Δευτέρα, Φεβρουαρίου 28

One more reason to keep Turkey out of the EU

Santa Claus statue row in Turkey: Local authorities replaced the statue of the saint holding a Bible with a plastic Santa Claus.

Grrr... filthy Mahometans.

SUPERPOPE!


If you're Catholic and/or an Anime fan, you have to see this.

Peter Rabbit gets hieroglyph tale

(Link from Andrij)

Beatrix Potter's classic children's book The Tale of Peter Rabbit has been translated into ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs by the British Museum.

Some gem quotes:

"Beatrix Potter's words sometimes do not readily fall into ancient Egyptian."

"The surviving texts provide no easy model for such colloquial phrases as 'Now run along, and don't get into mischief.'"


Ah, yes... just up my alley... together with my little Latin library of children's classics:

  • Ursus Nomine Paddington (Paddington Bear)

  • Fabula de Petro Caniculo (The Tale of Peter Rabbit)

  • Winne Ille Pu (Winne the Pooh)

  • Winnie Ille Pu Semper Ludet (The House at Pooh Corner)

  • Cattus Petasatus: The Cat in the Hat in Latin

    These, naturally, sit in my library next to the Asterix comics in Classical Greek and Latin!

    Having never read the Harry Potter series, I'm tempted to do so now that they're available in Latin and Classical Greek.

  • Afro-centric Crap

    Ah yes. It's time for one of my pet peeves - the Black penchant for claiming everyone and everything was Black in origin.

    In case you haven't seen this phenomenon, it's quite amusing. Basically these Black Americans have, to bolster their self confidence, embarked on a merry romp through world history to claim everything comes from Africa. Examples follow - do be careful not to laugh so hard as to give yourself a heart attack.

  • The founder of China was black!

  • Japanese is a Nigerian language!

  • Karate & other Oriental Martial Arts originated in Africa! HOO HOOO HAHAHAHA

  • Ancient Greece was a BLACK African civilisation!

  • Europe was conquered by Africans! From this link we learn that: Black ruler ship (sic) was widespread in Europe during the “Dark” & Middle Ages! The original “knights” of England were Black! --including the knights of King Arthur’s Round Table! That’s why they were called “knights” after the night or darkness of their skin... Moors ruling Scotland in the 10th century mixed with whites until the black skin color disappeared... - that's how subtle their reasonings are.

  • Indians are African blacks too!

  • The founder and earliest Emperors of China were Black! As was Lao Tze the philosopher!

  • The Japanese are, in actual fact, all of Black African descent!

    The sheer stupidity of these people... ai yai yai yai yai.

  • Road kill candy angers animal rights activists

    Kraft: 'We didn't mean to offend anyone'

    Animal rights activists are disgusted by a new candy from Kraft Foods Inc. that's shaped like critters run over by cars -- complete with tire treads. - full story here.

    Κυριακή, Φεβρουαρίου 27

    Yo Ho, Yo Ho - A Pirate's Life For Me!

    No, I haven't gone mad - I'm merely reminded of the song Yo Ho, Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life For Me) from the Disney ride 'Pirates of the Carribean', which I enjoyed as a child.

    While waiting in a bad mood for the last few weeks for the visa clearance fiasco to clear up, I decided to spend Friday afternoon over the Causeway, doing a little pirated DVD shopping spree in Johor Bahru. I now count a combined DVD collection of some 125 or so films - mostly unusual arty films which can't be found in Singapore anyway. Ah, the joy of intellectual property violations.

    While on that little spree, I decided to do some tobacco shopping. I hadn't realised how ridiculously overpriced tobacco in Singapore was until I compared prices with JB. A pack of 20 Marlboro cigarettes cost about RM5 in Malaysia. That works out to about $2.10SGD, slightly under £1 or about $1.40USD. The same costs $11SGD in Singapore - about £4.70 or $5.50USD. Shocked? I was.

    A 50g packet of pipe tobacco cost RM20 in JB - about $8SGD, about £3.50 or $5USD. The same size isn't available in Singapore - the government has banned pipe tobacco in 50 g packets, permitting only 100g packets (without distinctive brand packing) for sale (yes, no tins either). These cost about $70 for 100g - about £28 or $40USD.

    You do the math. OUCH would be putting it mildly.

    Σάββατο, Φεβρουαρίου 26

    The Madness of King George

    No, it's not a rant about Dubya.

    It's a bit of amusing trivia I found (note: file under 'Stupid Americans') about the 1994 film The Madness of King George, about (surprisingly enough) a prolonged period of madness in King George III. It appears the original title, as planned by the British makers of the film, was The Madness of King George III. Well and good. So why did it eventually drop the III bit?

    Apparently they thought their American audiences might've been confused and thought they'd missed the first two Madness of King George movies.

    Ha!

    Τετάρτη, Φεβρουαρίου 23

    Creepy

    My friend Mark had a bit of a creepy experience last night. He lives next to a cemetary, incidentally. Coolness.

    A Day in the Life of Miss McDonald

    A young woman in the Phillipines with a personal fixation on Ronald McDonald documents her life as his imaginary consort. On Miss McDonald's livejournal, we find pictures of the lucky lady doing laundry, hanging out at the beach, and cuddling up with the tall, red, striped one who has served so very many.

    I say, this is Cosplay gone mad...

    Someone commented Back in the 80s, when I was growing up in the Philippines, I remember Ronald McDonald was a cultural icon. My private (buddhist) school actually hired Ronald to come and do magic tricks for the kids assembled in the temple!

    Picture this: a red and yellow clown soliciting volunteers for a wand trick in front of a 10-foot-tall golden Buddha...
    via Boing Boing

    The Misadventures of Hello Cthulhu

    Right after my earlier post on Squid Things & Cthulhu...

    May I present: The Misadventures of Hello Cthulhu - absolutely hilarious.

    With the 20% increase in tobacco prices announced recently by the Singapore Government, most smokers in Singapore aren't happy. Alas, what can we do but grumble, grimace and bear it? This afternoon, my bunch of friends and i are going to act like the Graeae sisters in Greek mythology, who shared a single tooth and an eye. Of course, in our case, we're sharing a single pack of cigarettes and a lighter.

    ---
    This post was made with a trial version of BlogPlanet, a photo blog client for mobile phones. For more information visit www.blogplanet.net
    .


    I am nerdier than 64% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

    Δευτέρα, Φεβρουαρίου 21

    Squids and Other Creatures


    The Cephal-iPod - Your iPod's glaring whiteness is relaying signals back to the humans. Protect yourself from harmful rays in style with this hand-crafted hip cozy made of (possibly) organic felt.

    In the same vein, may I present The Plush Cthulhu:



    Immortalised in Tales of the Plush Cthulhu.

