Ever have one of those mornings?
Momma said there’ll be days like this.
Posted in Death, Design, Fashion, Food, Goth, My Life, Photography, Photos, tagged Coffee, Death, Design, Fashion, Food, Goth, Humor, My Life, Photography, Photos, Style, Vampires, zombies on June 7, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
Ever have one of those mornings?
Momma said there’ll be days like this.
There is a cute shopping area behind the Mamilla Hotel, not far from the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem.
It is a nice mix of old and modern architecture.
There are a lot of posh, trendy shops there.
There are also more than a few restaurants and cafés.
What you see as you stroll through the area are a lot of sculptures.
And they are all for sale!
You’ll love them.
Some of the buildings have been reconstructed, stone by stone, all numbered so they could be put back in the same order.
If you want a really fun time…
And you’re ever in Jerusalem and have an hour or so to spend…
visit Mamilla court…
Have a limonana…
Maybe some shakshuka…
You’ll be amazed!
(in a good way)!
Posted in Arachnology, Bugs, Fashion, Insects, Photography, Photos, Style, tagged Arachnology, Bugs, Design, Fashion, Insects, Photography, Photos, Spiders, Steampunk, Style on January 7, 2013 | 10 Comments »
Steampunk  has inspired much in the way of design, fashion, art, etc. Its gadgets are delightful and its vision of a Victorian era that never was is intriguing.
Especially when it comes to steampunk spiders! 
There’s something about the spider that really brings out the best in steampunk designers.
The spindly legs, the abdomen that’s really itching for gear work.
It also helps that actual spiders look more like machines than living creatures.
I just adore these little creations.
I simply can’t get enough of them!
 Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery, especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century. Therefore, steampunk works are often set in an alternate history of the 19th century’s British Victorian era or American “Wild West”, in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has regained mainstream use, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power. Steampunk perhaps most recognizably features anachronistic technologies or retro-futuristic inventions as people in the 19th century might have envisioned them, and is likewise rooted in the era’s perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art. Such technology may include fictional machines like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or the modern authors Philip Pullman, Scott Westerfeld, and China Mieville. Other examples of steampunk contain alternate history-style presentations of such technology as lighter-than-air airships, analog computers, or such digital mechanical computers as Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace’s Analytical Engine. (Wikipedia)
 Steampunk spiders – also a terrific name for a band!
There is something about a crypt, tomb or mausoleum that holds my attention as if in a strong iron grip.
They are often dark, dank, creepily eerie places. Exactly what I adore!
They stir the soul and fire the imagination.
They summon dark visions of a world just outside our vision.
The connect us to the ghosts of the past.
In the Western World, mausoleums can be ostentatious monuments to by-gone egos.
Speaking of which, we cannot forget the first and best display of post-mortem ostentation…
Temples to the dead. The best example is probably the Capuchin catacombs in Rome.
An inscription in the crypt reads…
“Quello che voi siete noi eramo; quello che noi siamo voi sarete”
“What you are now we used to be; what we are now you will be.”
And yet, a mausoleum can display dignity and beauty even in death.
Many years ago, I lived in Hamilton, Ontario.
If you are ever in the area, please go to the Hamilton Cemetery across the street from Dundurn Castle.
If, like me, you share a passion for such places, you won’t regret it.
The first five photos (including photographer’s comments and copyright information) can be found along with other similar photos at LoveThesePics.com.
 The Crypt at Freising Cathedral, also called Saint Mary and Corbinian Cathedral, is a romanesque basilica in Freising, Bavaria Germany.
 Crypt in Wola Gułowska, Lublin Province, Poland.
 Photo details: Tales from the Crypt by Pierre J.
 The Church of Saint-Benigne de Dijon retains in its crypt one of the oldest Christian sanctuaries still to be seen in France. The rebuilding began on 14 February 1001. It was destroyed by the Revolution and much of the rubble was used to fill in the lowest story, which was the crypt. In 1843 this crypt was rediscovered and reinstated.
 The structure was so famous that Mausolus’s name is now associated with all stately tombs throughout the world through the word mausoleum. The building, rich with statuary and carvings in relief, was so beautiful and unique it became one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
 The Capuchin Catacombs in Rome hold several crypts spread across a series of small chapels beneath the church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini.
