Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Thoughts on the Oscar nominations

First of all, I must reluctantly admit that I have NOT seen several of the nominated films in major cateogries this year. "Brokeback Mountain" is the only Best Picture-nominated film I've seen. But, I have seen three of the five nominated documentary (full-length) films and as a devout film fanatic, I am familiar with the work of many of those nominated. The Oscars will not be broadcast until March 5, on ABC. Locally, the Grandin Theatre in Raonoke, Va., will show the awards live and free to the public (including free popcorn). I think the Oscars have lost some of their magic in recent years thanks to an overflow of awards shows on cable outlets in recent years. And, it should be pointed out that the Oscars are a reflection of industry views, which are not neccesarily in concert with those of critics and film scholars. David Cronenberg's "A History of Violence" was named best film of the year by the distinguished "Village Voice" critics poll, but it only recieved a nomination from previous Oscar-winner William Hurt (for "Kiss of the Spider Woman) for Best Supporting Actor. But, there were some delightful surprises. The first has to be the nomination of the Palestinian film "Paradise Now," which covers the controversial subject of suicide bombers. The film has ranked highly among critics, but it was expected that this film would not be nominated for political reasons. The other pleasantries were the Best Actor nomination of David Strathairn (Good Night, Good Luck) who first gained notice for acting in films directed by his longtime friend John Sayles. He has always been a good, consistent actor and I'm sure his performance as Edward R. Murrow in George Clooney's film (which I have not seen) was exceptional. It was also good to see Paul Giamatti, who has been looked over by Oscar for his performances in "American Splendor" and "Sideways," get nominated this year as a Best Supporting Actor for "Cinderella Man." It was once again a terrible year for actresses, which makes the snub of Laura Linney, who was in "The Squid and The Whale "this year, all the more glaring. Rodrigo Prieto's cinematography in "Brokeback Mountain" was in my view one of the most exceptional things about the film. Prieto, who first gained attention for his cinematography in the acclaimed Mexican film "Ammores Peros." The academy also did an excellent job recognizing the powerful documentary "Street Fight." The film about the heated mayorial election in Newark, NJ, a few years back was an excellent inside look at local politics in America and how the system is corrupted by outside forces. I saw the film, which was also featured at this year's FullFrame documentary film festival, on the PBS documentary series "POV." The filmmakers were kind enough to answer a question I had about the film in an online forum, and I am glad they are getting this recognition though I expect the surprise box office hit "March of the Penguins" to actually win in the documentary category. The cateogry also featured the outstanding documentary "Murderball" about men in wheelchairs who can play some mean indoor rugby! And, lastly, I was happy to see Woody Allen get nominated for his excellent screenplay for "Match Point,' though I think the academy's nomination of Stephen Gaghan for his screenplay to the messy film "Syriana" was very startling. I respect Gaghan for his screenplay for "Traffic," which deservedly won an Oscar. But, as someone who is working on a screenplay (well, I should perhaps be working on it right now!), I think "Syriana" represents everything that one should not try to do as a screenwriter. It is a screenplay with a convoluted plot that ultimately has too many subplots which simply does not ring true or hold together. (And, I am not saying this for poltical reasons as Gaghan's personal views are probably very similar to my own!) The same was not true of his effort in "Traffic," but after "Syriana," one has to wonder if the formula is indeed one that should be retired- but, having said that, watch him win a Second Oscar! 


Update March 1: I did not get to listen to the piece, but the BBC reported that many people in Israel are not happy that "Paradise Now" was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. Since the controversial Palestinian film, by  a very accomplished director, deals with suicide bombers I would be shocked if it won an Oscar. I thus expect the South African film "Tsotsi' to win the award, but I've been surprised before!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Film about Sudanese reugees wins BIG at Sundance

The Sun. Jan. 29th edition of the Salt Lake City newspaper "The Deseret News" reported that "God Grew Tired of Us," a film partially financed by Nicole Kidman, about three Sudanese refugees who have immigrated to America won both the jury prize and the audience prize in the documentary feature category. Christopher Quinn directed the film and in his speech which was shown on the Sundance Channel, he said that he hoped his work would bring more attention to the people of The Sudan who are dying by the thousands. The film is the second one about Sudanese refugees in America to be produced within the last few years. "The Lost Boys of Sudan" was the other film, and it was shown on the PBS documentary series "POV."