    May I also recommend Hello Cthulhu.

    Κυριακή, Φεβρουαρίου 20

    Important Lessons

    Soundtrack: Vivaldi - Concerto for solo oboe and orchestra in F major, played by Il Fondamento, dir. Paul Dombrecht.

    Just to amuse myself and some readers, it occured to me to list down some important, if rather random things I've learned over the years with respect to relationships (though having learned a lesson doesn't mean I automatically put it in practice). Note that none of these ideas are original, and plenty of these are phrased in ways that you may have heard before.

  • Never assume.

  • Do not go out with confused men. Or those who are exploring themselves. Or worse still, those still in the closet. Confused and closeted men are not emotionally stable men.

  • First-date guys don't want to hear about your crappy day. They want to hear how in control and confident you are. Save the bitch session for when you know each other better— maybe.

  • Spend less time trying to meet Mr Right and more time trying to be Mr Right.

  • If it really doesn't work out with someone, forget about the 'I just want to be friends' crap. It's an insult to everyone's intelligence.

  • Learn to be happy alone. If you require constant companionship to be happy, you need a therapist, not a boyfriend.

  • Some guys are simply jerks. There is no valid excuse for their actions, and there is no nice guy inside them screaming to get out.

  • Be less concerned with the length of man's dick, the size of his pectorals or whether he has a 6 or 8-pack and more concerned with the strength of his spine. A strong backbone clearly separates the brain from the asshole.

  • Don't assume he's immature because he's young. Don't assume he's emotionally mature because he's older.

  • Mr Perfect is a myth. Mr Perfect is a myth. Mr Perfect is a myth. You will never find someone who satisfies all your criteria and is flawless. If you believe you're dating Mr Perfect, you are either deceiving yourself or you are dangerously low in self-esteem.

  • Get over your gay guilt. AND any baggage from previous relationships. If you can’t accept and value yourself for what you are, your dates will start to resemble binary black holes of emotional need. You can’t hate yourself and at the same time expect to find love.

  • A homosexual orientation is not an automatic indication of taste, class or intelligence.

  • Very good-looking men come with their own special set of problems and insecurities. Don't assume he's taken because he's attractive. And don't assume he's a snob because he's beautiful.

  • Realize that the two of you won’t always agree on every subject. Just because you have an argument doesn’t mean the relationship is doomed to failure. There’s a big difference between arguing and fighting.

  • Three dates does not a boyfriend make.

  • Stop assuming every guy you meet is a potential husband. This is a special brand of self-torture. Have your fantasies if you must, but let him be who he is, and give yourself a break. It's not your fault if he isn't Mr Right.

  • You can't really change anyone, and no one can really change you, but you can be deceived into believing both.

  • Straight-acting is a joke. Anyone with your bits in his mouth is queer. Don’t argue with him. Let him have his fantasy. The bed is not the place for a debate on the semantics of sexuality.

  • If it's over, it's over. You can't bargain your way out of being dumped. Although second chances sometimes work out for the best, third and fourth chances never do. Instead, try being alone for a while.

  • Only porn stars should have sex at work. Keep work and pleasure APART.

    and most importantly:

  • Don't drag your friends into your dating traumas. Bouncing them back and forth between hating and accepting your partner will wear them out, and they may not be there later when you need support the most.

  • Σάββατο, Φεβρουαρίου 19

    What The Ban On Fox-Hunting Really Means

    Fox hunting is illegal in England and Wales. (It was already outlawed in Scotland.) Tony Blair, who is not opposed to hunting, sacrificed it on the altar of the war in Iraq. In order to get enough support on his backbenches, he sold out the countryside.

    All of the Labour townies, who live the politics of envy in their hatred of toffs, have now gotten a chance to stick their knives in. Most of the same MPs support the right to rip unborn children limb from limb - but foxes are a whole other matter. Foxes are hunted by rich people (forget that this is more perception than reality) and rich people must be punished for being rich. Especially if they inherited their wealth, they represent all that is wrong with this country. How dare they pay 40% of the value of their property in tax with each passing generation and still have enough money for a horse and fancy red jacket!
    ---snip snip snip---
    The ban on fox hunting will not stop the killing of foxes. Foxes may still be killed with guns. They are, after all, pests. Until the Labour parliamentary mob completely run all the farmers out of business (and they are working hard at it) foxes will still kill livestock. They just may not be killed by hounds. This will put thousands of hounds out of work.

    What happens to thousands of hounds out of work? They will have to be put down. So all the foxes will still be killed and now so will the hounds. And what of the jobs that depend on foxhunting? Those people will be at the local Job Centre claiming the tax money paid by the toffs, rather than being paid wages from the toffs. And they will no longer be paying any taxes, since they no longer earn a living.

    So everyone loses except the Labour backbenchers.
    via Serge.

    Silent iTunes song stripped of DRM and given away

    Naughty Scott Moschella of Plastic Bugs stripped the DRM out of an iTunes song he won from buying a bottle of Pepsi. He broke another law by making the song available as a free download on his site. The song is called "(Silence)" by Ciccone Youth. It's a silent song, like John Cage's "4' 33"," but it is just a little over a minute long. Grab it now before Apple shuts him down! Link.

    This, of course, brings us to an interesting question. A song's assigned value is based on some form of content (i.e. voices, instruments, effects, etc…). If there is no audible content, what are you stealing?

    I have no lack of brilliant legal minds who read this blog, so do put in your 2 florins/ducats on this!

    Dead Parrot sketch turns real, ends up in court

    Monty Python's Dead Parrot sketch has come to life and moved to Israel, wehre it is the subject of intense litigation:
    An indignant Israeli is suing a pet shop that he says sold him a dying parrot, reports the Ma'ariv newspaper. Itzik Simowitz of the southern city of Beersheba contends the shop cheated him because the Galerita-type cockatoo not only failed to utter a word when he got it home, but was also extremely ill. Mr. Simowitz adds that the shop owner assured him the parrot was not ill but merely needed time to adjust to its new environment. Full story here


    Link via Boing Boing

    OUCH

    Did you have to hit so hard?

    Oh, hello readers... I just got struck by my muse. No, not the sort of muse that dances around in tiny swimming trunks. It was the sort that inspires music and poetry this time.

    I was fiddling around with my lute today (well, not quite fiddling, as I don't use a bow... but aaaanyway), and playing with the old children's song Sing Your Way Home(I don't like this particular harmonization), when I started ornamenting it, as I am accustomed to doing with Renaissance pieces. So I left the initial statements as is, the I began to add trils and grace notes to the repeats. From ornamented repeats... I started fooling about and next thing I know, I've begun doing divisions on the simple melody.

