Friday, November 30, 2012

Virtual Postcard of Kansas- Big Brutus

Since it is late here at 'the office,' and we want to get this out before 1:00 a.m. New York Time, I thought I would act like I am writing a postcard to Ahmed Sabah, a fictional person, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where it is now almost 10:00 a.m.

Dear Ahmed,

Greetings from Kansas, well actually I'm in Kentucky now. But, I picked up this postcard for you of Big Brutus, a big coal shovel in West Mineral, Kan., which is no longe in use (for more info go to Wikipedia); I just got "Grease 2" in from Netflix, and I want to watch it before 3:00 a.m.

Best regards...........

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Virtual Postcard from Missouri- Chuck Berry Statue

Greetings from Missouri, yes we really are in the Show Me State though we are pretty far from St.Louis, where one can see this statue of the rock and roll legend Chuck Berry, who is thankfully still among the living.

Good morning to those of you in Dubai, where it is now 9:00 a.m. We're not sure if Fly Emirates has direct flights to St. Louis, but we imagine you can jump on a British Airways flight at Heathrow Airport from London to St. Louis, which was home to the now-defunct American airline TWA (1925-2001).

Missouri's largest city is also known for its baseball team the St. Louis Cardinals, the second winnigest team in Major League Baseball history.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Virtual Postcard from Illinois_ Abraham Lincoln's Springfield

Wow! We had the hardest time getting this image of the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois, which is also the state capital, posted!

Let's just say that it is one of many Springfields in America (others include Virginia, Vermont and Kentucky), as for the setting of the animated sitcom "The Simpsons," that is said to take place in Springfield, Oregon.

"The Washington Post" recently profiled Lincoln sites in Springfield, Ill., for the Sunday travel section. Lincoln is hip again thanks to the new Steven Spielberg film of the same name, which was filmed in the Richmond, Va., area.

Very Expensive Things to Buy for the Holidays

Well, we didn't get around to posting an entry time for Cyber Monday, which is our annual tradition (uhmmm......we better get Javier the Intern to verify that).

But, here are some expensive as heck things you can get a friend or family member should you be as loaded as Mitt Romney or Bill Gates, and, of course, you should expect nothing in return:)

1) Outer Banks vacation home in Nags Head, NC, (yeah, thats the reason for the loggerhead turtle image): $600,000.........hey, it's cheaper than a private island in Brazil

2) 2012 Rolls-Royce Phantom: It retails from between $380,000-$450,000_ be sure to kick the tires, at least twice.

3) A round-trip Quatar Airways flight from Washington, DC to Singapore: $2,599.

4) A Rolling Stones signed tongue logo poster with Mick, Keith, et al: $995

5) Jimmy Choo gold leather sandals (pictured top): $600

6) Tony Lama antique men's alligator boots (pictured bottom) $504.99

SIDEBAR: We want to wish the University of North Carolina Tarheels' women's volleyball team well as they face Cal-Berkeley in the first round; that tournament game wlll be played at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, on Thursday at 6:00 p.m., Chapel Hill time.

We also want to wish the 'other UNC,' the University of Northern Colorado Bears from Greeley, Colo. well as they face Oregon on the Ducks' home court, Friday at 11;00 eastern time, which is the same as 9:00 p.m. Colorado time.

Another North Carolina college team, the North Carolina State Wolfpack face Texas A & M on Turs. at 5:00 p.m. Raleigh time in Austin, Tex.

Lastly, one can expect a competitive women's NCAA volleybal game when Brigham Young hosts New Mexico State in Provo, Utah, at 9:00 p.m., eastern time, which is the same as 7:00 p.m. Utah time.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday Comics Dialogue- Study Hard

Greetings to everyone around the world. We are tempted to mock my alma mater WUVT (90.7-FM, Blacksburg), the student-run radio station of Virginia Tech which proclaims to be the 'greatest radio station' in the world, but we have to much respect for them, and we're not sure that the gloating is meant to be serious. But, I can say we are very popular in Russia for reasons we aren't sure of ourselves.

Before we get to dialogue from the Nov.18th edition of the Sunday "Washington Post," let's take a look at weather temps around the country: Los Angeles 55 degrees with fog; St.Louis is 52 and mostly sunny; Boston is 38 and mostly sunny; Washington DC is 40 and cloudy.

