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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

12 seeds for the New Year

Last spring, my urban patio garden did inspire me to grow more plants. My bell pepper is  still producing despite the cold weather!!! In the name of biodiversity, I pledge to buy and store 12 different seeds every New Year. I do not have green thumbs. I have "purple" thumbs because I have a great ability to grow  "edible" plants only!!  I can keep cute plants around. However I take care of my edible friends! Gardening is therapeutic. I believe in a gardening revolution. Save seeds..Organic or not. Buy and store seeds. I got 12 kind under 12 dollars plus shipping for 275 seeds total.
Let's nurture nature...
Here a quote of J.Sterling Norton from here
"The generations of flesh pass away; and plants and trees, by root and leaf, take the substance of the dead forms into their being rebuilding again the vegetable kingdom whence they were ravaged for the sustenance of animals. In this earthly round of being ages come and go, as shadows and sorrows come and go over each individual human life...The animal kingdom of today was the vegetable kingdom of an age that has been; and the physical man - all the animals - will be the plants, flowers, fruits and forests of the years yet to be. So proceed the cycles of transmutation - inevitable as death, and wonderful and the mystery involved in eternity: change unceasing, but loss never, for frugal nature permits no waste, and, though her forms disintegrate and disappear, substance, mental and material, lives forever, defying decay with the smile of conscious and ineffable immortality"

Few of my seeds for the New Year at Hirts Gardens

AMAZING Egg Tree 15 Seeds-Grow Indoors/Out-Edible Fruit
AMAZING Egg Tree 15 Seeds-Grow Indoors/Out-Edible Fruit

Romanesco Broccoli 50 Seeds-Heirloom-Best Taste Veggie
Japanese Black Trifele (Russian Truffel) Tomato 20 Seed    

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Foundation of the week- Coexist Foundation

"Coexist has been involved in a range of inspiring, exciting and transformational projects that promote better understanding between faith communities through education, dialogue and research.
  • Coexist drives and supports educational programmes and initiatives we hope will capture the public imagination
  • Coexist promotes dialogue and reconciliation between groups in conflict with one another
  • Coexist encourages research into programmes which further relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims, and between these faiths and others."

 Image from here

Friday, December 24, 2010

Quote from Oogway in Kun Fu Panda

This is the movie of our winter break.  Funny as always and we love the message.
The secret is there is no secret!!! Priceless wisdom!!  Enjoy our present!

"Quit, don't quit? Noodles, don't noodles? You are too concerned about what was and what will be. There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the "present." Oogway

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Coexistence of religions and celebrations.

I grew up as a catholic in an Islamic country. On Friday, I would happily go to the mosque with my friend. Many of my  friends were attending, and afterward I was always invited to share their delicious meals. On Saturday, some Danish protestant nuns were offering succulent baked goodies. Of course, I went to visit them when I could. On Sunday, it was Sunday school before the service.  At the end of which, we were always rewarded with some fancy European goodies.
At six years old, I was chosen to be Mary in the nativity play at church. I was so happy to be “the virgin Mary”. Oh yeah, I was “the” Madonna. The day of rehearsal, the priest gave me a doll to be “baby Jesus”. It was a cute blond and blue eyes doll. I ask if I could have a “black Jesus” instead. The priest said no my child. I asked again. He said no. I asked again. He finally said, no my child Jesus was not Black. I answered that The Madonna was not black but I was. I told with that the Holly spirit would have taken my color in consideration. The priest did laugh very hard. I was upset... Later at home, my Dad told me that Mary and Joseph were Jewish. So they were more likely tan with dark hair. And it did not matter anyway. I should let it go. Obviously, I did not completely let go…However, I went with the baby Jesus chosen by the priest. I was also graciously bribed with dates by my mother to comply with the original play. My stomach and I were always open to dialogues.  I was a calm child but outspoken, often bribed for silence with food.

As for the celebrations, we celebrated all the Islamic holy days and catholic one. The first Christmas I do remember was amazingly creative and funny. My mother managed to create a fake pine tree with a tropical plant. We did decorate with tons of homemade crafts. The final touch was shaving cream for snow under our tropical heat. It was a fabulous tree!!! I never believed in Santa Claus.  I always loved the family spirit during the holidays. It is at the end of the year, you are grateful to be healthy and loved.
I knew that my parents could not buy fancy toys. I always asked for cheeses and sweets. Anything that travel several miles in boat was pretty fancy to me.  My stomach and I were happy!!
At twenty years old, I converted to Islam. Today, I am still celebrating Islamic and Catholic holy days. And our son is celebrating all of them also. I think he knows about Santa. However, he loves the magic and the toys so much that Santa is real.

