Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween...

Since this blog is called "The Daily Vampire," we were originally going to use the image of a Dracula costume which you can see on our sister blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time."

But, as it, thanks in part to the AMC series "The Living Dead," zombies appear to be more popular these days.

I even learned from "The Daily Hurriyet," an English-language version of the popular Turkish newspaper "Hurriyet," that there was a Zombie Night on the streets of Istanbul- of all places, in honor of the late Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Special Quote of the Week- Madeline Kahn

Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the month is winding down, I wanted to quote two women who succumbed to cancer. For years, I had assumed that both the late Madeline Kahn (1942-1999, pictured here) and the late Gilda Radner
(1946-1989) died from breast cancer, but I have seen info on the web which suggests the two women both died of ovarian cancer.

But, irregradless, I thought it would be appropriate to quote the great comic actresses. In addition to being close in age, Kahn and Radner were both close to actor Gene Wilder.

Kahn appeared in several Mel Brooks films with him, including "Blazing Saddles" and "Young Frankenstein" and Radner ultimately became Wilder's spouse.

Here is the quote from Kahn, who died at age 57 when she was a cast member of "The Cosby Show:"

"It's acceptable for men to act the fool. When women try, they're considered agressive or opinionated."

Quote of the Week- Anton Chekhov

Today, we conclude our quotes from famous Russians with a quip from the great novelist/playwright Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) who alas died way too young_*.

Chekhov is known for penning the plays "The Seagull," "Three Sisters" and "The Cherry Orchard." Los Angeles Theatre Works (LATW) is offering an audio version of "Three Sisters" which includes a cast featuring Jon Hamm (tv's "Mad Men") and his real-life wife Jennifer Westfeldt ("Kissing Jessica Stein").

Here is the quote:

"If are afraid of loneliness, don't marry."

*- I caught a dubious error on my part as I apparently didn't spell Anton Chekhov's name right in an earlier entry; I spelled his name Anton Chehov, don't forget the 'k!'

SIDEBAR: Triad Stage in Greensboro, NC, is currently performing a production of another vintage play from a playwright of Chekhov's era (if we are wrong than any theatre history instructors can let me have it) with "A Doll House" by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. The production is currently slated to run until Nov. 6; having seen this production myself, I highly recommend it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Quote of the Day- Doctor Oz

Perhaps someone from the central Turkish city of Yozgat, which is believed to be the most right-wing place in the old country would object to me quipping a fellow Turkish-American as opposed to a Turkish person from Turkey, but hey everyone in Fresno has heard of Dr. Oz. The same alas can't be said for the late, great Turkish novelist Aziz Nesin.

Dr. Mehmet Oz is from Cleveland originally, and many of us Turkish-Americans are pleasantly stunned by his success even though we realize it means he will never email us back again.

This month, we are quoting famous Turkish people in honor of October 29th, which is Republic's Day in Turkey. Ironically, as I found out from listening to a segment on "The World" about the Greek Debt Crisis, tomorrow is a national holiday in Greece as well!

Here is the quote from Dr. Oz, who seems to have an unfair advantage over the rest of us with his very short last name, which is one of the reasons why the populr Turkish singer Nil Karaibrahimgil will never sale more records than Lady Gaga (Of course, the fact that she sings in Turkish wouldn't help either):

"You can't get rid of a bad habit, but you can replace it with a good habit."

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sports Desk- ACC Volleyball Action

It was a very busy weekend for the ACC, but while most people were paying to the football games in the conference, many women's volleyball games were played as well as all 12 current ACC members were in action.

I had the chance to see two of the games, including UNC's win over Wake Forest on the road (28-30, 29-27, 27-25, 25-22) and Virginia Tech's home win in a highly competitive five-match game over Clemson (25-22, 13-25, 14-25, 25-19, 15-11).

ACC volleyball got my attention late in the season last year when I noticed there was a Turkish player at Florida State. As a Turkish-American, I was aware that volleyball was a popular sport among female athletes in Turkey, but I didn't realize just how many volleyball players from Turkey were playing in the NCAA.

