WELCOME TO MY SITE AND HAVE A GOOD DAY

Welcome to Las Vegas, Nevada- the Gambling Capital of US and the City that never sleeps! So, what has this city have to do with this site. The answer is none. I just love the photo, I took during our vacation to this city a couple of years ago. In this site, you will find articles from my autobiography, global warming, senior citizens issues, tourism, politics in PI, music appreciation and articles about our current experiences as retirees enjoying the "snow bird" lifestyle between US and the Philippines. Your comments will be highly appreciated. Please do not forget to read the latest national and international news. Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringement of your copyrights. Cheers!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Broadway's Top Ten Musical of the Decade




How many of the ten top grossing Broadway musicals listed below have you seen? If you are a music lover you probably seen them all. It is also most likely that one or two in the list you have seen twice in Broadway or in a movie. The following is the top ten list as reviewed by www.toptenreviews.com.

1. The Phantom of the Opera has been the longest-running show in the history of Broadway. Running continuously since 1988 – 21 years – it has been a consistent sell-out and favorite for many of those visiting New York City. The show tells the dramatic story of a disfigured man who haunts the Paris Opera House. He falls in love with Christine Daae and trains her to sing like an angel.

2. The Lion King maintains a place at the top of the lists for the 'longest-running musicals' and 'winners of many viewers’ choice awards.' The musical is mostly along the lines of the animated Disney movie and is appealing to young children and families.

3. Cats was the longest running show when it left the stage around 2003. The show has been translated into more than 20 languages and has been shown around the world. It tells the story of the Jellicle Cats’ and their life stories.

4. Les Miserables, based on the 1862 novel of the same title by Victor Hugo, is the longest running play in London. Set in the period of social unrest during the French Revolution, the themes of the book and play are discussed in high school classes the world over.

5. Wicked, though not as long-standing as some of these other productions, this new musical has the audience seeing green. It was selected by viewers as the best musical of 2007. The musical has broken box-office records around the world. It was also named by Time magazine as the “Best Musical of the Year”. Wicked tells the story of what Oz was like, long before Dorothy got there.

6. The Producers
has won the most Tony Awards ever receiving 12 including Best Musical. Written by Mel Brooks the musical tells the story of two producers who try to make big on a scheme to oversell a flop of a show. But when the show becomes successful, it leads to some humorous moments.

7. A Chorus Line is an old classic that has been revived. The story has won several Tony Awards and has been around for a while, one of the longest-running musicals on Broadway. The audience meets 17 dancers that share their personal lives as they audition for a part in a chorus line.

8. Hairspray has taken home the Tony Award’s top six awards, only one of three musicals that have ever done so. The performance tells the story of the racial tensions in the 1960s and one girl’s campaign to racially integrate a famous TV show.

9. Rent is a rock musical that tells the story of poor young artists living in New York. The musical, along with winning a Tony Award for Best Musical has also won a Pulitzer Prize. Rent became famous for its appeal to a younger audience.

10. Chicago is based on the true stories of two celebrities who were on trial for murder and were found “not guilty”. Chicago is one of longest-running current Broadway productions on the stage.

Macrine and I have seen all except #6. Most recent Broadway musical in the news is Hamilton. Others musical shows that we have seen and enjoy that is not in the list are Miss Saigon and Bye Bye Birdie. Finally, here's a video of top ten Broadway Musicals that should be made into movies!


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Ten Most Expensive Jewelries Ever Made


This is number 7 of my postings on most expensive things money can buy. I have posts on paintings, photographs, sculptures, books, cars and houses/(mansion of Bruce Makowsky of Bel Air, California). In my readings I thought that the HOPE diamond should be in the list. I was surprise it is not in the list.

Some of the designs of the pieces of jewelry in the list below can be made using artificial/synthetic materials,or synthetic gemstones if you can not afford the real ones and can be purchased in the gift shop of the Museum in Natural History in Washington, DC.
http://www.wonderslist.com/10-most-expensive-jewellery-pieces-in-the-world/

Friday, January 27, 2017

Ten Most Expensive Books for your Reading Pleasure

In my previous postings I have listed ten most expensive photographs, paintings, cars, homes and sculptures. Today I am listing the top ten most expensive books. Before I did my search, My educated guess for number 1 was either the Gutenberg Bible or the Birds of America by Audubon. Again, I was wrong and surprise to read the following list. This shows how ignorant I am about books. So before you open the link below, can you give me your educated guess on the number 1 most expensive book in the world.

http://www.worldstopmost.com/2017-2018-2019-2020/news/most-expensive-books-world-top-10-best-selling-popular-list/

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Ten Most Expensive Cars for your Driving Pleasure


My posting on the series of top ten most expensive things money can buy will not be complete unless I write about cars. Before I did my search on the Internet, my educated guess listed in my mind a Ferrari, a Bugatti and Lamborgini. I was correct on this guess. So here's the list for your enjoyment. I hope someday you win a lottery, and can afford to buy one car in this list. But for the moment, just dream on my friends.

Speaking of love for cars reminds me of a family friend in Chicago in the early 1960's as well as of another relative still in the Philippines. The former changes car every year because he does not like to drive a car older than one year and it is a status symbol to him. He feel rich and accomplished driving the newest car in the market. The latter changes car every two to three years for the same reason. On the other hand my youngest son and I are driving 15-year old cars that had been fined tuned. As long as it runs well and I feel safe and I am happy driving an old car.

http://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/the-top-ten-most-expensive-cars-in-the-world/2/

Monday, January 23, 2017

Bruce Makowsky Mansion is For Sale

Bruce Makowsky ( QVC tycoon) is selling his Bel Air Mansion for only $250 million dollars. If you have that money you will own the most expensive home ever listed in America complete with a helicopter, and staff paid for two years and a $30MILLION car collection

The 38,000-sqft home has 12 bedrooms, 21 bathrooms, 130 works of art and a $30M car collection. The Bel Air property has a bowling alley, a movie theater and - of course - a pool with its own swim-up bar. There is also a collection of cars, including 1930s roadsters and 21st century supercars, worth $30million. Makowsky has also factored in the costs of seven live-in employees who will work at the property full-time 

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4134106/The-expensive-home-hits-market-250-million.html#ixzz4WEBevmIo

For a list of top ten most expensive homes in the world, read the following:

http://www.wonderslist.com/10-most-expensive-houses/

For a list of ten most expensive homes in the US on 2015, view this video: I have been to one, the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, CA

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Ten Most Expensive Sculptures

Jeff Koons-Balloon Dog

I have listed the ten most expensive photographs and paintings ever sold in history in my previous blogs. Today I am posting the ten most expensive sculpture ever sold. I am not deep into sculpture, but I enjoy sculpture once in a while. All I know about sculpture is some of the works of Rodin and Michelangelo. For a list and photographs of the top ten most expensive sculptures read the site as follows: Enjoy!
Walking Man
http://www.ppcimaginarium.co.za/posts/the-most-expensive-sculptures-ever-sold

Friday, January 20, 2017

Ten Most Expensive Paintings in History


The other day I posted ten of the most expensive photographs sold as of today. My curiosity was aroused on the list of expensive paintings. Before I did my Internet search ( see site below), I thought that the Number One has to be a Picasso or a Van Gough. I am mistaken as listed in the following site as follows: Before you open the link, can you give me an educated guess? Enjoy the paintings!

The Scream-a familiar painting in my memory, but not the Number 1.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/11596376/The-ten-most-expensive-paintings-in-history.html

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Top Ten Most Expensive Photographs-Is Photography Art?

Rhein II
I do not intend to infringe on the copyright of this photo. I will remove this photo upon request from the owner of the original photograph.

I just finished reading two interesting articles on the debate/discussion whether photography is an art form or not. (https://contrastly.com/photography-art-form/) and (http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/photography-art.htm).

One of the arguments in favor of photographs as an art form is the fact that people buy photographs as well as paintings and sculptures. According to Wikipedia, the following is the top 10 highest prices paid for photographs (in US dollars unless otherwise stated). All prices include the Buyer's Premium, which is the auction house fee for handling the work.

The list include the rank, the name of the artist, the price paid and the date sold as well as the place of the Seller/Auction House.

1. Andreas Gursky, Rhein II (1999), $4,338,500, November 8, 2011, Christie's New York( see photo above)

2. Richard Prince, Spiritual America (1981), $3,973,000, May 12, 2014, Christie's New York

3. Cindy Sherman, Untitled #96 (1981), $3,890,500, May 2011, Christie's New York

4. Gilbert & George, For Her Majesty (1973), $3,765,276, June 30, 2008, Christie's London

5. Jeff Wall, Dead Troops Talk (A vision after an ambush of a Red Army patrol, near Moqor, Afghanistan, winter 1986) (1992), $3,666,500, May 8, 2012, Christie's New York

6. Andreas Gursky, 99 Cent II Diptychon (2001), $3,346,456, February 2007, Sotheby's London auction

7. Andreas Gursky, Chicago Board of Trade III (1999-2000), $3,298,755, June 26, 2013, Sotheby’s London

8. Richard Prince, Untitled (Cowboy) (2000), $3,077,000, May 14, 2014, Sotheby’s New York

9. Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #48 (1979), $2,965,000, May 13, 2015, Christie’s New York

10. Edward Steichen, The Pond—Moonlight (1904), $2,928,000, February 2006, Sotheby's New York


Update: http://resourcemagonline.com/2014/08/most-expensive-photographs/41214/

The new #1 now belongs to Peter Lik whose photograph entitled “Phantom”, was sold in December 2014 to a private collector for a mind boggling $6.5 million.(see link above). It easily surpassed the previous record held by Andreas Gursky’s “Rhein II”, which sold for $4.3 million back in 2011.

Phantom

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Integration of Art and Science-Are You an Artist?


A couple of weeks ago, I received an e-mail from Dr. Joel Cuello, our current President of Philippine-American Academy of Science and Engineering (PAASE) listing the link and an article about some of his paintings. I did enjoy viewing his paintings. So he is not only a well-known scientist (he is a globally recognized expert in the engineering of sustainable biological and agricultural innovations) but also a published artist. (http://ovpaa.up.edu.ph/create/#cuello2)

This aroused my curiosity on the relationships between art and science. I did some Internet search on famous scientists who are also artists. Two famous names among several names in the list (https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/01/24/science-wonder/) did not surprised me: Albert Einstein and Leonardo Da Vinci. I have also read several fascinating and interesting articles and viewed several videos that science and art are interrelated and are not opposite disciplines.(https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/from-stem-to-steam-science-and-the-arts-go-hand-in-hand/).


