Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Quote of the Week- Angela Davis

Today, we conclude our quotes from radical left-wingers for the month of May with a quip from Angela Davis, who is alive and well in Oakland, Calif., at age 67. Though today she makes the rounds in speaking engagements, she was a headline-maker from 1969-1972 as she became a controversial figure involved with both The Black Panthers movement and Communist Party, USA.

Davis spent time in jail from 1971-1972 because (according to Wikipedia) guns registered in her name were used in the infamous Marin County Courthouse Incident on Aug. 7, 1970. The sensational event involved guns being brought into a courtroom, hostage-taking, and an exchange of gunfire which alas lead to the killing of a judge.

Her quote comes to us us by way of the interesting graphic novel-inspired book "Self-Defense for Radicals" which I purchased on a whim from The Internationalist Bookstore in Chapel Hill, NC, several weeks ago.

Though I'm not a radical or a socialist myself (nor am I a Tea Partier or a Republican), I found Mickey Z's book, which features quotes from Davis and Malcolm X, to be quite fascinating. The author uses both expressions of his left-wing political views alongside boxing tips from pro boxing trainer Joe Goosen. The book was released by PM Press, which also has the ever-radical illustrated manifesto "Abolish Restaurants" by the writer/artist Prote.

On June 25, The Internationalist has a unique event as they host Duckmandu (Aaron Seeman), a self-described punk accordianist who plays everything from klezmer to Broadway to The Dead Kennedys (?!)

Here is the quote from Davis:

"Radical simply means grasping things at the root."

SIDEBAR: We want to take a moment to congratulate the University of Virginia men's lacrosse team on winning their fifth NCAA title. The Cavaliers beat the University of Maryland in a title game that was played in the Terps' home state in Baltimore. Colin Briggs scored five goals for the Cavs in the 9-7 victory. But, we loved the Terps' team motto which was "Fear the Turtle."

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Amadeus in Bethesda- The Return- Entry 3 of 3

After finishing up with the National Gallery, my mom and I decided it was time head back to the hotel in northern Virginia via the DC Metro and then get on I-66 towards Front Royal, Va., a small town that actually objected to being named in an "X-Files" episode some ten years ago. The drive from the DC suburbs to Front Royal takes approximately an hour depending on traffic congestion.

Since my mom was very tired, I volunteered to take over for the rest of the drive in Strasburg, Va., another small town that is 15 miles south of Front Royal, which was known for some kitschy tourist attractions, such as The Museum of American Presidents. Alas, many of them have abruptly closed within the last two years for failing to make a profit, among other factors.

We were discussing where we could eat in Strasburg. I knew there was Christina's Cafe, a quaint coffee shop that has only been open for a few years and a Mexican restaurant. But, we found a Denny's that I had never seen before in Strasburg. Sure enough, it was owned by the local J.R. Ewing, a local oil tycoon from Mount Jackson, Va., named Bill Holtzman. (Seemingly every other business in Shenandoah County, which includes Mount Jackson and Strasburg, is owned by Holtzman; I used to a be a reporter for a local newspaper in the county).

While there, I ran into someone who is somehow still a photographer at what was a rival newspaper of our's when I was at "The Shenandoah Valley-Herald" in Woodstock, Va., from 1999-2001. We had not seen each other in over ten years. I was amazed he was still in the newspaper business given that turnover is high, and cutbacks in recent years have become even more drastic than they were when I was a reporter for the 'Herald."

So, it was my turn to jump behind the wheel. I was expecting that it would take about two hours and 45 minutes to get to Roanoke from Strasburg. As I've gently hinted at on this blog before, my mother is someone who likes to be the leader in a group as she was the oldest of six children growing up in South Carolina. This is not easy for anyone who is her offspring (well, I am not speaking for my sister), but in recent years she has made an earnest effort to be more accomodating.

Nevertheless, right away, my mom started telling me to slow down even though I was driving about 63 miles per hours in a 70 MPH zone. And, she didn't want me to 'get to close' to the other vehicles even though I was a good 20 feet behind them even as big trucks were sneaking up on me in the rear view mirror.

Somehow, as I passed the teepee near Mount Jackson, the statue of Johnny Appleseed in New Market and the old hotel sign in Harrisonburg, three of many things which stand out as one journeys through the Shenandoah Valley corridor of I-81, I knew the night was going to turn into a Stephen King novel.

And, when we got to Staunton, there was indeed major road construction. The lanes started to merge. Immature drivers were starting to try to creep into my lane as their lane was gradually closing, and my mom ironically told me to get close to the car in front of me to keep them from butting in. This lasted for about an hour.

When we got to Lexington, I started to brief a sigh of relief. But, around Buchanan, a very small hamlet which is 23 miles from Roanoke, I realized that we had not left Godzilla*, the family cat, enough food. Sure enough, when we got home Godzilla had devoured all six cans we had left him. He was hungry; he was mad. I fed him and changed his liter box. But, of course, he wasn't happy for Godzilla wanted out even though it was midnight.

I then went on the Internet to see, just in case, if there was a terrorist attack or an earthquake/mud slide somewhere, since the radical evangelical nutcase Harold Camping was forecasting doomsday. Of course, there wasnt' anything of that sort, though when I woke up in the morning, I realized much to my shock and horror that I had come down with a sinus infection.

