Dining Out Blues

mongoliangrillEvery Friday night I always eat out with the family. It’s my own little way of contributing to the economy 😉 Last Friday we decided to drive to a town about 20 minutes east along the highway. The weather was great and for a change, I wanted a place not as congested as the city. Mind you the town isn’t as multi-cultural as the city but the people are nice. We went to a strip mall with a large cinema surrounded by a bunch of restaurants. Of the Asian variety, our choice was between Thai and Mongolian. This time around we went Mongolian. Strangely, other than the standard make your own stir fry buffet offering, this Mongolian restaurant also served pasta ala carte which was kinda good because it meant that my daughter could eat 🙂 As soon as I got in, I sensed place didn’t have any semblance with anything Mongolian at all. It looked more like a high end pub, with large flat screen TV’s on the walls showing sports games. The only thing Mongolian about the place was the large slab of hot iron where freckle faced high school students on summer break were stir frying, often chatting with their friends who drop by the restaurant for a bite. In fact, I got the impression the whole joint was in some Eastern European township conquered by the Mongols, whose people were serving Mongolian stir fry to pay homage to Genghis Khan 🙂 Far cry from the largely Asian section of the city where their Mongolian joints have authentic looking cooks garbed in Mongolian attire handling their stir fry sticks so adroitly which made you think that they actually cook and cared about how your food looked when they finally slide it in your bowl. Heck, I can almost hear hoofs of horses pounding the ground in the background when these Mongolian looking dudes do their stick work on my concoction.

I’m a pretty flexible guy so I can spare the authenticity part – just cook my noodles properly – no burnt noodles please. I also didn’t care too much about the rice and tortilla side dishes which were delivered at every table. I know the mighty Mongol warriors of long ago cut their meat into small pieces with their ultra sharp scimitars and cooked them on their thick iron shields over fire but heck if you give me a tortilla, I can turn Mongolian into Mexican anytime. Just hand me some guacamole, tomatoes and jalapeno pepper to go along with it 🙂 The choice of the stir fry sauce was a bit over the top hence overwhelming – more than a dozen of them in jars each labeled on metallic sliver plates which to my dismay, were barely visible because of the light effect.  Did Genghis Khan have 24 choices of sauce on his stir fry ?  The risk of dumping the wrong sauce on your meat, fish and veggie concoction was high. You can’t back out once you’ve spilled your sauce on the bowl. My wife’s first bowl tasted sweet, sour, spicy hot and fruity at the same time. Between me and my wife, our dinner experience turned into “what’s your sauce?” game 🙂 You can be totally experimental to the max and throw in all the dozen or so sauces into your bowl and blog about how it tastes.

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Willie Revillame and ABS-CBN – A Misunderstanding Of Respect ?

The recent brouhaha between Wowowe host Willie Revillame and ABS-CN has shifted into an all out war between Revillame and the public, the latter calling for Revillame’s ouster as host of the show, in view of his allegedly rude comments in rebuke of ABS-CBN’s tasteless decision of airing Cory Aquino’s funeral cortege in the background of his loud and boisterous game show. People branded Revillame’s tirade as utterly boorish or complete “kabastusan” and disrespect of the dead president. But, was it really ?

I am thinking, what could be more “kabastusan” than showing a funeral cortege as a PIP ( Picture in Picture) in a noontime game show, full of gyrating dancers and contestants jumping and up and down, audience cheering and clapping ? What was ABS-CBN’s motivation to do this ? I can only think of one reason ; TV rating – hitting two birds with one stone, so that viewers need not switch channels. In short, you’re “entertained” by both events by a single channel. I am reminded of a light hearted statement made by the late movie reporter Babette Villaruel when asked about the funeral of his deceased father “ Okay naman ho. Successful naman yung burol niya”. Clearly, he was adding a showbiz twist to the event, in levity of course.

In my book, ABS-CBN’s decision to air Cory’s cortege as background to a game show was utterly disrespectful. It unequivocally treated the funeral of a deceased leader in the category of “showbiz” material. This equally reveals how lowly ABS-CBN considers its Wowowie viewers for subjecting them to such adacious display of callous and reckless commercialism. Revilliame’s decision to cry foul, protest and correct the situation was done in a manner befitting the gravity of the infraction – swift, blunt, straightforward and resolute and rightfully so. Revilliame isn’t exactly an emcee with a smarmy personality. He is a pretty ordinary looking guy, a bit rough on the edges, oftentimes missing on his v’s and f’s but nonetheless very capable of handling the show. Now his career is on the line for standing up to his employer’s “kabastusan” because the public at large failed to perceive the reason behind his blunt and no holds barred protestation.

Here’s a comment I made at an online forum thread discussing this imbroglio :

I don’t know why you folks want to kill the guy who wanted to defend Cory from the kabastusan of ABS-CBN, of SHOWING A FUNERAL IN A GAME SHOW.

This is the big deal – SHOWING A FUNERAL IN A GAME SHOW – the most disrespectful act of an expolitative, greedy, bloodsucking station like ABS-CBN who has no respect for dead people because they didn’t want people to change channels. ABS-CBN was the culprit here believe it or not.

Willie stood up for what he believed and those IDIOTS who say why not wait for a commercial better understand that if a FOUL is committed, you don’t wait for a time out to address it.

There was no reason for Revillame to risk his career but to correct a WRONG he did it his way in a blunt, no holds barred, straightforward, brutally frank manner. If this happened in FOX, ABC, CBS, NBC – showing Michael Jackson or Ronald Reagan’s funeral in the Price is Right, Jeopardy or Deal or No Deal game shows- the director of the show will be FIRED ON THE SPOT. You guys don’t have a clue of what respect means.

ABS-CBN has some explaining to do. They seem to be content on seeing their staff absorb the heat and getting lynched for their injudiciousness.

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Finders Keepers Losers Weepers.. No More ?

finderskeepers-ryanbubnisFor those who think that the hope of reuniting with a lost precious item depends solely on the honesty of the finder, despair not. “Finders keepers losers weepers” remains a thing of the past, hopefully only to be heard from the scratchy 45 rpm records of Elvis Presley and Cliff Richard. The homo sapien appears to be on track with its journey to enlightenment and had nixed the proverbial notion of the finders keepers rule as medieval, as evidenced by the latest legal rulings in the western world. Great ! Case in point, in England, a couple who cashed in a L30,000 winning lottery ticket they found on a shop floor were charged with fraud and ordered to pay back the rightful owner of the lottery ticket, interest included. Ouch. This was contingent of course on the rightful owner giving evidence and convincing the courts that she bought the ticket. The new rule simply says – if you found something, it is not automatically yours. You must exert effort in finding the owner. If no one shows up to claim after a period of time set by the law, only then will you be entitled to keep it” If you keep it and someone finds out, you’re as good as a thief. Strangely logical?

images_lotteryHere’s an even stranger one which happened in the U.S. A man handed his $2 lottery ticket to a store attendant for him to check if it won anything. The machine came up with a printout that confirmed the ticket was the 1st prize, $65M jackpot winner. The attendant gave the validation receipt to the man and advised him to proceed to the lottery office to claim his prize but the dunce “lost” his winning ticket. How could he muff the darn thing ? If he didn’t have a wallet, how about storing the damn ticket between his butt cheeks for safety huh? Who cares if it stinks, it’s still a friggin’ ticket 😡  A box of surgical gloves doesn’t cost that much 🙂 He showed the validation receipt as evidence of his win, but the lottery office required a 365 day waiting period for someone to come forward with the winning ticket because “ by law, whoever turned in the actual ticket would be entitled to collect “ Ouch. Now, this becomes strangely complicated ! Luckily no one showed up with the ticket within the and the man was able to cash in the $21M prize ( after taxes). What if someone found the ticket and showed up at the lottery office? Methinks this is where smart lawyers come in and play their sophisticated tug of war game 😉 I would hazard a guess that the ticket finder will get half, of which his lawyer may likely get third of his booty . The ticket loser will get the other half obviously and his good lawyer will take his well deserved cut as well. In short, everybody wins 😎 but the jackass ticket loser would curse himself forever for being a supreme buffoon, losing more than half of his winnings to people who didn’t derserve it 😯 Well, he can also pat himself in the back for being an instant benefactor, depending on his mood 😆

Finders keepers, losers weepers no more – what do you think ? Does it make sense? Will it work where you live ? 😉


MY 2 CENTS ON CORY’S SAINTHOOD

images_saintThe death of former president Cory Aquino shocked the world. Cory’s legacy as a mother and housewife who led her country’s revolution from the hands of a tyrant dictator after her illustrious husband had fallen in battle is certainly heroic.  She wasn’t by any means perfect but most of us saw her try her darnest best to mend a country’s broken spirit. I have seen hundreds of blogs honoring her, commented on a lot of them and felt like I had no need to blog about it because most of what I wanted to say had been said. I thought the media coverage in Pinas was a bit too much but considering her popularity, that was to be expected.  The one thing that disappointed me was the proposal of some of her die hard supporters to canonize her as saint. I thought this was really going overboard, into outer space, if I were to allegorize how preposterous the proposal is.

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Vacation…Staycation

images1Staycation is now an official word in the English dictionary. I bet the wicked recession had something to do with it 🙂  I’m on staycation this week after our family vacation last week and that works just fine with me.  I thoroughly enjoyed our one week trip to New Hampshire.  In 2006 we went to the more touristic White Mountain area but this time we stayed a bit south, at the Crotched Mountain area. The resort we stayed at was literally in the boonies and people really only go there to golf in summer or ski in winter. The golf was superb but I would grade the resort a D in terms of family friendliness. The accomodation and customer service was alright and I couldn’t complain but was disappointed that there wasn’t a fitness gym at the resort.  Okay, I can run along the jogging trails but the thought of encountering a bear along the way isn’t exactly a thrilling proposition 😳 But then, isolated as the place might be, there are lots of interesting places to go within an hour and besides Boston was just 60 miles away. It is in a true sense a private hideaway.

images3I couldn’t imagine driving to this place without a GPS.  A couple of times I deviated from the “fastest time” to ” the shortest distance” in the calculation algorithmn and the GPS took me back to the resort in entirely different routes which gave me an eerie feeling that the software had bummed out and I was lost in the mountains in the middle of the night. I had to trust the GPS voice instructions when it told me to go left or right and lo and behold it took us home every time. It’s just me but I’m so particular about reliability and accuracy and when it comes to GPS systems that I only trust brand names that have established credibility in the avionics / navigation industry. Nope, I will never buy a GPS with a consumer electronic brand name no matter how famous.

images2The 10 hour drive from Toronto was quite smooth. As I said before, driving wide and tall vehicles with automatic transmission and cruise control is the name of the game in long driving. With cruise control on the freeway, I set the desired speed, free up my feet from the pedal, put my left foot up on my seat and control the speed with buttons on the steering wheel 😆 A spacious vehicle is great for your passengers as well. When I fold the 3rd row seats, I can also load my kitchen at the back of my van 😆 Since we were staying at a fully furnished unit at the resort, my wife, the ultimate rice queen tagged along her 4 cup rice cooker as usual. Her 10th commandent is ” Thou Shalt Eat Rice Everyday” 😉 We got an ice packed cooler with laing with shrimp, sinigang baboy, frozen daing na galunggong, longanisa we bought from a Pinoy store. I told her “enough with this now. No stinky stuff okay?” 😛 Food is never a problem to find because there are lots of supermarkets you can drive to but hey, why should I complain ? I’m pretty much universal with my taste but heck, what is darn wrong with daing na galunggong and longanisa for breakfast for Pete’s sake 😆 As long as it is not tuyo’ that’ll stink up the neighborhood and get us ejected I’m okay with it 🙂

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