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Happy Valentine’s Day > an inspiring day! February 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Culture History Mythology, Editorial.
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Valentine’s Day is a day that inspires almost as much holiday controversy as the annual “Happy Holidays” versus “Merry Christmas” debacle. It is a day that is supposedly all about love and all different types of love. But recently, it seems that it has become much more about romantic love or even just romantic interests rather than love in general.

When I receive valentines from family and friends, it always makes me smile to think of the amazing people I have in my life, people that have chosen to love me unconditionally without any expectation of what I should be or do.

I have no problem gushing my undying affections to my family and my good friends. So why is it so hard to articulate romantic love?

How can you profess love for someone when you don’t even know what love is in the first place? Can you ever define this elusive emotion that Plato described as a grave mental illness?

Just as many Alaska Native cultures have many words for snow, the Greek have three different words for love. “Eros” is Greek for a passionate love, with sensual desire and longing. “Philia” is the Greek word for friendly love, and “agape” is used to illustrate a self-sacrificing, pure love. Expressing they way we feel for our loved ones verbally would be a hell of a lot easier if the English language afforded us such luxuries.

Lovers who are obnoxiously infatuated with one another and completely intertwined with their significant others have been unable to define love for me. I asked around and the general answer I got was a long silence and then “Hmmm ? I’m not really sure.”

After more probing I got some tentative answers. For some, it is simply commitment, but to others it is the sexual feelings that separate romantic love from friendly love.

Those who have been together for many years have told me it is the lifetime commitment that makes their love grow richer and deeper with each passing year.

I have always fantasized about a passionate, love-at-first-sight, soul-mate kind of love, not something that feels as if it can be boiled down to a contract. All I know is that love must be the most powerful of all emotions if it can drive a person to pledge their entire being to one person for a lifetime and to feel thrilled and eager at the prospect.

Philosophers, poets and lovers have attempted to define love since time began, and there are countless definitions, but all of them are lacking in some way.

The conclusion I have reached is that romantic love is something that undergoes an amazing metamorphosis. Love is one thing the first moment you feel it and something else entirely 25 years later. Part of the beauty of love lies in its ability to change with people and with time.

This metamorphosis can begin in friendship or love at first sight, though what matters most is not how it began, but how it ends, or if it ends at all.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Fulbright Teaching Opportunities Available February 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Education.
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The Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program still has positions available for language educators interested in teaching in France or Italy.

Several positions are available for a direct teaching position exchange in France for the 2007-08 academic year. The exchange is open to teachers (grades 7-12) and two- or four-year college faculty teaching French. The application deadline is Monday, February 26.

Spots also are available for an Italy Classics Seminar (June-August 2007). The summer seminar is open to teachers (grades 7-12) and two-year college instructors who teach courses in Latin, Greek or the Classics. The application deadline is Monday, February 19.

For more information, eligibility requirements and applications, visit the “other opportunities” page of the Web site: www.fulbrightexchanges.org/View/ViewOtherOpps.asp.

My big fat Greek Valentine’s Day February 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora.
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A Norwood nursing home is hosting a Greek Valentine’s evening next Saturday, February 17 to raise funds for new transport.

Fairlie House nursing home is hoping proceeds from the evening will enable them to buy a new mini-bus for the residents.

The themed evening will be held at St Cyprian’s Greek Orthodox School in Thornton Heath, UK where guests will be served Greek mezes meals.

And there will be raffle prizes up for grabs, including a weekend break for two in Greece. Tickets cost £25 and can be bought from the home in Springfield Road. Call on UK 020 8670 6090 for details.

Greek Fage yogurt plant coming to Johnstown February 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy.
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Millions of dollars of investment for the Mohawk Valley. That’s what a Greek dairy company will bring as they build a new yogurt manufacturing plant in Johnstown.

There’s a new culture dawning the Mohawk Valley. Greek Dairy company FAGE USA is building its first and only yogurt plant in America. And that $70 million plant is in Johnstown. The company is capitalizing on the increasing popularity of the product.

“They have a following of some popular American icons, for example Martha Stewart, who mentions it a lot on her show,” said Lisa McCoy, Fulton County Economic Development Corporation Marketing Director.

McCoy said the Fulton County Economic Development Corporation was thrilled when Greek FAGE officials told them they were coming. It creates jobs and also will put more money in the pockets of Mohawk Valley dairy farmers.

“They are going to be using 120 liters of milk annually, which translate into 31 million gallons of milk a year,” said McCoy.

McCoy said the spillover effect from the plant is also adding up to dollars and cents, with an increase need for feed, equipment and other products related to the dairy industry. Also, once the plant is up and running, FAGE officials promise about 60 new jobs.

“Some of these jobs are highly technical. The food processing and monitoring are typically highly skilled,” said McCoy.

McCoy said FAGE’s arrival is only setting a precedence of things to come, making it easier for future food processing plants to “whey” their options. “It’s starting a food processing niche in our community,” said McCoy.

Officials said they plan to have the plant up and running by the end of the year for a trial run. It will then be fully operational by 2008.

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Philipakos joins Red Bulls February 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Basketball.
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After an odyssey that included playing for four different Greek teams since 2004 and nearly being killed by his own fans, Peter Philipakos is finally back, in training camp with the Red Bulls.

Philipakos dropped a lawsuit against his now former club, Ethnikos, in exchange for his release. The 24-year-old winger is with the Red Bulls in Florida and could play in today’s preseason scrimmage against Kansas City.

He played alongside FIFA Player of the Year Rivaldo in winning the Greek League and Cup with Olympiakos, even starting a UEFA Cup match at Newcastle. But after a falling out with new coach Trond Sollied, he signed with Aris Thessaloniki.

That’s where his story truly got weird. After a 0-0 tie last April, ironically against Ethnikos, he ripped off his jersey in anger. The Aris fans became enraged, barricading in the players who retreated into the locker room. Then the fans tried to set the locker rooms on fire. Not shockingly, he asked for his release.

Philipakos latched on with Ethnikos, but after months of unpaid wages, he eventually sued the club. Now he’s with the Red Bulls and coach Bruce Arena, a fellow Long Islander.

The Red Bulls also have taken a low-risk, high-reward flier on New Hyde Park’s Craig Capano, a 21-year-old midfielder who missed 2005 with a torn ACL and spent last year on injured reserve.

Greek judo team displays high promise February 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Martial Arts.
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Ilias Iliadis wins silver at Super World Cup, a major event ahead of Beijing Olympics

The Greek National Judo Team returned with a silver medal from the weekend’s Super World Cup in Paris, a major event on the sport’s international calendar, as part of its lead-up to next year’s Beijing Olympics.

Ilias Iliadis, the reigning Olympic and European Champion, won the silver in the 90-kilogram category while, overall, the 10-member squad indicated that Greece can make greater impact next year in China at the Beijing Olympics.

Considering his success in recent years, Iliadis’s post-competition remarks of discontent over his silver medal at the Super World Cup did not come as a surprise. The 23-year-old athlete, a nationalized Greek from the former Soviet Union, lost his final bout against Russia’s Kasambi Taov, a bronze medalist at the Athens 2004 Olympics. Iliadis had won the gold at this event in 2005.

«He could have won against Taov, which leaves us feeling bitter. He performed well throughout the competition, except for the final, where one mistake cost him the gold medal,» commented Nikos Iliadis, the National Team’s head coach.

Making his debut in the 100-kilogram-plus category, Vassilis Iliadis ended ninth after withdrawing because of a leg injury he incurred during a match with Russia’s Alexander Mihailin.

«His presence was very good. He showed signs of strength after a lengthy period of time and could have captured a better place if it hadn’t been for the leg injury. Let’s hope it’s not serious,« said Iliadis, the team’s coach.

The local federation’s chief, Vangelis Soufleris, expressed overall content with the outcome, while hinting that plenty of work lay ahead in the lead-up to the Beijing Olympics. «Generally speaking, I’m satisfied,» said Soufleris. «But it’s still too early to reach any conclusions,» he added.

Qualifying competition awaits the Greek team in its lead-up to the 2008 Olympics. Judo’s popularity in Greece has risen sharply in recent years as a result of its emergence on the international scene. A recent study conducted on behalf of the sport’s national federation showed that judo activity in Greece rose by 7,000 percent between 2001 and today.

Prague’s Black Light Theater back at the Coronet February 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Stage & Theater.
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“The Magic Flute” to be staged at the Coronet Theater.

The magic of the Black Light Theater of Prague returns to Athens later this month as the company presents a new production of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” at the city’s Coronet Theater beginning on February 24.

Through the language of pantomime, the company will narrate the adventures of Prince Tamino, who falls in love with Princess Pamina, daughter of the Queen of the Night. Pamina is a prisoner of the magician Zarastro and Tamino vows to set her free.

The Black Light Theater’s history can be traced back to imperial China and the principle of a small stage covered in black cloth against which invisible puppet players move objects against candlelight. The idea traveled to Europe and in 1961, Jiri Srnec established the Black Light Theater of Prague. A graduate of the Superior School of Fine Arts, the State Conservatory and the Theater Academy of Prague, Srnec experimented on the relationship between reality and illusion on stage. The art of the Black Light Theater is based on a stage background of black velvet gainst which artists, operators and objects are all clad in black and where through the use of black light, multicolored objects come to life.

At the Coronet Theater, 11 Frynis Street, Pangrati, Athens, tel 210 7012123, 210 7012511. For more information log onto www.coronet.gr. Performances begin on February 24.