G'day folks,

Again, I've discovered another abandoned building with class. Aegidium is a stunning abandoned movie theatre hidden in plain sight on a busy street in Brussels, Belgium.

From the outside, you would not expect that there are multiple rooms with a total size of 3,260 m² located behind the small door. A mix of Art Nouveau and Art Deco elements is found throughout the building. However, the main room (movie theater) is designed in a beautiful Moorish style by architect Léon Denis.

The building was constructed in 1906 and opened its doors under the name “Diamant Palace.” The main purpose of the building was to host parties. After the owner died, the building was sold and renamed to “Panthéon-Palace.” The Panthéon-Palace was well known for some of the best dancing nights. Eventually, in 1929, the building changed owners again and was named “Aegidium.” Aegidium refers to the patron saint of Saint-Gilles. Saint-Gilles is the name of the district that Aegidium is located in.

Multiple renovation works took place in 1933. This led to the new purpose of the building: a movie theater. For almost 50 years, this was a success, but in 1979, Aegidium was transformed into a day center. Nearly 6 years later, the doors closed due to the bad state of the building.

In the past years, many potential projects have passed, but none of them have been a success thus far. The building requires heavy renovation, and the fact that strong regulations apply for that renovation makes it expensive and challenging. Let’s hope that this amazing building finds a new owner and purpose very soon.

 Here is what it looks like ...

Clancy's comment: What a gracious-looking building. So sad.

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G'day folks,

Most of us take some sort of public transportation to work. You can see a lot of different and interesting people there. Most of them are usually busy thinking about the day ahead, daydreaming, busy with their phones or books.

Dina Alfasi a mother of a 15-year-old and an Israeli engineer who works in a hospital, takes advantage of these moments to capture simple but beautiful portraits of strangers lost in thought. On her daily commute to work, she uses her iPhone to photograph simple moments of life.

"I'm inspired by the little moments that happen every day. My work is a testament to telling stories through a single photo and proof that all you need is just to look around to find magic moments," said Dina. Now, let's see her magnificent work ...

Clancy's comment: Wow. Magnificent shots. Love ya work, Dina. I've taken quite a few shots like these during my travels. One is below ...

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G'day folks,

Welcome to one of my heroes. 

Born in 1910 off of the French east coast, the great blue expanses of the ocean which were at the backdrop of his childhood remained a constant in the life of Jacques-Yves Cousteau. The draw of the ocean never relented its hold on Cousteau, and in 1930, he enrolled with the French navy. 

It was during this time, serving on a French battleship, that Cousteau turned dream to action and started conducting his first underwater experiments. It was during the tumultuous war that Cousteau began filming prize-winning underwater documentaries, as well as innovate diving technology in ground breaking ways. The Aqua-Lung, which he helped design, was the first open-circuit, self-contained breathing apparatus ever created.

 Of course, films and underwater excursions weren’t the only things that Cousteau did in those years, and as a member of the French Resistance movement, he took part in several complicated operations to thwart the Nazis and their axis powers, and help the allied armies.

Sadly, during that very same time, his brother Pierre-Antoine was busying himself with far darker endeavors. Pierre-Antoine Cousteau was a writer for the ominously-named "Je Suis Partout" (“I am everywhere”), a fascist magazine with pro-Nazi leanings, which called for the internment of all French Jews. He remained an unrepentant white supremacist until his death of cancer in 1958.

The stark contrast between the two brothers only serves to shine a light on the one-of-a-kind character of Jacques Cousteau.

 After the war, Cousteau helped clear the Mediterranean of mines, using his excursions as an excuse to continue his sea explorations and filming, including the very first unassisted underwater archaeology outing, exploring the wreckage of a Roman vessel off the coast of Tunisia.

It wasn’t just the wrecks that littered the bottom of the sea that caught Cousteau’s attention, as the creatures of the ocean enthralled Cousteau even more, and he was actually the first man who correctly predicted the presence of some kind of echolocation system in cetaceans, like dolphins and porpoises.

But it was in the early 60's that he began advocacy for environmentalism when the French Commission for Atomic Energy set in motion a plan to dump radioactive waste into the Mediterranean. It was only due to his activism that wide protest arose against the CAE’s plan and they were forced to nix it.

 His growing fame as an author and film-maker earned him a slot in television with the eye-opening program "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau"(1966-1976), which brought Cousteau’s underwater adventures to every living room.

His one of a kind documentaries were the first and only ones to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes, until 2004 when Michael Moore won one for “Fahrenheit 9/11”.

 It is told that during filming in Cuba, Cousteau met with leader Fidel Castro and befriending him, subsequently talking the dictator into releasing some 80 prisoners.

Perhaps most importantly in his efforts to protect marine environments, in 1990, Cousteau got all major powers to sign a petition banning oil drilling in Antarctica, and we can only shudder, imagining what the condition of the ice shelves of the South Pole would have been like today if it were not for this great pioneer of diving.

Clancy's comment: I've probably seen all of his documentaries. What a legend.

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