*-Godzilla is not the family cat's real name, though he does act like him quiet often.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Amadeus in Bethesda- Easy Rider (2 of 3)

The next morning was a bit hectic as there were many people from Saudi Arabia staying at our hotel, and since many Saudi families can consist of one man, two or three wives, and many rugrats, there was considerable commotion. We think that there may have been 45-50 people in the group, and they were being loud well into the night. Since I am a Turkish-American myself, I am careful about stereotyping people, but there were at least a few people in this delegation that were a bit rowdy.

One of the interesting things about the Saudi group was that some women were covered in black veils in which one could only see their eyes, and some of the 'more progressive' women were simply wearing designer headscarves. It also surprised to see that many of the women were wearing European style shoes which revealed their feet and toes. I suppose there is no notion in conservative Islamic circles that a woman with a lavish pedicure can be as seductive as a woman with blonde hair.

So, we did hop on the DC Metro. Mom was a bit agitated since she decided to skip the continental breakfast. I was full, but I had just eaten one of the worst bagels in my life. We soon dined at a cafe near the Sculpture Gallery adjacent to the National Gallery.

Since we had accidentally gotten on the red line instead of the orange line on Thursday, my mom was convinced we were lost. So, I asked some tourists from Frankfort, Ky., who had traveled even farther than we had, for directions. They had a DC map; we did not. And, they made us feel secure that the National Gallery was just a few short steps away.

We got to the Gallery around 11:00 a.m. Mom demanded that we head straight to the Gaugins and 'get it over with.' There were impressive paintings that the French master painted in both his native France and Tahiti. Since Gaugin's paintings are more erotic that many artists of his generation, I have noticed that Barrucuda actually blocks some of them on Internet search engines perhaps just as the mullahs in Iran and Afghanistan would do!

Four of the Gaugins that were part of the exhibition included "The Yellow Christ," "Spirit of the Dead," "Self-Portait" (1889) and my personal favorite "Two Tahitian Women," which shows two topless women holding mango blossoms.

While researching this piece, I learned that the painting was actually 'attacked' at the National Gallery in early April by a woman who yelled: "This is evil!;" we have no idea if she was a tea partier from Fort Mill, SC. Fortunately, the painting was protected by plexiglass and no damage was done.

After seeing the Gaugins, we gazed at some paintings by the Dutch master Gabriel Metsu, including "Man Writing a Letter" and "Lady Reading a Letter," both of which were completed in 1665.

Then, we followed that up with photographs by the acclaimed, living California photographer Lewis Baltz, who is arguably best known for his hidden camera-taken photograph "South Laguna" (1972) which features a Buick as its centerpiece.

Lastly, we headed to the tower of the museum to see a small, but startling exhibit by the late South Korean performance and technology artist Nam June Paik (1932-2006) who reminded me of both Andy Warhol and David Byrne (of the band Talking Heads); the most impressive piece on display by the artist involved closed circuit tv images revolving around a statue of Buddha!

Amadeus in Bethesda- The DC Trip (Entry 1 of 3)

This marks the first of three entries on this blog about a very hectic, yet very exciting trip that my mom and I took to Washignton, DC, last week. Though the trip was very brief (it lasted about 36 hours), we are actually dedicating six entries to it, with three on this blog and three more on our sister blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time." That is also known as my B-side blog (it gets like ten percent of the traffic on this blog for some odd reason?!).

I was eagerly hoping to go to Washington, DC, to see the Paul Gaugin exhibit at the National Gallery. The fact I had missed a chance to see a heavily-publisized Pablo Picasso exhibit at the Virginia Fine Arts Museum in Richmond, Va., made me even more eager to get to DC before the Gaugins left the building on June 5th.

There were complications in getting my mom on board. I needed both to help with expenses and to actually physically get to DC. Ironically, even though I fit many cultured urbanite intellectual sterotypes with my seven magazine subscriptions and interest in films by directors like Akira Kurosawa and Jean-Luc Godard, I hate traffic! And, the I-66 exchange that starts in rural Front Royal, Va., gets very congested once a traveler comes into Manassas, Va., which is DC's southern-most suburb. Going Greyhound was not really an option, since the bus left circa 6:15 a.m. and I am not a morning person!

Initially, mom wanted to go to Florida to see her sister/my aunt, but she soon realized, the timing was not right for that trip which is considerably farther away from southwest Virginia than Washington, DC, even though it is still a five and a half hour drive if you stop to eat, get gas and have to patiently wait in traffic.

So, we did end up going to Washington, DC, on May 19. My mom had a radical notion that we could somehow see the Gaugin exhibit on that day, which was Thursday, even though there would be little time to get that in. So, we got to the National Gallery at 4:45 p.m. I had misread the museum's web page and made the assumption that they would be open until 6:00 p.m. In actuality, there were open only until 5:00 p.m., so that gave us 15 minutes to tour the museum, had we chosen to do that (we didn't). Oddly enough, the security guards checked my mom's over-sized green pocketbook anyway.

I had seen a mention of a Turkish restaurant in "The Washingtonian" magazine called Ezme on P Street in the Dupont Circle part of town. Mom decided that we should jump into a taxi and head over there. Upon arrival there, we learned that they did not start serving dinner until 5:30 p.m. Since it was 5:05 p.m., we had time to kill.

