Monism is the view that attributes oneness or singleness (Greek:μόνος) to a concept (e.g., existence).

Buddhism is beyond monism, dualism, pluralism etc. Those -istic teachings are like photos. Monism says that there is the best perspective (camera angle) to make a good photo of that particular thing. For example, a person should be photographed from the front, to see the face and body well. Dualism says that there is equally important information in human photos from the back (for medical purposes, for example; some mystics say that looking at the back of a person we can see his state and thoughts easier). That two-photos approach also is used in criminalist photography: getting head photos en face and side-view. That’s like dualism. Then pluralism says that in various cases different angles can be best. Like when an artist paints some person, capturing unique personality and feelings…

What is Buddhism like?

Buddhism sees the difference between the object and its photos. That’s what we realize well in awakening. All the photos are dropped. We could use them but are not caught by them. So sometimes Buddhist teachings might look monistic; or not monistic — that depends rather on a person that perceives them.

A Zen Master asked a monk, pointing at the portrait of bearded patriarch Bodhidharma: “Why this foreigner has no beard?”

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Today in class professor initiated a juicy discussion into the self. I thought you may enjoy diving into our conversation – and I’m extremely interested in your views of self, and your philosophies on life. I’m a firm believer that language IS arbitrary. But I also agree that our abilities, as storytellers and myth makers, define what it means to be human.

Thinking Philosophically

What Is Your Philosophy of Life?

Everybody has a philosophy of life. Identify some of the foundation beliefs that form your philosophy of life, using these questions as a guide. Express your ideas as completely and clearly as you can. Think deeply and beyond superficialities and refuse to be satisfied with the first idea that you have.

  • What do you most value in life? Why?
  • What moral beliefs influence your choices and your behavior toward others? How do you determine the “right” thing to do?
  • What role do religious beliefs play in your life? Do you believe in “God”? Why or why not? Is there an afterlife? If so, what is the path to it?
  • What gives your life meaning? What is the purpose of your life? What do you hope to achieve in your life?
  • How do we find truth? How do you know when you “know” something is true? What is an example of something you know to be true?
  • Do you believe that your choices are free? Do you hold yourself responsible for your choices?
  • What do you consider to be “beautiful”? Why? What is the function of art? Should “extreme” forms of artistic expression be censored? Why or why not?
  • Are all people entitled to basic human rights? Why? What is justice?
  • What are other important beliefs in your life?

As our world grows increasingly smaller it’s easier than ever to seek refuge in the comfort of familiar places. Yet, we live in a time when thoughts and ideas manifest in flashes of delight, th blink of an eye and round-the-world travel is at the fingertips of risk takers and adventurers alike. I see Marco Polo and Gertrude Bell in the men and women I met abroad. Sharing the road, sharing tales of individual split-second experiences worth more than time itself.

I started blogging back in 2012, shortly after moving to Jordan — not only to share my story and to learn from others, but to inspire, to instill the momentum it takes to lace up ones boots and hit the road. It wasn’t until I found myself alone in a most foreign country that I felt the hot passion of life. Where my native tongue was about as useful as the moo! of a cow and most the time, I had no idea what the hell I was putting in my mouth… but it tasted good and I wanted more! And that is why you must hit the road.

Don’t be victimized by the culture of fear. Our planet is waiting to be explored, to reveal it’s secrets to you, to me, to any who dare ask, it will expose you to the raw truths of life. To the quarks of distant cultures and alien tongues. To disgusting foods and delicious cuisines, to dangerous and countless blessings.

Let’s take control of 2015. Don’t be afraid to leap without looking. I encourage you to take off the training wheels and take the road less traveled.

-Yallah!

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What an immense pleasure it was joining fellow author Maria Rochelle in what became quite a revealing conversation… A discussion on travel, literature, writing, life, love and losing oneself in the beautiful madness of all things.

Since reading Knausgaard i’ve determined to take several wide steps away from the ego (easier said than done, right!). Giving my literature room for accuracy, honesty. It’s too easy to dress yourself up with fancy words, credentials, achievements etc. but what I want to hear, what I need to hear, comes from the fabric of reality — the truth.

So, it’s my objective this year to be more honest, with myself as much as others. Learning to say “no” more, and feeling less obliged to the prophetic “yes.” And in turn, taking care of my very self — I have a tendency to overcompensate, to be “too nice,” as they say.

Without further ado, I hope you enjoy our conversation and be sure to visit Maria’s work as well. As a multi-genre author, she’s covered some very impressive territory, including her tour de force children’s series, Jasmine Dreams.

Read the full interview here.

All of these things are true...

I had been in Jordan for several weeks and my love affair with Arabian sweets had reached a lofty peak. In fact, I would begin and end each day with a platter of pastries, smothered in honeys and syrups that would flood through heaps of pistachios on my plate.

Then it happened… I voraciously reached junkie status. More, more. Never enough! Every bakery that caught my sight was fair game,  out for a greater high, exploring the labyrinthine neighborhoods for the more legendary bakeries. But it was in Wadi Musa where my friend, Khaleed, led me right into the snare of Kanafeh.

An unmarked door led to an unnamed bakery where, despite the raging 100f degree day, a father and son were cheerfully slaving away, racking out sheets of pastries. They were using round, shallow pans and alchemy to produce what many call “Arabian cheesecake”.

This “cheesecake” was Kanafehe

A definitive oxymoron- soft and crunchy, sweet’n’salty, cheesy, gooey and crispy. All neatly encased in a glaze of simple syrup and rose water. Good enough to make one prostrate in reverence to the baker.

The ingredients are few yet they lend themselves to an endless array of pastries. We all know and love baklava but it wasn’t until I discovered Kanafeh that the Arabian culture opened up before me, so delicate and sweet behind that mysterious veil.

Now, please excuse this appauling photograph…

…but 1879!!!

IMG_2298
Knafa, Kanafeh, Kunafa? Whatever it is… Tel Aviv, Israel

Let’s just say there’s no right/wrong way to spell it- “A rose by any other name” and all that-

523975_3679462710501_1083950525_n
Kanafeh in Ramallah, Palestine

 

IMG_2093
Kanafeh and assorted pastries in Wadi Musa (Jordan)

There are three variants of kanafeh but in this recipe we’ll focus on khishnah (rough Kunafa)

Ingredients

  • 1 Package- Kataifi Pastry (kataifi is something like spun phyllo. Rather than laid out in thin sheets, it is processed in a way that produces vermicelli-like noodles. Check out this great video to see how it’s made)
  • 1 cup- Ghee
  • 2 cups- Akkawi cheese (you can substitute with mozzarella)

Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup- water
  • 1 1/2 cup- sugar
  • 2 tbsp- Rose water (or orange blossom water)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Optional Toppings

  • Pistachios (crushed)
  • Almonds (whole or crushed)
  • Whatever else catches your fancy (if you dare stray from pistachios…)

As with all recipes- preheat your oven (350f/180c)

Prepare the simple syrup (so that it can cool entirely before the kanafeh is finished) by mixing the water and sugar in a pot- bring to a boil. Add the lemon juice and continue boiling for 10 minutes or until the mixture has thickened. Promptly remove the syrup and allow to cool for several minutes. Then add the rose water, or orange blossom water.

At this time, you’ll want to begin shredding the kataifi. This is best done with a food processor but can be achieved by hand. As packaged, kataifi comes in endless noodles and you’ll need to shred them further- so that the average noodle is around one inch in length.

 

Once you have the noodles at the right size, place the kataifi in a large mixing bowl and gently incorporate the melted ghee (clarified butter.)

As the noodles set, begin the process of cutting down the cheese, or even shredding it if possible. I’ve experimented with many cheeses, some sweeter, some saltier, and there’s no rule for what you use. Just be sure to have 2 cups of a quality melting cheese to your liking either shredded or cut in long, narrow strips.

Taking a 9×13 pan, spread out a generous layer of the processed kataifi (about 2/3 of your noodles). Press the noodles firmly into the pan working it into a flat, even surface so that you can then evenly distribute the cheese, all of the cheese.

Follow the cheese with the remaining kataifi and, again, pack the noodles into the cheese, evenly.

With the oven heated, cook the kanafeh until the noodles have become a golden brown (around 10-15 mins)

Once the kanafeh has baked through you’ll want to allow it to cool for 10 mins

At this point, the kanafeh should have become more firm and set into its cheesy, sexy self.

Now, carefully place a cookie sheet atop the baking dish with the kanafeh and invert the pan so that the kanafeh is now on the cookie sheet.

Litter the surface with crushed pistachios and drown your darling with the simple syrup/rose water concoction.

Voila.

OK, so the example given below, about that. I had a tough time finding kataifi, so I substituted the noodles for simple phyllo sheets… no harm done. Yet, I will admit that iteration does neglect all the pleasing textures that comes along with kataifi. However, i’ll take what I can get. So get creative.

20140418-111911.jpg

20140418-111902.jpg

 

So, any takers?

Yallah’bye!

SaveSave

SaveSave

All of these things are true...

A couple weeks in my desperate affair with Arabian sweets had reached dangerous highs. In fact, I would begin and end each day with a platter of pastries, smothered in honey and flooded with syrup and pistachio.

Junkie. That’s what you’d call me. A baklav-addict. More, more. Never enough. Every bakery was fair game as I lurked ancient cobbled alleys, out for a greater high, wandering deeper into the labyrinth in search for legendary bakeries. All of this was is good and well but it was in Wadi Musa where my friend, Khaleed, led me right into the snare of Kanafeh.

I followed him downtown through an unmarked door into an unnamed bakery where, despite the raging 110-degrees, a father and son were cheerfully slaving away, racking out sheets of pastries. Round shallow pans and alchemy. Arabian cheesecake.

This cheesecake was Kanafehe

The edible oxymoron – soft and crunchy, sweet’n’salty, cheesy, gooey, and crispy. All neatly encased in a glaze of syrup and rose water.

The ingredients are few yet they lend themselves to an endless array of pastries. We all know and love baklava but it wasn’t until I discovered Kanafeh that I finally tasted the essence of Arabian culture: so delicate and sweet behind that mysterious veil.

Now, please excuse this appalling photograph…

IMG_2298
Knafa, Kanafeh, Kunafa? Whatever it is… Tel Aviv, Israel
…but 1879!!!

Let’s just say there’s no right/wrong way to spell it. A rose by any other name

523975_3679462710501_1083950525_n
Kanafeh in Ramallah, Palestine
IMG_2093
Kanafeh and assorted pastries in Wadi Musa (Jordan)

There are three variants of kanafeh but in this recipe we’ll focus on khishnah (rough Kunafa)

Ingredients

  • 1 Package- Kataifi Pastry (kataifi is something like spun phyllo. Rather than laid out in thin sheets, it is processed in a way that produces vermicelli-like noodles. Check out this great video to see how it’s made)
  • 1 cup- Ghee
  • 2 cups- Akkawi cheese (you can substitute with mozzarella)

Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup- water
  • 1 1/2 cup- sugar
  • 2 tbsp- Rose water (or orange blossom water)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Optional Toppings

  • Pistachios (crushed)
  • Almonds (whole or crushed)
  • Whatever else catches your fancy (if you dare stray from pistachios…)

As with all recipes- preheat your oven (350f/180c)

Prepare the simple syrup (so that it can cool entirely before the kanafeh is finished) by mixing the water and sugar in a pot- bring to a boil. Add the lemon juice and continue boiling for 10 minutes or until the mixture has thickened. Promptly remove the syrup and allow to cool for several minutes. Then add the rose water, or orange blossom water.

At this time, you’ll want to begin shredding the kataifi. This is best done with a food processor but can be achieved by hand. As packaged, kataifi comes in endless noodles and you’ll need to shred them further- so that the average noodle is around one inch in length.

Once you have the noodles at the right size, place the kataifi in a large mixing bowl and gently incorporate the melted ghee (clarified butter.)

As the noodles set, begin the process of cutting down the cheese, or even shredding it if possible. I’ve experimented with many cheeses, some sweeter, some saltier, and there’s no rule for what you use. Just be sure to have 2 cups of a quality melting cheese to your liking either shredded or cut in long, narrow strips.

Taking a 9×13 pan, spread out a generous layer of the processed kataifi (about 2/3 of your noodles). Press the noodles firmly into the pan working it into a flat, even surface so that you can then evenly distribute the cheese, all of the cheese.

Follow the cheese with the remaining kataifi and, again, pack the noodles into the cheese, evenly.

With the oven heated, cook the kanafeh until the noodles have become a golden brown (around 10-15 mins)

Once the kanafeh has baked through you’ll want to allow it to cool for 10 mins

At this point, the kanafeh should have become more firm and set into its cheesy, sexy self.

Now, carefully place a cookie sheet atop the baking dish with the kanafeh and invert the pan so that the kanafeh is now on the cookie sheet.

Litter the surface with crushed pistachios and drown your darling with the simple syrup/rose water concoction.

Voila.

OK, so the example given below, about that. I had a tough time finding kataifi, so I substituted the noodles for simple phyllo sheets… no harm done. Yet, I will admit that iteration does neglect all the pleasing textures that comes along with kataifi. However, i’ll take what I can get. So get creative.

20140418-111911.jpg
20140418-111902.jpg

So, any takers?

Yallah

“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” —Dale Carnegie

The idea of living a simplified, uncluttered life with less stuffsounds attractive to many. They have considered the benefits of owning fewer possessions: less to clean, less debt, less to organize, less stress, more money and energy for their greatest passions. They are ready to declutter but some get quickly tripped up by the very next question… where in the world do I begin?

