Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Self-Administered Test on  Reviving the “Handyman” or “Do-it-Yourself” Culture
Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly Tenorio
738 DZRB AM 8 to 9 evening class, Mon to Fri

A handyman (or handywoman) is knowledgeable in practical things that make the home beautiful, safe and comfortable to live in. He is a maintenance man, gardener, painter, carpenter, mason, mechanic, interior decorator, and the like. On a higher plane he is a planner, administrator, and manager - of his own home.

Are you a handyman? Find out by taking this self-administered test.

1. Prune trees (cutting of branches) in summer when their branches are bare, and you can see which need to be cut. Use crosscut saw for smoother and even cut.

2. When cutting a large horizontal branch with saw or bolo, be sure you start on the upper side and continue on until it is severed. Never cut from underneath.

3. After cutting a branch, there is no need to paint the cut end with oil-based paint to prevent insects and pathogens.

4. When loosening the blade of electric fan, turn the knob clockwise.

5. It is important to disassemble the electric fan for thorough cleaning. Use a dry paintbrush first to remove dust and lint, and then wash blade, casing and body with warm water and soap. Oil axle and other moving parts.

6. Allow newly cemented flooring or pavement to set for a day before you open it for use.

7. In rotating tires of you car, follow the x pattern, so that the rear wheels go to the front, and the front wheel to the rear.

8. To prolong life of iron (plantsa) and ironing board, and making ironing safe and convenient make a banana leaf cushion or matting for the iron. Never scrap the bottom of the iron with knife or sandpaper.

9. For a practical Christmas tree this Christmas, get a tall potted plant, and decorate it minimally. It will save you a lot of money and help reduce garbage.

10. A hundred-piece Christmas bulb may consume electricity equivalent to to four bedroom light bulbs, thus it is wise and safe to refrain from ostentatious show of Christmas lights.

11. Christmas lanterns can be made from materials otherwise thrown as waste, such as plastic bottle, old tires (cars and bikes), styrophore and plastic molds used for packaging. But be sure to dispose off of them after the holidays.

12. It is not recommended that cut hair gathered from beauty saloons and barbershops be made into wigs and pin cushions, because lice and certain diseases may be transmitted.

13. Egg white makes an excellent hair net (setting spray); it is rich in protein.

14. Beer is used in setting hair.

15. Lagis ng niyog with calamansi is as good if not better than most commercial hot oil. Mayonaise is an excellent hot oil substitute. Certain top stars use this.

16. Tea is good face wash (removes black and white heads), so with hugas bigas.

17. Am is a good food supplement for babies. This is obtained by rice in its final stage of cooking.

18. Dark curtains make a room look more spacious; light curtains create an opposite effect.

19. Plyboard is more durable than plywood of the same thickness.

20. Kiln-dried wood does not warp or shrink, that is why it is more expensive than ordinary lumber.

21. Initial charging of rechargeable batteries is necessary when using them for computers, cell phones and the like. This is true to new car batteries.

22. Most handy tools are designed for the right handed because there are few left handed. Left handed tools are made to order.

23. Today, it is more practical to use liquid tiles than conventional tiles; it is also more versatile and fits to suit different ambiance.

24. Today, prefabricated house parts are becoming more popular, from door and window assemblies to lattices and stone rafts. All you need is to order the prefab material and install it.

25. Reviving the handyman culture or do-it-yourself culture sets a motion of hobby, necessity, enthusiasm, creativity and opportunity to save and to earn, which is unanimously acceptable among Filipinos.

Answers: 1t, 2t, 3t, 4t, 5t, 6f 7t, 8t, 9t, 10t, 11t, 12f, 13t, 14t, 15t, 16t, 17t, 18f, 19f, 20f, 21f, 22f, 23t, 24t, 25t

24 – 25 outstanding
20 – 23 very good
16 – 19 good
12 – 15 pass
Below 11 listen to DZRB 738 AM, 8 to 9 o'clock in the evening, Monday to Friday.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Guide in picking the best of your favorite fruits

Dr Abe V Rotor

Still life in pastel by Anna Christina Rotor

The best part of papaya is the lower half; it is more fleshy, sweeter and deeper in color.  In the case of pineapple it is the opposite – the upper half is superior. Here is a cursory list to guide buyers and consumers.

·         Lansones – Extra large fruits have big seeds, and are not in any way sweeter than the rest in the bunch. Choose the medium size, quite elongated, and bright yellow in color.

·         Cucumber – Choose the size for pickling or about.  As the fruit matures it loses its firm cartilaginous consistency and the seeds have already matured.  Harvest okra, cowpea, patola, batao and string beans when still succulent, other wise they become fibrous. 

·         Squash – Tough to the fingernail, does not exude sap.  The fruit is mature and seasoned, and has glutinous (malagkit) consistency.

·         Ampalaya – Break the tip of the stem and look for the yellowish to orange coloration at the center. Red means the fruit is over mature.

·         Watermelon Stripes are distinct and widespread. The cut stem should be green. Tap the fruit with the forefinger.  If the sound is deep and dull, the fruit is ripe. Better still, ask the seller to make a triangular cut through the fruit. 

·         Banana – The upper fruits in the bunch are bigger, sweeter and the first to ripen.

·         Caimito – Fruits becomes shiny when it is about to ripen. This is also true in avocado (Persea Americana)  and tiesa (Locuma nervosa).

·         Chico Lightly scrape the skin of the fruit with your fingernail. If underneath is green it is not yet ready for harvesting. This is also a guide in buying unripe chico.

·         Sugar apple or atis (Anona squamosa) – Fruit well expanded, canals are distinct, color turns pale green.    

        Guyabano - (Anona muricata) usually irregular in shape, choose the most expanded part, with spikes set far apart. Fruit should yield to pressure if ripe. 

        Duhat - (Syzygium cumini) choose the large, dark and shiny berries, not those reddish in color. To improve taste, shake berries (with little salt) in a container with cover until limped, but not squashed.   

        Santol - (Sandoricum koetjape) Choose small and medium size, not the big ones. The smaller the fruit the smaller are its seeds. Small seeds can be safely swallowed. The flesh is relatively thinner and more palatable. 

        Siniguelas -  (Spongias purpurea). Pick fruits that do not yield to pressure. Choose firm, shiny and purple ones, preferably with the peduncle or fruit stem is still attached. Siniguelas has a short shelf life. And since it is eaten fresh, it must not be stored for more than a day once it is ripe.  

          Sugarcane for chewing – Get the internodes closest to the base; they are sweeter than those near the top.

Beware of food coloring, the case of jubos in tamarind sweet.

Batso (Ilk) - upo and pork, colored with achuete. Acheute comes from

a tree, Bixa orellana. It is widely used in coloring cheese and butter.

Dye enhances color of strawberry pie
Salitre (nitrate) in Longanisa; red color of salted eggs

Dr Abe V Rotor
All of a sudden when answering the call of nature, I was alarmed to see the color of my urine bright red. I cried, Blood! I tried to compose myself to be able to reach the hospital in the earliest possible time.

But what surprised me at the same time was that my fingers were also stained red. I examined the “tamarind sweet” I had just eaten. I found the culprit -
Jubos, the dye used in dying shoes. Jubos is used to color the local confectionery. How many food preparations are artificially colored for better presentation? Since that time on I have been very careful with colored foods. Ube cake, anyone?

These are things to remember about food dyes, specially if you suspect of a food or drink to be colored artificially.

Be familiar with the natural colors of fruits and other food products. There are rare ones though. For example, purple rice cake (puto) comes from a variety pirurutong or purple rice. Ordinary rice flour and ube flour produce the same color. This can be imitated with the use of purple dye.

· Processed foods like smoked fish and ham are colored, usually golden yellow, to be attractive.

· Confectionery products are made to appear like cocoa, coffee, orange, strawberry, grapes and the like, when in fact the ingredients are mainly sugar artificial flavors and food dyes.

· Fruit juices carry dyes to enhance their natural colors. Example, calamansi juice is made to appear like lemon or orange. Softdrinks would look dull and unattractive without artificial colors.

· Cakes and other bakery products may deceive the eye and even the palate. Cake decors are definitely made of food dyes of many colors and different color combinations.

Artificial colors are filtered by our excretory system so that they appear in the urine. This is not the case of natural colors such as achuete or anatto (Bixa orellana), pandan (Pandanus odoratissimus), ube (Dioscorea alata), and mango (Mangifera indica).

Salt hastens ripening of fruit

Salt hastens ripening of fruit
Dr Abe V Rotor

Rub salt at the base of the peduncle (fruit stem). Fruits like guyabano (in the photo), mango, chico, atis, avocado, caimito, and the like, will ripen in a day or two - unless the fruits were harvested immature. This technique applies only to fruits that have reached proper maturity. After rubbing with salt, the fruits may be placed in the fruit tray, or wrapped in paper and placed inside the rice box to further hasten ripening.

Certain fruits are ripened in a different way. Banana for example, ripens faster, and more uniform and bright yellow, if enclosed in jar burnay or plastic bag lined with fresh leaves of madre de cacao or kakawate (Gliricida sepium). Trapped heat and ethylene gas hasten ripening. Avoid using carburo, it is not good to health.

Tomato ripens into bright red color in the open cool air, the secret of Baguio tomatoes.

For nangka or jackfruit, drive a two-inch spike of wood or nail into the core. Check in a day or two by smell and sound (dull). Ripe fruit gives way to pressure. It is best to dress nangka when newly ripen. ~

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Golden Oscar

Dr Abe V Rotor

Love those Oscars, fish given away for token;
they're albinos, they were leftovers:
devoid of contrast, the black color of narcissus,
orphans I said and took them home.

They are twelve, outcasts wandering for so  long,
but no longer in my glass aquarium;    
where the view of the garden is less than prison,
and I, their master, guardian, friend.

And I let the sun in, in the morning until noon,
then the sun peeps in rainbow's prism
and cast over them, over their scales and fins,  
day in and out, 'til a transformation came.

gone were their dull and pale colors as they bask
in light. Aren't they albinos? I asked
and I researched further, if someone is wrong -
there is a big mistake, but whose?    

L'l do we know the science to which we belong;
least of the unknown, the mysterious.
blaming the Creator, he too, commits mistake
to conceal our innocence and ignorance.~

Assignment Environmental Science UST-GS: Computer Addiction Leads to Vices and Drug Use

Dr Abe V Rotor
Smoking and drinking go with computer addiction. Next are drugs.

Write an essay of two or three pages about this topic. Enrich it with research and interview. You can supplement it with data and photographs.

Did it ever occur in your mind that drug abuse is connected with computer addiction?

People, especially the young – children and adolescents - who sit before the computer hours and hours everyday – even before they start using drugs, are already potential drug users. This is a thesis which I shall present in this article.

These are premises of my contention.

Computerizing whether for school assignment or just entertainment consumes precious time and energy. Time for hobbies, rest, reflection, exercise, socialization, or for quiet and peace. In short we have disturbed regular time management – the way our predecessor in pre-computer time made use of 24-hour cycle – so with 30-day monthly cycle and longer. In short the computer has not only reset, but tinkered with, the biological clock.

What does this mean?

We do not follow our regular sleeping habit, because the computer demands no strict time limit or schedule. Imagine also that a favorite program on TV is on the computer, especially DVD programs. Computer addicts may become night owls. Others have developed cat napping which can compensate partly lost sleep. Not following regular sleeping habits may lead to insomnia. Many drugs today are for insomniacs. Abuse of sleeping pills is reminiscent of some prominent victims, among them  Marilyn Monroe who died of overdose. Overdose of medicine claimed the lives of popular personalities - Michael Jackson, Elvis Priestley, Keith Ledger.

The ever increasing features of the computer making today’s state-of-the art in computer shades the 1960 predecessor a hundred folds more proficient. Pretty soon we will be groping and grappling with artificial intelligence like dealing with a university professor, and a genius at that. Already chess games with the computer is like playing with Karpov or Kasparov. War games need the intelligence and skills of Napoleon Bonaparte on land, and Horatius Nelson at sea. The computer does not only trace the campaign of Alexander the Great who attempted to create the largest empire on earth, but continue to trace the campaign even after his death.

Entertaining, isn’t? Definitely yes, but at what price? Hear this. Hour-after-hour uninterrupted concentration. Irregular meal substituted with fast and junk, food. Strained eyes (and also ears). Sustained suspense leading to cold hands and feet, and increased pulse rate and heart beat, while the muscles contract – an antithesis of balanced exercise. Soon you need a drug to calm you down, such as valium and prosac. Headache and therefore you take analgesic. Hallucinations in your sleep which may lead to insomnia.

So what is the preoccupation of the young today? It appears to be a syndrome instead, a syndrome of five components, namely:

1. Decreased Mental Concentration
2. Social Detachment
3. Physiologic Imbalance
4. Time Waste
5. Indeterminate Purpose

Pose for a moment after reading this article and imagine yourself a victim of this modern day syndrome. ~
How many cups of coffee do you take a day - with the computer?

Healing with Nature, AVR; acknowledgment, Internet; Wikipedia

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ethnoplants for Natural Healing

Bottle brush or Weeping Willow. Crude extract
as insect repellent on skin and surroundings
Dell H Grecia
Backyard Ventures, Women's Journal 

With the presence of modern medicines, ethnobotany of the growing of ethnoplants in the backyard has been neglected. This is an unfortunate development because pharmaceutical drugs and medicines are very expensive, often affordable to the common wage earner.

Facts on Ethnobotany

• In the rural areas ethnoplants are commonly grown in the backyard. Its uses as remedies are traced to time-honored ethnic practices and beliefs.

• From the viewpoint of pharmacology, ethnobotany paves the way from the discovery of potent drugs and medicine, validating ethnic practices on one hand, while formulating new drugs based on the active principles of plants, on the other.

• Economic botany is the precocious child of ethnobotany, which, through time resulted in the development of commercial crops. Today’s agriculture, with breakthroughs in science and technology, has expanded into a new field- genetic engineering- while the search goes on for wild genes and species in deep jungles and among ethnic groups.

• Genes can be stored and patented. This was pioneered by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Banos, Laguna, which has in each of its vault 100,000 cultivars of cereals, the world’s staple food. The hottest item today are genes coming from native plants, animals, and even human beings, which help ure deadly diseases and prolong human life. Stealing genes or gene piracy clearly undermines the true objective of ethnobotany.

• The current trend shows that more and more people are going for natural medicine and food. Herbal medicine grown food are becoming increasingly popular. People are willing to pay the price for this a long as they are assured of good health and long life. In many ways, ethnobotany helps pave the way toward this direction.

• Superstitions beliefs and ethnobotany are closely associated. On closer examination, such beliefs have greatly enhanced the relationship man has with the masses that shape his life, drawing from it his folklore, songs and prayers. Indirectly, such a relationship has helpd in preservation of his environment. ~

Introduction to Ethnobotany: Can you identify these indigenous plants? -

Introduction to Ethnobotany:  Can you identify these indigenous plants?  -
Dr Abe V Rotor




NOTE: Answers will be posted in a week's time. AVR

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Assignment in Photography: LIFE Black and White Photos - Aftermath of Hiroshima Atomic Bombing 1945

 Second anniversary after the bombing of Hiroshima Japan, August 1945Remembering Hiroshima
the city that received the first atomic bomb forcing Japan to surrender, thus ending  in WW11,

Black and White Photography 
These photos were forwarded by LIFE through my e-mail.  I wish to use these for my Photography class at UST, Faculty of Arts and Letters. Write a short  running story on a regular bond (hand written).  What is the relevance of the incident to our present world? To humanity? To Japan? To us Filipinos? Select one photo only for your essay.

Photography Assign: LIFE Best Black and White Early Photos of Marilyn Monroe

These photos were forwarded to me by LIFE through my e-mail.  I would like to use these in my Photography class. What give Black & White photographs appeal and beauty?  What conditions does B&W photography superior to color photos?  Has the concept of beauty changed? support your answer. Choose one photo for your essay. (Handwritten on a regular bond paper)