Saturday, December 16, 2017

Animals light up our world

Dr Abe V Rotor
Strolling by the pond she's greeted  
     with quaint sound and stare;
a member she soon felt in return 
     to some crumbs to share. 

Can fish sing lullaby, too?
     Oh, how I wish they do, 
and be babysitters too,
    for baby and fish in duo.  

This faithful errant though over eager,
      his job done just too well;
to earn admiration from his master
     to say, all's well at the end. 

Hug a bunny when the sky's gray,
     or at the end of a hard day;
Talk to her, she can understand
  more than those in a band. 

    Greeting a boar in its pen,
     a wall away to the open:
freedom and duty,
     fate and destiny.  

A wild pigeon submits to friendship
     but briefly in a cage;
freedom she seeks by an ancient gene
     that will never age.   

An errand walks by a carabao herd
      on lazy stream and hour;
a bread she carries for her grandmother;
      fairy tale is true after all. 

Where skill above risk builds confidence,
     takes the two to places they go;
What kinship master and pet do make, 
     heads turning to admire and to awe. 

Animae, triumph of art and technology,
     birth of many a queer specie(s);
biodiversity of imagination and fantasy,
    enigma of truth and reality.

King Kong, false image of the kind, 
     shy and the sublime animal,
misunderstood by evolution 
     for not being rational. 

A sled on to the moon,
     airplane and ship aboard;
a travelogue for kids
     to conquer the world.

Resurrection from Armageddon
     from poison and waste it hid,
this ba-ug frog a prodigal son 
     of man's folly and greed.

A new world bigger than their shell they greet,
     yet shrink and hide in it,
not when alone and happy, or abandoned
     but when failed to compete. 

A living factory works under our feet,
     its product glistens in the rising sun:
detritus for the garden and farm.
     Who really has the Green Thumb?

Practical Art: Native Chandelier and Lampshade

Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class Monday to Friday

I took this photo of a ceiling decor in a restaurant along Mindanao Avenue QC. I later realized its uniqueness from ready made chandeliers. A blend of warm and bright colors exudes an ambient air. To the artist, he sees stained glass; to the decor expert, lampshades; the jeweler, strings of a gems in pabitin or trellis arrangement. The ceiling is kept in the dark so that focus is given to the centerpiece with secondary lighting lending to such emphasis. 
Native ambiance by the sea or on the farm, ideal for a bahay kubo

Vinta lampshade sways with the wind, an optical illusion

Angel fish create a therapeutic atmosphere

These photographs were taken at Virac, Catanduanes, on the occasion of the First National Biodiversity Conference, October 21-22, 2010. Acknowledgment: Prof. Rico Masagca and Dr. Jimmy Masagca, conference convenors.

Friday, December 15, 2017

A Cathedral of Birds

Rejoice in the cathedral of birds always filled with songs, radiant, and universal for all creatures, big and small, in harmony of peace, beauty and bounty, redeeming a Lost Paradise in our time.
Dr Abe V Rotor  
 Birds' Sanctuary in acrylic (19" x 17") by AV Rotor 2017 

Hush! Listen to the birds on the treetops and in the blue sky, the morning sun streaming through the Parthenon of trees, and layers of foliage, a huge building they make, holy and sacred;     

A chorale of a hundred singers, chirping, cooing, hissing, tweeting, creeking, rasping, in precise sounds of string, percussion and wind instruments Nature endowed them, and copied by man;  

Accompaniments dwarf full orchestration, wind passing through the leaves, lullaby in an Afton stream, cantabile of saplings and reeds, flapping of wings, fiddling of crickets,  pelting rhythm of raindrops;  

Sonorous call of the hornbill is bass, sweet call of birdlings for their mother the violin, cheerful sparrows and parakeets accompanies Gavotte and Tinikling, hooting  owl like muffled horn and bassoon

Rising in the midst of performance come the shrill of the raven, interspersed by the nightingale's clear and happy tune, whistling robins, chattering monkeys, croaking frogs, buzzing flies, clicking beetles;  

Day and night, season after season, the forest is alive with Nature's music, save briefly the coming of storm when the players take to their shelters, surrendering to the rage and fury of the elements;

Calm reigns after tempest, the ensemble returns, comes the triumphal band, trees grow back their crowns, termites and beetles bury the dead, life anew the theme of Nature's composition;

Wonder if the sanctuary is destroyed by giant machines and man's greed, the watershed turned to desert, clouds sown with toxic gases, the ambiance of balance and peace disturbed by climate change;

Rejoice if man and nature come into treaty with terms laid down since creation, man humbled as a transient visitor on his way to a "heaven" -  earning it while on earth in reverence,  piety and dignity; 

Rejoice in the cathedral of birds always filled with songs, radiant, and universal for all creatures big and small, in harmony, peace, beauty and bounty, redeeming a Lost Paradise in our time. ~     

A quartet of hornbill, owl, sparrow and parakeet
Feathered concert on the treetops; below, painting in narra wood frame.  

