Thursday, October 13, 2011


Once upon a time, old man Pepito wrote the president of the United States. I never knew what was in that letter but it got a package from President Jimmy Carter himself which included a letter signed by him and a coffee table book about them in the White House.

I would later read from the Bulletin that President Carter lost his reelection bid to a man called Ronald Reagan (handsome and dashing in the news photo). The last image we saw of him is a man in overcoat(?) waving to his supporters as the Iran hostages were being brought back to the United States.

I did not care much about President Ronald Reagan at that time. It would only be later from documentaries in the Discovery Channel (or was it National Geographic) that I would realize how he came to be known as the Great Communicator. I particularly like that speech in Germany ("Mr. Gorbachev brought this wall down!") and a presidential candidates' debate ("I promised not to make age an issue and so I will never question the relative inexperience of my young opponent!" or something like that).

So when Mama Butch asked me to choose between the J. Paul Getty Museum (where I can shoot the Cathedral of Angels along the way as suggested by climate change talks colleague Albert Magalang) and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, I went for the latter because I thought he was more of a real person to me.

The library at the scenic Simi Valley was recently refurbished and Mama Butch became an instant member. It was a surreal moment for me as the story of the man I read in the Bulletin who beat Jimmy Carter unfolded in video footages, blown up photos, and relics of his presidency while I munch on complimentary jelly beans.

It was a fitting finale to my 4-day sojourn in Los Angeles, so here's one for The Gipper.

PHOTOS EXPLAINED (from top to bottom):
The last 3 photos above shows [1] the statues of the late president and former First Lady Nancy Reagan at the entrance to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library; [2] the Boeing 707 Air Force One that was in service from 1973 until 2001 and spanned the presidencies of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George Bush the Elder, Bill Clinton, and George Bush the Younger; and [3] former president Ronald Reagan's tomb.

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