Things fall apart

24 June 2008

I’m incredibly bummed that my camera is on the fritz.  And this during a span in which I’m visiting Turkey and South Africa for the first time.  Sheesh.  I bought a cheapie to make due, but still.

Then I feel that one of the all time greats, George Carlin, has died.  I always loved his albums and tv appearances, but it wasn’t til I saw him live that I really understood what a genius he was.  He timed everything perfectly.  It seemed almost improvised, but you could tell he knew exactly where to put the pauses, where to put the long and short jokes, and so on.  Damn, he was funny.

On a less consequential–to me–note, is Jared really dead?  The Snopes entry about this is old.  Maybe you folks back in the states know the real deal.

Turkey continues to impress.  I’ve recently seen cave dwellings and paintings, an underground city whose construction started in the Hittite era, watched whirling Dervishes, and a lot more.  And tomorrow I’ll eat (part of) and ostrich egg.  Mmm?

Turkey Wins!

21 June 2008

When KU made it to the Final Four in ’88, everyone hit the streets in little ol’ Lawrence, KS, honking and yelling.  Last night, Turkey defeated Croatia in the quarters of the European championship by penalty kick after a dramatic late goal to tie, followed by extra minutes.  Well, I couldn’t sleep with all the racket, that must have been in every town in the entire country.  It was Lawrence times a billion or whatever (I’m too tired to do the math).  Anyway, congratulations, my Turkish hosts!

Incidentally, I just saw that Sam is witnessing the events from another part of the continent, and he clearly knows more about the stuff than I do.

And what the hell kind of sports writing is this?  Maybe it’s just a bad translation.

Turkey left it late again to record victory, with a dramatic penalty-shoot out success after an equaliser in injury time of extra-time at Vienna’s Ernst Happel Stadium left Croatia defeated and took Fatih Terim’s side into the Euro 2008 semi-final.

Finally arrived

18 June 2008

But no suitcase yet.  So the gameyness continues, but I’m too tired to care.

One quick observation:  You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Fresh Prince of Bel Aire dubbed into Turkish.

Greetings from Munich airport!

18 June 2008

I know everyone’s been very concerned (hello?  Anyone there?) about my lack of posts.  Just got done grading AP exams for 12 days in Kansas City, from which I left Monday morning for a seminar in Turkey.  I was supposed to be in Ankara yesterday afternoon, but weather diverted my plane from Dulles to Greensboro.  By the time we got there, I had missed my flight to Munich, and no others were going.  So I spent the night there (slept an hour or so) and was able to get a flight out on Tuesday afternoon.  Now I’ll get to Ankara about a day and a half later than I was supposed to, so I’ll miss part of the seminar.  Sucks, but it could be worse.  And I’m getting a little gamey by now.

Don’t know if this means anything, but the ratio of Obama stuff to McCain stuff for sale in Dulles is at least 2 to 1.

More after I’ve reached my destination and have had a shower.  You can probably smell me through the tubes,

Starbucks ambivalence

2 June 2008

Once again, I don’t know how to feel about a welcome influx of tourist money, this time in the form of a Starbucks convention.  As a coffee shop regular (like right now), I love the local joints and never go into Starbucks in town.  I admit that if I’m at a conference or something and it’s the only thing I can find, I’m there, but I’m glad to know that they struggle some here.

My feelings really got confused when I was pissed that they didn’t open up right away, despite their boatloads of money, and then I was pissed when they did open, over a year after the storm, when it was clear what areas might be more profitable.  No more opportunistic company conveys itself with such a warm persona.

Maybe while they’re here they’ll continue work on Phase Two.

Either way, it’s an excellent opportunity to revisit this guy.

Lost in translation? Stereotypes in Olympic manual

2 June 2008

So far I’ve taken down 22 racist stickers around town.  Just a drop in the bucket, I’m sure, but at least it’s that.

Meanwhile, Chinese Olympic authorities are apologizing for stereotypic statements in a manual regarding Beijing’s Paralympic Games.  Here are a few choice excerpts:

…paralympic athletes and disabled spectators are a special group. They have unique personalities and ways of thinking.

To handle the “Optically Disabled,” the guide said: “Often the optically disabled are introverted. They have deep and implicit feelings and seldom show strong emotions. … Remember, when you communicate with optically disabled people, try not to use the world ‘blind’ when you meet for the first time.”

Physically disabled people are often mentally healthy. They show no differences in sensation, reaction, memorization and thinking mechanisms from other people, but they might have unusual personalities because of disfigurement and disability. “For example, some physically disabled are isolated, unsocial and introspective; they usually do not volunteer to contact people. They can be stubborn and controlling; they may be sensitive and struggle with trust issues. Sometimes they are overly protective of themselves, especially when they are called ‘crippled’ or ‘paralyzed.’

The guide said volunteers should “not fuss or show unusual curiosity, and never stare at their disfigurement.” It also advised volunteer to steer away from words like “cripple or lame, even if you are just joking.”