Saturday, July 31, 2010

Top 10 List- Favorite Celebrities to Follow on Twitter

Oooops! In our last entry, we forgot to mention our "High School of the Week," which is Eastside High School in Gainesville, Fla. For those of you residing in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, this town is also where the University of Florida Gators play football (and other sports!). On Aug. 14, Eastside High School, where Jeff Charbonnet is the principal, will hold a Stop the Violence rally.

Now for our main subject manner which is my top ten favorite celebrities to follow on Twitter. Those of you who are fans of the singer Julian Casablancas will be disappointed to learn that he finished 11th!

Here is our list:

1) "Zippy the Pinhead" (pictured here): Yes, Zippy the Pinhead is a comic strip character who is the brainchild of Bill Griffith, but he is so much fun to follow on Twitter! Most of the tweets from Zippy/Griffith are actually quotes from back strips including this one from today: "In 1993, Nancy Sinatra will lead a bloodless coup on Guam."

2) Sarah Silverman: Well, we honestly can't post many of her tweets here because they could get one stoned to death in Qom, Iran, but today the standup comedian/actress said that: "I try not to be as hard on myself as I am on other people." She's great, isn't she!

3) Rainn Wilson- The star of "The Office" always posts great Tweets including an entry on Friday in which he said that: "Today should be Val Kilmer Day."

4) Amanda Palmer- The lead singer of The Dresden Dolls is just slightly less irreverent than Sarah Silverman which always makes for an unpredictable guess as to what she'll tweet next?!

5) MoRocca- We're not exactly sure exactly what MoRocca does or how he became a celebrity except that he's on NPR about as much as Big Bird is on PBS. The always funny Mo said that he was hanging out in Bogota with Miss Colombia. Earlier, he tweeted that he watched "Alf" in Spanish in his hotel room.

6) Paris Hilton- An actual recent tweet: "Going to bed. Sweet dreams everyone." Yes, she is not known for intellectual commentary but the heiress has 2.3 million followers on Twitter, and she is on occasion quite amusing.

7) Pee Wee Herman- He may actually be even more of a narcissist than Sarah Palin, but we love the '80s tv star who tweeted this weekend that he was going to reinact his 'Tequila' dance at the huge bikers' rally in Sturgis, South Dakota!

8) Kim Kardashian- see Paris Hilton

9) Kevin Smith- The director of "Clerks" is always fun to read on Twitter. Recently, he mentioned "Mallrats," so perhaps like those of us who couldn't get a date in high school (incidentally, Smith and I were both born in 1970) perhaps he can't 'move on.'

10) Apolo Ohno: This Winter Olympic speed-skating sensation spent the day helping needy children in Seattle, which should make all of us who slept 'til noon today feel even guiltier than normal!

Friday, July 30, 2010

GeoQuiz- When in Rome.......

Today's GeoQuiz entry focuses on Rome. We were initially going to ask how many Starbucsk there were in the ancient capital, but as it turns out, there are no Starbucks in Italy?!

So, instead, we will ask which year Rome hosted the Summer Olympics. We will give you one hint, it was after the film "Open City" (pictured here) was made, which was in the 1940s.

Was the year?:

A) 1992
B) 1956
C) 1960
D) 1952

The answer to last week's GeoQuiz was "B."

SIDEBAR: The Irish supergroup U-2 will be performing in Istanbul, Turkey, one of our favorite cities in the world, on Sept. 6. Road trip, anyone? (Well, it would be a long flight from Greensboro, wouldn't it?!)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

PSA- Love Thy Neighbor

Today, we choose a timely PSA as the highly controversial new anti-immigration measures take place in Arizona. Like many on the center-left, I am opposed to the new laws on the grounds that they are both unconstitutional and will lead to needless racial profiling of all Hispanics, even those who are legal citizens.

I do differ with those who are more progressive than me that everyone who supports the measure is racist. While there are certainly eggheads who hold out signs like "Go Back to Mexico," I know there are rational folks who are legitimately concerned about illegal immigration. But, in my view, this proposed 'resolution' will only cause more problems.

The issue has been the focus of journals from the right (The National Review) and the left (The Nation) as well as nonpartisan publications like The Hill as well as international media outlets, such as the BBC and perhaps even the TRT (Turkish Radio and Television). Turkey, which is my late father's country, has had immigration issues of their own mainly over spillover from political crisises in Iraq and Iran.

SIDEBAR: My friend Chris Knight of Reidsville, NC, tweeted yesterday that Friday will be "Speak like Arnold Day" as in speak like the California governor/ "Terminator" franchise star. I guess on that note, we'll have to leave you today with: "I'll be baaack."

Quote of the Week- Thierry Henry

We must profess that we were completely unsure of which French person to quip in our last entry for July in this series. Initially, we thought about the iconic writer Victor Hugo since he was quoted by Sam Donaldson on "This Week" last week (we couldn't resist!).

But, after seeing the brilliant new French film "The Micmacs*," we decided to go with French soccer star Thierry Henry (you'll have to see the film to understand why!) who also recently signed with the New York Red Bulls.

"I always think about what I missed, and I think that was my driving force- never be satisfied with what I've done."

*-from the director of "Amelie"

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Things We Learned on Twitter Last Night- Dog Rescue in Northern Canada

We learned on Twitter last night through a tweet from "The Vancouver Sun" that an animal protection group rescued some 36 dogs from being executed in nothern Quebec this week.

The dogs include Buddy, a black lab breed, and Rosco, a Duck Tolling Retriever mix. The animals were going to be shot by local native Inuits (Eskimos), but they were saved by the Canadian project manager for the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

The dogs were later sent to shelters in Ontario and New York state.

The defenders of the planned dog shoot said the animals were a danger to local residents, especially school children, in the secluded area of Canada where there is no SPCA.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Silly Photo to Fill Space- Working @ the Fast Food Joint...

Personally, I've had some lousy jobs over the years (though I'm quite content with my current employer) but I have never had the misfortune to work FAST FOOD.

A friend of mine who worked at an Arby's in Durham, NC, maintains that this is one of the very worst line of work a person can be in.

