Thursday, December 31, 2009
I am now approaching (hmmm..., actually we just passed it) the two hour mark in my New Year's Eve all-night-blogathon. I sincerely appreciate the fact that my good friend Shirley Madison from Bethesda, Md.*, has to work tomorrow.
But, I still have lots or work to do before I check to see who won the Calgary Flames-Edmonton Oilers hockey game on nhl.com (I think the Flames were winning when I last checked?!).
At any rate, we chose my personal favorite cartoon character from my youth Hong Kong Phooey** (ok, I have said that before about Dynomutt- another Hanna Barbera cartoon. His show aired in 1978) to greet in the new year.
While researching this piece, I was shocked to find out that Hong Kong Phooey (which is now being made into a feature film?!) consisted of a mere 16 episodes during its run from 1974-76.
We must have been watching reruns!
*-this is pseudonym and the person does not live in suburban Maryland........
**-Hong Kong Phooey was voiced by the late actor Scatman Crothers
UPDATE- The Calgary Flames beat the Edmonton Oilers by a score of 2-1. Hopefully, those at the game had a more enjoyable time than those of us who spent New Year's Eve at a Starbucks in High Point, NC***
***-Well, I was at a Starbucks but it was somewhere else besides High Point. Though I believe they have three Starbucks in that town.......!
Perhaps, we saw this coming. "The Rhinoceros Times," a conservative weekly newspaper in Greensboro, NC, sarcastically congratulated Barack Obama by placing an emphasis on his middle name Hussein. The right has not been able to let up ever since even though their president George W. Bush was a bona fide idiot who bragged of never touching a newspaper. During his final year in office, even many intellectual conservatives like David Brooks and George F. Will had a very hard time defending him.
But, Obama has met the challenge in areas like health care reform, global warming and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
He has been criticized by some on the left for many of his positions. "The Nation" has criticized him for going forward in Afghanistan, which in my view is the appropriate thing for him to do. Matt Taibbi of "Rolling Stone" has accused Obama of getting too cozy with Wall Street insiders, but it seems like that would be true of any president given the amount of corporate influence that political positions of power now entail.
Of course, right wing media numskulls like Glenn Beck and their counterparts in Congress, such as Cong. Joe Wilson (R-SC), criticize any efforts by Obama and the Democratic Party to have a functioning government. As Jonathan Chait of "The New Republic" brilliantly put it, this is Republican nihilism (do-nothingism) at its finest.
But, in order to capture the brilliance of Obama at its core, we simply need to quote him in his own words. Obama was not my choice for person of the year last year because I felt he hadn't proven anything yet. Well, now he has:
"Americans still believe in an America where anything's possible- they just don't think their leaders do."
"I don't oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war."
"I found this national debt, doubled, wrapped in a big bow waiting for me as I stepped into the Oval Office."
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
With New Year's Eve coming tomorrow night, I thought I'd post an entry devoted to available taxi services in the region.
On my sister blog "The Daily Vampire," we profiled available taxi services in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia. Here, we post services in North Carolina as well as Myrtle Beach, SC.
The photos in this entry are from taxis in Berlin, Germany, and Mumbai, India.
Regardless of where you are, I hope everyone has a happy and safe New Year's Eve/Day.
Blue Bird Taxi
Durham's Best Cab
Raleigh Taxi Cab
Crown Airport Taxi
Myrtle Beach, SC
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
I'm sure my good buddy Chris Knight from Reidsville, NC, who has a blog at: http://www.knightshift.blogspot.com
He loves "Star Wars." I think he's seen "Return of the Jedi" 17 times, which is 16 times more than I've seen it. Though my cousin and Mike sure had a good time when we saw it a now-closed cinema in Rock Hill, SC, back when were kids in 1983 when movies didn't cost $400 million to make (excuse the 'Avatar' joke).
I got this idea when I saw an amazing photograph of a man dressed as a storm trooper walking around a hotel in Roanoke, Va., during a science fiction convention in the Sunday "Roanoke Times." But, that photo is apparently not on the web, so we're using this one instead.
I was also going to link this photo to the Roanoke Police Department, but their web site is not as cool as the Chicago Police Department's web site, so we will mention them instead. According to the Windy City's PD, they recently gave Christmas presents to two youths who were badly injured in a fire back in November.
Of course, we like all police officers irregardless of how hip or unhip their department's web site is. But, if one looks at the Chicago Police Department's web site (chicagopolice.org), you will definitely want to have a hot dog at a Cubs game with one of their officers. 'Course, with my luck, their police chief Jody Weis is probably a White Sox fan!
Monday, December 28, 2009
This is our last quote of the year for 2009.
Of course, if you're like me, you spend the first month of every year rebounding from the insanity and chaos that you suffered through during the Christmas holidays, and consider the possibility of defecting to Turkmenistan (since it's a Muslim country, it's probably a great place to get away from it all in December even if the hotel in Ashgabat* doesn't have a flushing toilet!)
We are quipping Mike Tyson, a controversial figure (to put it mildly) in honor of Boxer's Day. Tyson was actually in two films that made my best films of the year list:
"Tyson" (a doc about him) and "The Hangover." But, this was a tragic year for the former boxer as his young daughter died due to injuries sustained in a fall.
There were actually many Tyson quotes to choose, so we went with the most outlandish (hey we need the ratings!):
"All praise is to Allah_I'll fight any many, any animal, if Jesus we're here I'd fight him too."
There was a second quote from Tyson that we found on shavemagazine.com, but you would have to know that Zoloft is an anti-depressant to get the joke:
"I'm on Zoloft to keep from killing you all."
There is also an engaging piece on Tyson in the 40th anniversary of "Interview" magazine, which was founded by the late artist Andy Warhol. I wonder if those two had met what the conversation would have been like?!
The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pa., is actually open tomorrow but right now I am some seven and a half hours south of there in Roanoke, Va. We have a good relatively new art museum here in town called the Taubman Art Museum, which has an exhibit of Rembrandt sketches, but since this is my hometown and I'm visiting my mom for the holidays, I will probably end up spending the afternoon in a Starbucks or a Target!
*-I did actually have to look the capital of Turkmenistan up, but I do know that the capital of Uzbekistan is Tashkent. Unfortunately, such information does not get one a Starbucks date with the girl you had a crush on in high school (especially, if she's married!)
Sunday, December 27, 2009
1. Zhu Zhu Hamsters (pictured)
2. Che Guevara t-shirt
3. Glock 19 gun
4. Mister Potato Head
5. "The Wire" box set*
6. Chuck Norris' "The Delta Force" on dvd (pictured)
7. $50 Starbucks gift certificate (pictured)
8. The Octagon Hot Dog Converter**
9. First issue of "Hot Stuff" ***
10. Subscription to "Mother Jones" (pictured)
*-Indirectly suggested by comic strip artist Keith Knight ("The Knight Life")
**-Actual product! We looked for an image on the net, but couldn't find one
***- Not sure, how much it is worth, but it's (significantly) more than 10 cents!
Chuck Norris' far-right column is carried in the Greensboro, NC, alt weekly "Yes Weekly" which also features liberal columnists like Alexander Cockburn.
There are actually 53 Starbucks in Istanbul, Turkey!
It took a lot of time to post this entry as well as the companion entry on my sister blog "The Daily Vampire." Hope you enjoy it. Numbers five, seven and nine would be great actually! Perhaps my rich uncle in Bethasda, Maryland, can get one of them for me............
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Everyone who was watching CNN at any point yesterday is aware that President Barack Obama is in Hawaii. Which makes one wonder who is looking after Bo? Or, did the Obamas take him with them to the islands?
Nevertheless, we thought it would be good to mention that plenty of cats and dogs are up for adoption at your local animal shelter. In my hometown of Salem, Va. (www.salempets.org), the Salem City Animal Shelter can be reached at 540-375-3038. In Reidsville, NC, the city where I live, which has a very high kill rate (among the highest in the country!), the shelter can be reached at (336)-342-4022.
We have a companion entry to this piece on our sister blog "The Daily Vampire."
On a side note, some conservative friends of the family are visiting us from Johnson City, Tenn. I jokingly told my mom that we should get them a subscription to "Utne" ( progressive magazine, which currently has a story on the 'environmental Star Wars'), but no one in my immediate family has a sense of humor. The same could not be said for my cousin Shannon Sturgis of St. Louis, Mo., who prevents me from being the most irreverent person in the family. I should get her a subscription of "National Review"* for that!
*-"National Review" is not a progressive magazine at all. My sister Shannon is actually to the left of me, and I am not a Republican!
Friday, December 25, 2009
All my partisan Democratic friends need not worry, I am not switching teams like "Weekly Standard" contributor P.J. O'Rourke, a former liberal who once wrote for "Rolling Stone."
But, I thought since I sent Christmas greetings from Michael Moore on my other blog "The Daily Vampire" that I should be somewhat objective although with the advent of Fox News much of that has gone out the window.
I hope you are having a delightful Christmas if you are reading this in either Provincetown, Mass., or Provo, Utah, or Tashkent, Uzbekistan for that matter. Wait, I forgot they are a Muslim country!
Thursday, December 24, 2009
If you aren't doing anything besides drinking egg nog and playing with the family cat on Christmas Day, you may want to watch at least some portion of the Los Angeles Lakers game with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
LeBron James should make the game interesting, though it's being played in L.A.
SIDEBAR: Lots of last-minute shoppers today, including Paul Flynn of Salt Lake City, Utah, who told local tv station KLC that he just had to be at the Fashion Place Mall in SLC on Christmas Eve:
"My fiancee actually works in this mall," Flynn told the news station. "I didn't have the opportunity before today to come out and shop for her."
UPDATE: LeBron James and the Cavs ended up winning this game.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
"How can anyone accuse me of being a socialist when I think we should just make Christmas a secular holiday to celebrate consumerism?"