Now, let's jump in the pool:

1) "I've figured out why a lot of American cities are in decline" (from "Candorville")

2) "I know; my mom tends to hover over me during midterms" (from "Zits")

3) "When I was in high school, a test like that steered my future" (from "Frazz")

4) "....And, no more tv till your spelling improves" (from "Family Circus")

5) "I'm having second thoughts about my pre-Thanksgiving regimen" (from "Foxtrot")

6) "Think about someone you love" (from "Reply All")

7) "I'm thankful for good friends" (from "Dennis the Menace")

8) "But daddy I'm on Facebook" (from "Blondie")

9) "Don't you pay attention to the news?" (from "Sherman's Lagoon")

10) "Where do you keep the turkey baster?" (from "Garfield")

11) "First I have t finish stirring these dirty clothes" (from "Hagar the Horrible")

12) "I'll look forward to it," (from "Judge Parker")

13) "I have a huge lip gloss problem" (from "Agnes")

14) "Unfortunately, doc I live my life with no regrets" (from "F-Minus"*#)

*-Not a strip "The Washington Post" carries

#-Strip ran on Nov. 18th (today)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Virtual Postcard from Indiana-The Town of Santa Claus

Yes, there actually is a town called Santa Claus, Indiana. It's relatively easy to find the 47579 zip code, which is in the southwestern part of the state. The town of some 2,000 residents is located off the busy I-64 highway, which is one of longest east-west roads in America.

The town's logo is: "Celebrate Christmas every day of the year here." It is the only juridiction with the name Santa Claus in the world, and Christmas cards from children around the world are sent here as is apparently the case with North Pole, Alaska.

Heritage High School is the local high school in a town that was originally named Santa Fe, which was changed because of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

We passed Indiana several days ago on our own east-west roadtrip.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Virtual Postcard from Ohio_ Jungle Jim's

Today, we are contiuning with our series of the eight states that we have been to with a Virtual Postcard from Ohio from Roanoke, Va., to Denver, Colo., with an image of Ohio even though we actually just missed going through there.

This photo is of Jungle Jim's International Market in Fairfield, Ohio, near Cincinati.

The place is a theme park of food that was established in 1971; according to Wikipedia this place has the largest collection of wine in the United States!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Virtual Postcard from Kentucky-Mammoth Cave

We are featuring a Virtual Postcard from Kentucky (we featured another VP from the Bluegrass State last November) with an image of the world-famous Mammoth Cave National Park,which is 87 miles away from its nearest airport in Owensboro, Ky.

Kentucky is one of the eight states we are featuring in regards to our rather lengthy Thanksgiving road trip (which concluded yesterday, but we go back on Tues.) was from Roanoke, Virginia, to Denver, Colorado.

Among the highlights of the day was a discussion about food dishes which are actually made from the super-sweet Captain Crunch cereal which all of us who grew up in the '70s are well-acquainted with; these dishes include Captain Crunch fried chicken and Captain Crunch french toast. Somehow, I suspect that Dr. Mehmet Oz (Dr. Oz), a fellow Turkish-American who has reached celebrity status as a good health advocate, would not recommend either of those platters.

It was also fun to watch the Macy's Thankgiving Day Parade from New York on tv this morning, among the highlights were seeing Kermit the Frog, Sonic the Hedgehog and McKayla Maroney, the American Olympic gymnast who has now become a meme for her famous disappointed facial squint.

And, we are happy to report that our good friend Chris Knight of Reidsville, NC, deep-fried a turkey for the tenth year in a row without doing bodily harm to himself. That is indeed something to be thankful for!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Virtual Postcard from West Virginia_ The State Capitol

We took a monumental Thanksgiving week drive from Roanoke, Va., to Denver, Colo., which took us through eight states. We will be posting various images of each state throughout 'the work week."

Today, we start off with West Virginia. On Sunday, the first day of the trip, we had the following unique expericences:

1) In Roanoke, Va., less than one mile into the trip we were pulled for going 38 MPH in a 25 MPH zone; the police officer was kind enough to let us off with a warning..

2) In Pembroke, Va., a hamlet in Giles County we ate a foot-long vegeterian sub at Subway, which marked the first meal of the trip.

3) Near Princeton, W.Va., we believe we saw the first road kill of the trip, which came in the form of a dead deer.

4) In Beckley, W.Va, we noticed several far right, pro-coal industry billboards which accused President Barack Obama of being a 'jobs killer;" this seems like a waste of fnds as West Virginia was not a swing state.

5) In Charleston, W.Va., we drove by the state capitol shown above.

Well, that is all for today; we're still a bit fatigued, but we can send you a link to today's "Blondie" comic srip:

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sunday Comics Dialogue- Augh; Turkey Day Is Coming

Greetings. It's 9:00 p.m. in Hartford, Conn., Bethesda, Md., and in Winston-Salem, NC, where a city council meeting is making place at city hall (where else?); it's 8:00 p.m. in Chicago and St.Louis, 7:00 p.m. in Boulder, Colo., and 6:00 p.m. in Los Angeles.........whereever you are, you're with the BBC........hmm, it sounds so much cooler when they say that on the BBC.

Today, we are taking comic strip dialogue from the Sunday, Nov. 18th edition of "The Roanoke Times" in Roanoke, Va., which alas does not feature hip comic strips like "Rhymes with Orange" or "The Knight Life" (shout out to Keith Knight!) but it does still have "Funky Winkerbean."

Let's roll:

1) "Do you want the pig, the kitten, or the panda" (from "Baby Blues")

2) "How come you wanted to come to the bookstore, goat?" (from "Pearls Before Swine")

3) "Are you sure this a cool look?" (from "Agnes")

4) "I wanna open the door myself, mom." (from "For Better or For Worse")

5) "I know, my mom tends to hover during midterms" (from "Zits")

6) "Anyway, that's why I called because I knew you'd be interested and I just wanted to tell you about these things...." (from "Peanuts")

7) "But, if we're having Thanksgiving dinner at your mom's, why are you doing all the cooking" (from "Sally Forth")

8) "My wife is out of town visiting her sister" (from "Dilbert")

9) "This month, he's talking and like he's black" (from "Jump Start")

10) "So, if you can't shout fire in a crowded theater...." (from "Funky Winkerbean")

11) "And no more tv until spelling improves" (from "Family Circus")

12) "But, daddy, I'm on Facebook," (from "Blondie")

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Greetings from Mister Lizard

Greetings to those of you in Dubai, where it is now 9:30 a.m. and in Istanbul, where it is 7:30 a.m.

We conclude our look at reptiles and amphibians with an entry dedicated to the green anole lizard, a reptile, that is found in the United States, Cuba and Jamaica. This lizard changes its colors based on its surroundings, and the anole has a diet which includes crickets, cockroaches and spiders, according to

SIDEBAR: Since we talked about the University of North Carolina's women's volleyball yesterday, today we thought we'd turn our attention to the other UNC_ the University of Northern Colorado Bears. The Greeley, Colo.-based school's women's volleyball team won a key road game against the University of Northern Arizona Lumberjacks (yes, we think it's an odd name for women's athletic team as well) in Flagstaff, Ariz, on Saturday night.

UNC (21-10, 14-6 in the Big Sky Conference) won over UNA (23-6, 14-6) by a score of 3-0 (25-19,25-20, 25-18). Tambre Haddock, a sophomore from Longmont, Colo., had 11 kills and 14 digs for the Bears while Kelley Arnold, a senior from Berthoud, Colo., had 14 kills and 9 digs for the Lumberjacks.

The game was senior night for the Lumberjacks; Annie Gott, Kelli Dillmann and Jen Wilson were among the five seniors who were honored before the game.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Greetings from Mister Frog

Even though none of us are biology majors here at "The Daily Vampire," we were startled to learn that frogs are not reptiles, but rather amphibians; we were thus unsure if we should include them as part of Reptile Week or not.

But, the frog lobby in Washington, D.C., lead by Cong. Clarence G. Burton (D-Va)*, made us decide that frogs deserved a blog entry of their own, so here it is.

The image here is of a poison dart frog, commonly found in Costa Rica as well as other Central American countries as well as South American countries, like Peru and Bolivia.

The poison dart frog is known for its bright-colored body. According to Wikipedia, most of these creatures are endangered species, and they live in tropical rain forests.

The Saint Louis Zoo is one American zoo which has an abundance of frogs, though we're not sure which types of frogs they have. We'll have to ask Javier the Intern** when he clocks in tomorrow morning.

And, greetings to those of you in Karachi, Pakistan, where we gather it is between 9:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m., according to "Mental Floss," this is the time of the highest Internet traffic during the day, at least during the week. Of course, we should ask "Wired," a monthly technology magazine if their indirect competitors are accurate, but Javier is overwhelmed right now, especially since we're not paying him.

SIDEBAR: We were hoping to cover more women's college volleyball this year than we have, but we did get a chance to watch the women's volleyball game between the University of North Carolina and Virginia Tech live from Chapel Hill, NC, over the Internet at a Denny's (thanks for the good wi fi, Denny's).

Though it was a fairly competitive game, the home team Tarheels (we have also seen them referred to as the Tar Heels, but we have enough headaches right now) won in straight sets 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-21). UNC's standout player Emily McGee, a senior from Naperville, Illinois, guided the 'Heels with 15 digs and 11 kills.

For the visiting Hokies, Samantha Gostling, a junior from Charlotte, NC, had 11 kills.

UNC hosts the University of Virginia for Senior Night on Saturday, while the Hokies head down the road from Chapel Hill to Raleigh to face North Carolina State.

Here are the other ACC women's vollyeball scores from Friday night; the home team is marked with a # sign.

#Georgia Tech 3 Wake Forest 0

#Miami (Fla.) 3 Boston College 0

#Clemson 3 Duke 2 (more on this game on our other blog:

#Florida State 3 Maryland 0

*-Cong. Clarence G. Burton was an actual Democratic congressman from Virginia, but he died at age 91 or 92 back in 1982. We figured using a dead member of The Hill would cause us fewer problems.

**-Javier the Intern is a fictional character, though he has been a running gag on this blog for quite a while now.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Greetings from Mister Snake

We are continuing on with Reptile Week, which is not something we planned.

Good morning to those of you in Dubai where it is now 9:30 a.m., which is said to be the top blogging traffic time here in America. But, by this time tomorrow, we fully expect that we will be picking up dry-cleaning from Bergmann;s Cleaning in the DC-suburb of Arlington, Va.*

For today's entry, we are focused on the Inland Taipan snake which is said to have some of the strongest venom in the world. It can be found in Australia, but it is presumably shy and has only bitten scientists in the lab. No report on the alive or dead status of those who were bitten.

One can see this breed of snake as well as other such poisonous snakes as the Water Cobra, the Black Mamba and the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake at the Cape Fear Serpentarium in Wilmington, NC, which we first heard about in an article in "Oxford American," a quarterly literary magazine out of Arkansas, several years ago.

For tomorrow's entry, we are contemplating a look at frogs. Other reptiles can be found on our sister blog:

*-We don't actually reside in the Washington, DC- area

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Reptile Week Cont'd_ The Alligators

Yesterday, we started with the turtles. We forgot to mention that the Minnesota-based folk/rock band Trampled By Turtles will be performing in Buffalo, NY, at the Town Ballroom and The Port City Music Hall in Portland, Maine, on Dec. 2, in addition to their show at the Newport Music Hall in Columbus, Ohio. The band plays many other days in the northeast during that interval as well.

For those of you in North Carolina, my good friend folk singer Bruce Piephoff will play at the Southern Lights Bistro in his hometown of Greensboro, NC, on Nov. 29 and Dec. 4; I'm not sure if he has ever written a song about reptiles.

Today, we continue with the mighty alligator, which can be found from North Carolina to Florida here in United States. Initially, we were going to post an entry for crocodiles, which were the subject of a kitschy, but catchy Elton John song "Crocodile Rock."

But, we couldn't find a good image of Gustave, the notorious man-eating croc in the central African nation of Burundi to use. Gustave, who has reportedly devoured some 300 people, perhaps some of whom were photographers, was mentioned in a "Mental Floss" article about Burundi within the last year.

That same magazine said that 9:30 a.m. was the best time to post blog entries. It's actually 9:30 p.m. here on the east coast, but it is that time in Beijing, China, right now.  Perhaps, it's that time in Hong Kong too.

The Crocodiles are also the nickname of the Turkish soccer team Bursaspor, located in Bursa, Turkey, in western Turkey; the city is Turkey's fourth largest. This weekend the Crocs' tied Istanbul powerhouse Besiktash 3-3. I suppose taking photographs of the game is less risky than sneaking up on Gustave.

As for alligators, if one is in St. Augustine, Fla.,  then one can visit the St. Augustine Alligator Farm in St. Augustine, which is open from 1:00-5:00 p.m. (In Turkish)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How to Say Turtle in Four Different Languages

Perhaps, it is because we love the comic strip "Sherman's Lagoon" (see last entry), which features not only the exploits of Hawthrone the Hermit Crab, but also Fillmore the Sea Turtle or because we like the folk/rock band Trampled by Turtles, from Minnesota, that will perform at Newport Music Hall in Columbus, Ohio, once they have finished touring the United Kingdom and Ireland, but we thought we'd look up the word for turtles in eight different languages.

The other four will be posted on our sister blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Times:"

Here we go:

1) Kaplumbaga- Turkish pronounced Kap-loom-baah

2) Schildpad- Dutch

3) Zelva-Czech

4) Tartaruga- Italian

Monday, November 12, 2012

Comic Strip Dialogue- Be Aware of Scorpions and Hermit Crabs

We started blog entries with comic strip dialogues on a whim several weeks back, and we've discovered that they've become hits with the blog-viewing public, perhaps even in the former Yugoslav republic of Slovakia (for those of you in Slovenia, this a joke, I was actually good at geography in high school; geometry_ not so much)!

We are not going to quip any lines from "Doonesbury, " because we suspect that if we got a cease and desist order it would come from Garry Trudeau, even though we love the politics of his comic strip.

Of course, I am asking myself is this an Andy Warhol soup can kinda thing, or is this sort of illegal, like something Banksy, who ironically did a take on Charlie Brown in one of his most famous pieces of art/vandalism. We won't be quoting Charlie Brown here, but we will be quipping Linus.

These comic strip all appeared in yesterday's Sunday edition of "The Washington Post:"

1) "Nelson, I told you to pick up your Lego blocks." (from "Pickles")

2) "That was Liz, she had to cancel our date" (from "Garfield")

3) "Yes....Is there a problem?" (from "Knight Life," my favorite comic strip......shout out to Keith Knight, please don't sue me)

4) "Help! Help! Help!" (from "Hagar the Horrible")

5) "I've been trying to find out why I didn't vote" (from "Candorville," my favorite comic strip....shout out to Darrin Bell....please don't sue me)

6) "Soooooooooooo, what are you getting mom for Christmas?" (from "Sally Forth")

7) "Pay attention to expiration dates" (from "Reply All")

8) "Ed, will you please hold my purse?" (from "Dustin")

9) "Well, that's offensive" (from "Speed Bump")

10) "You're Touched All Right! What's Going on Here?" (from "Judge Parker")

11) "Relax, Honey! Just my inner child running wild" (from "Dennis the Menace")

12) "Well, my dear, I wouldn't want to deprive you of so great a pleasure" (from "The Amazing Spiderman")

13) "Sometimes, I don't think you're committed to this relationship" (from "Sherman's Lagoon," said by a hermit crab, top image)

14) "You come back here and turn on this tv! If anyone is someone, I am!!!" (from "Peanuts," said by Linus)

15) "Quick! What can kill giant scorpions?"  (from "Brewster Rockit")

16) "I hate this procedure. It's cruel and absurd." (This is actually from "Post" columnist Gene Weingarten from his weekly column 'Below the Beltway,' he also cow-writes the comic strip "Barney and Clyde").

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Election Day by the #s- Ok, Maybe This Was a Bad Idea

First of all, we salute our veterans today on Veteran's Day. I am particularly remembering my late stepfather Donald Sullivan (1918-2003) who served in the European theater in World War II. He sure is missed.

When we started this project of tallying Election Day results, we had no idea how involved we would get in the process, and our efforts have seemingly not paid off, as we have received very few hits. But, perhaps there is someone in Singapore who wants to know how swing states, like Nevada, Colorado and Florida voted. And, hopefully, for that particular person, this information is beneficial.

Here are the numbers:

50.9- Percentage Mitt Romney got in Jefferson County (Martinsburg), West Virginia

46.9- Percentage for President Barack Obama in Jefferson County, W.Va, the jurisdiction he came closest to winning in the Mountaineer State.

106- The number of votes that Obama won by in the City of Winchester, Va.

51.2- Percentage of the vote that Obama got in the City of Staunton, Va.

61.3- Percentage that Romney got in rural Floyd County, Va.

68.3- Percentage Obama got in Santa Cruz County, Ariz., his highest in a state that went red.

76.6- Percentage Romney got in rural Yuma County, Colo., a state that went blue

55.4- Percentage Obama got in Pueblo County, Colo.

64.6- Percentage Cong. Jim Moran (D-Va.) got in his re-election bid

61- Percentage that Cong. Gerry Connelly (D-Va) got in his re-election bid; Cong. Bobby Scott (D-Va) is other Democratic congressional representative from Virginia, which has eight Republican members of the house.

94.4-Percentage that Cong. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), the house minority leader got in his re-election bid; he is the only Democrat from South Carolina on the Hill.

90.4- Percentage that Romney got in Cimmaron County, Oklahoma, one of three states where he won every county.

58.2- Percentage Romney got in Salt Lake County, Utah, the most progressive part of the Beehive State

49.8- Percentage Obama got in Sandusky County, Ohio, a vital swing district

47.9- Percentage Romney got in Sandusky County, Ohio

75.2- Percentage Romney got in Elko County, Nevada- a state that went blue.

54.7- Percentage Obama got in Teton County, Wyoming, the lone county he won in that state.

59.5- Percentage Romney got in York County (Rock Hill), SC, which is a Charlotte, NC-suburb

63- Number of votes Obama won by in Clark County, Iowa

50- Percentage for Obama in Bucks County, Penn., a county Romney campaigned in two days before the election.

49.8-Percentage Romney got in Bucks County, Penn.

344- Number of votes Romney won by in rural Dinwiddie County, Va. (near Petersburg)

148- Number of votes Romney won by in Van Buren County, Mich.

83- Percentage of Puerto Rican vote that went to Obama in Florida.

48-Percentage of Cuban vote in Florida for Obama, an all-time high for a Democratic candidate

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Election Day by the #s (3 of 4)_ How Obama Won in Virginia

The image above is of Natural Bridge, which is located near Lexington, Va. Though his opponent Mitt Romney fared better in the Shenandoah Valley, with the exception of college towns like Harrisonburg, Obama dominated in the Washington, DC-suburbs, and Richmond. Obama also won in the cities of Roanoke, Danville and Norfolk.

Here is a look at the numbers for my home state:

22,179_ Votes that Obama got in the City of Roanoke, my hometown

14,116- Votes for Romney in Roanoke

19,753- Votes for Romney in Lynchburg, Va., home of Liberty University

15,905- Votes for Obama in Lynchburg, a jurisdiction he won in 2008

60.6-Percentage for Obama in Danville

38.6-Percentage for Romney in Danville

52.2- Percentage for Romney in Halifax County (South Boston)

46.6- Percentage for Obama in Halifax County

260,835- Votes Obama got in Fairfax County

173, 286- Votes Romney got in Fairfax County

81.2-Percentage Cong. Bobby Scott (D-Va) got in his reelection bid

58. 8-Percentage Cong. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) got in his reelection bid

907- Number of votes Romney got in Rich County, Utah

83- Number of votes Obama got in Rich County, Utah

Friday, November 9, 2012

Election Day By the #s (2 of 4)_ Ms. Duckworth Goes to Washington

Most of the numbers are in, and the good news is that Cong-elect Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) is going to The Hill with a 55-45 percent victory over Cong. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), one of only 20 incumbents to lose this seat, which means 95 percent of the House is returning to Washington, D.C.

The bad news is that among the 95-percent is Cong. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.). After winning the Ames, Iowa, Straw Poll, Bachmann just barely edged out Democratic challenger Jim Graves to keep her seat. On expects that she will continue to be one of the most vocal far, far members of the House.

Her fellow Minnesota House member Cong. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), one of the most progressive members on the Hill and the first and only Muslim congressional representative elected kept his seat by a considerably wider margin in a win over Republican Chris Fields.

Here are the numbers (we have some fun with these at the very end):

8,620- Number of votes that Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson got in New Hampshire, a swing state

697- Number of votes that Socialist Party candidate Peta Lindsay, who is only 28, got in Vermont.

72.8 %- Percent Mitt Romney got in Utah, the state in which he got the most support

70.6 %-Percent President Barack Obama got in the state of his birth, and is also the state in which he got the highest support.

51.2 %- Percent Obama got in Colorado, a swing state

50.6%- Percent Romney got in North Carolina, a swing state

46.1 %- Percent Romney got in Wisconsin, which went to Obama, in spite of being Paul Ryan's home state.

69%- Percentage of the Jewish vote that went for Obama

20, 938- Number of votes Duckworth won by.

13,000- Number of votes separating Martha McSally (R) from taking the seat that belonged to former Cong. Gabrielle Giffords before she was shot in Tempe, Ariz., early last year

11,400- Number of votes that Dan Forest (R) is winning by over Linda Coleman (D) in North Carolina's lt. governor race.

4,802- Number of votes Bachmann won by.

18- Number of women gymnasts on North Carolina State's team roster

15- Number of players on Georgetown's men's basketball team roster

14- Number of points Florida State was favored by against Virginia Tech

6- Number of points Florida State won by (the final was 28-22 in Blacksburg, Va.)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Election Day By the #s (1 of 4)_Good Thing Hawaii Isn't a Swing State

Yes, the camel wrestling match is over and kudos to President Barack Obama in winning re-election over a feisty challenger in multimillionaire Mitt Romney.

Before we get to the numbers, let's run down three major U.S. Congress races:

Tammy Duckworth, 44, the double-amputee from her years of services in the Iraq War,  won as the Democratic challenger to Cong. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), who was just one of 20 incumbents to lose his or her seat.

But, Cong. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), one of most far right members on the Hill, maintained her seat by the slimmest of margins over Democrat Jim Graves.

Similarly, though he lost as Romney's veep choice Cong. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) had a surprisingly close scare from his challenger Rob Zerban, but in the end Ryan won by a 55-44 percent margin.

And, in another surprise, a Democrat won a House election in Montana as state senator Kim Gillian won over Republican Jonathan Paton.

Now, as they say on "Market Place," one of our favorite daily NPR radio programs, 'let's do the numbers:'

60,602,103_ The number of votes Barack Obama got in the 2012 election.

57,776,942_ The number of votes Mitt Romney got in the 2012 election.

48,886,097_ The number of votes George H.W. Bush got in the 1988 election (The first year I voted)

41,809,074_ The number of votes Michael Dukakis got in the 1988 election

62.7 %- The percent Obama got in New York state

62.3 %- The percent Romney got in West Virginia

56%- The percent Obama got in Maine

52%- The percent Obama got in Pennsylvania (a swing state)

303- The number of electoral votes Obama got (if the present holds up, it will equal the same number that President John F. Kennedy got over Richard Nixon in 1960)

206- The number of electoral votes Romney got

29- The number of electoral votes for Florida which has yet to be called

53- The number of Senate seats belonging to Democrats

45- The number of Senate seats belonging to Republicans

5-The number of Senate seats which changed hands

3- The number of Democratic gains in the Senate (Conn., Indiana and Mass.)

2- The number of seats won by independents in the Senate (Maine and Vermont, both will sit with Democrats)

1- The number of seats gained by Republicans (Nebraska) and independents (Maine)

0-The number of Senate incumbents who lost his or her seat

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It's Election Day in America

As a resident of North Carolina who is from neighboring Virginia, today's election, in spite of the constant tv ads, radio spots, mailings and robo calls, is of great interest: North Carolina carries 15 electoral college votes whereas Virginia has 13. But, Ohio with 18 electoral college votes is considered the most important battleground swing state.

In the Sunday edition of "The Washington Post," Chris Cillizza who is an excellent non-partisan political analyst with his 'Post" blog 'The Fix,' predicts that President Barack Obama will get 277 electoral college votes while his challenger Mitt Romney will have 261; Reid Wilson of the non-partisan "National Journal" forecasts that Obama will get slightly more votes 294 for Obama and 244 for Romney.

Hopefully, everyone will get a chance to vote. I am fortunate to live in a swing state and I realized that people in Fort Mill, South Carolina, which neighbors the Tarheel State, and Bluefield, West Virginia, which neighbors Virginia, have to be agonized over the fact that their state is not in play.

Similarly, people in far away places like Baku, Azerbaijan, and Nairobi, Kenya, are watching this election very closely, perhaps in some cases just as much as Americans.

Lastly, in order to be 'remotely' objective, we should point out that the top image is of a Greek donkey (it may actually be from Macedonia); I am a Turkish-American:) (a satirical publication)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pre-Election Day Tweets_ Rallying the Troops

Perhaps, in a more perfect world, an independent voter in Blacksburg, Va., a college town  with Virginia Tech which happens to be in Montgomery County, one of the most politically split jurisdictions in America according to today's "Roanoke Times." could order "Red Dawn" (1984) and the Michael Moore documentary "Sicko," about the decline of the American health care system from Netflix and invite uber-partisan liberals and conservatives for a wine and cheese party.

That's not likely to happen, but one thing all sides might agree on is how expensive political races are becoming. "Indy Week" announced in its current issue that Chad Barefoot, a 29-year-old Republican, has spent $916,754 to face incumbent state senator Doug Berger, a Democrat, for a Wake County (Raleigh) state senate seat. Reportedly, most state senators in North Carolina make circa $40,000.

These are insane times indeed, and perhaps that is reflected in these tweets we collected from last night:

1) @PaulFeig (Creator of the cult tv show "Freaks and Geeks"): "Whichever candidate you support, make sure to take down the sign in front of your house immediately, if they win. Nobody likes a gloater."

2) @PaulBegala (Paul Begala, a center-left tv commentator): "Okay @CNNOpinion, here's final predictions: POTUS wins with 297 electoral votes; Romney 241.

3) @TeaPartyCat (Top Conservative Cat, actually a liberal political satirist): "Chris Christie: 'I'm still very satisfied with Obama and FEMA. And, oh, thanks Mitt for saving New Jersey with $5,000 of canned goods."

4) @AnnaMarieCox (Anna Marie Cox is a liberal pundit in Minnesota, a swing state): "Just today, a reporter asked me: 'Do you know how they're getting all these people to Romney rallies? Answer: By force?"

5) @tbtduluth (Trampled by Turtles, a popular band from Minnesota): "Remember when your politics, religion, and income were nobody else's goddamn business? That was nice."

6) @NRO ("National Review," a conservative magazine): "Romney's Bucks County, PA, rally matches President Bush's in '04 just 5 days before he defeated John Kerry." (Of course, we should point out that these tweets do not necessarily reflect the views of our managing editor Tilly Gokbudak, who happens to be moi).

7) @MMFlint (Michael Moore, pictured bottom with glove; the liberal icon is ironically from Michigan, Romney's state of birth, also a swing state): "Plus, a few dozen Repubs need 2 be removed from the House if Obama is 2 get anything done. Every swing state has a Repub or 2 who need 2 go."

8) @BilgeEbiri (Bilge Ebiri is a movie critic for "New York" magazine): "I think the strangest irony of this election might actually be that Scott Brown appears poised about losing his senate seat."

Sunday, November 4, 2012

For Our International Audience_Let's Get the Times Right

Since the local times have changed in America as standard time replaced daylights saving time, we thought we would let our followers, especially those of you in other countries, know what time it is in New York or Washington, DC, both of which are here on the east coast, compared to your part of the world.

We did not go into eastern Asia (Japan, China) and Australia because of time and space considerations.

Here we go; it is now midnight here in the east coast of America, so here we go:

12:00 a.m.

New York



2:00 a.m.

Buenos Aires

3:00 a.m.

Rio de Janeiro

5:00 a.m.

Akureyri (Iceland)

London (pictured)

6:00 a.m.



7:00 a.m.


Istanbul (pictured above, that is actually Burgaz Island near Istanbul)


Tel Aviv

8:00 a.m.

Dubai (Fly Emirates plane pictured center)


Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

This is NOT an Endorsement-3 Third Party Candidates

Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode, a former Congressman from Rocky Mount, Va., is trying to become Virginia's ninth president. Good luck!

Here is a look at Goode and two other individuals running for president as third party candidates, and yes_ one of them is actress/comedian Roseanne Barr, who also turns 60 today.

Virgil Goode: In an interview with "Huffington Post Politics," Goode, who served in Congress from 1997-2009, said that President Barack Obama had done a bad job in the White House, and if elected Mitt Romney would be just as ineffective.

Ironically, Goode, who went from Democrat to Republican to the Constitution Party, a third party with a far right agenda, could help Obama win a second term since he man from Franklin County has a loyal following in south central and southwest Virginia. He is expected to take votes away from Romney, and "Politico" shows Virginia, our home state, as a virtual dead heat which is very slightly leaning towards the Republican Party candidate.

Goode also helped Doug Wilder become Virginia's first black governor, but this was when Goode was a Democrat. No one seems to be sure if Goode actually underwent an ideological change as he has been known for being fiercely independent. Even when he was a Democrat, Goode had a more conservative voting record than the likes of Cong. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va).

The Rocky Mount native has also been a strong supporter of guns and the tobacco industry, which went through his congressional district in areas, such as Danville and South Boston.

Goode was defeated by Democrat Tom Perriello in 2008; though Perriello was respected on the Hill for being a hard-working freshman, he was voted out by the conservative constituents in his district who favored Robert Hunt, who is now running against John Douglass to keep his house seat.

Jim Clymer is Goode's running mate.

Gary Johnson: The former Republican who served as governor of New Mexico from 1995-2003 is known for supporting radically low taxes. But, he is most known for calling for the legalization of marijuana. During his time in Santa Fe, Johnson worked to decriminalize pot. Johnson also opposes the war in Afghanistan and he has called for immediate troop withdrawal. Interestingly,  Johnson has received support from ardent liberals who see Barack Obama as being 'conservative.' And, as one might expect, Johnson is popular with the Ron Paul crowd, and he has been supported by the libertarian magazine "Reason." Johnson's running mate is Jim Gary, a California judge, who supports legalization of marijuana.

Roseanne Barr: Surprisingly, there are two presidential candidates who were born in Utah. Neither of them is Mitt Romney, who was born in Michigan, and both Barr and Rocky Anderson, who are both running to the left of Obama, are not Mormons.

Barr won an Emmy for her title role in the sitcom "Roseanne" (1998-1997), and she was a standup comedian before that. After losing the Green Party bid to Jill Stein, Barr joined the Peace and Freedom Party, which has actually been in existence since it dawned as a protest group opposed to the Vietnam war in 1968.

Cindy Sheehan, who became well-known as an anti-war activist after her son who was serving in the military was killed in Iraq, is Barr's running mate; neither of them has held political office.

For a look at three other third party candidates, go to our other blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time:"

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Funny Pages Dialogue_ Let's Go Shopping

A few weeks ago, we thought about writing up a strange conversation involving nothing but dialogue from Sunday comic strips. Of course, this is, in part, because we envy people like cartoonist Stephen Pastis of "Pearls Before Swin." We still love his comic strip even though he created a character called Ataturk the Spitting Llama. In case this is your first time visiting our blog, it is edited by a 'prominent' Turkish-American named Tilly Gokbudak, who happens to be, well, me. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is the founder of the Republic of Turkey.

And, we have nothing against Pastis, who is a Greek-American, although we may ask Jim Toomey who draws "Sherman's Lagoon" to create a character called Karamanlis the Octopus, after former Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis.

So, with that, here is some dialogue from comic strips featured in the Oct.14, 2012 edition of "The Roanoke Times."

"Shopping? Ok. I've got $126.13....How much do you need? (from "For Better or Worse")

"White Castle Rules!" (from "Agnes")

"What Happened?" (from "Baby Blues"

"Well, I'll be. She's sound asleep!" (from "Classic Peanuts, a line said by Charlie Brown)

"So, what's going on here?" (from "Funky Winkerbean")

"Take a look at this resume" (from "Dilbert")

"What's wrong, Red? You look frustrated." (from "Sally Forth")

"Tomorrow is another day." (from "Garfield")

"We need a little bull session after the game." (from "Hi and Lois")

SIDEBAR: We are diligently waiting for the score from today's Wake Forest-University of North Carolina women's field hockey (well, we believer, men's field hockey which is very popular in Pakistan, is not an NCAA sport) in the second round of the ACC tournament. The Tar Heels are hosting the Demon Deacons in Chapel Hill, NC, and the game is in session as we speak.

But, the reason for this mention is because we noticed in yesterday's edition of "The Daily Tar Heel" that UNC midfielder Kelsey Kolojechick has a very long name! UNC beat my alma mater Radford Univeristy* at home in their final regular season game 6-1 but we won't hold it against them.

For Wake Forest, Jess Newark, a freshman, scored a goal and two assists in the team's 3-1 first round win over Boston College.

And, we will salute Alayna Versage, a junior for RU, on being named all-conference in her sport (the Highlanders do not compete in the ACC).

Of course, field hockey has become a bit more popular since the gold-medal winning Dutch field hockey team got lots of coverage at the London 2012 Olympics.

*Radford University is located in Radford, Virginia.

THIS JUST IN: Though we are not in Chapel Hill, we can report a final as UNC wins over Wake Forest 4-0 to advance to the ACC final, which UNC will also host. Kelsey Kolojechick had an assist in the victory.