Friday, January 31, 2014

College Game Day Tweets (Mostly Women's Gymnastics): The Bruins Hit the Road; the Heels Stay Home

1) Samantah Peszek (pictured, a UCLA gymnast): "It's a travel day for the bruins. Off to NoCal we go." (posted Thurs.)

2) VCU Athletics (Men's basketball team has 11:00 a.m. vs. cross-town rival Richmond): "Be early. Be loud. Wear Black. Wreck HAVOC. Let's Go VCU!

3) West Virginia U Gymnastics: "We host our pink meet Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Coliseum!"

4) Kansas Women's Basketball: "Kwbb hopes to continue its Red Raider dominance in Lubbock, Tex. tomorrow"

5) UNC Gymnastics: "Carmichael Arena is ready and waiting for tonight's meet vs. Pitt! Come cheer us on at admission" (Meet will be televised live on ESPN3).

6) Penn State Gymnastics: "Excited for another BUS trip to Columbus, Ohio, tomorrow." (Posted Thurs.)

7). Florida Gators Gymnastics: "When combined rank of teams is less than the ticket-price- that's a deal! No2 Gators vs. #1 Oklahoma. Tix: $5"

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sports Desk (2 of 2): Colleges by Area Code in North Carolina

De'Mon Brooks, pictured, scored 21 points for Davidson in a 85-52 home win over Southern Conference rival Georgia Southern on Saturday. The Davidson Wilcats, a team that plays in Davidson, NC, due north of Charlotte, is in the 704 area code. Other star players associated with the teams listed below include Jabari Parker (Duke), Jeremy Ingram (NC Central) and T.J. Warren (NC State).

Here is a look at ten of the 18 Division One schools in North Carolina, but this time instead of conferences, we've divided them by area codes. For more schools divided by area code check out yesterday's entry and our sister blog:


East Carolina University  Pirates (11-9, Greenville, Conf. USA): Next game @ Middle Tenn. State on Thurs. @ 8:00 p.m.


Campbell University Fighting Camels (10-11, Buies Creek, Big South): Next game vs. Charleston Southern on Wed. @ 7:00 p.m.

UNC-Wilmington Seahawks (6-15, Colonial Athletic): Next game vs. Towson (Md.) on Wed. @ 7:00 p.m.


Gardner-Webb Running Bulldogs (10-11, Boling Springs, Big South): Next game @ Longwood (Va.) @ 7:00 p.m. on Wed.

Davidson Wildcats (10-11, Southern Conf.): Next game vs. Chatanoogs on Thurs. @ 7:00 p.m.

Charlotte '49ers (12-7, Atlantic 10): Next game vs. Fla. Atlantic on Thurs. @ 7:00 p.m.


UNC Tar Heels (12-7, Chapel Hill, ACC): Next game @ Georgia Tech on Wed. @ 7:00 on ESPN-2.

Duke Blue Devils (17-4, Durham, ACC) Next game @ Syracuse @ 6:30 p.m. on ESPN

North Carolina State Wolfpack (13-7) Next game vs. Florida State @ 9:00 tonight on ESPN3

North Carolina Central Eagles (14-5, Durham, MEAC) Next game @ Howard (Wash. D.C.) on Sat. @ 4:00 p.m.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sports Desk_ College Basketball Teams by Area Code in North Carolina (1 of 2)

We were hoping to add mascots from High Point University, Wake Forest and Western Carolina, but we are pressed for time here at the Hartford Public Library in Hartford, Conn. (not really where I am).

But, here is our first of two looks at North Carolina teams by area code. We have Virginia and Washington, DC, teams by area code on our sister blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time"

There are an impressive 18 Division One colleges with men's basketball teams in North Carolina. Even though the four ACC programs get a lot of attention, there are plenty of competitive teams outside Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill. Here is a look at some of them:

336 (Winston-Salem, Greensboro, High Point)

1. UNC-Greensboro  Spartans(10-12, Southern Con., picture): Next game vs. Appalachian State on Thursday @ 7:00 p.m.

2. North Carolina A & T Aggies (8-13, Greensboro, MEAC): Next game vs. Coppin State (Maryland) 8:00 p.m., tonight

3. High Point University Panthers (7-12, Big South) Next game @ Presbyterian (SC) @ 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

4. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (14-6, Winston-Salem, ACC): Next game vs. #2 Syracuse Wed. @ 9:00 p.m.

5. Elon Phoenix (10-11, Elon/Southern Con.): Next game vs. Western Carolina on Thurs. @ 7:00 p.m.

828 (Asheville, Boone)

 1. Appalachian State Mounatineers (6-13, Boone, Southern Conf.) See UNC-Greensboro

2. Western Carolina Catamonts (11-10, Southern Conf.) See Elon

3. UNC-Asheville Bulldogs (10-10, Big South): Next game vs. VMI, Tues. @ 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Best Comics Not in Washngton Post: A Good Day for Arctic Circle and Edison Lee

With his image of an Armenia chess player, we discuss some of our favorite comic strips not found in the print version of "The Washington Post." While the post has a wonderful, eclectic mix of comic strips, there are still several which aren't in one of America's most widely read newspapers.

