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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Hello. I'm Johnny Cash, and I eat baklava. 


If Paul, Silas, and Timothy had done their evangelistic work 1900+ years later, they could have taken the train:

Kozani / Florina - Edessa - Skydra - Naoussa - Veria - Thessaloniki

This line begins west of Florina and runs in the southern part of Lake Vegolitida for 10 km south and runs north of GR-2 (Thessaloniki - Edessa - Florina), the rail runs into the plain and into Skydra, Naoussa and then near Veria. A clone of this line begin from Lake Vegolitida south until the last station in the city of Kozani. The line passes within the Aliákmon river valley and enters near Alexandria to connect with the Athens - Thessaloniki railway at Plati station near the prefecture of Thessaloniki.


Florina train station
Kozani train station
Aminteo train station
Edessa train station
Skydra train station
Naoussa train station
Veria train station
Alexandria train station
Platy (Junction with the Athens - Thessaloniki main line)

So a modern-day evangelist can leave Thessaloniki, go to Platy, then catch the Kozani/Florina line and go to Veria. Afterwards, the evangelist can return to Platy and head down to Athens.

Note that Veria (a/k/a Véroia) is the modern-day name of Berea (or Beroea).

Veria (also spelled Veroia, Greek: Βέροια or Βέρροια - Véria) is a city in Greece. It is a commercial center of Greek Macedonia, the capital of the prefecture of Imathia, the province of Imathia and the seat of a bishop of the Greek Orthodox Church.Veria sits of the site of the ancient city of Beroea (called Berea in some translations of the Bible), which was prominent from the 4th century BC and part of the Kingdom of Macedon. Part of Rome from 168 BC, both Paul and Silas preached there in AD 54 or 55 (see Bereans). Diocletian made the large and populous city one of two capitals of the Roman Province of Macedonia, and it was one of the earliest cities to become the seat of a bishop. Invaded by Slavs, it was conquered by the Turks in 1361 and turned into a military colony under the name of Karaferiye. It was liberated by the Greeks in 1912.

But what did Paul eat while the Bereans were studying? At first you may think that he ate something new, but it might not have been new to him:

It is widely believed...that the Assyrians at around 8th century B.C. were the first people who put together a few layers of thin bread dough, with chopped nuts in between those layers, added some honey and baked it in their primitive wood burning ovens. This earliest known version of baklava was baked only on special occasions. In fact, historically baklava was considered a food for the rich until mid-19th century.

In Turkey, to this day one can hear a common expression often used by the poor, or even by the middle class, saying: "I am not rich enough to eat baklava and boerek every day"....

The Greek seamen and merchants traveling east to Mesopotamia soon discovered the delights of Baklava. It mesmerized their taste buds. They brought the recipe to Athens. The Greeks' major contribution to the development of this pastry is the creation of a dough technique that made it possible to roll it as thin as a leaf, compared to the rough, bread-like texture of the Assyrian dough....In a relatively short time, in every kitchen of wealthy households in the region, trays of baklava were being baked for all kinds of special occasions from the 3rd Century B.C. onwards. The Armenians, as their Kingdom was located on ancient Spice and Silk Routes, integrated for the first time the cinnamon and cloves into the texture of baklava. The Arabs introduced the rose-water and cardamom. The taste changed in subtle nuances as the recipe started crossing borders. To the north of its birthplace, baklava was being baked and served in the palaces of the ancient Persian kingdom. To the west, it was baked in the kitchens of the wealthy Roman mansions, and then in the kitchens of the Byzantine Empire until the fall of the latter in 1453 A.D.

Finishing up with the title - I didn't say it here, but the ending portion of the video for "Hurt," in which the nails are driven into Jesus' arms, was integrated very effectively.

Sorry to spoil your appetite.

This is worth noting. And yes, I know it has nothing to do with Greek trains, but you of course remember that Cash did a bunch with American trains, so it fits kinda:

American IV actually has more coherence and power than his previous two releases in the series. Every song on the record is about death....On his final album, he was teaching us how to die....Johnny’s confrontation with his own imminent demise was largely misunderstood. The critics who complained that his voice was not what it used to be missed the point entirely. It is precisely because his voice was not what it used to be that the songs have such power. The beauty of the record lies in that very frailty, the tremolo in his voice that became more pronounced with each album. Even in his younger days, the inimitable strength and fortitude in his voice was mixed with the occasional moment of weakness, the odd quaver and show of vulnerability. In the last few years those moments became more frequent, and his voice became more diaphonous, disclosing more of the effects of illness.

Yet for that very reason, Cash’s voice was all the more beautiful—it had a weakness stronger than others’ strengths. Nowhere is this more clear than on the music video for “Hurt,” directed by Mark Romanek. As with most of the songs on American IV, the vocals for “Hurt” were recorded dry—without the use of reverb, delay, or other effects. That in itself is remarkable, because recording a voice that way reveals all the idiosyncrasies and flaws that a digital effect might otherwise cover up. Nowadays almost no one records vocals this way. The unadorned character of the voice is echoed visually in the film by Cash’s refusal to conceal, with the use of makeup and other gimmickry, the fact that he is dying. No attempt is made to shoot his face from the most flattering angle, no effort to shun the ravaged face of a once indomitable figure now consumed by disease.

Towards the end of the video, the song crescendos to an intense height, accentuated by the repetition of a single note on the piano. Superimposed on all of this is a rapid montage of footage from Cash’s prime, when his hair was still black and his jaw still square. Juxtaposed beside flashes of his successes are images of the Cash museum in a state of disrepair, broken shards of those successes whose significance is now altogether subverted by the figure of Cash himself, sitting at the head of the festal table. And in between visions of the spry young superstar and the remnants of fame is the recurring image of the crucifixion. The climax of the film comes when Cash, with a crystal goblet full of red wine lifted and trembling in his enfeebled right hand, turns the cup over and empties its contents over the table, baptizing the sumptuous banquet laid out before him.

For Cash there was no empty cross but a crucifix, which neither concealed the horrors of suffering nor prematurely removed the bleeding Christ to a higher plane. In the end, it seems all his life’s vices—and even his virtues—were consumed by the blood of Christ. The truth of Cash’s music, and of his life, lies in the image of the crucified Jesus—who dies alone and forsaken, simultaneously consummating the whole creation and crippled by its weight. For Cash, redemption was not won without a fight: “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (Hebrew 9:22).

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

Awesome!!! :D Thanks for putting a smile on my face this morning. Great research...I had no idea.
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