Monday, November 29, 2010

Quote of the Week- Jimmy Carter

He is undoubtedly Rush Limbaugh's 'favorite president' (which is reason to love the guy) and tomorrow night former president Jimmy Carter will sign copies of his latest book at Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, DC.

An interview with Carter will also air this weekend on C-Span 2 (Book TV), and an exhibit called "The Working White House" is currently on display at the Carter Museum and Library in Atlanta where Rosalynn Carter will hold her own book-signing in December.

Here is our quote from the president, one of only four living ex-presidents, who came in between Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan:

"America did not invent human rights. In a very real sense human rights invented America."

Another ex-president Bill Clinton speaks at the Greensboro Coliseum tomorrow night as part of Guilford College's Bryan Series. Clinton will reportedly head to Switzerland on Wednesday to start lobbying for an American bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

SIDEBAR: Speaking of Carter's home state of Georgia, we learned that there is a happening vegeteranian restaurant in the college town of Athens, Ga., called The Grit, which serves brunch from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

50 Beers Around the World- Natty Greene's (Greensboro, NC's Local Brew)

Today, we take a short break from focusing on beers from all parts of the globe to examine the most popular local brew for Greensboro, NC, that is Natty Greene's.

The brewery also serves as a happening restaurant in downtown Greensboro and a few months ago, they opened up a second joint in Raleigh.

Currently, one can have the seasonal Red Nose White Ale, and other brands of Natty Greene's include The Guilford Golden Ale, Southern Pale Ale and Buckshot Amber Ale.

The Triad's brew can be found at many places in the Tarheel State, including the Backstreet Buzz Coffee House in nearby Reidsville, where the popular Greensboro band A Cup of Blues will be performing on Saturday night.

SIDEBAR: With today being Cyber Monday, I was looking around my mom's house over the weekend and wondering what we could hawk on E-Bay, which has turned out to quite profitable for my cousin Michael is South Carolina. I came across a box that had some old paperbacks, including the book version of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," the Elmore Leonard novel "Bandits" and "Dave Barry's Greatest Hits," which since it was published 20 years ago seems a bit out of date.

But, Cyber Monday is a bit of a concern for local retailers. "The Charleston City Paper" in Charleston, SC, has a cover story this week focusing on the 'buy local' trend which aims to keep dollars in the community with the support of local businesses. Among the local businesses in the historic city that were featured in the article by Stephanie Barna were Wonder Works, a Charleston toy store, Remedy Market, a grocer focusing on local goods and Croghan's Jewel Box.

SIDEBAR TWO: We were saddened to hear of the death of comic actor Leslie Nielsen, who started as a dramatic actor in his long film career. But, his death, reminded me of a surreal incident which actually caused diplomatic tensions between Turkey and Iran in 1990. Iranian government officials were actually outraged that Nielsen's hit comedy film "The Naked Gun," which makes fun of the Ayatollah Khomeini, was being screened in Turkey, which neighbors Iran. This lead to an actual government investigation by authorities in Ankara, but the film continued to play in Turkey, and we gather it did fairly well there.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

50 Beers Around the World- Sagres (Portugal)

New reports are surfacing that actually drinking two beers a day may help prevent a person from getting a heart attack, but I would check with my fellow Turkish-American Dr. Oz (Mehmet Oz) before heading over to Corn Beef and Company, a famous downtown bar in my hometown of Roanoke, Va.

As for our latest entry in the 50 Beers Around the World, Sagres Beer is the most popular brew in Portugal. It has a clever ad campaign, which Gloria Steinem and Pat Robertson may not care for, that features a black bikini-clad girl in her twenties coming out of the ocean to hover over an illuminating golden glass of Sarges. Surely, this must give the local chapter of AA in Lisbon something else they don't need to deal with!

Sagres started in 1940, and it is named after the town of Sagres, Portugal. It was first exported to mostly Portuguese colonies, including Mozambique which is now independent.

Popular types of Sagres include Sagres Preta, a Munich-type beer, Sagres Limalight which has a natural lemon flavor and Sagres Bohemia which is an auburn brew with a fruity aroma.

SIDEBAR: Just across the Straits of Gibraltar from Spain and Portugal is Morocco, where according to Sara Tucker of "Conde Nest Traveler," it is polite to knock on the door with the tips of your fingers, and you may only knock three times!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Quote of the Week: Harry Truman

Hello and Welcome to our listeners in Hilo, Hawaii; War, West Virginia; Calgary, Canada; Anqtigua, Guatemala; Quito, Ecuador; Lisbon, Portugal; Accra, Ghana; Eskisehir, Turkey; Qom, Iran; Tora Bora, Afghanistan; and Pyongyang, North Korea.

Forgive the BBC World Service satire as we focus on tonight's entry dedicated to our great American president Harry Truman. One can visit the Harry Truman Library in Independence, Mo, where there is a current timely exhibit on "Memories of Korea" until Dec. 31.

Here is our Truman quote, which is part of our focus on the last 12 presidents before Barack Obama (FDR-GWB):

"A president needs political understanding to run the government, but he may be elected without it."