I would have loved to have posted this in response to an uber-right-wing friend of mine, but I sense it would cause me problems, especially since I live in a small town in North Carolina where one can see several "Jesus is Coming Soon" signs on the roads. Hopefully, it won't cause me problems here as hardly anyone looks at this blog!
SIDEBAR: Today is Human Light Day, a secular day meant to parallel Christmas and Hanukkah. Greg Epstein, a humanist chaplain at Harvard University, discussed the day and it's meaning on the NPR show "Fresh Air," hosted by Terry Gross today. Secular events have been celebrated in places like Charleston, SC, Tulsa, Okl. and Fayetville, Ark., this week!
SIDEBAR TWO: I found a cool web site tracking Santa Claus. It's called www.noradsanta.org
Regardless of your religious/consumerist views, it should be as fun as last-minute shopping at Target!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
This photo reminds me of director Jim Jarmusch's film "Coffee and Cigarettes." It was made after Joe Strummer's death (the lead singer of The Clash died on this day seven years ago). But, the two were co-stars in Alex Cox's surreal western "Straight to Hell" (1987) and Jarmusch later directed Strummer in "Mystery Train" (1989).
And, though they don't allow smoking, The Mill Mountain Coffee Shop in Salem, Va., will be having a Christmas breakfast on Dec. 24 which will include a charity art auction.
I would write more but I'm running late for my mom's 70th birthday, and that might make her confiscate all my Clash cds!
Happy 70th birthday mom from the Harvey Comics' character Hot Stuff, who I understand is really big in France!
SIDEBAR: For some great kitschy Christmas music, check out the home page of the NPR show "Sound Opinions," based in Chicago. They have a compilation of songs by Andy Cirzan. One includes a song with the video game character Baby Pac-Man, of all things?!
The show airs in North Carolina on WUNC-FM (91.5 fm) from Chapel Hill, NC, on Saturday afternoons at 2:00 p.m.
UPDATE: My friends at Acme Comics in Greensboro, NC, would probably want me to tell you that they have Hot Stuff, Wolverine, Wonder Woman and other comic books available at their store for the holidays....do I get a discount for mentioning this?-LOL!
Monday, December 21, 2009
Today, in celebration of my mom Lila Sullivan's 70th birthday, I am quoting the late, great Clark Gable whose most famous film "Gone With the Wind" came out in 1939 when my mom was born.
My mother was raised in Rock Hill, SC, but she moved to Roanoke, Va., to become a teacher at William Byrd High School in the 1961, the same year she met my father, the late Mehmet Gokbudak (1921-1983).
I was born in 1970, and my sister Lale came into the world in 1974.
Mom and I stopped by the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta back in 2007. Perhaps, one day we will also visit Cadiz, Ohio, which is where Gable was born. It is also where the Clark Gable Foundation is located.
Here is the quote from Gable, which seems quit a bit humbling:
"I'm just a lucky guy from Ohio who happened to be in the right place at the right time."
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Twitter has introduced to a lot of people I wasn't fully aware in the arenas of politics, government, pop culture and pro sports.
One of the more unique figures I've come across is Portland, Ore.'s mayor Sam Adams,46, who was the first openly gay mayor elected to one of America's 30 largest cities when he was elected in November of 2008 (Houston recently elected a lesbian to become its mayor). Adams was sworn into office on Jan 1st of this year.
Even in a more progressive state like Oregon, Adams has seen political problems stemming from his sexual orientation mainly because of a scandal which erupted when admitted to having a sexual relationship with a young intern for Republican state legislator Kim Thatcher. Adams had first denied the allegations which came about through an article in the Portland alt weekly "Willamette Week."
An investigation was opened by state attorney general John Kroger (D)but later dropped due to a lack of credible evidence. Gay columnist Dan Savage (not to be confused with far right talk show host Mike Savage) said he was outraged by the attacks against Adams which he saw as a clear act of homophobia.
Adams is mostly known for being one of America's most vocal environmental mayors and while in office Adams has emphasized measures to reduce the city's carbon dioxide emissions. He has also tweeted extensively about developments at the very recent international climate control conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The mayor has also supported new regulations for horse-drawn carriages in the city after a horse died in downtown Portland in August. Adams switched political positions by opposing a $4 billion, twelve lane replacement for a freeway bridge over I-5.
Adams gained political recognition as a grassroots activist. He campaigned with Peter DeFazio, who ran for Congress in 1986. DeFazio remains a member of the Oregon delegation in Congress.
Adams was born in Whitehall, Mont. His domestic partner is Peter Zuckerman, a former journalist with Portland's main newspaper "The Oregonian."
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Blogging is like ice sculpting in that we know our 'art' will be quickly reduced to nothing in a matter of days, and our posts could well be rendered irrelevant well before then!
So, to accompany my photo (well, of course, somebody else took it as I have not made a snowman since........1981?!) I will describe what my life has been like since rougly 3:00 p.m. on Friday when I first got caught in the great blizzard of 2009.
3:00 p.m. on Friday- I finally arrive in the Roanoke, Va., area after my ballyhooing and dumping off some paperwork at a community college in southside Virginia. I had stopped for gas in the hamlet of Boones Mill, Va., about 15 miles south of Roanoke when I sensed that it might be snowing very soon though I didn't quite realize just how soon. I would stop at a Denny's in the Roanoke area and have lunch with mom. My meal choice was a steak burrito. Fortunately, I had not been wrongfully convicted of homicide and it was not my last meal. Though I usually like Denny's food, I can't recommend the steak burrito, which consists of eggs and hash browns. As I drove to mom's house, the snow came pouring down. I felt lucky to be home and the family cat Gizmo greeted me as I walked in the door.
9:00 p.m. on Friday- After calling friends in the area and in others parts of Virginia, I finally got around to relaxing for the evening. I chose to watch "Bill Moyers Journal on PBS" which featured an interview with "Rolling Stone" magazine's Matt Taibbi who had written a piece which actually criticized President Barack Obama from the left. I was interested in what he had say- which was mainly that Obama was a sellout because he has apparently gotten cozy with too many people on Wall Street, even though I strongly disagree with his sentiment. I then turned to watched the second half of the Washington Wizards game against the Golden State Warriors which was being played in Oakland, Calif. Amazingly enough, the Wizards won the game. And, given the next day's weather forecast for the nation's capital, the team was probably happy to be in California.
11 a.m. Saturday- My mom wakes me up. Well, she had initially tried to do so around 8:30. Fortunately, she paid someone $20 to clean the driveway, so that meant I had to put water in the Christmas tree and feed Gizmo, who was ticked that he could not go outside. In fact, he is still staring at the window as I write this at 2:30 a.m., some 14 hours later. I would listen to a portion of the Met's opera broadcast from New York, answer email and talk to some friends. No one of us were going Christmas shopping at Macy's in Valley View Mall in Roanoke even though we expected they were open for business as they were on Friday night!
3 p.m. Saturday- I finally get around to paying some long-neglected bills and writing Christmas cards. Of course, the mail carrier did not come by today and we fully understand why as the few cars that traveled down the road seemed to be doing so with any remote sense of ease (even vehicles with four-wheel drive). I do all these things as I watch UNC play Texas in men's basketball. When I see that former president George W. Bush is there watching the game in person in Dallas, I contemplate changing the channel but I am too curious to see if the Tarheels can come back. They don't. Texas won the game 103-90. I continue writing Christmas cards after the game's conclusion and I am startled to see that the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl in nearby Salem, Va., is being played. I watched the game on ESPN Classics in complete shock. Little did I realize at the time that Virginia Tech and Georgetown University would be playing home games later in the night.
11:59 p.m. Saturday- I finish watching an NBA highlights show after watching the Wizards lose to the Phoenix Suns. Earlier in the night, I read "The New Republic" in its entirety and I talked to a friend from Woodstock, Va., in the Shenandoah Valley. They got 22 inches of snow. We got a 'mere' 18.5. If it had not been a Saturday, area schools would have definitely been closed. I also watched Penn State's women's volleyball team complete an undefeated season and winning a third national championship in a row after beating Texas. As of this writing, I'm getting sick of sports which I developed an interest in this year but as it is I watch an unholy amount of movies and I subscribe to eight magazines (most of which deal with film or politics). I certainly don't have time to watch sports except on a day like today when I actually found myself watching a meaningless basketball game between Ohio State and Delaware State on ESPN-U. I used to make fun of men who did such things, but at least I don't subscribe to "Sports Illustrated" though I do have a subscription to "Golf" magazine which I don't recall ever asking for?!
12:15 a.m.- I try to watch "A Christmas Story" on the internet, but I find it to be a boring waste of time as I've seen it at least six or seven times. So, I decide to blog. And, this is how I got here.
2:50 a.m.- Yes, I suppose I should go to bed. David Axelrod will be on both "Meet the Press" and "This Week..." John McCain will be on the Sunday political show which Fox broadcasts. I don't watch that show and I didn't vote for McCain, but I could end up watching that show just the same. Whenever I come to my mom's, I try to find time to go to a nearby Starbucks. I really don't do anything significant there. Sometimes, I read one of my eight magazines or I stare out the window. Barring an unusual melting of this snow tomorrow, I won't be able to go to that Starbucks. But, I suppose once this damn stuff melts it will be the first place I head to. I just hope it's not on Christmas Eve because that is the one day of the year when all sanity is lost in the world and no latte anywhere could remedy that. However, we can hope there won't be a storm on that day. Thus, I will find myself envying those who live in Phoenix, but sympathizing for those who live in Fargo.
Friday, December 18, 2009
I am not actually a Los Angeles Lakers fan, but luck would have it, their star player Kobe Bryant is now the 400th person I'm following on Twitter (singer Neko Case actually became the 430th a few minutes ago!).
It is amazing that I am now perhaps even more hooked on Twitter than I am on Facebook. It's a good thing I'm single and have no children though Gizmo the family cat might need to be fed again here in a few minutes.
