Saturday, September 30, 2006

Just another Friday

My husband has been on a quest to reunite himself with his faith, which is, of course, Greek Orthodoxy. Most people that know me know that I am lukewarm, at best, towards religion in general (I don’t discriminate, I dislike all religions equally) but I accept my husband’s faith because it is part of who he is.

One thing that is critical in Greek Orthodoxy is fasting. If you don’t fast, you aren’t supposed to take communion. I don’t know if it is like this in Catholicism, but every other church I’ve been to that has communion doesn’t seem to make such requirements. Maybe I just never knew about it, and they do. I guess it doesn’t matter though, because I don’t take communion, except once by accident.

So my husband’s spiritual advisor has asked him to start fasting on Fridays, eventually to extend to Wednesdays (I don’t really know why these are the designated fasting days of the week, because if you take communion on Sunday you have to fast Saturday, but whatever – I’m sure there is a reason somewhere, I just don’t know it). While I don’t have to fast, I have decided to join him in fasting, because what kind of asshole eats meat or cheese or something in front of someone who is fasting? In other words, I am trying to be supportive, and besides, what does it hurt to remove all animal-related products from your diet once or twice a week (when we get to those 40 and 50 day fasts before Christmas and Easter, we’ll have to renegotiate).

I never realized how many foods contain some form of animal product until we started this fasting business. Foods that I think might be alright when I look at the packaging end up containing eggs or butter. Luckily, our favorite brand of pasta does not include egg, so pasta is an acceptable fasting food. I also found some nice frozen foods that are sans animal products – veggie burgers, potato croquettes, and kolokithokefetedes (my favorite!). And of course there are beans, rice, and things like that, although I don’t fancy beans and really hate rice. At any rate, fasting one or two days a week is manageable, or so I thought.

Getting by with no meat is fairly easy. While I enjoy me a tasty critter, I don’t have extreme urges for meat. In fact, when I was single, I rarely ate meat. Moving to the meat eating capital of the world increased my intake significantly, so having an excuse not to eat it is actually a relief. Milk isn’t so difficult to go without either – sure, as an aging woman I try to drink a glass or two a day, but sometimes I don’t. So sue me. Eggs I never eat, and butter isn’t much of an issue. The only time these things are a problem is when they show up on the ingredients list of something I’d like to eat.

The only thing that has caused any grief in this whole fasting experience is the lack of cheese. I don’t eat cheese every day. I don’t think to myself on a daily basis “wow, I must have cheese”. Yet for some reason, on fasting days, the only thing I can think about cheese. Cheese, cheese, and more cheese. I think of how wonderful cheese is. I think about everyday, practical items being made of cheese. I see warm, melted cheese everywhere. It gets to the point where I honestly believe if I don’t have cheese the world will have some sort of temporal disruption that causes the end of all cheese. A world without cheese would be pretty damn serious. I must save the world and eat some cheese! But then I’d break the fast. And then I’d feel guilty. So I keep thinking “tomorrow I can have some cheese” but then the devil breathes in my ear, “but you CAN have cheese. Cheese is good. Must have cheese. Now. Get some cheese”. Then I start to realize what a weird word cheese is. It looks strange. Really odd. Like tree. I can’t take those double e words. But maybe if I eat some cheese, it won’t seem so strange to me. But I can’t. I can’t eat cheese. No way, no how. But my body needs the cheese! Oh, God, why hast thou forsaken my cheese?!

This internal dialogue actually goes on for so long that by the time I’m done obsessing, it is time for bed, and then I wake up and it is Saturday and I can have cheese again. Phew.

Except then I don’t want any cheese.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The origin of the species

For months, Greeks have been plagued with commercials for the above so-called "Mobi Baby", a monstrosity that seems to have something to do with ringtones for cellphones.

This animated child horrifies me, not only because the commercial is annoying, but the lack of hands and feet is troublesome. In utter despair, I have come to realize that this deformed baby must be the Darwinian result of the effect of cellphone usage on the human race.

