Instagram – by Gary Smolker

  

The above photographs were recently turned into posts on Instagram @garyspassion by me.

More Photos Turned Into Posts on Instagram @garyspassion

The four photos below with commentary have been posted by me Instagram @garyspassion.

   

Freedom

I celebrate freedom of choice in what I wear (when I am not appearing in court as a trial attorney) and so does everyone else in America.

In Los Angeles people can wear whatever they are in the mood to wear and have the courage to wear.

  

 

Badass

I have photographed many badass people in L.A. and then posted photographs I took of them with my commentary on Instagram @garyspassion.

   

I also posted my photograph (shown below) of computer nerd Kyle with commentary on Instagram @garyspassion

Current Posts on Instagram @garyspassion

Currently, I have posted 873 posts on Instagram @garyspassion.

Copyright © 2017 by Gary Smolker, All Rights Reserved

Gary S. Smolker, Publisher, Social Commentator, Book Reviewer, Movie Reviewer
Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange
www.garysmolker.wordpress.com

Gary Smolker, Fashion Blogger
Dude's Guide to Women's Shoes
www.dudesguidetowomensshoes.com

Follow me on Instagram @garyspassion

 

Beautiful People – by Gary Smolker

Beautiful People

I see beautiful people everywhere I go.

A couple of hours ago, I had my Sunday brunch/breakfast (July 16, 2017) at Nat’s Early Bite Cafe in Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks/Los Angeles, California, which is located a few blocks away, from where I live.

When I walked in the door to take my table at Nat’s I saw the man in the photo above wearing the “Freedom Artists” t-shirt.

When I walked out of Nat’s (after eating breakfast) I saw the two men in the photo above wearing the “Pain Killer” t-shirt and the “Top Rocker” t-shirt.

Los Angels Is Amazing

Los Angeles is amazing:

  • There are artistic creative adventuresome open minded people from all over the world in Los Angeles.
  • There is every kind of authentic food you can imagine for sale in restaurants in Los Angeles.
  • In Los Angeles you can purchase freshly made authentic food – the same food/dishes which “native people” eat in their own country- which you will find is made in by native people who live in every other country in the world.

The photograph below is NOT food art.

The above photograph is a photograph of a chocolate chip strawberry pastry I saw yesterday.

I took that photographed in the “Paris Baguette.”

The Paris Baguette is located in the Encino Commons on Ventura Blvd. in Encino/LA California.

I went to the Paris Baguette to buy a cup of Adagio coffee yesterday morning (Saturday, July 15, 2017) because I knew there would be a half hour wait to get a table next door at “More than Waffles.”

Currently, Adagio Coffee is my favorite brand of coffee.

“More than Waffles” has a long wait to be seated on the weekend.

Naturally, I wanted to drink coffee while waiting to get a table at “More than Waffles.”

“More than Waffles” has attitude in addition to having tasty food.

I like people and places who have attitude.

Above photograph taken by me yesterday morning, while eating breakfast at “More than Waffles” in Encino/Los Angeles, California.

Getting Dressed Up

Women love to get dressed up; they love to express their femininity, their individuality, and their freedom uniqueness and feminine mystique in the clothing they wear, in the shoes they wear, in their hand bags, in their jewelry, in their hair style, on their nails, in the perfume they wear, etc. etc.

Some women I know have a “fashion problem”: they have complained to me that there is nowhere to go where they can get “dressed up” because life in America is too casual.

I disagree.

There are many places they can go as vividly dressed as their courage to express themselves allows.

Only fear and lack of imagination is stopping those women from being themselves.

See story below.

I rest my case.

Interestingly Dressed Women

Last night I attended an Art Exhibit Opening at the Maxwell Alexander Gallery located in the Art District in Downtown Los Angeles, at 421 Colyton Street, Los Angeles, California, 90013, USA, phone 310-839-9242.

The women I talked to and met at the exhibit were as interesting and spectacularly exciting as the paintings shown at the art exhibit.

Below are photographs I took of a few of the women I talked to at the art exhibit.

FIRST:

Below are photographs I took of one of the women I met at the art exhibit, “barefooted Sara.”

Poor Sara didn’t/doesn’t have any shoes.

That broke my heart because as a fashion blogger who posts articles irregularly on “Dude’s Guide to Women’s Shoes” (at http://www.dudesguidetowomensshoes.com) I realize how important shoes are too women.

  

When I asked Sara why she wasn’t wearing any shoes, Sara answered, “Women/girls don’t wear shoes in a garden.”

Latter, I saw (and photographed) Sara, sitting on a cloud.

  

Apparently Sara doesn’t own/have any shoes, or else Susan doesn’t think any of the shoes she owns should be worn in a garden or while sitting on a cloud.

I hope Sara finds a satisfying way to get to shoe paradise.

Sometimes Less is More.

SECOND:

I met artist Natalia Fabia last night, at the art exhibit.

I took the photographs below of Natalia after we met while we were both attending the art exhibit.

Natalia is a very successful artist.

Check out Natalia’s profile on Instagram @nataliafabia.

Couples

THIRD:

I met handsome couples at the exhibit.

Below are three photos I took of a handsome couple I met at the art exhibit last night.

Expressing Feminine Individuality

FOURTH:

Most, maybe all, of the  women I met at the art exhibit had the courage to express their femininity and individuality and did so in the clothing they wore and how they carried themselves at the art exhibit.

See photos below of a few more of the women I photographed at the art exhibit.

 

Over the Elbows Black Leather Gloves

Fifth:

Above are photographs taken of me and Amanda getting a breath of fresh air in the street in front of the gallery.

Those two photos were taken on my iPhone by a make-up artist while Amanda and I were taking a break from being in the gallery at the art exhibit last night.

Amanda

Doesn’t Amanda have a beautiful smile?

I love the long black leather gloves Amanda was wearing last night.

The hat Amanda wore last night is a fashion statement to write home about.

When I saw what Amanda was wearing, the outfit Amanda was wearing immediately reminded me of the gorgeous classic “old time/vintage” clothes, shoes, hats, etc. on display at the Castello di Donnafugata in Ragusa Sicily.

Below are a few photographs I took last month (in June, 2017) while I was in the Castello di Donnafugata.

Sense of Elegance

When I saw Amanda, for the first time last night, it immediately occurred to me that Amanda has the same sense of elegance refinement and has the same appreciation of classic Italian design and refinement which has been expressed in the way people in Sicily have dressed for hundreds of years as I do.

Excitement

Mere luxury does not excite me.

Fastidious attention to detail excites me.

See photos of hats and shoes I saw in the Castello di Donnafugata that excite me.

 

  

Photo Credits

I took all of the above photos (except the photo of Amanda and me) with my Apple smart phone.

The photograph of Amanda and me was taken with my Apple smart phone by a makeup artist.

That photo was taken spontaneously/extemporaneously.

I met the makeup artist (without knowing he was a makeup artist) in the street in front of the Maxwell Alexander Gallery, and asked him to take a photograph of Amanda and me.

I like doing things spontaneously.

 

Copyright © 2017 by Gary Smolker, All Rights

 

 

Gary S. Smolker, Publisher, Adventurer, Traveler, Idea Exchanger,
Social Commentator, Book Reviewer, Movie Reviewer, Food Reviewer
Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange Blog
www.garysmolker.wordpress.com

Gary Smolker, Fashion Blogger
Dude's Guide to Women's Shoes
www.dudesguidetowomensshoes.com

Follow me on Instagram @garyspassion

 

The Perfect Wife – by Gary Smolker

Wedding Cake

 

  

 

My friend Ray and His Wife Dianna decided to cut up their wedding cake in 300 plus slices, shrink wrap the slices, nicely wrap the slices and put each wrapped slice in a nice/pretty bag and to give each bag to the guests at their wedding celebration instead of serving “wedding cake” after dinner at their wedding celebration.

