Thursday, May 21, 2009
This morning I got a nasty shock when I went outside to silence our dog barking. I admit he is a problem barker, but I was not prepared to find a piece of aluminium foil pushed under the fence containing two biftekia smothered with a rancid smelling blue liquid.
Without having the decency to come and talk to us about our dog's barking being disturbing, or even to leave a note, someone had tried to poison our dog. An animal that is only following its protective instincts. Lately I've been running errands in the mornings before work, and I shudder to think what would have happened if I hadn't been at home to check why he was barking and find him curiously sniffing at the "treat" left for him.
The people in the apartment building opposite saw me and my Greek sister (sister in law) shaking our heads over the poisoned meat and ushered us over. Apparently, someone in the neighbourhood had come to the building opposite ours and given the family's details in an attempt to convince the people in that building to make a complaint about us to the police.
What kind of people are these that would poison an animal without even approaching the owners first? Death by poisoning is a very slow and painful way to die. The animal suffers beyond belief. A dog of mine in the Home Country was poisoned and vomited blood for days before his poor little body could no longer take any more.
Lots of people in our neighbourhood keep dogs, and lots of them bark. One dog in particular yaps all day and all night in the summer. But I feel our dog was particularly targeted because he is a Doberman, and this breed has the mistaken stereotype of being vicious. Anyone who ever had a Doberman as a pet knows what silly, playful and lovable animals they are. Whoever tried to poison him must have thought that he's only being kept as a guard dog and not as a pet, so his death would only be an nuisance and carry no emotional weight for the owners.
Animal poisoning is very common in Greece so I don't know why I was so shaken today. I just had faith that my neighbourhood was populated by people with some decency and values, not barbarians who think its okay to torture another living creature.
Monday, May 18, 2009
In Greece though, Eurovision is such a big deal that the chat shows dedicate blanket coverage to the goings on of the contest in the two weeks running up to the finals. Even my favourite chat show "Κοιτάω μπροστά" (Looking Ahead) sacrificed an afternoon to Eurovision, which I was most disappointed about. More on Κοιτάω μπροστά another time, it's the daytime TV equivalent of cocaine.
When our dear superstar Sakis picked his song, I was doubtful. It didn't sound Eurovisiony enough to me. But oh well, Eurovision's biggest audience is women and gay men, so Sakis was sure to bring the votes in. I'm crazy about Eurovision and missed out on attending it when it was held in Greece because it was too close to an important exam. But I thought never mind, Sakis is totally selling the whole Next-Year-Eurovision-On-A-Greek-Island thing. Who could possible resist that?
And then along came some Norwegian guy who still hasn't gotten over some girl he went out with and moaned about it to all of Europe. And Europe in a display of terrible taste gave him a landslide victory. Why am I surprised? Last year's Russian entry was equally shit and only won because of political voting.
I have things to say to the following parties about this heinous miscarriage of justice:
1. Now, Europe. Obviously you're all sentimental fools nursing broken hearts. I get that. We've all been there - the one that got away, the one I was so in love with, blah blah blah. But JESUS!! GET OVER IT! Couldn't you have just got some therapy instead of ruining my Eurovision dreams, and those of Sakis and all of Greece?? Don't you know who Sakis is? He's like a god here! I hope you're satisfied with what you've done. Go freeze your asses off in Norway next year and think of this as your extremeties loose sensation:
"I could have been in Greece right now if I'd voted for Sakis."
2. Northern Europe, who voted so shabbily for Greece - thanks for nothing. You all come here in flocks in the summer, stealing our jobs and our women and our sunloungers and forcing us to see your pasty white bodies turn red under the Greek sun. You come here all the time, year after year, and we're nice to you. The least you could have done was voted for Greece, how bloody ungrateful can you get?!
3. Sweden - I hear your Eurovision presenters has some rather nasty things to say about Sakis and his enthusiastic shirt ripping. I'd like to see you sing and dance like that at the same time with not even a wobble in your voice. Not even big international stars can dance like that and sing live, including Madonna who always mimes when doing yoga onstage. Furthermore, take notes of subclause a and b below:
a) You sent some terrifying manwoman to represent your country.
b) If it's going out of fashion for the Greek boys to chase the Swedish girls on holiday, that's not Sakis's fault.
4. Sakis, it was with a heavy heart that I watched your unnecessary apology to Greece. It's not your fault that Europe has bad taste in music. My tip for next time is: when shirt ripping is in progress, accidental or otherwise, go for it and rip it right off. That would have at least doubled your votes.
5. Russian cameramen - you didn't do too good a job. Don't you know who Dita Von Tees is?
6. Finally, Norwegian winner. Thanks to you we will have to listen to everyone else's miserable love stories next year.
On merrier notes, I thought it was a really good contest this year. I was sure the competition was going to be very tight. Landslide victories are no fun to watch. I thought Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan all had fun songs and I was happy to see my cheesey pal Arash again.
We were watching the contest with some friends and the disappointment in the air was tangible. When the last vote came in, with Greece about 300 points off winning, a member of the gang said "That's it guys, we lost"
You gotta admire that sort of optimism, not losing hope till the last moment.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
The Greek government spends most of its time being disasterously out of touch with its people, so I was delighted to hear that Google's Street View cars have been banned from picturing the streets of Greece in order to protect the privacy of the public.
Echoing a widespread view, Yannis Papadopoulos, a Greek leftist who agreed with the watchdog's precautionary stance, said: "Privacy as a concept or even word may not exist in our language but all this snooping is simply Orwellian. We won't let it pass."
Street View seemed like a cool idea to me, until I started reading about people who had been caught by the cameras in the privacy of their own homes half-dressed, or in other compromising positions, and could not get their image removed from Google. So there you were admiring yourself in some newly purchased Y fronts, and all of a sudden the whole world is watching.
Hooray! A rare step in the right direction by the Greek government!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
- The Yes Ceremony - To celebrate the couple accepting the engagement. Whatever, it's not like they had a choice to say no.
- The Engagement Ceremony - The exchanging of rings takes place
- The Oil Ceremony - The bride gets her hair oiled. All the female guests take turns adding a drop at a time. Yeah, pointless. It was running down her face by the time we were done.
- The Ubtan Ceremony - The female guests take turns applying a traditional bridal skin scrub to the bride. WTF right? This is usually done in private without any ceremony to go along. I mean, I don't see anyone coming to my bathroom to exfoliate my elbows. Am I missing out?
- The Henna Ceremony - Fun times. My favourite part of any wedding
- The Wedding
- The Reception
Don't be fooled. Each one of those days involved lavish settings, decorations to the house and full-on wedding meals. It was awful. By the time we got to the wedding we just didn't care any more. Everyone was feeling like they had run a marathon and our mother was at her wits end because each of the seven days required a different outfit for us.
Friday, May 08, 2009
There is only one male on this planet who can stick his feet under my nose and command, "Smell!" and I'll do it. My beloved godson, the one I faked Christianity for.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
The Guardian newspaper is running a fun story on readers' letters to their younger selves, and while I may not be the wisest of people, I think there are some things I would have loved my younger self to have known: