Thursday, April 28, 2011

Turkey's Islamization?

Young lovers gathered on a bus in Istanbul last Saturday to make a kissing protest following last week’s “sex bus” incident.

On April 17, a fight broke out between a bus driver and a couple (boy+girl) he accused of being too intimate after he allegedly warned the couple, saying, “This is not a place for sex.”An investigation into the event was launched the following day.

The protest took place in İstanbul on Saturday night when a group of lovers gave each other passionate kisses on an İETT (İstanbul's municipal bus company) in İstanbul.

The peaceful protest took place as a reaction to last week's incident; according to reports, a young straight couple were removed from an İETT bus after boarding the bus hand-in-hand and staying ‘too close’. “This is not a sex-bus!” yelled the bus-driver, according to the victims of the weird intervention and to witnesses.

It was only six days after the incident when an facebook-organised crowd of couples gathered on an İETT bus in central Taksim (İstanbul's most popular square) and sent chills down an İETT driver’s spine! The group of couples kissed each other on the bus in front of the wide-eyed bus driver and his other ‘common’ passengers, in support of the couple who was removed from another bus about a week ago.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

23/4: Which book made a difference for you?_survey

Which was the book that made you discover the pleasure of reading?
Who was the person who advised you to read it, lent it to you, gave it to you as a present or made you read it?
What literary work would you memorize to save it from fire?

If inspired by the survey, post your contribution below. Thanks :)


HAPPY THANK YOU MORE PLEASE captures a generational moment - young people on the cusp of truly growing up, tiring of their reflexive cynicism, each in their own ways struggling to connect and define what it means to love and be loved. A very entertaining, must-hear film, especially for students of English. Now showing in town in the original version!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Orhan Pamuk: My Father's Suitcase

What follows are two excerpts of Orhan Pamuk's lecture upon accepting the Nobel Prize for Literature on December 7, 2006. To access the complete speech click here.

A writer is someone who spends years patiently trying to discover the second being inside him, and the world that makes him who he is: when I speak of writing, what comes first to my mind is not a novel, a poem, or literary tradition, it is a person who shuts himself up in a room, sits down at a table, and alone, turns inward; amid its shadows, he builds a new world with words. This man – or this woman – may use a typewriter, profit from the ease of a computer, or write with a pen on paper, as I have done for 30 years. As he writes, he can drink tea or coffee, or smoke cigarettes. From time to time he may rise from his table to look out through the window at the children playing in the street, and, if he is lucky, at trees and a view, or he can gaze out at a black wall. He can write poems, plays, or novels, as I do. All these differences come after the crucial task of sitting down at the table and patiently turning inwards. To write is to turn this inward gaze into words, to study the world into which that person passes when he retires into himself, and to do so with patience, obstinacy, and joy. As I sit at my table, for days, months, years, slowly adding new words to the empty page, I feel as if I am creating a new world, as if I am bringing into being that other person inside me, in the same way someone might build a bridge or a dome, stone by stone. The stones we writers use are words. As we hold them in our hands, sensing the ways in which each of them is connected to the others, looking at them sometimes from afar, sometimes almost caressing them with our fingers and the tips of our pens, weighing them, moving them around, year in and year out, patiently and hopefully, we create new worlds...

Let me change the mood with a few sweet words that will, I hope, serve as well as that music. As you know, the question we writers are asked most often, the favourite question, is; why do you write? I write because I have an innate need to write! I write because I can’t do normal work like other people. I write because I want to read books like the ones I write. I write because I am angry at all of you, angry at everyone. I write because I love sitting in a room all day writing. I write because I can only partake in real life by changing it. I write because I want others, all of us, the whole world, to know what sort of life we lived, and continue to live, in Istanbul, in Turkey. I write because I love the smell of paper, pen, and ink. I write because I believe in literature, in the art of the novel, more than I believe in anything else. I write because it is a habit, a passion. I write because I am afraid of being forgotten. I write because I like the glory and interest that writing brings. I write to be alone. Perhaps I write because I hope to understand why I am so very, very angry at all of you, so very, very angry at everyone. I write because I like to be read. I write because once I have begun a novel, an essay, a page, I want to finish it. I write because everyone expects me to write. I write because I have a childish belief in the immortality of libraries, and in the way my books sit on the shelf. I write because it is exciting to turn all of life’s beauties and riches into words. I write not to tell a story, but to compose a story. I write because I wish to escape from the foreboding that there is a place I must go but – just as in a dream – I can’t quite get there. I write because I have never managed to be happy. I write to be happy...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

8 Reasons Why We Love Kids :)

1. A kindergarten pupil told his teacher he’d found a cat. She asked him if it was dead or alive. “Dead,” she was informed. “How do you know?” she asked her pupil. “Because I pissed in its ear and it didn’t move,” answered the child innocently. “You did WHAT?!?” the teacher exclaimed in surprise. “You know,” explained the boy, “I leaned over and went ‘Pssst!’ and it didn’t move.”

2. A small boy is sent to bed by his father. Five minutes later. . . . “Daaad. . . .” “What?” “I’m thirsty. Can you bring a drink of water?” “No. You had your chance. Lights out.” Five minutes later: “Daaaaad. . . . “ “WHAT?” “I’m THIRSTY. Can I have a drink of water??” “I told you . . . NO!” “If you ask me again, I’ll have to spank you!” Five minutes later. . . . . “Daaaaaaaad. . . . “ “WHAT!” “When you come in to spank me, can you bring a drink of water?”

3. An exasperated mother, whose son was always getting into mischief, finally asked him, “How do you expect to get into heaven?” The boy thought it over and said, “Well, I’ll run in and out and in and out and keep slamming the door until St. Peter says, ‘For Heaven’s sake, Dylan, come in or stay out!’”

4. One summer evening, during a violent thunderstorm, a mother was tucking her son into bed. She was about to turn off the light when he asked with a tremor in his voice, “Mommy, will you sleep with me tonight?” The mother smiled and gave him a reassuring hug. “I cant dear,” she said. “I have to sleep in Daddy’s room.” A long silence was broken at last by his shaky little voice: “The big sissy!”

5. It was that time, during the Sunday morning service, for the children’s sermon. All the children were invited to come forward. One little girl was wearing a particularly pretty dress and, as she sat down, the pastor leaned over and said, “That is a very pretty dress. Is it you Easter Dress?” The little girl replied, directly into the pastor’s clip-on microphone, “Yes, and my Mum says it’s a bitch to iron.”

6. When I was six months pregnant with my third child, my three-year-old child came into the room when I was just getting ready to get into the shower. She said, “Mummy, you are getting fat!” I replied, “Yes, honey, remember Mommy has a baby growing in her tummy.” “I know,” she replied, “but what’s growing in your butt?”

7. A little boy was doing his math homework. He said to himself, “Two plus five, that son of a bitch is seven. Three plus six, that son of a bitch is nine . . . .” His mother heard what he was saying and gasped, “What are you doing?” The little boy answered, “I’m doing my math homework, Mom.” “And this is how your teacher taught you to do it?” the mother asked. “Yes,” he answered. Infuriated, the mother asked the teacher the next day, “What are you teaching my son in math?” The teacher replied, “Right now, we are learning addition.” The mother asked, “And are you teaching them to say two plus two, that son of a bitch is four?” After the teacher stopped laughing, she answered, “What I taught them was, two plus two, THE SUM OF WHICH, is four.”

8. One day the first grade teacher was reading the story of Chicken Little to her class. She came to the part of the story where Chicken Little tried to warn the farmer. She read, “. . . . and so Chicken Little went up to the farmer and said, “The sky is falling, the sky is falling!” The teacher paused, then asked the class, “And what do you think that the farmer said?” One little girl raised her hand and said, “I think he said: Holy Shit! A talking chicken!”

Thursday, April 14, 2011

14 de abril



Existen reservas naturales a las que no se puede acceder sin un permiso especial y gracias a la protección de las leyes algunas islas, ciertos parajes, se mantienen todavía incontaminados. Esos espacios preservados sirven entre otras cosas para purificar también nuestra mente por el solo hecho de viajar a ellos con el pensamiento. Aunque sea imposible llegar al corazón virgen de la naturaleza, para sentirse igualmente limpio basta con imaginar que en algún lugar del planeta aún quedan ríos azules, valles intactos no especulados y montes donde subsisten las mismas plantas autóctonas desde el cuaternario. En cierto sentido la Segunda República es también una reserva política que habita en la mente de muchos españoles sin la necesidad de volver a ella sino con la imaginación, como un ejercicio regenerador y didáctico. La República supuso en la historia de España una corriente de aire puro de renovación basada en la inteligencia, en la libertad, en la cultura y en la justicia social, que terminó en un baño de sangre. Aunque para algunos ciudadanos la Constitución de 1931 fuera un hecho nefasto, la causa de toda desdicha, aquella aspiración de modernidad frustrada por la violencia fraticida supone para otros españoles un hito nostálgico, como un amor perdido de juventud. Pero por fortuna el recuerdo de la Segunda República estará siempre asociado a las flores de acacia de mitad de abril, a la Niña Bonita del azar, a una primavera inevitable, que se renueva cada año como un lugar iniciático adonde uno debe volver para regenerarse políticamente. Sin duda el recuerdo de aquel tiempo está dorado por el polvo amarillo. Puede que aquellos próceres republicanos que venían del regeneracionismo con el empeño de una España europeísta, laica, racional y progresista fueran unos ingenuos cuyo sueño se vio devorado por las fuerzas ancestrales de la España negra, pero su estela quedó en suspensión en la atmósfera y cada abril se posa en el inconsciente colectivo. Si la República es hoy una meta inalcanzable, no por eso deja de ser una reserva espiritual, un paradigma político de la memoria, lo mismo que ese territorio imaginario donde se extienden litorales todavía vírgenes y discurren ríos azules en cuyas aguas es obligado volver siempre a bañarse. El País, 17/04/2011