After dinner Dianna explained there would be no cake served because everyone was probably full.

Dianna also explained why they (she and Ray) were having a wedding celebration with 300 friends and family members instead of going to Las Vegas.

Ray explained how and when they met — Ray told us the exact time and date.

Mystery

Everyone who was sitting at the table I was sitting at (except my “date) was a relative of Dianna.

Nobody sitting at the table I was sitting at knew Ray (except me) or how Dianna met Ray or knew that Dianna and Ray were getting married until they received an announcement telling them to save the date July 1, 2017 four or five months before.

Ray and Dianna

     

Blind Date

After dinner Ray and Dianna each gave a speech.

Ray explained that he met Dianna on a blind date on August 24, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.

Ray explained that a “Blind Date” is a date on which you often wished you were “blind.”

However, his blind date with Dianna was different.  He and Dianna had chaperones on their “blind date.”

Three people who knew both of them (knew both Ray and Dianna), arranged their blind date and accompanied them (Ray and Dianna) on their first date, their “blind date.”

Romantic 300+ Guest Wedding Celebration instead of Going to Las Vegas

During her after dinner speech, Dianna told everyone present:

Dianna told Ray she wanted to have a wedding celebration.

Ray told Dianna: “People our age don’t need to have a wedding celebration. If you want to celebrate we can go to Las Vegas for the weekend.”

Dianna told Ray: “Its my/our wedding and I want a big party to celebrate our wedding, and to invite all our family and closest friends to our party/wedding celebration.”

Dianna explained that she wanted all their closest friends and family to get together at something other than a funeral.

Dianna called out her friends from the second grade, her high school college counselor and people who had worked with her at each of her jobs who were present at this wedding celebration and she called out people who had worked for her in her company who were present and asked each one of them to stand and raise their hand.

Ray and Me

After four hours of partying, I loosened my tie and Ray changed his jacket.

Friends

The minimum requirements for friendship are:

  • You must be able to trust your friend.
  • Your friend must be an absolutely honest person.
  • Your friend must be loyal to you.
  • Your friend must look out for your best interests.

Ray has always been my friend and I have always been Ray’s friend.

Ray and I have known each other since we were classmates in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley in the 1960s.

The Perfect Wife

Femininity is essential.

The perfect wife is a woman who is already happy and is confident in her ability to remain happy.

The perfect wife is a woman who is affectionate and friendly, towards me especially.

The perfect wife is a woman who I laugh with all the time.

The perfect wife is a woman who is always making me think and teaching me something new.

The perfect wife is a woman who is inspirational.

The perfect wife is a woman who becomes my companion.

The perfect wife is a woman I want to share my life with.

It takes intelligence to look good.

Most people don’t know what it takes to look good.

The perfect wife knows what it takes to look good, knows how to look good and looks good to me all the time.

Copyright © 2017 by Gary Smolker, All Rights Reserved

Gary S. Smolker, Publisher, Social Commentator, Movie Reviewer, Book Reviewer
Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange Blog
www.garysmolker.wordpress.com

Gary Smolker, Fashion Blogger
Dude's Guide to Women's Shoes
www.dudesguidetowomensshoes.com

Follow me on Instagram@garyspassion

14 Day Adventure In Sicily – by Gary Smolker

                   

This post is about Sicily.

I recently spent fourteen glorious days (March 20 through June 4, 2017) with my daughter Leah Graham Smolker seeing great art and eating classic Sicilian food with wild abandon in Sicily.

During those fourteen days, my daughter Leah and I had one tense adventure and one eye opening experience after another.

My trip to Sicily resulted in me gaining a better understanding of how the “world” works, a better sense of what is going on in the world today, and improved my perception of reality.

PASSION

This trip gave me a new perspective on the differences between how we live in the United States in comparison to how people live in other parts of the world.

This trip made it very clear to me, that the United States doesn’t have a history; that is to say that compared to other countries the United States is a very young country.

This has practical consequences.

For example, where I live in Los Angeles very few buildings are more than 50 years old.

In Sicily many buildings are more than a thousand years old.

The buildings that I saw everywhere I went had a big impact on my perception of the place of the United States on the world stage.

Seeing those buildings and how the businesses conducted in those buildings are conducted completely changed my mind about how prepared the typical person in America is to make good decisions about the top echelon of people who are the leaders in America, the people who “lead” and make and determine what happens in America and in the rest of the world.

During my trip to Sicily I stayed in a farm house which had been converted to a bed and breakfast (bnb), the Tenuta Cammarana.

The Tenuta Cammarana bed and breakfast hotel is owned and operated by a married couple, Silvia and Giuseppe Pulvirenti.

Silvia and Giuseppe’s  farmhouse and their farm surrounding their farmhouse – which has been converted to a bnb by Silvia and Giuseppe – has been owned by members of the Pulvirenti family for over 300 years.

Silvia and Giuseppe Pulvirenti’s pride of ownership of their farm/their bnb and and feeling of responsibility they have for everything in and related to their bnb is obvious.

They maintain and operate their bnb farm at the highest standards all the way down to the table cloths they place on the tables on which meals are served to the silverware they set out for their guests to use to eat the dishes served during the courses served at meals served at the bnb.

Below photos of food lovingly placed on breakfast buffet table for the enjoyment of their guests by Silvia and Giuseppe.

Look at the design of that tablecloth.

Look at those tomatoes.

Look at that meat.

Look at the cheese.

Look at the cherries.

Look at the strawberries.

   

Below are photos of the breakfast I self-served myself during breakfast on two separate mornings while I was staying at the Tenuta Cammarana Bread and Breakfast in Ragusa Sicily.

In the photos below you are looking at real china plates, real china coffee cups and real china containers of milk/cream, sugar and coffee.

You are also looking at real silver, real silver silverware and a real silver plate under pitcher of coffee.

Leah and I ate dinner several times at Tenuta Cammarana.

Each of the courses served during each dinner each dinner Leah and I had at Tenuta Cammarana could only have been created and could only have been prepared by a passionate chef having the highest level of skill.

Cultural Inheritance

Sicilians have a cultural inheritance built up over millennia.

Arguably, Americans do not have a cultural inheritance.

If Americans have a cultural inheritance, the American cultural inheritance has been built up for a little more than 200 years.

Comparatively speaking, Americans don’t have a cultural inheritance.

That is to say: There is not one single American culture in the continental United States:

  • the “culture” in the “South” of the United States is markedly different than the culture in the “North”;
  • the culture on the East Coast of the United States is different than the culture in Middle America;
  • the culture on the East Coast is different from the culture on the West Coast;
  • the “culture” in the City of Los Angeles is markedly different from the culture in the City of San Francisco, and so and so forth, etc. etc. etc.

“The Godfather”

All I knew about Sicily and Sicilians, before I went on this trip, was what I saw portrayed in movies such as “The Godfather.”

The movie the “Godfather” does not accurately portray life in Sicily, the Sicilian people, the “land” of Sicily.

The movie the “Godfather” does not portray what I saw in Sicily or what I experienced in Sicily.

Real Food

The food (vegetables, fruits, cheeses, etc.) I ate in Sicily tasted different than the food I have eaten my entire life.

I have spent my entire life living in the United States.

As a result of how food in Sicily tasted I now believe we Americans don’t have/eat “real food” in the United States.

Lifestyle

The Sicilian/Italian life style I observed/ experienced in Sicily is on one end of a spectrum of possible ways to live which the extreme other end of the lifestyle spectrum compared to the way I live in the United States.

I don’t know anyone in the United States who lives the way people I saw people in Sicily are living.

Living Slow

Sicilians “live slow.”

Sicilians talk to each other while having a meal together.

Sicilians don’t look at their cell phones while eating a meal with someone else.

Americans “always” look at their cell phones.

The typical American looks at his or her cell phone while having a meal with someone else.

Sicilians don’t rush their meals.

Lunch in Sicily takes more than an hour.

Lunch in Sicily involves eating several courses.

While eating a meal almost 100% of the time someone else is eating a meal with you.

A Sicilian would feel lonely eating a meal by himself or by herself.

Eating a meal with someone else includes having an animated conversation with at the other person or persons a Sicilian is eating with.

Sicilians eat great food.

Sicilians savor their food.

Sicilian food is great; it is fresh and delicious.

Some Americans think the food they eat every day is great.

But it is nothing compared to the food Sicilians eat every day.

At all times Sicilians are surrounded by beautiful countryside and great art.

Sicilians are surrounded by art that is so amazingly beautiful that it is overwhelming to look at.

Family

Sicilians are family oriented.

It is every Sicilian’s obligation – an obligation for everyone in a family from father and mother, to grandfather and grandmother, to children to grandchildren) – to eat together at an extended family meal 0n Sunday.

That way cousins get to know one another and get to know their aunts and uncles and their grandparents.

Everyone stays in constant regular touch with everyone else.

Happiness

In my opinion, Sicilians are a people who have made pleasure, art, spirituality, family, family life, beauty and luxury complimentary experiences.

In contrast, people in the United States rush through life; extended family members in the United States don’t get together to enjoy an inter-generational family meal together every Sunday, cousins don’t see each other for years, sometimes they don’t see each other for decades, cousins don’t stay in touch with one another.

In America the only time friends and family get together is to

  • celebrate a major positive occasion in a family member’s life, like a marriage, or a birth, or
  • at a funeral.

In America it is not unusual for an adult to not know what is going on in his or his aunt or uncle’s lives, or in his or her cousins lives.

Americans are always in a rush, too busy to stay in touch with other family members.

Americans intensely pursue individuality.

As a consequence of their intense pursuit of individuality, Americans miss out on some of the best experiences of being human.

Sicilians, as a result of their joyous pursuit of family, enjoy some of the best experiences of being human that happen naturally (and accidentally) while being in constant contact with other family members.

Sicily

I felt the presence of human history every where I went while I was in Sicily.

I felt the history of a multitude of civilizations literally oozing out of stones everywhere while I was in Sicily.

Sicily is a place where the presence of early history is everywhere.

Archeological traces found in and around the present day City of Siracusa (in Sicily) confirm human presence in Siracusa Sicily in the XIV Century BC.

In the 5th Century, Siracusa was the bastion of Greek Civilization in the West.

Evidence of the Greek presence is everywhere.

There are archeological parks in Sicily that contain Greek ruins.

There are Greek ruins in Sicily that are better preserved than the Greek ruins which still exist in Greece.

Below are photographs of a few of the Greek ruins I visited in Sicily.

After seeing these well preserved Greek ruins, I kept asking myself questions:

  • Why are these ruins still standing?
  • Why weren’t these ruins knocked over by an earthquake? There have been lots of earthquakes in Sicily.
  • The largest active volcano in Europe is located in Sicily.
  • Did the Greeks know something about geology, volcanoes, earthquakes we don’t know, (a) like how to locate structures where there will not be earthquakes, or volcanic eruptions, or (b) how to build structures that will withstand earthquakes?
  • How in the world did they lift those columns/pillars/cross-beams upright?

Without a doubt the ancient Greeks were master builders and engineers.

The Cathedral of Siracusa

While in Sicily, I visited the Cathedral of Siracusa in the City of Siracusa Sicily.

  • It is one of the first basilicas of the Christian era; it was built in the 5th Century AD in a Doric temple dedicated one thousand years earlier to the Goddess of the City, Athena.
  • Its Christian reuse saved the pagan architecture from destruction and oblivion and gave new life to the sacredness of this ancient place.
  • Entering the cathedral is like stepping into the past.

Below are photographs I took of the exterior of a church on June 3, 2017.

  

On June 3, 2017, I had lunch (main course fish soup) while sitting at an outdoor table bordering the plaza in front of that church.

While I was sitting at my table, I listened to an accordion played by a musician who was sitting on the steps leading up to the front door of that church.

Below are two photographs of the fish soup I ate at lunch that day as a main course, as I was listening to the live musical performance, and also two photographs of my dessert.

   

At One Time Sicily was The Middle of the World

In the Fifth Century, the Mediterranean Sea was the middle of the civilized world.

At the height of Greece’s splendor, in the Fifth Century, the Greek Colony at Siracusa was as splendid and magnificent as Athens, in no way inferior to the capital of the Greek homeland.

The City of Siracusa Today

I explored the City of Siracusa on June 3, 2017.

The idea/concept of architectural beauty has a whole different meaning in Sicily than in does in the United States.

In the opinion of many scholars,

  • In ancient Sicily, leaders built beautiful buildings because they believed in beauty for its own sake.
  • In ancient Sicily leaders built beautiful buildings because they wanted beauty to be the essence of their buildings.
  • A multitude of beautiful ancient buildings in Sicily have been recognized by UNESCO as being worth preserving as a historical site, in perpetuity, for the benefit of humanity.

Going further:

  • The City of Siracusa Sicily has everything it needs to become one of the cultural capitals of the Mediterranean.
  • For historical, geopolitical and strategic reasons Siracusa has the qualities necessary to become the motor for the rebirth of an idea for the rebirth of Europe.
  • The City of Siracusa is qualified to play a role in the future as the fulcrum (heart) of  Mediterranean-European culture, the beating heart of the Mediterranean.
  • The logos of Western Thought was born in Siracusa.
  • Historically Sicily has been the meeting place of all the arts.
  • In a cosmic sense emotional solidarity exists between Sicily and every human inhabitant on Planet Earth.

I saw “soulful art” everywhere I went in Siracusa.

I saw recently painted/created/designed/artwork painted on furniture, painted on canvases hanging as paintings on walls, designed into and part of highly functional furniture.

All of this art tugged on my emotions, made my heart beat faster, increased my feeling of alertness.

The art I saw made me feel more human more alive with every step I took as I walked around Siracusa.

Photos below taken by me in MOON, a vegetarian cafe in Siracusa.

MOON stands for Move Ortigia Out of Normality.

Note that the “bar” table top is the top of a piece of furniture containing a multitude of drawers.

Ortigia is one of the oldest sections of Siracusa.

By the way, the women in the above photographs are absolutely stunning, amiable, graceful and fun to talk to.

One of them to told me, “She is twenty-three years old and has the soul of an eighty year old.”

She asked me to come back Thursday night to hear her sing and play the guitar.

The Street Scene in Siracusa Today

Below are photographs I took while walking along the streets of Siracusa on June 3, 2017.

Modern Day Magnificence – The Liberty Hotel in Catania Sicily

Leah and I spent our first two nights in Sicily at the magnificent Liberty Hotel in Catania, a bnb (bread and breakfast), located at Via S. Vito,  40, Catania, Sicily.

The above photos were taken by me in the Liberty Hotel.

Italian/Sicilian Elegance In Attention to Details

The first photo is a photograph of the green carpet and gold carpet I saw directly ahead of me as I passed through the front door entry to the Liberty Hotel from the street.