In the ACC, on current rosters, there are eight such players, including Duygu Duzceler and Fatma Yildirim (Florida State), Serenat Yaz and Cansu Ozdemir (Clemson, team image is above), Ece Taner of UNC and Cagla Sen of Boston College.

And, as it turns out Liz Trinchere of Virginia Tech went to my high school in the Roanoke, Va., area.

In weekend action, the UNC Tarheels won a road game over Wake Forest 3-1 (28-30, 29-27, 27-25, 25-22) on Friday as each of the four sets in the match were nail-biters. The 'Heels are now 17-5 (9-2 in ACC play).

And, in Blacksburg, Va., on Sunday, the home-court Virginia Tech Hokies a highly competitive full five-set match over the Clemson Tigers by a score of 3-2 (25-22, 13-25, 14-25, 25-19, 15-11); the Hokies go to 13-9 (6-5 in the ACC) and Clemson now has a record of 14-8 (6-5 in the ACC).

During Friday's game in Winston-Salem, NC, Kaylie Gibson of the 'Heels scored 24 digs and her teammate Emily McGee, a former ACC Player of the Week, had her seventh double-double of the season.

For the home Demon Deacons, Dani Thompson scored 14 digs and Andrea Beck added 14 kills. The game included a breast cancer fund-raiser which raised over $5,600.

During Sunday's game at Virginia Tech, the Hokies won a third straight five-set victory. Three Hokies scored double-doubles, including Cara Baarendse (with 13 kills), Justine Record and Jordan Fish.

For the Tigers, the aforementioned Serenat Yaz was one of three players with double-doubles along with Mo Simmons and Hannah Brenner.

Here is a complete list of ACC scores from Friday to Sunday:


Clemson 3 UVA 1
Florida State 3 Maryland 1
Va. Tech 3 Ga. Tech 2
UNC 3 Wake Forest 1
Duke 3 NC St. 0
Miami (Fl) 3 Boston College 1


Ga. Tech 3 UVa 1


Va. Tech 3 Clemson 2
Florida State 3 Boston College 0
Miami (Fl) 3 Maryland 1

Sidebar: On a more serious note, the Turkish-American Washington DC-based group ATAA has set up a relief fund for victims of the earthquake in the eastern city of Van:

Turkish Philantropy Funds
Re: Van Earthquake Relief Fund
216 E. 45th Street, 7th Floor
NY, NY 10017

I expect there will be a segment about the devastation on the NPR talk show "The World," which examines evolving stories from around the globe.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Special Coverage- Devastating Earthquake in Turkey

As of 8:30 p.m., New York Time (4:30 a.m., Istanbul time), there are 137 confirmed dead as the result of a devastating earthquake in the province of Van which occured at 6:41 a.m., New York time (1:41 p.m., Istanbul time; the same time as Van).

But, the reports from two of Turkey's most-read newspapers "Hurriyet" and "Zaman" are far more devastating as the competing publications are both stating that there could be up to 1,000 dead in the region.

The earthquake registered 7.2 on the Richter Scale, and tens of thousands of residents in the area are homeless. Many are also without water and electricity. The cities of Van and Ercis were among the most affected. The province of Van borders Iran.

"The Huffington Post" reported that the earthquake was felt in both Iran and Armenia. The Van province is an area of ethnic hostility as it is claimed by both Kurds and Armenians around the world, and sadly many Internet posters, Turkish, Kurdish and Armenian alike are already posting comments with highly inappropriate comments regarding ethnic politics as children are being pulled from the rubble.

According to Hurriyet, Turkish Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan flew to Van. Earthquake politics have played a significant role in past earthquakes as the late Bulent Ecevit, who served as both president and prime minister of Turkey during his life, suffered major political setbacks for his alleged mishandling of the 1999 earthquake near Istanbul which killed some 20,000 people.

"Zaman" said the earthquake was also felt in the provinces of Batman, Hakkari and Diyarbakir. The BBC has confirmed (as of 9:00 p.m. New York time) that the city of Ercis has suffered the most casulaties so far. The BBC is also reporting that Turkey is so far surprisingly not asking for international aid, which would be a shocking misjudgment in my view.

