Archive for May, 2012

Hitch-Hikers' Handbook

Albi is a small charming town located in the south of France, 85 km northeast of Toulouse. I had never heard of Albi before I lived in Toulouse doing my Erasmus in autumn 2008. It sounded then like a pleasant one-day trip which everyone was doing at the time, therefore fond of travelling as I was, I decided to visit it as well with my dear Estonian friend Kristiina.


We set off early in the morning, to be able to benefit from a whole day spent away from Toulouse. When we got there we couldn’t see much of it as the whole town was covered with the impenetrable density of the early morning mist. We strolled along the river trying to find our way, but all we could see was this grey delicate creeping veil of water droplets suspended in the air.



Only later, around midday when…

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SANTANA: ABRAXAS – Full Album Remastered

Mati Klarwein

I came about learning of Mati Klarwein through the backdoor, you might say.  His famous paintings decorate several album covers, Santana’s Abraxas among them, as well as his first album Axis, and Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew.  I was listening to the album first, then became fascinated enough by the art depicted to do a little research. This is how I discovered Abdul Mati Klarwein

Born in Hamburg, Germany, he studied art in Paris at the Academie Julian. Under the tutelage of Fernand Leger, he was influenced by the surrealist art of Salvador Dali and Bunuel. He also studied with Ernst Fuchs, a Viennese realist who taught techniques of the old world Flaemish masters such as Van Eyck.

Having been born in relative priviledge, to a Jewish architect father of Polish origins and a German opera singer mother, Klarwein was forced by circumstances to travel much in his life. First, his family escaped Nazi Germany by moving to  Palestine, then Jerusalem Israel. It is because of his time in contact with Muslims, that Mati adopted the preface “Abdul” in front of his name. Mati’s father was an architect involved in the design of Israel’s Parliament building, the Knesset. The family vacationed in Saint Tropez, and lived in Deia, Majorca for a while. There, Mati was friends with the poet Robert Graves, and other artists in the small community.

Having been to art school in Paris, Mati moved to New York in 1965, there to be influenced by artists involved in the psychedelic movement, and personally knew  Timothy Leary. But as Leary said, “Mati didn’t need psychedelics!” He’d been inspired by his travels through various countries of different cultures and non-Western deities and symbolism. His piece de’ resistance was a large scale project called The Aleph Sanctuary. This so-called temple of all religions, featured 68 paintings illustrating symbolism and scenes from multiple spiritual universes, including reflections on Biblical passages. Some of these, such as “Anunciation”, “The Tree of Life”, and “Grain of Sand” are seen here. Some of these paintings are those he’s most known for.

Mati in later life settled in Deia on Majorca, and painted celebrity portraits as well as landscapes. He died in March 2002.

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In a clever bit of technological legerdemain, Stanford University has combined historical research, mapping, and Web technology to bring ancient Roman Empire travel to the Internet. A cross-disciplinary team has created and launched ORBIS: The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World. With it, a user can determine how long it will take to travel from any point in the Roman Empire to any other, as well as calculate the cost of transporting goods and people.

This heretofore unnatural union of geographers, technologists, and historians of the ancient world is becoming more and more common under the descriptor of “digital humanities.” ORBIS looks to be one of the most effective examples of its promise.

Built by historian and classicist Walter Scheidel and Stanford Libraries’ digital humanities specialist Elijah Meeks, with the assistance of geographer and Web developer Karl Grossner and GIS analyst Noemi Alvarez, the interactive online atlas is based on a host of data. This includes historical tide information and weather; size, grade, and surface of roads; main cities and ports; land, sea, and river routes; vehicle speed (including ships, ox carts, horse, and walking); and the cost of transport…

continue reading Travel across the Roman Empire in real time with ORBIS | Ars Technica.

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“If it is accepted, as it is often said, that without Joan of Arc there would be no France, it is also true that without Yolande of Aragon, there would have been no Joan.”

This historical point was also stressed in the movie about Joan d’Arc, “The Messenger”.

Word by Word

Such a seductive title ‘The Maid and the Queen’ – The Secret History of Joan of Arc and it is indeed an intriguing story, wrapped in faith, hope, superstition, manipulation, cruelty and ultimately the exoneration and beatification of a heroine (Joan of Arc was canonised in 1920).

 Joan of Arc is testimony to the transcendence of the human spirit….She remains an inspiration, not only to the citizens of France, but to oppressed people everywhere.

Ironically, it is due to the inquisition of Joan of Arc that much of the history of the era was documented and preserved, her testimony and the numerous depositions from the many eyewitnesses who knew her and who were in some way involved in the events of the Hundred Years war, that period of conflict between the Kingdoms of England and France and various other alliances from 1337 to 1453, as each sought to claim…

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lovely place to visit!


The beach in Bandol

Bike Rentals on L’Ile de Porquerolles

Grazing sheep in Gemenos

The Port at Sanary-sur-Mer

The hills above La Roquebrussanne

Purple flowers in full bloom in Sanary-sur-Mer

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reblogged from David Halliday’s Work “No Mention of the Common Cold”

The preface is a quote from Hegel, a very important German philosopher. Who I based my master’s thesis on. He is a very difficult man to read. In English. I can’t imagine he is any easier in German.

Here is the preface:

“Consciousness knows and comprehends nothing but what falls within its experience; for what is found in experience is merely spiritual substance, and, moreover, object of its self.

Mind, however, becomes object, for it consists in the process of becoming an other to itself, ie. An object for its own self, and intranscending this otherness.

And experience is called this very process by which the element that is immediate, unexperienced, ie. Abstract – whether it be in the form of sense or of a bare thought – externalizes itself, and then comes back to itself from the state of estrangement, and by doing so is at length set forth in its concrete nature and real truth, and becomes too a possession of consciousness.”

G. W. F. Hegel

Preface to the Phenomenology of the Mind.

Fun reading, eh? I struggled through Hegel for 8 months. Learned some things. About human nature. Like pretentiousness. Which I was tainted with. I think I’m still a bit of a snob. (I like Starbuck’s coffee.)

The first poem is called Antemath. Its supposed to be some overriding opus on the condition of man. How his journey into consciousness was a mixture of madness and accident. No mention of the common cold.

continue reading…David Halliday’s Work “No Mention of the Common Cold”

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At the time, I had no knowledge of the rotten eggs, the nose-pinching, the strange places Icelanders take automobiles, nor many of the other quaint and, frankly, weird passions of the Icelandic people, and I just thought Einar was a bit odd. At the time, I didn’t realize eccentricity was a national characteristic. Nor that it was contagious.
I started wondering about the Icelandic temperament when Einar Gustavsson advised me to eat trout smoked in burning horse manure. As a tourism official whose job is to convince Americans to visit Iceland, he did not tell me about the rotten duck eggs, or “hard-fish.” But he couldn’t restrain himself on the subject of the smoked fish.

“This is so good, you wouldn’t believe how natural and wonderful it is,” he told me on the phone.
“Horse shit,” I said, to be sure.

“Some horse manure, some wood,” he said appeasingly. “Mostly wood.”

Such was my introduction to Iceland, a Pennsylvania-sized island formed by a giant attack of planetary dyspepsia, and inhabited by the boisterous-yet-bookish descendants of the Vikings.

Although videos are making inroads, Icelanders are reputed to read more books than anyone else on the planet. They have always been wordy folk. Even when their young democracy wobbled out of control, leading to horrible poverty that lasted from the 12th century through the 19th, Icelanders held the touchstone of their language. Through the winter nights, they huddled in damp, turf-and-stone huts, reading the sagas aloud. In the worst of times, brought by Danish exploitation and vomiting ash that smothered the grass and starved the livestock, they ate their beautifully illustrated calfskin books, and went back to telling the sagas from memory.

This linguistic tenacity has paid a peculiar dividend: The Icelandic language has hardly changed in a thousand years, meaning that Icelanders can still read their ancient literature. These days, to protect the historic tongue from the epidemic of Global Culture Fade, a panel of Icelanders is charged with inventing new terms as needed. The telephone, for example, is a simi, or “thread.” A fax is a simibref, or “phone letter.”

continue reading

Cultural Immersion & Heritage In Iceland & Iceland – Finding Your Inner Viking | Away.com.

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