Sunday, June 30, 2013

High Schools of the Week_ From Northside HS to Northwestern HS

Since we last blogged about our high school films, we thought we'd dedicate at least one entry to 'our favorite high schools' in America. I decided not to use my own alma mater of Glenvar High School in Salem, Va., to avoid a conflict of interest. But, we are featuring Huntington High School from Huntington, W.Va., which has the same school nickname: The Highlanders.

And, greeting our blog readers in Croatia (kudos on getting into the European Union), Sweden and Azerbaijan.

We do wonder if any of the high school biology teachers in this respective school is showing the episode of the PBS series "Nature," which illustrated why the Black Mamba snake, found heavily in Swaziland, is among the deadliest reptiles on the planet.

Here are our high schools:

1) Northside High School (pictured top). Nickname: The Vikings. Location: Roanoke, Va. Principal: Frank Dent. The school had 988 students in 2007-08.

2) Clarke Central High School. Nickname: The Gladiators. Location: Athens, Ga. Principal: Dr. Robbie Hooker. Notable alumni: Kim Basinger (class of 1972).

3) Huntington High School. Nickname: The Highlanders. Location: Huntington, W.Va. Principal: Greg Webb. Enrollment: 1,600. Notable alumni: O.J. Mayo of the Dallas Mavericks.

4) Western Alamance High School (pictured center). Nickname: The Warriors. Location: Elon, NC.
Newspaper: "West Side Story." Head football coach: Jeff Snuffer.

5) Walt Whitman High School. Nickname: The Vikings. Location: Bethesda, Md. Principal: Dr. Alan Goodwin. Enrollment: 1,928. Newspaper: "The Black and the White." Notable alumni: Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Mark Halperin (news reporter/analyst) and Spike Jonze (film director).

6) Northwestern High School (pictured bottom). Nickname: The Trojans. Location: Rock Hill, SC.
Principal: James Blake. Enrollment: 1,800 Notable alumni: Former NFL and Notre Dame star Jeff Burris. Then-candidate Barack Obama spoke at the school on Oct. 6, 2007.

SIDEBAR: Kudos to Caroline Brailsford of Patrick Henry High School in Roanoke, Va. The volleyball player was named the Girls Athlete of the Year by "The Roanoke Times."

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Blogging in 3.5 Minutes or Less_ Our Favorite '80s High School Films

Whether you are a supporter of Cong. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) or Cong. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), you will probably agree that brevity is not one of our strengths.

With that, and greetings to our blog-readers in Mozambique, Venezuela and Jordan, we bring you the latest installment of Blogging in 3.5 minutes or less.

Today, we are going to list our six favorite high school films, with no order of preference, from the 1980s.

This idea came to mind when saw that The Sundance Channel, which along with IFC airs reruns of the cult tv show "Freaks and Geeks," which ran for 18 episodes in 1999, asked followers of its Facebook page what their fav high school film was. It is also Throwback Thursday here in America, and perhaps in Jordan too.

 Here are our's:

"Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (1982; pictured_ yes, that is a year young Nicholas Cage)

"The Outsiders" (1983)

"Porky's" (1983)

"Risky Business" (1983)

"The Breakfast Club" (1985)

"Heathers" (1988, which is the year I graduated from Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland*)

*-Not really where I went to school

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Blogging in 3.5 Minutes or Less....The Six Largest Cities in Alabama (Our 1,500th entry)

Today, we are starting a series which includes entries on our sister blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time" in which we go over the six largest cities in all 50 states.

Greetings to our blog readers in Belgium, Hungary and Italy.

Here we begin with Alabama. As a college gymnastics fan, I've been impressed with the University of Alabama's women's gymnastics team, which is a perennial power.Ashley Priess, a fifth year senior who just graduated, was named the school's female scholar-athlete of the year. Priess, who has two surgically repaired ankles, helped guide the two-time national champion Crimson Tide to a third place finish this year.

The state flower of Alabama is the Cameila, pictured top.

