Posted in Agnosticism, Art, Atheism, Blasphemy, Everyday life, Family, Human Rights, Humor, Morality, Movies, Music, Neuroscience, Politics, Religion, Science, The Conscious Disbeliever

Neil deGrasse Tyson on Moyers and Company

Caught the first of three parts over at the Why Is Evolution True blog. I enjoyed this series of interviews very much, so I decided to post all three.

Cannot wait for the new Cosmos to air!

Oh! And if you care to watch, this is the link for live streaming of today’s Bill Nye vs Ken Ham Debate, it starts at 7 PM ET (1 AM CET). Go Science Guy!

See you next time.

Posted in Agnosticism, Art, Atheism, Blasphemy, Coffee, Everyday life, Family, Human Rights, Humor, Morality, Movies, Music, Politics, Religion, The Conscious Disbeliever

Thanks and Seasons Greetings

To all of  you who allow my soliloquies to sometimes turn into monologues and in even rarer occasions permit them to become conversations, my most heartfelt thanks. Thank you for sharing your most precious resource with my rants; time. I hope that in some way you have shared my feelings and enjoyed some of the ideas expressed in my posts.

Fleeting Beauty

We are at that time of year when many people across the globe get time off to celebrate a diversity of different holidays. Preparations are made for travel to get to a friend’s or relative’s home to share in this special time or sometimes just to get things ready to do this at one’s home.

Whether you celebrated Hanukkah or are getting ready to celebrate Christmas, Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, Winter Solstice, Festivus, HumanLight or nothing at all, I wish you all the best.

And may we all put some Hygge into our life, as is a custom of the Danes.

In essence, hygge means creating a nice, warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people around you. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Friends and family – that’s hygge too. And let’s not forget the eating and drinking – preferably sitting around the table for hours on end discussing the big and small things in life.

 http://www.visitdenmark.com/denmark/culture/art-danish-hygge

Hygge
Hygge (Photo credit: dlebech)
Posted in Agnosticism, Art, Atheism, Blasphemy, Coffee, Everyday life, Family, Human Rights, Humor, Morality, Movies, Music, Religion, The Conscious Disbeliever

Monty Python Live Reunion ;)

Group shot of the Monty Python crew in 1969
Group shot of the Monty Python crew in 1969 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For all you Monty Python fans out there, the famous troupe has announced a live reunion show, scheduled for  July the 1st 2014. So cheer up.

Meanwhile, enjoy a few Python scenes and songs.

This last sketch has a special place in my heart. I wonder why?

Here is a clip of the press conference for the Monty Python Live Reunion.

Sadly  I don’t think I can be in London to see them.

See you next time.

Posted in Art, Coffee, Everyday life, The Conscious Disbeliever

Why we drink bad coffee – I am talking to you Starbucks

I am a customer of Starbucks, but I  never touch their coffee, not even with a ten foot pole. I like some of their sandwiches and a few of the cold drinks served there. I gave them the benefit of the doubt and tried  many of their coffees, but for the life of me, I cannot like the taste. Even though they say that the coffee is arabica, many times I have encountered a rubbery taste typical of blends that have robusta and the lack of body is appalling.

coffee: we suck at it so badly [53/365]
coffee: we suck at it so badly [53/365] (Photo credit: Terence S. Jones)
Coffee is not just a drink, it is a multi-sensory experience. The very first thing that strikes me is the aroma, more so when I grind my coffee beans. Then comes the sight of that black elixir and the anticipation of taking that very first sip and the explosion of taste, as well as that warm comforting sensation it provides as your drink it. But not just that, coffee also revolves around conversation and ambiance. It is not the same to have your coffee on the run in a disposable cup than to drink it in an agreeable environment.

Starbucks provides a nice place to sit down and enjoy your coffee – oh if only it was good – comfortable, with music, free wi-fi and as in most coffeehouses a sense of community if you want it.

The business model is great and has been picked up by many other coffee shops, some even serve very good coffee.

Maybe as consumers we follow the so called “Principle of least effort” and are more than willing to sacrifice quality to obtain convenience.

And possibly another is some good neuromarketing. It could be our  (well not mine, but…) brain remembers the pleasant experience and favors it over the taste.

As social animales we crave a sense of community and this kind of shop offers it to a limited degree.

Some of the people who are part of the coffee house community are young and probably were never exposed to a traditional coffee shop. I had the joy of living next to a small coffee roaster, so every Saturday I would wake to the exquisite smell of freshly roasted coffee (one of the chimneys was just next to my window) and of course run next door for my fresh cup of Joe.  I guess that if they get them while they are young, they won’t know better.

Well, as taste is so individual and subjective, maybe I am only being a coffee snob, or as some say “being more papist than the Pope”, but I just can’t help it.

What is your take on this?

See you next time.

Posted in Art, Coffee, Everyday life, Family, The Conscious Disbeliever

Kopi Luwak

Today I had my first cup of Kopi Luwak ever. This is an exotic variety of coffee, and as I am always open to try exotic flavors, I gave it a go.

English: Piti luwak.
English: Piti luwak. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Due to price and availability, I do not think that it will become my daily fare.

The aroma of the coffee was sweet, with a touch of fruit.

The first impression upon tasting this coffee was one of high acidity, maybe even sourness. Maybe I was not expecting what was in my cup.  On my second sip came different sensations. This coffee was complex, with only a very little of bitterness that was overpowered by a sweet, nutty and fruity drink with a very good body to it. A small hint of wood with a good aftertaste that lasted for more than my  walk back home.

2013-03-10 14.13.04

Thirty minutes after I finished my coffee, I still have a pleasant aftertaste on the tip and sides of my tongue. A subtle sweetness if you will.

For me is tastes better than Jamaica Blue Mountain, that in my humble opinion is a coffee with little body and character that does not live up to expectations. And both coffees are really more hype than anything else.

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The Kopi Luwak I tasted was a good coffee, but not a great coffee, and certainly not worthy of becoming my daily drink or yours. And it does not justify the price tag.

I assure you it will not replace my daily Illy or my ordinary cup of plain coffee made with some Mexican, Costa Rican or Colombian coffee.

See you next time.

Posted in Art, Coffee, Everyday life, The Conscious Disbeliever

Not all work and no play – some fun on the side

Recently I had a chance to visit Spain on work related issues, enjoying the wine and the cuisine on the side.

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A view of one of the cellars at the Arzuaga Bodega near Valladolid, Spain.
http://www.hotelarzuaga.com/en/winery

My hosts in Valladolid were absolutely magnificent and made me feel quite at home. Their knowledge of the local wine and food was most helpful.

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Mercado de San Miguel. Madrid, Spain.

In Madrid I got to see all the usual places, but had a very good time eating at the Mercado de San Miguel. It is a very interesting place to visit, the food is excellent as well as the selection of wines and deserts. The coffee is very good.

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A great variety of olives at one of the stands in El Mercado de San Miguel

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You walk around picking whatever tickles your fancy and then head towards tables at the center of the market place to enjoy your little gastronomic treasures.

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The first steps exploring El Mercado de San Miguel

Even though the food and the company were superb, what I most enjoyed was my visit to the Museo Nacional del Prado. What a great place to visit. Goya, Velazquez, Van Dyck, Martin Rico among many more.

English: Prado Museum, in Madrid (Spain). Espa...
English: Prado Museum, in Madrid (Spain). Español: Museo del Prado, en Madrid (España). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The museums signature painting is  “Las Meninas” by Diego Velazquez. You can admire it for hours on end.

Diego Velázquez - Las Meninas (detail) - WGA24449
Diego Velázquez – Las Meninas (detail) – WGA24449 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But I fell in love with the museums only Rembrandt : “Judit en el banquete de Holofernes” also known as Artemisia. I was captivated by the technique, the magnificent use of light and shadow. So much that I decided to have a digital print on canvas made at the museum shop in order to enjoy this image at home.

Judit en el banquete de Holofernes

While I waited for my print I relaxed with a nice cup of coffee, well deserved after walking around viewing the vast amount of paintings this museum has in exhibition.

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Licencia de Creative Commons
Coffee Break by Gerardo F Zambito Brondo is licensed under a Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-SinObraDerivada 3.0 Unported License.

So if you have a chance to go to Madrid, don’t miss the opportunity to view all the wonders the Museo Nacional del Prado has to offer.

See you next time.

Posted in Agnosticism, Art, Atheism, Blasphemy, Coffee, Everyday life

Happy Winter Solstice – Merry Christmas – or whatever

La maison en pain d'épices
Image by Kermitfrog Joyeux Noël 🙂 via Flickr

To everybody out there and with special affection to my few and cherished readers, I would like to wish you all a very Happy Winter Solstice and Merry Christmas or whatever festivity you celebrate this season.

The time of year to take a bit of time to enjoy the company of friends and loved ones.

Enjoy the season!

See you next time.

Posted in Agnosticism, Art, Atheism, Blasphemy, Everyday life, Family, Human Rights, Morality, Politics, Religion, The Conscious Disbeliever

Too Young To Wed — the exhibition — begins in New York this week

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and VII Photo Agency are hosting an exhibition called “Too Young to Wed” at the Visitors’ Lobby at the United Nations. This in celebration of  the first inaugural International Day of the Girl Child on October 11, 2012. So if you are in New York City from October 11 through November 29, 2012 don’t skip this exhibition that will feature photography by Stephanie Sinclair and video by Jessica Dimmock.

Let’s put an end to this barbaric custom.

Too Young To Wed — the exhibition — begins in New York next week.

Posted in Art, Coffee, Everyday life, Neuroscience, Science, The Conscious Disbeliever

Caffeine crystals

B0008352 Caffeine crystals

Here is an image of an important part of everyday life, seen in a different light.

This picture by Annie Cavanagh and David McCarthy is impressive, and the post-processing gives life to the otherwise monochrome crystal.

Posted in Art, Coffee, Everyday life, Music

The Rolling Stones | 50 Years of Rock n Roll

ROLLING STONES 50th, I
ROLLING STONES 50th, I (Photo credit: Newtown grafitti)

The Rolling Stones | 50 Years of Rock n Roll.

Well just in case you did not know it, the Greatest Rock Band of all times (in my humble opinion) has achieved 50 years of Rock & Roll. Happy Birthday to The Rolling Stones!

I guess you can say the were right on that affirmation!!

So breakout the bubbly, crank up the volume and lets Rip this Joint!!

See you next time.

Posted in Agnosticism, Art, Atheism, Blasphemy, Coffee, Everyday life, Humor, Movies, Religion, Science, The Conscious Disbeliever

Yo, fucknuts! It’s probing time.

Just saw Paul the 2011 movie… Yeah, yeah, I know it’s yesterdays news, but I laughed my head off watching this and if you have not seen it, well…give it a shot.

Paul (film)
Paul (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Paul is not your run of the mill alien, he is outspoken, rude, knows a cuss word or two and has a good grasp on evolution.

Get ready for a different kind of Close Encounter.

I bet you have heard this line  before…

I know it’s no Oscar material, but I enjoyed the whole 104 minutes of irreverent humor.

See you next time.

Posted in Agnosticism, Art, Atheism, Everyday life, Morality, Religion, Science, The Conscious Disbeliever, Uncategorized

HIGGS BOSON – Another reason to celebrate the 4th of July!

An example of simulated data modelled for the ...
An example of simulated data modelled for the CMS particle detector on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. Here, following a collision of two protons, a is produced which decays into two jets of hadrons and two electrons. The lines represent the possible paths of particles produced by the proton-proton collision in the detector while the energy these particles deposit is shown in blue. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Higgs boson: it’s unofficial! Cern scientists discover missing particle

Looks like we may have another reason to celebrate this 4th of July!!

Posted in Agnosticism, Art, Atheism, Everyday life, Morality, Religion, Science, The Conscious Disbeliever, Uncategorized

Books That Shaped America – National Book Festival (Library of Congress)

Great Hall, Library of Congress, Washington DC
Great Hall, Library of Congress, Washington DC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Books That Shaped America – National Book Festival (Library of Congress).

A collection of books by Americans that have shaped the country. This list, as most lists of its kind will surely strike up controversy.

Did you notice that religious books a mainly absent from this list?

Happy 4th of July!!

A Fourth of July fireworks display at the Wash...
A Fourth of July fireworks display at the Washington Monument. Location: WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (DC) UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (USA) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Posted in Agnosticism, Art, Atheism, Everyday life, Morality, Religion, The Conscious Disbeliever

Diego Rivera: a thought on atheism

I found this quote on the Humanismo Secular Facebook site. Below is the translation.

Mr. Osio asked me to erase the phrase, but I could not please him because the history of Mexico was at stake. To assert “God does not exist”, I did not shield myself behind Don Ignacio Ramirez; I am an atheist and consider religions as a form of collective neurosis. I am not an enemy of the Catholics, in the same way as I am not an enemy of the tuberculous, the near-sighted or the paralytic; one cannot be an enemy of the sick, only their good friend to try to cure them

Diego Rivera

Quote by Diego Rivera in response to violations suffered against his freedom of expression. Taken from an interview with Rene Tirado sources, the note “Diego Rivera proposes a ‘transaction’ to the Archbishop,” the newspaper Excelsior. Mexico, June 3, 1948.

The poster image of Diego Rivera painting out his famous mural

Sueno de una tarde dominical en la Alameda Cen...
Sueño de una tarde dominical en la Alameda Central – Center, 1947-48 (Photo credit: saturdave)

(“Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park”)

This mural and other works can be found at the Museo Mural Diego Rivera in Mexico City.

See you next time.