Friday, July 31, 2009

Wedding Bell Travel Friday

Leaving to St. Louis for the wedding of two great friends, Sunil and Leah! Awww, will post pictures. Keep yourselves entertained this weekend by going to visit the amazing Vodka Mom, Vodka Logic, the Scribe, and SmallTalk. And, for the love of me, go to Gramercy Park Tutors, check it out and let me know what you think. Enjoy the weekend, my artsy picture from my former Parisian life, moi sur le metro/and artsy pic of my latter life, en Semuc Champey, Guatemala and go read friends' blogs!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Free (or almost) and Fun for the NYC family - Episode II

Rain, rain go away – Please please go away! Episode 2 of Free (or almost) and Fun for the NYC family, the in-people have been just calling it FOAAFFTNYCF and I feel a big responsibility to deliver something great for families that have had to spend the last week locked up at home. So my research has been vast, I’ve pleaded with Fun businesses to give me special fun events for my families only, but alas, no specials, just the following three amazing treats for you guys!

3. Free Tennis Lessons Tuesday and Thursday @ CityParks Foundation

We’re sporties here at TheGramercyPark so no wonder this week’s first free activity is this tennis clinic run by CityParks and sponsored by Chase. I’m pretty well known throughout the Carolinas and Lower Manhattan as the ‘Ace”Machine – so fear me and prepare your 5-16 year old from the get-go by showing up early to any of the many locations offered on the CityParks website. Show up for example at:

Central Park Tennis Center
West Drive @ 96th St
Tues & Thurs 1-4PM

2. Two Amazing Sunday Events – Choose Wisely

Fort Greene, Brooklyn, Reading? Go to Fort Greene Park at 1 pm on Sunday for an amazing reading of The Giving Tree, followed by an organized nature walk through Fort Greene Park, maybe take a little picnic and have a nice little fam day in a beautiful park? Maybe not, I don’t make your decisions ☺

Upper Manhattan, Bronx, Music? Go to Van Cortland Park in the South Bronx and check out the amazing Bronx Art Ensemble. Van Cortland’s also an amazingly beautiful park, and guess what, they’re telling people to bring the little picnic and blanket. So its not my suggestion anymore is it? You take that picnic, and take it good!

1. Friday Opera in the Park

East River Park (Manhattan)
Friday, July 31, 2009 at 7 p.m.
Joyce El-Khoury, soprano
Keith Miller, bass
Vlad Iftinca, pianist

Beautiful operatic backgrounds while you enjoy drinks and cheeses on your blanket in the park! What? Why would I be suggesting this? No no no, all wrong, you get to a Clearview Cinema early next Thursday morning to watch a 10:30 showing of a free movie at their Kid’s Club screenings. And wait, there’s more, this Thursday the Clearview on 1st and 62nd street is showing Alvin and the Chipmunks. You get there, you get there early and you wear a red garbage bag dress with a huge A on it. Not that Scarlet letter, a greenish-yellow A on your red garbage dress please.

Enjoy the Summer week with your family, and lets hope it doesn’t rain so much!

Check out that Mike Klonsky gave me a shout out on his SmallTalk blog.. awesome!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Why Gramercy Park Loves Soccer

I realize we haven't really discussed my number 1 love, so I thought I'd introduce it with a little dancing and a little music. When Diego came back to Argentina I got to watch him do this just 10 feet away at Hindu Club. Enjoy!

more about "Diego Armando Maradona The King of So...", posted with vodpod

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday GPT Ad Reject 3

Who knows? At this point some mommies love Edward just as much as their teenage daughters and might not mind a visit from our recent addition to the tutoring team! That's not why we hired him, nor did we hire him for his grasp of mathematics - he's dreadful! We're gonna get him parading his vampire-ness around in a promotional t-shirt! Watch us...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Cax and Bart - Interlude Up a Volcano

My favorite thing about traveling, touristing and sightseeing in Guatemala is that there’s never anything sectioned off. There aren’t any signs telling you what you should or shouldn’t be doing, there’s never a metal bar in the way between you and your decisions. Obviously this is not a child-friendly detail, but its pretty great at making you feel like you are actually discovering some of these beautiful natural wonders for the very first time. What you do with these gorgeous things, or off them, or through them is completely up to you!

At the Pacaya Volcano, which is an hour away from Antigua and a pretty fun and manageable hike up to the summit, Cash, Bart and I experienced one of these wonderful Travel Guatemala moments. I mean, as you’ll see in the video below, they were a little too concerned with the Canadian and American girls that came along with us on our tour group to grasp the totality of this, but they were impressed nonetheless. At Pacaya, the tour takes you up through rocks that are just feet above lava, so close that they completely melted the soles off my shoes by the time we were on our way down. So close that the boys and I got some tortillas at the base, brought them a couple hours up, and cooked ‘em just by placing them on the rocks - which fed our whole group (and won major points with the aforementioned ladies).

The tour guide encouraged us to walk to where the river of lava flowed down the side of the volcano and grab some long branches to try and pick up sticky lava rocks. By the time you were close enough to use the stick your face was burning up so much which caused such intense panic and excitement that the branch part was incredibly tough indeed. I tried it –of course I was able to fish out an awesome lava rock- and my whole beard burnt up in the attempt. Cash and Bart were content to take pictures and make movies – which are attached and awesome.

The tour guide – a classic showman – proudly lit a cigarette with a lava rock in a final Travel Guatemala moment … He has weirdly shaped patches of burnt on his facial hair year-round. I guess that’s the price (too high I think in this case!) you pay for originality.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Adults are babies with big bodies - Pike's 4 Laws of Adult Learning

A great friend Mago Acosta (on the right) from IBM sent me this from an employee course about learning.

Still go to Demockracy and read my Ed Policy article there!

Gracias Mago, idola!

How does adult learning differ from that of children?
For many centuries, educators assumed that all people learned things the same way and that this "way" didn't change much over the course of their lives. Only in the 20th century did this notion change dramatically. One of the principal contributors to our new way of thinking was Malcolm Knowles. In the 1930s, he began researching the work of many scholars and later he contributed to making more popular the term “andragogy” -- or the study of adult learning.

As scholars examined Knowles' research, they concluded that adults learned in markedly different ways from children. An adult has assumed responsibility for himself/herself and others. Adults differ specifically in self-concept, experience, readiness to learn, time perspective, and orientation to learning. Traditional teaching applied to children is "jug and mug" with the big jug (the teacher) filling up the little mugs (the students). Students are asked to pay attention and have few opportunities to make use of their own experience (Klatt 1999).

What are “Pike’s Laws of Adult Learning”?

Robert W. Pike, an internationally recognized expert in human resources development and author of the book Creative Training Techniques, has conducted thousands of adult training seminars. His principles of adult learning, referred to as "Pike's Laws of Adult Learning," have built upon the original principles defined by Knowles and provide useful guidance for learning facilitators.

Law 1: Adults are babies with big bodies. It is accepted that babies enjoy learning through experience, because every exploration is a new experience. As children grow, educators traditionally reduce the amount of learning through experience to the point that few courses in secondary and higher education devote significant time to experiential education. It is now recognized that adult learning is enhanced by hands-on experience that involves adults in the learning process. In addition, adults bring a wealth of experience that must be acknowledged and respected in the training setting.

Law 2: People do not argue with their own data. Succinctly put, people are more likely to believe something fervently if they arrive at the idea themselves. Thus, when training adults, presenting structured activities that generate the students' ideas, concepts, or techniques will facilitate learning more effectively than simply giving adults information to remember.

Law 3: Learning is directly proportional to the amount of fun you are having. Humor is an important tool for coping with stress and anxiety, and can be effective in promoting a comfortable learning environment. If you are involved in the learning process and understand how it will enable you to do your job or other chosen task better, you can experience the sheer joy of learning.

Law 4: Learning has not taken place until behavior has changed. It is not what you know, but what you do that counts. The ability to apply new material is a good measure of whether learning has taken place. Experiences that provide an opportunity for successfully practicing a new skill will increase the likelihood of retention and on-the-job application.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Making the Familiar Strange - Demockracy

Please click here to go on Demockracy and read my full article,

(excerpt from my article)

As mentioned earlier, Pedro Noguera cognizant of the implicit adherence to this culture of failure by the teachers and school itself at Berkeley High School, sought out to “make the familiar seem strange and problematic” as part of the Diversity Project. The Diversity Project task force was charged with improving the school. In one of their initial meetings Noguera writes that they “understood that the biggest obstacle to be overcome involved the explanations and rationalizations of this phenomenon that already existed in the minds of most people. Data on the attrition of minority students and on their performance in academic classes had been publicized and made available to the entire school and community for many years.” In order to make the school realize what it was doing, Noguera and the Project challenged the teachers to question their assumptions on why the students were succeeding and why they were failing. One of the first activities of the Diversity Project took the teachers through the neighborhoods where most of their students lived. The cultural and community resources embedded in these neighborhoods had been previously ignored. Even teachers that grew up in those very neighborhoods now saw them as breeding grounds for academic failure! The Diversity Project asked the teachers to look at these neighborhoods and their denizens in a different way.

Please go check out the article, the website's pretty awesome in general!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Free (or almost) and Fun for the NYC family - Episode I

There’s nothing better than spending a day outside with the family, enjoying the fleeting summer and each others company. Here are my top 3 events to enjoy for Friday July 24th through next Thursday when I will post Free Family Fun Episode II - a new and exciting top 3! Complete with personal anecdotes and specific recommendations here is the countdown:

3. Free Toddler Tuesday’s at the Bronx Zoo!

I made myself a make-believe toddler to go to this one last week, I just stuffed my pillowcase extra chunky, gave it some buttons to wear down the front and a couple for the eyes, put a carrot on him as a nose and duct taped branches on each side for his little skeleton arms. The Bronx Zoo is the best zoo on earth SAN DIEGO! And the only zoo in the world where my grandma told us to just ‘leave her there’ because she was freezing and it was too cold to walk, and my dad had to rub her feet until she agreed not to perish by the bears. Download the coupon on the Bronx zoo site and go this Tuesday!

2. Free Friday’s at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum!
Are those kids holding up a snake? Oh my god, put the snake down kids, it’s a snake it may be poisonous or choke you to death with its amazing power, throw the snake! Throw it now! See? I’ve never been anywhere where I got to hold a snake and it has really conditioned me against them, don’t make the same mistake with your kids. Sponsored by Target this event starts at 5pm and features Project this week.

1. Amazing Sunday with the New Museum

I walk past the New Museum almost every day, and that is why I find it absolutely awesome, also because of events like this one. It’s a block party at Sara D. Roosevelt Park where educators and entertainers hold all type of amazingly fun activities for kids. Plus, I bet there’s gonna be people promoting and giving things out all over the park. The fete is noon to 7pm on the 26th and please don’t stay home watching TV, go to here. Plus did I mention I walk past the New Museum AND play soccer every week at the LES park? Amazing event!
Have fun with your family!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

@ Park Tutors Man Landing on the Moon Today, I'm streaming it and having latte...Awesome

Awesome video compilation on youtube from Slate. Walter Cronkite and a newscast that will be remembered forever has nothing on modern era 5 second transitions between graphics, twitter and 'on the street' interviews. We wanna listen to ourselves after all, right?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday GPT Ad Reject 2

Ms. Hilton remains a loyal customer! In 2008 Gramercy Park Tutors wished her the best of luck in her bid for becoming our 44th President!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Academically Atypical Adventures of Cash and Bart - Chapter 1.66 Guate Caja Ludica

So as the initial shock of meeting the countless giant stuffed animals was fading, and the constant of the Chavo del Ocho playing on TV was bringing me back to reality, a plan for the day began to form. We would walk downtown in the hope of meeting the members of a creative/artistic/social group with whom Beth wanted the foundation to partner. Before we left however, I was thrilled to see one of my precious San Mateo student’s sister who now lived with Ronnie and was preparing us a delicious lunch. She made us an amazing meal, it really is truly earth-shatteringly wonderful when young people that don’t have a whole lot give more than they actually should to make you feel welcome.

Cash, Bart, Ronnie, Ema (another Yinhatil Nab’en student), Beth and I went to the local offices of the aforementioned group “Caja Ludica” to find that they were preparing for an upcoming show in the Centro Cultural Miguel Angel Asturias. Caja Ludica is an amazing collective that works with former gang-members in Guatemala (they’re called mareros) and give them a space to be creative, to voice and express their cultural heritage and to be involved in a group in a far more positive way than their participation in maras. The Maya communities have so many valuable stories to tell, and the show they put on as the medium is absolutely wonderful too. We were able to get into the theater to see the rehearsal after I summoned my gaucho heritage - also immensely rich with treachery, subtlety and deception – to convince the guard we were somehow involved.

Cash and Bart loved it, the best part was that the energetically fierce Colombian lady running the show came over and talked to our kids, answering their questions, asking them what they thought – giving them a voice. They now work with Beth and the Ixtatan Foundation in San Mateo, and the kids are thrilled. One complaint that Cash did have though, as the kids performing bent their bodies in a million different ways was, “Profe, they couldn’t do that after carrying huge sacks of corn and cement on their backs for the last 15 years.” Scary or awesome side note is that Cash is just pushing 20.

We returned from Caja Ludica refreshed and ready to celebrate our last night in Guate - because frankly, there was so much to celebrate. With the scholarship coming down to the embassy the very next day for Bart and Cash, Emanuel going to Cuba for medicine in an arrangement with the embassy that really makes Cuba look pretty great, and Ronnie + Eleazar’s sister doing so well in Guate University, it was a total success for Beth’s Ixtatan Foundation and the five kids that were all writing their own Academically Atypical Adventures. Hours of partying, strong debate with friends, a rooftop view of Guate, and sure, some awful but appreciated wine, left us excited and exhausted and ready to go to bed.

My sleeping arrangement involved the living room, the four other guys (Ronnie, Cash, Bart, and Ema) side by side by side by side by side, sleeping on… You guessed it!? A foot-deep layer of giant stuffed animals that completely covered the floor. Please do not let your mind think that these stuffed animals are atypical in any way, that they are meant for sleeping would be absolutely false, you’d be deceiving yourself. These animals are large, but normal, their necks are very thin, they are full of some nondescript filler thing. The pink panther below me had a head that was not circular but exactly the head of the pink panther. Cash took Winnie the Pooh, which was the superior pillow, home-court advantage Ronnie quickly chose Spongebob Squarepants, Bart had stashed the Pokemon JigglyPuff hours before. My combination of Pink Panther and I think Oscar the Grouch (the one that lives in a trash can) for the body was horrendous. My pillow was the Jamaican lobster from Little Mermaid… A lobster pillow.

I had dreams of the giant bear Charles and how I had defeated him so often in my youth, our constant after school battles where I was always victorious and he so shamed would return inconsolable to my brother’s room. As I awoke at around 4 in the morning completely refreshed, I thought maybe going to Mexico to study at an incredibly challenging university that would be infinitely difficult on social, academic, economic and psychological levels was like their Charles. A giant bear of calculus, travel, home sick, culture shock, and near absolute poverty. But I thought, “No. They have me, I’ve defeated Charles before.”

Friday, July 17, 2009

Love Mid-20th Century Style

Wanted to leave you all to an amazing weekend with a letter from Dr. Antonio Gomariz (also famous for being my grandfather) to Ethel Gomariz (grandma) circa 1944. I'm compiling their greatest hits, and came across this little jewel last night and wanted to share, first in Spanish and then a crude Fer-translation.. Enjoy and many kisses:

"Que nunca se atrevan a sacarnos un beso, porque cual los soldados defenden las insignias de su patria y mueren por ella, asi defenderemos nosotros el emblema de nuestro amor, porque no otra cosa es nuestro beso : el emblema de un amor como no hay otro en el mundo, amor que todo lo abarca, amor egoista por su grandeza, amor absoluto, terminante, total, amor nuestro.

