22 September 2016

BBC article ~ Six year old offers a place in his family to Syrian boy

This is a touching story I read on the BBC.  The humanity, compassion and the empathy of six year old Alex from New York should be a fine example to us all.  Alex must have seen the shocking image on the television of five year old Omran Daqneesh who had a head wound, a bloodied face and was covered from head to toe in dust.  Omran had been rescued and put inside an ambulance whilst the paramedic went to attend to more casualties.  Apparently Alex wrote to President Obama saying he would like to offer Omran a place in his home and a chance to be a part of his family.  Alex's parents should be proud of him and should be congratulated.  They have obviously instilled in Alex from a young age to care about other people regardless of their nationality and religion.  As Mr Obama said, "the letter was from a child who hasn't learned to be cynical, or suspicious, or fearful of other people because of where they're from."

13 September 2016

Media vita in morte sumus ~ In the midst of life we are in death

One of my cousin's passed away late on Sunday night and he was buried today.  Unfortunately I could not attend his funeral but I was there in spirit.  I had last seen him two and a half year's ago at my father's funeral.  He had looked so well then and in good health.  Who would have thought that he would be leaving us so soon?  
May he rest in peace.

Whenever there is a death, I find solace in the Latin saying, Media vita in morte sumus ~ In the midst of life we are in death.  It reminds us that death is never far away and we need to be mindful of this fact and acknowledge our own mortality whilst at the same time doing our very best to lead a meaningful life.  

12 September 2016

Photograph showing the larval stage of the Red Palm Weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus)

The larval stage of the Red Palm Weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus) can be seen on the lawn

The photograph above was taken in Haifa, Israel.  Evidence of the the larval stage of the Red Palm Weevil  (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus) can be seen scattered on the lawn and within the dark rotted areas at the base of the palm fronds.  Unfortunately, this particular palm had succumbed to the infestation and had died.  The life cycle of the Red Palm Weevil consists of eggs, larval stage, pupa stage followed by metamorphosis and turning into adult insects.

I first wrote about the Red Palm Weevil back in October 2013 here is a link to that initial blog post  In my blog post dating from October 2013, I had contacted scientists carrying out research at University of California, Riverside, Center for Invasive Species Research (CISR).  Three authors were responsible for this research and I managed to obtain permission from one of the authors namely, Dr Mark S. Hoddle, Director of Center for Invasive Species Research, Extension Specialist, Department of Entomology to include their research in my blog.

The Red Palm Weevil is spreading across the world at an alarming rate destroying not only the urban and rural landscape but also wrecking livelihoods dependent on harvesting the fruits of the date palm Phoenix dactylifera. To my knowledge the Red Palm Weevil also attacks Phoenix canariensis.  According to Wikipedia, "the native range of the Red Palm Weevil is considered to include Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam; it has now been reported and confirmed from Albania, Algeria, Aruba, Bahrain, Croatia, Curaçao, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Libya, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Oman, Portugal (incl. Madeira), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Spain, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and United States. Records from Australia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu have not been confirmed and are likely to be specimens of Rhynchophorus bilineatus, a closely related species indigenous to the region".

The link below is of an excellent scientific article entitled, "Red Palm Weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus Olivier, 1790): Threat of Palms"  which I found on the internet and may be of interest to people wishing to find out more about this insect devastating the palm populations around the world.

11 September 2016

Sommer Contemporary Art

A quietly elegant villa steeped in history near the Neve Tzedek end of Rothschild Boulevard is home to Sommer Contemporary Art.  The gallery was founded in 1999 by Irit Fine Sommer and moved to its current premises in 2005.  On the day we visited there were two simultaneous exhibitions on show one entitled, "Center of Gravity by Lihi Turjeman" and the other entitled, "Corrugated Works by Michael Argov."  The works of both artists will be on show from 8 September 2016 until 22 October 2016.  

There was also a library as you came in through the door on the right hand side.  It was interesting to note that the various tomes and scholarly books on art and architecture were displayed according to the colour of the detachable outer cover/dust jacket of the book.  
The shelves displaying the books created a rainbow effect and contributed to the eclectic mix of art works on show. 
The main entrance to the gallery

Sommer Contemporary Art is located at 13, Rothschild Boulevard, 
Tel Aviv 6688116, Israel

4 September 2016

BBC article ~ How much of your body is your own?

This rather ambiguous headline caught my eye on the BBC website today.  I thought what on earth do they mean? Surely all of our body is our own?  In order to start exploring the making of you, you need to enter some data such as your date of birth, sex, height and weight then clicking go reveals the most extraordinary information about yourself that you will have ever come across.  I suggest that you have a go then you will know what I mean.  

1 September 2016

In full view ~ essays by ~ Lily Brett

 My mother-in-law Dorothy first introduced me to the author Lily Brett and lent me this book.  Although I have read a few of Lily Brett's books, this is the book which I keep on returning to every couple of years to re-read.  It amuses me that Dorothy and I can still talk about this book effusively and with such enthusiasm.  Lily Brett's essays are autobiographical and heartfelt with much depth, warmth, tenderness and humour.  

Here is an extract from her book: “The day my husband called me to say he wanted to marry me, I had 16 frozen pheasants floating in the bath. I was trying to defrost them … I had 32 people coming to dinner … ‘I love you’, he said. ‘I want to marry you’. I stopped talking about the pheasants. The pheasants were not my biggest problem. I had a more pressing problem.”

30 August 2016

Bourekas ~ Hebrew: בורקס

In Israel, bourekas (Hebrew: בורקס) became popular as immigrants who settled there cooked the cuisine of their native countries. Bourekas can be found made from either filo dough or puff pastry filled with various fillings. Among the most popular fillings are salty cheese, mashed potato, mushrooms, chickpeas, olives, spinach, eggplant/aubergine and pizza flavour.  Most bourekas in Israel are made with margarine-based dough rather than butter-based dough so that (at least the non-cheese filled varieties) can be eaten along with either milk meals or meat meals in accordance with the kosher prohibition against mixing milk and meat at the same meal. 

Israeli bourekas come in several shapes and are often sprinkled with seeds. The shapes and choice of seeds are usually indicative of their fillings and have become fairly standard among small bakeries and large factories alike.  For example, salty cheese Bulgarian cheese-filled as well as Tzfat cheese (from the city of Safed) with Za'atar-filled bourekas are usually somewhat flat triangles with white sesame seeds on top.  Less salty cheese-filled are semi-circular and usually made with puff pastry. Potato-filled are sesame topped, flat squares or rectangles made with filo and tend to be less oily than most other versions. Mushroom-filled are bulging triangles with poppy seeds. Tuna-filled are bulging triangles with Nigella seeds. Eggplant/aubergine-filled are cylindrical with Nigella seeds. Bean sprout-filled are cylindrical without seeds. Spinach-filled are either cylindrical with sesame seeds or made with a very delicate, oily filo dough shaped into round spirals. Bourekas with a pizza sauce are often round spirals rising toward the middle or sometimes cylindrical without seeds, differentiated from the bean sprout-filled cylinders without seeds by the red sauce oozing out the ends.  Bourekas can also be found with mashed chickpeas, tuna and chickpea mix, pumpkin and even small cocktail sized frankfurters. Another variation filled with meat (beef, chicken or lamb), pine nuts, parsley and spices are eaten mainly as a main dish but sometimes as a starter/meze. 

Bourekas come in small, "snack" size, often available in self-service bakeries, and sizes as large as four or five inches. The larger ones can serve as a snack or a meal, and can be sliced open, and stuffed with hard-boiled egg, pickles, tomatoes and skhug, a spicy Yemenite paste. Supermarkets stock a wide selection of frozen raw-dough bourekas ready for home baking. Bakeries and street vendors dealing exclusively in bourekas can be found in most Israeli cities.

 Meat bourekas are made from lamb, beef or chicken mixed with onion, parsley, coriander, or mint, pine nuts and spices.
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