America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

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

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.