Monday, September 18, 2017

The Eyes of Nature

"Many eyes are looking at me
here with Nature,
by day and night 
beneath and atop a tree." - avr
Painting and Poem by Dr Abe V Rotor
Also visit my other Blogs:
[Living with Nature School on Blog]
 Eyes in the Forest, acrylic painting on canvas (60" x 44"), by AVR, May 2012
Details: Young adventurers in full gear prepare to penetrate the forest; emergent tree rises to a hundred feet surpassing the canopy layer. A nest is perched on the top, with a mother hawk attending to her young. A pair of deer, a coiled boa, and many more hidden and camouflaged. Trees are real giants of the living world. The Dipterocarp is tallest tree in the Tropical Rain Forest. 

The Eyes of Nature

Many eyes are looking at me here with Nature;
By day and night, beneath and atop a tree.
They're scary, they're mean, they're sleepy, 
And how do I look to them seeing me?

Wink and they wink, close and they do, too.
Quick the flashlight, and they disappear;
Can eyes exist alone, like stars in the sky?
I wonder if these eyes are like stars to cheer.  

Yes, the fireflies have lamps that flicker,
The moth and butterfly have wing spots
Like monstrous eyes to stave off predator,
And cave dwellers glow in rows and knots. 

The fish in the stream is silver in the moonlight,
As bubbles rise to the surface and sparkle,
The owl rarely blinks, no creature dare around,
Its infrared vision indeed a marvel.

Raindrops falling make a thousand eyes
Life they bring to the rainbow, borrowing
its colors glow, and sparkle as they drop,
reborn with the light of the river flowing. 

Mushrooms are phosphorescent, they glow,
while others absorb light for future use; 
Ah, boast the snake, I can freeze you to fall,
An eagle swoops, there's no excuse.

Petals attract a pollinator in the night
Crickets shine when won by a song,
Seeds pop out to meet the rising sun,
And the sun shines happily all along. 

Eyes, eyes, eyes, - for us to see the world, 
And all eyes the world is bound;
In our sleep, in the deep forest and ocean,
Eyes make the world go round. ~


Dr Abe V Rotor
Move over Sir Raphael,
your obra maestra is too pure;
and heaven too far from hell,
and life on earth obscure.

"The Four Waves" that are Transforming Our Society

Self-Administered Test  (True or False -  25 Items)

Dr. Abe V. Rotor

The illiterate of the 21th century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn,  Alvin Toffler

1. Alvin Toffler is an American writer and futurist (Future Shock, Eco-Spasm), known for his works discussing digital revolution, communications revolution, corporate revolution and technological singularity.

2. Actually Alvin Toffler’s work is a joint undertaking with his wife – Heidi Toffler – also a writer and a futurist.

3. If there are three most influential voices among business leader, they are Alvin Toffler - after Bill Gates and John Rockefeller.

4. “Society needs people who take care of the elderly and who know how to be compassionate and honest.” Says Bill Gates one of the richest man on earth. “Society needs all kinds of skill that are not just cognitive; they’re emotional, they’re affectional. You can’t run the society on data and computers alone.”

5. The first wave is the society characterized by hunting and gathering – a nomadic society transient and divided – which favored early humans to explore the world in their time. The Fertile Crescent which was later part of Babylon at the confluence of the Tigris-Euphrates Rivers was the first site ushering the beginning of the First Wave or the Agrarian Society.

6. The First Wave Society is characterized by the nuclear family, factory-type education system and the corporation.

7. The Second Wave Society is industrial and based on mass production, mass distribution, mass consumption, mass education, mass transit, mass entertainment, weapon of mass destruction, mass religion.

8. The Third Wave Society is a combination of mass movement and bandwagon with standardization, centralization, and synchronization, often ending up with bureaucracy.

9. Two predictions of the Third Wave by its advocates led by Toffler are paperless office and human cloning. We have already realized this no doubt, in spite of technological barriers and politico-religious conditions have imposed regulations and generated varying opinions and controversies.