So, we headed over to a nearby Starbucks, where frappucinos are considerably more expensive than they are in places like Roanoke, Va., and Greensboro, NC. We chose to sit outside, and I overheard two men speaking Turkish, my second language (my late father Mehmet Gokbudak was from Turkey). It turns out the men were urologists who were in town for an international urology conference. Interestingly enough, both men were smoking?!

We finally got to Ezme and I ordered Manti, a meat and noodle dish that though native to Turkey can be hard to find even in Istanbul, Adana Kebab, a spicy meat dish native to the central southern Turkish city of Adana and lastly rice pudding. My mom had similar dished though she opted to have "Ayva Talisi" (the Pear Dessert) instead of rice pudding.

Then, much to our shock, we saw that the street was closed. I had seen some man who appeared to be Japanese bowing as he exited his limosine and I had presumed he was some high-ranking diplomat and that was why all the police officers were in the area.

But, we found out a short while later, that President Barack Obama was headed to P Street! The motorcade passed by us and even local DC folks were stunned by what was happening. Many took cellphone pictures even though they would probably not get anything more than the back of a Secret Service agent's head.

A college-age guy looked at his BlackBerry and told me that Twitter said Obama was eating at Pizzeria Paradisio, which is a very casual place. It was not until researching this piece today that I found out that Obama was actually meeting a donor, who may have been the Japanese man, at an office above the pizza place. But, pizza was provided for them.

Ironically enough, I asked the waitress at Ezme if anyone famous had dined there. I had even mentioned Michelle Obama. She said (in Turkish) something to the effect of: "No, not to my knowledge."

SIDEBAR: We are naming this series "Amadeus in Bethesda" because the Roundhouse Theatre in Bethesda, Md., is currently performing the acclaimed play "Amadeus" with an extended run until June 12th.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Special Quote of the Week- Mark Twain

Wow, even Newt Gingrich is quoting Mark Twain (1835-1910) these days, well at least according to Google, but we don't think he'll be using the quip we will posting down below.

The author best known for novels like "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and "Tom Sawyer" will be featured on a commemorative American postage stamp in June; the first one will be post-marked in (where else?!) Hannibal, Missouri. There is also a Mark Twain House in Hartford, Conn., which I was fortunate enough to visit as we headed north to Maine a few years ago. One of the museum's many highlights is a sketch that animator Chuck Jones ("Bugs Bunny") made regarding Twain.

Late last year, "The Autobiography of Mark Twain" also came out, and it has been selling well. I have not read the book, but I did read his novel "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" fairly recently. And, luckily I did not have to write a book report on it!

When we get a proper chance, we will be sure to make fun of Gingrich and Donald Trump, but today well we are slightly overwhelmed! But, I would love to see a Republican candidate shaking hands in places like Sioux City, Iowa, or Rock Hill, SC, and making lofty promises that they themselves know could never ever happen. I guess that's what C-Span is for.

Here is the quote from Twain:

"A man is never more truthful than when he acknowledges himself a liar."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Quote of the Week- John Lennon

Ahhh! Now there is apparently something wrong with the Amadeus Mozart bobblehead doll image I posted over the weekend. Well, it is fitting for both the zany day and the zany week I have been having, but that's as personal as we go here. Well, ok, I will admit I honestly don't care that Kim Kardashian is getting hitched. I'm a Turk; she's an Armenian. It would never work out:)

John Lennon (19401-1980) is one of several decased celebrities whom I've recently outlived. Malcolm X, Lenny Bruce, the French actress Jean Seberg ("Breathless") and the Austrian pop singer Falco (who sang "Rock Me Amadeus" which seems fitting given our recent entry) are among those who died at age 40. And, none of these deaths were natural ones.

We are quoting Lennon as part of our homage to left-wing radicals, and since Lennon was perhaps the most vocal opponent of the Vietnam War aside from Jane Fonda, he qualifies. Though, certainly given the dubious nature of that conflict, one does not have to a radical or even a liberal (well, I am the later) to think it was a very bad idea.

Here is our quote from Lennon, who would surely marvel at how insane the world is more than 30 years after his untimely death:

"God is a concept by which we measure our pain."

Monday, May 23, 2011

Special Quote from Harold Pinter

Well, it looks like Harold Camping's prediction that the world as we know it would come to an abrupt on Saturday did not occur though there was a volcanic eruption in Iceland, and I came down with a nasty spring cold that morning.

Since the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC, where we just visited last week is currently performing Harold Pinter's 1971 play "Old Times," we though we's quip the great English playwright.

Pinter (1930-2008) was known for writing biting dialogue and this play is no exception as it has lines like: "You have a wonderful casserole....I mean wife" and "I remember you dead."

Veteran DC-area actress Holly Twyford joins a cast that includes Steven Culp (tv's "Desperate Housewives") and Tracy Lynn. The play is directed by Michael Kahn, and it runs for 90 minutes. The production closes curtain on July 3rd.

Here is the quip from Pinter, who was also known for being a liberal political activist, an actor and a screenwriter:

"A short piece of work means as much to me as a long piece of work."

