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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Greek Civilization and Greek Mix

FCC - Paramithi

Kotsiras - Andras pou den eklapse

Άντρας που δεν έκλαψε μέσα στην αγάπη
κατά βάθος, έμεινε, άνθρωπος μισός
Μόνο αυτός που μέτρησε τον καημό με δάκρυ
Μόνο αυτός που ξέχασε τι είν' εγωισμός
άξιζε για αγάπη

Greeks angry at the Germans

ATHENS — Every Oct. 28 Greece celebrates “Oxi Day,” or “ ‘No’ Day,” a national holiday commemorating Greek resistance to the Axis powers during World War II. On Friday, those celebrations took on a greater weight. As Greeks suffer from harsh austerity measures, there is growing popular sentiment here that the country has ceded key parts of its sovereignty, and its pride, to its foreign lenders.
Here in Greece, anger is running so high — especially toward Germany, whose Nazi occupation still leaves deep scars here and which now dominates the European Union’s bailout of debt-ridden Greece — that National Day celebrations were called off on Friday in the northern city of Thessaloniki for the first time ever after a group shouted “traitor” to the Greek president, Karolos Papoulias.

“If we weren’t under the E.U., which is the only reason this loss of sovereignty may be justified, I’d have to say that Greece is an occupied country,” said Nikos Alivizatos, a constitutional lawyer in Athens.
Such feelings run so deep that after reaching a deal in Brussels this week for banks to accept a 50 percent loss on the face value of their Greek bonds, Prime Minister George Papandreou took great pains to explain that a new agreement — a troika presence until 2020 — would only offer technical assistance and that it was not tantamount to Greece’s relinquishing control of its fate.

“I was the one fighting the Germans,” Mr. Papoulias, 82, said on national television. “I am sorry for those who cursed at me. They should be ashamed of themselves. We fought for Greece. I was an insurgent from the age of 15. I fought the Nazis and the Germans, and now they call me a traitor?”
Forbes Magazine
In negotiations that ran late into Thursday morning, private banks and insurers agreed to accept a 50% reduction in Greek bonds held by investors. European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said the agreement will cut Greek debt to 120% of its GDP by 2020. Under the previous conditions, it would have grown to about 160%.
European leaders also agreed to leverage up the euro zone’s bailout fund by four or five times to 1 trillion euros ($1.4 trillion). The European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) has already been used as a lifeline for Greece, Ireland and Portugal, but may soon be needed for the larger economies of Spain and Italy. The source of capital for the fund hasn’t been decided, although the IMF and China are being discussed as possible options.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy plans to call China’s President Hu Jintao on Thursday to discuss the possibility of China contributing to the EFSF. Premier Wen Jiabao had earlier indicated a willingness to provide support to the euro zone as one of its biggest trade partners. China has the world’s largest foreign currency reserves of more than $3.2 trillion.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Queen Mooned

On her recent trip to Brisbane, Australia Queen Elizabeth got an eyeful when a local construction worker decided to moon her. While her motorcade passed through the cheering crowds, a man named Liam Warriner decided to accept the his colleagues’ dare. The 22-year old pulled his trousers down, wedged an Australia flag between his buttocks and ran a long side the motorcade for 50 yards before being apprehended by the police.

The Queen seemed rather unaffected by the incident and soon went on to warmly address the citizens of Brisbane. Mr. Warriner claimed that she and the Duke had waved at him, prompting him to pull the stunt. He also says that he doesn’t feel as though his actions were particularly criminal.

Ellada prosohi

Mixalaki gia sena - Adinamiamou - Bardis

Today is Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011. Tomorrow is the New Moon in Scorpio. Today, the Moon spends the day in Libra – a much more spacious sign than it was the last time the Moon came through. All of the planets that occupied Libra last month have moved on to Scorpio except Saturn (Juno joined Venus, Mercury and the Sun last night). Not long after the Moon makes the same move, it meets up with the Sun to form the Scorpio New Moon. There is, as one regular commenter put it, a “relative ease of transformation” available in these days. How will you be using it?

For one thing, this New Moon is sextile Pluto in Capricorn. That gives a little extra evolutionary energy, in an aspect that lends itself to easy movement. Since Pluto is one of Scorpio’s rulers, there’s particular resonance there, despite this placement not being a favorite of the Moon’s.

In a natal chart, a Scorpio Moon generally indicates a need to “forgive and forget,” as Isabel Hickey writes. These are physically strong, sensual individuals with deep feelings – and those feelings need to be handled carefully and consciously. This is a challenging placement for the Moon, as it is said to be ‘in fall’. But an individual determined to learn empathy toward others and some optimism toward life in general may do well. In any case, the person’s response to life will be deeply passionate.

