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Albi, France, before sunrise from the ideally situated hotel room window, the Tarn river was raging after torrential rains. The light on the cathedral was off at that hour, but it was on the dusk versions to be uploaded in the future.


Make room for me

to lead and follow


beyond this rage of poetry.


Let others have

the privacy of

touching words

and love of loss

of love.


For me

Give me your hand.


Esta es una imagen con © Todos los Derechos Reservados. Por favor no use esta imagen en páginas webs, blogs, facebook u otro medio sin mi explicito permiso.

This is a copyrighted image with © All Rights Reserved. Please don't use this image on websites, blogs, facebook, or other media without my explicit permission.

© All Rights Reserved.

© Todos los Derechos Reservados

♫ ♪ Now on the street tonight the lights grow dim

The walls of my room are closing in

There's a war outside still raging

You say it ain't ours anymore to win ♪ ♪ ♫

The writer stares with glassy eyes

Defies the empty page

His beard is white, his face is lined

And streaked with tears of rage.

Thirty years ago, how the words would flow

With passion and precision,

But now his mind is dark and dulled

By sickness and indecision

And he stares out the kitchen door

Where the sun will rise no more...



Unfortunately, there is no video to accompany this song, a shame, it's a beautiful song! This is my first attempt at overlaying in Picnik. The pic was taken at the Robert Frost Farm last year and of course, the overlay is a book. Not sure I'm going to attempt this one again! LOL I wonder how many of the Frost writings came from this room......

Actually, I’m not sure I have any self-hatred left at this point in my life. You can, if you wish to, get over a lot of that damn-assed, negative self-image baggage from youth. It wasn’t true about you in the first place, you can let it go, and that shit simply doesn’t pay off over the long haul in the happiness or contentment departments in life.


View On Black


So, last year I made a reasonable, well-negotiated, peace agreement with my flaws and faults, and we issued a Joint-Communique just before the start of 2012:


“Bob’s alright with us. When he fucks up, he tries to address the nature of the fuck-up as well as to make things right with the fuck-upees. He doesn’t just “move on,” which we think is the biggest, “ loser-take-no-personal-responsibility-for-nuthin’-cop-out-piece-of-crap” we’ve ever heard. Other than that, he tries to do the right thing. And if you don’t like his action, you can fuck-off and move on. No, really. Move along now, and do have a most wonderful day.”


That is one of the joys of ageing: you get to tell the world to take a hike. Hell, it’s almost mandatory.


OK, so no self-hatred, but I did have hatred for Celery. I gave it no respect. Then I found these facts (listed below). Even if they are only 60% true, I realize I have been disrespecting Celery for no good reason at all. It isn’t like it tastes bad: I’d just been told all my life that it tasted bad. (I heard that about pickled beets when I was young too, but they were so pretty with their deep red, merlot color, that I made myself like them. Now, I love`em.)


So, I shall henceforth address my hatred of Celery by eating more, or at least some, or at least the one you see here. (Note to self: “Self, buy some damn kind of salad-dressing Dip next time you get celery, dipstick.)


Apparently, Celery was considered an aphrodisiac by the Romans and the French. I don’t know how much you have to munch to get and maintain a bonafide boner, but it will surely beat $30 a pill for Cialis. (It better in this economy, dammit!) And, if the French consider Celery to be one of the holy trinity of ingredients, along with Onions, and Carrots, well then. ..


Scene: Man and woman in a dark room, in Bed, making Love.

Man: (snapping sound effect) Crunch, crunch, crunch."

Woman: "This is really killing the mood. You know that, right?"

Man: "It has all natural boner ingredients in it. No side-effects. It's all the rage in Europe." (snap) "Crunch, munch, crunch."

Woman: "I can show you one damn side-effect."

Man: "Hey," crunch, "where you," crunch, "goin?" crunch, crunch."




“Here’s crunching at you, Kid.”




* King Tut's tomb contained a shroud adorned with garlands of wild celery, olive leaves, willow, lotus petals, and cornflowers.


* Hippocrates described celery as a nerve soother. (With body-image issues, a weight problem and nickname like “Hippo” he needed to soothe his nerves. Naw, I made that up.)


* As far back as ancient Rome, celery was considered an aphrodisiac. Today, scientists know that celery contains androsterone, a pheromone released by men's sweat glands that attracts females.

(“Hey Gladiator, yeah you, sandal-boy, is that a stalk of celery under your tunic, or you just happy to see me?”)


* A recipe uncovered in Pompeii for a celery dessert called for roasting chopped celery in an oven and serving it with honey and ground pepper. (They deserved to die, serving up this shit as “dessert. What's wrong with PIE?”)


* Aulus Cornelius Celsus, writing around 30 AD, wrote about the use of celery seeds to relieve pain. (Is this a tea, a soup, a powder or smoked? Can I substitute pumpernickel seeds, `cause I got some of them?)


* The first recorded mention of celery in France was in 1623. (Bonjour Musketeer... Vous faire a du celeri dans vos pantaloons, ou êtes-vous heureux de me voir ?) or "Hey, Gladiator...."


* 18th-Century French courtesan Madame de Pompadour, Mistress of Louis XV, ate celery soup and truffles in an effort to adopt a "heating diet" so she would be less frigid and more attractive to the king. It is also said that she fed the king celery soup to fan the fires of his passion. (The courtesans were frigid? Why would anyone want a frigid Mistress? Spending hard-earned Francs for a frigid, French Mistress? Est-ceci possible?)


* Famed Italian lover Casanova made sure to include lots of celery in his diet to keep up his stamina. (Tell me more…tea, soup, pow……)


* It takes just one ounce of celery seeds to produce an acre of celery. (Hummm, quite potent. Tell me more…again. What about Sesame seeds, cause I got some of them? I wonder what an acre of sesame looks like?)


* Celery was first introduced to America in 1856 when a Scotsman named George Taylor brought celery to Kalamazoo, Michigan. By 1872, Dutch farmers were transforming acres of Kalamazoo mucklands into celery fields. (Really? There was celery in Scotland? Where? In the Haggis aisle?)


* There is a celery museum in Portage, Michigan called the Celery Flats Interpretive Center. (Do they pay us to come in, or do we have to pay to get out?)


* The 1897 Sears Catalog featured a nerve tonic made from celery and described celery as a "great nerve builder." (Those were the codes words for “great and amazing boners,” back in Victorian-era America)


* One stalk of celery contains about 10 calories. Some contend that it contains "negative calories," meaning that one spends more calories digesting it than are consumed when it eating it, which supposedly helps with weight loss. (But, it’s really all of that chewing that gets you ready for great oral sex with your frigid French mistresses. Snorkel s may be required.)


King Louis: “Cease! Air, Mon Amour, the King requires Air!”


De Pompadour: No, Mon Seigneur, don't stop. I am close. Stay your head, and make the sound of the “raspberries” with your lips and tongue, s'il vous plaît.”


Louis: “Mfffpt. Psssssssssssssssssssssssssssst!”


Pompadour: Aah, votre Majesteeeeé!


…and thus was the vibrator born. (See; celery was involved.)


* The Fifth Doctor on the BBC show Doctor Who, played by Peter Davison, wore a stalk of celery on his lapel. (What! What?)


And after World War I, when American soldiers returned home from Europe, they were asked by their wives,


Wife: "Well, what did you learn in Paris?"

Husband: "I'll show you. Psssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssst."

Wife: Oh! My! Sweet Jeeeeez-Susss!!!!!!!! Vive la France!


And thus began the Roaring 20's. Hi-de, Hi-de, Hi-de, Ho!


* Celery, onions, and carrots make up the "holy trinity," known as the "mirepoix," of French cuisine. These three vegetables are used together as the base for many French dishes, including sauces, stews, soups, and stocks. (I’ve no French jokes left: I kinda’ blew my wad with the Mistress thing.)


* Celery, onions, and bell peppers are considered the "holy trinity" of Louisiana Creole and Cajun cuisine.


* After a patron at the Pump Room at Chicago's Ambassador East Hotel decided to stir his Bloody Mary with a stalk of celery, the idea caught on and celery became permanently linked with the drink.


(“So long self-hatred. Cheers, Celeri.")


Texture by Delany Dean:


Israel’s Worst Fire in Modern History Kills 40 and Rages On In Bio-reserve.

Over 42 Killed, Beit Oren Village Wiped Out...


"Some 40 people trapped in a bus are known to have been killed and 45 more reportedly injured as a massive fire on Israel’s Mount Carmel rages on. Believed to have been started by arsonists, the fire broke out in a cedar forest around noon near Isifiya, a Druize village. Although the winter season has officially started, the rains despite the prayers, have not come, leaving the forest vulnerable to attacks..."

The Grade I Listed Norwich Cathedral which is dedicated to the Holy and Undivided Trinity, it is the cathedral church for the Church of England Diocese of Norwich and is one of the Norwich 12 heritage sites. The cathedral close is one of the largest in England and one of the largest in Europe and has more people living within it than any other close. The cathedral spire, measuring at 315 ft or 96 m, is the second tallest in England despite being partly rebuilt after being struck by lightning in 1169, just 23 months after its completion. In Norwich Norfolk.


In 672 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Theodore of Tarsus divided East Anglia into two dioceses, one covering Norfolk, with its see at Elmham, the other, covering Suffolk with its see at Dunwich. During much of the 9th century, because of the Danish incursions, there was no bishop at Elmham; in addition the see of Dunwich was extinguished and East Anglia became a single diocese once more. Following the Norman Conquest many sees were moved to more secure urban centres, that of Elmham being transferred to Thetford in 1072, and finally to Norwich in 1094.


The structure of the cathedral is primarily in the Norman style, having been constructed at the behest of Bishop Herbert de Losinga who had bought the bishopric for £1,900 before its transfer from Thetford. Building started in 1096 and the cathedral was completed in 1145. It was built from flint and mortar and faced with cream coloured Caen limestone. It still retains the greater part of its original stone structure. An Anglo-Saxon settlement and two churches were demolished to make room for the buildings and a canal cut to allow access for the boats bringing the stone and building materials which were taken up the Wensum and unloaded at Pulls Ferry, Norwich.


The ground plan remains almost entirely as it was in Norman times, except for that of the easternmost chapel. The cathedral has an unusually long nave of fourteen bays. The transepts are without aisles and the east end terminates in an apse with an ambulatory.


The crossing tower was the last piece of the Norman cathedral to be completed, in around 1140. It is boldly decorated with circles, lozenges and interlaced arcading. The present spire was added in the late fifteenth century.


The cathedral was damaged after riots in 1272, which resulted in the city paying heavy fines levied by Henry III, Rebuilding was completed in 1278 and the cathedral was reconsecrated in the presence of Edward I on Advent Sunday of that year.


A large two-storey cloister, the only such in England, with over 1,000 ceiling bosses was begun in 1297 and finally finished in 1430 after the Black Death had plagued the city.


The Norman spire was blown down in 1362. Its fall caused considerable damage to the east end, as a result of which the clerestory of the choir was rebuilt in the Perpendicular style. In the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, the cathedrals flat timber ceilings were replaced with stone vaults: the nave was vaulted under Bishop Lyhart (1446–72), the choir under Bishop Goldwell (1472–99) and the transepts after 1520.


In 1463 the spire was struck by lightning, causing a fire to rage through the nave which was so intense it turned some of the creamy Caen limestone a pink colour. In 1480 the bishop, James Goldwell, ordered the building of a new spire which is still in place today. It is of brick faced with stone, supported on brick squinches built into the Norman tower. At 315 feet (96 metres) high, the spire is the second tallest in England. Only that of Salisbury Cathedral is taller at 404 feet (123 metres).


The cathedral was partially in ruins when John Cosin was at the grammar school in the early 17th century and the former bishop was an absentee figure. In 1643 during the reign of Charles I, an angry Puritan mob invaded the cathedral and destroyed all Roman Catholic symbols. The building, abandoned the following year, lay in ruins for two decades. The mob also fired their muskets. At least one musket ball remains lodged in the stonework. Only at the Restoration in 1660 would the cathedral be restored under Charles II.


And the fever begins to rage,

From my heart down to my legs,

But the room is so quiet

And although I was losing my mind,

It was a chorus so sublime,

And the room is too quiet


original O-o

I opened the curtains in our hotel room and this was the scene that greeted me. There was a fierce battle raging between the overnight fog and the early morning sun to establish dominance in the new day. The sun eventually won but it was great to watch.


Watch the battle on black.


San Francisco, CA

With thermal sight, advanced suppressor, and 30mm launcher.

Saw this and thought of Sammy Hagar(couldn't find the song on youtube...)

I just came out from the room.

I saw the rising of the moon.

This ain't no ordinary night.

Looked to my left, looked to my right.

I felt the chill down to my bones.

I must have dreamed this once before.

Glanced at the pictures on the walls.

I saw my reflections in the glass.

And as I walked down the hall

I said to myself, "It's got to be"

The rise of the animal.

C'mon, get it up.

The rise of the animal.

In the streets, uh-huh.

The rise of the animal.

It's just got to be, uh-huh.

The rise of the animal

In me.

I thought I heard the crowd scream.

As I recalled a childhood dream.

I saw myself as I stand.

Caught with the axe in my hand.

Then I was pushed out on the stage.

And the crowd became a state of rage.

I tripped, I fell down to one knee.

I said to myself, "It's got to be"

The rise of the animal.

C'mon, get it up.

The rise of the animal.

In the streets, uh!

The rise of the animal.

It's just got to be, uh-huh.

The rise of the animal

In me.

She was officially engaged to the man of her dreams. She has been waiting for the moment for a gentleman to come and swoop her from her feet. It was every girls dream to have such romantic lovelife. Her parents arranged the engagement with a distinguish family next town. They sent a portrait of the young master and she agreed immediately. The next day, the lad himself came to the mansion to present the engagement ring for the excited maiden. Her family offered to let the lad stay for night as a storm was coming and he agreed.


It was a small misunderstanding. The gardener who tended her white lilies visited her quarters to deliver the fresh batch of the flower before the storm arrives. He knew that the young maiden couldn't sleep well without the fragrance. Her fiancee however watched the whole conversation from the shadows, boiling with rage with every second passed as they exchange giggles and smiles. When the gardener took his leave and the maiden was about to close the door, the lad stormed into her room.


No one heard her scream over the storm. By dawn, her room was simply covered crimson, even the fresh lilies. However, there was not a single trance of young girl's part found and young lad who stayed overnight also disappeared.


Credits and Rambles

It's storm season and I love the drama, beauty and energy of storms and shoot them every chance I get. Yesterday, the sky was getting dramatic and I was psyched to get some shots having recently watched one of my favorite movies about storm chasing, Twister. It's a movie I can watch over and over and never get tired of it. Because I know it so well, I sometimes have a habit of saying the lines at the same time as the characters or maybe a beat or two before.

"The Suck Zone. It's the point basically when the twister... sucks you up. That's not the technical term for it, obviously."

"it's the wonder of nature, baby!"

"Why do you call Billy the extreme?....Because... Bill is.....the EXTREME!!!!!!!

When eerie silence fills the air as a raging tornado abruptly ends, the scientist called Preacher and I say, at the same time and in the same reverent tone...

"It's the cone of silence" I love that line but it's a fallacy that tornadoes have a cone of silence. It's really a radar term. Directly over a radar tower is a blackout area where the weather readout is blank, it's a visual cone of silence, like my umbrella. But for the movie it's a great line and we don't care too much about accuracy,'s a movie!


Sometimes I have to warn the characters...where'd it go? it's gone (meaning the twister)

"No, it's not, it's gonna back-build... It's back-building! It's gonna drop right on top of you! Get the hell out of there!"

"Getting yourself killed is not gonna bring your father back Jo!"

"It's not gonna fly, The pack is too light, it needs more weight! I told you it needed more weight!"


My hubby looked up at me perched on the back of the couch with my fists in the air and he said, I feel like I'm at the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Ha! for those who don't know, That's a cult classic horror spoof that was popular years ago to which everyone would go dressed as the characters every night and recite the lines. Imagine having that excitement right in the privacy of your own living room.


For ODC ~ S

This shot brought to you by great personal risk to my camera... Elowah Falls and McCord Creek were absolutely raging from 3 straight days of rain combined with snow melt in the upper regions of the Columbia River Gorge. Venturing out into the creek to find compositions was pretty much impossible and the lone accessible spot I could find was splashing quite a bit, as you can see in this frame. It was time to get patient about wiping off the lens, relaxed about gear getting wet, and creative with composing and focusing with not much room to work with. Happy to have come away with a view of the falls I like.

The dark side of me, the one that kills any good intentions or feelings. If I normally feel like being a good person, loving others deeply and unconditionally, it happens to me sometimes that all the good I’ve done and given is totally unwanted or, worse, taken, used and then discarded like rubbish. These are the moments in which the angel in me dies… leaving room only for vengeance and rage. And it’s weird how the bigger part of that anger is against myself, because once again I lowered my walls and let someone undeserving in. Beware of me if I’m wearing guns, because this means my wings are rapidly disintegrating.


Full credit list on

From the Official Site:


Along the Great Ocean Road and beyond, you will be able to experience some of the world's most breathtaking coastal regions. See huge cliffs, raging surf, tranquil bays, lush rainforests,and fascinating wildlife.



Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mk II

Lens: Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

Exposure: 13 exposures (-2,-1.66.-1.33,-1,-.66,-.33,0,+.33,+.66,+1,+1.33,+1.66+2 EV)

Aperture: f/18

Focal Length: 35 mm

ISO Speed: 100

Accessories: Manfrotto 190XB Tripod, Manfrotto 322RC2 Heavy Duty Grip Ball Head, Canon RC1 Wireless Remote

Date and Time: 26 July 2009 7.46am


Post Processing:

Imported into Lightroom

Exported 13 exposures to Photomatix

Tonemap generated HDR using detail enhancer option

Re-imported back into Lightroom

Exported HDR and 0 EV exposure to CS3 and layered HDR on top of 0 EV

Brush tool to even out the sky

Noise reduction layer

Background layer and healing brush tool to remove dust gremlins

Curves layer for contrast

Hues/Saturation layer (reds, greens, cyans, blues)

Background layer and quick selection tool to select rock-face

Unsharp Mask filter on selection

Re-imported back into Lightroom

Chromatic aberration adjustment in Light room

Vibrance adjustment in Lightroom

Added keyword metadata

Exported as 2500 x 1667 JPEG


View On Black


View Original Size

The Image Can not prove just how big this room and impressive Machine really is. When i first saw it is was blown away by its sheer Beauty.

Mowgli sketches-compare 3


Start: Friday, April 10, 2009, 7:08:53pm

Done: Friday, April 10, 2009, 7:27:01pm


Panel 1- Mowgli running toward the animated camera. This is another shot of Mowgli running like in the 10th panel of my 1st Sketches. I traced this version cuz I thought it looked dynamic & I was also *running* out of ideas for screenshots. heheh ;p

Panel 2- Mowgli sitting down to take a breather against a rock to his back. Another serenic moment that I wanted to add to this volume. Drawing the toes hidden beneath the grass was a little tricky at first, but other than that, it was No Problemo. 8-)

Panel 3- Another “KHHHAAAAANNN!!!” shot, but with a slightly different angle than the previous one, including the overall Action Movie style posing.

Panel 4- Mowgli relaxing on a trunk of a tree. I forgot to add the blue tree outlines so that he doesn’t look like he’s floating on air, but you get the sense of the shot.

Panel 5- My favorite shot in the whole sketches here. I like his dynamic type of stance here & although he’s only a 10 year old Boy, he has that sense of Authority in Adults. So that’s why this is here.

Panel 6- Awwwwww, widdle Mowgli napping in a fetal position that I’m sure all you ‘kawaii’ type fangirls will enjoy. :roll: But yeah, I like the innocent type of pose here as well as the relaxation style too.

Panel 7- Mowgli sitting up in a tree & daydreaming. Again, I like the way he looks calm like your average Feral/Savage Wild Boy as they often sit up high in trees. I also like the expression that he shows in his face.

Panel 8- Another shot of Mowgli in a tree. Same thing as the 7th panel, but with a sense of curiosity in the character as to suggest what his attention is geared toward to.

Panel 9- yet Another shot of Mowgli in a tree, but looking a bit peeved. While the previous two were about relaxation & curiosity, this one has a bit of rage in him, as so to define him in a Savage/Ferocious manner.

Panel 10- Another ‘Awwwww’ shot but done at a different angle to show his back rather than the side.

Panel 11- Mowgli with his back to the view holding his temporary weapon, The Boomerang. I liked the way that he’s ready & waiting for something. Presumably to obliterate his next meal.

Panel 12- Another shot of Mowgli with the Boomerang but with his face toward us. This is almost like the previous panel, but in reverse to get that mirror type shot, or something.

Panel 13- Mowgli throws the Boomerang in an Action style pose that looks cool, as if he’s ready to take on his enemies n’ stuff.

Panel 14- Mowgli crawling out of his Home Cave so he can act like his Wolf Brothers. I like the way he’s crouched down low with his head up in a dramatic type pose cuz it adds a lot to his Feral personality. I also like the way I slightly altered his face as to have him question his own humanity because of the current upbringing that his whole ‘Family’ are Wolves & he’s the only Human in the Jungle. Which is why I, like many others, are greatly imposed over having him covered in a diaper/loincloth because his neutrality matches his Natural sense of surroundment & evokes the overall Human emotion that he expresses.

Panel 15- A somewhat young Mowgli crouched down at a water hole to take a swig. As before, I like the Feral type of pose he has here, as well as an additional sense of curiosity he has on his new surroundings.

Panel 16- Mowgli in his Home Cave supposedly nursing one of his wolf brethren to health. I like his pose & his look of Good Samaritan that he emotes. He also looks a bit creepy like he’s ready to pounce or attack someone Freddy Krueger style.

Panel 17- Same shot as panel 15, but at a different angle because I like style & variety. :D

Panel 18- The continuing shot from panel 14 as he emerges from the cave to act out his Inner Wolf. I like the way he sits up & the pose & stuff. I forgot to add a little hair extension, but other than that, it’s okay.

Panel 19- Mowgli shouting or becoming frustrated over something. His stature kinda invokes the early days of the Renaissance Era where everything about the Human Body was majestic in that aspect.

Panel 20- Mowgli sliding down Kaa’s body like a ride at DisneyLand. ;p I once thought of marking an outline of Kaa like I did with some of the blue/red outlines you see here, but I thought it wasn’t needed.

Not only I like the pose, but also the expression in Mowgli’s face & the sense of bewilderment in his eyes.

It displeases me that Kaa was made into a villain in the campy Disney version. :X

Panel 21- What follows from panel 16. I added the rest of his feet & accidentally made his mouth bigger.

Also added more to his feet on this one.

Panel 22- Mowgli in a scene with his Wolf Mother. I like the sense of affection that Mowgli expresses as Children are often like that. I improved the structure of his feet, especially the right foot by having a more shape like foot to it rather than just something added to his leg.

Panel 23- Mowgli sitting down on hands & knees from the 19th panel. I just like the way he’s sitting in a Innocent/Childlike manner which is nice once in a while.

Panel 24- Another shot of Mowgli on a tree. I like his stature, but I didn’t like drawing his hand covered by the tree trunk. I surprisingly did great on the feet, but I might have made the hand a bit bigger, I think.

Panel 25- Yet another shot of Mowgli on a tree, but with him crawling on the trunk. With the boomerang strapped behind him, I almost had a tough time drawing the arch of his back, the spine line & the backside, but it only took me a few tries so it wasn’t that difficult to pull off. I also forgot to add the blue lines across the tree but I like the overall stature of it anyway, so I didn‘t bother with it.

Panel 26, 27, 28 & 29- At this point, I’d almost had enough of plain old standing shots, so in the next volume you’ll see a lot more provocative postures & body language that the character expresses.

Panel 30- Mowgli getting ready to throw the Batman Weapon to deliver Obliteration on his enemies. I couldn’t pass on a cool panel like this as Mowgli looks really Kick Ass on this shot. 8-)

Panel 31- Another good shot of Mowgli with the Batman Weapon. I like this one a bit more better than the last panel cuz of his overall stance and I even decided to alter the expression on his face as if he’s saying “Don’t You F*ck with Me!!” to his would be victim. :threaten:

I kinda like that. 8-)

Panel 32- Mowgli lying down on the grass on a Warm Night. :relax: I like the feeling of relaxation on him like he’s just taking a rest from a busy day of Battling a few woodland critters. 8-)

Panel 33- The same thing on the last panel, but him sitting up & chatting with his Wolf Brothers. I had some time & room to spare, so I got this one because I like the way he sits up and commands attention to the scene. I drew the right ear too small, so it looks a bit funny not being symmetrical to the other ear.

Ah well, whaddya gonna do? :hmm:


See Original Version here:

The Hall of Names at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust history museum in Jerusalem is the Jewish People’s memorial to each and every Jew who perished in the Holocaust – a place where they may be commemorated for generations to come.


The main circular hall houses the extensive collection of “Pages of Testimony” – short biographies of each Holocaust victim. Over two million pages are stored in the circular repository around the outer edge of the Hall, with room for six million in all.

The ceiling of the Hall is composed of a ten-meter high cone reaching skywards, displaying 600 photographs and fragments of Pages of Testimony. This exhibit represents a fraction of the murdered six million men, women and children from the diverse Jewish world destroyed by the Nazis and their accomplices. The victims’ portraits are reflected in water at the base of an opposing cone carved out of the mountain’s bedrock.

At the far end of the Hall is a glass screen onto which Pages of Testimony are projected. From here one may enter a computer centre and search the Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names, with the assistance of the Hall of Names staff. The Centre also offers blank Pages of Testimony and survivor registration forms.


Best to be viewed in large size format

All rights reserved. Copyright 2013 © Jacques Freund. All my images are protected under international authors copyright laws and may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without my written explicit permission. All rights reserved - Copyright 2013 © Jacques Freund

Time flies

Time crawls

Like an insect

Up and down the walls

The light pours out of me

The light pours out of me

The conspiracy

Of silence ought

To revolutionize

My thought

The light pours out of me

The light pours out of me

The cold light of day

Pours out of me

Leaving me black

And so healthy

The light pours out of me

The light pours out of me

It jerks out of me

Like blood

In this still life

Heart beats up love

The light pours out of me

The light pours out of me...


I remember when backpacking in Japan back 20 years ago, the rage was heated toilet seats. Thermostatically controlled mind.


Every Ryoken or house (but not temple) offering B&B seemed to yank up the temperature to 30 degrees for gaijin (foreigners or outsiders), while others probably like me discreetly switched them off (together with stool analysis and a number of other innovations that have thankfully never left Japan). So think about how lucky you are when you next complain about that chilly bog seat.


Magazine live on the reunion tour 2009 -


(c) Hotpix / HotpixUK Tony Smith - WDCC 07092182899

Exp. Aug 10, 2009 #264


Coccinellidae is a family of beetles, known variously as ladybirds (British English, Australian English, South African English), ladybugs (North American English) or lady beetles (preferred by some scientists). Lesser-used names include ladyclock, lady cow, and lady fly.


They are small insects, ranging from 1 mm to 10 mm (0.04 to 0.4 inches), and are commonly yellow, orange, or scarlet with small black spots on their wing covers, with black legs, head and antennae. A very large number of species are mostly or entirely black, grey, or brown and may be difficult for non-entomologists to recognize as coccinellids (and, conversely, there are many small beetles that are easily mistaken as such, like tortoise beetles).


Coccinellids are found worldwide, with over 5,000 species described, more than 450 native to North America alone.


A few species are pests in North America and Europe, but they are generally considered useful insects as many species feed on aphids or scale insects, which are pests in gardens, agricultural fields, orchards, and similar places. The Mall of America, for instance, releases thousands of ladybugs into its indoor park as a natural means of pest control for its gardens.


Coccinellids are typically predators of Hemiptera such as aphids and scale insects, though conspecific larvae and eggs can also be important resources when alternative prey are scarce. Members of the subfamily Epilachninae are herbivores, and can be very destructive agricultural pests (e.g., the Mexican bean beetle). While predatory species are often used as biological control agents, introduced species of ladybirds (such as Harmonia axyridis or Coccinella septempunctata in North America) outcompete and displace native coccinellids and become pests in their own right.


Coccinellids are often brightly colored to ward away potential predators. This phenomenon is called aposematism and works because predators learn by experience to associate certain prey phenotypes with a bad taste (or worse). Mechanical stimulation (such as by predator attack) causes "reflex bleeding" in both larval and adult ladybird beetles, in which an alkaloid toxin is exuded through the joints of the exoskeleton, deterring feeding. Ladybugs, as well as other Coccinellids are known to spray a venomous toxin to certain mammals and other insects when threatened.


Most coccinellids overwinter as adults, aggregating on the south sides of large objects such as trees or houses during the winter months, and dispersing in response to increasing day length in the spring. In Harmonia axyridis, eggs hatch in 3–4 days from clutches numbering from a few to several dozen. Depending on resource availability, the larvae pass through four instars over 10–14 days, after which pupation occurs. After a teneral period of several days, the adults become reproductively active and are able to reproduce again, although they may become reproductively quiescent if eclosing late in the season.


It is thought that certain species of Coccinellids lay extra infertile eggs with the fertile eggs. These appear to provide a backup food source for the larvae when they hatch. The ratio of infertile to fertile eggs increases with scarcity of food at the time of egg laying.




Most coccinellids are beneficial to gardeners in general, as they feed on aphids, scale insects, mealybugs, and mites throughout the year. As in many insects, ladybugs in temperate regions enter diapause during the winter, so they often are among the first insects to appear in the spring. Some species (e.g., Hippodamia convergens) gather into groups and move to higher land, such as a mountains, to enter diapause. Predatory ladybugs are usually found on plants where aphids or scale insects are, and they lay their eggs near their prey, to increase the likelihood the larvae will find the prey easily. Ladybugs are cosmopolitan in distribution, as are their prey.


Coccinellids as household pests


Although native species of coccinellids are typically considered benign, in North America the multicolored Asian lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis), introduced in the twentieth century to control aphids on agricultural crops, has become a serious household pest in some regions owing to its habit of overwintering in structures. It is similarly acquiring a pest reputation in Europe, where it is called the "Multicoloured Asian Ladybird" (In Britain: "Harlequin Ladybird") (see main article Harmonia axyridis for discussion).


Coccinellids in popular culture


Coccinellids are and have for very many years been favorite insects of children. The insects had many regional names (now mostly disused) such as the lady-cow, may-bug, golden-knop, golden-bugs (Suffolk); and variations on Bishop-Barnaby (Norfolk dialect) – Barnabee, Burnabee, and the Bishop-that-burneth. The etymology is unclear but it may be from St. Barnabas feast in June, when the insect appears or a corruption of "Bishop-that-burneth", from the fiery elytra of the beetles.


In parts of Northern Europe, tradition says that one's is wish granted if a ladybird lands on oneself (this tradition lives on in North America, where children capture a ladybird, make a wish, and then "blow it away" back home to make the wish come true). In Italy, it is said by some that if a ladybird flies into one's bedroom, it is considered good luck. In central Europe, a ladybird crawling across a girl's hand is thought to mean she will get married within the year. In some cultures they are referred to as lucky bugs (Turkish: uğur böceği).


In Russia, a popular children's rhyme exists with a call to fly to the sky and bring back bread; similarly, in Denmark a ladybird, called a mariehøne ("Mary's hen"), is asked by children to fly to 'our lord in heaven and ask for fairer weather in the morning'.

Coccinella septempunctata pair mating


The name that the insect bears in the various languages of Europe is mythic. In this, as in other cases, the Virgin Mary has supplanted Freyja, the fertility goddess of Norse mythology; so that Freyjuhaena and Frouehenge have been changed into Marienvoglein, which corresponds with Our Lady's Bird. The esteem with which these insects are regarded has roots in ancient beliefs.


In Irish, the insect is called bóín Dé — or "God's little cow" and in Welsh, the term buwch goch gota is used, containing the word 'buwch' meaning "cow"; similarly, in Croatian it is called Božja ovčica ("God's little sheep"). In France it is known as bête à bon Dieu, "the Good Lord's animal", and in Russia, Божья коровка ("God's little cow"), while in both Hebrew and Yiddish, it is called "Moshe Rabbenu's (i.e. Moses's) little cow" or "Moshe Rabbenu's little horse", apparently an adaptation of the Russian name, or sometimes "Little Messiah".


In Iran, two Farsi words are used; ﮐﻔﺶ ﺪوزک and ﭘﻴﻨﻪ ﺪﻮﺰ, both meaning "shoe cobbler". There is an old story about a woman who tells her husband upon his return from work that a "cobbler" spent the whole day with her and in fact sat on her lap. Hearing this, he flies in to a rage and kills his unfaithful wife. Just then, he notices a lady bird walking in the room and he cries out "Oh my god, that kind of cobbler".


In Greece, ladybirds are called πασχαλίτσα (paschalitsa), because they are found abundantly in Eastertime, along with paschalia, the Common Lilac plant, which flowers at the same time.


In Malta, the ladybird is called nannakola, and little children sang: Nannakola, mur l-iskola/Aqbad siġġu u ibda ogħla (Ladybird go to school, get a chair and start jumping).


In Finnish, ladybird is called leppäkerttu, translating to blood-Gertrud, which refers to the red color. An alternative name is leppäpirkko. These differ by the female name at the end (Pirkko refers to Bridget).


There's a typhoon raging outside my window at the moment and the wind is howling through the chimney in my room. It's quite nice :)







"The Silence of the Village" was my first title for this image. I captured this peaceful scenery in Saint Léon. It's a very quite place in the South West of France. A must see if you ever travel in this region...



For more information about my art:



The Deserted Village


A poem by Oliver Goldsmith


Sweet Auburn! loveliest village of the plain,

Where health and plenty cheered the labouring swain,

Where smiling spring its earliest visits paid,

And parting summer's lingering blooms delayed:

Dear lovely bowers of innocence and ease,

Seats of my youth, where every sport could please,

How often have I loitered o'er your green,

Where humble happiness endeared each scene;

How often have I paused on every charm,

The sheltered cot, the cultivated farm,

The never-failing brook, the busy mill,

The decent church that topped the neighbouring hill,

The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade,

For talking age and whispering lovers made;

How often have I blessed the coming day,

When toil remitting lent its turn to play,

And all the village train, from labour free,

Led up their sports beneath the spreading tree:

While many a pastime circled in the shade,

The young contending as the old surveyed;

And many a gambol frolicked o'er the ground,

And sleights of art and feats of strength went round;

And still as each repeated pleasure tired,

Succeeding sports the mirthful band inspired;

The dancing pair that simply sought renown

By holding out to tire each other down!

