Saturday, November 30, 2013

Presidential Quotes (7 of 16): James Buchanan

Today, we quote James Buchanan (1791-1868), a Democrat who was the 15th president of the United States. He is surprisingly the only person from Pennsylvania, one of America's most populous states, to be elected to the presidency though ultra-conservative former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania tried to win the Republican nomination, that went to Mitt Romney, in the last election cycle.

Buchanan was also the only life-long bachelor to occupy the White House. He actually won a three-way race for the president over former prez Millard Fillmore and John C. Fremont, who was the first U.S. Senator from California.

Of course, the president after Buchanan was Abraham Lincoln.........but, here is the quote from Buchanan:

"The ballot box is the surest arbiter of disputes among free men."

Friday, November 29, 2013

Presidential Quotes (6 of 16): Franklin Pierce, the Only President from New Hampshire

Greetings to our blog-readers in Canada, The Bahamas and Peru.

When one plays the "Name All the Presidents" trivia game on the web site for "Mental Floss" magazine, President Franklin Pierce, the 14th president and the only to hail from the Granite State, New Hampshire, may be one of the names one is most likely to forget.

But, Pierce, who served in office from 1853-57, was able to overcome the tea party radicals of his day, and defeat the conservative Whig Party candidate Winfield Scott by a 50-44 margin. Pierce's veep was William King, from Alabama, who alas died of tuberculosis a mere 45 days after becoming vice president.

Here is his quote: "Frequently the more trifling the subject, the more animated and protracted the discussion."

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Presidential Quotes (5 of 16): Millard Fillmore...........not the duck

Greetings to our blog-readers in Dubai, France and Norway, where the English soccer team Tottenham Hotspur traveled all the way to Tromso, a city inside the Arctic Circle, in which the visitors prevailed 2-0.

Though he may not be a household name in France or even here in les etas unis, President Millard Fillmore was the fourth and final Whig Party member and the 13th man to rise to the presidency. In Fillmore's case, it was not an election but the death of President Zachary Taylor which allowed him the presidency. Fillmore was later on a 1938 postage stamp, and his time in office lasted from 1850-53. He was also a political conservative.

This brings us to Mallard Fillmore, a right-wing cartoon duck whom we must admit is quite amusing even though we prefer the progressive politics of comic strips like "Doonesbury" and "Knight Life" (by the ever-kewl Keith Knight), which is the brainchild of Bruce Tinsley.

"Mallard Fillmore" first became syndicated in 1994, and Tinsley got his start as a political cartoonist for "The Daily Progress" newspaper in Charlottesville, Va., which is ironically the most progressive zip code in Virginia.

Stephen Colbert made fun of Mallard Fillmore in 2006 saying that the duck was to right-wing media as Garfield was to lasagna.

Here is Pres. Millard Fillmore's quote: "It is not strange to mistake change for progress."

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgivingukkah from Papa Smurf

Greetings to our blog-readers in Nigeria, Cyprus and Japan. We have chosen Papa Smurf as the best pop culture entity to wish everyone a Happy Tahnksgivingukkah as a large helium balloon of him is likely to be in tomorrow's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and because images of Sonic the Hedgehog, who will also be in the parade, are too darn hard to find!
We have put together a dream Thanksgiving dinner list, which can be found on our sister blog:
Today (Thursday), we are celebrating Thanksgiving here in America, and this year the holiday overlaps with Hanukkah, so the term Thanksgivingukkah has been termed for the occasion.
Spiritual leader Kate Judd of the Shir Herharim Jewish community in Brattleboro, Vermont, told her local paper that she felt the mixture of the two holidays was a nice coincidence. Several years, we found out by chance that there is a synagogue in Waco, Tex., called the Congregation Agudath Jacob, where Rabbi Gordon Fuller is a minister.
In the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, the Hotel Strasburg in downtown Strasburg, a town of 5,000, that is an hour and half south of Washington, DC, will hosting a traditional Thanksging dinner to the public from 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m
Tomorrow, in Durham, NC, the largest vegan/vegetarian Thanksgiving diner in America will take place. The event organized by the Triangle Vegetarian Society has already sold out for seating. But, the event, first organized in 1992, will presumably be taking reservations for Thanksgiving2014 soon.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Futbol Notebook: All Three Istanbul Powerhouses Win in Weekend Domestic Play

Greetings to our blog-readers in Austria, Azerbaijan and Colombia.

Tonight, as Galatasaray prepares to head to Spain for a UEFA battle with Real Madrid, we reflect back on weekend domestic play in the SuperLiga which had some interesting headlines, especially in the Galatasary-Sivasspor match, but no major surprises as all three Istanbul powerhouses and perennial contender Trabzonspor all won their respective games.

We start with Fenerbahce, one of the three Istanbul power teams, had a fairly competitive 2-1 win over Antalyaspor on the road in Antalya, Turkey's largest resort city. For the Yellow Canaries, goals from Pierre Webo (Cameroon) and Moussa Sow (Senegal). The lone goal for the home team also came from an African player as Lamine Diarra (Senegal) scored.

The lone goal in Trabzonspor's 1-0 home win over Eskisehirpsor came from Paulo Henrique (pictured bottom, Brazil) in the 74th minute of play.

One of our favorite teams Bursaspor tied 1-1 at home in Bursa with Kasimpasha, the fourth team from Istanbul in the Superliga, with the home field Crocs' getting a goal from Sebastian Pinto (Chile) while another South American player Ezequiel Scarionne (Argentina) scored for the visitors.

Georges Mandjeek (Cameroon) scored the lone goal  in Kayseri Ericyesspor's 1-0 home win over Ankara G.B.

There were four red cards issued in Galatasaray's home win in Istanbul over Sivasspor, including three from the visitors from Sivas, a city in northeast Turkey. But, the game did see Turkish star Burak Yilmaz (pictured top) kick in his 100th career in the 13th minute of play. We have to thank our good friend Ahmet Bob Turgut for filling us in on that.

The third Istanbul powerhouse Besiktas had a relatively easy home win over Konyaspor 3-1.

Here are the scores:

Besiktas 3 Konyaspor 1

Anatlyaspor 1 Fenerbahce 2

Trabzonspor 1 Eskisehirspor 0

Akhisar 0 Karabuk 1

Gazinantepspor 3 Elazigspor 1

Kayseri Erciyesspor 1 Ankara G.B. 0

Bursaspor 1 Kasimpasha 1 (tie)

Rizespor 0 Kayserispor 2

Galatasaray 2 Sivasspor 1

Monday, November 25, 2013

Kudos to Radford University Highlanders for Winning Big South Volleyball Crown

Greetings to our blog-readers in Slovenia, Israel and Algeria.

Tonight, it is with great pleasure that I report that Radford University, my beloved alma mater, won the Big South Women's Volleyball tournament in Clinton, SC, yesterday, by defeating Coastal Carolina University in straight sets. However, the game was a very tight one as the Highlanders won the opening set 36-34! Typically, in order to win a set one team has to reach 25.

Radford U (25-9), located in Radford, Va., and the top seed in the tourney, won the game over CCU, a school from Conway, SC (near Myrtle Beach), and the second seed by a score of (36-34, 25-23, 25-22).

For the Highlanders, Cheyanne James had 16 kills, and Rachel Wiechecki and Emma Denninger had 11 kills each. Wiechecki was also named tournament MVP.

The Big South title is the fifth overall for the Highlanders, and the first for the school since 2000.

As an alumni, I must profess that I still miss Rowdy Red (pictured top) our old mascot.

SIDEBAR ONE: Our tweet of the night goes to "Writer's Digest," a magazine centered on helping both pro and amateur writers write: "#midnightprompt Your spouse is in bed asleep but you can't sleep. There's a knock at the door. The person changes your life forever."

SIDEBAR TWO: Cartoonist Terri Libenson's strip "The Pajama Diaries" is not in the Sunday comics pages of the two Sunday newspapers I read most weeks, but her work is quite remarkable. In a strip that will be published on Tuesday, there is a touching scene between an adult daughter and her mother.

Libenson also posted a blog entry with the strip which she candidly admits to suffering from writer's block at times. She said life distractions, such as her daughter's Bat Mitzvah, are one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Best Comic Strips in Sunday Roanoke Times (Roanoke, Va): Rats, Ants and Batman

We are just going with one image this week. It is of an army of ants, which are the centerpiece of Dave Coverly's "Speed Bump," a one-panel strip, which bears the off-beat humor of the great 1980s comic strip Gary Larson's "The Far Side." "Speed Bump" ranks number two on our list.

The winner of this week's survey is the always hilarious "Pearls Before Swine." Interestingly enough, "Pearls" bore some similarity to this week's "Family Circus," which is essentially "The Waltons" or "Little House on the Prarie" of the comics section in that it has traditional themes. Both comic strip focus on a family gathering on Thanksgiving Day. But, Stephan Pastis, the cartoonist behind "Pearls" shows a family of rats actually being upfront and honest with each other while "Family Circus" has the orthodox view of the American holiday.

Tony Cochran's "Agnes" featured the title character making a pop culture reference to "Batman," which makes on wonder if Adam West read this week's Sunday strip (he played Batman on American television in the '60s).

Here is our top ten:

1. Pearls Before Swine

2. Speed Bump

3. Agnes

4. Get Fuzzy

5. Funky Winkerbean

6. Blondie

7. Garfield

8. Dilbert

9. Doonesbury

10. Zits

Presidential Quotes (4 of 12): Zachary Taylor

Greetings to those of you in Poland, Mexico and Japan.

Our quote today is from Zachary Taylor (1784-1850), the 12th president of the United States who was one of four American presidents from the Whig Party and one of four American presidents to have the dubious distinction of dying in office from natural causes.

Taylor was born near Charlottesville, Va., and he apparently had little formal education. He was replaced by his veep Millard Fillmore.

Here is Taylor's quote:

"It would be judicious to act with magnanimity towards a prostrate foe."

Yeah, one does not hear the word magnanimity much today!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Presidential Quotes (3 of 16): James K. Polk, a President with a Song About Him

Today, we are quoting America's 11th president James K. Polk (1795-1849), a Democrat who was born in our former state of residence North Carolina but was a resident of Tennessee when he won the presidency in 1845.

Alas, he died just three months after leaving his one term in office of natural causes, but more interested in him in more recent years has been generated by the song "James K. Polk," (1996) from the New York-based band They Might Be Giants. The song was on the band's record "Factory Showroom." The band is playing this weekend in Berlin, Germany.

Here is our quote from Polk:

"The world has nothing to fear from military ambition in our government."

Friday, November 22, 2013

Presidential Quotes (2 of 16): John Tyler

Greetings to our blog readers in Baltimore, San Francisco and Denver here in America, and to those of you in India, Turkey and Germany. I'm not sure this quote from John Tyler, America's tenth president will be of universal interest, but we can hope that it is.

This quote below is actually making me reconsider getting a latte at Starbucks, though the coffee chain is one of our favorite commercial entities. Amazingly enough, there are even Starbucks locations in small towns like Front Royal, Va., and Gaffney, SC.

There is also a John Tyler High School in Tyler, Texas.

Here is his quote:

"Wealth can only be obtained by earnings of industry and the savings of frugality."

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Presidential Quotes (1 of 16): William Henry Harrison

Greetings to our blog-readers in Moldova (?!), Slovenia and Portugal.

Yes, we have many unique and interesting ideas which are perhaps more exciting than quoting American presidents from waaaay back in the day, but if we quoted the late, great English playwright Harold Pinter, people might well still ignore us.

We are kicking off this series today because it is the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination in Dallas, Tex., presumably by Lee Harvey Oswald (though Oliver Stone begs to differ) he was the last of eight American presidents to die in office. Four died of assassinations, including William McKinley, whom we will quote on our sister blog and four died of natural causes.

We begin with William Henry Harrison, the ninth president, who was the first one to die in office and it was from natural causes. In fact, Harrison was only in office for one month before his death. 

Previously, we have quoted the first eight and last American presidents, so now we are filling in the gaps.

Here is the quote from Harrison, who hailed from Charles City, Virginia:

"I contend  that the strongest of all governments is that which is most free."

PS- Though we have discontinued the practice of using quotes from our favorite Sunday comic strips, this line from "Judge Parker" that we saw in "The Washington Post" got our attention: "Call your man in Niger and tell him we're going to pay the ransom."

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Top Ten Comics from the Sunday "Washington Post:" Foxtrot Takes the Blue Ribbon

Since there are close to 30 comic strips in the Sunday edition of "The Washington Post," we weren't able to rank some our personal favorite comic strips, including "Knight Life," "Reply All" and "Rhymes with Orange." But, both "Judge Parker" and "Mark Trail" made into the top ten.

Here is our top ten:

1. Foxtrot (since this week's strip made a reference to an exclamation point, we are using it for our top image)

2. Pearls Before Swine: This Sunday's strip contained 20 panels!

3. Lio

4. Dustin (We definitely agree with the strip's premise that Fanta ads before movies are very annoying)

5. The Argyle Sweater

6. Sherman's Lagoon

7. Prickly City (since the strip has a cactus, we are using an Arizona cactus for our middle image)

8. Brewster Rockit: Space Guy

9. Judge Parker

10. Mark Trail (the strip revolved around mountain goats; a goat is also one of the lead characters in "Pearls Before Swine"

Our favorite line from the soap opera comic strip this week, comes from "Apartment 3-G," which is not in "The Washington Post": "I Just Asked You To Be My Wife"  

PS: While we have a moment, we want to thank those of you in Moldova (?!) for reading our blog. Yes, we know your country is a former Soviet republic which borders Romania.

PPS: Happy 37th birthday to Dominique Dawes, one of our favorite Olympic gymnasts.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Last Ten Films I've Seen: Novel Ideas

I was completely oblivious to the fact that Angelica Huston (pictured bottom) has written a new memoir called "A Story Lately Told," which she will be promoting on "Fresh Air with Terry Gross" tomorrow when I watched one of her very earliest film roles "A Walk with Love and Death" (1969).

Like "Oliver Twist" (1949), one of many filmations of the Charles Dickens novel, and "Ender's Game" (2013), the current film based on one of Orson Scott Card's signature science-fiction novel, which is number two on the top ten fiction books being sold in the Washington, DC-metro area list on "The Washington Post" (Card lives some six hours south of DC in Greensboro, NC), "A Walk with Love and Death" is based on a novel.

We got this idea from "Film Comment" magazine, the current issue has a photo of actor Oscar Isaac in the Coen Brothers' new film "Inside Llewyn Davis" on its cover, and "Oliver Twist" is one of many films being offered by the Criterion Collection.

Several of these films were also taped from Turners Classics Movies, which has an amazing lineup of films tonight, including "Elephant Man" (1980. dir-David Lynch).

Without further adieu, here are the last ten films I've seen as of Saturday:

1. "Oliver Twist" (1949. dir-David Lean)

2. "Ender's Game" (2013 dir-Gavin Hood)

3. "A Walk with Love and Death" (1969 dir-John Huston)

4. "Creature from the Black Lagoon" (1954 dir-Jack Arnold)

5. "Memories of Murder" (South Korea. 2003. dir-Joon-ho Bong)

6. "The Beat Generation (1959 dir-Charles F. Haas)

7. "The Defiant Ones" (1958 dir-Stanley Kramer)

8. "Caged" (1950. dir-John Cromwell)

9. "Mrs. Soffel" (1984. dir-Gillian Armstrong)

10. "Gravity" (2013. dir-Alfonso Cuaron)

SIDEBAR: For those in the DC-metro area, graphic novel writer Joe Sacco will be promoting his new work "The Great War...." at Politics and Prose, an independent bookstore in Washington, DC, on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. Sacco's amazing work includes graphic novels on the Bosnian war and the West Bank in Israel. (Orson Scott Card's official web site)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

College Volleyball Notebook: Radford U and Yale are Among Emerging Small School Teams

While our last entry was on teams in the ACC, a conference with three nationally-ranked programs, we now turn our attention to two smaller schools which are having great years.

The first one is Yale University. The Bulldogs' Mollie Rogers (pictured top) was named co-Ivy League Player of the Week along with Alexis Censke of Penn. With home weekend straight-set wins over Columbia and Cornell, Yale also won their fourth consecutive Ivy League with two remaining games in the season. Brittani Steinberg of the Bulldogs had 15 kills in the win over Columbia.

Meanwhile, Radford University (the alma mater of the blog editor), is gradually pulling ahead in the Big South Conference with one remaining weekend of play, which will include two games on the road.

For the Highlanders, Rachel Wiechecki (pictured bottom) was named Big South Player of the Week. She led her team to a home victory over Campbell University with 22 kills and 19 digs in a game that went to the full fifth set. Additionally, she had 20 kills on Saturday when the Highlanders won another home game in straight sets over High Point University.

Here are weekend scores for the Ivy League, Big South and other east coast games.


Big South:

Radford 3 Campbell 2

Winthrop 3 Gardner-Webb 0

High Point 3 Liberty 2

UNC-Asheville 3 Presbyterian 2

Other scores:

Yale 3 Columbia 0

NC A &T 3 Savannah State 0

Wofford 3 Elon 1


Big South:

Radford U 3 High Point 0

Winthrop 3 UNC-Asheville 2

Liberty 3 Campbell 0

Other Scores:

Penn 3 Harvard 2

Furman 3 Elon 1

UNC-Greensboro 3 Wofford 1

Princeton 3 Dartmouth 2

Brown 3 Columbia 0

Yale 3 Cornell 0


Univ. of Rhode Island 3 George Washington 1

College Volleyball Notebook: It Was a Good Home Weekend for UNC and Virginia Tech

It was a busy weekend for the ACC in women's college volleyball play this weekend. Three teams from the conference, Duke, UNC and Florida State are nationally ranked while Virginia Tech has been a team on the rise.

UNC won two home games over Clemson and then Georgia Tech over the weekend. In Friday's win over Clemson, UNC had two outstanding performances from the Tarheels' two international players as Ece Taner, from Izmir, Turkey, had a career high 28 digs while her teammate Jovana Bjelica from Belgrade, Serbia, had 14 kills and 14 digs in the team's four-set win over the Tigers.

On Sunday, Paige Neuenfeldt (pictured top) posted 11 kills and four blocks in the three-set sweep over the Yellow Jackets.

This Saturday, UNC hosts Virginia Tech (pictured bottom), a team which also had a superb weekend which included a major upset over nationally-ranked Florida State.

On Friday, Lindsey Owens knocked down 15 kills in a four-set win over Miami (Fla). Then, on Saturday night, Victoria Hamsher and Samantha Gosling combined for 35 kills in the four-set win over the Seminoles. For her efforts, which included 13 kills versus the Hurricanes, Hamsher was also named ACC Player of the Week.

Here are weekend scores from the ACC:


Duke 3 Maryland 0

Virginia Tech 3 Miami (Fla) 1

UNC 3 Clemson 1

Florida State 3 UVA 1

Pitt 3 Wake Forest 2


Virginia Tech 3 Florida State 1

Notre Dame 3 Boston College 2

UVA 3 Miami (Fla) 1

NC State 3 Georgia Tech 2


Maryland 3 Wake Forest 0

UNC 3 Georgia Tech 0

Syracuse 3 Boston College 2

Duke 3 Pitt 1

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Futbol Notebook: A Turkish Guy Named Jimmy???

With the images of Portugal international Jose Bosingwa (pictured top), who got a red card over the weekend, who plays for Trabzonspor and Jimmy Durmaz (pictured middle) a Swedish international with Turkish citizenship, who kicked the winning goal for Ankara Genclerbirligi, over Trabzonspor, we are informing soccer fans around the world of the goings-on in Turkish soccer.

Unlike our good friend Ahmet Bob Turgut, we don't blog about Turkish soccer every week,  but the giant match between Istanbul powerhouses Galatasaray and Fenerbahce, which resulted in a 2-0 win for the Yellow Canaries from Fenerbahce, we thought this would be a good week for an entry on Turkish soccer.

