America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

America's #1 Balance Bike Destination
America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

30 January 2006

Days of the Weak: Another Production Meeting, more scribbles

Meet "Disco Dilbert", from the 70's. The stuff that seems completely foolish, childish, silly or meaning less, is totally uncensored. True, I want to go back and delete or change stuff in these silly images which are before you, but that would be dis-honest. Today my mind wandered and drifted like a cellophane bag in a wind-storm, sometimes getting "stuck" someplace until the wind shifted. I was never focused, accomplished little to nothing, and fought feelings of self hate and self doubt... Even now I feel like a piece of shit for posting my doodling, as if anyone really wants to see it. Oh well- I want to see it here and that should be a good enough reason. Sometimes I must remind myself why I ever started this blog. I want a permanent record, to look back and reflect upon in years and decades to come, and for my son and future kids to look upon, hopefully with good feelings and an understanding of who I am and one day, who I was. Is that a bit morbid? For the present I hope that these images get your juices flowing or inspire a fresh idea of your own, whether you like them or not. Blogging seems so self-centered sometimes- it simply is by definition.

MATISYAHU: "King Without a Crown"

I am seven hours into my tax return and need a break... so I will share this wonderful new discovery in the music world. As with UB40 and Rick Astley, I was stunned and delighted when I first saw this artist in the flesh. I think you might also do a double take, especially if you've heard this song before. Click on the title above or click "launch the player here" below. He'll be performing at the Avalon in Boston sometime soon.

The Matisyahu "King Without A Crown" video: LAUNCH THE PLAYER HERE, choose your bandwidth and enjoy...
This player requires the Macromedia Flash MX plugin.
You can download the free plugin here.
For more about this release, visit:Or Music JDUB Records

28 January 2006

"Beetlejuice" in the Literal Sense - Should Insect Based Food Ingredients be Disclosed?

FDA: You're Eating Crushed Bug Juice
Cochineal extract, carmine should be listed on labels, officials say

Friday, January 27, 2006; Posted: 9:14 p.m. EST (02:14 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- That ice cream you're eating or the lipstick you're wearing just might contain extract from crushed bugs. On purpose.
And the government thinks you should know.
The Food and Drug Administration proposed Friday requiring food and cosmetic labels to list cochineal extract or carmine if a product's ingredients include either of the two red colorings that have been extracted from the ground bodies of an insect known since the time of the Aztecs. More...

If the above news troubles you, consider the amount of insect heads, animal dropping, rot and mold that is permissible in the foods we eat:
US Food & Drug Administration
The Food Defect Action Levels
Levels of natural or unavoidable defects in foods that present no health hazards for humans

Some samples:

FIG PASTE contains 13 or more insect heads per 100 grams of fig paste in each of 2 or more subsamples

Insect filth(AOAC 969.41)
Average of 225 insect fragments or more per 225 grams in 6 or more subsamples
Rodent filth(AOAC 969.41)
Average of 4.5 rodent hairs or more per 225 grams in 6 or more subsamples

Insects and mites(AOAC 945.82)
Average of 60 or more aphids and/or thrips and/or mites per 100 grams

Insect filth(AOAC 968.35)
Average of 30 or more insect fragments per 100 grams
Rodent filth(AOAC 968.35)
Average of 1 or more rodent hairs per 100 grams

From Zug's "What Are You Eating" (try the calculator):

Hey, nobody's perfect. It's hard to make peanut butter without a rat or two
falling in the grinder, which is why the FDA sets maximum limits for "animal
and insect impurities" in the food you eat every day. By estimating how many
these foods you've eaten in the past year, our calculator will tell you just how
many impurities you might have consumed!
Bon appetit!

And we haven't even scratched the surface of processed meat "defects". -AT

25 January 2006

Days of the Weak: Monday's Production Meeting Artwork

Every Monday afternoon, myself and four other project managers are compelled to attend a "Production Meeting" with the President and Plant Manager, to run down a list of every single project on our backlog. I won't dare bore you with the composition of our ramblings, but needless to say, each of us spends about 80% of the three hour meeting listening to the uninteresting details of eachother's projects.

During the course of one such meeting I nodded off and my head slumped forward. I jerked myself awake so fast I almost got whip-lash...

From then on, I tried to stay alert by keeping a tally of how many times each metaphor and catch-phrase is used. Among my favorites: "Pull the trigger", "Hit it out of the park", "Spinning my wheels", "Kick it out", "Slam Dunk", "It's on my radar", et al ad nauseaum. Buzzword BINGO came to mind, but I never acted on it.

In later meetings I tried to write palindromes (sp?) but the best ones I could come up with made no sense: "Nurses order red roses, run!" or "Go fondle held no fog". That last one sounds obsene..

Next, I tried re-arranging the letters in people's names to spell other things. For example, "AMERICAN TURK" can be re-arranged into "A Marine Truck"...

Nowadays I just doodle, all over my Franklin planner, my note pad, the 11x17 production schedule, the conference table... No not that last one so much. So when I'm not excusing myself to make a [third] trip to the boy's room or to make an "important" call, I resolve to create works of art such as the one you see above. My favorite part of this piece? Look at the very top. "Pea Soup in a Pod". -AT

An appeal to the Turkish government and Turks abroad on the Armenian issue

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An appeal to the Turkish government and Turks abroad on the Armenian issue

Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Opinion by Ferruh DEMİRMEN
It would seem presumptuous of me, a mere soul of humble background, to pen this letter to the Turkish government and Turks abroad (diaspora Turks) giving a piece of advice on what to do about the Armenian issue. Hence, I write this letter with some trepidation. But having witnessed what I have witnessed over the years and experiencing personal anguish as a result, I have reached the point where I say, 'Enough is enough.'


HOUSTON - TDN Guest writer

  It would seem presumptuous of me, a mere soul of humble background, to pen this letter to the Turkish government and Turks abroad (diaspora Turks) giving a piece of advice on what to do about the Armenian issue. Hence, I write this letter with some trepidation. But having witnessed what I have witnessed over the years and experiencing personal anguish as a result, I have reached the point where I say, �Enough is enough.�

  This sentiment is notwithstanding the fact that Turks in all walks of life, inside and outside Turkey, want to live in ethnic harmony and peace not only with Armenians living in neighboring Armenia, but also with Armenians living in diaspora. But a large majority of Armenians, especially those living in diaspora, want to have none of that. Diaspora Armenians and their supporters, stuck in history, are engaged in a slanderous �genocide� (�g�) campaign against Turks and Turkey invoking events that go back 90 years.

