Monday, January 25, 2010

Kış geldi...

I must admit that living in a half-assedly developed country seems like a lot better idea when it's not -4 degrees Celsius (25 F): when the beautiful view from the windows of the lovely old apartment with no heating system is not obscured by snow and of much less importance than the wind blowing through the cracks in said windows; when the periodic black-outs that were such a laugh when you could weather them drinking wine on the porch don't mean waking up in a cold room to no space heaters and no hot showers; when the charmingly cobbled, rutted, and uneven streets are not slick with ice; and when two guys in a pickup truck don't throw dirt at you with big shovels as they drive past. On the plus side, there's... uh... there's... sahlep?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bunny Sunday

Although I like to refer to my workplace as "the copy factory," many of my desk mates prefer the moniker "copy jungle," in reference, I assume, to the thick tangles of copy we have to cut through each day. Today, for the first time, the copy jungle was inhabited by an actual animal -- the bunny rabbit that one of the page designers apparently decided to bring into the office for the day.

Aside from providing an adorable distraction from the drudgery of a Sunday at work, our fuzzy visitor also prompted the revelation from one of my fellow yabancı co-workers that she had no idea what the city's fortune-telling rabbits were all about: "I thought people here had never seen a rabbit, so they were paying to pet them!"

Monday, January 18, 2010

Multilingual malapropisms

Honestly, I try really, really hard not to giggle at the Turklishisms -- humorous manglings of English written by Turks -- that I encounter on a daily, nay, hourly, basis working as a copy editor. At least, not outside the confines of the copy desk. I know I couldn't write half as well in Turkish as our reporters do in English and I have, in fact, been laughed at for my attempts to do so.* But some things just tickle my funny bone to an impossible degree. Yesterday, for example, a short news article about a Turkish ship fending off Somali pirates contained both of the following malapropisms:

"According to a statement in the official website of Turkish General Stuff..."
That would be, of course, the Turkish General Staff, which oversees the country's armed forces. But, you know, a website of Turkish general stuff would be awfully helpful as well.
"A machine equipped with global poisoning system was seized in the boat as well."
Those crafty, malevolent pirates! You can't put anything past them. Not even Poisoning The Entire Globe. Just wait until Hollywood gets its hands on that story.

* As I said, I've been on both sides of this joke. Early on in my stay here, I needed to request permission for an interview and photo shoot at a museum and was turned away with the official letter I brought from the magazine I was freelancing for in the States because it was written in English. I went home, painstakingly translated the letter as best as I was able, and brought it to the museum, where I presented it to the director (who spoke no English) and his assistant (who was helping us communicate). They looked it over, and then chatted briefly in Turkish. I didn't get it all, of course, but I did understand: "Where did this letter come from? Ankara? It's kind of funny..."

At that point, I had to interject. "I translated it," I said in Turkish. "Oh! Well, that's alright then," they responded, charitable as always to those crazy foreigners.