Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Quote of the Day- Tennessee Williams

Since the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC, will be presenting the classic 1947 Tennessee Williams play "A Streetcar Named Desire," (starting October 29th) we thought we'd conclude our series of quips from famous playwrights this month with a quote from Williams:

"Death is one moment, and life is so many of them."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Quote of the Week- Dr. Seuss

Since the Muslim holy month of Ramadan is coming to a close tomorrow, I have been reminded of many unusual culture clashes which occured in the living room as a child in the 1970s. Since my late father Mehmet Gokbudak was a Turkish immigrant, the decision to let me get a copy of the legendary Dr. Seuss book "Green Eggs and Ham"
(1960) could not have been an easy one. Alas, it has been misplaced over the years.

On a recent trip to the quaint town of Lewisburg, WVa, I had a chance to go to Open Book, an independent bookstore downtown, I noticed that all current editions of those classic Dr. Seuss books, which also include "Cat in the Hat" (1957) and "Hop on Pop" (1963) now retail for $9.95. And, there are Dr. Seuss neckties as well!

So, since "Green Eggs and Ham" is perhaps as likely to get translated into Turkish as Bill Griffith's "Zippy the Pinhead" comic strips, which are a novelty even here in America_ its country of origin, we have selected Dr. Seuss (1904-1991) as our subversive for this series of quotes from cultural radicals. And, this quip from Dr. Seuss, who has a memorial statue in his native Springfield, Mass., seems just like something that the likes of John Waters and R. Crumb would fully agree with:

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."

SIDEBAR: We loved this tweet from Roger Ebert, the legendary Chicago movie critic who got me interested in quirky films like "Q-The Winged Serpent" when I was between 12-15 years old: "Never marry someone who doesn't love the same movies you love. Sooner or later, that person will not love you."

SIDEBAR TWO: We also loved this bumper sticker that we saw in Roanoke, Va., today: "I would rather Phish than work." This is in reference to the musical improv band Phish, which formed in Burlington, Vermont, in 1993. They broke up in 2004, but reunited in 2009. Phish will be performing from Sept. 2-4 in Commerce City, Colo.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Things We Learned on Google Today- Bayern Munich Has Won Four UEFA Titles

This is the seventh entry in our series of looks at professional soccer teams. So far, we have looked at teams from two continents: Europe and North America.

Today, we turn our attention to the German Bundesliga where Bayern Munich has reigned supreme over the decades. The two has four UEFA titles, including three in row from 1974-76, and another title in 2001. The team was runner-up in 2010.

In addition, Bayern has won 22 German titles, and 15 domestic cups.

Yesterday, Bayern beat their long-time rival Kaiserslautern 3-0, a week after they destroyed Hamburg SV 5-0. Yesterday's game started at 9:30 a.m. yesterday, east coast American time.

We are featuring an image of Mehmet Scholl, who was a star player for the team in the 2000s, and he was among the first players of Turkish heritage (Germany has the largest Turkish population outside Turkey) to become a soccer superstar in the Bundesliga.

The team's most legendary player is Franz Beckenbauer who played during the '70s and helped Germany dominate world soccer internationally (well, there was also Brazil which featured some guy named Pele) during his career.

Bayern's current roster includes German players Thomas Mueller and Mario Gomez as well as Dutch star Franck Ribery, who once played for Turkish soccer power GalataSaray (a team we featured earlier in the series).

SIDEBAR: Yesterday, in the English Premiere League, Didier Drogba of Chelsea, one of the star player in the league, suffered a 30-minute concusion in the 71st minute of play in Chelsea's 3-1 win over Norwich City.

SIDEBAR TWO: Our congratulations go out to American tennis player John Isner, of Greensboro, NC. The 'local boy' won the Winston-Salem Open over Julien Benneateau of France in a match that somehow did not get rained out due to Hurricane Irene, which battered the North Carolina coast yesterday.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Greensboro vs. Roanoke- Take Me Out to the Ball Game (Entry 4 of 6)

We have not had an entry in this series since the Fourth of July when we compared two eateries, the Texas Tavern the 24/7 mini-diner in Roanoke and Fincastle's, which is a burger joint in Greensboro.

Ironically, Fincastle's is indeed named for Fincastle, Va., a small town 20 miles north of Roanoke.

Today, we are comparing the cities' two minor leage baseball teams. For those who are not familiar with the Roanoke Valley, Salem, Va., my hometown, is the main 'suburb' of Roanoke. There is actually a 'lemon tree' rivalry between the two cities which is made a bit ridicilous because Roanoke, with a population of 92,000, has a lot more folks than Salem, which has a population of 25,000 (ok, we actually need to confirm that through Wikipedia or the U.S. Census, but I do want to get out of the house today).

So the Salem Red Sox serve as the main baseball team for Roanoke. The team has been called the Salem Avalanche, the Salem Redbirds, the Salem Bucaneers and the Salem Pirates over the years. Former Pittsburgh Pirates great Dave Parker, who helped the team win the 1979 World Series over the Baltimore Orioles, is arguably the best player to play for a Salem team.

The most noteable thing about the Red Sox has to be their mascot Muggsy, a tall dog, which replaced a nut as the team's mascot (yes, we are not making this up) during the Salem Avalanche years.

The Greensboro Grasshoppers, who play in the South Atlantic League, actually play in downtown Greensboro. They were previously the Greeensboro Bats, and Derek Jeter, the current New York Yankees superstar, played for that team.

Greensboro is believed to be the largest city in America with a single-A team, as the city has approximately the same population as Salt Lake City, Utah. They play teams like the Asheville Tourists and the Hickory Crawdads from towns that are much smaller in population. The Minnesota Twins actually considered relocating to Greensboro several years ago.

The 'Hoppers also have bat dogs. They are specially trained to retrieve baseball bats (one is pictured here).

Both teams were in action last night. The Salem Red Sox, who play in the Carolina League, split a home double-header with the Wilmington Blue Rocks (that team is actually from Wilmington, Del., not Wilmington, NC) a night after losing to the Winston-Salme Dash 14-0 in the team's worst loss of the season.

The 'Hoppers scored a road win over the Delmarva Shorebirds in Salisbury, Md., by a
5-4 score. The two teams are slated to play again tonight at 7:05 p.m., but one should expect that Hurricane Irene will probably prevent that game from being played.

If I had to choose one of the teams, it would ultimately be the Salem Red Sox. Yes, it is a hometown bias, but the sox offer one thing that the 'Hoppers do not- free parking!

SIDEBAR ONE: Alas, last night my alma mater Glenvar High School in Salem, Va., lost to another school with GHS initials as Galax High School from Galax, Va., came to Salem and beat the Highlanders by a 17-14 score.

But, Cave Spring High School, the Beverly Hills 90210 high school in the Roanoke Valley (reportedly, some students actually drive BMWs) won their home opener as the Kinght bear the William Byrd Terriers 28-14.

SIDEBAR TWO: I want to take a moment to wish my great aunt Jo of South Carolina a happy 101st birthday. To put that in perspective, when she was born in 1910, William Howard Taft was president.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Bonus Road Trip- Manteo to Murphy (To Flee Irene)

In North Carolina, the term "Murphy to Manteo" is used constantly for entities which serve the entire Tarheel State whether it be "Our State" magazine or North Carolina Public Television.

But, with Hurricane Irene now hitting the shores of the Outer Banks around Kill Devil Hills, it seems that right now travelers are more likely to head west, which would be from Manteo to Murphy. The route goes through Chapel Hill where the University of North Carolina Tarheels play. Given that Hurricane Irene is expected to be a devastating storm, one has to wonder if the Carolina Hurricanes hockey game perhaps should have chosen a different nickname.

For those who did not major in North Carolina geography in college or live in Wyoming or Uzbekistan, let me explain that Manteo is a town in the Outer Banks whereas Murphy is in 'Deliverance country' near the borders of Georgia and Tennesse in the far west, mountainous part of the state.

We imagine that it has been a slow Friday night for such Outer Banks establishments as Front Porch Cafe, Stripes Bar and Grille, and Chilli Peppers Coastal Grille, assuming they were even open at all.

So, for this Bonus Road Trip, we examined the distance between the town hall of Manteo and Daily Grind and Wine, a cafe in Murphy which has the motto: 'Life is too short for bad coffee and cheap wine."

Thus, we ask you the blog-reader how far apart these two towns are.

Is the answer:

A) 8 hours, 30 minutes

B) 8 hours, 50 minutes

C) 9 hours, 10 minutes

D) 9 hours, 25 minutes

We will give the answer over the weekend.

SIDEBAR: "The News-Observer," the newspaper for Raleigh tweeted tonight that downtown Wilmington was a mess even though it is a few hours south of the eye of the storm. But, there are lots of sporting events in North Carolina which are still on, as of press time.

The Winston-Salem Open, a tennis tournament in (where else) Winston-Salem will have a final featuring American star John Isner and French tennis player Julien Benneteau tomorrow afternoon at 12:30 local time. The game, if it is played, will be broadcast nationally on CBS.

And, tonight, the University of North Carolina-Greensboro (they are the Spartans, not the Tarheels) opened their season at home against Duke University, which was ranked 12th in the country. The Spartans were able to pull a 3-2 upset thanks to two goals from Turkish-German player Hakan Ilhan.

The Last Ten Films I've Seen

Here they are, first to last:

#-Movies I saw in a cinema
*-Movies I saw in a microcinema
^-Moives I have previously seen

1.# "The Trip" (UK. 2010. Dir- Michael Winterbottom. W/Steve Coogan)

2. "Dogtooth" (Greece. 2009. Dir- Giorgis Lanthinos)

3. # "Tabloid" (doc. 2010. Dir- Erroll Morris)

4. "Halloween 2" (2009. Dir- Rob Zombie)

5. "A Little Trip to Heaven" (US/Iceland. 2005. Dir- Baltasar Kormakur. W/Julie Stiles)

6. *^ "Trollhunter" (Norway. 2010. Dir- Andre Ovredal)

7. "The Age of Ignorance" (Canada-in French. 2007. Dir- Denys Arcand)

8. "My Winnipeg" (Canada-in English. 2007. Dir- Guy Maddin)

9. "The Seventh Continent" (Austria. 1989. Dir- Michael Haneke)

10. "Marwencol" (doc. 2010. Dir- Jeff Malmberg)

Brief Notes:

"The Trip" is sort of like a cross between "Easy Rider" and "My Dinner with Andre." It's a witty and funny film.

"Dogtooth" is a film with every taboo subject one can think of, but it is well-made. Amazingly enough, it got a foreign-language Oscar nomination. It is definitely not like the Greek melodramas of yesteryears.

Another person who was actually watching "Tabloid" at the Apeture Cinema in Winston-Salem, NC, scorned at me for laughing, but the film is quite amusing, especially given that it is a documentary.

Yes, "Hallloween II" doesn't really belong on this list, but Rob Zombie makes interesting films. Alas, the cliches of the Michael Myers serial killer series entrap the film's plot considerably.

I saw "Trollhunter" at the Shadowbox Cinema in Roanoke, Va. It is definitely a fun film.

"My Winnipeg" is as anyone who has seen a Guy Maddin film will know is quite surreal.

"The Seventh Continent" is perhaps the most depressing film I've seen since "The Bridge," a documentary about people commiting suicide by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

"Marwencol" is simply awesom.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Quote of the Day- Neil Simon

We continue with our series of quips from famous playwrights this month with a quote from Neil Simon. Though "The Odd Couple" is my favorite Simon play, "Barefoot in the Park" appears to be the most popular one. There is a great audio version of the play with Laura Linney (tv's "The Big C") from Los Angeles Theatre Works (LATW).

Here is the quote:

"If no one ever took risks, Michaelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor."

SIDEBAR ONE: Various sources have said that the following joke from stand-up comic Nick Helm was considered to be the funniest one at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland: "I need a password eight characters long, so I picked Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."

SIDEBAR TWO: Though I am a human secularist, as the son of a late Muslim Turkish immigrant, I want to wish everyone in the greater Muslim community in the United States, Turkey and around the world a Happy Eid ul-Fitr, which falls on August 30th this year. Eid ul-Fitr, also known as Seker Bayrami (Sugar Holiday) in Turkey, marks the end of the 30-day Ramadan period. We imagine those who faithfully followed the fast in places like Austin, Tex., which was very hot this week, were tempted to go for the Dasani or Gatorade.

The alt weekly "C'ville Weekly" in Charlottesville, Va., has an interesting story about how Ramadan is being celebrated by Muslim inmates in Virginia prisons, which agreed after pressure from the Virginia ACLU to adjust dinning schedules for Ramadan for those following Islam.

And, irregardless of one's faith, Turkish food is always among the finest cuisine one can have. In the Philadelphia area, Divan Turkish Kitchen is considered to be among the best Turkish restaurants in the City of Brotherly Love.

Quote of the Week- William S. Burroughs

Today's quote of the week comes from one of my favorite writers William S. Burroughs (1914-1997) who is, of course, best known for his signature, surreal subversive novel "Naked Lunch:"

"A paranoid is someone who knows a little bit about what's really going on."

SIDEBAR: As Keith Olbermann pointed out on his Current TV show "Countdown" on Tuesday night, Fox News has been obsessive over the fact that President Barack Obama was taking a family vacation in Martha's Vineyard, Massachussetts, which has an elitist reputation.

The liberal political pundit E.J. Dionne of "The Washington Post" made a point on the Friday edition of "All Things Considered," which I am inclined to agree with in that it may have been politically wiser for Obama to take a vacation on the Outer Banks or the shores of Lake Michigan instead.

Obama has actually viisted Asheville, NC, twice since becoming president, including a stay at the Grove Park Inn Hotel in late April of 2010.

Since Cong. Heath Shuler (D-NC), one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress, is actually in danger of losing his seat to a potential Tea Party whacko (well, aren't they all whackos?), we imagine Obama will be back in western North Carolina again quite soon.

UPDATE_ NPR is reporting that Hurricane Irene is potentially heading for the Outer Banks of North Carolina, so perhaps it's better that Obama chose Martha's Vineyard after all!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Great Virginia Earthquake of 2011

"Yes, we felt it here in North Carolina," I told a friend of mine who lives near my hometown of Roanoke, Va., via Facebook. "In fact, it knocked over a framed photograph of Dean Martin on my mantle."

I'm not sure admitting that I have a framed photograph, which is actually a still from a western film, from Dean Martin (he was a lounge crooner superstar in the '50s and '60s for those of you born when George H.W. Bush was president) is a good idea. But, the 10-12 second tremor I felt at a public library near Greensboro, NC, yesterday, was quite surprising.

I have friends and family members who were at the scene during the great Los Angeles earthquake and the horrific 1999 earthquake which devastated Istanbul, Turkey, and nearby areas, so this was nothing of that magnitude (pardon the pun). No books were flying off the library shelves nor did anyone panic. We just all starred at each other as if we were in costume at a medevial fair.

Of course, since this is the first earthquake I've experienced, and it was a surprinsgly strong 5.9, making it the strongest earthquake in Virginia since 1875, the image of the reportedly over-the-top '70s natural disaster movie "Earthquake" with Charlton Heston and Ava Gardner seems appropriate.

"The Daily Tarheel" ironically reported (it is the student-run newspaper for The University of North Carolina" that University of Virginia Kyle Guest was taking a catnap at 1:52 p.m. earthquake when a strong tremor was felt on the UVA campus. Guest said that he felt like a spaceship had landed in his house. There was reportedly far less drama on the campus of UNC in Chapel Hill, though the quake was felt there. In fact, they even felt in Bath, Maine!

The earthquake happened relatively close to Charlottesville, Va., where UVA is, in the town of Mineral in Louisa County, Va., where it completely toppled groceries at Miller's Mart.

"The Collegiate Times," the student-run newspaper for Virginia Tech, reported that Newman Library on the Virginia Tech campus was evacuated when someone pulled the fire alarm in response to the tremor. Julia Delgaudio, a Hokie student, told the CT that she thought someone was shaking her chair, but there was no one there!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Correction: We Meant Philip, Not Paul

Since I spent many years working as a journalist where I covered many things like Winston-Salem, NC, city council meetings (I didn't actually work in Winston-Salem, but it seems like a good generic city to plug in for this entry), I go through great lengths to make sure I don't post misinformation here, even if it's about Republicans.

But, I did flub yesterday when I said that my friend and fellow blogger Chris Knight said that the Apostle Paul's tomb was discovered near Denizli, Turkey, recently. As it turns out, it was Apostle Philip's tomb that was discovered. So, to make up for it- especially for all my Catholic friends, I will wish Pope Benedict well as he visits Madrid, Spain, over the next few days. And, hopefully, I will not have to retract and say that he is actually going to Valencia (another city in Spain).

Turkey, which happens to be my late father's country, has been in the news a lot lately. In addition to the discovery of Philip's tomb, the following things have happened there either fairly recently or within the last few days as have been reported in Turkey's two English-language newspapers, "Hurriyet Daily News" and "Today's Zaman:"

1) Israel has refused to apologize for the raid aboard the Marmara flotilla, which killed many Turkish activisits who were attempting to give humanitarian aid to Palestinians.

2) Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Syria's Bashar Assad to stop the violence against residential protestors throughout Syria, which caused a major influx of refugees into Turkey.

3) Aziz Yildirim, the president of Istanbul soccer power Fenerbahce, has been arrested and charged with match-fixing, a scandal which is involving many teams. Melih Gokcek, the current mayor of the Turkish capital Ankara has also been pulled into the mess as he was once the president of the soccer team Ankaraspor.

4) As of yesterday, Turkish military planes attacked PKK (Kurdish Worker's Party) terrorists in northern Iraq. The PKK guerillas have struck Turkish military headquarters with attacks in the Hakari province in far southeastern Turkey.

All of this is occuring as many religious Turkish people are celebrating the Ramadan holiday!

And, I should retract the statement that I was going on hiatus.

Oh well, we tried!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Quote of the Week- August Wilson

Today's quote of the week comes from the late playwright August Wilson (1945-2005). I had the opportunity to see an excellent production of his award-winning play "Fences" last year performed by PlayMakers Rep in Chapel Hill, NC.

Later this year, PlayMakers will stage Edward Albee's most famous play "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" from Nov. 30-Dece. 18.

Here is the quote from Wilson, and in our view truer words have never been spoken:

"The harder you try to hold onto to them, the easier it is for some gal to get away."

SIDEBAR: Speaking of Edward Albee, I found a copy of a book about the playwright simply called "Edward Albee" by Ronald Hayman (b.1932) who has also written about another great playwright George Bernard Shaw.

The book was left at Tanglewood Mall in Roanoke, Va., as part of the online campaign called Book Crossing (www.bookcrossing.com) which lets readers exchange books with complete strangers.

Hayman's book was written back in 1971, but it made for quite an exceptional read and a solid analysis of Albee's early plays.

SIDEBAR TWO: Due to a number of valid reasons, we are planning to go on hiatus from this blog for a one-week period, but we will resume back here on Aug. 22. Our Roanoke vs. Greensboro series is among the planned entries. In the mean time, I highly suggest that one visit the "The Knight Shift" blog (http://www.blogspot.com/theknightlife) from my friend Chris Knight. He is known for, among other things, as 'the guy who dressed like a Jedi Knight' to a Rockingham County (NC) school board meeting to protest proposed changes in the county schools' dress code policy. As of today, Knight's blog feautres interesting entries on how the Apostle Paul's tomb was discovered recently near Denizli, Turkey, a city I've been to several times, and how a Swedish man was arrested for making nuclear explosives in his own apartment.

Quote of the Day- Sid Vicious

The late punk rocker Sid Vicious (1957-1979), of The Sex Pistols, predicted he would not live to be 25. And, he did in fact die at age 21. His life was the subject of the 1986 feature film "Sid and Nancy" by English director Alex Cox. Gary Oldman played the title role in the film.

The lead singer of The Sex Pistols, Johnny Rotten, is amazingly enough still alive. Their most-recognized song is the immortal anthem "Anarachy in the UK."

We thought with the recent unfortunate riots in London, which makes one recall the turbulent punk rock period of the 1970s which produced the like of The Sex Pistols and The Clash (we will quote the late Joe Strummer on our other blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time" today), we would quip Vivious, the epitamy of an out-of-control rock n roller:

"American audiences are just the same as any other audience. Except a bit more boring."

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Things We Learned on Google Today-Scottish Futbol

We were actually considering an entry for an Italian team, such as Juventus or
AC Milan, until the BBC, which we were listening to, ran this excellent retrospective story on the 1983 Abderdeen team from the Scottish Premiere League that beat Real Madrid 2-1 to win the European Cup that year.

We noticed that it has actually been a while since Aberdeen, our team of the week, had even won the Scottish league. Despite being a dynasty in the early 1980s, the team has not won the league since 1985.

So, we asked Google, who scored the most goals for Aberdeen on that 1985 team. The answer is Frank MacDougall (pictured here, not the guy playing the bagpipes), now age 53. MacDougall became the fourth Aberdeen player to score a hat trick against their rival Celtic. He joined George Hamilton (yes, in America, we think of the actor of the same name who played Dracula in "Love Bites," which came out in 1979), Billy Williamson and Eric Black.

MacDougall now owns the Criterion Bar, a pub in Aberdeen, where one may well find the Scottish beer BrewDog (pictured here).

Alas, times have been hard for Aberdeen as they lost to Celtic 9-0 last year. It was their worst loss ever to their arch rival.

SIDEBAR: She's back! No, I am not refering to ring-wing nut job Michele Bachmann who has horrified all of us politically sane people in America by winning the coveted Ames Straw Poll in Ames, Iowa, today. But, rather, we are talking about Susan Burns from Alexandria, Va., who according to "City Paper" (Washington, DC) has once again struck the National Gallery.

