Monday, March 31, 2008

I Am Going Sky-Diving Tomorrow!!!!!!!!

Yes, I should be 'doing something more important' like paying my taxes. But, my good friend Terry Williams of Danville, Va., ABSOLUTELY insisted that I go up to Orange, Va. (near Charlottesville) with him tomorrow for a once-in-a-lifetime sky-diving excursion.

I must profess that I am very nervous, and I haven't even told my mother. I have a bet with my friend Blake Lipscomb back in Roanoke that I WON"T go through with it. Well, I'll show him..........!

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Happy Birthday, Christopher Knight


No, we're not talking about the guy from "The Brady Bunch," but rather Christopher Knight, a writer, filmmaker and blogger from Reidsville, NC, whom Wikipedia refers to as 'an internet phenomenon."

I am not exactly sure how old Chris is, but I would guess 35. Knight first got attention for his striking Star Wars-themed political campaign ad when he ran for the Rockingham County School Board in 2006.

He later got more public attention when he tried to upload a video about his campaign on VH-1, which lead to a temper tantrum from Viacom, the company that oversees MTV and VH-1.  Knight eventually won...........

He has also directed a short film entitled "Schrodinger's Bedroom" and he has his very own Wikipedia entry.

Knight also maintains a blog which has a staggering 618,000 hits on it. He is currently detailing the saga of "Popcorn" Sutton, one of the nation's most famous moonshiners in the Maggie Valley of western North Carolina who was recently arrested by federal agents.

We wish Chris a happy birthday.........(He is pictured above with his wife Lisa).

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UPDATE: Today also happens to be Christopher Walken's 65th birthday. Ahh, uhm....I actually forgot the title of that silly ping pong movie he was in last year......hmm.......oh well!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Week With Gizmo.....


I have been spending a week with the family cat Gizmo as my mom, who has custody of him spent the week in Florida. While I don't have photos of Gizmo uploaded to my computer yet (as regular readers like Moviezzz, Nida Campbell and my sister Lale Lovell know I'm not the most pc savvy person in my or any other zip code).

But, I can offer you pictures of the original Gizmo from the 1984 film "Gremlins" and its sequel "Gremlins 2: The New Batch" (1990).

At least, this particular Gizmo doesn't require a litter box.

As some of you who know me well might expect, I did indeed name the cat after the Gizmo in "Gremlins." This was mainly because he beared a facial resemblance to the character in Joe Dante's movies.

Though now that it has been nearly four years since I found him at a gas station near Christiansburg, Va., (where some cruel, mean people left him) I think Godzilla may have in fact been a better name for the feline as he has pretty much destroyed each and every one of the blinds around the apartment.

But, he is sleeping now................I hope!

In all seriousness, he has been a joy to have. Gizmo's most pecuilar habit is to wake me up circa 4 a.m., so that he can be petted. Someone at work suggested that I keep Gizmo for good and get a job where I can wake up early in the morning.

Assuredly, that is not going to happen.........

Go Heels!!!! (From a Hokies Fan!).....

Bandwagoing: In realist theories of international relations, bandwagoning refers to the act of weaker states joining a stronger power of coalition within balance of power politics.

With that in mind, as I 'celebrate' two years of being a North Carolina resident (though I have yet to find an interest in The Bible or barbeque), I salute the University of North Carolina men's basketball team for reaching the Final Four with a win over Louisville by a 83-73 margin in Charlotte on Saturday night.

Tyler Hansbrough (pictured) scored 28 points, and grabbed 13 rebounds. Fellow Tarheel Wayne Ellington scored 13. Ty Lawson added in 11 points as did Danny Green.

I also want to take a moment to salute UNC gymnast Christine Nguyen who won the All-Around Competition in Morgantown, WVa., with a 39. 475. UNC finished fourth in the EAGL Championship Meet behind West Virginia University, North Carolina State and The University of New Hampshire. Nguyen also won the vault competition with a 9.995 and she placed second on the balance beam with a 9.825.

Incidentally, the UNC Women's Basketball Team also defeated Louisville by a 78-74 in the women's Sweet 16.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Wow- Davidson Makes Elite 8 in Men's College Hoops

Though I am more of a women's college gymnastics fan, I must admit that even I get struck with March Madness and in North Carolina it is virtually impossible not to be at least somewhat interested in the happenings on the hard floor.

When I was a teenager, Dell Curry was the star player at Virginia Tech and I met him at a shopping mall signing in Roanoke, Va., where I lived.

