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A World Within a World: Singapore’s Unusual Biodomes

I enjoyed reading this blog and wanted to share it. I have not had the opportunity to visit these biodomes yet myself, but I will definitely have them on my list when I return to Singapore next year.

K.L. Kranes

Mirror rabits flower domeIn one world, Alice ponders a giant mushroom inside an arid wonderland. Two rabbits mirror each other with claws up as if fighting their own reflections. The scent of flowers fills the air.

In the lost world next door, a skyscraper sized waterfall beats against the ground. Mystical sculptures hide within a tangle of exotic plants. The paleolithic era of giant plants and vines weaves up a mountain.

These are the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest, two separate worlds encased in a half- moons of glass on the edge of Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay. Both magical and beautiful biodomes evoke an ancient, organic sensation nestled in with fairy tale and science fiction. Upon entering each world, it is as if you’ve been transported to an experimental outpost on Mars built by people with an interesting sense of humor.

The Flower Dome

purple flower, flower domeApproximately mid-way through our trip to Singapore…

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Weirdest Place on Earth and Its Ghosts (More Singapore Travel Adventures)

I enjoyed reading this interesting article on a part of Singapore I had not heard of. I see that Haw Par Villa is closed now for repairs, but will open 3/1/19. When I return to Singapore after the Christmas Holidays in the US I will have to plan a visit to it. It only looks to be about 4 miles from where I am living.

I am glad that I could ReBlog this post.

K.L. Kranes

Tiger balm. Chinese folklore. Decaying statues. What’s not to love about Haw Par Villa in Singapore? (Maybe the ghosts?)

Warning, this blog contains what could be some disturbing pictures for younger readers. No joke. Don’t let the references to Disneyland fool you. There are no sweet, happy endings at Haw Par Villa, only moral lessons featured often in very graphic, violent stories. Oh, and there are ghosts. You’ve been warned.

Welcome to Haw Par Villa – A Little Bit Violent, A Little Bit Sexist, A LOT of Weird

There are so many ways to describe Haw Par Villa.

Imagine a type of Disneyland built by two Chinese immigrants channeling Tim Burton then abandoned 50 years ago.

If you prefer architecture or art, I could describe it as reminiscent of Antoni Gaudí and Salvador Dalí with a touch of Stephen King.

Haw Par Villa cave.jpg

However I choose to mentally draw that picture, the bottom line is that…

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Thanksgiving – Then and Now

WWII – I thought that GP Cox gave another good snapshot of what Thanksgiving was like for servicemen during WWII and wanted to share it.

No matter what the timeframe, our service men and women must sacrifice time with their families to defend us. Thanking them should be part of our Thanksgiving as well.

Pacific Paratrooper

WWII vs Afghanistan

THEN – WWII

Stanley Collins, US Navy: “I was on submarine duty in the Pacific in the year 1943. We were in the area off the cost of the Philippines. I remember having a complete turkey dinner on Thanksgiving. While the turkeys were cooking, the submarine took a dive. We went down too steeply and the turkeys fell out of the oven onto the deck. The cook picked them up and put them back into the oven — and we ate them, regardless of what may have gotten on them as a result of their fall. That meal was so good!”

Ervin Schroeder, 77th Infantry Division, 3rd Battalion, I Company, US Army: “On Thanksgiving Day, we made our landing on Leyte Island in the Philippines very early in the morning. We therefore missed our dinner aboard ship. Somewhere down the beach from where we landed, the Navy…

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The Slow Reader Conundrum in the Digital Age

Reading – I think that this article brings up some good points. I have to admit that I find myself reading quickly through most books, though I don’t know that it is necessarily tied to the fact that I am reading eBooks.

I slow down when I am reading something that I either really enjoy, or which has a lot of detail that I am trying to absorb. The detailed reading is mostly technical Web articles. The novels I enjoy varies, but mostly they are really good SciFi Space Opera, a really good mystery or an exciting thriller.

How do you read?

K.L. Kranes

The beanbag chair crunched as I settled down inside it. Next to me, three girls lounged across each other, limbs swinging with the youthful ignorance of personal space.Woodson Candy purple striped walls shot up from the National Book Festival stage above us.

Beneath a picture of fluttering books, Jacqueline Woodson was speaking about when she was about the age of the three girls. She loved reading and learning. But when she was a child, her teachers thought she wasn’t very smart. Why? Because she read slowly.

Turns out, slow is smart. Woodson, a multi-award-winning poet and writer, attributes much of her success in work and life to her slow reading habit. Her words surprise me, mostly because I’ve never thought much about how I read. I read. I love books. Why does it matter if I read them slow or fast?

The two towers of books next to my bed…

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150 of the Most Beautiful Libraries in the World

Books – With National Book Lover’s Day coming up on August 9th, I think that this is a great list of libraries we will want to visit. When I travel I try to visit interesting libraries and post on my blog about them as well. This is a wonderful compilation and now gives me even more places to put on my visitation list.

