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My Favorite Whatever

Vas Gardiakos

My Favorite Questions

Why is now now?

Why am I me and not someone else? See poem.
Why is there me-ness? It may be easier to understand why there are individuals but why is one of them me? and why is this particular individual me?

Do we have free will?
Is free will limited to selecting from an evolving "multiple choice" list of possibilities or something less restrictive. 

Is there a consciousness gene.
Does the universe have a genetic code?
Is human consciousness the essence of the universe or an non-essential artifact?

Is there a soul or an essences that survives the death of the physical body?
Does the soul have code similar to the genetic code?

If black is the absence of light what is the absence of everything?

Why do simple variations in atomic structure produce such great and diverse phenomenon?

Why do tomatoes not taste as good as they use to?

What is so special about washing behind the ears and why must one always be reminded to do so?

Are we the victims of something similar to Stockholm syndrome towards God?

My Favorite Famous People Sayings

"He who seeks the truth must doubt everything." Aristotle

“All men by nature desire to know.” Aristotle

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof." Carl Sagan

"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." Author Unknown to me

"Man is the measure of all things!" Protagoras of Abdera

"Insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results." Author Unknown to me

"What is, is." Author Unknown to me

"Marriage is like pi - natural, irrational, and very important." Lisa Hoffman

"If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail." Abraham Maslow

When a reputed expert states that something is possible, he is very likely right. On the other hand if he claims that something is impossible he is very likely wrong. Author Unknown to me

Quotes about Greece

"Except the blind forces of Nature, nothing moves in this world which is not Greek in its origin." Henry Maine

"The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato." - Alfred North Whitehead. Process and Reality, 1929.

"It is impossible to contemplate the annuls of Greek literature and art, without being struck by them as by far the most extraordinary and brilliant phenomenon in the history of the human mind." Hugh Swinton Legare

"We are all Greeks. Our laws, our literature, our religion, our arts all have their root in Greece. But for Greece…we might still have been savages and idolators." Percy Bysshe Shelley

"Her citizens, imperial spirits, rule the present from the past." - Hellas - Percy Bysshe Shelley

"There is no danger now that the world will not give the Greek genius full recognition. Greek achievement is a fact universally acknowledged."  Edith Hamilton [The full extent of the Greek genius is acknowledged only in some scholarly papers]

"Until now, we knew that Greeks were fighting like heroes; from now on we shall say that the heroes fight like Greeks." Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Britain - 1940.

"It is fair to say that western science is a series of footnotes to Archimedes. People trying to come to terms with the problems of Archimedes. People trying to produce works that are as great or that are greater than Archimedes. This is the goal of western mathematics." Reviel Netz, Stanford University
Nova-Infinite Secrets – The Genius of Archimedes 6/6

"The mention of Greece fills the mind with the most exalted sentiments..."  President James Monroe

"Had Greek civilization never existed ... we would never have become fully conscious." W.H. Auden

"The legacy of Greece to Western philosophy is Western philosophy." Bertrand Russell

"The Greek Earth opens before me like the Book of Revelations." Henry Miller

"The light of Greece opened my eyes, penetrated my pores, expanded my whole being." Henry Miller

My Favorite Song Lyrics

Excerpt from "Tossin' and Turnin" by Bobby Lewis

I couldn't sleep at all last night
Jumped out of bed
Turned on the lights
It was the middle of the night

Excerpt from "Taxi" by Harry Chapin

It was raining hard in Frisco,
I needed one more fare to make my night.
A lady up ahead waved to flag me down,
She got in at the light...

Excerpt from "Killing Me Softly With His Song" by Roberta Flack

I heard he sang a good song, I heard he had a style.
And so I came to see him to listen for a while.
And there he was this young boy, a stranger to my eyes.
Strumming my pain with his fingers,
Singing my life with his words,
Killing me softly with his song,

He sang as if he knew me in all my dark despair.
And then he looked right through me as if I wasn't there.
But he just came to singing, singing clear and strong.

My Favorite Play


Favorite "Guy Noir" Episode

"Broadway Tourettes" A Prairie Home Companion

My Favorite Two-Dimensional Visual Arts Artists

Van Gogh, M. C. Escher, Jackson Pollack, Jeff Whipple, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Barbara Kasten, Dorothea Lange, Lucas Samaras, Yanni Galanopoulos, Nikos Economopoulos, Alfred Stieglitz.

My 10 Favorite Live Classical Music Experiences

1. Mahler's eight conducted by George Solti in Chicago
2. through 10. = None. I am usually disappointed at live classical music performances. They are usually not loud enough especially with cheap ticket sitting on the balcony. I should invent ear extenders to catch more of the sound. What should name the ear extenders? Hmmm, perhaps "Mickey Mouse Ears."  

Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens11. I believe it was Mendelssohn's third piano concerto or was it Rachmaninoff's third piano concerto at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens. It was not the music though it was enjoyable to hear it, it was the experience of being there on the Acropolis at night with a light breeze blowing. Which philosopher, which sculptor, which architect, which playwright may have sat eons ago on the seat I sat on? Oh, how magnificent it was!

My Favorite Classical Music

I reached a point in my life when I decided, can't recall why, that I should learn about classical music. I asked an acquaintance that was a classical music buff to get me $100 worth of classical music cassettes. He did and have been a lover of classical music ever since. The best $100 investment I ever made.

My first classical music favorite was Mahler's eight symphony. Love Mahler's eight and was fortunate enough to hear the Chicago Symphony Orchestra perform it conducted by George Solti.

A friend introduced me to The Moldau by Bedrich Smetana. This remained a favorite for a long time. About the same time I heard the Brandenburg Concertos by Bach. Numbers four, five and six still remain my favorites.

Beethoven's seventh primarily and third to some degree were my unequivocal favorite symphonies for many years. Lately I have begun to enjoy the eight. For many years I had dreamt, granted wishful thinking of animating Beethoven's seventh in an abstract way projected inside a dome or better yet a three dimensional animation when the technology became available. This will have to wait for my next lifetime.

My tastes have changed through the years as I heard more classical music and began to enjoy other masterpieces. Lately I found my self enjoying classical music even more but now I also appreciate the creative genius of the composers that imagined then wrote the music.

At the turn of the millennium for a while loved Respighi's Pines of Rome. A friend had given it to me in a cassette but it took many years of intermittent listening to get to really appreciate this piece. Lately I have been preferring to listen to adagios, slower classical music. I no longer have strong favorites but preferences which I enjoy hearing. Some of my recent favorites:

Antonin Dvorak Serenade in E Major, first movement
Anton Bruckner Symphony No. 9 in D Minor especial the Scherzo
Sibelius - Symphony No. 7

To some this may seem strange but I really enjoy Trance with a strong bass, played loudly! Love the ground shaking bass.

Share Your Coments With The Cosmos

My Favorite Greek Composers

Music by the composers: Hadjidakis, Theodorakis and Xarhakos.

My Favorite Music Stations
(also available on

Hearts of Space
Musical Star Streams


My Favorite Search Engines

* Google does not do as good a job as they use to.

Tip: Some times a key phrase may be put in quotation marks such as "United States". To eliminate a keyword from a search put a minus sign in front of that word such as Athens -Georgia will not display any links to Athens, Georgia.

For some of my ideas about computers and the internet click here.

My Favorite Compliment that I Received

Perhaps this may be the biggest compliment ever made to me. A friend, ok an ex-girlfriend asked me for my genes, sexually or asexually, contractually or with out contract. I thought about it but in the end I declined to contribute my half of genes to a baby. Do I have any regrets?

My Two Favorite Brainteasers

The Prisoner's Dilemma. You are in prison and want to be free. There are two doors. One door leads to freedom and the other to certain death. There are two guards who know which of the doors leads to freedom and which to death. One guard always says the truth whereas the other always lies and both know about each others behavior. Unfortunately you do not know which one is honest and which one is a liar. You may ask either of the guards one question to save yourself. What is the one question to ask?

Its fun to try to figure this out. You will not appreciate the answer unless you first try to solve it on your own. See the answer.

Goat or Cadillac? You have a choice of one of three doors. One of the doors has a brand new Cadillac behind it, the other two doors each has a goat as prize. After you select a door, the host knowing what is behind the doors opens one revealing a goat. You then are given the choice of sticking with your original selection or switching to the other door.

Are your odds enhanced by staying or changing or it doesn't make a difference. What would you do to get the Cadillac? See the answer

My Favorite Books

Manuals, Manuals and more Manuals which I hate reading but find indispensable. Did I say favorite?

Things That Bug Me

My Favorite High School Gross Out Poem

Everybody is doing it, doing it, doing it
Picking their nose and chewing it, chewing it, chewing it
They think its candy but it's not, it's not, it's snot!

My Favorite Pet

CookieMy favorite pet is a parakeet. When very young I was given a baby parakeet which I named Cookie. I cracked the seeds and fed him until he could eat on his own. The bird was trilingual if parakeet language is included. Birds in general are my favorite animals besides beautifully adorned they can fly.

My Favorite Dream
(but perhaps my second most favorite)

Flying dreams are very spectacular. The few people that have them agree that they are the greatest. I wonder if my pet parakeet had an influence for me to have the flying dreams? I haven't had one lately. Very disappointed!

My Favorite Story I Tell

In my early twenties in order to live up to my image (image?) I joined the Land of Lincoln Skydivers Inc. at Hebron Airport in Wisconsin. I had not flown before let alone jump out of a plane but went there to learn and to skydive. During the training I had an heated argument with the skydiving instructor on how to aim during descent and land on the target. Right prior to the jump at 5000 feet with my feet dangling out of a single engine plane and my ears buzzing and from the air pressure ear imbalance and ringing from all the noise the still furious instructor yells in my ear to remember what to do in case of a malfunction and then a strong pat on the back or was it a shove sent me flying through the thin air. Well obviously there was no malfunction as I am here to reminisce. A terrifying instant later out of the plane the jump turned out to be very peaceful and enjoyable yet too brief an experience. I landed within 10 feet of the target in a way proving that my method of reaching the target was perhaps equal if not better than the way my instructor had said. The other two more experienced jumpers landed in the nearby cornfields presumably following the instructors method on landing on the target. The instructor did briefly congratulate me and in my mind he acknowledged my accomplishment. I felt victorious and thankful that sky diving instructor did not hold a grudge.

You may be asking "why only one jump?" I went several more times to jump but it was always too windy to jump so to my relief I did not. As beautiful as the skydiving experience was it is still terrifying the minutes prior to the jump. It just is not natural for people to jump into the thin air!

My Favorite Little Black Book

     If you happened to see me writing in my little black book and wondered what I wrote, well keep on wondering. If however you want to know the technical details that a different story. It is an At-A-Glance date book. I have modified it to make it more convenient to use. I cut slits on the front cover to hold a pen. On the back inside cover I cut slits to hold standard 3"x5 scratch paper which by the way is the only scratch paper size I use. For easy access I cut a tiny slit to hold a (white) plastic toothpick. Should I patent this, or is it too late?

Ok, I will divulge what I write in the black book. I insert notations on what I should do on certain days. After all it is a date book! I have enough listed in this book to keep me busy for two lifetimes. At one time I was confident that it was good to always have a long list of things to do that keeps on getting longer but now I am no longer certain that this is so. The reason I say this is of all the people I know I am the only one that walks around with a date boot tethered to his body as if it was an appendage and made prisoner by its dead weight.

To organize your time see: At-A-Glance

My Favorite Top Ten Movies
in alphabetical order

A Simple Plan
America America
Dances With Wolves
Get Shorty
The Killing Fields
Raging Bull
Sunset Boulevard
Taxi Driver
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
U Turn
- Ok, you're right, I can't count!

My  Favorite Top 50 Movies in alphabetical order

2001 A Space Odyssey
Amores Perros
Being John Malkovich
Bicentennial Man
Burn After Reading
Citizen Kane
Das Boot
Deer Hunter
Don Juan De Marco
Double Indemnity
El Norte
Emerald Forest
Forbidden Planet
Fried Green Tomatoes
The Girl in the Cafe
Gone With the Wind
Grizzly Man
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
The Killing Fields
King of Comedy
Kiss of the Spider Woman
Midnight Cowboy
My Dinner with Andre
On the Waterfront
The Painted Veil
Pulp Fiction
The Postman Always Rings Twice
Rear Window
Return to Paradise
Seven Beauties
The Terminator
Ulysses Gaze
West Side Story
Wuthering Heights
Wizard of Oz

My  Favorite Top 60 to 150 Movies in alphabetical order

American Beauty
The Artist
Beetle Juice
Big Fish
Birdman Of Alcatraz
Body Heat
Cinema Paradiso
The Coca Cola Kid
Doctor Zhivago
Enemy Mine
The French Connection
Dog Day Afternoon
District 9
The Elephant Man
Fantastic Animation Festival
Fog of war
The Godfather
The Gods Must Be Crazy
The Grapes of Wrath
The Great Escape
Harold and Maude
The Hitcher
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Universe
Kill Bill
King Rat
Lawrence of Arabia
The Manchurian Candidate
The Matrix
Mulholland Drive
ever on Sunday
Nick of Time
The Other Side of Midnight
The Planet of the Apes
Reservoir Dogs
The Professional
Saving Private Ryan
The Shawshank Redemption
Slumdog Millionaire
A Streetcar Named Desire
Swept Away
Tender Mercies
The Usual Suspects
Toy Story
The Wild Bunch
---Check back for the complete list

My Favorite Meals

Stifado - A onion stew with red sauce prepared with rabbit, chicken or beef or even octopus. Great with feta and fresh bread for dipping into the sauce.
Greek fish soup - It's amazingly very delicious.
Chicken Panang. Truly heavenly!
Pizzeria Due vegetarian pizza in Chicago.
French onion soup and pate at the Gare Saint Lazare on Armitage Avenue west of Halsted in Chicago. Are they still in the same location?

My Favorite Fruits and Vegetables

Tomato - Only if ripe and sweet. They don't grow tomatoes like they used to, not even in Greece!
Potato - Greek style pan fried in olive oil with a little salt, lemon and oregano added. Delicious!
Mango - Must be properly ripened.
Avocado - Best is in our back yard in Kalamata. Very buttery and tasty!
Orange - I once had the perfect orange. What an experience and unfortunately has never been repeated. I suspect this may be what Plato meant. By the way nuts and oranges not only taste great eaten together but are also a very healthy combination.

My Favorite Coffee

Dunkin Donuts is my American coffee standard however I make better coffee with Folgers Classic blend. Oh, what an aroma! (No! this is not an advertisement nor a paid endorsement) If coffee only tasted as good as it smelled we would be in serious trouble. Best coffee creamer is Coffee Mate Original Half and Half but I am not sure why there would be a decisive flavor difference between this and the store brand half and half (the idiots discontinued selling it, so now I will have to find a new favorite) When it come to coffee it is obvious I am not a gourmet. I know too many people that would disagree with me on my choice for best coffee, so this is the reason I did not included this snippet under Quick Facts.

By the way, add a pinch of salt to the coffee in the filter and the bitterness is gone!

Update: I recently tried Douwe Egberts coffee which was excellent. It may become my favorite but need more testing to make such a proclamation. 

August 2007 Major Update: Just came back to the US via Paris. Gotta say the best cappuccino and the best coffee I have ever had was there at the cafes. It was smoooooth and creamy and no bitterness. It was served hot rather than warm. It was absolutely delicious. I must find a place that serves this coffee here in the US or find the recipe.

My Favorite Socks

My favorite socks which I bought around 1980. I had three pair each with different color combinations. The one in the photos is the last pair still kicking.

I like odd looking socks. An occasional gal will notice and comment. So no-one hardly ever notices but I do and that's good enough. If you know that these socks are still available please let me know where to purchase them.

Answer to The Prisoner's Dilemma: Ask either of the guards "what will the other guard say it the door to freedom" and exit on the opposite door. This works as both guards give identical answers.
Back to problem.

Answer to Goat or Cadillac? Of course you want the car! What should you do? Does it make any difference? Originally I had argued with great conviction that it would not make any difference to stay or to switch. After giving this problem more thought I had to remove foot from mouth, surgically so that I could face my opponents in this discussion without looking too foolish.
The correct answer: If you switch you have better chance of winning the car. For additional comments see:

* (see: 3. The Two Guards)
* Back to problem.


My Mentor’s Autobiography  Things That Bug Me  Celebrate Pi and Pythagoras Day. Art by Vas and More  Miscellaneous Comments and Issues  My Writings ______________________________________________________

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Copyright 2007 V. Gardiakos