Saturday, December 19, 2015
Sunday, November 29, 2015
Monday, November 23, 2015
Sunday, November 1, 2015
Saturday, October 31, 2015
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Sunday, October 11, 2015
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Thursday, October 1, 2015
The song you may know as "The Snake Charmer Song" or "There's A Place In France Where The Naked Ladies Dance" (or many other names) is actually titled "The Streets of Cairo, or the Poor Little Country Maid" and made its debut at the Chicago World's Fair of 1893.
The original melody was written by World's Fair entertainment director Sol Bloom for use in an attraction called A Street in Cairo. (Bloom did not copyright the music; later songwriter James Thornton would added lyrics to the tune.)
But as popular and ubiquitous as the song would become, it was the accompanying dancing (introduced as "The Algerian Dancers of Morocco") that gained the most notoriety.
Among the performers was a Syrian woman named "Little Egypt" (Fahreda Mazar Spyropoulos) whose uncorseted torso articulating moves shocked the Victorian sensibilities of the day. In short order, her pseudonym would become synonymous for "belly dancer."
In addition to "belly dancing," people also referred to her act as "the shimmy and shake" and "the hoochy-coochy." It is said that her performance for Mark Twain at the Fair caused the great American humorist to suffer a heart attack.
Fahreda Mazar Spyropoulos was arrested by New York City police three years after the Fair. Newspaper reports claimed Little Egypt was dancing the the hoochy-coochy while in the nude at a stag party thrown by the grandson of circus legend P.T. Barnum.
Sol Bloom would later serve 14 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Saturday, September 5, 2015
Friday, September 4, 2015
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
|Next stop on the Vietnam tour was the beach city of Hoi An. Whoever art directed this place is a genius.|
|At one point it occurred to me: "I'm usually on the other side of this ocean." Could you see me waving?|
|For reasons I am still unclear on, Vietnamese beach trash receptacles are shaped like penguins. Eat my garbage, Happy Feet!|
|On a scooter tour of the countryside, we got to see a woman who makes zillions of rice crackers in her home.|
|She dries them out on the porch like laundry.|
|For now: lovable pets. Later on: Bún Thịt Nướng.|
|I can't remember if this was tea or something stronger... like snake wine. Or gasoline.|
|The tour guide was delighted when I told him that I had a scooter in college, and encouraged me to take the wheel for awhile.|
|Considering the hyper aggressiveness of Vietnamese motorists, the caption of this photo easily could have been "Died trying to drive a Vespa in Vietnam."|
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
I ate some great and weird food in Saigon.
|This soup tasted good but had the viscosity of snot.|
|The stuff in this iced beverage are lotus seeds. They taste like potatoes, and in the 100-degree heat of Vietnam, this drink does not quench your thirst in any way.|
|My Vietnamese food tour guide Ngoc got me to eat goat, frog and the final dinner item: duck embryo. In case you're wondering, duck embryo tastes a lot like chicken embryo.|
|This is the reaction of an Australian tourist at the moment I ate the duck embryo.|
|This coconut vendor encouraged me to try carrying his product. Then, not quite understanding the dollar-to-dong exchange rate, I set a Vietnamese record for the purchase price of a coconut.|
Sunday, August 2, 2015
Saturday, August 1, 2015
|In preparation for the 90+ degree heat and 90% humidity, I decided it would be a good idea to shave my head. And when you feel good, you look good. Right? |
|Took the sleek new head out for a spin on the Saigon River.|
|Testing out one of the Cu Chi Tunnels, Viet Cong's base of operations for the Tet Offensive.|
|After crawling underground in the sweltering heat all day, nothing hits the spot like a cup of hot tea.|