Monday, September 27, 2010

Ιωάννης Καποδίστριας

Ναύπλιο, Ναός Αγίου Σπυρίδωνα
27 Σεπτεμβρίου: Μια μαύρη επέτειος για την Ελλάδα. Δολοφονούμε τον Καποδίστρια και δίνουμε τη δυνατότητα στις Μεγάλες Δυνάμεις να μας φορέσουν καπέλο τους ξένους ηγεμόνες. Είμαστε πολύ αποτελεσματικοί στο να βγάζουμε τα μάτια μας μόνοι μας ...Ας θυμηθούμε μερικά πράγματα για τον μεγάλο Έλληνα πολιτικό.


Όλες οι θεμελιακές ενέργειες του Καποδίστρια, που απέβλεπαν κυρίως στη βελτίωση του βιοτικού επιπέδου των πτωχών τάξεων, ήταν αναπόφευκτο να δημιουργήσουν έντονες και βίαιες αντιδράσεις εκείνων που θίγονταν άμεσα τα συμφέροντά τους. Επιπλέον, το γεγονός ότι εκ των πραγμάτων ήταν αδύνατη η ικανοποίηση σωρείας απαιτήσεων, άλλοτε λογικών και συνήθως υπερβολικών και παράλογων, είχε ως αποτέλεσμα την ένταση του αντιπολιτευτικού εναντίον του ρεύματος. Οι μεγάλοι γαιοκτήμονες, οι κοτζαμπάσηδες, πολλοί οπλαρχηγοί και οι μεγάλοι καραβοκυραίοι των ναυτικών νησιών πρωτοστατούσαν στις κινήσεις εναντίον του κυβερνήτη. Οι λαϊκές τάξεις, όσο κι αν λάτρευαν τον κυβερνήτη τους, δεν μπορούσαν να αποτελέσουν σοβαρό αντιπερισπασμό στην ολιγαρχία των ισχυρών, από τους οποίους μάλιστα εξαρτιόνταν, αφού είχαν μαζί τους σχέση εργοδότη και εργαζόμενου… Η Ύδρα αποτελούσε το κέντρο της αντιπολίτευσης, με εγκέφαλο τον Αλέξανδρο Μαυροκορδάτο και στενούς συνεργάτες του τον Ανδρέα Μιαούλη και τον Λάζαρο Κουντουριώτη. Κύριος στόχος τους ήταν η ανατροπή του κυβερνήτη… Έντονος αντιπολιτευτικός αναβρασμός επικρατούσε και στη Μάνη, με πρωτεργάτες μέλη της οικογένειας Μαυρομιχάλη. Ο Καποδίστριας γνώριζε ότι το θανάσιμο εναντίον του μίσος των Μαυρομιχαλαίων οφειλόταν στο γεγονός ότι είχε τολμήσει να καταργήσει τα τεράστια οικονομικά προνόμια στους δασμούς και τους φόρους, που είχαν αποκτήσει κατά την Τουρκοκρατία, και να τους αφαιρέσει την παράνομη κατοχή που είχαν κάνει στα τελωνεία της νότιας Μεσσηνίας. Τελικά, όταν η κυβέρνηση αναγκάστηκε να πάρει ορισμένα περιοριστικά μέτρα στις παράνομες κινήσεις τους, η αντίδραση των Μαυρομιχαλαίων κορυφώθηκε και υποκίνησαν στην έδρα τους, το Λιμένι της Μάνης, αιματηρή στάση …Στις 14 Ιουλίου 1831, με 200 ένοπλους Υδραίους  ο Μιαούλης έφτασε στον Πόρο και κατέλαβε το μεγαλύτερο πλοίο του πολεμικού στόλου «Ελλάς» και το μικρό φρούριο του νησιού … Ο Μιαούλης προσπάθησε να πείσει τον Κανάρη να προσχωρήσει στους στασιαστές, εκείνος όμως αρνήθηκε και χαρακτήρισε την πράξη του Μιαούλη «ανταρσία»… Ξημερώνοντας 1 Αυγούστου 1831 – και παρά τις αντιρρήσεις του Κριεζή – ο Μιαούλης διέταξε τους άνδρες του να τοποθετήσουν φυτίλια στην πυριτιδαποθήκη της φρεγάτας «Ελλάς» και στις κορβέττες «Ύδρα», «Εμμανουήλ» και «Καρτερία». Στις 9:30 το πρωί έδωσε διαταγή να πυροδοτηθούν τα φυτίλια. Το «Ύδρα» και το καμάρι του στόλου, «Ελλάς», καταστράφηκαν ολοσχερώς. Ο Κανάρης ανήγγειλε την ίδια ημέρα το συνταρακτικό γεγονός στον Καποδίστρια… Η κατάσταση έλαβε επικίνδυνες διαστάσεις με την ενεργό ανάμειξη της αγγλικής και γαλλικής διπλωματίας, που απροκάλυπτα υποστήριζαν την Ύδρα και τη Μάνη. Μανιάτες και Υδραίοι, με την ενεργό συμμετοχή του γαλλικού στρατού, κατέλαβαν την Καλαμάτα και έκαψαν τα κυβερνητικά πλοία πού βρίσκονταν στο λιμάνι της… Από τις αρχές Σεπτεμβρίου κυκλοφορούσαν έντονες φήμες για επικείμενη δολοφονία του κυβερνήτη, και το στενό του περιβάλλον τον παρότρυνε να πάρει προφυλακτικά μέτρα και να διατάξει παρακολούθηση των Μαυρομιχαλαίων. Ο Καποδίστριας αρνήθηκε κατηγορηματικά, λέγοντας ότι δεν θα έφταναν ως το έγκλημα, που θα έπληττε κυρίως την Ελλάδα. Οι Μαυρομιχαλαίοι, όμως, έχοντας την απροκάλυπτη υποστήριξη των αντιπρέσβεων της Αγγλίας και της Γαλλίας, είχαν πάρει την τραγική για την Ελλάδα απόφασή τους. Τα ξημερώματα της Κυριακής, 27 Σεπτεμβρίου 1831, όταν ο Καποδίστριας έφτασε στην είσοδο της εκκλησίας του Αγίου Σπυρίδωνα στο Ναύπλιο, οι εθνοκτόνες σφαίρες του Κωνσταντίνου και το μαχαίρι του Γεωργίου Μαυρομιχάλη σώριασαν νεκρό τον μεγάλο Ευρωπαίο διπλωμάτη και μοναδικό Έλληνα πολιτικό.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Ls Martian calendar

Mars Exploration Rover "Spirit" self-portrait, NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell
“Do you realize it’s ell ess one-seventy already?” Phyllis said one night. “Didn’t we land at ell ess seven?”. So they had been on Mars for half a Martian year. Phyllis was using the calendar devised by planetary scientists; among the colonists it was becoming more common than the Terran system. Mars’s year was 668.6 local days long, and to tell where they were in this long year it took the Ls calendar. This system declared the line between the sun and Mars at its northern spring equinox to be 0 degrees, and then the year was divided into 360 degrees, so that Ls = 0 – 90 degrees was the northern spring, 90 – 180 degrees the northern summer, 180 – 270 degrees the fall, and 270 – 360 (or 0) degrees the winter.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

World Alzheimer's Day

Un jour de pluie / Jacky Chevaux, 1985
It was not until 1901 that German psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer identified the first case of what became known as Alzheimer's disease in a fifty-year-old woman he called Auguste D. Alzheimer followed her until she died in 1906, when he first reported the case publicly. During the next five years, eleven similar cases were reported in the medical literature, some of them already using the term Alzheimer's disease.
For most of the 20th century, the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease was reserved for individuals between the ages of 45 and 65 who developed symptoms of dementia. The terminology changed after 1977 when a conference on AD concluded that the clinical and pathological  manifestations of presenile and senile dementia were almost identical, although the authors also added that this did not rule out the possibility that they had different causes. This eventually led to the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease independently of age. The term senile dementia of the Alzheimer type  (SDAT) was used for a time to describe the condition in those over 65, with classical Alzheimer's disease being used for those younger. Eventually, the term Alzheimer's disease was formally adopted in medical nomenclature to describe individuals of all ages with a characteristic common symptom pattern, disease course, and neuropathology.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

September

Jardin de Tuileries, Paris / © I.A. Daglis

It was September. In the last days when things are getting sad for no reason.

Ray Bradbury [The Lake, 1944]

Saturday, September 18, 2010

εγώ και το μολύβι μου

Drawing Hands / Maurits Cornelis Escher, 1948
Σύγχυση μεταξύ ηρεμίας και αποχαύνωσης
Ασάφεια σκέψης.
Τριγυρίζω επίμονα τα Αρχικά μου
Κάθομαι εγώ και το μολύβι μου
Περιμένουμε
Να μπει το κλειδί στην πόρτα
Να το γυρίσει ο αχθοφόρος
Να ανοιχτεί διάπλατα …

Τζούλια Μαρινούδη [Δοκιμές, 2004]

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Great Fire and Massacre of Smyrna, 88 years ago


Smyrna (Greek: Σμύρνη or Σμύρνα) was an ancient city located at a central and strategic point on the Aegean coast of Anatolia. Thanks to its advantageous port conditions, its ease of defence and its good inland connections, Smyrna rose to prominence. The ancient city is located at two sites within modern Izmir, Turkey. While the first site rose to prominence during the Archaic Period as one of the principal ancient Greek settlements in western Anatolia, the second, whose foundation is associated with Alexander the Great, reached metropolitan proportions especially during the period of the Roman Empire, from which time most of the present-day remains date.

The Great Fire of Smyrna is the name commonly given to the fire that ravaged Smyrna starting 13 September 1922 and lasting until 17 September 1922. It occurred four days after the Turkish army regained control of the city on 9 September 1922. Turks systematically burned the city and killed Greek and Armenian inhabitants. There is extensive relevant eyewitness evidence from Western troops sent to Smyrna during the evacuation, foreign diplomats/relief workers based at Smyrna and Turkish sources. The fire mainly affected the Greek quarters of the city, taking many lives. Ethnic cleansing soon followed, resulting in the expulsion of most of the Greeks from the city, ending their 3000 years presence in Smyrna.

George Horton was the U.S. Consul General  of Smyrna who was compelled to evacuate Smyrna on September 13, arriving in Athens on September 14. He published his own account, in 1926, of what happened in Smyrna and included testimony from a number of eye-witnesses and additionally quoted a number of contemporary scholars. Horton noted that it was not till after the Armenian quarter had been cleared by Turkish soldiers that the Turkish soldiers torched a number of houses simultaneously, on September 13, behind the American Inter-Collegiate Institute. Moreover, they waited for the wind to blow in the right direction, away from the homes of the Muslim population, before starting the fire. This is backed up by the eye-witness report of Miss Minnie Mills, the dean of the Inter-Collegiate Institute:
"I could plainly see the Turks carrying the tins of petroleum into the houses, from which, in each instance, fire burst forth immediately afterward. There was not an Armenian in sight, the only persons visible being Turkish soldiers of the regular army in smart uniforms." This was also confirmed by the eye-witness report of Mrs King Birge the wife of an American missionary, who viewed events from the tower of the American College at Paradise.

Here is an abridged summary of notable events in the destruction of Smyrna described in Horton's account:
    * Turkish soldiers cordoned off the Armenian quarter during the massacre. Armed Turks massacred Armenians and looted the Armenian quarter.
    * After their systemic massacre Turkish soldiers, in smart uniforms, set fire to Armenian buildings using tins of petroleum, and other flammables, with flaming rags soaked in those flammable liquids.
    * To supplement the devastation, small bombs were planted by the soldiers, under paving slabs around the christian parts of the city to take down walls. One of the bombs was planted near the American Consulate and another at the American Girl's School.
    * The fire was started on September 13. The last Greek soldiers had evacuated Smyrna on September 8. The Turkish Army was in full control of Smyrna from September 9. All Christians remaining in the city who evaded massacre stayed within their homes fearing for their lives. The burning of the homes forced Christians in to the streets. This was personally witnessed by Horton.
    * The fire was initiated at one edge of the Armenian quarter when a strong wind was blowing toward the christian part of town and away from the Muslim part of town. Citizens of the Muslim quarter were not involved in the catastrophe. However, the Muslim quarter did celebrate the arrival of the Turkish Army.
    * Turkish soldiers guided the fire through the modern Greek and European section of Smyrna by pouring flammable liquids in to the streets for the fire to consume. These were poured in front of the American Consulate to guide the fire there and this was witnessed by C. Clafun David, the Chairman of the Disaster Relief Committee of the Red Cross (Constantinople Chapter) and others who were standing at the door of the Consulate. Mr Davis testified that he put his hands in the mud where the flammable liquid was poured and indicated that it smelled like mixed petroleum and gasoline. The soldiers that were observed doing this had started from the quay and proceeded towards the fire thus ensuring the rapid and controlled spread of the fire.
    * Dr Alexander Maclachlan, the president of the American College, together with a sergeant of the American Marines were stripped and then beaten by Turkish soldiers with clubs. In addition, a squad of American Marines was fired on.

Aristotle Onassis  who was born in Smyrna, and who later became the richest man in the world, was one of the Greek survivors of Smyrna. The various biographies of his life document notable and quite sensitive aspects of his experiences during the Smyrna Catastrophe. His life experiences were recreated in the movie called Onassis, The Richest Man in the World and includes Onassis' personal relationship with a Turkish officer.
During the Smyrna Catastrophe the Onassis family lost their substantial property holdings which were either taken or given to Turks as bribes to secure their safety and freedom. They became refugees fleeing to Greece after the fire. However, Aristotle Onassis stayed behind to save his father who had been placed in a Turkish concentration camp. He was successful in saving his father's life. During this period Onassis lost three uncles and one aunt with her husband Chrysostomos Konialidis and their daughter, who were burned to death when Turkish soldiers set fire to a church in Thyatira where 500 Christians had found shelter to avoid Turkish soldiers and the Great Fire of Smyrna.

το τραγούδι της θάλασσας

Το κλειδί του ονείρου (Le clé du songe) / Jacky Chevaux, 1990
Ακούσαμε το τραγούδι της θάλασσας
και δε μπορούμε πια να κοιμηθούμε …
Γιάννης Ρίτσος [Το εμβατήριο του Ωκεανού]

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Marathon Battle anniversary

 Persian Lancers, detail from the archers' frieze in Darius' palace in Susa / Louvre Museum

"The Athenians, as defenders of the Hellenes, in Marathon
destroyed the might of the golden-dressed Medes"
Epigram on the tomb of the Athenians at Marathon

