America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

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

29 December 2007

Meet Olivia and Nathan Anderson

Here, do the math:
"In this small room, witnessing this horror, was 6-year-old Olivia Anderson and her 3-year-old brother, Nathan. We alleged that McEnroe spoke to each child and apologized for what he was about to do. The evidence will show that McEnroe then shot each child in the head from very close range," said Satterberg.
The court documents indicate the couple tried to flee to Canada after the killings, but returned to the scene the following day for some reason, where they were detained and confessed.

So let me get this straight.. This loser girl (Michele Anderson) and her boyfriend (Joseph McEnroe) pre-meditate a plan to kill her parents, on Christmas eve, of all days. After shooting them both to death, they drag the bodies to the shed (you must be fucked in the head and high on dope to get this far, BTW).. then they ambush her brother and his immediate family, (who were visiting to celebrate CHRISTMAS) which included her brother's wife and two children, aged 3 and 6.. After offing her brother over some money issue which I'm sure was in the few hundred dollar range.. she shoots her sister in law to death, who by the way.. begged for them to have mercy and not kill her or her two children... Then lowlife Joe McEnroe, this piece of shit Target employee.. gets down on his knees to engage the wailing and terrified toddler and child, and he apologizes IN ADVANCE before blowing their brains out. He does this.. to avoid being caught, to leave no one living who might possibly ID him and his loser girlfriend (who he met online). The IRONY of the story? Read the words in RED, above.. and hope that this IRONY haunts every fucking moment of the rest of their miserable fucking lives. Full Story
Death penalty? I'm always against it, except for when children are involved.. because if you cannot show mercy to innocent babies and children, then you are not a person.. you are some kind of parasitic demonic animal,.. too dangerous and too frightening to let live.

28 December 2007

Wyoming's is the coolest...

The Wyoming Quarter
The Utah Quarter

..State Quarter . It has the most distinctive and cleanest look of them all, IMHO. Check your pockets, you might have one.
On the other hand.. Utah's state quarter has me scratching my head.. (Check your pockets, get rid of these..) That vertical figure in the center looks like I-don't-know-what, positioned in between two spread legs.. I'm not a perv.. just highly visual. I see things.. Making those mountains nearly symmetrical- big mistake! The only thing missing here is a tunnel! Utah, what were you thinking? Is that Brokeback Mountain or a person's crotch in the background? Ugh.

27 December 2007

Hedo Turkoglu..the Magic beat the Knicks 110-96

Orlando Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu (L) shoots the ball over New York Knicks forward David Lee during the second half of NBA basketball action in Orlando, Florida, December 26, 2007. The Magic beat the Knicks 110 - 96. REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski (UNITED STATES)

Please vote on my new team uniforms! Which one rocks?

24 December 2007

Turkish Soldiers on patrol in Yuksekova

..and all I can think about is how cool it would be ride my bike down that road.. What a majestic view.
Turkish soldiers patrol on a road near Yuksekova in southeastern Turkey, bordering Iraq, December 24, 2007. Turkish warplanes targeting Kurdish rebels bombed areas in northern Iraq on Sunday for the second day in a row but caused no casualties, an Iraqi Kurdish official said. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

21 December 2007

Update on my father's condition

It's not so much that I want the whole world to know and feel pity or anything.. I have to get this stuff out of my system, and this blog is as good a listener as anyone. At least it doesn't judge me.. Here's where I "spill my poison", as the saying goes.. and no one has a gun to your head forcing you to read..
My father has lung cancer, stage 4, inoperable. Tumors have spread to his liver and to his bones.. His clavicle has been fractured by the tumor which grows on and around it, so pain is a big issue right now. When he was here a month or so ago, the doctor told him that chemotherapy would not be very effective, so my father declined the treatment. He decided to return to Turkey. As it turns out, he's started another round of chemo over there, and continues to treat the pain with morphine and other narcotic drugs. Last week he sounded quite cheerful on the phone.. Still on his feet, still trying to build his musical instruments, still smoking cigarettes too.. what's the point of stopping now if it gives you comfort? I wouldn't.
When my brother and I took him to TF Green airport the other month for his connection to JFK, we sat there with him at the gate, not knowing what to say or how to act. When it was time to board, we stood with him in line, said our farewells, hugged, kissed.. He entered the ramp to board and started walking away from us.. and just before turning the corner, he stopped, and he turned around and he looked at us for a moment, waving.. realizing that maybe, it was for the very last time. I almost fell apart right then and there.. and then he continued.. out of sight. As my younger brother and I walked down the concourse and away from the gate, I had to stay a few paces in front of him to hide the anguished and tearful look on my face.. and perhaps it would have been like looking in the mirror, had I turned around to face him, I don't know.. and who the hell knows what my father's face looked like after he turned the corner away from us.. I think I might have an idea, but it hurts to try and imagine it. Thanks for reading. 

20 December 2007

Galatasaray defection

Little known fact: My parents and the whole extended Altinbasak Family is densely populated with die hard Galatasaray fans. I didn't realize this until after my dear wife Ebru and her brother Umit indoctrinated me into a Fenerbahce fan.. Meanwhile, I can barely name any of the players. Such shame I feel.. such a turncoat I am.. my parents tell me so.. So who won?
Galatasaray's Umit Karan reacts to a missed shot during their UEFA Cup Group H soccer match against Austria Vienna at Ali Sami Yen Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey, December 19, 2007. REUTERS/Fatih Saribas

Song title and artist?

When you look through the years and see what you could have been...
What you might have been...
If you had haaaad mooooore time..

