Tuesday, September 30, 2008

16 People Who Will Decide the Presidency (1 of 16)

Name: Britney Summers*
Job: Bartender at the West End Tavern, Boulder, Col.
Income: $200 a day in tips (weekends)
Political Leanings: Democrat

*-This is a pseudonym, and the photo is actually of a bartender in San Francisco

This is the first of my uber-ambitious 16 people who will decide our prez blog entries. Most of the people will be made up, but they do represent real people living in swing states who could well be a major factor in determining our president.
Boulder, Col, is very much a real town though. Like most college towns, 80302 (Boulder's zip code) is perhaps the most liberal community in a state which traditionally votes red.
But, Chris Cillizza, a professional blogger for "The Washignton Post," who is more objective than God, has projected that Colorado will turn blue and go for Obama-Biden, Cillizza is also predicting a narrow 273-265 victory for the the Democratic ticket.

(University of Colorado's mascot......I didn't get his/her name! But, it is a buffalo.)

Some interesting things I uncovered about this nifty town where my sister Lale Lovell and her husband Matt, who live in the greater Denver-metro area, like to venture on weekends:

*- Boulder is sister cities with Dushanbe, Tajikistan, which is a real country that was once part of the USSR.
*-Setting for both Stephen King's novel "The Stand" and the '70s sitcom "Mork and Mindy," which starred Robin Williams as the alien Mork (apologies to those of us who were alive then and already knew that!)
*-The mayor of Boulder is Shaun McGrath and the deputy mayor is Crystal Gray. I did not get any info about whether or not they have traveled to Tajikistan.
*- The West End Tavern is a real place! It's located on 926 Pearl Street. Phone: (303) 444-3535.

Useful Links:



http://www.coachhawkins.com (where the buffalo photo came from)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Video of Dyno-Mutt Sneezing

This is our 950th blog entry. I am working on some bigger ones for later today and Wed. For right now, we leave you with a Youtube video of Dyno-Mutt sneezing since it is late, and I am in the process of successfully recovering from insomnia!
The '70s cartoon character, who was a favorite of mine, has been the subject of a previous Nostalgia Monday blog entry here. To my knowledge, the robotic dog has yet to endorse any presidential candidates. Dyno-Mutt once sang Christmas carols with Pat Boone (check out the video of that on Youtube. We posted it here some time ago), but we don't hold that against him.
This clip lasts a mere 33 seconds, so it shouldn't cost anyone their jobs on Wall Street. We hope!


Nostalgia Monday- Rusted Root

Welcome to another addition of Nostalgia Monday. So far, we have produced entries on Men at Work, "Dyno-Mutt" and "The Waltons."
Today we continue with a voyage to a not-too-distant past with the Pittsburgh-based band Rusted Root which never became as big as other bands of their era (the 1990s), like Oasis, but they did develop a loyal following of fans who followed them around and call themselves Rootheads.
The band will perform tonight at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC.
Rusted Root consists of lead singer Michael Glabicki, Jim Donovan, Jenn Wertz and Liz Berlin among others. They have each pursued outside projects and some of them are no longer with Rusted Root.
The band formed in 1990, and made their independent label debut with the album "Cruel Sun" in 1992, which was followed by "When I Woke" in 1994.
Their biggest hit was "Send Me On My Way," which you can hear in this Youtube video which features the band performing in Rhode Island.

I first heard of Rusted Root through an internet friend in Fairfax, Va., who was originally from Pittsburgh. She was definitely a roothead as she would usually be out of town because she wanted to see them perform somewhere on the east coast.
In those days, meeting women like her through the net seemed cool. Today, it seems either silly or dangerous! I made the huge mistake of sending her my high school yearbook photo. I never heard from her again.

Useful Links:



Sunday, September 28, 2008

Happy 40th Birthday Naomi Watts

Naomi Watts whose films include "Funny Games" (new version), "Mulloholland Drive" and the remake of "King Kong" turns 40 today.
We wish her a happy birthday, and we hope this photo with her (word deleted) in clear view increases our hits.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Why I Am a Democrat from Chris Weitz

  I had a chance to visit a 'medical specialist on Friday, and that gave me a chance to look at a back issue of "Newsweek" which had a column about famous people who expressed why they have chosen to be Democrats.

The funniest quip came from film director Chris Weitz ("About a Boy," "The Golden Compass"), pictured with a 'pet pigeon' above:

"Because being Barney Frank is better than being Larry Craig."

For those reading this in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Cong. Barney Frank (D-Mass) is an openly gay member of Congress and Sen. Larry Craig (R-Id) was busted in a men's room in Minnesota for allegedly trying to engage in a sexual act last year.

This was to be my original "Quote of the Week" until I found out about Paul Newman's death. I decided to go ahead and post it here now because it's so darn funny (well, perhaps it's not if you are a Republican! And, if you are a log cabin Republican, perhaps it really isn't funny!).