The swain mistrustless of his smutted face,

While secret laughter tittered round the place;

The bashful virgin's sidelong look of love,

The matron's glance that would those looks reprove:

These were thy charms, sweet village; sports like these,

With sweet succession, taught even toil to please;

These round thy bowers their cheerful influence shed,

These were thy charms -But all these charms are fled.


Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn,

Thy sports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawn;

Amidst thy bowers the tyrant's hand is seen,

And desolation saddens all thy green:

One only master grasps the whole domain,

And half a tillage stints thy smiling plain:

No more thy glassy brook reflects the day,

But choked with sedges works its weedy way.

Along thy glades, a solitary guest,

The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest;

Amidst thy desert walks the lapwing flies,

And tires their echoes with unvaried cries.

Sunk are thy bowers, in shapeless ruin all,

And the long grass o'ertops the mouldering wall;

And, trembling, shrinking from the spoiler's hand,

Far, far away, thy children leave the land.


Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,

Where wealth accumulates, and men decay:

Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade;

A breath can make them, as a breath has made;

But a bold peasantry, their country's pride,

When once destroyed can never be supplied.


A time there was, ere England's griefs began,

When every rood of ground maintained its man;

For him light labour spread her wholesome store,

Just gave what life required, but gave no more:

His best companions, innocence and health;

And his best riches, ignorance of wealth.


But times are altered; trade's unfeeling train

Usurp the land and dispossess the swain;

Along the lawn, where scattered hamlet's rose,

Unwieldy wealth and cumbrous pomp repose,

And every want to opulence allied,

And every pang that folly pays to pride.

Those gentle hours that plenty bade to bloom,

Those calm desires that asked but little room,

Those healthful sports that graced the peaceful scene,

Lived in each look, and brightened all the green;

These, far departing, seek a kinder shore,

And rural mirth and manners are no more.


Sweet Auburn! parent of the blissful hour,

Thy glades forlorn confess the tyrant's power.

Here as I take my solitary rounds,

Amidst thy tangling walks and ruined grounds,

And, many a year elapsed, return to view

Where once the cottage stood, the hawthorn grew,

Remembrance wakes with all her busy train,

Swells at my breast, and turns the past to pain.


In all my wanderings round this world of care,

In all my griefs -and God has given my share -

I still had hopes my latest hours to crown,

Amidst these humble bowers to lay me down;

To husband out life's taper at the close,

And keep the flame from wasting by repose.

I still had hopes, for pride attends us still,

Amidst the swains to show my book-learned skill,

Around my fire an evening group to draw,

And tell of all I felt and all I saw;

And, as a hare, whom hounds and horns pursue,

Pants to the place from whence at first she flew,

I still had hopes, my long vexations passed,

Here to return -and die at home at last.


O blest retirement, friend to life's decline,

Retreats from care, that never must be mine,

How happy he who crowns in shades like these

A youth of labour with an age of ease;

Who quits a world where strong temptations try,

And, since 'tis hard to combat, learns to fly!

For him no wretches, born to work and weep,

Explore the mine, or tempt the dangerous deep;

No surly porter stands in guilty state

To spurn imploring famine from the gate;

But on he moves to meet his latter end,

Angels round befriending Virtue's friend;

Bends to the grave with unperceived decay,

While Resignation gently slopes the way;

All, all his prospects brightening to the last,

His Heaven commences ere the world be past!


Sweet was the sound when oft at evening's close

Up yonder hill the village murmur rose;

There, as I passed with careless steps and slow,

The mingling notes came softened from below;

The swain responsive as the milkmaid sung,

The sober herd that lowed to meet their young;

The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool,

The playful children just let loose from school;

The watchdog's voice that bayed the whisp'ring wind,

And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind;

These all in sweet confusion sought the shade,

And filled each pause the nightingale had made.

But now the sounds of population fail,

No cheerful murmurs fluctuate in the gale,

No busy steps the grass-grown footway tread,

For all the bloomy flush of life is fled.

All but yon widowed, solitary thing,

That feebly bends beside the plashy spring;

She, wretched matron, forced in age for bread

To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread,

To pick her wintry faggot from the thorn,

To seek her nightly shed, and weep till morn;

She only left of all the harmless train,

The sad historian of the pensive plain.


Near yonder copse, where once the garden smiled,

And still where many a garden flower grows wild;

There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose,

The village preacher's modest mansion rose.

A man he was to all the country dear,

And passing rich with forty pounds a year;

Remote from towns he ran his godly race,

Nor e'er had changed, nor wished to change, his place;

Unpractised he to fawn, or seek for power,

By doctrines fashioned to the varying hour;

Far other aims his heart had learned to prize,

More skilled to raise the wretched than to rise.

His house was known to all the vagrant train,

He chid their wanderings, but relieved their pain;

The long remembered beggar was his guest,

Whose beard descending swept his aged breast;

The ruined spendthrift, now no longer proud,

Claimed kindred there, and had his claims allowed;

The broken soldier, kindly bade to stay,

Sat by his fire, and talked the night away;

Wept o'er his wounds, or, tales of sorrow done,

Shouldered his crutch, and showed how fields were won.

Pleased with his guests, the good man learned to glow,

And quite forgot their vices in their woe;

Careless their merits or their faults to scan,

His pity gave ere charity began.


Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride,

And e'en his failings leaned to Virtue's side;

But in his duty prompt at every call,

He watched and wept, he prayed and felt, for all.

And, as a bird each fond endearment tries

To tempt its new-fledged offspring to the skies,

He tried each art, reproved each dull delay,

Allured to brighter worlds, and led the way.


Beside the bed where parting life was laid,

And sorrow, guilt, and pain, by turns dismayed,

The reverend champion stood. At his control

Despair and anguish fled the struggling soul;

Comfort came down the trembling wretch to raise,

And his last faltering accents whispered praise.


At church, with meek and unaffected grace,

His looks adorned the venerable place;

Truth from his lips prevailed with double sway,

And fools, who came to scoff, remained to pray.

The service passed, around the pious man,

With steady zeal, each honest rustic ran;

Even children followed with endearing wile,

And plucked his gown, to share the good man's smile.

His ready smile a parent's warmth expressed,

Their welfare pleased him, and their cares distressed;

To them his heart, his love, his griefs were given,

But all his serious thoughts had rest in Heaven.

As some tall cliff, that lifts its awful form,

Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm,

Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread,

Eternal sunshine settles on its head.


Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way,

With blossomed furze unprofitably gay,

There, in his noisy mansion, skilled to rule,

The village master taught his little school;

A man severe he was, and stern to view;

I knew him well, and every truant knew;

Well had the boding tremblers learned to trace

The day's disasters in his morning face;

Full well they laughed, with counterfeited glee,

At all his jokes, for many a joke had he;

Full well the busy whisper, circling round,

Conveyed the dismal tidings when he frowned;

Yet he was kind; or if severe in aught,

The love he bore to learning was in fault.

The village all declared how much he knew;

'Twas certain he could write, and cipher too;

Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage,

And even the story ran that he could gauge.

In arguing too, the parson owned his skill,

For e'en though vanquished, he could argue still;

While words of learned length and thundering sound

Amazed the gazing rustics ranged around,

And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew

That one small head could carry all he knew.


But past is all his fame. The very spot

Where many a time he triumphed is forgot.

Near yonder thorn, that lifts its head on high,

Where once the signpost caught the passing eye,

Low lies that house where nut-brown draughts inspired,

Where grey-beard mirth and smiling toil retired,

Where village statesmen talked with looks profound,

And news much older than their ale went round.

Imagination fondly stoops to trace

The parlour splendours of that festive place:

The white-washed wall, the nicely sanded floor,

The varnished clock that clicked behind the door;

The chest contrived a double debt to pay, -

A bed by night, a chest of drawers by day;

The pictures placed for ornament and use,

The twelve good rules, the royal game of goose;

The hearth, except when winter chilled the day,

With aspen boughs, and flowers, and fennel gay;

While broken teacups, wisely kept for show,

Ranged o'er the chimney, glistened in a row.


Vain transitory splendours! Could not all

Reprieve the tottering mansion from its fall!

Obscure it sinks, nor shall it more impart

An hour's importance to the poor man's heart;

Thither no more the peasant shall repair

To sweet oblivion of his daily care;

No more the farmer's news, the barber's tale,

No more the woodman's ballad shall prevail;

No more the smith his dusky brow shall clear,

Relax his ponderous strength, and lean to hear;

The host himself no longer shall be found

Careful to see the mantling bliss go round;

Nor the coy maid, half willing to be pressed,

Shall kiss the cup to pass it to the rest.


Yes! let the rich deride, the proud disdain,

These simple blessings of the lowly train;

To me more dear, congenial to my heart,

One native charm, than all the gloss of art.

Spontaneous joys, where Nature has its play,

The soul adopts, and owns their first-born sway;

Lightly they frolic o'er the vacant mind,

Unenvied, unmolested, unconfined:

But the long pomp, the midnight masquerade,

With all the freaks of wanton wealth arrayed,

In these, ere triflers half their wish obtain,

The toiling pleasure sickens into pain;

And, even while fashion's brightest arts decoy,

The heart distrusting asks, if this be joy.


Ye friends to truth, ye statesmen, who survey

The rich man's joys increase, the poor's decay,

'Tis yours to judge how wide the limits stand

Between a splendid and a happy land.

Proud swells the tide with loads of freighted ore,

And shouting Folly hails them from her shore;

Hoards even beyond the miser's wish abound,

And rich men flock from all the world around.

Yet count our gains. This wealth is but a name

That leaves our useful products still the same.

Not so the loss. The man of wealth and pride

Takes up a space that many poor supplied;

Space for his lake, his park's extended bounds,

Space for his horses, equipage, and hounds;

The robe that wraps his limbs in silken sloth

Has robbed the neighbouring fields of half their growth;

His seat, where solitary sports are seen,

Indignant spurns the cottage from the green;

Around the world each needful product flies,

For all the luxuries the world supplies:

While thus the land adorned for pleasure, all

In barren splendour feebly waits the fall.


As some fair female unadorned and plain,

Secure to please while youth confirms her reign,

Slights every borrowed charm that dress supplies,

Nor shares with art the triumph of her eyes;

But when those charms are passed, for charms are frail,

When time advances and when lovers fail,

She then shines forth, solicitous to bless,

In all the glaring impotence of dress.

Thus fares the land, by luxury betrayed,

In nature's simplest charms at first arrayed;

But verging to decline, its splendours rise,

Its vistas strike, its palaces surprise;

While, scourged by famine, from the smiling land

The mournful peasant leads his humble band;

And while he sinks, without one arm to save,

The country blooms -a garden, and a grave.


Where then, ah! where, shall poverty reside,

To 'scape the pressure of contiguous pride?

If to some common's fenceless limits strayed,

He drives his flock to pick the scanty blade,

Those fenceless fields the sons of wealth divide,

And even the bare-worn common is denied.

If to the city sped -what waits him there?

To see profusion that he must not share;

To see ten thousand baneful arts combined

To pamper luxury, and thin mankind;

To see those joys the sons of pleasure know

Extorted from his fellow creature's woe.

Here, while the courtier glitters in brocade,

There the pale artist plies the sickly trade;

Here, while the proud their long-drawn pomps display,

There the black gibbet glooms beside the way.

The dome where Pleasure holds her midnight reign

Here, richly decked, admits the gorgeous train;

Tumultuous grandeur crowds the blazing square,

The rattling chariots clash, the torches glare.

Sure scenes like these no troubles e'er annoy!

Sure these denote one universal joy!

Are these thy serious thoughts? -Ah, turn thine eyes

Where the poor houseless shivering female lies.

She once, perhaps, in a village plenty blessed,

Has wept at tales of innocence distressed;

Her modest looks the cottage might adorn,

Sweet as the primrose peeps beneath the thorn;

Now lost to all; her friends, her virtue fled,

Near her betrayer's door she lays her head,

And, pinched with cold, and shrinking from the shower,

With heavy heart deplores that luckless hour,

When idly first, ambitious of the town,

She left her wheel and robes of country brown.


Do thine, sweet Auburn, thine, the loveliest train,

Do thy fair tribes participate her pain?

E'en now, perhaps, by cold and hunger led,

At proud men's doors they ask a little bread!


Ah, no! -To distant climes, a dreary scene,

Where half the convex world intrudes between,

Through torrid tracts with fainting steps they go,

Where wild Altama murmurs to their woe.

Far different there from all that charmed before,

The various terrors of that horrid shore;

Those blazing suns that dart a downward ray

And fiercely shed intolerable day;

Those matted woods where birds forget to sing,

But silent bats in drowsy clusters cling;

Those poisonous fields with rank luxuriance crowned,

Where the dark scorpion gathers death around;

Where at each step the stranger fears to wake

The rattling terrors of the vengeful snake;

Where crouching tigers wait their hapless prey,

And savage men more murderous still than they;

While oft in whirls the mad tornado flies,

Mingling the ravaged landscape with the skies.

Far different these from every former scene,

The cooling brook, the grassy-vested green,

The breezy covert of the warbling grove,

That only sheltered thefts of harmless love.


Good Heaven! what sorrows gloomed that parting day

That called them from their native walks away;

When the poor exiles, every pleasure passed,

Hung round their bowers, and fondly looked their last,

And took a long farewell, and wished in vain

For seats like these beyond the western main;

And, shuddering still to face the distant deep,

Returned and wept, and still returned to weep.

The good old sire, the first prepared to go

To new-found worlds, and wept for others' woe;

But for himself, in conscious virtue brave,

He only wished for worlds beyond the grave.

His lovely daughter, lovelier in her tears,

The fond companion of his helpless years,

Silent went next, neglectful of her charms,

And left a lover's for a father's arms.

With louder plaints the mother spoke her woes,

And blessed the cot where every pleasure rose;

And kissed her thoughtless babes with many a tear,

And clasped them close, in sorrow doubly dear;

Whilst her fond husband strove to lend relief

In all the silent manliness of grief.


O luxury! thou cursed by Heaven's decree,

How ill exchanged are things like these for thee!

How do thy potions, with insidious joy,

Diffuse thy pleasures only to destroy!

Kingdoms by thee, to sickly greatness grown,

Boast of a florid vigour not their own;

At every draught more large and large they grow,

A bloated mass of rank unwieldly woe;

Till, sapped their strength, and every part unsound,

Down, down they sink, and spread the ruin round.


Even now the devastation is begun,

And half the business of destruction done;

Even now, methinks, as pondering here I stand,

I see the rural virtues leave the land:

Down where yon anchoring vessel spreads the sail

That idly waiting flaps with every gale,

Downward they move, a melancholy band,

Pass from the shore, and darken all the strand.

Contented toil, and hospitable care,

And kind connubial tenderness, are there;

And piety with wishes placed above,

And steady loyalty, and faithful love.

And thou, sweet Poetry, thou loveliest maid,

Still first to fly where sensual joys invade;

Unfit in these degenerate times of shame

To catch the heart, or strike for honest fame;

Dear charming nymph, neglected and decried,

My shame in crowds, my solitary pride;

Thou source of all my bliss, and all my woe,

That found'st me poor at first, and keep'st me so;

Thou guide by which the nobler arts excel,

Thou nurse of every virtue, fare thee well!

Farewell, and oh! where'er thy voice be tried,

On Torno's cliffs, or Pambamarca's side,

Whether where equinoctial fervours glow,

Or winter wraps the polar world in snow,

Still let thy voice, prevailing over time,

Redress the rigours of th' inclement clime;

Aid slighted truth; with thy persuasive strain

Teach erring man to spurn the rage of gain;

Teach him that states of native strength possessed,

Though very poor, may still be very blessed;

That trade's proud empire hastes to swift decay,

As ocean sweeps the laboured mole away;

While self-dependent power can time defy,

As rocks resist the billows and the sky.




The poem appeared on

If you want to see how I made this (and how you can too!), visit my HDR Tutorial. I hope it gives you some new tricks!


I arrived into Thailand this weekend and have been in content-creation mode non stop. I did take a chance back at the hotel to process this one picture I thought y'all would enjoy.


(and yes that sun picture is real... it was burning through the bottom while still streaming light over the top).


This picture is of Wat Arun, a famous Buddhist temple in Thailand. I took it from a really cool little Italian restaurant across the way that is attached to a boutique hotel named "Arun Residence". I will stay at this place next time - be sure to get the balcony room at the top if you come... it's just over $100 a night.


from my daily photo blog at


View On Black


I've been stuck without a camera for a while but Olympus have kindly loaned me a camera so back up and shooting now whilst mine is being repaired.


So, I've been going through some old pictures and went back to my most popular image (in terms of views and comments) and retouched it a bit further (with some motion blur added in).


The story behind this shot is quite amusing...


This was the first time I'd been to the press coference at the Cage Gladiators and I'd got a small set up going in a side room from the film cameras. I saw Stefan Struve and immediately saw how much he stood out - he's 6'8 and his nickname is 'The Skyscraper'.


I did a couple of standard poses and asked Stefan to do an angry face - this is what I got! He posed perfectly and I was lucky to get a good shot of him.


Then I heard someone shouting me to stop and it was his manager, Dirty Bob, (an ex member of the Dutch Hells Angels). Thankfully I managed to have a chat with him and carried on with the rest of the press conference.


For UK TV viewers, the guy who promotes the fights is currently appearing on Million Dollar Traders on BBC 2 on Monday evenings .

Sometimes the world around us swirls wildly out of control

and it feels foreboding and mad

things we thought were stability and sane and strong

... turns aggressive angry and bad

when the storm is rearing its violent head

and looking for a place to hit

gather what is important to your heart and soul

and find your inner respite

that place where you feel comfortable in crazy irrational world

a place to find your inner peace

the shoulder of a loved one.. the corner of a room

a book or a hobby or a ride

whatever it takes to remove yourself from a harmful situation

with what you love by your side

let the storms rage on and play out their dark magnificence

find your peaceful friend

stay just as strong as the storm clouds and their rants and raves

believe there will be peace in the end.


Photo by Phil Joch - Poem by Kelly De Witt Schlicht

Young children, as this tale will show,

And mainly pretty girls with charm,

Do wrong and often come to harm

In letting those they do not know

Stay talking to them when they meet.

And if they don't do as the ought,

It's no surprise that some are caught

By wolves who take them off to eat.


I call them wolves, but you will find,

that some are not the savage kind,

Not howling, ravening or raging;

Their manners seem, instead, engaging,

They're softly spoken and discreet.

Young ladies whom they talk to on the street

They follow to their homes and through the hall,

And upstairs to their rooms, when they're there

They're not as friendly as they might appear:

These are the most dangerous wolves of all.


Charles Perrault.


Part of my first shoot from my Final Major Project. I've gone for the theme of Red Riding Hood. This photo is the basic Red Riding Hood shot, the other have a sexual predatory theme to them.

There was absolutely no room for error getting this shot at Dillon Falls this morning. I was standing in the water on the edge of the precipice you see in the photo, with a pitch of 76.5° and a 40 foot drop over the edge to the raging Class 5 rapids below. But. Worth the shot.




Press 'F' on your keypad if you like this photo. © All rights reserved. Please do not use or repost images, sole property of Thuncher Photography.

The Hall of Names at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust history museum in Jerusalem is the Jewish People’s memorial to each and every Jew who perished in the Holocaust – a place where they may be commemorated for generations to come.

The main circular hall houses the extensive collection of “Pages of Testimony” – short biographies of each Holocaust victim. Over two million Pages are stored in the circular repository around the outer edge of the Hall, with room for six million in all.

The ceiling of the Hall is composed of a ten-meter high cone reaching skywards, displaying 600 photographs and fragments of Pages of Testimony. This exhibit represents a fraction of the murdered six million men, women and children from the diverse Jewish world destroyed by the Nazis and their accomplices. The victims’ portraits are reflected in water at the base of an opposing cone carved out of the mountain’s bedrock.

At the far end of the Hall is a glass screen onto which Pages of Testimony are projected. From here one may enter a computer center and search the Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names, with the assistance of the Hall of Names staff. The Center also offers blank Pages of Testimony and survivor registration forms.


Best to be viewed in large size format

All rights reserved. Copyright 2013 © Jacques Freund. All my images are protected under international authors copyright laws and may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without my written explicit permission. All rights reserved - Copyright 2013 © Jacques Freund d

Let us look for a moment at how some of this manifests in the cult leader. Cult leaders have an

outstanding ability to charm and win over followers. They beguile and seduce. They enter a room and garner all the attention. They command the utmost respect and obedience. These are "individuals whose narcissism is so extreme and grandiose that they exist in a kind of splendid isolation in which the creation of the grandiose self takes precedence over legal, moral or interpersonal commitments."(l8) Paranoia may be evident in simple or elaborate delusions of persecution. Highly suspicious, they may feel conspired against, spied upon or cheated, or maligned by a person, group, or governmental agency. Any real or suspected unfavorable reaction may be interpreted as a deliberate attack upon them or the group. (Considering the criminal nature of some groups and the antisocial behavior of others, some of these fears may have more of a basis in reality than delusion!)


Harder to evaluate, of course, is whether these leaders' belief in their magical powers, omnipotence, and connection to God (or whatever higher power or belief system they are espousing) is delusional or simply part of the con. Megalomania--the belief that one is able or entitled to rule the world--is equally hard to evaluate without psychological testing of the in- dividual, although numerous cult leaders state quite readily that their goal is to rule the world. In any case, beneath the surface gloss of intelligence, charm, and professed humility seethes an inner world of rage, depression, and fear.

Israel’s Worst Fire in Modern History Kills 40 and Rages On In Bio-reserve.

Over 42 Killed, Beit Oren Village Wiped Out...


"Some 40 people trapped in a bus are known to have been killed and 45 more reportedly injured as a massive fire on Israel’s Mount Carmel rages on. Believed to have been started by arsonists, the fire broke out in a cedar forest around noon near Isifiya, a Druize village. Although the winter season has officially started, the rains despite the prayers, have not come, leaving the forest vulnerable to attacks..."

We went out to the fortress Bengtskar Lighthouse (tallest lighthouse in Scandinavia). On the way across the Baltic Sea we saw a rather unusual cloud formation. I've merged the two photos to show these clouds with the lighthouse.


The lighthouse website says:


Twenty-five kilometers southwest of Hanko, at the entrance of the Gulf of Finland stands Scandinavias tallest lighthouse. Towering 52 meters above the sea, the lighthouse of Bengtskär is the archipelago`s most imposing and magnificient monument. This massive stone structure has witnessed many dramatic events in Finland`s history. For nine decades the lighthouse provided a safe passage to the thousands of vessels which plied the waters of the Gulf.


The waters of the outer archipelago were not always so safe. The seas around Bengtskär and the islands of Hitis and beyond were the site of many shipwrecks. It was these very treacherous waters that caused plans to be drawn for an immense Baltic lighthouse. At the Paris World Exhibition in 1900, architect Florentin Granholm unveiled his design for this unique structure. His work was met with much admiration and critical acclaim. However, it was not until the steamship Helsingfors foundered and sank in the Gulf in January 1905 that the Imperial Senate granted the materials necessary to begin the construction.


Construction commenced in early 1906. The island had excellent granite formations. This natural resource was quarried and used for the foundations and facings of the building. By the middle of June, 120 workers and artisans were busily engaged with the living quarters and the lower half of the light tower. By completion, records would reveal that a staggering almost half a million bricks were used in Bengtskär`s construction.


In August 1906 the roof was raised and the framework completed. During celebrations presided over by Senator Otto Donner, the design plans, deeds, tiles, and other important documents concerning the building were placed, with samples of currency in a time capsule and sealed in the wall of the structure.


Work continued on the tower and the 252 steps of the spiral staircase leading up to the reflector room. A special petrol lantern, designed and built in Paris, was brought to Bengtskär and installed atop the tower. On the nineteenth of December 1906 the lamp was lit. Its powerful beam flashed out three times every twenty seconds and could clearly be seen for twenty nautical miles.


During the winter of 1907 a foghorn was installed in the attic of the living quarters. A massive seven meters long horn, which when sounded caused the entire building to shake. However, the discomfort of the lighthouse keepers was a blessing to seamen. The foghorn could be heard for fifteen nautical miles!


A master lighthouse keeper, a machinist and three assistant lighthouse keepers and their families occupied the living quarters. The original group comprised fifteen persons. With the passage of time and the growth of the families the population increased and during the 1930´s there were forty people living on Bengtskär.




Life on Bengtskär closely followed the patterns of wind and weather. When the weather was calm it was possible to fish, shoot sea birds, hunt for seals or row across to the nearest village for fresh milk. Relatives and friends came for long awaited visits and the pilot ship brought fresh water, petrol and other provisions.


When storms raged and heavy sea pounded the rocks and skerries the island became too treacherous for outside activity. The strong walls of the lighthouse provided safety and comfort during these difficult conditions.




In August 1914 the First World War began. In response, the lighthouse men and their families were evacuated to the mainland, and the lantern was placed in storage. During that same year, two Imperial German Naval cruisers, Magdeburg and Augsburg, subjected the lighthouse to thirty shell bombardment. The granite walls were only slightly damaged.


By the following summer the lighthouse men and their families had returned to their homes on Bengtskär. Since the Gulf of Finland was heavily mined, it was not until 1919 that the surrounding seas were declared safe for shipping, that the light was lit again.


The period that followed the end of the First World War was peaceful for Bengtskär and its inhabitants. The number of children on the island grew so large that a teacher was brought from the mainland to attend to their education.




In November 1939, Soviet Russian troops attacked Finland. By 1941 the promontory of Hanko was in Russian hands.


The strategic importance of Bengtskär quickly became apparent as Finnish troops on the island could easily monitor Soviet activities. A small force was able to provide valuable reconnaissance and target sighting in the continuing Finnish struggle against the Soviet force.


At one hour after midnight on July 26, 1941, under the cover of fog two Russian patrol boats secretly landed an armed force at the southern part of Bengtskär. The invasion party of one hundred men led by Lieutenant Kurilov had orders for the complete destruction of the lighthouse, so that it could no longer play a role in hampering Russian war activities.


The small Finnish garrison of forty-one men, including four lighthouse keepers, repelled the first Russian attack. Overwhelmed by a vastly superior enemy force, the brave defenders took refuge in the upper floors of the lighthouse. From there the struggle continued under the command of Lieutenant Fred Luther who was twice wounded during the fight.


From a distance of ten kilometers, batteries emplaced on the neighbouring island of Örö and Granholmen shelled the Soviet patrol boats and the enemy soldiers hiding in the rock crevasses on the island. The early hours of July 26 greeted the arrival of Finnish gunboats and coast guard vessels. Fighter bombers of the Finnish airforce overflew the island and attacked the invaders. At dawn a force of Finnish Commandos from the nearby island of Hitis landed and joined the struggle to repel the Soviet force and relieve Lieutenant Luther and his brave defenders.


After a hard and bloody battle, the small Finnish garrison emerged victorious. But victory was to come at a price. By the following day the battle had claimed thirty-one dead and forty-five wounded from the Finnish ranks. For the Soviets, the abortive invasion was a more costly venture. Sixty troops lost their lives at the hands of the Finnish defence force. Twenty-eight Russians, mostly severely wounded, were taken prisoner.


For the Finns it was a bittersweet victory. During the day of July 27, a Russian warplane overflew the island and dropped a bomb. It struck the living quarters, demolishing the upper and middle roofs, and killing seven of the Finnish defence force.


Intermittent repairs to the facility continued during the post-war period. Finally, the lighthouse was reopened in 1950. The lighthouse keepers returned to the rock, but this time without their families. They rotated in shifts of two for fourteen day periods. Heavy seas and inclement weather conditions would often extend these shifts to a month of long and lonely duty.




In 1968 the past was finally swept away. A gas lantern was converted to automatic operation and Bengtskär became unmanned. Modernization continued in 1983 with the further conversion of the lantern to wind-powered electricity.


Benign neglect and damage by the savage elements turned the once proud Bengtskär into a damp, cold and hulking ruin. After years of resisting storms, high seas, wind and invasion, Bengtskär was falling victim to "friendly" forces. What damage nature failed to cause was provided by human hands. Vandals defaced both the interior and exterior of the historic buildings.


In an effort to prevent further deterioration, the Finnish Shipping authorities leased the lighthouse to the Pro Bengtskär Association in 1985 with the provision that repairs be made to the entire facility, and that the building be heated year round. Unfortunately, the conditions of the lease were not met, and the facility was re-leased to the current custodian, the Center of Extension Studies at Turku University.




The Centre of Extension studies at Turku University has an established Development Centre for the Archipelago. It's aims are the promotion of economic development in the region and the general improvement of employment and living conditions for those who live there. Through the promotion of Maritime-Cultural Tourism the Centre seeks to stress the region´s unique cultural and historic heritage.


Following the signing of the lease, the Centre began planning the repairs. Suggestions for the best future use were quickly solicited and work began. The project was advanced in collaboration with the archipelago District Shipping Authorities, Turku District Manpower Bureau, and Turku District Building Authorities. Financial support was also received from the private business sector.


Renovations were completed in 1995. In conjunction with Turku University´s 75th Anniversary Celebrations, the inauguration of the Bengtskär lighthouse took place on August 18, 1995. This historic monument was reopened to serve its new role as a tourist, conferance, research and education center. The light which had once kept the seas safe for shipping would now shine for the community which saved it.




In the summer of 1995 the lighthouse was opened for visitors from near and far. Bengtskär has become a unique destination for tourists.


The Lecture Hall on the lower floor offers a variety of maritime exhibits depicting the history, fauna and flora, and the natural features of the archipelago. The lower floor also houses Finland´s first Lighthouse Museum and a permanent exhibit "Bengtskär 1941", which gives a vivid account of the dramatic hours of the battle for the island. On the first floor in the former living quarters is a cafeteria, post office and a Chapel.


Other floors of the former living quarters are used for conference rooms and accomodation. These ideal facilities are used for training courses, conferences, and groups engaged in research work. Many families also spend a night at the lighthouse.


The lighthouse hosts 10.000 tourists each year, including more than 1.000 visitors-in-residence. Those hardy souls who are prepared to brave the 252 steps of the lighthouse tower will be rewarded with a giddy but breath taking view of the sea.


In the year 2000 the Foundation for the Turku University became owner of the lighthouse.


A white blank page, and a swelling rage - Mumford & Sons


I was thinking of this for a while because of this song but never did anything with it. It’s nothing special but I adore the words. I was originally going to do what a lot of people have done and use a photo of someone elses face on a page but I didn't find anything.


I need to start making a conscious effort to stop spending my money on junk. I look around my room and see so much stuff that I don’t need or even use. Growing up my parents divorced so I had 2 houses to fill with crap so the amount of junk I have lying around is ridiculous. More so at my dads as I don’t live there. I want to clear it all out and just start again and this time not buy anything I don’t need. I hate clutter, yet I seem to be hoarding things I don’t want.



It's three thirty in the morning. From somewhere far off, I think I can hear my phone ringing. I attempt to build it into my dream...but I cannot.


Eventually it stops. I settle back into the downy comfort of sleep for a few precious seconds.


Then the ringing starts again.


I get out of bed, grumbling, threatening and stubbing my toe and stugger (a cross between "stumble" and "stagger") downstairs to the phone.


It's Larry Talbot.


"I have a splendid picture for your flickr site tomorrow," he tells me. "I think even Easy Rider will be impressed."


"It's three thirty in the morning," I growl. "What the *** is wrong with you?"


My complaint is met with silence. What I have just said is of no interest to Talbot.


"Go to your mailbox," he says. "There I have put the image for tomorrow."


We argue about this for a moment...then I hear a low guttural warning growl...and I set down the phone and go to the mailbox.


The image you see above is there. I pick up the phone again.


"What the heck is that?" I ask.


"It's an image of me. And it's what you call SOOC," he says. His chest used to puff out when he was a kid in the midst of saying something really stupid. I imagine it happening now.


"SOOC?" I ask, looking at the image.




"SOOC means 'Straight Out Of the Camera,'" I say.




There is a silence between us. I hear a faint crackle on the phone line.


"Larry, there's no way this is SOOC. You've Photoshopped the snot out of this thing."


"Nope," he says. "SOOC. Even Olaf agrees."


I visualize Talbot's massive manservant/minion.


"It's not even actually very good Photoshop," I say finally. "If I put this up, people are gonna think I did it."


Silence. A sulky vaguely threatening silence.


I sigh.


"What's going on in this image?" I ask.


"I am looking outward, from the very computer screen into the lives of those around me," he says.




"Because I may yet take a stronger hand in the promotion of my words on your little flickr site," he says.


I bristle just a little at his description of 'my little flickr site' but I think of Olaf again.


"What are you going to do?" I ask.


"Perhaps I have already started," he says.


I press him for details...but he gives me none. He tells me that he has also included a fresh article from his ancient Helium writings...




by L. Talbot


Being married is wonderful. Personally, I have been married eight and a half times. Fighting in marriage is inevitable. But it is in the arena of AVOIDING fights where the truly experienced husband shows his skill.


There are two phrases that are absolutely KEY to staying happily married.


"Yes, dear," is used when you see your spouse's face start to change colors, from a healthy pink to a menacing purple. At this point it may still be possible to avoid the head-spinning-around and things-being-thrown phase (otherwise known as DEFCON 7) a carefully rehearsed "Yes, dear" is the precise strategic strike that may avert disaster.


Any thinking male entering into any long-term relationship must take the "Yes, dear" gambit very seriously. Insert just the right measure of sincerity and humility. Practice in front of a mirror. One must not mewl like a kitten…or rage like a lion. One must make “Yes, dear” sound as though a thunderbolt from Heaven has just penetrated your thick skull with an epiphany…an unexpected understanding of your own dense-ness.


