Saturday, May 31, 2008

Posters from Bad Films_ Under the Rainbow (1 of 6)

 This is a poster from the very bad film "Under the Rainbow" (1981), which I saw as an 11-year-old kid at the Salem Valley 4 Cinema (now Salem Valley 8) in Salem, Va.

This was my third idea, but there were tech complications with images of "Stroker Ace" (1983) and "Yor: The Space Hunter."

Leonard Maltin called this film: an astoundingly unfunny and tasteless comedy.

The plot revolves spies, agents and midgets who stay in a hotel during the filming of "The Wizard of Oz."

It starred Chevy Chase and Carrie Fisher, both of whom had better luck with "Caddyshack" and "Star Wars." Fisher even publicly admitted that she hated the film. Nowadays, Chase can be seen doing Cola Turka commercials........I'll have to add a Youtube video of that one day!

Useful Links:

UPDATE: I just checked. Sure enough, this is available on DVD.

CORRECTION: I gathered it was on DVD by checking the IMDB. A movie savvy friend of mine says that it in fact, the film is NOT on DVD as MGM apparently has yet to take it out of their vaults. But, there are plenty of bad Chevy Chase movies out there, like "Caddyshack II." And, some good ones as well like "Seems Like Old Times."



Studio Theatre in DC Performing "The Internationalist"

Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C., is currently performing Anne Washburn comedy "The Internationalist" (picture is from a New York performance of the play). The director is Kirk Jackson who last directed Studio Theatre's production of the Tom Stoppard classic "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead."

The comedy production stars Beckman Ross, Tyler Pierce and Holly Twyford. The theatre's web site called the play 'a new kind of play for the 21st century."

The play revolves around Lowell, who sets off for an international business trip. He ends up with a really case of jet lag, and then like a character from "Star Trek" he finds himself in an unnamed country where citizens speak a language that neither he or anyone in the audience will understand.

And, thus the usually confident Lowell finds himself 'lost in translation.'

The play sounds like it has elements of Larry Shue's "The Foreigner" on the surface. "The Washington Post" called it a delightful production.

If only the Greyhound trip to DC were free................

Useful Links (for showtimes and run dates):


Images of Odd Careers (one of six)


Occupation: Simit Vendor in Istanbul, Turkey

Pay: 75-80 cents an hour in winter; $5-6 an hour in the summer

Benefits: Help feed some starving tourists

Drawbacks: May have people secretly take two simits for the price of one.

End of the Workweek Goal: Buy a new pair of socks

NOTE: This is a work of satire, and none of this info should be taken seriously. My heart goes out to the kid in the picture, and everyone caught in his economic circumstance. The simit is a breaded pastry, which one can buy fresh on Saturdays at the Harmony Market in Cary, NC.

And, I found out today that there is a Turkish movie blogger in Istanbul named Ali Arikan who is getting a lot of traffic with his Indy Jones blog-a-thon.

Check his site out at:

I would write more, but Gizmo- my cat who is named after a Gremlin- is yelling: "Feed me, Seymour."

Friday, May 30, 2008

Mini-Novel of the Week: The Great Gatsby

 While I was in Wilmington, NC, two weeks ago, I stumbled upon a nifty used bookstore, which seem to be surprisingly harder to come by these days.

The place was called Old Books on Front Street and sure enough it is located on 22 N. Front St.

I found a copy of the classic 1925 novel "The Great Gatsby," which became a film that starred Robert Redford in 1974. It is of course written by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940). The original painting on the cover (pictured here) was by Francis Cugat.

I saw the exact copy of "The Great Gatsby" minus the coffee stains for $14 at a Barnes and Noble in Roanoke last week. My copy was a mere $3, and I don't have to return it to Williamson Road Library anytime soon.

This is the fourth installment of a series in which I take the first and last sentence from a famous novel.

The first sentence in "The Great Gatsby" reads:

"In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since."

It concludes with the following passage 121 pages later:

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

Useful Links:

Phone: 919-763-4754

Other Books in Series:

"Wild at Heart" by Barry Gifford

"Naked Lunch" by William S. Burroughs

"1984" by George Orwell

Indy vs. Sex and the City Showdown (With Poll)

 First of all, I want to welcome visitors from the cool blog Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule.

Today, with this image of the Fox Theatre in Atlanta (which alas does not show films on a daily basis), I am asking folks whether they hope to see "Sex and the City" or the latest Indy Jones film. Both are showing at the Grandin Theatre in hometown of Roanoke, Va.


The Grandin is also showing "Son of Rambow" and the documentary "Young at Heart."

Down the road in Blacksburg, Va., they are showing a great independent film "The Visitor" about anti-Arab racism (perhaps someone should take Cong. Virgil Goode to see it, though Rocky Mount is pretty far from Hokie town).

The Varsity Theatre in Chapel Hill, NC, where I saw the film, is continuing to show "The Visitor," I can not recommend it enough. "Young at Heart" is also a delightful doc.

But, of course, 90 perent of the world will see either "Sex" or "Indy." In this case, I'm an undecided voter although "Sex" has the (much) better trailer.

Useful Links:


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cong. Brad Miller is My 100th Friend on Facebook

I want to personally thank Cong. Brad Miller (D-NC) for becoming my 100th friend on Facebook today. I have my good friend Nida Campbell of Charlottesville, Va. to thank (or blame-LOL!) for this.

Other Facebook friends of mine now include the likes:

Children's book authors Tom Angleberger and Cece Bell (they are married)

Poet Kammal Ayyildiz

Cult filmmaker Charles Cullen of Roanoke, Va.

Howard the Duck!

Filmmaker/blogger Bilge Ebiri

Filmmaker/blogger Christopher Knight of Reidsville, NC

Sportswriter Roland Lazenby (he taught me at Radford University)

Turkish dancer Zeki Maviyildiz, who is based in High Point, NC

Film Director Michael Moore (yes, the guy behind "Canadian Bacon").

Congressional candidate Tom Perriello (D), who is running against Virgil Goode (see earlier entry in archives).

