Tuesday, November 16, 2010


The most recent work of art I have seen is a dance composed and performed on November 14, 2010 at BAM by Charlie Chaplin’s grandson, James Thierre. The dance was built around a story in which a lone man named Raoul is attacked by his own self. During the attack an audience consisting of a fish, the fossil of a bird, an armored bug, a jellyfish, and the ghost of an elephant watched close by.

What was most interesting to me was the way James Thierre moved his body. There were times when he seemed to be moving in slow motion almost as if he were on a screen with stunts and special effects. There were also times when his mind and physical body seemed to be at war with each other. I think the slow motion demonstrated how much control he did have over his body. And for Raoul to be that out of control at times, but in control at others, Raoul has incredible control to be in control at all.

There was also much physical comedy added to this subdued drama. But the comedy did seem to have some contribution to the rest of the dance. The comedy seemed to illustrate what Raoul may have been thinking or feeling at that time. For instance, when Raoul’s legs wouldn’t go where he wanted them to, that illustrated another time when he was losing control of his body. So rather then the comedy being pointless (other then to make someone laugh) as it usually is, this comedy seemed to be vital to the dance. There were some contradictory moments though. When James Thierre came out after the curtain call, he silenced the audience as though about to say something, then waved his hand and walked away. As he put it “That was just me messing around.”

Although James Thierre has said he does not want to derive his ideas from his grandfather, the movement in the dance was somewhat similar to that of Charlie Chaplin’s. In my opinion, that’s mostly because James has inherited much of his body from his grandfather and they have somewhat similar muscles and bones. So I think, no matter what, when people watch this dance they will be reminded of Charlie Chaplin.

Friday, October 15, 2010

"How Can You Stay at Home All Day, And Not Go Anywhere?"

How Can You Stay at Home all Day, And not Go Anywhere? is a moving masterpiece created by the artist Ralph Lemon. I saw it on October 14, 2010 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) Harvey Theater. After the death of a cherished loved one, Ralph meets a 100-year-old man from Mississippi named Walter. Seeing an opportunity, Ralph’s career as a dance writer springs into action and it begins with Walter. Sharing the same passion, Ralph and Walter work together on a dance about a Hare who bravely dedicates his life to be a monk’s supper. During these few years Walter experienced two serious falls. Unfortunately, when Walter died 2 years later Ralph was forced to start over again.

This meaningful masterpiece is a mixture of emotion, energy, and exhaustion. It asks you to imagine a completely new way of being alive. That if you moved your body so much, your mind would separate itself from its physical being and move on to such exhaustion that it was no longer living in the places surrounding it. Though this kind of being was so physically risky that the dancers were throwing themselves headfirst into the floor and screaming and breathing so hard that you would be able to hear them from the back row of the balcony. This dance was also emotionally risky; there was a twenty-minute section that was entirely sobbing with almost no movement at all.

Afterwards, there was a post-performance interview with the cast. During that interview a young teen with brown hair stepped up to the mic and asked why there was so much falling, if it had any relation to Walter’s two falls. Lemon’s answer was a flat out “My body likes to fall.” What that shows is that the dance is a complete loss of consciousness over control of the body, the evidence that a body can be alive without consciousness as entirely energy. Though the exhaustion is so intense that it can transport your mind into a completely different world. To a new world, a new body, a new state of mind.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

1 Geste Pour Haiti

Scroll down for a description of the Haiti Word-a-Thon Challenge.

Click HERE to link to a song about Haiti to get inspired to give what you can to Partners In Health! Thanks to Christine, my French teacher, for giving me this song.

I translated the words:

">1 Geste Pour Haiti English Translation


Act together for Haiti.

A small gesture, one little thing can change everything


But must we wait for an earthquake?

That opens up the earth? For our hearts can open too, to Haiti


In the name of god, the merciful,

Because the earth is odious here,

I don't have eyes for Haiti


Oh Haiti, why did you pay such a heavy price?

