Nick Nicholas’ answer to What are some human-made things you dislike or like that are present in South (and West) Cyprus?

Now, to my eyes, this statue of Makarios at the Archbishopric of Cyprus is a reasonable and respectful depiction of the Father of the Nation.

But my friend Vlado did not alight in the Cyprus of 1961. […] So he made merciless fun to me of Mecha-Makarios, trampling the streets of Nicosia and crushing all underneath.

Eutychius Kaimakkamis:

We can afford to be a little arrogant, not every country has a giant robotic religious leader at its disposal :^)…

I actually laughed out loud!

… You know, this gets a cartoon.


Μακάριος Γʹ Αρχιεπ. Κύπρου
Makarios III Archbishop of Cyprus

Cypriot motorist (in dialect):

Ρε Μακαριώτατε! Έλα να δεις ίντα ’ν’ πὄκαμες!
Oy, Your Beatitude! Now look what you’ve done!

(Pun being, Beatitude is Makariotatos, the superlative of Makarios.)

Why is cheating out of control in relationships?

First, as my friend Sam Murray puts it (God, I’m sounding like Michael Masiello now), it was ever thus, and only attitudes to cheating have changed, by both place and time.

Never mind the Ancient Greeks and Paris shtupping Helen (which was much more about Bronze Age views of host–guest relations than either Menelaus or Paris particularly caring what Helen thought). In Modern Greece, there’s a huge backlog of pop songs about “illicit love”. That ain’t jailbait or gay sex they’re talking about. That’s adultery.

Is adultery out of control in Greece? If so, was it any less out of control in the ’70s, when adultery was a crime, and illicit couples would be nabbed by the husband, and frogmarched to the police station, wrapped in a bedsheet?

Was it any less out of control in the 19th century, when they came up with the couplet:

Όταν θα μάθει ο κερατάς την τέχνη του κεράτου
μέλι και γάλα γίνεται με τη νοικοκυρά του
When a cuckold learns the art of being cuckolded,
he becomes all honey and sweetness with his lady.

Was it any less out of control in the Middle Ages, when one of the first vernacular Greek expressions explicated by the scholar Michael Psellos was keratas “horned man = cuckold”?

Cheating is part of the wiring of humanity. In the good old patriarchal days, a hell of a lot of social structures were set up to prevent it, because women were their fathers’ or husbands’ property. (Again, it’s not clear women had much of a say in any of it.)

(The notion dies hard. This year it came out that a sports show host in Australia was having sex with his co-host’s wife. The public was somewhat perplexed with the host’s grief, given that they’d already divorced. But hey, it’s well within the bounds of post-divorce trauma, go easy. Rather less sympathised with was how the host put it: “It’s just wrong, mate — you don’t touch a man’s wallet, you don’t touch his wife.” Billy, your wife is nothing like your wallet.)

There’s more opportunity for cheating now than in 1000 BC, and more visibility of it, because those social structures have indeed been worn down, and because the sexual revolution has happened. People are much more free to pursue what they want to do with sex, and can get away with much fewer biological consequences.

But you know what? We’ve done away with the leaden hand of legalised patriarchy, and obligate pregnancy, and globally enforced monogamy. But we haven’t done away with notions of commitment and moral reciprocity. In fact, they’re reinforced, if anything, because we now choose to work out what the right thing is to do, and we choose to stick with it.

One of the cool things about the poly folk here, like Franklin Veaux or Claire J. Vannette, is that they say, eloquently and vividly: I choose to be poly. You can choose to be mono. And if you commit to being mono, then I will respect your commitment—and I will call you out for breaking that commitment, and thereby hurting the person you’ve made a commitment to.

Not because they want to safeguard the community store of virtue. But because they genuinely get morality. Would that more people did.

What is your favorite name you have encountered on Quora?

You mean, other than yours, Habibi le toubibi?

And mine? (Nick Nicholas: loved him so much, they named him twice.)

Zeibura S. Kathau ranks highly. Quora Search, so I can’t find where he explained how he came up with it; but the Zeibura is his invention, and it’s arresting. I’m normally culturally reactionary enough to sneer at such things, but his moniker makes a lot of sense to me. It’s got Zzzing, and Burrrrrragadocio, and Mitteleuropa goodness all over it.

Admittedly, it makes more sense to me with him living in Czechia, than if he’d stayed in Britain. 🙂

What are some human-made things you dislike or like that are present in South (and West) Cyprus?

This actually isn’t my own dislike, but it’s a dislike that really struck me.

My father left Cyprus in 1966. He was in tears the day that Archbishop Makarios III died. I’ve only been back to Cyprus twice, in 1979 and 1989, and briefly and superficially at that.

So I don’t have a clear notion of how Cyprus has evolved and changed, from a colonial backwater of popular revolt, to… well, to what it is now.

I was friends a decade ago with a Serbian postdoc. Before coming to Melbourne, he’d spent time at the University of Cyprus, in Nicosia.

Now, to my eyes, this statue of Makarios at the Archbishopric of Cyprus:

is a reasonable and respectful depiction of the Father of the Nation:

But my friend Vlado did not alight in the Cyprus of 1961. He alighted in the Cyprus of 2005, and he alighted from Serbia, a place where people are skeptical of religious leadership. (In fact they’re skeptical of religious leadership now in Cyprus, too.) And a place where people are even more skeptical about monumental depictions of national leaders.

So he made merciless fun to me of Mecha-Makarios, trampling the streets of Nicosia and crushing all underneath.

That really was a shock to me. But you know, his eyes are probably clearer in this than mine would be.

Under what circumstances would you review someone’s edit log on Quora?

The edit logs gives you access to something their feed doesn’t: their comments.

If I like what someone has to say in their answers, I’ll follow them: I won’t go to check their comments, I’ll be seeing them live soon enough.

There are three circumstances in which I’ll check someone’s edit log.

  • I haven’t heard from someone in a while, and I’m checking if they’re back yet. I’m doing that with someone now. Do come back, Person Whose Identity I’m Not Divulging.
  • I’m bored, and I want an extra dose of someone’s Quora goodness.
  • I suspect someone is being a troll or malcontent, and I want to make sure. Especially important if someone never answers and only comments. Also handy if the rest of what they say is sensible, so you don’t necessarily dismiss them completely.

Should we get rid of the letter C?

Should we get rid of <c>? In what language? Azeri? But then, Mehrdad, how will I call Pegah Esmaili canım? I’d have to call her djanım. And that doesn’t look anywhere as nice. It looks almost as bad as τζάνουμ.

Philip Newton’s answer to Should we get rid of the letter C? has the right answer. And you know, the English spelling system truly is one of the most stupid orthographies in existence (but don’t get me started on Kanji), but… I like that it’s got so much historical detritus in it. It’s like doing an archaeological dig, every time you write a shopping list.

Sucks if you’re not a native reader, of course.

Is it possible for a person to acquire a written language as their native language?

Hello all the good people, Clarissa and Audrey and Brian. I was going to join in to your discussion under Brian’s answer, but it didn’t head in the direction I was hoping.

Laura Bridgman and Helen Keller, who are the deaf–blind people Brian alludes to, communicated through finger spelling, read Braille, and wrote. Must have been hideously slow. But still, that was all the language they had; and I don’t see how we would usefully say they are language-deprived. They had a language faculty, and their language production was entirely in order. (It certainly helped that they acquired fingerspelling as children.)

If deaf kids can acquire language through a signed modality, and we call them native speakers of a sign language, I don’t see why we can’t say Bridgman and Keller didn’t acquire language through a tactile modality, and the language they acquired was pretty much written English. (This was after all the 19th century.)

Audrey, you’re not agreeing with the premiss I see, but neither of us know enough about deaf–blind language acquisition to have a debate on this. But I did not have the impression that Bridgman and Keller were one-offs; the impression I have is that deaf–blind kids acquire language all the time. What I don’t know is whether there too the primary language acquired, through tactile means, is abbreviated compared to written English—leaving out determiners, for example.

I don’t think it’s quite what Z-Kat was after. But I do think it establishes his scenario as feasible.

If you could take one historical person from history as a lover/date, who would it be and why?

A2A Pegah Esmaili

Pegah, canım, you don’t expect an ordinary answer from me, do you? Like Cleopatra (meh, inbred Greek), or Catherine the Great (she’d fricking squash me) or Joan of Arc (back away from the crazy)?

Good. Because you’re not going to get one.

In the modern cornucopia of female objectification, do straight men need to go back centuries to fantasise about getting it on with someone? As Lyonel Perabo’s answer well illustrates, no we do not. (Although Lyonel, I must correct you. Ariella Ferrera being 37 years old does not make her a “historical person”. The word you’re looking for there is MILF.)

Now look what you made me do, Pegah. How am I going to save face after that?

Maybe with this answer. Let’s see.

It is a naive fantasy to have, to my mind, and I’ve only allowed myself that fantasy once, in my teens.

Helen Waddell

– Daily Muse – Inspiring Hellen Waddell Conference…

If you’re interested to learn about amazing, strong, intelligent women from the past then this conference at Queen’s University is sure to inspire you!

Great, so my adolescent fantasy is going to annoy several departmentfuls of Women’s Studies students.


Whaddaya mean, “The auction is over for this item. The auctioneer wasn’t accepting online bids for this item.” I call shenanigans!

Animals in the Desert

I don’t care if that blog is about desert monks. Yes, she’s a geek. And she’s fricking glorious!

OK. I’ll settle down now.

Helen Jane Waddell (31 May 1889 – 5 March 1965) was an Irish poet, translator and playwright. […] She is best known for bringing to light the history of the medieval goliards in her 1927 book The Wandering Scholars, and translating their Latin poetry in the companion volume Medieval Latin Lyrics. […] A prize-winning biography of her by the Benedictine nun Dame Felicitas Corrigan was published in 1986.

In 1986, I was 15. I read the Mediaeval Latin Lyrics, and I read the Wandering Scholars. And then I read the biography.

And as an unenlightened callow youth in the dim dark ages of the patriarchal 80s, I thought it a terrible thing that someone with such fearsome erudition, with such delicate poetic sensibility, with such a clear sense of what was beautiful and lovely about life and romance and scholarship and redemption, and everything that the mediaeval Latin poets wrote about, should live out her days alone. And I wished I could have been with her to share all that with her.

And you know. Get it on like Donkey Kong too, if the chance came up.

I’m a little better informed now, I trust. She may have been devout and she may have chosen to be alone, but that does not mean her cheeks were never flushed; she wrote too knowingly for that. As Wikipedia writes, she had longterm relationships, including being the “other woman” with Siegfried Sassoon. (I wonder how I missed that at 15: did the nun leave it out?) She was a PhD back when being a female PhD was positively dangerous. She hardly needed me to go back in time and rescue her, and she hardly lacked for people to share her verses with.

But yeah. If I had to pick, I’d pick someone with poetry in their blood, an awkward smile, and gentle donnish erudition. Someone like Helen Waddell.

How did you learn the International Phonetic Alphabet, and how long did it take?

  • Two or three lectures spent on understanding the axes of the IPA charts: place of articulation, manner of articulation; vowel height, frontness, and rounding.
  • A round of the class all calling out the cardinal vowels in unison. /iiiii eeeee ɛɛɛɛɛ æææææ, uuuuu ooooo ɔɔɔɔɔ ɑɑɑɑɑ/. I got to make my first year students do that, when my turn came. Good times, good times.
  • Learning the values that fill the slots in the charts then comes remarkably easily, once you’ve grokked the axes. Most are reasonably mnemonic.
Answered 2016-12-08 · Upvoted by

Steve Rapaport, Linguistics PhD candidate at Edinburgh. Has lived in USA, Sweden, Italy, UK.