The other big winner at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah was "Quinceanera," a feature film about Latino youths coming of age in inner city Los Angeles. The film won the auidence and jury awards in the drama category. Surprisingly, the film was not directed by Lationo filmmkaers, but rahter by Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer.

Web sites containing more info on the Sundance Film Festival include:

1) http://www.deseretnews.com

2) http://www.sundance.org

3) http://www.sundancechannel.com


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Here it is- buttermilk recipe!

As promised in my last entry, here is a recipe for Buttermilk Panna Cotta.

The recipe comes from master chef John Fleer, of Blackberry Farms, and was originally published in the Spring 2005 issue of "Oxford American," a magazine devouted to southern culture and literature. The spring 2005 issue focues on southern cuisine.

Buttermilk Panna Cotta

serves up to 12

1 tablespoon (1/4 ounce package) unflavored, granulated gelatin, 1/4 cup of water, 1 1/2 cups half and half, 3/4 cup of sugar, 2 vanilla beans, split and scraped, 2 1/4 cups buttermilk

Bring half and half, sugar, and vanilla beans to a simmer in medium heavy-bottoemed sauce pot. Turn off heat and set aside. Sprinkle gelatin over room temperature water. Let gelatin bloom in water for five minutes. Warm the gelatin over water bath until gelatin is disolved. Whisk in a dissolved gelatin and buttermilk and stir until fully combined. Strain the mixture through a fine-meshed strainer. Cool panna cotta mixture over ice, but do not let it set. Ladle mixture into small ramekins or dishes. Chill for an hour. Serve cold.

Portions of the recipe were editted to fit into this entry.

Oxford-American's web site is:



Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Widespread Panic on Austin City Limits this week

I normally don't post two blog entries in one day, but it came to my attention today that the road warrior rock group, Widespread Panic, which has developed quite a devout following over the years will be on this week's edition of Austin City Limits. The PBS show is in its 31st season and this past week North Carolina rocker Ryan Adams headlined the show. I have seen acts ranging from Lyle Lovett to Pat Methany perfom on their this past year alone! My cousin Mike of Rock Hill, SC and another cousin Stella from Roebuck, SC, are both huge fans of Panic. Stella went as far as Colorado to see them perfom (to my knowledge) and I believe Mike went all the way out to Arizona for one of their concerts. They came here to Roanoke fairly recently, but I'm one who prefers to see bands perfom on Austin City Limits, perhaps because- well, it is free!


Widespread Panic consists of:

John Bell on lead vocals and guitar

John "Jo Jo" Hermann on keyboards and vocals

George McConell on guitars

Todd Nance on drums

Domingo S. Ortiz on percussion

Dave Schools on bass

Thanks to everyone for reading my blog, as I have now passed 50 entires! To my knowledge, documentary filmmaker Les Blank("Burden of Dreams")  is the most famous person who has accessed it so far.

The web site for Austin City Limits is:


The site for Widespread Panic is:


Coming attractions:

Please hold me to this, I hope to reprint a recipe involving buttermilk that was in an issue of "Oxford American" earlier this year.

Brew-ha-ha over beer in Turkey (dated material)

In the Dec. 23 edition of the "Washington Post," their reporter Karl Vick reported from Istanbul over a controversy regarding a Kurdish beer called "Roj," which is actually brewed in Vienna, Austria. The makers of Roj are trying to get tehir product sold in Turkey, which has the world's largest Kurdish population. The issue is a messy one because Kurds and the majority Turkish-ethnic population have had troubled relations caused by violent rebllions on the part of the PKK (Kurdish Workers Party) and the Turkish government's reactionary policies that resulted from that period in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Vick said that a bloody head of a ram has been left outside Roj's main office, and that a reporesentative of the brewery was questioned by authorties in Istanbul for an excessive amount of time. Vick interviewd Filiz Telli, an Istanbul resident who was sharing a beer with a co-worker at an Istnabul bar. When asked if Roj should be sold in Turkey, Telli told Vick that 'she wouldn't advise it.'

The Kurdish population in Turkey lives mostly in Eastern Turkey, though a significant number of Kurdish residents live in Adana, Turkey's fourth largest city and in Istanbul. Other major cities with Kurdish populations include Diyarbakir and Van.

The chance that Iraqi Kurds could form their own country in northern Iraq is often cited as the main reason why many people in Turkey oppose American forces being in Iraq.

The web site for the Washington Post is:


For more daily news from Turkey, one can access the English-language Turkish Daily News from the web at:



Monday, January 23, 2006

Florida man freed thanks to DNA evidence

According to an AP story I just read, Alan Crothers, 45, an African-American man originally from Tampa, Fl. has been freed thanks to DNA evidence after spending 24 years in prison from a false convinction of an armed robbery and rape in 1981 which rendered him with a 130 year prison sentence. Gov. Jeb Bush (R) agreed to pay Crothers $2 million as a settlement for the wrongful conviction. Upon his release Crtohers told the AP "It's been a long time, thank God for this."

 The news comes two weeks after DNA evidence from here in Virginia proved that a Grundy man, Roger Coleman, was indeed guilty of the rape and murder of Wendy McCoy. The findings in that case, which were only performed thanks to the political courage of Gov. Mark Warner (D), and had been opposed by our state's previous attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Jerry Kilgore (R). Kilgore lost his scandolous campaign to our present Gov. Tim Kaine (D), who was undoubtedly assisted by Kilgore's theatrics over Kaine's personal (but alas not political) objections to the death penalty.

There were many distressing headers post by racists over Crotehrs' release which benefited from the efforts of the Innocence Project- a project which looks to redem wrongfully convicted individuals and is the focus of the documentary film "After Innocence," on the Yahoo! boards.

Here is a sample of some of these horrific hate messages:

1) Feeling BAD about this guy? DON'T!

2) He'll rape again within 6 Months

3) He'll be rearrested in 2 weeks

Other headers, which I believe to have been promptly removed by Yahoo! censors, included a heinous suggestion that Crothers should recive a free bucket of KFC chicken. Another offending message with the header "Why do Gorillas make so much noise? " also disappeared.

Having seen militants on a Roanoke Times message boards call those of us who oppose the death penalty 'thug huggers' and another one which said that we 'deserved to killed by homicidal maniacs,' none of this is remotely surprsing.

While I acknowledge that there are militnats who agree with my views as well, I think these messages and the recent incidents of youths beating a homeless man to death in Fort Lauderdale, Fl., illustrate there is an 'angry white man' epidemic in America which suggests that as a society we may be unable to adjust to changing social norms and the transforming landscape of our ethnic makeup. There appear to be similar problems in western Europe, where my ethnic group (people of Turkish heritage) have been subject to hate campaigns. 


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Play About Elvis to open here

Mill Mountain Theatre, the largest stage company here in Roanoke, will be performing "Elvis People," a new play about Elvis fans, as part of the Norfolk Southern Festival of New Works. It will run from Jan. 31-Feb. 12, 2006. Part of the promotion for the event says that 84% of Americans say that their lives have been touched by Elvis in some way. 70% have watched an Elvis movie. And, 44% have danced to an Elvis song.

The play is written by Doug Grissom.

Roanoke, Va. is also home to Mini-Graceland, a miniature replica of the Elvis mansion. The place is listed on Roadside America, an internet site devouted to unusual places of such interest. Alas, an August 'Roanoke Times" article reported that the attraction was deteriating.

I also found out that there is an Elvis club in my father's country. For anyone who might read this blog from Istanbul, there will apparently be a gathering of Elvis fans there on Jan. 21

For more info on the play, and related subjects:




(that's for the real Graceland in Memphis)


(This site is mostly in Turkish, but it is a hoot!)

Update (2/19/06)- Alas, I missed "Elvis People" in Roanoke. I was going to attend on the last day but the double-whammy of a cold and bad weather forced me to miss out. I also missed the Elvis impersonators concert in Istanbul, but well that was half a world away!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Cairo is looking for good taxi cabs

After seeing my friend, experimental filmmaker Rob Nilssons' film "Signal 7" about taxi drivers in San Francisco. I was intrigued by an article in the online version of the BBC World Service about taxi drivers in Cairo, Egypt. Apparently, there is a major problem with the current cabs on the streets. Hani Elwi, a local taxi driver, says that at 15 cents per kilometer, it is indeed a tough way to make a living.

The city also has major problems with theit cabs. Many are over 30 years of age, and have sufferend considerable damage over the years. The city is asking the private sector (sound familiar) to help them get newer cabs, preferably ones with air-conditioning and working meters.

The city is also looking to hire more female cab drivers, in order to bring in more female passengers.

There would be one significant catch-22 though as of course nicer cabs would mean a signifiicant price hike. Elwi said he is concerned that this would mean only rich people could afford cabs.


The BBC World SErvice web site is:




Monday, January 16, 2006

Quote of the day

I pretty much NEVER listen to Rush Limbuagh's radio show. There is an AM radio station which airs here in Roanoke, and out of curiosuity, I had to listen in for 20 seconds. Sure enough, even in that miniscule amount of time, I caught a direct quote which 'made my day.'


The caller said this, and these are almost his exact words:


"The Republicans can never be as bad as the Democrats because they've got Ted Kennedy."


I'm still laughing. Ignorance is indeed blish!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

HR Pufnstuf - really a pot icon?

I, myself, was a skeptic but when I recently rewatched some episodes of 'H.R. Pufnstuf," a late sixties/early seventies Saturday morning stable produced by legendary children's television pioneers Syd and Marty Kroft, I raised both eyebrows firmly! According to the web site of Cannabis Culture magazine (for the record, I don't endorse or partake in pot smoking), there are many signs of what is 'really going.' An article by Dana Larsen published in May of 2003 by the magazine states that many have interpreted the title H.R. as 'hand-rolled" The theme song also has a strange line which goes: "H.R. Pufnstuf, who's your friend when things get rough? H.R. Pufnstuf, can't do a little, 'cause you never do enough!" In one episode (which I viewed), Freddy the Flute gets turned into a magic mushroom, and in a later episode Pufnstuf tells Cling and Cland to 'stop sniffing' the magic smoke. There are also terms used in the show at several intervals, including 'Black Bart," which was a slang for pot.

For those who want to see this for themselves the series is availbale on DVD from Rhino Entertainment.

The web site for the Vancouver-based marijuana culture magazine Cannabiz Culter is:



Saturday, January 14, 2006

George W. Bush named failure of the year

Failure Magazine named 'our beloved president' as its' failure of the year. Editor Jason Zasky said given Hurricane Katrina, and a series of fiascos, the mess in Iraq and several major scandals, it was an easy choice. I personally think Bush- not Sen. Hillary Clinton or any other Democrat- will be a blessing for all of us on the other side of the political fence. And, I want to thank all my Republican friends for choosing a man as inept and clueless as our 'fearless leader.' My only regret is that a man this dubious is president during a time of considerable peril.

For more info on the delightful editorial by Jason Zasky go to:



Wal-Mart must pay up in Maryland

Walmartwatch.com announced that bill originally vetoed by Maryaldn's Republican governor passed. The Fair Share Health Care plan is the first law of its kind in the country, and it now requires those employers with over 10,000 employees to make healthcare affordable to their employees.

According to the site, the bill did not target Wal-Mart as its opponents calimed but it was the Arkansas-based retailer's neglicence towards paying healthcare for their 17,000 employees in Maryland which helped bring the matter to the state floor in Annapolis.

The site said that this story made the front page of The Washington Post, The New York Times and even The Guardian of London.

If you want to join Wal-Mart watch, their site is simply:



In our own state, legislators were busy passing a bill that bans gay marriage. Of course, it is doing well. I'm not gay, but I think this is a ridicilous exercise brought on by holier-than-thou evangelicals who are worried that somehow gay marriage will corrupt 'the noble instituion" that is modern marriage. I can't imagine that any efforts in Richmond, or any other state capital for that matter, can undo the damage which has already been done!