One must go through the gold curtains at the end of a marble entry way when entering Liberty Hotel from the street in order to proceed to the lobby of the Liberty Hotel.

The lobby of the Liberty Hotel is located on the other side of the gold curtains.

There Was A Slight Delay in Our Arrival at the Liberty Hotel

Leah and I flew together to Rome from Los Angeles.

We were supposed to both catch the same connecting flight in Rome to Catania, Sicily.

Things didn’t work out that way.

Leah missed the connecting flight we were supposed to fly on together from  Rome International Airport in Italy to Catania Sicily.

The Airline we flew on didn’t take all passengers to airline terminal from the plane in an orderly fashion.

Once deplaning passengers got to the terminal in Rome, via bus, there was no-one to greet the passengers arriving from Los Angeles or to give guidance on how to find the gate for the the connecting flight to Catania.

It was mass confusion — I luckily took the appropriate escalator to the appropriate floor in the terminal to go to.

Once on that floor, I couldn’t determine [after looking at a list of constantly updated departing flights, flight numbers, airlines, destinations and gates] out of which gate my flight to Catania would board.

I couldn’t figure out where I was supposed to proceed to in order to catch my flight from Rome to Catania.

Luckily, another passenger in the terminal (a native Sicilian) who was a complete stranger took my hand and led me to the gate at which I was supposed to board my plane to fly to Catania.

When I boarded I asked if Leah had boarded.  I was told she had not.

I caught the connecting flight, thinking it would not depart until Leah arrived; Leah didn’t arrive.  The plane took off without Leah.

Once I arrived at the airport in Catania, I contacted Leah by cell phone.

Leah advised me that she had been misdirected by Alitalia Airline personnel several times to the wrong gate and that is why she had missed our flight from Rome to Catania, but that she had been re- ticketed and would be catching the next flight from Rome to Catania.

Leah directed me to wait in the baggage claim area in Catania Airport for Leah to arrive on the next flight and that Leah would arrive in Catania in two hours.

I waited in the baggage claim area of the airport in Catania for Leah to arrive on a later flight.

Our Arrival at the Liberty Hotel Catania

Leah and I arrived at the Liberty Hotel in Catania in the early evening on May 21 instead of arriving there in the late afternoon.

The second photo above, of a red/pink carpet, is a photograph of the red (or pink if you see pink instead of red) carpet we walked on when we walked from the lobby (located on the second floor of Liberty Hotel) each morning down one floor to Liberty Hotel’s intimate cozy brilliantly decorated dinning room.

The third photograph is a photograph of one of many couches in the small intimate lobby of the Liberty Hotel.

All the furniture and furnishings in Hotel Liberty are artist.

Whoever decorated the Liberty Hotel has great sensitivity and created an environment in every room which provokes sensory delight.

Walking through the common areas of Liberty Hotel is more of exercise in art appreciation than walking through most museums and most churches containing great works of art.

The fourth of the photographs above is a photograph of an outdoor patio located adjacent to the Liberty Hotel’s lobby.

One entire perimeter wall of the outdoor patio in the photograph above is covered with blooming jasmine plants, jasmine flowers galore and the patio is filled with the rich smell of Jasmine.

The remainder of the above photographs were taken by me while at breakfast in the small (but elegant) dinning room at the Hotel Liberty.

The Almond Milk served at the breakfast at the Liberty Hotel is/was divine.

By comparison, Almond Milk I’ve tasted/consumed in Los Angeles is watery diluted something which pretends to be Almond Milk.

More Attention to Details

You should see what the bedroom (with Tiffany Lamp above my bed) and bathroom (exquisite tile work) looked like in my suite of rooms at Liberty Hotel.

 Attention to Women

You should see how the dinning room in the Khalisah Bed and Breakfast in Palermo, located at Via Scopari – Palermo, is decorated.

Below are photographs I took of three paintings hanging of the walls in the intimate dinning room at the Khalisah Bed and Breakfast in Palermo.

I was told:

  • The first painting is a current painting of the owner’s 18 year old daughter. Painted by the owner’s wife.
  • The second painting is of the owner’s wife.  Painted by the owner.
  • The third painting is a painting of the owner’s mother when she was a young woman.

The owner is an architect, Arch. Sergio Sanfilippo.

You should also see what the bathroom in my suite at the Khalisah Bed and Breakfast looked like.

The shower was/is illuminated with/by a blue light source in the shower.

The shower curtain was/is green.

The sink was/is a bright orange.

Each bedroom suite in this bnb had/has a different decor.

More Attention to Detail

You should see what the grounds, the dining room and my bedroom suite at Casa Talia Bed and Breakfast look/looked like and hear me describe and/or read how I describe the City of Modica, Sicily.

Modica is known as “The Chocolate City” of Sicily.

Each and every part of Casa Talia is a work of art.

My stay at the Casa Talia was a hypnotic experience.

While in Modica, I saw the cutest most charming bookstore I have ever seen.

Below are two photographs I took of one of the murals in that bookstore, which I took while I was in that bookstore.

 

 

Tense Moments

First Tense Moment

Leah and I had several tense moments during our trip.

The first tense moment occurred when I summoned Uber to pick me up at my home and then then pick up Leah at Leah’s home and then take us to LAX, Los Angeles International Airport, to catch our flight to Rome.

After I pushed all the buttons on the screen of my cell phone, I was informed (by Uber) that my order could not be processed because I did not have the latest version of the Uber app.

Second Tense Moment

The second tense moment occurred when I discovered Leah was not on the flight from Rome to Catania that with me that Leah was supposed to be on.

Third Tense Moment

The third tense moment occurred when we arrived in the bus station in Palermo to purchase bus tickets for a 10:00 a.m. bus ride from Palermo to Erice.

When we arrived the bus station we were informed that the bus drivers were on strike, and there would be no bus [scheduled or not scheduled] leaving Palermo at 10:00 a.m. bound for Erice.

However, we were also informed the bus strike would end at 10 a.m. and therefore we could purchase bus tickets for a 1:30 p.m. bus trip from Palermo to Erice.

We purchased bus tickets for the 1:30 p.m..

We then waited in the bus terminal for the 1:30 p.m. bus to arrive and load passengers.

Fourth Tense Moment

The bus leaving at 1:30 p.m. finally arrived.

We loaded our suitcases in the cargo bins under the bus; then we stood in line to board the bus.

When the line got to the front of the bus we looked up through the entry door to the bus at the bus driver standing at the top of the stairs collecting bus tickets at the top of stairs leading into the bus.

When it was our turn to give the bus driver our tickets, the bus driver said, “No! Only one you can get on the bus.  There is not enough room for both of you on the bus.”

I told Leah to take that bus to Erice, I would take the next bus to Erice and to take her suitcase and my suitcases off the bus when when she arrived at the second bus stop in Erice.

We had arranged in advance to meet a personal driver at the second bus stop in Erice.

Fifth Tense Moment

The fifth tense moment occurred when Leah realized she had to go to the bathroom, and there was no bathroom on the bus.

More Tense Moments

A description of additional tense moments will be added later.

 

Copyright © 2017 by Gary Smolker, All Rights Reserved

Gary S. Smolker, Traveler, Blogger, Social Commentator, 
Movie Reviewer, Book Reviewer, Publisher
Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange Blog
www.garysmolker.wordpress.com

Gary Smolker, Fashion Blogger
Dude's Guide to Women's Shoes
www.dudesguidetowomensshoes.com

Follow me on Instagram @garyspassion

 

 

Appearances by Gary Smolker

Appearances

What do you think that “Hair Salon” (Nori’s Eco Salon, A Certified Green Hair Salon) does?