Religions are messages. Spirituality is within our soul. I know that my spiritual journey is the reflection of who I am. By the way, I do  believed in Zen. I was a good catholic and  I am muslim. My mother told me once: " I do not know if you are praying but regardless the language or the style, you must pray. And you must meditate quietly 15 minutes a day". Thank you Maman!

At the end it is the same moonlight for our dreams, and God is orchestrating the pre-established harmony. No matter what kind of religion or philosophy  we are  following, we are playing the same melody. And we have common dreams under the same moonlight.We must coexist...
Peace to you all

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Prophet -Un prophète by Jacques Audiard.

It is about the journey of a young North African prisoner in France. He is sentenced to six years in jail. I was expecting stereotypes and a lot of clichés. I was agreeably surprised. It is a fiction about  our fantasy “hero”, a Tony Montana like personage that makes it out alive.
In this pure fiction, I like how the racial tensions are portrayed.  The main character managed to stay alive. He went from the invisible “slave-maid” to the “ultimate gangster”. It is perfectly done because it already takes place in prison. It does take away the glamour of “wannabe Mafioso”.  
Seriously, it is a must watch. The movie is in French, Arabic, and Corsica with subtitles. It is nice to have movies about Arabs in France. It is sadly so familiar but the message coming out from some of  silent scenes is outstanding. One of the best films I have seen!!!
Verdict: Excellent !!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The uncomfortable Truth-Nneka

She is very talented and soulful.

Let us make a change why can’t we turn the page
Lord make us able
Without u we are totally unstable 

Soulful Vagabonds

Worldwide governments and citizens are struggling with “immigration”. In this global recession, immigration is treated like an epidemic requiring several forms of quarantine.  As immigration rate increase, deportations are skyrocketing. In this global unfair monopoly game, people are following the money. They are scavenging for resources. We are all doing it!!! The big difference is our locations on the monopoly board. It is the survival of the fittest. Immigration is a part of globalization.  This global community is without borders for people that have the right passports, visas, and wallets. It is also without frontiers for people that have hope and dreams!!The fortunate vagabonds are tourists or volunteers.
In my opinion, immigrants are soulful vagabonds that are tolerated in good times, and despised in hard times.Until the day, we are able to move to the Moon or Mars: Immigration will remain a problem on Earth!
To all  the aliens, citizens of the world and soulful vagabonds...
Same Moonlight for our dreams.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Quote from Whitney M.Young, Jr

  • “It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.”

Monday, December 13, 2010

Filosofia by Bau

Bau is from Cape Verde. This is a beautiful melody. "Filosofia" is the perfect title for this instrumental melodic prose.In my opinion, this is a great tune to relax, think or focus.Enjoy!
Keep on composing your symphony regardless of the leitmotif...
Same Moonlight for our Dreams

Friday, December 10, 2010

Arsty Peeks: Allan Bean

Allan Bean was the fourth man to walk on the Moon. He is an Astronaut-Artist. He incorporates small amount of Moon dust in his paintings!!! He is using color to express what he felt. My fascination to the Moon is obvious!!Allan Bean lived the dream. He is  sharing the bliss.Thank you!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Astrobiology and Space Exploration by Lynn Rothschild

I got this link about Astrobiology from the Loom on Discover
It is a Free winter 2010 course from Stanford!!! 
A free access to 14 lectures about Astrobiology and Space Exploration by Lynn Rothschild!!Thank you to Lynn Rothschild! 
Let us explore…
Same Moonlight for our Dreams

"Lynn Rothschild is an evolutionary biologist-astrobiologist at NASA's Ames Research Center and a consulting professor at Stanford and Brown Universities where she teaches Astrobiology and Space Exploration. Dr. Rothchild's research has focused on how life, particularly microbes, has evolved in the context of the physical environment on Earth and potentially elsewhere in the solar system and universe."


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Learn from your DNA with 23andme

I was reading the article " One diabetes gene to explain it all". The author did talk about 23and me. And you know what, they are having a holiday sale!!! Yes you can have your DNA tested for health or ancestry at $99 instead of $499.Until December 25. There is a tiny asterisk about an extra $5 for 12 months subscription. So it is really  $159 total. To be honesty, the idea of knowing is so tempting...Seriously your DNA unveiled...
I had to share!

"23andMe, Inc. is a leading personal genetics company dedicated to helping individuals understand their own genetic information through DNA analysis technologies and web-based interactive tools. The company's Personal Genome Service™ enables individuals to gain deeper insights into their ancestry and inherited traits. The vision for 23andMe is to personalize healthcare by making and supporting meaningful discoveries through genetic research. 23andMe, Inc., was founded in 2006, and the company is advised by a group of renowned experts in the fields of human genetics, bioinformatics and computer science."