Muneca dame un beso!"

Fools those who ever dare rob us of a single kiss, because as soldiers fight and give their lives for the symbols of their nations, we steadfastly defend that symbol of our love, because our kiss is no other thing : a symbol of a love like there is no other in the world, a love that envelops everything, a love that is selfish because it is grand, an absolute love, final, total, our love.
Baby give me a kiss!"

A brilliant genius you think huh? Well its much easier with the right muse...


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Gramercy : Guide to Namesake Neighborhood

Instead of working hard on showing you around Gramercy I'll let others get us going here, these are fun and I didn't have to write them!

Lost New York Blog's Guide to the Gramercy - "Gramercy has been swanksville, boasting the most genteel air of moneyed aristocracy to be found in the entire city" Swanksville indeed, Lost New York, Swanksville indeed..

Bee-Boppin' the Boroughs Girls - The formerly non-pregnant guide to the city does an awesome job making Gramercy Park fun.

Obviously, no Gramercy Park review would be complete without a site that catalogues the great Gramercy Park Hotel and all our celebrities! You didn't think this had nothing to do with celebrities did you? You fool, you silly fool!

Not the most impressive celebrity to come out of the hotel and visit Gramercy Park but she's pretty funny to look at...

Can we tutor Bean Cobain Ms. Love?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

NYC Free Family Movies in the Park and my Friend Twilight Puppies

I was inspired to post these by my friend's awesome blog about True Love We're probably also gonna have a huge GPT event (featuring awesome t-shirts) at the Hudson River location, I'll post the details all over the place when we decide on which movie we should attend and promote at.

Take your kids, take a friend's kids, take someone's kids that would really appreciate it and are never doing anything fun!

Hudson River - Movies and Free Popcorn(?) Films begin at dusk, at approximately 8:30pm. Pier 46, West St at Charles St. Subway: 1 to Christopher St–Sheridan Sq.

Fri Jul 17 – Kung Fu Panda
Fri Jul 24 – Ghostbusters
Fri Jul 31 – Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Fri Aug 7 – The Muppet Movie
Fri Aug 14 – Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
Fri Aug 21 – Curious George

Really leaning towards going to Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa cause Ross is that good as the giraffe and because mutu-mutu is my favorite all time hippo actor...

Or go to Central Park and Watch the one that really inspired me to post this....

Twilight (Puppies) - Aug 21st Rumsey Playfield

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday GPT Ad Reject 1

Sometimes even our best ideas end up being disappointing failures, we worked hard on Esther, but I don't think she's gonna make it in the end. Thanks to Murphy for the help, but I think Esther's best left alone with her creepy family now... Good luck family, she's a handful

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Academically Atypical Adventures of Cash and Bart - Chapter 1.33 Guate Stuffed Animal Attack

This particular episode in the Academically Atypical Adventures really dates back decades to when I was a young kid, living with the fam in Wilmington Delaware. My brother and I, with my parents or not (can’t remember) went to either Vegas or Atlantic City or a local fair with other friends of ours from Wilmington. During the trip, my brother was fortunate enough (and yes the following is based purely of luck) to hit the middle bottle with a prize ring and return home with an enormous and highly coveted white stuffed bear he called “Snowy” or some such nonsense but was really named “Charles”.

As a logical reaction of contempt to my brother’s triumph and my failure, and because he was particularly unpleasant and conniving during that particular 8-year growing up period (one instance when I was only a few weeks old my brother turned to my mom on a crowded bus and maliciously asked what they were gonna do when I was ‘gone’) I returned home from school early every day to fight the giant Charles. I would rush home from Chadsford Elementary, run upstairs and get Charles from my brother’s room, put on my tiny boxing gloves and wail on him without control, working up a healthy glorious sweat of vengeance. In the three years we lived in Wilmington, the middle two in Buenos Aires, and only the first of three years in Sao Paulo (I was maturing…) I was never defeated by the giant Snowbear Charles. This experience cemented not a fear of giant Snowbears (what was there to fear from the weak Charles after all?) but a bizarre type of uncontrolled anger that results from seeing giant stuffed animals.

(important, this man has nothing to do with the adventures)

This anger played an important role in the final days I spent in Guate as our two heroes searched for the Visas that would spark their academic trip to life. We left Antigua for Guate when we were assured that we had an appointment at the Mexican Embassy the following day and that all the required documents had been sent from the UVM. So we left our much beloved hotel in Antigua, a luxury experience so rare and rewarding that Bart took pictures of himself holding up all the paintings and other room décor.

We took a bus to the Guate airport, where we met the Ixtatan Foundation director Beth Neville, another classmate and friend Emanuel, a noted filmmaker and documentarian (Chip Krezell) there to record the ‘before’ of these adventures for the Foundation, and our host for the two days in Guate, a Mateano, and former student named Ronaldo Andres. We happily dodged the aggressive airport obstacle course and taxied on to Ronaldo’s place in Guate. Ronaldo graduated with Cash and Bart and is now working on his own college experience in the capital, living with Mateano friends in the center. We’re also very proud of his parallel adventures…

But as for Cash, Bart and me, we climbed the stairs to Ronny’s apartment, arriving together as I immediately felt my laugh trail off, felt my smile disappear. Ronaldo’s apartment in Guate has a pretty big spacious living room. Two of the four walls have raised shelves completely populated by giant stuffed animals. Giraffes, Mickey Mouse, different types of Lizard, Puppies, a Turtle, a Power Ranger or Transformer, and yes, plenty of huge stuffed bears. The night we shared before the embassy visit would be marked by these animals, by Charles and my Wilmington past.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The bachelorette is not my lover...

Man I loved the bachelorette this year, every week when you thought she was gonna let go of that nutty soccer fanatic guy with the adidas logo tattooed on himself, there she went giving him a rose again and again... I guess useless and infinite Michael Jackson trivia really gets her going in some bizarre and creepoo way. Maybe she likes a peaceful guy that just likes floating around by a jetski holding on to some rope from time to time better than a guy that gets on one and breaks Guiness Book World Records (please see two posts down).

I guess he's a looker though huh, pretty tall and look at that nice thick 'colocho' hair and sometimes that's the bottom line in these quickie reality show worlds, look good in a tan suit and she'll forgive that the jet ski guy down there really won the olympic games...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Flyer for GPT

I just wanted to share a quote from a really great family with all of you, and what you see here as a simple flyer that just matches a quote with a picture took me around 40 hours to make by the way... Not cause its that good mind you, but because I'm that bad... Damn you photoshop...

Not the picture, that took me seconds, I'm a natural at explaining where and what all the important lake parts are... Natural model, and natural lake connoisseur.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A New Beginning!

Now, after that short lapse used to finish my award-winning website (, getting some of you lazies to follow this blog and setting Guiness Book of World Records at the Carolina coast, I’m ready to show some consistency here.

Unfortunately either lack of internet, electricity, interest, a key to the Internet café at the Ixtatan Foundation or a Spanish-Maya dictionary has slowed Bartolo down on his quest to write chapter II of the Triple A’s (Atypical Academic Adventures – Las Atipicas Aventuras Academicas). Either way we’re gonna have to alternate with some Ed policy discussion, interesting city events, fun links and stuff you guys suggest to make posting on this even halfway frequent.

The facebook group for Gramercy Park Tutors is also finished and you guys that joined either this or that are the best. We’re gonna work together to really make a difference in the education scene of the City. Thanks a million. As a launch to this new era of consistency in communications this is me killing the tigers of laziness past.

And to conclude in Dharma Bums fashion, I leave you till tomorrow with a hopeful Haiku that I wrote as two great friends were getting married among even more friends and family in Virginia:

My loud voice carries,
Across this Charlottesville lake,
Thunder beats Silence.

Oh dharma...