Today, we once again feature Winston-Salem, NC, as our feature city for this series within a series pertaining to summer jobs this month. (We have run the Silly Photo/Picture to Fill Space series on Tuesdays for quite a while now).

In Camel City, there are many places where one can possibly find such employment opportunities in this field including The Bear Rock Cafe on South Stratford Road, The Boston Market on Jonestown Road (not named after the Rev. Jim Jones- we presume) and the Dairy Queen on Silas Creek Parkway.

While all of these are national or regional chains, there appears to be at least one local establishment in town called Jimmy the Greek's Kitchen near Wake Forest University on University Parkway, which is not to be confused with the more upscale Jimmy the Greek's Taverna in Boca Raton, Fla.

SIDEBAR: The Winston-Salem Dash were winners last night in Kinston, NC, over their in-state Carolina League rivals the Kinston Indians by a 7-2 margin. The other local Triad team, the Greensboro Grasshoppers also won their game over the visiting Charleston (SC) Seadogs (or is spelled SeaDawgs?!) 7-6 though the 'Hoppers aren't quite as lucky at the moment as their day game this p.m. is being held up by the rain.

SIDEBAR TWO: Another local favorite, the band Holy Ghost Tent Revival (based in Greensboro) is fresh off Floyd Festival in nearby Floyd, Va., and this weekend they will be playing at Callaghan's Irish Social Club on Saturday in Mobile, Alabama, at 7:00 p.m. I imagine my friend Jordan Green, a reporter at "Yes Weekly" has seen them perform many times (I haven't as of yet!).

Monday, July 26, 2010

Quote of the Week- Chuck Palahniuk

Today's quote actually comes from Chuck Palahniuk's novel "Lullaby." He is also known for his famous novels "Fight Club" and "Choke," both of which were made into films.

"Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can hurt like hell."

50 Beers of the World- Pabst Blue Ribbon (USA)

Today's 50 Beers of the World entry focuses on an American brew Pabst Blue Ribbon, which started in Milwaukee but the home brewery is now located in Woodbridge, Ill. The beer is often called PBR.

It debuted at a festival in Chicago back in 1893, and the beer reached its peak period in 1977 when PBR sold 18 million barrels in 1977.

We presume the brew can be found at The West End Tavern in Boulder, Colo., located at 926 Pearl Street, which was voted Best Bar in Boulder by "The Daily Camera" (the local newspaper).

Closer to home and the last time we checked, PBR was available at our favorite Turkish restaurant in the country Tallula's on Franklin Street in downtown Chapel Hill, NC, which also has an Urfa Kebab that is to die for.

SIDEBAR: Israeli journalist Elana Kirsch has an excellent article in the online edition of "The Jerusalem Post" about her recent trip to Istanbul, Turkey, which comes at a time when the governments of Ankara and Jerusalem have mucked things up between the two countries that were once on excellent diplomatic terms. Kirsch said she was greeted with everything from "Shalom" to "free Gaza" to "We hate Israel." My favorite part of her story though is when she first told locals that she was Australian. I did something similar on a trip to Baku, Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic that borders Iran in 2008 when I said I was 'from Istanbul.' (I'm a Turkish-American). When I ran into people who were actually from Istanbul, I had to fess up.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Top Ten List of the Week- My Favorite College Football Teams

Admitedly, it is perhaps a bit too early for this Top Ten list, but the ESPN show "SportsNation," which I usually enjoy (who doesn't love watching clips of a sheep jumping up and down on a bed) said that my Virginia Tech Hokies (actually, I went to school at nearby Radford University in Radford, Va.) were 'over-rated.'

This leads us to this list today which is of our Top Ten favorite teams to follow in college football:

1. Virginia Tech Hokies- We start the season with a game against Boise State. At least, the Hokies don't have to travel all the way to Idaho for the game since that would make for a very long Greyhound bus ride for the fans from Blacksburg, Va.

2. UNC Tarheels- Perhaps, I've lived in The Tarheel State too long but I'm starting to like the Smurfs (I call the Tarheels that because they are also in blue and white). I was caught in an awkward moment when the 'Heels actually beat the Hokies in football in Blacksburg last year. But, the Hokies turned around and beat the boys the boys from Chapel Hill in men's basketball.

3. University of Michigan- My late father Mehmet Gokbudak went to school in Ann Arbor a very, very long time ago (he graduated with the class of 1949) but we still love the Big Blue who were alas pretty dismal in football last year.

4. West Virginia University- This choice is made easier by the fact that the Mountaineers no longer play Virginia Tech in football unless they were to meet in a bowl game.

5. University of Florida- I just love alligators (for those in Uzbekistan, the team's nickname is the Gators), but it's best to see them in a zoo.

6. Colorado University- We just love Boulder!

7. North Carolina State- The ACC rules!

8. UCLA- We like the women's gymnastics team that won the NCAA's this year more, but if we have to root for someone in the PAC-10 it's da Bruins.

9.University of Georgia- We love Athens, Ga.!

10. Univeristy of Maryland- Love the team's mascot (an adorable turtle). Don't tell my friends in Blacksburg or Chapel Hill, but I personally think it's the best mascot in the ACC!

SIDEBAR: Since everything is closed on Sundays in Graham, NC, (not really where I'm at) except the Waffle House, the fundamentalist Southern Baptist Church and the local friendly neighborhood crackhouse, we will have to post our entry on 50 Beers of the World on Monday, a day which no religion in the world has proclaimed for a Sabbath (to our knowledge!).

SIDEBAR TWO: We learned from "Mental Floss" magazine that llama meat is a delicacy in Bolivia. According to the periodical, the meat is often eaten dried, salted or (yuck!) fried in oil which makes for a 'tasty treat' known as 'ch'arki.'

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday GeoQuiz-What's the Weather Like in Sydney?

For today's installment of our weekly Friday GeoQuiz, we ask you the blog-reader a mere simple question: What is the weather like in Sydney, Australia, today?

Is the answer:

A) 64 degrees

B) 66 degrees

C) 67 degrees

D) 70 degrees

We dedicate this entry to another Olympic city (well, we say this in jest) Moscow, Idaho, also home to the University of Idaho and Moscow Senior High School. Perhaps, the later has Misha the Bear as their mascot.

The Olympics were held in Moscow, Russia in 1980 and in Sydney, Australia, in 2000.

Yvonne Tousek, one of my favorite college gymnasts of all-time, finished 15th at the 2000 Olympics while competing for her native Canada. Today, she is a performer with Cirque du Soleil and she travels around the globe. Her UCLA teammates Jamie Dantscher and Kristen Maloney got a bronze team medal in gymnastics after the Chinese team who initially finished third was disqualified for having under-age gymnasts.

Halil Multu won a gold medal for Turkey, my late father's country, at the Sydney Games in weight-lifting (flyweight division).

We are blogging today from the Pyongyang Public Library in Pyongyang, North Korea. Well, in all seriousness, it is a public library in a small town like Mount Airy, NC (but we aren't in Mount Airy, where "The Andy Griffith Show" took place). We say this because Twitter and Facebook are banned here, however one can probably access certain 'Danish web sites' here if they wanted to. There's nothing like living in a 'free and open society' is there?

As for North Korea, Open Radio for North Korea is reporting that more people in that country fear their own leader Kim Jong-il than les etats unis. I suppose that's a good thing?!

SIDEBAR: Our friends at The Floyd Country Store in Floyd, Va., (well, we don't actually personally know anyone who works there) are celebrating their 100th anniversary. And, tomorrow night (Sat.), there will be a performance from the bluegrass band Slate Mountain Ramblers at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $8 at the door. The band is headed by Richard Bowman from the tiny hamlet of Ararat, Va., in Patrick County. Despite its name, there are reportedly no Armenian-Americans in Ararat, Va. (forgive the ethnic humor!).

SIDEBAR 2: The answer to last week's question is D) Cesme, Turkey

Thursday, July 22, 2010

PSA- Kids Study for Your Exams.....

For today's Thursday PSA entry, we focus on exams. Now we fully realize that one may ask: "But, Mr. G why are you posting this now in late July? Schools are like closed now, aren't they?"

Well, there is this thing called summer school. And, my fellow instructors at Daytona Beach Community College (ok, now where I work, but there is such a place!) are indeed giving out exams right now!

This brings us to our image which is from the tv series "Welcome Back Kotter," which ran on ABC from 1975-79. John Travolta was in the mostly young cast which included Gabe Kaplan as Mr. Kotter.

There were 95 episodes of the series which took place at the fictional James Buchanan High School in Brooklyn.

Hopefully, those of you burdened with summer school were able to pass your exams!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Quote of the Day- Catherine Deneuve

Here is our Quote of the Day from beloved French actress Catherine Deneuve:

"All women who kill or have sexual obsessions or who are prostitutes have trouble with their fathers."

Denevue, who starred in films like "The Last Metro" also co-starred with Yves Montand (the subject of our sister entry on our other blog) in the 1975 French film "The Savage."

SIDEBAR- The Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York is screening "Airplane!" on Aug. 9 with the film's three co-directors in attendance. The film which is celebrating its 30th anniversary reminds us of the line: "We need someone with flying experience who did not have fish for dinner."

SIDEBAR TWO: Believe or not, it took three tries to get this entry up!

Things We Learned on Twitter Today....Hot as You-Know-What in Richmond, Va.

On Twitter, this p.m., we learned that Richmond, Va., which is relatively close to the zip code I'm in right now, is literally hot as hell.

According to the Twitter site RVaWx (Richmond, Va., weather), the state capital of the Old Dominion is 95 degrees today. There are winds coming into town from the northwest at 14 MPH with mostly cloudy conditions.

The relative humidity in the city where Dave Matthews used to play for five dollars a night (semi-true story!) is at 44 percent.

In other parts of the world, it is about 82 degrees in Bursa, Turkey, 81 degrees in Puebla, Mexico, and 84 degrees in Billings, Montana (wow, it sure is hot out west too!).

SIDEBAR: We were joking the other day about the ambassador to Syria being on "The Charlie Rose Show" the other night. But, the joke was on us as we found out through Google that there is apparently no official American ambassador in Damascus at the moment, but Chuck Hunter is the Deputy Chief of Mission there. Imad Moustapha is the current Syrian ambassador in Washington, DC. Tonight, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will be on Charlie Rose.

SIDEBAR TWO: Kudos to our good friend Moviezzz for taking a vacation. He will not be blogging for a while, but we highly suggest that any of you interested in developments in tv or film take a look at his back catalogue. By the time, you're done, you should know which seasons of "The Barbara Stanwyck Show" are available on dvd. *

*-Ok, it's seasons one and two.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Silly Photo to Fill Space- Working in a Zoo

Today, we dedicate this latest special installment in our summer jobs edition of Silly Photos to Fill Space for those who are working at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, which is about 30 miles south of Winston-Salem, our feature city for the month of July.

The 5:00 whistle is about to blow here, so if you wanna find out more about the NC Zoo, go to their web site at

Love those elephants! (even though I'm a Republican).

Monday, July 19, 2010

Quote of the Week- Elizabeth Taylor

Today we are featuring Elizabeth Taylor as we continue to quip famous Americans in the month of July since the Fourth of July was celebrated earlier in the month. On Wednesdays,we quote French people. I suppose the late American jazz singer Josephine Baker, who lived in France for a long time, could be used for both series!

We are also featuring Paul Newman (1925-2008) her co-star from the cinematic 1958-version of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" on our other blog today.

This quote from Taylor will most assuredly make most of you laugh (we hope!):

"I am a very committed wife. And I should be committed too- for being married so many times"

SIDEBAR: Are you wondering what to do around 11:30 p.m. this evening? Well, if you reside near Chapel Hill, NC, you don't want to watch Charlie Rose interviewing the American ambassador to Syria** and you are big fan of the latest Canadian superhero* Scott Pilgrim, then........ can head down to Chapel Hill Comics @ midnight tonight for the release party of "Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour."

The store is offering free posters for the first seven people who dress like Scott Pilgrim.

So, if you reside like 80 miles away in Roanoke Rapids, NC, or South Boston, Va., you better get moving around 9:30 p.m.!

It should be noted that Chapel Hill Comics will actually be closed from 9:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. tonight, but we imagine the local Starbucks are open until at least 10 p.m.

*-He lives in Toronto, and supposedly he has a gay roomate, which may hurt comic book sales in Provo, Utah

**(we're not sure who's on the Charlie Rose Show tonight and actually we don't know who the ambassador to Syria is. But, if/when we have these tidbits, we'll tweet them for you!).

Sunday, July 18, 2010

50 Beers From Around the Globe- Tecate (Mexico)

We were going to delay this new series "Beers Around the Globe" until August 1st, which is our beloved tuxedo cat Gizmo's sixth birthday!, but we honestly couldn't think of anything better to post today.

Since Tecate Beer, which brewed near the California border in Los Cubas, Mexico was brave enough to air a commercial en espanyol on ESPN-2 during "Friday Night Fights" a few weeks ago, we thought we'd start off with an entry for their beer- if only because they might be the first brewery to make Glenn Beck's head explode!

According to Wikipedia, Tecate is popular in California and it is best with a lime and some salt on its top.

You may be able to find the beer at Junior's Tavern in Salt Lake City, Utah, which also has jazz and blues performers as well as at Los Tres Magueyes Mexican Restaurant in Cary, NC (Raleigh. The small two-state chain also has establishments in Wake Forest, NC, and Danville, Va., among other locations.

SIDEBAR: Get the TiVo out for the vintage 1981 film "Gregory's Girl," directed by Bill Forsyth. The Scottish director also helmed "Local Hero," which is a favorite of my friend Moviezzz's. "Gregory's Girl," which is also a great film (haven't seen it in over 25 years though!) airs on TCM on Thursday night at 11:45 p.m.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Top 10 List- Places Around the World I Want to Visit

Today, we debut my weekly Top 10 lists with a Top 10 list of places I want to visit outside the United States. Well, no Canadian cities made the list, actually. So, I suppose I could say outside North America. Of course, those who know me will be less surprised by my off-beat choices.

1. Tashkent, Uzbekistan- I always thought this would be a perfect place to shoot a spaghetti western rip-off with Turkish actor Cuneyt Arkin (pictured here). Of course, Arkin, a '70s matinee idol in Istanbul, is now 72 years old, and he has already been in several such ripoffs, including "Kucuk Kovboy/The Little Cowboy." But, Tashkent also boasts Central Asia's only metro system!

2. Bergen, Noway- We love Norway here, so this is a logical choice though we've never actually been there! It is home to the Norwegian soccer team Brann and the folk singer Magnet (yes, that is his actual stage name!).

3. Thessaloniki, Greece- Yes, we would love to visit the second-largest Greek city and the birthplace of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk ('course, we had to throw that in to appease the relatives in Konya, Turkey). The city that is quite hard to spell also boasts an international film festival.

4. Mus, Turkey- This very remote eastern Turkish city is on the list simply because I was going to actually travel there for a friend's wedding but I had to get to Istanbul to catch a flight back to Newark International Airport in New Jersey. Mus sits on the Murat River overlooking the Kurtik Mountains. The Greeks apparently have no territorial interests in this city (hopefully, they will get the joke; not so sure about my fellow Turks- who are not known for having a good sense of humor).

5. Akureyi, Iceland- 24 hours of daylight in the summertime! This city has only 17,000 residents which makes it the size of Carrboro, NC, but it is somehow Iceland's second-largest city! It also boasts an 18-hole golf course.

6. Pontevedra, Spain- This city of 81,576 residents simply makes the list because I have lots of postcards from there. It is known for a Roman bridge which crosses the Lerez River.

7. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil- I think everyone knows about this place which was incidentally the setting of the 1984 Michael Caine film "Blame it on Rio!"

8. Tangiers, Morocco- A city which attracts hippies, vagabonds and famous authors like the late William Burroughs who set his novel "Naked Lunch" there.

9. St. Petersburg, Russia- This makes my list because a Facebook friend of mine recently visited there, and it looks a fabulous place. It is home to the famed Hermitage Museum and it overlooks the Neva River (not the Volga as I once wrongly believed).

10. Kyoto, Japan- This city if the former imperial capital of Japan---enough said!

SIDEBAR: Domestically, Boulder, Colo., has been called "The Best Place to Raise Abducted Children" for a third year in a row by "The Onion."* The cover article had the following quote which we sincerely loved: "The residents here are quick to smile and say hello, but never ask you why you have an Asian baby."

*_For those of you visiting us from Uzbekistan, "The Onion" is a satirical journal.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Today's GeoQuiz- Greek Island of Chios

Today's GeoQuiz is dedicated to students at Clarke Central High School in Athens, Ga., who will hopefully go on to nearby University of Georgia after they've passed ninth grade geography.

Since The World Cup recently concluded, we thought we'd go with another country that was in the soccer tourney though Greece didn't advance into the knock-out round.

Our focus today is on Chios, the fifth largest Greek island, which is only five miles off the coast of this Turkish resort town which is popular with Turkish workers from Germany.

Before we get to the choices for the answers, here is some additional background on Chios. It was once a part of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) and the island formally joined Greece in 1912. The island was occupied by Germany from 1941-1944. Chios is also twin cities with Genoa, Italy.

As for the Turkish resort town across the Chios Strait, it is sister cities with Wise, Va., the hometown of the late, great actor George C. Scott of "Patton" fame, and this place is also known for its thermal springs and karpuz (Turkish word for watermelon).

Is the town's name:

A) Bodrum

B) Fethiye

C) Kushadasi

D) Cesme

SIDEBAR: The Akron Aeros in Akron, Ohio, won their home game over the Erie SeaWolves 8-1 on Faith Night. We hope they let folks from Temple Israel in Akron (an actual place) enjoy the same discount as everyone else.

SIDEBAR TWO: Want an interesting book to read this summer? How about "Iraq: The Borrowed Kettle," the 2004 book by Slovenian pop culture philosopher Slavoj Zizek in which the author says that the war in Iraq is a lot like a Hitchcock film because the weapons of mass destruction were very similar to McGuffins, arbitrary plot devices used to move things along in movies like "North by Northwest." Incidentally, The Carolina Theatre in Greensboro, NC, will be showing Hitchcock's "The Birds" on Monday night.

