Saturday, May 25, 2013

Gone: The Very Best And Coolest Atatürk Statue Ever

A weird fucking video with a post-suitable 80s tune.

It's been an eventful week in New Byzantium. First AKP was going to restrict alcohol in all kinds of obnoxious, thinly-veiled religious ways. Then everyone got mad and the resulting bill was okay-ish. Stuff that's not a bad idea really, like not selling alcohol at gas stations and increasing fines for drunk driving and lowering the blood alcohol limit for drunk driving. There was other stuff about advertising and labeling and promotions and sponsoring that was suspiciously sucky, but promised not to alter my life in any game-changing ways (nothing worse than the punitive increases in alcohol taxes, I mean).

But then they tacked on some 11th hour changes to the bill that made it so you can't buy alcohol from the shops after 10pm. And I was all "Motherfuckers! I'll tell you where you can't put your fucking ayran," and I started to believe a little bit in the slippery slope story that I've been trying not to believe the whole time I've been here.


And then, since I was reading the newspaper and stuff (which I rarely do because it angries up my blood and makes me want a drink), I came across this other article about how they want to replace the private security at universities with special government forces. You know, to protect earnest students from protestors who  want to "stir up life at universities."

And then, today I was in Taksim. I walked up from Karaköy which is a lot of up, but it's still a cool walk.

Except  today, I must have seen like 1,000 cops with guns and shields and body armor and gas masks. A few of those bulldozer-y police tank things. The police were gathered at the usual spots, but they were also up every  pedestrian side street. They appeared to be doing not much, really. Just sitting around and talking, but not giggling and fooling around like guys usually do. It creeped me the fuck out.

The cops whose faces I saw couldn't have been more than 22.

So all of this is rather hard to swallow. But it's just a warm up for what they've done to the Very Best And Coolest Atatürk Statue Ever. Remember him? Of course you do. He's puttin' on the ritz.

Rocking great statue!

And then do you remember the other day, when he wasn't puttin' on the ritz? It wasn't that long ago so I remember.
Ghosty statue

This is what they've come up with.
WTF, are you serious?
I'm not even sure who to be mad at or what to be mad about.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Fucking Mix

So for this week, I decided to make a mix about doing it. By "doing it," I mean Doing It.

I pared down a lot of of songs about doing it because of course a lot of songs are about doing it. Or almost getting to do it. Or not doing it. So I mostly ruled out songs that were baldly dirty in favor of ones that are just about doing it. This wasn't as a matter of taste or family-friendliness because it's fairly obvious I'm not much into either of those. It was subtlety I was looking for.

Fuck it. It's a mix about doing it. Or maybe doing it. Or thinking about doing it, because who doesn't spend some time of each and every day thinking about doing it? Doing it is a strategy for getting through life without throwing yourself or someone you love out the window. Sometimes it's the only reason you don't throw someone else or yourself out the window. Sometimes you wish there was a way you could throw yourself or someone else out the window while doing it, just to make a fucking point.

But maybe that's just me.

Anyway, here's the mix.

1) People Are Still Having Sex (Blank & Jones Remix of La Tour)

I included some clips from History of the World Part I, just to be cool.

2) Let's Get It On (Marvin Gaye)
3) Love Life (Fatboy Slim featuring Macy Gray)
4) Whole New Way (Scissor Sisters)
5) Under Your Skin (Luscious Jackson)

Ah, Madeline Kahn. You are irreplaceable, my dear.

6) I Touch Myself (Divinyls)
7) Paradise By The Dashboard Life (Meatloaf)
8) The Lemon Song (Led Zeppelin)
9) Tony the Beat (The Sounds)
10) Never Say Never (Romeo Void)
11) Sho Nuff (Fatboy Slim)
12) Caress Me Down (Sublime)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Not Puttin' On The Ritz

When I first saw our local Atatürk statue yesterday, I thought for some reason he was hiding his face in shame. Given AKP's latest shenanigans attempting to insure no one can have any fun at all, ever, it made sense. I don't think they look kindly at puttin' on the ritz, in any way. Yawn. They're so boring.

But it turns out they're just making repairs.

Still, the timing of the covering up makes one wonder. Why did the municipality decide to cloak Atatürk the day before 19 Mayis (Youth and Sports Day), commemorating the day he went to Samsun the start the war and save the world?

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Bleak Mix

So a few weeks ago, for no reason except for maybe the endless threats of summer that never materialized amid the endless low fog, I started thinking about songs that make you feel bleak.

I'm forever working on these little mixes I prepare for the radio. I've got the next month or so lined up in the Notes app on my phone. Sometimes I think of a song I already have. Other times I think of a song I haven't heard in 20 years, which entails a pirating mission of some sort.

I don't feel the least bit bad about pirating music because the way I figure it, with all the records and CDs
Yes, they do. PSA fail.
and tapes I've bought in my lifetime, the music industry pretty much owes me. Also, I think that if they really want to line their pockets with more filthy lucre, they can get up off their lazy asses and come up with a new business plan that involves the 21st century rather than wasting time trying to convince First World children that music piracy is a moral crime akin to stealing bubble gum from the local shopkeeper. It's not. And the emerging economy kids aren't buying that bullshit anyway. It's so easy to hook up free music there are 12-year-olds here who have never done it any other way.

Copyright is copywrong. I want to have a T-shirt made with that.

Anyway, the mix I made for a couple of weeks ago when I broke the radio was still fitting for last week because summer had died again even though my mood had lifted for equally inexplicable reasons. But it's still fun to wallow in a bit of musical bleakness.

Here's the mix.

And here's the songlist.

Candy Says-- Velvet Underground (it's about a pre-op transgender prostitute that died from too many cheap, bad hormone pills-- fucking tragic and gorgeous song)
We Stand Alone-- Covenant
Of Course-- Jane's Addiction
Venus In Furs-- Velvet Underground
Muscle Museum-- Muse
Coma Black-- Marilyn Manson (good thing we didn't have him when I was an angsty teen-- "I kill myself to make everybody pay"-- we had to make do with Depeche Mode when we felt all wrist-slitty in my day)
Something I Can Never Have-- Nine Inch Nails
World Full Of Nothing-- Depeche Mode (is it possible to make a bleak mix without Depeche Mode? No. No, it's not)
1959-- Sisters of Mercy (ouch. Gothy)
The Villain-- Austra
Chelsea Girls-- Nico (more tragic hookers via the Lou Reed connection)

Anyway, that's the story. I'm leaving out the part where the kid who comes after me on the radio explained his simple solution for my radio killing. It involved a restart, which I was too chicken to brave. These kids are ever so sweet.

Tomorrow's mix promises way more happy shit, I hope. But I'm not going to spoil the surprise.

Also I don't know for sure I'm not gonna break the radio again.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sleep Stalker

Sleep Stalker 

Every night I sleep stalk my kid

I've been doing it since he was born.

Before that, of course, I had no choice. I knew exactly what he was doing all the time
 Even hiccuping, which he did a lot

 And still does if he laughs too hard and too long.  

But after he came out, I had to check him.

Is the baby still breathing?

Touch his forehead
Push back his sweaty hair with my fingertips

Brush his cheek with the back of my hand
He snuffles and snorts and shuffles the way he's always done

Kicks off the blankets

Rolls towards me and sighs

The baby is fine.

It's not SIDS this time

Off the hook another night!

I put my hand on his arm
Just to feel its smallness.

I told my kid how I sleep stalk him
I showed him the pictures.
 He didn't care for that, how I posted them on the Internet

One way his face has never changed is when he is sleeping.

So I promised I wouldn't take pictures anymore

(except for the one in the Angry Bird blanket which he said I can post)

And I haven't since then.

But I also promised I'd never stop sleep stalking him.

And I totally still do, every night.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Well Played, Dumbasses

Tomorrow is May 1.

Mayday mayday!

Mayday makes me think simultaneously of flaming warplanes crashing and little kids with flowers in their hair dancing around the maypole. That might be metaphorical for something.

Image search hit for "fractious."
For the last few years, we've suddenly gotten May 1 as a holiday. I suppose May 1 is kind of fraught, what with all the bad memories from stuff that happened decades ago, not to mention the Commie associations, some of which in Turkey are also PKK associations, and naturally workers' rights would be less than popular in a country where the Capitalists are trying to out-Capitalist the Capitalists. Whatever anyone else in the world is doing, the powers that be in Turkey think they have to do it better and with greater fanfare.

So getting May 1 as a holiday seemed kind of big to me, like some people in authority were maybe growing up a little bit.

Also for the last two years, people were allowed to demonstrate in Taksim. So for the last two years, demonstrations in Taksim have gone off more or less peacefully. They didn't used to, not when they were illegal. It used to be the evening news on May 1 was all about tear gas and police tanks and police beatings with sticks. And then the police would herd some demonstrators into the Gypsy neighborhoods in Dolapdere and Tarlabaşı, except the Gypsies didn't care for that, not one bit. So they'd get all batshit, wielding any implement they could get their hands on to fight everyone off, which would then turn into a bunch of small riots. One year, there was a guy on the news in one of those neighborhoods who was so mad he was standing on the roof of his apartment building in a screaming rage, punching himself in the face with both hands.

It will be heaven if traffic is this good tomorrow.

So this year, a day before May 1, our genius authorities have come up with this: ban all the Taksim demonstrations and close most central public transport. The Metrobus, the ferries, the Kabataş funicular, and the Metro past Levent. They're closing a bunch of roads, too. Big, main important roads. What a winner idea!

On my micro-level it means my plan to deliver LE to his grandparents is not to be, which means we get to hang out for awhile tomorrow because neither of us has to be anywhere.

On a macro-level, it means potential chaos and insanity and violence that I sincerely hope don't happen.

The scary message from the consulate has arrived:
May 1, 2013
U.S. Consulate Istanbul informs U.S. citizens that official demonstrations in support of “Labor and Solidarity Day” will be held on Wednesday, May 1, in the Kazlıçeşme area of Istanbul.  The potential for unofficial demonstrations exists in Taksim Square.  A large turnout is expected and several main thoroughfares in the area will be closed.  In the past, large-scale protests and demonstrations in Istanbul have turned violent, although the past two May Day celebrations were peaceful and concluded without incident. 

The U.S. Consulate reminds U.S. Citizens that Thursday, May 2, 2013, is the two-year anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s death. 

At the end is the boilerplate waring that reminds you to keep a low profile. Ha! Yeah, that's super easy.

Başbakan Erdoğan says it's better than booze, but I'm having none of it.
Of course, in the Hürriyet article, our Good Leader has already managed to lay all blame any possible violence on the people, as though he honestly expects everyone will just swallow their rage and stay home and drink their fucking ayran. But I'll bet the police are polishing their clubs and shields and oiling up their tanks right now.

So that's the Big Excitement for today. I really hope it's not an interesting news day tomorrow.