SIDEBAR: A reggae singer from Bermuda? Yes, Jamaica might well be the country that comes to mind with this genre of music, but Mishka, a male reggae singer from Bermuda perhaps best-known for the song "Give You All That Love" will be performing at Local 506 in Chapel Hill, NC, on Friday night.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Coming Attractions- Amadeus in Bethesda

Well, the world did not come to an abrupt end today as the radical evangelical radio station tycoon Harold Camping, who has gone missing, reported but there was a volcanic eruption in Iceland. Perhaps, God is punishing them for Bjork (that is a joke to everyone in Reykjavik!).

And, though we were hoping to start our blog series "Amadeus in Bethesda" about yet another hectic, but very fun-filled trip to Washington, DC, we are going to post it hepfully at some juncture next week instead.

The play "Amadeus," which was the basis for the 1985 Oscar-winning film of the same name that undoubtedly inspired Quentin Tarantino to become a filmmaker (hmmm.....yes, I know my off-beat sense of humor may make as much sense as a "Zippy the Pinhead" comic strip....?! By the way, we love Bill Griffith's work) is now being staged at the Roundhouse Theatre in Bethesda, Md., which is the reason why we are calling the series "Amadeus in Bethesda."

We did not get to see the play, which opened May 11 and runs through June 5, but I have read the play in addition to seeing the film, and if I lived in the Maryland 'burbs, I would like to think I'd go to the play instead of seeing "Bridesmaids" at the multi-plex. Also, by sheer coincidence, we stayed in Vienna, Va., which is named the capital of Austria, Mozart's native land.

Here is a quote from Mozart (1756-1791) who died young, though he did outlive Kurt Cobain and Jim Morrison:

"As death, when we come to consider it closely, is the true goal of our existence."

Friday, May 20, 2011

Happy Apocalypse Not Day

Earthquakes. Floods. Hurricanes. Tsunamis. Volcanic eruptions. Martians invading earth.

Yeah, we don't think any of this nonsense will be happening on Saturday, May 21, which is now officially the date here for those of us on the east coast, and we also firmly think Harold Camping, the 89-year-old radioevangelist who started this insanity is definitely a kook who should be locked in the same asylum in Oregon where "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Next" took place.

Tomorrow, we will start blogging on our latest hectic trip to Washignton, DC. Be sure to tell all your friends from Bergen, Norway, to Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tweet of the Day- Gigi Ibrahim (Egyptian Activist)

Perhaps the hit theme song "Don't You Forget About Me" by Simple Minds from the 1985 film "The Breakfast Club" might be the new anthem for Gigi Ibrahim, a young Egyptian activist who became the human face behind the revolution.

Today, Syria, Libya and Yemen are getting more attention, but one expects that democracy will still take a while to fully evolve in Egypt.

Ibrahim is a graudate from the American University in Cairo, where she majored in political science, and she has also appeared on "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart.

Here was her tweet today:

"Thank you for your great replies and support....Long live Egypt and our continous revolution."

SIDEBAR: I noticed that a gas station in the Roanoke, Va., area was now serving up Krispy Kreme burgers, but there is another form of gluttony making headlines today as Don Gorske, 59, a retired prison guard from Fondu du La, Wisc., who was featured in Morgan Spurlock's documentary "Super Size Me!" ate his 25,000th Big Mac today at his local McDee's. We wonder if Ronald McDonald was present for the occasion.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Quote of the Week- Herman Melville

The web site zazzle.com is actually offering "Moby Dick" ties, and we thought we'd dedicate some blog entries as part of our series to famous novelists today to famous writers known for writing 'doorstop books." Today's writer is Herman Melville (1819-1891), his famous book inspired the mega coffee chain Starabucks as there is a character called Starbuck, who is a shipmate of Captain Ahab's, in the novel.

At 822 pages, Melville's 1851 classic might make the perfect companion for anyone who has to go to a business conference in Topeka, Kansas, or if you have taken after "the Facebook Burglar" and robbed a home in Chevy Chase, Maryland, gotten caught, and now facing the prospect of going to the big house.

We do love this quote by the way, and it seems very timely:

"Better to sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian."

SIDEBAR: We want to give a shout out to our friends in Norway, which is perhaps my favorite country that I've never been to. According to mentalfloss.com, today is Norwegian Constitution Day. The site had a tribute to Norwegian black metal bands for the occasion. "Until the Light Takes Us," a documentary about these headbangers airs on The Sundance Channel on May 31 at 1:45 p.m., New York time.

SIDEBAR: Earlier tonight we asked Google why Donald Duck was a trending topic on Twitter today. We didn't get a response!

Quote of the Week- Allen Ginsberg

Gazooks! I forgot to save while I initially wrote this entry. At any rate, our subject in our continuing series of quotes from left-wing circles continues with a quip of the great American poet Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) who was a close friend of William Burroughs.

In 1956, the year he wrote his landmark poem "Howl," Ginsberg professed admiration for the then-new Cuban leader Fidel Castro according to Wikipedia. But, Ginsberg said he had his own idiosyncratic views of communism.

In the 2010 film "Howl," actor James Franco played Ginsberg who was also a gay rights activist.

Here is his quote:

"Follow your inner moonlight, don't hide the madness."

SIDEBAR: Honeymoon in Kigali? Yes, the east African country of Rwanda which underwent a dreadful period of ethnic strife and genocide in the 1990s is literally ready to put their past behind them.

Rwanda's tourism site (yes, there is such a place) is recommending that travelers viist the Akagea National Park where one can see zebras and elephants and a large concentration of waterbirds, such as the shoebill stork.

