28 November 2006

Some more things you didn't know about me

No, not another poem.. I've been meaning to mention this stuff for a while, and keep forgetting. It's more for my personal recollection than for your personal amusement. I hope you find a piece of yourself somewhere in here:
-When I was a kid in grade school, I was teased for my name. Kids called me the 'rat in the 'applebasket'. Go figure. Scarred me for life.
-Growing up in Queens NY, a favorite pastime was smashing the windows and puncturing the gas tanks of stolen, stripped and abandoned cars, and then setting them on fire. We would then flee to the rooftop of my elementary school and smoke cigarettes while we watched the smoke and waited for the fire engines. (The cars were dumped in a huge piece of vacant land)
-You can see my grade school as you cross the Whitestone Bridge into Queens, btw. Look over to the right for a tallish red brick building. We lived around the block from my school, with a magnificent view of the Whitestone Bridge, and the homes across the street were all waterfront.
-In 9th grade, we were given an assignment to write about the person we most admire. One of the girls in the class wrote all about me.. I don't remember who I picked.
-When I was 12, my parents made me fly home from Turkey, by myself. This included a 12 hour layover in Amsterdam. The pilot came and talked to me out of concern.
-At 14, I took advantage of my mother's absence and drove our brand new 1984 Buick Regal to junior high school, every day for a week. Drove all my friends home too. I would leave after dad left for work, and return before he got home. My punishment was light as I don't remember it at all.
-That same year I bought a Suzuki DS80 motorcycle, without permission, and secretly hid it in our basement in a secret crawlspace. The vacant land I mentioned was my personal race track.
-I scored in the 99th percentile of every scholastic aptitude test I ever took, throughout grade school, but didn't realize it until about 10 years later. Still have the reports.
-In 1993 I almost joined the Marines. It was a dark time for me.
-I have 20 first cousins- the youngest is a month old and the oldest is in her fifties. I speak with only a few of them regularly.
-Of my three paternal aunts and three paternal uncles, all but one of them is divorced, he never married.
-I skipped my high school graduation in favor of going to a bike race. I also didn't buy a cap and gown, didn't buy a year book, didn't even submit a photo to my yearbook. Ironically, I was the one who organized my 10 year high school reunion.
-I've never tried cocaine (all of my high school friends did it, I later discovered) and the smell of marijuana makes me sick to my stomach.
-I used to be a HUGE band-wagon fan of the Buffalo Bills.
-I bought a 1983 Honda Shadow 750 motorcycle in 1993 and drove it around for a year without a motorcycle license or insurance.
-Around that time, I broke up with a girl who immediately became the girlfriend of my room mate. Yes they were making out on our couch in our apartment, the SAME day. I thought it was funny at the time.
-When I was 20 or so, a home builder hired me to construct and frame an entire 2000 square foot log home, from the foundation up. I hired one of my room mates as an assistant. We goofed off most of the time, being completely unsupervised in the middle of the woods, but we got it done. Good times.
-I had a girlfriend when I was 14 who freely admitted she was using me as practise for later seducing someone else much older than me. I didn't care. I recall that she eventually got her wish.
-In 2001, during a vacation in Turkey, I had my hair bleached WHITE. It burned like a 'mo'fo. I have pictures..
-A kid who lived across the street from me back in 1976 (the year we moved to College Point, when I was six), who held a knife to my neck in the instant we met, later became my best friend. We never spoke of the incident.
-My dad made me play soccer when I was 10- it was an easy way for him to get out of the house and have an excuse to drink beer with his buddies on the sidelines. "How did I play?" I'd always ask...and "Lousy" was always the answer. The day that our Yugoslavian coach (whose son had a cleft lip) gave me a beat up old race bike from the trunk of his car, was the day that I found my new hero... Thanks Lazlo.. (sp?) You have no idea what your kindness meant to me, or what it inspired in me, or that I am obsessed with bicycles to this day...
-I wish I had an older brother.
Thanks for reading.

Borat: Cultural Learnings of Public Nudity

Can you spot the Armenian who co-starred in the Borat movie? I mention this with the sincerest respect, because Ken Davitian's contribution to this movie's success is spectacular. Simply keeping a straight face while filming with Sasha Cohen is a feat worth saluting . I saw the film over the weekend and had a great time. 'Borat' has nothing to do with Kazakhstan; it's all about baiting America's racists, bigots and other fools into showing their true colors... Well done.

26 November 2006

Back from Rochester

Seems each time we visit Rochester, I leave a little piece of myself over there, and come home with something else in it's place... Each time we visit, we renew our resolve to make a life there in the future... but this feeling dissipates when we re-discover that I would have to take a 50% pay-cut, that is, if I'm lucky enough to find a position that I find compatible... (Rochester is no longer a woodworking capital, although it used to be..) Then again, the cost of living is much lower, especially housing. Boy is it tempting..
At the super-luxury Wegman's supermarkets, you can rent a DVD for $1, by simply swiping your credit card and making a selection. Machine dispenses your disc and takes it back from you when you're done. Brilliant. When will they open some of these magnificent stores in New England? In comparison, Shaws and Stop & Shop markets over here look like a pile of puke.
People in Rochester, and I mean total strangers on the street, in the market or on the mountain bike trails, are about the nicest and friendliest I've ever encountered... Impressive. I lived there for 10 years and I tend to forget this attractive feature of the Flour City
It's been a long four day weekend, one which included a trip to Niagara Falls on Saturday, and I'm terribly tired, especially after that seven hour drive. I am so glad I took my off-road bike with us and I'm so glad and grateful that my brother Ali introduced me to the best mountain biking venue I've ever ridden. If you're ever in town, be sure to bring you're mountain bike, and spend a few hours at Dyer Road Trails Park. Heck I'd pay to get in and use the facilities if I had to. Yes I had that much fun, in spite of a few nasty crashes. To wit:

Click to enlarge. It's like a si resort for bikes! I rode on most every trail at least 3 times each, and I was also the only one in the park using a cyclocross bike. Most everyone else had full front and rear suspension, and disc brakes, the weenies.

Turks Protesting Pope's Visit: An embarrassment

Turkish women attend an anti-Pope rally organised by the Islam-based Welfare Party in Istanbul November 26, 2006. Pope Benedict XVI is expected to arrive in Turkey on Tuesday.
26 Nov 2006 REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski
To the 20,000 anti-pope demonstators of the "Islamist Felicity" party: Get your disgraceful selves the hell out of the Turkish Republic and go live in Iran, 'k? -AT

ISTANBUL, Turkey (Reuters) -- More than 20,000 Muslims in
Istanbul on Sunday staged the biggest protest so far against Pope Benedict's
trip to Turkey as Islamic opposition to this week's controversial visit gathered
momentum.
Benedict, due to begin his first official visit to a Muslim country
next Tuesday, angered many Muslims in September with a speech they took as an
insult to Islam.
Youths wearing headbands with Islamic scripts, beating drums and waving Turkish red and white flags chanted "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest) in the peaceful rally.
"I cannot remain silent when the Prophet Mohammed is
insulted. I love him more than myself," said Husamettin Aycan Alp, 25, a science
student from Izmir in western Turkey.
He said Roman Catholic cardinals chose this pope last year "because he is against Islam and are concerned Islam is spreading in Europe."
The four-day visit is billed as an opportunity to heal
wounds with the Muslim world after the pope quoted a Byzantine emperor saying
Islam was violent and irrational. He has said he did not share that view.
Speaking in the Vatican on Sunday, Benedict said he wanted the visit to
show his "esteem and sincere friendship" for Turkey and its people.

Raffle: Signed Aaron Olsen Cycling Jersey

Only 250 tickets available, $4.95 each, winner drawn on December 18th, to win an autographed Aaron Olsen jersey plus some other schwag, and proceeds benefit a good cause...

22 November 2006

In other news...Happy Thanksgiving!

I deleted the asshole radio station on my car radio presets, that is, the one where Christmas music has been playing 24/7 since a week ago. Grrrrr. Replaced it with a country music station, which is a first for me. I'm so bored with all of the redundance on my usual radio channels..
Murat will be going to the sold-out 37th WBRU Birthday Bash featuring My Chemical Romance, on November 29th.. Ebru and I will be joined by our good friends Kaan and Laima..
We're traveling to Rochester for the Thanksgiving holiday, so a seven hour drive awaits me after work today. I hope to sneak out early..
We're very happy with out recent purchase of a portable DVD player, by the way. Nothing silences an unhappy toddler better than watching the animated movie CARS for the 27th time... though I must admit this film is an instant classic, especially with Paul Newman lending his voice to one of the main characters, "Doc Hudson".
Greed is an ugly habit.. I was stunned to discover that many of the people who I waited in line with last week, [to get Orhan Pamuk's autograph in our books], did it only for the CASH. Click here to see what I mean. Who will pay $500, $1000 or $1500 for one of these books? Should Pamuk be offended or flattered? I will never sell mine, and I resolve to read all of them without regard for wear and tear or dog-eared covers.

Murat is outraged at both USAir and the Muslim passengers

'Twas the summer of 1992 and I'm driving up route 81 towards Syracuse in my police issue Dodge Diplomat (loved that car, built like a brick shit house) My aunt happened to be with me during this trip and being a devout Muslim, she started praying in the car. This is done while seated, and certain gestures are used to emulate the real motions one whould go through if they had a place to stand. I must say, it was extremely un-nerving to witness while driving, and I avoided passing and being passed by other cars, just so no one would see her. (Does that make me a bad person, or just an ignorant 21 year old?) My point is this: The six imams traveling from Minneapolis to Phoenix, should NOT have gone out of their way to invite such attention and scrutiny. I can't speak for their appearance and attire, but presume that their language seemed intimidating enough for Joe Schmo W.A.S.P. to wet himself.
Praying in the terminal was a poor choice. That three of the imams did not pray in the terminal is a bit telling- means we have a compaasionate and understanding G-d, who would rather see people travel safely and unfettered than be worshipped, at least in certain delicate circumstances. So give it a rest. My forehead hasn't touched a prayer rug in over ten years, and G-d loves me just the same as he loves you IMHO.. Oh, and gratuitous use of the word "Allah" in the presence of others- bad idea. Regrettably, for many Americans it has the same ring to it as the words "...make my day". Get my drift?
I know this sounds extremely anti-Muslim, especially coming from one whose religion is also "other", but I will also say this: The person who wrote a note and passed it to US Airways staff is a fucking weenie with an ax to grind.

21 November 2006

Orhan Pamuk: Brazilian Peas

Reading his book istanbul, has been a pleasure so far.. It's funny how hungry I am to find relatability. Found a few things actually. What follows is something which isn't foreign to me:
"...there must be a link between peas and Brazil- not just because
Brazil is Brezilya in Turkish and the word for pea is bezelye
but also because the Brazilian flag has, it seems, an enormous pea on
it..."

20 November 2006

What you don't know about me

Growing up in a broken home destructed by alcoholism, is something I carry with me always. It's just beneath the surface, like the rings of a tree trunk, invisible... and I blame it for much of my bone-headed-ness and my ineptitude with trust and relationships.. That said, I'm no fan of poetry, have never really read any, and have never aspired to write any. But it seems this thing has been growing inside of me for 30 years, and just popped out of my head and onto my note pad [while I was in a three hour meeting at work] on September 11th. This is for all of those who still deny themselves the right to hate the one(s) who deprived them of happiness. Not a permanent hate, just the kind which allows us to move past it and forgive, and love again. I hope you like this. I always avoid exposing weakness and for this reason I'm nervous about sharing it. Per usual, I'm probably just craving praise and approval for what I consider to be good work:
Fatherhood is like a blood feud
Between each new generation
Deficiencies of our childhood
Cause us painful complication
Self hate perpetuates and carries on
It makes the young feel lame
And reproduces like a germ
Infecting purity with shame
Am I good enough Dad? Do you approve?
Are you proud of how hard I try?
The answers given are often silent
Reflected only in his eyes
What cures this ailment? What kills the disease?
It seems hopeless, that's for sure
Can sons heal themselves, and then reach out?
To fathers who seek the cure?
We compress it to hardness, petrify it
Is relief within our clenched fists?
What chance is there that the need to hate
Is the key, the catalyst?
Like my father before me, this unworthy son
Inherits a heavy burden to bear
Which can't be lifted or smashed..
...until hate is permitted...
...and forgiveness replaces despair...
If my poem is lost on you, please give this a listen.

19 November 2006

Top 10 Signs You're A Christian Fundamentalist

I had a girlfriend back in 1993 who was from a bible thumping part of Florida. She once argued with me, and I quote: "As sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, I believe that Jesus is G-d's son!". She wanted us to be married, so when I used religious differences as my "get out of jail free" card, she called my bluff and sincerely offered to convert to Islam. Ending that relationship was one of the most difficult things I've ever done, and I'm very regretful for the way I acted... The following is via Beep Beep Its Me
Top 10 Signs You're A Christian Fundamentalist
From: - ExChristian Net
10 - You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
9 - You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
8 - You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
7 - Your face turns purple when you hear of the"atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" --including women, children, and trees!
6 - You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
5 - You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth ( 4.55 billion years) , but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a couple of generations old.
4 - You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs --though excluding those in all rival sects - will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."
3 - While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.
2 - You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that theremaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
1 - You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history - but still call yourself a Christian.

Top Democrat: Bring back the draft

Bring back the Draft! I love this idea on so many levels (at the top of my list is the undeniable health benefit to the minds and bodies of our fat and lazy youth.. have you noticed the prevailing morbid obesity? ), but the diversity of our population would make this exremely difficult to implement. For this reason, I propose that service should be compulsory for:
  • men AND women, for straight and gay people, without exception
  • legal immigrants AND for all US citizens, REGARDLESS of ethnicity, race, and religion
  • the rich and the poor, HS drop-outs and phd's, professional athletes and fat slobs alike
  • ALL politicians and especially for those who seek a career in law-making
There are far too many reasons which people in this country can use to avoid service, and they must all be eliminated for this to work, at least without becoming a terrible train-wreck of bureaucracy and litigation. As in a multitude of other countries throughout the world, "death and taxes" needs to be joined by "military service".. There are a zillion other factors which deserve consideration, I'm sure, but for the sake of argument, let's assume they're all pretty frivolous in comparison to the potential benefits.
According to AP, Rep Charles Rangel says that:
He said having a draft would not
necessarily mean everyone called to duty would have to serve. Instead, "young
people (would) commit themselves to a couple of years in service to this great
republic, whether it's our seaports, our airports, in schools, in hospitals,"
with a promise of educational benefits at the end of service.

Are Jewish Scholars At Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law Advocating Censorship in America?

Re: "Denying Genocide" conference, December 3-4, 2006
Dear Dean Rudenstine,
As an American of Turkish descent, I am troubled by your choice ofspeaker(s) at the subject conference. My concerns are about both "the message and the messenger".
How can a controversial subject like the Turkish-Armenian conflict during World War One be presented to unsuspecting students, faculty, and indeed,public, as "settled history"?
And perhaps, worst of all, by a notoriously biased speaker?
Isn't this akin to presentation Israel's foreign policy by Osama Bin Laden?
Is this your sense of scholarship? Fairness? Decency? Respect for law?
Let me be more succinct with my criticism of your key speaker, Taner Akcam. Did you know he is a convicted terrorist in Turkey? He was one of the leaders of a armed and clandestine group advocating a Marxist-Leninist takeover of Turkish Republic caught red-handed in a bombing plot in late 1970s. He was tried, convicted, jailed, and serving time when he escapedfrom his jail cell. A while later, he surfaced in Germany, apparently having asked for and received asylum there. Hecontinued his studies in Germany and got a Ph.D. in Sociology (not history) in the university of Cologne in 1995. He has never been a historian and he can not read, write, or understand Ottoman Turkish (a heavy combination of Turkish-Arabic-Persian-and tradition) to study Ottoman history. He has never been seen in the Ottoman archives doing any research. He justre-circulates Dadrian's (his sponsor coming to America and source for information.) He has never been a professor.Taner Akcam was first brought to Michigan by the Armenian lobby for his virulently anti-Turkish stance, as he still seeks revenge from Turkey for his failed attempts of 1970s.
He is in America probably illegally because of the three very direct questions everyone seeking a visa to enter theU.S. is asked in the INS visa application forms:
1- Have you ever been a communist?
2- Have you ever been convicted of a felony?
3- Have you ever worked against the U.S. interests?
He had to say "Yes" to all 3 questions as he was part of a group which bombed the limousine of the American ambassador Comer in Ankara in 1969. But if he did say yes, then he would not be allowed to visit, let alone work, in America.
That's where his sponsors, the "Armenian falsifiers" came into picture. They sneakily relied on "German papers", which were, indeed. "clean", and got the visa. If those Armenian falsifiers are charged with perjury at some time in future, they are probably contemplating their defense as "ignorance of Taner Akcam's violent history in Turkey" and that they totally believed and relied on the German papers. The plot is still unfolding and one never knows what will happen tomorrow (remember theTopalian story? A "respected" Armenian leader, rubbing elbows with professors and politicians who turned out to be a leader of a terrorist cell whose task was to supply the explosives? he is serving time inprison now for his offenses.)
That's it for "the messenger" for now. An for your message, please readthe following that I wrote for a similar situation in California where the an Armenian professor tries to use the cover of "scholarly presentation" at an unsuspecting American college to spread Armenian propaganda:
"ARMENIAN SCHOLAR AT EASE WITH CENSORSHIP", http://www.turkla.com/yazar.php?mid=868&yid=4
SYNOPSIS: From Ergun KIRLIKOVALI to several African-American students who wanted more information about the Turkish views after the biased lectureby the Armenian professor :
"Today, you witnessed with your own eyes how the views of a group of people party to a controversial issue were censored by the organizers and the lecturer. Ask yourselves: How can this happen in the 21st Century at an institute of higher learning in the most advanced and richest state in the Union, California? And next time someone gives you a lofty lecture about the freedom of speech in America, please remember today!"Last but not least, genocide is a legal term and a verdict that must bereached by a "competent court", a la Nuremberg. Such a court wasattempted by the British but abandoned in 1921 due to lack of "court admissible evidence" right after the war. Therefore, such a verdict does not exist. Since you have used the term genocide, you either must producea court verdict by a competent court or chance being labeled the head of a racist and dishonest "lynch mob".
Sincerely,
Ergun Kirlikovali

Fenerbahce Besiktas 0-0

Grrrr. That's 95 minutes I'll never see again.. If I wanted to watch a grown man wearing prophylactics on his head, there's a Woody Allen movie which would have been more entertaining.

17 November 2006

I'm falling apart, taking pictures and need sponsors

Murat is still sick and went to work regardless in the morning. Having promised my foreman at a certain project that I would visit today and help clarify things, I left the office at 11:00, never to return. Took a couple of random pictures during my voyage which I think are pretty cool. Overheard on the radio today about a woman who rode her bicycle 3200 miles to raise awareness for breast cancer. Fine and dandy.. Why don't I do something similar? For the life of me, I can't think of anything which I want to raise awareness for. My creative juices stopped flowing when I caught this cold... Well not totally... because I DID think of an idea about the miles I've ridden my bike this year so far.. Seems I've far surpassed 4000 miles in 2006.. all I need to do is attach myself to a cause and call the news bureaus. "Hey I just rode my 4,500th mile this year on my bike, to raise awareness for ______ ______!" (You fill in the blank for me.) All year I've been thinking about ordering custom cycling shorts and jerseys which advertise this blog, Amerikan Turk, and others (in exchange for a contribution which I can use to defray my training and racing expenses). Not a lot of time left before I need to order clothing for the 2007 season, so if this idea makes any sense at all I had better develop a marketing plan and start signing up sponsors... Who wants to buy advertising space?

16 November 2006

Hyundai Makes Me SICK

Picked up my Hyundai from the dealer tonight, but not before paying $588 in total for a simple repair. The radiator sprung a leak of transmission fluid, which is routed through it for cooling. Never mind that it cost $250 for a new one, and $170 for labor to install it, and $60 for tow service... plus taxes and fees.. What broke the camels' back was Hyundai's proprietary transmission fluid. The four quarts used to re-fill the transmission cost me $44. I plan to write a letter to Hyundai and to the dealership and express my outrage. That the radiator failed in a five year old car which has been driven only 50,000 miles, is another matter. Please take my advice and AVOID buying a Hyundai vehicle. They are cheaply built and expensive to repair. Additionally, they're a depreciation nightmare. Three years after purchasing our Elantra GT for $16,000, I tried selling it for $5,000 and didn't get one single call on my newspaper ad. I curse the day I ever bought this piece of shit. Avoid Hyundai. Buy a used Toyota or Honda and you'll be much better off.
Meanwhile, everyone in the house is sick with a nasty virus, fever, sore throats, coughing, etc. I feel completely wasted, exhausted, spent... and I can't stay home tomorrow. My career is in a 'make or break' phase and I'm not about to let all of my hard work crumble into dust.
My father is on an Airbus headed home to Turkey as I type this. Wish we were on that plane with him. Skipping our annual vacation to Turkiye this year really messed us up. There's a warrant for my arrest due to draft dodging, so I can't go, perhaps not ever again. For a person to be born in the USA and be in this position, is fucking ridiculous. If I had $6000 to spare, plus the money to fly the three of us to TR and if I could afford to take a four week unpaid leave of absence, maybe then I could be free of this obligation. Seems whole lot smarter to simply never return, but how I miss being in Turkiye! I guess this Turk in exile will now go curl up in the fetal position and read his new autographed Pamuk books, beginning with 'Istanbul'. .

Orhan Pamuk Meets Murat at Brown University

That title is supposed to be funny... I am still pissed because our local "Turkish American Cultural Society of Rhode Island" (TACS-RI), of which I am a founder and past Vice President, did nothing to promote this event, aside from post it on their website (which I never visit). You would think that with all the Turkish students at Brown, that SOMEONE would be thoughtful enough to put out a message on the RI-TURKS Yahoo group... Big disappointment here, TACS-RI and Brown students! Had I known, I'd be shouting about it on the rooftops! I guess picnics and movie screenings are more important.. Whatever.. I found out about the program this morning, thanks to a message posted by Meltem at the Daughters of Ataturk Yahoo Group. (Many thanks, by the way.)
So it turned out that there was a book signing scheduled for 10:30 this morning. After much personal anguish about how much work time I'd lose, I decided to GO! Bought three more of his paper backs while waiting in the line with 100+ other book signees. I took my camera with me just in case I'd have the kahunas to ask permission for a photo together. As you can see, I carry mine in a wheelbarrow... Orhan and I chit-chatted for the 20 or so seconds it took to sign my four books and pose for a picture, which was taken by the gracious person who was in line behind me..
It was all worth it, and I know that if I didn't go, I'd be full of regret right now. He seems to be a class act. Me- I look over-worked, with a sleep deficit and a bad hair-cut, don't I? Up until about a week ago I could almost tie my hair in a little pony-tail.. I need a jacket that fits..

14 November 2006

Greenpeace Activists Detained in Turkish Republic

A Greenpeace activist plays dead in front of the Turkish Parliament in Ankara November 14, 2006. Twenty-five Greenpeace activists were detained by riot police as they protested against a draft law on nuclear energy.
REUTERS/Stringer/Turkey

12 November 2006

Babam ve Oglum ve Babam

from left: Irfan Altinbasak, Reis Ozan Altinbasak, Irfan Kizanlik

Turkish Republic Honors Ataturk

Turkish officers attend a commemoration ceremony for Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, in his mausoleum in Ankara November 10, 2006. Turks observed on Friday a minute silence to commemorate the death of Ataturk, who died on November 10, 1938.
10 Nov 2006 REUTERS/Stringer
People observe a minute of silence at 09.05 a.m in front of the New Mosque in Istanbul November 10, 2006. The pigeons took flight after sirens marking the 68th death anniversary of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, went off.
10 Nov 2006 REUTERS/Fatih Saribas

As the wheel turns: Is self-replenishment, selfish?

For someone who seemingly 'has it all' and 'makes the big bucks' and is blessed with good health, I sure feel like I've been hit by a train these days. There are few things more precious to me than respect and understanding, so to be misunderstood and disrespected knocks me off my feet. Note to self: "Be more understanding of others, show more respect for people around you... and maybe you'll reap what you sow."
Sounds easy enough.. What makes this difficult is my occupation... I work in an industry where the low bidder gets the contract, where my customers live on getting the most while paying the least, where all of my weakness are completely exposed and exploited daily, where praise for a job well done doesn't exist, not from my employers or customers, where one needs a stomach lined with asbestos, ice water in their veins and very thick skin in order to survive...
My exposure to such a mind-fucking environment isn't healthy. Every day is an exercise in pride swallowing, getting kicked in the crotch, stabbed in the back, criticised without mercy, and all while delivering a flawless performance of my contractual obligations. Did I mention it's also completely thankless?
It's a small miracle that I don't smoke, drink, gamble, medicate or do drugs...
I do have this one obsession which keeps my head on straight and in good health: I ride my bike as if my life depends on it... and I make no apologies for it either.
My self-replenishment of what my job takes out of me, begins when I mount the bicycle and ride...
My search to find those who respect and understand this part of me, ends when I ride or race with others...
Makes me happier than a tornado in a trailer park.

07 November 2006

Would the real Borat...

please stand up? Does this Turkish fellow have a pot to piss in? or a wife yet?
In a 2000 interview he explained that he was looking for a wife who would stay at home with the children and "keep the house nice for me." He continued that it was also important that "She must be very clean and always wash before and after sex."

Rest in peace, Bulent Ecevit

A woman touches a picture of former Turkish prime minister Bulent Ecevit in Ankara November 6, 2006. Ecevit, who sent troops into Cyprus in 1974 and secured the coveted European Union candidate status for his country in 1999, died on Sunday at the age of 81.
06 Nov 2006 REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Turk to Pope: Don't visit Turkey while I'm in jail!

The suspect of a shooting in front of the Italian consulate reacts and shouts slogans as he is forced by plainclothes police officers into the doctor's office for a medical check-up before appearing in a Turkish court in Istanbul November 6, 2006. The man was brought to court on Monday. He was captured by police shortly after he fired a shot in the air last Thursday to protest against Pope Benedict XVI's controversial visit to Turkey.
06 Nov 2006 REUTERS/Fatih Saribas

05 November 2006

Satilik Kanunlar: Kanuns For Sale

The two videos below show the two instuments which are currently offered. One is priced lower than the other, can you guess which?
Click title above to see detailed pictures at their respective EBAY listings.







Mass Circumcision in Bulgaria

Listen to the old man at the end of this short video.. He's so full of shit his eyes are brown. It hurts like fucking hell.. Ask me!- they cut me when I was 8 years old, at a party house in Bursa back in 1979. Everyone in attendance circled around me while two men held me by my arms and legs from behind. Yes even the young girls who were there got a good look at my junk. I have a picture to prove this! I also had live music, a belly dancer and a decorated cardboard BOX full of CASH and gold coins by the end of the night. Mommy dearest bought herself a gold chain with all of MY money, and later gave it to my WIFE as a gift. Of course dear wife had it cut up and modified into a bracelet...
Needless to say, our son Reis was "modified" at the hospital within the first 24 hours of his life. I cried when I saw the little peanut all bandaged up.

04 November 2006

Cemal Tokgoz: On Top of the Woodworking Food Chain

Yours truly served as the project manager for the woodworking contractor of the new Brown Life Science Building in Providence Rhode Island. I thought I was was pretty cool for managing such a large and prestigious project.. Then my father handed me his digital camera the other day, showing me pictures of a recent project which was built by Cemal Tokgoz in Bursa... You can no doubt tell which pictures are which:


The three pieces by Cemal which are pictured are probably worth more than the whole entire Brown University millwork project. In all likelihood, the hand skills, talent and experience required for such intricate woodwork, doesn't exist in the United States, period.
What the pictures don't tell you is that I apprenticed under my father's wing since the age of 10, and that my father apprenticed under Cemal Tokgoz, and continues to be his pupil to this day... I consider it an honor to be the plankton of this woodworking food-chain. Wouldn't you?
One of the things which amazes me and everyone else who meets Cemal Tokgoz in person is his physique: He is less than four feet tall... I hope to see him again and kiss his hand one more time while he is still living.. -AT

02 November 2006

Flash Flooding in Turkish Republic

Locals are carried to a secure area in a suburb in Istanbul November 1, 2006. Flash floods caused by torrential rainfall have killed 21 people across southeast Turkey, most of them swept away in their vehicles, officials said on Wednesday.
REUTERS/Stringer (TURKEY)