Do you think that Nori’s Eco Salon is a special hair salon for people with green hair?

Geographical/Sociological Coordinates

Nori’s Eco Salon is located on Ventura Blvd. in Encino, California.

Encino is an affluent section of the City of Los Angeles and is located in the San Fernando Valley.

Ventura Blvd. is a trendy boulevard that runs through trendy sections of the San Fernando Valley/Los Angeles: Studio City, Sherman Oaks, Encino and Tarzana in the San Fernando Valley.

The Power of Social Media

This morning (Thursday, June 29, 2017), I posted the above photograph on Instagram @garyspassion.

A female friend of mine, a major real estate developer based in Manhattan, immediately sent the following email to me and to an additional thirty-two additional other people.

“Amazing! A special salon for people with Green hair!”

I replied:

“You can’t stop progress!”

Another East Coast Real Estate Developer, on the green hair email distribution list, replied:

“Please take me off your green hair email mailing list.”

I then replied to the person who asked to be taken off the green hair email list.  I sent a copy of that reply to the person who voiced amazement that there is a special salon in Los Angeles for people with Green Hair:

“No more green hair email will be sent to you by me.

“By the way, the salon does NOT specialize in green hair, it specializes in conducting its business in an ecological and environmental protection mode.”

The female real estate developer who voiced amazement that there is a hair salon for people with Green Hair had for many years has been an international diplomat and has lived all over the world.

She replied:

“They should have worded their sign differently,  The photo you sent shows their sign clearly saying ‘Green Hair Salon.’  They meant it to be ECO friendly but unfortunately their wording is open to misinterpretation.  Hip young People with pink hair and blue hair might be afraid to go in…”

Words Are Important

Many people are confused by that sign.

A Los Angeles based female psychotherapist mentioned to me that she “too” thought the salon was for people with Green Hair.

She told me: “When I saw that photograph I wondered why the salon specialized in Green Hair instead of in Blue Hair, or Pink Hair or Purple Hair – which are more popular than Green Hair in Los Angeles.”

Later in the afternoon, I advised the female diplomat/real estate developer that I didn’t know if she was joking or not.

The former diplomate turned East Coast developer replied:

“Of course it was a joke — I understood what the Eco People meant, but wanted to point out the absurdity of how carelessly they had worded their green concerns when saying Green Hair Salon.”

Appearances Matter in Los Angeles

Below is a photograph I took of a man at a business meeting I had with him earlier this week.

The man in the above photo is a Los Angeles based movie producer.

He, like every successful person in the movie business in LA, knows that image matters, that appearance matters and that it is important to leave a lasting visual impression with everyone who sees you.

Los Angeles/Hollywood is the world capital of people who have enormous presence, celebrities.

It is a well know fact in the sophisticated Los Angeles business community that in the movie business when any actor or actress audition(s) for a role the only thing that matters is if that person LOOKS like the right person for the role.

The same holds true for other professionals and for everyone involved in business endeavors.

Hollywood

In Hollywood audition are always taped.

The people making the decision to book an act or actor or actress are rarely in the room where/when the actor or actress is auditioning for a role.

The people who make the hiring decision look at the tape later.

The only thing the people who make the hiring decision care about is whether the actor or actress looks right for the role.

New York

In contrast, in New York  actors and actress go to auditions in jeans.

Actors and actresses go to auditions without concern for how they look.

Their concern/goal, when they audition for a role, is to show emotion, to show acting craft, to show that they can act.

The Ethos/Logos of the City of Los Angeles

Los Angeles is the undisputed Celebrity Capital of the world.

In Los Angeles, we are working hard to make pleasure, art, spirituality and luxury complimentary experiences.

Gary Smolker

Copyright © 2017 Gary Smolker, All Rights Reserved

Follow me on Instagram @garyspassion

 

Gary Smolker, Blogger, Social Commentator, Movie Reviewer, Book Reviewer, Publisher
Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange Blog
www.garysmolker.wordpress.com

Gary Smolker, Fashion Blogger
Dude's Guide to Women's Shoes
www.dudesguidetowomensshoes.com

 

 

Shopping – by Gary Smolker

     

The Shopping Experience

All Women and some Men like to shop.

Many men who like to shop do not want to or like to shop with a woman.

Each of the photographs above were taken by me in June, 2017, while I was in different shopping venues.

The purses shown above were photographed by me while I was in the South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California, USA.

The eatable chocolate shoes shown above were photographed by me while I was in an Alitalia terminal in the Leonardo da Vinci Airport in Rome, Italy.

The bottom set of pictures are photographs I took near the Merry-Go-Round in the South Coast Plaza.

The set of photographs are of  a “carrel” full of “animal shaped balloons.”

Parents purchase those animal shaped balloons for their children to “walk” and/or play with while their parents are shopping.

Useful Practical Knowledge

If you need to buy something, a very important question is: “Where is the best place to buy it, where is the best place to shop for it.”

Of course, the answer to that question depends upon what you are shopping for.

Where Is The Best Place in the World to Shop?

MEN, TAKE NOTE: WOMEN LIKE TO SHOP!

Women have a larger variety – a multitude – of good reasons to shop and to go shopping then men do.

In the modern world we live in, sometimes shopping is not solely/exclusively about trading money for goods.

My goal in writing this article is to spread understanding of the multitude of factors that women and men consider before they decide where to “go shopping” when their sole goal is not to buy a “generic” something for the best price.

MEN:

  • It is a good idea to get along with women.
  • If you understand why women go shopping you will have a better chance of getting along with them.
  • Women do things for a reason.
  • Do not ignore something staring you right in the face.
  • That women like shopping is staring you right in the face.
  • If you make a noticeable effort to understand why women in your life like to go shopping those women will more strongly believe it is a pleasure to know you.

MY ADVICE TO MEN: Think of shopping with a woman at a gorgeous venue that has eye opening mind stimulating merchandise for sale as being equivalent to going with a date to a top rate museum full or magnificent works of art and stunning artifacts.

Best of all: You get to enter this museum and experience one or more hours of enjoyable mind expanding learning and mental stimulation without paying an admission charge.

THE BEST PLACE IN THE WORLD TO SHOP

The issue discussed in this article is, “Where is the best place in the world to shop?

My criteria/parameters for choosing the best place in the world to shop are:

  • I ask myself: (1) Where will you see the most interesting things in a span of one or two hours?
  • I assume you will not be spending more than one or two hours in the shopping venue that is the best place in the world to shop.
  • I also ask myself: (2) Which shopping venue has the highest percentage of the highest quality top-tier shops/stores/departments to go into or window shop?

In my opinion the best place in the world to shop, under those criteria, is in the terminals at the Aeroporto Leonardo Da Vicini Fiumicino… the best place to shop is in the airline terminals located in Leonardo da Vinci International Airport in Rome.

I flew on Alitalia Airlines from Los Angeles International (LAX) to Rome Fiumicino (FCO) on May 20, 2017; during a stopover – before flying on to Sicily – I stayed in the Alitalia terminal which I found myself in after my plane landed for an approximately one hour thirty minute during a stopover before catching my connecting Alitalia flight to Catania Fontanarossa (CTA).

There are no direct flights from Los Angeles to Sicily.  To get to Sicily by commercial plane, one must first fly to Rome then catch another flight to Sicily.  Catania is a city in Sicily which has the airport I landed in when I first got to Sicily.

I was dazzled by the stores I saw as I walked through the Alitalia terminal(s) from the gate I deplaned at when I arrived in Rome from Los Angeles to the gate in the terminal from which my connecting flight to Catania Sicily boarded.

On my way back home, I flew from Rome Fiumicino (FCO) to Los Angeles International (LAX) on June 4, 2017 after a two hour forty minute stopover stay in the Alitalia terminal after my flight from Catania landed before boarding my direct Alitalia flight from Rome to Los Angeles.

During my two hour four minute stopover on  June 4, 2017 I visited several of the stores/shops located in the Alitalia terminal.

Based on comparing my recent first hand (window) shopping experiences in the Leonardo da Vinci International Airport on May 20 and June 4, 2017 with my shopping experiences in other major airports throughout the world, with my shopping experiences in major shopping centers/malls, and in world famous shopping venues throughout the world, it is my conclusion that if you have one or two hours to spend shopping the Alitalia terminals in the Leonardo da Vinci International Airport in Rome are the place to be.

Rolling Through My Head

Rolling through my head are memories of recent outstandingly pleasant shopping experiences, including many I had during the two weeks I was in Sicily from May 20 through June 4, 2017, and many I had while visiting the South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California a few days ago.

  • On Monday, June 13, 2017, I spent four exceedingly pleasant hours window shopping, and also meeting with and talking to sales personnel in the South Coast Plaza (SCP) in Costa Mesa, California, and ultimately I purchased a gorgeous necklace for my daughter Judi.
  • Just 11 days before that, on June 2, 2017, I was shopping in the Ortigia Sicilia shop in Noto Sicily.  I spent about 15 very pleasant minutes in that shop and purchased a puzzle depicting Noto [which I had the store send/ship to my daughter Terra in Massachusetts] and during that 15 minutes I also purchased oil perfume that I had shipped from the Ortigia Sicilia store to my office in Encino California to give to several women I work with.
  • Below is a picture I took of the Noto Puzzle I sent to my daughter Terra.  Next to the picture of the Noto Puzzle I sent to my daughter are photographs of distinctive packaging used in that store – photographs of paper bags in which purchased merchandise is put in then carried out of the store. Next to the photographs of two paper bag packages are photographs of descriptive labels in the Ortigia Sicilia store which describe the perfumes displayed on shelves in that store. All the products purchased in that store can be directly taken out of the store by the purchaser or can be shipped worldwide.
  •        
  • I love chocolate.  Modica is known as the City of Chocolate in Sicily.  I spent several days in Modica.  I spent about 30 minutes in a Museum of Chocolate in Modica.  Below are photographs I took of posters posted in the Museum of Chocolate. Almost every other store on the main street in Modica sells a variety of chocolates. The most famous Chocolate manufacturer in Sicily is the Dolceria Bonajuto which is located on the main street in Modica Sicily at street address Corso Umberto I, N. 159, Modica.  I visited the Dolceria Bonajuto on May 29, 2017 and returned on May 30 and May 31.  Below are photographs I took of people outside the Dolceria Bonajuto taking samples of chocolate being served on a platter by the Bonajuto store.  While in the Dolceria Bonajuto I bought Chocolate Cardamom to give to women I work with in my office in Encino, California.  I spent about 10 minutes or less each time I visited the Dolceria Bonajuto. On May 29, 2017, just down the street from the Dolceria Bonajuto, at Corso Umberto I, 133, I discovered the most charming book store, Libreria Mondadori.  While in the Mondadori book store I purchased two books: “Le Ricette di ieri e di oggi” [“Recipes of yesterday and today”] and “Sweet Sicily.”  I love books and I love bookstores.  I spent about 30 or 45 minutes in the Libreria Mondadori book store the first time I was there and about 30 minutes each of the next two times I was in that book store. Below are photographs I took while I was inside the Libreria Mondadori.  The Libreria Mondadori is a great place to hang, a great place for browsing books written about many topics.  I find reading books “addictive” but don’t assume that people who read books are more tolerant or open minded than people who don’t.  The bottom photographs are a series of photographs I took in Libreria Mondadori.  The first photograph was taken by me after I had entered Libreria Mondadori while I was looking at a staircase leading up to the second floor. The second photograph was taken by me while looking up at one side of the second floor of Libreria Mondadori.  The third fourth fifth and sixth photographs were taken by me while I was on the second floor of Libreria Mondadori while looking towards the front door to Libreria Mondadori from the second floor.  On the second floor of Libreria Mondadori, in addition to books to browse or purchase, there are chairs and couches for one to sit on and tables for one to work on.

The Best in the World

I am a firm believer in the value of personally seeing the best in the world of anything and of everything.

The pictures at the beginning of this article are the best in the world in different categories.

The Two Purses

Those purses are beautiful, but wrapping a stunning scarf around the handle of a purse is the work of genius.

The ladies working in the Sam Edelman store in South Coast Plaza on their own initiative chose scarves and wrapped the scarves they chose around the handles of those purses.

Eatable Chocolate Shoes

The eternal triangle is “women, chocolate and shoes.”

Whomever thought of making eatable chocolate shoes is a genius.

Animal Shaped Balloons

Children become impatient while shopping with their parents.

Whoever thought of “making” animals out of balloons that could be given to children while their parents are shopping is a genius.

Why Are the Alitalia Airline Terminals in the Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport in Rome the Best Place in the World to Shop?

Below is a photograph of a ceramic bowl and a series of photographs of a container of cookies I took while “window shopping” in an airline terminal waiting to catch a connecting flight from Rome to Los Angeles after having flown on Alitalia from Catania Sicily to Rome Italy.

Photos taken by me in the Alitalia Airline Terminal in the Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport Rome on June 4, 2017.

I rest my case.

 

Gary S. Smolker, Fashion Blogger, Social Commentator, Movie Reviewer, Book Reviewer and Idea Exchanger
Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange Blog
www.garysmolker.wordpress.com

Gary Smolker, Fashion Blogger and Social Commentator
Dude's Guide to Women's Shoes
www.dudesguidetowomensshoes.com

 

Copyright © Gary Smolker, 2017 All Rights Reserved

Follow Me on Instagram @garyspassion

Women Art Artists and Works of Art – by Gary Smolker

 

Looks

Look at those OVER THE KNEE RED SUEDE BOOTS.

The woman wearing those red suede over the knee boots is Sequoia Emmanuelle.

Art

Sequoia is an artist, an art director and a work of art.

Sequoia’s body is a canvas on which she wears her art, on which Sequoia places signs which send messages that make statements about who Sequoia is, what Sequoia thinks, and how Sequoia will conduct herself.

Artist

Look at Sequoia’s legs.

Sequoia’s legs are great legs on which to put those over the knee red suede boots.

Art Director

You can tell by what she is wearing that Sequoia is an art director able to tell many stories through art and that Sequoia has many stories to tell.

Sequoia’s red suede boots partially covering Sequoia’s legs in combination with the partial view of Sequoia’s bare legs is an artful blend which unmistakably makes the statement: I am a smart lively woman.

Style

Making a statement is what style is all about.

Without a doubt, all women are artists and art directors.

Identity

All women tell us who they are by the wearable works of art (shoes, clothing, masks, makeup) that they put on their bodies and by everything they carry (hand bags, etc.) with their hands, put on their head, etc.

Each combination of shoes and clothing a woman wears, the bag or clutch she carries, the jewelry she wears and all her accessories is a work of art designed to send a message to everyone who looks at her.

Women constantly make nonverbal statements.

Message

What a woman chooses to wear tells you her state of mind, her interests, and who she is.

Statements

Compare what Sequoia is wearing and the message Sequoia is sending (the statement Sequoia is making by the clothing and shoes Sequoia is wearing) with the statement the woman below is making by what she is wearing.

Compare the statement being made by the clothing (i.e., the mask, etc.) being worn by woman pictured above with the statement being made by the clothing being worn by the woman in the picture below.

