Tuesday, September 18, 2018


For quite some time him this decade, when it comes to the best drama series likely to receive awards, the most certain candidate would have to be HBO’s cash cow fantasy epic “Game of Thrones”, the TV adaptation of the popular and long-delayed (in conclusion) book franchise written by George R.R. Martin. Since premiering in 2011 and running over seven seasons, the gripping saga of a grimly war-torn kingdom on the verge of a planetary apocalypse has won Outstanding Drama Series at the Primetime Emmys twice, among other awards. This year’s Emmys are no different, despite being off the small screen for a whole year.
As People tells us, the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards took place the evening of Monday, September 17 at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles. Here, the HBO medieval fantasy series “Game of Thrones”, created for television by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, showed that it was still a prominent presence at occasions such as these with its seven Primetime Emmy nominations, only third place behind “American Crime Story” (9) and the 8-nom tie between “Atlanta” and “The Handmaid’s Tale”. It is quite the achievement considering the show is not even airing on HBO this 2018.
The reason for that is the ongoing production of the eighth and final season for “Game of Thrones”, with its story being set in the middle of winter necessitating late-year filming in 2017 until July this year, plus exhaustive post-production work for its various special effects. Then again, the period covered by this year’s Emmys are shows that started running (current season) between June 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018; with “Thrones” season 7 starting July 16 last year, this penultimate portion of the whole series run is eligible for the awards. It thus won its third Outstanding Drama Series this Monday evening, with its show-runners, cast and even original author George R.R. Martin present.
“Game of Thrones” managed to beat out some of the latest and newest show on TV nowadays, from FX’s recently-concluded “The Americans”, Netflix’s “Stranger Things” and “The Crown”, “The Handmaid’s Tale”, NBC’s “This is Us” and fellow HBO program (and informal cash cow “successor”) “Westworld”. Its other nominations are for Outstanding Supporting Actor and Actress and Outstanding Directing for Drama; the only other Emmy Award victory it got was Outstanding Supporting Actor for Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, beating out Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister.
On receiving the award, D.B. Weiss and Dave Benioff thanked Martin for writing the books that gave rise to their highly-acclaimed show. “This show could not be without the mad genius of George,” Benioff said on his acceptance speech, indicating the author next to him. “Thank you for letting us take care of your people.” The final season of “Game of Thrones” runs only 6 episodes and premieres early 2019.
Image from The Hollywood Reporter


The past weekend could be succinctly described as the “Time of the Two Super-Storms”. In both the Pacific and Atlantic, eastern-facing coastal areas were hammered respectively by Super-Typhoon Mangkhut (Ompong in the Philippines) and Hurricane Florence. While Mangkhut raised hell and high water on the western Pacific and the uppermost regions of Southeast Asia, Florence in turn cut a stormy path through the Atlantic, from a tropical depression in Cape Verde just off Africa’s west coast, to Bermuda and its point of landfall in the US East Coast, the Carolinas. Damage estimates are appalling, with physical devastation and health issues.
CNN reports that about 32 people have been reported killed with hundreds more trapped in flooded areas following the passing of Hurricane Florence which made landfall in North Carolina last Friday, September 14. As of Monday, September 17, Florence has since diminished into a low-pressure area over West Virginia, but the damage has been done and is still ongoing. Streets and other roadways were transformed into torrential waterways by the ensuing storm surge from the coasts and the rivers, with rubber rescue boats and responders braving the currents and possible submerged obstacles to reach families stranded in their houses.
By Monday, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has taken stock of the situation and described the visit of Florence as a “monumental disaster”. Rain continues to fall in the area, with 2 to 5 inches expected on the central and southeastern parts of the State. The National Weather Service has recorded “historical” levels of river flooding, with the possibility of serious contamination due to some local hog farms being inundated, their waste materials being carried off by the waters. Nearby southern Virginia and South Carolina have been issued flash-flood warnings; in the former, a tornado formed by the weather killed one person by collapsing a building.

Electricity was also an issue, with some 488,551 and 16,385 customers, (some of which may be multi-person households) in North and South Carolina respectively, being without power. The port city of Wilmington was totally cut off from all access by Florence during Sunday, September 16. At the latest only one road could be cleared for rescue and supply use, but Wilmington evacuees are as yet being dissuaded from returning. Both treated water and fuel are noted to be running low. Another social issue at the moment is reports of household pets left at flooded homes or cages by evacuated families, resulting in social media indignation.
As for where the remains of Florence will go, the NWS sees it moving northeast by Tuesday, September 18. Its last hurrah could be heavy rains in north Pennsylvania, central New York and even Boston.
Image from The Epoch Times

GILAS Beats QATAR Monday, 92-81

The Asia Qualifiers for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup is now well into its second round, with the survivors of the first round now more determined than ever to prevail against the competition in order to reach the main event itself in China. That goes double for Gilas Pilipinas, the Philippines National Men’s Basketball Team, which has suffered some painful setbacks in the tournament against Australia in July and Iran last week. Tragedy seemed to loom at the start of their Monday qualifier against Qatar, but after weathering a 3-point storm, the bloodied by determined Gilas roster ultimately prevailed.
ESPN 5 reports that after making Filipinos worry for the first half, Team Philippines went on to finish a closely-contested encounter against Qatar on September 17, at the sixth game for Group F of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup Asia qualifiers. Fresh off the loss at the hands of Iran on the first game for the Group held last week, Gilas under head coach Yeng Guiao were keenly aware that they are at the edge of the precipice for elimination. But initially the players seemed out of sorts at the court, allowing their Qatari opponents to take the lead.
One possible factor for the Philippines’ low starting energy was the lack of an audience at Smart Araneta Coliseum; as part of sanctions received from their July 2 brawl with Australia, they would play their next home game behind closed doors. Qatar thus capitalized with a barrage of 3-point shots that put their lead in the double digits for the first half, with Mohd Mohmmed contributing 26 points and 7 rebounds. Towards halftime, Gilas was trailing at 17 points maximum and had yet to reduce the lead even to single digits. The silent arena only seemed to make things harder.
But the Gilas players knew what was at stake. They already lost hosting rights to China for 2019 (and only mollified by joint hosting duties with Japan and Indonesia for 2023); they would not be shut out of the FIBA Cup again. Japeth Aguilar and Alex Cabagnot each put 16 points towards catching up to Qatar on the third quarter, and with a jump shot from Aguilar, the lead switched to the Philippines and never changed back. The game ended with a 92-81 victory for Gilas. This puts the national team 5-3 in Group F, still in contention for 2019.
Coach Yeng Guiao feels proud and relieved that his team never gave up event with their sluggish beginning against Qatar and focused on defense until the other team began to tire. I just felt that we had to hang on, we just had to play our defense,” he said. “They’re not going to be able to sustain 55 percent shooting. So when that time comes, we should be able to raise up our own percentage and keep the game close.”
Image courtesy of ABS-CBN News