The global increase of heart disease and cancer

In the “A Global Call to Action on Cancer and Heart Disease”, Christine Gorman explains that the increase of heart diseases and cancers is linked to the adoption of Western-style diet and lifestyles.  She also points out that cancer is a side effect of success. Longer life implies aging populations, so cancer and heart diseases are the new trend. However the lack of available treatments, resources, and infrastructures is accentuating this disease trend.Beyond the side effect of longer life spam, adopting a Western-style diet is the worst.

The exodus from rural are to urban area is destroying the global health. In developing countries, many farmers are forced to move to urban zones. They are giving up their lifestyles and cultures to mimic a new one, a western lifestyle symbolizing social ascension. So the rice and beans meal is becoming bread and canned something.  With the loss of traditional farming, native cereals are replaced by white rice. In an article, I found out  that we are eating more rice than we are producing!!! “Rice is the staple food for around 2.5 billion people, or more than one-third of the global population. The global price of rice has been increasing for much of the current decade. According to the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), a non-profit research and education center, this is because the world is consuming more rice than it is producing, and global stocks are becoming rapidly depleted

Low income populations are working more and more to make nothing. They are incorporating fast food feeding to the detriment of traditional meals. As a child I rarely had processed food. Our food staple was rice, beans, tons of vegetables, fruits, fish and meat.  At eighteen years old, I left home for the first time. Far from my mother, I westernized my diet so much that I gained weight. I also got sick. My anemia was at the worst. I understood that the spinach, lentils, chicken livers, chick peas, and beans were necessary to my well being.  I went back to what I was used to. Mom was right!!  To this day, I eat all my veggies.Sometimes I am craving plantains, yucca roots, and other cereals!And I am thankful for Asian stores...

The globalization of resources should not be associated this new trend of “consumption colonization.” Supermarkets have their place in emerging economies as long as Local Farmers Markets are promoted and protected because only a tiny minority can afford decent food in those supermarkets. Supermarkets should buy and sell local products as well. I believed that we inherent our parents diet. With heritable epigenetics, our diet influence the genes of our children and grandchildren. The inequality, the imbalance of resources and climate changes are causing majors change in disease trends. The solution would be reasonable access to medication, protection of local economies, and of course the increase of  local farming!
We are what we eat...
Same Moonlight for our Dreams

Monday, December 6, 2010

Foundation of the week:For the love of chocolate

Really for the love of chocolate!!!
"For the Love of Chocolate Foundation provides scholarships for qualified students in the specialized training of the pastry arts. The foundation awards scholarships to students in the full-time programs taught by The French Pastry School for the City Colleges of Chicago. For the Love of Chocolate Foundation promotes commitment in pastry arts education for individuals looking to change careers, as well as individuals who have shown potential in the culinary field but who have no formal pastry education." 

Running to free my mind

These past weeks, I perfected a delicious pie crust, a healthy oatmeal bran bread, a great Pho Bo broth and the ultimate Belgian-German waffles. I love cooking and eating. I love food!!! Last week after too many buttery goodies, I could not resist the title of the runner’s world magazine “Special inspiration issue”. Yes I did purchase it for the first time. I felt so inspired by the title.
And you know what, I am running… It is addicting as always but this time I am ready to keep my motivation running.  I was enjoying the magazine until I started reading about “The confession of Eddy Hellebuyck” Seriously!! I purchased this at $4.99 for the inspiration and secrets of lasting motivation... In the midst of it, I get a super long messy confession on EPO doping and redemption. I respect his confession. It takes courage to come clean. I do get that there are heroes only in presence of villains…I am sorry for all the people that lost the races because he won. I wonder if he has to pay back the prizes. But this confession is a little too much too late…Well RW magazine did boost my motivation however I am not buying another issue...
I will keep on running because it does free my mind. There is some kind of raw honesty about running. It is a personal multitasking effort that asks inner motivation. Your lungs, heart, and muscles let you know the truth, as well as the extra jiggles…aka "extra love"...
My confession:
I will keep on running to stay in shape, to compete with my dear self. I also will keep on running to eat healthy, cheesy, creamy and buttery. And for the love of chocolate...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Economics of Happiness: content or fulfill?

With the current economy, there is a shift from pursuing to creating happiness.For the longest time the ultimate goal was to be fulfilled in order to be content.  However we can all remember that someone told us to be content to reach happiness. Happiness has no price but it is becoming a new economical field. Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness renewed discussion about the concept of happiness economics. According to Wikipedia: “The statistical relationship demonstrated is between happiness and the logarithm of absolute income, suggesting that above a certain point, happiness increases more slowly than income, but no "saturation point" is ever reached.” The evidence is that happiness is determined by relative and absolute income.

