Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Top 10 New Year's Resolutions

1. Develop Much Better Sleep-Wake Cycle

2. Actually Write a Play, Novel or Memoir

3. Don't Take Any Jobs @ Correctional Institutes

4. Drink Less Coffee

5. Drink More Wine

6. Go Out with Woman Who is 15-20 Years Younger Than Me

7. Get Out of the House, and Go To a Film Festival

8. Get Rid of at Least One Jehovah's Witness at the Door in Less Than 60 Seconds.

9. Go to Philadelphia

10. Change Zip Codes

I was going to say spend less time blogging, but I don't think that's a realistic goal!

Zip Code USA- 20814 Bethesda, Md.

When I think of suburbia, there are a few places which seem to fit the word perfectly. They include Cary, NC (suburb of Raleigh), Cherry Hill, NJ (suburb of Philadelphia) and Bethesda, Md. (suburb of Washington DC).

According to Wikipedia, Bethesda is an unincorporated jurisdiction which is named after the Bethesda Presbyterian Church.

Bethesda is also among the most affluent zip codes in the country as "Money" magazine ranked the community #11 in terms of education and income levels.

20814 is also home to the Bethesda Naval Hospital, Burning Tree Club (all-male golf club mention in a "Seinfeld" episode), the Bethesda Playhouse and the White Flint Mall (pictured, actually in N. Bethesda).

Bethesda also boasts a summer league baseball team The Bethesda Big Train, which consists of college players.

But, perhaps the most unique thing about Bethesda is that it was the setting for the book "The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants," which I believe was made into a movie.

Previous Entries in Series:

Bethlehem, Pa.

Burlington, Vt.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

My Friends' Top 10 Movies of the Year Lists

This is a complimentary entry to my top 10 films of the year list, which I posted on The Daily Vampire (see links).

First, I will start with the Top 10 list from my friend Joe Scott of Greensboro, NC, who hosts a radio movie show in the Gate City. He will also be presenting the vintage 1986 David Bowie flick "Labyrinth" at Carousel Cinemas in Greensboro on
Jan. 7.

I will mark the films I've seen with a star, and mark the ones that made my top 10 list with two stars.

"The Dark Knight"**
"Revolutionary Road"
"Man on Wire" (doc)
"Rachel Getting Married"*
"Let the Right One In" (Sweden)
"The Wrestler"
"The Wackness"*
"Shotgun Stories"

Next, I will present the top 10 films of my friend and film blogger Phil Nugent, who lives in New York (I am jealous, but I know the rent is higher!). I wanted to see one film on his list at the Varsity Theatre in Chapel Hill, NC, but couldn't because of time constraints. I will mark that film with a number sign. He presented his list in alphabetical order:

"Before I Forget" (France)
"Chop Shop"
"A Christmas Tale" (France)
"The Class" (France)
"The Dark Knight"**
"The Edge of Heaven" (Germany/Turkey)**
"The Order of Myths"
"The Secret of the Grain" (Belgium)
"Synedoche, New York"#

Useful Links:

(for Phil)

(for Joe)

Celebrity Birthday- Ozgu Namal is 30

Though I've seen her in two films ("Buyu" and "Organiz Isler/Magic Carpet Ride"), I was unaware that Turkish actress Ozgu Namal is not only a sensation in Turkey, but she is getting lots of international attention as well.

The Internet Movie Database ( reported that today is her 30th birthday, which makes her a mere ten days younger than Katie Holmes.

Namal has also starred in "Gunesin Oglu/Children of the Sun," "O Cocuklari/Those Kids," and "Mutluluk/Bliss."

Hopefully, she will continue to garner attention outside of Turkey. To date, very few movie actors, with the possible exception of German-Turkish actress Sibel Kekili ("Head On"), have made names of themselves outside of Turkey or the Turkish diaspora.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Our Person of the Year_ Tom Perriello

The votes are in. And, after recounting and recounting and then recounting again, we have decided to name Congressmen-elect Tom Perriello (D-Va) our Person of the Year.

The two other nominees were Bill Maher and Colin Powell. We did not consider Barack Obama as he was already named Time magazine's Person of the Year, and we did not want to be sued.

Poet Nikki Giovanni, who is also a professor at Virginia Tech, was last year's winner.

We choose Perriello because he not only won the closest congressional race in the country (not counting the still undecided Minnesota senate race), but because he also pulled one of the greatest political upsets in Virginia's modern history.

Periello's opponent was Cong. Virgil Goode (R-Va), a once popular politician from Rocky Mount who had a loyal following among rural residents of the Fifth District, was first elected to Congress in 1996. There is still an old campaign "Goode for Congress" on Rte. 220 in Boones Mill, not far from a pro-life billboard.

But while Goode, who was ironically once a Democrat, was popular among the God, Gun and Country voters, he was becoming a corrupt and controversial figure on The Hill which was highlighted by his implication in the Jack Abramoff scandal.

Goode also made insulting remarks about Muslim Americans. In two instances, he said he would work diligently to make sure no Muslims came into the country. As the son of a Turkish immigrant who grew up and still partly resides in Virginia, I was outraged by Goode's sentiment and I went public condemning his statements which he routinely refused to apologize for, even though some close friends advised me against it.

Even though the mostly rural makeup of the Fifth District is not one for ethnic diversity, Goode faced problems. He was very unpopular in Charlottesville, the district's most liberal zip code, and with African-American voters in places like Martinsville and Danville. And, public sentiment was turning against him. The conservative-leaning newspaper "Danville Register and Bee" broke form and surprisingly endorsed Perriello.

But, Periello, 34, still trailed Goode by 32 percent in polls some three months before the election. He would officially win by 727 votes after a second recount affirmed his victory.

He won a district that John McCain carried with both an outstanding campaign and an impressive personal story. An alumnus of Yale, Perriello went on to help prosecute war lords from Sierra Leone and Liberian dictator Charles Taylor. He also launched the progressive religious organization

People across the nation may not know much about Perriello, but I feel strongly that they will in the very near future. His story has just begun.

While I will candidly admit that my enthusiasm for Perriello was at first based on the fact that he was challenging a man I intensely disliked for very personal reasons, the reasons why he is this blog's Person of the Year have nothing to do with Cong. Goode.

Perriello is in his own right an exceptional person, and I feel that our generation of leaders, from both political parties, are going to help reshape America's regard for politicians. Perriello is sure to lead the way.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Spedcial Quote of the Week from Tom Stoppard

Alas, the great playwright Harold Pinter (1930-2008) is no longer with us, but his contemporary Tom Stoppard sure is. Here is one of his quotes:

"If an idea's worth having once, it's worth having twice."

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Quote of the Week-Leonard Nimoy

Since my brother-in-law Matt Lovell from Boulder, Col., is flying in tonight, I thought I'd feature a quote from Leonard Nimoy here as Matt adores "Star Trek" and (like the actor who played Spock) is an avid photographer:

"Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end."

We are also featuring a quote from Weird Al Yankovic on "The Daily Vampire" (see links section) since Matt is a fan of the pop music parody master.

Merry Christmas from Liberace!

Merry Christmas from Bob Dole!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

First Line of a Novel (3 of 11)_ "A Christmas Carol"

My friend Tom Angleberger, who writes children's books under the name Sam Riddleberger, is a huge Charles Dickens fan.

I, however, have only read one of his books in recent years. It was a copy of "A Christmas Carol" that I found in Bethel, Maine, last year.

Here is the first line of that novel:

"Marley was dead: to begin with."

Know Your Mayors (Entry 2 of 11)

Last week, we started this series with an entry about Mayor Kevin Foy of Chapel Hill, NC, who ironically teaches at North Carolina State University (For those outside ACC country, Chapel Hill is home to UNC).

This week, we select Mayor Doug Isaacson of North Pole, Alaska, pictured here in Christmas elf attire, as our mayor of the week.

For all we know, he could follow Joe Biden as our next vice president.

According to, the jurisdiction with the zip code 99705 boasts two oil refineries and many outdoor venues. North Pole, AK, is also sister cities with Itadori, Japan.

We wish everyone in North Pole, AK, and elsewhere a Merry Christmas.

UPDATE: Just out of curiosity, I ran a MapQuest between Chapel Hill, NC, and North Pole, Ak. As one might expect, the results are very interesting. The distance between 27516 and 99705 (zip codes for the two towns) is 4,353 miles. The drive would take 73 hours and 11 minutes, presuming one does not get lost in the Yukon Territory. Among the towns one would pass through are Mount Airy, NC, Wytheville, Va, Indianapolis, Ind., St. Cloud, Minn, Grand Forks, ND, then the Canadian cities of Winnipeg, Edmonton and Whitehorse........good thing, gas prices went down!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Zip Code USA- Bethlehem, Pa. 18015

If there is one place in the United States, which could be deemed Christmas City, USA, it is probably this city of 72,000 near the New York border.

The city, which is the hometown of race car driver Michael Andretti, is currently offering Bethlehem By Night tours for $10 (adult) and $5 (children).

Bethlehem, Pa., is also ranked as the 88th best city to live in the country by "Money" magazine, and it is where the Philadelphia Eagles hold their pre-season camp.

The mayor of the city is John B. Callahan, and according to the jurisdiction's homepage, they are looking for some police officers.

SIDEBAR: I am alas canning the Presidential trivia series, which seemed to be about as popular as a late night infomercial competing with Conan O'Brien and Tavis Smiley. But, the answer to the last entry about the birthplace of Andrew Jackson was South Carolina.

Top 10 List- the next 10 films I want to see

In no particular order, they are:

"Synedoche, New York"




"The Three Monkeys" (a Turkish film)

"Slumdog Millionaire"

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"

"Let the Right One In" (a Swedish horror film)

"Wendy and Lucy"

"Beverly Hills Chihuahua"*

Alas, "The Wrestler" and "Revolutionary Road" just missed making the list!

For those who have the chance, be sure to catch a podcast of my friend Joe Scott's "Movie Show" tonight.

"Milk" is now showing at the Grandin Theatre in Roanoke, Va.

*- I say this in jest though I was disappointed to miss the 7:00 p.m. screening of the film at the Graham Cinema in Graham, NC, as I was passing through town!

Useful Links:

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy 69th Birthday, Mom

Today marks my mother Lila Sullivan's 69th birthday. I took her out to Applebee's for the occasion. It was one of the few places open at 8:30 p.m. She is currently working on the fourth Christmas tree for her house. Perhaps, I know where my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder comes from!

Happy Birthday Mom.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Exhibit of the Moment- Andy Warhol

For those who live within driving distance of Charlotte, NC, there is an Andy Warhol exhibit at the Mint Museum in the Queen City.

Somebody asked me if there were any soup cans in this exhibit, which runs through Feb. 15.

That is something I honestly don't know!

The main Warhol museum is in Pittsburgh, the late artist's hometown.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Celebrity Birthday- Katie Holmes is 30

Steven Spielberg (62) and Brad Pitt (45) are also celebrating birthdays today, but we couldn't help but focus on Katie Holmes.

Mrs. Tom Cruise turns 30 today. It is reported that when she auditioned for the tv show "Dawson's Creek," the Toledo, Ohio teenager had no idea where Wilmington, NC (where the show was filmed) was.

We hope she is better at geography, and stars in a decent movie soon! Though she was admittedly quite good in "Pieces of April."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Quote of the Week- Bing Crosby

Today's quote of the week is from the late crooner Bing Crosby, who sang an unlikely duet with David Bowie for the Christmas song "Little Drummer Boy."

A quote from Bowie is on our sister blog "The Daily Vampire."

Here is a quote from Bowie:

"My golf is woeful, but I will never surrender."

Nominations for Person of the Year

"Time" magazine has just named Barack Obama as its Person of the Year.

For all intensive purposes, it is a choice I agree with, but it is our unwritten policy to choose someone else besides the person who Time selects.

Last year, I chose poet Nikki Giovanni for her inspirational fortitude during the Virginia Tech tragedy.

This year, our three choices are Congressman-elect Tom Perriello of Virginia who upset the incumbent Virgil Goode, one of the most notorious members of Congress, Bill Maher who always stands up to the hypocritical religious right and Colin Powell who stood up to the right wing of the Republican Party.

Your input will help me decide!

UPDATE 12/18: Perriello is now officially the congressional rep for the fifth district of Virginia! He won by less than 730 votes, so hence there is truth to the cliche about how every vote matters.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

First Line of a Novel (2 of 11)

Today, we go with another book that I checked out of my local library in Mount Airy, NC, "Purple America" by Rick Moody, who is best known for "The Ice Storm."

"Whosoever knows the folds and complexities of his own mother's body, he shall never die."

Monday, December 15, 2008

Know Your Mayors (Entry 1 of 21)

Today we kick off another series which might interest some folks, and perhaps bore other's to tears.

I recently wrote a short play called "The Mayor of Chapel Hill" which was performed at No Shame Theatre, an activity sponsored by Mill Mountain Theatre, in Roanoke, Va.

The real-life mayor of Chapel Hill, NC, is Kevin Foy who ironically teaches at North Carolina State University (Chapel Hill is home to UNC).

Foy was born in 1956, and he has been the mayor of Chapel Hill since 2001. He is chair of the North Carolina Metropolitan Coalition which brings together the mayors of the state's 25 largest cities (hmmm.......I don't think Eden, NC, qualifies).

Foy is also a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Gun Coalition.

When I am in Chapel Hill, I love to stop by Chapel Hill Comics and the Turkish restaurant/night club Talullas. And, when I actually have time there, it's nice to see a movie at The Varsity Theatre or take in a play at the Deep Dish Theatre.

And, with all due respect to my friends in Blacksburg, Va., the city of Chapel Hill has to be one of the nicest college towns in the nation.

Know Your Presidents Quiz

Today's question pertains to Andrew Jackson, our seventh president, who is the subject of a new book by journalist Jon Meacham.

Jackson, a Democrat, represented Tenn., but his birth state was somewhere else.

Was that state:

A) Virginia

B) North Carolina

C) South Carolina

D) Florida

I initially missed this one myself!

SIDEBAR: The answer to last week's quiz about the vice president of Harry S. Truman was A) Alben Barkley.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Zip Code USA- Burlington, VT. 05401

Today we start a new series entitled Zip Code USA. I got the idea from "National Geographic," but the difference between us and them is that I have no time or money to actually venture to all these places right now.

But, we begin the series with Burlington, VT. The zip code is indeed 05401.

Thanks to the tv show "Newhart," which ran in the 1980s, when one thinks of Vermont, they think of bed and breakfast places.

This image is from The Sunset House located at 78 Main Street in Burlington.

I could use a visit to a bed and breakfast to get away from the holiday hysteria, but assuredly my mom and sister would find me in Burlington and demand that I come back to Virginia at once!

Useful Links:

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Top 10 Coffee Dates

Since it does NOT appear that the almighty one will grant my wish (see last entry), I have come to the conclusion that I could and should settle for coffee dates instead.

But, of course, a single guy has a Constitutional right to make a wish list of coffee dates that he would love to have even if most of the women on the list are either married or engaged or otherwise attached at the hip.

Alas, I had to cut a few names like Parker Posey and Paris Hilton from the dream list, but Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra (pictured here) and Turkish actress Nurgul Yesilcay (who is great in Fatih Akin's "The Edge of Heaven") made the list:

1. Uma Thurman

2. Scarlett Johansson

3. Jennifer Love Hewitt*

4. Natalie Portman

5. Penelope Cruz

6. Elle MacPherson**

7. Priyanka Chopra

8. Rachel Weisz

9. Sarah Silverman

10. Nurgul Yesilcay

*-I know I will get teased for this one

**-Hey, someone who is actually older than me!

Notice Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea in Roanoke, Va., on the links list. It's one of my favorite places for coffee as is the Green Bean in Greensboro, NC, but they didn't have a link!

Useful Links:

Friday, December 12, 2008

An Actual Prayer I Said Last Night..........

This will both prove just how religious I am and just how desperate I am (it should also help indicate how many people read this blog!):

"Dear God,

Please help me make love to a woman by the end of the year!"


Celebrity Birthday- Jennifer Connelly

Amazingly enough, Jennifer Connelly turns 38 today as her new film "The Day the Earth Stood Still," a remake of Robert Wise's 1951 sci fi classic, opens in theatres nationwide today.

Connelly was born in Catskills Mountains, NY. She is married to actor Paul Betany, of "Wimbledon" fame.

She initially made an impression with "Once Upon a Time in America" when she was a teenager.

Connelly also turned down the role of Veronica in the cult classic "Heathers."

In reent years, Connelly has starred in such films as "House of Sand and Fog," "Little Children" and "Reservation Road."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Images of Virginia (10 of 10)_ The Barter Theatre

The historic Barter Theatre is located in the foothills of southwestern Virginia, in Abingdon and it is actually much closer to Knoxville, TN, than my hometown of Roanoke, which is considered to be the 'capital' of southwest Virginia.

Among actors who have been in plays at the Barter are the late Gregory Peck and Kevin Spacey.

The Barter is currently performing a musical version of "Miracle on 34th Street," music by Doug Smith and books/lyrics by Vern Stefanic, as well as "Another Night Before Christmas," a comedy with music by Sean Grennan and Leah Okimoto.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Quote of the Week- Paris Hilton

Since we posted a quote from Britney Spears on our sister blog "The Daily Vampire," we thought we would add a quote from Paris Hilton here on the 'wallflower' blog:

"A true heiress is never mean to anyone- except a girl who steals her boyfriend."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

First Line of a Novel (Entry 1 of 11)

I am very bad at actually finishing novels that I start to read, but after checking "Asleep" by Bananna Yoshimoto out of my local library (TWICE!), I was able to finish reading it over Thanksgiving weekend.

Here is the first part of the excellent novel, which is actually a letter:

"Dear Sarah, It was spring when we went to see my brother off. He and his girlfriends were waiting at the airport when we arrived- yes, he had lots of girlfriends back then- and they were all decked out like flowers. The sky was marvelously clear........."

Presidential Quiz- Who Was Truman's Veep?

Was it:

A) Alben Barkley

B) Thomas Dewey

C) Henry Wallace

D) Strom Thurmond

Thursday, December 4, 2008

So much for the promised six-day hiatus!

At any rate, here is my weekly top ten list, which this week is simply a to-do list:

1. Wash Car

2. Pay Rent

3. Buy Christmas gifts

4. Swim at YMCA

5. Pay Other Bills

6. Help Mom with Antiques Show

7. Write a Short Play

8. Send Christmas Cards

9. Buy Groceries

10. Don't Go Insane!

UPDATE (12/12): So far, I have managed to do all these things except stay sane and buy Christmas presents.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Quote of the Week- Charles Dickens

"A day wasted on other's is a day wasted on one's self," Charles Dickens.

My good friend Christopher Knight will be performing in a production of "Oliver Twist" at Rockingham Community College in Wentworth, NC, starting this very weekend.

American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Va., is currently performing "A Christmas Carol." The stage adaptation of Dickens' novella is now being performed by 2,395 stage companies across North America.*

And, another good friend of mine Tom Angleberger, who is an ardent Dickens reader, has some of his children's book for sale at Ram's Head Bookstore at Towers Mall in Roanoke, Va. He will be appearing there along with his wife CeCe Bell, who is also a children's book author, on Saturday.

Useful Links:

*- that is a joke

PERSONAL NOTE: We are going on a scheduled hiatus until Dec. 9, perhaps by then a few people will actually be looking at this blog.......but, as long as there are no complaints about Sarah Silverman, I can find a way to force myself to feel happy.

And, the answer to our quiz last week pertaining to Jimmy Carter's age is 84.

Fellini's Amarcord @ Film Forum, NYC

In order to lure more hip urbanites to my blog, we are devoting a monthly look at what's currently playing at the Film Forum Cinema in New York.

This week the cinema is presenting a revival of Frederico Fellini's classic 1974 film "Amarcord," which did not play in Danville, Va. (see last entry)

The Film Forum is also presenting "Wendy and Lucy," "Harvard Beats Yale 29-29" and "Dust."

"Dust" is a documentary by Hartmut Bitosky and it is indeed about dust!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Images of Virginia (9 of 10) North Theatre in Danville

We are abruptly coming to a conclusion of this ten-part series which we began earlier in the fall (it has been preempted some 12-14 times, rough estimate).

Today, we focus on the historic North Theatre in downtown Danville, Va.

The cinema was reopened a few years ago after being closed for many, many years.

While the North does show movies as special screenings, including a Fellini retrospective in 2006 which shocks me to this day, they also host concerts and plays.

On Dec. 17, the North will be the venue for The Little Theatre of Danville's stage production of "It's a Wonderful Life." The play, which is aimed at children (though adults can attend) starts at 7:30 p.m.

Perhaps, the ghost of Jimmy Stewart will be in attendance to answer questions about what it was like to work with Frank Capra, and what the after-life is really like.

SIDEBAR: Our sister site "The Daily Vampire," which seems to be far more popular (and this is the one with a photo of Sarah Silverman!) has a blog entry about The Grandin Theatre in Roanoke, Va.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sarah Silverman

The nation's second most popular Sarah (whom we prefer over the one from Alaska) turns my age, which is 38 today.

I just recently saw "Sarah Silverman-Jesus is Magic," and even though I was a tad bit disappointed by it, I hope a bootleg copy of the film is circling the dorms over at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

Silverman is also known for her parody song "I'm ****ing Matt Damon," who is also not a fan of 'the other Sarah."

Today also marks the 73rd birthday of Woody Allen, one of America's great filmmakers. His most recent film "Vicky Christie Barcelona" is now out on DVD.