The Little Clinic

Today, I tried to go to an urgent care facility near my house.

Here's the background: I don't have insurance, but I do have an ear infection.

So, I went to the Big Run Urgent Care facility. I said, Hi I'd like some medical treatment. She said, And who's your insurance carrier. I said, I don't have any. I'll be paying. She said, That'll be $182.

I was shocked. I expected to pay $80 max. I told her I'd think about it and I did think about it. I knew that I'd get a prescription for an antibiotic and I could therefore expect to spend over $200 on my ear infection. It hurt really badly, so I considered it carefully.

I went home having decided to wait to see a real doctor tomorrow.

At home Sis said "What about that clinic at Kroger?"

That clinic is called the Little Clinic.

I paid $59 for the visit and $8 for amoxicillin and some numbing ear drops.

The Little Clinic gets the 13Months Seal of Approval.


Down for the Count

If you are a regular reader of Nila's blog, then you know she's been sick for the past few days.

Two days ago, she passed it on to me. Yesterday, Sis and I took Matt and Hannah to see Wall-E and then to lunch at Raising Cane's. The cold had me feeling sluggish, so I skipped the pool activities which followed and Angie went in my stead.

In the evening, I went to Com Fest with Sis and Nikki. We had dinner at Barley's and then walked the festival. It was hot and, after maybe 20 minutes, I was done with it.

Sis stayed to party with some friends and Nikki and I headed out. We went to IntaJuice and then made a swing by Barnes and Noble.

Exciting, right? Well, that's how I roll.

By the time I got to Barnes and Noble, I was dead. I couldn't breathe and it was a struggle to keep my eyes open. For a while, I wandered around stubbornly trying to be interested in books, finish my smoothie and breathe all at the same time.

I eventually went to the music section, sat on a stool and tried to stay awake while listening to snippets of new music.

Nikki found me there and took me home. I got home and into bed by 11:00.

I woke up today at 3:00 pm.

I've been awake for a whole 8 hours now and I'm thinking about going back to bed. It's been a long time since I've been wiped out so completely by a cold.

In review:

Wall-E: So boring. I think Pixar forgot the plot in all the message. It was certainly well-made, but a snooze fest nonetheless.

Raising Cane's: Always 5 star. I love their special sauce!

ComFest: I am too old for this crap. Pseudo-Hippies smoking pot and painting their ugly, saggy breasts coupled with oppressive heat and oppressive liberalism isn't as much fun as it once was. On the up side, there was a large tent for bike parking and it was full. On the down side, everyone else had to pay $10 to park.

Barley's: I should mention that this weekend Columbus also hosted some sort of gaming convention. As Barley's is right across from the convention center, it was full of nerds. I don't blame Barley's, though. The food was good, the atmosphere was pleasant and, if I weren't ill, I would have dogged* on some ice-cream sandwiches.

IntaJuice: If you like smoothies - and who doesn't - this is the place. I used to like Surf City Squeeze at City Center, but that went out of business ages ago. Our fine city has been fairly smoothie-shopless since. We have Planet Smoothie, but I hate Planet Smoothie, so it doesn't count. Enter IntaJuice. It's in the South Campus Gateway and very good.

Barnes and Noble: It's Barnes and Noble. Corporate booking at it's finest, I guess. My only complaints are that there aren't more chairs and they've stopped allowing me to listen to whole songs in the music village.


A Scene From a Pool

I went to my apartment complex swimming pool for the first time this summer. Sis and I only stayed a couple of hours, but I got a little it of sun. It was a nice time.

As we were leaving, I overheard the following conversation between three 13-year-old boys.

Boy #1: Dude, are you gonna get in the pool?

Boy #2: I don't know, dude.

Boy #3: He's gonna do like Jesse did, dude. He's gonna sit down.

That's all I heard, but don't assume that this snippet is taken out of context. If there's one thing I know about Jesse, I know that he sits. It's sort of his thing.



Free Chipotle burrito tonight from 5-8 in the Columbus area.

More here.


Matt and Hannah Celebrate Together

On Sunday, Vanessa had a combined birthday party for Hannah and Matthew. Matt turned 5 earlier this month and Hannah will be 8 on Friday.

