Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Perpetual Enchantment of Nature's Music

No one tires with the rhythm of nature – the tides, waves, flowing rivulets, gusts of wind, bird songs, the fiddling of crickets, the shrill of cicada. In the recesses of a happy mind, one could hear the earth waking up in spring, laughing in summer, yawning in autumn and snoring in winter – and waking up again the next season, and so on ad infinitum.         
Dr Abe V Rotor 
Filipino Composers Nicanor Abelardo (Mutya ng Pasig); Antonio Molina (Hating Gabi)
Mozart and Beethoven are known for their compositions heavily influenced by Nature
There is more enchantment in ethnic music than in modern music.  
Each kind of music has its own quality, but music being a universal language, definitely has commonalities. For example, the indigenous lullaby, quite often an impromptu, has a basic pattern with that of Brahms’s Lullaby and Lucio San Pedro’s Ugoy ng Duyan (Sweet Sound of the Cradle). The range of notes, beat, tone, expression - the naturalness of a mother half-singing, half-talking to her baby, all these create a wholesome effect that binds maternal relationship, brings peace and comfort, care and love.
Serenades from different parts the world have a common touch. Compare Tosselli’s Serenade with that of our Antonio Molina’s Hating Gabi (Midnight) and you will find similarities in pattern and structure, exuding the effect that enhances the mood of lovers.  This quality is more appreciated in listening to the Kundiman (Kung Hindi Man, which means, If It Can’t Be). Kundiman is a trademark of classical Filipino composers, the greatest of them, Nicanor Abelardo.  His famous compositions are 
·         Bituin Marikit (Beautiful Star)
·         Nasaan Ka Irog (Where are You My Love)
·         Mutya ng Pasig (Muse of the River Pasig)     
·         Pakiusap (I beg to Say)

War drums on the other hand, build passion, heighten courage, and prepare the mind and body to face the challenge. It is said that Napoleon Bonaparte taught only the beat of forward, and never that of retreat, to the legendary Drummer Boy.

Lucrecia Kasilag, foremost Filipino ethno-musicologist

Classical music is patterned after natural music.

The greatest composers are nature lovers – Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, and our own Abelardo, Molina, Santiago, and San Pedro.  Beethoven, the greatest naturalist among the world’s composers was always passionately fond of nature, spending many long holidays in the country.  Always with a notebook in his pocket, he scribbled down ideas, melodies or anything he observed. It was this love of the countryside that inspired him to write his famous Pastoral Symphony.  If you listen to it carefully, you can hear the singing of birds, a tumbling waterfall and gamboling lambs. Even if you are casually listening you cannot miss the magnificent thunderstorm when it comes in the fourth movement. 

Lately the medical world took notice of Mozart music and found out that the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart music can enhance brain power. In a test conducted, a student who listened to the Sonata in D major for Two Pianos performed better in spatial reason.  Mozart music was also found to reduce the frequency of seizure among coma patients, improved the interaction of autistic children, and is a great help to people who are suffering of Alzheimer’s disease.   The proponents of Mozart’s music call this therapeutic power Mozart Effect.
What really is this special effect? 

A closer look at it shows similar therapeutic effect with many sounds like the noise of the surf breaking on the shore, rustling of leaves in the breeze, syncopated movement of a pendulum, cantabile of hammock, and even in the silence of a cumulus cloud building in the sky. It is the same way Mozart repeated his melodies, turning upside down and inside out which the brain loves such a pattern, often repeated regularly every 20 to 20 seconds. 
Lucio San Pedro (composer of Ugoy ng Duyan, an indigenous lullaby) 
This is about the same length of time as brain-wave patterns and those that govern regular bodily functions such as breathing and walking. It is this frequency of patterns in Mozart music that moderates irregular patterns of epilepsy patients, tension-building hormones, and unpleasant thoughts.

No one tires with the rhythm of nature – the tides, waves, flowing rivulets, gusts of wind, bird songs, the fiddling of crickets, and the shrill of cicada. In the recesses of a happy mind, one could hear the earth waking up in spring, laughing in summer, yawning in autumn and snoring in winter – and waking up again the next year, and so on ad infinitum.         

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Have your tasted "Acid Fruit" ?

Karmai or Iba - "Acid" Fruit  (Article in progress)
Cicca  Latin acida (Linn.) Merr. Family • Euphorbiaceae
Dr Abe V Rotor
A bountiful harvest of Karmai (Karamay Ilk), Sn Vicente, Ilocos Sur  

You don't have to climb the tree, just shake a branch - or the small tree -  and pronto, you have a shirt- or skirtful of this  fruit curiously known by its scientific name -  Cicca acida, which means in Latin, acidic seed membrane. It got a stone hard core surrounded with thick cartilaginous flesh that is very sour. In botany they call this kind of fruit, drupe. And would you think you can have your fill even with the ripest pick? 

Kids we were in our time, would simply relish the fruit, fresh or pickled. Our folks would join cautioning us not to eat too much especially with empty stomach. But in the process, they compete for the choice sizes leaving the small and immature ones. You see, when you harvest, ripe and young fruits fall at the same time to a waiting inverted umbrella, or a stretched blanket, unless you handpick only the ripe ones - which is tedious. When pickled with sukang Iloko (native Ilocos vinegar) and salt, all sizes, mature and immature, become grossly inviting.  

What do you get from karmai?  It may be poor in food value but it contains appreciable amounts of minerals and vitamins the body may need.  Per 100 g of edible portion examined, 92 percent is water.  It is low in protein (0.155 g), fat (0,52 g), fiber (0.8 g).  It got some calcium (5.4 mg), phosphorus (17.9 mg). iron (3.25 mg), ascorbic acid (4.6 mg), and traces of carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin. 

Other than pickled, karmai is made into sweets, either sweetened and dried, or as jelly or jam sans the seeds. Preparation is not easy though because of the high acid content which is first neutralized with salted water for a day or two, before it is drained and dried, then candied or jellied. 

But have you tasted sinigang with karmai instead of kamias (Averrhoa  or sampalok?  Try it with the unripe fruits and savor the pleasant sourness and mild acrid taste. Then after meal have a dessert of pickled karmai to remove the aftertaste of fish or meat. And for a change, try the young leaves cooked as green, like malunggay and kangkong.  

Karmai may not be popular in times of plenty, when imported fruits - apples, oranges, grapes - dominate the fruit stand, when in our life of haste we would rather pick from the shelf packed fruit juices, when schools and communities seldom promote the "lesser" fruits native to our country.   

The revival of ethnobotany - the study of plants and man on a historical and evolutionary perspective - has started in schools and research institutions. It can be a significant approach in providing indigenous food, medicine, and curbing environmental degradation, including global warming in a broad sense. 

Remembering the author of Alternative Medicine,responsible in its passing into law, Senator Juan Flavier, I did a little research on the medicinal properties of karmai.  Here is a short list among many potentials which pose a challenge to the scientific mind. These may be folkloric and therefore tested in certain societies.           

- Decoction of leaves is used externally for urticaria, the fruit given at the same time to eat.
- Decoction of the bark used for bronchial catarrh.
- Some believe the roots to be poisonous, but the Malays boil it for steam inhalation in use for coughs.
- In Java, root infusion used for asthma.
- In Borneo, used with pepper
- Poultice of leaves for lumbago and sciatica.
- Root used for psoriasis.
- Used in chronic liver diseases.
- Decoction of leaves is diaphoretic.
- Leaves used for gonorrhea.
- In Burma, fruits are eaten to promote appetite; sap swallowed to induce vomiting and relieve constipation.
- In Indonesia, leaves are used as counter irritant in sciatica and lumbago. 
- In Malaysia, vapors from boiling of roots inhaled for coughs and headache.
- In Bangladesh used for skin diseases - eczema, abscesses, acne, etc.
- In India, fruits are taken as liver tonic. Leaves, with pepper, are poulticed for sciatica, lumbago or rheumatism. Leaves taken as demulcent for gonorrhea.
- In Maharashtra, India, decoction of seeds used twice daily for asthma and bronchitis.
- In Malaya, root infusion, in small doses, taken for asthma. The root is used for foot psoriasis.
 NOTE: For more details about the medical uses of karmai, medical advice is recommended.   

