Category: GEOGRAPHY & HISTORY

Boadicea, photo by PH Morton

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
– Edmund Burke (1729 – 97)


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Life On Mars (KDrama Vs Brits) Review

Drama

Life On Mars (KDrama Vs Brits) Review

  • Genre: Supernatural, Paranormal, Crime, Policing, Serial Killer, Time Travel

 


UK Tv Version

Date Released: 2006

Cast:

  • John Simm as Sam Tyler
  • Philip Glenister as Gene Hunt
  • Liz White
  • Dean Andrews
  • Marshall Lancaster

This drama is based on the brilliant original 2006 BBC TV series Life on Mars. The US and other countries copied the format for their  version of the TV series, but in my opinion, never bettered the original.

Summary of the British drama. By Peter Morton an avid fan of the BBC series)

In 2006, A modern, ambitious young Detective Inspector (DI) named  Sam Tyler is investigating a major crime. While driving to a meeting, he has a serious car accident. While he lies on the road losing consciousness, the iPod in his car  is playing David Bowie’s iconic ‘Life on Mars’ song.  Hours late,  Sam wakes up in the road and he can still hear the song. He gets up and looks around but his car has gone and an unfamiliar car is there in it’s place, with an old 1970s style 8 track tape player in the car playing the song.

Sam is confused, puzzled and with a bad headache, he gets into the car and drives to his meeting. The destination and all round him have changed.

He is about to meet and become involved with interesting characters of a bygone era. Political Correctness does not exist and life is played out to different conventions to what he has known in his 21st centruy life.

When he arrives at his destination, he is met by a senior detective, who appears to be expecting Sam and welcomes him to be a member of his team investigating local serious crimes.

The senior detective is named Gene Hunt. For the early episodes, Sam  thinks Hunt is “an overweight, over-the-hill, nicotine-stained, borderline-alcoholic homophobe with a superiority complex and an unhealthy obsession with male bonding” Anger management is unknown to Hunt too.

Hunt’s all male detective team have similar outlooks to him and will use physical means to coerce suspects etc.  Police women (one assists the team) are seen as only generally usefu, making tea and typing up reports etc.  Sam mentions his accident and he learns from a bemused Hunt, who thinks Sam has lost his memory reminds Sam this is 1973. Sam  is of course  quite shocked and puzzled. He goes along with all that is happening, while trying to rationlise what is happening to him.

Gene Hunt & the team think Sam is initially too soft and not hard enough to be a proper detective, let alone a policeman. They get confused and think he is mad  when he tries to explain to them  modern forensics, crime detection and political correctness unknown in that time.

Sam is frustrated by the antics, hard-drinking, sexist banter and lack of modern police methods.

As teh series developes Gene Hunt becomes iconic. The viewer and Sam come to see that Gene Hunt, despite his rough and ready exterior,has in fact, a  caring side, good old fashioned instinctive  detective ability and is a committed good guy as are his team.  Sam, Gene and team get to respect each other and become friends. Romance beckons with the police woman(no female detectives), member of the team too.

The viewer, like Sam himself,  has to workout if he is dead and has either gone to some sort of afterlife, or in a coma and dying with vivid dreams, or  somehow  he has gone back in time.

While his  day-to-day 1970s experience seem all to real to Sam, he also  experiences surreal auditory and  hallucinatory instances, some where  his name being called from a distant place., Is  medical intervention trying to revive him?

Things &  events happen in the background, which intrigue the viewer. One such, is a pub barman, who gives Sam profound pearls of wisdom about existence.

As the story progresses, Sam gets to enjoy and settle into his ‘new life’ as it is much simpler and less complicated than his fast paced and pressurised, goal orientated  21st century modern existence. Sam finds genuine friendship and camaraderie and feels he is doing good. He begins to prefer to stay in this new life.

Is Sam accepting death, or his place in a new time, somehow granted to him?

In the last episode, in hospital, Sam wakes up  from a coma in his real-time. He recovers from his accident and eventually returns to work.  He feels out-of-place and hates the modern complicated world he grew up in. He takes the ultimate decision and jumps off the roof of his tall HQ building, killing himself, to return his preferred existence.

Following the popularity of the first series, a second series was made.

It was called Ashes to Ashes (another Bowie song), with a new lead character.  This time it is an ambitious female detective named Alexandra Drake.  In the first epsiode Drake is shot in the head by a criminal. As Drake lies deeply unconscious, she experiences the same as Sam did in the first series. The same 1970s era, the characters of Gene Hunt and his team. This time with added issue of being a feisty modern senior female detective previously unknown now ‘alive’ in this  male dominated world!

This second series further hints at an idea of an afterlife or existence.

Gene Hunt and his team are gradually revealed to be possibly much more than the routine cops they portray. Are they, along with some other characters  ‘angels’ or ‘guides’?  In one episode, Hunt is talking to Drake and he mysteriously  alludes to another detective who passed through before her arrival.

The viewer can ponder the deeper meaning of this, which in my opinion was an excellent, original and creative piece of drama, with great actors and acting.


 

Life on Mars poster (Korean)

  • South Korean Drama Version
  • Date Released: June 2018
  • KDrama: 16 episodes

Cast:

  • Jung Kyung Ho as Han Tae-Jo
  • Park Sung Woong as Kang Dong Chul
  • Go Ah Sung as Yoon Na Young
  • Oh Dae Hwan as Lee Jong-gi
  • Noh Jung Hyun as Jo Nam-sik

I came late to this drama, not because I did not think much of it.

Au contraire, it was the opposite.  The presence of Jung Kyung Ho and Go Ah Sung would guarantee a drama to be of topmost excellence.  Added to the equation is that this is a BBC drama original.

You cannot go wrong!!!

Episode 1

Han Tae-Jo is on top of his crop as a forensic police investigator.  He is very punctilious with his work.  Even if the result is not what is popular, he fights for it.

This made him unpopular to many policemen, who tend to look after themselves with their cronyism.  Some police cut corners to get the result they wanted.

Han Tae-Jo fought this kind of anomalies, including with a rabid policeman who sent an innocent to jail for three years.

Anyway Han Tae Jo was a key witness to a prolific serial killer, who paints the victims nail with red nail varnish.

They got the culprit and it was almost a done deal that he was going to jail.  But Han Tae Jo testified that the forensic evidence was  contaminated.  There were no other evidence and therefore the killer was freed.

han Tae Jo testimony did not sit down well with the prosecutor, who happened to be his ex-girlfriend.

Han Tae Jo himself was very upset with the result. He got home and drank himself to sleep.  He was awakened the next morning with the news that the prosecutor had gone missing.  He noticed that he received several calls from her telling him that there was someone else behind the serial killer.

Han Tae Jo was visibly upset and and scared that the prosecutor has become another statistic to the serial killing.

They search everywhere and finally found the place where the killer was hiding.  Han Tae Jo himself gave chase to the killer.  He was about to get him when someone pointed a gun to Han Tae Jo’s head and fired.

He woke up and under the David Bowie’s Life on Mars song, Han Tae Jo staggered to his car only to get hit by another car.

He then again woke up in a strange location.

It was 1998.  The 1988 was about to take place in South Korea and as a precaution, there was an impromptu war drill.

Han Tae Jo, just stood in the middle of the road utterly confused with the goings on.  And then he spied the serial killer.  He run after him and the police run after Han Tae Jo.

The man Han Tae Jo was running after was not quite the serial killer.

They all ended up in the police station, where Han Tae Jo was roughed up by the police as he cannot show any ID and the fact that he told them that he works at the Metropolitan police, which did not exist in 1988.

In the end an envelop of documents drop out from his leather jacket which notified who he was and that he was the new detective inspector.

In the station, he met everyone of the team, including Kang Dong Chul (Gene Hung equivalent) who has not been visited by political correctness.

There was also a young policewoman, who was more a housekeeper, in charge or laundry and tea-making among other menial task.  The policewoman was Yoon na took him to his new house.

The room was almost bare except for an old television.  When he switched it on, he saw someone talking about him, his body in the present time being in a coma.