The asteroid Atlantis is conjunct the New Moon; this is a moment asking us to make peace with change. It’s a ‘beyond doom and gloom’ moment, because things are changing. For one thing, Sun-Moon-Atlantis in Scorpio is the image of how it’s always sex that’s going to bring down society, in the minds of the freaked-out. It’s never banking or chemical companies or politics. Most people treat sex as the culprit.

The #Occupy movement is throwing this idea into relief, calling out to everyone who is struggling financially to actually look at what these chemical companies, banks and politicians are doing. The continent is sinking into the mire of its own decadence. This is not new – it’s been happening for quite a while. What’s new is the number of people who are looking up from the mire determined to move their socio-political houses – not to higher ground in the same worldview, but perhaps to float on the water of new values altogether. At least until the institutions that fall render their building blocks usable again, repurposed for truly solid structures.

That’s more a picture of the Uranus-Pluto square at work, a current of change and upheaval around, beneath and inside us. The Scorpio New Moon conjunct Atlantis brings the evolutionary impulse to an individual, internal, soul-level place. This is something we can work with. We just have to be willing to dive in, dive deep, and only come up for air when we’re sure we’ve reached a new shore of understanding. The temptation will be to skim the surface; to only flirt with fantasy. But it’s only when you say yes to trying that new, daring thing, when you commit to it in action and initiate first steps, that you actually confront your fears and the myriad possible outcomes besides the ones you are afraid of. That’s when you give the universe an opening in which to meet you halfway and move you to someplace new – perhaps someplace you hadn’t even envisioned was possible. The story of Atlantis is about the failure of the collective; combined with the New Moon, we have a symbol for that failure giving rise to the #Occupy movement and the mechanism by which we collectively can transmute and reform that energy.

Speaking of transmuting energy, there is also a square between Venus and Mars tomorrow. Isabel Hickey describes this as a conflict between passion and love. Or, to put it another way: What if everyone goes for what they want? Wouldn’t the result be chaos? We have assertive Mars in Leo, being squared by equally (perhaps more) assertive Venus in Scorpio. Then what happens? What gives? And if you’re being pulled or pushed in those two directions by that square, how do you decide which way to go? Jupiter in Taurus is not aspecting the Venus-Mars square, but it is opposite the New Moon — providing some solid ground to balance the deep waters. When in doubt, check in with your deepest values before you decide where to dive.

Connected - Tiffany Shlain

With wonderful heart and an impressive sense of scale, Tiffany Shlain's vibrant and insightful documentary, Connected, explores the visible and invisible connections linking major issues of our time—the environment, consumption, population growth, technology, human rights, the global economy—while searching for her place in the world during a transformative time in her life. Employing a splendidly imaginative combination of animation and archival footage, plus several surprises, Shlain constructs a chronological tour of Western modernization through the work of her late father, Leonard Shlain, a surgeon and best-selling author of Art and Physics and The Alphabet Versus the Goddess. With humor and irony, the Shlain family life merges with philosophy to create both a personal portrait and a proposal for ways we can move forward as a civilization. Connected illuminates the beauty and tragedy of human endeavor while boldly championing the importance of personal connectedness for understanding and coping with today's global conditions.

Honored by Newsweek as one of the "Women Shaping the 21st Century," Tiffany Shlain is a filmmaker, artist, founder of The Webby Awards, and co-founder of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

Her films have been selected at over 100 film festivals including Sundance, Tribeca, and Rotterdam, have won 20 awards including Audience and Grand Jury Prizes, been translated into 8 languages, and been shown at museums including LACMA and Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art. Tiffany's films are a fusion of documentary and narrative and are known for their whimsical yet provocative approach to unraveling complicated subjects like politics, cultural identity, technology and science. Her films include "Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of Happiness" (2003) about reproductive rights in America, and "The Tribe," (2006) an exploration of American Jewish identity through the history of the Barbie doll, the first documentary short to become the #1 on iTunes. She recently made, "Yelp: With Apologies to Allen Ginsberg's Howl,"(2011) about our addiction to technology and the importance of occasionally "unplugging,' which was selected as finalist for Guggenheim Museum & Youtube's YouTube Play: A Biennial of Creative Video and for Sundance 2011. As a director for both theater and film, she has worked with Harrison Ford, Peter Coyote and Alan Cumming and was selected as an Artist-in-Residence at the Headland Center for the Arts and for a film residency at the San Francisco Film Society. Tiffany's films and discussion programs have been used in many diverse settings to spark dialogues about social issues. She has been singled out by The New York Times, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and The Sundance Institute for her cutting-edge work using documentaries and Internet distribution in unique ways to engage audiences. A sought-after keynote speaker known for her visual presentations, she lectures worldwide on filmmaking and the Internet's influence on society. Invitations include Harvard, MIT, Apple theaters in NYC and SF, The Idea Festival, Fortune 500 companies, the 92nd St Y in NYC and The Sydney Opera House. She received a standing ovation from over 11,000 people after she delivered the keynote address for University of California, Berkeley's commencement ceremony in May 2010.