Coming from immigration, the most important lesson I received is that everything is relative. You may not have a private pool but you have access to a pristine beach. You may not have cupcakes but you have one mango tree. You may not have fancy but you have enough. The crucial silent message is that sacrifices made for better future and financial stability should not alter the fact that happiness is about being content. Being content is what makes people happy. For example children in refugee camps and war zones still find ways to be happy because material is relative. 

 In my opinion happiness is based on the ability to adapt and accept that the norms are relatives. For all children issued of immigration, the concept of happiness can be a cultural and an emotional conundrum. You love your heritage but you have to incorporate your environment to create your own happiness. At the end it is all about experiencing, appreciating, sharing and staying true. And if you are blessed, you have the opportunity to travel and learn from others. And remember that we are all different but the same. And under the same moonlight we have common dreams of happiness

Underwater Sculpture by Jason deCaires Taylor

Jason deCaires Taylor is an artist, a diving instructor, an underwater naturalist, a photographer and the creator of the underwater sculpture park in Grenada. Just amazing!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Magdalenha by Sergio Mendes

Sergio Mendes is a Brazilian artist. I am loving this song.
Let us dance for freedom!
Email me if you did not dance!!!:)

Cool link on origin of samba here

Using Clone troopers to explain slavery

Few months ago, my seven years old asked if all blacks were slave in ancient time!!!I was surprised. I did manage to explain the concept of servitude and greed, using "Star wars". He loves clone troopers. So I took the clones for example. Clone troopers are used as slaves, because their only purpose is to fight to death for someone else. I told him that slavery always existed among humans, from Europe to Asia, Africa,and to America. The clones were created by Palpatine. He was greedy and immoral. He wanted power at any cost. Clones are humans not machines. Slavery is what happened when people pretend that the others are machines not humans.

All humans desire freedom regardless of  skin color. I pointed out that he loves Captain Rex, and Commander Cody because they think freely. They are free even if they are serving the republic.By thinking freely and having the respect of the Jedi, Rex and Cody are not slaves. However, they are still in servitude.The Jedi do not like the situation of the clone Army. The Jedi hope that by winning the war.The clones will be free.

Today, we also have clone troopers, Jedi and Sith. Some people are still treated like slaves or servants. Blacks were slaves as well as other races. And he should not worry because they are Jedi in every race!!So everybody will win. My young padawan did listen. He was relieved that all blacks were not slaves!

Here a quote from a slavery Timeline.
 "Before 1400: Slavery had existed in Europe from Classical times and did not disappear with the collapse of the Roman Empire. Slaves remained common in Europe throughout the early medieval period. However, slavery of the Classical type became increasingly uncommon in Northern Europe and, by the 11th and 12th centuries, had been effectively abolished in the North. Nevertheless, forms of unfree labour, such as villeinage and serfdom, persisted in the north well into the early modern period. In Southern and Eastern Europe, Classical-style slavery remained a normal part of the society and economy and trade across the Mediterranean and the Atlantic seaboard meant that African slaves began to appear in Italy, Spain, Southern France, and Portugal well before the discovery of the New World in 1492. From about the 8th century onwards, an Arab-run slave trade also flourished, with much of this activity taking place in East Africa, Arabia, and the Indian Ocean. In addition, many African societies themselves had forms of slavery, although these differed considerably, both from each other and from the European and Arabic forms. Although various forms of unfree labour were prevalent in Europe throughout its history, historians refer to 'Chattel Slavery', in which slaves are commodities to be bought and sold, rather than domestic servants or agricultural worker."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

International Day for the Abolition of Slavery 2 December

"The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, 2 December, recalls the date of the adoption, by the General Assembly, of the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (resolution 317(IV)of 2 December 1949)."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Raven and Wolf -

Beyond the odds!!! 

"Beyond the Odds is a multimedia arts project designed to illuminate the perspectives and personal stories of young people living with HIV/AIDS. The poem reflects the true and intimate reflections of a youth participant from Beyond the Odds, a project of the Public Radio Makers Quest 2.0.Jari Bradley of Youth Speaks performed and co-created the poem with B-Lady of Beyond the Odds. To hear more poems and read B-Lady's personal story of living with HIV. Log onto"

World AIDS Day on 1 December 2010

Beyond the facts, statistics, myths and fears,please read real stories and talk about it.When I was a teen, HIV and AIDS campaigns were everywhere. Condoms were everywhere. In my opinion, the awareness did fade away.  Remember the  1992 Olympic, Magic Johnson did inspire everybody.  Today it has been 18 years  since Magic Johnson's HIV announcement. He is not virus free like many like to believe!!! His HIV virus is at undetectable level!! So yes, in case of early detection and medication, you can live a healthy life with HIV! Nowadays, teens are just aware that HIV is a STD and you can live healthy being positive. Young adults are busy being busy and seniors are not talking about it.
HIV is real. AIDS is real. We have no cure...
Protect yourself and be safe.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Art of the Animated Series by Dark Horse

I love comics from Dark Horse!!!I am also a fan of Avatar:The last Airbender. I guess that Shyamalan and Paramount Pictures Studio did their best in the movie!! However the "Art" behind this animated series is the "soul" of the story. Thank you to the authors and artists: Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante Dimartino for this masterpiece! This book is on our wish list.

