Around the World Pic: Disturbing Parthenon Statues at the British Museum in London

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Most of what could be taken off of the Parthenon in Greece was taken off of the Parthenon in Greece by the British. Now it can be seen in the British Museum. This is one such piece, if I recall approximately a meter squared. It depicts a centaur carrying off a captured woman who he obviously intends on raping.

The depiction itself is far less grotesque than the reality it recalls, in which women were carried off as spoils of war – the stronger the man the more women he has and the more progeny he begets.

Apparently 1/6th of men in the Asian steppes and the surrounding areas are descended from Genghis Khan, who sired a crapload of children as he conquered and raped and pillaged.

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Around the World Pic: Statue of Weeping Jesus at the Oklahoma City Memorial

These pictures were taken of a statue of Jesus weeping outside of the Oklahoma City Memorial, erected in honor of the Oklahoma City bombing that happened in 1995. I was recently in OKC for my cousin’s wedding and during the day we decided to go see the memorial. This statue is supposed to recall Jesus weeping for his vision of the destroyed Jerusalem.

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Around the World Pic: Gypsy Children at a Romanian Train Station

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As we awaited our train to Bucharest in the Brasov train station some gypsy girls came up asking us for money. We said no so they started pointing to things that we had and asking us for those instead. As it happens, Nance had some plastic bracelets and so he gave those to them which made them very excited. And so we took their picture.

As one of our traveling companions was smoking cigarettes at the time, we also ended up giving them some of those, which they immediately proceeded to try to sell to everyone else on the train platform.

Good times.

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Around the World Pic: A Beautiful Mosque in Cairo, Egypt

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As I’ve said before my week in Egypt was spectacular. One of the most marvelous components of the trip was the architecture – and not just that of the ancient Egyptians, but the Muslim architecture as well. There were so many enormous and beautiful mosques with their minarets rising to the skies that it was really just a sight to see. This is one of numerous shots we took of mosques, big and small, all over the place. I find this one particularly interesting because of where we were walking, through this alley almost beside a huge amount of more hovel like buildings, only to have this enormous mosque rise out of the earth beside us and tower into the sky.

Have you been to Egypt? What did you find most incredible?

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Around the World Pic: Cyrus (my cat) Next to Another Picture of Himself

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For those of you who don’t know him, this is my cat, Cyrus. He’s much bigger and fluffier now. He’s standing on an open Bible next to a picture of himself up on my computer screen. The other thick-ass book behind the computer is the completed works of Aristotle (highly recommended) and then a Hebrew dictionary in the background. This is my kitchen table in my apartment in Israel. I sometimes miss this funky place, even if it was freezing, the ceiling leaked and I got robbed.

Do you have a cat or dog? What’s his/her name? Any pictures you want to share?

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Around the World Pic: Camel’s in Jordan Drinking from Bottles

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This was one of the sillier things I’ve seen in my day. The camel was making a whole lot of noise – honking and braying and doing lord knows what – and a bunch of tourists were watching this go down. This is at Petra, by the way, down by the Treasury.

In any case, one of the guides took a water bottle and brought it over to the camel who proceeded to suck all of the water down like he was a giant baby. When the guide let the bottle go the camel chewed it rapidly and then spat it out on the ground. You can already see one of two at his feet.

Very amusing.

Have you been to Petra? Jordan? Ridden a camel before?

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Matt Damon and I at Universal Studies Hollywood, in Los Angeles

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“The City of Angels: I didn’t find it to be that exactly.” However, I did go with some friends to Universal Studios Hollywood. To be honest, it pretty much destroyed the magic for me. The moment I saw the behind the scenes stuff, it was done. I can hardly watch a movie anymore without going, “Fake!” or “Seen that scenery!” It’s frustrating because I love the majesty and wonder of movies and the moment you know – not how much – but what specifically is fabricated it makes it that much easier to spot it and no longer be impressed. And where’s the fun in that?

In any case, I saw Matt Damon – or at least a very life-like cardboard cut-out of him – and opted to grab this rare photo opportunity.

I will say that there are some neat rides at Universal Studios, including the Simpsons Ride and some bad-ass Roller Coaster that I forget the name of. I think it was for the Mummy.

Have you been to Universal Studios Hollywood? What did you think?

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Around the World Pic: New Years ’08, Rockin’ Out in J-ru

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Oh, aren’t celebrations wonderful. I’m the one at the front looking backwards all confused. This is New Years ’08 – that’s right, the year before last. After all, it is January, the month of Janus, the god of doors, the god of beginnings and ends, and the god who looks forwards and backwards, and so it’s a good month for such a picture.

I was in Israel at a club, but first my friends and I had a nice dinner. I had a steak that I didn’t even touch (just wasn’t hungry), but then I took it home (yes, I carried it around for the rest of my New Year’s festivities) and used it for breakfast two mornings in a row to make steak and eggs. Delicious!

And just for the record, in Israel the secular New Years is not a holiday so we all had school the next day. But we didn’t let that stop us from having a great night….as this picture may or may not indicate.

Do you remember where you were for New Years ’08?

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Around the World Pic: Statue of Romulus and Remus in Rome

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I love Roman and Greek mythology. I can’t say that it’s really my forte (pronounced fort whether you believe it or not), but I do enjoy it thoroughly. Do you? What’s your favorite story?

Anyway, my friend Jennifer and I visited a number of museums as we traveled around western Europe, and I couldn’t have asked for a better person to visit these museums with. As an art historian she has a way of making art very relevant for me in a way that it otherwise might not have been. How? By relating it to the history and religion that I’m familiar with, of course.

In Rome, she took a picture of me with this statue, which we both remembered from our high school Latin text books. Yes, it is Romulus and Remus, the abandoned twins, being suckled by the she-wolf that saved their lives. I’ll let you guess as to which of the two founded the ancient city of Rome…yes, that’s right – ROMulus.

I love statues. I think they look better in homes than paintings. I wish I could have this one. It’s so bizarre.

Have you been to Rome? Have you seen this statue? What did you think?

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Around the World Pic: Zen-like Japanese Tea Gardens in San Francisco

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Personally, I didn’t find the Japanese Tea Gardens particularly relaxing. I was being a little sour and not that thrilled to be there, but it was cold and there weren’t any great places to sit and do nothing without being asked if you wanted some Tea. But that doesn’t mean that they’re not a nice place. The natural architecture of the place gives it a very Taoist feeling, and under the great conditions, it could have been a very nice time.

This is in Golden Gate park in San Francisco, California.

Have you ever been to this park or the Tea Gardens? Did you enjoy it?

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