The site also states that Kigali offers many great restaurants with both regional and international cuisine.

The Lonely Planet does recommend that visitors take precautions, and that the border with Burundi is among the areas that one should avoid in Rwanda.

SIDEBAR TWO: It may not be as exciting as Katie Holmes telling the world that she is pregnant with Tom Cruise's third child, but "City Paper" in Washington, DC, has reported that the female Chinese panda Mei Xiang is apparently pregnant. Zoo officials will be checking to see if the panda, who is believed to be mating with male Chinese panda Tian Tian, is indeed expecting.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Yes, We Have Experienced Distractions

The proverbial easy thing to do would be to lie and say we took a trip to Miami or Park City, Utah, for a few days, but nope that's not what happened. I've been interested in some new creative projects and the computer hasn't been working as properly as it should. I guess everyone else has been there too.

But, we hope to at least somewhat get back to our regular schedule. Of course, this is made difficult by the fact that on occasions, I can become somewhat of an insomniac.

Thus, I was able to catch an interesting Taiwanese film on Link-TV, based in San Francisco, last week called "Blue Cha Cha" about a woman who was imprisoned in jail for killing her husband, but is now being released and has to make a normal life for herself.

It turns out that Link-TV is showing Taiwanese film's every Thursday as part of a "Made in Taiwan" series in conjunction with the Taiwanese Government Information Office.

This coming Thursday, Link-TV will air "Nyonya's Taste of Life." The film deals with the subject of immigration in Taiwan, and the central story revolves around Indonesian and Thai workers who come to Taiwan looking for a better economic situation. There is also apparently aculinary aspect to the film.

The term 'nyonyas' refers to daughters from intermarriages between Chinese and Malaysian parents.

And, according to Twitter, which I haven't checked on in a long time and since there is a cover story regarding how Twitter has been declining in "Fortune" magazine I must not be the only one, the physicist Stephen Hawking is a trending topic today. I don't watch "The Simpsons," as much as some of my friends, but I caught the episode he was in, it was pretty good!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Status Update- I Really Need a Haircut

Well, my hair might not quite be this out-hand, but it is getting there! We are showing an image here of the British New Wave group A Flock of Seagulls who hit it big in 1982 with "I Ran (So Far Away)," a song that lead singer Mike Score (the one on the far left) told VH-1 he got sick and tired of singing. But, the band is reportedly still active, so we take it Score got over performance fatigue. Many cite the band as being overly kitschy, but they did record some nifty songs in their day.

And, if one lives in Athens, Ga., apparently a cool place to get a haircut is Republic Salon, alas it would be quite drive for me as a North Carolina resident to go down there just to get one!

SIDEBAR: We learned from a quiz on mentalfloss.com today that there was actually a Pakistani airline called Safe Air; they were grounded in 2009.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Special Quote of the Week-Orhan Pamuk

Today, we quoting the great Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk (b.1952) whose 2003 novel "Snow," set in the remote northwestern Turkey of Kars, near the border with Armenia, captured where Turkey is both socially and politically and that has held true in the close for the ten years since it was first published.

Pamuk, like the other two Turkish literary giants poet Nazim Hikmet (1902-1963) and fellow novelist Yashar Kemal (b. 1923), has had many poltiical problems at home. After the publication of "Snow," he has made provacative comments regarding the Armenian Genocide Controversy (it should be pointed out here that when I use this term, Armenians hate the fact that I use the word controversy, and Turks don't like the use of the g-word, but either way or regardless of how I feel, the spat is not going to be made worse or resolved by whatever opinions I hold about the matter. But, unlike Pamuk, I would rather not go down that dark backstreet alley).

The German author Gunter Grass (b. 1927) who has also had isssues with right-wingers in his country defended Pamuk's right to speak about the matter. We are featuring a quote from Grass on other blog.

Here is the quote from the author of "Snow" and "My Name is Red:"

"Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen."

SIDEBAR: Shifting our attention to minor leage baseball, our beloved Durham Bulls (in Durham, NC) beat the visiting Indianapolis Indians 1-0 in a day game today. The two teams face each other again tommorow night; the Bulls have a record of 21-13.

Also, the Salem Red Sox from my hometown of Salem, Va, lost their last game to the Wilmington BlueRocks in Wilmigton, Del., but they return home to face the Winston-Salem Dash from Camel City (Winston-Salem, NC) on Friday night at 7:05 p.m.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Quote of the Week- Karl Marx

A special good morning to all our friends in Corvallis, Oregon (actually, I only one person in that state, and he lives in Portland) who are just waking up, and a special salute to the graduates of the school there, which is Oregon State. Their arch rival Oregon University is in Eugene. It's easy to get the two towns mixed up.

Let's get to our Quote of the Week, and I should add that while I think the German philosopher Karl Marx (1818-1883) was a remarkable historical figure, I don't consider myself a Marxist, as Cuba has proven the short-comings of what happens in communist countries. But, of course, in Provo, Utah, which is home to Brigham Young University and is perhaps America's most conservative zip code, I would probably be classified as one there!

This quip is part of this blog's month-long quips from radical, left-wing figures.

Here is the quip, which should go over well with "True Blood" fans:

"Capital is dead labor, which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks."