By the way, I have a sweet tooth.

I love confections.

Below is a picture of me eating/drinking an Oreo cookie malt.

Image

The clothing you wear creates an image, an immediate impression.

The clothing you wear sends a clear message.

For example, compare the photo above of me taken a month ago in Beverly Hills, with another photo to me, the photo below taken of me last week in South Dakota.

 

Gary Smolker, Fashion Blogger
Dude's Guide to Women's Shoes
www.dudesguidetowomensshoes.com

Copyright © 2017 by Gary Smolker, All Rights Reserved

Reprinted with permission of “Dude’s Guide to Women’s Shoes” – originally posted at https://dudesguidetowomensshoes.com/women-art-artists-works-art-gary-smolker/


			

Lunch at Fina Estampa – by Gary Smolker

Dessert

During lunch today (April 26,2107), at the Fina Estampa Restaurant in Chatsworth, California, the owner of the restaurant (Kathy Schultz) came to my table and asked me how my daughter Leah and I were enjoying our lunch.

I replied:

“I am so happy that I hope you have a jail cell you can lock me up in until I settle down enough to go outside.”

To this Kathy replied:

“You must try our desserts.”

At the end of our meal, Kathy brought  two desserts (pictured above) to our table: a Leche Asada and Hellado de Lucuma.

When I told Kathy we were too full to eat any dessert, Kathy packed up the desserts and told me to take them home immediately to put them in my refrigerator before the ice cream melted and the Leche Asada (which has egg in it) spoiled.

I did as I was instructed.

That is why I did not go back to my office to work this afternoon.

Picante de Mariscos

For lunch, Leah had Picante de Mariscos.

See photo above of Leah’s lunch.

Picante de Mariscos is a seafood stew simmered in red wine with onions, tomatoes served over boiled potatoes.

The Picante de Mariscos  served at Fina Estampa is a world-class dish.

Peruvian Cuisine

Fina Estampa serves Peruvian cuisine.

Peruvian cuisine is rich in ingredients, influences and nuances.

Its influences are varied and historical –

There are 84 different ecological zones in Peru, each with its own species of plants and animals.

Ancient Peruvians

  • cultivated potatoes and corn in the Andes;
  • pumpkins and Lima beans on the coast;
  • they discovered and used aromatic herbs and Chile peppers as well as fruits of the Amazon region;
  • they also ate fish and mollusks and Llama meat and poultry.

The Spaniards who conquered Peru followed by the Viceroyalty brought with them

  • rice, onions, citrus fruits, wheat, vineyards, olives, pigs, cows and hens;
  • Arab-Moorish  and African touches introduced by workers who arrived to toil on ranches and farms.

Chinese “”coolies” arrived in Peru as migrant workers in the nineteenth century bringing their customs and recipes with them.  They also introduced techniques such as sautéing over a high flame, splashing soy sauce into beef stir-fries, and the tradition of eating white rice.

Japanese immigrants arriving at the end of the nineteenth century, introduced the Japanese love of seafood, subtley of flavoea, and care in haddling ingredients.

Another important influence on Peruvian cuisine is Italian immigrants.

Peruvian cuisine has many influences, including the fusion of influences from distant foreign lands, unique exquisite dishes in each region of Peru based on local customs traditions, ingredients and recipes passed from generation to generation.

By the way, Peru is the gastronomical capital of South America and Lima is the culinary capital of Latin America – a city that journalists, chefs, and visitors from all over the world travel to in search of new dishes and chic places to dine.

In Lima, food is religion.

Cooking professionally has become something to aspire to, and about 80,000 young people are currently studying to be chefs, in schools scattered across Lima.

Travel

During lunch Leah and I discussed why we like to travel.

Leah and travel together because we like to see beauty, we like to see history, and we like to eat some of the best food in the world.

For lunch today, I had Sopa Wantan.

Sopa Wantan is a Peruvian version of Chinese Won Ton soup.

See photo below of the Sopa Wantan that I ate for lunch today.

Next

Leah and I believe that the benefits to us of traveling are

  • traveling allows us to see how beautiful the world is; and
  • traveling enables us to feel more strongly connected to the beauty of the world.

Next, Leah and I will be going to Sicily together.

We will arrive in Sicily on May 21 and return back to California on June 4, 2017

Below is a photograph of an Itinerary for our upcoming trip to Sicily Leah which jotted down while we were eating lunch today.

Leah and I discussed that Itinerary in great detail while we were eating lunch.

By the way,

  • Sicily has better preserved and more spectacular Greek ruins then Greece.
  • The Norman Palace in Palermo (Palazzo Reale) with the Palatine Chapel is fantastic – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • The island of Ortygia is an ancient district of Siracusa (Syracuse). In the the city’s Jewish quarter until 1493 (in the Giudecca) is the oldest Mikvah known to survive in Europe.
  • Judaism was present in Sicily way before the arrival of Christianity on Sicilian shores.
  • It is thought that while in Syracuse (AD (CE) 59, Paul of Tarsus preached to Jews as well as to Greeks.
  • The Mikvah in Siracusa dates from the Byzantine period following the fall of the “western” Roman empire to invading forces (in Italy mostly Vandals and Visigoths) in the fifth century.

Leah and I will be flying out of LAX (departing from Los Angeles) on May 20, 2017.

It will be a long flight.

We will not land in Sicily until May 21, 2017.

 

Copyright © 2017 Gary Smolker, All Rights Reserved

 

People Know How to Have Fun – by Gary Smolker

   

When I got out of Mendy’s Gym Sunday night (April 23, 2017), I walked less than one block up Van Nuys Blvd. ,to the intersection of Van Nuys Blvd. with Victory Blvd., to see what was going on.

Above are photographs I took as I was approaching the giant multicolored Ferris Wheel.

I continued past the barrier and Ferris Wheel, up Van Nuys Blvd.

Past the barrier, Van Nuys Blvd. was packed with people having fun.

The next three blocks Van Nuys Blvd. were packed with street fair activities: rides, games, food for sale.

Below are photographs I took as I continued to walk up Van Nuys Blvd.,  after I passed the barrier on Victory Blvd.

 

 

   

 

   

       

 

Imagine

Imagine bringing children here.

 

 

The were activities for everybody.

The fair was for all ages.

Young adults and grown-ups had lots to do and lots of fun doing everything.

   

Fair Food

I couldn’t resist buying a corn dog.

Corn dogs, cotton candy, snow cones, churros, popcorn, ice cream, lemonade, soft drinks and bottled water were for sale.

See photos below.

Mariachis Serenading Police Officers

A band of Mariachis serenaded those police officers who were on duty at the Los Angeles Police Department Van Nuys Community Substation located in the midst of the street fair.

The Mariachis and I, and I’m sure everyone else at the street fair, appreciate that the police protect and serve us.

See photos below, taken by me at the street fair Sunday night.

Fundraising to Provide Support for Community Youth Programs

The Street Fair on Van Nuys Blvd. was put on by the Van Nuys Substation of the Los Angeles Police Department to raise money for youth programs.

I think that is a wonderful thing for a Police Department to do.

I never heard of that being done before.

Painless Donation

Being at the street fair was like being in another world.

As a donor, paying for what was offered at this street fair was a Painless Fun Fundraising experience for me.

Fun

I had a great time.

It looked to me like everyone else was having and had a great time also.

Next Adventure

I will be flying to South Dakota on Thursday, April 27, 2017.

There is a large herd of wild mustangs in South Dakota.

The mustang with its mane flying and its hooves thundering has a hold on my imagination.

To me the mustang is a symbol of power and breakneck freedom, and of the untamable frontier spirit.

