Ancient word of the day: Thalassophile

Ancient word of the day: Thalassophile

A thalassophile is a lover of the sea or someone who is powerfully drawn to and by the ocean. This ancient word comes from the Ancient Greek θάλασσα (thálassa, “sea”), and φίλος (phílos, “dear, beloved”). I took this photo on Enoshima Island in Kanagawa prefecture, Japan back in early October last year. As the sun…

Book Review: The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene

Book Review: The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene

Robert Greene has written best-selling books on seduction, power, war, self-mastery and now knowledge. Although the sum and total of his output of books gives the wrong impression about the man. He’s not an evil and Machiavellian type jockeying for power – rather his books are about understanding the lesser-known shadowy parts of ourselves to…

Travel: Eileann Donan Castle, Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland. Copyright Content Catnip 2010

Travel: A visit to Eileann Donan Castle

Eileann Donan Castle is near the Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland. I went there once in winter and once at the end of autumn. This place is steeped in ancient mystery, wonder and a sense of the densely lived past. When peering over the loch and the pristine quiet wilderness, you are peering into the deep…

Bas-relief depicting a banquet in the palace of Assyrian king Ashurbanipal

Cooking 4,000 year old Babylonian recipes, how do they taste?

This is one for all the history nerds out and anybody who likes cooking and eating, which probably means you. When you try to recreate an ancient recipe, you may end up with a stinking cesspool of inedible muck or a culinary wonder. Two very famous US universities Harvard and Yale collaborated together to cook…

Explore the cosiest bothies in the Scottish highlands

Explore the cosiest bothies in the Scottish highlands

The Lookout Bothy, Rubha Hunish in Trotternish on the Isle of Skye.   There's something uniquely Scottish about bothys.  These tiny mountain shacks are normally found in remote parts of the Scottish highlands and islands. They can be found in all kinds of conditions - some with running water and a fireplace and even electricity! Other's…

An Exquisite Model Book of Calligraphy, 1560

An Exquisite Model Book of Calligraphy, 1560

Have a look at the exquisite pages in Mira calligraphiae monumenta or the Model Book of Calligraphy, which was crafted by Croatian-born mastercraftsman Georg Bocskay, and Flemish artist Joris Hoefnagel. This is a real work of art and shows beautiful attention to detail with the gold leaf writing and sublime illustrations of flowers, insects and…

Wild woman quote: Strength

Clarissa Pinkola Estes is a Jungian analyst and a Doctor of Ethno-clinical psychology. Her book Women Who Run with the Wolves is a dense and fascinating foray into the myths and wonders of oral storytelling throughout history. It's a book that makes you more playful, affectionate, joyful and more authentically joyful in every way. Pinkola-Estes…

Book Review: The Romanovs by Simon Sebag Montefiore

Book Review: The Romanovs by Simon Sebag Montefiore

"It was hard to be a tsar. Russia is not an easy country to rule. Twenty sovereigns of the Romanov dynasty reigned for 304 years, from 1613 until tsardom's destruction. by the revolution in 1917" The Romanovs were actually the most spectacularly successful empire builders since the Mongols" , So begins an epic 300 year…

Travel: Weird subway ads in Japan

Travel: Weird subway ads in Japan

On a recent trip to Japan I took mountains of footage.  Advertising is totally out of this world and so I created this homage to Japanese ads, on trains, JR stations, the streets and so on. I created these gifs with colour distortion to properly convey the feelings you have in situ. Initially,  after a…

Blue Dye in Chefchaoen Copyright © Content Catnip 2009 www.contentcatnip.co

Every Picture Tells A Story: Chefchaoen, the blue-walled city

In 2009 I went to Morocco and the blue-walled city of Chefchaoen. This was probably one of the most unexpectedly photogenic and beautiful places I have ever seen. A beautiful and hot oasis that arises out of the African desert like an exotic flower. Unlike the bigger cities in Morocco, Chefchaouen had a quiet market…

Dni Głogowa

Every Picture Tells a Story: Dni Głogowa

One day while walking along the lovely Odra river in Głogow on a hot and sunny day, I came upon the Museum of Archaeology and History in Głogow. Teenagers were reenacting some kind of WWII scene. This was done in conjunction with a yearly festival they have in the town called Dni Głogowa or Days…

Moondog: The enigmatic jazz wizard of post-war NYC

Moondog: The enigmatic jazz wizard of post-war NYC

I came across Moon dog on one of those long and meandering trips through obscure music on YouTube. He was a true innovator and an avante-garde enigma. For one he looked like Gandalf or Hagrid. Aside from that he invented several new muscial instruments including a small triangular instrument he called the Ooo and another…

Film Review: The Distant Barking of Dogs

Film Review: The Distant Barking of Dogs

Another film that featured at the New Zealand International Film Festival was The Distant Barking of Dogs. It’s the story of a young boy and his family who live on the Ukrainian and Russian border, on a slice of disputed land that is being fought over tooth and nail, for years. The people in this…

Film Review: Cold War 2018

Paweł Pawlikowski directed and wrote this love story that’s set in the 1960’s. This film is unlike any other Polish film I’ve ever seen and I mean that as a compliment. That’s because it has more in common with one of these cool French New Wave films of the 1960’s – Bande A Parte or…

Book Review: The Tender Bar by JR Moeringer

Book Review: The Tender Bar by JR Moehringer

Full disclosure, I find all of my books second hand in a charity shop which is particularly full of a lot of good quality books that are at least decade old. Thus I came upon this little gem which was published in 2005. A NYT bestseller (a stamp of approval I think actually bears to…

Reave A long and low boundary wall or bank, found especially on Dartmoor and in Devon, mostly now sunk back into the landscape. Also, as a verb, to tear, split, divide or cleave. Rof/rifa An Icelandic word meaning to rip or tear something. Rof á landi refers to the rupture of the top soils of…

A view along the Kamo River, Kyoto

Travel: Cycling adventures along the Kamo river, Kyoto

Cycling alongside calming bodies of water is one thing in life that I adore. In the past I've cycled along the Odra in Wroclaw, Poland, Tamaki Drive in Auckland and along the Water of Leith in Edinburgh, along with many other places. However the Kamo River in Kyoto tops them all. The Kamo river has a flat…

Koi fish vying for food in Kyoto by Content Catnip

Four weird unexpected things to love about Japan

Last week I came back from a three week holiday in Japan. And so here are four weird and off-the-wall unexpected surprises about Japan that you most likely don't know about yet. 1. Requiem for a washlet Washlets are one of the unexpected delights of going to Japan. The Japanese washlet is a technological marvel…

Medieval Icelandic Sagas: Tales of Blood Feuds, Dangerous Women and Warriors http://wp.me/p41CQf-Iu9

Beltane of the Southern Hemisphere

Today, in the Pagan calendar, the north celebrate the coming of winter at Samhainn. And all the while the sun is peaking up from behind the lush vernal trees and dancing for us once more in the southern hemisphere, as we welcome Beltane on October 31st. Or as I like to refer to it Beltane…