Most engaging

We got a big kick out of this sight in Ephesus, Turkey, May 2008.

We got a big kick out of this sight in Ephesus, Turkey, May 2008.

The two most engaging powers of an author are to make new things familiar and familiar things new.” Samuel Johnson

Is there any brand name more tiresomely familiar than Walmart?  Yet this enterprising Turkish businessman found a way to put a humorous spin on it, borrowing that famous name and slogan for his small merchandise stand near the ruins of Ephesus.  Familiar, but not the same old thing!  We instantly felt more at home when we saw it.

When I first found today’s quote, I wished there was a way to feature it with a collage of re-blogs from so many of my favorite bloggers, all of whom have made their exotic (to me) worlds more familiar.  It would be equally fitting to re-blog an assortment of posts from those whose lives or locations are more familiar to me, yet who have helped me, through their writing and photos, to see the ordinary with new eyes.

So, my fellow bloggers and blog readers, I borrow Misifusa’s encouraging words and urge you to SHINE ON!  Though some might belittle what we do, I really believe we are making the world a friendlier place, one exchange at a time.  Thanks for being here, and for taking me there!

And by the way…those shop owners at Ephesus certainly have a sense of humor:

Genuine fakes Ephesus May 2008

One year ago today:

The familiar exotic



  1. I am truly honored Julia that you included me. I agree with you whole heartedly that our world is a better place because of bloggers like you! ♥ I believe we shine on and bring peace to others, one blog post at a time, one comment, one like and one email exchange ~ as I like to say, baby steps! Great post as always! xo

    • Thanks so much M! You are such an encouragement! 🙂

  2. raynard

    Julia I never understood as I was leaving Turkey when I visited the Blue Mosque , why there were trying to sell me a leather coast in the middle of the summer.. I do remember over there” there were not quite skilled at make a sub sandwich.( dont get me started on the visit of a former President of their’s..( they cut the throat of a cow near my fuel truck parked at the airfield. My next words to the contracted firemen were” who’s going to clean that up”.. I digress .. be blessed and have a great day..

    • Raynard, they probably figure that most of the tourists there are going back to places where it’s cold at least some of the time. I guess if people can buy rugs there and have them shipped, a leather coat is no big deal. I’m afraid I would be traumatized if I had to watch a cow slaughtered, even though I’m not a vegetarian. I remember reading some quote that said “if slaugter houses had glass walls EVERYONE would be a vegetarian.”

  3. Julia I love this post. I guess the world is constantly watching us, and we do bring them gifts. Great post. :o)

    • Thank you Patricia. Sometimes the idea of being watched gives me the creeps (it took me many years to even comment online under my real name) but it does force me to look outward more and focus on others instead of myself. Once you start discovering all the wonderful people out there you lose the fear to a large extent, at least that happened for me. Thanks for being here!

  4. This truly made me LOL! Love, love, love the “Genuine Fake Watches”! I MUST have one!

    • Yes, we must be diligent to avoid the FAKE fake watches and insist upon the genuine fake version every time. There are so many unscrupulous dealers out there selling spin-offs of the spin-offs! It’s good to know that there are still GENUINE fake items out there for the discriminating consumer!

  5. I also agree with you about blogging. Love hearing from everyday people around the world. It’s truly awesome!

    • It really does make the world smaller, and my world larger and brighter, to hear from people all over the world. We are so fortunate. Perhaps one day our children’s children will be saying “…and when I was born, people were mostly friends with people in their same home town, and hardly ever knew anyone who lived on a different continent…” So many potential friends, so little time…

  6. Julia, thanks for your picture turkey’s Wal-Mart. The ad for genuine fake watches make me smile… 🙂

    • Merry, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I should have gotten myself a genuine fake watch to go with the photo!

  7. Michael

    That reminded me of watch shops on Canal street in NYC. You have to ask for the fake Rolexes. I got my little brother one, which lasted like a week or so.

    • I always wondered how long those would last. I think someone should make some that actually SAY “Fake Rolex” on the face – as a sort of reverse snob, I might wear one of those. 🙂

  8. I thought, “that’s a catchy little quote”, and so I linked to Samuels bio. I read up to where his poor wife had died. I wasn’t entirely impressed with his attitude at all. Seems like he had a big chip on his shoulders and was constantly trying to prove himself at others expense, including spending his wife’s dowry. Life for a woman was entirely different back then I suppose. If the hubby said, “I’m going to spend your life savings on this fanciful idea of mine”, then she probably didn’t have much say. Too bad SHE wasn’t an author too so we could have gotten a look into her feelings on the whole debacle. Wow, if he could see us now. Woman, writing to world wide audiences, I sure his month would be gaping, ha!

    • You’re quite right that many women (and men) of the 1700’s would be astounded to see what women (and men) are doing online nowadays — in fact, it amazes me too! As women we take far too much for granted in contemporary life, compared to those who came before us — but then, so do men. Life in bygone centuries wasn’t easy or kind to anyone, I fear, though some had it far better than others.

      Actually, I myself find Johnson quite impressive. Considering his horrendous childhood, his physical disabilities and his mental illness (he suffered from lifelong bouts of severe depression, and many scholars believe he had Tourette’s Syndrome, a condition not understood in the 1700’s or for nearly 200 years from when he was born) it’s quite remarkable that he became the second-most-quoted writer, right behind Shakespeare. I also like that he married a woman 21 years his senior, whom (by all accounts) he loved, cared for through illness, and deeply mourned when she died. As for his admitted failings, he was a absolute prince compared to Byron and Shelley, who came many years after him and arguably should have known better than, for example, to engage in affairs with one’s married half-sister, or abandon one’s pregnant wife, resulting in her suicide. And that’s only two instances from their scandalous lives – their stories are sensationally convoluted and destructive, and both died young, leaving us to wonder what astounding poetic works died with them.

      BUT, it must be pointed out that there were some women who were successful as writers even in those days, among them Shelley’s famed second wife Mary (whom he married after his distraught first wife committed suicide when he left her for Mary) and before her, Jane Austen, who was among those influenced by Samuel Johnson.

      • Well I guess you and I got lucky in the men department 😀 I peaked through the links and got the immediate impression that there was a lot of death in most lives back then. Glad I’m living now! With indoor plumbing, clean water and central heating 😀 Look at all the chances in just 2 centuries….what are the possibilities in the next two centuries?

        • Yes, we are very lucky. As for what may lie in store for us, I imagine in the not-too-distant future, we might be having Skype tea time in a virtual reality (VR) room (blank 4 white walls that are actually top to bottom HD screens) with full color, 3D holographic images of ourselves around a real table with real tea (each in our different rooms), complete with the projected setting of our choice on the screen walls. Probably once the technology is refined we can even change settings mid-tea; from a tropical rain forest to a sandy beach to a snow covered mountain setting (minus the frigid temperatures). Are you listening, techno geek inventors on the cutting edge? I am guessing in the beginning, these VR rooms would be available only for rent at certain locations, but maybe eventually, every home will have a VR room for visiting with loved ones all over the world. If all this sounds far-fetched, just remember how crazy what we are doing now would have sounded to our ancestors who didn’t have telephones, television or indoor plumbing.

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