The two goals for Fenerbahce, who played on the Asian side of Istanbul, whereas Galatasaray plays on the European side of the Bosporus, came from Turkish international Emre Belozoglu in the 23rd minute. In the second half, a second goal from Brazilian player Cristian Baronir in the 66th minute.

This was a tough week for Galatasaray as they lost to Copenhagen 1-0, thus Didier Drogba, the heart and soul of the team wasn't able to produce a goal and neither was his team.

The other Istanbul powerhouse Besiktas scored a 3-0 win over Kayserispor, but in spite of their win over the team from Kayersi, in central Anatolia, the Eagles' Matta Roman, a Brazilian international. got a red card in the second half.

It was also a good for Sivaspor, a team from Sivas, in northwest Turkey, which beat our beloved Bursaspor 2-1 thanks to two goals from Aatif Chahechouche, of Morocco; Bursaspor got a goal from another African continental player as Taye Taiwo of Nigeria scored the lone goal for the crocodiles (yes, we don't think there are any crocs in Turkey either), which reminds us that if any blog readers are contemplating a trip to the central African country of Burundi to photograph Gustave the man-eating crocodile, perhaps it's just best to say home and watch futbol and "Doctor Who"!

Here are the results from Week 11 of Turkish domestic soccer play:

Fenerbahce 2 Galatasaray 0

Ankara Genclerbirligi 3 Trabzonspor 2

Kayserispor 0 Besiktas 3

Sivasspor 2 Bursaspor 1

Konyaspor 0 Antalyaspor 2

Kasimpasha 3 Gaziantepspor 0

Karademir Karabuk 2 Rizespor 1

Eskisehirspor 2 Akhisar G.K. 0

Elazigspor 0 Kayseri Erciyespor 1

Currently, Fenerbahce is winning the league with 28 points, ahead of Kasimpasa (24 points), Sivasspor (22 pts) and BJK (21 pts).

Turkish national player Deniz Turuc, who is also a Dutch citizen, plays for the Dutch team Go Ahead Eagles, to find out how they fared in domestic play, go to our sister blog

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Quote from Lee Marvin for Veteran's Day

We heard some touching news today: Richard Overton, age 107, was honored by President Barack Obama at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., just outside Washington, DC for Veteran's Day.

Today was also Remembrance Day in Canada.

Oscar-winning actor Lee Marvin, a World War II veteran, is buried at the military cemetery, which was shut down a few weeks ago due to the federal government shutdown.

Here is a quote from Marvin:

"I only make movies to finance my fishing."

We have another quote from one of Marvin's co-stars Jimmy Stewart (both were in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, a 1962 western directed by John Ford which starred John Wayne).

To see Stweart's quote, go to our sister site:

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Top Ten Favorite Comic Strips from Sunday, Nov. 10th "Roanoke Times"_ Brutus Buckeye Wins the Day

Greeting to our friends in Azerbaijan, Cyprus and Dubai. For those of you live in places like Turku, Finland, or Perth, South Africa, you may be unaware that Sunday is the day when large color comi strips roll out across America.

While smaller newspapers like "The Roanoke Times" or "The Akron Beacon" (in Akron, Ohio) may not have as many comic strips as "The Denver Post" or "The Baltimore Sun," one never knows what gems might be found in any Sunday comic strips section.

This week, "Pearls Before Swine" had a hilarious take on Brutus Buckeye (pictured top) who is the mascot for Ohio State University, "Funky Winkerbean" featured a hilarious fake comic book character named Starbuck Jones (yeah, that's the reason for the image in the middle) and "Doonesbury" tarred and feathered the tea party, a fringe right-wing political movement in America which wants to turn America into what it once was: An Artic region covered with ice (we borrowed that from Steve Martin).

Here is our list of the top 10 comic strips from this week's Sunday "Roanoke Times":

1) Pearls Before Swine

2) Funky Winkerbean

3) Doonesbury

4) Zits

5) Speed Bump

6) Get Fuzzy

7) Agnes

8) Dilbert

9) Hi and Lois

10) Blondie