America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

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

10 November 2010

Spilling some poison..

All of my late father's violence, alcoholism, absenteeism, among various other deficiencies, are no match for my selfish wish to have him here again.. as I imagine him comforting and mentoring me through the completion of my 40th year.. at a time when youthful optimism is less than it ever was, career is in the toilet, and I hang precariously from a cloud steeped with debt.. confused about what matters most. This is about the same age when my life hero started to un-apologetically show weakness.. and to fall apart like a Chinese motorcycle.. self-medicating away the painful reality of missed opportunities, of promises made and then broken to himself.. of hopes and dreams slipping out of reach and out of sight.. We can only shine so brightly for so long, especially when the throttle is unrelentingly opened up to full power. Today I stand in his shoes and look down upon them in awe, imagining how much more completely I would have self-destructed after walking just a mile in them. I forgive everything, old man.. but not myself for being an ignorant douche-royale during most of the times when you were crying out for love, for relief, for praise, for just a little respect. I salute you.

14 October 2010

There's less of me to go around..

..and I mean it literally and figuratively and physically.. It's been nearly 2 months since my last contribution here, but I've become a bit overwhelmed with the amount of attention the internet requires from me. I'm now counting 8 or 9 blogs, plus 3 retail websites, a few social networking venues and of course horoscopes, news, weather, maps, five e-mail accounts, spam and youporn. Needless to say, your hero is spread pretty thin these days..
So a few hours after today's colonoscopy, my dear wife indicated with much amusement how helpless I looked in the recovery room.. that is.. high on drugs, tubes in my nose and arm, drooling on myself as I slowly regained consciousness.. and I couldn't resist asking her why she didn't right then and there take a picture and "Facebook it". Well apparently the idea did cross her mind but she refrained from exploiting my pain for your entertainment. Good girl.. It got me to thinking.. as we drove to the PTO meeting tonight- there must already be some good images of me injured or suffering that I can share.. and bingo! I remembered the self portrait I took of myself 4 years ago, in the ambulance after being hit by a car in Cranston while riding home from work. So after sending Ebru off to bed (she fell asleep while we watched our Netflix movie- "Guru") I resolved to find that picture and explain to you how, if that accident happened today I would have probably broken some bones.. At my annual physical this past Tuesday, I asked my doctor what my weigh-in was two years prior- 183.. one year ago- 173.. and two days ago.. drumroll..... 162 (fully clothed of course..) so at the time of this accident where I destroyed my helmet (I had blood coming out of my ear and I had stitches in my ear canal) I was about 25 pounds heavier, more cushioned with fat, perhaps even more muscular. I don't know how I would fare today in such a T-bone collision.. This morning I weighed in at 157, but of course this was in my birthday suit, and after an 18 hour period of liquid diet, Dulcolax and other bowel cleansing medications I was required to imbibe. I don't miss those extra 25 pounds. After disrobing for today's procedure and laying on the gurney, two nurses attended to my IV, blood pressure and oxygen.. when they took my pulse it was nice to hear them say "heartrate is 46- you are very fit!". Indeed, a big strong heart doesn't need to pump so often- it moves more blood with less work- an advantage which hopefully pays big dividends when I'm an old man. Ebru was with me in the recovery room today- and I don't remember a thing- but she says the alarm kept going off because my heart rate kept falling below 45. Sweet. If I never win another bike race ever again (I hear that stifled laughter- not cool), I still feel like I've won something priceless: more time on this planet with people who I love.. which assumes of course that a piano does not fall onto me or my plane does not crash or other unmentionable abbreviations of life do not occur to me..
I'm reaching an age where it's probably going to be hard resisting the urge to judge myself, judge my achievements, judge my health, judge my life's quality. So far I'm looking forward to the occasion, and hopefully many of the more difficult albeit correct choices I've made and hard work I've done for the past 10-20 years will continue to bear fruit. With so many blessings to count, age does not matter.
For those of you who wondered, my colonoscopy was a success- only one small polyp was found and removed.. and if/when I get my hands on a picture of it, hell yeah I'm going to Facebook it!
Thanks for reading.

17 August 2010

Statement/Franz Wright, August 2010

Life's random acts of cruelty bring out the best in some people. Franz Wright has the same disease which took our paternal hero from us a little over two years ago. His voiced words comforted me then as I mourned our loss, and I took possession of a few of them to use as my battle cry when life forces me to engage it in Warrior mode. I count myself honored and privileged to have received this today. Please open your heart to this opportunity to read and reflect upon such deep sincerity. -Murat

August 17, 2010/F.Wright

I feel so much dread that I might do things to make my friends feel ashamed of me. My wish is to go out the Franz people seemed to like and at times draw inspiration from. If that is to be my last gift to them, my last task or final atonement, it is a very small thing, not worth that much, but it is all I have. I have failed the people I loved most in my life so many times that it is a wonder all of them did not abandon me. Yet in the end, so many have remained. That is what astonishes me.

But I need everyone to know this: I would do it all again, precise to the second I’d live again the life I was honored with and loved so terribly and voraciously, in spite of brief and highly sporadic occasions when I had every intention of killing it. It will sound contradictory because, for one thing, it is contradictory, but I have always been thrilled, physiologically thrilled at these last words of the mountainous Martin Luther King, Jr.: I just want to do God’s will.

Looking back, it is clear that I was going to keep getting my face kicked in, and worse, continue doing harm to others, to the good-hearted sensitive and brilliant, that is, as they are the most fragile, vulnerable and easily manipulated. I was not so gradiose as to put it to myself quite this way, not consciously certainly, I knew better than that. Still it was getting more and more obvious that all that shit was continuing unabated, all that meaningless waste of time which, as Scott Cairns has said so much more beautifully, is all sin is. I knew it would go on and on, and at the same time I myself would go on living in either the terror of or the horrible little dark wish for the time when it would be stopped, and something finally stomped it into paralysis.

That very thing had already happened, in fact, about ten times or so since I was fifteen, not to mention the couple before I reached that august age. But in my mid-forties I one dead day found myself standing in a bathtub half filled with cold water and on the verge of dropping into it every electrical appliance I could find in the apartment, all securely plugged into a sturdy extension cord—I see that cramped and flourescent last room, and I see my sins before me. I prepared to see the x-ray of horror in the dark or its dark x-ray in a white glare, and considered for a moment the surprise of the woman I’d lived with for fifteen years when she got home. In spite of all the years and decades I had put into it, the strenuously exercized will to survive at any cost, and at the cost of anyone else in close vicinity, the will to be the last one left standing with absolute disreguard for the fate of others, no one would be left standing, and the room would be vacant of me for many hours, the world vacant of me forever.

The fact is I did commit suicide. I really and truly did let fall all those household appliances, gigantic radios, hair-dryers, etc., into the cold water right up over my ankles, standing there in my shitty underwear, unshaven, the aghast and hysterical ghost or vegetable-version of the person I’d been. It is also clearly the case that I was not killed, but regarding that I have never addressed You. What I found was You and where You apparently dwell, where there is positively nowhere left to turn.

I implored You to recall my childhood love of You, Old and New Testaments cover to cover more than once by the time I was twelve, the love for Your words, Your silent voice—and knocked again, and was silenced, and as You had long ago assured me, I was immediately and, it goes without saying, without regard for merit, offered entrance into Your infinite mercy and peace. And I have had to relearn how to do this, how to ask and knock so many times, so many, many times. I have, at this point in my life, at this point perhaps near the end of my life, no fear or any sense of being assailed, or hunted down, or unfairly singled out, or anything of the kind. I did learn not learn yesterday that no exception will be made for me when it comes to the fate of every human being, star, or leaf. My experience has shown me and thoroughly convinced me that every ordeal I remember and imagine, the worse the better, has led me unfailingly to a golden place, the very one I would have wanted but could not otherwise, by my own efforts, have reached, so busy was I wandering in darkness up and down the world. If I find myself facing the last great ordeal, I intend to get it right this time. To die trying. To go down raging in praise, full of faith that after I am torn to pieces, as so many times before, I will not only survive, I will be raised up, and I will see the beauty of Your house.

21 June 2010

Little Miss Sunshine: Devotchka: Till The End Of Time

This is from the movie soundtrack of "Little Miss Sunshine" one of my top 10 favorite movies. This song is so skillfully written and the melody so engaging that I turn to putty every time I hear it. The lyrics which punch me in the stomach are underlined below. Enjoy! Put this movie in your Netflix qeue.

They're just words, they ain't worth nothing
Cloud your head and push your buttons
And watch how they just disappear
When we're far away from here

And everybody knows where this is heading
Forgive me for forgetting
Our hearts irrevocably combined
Star-crossed souls slow dancing
Retreating and advancing
Across the sky until the end of time

Oh who put all those cares inside your head
You can't live your life on your deathbed
And it's been such a lovely day
Let's not let it end this way

And everybody knows where this is heading
Forgive me for forgetting
Our hearts irrevocably combined
Star-crossed souls slow dancing
Retreating and advancing
Across the sky until the end of time

Like sisters and brothers we lean on each other
Like sweethearts carved on a headstone
Oh why even bother, it'll be here tomorrow
It's not worth it sleeping alone

And look at you and me still here together
There is no one knows you better
And we've come such a long long way
Let's put it off for one more day

And everybody knows where this is heading
Forgive me for forgetting
Our hearts irrevocably combined
Star-crossed souls slow dancing
Retreating and advancing
Across the sky until the end of time

20 May 2010


Even a grown man uses this word. The last time it passed my lips, my voice cracked like a teenager's as I stood above him, agonizing over what to do. It was a sunny afternoon. It was my watch and I napped lightly in his room. The coughing roused me from sleep, barely.. Because there comes a time when the body is too weak to push another centimeter of air through the blockage.. And it sounds like muffled breathing instead. May you never press your ear to the chest of a loved one and hear silence. Unforgettable silence.

08 May 2010

The Friendship Matrix

I don't want to take the wind out of your sails, but having 200, 500 or 10,000 FB friends who you never see in person, who never call you, who don't have you on their Christmas card list, who you can never ask for a favor, who can't be bothered to wish you happy birthday when it only takes a few mouse clicks, who don't (or don't want to) even say hello to you when you accidentally see them in person.. I'm not sure if it's so great.. Has true friendship become so scarce that a computer program has replaced it? Are we all plugged into the FB Matrix? Does it keep us engaged in the fantasy that scores of people matter to us and that we are equally important to all of them? Some of these FB connections to people are beginning to feel as hollow as a drum, aren't they?
Don't get me wrong- I care deeply about everyone in my friend list, but let's be realistic- if we haven't said boo to each other in 30 days.. Let's admit that our friendship was primarily requested out of curiosity, and that it was accepted out of courtesy and good manners. This does not constitute friendship.

03 May 2010

FW: Lütfen ama lütfen iletiniz.

                                         ABDULKADİR SERDAROĞLU



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Yukarıda resmi görünen 4 yaşındaki  kızım Azra Zeynep 03.04.2009 Cuma gününden itibaren kayıptır..!!

Yerini bilenlerin, görenlerin insaniyet namına polis'e bildirmeleri veya aşağıdaki numaraları aramaları önemle rica olunur..!!

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(Bu mail'i lütfen listenizdeki herkese ulaştırınız..!!)

28 April 2010

Food Inc reveals American barbarism

We watched the PBS documentary Food Inc. recently and we were astonished to see the brutally inhumane treatment of animals on the chicken farms and on the animal "factories". I can't help but be reminded of the many doofus redneck a-holes I've crossed swords with in debate relative to the supposed "barbaric" way in which Muslims painlessly slaughter sheep, cows and goats, that is, in a manner compliant with Halal (similar to Kosher).
What you have seen on Food Inc is the horrific AMERICAN WAY, and I know that most of you are repulsed at the way that chickens, pigs and cows are treated before entering the slaughterhouse.
Here is the distinction people: Halal meat is from animals which were treated humanely, fed proper nutritional food and not forced to live knee-deep in their own disease and feces and not forced to eat corn based trash. Slaughter of any kind is going to be painful, I don't care how you go about it, but it is certainly minimized when a person does it with their own two hands thusly:
"a swift, deep incision with a sharp knife on the neck, cutting the jugular veins and carotid arteries of both sides but leaving the spinal cord intact."
You have all no doubt seen Avatar and recall the scene when the hero was saved from the dog-creatures by his love interest. You will recall the deep respect which she had for the animals, including one which she had to finish off with her dagger. I hate to draw comparison to a fantasy movie, but there is no better way to describe the Islamic respect of taking an animal's life for food. Halal meat is from animals which were responsibly bred, respectably raised, generously fed and humanely slaughtered.
To me there is nothing so barbaric as the images seen on Food Inc. What good is a so-called "painless" slaughterhouse death when being alive was a nightmare of suffering, humiliation and deprivation? Puh-lease.

07 April 2010

The pinnacle of loneliness..

.occurs on my longest of training rides at the point which is farthest from home on some unfamiliar, empty and forgotten country road.. when suddenly it hits me like a sucker-punch in the stomach.. the inexplicably timed recollection that my childhood hero, protector, and mentor, is gone. Mine were the last hands to touch him while he still drew breath, and they were the first to touch him when he suddenly did not. This honors me immensely but it also intensifies the panicked realization that this stubborn and unteachable apprentice has lost his gifted and nurturing master. Miss you Dad.

05 April 2010

Turkish joke

Recently deceased soul is being given a tour of Hell and observes that separate fiery pits are arranged for each nationality, and that each pit has a guard in charge of containing the souls who try to escape. Recently deceased observes that the hell-fire pit for Turks is not guarded. Those attempting to escape are pulled back down from below..

This is bad.. I know..

22 February 2010

Irfan Altinbasak 1944 to 2008 (aka Charlie)

My grandfather passed away when I was 6 years old, in 1977. My father was 33 at the time, and he was here in the States. Father had three brothers and three sisters. He was the spoiled middle child- an oxymoron here, I know, but Charlie's interest in sports meant that he was always given the cream of the crop at dinnertime, and often ate steak when everyone was having leftovers.. If you ask my aunts and uncles, Charlie was the favorite. Five of his siblings left Turkey to be in America or Germany, Charlie and his sister Nuran were the only ones left. It is imagined to be a heart-breaking moment for my grandfather to discover that his last remaining son would also leave the nest and spread his wings toward America. Back in the late sixties, you would be driven out on the tarmac to board your plane, and your relatives could be observed watching you ascend the stairs to the cabin. As Charlie described it, his father was leaning on a fence watching him board, and between the time he entered the cabin and the time he took his window seat, grandfather had stopped looking in his direction and buried his face on his fore-arm, weeping as he leaned on the fence..

This is perhaps the only interaction I have seen between my father and his father. A young 25 year old Charlie is proudly showing off his newest possession, and bragging about it on the back of this photo. I was born about 2 years later.

Hamit Altinbasak- Paternal Grandfather

Hamit Altinbasak
Originally uploaded by Amerikan Turk
My grandfather the famous hat-maker of Bursa. Do you have an old gentleman's hat that has the Altinbasak label? Please let me know if you do because I may like to buy it from you.

03 February 2010

Bike for sale: Redline 9-2-5

I paid $450 for this bike and put maybe 500 miles on it.

I don’t know the size, but I’m 5’-9” and it fits me nicely.

Yours for $300.

Moustache bars are not included- I sold them on Ebay.

Yeah- someone paid money for them, go figure.

18 January 2010

What does blogging indicate?

As I was reading the blog of someone I know, I thought to myself: “this is insanely boring.. I don’t care about any of this..” Then my thoughts drifted to this person’s life. This everyday mundane bullshit that is being narrated- it’s as boring in real life as it is on the computer screen. What a waste of time- mine and theirs. Then I’m thinking that this person must have a real tight lipped relationship with their spouse, or have no friends, or suffer from loneliness. They want to be in the thoughts of others- what better way to engage people into your life than to tell them about it, day in and day out? I think there’s a line somewhere which some cross and some do not. I think I’ve been zig-zagging across it for the past 5 years. Hopefully it has been interesting, relevant, and worth the time to read. I can barely restrain myself from deleting this pile of rubbish, but I’ll give it a chance. I can always delete it later.

15 January 2010

Sleep is over-rated

I have calculated what my online e-tailing business needs to do in volume in order for me to quit my day job, and it seems that I am 1/3 of the way there, in a down economy. It's motivation such as this which makes losing sleep seem like a no-brainer small sacrifice. Quite frankly, I feel the same in the morning whether I've slept 3 hours or slept 7 hours. What keeps me awake involuntarily is doing nothing to advance toward the above named goal. Self-employed, financial freedom, and the time to enjoy it.
Thanks for reading.
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02 January 2010

2009 Racing Accomplishments

I have 12 minutes left in my 20 minute warm up before I start drillin' it. I'm riding my road bike indoors, attached to a resistance trainer device. To help motivate me for the 30 minutes of self induced suffering which will follow the warm-up, why not frame an outline of 2009's accomplishments? Wow only 9 minutes left- this takes long to do on a Blackberry!
1. Ninigret training criteriums: Four top ten finishes in 2009, including a couple of field sprint wins. Also one 4th place overall finish in a field sprint. This is harder than it sounds.
2. I only raced Wells Ave a couple of times and on the first try I snagged a 5th place finish
::6 minutes left and my HR is still a lowly 119 bpm..
3. Three of our M1 Racing team in the top 7 of the Cyclonauts Crit 35+: J Alain Ferry wins it solo, Matt Kressy takes 4th and Yours Truly takes 7th. In the Pro race which followed, I won a $10 prime which was awesome. Someone tried to follow me for it and could not hold my wheel.
4. Masters Nationals in Turkey: I took 9th in the 10k TT going cannibal against aero kits galore, only 22 seconds off the podium.. 8th in the road race the following day.. Six man break took off right after my little break was caught- base of the hill. This is a long story.. I was dropped like a brick on the first big climb. I thought about giving up.. The guys who were dropped on the flats were catching up to me. This was a T-shaped out and back 70 km course. I still had about 50k to go, and more climbing after the turn-around. Dead legs started to revive on the downhill. I started picking people off and they were all jumping on my wheel. After about 10 minutes of completely burying myself, I caught the main field of about 25 guys, a few guys followed me there the whole way. Caught the field right at the turn-around, with dead legs, at the base of a gradually steepening 4 mile climb. I fought. I bled from my ears in pain. I chewed through my handlebars.. And about 300 meters from the top, I could no longer follow the attacks of these former pros.. Dropped again, this time for good it seemed. Field was blown apart into smithereens. Again, I want to quit so bad, I hate myself, I feel humiliated. But the race is far from over- still 40k to go.. I shake it off after the summit, the main field of about 15 guys is back together up the road, or so I thought. Another 35 mph ten mile time trial later, I caught the field, only to discover that six of the favorites detached themselves.. No one would work except my teammate Murat Akyazi and 1-2 others. Everyone else was content to race for 7th. Murat and I tried repeatedly to escape with two others- an ideal amount of HP to bridge.. No such luck- we kept getting sabotaged by blockers. At the end of the day, largely due to my efforts at the front with Murat, we held the gap to only 2:57. In the field sprint, I followed an attack at 500m to go. Sat there until 300 to go and uncorked it. Unfortunately, a was being used as a lead out by two other former national champs, who both got around me (after an hour of avoiding pulls, it was pretty cheap) one of these two were DQ'ed for taking water from a vehicle, the other one stood- making me 8th overall. What's there to be proud of here? Never giving up, no matter how strong the urge. Fighting tooth and nail from being dead last on the course, to working my way up to 8th. Next year will be different, for both the RR and the TT. Mark my words.
5. The M1 Racing team strikes again at the Concord 35+ Criterium on August 2nd. I was not feeling on form for this one, and had finished mid-field in 2008. Midway through this hammer-fest (faster speed than the previous Pro race, according to the announcer) I found myself following a serious attack and rotating with Ciaran and Billy Y.. And about 5 others. This was not the recipe for success which M1 Racing needed. Not only would I be burning matches needlessly for this group, the big guns of Matt and Alain needed to be up here. My best approach to turn this to our favor was to be an anchor. It came back together. With 10 to go, Alain came alongside and told me not to lose his wheel. I was so gassed I immediately lost him. With 5 to go he came back to get me again, and this time I followed. He went up the road as soon as we saw the front- and we blocked as best we could for a few laps. With 2 to go he was caught and even with blown legs Alain mixed right into the top 10 and stuck it out to the finish 4th place in the field sprint. Matt Kressy took the final corner in 1st place and took his 4th win of the year. For my part, I turned myself inside out to keep close to Alain and finished 9th- an impressive perfomance for me, in my book.
6. Keith Berger Criterium 30+: In 2008 I did my best result here- 6th place. I was off the front from the very start and never saw the field again. In 2009 it was a little different. Wife and I were moving the contents of our house into a condo, and I had the nerve to drop everything and go to East Hartford- tired and out of form, and I snagged 14th out of a large stacked field- which was 8th in the field sprint (5 were off the front) another win in my book, all things considered.
7. Cyclocross- I started five envents and completed four. Of these, I was lapped at only two races and I managed to complete the leader's lap at the other two. This was a first for me! I'm about as graceful as a 3-legged penguin on the barriers and on the run-ups. I expect to pull myself up into the top 50 percentile one of these days. A cross bike that doesn't suck might be helpful!
Thanks for reading.
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