In April, Burns attacked a Paul Gaugin painting at the art museum, claiming it was obscene. And, amazingly enough, she got back to the National Gallery and grabbed both sides of French master Henri Matisse's "The Plume Hat," valued at $2.5 million. "City Paper" stated that Burns slammed the painting against the wall three times.

All of this reminds us that the vintage horror film "The Exorcist" (1973) about a possesed 12-year-old girl played by Linda Blair was indeed filmed in our nation's capital.

Best Films of 2001- A Very Good Year

We are continuing our look at the best films which are celebrating milestone anniversaries this year, with a look at the films we consider to be the ten best of 2001.

This was an amazing year for film as there were many acclaimed films from either established directors, such as "Mullholland Drive" (dir. David Lynch) or up and coming filmmaking stars of international cinema, such as "The Piano Teacher" (France. dir-Michael Haneke) and "Fat Girl" (France dir-Catherine Brelliat).

Along with these three titles the following titles were considered, but did not make our list, including "Amelie," "Black Hawk Down," "A Beatiful Mind," "Y Tu Mama Tambien?," "Frality" and "Waking Life," from one of my favorite directors Richard Linklater.

So, here is our list:

1. A.I. (Steven Spielberg)

2. In the Bedroom (Todd Field)

3. Ghost World (Terry Zwigoff)

4. The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson)

5. Storytelling (Todd Solodnz)

6. Spirited Away (Japan. Hayao Miyazaki)

7. Ali (Michael Mann)

8. Monster's Ball (Marc Foster)

9. No Man's Land (Bosnia. Danis Tanovic)

10. The Believer (Henry Bean)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Things We Learned on Twitter Today: Michele Bachmann Headline-Maker

I've been a fan of Suzy Khimm, a great liberal reporter, since she wrote an excellent profile of Virginia's crazed right-wing maniac attorney Ken Cuccinelli, who looks like a grown-up Pinocchio doll, in the December 2010 issue of "Mother Jones."

This afternoon, Khimm tweeted the following:

"Daily Beast's most popular articles today: 1) Is Michele Bachmann submissive? 2)Queen of the Cougars."

We didn't want to put a photo of Bachmann up, since she does look like a professional female wrestler. And, ironically, her state of Minnesota elected a pro wrestler, Jesse Ventura, for governor.

(These headlines are in reference to Bachmann's 'performance' during the Republican debate in Ames, Iowa, last night. I didn't watch, but I gather her heated exchanges with Tim Pawlenty were very amusing. Pawlenty took over after Ventrua's term expired as governor of Minnesota.)

So, instead, we went with this image of a gorgreous Wyoming chainsaw cougar. We tried to find a cougar from Colorado, but I guess we will have to find one somewhere on the net some other time.

And, we thought that since Bachmann apparently wants to turn back the clock on social progress, we'd include an image of a Tupperware party. Perhaps, if elected president (of course, that will mean many of us on the center-left will get one-way plane tickets from Expedia to Costa Rica), she will also segregate schools again.

SIDEBAR: I saw a bumper sticker in Roanoke, Va., which I'm surprised even an ardent Republican would put on his or her vehicle: it is an image of George W. Bush with the line- "Do You Miss Me Yet?," well let me just give you the short answer, NO!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Quote of the Day- Henrik Ibsen

Today's quote of the day comes from the great, classic Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. A production of his famous play "A Doll House" will be performed by L.A. Theatre Works from Sept. 22-25 on the UCLA campus with Calista Flockhart (from tv's "Ally Macbeal) and JoBeth Williams in the cast.

Here is his quip:

"A minority may be a right, but a majority is always wrong."

SIDEBAR: Wow, as a former journalist, the rapid decline of the print medium is quite a chilling and depressing one. The Raleigh, NC, alt weekly "Independent Weekly" reported that Durham, NC's daily newspaper "The Herald-Sun" laid off seven newsroom employees, a third of the paper's staff, which also leaves fewer than 20 people in the editorial department.

The paper which was drawn into the Duke University lacrosse scandal in 2006 (acording to Wikipedia) has seen its circulation dwindle from 50,000 to 25,000 (according to "Indy Weekly"). Additionally Wikipedia disclosed that "The Herald-Sun" laid off 81 employees during its first round of lay-offs in 2005. All the staff that was laid off in Durham, NC, as well as reporters from around the country who have lost their jobs due to these seismic changes in the industry have my deepest sympathies.

Last Ten Films I've Seen- Che Guevara and a Donkey

Here are the last ten films I've seen (actually as of Monday at 6:00 p.m.). Most of these are new films, and I saw six of the films in theatres.

"Submarine" opens at the delightful a/perature Cinema in Winston-Salem, NC, on
Aug. 12 (wow! That would be tomorrow). "Buck" opens at the Lyric Theatre in Blacksburg, Va., on Aug. 26.

Even though the IMDB counts "Che," the four and a half hour epic film about the Argentinian revolutionary figure Che Guevara, as two films, I count it as one here. I have read the 800-page plus biographer by Jon Lee Anderson, who was an advisor to the film, about irregardless of how one feels about Che's politics or his brutal violence, the story is quite a telling one.

The first part of "Che" deals with his succesful venture into Cuba which lead to the leadership of Fidel Castro. The second part focuses on Che's failed mission that lead to his own execution in Bolivia.

It is interesting that one of the films on this list focuses on guerillas, and the one ("Rise of the Planet of the Apes") examines gorillas!

John Cazale was a great character actor who died way too young at age 49. He is the subject of Richard Shepard's documentary which gives fairly good insight into the life of an actor who appeared in "The Godfater" films, "The Conversation," "Dog Day Afternoon" (pictured here with Al Pacino) and "The Deer Hunter."

Here is the list of films:

1. "Buck" (doc. 2011. Dir- Cindy Meehl) ***1/2 stars (out of ****)

2. "Submarine" (UK. 2010 Dir-Richard Ayoade) ***1/2

3. "Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011. Dir-Rupert Wyatt) ***

4. "Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer (doc. 2010. Dir-Alex Gibney) ***

5. "Che" (Parts One and Two) (USA/Spain/France. In Spanish. 2008. Dir- Steven Soderbergh) ***

6. "Jackasss the Movie" (2002. Dir-Jeff Tremaine) *

7. "Horrible Bosses" (2011. Dir- Seth Gordon) **

8. "Crazy, Stupid, Love" (2011. Dirs. Glen Ficarra and John Requa) **1/2

9. "The Hangerover 2" (2011. Dir- Todd Phillips) **1/2

10. "I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale" (doc. 2009. Dir-Richard Shepard)

PS- The donkey, which was a reference to the awful "Jackass The Movie" is from Turkey.

SIDEBAR: I jokingly said that tonight's Republican Party Debate from Ames, Iowa, which is going on as off this writing, would be broadcast on Comedy Central while I updating my Facebook status. Amazingly enough, or perhaps not, a Republican friend of mine agreed with me. Comedy Central is/was actually broadcasting three consecutive reruns of "Futurama" against the Republican debate.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Program Reminder- Antiques Roadshow

Though I listen to NPR so much that Scott Simon should perhaps invite me over to breakfast at his neighborhood I-HOP or that I should win a free trip to St.Paul, Minn., to meet Garrison Keillor even though "A Prarie Home Companion" is one of the few shows I don't listen to, I neglect PBS.

I feel a bit guilty about that, so I that I would mention that "Antiques Roadshow" is on tonight at 8:00 p.m., eastern time. Perhaps, we can all find out how much a given Swiss cuckoo clock is worth.

According to what we gathered from the show's web site, tonight's episode will either be from Grand Rapids, Mich., or Louisville, Ky.

Quote of the Week- R.Crumb

One of our heroes R. Crumb, the creator of "Mr. Happy" and "Fritz the Cat," is heading down under to speak at Sydney Opera House in Australia on Aug. 21, which is a long, long way from here in Goldsboro, NC (I am actually in a different town in the Tarheel State, but all of us are experiencing near 100-degree heat!).

Here is his quote:

"When I come against the real world, I just vacillate."

In our last entry on our other blog, we mentioned Safe Haven for Cats in Raleigh, NC. The no-kill cat shelter has an ad in the current pet issue of "Independent Weekly" which can give a ten-dollar discount of spaying and neutering. The shelter's phone number is 919-872-1128_the picture of the tuxedo cat in the ad looks amazingly like our beloved family cat Godzilla (not his real name) who turned seven last week.

THE WHOOPS DEPT- this entry was meant for the other blog!

Quote of the Week- John Waters

We must profess that while we love John Waters, we are not sure what to make of his early films from the 1970s. Though I have yet to see his most-famous film "Pink Flamingos," which was made in that era, I've been told that I would probably enjoy watching "Midnight Express" again, more (I'm a Turkish-American).

While we were fully aware that he partnered with the late cult film actor Divine
(1945-1988), we were unaware that another deceased underground figure Cookie Mueller (1949-1989) also appeared in many Waters films, which have mostly been filmed in the director's native Baltimore. "Serial Mom" with Kathleen Turner is actually my personal favorite. Amazingly enough, a movie about a suburban mom who turns out to be a serial killer is also among the most mainstream films Waters has ever made!

Here is our quote, which we truly agree with in every way, if it were only realistically possible:

"True success is figuring out your life and career so you never have to be around jerks."

Highlights from My 100 Things To Do List

My good friend Moviezzz who was himself a blogger (when I checked his blog a few weeks ago, I had not seen an entry since June) once told me that he loved my things to-do lists.

As it turns out, due to unexpected life circumstances---and, sorry, we don't get too personal here except that I will personally admit to despising the mid-80s Mister Mister (they were actually a three-hit wonder)#, I decided to actuallty write a 100 Things To Do List. And, I may time to tackle some of these things. But, as a close confidant told me: "You really should just focus on a few things first." I'm sure Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the 2010 self-help book phenom "Switch" would agree.

But, nevertheless, here are some highlights from the big list:

1. (# 12) Tweek Resume

2. (#15) Take pet bengal tiger to the vet (actually, I am refering to our beloved family cat, but taking a bengal tiger* may be easier)

3. (# 19) Eat at Bergama Cafe, the new Turkish restaurant in Durham, NC (that's the reason for the image of man making doner kebab)

4. (#27) Try to check out the book "The New Frugality" from a library (Even now, I'm not sure I have time to read all these self-help books!)

5. (#33) Possibly re-examine e-dating possibilities (so much for trying not to be too personal)

6. (#37) Actually use Facebook for something productive, like finding a great, cool job.

7. (#54) Read the four issues of "Rolling Stone" that are piling up on the kitchen table, especially the one with Larry David on the cover.

8. (#71) Do the laundry.

9. (#73) Research the brain and try to figure out how it works; of course, this might involve reading more self-help books.

10. (#97) Watch more PBS...."Antiques Roadshow" airs at 8:00 p.m., eastern time, tonight!

*-Image is of a bengal tiger at a zoo in India.