These two words must encompass a surrender with dignity, an understanding how of how far one has carelessly and willfully stomped over the very last vestige of tolerable behavior by wiping one’s hands on a clean towel whilst said hands were still dirty, or by failing to divine that a small book placed in the precise middle of the staircase has been put there so that you, great lout of male waste that you are, would carry it up and/or down the stairs…or even worse: that you, in an attempt to show initiative and to fake sensitivity, have carried it in the WRONG direction entirely.


Plan A is “Yes, dear” in which the wise husband carefully fabricates sensitivity.


Having said this, I must add that Plan A does not always work.


At times a fight is as unavoidable as a tropical storm. They get too big too fast. You can't fly around them and there is nowhere to hide.


She's mad and you're handy. Keep in mind that you have probably actually done (or not done) something that is very small in your eyes. This action (or inaction) may have actually taken place at any point over the previous thirty years.


It is very likely this is a thing you have done (or left undone) a number of times before and it has only now resulted in the prickly and extremely dangerous creature you now face. Don't even try to understand it.


Begin by NOT doing the following:


•Say "Where did THAT come from? We were talking about cheese. . ."


•Stop speaking altogether. This will be viewed as an effort on your part to escalate an already volatile situation


•Speak. No matter what you say (other than the Magic Phrase below) will be viewed as an effort on your part to escalate an already volatile situation


•Leave the room and/or house. This is a coward's way out and besides you will pay for it. Later.


•Attempt to hug her. If you do, you WILL wind up in traction.


•Begin stating your case and/or try to WIN the argument. (I chuckle at the very naivety of this notion.) Clearly, this is a Newbie- defining mistake. Experienced husbands know you will never actually win an argument. Never. Ever.


Your goal is to minimize the damage and restore peaceful relations before the game starts on TV. Be warned, men: unless you move quickly and decisively to stave off disaster there's no way you are getting fed.


The Magic Phrase (MP) is comprised of three carefully designed and tightly compacted apologies. They have been loaded into one package for maximum impact.


The MP: "You're right. It's my fault. I'm sorry."


These seven words that can be like a cooling balm on the open confrontation. It must sound sincere and heartfelt…or you're a dead man.


So do what I do: as you deliver these words think about your wife. Remind yourself of the way she looked the day you got married and of the last time you laughed together. Think of how her eyes light up when she smiles.


THEN (provided her claws have been retracted) hold her for a second.


Later when it's safe, consider what annoyed her to begin with. Think about it honestly. Chances are that on some level you were actually being a caveman. Or not.


Does it matter?

View On Black

Another forced Government (make room for the Airport) eviction causing the sun to set a little lower as my childhood village is slowly laid to rest. I miss home.


Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.


Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.


Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


-- Dylan Thomas



Taken yesterday when typhoon "Emong" was blowing his rage up north. There was strong rains the whole day. I shot this in my room.


TGIF! Have a nice weekend everybody!

Upside Down In and Out -

My name is J. Jekyll and I have an identical brother named D. Hyde, hidden inside me. Each time when fire runs though my blood, he surge up with incredible power and keeps me paralyzed. Do you know how it feels to have a hand wrapped around your throat? He says words that I don’t mean and I carry out whatever he pleases. What can I do? Give in, I guess. Can’t drown my double in the bathtub or push him under the bed. What happens then?


One night in Jordan, amid the entourage of authority who laughed their lungs out and sweat indifference, I heard my selfsame banging the door of my heart. I pressed on smiling through clenched teeth while Hyde’s voice grew loud and louder blaring, “Let me out! Set me free!” Up down red and down up red; the moon does more than pull the tide. After downing 3 glasses of chardonnay, my best self flees. I made an excuse to take a powder and hurried for the exit. Along the way, I sensed the balance was already heavily tilted to one edge.


Back at the hotel room, suddenly everything in my room appears red, red and rage. Hyde had enveloped me in his choke and took over the see- saw in my mind completely. His fumes of fury clouded and twisted the views of my reality. I approached the figure asleep on the couch with ember eyes glowing. All at once without warning, my feet descend on his head like a guillotine. Wallop! Hammer! With all my might I stomp, a metal lamp base on hand I clobber in sick fantasy. In depraved attack, my unconscious target burst on the spot and was riveted on the fabric by his own secrete. The last words I remember coming out from my mouth, “Die! Die! You deserve this…”


Next morning, I found myself slumped against the wall. A battered body sprawled on the couch with broken legs. What have I done? I check out in haste at the reception desk and overheard the chambermaids murmuring, “In the masquerade of a respected philanthropist, but a murderer secretly.” Guilt-ridden, I hung my head in shame and make off with luggage in the direction of the airport.


Me and selfsame, we sat on different sides of the monumental scale. Good vs. evil, forever battling for supremacy. If my enlarged ego is to live, the humble heart surely must perish. My greatest fear, however, is my twin Hyde fusing with my bones and Jekyll permanently dissipates. Only to you, I confessed my crime that night. An ill-fated cockroach beaten to death, the victim of my rage, but who would believe, it wasn’t me?

Dave Sharpe doubling Clayton Moore in the first-chapter swordfight sequence.

Perils of Nyoka (Republic, 1942). Starring Kay Aldridge, Clayton Moore, Lorna Gray, Charles Middleton, William Benedict. Directed by William Witney. Wonderful Republic-style artwork of Aldridge

From 1942, this is still another great Republic classic. (I suppose I could have started these reviews with tired, lifeless serials like PANTHER GIRL OF THE KONGO, but why not have fun first?) It has a terrific cast with a half dozen of my all-time favorite actors, a credible storyline, some really impressive sets and imaginative 'Perils', and finally, an epic-sounding main theme by Mort Glickman. This would go in the top dozen serials on my list.


PERILS OF NYOKA deals with the struggle for possession of another hot potato that everyone covets-- in this case, the Golden Tablets of Hippocrates, on which the ancient physician recorded his great medical secrets (including a cure for cancer). Not only are gold tablets valuable for their knowledge and the metal itself, they were hidden with a treasure. So it's not surprising to find the sinister Vultura and her gang of renegade Arbabs trying to seize the darn things. Vultura is played by the exotic Lorna Gray, who is a bit ripe looking for my taste but her sneering performance and long long legs have must have gotten many young boys in the audience a bit hot and bothered. (There's something about a Bad Girl...)


Vultura's main henchman is Cassib, played by the same Charles Middleton who made life interesting for Flash Gordon and Dick Tracy. Middleton has that sour, unhappy expression that makes his villainy as believable as the sort of old man who chases kids off his lawn. As if that's not enough, there's also the treacherous Torrini who poses as an ally of Nyoka. Tristram Coffin as Torrini gives an okay performance, just showing enough shiftiness to make his loyalty obviously doubtful to the kids in the audience. As good as Coffin was as a villain, I always wished he had done more heroic roles like his Jeff King in KING OF THE ROCKETMEN.


And as if THAT wasn't enough trouble for Nyoka to deal with, Vultura has a pet ape named Satan, who had never heard Diane Fossey's findings that gorillas are peaceful, gentle vegetarians. Satan was played by Emil Van Horn in a rather weak portrayal that doesn't seem to give much effort into moving like a real gorilla. And although you have to give 1940s film makers some slack with their robot and apes costumes, the way Satan's chest skin looks like shiny black rubber detracts from its credibility. This is where you have to crank your

suspension of disbelief up a few notches.


Whew! What a crew. Luckily, not only can Nyoka handle herself perfectly well, she has a partner in Dr Larry Grayson who is (for a physician) an astonishingly tough two-fisted sword-fighting gunslinger. My doctor's not like that. Clayton Moore is always convincing as hero or thug, and he seems agile and energetic enough to have been a stunt man himself. (At first, it seems a bit odd to hear that wonderful, familiar Lone Ranger voice coming from this character.) Moore goes through the serial in the classic Doc Savage outfit of riding boots, jodphurs and heavy white shirt, although this does not end up torn into tatters with the right cuff still attached.


Finally, Nyoka herself is completely likeable as a cliffhanger heroine. ("That Nyoka gal's got plenty of moxie.." one character explains.) Daughter of the missing Professor Gordon, she is well educated (one of the few who can translate the Tablets) but also completely at home in the saddle or jumping on a gorilla's back with a knife in her hand. I love Kay Aldridge's performance as Nyoka. She's serious when in danger, taking the 'perils' straight-faced but at the same time, she's obviously having a lot of fun when things are going well. It's very believable, not a grim warrior-woman sort of portrayal. Aldridge herself is appealing and gorgeous in her 1940s pin-up girl way-- her clunky culottes are not flattering at all (although admittedly practical for the situation) and she seems to be notably gifted under that big-game hunter blouse. Nyoka also seems to have two different accents going on, for some reason.


My copy of PERILS OF NYOKA is a re-issue titled NYOKA AND THE TIGERMEN, apparently because some of the Arab raiders wear striped robes. C'mon, that's stretching things a bit, Republic.Nyoka Gordon (Kay Aldridge) leads an expedition into the most remote part of the Libyan desert in search of her father, Professor Henry Gordon (Robert Strange), who disappeared while seeking out the long-lost golden tablets of Hippocrates. The tablets, among other attributes, are reputed to contain the cures for any number of deadly diseases that still plague mankind. Nyoka and her father are the only two people in the world who can translate the papyrus giving directions to the hiding place of the tablets. Her allies in her search include: Dr. Larry Grayson (Clayton Moore), a young physician; Torrini (Tristram Coffin), an Italian adventurer; Professor Campbell (Forbes Murray), a colleague of her father's; and Red Davis (Billy Benedict), their driver. Opposing them is Vultura (Lorna Gray), the leader of a deadly desert cult, who regard the tablets as sacred and will do anything -- including committing murder -- to prevent their discovery and removal. Aided by her ally, Cassib (Charles B. Middleton), and the Taureg tribesmen, Vultura and her cultists lay all manner of deadly traps, involving everything from burning pits of fire and tunnels filled with hurricane-like winds to just plain getting crushed by the embrace of Vultura's trained gorilla, Satan (Emil Van Horn). Meanwhile, Nyoka and her expedition also face the danger of treachery from within. Nyoka must first secure the papyrus and avenge the murder of Major Reynolds in the opening chapter, and then get past the opposing Taureg tribesmen -- and little does she realize that the leader of the Tauregs is far closer to her than she ever could have guessed.

The action in Nyoka and the Tigermen moves at a breakneck pace across 15 chapters, most of which are as exciting as anything in Raiders of the Lost Ark and its sequels (each of which drew a lot of their inspiration from this and one other Republic serial, Secret Service in Darkest Africa). Beyond its genuinely exciting plot, which intersects with reality just enough to keep even adults interested (there really are a North African people called the Tauregs), Nyoka and the Tigermen contains some delightful twists in its casting, production, and writing. Nyoka Gordon, as played by Kay Aldridge, is no typical movie heroine. She's beautiful, athletic, and resourceful, enough so that in the first chapter, she rides down Arab horsemen. She's perfectly capable of fighting, climbing, or diving her way out of trouble, a kind of 1940s American precursor to Emma Peel. Additionally, Lorna Gray's Vultura was, if anything, even more beautiful, and they make an enchanting pair of antagonists, especially when they mix it up physically. Both put 100 percent effort into their work here, assisted by one of the best directors and some of the best stuntmen in the business. Clayton Moore looked, if anything, better here than he did as the Lone Ranger at the other end of the decade and he made a dashing hero in his own right. Watch him in action here and see if he doesn't look like he would've been the perfect Bruce Wayne/Batman of his era. Even Emil Van Horn, in the silliest role in the movie -- as the gorilla Satan -- has a kind of visceral impact as this constantly menacing beast. Working from one of the best scripts that the studio ever devised for one of its serials, director William Witney and a crew of top stuntmen (including David Sharpe and a young Jay Silverheels), made this one of the most exciting serials ever to come out of Hollywood. More than that, the resulting chapterplay has an appeal that cuts

across the ages, as demonstrated by the debt owed to it by the Indiana Jones movies.


Another take on Nyoka and additional back ground info.

Perils of Nyoka aka Nyoka and the Tigermen


Republic, 15 Chapters, 1942. Starring Kay Aldridge, Clayton Moore, Billy Benedict, Lorna Gray, Charles Middleton, Tristram Coffin, Robert Strange, Forbes Murray, George Pembroke.


As Perils of Nyoka opens, Prof. Douglas Campbell (Forbes Murray) and his expedition arrive in the small North African town of Wadi Bartha; they are seeking an ancient treasure trove that contains–among other priceless artifacts–the Tablets of Hippocrates, on which are inscribed ”the only cure for cancer the world has ever known.” Campbell and his colleagues, including Dr. Larry Grayson (Clayton Moore), are principally interested in the Tablets’ value to humanity, but Count Benito Torrini (Tristram Coffin), the Italian colonial official attached to the expedition, has more mercenary ideas in mind and is conspiring with the devious Arab queen Vultura (Lorna Gray) to seize the treasure. After being joined by Nyoka Gordon (Kay Aldridge), the daughter of an archeologist who vanished years ago looking for the Tablets, the expedition sets out in search of the Tablets and Nyoka’s missing father, journeying into the hidden valley of the sun-worshipping Tuareg tribe while fighting Vultura and her ally Cassib (Charles Middleton) every step of the way.

Well-written, well-directed, and well-cast, Perils of Nyoka represents Republic serial-making at its absolute peak. Writers Ronald Davidson, Norman Hall, William Lively, Joseph O’Donnell, and Joseph Poland utilize a “quest” structure for their screenplay, one which keeps the characters on the move from one location to the next. The heroes must first translate an important papyrus before beginning their journey to the Tuaregs’ valley, where, upon arrival, they have to deal with the hostile natives and their chief–Nyoka’s amnesic father Professor Gordon (Robert Strange). Then, they must rescue Gordon from Vultura and restore his memory, unmask Torrini’s treachery, return to the Tuaregs’ valley for another important clue, locate the treasure, and recover it in a final showdown after it’s stolen by Vultura. This storyline not only provides plenty of opportunities for action scenes, but also gives the serial a strong sense of steadily focused progression towards a definite goal, making its overall narrative much more interesting than the loosely connected plots of many other Republic serials.

This well-paced narrative plays out in an impressive variety of indoor sets and outdoor locations–the honeycomb of tunnels in the Tuareg valley, Vultura’s mammoth palace and the cliffs nearby, numerous caverns, and various rocky hillsides. Of all Republic’s serials set in foreign realms, Nyoka manages to be the most successful in creating a believably exotic atmosphere; it helps that arid Californian locales like Iverson’s Movie Ranch and Corriganville can more convincingly double for the North African hills than they could for other African locales, like the sub-equatorial jungles or the Sahara desert.


The serial’s action scenes are handled with gusto by William Witney and his star stuntman David Sharpe. One of the many action highlights is Nyoka and Larry’s invasion of Vultura’s palace in Chapter One, which has Clayton Moore’s Larry (doubled by Sharpe) practically flying around the throne room in a combination swordfight/fistfight and eventually being attacked by Vultura’s pet gorilla Satan (Emil Van Horn), who pulls down several stone pillars on our hero and heroine. The pursuit of Nyoka by Cassib’s horsemen in Chapter Two is another memorable action sequence, as is her subsequent chariot escape from Vultura’s camp following a fight with the evil queen. There are far too many additional standout scenes for me to describe them all, but among them are the fight in the lava caves, Larry’s battle with hostile Tuaregs in their cavern temple, Nyoka trying to escape down a cliff on a rope while Satan tugs on the other end, the Tuaregs’ primitive hand-grenade attack on the expedition, and the final showdown in which Larry fights Cassib and his men while Nyoka grapples with Vultura.


The cliffhanger sequences are consistently imaginative and include one of the best-known chapter endings in the Republic canon, the sequence that has Kay Aldridge dangling over a Tuareg fire pit. Equally memorable chapter endings have Aldridge and Forbes Murray being forced towards a ceiling of spikes by an ascending floor, Aldridge about to be sliced in two by a lethal pendulum, and Aldridge being inexorably blown towards the edge of a cliff in an impressive wind tunnel.


Dave Sharpe not only doubles Clayton Moore, but also fills in for Kay Aldridge on all the really dangerous stunts. Stuntwoman Babe DeFreest doubles the heroine in other sequences, with Helen Thurston filling in for Lorna Gray; Tom Steele performs most of Charles Middleton’s stunts, while Ken Terrell, Duke Green, Duke Taylor, Henry Wills, Bud Wolfe, and Johnny Daheim make many contributions as well. Most of these stuntmen, of course, also do acting duty as various Arabs throughout the serial.


Perils of Nyoka’s action is complemented beautifully by Mort Glickman’s score, which is distinctive, memorable, and very well-suited to the setting, with a persistent but not overdone “Arabian” motif dominating both its fast-paced “action” theme and its slower opening-credits music.

The serial’s cast is filled with appealing performers, although its ostensible star, Kay Aldridge, is probably the weakest thespian in the group. Her line delivery is very energetic but awkward at times, and her face is frequently expressionless during dialogue scenes–although she does a fine job registering alarm in cliffhanger sequences. Still, Aldridge is so beautiful, and so likable despite her stiffness, that her presence really has no negative impact on the serial.


Clayton Moore contributes an enormous amount of energy to his part, continually taking the lead in both dialogue and action scenes. He delivers his lines with both seriousness and a certain swashbuckling enthusiasm, and rides and runs with an admirable athleticism that matches well with the dynamism of his double Dave Sharpe in the fight scenes. He, far more than Aldridge, comes off as the actual star of the serial.

Lorna Gray is haughty, viciously bad-tempered, and gleefully evil by turns, but never hammy or over-the-top. Her good looks contrast so startlingly with her convincingly appalling behavior that she commands attention when on-screen; her Vultura is probably the most memorable of all female serial heavies.


Charles Middleton has less time in the spotlight than in his 1930s serials, but his Cassib is still an intimidating figure, glowering grimly at Vultura’s enemies and infusing his Arabian-Nights-style dialogue with both menace (“If you let her escape, you will find death a pleasant relief from your punishment”) and dignity (“What brings you to this humble huddle of tents, Gracious One?”)

Billy Benedict, as the Campbell expedition’s driver and mechanic Red, provides low-key but amusing comic relief, stealing scenes with a single facial expression or a bit of incongruous slang. His scenes with his pet Capuchin monkey Jitters (played by “Professor”) are much more appealing than most such animal-sidekick interchanges; the monkey is not only cute but genuinely helpful to the good guys more than once, and Benedict seems to have a genuine rapport with the little creature.


One of the additional joys of Perils of Nyoka is the unusually large cast of interesting supporting characters; in sharp contrast to many Republic outings, Nyoka features meaty speaking parts for characters besides the hero, heroine, villain, action heavy, and sidekick. Robert Strange, as Nyoka’s amnesic father, has the most important supporting role and does an excellent job in both aspects of his part, dropping his grim, slow-talking, and crafty Tuareg-chieftain personality for a more kindly, upright, and brisk manner when his character’s memory is restored.

Forbes Murray is authoritative but genially avuncular as Campbell, the expedition head, and surprisingly gets in on quite a bit of action. George Pembroke, as a British expedition named Spencer, also takes part in many fights and shootouts, and provides some mild but entertaining comic relief through his verbal interchanges with Billy Benedict’s Red, in which the English scientist and the American mechanic confuse each other with their very different approaches to their common language.


Tristram Coffin, as the treacherous Torrini, is given high billing but has relatively little screen time; however, he handles his interactions with the unsuspecting heroes with the same slickness and smoothness he displayed in his similar part in Spy Smasher. Distinguished Herbert Rawlinson is killed off far too early as Major Reynolds, another expedition member, while the enjoyably hammy John Davidson has a much larger role as Lobar, the fanatical Tuareg sub-chief. Davidson rolls out each line in his inimitably resonant voice and manages to look positively pop-eyed with rage at times, particularly when defying the recovered Professor Gordon as the latter vainly tries to exercise his old authority over the Tuaregs.

Kenne Duncan has a good role as Nyoka’s tough and loyal follower Abou, while George Lewis is noticeably sinister in his small role as Cassib’s lieutenant Batan. George Renavent is enjoyably hammy in his few scenes as Vultura’s oily major-domo, Forrest Taylor pops up as a translator in Chapter Fourteen, John Bagni plays another one of Nyoka’s Bedouin friends, and John Bleifer has a brief but vivid turn as a villainous Arab street merchant in the first chapter. Jay Silverheels, star Clayton Moore’s eventual companion on the Lone Ranger show, is frequently credited as playing one of the Tuaregs, but I’ve never been able to spot him under the tribe’s burnouses and face-paint.

Ace the Wonder Dog, who also played Devil in Columbia’s The Phantom, adds a nice touch to the serial as Nyoka’s faithful dog Fang, going through some clever paces as he assists the heroine–particularly in Chapter One, when he tips over a basket, barks at two Arab guards, and then ducks inside the basket while the guards run past. Vultura’s gorilla Satan, played as an unruly and barely controllable beast by Emil Van Horn, also brings additional color to the proceedings; Van Horn’s rowdy anthropoid antics are great fun to watch.


Just as William Witney’s Spy Smasher–made the same year–represented the acme of Republic’s crime-fighting serials, so does Witney’s Perils of Nyoka represent the acme of Republic’s far-flung adventure serials. Later chapterplays like Secret Service in Darkest Africa or The Tiger Woman would try to recapture some of Perils of Nyoka’s glory, but few of them could match Nyoka’s large and interesting cast of players or its varied assortment of action scenes–and none of them boasted a story that could compete with the appeal of Nyoka‘s archetypal but enthralling treasure hunt.

I took a page from Ponyo and tried to offer alternative options, the picture where hand posture is most important the hair is changed to be more out of the way to give you more flexbility!


I tried making a full body picture too, but the eyes were closed so I raged and SL wasn't letting me upload another picture, ultimately I decided it wasn't worth throwing my monitor across the room with how much of a fight SL puts up and went on without it. Hope you like!


Also here's mood music I usually get going when I do anything with my frankengirl (who I think I want to name Lillian. Yeah? Yeah!)

Praise be to Allaah.


The meeting together, mixing, and intermingling of men and women in one place, the crowding of them together, and the revealing and exposure of women to men are prohibited by the Law of Islam (Shari'ah). These acts are prohibited because they are among the causes for fitnah (temptation or trial which implies evil consequences), the arousing of desires, and the committing of indecency and wrongdoing.


Among the many proofs of prohibition of the meeting and mixing of men and women in the Qur’aan and Sunnah are:


Verse No. 53 of Surat al-Ahzab, or the Confederates (Interpretation of the meaning); "...for anything ye want, ask them from before a screen: that makes for greater purity for your hearts and for theirs..."


In explaining this Verse, Ibn Kathir (May Allaah have mercy on him) said: "Meaning, as I forbade you to enter their rooms, I forbid you to look at them at all. If one wants to take something from a woman, one should do so without looking at her. If one wants to ask a woman for something, the same has to be done from behind a screen."


The Prophet (May peace and blessings be upon him) enforced separation of men and women even at Allaah’s most revered and preferred place, the mosque. This was accomplished via the separation of the women’s rows from the men’s; men were asked to stay in the mosque after completion of the obligatory prayer so that women will have enough time to leave the mosque; and, a special door was assigned to women. Evidence of the foregoing are:


Umm Salamah (May Allah be pleased with her) said that after Allah’s Messenger (May peace and blessings be upon him) said "as-Salamu ‘Alaykum wa Rahmatullah’ twice announcing the end of prayer, women would stand up and leave. He would stay for a while before leaving. Ibn Shihab said that he thought that the staying of the Prophet (May peace and blessings be upon him) was in order for the women to be able to leave before the men who wanted to depart." Narrated by al-Bukhari under No. 793.


Abu Dawood under No. 876 narrates the same hadith in Kitab al-Salaat under the title "Insiraaf an-Nisaa’ Qabl al-Rijaal min al-Salaah" (Departure of Women before Men after the Prayer). Ibn ‘Umar said that Allah’s Messenger (May peace and blessings be upon him) said: "We should leave this door (of the mosque) for women." Naafi’ said: "Ibn ‘Umar never again entered through that door until he died." Narrated by Abu Dawood under No. 484 in "Kitab as-Salah" under the Chapter entitled: "at-Tashdid fi Thalik".


Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet (May peace and blessings be upon him) said: ""The best of the men’s rows is the first and the worst is the last, and the best of the women’s rows is the last and the worst in the first." Narrated by Muslim under No. 664.


This is the greatest evidence that the Law of Islam (Shari'ah) forbids meeting and mixing of men and women. The farther the men are from the women’s rows, the better, and vice versa.


If these procedures and precautions were prescribed and adhered to in a mosque, which is a pure place of worship where people are as far away as they ever are from the arousal of desire and temptation, then no doubt the same procedures need to be followed even more rigorously at other places.


Abu Usayd al-Ansari narrated that he heard Allah’s Messenger (May peace and blessings be upon him) say to the women on his way out of the mosque when he saw men and women mixing together on their way home:

‘Give way (i.e., walk to the sides) as it is not appropriate for you to walk in the middle the road.’ Thereafter, women would walk so close to the wall that their dresses would get caught on it. Narrated by Abu Dawood in "Kitab al-Adab min Sunanihi, Chapter: Mashyu an-Nisa Ma’ ar-Rijal fi at-Tariq."We know that the intermingling, mixing and crowding together of men and women is part of today’s unavoidable yet regrettable affliction in most places, such as markets, hospitals, colleges, etc., but:


· We will not willfully choose or accept mixing and crowding, particularly in religious classes and council meetings in Islamic Centers.


· We take precautions to avoid meeting and mixing of men and women as much as possible while at the same time achieving desired goals and objectives. This result can be achieved by designating separate places assigned for men and women, using different doors for each, utilizing modern means of communication such as microphones, video recorders etc., and expediting efforts to have enough female teachers to teach women, etc.


· We show fear of Allaah as much as we can by not looking at members of the opposite sex and by applying self-restraint.

There follow some of the results of a study on mixing undertaken by some Muslim social science researchers.


When we put the following question: What is the Islamic ruling on mixing as far as you know? The results were as follows:


76% of respondents said “It is not permitted.”


12% said, “It is permitted” – but moral, religious, etc. restrictions apply…


12% said, “I don’t know.”


Which would you choose?


If you had the choice between working in a mixed workplace and working in another where there was no mixing, which would you choose?


The responses to this question were as follows:


76% would choose the workplace where there was no mixing.


9% preferred the mixed workplace.


15% would accept any workplace which suited their specialties, regardless of whether it was mixed or not.


Very embarrassing


Have any embarrassing situations ever happened to you because of mixing?


Among the embarrassing moments mentioned by respondents in this study were the following:


I was at work one day, and I went into one department where one of my female colleagues who wears hijaab had taken off her hijaab in front of her female colleagues. My entrance took her by surprise and I was very embarrassed as a result.


I had to do an experiment in the lab at university, but I was absent on the day of the experiment. I had to go to the lab on the following day, and I found myself the only male among a group of female students, in addition to a female teacher and a female lab technician. I was very embarrassed and felt very awkward with all those female eyes glaring at me.


I was trying to take a feminine towel out of one of the drawers when I was surprised by a male colleague standing behind me, who wanted to take something from his own private drawer. He noticed that I was embarrassed and he left the room quickly to avoid my embarrassment.


It so happened that one of the girls at the university bumped into me when turning a corner in a crowded corridor. She was walking quickly, going to one of the lectures. As a result of this collision, she lost her balance, and I caught her in my arms, as if I was embracing her. You can imagine how embarrassed I and this girl felt in front of a group of careless young people.


One of my female colleagues fell on the stairs in the university and her clothes fell open in an extremely embarrassing fashion. She landed upside down and could not help herself; the young men standing nearby had no option but to cover her and help her to get up.


I work in a company and I went in to give some papers to my boss. When I was going out, my boss called me back. I turned around and saw him with his face turned away. I was waiting for him to ask me for a file or for more papers, and I was surprised by his hesitancy. I turned away to the left side of his office, pretending to be busy with something, and he spoke to me at the same time. I thought that this boss would say anything except what he actually said, which was to point out that my garment was stained with menstrual blood. Can the earth open up and swallow a human being at the moment of making sincere supplication? For I prayed that the earth would open up and swallow me.


Victims of mixing… True stories


Lost hope


Umm Muhammad, a mature woman over the age of 40, tells her story.


I lived a life of modest means with my husband. There was never any closeness and harmony, and my husband did not have the kind of strong personality that a woman would hope for, but his good nature made me overlook the fact that I was the one who was responsible for most of the decision making in the family.


My husband often used to mention the name of his friend and business partner, and he would talk about him in my presence, and I often used to meet with him in his office which was originally part of our apartment. This went on for many years, until circumstances led to us exchanging visits with this person and his family. These family visits were repeated and because of his close friendship with my husband, we did not notice how the number of visits increased and how many hours a single visit would last. He often used to come on his own to sit with us, me and my husband, for long visits. My husband’s trust in him knew no bounds, and as days passed I got to know this person very well, and saw how wonderful and decent he was. I began to feel a strong attraction towards this man, and at the same time I began to sense that the feeling was mutual.


Things took a strange turn after that, when I realized that this man was the kind of person I had always dreamed about. Why had he come along now, after all these years? The more this man’s status increased in my eyes, the more my husband’s status diminished. It was as if I had needed to see the beauty of his character in order to discover how ugly my husband’s character was.


The matter between this person and myself did not go beyond these persistent thoughts which were occupying my mind night and day. Neither he nor I ever voiced what we felt in our hearts… until today. Yet despite that my life is over and my husband is little more than a weak man with no self-esteem. I hate him and I do not know how all this hatred towards him started to boil over. I wonder how I put up with him all these years, bearing all these burdens by myself, facing life’s problems on my own.


Things got so bad that I asked him for a divorce, and he divorced me at my request. After that he became a broken man. Even worse than that is that after my marriage was wrecked and my children and husband were devastated, problems arose in this man's family. His wife, with her feminine intuition, realized what had been going on in his heart of hearts, and his life became hell. She was overwhelmed with jealousy to the extent that one night she left her house at 2 a.m. and came to attack my house, screaming, weeping and hurling accusations. His marriage was also about to collapse.


I admit that the lovely gatherings which we used to enjoy gave us the opportunity to get to know one another at a time that was not appropriate at this stage in our lives.


His marriage has been wrecked and so has mine. I have lost everything, and now I know that my circumstances and his will not permit us to take any positive step towards coming together. Now I am more miserable than I have ever been, and I am looking for illusionary happiness and lost hopes.




Umm Ahmad tells us:


My husband had a group of married friends, and because of our close friendship with them, we used to get together with them once a week in one of our houses, to enjoy an evening of chat.


Deep down in my heart I was never really comfortable with the atmosphere in which we would have dinner, sweets, snacks and drinks of juice accompanied by waves of laughter because of the jokes and chit-chats that often went beyond the bounds of good manners.


In the name of friendship, the barriers were lifted and every now and then one would hear suppressed laughter between a woman and the husband of another woman. The jokes were too much, dealing – with no sense of shyness –with sensitive topics such as sex and women’s private matters. This was usual and was even accepted and regarded as desirable.


Although I indulged in these things along with them, my conscience made me feel guilty. Then the day came when it became quite clear just how ugly and filthy this atmosphere was.


The telephone rang, and I heard the voice of one of the friends in this group. I said hello to him and apologized that my husband was not home. He replied that he knew that, and that he was calling to speak to me! After he suggested starting a relationship with me, I got very angry and spoke harshly to him and cursed him. All he could do was laugh and say, “Don’t try and show these good manners to me; go and check on your husband’s good manners and see what he is doing…” I was devastated by what he said, but I pulled myself together and said to myself, this person is only trying to cause the break up of your marriage. But he succeeded in planting the seeds of doubt concerning my husband.


Shortly after that, the major disaster struck. I discovered that my husband was cheating on me with another woman. It was the matter of life or death as far as I was concerned. I found my husband out and I confronted him, saying: “You are not the only one who can have a relationship. I have received a similar proposition.” And I told him all about his friend. He was stunned and absolutely shocked. (I said:) “If you want me to respond in kind to your relationship with that woman, then this is for that, tit-for-tat.” This was a huge slap in the face for him. He knew that I did not intend to do that in reality, but he realized the great disaster that had befallen our lives and the immoral atmosphere in which we were living. I suffered a great deal until my husband finally left that loose woman with whom he was having a relationship, as he admitted to me. Yes, he left her and came back to his family and children, but how can I ever feel the same towards him as I used to? Who will restore respect for him in my heart? This huge wound in my heart is still bleeding out of regret and rage at that filthy atmosphere; it still bears testimony to the fact that what they call innocent get-togethers are in reality anything but innocent. My heart still begs for mercy from the Lord of Glory.


Intelligence can also be a temptation (fitnah)


‘Abd al-Fattaah says:


I work as the head of department in one of the big companies. For a long time I admired one of my female colleagues, not for her beauty, but for her serious attitude towards her work, her intelligence and her excellent achievements – in addition to the fact that she was a decent and modest person who focused only on her work. This admiration turned into attachment, and I am a married man who fears Allaah and never misses any obligatory prayer. I expressed my feelings to her and she rebuffed me. She is married and has children as well. She sees no reason why I should have any kind of relationship with her, whether it be friendship, as work colleagues or based on admiration… etc. Evil thoughts come to me sometimes, and deep down I wish that her husband would divorce her so that I could get her.


I started to put pressure on her at work and put her down in front of my bosses. Perhaps this was a form of revenge on my part, but she accepted it with good manners and did not complain or comment. She works and works; her performance speaks of her quality, and she knows this well. The more she resisted me, the stronger my infatuation grew.


I am not a person who is easily tempted by women, because I fear Allaah and I do not overstep the mark with them and go beyond what is required by my work. But this woman attracted me. What is the solution?… I do not know.


Baby ducks know how to swim


N.A.A., a nineteen-year-old girl, tells us:


At that time I was a little girl. My innocent eyes watched those evening get-togethers when family friends would meet in the house. What I remember is that I could only see one man, who was my father. I watched him as he moved about the room, how his glances would devour the women present, looking at their thighs and chests, admiring this one’s eyes, that one’s hair, the other’s hips. My poor mother had no choice but to take care of these get-togethers. She was a very simple lady.


