Sunday, January 31, 2010

Top 10 Books to Read When You're Snowed In

Whew! I was trying to add a third image to this blog, but I've been having enough problems with this entry and it is almost two a.m. here in Burlington, Vermont*, but since a major storm affected the towns of Tulsa, Okl., Fayetville, Ark., Johnson City, Tenn., Rock Hill, SC, Princeton, WVa., Mount Airy, NC, Charlottesville, Va., Bethesda, Md. and Washington, DC (forgive us if we left anyone out), over the weekend, we thought we'd go with a Top Ten Books to read when you are snowed in.

*-Not where I actually reside

All of this is enough to make one wish they were in Key West, Fla., where not only do winter storms never occur but (I presume) Republicans are never elected to city council. This also happens to be the zip code where one can find The Ernest Hemingway House.

Among the books that have a special place in my heart is Kurt Vonnegut's anti-war classic "Slaughterhouse Five." I saw the book in the library for the Shenandoah County Jail in Woodstock, Va., when I was profiling the jail for the local paper. To this day, I wonder if any inmates have ever bothered to actually read it. They would presumably have the time!

And, a George Mason University professor told "The Washington Post" this week that he sent a letter marked J.D. Salinger Cornish, NH (plus the town's zip code) and not only did the reclusive author get the letter- he responded to it!

The images for this entry are fom Charles Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities" and the Ken Kesey statue in Eugene, Ore.

We chose the Dickens novel, in part, because it is a favorite of my good friend, children's author Sam Riddleberger, who resides in Belfast, Maine (not where he really this joke getting old?!)

Here is this godforsaken list!

Hope you enjoy it:

1. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

2. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger**

3. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (Russian lit bias)

4. Moby Dick by Herman Melville

5. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

6. The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass (German lit bias)

7. Snow by Orhan Pamuk (Turkish lit bias)

8. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (yes, a woman recommended this!)

9. Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

10. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey.

**-Of course, I am mentioning this title since the author just died!

Good, now we can move on to other things...............

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Oh No! It's #%&*# Snowing Again!

A tweet from "The Roanoke Times" New River Valley Bureau said it best: "It's snowing again here in Pulaksi County."

Not only was it snowing in Dublin, Va., today, but it was also snowing in North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Maryland as well as parts of Tennessee, Arkansas and Oklahoma. The storm is also striking the Washington, DC, metro area.

Here in the Greensboro, NC, area the snow dropped some eight inches in most areas, prompting cancellations of events and services across the Triad metro area. The storm had a similar impact in Charlotte and Raleigh.

In my hometown of Roanoke, Va.- two hours north of Greensboro, flights were scrapped and shopping malls were closed. My alma mater Radford University in Radford, Va., canceled its home game against UNC-Asheville. The school is supposed to host its annual homecoming weekend starting on Friday.

Other games in the region were scrapped as well including North Carolina A & T's home game with Coppin State in Greensboro. The mostly African-American college is supposed to get national recognition on Monday when the new International Civil Rights opens in downtown Greensboro.

The museum is opening in conjunction with the famous sit in at the old Woolworth's building where the museum will be housed which involved NC A & T students. The sit-in occured on Feb. 1, 1950. The inclement weather forced a gala that was scheduled for Sunday night for the museum to be rescheduled.

The owners of the Backstreet Buzz Coffeehouse in Reidsville, NC, opened for breakfast this morning, but they decided to close in the afternoon as the snow continued to mount.

In Richmond, Va., at least two college basketball games are going on as scheduled though Virginia Commonwealth University tweeted that video highlights of its home game with Georgia State would be unavailable since camera trucks could not come in due to the bad weather.

In Washington, DC, the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team tweeted that it took the team bus an hour and a half to get to their hotel from Dulles International Airport. The route normally takes a little over a half hour. The Lightning will play the Washington Capitals tonight.

DC Metrobus also announced that the bus service would only provide transportation for snow emergency routes this evening.

In Durham, NC, motorist Nancy Harmon told News 14 Carolina that everyone was driving very carefully as the roads were very slippery and treacherous. Gary Stephenson told the same news outlet that snow was coming down heavily in Raleigh.

North Carolina's governor Beverly Purdue (D) announced a state of emergency for the Tarheel State.

The Cat's Cradle night club in Carrboro, NC, near Chapel Hill, announced that tonight's scheduled concert with the band Urban Sophisticates would not go on as planned. The Chelsea Theatre art-house cinema in Chapel Hill also said it would close for the day.

But, the Byrd Theatre in Richmond is going through with its second run screenings of two George Clooney movies, "The Fantastic Mister Fox" and "The Men Who Stare at Goats."

The Greensboro area will see many attractions closed for the weekend including the Greensboro Children's Museum and the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, NC.

A state championship for North Carolina cheerleaders was postponed in Winston-Salem, and a Mosaic concert in Greensboro at the Greensboro Coliseum that was scheduled for Sunday night is also not going to be performed this weekend.

News-14 Carolina also reported a fatal car accident in Charlotte.

Many church services in the Greensboro area have also been scrapped, including ones for the Stokesdale Church of God in Stokesdale, NC, the Solid Rock Baptist Church in High Point, NC and The Beacon Baptist Church in Burlington, NC.

The weather is also affecting progressive churches as the Unitarian Universalist Church in Greensboro and the Unity Church in Winston-Salem canceled Sunday services. One also expects that the Islamic community will be affected as well as the Divan Triad Cultural Center in Greensboro will probably have to cancel scheduled Sunday afternoon activities.

But, some events went on as scheduled anyway in North Carolina as the North Carolina State men's basketball team hosted North Carolina Central University from nearby Durham. The Wolfpack won the game 77-42. One would expect that few people would have probably come to the predicted mismatch under normal weather conditions, but assuredly those who made it to the game had more fun than they would have if they had been shoveling out their driveways.

Friday, January 29, 2010

My Top 25 Films of The Decade (second draft)

The French film "Cache/Hidden" from Austrian director Michael Haneke is actually my favorite film of the 2000s, but more people are familiar with "Sideways." Haneke's film was ranked 16th in the recent "Film Comment" critic's poll for best films of the decade. David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive" was the magazine's top pick.

Here is the rest of my list, updated from an earlier December entry:

1. "Cache/Hidden" (France)
2. "Sideways"
3. "Distant" (Turkey)
4. "Lilya 4-ever" (Sweden)
5. "A History of Violence"
6. "Little Children"
7. "A.I."
8. "The Darjeeling Limited"
9. "Talk to Her" (Spain)
10. "Ten" (Iran)
11. "City of God" (Brazil)
12. "Lost in Translation"
13. "Almost Famous"
14. "The Magdalene Sisters" (Ireland)
15. "Up in the Air"
16. "Edge of Heaven" (Turkey/Germany)
17. "The Pianist"
18. "Borat"
19. "Before Sunset"
20. "Waltz with Bashir" (Israel)
21. "Downfall" (Germany)
22. "y tu mama tambien" (Mexico)
23. "Three Times" (Taiwan)
24. "I'm Not There"
25. "Into the Wild"

Why We Love Nathan Lee

"Up," "Up in the Air," "Inglorious Basterds," "The Hurt Locker," "Public Enemies" and "Precious" are among the films being cited by many film critics as the best or among the best films of 2009.

Enter Nathan Lee, a long-time film critic of "The Village Voice." He actually placed heavy metal rocker turned film director Rob Zombie's (pictured here) much-panned remake of "Halloween II" as his number two film of the year!

This is not the first time Lee has shocked many of his contemporaries as the openly-gay critic placed the Adam Sandler comedy "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" on his Top Ten list in 2007 proclaiming it would 'do more for gay rights than any fag indie film.'

Lee also sang the praises for the god-awful ping pong comedy "Balls of Fury" (2007) which completely wasted the efforts of the great Christopher Walken.

To be fair to Lee, I got flack for placing "Bruno" number two on my list, but this does seem to be a far more outrageous pick.

Here is Lee's complete Top Ten List, which has been published in "Film Comment" and on

1) The Headless Woman*
3) Summer Hours
4) Inglorious Basterds
5) The Sun
6) Next Day Air
7) Adventureland
8) Loren Class
9) The Feature
10) The Limits of Control

SIDEBAR: SNOWPOLYPSE TWO is heading for our area, and it won't be in theatres. Another major winter storm is headed for West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina as well as perhaps Maryland tonight. The Greensboro Farmer's Market in Greensboro, NC, has already announced it will not open on Saturday. Flights have been scrapped at the Roanoke Regional Airport in Roanoke, Va. Chapel Hill Comics in Chapel Hill, NC, announced on Twitter that they may not open tomorrow. And, my alma mater Radford University in Radford, VA., has postponed men's and women's basketball games scheduled for this weekend. It looks like we might get up to 15 inches of snow, which will give me a chance to watch Charlie Rose's interview with economist Larry Summers from Davos, Switzerland on PBS tonight.....

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Reaction to President Obama's State of the Union

I suppose it's the old reporter in me, but I thought I would post an objective (or objective as possible) entry about President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech, which lasted for an hour and 10 minutes last night.

Since I am no longer a reporter, I have been more partisan in my views. I not only voted for Obama, but I also volunteered for him- even konicking on doors in the hostile neighborhood of Bonsack, Va. (near Roanoke, Va.)But, I initially supported Hillary Clinton on the basis that she was the more experienced candidate. I have also criticized those on the far-right (extremist talk show host Glenn Beck), right (pundit George F. Will) and far-left (Matt Taibbi of "Rolling Stone") who have wrongly criticized Obama on a variety of issues.

As one might expect, there have been a wide disclosure of reactions from the right and the left, and even political entities outside the United States. Some Iranian activists expressed disappointment on Twitter that Obama's speech, which mostly focused on domestic issues aside from terrorism, did not mention assistance to Iranian disidents who desperately want to see a change in government in their country.

Ian Swanson of "The Hill" said that the president called on Republicans and Democrats to overcome the numbing weight of their political differences and come together for the sake of the American people.

At the footnote of the online edition of Swanson's article, there were some reactionary far right-wing comments. Poster David Benfell said: "Obama's going to secure the borders and enforce immigration laws? HA HA HA."

But, more centrist conservatives were also critical of Obama. Bradley Smith of the online version of the right-wing publication "The National Review" said that Obama's critical comments on the recent Supreme Court decision that will allow more corporate influence in campaign contributions was demogogeury at its worst.

On the center-left, Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt) told "The Hill" that the Supremes' 5-4 decision on corporate donations was the most partisan decision since the highly controversial Bush v. Gore, which determined the presidency in early 2001.

And, Jacob Heilbrunn of the liberal "Huffington Post" said that the Republican Party's inability to cooperate with Obama on the stimulus package will have damaging long-term consequences.

I guess in the long run, we will just have to wait and see what happens. But, in my view, partisanship aside, I think Obama laid out his agenda in very clear, concise language but given the hyper-partisanship in Washington, DC, these days, the long term question will be: "Is it enough?"

SIDEBAR: Speaking of The Hill, I want to wish my good friend and my favorite Republican congressional representative Cong. Frank Wolf (R-Va) a happy birthday. The 10th district Virginia congressman turns 71 on Saturday. Wolf is the senior most member of the Virginia delegation. He was first elected to Congress in 1980. He has been one of the leading voices for global human rights in Congress, and we commend him for his work.

SIDEBAR TWO: Wow! With all the breaking news, I have gotten behind on some other things I was hoping to post including my TOP 25 Films of the Decade List. Hopefully, we'll get to it before February! There is an entry about the death of left-wing intellectual Howard Zinn on my sister blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time." I used to tell people I was a Democrat because Howard Zinn was better than Glenn Beck. I suppose I will have to find someone else to use for that sentiment now!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Silly Photo to Fill Space- Maine Coon Cat

This past weekend, I had an opportunity to go to a cat show in Roanoke, Va. Part of the attraction was admittedly the cat people themselves. One person from Richmond, Va., who regularly participates in such affairs told me that she had 14 cats?! Among them was a gorgeous seven-month old Maine Coon kitten who looked huge. Her cat didn't quite win Best in Show, but the kitten made the top ten.

As it turns out, the Maine Coon cat (pictured here) can weigh up to 25 pounds, and they have a HUGE tail.