2500 years ago: The Battle of Marathon took place on September 12, 490 BC, during the first Persian invasion of Greece. It was fought between the citizens of Athens, aided by Plataea, and the Persian invasion force.It was the culmination of the first attempt by Persia, under King Darius I, to subjugate Greece. The first Persian invasion was a response to Greek involvement in the Ionian Revolt, when Athens and Eretria had sent a force to support the cities of Ionia in their attempt to overthrow Persian rule. The Athenians and Eretrians had succeeded in capturing and burning Sardis, but were then forced to retreat with heavy losses. In response to this raid, the Persian king Darius swore to have revenge on Athens and Eretria.
Once the Ionian revolt was finally crushed by the Persian victory at the Battle of Lade, Darius began to plan to subjugate Greece. In 490 BC, he sent a naval task force under Datis and Artaphernes across the Aegean, to subjugate the Cyclades, and then to make punitive attacks on Athens and Eretria. Reaching Euboea  in mid-summer after a successful campaign in the Aegean, the Persians proceeded to besiege and capture Eretria. The Persian force then sailed for Attica, landing in the bay near the town of Marathon. The Athenians, joined by a small force from Plataea, marched to Marathon, and succeeded in blocking the two exits from the plain of Marathon. Stalemate ensued for five days, before the Athenians (for reasons that are not completely clear) decided to attack the Persians. Despite the numerical advantage of the Persians, the hoplites  proved devastatingly effective against the more lightly armed Persian infantry, routing the wings before turning in on the centre of the Persian line.The defeat at Marathon marked the end of the first Persian invasion of Greece, and the Persian force retreated to Asia. The defeat at Marathon marked the end of the first Persian invasion of Greece, and the Persian force retreated to Asia. 
The Battle of Marathon was a watershed in the Greco-Persian wars, showing the Greeks that the Persians could be beaten; the eventual Greek triumph in these wars can be seen to begin at Marathon. Since the following two hundred years saw the rise of the Classical Greek  civilization, which has been enduringly influential in western society, the Battle of Marathon is often seen as a pivotal moment in European history. For instance, John Stuart Mill famously suggested that "the Battle of Marathon, even as an event in British history, is more important than the Battle of Hastings".
The Battle of Marathon is perhaps now more famous as the inspiration for the Marathon  race. Although historically inaccurate, the legend of a Greek messenger running to Athens with news of the victory became the inspiration for this athletic event, introduced at the 1896 Athens Olympics, and originally run between Marathon and Athens.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Eυφρόσυνος ο μάγειρος - ο προστάτης άγιος των master chef

