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March 26, 2001
Reporting Live


There was, rather out of the ordinary for my situation, a meeting scheduled downtown last week. And we managed to nail a rainstorm on the head with our timing.

I don't mind rain, I like it in fact, but I do mind the foolishness that goes with the reporting on it. In the absence of other news that local channels deem interesting for their target audience, such as a local shooting (you can tell when they all start with the "school board meeting, breaking details at 11"; it doesn't occur to them to branch out a little and include important world news unless it's about Israel, which they assume would hold viewer attention because of "Judeo-Christian heritage thing), they pull out all the stops. Comes the inane banter, the flashy graphics, and the "reporting live." Always with the reporting live, as Tony Soprano would say.

Whether it's an accident that went down 8 hours earlier or a "storm" (only a hint of severity is enough to assign the label) scheduled to "hit" 10 hours from now they have rush out of the studio like it's a fire drill and report "live from the scene." Because the chairs in the studio have embedded tacks that are breathlessly clamoring for some reporter bottom, apparently.

And then at midday they have to run out again for their "newsbreak" and give us the update that "Nance, as you can see, my bangs are getting horribly wet." If he were named Antonio I would picture the next development as something out of Chris Kattan's SNL skit with the Antonio Banderas talk show. (You know, the one with the "too sexy!" protestations from the sycophantic sidekicks?) "Nance, now you see the droplets splattering against my pecs as I rip my shirt off. Back to you."

For once, of course, it did turn out to be quite an ass-whuppin bit of wind and rain. On my way back I got off the metro a couple stops early to grant my patronage to one of the sleepy shops that enables Wilson Boulevard to qualify as a neighborhood. At least until the wrecking ball comes.

When I finally made it home, the wind had blown all sorts of junk from the street into our little yard, and dying leaves and long-dead bottle caps were flying all over the place, but the menu from a local restaurant (hand-delivered junk mail) had managed to hang on to where it had been inserted into the grille of the gate. I extricated it and dumped it in the recyling bin by the door, now home to a soaking pile of newspapers.

Of all the things that get stuck through that gate there's only one I've saved all these years. It was handwritten and photocopied and it said:

Dear Resident,

This is an invitation to read The Bible in its entirety. I start the day reading 4 pages in the morning and end the day reading 4 more pages at night. I start in genesis and read sequentially until I finish then start over. God has blessed me in all areas of my life since I developed this habit. Please accept this invitation and start reading today.


anonymous

Since "God" had blessed us with a lot of rain that day, I thought four pages corresponding to the Flood might be appropriate reading. But as always, I was distracted by other things once I'd stepped inside.

break

Santorini, Greece, October 2000
Bullet-riddled road sign announcing that 50 km/h is the maximum driving speed (yeah right) on the island of Santorini, Greece, photographed in October 2000. The latest addition to the new Numbers gallery.

I've been keeping track of countries visitors to this Web site are coming from and last week Slovakia rounded out the number to an even 50. The terms some people enter into search engines to get here are of course much more interesting and so I've decided to open a Stats section to use some of this information. Actually, "Stats" is one of three sections I included in my first mock-up and left out of the final version, to be fleshed out and added at a later date, and the fun I'm having with the logs is prompting me to open this one soon. Just the other day someone came looking for "educational full-frontal nudity" (um, OK) and someone apparently wanted more information on the topic of "women discuss penis." Do they now?

Of course, a lot of these freak visits are one-time only, but there's a growing batch of others, regulars accessing the site from the same computer lab or bank or little university, popping up almost every day, and I wonder who's doing the reading sometimes. (Don't worry, I can't tell; all I know is, and only in some cases, the name of your organization or Internet Service Provider... that, and what you're wearing. The monitor works both ways, you know?)

March 25, 2001

Look ma, I'm turning into a blog (not that there aren't some very good ones out there). My Saroyan book's editor copies are here! Now I have to update my Books section and send a bunch to California as part of our copyright agreement. And the bike ride happened after all, though the group dwindled down to just me and one good friend. We topped it off with a muffin 'n' coffee fest at the riverview cafe of Olsson's Alexandria bookstore. Being from another continent, we entertained sartorial concerns for a few seconds before remembering we were in America and going in. Over on the West coast, Jennifer Lopez was busy putting on yet another tasteless outfit, so all was in harmony across the land...

March 24, 2001

Still no real entry, but I added a cool image to the new gallery. The mail dude just brought a new check (always good), but the promise of a bright day -- and along with it, the anticipated sun-drenched bike ride -- is fast evaporating as rain clouds swirl threateningly overhead...

March 23, 2001

Nothing new here, but there's a new, Rien-inspired collection in the Art Gallery. (You folks do know there's an Art Gallery, don't you?) I'll try to post something else in the journal before the weekend hits in full force...

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The current banner photo was taken in the courtyard of an Armenian school in Istanbul in 1990.


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