Sunday, November 30, 2008

Life on Google

While checking out Laughing Squid's blog I found out that Google is putting Life magazine's photo archives on the internet. 20 million images along with details on each about location, story and photographer will eventually be made available. An amazing historical resource. If you want to search the archive via your regular Google search engine just add source:life to whatever you want to find in Images e.g. "Athens source:life".

"Member of the American mission to Greece Dwight P. Griswold leaning out over his balcony and looking at the views of Salonika harbour. August 1947. ".

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I just want to celebrate

My day in pictures.

I Just Want To Celebrate - hormiga Rare Earth

Talking to the birds

, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Angel of the north

Angel of the north, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Friday, November 28, 2008

"Tonight we dine in hell"

Persian: A thousand nations of the Persian empire descend upon you. Our arrows will blot out the sun!

Stelios: Then we will fight in the shade.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Living in the shadows

Living in the shadows, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Thinking the unthinkable

With most of the material found in EFL/ESL course books the need to reach as wide a global audience as possible and the fear of alienating learners means that most of it is bland to the point of inducing a catatonic trance. This coupled with the fact that most material writers believe that what interests them (bee keeping, provincial English towns, 19th century writers etc) will fire the imagination of teens worldwide means that the books produced to learn English at advanced levels are dull in the extreme.

So here is another idea for getting post intermediate students to wake up in class and actually participate. At first it may seem morbid but the aim is to help students talk about ideas and beliefs that they doesn't usually get to discuss in class.

Lesson plan

1 Write up the following headline on the board.

"13 year-old girl chooses to die"

2 Now ask students to imagine that they are reporters investigating this story and that they have to think of five questions using;


3 Just go around to help the students with any problems with grammar they may have.

4 The learners then ask and answer the questions. Make sure they understand there are no wrong answers for this part, just their imagination and opinion counts.

5 Now divide the class into two groups.

Group one will watch the video below.

Their job is to write down all the questions the presenter asks. If you don't have access to internet in your classroom you can download videos from YouTube etc using Real Player and play them on a PC, ipod or mobile phone.

6 The other group leaves the room and has ten minutes to find out as much as they can about the story using the headline and Google. If you do not have internet access in the classroom you can print out and photocopy some of the articles below. Tell the students that they have to find out what is happening and take notes as after the ten minutes are they will not have access to the internet or photocopies afterwards.,27574,24639223-401,00.html

7 The students then come back in and those who watched the video interview them. Students in the group who were outside can either assume the role of Hannah or her parents. Remind those involved that the most important thing is to communicate the general idea of what is happening rather than getting all the details correct.

8 The interviews could be recorded or videoed using the students mobile phones and them put on a class blog via Youtube.

9 Finally, ask the students to debate whether Hannah and her parents have made the right decision. This could be done in the form of a formal debate or in smaller groups in a less formal manner.

As you can imagine this is a sensitive topic which needs to be handled carefully. As a teacher you are in the best position to judge if this activity is suitable for your learners. On the other hand it does allow students to express their own beliefs in English on a topic which likely to engage them.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

From 28 to 17 in three easy steps

Taken during the annual OXI (no) day parade in Thessaloniki, Greece.

“Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns begin they think of firelit homes, clean beds, and wives”

“Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns begin they think of firelit homes, clean beds, and wives”, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.



With An Introduction By
Robert Nichols



"Good-morning; good-morning!" the General said
When we met him last week on our way to the line.
Now the soldiers he smiled at are most of 'em dead,
And we're cursing his staff for incompetent swine.
"He's a cheery old card," grunted Harry to Jack
As they slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack.
* * * * *
But he did for them both by his plan of attack.

For the rest of the work click here.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Do I know you?, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Ilsa: I wasn't sure you were the same. Let's see, the last time we met...

Rick: Was La Belle Aurore.

Ilsa: How nice, you remembered. But of course, that was the day the Germans marched into Paris.

Rick: Not an easy day to forget.

Ilsa: No.

Rick: I remember every detail. The Germans wore gray, you wore blue.