Ευφρόσυνος ο μάγειρος
11 Σεπτεμβρίου: Μνήμη του Oσίου Πατρός ημών Eυφροσύνου του μαγείρου
Oύτος εγεννήθη από αγροίκους και χωρικούς γονείς. Kαι ανατραφείς με ιδιωτικήν και απαίδευτον ανατροφήν, ύστερον απήλθεν εις Mοναστήριον. Kαι ενδυθείς το μοναχικόν σχήμα, έγινεν υπηρέτης των Mοναχών. Eπειδή δε εκαταγίνετο πάντοτε εις το μαγειρείον ως άγροικος, εκαταφρονείτο από όλους τους Mοναχούς και επεριπαίζετο. Πλην υπέφερεν ο μακάριος όλας τας καταφρονήσεις με γενναιότητα καρδίας και σύνεσιν, και με ησυχίαν του λογισμού, χωρίς να ταράττεται όλως. Διότι, αγκαλά και ήτον ιδιώτης κατά τον λόγον, όμως δεν ήτον ιδιώτης και κατά την γνώσιν. Kαθώς τούτο θέλει αποδείξει καθαρά το εξής ρηθησόμενον. Eις το Mοναστήριον γαρ εκείνο, οπού ευρίσκετο ο αοίδιμος ούτος Eυφρόσυνος, εκεί ήτον και ένας Iερεύς φίλος του Θεού, όστις επαρακάλει προθύμως διά να του φανερώση ο Θεός τα αγαθά, οπού μέλλουν να απολαύσουν οι αγαπώντες αυτόν.
Mίαν νύκτα λοιπόν, κοιμωμένου του Iερέως, εφάνη εις τον ύπνον του, ότι ευρέθη μέσα εις ένα περιβόλι, και έβλεπε τα εκεί ευρισκόμενα πανευφρόσυνα αγαθά με θάμβος και έκστασιν. Eκεί δε είδε και τον ανωτέρω μάγειρον του Mοναστηρίου Eυφρόσυνον, όστις εστέκετο εις το μέσον του περιβολίου, και απελάμβανε τα διάφορα αγαθά εκείνα. Πλησιάσας λοιπόν εις αυτόν, ερώτα διά να μάθη, ποίον άραγε είναι το περιβόλι εκείνο! και πώς αυτός ευρέθη εις αυτό! O δε Eυφρόσυνος, το περιβόλιον, απεκρίθη, τούτο, είναι η κατοικία των του Θεού εκλεκτών. Eγώ δε διά την πολλήν αγαθότητα του Θεού μου, εσυγχωρήθηκα να ευρίσκωμαι εδώ. Kαι ο Iερεύς του λέγει. Kαι τι άραγε κάμνεις εις τούτο το περιβόλι; O Eυφρόσυνος απεκρίθη. Eγώ εξουσιάζωντας όλα όσα βλέπεις εδώ, χαίρω και ευφραίνομαι εις την τούτων θεωρίαν και απόλαυσιν.
O δε Iερεύς, δύνασαι, του είπε, να μοι δώσης κανένα από τα αγαθά ταύτα; O Eυφρόσυνος απεκρίθη, ναι, θέλεις λάβης από αυτά με την χάριν του Θεού μου. Tότε ο Iερεύς τού έδειξε μήλα τινα, και εζήτει να του δώση από αυτά. Λαβών δε μερικά μήλα ο Eυφρόσυνος, έβαλεν αυτά εις το επανωφόρι του Iερέως, ειπών. Iδού κατατρύφησον τα μήλα, τα οποία εζήτησας. Eπειδή δε το σήμαντρον εκτύπησε διά να σηκωθούν οι Πατέρες εις τον Όρθρον, εξύπνισεν ο Iερεύς. Kαι εις καιρόν οπού ενόμιζεν, ότι η οπτασία, οπού έβλεπεν, ήτον όνειρον, απλώσας την χείρα του εις το επανωφόρι του, ω του θαύματος! ευρήκε πραγματικώς τα μήλα. Kαι θαυμάσας διά την παράδοξον αυτών ευωδίαν, έμεινεν ακίνητος εις ώραν πολλήν.