While in South Dakota, I will also check out Mount Rushmore, the badlands, and other sights of interest to me in South Dakota.

Copyright © 2017 Gary Smolker, All Rights Reserved

Art, Books, Culture, Food, Inspiration: An Awesome Four Day Weekend (Part One, Friday) – by Gary Smolker

Art, Culture, Inspiration

This is an informative report on a fun weekend, a culturally intense inspiring long weekend that took place from April 7  to April 11.

I spent that weekend with my family in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

When I was not with family members, I wandered alone, at my own pace, exploring unique historically significant sites, eating at a particularly fun oyster bar, viewing magnificent exhibits at the Peabody Essex Museum and having a great time browsing in museum book stores and buying books in close by neighboring towns.

Salem, Massachusetts – home of the Peabody Essex Museum and National Maritime Historic Site

Once upon a time, Salem was a leading city in America.  It had a great amount of mercantile activity related to exporting fish and timber and importing things not available in America.

Salem has a world class world famous museum,  the Peabody Essex Museum.

The Peabody Essex Museum, in Salem, is the oldest continuously operated museum in America.

See http://www.pem.org for further information.

The Harvard COOP

On Monday, I visited the Harvard COOP for a few hours, while on my way to Logan Boston Airport to fly back to California.

The Harvard COOP is located in a stand alone four story brick and mortar bookstore across the street from the Harvard Yard at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Harvard COOP has an inspiring collection of books for sale filling up all four floors of the Harvard COOP.

See photo below taken by me on the second floor of the Harvard COOP while I was looking down at the ground floor of the Harvard COOP.

In Defense of the National Endowment for the Arts, Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Many decades ago, public education sought to create well-rounded and informed citizens.

That is not the goal today.

  • Public education seeks to ensure that students excel on standardized tests that purport to measure learning.
  • “Elite” schools support efforts to insure their money oriented students get into college.

I am firmly convinced it is important to learn how to think critically about cultural issues as well as money issues.

That is the educational service provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Putting America At Risk

It is critical to be familiar with values, ideas, and ideals in order to be able to deal with complex issues that will shape the future of our nation and the world.

Everything we do is underpinned and shaped by cultural ideals and values.

These ideals are the realm of the arts and humanities.

For those reasons, and for many more reasons,

  • it is necessary to have familiarity with the arts and creative expression in the arts and humanities; and
  • it is imperative that federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting not be cut.

Books, Books, and More Books

I am a book addict.

During my long weekend visit, I purchased a total of 22 books on a variety of topics of interest to me.

National Historical Maritime Site

On Friday, April 7, 2017, at the National Maritime Historical Site National Park Service gift shop I purchased five books.

Below is a photo of a book cover of one of those books: “The Ice King – Frederick Tudor and His Circle.”

  • In the early 1800s Frederick Tudor became obsessed with the idea of exporting and shipping ice to the tropics, i.e. to the West Indies.
  • At the time, this was a completely novel idea.
  • From exporting ice Frederick Tudor made a fortune and became one of America’s first millionaires.

Peabody Essex Museum

On Saturday (April 8, 2017) I visited the Peabody Essex Museum.  While there,  I purchased 12 books, including “Men and Style”, “Women Know Everything” and “Muses Women Who Inspire.”

See photos of book covers below.

Below is a direct quote of what is written on the back cover of  “Muses Women Who Inspire.”

“For centuries, women have fascinated and inspired the greatest writers, painters, photographers, and musicians to create their most poignant works of art, and these muses are as many and varied as the artists themselves.  From American model and photographer Lee Miller, who drove her mentor – the surrealist artist Man Ray – to distraction, and almost to suicide; to film director Josef von Sternberg’s movie star creation in the form of Marlene Dietrich; or from Alice Liddell, the ten-year-old-inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’; to painter and photographer Dora Mar, whose profound influence can be seen in her infamous lover Pablo Picasso’s ‘Weeping Women’ series.

“The lives and characters of these women were dissimilar in so many aspects, yet they all shared the ability to awaken fervor within some of the most significant artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and to influence the work of their Pygmalions. Revealing the passionate relationship between the artist and his muse – from devotion to tormented obsession, and sometimes subjugation – author Farid Abdelouahab recounts the stories of thirty women who, through their temperament, beauty, talent and pure magnetism, enthralled society’s artistic geniuses and inspired the creation of some of the greatest works of the past centuries.”

On Saturday, April 8, 2017, I purchased the EXHIBITION CATALOGUE for the wearable art exhibit I viewed that day at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Below is a photograph of the cover of that catalogue.

This exhibition presents 32 award-winning fantastic ensembles.

The clothing ensembles on display at the exhibit were stunning.

Below are photographs I took, while I was at the exhibit, of the ensemble shown on the cover of the catalogue.

The clothing ensembles on exhibit at this exhibition have been described as being a part of a clothing world where art and and the human form combine, “where the lines of  fashion and art merge and combine as one.”

Harvard COOP

I purchased seven books at the Harvard COOP on Monday, April 10, 2017.

Below are photographs of the book covers of a few of the books I purchased at the Harvard COOP on Monday April 10.

According to the back cover of “Social Physics”, the book explains how ideas flow through social networks and how these ideas are ultimately transformed into behaviors.

The author, Professor Alex Pentland helped create the MIT Media Lab and co-leads the World Economic Forum Big Data and  Personal Data initiatives.

A Sushi Boat

Friday night (April 7) , my eldest daughter Terra and her husband Scott served a Sushi snack in a Sushi Boat to immediate family members before we all went to Friday night services together at Temple Emanu-el.

See photos of Sushi Boat [below].

These photos were taken by me on Friday night, April 7, 2017.

Coffee Shops on Derby Street

Before going to Terra’s home on Friday (April 7) night, I spent the morning walking up and down Derby Street in Salem

Everywhere I went I encountered people who had a joyful spirit.

Below is a photo of a t-short worn by a barista in one of the coffee shops I visited on Derby Street.

Below is a photograph of the store front of another and different coffee on Derby Street.

Below is a close-up photo of Derby Joe’s front door.

A Historic Candy Store on Derby Street

The oldest candy store in the United States is located in Salem, Massachusetts on Derby Street.

See photos below, taken by me on Friday, April 7, 2017.

Unforgettable Lunch

I had the most unforgettable lunch on Friday, April 7, 2017 at the “Sea Level Oyster Bar & Restaurant” on Pickering Wharf in Salem Massachusetts, a “Baked Seafood Pie” consisting of Lobster, scallop, shrimp, Ritz Crackers, sherry cream, vegetables and mashed potatoes.

Baked Seafood Pie

See photos below I took of the “Baked Seafood Pie” I had for lunch on Friday, April 7, 2017.

By the way, the DESSERT MENU is unconventional.

The Dessert Menu is on a stamp.

When you ask to see the dessert menu, a stamp containing containing the list of desserts is brought to your table.

See photo of “Dessert Menu” Stamp below.

The server presses down on the “Dessert Menu Stamp” and vol la an impression of the dessert menu appears on your table.

See photo below.

Of course, I had to have a Salted Caramel Cookie Pie.

But, I had no room for it.

Clever T-Shirts

The wait-staff at the Sea Level Oyster Bar & Restaurant wear the most clever t-shirts.

See photographs below taken by me on my eventful delightful time there on Friday, April 7, 2017.

Dessert

Late Friday night, I came back to the Sea Level Oyster Bar & Restaurant determined to eat a Salted Caramel Cookie Pie, which I enjoyed with a cup of strong black coffee.

Copyright © 2017 by Gary Smolker, All Rights Reserved