Friday, October 29, 2010

High School of the Week- Ithaca High School (New York state)

Today's High School of the Week is Ithaca High School in Ithaca, NY. The collegetown, which also features Cornell University, is home to the high school where Don Mills has been the principal since July 1, 2009.

Ithaca High School's mascot is the little brown bear (hence the image here), and the school has an enrollment of approximately 1, 675.

Among the school's famous alumnus is actress Mary McDonnell, who is known for being Kevin Costner's love interest in "Dances with Wolves" and one of the stars of the updated version of the cult tv classic "Battlestar Galactica."

Happy Republic's Day (Turkey)

Today marks the 87th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic, which is actually two years younger than my late father Mehmet Gokbudak (born on January 7,1921) would be if he were alive today.

This scene is from the historic Kiz Kulesi/Girl Tower in the Uskudar section of Istanbul. For those who have been to Turkey, there are few scenes that are quite as visually rewarding as the sight of the tower when one is sitting on a motor boat roaming through the Bosphorous.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Things We Learned on Twitter Today- Local Restaurants Closing

Since we started the Things We Have Learned on Twitter today entries, we have focused on such vital things ranging from a restaurant in San Francisco serving lobster corndogs (we still can't visualize that in our minds!) and crackdowns on Shiaa Muslim worshippers in Cairo, Egypt, of all places (Egypt is a Muslim country, but they are Sunni as opposed to Shiaa Muslim, for the most part).

But, today, we focus on our own proverbial backyard as we learned today that three restaurants in Greensboro,NC, have closed or will be closing soon.

According to a tweet from John Robinson, an editor at the "News-Record" (Greensboro's local newspaper) three restaurants have indeed folded.

The most recognized one of these establishments is Sofia Bistro, which I honestly thought was a Bulgarian restaurant since Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria (hence the cheeky photo here of a Bulgarian village). But, Sofia Bistro, which will close on Saturday, actually offers French-inspired cuisine. It is/was located on 616 Dolley Madison Road.

The establishment won positive reviews and several wine awards, but owner Beth Kizhnerman told the "News-Record" that things were not going well for the business economically.

Haybe's Hearth on High Point Road (the restaurant was on Spring Garden Street for 40 years) closed its door. Terry DeMoss, the current owner, told the same publication that: "We gave it our all, but it wasn't quite good enough."

Lastly, Nate's Place, which was on Spring Garden Street, closed as well. It primarily served students from nearby UNC-Greensboro.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Silly Photo to Fill Space- Darth Vader Dogs

Since we're on the verge of celebrating Halloween here in les estats unis, I thought I would find a goofy costume and we across this one with a dog dressed like Darth Vader that I'm sure my blogger friend Chris Knight of Reidsville, NC, will really enjoy.

Knight reported in July that a man dressed Darth Vader robbed a Chase Bank in Setauket, NY, (Long Island) on July 22. The suspect has yet to be arrested. A customer that the robbery was a prank even though Vader was carrying a firearm.

On the lighter side of life, the Lynchburg Humane Society in Lynchburg, Va., is hosting Meow-O-Ween, aimed at giving special discounts on cats and kittens at their shelter for the weekend of Oct. 29-31. Adult cats will be on sale for $20, while kittens can be adopted for $40.

The shelter also offers dogs (rates for dogs vary, call 434-846-1438 for more info), including Midnight, a 11-month-old black lab terrier/pit bull, Diesel, a male hound dog and Diva, a female Australian cattle dog who is one year and two months old.

Monday, October 25, 2010

50 Beers Around the World- Tui Beer (New Zealand)

Long day. Long commute. Aching feet. Nagging headache. It's time for a Tui Beer from New Zealand, but ahhhh wait- I'm blogging from a public library in Graham, NC*, and there is not a single bar in Alamance County that carries this brand!

(*Not really where I am at; btw, we fixed the glitch with the photo of Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri)

But, if one is in Wellington or Auckland, they can indeed have a Tui. The beer is produced by DB Breweries and it is promoted through clever ads which according to Wikipedia use sterotypes, heavy irony and the phrase "Yeah, right."

The Tui brand also has kitschy models actually called The Brewery Girls, and an online New Zealand web site called The Changing Room offers (we kid you not!) Tui-brand Cheekie knickers.