We are planning to have quotes from many people past and present from Germany (with the exception being the Nazi-era) in October.

SIDEBAR: Yesterday, as we typing our blog post on English soccer, there was actually a game being played there. I wonder if they call it "Monday Night Futbol." Hmmm....you may have to be an American born before Ronald Reagan was president to get that joke. Liverpool beating the living daylights out of Fulham by a 5-2 score in that game with Argentinian star Maxi Rodriguez scoring three goals for the winning Liverpool side.

Monday, May 9, 2011

English Soccer Results.....

As the Bangles sang back this time of year in 1986, it is indeed another "Manic Monday." The song actually got to number two on the Billboard pop chart only to be blocked by Prince and his smash-hit "Kiss." Ironically, Prince wrote "Manic Monday." I saw the Bangles vinyl record with that song plus "Walk Like an Egyptian" at a used bookstore in Greensboro, NC, for like five dollars. I passed, but not before thinking about it.

So, we decided to have a post that would take less time and research than normal. Alas, like the late Russian author Leo Tolstoy (of "War and Peace" fame) brevity is not one of my strengths. Thus, we are simply going to post weekend results from the English Premiere League in the hopes that this will also boost blog hits from across the pond.

The big game of the week was Manchester United-Chelsea, a game which Man U won 2-1; the event was described 'as the Royal Wedding for men."

Here is the complete list of games played on Saturday and Sunday; for the record, I am a bit out of the loop when it comes to English soccer, which perhaps even has a following in Abbottabad, Pakistan (we just mentioned that, so we could use the city in our tags, personally I am getting Osama bin Laden is Dead fatigue), but I do listen to broadcasts of the BBC World Service virtually every night, so this seems fitting. In fact, I just learned earlier this year than Man U and Man City were two different teams!:

Manchester United 2 Chelsea 1

Stoke City 3 Arsenal 1

Aston Villa 1 Wigan Athletic 1

Sunderland 2 Bolton 1

Wolverhampton 2 west Bromwich 1

Tottenham 1 Blackpool 1

West Ham United 1 Blackburn 1

Newcastle 2 Birmingham 1

Everton 2 Manchester City 1

I should credit my friend Chris Knight for letting me know about the world of Leggo Soccer during the 2010 World Cup.

Since Chris is a big science-fiction fan, I thought he might like this quip from English comic actor Simon Pegg who was recently in "Paul," a road movie about two English science-fiction/comic book guys traveling to Nevada to see Area 51. Here, in an interview for "Rolling Stone," Pegg is talking about his hometown of Gloucestershire, England:

"It's an old port town where nothing much goes on," Pegg says. "The only other famous person from Gloucestershire is a serial killer."

Through some research via Google (check out that tribute to the late English children's author Roger Hargreaves they have up today), we found out that man was Fred West (1941-1995). With the help of his wife Rosemary, West killed approximately 12 girls. He committed suicide by hanging with a rope in his cell at age 53.

On a happier note, we learned there is an interesting band with an interesting name called The Pains of Being Pure at Heart; the New York indie rock group has a new single called "Anne with an E." So, if you know anyone named Anne as opposed to Ann, be sure to tell them about it!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Strange, but True Things We Learned This Week

We will get to why we are using an image of Ozzy Osbourne, who is going to be performing in Tampere, Finland, on June 9th, later in this entry, but first here are four surreal things we found out this week. We have four more strange, but true items on our other blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time." Here are the things that will likely surprise you:

1) Osama bin Laden (1957-2011) was the subject of a UCLA geography department study that sounds a bit like a more formal take on "Where's Waldo?" in which geographer Thomas Gillespie and his colleague John Agnew along with undergraduate students from UCLA tried to predict where the ruthless terrrorist leader was hiding. Through sturdy research, they concluded that with an 88.9 % likelihood that bin Laden was in Abbottabad, Pakistan, which proved to be correct. (I actually thought he was in Karachi or Islamabad myself, but I had never heard of Abbottabad until late Sunday night). I heard this story through the BBC last night, and it was also reported in "Science" magazine.

2) What is the busiest McDonald's in the world? Well, the answer is ironically the historic McDonald's located at Pushkin Square in Moscow, Russia. It serves 30,000 customers per day!

3) Do you think it costs too much to go to the movies these days? Well, as we reported on our sister blog yesterday, the historic Castro Theatre in San Francisco is selling tickets for $20-40 for tonight's special 30th anniversary screening of "Mommie Dearest,"for Mother's Day, which will be presented by a local transvestite celebrity named Pecahes Christ. The cinema is also showing a Faye Dunaway double-header (she stars as Joan Crawford in "Mommie Dearest" and the film is apparently her least favorite) on May 11, including a screening of "The Eyes of Laura Mars." Personally, I would prefer going to the May 11 event, but San Fran is a long way from the east coast!