It is amazing that his son Stephen Curry (pictured here) has taken the Davidson Wildcats to the Elite 8, after they beat the University of Wisconsin last night.

They will next fact top-ranked Kansas who beat Villanova in the same session.

Of course, the University of North Carolina stand a significantly better chance of winning the NCAA-title, but it is amazing that a 10-seed representing a small Southern Conference school just north of Charlotte could get this far.

It's almost like watching "Hoosiers."

Gymnast Profile_ Amanda Castillo of Florida University

 Ever since I saw Florida University Gators gymnast Chrissy Van Fleet compete at a meet in College Park, Md. (The University of Maryland) back in 1999, I've been a Florida Gators gymnastics fan.

This year one of their standout gymnasts has been Sophomore Amanda Castillo (pictured on floor).

Castillo is a sophomore from Sanford, Fla., who is majoring in marketing. Her favorite event is the floor. She was named SEC Gymnast of the Week for a second time this season on March 18.

Later today, the Gators will face six other schools including three-time defending national champions Georgia at the SEC Championships at the Gwinett Center in Duluth, Ga., at 4 p.m. The event will also air via tape delay on April 7 on the SunSports Network (in Fla.) at noon.

Castillo posted a collegiate-best 39. 625 to win the all-around title during a home meet with Utah on March 14. She has won a total of four all-around titles in her two years in Gainesville.

The Florida Gators also have highly-touted gymnasts like Melanie Sinclair, Ashley Reed and Corey Hartung to complement Castillo.

The other high-ranking SEC teams include The University of Arkansas, The University of Alabama and LSU_ which I was fortunate to see compete at a meet at North Carolina State.

It would be nice to see this one, since the competition will be real close, but even though there is a substantial increase in interest of women's college gymnastics, the sport still gets very little exposure nationally.

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UPDATE (Monday): Georgia edged out both Florida and Alabama to win the SEC championship.

Images from North Carolina_Old Guilford Mill

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Video Game Addiction Tragedy

While researching video game addiction for a short play that I'm currently writing, I came across the tragic story of Lee Seung Seop (1977-2005), who was an industrial repairman in Daegu, South Korea.

On Aug. 3, 2005, he recieved posthumous world fame after he played the video game "Starcraft" at an internet cafe for a staggering 50 straight hours before dropping dead at age 28 from complications due to a cardiac arrest (heart attack). Doctors reported that Seop was suffering from exhaustion and dehydration prior to his sudden death.

According to Wikipedia, friends tried to stop him and his girlfriend broke up with him. He also lost his job.

Hmm...come to think of it, it's time for me to go outside and shoot some hoops!

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Five Favorite Characters Hatched from Eggs

Hmmm....I sort of knew once I added images to the blog that I might get carried away.

Last week, I had a gallery of egg images since it was Easter weekend.

Now, I am showing the images of five of my characters who were hatched from eggs.

Alas, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Fog Horn Leg Horn and Daffy Duck missed the cut.

5. Albert the Alligator (from Walt Kelly's "Pogo" comic strip)

4. Super Chicken_ the brain-child of Jay Ward ("Rocky and Bullwinkle")

3. Frogger- Video arcade favorite of the 1980s_ also the subject of "Seinfeld" episode

2. Godzilla_ Everyboy's favorite Japanes monster, except for those who prefer "Mothra," the killer moth.

1. Alas, Steve Gerber, the creator of "the comic book Howard the Duck" died earlier this month. He will be missed, but his most creation lives on. There is a new "Howard" comic book series. Since this is a political year, it should be noted that Howard ran for president in 1976 (in a comic book series). Oh yes, there is also that dubious 1985 film which bears his name.

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My McCain Running Mate Predictions (Without Commentary)

10. Mike Huckabee

9. Condi Rice

8. Mitt Romney

7. Joe Lieberman

6. Fred Thompson

5. Sen. Mike DeWine (Ohio)

4. Rudy Guilanni

3. Sen. Norm Coleman (Minnesota)

2. Gov. Mark Sanford (SC)

1. Gov. Charlie Crist (Fla.)


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My Bucket List

 After seeing the Jack Nicholson-Morgan Freeman film "The Bucket List" a few weeks ago I took the advice of a co-worker who had an unexpected, serious health problem last year, and I decided to come up with own bucket list.

I should note, especially to friends and family who may stop here, that I am only 38 and I have no major health issues, though dying of leukemia could help me get dates (not that I would wish that on me or anyone else!).

At any rate, here is "My Bucket List:"

1. Visit all the continents of the world, except Antartica.

2. Have breakfast at Denny's with at least one very very attractive woman (bonus points_ if it's Uma Thurman!- see photo). Of course, I would be asking for lots of refills on the morning coffee.

3. Run for Congress!_ Perferably against Cong. Virgil Goode (R-Va), a racist jerk from Rocky Mount, Va., who made derogatory comments about Muslims and refused to apologize. I personally can't stand him, and I work in his district! (see photo).

4. Get at least four plays published or stages

5. Get involved in a succesful personal relationship (preferably with Uma Thurman!).

6. Do something nice for someone other than yourself even if I'm not running Congress.

 7. Climb the gorgeous Mount Nemrut in my late father's country Turkey (see photo). It is covered with lots of ancient heads.

 8. This is an entry that only a true film buff could relate to. At some juncture, I hope to find time to watch Rainer Werner Fassbinder's epic 15-hour German film "Berlin Alexanderplatz." So far, I haven't had time!

9. Make a feature film.......without asking (my good friend) Bilge Ebiri, who directed the independent film "New Guy," for advice every five minutes.

10. Have the lead part in a theatrical play, though I'm not sure I could get the part of Frankie in Terence McNally's "Frankie and Johnny's One-Night Stand." (Photo is of the performance of that play at Arena Stage in Washington, DC), which might not be a bad thing because the part requires nudity!

Happy 23rd Birthday to Keira Knightley

Yes, I must profess that I am having 'too much fun' now that I've finally figured out the mundane task of uploading images.

But, in all seriousness, all of us here at Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time wanted to wish Keira Knightly a happy 23rd birthday even though we presonally think "Atonement" was a tad bit overrated.

For an exceptional performance from Knightley, who is the daughter of female playwright Sharman Macdonald ("The Winter Guest"), check out the remake of "Dr. Zhivago" which aired on BBC and later on PBS ("Masterpiece Theatre.") here in the USA.

Knightley rose to stardom with a remarkable supporting performance in the soccer movie "Bend it Like Beckham."

Important Update from the Gravel Campaign...........A Defection??!

From: Mike Gravel Campaign 2008 <>
Subject: Important Update from the Gravel Campaign
New Gravel header
Gravel For President 2008
A Personal Message from Mike Gravel

Dear friend,

I wanted to update you on my latest plans before news gets out. Today, I am announcing my plan to join the Libertarian Party, because the Democratic Party no longer represents my vision for our great country. I wanted my supporters to get this news first, because you have been the ones who have kept my campaign alive since I first declared my candidacy on April 17, 2006.

The fact is, the Democratic Party today is no longer the party of FDR. It is a party that continues to sustain war, the military-industrial complex and imperialism -- all of which I find anathema to my views.

By and large, I have been repeatedly marginalized in both national debates and in media exposure by the Democratic leadership, which works in tandem with the corporate interests that control what we read and hear in the media.

I look forward to advancing my presidential candidacy within the Libertarian Party, which is considerably closer to my values, my foreign policy views and my domestic views.

Please take a moment to make your most generous donation to my presidential campaign today. $10, $20, $50 -- whatever you feel you can afford.

I want to thank you all for your continued support.

Gratefully yours,

Mike Sig Small

Learn More
Gravel For President 2008 | P.O. Box 948 | Arlington | VA | 22216-0948
From Tilly Gokbudak_I must say this caught me by surprise! But, I guess this means there will be at least one third party option besides Ralph Nader this November. And, perhaps Gravel will go against Ron Paul for the Libertarian Party nomination...........that would be awesome, wouldn't it??! Ok, I guess I'm one of the few people who cares about this.....

New Video from Nejla Yatkin

Nejla Yatkin, a Washington D.C.-based modern dancer, added this video on Youtube. It was filmed in Berlin around where Wim Wenders shot scenes for his 1987 classic film "Wings of Desire."

Yatkin performs regularly in the DC-metro area and in New York. She has also performed around the world, and she was profiled in a recent issue of "The New York Times."

Yatkin will be performing a dance series based on "Wings...." at the Avignon International Arts Festival in Avignon, France, from July 7 to Aug. 1.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Quote from Japanese Writer Yukio Mishima (1925-1970)

Japanese writer Yukio Mishima (1925-1970) was a novelist, poet and playwright. His off-the-page life is perhaps even more interesting than his work as he was both a homosexual and a nationalist. Mishima died by committing ritualist suicide which shocked the world in 1970.

His life is the subject of the Paul Schrader film "Mishima," but the film got more attention for its Philip Glass soundtrack.