10. Third Wave means a post-industrial society. It has generated keywords to unwind the complexity that characterize our society today, some of these are Super-Industrial Society, Information Age, Space Age, Electronic Era, Global Village, Cyberspace, Technotronic Age. These include terms like e-Commerce, e-learning, e-mail, on-line teaching, global positioning, Google Earth, ATM, globalization, and the like.

11. The Third Wave Society is an aging society. It is found in highly industrialized countries where population is coming to a standstill, where longevity breeds octogenarians up to centenarians. There will be need of new medical technologies from self-diagnosis, self-administer therapies delivered by nanotechnology to do for themselves what doctors used to do. Robotics are no longer workers in industries; they are becoming domesticated.

12. “Prosumers” is a coined word – producer and consumer. It means we are eliminating much of the work of middlemen. We are linking production and consumption directly. Examples are freelance work, open source, assembly kit, instant house package, build your own car or plane. These belong to the second wave.

13. The Third Wave changes the concept of retirement (re-tire as good as new tire), child labor (kids are smarter, they can earn and make a living early), education (distance education, on-line, crash workshop), nationalism (citizen of the world, too); concepts of capitalism, socialism, nation-state, so with corporation, cooperatives, entrepreneurship, management, and the like.

14. The Third Wave Society is moving away from international organization to seek its own direction as intended by a particular society, thus undermining the UN and its organizations like FAO, WHO, WTO UNEP, WFO; APEC, EU, NATO, ASEAN, ANZUS, International Court of Justice, North American Union, and others.

15. The Fourth Wave Society is characterized by man's quest for expansion into outer space, possibly incorporating the rise of a second agricultural revolution in an off-world setting; it means reclamation of the desolate regions of the earth; it means creating a prototype superhuman through genetic engineering.

16. Jose Rizal in his essay, The Philippines a Century Hence, prophesied the Philippines as a progressive nation likened to the great nations of Europe.

17. Among the socialists that influenced China are Marx, Lenin, and Engels – who are all Germans.

18. Charles Darwin and Thomas Malthus – evolutionist and futuristic, respectively, changed the world’s thinking regarding demography.

19. Michel Jordan and Yao Ming are towering giants in the NBA, first in NBA’s history to have regular Chinese player.

20. These artists changed China – Picasso for abstract art, Marilyn Monroe for feminism, Mother Teresa for religiosity; Julius Caesar for autocracy.

21. There are great men who became famous for their prophesies - Nostradamus and Malthus. One saw tomorrow, the other saw the four horsemen of Apocalypse.

Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio.  Subsistence, increases only in an arithmetical ratio (as shown in this graph)  – Thomas Malthus

22. Philosophy – both ancient and modern – can be traced ultimately to Socrates, be it Platonian, or Aristotelian, and the philosophies of Emmanuel Kant, Marx, Thoreau, Sartre.

23. One man fought a nation, and save a nation, abhorring violence His only weapon: peaceful protest and civil disobedience in asceticism that swept the land, people revering him as father and almost god. His name is Gandhi.

24. It is no longer possible for us to return to the Second Wave, much less to the First Wave, and live a less stressful and more meaningful life, because time is irreversible, and epochs and eras have their own specific time - they are now part of history, and there is no turning back. Life is truly a one-way direction, reminiscent of the poem, "I pass this way but once."

25. Little do we know of the unknown great man, like the Unknown Soldier, yet he represents countless people whose deeds are also those of great men and women we revere today. They are us – each one of us.
ANSWERS: 1T; 2T; 3F;Peter Drucker instead of John D Rockefeller, 4F;quotation from Alvin Toffler's; 5T; 6F; second wave or industrial society; 7T; 8F, still second wave; 9F have not been realized so far; 10T; 11T; 12T; 13T; 14F, the more international cooperation is needed; 15T; 16T; 17T; 18T; 19T; 20F, not among the 50 people listed by Time; 21T; 22T; 23T; 24F, we have the choice to live the kind of life we wish to follow - "I am the captain of my soul, I'm the master of my fate"; 25T.

24-25 Outstanding
21-23 Very Good
18-20 Good
15-17 Fair
12-14 Passed

Read, read, read. Open Living with Nature. There are about  3,800 posts to date. 

A personal reflection in these critical times.

Reflect on Thomas Gray’s Elegy on a Country Churchyard, specifically this stanza.