  Even if one ignores the anti-Turkish slime delivered by the Armenian camp through speeches, interviews, articles, books and exhibitions, just seeing productions such as director Atom Egoyan's 2002 movie �Ararat,� bankrolled by the Armenian lobby, is nauseating enough. Countless Muslims, even Jews, who suffered and perished at the hands of Armenians never had their stories told on screen or on stage. Their sufferings have gone pretty much unnoticed by the world. Turkey and Turks are under malicious attack.

  Hence, I call on Turkey and the diaspora Turks to rise up and take the offensive on the so-called Armenian �g� issue. The Turkish side has been too timid and too defensive on this issue, and it is time to change the approach. It is time to grab the bull -- the venomous Armenian propaganda machine -- by its horns and tackle it head on. I am talking about legislative, juristic and legal action.

  The Turkish government has long held that the �g� issue should be left to scholars, mainly historians, to settle. Normally, this would have been a sensible approach, leaving the matter in the hands of scholars who are supposed to be rational and objective. But just as it takes two to tango, it takes two sides to debate an issue.

  The so-called scholars of the Papazian-Dadrian-Suny-Hovannisian bent on the Armenian side, however, have shown no willingness, and no courage, to debate the controversy with their adversaries. They spread their odious allegations with a singular mind, avoiding and running away from their adversaries like the plague. They are the Houdinis of the scholastic world, and they deserve a Nobel Prize for spinning the wheel. They claim, with a straight face, that the �g� allegations are a fact and there is nothing to debate.

  The best example to such pseudo-scholarly approach has been numerous Armenian �g� conferences held from Chicago to Vienna to Los Angeles, where scholars from the opposite camp, foreign and Turkish, were deliberately excluded. Even the disgraceful �g� conference held in Istanbul last September excluded, by intent and design, scholars and intellectuals opposing the �g� allegations. Any real scholar worth a dime and deserving a semblance of academic respectability would frown upon and condemn such one-sided conferences. But not the Dashnakian scholars. They have an agenda to push.

  What is more, the pseudo-scholars and their cohorts never talk about the atrocities the treasonous Ottoman Armenians committed against Turks, Kurds and other non-Armenians during World War I. They have incurable amnesia on how droves of Armenian guerillas at that time joined the ranks of the invading Russian and French armies in Anatolia, stabbing Turks in the back. Even Boghos Nubar, the unfettered head of the Armenian National Delegation at the 1919 Paris peace conference, who submitted a letter to the French foreign minister boasting of how Armenians fought alongside the Allies in World War I, if he were still alive, would be ashamed by pseudo-scholars' selective memory. And their memory, of course, is totally blank when it comes to ASALA terror.

  They also would not like to be reminded of how Professor Stanford Shaw, a prominent American historian refuting the �g� allegations, was forced out from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) some years ago after Armenian thugs exploded a bomb in front of his house. The professor and his family left UCLA under a death threat.

  Instead, the pseudo-scholars, the purveyors of half-truths, talk ad nauseam about only how the Ottoman Armenians suffered during World War I, portraying Turks as barbaric subhumans committing horrific crimes against the Armenians. Some of the pseudo-scholars even push the limits of ignominy and dishonesty when they compare the 1915-1917 events with the Jewish Holocaust. It is a classic case of hate mongering. It is also historic revisionism at its worst.

  Playing the �eternal victim� game, the pseudo-scholars and their cohorts hope to grab land from Turkey, though they wouldn't mind if the �poor� Armenians get some pocket money on the side. It is the same game that was played at the Paris, Sevres and Lausanne peace conferences after World War I, and the con game still goes on. Some Turks, of Akcam-Berktay-Gocek fame, attracted by the aphrodisiac and psychedelic effect of the sweet Armenian lollipop, have joined the con game.

  So, it is time to drop the illusion that the �g� issue is something to be left to scholars to settle. It is time for the Turkish government to come to the realization that this approach, sensible-appearing as it is, will go nowhere. The fallacy of this approach became obvious when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's well-intentioned proposal last year to Armenian President Robert Kocharian that a joint Turkish-Armenian commission of historians be formed to study the 1915 events was thumbed down by Yerevan. The Armenian lobby was unmoved as well.

  Yerevan and the Armenian lobby figured, Why rock the boat when everything is already stacked in their favor? Why take the risk?

  Indeed, Turks and Turkey have already lost the world public opinion war on the �g� issue. The war has been lost mainly as a result of the relentless venomous Armenian campaign -- generously funded by the Armenian war chest -- against Turks and Turkey. But anti-Turkish prejudice in the West, deeply rooted in history and religious divide, has been instrumental as well. Add to this the lethargic, so-far Pollyannaish attitude of the Turkish government on the �g� issue, then we have a recipe for disaster on the public opinion front.

  The evidence is everywhere. The spineless, unscrupulous Western media, by and large, is already in the grip of the deep-pocketed Armenian lobby; the ethnic-pandering politicians race each other to pass, or try to pass, no-questions-asked pro-Armenian resolutions in their parliaments, and the gullible, clueless public falls silent. Turks are relentlessly accused without being given the chance of self-defense. It is a charade played on world stages again and again.

  The European Parliament, suffering from a bout of amnesia about what many European nations did to the natives of their ex-colonies, unmindful of their shameful World War I and World War II histories soaked in blood, sweat and slime, unmindful of the ethnic cleansing and genocide that they allowed to take place in their midst only a decade ago in what used to be Yugoslavia, and amnesiac about the genocidal massacre of Azeri civilians by Armenian armed forces in Hodjali (Azerbaijan) in 1992, has had the temerity, in its self-righteous way, to call on Turkey to recognize the �g� event going back 90 years.

  Or else, the European Parliament has warned, Turkey will not enter the European Union. Such hypocrisy!

  As if that were not enough, a mere denial of the Armenian �g� can be a punishable crime in Europe. This is the same Europe where freedom of expression is supposed to be a cherished doctrine. Call it �freedom of expression� with a streak of double standard running through.

  Faced with such unpleasant reality, Turkey should drop the reactive approach and get proactive. It should stop being defensive and be offensive instead. While still seeking dialogue and accommodation with Armenia and while still encouraging scholarly work and meetings on the �g� issue (which in themselves are intrinsically meritorious undertakings regardless of political implications), Turkey should take legislative and judicial steps as well.

  On the legislative side, the Turkish Parliament should pass resolutions condemning human rights violations of Western nations in the past and ask these nations to recognize their genocidal excesses in their ex-colonies. As ex-colonies, Algeria, Congo, Angola and Herero come first to mind, but many others can be named as well. There is no need to call representatives of these nations for defense. Just raising hands will do. Take the cue from European parliaments -- and call it �adaptation to EU norms.�

  On the judicial side, Turkey should take the �g� issue to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague to seek judgment on whether the 1915-1917 events could be called �genocide� under the 1948 United Nations definition, inviting Armenia to accede beforehand to the court's ruling. ICJ, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, has jurisdiction not only to settle legal disputes submitted to it by states but also to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it. It is truly international in its composition, and it is the only competent body that can rule whether the 1915-1917 events can be called a genocide. Armenia, for obvious reasons, has shied away from approaching the IJC; but Turkey should on its own.

  And if it receives a favorable ruling from ICJ, as is most likely, Turkey should demand compensatory damages from the perpetrators of fraud in Europe and North America.

  The advantage of a judicial body such as ICJ is that both sides are given �equal time.� There would be no uncontested, one-sided monologues delivered by Armenian propagandists, no grotesque accusations without challenge and no hand-picked audience. The pro-genocide scholars, instead of playing the smear-and-run game, would face their adversaries. Furthermore, such a forum would be an excellent opportunity to expose to the world how the Ottoman Dashnaks back-stabbed Turks and other non-Armenians during World War I. That way the Armenian propagandists would taste their own medicine.

  As for the diaspora Turks, they, too, should stop being passive and take action instead. The diaspora Turks are a diverse group that do not have, and are not raised with, any intrinsic animosity against any ethnic group, do not congregate in ethnically dominant neighborhoods (except poorly educated ones in Europe) and carry on with their normal daily lives trying to adapt peacefully to their host communities. The relentless anti-Turk campaign conducted by the Armenian lobby, however, has put these Turks in a difficult situation. With their ancestry accused of horrible crimes and their ethnicity and reputation smeared by insinuation, countless diaspora Turks experience insidious discrimination in the communities they live in.

  Against these scurrilous attacks, I implore diaspora Turks to take legal action. That is the only way they will have a proper hearing. With regard to one-sided pro-Armenian positions in their local municipalities and school districts, Turks can insist that their views be taken into account by filing lawsuits invoking the right to freedom of speech. In this respect, the Massachusetts school-district case, launched with the participation of the ATAA (Assembly of Turkish American Associations) in Washington, D.C., is a good example.

  Turks can file anti-defamation class-action suits against pro-Armenian scholars for denigrating their ancestry with slanderous lies. There must be accountability for disparaging a whole nation based on false claims. Thousands of foreign tourists and businessmen stay away from Turkey because of bad publicity.

  Considering that discrimination based on ethnic origin is frowned upon by law in many countries, diaspora Turks, in particular those living in the United States, can file individual personal injury suits against instigators of ethnic animosity, which typically gives rise to discrimination.

  Speaking of personal injury, I have failed to understand to this day why the families of Turkish diplomats who were murdered and wounded on foreign soil by ASALA terror have not filed civil suits against the Armenian organizations and groups that instilled hatred for Turks in the minds of young Armenians. It is such hatred that led to these nefarious crimes.

  And finally, how about filing a lawsuit for perpetrating deception -- as an Italian atheist recently accused a Roman Catholic priest in a small town near Rome of unlawfully asserting that Jesus Christ existed? An Italian prosecutor is investigating.

  Legal avenues are aplenty. Diaspora Turks should get off their comfy couches and act. This is particularly a good time to ponder the issue when the annual Turk-bashing Armenian ritual, due to culminate on April 24, 2006, is fast approaching.

  And will the Turks on that day, feel satisfied when President Bush, while probably avoiding using the dreaded �g� word, remembers �the infamous killings of as many as 1.5 million Armenians during the last days of the Ottoman Empire,� but without saying a word about the sufferings of Muslims and without privately questioning the credibility of the number he is quoting? It all depends on how low the bar is set -- for Turks and for Mr. Bush.

  Finally, and to sum up, Turks have already faced up to their history by admitting that Ottoman Armenians suffered greatly during the final days of the Ottoman Empire. But it was a suffering brought about unintentionally by famine, disease and lawlessness during forced relocation in time of war. The question is: Will the Armenians face up to their history by admitting that their sufferings were unintentional -- hence not �g� -- and that they share blame for the tragic events on both sides? Otherwise, the rotten relations between the two camps will likely continue indefinitely. This is no way to promote peace and harmony.

  * Ferruh Demirmen, a Houston-based energy expert, can be reached at

Have you visited "We are the Turks" lately?

23 January 2006

Snowy Mess in Istanbul, Pushing My Luck, Inverted Seas, and Reis

Residents walk through a blizzard while heading home in central Istanbul January 23, 2006. The snowfall, which was predicted days ago in Istanbul, began early this morning and is expected to increase with the passing hours. The snowstorm caused the cancellation of ferryboats sailing on Bosphorus, as the city airport also experienced cancellation in arrivals and departures of planes.

A police patrol car drives by trucks stranded in a main highway when a snowstorm blanketed Istanbul January 23, 2006. The snowfall, which was predicted days ago in Istanbul, began early this morning and is expected to increase with the passing hours. The snowstorm caused the cancellation of ferryboats sailing on Bosphorus, as the city airport also experienced cancellation in arrivals and departures of planes.

This story has been covered already so I'm a little behind the curve...

It snowed this morning in Providence as well, while I slept through my alarm clock's blaring and reports of school closings crept into my dreams. At 7:45 I finally awoke, giving me 15 minutes, to shower, shave, dress and drive to work. Instead, I got up and wrote an e-mail telling the powers-that-be that I would be in at 10:00. (I never call-in when I've just opened my eyes and still groggy) No particular reason given, but they already knew from my e-mails on Saturday and Sunday that I worked all weekend. I went back to sleep and eventually showed up to work at 10:30, bright eyed and bushy tailed. Sometimes I test the limits to see how much they love me. Apparently I'm pretty popular because I'm called into an ominous meeting at the end of the day, to be told that I will be taking over the projects of another manager... No one mentions my insolence of this morning either, so I must be doing something right, at least on days that I show up...

A very weird dream last night: I was at the beach, but instead of the ocean being flat, the ocean floor was flat and the surface of the water was dimensional, soaring into the sky in the shape of a dome. It somehow held it's shape and just shimmered beautifully in the sunlight. People were tanning and swimming like nothing was wrong with this picture. I must be really tired and it's time for a vacation...