SIDEBAR: While I was lying about being at a public library in Graham, NC, where I may have been debating about which version of Herman Melville's "Moby Dick" that I want to check out, I am in fact actually drinking an Amstel Light (they didn't have Tui) at the Double Down Saloon in Las Vegas (home of the bacon martini!) with arch conservative, Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle who is trying to rob Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev) of his seat. She actually seems to have a good sense of humor, especially when it comes to making fun of Mexicans, but of course, I'd have to be awfully drunk to vote for her.

Quote of the Week- Alfred Hitchcock

Yes, I am aware that something royally effed up with the image of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), but for right now let's move on with our Quote of the Week from the late, great Alfred Hitchcock.

Of course, we're doing this because Halloween is just around the corner:

"I am a typed director. If I made Cinderella, the audience would immediately be looking for a body in the coach."

SIDEBAR: What am I doing at the moment you ask? Well, we don't have time to post this on Facebook or Twitter, but I am in fact: "Having a halal beer with Juan Williams at the Paradise Hookah Bar in Paterson, NJ."*

*-Yes, there is such a place. Paterson, NJ, has one of the largest Muslim populations in the United States. The Fox News commentator was literally fired from his day job at NPR for saying Muslims in garb scare him on airplanes. I have a similar fear of Mormons, actually (that is just a joke, Marie Osmond fans!).Halal beer is actually a product that is served in Malaysia!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

High School of the Week- Marquette High School in Chesterfield, Missouri

Sticking with the Show-Me State (see last entry; that's Missouri's nickname for those of you surfing in Mongolia), our designated High School of the Week is Marquette High School in Chesterfield, Mo., which is a suburb of St. Louis.

We got the idea to go with Marquette High School because it is the alma mater of University of Missouri gymnast Tori Howard. The sophomore turned 19 on June 21. The first significant home meet for the Tigers' gym team will be against Nebraska on Feb.4.

As for Marquette High School, the principal is Greg Matthison. The school colors are blue and green, and the nickname (if you haven't guessed?!) is The Mustangs.

Things We Learned on Twitter Today- Senator Talks Sports

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), one of our entries in the now-defunct Know Your Congressional Rep and Senators series (that was as popular as Porky Pig cartoons in Pakistan), tweeted tonight that she was delighted to see her beloved University of Missouri tigers stun top-ranked Oklahoma in college football:

"WE WON!!! So special to see The Tigers beat those Sooners!! So much fun. And, we deserved to win."

Of course, this being the political the right-wing web site, which presumably believes everyone to the left of Newt Gingrich is as radical as Che Guevara, cited the Missouri senator and made her out to be The Joker from "Batman."

And, to think some 45 percent of my fellow Americans share this idiotic far-right political views, especially in places like the tiny Shenandoah Valley hamlet of Toms Brook, Va.!

Pardon the Interuption...

Yes, we have been offline for three-to-four days due to some rather awful (can anyone use that word objectively?!) life circumstances which lead to having a nightmare which ended with me waking up and yelling: "Naked Lunch!" at 5:30 a.m. I have no idea how William Burroughs came to invade my subconscious!

While I can not tell you of the many terrible ordeals I've been through lately, I can tell you that our friends at The Washington Ballet (ok, so we don't anyone there!) in our nation's capital are performing Septime Webre's version of "Romeo and Juliet" from Nov. 3-7, 2010.

Incidentally, the image above is a test screen from TRT (Turkish Radio and Television). When I lived in Turkey as a child from 1977-1979, I was so excited to watch "Uzay 1999" (which is really the American cult sci-fi series "Space 1999") that I would watch these test bars before the show would finally air. Back in Turkey in the late '70s, tv did not often air until 7:00 p.m., during the week.

Of course, back in those days, when I returned home to Roanoke, Va., I had to wiggle the antenna to watch one of my generation's favorite cartoon "Superfriends" (which featured all the main DC Comic Book characters, even Aqua Man) from Channel 13, which is still the ABC affiliate in nearby Lynchburg, Va.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Silly Photo to Fill Space- Jaaack-O-Lantern

For those of you who reside in a remote village in Azerbaijan, this image above is of Jack Nicholson who played Jack Torrence in the Stanley Kubrick film version of "The Shinning," based on the Stephen King novel of the same name.

King is to this day reportedly displeased with the Kubrick film. Interestingly enough, Kubrick would frequently call King when it was the middle of the night in Maine, where King still resides, and ask him absurd questions like: "Do you believe in God?"

"The Shinning" is currently showing (at least of tonight) at the famed Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, Tex., which is about as close to us as a remote village in Azerbaijan (we are on the east coast).

