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Facebook

Facebook and Universal Music Group Licensing Deal | I’m not big on producing video content (although I am not totally discounting the possibility that I’ll work with such material on my personal sites and blogs someday) but I am somehow elated with this little news that Facebook has signed a deal with Universal Music Group basically allowing Facebook, Instagram, and Oculus users to apply music (from a certain UMG catalog) to user-produced material without fear of their content being taken down for copyright infringement violations. Personally, I laud this move by the social media giant. You know how frustrating it is to have your uploaded video material taken down by the channel you published it into just because you embedded a snippet of music that you are not licensed to use. Well, we can say goodbye to that fear as long we stick to the content legally provided to us by the record labels under the UMG umbrella. Flexibility! End-user wins! (You have all our data anyway, Facebook. A small price to give back to the little people.) #Facebook #UniversalMusicGroup

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

“Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” | Just caught up with the DVD of this visually extravagant futuristic fiction film called “Valerian” (Facebook Page) and I was totally into this despite the rather initially sluggish pace (for me) of the first few sequences. I was skeptical at first with the choice of actors for the two major characters, Major Valerian and Sargeant Laureline but Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne slowly but surely grew on me every minute the film progressed, they carried the film all too well. Also, Rihanna had a part and her character was such a scene-stealer around the last quarter you would have to forgive the preponderance of digital effects that make you sometimes forget that you’re, well, supposedly watching Rihanna. I hope they come up with a sequel for this one despite the movie’s relatively paltry box office take. It was a fun ride! #Valerian #ValerianAndTheCityOfAThousandPlanets #DaneDeHaan #CaraDelevingne

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Daisy Ridley as Rey (c) Star Wars

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” | Isn’t it funny how “The Last Jedi” was astonishingly loved by critics yet surprisingly hated by fans? (We really can’t all get along, can we? Tee-hee!) Still, I find it amazing that the film raked in $USD 220 Million in its opening weekend! The old-timers (like me) can’t get enough of our “Star Wars” fix while new fans are joining the bandwagon still projected to live on under the auspices of Disney. (Judging from that initial box office take, expect the studio to keep on churning sequels — and perhaps, more stand-alone prequels — of the franchise year-in and year-out.) I caught the film on cinema on opening weekend as well and I’m surprised that I seem to like it better than the last one. I actually enjoyed it up until the surprising developments in the middle and the end. (No, I’m not going to spew out spoilers here. This is not really a review, and I am not going to nitpick for now.) It’s a continuously evolving franchise so I wasn’t really expecting this installment to satisfy the expectations of the older fans. Bring on the next one! #StarWars #TheLastJedi #EpisodeVIII

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The Alley By Vikings

The Alley by Vikings | After completing our usual Saturday errands, The Wifey and I decided to check out the spanking new dining place near our area called The Alley by Vikings (Facebook Page). We noticed the soft opening a few days back — apparently catering only to VIPs and other selected guests at that time — and now we were curious to find out how its offerings differ from the main Vikings restaurants. The concept is similar to the so-called food park/food hall themed places mushrooming everywhere in the metropolis where several concessionaires are placed alongside a common dining area. However, instead of paying each food providers separately for every order you make, you get billed a fixed price and pay only once after you’re done with your meal regardless of how much you order from the different food establishments within The Alley. (If you’re old enough to remember the place called StreetLife in the old Glorietta in Makati City, then you’ll get what I’m talking about.)

The Alley By Vikings

Wasn’t able to consume as much as I wanted on our first The Alley experience, but I truly enjoyed what we had. There were steaks (albeit limited in types), Italian, Chinese, Vietnamese, and other cuisines as well. Drinks were aplenty -- from sodas to fruit juices to several types of coffee and tea. And a myriad selection of desserts as well, all part and parcel of the fixed bill. Neat concept, if you ask me. (One big downside to this setup is that when one of the third-party concessionaires starts scrimping on food quality and quantity, it’s going to fall on the Vikings brand.) The restaurant interiors look pretty and appear really clean, including the restrooms. My only complaint with the lavatories? The faucets used were clearly meant for Hot and Cold but there was no hot water in the men’s room. The Wifey gave the same observation on the ladies’ room. I hope Vikings won’t neglect to look into this. Sometimes, it’s the small details that can bring a service establishment down. Regardless, I’ll try to visit this place again soon to see if there’ll be more offerings and also to see if food and service quality improve over time. #TheAlley #Vikings #TheAlleyByVikings #AllYouCanEat #Buffet #Smorgasboard #Manila #Philippines

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Syringe (c) HTC

Good Question! | Rigoberto Tiglao gives a more detailed timeline (and sound arguments!) of Noynoy Aquino’s fervor in giving the orders to purchase the now controversial Dengvaxia in his piece “Was Aquino’s P3.5B purchase of the dengue vaccine the worst case of corruption ever?” It is just disappointing how the Philippine mainstream media — owned and controlled by the oligarchs who favor the Aquino-Cojuangco political machinery that remains the heart and soul of the Liberal Party and its Yellow cabal — merely parrots Sanofi Pasteur and is treating the former president with kid gloves. Since the true powers-that-be of this country will not throw Noynoy under the bus, the next best thing the oligarchy can do in this case is make his former Health Secretary Janet Garin the sacrificial lamb in all this to appease global observers. But we know better. #DaangMatuwid #NoynoyAquino #AquinoCojuangco #Corruption #Hypocrisy #Dengvaxia