PS_ The answer to last week's quiz was "B." Utrecht, Holland, has a population of around 300,000 people.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

PSA-Stop Racism

For today's PSA entry, we go with a slogan repeated throughout the recent World Cup in South Africa: Stop Racism.

There is a brilliant column in the current issue of the progressive American magazine "The Nation," (not to be confused with the right-wing Pakistani publication of the same name) which states that one of the reasons why the American right, particularly the likes of Glenn Beck, can't stand soccer is that is the one true world game.

There also appears to be an international Stop Racism Day on March 21 of each year.

As for this image, we are using it because Kermit the Frog's children's song "It's Not Easy Being Green" dealt with racism. We found out while researching this piece that the world's most famous Muppet reptile made his debut way back in 1955 (?!) for a children's tv show in San Francisco.

SIDEBAR: Some of the interesting things we learned on Twitter today include the following: 1) There is actually a Twitter group telling Muslim residents of Bursa, Turkey, when prayer time is, 2) Domestically, The Goat Show gets underway at the Reno County Fair in South Hutchinson, Kan., tonight. The regular Kansas State Fair will be from Sept. 10-19, 3) A very, very depressed man apparently jumped 20 stories out of an office window to his death in Hartford, Conn., this week. And, I thought I had a rough week!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Special Quote of the Day--Happy Bastille Day!

France has been in the news quite a lot lately as the national soccer team openly feuded while competing at the World Cup, a controversial Islamic face garb ban was passed in the French Parliament yesterday and this year the country has been forced to scale back Bastille Day celebrations because of domestic economic problems.

Since today, July 14th, is Bastille Day, we are going to quote the great French noveslist/essayist/modernist Marcel Proust (1871-1922) who is frequently the subject of "Zippy the Pinhead" comic strips. Proust was also featured as the centerpiece in a Sunday "New York Times" article about Kindle last year.

We have to wonder if the likes of Robin Reed, a Channel-7 (Roanoke, Va.) meteorologist would agree with this sentiment from Proust:

"A change in the weather is sufficient to recreate the world and ourselves."

I must profess that my favorite thing about France, after cheese and Jean-Luc Godard movies, would have to be the great comic book character Asterix the Gaul.

Happy Bastille Day to everyone in France!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Things We Learned on Twitter Today- Sea Turtles Go Free!

Since we had a hard-as-heck time downloading an image of an actual sea turtle, we had to settle for this stuffed toy instead. And, oh yes, for those of you wondering why I am posting this on Tueday instead of Wednesday, which is our designated Twitter day, it is because life is getting busy and hectic lately. Did I just say that?!

We did learn on Twitter today that the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is releasing several sea turtles into the waters of Georgia as they tweeted earlier this afternoon:

"We're all on site preparing to attach the satellite tags for our sea turtles so they're ready for our release in Jekyll Island tomorrow!"

The Georgia Shakespeare Company, also in Atlanta, tweeted that they were performing "King Lear" this week. That's the one with the unhappy ending, right? (Forgive the English lit humour).

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Zoo will have a concert with Joan Baez tomorrow night. (No, she's not the one who sang "Sweet Child of Mine" silly---she's a '60s folk singer).

Alas, some news today through Twitterville as many people, including Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Ct) who probably roots for both the New York Yankees and the Boston RedSox, expressed their condolences for the passing of Yankees' owner George Steinbrenner who is perhaps best known for his feuds with the late Billy Martin.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office tweeted that all flags at the City Plaza will be lowered for him, and the Bronx Zoo had this great message of sympathy:

"From one Bronx Zoo to another RIP George Steinbrenner. Our condolences to his friends, family, and fans."

PS_ Believe it or not, this is our 600th entry!

Silly Picture to Fill Space- Caddyshack

We continue our look at summer jobs in our Silly Pictures to Fill Space series (which usually runs on Tuesdays) with an homage to the 1980 film "Caddyshack," which somehow lost the Best Picture Oscar to "Raging Bull" (correction: "Ordinary People," I always forget that even though 'Bull' is the better movie that it lost to the Robert Redford-directed film. 'Course, we know 'Caddyshack' wasn't actually nominated).

If one wants to become a caddy in the Winston-Salem, NC-area and perhaps meet the real-life equivalents of Chevy Chase, Ted Knight and Rodney Dangerfield, one can apply at The Old Homeplace Golf Club on Wallbug Road, Jimmy Mac's Golf Range on Clemmonsville Road or The Meadowlands Golf Club at Meadowlands Drive.

Of course, we're not sure that any of these places (which really do exist) are hiring as we don't have time to survey job postings on Craigslist.

But, we can tell you that Krispy Kreme Town's local minor league baseball team The Winston-Salem Dash won a road game over the Lynchburg Hillcats in Lynchburg, Va., by a 7-4 score on Sunday.

The Dash now head to my hometown of Salem, Va., to face the Salem RedSox for a four-game series starting on Wednesday night. We wish both teams well.

Hmmm......I am beginning to feel like someone residing in Zurich, Switzerland!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Quote of the Week- Elia Kazan

We continue quoting Americans this month since the Fourth of July occurs .....well in July. Today, on our two blogs, we look at film directors who immigrated to the United States. Here, we will quote Elia Kazan (1909-2003) who was an Anatolian Greek (Turkish citizens of Greek heritage. There are still many living in Istanbul). On our other blog, we quip Billy Wilder who was a German emigre.

Kazan was a controversial figure off-screen though some of his films like "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951) were quite provocative for their time. The main reason for this was that the stage and screen director was among the first to cooperate with zealous Congressmen who were out to find communists in Hollywood.

Other memorable Kazan films include "Panic in the Streets" (1950), "On the Waterfront" (1954), "Baby Doll" (1956)* and "Splendor in the Grass" (1961). He frequently directed films with Marlon Brando.

Here is the quote from Kazan which seems quite ironic:

"Anybody who informs on other people is doing something disturbing and even disgusting."

*-My favorite Kazan film

Viva Espana!

Since virtually all the public libraries in my part of North Carolina were closed yesterday (as was everything except emergency services and the local Mexican restaurant) since it was Sunday, I didn't get to post this entry sooner.

But, even though I was rooting for The Netherlands/Holland, I wanted to congratulate Spain on winning the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Andres Iniesta kicked the game-winner in the 116th minute of play. His teammate Xica was named MVP of the World Cup and Germany's Thomas Muller won the Golden Boot.

Paul the Octopus had predicted that Spain would win on Sunday, and he had picked eight consecutive game winners throughout the World Cup. According to sports handicappers in England, anyone who listened to Paul and bet accordingly would have made themselves $4,500! Paul was given a replica World Cup for his accomplishment.

Tanja Munzig, a spokesperson at Paul's aquarium in Germany, said the octopus would be staying put in his tank despite all the media hoopla:

"We've had lots of offers, but he will definitely be staying and returning to his old job---making children smile."

Spain's World Cup victory was mared by terrorist bombings in Uganda which killed 74 people (at last report).

Nate Henn, 25, was the only American killed by the blasts which occured in the Ugandan capital of Kampala. Internet columnist Michelle Ruiz said Henn was living his dream by being a relief worker in Uganda.

Vicky Collins of "The Hufington Post" said she ate the Ethiopian Village restaurant which was the site of one of the blasts back in June. Collins said she was sickened by the attacks.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Xenophobic Criminals in Greensboro?!

According to the police blotter in the Greensboro newspaper "Yes Weekly!," Greensboro police responded to an emergency call at 10:40 p.m. on June 29 from the Tienda Mexicana store on West Market Street which turned out to be an armed robbery.

Store employee Maria Ruiz and her 9-year-old sister were in the store when two black men in their late teens or early twenties came in and one of them pointed a gun at Ruiz's face. The second suspect jumped over the counter and demanded cash.

The two then sped off in a black four-door vehicle. Anyone who may have info is asked to call CrimeStoppers at (336.373.1000).

SIDEBAR ONE: We expect Glenn Beck's head will explode over this one (and, we would love to see that happen actually!) as the Mexican beer Tecate aired several ads en espanyol on ESPN-2 last night during Friday Night Fights.

SIDEBAR TWO: A Mexican waiter at a local Mexican restaurant, a Greek co-worker of mine and a Turkish friend of mine in Greensboro all think Spain will beat Holland- the team I am both picking and rooting for in the World Cup final tomorrow. We'll see what happens tomorrow at 1:30 p.m.

TEASER: Next Saturday, we will be debuting a new series called "The Weekly Top Ten List." We will either go with our top ten favorite people to follow on Twitter or the my top ten favorite cities in North Carolina. Among the candidates for the top slot on my Top Ten Favorite people to follow on Twitter list are "Yes Weekly!" reporter Jordan Green, conservative activist Nathan Tabor of Winston-Salem (who I rarely agree with, but it's fun to see what's on his mind), comic strip character Zippy the Pinhead who we presume to really be his creator Bill Griffith or the acidic-tongued stand-up comedian Sarah Silverman.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday GeoQuiz- How Large is Utrecht, Holland?


Since Holland is playing Spain for the World Cup title on Sunday, we thought we'd focus our dual GeoQuiz entries (the other one is on my other blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Times) on the two countries involved.

For this entry, we focus on The Netherlands and the Dutch city of Utrecht. It is the fourth largest city in Holland, and the home to footballer Wesley Sneijder who has been a star player for the Dutch team. Sneijder also hails from Utrecht, which is also home to the Dom Tower (pictured above).

Utrecht is also the main rail hub of The Netherlands as well as one of Holland's leading cultural cities which like Amsterdam boasts lots of impressive canals. We presume there is good beer and cheese in Utrecht as well.

The city is also Sister Cities with the likes of Leon, Nicaragua, and Brno, Czech Rep.

One of our local bands (well, they are just down the road) The Carolina Chocolate Drops from Durham, NC, will be performing in Utrecht at The Rosa on Nov. 10. Closer to home, the band performs at Duke University in their hometown on Sept. 25. I saw them at a bluegrass fest in the rural hamlet of Eden, NC, two years and they were quite impressive!

Here is our question about Utrecht which we dedicate to ninth graders at Ragsdale High School in Jamestown, NC (near Greensboro) where a family friend is a member of the school's wrestling team:

How large is Holland's fourth largest city?

A) 275,000
B) 300,000
C) 350,000
D) 425,000

If you know the answer, I will send you a copy of "The Oak Ridge Boys' Greatest Hits" on eight-track!

SIDEBAR: We are always looking to see where people are visiting us from here on this blog. Today, we are wondering if anyone from Metz, France, or Paris, Texas, happens to stumble upon this entry. If you are from one of these towns or Utrecht, Holland, feel free to email us at

PS- The answer to last week's quiz was Slovenia.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

At Cat's Cradle- John Hiatt and The Combo (July 22)

For those who live in Raleigh or Greensboro and are avid John Hiatt fans, the country/rock hipster will be performing at The Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, NC (Chapel Hill), on Thursday, July 22. His act is actually called John Hiatt and The Combo. Tickets are $35 and the show starts at 8 p.m.

Hiatt is known for his hit songs like "Have a Little Faith in Me," "Thing Called Love" and "Slow Turning."

His latest album is "The Open Road."

Hiatt is performing in Winnipeg, Canada, tonight, and he also give concerts at The Ark in Ann Arbor, Mich., on July 18 and WolfTrap in Vienna, Va. (outside DC) on July 21.

PSA- Be Nice to Mormons

I must profess that we came with the idea because I heard that either a Mormon or Jehovah's Witness protylitizer was murdered after knocking on the proverbial wrong door in Newport News, Va. But, I couldn't find any info about the strangest of homicides.

Sure, it's annoying to have anyone protylitize to you, but there are creative ways to get rid of them. You can tell me you recently converted to Zen Buddhism and see the look on their face as you tell them they are interupting your meditation time.

I also found out while researching this piece that last year feds arrested Benjamin Speakman in South Jordan, Utah, for allegedly plotting to mass-shoot his Mormon congregation at the Jordan River Temple.

And, we also discovered that our favorite Mormon Donny Osmond (he edges out Mitt Romney who we love to make fun of!) was critical of Lady Gaga for her explicit video for her song "Telephone." Osmond, who won the coveted "Dancing with the Stars" championship, said he was all for free speech but as a parent he was concerned that the Gen Z Madonna had a gone a bit too far.

