Would you drive hours for a good meal? Do you think good food can be worth spending days driving?

I’ve already broken up with Mary C. Gignilliat on this one. And made up again.

And we’re not even together.

Days? No. Hours? No.

Mehmet Usta is reputed to be the best Turkish restaurant in town. 47 mins. No problem, I’m there.

I think the longest drive we’ve done (that’s me and my wife, not me and Mary) is 1.5 hrs to a Sardinian place in Yea, Victoria. But the pleasant drive in the country was part of the deal.

Why do some people never understand that a library is a holy place where they are supposed to stay silent?

Because they think a library is not a place of silent study, but a place of either

  • group study
  • checking your Facebook feed
  • socialising
  • eating lunch (!)
  • or being on the phone to their mates (!!)

Incidentally, having just been subjected to the first three in my local public library, where I came for some peace and quiet,


I don’t care if you’re reciting the periodic table in cute off-the-boat Greek accents. Fuck off and do that at the local café.

The more interesting question is, was it ever thus, and is it everywhere thus? The answer is no. When books were being used in libraries, rather than decorative (so, 20 years ago), there really was a lot less of that.

Who are the 3 people you follow that have the fewest followers? How many followers do they have, and what are your reasons for following them?

A commendable initiative, Martin!

I will of course leave out (a) Facebook friends who never actually did anything here, (b) people I actually don’t remember, and (c) people with answers in the single digits.

3 + 7.

1. Michael Lining. 10 answers, 5 followers

He’s a trumpeter and a recording artist, which should have gotten my follow.

Instead, he got my follow for this:

Michael Lining’s answer to How do you feel about Donald Trump winning the election?

He voted Trump, and he explained why, in a forum he knows is anti-Trump, respectfully and intelligently.

A lot of you are freaking out right now. Hell, a lot of me is freaking out right now. But this guy is not the enemy. This guy is your fellow citizen. And I’m very glad he spoke up.

2. Fırat Aktaş. 16 answers, 9 followers

Because I burst out laughing in a tram, reading Why are Turkish men beautiful?

3. Erdi Küçük. 11 answers, 8 followers

Several good answers on Turkish culture and politics. His answer on Is Atatürk the ideal example of Plato’s philosopher-king? has a very insightful sting.

4. Latinists and Hellenists and Linguists:

James Garry. 57 answers, 9 followers

Classics major. Knows his Latin, knows his Classics. Knows stuff. To my fellow Latinists and Hellenists: he’s one of us.

Ioannis Stratakis. 15 answers, 9 followers

The best reciter of reconstructed Ancient Greek I’ve heard, bar none: podium-arts.com. Well across his Classics. Do not be intimidated by the afro in his profile pic.

Gabriel Bertilson. 11 answers, 3 followers

Hellenist and historical linguist. Too few of us around.

Julien Daux. 23 answers, 8 followers

Knows how French and Hebrew work.

James Cottam. 95 answers, 5 followers

Undergrad classicist at Oxon. Glad to know they still teach them well there.

Diana Vesselinova. 38 answers, 7 followers

Bulgarian linguist. And cat owner.

Nick Sallas. 18 answers, 6 followers.

Sensible, well-informed stuff about Greek, ancient and modern, and Greece; I particularly appreciate his perspective as a heritage language learner.

What is the etymology of the surname Soros?

As in George Soros?

Likely Esperanto. “He will soar”. Possibly Hungarian: “Next in line”.

His father was called Tivadar Schwartz, and was an important figure in Esperanto culture (Teodoro Ŝvarc): not so much for stuff he wrote (including under the pseudonym Teo Melas—yes, the guy knew his Ancient Greek: Melas = Schwartz = Black), but because he founded Literatura Foiro, the defining Esperanto literary journal.

Having a Jewish name in pre-war Hungary was not a life-enhancing move, and Theo changed the surname in 1936. The Esperanto Wikipedia (George Soros – Vikipedio) is skeptical whether Esperanto was the prime mover behind the surname change; the English Wikipedia (George Soros – Wikipedia) mentions that the palindrome was also attractive.

George Soros was exposed to Esperanto plenty as a kid, though apparently he is not a native speaker, and he doesn’t speak it now. He hasn’t had much to do with the language since his youth, though the Esperanto Wikipedia mentions he was dragged to From Zamenhof to Soros: A Symposium organised by the Universal Esperanto Association in New York, 2010.