"I've had my share of Armenian konyak. My father-in-law is pretty fond of it (and vodka). He swears Armenians make the best konyak in the world."
In this case he's right, IMO. Maybe ask him if I can be an honorary Armenian? After a few shots of Konyak, of course. ;0)
"He also swears Armenians make the best everything in the world. :)" Not uncommon for folks from that part of the world. This much I can say: The Armenians are universally regarded as among the best cooks in the Middle East by Arabs from all corners of the Arab world, and that really says a lot given their fractious nature. On a personal note, the first family I stayed with when I went to the Middle East was an Armenian family in Beirut, and their cooking was fabulous.
"No better character to drink with; born in Syria, he speaks Armenian, English, Turkish, Russian, and Arabic, did a stint in the Soviet army, became a classical composer/music professor in the Soviet system, and eventually ended up in the Untied States doing construction for minimum wage in '78. The stories...."
I'll bet. They are an interesting bunch, having survived and thrived for millenia in
a rough part of the world. I had a lot of Armenian students when I taught at the University of Baghdad, and my landlady was Armenian. We used to play backgammon weekly over endless cups of tea. As you said, the stories.....