Greek humour (applause for Ang!)

This past week By George had some fun in social media advancing Greek Comedy Night that headlined Angelo Tsarouchas “The Funny Greek.”

Not familiar with Big Ang? He is hilarious: http://www.tsarouchas.com

Here is Ang with one of his classic routines: It is all Greek

By George promoted the evening of comedy with a series of comic Greek memes on Twitter – @ByGeorgeJournal. Here are some of our favourite. Enjoy – or should we say, Opa!

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BTW – Greek Comedy Night was a huge success – and largely due to the hour-and-a-half marathon performance of Ang!

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Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a trusted executive assistant, a communications can-do guy, or a go-to-scribe? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

10 facts about the Halifax Donair – a Greek Wrapsody

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It cannot be overstated: there is nothing as delectable as a donair – specifically, a Halifax donair.

In some quarters it has become legendary; in others’ it is simply “too much.” Finally, this delicious gastronomical mainstay of the Nova Scotia Capital is getting its due recognition and respect. The birthplace of the donair, Halifax, has declared it “the official food of the City.” In honour of this recent announcement, here are 10 facts about the Nova Scotian donair:

 

FACT 1:  Donair meat is made from a combination of ground beef and bread crumbs, and is spiced in various ways, depending on the restaurant. A sweet garlic sauce is typically made from evaporated milk, vinegar, garlic, and sugar. Similar to a gyro, donairs are served in pita flat bread and topped with slices of tomato and onion. RECIPE: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/71963/dashs-donair/ , http://www.food.com/recipe/dash-riprocks-real-halifax-donair-90387

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FACT 2:  Here is the best way to eat a donair (and let’s preface these instructional remarks by first stating that the best donairs are served with “extra sauce” so they are runnier and messier). Peal back the tin foil wrapping to expose only one-eighth to one-quarter of the donair. Bite through the pita bread into meat – each mouthful should have a mixture of both. Try and hold the donair as horizontal as possible without losing any contents – and as you eat, turn the donair ever-so-slowly. This maneuver ensures the sauce does not settle to the bottom. As you chomp away, peal back the foil to only reveal half inch of the donair at a time. Every so often, tilt your hand forward and allow for the juice to be re-applied throughout your wrap. Be sure, at all times, to lean forward so as not to have any juices drip onto your clothes. If the donair is dripping, eat faster. It is not good to put it down while eating as you will lose juice and perhaps some of the contents. It is absolutely fine to have sauce dribble on your chin, between your fingers or down your arm (there is plenty of time to lick and hose down after you have finished your meal).

 

FACT 3: Just recently Halifax named the donair its official food. After a 43-page staff report, a sponsoring councillor’s report, and a heated debate at two City Hall council meetings, the Mayor broke a tie vote making it official – the donair will be forever known as Halifax’s Official Food. (News stories here and here.) Interesting side-note is that it is now added to Nova Scotia’s list of official things:

  • Official tree: red spruce
  • Official fossil: a 312-million-year-old reptile known as Hylonomus lyelli
  • Official horse: the Sable Island horse
  • Official dog: the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

 

FACT 4:  Donair meat is not only served in a pita wrap, but can also adorn other delicious dishes. For example, throughout Nova Scotia you can now enjoy donair pizza – with a special dipping sauce for its crust. There’s donair eggrolls to munch on as a party appetizer. Or, the latest addition the menu of a Dartmouth eatery is donair soup. And, believe it or not, the creator of donair soup is actually known as a “Soup Whisperer”.

 

FACT 5:  Right, here is a shortlist of notable donairs to be discovered in Nova Scotia!! First stop should be a pilgrimage to KOD on Quinpool Road. For the most delicious donair outside of Halifax, travel to Truro and order a large donair from Sam’s. If you have a real large hankering, you must visit Stewiacke and order what is known as the largest donair in Canada at Frank’s. You may like to try donair soup at Souper Duper Soup in Dartmouth – but check out what their serving up that day on Souper Duper Soup Twitter so you are not disappointed. Finally, no social gathering would be complete without a big plate of heavenly donair eggrolls – buy them by the dozen! – at Papa Mario’s in the Halifax Mall Annex.

 

FACT 6:  Peter Gamoulakos tried to introduce Greek-style gyros to Haligonians in the late 1960s. It was in a small restaurant in Bedford, Nova Scotia – Velos Pizza – that Peter altered the gyro recipe of sliced lamb served with tzatziki sauce. Instead, he produced a meal of sliced, spiced ground beef and crafted a distinctive sweet sauce. So, the birthplace of the donair: Velos Pizza

 

FACT 7:  Peter popularized the donair in the mid-1970’s when he opened his King of Donairs restaurant on the busy Quinpool Road. In the 1980’s, after Peter sold his KOD restaurant, KODs were franchised and popped up throughout Halifax – most notable in the lore of the City’s donair haunts were the two KODs that stood on the City’s infamous Pizza Corner (corner of Blower and Grafton Streets).

 

FACT 8:  The history of the donair would not be complete without mentioned the great family feud with the Gamoulakos brothers. Peter’s brother John claims he was also part of this early history. In fact, today, there is a restaurant Johnny K’s Authentic Donairs (located on Pizza corner) which has a wall plaque that credits “Peter and John Kamoulakos” with creating the donair – spelling the Greek surname with a K as John does. However, John was not part of Peter’s efforts to popularize the donair until the 1980s, when Peter had sold his KOD and opened Mr. Donair, a north-end manufacturing outpost of donair-making products.

 

FACT 9:  Differences between a Nova Scotia donair and a central Canada donair lay primarily with the sauce. Like the gyro, donairs in Quebec and Ontario have a garlic-tzatziki sauce. Some add lettuce and taboli to accompany the meat. In some cases, there may be combinations of pork and lamb mixed with the beef. You will find, donairs bought in the Maritimes to be true to Peter Gamoulakos creation, while those bought further west in Canada will vary greatly in presentation, contents and taste.

 

FACT 10:  If you do not live in Nova Scotia and wish to order-out your donairs, there are restaurants that will ship the spiced beef and sweet sauce fixings to your door. A favourite supplier at our Upper Canada dinner table is Domascus Pizza in Truro. We have also had wonderful meals prepared by Elmsdale Pizzeria; however these donair packages were lovingly transported by family members. An Internet search on this subject reveals that the major chains will all accommodate your shipping needs: Tony’s, KOD and Johnny K’s Authentic Donairs. There’s nothing like ordering in – the official food of Halifax direct from Halifax!!

 

Should you wish to read more, as an aficionado of all-things-donair, I would like to share a few personal comments on this heavenly dish.

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(ed. – The pun “Greek Wrapsody” is to be credited to headline writers at the Toronto Star, where we first saw this clever moniker.)

On politics – wisdom of the ancient Greeks

  • platoThey should rule who are able to rule best. – Aristotle
  • This City is what it is because our citizens are what they are. – Plato
  • A state is not a mere society, having a common place, established for the prevention of mutual crime and for the sake of exchange…. Political society exists for the sake of noble actions, and not of mere companionship. – Aristotle
  • The basis of a democratic state is liberty. – Aristotle
  • Democracy… is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder; and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike. – Plato
  • If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost. – Aristotle
  • That judges of important causes should hold office for life is a disputable thing, for the mind grows old as well as the body. – Aristotle
  • Even when laws have been written down, they ought not always to remain unaltered. – Aristotle
  • There will be no end to the troubles of states, or of humanity itself, till philosophers become kings in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers, and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands. – Plato
  • One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. – Plato

The Greek way

Some years ago a small rural town in Spain twinned with a similar town in Greece.

 

The mayor of the Greek town visited the Spanish town. When he saw the palatial mansion belonging to the Spanish mayor, he wondered aloud how on earth he could afford such a house.

 

The Spaniard replied, “You see that bridge over there? The EU gave us a grant to construct a two-lane bridge, but by building a single lane bridge with traffic lights at either end, I could build this place.”

 

The following year the Spaniard visited the Greek town. He was simply amazed at the Greek mayor’s house: gold taps, marble floors, diamond doorknobs, it was marvelous.

 

When he asked how he’d raised the money to build this incredible house, the Greek mayor said, “You see that bridge over there?”

 

The Spaniard replied, “No.”

 

(ed. – Thank you to my friend Dick Inwood who is very good at keeping us all laughing.)

On the Order of AHEPA

In my father’s footsteps, this past month I have entered the fraternity of AHEPA. For future articles where AHEPA and its good works will be mentioned, here is a brief description of this wonderful organization. Visit AHEPA Canada to learn more – and for Canadians of Greek heritage, I encourage you to join with us. – Chris George

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The AHEPA (American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association) mission is to promote the ancient Greek ideals of education, philanthropy, civic responsibility, and family and individual excellence through community service and volunteerism. AHEPA is the largest and oldest grassroots association of citizens of Greek heritage with over 400 chapters across the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia.

 

The organization was founded in the Atlanta, Georgia in 1922 following growing attacks on Greek Americans and Greek American businesses by the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and others. Its initial mission was to promote the image of Greeks in America, as­sist them with citizenship and to fight against KKK at­tacks.

 

On October 28, 1928, the first Canadian Chapter of AHEPA was founded in Toronto.  (The anti-Greek riots of Toronto in 1918 had paved the way for AHEPA in Canada.) In the 1930’s AHEPA was coast to coast in Canada and serving the members and the public. AHEPA was leaving an incredible impression in each community in which we were engaged:  Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Belleville, Windsor, Kitchener, London, Hamilton, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina, Vancouver, Burnaby, and Victoria.

 

The AHEPA Ottawa Chapter is active in its philanthropic and educational activities and has a history of donating to local causes, most recently to Ottawa Heart Institute and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). It also raises money for children organizations and hospitals in Greece. Each year the Chapter provides scholarships for post-secondary pursuits to students of Greek heritage as well as financial support to scholastic and cultural activities within Ottawa’s Greek community.

 

An important component of AHEPA’s mission is to create an awareness of the principles of Hellenism to society. The word “Hellenism” is derived from the Greek word “Ellinismos” which is used to describe the people of Greek lineage and also to describe a set of values for living that were invented by the ancient Greeks. These values became the basis of today’s Western civilization and include a commitment to humanity, liberty, and democracy. AHEPA strives to preserve and promote these ideals and educates the public on these matters through symposia, forums, and conferences in their Chapters’ communities.

 

For more information visit the website of AHEPA Canada and the website of the International Order of AHEPA, headquartered in the United States in Washington D.C.

 

 

 

 

The Wisdom of Epictetus

  • EpictetusFirst say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. 
  • Try not to react merely in the moment.  Pull back from the situation.  Take a wider view.  Compose yourself.
  • It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.
  • Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.
  • When something happens, the only thing in your power is your attitude toward it; you can either accept it or resent it.
  • Ask yourself:  Does this appearance (of events) concern the things that are within my own control or those that are not?  If it concerns anything outside your control, train yourself not to worry about it.
  • Don’t demand or expect that events happen as you would wish them do.  Accept events as they actually happen.  That way, peace is possible.
  • Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens.
  • No matter where you find yourself, comport yourself as if you were a distinguished person.
  • Ask yourself, “How are my thoughts, words and deeds affecting my friends, my spouse, my neighbour, my child, my employer, my subordinates, my fellow citizens?”
  • Imagine for yourself a character, a model personality, whose example you determine to follow, in private as well as in public. 
  • What is a good person?  One who achieves tranquility by having formed the habit of asking on every occasion, “what is the right thing to do now?”
  • We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. 
  • He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.

 

The stoic philosopher Epictetus was a Greek-born slave of Rome in the first century. 

Sage Counsel from Ancient Greece

The Seven Sages of Greece (c. 620 BC–550 BC) is the title given to seven ancient Greek philosophers, statesmen and law-makers who were internationally renowned in the following centuries for their wisdom.  Traditionally, each of the seven sages represents an aspect of worldly wisdom which is summarized by an aphorism.

 

Here are the wise men and their timeless counsel:

  • Ruler Cleobulus of Lindos:  “Moderation is the best thing.”
  • Lawmaker Solon of Athens:  “Keep everything with moderation.”
  • Politician Chilon of Sparta: “You should not desire the impossible.”
  • Legislator Bias of Priene:  “Most men are bad.”
  • Philosopher Thales of Miletus:  “Know Thyself” (engraved on the front façade of the Oracle of Apollo in Delphi.
  • Ruler Pittacus of Mytilene:  “You should know which opportunities to choose.”
  • Ruler Periander of Corinth:  “Be farsighted with everything.”