
There are more than two sides to the controversy involving the season premiere of ABC’s Desperate Housewives.
One side says that the character Susan Mayer (Teri Hatcher) should not have said the line "Can I check those diplomas because I would just like to make sure that they’re not from some med school in the Philippines?" because it insults graduates of Philippine medical schools. This side has been taken by Filipino-Americans, as well as by the Philippine government.
Another side says that "there was no intent to disparage the integrity of any aspect of the medical community in the Philippines." This is the side of the show’s producer. ABC issued the apology after receiving complaints about the line.
There are other sides.
A third side was pointed out by Andrew Gumbel, writing in The Independent: "The reaction clearly took ABC by surprise because the network did something networks almost never do. Rather than say it was the prejudiced opinion of one character, not the show’s producers – the obvious line of counter-attack – it apologized."
From this point of view, the line is insulting only if taken out of context. If Susan Mayer had said that Philippine medical schools are the best in the world, we would have been even more insulted, because the character clearly is stupid and anything she says is silly. The audience is expected to laugh at her, not with her.
A fourth side was pointed out by some online reactors to the show: there is freedom of expression in the United States and any attempt to censor a work of fiction is worse than political incorrectness or hurt feelings. In other words, where do we stop? Shall writers no longer be allowed to create serial rapist-killers that say all kinds of bad things against women? Shall all novels and television plays now have only heroes and no villains? What about demonic characters that insult God? Shall we delete from the Bible the words attributed to Satan because they challenge the authority of the Almighty?
A fifth side also surfaced among the online comments. Let us face it: we Filipinos have a bloated self-image out of proportion to our stature in the world community. We need a reality check.
We proudly cite some Filipino doctor or other as being one of the top medical doctors in the United States, but that proves only that we are not successful as a race. If graduates of Philippine medical schools were really generally excellent, then nobody would even mention that the top American doctors were Filipino, since everyone would notice only the rare Caucasians that made it in a field we dominate. Clearly, our good doctors are the exceptions rather than the rule.
A sixth side considers the marketing expertise of ABC. We cannot believe, for a moment, that the mention of the Philippines was accidental. For a TV show, particularly a season premiere, American networks spend a lot of money checking the market. The heads of ABC must have discovered that it was relatively safe for them to risk offending Filipinos, less dangerous than offending, say, China or Australia. That says a lot about the consumer power of Filipino Americans. In other words, ABC was willing to displease Filipino Americans in order to please the vast majority of their viewers, who obviously have a dim view of graduates from Philippine medical schools.
A seventh side comes from educational accrediting associations. How many Philippine medical schools are there and how many of them are internationally accredited, that is, considered by prestigious hospitals as world-class? I will give you a hint: not more than five. Clearly, the gross generalization that there is something wrong with Philippine medical education is not completely undeserved.
Finally, an eighth side is even more of a wake-up call for us. How many of us Filipinos right here in the Philippines would go to a doctor educated completely in Philippine medical schools rather than to one with a diploma on the wall showing residency in some American hospital? Come on, be honest. If there is anyone insulting graduates of our medical schools, it is Filipinos.
As always happens when we point a finger at anyone, we end up pointing three fingers at ourselves.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I didn’t realize what a year of upsets it has been in the sports that I follow.
In May, the eighth-seeded Golden State Warriors disposed of the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks.
In September, the Ateneo Blue Eagles were upended in overtime by the National University Bulldogs, forcing the Eagles to fight an uphill battle, only to fall to their archrivals, the La Salle Green Archers.
Also in September, the New York Mets blew what was supposed to be an insurmountable 7-game lead with 13 games to go, finishing one game behind the Philadelphia Phillies, and completely out of the playoffs.
Yesterday, the highly-touted New York Yankees, the team with the highest payroll in Major League Baseball, were booted out by the Cleveland Indians, in the first round of playoffs, putting future Hall of Fame manager Joe Torre’s job in jeopardy; Yankees owner George Steinbrenner has stated that if the Yankees lose in the first round, Torre would be out.
But the collapse that has people in the
At the end of the elimination round, UE had built a 14-game sweep, automatically assuring it of a finals slot, and the luxury of waiting for the other three teams to slug it out.
The Warriors wound up waiting almost three weeks to play the championship round, while Ateneo,
When the first game was won by
The second game exposed the UE Warriors as paper fighters, as they played catch up throughout the second half. It was as if it were an entirely new team playing against
With the win,
Thursday, October 04, 2007
It's an insensitive remark, and shows the cultural bias (or ignorance?) of the scriptwriter. At the same time, the producers could probably say that it's in the context of the show, which isn't particularly politically correct to begin with. It could be the character's prejudices coming into play, although in this day and age of being sensitive to the sensibilities of others, it probably didn't have to be written into the show at all.
It could be the 2006 nursing exam scandal which propelled the writer to include the remark in the script. Exam answers were leaked to examinees, which tainted the results. As a result, the passers of that exam had to retake the exam in order to be recognized by the U.S. The scriptwriter may have remembered that while making the script.
However, he ignored the fact that the Philippines has provided a great number of medical practitioners and caregivers to the U.S. since the 60s, and a good number of these are graduates from the top medical and nursing schools in the Philippines. To ignore or belittle their efforts to provide medical assistance is a grave insult.
While ABC, the show's producer, has already apologized for the episode, I'd like to be able to read comments from Hatcher, who probably should've been more responsible, and Mark Cherry, the show's head writer, who either came up with the line or let it through. I'd like to be able to see how they feel about the situation.
At the same time, the health officials here, as well as the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), should make sure that the integrity of our schools and the board exams is intact, so that situations like the one on "Desperate Housewives" can be avoided. They could do so by continuing to follow up the charges against those responsible for last year's nursing mess, for one.
I don't think a boycott of the show is necessary; given the fact that an apology was already issued, it'll be overkill, anyway. But, I hope the show's writers and producers become more conscious of the world they live in, and be more sensitive to its pulse
Monday, October 01, 2007
The Blue Eagles fell to the La Salle Green Archers yesterday, 65-60, and ended all hope of going to the Finals. Instead, it will be a brother-vs-brother matchup, as La Salle coach Franz Pumaren will go up against younger brother and UE coach Dindo to dispute the UAAP men's basketball crown.
While the Blue Eagles trailed the entire second half, there was still a glimmer of hope that they could pull off yet another comeback, and assert their dominance over the Archers. But it was not meant to be. Succumbing to pressure, and a stifling La Salle press defense the Eagles stumbled by the wayside, their last hurrah a surprising 3-point shot by rookie Nonoy Baclao, to cut the lead down to 2 with 13.6 seconds to go. But veterans Jayvee Casio and Rico Maierhofer managed to make 3 out of their 4 free throws, to put the game out of reach for Ateneo.
With the loss, Ateneo will be saying goodbye to veterans Claiford Arao and Zion Laterre, and maybe even captain Chris Tiu, although the top Eagle has one more year of eligibility left, and may opt to come back to steer Ateneo to victory.
With the loss, Ateneo fans can only sigh and say to themselves, in consolation, "Next year." Some fans will always remember the overtime loss to NU as the turning point; if that game had been won, it would've been La Salle which would have had to claw their way through a number of games before getting to Ateneo. But, I hope fans will remember the gutsy play that punctuated each win this season, and will look forward to next season with a lighter heart.