Έπειτα πηγαίνωντας εις την Eκκλησίαν, και βλέπωντας εκεί στεκόμενον τον Eυφρόσυνον, επήρεν αυτόν εις παράμερον τόπον, και τον ώρκιζε διά να του ειπή, πού ήτον εκείνην την νύκτα. O δε Eυφρόσυνος, συγχώρησόν μοι, έλεγε, πάτερ. Eις κανένα μέρος δεν επήγα κατά την νύκτα ταύτην, ειμή τώρα ήλθον εις την ακολουθίαν. Kαι ο Iερεύς, διά τούτο, είπεν, εγώ πρότερον σε έδεσα με όρκους, διά να φανούν εις όλους τα μεγαλεία του Θεού, και εσύ δεν πείθεσαι να φανερώσης την αλήθειαν; Tότε ο ταπεινόφρων Eυφρόσυνος, απεκρίθη. Eκεί, πάτερ, ήμουν, όπου είναι τα αγαθά, οπού μέλλουν να κληρονομήσουν οι αγαπώντες τον Θεόν, τα οποία και συ προ πολλών χρόνων εζήτεις να ιδής. Eκεί είδες και εμένα απολαμβάνοντα τα του περιβολίου εκείνου αγαθά. Διότι θέλωντας ο Kύριος να πληροφορήση την αγιωσύνην σου περί των ζητουμένων αγαθών των δικαίων, ενήργησε δι' εμού του ευτελούς τοιούτον θαυμάσιον. O δε Iερεύς, και τι μοι, πάτερ Eυφρόσυνε, είπε, τι μοι έδωκας εκ των αγαθών του περιβολίου; O Eυφρόσυνος απεκρίνατο, Tα ωραία και ευωδέστατα μήλα, τα οποία τώρα έβαλες εις την κλίνην σου. Όμως πάτερ συγχώρησον, ότι σκώληξ εγώ ειμι και ουκ άνθρωπος. Tότε ο Iερεύς εδιηγήθη εις όλους τους αδελφούς την οπτασίαν, οπού είδε. Kαι διά μέσου αυτής επαρακίνησεν όλους εις θαυμασμόν και έκπληξιν, και εις ζήλον του καλού και της αρετής. O δε μακάριος Eυφρόσυνος φεύγων την δόξαν των ανθρώπων, κρυφίως ανεχώρησεν από το Mοναστήριον. Kαι εμάκρυνε φυγαδεύων, μείνας αγνώριστος παντελώς. Πολλοί δε ασθενείς τρώγοντες εκ των μήλων εκείνων, ιατρεύθησαν από τας ασθενείας των.
Αγίου Νικοδήμου Αγιορείτου [Συναξαριστής των δώδεκα μηνών του ενιαυτού, 1819]
Λαβράκι σε φύλλο συκής
… Στον αντίποδα του ακόλαστου μάγειρα βρίσκεται η Ορθόδοξη Χριστιανική παράδοση που χρήζει τον Ευφρόσυνο τον Δίκαιο ως προστάτη των μαγείρων. Σύμφωνα με τον Συναξαριστή ο Άγιος Ευφρόσυνος ο Μάγειρας, η μνήμη του οποίου εορτάζεται στις 11 Σεπτεμβρίου, ήταν ένας κουζουλός δόκιμος καλόγερος σε μία Μονή …  όπως όλοι, έχω πάντα στην κουζίνα μου μια εικόνα του Ευφρόσυνου του Μάγειρα, αν και δεν έχω σχέση με την Πίστη, γιατί είναι και συμπαθής φυσιογνωμία σύμφωνα με τον εικονογραφικό τύπο που έχει επικρατήσει και έπειτα, μου αρέσει να κάνω νοητούς διαλόγους μαζί του όταν μαγειρεύω και δοκιμάζω το φαγητό. Πολλοί Έλληνες μάγειρες δεν πάνε πουθενά χωρίς το μαχαίρι τους και μια εικονίτσα του Αγίου Ευφρόσυνου.
Σημειώστε ότι εικόνες της Παναγίας δεν μπαίνουν στις κουζίνες επειδή σε αυτόν το χώρο ομιλείται η σκληρή... "γαλλική" και άσχετα με το πόσο πιστεύει κανείς ή όχι είναι απαράδεκτο να βλαστημά μπροστά σε θρησκευτικά σύμβολα, όποια και να είναι αυτά.
Ο Άγιος Ευφρόσυνος όμως αποτελεί μια εξαίρεση. Είναι ένας από μας και δεν παρεξηγεί...
Αθήναιος

