Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bonus Quote of the Week- Dominique Dawes

Like students at my alma mater of Central High School in Woodstock, Va*, we are getting for spring break. So, we are planning not to post an entry until Sunday.

But, we will leave our loyal fans in Cyprus, Russia and Slovenia (I have no idea why, but we get an unusual amount of hits from those three countries!) with a quote from the great Olympic gymnast Dominique Dawes, 35, who is a native of Silver Spring, Maryland.

Dawes, who also acted on Broadway in a revival of the musical "Grease," was the first African-American women's gymnast to win a gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Dawes was part of the 'magnificent seven,' the nickname given to that gymnastics team, which also included Shannon Miller, Amanda Borden and Dominique Moceanu.

Dawes also won bronze medals at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

In 2010, Dawes was appointed as co-chair of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.

We used this quote for our sister blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time" back on Feb. 1, 2001, and it proved to be quite popular:

"I found through research that between 50 and 70 percent of young girls who describe themselves as overweight are actually normal weight."

*- Central High School in Woodstock, Va., is a real place, but the school whose nickname is the Falcons is not my alma mater; it is like Javier the Intern, one of the running gags on our blogs.

Quote of the Day/Week- Mark Spitz

Today, we continue to quote American athletes who won medals at the Olympics; next week, we will start quoting international athletes though we suspect it will be very difficult to find a quote from Turkish weightlifter Naim Suleymanolgu, aka The Pocket Hercules, who won gold in three different Olympics.

But, we were able to find a good quip from swimmer Mark Spitz, 62, who actually won nine gold medals over two Olympics. After winning two team gold medals at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, Spitz literally made a good splash when he won seven gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympics; that record held until another American swimmer Michael Phelps won eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The major achievement by Spitz, who is Jewish, was sadly overshadowed by the kidnapping and murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics.

Here is the quote from Spitz:

"I just tried to keep my cool and continue with my race plan: to win."

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Quote of the Day/Week- John Kerry

Today's quote of the day comes from Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) as we continue to profile party nominees who did not win the presidency, though Kerry came agonizingly close to winning over then-President George W. Bush in 2004.

Kerry, 68, was also the lieutenant governor of Massachusetts under then-Gov. Michael Dukakis, whom we quipped two weeks ago. Today, Kerry serves as the head of several key committees in the U.S. Senate. During his tenure, Kerry has made friends with Republicans, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) who we quoted last week.

Earlier in his life, Kerry was known for his active opposition to the Vietnam War, and he was ironically (given that he later became a senator), the first Vietnam vet to testify against the war in Congress in 1971.

Kerry supports gay marriage and gun control laws, and he is an opponent of capital punishment, which is reflected in this quote:

"The consequences of a crime should not be out of proportion with the crime itself."

Monday, March 26, 2012

Quote of the Day/Week-Kevin Smith

Last week on NPR, film director Kevin Smith, who is also known for writing comic books, his eccentric tweets and blogs, writing memoirs, acting in his own films and having a row with Southwest Airlines (they apparently kicked him off a flight for being too overweight), announced that after his next film "Hit Somebody," he will retire from filmmaking.

Smith is among the people born in 1970, the year of my birth, that we are quoting this month. Smith turns 42 on Aug. 2. He will apparently not go the way of the legendary Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman who directed film right until his death at age 89 in 2007.

Of course, while Smith has directed some nifty films like "Clerks" and "Chasing Amy," no serious cinephile could ever compare him to Bergman, who directed such classics as "The Seventh Seal," "Wild Strawberries" and "Fanny and Alexander."

Smith, who made "Clerks," a comedy about lazy convenient store employees who discuss "Star Wars" while selling Camels and Marlboros (those brands were never named in the film for legal concerns) for a mere $27.575 in 1994, also runs a comic book store called Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash in Smith's native Red Bank, NJ.

Smith played Silent Bob in "Clerks" and its sequel "Clerks 2," as well as in the film "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back."

Here is his quote which refers to his controversial film "Dogma," with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, which poked fun at the Catholic faith that Smith was raised in:

"I'm going to hell. But I knew that back on Dogma. It's not news to me. I'm just going to enjoy the ride there."

The Final Four Is Set_ Not a Good NCAAs for Tobacco Road

One week from today, we will see if Kansas Jayhawks coach Bill Self (pictured here) and his team will win the NCAA tournament as they did in 2008.

Yesterday, the Jayhawks defeated a UNC Tarheels team that was without starting point guard Kendall Marshall by a score of 80-67 in a game that close until its last minutes. In the Sweet 16, the Jayhawks narrowly avoided an upset from the North Carolina State Wolfpack in their 60-57 win.

In the win over the Tarheels, Tysham Taylor scored 22 points, Thomas Robinson scored 18 points and Jeff Whiley had 15 points and eight rebounds for the Jayhawks. For the Tarheels, the excellent career of ACC Player of the Year Tyler Zeller, who won a final Four championship in 2009 came to an end.

Kansas will now face Ohio State in New Orleans as Jared Sullinger scored 19 points in the Buckeyes' win over Syracuse in the Elite 8.

There was only team in the Elite 8 which had never won a national championship. But, unfortunately for the Baylor Bears their opponent was overall number one seed Kentucky. In an impressive regionals for the Wildcats, they defeated the Indiana Hooisers 102-90 on Friday, and then turned around to beat the Bears 82-70.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 19 points for the Wildcats and Anthony Davis scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.

They will meet in-state rival Louisville, which lost to the Wildcats 69-62 earlier in the year, as the Cardinals made a 23-8 rally to defeat the Florida Gators 72-68. Russ Smith lead the way for the Cardinals with 19 points.

The Kentucky-Louisville game appears to be the more interesting of the two match-ups for another reason: The Cardinals' coach Rick Pitino used to coach the Wildcats. Both Pitino and Kentucky coach John Calipari are the only two coaches who have taken three different teams to the Final Four.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Rabbit Ear Test_ (8 out of 12)_ "The Time Tunnel"

Last time around, we featured "The Love Boat," which was produced by the late Aaron Spelling, who also gave the tv world such shows as "Charlie's Angels," "Fantasy Island" and "Dynasty." Today, we go with a producer known not for glossy tv shows, but rather science-fiction show which still have loyal cult followings to this day.

Irwin Allen (1916-1991), who also produced adventure and disaster movies, produced four tv shows in the 1960s. While the other three shows "Lost in Space" (1966-68), "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" (1964-68) and "Land of the Giants" (1968-70) were relative hits, "The Time Tunnel" was not even though it received widespread critical acclaim.

I show "The Time Tunnel," which aired in 1966 in the United States, a full decade after it was on American television when it aired on the TRT (Turkish Radio and Television) during the two years that we lived in Turkey from 1977-79. In Turkey, the show was called "Zaman Tuneli," which literally means time tunnel.

"The Time Tunnel" starred James Darren, now 74, who would also team with another '60s science-fiction tv series star William Shatner of "Star Trek" in the cop show "T.J. Hooker," which debuted in 1982.

The show also used props, such as guns and computers, that had also been used on other Allen-produced shows as well as "Batman" (which Allen did not produce).

"The Time Tunnel," like all Allen vehicles, was considered expensive for its time. And, the show was known for unique plots, including ones where Darren's character Dr. Anthony Newman (Tony) finds himself on board the Titanic during its fatal voyage (he escapes, of course) and on Pearl Harbor right before its attack.

In the 1960s, continuity was not a major concern as it is today, so according to Wikipedia, in one episode Tony says he was born in 1938, and then a few episodes later he states that he was seven years old when Pearl Harbor was attacked (that took place on Dec. 7, 1941).

John Williams, who would later collaborate with Steven Spielberg as music composer for virtually all of his films, including "Jaws," "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "E.T." composed the theme for "The Time Tunnel."

So, today, for our quiz, and we hope to remember to provide the answer in the coming entries, we ask just how many episodes were made of this show, which alas didn't last as long as it should have.

Is the answer?:

A) 24 shows

B) 28 shows

C) 30 shows

D) 32 shows

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Casulaties of Modern Technology (8 of 12)_ Etch A Sketch

Of course, we love Albert Einstein here at The Daily Vampire, but the reason for this entry, which was originally going to feature Hallmark greeting cards, is for a politically honest gaffe made by Eric Fehrnstorm, a spokesperson for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign.

This week, Fehrnstorm told CNN following Romney's win in Illinois in response to a question about the possibility of the Republican Mike Dukakis (forgive the editorial comment) shifting his stump speeches to win over independent voters as opposed to staunch right-wingers who have seemingly split the vote between Romney's two main Republican foes, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.

And, in case you were in a village in Uzbekistan, and you missed what Fehrnstorum said, it was this: "You hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It's almost like an Etch-A-Sketch. You kind of shake it up and start all over again."

As for the product itself, its origins go back to th elate 1950s, according to the manufacturers, the Ohio Art Company (which relocated production to Shenzhen, China, in 2001), when Andre Cassagnes, a French electrician discovered that a drawing toy could be created with joysticks, aluminum powder and glass.

As a result, the first Etch-A-Sketch went into production in 1960, and it became very popular with baby boomers. The Etch-A-Sketch was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, NY, in 2008.

To be fair, the Etch-A-Sketch, which was not as popular as it was in its heyday until Fehrnstorm gave new attention to something that most of us played with the backseats of station wagons as kids, is not really a Casualty of Modern Technology. But, it has evolved since the toy was introduced to the market. The modern Etch-A-Sketch also allows for coloring.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Quote of the Day/Week-Mia Hamm

Today, we continue to quote American athlete who won either team or individual medals at the Olympic games with a quip from Mia Hamm, the decorated soccer player who helped her team to gold in women's soccer at the 2004 Athens Olympics in Greece.

Hamm, who turned 40 on St. Patrick's Day, is originally from Selma, Ala., and as a college student athlete she helped lead the North Carolina Tarheels to four NCAA titles.

Here is her quote:

"True champions aren't always the ones that win, but those with the most guts."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Quote of the Day/Week- John McCain

It seems that politics both here in the United States in Turkey, my late father's country, is always filled with irony.

Since I was very apprehensive about the possibility of a George W. Bush presidency in 2000 and I had sincere admiration for Sen. John McCain (R-Az.), even though I am a Democrat, I crossed party lines and voted for McCain who did in fact lost to Bush and (forgive the partisan commentary) my worst fears were fully realized.

I did actually end up voting for Al Gore in the general election of 2000.

Eight years later, I voted for Hillary Clinton in the North Carolina Democratic Party and later Barack Obama in the general election. Thus, I am perhaps one of the very few people who have voted for McCain, Obama and Hillary Clinton (I voted for her husband twice as well).

Though he has become more conservative and less rebellious in recent years, I still admire McCain personally, especially since he had the courage to go after Rush Limbaugh in light of the far-right talk show host's sexist comments controversy.

Today, McCain was in the news for publicly slamming the media for going overboard in regards to the 'Etch-A-Sketch' gaffe made by Mitt Romney aide Eric Fehrstorm on CNN yesterday.

Here is the quote from McCain, 75, whose daughter Meghan McCain sent waves when admitted that she liked sex; we expect that would even make Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who is believed to be one of the most liberal U.S. Senate members, blush:

"I don't doubt the sincerity of my Democratic friends. And they shouldn't doubt ours."

SIDEBAR: While the nation is abuzz with the Sweet 16 games underway tonight in Division One men's college basketball, over the weekend, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (29-4) beat Cabrini College (31-2) from Radnor Township, Pa., 63-60 for the Division Three basketball title in my hometown of Salem,Va., last weekend. The other two teams in that Final Four were MIT and Illinois Wesleyan. Chris Davis lead the winning Warhawks with 12 points; John Boyd scored 18 points for the losing Cavaliers.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Quote of the Day/Week__Jennifer Connelly

Today, we continue to quote famous people born in 1970, when I was born, with a quip from the talented and lovely actress Jennifer Connelly who turns 42 on Dec. 12.

Connelly won a Best Supporting Actress for "A Beautiful Mind" (2001). Her other famous roles include "Requiem for a Dream" (2000), "House of Sand and Fog" and "Little Children" (2006).

Connelly has also been an active human rights activist with Amnesty International.

Here is her quote:

"I didn't expect to win the Oscar. You grow up watching the Oscars on tv and you think it happens to famous people. It was very surreal."

SIDEBAR: We thought we'd put 'a teaser" (movie lingo for coming attractions) for next week's entry in this series as we will quoting 'retiring' film director Kevin Smith, who was also born in 1970. Yes, the man who made it big when he was quite young when he directed the independent film "Clerks" (1991) about mischievous convenience store clerks in New Jersey told NPR he will quit making films soon, and focus on side projects.

And, though we won't be able to quote the highly outrageous standup comedian/actress Sarah Silverman, who also turns 42 on Dec. 1, has been quoted for saying the following: "I don't set out to offend or shock, but I also don't do anything to avoid it."

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Other Sweet 16- the NCAA Hockey Tournament

We had problems finding suitable images for college hockey teams, so we just went with Peter Puck, the cartoon character who was featured on NBC broadcasts of NHL games when I was a kid in 1970s. Amazingly enough, the games were broadcast in Roanoke, Va., in those days, but they were preempted in many Southern markets. Ironically, today there are several NHL teams south of the Mason-Dixon line, including the Carolina Hurricanes, the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers.

But, our focus today is on NCAA college hockey, a sport I have just started to try and follow in recent years. One thing that is confusing about college hockey is the conference alignment, the major conferences include the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA), which includes several Big 10 teams, including Michigan and Michigan State, two teams which also made the NCAA field of 16, and the Hockey East Conference, which includes the number-one team in the country, Boston College.

In total, five CCHA schools made the field, including Ferris State (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Miami (Ohio) and Western Michigan, which actually upset Michigan for the conference tournament title. There are four schools from the Hockey East Conference; the other three that are in the field are Boston University, Maine and Mass-Lowell.

On Saturday, in a game that will be broadcast on ESPN-U, the Boston College Eagles will face another team with a bird nickname as they face the Air Force Falcons, a team that is ranked 16th in the country.

That game will take place in Boston College's home state as the two teams are in the Worcester, Mass.-region. The other game in that region pits the defending national championship Minnesota-Duluth against Maine.

The winner of the Worcester-regional will then face the winner of the St. Paul, Minn.-region for the Frozen Four, which takes place in (of all places) Tampa, Fla., starting on April 5th.

In the St. Paul-region, Minnesota will face Boston University, and Western Michigan will face North Dakota.

Though I am not an expert on college hockey, by any stretch, I am going to 'predict' that the Frozen Four will be between Boston College and Minnesota, and the other game will be between Miami (Ohio) and Denver University.

We will have more coverage of the other regionals on our sister blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Times."

Boston College won its third straight Hockey East Conference title in the conference tournament in Boston when they beat Maine 4-1; the two games could meet in the quarter-finals if the Black Bears upset Minn-Duluth. For BC, the team got two goals from freshman Johnny Gaudreau (Carneys Point, NJ) and goal-tender Parker Milner, a junior (Pittsburgh, Pa.) made 41 saves.

The Falcons won its fifth Atlantic Hockey Association Conference title in six years thanks to senior Paul Weisgarber (Fargo, N. Dak.) and sophomore goal-tender Jason Torf (Hermosa Beach, Calif.).

Boston College has won two hockey titles in recent years (2008 and 2010).

It should be an amazing journey to the Frozen Four, irregardless of which team wins.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sweet 16 Road Trips_ Meet Me in St. Louis

In an amazing coincidence, both the North Carolina Tarheels men's basketball and women's gymnastics teams are going to be traveling to many miles to either meet up with or potentially meet up with (they have to beat Kansas first) their rivals the North Carolina State Wolfpack.

Both schools' basketball teams are headed to St.Louis for the NCAA Sweet 16 regional; both schools' gymnastics teams are heading to Pittsburgh for the EAGL championships.

The UNC men's basketball team will face the Ohio Bobcats (pictured, the image is of player D.J. Cooper) while the Wolfpack basketball team faces Kansas in the Arch City.

The Sweet 16 also has a pair of at least one set of brothers as senior Tyler Zeller will lead the 'Heels, and his freshman brother Cody Zeller will try to help the Indiana Hoosiers upset top-seed Kentucky.

So, with all these things in mind, we decided to mapquest some miles and figure how long it will take a dedicated to drive or arrive by bus; yes, we realize many will probably opt for a Delta Airlines flight.

Here, we go:

1,115- Miles between Raleigh and Lawrence, Kan., where the Kansas Jayhawks are based.

836- Miles betwen Raleigh and St. Louis, where the two teams will actually play.

806- Miles between Chapel Hill and St. Louis

641- Miles between Chapel Hill and Bloomington, Ind., where Cody Zeller plays.

505-Miles between Raleigh and Pittsburgh, should the Wolfpack's gymnastics fans choose to go Greyhound.

500- Miles between St. Louis and Athens, Ohio, where the Ohio Bobcats play.

476- Miles between Chapel Hill and Pittsburgh, should the Tarheels's gymnastics fans decide to go Greyhound.

380- Miles between Chapel Hill and Athens, Ohio.

284- Miles between St. Louis and Lawrence, Kan.

32- Miles between Chapel Hill and downtown Raleigh.

For this survey, we choose the following seven places:

1. Aya Sofia Cuisine, a Turkish restaurant in St. Louis

2. August Wilson Center, an arts venue in Pittsburgh

3. Irish Lion, an Irish pub in Bloomington, Ind.

4. The Raven Bookstore, Lawrence, Kan.

5. Internationalist Books- Chapel Hill, NC

6. The Pit, a barbecue diner in downtown Raleigh, NC

7. Jackie O's Pub and Brewery, Athens, Ohio.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

Happy Saint Patrick's Day to everyone, and I also want to wish a very special happy birthday to my sister Zeynep Akili (pse)* who now resides in Capetown, South Africa,** and kudos to her alma mater Lehigh University*** for pulling a tremendous upset over Duke last night in the NCAA tournament. I am not as stunned as some people that the Mountain Hawks (now 27-7) beat the Blue Devils, as they had essentially the same record, but yes, I had presumed Duke would have hit a three-pointer in the last minutes of the game to win it, but that never happened.

Hopefully, at least one person from Ireland will visit out blog today. And, if I actually had an Irish greyhound perhaps I would get at least one date with a woman who is as gorgeous as the Swedish supermodel Vendela, who still looks quite attractive at 45.

But, we must get going or as the late Dr. Seuss would put it:

Today is your day.
You're off to great places!
You're off and away!"

*Zeynep, a common Turkish name for girls is not my sister's real name; akili is the Turkish word for smart.

**-'Zeynep' does not actually reside on the African continent.

***-She did not go to Lehigh, but her SAT scores would have allowed her to go there (Lehigh is considered a smart school) or pretty much any college she may have been inclined to study at!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Quote of the Day/Week- Muhammad Ali

Last month, we quoted boxing great Muhammad Ali, who turned 70 in January, on our sister blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time" in honor of Black History Month.

Today, we are quipping Ali as we continue to quote American athletes who won gold or silver medals at the Summer Olympics. Ali won a gold medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics, though he ended up throwing the medal in a river as he struggled with the social environment of the world around him.

Here is his quote:

"A man who views the world the same way at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life."

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Quote of the Day/Week_ Michael Dukakis

Hmmm....since there is the NCAA men's basketball tournament here in the United States (editorial comment: Go Harvard! They face Vanderbilt today) and the UEFA Champions League soccer games in Europe, assuredly Taiwan may be one of the few places where actual work is getting done today.

Today, we quote Michael Dukakis, the Democratic candidate who unsuccessfully ran against George H.W. Bush, in the 1988 presidential election. All this month, we are quoting men who fought the good fight, but didn't end up serving in the White House. Last week, we quoted Republican Robert Dole who lost to Bill Clinton in 1996.

There is a bit of a personal connection with me and the Dukakis campaign. Since I was 18 in 1988 and I was one of the few people from my high school in a conservative zip code who disdained the policies of Ronald Reagan, I was eager to vote Dukakis. And, I did.

The problem is that I'm a Turkish-American, and this didn't go over well with the relatives in Istanbul. In fact, my since deceased uncle by marriage Omer Bati pretty much threatened to throw me over the balcony for voting for Dukakis.

We learned today that Dukakis, a Greek-American, actually has connections to modern-day Turkey as his parents came from the Turkish port town of Erdemit in the Balikesir province. There are still many Turkish citizens of Greek heritage in Turkey; most of them reside in Istanbul.

Ironically, Dukakis was the second Greek-American to become the governor of a state. Long before Dukakis became the governor of Massachusetts, a post later held by both Democrat John Kerry (who lost to George W. Bush in 2004) and Mitt Romney, who is likely going to be the Republican nominee this year, one Spiro Agnew was the governor of Maryland from 1967-69.

Agnew's life is however best remembered for scandal as the Republican who would become Richard Nixon's first vice president was forced to resign from that post due to a bribery scandal.

As for Dukakis, he is perhaps best-remembered for taking more firm stances on liberal issues, including his opposition to the death penalty and his belief in gun control.

As for me, there are no regrets about voting for Dukakis, though today, I may not share voting for a Greek-American with other Turkish people.

Here is the quote from Dukakis:

"The best America is a nation where the son of Greek immigrants, with your help, can seek and win the presidency of the United States."

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Quote of the Day/Week-Simon Pegg

We continue quoting people born in 1970, the year that this blog's managing editor Tilly Gokbudak (ok, that is me) was born, with a quip from the British comic actor Simon Pegg who turned 42 a month ago on Valentine's Day.

Pegg is known for many comedy roles with a sci-fi or horror angle, including "Star Trek," "Shaun of the Dead," "Hot Fuzz" and "Paul."

His nickname is The Fresh Pegg, and he apparently likes "Star Wars" and "Doctor Who;" here is his quote:

"American audiences tend to be more expressive than British ones."

My NCAA Brackets....I'm Picking Those Pesky Wildcats

I haven't seen what every single one of my friends is projecting for the NCAA final, but I am inclined to agree with both President Barack Obama and ESPN college basketball commentator Dick Vitale that Kentucky and North Carolina will meet for the championship game.

But, even though I am a Democrat who lives in North Carolina and a Tarheels fan (ok, I'm a band-wagoner_Virginia Tech is the team I have been rooting for 95-percent of my life), I have to agree with Vitale that the Kentucky Wildcats will prevail.

Assuredly, if this does come true, actress Ashley Judd, an unabashed Wildcats fan and UK alumnus will be very happy.

In my Final Four, I am also projecting Florida State to win the east region, Michigan State to win the west region, to complete the brackets.

The four teams I have in the Elite 8 are Duke (South; losing to Kentucky), Missouri (West; losing to Michigan State), Kansas (Midwest; losing to UNC) and Syracuse (East; losing to FSU).

In the first round of games which start tomorrow, I am picking the following upsets: In the south, I am picking Colorado (#11) to upset UNLV (#6); in the west, I like Davidson (#13) over Louisville (#4); in the east, I like Harvard (#12) over Vanderbilt (#5) and lastly, in a tough call, in the west, I am going with North Carolina State (#11) over San Diego State (#6).

In addition, I am picking one nine-seed St.Louis to beat an eight-seed Memphis, in the west. And, conversely, I like the ten-seed West Virginia over seven-seed Gonzaga (east region) and ten-seed Purdue over seven-seed St. Mary's (midwest region).

SIDEBAR: Quite a few of the 68 schools in the tournament (well, technically it is now 66 as of this writing), have nationally-ranked teams in other sports. There are four tournament schools with Top-20 men's hockey teams (Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Harvard). Similarly, there are seven schools with Top-25 women's gymnastics teams (Florida, Alabama, Ohio State, Missouri, North Carolina State, Michigan and Kentucky). In addition, there are four NCAA tournament teams with top-20 teams in women's water polo (San Diego State, Michigan, Indiana and Long Beach State).

SIDEBAR 2: We want to congratulate Lori Anne Madison, age 6, of Woodbridge, Va., for being the youngest person ever to reach the finals of the National Spelling Bee. For her sake, we hope she isn't asked how to spell "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" (yes, that "Mary Poppins" term is now in the dictionary!...we believe).

Friday, March 9, 2012

Colleges Nicknames- Wild, Wild Horses

Today, we conclude our looks at the nicknames of 96 different colleges, most of which will be going to post-season play in a sport besides college basketball (I'm making fun of an ad for the NCAA which shows most student athletes going on to become chemists instead of becoming NBA superstars).

The three schools pictured here are the Boise State Broncos from Idaho, which have a highly touted football and women's gymnastics program, the Bucknell Bison from Lewisburg, Pa., which has a competive wrestling team and one of the very few water polo teams on the east coast, and the Iowa Hawkeyes, from the Big Ten.

In addition to Boise State, there are two other teams from the Mountain West Conference, including the San Diego State Aztecs, which is nationally ranked and a virtually certainty for a NCAA bid in men's basketball, and the Colorado State Rams, which are predicted to get an at-large bid.

Here are the teams, all of which are related to horses, knights, cowboys/cowgirls and Native Americans:

1. Army Black Knights, Patriot, West Point, NY.

2. Boise State Broncos, Mountain West, Boise, Idaho

3. Bucknell Bison, Patriot, Lewisburg, Pa.

4. Colorado State Rams, Mountain West, Fort Collins, Colo.

5. Iowa Hawkeyes, Big 10, Iowa City, Iowa

6. Illinois Fightin' Illini, Big 10, Champaign, Ill.

7. Oklahoma State Cowboys*, Big 12, Stillwater, Okl.

8. San Diego State Aztecs, Mountain West, San Diego, Calif.

9. Southern Methodist University Mustangs, C-USA, Dallas, Tex.

10. UNC-Greensboro Spartans, Southern Conference, Greensboro, NC

11. University of Southern California Trojans, Pac-12, Los Angeles, Calif.

12. Utah Utes, Pac-12, Salt Lake City, Utah.

*-Oklahoma State's women's basketball team is nicknamed Cowgirls

Thursday, March 8, 2012

CollegesNicknames- The Felines

Today's list features schools with feline nicknames; they include Princeton University, Montana State and Vermont (all three are pictured here).

One team that is on this list, the Kentucky Wildcats are virtually assured of a number-one seed in the NCAA torunament.

Since we like to make fun of Provo, Utah (it is presumably the most politically conservative place in America), we thought we'd include the Brigham Young Cougars as a goodwill gesture.

Three of these schools, Penn State, Pitt and Lafayette are in Pennsylvania.

Here are the schools:

1. BYU Cougars, West Coast Conference, Provo, Utah

2. Clemson Tigers, ACC, Clemson, SC

3. Columbia Lions, Ivy, New York, New York

4. High Point University Panthers, Big South, High Point, NC

5. Idaho State Bengals, Big Sky, Pocatello, Ida.

6. Kentucky Wildcats, SEC, Lexington, Ky.

7. Lafayette Leopards, Patriot, Easton, Pa.

8. Montana State Bobcats, Big Sky, Bozeman, Mont.

9. Penn State Nittany Lions, Big Ten, State College, Pa.

10. Pitt Panthers, Big East, Pittsburgh, Pa.

11. Priceton Tigers, Ivy, Princeton, NJ

12. Vermont Catamounts, America East, Burlington, Vt.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

College Schools Nicknames- Retro Metro

Yes, there was once a college basketball conference called the Metro Conference, but it ceased to exist in the mid-1990s. But, today we remember the conference with its member schools (not all were in the Metro at the same time).

Since we are limiting these lists to 12 schools, we had to omit the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets, the first Metro team to defect to the ACC in 1979.

Four of these schools, Louisville, Memphis (the school was called Memphis State in its Metro days), Cincinnati and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) have reached the Final Four in men's basketball, while Louisville has won two NCAA titles in the sport. VCU has also qualified for this year's NCAA tournament by winning their conference tournament.

Here is the list of Metro Conference schools with their present conferences (note about the image, Virginia Tech has a club hockey team, not a NCAA team in the sport):

1. Cincinnati Bearcats. Big East. Cincinnati, Ohio.

2. Florida State Seminoles. ACC. Tallahassee, Fla.

3. Louisville Cardinals. Big East. Louisville, Ky.

4. Mephis Tigers. C-USA. Memphis, Tenn.

5. Saint Louis Billikens. Atlantic-10. St. Louis, Mo.

6. South Carolina Gamecocks. SEC. Columbia, SC.

7. South Florida Bulls. Big East. Tampa, Fla.

8. Southern Missippi Golden Eagles. C-USA. Hattiesburg, Miss.

9. Tulane Green Wave. C-USA. New Orleans, La.

10. UNC Charlotte '49ers. Atlantic-10. Charlotte, NC

11. VCU Rams. Colonial Athletic. Richmond, Va.

12. Virginia Tech Hokies. ACC. Blacksburg, Va.

NCAA School Nicknames- Angry Birds

Yes, this might be one of the zaniest things we've done in a long time, well perhaps not, but since March Madness is descending upon us (for those of you in Latvia or Bolivia, March is the month when both men's and women's college basketball teams play for championships here in America), we thought we would put together some lists of several colleges with unique nicknames.

Please note, most of these teams are not actually going to playing in the NCAA tournament, which will be announced on Sunday. But, from this list, we can guarantee that the Creighton University Bluejays from Omaha, Neb., will be at least one of the teams representing the Misouri Valley Conference as they won their conference tournament.

Both the Lehigh Mountain Hawks and the LIU-Brooklyn Blackbirds play in their respective conference tournament title games tonight. Lehigh will face Bucknell in the Patriot League, while LIU-Brooklyn faces Robert Morris in the Northeast Conference title game.

The logos for the two teams here are for the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks and the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners.

All of these teams have nicknames pertaining to birds.

Here is the list:

1) Air Force Falcons. Mountain West Conference. Colorado Springs, Colo.

2) Ball State Cardinals. Mid-American Conference. Muncie, Ind.

3) Boston College Eagles. ACC. Boston, Mass.

4) Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. Big South. Conway, SC.

5) Creighton Bluejays. Missouri Valley. Omaha, Neb.

6) Delaware Fighting Blue Hens. Colonial Athletic. Newark, Del.

7) Lehigh Mountain Hawks. Patriot League. Bethlehem, Pa.

8) LIU-Brooklyn. Northeast Conference. Brooklyn, NY.

9) Marquette Golden Eagles. Big East. Milwaukee, Wisc.

10) Oregon Ducks. Pac-12. Eugene, Ore.

11) Texas-San Antonio. Southland. San Antonio, Tex.

12) UNC-Wilmington Seahwaks. Colonial Athletic. Wilmington, NC

For more nicknames with fowls, check out our sister blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time."

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Quote of the Day/Week- Alicia Sacramone

We were going to quote American Olympic gold medal winners this month (for those of you blogging in from Argentina or Greece, I will quote international gold medal winners next month), but we realized two things: 1) Alicia Sacramone, women's gymnastics team captain of the 2008 Beijing Olympics team won a team silver and 2) Sacramone is sure to get more hits per day than 1984 Los Angeles gold medal winning gymnast Mary Lou Retton. So, we are 'cheating' today, by quipping Sacramone.

The 2012 Summer Olympics will take place in London this summer.

In 2010, Sacramone made a huge comeback by winning a gold medal on vault at the world gymnastics championships in Rotterdam, Holland.

Sacramone is a graduate of Winchester High School in her native Winchester, Mass.

In 2006, Sacramone had the tremendous distinction of competing in college gymnastics for Brown University in Providence, RI, while taking a full class load and still competing as an elite gymnast!

Last year, Sacramone made headlines again, but this time because she posed nude (the actual published pictures are actually partial nude shots) for the 'Body Issue' of "ESPN" magazine along with women's soccer star goalie Hope Solo.

Here is Sacramone's quote:

"Missing the Olympic team gave me the push I needed. I stepped it up a couple of notches and did my stuff."

SIDEBAR: It appears to be a virtual certainty that no local colleges will represent the Greensboro/Winston-Salem, NC, area in the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

Today, North Carolina A & T fell to Howard University from Washington DC in the MEAC tournament. Three other local universities fell in their respective conference tournaments: Elon and UNC-Greensboro lost in the semi-finals of the Southern Conference, which was won by another North Carolina college in Davidson (which is near Charlotte) and High Point lost to eventual Big South champions UNC-Asheville in the the quarter-finals of the Big South Conference.

This means that Wake Forest, a very low seed in the ACC tournament, must somehow prevail over the likes of UNC, Duke and Florida State in Atlanta this weekend for a team from the Triad to get into the NCAAs.

Quote of the Day/Week- Bob Dole

Since today is Super Tuesday, which means that Republicans in Georgia, Tennessee and Ohio and seven other states will choose their candidate to represent the party in the general election against President Barack Obama, we thought we would quote a famous Republican.

This month, we will be quoting men who got their party nod, but failed to win the general election. Here, we will quote Bob Dole, 88, and on our sister blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time," we will quip George McGovern, 89, who lost the 1972 election to Richard Nixon.

Dole represented Kansas in the U.S. Senate from 1969-1996. Though he is most known for losing to Bill Clinton in the general election of 1996, Dole was also Gerald Ford's running mate in 1976. He is thus the rare individual who was on the ticket with an incumbent president who was not that president's vice president (Ford's veep was Nelson Rockefeller) and also one of the few people who was on two losing tickets. This is made more ironic because Dole is a Republican, and they have a 5-3 advantage over Democrats in terms of the presidency since 1968.

Dole was born in Russell, Kan. He went to the same high school as his Republican U.S. Senate colleague Arlen Specter, who stunned The Hill by becoming a Democrat as the GOP was moving more to the right.

Dole's wife Elizabeth Dole was also a U.S. Senator, as she represented north Carolina for one term. Bob Dole has also said publicly that he hopes Newt Gingrich will not become president of the United States.

Here is the quote of the day/week from Bob Dole, which helps confirm my view that the National Zoo in Washington, DC, and the U.S. Congress may have more in common than one might think:

"If you're hanging around with nothing to do and the zoo is closed, come over to the Senate, you'll get that same kind of feeling there and you won't have to pay."

Monday, March 5, 2012

Quote of the Day/Week- Uma Thurman

Today and this month we are quoting who were born in 1970 as I was. We start with the ever-gorgeous Uma Thurman who turns 42 on April 29th. It has recently been reported in the media that is pregnant with her third child.

Thurman is best-known for her roles in films directed by Quentin Tarantino, including "Pulp Fiction," "Kill Bill, Volume 1" and "Kill Bill, Volume 2."

As one might expect, it was hard to find a good image of Thurman to 'borrow' here as many of them are indeed quite revealing. But, it was also hard to get an image from her films that fit in with the space we have.

Here is her quote, which is indeed very shocking, but for the reasons one might presume:

"Even today, when people tell me I'm beautiful, I don't believe a word of it."

SIDEBAR ONE: Kudos to the men's basketball team from UNC-Asheville, as the team won the Big South Conference title and will now likely play a one or two-seed in the NCAA tournament. The Bulldogs (24-9), the top seed in the Big South tournament, defeated the seventh-seeded VMI Keydets 80-64 on its home court. Jeremy Atkins lead all scoring for the Bulldogs with 18 points.

SIDEBAR TWO: Only in Turkey, my late father's country! Two soccer games over the weekend were played in 'front of women and children' only. Soccer hooliganism is rampant in Turkey as it is in neighboring Greece, but yes, even though I'm a Turkish-American, this seems both silly and excessive. Assuredly, everyone in Turkey will defend this exercise even they think it's silly and excessive too.

The results of the two game that were played under these conditions were:

Bursaspor 3 Karabukspor 0

Trabzonspor 2 Besiktas* 1

*- the Istanbul soccer power is pronounced Beshiktash in English.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Silly Image to Fill Space- Yes, Today is My Freaking Birthday

Yes, today, March 4, is my 42nd birthday. I have been curious for a while if I shared my exact birthday with someone famous and the closest match I found is Alex Criville, a presumably retired Spanish world champion Grand Prix motorcycle racer.

Other celebrities who were born on March 4th, include the Canadian actress and former "SCTV" star Catherine O'Hara, who is 58 today, and Paula Prentiss, an acclaimed actress whose career peaked in the '60s and '70s, who is 73 today.

Ironically, Rick Perry, the Texas Republican governor I highly oppose politically as he has executed more inmates than any governor in American history turned 62 today.

Thankfully, Perry, who was running for the Republican nomination, is out of the race!

As for politics on the other side of the world, the BBC is reporting that Vladamir Putin beat out his rival Vladamir Putin to become the new Russian prime minister (ok, my words not the BBC's!).

SIDEBAR: The answer to this week's Rabbit Ear Quiz is B) Fred Grandy served eight years in Congress.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

From the Record Collection (8 of 8)_ Squeeze "Argybargy"

We conclude this series with the third record from the British new wave band Squeeze entitled "Argybargy," which was released in 1980; the album is best-known for its catchy cult hit "Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)," which I once included on my perfect album side for the radio station 96.3-FM (Roanoke,Va.) way back in 1991.

One of my other favorite tracks on the record "If I Didn't Love You" which is the first song on side two in the American version of the album was surprisingly not a single even though it features a perfect keyboard sound from Jools Holland coupled with excellent drums from Gilson Lavis.

All songs on "Argybargy" were written by the song-writing duo of Chris Difford ad Glenn Tilbrook; the album also features the perfect break-up pop song "Another Nail in My Heart."

Later songs from Squeeze, a band that was more commercially successful in the United Kingdom (but critically acclaimed here in America as well) include "Tempted" and "Is That Love" from "East Side Story" (1981) and "Black Coffee in Bed" from "Sweets from Strangers" (1982).

I was very surprised to see that the band is not only still active, but on the verge of a North American tour.

Squeeze kicks things off by playing at the House of Blues in San Diego on April 10th. They then play some east coast dates, including a concert at Rams Head Live! in Baltimore on April 27th.

Friday, March 2, 2012

From the Record Collection (7 of 8) Blondie "Eat to the Beat"

Today, we profile the punk band Blondie's fourth studio album "Eat to the Beat" (1979) which I found for a mere four bucks at a flea market in Greensboro, NC. The record had huge expectations as it followed the band's breakthrough smash "Parallel Lines" (1978), an album that included Blondie's arguably most-famous song "Heart of Glass."

"Eat to the Beat" had three singles of its own, including "Dreaming," "Union City Blue" and (my personal favorite Blondie tune) "Atomic," which was covered by the band Sleeper for the soundtrack of "Trainspotting." Subsequently, it has also been covered by Party Animals.

The video for "Atomic," featured the famous fashion model Gia Carangi, who died from AIDS at age 26. That troubled icon who was also a heroin addict was played by Angelina Jolie in the HBO film "Gia" (1998).

The fact that Blondie's lead singer Debroah Harry, who was also a regular at Studio 54 in New York and who has acted in many films, had blonde hair created mass confusion as many thought Blondie and Harry were one in the same. In order to clarify this, the band came up with a "Blondie is a group" campaign.

Harry founded the band with her lover Chris Stein, a guitarist.

A fourth single "Slow Motion" was meant to be released but the band was a victim of its own success as "Call Me," the theme from the Richard Gere movie "American Gigolo" recorded by Blondie became a number-one smash hit.

Harry was recently interview by the NPR-show "Sound Opinions."

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sports Desk- UCLA Reaches High Scores Vs. Arizona St.

On Sunday, UCLA Bruins junior Vannessa Zamarripa (pictured here), whose name we always have a hard time spelling, (two rs and one p!), helped her team reach its highest score since the 2004 Bruins squad that won a NCAA Title.

Zamarippa scored a 39.625, which we be the rough equivalent of scoring 36 points in a basketball, and she was thus named both PAC-12 Gymnast of the Week and UCLA Student Athlete of the Week.

Samantha Peszek, Zamarippa's Bruins teammate and who also had a solid meet against the Sundevils, has also been named PAC-12 gymnast twice this season.

The Bruins scored a 198.050 team score over Arizona State, which also had an impressive score of 194.85 in their road meet. Sundevils sophomore Samantha Seaman had a carer-high on all-around with 39.175.

Zamarripa score a 9.925 on both beam and floor; conversely she got a 9.9 on vault.

The Bruins now head to Athens, Ga., which lost to top-ranked Florida in a major SEC road meet last weekend; the Bruins face the Bulldogs (Gym Dawgs) on Friday at 7:30 p.m., eastern time.

In another key Pac-12 meet, Arizona won a home meet over Washington by a score of 195.675-194.925

Freshman McKenzie Fechter, for the visiting Huskies, set a new career on all four events. Fetcher had an all-around score of 39.375. Fechter tied for first on beam with 9.85, and second beam and bars (with 9.85s on each event). Her teammate senior Ruby Engreitz had a season-best 9.825 on bars.

For the home team Wilcats, sophomore Shana Sangston and junior Molly Quirk both a 9.775 on vault, an event that was won by their teammates Abree Cristello and Jordan Williams, who each scored a 9.850.

The 'Cats also had strong nights from seniors Katie Matusick and Britnie Jones.