The moral: don't let your head hit the pillow each night without the satisfaction of knowing that you did everything humanly possible to advance towards achieving your goals.. What can be worse than looking back upon your life and seeing that you squandered your most precious asset? Time... You don't even KNOW how much of it you have left!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

17 December 2007


When I was a young boy, I'd have these disturbing dreams. In them, I'd become a tiny being, small enough to climb through the eye of a needle, or stand on it's tip, or be crushed into paste by the fingers handling the needle. Sounds would be so amplified at my small size that I would clasp my ears in pain at the slightest movement of air around me. My eardrums would puncture. I'd wake up feeling so weak and disoriented.. I don't have those dreams anymore, but instead I imagine that the universe is a piece of floating dandelion fuzz, carried by the wind and caught in between my fingers. Sleep disorders have vexed me for a long time. Sleep paralysis has been kept at bay for a couple of years, but there was a time when the "Old Hag" would visit me night after night after night, making my slumber into a painful exercise in avoiding death- that's how it feels- like you're being crushed and suffocated, or like someone's extinguishing a giant cigarette and you're caught under it.. I even wrote a blog post about it a couple of years ago- to this day it's one of my most visited pages.. These days, I sleep for not more than two hours at a time, I wake up shivering. I change out of my soaking wet tee shirt and try to go back to sleep on the damp sheets and pillow. The other night I went through four tee shirts in this way. The morning comes and I welcome it.. A steaming hot shower prepares me for that blast of icy air hitting my face when I exit the house and ride my bike to work in temperatures which would make your skin crawl. It's during such rides that it feels as though my brain may erupt into a fireball and blast through my skull and into the sky like a flare. When you're doing exactly what you want to be doing, and when you're positioned exactly where you want to be, that's how it's supposed to feel. That's what you call joy.. I'm a little bit drunk.. so ignore me.


Dear wife took this picture of me at Denny's today. We always swear never to return to that awful place.. and then a few months go by, amnesia sets in and we try it again. Denny's sucks. Avoid.
It's been a few days and I'm kind of out of it- sorry dear readers! With the recent blizzard and follow up storm we had here in New England, it's been gray and dreary and kind of depressing to be in the clutch of winter. I'm busily building my new bike racing team, finding new sponsors, recruiting racers, ordering custom apparel, working, blogging whenever I can, commuting to work by bike as much as possible, growing my hair out a bit.. Bought myself a new fixed gear commuter bike.. About to buy new bike racks for our minivan. Selling kid's bikes on the internet.. Training for 2008 as much as possible, sometimes indoors on the wind trainer or the rollers.. In good health and feeling pretty strong lately.. Here's a picture I took of myself after a 100 minute ride in the 20 degree cold of this past Saturday. It's colder than it looks, especially on the water in Colt Park. I went out there to do the Narragansett Bay Wheelmen ride at 11:00 on Saturday, only to realize that the ride was actually on Sunday! Never to waste a chance to ride my bike, I instead went for a solo ride through the towns of Bristol, Warren and Barrington.. Stopped and saw a friend who was at work.. tried unsuccessfully to ride on the snowy bike path.. Good times.. almost fell on some black ice (that slipping sensation is so much scarier on a fixed gear bike!) Keep warm!

11 December 2007

Cute AND Delicious!

Even rats are a delicacy, so why not cats? If PETA can't think of a better way to handle over population- both creatively and nutritiously, then they should just shut the hell up. Animals are consumed. They are slaughtered in order to be consumed, usually. Slaughtering an animal is considered unethical treatment. So does this mean that every PETA a vegetarian? Please cure my ignorance.  
.. and do cats have wishbones? Can you hear it snapping as two Chinese people play tug of war with it? 
A cat is caged at Qingping market in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, China, December 10, 2007. Scorpions scamper in bowls, water snakes coil in tanks and cats whine in cramped cages, waiting to be slaughtered, skinned and served for dinner. Welcome to the Qingping market, where everything from turtles to insects are sold alongside fowl and freshly caught fish. REUTERS/Joe Tan

Commuting by Bike: Hazardous to your mental health (?)

Yesterday, I decided to punish myself with a bike commute to and from work. I use the word "punish" because I've been quite a sissy-boy in the "cold weather riding" department. Resolving to ride the fixed gear bike to work 2-3 times a week, all winter long, I decided to pick one of the nastier days as a way to "break myself in". "Future rides to work won't seem as bad" I reasoned.. Well.. aside from a quick fall on black ice, my ride to work was quite enjoyable, all 9 miles of it. The ride home.. a different story.. It wasn't the darkness that ruined it, it wasn't the cold wind or the damp drizzle or the slick roads.. It was the people who I shared the road with. Quittin' time does something to New Englanders I think. Getting home seems to be a bigger urgency than getting to work, that's for damn sure. 
A motorist driving an enormous pick up truck- the kind with four rear wheels and four doors- thoughtfully slowed to my pace, lowered his window, wagged his finger and yelled at me to "GET ON THE SIDEWALK!". On at least three other occasions, motorists blared their horns at me, and then once they could get past me, gunned the throttle while shaking their heads in disapproval. I can't read their moving lips too well, but their "body language" makes it pretty clear that feathering their brakes for a few seconds while basking in the warmth and comfort of their car, in order to avoid pasting the road with my shivering body parts, , is not appreciated.. at all.
Mentally, it really takes the wind out of your sails. You know you're doing something good for the body, for the mind and even for the environment, but those who can't afford to be delayed for 5 seconds by a human life perched precariously on top of a 20 pound machine going 20 miles an hour through the darkness on top of frozen asphalt, really make it hard to be optimistic about anything to do with PEOPLE. Enough said.
If you're a motorist and encounter a person riding a bicycle on the road, try something new: YIELD deliberately- give way- wave them through- let them pass before you make your turn. I PROMISE you that the cyclist will respond to you with a wave and a smile, or otherwise go out of their way to express thanks. If they don't, caulk it up as a rare exception- friendly motorists are so rare these days that sometimes an act of kindness is met with shock or disbelief. Have faith. WE still do.. or else we'd give up on this bike cummuting thing entirely.

06 December 2007

Captain Sinan Eroglu: Laid to rest in Istanbul

We must salute all of those men and women who serve our country as it's protectors, and we must especially honor those who pay the ultimate price fighting on the front lines. G-d bless Sinan Eroglu and his grieving family.
Tugba Eroglu (L) follows a soldier carrying a picture of her husband Captain Sinan Eroglu, who was killed during clashes in southeast Turkey a day before, during a funeral ceremony in Istanbul December 5, 2007. Eight more Kurdish PKK guerrillas have been killed in continuing clashes with Turkish troops in southeastern Turkey, bringing the toal death toll among the rebels so far to 14, the military General Staff said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

04 December 2007

Some feedback please?

Does my latest angry diatribe offend anyone? Is it more interesting? less interesting? than say the typical Amerikan Turk news photo with my two sentence comment?
I'm trying to find a way to bring visitors back here regularly. Screw Google. I want people to WANT to come here. I want people to say "I wonder what he's pissed off about today?"
As I approach the 100,000 visitor mark, I want to be poised to reach 1 million visits before I'm 40.. Recognizing that overall, I'm not a very interesting person, I'm thinking about at least making what I say, very interesting. That means taking off the gloves and throwing political correctness out the window, going on the offensive, attacking the things which are incompatible with my principles, my convictions, my beliefs. Am I just asking for trouble?
Traffic.. Yeah huge traffic would be fine and dandy.. as would making more than $1-2 a day on Google Adsense. But what it all boils down to for me is one thing: Having a willing audience, not an audience driven here by a Google search result. For this transformation, I think I need to get out on top of my glass house and start casting stones galore. Am I nuts?

Boycott Dunkin Donuts

They are the single biggest contributor to the pear and watermelon shaped profile of New Englanders with their various 1000 calorie sugar bomb drinks, not to mention the abundant trash and debris on the roads next to the curb.. Ask me, I ride my bike, I see this stuff up closer than the average motorist. Anyone who compulsively drinks their disgusting concoctions day after day and then wonders why their body's covered with 3" of flab- I have no fucking pity for you. You deserve it.
They gave me a croissant soaked in butter this morning, no napkins, and when I sipped my coffee (cream, two sugars) and it had the consistency of chocolate milk, except with twice the sugar, and the addition of a disgusting pumpkin "spice" flavor. I promptly dumped it in the bathroom toilet. Whoever among you out there actually drinks that crap- get your head examined. As for me- Never again. 

03 December 2007

Prescription Drug Rip-off & Radio Advertising

Explain this to me:
My father gets a 30 day supply (180 pills) of Vicodin for $11.69 at Rite Aid. (he has no insurance) My dentist gives me a seven day supply (15 pills) of the same exact drug, and I pay CVS Pharmacy a $20 CO-PAY!?!?!? What the fuck is wrong here? According to Rite Aid's pricing, my 15 pills should have cost me 97 cents. I'm going to CVS tomorrow to ask for my money back. Mark my words.. The health insurance industry is a JOKE. My wife went to her doctor the other day to get a very sore throat looked at. They told her to go home and take Advil.. Fuck you! Pardon me.. actually the doctor couldn't be bothered so the RN tends to my wife. Then we get a notice in the mail telling us that our insurance was billed $80, and that we owe them a $20 Co-Pay.. This will not stand. Not on my watch. You don't charge $80 just because you told someone to take Advil. Prescribe some antibiotics for Christ's sake you fornicator of hard working Americans!
And while I'm fired up I may as well list some of the companies I will NEVER do business with because of their "you're a retard" advertising on the radio:
Belden Jewelers, Tarbox Hyundai/Toyota etc, My Free Laptop dot com, Pride Ford/Hyundai, Kay Jewelers, and any company with ads in which an inanimate object like a box of cereal "speaks" and says "Hi, I'm a box of cereal" and any car dealer who hires a deep throated asshole who sounds like he's announcing the end of the world. You've insulted the intelligence of radio listeners for too long. You're black-listed. You suck balls. I'll add more loser companies as the mood strikes. Belden and Kay, I hate you especially. I would sooner stab myself in the eye with my letter opener than buy a watch battery from you.

Tag! You're IT!

When you guys get around to discovering this link to your site, kindly share seven facts about yourself, on your blog, as I've done below. Keep it light and breezy.. We don't want to know your cholestrol level or how often you clip your toe nails.
Athanasia's Daily
Turkish Delight
Gulay, Galatasaray and the dogs
ignore me if you can
The Istanbulian

Seven Things About Murat

In accordance with Ardent's "tag", I will honor the code and share these facts about myself:
  1. I used to own a cockatiel which I named "Schulzie" and a mutt I picked up at the dog pound which I named "Fritz". I gave Schulzie away because I couldn't take care of him, and Fritzs ran away and got hit by a car. Fritz had no tags and bit his rescuer. He was put down the day before I tracked him down at the animal hostpital.
  2. My right wrist has a deformity caused by a crash while riding my bike in Turkey in 1989. My wrist ws fractured and now there's a growth of bone which looks a bit freakish. At the time, I was 17 and racing at an elite level, and assured of winning the Junior National Championship Road Race title, if only I didn't crash and end my season. Dreams.. dashed.
  3. For my 16th birthday, my parents foolishly bought me a lightly used Pontiac Fiero with T-tops. I crashed it at an intersection going 60+ miles an hour. Totaled it. After that, my dad got me a Ford Fiesta.
  4. I bought my first house when I was 20 years old for $76,100. Later on, I rented it out but had to evict the renters after about 6 months. After they left, I ripped out all the carpeting and tossed it because it was so filthy.
  5. I was scammed for $600 trying to buy a Herman Miller Aeron chair on Ebay in 2004. I e-mailed the scammer that I was disabled and needed the special chair in order to try to work again and support my family. He believed me.. and out of pity, he sent me a bunch of Visa gift cards to cover the $600 that he stole from me.. all presumed to be bought with stolen credit card numbers. I tossed all of them except for one $100 card I used to buy groceries with. Ebay sent me $250.
  6. My road race bike (a Look 486 carbon- $7000 retail) is worth twice what I can sell my Hyundai Elantra for, and weighs only 16 pounds.
  7. I was arrested [only] once for forgetting to appear in court for a summons regarding my dog barking too much. No cuffs, I was just aked to follow the policeman in my car.

So that's my seven things. Now I need to tag seven others, but I'll do that tomorrow night!

01 December 2007

Fatih Akin wins again with "Auf der anderen Seite"

Not only do they mis-spell his name, they also dismiss his Turkishness. Oh well.. Fatih's latest hit movie "Auf der anderen Seite" (The Edge of Heaven) earned him the distinction of "Best European Screenwriter". So what's "The Edge of Heaven" all about? It's won four awards including at Cannes, so I need to get my hands on a copy and find out.
German director Fathi Akin poses with his trophy after the European film award ceremony in Berlin December 1, 2007. Akin won the European film award for best "European Screenwriter 2007" for his film "Auf der anderen Seite" (The Edge of Heaven). REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke (GERMANY)

29 November 2007

Isparta Bound Jet Crashes in Keciborlu

"The plane, which was carrying 49 passengers and seven crew, was en route from Istanbul to Isparta when the pilot radioed the tower, saying he was starting his descent. The flight never arrived at the Isparta airport, disappearing around 2 a.m."(7 p.m. ET Thursday).

Are you ready?

..for the Turkey's answer to the Spice Girls??

Reuters Slideshow of Homeless People

To me, these photographs really feel like a swift kick in the chest. I know they're a little dated, but doesn't it amaze you how strong, resilient and adaptive children are? I'm dying to know the stories behind these people's circumstances. There are a million ways to become poor. What was their path? If these photos don't choke you up or make your eyes misty, then check yourself for a pulse.. or have children- you probably don't have any. Or picture your young niece or nephew nuzzling the neck of their penniless mother or father. That's all kids need. Loving parents to cling to, caring parents to protect them. When my son Reis and I share a bed together, he falls asleep with his arm around my neck as if the world would end if I left his side. Here's the whole slideshow
A homeless Indian woman holds her son inside her makeshift house under a bridge in New Delhi, India, July 30, 2005. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
A homeless Indian man sleeps beside his child near a highway in Fuleshwar village, about 40 km (25 miles) from the eastern Indian city of Kolkata, February 15, 2006.  
REUTERS/Parth Sanyal
A homeless Indian man sleeps beside his child near a highway in Fuleshwar village, about 40 km (25 miles) from the eastern Indian city of Kolkata, February 15, 2006. REUTERS/Parth Sanyal

27 November 2007

Hella Good: The Greek Military in Beenies and Mini Skirts

..and cute vests. I am sure to catch hell for poking fun, but so be it. Better men have done worse. When will someone realize that this is by far the LEAST intimidating military uniform on earth?! I know it has historic significance and I know it is honorable for these men to wear it.. but.. I'm more likely to run for my life from a 14 year old LA "gangsta" than from one of these guys. The brutal truth. Please enlighten me.. Is this purely ceremonial? If it is, kind of like the Turkish "Mehter", then I'll understand.  
A Greek army officer adjusts the guard of honor before a visit by Albanian President Bamir Topi in Athens, Greece, November 26, 2007. REUTERS/John Kolesidis

26 November 2007

Kurds in Diyarbakir rally, stone police

Only Turkey seems to give it's hostile occupants (Kurds) more freedoms in the face of a growing threat to security and an increased number of body bags occupied by Turkish soldiers. Does DTP stand for "Destabilize Turkey Party"?
A supporter of the pro-Kurdish DTP party flashes a victory sign as he waves a flag of the illegal Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) during a rally in Diyarbakir, Turkey, November 25, 2007.  REUTERS/Osman Orsal
Riot police protect themselves behind their shields from stones thrown by protesters following a rally by pro-Kurdish DTP party in Diyarbakir, Turkey, November 25, 2007.  
REUTERS/Osman Orsal

25 November 2007

Excellent LikeaBike Video from the UK

When my wife and I chose to proceed with starting a retail business selling children's bikes, we had the bike racing community in mind as a starting point. It made sense to market a high end children's bike to people who spend $1000 on a wheelset, or $300 on a carbon seatpost, or $3500 on a frameset. I guess I consider us collectively to be the LAST people on earth to settle for a cheap knock-off of anything bike related, especially for our kids. That said, let me present you with the finest LikeaBike video production I've ever seen. It's owned by a LikeaBike retailer in the UK, so I doubt they will hardly mind if my little blog or my little company use it. Bravo.
In case you're in the market for a LikeaBike, please give our website a look. Buy local. Support a fellow blogger/bike racer. Join the racing team and buy your LikeaBike for cost plus 10%. Here's the vid:

23 November 2007

Dede the Indonesian "Tree Man"

Here's a follow up story from CNN: Cause of Treeman's Bark like growths revealed
Kosawa said the warts began to appear after he got a cut on his skin as a teenager.
Dr. Anthony Gaspari, an American dermatologist, traveled to Indonesia to examine Kosawa.
Doctors believe Dede Kosawa's unusual appearance occurred because of a immune defect and HPV.
(CNN) -- For 20 years, the warts studding Dede Kosawa's hands and feet multiplied and sprouted like gnarled roots. His hands looked like contorted, yellow-brown branches extending 3 feet. Unable to clamp his hands into a fist or pick up a fork, he made his living by performing in carnivals in rural Indonesia. He became known as the Treeman. More

Dede, 35, with gnarled growths sprouting from his hands and feet, sits in front of his house in the village of Tanjung Jaya, West Java province, November 21, 2007. Dede hopes a doctor in the United States will be able to treat the horn-like extensions that started appearing on his body when he was a teenager and which earned him the "tree man" moniker. (INDONESIA)

21 November 2007

Hamit Altintop and Nikat Kahveci have a 'Brokeback' moment

Just kidding! Wish I could have watched the game though. My paternal grandfather's name is Hamit Altinbasak, so my head always turns when I see Altintop in the news. Did we win?
Turkey's Hamit Altintop (L) and Nihat Kahveci celebrate after Kahveci's goal against Bosnia during their Euro 2008 Group C qualifying soccer match at Ali Sami Yen Stadium in Istanbul November 21, 2007. REUTERS/Osman Orsal (TURKEY)

How do they know it's a Pepsi bottle?

It's astonishing and sad to see the perverted violence which people are capable of. photo
Dr. Abdul Manan, a surgeon at the Nishtar hospital in Multan, points to an x-ray of a glass bottle lodged in a man's lower abdomen November 21, 2007. A 60-year-old man came to the hospital to have the Pepsi bottle removed, which he said armed thieves had inserted in his anus before robbing him of two buffalos, Manan said. REUTERS/Asim Tanveer (PAKISTAN)

20 November 2007

Pardon me, Mr President..

I've heard that turkeys are among the dumbest animals on earth. Prone to looking up at the sky when it's raining.. and drowning to death. My turkey will be deep fried this year. I hear that's the best. Planning to do a 2-3 hour bike ride Thursday morning. That way I have a caloric deficit when I sit down at the table.. one which is quickly reversed in about 5 minutes flat.
U.S. President George W. Bush pardons "May", the 2007 National Thanksgiving Turkey, during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington November 20, 2007. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES)

RIP: Mr. "Please Don't Squeeze the Charmin!" Whipple

The death of an icon.. Children of the seventies can appreciate the warmth that's still felt when thinking about the television advertisements of those days. Ironically, I was supposed to marry a girl named "Sermin".. a person who was my wife's best friend.. a person who my wife was supposed to introduce me to during a day trip to downtown Bursa with a group of friends. Ebru didn't do a very good job though and you could say that I fell in love with the match maker and the rest is history. "Sermin" is still a close friend of the family and took a lot of ribbing from me over the years.. you know.. for being named after American toilet paper.

19 November 2007

DIY: Murat fixes his mysteriously failing hot water heater

We've had this problem for a while now.. Jump in the shower in the morning and discover that there's no hot water, or that it's luke warm at best. Picture me, groggy and naked.. leaning into the tub to turn on the tap.. waiting for the hot water to reach the far end of the house where our master bath is located.. and nothing but lukewarm water arrives. A man has two choices. 1) Jump in and take a 45 second express shower.. enough time to wash hair, feet, armpits, whatever else requires it most.. 2) Get dressed, go outside and through the bulkhead into the basement to reset the tripped ignition.. then wait 15-20 minutes for the water to heat up. Both options suck.. and now that it's cold out, I'm more likely to take option number 2. All these months, dear wife swore that the water temperature was too hot, and the the thermostat was tripping the ignition.. Not so. The Honeywell R8184-G1427 Protectorelay oil burner control unit was basically fried. That old model is obsolete, and replaced with the R8184-G4009. I bought the new relay from the nearest plumbing supply company for $50 and swapped it out this evening. A simple matter too.. only 7 wires to re-connect, and one screwdriver was all I needed. After installing it, I checked it three ways in accordance with the instructions to make sure it did it's job (you basically force it to trip by closing the oil supply valve while it's running). Everything checked out. Took all of 10 minutes to do this. I'm sure if I called service, that they would have charged me $200 for making the house call and for the field labor (rounded up to the next full hour). Either that or they would have tried to sell me a new $600 unit and charge me another $300 to install it. It sure pays to do your homework! So if your hot water heater shuts off mysteriously and if it has a Honeywell ignition relay that's 5 or more years old.. try this: play with the thermostat dial and force ignition of the burners to try forcing the relay to trip. If it chatters for a second and then shuts down, you have only a $50 relay problem. Do it yourself and send me 1/2 of the money you saved. Deal?

Bangladesh is banged up pretty bad

The reports coming out of Bangladesh indicate that the cyclone's death toll is over 3000.
Here's the latest story. Some say it could reach 10,000 once the more remote islands are reached by rescuers. This event has been at the back of my mind for the past many days, and like many, I've been sort of blocking it out. It's like there's a circuit in my brain which controls avoiding and overload of too much pain and suffering. It's tripped recently, hence my avoidance of getting into the terrible details of this tragedy. Now that the numbers are going off the chart, it's hard to ignore. Does it make a difference that this happened to Bangladesh? I think it does. How much does the average person know about Bangladesh? I am as ignorant as any other.. and when something like this happens in a part of the world which doesn't really interest us, we pay little mind to it, regrettably.
I think it's true that there's simply too much death, disaster and destruction (the three Ds) to keep up with these days. My guilt is probably incorrect, but my heart's in the right place I hope.  

18 November 2007

17 November 2007

Papa Roach: Between Angels and Insects

**Explicit Lyrics!** This track always fires me up..

Saudi Arabia!: You Suck Balls Too!

Saudi Court increases punishment for gang rape victim.
There are a lot of low-life countries which beg the question "Why does anyone want to live there?".. and Saudi Arabia is very high on the list, especially for women. We can write volumes here about what an ass-backward piece of shit country Saudi Arabia is.. This story drives the point home, doesn't it?

15 November 2007

China Reaps what it Sows.. Sex selection = More gay people!

How ironic that in a country where homosexuality is treated as a disease and where researchers are trying to find a cure, there are about 18 million more men of marriage age than there are women, thanks to sex-selective-abortions. They unwittingly perpetuate their own "problem" in a way, don't you think?
Boys stand in line in the toilet at a kindergarten in Baokang, central China's Hubei province November 14, 2007. China has 18 million more men of marriageable age than women, the result of sex-selective abortions in a country that has traditionally placed more value on boys, state media reported on Tuesday. REUTERS/Stringer

Are you inspired yet? Look again you two legged freak..

Tobias Graf of Germany competes to win the gold medal in the men's individual 4,000 meters event in the Para-Panamerican of Cycling Games in Cali, Colombia, November 13, 2007.  REUTERS/Jaime Saldarriaga

14 November 2007

Murat's Journey to New York

Took the high speed Acela train down to NY from Providence this morning. Then I walked from 34th all the way to 68th street, just because I didn't have enough cash for a cab (nor do I know what a 30 block cab ride costs, nor do I have any idea how to use the subway..) and I hate using ATMs while traveling, in protest of the $2-3 fee that I'm charged for the privilege of getting my money. I'm glad I walked though, because along the way, I discovered just how puny and insignificant I am and how little impact I have on the world. An astonishing amount of wealth populates Manhattan, and it seem easy to pick out the ones who "grind it out" for 1/4 million a year, and those who do the same in a month without having to work... Additionally, I also discovered that most girls in Rhode Island are quite unattractive. You get my drift. Oh well.. At least I found the wonderful HBO store! I didn't go in, but I resolved to find it on my journey back to Penn Station later on.
Along the way towards East 68th Street, I stumbled upon a gathering of people at the CBS building. Alicia Keyes was to give a free concert at 12:00. I was early, so I stood around for a while thinking I'd watch the show. In typical 'just like a woman' fashion, the show didn't start by the time it was 12:30 and I had to get going.. So I made it to my appointment at about 1:00, spent 15 minutes measuring a gutted room in a very expensive gutted apartment. I am going to fit it up with library bookcases and all kinds of fancy mouldings. Boring as hell. The rep from the architect's office was a treat though.. Barely 20 years old.. breath still smelling of milk.. with a button down blouse that was hardly buttoned. I felt so old for a moment there. Fifteen years ago, I'd have her eating out of my hand.. but I digress. So I'm headed back to Penn Station, feet beginning to protest, and just as I'm crossing a red carpet leading into a fancy building on Park Ave, who darts across right in front of me? Alicia Keyes, post show I presume. I'm not a big fan, but she is indeed easy on the eyes. How ironic that I blew off the performance and later ended up closer to her than ayone else in the audience (Metin rolls his eyes here).. Made my way back to the HBO store and bought dear wife one of those "I LOVE SEX in the city" t-shirts.. and for myself a very cool Curb Your Enthusiasm coffee mugs.. the one which says "half empty" on it. After horking down a 1/3 pound mushroom swiss burger from Micky Dees at the train station, I boarded my Acela train and konked out for two and a half hours, just in time to exit the train at Providence Station. Head throbbing, I found my little red Hyundai in the parking lot where I left it 11 hours before and drove myself home. Thanks for reading.

13 November 2007

What inspires you?

I salute this brave person. Me? I've been weaseling my way out of training indoors on the roller for the past week.. and I still have both my of my fore arms and my hands..
China's Xuetong Kuai competes in the men's individual 4,000 meters pursuit in the Para-Panamerican of Cyclist Games in Cali November 12, 2007.  REUTERS/Jaime Saldarriaga

09 November 2007

In case you didn't know..

"The Turkish Air Force has a total of 240 F-16C/D aircraft in its inventory, all of them Block 30/40/50 models. Turkey is one of five countries to locally produce F-16s".
..quoted from a very cool site devoted singularly to the F-16 warplane.
Here's a shortcut to the page describing Turkey's fleet

08 November 2007

Turkish F-16

A Turkish F-16 jet returns to the military airbase in the southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir November 7, 2007. Picture taken November 7, 2007. REUTERS/Osman Orsal (TURKEY)

07 November 2007

Unsportsmanlike Conduct in the Liverpool-Besiktas thrashing?

Steven Gerrard is an asshole! So what's the real story? I missed the game.
Besiktas' Hakan Arikan reacts after clashing with Liverpool's Steven Gerrard during their Champions League Group A soccer match at Anfield in Liverpool, northern England, November 6, 2007.(BRITAIN)  REUTERS/Phil Noble
Liverpool's Steven Gerrard (L) clashes with Besiktas' Hakan Arikan during their Champions League Group A soccer match at Anfield in Liverpool, northern England, November 6, 2007. (BRITAIN)  REUTERS/Phil Noble

05 November 2007

Iraq: "..ready to hunt down and arrest Kurdish guerrilla leaders"

Okay Iraq.. Just do it.
A Kurdish protester is silhouetted against a flag showing imprisoned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan during a rally against Turkey of several hundred Kurds in Berlin November 4, 2007. Iraq said on Saturday it was ready to hunt down and arrest Kurdish guerrilla leaders responsible for cross-border raids into Turkey in an effort to avert a major incursion by the Turkish military. Turkey wants leaders of the PKK arrested and seeks the closure of camps in northern Iraq which they use as bases for cross-border attacks in their 23-year-old campaign for a homeland in southeast Turkey. (GERMANY) REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

New additions to Blogroll.. and some deletions

The Turkish Economy Blog by Tugrul GurGur. Last post was June 11, 2007
Turkish Economy Blog by Aykut Kibritcioglu. Last post was July 11, 2007
Turkish Folklore Last post was September 18, 2007
Why not give these blogs a kick in the ass with some comments so we don't lose them the way we have lost countless other Turkish bloggers lately? I'm about to go in and clean up my Blogroll of the dead weight.. and add these three.. for now.

02 November 2007 world's best LikeaBike site

High-end two wheeled bikes for children aged two to five. Below, the LikeaBike Forest model. $295 list
Our business plan is taking baby steps.. but we're fully stocked with LikeaBike inventory and hope to start moving some of it soon. See what I've been working on here:
Bloggers get a 10% discount and free shipping if they promise to post some words about the product and add a link from their site to WeeBike. Free shipping too.
Above, the 8 pound all aluminum LikeaBike Jumper model with rear suspension. $245 list.

31 October 2007

Turkish soldiers with armored vehicle in Sirnak

Turkish soldiers dismount from their armoured vehicle to start a routine patrol as they search for possible roadside mines in the southeastern Turkish province of Sirnak, October 31, 2007. (TURKEY) REUTERS/Osman Orsal

29 October 2007

We are all Mustafa Kemal. We are all Turks.

Children in military uniforms wave flags as a nationalist protester carrying portrait of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, to protest against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Istanbul October 27, 2007. The placards read, "We all are Mustafa Kemal. We all are Turks". The demonstrators were protesting against the killing of Turkish soldiers by the PKK Kurdish rebels in southeast Turkey as well the U.S. policy over northern Iraq. (TURKEY)  REUTERS/Fatih Saribas

Cumhuriyet'in 84. yili kutlu olsun

Today marks a special day for the Turkiye. October 29th is the day that Turks declared themselves as citizens of the new Turkish Republic. You could say it is the equivalent of July 4th in some ways. Traffic to my 2005 October 29th posts has been quite robust lately too.. some good information in there:
I'd stay home from work if it were possible.. but here in Amerika, October 29th is eclipsed by Halloween! I'd have better luck getting Wednesday off. No worries.. Have a terrific 29 Ekim everyone!

28 October 2007

Britons join Kurdish rebels to fight Turks

"BRITONS are among foreigners fighting Turkish troops with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, The Sunday Times can reveal."
"According to PKK fighters holed up in one of the natural fortresses of the Qandil mountain range which runs along Iraq’s Turkish and Iranian borders, several Europeans have joined forces with their group."
"At least three Britons were in the PKK’s 3,000-strong force, boasted one fighter as he and a group of men huddled in a room discussing the latest clashes with the Turkish army. Others include Russians, Germans, Greeks, Iranians and Arabs. The PKK is labelled by both Europe and America as a terrorist organisation..."

In a word, disgusting. The PKK is using American weapons and ammunition against Turkish troops, it is said that the PJAK is supported by the US in order to destabilize Iran, and now the PKK threat includes a variety of multi-nationals who bear an axe to grind with Turkey.. It's little wonder that the US commanders in Iraq matter-of-factly declare that they will do nothing to help stop the PKK. It's clearly been established that the PKK, PJAK, and the US are in cahoots.. It might be intended to weaken Iran [only], but the side effects for Turkey seem to have been judged as acceptable. Will it require a joint invasion by both Iran and Turkey to end the PKK/PJAK threat? How will the US military react to such a situation? World War 3 is about to be ignited because of an oil deal between Hunt Consolidated and the Kurdish Regional Government, not to mention a few thousand trigger happy Kurdish militants with delusional ambitions of repeating their good fortune in Iraq. We can be sure that their luck has run out. Kurds will not fall ass-backwards into semi autonomous Turkish or Kurdish land.. (as the above map by Ralph Peters suggests) but the US will repeat their treatment of the Kurds, once the oil deals are inked and their usefulness against Iran runs out. Who are the ones really trying to draw Iran and Turkey into the conflict? Is this a case of one bully pushing a weakling into engaging another bully, for dubious reasons? Why is the US still in Afghanistan and why does the US turn a blind eye to PKK terrorism? The Taliban.. who obviously and openly declare their death chant against America.. just like the Iranians. We must keep up appearances in the war on terrorists who hate us, not the ones who like us and who are willing to share their oil.. Kurds are not only hard working pawns of the Bush Administration, they're also oil partners and boot licking suck ups who pretend to be "America's best ally in the region" for as long as it suits their purposes.

27 October 2007

Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Turkish Crisis in Northern Iraq

Or more appropriately, the Kurdish Crisis in the Turkish Republic of Northern Iraq?..
Source: Al-Watan, Saudi Arabia, October 26, 2007 (via Erkan's Field Diary)

If anything about the blogosphere pleases me more than seeing my friend Erkan spit fire from his belly, I can't think of it. For the very best and most comprehensive round-up of articles, information and links related to the dire situation and hard decisions which Turkey now faces, look no further. In his own words:

"Northern Iraqi leaders, especially Barzani, is not helpful. He continues to increase the regional tension. It seems that US won't offer any tangible help, then comes the war....
There are threats from the Iraqi side:
Iraq To Turkey: If You Impose Economic Embargo We Will Respond By Shutting Down Oil Pipe To Turkey and there are Massive Anti-PKK Rallies in Turkey, As Tension And Anger Grow. Rice continues to bully Turkey: Turkey Should Not Intervene In Northern Iraq; U.S. Will Do Whatever necessary and of course the US government won't care for PM Erdogan's Response. Turkey has lost her charm to win it back, she will have to use force. Despite all the human heritage, some things can only be resolved by force. A gang of murderers, PKK - only the naive romantic Western activists can believe that it is a national liberation movement- are harbored, and basically nothing is done about it. ...
Well then, unfortunately it is time to move...."

Compared to Erkan's content, mine amounts to a pile of puke, so what are you still doing here?
(Thank you Erkan.)

26 October 2007

Turkish Protesters: "We are all soldiers. We are enough for the U.S."

Strong words! Are we on a path towards "Metal Firtina? (Metal Storm)? Highly doubtful, but I see that coordination and joint training between Turkish and Iranian counter-insurgency commandos has caught the attention of the US and Israel. It's hard to fathom that one of the "Axis of Evil" is also fighting Kurdish terrorism, and also losing many soldiers in the fight. Nobody cares. No one reports on Iranian casualties, especially since the Iranian Guard has been labeled as a terrorist group recently. That would mean that Turkish forces are terrorists too, if they are working together.. What's next?
University students march with Turkish flags through Istanbul, during a demonstration against the U.S. policy over northern Iraq as well as the killing of Turkish soldiers by PKK Kurdish rebels in southeast Turkey, October 26, 2007. Turkish helicopters ferried more troops to the border with Iraq on Friday as diplomatic efforts got under way in Ankara to avert a major offensive against Kurdish guerrillas based in northern Iraq. The placard reads "We all are soldiers. We are enough for the U.S." REUTERS/Stringer (TURKEY)

25 October 2007

Vote on Armenian 'genocide' resolution put off

A victory, but for who? All this bad publicity for Turks and Armenians.. makes both sides look foolish. It's like a classic school yard argument: Did not! Did too! Did not! Did too! Pelosi's a god damn hall monitor who decides to take one side over the other (the one which is Christian, by coincidence). Too bad the principal of the school has other interests.. 10,000 km away, where a special pet project is in danger of disintegrating and adding about 100,000 people to the unemployment lines over here.. I'd thank the Bush administration, but they acted in their own best interests, not Turkey's and not Armenia's. Still, when you win a sprint to the finish line of a bike race.. even after 10 competitors hit the deck behind you, "a Win's a Win". We'll take it.. People should refrain from walking in reverse while trying to move forward.. that is.. if they ever intend to move forward.. For the US, it seemed like one of those "yukari tukursem biyik, asaga tukursem sakal" situations.. Seems that for now, they've decided to swallow the poison.. but there will be more of that to go around soon enough.. Just buy the next SOAD album to be released.. and see how exploiting one's talent and fame is all that's needed to perpetuate hatred.. In the mean time, Armenia will continue to languish as a back water third world land locked mafia controlled country with no natural resources and no access or trade with Turkey. Heck even their alphabet is as old as dirt. (There's my gratuitous jab at Armenians. Don't anyone cry. Turks have been invaded, blown up, knifed, shot dead and kicked around like a red-headed step child for many moons, and we're still standing. Emotionally numb to the pain of our enemies, but moving forward in leaps and bounds) Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the resolution's consequences on the war in Iraq would be "quite dire."

We want YOU! .. to draft us into the Turkish Army

Symbolic gestures born of grief, anger and frustration? Do they know they won't be enlisted and so make a show of wanting to join the fight? I guess it's the thought that counts.. Does it? From the looks of these courageous Turks, they've already completed their compulsory service, and want back in. The army is flush with soldiers as it is.. and supporting them with money, equipment, weapons, room and board is a major part of Turkey's budget already. I'll bet they can barely afford to cover the cost of draftees who turn 18.. so accepting an influx of 30 and 40-somethings who have an axe to grind would be poor judgment indeed.. Still, my heart grows at the show of support for Turkey's military.
Protesters demand to be drafted by the army in front of a military recruitment office in Istanbul, October 24, 2007, to protest against the killing of Turkish soldiers by Kurdish rebels. Turkish warplanes and troops have attacked Kurdish rebels inside Iraq and forces were being built up on the border, but Ankara was holding back from any major strike for now, military sources said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Fatih Saribas

24 October 2007

Roj tv Video Footage: 8 missing Turkish Soldiers are indeed PKK POWs

There are a lot of these videos pouring into Youtube. I weeded through them and found one which is just a copy of a news report, with footage from ROJ tv.

Ahmedinejad: Stand-up comedian, going through the motions

Not only did he snub Armenia's invitation to plant a tree sapling at their genocide memorial (due to schedule constraints he says, but maybe it was deliberate, in order to avoid "insulting Turkishness".. he doesn't want to go to a Turkish prison after all), he also said the following, which cracks me up:
"Some people tell us Iran's case is at the (U.N.) Security Council but we tell them those (decisions by the Council) are just a pile of papers. They don't have any value for us,"
Sorry, I can't help it.. funny-faced Ahmedinejad is a smart man who makes such ridiculous remarks, that I can't help admiring his sense of humor. At least I like to think he's just trying to be funny.. Look at that mug.. With a shave and a haircut, he can pass for Russel Crow in Gladiator.
Seriously, though.. what about Turkey's aspiration's for nuclear energy or weapons? A topic I am completely ignorant of.. so I reach out to my readers to hopefully weigh in with some information and links. Would the world allow the Republic of Turkey to arm itself with nuclear weapons of mass destruction? If I'm not mistaken (this could be a total urban legend) the United States had at one time installed nuclear weaponry within Turkey's borders. Fact or fiction? Fascinating either way, eh? 
Armenia's Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan (R) greets Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad upon his arrival in Yerevan October 22, 2007. (Hayk Badalyan/Reuters)

Violent pro-PKK Clashes in Istanbul

People shout slogans against outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the Turkish province of Kirikkale, October 23, 2007, during the funeral of Vedat Kutluca, one of the 12 Turkish soldiers killed by Kurdish rebels in an ambush on Sunday near the Iraqi border.  
REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Sword rattling on hold..

..for a little while. Dear wife and I are developing a business plan which we will hopefully begin to execute full throttle very soon. It's still incubating and in need of some serious coordination with potential partners (not investors). Needless to say, it's a business which involves two things I love: bicycles and children. It's planned to be a full time career for Ebru, but my hope is that it can grow into something which replaces my current income (heck even 1/2 of it and I'll quit!). That's the dream. So for those with an interest in what this is all about, you are invited to peruse the blog I've prepared (I have less than an hour into this so don't expect too much!)

22 October 2007

Turkey vows to defeat PKK rebels

"Turkey's leaders have vowed to "pay any price" to defeat terrorism after the latest attack by Kurdish rebels, which killed at least 12 soldiers."
"In clashes following the ambush near the Iraqi border, 32 PKK rebels were killed, the military said."
Profile: The PKK.. Ever heard of the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons?.. or the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK)? Yeah, these parasites are dividing and multiplying.
"Nationalist demonstrators march with Turkish flags in Istanbul to demand action against the Kurdish rebel group, the PKK, after it launched an attack from across the Iraqi border killing Turkish troops." (BBC)
Ha! such demonstrators anyplace else would not be called "nationalists". If a desire to defend our borders and our citizens from low-life Kurdish thugs is a "nationalist" pastime, sign me up for lifetime membership, please.

21 October 2007

Buy Ataturk Postcards here:

I have stacks of postcards available, in all three designs shown below. Pay only $5 for 5 of them, plus $2 postage (or $7 for Priority Mail) If you don't have an ebay account, but you do have a Paypal account, then e-mail me and I'll send you a Paypal invoice. Send to reiscotools at yahoo dot com. Let me know how many you want of each (sets of 5 only).

Dozens die as Turkey battles Kurdish rebels

(CNN) -- "Separatist Kurdish rebels killed at least 12 Turkish soldiers and wounded 17 more in Hakkari Province near Turkey's border with Iraq and Iran on Sunday, a Turkish government source told CNN."
"Shortly after the attack, Turkish forces responded by killing 23 PKK rebels in southern Turkey, according to a statement on an official government Web site." Developing Story