Put the cell phones down, humans. Let's not have it come to this.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

STFU already

It is just after 11pm here (23:00 for you Europeans/military types) and someone in an apartment across the street is using a power saw. The sound is echoing off the buildings like a super ball on LSD screaming its super ball brains out.

It isn't bad enough that this guy uses this damn thing all afternoon and evening, he could let up after 9, or 10 at the latest. And, by the way, what the hell is he doing with a power saw every damn day? I'm getting visions of the potential blood splatter he is creating...

Welcome to the EU!

Bulgaria and Romania will join the EU 25 member states in January - a year earlier than anticipated. While I am happy to have new MySpace Friends new EU neighbors, to be accepted as a MySpace Friend EU member strict criteria must be met and maintained.

Some of the terms Bulgaria and Romania must meet as new members of the EU group include:

no bulletin spam cut back on organized crime
don't post obscene pictures in the group forum cut out corruption

and, last but not least

don't ask random people to join the group set higher food safety standards

Gee, looking at that list I have to wonder how Greece is still in the EU, seeing that we can't seem to go a week without a new corruption scandal here. And I won't even talk about the disgusting stuff they are finding in grocery stores/markets. I suppose being an original member has its benefits, not to mention the inclusion of a bunch of eastern European countries in 2004 made Greece's problems look much slighter.

I wish Bulgaria and Romania the best of luck in working to meet these criteria. One look at Greece and you'll see it isn't easy. But you better try hard, lest you get removed from the group.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

But what does it mean?

Last night, I dreamt of bacon. I was in a manufacturing plant of some kind, and my purpose was to taste test different types of bacon and report on each one. There was some kind of alleged "expert chef" standing over me, who looked curiously like Donna Reed (she was even in black and white), explaining to me what makes bacon good and what kind of things to look for in the taste, texture, and smell of the bacon.

The thing is, I hate bacon. I loathe it. I wish bacon would die in a fire irl. Bacon ruins the flavor of everything it touches. Indeed, I believe bacon to be the antichrist.

So why in Valen's name did I dream of bacon?

I must be watching too much Jamie Oliver.

Monday, September 25, 2006

If you don't read it, you can't bitch about it

We are in the middle of the annual Banned Books Week, sponsored by the American Library Association. It is a good time to think about our constitutional right to freedom of speech and read a banned book with pleasure, revelling in that right.

There is no legitimate reason to ban any book, especially in the United States. Everyone has the ability to exercise free will which means if the subject matter of any book offends them they don't have to pick it up and read it. But if you haven't read a book and still complain about it, then you don't really know what you are talking about, do you? If you have read a book and it bothers you, you are allowed to make your case against it, but you have no right to tell me that I can't read it. That is one of the things that makes America so great.

The ten most challenged books of 2005 includes classics like J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye and the most controversial book of my childhood, Judy Blume's Forever. Some of the best novels in American literature and many of our favorite books from overseas writers have been banned or challenged at one time or another, including The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, Ulysses, The Lord of the Rings, The Color Purple, and As I Lay Dying. To imagine a world would I wouldn't be able to read these beautiful words is distressing.

So the next time you sit down with a good book, imagine what it would be like if you weren't allowed to read it, and rejoice in that freedom.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The departing of the swallows

The autumnal equinox is upon us, so celebrate this day in honor of the harvest and in preparation for the winter ahead. Or rejoice in Mabon, the Witch’s Thanksgiving, if you are so inclined

Autumn has certainly made itself known to us today, as a chilling rain has blanketed the city, and the sky is gray as far as the eye can see, beyond the Thermaic Gulf and onto Mt. Olympus. Even the gods would have stayed on their mountain throne today, indulging in nectar and ambrosia, rather than brave their way out in this miserable clime. Zeus is granting no favors today.