Although we are far, the pain is shared

(Michel Drucker)

How, amid this desolation remain insensitive eyes of children?

(Daan Junior)

Many people say that Haiti is cursed, it's not true.

(Thierry Cham)

Haiti, you are reborn of your ashes

(Alibi Montana)

Words mean nothing,

Before those existent on the earth, Haiti is my heart

Of you all, you (Haiti) we don't have

Everyone needs you.


Together, let us act for Haiti.

A small gesture, a mere nothing can change everything,

Let us sing and let us unite our prayers.

A melody of hope for this earth, let us act for Haiti, dear

(Jacky Brown)

Must we be the same country to get together?

Must we have to be the same color to feel concerned?

(Passi)We sing for Haiti's unity or time will stop

(Pit Baccardi)

Even irritated, all the same, Haiti has inherited our love

(Gage): It's for you, dear Haiti that we sing today!

(Ben J)

For the Haitian people (oh, oh, oh)

Action, support, a hope that we never abandon you

(Ophelie Winter)

Although it is so hard to believe that God has power over so many lives

(Lilian Thuram)

Hold on, do not despair

(Jennifer, Superbus)
They need us there, you, dark or pale

Open your eyes, open your heart, and be generous,

(Sonia Rolland)
We are all bound for Haiti

(Harry Roselmack)
Let's work together, Haiti is counting on us

Singuila & Lynnsha
Always together, together

(Cesaria Evora)
Solidarity for Haiti! You are worthy, yes!


(Noemie Lenoir)
Let's work together with the Ecumenical Council, save Haiti

(Perle Lama)
Like a spark among many others.
It is to ignite the flame of hope

We will help you to rebuild

(Sarah Riani)
It is up to us to move heaven and earth

(Mr Toma)
Heaven has its reasons that the earth can not explain.
We are all bound for Haiti

(Stomy Bugsy)

Haiti, you have trembled, but you are always dignified.

Show us the way again. Open the way.


Going forward, unity and willingness

(Grand Corps Malade)

For Haiti and its people, the countdown has begun

Everybody assmble together, at the height of solidarity

(Charles Aznavour)

God, who has made things bad for the martyrs

Your infants who are not well loved, who are sacrificed, who are orphans.

They cherish your name, venerate your churches. They don't have much.

At this time, they have nothing.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

About the French Word Challenge for Haiti


I'm asking you to pledge to donate to Partners in Health if I can learn 400 new French words by the end of April.

Partners in Health, started by Dr. Paul Farmer, has been working in Haiti for over twenty years. Because of the recent earthquake, they need your support now more than ever.

To pledge, please email me or pledge in the comment box, below. When I am done learning all these words, I'll get back in touch with you to remind you to send your money directly to Partners in Health.

You can donate to Partners in Health by clicking on the red DONATE button at http://www.standwithhaiti.org/haiti


While I was studying for a research project on children's rights I was forced into the lives of children whose lives never should've turned out the way they did. There are children in the world who are forced to be married under the age of thirteen, children who are isolated from their families and forced to go to war, children without healthcare, children forced to skip school and work in factories, children dying of preventable causes, and many other horrible things.

It was only shortly afterwards when I heard about the earthquake in Haiti. When I learned that Haiti was already one of the poorest countries in the world, you can probably understand how sad I was for the children growing up there. And that's when I realized that not only children are suffering from abuse and lack of safety and healthcare, but people of every age, kind, and civilization. By this point I was overpowered by sadness and I knew I had to do something about it.

So I decided to do a French-Word-a-thon. I didn't want to do another read-a-thon because people do them so often that every school has one at least once a year. I wanted to do something different that no-one else would think of and that was really hard to do because then people would be really excited about it and would want to pledge more money for Haiti.

And I hope that at least a few of you can find love in your heart for all those dying parents and their uneducated, sick or injured children who need them to continue living and loving them.

Current sponsors:

Kate T
Kate W
Anna-Maria and Dermot
Aups Jessica
Paris Jessica
Hilary, Peter, and Hawthorne
Aunt Mary
Aunt Bonnie
Toni and Bud

French Word Challenge

Words I have learned:

approcher-to draw near to

s'asseoir-to sit down

entendre-to hear or to understand

coudre-to sew

appeler (j'appelle, tu appelles, il/elle/on appelle, nous appelons, vous appelez, ils appellent) - to call

enlever (j'enlève, tu enlèves, il/elle/on enlève, nous enlevons, vous enlevez, ils/elles enlèvent)-to take away, to take off, to raise

aider (j'aide, tu aides, il/elle/on aide, nous aidons, vous aide, ils/elles aident)-to help

brûler (je brûle, tu brûles, il/elle/on brûle, nous brûlons, vous brûlez, ils/elles brûlent)-to burn

casser (je casse, tu casses, il/elle/on casse, nous cassons, vous cassez, ils/elles cassent)-to break

defendre (je dèfende, to dèfendes, il/elle/on dèfende, nous dèfendons, vous dèfendez, ils/elles dèfendent) to defend or to forbid

s'amuser (je m'amuse, tu t'amuses, il/elle/on s'amuse, nous nous amusons, vous vous amusez, ils/elles s'amusent)-to enjoy one's self

allumer (j'allume, tu allumes, il/elle/on allume, nous allumons, vous allumez, ils/elles allument)-to light or to turn on

assurer (je assure, tu assures, il/elle/on assure, nous assurons, vous assurez, ils/elles assurent)-to assure

La envie-desire


avant de-before

assez-enough or sufficient


ainsi-this way



l'emploi-employment or job

l'avertissement-warning or notification

le baiser - kiss

la bande - tape

la barbe - beard

brièvement - briefly

clair - clear, light

cher (m) - expensive

contraire - contrary

dedans - inside

dehors -- outside

dorénavant - from now on

depuis - since

actuel - present, current

affectueux (m) affectueuse (f) - affectionate

aveugle - blind

bien que - although

entre - between

ascenseur - elevator

arrière - behind

l'argent - silver, money

l'appareil - camera

la Angleterre -- England

l'an - year

adieu - goodbye

l'autoroute - highway

la calculatrice - calculator

le caméscope - camcorder

le bâtiment - building

le but - goal or purpose

l'argen comptant - cash

l'armée - army

le bagage - luggage

la bague - ring

un bal - a dance (party)

la banque - bank

en bas - downstairs

la aiguille - needle

les allumettes - the matches (as in to make a fire)

la amitié - friendship

la campagne - the countryside

le chèque - the check (for money) (not to be confused with "l'addition" at a restaurant)

la clé - key

le collier - necklace

une conférence - a conference or lecture

corps - body

le côté - side

le coton - cotton

le cou - neck

Dieu - God

couverture - blanket

bon marché - inexpensive

coutume - custom

le coeur - heart

le canapé - couch

la cloche - bell

copain (m) copine (f) - pal, good friend

demi - half

le curé - priest

la corbeille - the garbage basket

connaître - (je connais, tu connais, il connaît, nouns connaissons, vous connaissez, ils connåissant (to know, to meet)

appartenir (j'appartiens, tu appartiens, il appartient, nous appartenons, vous appartenez, ills appartiennent (to belong)

avertir (j'avertir, tu avertis, il avertis, nous avertissons, vous avertissez, ils avertissent (to warn or to notify)

le chauffeur - the driver

l'auberge - bed and breakfast

tremblement de terre - earthquake

la rivière - river


GOAL: 400 by April 30, 2010

To pledge your support for my French Word-a-Thon, reply to the post above!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Hey world! Goose here. My little sister and I just donated 50 bucks to Haiti. They had a REEEEEAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLYYYYYYYYY BIG earthquake there and they need a lot of money. Every poor wounded little child in Haiti needs your help. The whole world and especially our family encourages all my readers to donate some money to Haiti. 

