Friday, October 30, 2015

Hoop Der Hopelo

Hoop Der Hopelo, Church of Our Lady, Bruges, Belgium.

"What's a sweetheart like you doing in the dump like this?" asked Bob Dylan.

As a Calvinist, I have always struggled with icons as works of art.  For Rome, which considered me accursed because of my Protestant view, the icons of their canonized saints are subjects of obsessive adulation.  Yet as an artist, I can't help but admire the masterful techniques of the artists who made these fascinating icons.  Consider the Lady in this image.  Is she about to bow down in reverence and humility to her Creator?  Or is she welcoming the faithful people who have asked for her intercession?  Or both?  I wonder.

#HoopDerHopelo #Antwerp #Madonna #LadyofHope #Statue #TrafalgarInsider #LensFlare

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Architecture along canal in Bruges

Bruges, the capital of West Flanders in northwest Belgium, is distinguished by its canals, cobbled streets and medieval buildings. 

Bruges was probably the best city we enjoyed when we visited Benelux last spring.  Simple and quiet.  It has the semblance of Amsterdam but it is more laid back.  (One does not have to watch out for those crazy cyclists unlike in Amsterdam.). The whole town can be toured in a day.  The nice spring time weather was the icing on the cake.  Lovely.

#Benelux #Bruges #TrafalgarInsider

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Negotiating with a Giant

Druon Antigoon is a Flemish folkloric character. He was a mythical giant who lived in Antwerp, Belgium.  Guarding a bridge on the Scheldt River, he exacted a toll from those crossing the river. For those who refused, he severed one of their hands and threw it into the river.

Tourists:  Can we have a photo with you?
Giant:  That would cost each of you five shekels.
Tourists:  Let us see ... that would be about a dollar fifty in today's currency.  Good deal.
Giant:  Wait ... I can't live on dollar fifty.
Tourists:  A deal is a deal.

#antwerp #belgium #DruonAntigoon #TrafalgarInsider #antwerpgiant

This is not your grandmother's bike

I love to ride my bicycle.

This is no ordinary bike.  It has 64 automatic speed, anti-skid steering, air lock brakes, dual airbags, 200 foot pound torque, retro styling and many more.  Voice activated GPS navigation is standard feature.  The bike comes with 7 year 100,000 miles bumper to bumper guarantee.  This is definitely not your grandmother's bike.  Unless of course if your grandmother is Wonder Woman.  See your authorized local bike dealer for more details.  

#superbike #urbannecessities #retro #trafalgarinsider #bruges #alley #benelux

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Problem with Jean-Paul Sartre's Radical Freedom

To be or not to be.

Heron:  I am imprisoned.  Therefore, I have no choice but to stay here.

Sartre:  Everyone has a choice.

Heron:  How is that?

Sartre:  You can always choose to kill yourself.

Sartre's notion of 'radical freedom' said that everyone always has a choice, and every act is a free act. When people say they have 'no choice' but to do something, they are lying to themselves. He would point out situations such as a group of hikers who encounter a boulder blocking their path, leaving them 'no choice' but to turn back. Sartre claimed this was wrong, as they also could fling themselves off the mountain, killing themselves. (from Existential Comics)

#existentialism #philosophicaldifficulties #sartre #radicalfreedom

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Gregorio The Cook

Would that be with peanut butter or cheese?

There was a time when God tested me and said to me, "take Isaac, your only son, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah and offer him as a burnt offering on the mountain that I shall show you." I had a choice to complete the task or to refuse to comply with God's orders.  I was resigned that I would loose my only son.  And then the inevitable happened.  God provided a substitute.  A perfect ram that would take the place of the offering.  I realized that the God who called me had validated my existence by virtue of my faith.  A faith born not out of myself - for my spirit was bound up to give up whatever and whoever I love.  A faith not from within but from without.  

"Son,"  I said, "Are you in a mood for Lamb Chop?"

Nowadays, I am just content to cook crepes for my neighbors.

#fearandtrembling #faith #storyogabraham #faith

Friday, October 23, 2015

Here they laid ...

American Cemetery in Luxembourg
American soldiers died defending Europe.  They are more appreciated there than in the States.  A stone's throw away is where General George S. Patton is buried.  Selah.

#AmericanCemetery #GeneralGeorgeSPatton

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Blurring the line between contentment and happiness

Pursuing an illusion?

Why is it that there are hardly anything written about the pursuit of failure?  By nature, man does not want to fail.  And yet, successful pursuits do not always lead to happiness.  Is happiness then just an illusion?  Or as some scientists posit that happiness is nothing but a chemical reaction resulting in feelings of joy and elation?  Or are we happy because we choose to be happy?  As in being content and being happy with the state we are in.

#happiness #existentialism #philosophy #contentment #despair

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Man as Machine

Man as mechanistic materialist.

Did man really evolve from dead matter?  If so, there should be no distinction between living and dead matter.  Is the mental process caused by the material body or is there such a thing as a soul that is separate and immaterial from the body?  Perhaps, man is just a computer - programmed to behave in certain ways.  If this were so, who programmed man?  Perhaps, another machine programmed man.  Who programed the programmer?

#manasmachine #JulienOffraydeLaMettrie 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Two bikes and fragments of memories

Perhaps, the sun had refused to shine today.

Once there were two bikes that were used at the same time.  But now the other one has collected dust.   Maybe a bit of rust here and there.  Day by day, it seems to fade away.  Yet it is still there.  A stark reminder that Fred was gone.  Can there be a continuity between the past and the present?   Patricia thought about it for the longest time.  She now leads a life that has been transformed.  An inevitable loss for sure.  She mourns.  She contemplates.  She catches fragments of memories.  She realized that time has slipped away.  And tomorrow... yes, and tomorrow will just be another day.

#existentialism #transformation #timetranscience #twobikesandfragmentsofmemories  

Monday, October 19, 2015

Mr Dudamel, you're my biggest fan

But the song remains the same.

The concert was about an hour and half away.  So, there we were at the Vespaio bar ... Rose nursing her Chardonnay, while I was alternating between a Pinot Noir and a shot of Cragganmore.  Suddenly, the Dude sat next to me.  The Great Conductor Gustavo Dudamel.

Juzno (nervous):  Senor Dudamel?

Dudamel:  Si?

Juzno (more nervous):  I just want to t-t-ell you ...  that you're ... m-m-y biggest fan.

Dudamel (laughing):  My friend, you should not drink wine over whiskey.

#GustavoDudamel #WaltDisneyConcertHall #RiteofSpring #IgorStravinsly #HangingOutWithAFamousConductor #MixingWhiskeyWithWine

Saturday, October 17, 2015

In the year 2525

Lose those fats in 20 minutes.

In the year 2525, the human race would be replaced by highly sophisticated dummies.  They do not need to eat or exercise.  They are always fashionably fit.  They do have an insatiable appetite for trendy clothing so they live mostly in Russia and Georgia where most of the high end garments are manufactured.  They do not need to think because they have no brains.  They have no need for MTV and YouTube because they have no  eyes or ears.  Yet they can communicate using advanced mindless technology implanted in their heads.  The implants get updated periodically through iCloud, which causes all internet connection and all computer activities to crash.  The next update will occur in ten minutes from the time this blog is read.  Please back up your work now.

#dummies #MindlessTechnology #future #ImprobablePredictions

Friday, October 16, 2015

Objections to Lemon Grass

You think this is art?

Dear Ms Stewart,

Can I call you Martha?  I would rather not be too formal.  I am a big fan of your show Martha Bakes, and have been following your instructions to the tee.  Unfortunately, there was one episode concerning baking a chicken that you mentioned about the use of Lemon Grass as stuffing inside a chicken.  As a quasi-animal rights proponent, I kind of find this a bit disturbing.  I have a lot of respect for chickens.  So, I feel that stuffing a foreign object inside them is objectionable for reason that it is downright degrading and racist.  In the south where I grew up, we always treated our chickens with respect.  At least, before we kill and cook them.  Having said that, I hope you will reconsider your recipe for the Chicken Bake as it is not only a turn-off but offensive to folks like us.

Yours truly,
Colonel Sanders

#lemongrassasart #stilllifewithlemongrass #MarthaStewart #ColonelSanders #chickenbake #MarthaBakes

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Corregidor Today

What is left of the Officers Quarters in Corregidor, Philippines

The war ravaged building used be the quarters for Officers in the island of Corregidor, Philippines.  On May 6, 1942, Japanese troops forced the surrender of American and Filipino soldiers.

The building has not been restored in reverence to the American and Filipino soldiers who died there.

#history #corregidor #officersquarters #worldwarII #fallofcorregidor #ruins

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The problem with diversity

Bartender in Austin, Texas.

Juzno:  Hey, bud.  Can I get a beer?

Miguel:  No beer.  Only tequila.

Juzno:  Okay, can I have coke with that?

Miguel:  No Cokes.  Only Pepsis.

Juzno:  Okay, can I have a pork slider with that?

Miguel:  No porks.  Only hamburgers.

Juzno:  Can I have cheese with that?

Miguel:  No cheese.  Only queso.

Juzno:  Isn't that the same?

Miguel:  No.  Cheese no good.  Queso better.

#diversity #austinbar #blackandwhiteisworththefight #iloveBnW #bar #beer #adultbeverages #politicallyincorrect

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Time is on my side

Yes, it is.
Dear Swiss Watchmaker,

I just saw the most wonderful urban watch on display at Lugano.  I am sure you know what I am talking about.  It had some real sleek dial and the face is something to behold.  I am prepared to pay whatever sum for the purchase of a similar watch.  Money is no option.  Please advise estimated delivery time.  I would prefer that it gets delivered before the Republican primaries as it would match my theme "My Time is Money".

Yours truly,
Donald Trump

#Lugano #Timeisonmyside #southernswitzerland #watch #clock #urban #parody #satire

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Windmill of his mind

Dulcinea is coming to Kinderdijk.

One night, Don Quixote woke up.  "Sancho, where are we?" he cried.

Sancho half asleep replied, "we are in Amsterdam."

"How the heck did we get here?" asked Don Quixote.

"Don't you remember?  You kept complaining that there was no windmill in Spain."

#windmill #donquixote #amsterdam #kinderdijk #parody #humor

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Soda Can Philosophy

"A penny for your thought?  Sure, just place it on the soda can."

I have never quite understood it.  "Beer over whisky, mighty risky.  Whiskey over beer, have no fear."  People have passed this sort of saying as truth.  Perhaps, because it has stood the test of experience.  Okay, now.  Let me see what happens when I add soda to the mix.

#philosophicalthoughts #sodacanphilosohy #beeroverwhiskyisrisky #whiskeyoverfearhavenofear

Friday, October 09, 2015

No te preocupes por mi

Don't worry about me.
Dear Mom,

I won't bother you with my usual apologies for the lateness of my letter.  And perhaps for once, I can write without going through a defeating motion of trying to explain why I chose to be here.  The terrible truth is I have not been responding to many of the letters that other people have sent me since the time I got into an altercation with the son of the Police Chief.  There are many uncertainties and a lot of things may no longer be unavoidable.  Everything that is happening here is depressing - with maybe an extreme rare case when Pope Francis came to visit the island.  He may be our one last hope to redeem this tyrannical country.  Viva Il Papa.  I have tried to smuggle a note to him through one of his bodyguards though I would not be able to ascertain that it will even reach him.  In my letter, I have tried to explain that since the economic atom bomb had exploded years ago, ramifications beyond the ken of any normal man have far expanded.  Blah.  Blah.  Blah.  I wonder if my politically loaded monograph will make sense to him.  It had to.  The Pope grew up in a place where tyranny was the norm.  But I can't say for certain that he would even read my letter.  Anyways, I can only regard this sort of thing as another chapter in my continuing education of politics and human depravity.  I got to go, mom.  I can hear the sounds of revving engine from the outside.  That has got to be the truck of the same military thugs who roam the streets every week.  Hence, it is lights out in a few minutes.  So, I'll say goodnight and sign off.


#lettertomother #militarymadness #economicatombomd #humandepravity #PopeFrancis

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Man with Pink Bow Tie

"I hope my sister won't mind that I borrowed her bow tie."

The perfect lighting.
The appropriate environment.
The Scandinavian gent.
A young Max Von Sydow.
All I had to do was click the camera.

Sometimes things just happen in street photography.  I was standing near a coffee bar at the Grand Central Market in LA when this young man with a pink bow tie stepped in to order a cup of some pretentious Latte with Pumpkin spice.  From his attire, he could have been a fashion model, an actor or a maître d' for Pink's Hot Dog.

"Ursäkta, may I take your picture?"

"Vad fasa.  You insignificant peasant.  How dare you?"

"In that case, I suppose you are not signing any model release then."

#streetphotography #manwithpinkbowtie #fashionista #swedishpretentiousness #PinksHotDog #GrandCentralMarket #metro #hipster #waitingforcoffee

Monday, October 05, 2015

Together Through Life (Part 2)

Will you still love me when I'm 84?

Gertrude:  Honey, did you not clean the mirror?  I can see ourselves with all kinds of lints and scratches.

Conrad:  Oh, I thought that was just our natural wrinkles.

#togetherthroughlife #oldcouplelovingeachother 

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Probably The Most Expensive Snack I Paid For

At least the chips are certified gluten-free.

Half Size Bottle of Wine 
     and Potato Chips                                                 $44

Plastic Cups for the wine                                           Free

One ticket to see Gustavo Dudamel
     conducts Simon Bolivar Orchestra                        $48

Another ticket of the same concert                             $48

Fee for buying tickets                                                $15

Parking at Disney Concert Hall                                   $ 9

Listen to Beethoven's 3rd and 4th Symphonies            Priceless

Our first concert for this season.

#concert #Beethoven #3rdand4thsymphonies #GustavoDudamel #DisneyConcertHall #SimonBolivarOrchestra #wine #tickets #snack #expensivesnack

Friday, October 02, 2015

The Illusion of Free Will

If we truly have a free will, then why is it that we are bound by moral imperatives?

Why did you make that move?

I wanted to see if it can move.

No, I mean was there any other reason since you are playing this game?

I am?  I thought I was playing chess?

You are.  Chess is a game.

Then, why the heck did I choose to make that move?

#beingandnothingness #existentialism

Thursday, October 01, 2015

How to deal with irate neighbors

"Yes, you are a piece of insignificant matter that is ruining my day."

"My neighbor came to me to complain that my tree is causing rain water to run off to his backyard, which was ruining his garden.  I told him I can't do anything, and that he should complain to God."

#mindlesscomplaints #retrolook #americana