The reason for the Armenian chess player is a brilliant satire of chess in "The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee," our second favorite comic strip behind "The Arctic Circle," which is a hilarious parody of LinkedIn users (well, I am one of them myself).

We also loved "Animal Crackers," which featured some subtle dark comedy which proves no one should try to reenact Icarus.

And, "The Pajama Diaries," dealt with a look at how a mother must try to figure out what to do with their teenager's bedroom that is all decorated with teen idol posters.

Here is our top ten:

1. Arctic Circle

2. The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee

3. Animal Crackers

4. The Pajama Diaries

5. Edge City

6. The Flying McCoys

7. Bleeker

8. Brevity

9. Get Fuzzy

10. Tina's Groove

The Sunday Washington Post Comics Survey: Lio Gets the Gold in the Giant Slalom

We were initially going to use an image of the Rev. Johnny Robertson from Martinsville, Va., which is some six  hours south of Washington, DC., a person whom my friend Chris Knight has made fun of quite well, but we are going with some little green men instead.

Today, Mark Tatulli's "Lio" comic strip, our personal favorite comic strip from the Sunday "Washington Post" featured the title character enjoying what seemed to be a radical preacher on an old tv with an antenna!

Second place goes to "The Argyle Sweater" in which a familiar Popeye character is at the center of the strip, in a police lineup no place. And, third-place finisher "Brewster Rockit," which is also carried by the "News and Record" in Greensboro, NC, had a great parody of selfies!

Keith Knight's strip "Knight Life" (Keith and Chris are not related; in fact Keith is African-American and Chris is white) poked fun of the 'most interesting man in the world' ads on commercials for the Mexican beer Dos Equis also made it into our survey at #5.

Here is our top ten:

1. Lio

2. The Argyle Sweater

3. Brewster Rockit

4. Sherman's Lagoon

5. Knight Life

6. Pearls Before Swine

7. Reply All

8. Dustin

9. Candorville

10. Prickly City

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Little Thinker Quotes (12 of 16): We're Not Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

"You cannot find peace in by avoiding life."

Ironically, this is a quote from Virginia Woolf, who alas committed suicide.

SIDEBAR: According to "Mental Floss" magazine, at some point and place in time, people used to say: "It's colder than a brass toilet seat in the Yukon."

With that in mind, here are some look at temperatures across America and around the world:

48 degrees in Sochi, Russia

37 degrees in Greensboro, NC

37 degrees in Bergen, Norway

29 degrees in Portland, Maine

21 degrees in Kars, Turkey

14 degrees in Port Huron, Michigan

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Little Thinkers Quote of the Day (9 of 16): Friedrich Nietzsche (Perhaps, it's a tad bit controversial)...

Today's blog entry is the brainchild of Gary Gnu (a puppet from a children's tv show which aired from 1981-86), and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah); it is a quote from Friedrich Nietzsche, the provocative German philosopher whose name is always hard as hell to spell:

"After coming into contact with a religious man, I always feel I must wash my hands." (American public radio show dedicated to philosophy)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Women's College Gymnastics News and Rankings: Oklahoma is Numero Uno

Greetings to our blog readers in South Korea, India and Chile.

Erica Brewer (pictured above) was named Big 12 Gymnast of the Week, and her Sooners teammate Lara Albright was named the conference specialist of the week following Oklahoma U's win over Big 12 rival Iowa State. The Sooners, a team which has never won a NCAA title in women's gymnastics but come close on several occasions, is also ranked number one nationally.

Here are the other major conference Gymnasts of the Week:

1) SEC: Bridget Sloan (Florida)

2) Big 10: Joanna Sampson (Michigan)

3) Pac 12: Olivia Courtney (UCLA)

Other gymnasts to look for on top ten teams include Rheagan Courville and Jessie Jordan of LSU, Kytra Hunter of Florida, Danuisca Francis of UCLA and Georgia Dabrist (Utah).

Here is the current top ten in the sport, with a look at their respective weekend meets, (all times given are eastern time):

1. Oklahoma 197.188 (@ Ariz. #17 on Sat. at 6:00 p.m.)

2. LSU 197.038 (Hosts Arkansas #14 on Fri at 8:00 p.m.

3. Florida 196.863 (Hosts Georgia #6 on Friday at 7:00 p.m.; last week's meet with Auburn will be televised on ESPN-U on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.)