It would be hard for me to gage what it takes to win a cat show since my tuxedo cat Gizmo is a regular house cat who would never go for such things even if his breed was among those featured (Other cat show breeds include Siamese, angora, and Burmese) in such shows. But, one cat show contestant from Christiansburg, Va., told "The Roanoke Times" that it doesn't help 'if the cat bites the judge!'

Participants came from as far away as Huntington, WVa., and Charlotte, NC, for the show.

The Pulaski County Animal Shelter in Dublin, Va., had a special section for cats who are available for adoption. On the organization's web site, I saw a listing for a Siamese cat named Chunky Munky, a a tabby cat named Junebug and a tuxedo cat named Hazel. The Pulaski County Animal Shelter can be reached at 540-674-8359.

Other animal shelters in the Roanoke area include The Franklin County Animal Shelter in Rocky Mount, Va. Phone: 540-483-7440, and the Salem Animal Shelter in Salem, Va. Phone: 540-375-3038.

David Lynch_ the 1,000th Person I'm Following on Twitter

Film director/artist David Lynch just became the 1,000th person I'm following on Twitter. I must profess that following newsmakers and celebrities is a very fascinating affiar. Though the likes of Conan O'Brien have perhaps rightfully made fun of people like me.

Lynch's 2000 film "Mulholland Drive" was just named 'Film of the Decade' by "Film Comment" magazine. My own personal favorite film of the decade "Cache/Hidden," a French film from Austrian director Michael Haneke finished 16th on that list. I will be posting a final update of the list I submitted for the magazine's reader poll here, perhaps as soon as tomorrow.

Reporter Jordan Green, of the Greensboro, NC, weekly newspaper "Yes Weekly!" had a great column in last week's edition about Twitter. Green stated that the recent tragedy in Haiti has made Twitter the most important outlet for news and information. I couln't agree more, though one pitfall of Twitter came about this week when tweeters said that Johnny Depp died from a fatal car crash in France (he didn't!).

I also hope to post a list of my favorite people to follow on Twitter. Though I have not made my mind up yet, I am leaning towards placing singer Amanda Palmer of Dresden Dolls fame on top of the list. She just has a way of expressing herself which is perfectly suited for Twitter. The rest of us can only hope to achieve that occasionally- I'm afraid!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Dead or Alive (Entry 9 of 12)_ Soupy Sales

Since we are quite behind in my plans for this blog (well, we aren't exactly The Huffington Post quite yet), I thought I would do some catching up and focus on the Dead or Alive series, which in all honesty is less enjoyable than I thought it would be.

Nevertheless, we continue on with our latest subject '60s children's tv show host Soupy Sales.

Our last subject Pat Boone is indeed alive and well, and we gather that he is still a far right wing nut.

Here is some info on Mr. Sales:

-Has been hit with over 25,000 in his show business career- perhaps, he should have been a substitute high school teacher!

-Howard Stern is an admirer of his, and Sales has appeared on Stern's ever controversial radio show.

-Sales met his wife dancer Trudy Carson while performing on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

-Sales was voted the most popular guy in his high school class

-Had a surprise novelty hit song "Do the Mouse"

-Guest-starred on the original version of "The Love Boat" (who didn't?!)

-First actor to voice the Donkey Kong video game character

We're Rooting for the New Orleans Saints in the Super Bowl

I may have dubiously picked the New York Jets and the Minnesota Vikings to win their conference title games this weekened (at least, the Vikes lost in OT), but we are rooting for Drew Brees (pictured here) and the New Orleans Saints as they face the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl on Feb.7.

I know my friend Brian Clarey, managing editor of "Yes Weekly!" newspaper in Greensboro, NC, is one of the few people who was a Saints fan before the season started!

This will be the very first time that the Saints have ever played in the Super Bowl. Somehow I don't expect the city's other pro sports franchise (the struggling New Orleans Hornets in the NBA) will be reaching such heights anytime soon!

Quote of the Week-Michael Jackson

An unexpected techno glitch has prevented me from blogging since Thursday, but I am baaaack in the black!

We aren't quoting the heavy metal group AC/DC today, but we are quoting singing legend Michael Jackson who died on June 25,2009. On our sister blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time," we are going to quote Ted Kennedy who also died last year.

The Raleigh, NC-based Michael Jackson tribute band Who's Bad, formed before Jackson's death, are taking their show outside the Tarheel State with shows at the House of Blues in Cleveland, Ohio (1/30), the American Music Theatre in Lancaster, Pa. (2/5) and The Vogue in Indianapolis, Ind. (2/12) among other venues.

Who's Bad will then play tour dates in Germany and the United Kingdom before returning to The United States in April.

Here is the quote from Jackson:

"The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work."

My all-time favorite MJ song has to "Billie Jean" or "Beat It" or "Dirty Diana."

Good thing, I'm not a music critic!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Turkish Soccer Update- Go BursaSpor!

It has been a good solid two years or more since we last blogged on Turkish soccer. But, the recent international games between Turkey (my late father's country) and historic rival Armenia have put more focus on Turkish soccer.

I am also pleased to report that my friend Ugur Celikkol's local team BursaSpor, (nicknamed Timsahlar- the Alligators) in
Bursa, Turkey, is in third place. BursaSpor has 35 points as opposed to the Turkish Premiere League's top two teams: traditional Istanbul powers FenerBahce (37 pts) and GalataSaray (36 pts).

BursaSpor actually beat GalataSaray, another one of my favorite soccer teams, by a
1-0 margin on Nov. 27, 2009.

This weekend, BursaSpor will host KasimPasha while GalataSaray faces GaziantepSpor on the road. FenerBahce always plays away from home with a game against DenizliSpor.

Stateside, it should be pointed that there is an alligator farm in St. Augustine, Fla., which is open to the public.

And, the sport of alligator wrestling (pictured) has yet to become a part of Turkish culture though one can perhaps see this somewhere in Florida.

Celebrities Working for Haiti

I am a bit pressed for this p.m., but I wanted to post a blog entry in support of Ben Stiller's charity StillerStrong, which has been promoted on "The Tonight with Conan O'Brien."

I noticed the night when news broke about the earthquake in Haiti that Stiller tweeted his support and he has not let up ever since.

Other celebrities helping out include George Clooney, Susan Sarandon, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Actress Ashely Judd held a charity dinner with the University of Kentucky's basketball coach John Calipari in Lexington, Ky., which raised funds for the relief efforts in Haiti.

So far, StillerStrong has raised $131,013.

Here is a part of Stiller's mission statement for his charity:

"It's heart-breaking to see the images coming out of Haiti. The people there need our immediate help. I was there last year for the first time, and was struck by the amazing spirit and culture of the people and place, and the extreme hardship these people faced and that was before the recent tragedy."

A sister entry regarding Haiti is on our sister blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Silly Photo to Fill Space- Sports Mascots

I chose to use sports mascots as my choice for Silly Picture to Fill Space since I made a pledge late last Friday while watching the Orlando Magic-Portland Trail Blazers NBA game on ESPN to give up watching sports for the rest of the weekend.

I made it to Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. to watch the Minnesota Vikings-Dallas Cowboys which the Vikes won 34-3. (Oh well!)

At least, it's not baseball season although the Baltimore Orioles (their mascot is pictured here with Miss Teen Maryland) haven't been good since Cal Ripken Jr. retired.

Quote of the Week- Samuel L. Jackson

Since Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we thought we'd quote some famous African-Americans. Samuel L. Jackson is one of my favorite actors, though I won't go so far to say that he should've gotten an Oscar nomination for "Lakeview Terrace:"

"Long Kiss Goodnight has a huge cult following. They could make another version of that movie right now."

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Know Your Congressional Reps and Senators (Entry 21 of 21)- Susan Collins (R-Maine)

Initially, I was hoping to conclude this series by the end of 2009, but somehow things just kept popping up. But, even with the earthquake crisis in Haiti, we thought this would be a good time to wrap up this marathon session which has hopefully been as informal to you the reader as it has been for us.

Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) might well be ultra right-wing talk show host Glenn Beck's least favorite Republican senator. At one point her voting record was to the left of then-Sen. Joe Biden, who is of course now veep, and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Ct.).

Collins began her career in Washington, DC, back in 1975 when she was an assitant to then-Sen. William Cohen (R) from 1975-1987.

When returning to Maine, Collins lost to Angus King, an independent candidate, in the state's 1994 governor's race.

Collins would then defeat former Democratic governor Joe Brennan who was the third candidate in the '94 governor's race for a U.S. senate seat in 1996. Collins maintained her seat in 2008 election cycle by defeating Cong. Tom Allen (D-Maine).

Collins has a very interesting voting record. She was only one of a handful of Republican senators to oppose the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act and she also voted against travel restrictions to Cuba. Collins even voted against the CAFTA trade act which many centrist Democrats actually supported.

But, conversely, she supported then-president George W. Bush's controversial tax cuts and she voted for Judges Samuel Alito and John G. Roberts for the Supreme Court.

Nevertheless, Collins continues to maintain her independent streak in areas like global warming.

Even though right-wing talk radio idealogues lambasted Judge Sonia Sotomayor (Rush Limbaugh essentially said she was David Duke in reverse), Collins voted for her.

Collins also appeared in the acclaimed 2000 film "Traffic."

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) is also known for her centrist votes in the Senate.

There is a sister series on my other blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time" which profiles American mayors. Today, we are posting about Salt Lake City, Utah's mayor Ralph Becker. By sheer coincidence, I found out that both Becker and Collins were born in 1952.

Friday, January 15, 2010

ACC Basketball Games for this Weekend

The UNC Tarheels will be playing their first game since a road loss to Clemson as they face the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in a home game that will be broadcast on ESPN tomorrow at 2 p.m. I think the 'Heels will win by four points. If you're in Chapel Hill, NC, for the game tomorrow, you may want to stop by Chapel Hill Comics which has a special fundraiser going on for the Haiti earthquake disaster.

Other ACC games include the following:

Clemson @ North Carolina State- noon

Maryland @ Boston College- 4 pm

Virginia Tech @ Florida State- 6 pm

Miami (Fla) @ UVA- 8 pm

Wake Forest @ Duke- 8 pm (Sun)

I like Clemson, BC, Virginia Tech, UVA and Duke in these games. I think the Clemson-Nc St. game will be very close as the Wolfpack seem to be an improved team over last season.

Two major Big East games will take place this weekend too as Syracuse goes to Morgantown, W.Va., to face West Virginia U at noon (another ESPN game). On Sunday, Georgetown goes to Philly for a noon-time game with Villanova. I'll go with WVU and Georgetown though the 'Hoyas would pull an upset if they beat 'Nova.

UPDATE: All three of the teams featured in images for this blog lost that weekend. The UNC Tarheels' men's baskeball team is actually in the middle of a three-game losing streak as of today (1/25)

My NFL Picks for this Weekend

Last week, I actually picked all four NFL playoff games correctly. This is amazing since up until this year I had hardly watched football in years! In fact, I used to say that I was the only one in my small North Carolina town who didn't go to church on Sunday or watch the Carolina Panthers game.

But, perhaps as my friend Chris Knight I should go ahead and call myself Tilly the Turk (my take on Jimmy the Greek; I am half-Turkish).

So, here are my picks for this week- don't take these with you to Las Vegas:

Baltimore Ravens* over Indy Colts

San Diego Chargers over the NY Jets

Minnesota Vikings over Dallas Cowboys

New Orleans Saints over Arizona Cardinals

*-my favorite team, this is also the only upset I'm picking.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sports/Political Humor

First of all, there is nothing funny about the earthquake in Haiti which has killed at least 100,000 people so far, but the Rev. Pat Robertson (R-Va) is another matter.

I don't watch "The 700 Club" regularly, well not at all actually, but I do watch "NBA Coast-to-Coast" on ESPN fairly regularly. Given what he said yesterday on his show, I can imagine that if the Virginia Beach televangelist were to guest-host on 'Coast-to-Coast' he might say something like this:

"The New Jersey Nets' futile season* is because there are way too many Muslims living in Passaic....some of them even own Turkish restaurants."

*- The Nets have won three games so far this year. Last night, they lost a home game to the Boston Celtics by a 111-87 margin, but they were down by 36 in the first half! The Nets next face the Indiana Pacers who are having a slightly better year.

