Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dead or Alive (5 of 12)- Christopher Lee

Today, we resurrect (no pun intended) our Dead or Alive series for Halloween by asking if British actor Christopher Lee, perhaps best known for his title role in "Dracula Has Risen From the Grave" (1968) is still among us.

Lee was born on May 27, 1922, in London, England.

In the last entry to this series, we asked if former game show Richard Dawson was alive or dead. "Family Feud" fans will be happy to learn that he is alive as his game show which continues with another host (sorry, I don't watch much daytime tv so I have no idea who hosts the show now).

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Special Quote of the Day- Nazim Hikmet

Since today is Republic's Day in Turkey, my late father's country, I thought I would quote the great Turksih poet Nazim Hikmet (1901-1963).

Hikmet was a communist who was frequently jailed for his political activity, but ironically today he is considered to be The Official National Poet of Turkey, and one of his poems about a Turkish military victory is actually considered to be a favorite among nationalists! Hikmet lived his later years in exile in the Soviet Union. He is buried in Moscow:

"However and wherever we are, we must live as if we will never die."

Monday, October 26, 2009

Quote of the Week- Gilda Radner

Eight years ago, my aunt Jo-Jo died of breat cancer in her mid-40s.

Comedian Gilda Radner (1944-1989) also succumbed to the disease at that juncture in her life.

Today in honor of Breat Cancer Awareness Month, we quip the famed 'Saturday Night Life" actress pictured here as Roseanne Roseaannadanna with Jane Curtain:

"I'd much rather be a woman than a man. Women can cry, they can wear cute clothes, and they're the first to be rescued from a sinking ship."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Know Your Congressional Reps and Senators (16 of 21)- Frank Wolf

Those of who read this blog regularly know I'm a fairly partisan Democrat. In fact, we just endorsed Demcratic state senator Creigh Deeds for the Virginia gubernatorial race (see earlier entry).

But, I do happen to have many Republican friends and some of them are federal state representatives in Washington, DC, Richmond and Raleigh.

Cong. Frank Wolf (R-Va) is one of those friends, and I have tremendous respect and admiration for him.

Wolf, who was born on Jan. 30, 1939, in Philadelphia is the most senior of all Virginia's congressional reps. Wolf was elected in 1980 after narrowly defeating the incumbent Democrat Joe Fisher (1914-1992) who had served three terms in the house.

Wolf is co-chair os the Human Rights Caucus along with Cong. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), and he is also prominent in the fields of transportation and gambling.

Since 1989, Wolf has made five trips to The Sudan (according to Wikipedia) and he has advocated relief for the genocide in Darfur.

Wolf also formed the bipartisan Iraq Study Group in 2006 to access the war in Iraq.

But, Wolf is perhaps best known for vocally criticizing China's human rights record. During a visit to Beijing with Cong. Chris Smith (R-NJ) just prior to the 2008 Olympics, Wolf was not allowed to meet with local human rights lawyers.

He was last challenged by Democratic opponent Judy Feder.

Wolf represents the tenth district of Virginia, which includes mostly DC suburbs as well as the town of Front Royal and the City of Winchester.

Cong. Rick Boucher (D-VA), who was elected to office in 1984, is Virginia's most senior Democratic congressional rep.

I met Wolf while working for a weekly newspaper in Woodstock, Va., which is now in the sixth congressional district represented by Cong. Bob Goodlate (R).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Last 10 Films I've Seen

This may qualify as an in-joke since I am using two images from the original books to two movies I've recently seen on my two respective blogs.

The in-joke is that because I watch so many films, I rarely get around to actually reading novels, but perhaps I can read the original book to "Where the Wild Things Are" (pictured here) since it is reportedly less than 300 words! Perhaps, my friends Sam Riddleberger (pseudodymn) and CeCe Bell (a married couple, both of whom are children's book authors) would be proud of me.

I have read William Burroughs' novel "Naked Lunch" several times though, but I haven't read Upton Sinclair's novel "Oil!," which was the basis for "There Will Be Blood." However, I have read Sinclair's most famous work "The Jungle," which I don't believe ever got made into a movie.

I got this idea from "Film Comment" magazine which lists the last ten films that film directors or esteemed film critics have seen. I forget whose list I saw last (I think it may have been Wes Anderson) though I would love to see the list of films that Quentin Tarantino and John Waters have seen.

Here is my list, going from the film I've seen most recently backwards. I actually saw all but three of these films at a movie theatre, including a midnight screening in Greensboro, NC, of the ever-disturbing Japanese horror film "Audition."

The star indicates that I had viewed the film previously:

1. "In the Loop"
2. "Zombieland"
3. "Where the Wild Things Are"
4. "Audition" (Japan)*
5. "Death at a Funeral"
6. "Bright Star"
7. "Capitalism: A Love Story" (doc)
8. "Naked Lunch"*
9. "There Will Be Blood"*
10. "Cold Souls"

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Silly Photo to Fill Space- Hokie Bird

Since the Virginia Tech Hokies will face the University of North Carolina Tarheels in a nationally televised game in Blacksburg, Va., on ESPN on Thurs., Oct. 29, I thought I would feature photos of both school's mascots. I happen to live on the Virginia-North Carolina border, and I've learned it's smart to root for the Hokies during football season and the 'Heels come basketball season.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Quote of the Week- David Mamet

I had a chance to see the Triad Stage (Greensboro, NC) preview production of David Mamet's highly controversial play "Oleanna" last night, and I really enjoyed it!

The play was directed by Preston Lane, who is also the co-founder of the theatre.

"Oleanna" is a heated play because it deals with the ever-sensitive subject of sexual harrassment and how it can quickly turn into a he said/she said 'Rashomon' nightmare.

I had done a paper on the play while at Radford University, and I read it several times. I also saw the 1994 film (the play hit Broadway in 1992) which Mamet directed himself.

"Oleanna" is definitely a play which is better seen on-stage though two of his other plays, "Glen Gary, Glen Ross" and "American Buffalo" have been adapted well on screen.

Ginny Myers Lee was quite as Carol (the student) as was Lee Spencer (the teacher).

Mamet is an interesting figure himself as he wrote a column in "The Village Voice" about moving from left to right in terms of his politics.......the most shocking part of the piece was his support for George W. Bush! (who even many conservatives deemed to be an absolute idiot!).

I highly recommend the play for anyone living in Greensboro/Winston-Salem area.

It runs through Nov. 8. The box office number is (336) 272-0160 or 1-800-579-TIXX

Here is today's quip from Mamet, which I myself don't entirely agree with, but it does illustrate his creative perspectives:

"The avant-garde is to the left what jingoism is to the right. Both are a refuge in nonsense."

NOTE: The above picture with Julia Stiles as Carol is not from the Triad Stage production.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Today, I am using both of my blogs to endorse Virginia's three Democratic candidates for state office. Though I am mostly a partisan Democrat, I will vote for a candidate from the Republican Party if I feel they are a moderate with strong leadership skills. Alas, in the South, the overwhelming majority of Republican candidates lean far-right and have close allegiances with extreme groups like The Christian Coalition and The Heritage Foundation.

Creigh Deeds from the rurual hamlet of Hot Springs, Va., is an upstanding citizen. He is a state senator who has had many years of experience in Richmond, and is considered to be one of the finest leaders for the Democratic Party in the state. He is also highly respected by independents and moderate Republicans. Politically, he is actually considered a centrist and he has actually been a proponent of gun rights.

I feel Deeds is strongly qualified to be governor, and he would be an excellent leader for my home state.

I am also endorsing Democrats Jody Wagner for lt. governor and Steve Shannon for attorney general. It would be great is Shannon could pull an upset over his opponent because Virginia has not had a Democratic attorney general since Mary Sue Terry held the post in the early '90s.

Tim Kaine (D) is the current governor of Virginia. By state law, he can not run for a second consecutive term. The last Republican governor of Virginia was Jim Gilmore. He left the state in a devastating financial mess, and he had the gumption to actually run for an open U.S. Senate seat against Mark Warner (D), who got 65 percent of the vote.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Silly Photo to Fill Space_ "Alf"

I ran into my friend Christopher Knight by chance yesterday, and he told me that he actually reads my blog?!

