Liver Reading for Dummies

Just when you thought it was safe to visit a museum, the Getty Villa in Malibu, California turned a bunch of Haruspices loose on an unsuspecting public.  A Haruspex, in case your mind has temporarily gone blank, is a person trained to divine the will of the gods in entrails — particularly sheep entrails.  In other words, a Haruspex is a liver reader.  (Kongo knows you knew that, right?)  Indeed, the word haruspex is a combination of two pretty old words:  haru, which means entrails and spec, which means to observe or to look at.  (spectacles — get it?)  You should remember these terms…

Monkey Docent

For the past few months the monkey has been pretty busy and hasn’t posted much on his blog.  It’s not that he’s a lazy monkey (well maybe a little lazy).  Instead he’s been cramming his simian head with facts and figures about ancient Rome.  He’s now a site docent at the Getty Villa in Malibu.  Yup, that’s d-o-c-e-n-t as in cultured monkey, Roman monkey, and well, scholarly monkey. Kongo has learned the ins and outs of Corinthian columns, Ionic columns, and doric columns.  He knows why acanthus leaves grace Corinthian capitals and can discourse on the nature of compluviums and…

Topanga Canyon Boulevard

There is something pretty funky north of L.A.  We’re talking about Topanga Canyon Blvd.,  an 11-mile stretch of winding canyon roads through the Santa Monica mountains between Pacific Coast Highway and the Ventura Freeway.  Flying pigs.  Indians on horseback.  Pirate girls.  Chinese soldiers. Throw in some mystic coffee shops, roadside bonsai and wind chime stands and a range of houses that go from shacks perched on the side of the hill to mansions and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what to expect.  For those of a certain age think Woodstock. Just about anything goes in Topanga.  In fact,…