On a separate topic: "How about that debate Friday night?" Yeah, I know. Overkill. You don't want to hear any more about it. But, it does lead one to wonder how Colin Powell, who said he was going to wait until the debates to decide between his two friends_ Obama and McCain, will vote now. Perhaps, he should just flip a darn coin.

Useful Links:



Remembering Paul Newman with a Quote

The sad news today is that legendary actor Paul Newman who finally won an Oscar for his performance in "The Color of Money" some 20 years ago died at the age of 83. His performance in "Absence of Malice" (1981) generated my interest in film at a very early age. Among the other films of his that I adore are "Cool Hand Luke," "Slap Shot," "The Verdict" and (of course) "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." He is pictured here with Robert Redford in "The Sting."

Here is Newman, who is also this week's Quote of the Week:

"The embarrassing thing is that the salad dressing is outgrossing my films."

Newman is the first person that we have used twice for our quote of the week. And, I'm sure even though he is no longer with us, we will use one of his quips again.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Images of Virginia (3 of 10) Humpback Bridge in Covington

The Humpback Bridge near Covington, Va., was a place that I took many pictures of while I was taking a photography class at Virginia Western Community College in Roanoke a few years ago (this is not my photo, though I wish it was!).
The historic bridge was built in 1857, and it runs over Dunlap Creek. It was built higher in the middle than at its other end, hence it's name Humpback Bridge.

(This is a different view of the same bridge)

The bridge was used from 1857 to 1929 before it was retired. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969.

Another one of my favorite covered  bridges  in Virginia  is the  Meems Bottom Bridge  (pictured below) in  the town of  Mount  Jackson, Va., which is  some  90  miles north of Covington in Shenandoah  County. It is  another  place  I've  taken many photos of.  It is also very close to the Johnny Appleseed Restaurant in  New Market, which was the subject of  the previous  entry  in  this series.

Every Reservoir Dog Has His Day

Since this is a bit of a political blog, it might be more suitable to write a profile of the new documentary film "Lee Atwater- Boogie Man," about the notorious Republican operative who came up with the infamous Willie Horton ad, which is opening today in Washington, DC, and presumably other markets. Atwater died at age of 40 in 1991, and he actually apologized to Michael Dukakis before his exit from this earth.

But, rather than focus on a film about a reservoir dog who trained puppies like Karl Rove, I will discuss the upcoming special screening of Quentin Tarantino's 1992 ultra-violent classic "Reservoir Dogs, at the Carousel Theatre in Greensboro, NC, on Wed., Oct. 1. The film is part of the Mixed Tape Series, which is the brainchild of my friend Joe Scott. It will show at 7:30 p.m and 10 p.m.

It's probably a favorite among sadistic prison guards and high school teachers, and in case you  haven't  figured it out  it's no "Breakfast Club."

I had a chance to see it at a midnight screening at the Grandin Theatre in Roanoke, Va., a few years ago. There were actually folks who wore black suits and matching sunglasses to the film. Of course, Tarantino went on to direct "Pulp Fiction" and the rest is cinema history.

Useful Links:





http://talkingmoviezzz.blogspot.com (For a list of films opening today)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mississippi Blues Videofest

Since the 'big debate' is scheduled for tonight from Oxford, Miss., supposing that John McCain decides to show up, I thought I would post a nonpartisan entry (well, as close to it as it can be these days!) devoted to the Mississippi blues.
The blues man I am most familiar with is Lightnin' Hopkins, and that is thanks to my friend Les Blank's 1969 documentary about him. The problem is that Hopkins is from Texas!
But, we have three videos here. The first is from Fred McDowell, and it is from another 1969 documentary film whose title I forgot to write down!:

The second video is "Candy Man Blues" from John Hurt (yes, the same name as the actor who was in "Alien!'). This footage is from the famed jazz festival in Newport, RI. It features a cameo from a 'very familiar face' at the end:

And, we conclude with Booker White..........:

I don't know if this makes up for the fact that I decided to concentrate on my 20th year high school reunion in Roanoke, Va., instead of attending the blues festival which was also in The Star City, last weekend.

But, even for our GOP friends (I hear Dick Cheney loves this blog!) these videos should be more enjoyable than a Fox News post-game show with Sean Hannity.

I had the chance to see B.B. King perform live recently, and I hope to see another blues concert somewhere down the line.............just don't expect me to perform any back flips like John Belushi!

Useful Links:



A variety of Les Blank's films will be at the Film Forum in New York from Nov. 14-20


Not All Republicans are Voting 4 McCain

This is a letter that was published in the current issue of "Rolling Stone," the one with Metallica on the cover. It pertains to a cover story in a previous issue by presidential historian Sean Wilentz, who has a new book about the Reagan era out now:

"Wilentz is right-I'm a Republican, but I can't support my party. Obama is the only option this November."

Jimm Patterson, San Francisco

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Where to go if Palin Becomes Prez?....New Zealand?!

A few days ago I saw Bill Maher steal my idea and talk about countries that a person could move to if John McCain became president. His choice was Finland, which is unfortunately going through a national tragedy as there was a school shooting there yesterday.
 My mom  has thought about this as well, and she is threatening to move to  New  Zealand if  McCain, who  suspended  his campaign  today, became prez. I will join her  there if  he should die  in his office because that would mean (oh no!!!!) Sarah Palin would  come into power.

(Pictured here: Porirua, New Zealand.)

Mom went to New Zealand a few years ago, and she really liked it a lot.

It is half-a-world away, but I could see my friend Sui Knowles, who lives in the capital of Wellington. We met each other through postcard-collecting, and as you might expect, I have never met her in person. This would be my chance.

Here is a slick tourism ad for New Zealand, which consists of a song by Neil Finn, who was the lead singer of Crowded House and Split Enz. It shows just how nice New Zealand is.

(Video: The hit song "I Got You" by Split Enz)

I must say the long flight might not make this my top choice for 'political asylum,' but I think I could find a way to substitute Friday Night high school football for a rugby game, if it came to that.

On another note, my friend Moviezzz has two great entries on his blog. One pertains to a new book about Puritans by Sarah Vowell who made it big on NPR's "This American Life." The other features a very cool Depeche Mode video. We kid you not!

Useful Links:




Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I Know I'll Get Hate Mail for This!

These are two story headlines from two different publications:

"Conservative Movement Making Comeback in the U.S." from "The Weekly Standard"
( the conservative publication from neocon leader Bill Kristol).

"A Modernized Taliban Thrives in Afghanistan" from "The Washington Post."

As Minnesota's senatorial candidate Al Franken (D) has said anything is fair game when it comes to political satire!

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Axis Sallies Among Us

The woman pictured here is Mildred Gillars (1900-1988) also known as 'Axis Sally.' Gillars was born in Portland, Maine, but went to Nazi Germany to make propaganda broadcasts for Adolf Hitler. She was convicted of treason in 1949.
Well, when it comes to politics there are Axis Sallies among us. Democrat Lynette Long of Bethesda, Md., a professed feminist and professional psychologist who was an ardent supporter of Hillary Clinton (even volunteered long hours for her), has jumped on board the John McCain train simply because he chose a woman as a running mate.
And, even though Sarah Palin is vastly inexperienced, pro-life and very far-right, Long, who was profiled in an excellent "Washington Post" article by Marc Fisher, even introduced Bonnie and Clyde at a rally in Farifax, Va.
Unlike actor Jon Voight, who went from far-left to far-right on the basis of Sept. 11th (though many of us think it happened because of his zany daughter Angelina Jolie), Long maintains this is not about ideology as she told Fisher that she is still pro-choice and firmly believes in women's right.
So, with that in mind, I have to dedicate this Mr. Bill youtube video to Long because when I think of how this psychologist could do such an insipid thing, the only think I can is:
"Oh nooooooooooooo!"


For the Kids- Tone Loc's "Funky Cold Medina"

This was initially going to be added on to my earlier entry devoted to the blog's third anniversary, but a snafu occurred.
Such things never happened when my former 'assistant' Terry Williams of Danville, Va., now a diligent student at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, showed me the ropes, but nevertheless here is the Tone Loc song "Funky Cold Medina" (1989) for those of you who vowed to come by this way again unless I posted it.
Hopefully, the four and a half minutes of video here can give you some time to forget about the presidential election. Hmmm........yeah, ok- I know. Nothing makes us forget about the 2008 presidential election!

Nostalgia Monday_ The Waltons?!

I was originally going to post an entry about Tone Loc, a rapper of sorts who hit in big with two songs in the late 1980s. We'll try to get back to him at some other juncture. But, for right now, I'm borrowing a title from Sarah Palin's Netflix que and going with "The Waltons."

The hit series took place on Waltons Mountain which is near Charlottesville, Va., and it ran from 1972-81.

The show took place during the Depression and then through World War II.

John and Olivia had eight kids (hey, no birth control in those days!) including three girls and five boys, one of which died at childbirth.

"The Waltons Easter," a special reunion show, aired in 1997.

Actor Richard Thomas played John Boy and he won an Emmy for his role in 1973. My friend Greg Wood also played John Boy in a stage play based on the same story as "The Waltons," at a theatre close to Charlottesville.

Thomas is now set to play playwright Tennessee Williams in a one-man show entitled "Blanche and Beyond" at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, from Sept. 24-26.

The 57-year-old actor who is on his second marriage has five kids of his own, including a set of triplets.

He is also the national chair of The Better Hearing Institute and he is voice of Mercedes-Benz. In recent years, he has performed more stage work including a series of plays at a theatre in Hartford, Conn.

I saw an excellent stage production of Williams' play "Night of the Iguana," which is also the subject of a recent "Oxford American" issue, at the Triad Stage in Greensboro, NC, last weekend.

Regrettably, I did not get a chance to post an entry about that production, but their next performance is of the charming play "Bell, Book and Candle," which was made into a movie with Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak (many years ago). That production begins on Oct. 19.

My good friend and fellow Obama supporter (apologies to my many conservative friends, but this is an election year folks) Moviezzz has a great entry about last night's Emmys broadcast. I was busy watching a rebroadcast of "Real Time with Bill Maher"
on HBO, but I was delighted to hear that Sarah Palin look-alike Tina Fey win an Emmy for "30 Rock."

Though, since Fey and I are the same age (38) and I just had my 20th high school reunion, I have to wish I had dated a girl just like her in high school. Perhaps, I overlooked someone or conversely perhaps they overlooked moi!

For those in the D.C. area, tickets for "Blanche..." are $45, and one can call 202-416-8524 for tickets.

Useful Links:





Sunday, September 21, 2008

Tom Perriello and John Grisham Campaigning in Danville

Author John Grisham (The Pelican Brief, The Firm, The Innocent Man) will be with Democratic congressional candidate Tom Perriello at The Castle bookstore on the campus of Danville Community College at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

Perriello, of Charlottesville, is a Facebook friend of mine. We are supporting his candidacy against incumbent Cong. Virgil Goode (R-VA) which reasons which go well beyond petty partisanship. I am in contact with an area newspaper about publishing a letter-to-the-editor which is heavily critical of Goode mainly because he has been known to make hostile remarks to Muslims, Hispanics and gays.

Perriello has worked on many community-based volunteering efforts during his campaign. Though I am not sure if I can attend this event, I am eager to meet Perriello in the very near future.

Useful Links:



The image above is of Grisham teaching Little League baseball. The author lives in Charlottesville as well.

UPDATE: I was unable to attend this event due to a sudden illness, but I understand it went fairly well. A friend of mine reportedly asked Perriello if he believed in 'the second amendment." Only in Virginia (eyes rolling)! The answer incidentally was yes.

Third Anniversary Videothon

There were two others I intended to add, but I can try that again next time!

This indeed the third anniversary of Politics, Culture, and Others Wastes of Time. We have undergone a lot of changes since Sept. 21, 2005, but basically we have remained a consistent hodge-podge of completely relevant and completely useless information.

Though we mostly revolve around politics and cultural happenings, we have had a number of entries devoted to topics ranging from the Ukrainian national fencing team to a local municipal election in Durham, NC.

And, even though this is a mostly center-left blog, I have made fun of people like Nancy Pelosi  and  Dennis Kucinich, though we enjoy poking fun of  Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin that much more. In fact, I will have to post a Donny and Marie Osmond video in Romney's honor even though I personally think he should have undergone a sex-change operation so he could have been John McCain's running mate.

The videos for tonight's anniversary include:

1) A Monkey riding a mini-bike

2) A Turkish Belly Dancer

3) Animated Dancing Farm Animals from 1936.

A video for the hit Tone Loc song "Funky Cold Medina" did not make the cut this time around, but hey kids I just remembered tomorrow is Nostalgia Monday!

Thanks to all of you who have wasted your valuable time here on this blog. We assure you that it will continue to be time well-wasted! And, even if your name happens to be Dick Cheney or Oliver North, we're glad you could take time to visit us- though I really hate negative, nasty responses, but hey there are idiots everywhere these days!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Quotes of the Week from the Class of 1988

(Images: Former Cong. Richard 'Dick' Gephardt (D-Mo) and former Cong. Jack Kemp (R-NY) in his football playing days for the Buffalo Bills. Both men ran for president in 1988. Kemp later become Bob Dole's running mate in 1996. Gephardt ran again in 2004.)

I had an amazing high school reunion this weekend. It was surprising how much we had all changed and how at the same time we were very similar to the people that we were in high school.

It reminded me a lot of the Michael Apted documentaries "35 Up," "42 Up," etc., in which the filmmaker visits some kids who went to the same first grade class in England in the late 1950s and follows them around the world every seven years.

1988 was an interesting year as it was both a presidential year and an Olympic year.

Since I am a bit of a political animal (I was the one person who dared talked politics it at the reunion!),  I thought I would go with two quotes from two exceptional congressmen who are alas no longer with us.......in Congress (they are both alive and well though).

As mentioned in the caption, they both ran for president in 1988. And, I personally wish either or both of them had won their respective party nominations that year. I can think of few people I like more though I have yet to check either one's voting record!

Since I am reportedly the only Democrat who ever graduated from Glenvar High School (nudge, nudge, wink, wink), I will start with Gephardt who I saw at a political rally in Georgetown, SC, in 2004.

Though I was supporting Gephardt at the time (I did not support John Kerry until he went up against GWB), I did not drive all the way down to SC just to hear him speak as I happened to be in nearby Myrtle Beach on that January day.

I do love this quote from him, which I don't think is meant to be taken seriously:

"Politics is a substitute for violence."

Next, we turn to Kemp, a moderate Republican and an intellectual, who is in my humble opinion the best vice presidential pick on the Republican side during my lifetime (Agnew, Cheney, Quayle and Palin........come on you dittoheads you got to agree with me on this one):

"Pro football gave me a good perspective. When I entered the political arena, I had already been booed, cheered, cut, sold, traded and hanged in effigy."

I am looking forward to finally seeing the mocumentary "Tanner '88" from the late, great Robert Altman which revolves around a fictional candidate who ran for office in 1988, next week when it comes in the mail from Netflix.

Tanner made a 'comeback' in 2004.

There happens to be a real-life Congressman named Jeff Tanner (D-Tenn.)

While researching this piece, I was amazed to learn that racist politician David Duke, once a member of the KKK, who tried to become the Republican governor of Louisiana during the Bush One years, actually ran for president in 1988 as well. That is startling enough, but get this_ he ran as a Democrat!


(If you want to check anyone's voting record. Somehow, I think most people who spend time with that site are lobbyists or middle school civics teachers or both!)

Images of Virginia-Johnny Appleseed in New Market

Today's images of Virginia series continues with some parting glances of the Johnny Appleseed Restaurant in New Market, Va., which is about 90 miles south of Washington, DC. The historic town where the Battle of New Market was fought is located between Harrisonburg and Wichester on I-81.
I used to live in Edinburg, which is a town that is some 22 miles north of New Market. I liked the spaghetti at this place which is part of a Quality Inn.
There was also a Johnny Appleseed Restaurant in Fredericksburg, Va., which is near Richmond, but I was surprised to see that there were no images of the 'other Johnny Appleseed' on Google.
Some may wonder why I don't have more info on the legend of Johnny Appleseed or the restaurant chain itself, which I believe is defunct. Hmmm.........I guess I'll just have to leave the link to Wikipedia!

Useful Links:




Friday, September 19, 2008

Great First Night of GHS Reunion

The first night of the Glenvar High School reunion (class of 1988) was a smashing success.
I was not exactly as popular as Mitt Romney in Salt Lake City* when I attended high school back in the day, but after tonight I think I will be less likely to add six seasons of "Beverly Hills 90210" to my Netflix que to wonder 'oh, what might have been.'
Kudos to Beth Poff for organizing the event, and bringing in Pat Benatar to sing "Shadows of the Night" at half-time during our football game with Covington High School tonight. (ok, the later is a joke).

But, in all seriousness, she did a great job. My lone regret is that my good friend Brian Woodward of Richmond, Va., couldn't be there.

The second night of the reunion is tomorrow evening, which means I need to quickly find a date, so if you are a woman who is 15 years younger than me and actually listens to the music I listened to in high school, please email me within the next 12-14 hours.

Amazingly enough, I did stay away from all discussions of religion and politics though when some of the guys walked by a car with a bumper sticker criticizing George W. Bush, I think they knew who it belonged to. **

*- Mitt Romney got 88 % of the vote during the Republican Primary in Utah.

**- I believe I actually defended Gary Hart after his notorious sex scandal in a high school government class. But, hey, I still think he would have made a great president!

Useful Links (for my fellow Pat Benatar fan Moviezzz):



Wednesday, September 17, 2008

No Gas in Greensboro?!

 (Old Shell Gas Station. Is actually in Winston-Salem, NC)

I just brought gas today in Greensboro, NC, and it was (yikes?!) over $50 to fill up the tank!

Earlier in the night, I tried to get gas at another station on Summit Avenue in Greensboro, but they were out of the gas. I am the type of person who at times knows more about elections in Zimbabwe or ethnic unrest in Kenya than I do about what is happening in my own zip code, but apparently, many gas stations in the Triad were short on gas today.

In fact, I did not hear about this from local tv-station WFMY (Channel 2/CBS) or 98.7 Simon-FM, both out of Greensboro, but rather through my good friend Christopher Knight from Reidsville, NC, who has a blog which gets about 12,000 more hits per day than this one does. 

I can only imagine what gas prices are like in Salt Lake City and Honolulu as both Utah and Hawaii have even higher gas prices than The Tarheel State!

In other regional news, I saw that the Eden Drive-In in Eden, NC, which is still open for the season, is showing an interesting double-header starting Friday. The first film is "House Bunny" and the second is the Don Cheadle thriller "Traitor."

Of course, whenever they have good movies at the drive-in, I am usually in the process of going some place else for the weekend and since my 20th high school reunion is taking place in the Roanoke, Va., area this weekend, I will be up there.

 I guess I will have to be certain not to bring up religion or politics. Even though those who know me well realize I am not good at keeping my trap shut.

 Those of you who read this blog several months ago might know I had hoped to bring actress and fellow Barack Obama supporter Scarlett Johansson* as my date for the high school reunion. But, since she got engaged recently, I decided it would be in our mutual best interest for me to go stag. I figured if I couldn't go with her, it would be best to just go alone.

*- To be fair, well not that we make much of an effort when it comes to politics, but Heidi Montag of "The Hills" is endorsing John McCain.

NOTE: This is our first entry composed entirely of recyled images from past blog entries, which reminds me I need to get rid of these Perrier bottles sitting beside this computer.

Also, if any of you happen to work for Harvey Comics please don't sue me for using "Hot Stuff."

I would also like to this moment to wish my friend Stephen Hyers, a local playwright and stage director in Greensboro, a speedy recovery and my friend Nida Campbell of Charlottesville, Va., a happy birthday. She turns 31 this weekend.

"Yeah, I know she's a woman. Oh right, I shouldn't have said that!"

UPDATE: Ok, I did talk politics at the high school reunion, but I didn't start until virtually everyone else had left!







Image of the Day- Is That a Cubs Hat?

File this under single-issue voters as well, though according an article in "The New York Times" magazine from some months ago, younger Cuban-Americans are not quite as partisan Republican as their parents. The Cuban-American community, especially in Miami, has voted Republican since the Bays of Pigs fiasco under the Kennedy administration.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My Pet Peeves.........


In all fairness, there are people who lean left politically (I am a moderate liberal) who are this way as well. As a Turkish-American, I am amazed that there other Turkish-Americans who are voting for John McCain because the Armenian lobby is endorsing Barack Obama. They seem to casually forget that the War in Iraq has lead to a resurgence of Kurdish separatists along the Iraqi border. Of course, in Sparta, NC (not where I actually live) there are people living in trailers and living off food stamps who vote Republican because of........well, see above!

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Joe Biden on George W. Bush

 "As everyone knows the sequel is always worse than the original."

I got this quote from michaelmoore.com

Thank God (well I am a semi-agnostic Unitarian) Michael Moore is NOT supporting Ralph Nader this time around as he dubiously did in the 2000.


Nostalgia Monday- "Red Dawn"

I just wrote a letter-to-the-editor to the local alternative paper "Yes Weekly "(Greesnboro, NC) in which I actually referenced the 1984 right-wing caper "Red Dawn" which Leonard Maltin describes as: "Good premise gunned down by too much purple prose and posturing- not too mention too much violence."

"Red Dawn" was actually chosen as one of my friend Jason Garnett's top ten favorite films. Jason is the manager of The Grandin Theatre in Roanoke, Va., and too my knowledge he is neither a fringe right-wing nutcase or a commie. But, he does profess to liking this film which I never took seriously even though it came out when I was 14 years old.

But, it does provide a great ironic visual to counter a column made by Alexander Cockburn in last week's "Yes Weekly" (the weekly includes columns by right-wingers like Chuck Norris even though most of their readership likely votes Democratic). Cockburn is so one-sided that he makes Sean Hannity and Keith Olbermann look objective- and, that takes some doing!

Here is the letter I wrote, which will hopefully get published next week:

"I am responding to Alexander Cockburn's outrageous defense of Sarah Palin.

 (For those living in Bangladesh, this is actually former "Saturday Night Live" star Tina Fey who looks a lot like Sarah Palin).

With her in charge, I can see very bad things happening to America. For starters, John McCain might decide to into Iran and then die three months later. Thus, our soldiers would be in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan simultaneously. Suddenly, Russia decides to invade us like they did in 'Red Dawn' except there will no C. Thomas Howell or Patrick Swayze to save the day.

And, under the dubious leadership of Palin, paranoid, fringe right-wingers who have worried that their grandchildren will speak Arabic or Spanish will have to accept that they will be speaking Russian instead!

This may sound over-the-top, but it is much less so than hearing an uber-partisan who probably still thinks Joe Lieberman is a left-winger spew nonsense about a person whom Alaska House Speaker John Harris (a Republican) describes as being greatly unqualified to be vice-president."

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Can We Still Be Friends?

(CAPTION: We played Connect Four until dawn. I think I won more of the games between us, but I will need to get verification of that from a member of my staff. McCain only tipped the table over once. But, in all honesty, I fully sympathize because without knowing it, I had skipped a turn.)

According to "The New Republic," John Kerry and John McCain went from being political rivals to the best of friends. Alas, politics reared its ugly head. The falling out allegedly transpired during the 2004 election when Kerry's private discussion with McCain about whether he would agree to be his running mate became public.

Nevertheless, there are moments like these to remind us that even as our nation becomes more divided than Cyprus*, there is still a glimmer of hope that there can be bipartisanship in Washington, DC,_ like when it comes time to carpool back to Alexandria (Va.)!

*- Forgive the ethnic humor, especially if you are a Greek-American. I am half-Turkish. Turkey and Greece fought a brief, but bloody war over Cyprus in 1974. The island nation remains divided to this day. I went to the Turkish side in 1991. At least, there has not been another war between the two countries since then. In fact, at last report, Athens and Ankara were actually getting along. Let's just hope they don't meet in the next World Cup!

PS_Feel free to leave your own caption to this photo in the comments section.

Useful Links:




Time To Ask the Dirty Question


Yeah, I know this is Tina Fey, but I couldn't resist! Obviously, this is a biased blog*, but feel free to vote for whomever you like here.

I could even say I will vote whichever the poll goes since North Carolina does not figure to be a swing state, but that's probably not likely to happen. If I am very depressed or a woman has not returned one of my phone calls, then I may very well vote for Ralph Nader........or Cynthia McKinney...or Bob Barr....or that guy named Chuck.**

Apologies to my Republican friends, like Gary Frink and Les Atkins, but with Church Lady as the choice for veep there is no way in h-e-doublel that I can vote for John McCain.

My neighbor here in Mount Airy, NC (not where I actually reside) happens to have a McCain yard sign which reminds me that I need to get an Obama sign for my mom. Someone stole her sign for John Kerry four years ago.

Interestingly enough, I did vote for McCain in the 2000 Virginia Republican Primary (even though I am not a Republican) because I did NOT want George W. Bush to become president. Oh well.......!

*- But, we are speaking the Gospel Truth when we say Sarah Palin isn't ready for prime time.

**- These are actual candidates for president. Bob Barr is running with the Libertarian Party. Cynthia McKinney is running with the Green Party. Surprisingly, both were members of Congress from Georgia! Barr was a Republican, and McKinney was a Democrat. They were both known for being very outspoken and controversial.

Ralph Nader is running for an independent. To my knowledge, even actor Bill Murray, who supported him in 2000, has jumped off his bandwagon. The Constitution Party has some guy named Chuck who is a preacher in Orlando, Fla. Interestingly enough, four of the five candidates running for office think the Iraq War was a mistake. John McCain is the exception.

Useful Links (for those of you who are actually undecided):





For those of you who are not:


("Mother Jones" is where I got the boxing donkey and elephant photo)

UPDATE: Well, I had a poll here!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Quote of the Week- Lou Reed

Since the media focus has rightfully been on New York this week because of an anniversary we'd all like to forget, I thought I would post a quip from one of my favorite NYC singers Lou Reed.

Generations before mine knew him as the lead singer of The Velvet Underground and for his inspired solo songs of the 1970s, like "Walk on the Wild Side."

But, those of us who are part of the MTV Generation (also known as Gen Xers), first heard of Lou Reed with his videos to "I Love You Suzzane" and "Video Violence," which was recorded a full 25 years before borderline snuff films and executions could be seen on Youtube.

Here is the quote from Lou Reed:

"I think that everything happens for a reason, everything happens when it's going to happen."

Useful Links:




(My favorite radio show about music, not neccessarily Lou Reed-related).


Ivan Brunetti (Chicago cartoonist)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Images of Virginia_ Mill Mountain Star, Roanoke

 Whenever I come back to my hometown of Roanoke, Va., it is always tempting to look up at Mill Mountain to see the famed Mill Mountain Star, which was built in 1949, unless I am in the middle of rush hour traffic.

According to Wikipedia, the star was built in 1949 to gain enthuisiasm for the Christmas shopping season that year. It was the largest man-made star in the world until the El Paso Star in El Paso, Tex., was completed.

Roy C. Kinsey built the neon tubes along with his sons Roy Jr., Bob and Warren.

Roanoke is nicknamed the Star City of the South because of the Mill Mountain Star.

The current mayor of Roanoke is David Bowers, who had previously been major of the city in the 1990s.

The star sits near downtown Roanoke, The Mill Mountain Zoo and Roanoke Memorial Hospital where I was born in 1970.

Due to the Sept. 11th attacks, the color of the star was changed to red, white and blue and it remained that way until April of last year when another tragedy, the Virginia Tech Massacre, made city officials decide to have the star become all white.

Other roadside attractions in Roanoke, include Mini-Graceland and a Muffler Man statue which sits in a garage on Williamson Road. The Muffler Man has been the subject of a "Zippy the Pinhead" comic strip within recent years.

Useful Links:







Thursday, September 11, 2008

Guess Whose Working on a Memoir?

 Yes, there are actually things I try to do away from this blog. Though I genuinely appreciate the fact that friends of mine like Jeremy Orhan Simer from Santa Barbara, Calif., wonder about me!

I have actually been through a fairly challenging year for all sorts of reasons, including my bout with a very painful medical problem that never seems to go away, but things are beginning to look up. I might even be able to somehow accept a John McCain victory in November. If not, I may have to back my bags and join my mom who has vowed to move to New Zealand!

In all seriousness, regardless of our political persuasions (hey there have been recent times when I've been fed up with the Democratic Party too), each of us has greater struggles that we deal with on a day-to-day basis. One of my fiercest demons has been depression.

It has been something that I've dealt with since my teenage years when my father unexpectedly died of a heart attack.

I am a bit hesitant about sharing this passage from the rough draft of my memoir-in-progress, but I hope somehow it comes across to someone who might be suffering through a similar difficulty.

And, if you read closely, you'll see why I posted a Superman pizza boy with this entry.

"Depression is an odd disease in that one can feel seemingly happy one moment and then suddenly one minor detail, like an attractive woman holding hands with some guy who looks like a pizza delivery boy, can set the mind back considerably.

 (Pictured: Miss Universe 2004 Jennifer Hawkins. Can you imagine her with a pizza boy?)

It is for this reason why I hesitate to say that I am fully cured from this surreal, yet quite common form of mental illness even though, through various forms of treatment, I have been able to hold it at bay for over a decade."

I will keep anyone who might be interested posted on my progress with this project. I have written two chapters so far.

On a separate note, I am AMAZED that "Mama Mia!" is still playing at the Grandin Theatre in Roanoke, Va. The film opened when I was in Turkey in July. There is also a sing-a-long version playing at the Carousel Theatre in Greensboro, NC. Is there no refuge?

Useful Links:





Wednesday, September 10, 2008

No Editorializing Needed

The cab driver in the middle picture is named Osman Choudhury, and I found it from an Australian web site.

I guess we all know where we were seven years ago today. I happened to be in Istanbul, Turkey.

Useful Links:



Quote of the Day-Michael Dukakis

 As some of you may have read in previous entries, I made my late uncle Omer Bati of Istanbul, Turkey, quite miffed when I voted for Michael Dukakis in 1988 because he was a Greek-American. Even though I told him I was a Democrat, he vocally said: "That is no excuse!"

I have not heard much about the former governor of Massachussetts ( a term which usually give to Republican Mitt Romney these days), but he was quoted in the current comedy issue of "Rolling Stone" with this quip:

"I owe the American people an apology. If I had beaten the old man, you'd have never heard from the kid."

You gotta admit even if you're Karl Rove that's pretty funny!

Useful Links:



Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Guess My 5,000th Film.........

 As of tonight, I have voted on 5,000 films on the Internet Movie Database (imdb.com).

The scary thing is that I have indeed seen MOST of these films. There are some exceptions like "Drop Dead Gorgeous," which I thought I had seen only to realize after giving it a six (out of ten) that I hadn't. (Actually, maybe I did see that film on an airplane, but anyway........).

My 5,000th film is not some bad Turkish action film from the seventies with Cuneyt Arkin like "Once Vatan/ Country First" (seen about 20 of those), it is rather a strange film in its own right from the pride of Winnipeg, Canada that is Guy Maddin (pictured above) aka The Canadian David Lynch.

I will give you the blog reader a chance to guess which Maddin film, it is (hint: It takes place around a hockey rink though this films is hardly "Slap Shot." Yes, I've seen that too).

Is the film that I watched for my 5,000 entry on the IMDB:

A) "Twilight of the Ice Nymphs"

B) "Brand Upon the Brain!"

C) "Cowards Bend the Knees"

D) "My Winnipeg"

E) "The Saddest Music in the World"

All these are actual Guy Maddin film titles.

Alas, we have no prizes to give here at Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time, but I could always send you this empty Perrier bottle which is sitting beside my computer. And, if you are curious to know my vote on a particular film, I'll be happy to share it with you_ or look it up.

Incidentally, I gave this mystery film a seven.




PS_In all actuality, I believe I've seen considerably more than 5,000 films but it is hard to recall every title of every film you've ever seen. The first film I voted on in the IMDB back in 2002 was a strange mystery film from vintage bad filmmaker Jess Franco entitled "Venus in Furs" (1970). It starred Klaus Kinski and was filmed in Turkey and Brazil. I don't recommend it, but it would make for a fantastic guilty pleasure.

HINT_ The mystery film came out in 2003.

UPDATE: The answer is (C) Coward Bends the Knees. No one bothered to guess, so maybe next time, I'll have to promise a free Ben and Jerry's pint in the mail.