Friday, August 31, 2007

Christopher vs. Goliath (Viacom)

Kudos to Christopher Knight of Reidsville, NC. He is standing up to corporate media giant Viacom, which owns MTV and Vh1 among many other subsidiaries.

As first reported on his blog and picked up in yesterday's edition of the Greensboro paper "The News and Record," Knight, 33, is fighting Viacom because they have accused him of copyright infringement and taken off a video he posted on youtube.

The kicker is that the video is one that Knight made himself!

Knight has made headlines in the community before. First, for running for Rockingham County School Board with several Star Wars-themed commercials which ultimately grabbed the attention of "The New York Times."

And, just a few months ago (see earlier blog entry), Knight, who did not capture a county seat, came dressed to a school board meeting dressed as a Jedi knight to protest the school board's vote for a dress code resolution which ultimately did not pass.

It was in fact Knight's school board commercial which Vh1 aired on its program "Web Junk 2.0" over the summer with some quips from the show's host Aries Spears.

Knight posted the video along with Spears' commentary on youtube just last month.

And, Big Brother Viacom decided to arbitrarily take down the video citing copyright violation, even though the media entity had never asked Knight permission to show his school board commercial.

Gerald Whitt of "The News and Record" quoted Jeremy Zweig of Viacom as saying:

"If he (Knight) had transformed the clip in some way it would've been helpful," Zweig said. "Or if he just linked to our Web site, that would've been appropriate."

According to Whitt's article, Knight had several interviews including one with a Philadelphia radio station. Knight is steafastly accusing Viacom of hypocricy, and I certainly fully sympathize with him.

Viacom has, according to the Greensboro paper, asked YouTube to take down 250,000  videos. My guess is that Viacom will probably end up reposting those videos themselves since the California internet site is among the most visited places on the web_ they even have a video of my distant relative Kirgi Gokbudak (see earlier entry) dancing to a drum in a Turkish village!

In 2004, while making a student documentary film at Hollins University in Roanoke, Va., I had my own bureaucratic difficulties with corporate entities. My 8-minute short was about a comic book shop on Williamson Road in Roanoke, which went bankrupt a year after my film was completed.

I had asked DC Comics and Marvel for some kind of bureaucratic waiver so that I could show my non-profit film at festivals_ (since the film is about a comic book store, the likes of "Spiderman" and "Batman" appear throughout the film). One of them did not bother to return my email, while the other (I believe it was Marvel) gave some over-the-top bureaucratic assesment of why they couldn't oblige.

There are many documentary filmmakers and collegiate film instructors who have had redtape nightmares over copyright issues. I can sympathize with them over illegal dvds and cds, but not over this. In my view, Knight has every right to stand up to Viacom, and he fully deserves all the media attention he is getting over this.

Useful links:

Knight's blog:



Review of the New "Halloween"

There is a hesitation on my part to admit that I've just seen Rob Zombie's remake of John Carpenter's "Halloween." The first film came out in 1978, when I was eight years old. Though the original was a fairly good thriller, "Halloween" has been franchised to death, and has produced some of the worst horror films ever made.

As I get older, I also feel more uncomfortable about films like these. While the intent may be to give the audience a good scare, one does wonder if such films glamorize serial killings, rape and perhaps most horrifying than all_ teenagers having sex!

In all seriousness, there is something disturbing about these films, but some how there is also an intrigue as to how far the filmmakers will go.

And, Zombie goes quite far. There are about 24 killings in the new version, and some of them are quite ultra-violent in nature. Unlike Alfred Hitchcock, Zombie leaves very little to the imagination.

The outset of the remake is a bit different than Carpenter's film in that it shows the early murders that Michael Myers performs as a child in a very chilling manner.

The new version also borrows themes from James Whale's original 1931 version of "Frankenstein," whereas Carpenter's influence seemed to be more from Hitchcock's "Psycho."

In this film, Myers returns to the Illinois suburb where he grew up to find since his since-grown sister as spending 15 in an asylum, where he escapes ala Hannibal Lecter.

I must give Zombie credit for some solid filmmaking. Each shot is lined brilliantly, and even seemingly miniscule things like candied corn are brought forth to the screen in vivide detail.

But, the film ultimately suffers from the fact that we have all seen this nonsense before.

If there are two genres in which a film director has little room for originality, they are in the horror and romance genres, with westerns being a distant third.

Malcolm McDowell gives a good performance as a child psychiatrist, but we all know how he is going to end up by the film's end.

I think I would give this film a 5 or 6 out of a 10. Despite its limitations, I can see why even serious cineastes appreciate Zombie, a former heavy metal musician, as a film director. I have yet to see his other films, including "House of 1,000 Corpses." But, I would imagine that there is more originality in those films. He must also be given credit for trying to take this new film in a different direction than the original, but even a talented director like him is stuck in the quagmire of his chosen genre_which is more limited by the fact that this is a remake from a tired franchise.

I saw the new "Halloween" at the Rockingham Theatre in Reidsville, NC. My friend Gary Doss has done a terrific job maintaining a historic old cinema in the city's downtown area.

The film is also showing at The Rockingham's sister venue, The Eden Drivein. "Rush Hour 3" is the second feature showing there.

I will say that "Halloween" is going to definitely make a lot of money. If they could get me to see it, I can only imagine how many 17-year-old boys will flock to the multiplexes for it!

Useful Links:


Thursday, August 30, 2007

What Sen. Larry Craig Said About Bill Clinton


I think this is even better than the fall of Rev. Ted Haggard of Colorado Springs,a leading ultra-conservative evangelist who was having an affair with a male prostitue in Denver.

By now everyone between here and Kars (a remote city in northeast Turkey) has probably heard about Sen. Larry Craig's (R-Id.) guilty plea after being busted by a federal police officer in Minneapolis for trying to solicity gay sex in a men's room.

But, there was this quote from Craig's 1999 appearance on Tim Russert's "Meet the Press" about Bill Clinton, which was cited in today's edition of "The Sleuth," a political blog from "The Washignton Post."

In his comments, Sen. Craig repeated the mantra that the then-president was a bad moral example for America:

"You're a naughty boy. The American people already know that Bill Clinton is a bad boy, a naughty boy.....

I'm going to speak out for the citizens of my state, who in the majority who think that Bill Clinton is probably even a nasty, bad, naughty boy."

Incidentally, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) will be on tonight's "Late Show with David Letterman," which will undoubtedly feature more jokes about Sen. Craig, whose Idaho seat is up for reelection in 2008.


UPDATE: Craig resigned from his U.S. Senate seat with a press conference in Boise yesterday. "The Washington Post" reported that GWB gave him a phone call afterwards. I imagine he undoubtedly thanked him for his loyal support, given Craig's arch conservative voting record.

Gay activist/blogger Mike Rogers said in same article that the reason why Craig was asked to leave, and Sen. David Vitter (R-La), who admitted to having sex with a DC prostitute, was pure homophobia. Though pundits on Sunday talk shows pointed out many other reasons, including the fact that Idaho has a Republican governor who can appoint a GOP Senator. Louisiana does not.

The liberal blog "The Daily Kos" added that Craig, a leading supporter of the NRA, should really be ashamed of his awful environmental record in the Senate.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Bursa vs. Trabzon-Turkish Soccer Game of the Week

I must admit that the header is a bit slanted. BursaSpor is my favorite soccer team in the Turkish Premiere League, along with GalataSaray (Istanbul).

My friend Ugur Celikkol, who lives in the city of Bursa, heads a fan club for the team which returned to the first division last year after a two year absence.

BursaSpor (the Bursa Crocodiles)  is currently eighth in the league. They face traditional powerhouse TrabzonSpor at Ataturk Stadium in Bursa this weekend. Trabzon is currently the fifth place team in the league after four weeks of play.

The top two teams in the league right now are and GalataSaray and GS rival Besiktas (Ist). The other Istanbul powerhouse Fenerbahce, the defending league champion, is in seventh place. 

Last week, BursaSpor defeated Ankara Genclerbirligi 3-1 with goals from Mustafa Sarp (64th minute), Sinan Kaloglu (81st minute) and Ismail  Gulduren (88th minute).

BursaSpor lost to GS during week 2 play by a 1-0 score. In week one play, BursaSpor tied ninth place Denizlispor 0-0.

My favorite American soccer team DC United plays FC Dallas on Sat., at 8:30 p.m./EST. Last week, the Washington, D.C. team defeated Toronto FC by a 1-0 count in Canada.

Of course, someone will ask which one I prefer, the Turkish soccer league or the MLS. While I definitely have an opinion on that, I will do what my late uncle Ilhan Gokbudak, a career diplomat, would have done_ which is to simply not go into that:)

Useful link:

BursaSpor links (in Turkish):

UPDATE: Well, everyone went home happy on this one. The BursaSpor-Trabzonspor game ended in a 1-1 tie.

DC United clobbered FC Dallas by a 4-0 count in Texas with two goals from Ben Olson.


Interesting Washington Post Headlines

This summer, there were honestly a few times when I could identify with the vintage STYX song "Too Much Time on My Hands." I think this happens to some folks more often than they care to publicly admit.

But, now that I am teaching three classes over two community college campuses and one prison unit in two states, I am more likely to identify with the David Bowie/Queen classic "Under Pressure."

The blog may suffer for this sudden, drastic change in my professional schedule, but I hope to still post here as often as I can.

As a result of my new hectic life, I thought I would only focus on eight headlines to various stories in today's "Washington Post." I will provide links to find out more about some of the stories cited here.

The headlines are as follows:

1) "Bush Wants $50 Billion More for Iraq War." *

2) "Paper by Cho Exhibits Disturbing Paallels to Shooting Sources Say." **

3) "Idaho Senator Asserts: I Never Have Been Gay." ***

4) "Bush May Fight for New Attorney General"

5) "Riots at Iraqi Religious Festival Leave 28 Dead"

6) "Gul Elected to Turkey's Presidency"****

7)"Trojans Have Horses at Linebacker"

8) " 'Balls of fury' Takes the Ping Out of Pong" *****

For all stories:

*- While I do not always agree with the views of the left-wing journal "Mother Jones," they have been at the forefront of reporting the evils and corruption of the Bush administration and this bothced war in Iraq.


Both publications have articles about new discoveries regarding the mindset of the Virginia Tech campus shooter. "The Roanoke Times" published a poem by the man who killed 32 people in Blacksburg in April. The work, which has suicidal themes, clearly illustrates just how disturbed this very troubled youth was.

There is a new book by my friend Roland Lazenby, a Tech professor, which talks about the rampage and its effects from the perspective of Tech students. Another friend of mine, Ilhan Tuzcu, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., who once taught at Norris Hall, lost two friends in the massacre.


Fellow Turkish-American and political progressive Cenk Uygur, who hosts a radio talk show on Air America, wrote a brilliant blog entry pertaining to Sen. Larry Craig (R-Id.).

Craig was once considered to be the fourth most prominent GOP senator, and Uygur clearly shows the veteran senator's hypocricy as he plead guilty to charges of soliciting gay sex from an undercover officer in Minnesota, and now maintains that he is not a homosexual.

Craig stepped down from his senate advisory role in the Mitt Romney campaign as a result of the scandal.

****- and

Like most people in the Turkish diaspora, I am not entirely pleased to see Abdullah Gul, whose political party has Islamic fundamentalist roots, become the occupant of Cankaya Palace (the Turkish White House).

The new president's wife Hayrumisa Gul becomes the first Turkish first lady to wear a head scarf.

But, based on interviews I've seen of him, Abdullah Gul does seem to be at least slightly more intelligent than our 'beloved' GWB. And, he maintains that he will still try to get Turkey into the EU despite stiff obstacles.

 On the BBC site, I was stunned to see outspoken Turkish writer Elif Shafak, who has created waves with her comments about the Armenian Controversy of 1915, actually express support for Gul! But, then again, if you know anything about Turkey, nothing is really too suprising given the country's geographical makeup and past history.


If there was one thing which was more shocking than Shafak's comments, it has to be highly respected cineaste Chris Norris' endorsement for this seemingly ultra-silly film about competitive ping pong (ever the oxy moron) which opens today.

It features Chrstopher Walken in a supporting role, but  I sincerely doubt that this one will rank up there with Walken's Oscar-winning role in "The Deer Hunter," which he supposedly parodies in this film. But, if I were dating Walken's "Pulp Fiction" co-star Uma Thurman and she wanted to see this film, I think in all likelihood, I would accomodate her request!






Sunday, August 26, 2007

Theatre Rounup #2, Barter Theatre, Abingdon, Va.

Virginia's oldest stage theatre, the Bareter Theatre, which is located some 10 miles away from the Tennessee border in Abingdon, Va., has announced its fall play lineup.

The signature play that will be debut on Oct. 5 is Alfred Uhry's "Driving Miss Daisy," which was made into an Academy Award-winning film with the late Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman in 1989.

According to the Barter Theatre, the play is a sweet southern comedy set in Atlanta from 1948-1973. Miss Daisy's son hires an African-American chauffeur  against her wishes to help her move about town. The play is touted as a work which examines cultue clashes and political issues, such as civil rights, with warmth and humor.

The Barter Theatre's season actually debuts on Sept. 21 with a stage rendition of "Dracula!," as adapted by Richard Rose. This production will be unique because in Rose's version of the Romanian vampire tale, the story is set in the South!

Other plays at the Barter this fall include "Doubting Thomas" by John Green about a born-again Christian who seeks answers to his personal conflict between organized religion and his sense of spirituality. The play debuts on the Barter's second stage on Sept. 28.

And, there will be will be a main stage production of "America's Blue Yodeler: Jimmie Rodgers." Douglas Pote's play focuses on the legendary bluegrass singer who influenced the likes of Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan.

For more info on the Barter Theatre's season, call 276-698-3991.

Funny Item in Sunday Roanoke Times

Virtually every city in Virginia and North Carolina is going through record heat-waves. Roanoke, Va., has had four days over 100 degrees this month. The region has also seen heavy droughts, which have affected the region. Both Raleigh and Greensboro were calling for voluntary water restrictions as of last week.

With that in mind, several thousand people gathered at Elmwood Park in downtown Roanoke yesterday for the Festival of India, the city's first celebration of the Indian community, some 660 people strong in southwest Virginia.

Laurence Hammack wrote a story about the gathering in today's "Roanoke Times." Here is an excerpt which really stood out:

"No one seemed to mind a sun so scorching that the outdoor stage had to be hosed down between acts to keep the bare-footed dancers from burning their feet."

Organizer Jitendra Desai joked in the same article that Indian people might some of the only folks in the Roanoke Valley who would turn out in droves on a day when temperatures once again passed 100 degrees.

Useful Links:

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Ridgemont High's 25th Year Reunion

I only have time for a very brief entry today. But, I had believed that "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," which came out when I was 12 years old, was celebrating its 25th anniversary. And, it was indeed released on Aug. 12, 1982.

There was an interesting bit of trivia that I found regarding this film which featured three future Academy Award winning actors (Nicholas Cage, Forrest Whitaker, and Sean Penn) as well as Jennifer Jason Leigh, who is a stellar actress in her own right. Though, some of the film's stars like Judge Reinhold have not reached such high plateaus (Reinhold was in "Santa Clause 3" last year!).

As it turns out, there was an acclaimed director who was offered the film before Amy Heckerling was asked to helm the project which was penned by Cameron Crowe. I was shocked when I saw who it was!

Is this director:

a) Martin Scorsese
b) John Sayles
c) Robert Altman
d) David Lynch

The answer is down below, so start the strolling..............

It is indeed (d) David Lynch!

Friday, August 24, 2007

My Top 12 Favorite International Films

Typically, I try to only post one blog entry today. But, today is Friday and my friend Moviezzz gave me a great idea.

It turns out that film blogger Edward Copeland has started a survey of foreign films. He made a list of 250 films, and he asks people to send it their 25 favorites. I will not list all 25 of the films I chose here. And, I am also adding three films to my list here that were not eligible for the Copeland list.

I have a feeling that my professor from Hollins University, Dr. Klaus Phillips, an expert on German cinema, might be disappointed that I chose only three German films (Fassbinder's "Ali: Fear Eats the Soul" and Herzog's "Aguirre: The Wrath of God" are not listed here since they are #17 and # 18 on my list) for my top 25.

But, he will be glad to know that I chose a German film as my favorite foreign film of all time. It is coincidentally the same one that Moviezzz chose. Although, only four other films made both of our lists (the ones not listed here are the Kurosawa's "Dersu Uzala" and Rohmer's "My Night at Maud's").

The number in parenthesis is the number in which they appear on moviezzz's list, as well The ones with two arrows are ones which were not eligible for Copeland's list. I decided to agree with Copeland and not choose films made before 2004 on this list here too.

So, here it goes:

1. Wings of Desire (1).........................Germany
2. Jules et Jim......................................France
3. Rashomon......................................Japan
4. The Pornographers **....................Japan
6. masculin-feminin (8).............................France
7.The Cranes are Flying..........................Russia
8. The Battle of Algiers........................Italy
9. The Conformist (24)......................Italy
10. The Discrete Charm of the Bourgeoisie...France
11. The Gospel of St. Matthew..................Italy
12.When My Father Was Away on Business.........Yugoslavia (Bosnia)**

The next film on the list was the tense, erotic Japanese classic "Woman  in the Dunes."

"The Conformist" is also a favorite of my friend, independent filmmaker/blogger  Bilge  Ebiri, who is an expert on the film's director  Bernardo Bertolucci.

Ebiri has written about Bertolucci and Yilmaz Guney (the director of "Yol") for the internet journal "Senses of Cinema."

Modern dancer Nejla Yatkin, mentioned in an entry I posted earlier in the week, grew up in Berlin where "Wings of Desire," directed by Wim Wenders, was filmed. She has based a dance on themes presented in the film.

The 1982 classic which both Moviezzz and I have cited as our favorite foreign film was remade here in America into the Nicholas Cage/ Meg Ryan vehicle "City of Angels." I can't speak for Moviezzz or Nejla; but in my view, it basically sucks! Though there is a great U2 song on its soundtrack.

For more info on the survey, visit Moviezzz's blog at:

Which Republican Candidate Made This Racist Remark?

The following Republican candidate, who has also proposed that our country nuke Mecca and Medina, made this statement:

"Now how many people in their heart of hearts in (the Islamic community) want to see the demise of this country? How many would cheer, not out loud maybe, but in their hearts when things like 9-11 occur? I'll tell you; it's a majority."

a) Duncan Hunter
b) Fred Thompson
c)Tom Tancredo
d)Mike Huckabee

The answer is c) Tom Tancredo (R-Col.)

The Littleton, Col., congressional representative also traveled to Newark, NJ, recently to say that the family members of a recent triple homicide there should sue city officials! This coming a mere days after police in Woodbridge, Va., arrested suspects in the crime.

There are many people who don't like Cong. Tancredo, who also worked to get a 14-year-old honors student of Hispanic origin deported along with his entire family. Fortunately, this candidate who comes the closest to being a full-fledged KKK member, is only getting three percent of the vote among Republican voters.

For more info on the Republican Dennis Kucinich, go to:

(which is not his campaign site), or

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Which Republican Hypocrite Said This?

According to "The Washington Post," this Republican candidate said the following during a failed 1994 senatorial campaign?

"I believe abortion should be safe and legal in this country."

The first person who answers this question correctly will get a free round-trip flight of their choice to either Buenos Aires on Pan-American Airlines or a TWA flight to glorious Istanbul..........(Since there are some clueless folks out there, I should point out that both of these airlines no longer exist!)

The choices are:

a) John McCain

b) Fred Thompson

c) Mitt Romney

d) Sam Brownback


The answer is.....


c) The Republican Dukakis.........Mitt Romney

Out of fairness, to the former Mass. governor, it should also be pointed out Rudy Guiliani made similar statements while he was the mayor of New York, though he still says that he is technically least, he is today.

I will be passing a kitchy pro-life billboard on Rte. 220 in Boones Mill, Va., later today. But, since Virginia does not have an early primary, this_ of course_ doesn't mean a thing. Boones Mill is also represented by Cong. Virgil Goode (R-VA), who is in my view the most inept congressman representing the Old Dominion, but the folks in Boones Mill have off-season campaign signs up for him just as well...........! I'm sure the folks are praying to God Almighty that Fred Thompson is the GOP nominee, but wait- he once lobbied for an abortion rights group in Washington, D.C.

Useful links:

(Sorry, no links for Boones Mill, Va, at this time.........!)

Here is the


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Theatre Roundup, Entry 1-Triad Stage (Greensboro)

Welcome to my first of a possible 10-12 entries about the seasons for various theatres around the country, with an emphasis towards stage companies in Virginia and North Carolina.

Today, we start with Triad Stage in Greensboro, NC. Triad Stage starts its 7th season on Sept. 2 with a production of Lillian Hellman's southern melodrama, "The Little Foxes." Hellman was also known for the play "The Children's Hour."

Triad Stage recieved national attention on June 22 when their production of another southern drama, "Tobacco Road" was written about in "The Wall Street Journal" by theatre critic Terry Teachout.

The Hellman play focues on 'lies, tricks and a little murder' in the Hubbard family. The work also brings a 'brand new meaning' to ruthless as lust for wealth and power lead to a resurrection of a long-standing family feud.......!

The play runs through Sept. 23

Other productions in the Triad Stage calendar include "Sleuth" by Anthony Shaffer from Oct. 14 to Nov. 4, and "Doubt" by John Patrick Shanley from March 9-30, 2008.

Some of the other theatres I plan to profiled include the Deep Dish Theatre in Chapel Hill, NC, the Mill Mountain Theatre in Roanoke, Va., and Arena Stage in Washington, DC, among many others.

Sidebar_ I also wanted to mention that my friend Tommy Trull, who is a Greensboro playwright (his play "Echoes of Mercy" was performed in Greensboro at the City Arts Studio there in May) was in a band called Leela Fiasco. They have a myspace page which contains sound clips of some of their songs.

Useful links:

Triad Stage:

Leela Fiasco


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"The History Boys"

It seems as though it has always been tricky to adapt stage plays on to film. I was profoundly disappointed with the film version of David Auburn's brilliant play "Proof," in spite of a fairly good performance from Gwenyth Paltrow. But, there are many instances where it has worked, including "A Streetcar Named Desire," "The Odd Couple," and "Glengarry, Glen Ross."

Now, one can add last year's film "The History Boys" to that list.

The British film directed Nicholas Hynter from Alan Bennett's play of the same name (the playwright also wrote the screenplay) features a splendid combination of veteran actors like Richard Griffiths with newcomers.

"The History Boys" has difficult themes, including sexual misconduct on the part of teachers in the classroom, but it eases through them with warmth and humor.

The film follows eight teenage boys who have been picked to pursue higher education at Oxford and Cambridge.

According to film critic David Richardson of the British film magazine "Film Review," the cast 'conveys a spontaneity and vivavcity that such repetition might have diminshed."

The playwright also makes one the central characters Hector (Griffiths) who gropes his male students after class into a tragic figure rather than a one-dimensional predator that one sees sensentionalized on new programs like NBC's "Dateline."

Richardson adds that the film is an exhilarating experience which utilizes dialogue to its upmost potential, and the film challenges our intellect as much as our emotions.

One of the other things I personally liked about the film is that indeed feels like a theatrical play. The actors know their characters well, and each actor feeds of the other's lines without missing a beat. Not to be missed. A Wonderful gem.

Useful Links:

Film Review


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Russian Bands Invading USA

Back in July, I had a chance to see the Russian swing band The Red Elvises perform in Winston-Salem, NC. They were an absolute blast! But, I did not realize that the band known "I am a Closet Disco Dancer" had competition.......

It turns out there is another Russian band here in the USA (well, technically they are both actually Ukranian bands, but.........)

The band gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello first formed in the Lower East Side of New York. The release of their new album "Super Taranta!" has lead them to interviews on "Fresh Air" (NPR) and appearances on IFC's "The Henry Rollins Show" and David Letterman.

The Aug. 9th issue of "Rolling Stone" with Guns N Roses on the cover also had a review of "Super Taranta!" written by Robert Christgau.

Christgau said the new release from the band fronted by Eugene Hutz is a record which soars for three songs before settling into its own unique groove. The rock critic goes on to say that Gogol Bordello, which takes its name from Ukrainian writer Nikloai Gogol (who is prominently mentioned in the latest Mira Nair film "The Namesake"), relates the immigrant experience in sincere, original way.

The band also features a Russian violinist, an American drummer, an Ethiopian bassist and an Israeli guitarist (Oren Kaplan).

Among the tracks on "Super Taranta!" are "Ultimate," "Alcohol," "Your Country" and "American Wedding."

Alas the band is performing in the UK at the moment, and they will only perform a handful of dates around the states this fall (which I guess is fine and dandy for those of you in Manchester!). And, the band also has no dates at the current time on the East Coast. But, they will have the following West Coast dates:

Aug. 27_ House of Blues. San Diego, Ca.

Aug. 28-Henry Ford Theatre-LA

Aug 29-The Filmore- San Francisco

The Red Elvises are also overseas- in Russia, actually.

But, they will start their American tour at the Plush in Tucson, Az., on Sept. 22 before arriving at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix the next night.

Useful links:



Dancer Nejla Yatkin Will Be in New York

Several months ago, I had the pleasure of coming across dancer Nejla Yatkin, who resides in Washington, D.C. She was being interviewed by a Turkish-American cable access program in Fairfax, Va.

As it turned out, Yatkin had not only performed many times in the Washington, D.C., area, but also, around the globe.

This summer, she has been in Guatemala, France, the UK and Germany- where she grew up.

Yatkin is currently performing at a dance festival in El Salvador, but this fall she has many engagements on the East Coast.

From Sept. 27-29, Yatkin will be at the Dumbo Dance Festival in New York.

From Oct. 29-Nov. 4, she performs at the White Wave Dance Festival, also in NY.

On Nov. 12, she will be performing in Washington, D.C.

Then, from Dec. 14-18, she performs at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in Florida.

Yatkin has many dance videos available on youtube, and on her own web site (see link below).

Another feature of Yatkin's web site is her travel blog. She has some very interesting stories, including how she witnessed a police officer scuffling with a photographer during a military parade in Guatemala_ a country that I had a chance to visit in 2005.

Useful links:



Looking for a Starbucks in Istanbul?

As I was looking up how many Starbucks there were in the Triad (greater Greensboro area) yesterday, I arbitrarily thought it might be more interesting to see how many of these Seattle-based coffee shoppes had now infested the glorious capital of the Ottoman Empire.

During my last visit to Turkey, my late father Mehmet Gokbudak's native land, I saw a Starbucks in Fenerbahce. It is a section of the city which sits on the Asian part of the Bosphorous. This is the section which is home to the Fenerbahce soccer team, which is the arch-rival of my family's beloved GalataSaray. I do not recall seeing another Starbucks around town, but as it turns out there are quite a large number of them.

Without going into a sermon on globalization or the dangers of cultural imperialism (you can see the documentary "Black Gold" for that), I will simply ask those of you frequent this blog_ all 6 or 7 of you_ to answer this by taking your own guess here as I pose the question as multiple choice trivia question:

The question again is "How many Starbucks are in the greater Istanbul area?"

a) 37

b) 42

c) 49

d) 63


The answer is provided in the comment section below.  (though I personally prefer the Green Bean when I'm in Greensboro, and Mill Mountain Coffee when I'm in my howetown of Roanoke, Va., and in Istanbul, I prefer to drink Turkish Coffee which Starbucks doesn't make!)  

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Jeanna Bush's Secret Hideaway

I must profess that I love it when major news organizations/media outlets have their "National Enquierer" moments.

Such is the case with today's "Washington Post," which reports that apparently first daughter Jeanna Bush apparently said 'yes' to Henry Hager at the Inn at Bay Ledge in Bar Harbor, Maine. They even have a note to 'prove' it.

I am a bit surprised this is getting as much coverage as my 'favorite couple' Tom and Katie, incidentally Katie Holmes was in a movie called "First Daughter"-before she met Mr. Cruise, but hey now that Paris and Lindsay are back in rehab, someone has to fill the gossip pages.........

Henry Hager is the son of former Virginia lt. governor John Hager, who I met when he spoke at the Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Va., when I was a reporter some seven years ago. I did not get around to telling him I was a Democrat, but then again that would have been unprofessional.

John Hager was lt. gov. when Jim Gilmore was governor. Some of you may recall that Gilmore recently tried to become the Republican nominee for the presidency, but he quickly came to realize that fringe Democratic candidate Cong. Dennis Kucinich was even getting more coverage than him!

The note from Jeanna Bush that "The Post" found out about says the following, for those of you who really, really want to know:

"Thanks so much. It's an amazing, beauttiful inn, and WE had such a wonderful, memorable time."

One great thing about the world we now live in is that while the inn released this note, they refuse to say if the first daughter and Mr. Hager actually stayed there....together. Hmmm.

For the record, Henry is 29 and Jeanna Bush is 25. I think it might actually be a good thing for the president if his daughter got pregnant before the wedding looks like he needs a distraction!



Friday, August 17, 2007

Summer Trash Romance Novel, Anyone?

Once again, I find myself pressed for time, but I wanted to add a new blog entry to keep the train rolling.

I came across this bit about a new romance novel entitled "Scent of Darkness" by Christina Dodd (Signet, $7.99).

The plot of the novel, which I came across in "Book Pages," states that Ann Smith has become infactuated with her good-looking boss, Jasha Wilder.

But, things go awry when Ann finds out that he is actually a wolf who has superpowers to change into someone who looks like George Clooney. However, this only makes Ann determined to be the one who can change the fate of his tormented soul.


This sounds like a cross between "Wolf-Man" and "Love Story." I wonder if my sister or any of my female friends will go for this..............of course, they will! (just kidding)


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Midnight Screening of "The Goonies" at the Grandin

The Grandin Theatre in Roanoke, Va._ which (sorry David Letterman) is the greatest city in the world, will be screening the cult film "The Goonies," which was first released on June 4, 1985, for two weekend screenings starting Aug. 24.

This weekend, the film which did fare better than the 1985 John Candy vehicle "Summer Rental" at the box office, will be shown at three theatres around the country: The Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, Mass., The United Artists Continental 6 in Denver, and the Uptown Theatre in careful when crossing the bridge!

The film is a Peter Panesque caper in which "The Goon Dock" Kids decide to save their suburban homes from demolition by going on an adventure to find buried treasure buried by the priate One-Eyed Willie..........yes, it doesn't make sense to me either!

An interesting trivia note about "The Goonies" inspired the name of an Orange County, California, Chrisitian punk rock group (see oxy moron) Slick Shoes. The band took their name specifically from the line: "I've got a great idea you guys, slick shoes!"

The film was produced by Steven Spielberg, with direction from Richard Donner_ who said it was indeed tough to work with all those kids!, and it features a screenplay from "Home Alone" director Chris Columbus.

The cast of "The Goonies" included Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Robert Davi, Corey Feldman and (hot babe!) Marsha Plimpton, who happens to be my age, which would make her 15 at the time the film came out.

According to, the house in Astoria, Ore., where a portion of "The Goonies" was filmed is now apparently a make-shift tourist attraction as is the "field of dreams" in Iowa. One English fan who runs her own Goonies web site, took a pilgrimage to that home with her boyfriend recently, and perhaps they may go there on their honeymoon as well (just kidding!).

"The Goonies" was also screened at another one of my favorite movie theatres, The Tower Theatre in Salt Lake City, earlier this year. For those living in Utah (well, if any of you visit this blog), they will be screening the Jennifer Love Hewitt 'classic,' "Can't Hardly Wait" for their midnight screenings this weekend. They have a great sense of humor!

The Grandin is screening several good regular movies right now. I must admit that I would be willing to see "Becoming Jane" there just to see Anne Hathaway, but she is dating some obnoxious Italian millionaire, so I think I'd go with the new French film about Edith Piaf instead!

"The Goonies" is a favorite of Jason Garnett, the general manager of The Grandin, who showed the film there for another midnight screening there. If any of you happen to see him for this screening, be sure to ask him to bring in another film from 1985_"The Breakfast Club" for a future midnight screening. Though, of course, if you make that request, he will know who to hold responsible!

Useful links: or (feel free to tell me which one is wrong!)





Friday, August 10, 2007

Drive-In Theatres Are Still Around!

Certainly few of us living in Virginia or The Carolinas want to venture outside today. Greensboro is reporting record heat temps today. And, it was 107 degrees in Fayetville, NC, yesterday as well. Today is not expected to be much better!

But, when the sun goes down, there are indeed many things to do on summer nights.

Last weekend, I saw "The Bourne Ultimatum" and the surprisingly funny "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" at the Eden Drive-In which is located in the hamlet of Eden, NC.

Drive-ins have also caught the attention of major publications, as both "The Boston Globe" and "The Washington Post" have recently written features about drive-in theatres.

And, even film enthuaists agree, that movies are not the only fun things about a drive-in. Last weekend, I saw kids playing football frisbeee as a middle-age couple was throwing horse-shoes.

There is also the food. I had a cheeseburger for $2.75 at the drive-in's refreshment counter, which also serves chilli fries ($2.50), pizza ($1.75/slice) and chicken wings ($3.75).

One unique thing about a North Carolina drive-in is that there is an ardent warning that movie-goers are not supposed to use profanity. But, I guess it is ok for Bruce Willis!

There are several other drive-ins in the region. My friends Blake Lipscomb and Jason Garnett have visited the Hull's Drive-In in Lexington, Va., which is run by volunteers, many times. They maintain that it is a great place to see a movie as well. And, there double-feature this week "Hairspray" and "Waitress" should make for a perfect nostalgic evening as well. Alas, one of Blake's favorite drive-ins the Dixie Drive-In in Vinton (Roanoke), Va., where he saw "Blade Runner" as a teenager , is no longer around.

For most drive-in owners, their business is a labor of love. At the Star Lite Drive-In in Christiansburg, Va., which is a gathering place for summer school students from Virginia Tech and Radford University, owner Peggy Beasley even makes the hot dogs. They will be showing the live version of one of my favorite cartoons as a child, "Underdog," there this weekend.

Sue Swanson, who co-owns the Mendon Twin Drive-In in Mendon, Mass., told "The Boston Globe" that when she saw a 'for sale' sign in front of the property she now owns, that she thought seeing "Old Yeller" there as a child, and she could not envision the drive-in becoming yet another shopping mall.

Paul Geissinger, who is nationally involved with drive-in theatres, said in the same article that all drive-in owners have land they could sell for more profits, which thus makes the venture a noble sacrifice.

New England also boasts several four-screen drive-ins, including the Sunset Drive-In in Clochester, Vt., and The Weirs Beach 4 (built in 1949) in Weirs Beach, NH.

In addition to the Mendon Twin-In, The Family Drive-In in Stephens City, Va., about 90 miles south of Washington, DC, also has two screens. I had a chance to see Tim Burton's remake of "The Planet of the Apes" there several years ago, and I was surprised to see so many cars taking in the experience with me.

"The Washington Post" article focused on Benjie's Drive-In in Baltimore (built in 1956), which boasts the largst drive-in screen on the East Coast. Surprisingly, they are not showing "Hairspray," which takes place in Oriole town, but rather "The Bourne Ultimatum" instead. It is part of a triple feature!

The owner of the Eden Drive-In also owns the busiest drive-in in the Carolinas. The Badin Drive-In in Albermale, NC, between Charlotte and Salisbury, NC, is showing "Underdog" and "The Transformers" as a double-bill this weekend.

Another unique drive-in theatre I found out about while researching this blog entry is the Raleigh Road Drive-In in Henderson, NC. It was built in 1956, the same year as Benjie's in Baltimore, and it is unique in that it is actually open year-round! Most drive-ins tend to operate from April to September. They will be showing "Rush Hour 3" and "Hairspray" as their double-bill this weekend.

Three other drive-ins that I came across include The Highway 21 Drive-In in the coastal community of Beaufort, SC. Their web site states that while the state of South Carolina had 79 drive-ins at one point. Today, there are only two remaining in the entire Palmetto State. The Skohegam Drive-In in Skohegam, Maine, will show "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" along with "The Transformers" this evening. And, finally, The Park Place Drive-In in the southwestern Appalachia town of Marion,Va., will also be entertaining a new generation of film-goers at their establishment, this and every summer weekend evening.

Among the many useful links:



Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The San Diego Chicken is Still Around!

Scranton, Penn., is known for many things. For starters, it is the setting of the NBC sitcom "The Office," and it is the hometown of the late playwright/actor Jason Miller, father of actor Jason Patric. Miller's play, which takes place in a town like Scranton, "That Championship Season" is a definitive classic of contemporary theatre- that said many people are more familiar with him for playing a priest in "The Exorcist."

And, on Thursday night, The Scranton/Wiles-Barre Yankees will host the San Diego Chicken, who also goes by The Famous Chicken.

With the moral ambiguity over Barry Bonds just passing Hank Aaron's home run record last night in San Francisco, it is good to see that this '70s pop culture icon is still with us.

According to Wikipedia, The San Diego Chicken is Ted Giannoules. He stated on his web site that he is the only chicken. Giannoules also said that he has not missed a sporting event since 1998 when he was late for a Wichita Thunder hockey game in Kansas because of a luggage fowl-up (hmm, pardon the pun).

Giannoules says that he makes approximately 250-275 appearances a year.

He arrives in Scranton, a city I passed through en route to Maine, as the Triple-A Yankees are standing a top their division in the International League. On Thursday, they will face the Pawtucket (RI) Red Sox, who are struggling this season.

While Scranton did not make the Chicken's list of favorite cities to visit, Amarillo, Tx., which was once the hometown of my 'missing friend' Amanda Furguiele*, came in at number 4! El Paso ranked third on the list, which was topped by Indianapolis.

As one might expect, the mascot outfit is quite hot. Giannoulas says that the average temp is 125 per night. All of which should make him glad he is not coming to see the Greensboro Grasshoppers, as the temps are nearing 100 degrees outside here in NC.

Giannoulas says that indeed, the heat is one of the more challenging parts of his jobs:

"Inside the suit, I own my very own rain forest."

*_ I use the term missing because I have not heard from her in two years!

Useful links:


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Jesus in a Jumpsuit?!

Whille I was in Maine two weeks ago, I stumbled upon this amusing story in the July 25th edition of "The Boston Globe."

Irish comic/playwright Abie Philbin Bowman took it upon himself to write an off-the-wall one-man show entitled: "Jesus: The Guatanamo Years." The play which is currently being perfromed in Somerville, Mass., was a hit at last year's Edinburg (Scotland) Fringe Festival.

The play later went on to a sold-out success in London's West End. "Jesus" will be staged at Jimmy Tingle's Off Broadway Theatre in Mass., until Aug. 12..

According to the article by Louise Kennedy in "The Boston Globe," Philbin Bowman depicts J.C. as he is returning to earth as a bearded Palestinian stand-up comic who runs into problems with U.S. immigration.  

The Irish comic had his own problems with U.S. Immigration, not because of the show's moral challenge to the ultra-corrupt Bush-Cheney (Cheney-Bush) administration, but rather because of simple bureaucracy.

In the show, Jesus is detained after walking across the Atlantic Ocean, and is promptly sent to Guantanamo Bay, a place that former majority leader Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tn.) described as  a 'good facility.' Frist is no longer in office.

Philbin Bowman said it is 'the facility,' which is the prime focus of his performance:

"The real target is Guantanamo, something that is deeply un-Christian," the comic said. "I think telling jokes is not quite as blasphemous as torture, for example."

He continued by saying:

"If you really believe in Jesus, how can you live with this?"

Philbin Bowman told Kennedy that he is not a religious person himself, but he has a profound interest in the teachings of Jesus Christ. He jokingly added that he is thinking about starting a group called Atheists for Jesus.

Useful link:


Monday, August 6, 2007

The Story of Sushi...........

A new book from Trevor Corson, entitled "The Zen of Fish: The Story of Sushi from Samurai to Supermarket," deals with how sushi makes its way to these united states. It is his first book since the succesful venture "The Secret Life of Lobsters."

Corson's new book was profiled in the June 22 edition of the (Portland) "Maine Sunday Telegram."

Corson, 38, used to live in Little Cranberry Island, Maine, near Acadia Natl. Park. Today, he lives in Washington, D.C.

Ray Routhier of "The Telegram" said Corson has a way of telling folks in much detail about the stories behind the foods they like to devour.

Corson told the Portland, Maine newspaper that his frst book resulted from working as a sternman on a lobster boat while he lived in Maine. For his sesond book, Corson wanted to explore his mutual interests in Japan and seafood.

"The challenge was figuring out how to tell an American story about sushi, since I wrote for an American audience," Corson told "That's when I discovered the California Sushi Academy in Los Angeles, where young Americans train to become sushi chefs."

Corson also emphasized that his book is a nonfiction documentary about Kate Murray who struggles to survive as a chef-in-training at the sushi academy.Among Murray's challenges are the fact that she is not Asian, and that she is a woman.

The author also revealed that the Japanese sushi industry now has sushi-making robots!

Corson also examines American phobias regarding sushi:

"The word 'sushi' actually has nothing to do with raw fish," Corson said. "It refers simply to rice that has been seasoned with vinegar and sugar (and a little salt.)"

For more info:

"The Maine Sunday Telegram" is the Sunday edition of "The Portland Press-Herald."



Sunday, August 5, 2007

Allen Ginsberg Doc Out on DVD

Here at "Politics, Culture, and Other Wastes of Time," we don't normally denote entires about something that's in "The New York Times." For one, because they don't have a comics section, it is not my favorite newspaper though it is more satisfying than "The Reidsville Review" (pardon the in-joke). Secondly, their web site is only available to those who are willing to pay a stippen.

Nevertheless, they did mention my friend Les Blank, a documentary filmmaker in Berkeley, Cal., a few weeks back.

And, the paper's July 24 edition featured a "Critic's Choice: New DVDs" column by Dave Kehr. One of Kehr's choices is a film that was showing when I was in Montreal as a young man, back in 1994, entitled "The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg."

Kehr states that director Jerry Aronson has 'augmented a crisp, straightforward documentary portrait of the poet with six hours of extra material for this double-disc release."

Kehr said the film follows Ginsberg from his middle-class childhood in New Jersey through his breakthrough as a beat poet in the 1960s. The doc also explores Ginsberg's conversion to Buddhism and his political activities.

The film also includes footage of Ginsberg and Bob Dylan visiting Jack Kerouac's grave (Ginsberg has since died as well) and a 1965 reading with Neal Cassady at the City Lights bookstore in San Francisco.

(New Yorker Video, $34.95)

For those interested in Les Blank, who directed the brilliant 1982 doc "Burden of Dreams" about the making of Werner Herzog's German epic "Fitzcarraldo," which was filmed in the Amazon jungles of Peru, you can log on to Blank's web site:

Herzog's new film, "Rescue Dawn," which is based on an earlier doc that he made is showing nationwide this week. It opened at the Grandin Theatre in Roanoke, Va., on Friday, for those of you from my neck-of-the-woods.



Old Hats in Bean Town

I actually thought I had an abundance of material for my blog, as I was on the road for some two and half weeks. But, I actually just had writer's block....yikes!

This blog entry will reveal something that some of you may not know about me: my mother is an antique dealer! In fact, she will be at a show in Lynchburg, Va., on Oct. 26.

But, today's installment is about another antique dealer, and one with a specialty_hats!

Mary Lou Connaught of Saugus, Mass., was the profile a sidebar in the July 24 edition of "The Boston Globe."

As a flight attendant, she gathered many clothing items from around the world, including jewelry, hats and handbags. She now has them in her store, Mary Lou's Vintage Clothing Boutique, which is located in the Cambridge Antique Market in Cambridge, Mass.

Connaught told "The Boston Globe" that she always had a love for nicely made items that could withstand the test of time.

Her items are from many decades, including the '30s, '40s and '50s.

Perhaps, if she opened a store in New Hampshire, Sen. Hillary Clinton would stop by! Items start at $15, so you may have to be Hillary to shop there:)

Mary Lou's Vintage Clothing Boutique

Cambridge Antique Market

201 Msgr. O'Brien Hwy.

Cambridge, Mass.


Useful Links:

For more info on my mom's show in Lynchburg, email me at


Friday, August 3, 2007

A Version of Harry Potter That Won't Be in the Classroom

While in Massachusetts, I picked up a copy of Boston's main hip alternative paper "The Boston Phoenix," which needs a better spellchecker (they spelled "Hustler" publisher Larry Flynt's name Larry Flint).

The July 20 issue of the newspaper had some quips from stadup comedian Lizz Winstead, who was performing in Boston that weekend.

When asked what happens to Harry Potter in the final book, the quick-witted comedian replied:

"I think he meets up with Ted Haggard and they have a not-gay affair and then Harry Potter has to go to gay-conversion camp. It will be called 'Harry Pott-him."

Well, all you Potter fans were warned that this entry might offend you!:)

Useful Links:

A Cocktail Named for a Political Candidate?

The Aug. 2007 issue of "Esquire" has former NC Sen. John Edwards (D) on its cover, but the very last page of the trendy men's magazine has a cocktail named for the Republican Michael Dukakis himself. I am, of course, refering to former Massachuesetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R).

Here is how you can you and your friends a "Mint Romney:" (some irony here as Romney is of the Mormon faith, and like faithful Moslems, they are not known for alcohol consumption)

Mint Romney

1. Four springs mint
2. Two-ounce bourbon
3. one tsp. of sugar
4. Add mint, bourbon, sugar in a coktail shaker
5. Shake vigorously
6. Discard, replace with tap water
7. Invite Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass).........ok, I added this one!

The recipe was written by Bob Scheffler. His other cocktail suggestions include a "Bombay Stinger," a "Bay Area Bullet" and "Ocean's Thirtini."

UPDATE_ I just watched this great footage (even better than "Sicko") from a "Washington Post" blog of Romney getting confronted by Michelle Griffin, a watiress at the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester, NH, where the Republican candidate was trying to woo voters. The same diner has been visited by Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). Griffin, who has one daughter with Crohn's disease and another daughter with diabetes, accused Romney of hypocricy as she criticized the lack of decent health care coverage that she recieves. Romney was clearly uncomfortable with the waitress who interupted his prepared stump speech. It was almost enough to make me sympathize for Romney, even though I'm a Democrat! But Griffin is not a partisan, as it turns out, she also confronted Biden over health care. Good for her!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Interesting Letter to the Editor From a New Yorker

While traveling, I like to collect letters to the editors from local papers. While I did not go to New York City on this trip (though I was in Port Jervis, NY), I did pick up an issue of "The New York Daily News."

There was this humorous letter from Jean Hopkins of Bronx, NY. It pertains to Iraq.

It reads as follows:

"Please explain how American soldiers are being killed and maimed on a daily basis in Iraq, yet strong, healthy Iraqi men are playing soccer in Indonesia!"

I am not sure which political direction the letter-writer took, but she makes a very good point about the confusion over 'all things Mesopatamia.'


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Rudy was in NH When We Were...NOT AN ENDORSEMENT

Amazingly enough, the former mayor of New York City was in Linoa, NH, while we were in the vicitinity of Littleton, NH. We saw no signs for him, but we did see one for his Republican primary opponent Cong. Ron Paul (R-Tx) along the Vermont border.

As for me, I will be endorsing either Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) or Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) very soon. Hillary has dropped to third, and John Edwards, who is from my state of NC, is a distant fourth.

My favorite Republican is that congressman from Texas.......he ranks sixth behing Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.).

I guess Rudy and Mitt Romney might be better options than Cong. Dennis Kuchinich (D-Ohio), but................after W can we honestly trust the Republicans again? Well, I'm not sure we ever could!:)

PS_ I saw Rudy Guilani on Charlie Rose last night. I was surprised by how much he knew about the Michael Moore doc "Sicko," though he claims 'not to have seen it.' He also showed the limits of his foreign policy agenda by proclaiming that he would make sure that all American ambassadors respond to 'all criticism of our country' abroad. With the fiasco in Iraq, this would be one tall order!

Hillary Clinton will be on David Letterman on Aug. 30.

I'm Back in the Area After Long Trip to Maine.......

We didn't hit any moose, then again we didn't see any moose either! Along the way, we dined at the Stir Crazy Chinese Restaurant in Portland, Me., and we may have seen Stephen king (yes, that Stephen King) at a concert in Rockland, Me.

Other highlights included a visit to Acadia National Park, lobster in Trenton, Me., and a visit to the Simpsons' hometown of Springfield, Vt. I also got a new Boston Red Sox shirt in Holyoke, Ma. And, we visited Mark Twain's home in Hartford, Ct. It was also good to see my old friend Bob when we stopped in Woodstock, Va.

Our thoughts go out to everyone in Minnesota.............

My pet cat Gizmo is demanding attention.

More on our misadventures later!

As Judy Garland once said: "There's no place like home, Toto.... There's no place like home."

Alas, I did not get to see a minor league baseball game on the trip, but I found a team with the coolest name.........The Worcester Tornadoes in Worcester, Ma. But, I did get to see some Red Sox games in my spare time.

I'm rambling, aren't I????!

Take care everyone................