Friday, January 13, 2006

VADP's offical word on Coleman DNA outcome

Below here is the official comment from Virginians for the Alternatives to the Death Penalty, regarding the DNA test results from Canada which confirmed the guilt of Roger Coleman who was executed during the administration of Gov. Doug Wilder (D) in the 1992 for the brutal murder in the coal-minning community of Grundy of Wanda McCoy in 1992 by the electric chair. Coleman had maintained his innocence up until his last words. I am an opponent of capital punishment, myself, but I realize there is an inherent danger of getting so wrapped up in the cause that it can seem from the other side of the fence that you are an advocate for the murderer, and not the victim. Nevertheless, though the likes of Attorney General-elect Bob McDonnel (R) may like to arbitrarily sweep us under the rug and use this as a means for that, there is still conclusive evidence that innocence people have been put to death in the United States and in spite of the Coleman findings, there are no guarantees that there have been no exectuions of persons innocent of murder here in Virginia, either. Earl Washington of Culpeper, Va., was on death row here in the state, but DNA evidence did prove he was not guilt of murder. He has since been released from prison. Admittedly, Washington was not a model citizen but he was not guilty of murder. Sadly, with the Coleman finding, the general public is likely to forget just how close a definitive execution of a person who did not commit homicide occured here. For my part, however one may despise my political views, I feel for the McCoy family and all family members of homicde victims in our country- not all of whom supprt the death penalty. And, I respect those of who may differ from my POV, but one should realize there are valid reasons why people on my side of the fence feel very storngly in our opposition to what we feel is an inappropriate notion of justice which is not carried out in many countries, including my father's country, Turkey (yes, surprise!).

At any rate, here is the official comment of the VADP regardign the Coleman finding:


We are thankful to Gov. Warner for his continuing efforts to advance the cause of justice through the application of the latest scientific advances in DNA technology. His order to test the existent DNA in the case of a man who was executed in 1992 has set a precedent. Had he not done so, no resolution of the persistent question of Coleman's guilt or innocence could have been achieved......

In the vast majority of cases in which DNA is not available or part of the case it is especially critical that the original trial be as fair, complete and vigorous as possible. In this case, we can finally close a chapter with certainty, but in many cases in which DNA testing is unavailable that certainty can never be attained. And, in too many cases, lingering doubt about the guilt of the executed remains.


For a complete transcript of the VADP statement, log on to their site at:



Thursday, January 12, 2006

Editorial- I oppose Mehmet Ali Agca's release, but...

I am vehementaly opposed to the release of Mehmet Ali Agca. He is known universally as the man who tried to shoot Pope John Paul the 2nd,  but he was also convicted of murdering Abdi Ipekci, an editor for Milliyet newspaper in 1979. I was actually living in Turkey when the slaying of Ipekci occured. It was a shocking incident at a time when the country was suffering from violent political clashes between right wingers and left wingers. Agca was involved with militant right wing groups. Both were responsible for causing more political unrest in Turkey than there already was. I have seen some ridicilous statements on an AOL message board, including why Agca's release 'justifies the death penalty here' (I almost laughed at that one) and why 'people should not go to Turkey.' I responded to the later by saying that would be like saying don't go to Los Angeles because they did not convict O.J. Simpson and that he was using this news as a reason to express racist views towards Turkey that he already had. Turkey has come a long way with human rights. They abolished the death penalty a few years ago. But, I fear this move, may give Turkish conservatives cause to take steps in the other direction. In Turkey, politics is a very sensitive thing and no one wants to sit on their side of the see-saw too long. Ironically, Mr. Ipekci was one of Turkey's leading liberal voices at the time of his homicide.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A History of Violence named film of the year...!

Well, it is not often that "The Village Voice," "Film Comment" and "Rolling Stone" name the same film as 'best picture of the year,' but that is just what has happened. David Cronenberg's "A History of Violence," which I have alas NOT seen won the Film Comment poll. The other films in their top 5 were Wong Kar Wai's latest offering "2046." The legendary Hong Kong director has directed many great films, but I was frankly disappointed by this one. Two French films "Kings and Queen" and "Hidden" as well as the excellent doc "Grizzly Man" round out the top five in the "Film Comment" poll. "The Village Voice" poll had all those films in the top 5 with the exception of "Hidden," which came in at #8 (The Chinese film "The World" was # 5 in the 'Voice' poll). The Rolling Stone poll is actually the opinion of just one man- their critic Peter Travers. "Wedding Crashers" was his choice for the #10 slot. I have not seen the Owen Wilson-Vince Vaughn vehicle, but that alone is enough to make me wonder if Travers goes to the movies in a state of intoxication:) I have really not seen enough films yet to make an 'official' top 10, but the German film "Downfall" about the last days of Adolf Hitler looks to be my favorite film of 2005.