Salt Lake City stage director Jerry Rapier

Cartoonist Shannon Wheeler of "Too Much Coffee Man" fame

Modern dancer Nejla Yatkin

That's all the time for blogging today, kids. Be sure to do Chapter 11 for homework. Ahh, my job is going straight to my head..........

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Remembering Sydney Pollack (With One of His Quotes)

My good friend Jim, aka Moviezzz, gave a very moving tribute to director/producuer/actor Sydney Pollack (1934-2008) whose death was reported on Monday.

I was privaledged to hear him speak at the 2001 Virginia Film Festival in Charlottesvile. He came there for a special screening of his early film "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" (1969).

Pollack also talked about how he had just gone to the movies at the Regal Cinema in downtown Charlottesville to see David Lynch's 'new film' (at the time) "Mullholland Drive."

He said he no idea what the film was about, but he loved it.

The Oscar-winner for directing "Out of Africa" (1985) had a great way with words, hence I am enclosing one of his quotes for my usual quote of the week:

"But, I've made films in Japan, in Yugoslavia, all over Europe, all over the United States, Mexico, but not Hollywood."

My personal favorite Pollack film was the 1975 thriller "Three Days of the Condor," one of his many films with Robert Redford (it co-starred Faye Dunaway). I also credit (or blame) his 1981 thriller "Absence of Malice" with Paul Newman and Sally Field as being one of the films which made me a film fanatic for life at the tender age of 11.

In all seriousness, he will be greatly missed.

(For Jim's blog entry about Pollack)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Image Gallery_ Turkish Movie Queen Turkan Soray

This blog entry is the result of a mistake. I thought today was Turkish movie queen Turkan Soray's 63rd birthday.

But, Soray who still looks as amazing as he did when she starred opposite Turkish movie king Cuneyt Arkin in countless melodramas like "Hayatim Sana Feda/My Life Belongs to You, Feda" in the late '60s and early '70s, is still 62. Her birthday is actually June 28.

Soray has also made serious art films like "Hazal" (dir. Ali Ozgenturk, 1979) and the feminist-themed "On Kadin/10 Women" (dir. Serif Goren, 1987). I know some of you are thinking a feminist Turkish film seems like the ultimate oxy moron, but Turkey also just recently banned smoking in taxi cabs and city buses, as well as other public places. Next year the ban will include restaurants, cafes and bars. The same can not be said of North Carolina, the state where I presently reside.


 I will actually be traveling to Turkey around June 28th, so perhaps it is just as well to mention Soray's birthday a month ahead of time. Alas, no Soray films are formally  available in the USA, but many of her films are available through Turkish outlets, like

 At a later time, I hope to post some Youtube videos from some of her films. Kadir Inanir, another male lead in many '70s Turkish melodramas, also starred opposite Soray frequently.

Most of her Youtbe videoes do not have subtitles, but then again they really aren't needed.

Useful Links:

(See my previous entries on Turkan Soray by typing her name in the index).



Happy Birthday Nicole Johnston

I want to take this chance to wish my good friend and brilliant photographer Nicole Johnston a happy (is it 25th?) birthday. She also happens to be one of the few young women in her age bracket who is actually a nice person!

Nicole, who also happens to be an avid a-ha fan (even though she's not from Bergen, Norway), is a fellow Hollins alum. Through shear luck and coincidence, I was able to take a German film class with her even though Hollins is an all-women's college in Roanoke, Va. 

And, Wanda (pseudonym for the woman I'm pseudo-dating) in case you're reading this, I somehow never managed to go out with any of the women in that class........ Yes, there were some who were quite attractive.............I know you don't believe me, but I am quite shy. 

I can't recall who Nicole's favorite film director is, though I know she has good taste in film, so I am guessing it is not Roanoke's b-movie auteur Charles Cullen, aka The Chicken Man. (He is not the Charles Cullen who is a convicted serial killer from New Jersey, though they are about the same age).

Nicole actually has her birthday tomorrow (Wednesday), but it's late and I'm suffering from insomnia for the 38th or 39th day in a row_ the perscribed medications aren't working (of course!), and I thought I would post this before my cat Gizmo somehow manages to unplug the computer.

Ahh, the birds are chirping and Gizmo is hence jumping up in the window.

Useful Links: (Yes, Nicole really is an a-ha fan! But, hey-I really like A Flock of Seagulls, and I want their hair). (This site is not appropriate for young children...well, that's a presumption. But, it is a safe one!)


Monday, May 26, 2008

For Memorial Day_ Snafu and Daffy Duck

To salute veterans from all wars, regardless of my firm political opposition to Bush's War in Iraq, I am showcasing two World War II cartoons today, which is Memorial Day here in the United States (in case, someone from Copenhagen is looking at the blog today!).
The first one is "Booby Traps" featuring Private Snafu. It was made in 1943 under the direction of Bob Clampett, and these cartoons were shown to military personnel only during the war. There is an interesting Hitler cameo in the film. It should be mentioned, that this cartoon is NOT suitable for children.

The second cartoon is "Daffy Commando" (1944).

Unlike Snafu, the cartoon was shown to the general public but it is not shown on television very often now. I think it's fair to say that it simply wouldn't fit in with the other more cheerful Looney Tunes cartoons, like "What's Opera, Doc?"

I would like to dedicate these two cartoons to my late stepfather Donald Sullivan and my late grandfather Dudley C. "Doc" Sturgis. Both of whom served in World War II.

Interestingly enough, my other late grandfather Fuat Gokbudak was a soldier for the Turkish army in World War I. Thankfully, he wasn't asked to go to Gallipoli!

"Bull Durham"

The Ron Shelton baseball comedy "Bull Durham" about life in the minor leagues will be 20 years old soon. It was released on June 15, 1988. The film starred Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins.
At the time of the film, the Durham Bulls were a Class A team in the Carolina League. The film caused some excitement in my hometown of Salem, Va., because the Bulls were shown facing the Salem Buccaneers, our minor league team which played the Bulls.
"Bull Durham" made the Bulls the most famous minor league team in America, replacing the Toledo Mudhens which had been made famous through "MASH." Here is the famous "I believe in" speech delivered by Costner (contains adult language):

The Durham Bulls are now a Class AAA team in the International League. They beat the Richmond Braves in Richmond, Va., for their sixth straight win yesterday thanks to a Fernando Perez triple in the sixth inning.
The Bulls return to Durham, NC, which recently held a 20th anniversary screening of the film at the main local library, on May 30 to face the Pawtucket Red Sox from Rhode Island.
The Bulls are 25-23 and trail Richmond by one game in their division. On May 31, The Bucket Boys, a group of youths who use buckets as drums, will perform during a game against Pawtucket. The Bulls also boast an extensive picnic area.
I've seen the Bulls in Durham twice. Once was when they were a Class A team, and the other was in 2005 when I saw them play the Columbus Clippers. And, I once worked for the Salem Avalanche, which replaced the Buccaneers several years ago.

Useful Links:

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Images of North Carolina (10 of 10) High Point Chest of Drawers

We have finally come to the conclusion of our Images of North Carolina series. This final image was (like the last entry) inspired by a "Zippy the Pinhead" comic strip. This time, with apologies to Bill Griffith (well, I guess he can't sue me since we don't make any $ for this blog), I decided to include the actual strip.

The World's Largest Chest of Drawers is located at 508 North Hamilton Street in High Point. The structure was originally built in the 1920s by the High Point Commerce Department. In 1996, it was completely renovated.

The two gigantic socks that dangle from the drawer were meant to symbolize the city's hosiery industry. Much of North Carolina's textile industry was shipped overseas. One can see the damaging effects in the border town of Danville, Va., where with Dan River's closing some 5,000 people lost their jobs. The company relocated to India.

But, with monuments such as these, one can fondly remember the not-too-distant days when textile mills helped build towns and local economies.


Other Entires in the Series:

1. Old Guildford Mill- Oak Ridge (Greensboro)

2. Eden Drive-In (Eden)

3. Varsity Theatre (Chapel Hill)

4. Old Shell Station (Winston-Salem)

5. North Carolina Zoo (Asheboro)

6. Snappy Lunch (Mount Airy)

7. Gem Theatre (Kannapolis)

8. Old Train Station (Fayetville)

9. The Coffee Cup (Charlotte)

TEASER: There was one other place that I had thought about posting. It will likely be the subject of a future entry.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Quote of the Week- From Marcel Proust (With Video)

I got this from a "Zippy the Pinhead" comic strip by Bill Griffith, which originally ran on July 19, 2007. As indicated in the header, it is from French novelist and essayist Marcel Proust (1871-1922):

"Everything great in the world comes from neurotics. They alone have founded our religions and composed our masterpieces."

And, here is that video.............this is a cool, abstract short I found on Youtube.

Useful Links:

Personal Note: For those of you who can't get Youtube videos on your pc, I feel your pain and starting at some point next week, I will probably go back to images. But, for right now, I'm having fun..........!

Mini-Novel: George Orwell's "1984" (Entry 3 of 6)

This is the third installment of my series devoted  to the first and last sentence of  great novels.  Today,  I  downsize  George  Orwell's 1948 novel "1984," which was made into a film guessed it 1984. It was the last feature for the great Richard Burton. The film also featured a soundtrack from The Eurythmics.

Here is the first sentence of "1984:"

"It was a cold day in April, and the clocks were striking 13."

Now, the last two sentences, which are a bit gloomy:

"He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother."

And, lastly, for those who are better at reading films (hmm, who might that be!), here is the U.K. trailer for "1984" .................

Michael Radford, the director of "1984," has a new film called "Flawless" starring Michael Caine and Demi Moore, who were also co-stars of "Blame it on Rio," which came out in 1985. It is currently playing at the Grandin Theatre in Roanoke and movie theaters around the country, if not the world.

The novel also recently inspired an anti-Hillary Clinton ad from a Barack Obama supporter which was shown all over the Internet. And, you may  have seen those clever (and, highly accurate) Bush/Orwell bumper stickers on cars.

USEFUL LINKS: (an amusing liberal Orwell-themed blog)

Friday, May 23, 2008

In-Joke of the Week.......a Ratt Video

This video entitled "You're in Love" by the '80s rock band Ratt actually starts off with an old movie clip from the Ronald Reagan archives. Which begs the question, which is more painful listening to a Ratt song or watching Ronald Reagan act? (Even though I'm a Democrat, I must profess that he was much better as a politician).

This is part of an in-joke with my friend Leigh Anne Keatts. I hope she gets it. The rest of you can scratch your heads and go to the next entry! (Unless you like bad heavy metal with cheesy lyrics). It should be posted at some point tomorrow, unless I have to make a business trip to Boones Mill, Va. (Hmmmm... a regional joke that no one  in  Worchester,  Mass., would understand. )

I better quit while I'm ahead!

UPDATE: This is NOT a joke. Apparently, Ratt will headline a music festival called Rocklahoma in Pryor, Okl., on July 9. I wonder if Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Ok)* will be there....!

*- He is considered to be the most conservative member of the U.S. Senate. I'm wondering if he's the one who advocated capital punishment for people who work at abortion clinics......

Useful Links (for Ratt fans only)_
     (for Tom Coburn fans only) _

Tags: ,

Dumb and Dumber.....

..........or, why I'm a Democrat in 30 words or less!

I should add that I saw some guys from Greenpeace dressed like whales in front of the Japanese embassy  while I was in Washington, DC, this week. While I want to distance myself from over-the-top liberals like these, I certainly would NEVER want to politically associate myself with the like of the Rev. Jimmy Swaggart (Video 1) or Cong. Virgil Goode, the David Duke wannabe from Rocky Mount, Va. (Video 2).

As the son of a Muslim immigrant, I find Goode's remarks and viewpoints about the Islamic faith disgusting. As a Virginian, I also embarrassed that he is a Congressman from our state and my region. My late stepfather Donald Sullivan served this country honorably in World War II, and he would also disdain Goode's racist sentiments.

Needless to say I am STRONGLY endorsing his Democratic opponent (Ironically Goode was once a Democrat- good riddance!) Tom Perriello for the fifth district seat. And, I'm sure unlike Goode, who also has many ties to scandalous lobbyists, he will represent the area with a sense of moral dignity.

FOOTNOTE: As Perriello points out in his web site, Goode voted AGAINST the GI Bill, so contrary to his chest-beating one has to wonder just how much he cares for our troops.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Breaking News: Richard Dreyfuss to Play President..

...........................Dick Cheney

I must give credit to Scott Von Doviak for posting this on the movie blog Screengrab. It was originally reported in "The Hollywood Reporter." Dreyfuss will play the 'vice' president in Oliver Stone's "W." This will be the first time Dreyfuss plays a head of state!

News About Hull's Drive-In in Lexington, Va

While we have often promoted the Eden Drive-In in Eden, NC, on this blog, we don't mention the Hull's Drive-In off Route 11 in Lexington, Va.
I have actually never been there, but my friend Blake Lipscomb from Roanoke used to make the 50-miles hike up the road to see films there all the time.
One time he witnessed a print of "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" blowing up on screen there, and he said it was one of most amazing things he had ever seen.
This week, Hull's is offering a Memorial Day discount to military personnel (I wonder if you get credit if you served in the Canadian armed forces).
And, they are showing "Vantage Point," which somehow escaped me, coupled with "Nim's Island," which somehow didn't.
Gates open at 6:30 and the films start around 8:45 p.m.
Hull's also offers the following items on their menu:

Hamburger $2.85
Cheeseburger $3.25
Corn Dog $2.25
Sno-Cone $1.00

Words of Wisdom: You may want to bring the Off!

Useful Links:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Midnight Movie Trailers

Video 1: Trailer for "Blade Runner," Harrison Ford's best non-Indy/Hans Solo film....Ok, I forgot about "Witness!"

From Tilly Gokbudak:

Hi kids.
Your's truly just got back from Washington, DC, but it was not a fun trip.
I think of the nation's capital as a place with galleries, museums, theatres and a place to see pandas as well as a city where one can perhaps catch a glimpse of Sen.Trent Lott* shaking hands with evangelist, gun-tooting lobbyists.
But there are lots of bureaucratic entities there we tend to forget about. And, I was stuck at such place for hours today!

Video 2: "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" trailer. I believe my cousin Shanon Sturgis has seen this film 995 times! I've seen it twice.

(*-Lott, a Republican from Mississippi, is actually leaving Congress to become a lobbyist. And, that boys and girls, means he'll make a lot more money!)

So, hence I need to unwind, and since Jason Garnett is now showing the latest Indy flick at the Grandin Theatre in Roanoke, Va., I thought I'd show three 'midnight movie' trailers. Enjoy.....the popcorn and drinks are on us!

Video 3: Trailer for "El Topo" (1970). This film by experimental filmmaker Alexander Jodorowsky is considered to be the definitive midnight movie. WARNING: Even the trailer is NOT for all tastes. If you want to complain about it, write a letter to the man who cleans the elephant cages at The National Zoo.

NOTE: "Blade Runner" is now showing at the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, Md. (Wash. DC)

"The Rocky Horror Picture Show" will be shown (presumably at midnight) in New York, Atlanta, Charleston, SC, Huntington, WV and Norfolk, Va., among other places. Check for other locales not listed here on the IMDB.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Grandin Theatre to Show New Indy @ Midnight!!!

To celebrate the opening of "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skull," I am paying homage to one of the so many god-awful mid-80s low budget films "Raiders of the Lost Ark" undoubtedly influenced.

And, there are few films that are as bad as "Hercules" with Lou Ferrigno (TV-s Hulk).....Hope you enjoyed that trailer....(It's better than the film!).
Alas, I saw  "Hercules" on the small screen, but I'm not sure it lost much of its impact! The film also features Sybil Danning, who made some interesting films with titles I have long forgotten.

This leads us to the new Indy with the senior citizen Harrison Ford in the lead.

It will be shown at midnight on Wednesday at the Grandin Theatre in Roanoke, Va., where my friend Jason Garnett will show off the original Indy whip which was bought for $2.2 million on e-bay and donated to the Grandin Theatre Foundation (THIS IS A JOKE! But, they will start the movie right at midnight, so you can see it before your 11-year-old nephew who has to go to South Salem Elementary in the morning).

The film will also be showing (starting Friday) at the Eden Drive-in in Eden, NC, for my friends 'south of the border.'

One of those friends is Christopher Knight.

Since I will be 'away from my desk' tomorrow, you can check out his blog at:

Other Useful Links: (A great movie blog)

Wilmington (NC) Theatre Producing Mamet Play

The great English actor Jonathan Pryce (pictured here from a Broadway production) will not be in the cast, but the Red Barn Studio in Wilmington, NC, is currently performing the famous David Mamet play "Glengarry Glen Ross."

The production runs from May 21-June 1 (Thursdays-Sundays), and the all-male cast features Nick Battiste, Mike O'Neill, James Lyngk, Richard Roma, John Stafford and John Williamson as the ruthless office manager made famous by Alec Baldwin in the film version.
That version, which also featured Kevin Spacey and the late Jack Lemmon, is satired here (see video) in a promotion video for the 2008 South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Tex. It is directed by Dan Brown, who also acts in the promo.

John Staton of "The Wilmington Star-News" said the Red Barn production was both timely (given the Enron scandla) and well-performed:

"In this excellent production, which features a top-notch cast directed by Dorothy Rankin, the downward spiral of choices made by desperate__or is it greedy?_ real estate salesman is chronicled with humor and nonjudgmental view of their plights."

The play revolves around office salesman hoping to cling to their jobs by promoting real estate of disputable value with potential clients.

And, of course, like just about all Mamet works, it is known for it's $%#&*!

Mamet's new film "Red Belt," which seems like a continued departure from his stage work, is also playing in theatres around the country.

Useful Links:

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Virginia Senator Jim Webb Takes to the Airwaves

Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va) surprised many in the Old Dominion when he defected from the Republican Party to take on incumbent senator George Allen. He surprised many more when he won.

Now, Webb is being discussed as a possible running mate for likely Democratic nominee Barack Obama.

On Monday and Tuesday, Webb will be on several television and radio shows, most notably tonight's "The Late Show with David Letterman."

This clip is from the January 28th edition of "Countdown with Keith Olbermann." Webb returns to that show on Tuesday.

He will also appear on NPR's "Fresh Air" (Mon.) and the conservative-leaning Lou Dobbs (who is hardly a Bush fan) on Tuesday.

Webb was Ronald Reagan's Secretary of the Navy, and he has also written many novels. He is also never boring.

Former Virginia governor Mark Warner (D) is running for retiring Republican Sen. John Warner's seat this November. He is expected to run against another former governor Jim Gilmore (R) though the later has yet to officially declare his candidacy. Gilmore was also one of the first Republicans to drop out of the Republican race for the presidency.

UPDATE: Webb is also promoting his new book "A Time to Fight."


Video Montage of 2008 NCAA Gymnasts

Here are three Youtube videos from three gymnasts who I cited in my kitschy list of my favorite gymnasts from the year in college gymnastics. The three gymnasts here are Katie Heenan (Georgia), Corey Hartung (Florida) and Ashley Postell (Utah).

The only gymnast who returns next year is Hartung, who is known for her balance beam routines.

Georgia edged out Utah to win their fourth consecutive NCAA championship in the sport.

Useful Links:

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Duran Duran to Invade the East Coast

Alas, it looks like I will not get to see them this time around, but perhaps Duran Duran will back this way Jenna Bush decides to run for Congress (or worse!).

And, I hate to disappoint blog readers in my hometown of Roanoke, Va., but like 10,000 other bands they are not stopping in the Star City as they did when my friend Brian Woodward and I were co-captains of the school archery team at Glenvar High circa 1986*.

The band that brought us "Wild Boys," Girls on Film," "Rio" and "Hungry Like the Wolf" as well as "The Reflex" (see video) will be performing at the Kooka Booth Amphitheater in Raleigh, NC.........which is within driving distance from sleepy towns like Mount Airy, Eden and Roanoke Rapids, on May 21.

Then Duran Duran heads up to Philadelphia for a show at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts on March 22. As of this writing, they are getting ready for a show in Orlando on Sunday.

One should hope that ticket prices will be cheaper than they are for Madonna's tour.

As I was listening to "Sound Opinions" on WUNC (91.5- FM, Chapel Hill) before the signal gave out around Boones Mill, Va., today, I was stunned to hear that the ticket range for her shows is between $55-350!

This is in part because the singer who once shocked grandmothers made a deal with 'secondary ticket outlet' Stub-Hub, which lead the hosts of the NPR show to ask: "Does this mean Madonna is endorsing scalping?"

Of course, there was some sort of industry yes-man on the show to defend Madonna's decision. Perhaps, Dick Cheney is on the phone with him as we speak.....

*- This is a joke. Brian Woodward actually came close to injuring someone on the archery range because he missed the target considerably. Of course, even though what might have happened would have been quite tragic, everyone laughed. Actually, it was pretty hysterical.

Useful Links:

Images of North Carolina (9 of 10)_ The Coffee Cup in Charlotte

I must say this was perhaps the most complicated of the nine entries in this series so far because there appear to be several restaurants named The Coffee Cup in Charlotte.

This particular one happens to be on 914 Clarkson Street. Their phone number is 704-375-8855.

The web site Holly Eats make the place sound quite scrumptious, but I'm not sure if the foods describes are the healthies options on the menu:

"Everybody said to order the fried chicken. I did. And the vegetables. Stewed Okra. Macaroni and cheese. So good."

This does bring me to a question I've always had since dinning at the now closed S &S Cafeteria at Towers Mall in my hometown of Roanoke, Va.

"Is macaroni and cheese really a vegetable?"

Useful Links:

You also just gotta love this sign!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Quote from Cult Actress Tuesday Weld

Since last week's quote was from cult actress Joan Crawford, I decided to go with another actress who has maintained a loyal following in spite of relatively few screen appearances in recent years.

Tuesday Weld was born in New York on Aug. 27, 1943. She is perhaps one of the very few actresses who was a romantic lead to Tony Perkins (in the 1968 film "Pretty Poison, which only came out on DVD last year).

Weld was also featured on the cover of Matthew Sweet's 1991 album "Girlfriend," and there is a London jazz band called The Real Tuesday Weld.

Here is the quote which is used at the introduction of Barry Gifford's novel "Wild at Heart:"

"You need a man to go to hell with."

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ultra-abriged Novels_ "Naked Lunch" (entry 2 of 6)

I imagine only high school teachers in places like Provincetown, Mass. (supposedly the most liberal community in America) would be allowed to have students read William S. Burroughs' "Naked Lunch." It talks about drugs and sex in graphic, vivid detail. I must profess that the first time I read it, I wondered if one needed to be on heroin to understand it.

But, after rereading it, I feel like it is indeed an exceptional novel, and it is now one of my personal favorites.

"Naked Lunch" was filmed by David Cronenberg even though Gus Van Sant (director of "My Own Private Idaho") was closer friends with Burroughs who died just a few years ago. Burroughs even acted in Van Sant's film "Drugstore Cowboy."

For those who might be wondering, I decided to start a series where I include the first and last sentence from six novels, which are some of my personal favorites. The first one was "Wild at Heart" by Barry Gifford.

In all honesty, I am wondering if this is a bad idea, but well since it's getting close to 2:30 a.m., I suppose there is no point worrying about it!

Here is the first sentence from "Naked Lunch:"

"I can feel the heat closing in, feel them out out there making their movies, setting up their devil doll stool pigeons, crooning over my spoon and dropper I throw away at Washington Square Station, vault a turnstile and two flights down the iron stairs, catch an uptown A train....."

Here is the last couple of sentences:

"Either way is a bad move to The East Wing....If I knew I'd be glad to tell you....

"No bueno....hustling myself...."

"No glot...C'lom Fliday"

Actually, I'm not sure I could explain this novel to a high school English class or anyone else for that matter, but it is brilliant. In fact, you should read it!



Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Want Ad of the Day

The three or four people who've been following this blog since Biblical times (this is my 750th entry) know that a few months ago I posted a want ad for a school bus driver opening in Fairfax, Va., that I saw when I was in Washington, DC, back in January.

I said the ad would be perfect for Otto, the school bus driver from "The Simpsons."

When I combed through the classifieds in the Sunday edition of "The Washington Post," which is still somewhat available in Roanoke, Va., I found another want ad that could relate to a 'Simpsons' character.

Arlington Public Schools in Arlington, Va., a mere five miles outside the nation's capital, is looking for a principal for Campbell Elementary School.

The ad reads as follows:

"Arlington Public Schools seeks exceptional high energy, flexible, accessible principal with an interest in Expeditionary Learning at Campbell Elementary School."

Job seekers will need at least three years of administrative and teaching experience in a culturally diverse school setting..........hmm, I suppose that disqualifies applicants from places like Eden, NC!

Useful Links: (Arlington Public Schools web site)

And, lastly you can visit my friend Moviezzz's pop culture blog at:

Moviezzz is a huge "Simpsons' fan who coincidentally lives in Springfield, Mass.

Discovery- Azeri Pop Singer Roya (The Caspian Madonna)

Even though the former Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan, now an independent country, has strong ethnic ties to Turkey, my late father Mehmet Gokbudak's country, I did not know much about Azeri pop music until yesterday.

My mother (who is an American) will be going to Baku, Azerbaijan, this summer.

Hence, she has been reading a travel book on Azerbaijan which she had to special-order because the Caspian Sea country which borders Armenia, Georgia, Turkey and Iran is not exactly a tourist destination though it has some amazing mountainous scenery.

I went on Youtube to look for some Azeri pop music yesterday, and in the process I found this amazing singer named Roya. Much to my shock (especially since Azerbaijan is a Muslim country) she was topless in her video!

It would have been my choice for a blog entry here to show that not all Muslim countries are like Saudi Arabia, but I live between two red states and as much as I love to agitate the Yosemite Sam crowd some times it simply isn't worth it!

But, I think these two videos work quite well on their own in spite of a lack of shock value.

Interestingly enough, both were partially filmed in Istanbul which suggests to me that Roya has tapped into the more lucrative Turkish market. She was also the subject of an article in a British pop culture magazine.

I found out about Roya thanks to a Canadian man who goes by Megaforce Media on Youtube.

According to a Wikipedia entry on Roya, she is 'known for her liberal artistic style in a predominantly Muslim nation."

And, surprisingly enough, her videos are seen in Iran through satellite tv from Azerbaijan. Both countries are Sh'iite Islamic in nature (as opposed to Turkey and Syria, which are Sunni Muslim countries), and there is a largeAzeri population in Iran.

But, one senses that if Roya is to give a concert in Tehran, she will do so with her clothes on! (Oh, I forgot women cover their heads in public there! Hmm.... I suppose Roya won't be in Iran, anytime soon then!)

Useful Links: (This blog from the guy who introduced me to Roya might be one of the best ones from Montreal!)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Video of the Week: Dubya_The Movie

This is NOT about the new Oliver Stone film "W," but rather a political satire.


Alas, the 'star' of this piece (who I will cite in the tags) is no longer with us, but he was originally from Morgantown, WVa., which might be one of the few places where Barack Obama faired well today since it is the state's main college-town and he has done well with young people.

I must give credit to Phil Nugent and the bloggers at Screen Grab who made me aware of this piece. They post a staggering 7-10 posts a day!

Most of their stories involve the movie world, and they revealed that there will be a "Donnie Darko 2." Personally, I think the first one was enough!

Useful Link:

West Virgnia Democratic Primary Day

For starters, let me say two things. One is that insomnia stinks, but I decided to make the most of being up at 4 a.m., by posting coverage of today's West Virginia Democratic Primary.
Second, I tried to get a springtime shot of Babcock State Park (seen here), which is near Beckley, WVa., but there were many complications.
When gas prices were cheaper some 10-15 years ago, I would drive from my hometown of Roanoke, Va., to this Babcock, which is 90 miles away,  just to take photographs. It has to be one of the most splendid natural state parks in our region.

Here is what some of the potential voters are saying about the candidates:

Jamie Seareant, a former construction worker, of Grafton told "The Times-West Virginian" (Fairmont, WVa) after hearing Hillary Clinton speak:

"I had to take a lower-paying job because I couldn't afford the high gas price and to get (health) benefits."

Ann Landers (yes, that's her real name) of New Martinsville told "The Herald-Dispatch" (Huntington) the following after hearing Barack Obama speak in the state capital of Charleston:

"I think he can really make a difference in this country....We don't need any more Clintons of Bushes."

Jeff Brewer of Pineville told "The Register-Herald" (Beckley) the following after hearing Hillary speak at a campaign rally:

"I was impressed that she knew so much knowledge of the local issues."

And, finally, Mary Bell, a retired lawyer from Shepherdstown, told "The Washington Post" the following in regard for her support of Hillary who is expected to win West Virginia today:

"Obama might not be tough enough for this job, and she's proving she's a fighter. It's the little things, like getting out on the street and showing support, that can help you win this campaign one day at a time."

Useful Links:

Monday, May 12, 2008

Video of Turkish Dancer Zeki Maviyildiz

I saw Turkish folk dancer Zeki Maviyildiz and his Blue Star Dance troupe perform at the first annual Turkish Festival in Cary, NC, a few weekends ago. This video is from a different performance, but it gives the viewer an insight into the world of folk dances from eastern Turkey. Maviyildiz is based in North Carolina, and he has performed around the country, including a 2007 performance at the annual Melungeon Heritage Festival in the fairly remote town of Big Stone Gap, Va., which is in the heart of Appalachia in far-southwest Virginia.

Useful Links:

Images of North Carolina- (8 of 10) Historic Train Station in Fayetville

Since gas prices are going up and Saturday was National Train Day, I thought I'd go with this historic train station in Fayetville as my 8th Images of North Carolina entry.
The depot opened in 1879 as a reorganization of the former Western Railroad Depot. The train station allowed rail routes to Mount Airy, Greensboro and Wilmington.
It is built in a Romanesque Revival style of architecture.
Fayetville is a growing city about 60-70 miles southeast of Raleigh which is in close proximity to the Fort Bragg  military base, and it's also home to the historic black college of Fayetville State University.
During her campaign tour, Hillary Clinton held a rally at a similar historic train station in High Point last week.

Useful Links:

Previous Entries in Series:

1. Old Guilford Mill- Oak Ridge

2. Eden Drive In- Eden

3. Varsity Theatre- Chapel Hill

4. Old Shell Station- Winston-Salem

5. North Carolina Zoo- Asheboro

6. Snappy Lunch- Mount Airy

7. Gem Theatre- Kannapolis

Oh, What the Heck. Here's Cathead Theatre!

I also want to take this moment to wish my relative Gokhan Gokbudak of Bursa, Turkey, a happy 24th birthday. As it is, there are many things to do today, including feeding Gizmo the family cat!

Today is also the 8th birthday of Andrew Womack of Vienna, Va. (that was listed in "The Washington Post"). Happy birthday Andrew, even though I have no idea who you are!

Hope you enjoy this ultra-abridged version of "Hamlet."

I saw a production of the real thing at the American Shakespearean Theatre (formerly Shenandoah Shakespeare, which was in my view, a MUCH better name)  in Staunton, Va., last year.

At this juncture, the troupe is performing three Shakespeare plays, "Merchants of Venice," "Henry V" and "Taming of the Shrew." To my knowledge, none of them feature felines.

Useful Link:

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Final Arts Video Entry- Herbie Hancock's "Rockit"

Whew! I look through about 15 things before deciding the wrap my first (and perhaps last as it was more challenging than I realized!) Video Arts Festival with this video that all of us late30somethings remember watching on MTV circa 1983. Herbie Hancock is a jazz legend, and this radical departure had to startle his loyal fan base considerably.

Other videos that were considered include various mimes, ventriloquists, jugglers as well as Cathead Theatre (too popular), a segment of the play "The Pillowmaker" (too controversial) and an experimental film from Kenneth Anger (too avant garde).

We hope these ten selections were satisfying though. I have yet to watch many of them in their entirety myself!


Entry 9- Carolina Chocolate Drops

The Carolina Chocolate Drops are an African American string band out of Durham, NC, but they are hardly a novelty act.
The high quality of their music has drawn nationwide attention, and they have even performed on "The Prairie Home Companion."
This video is from a 2006 performance at a music festival in Mount Airy, NC. I had a chance to see them at the Charlie Poole Festival in Eden, NC.
The band has many dates in Virginia and North Carolina over the next two months.
In Virginia, they will perform at a festival in Big Stone Gap on May 24. Later on, they will be at two awesome venues: The North Theatre in Danville (June 20) and Sun Music Hall in Floyd (June 21).
In North Carolina, one can see them perform at the Fun Fourth Festival in Greensboro on June 29.

Arts Video Entry 8 (of 10) Karagoz, Turkish Shadow Puppet Theatre

This video is the best example I've seen of Karagoz Turkish Shadow Puppet Theatre on Youtube. It is in Turkish (there are videos in English, but they are as authentic as dubbed Chinese kung fu movies), but what is going on is basically a discussion about how Karagoz (the bearded one) should brush his teeth more often.

In these plays, Karagoz (which means Black Eye) represents the average man whereas his nemesis Hacivat represents the cultured intellectual. The plays date back to the Ottoman Empire. There is a similar Greek version of Karagoz.

My friend Ugur Celikkol and his family have been involved with a Karagoz Festival in Bursa, Turkey, where plays are still conducted on a regular basis.

Useful Links:

For Mother's Day: A Quote from Joan Crawford

Kudos to the Criterion Cinema in New Haven, Conn., for showing the 'classic' 1981 film "Mommie's Dearest" for Mother's Day again this year. The film stars Faye Dunaway as the glamorous '40s film icon Joan Crawford who was apparently not a candidate for Mother of the Year.

To salute mothers around the world, most of whom are hopefully more caring than nurturing than Crawford (as of course- my mom is), we post this quote from someone who shows that none of us should take out mothers for granted (of course it is possible that Crawford was a slightly less deranged figure than the one in Frank Perry's film):

"I never go outside unless I look like Joan Crawford the movie star. If you want to see the girl next door, go next door."

Useful Link: (This is an encyclopedia of all things Crawford. I am curious what it says under 'Mildred Pierce,' my favorite film of her's, but my own 'mommie dearest' is expecting me to come home to Virginia today!)

People Say the Stupidest Things on the Internet

This is a posting that I actually saw on the Internet Movies Database Message Board (it was in regards to "Iron Man" and other comic book films that might/should be made):

"Chuck Norris is the only actor that can play Captain America."

For the record, Norris is 68 years old!

Though, Harrison Ford who comes back to the screen this summer as Indiana Jones is 65 (he'll be 66 in July).

Ironically, Norris said (while campaigning for Mike Huckabee) that John McCain, who is 72, was too old to be president.

Of course, if Norris got the nod to be Captain America, it's safe to assume that the beard would have to go.

UPDATE: I was not aware that when I posted this yesterday that Norris was the commencement speaker at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., on Saturday. Liberty was the arch rival of my alma mater Radford University. The commencement speaker at my beloved Highlander U was the perhaps less interesting, but certainly less polarizing sports writer John Feinstein.

Useful Links: (The official web site, which includes a personal voice greeting from Norris, and a Christian Corner as well as a letter to fans of "Walker, Texas Ranger," which included my late stepfather Donald Sullivan).
Tags: , , , , ,

Saturday, May 10, 2008

My Favorite College Gymnasts of the Last Year

In just under an hour, CBS will broadcast the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships that took place two weeks ago in Athens, Ga.

I'm sure CBS will spend a lot of time talking about Georgia University coach Suzanne Yoculan, who would make a great antagonist on a reality tv-show, like Donald Trump or the chef from "Hell's Kitchen." And, I mean that as a compliment:)

Here is my list of my 12 favorite gymnasts. Alas, some of them like Ashley Postell of Utah, Tasha Schiwerkt of UCLA and Yuki Lamb of Oregon State are seniors and they will not be competing again, at least on the college level.

But, some of them like Amanda Castillo and Corey Hartung of Florida will be back next year.

1. Ashley Postell- Utah

2. Amanda Castillo- Florida (see earlier entry)

3. Kristina Baskett- Utah

4. Tasha Schwikert- UCLA (pictured below)

5. Katie Heenan- Georgia (see earlier entry)

6. Liz Tricase- Stanford

7. Nina Kim- Utah

8. Corey Hartung- Florida (see image below)

9. Yuki Lamb- Oregon State

10. Courtney McCool- Georgia

11. Sabrina Franceschelli-LSU

12. Leigha Hancock- North Carolina St. (her team did not make the final 12, but she competed in Athens as an individual gymnast).

This is a pure vanity list, and it is not based on any national rankings whatsoever. Having said, someone will probably point to a gymnast or two that I overlooked.

Useful Links:

PS- Thanks gymnastics fans. This entry got a whopping 240 hits in one day, that's a record for me! Ironically, I missed the meet on tv (though I saw it in Athens) because I thought it aired at 2 p.m., eastern time. It apparently aired at 3 p..m., eastern time. I thought it had been preempted by infommercials, and perhaps it was anyway!

I did see "Speed Racer" though. And, I also saw "Southland Tales" late last night. Both films have Justin Timberlake in them. I was not a fan before, and after these two relatively disappointing movies, I certainly am not now!

The one gymnast that in hind sight should have made my favorite is Kristi Espositoof LSU. She is alas a senior, but I certainly wish her the very best.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Top Ten Guests I'd LOVE to see at the Bush Wedding


Today, George W. Bush's daughter Jeanna Bush is marrying some guy who is the son of Virginia's former lt. governor.

I fumbled the initial effort to post this- hence the #%&!,  so I'll forego the tempting wise-quipping though I will put in this quote from Bill Maher who just missed the cut: "You're not losing a daughter, you're losing a war."

Here are 10 People I only wish to God would be there in Crawford, Tex.:

10. Sean Penn

9. Michael Moore (I am showing "Canadian Bacon" to friends tomorrow night)

8. John Waters

7. Larry Flynt

6. Arianna Huffington (She used to be a Republican!)

5. Hugo Chavez

4. Sen. Larry "I'm Still Not Gay" Craig (R-Ida.)

3. Cindy Sheehan

2. Marilyn Manson

1. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia*

*- The only person on this list who might actually be at the wedding!

Entry 7 (of 10) Stan Brakhage Classic "Black Ice"

This 1994 film from the late experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage lasts a mere 1:50, but it leaves quite an impression!

NOTE: Ok, I said earlier that I would post the remaining videos in the 'video arts festival' next week. This time, I (more or less) mean it....

Entry 6 (of 10) Laurie Anderson video

I heard Laurie Anderson on the NPR radio show "Sound Opinions" last week, and since my next entry will be from the late experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage, I thought this would be a nifty fit.

The title of this song is "Language is a Virus From Outer Space."

Entry 5 (of 10) Drive-By Truckers Video

For those of us who have been in a fishbowl since the mid-1990s, it may come as a surprise that REM is no longer the hippest band out of Athens, Ga. That distinction, from what I gather, belongs to The Drive-By Truckers, a band I am just now getting familiar with.

The Drive-By Truckers will be performing at The Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, NC (just outside Chapel Hill) on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week (May 13 and 14).

They head to one of my favorite cities Charleston, SC, at the Music Forum on May 15. Later on in their tour, they will be at in Denver (June 14), Vancouver (June 27),Milwaukee (July 3), and Oslo, Norway (July 30).

This video is for their song "Never Gonna Change."

Useful Link:

NOTE: This video festival will resume with the sixth entry next week. Since we had a major storm last night in the Greensboro, NC-Danville, Va. area last night, I thought about posting a Native American rain dance video. But, since someone alas actually died in a storm-related traffic accident last night, I thought it might be in bad taste....!


Entry 4 (of 10)- Bruce Piephoff at The Coffee Break

My friend Greensboro folk singer Bruce Piephoff performed his wonderful memoir-in-a-song "I Remember Asheville" at The Coffee Break in the Gate City on Feb. 29. And, I was there! (though I'm not the one who took this footage)

The performance was part of Bruce's CD release party for his latest release "The Chestnut Tree," which includes a cool song about bluegrass legend Charlie Poole.

This is one of several videos from that night on Youtube.

Useful Links:


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Entry 3 (of 10)_ Christopher Knight's short film "Schrodinger's Bedroom"

Christopher Knight is a filmmaker, blogger, libertarian political activist and occasional substitute teacher who is based in Reidsville, NC, where he filmed this short film "Schrodinger's Bedroom" for the Fox TV show "On the Lot."

Knight gained national recognition for his "Star Wars"-themed campaign commercial when he attempted to gain a seat on the Rockingham County School Board in 2006. He was even part of a "New York Times" article about three over-the-top ads from three separate candidates for the school board in Rockingham County.

Knight's commercial aired on both VH-1 and E! When Knight himself posted the commercial as it aired on VH-1 on Youtube, the video was taken down as an alleged 'copyright violation.' Knight complained because the commercial was his to begin with. Amazingly enough, Knight won!

Knight recently tried to help fellow Rockingham County School Board candidate and fellow libertarian Eric Smith (who had a Pink Floyd-theme school board ad) become the Republican nomination for a state office.

To find out how they fared, you can go to Knight's blog at: