Monday, March 6, 2006

March of the Penguins????!!!!! NO!!!!

I am going to submit one of my shortest blog entires in recent memory (well, ok- maybe not!). Time is getting more precious these days. Yes, I know I can't believe I'm saying such a thing either! Anyway, there will several surprises at last night's Oscars. I watched them at the Grandin Theatre, here in Roanoke. I have not seen "Crash," but I was stunned that a film which had lost the best picture award to "Brokeback Mountain" at both the Golden Globes and the British Academy Awards (not to mention the indepedent Spirit Awards, for which Paul Haggis' film about racial tensions wasn't even nominated!) somehow came away with the Oscar! I guess someone got keys to a new Toyota. But, I was rooting for "Capote" anyway! The real stinker though was seeing "March of the Penguins" win the best documentary Oscar. It is a nice little nature  movie, but certainly not nearly as moving or  as gripping as "Murderball." There was an even nature doc that came out this year. It was Werner Herzog's "Grizzly Man," but that film about a man who wants to live among grizzly bears in Alaska (a very bad idea) wasn't even nominated though it was chosen as the best film of the year (feature and docs) in a "Premiere" magazine critics' poll. It should be pointed out that in that same poll, "Crash" ranked #60, just ahead of "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" with BRAD and ANGELINA!!! How come they weren't nominated?!..............that is a joke........

Saturday, March 4, 2006

Best of NoShame on March 25

Today is my 36th birthday. The week I was born back in 1970, BJ Thomas' "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head," the theme from "Butch Cassidy and the Sunance Kid" was the the number one song on the Billboard charts (well, I could off by a few weeks..) I have no idea what is number one now. Is it Brittany Spears or Kanye West? If you know, send me a line! My email is

But, my blog for today concerns the Best of NoShame here in Roanoke, Va. It will be staged at Mill Mountain theatre's main stage on Sat., March 25th at 8pm.

NoShame Theatre is a venue for anyone to try virtually anything artistic as long it is original, and doesn't involve nudity, walking tight-wires, Polka music or dancing with live monkeys.

The last three are a joke, though I've never seen tight-wire walking, Polka musicians or dancing live monkeys at NoShame. Alas, I can't play the accordian (or any instrument for that matter!), but I have performed skits at NoShame.

Last night, I did a sketch called "Drive-In Confessions" which went surpringly well. My co-star in the skit, Laura Tuggle Anderson, also performed an amazing comedy routine of her own which brought Buster Keaton to mind.

If you have an uncanny people to communicate with the dead and live in the greater Roanoke area, perhaps you can talk to Buster Keaton at NoShame. I think that would be worth be the usual $5 admission (The Best of NoShame is $8, just so there are no surprises!).

I would like to know if he agrees with me that "Steamboat Bill" is his best film...!

Unless you are in Istanbul, Singapore or Tora Bora, we fully expect to see you at the Best of NoShame. Distance and 11 time zones are really pathetic excuses that all of us have heard before. 

I wonder if they will open Tora Bora up for tourism. I would imagine you'd have to fly to Kabul and shell out a few bucks for an Army tank or a taxi....! As far as I know, there is also no NoShame group in Tora Bora,(which is in Afghanistan- though everyoen probably knows that by now), but there is one in Minot, N.D.- so there is always hope! Of course, it might be a bad idea for them to serve alcohol at the NoShame in Tora Bora...... a very bad idea actually!

NoShame Theatre regularly meets (except on March 24th) every Friday at 11 pm on the second stage at Mill Mountain.

I heard a rumor that there might be a new NoShame in BoonesMill (a town in nearby Franklin County, Va.) soon, but they are stuck on trying to figure out a way to legally serve moonshine. It will probably take a few years to settle the matter, so perhaps you should just drive up Rte.220..........

In all seriousness, I am very grateful for Todd Ristau's efforts which have brought NoShame to Roanoke. He also performs regularly at NoShame himself. I'm not sure if he can play an accordian, but with everything else he's done I've been very impressed so far.

For more info and tickets for Best of NoShame, one can go to Mill Mountain theatre's web site at:

If you live outside the Roanoke area, and want to know about airfare to see the show let me know and I'll get you in touch with sister and brother-in-law (Lale and Matt Lovell) in Colorado. They can get you reservations in five minutes! And, they are not travel agents! They may even figure out  a way for you to plan your next Afghan vacation.  Of course, having said this, they may well implement some sort of fees for their services very soon. I just hope they don't start charging me!


Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Another Quote of the day- from a conservative!

Well, many of us fully knew this day would come. Even conservative commentator William F. Buckley has called the War in Iraq a failure! His coments came in the conservative publication, that he founded, "National Review." This is a magazine which recently had a cover of actor/filmmaker George Clooney with the caption "Get over yourself," probably in response to Clooney's film "Good Night, Good Luck" which criticized McCarthyism_ a movement that many of us who are not conservatives see as the cornerstone for right wing witch-hunting.

In Buckley's column, published on Feb. 24, 2006, the commentator cites a "New York Times" article in which a Sunni clothing merchant told the reporter that: "I can tell you the main reason for our woes- it is America." The merchant added: "Everything that is going on between Sunni and Shiites, the torublemaker in the middle is America."

Buckley added in his own words that "One can't doubt the American objective in Iraq has failed."

Though I differ with him politically, I fully respect Buckley for coming forward with his own personal views on this highly explosive sensitive political matter.

There are many conservatives that I respect who still believe the War in Iraq is a just cause, including Cong. Frank Wolf (R-Va),  a very ethical  man who has traveled to The Sudan, against a State Dept. advisory, to see the problems in Africa for himself.

But, everything I've read and seen from many perspectives, including Western and Middle Eastern news outlets suggests that the ethnic disputes betweens Kurds, Shiites, and Sunni Muslims in Iraq- not to mention Turkomens, Armenians, Jews....are simply overwhelming ones which we, from a distance, can simply never resolve.

There are also some liberals I respect like quthor George Packard from "The New Yorker" who supported the war on the grounds that Saddam Hussein was a Stalinist dictator. It is not a factor anyone can overlook, but one has to ask which is worse "War or Dictatorship?" And, the reality is that there is no choice 'C.'


Web sites which contain Buckely's original column include: