Peter and the Wolf for 2nd graders

I am using Peter and the Wolf and The Lion King (with Study Guide) as visual and aural learning resources as I teach four brilliant 2nd graders from Seoul, South Korea (ESL for Special Purposes), These kids are a huge wake up call for me.  Their brilliance reflects poorly upon our local and national educational system in the USA which is obviously derelict and ineffective and threatened. I’m grateful to learn while teaching these kids for four weeks, then they go back to South Korea while I go on my way to teach in Thailand. It is fun to teach when one has students like these. I wish I had some art lessons to use for ESL.  Suggestions welcomed!.

Listen and Watch PETER and the WOLF

Listen and Watch the Walt Disney version of PETER and the WOLF

PETER and the WOLF Study Guide

Vancouver Symphony plays PETER and the WOLF

Niall Collins–PVLL Homer Champ and Closer

My 13-year old son, Niall.  Here is a nice album of photos (thanks to Lisa Roah Photography) from yesterday’s league championship game.  He pitched well (allowed one run) and hit a towering dinger–in a nail-biting 4-3 loss against the Dodgers.

My Bucket List: Places to go in the Philippines

THIS ARTICLE provides useful information about some fantastic, off-the-beaten-track places to go in the Philippines.  I already had my own list of places for reclining and recreating in the Philippines, but this list adds several new and astonishing ones to the mix.


Is it South China Sea or is it West Philippine Sea?

Philippine Sea — South China Sea Dispute (Non-Interactive)

This is an interesting book by Philippines Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio that lays out an historical analysis of the legal claims to Scarborough Shoal, the Spratleys and many other islands in the Philippine Sea wast of Palawan (aka South China Sea).

TRANSCRIPT: Justice Antonio Carpio on South China Sea conflict

VIDEO: Justice Antonio Carpio on the South China Sea disput

If we don’t establish a marine protected area in this region we are headed toward a major, major fisheries collapse, leading to mass starvation and increasing conflict.

How to tune a Banjo

I am learning to play the Banjo.  I have two long-nick Plectrum Banjos, one for each tuning, a beautiful 5-string Banjo, and an Irish Tenor Banjo.

CLICK HERE for a useful list of different tunings for some kinds of Banjos (in the USA and Ireland)

Proficiency (or Mastery) and Growth

I prefer the word, mastery, instead of proficiency, but as I watched the exchange between Al Franken and Betty DeVos I heard reference to the “proficiency v growth” debate.  It reminds me the assessment of learning is no easy matter, and it takes time, thought and effort to understand such issues.  Unfortunately, Betty DeVos doesn’t seem to be familiarized with some of the most basic issues in the field of Education (for example, assessment of learning), thus she is entirely unqualified for a leadership role as Secretary.

At this point, she’s been approved and is serving in the role of Secretary.  I don’t think this story ends happily.  For myself, being relatively without power, it is most useful if I focus on the integration of proficiency with growth, leading to a nuanced approach in teaching and evaluation.

A good starting point for discussion and understanding of this issue is:

Proficiency and growth: A nuanced integration

KYRGYZ REPUBLIC: A Fulbright grant

I am happy and grateful to receive a 2017-19 Fulbright FLEX grant for doing research at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, in the Kyrgyz Republic  (AUCA). My research project is …

Source: KYRGYZ REPUBLIC: A Fulbright grant

Festival of Muslim Cinema in Kazan, Russia

I have been doing research about independent filmmaking in Kyrgyz Republic.  I see mention of Kyrgyz films that were included in a “Festival of Muslim Cinema” in Kazan, in Russia.  I wonder about the films being shown.  I have so many favorite films from Iran and other places, films known to adhere to “Islamic” or “Muslim” values in cinematic art.  I wish that we could more easily see these films in the USA.  Still gathering data about Kyrgyz Republic and Kyrgyz Cinema.


Kazan, Russia.   I note that the city of Kazan is located along the Volga River.   Just the sound of that river’s name–Volga–gives me a case of wanderlust and itchy feet.  I am gripped by sirens of the deepest melodies from Russian master composers like Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, and all the rest.  But my main topic is Kyrgyzstan and Bishkek and the American University of Central Asia, not Tatarstan and Kazan.  But one thing does leads to another…

Happiness and Suffering

I have been pondering the notion of Happiness and the Root of Suffering.  I am trying to simplify my understanding here, and I hope it helps someone else too.