SIDEBAR: Former president Jimmy Carter will be at Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, but there are many other guests of interest this week, including author Noah Feldman who has a new book on FDR's battles with The Supreme Court on Monday. And, on Wednesday, one of favorite unapologetics liberal journalists Matt Taibbi of "Roling Stone" who coined the term: "Medicare-motor-scooter conservatives" in article about the big Tea Party convention in Louisville, Ky., a few months ago will be talking at Politics and Prose about his new book "Griftopia."

Today, the bookstore had this very amusing tweet: Overheard_ "This bookstore is like my outlet mall," we take that as a compliment.

SIDEBAR TWO: Today's trending topics on Twitter and AOL are Obama Busted Lip, Willie Nelson, Wal-Mart, Kim Kardashian, Hallee Berry, Signs of a Drinking Problem, File for unemployment.

We will add Noam the Gnom and Zinn the Mink which are gnomes in homage of Noam chomskey and the late Howard Zinn that the liberal "The Nation" magazine are trying to sell to help them compensate for a half-million deficit. We imagine this will work better than trying to get subscriptions from folks in places like Provo, Utah, Lynchburg, Va. and Paducah, Ky.

Friday, November 26, 2010

High School of the Week- Glenvar High School (Salem, Va)

Today, as a farewell to the High School of the Week series, I am profiling Glenvar High School in Salem, Va., which is my own alma mater!

We are also profiling Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, DC, since we realize that by mentioning high schools from all 50 states, we snubbed our very own nation's capital!

The actual school I mentioned the first time around for Virginia was William Byrd High School in Vinton, which like Glenvar is a Roanoke County school.

As for Woodrow Wilson High School, their famous alumni include Warren Buffet and former Washington DC mayor Adrian Fenty (just lost reelection in November; he graduated in 1988 the same year as me!).

But, for Glenvar High School, aka Highlander High, which had 637 students in 2009, well there aren't many famous alumni. In fact, I was probably the first person of Middle Eastern heritage to graduate until my little sister did in 1992. I suspect no other Turkish-Americans or Arab-Americans have joined us which is certainly not the case at Woodrow Wilson HS which has students from 85 different countries!

However, there is Rick Huddle, a story-teller/entertainer in Portland, Ore., who graduated from GHS in 1987. In fact, we were on the same soccer team in which Rick actually got to play while I sat on the misreable bench.

Huddle has been acclaimed by "The Oregonian" for his 'rubbery face and expressive body language.' And, on his web site, the entertainer has this quip from author Marc Acito: "Rick Huddle is the Hoover vacuum of storytellers- he just sucks you right in."

As for my school, the current GHS principal is Joe Hafey. The Wikipedia page for GHS cites Coach Dickie Myers, who taught me earth science in the ninth grade, for his 30 years of teaching and coaching. Among the sports that Myers coached were wrestling, cross country and track.

As for more recent alumni, I heard that Evan DeHart has returned home from a tour of duty (in presumably Afghanistan) with the Marines. We are glad he is back, even if Salem, Va., is only just slightly more hip and happening than Kandahar province. Well, we do have a Starbucks now, oh, I forgot---there are two of them in fact!

SIDEBAR: NPR tweeted today that the community of Hacker Valley, WVa, zip code 2622, is reeling from the loss of their post office as the next closest one is in the town of Diana, which makes for a 40-minute round trip!

SIDEBAR TWO: As I was driving past the Greyhound bus station in Burlington, NC, a few weeks ago, I thought about what would be the longest continental bu strip one could take from there. And, we found out that if the city's mayor Ronnie K. Hall wanted to visit his counterpart Doug Issacson of North Pole, Alaska (whom we profiled a long time ago), it would take 74 hours and four minutes for a total of 4,326.22 miles. Much of the trip would go through western Canada, including Saskatoon and Edmonton. The same trek is a mere 72 hours and 30 minutes from my hometown of Salem, Va.

SIDEBAR THREE: The main Twitter trending words today are Roll Tide, Thanksgiving Dinner, Gobble Gobble, Friday Shopping, Wal-Mart and Leftovers. We hope the mere mention of these words inflates our hit total for today!

Things We Learned on Twitter This Week- Chicago Sports Fans Are Loyal

Whether it is a liberal Hollywood actor like Jon Cusack or a right-wing political commentator with no sense of humor like George F. Will, Chicagoans seem to love their sports team irregardless if they are winning or not.

And, that was Reason #28 why "Chicago Magazine" said Windy City residents should love Chicago, according to a tweet posted by them on Wednesday.

The exact wording of the post was: "Reason #28 to love Chicago: Sports fans who stick with their teams (sometimes the devotion pays off).

They then linked to a photograph with several college-age Chicago Blackhawks fans painted in red (as if they were draped in blood) including Wes Zielinski and Nixon Flores.

The Blackhawks won their first Stanley Cup after many, many years last season.

Well, I would write more put I've got to play the piano at Chic's Antiques in Floyd, Va., this afternoon to entertain Black Friday customers (that is a joke actually as I don't play the piano, and if I did I would certainly not be as great as Liberache!).

Besides, last night while putting the finishing touching on an entry for our other blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time," the computer crashed which almost made me curse like "Rolling Stone" writer Matt Taibbi who has been known to say some mean things about George F. Will, which we won't repeat here as most Republicans in the South tend to carry glocks with them to the Piggly Wiggly!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving/Black Friday from Roy Rogers

Yes, of course, we are aware that cowboy singer/actor Roy Rogers (1911-1998) is no longer with us, but why should that stop him from wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving, or Black Friday, as it is now in Mumbai!

It is still only 6:08 p.m. in San Francisco where author/blogger Christian Lander who hit it big with his first book "Stuff White People Like" will appear at Books Inc on Chestnut Street on Dec. 2. Lander then travels to nearby Berkeley, Calif., on Dec. 3 to visit Pegasus Books.

Lander is also going to visit two of my favorite bookstores in les etats unis early next year when he stops at The Boulder Bookstore in Boulder, Colo., on Wed., Jan. 12 at 7:30 p.m. He then ventures just outside the 303 area code (whoops! We stand corrected Denver IS in the 303 area code) to visit the Tattered Bookstore in Denver on Jan. 13, also at 7:30 p.m.

But, for you red state folks who obviously stumbled upon the wrong blog, fear not, my dear mom's home state of South Carolina which just elected one of Sarah Palin's crazed mama grizzly cubs for governor in Nikki Haley is having tax-free buy as many guns as you like day for the gun wacko Yosemite Sam-types who are eagerly going to sneak across the border from the Charlotte-metro area and stack up on some ammo.

One such place is Aim Right Guns and Ammo in the border town of Fort Mill, SC, (yes, we wondering if the name suggests a political message too) which features photos of a local kid who took out a Bambi Quentiin Tarantino-style.

If that doesn't satisfy one's gun lust, there is Nichol's Store just down the road in Rock Hill, SC, which will open on Black Friday, which is also Tax Free Day for all your glock and magnum needs, at 8:00 a.m. sharp.

However, if you're a conservative guy who prefers a night of good music to a deer-hunting trip to West Virginia, you can enjoy Roy Rogers Jr. himself (well, there are some liberals who like country and western shows, I suppose, but I imagine they have to keep wery, wery quite around their Elmer Fudd buddies) will be performing at the Mickey Gilley Theatre in Branson, Missouri, until mid-December.

But, irregardless if you're a fellow booky liberal intellectual type or if you're a right-wing maniac who likes to get his ass up at 3:30 a.m. to shoot woodpeckers, we hope you have a fun and safe Thanksgiving/Black Friday....just be sure to wear blaze orange if you're going to walk in the woods in South Carolina!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Day Blog-a-Thon Starts with Shakespeare Quote

Since there is not too much going on during Thanksgiving Day here at my mom's house in gorgeous Galax, Va. (not really where I am, nor is it where mom lives), I thought I would have Thanksgiving Day Blog-a-Thon, which means that in the next 24 hours, I will attempt to have three posts up on both of my blogs.

We start with The Bard, aka William Shakespeare, because a newly remodeled version of the original Shakespeare Theatre is supposedly getting set to open in Stratford-on-Avon, England, but our intern Javier went home to Honduras for Thanksgiving so we don't have time to actually verify this.

However, we can somewhat confirm that the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Va., which has been renamed at least 14 times (well, not really, but at least three times for certain) is staging the last performances of three Shakespeare plays this weekend, including "Henry IV, Part 2" (ends Nov. 26), "Taming of the Shrew" (ends Nov. 28) and "Othello" (ends Nov. 27).

The ever-gorgeous and very talented Shakespearean actress Ginna Hoben from the company is getting set to perform her one-woman show called "The Twelve Dates of Christmas," starting on Nov. 30. Hobben wrote the play as well, and it supposedly makes fun of my gender (which is male), dating and Christmas.

Due north of Staunton, in Washington, DC, The Folger Library will be performing Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors" starting on Jan.25, 2011. It will run through March 6.

And, my Facebook friend Andrew Neal may well have a comic book version of "Hamlet" or "Romeo and Juliet" at Chapel Hill Comics in Chapel Hill, NC, which is having a Black Friday sale on Black Friday. Featured items will include Scott Pilgrim t-shirts, Giant Microbes and Pokemon cards. They also have plenty of Archie's Comics (the above cover is an obvious satire of "Macbeth" with Jughead) on-hand. As it turns out, there is an English company called Shakespeare Comics which actually puts Shakespeare's works into comic book versions for young readers.

Here is our quote from Willy himself:

"Everyone ought to bear patiently the kindness of his own conduct."

Lastly, for those keeping track today's trending topics include Cookie Monster, Freddie Mercury, North Korea and Ugly Betty. Please, don't bother asking us why!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Being Deliberately Trendy

Since Trending Topics are the new trend in cyberspace these days, we thought we'd use some Trending Topics from to arbitrarily inflate our daily hits (Mondays are surprsingly good days for hits; I assume this is because of all the Dilberts stuck in their office jobs from hell).

So, here we go.....

It was reported by some tabloid gossip fodder that Nicole Kidman and Teri Hatcher met for a frappucino at an unidentified Starbucks in High Point, NC. The dynamic duo then made their way over to a nearby shopping mall where they looked at minature Jesus statues at some kitsch shop. As they were looking for some high heel shoes at the same fictional shopping mall, the two movie stars gabbed about Kim Zolchiak and Scarlett Johanssen, who turned 26 today. During this exchange, Teri shocked Nicole by revealing that she has a crush on Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy. Nicole confided that she takes a liking to Blink 182 music. While shopping at the imaginary mall in High Point, Nicole and Teri ran into Tiger Woods who was at a sporting goods store and checking out some clubs. One of the two starletts told Tiger that he 'should burn in hell,' but no one could confirm who uttered those words.

Of course, I made all of this up to merely get hits!

I am a bit surprised that terms like 'body scanners,' 'TSA' and 'pat-downs' are NOT among the trending topics of the day.

One of the early victims of the new security measures was none other than newspaper humorist Dave Barry who was told by TSA officials in Miami that he had a 'blurry groin,' a story that he shared with NPR.

I went through a full body scan at Heyder Aliyev International Airport in Baku, Azerbaijan, back in the summer of 2008, and I had a gut feeling we would soon be seeing them here in les etats unis.

Some may assume that it is only airports in major cities where air travelers have to undergo such discomforts, but the list of airports where the new measures are in place includes Omaha (Neb.), Fort Wayne (Ind.), Albany (NY), Grand Rapids (Mich.), and Albequerque (N. Mex).

There are at least four aiports in Virginia and North Carolina using the full body scanners, including Richmond, Dulles (Wash. DC), Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Silly Photo to Fill Space: Tofu Turkey

I sure hope my mom in Mount Airy, NC (not where she actually lives) does NOT opt to put tofu turkey on our table, but irregardless if you're a vegan or a right-wing nut or both, or if you live in Provo, Utah, or Provincetown, Mass., we wish you a pleasant Thanksgiving

Quote of the Week- Dwight D. Eisenhower

For those wishing to visit the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library and Museum, it is located in Abilene, Kansas, and my mother visited in last year during a lengthy road trip excursion that ended somewhere in Colorado.

The Newseum in Washington, DC, is also commemorating the 50th anniversary of Eisenhower's farewell address in January with guests like James Fallows from "The Atlantic" and Dana Priest from "The Washington Post."

Here is our quote from Ike, which is appropriate since lots of college football games are being played today (as we speak in fact):

"An atheist is a man who watches a Notre Dame-Southern Methodist University game and doesn't care who wins."

SIDEBAR_ Our High School of the Week entries are in recess, but we should congratulate Cave Spring High School of Roanoke, Va., as the Knights are the only school from my hometown left in the Virginia state playoffs thanks to their win over Grundy High School last night.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

50 Beers Around the World- Taedonggang from North Korea

Today's entry in the long-running 50 Beers Around the World Series (today we are posting entries number 31 and 32 on our two blogs) is perhaps the longest beer name in the world, Taedonggang Beer from North Korea.

The isolationist nation's brew has only been operational since 2000 when Kim Jong-il decided it was time for a Pyongyang version of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

A commercial for the beer, which has become fairly popular on YouTube, aired on North Korean tv in June of 2009.

The brew is named for the Taedong River that runs through Pyongyang.

And, in case you are wondering what the trendy topics are on Twitter today, they include Playing God (a video game), Green Lantern, and (of course) Prince William and Kate Middletown.

Other trending topics include Oden, which we learned does NOT refer to a Japanese winter dish named Oden but rather Portland Trailblazers star Greg Oden who has apparently suffered a major injury, and Joly, which is an apparent reference to British tv comedian Dom Joly, who is very popular on Twitter.

Top Ten Popular Words for 2010- Don't Refudiate This

According to Oxford Press and my friend Debbie Collins, a public librarian in Bethesda, Maryland, (pse), Refudiate is the most popular new word in the English language for 2010. The word was first used by Sarah Palin (we believe!) in one of her debates with Joe Biden (liberal bias: we think the current veep kicked ass!).

We also heard on NPR, that vuvuzela was a popular word of the moment. The term refers to those annoying/amusing horns that were popular at the World Cup in South Africa. Other popular terms include 'spillcam,' in reference to footage of the British Petroleum gulf leak and 'guidos' and 'guidettes,' which refers to 'guys' and 'gals,' which came from the annoying/amusing MTV show "Jersey Shore."

While researching this piece, we found that the liberal magazine "The Nation" has recently published two articles on Sarah Palin, including one called 'Sarah Palin's America' by Betsy Reed about her new reality tv show "Sarah Palin's Alaska" which airs on TLC, and a feature by Gary Younge on The Tea Party.

On the other side of the fence, we read in the web edition of "The American Rifleman" (we are NOT subscribers) about the most popular guns used in movies over the years. Mark A. Keefe IV, editor of that publication, recently wrote a review of C.J. Chivers's book "The Gun," about the Ak-47. A similar article about that same book is in the current edition of "Esquire."

We also noticed that these were the popular trending topics among right-wing gun people (we didn't use the word whackos, but of course, most people with my political views see them that way) include 'Armed Citizen,' 'I Have This Old Gun' and 'Ruger LCR.'