Among the women present there was one woman who would deliberately try to attract my father’s attention, sometimes by coming close to him, and sometimes by making enticing movements. I would watch this with concern, whilst my mother was busy in the kitchen for the sake of her guests.


These gatherings stopped suddenly and I tried, young as I was, to understand and make sense of what had happened, but I could not.


What I remember was that my mother collapsed completely at that time, and she could not stand to hear my father’s name mentioned in the house. I used to hear mysterious words whispered by the adults around me: “Betrayal… bedroom… she saw them with her own eyes… despicable woman… in a very shameful position…” etc. These were the key words which only the adults could understand.


I grew up and came to understand, and I bore a grudge against all men. All of them were treacherous. My mother was a broken woman and accused every woman who came to us of being a man-snatcher who wanted to make my father fall into her trap. My father hasn’t changed. He is still practising his favourite hobby of chasing women, but now he does it outside the home. Now I am nineteen years old and I know lots of young men. I feel great pleasure in taking revenge on them, because every one of them is an exact copy of my father. I tempt them and entice them, without letting them get anywhere near me. They follow me in gatherings and in the marketplaces because of my movements and deliberate gestures. Sometimes my phone never stops ringing and I feel proud of what I do to avenge the sex of Hawwa’ and my mother. But sometimes I feel so miserable and such a failure that it almost chokes me. My life is shadowed by a huge dark cloud, and its name is my father.


Before it is too late


S.N.A. tells of her experience:


I never imagined that my work circumstances would force me to be in contact with the opposite sex (men), but this in fact is what happened…


In the beginning, I used to cover and screen myself from men by wearing niqaab (face-veil), but some of the sisters advised me that this dress was attracting more attention to my presence, and it would be better for me to take off the niqaab, especially since my eyes were somewhat attractive. So I removed the cover from my face, thinking that this was better. But by continuing to mix with my colleagues, I discovered that I was the odd one out because of my antisocial attitude and my insistence on not joining in the conversation and chatting with others. Everyone was wary of this “lone-wolf” woman (as they saw me), and this is what was stated clearly by one person who affirmed that he would not want to deal with such a snooty and stand-offish character. But I knew that I was the opposite, in fact, and I decided that I would not oppress myself and put myself in a difficult position with my colleagues. So I started to join in their chats and exchanges of anecdotes, and they all discovered that I could speak eloquently and persuasively, and that I could influence others. I could also speak in a manner that was determined yet at the same time was attractive to some of my colleagues. It was not long before I noticed some changes in the expression of my direct supervisor; with some embarrassment, he was enjoying the way I spoke and moved, and he would deliberately bring up topics in the conversation where I would see that hateful look in his eyes. I do not deny the fact that I started to entertain some thoughts about this man. I found it astonishing that a man could fall so easily into the trap of a woman who was religiously committed, so how must it be in the case of women who adorn themselves and invite men to commit immoral actions? In fact, I did not think of him in any way which went beyond the bounds of sharee’ah, but he did occupy a space in my thoughts for quite some time. But soon my self-respect made me reject the idea of being a source of enjoyment for this man in any way, shape or form, even if it was only psychological in nature, and I stopped getting involved in any kind of work that would force me to sit alone with him. In the end, I reached the following conclusions:


1- Attraction between the sexes can occur in any circumstances, no matter how much men and women may deny that. The attraction may start within the bounds of sharee’ah and end up going beyond those bounds.


Even if a person protects himself (by marriage), he is not safe from the snares of the Shaytaan.


3- Even though a person may be able to guarantee himself and he works with the opposite sex within reasonable limits, he cannot guarantee the feelings of the other party.


Finally, there is nothing good in mixing and it does not bear fruit as they claim. On the contrary, it corrupts sound thinking.


What now?


We may ask, what comes next, after this discussion on the matter of mixing?


It’s about time for us to recognize that no matter how we try to beautify the issue of mixing and take the matter lightly, its consequences are bound to catch up with us, and the harm it causes will have disastrous results for our families. Sound common sense refuses to accept that mixing is a healthy atmosphere for human relations. This is the sound common sense which made most of the people included in this survey (76%) prefer working in a non-mixed environment. The same percentage (76%) said that mixing is not permitted according to the sharee’ah. What makes us sit up and take notice is not this honourable percentage – which indicates the purity of our Islamic society and the cleanness of its members’ hearts – but the small number who said that mixing is permitted; they number 12%. This group, with no exceptions, said that mixing is permitted but within the limits set by religion, custom (‘urf), traditions, good manners, conscience, modesty, covering and other worthy values which, in their opinion, keep mixing within proper limits.


We ask them: is the mixing which we see nowadays in our universities, market-places, work-places and family and social gatherings, taking place within the limits referred to above? Or are these places filled with transgressions in terms of clothing, speech, interactions and behaviour? We see wanton displays of adornment (tabarruj), not proper covering; we see fitnah (temptations) and dubious relationships, with no good manners and no conscience and no covering. We can conclude that the kind of mixing that is happening nowadays is unacceptable even to those who approve of mixing in a clean atmosphere.


It’s about time for us to recognize that mixing provides a fertile breeding-ground for social poisons to invade and take over our society without anyone ever realizing that it is mixing which is the cause. Mixing is the prime element in this silent fitnah, in the shade of which betrayals erupt, homes are wrecked and hearts are broken.


We ask Allaah to keep us safe and sound, and to reform our society. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.

Islam Q&A

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

Once upon a time...

on the banks of a great river in the north of Germany lay a town called Hamelin. The citizens of Hamelin were honest folk who lived contentedly in their Grey stone houses. The years went by, and the town grew very rich.

Then one day, an extraordinary thing happened to disturb the peace.

Hamelin had always had rats, and a lot too. But they had never been a danger, for the cats had always solved the rat problem in the usual way- by killing them. All at once, however, the rats began to multiply.

In the end, a black sea of rats swarmed over the whole town. First, they attacked the barns and storehouses, then, for lack of anything better, they gnawed the wood, cloth or anything at all. The one thing they didn't eat was metal. The terrified citizens flocked to plead with the town councilors to free them from the plague of rats. But the council had, for a long time, been sitting in the Mayor's room, trying to think of a plan.

"What we need is an army of cats!"

But all the cats were dead.

"We'll put down poisoned food then . . ."

But most of the food was already gone and even poison did not stop the rats.

"It just can't be done without help!" said the Mayor sadly.

Just then, while the citizens milled around outside, there was a loud knock at the door. "Who can that be?" the city fathers wondered uneasily, mindful of the angry crowds. They gingerly opened the door. And to their surprise, there stood a tall thin man dressed in brightly colored clothes, with a long feather in his hat, and waving a gold pipe at them.

"I've freed other towns of beetles and bats," the stranger announced, "and for a thousand florins, I'll rid you of your rats!"

"A thousand florins!" exclaimed the Mayor. "We'll give you fifty thousand if you succeed!" At once the stranger hurried away, saying:

"It's late now, but at dawn tomorrow, there won't be a rat left in Hamelin!"

The sun was still below the horizon, when the sound of a pipe wafted through the streets of Hamelin. The pied piper slowly made his way through the houses and behind him flocked the rats. Out they scampered from doors, windows and gutters, rats of every size, all after the piper. And as he played, the stranger marched down to the river and straight into the water, up to his middle. Behind him swarmed the rats and every one was drowned and swept away by the current.

By the time the sun was high in the sky, there was not a single rat in the town. There was even greater delight at the town hall, until the piper tried to claim his payment.

"Fifty thousand florins?" exclaimed the councilors,


" A thousand florins at least!" cried the pied piper angrily. But the Mayor broke in. "The rats are all dead now and they can never come back. So be grateful for fifty florins, or you'll not get even that . . ."

His eyes flashing with rage, the pied piper pointed a threatening finger at the Mayor.

"You'll bitterly regret ever breaking your promise," he said, and vanished.

A shiver of fear ran through the councilors, but the Mayor shrugged and said excitedly: "We've saved fifty thousand florins!"

That night, freed from the nightmare of the rats, the citizens of Hamelin slept more soundly than ever. And when the strange sound of piping wafted through the streets at dawn, only the children heard it. Drawn as by magic, they hurried out of their homes.

Again, the pied piper paced through the town, this time, it was children of all sizes that flocked at his heels to the sound of his strange piping.

The long procession soon left the town and made its way through the wood and across the forest till it reached the foot of a huge mountain. When the piper came to the dark rock, he played his pipe even louder still and a great door creaked open. Beyond lay a cave. In trooped the children behind the pied piper, and when the last child had gone into the darkness, the door creaked shut.

A great landslide came down the mountain blocking the entrance to the cave forever. Only one little lame boy escaped this fate. It was he who told the anxious citizens, searching for their children, what had happened. And no matter what people did, the mountain never gave up its victims.

Many years were to pass before the merry voices of other children would ring through the streets of Hamelin but the memory of the harsh lesson lingered in everyone's heart and was passed down from father to son through the centuries.


The Brothers Grimm



Deeplinks : 1 - 2


800x600 pictures are available on the Brickshelf Gallery


Free adaptation of the tale by the Brothers Grimm. This is my first entry for the Colossal Castle Contest 2012 (CCCX) in the Medieval Life Category


For those who have not had the strength to read the story, here's the Disney Version


Thank you to Legohaulic to let me use is house roofs design !


I hope you will like it :)

The promontory Pointe de Tal ar Grip and Plage de Pentrez (in English: "Pentrez Beach") near the village of Saint-Nic, Brittany, France


Some background information:


Saint-Nic is a little coastal village in the Breton department of Finistère with about 770 residents. It is nestled in the Bay of Douarnenez, although its village centre is located about two km (1.2 miles) east of the Atlantic coast. The commune is also situated at the southwestern edge of Ménez-Hom, an extinct volcano with a height of 330 metres above sea level.


The area around Saint-Nic was already inhabited in prehistoric times. Several menhirs and dolmen bear witness to it. Ménez-Hom used to be the holy mountain of the local Celts. They also inflamed bonfires on its peak as warnings of foreign invaders. Today archaeologists still search for the remains of a Celtic-Roman temple that is believed to have been erected at the slopes of Ménez-Hom.


In 1913, the farmer Jean Labat found the bronze head of a Celtic-Roman deity. The head was covered with a helmet with a goose standing up on its top. Therefore it is assumed that the figurine depicted the Celitc deity Brigid. Because the farmer was riveted by his own find, he continued searching for relics and indeed, fifteen years later found the figurine’s body. Today the figurine of Brigid is on display in the museum of Brittany in the city of Rennes.


According to an old legend, the mortal remains of the myth-enshrouded king Mar’ch are buried at the foot of Ménez-Hom. It is said that Mar’ch, who had the crest and the ears of a horse, was a great womaniser. His activities were so scandalising that God wanted to let him rot in hell after his death. But when Mar’ch had a chapel built for Blessed Virigin Mary at the foot of Ménez-Hom, God reduced his penalty: March’s soul didn’t have to go to hell after he had died, but was buried together with his mortal remains. God dictated that March’s soul could not ascend from his grave into heaven before one could see the steepletop of the chapel of the Virgin Mary from his grave mound. To make March’s grave mound grow higher and higher, hikers and paragliders at Ménez-Hom keep throwing little stones from above on his grave at the foot of the hill.


But as the grave wasn’t built within sight of the chapel, but on the opposite side of Ménez-Hom, the poor king will most likely still have to wait for quite a long time until his soul will be able to ascend into heaven.


Saint-Nic derives its name from the Breton Saint Maeoc, who is also known as Saint Nic. In the 6th century, he lived as an ascetic in a forest near the little town of Coëtmieux in the Breton department of Cotes d'Armor. Not much is known about him, but legend has it that he was an evangelist and a scholar of Saint Samson of Dol, who is counted among the seven founder saints of Brittany.


Saint-Nicaise, the parish church of Saint-Nic, was built in the 16th century. At that time, the people of Saint-Nic used to make a living from husbandry and the production of linen. By doing that they achieved modest affluence, but unfortunately in 1789, French Revolution put a stop to it. Because of new laws and tributes in the form of saddle horses, oats and also church bells, the rural population in many parts of France hardly had enough to sustain life. In 1791, a bad harvest capped it all.


In 1793, the expropriation of the Catholic Church and the dismissal of many clerics led to a mass rebellion, where the bottled-up rage of the rural population erupted. Churchly properties were sold to the urban property-owning bourgeoisie by the First Republic of France, while the former rural tenants got nothing. This fact led to the so-called War in the Vendée, whereby many western French villages lost 25 to 35 per cent of their population.


Although Saint-Nic was heavily affected by this rebellion that was quelled in the first instance, the village overcame all difficulties in the 19th and 20th centuries. Today Saint-Nic is a rather wealthy rural community, whose residents make a living from farming and room letting to the numerous visitors, who come here to enjoy the beauty of the Breton landscape and seascape.

The Kerala backwaters are a chain of brackish lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast (known as the Malabar Coast) of Kerala state in southern India. The network includes five large lakes linked by canals, both manmade and natural, fed by 38 rivers, and extending virtually half the length of Kerala state. The backwaters were formed by the action of waves and shore currents creating low barrier islands across the mouths of the many rivers flowing down from the Western Ghats range.


Kerala has over 900 km of interconnected waterways, rivers, lakes and inlets that make up the Kerala backwaters. In the midst of this beautiful landscape there are a number of towns and cities, which are the starting and end points of backwater cruises. National Waterway No. 3 from Kollam to Kottapuram, covers a distance of 205 km and runs almost parallel to the coast line of southern Kerala facilitating both cargo movement and backwater tourism.


The backwaters have a unique ecosystem - freshwater from the rivers meets the seawater from the Arabian Sea. In certain areas, such as the Vembanad Kayal, where a barrage has been built near Kumarakom, salt water from the sea is prevented from entering the deep inside, keeping the fresh water intact. Such fresh water is extensively used for irrigation purposes.


Many unique species of aquatic life including crabs, frogs and mudskippers, water birds such as terns, kingfishers, darters and cormorants, and animals such as otters and turtles live in and alongside the backwaters. Palm trees, pandanus shrubs, various leafy plants and bushes grow alongside the backwaters, providing a green hue to the surrounding landscape.


Vembanad Kayal is the largest of the lakes, covering an area of 200 km², and bordered by Alappuzha (Alleppey), Kottayam, and Ernakulam districts. The port of Kochi (Cochin) is located at the lake's outlet to the Arabian Sea. Alleppey, "Venice of the East", has a large network of canals that meander through the town. Vembanad is India’s longest lake.


The houseboats in Kerala are huge, slow-moving, exotic barges used for leisure trips.


Keralan Rice Boats are a reworked model of Kettuvallams (in the Malayalam language, Kettu means "tied with ropes", and vallam means "boat"), which, in earlier times, were used to carry rice and spices from Kuttanad to the Kochi port. Kerala houseboats were considered a convenient means of transportation. They have thatched roof covers over wooden hulls.


Boats in a variety of shapes and sizes have traditionally been the main means of transport of men and materials in the Kerala Backwaters since olden days. In particular, the house boats were used to ship rice and spices and other goods between Kuttanad and the Cochin port. It was a three-day affair in those days. A standard house boat, which could be about 100 feet long, can hold up to 30 tons, and that is as much as three big lorries can.


For the royalty these boats even became comfortable living quarters. It was the important mode of transportation in coastal Kerala just because of its accessibility to the most remote areas.


It took the vision and enterpreneurship of a couple of enterprising young men to refurbish one of these leviathans, hoisting on to it a wooden super-structure incorporating a huge bed room, a toilet, a kitchenette and an open balcony. The ancient houseboat with a modernized interior became a hot favourite with tourists.


As the houseboats glide over the Kerala backwaters at a leisurely pace, the sights are new, the sounds are new, and every sensation is new every passing moment. A cruise along the mirror-still lagoons, picture-book lakeside, palm-fringed canals and shimmering rivulets of `God's Own Country' is the most enchanting holidaying experience in the country. With a cruise along the palm-fringed waterways turning to be part and parcel of holidayers' itinerary, the traditional kettuvallam has emerged as the mascot of Kerala Tourism


A houseboat is about 60 to 70 feet (about 18 to 21 meters) long and about 15 feet (about 5 m) wide at the middle. The hull which is made of hundreds of fine but heavy-duty planks of jack-wood is held together absolutely by coir knots (not a single nail is used). This framework is then coated with a caustic black resin extracted from boiled cashew kernels. And it lasts for generations. The roof is made of bamboo poles and palm leaves. The exterior of the boat is painted with protective coats of cashew nut oil.


The kettuvallam is motorised and is steered in deep waters by means of oars or a rudder. Long bamboo poles or 'punts' are used to propel in shadow areas. The crew of a kettuvallam comprises two oarsmen and a cook or chef. Fresh food, cooked in inimitable Kuttanadan style is the rage of the international tourists.


Basically the kettuvallam was originally designed to transport cargo and as such many design changes had to be made to make it a tourist vehicle. The height of the roof was increased to get sufficient headroom. A plank was laid all through the length to reduce the disadvantages of the curved shape of the hull for walking and comfortable seating. Windows and other openings were provided for light, airflow and view. The entrance is provided in the centre of the linear axis with a top hung panel.