The BBC is also reporting that at least 80 buildings have collapsed in the Van province. The city of Van, which is a fairly large city though the surrounding area consists of village dwellings, is some 28 hours away from Istanbul by bus.

Hakki Erskoy of the Turkish Red Crescent told the BBC that aid teams have been sent in from throughout Turkey.

"Hurriyet" reported that Israel, which has been having diplomatic squabbles with Turkey, over last year's Blue Marmara Raid Fiasco, was among the countries offering foreign aid.

President Barack Obama said: "We stand shoulder to shoulder with our Turkish ally in this difficult time."

The English language web site for The Turkish Red Crescent is (

Thursday, October 20, 2011

60 Words or Less- President Obama Comes to NC

This is our latest effort to try to curb the amount time spent blogging for the sake of something that might actually make me rich and famous.

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama visited Reidsville, NC, while en route to Jamestown (a suburb of Greensboro) and much to my surprise he dined at Reid's House. I have been to that dinning establishment myself, and the last time I was there, I actually thought to myself: "I must be the only one in here who voted for Obama."

Perhaps, now Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann will visit the Internationalist Bookstore in Chapel Hill, NC, which is known for its agressive progressive activism.

SIDEBAR: Alas, our beloved UNC Tarheels fell to arch rival Duke University in straight sets last night in a road game that was televised on ESPN-U. The final score of the match was (25-18, 27-25, 25-22). For the Blue Devils, Sophia Dunworth scored 15 kills while her teammate Amanda Robertson added 11.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Has It Been Three Years Already

Hopefully, this does not come across as self-congratulatory, but it has indeed been three years since the first entry of "The Daily Vampire."

In this time, I've learned that folks are apparently more interested in pictures of dogs dressed in hot dog buns than quotes from the late, great Russian Nikolai Gogol.

But, somehow, I think I was fully aware of that going in!

Tweet of the Moment_ Singer Moby Talking Film

Last night, we caught this tweet from a guy calling himself (his words) The Little Idiot. I completely forgot that was the moniker for the techno instrumentalist Moby who happens to have over 1.25 million followers on Facebook!

Here is the tweet, and I am not using proper punctuation as Moby didn't in his tweet:

"i think my life will be perfectly ok without ever seeing human centipede."

This tweet was in reference to the 2009 cult shock horror film "Human Centipede" which involves a very extreme, over-the-top, sick and demented plot. Of course, a sequel came out earlier this year and a third one is on its way.

The film was shown at the Shadowbox Microcinema in Roanoke, Va., which is getting ready for the "Time Warp" as they will screen "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" at 9:00 and 11:59 p.m. on Saturday night.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bonus Road Trip- New Mexico to Iowa

Hello. And, for those of you in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, welcome to my blog.

As most of my faithful followers know (and, I have no idea how high or how low my following really is), I like to make fun of Republicans. And, with candidates as extreme as Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain and Ron Paul, it is frankly very hard not to make fun of them!

I must profess that even though his politics and ideas are extreme and radical, it is hard to make fun of Herman Cain. For one, he is an African-American and secondly I liked his Godfather's Pizza for quite a while. And, Cain certainly looks as cool as the Richard Roundtree, the original Shaft, who is also an African-American republican.

But, it is easier to make fun of Ron Paul. To be honest, I actually endorsed him for the Republican nomination in 2008 simply because I admired any Republican willing to speak out against the Iraq War. But, since I am an uber-partisan Democrat, the endorsement probably didn't help him much. And, within the last four years, we've all heard the Texas congressional rep (yes, he actually holds a federal office) express some real far-out things, including some highly controversial remarks about
9-11. One may have attributed such sentiments to the far-left intellectual scholar Noam Chomsky, except that those remarks were made by Paul during a Republican debate!

I have also noticed that if there is an alien sent here from outer space to take over the world in the political forum, it would have to be Paul. I mean with Republicans making illegal immigration one of their main cause celebres, especially for Bachmann, it is highly ironic that one of their own might be from Mars!

So, we decided to see how far Roswell, New Mexico, is from Ames, Iowa, since Roswell is associated with UFOs and since Ames, also the home of Iowa State University, is where a key political straw poll takes place.