Next time you see a karmai tree, take time to study and appreciate it.  It is not really a handsome tree. In the first place it is small and may not provide a good shade. But truly karmai deserves a place in the orchard and in the wildlife.   

Reference and acknowledgement: Internet, Living with Nature AVR

Catch your dreams with a DREAM CATCHER

Dream catcher or Ojibwe asabikeshiinh originated from the Ojibwa (Chippewa) culture in native America. If you believe in the happy life, unity and cooperation among the native Americans - and those in later cultures - have a dream catcher at home.  Dr Abe V Rotor

Design of the original dream catcher. It is a good
project in school. And a wonderful gift, too.

 The web is made up of sinew or animal gut snugly
woven on a wooden or metal ring like tennis racket.
In Ojibwa (Chippewa) culture, a dream catcher (Ojibwe asabikeshiinh), the inanimate form of the word for "spider" or bawaajige nagwaagan meaning "dream snare" is a handmade object based on a willow hoop, on which is woven a net or web. The dream catcher is then decorated with personal and sacred items such as feathers and beads.

Dreams have many meanings to American Indians. One of the old Ojibwa traditions was to hang a dream catcher in their homes. They believe that the night air is filled with dreams, both bad and good. The dream when hung, moves freely in the air and catches the dreams as they float by. The good dreams know the way and slip through the center hole, then slide down off the soft feather so gently that many times the sleeper below doesn’t know he’s dreaming. The bad dreams not knowing the way, get entangled in the webbing and perish with the first light of the new day.

Small dream catchers were hung on cradle boards so infants would have good dreams. Other sizes were hung in lodges for all to have good dreams.

The dream catcher is a symbol of unity among the various Indian Nations, and a general symbol of identification with Native American or First Nations cultures. Outside of the pan-Indian communities, dream catchers are now made, exhibited, and sold by some new age groups and individuals.
Author shows a dream catcher, a gift from native Canadian Indian friends while he was on scholarship training in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1976.
My children made dream catchers in our shop and gave them as gifts to relatives and friends. We believe in bonding through thoughts and dreams.

Then a movie in the later part of the nineties destroyed all that; it projected a fearful image of the dream catcher. It is nightmare rather than good dream that the dream catcher catches. And instead of protecting the owner, it brings harm to him - indeed an affront to the original good intention and "sacredness" of the object. There are movies that destroy sanity and good faith, movies that make our friends our own enemies, movies that urge us to destroy wildlife because they are bad, movies that cast doubts to lifelong traditions and beliefs. It is the evil side of media.

If you believe in the happy life, unity and cooperation among the native Americans - and those in later cultures - have a dream catcher at home. Hang it at the entrance, better still above a person who wishes to have peace and comfort in life. HAPPY DREAMS! - Night Eagle. ~

Kite and Rainbow in a Duo

Art brings to life all things beautiful,
imagery in the inner eye.
Dr Abe V Rotor

Little Mackie and Teacher Joy take time out to pose with the ambiance of a Nature painting at Joyful Beginnings tutorial center at Lagro QC
They rule the sky one day,
rainbow and kite a duo;
up they go into the blue;
over trees and hills, too.

Clicking sonorous song
of a loving hornbills pair
fills the air, echoes afar
returns in the still air.

Murmur the stream over
rocks, hissing, meandering
on its way to the fields, 
and some ponds waiting.

Wonder a child in awe
and sweet innocence, 
while grownups know
the limits of their senses. 
Ephemeral are the two,
the rainbow brings rain,
the kite brings the sun 
in happy, peaceful reign. ~

Composite nature painting by the author. Living with Nature won for the author the Best Blog on Nature and Environment, given by the Philippine Blogging Award 2015
Art brings to life all things beautiful,
imagery in the inner eye;
the present binds the past and future,
 essential in a child’s mind. ~

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The March of Seasons

Dr Abe V Rotor

Identify to what season each of these paintings belongs. Write a verse under each to describe events and peculiar characteristics of the particular season.
(1.)  Detail of a mural by AVRotor (Courtesy of San Vicente Ilocos Sur Municipal Hall)
(2.) Experimental glass painting in acrylic by Dr AVR 
(3.)  Acrylic on wood by AVR, 
(4.)Abstract in acrylic, AVR
(5.) Wall Mural, SPUQC, by AVR   
(6.) Canvas Mural, AVR, Courtesy of Sanguita, DasmariƱas Village, Makati. MM  
(7.) Abstract drawing, AVR 
(8.) Painting in acrylic, AVR.  Courtesy of Dr Anthony Vasco, 
Dean UST Arts and Letters
(9.) Landscape of a Valley in acrylic, AVR 
(10.) Aerial View in acrylic, AVR
(11.) Forest landscape in acrylic, AVR
(12.) Deer by a waterfall in acrylic, AVR
(13.) Rampage in acrylic, AVR
(14.) Mountain Stream mural detail in acrylic, AVR
(15.) Wall Mural, SPUQC, by AVR 

Reflections over a Rainbow

Dr Abe V Rotor
                                            Morning Rainbow, Bamban, Tarlac, 2006

1. Truth we seek, its bulk under;
Iceberg tip we ignore danger;
Mum are we, within is anger -
All these set us asunder.

2. True feelings that we may fall short;
Repressed until the water burst
Like waves rising, dying in froth,
But never satiate anger’s thirst.

3. Denial in the beginning,
Like anger provoked will prolong;
Futile in time and bargaining -
Acceptance last - the saddest song.

4. All you give your cattle and sheep
Is a sprawling green meadow,
Away from your watch and shadow;
Content they are - so with your sleep.

5. Better the Noble Savage lived
Than civilization to Mankind,
In a Garden we long envied,
Sans want, war and its evil kind.

6. Look at the arrow and the bow,
The first machine before the plow;
A hunter’s life that man had ceased,
To found the land of love and peace.

7. A wall unseen by the other,
Behind we refuse to be seen,
Of what we are and what had been –
Break it, and be a true brother.

8. Kindness but without honesty -
That's sentimentality;
Honesty but without kindness -
Simply that's plain cruelty;
Peace - that the duo must harness
To bring light to humanity.

9. Judgment isn't just conformity
That binds a class and society;
Not for the rich or any sect –
But of the heart and intellect.

10. If my life's to be lived with love,
Learned and shared not one but many;
Through others it's this way above,
I shall have left a legacy.~

Friday, April 21, 2017

Legacy of Abraham Lincoln - A Reflection

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog

Among the top ten persons who have greatly influenced by life is Abraham Lincoln.
I came face to face with my idol before his monument in Washington DC in 1976. It was a long silent conversation; it took almost a day. 
Abraham Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC
The fellow is a giant indeed - his physique, his face, the way he speaks (I heard his simulated voice in Disneyland in LA.) His Gettysburg Address is the most powerful - and the most recited and quoted - speech to this day.

His anecdotes are full wit and wisdom, and convey a deep but practical philosophy, mainly about living life with purpose and dignity. Yet he rarely sounds moralistic. His naturalness makes people feel a true sense of belonging to their government and society (government of, for and by the people.

He is an environmentalist and upholds the principle of "reverence for life." Abe, as he was fondly called as a boy, grew up in a log cabin, studied his lessons under a big oak tree, cut logs, farmed and fished, and enjoyed life in a pristine environment. Nature was his constant companion that prepared him to become the most powerful leader on earth - president of the USA - and one of the greatest men who ever lived.

I came across anecdotes and sayings of and about Lincoln. I believed that these are originally his works; others were written by those in admiration to the man. I have found a lot of these materials as valuable references in my teaching career and as a journalist.

