Friday, November 6, 2015

Democratic Debate from Winthrop U in Rock Hill, SC (3 of 3): Marijuana Is NOT Legal in the Palmetto State

Amazingly enough, a woman from Atlanta tries to smuggle marijuana into the Democratic Candidates Forum at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC, earlier tonight.

The images above are of Cong. James Clyburn (D-SC, he represents the Charleston area), the only Democratic member of the House in Congress is also one of the most powerful Democrats on the Hill. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) who, along with Martin O'Malley, is running against front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Here are the tweets:

1) Catholic Democrats: Contrast to the GOP_ they want softball moderators who support their typical ideological position. Liberal Rachel Maddow is asking sharp questions.

2) Philip Rucker (Washington Post): O'Malley did pretty well tonight: Some tough questions, but he gave sharp impassioned answers and drew contrasts with Clinton and Sanders.

3) Rock Hill Herald: Woman arrested on pot charge at Winthrop's DemForum in Rock Hill.

4) Ana Kasparian (liberal tv host): Who else is feeling the Bern!? (Bernie Sanders)

5) Brad Gorham (Syracuse University): Good showing for O'Malley; no major flubs, thoughtful answers, didn't dodge the tough questions.

6) Lex Alexander (liberal activist): O'Malley didn't say he'd close Gitmo, and Rachel Maddow let him off the hook.

7) Liz Mair (Republican strategist): Martin O'Malley.....still the only D that makes me look favorably on Hillary Clinton. What a clown.

8) Dan Zak (Washington Post): Martin O'Malley brought a Martin O'Malley to a knife fight.

9) Ari Melber (MSNBC): Martin O'Malley says Dems have lost SC because they've forgotten the middle class.

Democratic Debate Tweets (2 of 3): Starring Martin O'Malley as Hercules

Here is our second tweet script from tonight's debate at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC. These tweets were taken as Martin O'Malley (pict. top) the former Democratic governor of Maryland took the stage.

 One female tweeter's enthusiasm for his physical appearance made us decide to compare him with Hercules, last played on film by Lou Ferrigno (pict. bottom), well, not that may not be entirely accurate!

Brer Rabbitt (pict. center) is our way of making sun of the South (my mom's side of the family is actually from South Carolina). On a personal note, my late grandfather Dudley "Doc" Sturgis taught at Winthrop. Here are the tweets:

1) Jessica Taylor (NPR): O'Malley applauds Obama on Keystone decision but not Secy. Clinton got there just last week.

2) Abby Miles: Could not be prouder to be a student at Winthrop University than I am tonight.

3) John Iodorola (Liberal talk show host/producer): On O'Malley's etch-a-sketch, he's winning in a landslide.

4) Dayna Colbert: I'm loving this. We need more forums.

5) Rachel Wright: O'Malley brought up the zeitgeist. I love fancy words.

6) David Doyen ("Salon"): None of the things O'Malley is saying will help him in the South.

7) Phillip Kessler: Candidates get to talk turkey without interruption from other candidates.

8) Kay Hanley: Martin O'Malley has ripped abs and glistening pecs but for some reason he insists on being in politics.

9) Toasty Poptart (Bernie Sanders supporter): I don't hate Martin O'Malley, but he has ZERO chance. He's barely a contender. This is a waste of time.

Democratic Debate Forum Tweets from Winthrop U in Rock Hill, SC (1 of 3): Larry David 2016

Tonight, we give you live tweets from the Democratic Debate/Forum aired on MSNBC (which we are taping, but first we want to inform the world that the University of North Carolina women's volleyball featuring Paige Neunfeldt (pict. bottom) won on the road at Syracuse University by a score of 3-1 (25-19; 18-25; 26-24; 25-21). Kudos to the Tar Heels.

The Democratic debate took place at Winthrop University (center image is school mascot) in Rock Hill, SC, where my late grandfather Dudley "Doc" Sturgis once taught economics.

Though we didn't find any tweets we could use referring to comedian/actor Larry David (pict. top), there was much mention of him as he played presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) who was joined at Eagles U by Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley.

Since the last debate in Las Vegas, candidates Jim Webb and Lincoln Chaffee have dropped out of the race.

Here we go; most of these tweets were right before the start of the forum. Others are about politics or political views  in general:

1) Winthrop U: As Byrnes Auditorium filled up before the forum, attendees took time to document the special night with selfies.

2) Jim Bradley (A WSOC-TV reporter; ABC/Charlotte, NC): "Supporters outside Byrnes Auditorium. National spotlight on Rock Hill, SC. I'll let you know what the candidates say."

3) Bernie Sanders (from earlier in the day): Anybody who suppresses the vote, who intentionally tries to keep people people from voting, is a political coward. They are undermining democracy." (Ahhh, it's too bad Sanders didn't run against Pres. Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey; we aren't a fan of his).

4) Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va., from earlier in the day): Effects of climate change in VA are real. Sea levels rise and recurrent flooding putting community of Hampton Roads at most serious risk."

5) Cong. Virginia Foxx (R-NC, from earlier): "The president's rejection of Keystone XL pipeline, which has strong bipartisan support, is shameful."

6) Anna Douglas (newspaper reporter for "The Rock Hill Herald"): "The stage seats are full now too. I see many Winthrop students. They look excited."

7) David Corn (liberal journalist with "Mother Jones" referring to the next GOP debate): "Chris Christie in the kiddie debate will be like Godzilla against the kittens."

8) Michael Clark (WBTV-TV; CBS/Charlotte, NC): A mix of Hillary Clinton and Sen. Sanders supporters outside forum.

9) Chris Cillizza (Washington Post blog "The Fix" discussing GOP contender Ben Carson): "Just to avoid future controversy; I applied to Stanford. They saw fit not to admit me."

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween and Happy Anniversary To Us

Happy Halloween to everyone around the world........even in remote parts of Indonesia.........

Today, also marks the 7th anniversary of this blog, and part of the reason why it is called "The Daily Vampire" is because we launched the blog on Oct. 31st, 2008.

Our first image was of Christopher Lee who sadly died earlier this year.

Today's image is of the late Turkish actor Atif Kaptan who played Dracula in "Drakula Istanbul'da" in 1953.

Our other personal favorite vampire actor is Bela Lugosi.

Thanks for checking whenever you can, and we look forward to providing new entries whenever we can, even though there are some pessimists who strongly feel that blogging is dead (no pun intended)!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Colorado Republican Debate Tweets: The World According to Ben Carson (3 of 3)

Yes, we thought it would be fittingly ironic to have Martin Sheen, one of Hollywood's leading liberal activists who also played a fictional American president on "The West Wing," for this entry on the CNBC Republican Debate from Boulder, Colorado, tonight.

These tweets are mostly from partisans on both sides of the political spectrum, one of these tweets contains mature language:

1) The Daily Edge: Ben Carson: "I will eliminate regulations on small business, but dramatically increase them on your wife's uterus."

2) Dean Obeidallah: " 'Please someone on stage tell me how I'm losing to Ben Carson.' The thought of every candidate on stage."

3) Elaina Pott (conservative): "Please recall that at the last debate I wondered if Ted Cruz had disappeared from stage, ripping tequila shots. I have been vindicated."

4) Alexis Levinson (conservative): Oh hey look, Rand Paul is still here.

5) David Corn (liberal): Rand Paul: 'People in Washington think they were sent there to be adults and govern.' Whoa, we certainly don't want that!

6) Dana Libelson (liberal): Love how candidates use wives as stand-ins for people who don't understand money.

7) Bret Baier (Fox News, we assume he's conservative): "The Marco Rubio pushback to Jeb Bush and to the media narrative on his votes plus the Cruz media rant probably the leading moments so far."

8) Suzy Khimm (liberal): "Cruz bemoans the plight of single mothers and poor women but doesn't offer a solution other than BIG GOVERNMENT BAD."

9) Cyclone Volleyball (Iowa State, SPOILER ALERT): Kansas defeats Iowa State 3-1 (20-25, 28-26, 25-15, 25-20....(the game was played in Ames, Iowa, as the debate was occurring).

Colorado Republican Debate Blogathon: People Are Watching This in Israel?!

It dawned us that it was quite ironic that tonight's CNBC Republican debate was taking place in Boulder, Colorado, the state's most liberal community, which is represented by Cong. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), one of the few openly gay members of Congress.

Polis is not the man pictured here who is in fact Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) one of three current U.S. Senators seeking the GOP nod; Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), a democratic socialist is seeking the Democratic Party's nomination.

Here are tweets from a crazy night:

1) Felix Salmon: Carly Fiornia thinks she can bring the tax code down from 70,000 pages to 3 pages. So realistic.

2) Red Six Jones: I'm going to need more wine for this debate.

3) E.J. Dionne (Washington Post): One of my NH Republicans: "Wow! This is a zoo!"

4) Cyclone Volleyball (Iowa State): Different lineup to start set four. Capeizo. Conaway. Lazart up front, Berta, Harris, Nolan in back.

5) Michael Medved (conservative radio host): Whoever advised Jeb that he could help himself by attacking Marco Rubio did him no favors....makes a nice, serious guy look like a bully.

6) Ken Rudin (non-partisan political analyst): Methinks Jeb's attack on Rubio's attendance record in the Senate was a mistake. There was no need for it.

7) Chemi Shalev (Haaretz, Israeli newspaper): Finally, GOP debates gets heated enough to start resembling Israeli tv shows.

8) Cenk Uygur (liberal talk show host): Republicans think it shows strength to ignore the questions and talk over the moderators.

9) David Frum (center-right pundit): 'They don't believe in building walls.' Even when he's not talking about immigration, Jeb Bush talks about immigration."

GOP Boulder Blogathon...........Round One (of 3): Where the Buffaloes Roam

Tonight at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colo., one of our favorite places in America, the Republicans went at each other live on CNBC. The debate went up against Game Two of the World Series and American Pickers on History. But, even though we are not in Boulder and we didn't even watch the debate on tv, we did follow it closely on Twitter.

Left. Right. Center. Non-Partisan. Here are seven tweets about the debate and one about a college volleyball game as well as one about the weather forecast for Raleigh, NC:

1) Hillary Clinton: In the past two debates, no one said a word about equal pay. Maybe the third time's the charm.

2) Peter Sagal (NPR program host): These guys on CNBC are talking unaware that America is screaming at the them to shut up. They're living a nightmare.

3) Tom Tomorrow (liberal cartoonist): Most of the political cartoonists I know would have more interesting things than these chuckleheads.

4) Josh Kraushaar (National Journal): Rubio shakes Trump's hand, Jeb doesn't shake Rubio's hand.

5) Texas Volleyball: Early in the second set, TCU takes a 7-3 lead.

6) Chris Hohmann (TV weather person in Raleigh): Showers with heavy rain are moving into the Triangle and the Sandhills.

7) Patton Oswalt: Hey CNBC anchors, they're bringing the candidates out. CUT TO THEM. enough of your Fraggle Rock yapping.

8) Joan Walsh (The Nation): This commentary is stunningly conservative.

9) David S. Bernstein (Boston politico): Mork and Mindy was set in Boulder. CNBC could be showing some clips from it rather than this painfully bad routine.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Chaos in DC: Tweets from the Republican Congress Mess

Greetings to our blog readers in Serbia, Finland, and Scotland.........

Yes, it has been a full two weeks since I last posted. In the mean time, actor James Woods has reverted back to being a progressive and Susan Sarandon has become a tea partier......well, of course, neither of those things has happened, but we are still here, and we still maintain a center-left point of view.

The images pictured here are of: 1) Cong. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who is one of 46 Republicans trying to become House Speaker since Cong. Kevin McCarthy stunned the nation by dropping out of the race (in actuality, there are 10 candidates who might be speaker), 2) Bao Bao the National Zoo panda who doesn't get to vote for House Speaker, and 3) Turkish ambassador Serdar Kilic posing with President Barack Obama, the man who has replaced Thomas Jefferson on the two dollar bill. (I think we lost some conservatives in the audience with that quip).........we refer to Kilic because Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan was mentioned in a tweet (see below).......

Here are 11 tweets, one for each member of the D.C. United soccer team regarding the predicament over which Republican will prevail as House Speaker in the wake of Cong. John Boehner's (R-Ohio) stunning resignation.

1)  Donna Brazile: #TheSpeakerofTheHouse is second in line after the Vice President to accede to the Presidency. This is serious.

2) The Hill: Amid chaos, Dems catch GOP off guard with Planned Parenthood vote.

3) Roll Call: One member* stomped into an elevator away from reporters with an emphatic "no!" when asked if running for speaker (*-Cong. Trey Gowdy R-SC).

4) Slate: Ted Cruz ambushed the Sierra Club's president** on climate change (**-Aaron Nair). 

5) Gawker: Dr. Ben Carson just won't quit it with the Hitler talk.

6) Cong. Jared Polis (D-Colo.): "#chaosintheHouse who will be speaker?"

7) Politico: Leading Republicans to GOP conference: keep calm

8) Jonathan Chait: Biden seen ordering ice cream cone.

9) Ken Rudin: Newt Gingrich says he wouldn't rule being temp House Speaker.

10) New York Post: Belarusian writer Svetlana Alexievich won this year's Nobel Prize in literature.

11) The Economist: Turkey's Erdogan once visited Brussels begging for favours. The tables have turned.

Now, that we're done, we should head to the Turkish restaurant Meze though it is late and we don't actually live close to the nation's capital.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

10 for 10 (10th entry): Three Hip Urban Slang Defintions............Defining Hottish with Tori Spelling

Greetings to our blog readers in the Netherlands, Argentina, and Burkina Faso....

We will be the first to admit that we should be at the gym in a yoga class or in a public library reading "Esquire," "Mental Floss," or "The Atlantic." But, we are here, and this will mark the 10th and final entry for a series commemorating the tenth anniversary of our blogging practice, which started on Sept. 21, 2005.

Today, we are going with three definition from The Urban Dictionary which have been slightly altered.

Tori Spelling, the former "Beverly Hills 90210" (original show) actress, is pictured here because she is the first woman who came to mind when we heard the term 'hottish.' The second woman who came to mind was Florence Henderson from "The Brady Bunch" (original version). And, the third choice was Sarah Palin (now, we are swimming over our heads).

To find out what that word and the other two urban slang words/terms of the day just keep reading, Angry Birds will be waiting for you when you are finished here:

1) Hottish: Somewhat hot. Although cannot be considered as 'hot,' a person who is hottish is not completely ugly either. (Our apologies to Ms. Spelling)....

2) Donald Trump: Living proof that money simply can not buy good hair.

3) More Issues Than Vogue:  When you imply that your amount of issues (personal problems) are greater than the amount of issues of Vogue (the magazine).

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

10 for 10 (9th entry): A Quote from Jazz Great Herbie Hancock

Greetings to our blog readers in Austria, Dubai, and Singapore....

Tonight, we continue marking our tenth anniversary of blogging with an inspiring quote from noteworthy person.

The Quote of the Week and a series of quotes from people in a given, such as playwrights (Arthur Miller and Neil Simon) or punk rockers (Lou Reed of Iggy Pop) used to be standards on our two blogs, so hence we are quoting jazz great Herbie Hancock ("Watermelon Man," "Rockit") with one of his vintage quotes:

"It's a part of life to have obstacles. It's about overcoming obstacles that's the key to happiness."

SIDEBAR: We want to welcome Pope Francis to the United States, and we hope he enjoyed his time in Washington, DC, today. Somehow, we can't imagine that he will go to the 9:30 Club while he is in the nation's capital.

Monday, September 21, 2015

10 for 10 (8th Entry): The First Line of a Hip Novel............The H-Bomb and The Jesus Rock

Greetings to our blog readers in Slovenia, Greece, and Lebanon..........sorry, we don't have the score of the Indianapolis Colts-New York Jets football, but we will name-drop Frank Gore and Geno Smith in the hopes that will yield us more hits!

Today is actually the 10th anniversary of our blog, and let's go ahead and do this before we run into technical problems for a third consecutive time............?!

A few years ago we had fun posting entries with the first lines of novels like "Moby Dick" by Herman Melville or "1984" by George Orwell, so we are going a bit retro tonight.

Here is the first line of "The H-Bomb and The Jesus Rock," a 2010 gem of a novel by John Manderino from a small publishing house:

"First of all the name is Toby, not Tubs. You want to call me Tubs? Go somewhere else for your cards. I'm talking about baseball cards."

Saturday, September 19, 2015

(10 for 10; 7th Entry): Virtual Postcard from West Virginia

Greetings to our blog readers in Malaysia, Brazil, and Spain.....

Today, we continue our occasional tradition of virtual postcards with an image of the Hawks Nest State Park in West Virginia, located one hour east of the state capital Charleston. The park is a common destination during the autumn months.

For those of you who follow MLS soccer, we have just learned that Sebastian Giovinco scored two goals for Toronto FC in the team's 3-1 win over the Colorado Rapids.

(10 for 10; 6th Entry): Virtual Postcard from Maryland

Greetings to our blog readers in New Zealand, Jamaica, and Sweden......

Today, we feature an image of Keyote (pictured) the mascot of the Frederick Keys in Frederick, Maryland, a Carolina League affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.

We had a chance to visit Frederick and meet Keyote back in August on a surprisingly hot day in which Frederick was actually hotter than Myrtle Beach, South Carolina! (The Keys play the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in the Carolina League; the Pelicans won the league title earlier this week).

While we were in Frederick, we also had a chance to dine at Ayse Meze Lounge, a Turkish restaurant downtown, where we feasted on lahmacun, also known as 'Turkish pizza.'

Hope you are enjoying your Saturday afternoon (or evening/night in other parts of the world). We are currently listening to "The Moth Radio Hour." This week's NPR show has a story performed by former American astronaut Michael Massimino who talks about what earth looks like from outer space. The radio shows airs at 8:00 p.m. on WNYC (New York).

Friday, September 18, 2015

10 for 10 (5th Entry): Love Those Yorkies!

Greetings to our blog readers in Belgium, Canada, and Japan......

Tonight, we are desperately trying to catch up on our 10 for 10 series, and we now know you perhaps cartoonist Bill Griffith must feel if he has gotten behind on drawing his comic strip "Zippy the Pinhead." But, we imagine he is not a notorious procrastinator.

We are featuring an image of Yorkshire terrier, also known as yorkies.

You may not find a yorkie at your community animal shelter here in America, but you may just find a friend for life, so here are two animal local shelters we will provide links for: (Animal shelter in Brunswick, Maine) (Animal shelter in Hays, Kansas)

10 for 10 (4th Entry): Say Hi 2 a Calico Cat...

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

We are continuing our trying to catch up series of blog entries with one dedicate to the calico cat, a popular breed of cat here in America and perhaps the world.

No, we don't actually own one.

There are many cats available at animal shelters here in virtually every community in the United States.

Today, we are choosing these three at random: (Humane Society of Alamance County (Burlington), North Carolina (Franklin County Animal Shelter in Rocky Mount, Virginia) (Jefferson County, Colorado Animal Shelter near Denver)

10 for 10 (3rd Entry): Love Those Zoo Animals

Greetings to our blog readers in Saudi Arabia, India, and France....

Alas, we are running way, way behind in our efforts to post 10 entries in honor of our 10th anniversary of blogging, which is on Sept. 21st.

Life has been crazy and zany lately, and I promise our good friend Chris Knight of Reidsville, NC, that it is not due to watching hours of the '70s English sitcom "Are You Being Served?" on Youtube.

Here is a link to the Denver Zoo, the Philadelphia Zoo and the North Carolina Zoo (in Asheboro, NC, near Greensboro) in case you want to see a giraffe or another zoo animal of your choice in real life. (A link to the Singapore Zoo for our world audience)

Sunday, September 13, 2015

(10 for 10; 2nd Entry): Our Most Popular Blog Entries: Silly Dog Photo to Fill Space

Greetings to our blog readers in Guatemala, Slovakia, and Saudi Arabia.........whoops, sorry about the hot dog image!

In our ten years of blogging, we have often been surprised and some times stunned by which entries prove to be more popular than others. When I posted an entry about hot dogs, as in two dogs dressed like hot dogs (center image), on August 18, 2009, from a small town library in North Carolina, I never could have imagined that it would yield more hits than any entry we posted before or since.

Because our blog is, for some reason, popular in Russia and Ukraine, I suppose it's not shocking that our blog entry with a quote from the legendary gymnast Svetlana Boginskaya, (top image) who competed for the Soviet Union on her native Belarus, became popular, but it's still surprising that it got over 5,000 hits.

Another popular entry with a quote from a celebrity was one from Feb. 9, 2009, featuring reality tv show Heidi Montag ("The Hills") who endorsed John McCain for president, and that apparently wasn't enough for the Republican Arizona senator to get enough votes to win over Barack Obama.

Our second most popular entry featured Mr. Potato Head (pict. bottom), which still seems popular almost five years after its posting as it inches towards the 20,000-hit mark.

Here are our most six most popular blog entries, with links to those entries (alas some photos from the entries have been removed from the net):

1. Silly Photo to Fill Space-Hot Dogs. Aug. 18,2009. 21,464 hits.

2. Bonus Silly Photo to Fill Space-Mr. Potato Head. Dec. 10, 2010. 19,985 hits

3. PSA-Don't Drink and Drive. May 27, 2010. 13,240 hits.

4. Quote of the Day: Heidi Montag. Feb. 9, 2009. 7,928 hits.

5. Quote of the Day: Svetlana Boginskaya. April 19, 2012. 5,250 hits

6. Political Confusion Test (21 of 21)_ The Oak Ridge Boys vs. The Village People. Aug. 14, 2009. 5,142 hits

Saturday, September 12, 2015

10 for 10: The Nine Countries Outside America Where Our Blog Is Most Popular

Our original blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time," which is still up and existent 

....will be turning ten years old on Sept. 21t. So to honor the occasion, we are posting 10 entries on both blogs commemorating the anniversary.

We start here with a round-up of the nine countries outside the United States where "The Daily Vampire" has had the highest number of hits from. We do want to take a moment to recognize people from smaller nations, such as El Salvador, Gabon, and Laos, where we have seen hits from over the years. But, as one would expect larger countries are in the top nine. We have been stunned by how popular both blogs are in Russia and Ukraine, and we are grateful that Turkey, the country of my late father, is in the top nine for this blog.

The images we have chosen to represent three of the countries on the list are of Misha the Bear (or Mishka) who was the mascot of the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics, Karagoz and Hacivat, two beloved Turkish shadow puppets which have been in existence since Ottoman times, and a still from Federico Fellini's 1969 film "Satyrican" for Italy (alas, the Italian director's name is one we have frequently spelled incorrectly!)

While we are at it, let's take a moment to salute Italian female tennis player Flavia Pennetta for winning today's U.S. Open finale.

Here are the countries and the number of hits from each one:

1. Russia 29,585

2. United Kingdom 27,223

3. Canada 17, 098

4. Germany 15,121

5. France 7,495

6. Australia 7,256

7. *Turkey 2,586

8. Ukraine 2,493

9. Italy 2,371

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Celebrating International Literacy Day with Stephen King

Greetings to our blog readers in Italy, Ukraine, and Sweden.

We are thrilled to see that someone from the coastal African nation of Gabon has checked out our blog!

Today is International Literacy Day, so we thought we'd post a random list of ten novels we need to read again as we listen to Depeche Mode:

1) Misery. Stephen King. 1987 (pict. top)

2) Choke. Chuck Palahniuk. 2001 (pict. center)

3) Bright Lights, Big City. Jay McInerney (pict. bottom)

4) The Great Gatsby. F. Scott Fitzgerald. 1925.

5) The Chosen. Chaim Potok. 1967.

6) The Hours. Michael Cunnigham. 1998.

7) The Breakfast of Champions. Kurt Vonnegut. 1973.

8) Netherland. Joseph O'Neill. 2008. (The author is half-Irish, and half-Turkish)

9) Deliverance. James Dickey. 1970. 

10) Chilly Scenes of Winter. Anne Beattie. 1976. (Hartford Public Library; McInerney was born in the Connecticut capital)/

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Saturday Afternoon Tweets: Big Ben to Bao Bao the Panda

This afternoon on Twitter, we found out that, much to our horror, there are actually some crazy people who think the murders of WDBJ (CBS. Roanoke, Va.) reporter Alison Jones and photojournalist Adam Ward which occurred last week in the Smith Mountain Lake town of Moneta, Va., was a staged hoax. The incident is still a shock to those of us in southwest Virginia, though we saw this amusing sign in the Roanoke County community of Bent Mountain: "Prayers for WDBJ. Lopes. Tomatoes."

This week, there has also been considerable discourse over the drowning death of Aylan Kurdi, a 3-year-old Syrian Kurdish refugee, after he fell from a raft and drowned en route from Bodrum, Turkey, and the Greek island of Kos, some three miles apart (both are resort areas). Today, we learned of another tragic infant death off the coast of the Greek island of Samos, near Kusadasi, Turkey. Refugees have also been stuck in Budapest, Hungary, and today the prime minister of Finland offered his residency to refugees in his country.

Today, the National Festival of the Book is also underway in Washington, DC.

Here are ten tweets from this afternoon, between 1:00-2:00 eastern United States time (6:00pm in London, 7:00pm in Amsterdam, and 8:00pm in Istanbul):


2) The Hill: Hillary Clinton raised up to $500k in Puerto Rico.

3) Des Moines Register (Des Moines, Iowa, newspaper): Several roads have already been closed ahead of Des Moines Triathlon.

4) VICE: Some rich a--hole in the UK used children's gravestones to decorate his mansion.

5) GlobalPost: Greek Coastguard say newborn infant found dead (near Samos island)

6) Jon Winkaur: I don't have to live in the real world_ I'm a fiction writer, Aaron Sorkin (Tv's "West Wing," "A Few Good Men" screenplay)

7) Talking Points Memo: Scared of ISIS attacks? For $525, Vickers Tactical will teach you to kill terrorists.

8) The Guardian (English newspaper): "To end the refugee crisis, we need more than grief. We need to see we're broken," Sabrina Hersi Issa.

9) Frederike Geerdink: Note to self, always, always, take a toothbrush.

10) Bao Bao (National Zoo panda, pict. bottom): Whoa. I just realized that two of my favorite things are very different but have similar sounding names: trees and treats.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Last 10 CDs We've Listened To: The Cars to Cold War Kids

Before we get this entry underway, we want to express our condolences to the families of Alison Parker of Martinsville, Va., and Adam Ward of Salem, Va. The reporter-video photographer team was murdered while on assignment for WDBJ-7 (CBS, Roanoke, Va.) in the Smith Mountain Lake town of Moneta, Va. Parker was 24; Ward was 27.

Roanoke is our hometown, and the area is still in mourning five days after the shooting incident which occurred at 6:45 a.m. The assailant lead state police on a wild chase which ended with his suicide en route from Front Royal, Va., to the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC, on I-66, some four hours north of the scene of the homicides.

Kimberly McBroom, the morning anchor when the shooting occurred,  stayed on-air to report breaking news updates throughout the day. Nadia Singh anchored the weekend morning show which Parker had anchored. And, former "Roanoke Times" journalist and book author Beth Macy wrote a heratfelt piece in "The New York Times" about the community's devastation.

Now, here is our top ten Last Ten CDs We've Listened To list, which includes some hip bands from this decade, such as Cold War Kids (we are using the center image of Misha the Bear in their honor), who will perform in Houston, Tex., Sept. 12th, and Fitz and the Tantrums who will perform Sept. 4th and 5th in Aspen, Colo.

The list also includes some older bands including INXS (pict. top), Talking Heads, and The Cars (we use the Jaguar car, pict. bottom, for them) as well as New Order!

Here is the list:

1. Fitz and The Tantrums, Pickin' Up the Pieces, 2010

2. INXS, Kick, 1987

3. Cold War Kids, Loyalty to Loyalty, 2008

4. Talking Heads, Speaking in Tongues, 1983

5. The Cars, Candy O, 1979

6. Bob Dylan, Blood on the Tracks, 1974

7. Josh Ritter, The Animal Years, 2006

8. Weezer, Make Believe, 2005

9. Peter, Bjorn and John, Gimme Some, 2011

10. New Order, Republic, 1993 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Sunday Washington Post Comic Strips Survey: Steve Jobs in Hell

Greetings to our blog readers in Cuba, Denmark, and Egypt.....

This week, Scott Hilburn took the brave task of having his comic strip "The Argyle Sweater" take on the complex and surreal topic of what the late Steve Jobs  (pict. top) would have to deal with if he ended up in hell. In the comic strip, which does not have set characters like "Peanuts" or "Garfield," two demons give Jobs an iPhone and play several practical jokes on him through the device which of course irritates the cellphone entrepreneur.

The comic strip "Lio" also took to fantasy escapism with a strip that has Lio, the title character, whistling at his father to look at a shark fin floating in make-shift outdoor pool. The image for this strip that we are using is of two shark fins at a pharmacy in Yokohama, Japan.

Jim Toomey's comic strip "Sherman's Lagoon" regularly features sharks as well. In this week's strip, Sherman, the title character and a shark, tries to talk to his Uncle Phil via Skype and there are technical problems as well as mutual difficulties in finding things to talk about.

Insects also figured prominently in several Sunday strips this week including Keith Knight's autobiographical "Knight Life" in which two mosquitoes (bottom image) try to bite his legs and converse with each other in the process!

Here is our top ten:

1. The Argyle Sweater 

2. Foxtrot

3. WuMo

4. Pearls Before Swine

5. Lio

6. Knight Life

7. Sherman's Lagoon

8. Brewster Rockit: Space Guy

9. Candorville

10. Dustin

Monday, August 17, 2015

Comic Strip Survey: For the First Time, We Check Out the Baltimore Sun

Greetings to our blog readers in Hong Kong, Turkey, and Germany........

This week for the first time in the eight-year history of this blog, we look at Sunday comic strips from "The Baltimore Sun." We were hoping to see "Zippy the Pinhead," and as it turns out, yesterday Bill Griffith's comic strip was truly a piece of art. Today, he made vintage fun of Donald Trump; even Bao Bao, the panda at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., isn't such an easy target.

Omigosh, we just made a major faux paux as it is considered rude to mention Washington, D.C., when one is talking about Baltimore. Fortunately, when I briefly met John Waters, a cult film director from Charm City, in 2002, I did not make this mistake. But, I only talked to him for about eight seconds, which is how long I spent talking to Willie Nelson backstage at a Farm Aid concert  around that same time.

"The Baltimore Sun" features several comic strips which we don't see in the other newspapers we survey, like "The Washington Post" (whoops again!), including "Mother Goose and Grimm," "The Middletons," and "One Big Happy." All three of those strips made our big list.

First place goes to "Foxtrot," which features the family going out for a Sunday picnic at a state park in a place like The Humpback Bridge State Park in Covington, Va., and they encounters all sorts of natural elements likes ticks (top image), poison ivy, and snakes. Of course, in Florida, they would also have to worry about alligators.

Third place goes to "Speed Bump," in which a judge (center image) tweets his verdict, somehow we can't imagine Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas doing such a thing (ahhh, that's the third D.C. reference).

And, in sixth place, we have "Mother Goose and Grimm," which ironically has a nursery rhyme themed strip (given its title) as Humpty Dumpty falls off his great wall. We actually didn't get the Obamacare gag (and, that makes four), but we liked the strip enough as it is.

Now, let's give this list which you can perhaps read on the Metro after you've come back from seeing that new Woody Allen movie at the Landmark E-Street, we are up to five!:

1) Foxtrot

2) Pearls Before Swine

3) Speed Bump

4) Dilbert

5) Get Fuzzy

6) Mother Goose and Grimm

7) The Middletons

8) One Big Happy

9) Garfield

10) Zits

Friday, August 14, 2015

Comic Strip Conversations: Pickles to Sherman's Lagoon

Here a sample of Sunday comic strip lines pasted together as if they are one singular long conversation. The images above are of: 1) Dilbert, 2) Zits, and 3) Baldo. Other comic strips featured in this piece are "Pickles," "Pearls Before Swine," and "Judge Parker" as well as "Sherman's Lagoon."
1. "That sounds like an excuse" (Dilbert, May 3rd)

2. "So what are you guys going to do tonight?" (Zits, March 29th)

3. "I'll be in my cubicle I have work to do," (Judge Parker, March 29th)

4. "There must be something you can do for me." (Hagar the Horrible, March 29th)

5. "How much experience do you have?" (Pearls Before Swine, Dec. 7th, 2014)

6. "How long can I play in the NFL? We'll see." (Jump Start, Sept. 21st, 2014)

7. "I had a weird dream last night." (Pickles, March 29th)

8. "Milk Duds." ("Baldo, Dec. 7th, 2014)

9. "There's lasagna in the oven," (Sherman's Lagoon, March 29th)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Comic Strip Conversations: Judge Parker is Always Good for This

Some three years ago, we took comic strip dialogue lines and pasted them together as if it was one conversation. The process is a bit cumbersome and challenging, but the results are sometimes quite intriguing. Comic strips with lots of talking like "Judge Parker" and "Sally Forth" are good for this.

1. "Are You Crying?" (Phoebe and Her Unicorn, Aug. 9th)

2. ".........My cartoonist still hasn't come up with an idea for today's comic strip" (Ziggy, Aug. 9th, top image)

3. "When is Mark Leaving for Hong Kong?" (Judge Parker, Aug. 9th)

4. "How long have you guys been married?" (Pickles, July 26th, pict. center)

5. "Oh, great, what does that old goat want now? (Blondie, July 26th, pict. bottom)

6. "We Need a Vacation" (Muts, July 26th)

7. "So, what do think of today's comic books?" (Funky Winkerbean, July 26th)

8. "You ever think about aliens from outer space?" (Jump Start, July 26th)

9. "Everything, I could possibly wish for is right here," (Sally Forth, Aug. 2nd)