7.2 Magnitude earthquake in Turkey

As many as 1,000 people are feared dead after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit south-eastern Turkey, destroying dozens of buildings and trapping some victims alive under the rubble

Rescue teams in eastern Turkey are working frantically to pull more survivors from the wreckage of dozens of collapsed buildings following an earthquake in which at least 279 people were killed and hundreds of others injured or trapped.
There was increasing concern for tens of thousands of people forced to spend the night outdoors in near-freezing temperatures in the mountainous Van region, as their damaged homes were shaken by a succession of aftershocks.
"It is a very urgent situation," Hakki Erskoy,, a disaster manager for the Turkish Red Crescent, said, adding that his organisation was dealing with 40,000 homeless people, adding. "Right now, we are facing a race against time to provide shelter for people."
Sunday's 7.2-magnitude quake had the most severe effect in Ercis, a town of around 75,000 people, where an estimated 80 buildings collapsed.
The provincial capital, Van, about 60 miles to the south, experienced substantial damage as well, and the situation was bad in many surrounding villages. According to the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who toured the region by helicopter, virtually all mud-brick homes had collapsed.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Northern coast of Crete

IT was a driving trek of heroic proportions up the dirt road from Rethimno, the historic seaside fort city on the northern coast of Crete, to the tiny village of Potamous, on one of those dusty Greek-island dirt roads that are less daunting than they seem, but nonetheless make every passenger but the driver look like they just stepped off a cyclone. On a friend's recommendation, I was heading, with my husband, Vassili Stenos, to this practically unpopulated village about an hour's drive into the mountains to eat.
The village square was dead this early November day but for a few cats and the distant cackle of free roaming chickens out for their evening constitutional. Kaliope Kehadiadaki, known as Popi, waited for us in the doorway, wrapped in a well-worn apron, We had called to let her know we were coming, a common practice with these tiny, family-run restaurants in remote villages.
We sat down under a hovering old sycamore and soon were treated to one of the best meals I've had in Greece: Crisp, fried zucchini blossoms with a creamy garlic sauce; incredibly flavored runner beans, lightly stewed with whole, fresh plum tomatoes and mint; pan-fried wild goat; rabbit casserole; local cured pork cooked with eggs; snails seared with vinegar and rosemary; a wild greens omelet called sfouggato; and local wine by the carafe. Cont........

Greek Yogurt a success overseas

As Greek yogurt is becoming ever more popular in the States, with major US companies deciding to get involved in the industry, Greece’s leading yogurt maker FAGE is increasing its storage capacity across the Atlantic.
A recent Wall Street Journal report suggested that Pepsico is about to announce the creation of a consortium with German dairy firm Theo Muller for their joint entry in to the US yogurt market, heeding the growing popularity of the Greek product in the country.
Now FAGE’s subsidiary in the States, Fage USA Corp. that was founded in 2005 is responding to the increasing demand by expanding the storage capacity of its factory, that started operating in 2008 just outside New York.
By January 2012 its storage capacity will have grown from 4,000 to 10,000 pallets, thereby dwarfing the capacity of the factories FAGE operates in Greece (5,000 pallets).
FAGE’s investment in the US is estimated at about $160 million to date. It started exporting yogurt to the States in 1998.
Such has been the success of Greek yogurt in the US that Kraft Foods, which had completely left the yogurt market in 2004, recently returned to it using a Greek-sounding name for its product: “Athenos”.

Greek yogurt is much thicker than regular yogurt because a lot of the liquid whey is strained out. It doesn’t need the pectin or other thickeners found in many yogurts. Greek yogurt is higher in protein than regular yogurt, with 8 ounces of the nonfat version supplying about 20 grams of protein – nearly double the protein – content of traditional yogurt. It’s also lower in carbohydrates, which means even less lactose for lactose-intolerant people.
Do note, however that Greek yogurt is substantially lower in calcium than regular varieties (about 150 milligrams (mg) of calcium per 8 ounces versus the 300 to 450 mg in plain regular yogurt). Some brands may contain more, so be sure to check the Nutrition Facts label.
One more caution: fat and calories are also more concentrated – particularly in full-fat varieties. Eight ounces of nonfat Greek yogurt contain about 125 calories (similar to regular nonfat plain yogurt), but the same portion of the whole milk version contains about 300 calories and more than 20 grams of fat. Fortunately, the characteristic thick creaminess of Greek yogurt is present even in the nonfat form. While Greek yogurt is traditionally unsweetened, some flavored versions are now appearing in the U.S.”