 The James Monroe Tomb, is the burial-place for U.S. President James Monroe in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia, United States. The site is “significant for the execution of its flamboyant and delicate tracery in cast iron, the tomb is a cage over the simple granite sarcophagus of the former President, who died and was buried in New York City in 1831, but was removed to Virginia in 1858.” It has been given the local nickname of “The Birdcage“. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1971. (Wikipedia)
Posted in Culture, Design, Fashion, Lifestyle, Modern Culture, Musings, People, Personal Observations, Photography, Society, Style, tagged Culture, Design, Fashion, Modern Culture, Musings, Opintion, People, Photography, Style, Thoughts on June 25, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
Every once in a while I venture to say a few well-chosen words about fashion.
I believe my last foray into beaking off about the world of couture (haute or otherwise) was in my October 26, 2011, article “Fashionate!“
I’m due for another venting.
I’d like to discuss a disturbing phenomenon of which I’ve recently become aware…
People (and by this I mean The Great Unwashed ) deriving a sick, perverse thrill from watching fashion models fall down.
And yes, I get the humorous angle at play here.
In The Comedy Biz, it is referred to as a Status Drop. It is as least as old as Graeco-Roman comedies… that is, when the actors weren’t parading around the stage wearing enormous phalli. 
The principle at work is this… an exalted person suffers a swift and sudden drop in status. The classic example from silent films is the rich, pompous and usually fat man slipping and falling on a banana peel.
A cheap, easy laugh, to be sure.
But what goes on when The Wretched Refuse watch a fashion model slip and fall is much nastier. There is a meanness of spirit that I don’t believe enters into the old Charlie Chaplin ‘fat banker banana fall’ schtick.
The Huddled Masses LOVE it. There is a fiendish glee that is simply absent when, for example, you see some chunky southern girl destroy an above-ground pool simply by going into it.
The models, people feel, somehow deserve to fall. They’ve earned the humiliation and the howls of derisive laughter. It ‘takes them down a few notches’… it ‘cuts them down to size.’
Ladies, you cannot sit still for this kind of attitude from the common rabble!
It’s bad enough that you’re treated like dogs or glorified clothes hangers from those within the business.
You must reclaim the fashion faux-pas… the runway tragedy… and transform it into something chic and glorious.
Let’s take that frown and turn it upside down, ladies. Find the fun in a bad situation!
I give you… SPAZTIQUE!!
Your slip and fall at Paris Fashion Week Spring 2012? It is no longer clumsy… it is Très Spaztique!
That time you lost your balance and fell off the runway in Milan? Proprio Spazticamente!
Everyone thinks your ankle-twisting walk on the Prada runway was klutzy? Far from it! It was Totally Spaztique!
Don’t let Walmart zombie shoppers define you!
Be Chic. Be Spaztique!!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
This article is affectionately dedicated to my dearly beloved friend, Chelsea Dagger , who is tall, slender, blonde, gorgeous, smart, athletic, fun, funny, generous, philanthropic, kindhearted, sweet… and a totally spastic klutz!
If it’s beside her or near her, she will find a way to knock it down, trip over or bump into it.
Here’s to you, my darling Chelsea. You’re delightfully Spaztique!
 (i.e. The General Public) I doubt many in the fashion world experience quite the ‘laugh riot’ when a model twists, sprains or breaks her ankle, cracks her kneecap or fractures her wrist.
 See Aristophenes’ deliciously funny play Lysistrata - a hilarious account of one woman’s extraordinary mission to end the Peloponnesian War. The title character Lysistrata persuades the other women of Greece to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands and lovers as a means of forcing the men to negotiate peace.
 She has, hands down, the coolest name in the world.
Posted in Cooking, Culture, Design, Fashion, Food, Humour, Japan - Japanese, Life, Lifestyle, Musings, My Life, People, Personal Observations, Recipes, Samurai, Style, Thoughts, tagged cooking, Cuisine, Culture, Design, Fashion, Food, Humor, Japan, Japanese, Lifestyle, Musings, My Life, People, Personal Observations, Style, Thoughts on April 27, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
A very dear friend of mine, LFD, likes sushi.
LFD and I quite often work in the same courthouse.
There is a wonderful sushi restaurant around the corner from said courthouse.
Put the three above statements together and it was not long before LFD and I decided that steps of some sort ought to be taken.
OK, so there I am, across the table from a hungry, little (and I do mean LITTLE… LFD is about 4’11″, I believe) Irish girl who is trying to figure out how to eat with two sticks.
With a bit of coaching, her first attempt went fairly well.
The second attempt… not quite so well. One of the chopsticks flew out of her hand and landed at the next table.
The third attempt… well, not really so good either, with some sushimi ending up on the floor.
“Can I get you some cutlery?” I asked, watching her lean down to retrieve her chopsticks from under someone’s chair.
“No… no,” she said, gamely, accidentally catapulting some wasabi across the aisle and into a young lady’s Diet Coke. “I’m keen to learn new things.”
I suspect more food ended up in our nearby surroundings than in her mouth but she was unfazed and undaunted.
I’m afraid LFD and I became the restaurant’s cabaret entertainment that day. The owner wanted us to come back and do two shows each evening for the next two weeks. We gracefully declined.
I suppose it’s just a matter of time before she and I go back to that restaurant.
So if you should be sitting down ordering some nigiri or norimaki and two people walk in who look oddly like Santa Claus and one of his elves from the North Pole… that would be us.
Do not be disturbed or concerned. Sit back. Relax… and be prepared to be amazed.
Also, please do not try this at home. We are professionals.
Posted in Botany, Bushido, Community, Culture, Design, Fashion, Gardening, Humour, Inspiration, Japan - Japanese, Life, Lifestyle, Modern Culture, Musings, My Life, People, Personal Observations, Samurai, Science, Style, Thoughts, tagged Botany, Bushido, Culture, Design, Fashion, Gardening, Japan, Japanese, Life, Lifestyle, Modern Culture, Musings, Samurai, science, Style, Thoughts on April 2, 2012 | 1 Comment »
There was a point in my innocent yet not too distant past when I had dreams of tending bonsai trees in my home.
I saw myself as a kind of Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid, carefully pruning and bending, shaping and creating the tiny tree over time into a work of art.
I was a hopeless failure.
For those who have never attempted to take on the task of caring and feeding a bonsai tree, let me tell you it is the closest thing you’ll ever have to keeping a pet.
It requires attention but not too much attention, light but not too much light, water but not too much water, and the temperature must be mild… not too warm, not too cold. A breeze perhaps… but not too much of a breeze.
Piece of cake, I thought to myself as I bought my first bonsai trees (twigs, really)… tiny miniature things I picked up at the florist section of my local grocery store.
I displayed them proudly in my apartment.
They were all dead in three months.
Clearly, you get what you pay for, I reasoned, and headed off to a proper greenhouse and chose a proper bonsai tree… a juniper (Juniper Procumbens Nana)… the one recommended for beginners because they are easy to care for and quite hardy.
(Like the one I bought… minus the golf ball)
I studied. I read. I did everything I was supposed to do. Things went well for about three or four months.
By the sixth month, it was dead.
I tried again. It, too, was dead within six months.
Over the course of about two years (I am nothing if not stubborn… or stupid), I managed to murder more than a few bonsai trees.
I finally came to the grim realization that, no matter how well-intentioned I was, no matter how much I loved the idea of bonsai trees and their connection to Japan and Japanese culture, no matter how much of a samurai spirit I had sparking within me, whatever it took to grow bonsai trees successfully, I didn’t have it.
What I did have was a kind of bonsai graveyard… a bleak necropolis of brown and withered miniature trees.
At first, I kept them as an almost perverse testament to my failure as a gardener. But then, over time, they took on another personality.
The dead trees had a funereal loveliness all their own. In death, they created their own form of art… a sepulchral style far beyond anything I could have created on my own.
And so they stand to this day.
It might be that one day I will head on down to my local greenhouse to pick up a bonsai tree and give it another try… but if I do, there will be no sense of failure or loss if and when the tree dies.
It will simply be transforming itself from one form of beauty into another.
Posted in Art & Literature, Culture, Design, Entertainment, Humour, Life, Lifestyle, Modern Culture, Musings, My Life, Opinion, People, Personal Observations, Reviews, Silly, Style, Thoughts, Why I Love, tagged Culture, Design, Entertainment, Humor, Life, Lifestyle, Modern Culture, Musings, Opinion, People, Reviews, Style, Thoughts, why I love on March 30, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
I like reading the comics. And by comics, I mean the comic strips one finds in newspapers. 
Dilbert, Garfield, Doonesbury, Rudy Park, Pooch Cafe, Non Sequitur, Heart of the City … these are the little snippets of fun with which I start my day.
But there is one character in one particular comic strip that tickles me more than any other.
Sedgwick Nuttingham IV (aka Master Sedgwick, aka Sedgie) in the comic strip Monty by Jim Meddick.
As per the Gospel according to Wikipedia…
Sedgwick Nuttingham IV is a privileged child who inhabits a mansion somewhere in Monty’s neighborhood. His only companion is his faithful manservant Jarvis, who does anything that Sedgwick desires, from carrying ammunition as Sedgwick hunts Fleshy, to serving as a human target for snowballs, darts etc. Sedgwick’s parents are totally absent. The only other characters that Sedgwick interacts with besides Fleshy are various doctors and psychologists. Sedgwick is convinced of his innate superiority to all others.