According to the IMDB, King also professed a preference for actor Jon Voight, now known more for his radical transformation from post-Vietnam hippie to a right-wing Tea Party extremist than his still emmence on-screen talents, to play the title role instead of Jaaack Nicholson.

The title of the book apparently came about when King was listening to or thinking about the John Lennon song "Instant Karma" and the line: "We all shine on."

50 Beers Around the World- Foster's

Greetings from the lobby of the Lollipop Motel in Wildwood, NJ, (which is not remotely close to where we really are!), where today we post about the familiar Australian brew Foster's, which everyone between here and Tashkent, Uzbekistan, knows is: "Australian for Beer."

According to Wikipedia, the Foster's Group, which owns the brand, announced in 2008 of the release of Cascade Brewery's 'green' beer that will not actually be green in color, but rather it is fully carbon offset in terms of agriculture, manufacturing, and packaging.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Quote of the Week- Spike Lee

Our Quote of the Week, which are publishing early this week, comes from movie director/political activist Spike Lee who I saw in person at Virginia Tech several years ago:

"Don't think that because you haven't heard from me for a while that I went to sleep. I am still here, like a spirit roaming the night. Thirsty, hungry. Seldom stopping to rest."

Virginia High School Football Roundup

Since I live in an area that gets tv and radio stations from Roanoke, Va., as well as Greensboro and Raleigh in NC, and Friday nights have been a bit slow lately, I have taken to watching high school football highlights.

It is nice to see how my alma mater Glenvar High School in Salem, Va., which defated Auburn High School from the hamlet of Riner, Va., on Friday night, is progressing. It is also see how the Floyd County High School Buffaloes from Floyd, Va., also victors on the girdiron this week are coming along.

I will post the rest of scores from the Roanoke region as well scores from Central Virginia (Lynchburg-Danville), southwest Virginia and even the Shenandoah Valley. Due to time constraints, we can not post scores for the entire state, so my apologies to folks in Norfolk and Richmond.

North Carolina scores will be posted on our other blog (Ragsdale High School from just outside Greensboro won---Yay!).

The team emblem pictured above belongs to Northside High School in Roanoke County. The Vikings won their game over rival William Byrd High School from Vinton, Va., which one of our previous 'High Schools of the Week.'

Here are the rest of the Virginia scores:

Salem 13 Blacksburg 7
Northside 24 William Byrd 0
Floyd County 20 Radford 12
Christiansburg 41 Hidden Valley 14
Franklin County 28 Patrick Henry (Roanoke) 0
Glenvar 42 Auburn 6
EC Glass 27 Heritage 14
GW Danville 34 Halifax Count 19
Dan River 41 Nelson County 20
Alleghany County 35 Lord Botetourt 7
Riverheads 44 Page County 0
Harrisonburg 24 Stuarts Draft 21
Robert E. Lee (Staunton) 23 Turner Ashby 0
Beluefield (WVa) 24 William Fleming (Roanoke) 8
Eastern Montgomery 53 Giles County 27

SIDEBAR: In ACC college football action, the host Virginia Tech dumped Wake Forest 52-21 while my cousin Mike's beloved Clemson won over the University of MAryland by a 31-7 score and Flordia State beat Boston College 24-19.

As for the smart kids, The University of Pennsylvania beat Columbia 27-13 in the Ivy League.

SIDEBAR: One has to feel for the Turkish soccer team Kasimpasha as they were literally kicked in the arse by Trabzonspor from the Black Sea port of Trabzon by a
7-0 score! Traditional Istanbul powerhouse was upset by Manisaspor by a score of 3-2.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Top 10 Shakespeare Plays

We beg to differ, but thinks "Hamlet" is William Shakespeare's best play (it would number 3 behind "Othello" and "Macbeth" on my list). For those who adore "Merchant of Venice," we should warn you in advance that it has been snubbed!

While researching this post, we came across a nifty blog called which makes me wonder how people can focus on just one thing!

For those who reside in Virginia, The American Shakespeare Center in the Shenandoah Valley town of Staunton, Va., is currently performing "Henry V, Part 2," "Othello" and "Taming of the Shrew."

Cast members include James Keegan, Sarah Fallons and the adorable Ginna Hoben, who was great in "Othello" (I saw it when it first opened).

Here is the list, which all of you should memorize for your English quiz on Monday:

1) Hamlet (pictured above-Laurence Olivier)
2) Romeo and Juliet (is this the one with the unhappy ending?)
3) Henry V
4) Midsummer Night's Dream (we prefer the Woody Allen movie)
5) Macbeth (aka The Scotish Play)
6) Richard III
7) Julius Caesar (the man behind the salad)
8) 12th Night
9) Taming of the Shrew
10) Othello

Thursday, October 14, 2010

High School of the Week- Springfield Southeast (Illinois)

Though he is actually an alumnus of The Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii, we are featuring a photograph of President Barack Obama with our High School of the Week entry for Springfield Southest High School in Springfield, Ill., because the state capital of Illinois is effectively where Obama's political career began to flourish when he was a member of the state senate there some ten years ago.

We must profess that Illinois offered many potential choices for High School of the Week selection process: Actor Bruce Dern, who recently turned 76, is an alumnus of New Trier High School in Winnetka, Bill Murray graduated from the private Loyola Academy in Wilmette, the classic 1985 teen angst film "The Breakfast Club" was filmed at Maine North High School in Des Plaines and my cousin Brent Gokbudak went to Niles West High School in Skokie where his teammate on the gymnastics team was none other than future Olympian Bart Conner! (All of these schools are in suburbs of Chicago).

But we chose Springfield Southeast HS, a school with an enrollment of some 1,350 students according to Wikipedia, over all of them. The school nickname is The Spartans, and there are both boys and girls hockey teams at the school as well. Elbert Kern is the football coach for The Spartans. And Jason Wind is the school's principal.

Of course, even folks in Karachi, Pakistan, know that Seymour Skinner (his 'real name' is Armin Tamzarian according to Wikipedia) is the principal of the elementary school in the fictional Springfield on "The Simpsons." There is speculation that the Springfield in the cartoon series was based on Springfield, Mass., but that has never been verified.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Things We Learned on Twitter Today- Crackdowns in Egypt

This above image of a female Egyptian soccer fan with her head covered by a hijab undoubtedly reflect the cultural tensions in Egypt, where like fellow secular Muslim country Turkey, separation of mosque and state is always an issue.

But, perhaps surprisingly, the latest raids by Egyptian police in the capital city of Cairo have targeted Shia Muslims.

According to a tweet from Daily News Egypt, the police arrested four men, one of whom was Safaa Al-Awadi, 44, from Perth, Australia, as well as two Iraqi nationals for insulting and denying tenets of religion.

While many Christians, particularly fundamentalists, have emphasized the sometimes alleged, sometimes obvious persecution of Christian minorities in Muslim countries, many Sunni Muslim countries, such as Egypt, have strict laws regarding the practice of Shiia Islam.

Crackdowns of Shiias have been in place in both Egypt and Bahrain since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, where the majority of Shiia Muslims live. The Shiia Muslims are also the majority in Azerbaijan, and they have a large minority in Iraq.

Traditional Sunnis believe Shiism is blasphemy because Shia Muslims believe the Prophet Ali should have taken Mohammad's place instead of Abu Bakr, which is what the Sunnis believe. And, alas many people have died in war and strife as a result of the long-standing rift.

SIDEBAR: Washington Park High School in Racine, Wisc., is yet another one of our 'High Schools of the Week.' The school's mascot is The Panther, which originated with the class of 1949, who are now entering their 80s! The school's traditional rival is William Harlick HS. Kevin Barry of the Green Bay Packers is among the school's famous alumni in recent years.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Silly Photo to Fill Space- Celeb Couples

None of us like to publicly profess it, but let's face it_ we all love celebrity couples. They seem to have it all don't they? Good looks. Good fashion. Great talent. Good lawyers.

Today, we focus on celeb couple numero uno Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. Yes, we wonder how they can stand each other even though of a lot of people (not us, of course!) can't stand them.

Tom is best known for blockbuster films from "Risky Business" to "A Few Good Men." While, Katie is an alum of "Dawson's Creek" who has made some cute films here and there, but none of us here at the office in Bridgeport, Conn. (not where we really are) can't remember a single title of any of them!

SIDEBAR: This week's semi-official High School of the Week is Brandywine High School in Wilmington, Del., a state which is seeing a surprisingly interesting U.S. Senate race between Christine "I'm Not a Witch" O'Donnell, who seems to be the Katie Holmes of the Tea Party movement, and Chris Coons. According to "The Christian Science Monitor," Coons is substantially ahead (editorial comment: YAY!).