    Very soon, that became a little exercise in composing divisions. I think I should continue with this - who knows, one day I might just post the results in midi and pdf form here for other lutenists and musicians to judge :)

    Is Romance Dead?

    Judging from this particular WAP site, it probably is. Twilightwap's Romance section starts off well with a useful section providing love poems you can send to your beloved. Then there's a romance test and sections which help you say those immortal words "I love you" in diverse languages. Sadly when you reach the bottom of the site, a young lass named Monica offers to indulge in MMS sex chat for a mere £1.50 per message. What price love, eh?

    Παρασκευή, Φεβρουαρίου 18

    Two Chinese Soups

    Soundtrack: Duo Seraphim from Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine, played by the New London Consort, directed by Phillip Pickett.

    <Big Campy Wicked Witch Voice>

    So, my little chickadees... you want to learn to make two easy Chinese soups? Follow meee theeees wayyyyy.....

    </Big Campy Wicked Witch Voice>

    I can't keep it up for very long... I'm not half the queen I used to be, LOL

    Anyway, the two soups I've got here are both variations on what we call in Chinese 蛋花 - literally 'Egg Flower', but apparently better known in the West as 'Egg Drop'.

    Now for the recipes...

    番茄蛋花羹 - Tomato & Egg Flower Soup
    This soup is very popular in the North of China and West of China. It's quick, tasty, nutritious, easily digested and easy to prepare. Southerners and Cantonese tend to prefer long double-boiled soups, so this is quite unknown among them. It should be usable for Lent according to the Western fasting rules (which permit eggs). This should serve 6 as a soup course in a full meal or 2 for a one-course meal (with bread, I imagine, though I've never tried it such).
    2 large tomatoes, skinned and cut into eighths
    1 large onion, roughly chopped
    4 spring onions, chopped
    Half a box of beancurd, diced into inch-long, pencil-thick pieces
    6 cups stock (this may be chicken or vegetable)
    Light soya sauce
    4 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 5 tablespoons water
    2 eggs lightly beaten
    oil
    pepper
    salt
    Heat wok/pot and add 3 tablespoons of oil. Stir fry the tomatoes, onion and half the spring onions over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of light soya sauce, then the stock and beancurd and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt; bring to boil. As it simmers, add the cornstarch mixture to thicken; stir. REMOVE FROM HEAT! Slowly add beaten eggs in a VERY thin stream; stirring constantly until it separates into shreds (this is the egg-flower)... looking rather like ribbons. Sprinkle with the remaining spring onions, add pepper to taste; mix and serve.

    A possible variation is to add 1/2 cup of frozen (or fresh if you can find them) peas and cooking half a minute more before adding the stock. If preparing the soup for someone with a cold or the flue, some suggest adding a slice of fresh ginger to the mix (I've never tried this myself). Another variation is to omit all the vegetables, and lightly boil seaweed, then add eggs - this gives Seaweed & Egg Flower Soup.

    西湖牛肉羹 - Westlake Beef Soup

    Named after a famous lake in 浙江 Chekiang (Zhejiang) province, this thick gluey soup is a favourite among slightly the more affluent classes of Chinese.
    160g minced beef
    1 box beancurd, diced to jelly-bean size
    1 spring onion
    Parsley

    for marinating the meat
    1 tsp salt
    2 tsp cornstarch
    2 tsp light soya sauce
    1 tbsp oil
    1 tbsp water
    pinch pepper
    pinch sesame oil

    thickening agents
    2 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 4 tbsp water

    pinch salt
    pinch sesame oil
    pinch pepper

    2 eggs, lightly beaten

    800g superior stock (may be replaced with beef stock)
    400g water
    Season beef with the salt, cornstarch, light soya, oil, pepper and sesame oil for 10 minutes (or longer if you can afford the time) - adding the cornstarch last (mixing with fingers). While the beef is marinating, bring the stock and water mix to a boil and add in the diced beancurd bits. Add the beef, constantly stirring to break up any lumps, allow to simmer for a few minutes (don't overcook the beef). REMOVE FROM HEAT! Add the beaten eggs in a very very thin stream, stirring quickly so the eggs form shreds. Add the thickening agents very slowly while constantly stirring - the ideal consistency of this soup is like thin glue. Season with more salt, sesame oil and pepper - the final product ought to be quite peppery. Garnish with the chopped parsley.

    A possible variation is to add some minced mushrooms to the meat mixture, or even substituting the mushroom mince for the meat.

    I've just found one of granddad's old cookbooks, with recipes for two of my favourite chinese soups. These are rather rare and less well known, so I'll be posting them up shortly. Readers can try making them and telling me what they think.

    Watch this space!

    ---
    This post was made with a trial version of BlogPlanet, a photo blog client for mobile phones. For more information visit www.blogplanet.net
    .

    We saw first rain in a month over some parts of Singapore. My readers from abroad will, of course, know that Singapore is a tropical country and hence frequently gets very hot. It may not suprise them that a few days ago we had the hottest day in some 50 years, a scorching 35.5 degrees. It may surprise them, however, to hear that we had a wee problem with bushfires this week.

    Hang on, one might well enquire in surprise- isn't Singapore completely built-up with urban sprawl? Not entirely, and even Singaporeans often forget this. Aside from some small patches of primary and secondary rainforest, we still have bits of grassy land in the suburbs. It is precisely these that are at risk, and the conditions for a bushfire here are the same as anywhere else. Extended dry season, dessicated vegetation- all it needs is a spark from refracted light or a cigarette butt.

    Still, our 300 or so fires were small- football field sized or so, nothing like those in California or Australia, Alhamdulilah(Deo gratias in arabic)

    ---
    This post was made with a trial version of BlogPlanet, a photo blog client for mobile phones. For more information visit www.blogplanet.net
    .

    More...



    Translation:

    Upper Left: Aeroflot (the Russian national airline)

    Upper Right: Russian Orthodox Church

    Middle Line: On Our Flights There Are No Atheists

    Amusing Pics from Andrij




    Hey... are you thinking what I'm thinking?


    "How to become a sexual woman"



    Πέμπτη, Φεβρουαρίου 17

    Various Quizzes

    Soundtrack: Sonata III per violoncello e basso continuo in do maggiore, by Alessandro Scarlatti, played by Accademia Bizantina, dir. Ottavio Dantone.

    From Don over at Mixolydian Mode:

    Which Classical Composer Are You?
    - I got Charles Ives: This iconoclastic New Englander crafted some of the most complex music ever conceived. It is still challengingly "modern" a century later. To be honest, I've not heard a single note by this guy.

    Which Science-Fiction Writer Are You?
    - I got Arthur C. Clarke: Well known for nonfiction science writing and for early promotion of the effort toward space travel, his fiction was often grand and visionary.

    and most random of all...

    Which Office Supply Are You? - I got an Ibico® KomboTM lever-operated punch for making a row of rectangular holes in a stack of paper and fitting a plastic "comb" binding into them... If you haven't seen one in use, you'd probably have no idea what it is.

    Τετάρτη, Φεβρουαρίου 16

    Woo Hoo

    Soundtrack: Traveller [Kid Loco's Once Upon a Time in the East Mix] by Talvin Singh.

    Was just on Soulseek when someone on the network thanked me for having a certain file available (as I share some 32,000 files, this happens quite often). He thanked me in Spanish, and I was able to reply 'de nada' (that's about half my Spanish vocabulary anyway). He then said 'BIENVENIDO Y GRACIAS POR TU MÚSICA'... and I didn't know what to say (my Spanish having been pretty much exhausted), so I just replied with Omnes amatores musicae... amici sunt and he went bonum est linguam tam pulchram legere et scribere posse!

    Awwwww... indeed, bonum est!

    Musings On Various National Anthems

    CHINA

    I recently downloaded the PRC anthem (義勇軍進行曲)(not so nice midi version here) off Limewire, in a fabulous band arrangement, nicely rousing. It certainly sounds far more appropriate as a national anthem than Taiwan's Nationalist Anthem 三民主義 (details here). 義勇軍進行曲 was written in 1935, with lyrics by the noted poet 田漢 Tian Han and music by the famous composer 聶耳 Nie Er. The lyrics are as follows:
    起來!不願做奴隸的人們!
    把我們的血肉,
    築成我們新的長城!
    中華民族到了最危險的時候,
    每個人被迫著發出最後的吼聲,
    起來!起來!起來!
    我們萬眾一心,
    冒著敵人的炮火前進,
    冒著敵人的炮火前進!前進!前進!進!

    Arise, ye who refuse to be slaves;
    With our very flesh and blood
    Let us build our new Great Wall!
    The peoples of China are at their most critical time,
    Everybody must roar defiance.
    Arise! Arise! Arise!
    Millions of hearts with one mind,
    Brave the enemy’s gunfire, March on!
    Brave the enemy’s gunfire, March on! March on! March on, on!
    So why on earth am I quoting it, when I'm violently opposed to Communism and an Orthodox Christian by tradition? This song was originally the theme song of the film, Sons and Daughters in a Time of Storm, and was politically neutral at first. The film tells the story of those who went to the front to fight the Japanese invaders in northeast China in the 1930s, when the fate of the nation was hanging in the balance. It was adopted as a marching song during the 40s when the Communists and the Nationalists joined forces to fight the Japanese occupying China, and became highly popular as an underground song of resistance. It's a good song, even it it's been adopted by a horrible Government. Mind you, the government of Taiwan isn't much better - they're an even bigger joke than the Communists.

    Mum mentioned that during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai, Granddad (ever the loyalist) taught her how to sing it. When Grandma found out he'd been teaching her the song, she apparently gave him a scolding - if the Japanese had heard them singing it, there was no telling what sort of punishment they might suffer - even though they lived in the French concession of Shanghai.

    GERMANY

    Ah... Deutschland über alles...

    1. Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,
    Über alles in der Welt,
    Wenn es stets zu Schutz und Trutze
    Brüderlich zusammenhält,
    Von der Maas bis an die Memel,
    Von der Etsch bis an den Belt -
    |: Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,
    Über alles in der Welt. :|
    Germany, Germany above all *
    Above everything in the world *
    When, always, for protection and defense
    Brothers stand together.
    From the Maas to the Memel
    From the Etsch to the Belt,
    Germany, Germany above all
    Above all in the world.
    2. Deutsche Frauen, deutsche Treue,
    Deutscher Wein und deutscher Sang
    Sollen in der Welt behalten
    Ihren alten schönen Klang,
    Uns zu edler Tat begeistern
    Unser ganzes Leben lang.
    |: Deutsche Frauen, deutsche Treue,
    Deutscher Wein und deutscher Sang. :|
    German women, German fidelity,
    German wine and German song,
    Shall retain, throughout the world,
    Their old respected fame,
    To inspire us to noble deeds
    For the length of our lives.
    German women, German fidelity,
    German wine and German song.
    3. Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit
    Für das deutsche Vaterland!
    Danach laßt uns alle streben
    Brüderlich mit Herz und Hand!
    Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit
    Sind des Glückes Unterpfand.
    |: Blüh' im Glanze dieses Glückes,
    Blühe, deutsches Vaterland. :|
    Unity and right and freedom
    For the German Fatherland;
    Let us all strive to this goal
    Brotherly, with heart and hand.
    Unity and rights and freedom
    Are the pledge of fortune grand.
    Prosper in this fortune's glory,
    Prosper German fatherland.
    Das Lied der Deutschen (The Song of the Germans) or Das Deutschlandlied (The Song of Germany)... happens to have one of my favourite melodies. The music is taken from the String Quartet in C major (the Kaiser-Quartet), Op. 76,3 of Joseph Haydn, composed in 1797. Some of you may recognise it as the melody of the hymn Glorious Things Of Thee Are Spoken

    In its historical context, the line Deutschland, Deutschland über alles, über alles in der Welt (Germany, Germany above all, above anything in the world) is an appeal to the German sovereigns to put aside all other petty concerns and concentrate their efforts on creating a united Germany. In Fallersleben's time, this text also had a distinctly revolutionary, liberal connotation, since the demand for a united Germany was most often uttered in connection with demands for freedom of press and other liberal rights. After these rights had been introduced after World War I, President Friedrich Ebert made all three stanzas the German national anthem on August 11 1922.

    In the light of German military aggression and nationalist furor during World War II, it was easy to infer a sinister intent behind the exhortation to a Deutschland über Alles, and the words were so exploited in Allied propaganda. The song still rings with menace today in the ears of some. Many would agree that, however valid the propagandists' interpretation may have been in regard to the Nazis, it does not reflect Fallersleben's original intentions.

    In 1945, at the end of World War II, Das Lied der Deutschen was banned by the victors, and for a time West Germany simply did not have an official national anthem.

    Germany officially continues to have no national anthem, but uses the third stanza at occasions where a national anthem was needed. The first two stanzas are not actually forbidden, but they are never sung on official occasions. Singing or using the first stanza may be perceived as an expression of right-wing political views.

    Why is that? Because it refers to the traditional ethnographic boundaries of Germany : from the Maas [in Belgium] to the Memel [between the present day Kaliningrad area of Russia and Lithuania], from the Etsch [on the Austro-Italian border] to the Belt [in Denmark]. Likewise, the propagandistic mistranslation of the words über alles has now become accepted "truth", thus precluding their use.

    The second verse: German women, German fidelity, German wine and German song,
    Shall retain, throughout the world, Their old respected fame,
    To inspire us to noble deeds For the length of our lives.
    is of course, quite tickling. I don't know about German women, but the boys are pretty cute. As for fidelity and wine... can't comment. But of by German song they mean Mozart and Haydn, I'm entirely in agreement! It seems there are movements that consider even the second verse offensive and want to ban the entire song. A pity, it's one of the prettier anthems of the world.

    MALAYSIA

    Ah... Malaysia, my favourite country for poking fun at. Most Malaysians don't know the origin of their national anthem Negara Ku. This site tells us that in 1957 an adaptation of the Perak State Anthem was selected on account of the traditional flavour of its melody. YEAH RIGHT. This tune was chosen over submissions from Benjamin Britten (1913-1976), Sir William Walton (1902-1983), Carlo Menotti (b.1911) and Zubir Said (1907-1987) (who later composed the National Anthem of Singapore).

    So what was the origin of the melody? It was actually composed by a French composer named Béranger (1780-1857). This song was brought to the Malay states by Raja Sri Chulan Ibnu Sultan Abdullah (1869-1933), who first heard this song when he visited his father (exiled for murdering the British Resident in Perak) in island of Mahé in the Seychelles.

    Béranger’s song was very popular in the Seychelles and was known as O Rosaline. When Raja Chulan went back to Perak, he played the song among his family and friends. When Sultan Idris, the next king of Perak went to England, the song O Rosaline was played in accordance to his visit. From that day onwards, the song O Rosaline became the state song of Perak.

    In 1939, the song was renamed and rewritten as Terang Bulan (Bright Moon) - and in this incarnation, as a love song, became highly popular all throughout Malaya and Indonesia (and later Holland too, apparently, in their love for all things Indonesian).

    Why was this melody chosen as the Malaysian National Anthem? Apparently because everyone knew it and they could thus save having to learn a new melody. How lazy can you get? Even funnier is the fact that the original song Terang Bulan is now BANNED in Malaysia - it may never ever again be performed in public. HA. Germany's anthem takes its melody from Haydn's Emperor Quartet, but you don't see Berlin trying to ban that work.

    It seems during the height of the Konfrontasi between Indonesia and Malaysia in the early 70s and late 60s, there was a Malaysian state function at which Sukarno, then President of Indonesia was present. The Malaysian anthem was played, and Sukarno's reaction was to publicly do what he'd always done when that tune (Terang Bulan, a love song, remember) was played - he started doing the ronggeng dance. Serves the Malaysians right, I say.

    Musica Eclectica

    Tim Burton on the Popemobile: 'The Pope goes around in a bulletproof plastic box? If the POPE is afraid of dying, what chance've I got?'

    I'm listening to Radiohead's cover version of Carly Simon's Nobody Does It Better, which happens to be one of my favourite songs. So alright, they introduce it as 'the sexiest song ever written', which isn't that far from the truth. Then they proceed to MURDER it. <New York Jewish Momma voice> OY YOY YOY</New York Jewish Momma Voice>... If you're on any filesharing networks, go look for it. The lead singer is horribly horribly flat at the high notes. Oh Lordy. It's really really bad.

    I've been putting together cds of mp3s for Gloria, who asked me for samplers of music from various ages. So far I've done:
  • Vivaldi
  • Bach & Händel
  • Renaissance Secular
  • Renaissance Sacred + Orthodox
  • Modern: Nyman, Jazz, Operatica, 20th C, Minimalists
  • Classical: Mozart & Haydn
  • In other news, I also found a remix (no idea whom by) of two songs I rather like, combined as one. The two songs that get meshed together are 簡單愛 (Simple Love) by 周杰倫 (Jay Chou) and Truly, Madly, Deeply by Savage Garden. The two songs melt effortlessly into each other, phrasee by phrase - who'd have guessed they share the same harmonic structure? While obviously the work of a fan somewhere, it really is very well done. Richard pointed out that to get them to match isn't all that difficult if one has pitch and tempo altering software, and his brother Anthony pointed out that it's not unusual for pop music to have simple harmonic structure (and hence several songs with the same chord progressions). I learn something new everyday!

    Campy Japanese Fun

    Soundtrack: Some random harpsichord piece by François Couperin, from the Deuxième Livre de Pièces de Clavecin (Second Book of Pieces for Harpsichord), played by Christophe Rousset.


    So I watched Onmyoji I and II - two campy Japanese fantasy flicks. Yes, flicks is the exact word. They're campy as hell.

    Basically they're both about wizards at the Japanese royal court (circa 1000 A.D.) that do battle for the fate of the current ruling emperor. Japanese CGI and special effects look rather silly by Western standards, but the films are amusing to watch anyway. This Japanese costume epic is set in the classic Heian period (A.D. 794-1185) when Kyoto was the cradle of a blooming Japanese culture. The movie is full of demons and ghosts, sorcerers, fortunetellers, heroic warriors, political intrigue, jealousy and other silly things.

    Mansai Nomura, who plays the great wizard Abeno Seimei (a historical person, apparently), is supposed to be Japan's greatest Noh/Kyogen actor. He was born to play this role because his vulpine features capture the essence of a man, who legend has it, was really a fox taking on human form. Also his extensive background in traditional Japanese theatre means his movement is graceful and every subtle physical gesture made is always precisely defined.



    Playing Watson to Nomura's Holmes is Hideaki Ito's character of Minamoto no Hiromasa. Bumbling, good hearted... and most importantly, stunningly handsome (see him here in his latest film Umizaru - that's him on the poster)! The relationship between Hiromasa and Seimei is that of friendship, but with Seimei's effeminate qualities you wonder if there's not something more. If you raise an eyebrow when Lady Aone starts talking about how Seimei and Hiromasa are "destined to meet" and how they are "two stars that have become one". All of this leads to Seimei cradling Hiromasa's head in his lap while crying and saying 'You can't die.... we've only just met'. Yeah. Right. In the second film, the androgynous Seimei threatens to choose a side regarding his sexuality, which ends with him donning a dress and looking quite fetching -as a girl, that is. Take that for what you will.

    Another major aspect in the films' favour is of course the Shinto mysticism, and lets face it, Onmyoji’s are pretty darn cool. Watching Seimei performing sealing techniques and fighting mystic forces is simply good clean fun and there’s certainly a few very imaginative set pieces scattered throughout the films. Neat little touches include the fancy way Seimei does his research using magic floating scrolls and there’s a tonne of cool sealing techniques used throughout. Also if you’re fond of a bit of camp then I’m sure the laughably poor prosthetics on the demon in the second film. will prove a hoot. Looking more like a Klingon outcast than a big bad nasty, the “monster” of the piece spends most of his time grunting like a wild pig or panting like a dog in heat. It’s about as menacing as a marshmallow in bubble-wrap. Yes, it really is that silly. Let's not even go into how the first film has a woman walking around with candles on her head. Shampooing for her after a long filming day must be a real bitch.



    Now, the DVDs I watched were bought from JB (over the border in Malaysia) - so the quality can be erratic. The first film nearly drove me nuts as it didn't have a Japanese soundtrack option. It only had an ANNOYING American-dubbed soundtrack. Heaven help us, the sound of a Heian-era master magician played by Japan's top Noh/Kyogen actor explaining demonology in a Californian accent is just.... wrong. The second film had a Japanese soundtrack and English subtitles, mercifully.

    I'm given to understand that the two films were super-hits in Japan, breaking box-office records. Aside from the fabulous attention to detail in costumes and set and the droolsome Hideaki Ito, I'm not entirely sure why this was so. Still, it's worth watching if only for a laugh. Those of my readers who've watched Chinese horror flicks involving a Taoist priest battling demons and suchlike will know exactly what sort of film this is - merely with far better production values. If this is Japan's answer to The Lord of the Rings, all I can say is 'HUH??'

    Τρίτη, Φεβρουαρίου 15

    Desire, the fifth of The Endless, yours is the realm of lust, want, passion, and, of course, desire. You tend to be selfish, only concerning yourself with your own needs, and
    Desire, the fifth of The Endless, yours is the
    realm of lust, want, passion, and, of course,
    desire. You tend to be selfish, only concerning
    yourself with your own needs, and you have no
    scruples about using your absolute draw over
    the opposite sex to get your way. You love
    being around people, because it's never long
    before they give in to your will.


    Which Endless are you?
    brought to you by Quizilla


    You Are a Classic Gucci Bag


    You've got style mastered - because you stick with what works
    Like this Gucci Bag, you prefer classic items that stand the test of time
    You're also a bit of a practical girl, who prefers function over fluff
    You prefer a big bag, so that you can have your stuff with you at all times

    What Kind of Handbag Are You? Take This Quiz :-)

    Find the Love of Your Life
    (and More Love Quizzes) at Your New Romance.

    Κυριακή, Φεβρουαρίου 13

    Techno? There's An Inner Beng Inside Me...

    A year or so ago, I would scour Limewire and Soulseek for 80s hits that I never listened to when they were popular but suddenly had a craving to hear.

    Now, I'm scouring the net for techno remixes of the same things.

    This is disturbing - primarily for my parents who have to endure the noise. While trawling, I found some rather... uh... weird things.

    Techno remix of the theme from Super Mario Brothers

    Yes. The arcade game. It's really really weird and sounds... WRONG. Almost as bad was the techno-remix of the theme from Scooby Doo.

    I'm surprised at how many things get techno remixes. Vivaldi's 4 seasons. Opera. Ok so far.. but ENYA??? And Pachelbel's Canon in techno is... beyond words.

    I think there's an inner beng inside of me screaming to get out (that's the Singaporean equivalent of what Brits call chavs or Essex boys). The fact that my current mobile phone wallpaper is the Chinese character 義, meaning loyalty, honour... I'm told this sort of thing is popular among Bengs.

    Oookaaaaaay.

    Oh, and I have a date for St Valentine's Day.

    *hop hop hop*

    Σάββατο, Φεβρουαρίου 12

    Da Vinci Code?

    Zhengxi/Remí passed me Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code to read.

    Oy Veh.

    As a novel, it's just so-so, one of those mystery thriller novels. If only people could treat it as fiction. The annoying thing is that it uses the 'bloodline of Christ' nonsense propagated by the Gnostics and the 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail'people, and there are people who take it seriously. Good grief. It's just a novel, people - get over it. The 'bloodline of Christ' and other theories that the novel espouses may be found debunked here and here and here. Readers of the blog who wish to add links, please do!

    Just a few grouses with the novel:

    1) Bishop Aringarosa keeps getting addressed as 'My Lord'. The author doesn't seem to realise that he's gotten it slightly off. Bishops of the Anglican Church are automatically members of the House of Lords in the British Parliament, and are entitled to be referred to as 'His Lordship' and addressed as 'Your Lordship'. Catholic Bishops get 'His Grace' and 'Your Grace'. Somehow whenever someone in the book calls Aringarosa 'My Lord', I keep thinking of Percy or Baldrick addressing Blackadder.

    2) Chapter 92 particularly annoys me as he refers to King's College London (my alma mater) and gets it wrong. KCL was not founded by the King in 1829 - it was founded by the Duke of Wellington, who was then Prime Minister, together with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Next, it refers to the librarian at the KCL library as being cheerful and helpful. Having spent more than 3 years having to deal with the librarians there, I can most certainly say they are anything but cheerful and helpful (but hey, this is fiction...)

    The Da Vinci Code packs in many other anti-Catholic fictions. But the novel’s "remarkable revelations" about the Church and historical events are mostly tired cliches borrowed from sources (such as 1982’s Holy Blood, Holy Grail, by Michael Baigent) that no genuine scholar takes seriously. A work of historical revisionism, the Code relies on a clever mixture of paranoia, outlandish story lines, anti-Catholicism, and trendy relativism.

    Brown has discovered a winning recipe: Attack the Church, misrepresent history, add mystery and romance, stir up controversy, and produce a half-baked story. Sadly, the truth has been left out of the mix, and the final product is not fit for consumption—either by Catholics or anyone else.

    As for his theories and the conspiracy theories... oh please. I read Holy Blood & Holy Grail when i was 14. Even back THEN I could pick out the flaws in the theories. It feels sort of tragic to have been there done that and beyond the sensationalism, when everyone else is starting to get excited.

    A New Definition

    Ancient Text: an sms that's more than a year old.

    Oh, and I so hate tech-support hotlines. 24-hour my ass, what they mean is that it takes 24 hours before you get to talk to a live person.

    Παρασκευή, Φεβρουαρίου 11

    So it works! Bold text is possible, as is italic text. Ah, the joys of being at the cutting edge of technology.

    The news today reported a temperature of 35.5 deg Celsius here in Singapore. Apparently it's the hottest day in 50 years. It certainly felt like a scorcher, even if I've been through far hotter times- specifically that summer I spent working at the cathedral in Florence, when temperatures soared to 44 deg. Oh Lordy, those were hot and humid days- some days didn't have a single wisp of breeze. Of course, when we tried to escape the Tuscan heat by going to Elba island (where Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled), we were horrified to find temperatures of 49, 47 in the shade. Cold gelato has never tasted so good as on one of those days. Of course, the gelato in Italy is generally better than that to be found outside Italy...

    ---
    This post was made with a trial version of BlogPlanet, a photo blog client for mobile phones. For more information visit www.blogplanet.net
    .

    Testing testing - here's me blogging from my mobile phone- using a java applet called Blogplanet. Let's see if it works!

    ---
    This post was made with a trial version of BlogPlanet, a photo blog client for mobile phones. For more information visit www.blogplanet.net
    .

    Limericks!

    One of the joys of life is writing limericks for one's friends. They're short, often picturesque and always amusing (unless one intends for them to be provocative). One of the key elements is to make the metre and rhythms of the various lines match. Here I present a few I've written these few days:

    For Khayce
    There once was a fellow named Khayce
    Whose panties were often of lace.
    Despite his wife Lynn,
    He's doubled his chin,
    It's all we can do to keep pace.

    For Lynn
    There once was a lady named Lynn,
    Who counselled some ladies of sin.
    She'd sit there for hours
    And munch on the flowers,
    Till her husband said 'You, cow, come in!'

    For Gerard
    There once was a fellow named Gee
    Whose complexion was like that of brie.
    He'd sit there with ease
    And munch on a cheese
    Until it was time to go pee.

    For Wen
    There once was a fellow named Wen
    Whose tummy was shaped like an urn.
    He continued to game
    Tho we said it was lame,
    Smiling and waiting his turn.

    For Michelle (whom from the contents you'll all guess I don't like much)
    There once was a girl named Michelle
    Who never did anything well.
    Her only good bits
    were large saggy tits,
    And over her tummy they fell.

    Πέμπτη, Φεβρουαρίου 10

    Etiam Varia

    Reverse Astrology Sign Calculator! According to our analysis, you are a Leo, July 23 to Aug 22. But you are certainly not a Virgo, Aug 23 to Sep 22. You claim to be a Virgo, but you are simply in error. Please consult your parents as to your actual birth date. - from Mixolydian Mode.

    Confucius Today - the relevance of Confucius to the modern world, and how he first with the traditional Christian view of society.

    How to play the French service game ... and win
    - The French have a saying 'le client est roi' - the customer is king. But we all know what they did to their royal family. The guillotined head of Louis XVI bounced across the Place de la Concorde as a few thousand Parisians laughed at it - and those chuckling spectators were the ancestors of today's French waiters. Full story here. Link via Dappled Things.

    Cows with Guns

    Soundtrack: Cows with Guns sung by Dana Lyons.



    This flash animation is truly hilarious. I've been listening to the song for some years now, and to see it as an animation makes it a whole lot funnier.

    (link via Mixolydian Mode)

    Τετάρτη, Φεβρουαρίου 9

    A Stroll Down Chinatown During Chinese New Year

    Soundtrack: NO CHINESE NEW YEAR MUSIC PLEASE. I swear, if I hear any more "Tong Tong Tong Chiang", I'm going to scream. No wonder suicide rates go up around this time of the year, it's the annoying Chinese New Year music. I'm convinced the constant barrage of questions - "do you have a girlfriend yet? When are you getting married?" - also contribute to it.

    So I've been meaning to blog about this for a while, but didn't get round to it. I took a stroll down Chinatown one Sunday afternoon recently with my parents. We were there for lunch at a Northern Chinese restaurant, and thought to walk around the stalls selling Chinese New Year goods.

    Now, for my readers who aren't from Singapore (or Asia for that matter), it may be a surprise to learn that Singapore has a Chinatown. Indeed, my dukhovnik's reaction was 'but isn't Singapore one big Chinatown?'... yes, quite. Nevertheless, there's a bit of town that's particularly Chinese. It is here that the greatest concentration of stalls selling New Year goods and goodies may be found, and I suspect it may be of some interest (and amusement) to my foreign readers to see what one may find there.

    On to the photographs!

    Ed049
    The Chinese God of Wealth - made out of glutinous rice paste, what we call New Year Cake or 年糕. Now, I'm not sure what one does with this. Obviously one is meant to display it for a while, but what happens when the God of Wealth begins to go mouldy? What would be the implications of chucking the God of Wealth into the bin? I suppose one could clean off the mould and eat it, but considering how New Year Cake is eaten, what would be the implications of applying a knife to the God of Wealth, slicing him up, and frying the egg-dipped slices into oil? Troubling, I say.

    Ed003
    The same God of Wealth, this time in an incarnation previously unknown to me - as a 2 foot tall inflatable doll. Around him is assorted tacky Chinese New Year decorations.

    Ed016
    One of the stalls selling New Year tack. By this time you should have figured out the colour red is somewhat popular.

    Ed002
    More of the same.

    Ed009
    A shop selling New Year goodies - assorted munchies.

    Ed008
    On the left, pussy-willows galore! Chinese use pussy-willows a lot for decoration during Chinese New Year (also called Spring Festival) as up in the North they are the first flowering things (rather like the reason why the Slavs use them in place of palm branches during Palm Sunday). On the right, a new sort of thingy - bright yellow fruit thingies on branches. I've never seen them before, but I suspect their colour makes them appear auspicious.

    Ed065
    A side-street full of shoppers. That's my thumb at the bottom...

    Ed014
    Dried Persimmons - one of many sugared fruit items on sale.

    Ed021
    At this point we may stop for some refreshment. Those things you see in the boxes, on ice, aren't eggs. They're baby coconuts with their husks removed. Cooled in ice thus, they make a fabulously refreshing drink when their tops are sliced off, as the liquid inside is sweet and cooling. Also, the sweet flesh inside is tender enough to be scraped off with a plastic spoon. Yum.

    Ed017
    Cake-ish confections in auspicious shapes - peaches and mandarin oranges.

    Ed010
    Little bamboo shoot thingies - they only require water to grow, and are pretty to look at on account of their green colour. I've seen them on sale in IKEA in London, so I suspect they're not unknown in the West these days.

    Ed063
    Now, a stall selling preserved meats! More detail in the next two pictures, but one gets an idea of the variety. On the left and top, one may find chinese sausages - cured pork, with lots of honey and sugar syrup in them - these are the dark red thingies. Slightly darker brownish ones have blood in the mix. The large longish ones are a sort of cured and dried bacon. All these things are cooked by being steamed to restore the moisture - in their dry state they last years.

    Ed064
    Here may be seen various sausages, cured fish, and most importantly - what we call 'waxed duck'. It's not really waxed, merely cured and dried with a thick layer of grease and salt acting as a preservative.

    Ed018
    If you think those are legs of ham hanging there, you're right. They're REALLY GOOD.

    There was, amusingly enough, an Austrian selling German/Austrian grilled sausages. Yes. With all the trimmings - sauerkraut, mustard, pretzels... He was wearing a red chinese outfit - complete with hat and fake queue. A pity I didn't get a good picture of him!

    All these may be found in full size at my flicker page here!

    World Table Manners

    Try this quiz - I got 7 out of 11.

    Constantine - the Movie

    Soundtrack: Introit from Tomás Luis de Victoria's Officium Defunctorum (Requiem). Published in 1605, it was composed for the funeral of the Dowager Empress Maria (daughter of Charles V, sister of Philip II, wife of Emperor Maximilian) in 1603 in Madrid. Hard to believe this is contemporary with Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine, the Victoria being so quintessentially Renaissance in its polyphonic conception, while the Monteverdi clearly looks toward the Baroque era.

    SO OK, first a synopsis of the story taken from the website.

    John Constantine has been to hell and back.

    Born with a gift he didn't want, the ability to clearly recognize the half-breed angels and demons that walk the earth in human skin, Constantine (KEANU REEVES) was driven to take his own life to escape the tormenting clarity of his vision. But he failed. Resuscitated against his will, he found himself cast back into the land of the living. Now, marked as an attempted suicide with a temporary lease on life, he patrols the earthly border between heaven and hell, hoping in vain to earn his way to salvation by sending the devil's foot soldiers back to the depths.

    But Constantine is no saint. Disillusioned by the world around him and at odds with the one beyond, he's a hard-drinking, hard-living bitter hero who scorns the very idea of heroism. Constantine will fight to save your soul but he doesn't want your admiration or your thanks – and certainly not your sympathy. -- © Warner Bros.


    This I watched with Richard, Gloria, Raymond, Gerard, Gloria's friend Jenny... all of whom are diehard comic fans. I, on the other hand, don't particularly care for comics, and I was there because it was the opening of a hyped film (some 10 days ahead of the US release)... and because my friends were there, and (of course) because it stars the stunningly goodlooking Keanu Reeves.

    The cinema was as full as can be, no doubt because it was Chinese New Year Eve, and all schools and most businesses operated only for half a day, with the consequence that town was infested with schoolkids wanting to watch the latest hit film before going home to eat Reunion Dinner.

    The friends bitched about how in the original, John Constantine is English, blond, and the action is set in London. Here, Keanu keeps his original accent (American) and hair colour (black) and the action is set in Los Angeles. They groused about how in the original, John Constantine has a distinct dislike of ritual and particularly Roman Catholic ritual - in this film, Keanu uses quite a lot of Latin ritual, and that's what I'm going to comment on. Keanu in some interviews claimed that although he is an atheist, he trained under an exorcist to prepare for the role. Yeah, RIGHT.

    I'm tickled by the use of Latin everywhere. I suppose for the film-makers and audiences, the use of a ritual language adds to some supposed feel of mystery. Those of us who are Orthodox would cheekily add that it's because the demons all speak Latin - Angels obviously speak Greek or Old Church Slavonic.

    In a scene, when he is about to banish a half-demon back to hell, as he kneels over the almost-vanquished baddie, he takes out a little black book clearly marked Holy Bible, and uses a prayer of exorcism. God only knows where he got it from, as the Bible is nowhere (in any Christian denomination) used as a ritual of exorcism. The book that ought to be used is the Rituale Romanum (the Roman Ritual), which contains the rite of exorcism. Even then, I know the prayers of exorcism in the Rituale, and none of them sound even remotely like what he said.

    Then there was the great big book, supposedly a Hell Bible, with extra chapters. In Latin (of course). To add to the fun, as relevant extracts were being read from the book, they decided to film a finger running over the supposed text. Pity the text didn't correspond to what was being read - they obviously didn't count on many people in the audience who could read Latin.

    A lovely Ethiopian neck-cross of silver made a quick appearance in the film - pity it was melted down to provide silver for bullets!

    Since when are exorcisms done In Nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti (in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit)?

    Oh well, it was amusing anyhow, and not bad for entertainment.

    Ah, and one moment was worth the entire price of admission - at the end of the film, for a few seconds, a kneeling Keanu Reeves rips his shirt open to look at his torso, and flexes his abs. OH MY. =)))))))

    Two Iliad Thingies

  • An Iliad Quiz

  • The Iliad as Manga

    and...

  • The Parthenon... in NASHVILLE? - I'll bet almost none of you knew about this. A reconstruction of the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee, complete with a 42 foot tall gilded Athena statue.

    and in case anyone feels like some woodworking, here are instructions on how to build a Greek hoplon (more authentically called an άσπις - aspis).

  • Κυριακή, Φεβρουαρίου 6

    An Interesting Dinner

    So there I was, minding my own business, having dinner with some friends in a nice restaurant. In the middle of this, someone comments 'look what the cat dragged in' and points toward the door. I look out and nearly fall off my chair.

    In strides the local Greek Orthodox priest, in full gear - anterion (inner cassock), riassa (outer cassock) and kalymavkion (hat). Then comes in another cleric-looking fellow, this time with a small skullcap covered in crosses. 'Ah,' I think to myself, 'a Coptic priest'... and then comes in a similarly attired fellow, slightly older, and with a turban.

    *BLINK BLINK*

    I suddenly realise I've got a Coptic bishop here. They're having dinner there... and in full regalia. So I ask for a blessing, make some quite talk, and find out there's a Coptic Mass/Divine Liturgy tomorrow morning at the Armenian Church! Morning Raising of Incense at 8.30, followed by Mass at 9. Mostly in English, it seems. Yes, I'm going =)

    So how's that for synchronicity... 3 Orthodox clerics dropping in on me while I have dinner. It could only happen to me, I say.

    Τρίτη, Φεβρουαρίου 1

    My Mediaeval Personality

    Soundtrack: Carmel by Suzanne Vega, from her Nine Objects of Desire album.

    Here are my results from the Your Medieval Personality Type quiz:

    link via Katolik Shinja:




    You are a "bilious" Choleric, with an abundance of yellow bile (believed to have originated in the kidneys). Cholerics are characterized by the element of Fire, the season of Summer, early adulthood, the color fiery red, and the characteristics of "Hot" and "Dry." Famous Cholerics include St. John the Baptist, St. Paul, and St. Ignatius of Loyola.

    If you were living in the Age of Faith, perfect career choices for you would be Crusader (leader of the Crusades, of course), the knighthood, King, mayor, head of a guild, founder of a new religious order, or housewife or father with a well-organized, well-behaved brood, each of whom you expect to excel.

    More about Cholerics here.

    Meanwhile, the other three types are:

    Sanguine

    Phlegmatic

    Melancholic