Meta: Characters

Memes have developed a useful shorthand of associating a particular character with a particular kind of statement or role.

There are my suggestions. More suggestions welcome, and feedback solicited.

Quora UX: Disaster Girl

Quora UI: Absentminded Goldfish

Quora Moderation (bot): Bot Executioner please!

Quora Moderation (human): Judge Dredd Sentance

Topic Bot: Confused man

Quora Leadership: College Freshman

SEEN: Designated Survivor, Season 1

I resisted watching this. I did not want to watch a show about how the terrorists are out to get us, and the president is some Action Man, and “Kaboom Kablooey Ergo No Habeas Corpus”.

In other words, I have made a point of never seeing 24, and I did not want to watch 24 #2.

I came around through the trailer and the interviews: this was a series that was as much about how someone grows into the responsibilities thrust upon them.


  • So well done and tight, it deserves a place in the annals of the Golden Age of Television (which is now). So well done, in fact, I was astonished that it came from Network TV and not Cable.
  • Episodes 1–5 were what I hoped for. It was about the growth of new president and those around him. With some annoying sideplot about finding the terrorists, but even that was being handled well.
  • The showdowns in Michigan started straining credulity.
  • Episodes 6–10 ended up being what I feared: terrorist scare of the week, gradually crowding out the stuff I preferred to see. By the final episode, the president is just some annoying dullard, getting in the way of the thrills and spills cliffhangers.
  • I’m not giving up on this at all: it is very good; but I feel let down by where it chose to go. But I guess West Wing #2: The Reboot of Washington D.C. (kaboom) was not fit material for our Age.

Who created the letters order “ABC…XYZ”?

The ordering of the letters is ultimately Phoenecian: the order of the Phoenecian alphabet was maintained in Greek (with a little bit of jumbling, and some leftovers appended at the end), and thence in Latin (again, with a little bit of jumbling—C G Z).

Why is the alphabet song easy to remember in English? That’s actually the wrong way around. Latin, and its successors, dropped the letter names of Greek, and went with letter names that (mostly) rhymed: a be ce de e ef etc (Latin alphabet).

Once the letter names rhymed in Latin, an easy to memorise alphabet song was inevitable in the languages that inherited its script and letter names. We certainly don’t have one in Greek.

Who are some of your favorite Quorans you’ve only discovered recently?

OK, going backwards in my followee list for the past month:

  • Spyros Theodoritsis. Exceedingly good on Greek history.
  • User. Exquisite command of language and literature. She’s deactivated; I pray it’s only temporary.
  • Susan James. Entertaining answers on sex. (Yes. Entertaining that way.) I’m glad she’s starting to write on other topics, but she writes very effectively on her major topic.
  • Mehrdad Dəmirçi. For some reason, I have ended up hanging out with Azeris here, despite having an Armenian wife. (Yes, because Pegah.) He’s a ringleader in that group, and has lots of good questions—only some of which I have any ability to answer.
  • Ben Kelley. Fearsomely sharp answers on Australian and International politics.
  • Eutychius Kaimakkamis. Clued-in Cypriot.
  • Naomi Lauren. Thoughtful transwoman, who I have more to learn from.
  • Annika Schauer. I resisted the lure of Ms Carter Clock for a long time, because Quora Superstar; but… yes. She’s a good egg.
  • Ayse Temmuz. Wields the clue-stick on all things Turkish.

Which country does this accent come from?

Difinitely: that’s clearly New Zealand and not Australian.

Windeeeeeye: that sounds exaggerated Antipodean, and Brian Collins may well be on to something (as others were) about this possibly being faked.

I’m unfamiliar enough with New Zealandish to call it New Zealandish, but the diphthongs are not quite right.

Which Quorans have taught you the most about a different race or culture?

In some ways, Greekdom is a different culture to me. And Dimitra Triantafyllidou has been my patient reacquainter with what has happened in Greece for the past three decades.

Pegah Esmaili teaches me many things; Iran and Azeridom have been only some of it.

I have learned a lot about Turkey here, but you know, I can’t single out just one Turk for it. Ayse Temmuz, Cagatay Ata, Alperen Erol, Erdi Küçük, Serdar Yalçın, Erkin Ergüney, Irene Avetyan

Albania/Kosovo is the other neighbour I’m consumed by interest about. Aziz Dida, Athanasios Canko, Ilir Mezini, Kelvin Zifla, Dorian Shkëmbi, Butrim Gjonbalaj

Deaf culture: Don Grushkin, Julie Hochgesang

The just re-deactivated Sam Morningstar on Native American culture and history

Jay Liu on China: Jimmy is gone, but will never be forgotten. He may be scandalised to be included in the same paragraph as him, but: Paul Denlinger too.

What is your country’s fireworks day?

Greece: Easter. The tradition involves celebratory gunfire in the churchyard at Easter Midnight Mass. The modern manifestation of that is fireworks being let off in the packed churchyard at Easter Midnight Mass. Both in Greece/Cyprus, and in the diaspora. The news each year reports people being injured (or killed) as a result; my sister has had her hair set alight at least once.

Australia: New Year’s Eve. There’s an attempt to do so on Australia Day as well, but New Year’s is the one that has captured popular imagination. The ABC makes a point of broadcasting shots from each capital city (and some random small country town), and it used to be a station promo.

Sydney’s are the most spectacular. Fond memories of being in a train in Sydney, and overhearing a family saying “we’re gonna go down to watch the crackers!”

What does your hometown look like?

Which hometown, Launceston in Tasmania, where I was born; Sitia in Crete, where I grew up; Melbourne in Victoria where I live?

Melbourne feels most like home, but there will be others to do a photo essay. So I’ll do Sitia.

I’ve already posted a bit about it at Nick Nicholas’ answer to What is your hometown’s dark secret?

Sitia, Crete; Sitia – Wikipedia.

Almost 10,000 inhabitants. Sleepy, placid, not a huge amount of tourism compared with the rest of the island. Town rebuilt in 1870 (by Muslims who aren’t there any more—it was not always so placid), so the only thing old in the town is the old Venetian fortress you can see at the top of the hill.

That was Wikipedia’s summer photo of the town; this is what I came up with at winter.

This is one of the main streets. Which looked so huge when I was a kid, and we would go out on our Sunday stroll. It doesn’t look huge now.

The town square. With palm trees—Sitia prides itself on the natural palm tree forest down the road. And my dad’s favourite cafe, all boarded up for renovations.

Apartment buildings, as far as the eye can see. This is Greece, after all.

At least we have a pier.

And a passenger terminal at the pier. Placed there just so as to make me look striking, of a sunny January morning.