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Your comments about NYC growing upwards, instead of outwards, reminded me of a myth linking the appearance of telephones in offices and the building of office skyscrapers. Many writers (then and now) assert that the telephone made the existence of skyscrapers possible in two ways: firstly, in their construction (a line could be strung up so that workers on the ground could communicate with workers at the top of the building); and secondly, in their design. In such large buildings, with so many employees, the number of messages travelling around the offices would have been enormous. If staff relied on messenger boys to convey these messages up and down the skyscraper, they would have needed so many lifts that, from an architectural viewpoint, such a building would have been impossible. There is little in the way of direct evidence and it seems that the story just got repeated over the decades without being checked. Clause S. Fischer explains this more elegantly in his "America Calling." Perhaps the upward movement was to do with prestige? A flashy office downtown in a high-rise building is more awe-inspiring, and if they can afford the higher property prices as well .... I enjoy reading your posts - always so varied and unusual!
It's refreshing to see an 'outsider's' take on Greek reality. Congratulations! I am a Greek expat and seeing the pictures and reading the descriptions, I renewed my vows to keep away from this cradle of democracy. Taxi fares go up and yes, the driver has less punters. But how much income does he declare on his annual tax return? Like several other professions, taxi drivers are not obligated to give out receipts. No doubt Matina will be able to supplement her meagre first salary (when she eventually qualifies) by offering private lessons to the same students she teaches in the day. It is not the students who have failed, but rather the education *system* that has failed. And which people make up the bulk of that system and operate it on a daily basis? I am sorely disappointed that more Greeks living abroad have not spoken out about what life is really like there or taken any kind of stance on their country's woes. Fearful? Shy? Indifferent? I don't know but the fact that so many have remained silent (both at home and abroad) is, I believe, one reason why things have become so dismal. Keep up the good work on the blog!
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Feb 11, 2010