Saturday, April 28, 2007

Al Gore: my president...of the World.

It was an iconic vision that lit bright like a bulb in my head. An episode of the Twilight Zone in 1984 showed two traveling scientists from the future trying to save a 14 year old girl in the present year (1984) not to skip class and take drugs and turn herself to an alcoholic for she will be the president of the world in the next 40 years. Highly fictional. But it was a dark cloud hovering over my head for 20 years. Is it possible to have one president for the whole planet? Is it humanly possible?
Then in 2006 I saw the documentary An Inconvenient Truth the very first day it was in theatres, I was just convinced...he could be the one. Al Gore may probably be the very first president of the world.
As a politician he has with him the whole package; non reticent in demeanor and stand, philosophical and a genius in multiple facets of human strife, he has great foresight and pro active by nature. As a member of the social cornucopia he carries with him a sense of humor like no other, the heart for those affected by several degrees of hardship, his family and the extension of his family roots him to bring forth what is best for others, he takes what hurts into the more positive. He infectiously becomes this principal mover to change the immediate paced strides.
Gore has spoken the truth for years. In school, in papers, in his books, in congress and senate, in public appearances in hearings and lobbying. He was ridiculed, thought of expanding a hoax when it comes to his global warming issues and tapped as an extremist on fooling the public and influencing global status quo. He will never be any of these anti conservationist labeling.
I see his face on TV. And i browse photos of him spread all over cyberspace...from a youthful looking rockstar of the white house to this trimmed salt and pepper haired prolific environmental mover. The lines on his face reveal experience, pain, defeat,sleepless nights, dreams, mourning, hunger, will,uhmp for change, solutions and resolutions thought of day in and day out, his hopes for the United States, his hopes for the whole world, his concern for mankind...the list is endless. And yet when you see him, on that stage, speaking about where we are right now and showing slides of our planet and what have we done so far; you see no lines on his face at all but fine pennants of a man made for OTHERS and for the WORLD.
The man is unstoppable. He did lose the presidential election in 2000, one of the most devastating elections I have ever experienced in my life. Yet Gore decided in a heartbeat that he would have to do something, so he professed to show his slides again and speak...and share as far as where his soul will reach him. He did not even question and succumb to such a defeat and soared way above to do greater things.
Yes, there will be others, far better than this man, your own candidate perhaps. But in my world...he is my EARTH PRESIDENT.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Melissa, going back to strings and an inconvenient truth

The DVD release of Al Gore's award winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" is a must buy. It also includes the music video composed and performed by Melissa Etheridge for the film's soundtrack. The lyrics are just astounding and powerful most especially when it was played towards the end of the film when several suggestions and information on climate change, conservation and environmental moral responsibility were written if not stressed enough. The music video influenced me to try playing the guitar again. I have not plucked the strings for almost 16 years. Now would be a most apropos time. In Al Gore's final words in this documentary, he reminds us of our only home. In closing the song "I need to wake up" cascades the background as you read...

Are you ready to change the way you live?
The climate crisis can be solved
Here's how to start
go to
you can reduce your carbon emissions
In fact, you can reduce your carbon emissions to zero.
Buy energy efficient appliances and lightbulbs.
Change your thermostat ( and use clock thermostats)
to reduce energy for heating and cooling.
Weatherize your house, increase insulation,
get an energy audit.
If you can, buy a hybrid car.
When you can, walk or ride a bicycle.
Where you can, use light rail and mass transit.
Tell your parents not to ruin the world that you live in.
If you are a parent, join with your children
to save the world they will live in.
Switch to renewable sources of energy.
Call your power company to see if they offer green energy.
If they don't, ask them why not?
Vote for leaders who pledge to solve this crisis.
Write to congress.
If they don't listen, RUN FOR CONGRESS.
Plant trees, lots of trees.
Speak up in your community.
Call radio shows and write to newspapers.
Insist that America freeze CO2 emissions
and join international efforts to stop global warming.
Reduce our dependence on foreign oil;
help farmers grow alcohol fuels.
Raise our fuel economy standards;
require lower emissions from automobiles.
If you believe in prayer,
pray that people will find the strength to change.
In the words of the old African proverb,
when you pray, MOVE your feet:
ENCOURAGE everyone you know to see this movie.
LEARN as much as you can about the climate crisis.
Then put your knowledge in ACTION.

You remember the song and you remember ways on how to save our planet or you remember to be environmentally responsible and you remember the song.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

EARTH DAY 2007 (April 22, 2007)

(Photo courtesy of Beth Reina, CA, photo op..sunrise (cape cod) Provincetown,Ma.)

Last Friday April the 20th I reminded all my 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade students about EARTH DAY this Sunday and one of my 6th grade student blurted out "Is it not everyday that we should celebrate Earth day? I saw a poster in your classroom." Wing Man Lee (a 6th grader) was absolutely right. In our own little way, as often as we can, as much as we do and as immediate as we would,let us consider and try to live for a sustainable, healthy, environmentally rich life. ABC's ( channel 7 NYC) PlanetEarth2007 a one hour episode program last Friday listed seven ways, that are humanly possible to keep our planet livable and for our children's children to enjoy. Lose the plastic, use environmental bulbs, close the tap, unplug, lower thermostats,minimize our carbon emission/footprint,choose environmental products. But the list must not end in seven, the list can go on infinitely and the possibilities are endless. The thing that struck me the most in this ABC special; was a bird in the Amazon rainforest that can imitate the sounds of nature, like the chirping of another bird or the wails of a prancing amazon monkey. Then a new set of footage were shown, it is the same amazon bird but this time it is imitating the sound of a car alarm and an electric saw that is cutting down its home. This is an image that was truly devastating. What have we done? and...what can we do? Whatever it is my friend, let's do it beginning now. For we all still want to see the sun set and majestically rise.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Cats Rule

This year, Pablo our orange tabby will be seven years old and Thirdy our gray and white long hair cat will be six years. It is so funny and authentically a farce when you just sit back and observe. They are the most hilarious odd looking feline couple we ever had. Oh, they have different personalities, to the extreme and on opposite sides of the spectrum but they are the best buddies too. They both love sleeping, about 40 hours in a day, they enjoy eating (only dry food) but Pablo would let Thirdy eat for the first 10 chows then Pablo would take the rest (talk about modesty and self-sacrifice), they both love sitting on the window sill and watch snowflakes fall and they always have to meet at one the bathroom; in our bath tub! They honestly do it, once a day at least. What is going on inside their heads? Such fecundity we humans won't be able to decipher. After a while they silently walk to the bed where we also sleep, stare at us, probably brush their paws here and there and doze off...again. Oh, did I tell you that they also snore; annoyingly. Whew these piquant furry creatures of Isis; they're lazy, they're bossy, they practically run your life. All the definitions of one who can really rule and yet we choose to obey in hypnotic submission.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Proud Mom

I received two extra special cards for my 38th birthday. They are from my children Jennika, Jessika, Jino, Jayne and Jiego. I picked up the packet(from the Philippines) in a Fedex station on 42nd street and 11th avenue and I took the subway coming back home. I refuse to open the packet in the train knowing how emotional I could get so I waited until I was back in my Harlem apartment. Like a well overflowing, my tears were unstoppable. My children...despite the distance, the time lost, the hugs and kisses amiss and every single thing I could think of that I was not able share with them, they still love me no matter what. With their cards there is so much hope and so much love over powering that I know all our sacrifices will be worth it one day. My youngest son Jiego, even made me his own special card, all with his quaint and well formed script handwriting. It is as if I have all my five children right by my side as I read my card aloud (of course I am alone) with blurry wet eyes. I love you Jennika, I love you Jessika, I love you Jino, I love you Jayne and I love you Jiego. Thank you for remembering my birthday and yes we will see each other soon. In God's will maybe you can all come and have a vacation here in New York City or once everything is in place regarding my status then I can come home for a visit. Love can really bridge the most unexpected things. In all honesty, I can truly declare that my five children are my heroes. They are patient, kind, respectful, caring, forgiving, impartial and most of all loving. I am proud and humbled at the same time to be their mother...and I will always be.

Birthday card (cover)

My kids card (inside)

Jiego's home made card (cover)

Jiego's home made card (inside)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Barnes Foundation

I celebrated my birthday with a surprise gift from PungPung Marissa. It is an overnight stay in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania after a four hour intensive tour of the Barnes Foundation Museum in Merion, PA. Agnes "Agie" Villanueva Semana who lives in South Jersey with her husband Chris and daughter Ella sent me a hello email one day and mentioned the museum. Being a museumite with a chronic museumitis I itched to see it once i get a vaykay(vacation) from work. Luckily, Marissa got my hint in a nanosecond and I received one of the best birthday gifts ever not to forget a tearjerking heart melting birthday card from our children Jennika,Jessika,Jino,Jayne and Jiego and a singing card from Jeng and her family with a mini cone tagged "NO WHINING", greetings from Batski, Kala,family and lots of friends.
The edifice stands on a 12 acre arboretum purchased by Dr. Barnes. Albert C. Barnes, a medical doctor from U. Penn Medical School who made his money producing an antiseptic Argyrol founded the museum in 1922. Barnes' passion for the arts egged himself to try painting, realizing it was not his cup of tea he collected fine pieces and amassed a great number of impressionists, post impressionists and early modern art.
As I enter the gallery of course I am already at awe, it was a cru de te of priceless delight. You can devour into it, drink if you like but one can never surmise to even digest through its beauty. " It is not a museum, it is an art school" according to Barnes; he set pieces as a wall ensemble based on composition, color and line open to the aesthetic visual perception, exploring meaning and experience as a whole. Masterpieces of Renoir; all 181, the most number ever collected by a man, the early works of Cezanne and late paintings, the only nude piece that Van Gogh ever painted, the rose caryatid and reclining nudes of Modigliani, Seurat's "The Models" which is so huge and I never knew it was housed in the Barnes, Picasso's earthy "Flower sellers" simply entitled Composition with all its distortion speaks of only beauty beyond nirvana and my favorite of all is Henri (on-ree) Matisse's mural which grandiosely hovers on the cathedral wall of the main gallery..."The Merion Dance" in pale pink and periwinkle blue backgrounds nude dancers in rhythmic motion, mindless of whoever watches them from below. Seeing the mural as it was pointed to me by Marissa, made me sit on one of the indoor benches and quenched a parched soul. I never moved my head lower than a degree, until i knew I am straining my neck. Matisse has done it again. There are really painters and there are the few who can mellow your soul leaving an infinite mark.
I could not say if it is the same raw emotion I felt when I saw Fragonard's Progress of Love at the Frick Collection(highly recommended). Henry Clay Frick's art archive dates from old masters (Goya, El Greco, Titian, Vermeer) to post impressionist art(Renoir,Gainsborough,Stuart and Whistler). But, the four panels of French artist Fragonard is unforgettable.
The thing is, every collection I visit leaves a certain tinge of positive reinforcement on whatever dilemma I am going through my life on that particular moment. Visits replace expensive dates with a shrink and I have no qualms with that. Besides standing face to face with priceless work created before my time and telling my children and hopefully they will tell their children and do the same feat, I get to know all these wonderful stories behind each painting or sculpture and behind each man or woman involved. Take Dr. Albert Barnes, he tried exhibiting his collection, to inform and to educate on impressionist and post impressionist art and it was poorly received and insulted almost claiming Barnes with a pariah status. What with all Renoir's reclining nudes,Cezanne's bathers and Modigliani's African inspired naked women with their elongated facial structures; at that time of the depression these were perceived as trashy paintings. Today, Barnes has proven everyone wrong. Art beholds a certain degree of utopia in the human spirit. Whether it be nudes or non objective art which seem meaningless at first glance. It is a swift communication between the creator and the observer; and that is a line that no one can breakthrough.
Four hours of going through gallery after gallery is not enough. Barnes also collected a number of African art pieces and I still have the second floor to whiff through in slow pace. That will be for a next visit, my 39Th birthday perhaps. Thank you pungpung for this amazing experience, mwah mwah mwah!!!

(Photo above: Henri Matisse's "Merion Dance". Barnes commissioned Matisse for this and he painted it in three huge canvasses in Nice, France and was shipped to Merion, PA for the foundation)