Sunday, 28 October 2012

28 October 1940 - Greece in WWII

On this day in 1940, Mussolini's army, already occupying Albania, invades Greece in what will prove to be a disastrous military campaign for the Duce's forces.

Mussolini surprised everyone with this move against Greece; even his ally, Adolf Hitler, was caught off-guard, especially since the Duce had led Hitler to believe he had no such intention. Hitler denounced the move as a major strategic blunder. According to Hitler, Mussolini should have concentrated on North Africa, continuing the advance into Egypt. Even Mussolini's own chief of army staff found out about the invasion only after the fact. But despite being warned off an invasion of Greece by his own generals, despite the lack of preparedness on the part of his military, despite that it would mean getting bogged down in a mountainous country during the rainy season against an army willing to fight tooth and nail to defend its autonomy, Mussolini moved ahead out of sheer hubris, convinced he could defeat the Greeks in a matter of days. He also knew a secret, that millions of lire had been put aside to bribe Greek politicians and generals not to resist the Italian invasion. Whether the money ever made it past the Italian fascist agents delegated with the responsibility is unclear; if it did, it clearly made no difference whatsoever-the Greeks succeeded in pushing the Italian invaders back into Albania after just one week, and the Axis power spent the next three months fighting for its life in a defensive battle.  Mussolini had been humiliated by the Greeks.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Summer Holidays in Sifnos

I haven't been around a lot lately as business trips around the world and work have been keeping me busy for the last 6 months. Wintin 2 weeks I flew from Athens to Frankfurt, from there to New York and  L.A California, from L.A I flew back to Europe. In London I had a flight to catch to the Scandinavian countries. Then  back to Germany and from there to Sydney and later to Tokyo.

Since Wednesday here I am , at last,  back to Athens. Home sweet home! I mostly missed gyros and souvlaki and that unique athenian ambiaance which can be both....irritating and exciting. Right now, I'm taking a short holiday on my favourite Greek island - Sifnos.  I can't imagine spending a summer holiday away from Greece although I know there are a lot of beautiful places to enjoy summer worldwide. In Sifnos, I have made some great friends over the years, I enjoy fishing early in the morning,  even though I don't catch anything! I usually do, though! Calamari, red snapper or, if I'm lucky enough, red mullet and lobster! 


Saturday, 19 May 2012

The Lying Game

I hate being lied to. Short of violence, it is the worst thing you can do to me. Not because of God, or the Ten Commandments, or any universal moral precepts. The reason that I hate lies is because, like you, I wish to navigate carefully through life, and to do so I must be able to calculate my true position. When you lie to me, you know your position but you have given me false data which obscures mine.

Lying creates inequality. Since you also do not like being lied to.I have never known anyone who wanted to be deceived- you have acted as if there were two classes of humans: you, with the right to lie, and everyone else, who must be truthful to you so that you too will not lose your way.

Lying treats people as means to the end you wish to accomplish, and not as ends in themselves.
Lying is one of those rare areas in which the moral rulebook and the legal one overlap each other quite neatly. Fraud is defined as an intentional falsehood on which another relies to his detriment. A fraud is a lie writ large, often in a financial context, where the damage to me is quantifiable in money. Even those lies which the law does not define as fraud tend to fit the same definition: a knowing false utterance which the mark is intended to rely on to his harm, and does. The only differences are of degree, for example, when we cannot assess the loss in money.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Spring in Greece

At this time of year, wildflowers are in full bloom all over Greece, the weather is pleasantly warm during the day but it can get rainy and stormy and quite chilly at night - especially in April. In May it often feels like summer, hot days are not unusual and we can expect temperatures around  23C / 74F

The refreshing season of spring adorns the fertile landscape of the country  with a synthesis of natural beauties that will take your breath away. The lush vegetation of the green forests and the verdant slopes of the brown-reddish mountains, the prosperous plains and the bloomed uplands, the flowered gardens and the flourished parks, shall be composing an amalgam of multiple colours and breathing the intoxicating essences of the efflorescent landscape, as the highlights of the golden sun are bedazzling your eyes.

Unquestionably, during the spring season, the enchanting landscape  of Greece is embellished in a unique manner, as the Greek land seems to have been covered with a multicolored veil and a refreshing essence. However, spring is not an invigorating season only for nature but even for us. As you l become an eyewitness of the revival of nature taking place while wandering around the appealing country of Greece, you can find numerous regions of absolute natural beauty interspersed all over the divine land.

Sunday, 4 March 2012


Yоu сannоt hаve success if yоu do not know whаt іt means for уou. Evеryоne views success differently. Set clear goals аnd bе realistic. How wіll you know when you've achieved уour goals? Your standards shоuld bе quantifiable, оr еlse yоu сould spend your entire life chasing after а vague goal. For examрlе, lеt's sау уou wаnt tо be good at уour job. Yоu get a promotion, уou get а raise, but you ѕtіll haven't reached уour goal bесauѕе уou сould аlwayѕ dо better, rіght? Yоu cоuld alwауѕ get promoted еven furthеr, оr make evеn more money. Whаtеver уоu hаve will nevеr be enough. Instеad, create benchmarks: "Mу goal іѕ tо increase my productivity bу 30% and оnly be late fоr work fіvе times рer year, at the moѕt." Thеѕe are quantifiable goals that whеn achieved, give уou a sense of satisfaction аnd completion, making уоu feel successful and confident.

What is success to you?

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Compassion Gives Strength

Compassion is the keen awareness of the interdependence of all things. --Thomas Merton

Compassion is the ultimate and most meaningful embodiment of emotional maturity. It is through compassion that a person achieves the highest peak and deepest reach in his or her search for self-fulfillment. --Arthur Jersild

Compassion is not sentiment but is making justice and doing works of mercy. Compassion is not a moral commandment but a flow and overflow of the fullest human and divine energies. --Matthew Fox

The whole purpose of religion is to facilitate love and compassion, patience, tolerance, humility, forgiveness. --H.H. the Dalai Lama

Always treat others as you'd like to be treated youreself ... Don't do to others what you would not like them to do to you. --Karen Armstrong

Sunday, 20 November 2011


A mirror, like  a picture itself, reflects "reality". Due to its respective qualities, it either depicts, magnifies an object or makes it smaller, sometimes it even evokes infinity. Just like the objective of a camera, a mirror delimits excerpts from a variety of pictures either through its outline or with its frame and cuts them. Depending on its position, it either tilts them or puts them at an angle. From the early days, there was a certain preference to use reflecting water surfaces and reflecting surfaces of other suitable materials in still lives due to their intensified expression and the transmission of material qualities and refraction. With the help of reflections several messages could be sent at the same time. A reflection informs us about the source and the intensity of light, the surroundings of an object and about visual impressions that are situated farther away.
The photo is a courtesy of my friend and blog contributor Anastasia

By depicting reality the artist takes stock of what he considers worth communicating. In the mirror, too, a depiction varies due to the "setting", for even a selection of excerpts provides an interpretation of the overall picture. You can see yourself in the mirror, but you can also steer for parts of the environment or for other people. Depending on how you hold the mirror, you can even see yourself upside down, with your feet on the ceiling. Because of this, you realize familiar things more intensely or even as completely new. Surfaces curved by mirror tiles take a picture apart (also by shifting the edges), broken pieces of mirror tiles make it undone.

The mirror belongs to man as the most important attribute of his surroundings, because it is used as a mean of self-control and to check on everyday life. Man likes depicting himself in pictures and when he is looking at himself. This enhances his status as a person and is a proof of his "handsome appearance" and that he accepts himself. It also shows that he wants to come to terms with his personality or that he has already completed his development. Visions and mirror images may prompt new ways of looking at things.

Friday, 28 October 2011

28 October 1940

At 2:50 am on Sunday, 28 October 1940, General Ioannis Metaxas, Prime Minister of Greece , was awoken in his Athens home. At the door was the Italian Ambassador, Count Emmanuelle Grazzi, with a written ultimatum to the Greek government demanding that Italian forces be given free passage into Greece from Albania and that they be allowed to garrison certain unspecified "strategic points of Greek territory". Italy claimed that its request for this "temporary" occupation was the result of British attempts to involve more and more countries in the war. If Greece refused to comply then resistance would be "broken by force of arms". A reply was demanded by 6.00 am, but Metaxas gave it at once — "Alors c'est la guerre" (well, this means War, in French). At 5.30 am Italian troops crossed the Greek–Albanian border and Greece was at war with Fascist Italy.

The Italian Ultimatum:
"The Italian Government has repeatedly noted how, in the course of the present conflict, the Greek Government assumed & maintained an attidute which was contrary not only with that of formal, peaceful, good neighborly relations between two nations, but also with the precise duties which were incumbent on the Greek Government in view of its status as a neutral country. On various occasions the Italian Government has found it necessary to urge the Greek Government to observe these duties and to protest against their systematic violation, particularly serious since the Greek Government permitted its territorial water, its coasts and its ports to be used by the British fleet in the course of its war operations, aided in supplying the British air forces and permitted organization of a military information service in the Greek archipelago to Italy's damage.
The Greek Government was perfectly aware of these facts which several times formed the basis of diplomatic representations on the part of Italy to which the Greek Government, which should have taken consideration of the grave consequences of its attitude, failed to respond with any measure for the protection of its own neutrality, but, instead, intensified its activities favoring the British armed forces and its cooperaticn with Italy's enemies.
The Italian Government has proof that this co-operation was foreseen by the Greek Government and was regulated by understandings of a mllitary, naval and aeronautical character.
The Italian Government does not refer only to the British guarantee accepted by Greece as a part of the program of action against Italy's security but also to explicit, precise nengagements undertaken by the Greek Government to put at the disposal of powers at war with Italy important strategic positions on Greek territory, including air bases in Thessaly and Macedonia, designed for attack on Albanian territory.
In this connection the Italian Government must remind the Greek Government of the provocative activities carried out against the Albanian nation, together with the terroristic policy it has adopted toward the people of Ciamuria and the persistent efforts to create disorders beyond its frontiers.
For these reasons, also, the Italian Government has acceptedthe necessity, even though futilely, of calling the attention of the Greek Government to the inevitable consequences of its policy toward Italy. This no longer can be tolerated by Italy.
Greek neutrality has been tending continuously toward a mere shadow. Responsibility for this situation lies primarily on the shoulders of Great Britain and its aim to involve ever more countries in war.
But now it is obvious that the policy of the Greek Government has been and is directed toward transforming Greek territory, or, at least permitting Greek territory to be transformed, into a base for war operations against Italy.
This could only lead to armed conflict between Italy and Greece, which the Italian Government has every intention of avoiding.
The Italian Government, therefore, has reached the decision to ask the Greek Government, as a guaranty of Greek neutrality and as a guaranty of Italian security, for permission to occupy with its own armed forces several strategic points in Greek territory for the duration of the presert conflict with Great Britain.
The Italian Government asks the Greek Government not to oppose this occupation and not to obstruct the free passage of the troops carrying it out.
These troops do not come as enemies of the Greek people and the Italian Government does rot in any way intend that the temporary occupation of several strategic points, dictated by special necessities of a purely defensive character, should compromise Greek sovereignty and independence.
The Italian Government asks that the Greek Government give immediate orders to military authoritles that this occupation may take place in a peaceful manner. Wherever the Italian troops may meet resistance this resistance will be broken by armed force, and the Greek Government would have the responsibility for the resulting consequences"

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Privacy on Facebook

Friends and family have often asked me if I have a Facebook account so that they could add me to their friends. The answer is that I don't have a Facebook account now. I used to have one, though, just to keep in touch with my daughter when she moved to London for her university studies.  She had talked me into creating an account then claiming that it's the most inexpensive way to keep in touch. But very soon, I realised that she'd rather exchange news , photos and videos with her FB friends than talk to daddy! As for my brother, he soon became addicted to playing games although he'd occasionally say hi.

Very soon, I got tired of FB and deleted my account. I prefer to email my friends and family or text message them.  My son  recently told me that FB is now allowed to children from the age of nine! I guess it's yet another elecronic game for them which keeps them away from real socialising such as go out and play with other kids or take up a sport while, at the same time, young children and teens are exposed to serioius dangers.  It's a bad idea to post dicey photos or racy prose on social networking sites, no matter how private teens may think they are. According to a 2008 Kaplan study, one in 10 college admissions officers routinely check out college applicants’ Facebook and Twitter pages. And some 38% of them found posts and pictures that reflected poorly on those prospective students.

Unfortunate Facebook postings can have serious legal repercussions too. One of the first things attorneys do with a new case is search online for information about plaintiffs, defendants and witnesses alike. In one Rhode Island case, a 20-year-old’s drunk driving accident, which severely injured another youth, could have resulted in a relatively light stint at county jail or the considerably more severe state prison. But, as the prosecutor in the case quickly discovered, two weeks after the accident, while his victim was still in the hospital, the youth posted photos on Facebook of himself at a Halloween party, prancing around in a prisoner costume. He was sentenced to two years in state prison. A woman in Germany took leave of absence from work upon presentation of a fake medical certificate saying she was suffering from cancer and had to stay away from work for three months. The woman posted some photos on FB showing her and friends partying at a club in Berlin.  A caption on one of these photos said: ".... and let the boss worry about my good health".  When she went back to work, she was quite ...shocked to find out that she was fired!

No matter how private your privacy settings are on FB, there is no real privacy. 
In 2009, Mashable‘s CEO and founder Pete Cashmore argued on CNN that privacy was dead, and social media was holding the smoking gun:
“We’re living at a time when attention is the new currency: With hundreds of TV channels, billions of Web sites, podcasts, radio shows, music downloads and social networking, our attention is more fragmented than ever before.
“Those who insert themselves into as many channels as possible look set to capture the most value. They’ll be the richest, the most successful, the most connected, capable and influential among us. We’re all publishers now, and the more we publish, the more valuable connections we’ll make.”
While I agree with his assertion that in an age where attention is king, privacy is simply an illusion, I disagree about the murderer. Sure, Twitter, Flickr, Google and others played a part in privacy’s death, but Facebook made the killing blow.

Facebook’s passive sharing will change how we live our lives. More and more, the things we do in real life will end up as Facebook posts. And while we may be consoled by the fact that most of this stuff is being posted just to our friends, it only takes one friend to share that information with his or her friends to start a viral chain.

Sharing with just your friends doesn’t protect your privacy. I know the people at Facebook will disagree and argue that users can control what is shared with whom. But this is simply an illusion that makes us feel better about all the sharing we have done and are about to do.
We may not notice the impact on our lives immediately. But it won’t be long until your life is on display for all of your friends to see, and then we’ll all know what Facebook has wrought.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Sunday Breakfast

I am the kind of person who can't start the day or..... function without a hearty breakfast. On weekdays, I always have 2 cups of green tea (I love it!!) and toast with butter and jam, a small piece of cheese and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. Twice a week, I may also have for a change a bowl of wholemeal cereals with fruit and nuts and a fruit yoghurt. Only then can I start my day. My only snack in-between meals is a carrot and lots of water.

But, on Sundays breakfast is a special treat!It's eggs and crispy bacon or sausages, often with baked beans, tea or coffee, orange juice or a cocktail juice (orange, pink grapefruit and tangerine), hot croissants, butter and jam and, occasionally, pancakes or waffles. According to Kathleen M. Zelman MPH, RD, LD, the right breakfast foods can help us concentrate, give us strength and even maintain  a healthy weight. To be honest, I don't always have a healthy breakfast, but I never skip it! As a result, I am not hungry in-between meals and don't feel like bingeing on fatty snacks.

How about you? What's for breakfast?

How about you? What's for breakfast?