“Full many a gem of purest ray serene, 
       The deep unfathomed caves the oceans bear; 
Full many a many flower is born to blush unseen, 
       And waste their sweetness in the desert air.” 

This unknown great man did not die in vain, in the same way we should regard ourselves because we – all of us has the capacity to be great.  Bringing up our children to become good citizens, being a Samaritan on a lonely road, embracing a returning Prodigal Son, “plugging a hole in the dike like the boy who saved Holland from being engulfed by the sea,” or living life the best way we can that make other live the same – these and countless deeds make us great, and if in that little way we fall short of it, then each and everyone of us putting each small deeds together, make the greatest ever deed, for the greatest thing humans can do is collective goodness – the key to true unity and harmony. 

Dr. AV Rotor

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Lechón - National Dish of the Philippines

Dr Abe V Rotor
A family enjoys lechon on a weekend with relatives and guests. Pansol, Calamba Laguna

Lechón is roasted pig, the most popular food served in fiestas and many gatherings, and for no particular occasion at all. Today, dial to order lechon, whole or say, a quarter, and pronto, the most delicious of all meat in the world is delivered to your doorsteps, hot and crispy.

Thanks to Spain which introduced the word which means suckling pig. Thanks to China for serendipitously discovering lechon in a burnt village. Thanks to the Pacific islanders for making lechon the center of celebration and unification among islands. Thanks to Mang Tomas et al for institutionalizing lechon as the national dish of the Philippines. Thanks to the many hog raisers - entrepreneurs, women and children - for keeping up with the big demand for lechon. Cebu alone produced for the month of Dec 2010 some 65,000 lechón - indeed a world record.

How important is lechon? Basta - there's no way to describe it, the same way basta has no English. Basta, lechon - superlative. Indeed, there is no substitute to it in any celebration -it is ultimate.

How do you gauge affluence of a host? Lechon. A VIP coming? Lechon. A bride- to-be or bridegroom-to-be? Lechon. Balikbayan? Lechon. Graduation? Lechon. After a funeral? Lechon. Winning a lottery? Lechon. First born? Lechon. Para kay bunso (youngest)? Lechon.

Job promotion? Lechon. Birthday of a boss? Lechon (either way). Open house? Lechon (plural). Political campaign? Lechon (under Comelec's rule, of course). Election victory? Lechon (shipload from Cebu or Davao, lechon capital after La Loma).

As the litany goes, the Philippine air is the happiest in the world. Suddenly, guests pour in. Suddenly, the karaoke becomes a concert center. Suddenly, bottles arrive in cases, and the night never sleeps.

You see, lechon is compatible with almost anything Filipino. Tinikling and rock, Kundiman and My Way. Wake and "For He is a Jolly Good Fellow." Barong and coat-and-tie. Five star and beach party. China or kamayan. Lunch or Dinner - that's given. Merienda and dessert, that's also given. Kitchen cooked and kilawin, likewise. No wonder why some foreigners wonder why Filipinos love to eat. Actually it is not the eating, but what accompany the eating - before, during and after. It about nature - the nature of the Filipino molded by a rich diversity of culture - Asian to European to American to global. It's a culture that runs in his blood, a melange of races in fact. The Filipino is is an example of Epicurean philosophy in living a full life, no singular race can compare.

Lechon attest to that. It is the center of cultural gravity. ~
Experience lechon, countryside style. It's a tourist and balikbayan attraction, barrio life. Here the piglet is chosen from a pig farm. The pig is not purebred by a crossbred. Native pig lechon is becoming rare unless you go to an ethnic community.

From among a litter of five to ten, it is the bansot (smallest) that is usually picked for lechon. The robust ones are raised for meat to give more profit. There are however piglets that are grown purposely for lechon. They range from pre-weaned for lechon de leche, to grower size, 20 to 30 kilos.

The pig is tied on all fours, blood is drawn out from its heart with a dagger. The blood is collected, mixed with some vinegar and salt, and used to cook dinuguan, or as dip for kilawin (medium rare roast).