I just saw Doomsday, the latest movie by Neil Marshall, director of the Descent and Dog Soldiers and it was great fun although hardly an artistic masterpiece. After all the high brow drama of the local film festival it's a little like sneaking into McDonalds for a burger rather than another haute cuisine fresh leaf, tossed salad. Not stylish, not healthy, a dark moment of self - destructive self - indulgence

To make your own Doomsday franchise sequel just follow this simple easy-to-make recipe

1kg prime John Carpenter (Escape From New York, if you can get it but Ghosts of Mars will do at a pinch).

2kg zombie movie, the fresher the better so 28 Days Later will probably be the most suitable.

1 lt of Mad Max.

a handful of Braveheart.

a level teaspoons each of Damnation Alley and The Omega Man.

Actually, I saw Doomsday on the internet as a streaming video and though the quality was not great it was the only way I'm going to be able to do so as the movie disappeared in the cinemas within a couple of weeks and hasn't come out on DVD. Be warned, though the film is quite gory and not for the faint of heart. Still, I doubt if that will be a problem for fans of post-apocalyptic, the-end-is-neigh cinema.

To see other movies online check out

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Extreme portrait

Extreme portrait, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Scenes from the 49th Thessaloniki Film Festival

Blagging and blogging, ducking and diving. Another full day taking pictures during the film festival.

For more info on the 49th Thessaloniki Film Festival click here.

Willem Dafoe - The Dust of Time

William Defoe

It turned out that Theo Angelopoulos along with Willem Dafoe were giving the press conference. I hung around and took a few pics. I suppose I should have been Twittering as well but I wanted to be able to photograph freely without dragging around the laptop.

Angelopoulos is presenting his latest film, The Dust of Time here at the 49th Thessaloniki Film Festival.

Blogging live

Just managed to blag my way into the the press conference here at the Thessaloniki Film Festival and once again for some reason they've got a line of bouncers checking IDs . Actually, I'm not sure even why I did it as I don't know who is going to be speaking. Still, it's a challenge and it's pouring down outside.

Pictures will follow as soon as I find the cables to link my camera to my Mac

Friday, November 21, 2008

Ακριβεια - Stop

Στους δρόμους και τις γειτονιές θα ακουστεί ξανά η φωνή μας! Βγαίνουμε από τα σπίτια μας, περπατάμε μαζί, τραγουδάμε για να μας ακούσουν. Σπάμε την αδράνεια, γινόμαστε πολλοί και «ενοχλούμε» όσους μας κλέβουν. Για μια μέρα θα γίνουμε πρωταγωνιστές. Θα φωνάξουμε για το δίκιο μας, θα τους αναγκάσουμε να μας πάρουν στα σοβαρά. Οι Επιτροπές ΑΚΡΙΒΕΙΑ-STOP συναντιούνται και διαδηλώνουν στους δρόμους της πόλης. Συνεχίζουμε, δυναμώνουμε, απαιτούμε!

Η πρώτη πορεία θα γίνει το Σάββατο 22 Νοέμβρη στη Νίκαια. Ξεκινάμε στις 10.30 π.μ από την Πλ. Κουμπάκη (Σπάθα).

Οι επιτροπές κατά της ακρίβειας σας συστήνουν ανεπιφύλακτα:


Όλοι μαζί να ενώσουμε τις φωνές μας! Όλοι μαζί να ενώσουμε τις δυνάμεις μας!

Hunger strikers win victory in Greek prison protest

After an 18 - day hunger strike involving over half of Greece's prison population the government has said that it will agree to 14 out of the inmate's 16 demands. These include the shortening of sentences and improvements in basic hygiene and medical services.

Justice minister, Sotris Hadzigakis has agreed to present legislation to parliament that is aimed at alleviating the severe overcrowding in the prison system by allowing the early release of 5500 prisoner by April 2009.

Last year the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) noted that Athen's Kordyllio high security facility, which was designed to house 640 prisoner held 2043. The committee's report also condemned the treatment of detainees by prison officers and other law enforcement officials (click here to report in full) and the poor conditions generally in which inmates were held in jails throughout the country.

For more information in English click here.

Για περισσοτερες πληροφοριες στα Ελληνικα, κανε κλικ εδω.

Winter sun

Winter sun, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

A Hazy Shade of Winter [Purple Haze Mix] - The Bangles

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Scenes from the 49th Thessaloniki Film Festival

Waiting for W

Oliver Stone at the 49th Thessaloniki Film festival

Dude on Stone

Dude on Stone, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Taken tonight just after the premier of W in Thessaloniki during the city's 49th film festival. For more on Oliver Stone click here.

"THESSALONIKI – Oliver Stone was in town yesterday to present his latest presidential film at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, “W,” a biopic on outgoing US President George W. Bush.

“People assumed a lot about Bush,” the celebrated American filmmaker told a packed press conference yesterday, “they ‘mis-underestimated’ him – to use one of his own terms. People see him as a failure, but this is not quite true because the Bush ‘doctrine’ is well in place.”

Click here to read the rest of the Kathimerini article.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Yeah, well. The Dude abides."

Alas I missed the chance to abide with my fellow believers at this year's Lebowski Fest in New York. As the Guradian says;

"Starring Jeff Bridges as Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowksi, the Coen brothers' 1998 movie The Big Lebowski combines stoner comedy and noir pastiche with a celebration of life's simple pleasures, such as friendship, bowling and White Russians. Ten years after its inauspicious release, this offbeat gem inspires more devoted – even obsessive – appreciation than any other recent film. Lebowski Fest, as it's known, has become established as the main artery through which that devotion flows."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Oliver Stone at the 49th Thessaloniki Film Festival

Oliver Stone, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Oliver Stone at the 49th Thessaloniki film festival

I managed to get a few pictures of Oliver Stone as he left the press conference he gave during the Thessaloniki Film Festival. Couldn't get in though as a wall of bouncers barred entrance to anyone not accredited. To tell you the truth the security presence this year is overwhelming and quite intimidating. You'd think the city was hosting the Olympic games rather than a cultural event.

17th November protest march - Thessaloniki

"The Athens Polytechnic uprising in 1973 was a massive demonstration of popular rejection of the Greek military junta of 1967-1974. The uprising began on November 14, 1973, escalated to an open anti-junta revolt and ended in bloodshed in the early morning of November 17 after a series of events starting with a tank crashing through the gates of the Polytechnic."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Close, closer, Dude

Close, closer, Dude, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Still at the film festival, hanging out with friends, poking my nose in stuff. Great fun and the day is still young.

Diablo Cody

Today I'm hanging out at the Thessaloniki film festival, just taking advantage of their wi-fi connection and catching up with friends. By the way I came across Diablo Cody and grabbed a quick shot. Cody is best known as the writer of last years's indy cinema classic, Juno.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

On the eve

On the eve, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Tomorrow is the 17th November and Greece remembers those who fought against right -wing junta and brought about their downfall in 1973.

I will be there. I hope to see you there on the streets.

The old ones are the best - even in comedy

ATHENS (Reuters) - "I'll tell you what's wrong with it. It's dead, that's what's wrong with it."

For those who believe the ancient Greeks thought of everything first, proof has been found in a 4th century AD joke book featuring an ancestor of Monty Python's Dead Parrot sketch where a man returns a parrot to a shop, complaining it is dead.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Here is another Greek joke I heard years ago. After an archeology conferences all the guys get together in the bar and start to chat and swap war stories. After a few more drinks people start to get a bit boastful. One of the German archeologists starts saying that when he was excavating a 14th century castle in Bavaria they found traces of cables so proving that the Germans had phones long before anyone else.

"Bahhh!!!", starts a Greek archeologist, "Last years we were exacavating the Acropolis and guess what we found?" , "Nothing!, So that shows we had mobile long before anyone else."

49th Thessaloniki film festival - yesterday

49th Thessaloniki film festival

49th Thessaloniki film festival

49th Thessaloniki film festival

'Faithful to its annual date with cinephiles, the 49th Thessaloniki Film Festival, Greece's grandest and most prestigious event for the 7th art, opens its doors on November the 14th, 2008, bringing about the transformation of the city of Thessaloniki to a youthful hive of life and creative association.

Multi-awarded Belgian auteurs Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, heretical Japanese actor and director Takeshi Kitano, unconventional English director Terence Davies, internationally renowned and two-time Academy Award winner Argentinean composer Gustavo Santaolalla and Brazilian director Walter Salles are only a few of the big names of modern cinema that are expected to honor this year's festival with their presence.'

Saturday, November 15, 2008

5600 prisoners on hunger strike in Greece

Prison wall

Amidst the glam and glitter that go with the opening of any international event, the start of the Thessaloniki film festival was also marked by a march of between 500 and 1000 anarchist protesting conditions in Greece’s prison system. The demonstrations, which took place yesterday evening in most of the country’s major cities were aimed at bring public attention to the hunger strike taking place throughout country’s jails.

According to figures released by the Greek ministry of justice over 5600 of prisoners in jail are still either on hunger strike or refusing prison meals. Three Kurdish inmates in Trikaka, central Greece have also sewn their mouths shut in protest, according to some reports.

The prisoners’s action started on 3rd November in order to highlight a 16 - point list of demands which include the reduction of sentences, the ending of punitive disciplinary measures against inmates and improvements in basic hygiene and sanitation.

According to the Initiative for Prisoner Rights blog ( the government’s response to the crisis and attempts at negotiation are “inadequate” and fail to address the protestors basic demands.

The site also said that the strike claimed its first victim when 32 year old Nicolas Badakis, a participating inmate in the Grevena prison in northern Greece was found dead in his cell on the 13th November. Badakis had originally been found unconscious in his cell and taken to the local hospital. Next day he was released from hospital care and return to jail where he died the following day.

The hunger strike has also put extra strain on the Greek prison health care system which has long been criticised as severly lacking in European Union reports. Last year the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) roundly condemned the Greek authorities for conditions in the nation’s penal system. Their 2007 report was scathing in its condemnation of the standards of health care in the system and the poor conditions in which many were held, often without proper health care facilities.

Much of the medical treatment such as the keeping of records and provision of medication is carried out by the prisoners themselves in Greek jails. In addition prisoners often do not have access to hot water or soap and in some cases are allowed just one toilet roll per month.

Earlier this year the Greek language newspaper, Eleutherotypia reported that on average in 2008 one person a week died in custody in Greece.

Greek minister for finance, Giorgos Alogoskoufis was pelted with eggs by protesters during a speech at the London School of Economics on 14th November. According to the Greek national daily, Ta Nea the protesters scattered leaflets and shouted slogans in support of hunger strikers. In addition there have been dozens of attacks with improvised incendiary devices against banks, political party offices, luxury car outlets and news vans throught Athens and Thessaloniki.

5600 prisoners on hunger strike in Greece Protest by anarchists in solidarity with hunger strikers in Greek prisons

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Anarchists protest prison conditions and the detention of comrades - Thessaloniki

Amidst the glitter and glam of the opening ceremony of the 49th Thessaloniki Film festival about 500 anarchists marched in protest against the detention of comrades along Tsimiski St this evening.

They were also showing their solidarity with the thousands in Greek jails currently on hunger strike over inhumane conditions which have been repeatedly condemned by European and Greek human rights organisations.

Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture.

Friday, November 14, 2008

49th Thessaloniki International Film Festival,

Today is the first day of the Thessaloniki film festival (still trying to find where they hid the festival programme in their website) here so I'm trying to get press accreditation but if the worse comes to the worse I'll just do what I normally do and just gatecrash. It is amazing the kind of access you can get with a confident attitude and a DSLR camera hanging round your neck.

Still, there was also plenty of other things going on in the centre this morning. Anarchists in a stand off with the authorities outside the police station in Aristotelous square, half the city's OAPs lining up for a free diabetes test at the other end near the sea.,

And it wasn't even midday.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Warning: loansharks"

"Warning: loansharks", originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

"Warning: loansharks"

Syriza party members being interviewed by the press

Members of the left-wing SYRIZA party protesting against exorbitant bank charges and lack of accountability and transparency in the government's 28 billion euro bail out plan for the Greek banking sector.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

On the seafront

Going home, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Darth Vader meets Easy Rider