"Since its debut in 2005, Avatar: The Last Airbender has remained one of Nickelodeon's most talked about and highest-rated animated series to date, and it's not too hard to see why . . . Not only does it offer an epic storyline, engaging characters, action, adventure, and a powerful message about the importance of hope in a world long-besieged by war, all the while serving up top-notch entertainment. It's also beautifully executed, a stunning masterpiece of animated storytelling that harmonizes Western influences with aesthetic inspiration drawn from a diverse array of cultures, including those of China, Japan, India, and the Inuit.
An unprecedented look at the concept, design, and production art behind this smash-hit series, Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Art of the Animated Series chronicles the show's development -- from the very first sketch through to the series finale and beyond!"

Foundation of the week- International Children's Digital Library

International Children's Digital Library Foundation is a non profit!!! 
It is exactly what I was looking for. I love that you can search books by countries. It did find books in Kinyarwanda and Swahili!! Maybe I will find something in Kirundi and Shikomor. I am a child of immigrants as well as my own child. Multiculturalism and multilingualism is inherited. As beautiful as diversity can be, children must have access to their family’s heritage and “native” language. According to UNESCO’s paper published in 2005, "Denial to access to information in one's mother tongue is equivalent to a denial of a human right."
Do not give up! There are resources out there…
Same Moonlight for our Dreams.

International Children's Digital Library

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Dreamer Tribes in a Perfect and Imperfect World

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz did define the monads as the ultimate elements of the universe. According to him, Monads are "substantial forms of being", eternal, individual, subject to their own laws, un-interacting, and each reflecting the entire universe in a pre-established harmony. The bottom line is that each human being constitutes a monad. I like the metaphor of each monads being a little mirror of the universe. Leibniz classified monads in three groups. We have vegetale, animal and human monads. I understand that God is the monad of all the monads. And that he is the master of the pre-established harmony.

I believe that we have glimpses of the pre-established harmony in our dreams. Besides our memories shape our experiences as well as our experiences shape our memories.  However Leibniz made the distinction between soul and monad. Souls are mortal and have memory of their perception while monads are immortal and have no memory of their perception. So I made the conclusion that our soul guides our monad and body through our dreams. Even Aristole did defend a certain level of lucid dreaming- “often when one is asleep, there is something in consciousness which declares that what then presents itself is but a dream”. 

In my opinion, humans are forming multiple and diverse dreamer tribes because our monads cannot interact. And even if the monads cannot communicate they are aware of the others. At the end it is the same moonlight for our dreams, and God is orchestrating the pre-established harmony. No matter what kind of instrument we are playing: we are following the same melody.  I do not think of God as mathematician but it is my way of accepting that the Universe is neither perfect nor imperfect. Therefore the World is not perfect or imperfect. And I am not perfect or imperfect.  I am a monad among monads. I am a dreamer among dreamers. We are different but the same. And we have common dreams under the same moonlight.

Thank you for reading my little discourse!
Let me offer you a note from an old friend of mine:
Everything is perfect. Everything is imperfect.
If everything is perfect and imperfect.
Then nothing is perfect. Nothing is imperfect.
Thus everything just is.
Therefore just be yourself.
Be your beautiful self.

By Charles H

Peace to you all.Same moonlight for our dreams.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Foundation of the week- Cultural Survival

"For nearly 40 years Cultural Survival has partnered with Indigenous Peoples around the world to help them defend their lands, languages, and cultures."In United States,Cultural survival is partnering with tribes to protect the 70 of the remaining 139 Native American languages.  They are working on resources to teach their language to their children. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lakota Wisdom Keepers

Lakota spiritual leader, Nathan Chasing Horse said that being a warrior is not about showing your strength, power, or knowledge but it is about learn how to cry. “When a Man learns how to cry, he is learning how to understand. He is learning compassion.”
Thank you to Massasoit, Metacomet and his son.
We are all connected...
Same Moonlight for Our Dreams.

After the Mayflower/ We Shall Remain

 It is amazing!!! PBS did it !! "We Shall Remain represents an unprecedented collaboration between Native and non-Native filmmakers and involves Native advisors and scholars at all levels of the project."I only watched "After the Mayflower". It is about Massasoit's dream of peace between the Wampanoags and English! It was a noble and humane decision to help the pilgrims. The alliance maintained some kind of peace.

However after his death, his son "Metacomet-Philip" has to deal with a new generation of English leaders.My favorite part is when Phillip as new Chief of Wampanoags remind the English that his people showed them mercy when they were weak. It was so powerful and painful...King Phillip was killed defending his land. And his 9 years old son was sent to the West Indies as a slave...

Beyond the dreaming of peace and strategic alliance, Massasoit's compassion must be remembered... 
It is a "must watch" in the American Experience series.
Same Moonlight for our Dreams.

Here  a passage from the episode:
"Jonathan Perry, Aquinnah Wampanoag:
After Philip was shot by Alderman, they dismembered his body.
The scarred right hand of Philip was given to Alderman as a trophy of the war. His parts were strewn about
the colonies, spread to the four corners.
Colin G. Calloway, historian: This is a warning to other people, to other Indian people. This is what the
English will... this is how the Enlish will deal with rebellion, deal with treason. And remember that in English
eyes Philip was a traitor -- and this was the punishment meted out by 17th century Englishman to traitors.
Massasoit's son was dead and scattered, but the colonists were taking no chances; they captured
Philip's son and heir -- a nine-year-old boy -- and locked him in a jail in Plymouth. While English authorities
deliberated on whether to sell the boy into slavery, or simply murder him, the Puritans gave thanks to their
Jill Lepore, historian: And the final day of thanksgiving, of the war, is the day Philip's head is marched into
Plymouth. This decapitated head on a pole, its erected in the center, in the center of town and is cause for a
great celebration.
Narrator: They wouldn't take it down, Philip's head. For two decades -- while Philip's son lived in slavery in
the West Indies -- the head was displayed in Plymouth, a reminder to the Indians about who was in charge; a
reminder to the English that God continued to smile on their endeavor.
Colin G. Calloway, historian: 
It's hard to see how conflict could have been avoided and how the outcome of that war could have been different. Looking at the generation before this war, there is at least a moment,
where things were different."

Monday, November 22, 2010

The parent, a samurai in this global economic hardship

This Economic hardship hurts companies, businesses, employees, homeowners, marriages, families, students, everyone in between and of course our children. The lack of job, loss of job, expensive education and reduced opportunities exacerbate the stress for everyone.

It is a global  economic hardship, even if we only see our side of the garden. In our mind the grass is always greener the other side. Our realities or struggles are blessings and successes for someone somewhere else.  Of course we must have the “audacity to hope”. Besides we must be active because audacity is not enough for our children. They need our legacy, to think of audacity , to hope and dream of better. 

            My word today is parent. A parent has to be loving, ferocious, and rebel to protect, feed, love, and educate children. In this global community, all parents face the same struggles and fears. We all want to achieve something and nurture our children to be strong individuals that will benefit to the world. And secretly we want them to simply enjoy life and cherish their childhood.

Desiderata by Max Ehrmann


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.
Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Les Mystérieuses Cités d’or (太陽の子エステバン, Taiyō no ko Esteban-The Mysterious Cities of Gold

“Les Mystérieuses Cités d'Or” is Japanese-French animated series. It was on TV in the late 80’s when we moved to France. It is a fabulous journey set in 1532.  The series describe the adventures of Esteban, a young Spanish boy who travels to the New World in search of the lost Cities of Gold and his father. I introduced them to our son this weekend as  “a super cool cartoon in French”.

However, the truth is that I want him to learn about the Mayan, Inca, and Olmecs. This cartoon perfectly mixes archaeology, lost technological wonders and science fiction. I want him to be exposed to another version of “the story” about Native Indians and Native Americans Indians. It is an attempt to expand his view on “Thanksgiving” without feeding prejudices or stereotypes. Esteban was Spanish and he befriended Zia (an Incan girl) and Tao (the last descendant of the sunken empire of Mu). Well check it out, DVDs were released in North America on April 7, 2009. According to rumors: “ A film version of the story is to be produced by the Movie Plus Group. On Chibi Japan Expo in Paris, Jean Chalopin announced that three new seasons of 26 episodes are planned with a release starting in 2011.” Legends or not, there are many stories!! I hope that our son will remember that every culture is wealthier than “ the seven cities of Gold”. 

This is my “Culturally Relevant Teaching" of the weekend!
Education is a collective rebellion against the status quo.
We are all distant relatives. Thanks to you all…
Same Moonlight for our dreams.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Foundation of the week- There Is No Limit Foundation

 There Is No limit foundation
Guinea is in the news lately please check out this foundation. 
Thank you!!!

Mystere et suspens by Fonky Family

Fonky family his an old French Hip-Hop group from Marseille. Here for full lyrics. It is about life with a tiny dose of melancholy. It is universal!!! Today, this song made me realized that when we are young; hate, rage and fear are our main catalyzers. Love validates that we are worthy of being. Then with the years, we get to love our pain, accept our fears, understand our rage and hate fades away.  I realized that "I'm going where life takes me Where my feet take me " but I must own my journey and  keep on walking the walk with my very own style. Here a great quote from Verghese in Cutting for stone:" The key to your happiness is to own your slippers, own who you are, own how you look, own your family, own the talents you have, and own the ones you don’t. If you keep saying your slippers aren’t yours, then you’ll die searching, you’ll die bitter, always feeling you were promised more. Not only our actions, but also our omissions, become our destiny.”
Let's respect our differences and just be the masters of our destiny...
Same Moonlight for our dreams.

"Refrain :
J'vais là où la vie m'mène
Là où mes pieds m'traînent
J'viens d'là où les gens disent tous emmerder l'système
Peu importe la manière forte ou douce
Chacun essaie de survivre conscient qu'on y reste tous
J'vais là où la vie m'mène
Là où mes pieds m'traînent
J'viens d'là où les gens disent tous emmerder l'système
Croire en l'argent s'en trop voir le respect qu'il dégage
Puiser la force dans l'amour la haine la peine ou la rage"

"Chorus:I'm going where life takes me 
Where my feet take me 
I am from  where people say fuck  the system 
No matter how.Strong  or gentle 
Everyone tries to survive aware that we all gone die  
I'm going where life takes me 
Where my feet take me  
I am from  where people say fuck  the system 
Believe in money without  seeing any  respect coming out from it 
Drawing the power from  love, hate ,pain or rage "

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Invictus by William Ernest Henley

Invictus by William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

According to the story, he wrote that poem following the amputation of his foot due to tubercular infection. I was hoping for different story... ....This poem  is all about resilience. As passionate and defiant he sounded, the acceptance of his fate must have freed his soul. I am  also the master of my fate and the captain of my soul. And I accept that only change is constant . However I still cannot believe that tuberculosis did initiate this powerful poem!

Artsy peeks: Foo Hong Tatt

Website here.

Gilbert, the Surfer Dude by Diane Degroat (Author, Illustrator)

I really want to thank Diane Degroat for this book!!! We are working on reading fluency with out loud reading. While reading this book my second grader was happy and laughing.Priceless...
His verdict: "Awesome!! Reading is so fun!"
Yeah....Yeah..Mission accomplished.
Thank you Diane Degroat for "Gilbert,the Surfer Dude"
Even at the age of DS,XBOX and Ipod, nothing can replace a good book.

"This I Can Read Book in the Gilbert and Friends series does its job. It’s short, amusing, and will keep kids reading. Gilbert and family are on their way to the beach when Gilbert remembers that he forgot something—his bathing suit. He insists on wearing his new trunks that say Surfer Dude, even though they’re too big. Surfing and oversize trunks can only lead to one thing. Adults will see it coming, but new readers probably won’t. They’ll enjoy looking at the seaside doings in the friendly art while they sharpen their reading skills. Grades K-2."

Monday, November 15, 2010

FreeReading: an open source reading program

I like this website. I love it!!! It is simple and clear. It is used by educators in all 50 states and in over 160 countries.It is a blessing for English as a Second Language Parents.We are on board!! Yes we can. It is free. It is FREE!
"FreeReading Intervention A is the first open-source instructional program to be approved through an official state adoption. The state of Florida recently approved FreeReading as a supplemental reading program that state schools may use during the 2008-2009 school year. To learn more about FreeReading and the advantages of the program, click here."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Reading fluency norms for linguistically diverse

  Once again it is about the struggle between "diversity", "norms" and "standards". It is obvious that  linguistic diversity  impacts the practice of speech ,articulation, language, and fluency. While I was reading on "linguistically diverse populations". I finally understood why, US born children can be labeled as English Language Learners(ELL)!!!Well here it is: "Frequently linguistically diverse individuals/public school students are classified or referred to as “Limited English Proficient”(LEP)/English Language Learners (ELL). These are individuals who are learning or have learned to speak, understand, read, and/or write English as a second or other language, even though they may have spent a number of years in an English speaking environment."  here.  So your LEP child is a ELL only when you disclose that he has learned to speak and understand another language.Voila..disclosing or not a reading gap will expose any exposure to foreign languages. And it is emotional for every children, LEP or ELL...

As a current simultaneous, sequential bilingual parent and  ELLish/LEPish student; I understand the pain  that comes with  non-fluency  and fluency norms. I was that child that would stare and just do instead of talking. I was that child  mixing languages and dialects while reciting a poem in front of the class. I would fight by not answering in the correct language to my parents so they would understand my pain. Linguistically diversity is a blessing that comes with a curse at the beginning!! Fluency building strategies are out there but the secret is patience. Be patient, everybody makes it  regardless of the norms.Here a comforting article for bringing up bilingual children.