The web site for Film Comment is:


The Village Voice site is



I will endorse Judge Alito for.... (read fine print)

I am going to post this blog entry as a test to who is actually reading this thing! Anyway, if there is a contest between Judge Alito and Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) to see who gets selected for a dunking booth, I will gladly select the judge- the U.S. Supreme Court is another matter! Anyway, if there are any right wingers trekking through cyberspace who come across this here blog, you guys (or Anne Coulters) can respond accordingly. It is- for the moment- still a free country here in the usa...!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Update on Bird Fly in Eastern Turkey

The outbreak of approximately 20 cases of the bird flu virus in Turkey has been making international headlines as of late. The H5N1 strand of the bird flu is known to have killed many people in China and other parts of Asia. In the eastern province of Van, an area which borders Iran, public officials are trying to address residents' concerns directly. The English-language "Turkish Daily News" reported that Turkish Health Minister Recep Akdag traveled to the eastern town of Dogubayazit  and was met with hostilities as residents accused the government of neglecting them because they are Kurdish. The TDN also reported that the World Health Health Organization (WHO) said the virus was spreading from birds to humans and not person-to-person. The BBC reported that some local residents were also warry of handing over their poultry to government officials. The BBC also said health officials are concerned that the disease will start spreading quicikly in Turkey, and that a 37-year old woman in the eastern Sivas province has also come down with the virus. Reporter Mustafa Yukselbaba, reporting for the Irish Independent, said that the latest child to die over the weekend was Hulya Koyigit, age 11 (ironically the name of a famous Turkish actress). Her brother Mehmet Ali, age 14, and sister Fatma, age 15, also died from the virus. Yukselbaba's report also stated that bird flu hads been detected in two wild ducks near the capital city of Ankara. All of the victims were in close proximity to pultry and some of them reportedly had played with chicken heads. Yukselbaba also reported that six children were being tested for the flu in the Eastern province of Diyarbakir.

For more info:

The Turkish Daily News site is:


The BBC's site is:



Monday, January 9, 2006

Recipe for Libyan Soup

In an effort to hopefully bring more female readers to my blog, I will occasionally be posting recipes. Today's recipe is for Libyan Soup. It is the national dish of Tunisia- just kidding! I shoplifted this recipe from the Jan. 4th New York Times. If anyone who logs on to this blog works there, well come on you have better things to do than sue me!


Here it is:

Libyan Soup

Time: 1 h, 30 m

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1/2 pund boneless lamb shoulder r dark chicken meat

4 medium size tomatoes, diced

1/2 can of tomato paste

2 teaspoons of sweet paprika

1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper or harissa

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads

1/2 cup orzo

1 cup cooked chickpeas

1 tablespoon finely chopped cliantro leaves

1 tablespoon finely flat-leaf parsley leaves

1/2 tablespoon dried mint

1. Heat oil in a 4-quart casserole or saucepan. Add onion and lamb or chicken and cook, stirring frequently until it browns. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, paprika, cayenne or harissa, saffron and salt/pepper. Stir, then add 8 cups of water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes.

2. Add orzo and chickpeas and cook for 15 minutes, until orzo is tender. Add cilantro and parsley. Taste and adjust salt and cayenne or harissa. Add dried mint. Cook for 5 minutes and then serve.

Can serve up to 6 or 8.

Let me know if you actually do this!

Sunday, January 8, 2006

Politically Incorrect Thought of the Day....

I picked an interesting zine in Boulder, Co., while I was out there last week. It's called "The Yellow Rake" I saw this article/essay by Brian Polk called "Selflessness is UnAmerican." It is a tongue and cheek essay, though it makes valid points. My favorite passage from the piece is as follows:

"The only thing I hate more than people is poor people. Why don't they get a job somewhere other than McDonalds? And while they're working at these horrid fast food places, why can't they get my fries any faster?"

Again, this was an exercise in sarcasm- read the fine print!





Saturday, January 7, 2006

Web site memorial for Richmond family

As a capital punishment opponent, I am sometimes asked if I care 'about the victims as much as the criminals.' I think such questions are ridicilous. I strongly feel that people who have not committed homicidal acts have been put to death, and in a civilized society that is something that remains morally unacceptable to me. Recent reports indicate that men from San Antonio and St. Louis respectively were put to death for crimes they did not commit. However, I must profess that there are times when I understand how the other side feels all too well and I know for such reasons it would be easier to oppose capital punishment in Norway than it would be here.

The brutal murders of Richmond musician Bryan Harvey, his wife Kathy and their two daughters, on New Year's Eve is one such instance where I realize why we are alas in the minority.

