Addendum: Library of Congress Subject Headings for Blog

Having either been a cataloger or having worked with catalogers for most of my academic career, I know the value of subject headings. They take some time to create (there are rules as to what can and cannot be used as subdivisions), but they work wonderfully bringing works together for the user to find.

The following broad subjects would be assigned to my Greece 2013 blog by libraries using Library of Congress subject headings (LCSH):
Handis, Michael W.—Diaries.
Librarians—United States—Biography.
Athens (Greece)—Pictorial works.
Greece—Pictorial works.

And those subject headings translated into Greek (I used Google Translate):
Handis, Michael W.-Ημερολόγι
Βιβλιοθηκονόμοι-Ηνωμένες Πολιτείες-Βιογραφία
Αθήνα (Ελλάδα)—Φωτογραφικά λευκώματα
Ελλάδα—Φωτογραφικά λευκώματα

The user would be expected to look at the record created for the item, take into account the description and other subject headings assigned, and decide if this work should be examined. However, because this is my blog, I am assigning these additional LC subject headings:
Acropolis (Athens, Greece)—Pictorial works.
Ethnikon Archaiologikon Mouseion (Greece)—Pictorial works.
Ethniko Historiko Mouseio (Greece)—Pictorial works.
Mouseio Kykladikēs Technēs—Pictorial works.
Mouseion tōn Delphōn—Pictorial works.
Mouseio Benakē—Pictorial works.
Museo archeologico nazionale di Napoli—Pictorial works.

The museum names in English:
National Archaeological Museum (Greece)—Pictorial works.
National Historical Museum (Greece)—Pictorial works.
Museum of Cycladic Art—Pictorial works.
Museum of Delphi—Pictorial works.
National Archaeological Museum of Naples—Pictorial works.

And the additional subject headings in Greek:
Ακρόπολη (Αθήνα, Ελλάδα)— Φωτογραφικά λευκώματα
Εθνικό Αρχαιολογικό Μουσείο (Ελλάδα)— Φωτογραφικά λευκώματα
Εθνικό Ιστορικό Μουσείο (Ελλάδα)—Φωτογραφικά λευκώματα
Μουσείο Κυκλαδικής Τέχνης—Φωτογραφικά λευκώματα
Δελφών Αρχαιολογικό Μουσείο—Φωτογραφικά λευκώματα
Μουσείο Μπενάκη—Φωτογραφικά λευκώματα


A Word About Iphigenia Café

Museum of Greek Folk Art (2013-04-05 002)

Having gone through all my entries and tagged them as well as created categories, I was surprised to find that I had never really talked about Iphigenia Cafe. Frankly, I’m ashamed of myself. Iphigenia became a home-away-from-home in Metamorfosi. There were days that I would go there just to get out of the apartment. The free Internet was the initial draw; later I went there to use the Internet and observe the Greeks in the place. It was a popular hangout for the locals to watch soccer games, and boy did they watch the games. If there was one on, there was a large group there. If there wasn’t one on the television, then the place was nearly empty. I remember one night being the last person out of the place. A late soccer game had just ended, but I was still using the Internet, so I had to rush to finish.

The first person I talked to there was Xanthe, one of the people who worked at Iphigenia. She got used to seeing me and, not knowing much English, she would watch me point to things. She told me, in English, that I was a very polite person and sat down one evening to find out why I was there. We managed to muddle through. I was able to tell her that I was a librarian, but I couldn’t find the word for “university” or “academic.” I told her that I was from New York, but again I didn’t know the word for “sabbatical.” Still, she was interested, and after that she always said hello to me and tried to help me decide on what snack I wanted with my “Coke light,” i.e. diet Coke.

Georgios was a cutie and, for a guy his age, his voice was very deep and booming. He’s a winker. And who I assumed was the owner was a very nice, white-haired guy who always said hello to me by name. I never did learn his name, but I would always say hello and we would try and chat with the little we knew of the other’s language. He was the one who I saw last and he shook my hand. He even knew less English than Xanthe and Georgios, but he made a noise and with his hand mimicked a plane taking off. I told him to tell Xanthe and Georgios that I said good-bye.

