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Archive for February, 2016

Nora, Christopher & Vilma in Ikaw Ay Akin: Portrait of a Threesome as a Socialist Manifesto

February 29, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies No Comments →

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By Noel Orosa
in BusinessWorld 23 February 2016

IN THE late Ishmael Bernal’s 1978 masterpiece Ikaw Ay Akin, Teresita Valdez, the horticulturist played by Nora Aunor, unwittingly foreshadows the love triangle that she will soon be a part of as she explains to her long-time companion Rex Aguilar (Christopher de Leon), a sky diving jeepney factory owner, how to create her idea of the perfect orchid hybrid: “Gusto ko ang ganda ng orchid na ito. Pero gusto ko kasing laki ng orchid na ito.” (I like the beauty of this orchid. But I want it to be as big as that other orchid.)

Soon it is Rex trying to create the perfect hybrid relationship as he alternates his time between Tere and his new business partner — the neurotic, pill-popping Sandra Aragon (Vilma Santos).

In spite of her material wealth, Sandra feels like a beggar in love. Her father, a doctor who is always on his way to his “emergency calls,” which Sandra assumes to be appointments with numerous mistresses, never has time for her. Her only girlfriend shows little regard for Sandra as she embarks on an affair with Sandra’s father. Her suitor is a bore for whom she feels nothing.

Tere, on the other hand, is a millionaire in love. She has a father figure, Ramon, who genuinely cares for her. She has a lot of friends who are loyal to her. And she has Rex who keeps coming back to her even though he isn’t entirely faithful.

Rex, whom one assumes to be the typical chauvinist with an ego that can only be satisfied by a loyal harem, ironically turns out to be the female side of this triangle. He is the object of desire, a thing to be shared, the movie’s most passive character. He even reveals his feminine motivation for wanting to sustain this uncomfortable ménage à trois; he wants to combine the neediness of Sarah with the stoic strength of Tere because only then can he feel whole.

Read it at BWorld.

Hey Packyou, you’re also wrong about animals

February 29, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Science, Sex 1 Comment →

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Few creatures can boast of devotions so deep as greylag geese. Most are monogamous; many spend their decade-long adult lives with the same goose, side-by-side in constant communication, taking another partner only if the first should die. It’s a remarkable degree of fidelity, and it includes relationships of a sort that some humans consider unnatural.

Quite a few greylags, you see, are gay. As many as 20 percent by some accounts. That number might be high: It includes those males who first take a male partner but later pair with a female, or whose first bond is with a female, but after she dies, takes up with a gander. That said, plenty more are exclusively homosexual from beginning to end.

Which raises the question: Why?

That’s puzzled quite a few scientists—those who study greylag geese and also the hundreds of other animal species in which homosexuality is, confoundingly, found. After all, evolution is driven by reproduction. In animals, that requires—self-cloning reptiles not withstanding—the union of opposite sexes. Through a reproductive-success lens, homosexuality would appear counterproductive, if not downright aberrant. It’s certainly not aberrant, though, considering its ubiquity.

Read Why Are So Many Animals Homosexual? at Nautilus.

Culture Shock and Awe: A diary of National Arts Month

February 27, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Art, Movies, Music, Theatre No Comments →

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A scene from the Met Opera’s Bluebeard’s Castle

ON SUNDAY we ran into Grace at the ballet at the Cultural Center, and on Wednesday we saw her again at the opening of the Art Fair. “Uyy, culture!” she said, and there has been an unusual number of arts and culture events in February. I know, because otherwise I would’ve seen Deadpool five times (You snobs don’t know what you’re missing. My favorite line: “Of course looks matter! Ever heard David Beckham speak?”). For a few weeks it felt like Manila was a Culture Capital, fairly teeming with plays, screenings of classic Filipino movies, art expositions, even opera.

Then I learned that February is National Arts Month, which means that when it ends we go back to being, as Noel puts it, culture lower-case.

Read it

Gods of Egypt: The battle of the insanely ripped

February 26, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies 5 Comments →

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We need only one reason to see Gods of Egypt, and it’s Nikolaj Coster Waldau in a leather tank top and tight shorts for 80 percent of the movie. The other 20 percent he’s wearing ceremonial robes or turning into a shiny metal CGI beast warrior. Are you interested yet?

Nikolaj darling plays the god Horus, who is the heir presumptive to the throne of Egypt. Yes, it’s not enough that he looks like that and is divine, but he also gets to rule over the mortals, who pretty much have no choice because he’s eight feet tall, has gold running through his veins (ooh a Lannister theme) and when provoked, transforms into said metal flying beast.

In Alex Proyas’s movie loosely based on Egyptian mythology, the gods live among men and set the terms for entry into the afterlife. The creator god Ra, played by Geoffrey Rush who needs no muscles, lives alone on a space station and does battle with the monster, Chaos. His two sons rule over the earth—Osiris (Bryan Brown) is the lord of men, while Set (Gerald Butler) is the lord of the desert. So we understand why Set is pissed and attacks his brother and his brother’s heir (Nikolaj darling). Thrown into the mix are a human thief (Brendon Thwaites) whose name is Bek so every time people say his name we expect the chorus of “Loser”, and his girlfriend Zaya (Courtney Eaton).

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The silliness mounts and there are all kinds of subplots that can prove confusing, so take our advice and focus on Nikolaj’s eyepatch. As you know Nikolaj is perfect so his character has to be deformed in some way to keep the audience from hating him. In Game of Thrones his sword hand was cut off (If this is a spoiler it’s your own fault, that was two seasons ago), and now his eyes are gouged out.

Yes, Alex Proyas is the director of Dark City and The Crow. No, we don’t know what happened.

Right from its inception Gods of Egypt was panned for its blinding white cast: a white Dane, a white Scot and a white Australian play the aforementioned deities. In truth the critics should be thankful it was whitewashed because the movie is so cheesy it’s a good thing there are no real Egyptians in it. Darling Nikolaj has pointed out that he’s not even playing an Egyptian, and he’s right: he’s playing an action figure with a CGI mode.

We were surprised to find the cinema full on Wednesday afternoon. What was the attraction? The religious-sounding title? The swords and sandals? The search for a successor to the gayest movie of recent times, 300? What’s that line: Our arrows will block out the sun. Then let’s throw them some shade.

Shut the fuck up, idiots.

February 22, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, Sex 7 Comments →

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Your feelings and beliefs about lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans people do not matter. Tapos na ang boksing, nanalo na si Mayweather. This is not open for negotiation. This is not a choice. You will give the LGBT community the respect that is due them as Human Beings, period. You will acknowledge that they have exactly the same rights that you have as a person. If you think that they are somehow inferior to you because they will not have sex with the people you decree they should have sex with, then you are an idiot. You are a troglodyte, go back in your cave.

Yes, you have the right to free speech. That just makes you a loud idiot. You don’t fuck with my friends, asshole. “Ah, kaya ka galit kasi kaibigan mo mga bakla.” Yes, I prefer to hang out with gay people because the ones I know are a hundred times more intelligent, more productive members of society than you homophobic troglodytes. And even if they were not the excellent people I know them to be, they would still be entitled to the same dignity and respect that you take for granted.

We are well into the 21st century, it is time to end the medieval attitudes that have poisoned this nation. This is a great time for rational thought. In the last five years we have confirmed the existence of the Higgs boson and directly detected gravitational waves, but instead of trying to wrap your minds around these astounding accomplishments of Science and Humanity, you trundle out ancient texts that you parrot without the slightest hint of comprehension. You are not only an insult to Science and Humanity, you are insult to your own religion. Oh excuuuuse me, are you holier than your pope? You do know that the scripture you quote dates back to a millennium where the tribe had to reproduce as a matter of survival, and so sex that did not produce spawn was outlawed? Even masturbation was verboten. Don’t wave your dusty tomes at us, we’ve actually read them and placed them in their proper historical context. Have you?

Read it at InterAksyon.

Monday Morning Vent by Roni: Are telcos in competition for who can give crappier service at a higher cost?

February 22, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Technology No Comments →

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Of course civility flies out the window. Nothing gets us furious faster than slooooow internet.

by Roni

It was back in October when I received word of my Wimax connections’ death sentence. Overnight, my router was sent back to the time of Edsamail where the normal dial up speed was 56 kbps. I would need to get up in the middle of the night to get a decent connection. My dreams of cutting up my cable died when my livestreaming just came out with Rafael Nadal in mid-grimace, forever frozen with the racket never meeting the ball.

My Christmas bonus came and went. The New Year celebration passed. Chinese New Year passed. Hell froze over. Several screaming fits of rage directed at poor, poor call center workers passed. Technicians went to my house to take a look at the router, nod sagely and proclaim, “Ma’am, it’s for migration to LTE,” as if it were the mantra of a new religion. Hell, yeah. I’ve been a convert since January when my FB page refused to load. Where do I sign up? I had given my number, my brother’s number, my brother’s other number, the best time to call (which was anytime), and still we waited for the conversion.

I had a discussion with one of my friends over Facebook about internet connection being a basic human right. I was thinking about the people in Darfur being too occupied with war to be bothered about the absence of internet connectivity. He said it impinged on our right to congregate. Now that I think about it, our lives are conducted more and more online, and to have that cut off is like cutting off a necessary part of your life that gives you happiness.

What Philippine telecommunications companies are offering us is the lugaw business. Offer empty carbs to the proletariat because they do not have a choice. I have tasted far better nourishment abroad where I paid AUD99 all-in per month for 100 mbps connection with a cap of 200 GB. And it’s even cheaper now. The LTE migration they are offering me costs PhP1000 for 1mbps (min of 256kbps) with a 20GB cap. I run through that in four days. How magnanimous of them to provide me with crumbs! How dare I demand more?

I was loyal to said worldly provider because I was part of their group of companies for a long time. They fostered loyalty through team building, doing the right thing, the CEOs mingling with us common folk, and charitable works that they let us participate in. But now I’m questioning their business ethics. Their captive market is held prisoner by the bandwidth of services they offer. They get their tubong lugaw net profit but offer no real innovation in light of what other comparable third world countries offer. I get that you take your Corporate Social Responsibility seriously, but shouldn’t you be responsible to your customers first?

Now don’t smirk, Mr. Smarty-pants competitor, because you’re no good, either. Are you guys in competition for who could offer crappier services more expensively? Bilugin nyo ulo ng lelong nyong panot. I’m calling your bullshit. Do right by me, your customer.

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Email your Monday Morning Vent to saffron.safin@gmail.com.