Oddly, a few lingering swallows still remain. They still dart in and around the tallest rooftops of the city, chirping cheerfully and reminding us of the summer that is now lost between the leaves of the year. I imagine soon the rest will find their way to the warmer shores along Africa, to perch at the tips of pyramids and fly recklessly through the desert, singing their happy songs. I will miss them during the long, lonely months of winter, and will revel in their return in the spring.

For now, I shall enjoy the autumn as it is - the rest after the harvest, a warm cider, the company of family and friends. Life is good.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Five nights of 10,000+ protestors in front the Hungarian parliament asking for the resignation of Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany.

The people gotta speak up if they want things done. Good luck to the Hungarians, I hope this works out well for them.

I'd tell him to shrug

According to Variety, Angelina Jolie has won the role of Dagny Taggart in the movie version of Ayn Rand's classic novel Atlas Shrugged. I happen to like this novel myself, and Ms. Jolie isn't exactly how I pictured Dagny, nor am I certain she has the acting skills to pull it off. As long as Brad Pitt isn't cast as John Galt (because by god, he isn't right for the part), I'll give Jolie the benefit of the doubt and see how she does before castigating her as the choice for the role. I learned that lesson when I was upset with the casting of Tom Cruise as Lestat in Interview with a Vampire, because even though I still hate him, I must acknowledge that he played the part well. All in all, I'm more interested in seeing who they cast for Hank Rearden, because I've always pictured him in a Paul Newman kind of way, although I can't think of an actor today who really fits the bill. I bet I know who they'll cast for Frisco, but I hope they don't.

Honestly though, I'd prefer they not make a movie of Atlas Shrugged. But what can you do? I can choose not to see it, after all, but that is about as likely as humans regrowing their tails. Ah, whatever. Who is John Galt?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Yesterday I had occasion to sit at a coffeeshop by myself, and so I was left to my own devices to order what I wanted. I still don’t do well when it comes to speaking Greek, I would certainly do better if all communication was written instead of spoken. When I placed my order, I could tell by the look on the waiter’s face that my dull pronunciation of his native tongue had certainly caused some kind of neural misfiring in his brain, yet he seemed to understand me because I ended up with my fresh squeezed orange juice just the same. At this point I figure I might as well speak Greek with a Southern accent, since pronouncing things correctly seems an insuperable task. “Ef-ahhhh-rees-toe, y’all!” Eh, it works for some people.

It was raining, and rain doesn’t seem to stop people from walking up and down the square, although it does seem to make them move a bit quicker if they are caught sans umbrella. There was the usual cadre of strange and unusual characters, including a young man walking around with a bow and a quiver full of arrows. I thought perhaps my mind had lost the ability to separate myth from reality – a common problem with people who play MMORPGs. But no, he was definitely real, not some errant ranger from the land of Norrath. He seemed amiable enough, I don’t think he was an assassin of some kind, although I guess it is possible. There were no shocking bow and arrow incidents on the news today, at least.

As summer slowly fades into autumn, I will spend many days people watching, until they begin to hide beneath their winter wear and fail to linger longingly as they stroll down the sloping square towards the sea. I never thought I’d find the coming winter so melancholy as a Demeter, but I know, just as Persephone will emerge again in the spring, so will the wandering throngs on my beloved square.

Monday, September 18, 2006

You are what you eat

I’ve been a picky eater all my life. And by picky eater I don’t mean there are some foods I don’t like – I mean there are a host of foods of various kinds that I won’t eat, whether it is because I don’t like the way they smell, or they have an odd color, or simply because they look at me funny. Sometimes I won’t eat a food because it is stalking me.

Generally speaking, my food choices are rather bland, dull – not necessarily in taste (I do enjoy very spicy food) - but in variety and type. For example – why make beef burgundy when I can just cook a steak or a burger? I don’t need fancy beef. When it comes to cooking meals my motto is don’t cook anything that requires more than three steps. I ain’t no Nigella Lawson.

Unfortunately, my lack of adventure with food means that most of the culinary delights Greece has to offer are lost on me. Sure, I enjoy some of the basics. Souvlaki (chicken, not pork), gyros, spanikopita, and my new favorite, kolokithokeftedes. I can eat moussaka or pastitio but I’m generally not going to request either, and I am sure as hell not going to make it myself (sorry darling). I was never really one of those people who “do” foreign foods, and now that I am living in a foreign country nothing has really changed. The one exception is Italian food – I can eat almost anything an Italian restaurant has to offer. Even so, I’d just as soon eat a pizza as goat-cheese stuffed ravioli with pesto sauce. I like a few Mexican dishes, and some of the basic Chinese foods. But branch out much further and I’d really rather not bother. Give me a hamburger or a pizza and I’m happy. Basically, I have the eating preferences of an eighteen year old college boy.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve discovered that there are a few things my digestive system just won’t accept anymore. My beloved pizza is one of them. If I so much as think about consuming a Spicy Lover’s Pizza from the Hut, I can expect at least three days of gastrointestinal backlash. Woe be the day when my stomach learns the concept of a preemptive strike, but since my internal organs almost never read Plato, I might be ok.

I’ve also learned that the number of foods that give you horrible, embarrassing, inescapable gas increases exponentially with age. Why can’t such things work in reverse, because when I was a kid my friends and I would do anything for a good, strong fart. Sure, it can be just as funny as an adult, but a bit less funny when your husband lets one rip in the supermarket, silently, and then runs away from you, leaving you stranded with the shopping cart amidst a noxious cloud of lime green gas. He will have to pay for such incidents one day.

Alas, there are even some desserts that instigate digestive meltdown. Most Greek desserts are heavily laden with a syrupy glaze, which prompts an immediate remark of “it’s too sweet!” Too sweet? Those are words I would have never dared utter as a child. Too rich is another problem – a problem you never quite recognize as a kid, so you’d eat it and then vomit in the car on the way home. You can’t really get away with that as an adult, unless of course you had some horrid food poisoning or an illness of some kind.

For now, I’m a terrible host to my poor stomach, because I’ll still eat what I want when I want. I figure I have only a couple of years of that left before I’m regulated to broth for every meal, so I better enjoy the foods I like while I can.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Much ado about not much ado

So the Pope (do you capitalize it?) meant “no offence” to Islam. Yea, right. And cats have no asses. You can’t tell me that his quotation of Emperor Manuel II Paleologos wasn’t very carefully orchestrated. He knew damn well what he was doing, I mean, he’s the Pope, he ain’t stupid. He was playing a lawyer in a courtroom drama – sure, now he has apologized, the defense lawyer objected, objection sustained, words to be stricken – but they are out there nonetheless.

"Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

Yea, ok. From anyone else’s lips I don’t think the quote would mean too much. It was quite irresponsible for the Pope, of all people, to say such a thing, quote or no quote. Of course the Muslims would be pissed. We’ve seen the Muslims get mad before. Now it is wrong for me to say “the Muslims”, because it always seems to be a certain group of Muslims that get angry about such things. It would be the same as saying “the Christians” when referring to Fred Phelpsian attitudes.

Now some stooge in Turkey is saying that the Pope will go down in history alongside Hitler and Mussolini. I don’t know what it is about today’s world that evokes so much Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, and general fascist comparisons, but god damn people, show some fucking sense, or rather make some sense when you make statements like that. Now, I do happen to agree with the Turk’s statement that the Pope’s comments were “a deliberate attempt to revive the mentality of the Crusades.” That sounds about right. But I think Catholicism has been trying to revive the mentality of the Crusades since the Crusades.

Still, it is hard to look at certain aspects of Islam (ie. extremist factions) and not see some small truth in the quote. But then again, I can remember a few bloody chapters in Christianity’s past. Islam started a few hundred years behind Christianity, so by that standard things are about on target. Give 'em a few years to realize you just can't change the world and they'll calm down. Maybe they'll even get their own Pope.

I can’t help but wonder why the big three religions can’t get along. They all sprang from the same basic source. Yea, if you get down to the nitty gritty, they all can’t be right, which might cause some general bitchiness between them. But maybe none of them are right. And I really don’t want to be sitting around at the end of time saying “I told you so” when things don’t work out like any of them wanted because, well, that will mean we’ll all just be dead and I won’t have the opportunity to say “I told you so”.

So get over your bitchy ass selves and figure out a way to live in peace already. And that goes for all of you.

Vote No on 1

Today, people all over Tennessee who support same-sex marriage are wearing their "Vote No on 1" buttons. Since I can't be in Tennessee to help further the cause in person, I am electing to wear my virtual Vote No on 1 button, to help spread the word to get people to stop, think, and find it in their hearts to vote no on this amendment that will forever forbid same-sex marriage in Tennessee. The Constitution is about ensuring rights, not taking them away.

I have made a couple of posts already about this amendment, so I won't continue to rattle on with arguments I've already made. Suffice it to say that no matter what your beliefs are, the only RIGHT thing to do is vote against this amendment, which is a cruel attempt by the powers that be to limit the happiness of same sex couples in Tennessee.

If you are in Tennessee and want to help with this campaign, please go to the official website or the MySpace page for the cause.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Adventures in storyland

My husband and I enjoyed a relaxing evening at a coffee shop in Aristotelous Square last night. We like that particular location because it is a prime people watching spot, where you can hear a thousand different languages pass you by. It is rather fun to pick out individuals now and then and invent stories about what their lives might be like – call it a creative exercise – and we try to avoid snark at all costs, although sometimes we slip up (hey, I’m sure people have all kinds of things to say about us, enjoy yourselves).

Our story for the night involved an elderly couple. They were walking towards the sea, each of them holding two large, black garbage bags. The bags were obviously heavily laden, they both had a bit of a struggle with their burdens, but they carried them evenly, one in each hand. None of the bags was full, in fact I would say they were all half-full, the contents of each bag seemed to be equal in size, but not necessarily shape.

Obviously, the first thing you would think was that they were carrying trash and not so interesting. But you have never met the likes of me and my husband. First, I had to comment that perhaps they were carrying cut-up body parts to throw into the sea. Then, we decided that they lure strangers inside their apartment, a friendly old couple offering a cup of tea, coffee, some refreshment – and then surprise their guest with a quick gunshot to the head or even a sneak garroting from behind. We surmised that perhaps they have been doing this every day for thirty years (save Sundays and religious holidays, of course), choosing victims who appear to be among the indigent, wandering type, who may not be readily missed if they disappear. They cut the bodies up into parts and solemnly carry their prey to the sea, as we witnessed. Then they go home, fix dinner, and watch Sex & the City. How brilliant – as very few people would ever expect an elderly couple of being serial killers. It wasn’t until we added up the numbers of dead that the whole idea got sobering. And then were distracted by a gaggle of Russian tourists, some of whom seemed to catch us on video discussing our geriatric murderers.

I’m not sure what it says about us that we invent such stories about people, but making happy stories about bunnies and flowers is just somehow not as fascinating. Unless, of course, the bunny has razor sharp teeth and an appetite for flesh, and the plant has hallucinogenic properties that can control people.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

This nutella business is getting out of hand

Nutella was not unknown to me before I moved to Greece, although I had never been tempted to try it. I married into a family of chocoholics, so Nutella is a crucial part of the daily diet, as crucial as milk or water or even air, for that matter. My husband and his sister appear to eat Nutella on just about everything, from bread to cookies to whatever might be complementary with the chocolate-hazelnut spread (and sometimes, they just bring a spoon). While I think it is tasty, it adds way too much sweetness for me. It is akin to sitting down with a jar full of frosting.

I knew things were out of control when the Nutella jar appeared with the brownies I made last night. That just seems like overkill to me. But to my husband, it is just right. I like chocolate, but I have to face it, I just won't ever understand chocoholics.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A carnival of buncombe

Today, all over the world, people should drink a good beer and taste of a fine cigar (if they can stomach it) and celebrate the birthday of one Henry Louis Mencken, who was born on this day a mere one hundred and twenty six years ago.

Mr. Mencken was the original pundit, a journalistic beacon of the first half of the 20th century. He bore witness to presidents, trials, writers, and a plethora of various and sundry events, both as a journalist for the Baltimore Sun and as an individual marvelling at the peccadillos and proclivities of the modern man. He wrote on all manner of subjects, as the titles of his editorials suggest:

A Gang of Pecksniffs

On Being an American

Morals and the Moron

On Bald Heads

How Much Should a Woman Eat?

Mencken Tells How Magic Word "Beer" Brought the Cheers (and this from the 1932 Democratic Convention)

And so on, and so forth.

One of my great regrets in life was that I was born a bit too late to have known Menck. He was never politically correct, full of snark, and prejudicial of everyone in equal measure. Yet he had a way with words, an ability to speak the absolute truth with cynicism, humor and honesty.

"If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner, and wink your eye at some homely girl."

Monday, September 11, 2006

2996 Project: In Memoriam: Nicholas G. Massa

It has been said that Nicholas G. Massa was a betting man. He bet his life when he watched Tower I of the World Trade Center burning on September 11, 2001 from his office in Tower II, waiting on a friend before he would evacuate the building. It was an honorable bet, but one that would cost him his life.

Mr. Massa was 65 years old on that day, a seasoned veteran of the insurance industry and Senior Vice President of the Aon Corporation. He left a multitude of family and friends behind, and a grandchild that would be born two years after his death. A grandchild he would never see, a grandchild who would never meet her grandfather, who would never call him grandpa, or poppy, or pop pop, or any number of affectionate names children call their grandfathers. Instead the words hang in the air, silent, unused.

He was born on Valentine’s Day, and it seems the loving nature of that holiday spilled into his day to day life. He had time for everyone, whether they were mailroom clerks or multi-million dollar clients. He let everyone know they were special. I never knew him, but the remembrances I’ve read from people that loved him made me wish that I had.

Nicholas G. Massa isn’t an aimless, wandering ghost or a withered shade lost on Charon’s murky shores. No, he is an enlightened spirit, dancing in the realms beyond the living, where the nightingale forever sings and the odds are always in your favor.

For other memorials, go here.

Movie review: "House of D"

---------------- POTENTIAL SPOILERS -----------------------------------
As others noted in reviews, this is a story about coming to terms, coming to terms with old friends, old lovers, even strangers, but most of all - of course - coming to terms with one's own self. This movie delivers - give me a drumroll please - without undue drama! Without posturing, (too many) cliches, without trying to jerk a tear out of your lacrimal glands no-matter-what-the-price.

Other reviews seem mixed and a lot could be said about the acting (which was fine in my opinion, genuine and pleasantly "amateur"-ish in the literal sense of love for the art), the setting (great cinematography and directing transport the viewer to New York in the 70s and immerse the audience into the everyday life back when a nightly bicycle ride through the Park was still possible, pleasant, safe) but this movie's greatest strength is the script.

It's a simple story and it is well told. There are no fabulously rich brats and no suffering underdogs who come up on top in the end. There are no car chases, gunshots, explosions and there are no overemotional men and women engaged in all kinds of romantic dramata. It is a simple story about a boy, a boy who has to go away before he can come back. And his poor mama knew - it's all right, boys have to do that. So watch, travel along with Tommy, run away with him to learn how to walk - and dance. And enjoy.

--------------------- SOME SPOILERS HERE ------------------

Other reviews and commentators have not touched the script, which I consider the main strength of this film. David Duchovny surprises (me at least) with a story so straight and simple and yet so deep and touching. You will be treated with some good writing, perhaps not a masterpiece but a welcome breath after too much Dan Brown. Expect to cry a little - not because of some great misfortune, not because of heart rending drama. Expect to shed a few tears when you recognise the face in the mirror as your mother. Expect to cry when it is you under the bed, praying for your own safety and that of your parents. Expect finally to sigh a little and well up when it turns out your friends are still out there and they remember you. And your momma was right. And your dad, beneath it all, was the kindest, softest person in the world.

