Chrysler Building, New York

Chrysler Birds

New York

The Groom

New York

Hidden Goods

New York

The Empire

NEW YORK -- Hai mangiato?

Dionysian Decadence

NEWARK, Aug. 6 -- Sixty-foot bottle atop an abandoned brewery

A Buddhist monk was travelling from place to place and needed lodging for the night. He came upon a woman who lived alone. She offered him a bed for the night but he had to choose one of three things – to sleep with her, kill the goat or have an alcoholic drink. Thinking that the last option was the least reprehensible of the three, he decided to have a drink. One drink led to another and before long he was very drunk. When he woke up the next morning, he found that not only had he got drunk but he had also killed the goat and slept with the woman. This story is told to show the dangers of drink. By breaking the fifth precept he had ended up breaking the first and third too! -- Anthony Flanagan

The Five Precepts as I understand them:
1. Respect life, no killing.
2. Respect others' property, no stealing.
3. Respect others, no illicit sex.
4. Respect the truth, no lying.
5. Respect the mind, no intoxication.

For reference:
Benedict's Dharma II: A Buddhist/Christian Dialogue on the 'Rule of Saint Benedict

The Ten Commandments:
I. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."
II. "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image,"
III. "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain;"
IV. "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy."
V. "Honor thy father and thy mother:"
VI. "Thou shalt not kill."
VII. "Thou shalt not commit adultery"
VIII. "Thou shalt not steal."
IX. "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."
X. "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, nor anything that is thy neighbor's."

A Study in Blue


A View from City Hall

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- The annual Nobel banquet is held in the courtyard of City Hall. At this writing, I am one equation away from winning the Nobel Prize in Mathematics.


STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- The city is built on 14 islands and connected by 57 bridges.


STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Veni, vidi, Visa. I came, I saw, I shopped.

Tre Kronor

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Jul. 29 -- A Trinity symbol or not, the three crowns atop City Hall brought to mind a verse from John Donne's Holy Sonnet XIV, "Batter my heart, three-personed God."

Smog check, o captain, my captain?


Bike on Boat


Be Sure to Lock Your Bike

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- The city was clean and seemed safe.

ForEx: Currency Exchange

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- One dollar = seven Kronor





Counting Triangles


The Bride

STOCKHOLM -- Away from the crowd, two street mimes became chatterboxes.

Royal Guards at Stockholm Palace

"Knock, knock."
"Who's there?"
"Pavlov.... just checking."

Time and Space




Horsing Around


Baggage Issues

♪ Just do me a favor and check your baggage at the door. ♪ -- The Offspring, She's Got Issues

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- My luggage was lost en route to Finland, but SAS delivered it to my hotel the next day.

European Entanglement

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- The Monroe doctrine has shaped America's foreign policy and kept America, for the most part, out of two World Wars.



Stockholm from My Perspective

Fountain Drinks

turku u2
TURKU, Finland -- At Turku University, it's never too early for a drink.

Papa's Struggle

TURKU, Finland -- Hemingway's alcoholism became a franchise.

Wild Abandon

What nine months of winter could do to your psyche.

TURKU, Finland -- With an average year-round temperature of 5C/40F, Finns joke, "There are nine months of winter, and three months of waiting for summer."

Cumulus Clouds Over Hotel Cumulus

♪ And I was thinking to myself, this could be heaven or this could be hell. ♪ -- The Eagles

TURKU, Finland -- I stayed at the Artukaisten, right next to the conference venue. Hotel Cumulus is in the center of town.

Sauna by the Lake

TURKU, Finland -- After having a sauna, Finns like to jump into a lake or roll in the snow to cool off. Usually they return to the sauna for a while. Finland has 5.1 million people, 1.7 million saunas, and 188,000 lakes.


A boat load of wisdom

TURKU, Finland -- Prajna Paramita is Sanskrit for "reaching the shore of wisdom." The ancient text states, "Matters are formless, neither created nor destroyed, neither impure nor pure, neither increasing nor decreasing." Which I find somewhat analogous to to the First Law of Thermodynamics: energy is convertible into other forms, but is neither created nor destroyed, its totality stays conserved and constant. Note that matter and energy are different in classical physics, but are equivalent in view of Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity. Also note that unlike the Theravadin canon, Mahayana treatises are less literal and more open to interpretations. I understand dharma in this context as "the core of matters" or "the essence of entities." Other translations of dharma include entity, element, form, phenomenon, character, constituent factor, etc. It is not to be confused with Dharma ("the Teaching", "the Way", "the Truth", "the Life"). For Hindus, Dharma means "the Law."

Glowing Fibonacci (for A.P.)

TURKU, Finland -- Perhaps a more interesting Fibonacci series would start with 0 (ex nihilo creation) or negative numbers (anti-Fibonacci sequence). When in Turku, take a cruise aboard the steam ship Ukkopekka to Naantali. On the annual Sleepyhead Day, the laziest person is carried off their bed and thrown into the sea. In 2004, the husband of the Finnish President received the treatment.

Night on the Aurajoki


Turku Afternoon

Five i's in "Antique"?

TURKU, Finland -- I wouldn't want to be in any speling bee contest.

A Walk in the Clouds


Magritte Sky


Flying Elephant


Magritte Sky II


Turku Castle

Escher-style Staircase -- or not

Turku Castle

Port O' Call


Ladies, would you like a ride in my Lada?


The Lada. My Other Car is a Yugo.

TURKU, Finland -- Russian-made Ladas are not too reliable, but are affordable and rugged enough for Finnish winters.

Life Saver

TURKU, Finland -- Scenery on the Aura river reflects in a glass case holding an emergency lifesaver. The architecture of the 700 year old cathedral reflects what Finns value.

Atlas Holding Up the Heavens


Crossing the Aura

TURKU, Finland -- The ferry, painted in complemetary colors, gives free rides across the Aura.

Whale's Tail

AURA RIVER, Turku -- A whale's tale: the real name of the river is Styx, for Turku is culturally dead.
For many Americans, Mother Europe embodies culture and the arts, but in this former capital city, there are attempts at art but no actual works of art. If the city's sculptors and painters--the supposedly creative class--can not produce art, and the intelligentsia at Turku University can embrace a Soviet-style statue and Homedepot-esque fountains, when shall Turku rise again?

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