Give power to your writing and talk by using idiomatic expressions

Lesson: Interpret each idiomatic expression (two sets) and cite an example to illustrate each.   
Dr Abe V Rotor 

Living with Nature School on Blog

We encounter idioms everyday, they are part of our conversation and writing. They carry our messages more effectively, often with a touch of diplomacy.  Idioms create "pictures" in our imagination, and broaden the scope of our message to the point of  delivering a lesson.  It may sound moralistic in some cases: "Sour grapes!" "Save for the rainy day." Or apologetic: "To err is human." "Bato-bato sa langit, ang matamaan ay huwag magalit."  

Idioms drive what we want to say straight to the point, like "hitting the nail on the head," or "hitting two birds with one stone." Instead of "going around the bush."

There are hundreds of idiomatic expressions in the English language, and thousands in other languages and dialects. Here are example of idioms in Tagalog:  
1.     Pagputi ang uwak 
2.     Itaga sa bato  
3.     Suntok sa buwan 
4.     Ilista sa tubig 
5.     Gatas sa labi
6.     Buto't balat
7.     Butas ang bulsa 
8.     Magaan ang kamay
9.     Kabiyak ng dibdib
10. Matigas ang katawan
11. Bulaklak ng dila 
12. Mahaba ang kamay
13. Maitim ang buto
14. May nunal sa paa
15. Bilog ang buwan
Have a ready list of sayings and idioms to guide you in delivering a speech, in participating in debates and discussions, in writing news and feature stories, or simply in everyday conversation. 

Acknowledgement: Internet

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Waterfall - Link of Land and Sky, Body and Soul

Dr Abe V Rotor

Waterfall painting in acrylic, by AVRotor 2015

Reach the sky through the waterfall,
     from cloud to rain down the stream,
cascading, tumbling, in a column,
     link of reality and ones dream. 

And down the river of no return
     meandering  through the valley,
seeking its destination the sea 
     in a never ending story. 

Life is like that of the waterfall 
     link of time and space and all, 
with neither beginning nor end, 
     the essence of body and soul. ~  

The Grain Center is as Old as Joseph's Dream and Aesop's Fable

 Dr Abe V Rotor
Former Director, National Food Authority

NFA Grain Center in Cagayan Valley, circa 1977

Like the nucleus of a cell depends the life of a nation,
the Center the equalizer in times of plenty and lean,
buffer stock is built like in Joseph's prophetic dream;
of seven years of plenty and seven years of famine.  

Politics of war and peace draws the politics of food;
nothing's really new but terminologies, flag and tool,
and Demeter or Ceres the same goddess of harvest,
so with The Ant and the Grasshopper in Aesop fable.~ 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

World War I Christmas Truce of 1914 symbolizes human desire for peace

A testament to the power of hope and humanity in a truly dark hour of history"... thousands of British, Belgian and French soldiers put down their rifles, stepped out of their trenches and spent Christmas mingling with their German enemies along the Western front. ... the event has been seen as a kind of miracle, a rare moment of peace just a few months into a war that would eventually claim over 15 million lives." Naina Bajekal