Here are the state's six largest cities; we gather Birmingham has a very nice zoo. Their web site reports that two red pandas were recently born at the zoo. Yesterday, the National Zoo in Washington, DC, was in panic mode as Rusty, one of their red pandas, had escaped, but he was found unharmed yesterday afternoon :

1) Birmingham 212, 237

2) Montgomery (the capital) 205, 764

3) Mobile 195, 111

4) Huntsville 180,105

5) Tuscaloosa 90, 468

6) Hoover 81, 619

SIDEBAR: We are delighted to hear that one of our favorite movie theatres in the world, the Lale Sinema in Buyukada, Turkey, (Buyukada is an island that is part of the Istanbul metro area) is showing "The Impossible" with Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor. Lale Sinema is one of the very few remaining outdoor cinemas in Turkey.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Blogging in 3.5 Minutes (or less.........) Turkey's six largest cities

Hmmm..............trying to post a blog entry in 3.5 minutes, which is also the same length as the Elvis Costello anthem "Peace, Love and Understanding," is always a challenge.

First, let's say hello to our fans in Latvia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic, three countries which didn't exist when I was born in 1970!

Also, in order to arbitrarily increase hits today, we will mention Selma Blair, Anna Paquin and Miss Utah (alas with this compressed amount of time we don't have time to ask Google for her name!).

Here are the six largest cities in Turkey, my late father's country, which is in many times my country as well. We also like to take a moment to dedicate his entry to Duran Adam/The Standing Man (yes, we don't have to ask Bing what his name is as well) :

1. Istanbul (pictured) 13 million

2. Ankara (the capital) 4.5 million

3. Izmir 3.3 million

4. Bursa 1.9 million

5. Adana 1.57 million

6. Gaziantep 1.5 million

Monday, June 24, 2013

Blogging in Three and a Half Minutes (or less).........Games Children Play

Yes, today we are just going to use an image of a dodgeball in our effort to save time and energy, and besides our intern Javier the Intern is vacationing in Vermont (this is an in-joke as Javier is a fictitious person, and well, we'd like to be in Vermont actually).

Let us take a minute to greet those of you in Israel, South Africa and Malaysia, who might be checking us out today.And, to generate more hits, we will arbitrarily mention Jon Hamm, Nik Wallenda and the Rev. Joel Osteen.

Wallenda is that crazy guy who walked a tightrope across the Grand Canyon in Arizona last night. Since he is a Christian fundamentalist, he brought Osteen along for support.

Today, we are going to ask a simple question, which one of these sports was the favorite sport of Tilly Gokbudak, our managing editor (well, he is actually moi) while growing up in Roanoke, Va.

Was it?:

A) Dodgeball (pictured)

B) Kickball

C) Volleyball

D) Softball

E) Bowling

The winner gets a free ticket to see Dwight Yoakam perform at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC, on June 21:)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Six Degrees of Separation fro Kevin Bacon: The Girls of Beverly Hills 90210

She was only on "Beverly Hills 90210" for a few episodes after she was fired from the show (?!), but we have decided to put two-time Oscar winner Hillary Swank (pictured bottom) on this select list of female stars of the teenage or tweenage soap opera which ran for 10 years and 292 episodes.

For this entry, we are looking at how many degrees of separation each actress is away from Kevin Bacon. And, as to not offend, blog readers in Algeria, Dubai and Pakistan, we have halal bacon (yes, we are not making up!) as out center image.

Let's start with Tori Spelling (pictured top), she is two degrees separated from the star of the original "Footloose" as was in the film "Sol Goode" (2003) with Octavia Spencer who was in "Beauty Shop" (2005) with Bacon.

Or 'fellow Turkish-American' (well, she is like one-eighth Turkish) Tiffani Thiessen is also two degrees removed as she was in "Ladies Man" (2000) with Julianne Moore who was in "Crazy Stupid Love" (2011) with Bacon.

Shannen Doherty, one of the anchor stars of '90210,' was in "Night Shift" (1982) with Clint Howard, who was the brother of that film's director Ron Howard, and Clint was in the tear-jerker "My Dog Skip" (2000) with Bacon.

Lastly, Swank was in "P.S. I Love You," which is NOT one of the films she Oscared for with Harry Connick Jr. who was also in "My Dog Skip" with (you guessed it) Kevin Bacon!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

And, Now a Quick Word from Our Sponsors- Cola Turka

Tonight's sponsor is Cola Turka, a product that once featured commercials with Chevy Chase, yes that Chevy Chase, you know the one who said: "I'm Chevy Chase and you're not" on "Saturday Night Live."

There is also a Washington, DC, suburb called Chevy Chase, Maryland, where conservative commentator George F. Will reportedly resides.

We will also mention that country singer/actor Kris Kristofferson will be performing at the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival on Aug. 3rd in Orkney Springs (Mount Jackson), Va.

Now, it's time for us to move on to other things and finish working on up coming blog entries!


Friday, June 21, 2013

The Return of Friday Night Tweets: Drug Bust in Hurricane, West Virginia

There is a full moon out tonight, and sure enough lots of crazy effing stuff is going on. The tweet from "The Toronto Sun" is an eye-catcher as is one from "The Charleston Gazette" in Charleston, W.Va. We also have tweets from Baltimore and Chapel Hill  (NC) as well.
Let's get started:
1) The Baltimore Sun @baltimoresun (image top): A1: Edward Snowden charges with spying, Somber Police Academy graduation. Man gets his name off sex offender list. School divides community.
2) Charleston Gazette @wvgazette: "Three arrested in Hurricane meth bust. Hurricane, WVa_ Three people were arrested Friday.....
3) Wall Street Journal @wsj (image center): "Average American slept 8 hours, 44 minutes per night in 2012"
4) Chapel Hill Magazine @chapelhillmag: "So proud of @DiamondHeels. What a season! It was so fun to witness their talent, resilience and heart."
5) The Daily Tar Hell @dailytarheel: UNC falls to UCLA 4-1 to end season.
6) The Toronto Sun @TheTorontoSun (image below; the late 1960s children's show "H.R. Pufnstuf" has been closely associated with weed): "Fired pot-smoking City of Ottawa worker fails to convince court his reefer madness is disability."
7) Samantha Peszek (a UCLA gymnast): "Proud of the @UCLABaseball team right now....Absolutely killin it!"

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Now Showing: Films at Independent Cinemas in the USA (East Coast Edition)

Since putting this together took way more time than we expected, we are going to post new films opening at independent cinemas in America and/or perhaps elsewhere just once a month on Friday as opposed to once a week on Friday as we had planned.

But, here are movies which are showing at independent arthouse cinemas from New York to Athens, Ga., they include the Lyric Theatre in Blacksburg, Va., the West End Cinema in Washington, DC, and a/perture Cinema in Winston-Salem, NC.

These are not necessarily the only films showing at each venue as only the Lyric and the Vinegar Hill Theatre in Charlottesville, Va., are one-screen venues.

The images above are of Sarah Polley, the director of the documentary "Stories We Tell," which is showing at the West End (it will show at the Lyric starting on June 28th), Greta Gerwig, the star of "Frances Ha," showing at the Cine in Athens, Ga., and Sofia Coppola, the director of "Bling Ring," which is showing at the Vinegar Hill.

On our sister blog "Politics, Culture, and Other Wastes of Time" we will list films showing west of the Mississippi River.

Going from north to south, we start with Film Forum in New York, which is showing the acclaimed Danish film "A Hijacking," about Europeans who have their boat hijacked by Somali pirates. The film shows in New York at 1:15; 3:15; 6:00; 8:00 and 10:10 p.m. (times may vary).

In the nation's capital, "Stories We Tell," which is a documentary about how Polley, a Canadian film star, found out her father was not actually her biological father. The film has a very high 7.8 rating on the IMDB. It will show at the West End during the following times on Saturday: 11:20 (a.m.); 1:40; 4:00; 6:40 and 9:00 p.m.

At the Vinegar Hill in Charlottesville, one can see "The Bling Ring," which we believe is the "Lost in Translation" director's fifth film at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. In Virginia's other major college town, "Mud" is showing at the Lyric in Blacksburg at 7:00 and 9:30; with a Sunday matinee at 3:00 p.m.

On Saturday, a/perture in Winston-Salem is showing "Much Ado About Nothing," directed by joss Whedon ("Cabin in the Woods") at 1:15; 3:45; 6:15 and 8:45.

Lastly, way down in Athens, Ga., Cine is showing "Frances Ha"at 5:15 and 7:15, with an additional 9:15 screening times starting on June 24.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Times Around the World: From Boston to Baku


We were going to look at what our favorite people were saying on Twitter; we are especially curious what comic actor Marc Maron and fellow liberal Turkish-American Cenk Uygur are tweeting, but as it is, Javier the Intern told us to keep it simple tonight.

So, we are looking at times around the world, but rather than going with Grenwich Mean Time, we are going to look at times compares to New York City when it is midnight in the Big Apple.

Here we go:


Boston 12:00 a.m.
Denver 10:00 p.m. (map of Colorado is pictured)
San Diego 9:00 p.m.

South America

Rio de Janeiro 1:00 a.m.
Buenos Aires 1:00 a.m.
Quito, Ecuador 11:00 p.m.


Nairobi, Kenya 7:00 a.m. (Mount Kenya pictured top)
Cape Town 6:00 a.m.
Casablanca 5:00 a.m.

Former USSR

Moscow 8:00 a.m. (Misha the Bear pictured top)
Yerevan, Armenia 8:00 a.m.
Baku, Azerbaijan 9:00 a.m.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Free Form Blog Entry: We'll See How This Goes

Today, we are trying something new. I am going to use six terms: Richard Nixon, Julie Delpy (a French actress now in "Before Midnight," pictured center), New York Mets, Star Trek, New Zealand and Efes Pilsen (a Turkish beer) and try to make a flash fiction piece out of it. Don't try this at home!

Here we go:

"Stan was reading an article about the 'Nixon in China' opera in 'Mental Floss' when his ex-girlfriend Diane called and asked him if he wanted to come over to her apartment in Brooklyn and watch '2 Days in New York' with Julie Delpy and Chris Rock.

But, Stan realized he had promised his friend Woody that he would go to the New York Mets game with him. Though, Stan wasn't as interested in baseball as he had been in his youth. He wasn't even sure whom the Mets were playing. 'Is the Pittsburgh Pirates?,' he asked to himself.

Then, Stan got another call from a platonic female friend Florence who wanted to see the new Star Trek movie with. 'Star Trek' was another thing Stan had lost interest in. He then realized that women in black bikinis were about the only things from his twenties which still interested him.

He then imagined himself traveling to New Zealand, and getting away from it all. Stan then opened his fridge, and he found a mysterious bottle of Efes Pilsen, a Turkish beer. 'Where the hell did this come up,' Stan asked?

Stan popped open the brew and watched C-Span trying to decide what he would do that night, and which of the friends he shouldn't try to disappoint. Two hours later, he was still watching C-Span."

Monday, June 17, 2013

Turkey: The Land of the Hijab and the Bikini

Today, I will skip my usual political rants against right-wing Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which might make some think I'm a cranky middle-age man like American comic actor Marc Maron, and illustrate that Turkey is ultimately a country caught between two fashion trends: the hijab and the bikini.

And, for good measure as we say here in the states, we've thrown in a burqini (also spelled burkini as well); all of these definitions are from Wikipedia. We are aware that this entry could get us banned in Dubai and Pakistan; but it could make us more popular in Canada. As my favorite comic strip cartoonist Keith Knight says (paraphrase), Canada is the one place that all Americans can still make fun of:

Hijab: A veil which covers the head which is particularly worn by a Muslim female beyond puberty in the presence of non-related adult males.

Bikini: This is a type of women's two-piece swimsuit designed to provide minimal coverage of the body. One part covers the breast and one part covers the groin and part of or the entire buttocks.

Burquini: A Swimsuit for Muslim women designed by Lebanese Australian Ahena Zametti. The suit covers the whole body except the hands, face and feet. (Turkish newspaper in English) (Marc Maron's podcast) (Keith Knight's comic strip "Knight Life") (Our sister blog, which will feature much of the same text as this one, but with different images).

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Top Five Places Turkish PM Erdogan Should Defect To

Yes, we think it is time for Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to not only resign, but leave the country, preferably for good. We suspect that this very blog, which gets like 13 hits a day, is actually blocked in Turkey. Ironically, we are apparently not blocked in Turkey's rival nation Armenia. And, we also seem to be blocked in Syria.

But, whether people in Istanbul, Bursa or Eskisehir can read this entry or not, we are going to recommend some places for Erdogan to go to:

1) Saudi Arabia (flag on top): A perfect choice for three reasons_ it is place Uganda's dictator Idi Amin went to and never left (Amin died there), it is one of the most conservative Muslim countries in the world so Erdogan should make lots of friends there, and most importantly, most of the country is made up of the Arabian Desert.

2) Turkmenistan (flag in center): I'm sure this dictatorship will welcome another dictator (though Erdogan was democratically elected with 34.3 percent of the vote) with open arms.

3) Canada (bottom flag): Actually, to be more specific, we were thinking about the Yukon Territory. Perhaps, Erdogan would be exceptional at dog sledding.

4) Russia: Vladamir Putin seems like Erdogan's kind of guy, plus there is Siberia.

5) Algeria: It was the last country Erdogan went to on his dubious north African tour, this time he should go back there and stay!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Word of the Day: Hubris

We actually came up with this idea because of the ruthless authoritarianism displayed by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayypid Erdogan. But, given that we don't want to see his face or hear his voice after the sickening images of riot police cracking down on protesters  at Gezi Park and Taksim Square in Istanbul yesterday, we are going with an image of The Shah of Iran instead.

We also suspect that our blog could possibly be blocked in Turkey as there have been no hits from my late father's country in several days, but on the bright side our sister blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time" is getting hits from Pakistan.

'Hubris:' (According to Wikipedia) Means extreme pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's competence or capabilities_ especially when this person is in a position of power.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Things We Learned on Bing Today: KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines) Founded in 1919

Since we are a bit pressed for time today and we want to find out new information on the latest round of police crackdowns against protestors in Istanbul, Turkey, stemming from the government's decision to graze historic, scenic Gezi Park in Taksim Square, we are going to return to an old stand-by.

For these segments, we ask a major search engine a general question. Today, it was: "When was KLM founded?"

As it turns out, the Dutch carrier happens to be the world's oldest airline operating under its own name. KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines) was founded in 1919; the major hub of the airline is Shiphol Airport in Amsterdam.

KLM has 136 destinations around the globe. It merged with Air France in 2004, and the Dutch airline is also a member of the SkyTeam Alliance.

Perhaps, it's time to go back and visit Amsterdam, we we did in 1993 to revisit the Vincent Van Gogh Museum!

The Netherlands is also one of the countries in which the blog receives the most amount of hits, though per capita, we think either Latvia or El Salvador might be the two countries in which we are most popular...........perhaps?!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Our Top Ten Comic Strips for This Week- Hermit Crabs, TED Talks and Norwegian Lemmings

Last year, we took lines from Sunday comic strips and made a collage out of those words for a series of entries. But, since those entries were very time-consuming, and we thought we might get the wrath of Bill Griffith, the cartoonist of "Zippy the Pinhead," among others, we decided to try the same concept in another way.

Our absolute favorite comic strip of the week was "Brevity," which made fun of TED Talks, and hence we have English education maverick Kenneth Robinson, a frequent TED contributor, in the middle image.

Other highlights included Tom Batiuk's "Funky Winkerbean," which dealt with two pizzeria guys talking about their high school days. Batiuk was in our region over the weekend as he visited our friends at Chapel Hill Comics in Chapel Hill, NC. The strip is carried in "The Roanoke Times," the newspaper of my hometown of Roanoke, Va.

We also loved the conversation between a hermit crab (pictured top) and a Galapagos turtle in "Sherman's Lagoon" about how 'cool it is to be single,' though (SPOILER ALERT) at the end of Jim Toomey's comic strip this week, once senses one or both of them will seek out the underwater version at E-Harmony. Of course, one can see such undersea creatures at The National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland (come on, give us a free admission for the plug, we'll make the 7.5 hour drive in return!).

Lastly, "Pearls Before Swine," which is even in the "News and Advance" in Lynchburg, Va. (we love to make fun of Lynchburg here), featured the fate of Norwegian lemmings, creatures known to commit ritual suicide in droves every year.

Ironically, we are featuring the usually right-wing comic strip "Mallard Fillmore" because they made fun of Greek yogurt (the executive editor of this blog Tilly Gokbudak is a Turkish-American").

Here are ten of our favorite comic strips of the week (in alphabetical order as opposed to the more subjective order of preference); we found this comic strips in "The Washington Post" and the online version of "The Denver Post:"

1. "Brevity"

2. "Dog Eat Doug"

3. "Funky Winkerbean"

 4. "Garfield" *

5. "Lio"*

6. "Mallard Fillmore"

7. "Overboard"

8. "Pearls Before Swine" *

9. "Rhymes with Orange" *

10. "Sherman's Lagoon"*

*-Comic strips featured in the Sunday print version of "The Washington Post"

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Last Ten Vinyl Records I've Listened To_ Yes, Queen, Supertramp and Devo

1. Tom Scott "Blow It Out" (jazz) 1977

2. Devo "Freedom of Choice" (pictured top) 1980

3. Queen "The Game" (pictured center) 1980

4. Yes "The Yes Album" (1971)

5. Steely Dan "Katy Lied" (1975)

6. Men at Work "Business as Usual" (1981)

7. Tina Turner "Private Danver" (1984)

8. Supertramp "Breakfast in American" (pictured bottom) 1979

9. Robert Palmer "Pressure Drop"1975

10. Brownsville Station "School Punks" 1974

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Top Ten Random List of English-Language Films I've Seen Multiple Times.........(except "The Godfather")

Here in America, National Public Radio (NPR) has had an interesting series of interviews with film directors, actors and other celebrities have talked about films they can watch over and over again.