As for the popular words of 2010, we don't expect readers of "The American Rifleman" to be using the term 'Obamamania!' Here is an arbitrary list of those popular words:

1. Refudiate

2. vuvuzela

3. grass-roots

4. spillcam

5. Chilean Coal Miners

6. Lady Gaga

7. guidos/guidettes

8. ObamaMania

9. GTL (gym, tan, laundry)

10. 3-D

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Things We Learned on Twitter Today- Turkey Fryer House Fire in Kansas

A few years ago around Thanksgiving, my friend and blogger Chris Knight of Reidsville, NC, jokingly said he was going to deep fry puppies in a turkey frier. Of course, those of us who know Chris, who once ran for a local school board office with an over-the-top Star Wars-themed campaign ad, knew he was kidding.

That was the first time I had heard about turkey fryers, but apparently they are a major source for potential house fires as a family in Olathe, Kansas, found out last night.

According to a tweet from KCTV-5, a Kansas City tv station, a turkey fryer caused a blaze that did $1,000 in damage. The fire started in the house garage. A caller to 911 reported flames and a short time later local firefighters discovered smoke coming from the garage. No one was hurt by the fire.

The Olathe Fire Department is urging folks to take precaution when using turkey fryers over Thanksgiving.

We must profess that when we usually use the term Turkey, we are referring to my late father's country. But, this leads us to one of today's leading trending topics on Twitter today, which is Eid Mubarak in honor of a Muslim holiday. So, we will say Eid Mubarak to our friends in Istanbul, Karachi, Tashkent, Baghdad, Damascus, Cairo and Boones Mill, Va.----I think those folks in rural Franklin County are really gonna hate our guts now!

Since Nancy Pelosi retained her leadership position among House Democrats over Cong. Heath Schuler of North Carolina (a conservative Democrat), she is also trending well in Washington, DC, according to Twitter.

And, of course, the same can be said for the new royal couple of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Is it just me, or are they becoming even more annoying than the Palin family?!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Silly Photo to Fill Space- Santo the Wrestler Toy

If there is one 'good' thing about globalization, it is that one can find an action for beloved Mexican wrestler Santo that is Made in China!

This figure above was not among the toys featured in a recent "Independent Weekly" expose/satire as the Raleigh, NC-based alt weekly went into a Roses discount store, one of many owned by millionaire businessman Art Pope, who is from Raleigh.

Pope is one of the leading contributors to the Republican Party and the Tea Party in North Carolina, and he has complained that it is 'almost extortion' that state Democrats want to boycott his stores.

On the right-leaning radio station 680-AM WPTF, Pope apparently said (according to "Indy Weekly") that his free-market, anti-government approach allows him to give more money to charity. (inserted editorial comment here: uh-huh).

The excellent article by Bob Geary, Samiha Shanna and Lisa Sorg featured many toys sold at Pope's stores, which were ironically Made in China.

Sofia Coppola Likes John Hughes Movies

According to the current issue of "Film Comment," our favorite film magazine/journal (but, like "Cineaste" too), film director Sofia Coppola, best known for her film "Lost Translation" with Bill Murray (see image above), recently watched the 'classic' John Hughes' film "Sixteen Candles" (1984).

The comedy film starring Molly Ringwald was number nine on her "The Last 10 Films I've Seen" list, which we are not printing in its entirety to avoid a potential federal cease and desist lawsuit from Gavin Smith (the editor of "Film Comment). But, we will mention that other films on the list included "The Social Network," Never Let Me Go," "Greenberg," and "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids," which surprised us too!

SIDEBAR: There are a whole host of special screenings going on in Virginia and North Carolina. My good friend Jason Garnett will be screening the vintage 2003 good/bad movie "The Room" on Nov. 22 and 24 at 7:00 at the Shadowbox Cinema in Roanoke, Va.

Closer to home, my friend Joe Scott will be screening the vintage 1984 Prince film "Purple Rain" this Thursday at the Carousel Luxury Cinemas in Greensboro, NC, at 7:30 and 10:00 p.m.

Lastly, the classic 1969 Oscar-winning film "Midnight Cowboy" with Dustin Hoffman and hippie turned tea bagger Jon Voight will be shown at the Varsity Theatre in Chapel Hill, NC, for a week-long run starting on Friday.

SIDEBAR TWO: George W. Bush's new memoir, a book I will not be reading (I'm a hippie turned coffee partier), is apparently a tough book to sell in San Francisco, so Green Apple Books, a San Fran book shop, will be giving all funds from the sale of the book to veterans, according to "San Francisco Weekly."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Quote of the Week- Ronald Reagan

As I was reading a biography of Che Guevara at one of the Mill Mountain Coffee Shops in the Roanoke, Va., area, I was wondering if anyone might mistake for a socialist.

And, since I am posting an entry with a quip from Ronald Reagan, someone with my own center-left political views may mistake me for a Republican.

Of course, I'd rather be mistaken for a socialist!

But, in all seriousness, we honor the man who came to the presidency in 1981 when I was in the fourth grade and finished his two terms by the time I had just graduated high school in 1989 with one of our favorite quotes from him:

"All the waste in a year from a nuclear power plant can be stored under a desk."

The Ronald Reagan Library is located in Simi Valley, Calif. They are currently holding an American Christmas exhibit there until Jan. 2, 2011.

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee (I bet you thought we were going to say Bill Clinton!) will be hosting a book-signing at the library on Nov. 29. We have no idea if his 'sidekick' Chuck Norris, who was reportedly filming a beer commercial in the Czech Republic this week, will be with him or not.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

High School of the Week- Valley High School in West Des Mones, Iowa

Today we close out the High School of the Week feature (we've covered all 50 states between our two blogs!) with Valley High School from West Des Moines, Iowa, which is the alma mater of Olympic gold medalist gymnast Shawn Johnson (pictured here).

We got this idea after seeing a Milk campaign ad with Johnson in a magazine while buying groceries at a supermarket last week (where we also got undocumented status updates on Michael Douglas' battle with cancer that we could have done without). Johnson was posed with a glass of milk on the sole of her bare foot on a balance beam, the event she won individual gold for at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Johnson, who is now 18, also got national attention when she won on "Dancing with the Stars" last year. Of course, being a celebrity can bring unwelcome attention which Johnson found out when "The Onion," a usually hilarious journal published a satirical article that Johnson had 'to be put to sleep after falling off the balance beam.' Johnson was not amused, particularly since the term "Shawn Johnson is dead" became a hot search topic after "The Onion" wrote the article in June of last year.

Johnson is not only alive and well, she mentions on her official web site that she is training for the 2012 Olympics in London.

As for Valley High School, it is also the alma mater of another Olympian Karlos Kirby, a bobsledder.

SIDEBAR: The Coffeeparty USA, which is meant to counter the far right Tea Party, tweeted the following words from Burmese human rights activist Aung San Suu Kyi (Burma is officially known as Myanmar) who was freed from house arrest today: "We have to choose between dialogue and utter devastation."

SIDEBAR TWO: Though we highly disagree with "The Onion" for publishing a fake story/satire piece in June 2009 proclaiming that Shawn Johnson died from a balance beam fall, we do love their story today which states: "Oprah invites hundreds of lucky fans to buried with her in a massive tomb."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Things We Learned on Twitter Tonight- Pot Arrests in Colorado

According to the Twitter site DenverNews (from an article originally published in "The Denver Post") six men and a woman were busted in Fountain, Colo., on felony marijuana charges today.

Police arrested the suspects, ages 18-23, after finding more than $150,000 worth of marijuana in a motor-home.

The suspects told the fuzz (Fountain Police Dept.) that trying to refine the pot into hash at the time of their arrest.

As for Cheech and Chong, the American poster-boys for cannabis, the '70s comedy duo are going to be performing in Tulsa, Houston and San Antonio next week.

SIDEBAR: Speaking of another highly addictive substance (coffee), Howard Behar, the former president of Starbucks will be speaking at Hollins University in Roanoke, Va., on Monday at 7:00 at dupont Chapel.

Silly Photo to Fill Space- The Hokie Bird

Initially, we were hoping to post a photograph of former Virginia Tech cheerleader Nichole Howarth from Chesterfield, Va. (near Richmond), who was named "Sports Illustrated" Cheerleader of the Week in October of last year.

Howarth posed for a series of photographs, which were made more interesting by the fact that she actually posed for them while barefoot which would make more sense if she was from a rural area like Boones Mill (we love tormenting folks from that Franklin County hamlet, some 15 miles south of Roanoke).

Though Howarth will not be with the Hokies, the team heads from Blacksburg to Chapel Hill, NC, (where Chapel Hill Comics happens to be hosting a free rap concert tomorrow night!) to face the UNC Tarheels in football tomorrow. The game will be broadcast by ABC and ESPN, and kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.

I suppose this will mean bragging rights for either Gov. Beverly Perdue (D-NC) who reportedly has a 25 percent approval rating according to "Yes Weekly" in Greensboro or Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-Va) a right-wing Christian conservative extremist who is undoubtedly polling well in places like Boones Mill. But, assuredly those of us who are Democrats realize that Howard Dean had a point when he said we need to recruit more barefoot rebel flag-waving hillbillies (not his exact words) and perhaps by doing that we can somehow get some Congressional seats back!

As for the game, I expect Virginia Tech will win 24-17.

SIDEBAR: Our beloved Floyd County (HS) Buffaloes lost to Fort Chiswell by a 28-13 margin according to Channel 7 (WDBJ) in Roanoke. But, the Franklin County Eagles (their alumnus assuredly hate me for my swipes at Boones Mill) beat Woodbridge HS 17-14 tonight. In other Virginia scores, Stonewall Jackson High School from Quicksburg (Mount Jackson) beat fellow Shenandoah Valley school Page County 41-18.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veteran's Day; I'm Hitting the Road

As I am getting ready for an overnight trip I thought I would post a quick entry in honor of Veteran's Day. If not anything else, it can help squelch right-wing notions that those of us on the center-left, who would undoubtedly still be classified as socialists in Provo, Utah, do care about the men and women who serve our country overseas.

In addition to those who are presently stationed in Afghanistan, I want to remember my late stepfather Donald Sullivan (1918-2003) of Salem, Va., who was a World War II veteran as was my grandfather Dudley C. "Doc" Sturgis (1915-1993) of Rock Hill, SC. While my Turkish grandfather Fuat Gokbudak (1892-1957) did not serve in the American forces, he was a member of the Turkish army in World War One before becoming a member of the Turkish Parliament under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

One of the ironies that I uncovered while researching this entry was that there was a man named Donald Sullivan in Salem, Ind. (near New Albany, Ind.) who like my stepfather was a World War II veteran. But, what was strange was that this Donald who died in 2007 was also 85 years old. And, my stepfather was coincidentally residing in Fort Wayne, Ind., before he moved to the Roanoke, Va., area.