Researched by Dr Abe V Rotor

Living with Nature School on Blog


Researched and compiled by Dr Abe V Rotor 
Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce of 1914 Dec. 24, 2014 
Naina Bajekal @naina_bajekal
Mansell—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
German and British troops celebrating Christmas together during a temporary cessation of WWI hostilities known as the Christmas Truce.
Exactly a century ago, the men in the trenches heard something unusual: singing clear morning 100 years ago, thousands of British, Belgian and French soldiers put down their rifles, stepped out of their trenches and spent Christmas mingling with their German enemies along the Western front. In the hundred years since, the event has been seen as a kind of miracle, a rare moment of peace just a few months into a war that would eventually claim over 15 million lives. But what actually happened on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day of 1914 — and did they really play soccer on the battlefield?
Pope Benedict XV, who took office that September, had originally called for a Christmas truce, an idea that was officially rejected. Yet it seems the sheer misery of daily life in the cold, wet, dull trenches was enough to motivate troops to initiate the truce on their own — which means that it’s hard to pin down exactly what happened. A huge range of differing oral accounts, diary entries and letters home from those who took part make it virtually impossible to speak of a “typical” Christmas truce as it took place across the Western front. To this day historians continue to disagree over the specifics: no one knows where it began or how it spread, or if, by some curious festive magic, it broke out simultaneously across the trenches. Nevertheless, some two-thirds of troops — about 100,000 people — are believed to have participated in the legendary truce.
Most accounts suggest the truce began with carol singing from the trenches on Christmas Eve, “a beautiful moonlit night, frost on the ground, white almost everywhere”, as Pvt. Albert Moren of the Second Queens Regiment recalled, in a document later rounded up by the New York Times. Graham Williams of the Fifth London Rifle Brigade described it in even greater detail:
“First the Germans would sing one of their carols and then we would sing one of ours, until when we started up ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful’ the Germans immediately joined in singing the same hymn to the Latin words Adeste Fideles. And I thought, well, this is really a most extraordinary thing ­– two nations both singing the same carol in the middle of a war.”
The next morning, in some places, German soldiers emerged from their trenches, calling out “Merry Christmas” in English. Allied soldiers came out warily to greet them. In others, Germans held up signs reading “You no shoot, we no shoot.” Over the course of the day, troops exchanged gifts of cigarettes, food, buttons and hats. The Christmas truce also allowed both sides to finally bury their dead comrades, whose bodies had lain for weeks on “no man’s land,” the ground between opposing trenches.
The phenomenon took different forms across the Western front. One account mentions a British soldier having his hair cut by his pre-war German barber; another talks of a pig-roast. Several mention impromptu kick-abouts with makeshift soccer balls, although, contrary to popular legend, it seems unlikely that there were any organized matches.
The truce was widespread but not universal. Evidence suggests that in many places firing continued — and in at least two a truce was attempted but soldiers attempting to fraternize were shot by opposing forces.
And of course, it was only ever a truce, not peace. Hostilities returned, in some places later that day and in others not until after New Year’s Day. “I remember the silence, the eerie sound of silence,” one veteran from the Fifth Batallion the Black Watch, Alfred Anderson, later recalled to The Observer. “It was a short peace in a terrible war.” As the Great War resumed, it wreaked such destruction and devastation that soldiers became hardened to the brutality of the war. While there were occasional moments of peace throughout the rest of World War I, they never again came on the scale of the Christmas truce in 1914.
Yet for many at the time, the story of the Christmas truce was not an example of chivalry in the depths of war, but rather a tale of subversion: when the men on the ground decided they were not fighting the same war as their superiors. With no man’s land sometimes spanning just 100 feet, enemy troops were so close that they could hear each other and even smell their cooking. The commander of the British Second Corps, General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien, believed this proximity posed “the greatest danger” to the morale of soldiers and told Divisional Commanders to explicitly prohibit any “friendly intercourse with the enemy.” In a memo issued on Dec. 5, he warned that: “troops in trenches in close proximity to the enemy slide very easily, if permitted to do so, into a ‘live and let live’ theory of life.”
Indeed, one British soldier, Murdoch M. Wood, speaking in 1930, said: “I then came to the conclusion that I have held very firmly ever since, that if we had been left to ourselves there would never have been another shot fired.” Adolf Hitler, then a Corporal of the 16th Bavarians, saw it differently: “Such a thing should not happen in wartime,” he is said to have remarked. “Have you no German sense of honor?”
Still, a century later, the truce has been remembered as a testament to the power of hope and humanity in a truly dark hour of history.It has been immortalized and fictionalized in children’s novels like Michael Foreman’s War Game, in films such as Joyeux Noel and Oh, What a Lovely War! and even in a controversial Christmas ad this year from Sainsbury’s, a British supermarket chain. To mark the centenary this year, Prince William unveiled a memorial on Dec. 12: a metal frame representing a soccer ball, with two hands clasped inside it, and a week later, inspired by the events of the truce, the British and German army soccer teams played a friendly match. And though the Christmas Truce may have been a one-off in the conflict, the fact that it remains so widely commemorated speaks to the fact that at its heart it symbolizes a very human desire for peace, no matter how fleeting.
Other unusual historical Events that Happened in Christmas 
  1. Christmas Day, 1990, The Internet Gets Its First Test Run
  2. Washington Crosses the Delaware River in 1776
  3. USSR Invades Afghanistan in 1979
  4. Isaac Newton was Born on Christmas Day
  5. Charlie Chaplin Passes Away
  6. Apollo 8 Reaches the Moon’s Orbit
  7. Mikhail Gorbachev Resigns as Soviet President
  8. The Song ‘Silent Night’ Is First Performed in Public
  9. President Andrew Johnson Pardons All Confederate Soldiers
  10. Charlemagne Crowned Holy Roman Emperor, year 800.
  11. William the Conqueror Crowned King of England, 1066
  12. Ford Model T Unveiled, 1913
  13. Andrew Johnson Pardons All Confederate Soldiers, 1868
  14. Hirohito Becomes Emperor of Japan, 1926
  15. President Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu of Romania Executed, 1989 
  16. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, former presidents of the US, Die, 1826 
  17. A 2004 earthquake in south-east Asia, measuring 9.3 on the Richter scale, led to a devastating group of tsunamis the next day, which would ultimately kill over 200,000 people. 
  18. Christmas day is also the birthday of (among many other notables) cosmetics tycoon Helena Rubenstein, Egypitian president Anwar Sadat, and Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. and several entertainers.