halo who? emergence day is here

Gears of War is awesome, period.

It was hard for me to tear myself away from the game and lend it to our hackenslash reporter Alex Villafania so that he could review it first. Check out Alex’s review for more Gears of War goodness.

You could also check out my preview of Fuzion Frenzy 2 (this is based on the demo you can download from Xbox Live), and review of Ninety-Nine Nights. You could also check out my PopMatters review of Ninety-Nine Nights where I tackled another aspect of the game.

Oh, and while we haven’t been able to buy a PS3 or a Wii yet, read about Alex’s quickie with the PS3 and his Wii-spotting ways

Keep visiting hackenslash.inquirer.net.

filipino crowned world pool champion

He was one of 21 Filipinos competing in the World Pool Championship, which was held for the very first time in the Philippines, but Ronato Alcano was practically unheralded, lost in the shadows as the spotlight was on the big guns of Filipino pool, Efren Reyes (the 1999 champ), Francisco Bustamante (2002 runner-up), and Alex Pagulayan (2004 champ).

Now this was a true underdog story, and in the final against a former world champion, Germany’s Ralf Souquet (who was champ in 1996 and the runner-up in 2001, losing to Finland’s Mika Immonen), Ronnie shocked the world even more by completely dominating the Kaiser en route to a 17-11 victory.

Relive the glory in this clip of Alcano’s winning shot.

I had goosebumps watching the match on TV yesterday, and I’m so proud of Ronnie Alcano. I felt bad for Souquet, and the predominantly Filipino crowd, though naturally rooting for Alcano, was full of respect and admiration for the great German player, who has over the years proven himself to be one of the nicest as well as greatest pool champions in the world. It’s in stark contrast to the boorish behavior of Earl Strickland.

I was shocked to see the usually stoic Souquet in tears as he talked about how much he wanted to win the championship in the Philippines, and it was heartening to hear the crowd chanting, “Souquet, Souquet” in a show of support for the defeated German. See this clip of the award ceremony.

Here’s to you, Ronnie. You’ve made us all proud.

By the way, I’ve noticed that Ronnie Alcano doesn’t have a Wikipedia entry yet — maybe somebody could remedy that?

democrats complete sweep

It’s official: the last hope the Republicans have of retaining control of the Senate, incumbent Virginia Sen. George Allen, has conceded to the Democratic candidate Jim Webb.

With this development, the Democrats have completed a stunning sweep in the US midterm elections, grabbing control of both houses of Congress after 12 years in exile since the Republican landslide of 1994.

Allen, who was once considered a strong candidate for the US presidency in 2008, gained notoriety for his alleged racism, triggered by the infamous “macaca” incident. See this YouTube video of Allen calling a dark-skinned campaign volunteer of his opponent Webb, an American of Indian ethnicity named S.R. Sidarth, “macaca” and saying “Welcome to America.” Sidarth was filming Allen’s speech to an all-white audience of supporters, and the video circulated all over the Internet.

In the wake of the furor, Allen claimed he “made the word up” and didn’t know “macaca” was a racial slur. You be the judge.

Oh, and apparently Allen hadn’t been aware of his Jewish heritage — his mother has Jewish roots. Though why he would bristle and say the question isn’t relevant is puzzling — he wasn’t being asked about religion but about ancestry. It couldn’t be that he’s ashamed of his Jewish roots, is he? “Aspersions”? It reminds me of some Fil-Am or Fil-whatever celebrities who once denied they had Filipino blood.

Nevertheless, he’s since recognized his Jewish roots, and has been added as the “51st” in the Forward 50 list of most influential members of the American Jewish community.

So long, Senator Allen, and good riddance. Welcome to the real world. You know, the one where not everyone is a white boy or a Christian.

republicans flushed away

Sorry, George, but reality has finally caught up with the Republicans.

It’s about time Americans punished Dubya, and the fallout has certainly hurt the Republicans. I’m still hopeful that the Democrats will also capture the Senate, and that the Democrats will actually be able to chart a new course.

Let’s face it, the Democratic resurgence was less about the Democrats offering clear alternatives as it was about voter anger directed at Bush and the Republicans, but at least the first step toward change has been taken. It’s up to the Democrats not to waste the opportunity they’ve been given.

In the spirit of celebration, here are YouTube clips of the inimitable Stephen Colbert, one of the ballsiest guys in the world, satirizing Bush right to his face — and this was months ago during the 2006 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner on April 29, when the idea of the Republicans suffering this kind of debacle was mostly just a Democratic fantasy.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Click here for a transcript of Colbert’s speech. The best part of the speech for me?

“The greatest thing about this man is he’s steady. You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change; this man’s beliefs never will.

buy tv episodes, rent movies online via xbox live

This one could be really huge, as Microsoft opens up a new front in the console wars by announcing that US Xbox 360 gamers will be able to download TV show episodes and full-length movies via Xbox Live starting Nov. 22, the first anniversary of the Xbox 360.

Check out the hackenslash GameBlog post for more details.

Of course, they’ll need to offer a bigger hard drive for the Xbox 360 to really make this service viable, plus you can expect Sony to counter this with a similar service on the PlayStation 3.

Here’s hoping Xbox Live subscribers outside the US will also be able to enjoy this new service.