The following video attracted my attention because the scientist/artist is not only a female but a very young one from a country outside the US. I hope you enjoy the following video ( TED) as much as I did.



Finally here are a few quotes on art and science that I hope you will enjoy:
https://todayinsci.com/QuotationsCategories/S_Cat/ScienceAndArt-Quotations.htm

Note: If you are a PAASE member and you are also an artist please let me know. Who is an artist? One, such as a painter, sculptor, or writer, who is able by virtue of imagination and talent or skill to create works of aesthetic value, especially in the fine arts.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Music and Mathematics: Have You Heard of Dr. Raul Sunico?


I have not been following the music scene in the Philippines. However, just the other day I received an E-mail from our current Philippines American Academy of Science & Engineering (PAASE) President, DR Joel Cuello, about one of the members of PAASE that is both a mathematician and a world famous pianist. His name is Dr. Raul Sunico. I have vaguely heard of his name, and had never heard him play. So I did some Internet search and here's a video of Dr Sunico that I enjoyed very much.


Here's a biography of Dr Sunico:

Raul M. Sunico graduated from the University of the Philippines with the degrees of Bachelor of Music (cum laude), Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, and Master of Statistics. A scholarship from former First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos through the
Young Artists Foundation of the Philippines enabled him to finish his Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School in New York and a Doctor of Philosophy degree, major in piano Performance from the New York University. In 2005, he was also conferred a
Doctor of Humanities degree (honoris causa) by the Far Eastern University.

Sunico has given solo recitals in the United States, Canada, Mexico, India, Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Kosovo, Japan, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Poland, Spain, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, Sweden, England, and the Philippines. He was the
soloist of the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, Transylvania Philharmonic Orchestra (Romania), Szczecin Philharmonic Orchestra (Poland), Towson Community Orchestra (Maryland, USA), Taipei Symphony Orchestra, Taiwan Normal University Wind Orchestra, Tokyo Sinfonia, Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra, Ho Chi Minh Symphony Orchestra, Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, and other major Philippine orchestras.

Sunico is concurrently the President of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and Dean of the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music. BRAVO!!

My first practical knowledge that there is a correlation between music and mathematics was in the early 1950's when I was a college student at the University of the Philippines. One of my many UPSCA ( UP student catholic action) friends was studying piano at the College of Music. She graduated with high honors from the College of Music. Later on she studied Mathematics and graduated with high honors again. She was then appointed as Instructor in Mathematics at the College of Liberal Arts. Her name: Mercy Lopez. I have no contact with her since then, but needless to say, I admired her very much and had a crush on her for being a talented pianist and mathematician.
Mercy Lopez at the Men's South Dorm Open House with Me and Room Mates, 1954

Below is a short video about Math and Music.



For additional details on music and math correlation read the following:
http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/serendipupdate/correlation-between-music-and-math-neurobiology-perspective

Friday, January 13, 2017

Treasured Photos of UPSCA and Fr, John Delaney-1952-1957

Newspaper Clippings on the Death of Fr John Delaney, 1956. Today is the 61st Anniversary of his death. For more details on his life and work in UP Diliman, read, http://davidbkatague.blogspot.com/2016/01/memories-of-my-college-years-in-up.html

The following are old photos I just discovered recently dating from 1952 to 1957 mostly of Macrine's and my UPSCA Activities. UPSCA is the University of the Philippines Student Catholic Action for those of you not familiar with the initial.

1953 UPSCA Choir

Barbecue Party after UPSCA Concert, UP Diliman, 1954

Marinduque Association, Silver Jubilee, Manila Hotel, 1957

UPSCA Social Works with Fr John Delaney, 1952

UPSCA Meeting with Fr Delaney and Tito Tino ( Fr. Constantino Nieva)-President of UPSCA, 1952

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What's Hot ( Not New) in Parkinson Disease Therapy


Just recently, I learned that there is a new controlled released formulation of Carbo-Levodopa manufactured by Impax Pharmaceuticals called Rytary. Since my wife has PD I was very curious if switching from the immediate release formulation she is currently taking to this controlled release medication will benefit her. The following is an article published by the National Parkinson Foundation that I found very informative.

"The What’s Hot in Parkinson’s disease blog written in April 2013 featured a new extended release dopamine drug called IPX066. This new dopamine formulation achieved full FDA approval in January 2015. The drug is now sold under the name Rytary. At National Parkinson Foundation we frequently hear from Parkinson’s disease patients that current Carbidopa/levodopa medication preparations fail to adequately address disease-related symptoms. In this month’s What’s Hot column we will update you on important information on Rytary, and also offer a few tips for switching.

It is important to understand the reasons that an individual Parkinson’s disease patient may consider an extended release dopamine medication. The frequently cited medication related problems include:

1. Medication dosages taking too long to “kick in” and start working

2. Medication wearing off before the next scheduled medication dose

3. Severe on-off medication fluctuation periods (e.g. rapid cycling during the day ranging from feeling completely on medication to completely off medication)

4. Dyskinesia (too much movement, usually resulting from too high of a blood level of dopamine)

5. Too many pills:

6. Too many medication dosage intervals (e.g. taking medications every 1-2 hours throughout the waking day).

Patients may also have other disease related issues that levodopa preparations will not address, including walking, balance, talking, and thinking issues, but these will likely require a totally different approach than simple levodopa replacement or Rytary. Dr. Robert Hauser at the National Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence at the University of South Florida, along with colleagues from 68 North American and European study sites, recently published a paper on a new extended release formulation of carbidopa/levodopa (IPX066 now called Rytary).

The new formulation of carbidopa/levodopa extended release (IPX066/Rytary), is different than its predecessors. It contains special beads designed to dissolve at different rates within the stomach and the intestines. The medication capsule was designed to provide longer lasting benefit for patients with Parkinson’s disease. The randomized study included 393 Parkinson’s disease patients who reported at least of 2.5 hours of “off time,” defined as periods when they felt the medication was not working. The authors aimed to improve the number of hours of “off time” each day for patients randomized to the new extended release formulation (IPX066/Rytary) as compared to the older and standard regular release carbidopa/levodopa. The results revealed that the group on extended release formulations took less overall medication dosages (3.6 vs. 5 doses per day); however they also took more total pills. The daily “off-time” improved by over an hour each day in the extended release formulation. Both medications in this trial were safe and well tolerated.

If we return to the six areas (listed above in bullet points) where Parkinson’s disease patients have been seeking improved medication formulations, Rytary was observed to improve issues in two categories: wearing off between dosages, and improvement by increasing the time interval between dosages. The results of the current study cannot be widely applied to patients with severe dyskinesia, severe on-off fluctuations, and later stage disease. The new extended release formulation also increased the total blood-stream levodopa exposure by 30-40% as compared to conventional immediate release levodopa. Increasing levodopa in the bloodstream is thought to decrease the threshold for dyskinesia, and this has been observed with other Parkinson’s drugs such as Entacapone and Stalevo. Although dosed less frequently, the extended release formulation can require more total pills per day (see FDA conversion table below). The authors of the Rytary study felt that a newer formulation of the same drug, which they anticipate will be used in future clinical practice, would allow for a decrease in pill number. 

In a recent interview with the lead author, Dr. Hauser, we addressed some of the important tips for switching to Rytary.
Though it is unknown who the “best” patients in clinical practice will be, it is suspected that patients with bothersome motor fluctuations, and patients taking a minimum of four 25/100 Sinemet regular or extended release (or the equivalent Madopar dosing) may be reasonable candidates.

Patients with motor fluctuations on three doses of Sinemet or Madopar could benefit, but a satisfactory benefit could possibly be obtained by adding a dose of Sinemet or Madopar rather than switching to Rytary. There may be select patients who can take a Rytary dose that is approximately three times the usual individual Sinemet or Madopar doses, and be able to maintain three times a day dosing at least for a period of time (i.e. before disease progression).

Dosages of Rytary are not interchangeable with other levodopa (Sinemet or Madopar) products. The capsules can be opened and the contents sprinkled onto foods such as apple sauce, if swallowing problems are present. The most important information for patients and families is to avoid magical thinking when switching to the Rytary formulation of levodopa. Further dose adjustments will be likely after the initial medication switch. It will be important for the patient, family, and doctor to discuss the symptoms and optimize and tweak dosages and intervals on the Rytary formulation.

Patients and families should be excited by the news of this new formulation of carbidopa/levodopa. However, patients and clinicians should be aware that there are limitations in the use of Rytary, and that caution should be exercised, especially because in select cases dyskinesia may manifest after switching. Dosages and dosage intervals of any formulation of carbidopa/levodopa, including Rytary, should be carefully adjusted at each clinic visit to address changes in Parkinson’s symptoms.

Patients may also be slightly disappointed that 3-4 capsules of Rytary may need to be taken at each dosage interval. The success or failure of dopamine replacement therapy will always be more dependent on the expert adjusting the therapy than the formulation itself. The “timing is critical principle” from Parkinson’s Treatment: 10 Secrets to a Happier Life should be considered during dose adjustments for any Parkinson’s disease patient. It is really positive news that drug manufacturers are now listening to Parkinson’s disease patients, and are trying to address the major concerns, though there is a lot of room for improvement and more formulations in the marketplace.

Source: http://www.parkinson.org/find-help/blogs/whats-hot/february-2015

Personal Conclusion: As of today, My wife will not benefit switching from her current immediate release medication since she is taking less than 4 pills a day. Moreover, this new drug is much more expensive than my wife's current immediate released formulation medication.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

What Do You Know About Colorectal Cancer?


Colorectal Cancer malady is closed to my heart. In the late 1990's I was diagnosed with stage 1 colon cancer. The cancer was removed by surgery and I am fine. On the other hand my son-in-law died four years ago from Colon cancer because it was not diagnosed early. It was already on stage 4 when he learned he had the disease. Because of this I did some web search on the prevalence of the disease in the US. Here's what I found.

Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. The American Cancer Society’s estimates for the number of colorectal cancer cases in the United States for 2016 are:5,270 new cases of colon cancer and 39,220 new cases of rectal cancer.

Overall, the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is: about 1 in 21 (4.7%) for men and 1 in 23 (4.4%) for women. This risk is slightly lower in women than in men. A number of other factors (described in Colorectal cancer risk factors) can also affect your risk for developing colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States when men and women are considered separately, and the second leading cause when both sexes are combined. It is expected to cause about 49,190 deaths during 2016.