4) I read another great article/column by "The Atlantic" magazine's media writer James Parker about how heavy metal has 'saved our souls.' The article reminded me of how I heard the music of Ozzy Osbourne (yes, now we are now getting to him) in Bursa, Turkey, which is a fairly conservative city with a large number of fundamentalist Muslims. Interestingly enough, Turkey has a 'heavy metal scene" with domestic bands like Labrient, founded by Serhat Kocak and Yavuz Selim Sarici. But, sadly, we also learned a few months back from WKNC (88.1-FM/Raleigh) the student-run station at North Carolina State that the Turkish scene is not quite as globally recognized as the Greek heavy metal scene, which includes the likes of Acid Death and Nightfall. But, perhaps music associated with demons and warlocks can perhaps bring the two feuding countries together once and for all. And, I'm sure that would delight Ozzy Osbourne and his compatriots!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy Mother's Day in Advance from Godzilla

Perhaps, Mothra would be more appropriate here since according to Wikipedia the giant moth is a woman, but we prefer Godzilla over one of his arch rivals, which also includes Hedorah ("The Smog Monster," not sure of its gender).

Godzilla starred in 28 Japanese science fiction/fantasy/horror/thriller films starring with the original "Godzilla," directed by Ishiro Honda (1911-1993), but the monster's creation is actually credited to Tomoyuki Tomaka (1910-1997). Politically, Godzilla, who has weighed up to 60,000 tons, represents the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Many men and perhaps a few women my age probably recall the "Godzilla" cartoons which aired from 1978-81 in both the United States and his native Japan. While researching this piece, I found out that the cartoon Godzilla was originally voiced by Ted Cassidy (1932-1979), known for being Lurch on the orginal "The Addams Family" tv series, but the actor died from natural causes at the age of 46.

And, the cartoon, also featured the adoring Godzooky, who is Godzilla's nephew; he is also a bit of a wimp.

SIDEBAR: I want to give kudos to my good friend Chris Knight from North Carolina who somehow posted a blog entry about Osama bin Laden's killing at 11:52 p.m., local time. This was a full eight minutes before I heard the news from the BBC via WUNC-FM (91.5-Chapel Hill).

And, I was also reminded today of Keith Knight's comic strip "The Knight Life" (no relation to Chris Knight, in fact Keith is African-American, Chris is white) which has a series called "Life's Little Victories." Since the post office in the city where I live is very congested and has an awful parking lot, I get my stamps at Walgreen's. The cashier behind the counter informed me that I had just purchased the last book of stamps on them! Ironically, Keith Knight had a comic strip about postage stamps on Sunday, May 1st, which I just found out a few minutes ago.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Things We Learned on Google Today_ Barcelona Kicks Butt

Since FC Barcelona has advanced to face Manchester United in the UEFA League finals, which is apparently watched with religious fervor in every country in the world except the United States and maybe Bhutan, we thought we'd tell everyone some facts that everyone in Spain assuredly already knows.

I asked Google: "How many UEFA League Championships has FC Barcelona won?" and the answer appears to be three (1992, 2006 and 2009). We also learned that FC Barcelona became the first team to win a domestic cup, a domestic league title and a UEFA Champions League title in the same year, 2009.

The current team features two Spanish socccer gods in David Villa and Pedro. The team has also featured international stars like Ronaldinho from Brazil and Lional Messi from Argentina.

The other image in this entry is Cobi, who was the mascot for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Speaking of which, we understand the American Olympic gymnast Shannon Miller who competed in several Olympics, including Barcelona, is battling cancer; she's only in her early 30s. I have not heard about her status, but we certainly wish her the best as well as a complete recovery.

We have no idea what Cobi's gender is (oh with a shirt and tie, he must be a man), or much about the mascot. We had to use Google to remind us who was mascot of the Barcelona Olympics actually!

And, lastly, an interesting thing about Bhutan, according to the NPR show "The World," one can not smoke there. In fact, they sent a Buddhist monk in Bhutan to prison for three years (?!) for smuggling smokes! Even though I haven't smoked since I was 20 years old in 1990, this seems a bit much, but I'm sure this means the air in the Himalayan nation is quite clean now!

Special Quote of the Week- Upton Sinclair

Today, we start our series of quips from novelists past and present with a quote from the great American liberal muckracking author Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) who is most known for "The Jungle" (1906).

That docu-novel was adapted into an excellent 2004 graphic novel by Peter Kuper and Emily Russell.

Sinclair's other famous novel "Oil!" (1927) was made into the much-acclaimed 2007 film "There Will Be Blood," which won its lead actor Daniel Day-Lewis his second Oscar.

Sinclair is one of several famous people who were born in Baltimore, including Babe Ruth, Eubie Blake, David Byrne and John Waters.

One can probably find several copies of "The Jungle" at the Boulder Bookstore in Boulder, Colo., which is one of my favorite bookstores in America.

On May, the Boulder Bookstore will host guest author Josh Chetwynd who will talk about his new book "The History of Balls," which is about things like softballs, basketballs and dodgeballs. Yeah, we agree that the title might mislead people.

Here is the quote from Sinclair:

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it."

SIDEBAR_ Those who like Upton Sinclair, such as myself, probably like reading "The Nation" magazine as well. Like their conservative counterparts, the web page of "The Nation" (thenation.com) has lots of articles on Osama bin Laden's killing in Pakistan and what might happen next.

But, the current issue also focuses on how the Republican jobs plan has, in the words of "The Nation," become a total failure.

Some interesting things about the notorious terrorist which haven't been reported much in the media, as a youngster he apparently enjoyed watching "Bonanza" and Bruce Lee kung-fu movies. Wow! is what I said too.