More than 400 kettuvallams ply the backwaters. Alappuzha is the citadel of house boats. There are some 120 of them, well maintained and perfected as luxury liners there. The house boats have all the creature comforts of a good hotel: well-furnished bedrooms, modern hygienic toilets, cosy living rooms, a beautiful kitchen and in some cases even a balcony for angling.

Vienna Baroque

Doris Binder


The center of Baroque art was undisputable Vienna, as a special promoter appeared the Emperor Charles VI., under whose reign not only the Karlskirche was built, but also numerous buildings have been newly planned or built. The passion for building of the High Baroque is not only founded by the destructions of the Turks, but also has its causes in the backward economic structure and its lack of production plants. Whether nobleman, cleric or commoner, all those with sufficient capital put it rather in construction funds into practice than not make use of it. Responsible for this was a deep distrust to the imperial fiscal policy and concern about the currency and a possible bankruptcy.

The Baroque emerged within the civil peace (*) Burgfrieden) of the city of Vienna, had at the beginning of the High Baroque era still dominated religious buildings, so the cityscape changed in just four decades. Vienna was transformed into a "palace city", by the year 1740, the number of pleasure palaces, gardens and belvederes had doubled. The Baroque style, which by crown, church and nobility was forced upon the citizens, is considered of Felix Czeike as "authority art". The existing social gap should be camouflaged by the rubberneck culture in festivities, receptions and parades.


*) Burgfrieden (The term truce or Castle peace referred to a jurisdiction in the Middle Ages around a castle, in which feuds, so hostilities of private individuals among themselves, under penalty of ostracism were banned. Today the term is mainly used in a figurative sense.


Due to the return of Fischer von Erlach to Vienna in 1686 and a decade later, Lukas von Hildebrandt, the primacy of the Italians in architecture was broken and the victory parade of Austrian Baroque began. The connection between the spiritual and secular powers found its mode of expression in the Baroque, which the appearance of the city of Vienna should characterize in a decisive manner.


Construction of Charles Church

The Karlskirche was built by Emperor Charles VI. commemorating the plague saint, Charles Borromeo. In 1713 the plague raged in Vienna and claimed about 8,000 human lives, in February 1714 the plague disappeared and as a sign of gratitude was began with the construction of the church, this should become the most important religious building of Vienna in the 18th century.

In a contest was decided on the builder - participants were Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt and Ferdinando Galli-Bibienas. As winner emerged the famous architect Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, he died in 1723 and did not live to the achievement of the Church. The supervision was transferred to the imperial court architect Anton Erhard Martinelli, as Fischer von Erlach died, his son, Joseph Emmanuel, finished his work. On 28 October 1737 St. Charles Church was solemnly by the Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Sigismund Count Kollowitz, inaugurated. The spiritual care ceded Emperor Karl VI. to the chivalric Order of the Cross with the Red Star, since 1783 is the Karlskirche imperial patronage parish.

The church at that time lay still behind the regulated river Wien (Wienfluss) and in the open field. The directed towards the city face side of the Charles Church, which stood on the edge of the suburb of Wieden, was target point of a line of sight the Hofburg and St. Charles Church in the sense of a "via triumphalis" connecting. On the temple-like front building of the Karlskirche the dedication inscription is clearly visible "Vota mea Reddam in conspectu timentium Deum" - "I will fulfill my vow before those who fear God."

Already during the construction by Fischer von Erlach (senior), there were several project phases, three of which have been preserved:


1. Medaillon by Daniel Warou for the groundbreaking ceremony

2. Fore stitches in Fischer's draft of a historical architecture 1721

3. Viennese view of work by Klein and Pfeffel 1722 (1724)


Due to the death of Fischer von Erlach, occured recent changes made by his son, Joseph Emmanuel most of all being concerned the dome (much higher and steeper), the priest choir (omitted) and the interior (simpler). The entire project took a total of 21 years and the costs amounted to 304 045 guilders and 22 ¼ cruisers. The construction costs were shouldered by all crown lands of the Empire, but also Spain, Milan and the Netherlands had to make a contribution.

The Karlskirche is the most important Baroque building of the city and represents the most convincing the so-called Empire style in which for the last time an empire awareness in the architecture of the capital of the Holy Roman Empire after the victorious ended wars against the Turks and the French was expressed.

Symbolism of the Karlskirche

The Karlskirche consists of a central rotunda with a dome, preceded by a column structure like a Greek temple, of two high pillars illustrated on the model of Trajan's Column in Rome and of two lateral gate pavilions. The illustrated columns represent Charles VI. as a wise and strong secular ruler, the two great pillars were created by Marder and Matielli. The columns are crowned by golden eagles, symbolizing the two virtues of the Emperor - fortitudo (bravery) and constantia (resistance). The two pillars are evocative of the two pillars before the temple in Jerusalem - Jachin and Boaz. However, the illustration of the two columns does not match the model of the Trajan columns in Rome, portraying war deeds, but these tell the life story of St. Borromeo. In the front view of the Karlskirche a wide range of different symbols become one whole - the Roman emperors Trajan and Augustus, the Temple of Solomon, St. Peter's Church in Rome, Hagia Sophia, Charlemagne and the Empire of Charles V. - through the skillfully used symbols should be shown the claim of the house of Habsburg to the European domination.

The plan view of the church is, as in baroque typical, ellipsoid. In the interior of the Karlskirche the great Baroque sculpture is immediately noticeable, representing St. Borromeo. At the base the four Latin Fathers of the Church are depicted. The interior of the Karlskirche is dominated by the tremendous fresco in the oval dome room, it was created by the eminent Baroque painter Johann Michael Rottmayr between 1725-1730. The fresco shows the Mother of God representing the intercession of the patron Saint of the Church to help head off the plague, surrounded is the scene by the cardinal virtues (faith, hope and love). In the left entrance wing is situated the tomb for the Austrian poet Heinrich Joseph von Collin (17771-1811).

Inside the St. Charles Church, there is a museum where the most valuable pieces are exhibited.

These include: the vestments of St. Borromeo, a reliquary of gold and silver - a donation of Emperor Charles VI. and a rococo monstrance (1760) containing a drop of blood of the saint. Thomas Aquinas.

Even the image of the architect Fischer von Erlach, painted by Jacob von Schuppen, is one of the church treasures.

The iconographic program of the Charles Church was written by Carl Gustav Haerus, by this the Saint Charles Borromeo should be connected to the imperial founder.

September 19th, 2012 - Inside Palmer's Island Light


When the front door of Palmer's Island Light was opened for me, I was shocked to find this beautiful shrine-like memorial to Arthur and Mabel Small. Mr. Small was the Keeper of Palmer's Island Light from 1922 to 1928 when the hurricane hit New England. Here is the information about the Small's that I was able to dig up on the Internet. Please consider sharing this image in honor of the Smalls.


Keeper Arthur Small moved with his wife Mabel and two sons from Boston Harbor’s Narrows (‘Bug’) Light to Palmer Island in 1922. One of three brothers who were all lighthouse keepers, Arthur Small was a gifted artist who concentrated on nautical themes and frequently painted scenes on Palmer Island.


Small loved his work and took his role quite seriously, but scoffed at the so-called heroism of keepers; although years later his words would come back to haunt him. ‘Whenever they say anything about a lighthouse keeper,’ Small said, ‘they always act as if he were some kind of hero. We’re not heroes. Here I am on this island, perfectly safe, working and painting pictures, while you wander around in New Bedford, crossing streets with automobiles and trolley cars whizzing by, just missing you by a few feet. Why, you people take more chances in a week than I do in ten years.’


On September 21, 1938, the worst hurricane ever in New England history, The Great New England Hurricane, battered the south-facing coastline taking everyone unaware. A Weather Bureau bulletin had predicted wind velocity in the area probably would not top 50 or 60 miles an hour. And although the eye of the storm, with its 120-mile-per-hour winds and gusts as high as 175-186 miles, would not pass directly through New Bedford, the damage wrought in the area was nonetheless immense. Realizing the necessity of lighting the lamps that afternoon, 53-year-old Arthur Small left his wife in the oil house, which he considered relatively safe as it was situated on the island’s highest point. As he strained to cross the 350 feet from the house to the tower in the raging wind, he was struck by a wave that sucked him under and slammed him against a metal fence. He swam and as he struggled to regain his footing found his wife attempting to launch a rowboat to come to his aid. He cried out for her to stop, but the wind tore away his words. Small could only watch in helpless horror as a massive wave swept away his wife, the dory, and the boathouse, and destroyed everything on the island except the lighthouse tower.


Later Keeper Small was to relate, ‘I was hurt and she knew it. Seeing the wave hit the boathouse was about the last thing I remember. I must have been hit by a piece of timber and knocked unconscious. I came to some hours later, but all I remember was that I was in the middle of some wreckage...’


Despite being injured and in shock, Arthur Small made it to the tower where he lit the Palmer Island Light, unable to leave the tower until the storm calmed. Two friends rowed out to the island in the morning where they discovered the keeper and took him under police escort to the Chelsea Marine Hospital. There he regained consciousness two weeks later and learned that his wife had perished.


Besides his wife, Small lost $7,500 in savings, many of his paintings and his library of several hundred books. Keeper Small was granted a two-year absence with pay, after which he retired.

Franklin Ponte (c. 1939-1940) became keeper after Arthur Small (1922-1938), followed by Martin Maloney (c.1941), who was last keeper of the lighthouse when it was automated in 1941.


After a hurricane wall was built in New Bedford Harbor in 1963, the lighthouse was no longer needed. The proximity to this wall made Palmer Island more accessible to lighthouse seekers and vandals alike. In 1966, the tower interior was gutted by arson, nearly destroying the lantern room.




Further recommended reading regarding the Small’s story on pages 303 – 306 in “The Lighthouses of New England” By Edward Rowe Snow

Shadows Of The Wanderer by Ana Maria Pacheco inside Norwich Cathedral which is dedicated to the Holy and Undivided Trinity, it is the cathedral church for the Church of England Diocese of Norwich and is one of the Norwich 12 heritage sites. The cathedral close is one of the largest in England and one of the largest in Europe and has more people living within it than any other close. The cathedral spire, measuring at 315 ft or 96 m, is the second tallest in England despite being partly rebuilt after being struck by lightning in 1169, just 23 months after its completion. In Norwich Norfolk.


In 672 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Theodore of Tarsus divided East Anglia into two dioceses, one covering Norfolk, with its see at Elmham, the other, covering Suffolk with its see at Dunwich. During much of the 9th century, because of the Danish incursions, there was no bishop at Elmham; in addition the see of Dunwich was extinguished and East Anglia became a single diocese once more. Following the Norman Conquest many sees were moved to more secure urban centres, that of Elmham being transferred to Thetford in 1072, and finally to Norwich in 1094.


The structure of the cathedral is primarily in the Norman style, having been constructed at the behest of Bishop Herbert de Losinga who had bought the bishopric for £1,900 before its transfer from Thetford. Building started in 1096 and the cathedral was completed in 1145. It was built from flint and mortar and faced with cream coloured Caen limestone. It still retains the greater part of its original stone structure. An Anglo-Saxon settlement and two churches were demolished to make room for the buildings and a canal cut to allow access for the boats bringing the stone and building materials which were taken up the Wensum and unloaded at Pulls Ferry, Norwich.


The ground plan remains almost entirely as it was in Norman times, except for that of the easternmost chapel. The cathedral has an unusually long nave of fourteen bays. The transepts are without aisles and the east end terminates in an apse with an ambulatory.


The crossing tower was the last piece of the Norman cathedral to be completed, in around 1140. It is boldly decorated with circles, lozenges and interlaced arcading. The present spire was added in the late fifteenth century.


The cathedral was damaged after riots in 1272, which resulted in the city paying heavy fines levied by Henry III, Rebuilding was completed in 1278 and the cathedral was reconsecrated in the presence of Edward I on Advent Sunday of that year.


A large two-storey cloister, the only such in England, with over 1,000 ceiling bosses was begun in 1297 and finally finished in 1430 after the Black Death had plagued the city.


The Norman spire was blown down in 1362. Its fall caused considerable damage to the east end, as a result of which the clerestory of the choir was rebuilt in the Perpendicular style. In the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, the cathedrals flat timber ceilings were replaced with stone vaults: the nave was vaulted under Bishop Lyhart (1446–72), the choir under Bishop Goldwell (1472–99) and the transepts after 1520.


In 1463 the spire was struck by lightning, causing a fire to rage through the nave which was so intense it turned some of the creamy Caen limestone a pink colour. In 1480 the bishop, James Goldwell, ordered the building of a new spire which is still in place today. It is of brick faced with stone, supported on brick squinches built into the Norman tower. At 315 feet (96 metres) high, the spire is the second tallest in England. Only that of Salisbury Cathedral is taller at 404 feet (123 metres).


The total length of the building is 461 feet (140 metres). Along with Salisbury and Ely the cathedral lacks a ring of bells, which makes them the only three English cathedrals without them. One of the best views of the cathedral spire is from St. James's Hill on Mousehold Heath.


The cathedral was partially in ruins when John Cosin was at the grammar school in the early 17th century and the former bishop was an absentee figure. In 1643 during the reign of Charles I, an angry Puritan mob invaded the cathedral and destroyed all Roman Catholic symbols. The building, abandoned the following year, lay in ruins for two decades. The mob also fired their muskets. At least one musket ball remains lodged in the stonework. Only at the Restoration in 1660 would the cathedral be restored under Charles II.


She was officially engaged to the man of her dreams. She has been waiting for the moment for a gentleman to come and swoop her from her feet. It was every girls dream to have such romantic lovelife. Her parents arranged the engagement with a distinguish family next town. They sent a portrait of the young master and she agreed immediately. The next day, the lad himself came to the mansion to present the engagement ring for the excited maiden. Her family offered to let the lad stay for night as a storm was coming and he agreed.


It was a small misunderstanding. The gardener who tended her white lilies visited her quarters to deliver the fresh batch of the flower before the storm arrives. He knew that the young maiden couldn't sleep well without the fragrance. Her fiancee however watched the whole conversation from the shadows, boiling with rage with every second passed as they exchange giggles and smiles. When the gardener took his leave and the maiden was about to close the door, the lad stormed into her room.


No one heard her scream over the storm. By dawn, her room was simply covered crimson, even the fresh lilies. However, there was not a single trance of young girl's part found and young lad who stayed overnight also disappeared.


Credits and Rambles

My first weapon like this made 95 percent out of shapes. didn't take too long but I am pleased with the results. made in 0.7

A beautiful old fountain in Geneva....with sculpture of Dionysus and defaced by graffiti. This photo was shot during the US invasion of Iraq, in March of 2003. The graffitti was shocking of course, seeing it desecrating a venerable old fountain, and it consisted only of the black spray painted writing. BUT THE INVASION IN THE MIDDLE EAST WAS WAY MORE SHOCKING AND WAY MORE HARMFUL THAN THIS PAINT.


I was visiting my cousin in Geneva, Switzerland, and when we passed by this fountain, I HAD to stop and take a picture.


It was when the American "SHOCK AND AWE" campaign was in full swing and we watched American tanks tearing up Baghdad in front of a backdrop of fires and smoke ..... We saw it all in our Swiss hotel room on International CNN. It was pretty SHOCKING AND AWFUL all right. Awful and shocking and it made me sick to watch.


[I processed the shot in Photoshop, and no elements have been added, except the color red. I was back in Geneva again the following year, in March of 2004 to visit my family, and went by to see the fountain. The city had completely cleaned up the graffiti.]


With this photo, I wanted to show something about how I felt about the pre-emptive war my country had embarked on to try to protect our strategic interests in the Middle East. As we buzz around in our gasoline engine driven cars, there is blood on our hands. No one's at fault in this bad dream. We are all - all - in it together.....collectively dreaming the nightmare ........ one vast human unconscious subconscious motivation of sorts.........and we seem somewhat asleep with regards this kind of global travesty, assuming that war is a completely natural way to resolve issues. As if there were no other way open to us as a species.


Of course war is as natural as eating on planet earth and certainly won't stop any time soon, as long as we continue to use the primitive parts of our brains rather than the higher aspects of our consciousness. It will take centuries of human evolution for a big enough majority of our species to develop the awareness it takes to have the skill AND will for creative conflict resolution. I think it's possible, but it is a long road. In the meantime we will see more of this kind of struggle and hardship, unfortunately.


Evolution is a very slow process, but certainly it is encouraged by people expressing positive vision, creating beauty, observing the wonder of our world, sharing this across international boundaries! all these things help wake us up to our common humanity. Maybe this sounds idealistic, but I am not ashamed to have positive aspirations. I have seen people in my world change and develop skillful ways to communicate. I have seen positive change even in one generation! This is very encouraging. As the world gets smaller because of mass communication via technology, what happens in one corner of the world is quickly known everywhere on the planet. I believe this will help accelerate our development of higher consciousness. I believe ultimately human beings prefer enjoying life rather than destroying it, if given half the chance.


In the meantime, as wars rage, here are some creative and practical solutions we can all participate in to move our world in a forward constructive direction, with regards the very basic things we use to live: - practical visions here, to retool our economies with renewable energy technology that creates jobs and is a forward step - information about specific day to day advances in renewable energy technology around the world - actual news about big businesses that are going green and explaining how it makes good sense financially


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