Fortunately, my stepfather was able to visit the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va., which is only 30 miles from Roanoke, before his death which was fitting since Donald saw action on Omaha Beach in France.

Of course, I couldn't resist posting an image from the film "Easy Rider" to go along with this entry. Alas, the film's star Dennis Hopper died earlier this year at age 76---I have no idea if my stepdad saw the film, but I know Donald 'never inhaled!'

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

50 Beers from Around the World- Castle Lager (South Africa)

Former president Bill Clinton (see last entry) was among those who attended the World Cup in South Africa over the summer. Clinton was there to watch the game between the United States and Ghana, in which the west African nation prevailed in an exciting overtime victory.

Today, we feature the South African brew Castle Lager in our 50 Beers Around the World series (we are about halfway through now). In South Africa, beer in its traditional sense was first introduced by British immigrants in the late 1800s.

According to Wikipedia though, the native Zulu and Xhosa tribes were both brewing forms of sorghum and maice beers prior to the British immigrants' arrival.

Soccer season is in full-swing around the world. Those of us who root for the Turkish team GalataSaray, out of Istanbul, (I am a Turkish-American) were irked to hear that the gold and red lost to TrabzonSpor 2-0 over the weekend.

We profiled the Turkish beer Efes Pilsen as well as the American brew Pabst Blue Ribbon earlier in the series. Perhaps, there is a bar in Paterson, NJ, which has the largest conticencies of Turkish-Americans, which serves them both!

Quote of the Week- Bill Clinton

Since November is the month of elections, we are posting quips from American presidents of the 20th century. Today, we include the pride of Hope, Ark., former president Bill Clinton.

On Thursday, The Bill Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, will be offering free admission in honor of Veteran's Day. There will also be free admission on Saturday as the library celebrates its sixth anniversary.

Currently, the library is hosting a special exhibit called "Headed to the White House," which continues until Nov. 21.

I highly recommend the book "The Pact" which details how surprisingly close Clinton was to arch conservative Republican Newt Gingrich, who was house speaker from 1994 until 1999. The political fallout from scandal ultimately tore their secret professional union apart.

Here is the quote from the first president from Arkansas:

"Big things are expected of us, and nothing big ever came of being small."

Saturday, November 6, 2010

High School of the Week- Kokomo HS in Kokomo, Indiana

We are gradually getting close to wrapping up this series as continue with Kokomo High School from Kokomo, Ind., which is the alma mater of "60 Minutes" correspondent Steve Kroft and Norman Birdwell, the author of the children's book series "Clifford the Red Dog."

The school has just over 2,100 students and their nickname is The Wildcats; the school colors are red and white.

North Carolina High School Football Roundup

It was a good night for our beloved Ragsdale High Tigers from Jamestown, NC, (we didn't actually go to to school there). They beat their rivals from High Point Central High at home by a 35-28 score.

Ragsdale QB Luke Heavner completed nine of 19 passes for 152 yards and three touchdowns.

The Western Alamance High Warriors also won their game over Nothern Guilford (though their game actually went into OT) by the exact same score. They were helped by their QB Nigel B. Carlton who went 18 for 24 and threw for 278 yards with three touchdowns.

Here are some other scores from the northern North Carolina (Triad) region:

Southern Alamance 20 Smith 17
Dudley 30 Grimsely 0
Reidsville 20 Providence Gap 0
Rockingham County 48 Morehead 0
Orange County 14 Chapel Hill 11

Special Quote of the Week- Richard M. Nixon

Since November is the month of elections, we thought we'd quote former 20th century American presidents, and we start with my favorite Republican president Richard M. Nixon (which may explain why I'm a Democrat).

It is a bit ionic that Nixon, who helped establis the national park systems, may have actually been to the left of Joe Lieberman!

The Richard m. Nixon Museum is located in Yorba Linda, Calif., and one has to wonder if the very liberal filmmaker Oliver Stone, who made a cinematic bio of the man, has ever visited!

Here is the quote:

"A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Things We Learned on Twitter Today- Asterix is a Popular Baby's Name in Seattle?

Well, not exactly, but I would have sooner expected to find the French comic book hero Asterix the Gaul (seen here with Obelix his sidekick-the fat guy) to be as popular as Alexander, which is in fact the most popular name for boy babies in Washington state.

According to a tweet from "The Seattle Times," in 2009, Alexander was the most popular name for boys in the state while Isabella was the most popular name for girls.

The top five boys' names also included Jacob, William, Ethan and Daniel. While the other top five girls' names were Olivia, Sophia, Emma and Abigail.

Our good friend Andrew Neal offers "Asterix " comic books at Chapel Hill Comics in Chapel Hill, NC, where I am supposed to be at the moment, but we are actually in Wasila, Alaska, hanging out on the firing range with Todd and Sarah Palin (that's a joke, of course).

SIDEBAR: On a more somber note, Adam L. Dickmyer of Winston-Salem, NC, was killed in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan during an improvised vehicle explosion that happened on Oct. 28. Dickmyer was 26, and a graduate of Carver High School.

SIDEBAR TWO: On a ligther note, comic actor Rainn Wilson of "The Office" fame tweeted today that: "I have to go to the bathroom." We hope he is not at a certain bus station in the Bostanci section of Istanbul* or a Sheetz gas station in South Boston, Va. ** I had very bad experiences with the toilets in both places, but since we are not fans of 'bahtroom humor,' we will stop while we're ahead!

*- In case, you are really curious, this place had a Turkish toilet. Eyvah! (That's 'Oh No!' in Turkish).

**-They had no toilet paper!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Post-Election Day Hangover

Perhaps the problems I had with the mushroom cloud entry (see previous entry) signaled that it would be a very bleak day for those of us who have the distinction of being liberal Democrats who reside in very staunch conservative Bible Belt jurisdictions_ in the South no less!

As Fred Barnes of the conservative "The Weekly Standard" gloated today: "The GOP practically drove Dems out of The South."

Though Barnes did not mention that Democrats actually retained a 7-6 majority in the U.S. Congress in North Carolina, the state I reside in. Only one incumbent, Republican or Democrat, was ousted in the Tarheel State as Cong. Bob Etheridge (D-NC) fell to Renee Elmers. But, WRAL-TV in Raleigh reported that the Etheridge camp is asking a recount as the incumbent lost by a mere 1,600 votes.

Liberals nationwide are very concerned about the race as "The Nation" (which is generally to the left of my views, and folks in places like Murphy, NC, might think I'm a socialist, but they are pretty extreme themselves!) said the Republican takeover could spell political doom in the areas of health care and abortion.

Lindsay Beyerstein of "The Nation" said that Rand Paul, the Senate-elect from Kentucky, even opposes abortions when a woman's life is in danger. Beyerstein added that Pat Toomey and Marco Rubio, who won U.S. Senate races in Pennsylvania and Florida respectively are also radical pro-life politicians.

Meanwhile, "The Seattle Times" has said as of 6:06 p.m. eastern time that the Senate race in Washington state between incumbent Sen. Patty Murray and GOP challenger Dino Rossi was too close to call with Murray holding an extremely slim lead.

I will devote commentary on the two of the key races in my home state of Virginia, in which Republican Morgan Griffith of Salem (who is ironically a friend!), the house leader for the GOP in the state general assembly in Richmond upset long-time incumbent Cong. Rick Boucher.

Boucher was first elected to Congress in 1982, and he was upset by Griffith even though the Roanoke Valley Republican lives outside the ninth district, which stretches to the state's far-western borders. Boucher was considered a centrist Democrat who was even endorsed by the National Rifle Association.

The other key race of personal importance was first-term incumbent Cong. Tom Perriello's (whom I also personally know) well-fought battle against conservative Republican Robert Hurt, a state senator from Chatham (some 50 miles north of Danville), who was well-funded by both state and national GOP operatives. Though Perriello closed considerable ground in the late stages of the race, Hurt prevailed.

Regardless of which way you swing politically, it looks like it will be an interesting two years in the American political spectrum.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Silly Photo to Fill Space- Mushroom Cloud

For those of you in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, it looks as though the far-right Tea Party movement will result in a Republican takeover of Congress that will make Cong. John Boehner (R-Ohio) house speaker.

As the Athens, Georgia band REM once said: "It's the end of the world as we know it...."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Quote of the Week- Warren Beatty

According to a new biography by Peter Biskind, Warren Beatty was the real-life Hot Stuff (see last entry) and we'll leave it at that. Since we were quoting famous movie directors in October, we thought we'd conclude with Beatty.

Though better known for his acting skills and his Pepe LePew characteristics, Beatty has also directed four films, including "Reds" which garnered him an Oscar for Best Director (though nominated many times, he never won an Oscar for acting). Beatty also directed the screen version of "Dick Tracy" and "Bulworth," in which he plays a politician.

Beatty has been the one Hollywood icon that many people thought would actually run for president. Ironically, even though he is liberal, Beatty was friends with both Charlton Heston and Ronald Reagan. The later of which leads us to this Quote of the Week, which I would imagine is quite true (and, I'm not one to agree with 'The Gipper' often!):

"I was friends with Ronald Reagan and he once said to me, 'I don't know how anybody can serve in public office without being an actor."

Happy Belated Halloween

Since all the public libraries in Roanoke Rapids, NC, (not really where I am at) are closed on Sunday so everyone can attend the radical, far-right fire and brimstone Baptist church of their choice, we were not able to post an entry yesterday.

But today we dedicate this entry to Hot Stuff, the beloved Harvey Comics character, who is also known officially as Hot Stuff the Little Devil. Hot Stuff debuted with Harvey Comics in October of 1957, which makes him almost old enough to get a senior citizens' discount at the Denny's in Lynchburg, Va.

Hot Stuff was created and drawn by the late Warren Kremer (1921-2003) who also drew Richie Rich for Harvey Comics. Howard Post (1926-2010) was also instrumental in developing Hot Stuff's look. Incidentally, I'm not sure how they worked out the licensing agreement, but (acording to Wikipedia) Hot Stuff is the mascot for Dysat High School in El Mirage, Ariz.