The party was a lot of fun as usual and there was no shortage of pool-related water fun including waer gun and water balloon fights.

Hannah helps Nila swim. Nila seems angry, but she loved it.

Matthew goes Indiana Jones on us.

A fun time was had by all.


Getting Off his bus Like a New Emotion

It turns out these fine ladies are a hoax.

But I don't care!!!

Children on Trial

The following article can be found at Amnesty International.

I read the article first on two great blogs which address the Kurdish issues in Turkey:

Rastibini and Hevallo

Turkey: Three children on trial in case over freedom of expression

Tomorrow, 19 June, three boys, aged 15, 15 and 17 at the time that the alleged offence was committed, will go on trial in Diyarbakır in the south east of Turkey accused of violating Article 7/2 of the anti-terror law that criminalizes “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation or its aims”. The article carries a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment.

The prosecution was brought after the children, who are all members of the Diyarbakır Yenişehir Municipality Children’s Choir, sang a Kurdish language anthem Ey Raqip (Hey Enemy) at a world music festival in San Francisco in October 2007. The choir sang songs in a total of nine different languages including a Turkish patriotic song (Çanakkale Marşı). Six other members of the choir who are under 15 years of age are being prosecuted for the same offence at a Children’s Court.

While international human rights law permits states to impose certain limitations on freedom of expression, these can only be such as are necessary and proportionate for certain purposes - protecting the rights and freedoms of others, public health or morals, or national security or public order. The singing of Ey Raqıp, a historical anthem, cannot be regarded as a threat to public order, and the prosecution threatens the right to freedom of expression.If these children are convicted and imprisoned, Amnesty International would consider them to be prisoners of conscience.

Amnesty International is also concerned that those between the ages of 15 and 17 are being tried in an adult court. Under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which applies to everyone under 18, states should aim to establish laws, procedures, authorities and institutions specifically applicable to children accused of infringing the penal law. The UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice ("The Beijing Rules"), adopted by the UN General Assembly in November 1985, stipulate in particular that proceedings for children should be conducive to the best interests of the child and shall be conducted in an atmosphere of understanding allowing them to participate and to express themselves freely, and that the well-being of the child should be the guiding factor in the consideration of the case.

When I was in San Diego for training last October, we saw this group of kids perform. It's crazy to believe that these children are now on trial for performing traditional songs in San Fransisco!


Kurdish Lesson 05 - Notes on Pronunciation

This post is for Mo.

First, I should apologize for deleting your comment on this. It was just too long. Sorry.

But let that be a lesson for the rest of you!

Just kidding...

Ok. Her comment was a plea for clarification on the pronunciation of the Kurdish words I've listed here with these Kurdish lessons. This is one of the reasons I was somewhat hesitant to try to teach anything to do with language.

As you may know, Kurdish is not written with a latinate alphabet. They use an Arabic script. It should be noted, however, that it is not the same script used to write Arabic; there are many differences between the two. In Kurdish each letter makes one consistent sound.

English is not written with an Arabic alphabet. We use the Latin alphabet, or at least we use parts of it.

I am sure you've noticed, though, that the English alphabet is not consistent when it comes to sound. Most of the consonants are fairly consistent, but the vowels are all over the place.

Kurdish can be written with the latin alphabet.

There is an alphabet called Latini which is used uncommonly for written Sorani Kurdish. In Latini each Kurdish letter equals one latin letter; each letter equals one and only one sound. There are letters in this alphabet that don't appear in English. For instance the ' represents a sound. There are also different letters for the short and long "a" sounds as another example.

That presents me with two problems. 1) I can't use the Latini alphabet because some of the letters don't appear on my keyboard and 2) I would have to teach a new alphabet to everyone and I don't think anyone wants that.

You can see more on the alphabets here. Pay special attention to Latin 1 (that's closest to English) and Latin 2 (that's the Latini used in Kurdistan).
Kurdish script in action! Plus Angie in fancy sunglasses!

Having said all of that, I will try to help with the words I've already listed:

I, me = min (like the English word men)
you = to (pronounced like toe)
he/him/she/her/it = ew (Similar to the ou in ouch, but short)
we, us = ayme (long a + the mu in mug)
you plural = aywe (long a + what - t)
they, them = ewan (uh like you're thinking + Juan)

hello/ how are you: chony? bashy? (chony means how are you, but is used as hello. bashy literally means "are you good?" The two are usually used together.) (chony rhymes with phony and bashy sounds like gnosh + long e)

I'm good. Thanks: Bashim. Supas (pronounced closer to spas) (the a is pronounced like ah)

And how are you: To chony?

Good bye: Xwa hafis (The sound of X does not appear in English. It's like the German "ch" in Bach. Hafis is like ha+fee+ the s sound in hiss)

See you later: Dwai etbeenimewe (dw+ the word eye, then et + bean + um + uh + wuh)

Halabja (all the a's are like "ah" and everything else sounds like you expect.)

I hope that helps!


My First Father's Day

Or is it Fathers' Day? I don't really know and, regardless, it was still my first one as a dad.

Honestly, it's the first one I've had reason to celebrate in fourteen years. Not to be sentimental (heaven forbid), but since my dad died back in 1994, there hasn't been much reason to celebrate the day. It had gotten to the point where I blocked out the holiday altogether and was often surprised when someone mentioned it.

"Oh, how quaint. You still celebrate that?" Like it was Boxing Day or Decoration Day.

My first venture back into the land of Father's Day was nice. Mom and Grandma Kay cooked up a hearty lunch - of my choosing - and we plus Angie, Nila and Sis ate it on Grandma Kay's newly well-appointed patio.

Later in the day we went to a little ice cream shop on Hard Rd. called Mardi Gras. Given the French name, you might be surprised by it's Indian heritage. We didn't try any of the subcontinent's frozen treats opting instead for something called Butterscotch Crunch which tasted like a pudding pop. Remember those?

I think it's fair to say that we all ate too much ice cream.

It was a good first time out. I look forward to many more Father's Days to come.


Kurdish Lesson 04 - Pronouns*

With these lessons, I want to teach language along with culture. This lesson is back to language again.

Let's start with the pronouns.

I, me = min
you = to (pronounced like toe)
he/him/she/her/it = ew
we, us = ayme
you plural = aywe
they, them = ewan

You'll notice that there is only one word for he, she and it. It makes things easier and more complicated at the same time. It's similar to English only having one word for you and you plural. We have to use context to define what we mean.

Sorani does have a plural you. When I was learning, I would use the German plural you as a place holder. Learning German was my first experience with the plural you. Before this I had no idea it was missing in English!

Also making things easier, is the fact that the pronouns are the same as subject and object. For example, in English we would say I ate the chicken or the chicken at me. In Kurdish it's min mirishikim xward and mirishikeke mini xward. Same word in both positions.

I don't actually know the Kurdish word for owl, but this bird is huge! And could probably eat me.

I know grammar is boring for most people, so I'll leave off there. I think the next time we get a language lesson, I'll teach you how to use the verb have - it's easy to use.

But, before I stop I'll give you a few useful phrases.

hello/ how are you: chony? bashy? (chony means how are you, but is used as hello. bashy literally means "are you good?" The two are usually used together.

I'm good. Thanks: Bashim. Supas (pronounced closer to spas)

And how are you: To chony?

Good bye: Xwa hafis

See you later: Dwai etbeenimewe

I think next time we'll learn about Halabja.

* all language lessons are Sorani Kurdish as spoken in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq (Southern Kurdistan). All spellings are an attempt to simplify pronunciation.

Thursday Night Treat

It is Thursday, right? I lost track of my days somewhere.

I promise to get back to serious posts soon, but I wanted to share this with everyone who reads.

As you may know, I am a big fan of the soap opera As the World Turns. I am not ashamed of this. I truly love the show. It's one of my favorites. In fact, I've often said that, if I could only watch one hour a day, it'd be As the World Turns.

Here's why:

Allison has accused Chris Hughes of sexual harassment. You see, he was helping her with nursing school until she refused to sleep with him. Then he had her dismissed from the program.

