The Scent of Cinnamon and Chasing Down Humoral Theory

Purple bougainvillea flowers hung thick and rope-like over the sand-colored walls, their little white hearts nearly pulsating in the blazing noon heat of Rabat, Morocco. The door of The English Bookshop stood half-opened. The stern English proprietor stood behind the counter, his thin pale fingers reaching into scuffed cardboard boxes, filled with the newest shipment of books…

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What it Means to See Art: The Intricacies of Duende

James Elkins’s essay, “Just Looking” (in The Object Stares Back,1996)  appears to be ambiguous, because the emotions associated with seeing are so complicated, as he says (p. 29). He seems also to have been influenced by Roland Barthes (Camera Lucida, 1981), Jacques Lacan, and Jacques Derrida (among others), all highly imitated French philosophers, popular among academics…

Pilgrimages, or, “Life is Too Big to Walk it Alone”: “The Way” by Sheen and Estevez*

Arriving at your destination is not actually the goal, but rather the journey itself - a metaphor for life obviously, as so many spiritual and secular thinkers alike have written - and the journey can be the all in all. Appropriately, last night I was one of 2500 lucky people to attend a preliminary screening…

Spanish Cooks and The Essence of Their Art

“Just like in the movies, when the hero finally gets up to the ticket window and the clerk slams it shut.” That's the thought that ballooned in my mind when I walked up to the doors of the Museo del Prado in Madrid on a Monday morning. CLOSED. No Velazquez. Of course, Monday. Here's something…

Eating Cat Meat: A Taboo?

One of the most memorable sayings you learn when you first study Spanish is, “Dar/vender gato por liebre,” or to “give or sell a cat instead of a rabbit,” meaning deception. Digging into the history of Spanish cookbooks, you’ll find a famous --- and oft-quoted --- recipe for roast cat in Ruperto de Nola’s* fifteenth-century…