SIDEBAR- I was hoping to see the North Carolina State Wolfpack's women's gymnastics opener against Rutgers University, which is in New Jersey, but I have come down with a nagging cold and my presence in Raleigh, NC, seems as unlikely as the Nets making the playoffs. Nevertheless, I wish them well with the Rutgers meet and the rest of their season.

SIDEBAR 2- If you are looking for Turkish restaurants in New Jersey, we recommend the Marmara Restaurant in Trenton. Tell them I sent you, even though they have no idea who I am. Closer to home, there is Talulla's in Chapel Hill, NC, which is harika (wonderful).

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Silly Picture to Fill Space- "Banana Splits"

Wow! I'm now convinced this entry is cursed! This will be my fourth try at getting it up.

This image is in reference to the Sid and Marty Krofft tv series "The Banana Splits," which originally ran for 31 episodes from 1968-1970 and I believe (not verified) that reruns of the show air circa 3 a.m. eastern time on Boomerang.

The characters in the variety show were Fleegle (a dog), Bingo ( a gorilla), Drooper (a lion) and Snorky (an elephant). There was a serial cliffhanger within the show called "Danger Island."

And, there is also now a Banana Splitsville children's playground area at the Hard Rock Cafe in Myrtle Beach, SC.

SIDEBAR_ Check out my friend Moviezzz's blog ( for a touching tribute to French film director Eric Rohmer who died this week and an update on the Conan vs. Jay fiasco
at NBC. Personally, I think "The Jay Leno Show" idea was the worst decision (presumably) made by a stupid white man since the John McCain campaign chose Sarah Palin!

Unpaid Editorial Commentary

"I wish I had never touched steroids," Mark McGwire said. "It was foolish and it was a mistake."

Monday, January 11, 2010

Quote of the Week (Happy Birthday Nixon?!.)

If he were alive today, former president Richard M. Nixon would be turning 96 (well actually his birthday was Jan. 9th!). Since his counterpart in this famous photo Elvis Presley would have turned 75 on Jan. 8, The National Archives in Washington, DC, recently held a talk about how the two met for the photograph.

Here is quote from my favorite Republican president (I am actually a Democrat, which probably explains why I admire him as much as I do!) Perhaps, we should ask Michelle Obama about this one:

"Any lady who is first lady likes being first lady, I don't care what they say, they like it!"

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Well, apparently this will be the first blog entry in quite some time to have no picture with it, but that's the least of my problems. I have been under the weather since late Thursday night. I actually slept for 17 hours on Friday (between 1:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.). It has been a very frustrating week ever since I got back from Washington, DC, on Monday night. It literally feels like nothing is going right whatsoever.

I was supposed to see my alma mater Radford University play High Point University in High Point, NC, tonight. I hope they win without my presence there. The Radford U Highlanders are currently undefeated in Big South Conference play. Clarence Thomas, the most ultra-conservative member of the U.S. Supreme Court gave the commencement at HPU a few years ago, which makes me even prouder to have graduated from RU!

We were going to have an image with this entry, but that didn't work out either. I'll save it for the Silly Picture to Fill Space bit on Tuesday.

Among the entries I hope to have in the coming weeks are ones devoted to ACC basketball, women's college gymnastics, the latest in the Know Your Senators and Congressional Reps series and the latest in the Dead or Alive series in which we ask if someone like Abe Vigoda or Monty Hall is in fact alive or dead. I suppose I can reveal that the subject of our last entry Pat Boone is indeed alive and well. Since I am not a right-wing nut, I'm not sure we should have made him the subject of a blog entry but I must profess that the Youtube video of him singing a Christmas carol alongside a Fred Flintstone and Dyno-Mutt mascot is a classic!

Well, that's all for now as I have some cough syrup I need to take.

If you want to check out some other blogs this weekend (I shall be back on Monday, I hope!) you can go to my friends' blogs:

I guess I will have to watch that "Are You Being Served?" marathon on PBS tonight:(

PS- Alas, High Point won the basketball game over Radford U.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

At the 9:30 Club (Washington DC)- Julian Casablancas

We were hoping to post an entry or two yesterday, but I had to compete for pc space with my mom who is addicted to video poker (please get counseling if this applies to you!).

And, we are pressed for time today, so we have this simple spot devouted to Julian Casablancas' upcoming show at The 9:30 Club in Washington, DC, on Tues., Jan 12.

Casablancas has recently appeared on several late night talk shows. His new lp is titled "Phrazes for the Young," and according to the club's web site, Casablancas sings everything from country to synth-laden rock.

After his show in the nation's capital, Casablancas heads to New York for some weekend shows at Terminal-5 on Jan. 14-15.

SIDEBAR- The Lyric Theatre in Blacksburg, Va., will be screening the highly-acclaimed film "Precious" which Peter Travers of "Rolling Stone" has hailed as the best film of 2009.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Silly Photo to Fill Space- Camels

The state of North Carolina has banned smoking in restaurants and bars.

(Editorial Comment: HOOORAY!!!!)

Though there are people like my libertarian friend Chris Knight of Reidsville, NC, who are not pleased that the state which had an economic base around tobacco is now going smoke-free.

I read a story in "The Daily Tarheel," the student-run newspaper of the University of North Carolina that the Hookah Bliss hookah bar in Chapel Hill, NC, was not pleased with the measures that went into effect at the start of 2010, several months ago but I have not heard an update on what they were going to do about the matter.

But, this does mean that one can now go into the Flat Irons bar in Greensboro where I saw my good friend Bruce Piephoff, a local folk singer, perform two years ago, without coughing a lung out.

My home state of Virginia passed essentially the same measures which went into effect on Dec. 1, 2009, which now means I can have breakfast at the Waffle House on Franklin Road in Roanoke, Va., and actually taste what I'm eating!

Interestingly enough, one university in NC- Campbell U (located Buies Creek- 45 minutes south of Raleigh) is nicknamed the Camels. Though, I think this is because it is a Christian school rather than any affiliation with tobacco.

The Campbell Camels' men's basketball team pulled an upset over the weekend in Spartanburg, SC, when they beat USC Upstate 82-69. On Thursday night, the Camels face Mercer University in Macon, Ga. There were once conference foes with my alma mater Radford University in Radford, Va. The RU Highlanders defeated Gardner-Webb University from Hickory, NC, by a 75-45 margin last night in a home game. Right now, the team seems to be (pardon the pun....) smokin'!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Quote of the Week- Kurt Vonnegut

"We are here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is."

SIDEBAR-Want to spend $29 to see a movie? Well, according to NPR, you can do just that at the Gold Class Cinema in Pasadena, Calif.!

COMING SOON-I just got back from Washington, DC, tonight. I will dedicate an entry to the trip some time this week.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Winter Break from Blogging

I will be taking a brief break from blogging, but I hope to back at it on Tues. or Wed. I thought about lying to 'millions' of people and saying that I was going to Disney World in Orlando, Fla., for a few days but I won't be going that far from home. Though, I gather from watching CNN's weather report that it is as cold there as it is in Virginia and North Carolina.

Since we've used Hanna Barbera cartoon for the last two entries, we figure we'd continue with the seventies favorite Jabberjaw. I have no idea if this is available on dvd or not, but I guess I can always ask my friend Moviezzz who seems to know these things.

We would also like to take a moment to congratulate some New Year's babies who were AMONG the first to be born in this decade. I saw that some tv stations around the country had to go back and say that the babies they reported to be the first born in their respective areas were not actually the ones who were born first, so we want to avoid such mishaps here.

But, I can say all these babies were born between midnight and 1 a.m. in their respective time zones:

Christopher Lawerence Weston, Ogden, Utah
Angel Gonzales, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Michael Tirado, Raleigh, NC
Joseph Eliott Taylor, Alexandria, Va.
Keegan Lee Kinzel, Huntington, W.Va.
Thomas Richard Rock II, Akron, Ohio

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year's from Grape Ape

While trying to find an image of Grape Ape, the Hanna Barbera cartoon which ran from 1975-76, we stumbled upon a photo of an ape who is purple?!

And, for those of you living in the Philadelphia area, good news! The Philadelphia Zoo is open tomorrow (Jan. 2). Of course, it might be cold up there, but hopefully the monkeys will be out in full force. Somehow, I doubt any of them will be purple though!