We hope everyone is enjoying their lunch hours in Los Angeles, perhaps you are dinning at the Mandolin Grille (I've actually never been to L.A.!)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Quote of the Week- Malcolm X

Today, we begin quoting radical left-wing figures since May 1st is associated with socialism and communism, and there will quips from these people, both past and present, throughout the month.

I should point out that I am not a fringe extremist who is into veganism and riding bicycles to work (that would take two hours in my case!), but I strongly feel such individual as closer to the political center that those far right gunsGodandcountry folks who subscribe to "Solider of Fortune." Nevertheless, in spite of being a moderate liberal, I am fascinated with those who really are socialists! (Everyone who is a Democrat is accused of being a socialist in North Carolina, except in Chapel Hill).

Today, on our two blogs, we quote two men who were both killed by guns at age 39. The person we are quoting here is Malcolm X (1925-1965), and we got this quote from a very interesting book/graphic title/self-help guide called "Self-Defense for Radicals" by Mickey Z with illustrations from Richard Cole; the 2010 book is published by PM Press in Oakland, Calif. They are known for publishing works with socialist themes.

"We are nonviolent with people who are nonviolent with us," Malcolm X.

The answer to last week's road trip quiz was B) as it takes about ten hours to travel from Portland, Maine, to Altoona, Pa; we hope to have a new quiz for you within the next few days.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Perhaps If You're in the Area and Have Time

I must profess that I envy not only people in the Washignton, DC, metro area, which is relatively close to my zip code, but folks in the Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, NC) area. There seems to be an unholy amount of things to do there and each of those three zip codes in themsevles has more happening than most places in North Carolina, with some major exceptions.

On Wednesday night at the Regulator Bookstore in Durham, author Gary Shyteyngart, who is still not quite 40 (I am two years older than him, and I just turned 41 recently), will speak at 7:00 p.m. Amazingly enough, I forgot to put the author of the awesome novel "Absurdistan" on the long, difficult names list we posted last week. But, hopefully, I will remember Gary, who was born in Russia but now lives somewhere in America (I think it's San Francisco), when I hope to post a similar list later this month.

That same night in Chapel Hill, the Nashville, Tenn-band Same As It Ever Was, which is a group that covers Talking Heads songs (the original band from the late '70s and '80s is pictured here), will perform at 9:00 p.m. at Local 506. I wonder if they will sing "Television Man," an obscure, but awesome song from "Little Creatures," one of my favorite Talking Heads records.

And, lastly, on Saturday, May 7, which is Free Comic Book Day, Chapel Hill Comics, which is in (you guessed it!) Chapel Hill, will offer free sketch drawings from Thomas Boatwright, a comic book artist based in North Carolina, who is known for his comic book series "Cemetery Blues." Boatwright will be at Chapel Hill Comics from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

There are actually even more things going on in that area than we can list here. If you live or are a new resident of that area, I strongly recommend picking up a copy of the alternative newspaper "Independent Weekly" so you will be hip to what's going on in the Triangle area.

What We Are Working On...

Since a lot has happened in the world since I last posted a blog entry on Thursday, and I have really had my fair share of distractions, I thought I would fill you in on what we are working on. I am also going to post an entry within an hour about some unique things going on in North Carolina this week.

I decided after seeing a startling news story about a blogger in Boulder, Colo., who became a victim of savage stalking last year not to say which town I actually live in, but I am a resident of the Tarheel State. Though I don't smoke, watch NASCAR races or eat much ham!

But, here are the four things we are working on for this particular blog (be sure to visit us and tell all your friends about our sister blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time) and as indicated in the images we borrowed for this entry, be sure to brush your teeth so you don't end up like Dustin Hoffman in "Marathon Man."

1) Since May 1, May Day, is known as the day to recognize laborers around the world and is generally associated with far left-wing figures, we are going to quip such radicals who might be alive or deceased starting on Tuesday. I am not a fringe left-winger myself but I loved Jane Fonda in "Barbarella" and I haven't voted for a Republican since Calvin Coolidge (actually, he was a bit before my time). If you are wondering who will be quoted, you will have to tune in tomorrow. I will say that it will not be the late Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers on PBS) whom Glenn Beck has probably cited for being subversive.

2) We are also going to be quoting famous novelists throughout the month, and we will quip a timely author who has been dead for quite some time on Wednesday.

3) On Thursday, I am hoping to find time to share my surreal story of how I found out about Osama bin Laden's killing at exactly midnight last night/this morning. Some interesting things about the incident include the fact that the city of Abbottabad, Pakistan, will probably be found in the next world map I get from Doctors Without Borders, an organization I firmly believe in (which means I should at some point donate money to them!). According to mentalfloss.com, Sohaib Athar, a regular 33-year-old Pakistani computer engineer who must have insomnia tweeted at 1:00 a.m. local time in Abbotabad the following: "Go away helicopter- before I take my giant swatter." At the time, Athar had no idea that a CIA operative to kill bin Laden was being carried out in his very own zip code.

4) On Friday, we are hoping to officially launch our "Things We Learned Today from Google" series, which we have experminted with. The idea stems from the book "The Googlization of Everything" by UVa professor Siva Vaidhyanathan who was number two on my people with difficult names list last week. For this blog, we are looking at exploring facts about a Latin American or European soccer team, which will hopefully help both Real Madrid and AC Milan fans, discover this blog that reportedly has a loyal following in Uzbekistan!