"And continue their work to make the world a better place."

Monday, February 1, 2010

Children’s Rights

The Declaration of the Rights of the Child is a document that lists a few rules about the way children need to live. Without the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, our world would be a mess.  Before the Declaration (more commonly known as the DRC) most children were forced to work in factories and on farms, never finished or even attended school, or were forced to join armies.  They were commonly thought of as little grownups.  The DRC changed this by telling all governments around the world that they should ratify it and then make laws in support of the children.

This is why the DRC is so important. There’s also the Convention, which is a document written by a group of people at the United Nations in 1989. It has up to fifty-four articles about the protection and lives of children around the world. The Convention is even more powerful and important then the DRC. Because it’s laws are enforced strongly, with strict discipline to anyone who violates them. Without the Convention, the DRC would mean nothing to the world. And even if it did, all children would be mistreated and misunderstood in many ways.

Here is a timeline about how it all came to being. In 1905 delinquent jails called Borstals were founded in England.  (Wikipedia, “Timeline of young people's rights in the United Kingdom.”) Borstals were supposed to drive juvenile delinquents away from adult prisons. After Borstals were founded, it would be illegal to send delinquents to regular jail. It was discipline, but if a child spends their childhood cooped up in a tiny stall in dirty cruel surroundings, they’ll never be reclaimed and after they’re freed, they’ll go straight back to a life of crime. And that’s what Borstals were trying to prevent.

In 1918, the government of England decided to donate money to infant welfare centers. (Wikipedia, “Timeline of young people's rights in the United Kingdom.”)  The government encouraged local authorities to pitch in with free medical care of children under five. This was also very important without it a lot of children would not get medical care, because sometimes they’re orphans or their parents don’t love them.

In 1923, after World War I, a British woman named Eglantyne Jebb drafted the first DRC. She started with a fundraiser for mistreated children in Russia. It was a success, but eventually the fundraiser ran out of money. But without hesitation she turned towards another issue. That was of course the DRC, because it would change things so that the world wouldn’t need help to nurse children and treat them righteously. (Wikipedia, “Eglantyne Jebb.”)

On November 26, 1924 the DRC was endorsed by the League of Nations as the world child welfare charter.

In 1932 whipping children boiled down to almost nothing. A young male adult was only permitted about six whips with nothing but a simple birch rod by only a constable.  (Wikipedia “Declaration of the Rights of the Child.”) So by then whipping a child was illegal.

In 1946 the SCIU (Save the Children International Union) joined the Union of child welfare forming the UN so as to make it easier for them to continue their work for children in need. If that hadn’t happened the UN wouldn’t have founded the Convention and the Convention must be the most important thing in children’s rights (Wikipedia “Declaration of the Rights of the Child.”)

The DRC was adopted by the UNC on November 20, 1959.  November 20 is now known as National Children’s Day.  (Wikipedia “Declaration of the rights of the child.”)

In 1989, the Convention on the Rights of the Child was held at the UN. The Convention lists over 50 rules in the name of children’s rights. The UN realized that the DRC wasn’t enforced enough and needed more rules. So they made the Convention as a stronger replacement to the DRC to tell the world how badly it was treating children and that they were going to need to fix it.

The USA, surprisingly, didn’t ratify the DRC. Nor did Somalia. Many people say that the reason that the USA didn’t ratify the DRC was because the USA thinks (and in some cases is) it’s too powerful to be bossed around. Some people also say that the USA didn’t need to ratify it because it provided so much protection for all people and culture had already began to change itself into child safe formations.  But the real truth about Somalia is that no one knows why it didn’t ratify the DRC and there are still children Somalis who suffer under the pressure of bad healthcare, unhealthy food, exploitation, and many other things.

