Oh Great: Science says fatherhood lowers your testosterone.

From the NY Times:

Testosterone, that most male of hormones, takes a dive after a man becomes a parent. And the more he gets involved in caring for his children — changing diapers, jiggling the boy or girl on his knee, reading “Goodnight Moon” for the umpteenth time — the lower his testosterone drops.

When I first read this article I wanted to run out and buy testosterone supplements so as to not lose my manliness when our child arrives in January. But then I figured that I might as well sit back and accept what natural design has in store.

So does our biochemistry dictate that a typical man, who prior to fatherhood slammed Monster Energy Drinks before base jumping off Mt. Kilimanjaro while listening to Nü-Metal on his iPod Shuffle, would better serve his family by becoming as sedentary as a neutered house cat and passing his days chuckling softly over his Dave Barry books? Or does Providence understand that men, much like women, have a much easier time unconditionally loving their child if their biochemical pathways are rewired? Especially on days when they defecate more than their own body weight? (The baby, I mean; not the father).

Be glad, kiddo, that chemistry is on your side.

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Published in: on September 19, 2011 at 9:32 pm  Comments (1)  

In Budapest out with FDR, in with Reagan

Earlier this summer Hungary built a seven-foot tall Ronald Reagan statue in the center of one of Budapest’s most popular squares. The statue faces down the city’s last remaining Soviet-era monument, giving it the same heat-vision stare that caused the Soviets to evaporate during the Reykjavík Summit.

At the same time, another popular square in the city named Roosevelt Square was renamed after a famous Hungarian, following a Hungarianization trend in the city in which many public places are being re-christened.

FDR for Reagan is a trade I’ll make any day. Now if only we could do it with current US economic policy…

Published in: on September 9, 2011 at 6:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

150 Baby Mamas: The prolific activity of sperm donors

Check out this article from the New York Times about a woman who used a Web-based registry to see how many half-siblings her son had from the same sperm donor. It turns out he has more than my graduating class from Knoxville Public High School: 150.

The article contains stories of those who used this method for conception only to find that their donor has been keeping busy, often producing several dozen offspring that he will never meet (in many states, the donor is legally protected from his offspring having access to his contact information). It’s sad to see that our society has so wholeheartedly embraced a procedure that essentially orphans a child from birth and reduces his or her connection to their biological father to a financial transaction.

I think this line from the story about the child having dozens, if not hundreds, of ersatz siblings walking the earth with no connection to one another but a father more prolific than Ghengis Khan, sums the situation up: ““Experts don’t talk about this when they counsel people dealing with infertility,” Ms. Kramer said. “How do you make connections with so many siblings?

Published in: on September 6, 2011 at 9:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Getting back to blogging

After a roughly three-year hiatus I’ve decided to start blogging again. The reasons aren’t that complicated or interesting; since starting a PhD program last year my already meager social world has contracted to the size of a petri dish, and the hours that I don’t spend with either my wife or the books are fewer and further in between. And since I never became an afficianado of the social media that the youngsters use, I’ll stick to what I know and go back to blogging.

Here is a brief list of the happenings in the last three years. I got married (awesome); I got my MA and started a PhD in Budapest, Hungary (also awesome, but with long stretches of northern Nevada-esque mind-numbingness); my wife is expecting a child in January (a tie with the first item for the awesome); and the rest of my days are spent studying, teaching English, and doing my best to learn as little Hungarian as possible. I’m proud to say that I have lived here for over a year and still cannot count to ten. While it must be admitted that Hungarian is as difficult as Mandarin Chinese and half the population speaks varying degrees of English, I cannot help but crow a little bit about my accomplishment.

So there you are.

Published in: on September 5, 2011 at 8:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Devil Wears Prada: Turkish Edition

There’s been a whirlwind of activity in the past few days and I will do my best to recap the events. I thought I would start off by describing the most boring activity. It also happens to be the inspiration for the title of this post.

I give part-time English lessons to businesses and last wear I started giving them to designers at a fashion company called Silk Road. I walked into the sleek, high-tech building of overly fashionable males and females doing overly fashionable things. My mind was instantly filled with scenes from “The Devil Wears Prada” (I swear I saw this on a plane and didn’t go out of my way to do so). I expected to find the entry-level Turkish version of Anne Hathaway being berated by her despotic Turkish version of Meryl Streep demanding she get her a steak. Unfortunately, I did not.