I was stunned to find a copy of Mishima's most famous book "The Sailor Who Fell From Grace" at a Salvation Army store in Reidsville, NC. Mishima is also known for the novel "The Temple of Golden Pavilion."

Here is the quote:

"At no time are we ever in such complete possesion of a journey, dawn to its last nook and cranny, as when we are busy with preparations for it."


Fifth Year Anniversary of Iraq War

Since March 20th marked the fifth anniversary of the War in Iraq, I thought I would post this comment from Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va), also a published author and Ronald Reagan's former Secretary of the Navy, who defected to the Democratic Party because of the war. He upset George Allen which helped give Jefferson's party a majority in the U.S. Senate. Webb's son has been among those who've seen deployment to Iraq:

"Only when our political leadership matches the high quality of our military performance will we be able to resolve our current occupation in Iraq. And, it's clear that we are not going to see that kind of leadership with the Bush administration."

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Obama Mania Comes to Greensboro

With the endorsement of Greensboro, NC, Mayor Yvonne Johnson, Barack Obama will be speaking at the Greensboro War Memorial on Wednesday.

Johnson said in her endorsement: "This will be a historic opportunity for North Carolinians and the citizens of North Carolina."

Johnson made history in November when she became the first African-American elected to the mayor's office in the Gate City.

All 2,000 tickets for the event were sold out within two hours.

Tiah Gibbs of Greensboro told News14 Carolina that she got off work to get her ticket at the Guilford County Democratic Party headquarters, and she was estatic to get one of the golden tickets.


Julie Gehling said the opportunity to see Obama was an oppurtunity to see history-in-the-making.

Esther Milanzi, a student at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, missed out and she told reporter Stephanie Stillwell that she 'wanted to cry."

I am still personally leaning towards Hillary Clinton as she has more experience, but it seems painfully clear that Obama is running the better campaign.

News14 Carolina also state that North Carolina, a red state that last voted for a Democrat when Jimmy Carter beat Gerald Ford in 1976, is favoring McCain as 51 % of state residents told a poll that they would vote for the Arizona senator.

The Tarheel State primary is May 6.

Indiana votes on the same day.

The last Democratic primary is in Puerto Rico, some time in June.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Birthday, Terry Williams

I want to wish Terry Williams of Danville, Va., a happy 22nd birthday. Terry is turning 22 tomorrow. He is the reason why I can post photos, comic strips and Youtube videos on this blog.

Check out his Youtube videos at:

Terry hopes to read Thomas Paine's "Age of Reasoning" and he hopes to transfer to Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond to study computer engineering.

He is also rooting for the underdog Davidson University team from Davidson, NC, (outside Charlotte) in the NCAA tourney.

And, he also hopes to climb Mount Fuji in Japan sometime in his lifetime:)


Sunday Leftovers- A Zippy the Pinhead strip



"Zippy the Pinhead," which I discovered in "The Washington Post" is one of my favorite comic strips. Bill Griffith, the man behind the zipper, will be presenting a surprise film at the Speakeasy Cinema on 279 Church Street in New Yok on April 22. "Zippy" is said to be inspired by the classic 1932 Tod Browning film "Freaks." 
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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Gripping Play "Frozen" to be Staged in Philadelphia

Interact Theatre in Philadelphia is performing the stirring Bryony Lavery play "Frozen," from April 4 to May 4.
The 2004 play was a critical hit in London's West End and on Broadway. It has also been performed in Chapel Hill, NC and Eugene, Ore. (which is the production that this photo is from).
Like "The Pillowman," it is not a play for the "Lion King" crowd.
According to the Interact web site, the play is a psychological drama which deals with a journey of three people whose lives are chillingly connected.
The three central characters are Nancy, whose ten-year old daughter went missing 20 years ago. She is an individual who tries to comes to terms with the unacceptable.
The play also deals with Ralph who is convicted of the child's murder and must deal with the ramifications of his heinous actions.
And, there is Agnetha, a shrink who studies serial killers, and tries to understand the criminal mind.
The Philadelphia production stars Mary Martello as Nancy, Catherine Slusar as Agnetha and Jeb Kreager as Ralph. The director is Whit MacLaughlin.

All of this makes me wish I had stock in Greyhound, so I could make the eight-hour trip to Philly to see this! But, the ticket prices are as one would expect more than what they would be in Greensboro or Roanoke, which is understandable given the excellent artistic  credentials of everyone involved.
Nevertheless, it does seem like a worthwhile production, and anyone from the Philadelphia area who happens to stumble upon this blog can feel free to tell me more about the theatre or the production.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Arizona State Gymnast Wants to Trade Places with Obama

As a college gymnastics fan and political enthusiast, I was quite intrigued to see that there is an Arizona State gymnast who is interested in politics, or that she would at least like to trade places with Barack Obama for a day.
That gymnast is Carrie Finley, who is a 5'2 junior from Doylestown, Pa.
Finley is majoring in communications, and her specialties in gymnastics are the vault and the floor.
Among the other personal information that Finley mentioned on the Arizona State gymnastics team's web-site is that she likes to dance in the locker room before each meet. Her favorite book is "Oh, the Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss, and her favorite tv show is the politically-minded  "Colbert Report."
Finley must also be a Will Ferrell fan as her favorite movie is "Talladega Nights" (yes, it does rank right up there with "The Seventh Seal"-nudge, nudge, wink, wink).
The Arizona State Sun-Devils lost in a road meet at the University of Missouri on Friday night, but they did score a season-high 195.5 (for road meets) and Finley's teammate Tiana Jean came in second in the all-around competition with a 39.050

All of this begs the question: Did Finley vote in the Arizona Primary on Super Tuesday or does she have the vote in the Pennsylvania primary which is next up on the slate?
I never had this dilemma when I voted against Oliver North in a Virginia Senate election in the 1990s because I was a resident of the state, and went to Radford University in Radford, Va. (and, thankfully Sen. Chuck Robb was reelected). Though I had never voted in Radford, and hence I had to ask patrons at a funeral home for directions to the elementary school/polling station.

As for Barack Obama, he was in Fayetville, NC and Charlotte this week, where large crowds apparently gathered once again. "The Charlotte Observer" warned of traffic congestion in the Queen City  for his rally there. Bill Clinton was scheduled to campaign for his wife Hillary in Charlotte today. The North Carolina Primary is May 6 (yes, we are like the last state to decide!).
Perhaps it is not too surprising that Obama has become popular with young people like Finley, who will turn 21 in June, as he is the candidate of change and the ASU gymnast said that she 'wants to make a difference in the world.'

The Sun-Devils next compete at the PAC-10 Championships in Seattle on March 29.
Currently three PAC-10 teams are in the top 10, including Stanford, UCLA and Oregon State.
I wish the Finley and her Sun-Devil teammates well in Washington state.

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Got "the Hook"?????

My friend Julie Campbell of Reidsville, NC, suggested that those of us who are interested in writing come up with some 'hooks' to get us started with the creative process.

A hook refers to something catchy that starts off a story.

He are three related hooks that I submitted to her. To date, no story has been penned with any of them!:

1. The Make-A-Wish children fell asleep watching "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."

2. My father was asleep in his chair as pro wrestling was on tv and the family cat was knocking over his Civil War chess pieces.

3. John had fallen asleep not realizing that his wife Mary was at The Golden Dragon with Steve the plumber who had been coming over to fix an awful lot of problems with the toilet lately.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Bugs Bunny for President?

Political analyst Jeff Greenfield recently wrote an article for in which he said the presidential candidates who most resemble Bugs Bunny tend to previal while those who have more in common with the hare's main rival Daffy Duck tend to lose.

The good news for Democrats is that Greenfield says that John McCain more closely resembles Bugs Bunny. The bad news is so does (should she prevail) Hillary Clinton. But, Sen. Barack Obama, with his optimistic outlook, is a Bugs.

Greenfield says that Bugs Bunny is a secure, laid back character while Daffy Duck is at war with a hostile world. Daffy likes to fuss, fume and clench his fist to show constant agitation. While Bugs always previals over the likes of Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam.

Hmmmm.......this might also explain why I've had sooooo much trouble with women!

Greenfield said eventual presidents like John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan were the definitive Bugs Bunny models, and hence they were able to defeat the likes of Richard Nixon (1960) and Jimmy Carter (1980) who were Daffy prototypes during those election cycles.

(Ironically, another the Marvel Comic book character Howard the Duck made a run for the presidency for a couple of issues in 1976.)

And, there are candidates who are Bugs on the campaign trail, but they become Daffys once in the Oval Office. Of course, we are talking about George W. Bush!

Useful Links: (The blog where I originally saw this story)

Footnote: I have finally figured out how to put images on my blog_ yes, I know it's easy for the rest of you! I must give credits to Terry Williams of Danville, Va., for this. He assisted me with many of the images in the other entries. He will be stunned to see what I've learned without him......