Bilingualism is normal. Millions of children are growing with more than one language.However having to perform accordingly to the norm is not normal for linguistically diverse. It is normally intimidating. We are reading slow but reading, and speed will come along. Diversity is good, fluent or not.
Below the famous fluid...oh yeah...Reading is fun!

2006 Hasbrouck & Tindal Oral Reading Fluency Data
Fall WCPM*
Winter WCPM*
Spring WCPM*
Avg. Weekly

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Quotes from "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" by Milan Kundera

Milan Kundera is Czech. I like his humor, his soft and dry philosophy. This  book is about "the fragile nature of the fate of the individual and theorized that a single lifetime is insignificant in the scope of Nietzsche's concept of eternal return because in an infinite universe, everything is guaranteed to recur infinitely." I like it because it does fit my ideas of everlasting renaissance, life as a double-infinite sequence of bridges.
  • "Everything that occurs out of necessity, everything expected, repeated day in and day out is mute. Only chance can speak to us. We read its message much as gypsies read the images made by coffee grounds at the bottom of the cup."  

  • "Anyone whose goal is 'something higher' must expect someday to suffer vertigo. What is vertigo? Fear of falling? No, Vertigo is something other than fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves."

  • "for there is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one's own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes."
  • "The heaviest of burdens crushes us, we sink beneath it, it pins us to the ground. But in love poetry of every age, the woman longs to be weighed down by the man's body.The heaviest of burdens is therefore simultaneously an image of life's most intense fulfillment. The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become. Conversely, the absolute absence of burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant. What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?"

  • "But when the strong were too weak to hurt the weak, the weak had to be strong enough to leave." 

  • "Dreaming is not merely an act of communication (or coded communication, if you like); it is also an aesthetic activity, a game of the imagination, a game that is a value in itself. Our dreams prove that to imagine--to dream about things that have not happened--is among mankind's deepest needs. Herein lies the danger. If dreams were not beautiful, they would be quickly forgotten."

  • "There is no perfection only life"

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The translator: a tribesman's memoir of Darfur By Daoud Hari

A great video of Daoud Hari explaining Darfur-here
"The young life of Daoud Hari—his friends call him David—has been one of bravery and mesmerizing adventure. He is a living witness to the brutal genocide under way in Darfur.
The Translator is a suspenseful, harrowing, and deeply moving memoir of how one person has made a difference in the world–an on-the-ground account of one of the biggest stories of our time. Using his high school knowledge of languages as his weapon—while others around him were taking up arms—Daoud Hari has helped inform the world about Darfur. Hari, a Zaghawa tribesman, grew up in a village in the Darfur region of Sudan. In 2003, this traditional life was shattered when helicopter gunships appeared over Darfur’s villages, followed by Sudanese-government-backed militia groups raping and murdering citizens and burning villages.
Though Hari’s village was attacked and destroyed, he was able to escape and lead survivors to safety. When international aid groups and reporters arrived, Hari offered his services as a translator and guide. He risked his life again and again, for the government of Sudan had outlawed journalists in the region, and death was the punishment for those who aided the “foreign spies.” And then, inevitably, his luck ran out and he was captured. . . .The Translator tells the remarkable story of a man who came face-to-face with genocide– time and again risking his own life to fight injustice and save his people." from here

Oblivion of Darfur for Gold

According to MININGREVIEW.COM, Sudan has signed 10 exploration deals for gold, iron ore and other minerals… Mining minister Abdel Bagi al-Jaylani told Reuters that the exploration deals were with Sudanese companies and four international companies from Saudi Arabia, India, Great Britain and China, to search for copper, lead, iron, zinc and gold.” It sounds so simple!!!
Southern Sudanese independence Referendum will take place on January 2011. Knowing that the South has an estimated of 6 billion barrels of oil reserves, gold digging in the North is the best next thing!! Then in 2011, Sudan is expected to sign 50 mining agreements in three Darfur states-“Kassala and Gedaref in the east, and the north-south border region of South Kordofan”. It is simple, isn’t!

I would love to know if the zealous companies will take environmental issues in consideration. While Sudan is suffering from inadequate supplies of potable water, soil erosion, desertification, and droughts, I hope that they will not insult local populations by using scarce water or poisonous chemical cyanide and accidentally over pollute the Nile. The hydropolitics in the Nile basin is complicated and affect regional and global welfare.Another well orchestrated oblivion profiting gold diggers. It is not about secular southern Sudanese versus theocratic state in northern Sudan but about power. Independence... separation... Save Darfur…For more go on the  Enough project. And pray for rain and peace in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states...
Same Moonlight for our Dreams


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