He followed that up by getting her fired from her nurses assistant job at the hospital.

Today, he cornered her in the break room (she got her job back).
Allison: "All I ever wanted was to do good in school."

Chris: Clearly disgusted he says, "You mean well."

Allison: "Go to Hell, Chris."
Kate and I almost died laughing when we saw it. He not only sexually harasses people, but he grammatically harasses them, too! Awesome.


A Little Tuesday Night Treat

Angie and I made brownies tonight.

I can't share them with you over the internet, but I can give you this.


The Blog Game - Siblings

Topic: siblings.

Selector: Tammy at It's Not the Road... aka my mom

The Rules:
1. Write about the chosen topic.

2. Write a post on the topic. Be sure to copy these rules at the beginning.

3. Once you've written your post, go back to the topic selector's blog and leave a comment letting us all know where to read yours.

4. In a few days, after we've all had a chance to write something, the topic selector will "tag" one of the commenters and that person will pick the next topic and we'll all comment on that blog.

Here goes.

I don't have siblings. I have sisters. 4 of them.

For those who may not be up on the family, I technically have 1 sister, 1 half-sister and 2 step-sisters.

I've had Brandi as a sister since the day I was born. She's the one from whom I learned pretty much everything I know. She taught me how to read and how to dress and how to act. I looked to her for all the answers when I was young. I don't have to ask her as much now because she did her job well enough that I can make my own decisions now with confidence.

She taught me about God and who Jesus is. I was baptized because she was and I wanted to be like her. That's when I was twenty!

To quote the great Aunt Che, if she ate a big fat turd, so would I.

Next came Vanessa and Erin. This June marks the 20th anniversary of our meeting. What I remember most is that Vanessa used to beat Erin up all the time. I learned after a few months that Erin deserved most of it. Vanessa and I did not get along, but as time went on and Middle School hit, she became a great friend to me. She and Erin both were there over the weekends spent at Dad's when I didn't have any other friends - or at least no one I wanted to spend time with outside of school.

They were both there for me when Dad died. That was over 14 years ago and we had to decide then to be a part of one another's lives now that we had no family connections other than Kate. That's a far cry from Vanessa telling me "no one wants you here," here being Dad's house and me calling Vanessa a snowman from Hell. I wasn't quite as witty as I am now.

Then there's Kate who pops into the picture in December 1988. I'd never had a little sister before and Kate was a treat. She pooped on the floor, she ate butter from the tub and she eventually made terribly inappropriate Selena jokes. She was an awesome kid and, luckily, she's just as great as a twenty year-old college student!

From the left: Kate, Vanessa, Me, Erin, Sis. In the front are Angie and Nila. Angie looks crazy, but she just had a baby 10 minutes before, so giver her a break.

So, that's my post about siblings. I have more to say about these lovely ladies, but I don't want to start rambling.

I love my sisters!


Kurdish Lesson 03 - What's What

I like these Kurdish lessons I have to admit. I didn't think I'd be able to keep it up, and, while I'm sure it'll get progressively harder to find something to teach, I'm excited for now.

Today, I'll go back to basics. I'll discuss who the Kurds are and where they live, but, first some Kurdish music.

Ziyad Asaad - Pey Belen - www.Kurd.us

Found at bee mp3 search engine

Don't give up. It gets good at the 1 minute mark.

Who are the Kurds:

The easiest way to answer this question is, of course, is to read the wikipedia article and I recommend that you do.

But, I'll also summarize and add my own info.

The Kurds are a people group living in modern Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Due to various events in Kurdish history, there is also a sizable diaspora spread throughout Asia and Europe. There are also smaller communities in the US, Canada and Australia. If you read this blog regularly, you know there's a community in San Diego.

Their history is a complex mix of (mostly) Indo-European people groups moving into the area and adding their cultural, religious and language (and DNA, of course) to the mix. By 400 BC, the Kurds were known as Carduchi by the Greeks whose armies they attacked and they came under Roman rule in 66 BC.

In the seventh century AD, the Arabs showed up to conquer the Kurds. They, of course, were successful and most Kurds were converted from local religions to Islam.

The Kurds eventually became part of the Ottoman Empire and, after WWI, they found themselves inhabiting four new countries (and the Soviet Union) none of which had a Kurdish majority.

The Kurds have a distinct language from their neighbors, though years of minority status have influenced the language quite a bit. Arabic words can be found in the language of the Kurds in Iraq, Syria and even Turkish. Farsi words are common in Iranian Kurdish and Turkish has all but displaced Kurdish in Turkey.

In Iraqi Kurdistan there is an effort to rid the language of Arabic loan words and replace them with the Kurdish. The problem, in my experience, is that with some words, no one knows the Kurdish word. I remember my language helper calling his wife on multiple occasions and then listening as the struggled to come up with a non-Arabic word!

But, given the history of Arab oppression under Saddam Hussein, I can't judge their drive to purge Arabic from their language.

Where do they live:

Kurds live everywhere!

Just kidding, but, as I mentioned above, there is a large diaspora.

Kurds in Kurdistan are spread between Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Armenia.

In Iraq, there are three provinces - Dohuk, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah - which are recognized as Kurdistan. There is also a a majority Kurdish population in the oil-rich city of Kirkuk and the surrounding province. Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution promises a referendum on the inclusion of Kirkuk in the autonomous Kurdish region. This vote was scheduled for November 2007, but has yet to take place.

I have mentioned the mistreatment of Kurds in Iran, Turkey and Syria, so I won't go into it again now, but I will highlight a tidbit from the wikipedia piece on Article 140: Saudi Arabia reportedly offered the Iraqi Kurdish leaders $2 billion in exchange for delaying the process for ten years.

I mention that to highlight the fact that Kurdistan lays with hostile countries amid a hostile region. The Kurds have an oft-quoted proverb: "The Kurds have no friends but the mountains." In their history they have often been forced high into the mountains to escape persecution. Even today, it would seem that their neighbors work hard to destroy them.


Summer Game

This cycle of the Theme Blog Game is over. We got three responses. It's not bad for the beginning, but we're gonna need to step it up.

I have decided to tag Tammy for the next topic. Be sure to check out her blog to see what the next topic is. It was a random choice between Mom and Angie.

Sorry, Devan, but your MySpace page is set to private.

Angie stepped it up by adding a video of her favorite summer song, so I have added mine below.

I can't explain the video, but it's what I was able to find on YouTube. I mean, I know the meter is there to imply heavy air conditioning use, but...


Xwat Legel, Hillaryxan

So, Hillary's due to concede the Democratic nomination this week.

I can't really say that I'll miss her, but I am intrigued by the happenings.

There were two Democratic candidates who supported troop withdrawal in Iraq by leaving a residual force behind, most likely in Kurdistan - Joe Biden and HRC herself. Now, they're both out of the race.

Obama does NOT support a permanent troop presence in Iraq.

McCain, on the other hand, quite famously said that he supports the troop presence in Iraq for 100 years. This sound good, but the problem is that I fear that McCain sees victory in Iraq as victory for Iraq.

By that I mean that he - and most war supporters - expect Iraq to stay intact; partition would be a type of defeat.

I'll be waiting for the candidates to discuss alternative action plans for Iraq, but I won't be holding my breath or anything. I don't expect much.


Kurdish Lesson 02 - The Kurdish Air Force

A graveyard in Halabja for those who died in March 1988 when Saddam Hussein dropped chemical weapons on the city. It is the worst chemical weapons attack against a civilian population

Another popular search which leads people to this blog is the Kurdish air force.

There is no Kurdish air force. Therefore, my two posts on this rate fairly high on google. The real question, though, is why people are searching for information on something that doesn't exist.

I have two theories to explain it.
  1. People wish the Kurds did have an air force
  2. People are afraid that the Kurds have an air force.

The Kurdish army is better known as the Peshmerga. This means "those who face death." One definition I've heard indicates that it means more than just face death, but more like those who rush forward to face death.

Even though they've never been able to secure a homeland for the Kurds, the Peshmerga are one of the most successful militias in history. Since 1996, they've kept the north of Iraq peaceful and held the Arab insurgence at bay. In fact, the US Army relies on them in such volatile cities as Kirkuk and Mosul.

So, people who see this success and applaud it want the Kurds to have an air force. With an air force the Peshmerga could even better secure Kurdish interests in Iraq.

Those who see the success and fear it do not want the Kurds to have an air force. The only country in which the Kurds have any sort of power is Iraq, of course. Turkey, Iran and Syria actively persecute their own Kurdish populations.

These would be the countries with the most to lose from an active Kurdish air force.

The PKK with airplanes would be a disaster viewed through Turkish eyes as it would undoubtedly lead to a sovereign Kurdish state in what is now eastern Turkey. Turkey has a long and brutal history of oppressing the Kurds.

Perhaps surprisingly, the Kurds have found better treatment in Iran. As this article points out, "unlike Turkey where Kurds are called 'the mountainous Turks', no one in Iran has dared to make such insulting remarks concerning the Kurds in Iran."

Today, Kurds are oppressed and censured along the same lines as the rest of the Iranian minority populations, but with perhaps greater frequency. Kurdish journalists are increasingly being targeted. These links (1 and 2) are two recent examples.

The Kurdish population is Syria numbers 1.5 million and, like Turkey, Syria denies their ethnic identity. Syria's government is ba'athist, like the former Hussein government in Iraq. The Kurds there are openly repressed even unable to use Kurdish names for their children. This article from the Kurdish Human Rights Watch (KHRW) has more information.

So, while Angie and I often talk about all of the amazing progress in Sulaymaniyah (and it's very true) I hope we can all remember that there is a very real struggle for the freedom of the Kurds and the survival of their culture. In this fight Iraqi Kurdistan is a very real beacon of hope. Among all the debate about the war and the American presence there - a political topic that I won't get into here - we should remember that the Kurds are benefiting and their neighbors are working hard to ensure their failure.

All three countries - Iran, Turkey and Syria - have people on the ground in Iraq and Kurdistan with the goal of bringing down the Iraqi government and to ensure that Kurdish freedom does no spread and ultimately is turned back. There can be no doubt about this.

So, I hope we all learned something.

A Blog Game

Let's play a game of sorts.

I'll choose a topic. Then I'll write about it.

If you have a blog, you'll write a post about the same topic. Once you've written your post, come back here and leave a comment letting us all know where to read it.

In a few days, after we've all had a chance to write something, I'll "tag" one of the commenters and that person will pick the next topic and we'll all comment on that blog.

Sounds good, right?

Today's topic:


It's June 2 now, and even though it's technically late Spring it's getting hot here in Columbus. It may hit 90 by mid-week. More than just that, though, we're also talking sever thunderstorms. Anyone who's lived in Columbus knows that means high humidity to match the heat.

Having lived in Iraq, I know that there are hotter temperatures to be endured. I remember last year that I would get so hot that I just wanted to take my pants off. My legs would just get so hot that I felt crazy.

I also know that there are places with worse humidity. I spent a week in Arkansas one August. There was fog all day because the air was so wet. I went with Misty and her sister to visit their mother. She wouldn't turn the air conditioning on in the car until it had run for five minutes. She said it was better for the engine and we'd all sit there sweating and miserable until our five minutes were up.

While I can't tell you whether or not waiting is sound car advice, I can say that it almost kills the people inside the car. I consider myself lucky to be alive today.

Having said all that, the Columbus Summer is both hot and humid. We're one of those cities that can't stop talking about how hot and humid it is.

It's also the most wonderful time to be in Columbus.

This weekend we'll have the Columbus Arts Festival and Short North Gallery Hop. Then a few short weeks later we'll celebrate the Fourth of July.

I won't go into the other great local events, lest you become so jealous that a growing displeasure with your own lame town ruins your Summer!

I intend to spend this Summer in shorts (so my legs don't burn off) and either outside or in air conditioning (so I don't die in a car).

So, I have rambled rather than enlightened, but there you have it.

What do you have to say about Summer?

Edit: Direct links to Summer posts: