Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Exploring the past, present and future at MCAD

CARMELA G. LAPEÑA,  June 4, 2012
Along Pablo Ocampo Street in Manila, a large white building towers over the dirty city. Outside, pedestrians play patintero in the traffic, dodging pedicabs and vendors with their karitons overflowing with ripe fruit and dusty vegetables. The street is littered with discarded barbecue sticks, and the air smells like fried food. A wide ramp leads to the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde School of Design and Arts Campus, which houses the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design on the ground floor.
Step inside the museum and everything changes. It's as if the world were put on mute, all the colors erased. About two weeks ago, the vast space was empty except for a large frame of what would become a roof installation. Apart from that, the white walls and gray floor were all there was to see.
"We want you to see the process," explained MCAD's director and curator Joselina Cruz during a lunch with the press on May 17.
On May 26, the museum opened "There Can Be No Better World," its first exhibition for the year. The show features three major installations from artists around the region, and although the number might seem small, there's plenty to see in "There Can Be No Better World."
"The future is always a creative enterprise, for we can only but imagine what it will bring and what it will look like. The exhibition ‘There Can Be No Better World’ is a response to the worlds of past, present and future, as it insists that each period be the space-time to satisfy us and our longings for contentment," the exhibit notes read.
The works
On the ground floor is Tiffany Chung's roof and glass turtles installation "twigs, bones, rocks and the Giant Tortoise." Next to the installation, two videos play simultaneously on different screens: "the great simplicity" and "thousands of years before and after."
The massive piece imagines the end of the world—the artist answers the question, "What happens after the collapse of modern society?" 
Here, the roof is all that is left of a house. The viewer can fill in the blanks and try to picture the people who might have found shelter there before. On top of the roof, hundreds of tiny glass turtles. From afar, they look like melting snow.

Hundreds of tiny glass turtles on Tiffany Chung's roof installation.
In "thousands of years before and after," the last group of humans wanders in search of a dwelling place and means of surviving. In "the great simplicity," a mutated, simple dialect derived from English becomes the common language. In one video, we see blue skies, blades of grass swaying with the wind. In the other, we see stones, cement and glass. 
"When great human achievements of art, science and technology have resulted in ruins, simplicity is the key for survival. The end of humankind is similar to its beginning," Chung explains in the exhibit notes.
"Derived from my research on the decline of towns and cities due to deindustrialization and demographic changes, this project explores issues in urban progress and the complex relationship between human and nature and examines the aftermath of colonization and modernization. Using semiotics, biblical references as well as references from Kurt Vonnegut’s Galápagos and the actual Galápagos Archipelago, the work encompasses human destruction and transformation not only in just spatial terms," says Chung, who was born in Vietnam and lived in the US for several years.

Tiffany Chung's roof and glass turtles installation "twigs, bones, rocks and the Giant Tortoise."
On the walls are a series of linework pieces, Michael Lee's "Dwelling." The minimalist floor plans hang with no explanation next to them, and it is not immediately clear what they are. Lee shares that they are sometimes mistaken for circuit boards, which he likes. 
Lee explains that one of the reasons he compiled the titles instead of placing them next to each canvas is so that he doesn't make it too easy for the audience. "It frustrates me when the audience looks at the work, and then they feel happy because they have understood everything. I like something a bit more nuanced in a way, rather than something that is very certain of itself," he says.
Lee adds there are at least 10 ways for architects to represent and explore spaces, but in "Dwellings," he commemorates old buildings with their floor plans. 
"Not many people other than the architect would have memory or access to the floor plans," he says, adding that the floor plan has an association with nature, as it offers a bird's eye view. "I wanted to play with this relationship between horizontal and vertical, because when this thing which exists in reality horizontally becomes hung on the wall, it means that people are flying," he says.
In "Dwellings," Lee presents an archive of architectures loosely connected to the 80s, a decade of major social, economic, political and cultural changes. The centerpiece of the installation refers to the demolished Benguet Center in Mandaluyong, Metro Manila. 
"I have a feeling that Benguet Center is a little bit similar to the case of the National Theater in Singapore which was built in the 60s and demolished in the 80s. Both of them have very strong modernist design. As with anything, there is an expiry date," says Lee.

Michael Lee commemorates the Benguet Center in "Dwellings."
Also included in the global survey are New York's destroyed 3WTC, Taipei's abandoned Sanzhi Pod City, and the yet-to-be-built Singapore Cloud Forest Center. The artist uses a 1:50 scale for all the floor plans, so that the sizes of his pieces depend on the sizes of the buildings.
"By fixing the scale I end up creating this system where I cannot use my whims and fancy to say, 'Oh I have no more canvases so maybe I'll make a smaller one,’" he says.
By reducing the buildings to pure linework, Lee allows the viewer to imagine what was, what no longer is, and what could have been. "I'm not interested so much in perpetuating nostalgia, but trying to facilitate imaginative memory," he says.
At the mezzanine is Felix Bacolor's stripped down installation "Waiting." Inspired by Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot," the virtual stage design simulates a waiting room, where nothing will arrive. In the space occupied by rows of cold lounge chairs, time is the only thing that moves.

Felix Bacolor's stripped down installation "Waiting."
"Bacolor has transposed Beckett's theater into a site made precisely so people can lose themselves in the act of waiting. Clocks count to the second and the waiting creates a sense of urgency, literally making us count to the second. For Bacolor, the future is always here, or something we're always expecting but never arrives," the exhibit notes end. –KG, GMA News
"There Can Be No Better World" runs at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design from May 26 to August 18. Museum hours are Tuesdays-Fridays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call (02) 5366752 loc. 105.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Out of the Woodwork

Coming out of the woodwork, Ana Basa and Sister Flory add to the woes of Chief Justice Renato Corona.  What has been a family squabble for three decades is turning into a sensational story that adds to serious misgivings on the character of the Chief Justice.

Out  of the woodwork, Ana Basa talks about the family corporation Basa-Guidote Enerprises Inc. (BGEI) and how the Coronas deprived them of their participation in the company.  A follow thru by her Aunt, Sister Flory a ninety year old nun of the Franciscan order and now the darling of the press, roused staunch Corona sympathizer Mon Tulfo to withdraw his support of the beleaguered chief justice.

 Questions have been asked by the Corona camp:   Why only now? 

Out of the woodwork is meant to criticize people who suddenly appear in public revealing their opinions when previously they did not make themselves known.  Does this hold with the family of Mrs. Corona coming out this late?  Perhaps the better idiom is “the cat is out of the bag.”

Or “throw in the towel?

PHOTO: Éva Jospin, daughter of the former French Prime Minister, transforms cardboard into tree trunks, roots and leaves. “Everyone relates to the forest, because its references lie not only in mythology, but also in gothic architecture and animation”. (from Artists Coming Out of the Woodwork)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Miriam sends Hell into a crisis

Miriam sends Hell into a crisis
By Rene Ciria-Cruz 
March 7, 2012

VATICAN CITY (L’Osservatore Romano)—A Catholic priest accidentally sent a residential area of Afterlife reeling in fear and confusion when he consigned a Philippine senator to Hell for publicly insulting prosecutors in the impeachment of the country’s top jurist.

Father Catalino Arevalo declared in a homily that Sen. Miriam Santiago deserved “the fires of Hell” for calling prosecutors fools for their mishandling of their accusations. The priest’s pronouncement immediately sent shivers to residents of the Hellfire and Brimstone neighborhoods of Hell.

“We’re okay with the eternal scorching and scalding, but adding nonstop, high-decibel diatribes to that would be intolerable,” complained Lucrezia Borgia, who hurriedly packed her exotic poisons to evacuate to a truly violent but quieter neighborhood, Circle Seven.

Panicked residents like Borgia learned of the looming crisis triggered by Santiago’s possible arrival when the piped-in music system abruptly stopped playing “Unchained Melody” and began airing ominous choral passages from “Carmina Burana,” which were made famous by horror movies.

Legions of fallen angels, including incubi and succubi, were seen scampering to emergency posts to await further orders. Three-headed hellhounds closed the famous Tunnel of White Light, which will remain shut until further notice. Extra units of disembodied Nephilim guards were posted to make sure Santiago does not arrive before the neighborhood’s evacuation is completed.

Satan shocked

In a hastily called press conference, Hell’s president, Satan, expressed shock and dismay and criticized Fr. Arevalo’s “unilateral and egregious judgment.” Satan told reporters who were standing knee-deep in excrement that short-listing Sen. Santiago for Hell was cruel and unusual punishment.

“Jesus Christ! Can’t this priest see people here are suffering enough already? It’s just not fair to them. She’s the last thing we need,” hissed the old devil, who fidgeted and nervously chewed his barbed tail.

The outspoken Philippine senator added to the confusion when in response to Fr. Arevalo she confidently declared, “There is no Hell as a geographical place,” which made demons pinch themselves frantically to confirm their existence.

Satan explained that he was simply not prepared for the sharp-tongued senator to take up residence in his realm. “I pray to God that we be spared the logistical requirements of her arrival here. Where will I get a megazillion earplugs to protect my citizens’ eardrums?”

Satan also defended his lack of preparation, arguing that Sloth was clearly in his job description. “And the prospect of being scolded again and again by Senator Santiago would be too damaging to my self-esteem, and you know I must maintain a certain amount of Pride to be worthy of my name.”

Asked if he was just scared there was not room enough in Hell for the both of them, Satan became extremely irritated and sidestepped the question. He excoriated the reporters instead.

“The mainstream media’s effort to quote unquote demonize Senator Santiago is grossly unfair to demons. The MSM is gratuitously tainting our already bad name.”

Before Satan retreated into the Inner Mouth of Hell, which reporters thought was just a big pothole on EDSA courtesy of the Department of Public Works, he clarified that he did not have the power to determine any government official’s ultimate fate, contrary to popular belief.

“I can’t stop Ms. Santiago or any Filipino public official. Let’s make one thing clear, people. I’m just the Prince of Darkness, not Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.”

Some prominent hell-raisers, however, disagreed with Satan’s “overreaction” to Santiago’s pending sentence and saw economic potential to her coming.

“I foresee a spike in the number of masochists looking for entertainment, ditto for sadists—Miriam is going to be in great demand,” predicted Dante Alighieri, CEO of Infernal Tours and Cruises, Inc.

Alighieri added, “Satan shouldn’t worry too much about the logistics of Santiago’s permanent residency.”

“Three words,” he explained. “Infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure.” Alighieri believed Santiago would cause little trouble if the accommodations made her feel welcome.

“Give her a nice new suite, say, in the Eighth Circle, Malebolge, for narcissists, with state-of-the-art voice monitors so she could hear herself talk all the time.”

St. Peter cautious

Aftershocks of the crisis in Hellfire corner Brimstone were felt in the Upper Reaches of firmament.

According to unconfirmed reports, Saint Peter has ordered new deadbolts and sophisticated combination locks for the Pearly Gate. A top cherubim guarding Eden disclosed that he heard Saint Peter issue a warning.

“With these Filipino senators you can never be too careful,” said the old saint, gently stroking his… rooster.

“Most of them are lawyers and some are even fond of being the Devil’s Advocate. If you’re not careful, their tangled interpretations of Biblical tenets can spin your head around —and boom, one is slipping through our Gate before you know it.”

Saint Peter cautioned his celestial jurors that Sen. Santiago has a master’s degree in theology. “If anyone can sneak through the eye of a needle, it’s a lawyer with a real graduate degree to boot, not one of those made-up ones from the University of Santo Tomas.”

Jiggling his keys, the top saint asked Angel Gabriel if egress to the Kingdom was securely shut and that all cherubs, seraphs, ophanim and archangels have been properly briefed so they would not mistake Senator Santiago for someone who should be let in.

“Don’t worry, my dear master,” Gabriel replied, “it will be a cold day in Hell before that happens.”

FROM: Global Nation: Inquirer

Monday, March 5, 2012

Secularization of the Clergy

The execution by garote of Fathers José Burgos, Mariano Gómez, and Jacinto Zamora on February 17, 1872 turned the three priest into martyrs for the cause of independence from Spain. 

One of the three martyrs, Father Jacinto Zamora was born and bred in Pandacan.  He was the son of Don Venancio Zamora, a former capitan of Pandacan, and Doña Hilaria del Rosario.  Father Zamora was outspoken, a character, which was evident even during his student days. Zamora was assigned to work with Fathers Burgos and Gomez for the secularization of the Filipino clergy, much to the irritation of the Spanish Friars. 

Three Filipino priests—Fathers Gomez, Burgos,and Zamora, collectively known as the Gomburza martyrs—were executed bythe colonial regime during the Philippine revolution against Spain. Playing theGomburza for the GMA cinematic version of "Lupang Hinirang" are (fromleft, in priests' cassock) Victor Aliwalas, Paolo Paraiso, and BodjieCruz. 
My grandfather, Marciano Noble was born in Pandacan on May 24, 1876, four years after the execution of the three priests.  He was the youngest child of Petronilo Noble and Barbara de Jesus.  I was told that my grandfather worked as a book keeper for Don Mauro Prieto at the Compania General de Tabacos.  His job must have been akin to that of a cost accountant; it is said that Marciano Noble knew exactly what  and how much goes into a cigar.   

The prevailing mood of the population at that time was nationalistic and at the same time very critical of the church.  What was basically a conflict between the religious orders (otherwise referred to as the Friars) and the bishops (who have their own secular priests) turned into issues of nationalism and racial discrimination.  While his father Petronilo was himself a church persona, and his mother Barbara de Jesus was in charge of liturgical vestments, Marciano Noble was never known to be involved with church matters.  It must have been the revolutionary mood that distanced him from priests.

When friars were captured by the Filipino rebels they were killed. The first three priests secured by Aguinaldo in his first battle were roasted on bamboo spits, smeared with oil and burned, and minced to pieces.  A Filipino priest, Father Serrondo, at Pandacan was assaulted by a mob of women. They tore his cassocks in shred and chased him out of town.  Two hundred irate women occupied the churchyard to prevent him from coming back.

On the other hand, a noteworthy katipunero from Pandacan, General Ramon Bernardo whose Katipunan nom de guerre is Salogo says “My faith in the eventual victory of the Sons of the People  never wavered, and to this end I often said the Te Deum.”  After the Battle of Santa Mesa where only a few of his troops survived, Salogo regrouped with Bonifacio at Balara. Bonifacio offered him a promotion as General of a Division with the troops in Balara, Tungko and Masuyod under his command.  

“I told the Supremo that I could serve the Katipunan better as a humble deputy of the Supreme Council of the Sons of the people,” says Bernardo in an account kept by General Santiago Alvarez.  After delivering a letter from Bonifacio to Aguinaldo, General Bernardo, known for his  heroic stand at Santa Mesa, disappeared from the annals of the revolution.  

Ramon Bernardo played the organ, specially during high mass, at the church in Pandacan.  Petronilo Noble tended the church records.  Both were church mice, but not Marciano Noble.

(Click on the link to go to the NHI website)  The Secularization Issue was an international Issue

PHOTO: Courtesy of GMA-7

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lolo Iloy and his Anting Anting

Petronilo Noble de Vera was  grandfather to my mother.  She refers to him as Lolo Iloy.   She says “Ang apellido ng aking Lolo Iloy ay Noble de Vera.  Noong matagal na ay inalis na nang mga kastila ang isa.  Kagaya ng Bonus, iyan ay Bonus Santos at inalis ang Santos. “  (The surname of my Grandpa Iloy is Noble de Vera.  Eventually the Spaniards removed part of the surname, such as Bonus which was Bonus Santos but the Santos was removed.)

Aside from the confrontation incident with the Spanish artillery, my mother is proud to say that the baptismal records during that period bears his grandfather’s calligraphy.  Lolo Iloy was Escribiente of the Catholic Church in Pandacan.  As a young lad, he left his hometown, Saluysoy, Meykawayan, Bulacan and tagged along with priests which brought him to several places and eventually in Pandacan, Manila where he spent the rest of his life.

My mother used tell me that Lolo Iloy had an “anting-anting”, the kind which fell from the banana tree during the full moon; at midnight, one had to wrestle with evil spirits for the first drop of dew from the banana blossom.   The victor gets to keep the amulet, a pearl like droplet which one captures in a white handkerchief and swallows making one immortal.  Lolo Iloy, at the time of his death suffered an ordeal that tormented him so much he had to vomit the amulet to expire peacefully.  She also said that Lolo Iloy also had  an “oracion” in latin which gave him powers.

But that was when I was still very young and even then, I was already skeptical.  As I grew up, she stopped the anting anting story.  I learned to dismiss that part as a tall tale meant to wow children.

But she kept mentioning that her grandfather prayed in latin, something that was not unusual during that era.  One latin prayer that she kept mentioning  was “Sanctus Deus, Sanctus Fortis, Sanctus Immortális, miserére nobis..” 

I later discovered this to be from the Angelic Trisagion, a prayer of antiquity was unfamiliar to many Catholics.   Lately, it has gained a following as the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Petronilo Noble

To localize the rebellion, Governor Ramon Blanco declared martial law on August 30, 1896.   Katipunan General Ramon Bernardo fled with what remained of his men who were armed only with bolos and outnumbered by the Spaniards hunting them. His troops dispersed to avoid being captured.  One soldier named Florentino Policarpio who accompanied the general became sick and was entrusted to compatriots at Masambong.  Bernardo wrote an account of his experience:

“We were defeated in the heated battle at Santa Mesa.  I had a thousand troops, more or les,who were armed with either bolos or guns.  We were overwhelmed by the superior number and arms of our enemy.  Many of my men died or were wounded; most of those seriously wounded were capured by the Spaniards.”

For weeks, the general continued to wander  around Caloocan, Biak na Bato and Balara where he was able to regroup with Bonifacio.  Meanwhile, the Spanish focused on Pandacan due to its notoriety as a “cradle of agitators” and being the home of General Bernardo. 

A battery of cannons was "nakaumang sa Pandacan" when the town was put under "juez de cuchillo" law according to Ricardo Mendoza, former principal of Zamora Elementary School.   Nobody dared to go out of their homes but it was Petronilo Noble who got out of the church raising a flag of truce who negotiated with the Spanish battery to spare the residents.  

Perhaps he convinced them that the Katipuneros have all left to join the fighting at Santa Mesa.  Noble was the parish escribiente and probably a prayerful soul that seeked the intercession of the Sto Niño.   Jocelyn Uy writing for the Philippine Daily Inquirer says the Sto. patron saint of Pandacan "saved the town from being crushed by Spanish colonial troops in the 1890s."

How Noble convinced the Spanish commander, no one remembers.  An inconspicuous street at Beata was later named Petronilo Noble.  

PHOTO: Spanish battery of two 8-centimeter caliber guns firing at Filipinos at the Zapote River bridge, Cavite Province.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gen. Ramon Bernardo

On August 29, 1896 the Philippine Revolution was inaugurated with the ringing of the church bells.  General Ramon Bernardo of Pandacan was one of the key players.  General Santiago Alvarez, in “The katipunan and the revolution: memoirs of a general” says:
 “The troops under Gen. Ramon Bernardo were divided and organized into three contingents under the leadership of Katipuneros Celestino Manuel, Miguel Resurreccion, and Angel Bulong, respectively.  An hour after the siege at Mandaluong, they attacked the town hall of Pandacan; and they took it without resistance and easily confiscated two guns.  However, as in Mandaluyong, the parish priest eluded arrest; Father Angel of Pandacan had fled before the Katipuneros came.”
After taking Pandacan, Bernardo next turned his attention to Santa Mesa.  The column was waiting until morning for Bonifacio’s forces to join them.  Unfortunately, Bonifacio decided to go back to Balara for his men to rest.  

While Bernardo’s men were having breakfast, enemy troops fired at them.  The katipuneros fought gallantly but they suffered heavy losses.  The plan to take Manila failed.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Big Miracle

The story of  Crossbeak, Bonnet and Bone has been made into a movie with a 40 million dollar budget.  "Big Miracle" is based on the book "Freeing the Whales" by Thomas Rose and news reports about the incident at Port Barrow.  Showing in the US started on February 3 and to date has grossed 17 million dollars.  Philippine Release is on May 2012.

The names of the whales were changed to "Fred, Wilma and Bamm-Bamm" as well as a cast of fictional characters including a TV journalist (Adam Carlson}, a Greenpeace activist (Rachel Kramer)  an oil-company executive (Ted Danson), a struggling reporter (Kristen Bell); a National Guard officer (Dermot Mulroney); an Inupiat whaler (John Pingayak).

"Big Miracle" has the air of a workplace comedy played out in subzero weather.  John Krasinski plays Adam Carlson and Drew Barrymore plays Rachel Kramer.

Monday, January 30, 2012

My First Brawl

At four years of age, I went to nursery school at the parish convent. My first teacher was Mrs. Lucina Alday who lives in the same street where my father built a new house for us. My favorite school mate was a curly haired kid named Hector. He was very talkative and always had a running nose. I envied kids with running noses and wondered why I didn’t suffer the same privilege.

One day, during the customary recess, I noticed a group of four or five boys at the church patio.
Hector was one of them and he seemed to have a nice discussion going on with another boy named Jimmy. I approached hoping to take part in their small convention. As I drew near, I heard Hector tell Jimmy “How about this one, will you fight him?”

Whatever dispute they had then, I did not have any idea. To this day, I still wonder what in Hector got us into doing what we did.

Before I knew what was happening, Jimmy and I were throwing fists at each other. Goodness, I never had any idea what fighting was all about. There was no television then and any form of physical combat was not in my vocabulary. But I did lock his neck in one arm and pummeled his head with the other.

Blood gushed out of his nose. No, I was not surprised even if that was the first time in my life that I saw blood. I must’ve thought it was just another case of a running nose.

I don’t know if I was delighted and had no any intention of stopping the fight. I never thought that I should go to my corner. No, I had no intention of allowing my opponent a chance to get his second wind.

Thank heavens, some of the other boys had the sense to stop the fight. But I was not mean. I was just a four year old who didn’t know what was going on.

PHOTO: PandAcan Catholic Kindergarten (circa 1948).  Front Row: Val Atienza and Jimmy Fajardo (2nd and 3rd from left).  Second Row: Vic Cruz, Pepe Bunda, Jose Carreon and Mrs. Lucing Alday (1st, 4th, 5th and 6th from left).  Third Row: Christia Umali, Erlana Gillo (3rd and 6th from left).  Fourth Row: Hector Kulot and Bayani Beltran.

First Published on June 16, 2006

Friday, January 27, 2012

For Want Of A Nail

Calesas are horse drawn carriages that was once the mode of transport in Manila.  This horse unshods a shoe as the cochero tries a farrier's job of shoeing the horse in the middle of Orosa Street at Rizal Park.  Reminds one of that proverbial rhyme on the importance of little things.

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Rainbow Passage

When the sunlight strikes raindrops in the air, they act as a prism and form a rainbow. The rainbow is a division of white light into many beautiful colors. These take the shape of a long round arch, with its path high above, and its two ends apparently beyond the horizon. There is, according to legend, a boiling pot of gold at one end. People look, but no one ever finds it. When a man looks for something beyond his reach, his friends say he is looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Throughout the centuries people have explained the rainbow in various ways. Some have accepted it as a miracle without physical explanation. To the Hebrews it was a token that there would be no more universal floods. The Greeks used to imagine that it was a sign from the gods to foretell war or heavy rain. The Norsemen considered the rainbow as a bridge over which the gods passed from earth to their home in the sky. Others have tried to explain the phenomenon physically. Aristotle thought that the rainbow was caused by reflection of the sun’s rays by the rain.

Since then physicists have found that it is not reflection, but refraction by the raindrops which causes the rainbows. Many complicated ideas about the rainbow have been formed. The difference in the rainbow depends considerably upon the size of the drops, and the width of the colored band increases as the size of the drops increases. The actual primary rainbow observed is said to be the effect of super-imposition of a number of bows. If the red of the second bow falls upon the green of the first, the result is to give a bow with an abnormally wide yellow band, since red and green light, when mixed, form yellow. This is a very common type of bow, one showing mainly red and yellow, with little or no green or blue.

The Rainbow Passage is one of the most common standard reading passages used to test an individual’s ability to produce connected speech. It was designed to contain almost all the English phonemes (it’s missing ʒ and the glottal stop).  It is a public domain text, can be found on page 127 of the 2nd edition of Grant Fairbanks’ Voice and Articulation Drillbook. New York: Harper & Row.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Lerma's Rainbow Over Sampaloc Lake

When the price of gasoline was less than a peso, it was very reasonable to drive around the country side just for the sheer pleasure of driving.   I love to stop by San Pablo just to admire the peace and quiet that Sampaloc Lake instills.  I didn’t know that there were actually seven lakes until many decades later when Pomping Saulo, owner of a local Mr. Donut store, went on an excursion to see the lakes.

And much much later, my friend Lerma Prudente took some photographs of Sampaloc Lake.  Was it the lake or the rainbow that was the subject of the photo? With the innocence of a girl scout, Lerma bridged the quiet lake with color.  Never mind if fish pens desecrated the stillness of the lake.  Never mind if there were more structures at the perimeter of Sampaloc.  It was a good shoot and it makes one feel good.

Rainbow photography can be a difficult task.  First, you have to have a rainbow. Experience tells me it’s not that easy to hunt for one.  I was once a shutter hunting for rainbows with a Nikon F Photomic T and a 28 mm wide angle lens.  But whenever one appeared, the old Nikon was not there. 

Lerma’s rainbow hits a mountain at the horizon but where the other leg is keeps you in suspense. Her other two shoots pan to the other leg.  It's not easy to cover the whole arc even with a 28 mm lens on a 35 mm camera. A 19 mm wide angle lens or less should be able to capture the 84° angle of view.  She had four exposures, two showing the left foot and two showing the right foot, all shown here.  I particularly like one which shows the left leg stepping on the mountain. The leaves on the foreground is just right and in keeping with the artist’s technique of creating depth on two dimensions.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Bonnet, Crossbeak and Bone

First time I stumbled upon the name was in the late eighties. Crossbeak was one of three whales trapped in the Arctic ice on October 1988.   An Alaskan Indian who saw the whales called for help.  Eskimos responded with chainsaws and pick axes to cut the ice and give more breathing holes to Putu, Siku and Kanik, the names given by their Eskimo rescuers.

Biologists, environmentalists and media later joined the fray and gave the mammals their stage names, Bonnet, Crossbeak and Bone and the rescue operations became transformed to a P.T. Barnum Circus complete with side shows. Whales getting trapped in ice is not a rare phenomenon in the Arctic.  Polar bears, sharks and orkas are known predators of animals trapped in ice.  Whatever, the name Crossbeak struck my fancy and used it as my own nom de guerre. 

Consider these:  an Alaska National Guard helicopter armed with a five-ton concrete ice crusher; a pipeline firm's 11 ton ice-breaking "Archimedian Screw Tractor"; de-icing machine suppliers; a hover barge; a Russian ice-breaker; and hundreds of people including reporters who covered the charade.  Not to be outdown, President Ronald Reagan appears on TV telling rescue workers that our "hearts are with you and our prayers are also with you."

The  National Marine Fisheries biologist coordinating the rescue remarked "This is completely out of proportion."