The carcass undergoes thorough cleaning, first with boiling water to remove the hair, second, the skin is scraped and rubbed with tanglad or lemon grass and citrus leaves, until it becomes white; and third, the entrails are removed completely, and replaced with tanglad, chopped leaves of sorosoro or karimbuaya (Euphorbia neriifolia), which serves as vegetable, and rice which cook with the lechon. Now the whole stuffed is impaled with a whole bamboo pole, each end long enough to rotate the stuff while slowly being roasted for hours on live charcoal.

When cooked the skin is attractively golden brown and crispy, which is the lechon's imprimatur. It is brought before the celebrant in lavish ceremony from decors to choreography. Hushes and ahs! can be heard from the guests. Now relegated to the chopping board, the guests start queuing, plates at hands, their palates anticipating the unique taste of the world's ambrosia of all food.~

Dimorphism - Functional Anomaly in Nature

Dimorphism is exhibited by plants in having two distinct forms of any part, such as the leaves and flowers. In animals dimorphism occurs as two distinct types of individuals in a species. 
Dr Abe V Rotor

Mickey Mouse plant has two distinct flowers borne on the same plant. Yellow flower is the male, red is the female.

In Chemistry, it is a property of certain substances that enables them to exist in two distinct crystalline forms (dimorphic, dimorphous adj). Polymorphic refers to more than two distinct forms. It is found mostly among lower organisms. Sargassum the dominant brown seaweed in the tropics is polymorphic. Variants sometimes lead to erroneous taxonomic classification.

Starfish normally has five arms. Variants may have four or six arms.

Dimorphic or polymorphic characteristics may be functional such as in the Drynaria fern. The long and serrated leaves are mainly for photosynthesis, while the cup-like leaves protects the rhizomes, and gathers and stores humus and water.

Dimorphism and polymorphism are indications that evolution is taking place in nature. The variant forms are either remnants or advanced forms that accompany evolution. Scientists associate this phenomenon with mutation which accompanies speciation, the formation of new species.

Staghorn fern has two types of leaves: dangling staghorn shape,
and upright funnel-like leaves, Drynaria fern is also dimorphic. 

Cup-shape leaves of Drynaria fern supplements photosynthesis when young, then dry up to form a shed of shingles to gather humus and water, and cover the delicate rhizome. These secondary leaves protect the aestivating fern in summer.

Colored young leaves will turn normal green upon maturity,
thus this ornamental plant is not dimorphic.
Talisay leaves turned prematurely yellow ahead of the
deciduous timetable of the plant - not an example of
dimorphism from the typical talisay (Terminalia catappa)

Dual colored orchid is a result of crossing of parents having
yellow and red flowers - not an example of dimorphism.

Anecdotes make everyone a storyteller

Here are examples of anecdotes of fine qualities from famous men and women.  
Dr Abe V Rotor
Lesson: We are all storytellers. Everyday we love telling and listening to stories. Stories come in anecdotes, fables, parables, folklores, humorous quips, and simply short accounts of an experience or about the surroundings. But how good are we in this art of story telling? Our aim is to hone this talent and to express it well.

Jose Rizal and the moth. He wrote My Last Farewell with the symbol of the moth which singed into the flame – martyrdom. Abraham Lincoln, Father of American Anecdotes. (See Anecdotes of Lincoln in this Blog)

Left: Ernest Hemingway, novelist and short storyteller, Nobel Prize awardee. Guy de Maupassant, French short story writer. His works are wide read in school in different languages.

Camilo Osias books were extensively used in the elementary schools during the Commonwealth and Post Commonwealth Period.
Story telling is an art. Strive for the “state-of-the-art of story telling”
It is characterized by
• Witticism
• Humor
• Inspirational, positivism
• Informative and educational
It is a combination of these elements that make a good story, depending on the topics and application.
• As a speaker/ resource person
• Presiding in meetings and conferences
• Informal gatherings /parties
• Writing, news, features
• Broadcasting – radio and TV
Stories are used as tool in
• Driving a point indirectly, diplomatically
• Hitting the nail on the head, so to speak
• Friendly advice and reminder
• Admiration of a person, institution or place
• Tapping a shoulder in words, kudos, congratulations
A good story / anecdote is never
• Moralism (Even a homily should strive not to proselytizing
• Criticism, esp. on persons
• Bulgarism – kind words, discreet, dignified
• Familiarism – not all too familiar topics
• Fatalism – bato bato sa langit syndrome
• Propagandism – like politicizing
Selected Anecdotes of the Great

Christopher Columbus waited for seven long years for the King of Spain to decide on his plan to search a new land West. King of Portugal refused to help him. Henry the VII refused. Charles VIII of France also refused. All hopes gone … then the queen of Spain through Juan Perez her chaplain, sent money to buy clothes and hose, to see the Queen Queen Isabella received Columbus. Condition to be promoted to Admiral and entitled one-tenth of all the wealth, He was refused. A messenger overtook him. And Columbus once more went to the Court . Got the nod of the King and Queen but actually cost them nothing. Port of Palos under displeasure for unpaid taxes and liable of heavy fines. Palos was ordered to provide Columbus his needs. Three ships and men from the town. Came the Pinzon brothers provided Pinta, Nia and Santa Maria.

Magnetic North – is not the true north, and its direction varies from different places on the earth’s surface. But Columbus told the worried crew that it’s not the compass that is wrong but the north star which moved from time to time. And the sailors were satisfied – and they headed into the unknown. It took five long weeks to see land. West Indies (Columbus believed it was part of India) part of Cuba.

David Livingstone – After 4 and 1/2 years no news about him, thought to have been dead, a young man by the name of Stanley was sent by an American newspaper. There at Ujiji, he found Livingstone. Stanley took off his hat.

“Dr, Livingstone, I suppose?”

“Yes,” he said with a kind smile, lifting his cap slightly and shook hands. It was one of the most famous meetings in history.
Dr David Livingstone telling stories to natives in Africa
David the boy. Everyday for 6 weeks Goliath was challenging the Israelites to a duel. David arrived carrying food for the soldiers. David was not afraid and said, “Who does this great boaster think he is?” His brothers scolded him. But Saul the king heard him. David offered to fight Goliath.

"But you are not even a soldier."

"Back home I took care of my father’s sheep... fought lions, bears. I chased and killed them."

"But put your armor first." It was too big and heavy. David took his staff and sling, picked five smooth stones from a stream, and walked confidently to meet Goliath.

It was Goliath's last laugh of his life.

Florence Nightingale – In the night hours, sometimes long after midnight, Florence used to walk through the quiet wards to see that all was well, carrying a little lamp to light her way.

Such was her love for her patients. And soldiers loved, even the rough soldiers, used to kiss her shadow as she passed. Thus she was called The Lady with the Lamp.

Florence Nightingale tells stories of courage and hope to wounded soldier in a hospital.She received the highest award from Queen Victoria – a diamond brooch with “Crimea, Blessed are the merciful” engraved on it. ~

Napoleon Bonaparte took the crown from the hands of the Pope and he crowned himself as Emperor of France Dec 2, 1804 church of Notre Dame. He owed the crown to no one except himself. His mother shook her head and murmured, “If only it lasts.”

After a series of victories, even after the battle of Trafalgar (combined Spanish and French fleet defeated by Nelson), he tried to govern all of Europe.

He met his defeat at Waterloo in the hands of the Duke of Ellinton. Today, Waterloo is the inevitable downfall of a person.

Joan of Arc did not use her sword. Sher led the attack on New Orleans with shining armor and banner, and rallied the French forces. On seeing her army, the English soldiers were terrified - The Maid, The Maid! Believing in witchcraft, they fled headlong.

Wounded by an arrow in the shoulder at Tourelles after New Orleans, the French soldiers retreated, until she reappeared. And the French won.~

Joan of Arc kneels before an angel that urges her to liberate France from the English invaders. 

NOTE: These anecdotes were purposely contracted as outline for speech or similar presentation. The reason is to discourage reading before the audience, and allows spontaneity and flexibility in telling the story.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Dawn of Awareness in Photo-Poetry

Matthew Marlo R Rotor

Excitement in joy and laughter at peak,
     rare moment to us past our prime;
Yet takes us back to childhood, so to speak;
     ephemeral indeed the best of time.

