Monday, November 30, 2009

Random Top Five Offensive Films List

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.

Quote of the Week- Bob Dylan

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

My Top Ten Likely Republicans Likely to Run List

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

Know Your Mayors (14 of 21)- RT Rybak of Minneapolis

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."

Happy Birthday, Les Blank

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

Happy Thanksgiving from Stephen Colbert!

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

Celebrity Tweets- Brooke Burke

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!

Special Quote of the Week- Elvis Presley

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

Silly Photo to Fill Space- Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

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

Duke Beats Radford University in Men's Basketball

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!

Quote of the Week- Barry Goldwater (not his son)

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

My Top 10 Films of 2009 (so far!)

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).

1. "Bruno"
2. "Cold Souls"
3. "The Hurt Locker"
4. "The Hangover"
5. "Where the Wild Things Are"
6. "Tyson"
7. "Summer Hours" (France)
8. "Food Inc"
9. "Star Trek"
10. Inglorious Basterds"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Am Burned Out!

......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.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Silly Photo to Fill Space- Elvis Meets Nixon

This still has to one of the best portrait photos ever taken!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Quote of the Week- David Byrne

Today we are quoting David Byrne whose band Talking Heads (no longer together) are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

The museum is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Byrne is also an artist, photographer, filmmaker and author.

His latest book "Bicycle Diaries," which features an entry on Istanbul, Turkey, where my father's side of the family hails from, is in book stores now.

It has recieved favorable reviews from "Rolling Stone" and "The Seattle Times."

I suppose this quote is really true if you happen to be on a bicycle!:

"I never listen to the radio unless I rent a car."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Know Your Mayors (12 of 21) Joe Riley of Charleston, SC

Today we feature one of America's longest serving mayors as we profile Joe Riley (D) of Charleston, SC, who was first elected in 1975.

Riley was born in 1943, and he is an alumnus of The Citadel, a military college located in Charleston.

Now in his ninth term, Riley--- according to The City of Charleston's web site--- has helped the city increase its commitment to racial harmony and progress, achieve a substantial decrease in crime and assisted in the revitalization of the city's downtown.

Riley has won many state and national awards, including being named Municipal Leader of the Year by American City and County in 1991.

Riley is also a member of the bipartisan Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, and he was mayor when Charleston was struck by the devastation of Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

UPDATES- There are some changes to mayors that we have previously featured in this series. While Bill Bell (D) remains the mayor of Durham, NC, Yvonne Johnson (D) was defeated in a shocking upset by Republican challenger Bill Knight. Charlotte, NC's new mayor-elect Anthony Foxx (D) will replace retiring Republican mayor Pat McCrory, who unsucesfully ran for governor last year.

And, Mark Kleinschmidt (D) takes over as Chapel Hill, NC, mayor replacing Kevin Foy (D) who chose not to run for another. Foy endorsed Kleinschmidt in that election.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Special Quote of the Day- Frank Capra

Today in honor of Veteran's Day, we are quoting two filmmakers who served in World War II. Both were generations apart and they had different views of the world, but undoubtedly both Robert Altman and Frank Capra (who will be quoted here) had a tremendosu impact on film.

The quote from Altman can be found on our sister blog "The Daily Vampire."

My late grandfather Donald Sullivan also served during WW II.

Here is the quote from the director of "It's a Wonderful Life:"

"Film is one of the three universal languages, the other two: mathematics and science."

Special Quote of the Day- Jim Henson

To celebrate, the 40th anniversary of "Sesame Street," which is just a few months older than me, we are going to quip the show's founder Jim Henson:

"It has always been difficult get Big Bird pretty. Big Bird in England is much more gorgeous."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Zip Code USA- Berlin, New Hampshire 03570

Today we are featuring a city of 10,000 residents nestled in the White Mountains of northern New Hampshire.

Berlin, NH, was featured in John Irving's novel "The Hotel New Hampshire," which later made into a film with Rob Lowe.

03570 was also visited by the likes of John McCain and Hillary Clinton during the days and weeks prior to the last New Hampshire Primary.

The city is nicknamed the The City That Trees Built, and it was a mostly farming community with 65 residents during the 19th century.

Berlin, NH, is also the place where America's first ski club was founded in 1882.

And, the city was the place of residence for Earl Silas Tupper (1907-1983) who founded Tupperware.

This concludes our series of entries devouted to the falling of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Silly Photo to Fill Space- Wall Art

And, I thought posting blog entries took up a lot of time!

This is the second of our entries devouted to the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

Special Quote of the Day- David Bowie

Since this week marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, we thought we'd quote a singer who was part of the legendary Berlin music scene in West Berlin in the 1970s...........and that singer is David Bowie.

There is an interesting new film "Moon," now out on dvd, from Bowie's son Duncan Jones.

Here is the quip:

I'm not a prophet or a stone aged man, just a mortal with potential of a superman. I'm living on."

Monday, November 9, 2009

Quote of the Week- Jean-Luc Godard

Last week, on our sister blog "The Daily Vampire," we quipped that we had quoted John Waters more than any other film director except Woody Allen and Jean-Luc Godard.

Today, we are hence quoting both of them.

The latest Godard film available on dvd appears to be "Notre Musique" (2004), which I gave a modest six out of ten on the Internet Movie Database.

Here is this quote which Quentin Tarantino, a devout fan of Godard, who turns 79 on Dec. 3, seems to have taken to heart:

"A story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end.....but, not neccesarily in that order."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Facebook Messages We'd Really Like to Post

Why was Fred Flintstone a Republican?

Because he went barefoot, lived in the Stone Ages and drove an American car.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Far-Right Republican Becomes Governor of Virginia

The National Rifle Association (NRA), The Heritage Foundation and The Christian Coalition now have one of their own (two of these groups are based in Virginia!) as arch conservative, fringe right-winger Bob McDonnell has been elected governor of Virginia.

McDonnell, who beat moderate Democrat Creigh Deeds, is an alumnus of Pat Robertson's Regent University. At a debate at Roanoke College in Salem, Va., McDonnell pledged that he would be a moderate governor in spite of his staunch pro-life, Christian right views.

This is a very sad day for all Virginians, and it should be a lesson to fellow Democrats, independents and even moderate Republicans that if you become politically apathetic, these guys can win and then we must all suffer the consequences as it happened when George W. Bush became our president for eight long years.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Special Quote of the Day- Chevy Chase

According to my friend Moviezzz's blog, one of my all-time favorite cinematic flops, "Under the Rainbow" (1981) is finally being released on dvd today.

The movie revolves around what may have gone on during the production of the movie "The Wizard of Oz."

It has been 28 years since I saw the film as an 11-year-old child, but I still remember how remarkably bad it was.

The film actually had a very talented cast, including Chevy Chase, Carrie Fisher and the late Bill Barty (actually, I should double-check to see if he is indeed dead on the IMDB- yes sorry to say he died in 2000.)

I quoted Fisher on our sister blog "The Daily Vampire."

Here, we go with a quip from Chevy Chase, who now stars in the NBC sitcom "Community," which alas comes on Thursday nights when I have to teach, though "Rolling Stone" said in a recent article that it is indeed a good show.

Chase turned 68 on Oct. 8.

Since today is Election Day in Virginia and New Jersey (for gubernatorial races) his quote seems all the more appropriate:

"Anyone who wants to run has to be a Jimmy Swaggart, minus the default."

Monday, November 2, 2009

Silly Photo to Fill Space- Dog Washing

We normally post the Silly Pictures to Fill space pieces on Tuesday, but today we are posting it on Monday to make everyone in Virginia aware that tomorrow is Election Day.

And, I desperately want to see Democratic state senator Creigh Deeds from Hot Springs, Va., beat out his far right opponent.

If you are a Virginia resident and you happen to see this, I will come to your house and wash your dog if Deeds wins tomorrow. I don't care if you live in Roanoke, Charlottesville, Grundy, Arlington, Woodstock, Abingdon, Boones Mill, Hopewell, Danville, Floyd or Newport News. We really, really need this one folks!

I wish I could do more but alas I live just over the border in North Carolina now.

I also want to mention that there is an animal shelter in my hometown of Salem, Va., which desperately needs folks to adopt animals, so this is not a mere political entry, but I do sincerely believe that Deeds' opponent Bob McDonnell will be a nightmare for Virginia in the same way that George W. Bush was for us as Americans.

Quote of the Week- Alan Ball

We are quipping playwright/screenwriter/tv producer Alan Ball whose HBO shows "Six Feet Under" and "True Blood" have been among the most inevetive shows to air in recent years.

Ball, along with the likes of John Waters, will be a guest at the Virginia Film Festival in Charlottesville this weekend.

I recently watched all 63 episodes of "Six Weeks Under" over a three-month period. It was certainly an interesting show, and after watching an episode where a man lost his life through a freak elevator accident, I will probably be more inclined to use the stairs!

Ball's quote here is in reference to "Six Feet Under":

"What the series is all about is: We die. So while we're here, let's live fully."

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Know Your Mayors (Entry 11) Charlotte's Pat McCrory

The state of North Carolina will see many municipal elections on Tuesday, but few will probably be as closely watched as the one to replace current mayor Pat McCrory.

McCrory is the longest-serving mayor in the Queen City's history as he is now finishing up his seventh two-year term. The current election will mark the first time that McCrory has not been on the municipal ballot in 20 years.

The Republican Charlotte mayor ran for governor in 2008, but lost to current governor Beverly Perdue.

McCrory is an alumnus of Ragsdale High School in Jamestown, NC (outside Greensboro and High Point) and Catawba College in Salisbury, NC. He worked for Duke Energy for many years before turning his attention to civic politics.

McCrory has managed to become a long-serving mayor in spite of the fact that Democrats and independents in Charlotte outnumber Republicans by a three-to-one margin. According to today's "Charlotte Observer," the mayor has a sixty percent approval rating.

The mayor is credited with lowering Charlotte's violent crime rate by adding 330 new police officers. He is also lauded for bringing the NASCAR Hall of Fame to the Queen City.

Charlotte is the 18th largest city in America with a population of 687,456. The city's suburbs now stretch into South Carolina, and include my mom's hometown of Rock Hill, SC, which was once a college town with a farming community. The city has grown by 20 percent since McCrory was first elected.

UPDATE: Democrat Anthony Foxx won the highly contested election.

The race for McCrory's succesor will between Democrat Anthony Foxx, and African-American who is 38, and Republican John Lassiter who is 55.