Duchovny uses symbols and words masterfully at times to convey simply and realistically what is most difficult to convey: emotions. And yes, the movie ends on an up note, it has a happy ending. Why not? It's ok every now and then to feel a little warmth in your heart.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

We don't need no education

Well, it is time for the Greek kids to go back to school. Their first day back is tomorrow, a week after what used to be the traditional U.S. date to start the school year (the day after Labor Day, which is the first Monday in September). Most American kids started school weeks ago, in the full heat of summer, poor things.

I hope Greek schoolchildren are ready for another year full of crappy textbooks, questionable teaching habits, and for the high school kids, a time filled with cramming for your national exams (and paying lots of extra money for tutors and additional classes) instead of actually learning something. I have to wonder that Greeks aren't socially maladjusted after going through the stress of determining the outcome of their futures at the ripe old age of 16, with the risk of failing miserably and never accomplishing anything they want with their lives. What a great educational system.*

Καλή τύχη παιδιά!

*Not that I am suggesting in any way, shape, or form that the U.S. educational system is perfect. Far from it.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

You know you are in for a fun night...

...when a phalanx of police in riot gear walk down your street.

It is times like this I wish we had a digital camera.

She must have been from outer space

I've complained about the lack of elevator etiquette in Greece before, but for the most part, the ill manners have been confined to simply not getting out of the way when people are trying to exit the elevator.

Today, however, a woman charged her way into the elevator before we had exited. Obviously, this woman has no logical function, so she couldn't have been a Vulcan. She must have been a Ferengi.

Irony has no boundaries

The true nature of irony is revealed when the leader of the Communist Party in Greece makes a statement saying "We are in real danger of a mass manipulation and stupefaction. We have to turn away from both."

I'm still trying to figure out where we are supposed to turn, in order to avoid such things. It sure ain't communism.

Friday, September 08, 2006

How has the world changed since 9/11

The BBC website has a nice little template to add a comment regarding how the world has changed since 9/11. Most people give the standard philosophical and political answers. But I think the changes can be summed up in one little sentence - the world has gotten more annoying.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Hello kettle? This is pot

It is a bit ironic that a day after George Bush compared Bin Laden to Hilter and Lenin, he admits to what boils down to essentially illegal activities worldwide involving secret prisons in countries all over the world.

Mr Bush said the CIA had used an "alternative set of procedures", agreed with the justice department, once suspects had stopped talking.

But he said: "The US does not torture. I have not authorised it and I will not."

Yea, ok. We've all seen Alias. Come on, Bushie! I know another leader who used an “alternative set of procedures”. Those are dangerous words.

"This programme has helped us to take potential mass murderers off the streets before they have a chance to kill," the president said.

Mmmhmm. Maybe it did. But I can think of a few other actual mass murderers who are still on the streets.

This may not have repercussions on Dubya. But it will have repercussions on the European countries that were hiding these secret prisons. Sure, none of us are surprised it is actually true, but what it boils down to is another big, fat, old fashioned lie – but not just by the U.S. this time, I can think of a few European countries that denied the existence of these secret CIA prisons. A world conspiracy! I can’t think of anything more fun. We might as well all go straight to hell right now, we are already well on our way.

Finders, Keepers? I don't think so

The University of Heidelberg recently returned to Greece a fragment of the Parthenon’s northern frieze. This gesture is hopefully part of a growing trend of returning Greece’s ancient treasures, since the J. Paul Getty Museum in California finally agreed to return a couple of filched items as well. If only the British would be so gracious as to return the so-called “Elgin” marbles (named, of course, for the man who pilfered them), the restoration of ancient Greek culture in Greece could finally begin. If the British think there should be a “common area” for such items to be viewed, shouldn’t it be in Greece, where the remains of the actual Parthenon still stand?