As for Brandywine HS, the school's famous alum includes none other than rocker George Thorogood who is best known for the song "Bad to the Bone," which seems to be our pet cat's theme song these days.

My own alma mater Glenvar High School from Salem, Va., lost a home game to Giles County High School by a 20-17 score last week. But, the UNC Tarheels beat Clemson so I get to jeer my cousin Mike, a rabid Clemson fan, even though I only root for the Tarheels when they are winning!

SIDEBAR TWO: We have now passed 150,000 hits...hooray!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Qoute of the Week- Woody Allen

We are far behind in our blogging, which means other aspects of lives are perhaps stronger now. But, we thought we'd post yet another great quote from Woody Allen (who is second to fellow filmamaker Jean-Luc Godard_who we have on occasion mistakenly called Jean Luc-Godard*___ in terms of being quoted on our two blogs).

I sense this quip was made a few decades ago, but like all quotes from the director of "Annie Hall" and "Manhattan," this one holds up quite well:

"How can I believe in God when just last week I got my tongue caught in the roller of an electric typewriter."

*- What a difference a hyphen makes! Of course, Jean-Luc Godard is correct!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Things We Learned From Twitter Today- Girls Will be Girls

According to a tweet from "The L.A. Weekly" a 16-year-old female high school student from Hart High School in Newhall, Calif., allegedly stabbed another girl at the school up to four times with an eight-inch knife over a boy!

Students told a Los Angeles area tv station that the alleged culprit seemed 'like the sweetest girl.'

Thankfully, the victim's wounds do not appear to be life-threatening.

And, we only thought high school girls acted like this over Justin Timberlake...?!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Top 10 Countries to Defect To...if Sarah Becomes Prez

Yes, much like Dubai oil, free time is becoming a rare commodity these days, but we had to blog about where we would go if the nightmare scenario of Sarah Palin becoming president were to happen. Much like actor Matt Damon, I have to agree that it would be 'like a bad Disney movie.'

I was actually planning to post this BEFORE the travel alert to Europe, but I would love to travel to these countries, six of which I've never been too (four of the countries are not actually in Europe, and one can dispute if Turkey is in Europe or not!):

1. Iceland (pictured...24 hours of daylight six months of the year!)
2. Norway
3. Costa Rica
4. Finland
5. Canada
6. France
7. Argentina
8. Turkey (well, I speak the language)
9. Greece (the recession there should make living there much cheaper!)*
10. Cuba (yes- we just put this up here to irk the right-wingers!)

*- Besides, I've always wanted to go to the island of Chios!

Monday, October 4, 2010

50 Beers From Around the World- Kronenbourg 1664 (France)

Kronenbourg 1664 Beer, France's best-selling brew, was started in the year 1664 in Strasbourg, France (not to be confused with Strasburg, Va., which is an hour south of Washington, DC).

KUDOS: Congrats to the Virginia Tech Hokies for beating the N.C. State Wolfpack 41-30on the road Saturday.

SIDEBAR: We would have more to say today, but it is a Monday and we have a lot of bogabok (which is Turkish for something associated with a type of cow) to take care of! Efes Pilsen, by the way, is the most popular beer in Turkey.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Quote of the Week_ Jean-Luc Godard

Yes, we usually run Quotes of the Week on Mondays, but we are pressed for time today so we will go ahead and quip French New Wave legend Jean-Luc Godard who will turn 80 on Dec. 3 as we features quotes from famous film directors this month:

"One of the most striking signs of the decay of art is when we see separate forms jumbled together."

SIDEBAR: We were saddened to learn of the death of another great film director Arthur Penn who died a short of his 88th birthday this week. Penn will be best known for directing "Bonnie and Clyde" in 1968, but he leaves behind a strong legacy of other films including "Alice's Restaurant" and "Mickey One," which was one of Warren Beatty's first big films. I had a chance to meet Penn at the Virginia Film Festival in Charlottesville several years ago. He was a class act, and he will be missed.

SIDEBAR TWO: My alma mater Glenvar High School did not have a good night on Friday as they lost a road game to Rural Retreat High School by a 27-20 margin. The late photographer O. Winston Link actually made Rural Retreat, Va., briefly famous when he took one of his famed train photographs there. Other high schools from the Roanoke, Va., area last night include Salem High School winning 27-21 over William Fleming; the Northside Vikings beating Hidden Valley HS 13-10, and Christiansburg HS trumped Patrick Henry HS of Roanoke by a 40-6 score.