One of the things I like most about Twitter is that I get to 'follow' people. Though I do follow a few friends and family, most of the people I follow are shameless celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Pee-wee Herman and Chevy Chase- to name a few!
Of course, there is the danger that the person you are following is only pretending to be someone famous, which I suspect is the case with 'Molly Ringwald.' Matt Taibbi, a political and sports writer for "Rolling Stone" who is now being talked about in the media for his surprising anti-Obama diatribe (which I differ with), claimed that a person using his name on Twitter was not really him.
I am also following politicians ranging from the far-left like Cong. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and the far, far right like Cong. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) as well as more mainstream political figures like Al Gore, John McCain and Joe Biden (who is also following me?!).
Twitter has also allowed me a chance to follow respected pundits,journalists and film critics like Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone), Paul Krugman (The New York Times), Andrew Sullivan (The Atlantic), Michael Crowley (The New Republic) and Ezra Klein (The Washington Post).
I'm even following the fictional Fox News reporter Roland Hedley, who is actually a character in the comic strip "Doonesbury."
And, then there are the hockey teams! I'm actually following eight of them, including the Carolina Hurricanes and the Toronto Maple Leafs (neither of those teams is in Stanley Cup contention, trust me!).
I would write more but I'm wondering what Brooke Burke is up to. Perhaps, she's going to play Twister with her kids.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
It should be pointed that I live in a smalltown and I usually get to see art films when I'm in Greensboro, Chapel Hill or Raleigh, NC, or in my hometown of Roanoke, Va. But, even when I see films in these cities, they are already second run in New York or LA or even Washington, DC!
I should also apologize to the great Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan as I am just now getting his latest film "The Three Monkeys" from Netflix, and his films always finish high in my lists. But, I will have a chance to update this for "Film Comment" magazine's fan survey by February.
Until then, here are my top ten favorite films of the year, with some titles that just missed the cut listed under honorable mention:
2. Fantastic Mr. Fox
3. An Education (pictured)
5. Waltz with Bashir (Israel.)#
6. The Hurt Locker
7. A Serious Man
8. Cold Souls
10. The Hangover
"Capitalism: A Love Story"
"Summer Hours" (France)
#- This film was released last year to the Academy and critics, but not for the general public so I am including it here though it will not be on my "Film Comment" list for that reason.
PS- The politically conservative film critic Michael Medved actually named the new Robert Zemekis film "A Christmas Carol" film of the year. We're wondering if he got it mixed up with the uber-right wing slapstick comedy "An American Comedy," which regardless of one's politis is pretty god-awful. Nevertheless, if you want to see "A Christmas Carol" and you live in southwest Virginia, it will be showing at The Lyric Theatre in Blacksburg, Va., starting on Friday.
PPS- As for "An Education," it continues its run this weekend at The Grandin Theatre in Roanoke, Va., The Chelsea Theatre in Chapel Hill, NC, The Landmark Theatres in Bethesda, Md., and at the Broadway Center Cinemas in Salt Lake City, Utah, among many other places.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Today, we recognize the 50th anniversary of Second City with two quotes from two of the troupe's most famous alumni. We quoted the late John Belushi on our sister blog "The Daily Vampire."
Here we quote his "Blues Brothers" and "Saturday Night Live" co-star Dan Aykroyd, who I met at the Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester, Va., a few years ago. Aykroyd also founded The House of Blues, which has a venue in Myrtle Beach, SC, among many other places.
Second City, which was recently profiled on NPR, is also touring the country. They will perform in Pittsburgh on Thursday night, but those living here in Virginia, can catch them perform at The Warehouse Theatre in Lynchburg on March 12, 2010, and at the Wolf Trap in Vienna, Va., ( a Washington DC suburb) on March 13, 2010 (whoops, I almost typed 2020.....I suppose that might work for someone like my sister who plans everything well in advance!).
Here is the quote from Aykroyd, which also ties in well with our previous entry although I'm not sure that Versus will air any games with this particular team though they are showing the Flyers-Penguins game tomorrow night:
"I do want to say hello to my neighbor Mr. Erskine. But you have to be a Flames fan in Calgary."
Sunday, December 13, 2009
There were only two games in the National Hockey League today. Here are the results:
Chicago 4 Tampa Bay 0
Colorado 3 Calgary 2
I have just started watching the sport again. I was not even interested when the 'local team' (Raleigh is about 90 miles from where I live) the Carolina Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup in 2006 over the Edmonton Oilers.
When I was a teenager, I loved the Edmonton Oilers because of their star players Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier. Perhaps because there have been few stars who have excited me as much as those guys, I eventually lost interest in the sport. But, I am interested again especially since the sport seems to be an unpredictable one.
This coming week, the cable channel Versus will air two games: Buffalo vs. Montreal on Monday night, and Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh (the Penguins are the defending champs) on Tues. night.
The Carolina Hurricanes host the Florida Panthers on Saturday night in Raleigh. If I lived closer to the state capital, perhaps I would be there!