Many begin to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and defeated around the idea of decluttering their homes. That’s too bad. The decluttering journey doesn’t need to be as painful as some make it out to be. In fact, there are a variety of people who have come up with some pretty fun, creative ways to get started.

Consider this list of 10 creative ways to declutter your home:

1. Give yourself 5 solid minutes. Leo Babauta at Zen Habits recommends 18 different 5-minute decluttering tips. Pick one today that sounds appealing. Or better yet, pick a random number 1-18, read the specific tip, and commit 5 minutes to completing it.

2. Give away one item each day. Colleen Madsen at 365 Less Things gives away one item each day. Over the past several years, she has experienced quite a transformation simply reducing her stuff one day at a time.

3. Fill one trash bag. Early in our journey towards simplicity, one of my favorite decluttering techniques was to grab a simple large trash bag and see how quickly I could fill it. While much of what I collected was trash, this could also be used to fill a bag for Goodwill.

4. Try the Oprah Winfrey Closet Hanger Experiment. While this idea didn’t originate with Oprah, she was the one to help give it notoriety. To identify wardrobe pieces to clear out, hang all your clothes with the hangers in the reverse direction. After you wear an item, return it to the closet with the hanger facing the correct direction. After six months, you’ll have a clear picture of which clothes you can easily discard. This experiment could also be applied to a number of clutter areas in your home (cleaners, toys, linens, tools, hobbies and craft items).

5. Make a list. Dana Byersrecommends creating a list of places/areas in your home to declutter beginning with the easiest… which doesn’t sound all that creative until she adds this note, “When you’re done with one area, STOP.” This list could be made as easy or difficult as you desire based upon what areas of your home make up the list (drawers/closets/rooms). And could easily fit into any schedule.

6. Take the 12-12-12 Challenge. A simple task of locating 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate, and 12 items to be returned to their proper home can be a really fun and exciting way to quickly organize 36 things in your house. On more than one occasion, this challenge actually became a quick competition between my wife and me… and your kids don’t have to be too old to participate as well.

7. Change your perspective. Unclutterer offers a powerful approach to decluttering when they offer a number of strategies to help you change your perspective and begin to notice some clutter you may have missed. Among their ideas: take photos of your house, invite over a toddler, or ask the boss to meet in your office. With all of the examples, the hope is to cause you to see your home in a new light.

8. Experiment with numbers. For example, Courtney Carver invented Project 333 to challenge people to wear only 33 articles of clothing for 3 months. If 33 articles of clothing seems too little, adjust the rules as you need by picking a new number. The important thing is to challenge yourself to live with less and see what you learn from the experiment.

9. Use your imagination. Psychology Today recommends using your imagination to help declutter objects that may seem difficult to remove. Try asking yourself unique questions like, “If I was just buying this now, how much would I pay?” These creative techniques may prove to be very helpful for some with difficulties removing unneeded clutter.

10. The Four-Box Method. As we first set out on our journey to minimalism, this was the technique most often used in our home. As I set out to declutter an area, I brought four boxes: trash, give away, keep, or relocate. Each item in every room was placed into one of the four categories. No item was passed over. Each was considered individually. Some projects took an hour… others took days or weeks. But the technique and principles remained the same.

No matter what you choose to help you get started – whether it be one of these ten or one of countless others – the goal is to take your first step with excitement behind it. There is a beautiful world of freedom and fresh breath hiding behind that clutter. How you remove it is up to you.

Our happiness and success rely on thinking constructive thoughts, acting with intent and creating strong relationships with others. The good news is we have control over all of these areas. We can choose to change.

These are the most common changes that can make the biggest impact in your life

1. Mind your mind.

Your thoughts drive how you feel. How you feel drives your actions.

It is impossible to be confident and self-assured if your thoughts are filled with self-doubt and judgment. If you would never speak to others the way you internally speak to yourself, you can change.

It takes time to reprogram your thinking, but self-awareness is step one. Be more aware of your thoughts. Ask yourself: What is on my mind right now and why? Are my thoughts helping me?

A pause to reboot your internal thoughts can help you become more intentional and positive.

2. Separate how you feel from what you do.

Take time to acknowledge how you really feel. Minding your mind doesn’t mean hiding or ignoring your feelings. But separate your feelings from your actions—your actions are a separate decision.

For example, if I am frustrated that a peer is difficult to work with on a project, I can acknowledge my frustration and then separately decide how to handle it. Or, a friend constantly misses commitments and you feel angry. Rather than ignore it or end the friendship, choose to be open and direct about the impact his or her actions are having on the friendship.

Your actions are a separate decision that you alone make based on your feelings.

3. Stop comparing.

There will always be someone more successful, more accomplished, with more medals, more money and a better promotion. This constant comparison game means you’ll likely never measure up. The bar is always moving and usually it’s up. So have your own internal bar of success based upon what matters most to you, your starting point and the progress you’ve made.

As a career mom, I learned over time that my value wasn’t measured by how much I volunteered at my sons’ schools compared to other mothers. My focus was on how our boys were doing and if they were thriving, rather than comparing myself to moms with more available volunteer time.

Find the real meaning in your efforts. Meaning is a powerful way to overcome comparison to others as you focus on impact and contribution.

4. Claim time for yourself at the start of each day.

Time is our greatest asset. If we are intentional in how we use it, we have a better chance of living the life we want. How you start each day plays a big role in being intentional.

Find a few minutes to think about how you want to spend your day, both in terms of time and the thoughts you want to have. Prayer, meditation, exercise and a little quiet time to think can have a monumental impact on your day, week and year.

I always ask my clients when they can create this thinking and planning time, and where this can best occur. My most important decisions and changes began after I had the time to really think about what I wanted.

Find a quiet corner to pause rather than a busy kitchen—make the time in your busy life.

5. Do something new every week.

Predictable days and habits keep us in a rut. Every week, pick one new small change you want to make.

A friend of mine declared a “year of living differently.” She took cooking lessons, made changes to her house, planned several small weekend trips and learned to fly fish.

Intentionally shake up the routine and try something you’ve never done before. Even a small change, such as watching an interesting TED Talk while getting ready in the morning or experimenting with a new menu item on the grill can trigger new energy.

6. Listen even when you want to talk.

Listening is the most powerful learning tool and relationship builder you have at your disposal, but in our fast-paced, technology-driven world, it is wildly underutilized.

Ask questions and really listen, rather than thinking about what you are going to say next. Your full attention is one of the greatest compliments you can give to someone.

7. Battle the addiction to being right.

The desire to always be right can overshadow even the strongest relationship. Being right at all costs might fulfill an inner need you have, but often at the expense of someone or something else.

Consider this situation: Is there only one answer? Do we need to agree? Is there new information here that I haven’t considered?

Of course, keep your point of view and speak up for values and causes that matter. But if your desire to be right overtakes you in any situation regardless of importance or relationship, a change might do some good. There is no joy in “winning the battle but losing the war.”

Small changes made consistently over time can have a big impact on your life. And they are all actions you can take starting today.

-Patti Johnson

Many Chinese fables tell an entertaining story to illustrate a moral lesson. Here are a few such stories.

Stopping Halfway, Never Comes One’s Day

In the Warring States Period, in the state of Wei lived a man called Leyangtsi. His wife was very angelic and virtuous, who was loved and respected dearly by the husband.

One day, Leyangtsi found a piece of gold on his way home, and he was so delighted that he ran home as fast as he could to tell his wife. Looking at the gold, his wife said calmly and gently, “As you know, it is usually said that a true man never drinks the stolen water. How can you take such a piece of gold home which is not yours?” Leyangtsi was greatly moved by the words, and he immediately replaced it where it was.

The next year, Leyangtsi went to a distant place to study classics with a talented teacher, leaving his wife home alone. One day, his wife was weaving on the loom, when Leyangtsi entered. At his coming, the wife seemed to be worried, and she at once asked the reason why he came back so soon. The husband explained how he missed her. The wife got angry with what the husband did. Advising her husband to have fortitude and not be too indulged in the love, the wife took up a pair of scissors and cut down what she had woven on the loom, which made Leyangtsi very puzzled. His wife declared, “If something is stopped halfway, it is just like the cut cloth on the loom. The cloth will only be useful if finished. But now, it has been nothing but a mess, and so it is with your study.”

Leyangtsi was greatly moved by his wife. He left home resolutely and went on with his study. He didn’t return home to see his beloved wife until gaining great achievements.

Afterward, the story was often used as a model to inspire those who would back out in competitions.

Ask a Fox for Its Skin

Long ago, there lived a young man, called Lisheng, who had just married a beauty. The bride was very willful. One day, she had an idea that a coat of fox fur would look pretty on her. So she asked her husband to get her one. But the coat was rare and too expensive. The helpless husband was forced to walk around on the hillside. Just at the moment, a fox was walking by. He lost no time to catch it by the tail. “Well, dear fox, let’s make an agreement. Could you offer me a sheet of your skin? That isn’t a big deal, is it?”

The fox was shocked at the request, but she replied calmly, “Well, my dear, that’s easy. But let my tail go so that I can pull off the skin for you.” So the delighted man let her free and waited for the skin. But the moment the fox got free, she ran away as quickly as she could into the forest.

The story can be well used for reference that it is hard to ask someone to act against his own will, even though only a little sometimes.

Bian Heh’s Jade

In the Spring and Autumn Period, Bian Heh in the Chu state got a rough jade on Mount Chu. He decided to present the valuable jade to the emperor to show his official loyalty to his sovereign, Chuli. Unluckily, the jade was judged as a common stone by the court jaders, which made Emperor Chuli very angry and had Bian Heh’s left foot cut down cruelly.

After the enthronement of the new emperor Chuwu, Bian Heh decided to submit the jade to Chuwu to clarify matters. Emperor Chuwu also had it checked by the jaders in the court. And the conclusion resulted in the same fact that Bian Heh lost the other foot.

After the death of Emperor Chuwu, the prince Chuwen was enthroned, that gave the poor Bian Heh a gleam of light of proving his clear conscience. However, the moment he thought of what he had incurred, he couldn’t help crying beside a hill. He could not stop crying for several days and nights; he almost wept his heart out and even blood was dropping from his eyes. And it happened to be heard by the emperor in the court. He ordered his men to find out why he was so sad. Bian Heh sobbed out “Call a spade a spade. Why was a real jade mistaken as a plain stone again and again? Why was a loyal man thought faithless time and time?” Emperor Chuwen was touched by Bian Heh’s deep grief and ordered the jaders to open the jade to have a close look. To their astonishment, in the rough coat, the pure content was sparkling and translucent. Then it was carefully cut and polished fine and at last, the jade became a rare treasure of the state of Chu. In memory of the faithful man Bian Heh, the Emperor named the jade by Bian Heh.

And so the term “Bian’s Jade” came into being.

People usually describe something extremely precious in its value with Bian’s Jade.

Cheap Tricks Never Last – The Donkey of Guizhou

Thousands of years ago, donkeys were not found in Guizhou province. But meddlers were always allured by anything. So they shipped one into this area.

One day, a tiger was walking around to find something to eat, when he saw the strange animal. The huge newcomer frightened him quite a bit. He hid between the bushes to study the donkey watchfully. It seemed all right. So the tiger came near to the donkey to have a close look. “Hawhee¡­” a loud noise burst upon, which sent the tiger running away as fast as he could. He could not have any time to think before he settled himself home. The humiliation stung in him. He must come back to that strange thing to see it clear though he was still haunted by the terrible noise.

The donkey was enraged when the tiger got too close. So the donkey brought his unique skill to bear on the offender —- to kick with his hooves. After several bouts, it became very clear that what the donkey had was so much. The tiger jumped upon the donkey in time and cut its throat.

People are always told the story to speak of one’s limited tricks.

A Painted Snake Makes a Man Sick

In the Jin Dynasty, there lived a man named Le Guang, who had a bold and uninhibited character and was very friendly. One day Le Guang sent for one of his close friends since the friend had not turned out for long.

At the first sight of his friend, Le Guang realized that something must have happened to his friend for his friend has no peace of mind all the time. So he asked his friend what was the matter. “It was all because of that banquet held at your home. At the banquet, you proposed a toast to me and just when we raised the glasses, I noticed that there was a little snake lying in the wine and I felt particularly sick. Since then, I lay in bed unable to do anything.”

Le Guang was very puzzled at the matter. He looked around and then saw a bow with a painted snake hung on the wall of his room.

So Le Guang laid the table at the original place and asked his friend again to have a drink. When the glass was filled with wine, he pointed to the shade of the bow in the glass and asked his friend to see. His friend observed nervously, “Well, well, that is what I saw last time. It is the same snake.” Le Guang laughed and took off the bow on the wall. “Could you see the snake anymore?” he asked. His friend was surprised to find that the snake was no longer in the wine. Since the whole truth had come out, his friend recovered from his prolonged illness right away.

For thousands of years, the story has been told to advise people not to be too suspicious unnecessarily.

KuaFu Chased the Sun

It is said that in antiquity a god named KuaFu determined to have a race with the Sun and catch up with Him. So he rushed in the direction of the Sun. Finally, he almost ran neck and neck with the Sun, when he was too thirsty and hot to continue. Where could he find some water? Just then the Yellow River and Wei River came into sight, roaring on. He swooped upon them earnestly and drank the whole river. But he still felt thirsty and hot, thereupon, he marched northward for the lakes in the north of China. Unfortunately, he fell down and died halfway because of thirst. With his fall, down dropped his cane. Then the cane became a stretch of peach, green and lush.

And so comes the idiom, KuaFu chased the Sun, which becomes the trope of man’s determination and volition against nature. 

Fish for the Moon in the Well

One evening, the clever man, Huojia went to fetch some water from the well. To his surprise, when he looked into the well, he found the moon sunk in the well shining. “Oh, good Heavens, what a pity! The beautiful moon has dropped into the well!” so he dashed home for a hook, and tied it with the rope for his bucket, then put it into the well to fish for the moon.

After some time of hunting for the moon, Haojia was pleased to find that something was caught by the hook. He must have thought it was the moon. He pulled hard on the rope. Due to the excessive pulling, the rope broke into apart and Haojia fell flat on his back. Taking the advantage of that post, Haojia saw the moon again high in the sky. He sighed with emotion, “Aha, it finally came back to its place! What a good job! He felt very happy and told whomever he met with about the wonderment proudly without knowing what he did was something impractical.

Custer, Charles. "Chinese Fable Stories With Morals." ThoughtCo, Dec. 4, 2018, thoughtco.com/chinese-fable-stories-4084028.

Hey, I’m Nicholas, you probably know that already. 

Writer, thinker, hopeless poet and most importantly a student of life embracing the quirks, the quandaries, and curiosities that make us human. 

Photo by Tomu00e1u0161 Malu010do Malu00edk on Pexels.com

Oh, Education:
I’m launching this campaign as my semester comes to a close. Eyes turned eastward, dreaming of snowcapped mountains and ancient monasteries, cultural exchanges and roads less traveled. I’m diving head first into deepening my research in Asian Studies — go hand in hand with outreach programs and volunteer work — and launching a series of educational webcasts promoting diversity and cross-cultural understanding from an entertaining slant — let’s call it EduTainment

The Web-Series: 
So this bit is particularly exciting. Additionally, though in its beta, The Wandering Scholar will consist of webcasts, vlogs, potentially even podcasting, on the cultures, foods, customs, traditions, and experiences that make us human. Think of it as a highly integrated travel blog. Full of interesting and meaningful information.

Your generous contributions will directly support tuition and tuition alone. I will update you at a later point as to which institution I’m accepted into – aiming for Dharma Realm University. As a student, I am at the mercy and heavily dependent upon the financial generosity of others — for which I am endlessly grateful.

College Fund

$1.00

I’ve run a successful website for nearly six years now. Whew! As a writer, archaeologist, and former travel blogger. All the while striving to publish my debut novel — a novel about a grownup of students in Arabia searching for purpose, finding love, loss, and “growing up” in the Middle East — all during the Arab Spring. An emotional rollercoaster, full of wild romps, heartache, and all that delicious adventure we seek in a good story.

Look, I understand this is an absurdly individualistic request. And I am no way under the impression that I am owed, or deserving of asking for financial assistance. But I just wanted to go out on this limb and be open, honest about my financial setbacks and take this next step towards achieving my dreams. So here I am, slightly -very- embarrassed and asking for your help, from the bottom of my heart, to support these dreams so that I can become a participant in the global peace process. So that I can deepen my studies/understanding of Eastern Philosophy, mindfulness, and language at the University level. All with the intention of bringing it full circle and sharing every morsel and lovely detail along the way. 

Thank you for your time and consideration. I am an open book, read me. If you have any comments, thoughts, or want to connect otherwise I’d love to get to know you! 
Reach out here on Fund My Travel, or email me at 
andriani1208@gmail.com
You can add me on Instagram at @NicholasAndriani
And on Twitter at @nickandriani

One Dollar, Almost Free

$1.00


On Reading and Translating the World’s Stories: Catching Up with Ann Morgan — Discover

Book blogger Ann Morgan of A Year of Reading the World had a fantastic 2015. We caught up with Ann and chatted about connecting with fellow book lovers, translating more of the world’s stories into English, and her unique journey from blogger to author and speaker.

On Reading and Translating the World’s Stories: Catching Up with Ann Morgan — Discover

Translation, an art growing every more demanding as our world grows increasingly smaller. Cross-cultural connections, empathy, compassion, and the peace process are all contingent upon our understanding of one another. Translations and transference of foreign language works is one of the greatest approaches to recognizing our essential needs and desires.

Hi everyone,

I am beyond excited to let you know that I’m fundraising for an educational trip to India, Nepal, Bhutan, Vietnam and Laos. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and I am so grateful for this opportunity!

One of the ways I am going to make this trip a reality is through fundraising. Please visit my personal Fund My Research page to check out what I’ll be doing, why it’s important to me, and how you can help!

Wandering Scholar: An Education on Life, Love & Buddhism

There are many ways you can show your support including sharing on Facebook, donating, and lending your skills.

Thank you for your generosity and support – it means the world!

Sincerely,

Nicholas Andriani

One Dollar, Almost Free

$1.00

Success is as dangerous as failure.
Hope is as hollow as fear.

What does it mean that success is a dangerous as failure?
Whether you go up the ladder or down it,
your position is shaky.
When you stand with your two feet on the ground,
you will always keep your balance.

What does it mean that hope is as hollow as fear?
Hope and fear are both phantoms
that arise from thinking of the self.
When we don’t see the self as self,
what do we have to fear?

See the world as your self.
Have faith in the way things are.
Love the world as your self;
then you can care for all things.

Tao Te Ching


“A line will take us hours maybe,
Yet if it does not seem a moment’s thought,
Our stitching and unstitching have been naught.
Better go down upon your marrow bones
And scrub a kitchen pavement, or break stones
Like an old pauper, in all kinds of weather—
For to articulate sweet sounds together
Is to work harder than all these, and yet
Be thought an idler by the noisy set
Of bankers, schoolmasters, and clergymen
The martyrs call the world. “

So there you have it: writing is hard work. Now, the question remains, what will you do with this condemnation? Will you pitter and patter and moan and groan (which is my general state): or, will you buckle up and DO the hard thing, the work?

Whether you’ve come for The City of Fountains, Paris of the Plains or Cowtown, Kansas City is an innovative and inspired place, full of kinetic and potential splendor. People frequently ask us, What’s fun here? Where should we eat? drink? shop? We love talking about our city and thought it helpful to compile a list of our favorites. These are among the various places and reasons to make Kansas City your next Weekender

No longer the Midwest’s flyover town, KC is striding forward with newfound vigor and a burgeoning sense of self which has the world watching — as if to say, ooh, what’s all this? When juice bars replace steakhouses and the maker movement is now commonplace, you know something interesting is brewing. 

**disclaimer: this is a deep dive into locally owned and small businesses. Like us, these businesses are unique and non-mainstream. To us, that is what makes them the best places to patronize. 

Eat: It’s not all steak and potatoes

  • Port Fonda: Why we love it: Port Fonda is an absolute gem. Authentic, yet creative Mexican cuisine. Chicharrones and Salsa, Borrego, Jackfruit al Pastor. The brunch menu is one of the best in town. Their agave (tequila/mezcal) collection is monumental and arguably unmatched. {locale: Westport}
  • Rye: That rare quality of providing comfort food done right. A difficult task and executed masterfully. Upscale comfort food prepared beautifully. {locale: Plaza}
  • Extra-Virgin: Sure tapas are trendy, overblown, and often leave one feeling empty and cheated. Not the case at this lively eatery. A marriage of purposeful menu groups, meaningful bartending, and a rotation of fresh ingredients spearhead Chef Michael Smith’s bistro. He has a James Beard thingy so take note if your into that stuff. Regardless of accolades, Extra Virgin remains our favorite treat when the mood strikes — which is always. {locale: downtown/crossroads}
  • Room 39: Atmospheric ease. Room 39 is the kind of place you walk into and never leave. We love the small, intimate and all around low key vibe the space and staff provides. The farm to table menu never disappoints. {locale: midtown/39th St}                                                           

Worth noting: Novel, The Majestic.

Drink: (Bars & Cafes) Early Mornings and Night Caps, something good is brewing about. 

  • The Campground: Why we love it: They do it all. We couldn’t decide which category to put this in. The drinks and the food are tops. And both are prepared with flawless execution. The cocktails are timeless yet full of nuance. Inspired, yet not highfalutin – and still not your fathers drink. Additionally, they offer a collection of naturally fermented Pétillant Naturel wines — also known as”PétNat” — which have become our drink of choice! {locale: West Bottoms}
  • Green Lady Lounge: A hallmark of the freshest Jazz Kansas City has to offer. That late night feeling. {locale: downtown}
  • Our Daily Nada: Boozy Bookstore – Enough said. Add to that an impeccable wine list, craft toasts (hello smoked salmon) AND a thoughtful selection must-read books: from the Greats to the hidden treasures. Our Daily Nada emerges ahead of the crowd in a movement to marry both liquor and literature, literary fancy and libated fun. Pouring coffee from one of our favorite roasters, the baristas-cum-bartenders never miss a beat. Lounge: this is the sort of place you can hang around all day.. {locale: River Market}
  • Ça Va: “Champagne for the People.” Ca Va features a list of bubbly from across the world specializing in Grower Champagne (wine produced in small batches by artisanal vintners). Those who like to indulge will love their menu with everything from duck fat kettle corn to caviar. P.S they offer the best absinthe service in town which I’ve indulged many a night!  (locale: Westport}

Worth Noting: Mildred’s. Nomad’s 

Shops: Keeping it local 

  • River Market Antiques: Our go-to resource for past treasures and present whimsy. At 30,000 sq.ft. and boasting nearly 200 vendors, this remains one of the true resources for finding vintage gems. The Rivermarket stands its ground and we stand in solidarity. From vintage clothing to esoteric vinyl, Victorian ephemera, this is one of the funkiest, freshest collections of randomness through which to find some legitimately valuable and meaningful pieces. {locale: downtown/river market}
  • Foxtrot Supply Co: Owned & operated by two genuine and friendly guys, their leather goods are utilitarian and elevated (we happily represent their line here at Coveted Home). {locale: downtown/crossroads}
  • Shop Dear Society: Modern & Vintage. Thoughtfully curated pieces from centuries past and present. All things dear in fashion, accessories, and home. {locale: midtown/broadway}
  • Fine Folk: Shop high-end apparel and accessories as well as the beauty and wellness shop en shop, Within Apothecary {locale: downtown/crossroads}
  • George: A lifestyle shop after our hearts. George marries a beautifully curated arrangement of high-end accessories, apothecary, antiques and jewelry. {locale: south plaza/Crestwood shops}

Worth Noting: 45th & State Line Antique District houses many quirky and wonderful small shops filled with curiosities

Do: Do/do not miss.

  • Nelson Atkins: Why we love it: Museum with a world-renowned collection. Everything from Monet to Lautrec. Reconstructed Hindi temples to regional exhibitionists. A brilliant Egyptian/Near East collection. If you visit during lunch hours, the Rozelle Court Cafeteria, located inside the museum is both beautiful and delicious and worth a visit in its own right. {locale: east plaza}
  • Country Club Plaza (home of the Coveted Home!): Why we love it. Touted as America’s, maybe the worlds, first modern shopping mall. Established in 1922, the Plaza boasts beautiful architecture and fountains. Don’t miss the last few standing locally owned shops (besides us), The Better Cheddar (with one of the biggest cheese selections in the country) and Made In Kansas City Marketplace, where you can get beer on tap, t-shirts, coffee and more that are all..you guessed it, made in KC. And if you’re in town for an event, Parlor, next door to us, does amazing blowouts/up do’s/braids and makeup. 
  • River Market: Shops, cafes, restaurants, mostly locally run businesses with a genuine spirit. Worth an entire day: Brunch, lunch or dinner at The Farmhouse, pick me up at Quay Coffee, Al Habashi Restaurant and Spice Market, Japanese Imports, and much more. Come Spring, Summer, and Fall Farmer’s Markets fill the square with produce grown everywhere from Kansas City to parts unknown, offering cheeses, flowers, produce, honey, and an abundance of repurposed goods (weekends only). If you have the chance we encourage you to check it out. {locale: downtown}
  • Union Station: Not that long ago KC was the end of the line, everything West belonging to the various tribes and nature herself. Schlepping itinerants since 1914, Union Station remains a KC icon. catch a train home or dine in the luxurious Pierponts Restaurant — an exquisite 1920’s steakhouse feat. an extraordinary wine list, oysters, the most detailed service. A number of shops, from chocolatiers to KC memorabilia, Science City  Imax, all great places to entertain kids. {locale: downtown}
  • Loose Park/Rose Garden: To “escape the city,” head just south of the plaza to discover 75-acres of rolling hills, expansive fountains, and secret gardens. A popular destination for weddings and picnics alike, you can truly lose yourself in the rose bushes or spend the day meandering the fields. Also, a great place to take kids, with a large playground and water splash park in the summer. (locale: South Plaza)

Stay

  • The InterContinental: Legendary, swanky, conveniently South Plaza, the InterContinental plays host to celebrities and staycation-ers alike. Newly remodeled and we love the modern brasserie’s swanky new decor. (locale: Plaza)
  • The Crossroads Hotel: Downtown’s newest gathering place, for locals and out of towners alike, known equally for their hospitality, restaurant/bar, and accommodations. Enjoy a delicious upscale Italian meal at Lazia, located on premise. (locale: Crossroads)
  • The Bell Victorian: On a budget? Consider staying at our newly remodeled historic 100+ year old Victorian home, listed on Airbnb. We currently offer a guest room in a shared living space, suitable for 1-2 people. (locale: West 39th/Midtown)

Afterthoughts

  • Southwest Boulevard with its drag of authentic Mexican restaurants: menudo, lingua, and traditional dishes abound. A Kansas City past time and the best lineup in the Midwest. Try El Patron, La Bodega and Tropicana. 

                 The Majestic: Old World steakhouse meets 30’s Jazz club.  

A Note on BBQ: There is a dispute among local residents as to who remains the truest, most OG of all BBQ pits. These are among the most popular:

  1. Arthur Bryant’s: FRIED CHICKEN. Simply the best. 
  2. Q39 (a newcomer but immediate 1KO contender): Classic BBQ plates, from brisket to burnt ends.
  3. Gates. Known for their sauce and their friendly greeting. 
  4. Kansas City Joe’s (formerly Oklahoma Joe’s) Featured by every food critic on every food network covering KC BBQ. Charmingly located in a historic Shamrock Gas Station (still fueling the empty!) Try the Z-Man Sandwich or the pulled pork. Noteworthy vegetarianoption: Portabella Sandwich 

Cheers, and welcome to Kansas City! We look forward to meeting you and know you’ll enjoy the beautiful people and businesses that make this a great city. 

Highlights

  • Introduced Shampooing to Europe
  • First Indian to Write a Book in English (I’m suspicious of this)
  • Opened the first Indian restaurant in London, 1810
  • Served as Surgeon in the British Army

Quite a figure.

I’m endlessly fascinated by the storied history and culture of food. If you think about it food, with all those various customs, colloquial nuances, simple and complex, erotic and understated, is truly our greatest and most intimate experience with the world around us.

<img src="https://nicholasandriani.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/sake-dean-mahomet.jpg?w=870&quot; alt="

Born in Patna, India, in 1759, Mahomed was taken under the wing of a British Army officer at the age of 10 after his father died. He served as a trainee surgeon in the army of the British East India Company and remained with the unit until 1782, when he resigned from the army and accompanied his benefactor to Britain.

In 1794, Mahomed published The Travels of Dean Mahomed, an autobiographical narrative about his adventures in India. The book recounts his time in the army and describes many important Indian cities and military campaigns.

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Sake Dean Mahomed was an entrepreneur and surgeon who helped break down cultural barriers between India and England.

Mahomed is credited with introducing Indian cuisine and Indian therapeutic massages known as shampoo baths to Europe in the early 19th century. But it’s for his writings that Google honored him with a Doodle on Tuesday. It was on this date in 1794 that Mahomed became the first Indian author to write and publish a book in English.

Born in Patna, India, in 1759, Mahomed was taken under the wing of a British Army officer at the age of 10 after his father died. He served as a trainee surgeon in the army of the British East India Company and remained with the unit until 1782, when he resigned from the army and accompanied his benefactor to Britain.

In 1794, Mahomed published The Travels of Dean Mahomed, an autobiographical narrative about his adventures in India. The book recounts his time in the army and describes many important Indian cities and military campaigns.

<img src="https://nicholasandriani.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/2c_mahomet_travelbook-1.jpg&quot; alt="

Born in Patna, India, in 1759, Mahomed was taken under the wing of a British Army officer at the age of 10 after his father died. He served as a trainee surgeon in the army of the British East India Company and remained with the unit until 1782, when he resigned from the army and accompanied his benefactor to Britain.

In 1794, Mahomed published The Travels of Dean Mahomed, an autobiographical narrative about his adventures in India. The book recounts his time in the army and describes many important Indian cities and military campaigns.

” class=”wp-image-3398″/>

Needless to say, Mohamed lived quite a rich and accomplished life.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this installment of Influential Muslims

“So a weird thing about making money writing words and making money doing art and sometimes making money writing code is that people really want to define what it is you do, exactly. This becomes especially important when people are, for example, a publisher who needs to see your book or a radio show that is having you on to talk about your book.

And one of the words those people decide to use is “journalist” and when you hear those words your internal organs start to collapse and maybe you want to have a nervous breakdown. For reasons. And you ask them not to use it and they use it anyway.

That being said: I have had bylines in real publications! Writing things that involve actual facts and not just opines about things in the world (OK sometimes opines too though). I interview people, I transcribe interviews, I file records requests, and I fact-check with sources before going to publish things. That all sounds like journalism, Ingrid. Why can’t you be an artist and journalist?

This isn’t a blog post about my extremely goth tortured relationship to why I can’t ever be a Real Journalist (TLDR: imagine how you’d feel about being adequate enough to be a journalist when your role model for journalism is your dead father who covered Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination). This is about the blurring of art and journalism as a consequence of late capitalism and the attention economy, and why that’s worrying. I don’t think that it’s bad to do art and do journalism, I just think it’s important to have clear boundaries between art and journalism, and in a moment where basically all forms of self expression (be they art, journalism, or tweets) are boiled down to interchangeable commodities, it’s really easy to ignore those boundaries, and that’s bad for both art and journalism.

ALthough, this is based on a very specific (and, probably, naively antiquated) idea of what constitutes “journalism” and what constitutes “art.” Journalism is a field that, as far as I understand it, is defined really strongly by its mandate to serve a “public interest” (which can mean a lot of things) and by an assumed code of ethics. It’s not really a Hippocratic Oath-type code. Guidelines and codes of ethics for journalism are mostly defined and published by professional associations and can vary from institution to institution.

Here’s one from The Society of Professional Journalists. A quick glimpse through this list is basically a sample of positions that, in contemporary art, would effectively be “conversation topics” or “just your opinion.” For example:

Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable. (This exhibition brought to you by Credit Suisse…)

Boldly tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience. Seek sources whose voices we seldom hear. (The art world’s kind of getting better about this, kind of, but I invite you to look at the most recent Whitney Biennial and Joe Scanlan’s both insulting and embarrassing work to consider how that tends to get fraught real fast because institutional legacy.)

Never plagiarize. Always attribute. (so let’s talk about the history of appropriation…)

OK, there’s a whole section called “Minimize Harm” here, I don’t know if I need to belabor my point. This obviously gets way more fraught and weird with art that looks at pointed political issues and especially art that enteres into the weird blurry space of computers and things. People who do ethically questionable things as journalists have historically been excoriated and tend to lose their jobs. People who do ethically questionable things as artists tend to like, keynote fairly high-profile art and technology conferences in mid-sized Midwestern cities (ahem, ahem). So who sits between those worlds and how, exactly, does that work?

The people who I see do it well tend to have clear parameters. Molly Crabapple as painter with exhibitions produces very different work from Molly Crabapple who spends months reporting in conflict zones. And I am not saying that people who work in the ethically ambiguous space of art can’t work in the ethically non-ambiguous space of journalism. What has me kind of anxious are two things I see happening: the in-housing of artists in news environments with vague definitions of roles and expectations, and the classism implicit in labeling an artist who works with certain privileged political topics a “journalist artist”–as opposed to those dilettantish “activist artists” who, say, spend time with grassroots organizations or raise up the work of marginalized communities or address topics that don’t attract white hacker boys. Both of these topics probably merit their own write-ups, so I’m going to focus more on the emerging thread that makes these two things that worry me possible.

Maybe one one reason for the conflating and collapsing of art and journalism into each other is just an aftereffect of the fact that the tools digital artists employ don’t look all that different from the tools employed by digital artists (a D3 visualization on the ProPublica website and a D3 visualization by an artist both…look like they were made by Mike Bostock; videos in the Whitney and videos on the New York Times website could have the same production company working on them). But I also think it has to do with the economic model of journalism increasingly resembling the value metrics applied to art–attention and “engagement” rather than, say, public interest or service. So maybe it’s less that I worry about what it is for artists to do journalism as I worry about how an attention economy rewards the worst and most ethically problematic tendencies in both fields.

I’m thinking about the similarity between an egregious art project and an egregious act by a journalist, both of which happened in the past year: artist Dries Depoorter’s Tinder In, in which he found womens’ LinkedIn and Tinder profile pictures and presented them side-by-side as artworks (without permission, naturally), when Nico Hines outed gay Olympians in Rio for a Daily Beast story, potentially risking the lives of Olympians from countries where homosexuality is essentially a crime. Very different contexts, but similar ethical dilemma–using pseudo-public data from social media and placing that data in some context for public viewership, without the individual’s permission.

Depoorter has since apologized and now shows the work with faces blurred–but he’s obviously very cheeky and aggrieved by the kerfuffle, pointing out that he’s included himself in the series so isn’t he, too, under surveillance? But he’s a white male media artist in Europe. He doesn’t owe anyone decency, and I don’t assume as an artist he’s entering into any “do no harm” contract–that art project isn’t bad because he’s acting like a cretin (although I think he is), it’s a bad art project because it’s an insipid premise (surprise, people present themselves differently on different social media platforms, welcome to 2011, buddy).

But Nico Hines does owe the subjects of his reporting basic decency. While the Daily Beast took the story down and the editors issued an apology, Hines himself has yet to issue any public apology. In fact, his online activity has pretty much stopped since the Olympics. If he was fired from his job, it happened quietly–no epic Stephen Glass-style denouncement (although the distinction between the kind of shaming of a journalist fabricating stories versus the shaming of a journalist potentially harming someone’s life with their reporting is itself a pretty interesting thing). In all likelihood, Hines will land on his feet.

In the case of both Hines and Depoorter, both ultimately got a fuck ton of attention for doing ethically questionable things and neither, apparently, faced particularly heavy professional consequences for it. And frankly, in the case of the *Beast it was professional damaging, but ultimately also probably got them a lot of traffic. Those pageviews of the now taken-down story might cover the cost of Hines’ severance package.

(Reminder: this is a blog post where I am speculating about things, please don’t sue me Daily Beast you of all people who know the bloggers vs journalisms dichotomy too well.)

Anyway this was supposed to be a blog post and now it’s a few thousand words, and maybe it’s not clear what my point was. As my very goth backstory suggests, I have a really, really high, arguably romanticized opinion of journalism as a field. I believe that the denigration of journalism is one of the biggest contributing factors to the fucked-up discourse of the present moment–and I consider the denigration of journalism into vacuous attention-economy commodity by people like Jonah Peretti as bad for the field as its denigration into blunt ideological tool by Roger Ailes. Artists who choose to enter into journalistic spaces or take on the badge of journalist have to do so with the understanding that journalism is not in the eye of the beholder or something done merely to provoke. The political choices of journalists need to be held to a higher standard than the political choices of artists, because if the politics of both are merely contingent conversation pieces with no real cost, the work of both (and the human beings and ethical harms potentially implicated in both) become mere fodder for capitalist churn.”

See also: notes

“With only enough time to unpack from our trip to Portland Jaclyn suggests we rent a jalopy and drive our tired souls to North Carolina for the High Point Furniture Market.”

The HP Furniture Market is a Mecca for designers and business owners to network, in-person with manufacturers and gets you in on the know-know. Jaclyn runs a furniture boutique here in Kansas City (the Coveted Home) and making it to events like this can be essential for success. It’s far more than furniture though. Hoards of vendors bring in antiquities and handcrafted goods from around the globe; Southeast Asian, African, you name it. All the while parties are raging. Good drinks and vibes to go around tenfold. Who could pass this up?

Her suggestion ignited an even greater plan; raid this designers “treasure trove” and hit the Smoky Mountains. Taking with us our camping gear, we would mosey along, sampling from local cuisine and the Appalachian Trail.

A week later we were renting that van and on the road with our dog and a cooler stocked with cheese…

Step 1- Kansas City, MO to Franklin, NC

(822 Miles/12 hours and 32 minutes)

Saint Louis, Missouri

Our first sight is the iconic Gateway Arch of St. Louis, MO.  This 630-ft arch is the tallest manmade monument in the states and I must admit, this photo, given the weather, does little justice for the true beauty of this beast.

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We reserve our energy by sleeping through the route between St. Louis and Franklin. Driving and snoozing, equal shifts between Jaclyn, myself, and Simone…

The following morning we’re witness to the beginnings of the Appalachians splendor as we enter North Carolina.

2013-10-17 12.03.22

Early morning sun, burning the Smoky Mountain haze.

2013-10-16 10.28.39

As the sun begins to peak, so does Simone, leaf peeping.

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Fall foliage begins to reveal its orchestrated plumes and hues of autumns tune.

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Taking in a dose of Americana; Avett Brothers blaring, banjo picking, snare drum kicking.

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Franklin, North Carolina

Arriving midday at our first destination we pop our tent and hit the trails

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For those points where it’s hard to distinguish between game trails and the actual hiking trail, cairns are strategically placed along to keep the pious hiker safely on the right route.

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About an hour in, we run into these two who have been out here for days, working their way around the lower AT. They apparently had a run in with a small black bear earlier in the day. Nothing these two champs can’t handle.

With the sun setting, temperature dropping, we spend a few hours fighting the elements to get a fire started, burning through 3/4 of the journal I brought to document this trip… And for a brief moment we actually had a fire raging, cooking our bundles of carrots, potatoes, onions, and turmeric wrapped in foil, roasting with a can of beans and cheese. Enough to heat our food before the moisture snuffed out our flame for good. Eating to the musical backdrop of Appalachia we welcomed the darkness in excitement for the days to come.

The Appalachian Road Trip will return in Franklin to High Point.

Yallah, Bye