To understand the concept of Children’s Rights, I interviewed two women who work in this area.  Margaret Wachenfield is Senior Policy Advisor for a part of the UN called Unicef.  She focuses on children and European Union governments.  Beth Morrow is a Lawyer and a Child Healthcare Advocate.  I’ve asked them some questions that I though others might ask and the these are their answers:

First I asked, “Why didn’t the US ratify the DRC?”

Morrow told me, “Well, my understanding of why the USA didn’t ratify is simply that the USA believes its laws are ideal, particularly its Constitution, and that it provides adequate protection to its citizens. In fact, the US goes around the world trying to help other countries adopt similar Constitutions. Also, the US doesn’t like to be told what to do by any other governments or political bodies, even the UN… Since the US is the strongest power in the world, it doesn’t have as much to gain by joining other countries through these types of measures… it just wants to follow its own rules.”

Wachenfield said, “…The US Constitution is a strong document and provides many human rights protections that are not provided by other countries’ laws. So, while the US children are protected from many horrible experiences by our own laws, Somali children are not so lucky. Therefore, to push the world to a higher standard, an international set of laws about human rights can do a lot.”

I asked, “what happens when the caretaker of an orphanage retires?”

Morrow responded: “In general, since being the caretaker of an orphanage is a job, that caretaker would be replaced by a new one who is hired through standard hiring practices. So, when the leader of an organization leaves their job, there is a Board of Directors who will do the hiring of a replacement.”

I then asked, “What happens if an adult or country violates one of these rules?”

Wachenfield told me: “If a country violates the CRC, other governments, their citizens, the children in their countries can criticize them. If the CRC has been adopted into the other country’s law, then someone might be able to bring a legal claim against the government. If a person violates the law, then it depends on how serious the violation is. For example, if someone hurts or kills a child, they may be sent to jail. If they don’t send their kids to school when they are supposed to, they probably won’t be sent to jail but will be required to send their kids to school or make sure they are learning and may have to pay a fine.”

I wanted to know: “Why aren’t children sent to jail?”

Morrow said: “Children are not sent to jail because it is felt that society is better served by trying to help a child who breaks the law learn from their mistake and get prepared to be a better adult. Children are not fully formed. Society is partly at fault for their flaws. And, thus, it is society’s job to off them a chance for redemption, education, and improvement. So, while they can be denied freedom (and sent to a juvenile justice facility), the job of that facility is to educate and improve their chances of becoming a productive adult.”  

Now that you know about the history of the DRC you probably want to know what the rules of the DRC were. Well here they are nice and clear.  In 1923 there were only 5 of them.

#1 A child must be given everything they need to develop.

#2 Needy children who are sick, orphan, delinquent, backward, or homeless must have someone who can love, feed, nurse, help, and reclaim them.

#3 A child in distress should be the first in line to get help.

#4 A child must live in a way that allows them livelihood and protection against exploitation.

#5 A child’s talents should be appreciated with consciousness that they should be devoted to the service of their friendly men.  (Wikipedia, Declaration of the Rights of the Child)

Now the Convention enlists over 50 laws about the rights of the child. But even though there are 54 laws, there are still many children all over the world who suffer from different things. Here are the 10 most important ones:

#1 A person cannot discriminate against a child no matter what family they were born into.

#2 All decisions concerning children must always be the best interest.

#3 All governments must protect children.

#4 Children have the right to parental guidance.

#5 Children have the right to life.

#6 All children have a right to and official identity.

#7 Children have a right to stay in contact with both parents if they are separated.

#8 Children whose families are scattered across countries or far spans of land should be allowed to travel between countries to visit each relative. (Children’s Rights and Responsibilities Leaflet, Unicef.) 

First the government started creating small laws in the name of children’s protection, then Eglantyne Jebb made the DRC, then governments and the UN started adding things on to make the DRC better, then the UN made the Convention. The world had been working very hard on improving children’s lives, yet governments continue to ignore these laws still, and the best we can do to prevent the suffering of children, is pitch in and help whenever we see there’s a chance.