  • You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
  • You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
  • You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
  • You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
  • You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
  • You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
  • You cannot further the brotherhood of men by inciting class hatred.
  • You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
  • You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence.
  • You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.
Lincoln's favorite hymn
When I Can Read My Title Clear
by Isaac Watts.
It shows Lincoln's deep devotion to God.

When I can read my title clear
To mansions in the skies,
I'll bid farewell to ev'ry fear
And wipe my weeping eyes.

"Should earth against my soul engage,
And fiery darts be hurled,
Then I can smile at Satan's rage
And face a frowning world.

"Let cares, like a wild deluge come,
And storms of sorrow fall!
May I but safely reach my home,
My God, my heav'n my all.

"There shall I bathe my weary soul
In seas of heav'nly rest,
And not a wave of trouble roll
Across my peaceful breast"

Biographical Sketch: Lincoln, Abraham ["Honest Abe"] (1809-1865) American politician, U.S. Congressman (Illinois, 1847-1860), 16th president of the United States (1861-65) [noted for his anti-slavery election ticket, which precipitated the secession of the Southern states, his leadership of the Union forces during the ensuing Civil War, his Emancipation Proclamation (1863) freeing Southern slaves, his famous Gettysburg Address (1863), his draft of the Thirteenth Amendment (prohibiting slavery in the United States, 1865), his proposal of a generous settlement to the defeated Southerners following the war, and his assassination in a Washington theater by John Wilkes Booth (1865)]

Reference: Anecdotes about Abraham Lincoln, selected by Webmaster.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Time apologizes, replaces magazine cover to reflect the true situation in the Philippines.

Philippine President Rod Duterte is Time's Person of the Year, 2016

image.jpegNEW YORK, New York (The Adobo Chronicles, Washington Bureau) – After receiving a lot of flak for its latest issue whose cover depicts the Philippines and the government’s war on drugs, Time magazine recalled all copies and immediately replaced its cover to better reflect the truth.
“We are committed to reporting only the truth, so when we err, it is our responsibility to correct our error,” the magazine editors said.

The reprint includes an apology from the writer of the cover story, Rishi Iyengar, and the local Philippine journalists who fed him the misinformation.~

Janus Media 
Dr Abe V Rotor 

Media! how you make and unmake a situation,
     clinging to truth divine just an illusion;
what could glitter more than a merchant's gold?
     cowers in robe and emblem the bold.

Thus the wall less empire thrives at the boundary,
     fence sitting to where the winds carry
the news and bounty like horse and carriage.
     seemingly blind, and often in rage.   

Quo vadis? journalism of Ka Doroy Valencia et al,  
     fathers of this profession whose fall  
rose a Mandela, King, Gandhi, a thousand more
     on the battlefield, and across the shore.

Who is the master, who is the slave? In between
     the throng, and bandwagon its twin;
bereft of their right for truth, reduced into a fool; 
     Oh, media! the all knowing, deceitful.   AVR

A critique-analysis of 30 Time Magazine covers

For the advanced part of Photography as a course, I am presenting these selected covers of TIME, the leading international weekly news magazine. Time has been consistently on the forefront of major events, and persistently moving on the road, so to speak, be it the fast lane or one that is less trodden. The explosion of knowledge and information brought about by the computer age, blossoming into Social Media makes the "world a stage," which is indeed the golden epoch of global communications. 
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

Critiquing and analyzing these Time covers provide lessons in the fields of 
  • art and photography in multimedia, principally print media 
  • news analysis and interpretation 
  • interdisciplinary approach 
  • institutional linkages 
  • presentation methodologies 
These covers will be projected individually on screen. The professor gives an overview of the main features of each cover. Recitation and discussion follow. There will be a short test before the end of the session.

Briefly explain (2 pages bond, handwritten)
1. Most controversial issues 2
2. Greatest lessons on leadership 2
3. Most relevant to our times and country 2
4. Baloney, falsehood 2
5. Ecological concern 2