Han Tae Jo was rudely woken up the next morning by Kang Dong Chul.  He took him to the site of a murder.

A girl has been killed.  Han Tae Jo immediately notices that her nails had been painted red.

 

 

 

 

Blackberries in Salt & Vinegar

Blackberries in vinegar, photo by JMorton

I am currently watching the semi-finals between England and Croatia.  England dominated the first half with a 1-nil to England.

As it is half-time, I suddenly craved something sour.  I spied at around lunchtime that the blackberries, growing wildly in our garden are now ripening.

Actually, I picked those which are not fully ripe yet.  They taste better in vinegar and they are crispier and crunchier with that burst of sour taste.

When the blackberries are fully ripe, I will be baking a blackberry and apple crumble.

If you want to try my sour blackberries, then half a cup to half a cup of firm ripening blackberries.  Wash thoroughly and drain.

Add to it a tablespoon of red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.  These vinegars have that spicy and wonderful smell about it, really sour.

Then sprinkle a little salt, give it a stir.

Ready to crunch,

Yum

Sadly a young, relatively inexperienced and talented England team lost 2-1 in extra time, but far exceeded expectations with hope for the future. I still enjoyed my snack 🙂

Blackberries in Salt & Vinegar

 

 

Chinese Roast Pork with Seasonal Vegetables Stir-Fry

Chinese Roast Pork with Vegetables, photo by JMorton

This recipe is in two parts.

First of is making the Chinese roast pork and it then sliced and cooked/stir fry with the seasonal vegetables (widely available vegetables in whatever season)  Substitute or add any or more vegetables in available in your fridge.

Chinese Roast Pork with Seasonal Vegetables Stir-fry

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 Lbs. pork loin or belly1/4 cup.Hoisin Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Honey
  • 1/4 cup dark Soy Sauce
  • 1 inch Ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp. Sriracha (you can get it now in Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda and Oriental supermarket
  • 1/2 tbsp  Sesame Oil
  • 1/2  tbsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp.Red Food Colouring (Optional.)
  • 1 tsp. Chinese 5 Spice

Directions for the Chinese Roast Pork

  • Mix together all the ingredients except for the pork in a large shallow bowl, like a covered pyrex dish or a flat casserole.
  • When all the ingredients are incorporated, Stir in the pork, ensure that all sides are drenched with the marinade.
  • Put a lid on the the bowl, using its on cover or with a cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight or at least for two to three hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.  Using a large roasting pan with a rack, fill the bottom of part of the roasting pan with water.  Ensure the water does not touch the top of the rack.
  • Carefully arrange the the pork into the rack (don’t let it touch the water, so as not to dilute the marinade that had been absorbed by the meat).
  • Put the roasting pan into the middle shelf of the oven and cook for 45 – 60 minutes. Remove from the oven after thirty minutes and brush with the marinade on both sides of the pork.  return to the oven and continue to cook.
  • Once done, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before slicing into half inches thickness.

Seasonal Vegetable Stir-fry

Ingredients

 

  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 cup green bell pepper,sliced
  • 1 cup baby corn, cut in half
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, sliced
  • 100 g mushroom, quartered
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • i cup mung bean sprouts
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • Shrimp juice (derived by crushing the head of the shrimp) or use shrimp bouillon
  • 1cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large wok, saute the garlic and onion until golden (do not burn to prevent any any bitter taste)
  2. Stir in the carrots, green and red bell peppers and baby corn.
  3. Add the broccoli.
  4. Stir in the sliced pork.
  5. Mix in the oyster sauce.
  6. Pour in the shrimp juice and 1/2 cup of water and bring to a boil. The allow to simmer for 3 minutes.
  7. Dilute the cornstarch with the rest of the water then pour mixture in the wok. Mix well.
  8. Tip in the mung bean sprouts  and cook for 2 minutes.
  9. Check the seasoning by adding salt and pepper according to taste.
  10. Transfer into a serving bowl and eat hot with freshly boiled rice or some noodles.

The Markle Sparkle

The New Duke & Duchess of Sussex


The Markle Sparkle

There is only one verdict during the royal wedding yesterday between Prince Harry and Hollywood actress, Meghan Markle, it was a success – a history making.

After  weeks of salacious revelations about the Markles and Meghan, yesterday put a lid to all the controversies.  The lid might be temporary, we shall see.

Remember how Sarah Fergusson was at first the darling of the crowd in 1986?  Did not last long 🙁

Yesterday, the world had seen how Meghan was so poised and dignified.  Meghan sparkled.

Her dress was expensively simple, which suited her well.  The pièce de résistance to her wedding ensemble was the purity and simplicity of the Queen Mary Diamond Bandeau Tiara.  A real show stopper!  It was perfectly nestled into a long train of veil, which cascaded behind her like a silken river.  The veil was embroidered by all the flowers from the 53 commonwealth nations.

She might yet be the real thing, a real duchess.

Well she is officially the Duchess of Sussex, (Countess ) Lady of Dumbarton and (Baroness) Lady of Kilkeel and also being Princess Harry. ‘A list’ guests attending with members of public. Millions around the world watched or listened to a bright, joyous and happy event, sadly rare at present in the world at large. We saw part of the RAF wedding fly by of planes over our garden en route to Windsor on a glorious sunny day.

Congratulations and Best Wishes.

Markle – Windsor Conspiracy

Harry & Meghan

Markle – Windsor Conspiracy

Omigod!  This wedding is turning into a farce.

It doesn’t bode well for their future.  But then again having said that, Meghan and her own family might just fit in nice and well with the British Royal Family.

I am so looking forward to the next instalment of their drama.

 

It is like Coronation Street, Eastenders, Emmerdale, The Beverley Hillbillies, The Munsters & Dowtown Abbey rolled into one and topped by a hint of Deliverance.

Netflix should jumped immediately into making a drama based on the Markle Windsor alliance.

I have to admit that when Harry and Meghan first announced their engagement, I was not in anyway bothered except for wishing them well.

But as the days start to near the actual nuptial, I am becoming overwhelmed with excitement and gawky mirth.

It is not the excitement of wanting to know what Meghan would wear.

But…

The more on the unfolding drama behind Meghan Markle’s family background, which is riveting; better than stylised fiction. 🙂

I am pretty sure many in the palace admin/PR side are loosing their hair from grabbing them in frustration.

As they solve one incident, another pops up right behind immediately.

The ‘will he, won’t he?’ saga about Thomas Markle walking his daughter down the aisle is frankly hilarious!

And now I am pretty sure not the only one that think the Royal Family will be blamed for Meghan’s father not attending the wedding after all.  This will be a conspiracy.

The Royal Family will be blamed for looking down on Meghan’s family.

This should not be the case as the Royal Family is as dysfunctional as Meghan’s own.

Who could forget about the Sophiegate better known as Sophie Tape of 2001, where Sophie, the Countess of Wesses (wife of Edward- QEII youngest son) was rather forthright in her criticism of a lot of people.  And it was also said that Edward and Sophie are like a marionettes for the right price, allegedly.

Who can forget the many scandals attached to Prince Andrew.  I do feel sorry for him because he was thwarted when he was romancing Koo Stark.  In the end he had to make do with Fergie and her toe sucking antics.

What about Tampax Charlie and his darling Camilla.  He had to marry his mistress, who he can’t marry the first time round because his mummy did not approve.

Though I love Diana, of course, we all know almost everything about her and her murky past.

Yap Meghan will fit in nicely with the royals.

A word of advice to the Royal Family.  Get a private jet and bring Meghan’s father to the wedding, otherwise there will always be a hint that the cog in the royal machine had something to do with the none appearance of the father of the bride.

It’s smoking conspiracy!  🙂

For all it is worth,

WE WOULD LIKE TO WISH MEGHAN AND HARRY A HAPPY LIFE TOGETHER!


 

The poor Duke of Edinburgh is probably sedated at the moment with all the goings on with the Markles. LOL A latest gossip was that Father Markle had the heart attack because he was so upset with his son for having written to Prince Harry imploring him to run away from his sister. LOL

 

 

Barangay Election – Philippines

5th Annual Convention, Barrio Lieutenant Association of the Philippines, Eligio Wamil, 5th from left second row. the woman is Armi Kuusela

Barangay Election – Philippines

I thought I should post this Wamil Family memorabilia to honour the current barangay election that is gripping the Philippines.

As per above photo, my father was a former barrio captain or barrio lieutenant.  The photo was taken with Armi Kuusela, who was of course the very first MISS UNIVERSE!

She had to give up the crown in the middle of her reign to marry a very rich Filipino, Virgilio Hilario, after a very whirlwind courtship.  I think the one sitting on her right is Armi’s husband.

Anyway, looking at the above photo, my father was fifth from the left, second row, standing up. Well just look for the most handsome man, that is my father!  LOL 🙂

My father was the barrio captain of a paradise-like village of Marag.

What is a barangay in terms of a barrio?

A barangay was formerly known as a barrio. And it is the smallest administrative unit or district in the Philippines.

These villages or barrios or barangays are headed by cabeza del barrio also known as kapitan del barrio, barrio captain, also called as barrio lieutenant, teniente del barrio or the more modern Punong Barangay/ Barangay chairperson.

Barangay came from the word balangay, which is coined from the boat used by Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) people to migrate to the Philippines.

I have to say that these Austonesian people look so much like the Igorots of Mountain Province.

Anyway, please remember to vote wisely.  Elect those who are able, capable, and not prone to corruption.

Afterall, you get the people you choose!

 

 

Vice Presidency of the Philippines – Latest

Robredo Vs Marcos, the Recount (ABS CBN photo composite)

Vice Presidency of the Philippines – Latest

The 2016 election for President and Vice President in the Philippines is a worthy saga on par with the adventures of the classic Beowulf.

In fact it is more exacting in parts as it has given not only the Philippines but the world Duterte, a charismatic man, though not to everyone’s cup of tea, someone who cannot be ignored.

This election had made famous Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines as its duly elect president and rather infamous with the rest of the world  🙂 because of his bloody war on drugs.

The lesser role of vice president, though Leni Robredo was duly sworn as the winner, is still being contested due to alleged ballots tampering and cheating.

Bongbong Marcos had continually opined that there was a massive anomaly during the election.  His complaint had been finally heard by the Supreme Court and had started a recount in the last couple of days.

This new recount, which is done manually, had apparently not started well as four of the psychologically tested number crunchers have resigned.

Perhaps they have to look into the psychological form of testing as well.  🙂

I told you, it is all exciting.

Will Leni be able to stay?

Watch this space.

 

Pangat Na Sapsap (Recipe 2)

Sapsap is widely available in the Philippines.  It is as popular fish in the Philippines.
They are not much bigger than the palm of your hand but they are surprisingly fleshy.
Pangat is the most popular way to cook sapsap which is delicious served with freshly boiled rice or fried rice, Filipino style.

Pangat Na Sapsap (Recipe 2)

Ingredients:
2½ lbs fresh sapsap, gutted and cleaned
2 lemons, juiced or 10 large calamansi, juiced
Salt, according to taste but perhaps with a teaspoonful
3 tbsp cooking oil
Method of Preparation
1. Prepare the fish and then drain off excess water.
2. Arrange the fish on a cooking pot or casserole pan.
3. Sprinkle the salt and then pour in the juice all over the fish.
4. Cover the pan and cook for 7-10 minutes until the fish have tuned whitely opaque.
5,  Serve immediately with freshly boiled rice and some tomato and shallot salad.
Enjoy
PS For the tomato-based pangat recipe please click here.

Beef Goulash Recipe

Beef Goulash, photo by JMorton

I think the best way to eat beef is by slow cooking it in stew or casserole to make every sinew mouth-wateringly soft especially when using cheap cuts of meat.

Goulash is a Hungarian national dish. This dish is a history in itself.

During the 9th century, goulash or rather gulyas was a staple of Hungarian herdsmen, looking after the cattle.  They used to eat cuts of beef boiled with vegetables.  The word gulyas actually means herdsmen.

Then came the 15th century and the invasion of the Ottoman Turks.  The Turks introduced paprika to Hungary.

Hungary loved paprika.

They embraced paprika into their cuisine in such a big way.   Gulyas got the paprika treatment, which we know now as goulash.

To cook an authentic goulash, be generous with the paprika.

Recipe to follow and the postulant cook is experimenting!

 

 

 

Splash Splash Love (KDrama Review)

Splash Splash Love poster

Pongdang Pongdang Love, also known as Splash Splash Love is a web drama which was originally shown as a 10-segment series. The cluster was then put together and shown as an hour of 2 episodes on telly.

Splash Splash Love (KDrama Review)

Love this drama so much

Genre:  Romance *****

Cast

  • Kim Seul-gi as Jang Dan-bi / Jang Yeong-sil
  • Yoon Doo-joon as  the King, Yi Do
  • Jin Ki-joo as Dan-bi’s friend So-heon / Queen Soheon of the Cheongsong Shim clan
  • Ahn Hyo-seop as Park Yeon / Che Ah-jin

I cannot recommend this short drama highly enough if you are into cute, sweetest love stories.

This drama gave birth to a longer drama series called Love in the Moonlight (aka MoonLight Drawn by Clouds) which catapulted Park Bo Gum and Kim Yoo Jung into mega-stardom.

Honetly though Park Bo Gum and Kim Yoo Jung were absolutley adorable as king and Hong Ra On, Kim Seul-gi and Yoon Doo-joon could have perfectly starred in this longer drama.  Their chemistry is sizzling.

The story surrounds a high school senior, Jang Dan-bi, who was so stressed at the thought of sitting her 2016 CSAT that she run out of school into the park in the middle of the rain.  She saw a puddle and decided to jump on to it.

The next time she was conscious, she was in a middle of an offering pot in the front yard of the palace during the Joseon era, which had been suffering from draught for the last three years.

She was about to be executed but she blurted out that she is a math genius.  The king at that time had been trouble by inability to understand and solve the Pythagorean Theorem.  Somehow Dan-Bi knew how, as every modern high student does. 🙂 (I hope)

She told the king that she was a high school senior from the future.  Apparently the term for high school senior has the same sound as that of a eunuch.  Therefore, it was misunderstood that she was a eunuch.

She started teaching the king using her high school knowledge.  She helped created annals for surgery, anatomy, botany and maths. 🙂

Before long, the king started feeling rather fond of her, though he thought she was a castrated young man. 🙂  Love has no bounds.

In the end, she got found out to be a girl.

The king was happy, and his happiness in paramount that the Dowager Queen has made her a Royal Consort.

Though Dan-bi adored the king, she was not prepared to sleep with him in that instant as a concubine.

She was introduced to the Dowager Queen who was the replica of her mother.  She was left sobbing because she missed her mother so much.

She told the king that she wishes to leave soon.  But the king begged her to stay.  He also made it as an official order.  He can’t live without her.

The king took her to his secret writing room, where he has completed his Hangul alphabet.  She was delighted.  She was left in the room admiring it when suddenly she was struck in the head and stab in the back, while the room was set on fire.

Fortunately she was not too harmed as she was carrying her backpack with her thick match book on it.  It took the full force of the sword.

The king realised that as long as she was with him, her life will be in danger.  Finally, he sadly agree that she must return to her time.

They had a lovely time in the seaside, being playful in the rain.  And then she slipped away into the water.

The king said that he will find her no matter how long it takes.  ahhhhh


Present day.

She was just in time to sit in her CSAT.

When she got home from school, she was happy to see her mother.

After her part time job, it was another rainy day.  She noticed a puddle and was rather tempted to jump in but all of a sudden a man was holding a yellow umbrella over her head, sheltering her from the rain.  He looked exactly like the king.  He said they had met a long time ago.

A flashback of him helping her pick up her book that had fallen while inside the bus.  She run out before she remember to take her yellow umbrella.

It is just the sweetest drama.  There are so many cute scenes and funny ones.

There was that time when she was forced to ride a horse and thought it must be easy peasy a la gangham style.

I wish the leads make another longer drama.  They are so cute together.

 

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