4. Utah 196. 763 (Hosts UCLA #8 on Sat. @ 9:30 p.m.)

5. Michigan 196.663 (Hosts Ohio State #23 on Sat. @ 4:00 p.m.)

6. Georgia 196.608 (see Florida)

7. Alabama 196.600 (Hosts #10 Arkansas on Fri @ 8:30 p.m.)

8. UCLA 196.525 (see Utah)

9. Nebraska 196.438 (@ Iowa Fri, 8:00 p.m.)

10. Arkansas (see Alabama)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Top Ten Comics from Today's Sunday Roanoke Times: Speed Bump Stands Out

Greetings to our blog-readers in Canada, El Salvador and Brazil.

Today, we once again take a look at the Sunday funnies in "The Roanoke Times," a daily newspaper in Roanoke, Va.

We also survey the comic strips in the Washington Post:

Our personal favorite comic strip of the day that was in neither newspaper is "The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee:" ..........

Other strips that we saw today online that we really enjoy include "Retail," "Pros and Cons" and "Bleeker." We actually also contemplated stating what our least favorite strip of the day was, but we gather we aren't the only ones who quit laughing at "The Family Circus" and "For Better or for Worse" a long time.

Our favorite "Roanoke Times" comic strip "Speed Bump" had a hilarious gag with two octopi/octopuses, while "Pearls Before Swine" showed bambis getting revenge on hunters and "Get Fuzzy" focused on a play on words as Bucky the whacky Siamese cat argues with his owner Rob Wilco on the differences between the words 'coop' and 'coup.

Here is our top ten:

1. Speed Bump

2. Pearls Before Swine

3. Get Fuzzy

4. Agnes

5. Doonesbury

6. Zits

7. Funky Winkerbean

8. Dilbert

9. Garfield

10. Jump Start

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Little Thinkers (8 of 16): Mahatma Gandhi

Greetings to our blog readers in Turkey, Croatia and Mexico.

Today, we quote the great Mahatma Gandhi, who was the subject of "Gandhi" (1982), which won the Best Picture Oscar as well as a Best Actor Oscar for Ben Kingsley, who played the Indian leader.

Here is the quote, which people as vastly different as conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Sister Helen Prejean, America's leading anti-death penalty advocate, can perhaps agree on:

"Even if you are a minority of one, the truth's the truth."

SIDEBAR: We are shocked and saddened to hear of the death of BBC journalist Komla Dumor (1972-2014), who was only 41 years old. A source in Ghana, his native country, reported that Dumor died of a heart attack at his home in London, but that was not verified by the BBC. Dumor joined the BBC in 2007. He leaves behind a wife and three children as well as a tremendous journalism legacy.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Little Thinkers (7 of 16) Ludwig van Beethoven

Greetings to our blog readers in the Czech Republic, The Bahamas and Laos (?!, well, we have gotten at least one hit from there before).

Tonight, we quote the great German composer Ludwig van Beethoven, whom us Generation X'ers became familiar with in some part because his music is featured prominently in Stanley Kubrick's film version of "A Clockwork Orange" (1971), which was originally a novel by Anthony Burgess.

Those who like to listen to classic music on the radio may want to tune to the American daily public radio series "Performance Today," which airs on WFDD (88.5-FM; Winston-Salem, NC), and other public radio stations.

For those who want to see classical music up close and personal and happy to reside in the Denver-area, The Colorado Symphony is offering a companion concert series this weekend to the Denver Art Museum's "Passport to Paris." Among the pieces that the symphony will perform will be several from Frederick Chopin.

Here is our quote from Ludwig van:

"Nothing is more intolerable than to have to admit your own errors."

SIDEBAR: Those of us on the east coast probably didn't get a chance to watch the University of California-Santa Barbara Gauchos (10-5; 1-1 in the Big West) win their home game versus the Long Beach State '49ers (5-12; 1-2 in the Big West)  by a score of  64-51. The Gauchos were lead by Michael Brayson (soph. Sacramento, Calif.) who scored 13 points. His teammate Alan Williams (jr. Phoenix, Ariz.) had a double-double with 12 points and 15 rebounds. For the visitors, Mike Caffey (jr., Corona, Calif.) scored 21 points. The game aired nationally on ESPN-U.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Little Thinkers (6 of 16): Leonardo da Vinci

Greetings to our blog readers in Sri Lanka, The Netherlands and China.

Here is quote of the day from Leonardo da Vinci:

"While I thought I was learning how to live, I have been learning to die."

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Little Thinkers Quotes: Andy Warhol (5 of 16)

Greetings to our blog-readers in Israel, Ethiopia (?!, well perhaps) and Kazakhstan.

Today, we continue our Little Thinkers series with a quote from the great American pop artist Andy Warhol, who was famous for painting soup cans as well as avant garde portraits of Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and Mao Tse-Tung, among others.

In art, the Baltimore Museum of Art recently recovered a Renoir that was stolen form the museum in the 1960s, the person who had the painting claimed that it was purchased for seven dollars at the Harpers Ferry Flea Market in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

There is an Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

Here is his quote:

"Sex is more exciting on the screen and between the pages than between the sheets."

Monday, January 13, 2014

Sports Desk: Florida Edges UCLA in Road Meet

Greetings to our blog-readers in Russia, India and Brazil.

In the City of Angels (Los Angeles, Calif.), the top-ranked, defending NCAA champion Florida Gators met the fourth-ranked UCLA Bruins in a very significant early season meet before both teams face their respective conference rivals.

In the end, Florida won by a very narrow 196.625-196.650, with the Gators prevailing by a margin of .025.

The Gators team had won the 2013 NCAA title at UCLA, but Marissa King, on the team leaders for the Gators, had finished her last year of eligibility. But, the team still includes former Team USA Olympian Bridget Sloan (pictured top), who was the 2013 AA champ at the NCAAs, Kytra Hunter, and sisters Bridgette and Mackenzie Caquatto.

For the Bruins, the 2014 team features stand-out Samantha Peszek, Danusia Francis (pictured bottom), Sydney Sawa and Olivia Courtney.

The Gators swept the all-around with Kytra Hunter (39.375), Bridget Sloan (38.875) and Mackenzie Caquatto (37.300) taking the top three slots.

But, the Bruins featured many outstanding performances in their own right. Olivia Courtney scored a career-best on vault with 9.975 and on bars with a 9.900; on that event, Courtney tied for first with Bridgette Coquatto.

Courtney edged out Sloan, who scored a 9.925 on vault, while her teammate Sawa tied Hunter of Florida with a 9.9 on that same event.

Hunter won floor for Florida with a 9.925; Peszek won balance beam for UCLA with a 9.925.

But, the WOW moment of the meet came from Peszek's teammate Francis, one of two British gymnasts for the Bruins, a team which also features three Canadians, on the beam.

For that event, Francis, who finished with 9.900 on the beam, performed a sideways aerial into a full-twisting dismount.

We imagine it will get lots of hits on Youtube.

UPDATE: This is the corrected version of this story. A blog reader pointed out several errors we made, but like most people who criticize, he/she did not give me credit for spelling Mackenzie Caquatto's name correctly, so we will give ourselves a standing ovation!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Our Favorite TV Shows of 2013: Of Course, "Breaking Bad" is Numero Uno

A good friend of mine had this awesome blog dedicated just to tv and films. That was it! But, he was on top of everything. And, he was amazing. Whenever the Golden Globes aired, as they are tonight here in a half-hour, he would blog about the awards as if he were right there.

As an homage to that blog, we are putting our very first Ten Best TV Shows of the List, which is astonishing because as a movie person who also likes college sports (except football) I always thought watching sitcoms like "Roseanne" and "8 Rules About Dating My Daughter" were a complete waste of time.

But, cable tv offered amazing fare this year! And, we didn't even watch any network like "Scandal" or "Hannibal" or Netflix shows like "Orange is the New Black" or "House of Cards," plus we don't have HBO, so no "Veep" either.

But, we saw 12 good shows, two of which, "Bates Motel" and "Top of the Lake" didn't make the cut, but these ten shows did:

1) Breaking Bad (AMC; pictured top): Paste Magazine, Slant Magazine, Rolling Stone, Penthouse (well, we've never subscribed to them, but....), well, it's possible if "Mother Jones" and "National Review" readers agreed on anything this year, it was that this the best show of the year. Some have even said it's the best show ever made. We'll let tv historians sort through that. The image above is of a certain pink teddy bear which fanatic followers show feel is a symbol of how Walter White lost his soul.

2) Portlandia (IFC): Amazingly this show which has a season premiere again in February, didn't make any of the lists we saw! But, it's absolutely hysterical! In fact, perhaps, IFC should send Fred and Carrie over to Portland, Maine, instead of Portland, Oregon, for an April Fool's show!

3) "Rectify" (Sundance): As good as any independent film one can watch!

4) "The Americans" (F/X): This is the reason why we have an image of the Soviet flag at the bottom; this show should have been awful. Soviet agents with perfect American accents posing as a suburban couple in Arlington, Va (or somewhere around there) who happen to neighbor a FBI/CIA agent?! But, it somehow works quite splendidly.

5) "Homeland" (Showtime): Hmmm....yeah, we can't say much without issuing a Spoiler Alert as Season Three had quite the shocking finale!

6) Mad Men (AMC): This is still an exceptional show at every level.

7) Orphan Black (BBC-America): Like "The Americans" this show seemed way too implausible as it revolves around seven young women who look exactly alike living across America and Europe (plus, one in Canada), but it is quite an adrenaline rush.

8) Masters of Sex (Showtime): Wow! What-a-show!

9) Maron (IFC): A sitcom passed on a podcast?! The results are hysterical.

10) Archer (F/X): Like the comic strip "Zippy the Pinhead," this foul-mouthed Millennials version of "Get Smart" didn't work for me at first, but it gradually won me over; Season Three starts tomorrow night!

Top Ten Comic Strips from the Sunday Washington Post: The Argyle Seater Takes Gold in the Luge

Greetings to our blog readers in Australia, Azerbaijan and Thailand.

Welcome to another edition of where we rank comic strips from the Sunday newspapers.

Many newspapers had winter themes this year, including brilliant, cutting edge strips like "The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee," and legacy strips, such as "Hi and Lois" (neither of these strips runs in the Sunday "Washington Post"). And, though we haven't seen today's "Tundra," we imagine that Chad Carpenter's strip, which always takes place in his native Alaska, has snow in it as well.

But, our top strip of the week "The Argyle Sweater" imagines a birthday party with folks from the Marvel Universe, including "The Silver Surfer" (pictured top). We imagine the strip's artist Scott Hillburn found a way to get around cumbersome copyright laws.

But, our second-ranked strip of the week "Brewstir Rockit" a science fiction themed strip, took a huge leap out of its creative box resulting in a hilarious strip with the Frosty the Snowman's (pictured middle) wife.

And, our bronze medal goes to "Lio," a silent strip with no dialogue (Buster Keaton would be pleased) featuring Yeti, or the Bigfoot of Nepal.

Fourth place goes to "Sherman's Lagoon," where Sherman the shark, the strip's title character goes into a funk. As always, Jim Toomey's strip is a far cry from the sharks we grew up with on "Jaws."

While researching this entry, last week, we found out that "WUMO," a strip that features Pac Man today was actually an import from Denmark! "WUMO," last week's champion, comes in seventh this week as there were many great strips.

Here is the list from the Sunday "Washington Post:"

1) The Argyle Sweater

2) Brewster Rockit: Space Guy

3) Lio

4) Sherman's Lagoon

5) Dustin

6) Pearls Before Swine


8) Reply All

9) Knight Life

10) Judge Parker (love that snake in the final panel, this strip is also in "The Herald-Dispatch in Huntington, WVa, which has 'a slightly lower' circulation than "The Washington Post," but perhaps Amazon kingpin Jeff Bezos can buy them too!).

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Quotes from the Little Thinkers (4 of 16): Frida Kahlo

Greetings to our blog-readers in Denmark, Italy and Hungary (we seem to be more popular in Europe than we are here in American, well..........perhaps!).

Today we quote the iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, who died at a relatively young age when she was 47. There is a very popular restaurant in Antigua, Guatemala, called Frida's. Apparently, getting a seat for a Duke University men's basketball game in Durham, NC, is easier than getting a seat at Frida's.

Recently, we saw a Frida Kahlo Little Thinker doll alongside the likes of Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali at the Denver Museum (if memory serves us correctly) where there is a currently an exhibit of French impressionist art (ie. Claude Monet) until Feb. 9th.

One may also be able to find a Frida Kahlo plush toy at the Corcoran Art Museum's gift shop in Washington, DC, where an exhibit entitled "Mia Feur: An Unkindness" in underway. The museum's web site describes that exhibit as 'an examination of the relationships between human infrastructure and the natural world."

Here is our quote from Frida Kahlo:

"I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality."

Friday, January 10, 2014

Quotes from the Little Thinkers (3 of 16): Charlie Chaplin

Greetings to our blog-readers in Italy, France and Bulgaria.

Today, we quote the great actor/filmmaker/composer Charlie Chaplin, whose classic film "City Lights" is available from the Criterion Collection:

There is also an independent bookstore in San Francisco, Calif., called City Light.

Here is his quip:

"This is a ruthless world and one must be ruthless to survive in it."

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Quote from Che Guevara: Little Thinkers (2 of 16)

Greetings to our blog-readers in El Salvador, Estonia and Egypt.

Since the Myrtle Beach Tea Party in Myrtle Beach, SC, thinks all of us Democrats, even those of us on the center-left are Marxists, socialists, perhaps there is little harm in posting a comment from Che Guevara, the Latin American revolutionist who was assassinated/executed in Bolivia at the age of 40 in 1967.

Guevara was a leading figure in the Cuban Revolution which brought Fidel Castro to power, which makes us think it would be very ironic to see someone sporting a Che Guevara t-shirt at the Greensboro Gun Show, which is happening on the weekend of Feb. 1st and 2nd at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC.

We are also quoting Che as he is one of the many historical figures which have been made into Little Thinkers puppet/dolls (seen above).

Here is his quote:

"I don't care if I fall as long as someone else picks up my gun and keeps on shooting."

SIDEBAR: We learned by chance yesterday that the heavy metal Judas Priest is starting their European tour in Katowice, Poland, on April 14th. Perhaps, someone from Chicago or St.Louis may actually get on an Air Poland flight and head out there just for the show!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Quotes from The Little Thinkers (1 of 16): Jesus Christ

Greetings to all our blog-readers in Bhutan, Israel and Pakistan (we couldn't resist!)....but, perhaps there will be lots of people who read this in Serbia and Poland instead.

Today, there is actually a one-percent chance that the Rev. Jonathan Falwell from the Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va., started by his father Jerry Falwell, will glance at this liberal, secular blog, since we will be quoting Jesus Christ.

This entry marks the first in our Little Thinkers series, dedicated to some very creative novelty puppet-makers called the Unemployed Philosophers Guild.

As it turns out, Thomas Road Baptist  has moved into the high tech era and now offers streams of its sermons live online. In fact, they have a countdown clock to Sunday at 9:00 a.m. (EDT), which is 4:00 p.m. in Istanbul, Turkey, where one, maybe two people might tune in to the broadcast. A second sermon begins at 11:15 a.m.

Edgewood Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, NC, also known as The Edge, was an overt opponent to gay marriage in the Tar Heel State, and it is a very large church as well, but there was no mention of simulcasts on their web site. But, this month, they are focusing on the Ephesians.

Of course, there are liberal churches as well. In fact's there's even a Unitarian Church in Lynchburg, where there is also one least one synagogue and one mosque!

Here is our quote from Jesus Christ:

"If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give them to the poor, and you will have the treasure of heaven."

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Polar Vortex Tweets: Homeless in DC; Pipes Burst in Atlanta

An NHL hockey game in Buffalo, NY, against the Carolina Hurricanes from Raleigh, NC, scheduled for tonight was postponed due to blizzard conditions. But, things were not much better south of the large city near the Canadian city. NPR reported that homeless were seeking shelter in Nashville, Tenn., as was the case in Washington, D.C.

Pipes burst in Atlanta, record-low or near record-laws were reported in Charlotte, NC, and Roanoke, Va., with the Charlotte record dating back to 1884!

Here is a look at ten tweets which tell the story:

1) Roanoke County (Va) Schools: Roanoke County Public Schools will open two (2) hours late tomorrow (Jan. 8th) due to continued cold conditions.

2) Mike Mac (a Weather Channel correspondent): You know it's bad when they cancel a Buffalo Sabres game and the police are called on snowmobiles.

3) Politics and Prose (indy bookstore in Washington, DC): DC readers if you see a person in need call 1-800-535-7252 for shelter hotline.

4) WSOC Weather (CBS tv station in Charlotte, NC): Today's low of 6 degrees breaks record set in 1884.

5) ABC_11_WTVD (tv station in Raleigh, NC): Duke Energy is asking customers to reduce their usage for the next 24 hours due to high demand for electricity because of the cold weather.

6) Capital Weather Gang (Washington, DC): Anchorage, AK, currently 19 degrees. Dulles is 10 degrees. Anchorage high is headed to the 30s.

7) Mother Jones: Temperatures ranked worst to best_ 5) Blistering heat; 4) Freezing cold; 3) A bit chilly; 4) a little warm; 5) just right.

8) Jonathan Chait (columnist for "New York" magazine): How many polar vortexes have we had before we decided to label it a 'polar vortex?' This can't be the first one.

9) National Weather Service (Blacksburg, Va, bureau): "Readings this morning were so cold, all climate sites set new record low temperatures!"

10) CBS Atlanta: "Marietta_ watch out for ice due to water main burst at Powder Springs Rd."

Colder than Siberia: A Look at Temps Around America (plus some around the globe)

Martin Short is shown here as Jack Frost, one of the few good things about the Tim Allen Santa Claus movie sequel that this antagonist appeared in.

Today, the whole east coast of America from Buffalo to Jacksonville, Fla., felt like Jack Frost was nipping at their collective noses.

Here is a look at some of these temps; additional ones will be on our sister blog:

All temps are Fahrenheit:

1) Warsaw, Poland: 42

2) Tromso, Norway (near the Arctic Circle): 30

3) Huntsville, Alabama: 25

4) Anchorage, Alaska 25

5) Greensboro, NC: 24

6) Atlanta: 24

7) Danville, Va. 24

8) Asheville, NC: 20

9) Roanoke, Va. 19

10) Lynchburg, Va. 19

11) Washington, DC 18

12) Knoxville, Tenn. 17

13) Baltimore, Maryland 14

14) New York 10

15) Wytheville, Va. 10

16) Chicago 6

17) Buffalo, NY 5

18) Novosibirski, Russia (Siberia) 5

19) Fort Wayne, Ind. 1

20) Winnipeg, Canada -11

Monday, January 6, 2014

Sports Desk: Penn State Goes over the Hills and through the Woods to win at Iowa State in women's gymnastics

Gathering from the photos we saw from the Penn State women's gymnastics team, the Nittany Lions had quite a trek to Ames, Iowa, where they faced Iowa State in the first major NCAA meet of the season in women's college gymnastics.

Thanks to Twitter and Facebook, we could see the team's photos of snowy places, such as West Virginia, as they journeyed to middle of the Hawkeye State in what is normally and presumably a 15-hour drive.

Thanks to two LSU transfers, juniors Randi Lau of Hawaii and Sidney Sanabria-Robles (the image is of Penn State gymnast Sharaya Musser who graduated last year), Penn State edged out a 193.925-193.550 win over the home mat Cyclones.

Lau's outstanding 9.825 performance on the vault was crucial for the visitors. Lau also tied for second in the all-around with Sanabria-Robles.

For the Cyclones, Caitlin Brown, a stand-out junior, won the all-around with a career-best 38.900; Brown also won the balance beam for the home team.

SIDEBAR: Back on Dec. 22, Penn State's women's volleyball won their fifth NCAA title in seven years in Seattle. The Nittany Lions faced their surprising Big 10 Conference Rival Wisconsin Badgers in the title game. The Badgers shocked the college volleyball world by upsetting then-defending NCAA champs in Texas in the semi-finals.

Senior Deja McClendon, from Louisville, Ky., delivered the game-winning kill which propelled Penn State to win the match 3-1.

SIDEBAR TWO: Lastly on New Year's Day, it was a grand Rose Bowl for the Michigan State Spartans football team as they pulled a slight and narrow 24-20 upset over Stanford in Pasadena, Calif. Spartans quarterback Connor Crook, a sophomore, threw for a career high 332-yards win in the victory for the Big Ten champions.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Comic Strip Dialogue from The Washington Post: Grandpa Going Fishing

Greetings to our blog readers in Canada, Canada, Canada and South Africa!
To explain the images, which are in reference to comic strips in today's "Washington Post," the top image above is being used for "Reply All," a comic strip about a Generation-Y woman trying to find her place in the world through lattes, yoga and (of course) her SmartPhone; the second strip is in reference to today's "Sherman's Lagoon." The strip which resolves around a shark dealt with the title character and his crab pal checking out Youtube videos, and we all know nothing is more popular than a cat playing a piano. And, lastly, the final photo of a man with a big fish deals with "Pickles." A modest, conservative comic strip which revolves around an elderly couple. In today's strip, the old man talks to his grandson about fishing.
Here is the dialogue:
1) "Fishing? Don't Be Silly! I'm Walking the Dog" (from "Pickles")
2) Uncle Z....? You Okay? (from "Doonesbury")
3) "Are those the videos that last 30 seconds?" (From "Sherman's Lagoon")
4) "Less than a week into the New Year and I've already broken all my resolutions!!!" (from "Knight Shift")
5) "You Wanted Me To Play Poker with My Friends at the Tavern" (from "Hagar the Horrible")
6) "Katherine, This is Very Good! You Have a Gift of Dialogue" (from "Judge Parker"_
7) "I really can't believe you made this bet with her" (from "Foxtrot")
8) "Well, Mark, it's that time again" (from "Reply All")
9) "How about Gouda? I've got Smoked Gouda" (from "Blondie")
10) "Are you the enemy?" (from "Beetle Bailey") (Coffee Shop in Rockville, Md.)

Top 10 Comics of the Sunday Roanoke Times: Doonsebury is Flying High

Greetings to our blog-readers in Canada, Canada and Canada..........and, Kazakhstan!

It may actually be warmer in Toronto or Alma-Ata right now, as it freezing across the state of Virginia today. But, that gave a chance to read an unholy number of comic strips, including ones in our local paper "The Roanoke Times."

Ironically, we are using the image of Lucy from "Peanuts" for "Speed Bump." the single panel comic strip by Dave Coverly which features a skunk talking to a psychiatrist or psychologist, which is a common gag in many comic strips, including "Candorville" by Darrin Bell, which is not in "The Roanoke Times."

The middle image of a pilates exercise is in reference to today's Stephan Pastis strip "Pearls Before Swine," in which rat finds out there is a hidden fee for the work-out room. Of course, this gives us a chance to plug our sponsors Fusion Pilates in Asheville, NC (just kidding, we don't know any pilates instructors in Asheville).

But, the cream of the crop (ok, pun intended), is a marijuana-themed episode of "Doonesbury," in which Garry Trudeau lampoons the legalization of marijuana in Colorado (which is the reason for the top image of the '70s kids tv show "H.R. Pufnstuf," which many have concluded to be a covert reference to reefer madness).

Ironically, Trudeau mentions "The Denver Post" in today's strip. That newspaper is perhaps one of the very few major city newspapers which does not carry "Doonesbury."