It is a sad statement of the civilized world that so many people from so many countries took such shameful advantage of the Turkish occupation of Greece by plundering so many ancient artifacts. The Turks were pretty short-sighted in letting this happen as well, but I suppose they never really wanted any Greek or Roman history to remain in regions they considered Turkish.

Yet such “cultural plundering” hasn’t been solely focused on Greek antiquities. A term has been invented, called “elginism”, in honor of the famous British thief, that means “cultural vandalism”. Many people have taken advantage of wars in the Middle East as well, and who knows how many other countries have fallen victim to eager collectors.

I can understand the thrill of holding, touching a piece of ancient history. But let’s keep these artifacts in the hands of their rightful owners.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

All you need is a good casting agent

"The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast".

-Oscar Wilde, Lord Arthur Savile's Crime

I think she needs a doctor

Someone landed on my blog today by searching for "my wife won't swallow".

That must make digestion rather difficult.

And to the person who keeps searching for "can you REALLY sell your soul to the devil?" I'm telling you now, you REALLY can't. So quit searching. Sheesh.

Something I've noticed

My ability to watch The Gilmore Girls is seriously impeded when my husband is on vacation for three weeks. I just wish he'd go back to work so I could go back to the continuing saga of Ta Koritsia Gilmore work on my thesis without interruptions.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

You can't win them all

Yes, I am too depressed for words today after Greece's abysmal loss to Spain today in the FIBA World Championship finals. Obviously, the Spaniards wanted it more.

Congratulations to Spain, and I'll try not to hold the Greek team in too shabby a light. After all, they played excellently until today. 2nd place isn't too bad, I guess.

One wedding and a funeral

For the first time in my 36 years of living I attended a funeral and a wedding in the same day. I suppose it isn't such a bad thing - new hope for a young couple set against the solemn backdrop of death. It is the cycle of life, after all.

I have to say, though, that the funeral songs (or chants, or whatever you call them) in the Greek Orthodox Church are much more beautiful than those in the wedding ceremony, although the nuptials have a beauty of their own. Still, after attending four weddings (ok, so one of them was my own) and two funerals here in Greece, I do like the ethereal, gothic nature of the funeral better. I just don't like the sadness that goes with it.

(I couldn't find an example of the funeral chants online, but if you want to hear an example of a Greek Orthodox chant I like go here, under "Great and Holy Friday", and listen to 15th Antiphon, Plagal of the Second Tone, although it is in English and not as good as if it were in Greek)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Grrl Power

Forbes has released their list of the World's Most Powerful Women. Angela Merkel, the spunky leader of Germany has topped the list this year. And who is #66? Greece's own Dora Bakoyannis, former mayor of Athens and current Greek Foreign Minister. She holds the honor of being Athens' first female mayor AND the first female appointed to a senior level cabinet position in Greece. Is she perfect? Of course not. But in the male-dominated world of Greece, she offers women a pittance of hope. And I suppose her well connected family background doesn't hurt either.

Friday, September 01, 2006

The real dark ages

Forget politics. Forget war in the Middle East. Forget all the really horrible things that happen to mankind, because these things are the result of our humanity (or our lack thereof).

No, forget all these things - I can accept them.

But I really don't want to live in a world that has an award category of "Best Ringtone".

Best basketball game ever!

Congratulations Ellada!!!!!! I knew you could do it!!! With a final score of 101-95, Greece dazzled their way to victory in the FIBA World Championship semi-final match against the U.S. They definitely seemed to be blessed by the gods towards the end of the second quarter, and I could have sworn I saw the outlines of Athene and Apollo on the court, guiding them along.

If you have an opportunity to watch the game, I highly recommend it. It was a great game, both teams played extremely well. I feel a bit guilty that I rooted for Greece, but they were the underdogs here, and I have a soft spot for underdogs.

Woohoo! On to the finals!!!

PS. I told y'all Greece could win!!!!