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Sunday of Orthodoxy observed February 25, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Religion & Faith.
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President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias hosted a reception for Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos and as well as the Metropolitans of the Holy Synod at the presidential mansion on Sunday, on the occasion of the feast day for Orthodoxy, which falls every year on the first Sunday after the beginning of Lent.

Addressing Christodoulos, Papoulias stressed the social character of the Church. “The Church performs its redemptive work neither with what it usually does nor with what it says but, mainly, with what it is,” Papoulias said, adding that this “is” is none other than a vision of another world, one different from the fragile and conventional one in which we live.

Archbishop Christodoulos responded, on his part, that “we are proud that you are the head of the state. Not only because you are continuing the splendid tradition of the link between the Church and the state, but also because you express a vision regarding issues of faith and national matters.”

He also referred to the social work undertaken by the Church which, as he said, constitutes the largest organisation, after the state, in developing a network for treating social ills.

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Int’l Franchise Exhibition opened February 25, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Shows & Conferences.
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Deputy Development Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou and French Ambassador to Greece Bruno Delaye inaugurated the 9th International Franchise KEM 2007 Exhibition at an Athens convention centre on Friday. France is the theme country at this year’s exhibition.

The exhibition, due to last from February 23-26, is being organised under the auspices of the National Greek Trade Confederation, the Franchise Federation of Greece, the World Franchise Council (WFC) and the European Franchise Federation (EFF).

Greece and Cyprus > cruise 2007’s hot spots February 25, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in News Cruises.
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The Greek islands are in fashion for Mediterranean vacations this year

The trendy ports of call for Mediterranean cruises this summer will be in Greece and Cyprus. And of course, Greece is great, especially Santorini. Whenever you see a picture of the most beautiful place in the world, that’s Santorini.

Cruising the Mediterranean, once unusual for Americans, is now becoming common. All the big lines, including even Disney and Carnival, will post ships there this summer. But as routes become more crowded, lines keep looking for new ports of call. Still, here are some great ideas >

Limassol, Cyprus > An ancient castle, citrus groves, mountains and beaches.

Santorini, Greece > Photo op on every corner, whitewashed villages and blue sky.

Corfu, Greece > Glorious scenery and winding old streets, beaches.

Check for details with your travel agent, soon! And don’t accept anything less!

PC Games > Ancient Wars: Sparta February 25, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Games & Gadgets.
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pcgamessparta.jpg  Platforms: PC. Ancient Wars: Sparta is their newest RTS jewel and it takes place around 500 – 450 BC. 

Playlogic brings you an RTS that’s situated in the ancient times, when the Greeks weren’t punished for fooling around with little boys.

In the game you can start with Persians, Egyptians or who would have thought Spartans. PC gamers can run to the stores in March. You will be able to personalise your troops by setting their equipment and by deciding whether you want them to attack or defend.

Sparta is based on the history of the ancient ages and their main nations. Spartans, Persians and Egyptians are fighting for influence around Little Asia, Europe and North Africa. Historical correct timeline is 700-300 BC and the action takes place with different campaigns for all three races. Sparta represents 3D strategy in real time with the new developed “Ancient Wars Engine” (AWE), where the player will have to use each nation’s powers to be superior over other competitors and build up a driving and ruling faction.

The main emphasis is on large-scaled battles and complex tactical manoeuvres. Additional to this, a new method of army equipment is represented. Warriors can be equipped with weapons and shields, can be put on horses or on chariots and be given special abilities. The player can collect abandoned weapons after battles or import powerful weapons from other cultures to build more powerful and different special units. Additionally the forces of nature are very important, because fire, find etc. will affect the whole environment. Cities can be upgraded (e.g. turned to fortresses), workers gather resources to ensure the economic part. Sparta offers every aspect RTS gamers like.

The first thing that strikes us, is the graphical beauty of this game. Everything is made and animated in extreme detail. Grass and flowers move in the wind, while the trees dance along on the rhythm. It sounds poetical, but it really looked that way. The wind can even change directions with a changeable force, something which can be very important during an attack. If you put something on fire, the building next to it can go up in flames too and consequently even the whole village. Interaction with the environment takes this a step further. If you cause in any way a shock, it could happen that buildings close to you collapse or trees fall down. Those trees could at their turn crush buildings or troops. The battles involve sometimes up to a few hundreds of units for each army.

The units can be equipped to your own liking. For example, you choose which shield, primary weapon, secundary weapon, … they will carry. Indeed, every soldier can have two weapons. Of course it’s important to choose wisely. The weapons and shields you take away from the enemy, become your property. You are not obligated to confront your enemy directly. Instead, build pitfalls to protect your territory. If you think walking on foot goes too slow, give your men a horse or an elephant.

The sea isn’t absent either. In those times sailing was very important and this reflects in the game. You can place a limited ammount of units on a ship, and next to cannons you can also ram or board other ships. If this is succesful, the ship is yours.

Relared Links > http://www.playlogicgames.com/games/sparta.php

Ode to a Grecian Booze February 25, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Taste World, Wine And Spirits.
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When forced to drink with the Greeks, forgo the ouzo in favor of Metaxa, a brandy-liqueur hybrid.

metaxa.jpg  Metaxa and I first met at a team-building exercise my then-restaurant called “every night after work.” It was my first job working for Greeks, and when you work for Greeks, you drink with Greeks. The Greeks drank ouzo, a stalwart anisette spirit I both fear and loathe. So to drink with the Greeks and ergo keep my job, I had to shoot Metaxa, the only widely available Greek spirit that did not taste like Good & Plenty, laced diesel.

Metaxa sips more smoothly than hairy-chested bourbon, but is nothing like the liqueurs that should only be drunk by sorority girls like amaretto. An amber spirit, Metaxa is made mostly of brandy, or alcohol distilled from wine. That brandy is aged in wood casks and then blended with aged muscat wine and botanicals. Metaxa is a similar species to Grand Marnier, but not as dominated by one note. It smells lightly of vanilla, with hints of orange and dark spice, and tastes somewhere between sweet bourbon and brandy. You feel the heat and tingle from the alcohol on the tip of your tongue, but the spirit doesn’t burn going down, a unique and dangerous quality.

There are a few tiers of Metaxa, including a seven-star for snifter sipping, but the five-star is the most common and, because of its versatility, the best to use in cocktails. Any drink made with brandy, and many made with tequila, rum, or bourbon, will be bumped up by the flavors of Metaxa. I love it in a simple sidecar. It’s just like a margarita, only made with brandy and fresh lemon juice instead of tequila and lime juice. When you make a sidecar with Metaxa and garnish the drink with an orange, it becomes approximately 15 percent more interesting because of the spirit’s complex flavors and aromas.

It’s still hard to find places that feature Metaxa in any of their drinks. So I went to Vessel (1312 Fifth Ave., 652-5222), a bar with a drink code so strict, the bartenders don’t let vodka in the door. Many of the drinks at Vessel favor the amber spirits, and the bar’s marmalade sour won the contest in my test kitchen:

Put two ounces of Metaxa, a half-ounce of lemon juice, a few dashes of orange bitters, an egg white, and a teaspoon of marmalade in a cocktail shaker. Shake it as hard as you can for 15 seconds to froth the egg white, or use a blender, this time with no ice!, if you don’t have a shaker. The marmalade is the genius of this drink, which is creamy, zesty, warm, and light all at the same time. No need to fear and loathe the raw egg white, it donates an immoral texture. And remember, alcohol kills.

Related Links > http://www.metaxa.com.gr