Part of the appeal of Master Sedgwick is his singularly repellent aspect. He is an utterly repulsive little toad. The googly eyes, the potato nose, the thick lips… and those teeth! Yeuch. He is a self-centred, self-absorbed, snobby little over-privileged worm. He seems completely motivated by greed and self-interest. How could you not love that?
Even when he does display a glimpse of a ‘better self’, it is soon overshadowed by… well… him!
But I think what I love most about Sedgie is the stilted ‘P.G. Wodehouse’ style of dialogue, especially between him and his manservant, Jarvis. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for that kind of speech. I’ve ready about 50 of Mr. Wodehouse’s novels and collections of short stories and that has held me in good stead throughout my life.
So here’s to Master Sedgwick. Though even many fans of the Monty comic strip hate the sight of your pug-ugly face, I think you’re the bee’s knees!
 I must confess that, aside from two or three English language Jewish weekly publications, I don’t buy newspapers anymore. When I do want to check out the New York Times, the Jerusalem Post or whatever, I go to their online editions.
 All the rest of which can be found at GoComics.com.
Posted in Archaeology, Art & Literature, Culture, Design, Fun, History, Life, Love, Musings, Nature, People, Personal Observations, Psychology, Research, Science, Sex, Style, Thoughts, tagged Archaology, art, Culture, Design, History, Life, love, Musings, Nature, People, Research, science, Sex, Style, Thoughts on March 9, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
A carving of a stick figure discovered by archaeologists in a cave in Brazil is believed to be the earliest example of rock art in the Americas and could shed new light on when the New World was first settled.
The team of archaeologists from the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil made the discovery during excavations in 2009 but unveiled their findings in this month’s PLoS ONE scientific journal.
“It shows that about 11,000 years ago, there was already a very diverse manifestation of rock art in South America, so man probably arrived in the Americas much earlier than normally is accepted,” explained Walter Alves Neves, the archaeologist and biological anthropologist leading the team.
The figure, scratched into a cave in Lapa do Santo in central-eastern Brazil, appears to be squatting with his arms outstretched. It is about 12 inches tall from head to feet and about 8 inches wide. The phallus is about 2 inches long, about the same length as the man’s left arm. (Yikes!)
“The figure, which we named ‘the horny little man’, is probably linked to some kind of fertility ritual,” Mr Neves said.
(Seriously? That was the best name they could come up with??)
Carbon dating and other tests of the sediment covering the petroglyph suggest the engraving dates between 10,000 and 12,000 years old – making it the oldest reliably dated example of such rock art found yet in the Americas.
Well, there you have it, boys and girls. Notwithstanding the puerile (and penile) humour, it turns out that people have been living (and drawing randy pictures) in the Americas for a lot longer than originally thought.
Who said Art History was boring?
Posted in Bushido, Culture, Design, Education, Fashion, History, Life, Lifestyle, Modern Culture, Musings, My Life, Personal, Personal Observations, Psychology, Research, Samurai, Style, Thoughts, tagged Bushido, Culture, Design, Fashion, History, Life, Lifestyle, Men, Musings, Psychology, Samurai, Style, Thoughts, Weapons on December 30, 2011 | 1 Comment »
As many people know, I am armed to the teeth.
OK, maybe that was a bit abrupt. Let me try again…
I have a bit of a collection of knives, swords, machetes, daggers, bayonets, nightsticks, as well as other various and sundry sharp and pointy objects around the house.
While it might be a bit of an exaggeration to say my apartment is ‘bristling with weaponry’, as one of my dear friends recently put it, I do admit to having a few lethal items scattered here and there about the place.
(Bayonet and scabbard from the American Indian Wars – got it)
I’m sure there are all kinds of psychological studies showing why guys are attracted to knives, swords and other weapons. All I know is that I like them. I like looking at them. I like holding them. I admire their design. I really don’t try to analyze it further than that.
This is clearly one of those things where the fantasy and mental image far exceed and improve upon the reality. For example, you couldn’t pay me enough to get into a sword fight or knife fight.
And yet, the thought of being able to fight with those weapons intrigues me, albeit not to the extent that I would actually want try to do it!
(Japanese tanto dagger – got one)
Sometimes, you just have to enjoy the simple little things in life.
Wishing everyone a very happy New Year. All the best to all of you in 2012. And thank you so much for reading the Kosher Samurai. It has been such an enormous pleasure for me to share some of my scribblings.