#- While looking for info about Mister Mister on Wikipedia, we discovered that the band has reunited! I actually saw them open up for Tina Turner at the Roanoke Civic Center in Roanoke, Va., in high school. At the time, I actually liked the band's signature song "Broken Wings."

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Coming Attractions: Here is What Might be Coming Next Here

Here are three blog entries I will be trying to get in, though like everyone else I've my fair share of unexpected surprises lately, and of course, most of those have been pies in the proverbial face ala the late Soupy Sales:

1. This week, we had a chance to watch Keith Olbermann's new version of "Countdown" on Current TV. Interestingly enough, Al Gore, who is the CEO of the relatively new network, was the featured guest that night.

2. As always, I will be disclosing the last ten films I've seen. One slight dilemma is: should I count the two-part film biopic of Che Guevara simply entitled "Che" (both films combined last four and a half hours) as two films or one. The Internet Movie Database actually counts them as two. Though Part One, was filmed mostly in Puerto Rico as opposed to Cuba, Part Two was filmed on location in Bolivia.

3. Here in North Carolina, there is the phrase "serving everyone from Murphy to Manteo," these two zip codes are actually the most outer points of the state as Murphy, which is the western mountains, actually borders Georgia. And, Manteo is located in the Outer Banks. Andy Griffith reportedly lives there. Next week, we hope to see just how far apart Murphy and Manteo really are.

_If you want to go to the movies and you live in the Tarheel State, the Graham Cinema in Graham (next to Burlington, and relatively close to Chapel Hill and Greensboro) is now showing "Pirates of the Caribbean 4" and "The Hangover 2."

But, the kicker is the cinema's telephone line which features politically incorrect jokes from Tim Bob. This week, Tim Bob has some sultry tales and jokes about life on the golf course. To hear it for yourself, dial 336-226-1488. The line is often busy.

Quote of the Week: Edward Albee

We normally don't like to promote things we are hoping to see ourselves, but Playmakers Rep Theatre in Chapel Hill, NC, will be presenting the legendary Edward Albee play "Who's Afraid of Virginia" from Nov. 30-Dec. 18, 2011.

Since it is a long time from now, there is always hope that you the blog-reader will long forget about this between now and then, so I can get a good parking space which is always a bit hard to find in Chapel Hill.

Here is Albee's quote (for those at UNC or Duke for that matter, Albee's views do not reflect the staff and management here- which is actually just me), and we are featuring quips from famous playwrights this month:

"American cities are like American universities. They both have dull and half-dead faculties."

Happy Belated 50th Birthday to President Barack Obama

Everyone from the far-right nuts at Fox News to the very liberal idealists at "The Nation" seem to be criticizing President Barack Obama, but I'm fairly pleased. However, even though I'm a fairly partisan Democrat (in the South, most Republican are Yosemite Sam gun nuts, radical Chicken Little evangelists or militant patriots with American flag shower curtains or a combination of the three, perhaps it's differnt in Maine. Then again, maybe not!) I must find his Blackberry obsession a bit annoying.

I actually first heard the term Blackberry in reference to George H.W. Bush, who we like to call Papa Smurf here. As ironic as the world is, perhaps Obama blackberries Papa Smurf more than George W. Bush does. Where is he these days? Yeah, I imagine he is on a power lawnmower in Crawford, Texas, too!

At any rate, happy belated 50th birthday to President Obama. We gather from Politico.com and NPR's "All Things Considered" that he had quite a bash with Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Tom Hanks and Tim Kaine, the former governor of Virginia and now official U.S. Senate candidate on-hand.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

This and That- Nerdy Pick-up Lines

First of all, my apolgies in advance to the late Fred Rogers, whom us Gen-Xers remember as Mr.Rogers while watching his children's show on PBS in the 1970s, but when it came to an image of a dorky guy I simply couldn't think of anyone else.

As I was reading the June 2011 issue of "Wired" in a public library today, I came across three things that got my immediate attention. I made a note of them, and after some mental deliberation, I decided to shared them with the 13 people who read this blog.

For starters, apparently this is an actual pickup line that an Internet nerd used for a hot girl (who perhaps could have been Hulk Hogan) on Twitter: "Is your name Google? 'Cause you have everything I'm searchign for." Wow! Pretty forward.

Also, according to "Wired," there is apparently a book floating around called "The Mystery Method: How to Get Beautiful Women Into Bed." The kicker is that the author is anynomous. Hmmm.....

Lastly, the parents of Luhe Vilagomez, 17, were probably not to happy with the young lad. In the same issue of "Wired," we read that he made the notorious 220-foot jump from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco 'just for kicks' (apparently, the boy has denied he was attempting suicide as most folks who jump from the bridge are trying to do), and he was in the two percent who survived!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Status Update_ I Am Burning Up

Given that we are having a huge debt ceiling brewhaha (more on that in our sidebar) here in the United States, one might be expecting a political rant from me. But, those few astute blog-readers who actually read what I have to say will notice that it's been a while since I went on one of those.

And, as someone on the center-left politically, of course, I will praise or defend President Barack Obama no matter what, though I do wonder why he was so into the music of the 'B-52s when he was in college (according to Rob Sheffield of "Rolling Stones"). But, I assume this was before they released the much overplayed, and somewhat annoying song "Love Shack."

But, I do have a beef about the weather as it is quite hot here in the Virginia-North Carolina region. Amazingly, Minnesota has been one of the world's hot spots this summer which seems to suggest that even the fringe likes of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) can't possibly continue this global warming denying much longer, or can they?

According to a somewhat disturbing article by Walter Shapiro in the current issue of "The New Republic," then-governor Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.) was going to actually travel to the North Pole to see the effects of global warming first-hand. But, when John McCain started courting him as a vice-presidential running mate, Pawlenty did an about face.