Here are my ten favorite teams. I expect some of these players pictured here are no longer with these respective teams:
1. New York Rangers (pictured here)
2. Colorado Avalanche
3. Washington Capitals (pictured here)
4. Carolina Hurricanes (pictured here)
5. San Jose Sharks
6. Chicago Blackhawks
7. Florida Panthers
8. Vancouver Canucks
9. New Jersey Devils
10. Montreal Canadiens
Saturday, December 12, 2009
I would write more, but there is a pizza in the oven and for some reason I want to watch the Washington Wizards-Indiana Pacers game on tv, but I will conclude with an insightful quote from Eddie Murphy from his days on "Saturday Night Live:"
"I'm Gumby, damnit!"
I thought it would be a bit ironic to have an image of Donnie and Marie Osmond for the Jewish holiday since the brother and sister duo are Mormons from Utah.
Donnie got politically active by endorsing Republican Mitt Romney for president, which may have helped the former governor of Mass. get a staggering 87 percent of the vote for the Republican Utah Primary, but we all know that Sen. John McCain got the nomination and then lost to Barack Obama, who I voted for. ( I suspect Donnie and Marie didn't, but Utah is not a swing state!).
If you want to see Donnie and Marie perform, you're in luck!
Amazingly enough, they have a popular show in Las Vegas (how ironic is that!). VIP lounge tickets are a 'mere' $285!
Friday, December 11, 2009
I was a bit surprised to see "Rolling Stone" film critic Peter Travers choose the African-American film "Precious" as the best film of 2009. Travers also cited the new George Clooney film "Up in the Air" (only showing in major markets, to my knowledge) and the acclaimed war drama "The Hurt Locker" on his list.
I am working on my own list, but first I need some of these expletive movies!
Here is Travers' list:
2. "Up in the Air"
3. "The Hurt Locker"
4. "An Education"
6. "Where the Wild Things Are"
7. "A Serious Man"
8. "District 9" (I really hated this movie!)
9. " (500) Days of Summer"
10. "The Messenger"
Thursday, December 10, 2009
We just quoted former Talking Heads lead singer David Byrne, who also has an outstanding solo discography, just a few weeks ago. But, since his new book about bicycling in cities like Istanbul, Turkey, is out in bookstores right now and since I am absolutely addicted to his music with Talking Heads, I thought I would quip him once again.
I was able to find the remaining three cds that I needed to get in order to have the complete Talking Heads discography at my disposal (I actually have two of their albums on vinyl!) from CD Alley, a cool independent cd store in Chapel Hill, NC, over the weekend.
His book is assuredly available at my favorite independent book store in North America, but the Boulder Bookstore in Boulder, Col., is quite far from my log cabin in Floyd, Va. (not where I really live, but relatively close).
We quoted the lead singer of another punk band from the late '70s, early '80s ear, the late Joe Strummer, on our sister blog "The Daily Vampire."
A Talking Heads web site in Holland had a fan survey and those of us who absolutely love this band chose their 1980 release "Remain in Light," which features the song "Once in a Lifetime" as the band's best. "Rolling Stone" also named the same album as the fourth best record of the 1980s. Though I personally prefer their 1983 record "Speaking in Tongues," which feautres every would-be-arsonist's favorite anthem "Burnin' Down the House."
Here is the quip from Byrne:
"I couldn't talk to people face to face, so I got on stage and started screaming and squealing and twitching."
'Tis the season, and many theatres around the country, including the recently reopened Ford's Theatre in Washington, DC (yes, the place where Abe Lincoln was shot), are staging Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."
My good friend Sam Riddleberger is a big fan of Dickens. He is also a children's book writer as is his wife Cece Bell.
Here is the quote from Dickens, which is not actually holiday related:
"Great men are seldom over-scrupulous in their attire.
PS_ We learned today that Playmakers Theatre in Chapel Hill, NC, is producing another Dickens play "Nicholas Nichelby" (we may not have spelled that right?!)with 25 actors playing 150 different parts!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
To get the joke, see the current entry for Bonus Quote of the Week on our sister blog "The Daily Vampire." Here is the quote from the ever controversial Islamic minister Louis Farrakhan:
"Because as a youngster I longed to see the Black man free and I longed to see anyone stand up for us."
SIDEBAR: I thought the web site finaltrumpet.org was for Farrakhan's publication, but it turns out that the web page belongs to an evangelical Christian group!!!!!
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
This is meant to complement my quip from another film director John Ford on my other blog "The Daily Vampire."
Both quotes were supposed to run yesterday, which was Pearl Harbor Day, but perhaps it is just as well that I am posting them today.
Akira Kurosawa is considered by many to be Japan's best film director of all time though Ozu and Oshima* fans might dispute that!:
"Japan does not understand very well that one of its proudest cultural achievements is in film."
*- We believe Nagisha Oshima is the only one of these three Japanese directors mentioned here to still be alive.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
If anyone has listened to the NPR quiz show "Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me," they are probably familiar with writer/actor MoRocca who is known for his eccentric quips.
Here are some that he posted on Twitter recently:
"Meredith Baxter comes out. Don't expect drama, people. Alex P. Keaton was always more of a fiscal conservative."
"Like most Americans, I demand a timetable for withdrawal of the Salahis from the media spotlight."
"Thanks to his wife, Tiger Woods get his first handicap."
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
This reminds me of the "Curb Your Enthuiasm" episode in the show's sixth season where Kevin Farley, who played Michael Moore in the politically conservative slapstick comedy "An American Carol" (which tanked at the box office), playing the part of an exterminator inadvertently stomps on a dog because he thinks it's a rat.
Zhu Zhu Pets retail for a mere nine dollars, but because they are hard to find (Wal-Mart and Target have both sold out of them), they now sell on amazon.com for approximately $60!
I would sooner take my daughter (if I had one) to a Britney Spears concert!
Monday, November 30, 2009
This list compliments my Top Five Most Depressing Films List on my other blog, "The Daily Vampire."
I must admit I am putting "Red Dawn" on the list because I don't care for the film's far-right political view especially since now appears that a Russian invasion of America will never happen. But, amazingly enough, the film is being remade!
I don't care for "Midnight Express" because the film is offensive to those of us of Turkish heritage for MANY reasons (if you see the film, it will be obvious).
"Triumph of the Will" is a Nazi propaganda film.
"The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover" is an art film which features cannibalism.
And, our most offensive film "Cannibal Holocaust" was an Italian shock horror film which actually features a real brutal murder of a Gallapagos turtle on camera. The sex scenes in the film are reportedly real, and it is believed to be an inspiration for "The Blair Witch Project."
I should add that I've never seen "Pink Flamingos." "Birth of a Nation" was considered as was the over-the-top Japanese horror film "Audition." And, I actually like the highly controversial documentary "Zoo" about a Seattle man who had sex with a horse because the film is both highly original and it does examine what lead the man to his weird sexuality as opposed to exploiting what he did. Nevertheless, many people have argued me with me for my opinion of that film!
But, hopefully I am not the only person who was taken back by these five films:
1. "Cannibal Holocaust"
2. "Midnight Express"
3. "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover."
4. "Triumph of the Will"
5. "Red Dawn"
PS_ We left out "I Spit On Your Grave!" Definitely an oversight....oh well!
PPS_ My friend Joe Scott in Greensboro, NC, is screening the highly offensive Santa slasher film "Silent Night, Deadly Night" tonight......that's definitely a film I could NEVER show in class.
We quoted Bob Dylan on our other blog "The Daily Vampire" last week, and we decided to do the same thing here this week since he has a new holiday cd called "Christmas in the Heart," his 47th record, available in stores now.
I originally got the idea to quote Dylan because of a wonderful painting of him that I saw at the Back Street Buzz Coffee House in Reidsville, NC.
This weekend, I found out that through the NPR show "Sound Opinions" that Dylan has released a new album. Alas, the show said the cd is not particularly good, though I feel guilty about revealing that here since sales from the release, which includes the new single "Must Be Santa," are going to the Feeding America charity.
But, I have not heard the record myself and we certainly commend Dylan for contributing to a generous cause.
Here is this week's quote:
"A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do."
Sunday, November 29, 2009
This entry will seem ironic to many of you who are familiar with my politics. I jokingly say that would likely vote for a Democrat over a Republican even if Howard the Duck* was the candidate though there are a select few GOP members who I might well pull the lever for including my good friend Cong. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).
But, as a political junkie, I have to state who I think will likely run against President Barack Obama in 2012 since the process will get underway in a mere ten months, which illustrates how insane the American electoral process has become.
Most of these entries are either present or former governors of current senators, with the exceptions of Cong. Eric Cantor (R-Va) and former house speaker Newt Gingrich.
Here are my predictions (yes, #10 is a bit of a joke):
1. Mitt Romney (pictured)
2. Bobby Jindal
3. Tim Pawlenty
4. Sarah Palin?!
5. Mike Huckabee
6. Eric Cantor
7. Newt Gingrich
8. Lindsay Graham
9. Charlie Crist
10. Joe Lieberman
We are going to be adding some new links within the week to the liberal magazine "The Nation" and from the other side of the spectrum the intriguing, libertarian magazine "Reason," which is focusing on the late author Ayn Rand for its cover story.
*-Howard the Duck actually 'ran for president' during several issues of the Marvel Comics' series back in 1976.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Today's entry is focusing on Minneapolis mayor RT Rybak, but rather than giving biographical info on the mayor, we thought we just go with some recent tweets that he has posted on Twitter.
Since starting this series, I have become more interested in mayors and I am now following some 15-20 on Twitter, including Mayor Kevin Foy of Chapel Hill, NC, who was the subject of our very first entry in this series.
The first of Rybak's tweets is a rather moving and poignant one:
"Please take a minute to remember Kahn Xiang, the Hmong soldier from Minnesota who died at Fort Hood. His memorial is today."
"Great---really great---to have our kids from college for the Holiday. Happy Thanksgiving everyone."
"Thanks St. Paul for letting us have Prairie Home for the night."
My good friend Les Blank, who in my view is one of America's best documentary filmmakers, turned 74 on Friday.
Blank is known for making films about the film-making process as well as docs which focus on either a music genre or a specific musician like the late blues legend Lightning Hopkins who was the subject of a film that Blank made.
He is best known for his film "Burden of Dreams" (1982) about the making of the epic Werner Herzog film "Fitzcarraldo," which is perhaps the most difficult film title to spell (we double-checked it here in fact). The German film was filmed in the Amazon jungles of Peru and many things went wrong on the set, including a plot by some natives to actually kill the film's star Klaus Kinski!
Other Blank films include "Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe" (1980), "Garlic Is As Good As Ten Mothers" (1980), "In Heaven, There Is No Beer?" (1984), "Gap-Toothed Women" (1987) and his most recent film "All This Tea" (2007).
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Turkey Day greetings from Stephen Colbert's home state (he is from Charleston, SC) where we just ate a turkey and HAM Thanksgiving dinner here in Rock Hill (don't tell my Turkish relatives!).
Perhaps, my cousin Michael and I would play a round of golf except all the golf courses are closed and I play as well as former basketball star Charles Barkley!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Wow! I had a lot of technical difficulties putting this entry up! And, as a result, we are going with the only image of Brooke Burke which might be suitable for those of you checking us out in Karachi or Kandahar.........(hey my late father came from Turkey so I can make fun of Muslim countries, right?!) Actually, Karachi or Kandahar might be more progressive than the town I actually live in, which is not Bethasda, Md. (ok I live in the South, 'nuff said!).
Here is an actual celbrity tweet which Burke posted on Twitter just a short while ago, which proves that good-looking girls can in fact be quite dumb (did I just say that?!):
"Just snuck out for a Mani-pedi while dinner is cooking. I'm looking forward to a quite family dinner before the storm manana. Lol."
We couldn't have made this up if we tried!
To compliment our quote from Bob Dylan on our other blog "The Daily Vampire," we thought we'd quip the late Elvis Presley here.
If it were not for the fact that I was posting this from a public library in Bethesda, Md. (not where I really am!) which does not allow access to YouTube, I would post a video from 'The Turkish Elvis' Nevrez Caliskan, the 2008 European Elvis Impersonator champion, performing "Viva Las Vegas!" Apparently, Nevrez is so popular that he has even performed in Houston!
There is also a Russian emigre rock/swing band called The Red Elvises, which really bear no resemblance to the pride of Tupelo, Miss. But, they are performing close to their home turf (the band is based in Santa Monica, Cal.) with shows in Berkeley, Cal., on Friday, Nov. 26, Santa Cruz, Cal., on Nov. 27 and a performance in Sacramento on Nov. 28.
Similary a friend of mine's band Kyle Van Band performs at the Lighthouse Cafe in Hermosa Beach, Cal., on Nov. 28. Perhaps, they will come 'up here' to suburban Maryland some time soon as well!
PS-Ooooops! I forgot to post Elvis' quip! Here it is:
"Don't criticize what you don't understand, son. You never walked in that man's shoes."
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Since "Sesame Street" is celebrating its 40th anniversary, and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will be held on Thursday in New York, we thought we'd go with this image of Kermit the Frog. Maybe it's because my dad came from a Muslim country (Turkey), but I think he can do better than Miss Piggy.........
If you can't get a Greyhound bus ticket from Roanoke, Va., or whichever town you might be in, you can always watch the festivities on NBC. And, then you can watch the Detroit Lions get destroyed by the Green Bay Packers.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Since we partial to Rowdy Red, the retired mascot of Radford University, my alma mater in Radford, Va., we thought we'd go with this image.
Alas, my Highlanders lost to Duke University in men's basketball by a 104-67 margin in Durham, NC, on Saturday afternoon.
But, we are hoping that RU will bounce back and my pounce Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC, on Dec. 3, especially since that is my cousin Michael's alma mater!
Since I have been accused of being both a socialist and a Republican (depending on if the person is far-right or far-left) I am quoting Jane Fonda and Barry Goldwater (1909-1998) on my two respective blogs.
Here is the quote from the former Arizona senator, who wasn't too found of the late Jerry Falwell (when they were both alive). Goldwater lost to LBJ in the 1964 presidnetial election:
"It's a great country, where anybody can grow up to be president.....except me"
Thursday, November 19, 2009
As I said when I posted this list on my Facebook, "Let the controversy begin." My favorite film of the year, which you will see here on the list was just released on dvd as was the film version of "Star Trek" (#9 here).
2. "Cold Souls"
3. "The Hurt Locker"
4. "The Hangover"
5. "Where the Wild Things Are"
7. "Summer Hours" (France)
8. "Food Inc"
9. "Star Trek"
10. Inglorious Basterds"
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
......With the internet, with work, with my personal life, with politics, with sports, with films, with people, with everything bascially.............
But, having said all that, of course we will be back tomorrow with another interesting and entertaining blog entry.