Perhaps, this means there will be no Donny Osmond* and Lady Gaga duets. That would be interesting, wouldn't it?!

*- I forgot if he spells his name with a 'y' or 'ie'!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Quote of the Day- Albert Camus

Since it will be Bastille Day in France next week (July 14th is the French day of independence), which is coincidentally a day of jubilation in Azerbaijan as well---though we aren't quite sure exactly why, we thought we'd post some quotes from famous French people. In fact, we are doing this all this month on Wednesdays as we are also quoting famous Americans on Mondays. I suppose those who were ex-pats, like the late poet James Baldwin, could qualify for both slots!

Today, we are quoting two French legends who were actually born in Algeria on our two blogs. On "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time" (yeah, I know this isn't the best name for a blog), we quip the recently-deceased fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent (1936-2008).

But, here we quote Albert Camus (1913-1960), who wrote "The Stranger." The great writer was also known for speaking out against capital punishment, colonialism and human rights abuses. We take it Dick Cheney probably hasn't checked any of his books out of the Casper, Wyo., library.

Here is the quote from Camus who alas died a few years short of his 50th birthday:

"All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridicilous beginning. Great works are often born on a street corner or in a restaurant's revolving door."

Things We Learned on Twitter Today- The Spanish Quarter in N'Orelans?!

There won't exactly be bull-fighting on Bourbon Street, but the Twitter site for VisitNewOrleans tweeted the following today:

"You don't need to be in Spain for the Running of the Bulls."

This message was posted before Spain won a historic World Cup semi-final game by a
1-0 score over Germany thanks to Carles Puyol who scored in the 73rd minute of play.

According to VisitNewOrleans, folks from the city will gather at The Ernst Cafe/The Chicury Sunday at 11:30 a..m. They will be spotting bullhorns and re-enacting the fabled Spanish event in a PEAT-friendly manner as there will not actually be bulls running loose in New Orleans. The Twitter site jokingly said most folks there will likely be intoxicated.

This sounds like a perfect place for the Rev. Franklin Grahama (R-NC) to visit on a Sunday morning as the ultra-radical televangelist once said that New Orleans deserved Hurricane Katrina because it was a 'city of sin.'

In other tweets, the Los Angeles Chinese restaurant The Mandoline Grille reported that they were having a lunch special on Vietnamese chicken curry today (hey, it's only 1 p.m. over there right now!).

And, "The San Francisco Weekly" tweeted that for $8 area residents can have a 'lobster corn dog' (shouldn't they have this in Portland, Maine, instead?!) at a place called Unwind on Union, which is actually located in Laguna, Calif. (we presume that's a San Fran 'burb).

Closer to home, both Bluefield, W.Va. (91 degrees) and Blacksburg, Va., aka Hokietown (94 degreees) broke record temperatures yesterday.

Meanwhile, it is in the mid-90s here in Mount Airy, NC, (not actually where I am at) where the public library has actually banned Twitter, which is probably quite populat at those Internet cafes in Baku, Azerbaijan, where I checked my email for the week I was there in 2008. The irony is that Azerbaijan happens to be a dictatorship!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Silly Photo to Fill Space- the Late Wally the Warthog

Alas, when The Winston-Salem Warthogs (1995-2008) because The Winston-Salem Dash, the beloved Wally the Warthog was sent to a pork processing plant in Tarheel, NC, and Bolt became the Winston-Salem, NC, minor league baseball team's new mascot.

In all seriousness, we miss Wally the Warthog but perhaps he will come back to the ballpark for a cameo one day.

We are, oh btw, continuing our summer jobs series with a focus on Winston-Salem, also known as Camel City and for being the home of Krispy-Kreme Doughnuts.

While college students who are coming back home from schools like Wake Forest or East Carolina can't dress up like Wally, perhaps they can dress up like Bolt. Well, actually they may have to apply for the job for next summer, but they can perhaps work the concession stand. Hey, I did it for the Salem Avalanche (now the Salem Red Sox) in Salem, Va.

There is also a new baseball stadium issue in Camel City which has reportedly been causing Mayor Allen Jones headaches, well we don't mean that literally.

The Dash won their game last night in Lynchburg, Va., against the Lynchburg Hillcats by a 5-3 score. Tonight, they return home to face the Myrtle Beach Pelicans at 7:00 p.m.

Winston-Salem is also the home of UBU the Band (well they were based in nearby Jamestown, and are now in Charlotte), a dinner band which hit the Top 40 in 1991 with "Right Here, Right Now" (oh that was pop singer Jesus Jones). UBU the Band is performing at High Point University in High Point, NC, on July 18.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Quote of the Week- Maya Angelou

This Quote of the Week which is being done in conjunction with the Fourth of July as we are quoting famous Americans on Mondays this month. Since Bastille Day, the French day of independence in on July 14th, we will be quoting famous French people on Wednesdays this month as well.

I thought this quote from poet Maya Angelou who teaches just down the proverbial road at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, would be appropriate since we are working on the laundry!:

"Achievement brings its own anticlimax."

SIDEBAR: The Twitter feeds were quite busy this p.m.

We learned that Trophy Cupcakes in Seattle is lobbying to win a new Best in Seattle poll in "Seattle Weekly."

Nathan Tabor, a conservative activist in Winston-Salem who I normally differ strongly with, had an interesting link about a Texas store which sold an American flag with 61 stars. I guess they're counting Guam and Puerto Rico and some other places!

Cartoonist Darrin Bell who pens "Candorville" said: "I'm alone in a Cosco and so scared."

While "Zippy the Pinhead" himself (an alternative comic strip from Bill Griffith) said: "The Korean War must have been fun!"

Lastly, we learned that University of Michigan gymnast Kari Pierce who is actually from Ann Arbor, Mich., had a birthday today. We don't know; however, if she is old enough to drink an Amstel Light at Applebee's just quite yet!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Birthday Amerika Birlesik Devletleri * from Daffy Duck!

I realize that since it's gradually approaching midnight here on the east coast of les etats unis** the only folk still watching fireworks might be in Reston, Wash. (a 'burb of Seattle), nevertheless we wanted to wish everyone a happy and safe Fourth of July.

My favorite Russian emgire rock band (well, we love Gogol Bordello too!) The Red Elvises tweeted the following message even though it appears they are in Moscow, and we don't mean the college town of Moscow, Idaho:

"We my be Russia now but any excuse to celebrate is good! Happy 4th of July America."

Meanwhile, our beloved Durham Bulls*** defeated the Gwinnett Braves from Georgia 6-4 in front of a record-breaking crowd of 11,674 fans in Durham, NC, tonight.

*-How you say USA in Turkish

**-How you say USA in French

***-Yeah, I know I should perhaps be more loyal to the Salem RedSox since I'm from Salem, Va., and the Greensboro Grasshoppers since I am a resident of the Triad (Greensboro, NC-area) as opposed to the Raleigh-Durham area, but hey none of those teams had a movie made after them! (I'm of course referring to "Bull Durham" with Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon which first came out in 1988). I will say for my hometown that the Salem Fair is going on right now, and apparently some people drive from Fairbanks, Alaska, to enjoy the smell of (how should we put this?!)_ the bull---t!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

World Cup Players Worth Remembering

Today, since there are two quarter-final World Cup games to be played, we thought we'd share with you some of the players we will remember most from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

We have compiled 12 names, and we will post six of them here and six of them on our other blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time," which just recently got over 25,000 hits (well considering how poor the ratings once were this is good for us!)

Most of this info on all these players came from Wikipedia as I am a casual futbol fan though I have seen quite a few World Cup games though admittedly I feel asleep watching the first half of the Slovakia-New Zealand first round game, which aired very early here in les etats unis, and I promptly went back to bed!

Here are the six soccer players we are profiling here:

1) David Villa. (pictured here). Spain. Age 28. Plays for Barcelona. Wears #7. Has scored an impressive 42 goals in 62 games, including both goals in 2-0 win over Honduras in the first round and the lone goal in 1-0 win over Portugal to put Spain in quarter-finals. They play Paraguay later today.

2) Landon Donovan. United States. Age 28. Plays for Los Angeles Galaxy. Born in Ontario, Calif. Wears #10. Has scored 45 in 127 international games. In World Cup play (2010), he scored goals against Algeria, Slovenia and Ghana, which was alas not enough to win the game.

3) Lionel Messi. Argentina. Age 23. Plays with Villa for Barcelona (wow!). Helped Barcelona win the 2009 UEFA Cup. Scored an amazing four goals versus Arsenal (English team) in a 4-1 win over them on April 6. In World Cup play, he has scored once versus Mexico and twice versus South Korea. Argentina has yet to lose a game in South Africa. They play Germany in less than an hour.

4) Cristiano Ronaldo. Portugal. Age 25. Plays with Real Madrid. With six-year $132 million contract, Ronaldo is the world's most expensive soccer player. Had a disappointing World Cup, though he scored an impressive goal in the team's 7-0 drubbing of North Korea.

5) Lucas Barrios. Paraguay. Age 25. Plays for Barrusia Dortmund (German team). Was actually born in Argentina, but has Paraguayan mother. Got Paraguayan citizenship in the spring to play for national team. Has scored three goals in first international appearances. Nicknamed The Panther. Paraguay plays Spain later today.

6) Asamoah Gyan. Ghana. Age 24. Plays for Rennes (French team). Club teammates with American national player Carlos Bocanegra, a UCLA alum. Ironically, the two teams met in the last round where Ghana prevailed thanks to an extra-time goal by Gyan. But, alas Gyan choked yesterday in the 121st minute of play by missing a penalty kick versus Uruguay. Gyan redeemed himself by scoring on a penalty kick in the final stage of the game, but ultimately Uruguay won the match to advance to semi-finals.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday Geo Quiz (July2010 Only)

As a casual listener to the NPR series "The World" which had a great segment on Turkish immigrant families who have now spent several generations in Germany since a guest worker program was introduced in the late 1960s, I thought I would dedicate a series of "Geo Quiz" segments (which are featured on the news show broadcasts).

These particular entries are only going to focus on countries in the World Cup, and yes we know all six countries have officially been eliminated as of today (Editorial Comment: Go Holland!).

But, nevertheless, we thought this might help ninth grade geography students at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Md. (an actual place) particularly those who are taking the class over again in summer school. It should be pointed out that there was a heatwave in the region this week, and reportedly Richmond, Va., was (yikes!) reportedly 102 degrees at one point in mid-week.

So, here is the question kids:

Which one of these four World Cup countries (pictured above) is NOT landlocked:

A) Slovakia
B) Paraguay
C) Switzerland
D) Slovenia

If you get the answer right, I may have to send you a Partridge Family record I got at Happy's Flea Market in Roanoke, Va., a few years ago. Alas, you will have to pay for the postage!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

PSA- Have a Safe Fourth of July

We want to use this weekly Thursday 'PSA' (Public Service Announcement) entry to wish everyone a happy and safe Fourth of July even if they live in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

But, in all seriousness, The American Civils Liberty Union (ACLU) tweeted today that they are advising anyone traveling to see their aunt in Yuma, Ariz., what their rights are should they be stopped by a federal or state law enforcement officer in Arizona which recently passed a new highly controversial anti-immigration bill. Among the fears expressed by Hispanics who live in The United States legally is that they will be stopped and harrassed simply because of their ethnicity. The ACLU has full details about what perspective travelers passing through Arizona should know at their web site

In more fun news, The Durham Bulls are having a Fourth of July homestand in Durham, NC. Tonight, the Bulls play the Louisville Bats, a team they beat 5-4 in 10 innings last night thanks to a bases loaded walk which scored Jose Lobaton. The Bulls will also have four straight nights of fireworks starting with tonight's game, which will be underway in about 20 minutes.

Another minor league team in North Carolina, the Asheville Tourists of Asheville won their game last night with one of their in-state rivals The Kannapolis Intimidators by a 2-1 count thanks to a ninth inning homerun from Orlando Sandoval. The game was played in Asheville.

In World Cup news, a Twitter site devouted to strange news reported that an Austrian man is selling his bejewelled vuvuzela on the Internet for $20,800. And, Austria was not even in the World Cup!