The death rate (the number of deaths per 100,000 people per year) from colorectal cancer has been dropping in both men and women for several decades. There are a number of likely reasons for this. One is that colorectal polyps are now being found more often by screening and removed before they can develop into cancers or are being found earlier when the disease is easier to treat. In addition, treatment for colorectal cancer has improved over the last few decades. As a result, there are now more than 1 million survivors of colorectal cancer in the United States.

Visit the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Statistics Center for more key statistics.

Source: www.cancer.org/colorectal

Monday, January 9, 2017

My Neighbor Had Retinal Detachment Surgery


Three months ago, I heard that my neighbor across the street had some serious eye problem that required immediate attention. I was not sure what was his exact eye problem, but I did not see him doing yard work or drive to the grocery store for almost two months. I saw his wife doing all the yard work and all the driving. I heard he was not allowed to do anything even doing computer work that he loved. I also heard that his frequent use of his computer was probably the cause of his eye problem*.

Last week, I finally saw him tinkering on his car on his driveway. I went across the street and asked him exactly what happened to his eye.

He told me he had retina detachment but is now fixed. He said he had a gas bubble injected into his eye( pneumatic retinopexy) and he is now OK. I was curious of what he told me and about the gas bubble injection. I did some Web search and here's a summary of what I learned about Retina Detachment and its treatment.

Retina Detachment a very serious eye condition that happens when the retina separates from the tissue around it. Since the retina can't work properly under these conditions, you could permanently lose vision if the detached retina isn't repaired promptly. Retinal detachment is an emergency situation in which a thin layer of tissue (the retina) at the back of the eye pulls away from its normal position. Retinal detachment separates the retinal cells from the layer of blood vessels that provides oxygen and nourishment. The longer retinal detachment goes untreated, the greater your risk of permanent vision loss in the affected eye. Retinal detachments affect between 0.6 and 1.8 people per 10,000 per year. About 0.3% of people are affected at some point in their life. It is most common in people who are in their 60s or 70s. Males are more often affected than females.

Warning signs of retinal detachment include the sudden appearance of floaters and flashes and reduced vision. Contact your an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) right away if you want to save your vision.

There are four methods for the treatment for retinal Detachment as follows:

1. Laser (thermal) or freezing (cryopexy). Both of these approaches can repair a tear in the retina if it is diagnosed early enough. This procedure is often done in the doctor's office.

2. Pneumatic retinopexy. This procedure can be used to treat retinal detachment if the tear is small and easy to close. A small gas bubble is injected into the eye (specifically into the clear, gel-like substance between the lens and the retina), where it then rises and presses against the retina, closing the tear. A laser or cryopexy can then be used to seal the tear.

3. Scleral buckle. This treatment for retinal detachment involves surgically sewing a silicone band (buckle) around the white of the eye (called the sclera) to push the sclera toward the tear until the tear heals. This band is not visible and remains permanently attached. Laser or cryo treatment may then be necessary to seal the tear.

4. Vitrectomy.
This surgery for retinal detachment is used for large tears. During a vitrectomy, the doctor removes the vitreous (the clear, gel-like substance between eye's lens and retina) and replaces it with a saline solution. Depending on the complexity of the retinal detachment, various combinations of vitrectomy, buckle, laser and gas bubble may be used to repair the retina.

Reference and Source: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/retinal-detachment/home/ovc-20197289

*Can prolonged used of computers cause retina detachment? Read: http://www.wwiipress.net/news-experts/2016-07-30/72636.html

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Flood Warning in Our Area-Active in the Next two Days

Pictire Window after Christmas Decorations Are Dismantled. Happy Three Kings to All Of You!

I woke up this morning with the news ( below) flashing in my TV. I look at my picture window( see photo above) and it does not look that bad. However, It has been continuously raining here since last night and the winds are gusty, but so far no major flooding has occurred.

The photo above also showed my picture window after I dismantled all the Christmas decorations since the Feast of the Three Kings is now almost over. My orchids, cyclamen and poinsettia are in bloom. Outside is cold and windy but no freezing rain, thanks God!

The following is the Flood Warning issued by the National Weather Service. It comprised of all the Counties in North Central California which included our County-Sacramento
Flood Warning in North Central California: Active for next 2 days, National Weather Service, Alert area: Amador; Butte; Glenn; Sacramento and San Joaquin Counties

The National Weather Service in Sacramento has issued a Flood Warning for Urban Areas and Small Streams in... Colusa County in central California... Yolo County in central California... Sutter County in central California... Solano County in central California... Southwestern Placer County in central California... Central Shasta County in northern California... Southwestern Amador County in northern California... Sacramento County in central California... Lake County in central California... Stanislaus County in central California... San Joaquin County in central California... Southwestern Calaveras County in northern California... Western Tehama County in northern California... Southwestern Butte County in northern California... Glenn County in central California... Southwestern Yuba County in central California...

Recommended actions: Turn around, don`t drown when encountering flooded roads. Most flood deaths occur in vehicles. A Flood Warning means that flooding is imminent or occurring. All interested parties should take necessary precautions immediately.

The heavy rains and snow ( in the Sierras) are expected to continue in the next two days. Stay warm and do not drive unless it is necessary. Happy Three Kings and again may 2017 bring you Prosperity and Happiness.

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Paintings of Fernando Amorsolo


The other day, I posted ten of my favorite coffee table books in my collection. One of the books is the Paintings of Amorsolo by Alfredo R. Roces and published by the Filipinas Foundation, Inc. I was curious on the accomplishments of Amorsolo. Here's what I found in Wikipedia.

Fernando Cueto Amorsolo was born on May 30, 1892 and died on April 24, 1972. He was one of the most important artists in the history of painting in the Philippines. Amorsolo was a portraitist and painter of rural Philippine landscapes. He is popularly known for his craftsmanship and mastery in the use of light.


Amorsolo is best known for his illuminated landscapes, which often portrayed traditional Filipino customs, culture, fiestas and occupations. His pastoral works presented "an imagined sense of nationhood in counterpoint to American colonial rule" and were important to the formation of Filipino national identity. He was educated in the classical tradition and aimed "to achieve his Philippine version of the Greek ideal for the human form." In his paintings of Filipina women, Amorsolo rejected Western ideals of beauty in favor of Filipino ideals and was fond of basing the faces of his subjects on members of his family.


Amorsolo used natural light in his paintings and developed the backlighting technique Chiaroscuro, which became his artistic trademark and his greatest contribution to Philippine painting. In a typical Amorsolo painting, figures are outlined against a characteristic glow, and intense light on one part of the canvas highlights nearby details. Philippine sunlight was a constant feature of Amorsolo's work; he is believed to have painted only one rainy-day scene.

Amorsolo was an incessant sketch artist, often drawing sketches at his home, at Luneta Park, and in the countryside. He drew the people he saw around him, from farmers to city-dwellers coping with the Japanese occupation. Amorsolo's impressionistic tendencies, which may be seen in his paintings as well, were at their height in his sketches. His figures were not completely finished but were mere "suggestions" of the image.


Amorsolo also painted a series of historical paintings on pre-Colonial and Spanish Colonization events. Amorsolo's Making of the Philippine Flag, in particular, was widely reproduced. His The First Baptism in the Philippines required numerous detailed sketches and colored studies of its elements. These diverse elements were meticulously and carefully set by the artist before being transferred to the final canvas. For his pre-colonial and 16th-century depiction of the Philippines, Amorsolo referred to the written accounts of Antonio Pigafetta, other available reading materials, and visual sources He consulted with the Philippine scholars of the time, H. Pardo de Tavera and Epifanio de los Santos.


I hope you enjoy the above paintings as much as I do! Here's a video of some of his well known paintings for your enjoyment.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

My Favorite Coffee Table Books and the Juan Luna Paintings


The last couple of months I have posted articles on my ties and caps/hats collection. Today I will discuss some of my favorite Coffee Table Books in my collection. I have more than 70 Coffee books in my collection. The photo above is just part of my collection. Two dozens more of my coffee books are under the coffee table that is not pictured in this blog. Topics of my collection are in art, sculptures and painting, Gardening and Landscaping, Food and Nutrition, Travel, erotic art and photography. My ten favorite coffee books are:

1. Robert Mapplethorpe by Richard Howard and Ingrid Sischy, Bulfinch Press, 1988 ( 210 pages)

2. Erotic Art compiled by Phyllis and Eberhard Kronhausen, Bell Publishing Company, 1968 ( 250 pages)

3. Amorsolo ( Paintings) published by Filipinas Foundation, Inc, First Printing, 1975 ( 315 pages)

4. Japanese Eroticism, Text by Bernard Soulle, Crescent Books, N.Y., 1981 (320 pages)

5. 20th Century Masters of Erotic Art by Bradley Smith, Crown Publisher, 1980 ( 380 pages)

6. Augustin Pajou, Royal Sculpture, by James David Draper, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, 1998 ( 430 pages)
Marinduque from the Air

7. Marinduque, Heart of the Philippines by Dindo Asuncion, Published by the Provincial Government, 2004 ( 220 pages)

8. The Great Book of French Impressionism by Diane Kelder, Harrison House, NY, 1979 (450 pages)

9. The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker, Foreword by David Remnick and Edited by Robert Mankoff, Leventhal Publishers, 2004 (520 pages).

10. American Painting, Introduction by Robert Rosenblum and Text by Donald Goddard, Beaux Arts Edition, NY 1990 ( 530 pages)

I should rotate this photo, but I will not so it is easier to read the titles of the books.

Note: I have two coffee table books authored and published by Macrine's first cousin, Bing Nieva Carrion Buck. I have more than 600 hard books and novels and more than a thousand pocket books. I have donated almost all of my pocket books to Goodwill and Salvation Army. I have more than 50 albums of photographs and 90% of my photos are in the web.

A note about coffee table books: A coffee table book is an oversized, usually hard-covered book whose purpose is for display on a table intended for use in an area in which one entertains guests and from which it can serve to inspire conversation. Subject matter is predominantly non-fiction and pictorial (a photo-book).

Pages consist mainly of photographs and illustrations, accompanied by captions and small blocks of text, as opposed to long prose. Since they are aimed at anyone who might pick up the book for a light read, the analysis inside is often more basic and with less jargon than other books on the subject. Because of this, the term "coffee table book" can be used pejoratively to indicate a superficial approach to the subject.

The late Dr. Teyet Pascual and his Collections of Paintings in his Condo in Makati, Manila

In 2005, I had an opportunity to purchase a coffee Table book of some of Juan Luna paintings collected by my former chemistry classmate, the late Dr. Eleuterio (Teyet) Pascual, Ph.D.( http://www.pressreader.com/philippines/philippine-daily-inquirer/20151101/282127815344995).

At that time he was selling it during our Chemistry Alumni Reunion and 50th Anniversary Party for P5,000. I thought it was expensive so I did not buy the coffee table book( it was about $125 at that time based on the pesos to dollars exchange rate). I am now regretting that I did not purchase the Juan Luna Paintings Coffee Table book. (http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/231631/fabulous-works-by-luna-and-19th-century-masters-repatriated/).

Anyway, here's a short video on the Juan Luna paintings that has never shown to the public.


One of the many well-known paintings of Luna is the La Bulaquena ( the Woman from Bulacan). Below is description of the painting from Wikipedia for your information if you are not Filipino and not familiar with Philippine culture and traditions.


La Bulaqueña, literally "the woman from Bulacan" or "the Bulacan woman", also sometimes referred to as Una Bulaqueña ("a woman from Bulacan"). This is the Spanish title of an 1895 painting by Filipino painter and hero Juan Novicio Luna. Bulacan is a province in the Philippines in Luzon island and its residents are called Bulaqueños, also spelled as Bulakenyos (Bulakenyo for men and Bulakenya for women) in the Filipino language.

This is a "serene portrait", of a Filipino woman wearing a Maria Clara gown, a traditional Filipino dress that is composed of four pieces, namely the camisa, the saya (long skirt), the panuelo (neck cover), and the tapis (knee-length overskirt). The name of the dress is an eponym to Maria Clara, the mestiza heroine of Filipino hero José Rizal's novel Noli Me Tangere. The woman's clothing in the painting is the reason why the masterpiece is alternately referred to as Maria Clara. It is one of the few canvases done by Luna illustrating Filipino culture. The painting is displayed at the National Museum of Fine Arts.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Art and Photography: Robert and Edward Mapplethorpe

Sample of Robert Mapplethorpe Male Nude Photographs. I know I should rotate it, But I would not for art sake.

Another example of Robert Mapplethorpe Male Nudes in my coffee book

I just finished watching an HBO documentary of the life of reverred and controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe-Looking at the Picture. In this 60 minutes documentary, his younger brother Edward also a photographer worked for him as his assistant. Robert said there should only be one Mapplethorpe, so Edward has to change his name to his mother's name-Maxey.

Edward was born and raised in New York. He began his solo career in 1990 under the pseudonym Edward Maxey and was quickly acclaimed for his luminous nudes, portraits, and still lives that were evocative of his older and controversial brother, Robert Mapplethorpe. However, it was Edward's innovative work beyond the controlled environment of the studio (Undercurrents, 1992-94) that first distinguished him as a unique talent in bridging the gap between photography and abstract painting.
Two of the many of Edward's Mapplethorpe Female and Male Nudes Photos

E. Mapplethorpe continued to incorporate a painterly aesthetic in a number of subsequent thematic projects including: Stars and Stripes (1994), Transmographs (2000), Compositions (2002) and HAIR Transfer (2004). In 2004, Mr. Edward Mapplethorpe collaborated with New York City based orchestra EOS and produced a limited edition portfolio of images capturing musicians in a whirlwind of movement as they performed selected pieces from their repertoire. This adaptation of the cageian concept of integrating chance and time into the creative process became another integral aspect of E. Mapplethorpe's own artistic practice.

His older brother Robert died with Aids in 1989. Edward took care of him. Edward has now reclaimed the Mapplethorpe name.

After viewing the documentary, I remember I have a coffee table book on the famous photographs of Robert. I purchased this book about 25 years ago and It took some time finding it in my more than 80 collection of art books and paintings. Today, I am posting two samples of Robert's male nude photo(see above). Others nude photos of Robert are almost pornographic thus I can not post it in this blog. Here's a short video on Robert Mapplethorpe obsession for beauty.


Is this Art or Pornography? I like to hear of your answer, just write A or P!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Start the New Year with the Operatic-Pop Music of Jonathan Badon




Jonathan Badon is the Philippines' prince of operatic-pop. He is an Aliw Awardee for 2004 Best Male Classical Performer (Philippine version of Tony Awards). He just had a series of performances in Texas, California, and Southeast Asia. Badon is a Bachelor of Music in Voice graduate at the University of the Philippines College of Music as a scholar of the Music Promotion Foundation - Cultural Center of the Philippines.

He has performed lead roles in various operas, oratorios, sarzuelas musicales and has done numerous solo concerts in the Philippines as well as in the United States, Canada, Germany, Spain, Italy, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Brunei Darrusalam. He also has represented the Philippines to different music and cultural festivals in Wales, Scotland, Indonesia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Korea, China, Japan and the United States.

A versatile performer, Jonathan is one of the most sought-after stage and music personalities in the Philippines today. Also known as the Josh Groban of the Philippines, he is the ultimate cross-over artist in his effortless transition from classical to pop singing. It is no wonder that he is the favorite featured performer in Concert at the Park, Paco Park Presents, CCP-Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra Concerts, Teatrino Concerts and Hard Rock Cafe to name just a few.

He is an award winning composer and arranger as well, winning the grand prize in the AFP National Songwriting Contest for “Dugong Pilipino.” His artistry is also revealed in the visual arts. He favors realistic sketches of architectural and historical landmarks of places he has visited. Quite aptly, his extra ordinary talents in music and art featured in a CD which was released in 2002 titled “Sketches and Melodies.” Jonathan had a very successful solo US concert tour last 2005.

Macrine and I first meet Jonathan in 2000 at our former residence in Silver Spring, MD. Since that time I have no contact or heard anything about him and his music until three years ago when we become "friends" in FaceBook(FB). Yong Nieva( Macrine's first cousin) and Alvin Fortuna are two of our mutual friends in FB, that I am aware of.

The other side( athletics and love of nature/travel)of the Prince of Pop-Opera of the Philippines

Jonathan had been to our former residence in Silver Spring, Maryland for a welcome dinner on November 16, 2000 along with several other Philippine opera singers with the Fides Santos-Cuyugan Asensio's group-"On Wing of Songs".

The other Filipino opera singers in the group are: Lorna Llames ( soprano), Bituin Domicel ( soprano), Nova Ramirez ( mezzo soprano), Marvin Gayramon ( baritone) and Reuel Tica (bass). I am wondering what had happened to the other singers besides Jonathan! I would like to hear news of the other singers besides Jonathan particularly Nova Ramirez and Lorna Llames. Nova and Lorna stayed with us during the "On Wings of Song" concert tour in Washington, DC that year( 2000).

Monday, January 2, 2017

My Childhood Polio is Catching Up with Me in the Winter of My Life

Me and My younger brother Erico( RIP), Jaro, Iloilo, Philippines, 1937

Just recently, I started feeling a continuous tingling pain on my knee and other muscles on my left leg. The pain is tolerable most of the time that I do not have to take aspirin or another analgesic. Lately, however when the cold temperature gets below freezing or near freezing the pain has bothered me more. So is this arthritis? I do attribute this to part of the aging process, that is the stage I will call the winter of my life.

Because of this I remember my childhood years. I was told by my parents I had polio when I was two years old. I was paralyzed for a year but recovered when I was three and a half years old. The polio resulted so that my right leg is shorter than my left leg, but not short enough to show A LIMP, BUT STILL affected my physical ability to run as a child. As a child I was frail and not athletic at all. I grew up feeling physically inferior and frail that resulted to some bullying in my teenage years. I compensated my being not athletic by developing my mind by reading a lot. My parents told me I was a precocious child that I was reading at the age of three, books and magazine for adults. I did indeed excelled in math and science and graduated top of my class( Valedictorian) in high school.

Here's a paragraph from Wikipedia about polio explaining the title of my post above. Note at the bold and last sentence in the paragraph.

Poliomyelitis, often called polio or infantile paralysis, is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus. In about 0.5% of cases there is muscle weakness resulting in an inability to move. This can occur over a few hours to few days. The weakness most often involves the legs but may less commonly involve the muscles of the head, neck and diaphragm. Many but not all people fully recover. In those with muscle weakness about 2% to 5% of children and 15% to 30% of adults die. Another 25% of people have minor symptoms such as fever and a sore throat and up to 5% have headache, neck stiffness and pains in the arms and legs. These people are usually back to normal within one or two weeks. In up to 70% of infections there are no symptoms. Years after recovery post-polio syndrome may occur, with a slow development of muscle weakness similar to that which the person had during the initial infection

Here's a short video and poem about the Winter of Our Lives-Macrine and I are in the Winter of Our Lives. The sea scenes remind me of the Amoingon Coast, Boac, Marinduque, Philippines where our beach house and retirement home-Chateau Du Mer is located. Typhoon Nina hit and slammed directly Marindique on Christmas Day. Damage of the typhoon had been published in my blogs the last couple of days.



Here's also is Chapter 1 of My Autobiography in case you have not read it: http://davidbkatague.blogspot.com/2011/12/chapter-1-childhood-memories-of.html

Sunday, January 1, 2017

I Do Not Believe in New Year's Resolutions


I am not a believer of New Year's resolution because I know 92% of it is broken before the end of the year if not sooner. Why resolve to get rid of bad habits such as smoking, drinking and gambling when 4 to 6 weeks later you are back to the same old bad habits. The concept, regardless of creed, is to reflect upon self-improvement annually, both physically and mentally. According to some research only 8% of New Years resolutions are achieve.

A New Year's resolution is a tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behavior.

New Year Resolutions have a Religious origins. Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named.

In the Medieval era, the knights took the "peacock vow" at the end of the Christmas season each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry. At watchnight services, many Christians prepare for the year ahead by praying and making these resolutions.
This tradition has many other religious parallels. During Judaism's New Year, Rosh Hashanah, through the High Holidays and culminating in Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), one is to reflect upon one's wrongdoings over the year and both seek and offer forgiveness.

Most people act similarly during the Christian liturgical season of Lent, although the motive behind this holiday is more of sacrifice than of responsibility. In fact, the practice of New Year's resolutions came, in part, from the Lenten sacrifices.
The most common resolutions are discussed in this article:
http://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/2017-new-year-s-resolutions-most-popular-how-stick-them-n701891
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