Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Quote of the Day/Week- Atom Egoyan

Today, we conclude our month series of quips from famous Canadians with a quote from Toronto-based film director Atom Egoyan, 51, who is of Armenian heritage and was born in Cairo, Egypt- of all places.

Egoyan is known for a wide range of independent films, including his most highly-regarded film "The Sweet Hereafter" (1997) which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Director. Other works of his include "Calendar" (1993), which was partially filmed in Armenia, "Exotica" (1994), "Felicia's Journey" (1999) and "Ararat" (2002).

Egoyan is reportedly very influenced by the work of German director Wim Wenders, whom we quoted yesterday.

Here is Egoyan's quote:

"I think ultimately if you have a very high expectation of your audience and you know exactly what is it you're trying to express through the medium of film, there will always be an audience for you."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Quote of the Day/Week- Wim Wenders

We continue quoting famous Germans with a quip from my personal favorite German film director Wim Wenders, who is known for working with many unique artistic people, including the late actor Dennis Hopper ("The American Friend") in 1977; musician Ry Cooder ("Paris, Texas") in 1984; and rock icon Bono from U2 ("The Million Dollar Hotel") in 2000. Wenders in turn directed several of the legendary Irish band's videos.

Currently, audiences in large market American cities like Seattle, Chicago and New York can see his latest film, the documentary "Pina."

Here is his quote:

"Any film that supports the idea that things can be changed is a great film in my eyes."

Wenders is perhaps best-known for his amazing 1987 German-language film (several of the director's films have been in English, including "Paris, Texas") "Wings of Desire."

SIDEBAR ONE: Wow! As a subscriber to "The Washingtonian" magazine, I am wondering who the very attractive nude girl on the cover of the December 2011 issue is. In the photo taken by Erika McConnell, one can't actually see anything besides her hair, face, legs and feet, which looked so polished that one has to wonder if she got a pedicure at the supposedly upscale salon Joy Spa in the Adams Morgan part of Washington, D.C.

The magazine did not identify the woman in the credits insert, but one has to imagine she is a highly sought-after local model.

Of course, since I am a man, I am not inclined to get pedicures, and hence I have no idea how much they would cost, but I did get an expensive $45 haircut over the summer. (Not at Joy Spa, as I don't live in DC).

SIDEBAR TWO: Going back to cinema, the Circle Cinema in Tulsa, Oklahoma, put forth the following question via Twitter this afternoon: "What is your favorite Lars von Trier film?," in reference to the eccentric, controversial Danish director, known for "Dogville" and "Anti-Christ." My choice would be "Manderlay" as it is so over-the-top in every way.

The director's latest film "Melancholia" with Kirsten Dunst (wow, I actually had to google her name to make sure her first name was spelled right!) is showing at the A/perture Cinema in Winston-Salem, NC. We are not sure if Circle Cinema is actually showing the film, but we don't live in Oklahoma either!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sports Desk- Women's NCAA Volleyball Tourney Begins

The Liberty University Flames will have its hands full as the team from Lynchburg, Va., heads up to University Park, Pa., to face four-time defending NCAA champion Penn State on the Nittany Lions' home floor in the women's volleyball match-up on Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. For the team, one of the players to watch will be Micha Hancock, the Big 10 Freshman of the Year.

The seedings were announced on Sunday; Liberty is the only Virginia team which made the field of 64. But, the ACC was represented well as four teams made the field, including the Duke BlueDevils, a team that will face the University of Tennessee in Knoxville on Dec. 1st at 7:00 p.m. The game could be the most anticipated one of the first round.

The BlueDevils' team features Ali McCurdy, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, and her high school teamate from Tampa, Kellie Catanach as well as blocker Chritiana Gray. While the 'Vols have SEC Player of the Year Kelsey Robinson on their team roster.

Other games of interest in the first round include the University of Arizona's game with Michigan State. The Wildcats have libero Emily Helm and Czech hitter Marketa Hanzlova on its roster.

Both the PAC-12 and the Big 10 got many teams in the tournament. Arizona joins UCLA, Stanford, Oregon and California in the field. While the Big 10 has a staggering eight teams, including two top seeds in Illinois and Nebraska.

Among those teams will be the University of Michigan; they play Baylor in Palo Alto, Calif., on Dec. 2 at 4:30 p.m. (eastern time). The Wolverines feature outstanding players in Claire McElheny and Lexi Erwin (we believe she is the player featured in the above image). While the Bears' team includes stand-out Briana Tolbert, a senior from Houston.

Another potentially competitive first-round game appears to be the University of Florida's match with the University of Missouri in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (at Northern Iowa University). One of the Gators' top players Chloe Mann is actually from Gainesville, where the school is located.

Many games are expected to be televised on ESPNU.

SIDEBAR: Since we presume folks in England are mad about soccer, and the United Kingdom is one country where we get many hits, I thought would give a brief run-down of weekend soccer scores from the English Premiere League. The Tottenham Spurs continue to be on a roll as they beat West Bromwich 3-1.

Here is a partial list of the weekend games with their final scores; Manchester City remains five points ahead of cross-town rival Manchester United in the league standings:

Liverpool 1 Manchester City 1
Stoke City 3 Blackburn 1
Chelsea 3 Wolverhampton 0
Manchester United 1 Newcastle 1
Arsenal 1 Fulham 1

The Rabbitt Ears Quiz (3 of 12) How Much for That H.R. Pufnstuf Lunch Box

Witchiepoo, the villain from the Sid and Marty Kroftt cult tv classic "H.R. Pufnstuf," is the image you should be seeing if everything is going according to plan.

The children's tv show made its debut on Sept. 6, 1969, and it lasted until NBC decided to abruptly can the production after 17 episodes in August of 1972. Today, one can presumably watch the show for free on; well, hopefully, we haven't misguided anyone.

There are many unqiue things about this show which could easily make this entry as long as a chapter in Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace."

For starters, the show had the proverbial fairy tale/"Wizard of Oz" plot of good versus evil, and the adventures revolved around a shipwrecked youngster named Jimmy, played by the late Jack Wild (1952-2006). While on the isle, Jack ran into Mayor H.R. Pufnstuf. Tragically enough, both Wild and Lennie Winrid (1935-2006) who was the voice of H.R. Pufnstuf (along with Scrappy Doo and Bigmouth on "The Smurfs") died in the same year.

The show also featured unique supporting characters, including Freddy the Flute, Dr. Blinky (the owl) and Judy the Frog.

Now, for the dirt....yes, the show has been accused of making many drug references to marijuana, and the matter was profiled in a 2003 issue of "Cannibis Culture." Both Sid and Marty Krofft, who created the show, are still alive. Marty has denied any efforts to link his children's show to a Cheech and Chong movie. But, of the many instances that the journal cited were: 1) the fact that H.F. Pufnstuf is a green figure with red hair. 2) the term 'black bart' which is code for marijuana is mentioned in one episode, and 3) Witchipoo's laughing gas. Oh, there are also magic mushrooms (we believe) in one episode.

"H.R. Pufnstuf" is also unique because it was both the defendant in a lawsuit against it (not for pot) and a plantiff in a suit the producers brought forth.

Paul Simon succesfully sued the producers on the grounds that the theme song, which contains lyrics that some find suggestive towards marijuana, was too much like his popular song "59th Street Bridge (Feeling Groovy)."

Conversely, the producers in turn successfully sued McD's because Mayor McCheese looked a bit too much like H.R. Pufnstuf.

But, our question today pertains to the worth of the show's limited edition lunch boxes, which are worth an astonishing amount of money, epsecially if it comes with the thermos!

On e-bay, we noticed that the following dollar amount was going out for the box, is the answer?:

A) $225

B) $275

C) $325

D) $375

SIDEBAR: In case, you were wondering, the answer to last week's Bonus Road Trip between Cincinnati and Boulder, Colo., is B) 19 hours.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Casulaties of Modern Technology- 8-Track Tapes (3 of 12)

Wow! I actually got the image of exactly what I wanted: an 8-track of "Neil Diamond's Greatest Hits;" that rarely happens! Perhaps, now I can finally get a date with Uma Thurman, who is my version of the Little Red Head Girl.

The 8-track tapes were magnetic tapes that usually held about eight tracks worth of music. They were popular, mainly in the United States, from the 1960s to the
late '70s, and included everything from country to disco.

I recall actually getting 8-track tapes for bands like Rush and Yes, when I was in high school circa 1986, but I never found an 8-track player for them. According to Wikipedia, some 8-track tapes like Pink Floyd's "Animals" used piano solos to fill the voids in the 8-tracks. Recently, I saw an 8-track of "Neil Diamond's Greatest Hits" at an antique store in rural Virginia.

"Fleetwood Mac's Greatest Hits" (1988) is believed to be the last recording released on 8-track tape. 8-tracks were done in by cassette tapes, which were done in by cds, which have been done in by MP-3 players, but hey, at least albums are making a comeback!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from Charlie Brown

As is our tradition whenever there is a holiday, we like to wish it from a cartoon character, kitschy celebrity (such as Barry Manilow) or whacko politician (ie. Michele Bachmann). And, today we go with the legendary comic strip character Charlie Brown, the brainchild of Charles Schultz (1922-2000).

When I was tutoring a student taking an English class, I actually compared Charlie Brown to Willy Loman, the character at the center of Arthur Miller's stage play "Death of a Salesman," in order to get the student to grasp the play's themes and simplify them.

Charlie Brown made his debut in "Peanuts" on Oct. 2, 1950. Snoopy came into the picture two days later. The beloved pooch also made its Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade debut as a float in 1968, a full 16 years before a float for Garfield, the comic strip cat created by Jim Davis that debuted in 1978, made his way down lower Manhattan in 1986.

Today's parade also feature a reincarnation of a float for the video game character Sonic the Hedgehog and a float created by filmmaker Tim Buron, called Character B.

Charlie Brown is noted for his rivalry with Lucy van Pelt, who pulls the football away from him as she did in the very last original "Peanuts" strip on Feb. 13, 2000.

The Little Red Head Girl is the figure of Charlie Brown's infactuation, but since he represents futility across the board, he never gets to meet her_ not even for a date at Starbucks (yes, we are aware there were no Starbucks around in 1950; it was a joke). She never actually physically appears in any of the comic strips, but her face has been shown on tv specials for "Peanuts." The character usually appears in strips that were written by Schultz around Valentine's Day.

Charlie Brown is also associated with the holidays because of both the Thanksgiving special, which first aired on Nov. 20, 1973, and the Christmas special, which premiered on Dec. 9, 1965, before folks in the United States started celebrating Christmas in September!

SIDE DISH: As we reported yesterday, my alma mater Radford University played the Univeristy of Kentucky, the #2-ranked men's basketball team, in Lexington, Ky., last night. And, like Charlie Brown trying to kick the dreaded football, the Highlanders came up very short in an 88-40 loss to the Wildcats. Terrence Jones scored 17 points for the home team; Jonathan Edwards scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds for RU.

SIDE DISH TWO: Yes, folks started lining some time ago for the Black Friday Sale at Target which gets underway at midnight here on the East. According to a tweet from "The Charlotte Observer," some 15 customers had started lining up at the main Charlotte, NC, Target store circa 8:00 p.m., a full hours before the madness begins.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Quote of the Week- Brian Orser

Today, we continue to quote famous Canadians we quip men's figure skater Brian Orser, who turns 50 on Dec. 18. Orser won silver medals at both the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo (which was in Yugoslavia at the time, now it's the capital of Bosnia) and the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, in front of Orser's home fans.

Orser lost his quest for gold to American ice skater Brian Boitano, in what became known as "The Battle of the Brians."

Today, Orser is known for coaching young figure skaters. Among his proteges is Yuna Kim (or Kim yu-Na), 21, a South Korean women's figure skater who won gold at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

Here is Orser's quote:

"It's not who does the most tricks, but the total package."

SIDEBAR: Tonight, my alma mater Radford University faces the University of Kentucky, a team ranked second in the nation, in NCAA men's basketball. The game will be in Lexington, Ky. I wish the Highlanders well as they face the Wildcats. Assuredly, if the team wins I may have a chance of a date with Vendela.

SIDEBAR 2: As of late, I have become very interested in European soccer, especially regarding English teams. Today, in UEFA action, Arsenal beat German team Dortmund 2-0 on two goals from their star Robin Van Persie.

But, Chelsea did not fare well against another German team Bayer Leverkusen by a 2-1 margin. Chelsea star and Ivory Coast national Didier Drogba scored the first goal of the away match in the 48th minute of play. However, Eren Derdiyok, a Swiss national of Kurdish descent who also has Turkish citizenship, scored the equalizer for the home squad in the 73rd minute. And, then German national team star Manuel Friedrich scored the game winner for Bayer in extra time. Thus, Chelsea fell 2-1.

In other games, Bracelona beat AC Milan 3-2, and the Czech team Viktoria Pizen scored a 1-0 victory over BATE Borisev, a team from Belarus.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Quote of the Day- Boris Becker

Today, we continue our quotes from famous Germans with a quip from the tennis great Boris Becker, who won Wimbledon when he was just 17. Today, Becker turns 44, and here is his quote:

"Does anyone ask their parents how they are conceived?"

SIDBAR: I want to congratulate my good friend Chris Tilley, who is highly regarded as a local playwright in Greensboro, NC, for the second anniversary of his blog:

SIDEBAR 2: Since we discussed English soccer yesterday, I thought I would relay from scores from today's UEFA Cup games played across Europe. It was not a particularly good day for English teams as Manchester United tied the Portuguese team Benefica 2-2 and their cross-town rival Manchester City, a team that currently leads the English Premiere League, feel to Italian power Napoli 2-1.

But, arguably the most misreable soccer player in Europe is Vasili Berezutzky who headed a ball into his own net, paving the way for the French team Lille's 2-0 win over CSKA Moscow. For the French club team, Senegal national Moussa Sow scored the other goal.

Meanwhile, Ajax Amsterdam and Lyon played to a 0-0 tie.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sports Desk- English Soccer Winners

Interesting week for English soccer as many rivals met each other. Yesterday, English soccer star Glen Johnson (pictured here) kicked in the game-winng goal for Liverpool against his former team Chelsea, giving his new team a 2-1 win. Argentinian Maxi Rodriguez scored for Liverpool earlier in the 33rd minute. And, Englishman Daniel Sturridge scored the lone goal for Chelsea in the 55th minute.

I was able to watch that game on American television yesterday, but I overslept Arsenal's 2-1 win over Norwich City, which aired at 7:30 a.m. here in les etats unis SAturday morning. Dutch star Robin ven Persie game through for Arsenal with goals in the 27th and 59th minute. Welsh player Steve Morison scored for Norwich in the 16th minute.

League leader Manchester City also won on Saturday by pummeling Newcastle 3-1. The goals for Manchester City came from Italian Mario Balotelli (41st minute); English player M. Richards (44th minute) and Argentinian Kun Aguero (72nd minute). English player Dan Gosling scored the lone goal late in the game for Newcastle.

And, today, Tottenham climbed to a third place tie with Newcastle after the team's 2-0 win over Aston Villa. Both goals for Tottenham came from Togo national player Emmanuel Adebayor.

Manchester United is second behind Manchester City in the English League thanks to the team's 1-0 win over Swansea on Saturday.

Here are the complete results of weekend play:

Fulham 0 Sunderland 0

Manchester City 3 Newcastle 1

Tottenham 2 Aston Villa 0

Queens Park 3 Stoke City 2

Everton 2 Wolverton 1

Manchester United 1 Swansea 0

Liverpool 2 Chelsea 1

Arsenal 2 Norwich City 1

Blackburn 3 Wigan Athletic 1

W. Bromal 2 Bolton 1

SIDEBAR: I read a funny tweet from Turkish soccer authority Ahmet Bob Turgut, who lives here in America. The tweet was in Turkish, but it simply asked "Is Anyone in Turkey watching the MLS Cup?"

For those who missed it, irregardless if you are in Boston or Istanbul, was:
L.A. Galaxy 1 Houston 0. The lone goal for the Galaxy was scored by American soccer star Landon Donovan in the 72nd minute.

Friday, November 18, 2011

From the LP Collection_ "Goats Head Soup" by The Rolling Stones (1 of 8)

Today, we start a feature about a few of the records in my own personal lp collection, which I have become increasingly interested in within the last six months.

The first one of these records we'll be profiling is "Goats Head Soup," the 13th studio record by The Rollins Stones. Released in 1973, the album fatures what is arguably the band's most popular ballad "Angie." It also contains the the track "Doo Doo Doo Doo Dooo (Heartbreaker)," which according to Wkipedia is about the NYPD's accidental shooting of a ten-year-old.

The album was recorded at Dynamic Sound Studio in Kingston, Jamaica, at a time when lead singer Mick Jagger was becoming influenced by the reggae music of Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.

The album came after "Exile on Main St." (1972) and before "It's Only Rock n Roll"
(1974). It was one of five albums from the band that were produced by the late Jimmy Miller (1942-1998).

Coincidentally, Miller was not the only person involved with "Goats Head Soup" who died at a relative young age or relative young age as that fate also bestowed the musicians Billy Preston (1946-2006), Ian Stewart (1938-1985) and Nicky Hopkins (1944-1994) who each played on the record.

"Goats Head Soup" runs for 46:56, and it also contains the songs "100 Years Ago," "Silver Train" and "Star Star."

The album brings back humorous memories for me as I jokingly sang the song "Angie" while on a group of Belize, which proved I was not quite ready for the karaoke scene.

I found this record at either a yard sale, an antique shop or the now defunct regional record chain "The Record Exchange," but if you are looking for vinyl to your own collection and you reside in North Carolina, I highly recommend All Day Records in Carrboro (Chapel Hill).

NOTE: Since there any things we need to do (carving turkey is actually not one of them) during this upcoming Thanksgiving week, we will be on temporary hiatus until Tuesday.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bonus Road Trip- Cincy to Boulder (5 of 10)

Today, we look at the distance between the settings of two iconic late '70s sitcoms as we survey the distance between Boulder, Colo., the setting of "Mork and Mindy," and "WKRP in Cincinnati," which was, of course, set in Cincinnati, Ohio.

For this, we chose the addresses of WKRQ (101.9-FM) in Cincinnati and The West End Tavern in Boulder, Colo. If anyone travels to Cincy, we highly recommend the American Sign Museum, which is ever the fascinating place.

Is the answer:

A) 18 hours

B) 19 hours

C) 20 hours

D) 21 hours

SIDEBAR: Back in January, we posted an entry on either this blog or my other one (we don't have archivists) about the heavy metal band GWAR. Alas, Cory Smoot aka "Flattus Maximus" of the band died on Nov. 3. But, the band went on with its scheduled performance in Tempe, Az., earlier in the week and paid tribute tribute to their fallen guitarist by dousing the crowd with blood. Hmmm.....

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Quote of the Day- Wayne Gretzky

We continue to quote famous Canadians today with a quip from Wayne Gretzky, who is considered to be the great hockey player of all time. Gretzky, 50, is an Ontario native who won four Stanley Cups for the Edmonton Oilers.

Gretzky was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988 in what became the most controversial trade in North American sports history. Gretzky later played for the St. Louis Blues and the New York Rangers. He retired while playing for the Rangers in 1999. The Oilers won an additional Stanley Cup after Gretzky's trade.

Here is his quote:

"A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey plays where the puck is going to be."

Quote of the Day- Franz Beckenbauer

Today, in our series of quotes from famous Germans, we quip the great German soccer player Franz Beckenbauer, 66, who was credited with inventing the modern sweeper/libero position and who is one of many legendary soccer players who played for Bayern Munich.

Beckenbauer helped then West Germany win the World Cup in 1974, and he helped Bayern Munich win three straight European soccer titles from 1974-76. The German soccer great also played in the first incarnation of pro soccer in America with the New York Cosmos from 1977-80, '83 (Today's MLS team in New York is called the Red Bulls).

Here is his quoteL

"Certainly, it is a different world for players nowadays. But, it depends on the individual."

SIDEBAR: Many of today's top German soccer players are of Turkish origin. These players often get caught up in the politics of whether to play for Germany or Turkey. Interstingly enough, the current roster of Real Madrid, believed to be the best team in Europe, consists of three such players in superstar Mesut Ozil, Hamit Altintop and Nuri Sahin.

Ozil chose to play for Germany, while Altintop and Sahin chose to play for Turkey. In a 3-0 defeat to Croatia on Friday, Altintop reportedly made an amazing dive which has become popular on Youtube. Hamit Altintop's twin brother Halil Altintop plays for the Turkish team Trabzonspor, which is also competing in the UEFA Cup.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Things We Learned on Google Today- Lyon Has Won 7 French Titles

In our 13th profile of 15 world soccer teams, we turn our attention to the French soccer power Olympique Lyonnais, which is known simply as Lyon, the same name as the city they play for.

Lyon did not win its first domestic title until the 2001-02 season, but they made up for it by winning a staggering seven French premiere league titles in a row.

During the 2009-10 season, Lyon also reached the semi-finals of the coveted UEFA Cup, before bowing out to German power Bayern Munich.

Lyon is playing for the current UEFA Cup as well, but their hopes of advancing to the next round seem given their home loss Spanish power Real Madrid 2-0, both goals in the match were scored by Portuguese superstar Christiano Ronaldo, earlier this month.

Thus, Lyon is in third place behind the Dutch team Ajax Amsterdam (the last team we profiled), in Group D. Lyon visits Amsterdam on Nov. 22 when Real Madrid will face the Crotian team Dynamo Zagreb, which is in last place.

In domestic play, Lyon last played arch rival St. Etienne and the team prevailed
2-0. Lyon is reportedly in second place in the French league behind Paris St. Germain which tied Bordeaux 1-1.

The captain for Lyon is Brazilian player Cris (Cristiano Gomes), 34, and the team's goalie is French player Hugo Lloris, 24, (pictured), who is vying to become the French national goal keeper.

On Friday, the French national team beat the United States 1-0 in a friendly. Since I carry an American passport, I could gripe about this, but hey the French gave us Asterix the Gaul. Having said that, I hope we beat the living daylights out of them next time (that is a joke; I'm not a Republican).

SIDEBAR: Closer to home, Martinsburg High School (Martinsburg, West Virginia) decked Woodrow Wilson High School from Beckley, West Virginia, in a home game played on Friday by a score of 49-13.

PS-The answer to our Rabbitt Ears quiz was C) Boulder, Colorado, which is where "Mork and Mindy" took place.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Things We Learned on Twitter Tonight- Occupy Chapel Hill Ends Badly

It was not the Varsity Theatre (pictured here) where they are showing "Contagion" and "Crazy, Stupid Love" (it's a second-house venue now) that was occupied as part of the Occupy Chapel Hill movement, but rather a vacant car lot, also on Franklin Street where the cinema is.

According to a tweet from "The Daily Tarheel," the student-run newspaper of the University of North Carolina, the movement was broken by police.

We later learned from various sources that eight people were arrested as a SWAT team and 25 police officers broke up the gathering around 4:30 p.m. today. Some 70 people were in the building.

The matter will likely be a controversial one for Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, who was just re-elected on Tuesday. Occupy Chapel Hill is one of many movements inspired by Occupy Wall Street.

Chapel Hill is considered to be the most progressive zip code in North Carolina, and it is home to The Internationalist Bookstore, which is a gathering place for liberal activists in the collegetown community.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Highlights From My Things to Improve My Life List

Relationships. Career Networking. Proper Diet and Exercise. How to get along with your Spacely Sprockets boss*. Let's face it, self-help books are very trendy even if more and more people are reading "War and Peace" via Kindle now.

And, since I've already wasted some precious time on this Saturday night by watching a Jewish satire of "Dexter," a 'Star Trek' opera sequence and a cello/orchestra take on the kitschy '80s hard rock anthem "The Final Countdown" as performed in Kipsala, Latvia, on Youtube, posting portions of a list seems like a simpler way to post today's blog entry.

There are actually 24 things on the whole list; I've decided to divide them up into 12 items for my two blogs.

Here is the first part of the list:

1. Get a girlfriend

2. Write second draft of novel you've been kinda/sorta working on since March.

3. Exercise/join a gym/anything but power yoga

4. Move out of current zip code of residence (yes, that's why the U-Haul truck is pictured above)

5. Take more photographs, especially of old things

6. Write some more poems; Nikki Giovanni had to start somewhere

7. Write second draft of memoir that was typed up last year, after all it might not get published for 24 years when mom will be 95.

8. Put photographs up on Facebook

9. Be more organised (we're using the British spelling to get more hits from the UK).

10. Listen to more vinyl; we should find a copy of "Some Girls" by The Rolling Stones.

11. Write a full-length play; anything has to be better than the failed soap opera satire I wrote three years ago.

12. Learn how to socially network via the Internet.

*-Demanding boss in the 1960s cartoon "The Jetsons"

Friday, November 11, 2011

Virtual Postcard from Kentucky- Bennett's Mill Covered Bridge

This is one of the rare times when I post a blog entry with a laptop. Contrary to popular opinion, I am really not that tech savvy even though I run two blogs. Assuredly, the recently deceased Steve Jobs might have been very iritated with me!

While I did see the Mud River Covered Bridge in Milton, WVa, thanks to directions from a senior citizen who once served in the military and was celebrating Veterans Day today, this image is of the Bennett's Mill Covered Bridge near Arentum, Ky, which I have not visited. But, since I am in Kentucky for the weekend, I thought it would be more appropriate.

The bridge is located in Greenup County, home of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, in the far northeast part of the Bluegrass State, on Route 7. It was built in 1855, and restored in 2003. 171 cars pass the bridge each day.

And, since it's getting past midnight here, I better quip Porky Pig and say: "That's all Fffffolks!"

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Qoute of the Week- K.D. Lang

In the Whoops Department, this entry was originally contain a quote from Bryan Adams as we intended to quote k.d. Lang (we believe she deliberately using lower-case letters for her first name) on the sister blog.

But, either way, both are Canadian and they both recently had birthdays.

Lang turned 50 on Nov. 2 and Adams turned 52 on Nov. 5; Lang is from Edmonton and Adams is from the Toronto-area.

In addition to being a vocal gay rights advocate, Lang is a vegan, which makes this quip from her very appropriate (ironically I heard a radio ad for meat while getting this entry together):

"If you knew how meat was made, you'd probably lose your lunch."

SIDEBAR: Though I haven't traveled outside the United States as often as I did when I was a child, I have in recent years visited Azerbaijan (in 2008) and Guatemala (in 2005) and I experienced some minor inconveiences with Internet service in both countries. But, apparently Liberia has been one of the worst places to get net service. According to the PRI show "The World," which airs on many NPR stations in America, that may soon change thanks to an underwater cable.

Local residents of Monrovia, the Liberian capital, told reporters for the program that they had to pay two dollars an hour at Internet cafes (which given the country's poverty would be equal to an American paying $20/hour), and that one hour of service has usually meant a mere 20 minutes of net time.

Quote of the Day- Johannes Brahms

Today, since we are quoting famous Germans throughout November, we are going to quip the great composer Johannes Brahms (1835-1897), who along with Ludwig von Beethoven and Johann Sebastian Bach is one of the 'three bs.'

This quote seems like one which might come from a counter-culture icon of the 1960s like Lenny Bruce or Frank Zappa:

"If there is anyone here whom I have not insulted, I beg his pardon."

I teased a young, blonde female Starbucks barista in Front Royal, Va. (not the actual Starbucks where I met this woman) whose boyfriend is into classical music that there is in fact a 24-hour classical music station in Washington, DC, (actually WETA-FM is based in the DC 'burb of Arlington, Va).

There is also a 24-hour classical musical station WCPE in Raleigh, NC, which offers simulcasts to radio stations in Hot Springs, Va., Joplin, Missouri, and Sioux City, Iowa.

WETA-FM, an NPR station, played portions of the Brahms' Piano Concerto today, circa 11:00 a.m., while WCPE-FM played portions of Brahms' Symphony #1 at around 1:15 p.m.

Of course, Germany is known for other kinds of music besides classical, as the '80s hard rock band The Scorpions ("Rock Me Like a Hurricane") and the political New Wave pop singer Nena ("99 Luft Balloons") also hailed from there.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Rabbit Ears Quiz- Mork and Mindy (Entry 2 of 12)

Today, we continue our series on tv shows which infiltrated my developing years with a quiz question regarding "Mork and Mindy" (1978-82), which in my lasted much longer than the four seasons it was actually on the air.

Many young folks may not realize that 'Mork' was actually a spin-off of the very popular '70s sitcom "Happy Days." Mork, played by Robin Williams, visited the Cunnigham family in suburban Wisconsin during the fifth season of "Happy Days" in a strange episode entitled "My Favorite Orkan."

In spite of being a ratings bonanza during its first season, 'Mork' began to take a nose-dive in popularity during the show's third season. And, in the final season, Mork and Mindy were dubiously married.

Mork was from the planet Ork, and he was given instructions by a supreme deity named Orson. Minday was played by Pam Dawber.

Many people who haven't seen the show in years (it ran on Nick at Nite from 1991-95), may have forgotten that it was the rare sitcom to take place in a college town. So, we are asking for the name of that college town, where one also find a clock which is supposedly always accurate.

Your choices are:

A) Provo, Utah
B) Iowa City, Iowa
C) Boulder, Colorado
D) Lawrence, Kansas

Good luck, and sorry we have no prizes to give you, not even a cat toy!

SIDEBAR: I wanted to wish an Eid Mubarak to all of our Muslim friends, especially those living in Provo, Utah! Amazingly enough, I read that a surprising number of Muslims attend college at Brigham Young University.

And, though one may not associate UFOs with the Muslim world, there is indeed a UFO Museum in Istanbul, Turkey, which I have actually been to.

Casualties of Modern Technology- The VHS Tape (Entry 2 of 12)

Sorry for the six day layover at the airport in Atlanta (well, it would take too long to explain why I was really gone for this long), but let's get back to bizness (deliberately spelled wrong for all you English teachers out there; in-joke) here with an entry dedicated to the VHS cassette tape or videotape, which have all but vanished from the face of the earth.

My friend Jason Garnett actually held a VHS Night at the Shadowbox Microcinema in Roanoke, Va., where the film "Rad" (1986) with former Olympic gymnast Bart Conner- of all people- was screened. The film actually revolves around the world of BMX racing.

"Rad" was one of three feature films in the mid-80s to star men's gymnastics stars. The other two included "Gymkata" (1985) with Kurt Thomas and "American Anthem"
(1986) with Mitch Gaylord, a film that also featured a very gorgeous Janet Jones who later married hockey icon Wayne Gretzky.

Amazingly enough, no one in Hollywood thought of making such a film starring women's gymnastics darling Mary Lou Retton, but perhaps that was a good thing.

The videotape was first sampled in 1951 by Bing Crosby Productions, according to Wikipedia. Videotapes became widely available in the 1970s. Since VCRs were very expensive until the 1980s, there was little consumer demand for them. That all changed very quickly and cult films, like the South African wonder-hit "The Gods Must be Crazy" (1984), were more widely seen than the films were during their theatrical runs.

But, by the 1990s, dvds came and well the proverbial credits started to roll for the VHS tape.

SIDEBAR: We want to wish Parker Posey a happy 43rd birthday. No, we do not know her personally.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Quote of the Week- William Shatner

Admitedly, us Americans tend to overlook our neighbors to the north. In fact, my last entry dedicated to a Canadian may have been when I wished former UCLA gymnast and Canadian Olympian Yvonne Tousek a happy 30th birthday (on our other blog) last year.

But, this month, I am quoting all sorts of famous Canadians. And, perhaps no Canadian is as famous as William Shatner, who turned 80 earlier this year. He is, of course, known for playing Captain Kirk on "Star Trek" on tv in the '60s, and again with a series of films starting in 1979.

Recently, Shatner stunned the world by releasing a music album with his covers of songs like "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen. Having heard a snipet of the song on NPR, I can vouch that listening to the Oak Ridge Boys' song "Elvira" on an AM country radio station in Kentucky might be slightly less painful.

So, here is our quote from Shatner:

"How do I so healthy and boyishly handsome? It's simple. I drink the blood of young runaways."

SIDEBAR: Our good friend and fellow blogger Chris Knight took on Shatner in a spoof of "Priceline" commercials with the help of Addy Miller, who is the little zombie girl in AMC's "The Walking Dead." And, Shatner himself actually tweeted about the matter!

A similar thing occured several months ago when Harry Shearer, the voice of Principal Skinner on "The Simpsons," tweeted that my friend Jason Garnett was showing Shearer's documentary film about the Hurrican Katrina fiasco "The Big Uneasy" at the Shadowbox Microcinema in Roanoke, Va. That film is now out on dvd.

SIDEBAR TWO: Much focus has been on the futile marriage between Armenian-American model/celebrity/reality tv show star Kim Kardashian and Kris Humpries of the New Jersey Nets. For those who have been hanging out in Buddhist monastaries in Bhutan, the marriage ended after a mere 72 days on Monday. A Twitter site for the Nets actually asked fans if Kardashian should give her gifts back?

But, a more interesting thing appears to be happening in the Kardashian family's ethnic homeland. Of course, it is perhaps fittingly ironic that I am mentioning this, since I am a Turkish-American, but the NPR show "The World" ran an amazing story on Tuesday by reporter Shanti Shahrigian about an effort to educate Armenian school children about the game of chess.

As it turns out, even though Armenia has a population of circa three million people, the country has some 30 chess grandmasters. Teacher Grigor Martikian is running the elementary school program, and so far it appears to be quite succesful.

I more or less quit playing chess after losing to an eight-year-old girl who was the reigning Virginia state champ in her age group, an incident which occured some ten years ago. That girl is probably old enough to vote now!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Quote of the Day- Klaus Kinski

Today, we start our quotes from famous Germans with a quip from the late, great eccentric actor Klaus Kinski (1926-1991) who appeared as the title vampire in the 1979 remake of "Nosferatu" entitled "Nosferatu the Vampire."

The film was one of many that Kinski did with director Werner Herzog, which also included "Fitzcarradlo" (1982). The feud between the two during the shoot in the Amazon River basin of Peru became the basis for Les Blank's acclaimed documentary "Burden of Dreams."

Kinski also appeared in several spaghetti westerns, including the vintage "Bullet for the General" (1966).

Here is his quote:

"I am your fairy tale. Your dream. Your wishes and desires, and I am your thirst, your hunger, your food, and your drink."