Iphigenia Café is at Ifigeneias 42, North Irakleio (phone 210.2848742), across from the supermarket Carrefour.

If you go there, tell them Mike in America says hello.


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Does anyone remember Kimba, the White Lion? It was one of the first Japanese cartoons to make it to the U.S. The way this Ephesus cat is standing reminds me of Kimba—sans the colored fur, of course

And so it ends.

I am now back in the United States. Summer is almost here, and I am settling into my “typical” life. The apartment is a mess and needs to be cleaned. After I left, my car’s “check engine” light (which my brother so aptly calls “the idiot light” since it tells you nothing about what’s wrong) came on, so the person I left it with opted not to take chances and did not drive it. Now this needs fixed. I’ve started volunteering at the library again, and I’ve already visited the Silver Tips Tea Room and Whimsies.

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Display, the Museum of Folk Art, Athens

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Processed food, Greek-style. Pre-made spanakopita that I bought when I first arrived in Greece

What did I learn from my experience in Greece? “Not much” is my initial response, but I wonder. I did live in another country for nearly three months, faring well against language and cultural barriers. I visited different places that I had always wanted to see. Was it really “Not much?”

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The Tripartite Shrine, Palace of Phaistos, Crete

I finally met my Cretan relatives, discovering that my second cousin was afraid to tell me that he was a Greek Orthodox priest, that this might upset me for some reason. He was surprised to find that I had an uncle who was a priest. I may not be religious, but that does not mean that I am not spiritual or respectful of others’ beliefs. (Actually, I visited a few Orthodox churches while in Greece and actually crossed myself and kissed the icons.) I would like to visit my relatives again sometime in the future.

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This cat is being fed outside the Acropolis Museum. Look at those incisors! (I kept trying to find a reason to post this pic.)

Perhaps most importantly, I found that I like studying archaeological ruins. Therefore, I am seriously considering going for a third Masters degree, this one in Liberal Studies with the track in classical and medieval archaeology. It will be “free” to attend at the university where I currently work. I will, however, have to pay taxes on this “scholarship” as it is considered part of my salary. (America really values education.)

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A curly-haired, bearded man resembling Marcus Aurelius, from Gortyn, and in the Archaeological Museum, Herakleion, Crete

As for blogging, it is far too much work. For someone who has kept a diary for decades, I find that I either duplicated the information, or the blog served as a complement to the diary. I simply cannot sit down and bang out something without thinking about it first. I always believed that no matter what one writes, the writing needs to be crafted through revision. This takes time, time I’d rather spending doing other things.

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Artemis preparing to kill one of Niobe’s children. In mythology, Niobe bragged that she had twelve (some traditions say fourteen) children while the goddess Leto, mother of Apollo and Artemis, had only two. This sacrilege was punished by Apollo and Artemis, who killed all of Niobe’s children. In the Archaeological Museum, Herakleion, Crete

However, I do understand the euphoria some people must feel in blogging. It’s being published—literally. (Academic libraries in the U.S. consider anything on the Internet as published.) Several weeks ago while still in Athens, I did a Google search to see if I could find the sculptor responsible for the statue of Constantine XI near the Phaleron beach. The first entry was my blog entry on traveling to Phaleron and seeing the statue. This surprised me, as I did not put any keywords into most of the entries because the blog was specifically written for friends to keep up with what I was doing; I have no interest in being “famous.”

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An embankment collapse onto an empty street, Pompeii, Italy

I should have known better. The “spiders” that “crawl” through the Internet index all important words in all web sites. Keyword searching is the substitute for metadata, that information catalogers create for items held in their libraries—or what is online that the libraries provide access to, usually for a hefty fee. Metadata allows databases to precisely search titles, authors, notes, subject headings, etc. whereas on the Internet everything is keyword. This is why you need to do several searches for anything complex in Google: terms are jumbled together in one search box, so the searcher has to go through screen after screen or, like me, gets bored and does the search again—with more crappy results.

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Modern Greek graffiti, Athens. One could easily argue that this is art

My research in Greece has given me information that might lead to my writing a few articles. What actually interests me about blogs is using them in research: restricting access to pages where I’m working on something, and then making the pages available when I’m finished. Something for me to think about.

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A Byzantine dish depicting the half-Byzantine, half-Arab hero, Digenis Akritas. Stoa of Attalos Museum, Athens

From a personal perspective, I have spent much of my life alone; therefore, I did not get homesick. I did miss my friends from time to time, but they are living their own lives and I do not spend that much time with a lot of them. I had no one to go out with on occasion, but this was not that different than being at home. I functioned in Greece as I do in America: going out and doing most things alone. As always, I rely on my own resources.

Would I do it again, living in another country? Absolutely.

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Close-up, the windows of Hagia Irene, Istanbul, Turkey

Back Home

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Pine cones, which I photographed on the last night I was in Athens. Apparently they aren’t only for Christmas or winter decorations–at least in Greece

I arrived home on Sunday. Monday I spent quite a bit of the day sleeping, and today I am in T-Town, having walked from The Hollow.

The flight back was horrible, but what flights aren’t? I sat next to Kendra, who was originally from Pittsburgh and who now lives in Nashville, just like my cousin from Pittsburgh. She was cool so we would turn up our headphones every time two little, whiny kids started screaming–and they screamed quite a bit on that trip. Usually I can’t stand the parents, but I felt sorry for them; they’re going to need a day or two away from those kids.

There was nothing to do. For awhile it looked as if the in-flight entertainment system was on the fritz, but Kendra got hers working, so I played with mine and, sure enough, I got to watch three movies: Lincoln, the Oz movie with James Franco, and another movie whose name and plot escapes me at the moment.

I intend to write a wrap-up entry for the blog, basically a “what have I learned” which, at the moment, I can’t think of a blessed thing. I’ll do this in a week or so.

What I do find interesting is that the people who kept telling me that I had to blog didn’t even read the thing whereas people who I told about the blog actually read it. I even got some feedback from a few.

All Packed and Ready

All Packed and Ready (2013-06-01 001)

During the fourth time I tried to pack the suitcase, I finally pulled out the bag I bought to take with me on the cruise. I have my regular red bag inside it. The black bag has “overflow” and is not completely filled. I plan on taking out my red bag and putting that under the seat and stowing the black bag (half full) in the overhead.

The suitcase is HEAVY; I’ll probably have to pay extra for them to take it. I may take a few more books out and put them in the black bag. Here’s a perfect case for why ebooks are better than regular books. (Then again, the tablet I bought is just as heavy as my laptop.)

Thankfully, my leg feels better. It still hurts when I take a big step or really lift up my heel. I walked up the street and ate lunch; I may eat dinner in Iraklieo, if I’m hungry.

The kitchen and bathroom are clean. There’s not much to do in the living/dining room or the bedroom. I did the last of my laundry early this morning. I have to run the vacuum one more time, but that should be it.

I’m nervous, like I always am before I fly or go anywhere. The waiting is what gets me.


I haven’t decided what I’m going to do tomorrow. I have to repack my suitcase for the third time. The second time was very good, but I forgot some things, so I have to start over.

Maybe I’ll have lunch in Irakleio. If I don’t get out of the house, I’ll go crazy thinking about the almost 12 HOUR flight to JFK. (Whoever told me Greece was only 6 or 7 hours from New York is crazy.)

I have two bites. (I let my guard down. Damn!) My left leg is really hurting me. It gets stiff if I don’t stand on it after awhile. I have been trying to stretch the muscle even though it hurts.

If I have to lift that suitcase of mine on Sunday for any reason, it’s going to get ugly.