Two men were arrested in connection with these heinous crimes in Philadelphia. The local police in Richmond are reportedly giving few details. The suspects are also believed to have killed three other people in the Richmond metro area.

The Richmond-based record chain Plan 9 has set up a web site memorial to the Harveys. Bryan Harvey was a folk singer in the band House of Freaks, which released five albums.There was a funeral service for the family at the historic Byrd Theatre in downtown Richmond today. Kathy Harvey owned a boutique shop in the Carytown section of town.

My heart certainly goes out to them.

Anyone wishing to send their condolences can log onto



Update: I guess this is indicative of some of the sad elements of our society. People on a Yahoo! web posting about the tragedy are trying to politicize this matter by saying things like:"How do you libs feel about the dp now?" And, because the suspects are presumingly African-American, others have added racist posts including heinous statements such as "No blacks live in my neighborhood.' All of this not only makes me sick, but it shows that none of these people are thinking about the Harvey family or their surving family members at all. For my part, I know these views are not indicative of everyone who differs with me over the controversial death penalty issue but unfortunately, it is a disturbing aspect nonetheless.


Utah Theatre won't show "Broekback Mountain"

Today's online edition of Salt Lake City's local paper, The Deseret News, reported that the Megplex 17 at Jordan Commons in the Utah capital would not show the controversial 'gay Western' which stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Heth Ledger. Officials with the Jordan Commons Multiplex refused comment. Funnily enough, ads for the film complete with showtimes were listed in loca papers as the decision was made before deadlines for the movie ads. I saw the film at the Grandin Theatre here in Roanoke, Va.-yesterday. My feeling is if a 'gay movie' can play in Istanbul, as several have, then it should play in Salt Lake City. It is actually a good film, and as a straight man I loved he presence of one Anne Hathaway and of course, doesn't every one love a film which ticks off the far right?


The Deseret News web site is:




The Grandin Theatre's web site is:




Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Guatemala photo

My brother-in-law Matt scanned in this photo from a trip I took to Guatemala in May.  He has many interesting pictures of his own, at his web site:


Monday, January 2, 2006

Colorado Diary

Hi to everyone who might be reading this is cyberworld. I am visiting my sister in Longmont, Co. Today, my sister and I went to Golden, Co., where Coors is based, and walked around town. We brought some postcards at Foss General Store, which is selling a used Baywatch pinball machine, if anyone is interested. Lale and i dined at D's deli where I had an Italian wrap which was really good. Earlier in the day, Lale and I drove through Golden Gate Canyon park.

On New year's day, lale, matt and I went to see a stage performance of 'little shop of horrors' and we ate at the Heaven Dragon Chinese Restaurant where prez. dubya dined during a trip to colorado (that is not an endorsement for him!)

My legs are going zzzzz

So, lastly, if you go to Golden, Co. on a Sat. night, and you want an authentic roadhouse experience, u can go to the buffalo rose bar and grill. The country band kelly ray and santa fe perform there quite often.

on the web, the bufalo rose site is:


Sunday, January 1, 2006

Remembering Ernest Lehman- a screenwriting genius

All too often, the general public overlooks the contributions to cinema of those who are not actors or directors. In 2004, the film world lost Jerry Goldsmith, one of the cinema's greatest composers with works ranging from "Planet of the Apes" to "Hoosiers." In 2005, Ernest Lehman, a screenwriter who penned the screenplays for such classic films as "North by Northwest," "The Sound of Music" and "West Side Story" passed away at age 89. One of the directors he most collaborated with, Robert Wise, also died in 2005 at the age of 95. All too often, screenwriters get overlooked except at Oscar-time. Therefore, I was delighted to hear that the American Film Institute in Washington DC is showing a retrospective of his films, including the intriguing "Family Plot" (1976) which was also the last film that alfred Hitchcock directed. For those of us who are not near DC, and being in Colorado at the moment, I am quite far from there, these films can be enjoyed on DVD. I have yet to see some of his films myself and look forward to having that chance. Alas, i must profess that I opted to see an experimental filmmaker, whose work is very interesting, instead of listening to Lehman speak at a Va. Film Fest screening of "North by Northwest"  a few years ago. I guess for such reasons, I can make a new Year's resolution to seek out those people who have contributed so much to our culture- and to our overall lives- who alas may not be with us much longer.

The American Film Institute's web site is:


(I hope!)