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Archive for the ‘Current Events’

From Benghazi to Ate Vi: The uses of cheese

February 02, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, Movies 2 Comments →

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13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi has so many beefy bearded guys in it, we thought we had wandered into a friend’s fantasy sequence. Then we realized that the gratuitous hotness does have a point. Michael Bay’s version of the events at the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi in 2012 is so messy, the only way we could know whom to root for was to look for the hot guys. It doesn’t help that in Libya, everyone has facial hair.

The movie’s not awful, and we’re talking about a director who has plumbed new depths of awfulness with the Transformers movies. It’s thrilling in parts, reminding us how much we enjoyed the early Bay movie, The Rock. It also reminds us that there should be a legal limit to how much slow-motion a filmmaker may use. Worse, it has no notion of geography. We don’t know where the American installation is relative to anything, which part of the villa Ambassador Chris Stevens is in, where the attackers are coming from…jeez, we can’t even tell which ones the attackers are. But show us John Krasinski in a tight t-shirt, and immediately we know whose side we’re on. (Good for you, Emily Blunt, please make an action thriller with your husband.)

Read our reviews at InterAksyon.

Urgent Miss Universe question (plus proof that in the Phl you don’t have to watch the news to get the news)

December 21, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events 8 Comments →


From juror RickyV: If you were Miss Colombia, what would you do?

We know what we’d do if we were the host: Enter the witness protection program.

Proof that in the Philippines you don’t have to watch the news to know the news.

At 1124hrs we wake up (we slept late because we’re binge-watching Fargo) and check our messages. Our sister said: “Proof that I live in the bakla capital—the collective scream in my neighbourhood as Miss Philippines was declared Miss Universe.”

Then Ricky’s text: “omg you have to watch Miss Universe kahit last 15 minutes. nakalimutan ko ang star wars.”

Then my sister explained what had transpired. Note: She didn’t watch the pageant, either, she just got an update from her Viber group.

Back to Ricky: “I hope you avoid spoilers for this one!”

Too late. But this is even better than a straightforward win because it has so much drama. Telenovela! Oppression (though unintentional) quickly followed by justice!

We remembered to text our congratulations to Jeffrey, who works with Jonas Gaffud at beauty queen training camp. He said: “Both Colombia and the Phils were gunning for their third title. Kung pinagawa na naman ni Stella Marquez kay Barazza, who is Colombian, yung national costume and evening gown natin and Colombia won over the Phils, she’d be massacred.”

Gunning? Natin? And can one person be massacred? But such is the Pinoy obsession with beauty pageants.

Serial, season 2 has begun

December 12, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, Podcast No Comments →

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In May 2014, a U.S. Special Operations team in a Black Hawk helicopter landed in the hills of Afghanistan. Waiting for them were more than a dozen Taliban fighters and a tall American, who looked pale and out of sorts: Bowe Bergdahl. Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier, had been a prisoner of the Taliban for nearly five years, and now he was going home.

President Obama announced Bergdahl’s return in the Rose Garden, with the soldier’s parents at his side. Bergdahl’s hometown of Hailey, Idaho, planned a big celebration to welcome him back. But then, within days—within hours of his rescue, in fact—public reaction to his return flipped. People started saying Bergdahl shouldn’t be celebrated. Some of the soldiers from his unit called him a deserter, a traitor. They said he had deliberately walked off their small outpost in eastern Afghanistan and into hostile territory.

Hailey canceled its celebration. The army launched an investigation. Finally, in March, the military charged Bergdahl with two crimes, one of which carries the possibility of a life sentence. Through all of this, Bergdahl has been quiet. He hasn’t spoken to the press or done any interviews on TV. He’s been like a ghost at the center of a raucous fight.

Now, in Season Two, we get to hear what he has to say.

For this season, Sarah Koenig teams up with filmmaker Mark Boal and Page 1 to find out why one idiosyncratic guy decided to walk away, into Afghanistan, and how the consequences of that decision have spun out wider and wider. It’s a story that has played out in unexpected ways from the start. And it’s a story that’s still going on.

Get Serial.

Profiling the voters: What your choice of presidential candidate says about you

December 08, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, Election News Junkies Support Group 2 Comments →

Your choice for President is Jejomar Binay.

You think that the administration of President Benigno Aquino III has been a flop. You have become more discontented with your lot in life since 2010. You see that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, and every day the gap grows wider. You want a chief executive who is close to the masses. Gestures like attending your relative’s wake really mean something to you. Allegations of corruption do not bother you. Observing Philippine politics has turned you into a cynic: you have concluded that everyone steals anyway, so you might as well support someone who gives something to the poor, be it free movies or a birthday cake. What did those political elites ever do for you? When people make fun of the candidate’s height or appearance, they mock you as well.

Your choice for President is Rodrigo Duterte.

You believe that the biggest problems of the Philippines are lawlessness and a lack of discipline. You’ve reached the conclusion that left to their own devices the Filipinos will descend into anarchy and chaos, and that the only way to stop this is to elect a leader who will rule with an iron fist. Perhaps you are nostalgic for the Marcos regime, or being too young to remember it, harbor grand illusions about the “New Society”. In any case you believe that criminals do not deserve due process, and should be punished immediately. Human rights violations do not bother you because you think that your own human rights are already being violated by law-breakers. Not only are you pro-death penalty, you want an instant death penalty for criminals. In the event that the executed turn out to be innocent, they are acceptable collateral damage. You want a leader who will scare the people into obeying the rules.

Read our column at InterAksyon.com.

Let’s Buy Spain update: Filipino brand Emperador buys Spain’s Fundador

December 02, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, World Domination Update 1 Comment →

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Bodegas Fundador

Listed liquor company Emperador Inc. owned by tycoon Andrew L. Tan has acquired Fundador Pedro Domecq, Spain’s largest and oldest brandy, in an “all-cash” deal worth 275 million euros, or P13.8 billion, the Inquirer learned Monday.

The purchase solidifies Emperador’s position as the world’s largest brandy company and makes the Tan-led firm one of the largest foreign investors in Jerez, the brandy capital of Spain. Under the deal closed on Saturday in Madrid, Grupo Emperador Spain S.A., a company owned by Emperador Inc., will acquire the brandy and sherry business of Beam Suntory in Jerez.

Aside from Fundador Pedro Domecq, the acquisition includes Terry Centenario, Spain’s top-selling brandy; Tres Cepas, Equatorial Guinea’s leading brandy; and Harvey’s, the United Kingdom’s top sherry wine. These brands carry a unique heritage and market leadership position in their respective categories, Emperador said in a statement furnished the Inquirer.

Fundador, or “founder” in Spanish, was the first brand to be marketed by Pedro Domecq Loustau in 1874. Made from Airen and Palomino grapes, Fundador was the first brand marketed as a Brandy de Jerez and is aged in a sherry-soaked Solera.

Read the full report. Thanks to Antiquary Anne for the alert.

To refresh your memory: Let’s Buy Spain.

Iñaki, ang tsinelas ko!

Belgians respond to terror raids with cats

November 25, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats, Current Events, Places No Comments →

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When, on Sunday evening, Belgian police asked citizens not to tweet about the armed operations that were being carried out around the country, anyone could have been excused for reacting with fear.

Belgian forces – searching for suspects in the aftermath of the Paris attacks – told citizens to stay indoors and not go near their windows for safety reasons.

They also appealed for social media silence about any police action users might witness – presumably to keep the suspects in the dark.

A tense time, no doubt. But Belgium reacted – how else? – with cats.

Continue reading.