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Ben Mbala (c) ABS-CBN Sports

Another round, Ben Mbala? | Who knew? Well, I didn’t. I thought Ben Mbala’s stint with the De La Salle Green Archers is over and done with. Apparently, he is still eligible to play for the University for one more season. He knows it. Head coach Aldin Ayo (who is now rumored to be jumping ship over to the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers) knows it. If Mbala can reach an agreement with his school over the matter, then expect the Green Archers to once again be a strong contender for the crown in next year’s UAAP wars. #BenMbala #DeLaSalleGreenArchers #Basketball #UAAP

Sanofi Pasteur

What’s with the rush, Noynoy? | Looks like we now know. Based on a recount of events that led to the Aquino government’s deal with Sanofi Pasteur, one can’t help but notice the lack of due diligence on the part of the then self-styled Daang Matuwid government in purchasing Dengvaxia despite (1) the dengue vaccine’s lack of “clearance from reputable medical bodies”; and (2) the adverse advice of certain officials under the Department of Health then headed by Secretary Janet Garin. There was an obvious undue haste in Aquino’s order to complete the deal with the makers of Dengvaxia. He even met with Sanofi top brass at least twice in a relatively short time frame wherein the USD$3.5BB deal (around PhP70MM in Philippine Pesos) was quickly consummated, a transaction that easily falls under the category “midnight deals”. One wonders, how much was taken home by whom at the expense of close to a million children whose health could be in peril? #NoynoyAquino #SanofiPasteur #Dengvaxia #Corruption #MidnightDeal #HealthIssue #Philippines

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North Korea

Cool Heads Needed | Tensions between the United States and North Korea are rising once again, no thanks to another round of missile testing by the latter — a seeming validation that their missiles can indeed reach mainland America. This week, South Korea will resume military exercises with the Americans with six state-of-the-art stealth jet fighters in tow. Cool heads really need to intervene. Even our local political bickerings won’t matter much once Donald Trump decides to rain nuclear missiles toward Pyongyang. #UnitedStates #NorthKorea #DonaldTrump #KimJongUn #NuclearWar #Tensions

Tab Baldwin

Tab Baldwin | I caught the second half action between the Ateneo Blue Eagles and the De La Salle Green Archers for the UAAP basketball championship and it was one nail-biter of a contest indeed. The Blue Eagles got back at their tormentor last year, winning this year’s title with a thrilling 88-86 triumph. Not a small feat for Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin, who called his current coaching stint “the hardest” in his 35-year basketball coaching career. Congratulations, Coach Baldwin! #Philippines #Basketball #AteneoBlueEagles #DeLaSalleGreenArchers #TabBaldwin #UAAP

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“Boy Sisi” | What’s new? Noynoy Aquino always says: “It’s everybody else’s fault but mine.” This man is so perfect he never admitted to any wrongdoing in his entire life. It was always somebody else who made the colossal mistake; who did nothing to alleviate poverty; who gave the “go-signal” that killed multitudes; and so much more. Accountability has never been a trait of this man — and the oppressive haciendado clan to which he belongs. It’s always “the other guy”. It’s always “not me”. Was this recent public announcement of him even a surprise to everyone? Nah. Not even to his worshippers who truly believe he is infallible, like what they think of the entire Aquino-Cojuangco family and their current Liberal Party colleagues and allies. #NoynoyAquino #BlameGame #Accountability #PassingTheBuck #FeelingInfallible #Sanctimonious

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Rosary for a saintly drug load

Much Ado About A Rosary | Of course, you can expect the Liberal Party and their mainstream media toadies to spread this little story as far and wide as they could, and use this angle as validation of their political party’s “holiness”. Friends and allies of the so-called “Yellows” rejoiced at this little piece of news, deeply believing within themselves that this small act of Pope Francis was an affirmation that indeed, the Vatican is strongly behind this sanctimonious political group boasting of “heroes” and ”saints” within their ranks. (If I were the Pope, I would have sent rosaries to families of illegal drugs victims instead. Not to drug lords and/or their protectors. But that’s just me. Just an opinion from a nobody.) #PopeFrancis #LeilaDeLima #Rosary #IllegalDrugs #DrugLordsCoddler

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Atomic Blonde

Atomic Blonde | There was this 10-minute sequence involving Charlize Theron and at least 4 antagonists near the denouement of “Atomic Blonde” [Official Site] that really made me chuckle in awe because it seems the entire sequence was shot in one take. But observing certain elements made me realize that no, it’s not possible to do all that action and gore without any cuts. It had to be the magic of film-making. So I had to look it up and came up with this: “How the ‘Atomic Blonde’ Team Pulled Off the Incredible, 10-Minute, ‘One-Take’ Action Sequence”. But it was awesome just the same. Music-wise, I’m biased with the choice of songs in the soundtrack as these were part of my playlists growing up and it’s perfect for the time setting of the film (The Fall of the Berlin Wall). An entertaining way to kick off my weekend. #AtomicBlonde #CharlizeTheron #JamesMcAvoy

Coffee

Coffee | Don’t you just hate how one day they’ll say coffee is bad for you and then the next they’ll proclaim it’s okay or even beneficial? Well, here’s a new study saying that even three cups a day “may have health benefits”. Know what, I’ll just keep on drinking coffee everyday, at least a mug or two, until the day I die. Time to stop paying attention to all these studies. #Coffee #Health