Similarly, Mitt Romney has gone to great lengths to distance himself from his own health care iniatives that he helped pass into law when he was governor of Massachussetts. Both Pawlenty and Romney are two of the more serious Republican candidates for presidents, and it seems the message they won't to send car mechanics in Des Moines, Iowa, is that: "I am the true backward caveman in this bunch." (Of couse, Michele Bachmann is the true cave woman in the group.)

But, to illustrate just how it is today at 6:00 p.m., eastern time, I am going to list various temperatures for cities from Maryland to Georgia. The town of Washington, NC, which reached 128 degrees a few weeks ago, was 91 degrees today, but still things seem a bit too hot:


Blacksburg 90
Charlottesville 97
Danville 94
Floyd 90
Mount Jackson 94
Norfolk 92
Richmond 92
Roanoke 95
Tazewell 87
Woodbridge 92

North Carolina:

Boone 82
Chapel Hill 94
Charlotte 94
Fayetville 98
Madison 94
Ocracoke (Outer Banks) 90
Winston-Salem 90

South Carolina

Columbia 99
Gaffney 98
Myrtle Beach 93
Rock Hill 92
Spartanburg 97


Athens 97
Rome 98
Smyrna 98


Bethesda 94
College Park 97
Frederick 99
Washignton DC 94

West Virginia

Huntington 90
Lewisburg 89
Morgantown 87

The interesting thing here is that the most southern states of Georgia and South Carolina are as hot as Maryland and Washington, DC!

SIDEBAR: Though I don't know this officially, I imagine if you are looking for "Hot Stuff" comics (Hot Stuff was pictured for this entry since it's hot outside), you may well be able to find some issues of the '60s-'70s children's comics icon at Chapel Hill Comics in Chapel Hill, NC, which was 94 degrees today (see the chart). And, tomorrow night, the comic book shop hosts Ryan Claytor, the head of Elephant Eater Comics, for book-signings from 5:00-7:00 p.m.

SIDEBAR TWO: Ahh, yes, we are getting back to politics. I must admit the whole debt ceiling debate always gives me a migraine, so I shall keep this brief. My friend Morgan Griffith (R-Va), who I usually (and strongly) disagree with politically, was among the reported 161 members of the House of Representatives* who voted against raising the debt ceiling.

The interesting thing here is that Griffith, who has reportedly varied from center right to arch conservatism over the years (he was also the majority leader while he was in the General Assembly in Richmond), voted along the lines of some of the Hill's firmest ideologues. This includes Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and Jared Polis (D-Colo) on the left, and Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Ron Paul (R-Tex.) on the right; all of whom voted against the bill. I guess uber-partisans can agree on some things!

In the Senate, the debt ceiling bill also passed 74-26. Among the most progressive U.S. senators, Al Franken (D-Minn) voted 'yes,' while Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) and Barbara Boxer both voted 'no.'

A similar disparity was on the right as the arch conservative Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) voted 'yes,' whereas Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) both voted 'no.'

In the center of the political spectrum, moderate senators including Joe Lieberman (I-Ct.), Kay Hagan (D-NC), James Webb (D-Va) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) all voted 'yes.'

*-We made a dubious mistake in the first draft of this entry stating that Morgan Griffith was one of 24 house reps to vote no. It was actually 24 U.S. senators who voted no.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Quote of the Day- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

The editorial board here at "The Daily Vampire" which consists of managing editor (mr) Tilly Gokbudak (that's me) and a Honduran intern named Javier Gonzales (actually, a fictional person) decided late this afternoon to feature quips from literary and creative radicals for the month of August.

So, we begin with the late, great American novelist Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., who penned "Slaughterhouse Five," which was available at the Shenandoah County Jail Library in Woodstock, Va. (I am not making this up!), at least it was when I profiled the correctional facility as a reporter some 11 years ago.

According to Stephen King in King's book "On Writing," Vonnegut would type the same page 75 times until he got it just right. This practice sounds a bit like the perfectionism of the late film director Stanley Kubrick, but I don't if I should mention that since King reportedly disdains the 1980 film version of King's novel "The Shinning." And we like Stephen King. In fact, we are wondering if the temperature in King's hometown of Bangor, Maine, is less than 97 degrees as it is here in Mount Airy, NC, at the moment (not really where I am at).

The liberal magazine "The Nation" has apparently been posting some famous quips made in its pages over the years, and Vonnegut made this provocative statement in the magazine's Nov. 28th, 1981 issue, which we imagine the Rev. Johnny Robertson of Martinsville, Va., (a real person) might not appreciate:

"God shouldn't be put in charge of everything until we get to know him a little bit better."

SIDEBAR: On a more somber note, we want to send our condolences to the family of Gizem Dogan, a 17-year-old Norwegian girl of Turkish heritage who was killed at the summer camp in Norway last week. All total, the attacks in Oslo and on the island where the summer camps took place, claimed 77 lives. Both the NPR news program "The World" and the English-language Turkish newspaper "Today's Zaman" reported that Turkey's Foreign Minsiter Ahmet Davutoglu attended Dogan's funeral in Trondheim, Norway.

Gizem Dogan is perhaps the most high-profile casualty of a violent action in the Turkish media since Furkan Dogan, (we assume they are not related) a 19-year-old Turkish-American from New York state was killed by Israeli commandos during the infamous armed raid fiasco aboard the Marmara Flotilla, which aimed at giving food and aid to Palestinians, in June of 2010.

We learned today that Furkan Dogan's father filed a lawsuit in an American court against the Israeli government in May.