Knight of Reidsville, NC, not to be confused with African-American comic strip artist Keith Knight ("The Knight Life") who_(like Chris Knight)_ is also a Facebook friend of mine, is best known for making an over-the-top "Star Wars" themed ad when he ran for the Rockingham County (NC) school board in 2006.

The fact that Knight actually lost the race has not kept the ad from becoming a cultural phenom. Last week, it even made "The Jay Leno" show! It has already been featured on E! and VH-1.

Since Chris likes things with aliens, I thought I would post this photo from the Reagan era tv sitcom "Alf." I don't exactly when it ran, or if the whole series is available on dvd (I presume it is). But, my friend and blogger Moviezzz is on top of all these things. In fact, he just posted a great entry about "Ally MacBeal" (1997-2002)finally getting a dvd release which was held up due to music copyright issues.

And, I should mention that another blogger friend of mine Joe Scott of Greensboro, NC, will be screening the film "Aliens" at the Carousel Luxury Cinemas in the Gate City (local slang for Greensboro) on Thurs., Nov. 5 at 7:30 and 10p.m.

I would write more, but I actually have work to do.......?!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Quote of the Week_ Craig Ferguson

"If it doesn't work, at least it'll be an interesting train wreck."

The irony of this photo is that Craig Ferguson, who does a great impersonation of Prince Charles, could have be prez because he was born in the U.K.

Quote of the Week- Jay Leno

Today, we are quoting four separate late night talk show hosts on our blogs...............there just wasn't room for Charlie Rose.

Here is one from Jay Leno, pictured here with Arsenio Hall (from a 1989 "Rolling Stone" coveR) who alas no longer has a talk show:

"Politics is just show business for ugly people."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Bonus Quote of the Week- Trent Reznor

I normally just post quotes of the week on Mondays, but this chilling, honest quip from Nine Inch Nails lead singer Trent Reznor from the Sept. 17 issue of "Rolling Stone" with Stephen Colbert on the cover (Reznor initially stated the quote in 1994)) certainly grabbed my attention:

"I'm not afraid to question my own sexual orientation. I'm not afraid to think about things you aren't supposed to think about. I do wonder what it would be like to kill somebody, though I'm not going to do it. I don't want to do it. But I know why people idolize serial killers."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Movies of Our Youth- (12 of 12) "Gremlins"

Why a tuxedo cat as an image for a movie about creepy little reptilian monsters?

Because I named my tuxedo cat Gizmo after the title character in Joe Dante's vintage sci fi flick.

My friend Joe Scott will screen "Gremlins" as part of his "Mixed Tape Series" at the Carousel Luxury Cinemas in Greensboro, NC, on Thursday, Dec 3 at 7:30 and 10:00 p.m.

Alas, I teach class on Thursday nights so it looks I will not only miss a chance to see this movie for the first time in over 20 years, but I will also miss the 'wedding episode' on "The Office." But, since I'm not a newspaper reporter who has to cover an execution, I won't complain:)

Movies of Our Youth_ (11 of 12) "Ghostbusters"

My good friend Jason Garnett is screening the 1984 comedy classic "Ghostbusters" at the Grandin Theatre in Roanoke, Va., on the eve of Halloween with a midnight show on Friday, Oct. 30.

We'll forgive the kitschy title song by Ray Parker Jr.

PS_ There is a related Harvey Comics image on our sister "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time" (check our links below).

Monday, October 5, 2009

Quote of the Week- Michael Moore

Filmmaker/author/liberal political activist Michael Moore currently has a new film out called "Capitalism: A Love Story." It is curently playing at the Grandin Theatre in Roanoke, Va., The Carousel Luxury Cinemas in Greensboro, NC, and the Galaxy Cinema in Cary, NC (Raleigh), among many other places.

I personally met Moore at the Virginia Film Festival in Charlottesville a few years ago. Regardless of what you think of his political views (most of us, including partisan Democrats like me are to the right of him), you got to love his entertaining approach to making documentaries. I personally think "Fahrenheit 9-11" is his best film.

Here is today's quote from him:

"Clinton was a pretty good president for a Republican."