Here is our top ten from "The Roanoke Times"

1. "Doonesbury"

2. "Pearls Before Swine"

3. "Speed Bump"

4. "Garfield"

5. "Get Fuzzy"

6. "Dilbert"

7. "Jump Start"

8. "Agnes"

9. "Funky Winkerbean"

10. "Blondie" (Marijuana outlet in Boulder, Colo.)

Arctic Cold Comic Strip Spectacular (1 of 3): Best Comics NOT in Our Local Newspapers

Even with the imported "Washington Post," there are lots of comic strips which are not in the Sunday editions of the two main newspapers which are commercially available here in Roanoke,Va., where "The Roanoke Times" is the local paper.

In fact, we looked at 42 additional comic strips ranging from the cutting edge "F-Minus," which is available in daily editions of the "News and Observer" in Raleigh, NC, (at last check), to the right wing comic strip "Mallard Fillmore," which ironically started at "The Daily Progress," which serves Charlottesville, Va., the most liberal city in our state.

Neither of those strips made the cut this week, but we will give both of them another look in February. 

Since we have artic weather, which makes one think it might be warmer in Bergen, Norway, today than it is here in southwest Virginia, we had the time to look at all these strips, and we placed a ranking system to put them in their right place in a remotely objective manner.

We have the odd numbered strips on this blog, and the even numbered ones on our sister blog (see link below).

The top  strips in this Top 10 list dealt with an evil computer in "The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee" (which is the reason why we have HAL from Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey"), an ice storm in "Edge City" (see top image) and a great satire of the beloved American board game Monopoly in "Brevity"  (see bottom image).

The comic strip "Beeker" dealt with an ill-fated backyard hockey game, which probably helped win over Ottawa Senators fans in Canada (we could use some fans in Canada ourselves).

Here is the list:

1. "The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee" 8.4

2. "Bleeker" 8.0

3. Edge City 7.7

4. Brevity 7.6

5. Deflocked 7.5

6. Close to Home 7.4

7. The Duplex 7.3

8. Heart of the City 7.2

9. Zippy the Pinhead 7.2

10. Fort Knox 7.1

Saturday, January 4, 2014

No Blog Entry Today as I am Sick as a Cat (we couldn't resist)

We believe this is a Van cat or an Angoran cat both of which are native to Turkey. We also think this image is from a cat club in Ankara, Turkey, which is the capital.

I suppose this is a good time to mention that The Beatles' tribute band Abbey Road Live, our of Athens, Ga., will play at the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro (Chapel Hill), NC, on Jan. 17th at 9:00 p.m., and they are offering a matinee show on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. Prices for the Friday show range from $10-12 and the Saturday matiness is $8 for children and $10 for adults.

We also want to salute our good friend Chris Knight of Reidsville, NC, for both the 10th anniversary of his blog (he is two years ahead of us) and his 5,000th blog entry. The latest entry is a moving tribute to Bill Overstreet, a World War II fighter pilot, from Roanoke, Va., our hometown, who died this week.

Knight is not to be confused with our other friend (well, in the Facebook sense) Keith Knight, who is an award-winning cartoonist for his work with "K-Chronicles" and his daily comic strip "Knight Life."

Friday, January 3, 2014

No Blong Entry Tonight as I am Sick as a Dog..........

We did actually put the term "Dogs in Bulgaria" into Google to come up with this image, which may or may not be from Bulgaria. I imagine Dogs in Greece, Dogs in Romania and Dogs in Turkey look fairly similar to this one.

Bear us as we try to come up with a more meaningful blog entry tomorrow or some time within the next two weeks!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Top 20 List: The Most Influencial People in the World

We read an excellent story in "The New Republic" (Dec. 9, 2013 issue) about who actually were the most influential people of all time. The story was an extended review of a new book entitled "Who's Bigger? Where Historical Figures Really Rank?"...........We will publish the list on our sister blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time," but here we are going to compile our own slightly subjective list.

We will put parentheses around where the individuals stand on the "TNR" list in parentheses; we will also mark if the individual has a Little Hinkers doll in their image, as is the case with Charlie Chaplin, pictured bottom, with a star (*):

1.* Jesus Christ (pictured) (1)

2. Mohammed (the reason for the image of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey) (3)

3.* William Shakespeare (4)

4. *Gandhi

5. Aristotle (8)

6. Thomas Jefferson (10)

7. *Karl Marx (14)

8. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

9. * Albert Einstein (19)

10. *Socates

11. Martin Luther King, Jr.

12. *Abe Lincoln (5)

13. George Washington

14. Charles Darwin (12)

15. *Leonardo Da Vinci

16. *Sigmund Freud

17. *Eleanor Roosevelt

18. *Florence Nightingale

19. *Charlie Chaplin (pictured bottom)

20. *Mozart