The Critiquing Chemist

1024px-Suzzallo_Library_reading_room
(Suzzallo Library; Seattle Washington; Photo by Priyaranjan Pattnayak)


I’m beyond thankful that the Critiquing Chemist has celebrated two very exciting milestones in one week! Last week was my blogging anniversary, where I observed having been posting for over three years. I celebrated in true analytical fashion with a compilation of statistics, including a variety of pie charts.  This week I reached a milestone that The Science Geek has been predicting I would eventually reach all along! The Critiquing Chemist broke 4000 followers! Reflecting back on my beginnings as a blogger, I’m blown away and immensely grateful with the attention and support my blog has received over these fast flying years! Thank you everyone for your wonderful encouragement, as your interactions have made my day on a routine basis. As I started to near the 4000 follower mark, I started brainstorming as to an appropriate post to highlight…

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Top U.S. Coffee Houses 

Coffee – This is a day late to celebrate National Coffee Day. but knowing about highly recommended coffee houses is always a good thing. I save lists like this for when I am planning a trip.

Cafe Book Bean

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To celebrate national coffee day here are some of the best coffee houses across our nation.

Coffee culture is booming and with it more high quality coffee houses are opening.Each have there own style, coffee blends, unique menu items, and techniques.

There are many great coffee houses, however I chose to highlight a few that stand apart. These coffee houses are well known for uniqueness, quality, popularity, and dedication to the art of coffee.

Here are my top picks for Noteworthy Cafes in the U.S.:

Madcap Coffee(Grand Rapids, MI)

17160486-standardMadcap Coffee has won me over by offeringtasting flights, use of latte art, and serving espresso in snifters.Madcap-Coffee-table-of-cups

However, what really set them apart most of all wasimplementinga zero waste policy; trading trash cans for bus bins and sorting all of their trash into compost and recyclables.

Heart Coffee(Portland, OR)

original-5983-1404617574-3Coffee drinks & gourmet baked goods offered in stylish…

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Food for Thought: Where to find Bookish Restaurants

Books – I really liked some of the suggestions in this post. In particular I plan to look up the “Hobbit Cafe” when I travel to Houston this summer. I can’t think of a better combination than good food and a good book.

K.L. Kranes

I love to sit alone at a restaurant or a cafe and read a book. When I was a kid, I’d see someone doing this and feel so sorry for them I’d want to go sit with them. As an adult, if some kid did that I’d think it’s cute, but prefer to be left alone. I love a good lit lunch.

For me food and restaurants are linked to books. On our a recent trip to Williamsburg, VA, I couldn’t help but notice the abundance of literary references and motifs in the local restaurants.

Here are just a few.

Food For Thought

20170410_184846I stole the name of this blog from this restaurant, which doesn’t just center it’s theme on books but books that make you think. It had my favorite book – Atlas Shrugged front and center over the waiting room seating inside. Large letters hang from the walls…

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Tips on How to Choose a Book as a Gift: A Book Club Experience

I thought this was a good and timely article with the Holidays rapidly approaching. Many will be looking for gifts and what better gift than a good book!

K.L. Kranes

It’s Monday morning. And I’m tired for one of the best reasons! Last night was the monthly meeting of my book club, the Nightlighters. And we definitely lived up to our name, talking pretty late into the evening for a school night. (We do have one teacher in the group. But we all have to be up early in the morning for work or getting our kids off to school, etc.)

The book we read was My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry.20161203_142126 I still need to write my Good Reads review on it! (Spoiler: I liked it.) The conversation was great. But the whole time I sat there stressing about something else. As it is the holiday season, we decided to do a book exchange (white elephant style) and we were supposed to bring a book to give as part of this.

Sounds easy right? Well, not…

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Livros e de Café do Rio

If you are headed to the Olympics, you might want to spend some time in one of these destinations. No better a combination than book stores and coffee shops!

Cafe Book Bean

Christ the Redeemer, a granite monolith with cable cars to its summit,rio-de-janeiro-combo-tour-santa-teresa-corcovado-mountain-and-santa-in-rio-de-janeiro-152482 sprawling favelas, gorgeous beaches, samba, and of course the joyous Carnival! Rio is known for all of these things, but there is much more to be seen…
With today’s kick-off of the 2016 Rio Olympics, I decide to share my Book Bean inspired Rio De Janeiro Favorites.

Here is a collection of book affiliates and cafes of beautiful Rio De Janeiro:

Livraria Cultura
livraria_cultura_004
A comprehensive shop filled with knowledge and fun. The inviting atmosphere of this theater turned bookstore is full of the color and culture famous to Rio de Janeiro.

Cafecito 
cafecito-anna-fasano-santa-teresa
This artsy spot serves breakfast
& gourmet fare, with a patio
& views of historic surroundings. Perfectly positioned on a picturesque balcony overlooking Santa Teresa’s busiest street for drinking and dining.

Paulo-Coelho - Edited.jpgPaulo Coelho
A Brazilian lyricist and novelist. He is the recipient of numerous international awards, of which include the…

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Top International Cafés

More great spots to stop and have a cup of coffee on your travels.

Cafe Book Bean

coffee-house-largeI have shared with you the noteworthy coffee shops at the top of my list in the U.S.: Top U.S. Coffee Houses and now I will share those I found all over the world. Although there are far more than I could possible include, I hope justice is done.


Here are my Top picks for Noteworthy Cafés internationally:

Cielito Querido Café (Mexico City, Mexico)

A unique place rich with the warmth and flavor of Latin history.
Full of color and aroma to tempt the senses.  

Coffee Collective(Copenhagen, Denmark)

The Coffee Collective is a micro roastery that drives to provide their customers with an exceptional coffee experience and to give better living conditions to coffee farmers.

Rosetta Roastery(Cape Town, South Africa)

Another South African jewel passionate about coffees that are unique and full of character, as much so as the people that are drawn to drink them.

Kaffeine(London, England)

Contemporary cafe…

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