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Archive for February, 2008

Should there be an award for vanity among Metro Manila mayors, Caloocan City mayor Recom Echiverri would most likely win, hands down. And that’s because his mustachioed “smilies” and name is either pasted or painted everywhere in the city — like some ancient deity watching over his people, reminding them of his benevolence. You can’t miss it. It’s on the street, on the walls, in those big-assed billboards along EDSA and, get this… even the lowly garbage cans has his facsimiles smiling at you.

Not content with his past handiwork, he sought to further remind the people of Caloocan of his, err… “generosity”, by erecting several lamp posts along a portion of Rizal Avenue in front of the Ever Grand Central mall, with of course, his smiling mug on top for everyone to see.

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Man, this guy is seriously in love with himself…

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Perhaps somebody ought to tell the good mayor that using public funds for personal gain — in this case, self advertisement — is a big no-no. What, you think he used his own money for those laughable public relations stunts?

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Lean on me…

Rare is the opportunity these days that I can find time to read the dailies; what with work, the boob tube, errands and of course, blogging taking up most of it. Anyway, yesterday was one such time…

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Looking at the front page though, I can’t help but think that this country is slowly, but surely, going to the dogs… Crap! now I remember why I stopped reading newspapers a long time ago.

Fortunately, there are still some things to smile about in this country, like this sign in an appliance store that I saw yesterday…

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Uhh… how exactly do you “lean” the glass?

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Simon sez… Jump!

Teleport – to transport (a body) by telekinesis.

What would you do if you suddenly found out you possess the ability to teleport? That is, to be anywhere in the world in a blink of an eye. For young David Rice (Heyden Christensen), his accidentally-discovered gift was the ultimate free pass — his ticket way out of his dreary small town life in Michigan.

Using his new-found talent, he soon begins to live a life that ordinary mortals can only dream about. Partying in London one day, and surfing the waves in Hawaii the next… all that, and with tons of money (stolen from the banks obviously) to boot.

Life was good for David it seems… at least for the next eight years.

His perfect little world soon crumbles after he crosses path with a mysterious group of people called Paladins, headed by a man known as Roland (Samuel F. Jackson), who believes that Jumpers (as they are called) are an abomination to humanity and therefore should all be killed.

David eventually realizes that he is not unique after all, and that there are others like him hiding in plain sight, preferring to remain anonymous for fear of the Paladins. It was also at the same time that he hooks up with Griffin (Jaime Bell), another Jumper who reluctantly initiates the newbie to the centuries-old war between Jumpers and Paladins…

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I don’t know why film critics have been panning this movie left and right. I liked it… I think. True, it was kinda shallow, but then, what movies of the same genre aren’t? Besides, I did willingly pay a hundred and thirty bucks to sit down and be mindlessly entertained. And entertained I was.

Admittedly though, watching the movie reminded me more of those travel shows that I often watch on Discovery’s Travel and Living channel, rather than a true-blue sci-fi thriller. But at least the story was fast-paced enough not to be boring, and the film certainly delivered just the right amount of action (although nowhere near the thrill-a-minute chase scenes of “National Treasure: Book 2“) that kept me on the edge of my seat for the most part of the movie.

The only thing that seemed to bog the movie down was the lackluster performance of Christensen, which was eerily reminiscent of his ho-hum Anakin Skywalker role in “Star Wars” episodes 2 and 3. But thank God for Jackson for his chilling portrayal of the cold and brutally efficient — and Dennis Rodman look-alike — Roland, and Bell (what’s up with the accent? I can barely understand half of what he was saying) — who very nearly stole the movie with his manic performance as the gung-ho Jumper — for saving the movie from becoming another Hollywood casualty.

Oh, and the stunning special effects helped a great deal too…

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The little scavenger

Looking forlorn and seemingly lost amidst the hustle and bustle of the cold, uncaring world around him, this young scavenger — who caught my attention as I passed by Plaza Lorenzo Ruiz in Binondo, one weekend — sits alone… probably wondering where and how to get his next meal.

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It’s just one of the many gut-wrenching scenes that remind me of the harsh realities of living in this unforgiving city, where the daily struggle for survival is but a way of life for some, whose fate seems inextricably tied to the dirt and grime of the mean streets.

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” says a passage in the bible. I wonder, how one can still think of themselves as “blessed” in the face of such constant misery…

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In the last few weeks I’ve received not one, but 5 similar forwarded e-mails that’s been circulating around the internet since mid-2006, and I’m pretty sure some of you may have — at one time or another — been a recipient of this message purportedly written by noted writer (he has several books under his belt), actor (remember the boring economics professor in the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”?) and lately, game show host, Ben Stein, as part of his holiday commentary for the CBS Sunday Morning News…

A lot of truth in this

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are: Christmas trees.

It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, ‘Merry Christmas’ to me. I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren’t allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it’s not funny, it’s intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her ‘How could God let something like this happen?’ (regarding Katrina) Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, ‘I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?’

In light of recent events…terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found recently) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he’s talking about. And we said OK.

Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with ‘WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.’

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it… no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.
My Best Regards.

Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein

Cute, huh? Quite a timely piece from the speech writer of former president Richard “I am not a crook” Nixon, more so in this day and age of “political correctness” where nitpicking on every issue — no matter how small or insignificant — has become the norm.

But wait! Hold your horses there my friend, there’s something you should read first before you press that forward button and start passing this message to every friend, family, co-worker and acquaintances in your contacts list.

Here a little something I dug up from snopes.com.

Goes to show that you can’t really believe everything you read nowadays, huh? Oh well, have a great weekend, everyone.

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A weekend food jaunt… part 2

I’m admittedly a sucker for things that are new and out of the ordinary, more so, when it comes to food. Hence, I’m usually willing to try out a new restaurant or bar, notwithstanding the lingering possibility that the dining experience would later turn out to be, umm… not so good.

But, as eager as I am for new tastes, the culinary adventurer in me takes a backseat when it comes to my pizza, preferring instead to stick with the old reliables — traditional favorites really — like Shakey’s, Pizza Hut, Domino’s and more recently, Yellow Cab Pizza. Sorry folks, Greenwich and 3M Pizzas just don’t make the grade in my book. And don’t even bother mentioning the name Don Henrico’s, but you can include those uber massive, inch thick Chicago style pizzas from Sbarro’s in the list.

Things however, are about to change…

In spite of what I said earlier about not being too keen on going out of my comfort zone, I eventually found myself sitting in one of the tables and checking out the menu inside the Duke of York pizza joint two Saturdays ago.

Yes yes I know, I’m breaking my own rule, so sue me.

Anyway, since I’ve been passing by this unassuming pizza joint — surreptitiously squeezed between a more established pizza chain and a Chinese restaurant — more times than I could remember during my frequent trips to Robinson’s Place Manila, I thought… what the hell, I’ll go crazy for once and see what this tiny upstart in the pizza game had to offer.

And boy, am I glad I did. The moment I sank my teeth on the first slice I knew I had to include this virtually unknown joint to my list of must-eat places…

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… and this empty pizza dish is undeniable proof of how happy my taste buds were.

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Their prices may be a bit above average but fortunately, so are the portions. The solo size alone is robust, and certainly packs more punch than the Shakey’s thick-sliced variety.

Suffice to say my first time had left me satisfied, and it was enough reason to go back for the second time last weekend. Oh didn’t I tell you? Been to the joint twice already, and the fact that they also have the 3 beers for a hundred bucks promo helped too.

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Send in the Clowns…

Watching part of the senate hearing on the ZTE scandal the other night, I couldn’t help but feel sick and yet… be amused at the same time.

Sick, not because of Lozada’s revelations of greed among government officials, that’s old hack anyway, but at the sight of that poster boy for pompous asses, Jinggoy Estrada, among the panel of senators in the investigating committee. Excuse me but, shouldn’t HE, of all people, be the last person to be investigating a multi-billion peso scam to rip off the taxpayers?

My amusement however, came in the form of feisty senator Richard Gordon who — while railing about the administration’s lack of political will in stamping out corruption and punishing the guilty — inadvertently (or not) took a snipe at the Estradas by giving as an example the recent pardon of ex-president Joseph Estrada a few weeks after he was found guilty of plunder.

The look on Jinggoy’s face after that tirade was… priceless. *insert evil laugh*

Clowns, all of them I tell you…

And about that supposed “secret” meeting of whistle blower Lozada, Neri and senator Lacson at the Makati Shangri-la hotel, who the f**k hold s a secret meeting in a very public place anyway? And at a 5-star hotel at that. What, they think everyone who works there are deaf and dumb? They might as well have put up a sign that said “Do Not Disturb, Secret Meeting Going On”.

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