Among the surprises is that David Fincher ("Zodiac," "Fight Club") loves "Mary Poppins"!

There aren't that many films I've watched more than five times. As someone with a wide interest in films, it is simply challenging to watch every film of social or historical merit over and over again.

There are also many world and European films like Jean-Luc Godard's "Breathless," which I've seen multiple times, but for the sake of 'making it simple,' we are just going to focus on English-language films here.

I have also not decided to list films I watched often as a child, like "The Absent Minded Professor" or films I watched once too often as a teenager, such as "Bachelor Party."

And, this is not in order of preference:

1. "The Graduate" (1967)

2. "Planet of the Apes" (1968)

3. "Stagecoach" (1939)

4. "Psycho" (1960)

5. "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex........." (1972)

6. "Dr. Strangelove........." (1964)

7. "Pulp Fiction" (1994)

8. "Taxi Driver" (1975)

9. "Chinatown" (pictured, 1974)

10. "Life of Brian" (1979)

SIDEBAR: I have an article in a national Washington-DC based blog regarding the politically charged events happening in Turkey:

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon: The Stars of "Three Amigos"

Wow! We were actually experiencing Blogger's Block, something we seldom get stuck in here. In fact, if anything we have too many ideas, and we've worried that blogging was keeping us from doing the important things in life like grooming our pet Yorkie Terrier Mandy (this is a joke...btw).

But, we were listening to the Queen record "The Game," and the track "Another One Bites the Dust" made us realize that our faithful readers in Latvia, Slovenia and Bulgaria (yes, we do get regular hits from these places!) had to have a new entry for today.

So, we came up with a look at what is now a bit of a retro web site, since it became popular way, way back in the late 1990s: It is The Oracle of Bacon; the site refers to actor Kevin Bacon and it was devised by a former University of Virginia student.

For this entry, we initially thought we'd check out some very obscure actors, by American standards, including the late Turkish comic actor Kemal Sunal, who is three degrees removed from Kevin Bacon, but we thought that might just cause too much confusion.

Hence, we came up with the three stars of the kinda cult film "Three Amigos" (1986) which was a comedic homage of sorts to "The Wild Bunch."

Those three actors are Steve Martin (pictured top), Chevy Chase (pictured bottom) and Martin Short.

Steve Martin and Martin Short have both actually been in films with Bacon. Steve Martin was in "Novocaine" (2001) with the original "Footloose" star while Martin Short teamed together with him in "The Big Picture" (1989).

But, Chase is two degrees removed from Bacon. He starred in the film "Vegas Vacation" (1997) which also featured Jeffrey Donovan who was with Bacon in "Sleepers"(1996).

Steve Martin is also a highly regarded banjo player (in addition to being a writer), and he will perform with the Steep Canyon Rangers in Waterbury, Conn., on June 21.

So, there you go Blogger's Block is over, now we have to take care of insomnia!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Yes, Prime Minister_ Turkey's PM Says Twitter to Blame

The great Mel Brooks, who is thankfully alive and well, said the best way to make fun of your enemies is to make fun of them. As residents of Istanbul continued massive protests against Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's plans to build a shopping mall on the grounds of Gezi Park, we are going to that here as Erdogan hides away in Tunisia, his next stop on his North African foreign affairs trip.

It seems from speaking with my fellow Turkish-Americans that we might actually dislike this guy as much as Cuban-Americans despise Fidel Castro, but we are not all right-wing fanatics.

In fact, my fellow liberal Turkish-American Cenk Uygur skewered Erdogan quite well last night on his Current-TV talk show, by saying that the man thinks he can always get his way because he has been power now for just over a full decade, but the Marmara Sea's colors seem to be changing.

Here is Erdogan's actual statement about the 'causes' of the protests: "There is a problem called Twitter right now and you can find every kind of lie there," he said. "The thing that is called social media is the biggest trouble for society right now."

Quote of the Day- Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

We are dedicating this entry to the collective memories of Mehmet Ayvalitas, 20, who was killed in Istanbul, and Abdullah Comert, 22, who was killed in Antakya (Hatay/Antioch) during protests against the Islamist AK-Party government headed by Turkish Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is in Morocco today where he gave an apology for the excessive use of brute police force. But, for many of us of Turkish heritage as well as Turkish citizens of other ethnicities, Erdogan's best apology will be a full resignation.

The story of the protests, which are now being called "The Turkish Spring," is even a popular topic on "The Jerusalem Post" web site; Turkey and Israel have had strained relations due to Erdogan and his fellow right-wing counterpart Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's unyielding nationalist foreign policies.

Egyptian activist Gigi Ibrahim who was one of the leading figures in the Tahrir Square demonstrations in Cairo has also tweeted her views on the events in Turkey which started out as a small protest against the government's plans to build a development on Gezi Park, the last remaining open space in Istanbul.

This quote is from Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who founded the Republic of Turkey, in 1923:

"Mankind is a single body and each nation is a part of that body."

SIDEBAR: Many years ago, I wrote this unmailed postcard to a friend in what was then Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Today Belgrade is the capital of Serbia:

"Hi friend. This is just a test to see if you get this postcard. Peace and keep in touch. I'm always your friend no matter what happens."

The postcard was a photo image of Skyline Drive near Front Royal, Virginia.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Tweets on Situation in Turkey, 3rd Entry

Since those of who have opposed Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan have referred to him as 'The Turkish Bush' for years. Here is a look at the civic unrest in Turkey which going on into its fourth day:

1. Kaan Besinci: Oh my god! Erdogan was right! Terrorists! Hooligans! (we suspect this is a tweet in jest)

2. Emre Peker: "Some #occupygezi protestors clearing debris off the street of Dolmabahce by Inonu Stadium to clear road for cars."

3. Emre Saglam: "Sleep well dear Turkish media! You will be remembered as traitors. Enjoy your place in the hisotry.......#occupygezi"

4. Tayfun Eker: "The Turkish Government is killing the Turkish citizens. Police violence turned into hateful police authority."

5. Aysun Yurel: "Can't sleep and fearing for the safety of my friends' lives for the last two days.......Stop the violence! Just stop it! #occupygezi"

6. Elif Batuman: "I wrote about #occupygezi for @tnynewsdesk and it almost killed me. Respect to all the reporters out there!"

7. Witchy: "What's happening in #Turkey is a very good example of how quickly things can change when change seems almost impossible."

PS: We are listening to an excellent radio piece on the BBC about Azerbaijan and the country's territorial struggles with Armenia and domestic problems with the dictatorial government in Baku.

More Tweets Regarding Events in Turkey

Here are some more tweets regarding the events in Turkey. Various media outlets report that four people have been killed by the police who are cracking down on protestors in Istanbul. Protests are in full swing across Turkey as right-wing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken draconian measures to suppress his own constituents.

The BBC is reporting that 40,000 Istanbulians crossed the Bosporus Bridge by foot; the above image is of Taksim Square where the initial protest began.

Here are the tweets:

1) Juan Cole: Taksim Square Protests in Turkey spread to other cities. Police accused of brutality.

2) Hurriyet Daily News: #Photo Clashes over #Taksim Gezi Park protest spread across #Istanbul and #Turkey.

3) Mark Ruffalo (a famous American actor): "Be safe and strong! Something tremendulous is Happening in Turkey.

4) Mustafa Edib Yilmaz (a reporter with the conservative Turkish newspaper "Zaman"): "This is crazy. Turkey is a democracy unlike elsewhere in the a region where populist uprisings occurred. Here we have elections, not insurgency."

5) Gigi Ibrahim (an Egyptian activist who helped organize Tahrir Square uprising): "It is a little too pathetic for Egyptains to think that what is happening in #Turkey is about trees?! You have to be kidding right."

6) Rawya Rageh: "Starbucks staff in #Taksim are amazing! Gave us free coffee and doing same with protestors. Ystdy they gave ppl shelter, milk."

7) Kemal Saracoglu: "May 31, 2013: Turkey_ Istanbul Man is Killed by Police."