giovedì, agosto 24, 2006

Have you got any Greek in you? Want some?

We made pigs of ourselves last night after my psych session at a restaurant called Omonia. My analyst said Pantheon is better, but the prices seemed slightly exorbitant and Pantheon makes me think Rome. Omonia was good, anyways, more than good. Lovely.

We started with the pickled octopus – fucking yums, but not quite as good as it sounds. A touch bland – I would have enjoyed a more garlicky preserve, but the only thing I don't like more garlicky than it is is coffee, or possibly garlic, so ignore me. We also had the keftedes, a sort of baked meatball, ever so flavourful and then one squeezes a little lemon juice on them. At that point I believe I came, and then we moved on to the mains. For me, that was a spanakopita dinner – spanakopita being a sort of filo turnover full of feta and spinach. It's as good as it sounds, with surprisingly not-overcooked spinach. Figaro got the calamari dinner, which sounds hackneyed, but the squid was fresh. In that tender-rubber way only fresh squid can be. For a sweet we shared a galaktabouriko, which I’d never heard of before but Figaro got quite excited about, and I’m glad he did – it’s a sort of dense custard in an extremely thin filo crust. Not very sweet on its own, but then with honey poured over it and a little cinnamon.

Ladies and gentlemen, jizz.

So that was fun. The wine was rubbish though. Anybody know some nice Greek reds? I don’t. Should have stuck to the ouzo.

I’d like to leave you with this quote from the conclusion of Happiness: A History. It comes after McMahon has had a little discussion of aggressive antidepressant marketing and the possibility of genetic manipulation of those who are the ‘victims’ of grumpy type DNA (not to mention after McMahon has gone almost 500 pages without significant run-on sentences or excessive hyperbole, which leads me to think his heart was in these words – you know how academics are when they get earnest):

. . . when, and if, human beings decide to take this fateful step in the quest to live as gods, they should know that in doing so, they will be leaving a piece of their humanity behind. For to judge by the yearning and pursuit – the noble restlessness – that has driving Western culture for the past several thousand years, there are certain things that human beings will never know – certain riddles they will never answer – if they are to remain mere mortals. The holy grail of perfect happiness is one of those things, and like that precious mythic relic, said to have gathered blood from the side of the son of man, it, too, may exist only in our minds, a deliverance cup and a chalice to hold our pain. To take that cup – to answer that riddle, to break the spell – would be to sacrifice something of ourselves. We may well discover that the knights who dare to do so are less like the brave crusaders of lore than like Cervantes’ knight of the sad countenance, Quixote, who learns at the end of his journeys that the road is better than the arrival.

12 commenti:

Melbine ha detto...

No Greek! Mostly Germanic with a sprinkle of Scottish (who doesn't have a sprinkle of Scottish I swear!)...did the restaurant give you guys a shot of ouzo to drink with your bill? That was so good, but so bad when we were in Greece.

I think I better read McMahon's book. Sounds like he's been thinking about the same things as me lately..

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

It's a nice book, I reccommend it.

As for the title of this post, that was the pick-up line a charming Greek-Canadian perv I once knew addressed to EVERYONE. Well, everyone female. He was a funny guy.

Masonic Boom ha detto...

God, that's amazing. I so need to read this book.

(And especially because that whole thing about "the journey being more interesting than the destination, the process of exploration being more interesting than the discovery" was pretty much my concluding paragraph in the TSM article I just wrote for Plan B.)

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

It's very, very interesting. I reccommend it unreservedly - although I feel like there are peices of the history he just leaves out, at the very least it illustrates the subjectivity of the idea of happiness and approaches to being it.

Melbine ha detto...

Oh yeah, I totally picked up on the perversity in the title. I just chose to ignore it. :)

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

That was probably wise of you.

jiri ha detto...

Maybe that no culture before us saw happiness as a goal, but rather as a circumstance that happens when some other goals are fulfilled. Other cultures tried to fulfill the goals that lead to happiness, but we think that we should be able to have happiness under any cicumstances.

Hmmm, maybe that's just the saying about the journey and its end, just in different words.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

That's certainly one of his themes, Jiri. He gives alot of attention to how the idea of happiness shifted up our asses with an idea of it being our natural destiny instead of it being the result of a virtuous or thoughtful life.

Melbine ha detto...

Shifted up our asses...that's awesome!

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

I'm paraphrasing . . .

Sugarplum ha detto...

Paraphrasing beautifully. We have become a bunch of pompous asses, haven't we?! Pompous asses and whiny bitches. I DESERVE to be happy as much as I deserve clean air and water.

Happiness is something that comes with a good night sleep and good friends. How can that be a goal? I'd be the most successful person in the world if that was my goal. Maybe the problem with our society is only that no one gets enough sleep (other than me).

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

That was a line in the Sopranos, you know? The Russian nurse Tony had been banging told him Americans (which may as well include us, for this purpose) were the only people in the world who thought they deserved to be happy. Like, they were the only people who saw it as a right, and that they were being 'wronged' by the world and by life if they weren't actively happy.

I wonder if that's so. The French and Italians were also often like that, but they've had the American capitalist model exported so successfully over the past sixty years.