Challenge behind the lens a child’s portrait,
     not his face but what’s in his mind;
Grownups pose not themselves but someone else, 
the child of innocence sublime.

Discovery started long, long ago,
Unknown from view and others to know,
As children think it so as they grow.
 Eureka! Listen to the wall’s echo. ~

The Return of Black and White Photography - Call of the Young

Call of the Young 
Matthew Marlo R Rotor 

Now and then a rainbow appears in the sky, 
wonder - if it's in black and white; 
Only by imagination that it exists, outcry
of pure beauty in the night.  

Hear the child’s voice of awe and wonder;
      its echo before and yonder;
Pure sound of innocence to remember
      in life’s stormy weather. 

                   Not all things in the sky fall;
dreams must soar or not at all,
as man must walk big and tall
to win life’s promise and goal.

             KEYHOLE OF LIFE
                        Through a keyhole
a child sees life in its dawn,
eager to walk down its hall   
all on his own.     

Move over Sir Raphael,
your obra maestra is too pure;
and heaven too far from hell,
and life on earth obscure.

                          How time flies into air castles,
   fairyland of the mind at ease;
Loafing old and young at peace
     knell the bells in Idleness.

Touch is second to none 
of a loving hand
of an old to the young,
daughter or son.

“Doctor, doctor, I’m sick,” the adage would say,
When threat comes along the way;
Warning unheeded drives the doctor away,
And patient and mother but to pray.

The gene in action for gregariousness,
evolution at work;
From ants to beasts in the wilderness,
to the busy stork.

 A sound mind in a sound body,
that’s the Spartan way
to be happy, healthy and gay
at any hour of day.

Whatever lies beyond the wall
wouldn’t this duo care to find,
in the idleness of youth and time;
wait ‘til the wall shall fall -
Mercy! woe to their kind!  ~

Ageless Nature

Dr Abe V Rotor
Anne and her grandmother before a wall mural of Nature by the author 2016

Timelessness, Nature is reborn in all creatures, big and small;
In each one, life passes away, life comes anew;
Through generations under one roof, under one big sky, for all,
In peace and unity, in our Creator’s own view.~

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Dirge of a Dying Creek

I am dying mother -  
but my mother doesn't answer;  
my mother doesn't answer. 
Dr Abe V Rotor  
The afternoon sun casts an aura of the creek's once beautiful state with trees and shrubs lining its banks. Now the creek is virtually dead - biologically. Note highly polluted water and dumped quarry materials blocking the natural waterway. (Parallel Aurora Blvd, QC)  
Balete or Strangler's Fig clings on an adobe rock cliff.
Views of middle stream, and upper stream to the east. The creek is now an open sewer, ugly, obnoxious 

Outgrowth extends over the creek as if to hide its pathetic condition and man's indifference from public view, 
Just across the creek to the north lies a man-made pond of the Oasis - serene and aesthetic, except the foul air of Carbon Dioxide, Hydrogen Sulfide, methane, ammonia and other gases, being emitted by the nearby creek
Dirge of a Dying Creek                   
Once upon a time, so the story goes, clouds gather 
from the sea and land, cumulus to nimbus,
falling as rain, drenching the trees and grass and all,
and down the lake and river and field it goes. 

I was born this way, like my kin, many miles away,
children of Pasig River, seat of a civilization,
the artery of vast Laguna Lake and historic Manila Bay,
and I, a tributary of this magnificent creation.     

I lived in the stories of Balagtas the poet laureate,
in Rizal's novels, Abelardo's Kundiman song,
I throbbed with the happy heart of a living system,  
like the Rhine, Danube, Nile and Mekong.

I am part of history, obedient to man and nature's will,
I gave him clean water and fish, I sang lullaby;
laughed with the children at play under my care,
through generations and time sweetly went by. 

Seasons come and go, the story goes on - ad infinitum -
but where are the birds that herald habagat?
where have all the children gone after class, in summer?
reflection on my water, green carpet on my rock?

I am dying, dear mother, I long for you and my kin,
I choke with debris, laden with waste matter,
my banks are no more, concrete walls have taken over,
I am dying mother -  but my mother doesn't answer;  
my mother doesn't answer.  ~