Friday, September 10, 2010

(Mis-)Guided by Scientific Prejudice

Aurora - the visible part of magnetic storms / © Tom Eklund
 
"Guided by Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory of light … it seems as we may be forced to conclude that the supposed connexion between magnetic storms and sun-spots is unreal, and that the seeming agreement between the periods has been a mere coincidence."
Lord Kelvin [1892]

Today we know that Lord Kelvin was mis-guided - or simply limited by his scientific prejudice.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ζωή και Τέχνη

Η τέχνη κάνει τη ζωή μας απείρως πλουσιότερη, καθώς τη βγάζει από τη γραμμικότητα, την αυστηρή και μερικές φορές μονότονη επαλληλία των αυστηρά ατομικών βιωμάτων και της χαρίζει τον πλούτο των επιπλέον, έμμεσων μεν, αλλά «δωρεάν», εμπειριών.

Monday, September 6, 2010

September 1955: The Istanbul Pogrom

The Istanbul Pogrom (also known as the Istanbul Riots or Constantinople Pogrom), was a pogrom directed primarily at Istanbul's Greek minority on 6–7 September 1955. The riots were orchestrated by the Turkish military's Tactical Mobilization Group, the seat of Operation Gladio's Turkish branch. The events were triggered by the news that the Turkish consulate in Thessaloniki (Greece) — the house where the turkish statesman Mustafa Kemal Atatürk supposedly was born in 1881 — had been bombed the day before. A bomb planted by a Turkish usher of the consulate, who was later arrested and confessed, incited the events. The Turkish press conveying the news in Turkey was silent about the arrest and instead insinuated that Greeks had set off the bomb. A Turkish mob, most of which had been trucked into the city in advance, assaulted Istanbul’s Greek community for nine hours. Although the mob did not explicitly call for Greeks to be killed, over a dozen people died during or after the pogrom as a result of beatings and arson. Jews and Armenians were also targeted. The pogrom greatly accelerated emigration of ethnic Greeks (Turkish: Rumlar) from Turkey, and the Istanbul region in particular. The Greek population of Turkey declined from 119,822 persons in 1927, to about 7,000 in 1978. In Istanbul alone, the Greek population decreased from 65,108 to 49,081 between 1955 and 1960. The 2008 figures released by the Turkish Foreign Ministry place the current number of Turkish citizens of Greek descent at 3,000–4,000. However according to the Human Rights Watch, the Greek population in Turkey was estimated at 2,500 in 2006.
Istanbul Pogrom, Wikipedia

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Hydrogen or stupidity

Towers of cool hydrogen rise from the wall of the Carina Nebula / © NASA, ESA
Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

δε φόρεσε ποτέ

Etude nu / Jacky Chevaux

Στη γυναίκα του την Ελέν έφερε δώρο ένα μεταξωτό χιτώνα, τον οποίο εκείνη, από σεμνότητα, δε φόρεσε ποτέ. Αν τον κρατούσες ανάμεσα στα δάχτυλά σου, ήταν σαν να ‘σφιγγες το τίποτα.

Αλεσσάντρο Μπαρίκκο [Μετάξι, 1996]

Friday, September 3, 2010

Raven

Le corbeau / Jacky Chevaux, 1991
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
'`Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is, and nothing more,'

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Sir,' said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I opened wide the door; -
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Lenore!'
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Lenore!'
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,' said I, `surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
'Tis the wind and nothing more!'

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning - little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door -
Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as `Nevermore.'

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before -
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.'
Then the bird said, `Nevermore.'

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
`Doubtless,' said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of "Never-nevermore."'

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking `Nevermore.'

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
`Wretch,' I cried, `thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he has sent thee
Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting -
`Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!

Edgar Allan Poe [The Raven, 1845]


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Εποχή φθινοπώρου

Early Autumn -Qian Xuan (1235-1305)
Όλα τα ποιήματά μου για την άνοιξη
ατέλειωτα μένουν.

Φταίει που πάντα βιάζεται ή άνοιξη,
φταίει που πάντα αργεί η διάθεσή μου.

Γι’ αυτό αναγκάζομαι
κάθε σχεδόν ποίημά μου για την άνοιξη
με μια εποχή φθινοπώρου
ν᾿ αποτελειώνω.

Κική Δημουλά [Ασυμβίβαστα, από τη συλλογή «Ερήμην», 1958]

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Weinbau

Weintrauben / © I.A. Daglis       

Da der Weinbau den höchsten Grad von Ansässigkeit voraussetzt, so ist er mit den Sitten einer wandernden Horde nicht vereinbar. Völkerwanderungen in Masse sind auf der Stufe kriegerischen Hirtenlebens natürlich, bei ausgebildetem Ackerbau mit Bodeneigentum und festen Häusern nur unter ganz besonderen Umständen und in höchst seltenen Fällen möglich, bei Baumzucht und Weinbau ganz undenkbar.

Victor Hehn [Olive, Wein und Feige / 1870]