Sunday, February 26, 2012

Урок 30, 1997

I learned Russian for about two years, more than fifteen years ago, with the Athens branch of the Pushkin Institute. When I visited Kazakhstan in late 1997, I got by easily enough and even now, I can figure out what our slavic northern neighbours are talking about, despite how they treat their articles. Feels like only yesterday, but fifteen years sounds like a long time ago...

Part of a new series, called "Cleaning out my closet" (ComC), where I present things I find while tidying up packing boxes from our recent house moving.

Leaves, 1980s

This is from the early 1980s, a collage of autumnal leaves, made no doubt after a nature walk. When I was younger, I could probably have named all of the trees these came from. Now I doubt I can identify one.

Part of a new series, called "Cleaning out my closet" (ComC), where I present things I find while tidying up packing boxes from our recent house moving.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Avocado, June 1980

June 23rd
This is my avocado. It needs to be watered every Friday. Its got light green leaves. We have lots of cacti in our class. We have a green pepper. We have lots of other plants.

This also dates to June 1980. I still have an avocado plant, though obviously not the stringy-looking one in the image.

Part of a new series, called "Cleaning out my closet" (ComC), where I present things I find while tidying up packing boxes from our recent house moving.

Cyclops, June 1980

June 24th
My puppet is a cyclops from Greek mythology. Odyssiuses ship landed on a greek island. He went to a cave for shelter not knowing it was a cave of a cyclops. Then he came back with his herd of sheep. He ate two of the men for lunch the other two for dinner. Odyssius gave him some wine when he was drunk they made him blind. He screamed nobody made me blind.

Nearly at the beginning of the story he said that his name was Nobody.

The text is from an exercise book I came across at the weekend from 1980. The spelling is great. I have photographs of the Cyclops puppet, but I am not sure if it is still around. I very much like the post punchline explanation of the whole thing - nearly at the beginning of the story... I also like the was the cyclops is never named when the subject of the sentence, always “he”, even when this is confusing to the flow of the text. Well tried, indeed. I have recycled the exercise book.

Part of a new series, called "Cleaning out my closet" (ComC), where I present things I find while tidying up packing boxes from our recent house moving.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The dead pool

1. 105 William Shatner
2. 48 Jim Bowen
3. 93 Arnold Palmer
4. 41 Chuck Berry
5. 65 Rhodes Boyson
6. 91 Noam Chomsky
7. 1 Queen Mum
8. 32 Tony Curtis
9. 77 Marti Caine
10. 54 Warren Mitchel[l]

I date this piece from between November 1992 and July 1993, probably in the first part of this range. We got together with ten other guys (I am pretty sure they were all guys) and put ten names each into a hat and then drew names for each of us. The idea is that the guy holding the card with the first celebrity to die would win the pot. In short, betting on random outcome events. I came across my card, written in someone else’s hand while cleaning out boxes from our recent moving house thing.

It is interesting to note that of my list, I recognise / recognised only six of the names. I had six entertainers, one sportsman, one academic, one politician and one Royal. Also interesting to note is that I got a real bum deal, given that seven of my celebs are still very much alive, though some have been in and out of hospital recently, almost 20 years after the list was drafted. Only the Tony Curtis (2010), the Queen Mum (2002) and Marti Caine (1995) are gone and although Marti Caine left us soonest someone else won. I can’t remember who actually won the jackpot and with which names.

One of a new series, called "Cleaning out my closet" (ComC), where I present things I find while tidying up packing boxes from our recent house moving.

Trojan war so much alive still


Six hundred ships
Set sail from shore
And soon arrived at Troy

Our attack began
And when we’d won
We gladly sailed for home

By Stelios

[Good **]

I date this to between 1979 and 1981, probably in the middle of this range. I just want to comment on the quality of the stick man and wooden horse, surely worth the two stars; also on the interesting use of the first person personal pronoun. I would say that is shows how the young Stelios identifies with the subject (rather than believes that he was there when the shit went down). If he had been there he would know that there were in excess of 1,000 ships.

The first of a new series, called "Cleaning out my closet" (ComC), where I present things I find while tidying up packing boxes from our recent house moving.

Time passes, stuff happens

In 2001, in spring, while making a circuit of Sicily in my old cinquecento with a friend from college, I bought two paper bags of sun-dried tomatoes from an open market next to the temple of Apollo, on Ortygia in Syracuse. I ate the last of those tomatoes with K tonight in a rather fine risotto. I really ought to get round to writing about Sicily some time.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Degree from UK university just not good enough for Greek state

I took my desmond to DOATAP this morning for the last time. DOATAP is one small part of the monstrous bureaucracy of the Greek state. It has for years existed and sapped precious funds from the state budget in an effort to protect the musty-smelling state educational system from having to hold a mirror in front of its face and see how truly without merit it is.

DOATAP is the old DIKATSA. I do not know why the initials changed although I am sure the Greek taxpayer paid unnecessary money for this unnecessary re-branding.

The essence of the work of DOATAP is to wave a magic wand over academic degrees and thereby declare them to be of equal merit to the equivalent degrees from a Greek institution. My degree, which I was awarded by the alma mater of Byron and Newton for studies at a department inaugurated by Erasmus himself, is not considered to be of equal merit to the equivalent degree from a Greek institution.

I have no quarrel with Mr. Papavlasopoulos the friendly guy in charge of classics degrees. As he said, he was just following orders. Actually, to give the guy credit, he said that he is only implementing the law, and not involved in passing it. I have to write to the members of parliament to see where they stand.

I cannot apply to the University of Athens to read for an MA because I do not have a degree that is considered good enough for them. I am not certain, but I have a sneaky feeling that my rights as a human being are being curtailed here. Article 26 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights protects my right to higher education: “higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit”. On the basis of merit. In any one of the other countries of Europe and a whole bunch of other countries besides, my degree would be considered good enough. Not in Greece. Not for DOATAP.

I will be writing to my MPs. I will be writing to my Alma Mater. We are not done here.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Open e-mail to the New Acropolis Museum

" Is the museum still implementing its no-photography policy? If so, how is it justified, given that the archaeological law (Ν. 3028/2003) in conjunction with the joint decision of the Ministers of the Economy and Culture of 28 December 2011 (126463, Article 1.1) permits free photography in museums when carried out with non-professional equipment?

What is the procedure for an interested amateur photographer to be granted permission to take photographs inside the museum for personal / educational purposes? Many thanks for your time. "

So - let's see what they reply.

On having hair and drinking milk...

- Μπαμπά, γιατί έχεις τρίχες;
- Γιατί είμαι θηλαστικό. Και εσύ είσαι θηλαστικό, αφού έχεις τρίχες και πίνεις γάλα.
- Η [αδελφή μου] είναι θηλαστική;
- Θηλαστικό. Δεν έχει τρίχες; Δεν πίνει γάλα από το στήθος της Μαμάς;
- Και η Μαμά είναι θηλαστική;
- Θηλαστικό. Δεν έπινε και η Μαμά γάλα από την Γιαγιά, όταν ήταν μικρή;
- Και η Γιαγιά είναι;