Food That Pleases

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Majestic Diner, Atlanta GA

You don’t come to this joint, or others like it, for the haute cuisine.

You might though if you’re hungry, famished even, need coffee (and lots of it), chat with a friend, or just hang out at any time of the day or night. And you can see your meal cooking on the grill in the kitchen before you get it.

The art deco neon signage in the top picture proclaims the simple pleasure of food.

The diner is described in utilitarian fashion on the internet thus: “Landmark diner serving classics including blue-plate specials & grits 24/7 since 1929”.

Heritage, check.

All day, every day, check.

Grits, check.

And not just any grits. Buttered grits. That come with your eggs.

Cheese, too, in your “de luxe burger”. All kinds, as long as its American or Swiss, and you don’t mind that the Swiss sort is probably American too. If you’re eating the burger, you don’t mind, because you’re probably starving or just not that fussy.

It’s all splendidly functional, yet the old school diner revels in its own American history and mythology, as told in film, story and song. Tom Waits’s ‘Nighthawks At The Diner’ album and Suzanne Vega’s ‘Tom’s Diner’ are memorable examples of the latter.

Everyone needs to eat, and diners are non-denominational temples to food where the sacraments are served to the faithful, good, quick and hot.

Egalitarian, in that the rich and poor, the loved and the lonely, and those of every stripe in between, get the same service and can all chow down or sip coffee in proximity to each other, without anyone really giving a flying f**k about who you are or why you are there.

Food, and a vibe, that pleases…




Tiny Temple


Pictured: one really tiny temple, on a little rock outcrop, beside a small river of running water.

Spiritual harmony in miniature.

This is an Asian-styled water feature at the entrance to my favourite Vietmamese restaurant in Otahuhu, Auckland (which ,by the way, has a killer banh mi roll…to die for!)

The little water garden is by far the prettiest thing about the place, which is a very ordinary boxlike 1960s office remade into an eatery without too much actual remaking having gone on, with kleenex for napkins.

But you come for the warm welcome and some of the best cheap eats in town, gathered with your friends or family.

Call me shallow(as a water feature river), but that is the sort of spiritual harmony that I can relate to!

Zen Gate At The Snake Temple

 Gate At The Snake Temple, Penang, Malaysia

“In Zen they say: “Don’t seek the truth. Just cease to cherish opinions”. What does that mean? Let go of identifications with your mind. Who you are beyond the mind then emerges by itself “.

– Eckhart Tolle, from ‘A New Earth’.

We love our opinions and our right to have them .

To hang on to them, defend them, fight others over theirs.

We sometimes identify with our opinions, forgetting that they are not actually us.

I think of opinions I have held strongly, then later discarded.Who I am didn’t actually change.`

Some thoughts and opinions I have are kind and beautiful; others, like the snakes who inhabit the Buddhist temple where I took this photo, are just a bit twisted and scary!


Hindu Temple

The fifth post in  a series of religious and spiritual places…

Factoid:This picture was taken in Penang on a 2012 trip to Malaysia.Stumbled upon it,not that you could have missed it.

Unbelievably ornate architecture, spectacular colours and figurines of deities and animals, in stark contrast to some of the previously posted more simple examples. Combined with the aroma of joss sticks ,this is a sensory explosion! The hands down winner in this lineup  for employment  of symbols…

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Hindu Temple, Penang, Malaysia

Masonic Temple

….#4 in a series…

Freemasonry is heavily steeped in ritual and the use of symbols, such as the compass and square ,and is shrouded in secrecy. You can only see the exterior of this cool building, not what goes on inside , if you are an outsider like me.

Factoid: Apparently the extensive use of symbols amongst Freemasons goes back to ancient times when many members were illiterate .Symbols were used as a communication tool instead of writing. I have  talked of the power of symbolism elsewhere in this blog. Love that stuff. I don’t have a whole lot of  other factoids( as I only know one avowed Freemason) but I am okay with that – why take away the mystery?

Masonic Temple, Nelson NZ

Temple And Courtyard

The third post in this series….this time the sweeping beauty of a Buddhist temple.

Factoid: I had cause to visit this place a year ago. You can light an incense stick from a candle and  make a prayer offering at the altar near the entrance. I burnt my finger in the process. Let out an undisguised and pithy expletive in the close presence of a monk. Hastily apologised. She smiled and said “That shows good self-awareness”. You have to love those who see the positive in anything….

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Buddhist Temple, East Tamaki, Auckland NZ