What is happiness?

Happiness is when the heart and mind are freed from suffering.

How can one achieve happiness?

Happiness can be achieved as the causes of suffering are recognized and brought to an end.

What is suffering?

Suffering is the opposite of happiness.

Clinging or grasping to things is at the root of all suffering.

How can we become independent and free from clinging and grasping?  How can we end suffering?

The cessation or ceasing of unskillful clinging by mindful practice is the key to happiness.

We have to learn how to control unskillful grasping and clinging, subduing it by the power of insight.

 What can I do to suffer less?

The most effective way of dealing with suffering starts with recognizing it whenever it is present.

Borrowing from Buddhism, we learn: “Things, if clung to, are suffering, or are a source of suffering.”

Things are transient, unsatisfactory and devoid of selfhood.

We must find out what causes clinging to things, getting one to the root cause of suffering.

Knowing the cause, we shall be in a position to eliminate clinging and grasping to things, eliminating our suffering in a mindful way.

Knowledge of the root of suffering can be considered to be the most profound and most penetrating knowledge, putting one in a position to eliminate suffering completely.

KYRGYZ REPUBLIC: A Fulbright grant

I am happy and grateful to receive a 2017-19 Fulbright FLEX grant for doing research at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic (AUCA).

My research project is develop and write an “indigenous” curriculum for higher education and creative practice at AUCA, in the nascent Department of TV, Cinema and Visual Arts.

In doing my research for the development of a “local” curriculum in “TV, Cinema and Visual Arts” I am learning about the scope and nature of Kyrgyz cinema.  Yes, there is a cinema culture in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

I am happy to learn about an established online presence for the film industry in Kyrgyz, with a nice website for marketing the country’s actors, production companies, directors and technical support professionals, and a wide range of exterior locations.  .


As I move to have closer ties in Kyrgyzstan with scholars, filmmakers, and others, I am also looking for collaborative projects (video, film, photo, research, others) for production.  I hope to explore and research in Bishkek and surrounding areas in Kyrgyzstan, with a base of operations in Bishkek.  Folk Music?  Pastoral or nomadic communities in transition?  From what images I have seen there is astonishing beauty there and it looks like a healthy place in the mountains with hot and cold springs of vary types, famous for spas and healthy treatment.  Kyrgyz Republic also boasts the largest stand in the world of walnut forestlands.  I am trying to develop an understanding of the history, geography, and cultural diversity in Kyrgyz Republic.  Feel free to share your ideas with me.

A Lumad Prayer in Bendum, Philippines

I am re-editing some documentary projects that I produced years ago in the upland forests of Mindanao, Philippines.  My son says my style as a filmmaker is antiquated and extinct, and he is probably correct, but it’s my best effort and hopefully achieves some level of mindful simplicity in an online context.

Now there’s Trump so I return to Zinn


Some folks are long overdue for their first reading of A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn.  In my case, I was overdue for a re-read and it has been very helpful.  With recent political developments as they have been and a tendency to forecast ominously for the future I provide this link to edify your knowledge, starting with Columbus as anti-hero.

FULL PDF: HOWARD ZINN A People’s History of the United States

“Teaching as a Subversive Activity” by Neil Postman (RIP)


FULL PDF: Teaching as a Subversive Activity by Neil Postman

One of the greatest works of scholarly literature in the 20th century.  Relevant today. Great book.  In English.

Affordable Care Act

Image result for affordable care act

A new “5-year rule” in California allows the government to recover their costs for social services received by you.


Are the insurance subsidies under the ACA to be considered as a social service received?  Presumably so, but I am not sure.

Under the new rule the government can demand to be paid back from your estate for the time period of 5-years prior to the date of your death.  So you could suffer for a while and die from cancer; all that costs the value of your estate.  In that case do the kids lose their right to inherit the family home?  

What are the implications of this new rule upon individuals and families?

The argument for is that government services need to be at least partially covered by the receiver, and any possible means for recovery is justified.

The counter argument to the rule is that government is colluding with banks and insurance to re-acquire private property, thus possible constitutional questions will arise.

I hope someone can provide more information about this.

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