For, our two destinations, we went with the UFO Museum in Roswell (there is also one in Istanbul, Turkey_ of all places!) and The Cafe Ames in Iowa.

So, what is the answer; is it:

A) 16 hours even
B) 16 hours, 30 minutes
C) 16 hours, 45 minutes
D) 17 hours, 15 minutes

If you get this right, we will promptly send you a copy of "Neil Diamond's Greatest Hits" on 8-track tape (that is a joke!).

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Things We Learned on Google Today_ Very Smart Guys Are in Charge in Estonia

I can imagine that if one is a contestant on "Jeopardy" and the 'Final Jeopardy Question' turns out to be: "Who is the prime minister of Estonia?" that all three contestants would give Alex Trebek the evil eye.

But, relax thanks to Google (well, I'm sure Bing has the answer to) we learned that the answer is Andrus Ansip (pictured), the leader of the center-right Reform Party, who just turned 55 on October 1st.

Ansip took office on April 12th of this year. He is originally from Tartu, which is Estonia's second largest city (pictured here). In 1979, he recieved his degree in chemistry from the University of Tartu.

Ansip's political career began when he was elected mayor of Tartu in 1998.

As for the president of Estonia, his name is Toomas Hendrik Ilves, and he actually grew up in Leonia, NJ. That's right a Jersey boy is running the government of a former Soviet republic! Ilves graduated as class valedictorian in 1972, and we imagine he does not have time to fly back to his alma mater during homecoming week.

Talinn is the capital of Estonia, which is the northern-most of the three Baltic nations. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have also become European Union states. Estonia got its independence back from the former Soviet Union 20 years ago.

This is a continuing series, which has run on both blogs, about the 15 former Soviet Republics that have now become independent nations. The remaining three entries will be about Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, which should be interesting (I am a Turkish-American).

SPORTS SIDEBAR: It was a great week for the University of North Carolina's women's volleyball team as the Tarheels won straight set victories at home over both Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia.

On Thursday, Emily McGee, the reigning ACC Player of the Week, scored 11 kills against the Hokies. On Friday, she joined teammates Tia Gaffen and Chaniel Nelson for ten kills each in a win over the Cavaliers.

Ece Taner, who is from Izmir, Turkey (my late father's country) and Aleksandra Georgieva from Sofia, Bulgaria, are the two international players for the Tarheels. The team has won nine of its last 10 games; the only loss came in a home match against Florida State, a team that is currently on top in the ACC.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Last Ten Cds I've Listened To: Lots of '70s Stuff

This list of the last ten cds that I had listened to as of Tuesday night is indeed a journaey back in time as the latest album was recorded in 2004 and the earliest in 1963.

Most of the music I listened to tends to be from the years 1979-1991 though here there are some exceptions. And, yes, I do indeed listen to lots of New Wave and Turkish psychedelic music! Here is the list:

1. Sonic Youth. "Goo." 1990. Key Tracks: "Dirty Boots," "My Friend Goo" and "Mildred Pierce."

2. The Cars. "Candy-O." 1979. Key Tracks: "Let's Go," "It's All I Can Do" and "Dangerous Type."

3. Selda (Selda Bagcan). "Selda, Vol.2" 1976 (comp). Selda is a Turkish folk singer who was prosecuted for her highly political song lyrics during Turkey's somewhat turbulent 1980s.

4. David Bowie. "Hunky Dory." 1971. Key Tracks: "Changes," "Life on Mars?," "Kooks" and "Queen Bitch."

5. The Cure. "Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me." 1987. Key Tracks: "Why Can't I Be You?," "Just Like Heaven" and "All I Want."

6. The Replacements "Pleased to Meet Me." 1987. Key Tracks: "Alex Chilton" and "Can't Hardly Wait."

7. 3 Hurel. "3 Hurel." 1963. The 'Anatolian rock band' 3 Hurel consisted of brothers Onus, Haldun and Feridun Hurel; hence the name of the band.

8. REM. "Out of Time." 1991. Key Tracks: "Losing My Religion," "Shinny Happy People" and "Half a World Away."

9. Tom Waits. "The Heart of Saturday Night." 1974.

10. Mercan Dede. "Su (Water)." 2004. Mercan Dede is a Turkish instrumentalist.

SIDEBAR: The answer to our Rabbit Ears Quiz from last week is b) 1975; that is the year when "Wonder Woman" made its network debut.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Highlights from My 40 Things To Do List

Yes, I did actually make a 40 Things To Do List. No, I don't think I will all these things accomplished in a week, but I will try. This is actually a throw-back to what I did in my early days of blogging, back in 2005.

I did post grocery lists, and much to my shock, those entries were more popular than my political entries regarding my opposition to capital punishment or how George W. Bush was going to gradually destroy the world, which did more or less actually happen. But, we must give the man credit, they did build a statue of him in Albania (no joke). Of course, I'm not sure how this will help them with tourism.

So, here are some highlights of the list. The images go with the first three items on the list, paying bills, class reunion and buying gorceries. The number in parantheses is actually where the item was on my list. Of course, the more personal stuff will not be listed! (well, except number 8):

1. Pay bills (#1)

2. Go to college class reunion at Radford University (#11)

3. Get some groceries: be sure to get some Jarritos Mexican sodas (#22)

4. Write a short play (#4)

5. Use the laptop more often; you paid enough for the stupid thing (#9)

6. Recycle (#23)

7. Use LinkedIn more often (#28)

8. Forget about Angie*, if you never hear from her again, you can always join a Turkish liberal human secularist singles group (well, anything beats e-harmony!).

9. Donate money to local NPR station, or least five dollars (#34)

10. Take fall foliage photos when the opportunity permits itself (#36)

*-Not her real name

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Quote of the Week- Nikolai Gogol

There is always something unsettling about coming across the biography of a person who died young, especially when their age is close to your's!

That happens to be the case with the Russian novelist/playwright Nikolai Gogol (1809-1852) who died at age 42, which is just one year older than I am right now!

Gogol is perhaps best-known for his novel "Taras Bulba" (1835) and his play "Marriage" (1842).

Here is his quip:

"Always think of what is useful and not what is beautiful. Beauty will come on its own accord."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Quote of the Day- Orhan Pamuk

Since October 29th is Turkish Republics Day or Cumhuriyet Bayrami, as it is called in Turkish, we are quoting famous Turkish people throughout the month of October. For the record, I am a Turkish-American, but even though this blog has had hits in Ethiopia, Peru and Latvia, I am considerably less famous that Dr. Mehmet Oz (Dr. Oz).

Today, we quote the Nobel Prize-winning novelist and essayist Orhan Pamuk, 59, who was written such famous works as "The White Castle," "The Black Book," "My Name is Red," "Snow" and "The Museum of Innocence."

Here is his quote:

"Well, on the other hand, the Turks have the legitimate need to defend their national dignity_ and this includes being recognized as a part of the west and Europe."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The 1,000th Entry and Remembering a Friend

On Oct. 19, 2008, I launched my second blog "The Daily Vampire" after much deliberation. And, as it turns out, it has become an even grander success than my original "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time," which originated with AOL and remains active.

Many of my fellow blogger friends, with the exception of Chris Knight from Reidsville, NC, who sort of became famous for his over-the-top "Star Wars" themed ad when he ran for county school board in 2006, have either decided to dedicate more time to their wives and families or atually get some office work done.

But, I image Chris and myself will be at this until we are old men in nursing homes who are playing checkers with the staff.

SIDEBAR: On a much more serious note, I want to take a moment to personally recognize my friend and mentor Dr. Klaus Phillips of Hollins University, a man I knew for 24 years since I was a 17-year-old high school student.

He died unexpectedly last week at the age of 64.

In 1987, when we first met, Klaus had orgazined a video and filmmaking program for area high school students in Roanoke, Va. When he showed us a Jim Jarmusch film called "Down By Law," featuring the singer/actor Tom Waits and a then-unknown Roberto Benigni (who later became an Oscar-winner), he opened a whole new world to me. From that day forward, I have taken film very seriously as an art form and as a way to learn how other people live, irregradless if they are coal miners in West Virginia or village dwellers in Mali.

In 2002, I became a student in the Hollins University film studies program, which Klaus founded. The school announced on its web site that a scholarship in Klaus Phillips' name has been established. For more details, one can log onto the school's web site at

Bonus Silly Photo to Fill Space- Oktoberfest

Alas, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, perhaps the msot famous Oktoberfest in America, was held last month. But, when I got a tweet from Visit Maine today, I realized there are still many Oktoberfests taking place in October here in the United States (there is even one in Brisbane, Australia, this weekend!). The festival which originated in Germany and features lots and lots of beer has become popular all over the globe.

The Maine event will be held in the quaint town of Belfast, which I visited back in 2007. According to the tweet from Visit Maine, Oktoberfest in Belfast will take place on Saturday and it will feature lots of beer and permaquid mussels.

Other Oktoberfests will take place this weekend in LaCosse, Wisc., Leavenworth, Wash., and Tampa, Fla. Additionally, there will be an Oktoberfest in Tulsa, Okl., on the following weekend.

SIDEBAR: I just listened to today's edition of the NPR talk show "Fresh Air" (with Terry Gross). She interviewed Jeffrey Eugenides ("The Virgin Suicides," "Middlesex") who is one of my favorite novelists. He is one of few whom I've met personally, along with the great North Carolina write Clyde Edgerton. Both have new novels out.

In his radio interview, Eugenides admitted that he cried while watching "Finding Nemo." So, I suppose I can confess to crying at the movies myself as I did recently during the Anne Hathaway "One Day." But, if I told you why, I'd have to put out a "Spoilers Alert."

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Rabbit Ears Quiz (1 of 12)_ Wonder Woman

Today, we start our very first installment of "The Rabbit Ears Quiz" in which I will ask you the blog-viewer in the remote mountaintops of Bhutan various questions pertaining to television shows which I watched either during my childhood or early adolescence. In some cases, such as "Star Trek" or "Underdog," these shows may have actually before I was born.

But, that is not the case with "The New Adventures of Wonder Woman," which starred Lynda Carter, now age 60, who resides in suburban Maryland with her husband and family.

The show, which my sister and I watched a lot in reruns on those boring weekday afternoons when we were home from school in the late 1970s/early 1980s, originally aired on Nov. 7th of which of the following years?:

A) 1974
B) 1975
C) 1976
D) 1977
E) 1978

The answer actually surprised me a bit.

Carter is originally from Phoenix, and she is part-Mexican! According to Wikipedia, she told "US" magazine that she was disappointed that the show turned her into a sexual object.

The show that us kids just called "Wonder Woman" was based on the DC Comics Character of the same name (well, I think you knew that!). It aired for four years on two networks. The show was also very expensive to produce for its time and it lasted for 59 episodes, some of which you can apparently now watch for free on the Internet.

NBC apparently wanted to make a new Wonder Woman series, but they decided not to go through with production in May of this year. Ironically, NBC was the only one of the big three networks (at the time) which did not air the original series.

SIDEBAR: In an answer to our Road Trips Quiz, we believe (I alas misplaced the answer) that it takes B) 7 hours and 40 minutes to get from Lincoln, Nebr., to Madison, Wisc.

There is a great article entitled "The Shandy" by Akash Kapur in the current edition of "The New Yorker" which made me realize that a cow in India may not really be any luckier than a cow in Nebraska!

UPDATE: Oh good! It appears the image of Wonder Woman is back up; we have had technical difficulties with this entry!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Casualties of Modern Technology- The Payphone (Entry 1 of 12)

Earlier this year when I was in Athens, Ga., I went looking for this cool payphone I saw the last time I was in town, which was back in 2008. This particular payphone near the University of Georgia campus had all sorts of funky grafitti and bumper stickers around it. But, low and behold, the thing had vanished like a rare elephant breed in Tanzania.

A similar experience happened to me when I was a rest stop near Kannapolis, NC, on I-85. Every single payphone in the place had been removed though tehir booths still remained, and all that was left were these Yellowbook pages for phones which no longer existed.

Today, it is safe to say that Clark Kent will now need to find other ways to become Superman. Though Wikipedia states that payphones are still popular in developing countries, such as Uganda where one can find bicycle payphones, the same is not true here in the United States.

According to Wikipedia, there were over two million payphone here is les etats unis in the year 2000. Today, that number has dwindled to 700,000 as both Verizon and AT & T have ceased payphone services.

Hence, the payphone, which first became popular circa 1925, is our first 'Casualty of Modern Technology,' and with ever-expanding communication methods, a person traveling down a highway without a cellphone may just have to resort to using smoke signals.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Silly Photo to Fill Space- Halloween Dogs

If there is one thing about Americans which might make folks in Qom, Iran, Basra, Irag, or Pyongyang, North Korea (Forgive the political humor: I had to use the Axis of Evil countries to make fun of George W. Bush), it might well be our obsession with dogs.

There are lots of dogs and even some cats in very amusing photos in the current edition of "The Washingtonian."

While this is not from that magazine, it nevertheless is amusing.

And, with college football season in full-swing, one has to wonder if Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and Northwestern will lobby the NCAA to join the Ivy League (the joke here for those of you in Axis of Evil nations is that these schools seem to be more interested in academics than athletics hence they may have even more problems competing in high sweepstakes sports than ever before)! Personally, if I were the dog, I'd go with Vanderbilt.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Last 10 CDs I've Listened To- Lots of New Wave

Normally, we use this blog to post entries pertaining to the last ten films we've seen, and we post the entry dedicated to the last ten cds we've listened to on our sister blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time." Yes, I am aware that using the pronoun we to describe may make folks wonder if I have a multiple-personality disorder, but we can assure you that's not the case.

There are several New Wave selections here, inclduing The Go-Gos, The Psychedelic Furs and The Pretenders, amazingly enough two of those three bands were on tour this summer. And, Chrissie Hynde, the lead singer of The Pretenders (the one band which wasn't on tour this summer), has been performing with other musicians as of late.

Ok, here is the list. I suppose I could arbitrarily mention Amanda Knox here to boost ratings, but we are above such things:

1. Sonic Youth "Dirty." 1992. Key Tracks: "100 %," "Youth Against Facism" and "Chapel Hill."

2. Arcade Fire. "The Suburbs." 2010. Key Tracks: "The Suburbs," "Ready to Start" and "City with No Children."

3. Interpol. "Antics." 2004. Key Tracks: "Evil" and "Slow Hands."

4. Rush "Signals." 1982. Key Tracks: "Subdivisions" and "New World Man."

5. The Go-Go's "Vacation" (pictured) 1982. Key Tracks: "Vacation" and "Cool Jerk."

6. REM "Murmur." 1983. Key Tracks: "Radio Free Europe" and "Perfect Circle," the band recently called it quits after 31 years.

7. Psychedelic Furs. "Mirror Moves" (pictured) 1984. Key Traks: "The Ghost in You," "Heaven" and "Heartbeat."

8. The Cranberries "Everyone Else is Doing It, So Why Can't We?" Key Tracks: "Dreams," "Sunday" and "Linger," the band will be releasing its first recording in many years on Feb. 14, 2012.

9. Red Elvises "Better Than Sex." (pictured) 1999. Key Tracks: "Wonderful Night" and "Closet Disco Dancer," the Russian-emigre band plays in Moscow, Russia, (yes That Moscow, not the one in Idaho) on Oct. 13th.

10. Pretenders. "Pretenders." 1980. Key Tracks: "Kid," "Private Life" and "Brass in Pocket."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Quote of the Day- Mikhail Gorbachev

Today, we start our month-long quotes from famous Russians with a quip from Mikhail Gorbachev, 80, who is considered a central figure in the ending of the Cold War.

Here is the quote, which seems to be a bit ironic:

"If people don't like Marxism, they should blame the British Museum."

Quote of the Week- Nazim Hikmet

We are very pressed for time today, but I thought us off with a quip from the late, great Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet (1901-1963) who lived in exile in Russia for his communist views during the later part of his life.

Ironically, this poet, who is buried in Moscow, is now considered the national poet of Turkey.

Here is his quote:

"However and whereever we are, we must live as if we never die."

Monday, October 3, 2011

Bonus Road Trip- Nebraska to Wisconsin (3 of 10)

Today, we look at the distances between two college towns which both happen to be state capitals named after two legendary American presidents: Lincoln, Nebr., to Madison, Wisc.

On Saturday, the Wisconsin Badgers won a home victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers, a team that was making its Big Ten debut (there are actually now 12 teams in the Big 10) by a surprisingly devstating 48-17 score, which help move the Badgers into the top ten.

But, both schools also strong women's volleyball programs, and in that sport Nebraska will travel to Wisconsin for an important game on Oct. 14th.

On Saturday, the Nebraska women's volleyball team won a crucial road game at Michigan State on the part of 22 kills from Cornhusker stand-out Morgan Broekhius.

The Cronhuskers have several players from Nebraska on their squad, including Laren Cook, a junior from Lincoln and Brigette Root, a senior from Grand Island.

As for the Badgers volleyball team, they play four-time champion Penn State for a road game on Friday.

Nebraska also has a competitive women's gymnastics team, which has come close to winning a national championship at several intervals in recent years. That team's first home meet will be against Denver University on Jan. 13, 2012. The team has at least one gymnast from Nebraska, including Deanna Barrmore from Omaha.

So, for this segment, we are comparing the distances between two panckae houses, including the Original Pancake House at 5518 University Avenue in Madison (the state-wide chain has four other locations in Wisconsin) and Greenfields Pancake House on South 87th Street in Lincoln.

The distances between these two places is:

A) 7 hours, 30 minutes

B) 7 hours, 40 minutes

C) 7 hours, 50 minutes

D) 8 hours even

Give us your answers, and you may qualify to win a vintage 1970s Oak Ridge Boys record on vinyl (that is a joke, folks!).

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Things We Learned on Google Today- Kaunas is the Second Largest City in Lithuania

NOTE: We sort of messed up as this entry was intended for our other blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time" and an entry on the Swedish soccer team IFK Goetborg was meant for here. We jumped up and down a chimp at the San Diego Zoo upon discovering this, but we are all settled down now. This series is a look at the 15 former republics of the Soviet Union. So far, with this entry, we have covered all but four of these countries, the last one was Latvia.

Kaunas is the second largest city in Lithuania behind Vilnius, the capital. The city is also the leading center of Lithuania's economic, academic and cultural life according to Wikipedia, which is, of course, always right.

Kaunas has two rivers: the Nemunas and the Neris.

In 1701, Kaunas was occupied by the Swedish Army (Editorial note: I didn't know Scandanavians were imperialists) and the Black Death plague cane to town in 1657 and stayed around until 1708. We presume this was the darkest period in the city's history.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Greensboro vs. Roanoke- Best Road Trips (6 of 6)

Today, we conclude our look at my hometown of Roanoke, Va., and my adopted city of Greensboro, NC, by comparing two unique road trip opportunities within a short driving distance from each respective zip code.

The first one of these is the North Carolina Zoo, located in Asheboro, NC, which is about 35 minutes away from Greensboro and is located in the same county as the Richard Petty Museum in Randleman, NC.

This month, the zoo is offering Batology 101 on Sat., Oct. 22 at noon. Among the things which will be discussed is how bats apparently dine on up to 1,000 mosquitoes. We have no idea if that is the appetizer or the main course.

On Oct. 29th and 30th, the same zoo will have a special "Boo at the Zoo" program featuring a 'guess the pumpkin size' contest.

As for what is arguably the best trip from Roanoke, unless it is a day when Virginia Tech is playing Clemson and traffic is backed up to West Virginia (as is the case today), there is the Floyd Country Store in Floyd, Va., which is about 40 minutes from most parts of Roanoke due to the hilly roads.

The Floyd Country Store is known for its Friday night jamborees from 6:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. On Oct. 15th, the store will hold a cd release party for gospel and country singer Janet Turner who is from the region. And, on Oct. 29th, the venue hosts an old time country dance with Mac Trayhan and Friends.

So, which road trip would I choose? Hmmm....this will be put me in the pickle jar again, but since I am a bit allergic to elephant dung (forgive the political humor), I will go with the Floyd Country Store though the North Zoo is an exceptional place to visit, especially if you have kids who aren't allergic to elephant dung.