Monday, April 5, 2021

An American Boy With His Greek Communist Uncle

A few weeks ago my uncle Niko, the brother of my father, passed away, as I mentioned in my last post, and today I learned another uncle of mine, Philipa, the husband of my father's sister, died in Athens. Like my uncle Niko, I had not seen nor spoken with my uncle Philipa since 2001.

My uncle Philipa was an interesting character. Most of my stories with him go back to the summers of 1991 and 1992, when I spent some time with him.

What was interesting about my uncle Philipa was that he was a Greek communist, whose every fiber of his being was deeply political. And of all the members of my family, all his anger at both the government and ecclesiastical system was projected onto me. He wanted me, though I was only a fifteen year old American, to understand his perspective on politics and the Church. Why? I'm not sure. My thinking at the time was he either wanted me to believe things like him, because I seemed to be the only intellectual in the family, or he wanted someone like me to understand him and justify his thinking.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

A Summer With My Uncle

A photo from a few years ago of my uncle Niko (left) and my father Panagioti (right).

Yesterday morning my father woke me up with a text message in Greek informing me that my uncle Nicholas, known to me as Theio Niko, had died in Greece. The text simply read, with my dad's characteristic spelling errors: "Γιαννη ω θιος πεθανε", which basically translates as "John your uncle died". He was 81 years old and simply died of old age, having lost his ability to walk about a month ago. I felt bad hearing this news for two reasons: first, I felt bad for my father who lost his only brother, and second, because I had not talked to my uncle since I last saw him twenty years ago in 2001. And as I began my day hearing this news, my thoughts primarily went back to the summer of 1991, which is the only time I really spent any significant time with him, and it is because of him and a few others that summer that I probably had the most formative period of my life, and it could perhaps be said that it was because of that summer that the Mystagogy Resource Center exists today.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Self-Written Hagiographies

In Joe Biden's inaugural address, he said that people tell lies for profit and for power. This reminded me of the type of President that should never be trusted. These are the one's who insert themselves into stories of truly heroic people to make themselves look worthy of an office that is beyond their worthiness.

I can remember in 2008 being disgusted with Senator John McCain, when he basically plagiarized Solzhenitsyn's story about when he was in prison and drew a cross in the sand, which was an inspiring moment for him and a fellow prisoner, but then had to wipe it out quickly before the prison guards saw it. Having known of this Solzhenitsyn story since the 1990's, when McCain stole this story for his autobiography and used in the campaign in 2008 as a tale to inspire future voters to vote for him, I knew that I could never vote for such a person who tried to make himself into someone he wasn't, especially when I'm sure he had enough true stories to tell. Him stealing this story unnecessarily made me believe he was just a typical lying politician who will say anything to get ahead.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

My Top Twelve Movies of 2020

2020 was a very odd year for movies. Despite the pandemic which caused movie theaters to close around the world, 2020 was still a great year for film. Interestingly, five out of the top ten highest grossing films of 2020 were Chinese films, and I haven't seen any of them. Personally, I have seen more movies this year, than any other time in my life, though most of the movies were not new releases. Once the drive-in theaters opened and then a few months later the indoor theaters started opening, most movies they showed were not new releases, but I still ate them up, since I didn't have much else to do. For example, there was a period of time over the summer where I think I saw Jaws four times, Friday the 13th four times, Grease three times, Back to the Future three times, and Jurassic Park three times at the drive-in, though I also saw many others, and some of those more than once. New releases have sometimes either been put on hold or available just for streaming. And when I make my list for top twelve movies of the year, I only judge films I have seen on the big screen, which is really the only way movies are meant to be seen. Despite the lack of new releases, I still could easily make a top twenty list and have a hard time with it. On top of that, after forming my list, I went and compared my list with other lists online, and noticed that some of the most acclaimed films of 2020 I have yet to see, either because they have not been released yet to the public, or are only available for streaming. Since that is the case, my list below may look very different in February after I've watched everything. Also, I saw very few documentaries in the theater this year, though there have been great ones that I saw streaming, still I have not included any documentaries in my top twelve. Though my knowledge of new films isn't as great as in previous years, as I have a lot of catching up to do, and I still await some to be released, here are my top twelve favorite films of the year 2020. If you haven't seen any of them, check them out.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Agitation Among the People and the Blame Game

I really don't want to comment too much about all that is going on in politics right now, because situations easily change on a dime, and once you bring a subject up you have to constantly follow up on it as information increases and situations progress. So what I am offering right now is a very brief thought I had after scrolling through various social media sites and various media I subscribe to there, and watching segments of the 24-hour news cycle on Fox, CNN, MSNBC, Newsmax and OANN.

Listening and reading to a lot over the past few days, there are two things common to all: there is agitation among the people and there is a blame game being played.