In other news, last week my good friend Derek and his pregnant wife Kim came to Turkey to visit. Kim also happens to be my girlfriend Melissa’s best friend so we had some sweet double date incidents around the city.

 

Tonight Melissa and I had dinner at the house of a Turkish guy who goes to my church. It was a great time fellowshiping with him and his family for a few hours. I played translator for much of the evening, but Melissa has a tremendous amount of gumption for learning foreign languages and wasn’t afraid to dive right in. We spent much of the evening talking about the trials and tribulations of the Turkish church, which is a reminder that the American church isn’t the only one that has problems in the world. But it’s always an encouragement to see such passion in another believer here.

Any other news? Can’t think of any. And make sure that the twins have their bound copies of the forthcoming Harry Potter book by 5:00 p.m. or you’re fired.

Published in: on July 9, 2008 at 10:43 pm  Comments (3)  

Islamic creation science is down for the count

After a year of being blocked from WordPress I finally have access once again! It appears that our Islamic creation science friend (who had nasty posts written about him on wordpress and decided to do the civil thing by obtaining a court order and blocking access to the site for everyone in Turkey) has eaten his just desserts and access has been restored to everyone in the country. 

So what has been going on with me in the last year? Here are the main bullet points, and I will include more detailed information in the future

1) I started grad school in Ottoman History (it’s hard but enjoyable)

2) I began dating a lovely young woman named Melissa, who is a graduate student in TESOL (teaching english as a second language) and has a best friend who married one of my long-time roommates, which is how we go to know each other. We’ve been doing the long-distance relationship for the last year and logged on hundreds of hours on our Vonage phone. When I decided to take things to the next level I included Skype video chat in our relationship, which made things far more e-mantic. She is living here this summer and working as an EFL teacher so you’ll be hearing more about her.

3) I still attend my same church, but I go to a different service that is mostly Turkish in structure. All of the hymns and most of the preaching is in Turkish. The congregation is an eclectic mix of Turks, Koreans, Iranians and a few Westerners. It’s a small congregation but those who attend are committed and faithful.

4) I’m basically reading all the time. Not so much for enjoyment, but for digging into my master’s thesis. I read, read, and then read some more. I’m also having to learn Ottoman Turkish, which is is very difficult to learn for a non-Turk. And since it is a dead language it has a small payoff since the only thing it can be used for is reading old documents.

 

So that’s all for now. I’ll try to fill in the gaps of major events in the last year. I just got back from a trip to American to see my family (and Melissa, while she was there), and we went to this awesome conference called the Acton institute. I’ll touch on that one more later. 

Published in: on June 21, 2008 at 2:12 pm  Comments (3)  

Islamic creationism isn’t down for the count yet

Hey all,

It turns out that the moratorium on blogging through WordPress in Turkey is still in effect. I thought that access had been regranted, but it turns out there are only a few ISPs that managed to escape Turkey’s court order to shut down WordPress.

In the meantime I set up a temporary blog at blogspot. The address is http://istanbullseye.blogspot.com/. I haven’t posted anything yet but content will be coming shortly.

Hopefully this ridiculous situation will blow over soon (see previous post for more information). Once it does then I will blog on this site regularly. The crappy thing is lots of people I know use wordpress so I can’t see their blogs. But they can see mine. This situation is not disimilar to being a focus group that is test tasting a new soda, unknowingly being watched by greedy corporate executives throug one-way glass. You, my friends, are those executives. I hope the new soda I am tasting sells well and causes your company’s quarterly earnings to go through the roof.

Published in: on August 29, 2007 at 3:45 pm  Comments (1)  

Islamic creationism can’t stop the Mechanical Turk!

You may have noticed that I didn’t update this site for the last week and a half. The reason is not because I forgot, but because WordPress.com was completely blocked for all users in Turkey.

Why, you may ask? Well, there is a very silly man in Turkey named Adnan Oktar, a leading figure in Islamic creation science. I used the word “science” very loosely because he makes crackpot American creation scientists who argue that Satan left dinosaur bones on earth 6,000 years ago to trick humanity look like Neils Bohr. He has also published an 800-page book called “The Atlas of Creation,” full of glossy pages that “prove” the truth about the natural word can be found in the Qu’ran. His minions have distributed his book all over America and have actually stuck it in the mailboxes of scientists in universities throughout the states.

Anyway, this month Mr. Oktar stumbled across some stuff on a WordPress blog about him that he found to be “libelous” (read about it here). So he did the sensible thing and got his lawyer to file a complaint with the Turkish Court of First Instance in order to block access to WordPress for everyone in Turkey.

Dang, who knew crackpot Islamic creationists couldn’t take a joke? But the important thing is the site is back up now. Feel free to leave comments that talk smack about Mr. Oktar below.

Published in: on August 24, 2007 at 2:28 pm  Comments (2)  

Recapping America

I arrived back in Istanbul on Monday. Here are a few photos of highlights during the week. Unfortunately the photos are loaded on the side of my first week (California) and fourth week (Washington, D.C.) and few from the second week (Iowa) and third (Kansas City) since I don’t have a camera and pictures weren’t emailed to me from those weeks.

Here is Kim and Derek, the happy couple whose wedding I had the privelage of standing in. Derek is cool. You should meet him if you haven’t.

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Kim is also cool, but she doesn’t like moustaches. Here is us groomsmen, flaunting the moustache sexiness as much as possible.

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Have you ever dreamed that you were in one of those ’80s teen movies, where the nerdy high school protagonist manages to dethrone the high school quarterback from his throne at the top of the high school hierarchy, and then does a C jump to celebrate? We do. And we lived out our fantasy here:

weddingpartyjump.jpg

Here is one of the highlights of my week in Iowa. While there, a quartet of females from California who were also in the wedding party took a roadtrip from Cali to Chicago to see off their good friend, Melissa Chapman, who will begin studies at Wheaton. I wanted to show them Iowa, so I took them to the Jasper County Fair:

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Here Ms. Chapman and I are enjoying a delicious Tropical Sno at the said county fair

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Let’s jump ahead a week to my conference in Washington, D.C. Here’s a picture of the gang and I at National Public Radio. We’re quite an international bunch:

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This picture here is a good example of irony. The one picture that is taken of me during a session is when I am about to fall asleep. Whoever took that picture of me was trying to ruin my professional cred.

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This picture below is a good sample of what a typical day would look like — the group of us sitting around a conference table, figure out a thing or two about journalism. At this particular session an Egyptian Coptic bishop was talking to us about religious freedoms in the Middle East. He was probably the most religiously passionate man I ever saw in person. Bummer he’s not in the picture.

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But it wasn’t all sessions at the conference. One of our cultural excursions was to Baltimore for an Orioles-Mariners game. The fellow next to me was my roommate for the week. He is a Romanian journalist who works as a broadcaster for the state television. I did my best to explain the rules of baseball to him, which he found to like cricket, but slower. But at least our game isn’t so long that there is a break for dinner in the middle.

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At the end of the week I saw my very good friend from college, Daniel, and his wife Sara. We went to Turkey together as exchange students way back in the day. Now he is exceptionally professional and living it up at an engineering consulting firm for acoustics. Yeah, I don’t understand it either.

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But Daniel’s professional gig doesn’t stop him from dispensing an occasional noogie. Normally I am the one who gives noogies. This isn’t right.

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So there is my trip. I’m back in Turkey and will have some time off until my grad program begins in September. A couple of projects include reading a book in Turkish, learning the basics of ultimate frisbee and laying down some other groundwork for the fall. But that info must wait for another blog post.

Published in: on August 15, 2007 at 10:30 pm  Comments (5)  

Conference, Day 2

Things are going full speed ahead here. The journalism conference is myself and 14 other journalists from around the globe. We have people from Asia, Africa, South America, Europe and India (don’t know which continent that technically fits into). We are also represented by nearly every ethnicity on earth, except for Aleutian-Americans, which is fine because nobody wants those whale-eaters around to ruin the party.

Yesterday we were at NPR and today we went to the Heritage Foundation, a think tank, and a prominent DC newspaper. We are also hearing each other’s presentations on the state of the media in our respective countries.

Last night we went out to a very American restaurant that had burgers, ribs and the like. The others asked me what an American meal would consist of, so I told them to completely ignore salad or anything even remotely healthy on the menu. When it came time to order drinks a few of them tried to get white or red wine. I hung my head in frustration and thought to myself “This must be what its like for Turks when us Americans order a Coke with a kepab and not an ayran.”

More to come later.

Published in: on August 8, 2007 at 12:53 am  Leave a Comment