Friday, October 30, 2020

My Top 21 Favorite Cemeteries


Anyone that knows me knows that I love cemeteries. When I travel somewhere, a cemetery will often be included as part of my destination. Cemeteries are a place of beauty, a place of history, a place of tranquility, a place of solemnity, a place of rest, a place of mystery, a place of contemplation, a place filled with the stories of those who have passed on before us. I have visited dozens upon dozens of cemeteries, and below I will list my favorite twenty-one that I have personally visited and spent time in, and I hope to visit many more before I am finally buried in one. I love all these cemeteries almost equally, so the listing of them was difficult and could easily be up for debate; and I left many out I would have loved to include. I encourage everyone to look them up and visit them all when they get a chance. I will provide a short one sentence summary of why I listed each cemetery below.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Without a Doubt, James Randi is Dead


A few hours ago I read in the New York Times:
"James Randi, a MacArthur award-winning magician who turned his formidable savvy to investigating claims of spoon bending, mind reading, fortunetelling, ghost whispering, water dowsing, faith healing, U.F.O. spotting and sundry varieties of bamboozlement, bunco, chicanery, flimflam, flummery, humbuggery, mountebankery, pettifoggery and out-and-out quacksalvery, as he quite often saw fit to call them, died on Tuesday at his home in Plantation, Fla. He was 92."

Friday, October 9, 2020

Four Years Ago in Paris with Saint Denis

With today being the feast day of Saint Denis the first Bishop of Paris, I was reminded of where I was four years ago this day. Being in Paris myself, I was considering whether or not I would visit the Basilica of Saint Denis on his feast day. I decided not to visit, figuring it would probably be very busy and prevent me from exploring the basilica to my satisfaction, so I put it off for the next day. The next day I took a cab from my hotel, which was right across the street from Sorbonne University in the Latin Quarter, and finally arrived at the Basilica of Saint Denis nearly an hour later, being in a northern suburb of the city.

The Basilica of Saint Denis was one of my favorite places to visit in Paris. This basilica was the first to use all the elements of gothic architecture. It is an absolutely beautiful medieval building. As you walk through this basilica, it is as if you are walking through the long history of Paris, in all its glory. Forty-two kings, 32 queens, 63 princes and princesses and 10 great men of the realm lay there, both in the crypt below and the main part of the church above. It is truly a space for the living and the dead, where the reposed sleep under a heavenly glow. Most fascinating is the imagery of Saint Denis, who is often depicted carrying his decapitated head. The basilica remains a vivid example of the beginnings of the Gothic movement and a laboratory to study the careful and brilliant transition from late Romanesque to Gothic style.