Reis and Ebru are returning from Rochester in a few days. As much as I cherish the solitude and freedom of this past week, I miss them so much it hurts... -AT

Three Turkish Hostages Freed in Iran, Eight Iranian Police Officers Still Captive, Transferred to Pakistan

Three Turkish hostages released in Iran
Tehran, Jan 18, IRNA

Three Turkish nationals who had been taken hostage in late December in eastern Iran were released by Iranian police on Tuesday and handed over to Turkish officials in Tehran on Wednesday.
Yurdaer Etike, Serdar Durna and Huseyin Avni Ozan, had been taken hostages on December 24, 2005, in Mirjaveh district of Iran's Sistan-Baluchestan province, while they were travelling as tourists through Iran to Pakistan on their way to Bangladesh and Nepal.
The three were released on Tuesday thanks to the relentless efforts of the Iranian police as well as members of the ministries of information and interior.
They were welcomed by Turkish Ambassador in Tehran Halit Bozkurt Aran and a number of Turkish and Iranian officials.
Reports said that the bandits who took the three hostage had asked for a three-million-euro ransom for freedom of the hostages.
The hostage takers also kidnapped eight Iranian police officers on December 28, 2005, who were later transferred to Pakistan and are not released yet.
Efforts are underway by Iranian officials to secure the freedom of the Iranian hostages.

This story seem to have fallen through the cracks... -AT

22 January 2006

Bedbugs Bite Big Apple in Global Epidemic

In this undated photo released July 24, 2001, by the University of Florida, a common bedbug is engorged with blood after feeding on a human arm. Bedbugs are back in 2006, and they're not just rearing their rust-colored heads in New York City. Authorities say it's a global crisis: Exterminators who handled one or two bedbug calls a year are now getting that many in a week, according to the National Pest Management Association. (AP Photo/University of Florida, File)

When I was a kid, I would sit at the curb and play with ants. A handful of sand was the only accessory for this past time. Find some ants, gently dump the sand on top, and watch them fight their way out. Completely harmless.. To this day I am a big fan of ants (except the kind that chew on the beams and woodwork of our 140 year old home). Heck there's evena a prayer about ants, which I've never learned, just seen it in a lot of Turkish taxicabs and other places of business. While I was piling sand dunes onto ants, a guy across the street liked to pour honey on his sidewalk and watch the ants collect. When he was certain that the entire colony was present, he would torch them all with some lighter fluid... In the backyard of the home where I grew up (College Point, Queens), there was a retaining wall where bees had colonized a small crevice. One day hot summer day, a friend dares me to jab a broom-stick handle into the hole. Moments later, I was running full tilt into the house, screaming, with probably 20 bees attacking my head. They followed me inside! Fast forward to 1994. I am sleeping at the summer home of a friend in Izmir. In the middle of the night, something is crawling across my back, up towards my shoulder. In an instant my hand reached back and grabbed something which was not less than 10" long, the diameter of a pencil. After grabbing and hurling it at the wall in the pitch black darkness, I turned on the light and discovered that it was an enormous, black, millipede. Ugh. And who can forget the time in Houston, 1998, when Ebru called me at work, so that I would come home and exterminate a palmetto bug that was in the living room of our condo. These things are so big, you wouldn't dare step on them or crush them- the mess would be too hideous to clean up. Our little boy Reis now comes running to us every time he sees and ant in the house: "Bocek var! Bocek var!" He's only 28 months old. Somethimes I catch him crushing tiny ants with his index finger. This summer I'll show him the humane way to play with ants- using sand...

21 January 2006

'Hedo' Turkoglu of Orlando Magic and Mehmet Okur of Utah Jazz

It's a pity that I am completely basketball illiterate and pitifully unskilled at playing, but it's fantastic to see our Turkish players in the NBA making their mark. Above, we see Mehmet Okur of the Utah Jazz in an 83-113 loss against the Denver Nuggets. In the Orlando Magic game against the Charlotte Bobcats, our own Hedi Turkoglu was the top scorer with 24 points. Orlando won 104-93. I search for pictures of these guys in Reuters periodically and tonight I struck gold for a change.

"We saw film of how that team ran after turnovers and missed shots from the
perimeter," Jazz forward Mehmet Okur said. "We still took and missed too many shots from outside and watched them get layups and dunk on us at the other end."

For more info, bios, stats on these players, click here for Hedo Turkoglu and here for Mehmet Okur. Hey when will Orlando ever play Utah? Now there's a game that every Turk will want see! -AT

20 January 2006

Hell freezes over and $700 million is spent to see it in 9 years

The Atlas V rocket with the New Horizons spacecraft blasts off from complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida January 19, 2006. Atlas V and New Horizons are on a mission to Pluto and its moon Charon.

19 Jan 2006 REUTERS/Rick Fowler

So, who can name the 24 pounds of fuel which this vessel uses to propel itself at 47,000 miles an hour? Check the comment below. The answer will astonish you...

Pluto is the farthest planet from the Sun (usually) and by far the smallest. Pluto is smaller than seven of the solar system's moons (the Moon, Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto, Titan and Triton).

orbit: 5,913,520,000 km (39.5 AU) from the Sun (average)
diameter: 2274 km
mass: 1.27e22 kg
In Roman mythology, Pluto (Greek: Hades) is the god of the underworld. The planet received this name (after many other suggestions) perhaps because it's so far from the Sun that it is in perpetual darkness and perhaps because "PL" are the initials of Percival Lowell.

Charon ( "KAIR en" ) is Pluto's largest satellite:

orbit: 19,640 km from Pluto
diameter: 1212 km
mass: 1.90e21 kg
Charon is named for the mythological figure who ferried the dead across the River Acheron into Hades (the underworld).

18 January 2006

The Arab "Gift That Keeps on Giving"...

FULL COVERAGE: World Trade Center


Within 7 Months, 3 Sept. 11 Workers Die

AP - Tue Jan 17, 6:24 PM ET
NEW YORK - James Zadroga spent 16 hours a day toiling in the World Trade Center ruins for a month, breathing in debris-choked air. Timothy Keller said he coughed up bits of gravel from his lungs after the towers fell on Sept. 11, 2001. Felix Hernandez spent days at the site helping to search for victims. All three men died in the past seven months of what their families and colleagues say were persistent respiratory illnesses directly caused by their work at ground zero.

Murat Altinbasak 
mobile e-mail:

17 January 2006

Tszvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria celebrates beating Venus Williams

REUTERS/Tim Wimborne
Venus Williams of the U.S. serves to Tszvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne January 16, 2006.

Here's some information about Turkish Bulgarians that I came across when I read the news about Venus being beaten by Pironkova. Apparently one of my great grandfathers was of Bulgarian descent, but I don't know whether this means he was a Bulgarian Turk who returned to Turkey or if he was one of the "ethnic" Bulgarians. I had pretty marginal information about the history, but now discover the overall scope of the assimilation forced upon the Bulgarian Turks spanned a very long period and cost many lives. Did Turkey "repeat history" by restricting all things Kurdish? Not exactly because Kurds were never asked to renounce their given names and religions or told that all the Kurds in Turkey were "descended from Turks". However, many other similarities between the Bulgarian treatment of Turks and the Turkish treatment of Kurds, seem pretty clear. Do Turks who've fled Bulgaria relate or sympathize with the restrictions upon Kurdish Turks?

In case there is any doubt about where I stand, please review my positions on the Kurdish problem by reading these previous contributions: Kurdish problem or Kurdish Goal..., Northern Iraq = Souhern Kurdistan..., Un-Turkish Ethnicity versus Turkish Nationality

Interestingly, many of the most successful professional bicycle racers in Turkey are either recruited from Bulgaria, or simply have Bulgarian names.

Here's some info from the Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook:

Because of their status as former occupiers, the Turks have had a
stormy relationship with Bulgaria since the beginning of its independence. In
1878 Turks outnumbered Bulgarians in Bulgaria, but they began emigrating to
Turkey immediately after independence was established....

...The biggest wave of Turkish emigration occurred in 1989, however, when
310,000 Turks left Bulgaria as a result of the Zhivkov regime's assimilation
campaign. That program, which began in 1984, forced all Turks and other Muslims
in Bulgaria to adopt Bulgarian (Christian or traditional Slavic) names and
renounce all Muslim customs. Bulgaria no longer recognized the Turks as a
national minority, explaining that all the Muslims in Bulgaria were descended
from Bulgarians who had been forced into the Islamic faith by the Ottoman Turks.
The Muslims would therefore "voluntarily" take new names as part of the "rebirth
process" by which they would reclaim their Bulgarian identities. During the
height of the assimilation campaign, the Turkish government claimed that 1.5
million Turks resided in Bulgaria, while the Bulgarians claimed there were none.
(In 1986 Amnesty International estimated that 900,000 ethnic Turks were living
in Bulgaria.)...

...During the name-changing phase of
the campaign, Turkish towns and villages were surrounded by army units. Citizens
were issued new identity cards with Bulgarian names. Failure to present a new
card meant forfeiture of salary, pension payments, and bank withdrawals. Birth
or marriage certificates would be issued only in Bulgarian names. Traditional
Turkish costumes were banned; homes were searched and all signs of Turkish
identity removed. Mosques were closed. According to estimates, 500 to 1,500
people were killed when they resisted assimilation measures, and thousands of
others went to labor camps or were forcibly resettled. ...

...Before 1958, instruction in Turkish was available at all educational
levels, and university students were trained to teach courses in Turkish in the
Turkish schools. After 1958, Turkish-language majors were taught in Bulgarian
only, and the Turkish schools were merged with Bulgarian ones. By 1972, all
Turkish-language courses were prohibited, even at the elementary level.
Assimilation meant that Turks could no longer teach at all, and the Turkish
language was forbidden, even at home. Fines were levied for speaking Turkish in


15 January 2006

Memories of Nan

Mizgin and I have strong differences on matters related to Kurds, but hopefully there is some mutual respect for each other's positions. We simply "agree to disagree". I will give him this credit: he is full of vim and crossing swords with him keeps myself and others who love Turkiye on their toes. Here's an excellent recent contribution of his which I agree with 1000 times over. Yes, that bread in the US is a joke.

This is no doubt a rare meeting of the minds between Amerikan Kurds and Amerikan Turks. -AT

Here it begins:

"You can travel fifty thousand miles in America without once tasting a piece of good bread."Henry Miller, American writer (1891-1980)

Sometimes, my mind conjures memories of Kurdistan that are extremely vivid. This happens to me, most of the time, as a result of listening to Kurdish music, especially when, having lost track of my thoughts, I am suddenly reminded of particular people or places, and, in those moments, I am overwhelmed by the feel of the memory. I have read that the sense of smell is one that strongly evokes memories in the human mind, but for me, the music does this more often than anything else.

It happens at other times too. Yesterday, upon returning from an overnight trip, I had to stop for a few groceries. As I was going around the store, collecting the items I needed, the thought occured to me to examine the selection of breads. I hoped that maybe there would be something new, something that would be similar to the bread of Kurdistan. Nothing. The same things.

I looked at the pide. The makers of the pide may do their best, but, as I look at the packages, I already know that this pide more resembles cardboard than anything else. I remember the bread I would get from one of the bakeries in Ainkawa. I remember the size, shape, color, texture, smell, taste of that bread, and I pass over the imitation pide before me.

I see packages of flatbread. It's supposed to be an Armenian-style bread, but my skepticism tells me there is probably nothing like this in Armenia because I know there is nothing like this in Kurdistan. It is rectangular and thin with no texture and no taste. I remember the village nan of Kurdistan and, even as I reach to touch the package in the hope that, by some miracle, this bread will feel like village nan, I am again disappointed. It's not such a great disappointment because I know that there are no such things as miracles, but it is disappointment nonetheless.

No pide. No village nan. Nothing.

I remember the grilled bread at one of my favorite places to eat in Amed. The bread is flat, baked in long pieces, and cut into squares for serving. In this restaurant, the squares of bread are brushed with spicy oil, lightly grilled and brought to the table cut in little strips and placed in a basket as an offering to appease hunger until the kebabs or grilled chicken arrives. It is warm, crispy, spicy and delicious.

I remember the village nan served with a lunch prepared by a Berwarî tribeswoman, as well as the entire meal. Lamb kebabs, chicken and rice, two kinds of soup, salad, the nan, gallons of hot, sweet tea after, served in the room of her house reserved for receiving guests, with carpets stretching from wall to wall and cushions lining the walls. A pair of birds flit in and out of the room, chirping in perplexity because they seem to have lost their way. I am happy when she comes in to sit with us, and to chat and joke and laugh with us as we drink tea. I am happy that she has not only honored us with her food, but also with her presence.In reality, there is nothing unusual about her meal; it is typically Kurdish. But she is an artist with food, and her home is the epitome of that indescribable ambience created by the entire culture of Kurdish hospitality. Thus the entire visit is as delicious as it is unforgettable.

I remember all the roadside restaurants in Kurdistan where nan is served with every meal. I remember my friend's sister kissing the piece of nan she had dropped on the floor as she picked up the remains of a meal. I wonder, if I dropped a piece of this packaged bread on the floor, would it be worthy of a kiss?

This is why, in the West, I rarely eat bread.

posted by Mizgîn at 11:24 AM 1 comments

13 January 2006

A Refreshing Break from the Usual Iraq Images

Iraqis enjoy a ride at an amusement park during Eid-al-Adha in Baghdad January 12, 2006. Muslims around the world celebrate Eid-al-Adha by slaughtering sheep, goats and cows to commemorate Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son, Ismail, on God's command.
12 Jan 2006 REUTERS/Ceerwan Aziz

Remember the old McDonalds commercials?:
"You de-serve a break to-day, at McDonalds!" It's nice to see smiling faces in Iraq for a change, isn't it? -AT

Protesters in Berlin rally against Iran's Nuclear Program

Protesters in Berlin rally against Iran's nuclear program.
Iran is threatening to block international inspectors from its nuclear sites if the United Nations Security Council confronts the nation over its nuclear activities. Iran has been voluntarily allowing inspections by the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, since 2003.
• Watch: Iran defends nuclear program
Iran nukes tough issue for Bush, Merkel
Russia calls for Iran moratorium

12 January 2006

Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire- Mehmet Ali Agca Reports for Turkish Military Duty

Turkish gendarmes and a police officer lead Mehmet Ali Agca (C), the man who shot Pope John Paul II in 1981, out of Kartal high security prison in Istanbul January 12, 2006. Agca was released from a Turkish prison on Thursday and immediately taken in handcuffs to a military recruitment office. His lawyers say the Turkish army want to claim Agca, 48, for missed military service, a legal obligation for Turkish men.

12 Jan 2006 REUTERS/Fatih Saribas

Does he still claim to be the Messiah? -AT

10 January 2006

Interesting Photos on this Eid-al-Adha

Zeki Kocyigit and Marifet Kocyigit embrace their six-year-old son Ali Hasan after he returned home from hospital in the eastern Turkish town of Dogubayazit January 9, 2006. Hasan, whose three siblings died of bird flu last week, was discharged after being confirmed as free of the disease. 09 Jan 2006 REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Animal rights activists wearing sheep masks protest against the illegal slaughter of sheep at home, outside the Belgian Muslims Executive headquarters in Brussels January 10, 2006. Muslims around the world celebrate Eid-al-Adha by slaughtering sheep, goats and cows to commemorate Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son, Ismail, on God's command.10 Jan 2006 REUTERS/Yves Herman

An Afghan man carries a goat on his back to a butcher for slaughtering on the first day of Eid-al-Adha in Kabul January 10, 2006. Muslims around the world celebrate Eid-al-Adha by slaughtering sheep, goats and cows to commemorate Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son, Ismail, on God's command.10 Jan 2006 REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

09 January 2006

Promoting a new Yahoo Group- "Amerikan Turks"

There are so many websites in which you can register, categorize, and rank your web log, but how many of them bring people together in a way which encourages interaction, which elicits comments, and gives you a real time delivery of current events and issues which concern us?

My goal is to create an online community of Turkish bloggers who are interested in keeping a finger on the pulse of their peers in the "blogosphere". Why not utilize a free of cost YAHOO Group to kick this off? A new group has been created where you can register (it's simple) and where you can forward copies of all of your blog entries. Members can opt to receive individual e-mails of such messages, a daily summary of them, or none at all if they simply wish to visit the group web page to read-up on the activity.

This new message board is not limited to Turks, or to Turks living in the US. Membership is open to everyone. The only right I will reserve is to eliminate any member who resorts to personal attacks against individuals or hate-mongering against any ethnic or religious group.

Either by clicking on the title above, or on the small badge at the right which reads "AMERIKAN TURK", you will be delivered to the new Amerikan Turks Yahoo Group web page, where you can sign up very easily. Once there, simply click on the "JOIN THIS GROUP" button at the top right. Many thanks.

08 January 2006

Man who shot pope in 1981 to be freed

Turk serving prison time for journalist's murder, robberies
Sunday, January 8, 2006; Posted: 8:20 p.m. EST (01:20 GMT)

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- The Turkish man who shot Pope John Paul II in 1981 will be released on parole on Thursday, his lawyer told The Associated Press on Sunday.
A Turkish court on Thursday decided to free Mehmet Ali Agca "on parole on January 12," his lawyer, Mustafa Demirbag said by telephone.
"We were hiding the decision, but it is not a secret anymore," Demirbag said.
Earlier, the semiofficial Anatolia news agency said a Turkish court has approved the release of Agca, 47, who was extradited to Turkey in 2000 after serving almost 20 years in prison in Italy for shooting and wounding the pope in St. Peter's Square in Rome.
John Paul II met with Agca in Italy's Rebibbia prison in 1983 and forgave him for the shooting.

Would his release have been considered as seriously if Pope John Paul were still living? -AT

"The Kurdish Problem" or "The Kurdish Goal" Which is worse?

It's images such as this which create hyper-vigilance against all things Kurdish. The idea set forth in this series of pictures is revolting to anyone who loves Turkey, or Iran, or Iraq or Syria for that matter. It goes without saying that the Turkish military is powerful. That said, what is the plan for achieving the goal below? It would interest me to know what's in store. Each time I see such an image, the reasons why Kurds are oppressed become clearer. Such oppression would be inflicted by any state which is threatened by it's own population. It took more than a signed treaty to define Turkey's borders, and it will require much more than that to fulfill the pipe dream of "Northern Kurdistan". This is not a racist angle folks, it's a realistic one. I support the complete freedom of speech of Kurdish people and journalists and media etc. But I will not condone free speech which is war-mongering, treasonous, seditious, or a threat to the greater good. -AT

Three new bird flu cases in Turkey

Sunday, January 8, 2006; Posted: 8:05 a.m. EST (13:05 GMT)

DOGUBAYAZIT, Turkey (AP) -- Two children and an adult, who were hospitalized in the Turkish capital, Ankara, have tested positive for bird flu, the city's governor, Kemal Onal, announced Sunday.

It was unclear if it was the H5N1 strain that has already killed at least two children in Turkey.

The three were the first confirmed bird flu cases outside the eastern city of Van, where two other young children already were being treated for bird flu at a hospital.

A British laboratory has confirmed H5N1 in a 5-year-old hospitalized in Van, near the Iranian border, while preliminary tests in Turkey also found the strain in an 8-year-old, officials said.

The British lab also confirmed a 14-year-old boy and his 15-year-old sister who died last week had H5N1, and are continuing tests on their 11-year-old sister, who died Friday, said Maria Cheng, spokeswoman for the World Health Organization.

Huseyin Avni Sahin, head physician at the Van hospital said Sunday the two young children were in intensive care, as was another person with similar symptoms.

Dozens of people, who had recently been in close contact with fowl, have been hospitalized with suspected bird flu cases across Turkey. Tests were under way to determine if any of them had bird flu but the reports have already triggered a panic atmosphere.

Meanwhile, Russia's chief epidemiologist has urged his countrymen not to travel to Turkey -- a popular vacation destination for Russians -- because of the bird flu outbreak, the Interfax news agency reported Sunday.

Despite the deaths, workers in the village of Dogubayazit, where the siblings lived, still had trouble Sunday persuading some villagers to hand over their fowl for destruction.

The children's cases are the first human fatalities from H5N1 outside east Asia in the current outbreak, authorities said. A delegation of WHO representatives, European health officials and Akdag flew to the eastern city of Erzurum, planning to travel to Van by road to assess the situation on Sunday. The visit was postponed Saturday because of bad weather.

The doctor who treated the children said they probably contracted the illness by playing with dead chickens.

Authorities are closely watching H5N1 for fear it could mutate into a form easily passed among humans and spark a pandemic. Birds in Turkey, Romania, Russia and Croatia have recently tested positive for H5N1.

Health officials believe the best way to fight the spread of bird flu is the wholesale destruction of poultry in the affected area. That's hard enough when the animals are in pens, but it is extraordinarily difficult in places like Dogubayazit, where they often roam free.

"This is a disease in fowl, the people who are in contact with them are at risk," Akdag said. "This is the problem which must be addressed."

The officials have had difficulties here explaining the danger of close interaction with fowl to local residents, or the need to deliver all birds for destruction whether or not they appear sick.

On Sunday, a group of Turkish workers in Dogubayazit had to climb over a wall when a village woman refused to open the door and hand over her several chickens, insisting they were fine. The workers could not persuade her to part with the chickens and withdrew, saying they would come back with police.

It is a scene often repeated across the impoverished eastern parts of the country, where sometimes chickens are a family's most valuable possession.

Some people, however, who realized the danger were seen inviting the workers to collect their fowl in Dogubayazit Sunday. More than 30,000 fowl have been culled so far, private NTV television said Sunday.

The WHO is investigating whether the disease had been transmitted from human to human, Cheng said earlier. But Akdag said there was no reason to suspect it had.

So far, H5N1 has been capable in rare cases of passing from poultry to humans in close contact with them, but not from human to human.

Akdag urged calm, but Dr. Gencay Gursoy, head of the Istanbul Physicians Association, said the situation was grave.

"Turkey and the world are facing the threat of a serious infection," he said.

50+ Cases of Bird Flu Reported this weekend in TURKEY!?!?!

But do your own due diligence. I am unfamiliar with the source.

Olursem, Kime ne!? Bird Flu Update for Turkey

The avian influenza virus H5N1 appears gold in this colorized microscope image of the virus growing in cells (shown in green). H5N1 is the most likely virus to cause a "bird flu" pandemic, experts say.Image courtesy CDC/C. Goldsmith, J. Katz, and S. Zaki

Just watched this on ATV Turkish channel: People in Turkey are refusing to give up their chickens and ducks. Little kids are helping the government handlers to catch the birds, bare handed (the latter wear complete protective gear) I am hearing remarks from kids like "we're all going to die one day anyway, so what?" or other ignorant remarks to that effect. One chicken farmer was very upset that his birds were being confiscated and destroyed. When told of the danger, he said "If I die, what's it to you or anybody else?". It seems they don't understand the severity of the situation, and protecting their livlihood is a natural response. Meanwhile, people are saying that the Turkish government is deliberately slow to react or address the problem. That's a bunch of tripe. It's the illiterate and the ignorant who are facilitating the spread of the deadly virus. According to Turkish TV news reports, there at least 10 or more confirmed cases of bird flu which have popped up in a few cities. This is preliminary and subject to verification. Sometimes Turkish news channels exagerate things. I will post follow ups after some more research.

Turn Signal Nazis- I take "your" parking spots like candy from a baby

Today we ventured to the recently opened IKEA in Stoughton MA. Myself, Ebru, little Reis and my mother Kiymet. As we searched for about 20 minutes for a place to park (there were NONE), my mother admits that she uses her blinker to claim her parking spots. Some of you might remember this being one of my biggest pet peaves (see no 2). After scolding her for her insolence (in jest of course), I proceeded to show the family how it's done. I prowled the parking lot for some people headed towards their car. I followed them until they found it, waited for them to get in. In an instant, an oncoming car started flashing their blinker, thinking that I am just going to give it to them (Remember- my blinker is silent) "Watch this" I arrogantly say as the people back-out of their spot. I'm in the power position- they backed out towards me. The oncoming car lunged for the spot, but I was already 1/2 way parked by the time they realized what was happening. Needless to say the guy laid into his horn and silent expletives could be read on his lips. Ahhhh it's so satisfying to park without using your blinker. To me, a flashing bulb means nothing. When it comes to certain trivial things such as this, I am a total freak. If something truly belongs to you, taking it should be easy, no? -AT

07 January 2006

Mis-placed Accountability- Bird Flu Among Kurds Blamed on Discrimination

I believe it's way too soon to jump to such conclusions, but my heart's in the right place. It's no secret that eastern Turkey is 'neglected' for lack of a better word. But to place responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the Turkish government is a bit offsides. No one could have predicted that such an outbreak was inevitable, and it could have happened ANYWHERE. These kids were reportedly playing ping pong with the heads of dead chickens. It doesn't take a whole lot of common sense to understand that this is unsanitary, bird flu or not. Here are the words of one of my Kurdish biraders, Mizgin Yilmaz, from his blog entitled "RASTI":

Enforced poverty of Turkish-occupied Kurdistan, as well as lack of
services, have been part of the policies of the Turkish state used to wipe out
the existence of the Kurdish people. Are these policies now beginning to bear
fruit for the Turks? What they could not do with all their armies, they are
permitting a tiny virus to do.If I believed the international community were
concerned about Kurds, then I would have some hope that this dangerous situation
would be handled aggressively. But since the international community has served
as enablers of Turkish fascism and has ignored the situation of Kurds under
Turkish-occupation, they will do nothing now.Too bad. It will end up being their
funeral as well. More...

06 January 2006

Sharoon Go To Hell

A Palestinian boy takes part in a celebration in Rafah refugee camp in southern Gaza Strip after Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's sudden health collapse January 5, 2006. Sharon clung to life on Thursday after a massive stroke that is likely to create a huge vacuum in Israeli politics and the Middle East peace process. Surgeons said they stemmed the bleeding in the 77-year-old leader's brain in a seven-hour operation. But the Zaka emergency service, which has close ties with Israeli hospitals, said in an unconfirmed report Sharon's condition was deteriorating. The Arabic characters on the banner read, "Sharon go to hell".

05 Jan 2006 REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

Believe it or not (why wouldn't you?) there are demonstrators every May at the Turkish Parade in Manhattan, bearing similar signs and posting flyers everywhere. Instead of Sharon, they villify (sp?) and condemn our national hero, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. They are permitted to do this and even receive police protection, from the thousands of Turks who march and attend. Amerika- what a country!

On a serious note, isn't Sharon the one who has evacuated many Jewish settlements for the benefit of the Palestinians? Isn't it Sharon who seems more willing to compromise in the face of terrorism, for the greater good? Apparently Sharon can do no right- in spite of the effort he has set forth for peace, Palestinaians are squirming with anticipation and delight for the news of his death. No shame! No surprise either.

Sharon is trying to give the Palestinians that which the Turkish government never intends to do for the Kurds. Perhaps I will one day be proven wrong, and if so I am dying to know if such an event will be genuinely appreciated by Kurds, or whether they will just continue to defecate upon the Turkish flag, per usual, as the Palestinians do to the Israeli flag. -AT

The Religion of Peace (dot com)

There exists a website which basically says what most everyone is already thinking, including moderate Muslims. The world's perception of Islam has degenerated into this. I might not agree with the mission of this site, but the statistics set forth are astounding and sad. Similar information can be easily harvested for both Jews and Christians, there is no doubt, but the violence of Islamic Extremists is reported in the news, every day, without exception. There is no denying this. It would come as little surprise to discover that many moderate Muslims in the US AVOID discussing their beliefs with those of other faiths. I do, with the simple dismissal of "I'm not religious". There is a certain "guilt by association" which no one needs, or wants, to bear. -AT

Robertson suggests God smote Sharon

Evangelist links Israeli leader's stroke to 'dividing God's land'

Thursday, January 5, 2006; Posted: 7:08 p.m. EST (00:08 GMT)

(CNN) -- Television evangelist Pat Robertson suggested Thursday that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine retribution for the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, which Robertson opposed.
"He was dividing God's land, and I would say, 'Woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the [European Union], the United Nations or the United States of America,'" Robertson told viewers of his long-running television show, "The 700 Club."
"God says, 'This land belongs to me, and you'd better leave it alone,'" he said. More...

Personally, I won't be shedding any tears on the day that this freak draws his last breath. Clearly afflicted with Foot-in-Mouth Syndrome, this guy believes that every misfortune and every catastrophe is a punishment from G-d. On his death-bed, he should mutter something like: "G-d has smote me for being an asshole". -AT

04 January 2006

Turkish boy died from killer bird flu: doctor

Wed Jan 4, 2006 10:51 PM ET
By Gareth Jones
ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey said on Wednesday two people had been diagnosed with bird flu -- the first human cases outside Southeast Asia and China -- and a doctor said one of them, a 14-year-old boy, had died from the killer H5N1 strain.
A top World Health Organization (WHO) official said the boy had probably died from H5N1, which would mark a dramatic shift westwards for the deadly disease to the threshold of Europe.
Turkish Health Minister Recep Akdag gave no specific details on the boy's death but said samples had been sent to the WHO and Britain for more tests... More...

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, in Trouble

The 77 year old who shares his first name with a popular laundry detergent, and a Disney cartoon mermaid, has been in an induced coma while in surgery for many hours because of a brain hemhorrage. Not taking a jab at the old man- I just always found his first name amusing. Not the best time for levity I suppose... Much of the world prays for him, but not all are so sympathetic. One day I hope to contribute my views on Sabra and Shatilla... It won't surprise me to discover that many Arabs and Muslims are giving out candy to eachother and doing a touchdown dance in the streets.

Meanwhile, the latest trend in suicide bombings: Blowing up a funeral. What evil genius, this Pyramid Scheme of DEATH. Today's attack in Iraq will spawn many more funerals, many more opportunities for the savage insurgents to duplicate their efforts. If such an inclination existed, they would need an ever growing number of suicide bombers to keep pace with demand... If we knew that the funerals of suicide bombers were attended mostly by other future suicide bombers, we would know exactly how to retaliate, wouldn't we? How silly of me to imagine it.

Today's funeral bomber waited for the body to be lowered into the grave, before detonating.

Blood flows like water in Iraq, water takes 1/4 million lives with a Tsunami, and blood in the brain is now killing Sharon.

And yet, the tiniest drop of water, the smallest globule of blood, will hold a reflection of the entire universe on it's surface.

03 January 2006

Free Baby Food, Free Diapers, Free Day Care

There's one in New Haven Connecticut. Another has just opened in Stoughton Massachusetts. These mega stores are laid out like a rat-maze, their products are RTA (ready to assemble), and they were featured in the cult classic- "Fight Club".

IKEA is an acronym of the founder's family member's names (there's a tongue twister)- their first letters, that is. Funny my dad's first business venture had a similar name, same concept- KIMEA Woodworking. (I was the "M")

As it turns out, the IKEA stores in Europe have become somewhat of a social services organisation- retired folks line up in the morning to buy cheap breakfasts, the diaper changing stations offer free diapers (which people have been taking by the sack-ful), the FREE children's area is used for day care by unscrupulous parents, and the complimentary baby food jars line the cupboards of many homes. All I can say is, too bad the IKEA nearest to me is 50 miles away... I love thrifty, educated and resourceful consumers. Keep the corporate world on their toes, after all, it's our money they're counting behind the scenes. Click on the title (or here for the rest of the story.

Many thanks to my friend Dr. Michaul Glaum for forwarding this article. Truthfully, I love IKEA, but the amount of overall cardboard that they use for packaging, could power a large city. I'm a recycling nazi, so I've spent as much time packing their cardboard for the curb, as I have assembling their furniture. -AT

No Subject 5

My "no subject" posts are usually personal in nature, and it's been a while since I've indulged. Tonight at this late hour I return from another indoor soccer match, one where our team of 10 or so players had 6 no-shows. So we played four against six and got our asses handed to us, again. My legs are protesting big time, as this is the first time since I was 10 that I am playing soccer. My legs have been conditioned for cycling for the past 20 years... At any rate, today was a long and dreary day. I spent much of it in the basement, re-wiring the basement lights and the porch lights. Our home is still on the market [since August] and we're hoping for a break-through so we can buy our dream home. I've been sick for three weeks it seems, going from a cold to stomach flu back to another cold... It's no wonder I feel depressed and beat up. Tonight's game revitalized me though. I am handling the ball better than our previous four games and I even scored a few goals tonight. This is the week in which I resolve to ride the bike on the indoor trainer, not less than five times. I'm on a new racing team this spring, and I want to be as fit as possible when the weather breaks. This will be another short and intense week at work, with high activity on all of my eight construction projects. Pictures I'm showing you are of a project in CT, showing the various phases of completion of a particular area. This is what I do. -AT