February 19, 2017

The Cutlass In After Earth Is Probably The Most Dull-Witted Weapon In The History Of Sci-Fi

M. Night Shyamalan's After Earth has a rating of 11% on Rotten Tomatoes. That's all you need to know. It's bad. Really bad. Alynda Wheat of People Magazine summed it up well:"The dialogue is as wooden as the acting, and the plot is just silly. Truly, the only thing the film has going for it are some occasionally cool special effects."

After Earth has tons of silly stuff. I'll forgive them all except for the stupid cutlass. Do they really want me to believe that 1,000 years after the 21st century, man's best defense against gigantic aliens is a freaking cutlass? Yeah, yeah, the weapon has blades on both ends of the handle. That's cool but the fact remains that you have got to be extra stupid to use it as your main weapon against a 20-foot alien monster.

After Earth is devoid of guns. Guns would have been much more effective against the alien monsters. If you watch the movie, the alien monsters actually shoot some kind of bullets from their mouths. That means they can also attack at a distance. And what weapons do the humans have? Cutlasses. Freaking cutlasses. Weapons that you can only use at close quarters.
According to the makers of After Earth: "The cutlass is a Ranger's greatest weapon; an extension of the strength that comes from within. The lightweight, handheld weapon is both versatile and elegant, using hundreds of metal fibers to form numerous weapon configurations from both ends of the handle. Used in attack, self-defense and survival conditions, the Cutlass blends seamlessly into a Ranger's biosuit and can be activated with quick finger inputs on the handle. The C-40 combat model has a total of 22 configurations, including short blade, spear, long, blade, dagger and more."

In short, it's just a giant Swiss Army Knife. A pistol from World War II Germany would have been more effective against the alien monsters.

More Unnecessary Hate From Sass Rogando Sasot For Leni Robredo

Do nothing. They'll take you to the guillotine. Do something. They'll still take you to the guillotine. This is what's happening to Vice-President Leni Robredo in the hands of her most ardent critics like Sass Rogando Sasot. As I've said before, Sasot and her ilk would jump on every opportunity to drag Robredo through the mud. Even if no opportunity arrives, they'd still drag her through the mud. Take for instance Robredo's recent appearance at a youth gathering. She spoke and tried to inspire the gathered youth leaders on issues surrounding the country. She told them to persevere because they have the potential to change the course of the country's future.

That's a good thing, right? One of the top political leaders of the nation telling the youth to not be afraid and become catalysts for change. In my book, that's a great cause. Apparently, Sass has a different opinion. As always, she's trying to discredit another good deed from the Vice-President. And of course, she only posted a screenshot of the CNN article. She didn't even bother to put a link in the description to the article. Why? Simple. She wants her "thousands" of followers to merely read the headline. Because to hell with context, right? And as usual, the circlejerking in the comments section starts. You know, people talking about "lugaws" and "buntis".

Anyway, here's the link to the CNN article that the "realist political analyst" from the Netherlands never bothered to include in her post. The youth forum was an event by the AISEC, "the world's largest non-profit student-run organization in the world".
One last question to Sasot: what's wrong in telling the youth that they have the potential to change the future? Telling them that they have potential is one way of telling them that they can do great things if they pursue them. Now that's being "realist". That's a much better way to put it than telling them that they can 100% halt crime and corruption within six (6) months.

Look at these young people. As the AISEC website proclaims, they have to activate their potential if they want to accomplish great things. Not delude themselves that they can do this or do that in 3 to 6 months with zero basis.

February 14, 2017

On Sass Rogando Sasot, Leni Robredo, And Lorraine Badoy's Appointment As A DSWD Assistant Secretary

I don't have any major problems with Lorraine Marie Badoy's appointment as an assistant secretary for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). A lot of people are saying that there's something fishy about it since Badoy is one of the most vocal defenders and supporters of President Duterte online. Isn't that obvious already? Let's not kid ourselves. One of the major reasons (if not the biggest reason) why she got the position is because of her passionate support for the man from Davao. Period. She affectionately refers to him as "Digong my labs". Her personal blog contains "digong" in the domain name. I totally understand why the Duterte administration took her in. It's politics. Why appoint someone who would later bite you in the back when there's Badoy in the corner (dashing smile and all) who has been very consistent with her "Digong my labs" rhetoric. Most politicians would choose a fan over a critic. No earth-shaking revelations here at all.

DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo has confirmed Badoy's appointment. Taguiwalo is one of those people in Duterte's roster that I like and respect. And I'd like to assume that she had a hand in deciding to get Badoy inside the agency. If Taguiwalo thinks Badoy has the goods to get the job done, I'm with her. I have my reservations, of course. As a follower of Badoy's posts on social media, she strikes me as an intelligent woman. But there are some things she says that makes me scratch my head and ask myself "Does she really believe that?". And she does stupid things sometimes. Like that post about a little school project by one of Vice-President Robredo's daughters. I found it tasteless and almost juvenile. But we are all capable of doing stupid things especially when we are too invested in something. I hope she does well in her new government position.

Badoy also happens to be among those who have taken among themselves the social media job of dragging Vice-President Robredo through the mud every chance they get. Freedom of expression, they say. Cool, as long as they keep their criticisms grounded to what's real. Unfortunately, a lot of their criticisms are built upon rumors, unsubstantiated claims, and conspiracy theories. For instance, let's take Sass Rogando Sasot's comment on Badoy's appointment and the outrage that has come from critics.
See what I mean when I said that they would drag Robredo through the mud every chance they get? This is an example. Badoy's appointment isn't even about Robredo. I get it that Sasot is responding to those who are questioning Badoy's appointment. But this rebuttal is juvenile. Still using the "kabit" issue? You have proof? Why drag Robredo into the issue surrounding Badoy's appointment? Why not just come up with an argument to show that Badoy deserves the position? What does Robredo got to do with this whole thing?

February 12, 2017

Cinema Sins in Hacksaw Ridge

I finally got to see Mel Gibson’s World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge. Overall, I think it’s a great piece of filmmaking. Gibson’s direction is on point. The cinematography is fantastic. The acting is good. Andrew Garfield, Teresa Palmer, Sam Worthington, Rebecca Griffiths, and Hugo Weaving all played their parts well. Even Vince Vaughn, that guy from The Wedding Crashers, did a nice job as a drill sergeant. Hacksaw Ridge is without a doubt one of Gibson’s best films. It’s one of those films that you wouldn’t mind seeing for the second or third time around. It has drama. It has action. It even has bits of well-done comedy.

However, there are scenes in the film that make you scratch your head. Did those soldiers really think that that is a good idea? Launching yourself in the air to kick a grenade back at the enemy. Really? Below are some of the scenes in the film that I found to be logically flawed. These are just the ones that I can remember. I’m sure there are more senseless bits in the film that have escaped my memory.

1. The attack on Hacksaw Ridge
So there’s this really high cliff. Draped over a portion of the cliff wall is a net of ropes. In the movie, this net is what the soldiers use to climb over the cliff and attack the Japanese soldiers camped above. What I found to be mind-boggling about the net is why didn’t the Japanese soldiers cut it down? Why did they let it just hang there when it’s the only way for the American troops to scale the cliff. It’s not that it’s impossible to destroy the net. If you watch the movie until the end, you can see that it wouldn’t have been that hard to destroy the net. Either the Japanese are too stupid or the net is made of indestructible ropes that the Japanese wouldn’t even bother destroying it.

2. Grenade volleyball
There are several scenes in the film wherein the American and Japanese troops play grenade volleyball. A Jap throws a grenade and a soldier from the other side picks it up and throws it back. These are of course possible and no doubt have been done in real wars. But the scene where Desmond Doss (the protagonist in the film) launches himself into the air to kick a grenade back to the enemy was over the top.

3. Holding a rifle is bad but throwing a grenade at the enemy is not so bad
Desmond doesn’t want to hold a rifle because he doesn’t want to take human lives. However, there was this scene where Desmond picks up a grenade thrown at them by the Japanese and lobs it back to the enemy. Isn’t throwing a grenade at the enemy worse than firing a rifle at them?

4. The tunnel scene with Desmond and a wounded Japanese soldier
Desmond ran to a tunnel with Japanese soldiers in pursuit. With his back against a hidden wall in the tunnel, Desmond let a few Japanese soldiers run by. Seconds later, he turns his face and finds himself staring into a wounded Japanese soldier’s face. Why the hell didn’t the Japanese soldier scream to seek help from his comrades who flew by just mere seconds ago?
5. Running away from the Japanese
When a superior of Desmond was shot in both legs, he can’t walk nor run. A swarm of Japanese soldiers are quickly making their way towards the two American soldiers. Desmond places the wounded soldier on top of what looks like a sleeping bag and starts pulling him to safety. All the while, the wounded soldier sits there on the bag shooting at the Japs pursuing them. What doesn’t make sense in this scene is how fast and effortless it seems for Desmond to drag the heavy soldier through all the scattered rocks and debris. It looked like he’s dragging the wounded soldier through a slippery marble floor. The ground there shouldn’t be that smooth after being bombarded for days by American ships docked at the bay.

February 11, 2017

Thinking Pinoy Misleads His Readers Yet Again With Another Unsubstantiated Claim

Rey Joseph (RJ) Nieto, the author behind the Thinking Pinoy blog, has made yet another huge unsubstantiated claim. Nieto claimed that "the Philippines became the first country in history to officially allow bloggers to cover the president". Nieto made the claim just a few days after visiting President Duterte at the Malacanang Palace in the company of several pro-Duterte bloggers and social media personalities (Sass Rogando Sasot, Lorraine Badoy, Trixie Cruz Angeles, Krizette Laureta Chu, Ethel Pineda, Franco Mabanta, and Mark Lopez). During their visit, Nieto requested that bloggers coming from both pro-Duterte and anti-Duterte camps be allowed to cover Palace events. According to Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella, the President said yes. That's well and good. More coverage leads to better transparency.

However, Thinking Pinoy's claim that the Philippines is the first country in the world to allow such an agreement is purely unsubstantiated. Is the Philippines really the first country in history to officially allow bloggers to cover the president? Because that is quite an enormous claim. When Thinking Pinoy shared this claim on his Facebook page, it got shared nearly three-thousand (3,000) times. A website called The Volatilian even published a piece repeating that "Philippine bloggers have just made history". The article then went on to lambast mainstream media which was humorously very ironic. The article criticized mainstream for misinformation when the very first sentence in the article is a huge piece of "misinformation".

Let's go back to Thinking Pinoy's misleading claim. Just a quick Google search will tell you that bloggers in other countries have been allowed to cover Palace events. Way back in 2005, Garrett M. Graff, a blogger, was officially granted the pass to cover the White House. This happened in 2005. In short, an American blogger accomplished the feat a decade earlier than Thinking Pinoy and company.

Here's a quote from the article:
"Graff, 23, may be the first blogger in the short history of the medium to be granted a daily White House pass for the specific purpose of writing a blog, or Web log. A White House spokesman said Sunday that he believed Graff was the first blogger to be given credentials. He is being given a press pass as the editor of FishbowlDC, a blog that is published by Mediabistro.com, which offers networking and services for journalists."
In short, Thinking Pinoy is very wrong with his claim. Black bloggers have also been allowed to visit the White House more than seven years ago. And just this January, the White House's press secretary has proposed a bigger venue to press briefings in order to accommodate bloggers and talk radio hosts. These are just facts for the United States alone.

There are 196 countries in the world. Does RJ Nieto of Thinking Pinoy really believe that none of these countries officially allow bloggers to cover Palace events? Did Nieto call every government press secretary of every country to verify that they don't allow bloggers to cover Palace events? Did it not ever occur to Thinking Pinoy that maybe, just maybe, there's a blogger in Venezuela, or Australia, or Spain, or wherever who is covering Palace events.

Anyone who proclaims himself to be a "thinking Pinoy" should live up to his name and actually think, not spread juvenile claims such as this one. This is up there with the assertion that "Duterte is the best president in the solar system". And use Google, please. As to the Palace's positive stance towards bloggers, it's a welcome development. Good job Duterte and good job to Thinking Pinoy for making the request. Let's give credit to whom credit is due.
Image source: Thinking Pinoy's Facebook page.
[Update: February 13] - In a post on Facebook, Sass Rogando Sasot wrote that there are still no guidelines for the Social Media Corps and no one has been accredited yet. Here's her post:
"Sa mga nanggagalaiti wala pa pong guidelines at wala pang na-accredit sa Social Media Corps. Hwag kayong gumawa ng kwento na puro pro-Duterte bloggers lang ang members. Pero certainly bawal ang anonymous blogs na maging member ng Social Media Corps."
In short, nothing is official yet. Malacanang has simply acknowledged that a Social Media Corps is feasible. But the Thinking Pinoy went ahead and proclaimed that on February 9, 2017, bloggers are "officially" allowed to cover the president in the Palace. How can something be official when guidelines are yet to be put in place?