Friday, April 30, 2010

A Prayer – Ilhan Irem

A Turkish reader of this blog was kind enough to recommend music by Ilhan Irem. Much of his music seems a bit dated but this was a song I particularly enjoyed. The video was a bit high on concept but poor on execution.  (I have definitely seen worse!) That was pretty typical of ALL music videos made in that time.

I like the music very much and I thank all my Turkish friends for their advice.

Bruises We Carry to Remind Us

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Angie Marcotti came from a family of older brothers, the kind that are into motorcycles, martial arts,  body-building and petty crime. Their neighbors' lives  were daily vexed by the window-rattling roars of twelve cylinder engines and the unnerving screech of tires and by keg parties that inevitably boiled down to drunken fist-fights at two in the morning. Police were routinely patrolling the street where they lived, always on the look out for something amiss, some shred of suspicion.

Basically, the Marcottis were a close-knit family of low class. And that was unusual for the sub-division. It was actually a pretty nice place to raise children. Naturally, the neighbors despised Marcottis and would privately complain and console each another. They'd dream up ways they could banish the family from the neighborhood. Any direct action would have set off a war; it was easier and safer just to move.

By virtue of her family, Angie was quite a queen bitch of the school bus 39. She came and went to high school only if no better offer came around. Despite her attractive Italian looks,  precious Angie,  with her wicked generally vulgar sense of humor, could destroy any one that came too close. Like the neighbors, nobody that rode the bus dared confront her. She would sit at the back of the bus with another girl, Julie, and terrorize the other passengers. There was a specific range that was their "killing zone." and God help you if you sat in any seat too far in the back.

Craig Falschemann was their primary target. Their harassment was continual and vicious. They would laugh at the way he looked or the way he dressed, cast doubts on his manhood and laugh at any sign of weakness. Since Angie lived right across the street, she was able to take note of random strangeness at the Falschemann home. Julie and Angie would laugh about how Craig would storm out of his home and sit in his car, listening to music until late in the night. Never driving any place, only sitting alone. She loved to disclose how strange his whole family behaved and details about the arguments she had witnessed. For some reason, Angie never seem to bore of picking on Craig and for his part, he never tried to defend himself.

Craig admittedly was a bit of an oddball. In high school, every silly detail about a person can have such exaggerated importance, every thing seems to be under a burning spotlight of scrutiny by fellow students. Craig always wore a military-style parka and, even when the weather was not all that cold, he would zip it all the way under his nose so that all you could see were his eyes. But even that wasn't true because Craig like to wear aviator-style glasses that became a dark whiskey color in the sunlight.

Although I had never had even a conversation with him, I had seen him practically every day. I think I tried to speak to him one time but he seemed to ignore me. Perhaps he could no longer trust a stranger. As John Prine sings, ".. and you carry those bruises to remind you wherever you go."

There were times when the things that Angie and Julie said seemed quite funny. And yes, Craig was a weirdo, there wasn't much question about it. And he appeared to be asking for this harassment by sitting "in range" every day. In fact, Craig was a brother to a friend of my sister's. And the few times, his sister mentioned him while visiting, it was as though she preferred to leave much to the imagination. (I generally spent most of my time as a teenager, wondering what people really meant.)

Craig graduated a year before I did. I carried on at MacArthur Senior High with a spectacularly interesting senior year. Craig wasn't much missed and by that time, I believe Angie and her friend stopped taking the bus. Perhaps they dropped out of high school altogether. Thankfully, I never had any classes with either of them. They were gone and that was quite enough.

The following year, just before the winter break at the end of his first semester at university in Columbia, Missouri, Craig found that he was flunking from a couple of his classes. It must have been a desperate situation for him. He obviously had been raveyard02 unhappy at home and now, in addition to an added failure, he would be faced with returning to what he had escaped.

So  on a night of a snowstorm, Craig took a taxi to a local cemetery and told the driver not to wait. He found a spot where he could do what had to be done, a place where he wasn't likely to be disturbed. He took a newly bought revolver and blew his brains out.

When I heard this news, it was naturally a shock. After that initial shock comes the predictable, "But why?" In Craig's case, it was not as shocking as it should have been. He had always acted like a person who'd fallen overboard. Over time, I thought about Craig and I developed a kind of regret about the events.

If I had talked to him, had made more of an effort, maybe he wouldn't have lost all hope. I wondered many times if I could have reached him. And if not, shouldn't I have been strong enough to defend him, just one time? Told Angie and Julie to shut up. It wouldn't have killed me but it might have given him just enough hope to have a second thought when he was desperate.

Most of all, I worried that if given the same set of circumstances, if even now I would be strong enough to voice my dissent. Even though I am sure Angie Marcotti and her friend never once gave a thought about the role they played, I know over the years I have remembered Craig Falschemann.

Now here comes the strange part of the story.

There's a time in life when nostalgia sets in, degrees vary but at middle-age, a person tends to glance back to see how the times have changed. Trying to make sense from the life of experience maybe. Somehow I got interested in finding out what happened to the people I went to school with and I joined a FaceBook group of MacArthur Senior High School alumni.

I saw only a few familiar faces, people I had passed in the hall at school but, unfortunately, I haven't managed to connect with any close friends.

One day, as I was peering through the list of group members, I found the name Craig Falschemann. This member had graduated from MacArthur one year before me and his profile photo (with a bit of mental de-aging) bore a faint resemblance to the Craig I knew. I really didn't know what to make of it. It seemed unlikely there had been two Craig Falschemanns. This Falschemann seemed very much alive, both married and happy- as far as I can tell. He's a Republican apparently. It must then have been somebody else and the name had been reported incorrectly.  I had only heard about the suicide, not read it in the newspaper or on television. It's been a long time and I can't recall how I learned or who told me. So dumb to spend such a long time feeling remorse about something unconnected to me.

I thought about asking the Facebook look-a-like about it, but what would you say? I asked him if he had an older sister by the name of Janice but I never received an answer. I'm happy I was wrong all these years. Still, it is faintly embarrassing.

Of course, I suppose in this case, in the end, believing the wrong thing wasn't so bad.

 

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

From the Unintentionally Amusing File…

Tim James, the Republican candidate in the Alabama gubernatorial race, has come up with the gem of a political issue.  At issue- at least, in his mind- is the cost-saving benefits of having the driving tests in Alabama only in English because "we speak English here." (I am afraid most  Brits and many Americans  would have a giggle at that claim. )

On a more serious note, it may be helpful to take a closer look at a real problem- as opposed to the phony one James has presented. That problem is education and literacy in the state.  Every day, 29 students - a full classroom's equivalent - drop out of high school in Alabama.The graduation rate is just 61 percent, ranking the state 43rd in the nation, according to Education Week Magazine.

Alabama's high school dropout rate is the biggest threat to the state's long-term economic growth and a large reason why people here earn less than the average American, a nonprofit education advocacy group states in a report being released today.

The Southern Education Foundation, based in Atlanta, commissioned a study that concluded almost 60 percent of the state's income gap with the rest of the nation can be blamed on Alabama's lower levels of education.

http://www.al.com/birminghamnews/stories/index.ssf?/base/news/120954343199410.xml&coll=2

So if English is the language of Alabama, why isn't the candidate discussing the problem of illiteracy? But,  why is literacy important?

  • 43% of adults with low literacy skills live in poverty.
  • 40% of children entering fourth grade are unable to read at grade level.
  • 50% of welfare recipients do not have a high school diploma or GED.
  • 70% of Alabama’s inmates are functionally illiterate.
  • 75% of small business owners in Alabama report that many applicants for job openings do not
    have basic reading, writing and math skills.
  • Alabama’s Level 1 functionally illiterate rate is 25%. In other words, one out of four people function at the lowest literacy level in Alabama.
  • Rates in West Alabama: Tuscaloosa County – 23%; Fayette County – 24%; Bibb County – 27%; Pickens County – 35%; Hale County – 41%; & Greene County – 51%.

Sources: Alabama Adult Education & Family Literacy Plan; U. S. Department of Education; The Literacy Council of Central Alabama.

According to an article by Associated Press,  six of the eight candidates for governor of Alabama were asked their views on funding education in a forum before Alabama school superintendents. Lawmakers who opened the 2010 session face possible Draconian cuts in the education budget because the recession has caused tax revenues to drop.

“The truth is the cavalry is not coming,” Greenville businessman Tim James said of the funding crisis. Another candidate, Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks, agreed: “The problem is we are broke. We could continue to rearrange the chairs on the Titanic and it’s not going to help.

And yet, it appears that James has more important topics to address.

 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Listen, Pal

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Gucum Yetene Kadar – Sukriye Tutkun

There are only a handful of Turkish singers I actually enjoy listening to. It isn't meant to be disrespectful because, for the most part, I tend to be rather picky about music.

However, Sukriye Tutkun is one of my favorites. She studied with opera during her training as a singer so maybe it has something to do with the clarity of her voice. Hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

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Decision Points

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The memoirs of former president George W. Bush will be coming out in November and the cover and title have already been released.
We hope you like our photo shopped version.

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Sunday Picnic with Friends

My wife and I spent the day with a dozen or so of her friends from the opera at a beach, a tucked-away cove, about an hour south of Izmir.  The weather was absolutely perfect. There were just enough people there to allow solitude and peace or activity and socializing.

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All along the sea, the wild daisy are in bloom, often mixed with an occasional blood-red poppy.

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Escher-esque Cat

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Back on the Chain Gang- The Pretenders

I may have posted this a couple of years ago but this clip is so clear and the sound is perfect. Thanks so much to YouTube for bringing back the memories. Thanks to you Chrissie, too.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

To All My British Friends…

Murdoch Election

The Guardian ran an amusing story about a blow-up between media outlets the other day. I thought you might enjoy reading all about it. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/apr/22/james-murdoch-independent-dodge-city

By the way, feel free to copy the photo above and pass it along.

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Arizona's New Immigration Bill

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed the toughest illegal Arizonaimmigration bill in the country on Friday. This southeast state shares a border with Mexico and has had a difficult immigration problem for decades. The bill, which has unleashed a storm of protests and a criticism by President Obama, would make it a crime not to carry immigration documents. It also gives the police broad power to hold anyone suspected of being in the country illegally.  Critics have complained that it would open the door to wholesale harassment and discrimination of Hispanics by police.

The question is:  what kind of criteria would the police use as a basis for suspicion? It requires police officers “when practicable” to detain people they reasonably suspect are in the country without authorization and to verify their status with federal officials, unless doing so would hinder an investigation or emergency medical treatment.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Under Pressure

Mr. Twain on Smyrna- 1869

Mark TwainPoor grumpy Mr. Twain did no great service to early Turkish tourism but I suppose living conditions must have been fairly dire if his travel journal is even close to accurate.
This seaport of Smyrna, our first notable acquaintance in Asia, is a closely packed city of one hundred and thirty thousand inhabitants, and, like Constantinople, it has no outskirts. It is as closely packed at its outer edges as it is in the centre, and then the habitations leave suddenly off and the plain beyond seems houseless. It is just like any other Oriental city.
That is to say, its Moslem houses are heavy and dark, and as comfortless as so many tombs; its streets are crooked, rudely and roughly paved, and as narrow as an ordinary staircase; the streets uniformly carry a man to any other place than the one he wants to go to, and surprise him by landing him in the most unexpected localities; business is chiefly carried on in great covered bazaars, celled like a honeycomb with innumerable shops no larger than a common closet, and the whole hive cut up into a maze of alleys about wide enough to accommodate a laden camel, and well calculated to confuse a stranger and eventually lose him; every where there is dirt, every where there are fleas, every where there are lean, broken-hearted dogs; every alley is thronged with people;
If he is describing Kemeralti shopping area of Izmir, then the covered part is mistaken. Covered by awnings perhaps?
wherever you look, your eye rests upon a wild masquerade of extravagant costumes; the workshops are all open to the streets, and the workmen visible; all manner of sounds assail the ear, and over them all rings out the muezzin's cry from some tall minaret, calling the faithful vagabonds to prayer; and superior to the call to prayer, the noises in the streets, the interest of the costumes—superior to every thing, and claiming the bulk of attention first, last, and all the time—is a combination of Mohammedan stenches, to which the smell of even a Chinese quarter would be as pleasant as the roasting odors of the fatted calf to the nostrils of the returning Prodigal.
Such is Oriental luxury—such is Oriental splendor! We read about it all our days, but we comprehend it not until we see it.
Happily Izmir today is all but free of its "Mohammedan stenches" and fleas. So, even a grouch like Twain, (obviously a weary slightly disappointed traveler) would be content to pass some summer afternoons, sipping wine and watching life go by.
Incidentally April 21 of this year marks the centennial of Twain's death so let's take a moment to remember America's grandfather figure.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Epitaph

Yesterday I posted a several ancient portraits from Roman mummy tombs found in Egypt. I wanted to add a few more with a slightly foreboding epitaph.

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My dear friends      
as you pass by
As you are now    
 So Once was I.
As I am now You     
soon must be.
Prepare yourselves 
to follow me.

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Fayum-02  220px-Fayum-50 Fayum-84
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Then and Now: The Far Right

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Today, I noticed an article from LIFE magazine archives named "Who's Who in the Tumult of the Far Right," dated Feb. 9, 1962. This article makes interesting reading if only because it shows how comparatively little has actually changed in the last forty eight years. Here is the original article.

Of the various categories within the ultra-right wing movement, the article includes a group called "The Pushers."

The Pushers are made up of leaders, generally self-appointed who make a profession of right wing extremism. One of the better known is the Rev. Billy James Hargis of Tulsa, who has an organization called the Christian Crusade. Hargis freely admits that his appeal is emotional and that he manipulates his audiences but says, "Yes, people are uninformed and ignorant, but I believe this is generally true and not just in my audiences. Besides, I think it is the ignorant people who are going to save this country."

The Hargis Crusade

So who was this man? Arkansas- native Hargis was in his day one of the top fundamentalist Christian evangelist, whose ministry programs were broadcast on more than 500 radio station and 250 television stations in the 1950s. His diatribes included the Communist Beatles conspiracy and he denounced Martin Luther King as a Marxist. He demanded that America leave the United Nations and urged his listeners to write their representatives about this and a variety of conservative issues.

His Christian Crusade, founded in 1950, promoted the far-right political agenda and was the tea-party of its day. He referred to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution as revolutionary foundations of Marxism. Hargis was also a member of the John Birch Society, and, at a time of civil unrest, made his pro-segregation stance clear. Interestingly, Hargis also played an indirect part in a United States Supreme Court ruling that affirmed the Fairness Doctrine in American broadcasting.

All's Fair

The Fairness Doctrine? I should explain a bit about this FCC policy. In order to prevent the broadcasting from being used as a tool for propaganda, the Federal Communications Commission attempted to establish a policy that ensured fair and balanced reporting. In order to obtain licensing, broadcasting channels had an obligation to provide contrasting points of views on controversial issues. According to the mandate, broadcasters were prohibited from using their stations simply as advocates with a singular perspective or a certain political viewpoint.

It was a case involving Hargis that led to a Supreme Court challenge of this doctrine. After Hargis had denounced an author on one of his weekly broadcasts, the radio station refused to allow the author equal time. In 1969, the Supreme Court upheld the lower courts decision that the radio station was in violation of the Fairness doctrine.

Under Reagan, the FCC appointee, Mark Fowler, made a special point of killing the fairness doctrine, citing the free market and the abundant number of channels available on cable TV. It was also claimed that the Fairness doctrine had a "chilling effect" on reporting of controversial issues. From that point on, new stations no longer had to provide a contrasting view and could present the news in any manner they decided. This is turn open the doors for people like Murdoch to form Fox News- "fair and balanced."

"Genes and Chromosomes"

Now back to the Hargis story. Scandals involving rabble-rousing politicians and preachers are fairly common. However the scandal that centered around Hargis in1976, topped all expectation. After preaching in favor of morality and denouncing sexual sin, Time magazine reporters learned that a few of his students were charging him with sexual misconduct. In one case, a honeymoon was ruined when the groom and the bride learned that they both had lost their virginity to Hargis. When confronted by officials from his college and their lawyers, he confessed but blamed his behavior on "genes and chromosomes." Two days later he was forced to step down as president of his college. In 1978, the college itself filed for bankruptcy.beck-glenn-2

As reporter Ken Edelstein points out in his article, Media Mayhem, the Hargis story, his rise and fall, seems familiar to the phenomena known as Glenn Beck. One of Fox News latest and scariest creations, Beck uses many of the same techniques as your average televangelist, from the melodrama, the on-air crying to the blackboard diagrams showing alleged connections. Unlike Hargis, Beck has little interest in the religious aspect of saving America but in terms of outrageous technique there's very little difference between them.

Closing the Books

Lo, and Behold. This very same article has another interesting coincidence.

In the category of Crackpots, it would be difficult to outdo the destructive mischief of an organization called Texans for America. This is the invention of a wealthy west Texas rancher named J. Evetts Haley, who frankly advocates the lynching of Chief Justice Warren. Haley and his group specialize in snooping out Red subversion in Texas textbooks and have been so successful in their demands for a change that every history textbook adopted by the State Education Agency this year was altered to meet the demands. Of his campaign and the idea of academic freedom, Haley observes: "The stressing of both sides of a controversy only confuses the young and encourages them to make snap judgments.. Until they are old enough to understand.. they should be taught only the American side."

Does that sound familiar?

On March 2010, the Texas Board of Education dominated by a far-right faction were able to inject their conservative agenda into the curriculum of millions of Texas students. Among the topics teachers in Texas will be required to cover the Judeo-Christian influences of the nation's Founding Fathers, but not highlight the philosophical rationale for the separation of church and state. In addition to learning the Bill of Rights, the board specified a reference to the Second Amendment right to bear arms in a section about citizenship in a U.S. government class. Students must be taught about the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 90s including the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.

Hisarardı'dan Gölhisar Gölü

iki

Original Photography by Y.Ö.Aslan. Artwork by Nomad

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ancient Portraits

Even while I have been with you, you have not seen my soul; you knew it was in this body because of the actions that I performed. In the future, too, my soul will remain invisible to you but you should still be able to credit its existence just as you always have.                
  On Old Age by Cicero

I found these expressive portraits of ancient Romans which adorned their stone caskets. I believe these were all found in Egypt. I also took the liberty of "restoring" the painting slightly, enough to eliminate the distractions but not enough to affect the wonderful detail.  
Fayum-Mummy-web
When I look into their eyes, I cannot help but feel a kind of closeness, a kinship that stretches over time. I could pass them on the streets of Izmir today.
Fayoum_portrait
This man here, for example, looks like an angry man. Certainly a very serious person. Where did all that determination come from and where did it go?
I wonder how he treated his wife and children.

Here is the young scholar, no doubt.  Imagine what kind of devastation was left behind when he died at this early age. All his father's dreams were scattered to the winds.
I am not sure but I think I might have taught this young man. He looks awfully familiar but , despite appearances, I am not quite THAT old.
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Exactly the kind of face you would see going to a football match on a Sunday afternoon. To me, that slight smile suggests a playful sense of humor. 
Actually those colors belong to Goztepe, don't they?

I think the texture of the damage to the paint adds a lot to the portrait.
A young wife and mother, I presume. Probably not an aristocrat, she seems fairly tanned.
Beloved daughter?
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priestportrait (1)

This is clearly a doctor you would take orders from and trust. I don't know why I thought he was a doctor but maybe it is that star-shaped head piece. Maybe he's a priest?
If you look very closely at the eyes, they seem slightly crossed. But when you stand further back- they sit perfectly in the face.
This is not a person I would want to get into an argument with.

Even though this last portrait is probably the least realistic, I think I might like this one the most. On the other hand, look at the curls of hair on her forehead.  
I am curious about the shape of her neck though.
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Which one is your favorite?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Wrong Place, Wrong Time

There was no information with the video so I am not sure what to believe. My first impression was that it seemed unlikely anybody would be that careless with a wrecking ball. Then I suspected it might have been part of the filming of an advertisement or feature film. If you have any information (to satisfy my aching curiosity) please drop a line. Or even you best theory.

The Palin Accent Fail

Though it really comes as no great surprise, it is kind of interesting how the Palin schtick managed to fool so many people. In this clip we can see- without much doubt- how she has incorporated a folksy accent to her act.

In footage from her very early days, she speaks clearly and seems so much more real. I suspect she was, even then, way over her head when it came to politics.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Nasreddin Hodja and the Tired Donkey

I have a secret used-book store in Izmir. It really isn't all that secret but it is a bit of a hole in the wall. I go there from time to time and browse through the used books. There are jillions (or more) English books, from classics to the Lavender of Love Barbara Cartland stuff.

Anyway, last weekend, as I mentioned a couple of days ago, I found a collection of Turkish folklore tales. I found another Nasreddin Hodja story, which I hope you will enjoy.

Nasreddin Hodja and the Tired Donkey

 One day Nasreddin Hodja and a group of his neighbors were going somewhere Hodjatogether. They all rode upon their donkeys. When they came to a hill, Hodja noticed that his donkey was sweating. He got down off the donkey's back and whispered into its ear, "I am sorry that you're working so hard that you are sweating."

His neighbors noticed this and were quite curious about it. "Hodja, what did you whisper to the donkey?"

"I told my donkey I was sorry he had to work so hard."

All of his neighbors laughed and one of them finally said, "Why, Hodja, donkeys don't understand human speech. They aren't human, you know."

"I did what is expected of a human being. I do not care whether the donkey understood me or not. What I have to do is what concerns me." Nasreddin Hodja answered.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Turkish Folktale

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Last weekend, while browsing through a used-book store, I found a collection of Turkish fable and folklore stories, Traditional Turkish Folktales for Children, collected and edited by Ahmet Edip Uysal.

Here is a tale from the book.

Ahmet, Hasan and the Bear

One day, two men were walking through a forest. One of these men, Hasan was a rather cowardly person. In order to build up his confidence, he said to his friend,"Ahmet, suppose we stumble upon a bear in the forest. What would you do?"

Ahmet, without much thought, answered, "I have my pistol. I would just shoot and kill him."

Hasan was greatly relieved, "That would be fine." But then as they walked a little further, Hasan asked him, "But what if you didn't have your pistol. What would you do?"

Ahmet looked at him and said, "Not to worry. I have my knife. I would stab and kill the bear."

And along they continued to walk. Hasan grew silent again and then he asked, "What would happen if you had forgotten you knife and you didn't have you pistol. If we ran into a bear in this forest, what would you do then?"

Ahmet thought for a second, "Well, I still have my pickax. I would hit the bear on the head with it and kill him."

"That would be the best thing to do," said Hasan. He forgot his fear of the bear for a few minutes, but a short time later, his fear returned. "Ahmet? Ahmet, suppose you didn't have your pistol, or your knife or your pickax, and we stumbled upon a bear in the forest, what would you do?"

Quite exasperated, Ahmet shouted, "See here, Hasan. Let's get this straight. Whose side are you on? The bear's or mine?"

Monday, April 5, 2010

Kaan Ugurlu

Here are a few of Kaan Ugurlu's stunning photographs in and around Izmir, Turkey. Breath-taking, aren't they? If you would like to see more of Ugurlu's work, you can click HERE.

 

Marshmallow Murder

Seven Questions for Ex Pats in Turkey

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If you are an ex pat, whether you have been here for years or months, I'd like to hear your ideas about the following questions.

Your ideas are important because I get a lot of emails from people who wish to move and live in Turkey. They ask a lot of questions about life here and I give them all the information I can think of, but I wouldn't pretend to be an expert. So, sometimes I wonder how much my opinion differs from other foreigners who reside in this country.

1. What are a few things that you like most about living in Turkey?

2. What are some things you found/ find hardest to adapt to?

3, What one event has most shaped your impression of Turkey?

4. In one sentence, what is your best advice for anybody who wants to live in Turkey?

5. What was the most surprising thing you found when you first arrived in Turkey?

6. What is something you hope will change in Turkey?

7. What's something from Turkey that you wish your own country would adopt?

I'd really like to hear your ideas. Of course, you don't have to answer all of them. Just as many as you wish. Thanks to all.

The New Republican PARTY!

Steele

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Michele Bachmann

Bachman

Nasreddin Hoca and the Donkey

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Last week, I shared a Nasreddin Hoca story about an elephant and this week, I'd like to offer a tale about a donkey. 

Despite being a devout believer, Hoca 's wit suggested a slight- but all too human- questioning of his faith as shown in the following story.

Nasreddin and the Donkey

After weeks of nagging from his wife, Hoca bought a cow. He was not overly fond of the animal but for the sake of his wife's content, he went along with her plan.

There was only one problem, he immediately noticed. His barn was too small for both his faithful donkey and his new cow.

Secretly he prayed, "Please, God, let the cow die so that my poor donkey can get some sleep."

However, the following morning, Hoca awoke to find his donkey quite dead.  With great reverence,  Nasreddin Hoca lifted his eyes to heaven and said, "No offense, my Lord, but after all these years of being God, you still cannot tell the difference between a donkey and a cow."

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