Sunday, January 31, 2010
"Eat, Drink and be merry for we may get #@%&*$ snowed in tomorrow."
Yes, it has been a bit tough on those of us who live in Virginia and North Carolina (I divide my time between both states) and other states in the South- though the storm also affected Maryland and Oklahoma, which to my knowledge are not southern states, but perhaps there is someone in Baltimore and Tulsa who would want to argue with me on that.
If you are a William Shakespeare fan, you might want to check out a performance of "Twelth Night" in Staunton, Va., should you be traveling between Roanoke, Va., and Washington, DC. The production is going on right now as we speak (well, not literally as it is two a.m. now).
But, you may want to call their number 1-877-MUCH-ADO or visit their web site (americanshakespearecenter.com) in case the area gets hit with a third major winter storm to see if "Twelth Night" or their other plays will be performed as scheduled.
Snowfall accumulations for most zip codes in Virginia and North Carolina ranged from five inches to just over a foot. I gather that Lexington, NC, and Martinsville, Va., were among the towns with the most snowfall totals in their respective regions.
Many school systems in southwestern Virginia and northwester/north central North Carolina are scheduled to be closed on Monday, so I guess some ninth graders will have an extra day to work on their "Romeo and Juliet" book reports.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
It was not the actor The Rock, but rather the subject of his now famous "Saturday Night Live" skits President Barack Obama who joined Vice President Joe Biden along with other members of his inner circle to watch the Georgetown Hoyas upset the visiting Duke University Blue Devils at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC, by a 89-77 score this afternoon.
When the game tipped off at 1:00 p.m. eastern time, the DC area did not yet see the incoming snowstorm which had hit much of Virginia and North Carolina (see our entry in The Daily Vampire) including the Duke U campus in Durham, NC.
During the second half, Obama made a surprise visit to the CBS booth where he joked with announcer Clark Kelogg, who was once a Big Ten basketball star, that he might have to replace Kelogg in 'three years or seven years.' Some conservative-leaning media outlets are already making the highly ridicilous suggestion that Obama was hinting that he might not seek reelection.
When the announcers asked if the left-handed Obama ever went to his right, the president again jovially said that he went to his 'right' when he met with Congressional Republicans in Baltimore on Friday.
The Baltimore gathering provided a limelight moment for Cong. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), a congressional freshman who represents the Provo, Utah, region-considered by many to be one of the most conservative areas in America.
Lee Davidson of "The Deseret News" in Salt Lake City reported that Chaffetz confronted the president for a number of verbal inconsistencies including a pledge to hold health care hearings in the public arena through C-Span.
Obama responded by telling Chaffetz that:
"That (the hearings) was a messy process. And I take responsibility for not having structured it in a way where it was taking place in one place where it could not be filmed."
Chaffetz told the SLC newspaper that he had a friendly talk with Obama afterwards:
"I think it's positive that we are able to have this kind of dialogue and hopefully move forward."
On his Twitter page, Chaffetz has voiced many political objections to the Obama administration. In one tweet, he said that he was opposed to the discontinuation of the 'don't ask, don't tell policy' regarding gays and lesbians in the military on the grounds that such measures should not be taken when the United States is involved with two wars.
As for Obama, he also met with former president George HW Bush and former Florida govenror Jeb Bush at the White House prior to the Hoyas-Blue Devils basketball game.
NPR said Obama was blackberrying throughout the game, and that he made no indication of which team he was rooting for.
It would have been interesting to hear comments from Duke's Coach K after the game. The long-time Blue Devils coach is a Republican though he is not known to use his position for campaign trail purposes (his long-time rival former UNC coach Dean Smith is a Democrat who vocally endorsed Obama in the North Carolina Primary), but one of the Duke coach's former players is a staff member for President Obama.
Friday, January 29, 2010
"Up in the Air" is my film of the year, and I am pleased that my friend Joe Scott a film enthuiast/critic in Greensboro, NC, has agreed with me. "Film Comment" magazine named "The Hurt Locker" best film of the year in their annual survey.
Here is a slightly updated film from an entry I posted in December:
1. "Up in the Air"
2. "The Lovely Bones"
4. "Three Monkeys" (Turkey)
5. "The Fantastic Mr. Fox"
6. "An Education"
8. "The Hurt Locker"
9. "Where the Wild Things Are"
10. "A Serious Man"
11. "Cold Souls"
13. "Summer Hours" (France)
15. "Tyson" (doc)
16. "The Hangover"
17. "The Informant!"
18. "Star Trek"
19. "The Box"
20. "Inglorious Basterds"
21. "Bad Lt: Port Call New Orleans"
22. "Public Enemies"
23. "500 Days of Summer"
24. "Food Inc." (doc)
With the death of author J.D. Salinger, best known for his landmark novel "The Catcher in the Rye," a number of great tributes have been surfacing on the web, including a touching one from my Moviezzz on his blog http://www.moviezzz.blogspot.com
There have also been a number of interesting stories about the reclusive author who lived in Cornish, NH.
One of those was written by "Washington Post" reporter Ian Shapira in today's online edition of the newspaper. Shapira reported that George Mason University (Fairfax, Va.) professor of English Roger Lathbury decided on a lark to contact Salinger about the unlikely possibility of publishing Salinger's short story "Hapworth 16, 1924" from his small publishing outfit in Alexandria, Va.
Amazingly enough, Salinger wrote back! And, the author said: "I'll think about it."
The rest of the story sounds a bit like the 1980 film "Melvin and Howard" about an ordinary man who becomes friends with Howard Hughes (also a recluse).
Salinger contacted Lathbury again in 1996 and for a short while gave the green light. This lead to the two meeting in secret at the cafteria of the National Gallery Art Museum in Washington, DC, but ultimately word of Lathbury's aims got leaked and Salinger changed his mind. The two ended up not speaking to each other again.
I read another Salinger encounter of sorts in "Interview" magazine in which actress Winona Ryder, a devout Salinger fan (like film director Wes Anderson), sent back Salinger's autograph which her ex-boyfriend Johnny Depp gave her while they were dating. Ryder felt that she was violating the author's privacy by owning the highly covted autograph. Salinger wrote back and simply said: "Thank you"
Thursday, January 28, 2010
As a centrist Democrat, I'm sometimes in a quandry about what to think of left-wing intellectuals. There are times when I completely agree with them, like their complaints about George W. Bush's dubious decision to invade Iraq, but there are times when I am soldly against them, like when they say President Barack Obama has too many Wall Street influences (just how can one become president of the country without those connections?).
But, regardless of how one percieves Howard Zinn, arguably the most recognized left-wing intellectual in America for a generation, it does seem fair to say that the world will simply not be the same without him.
Alex Green, an independent bookstore owner in the Boston area, wrote on "The Huffington Post" that Zinn's influence can be seen all over his store.
Noam Chomsky, a contemporary of Zinn's, told "The Boston Globe" that Zinn made a significant contribution to America's moral and intellectual culture.
Zinn also had celebrity friends like actors Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, who mentioned Zinn's work in their Academy Award-winning screenplay for the film "Good Will Huntin."
Affleck told "The Boston Globe" that Zinn had one of the greatest minds in American political life.
Zinn, a long-time professor at Boston University, is best known for his 1980 book "A People's History of the United States," which was recently made into a History Channel docuemtary entitled "The People Speak."
He is also known for his sentiment that one 'can't be neutral.'
SIDEBAR: Though I don't like to focus on crime stories since it detracts from what I aim for on this blog, it would be morally wrong of me not to mention the brutal Morgana Harington slaying, especially since I hail from Roanoke, Va., where she was from. Harington's body was found near Charlottesville, Va., earlier this week. She had disappeared after a Metallica concert in Charlottesville in October. Harington was a student at Virginia Tech. The Washington, DC, radio station WTOP said that Metallica posted a message on their web site expressing their condolences to the Harington family. As an opponent of capital punishment who has been involved with Virginians for Alternative to the Death Penatly (VADP), I am outraged by those who suggest that those with my views sympathize more for the criminals who undertake such horrific crimes than the victims themselves. I certainly hope law enforcement officials find the person responsible for this awful act soon.
SIDEBAR TWO: There are other stories we are working on, and I hope to post my TOP 25 Films of the Year List here very, very soon!
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
A Turkish Angora Cat (pictured here) was among those I saw at a cat show in Roanoke, Va., over the weekend. The cat's owner told me that there is a specialized zoo for these cats in Ankara, Turkey. My late uncle Ilhan Gokbudak, a Turkish diplomat who gave me the autograph of Chilean dictator Pinochet (!) actually lived in Ankara. Alas, he is dead now, so I can't ask him to verify this for me.
But, I can say that there are many cats out there who need a home (Alas, I already have a tuxedo cat named Gizmo- and, he is quit a handful!).
There are several animal shelters in North Carolina with pet adoption services.
These include the Orange County Animal Shelter which has a main branch in Hillsborough, NC, (they have two other shelters in the county including one in Chapel Hill) which currently has a tuxedo cat named Missy, a black cat named Mungo and another black cat named Crumper. They can be reached at 919-732-8181.
Another animal shelter in the Triad (Greensboro) area is the Rockingham County Animal Shelter in Reidsville, NC, which is currently offering several cats for adoption. Among them are a tabby named Houdini, a tuxedo cat named Gene Kelly and another tuxedo cat named Fred Astaire.
My good friend Moviezzz can probably name every Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly movie off the top of his head, but the only I can come up with are "Top Hat" and "Singing in the Rain," respectively!
...........the 1983 smash hit song "Burning Down the House" by Talking Heads at Izzy's Coffee Den in Asheville, NC*, on Monday night.
The reaction of the crowd was well stunned?!
I am an unabashed huge fan of Talking Heads. I recently finished reading the lead singer David Byrne's book "Bicycling Diaries" in which he described how surreal it was to witness a Filipino man karaoking "Burning..." at a bar in Manila. One can only image what he would think of my 'rendition.'
*-Not the actual coffeehouse where I sang karaoke, but if you are a friend of mine I might tell you the actual place!
Monday, January 25, 2010
Before I start typing away here, I do want to mention that I am certainly NOT the first person to satire Mitch Albom's book "The Five People You Meet in Heaven." In fact, I found out while researching this piece that there is a satire book entitled (obviously!) "The Five People You Meet in Hell" by Rich Pablom.
I have read neither book, but I made a quick list of five people I would meet if well, things didn't 'quite work out:'
1) Jay Leno- Yes, like all Conan O'Brien fans I hate this guy's guts. My blogger friend Phil Nugent has a great link on his blog to another blog which proclaims that Leno is Satan himself. No disagreement here! The blog "Stuff White People Like" also has a feature on Conan. I think Leno is hip for those who always vote Republican, go to evangelical churches, or watch Lawrence Welk and reruns of "Are You Being Served?"
Even my 70-year-old mom prefers David Letterman.
2)Pat Robertson- He should be numero uno actually. A letter-to-the-editor in "The Roanoke Times" (Roanoke, Va.) actually praised this evil tv evangelist for his comments about how Haiti's earthquake disaster was caused by a pact with Hot Stuff. A letter I have written to a newspaper in Greensboro, NC, condemning Robertson has alas yet to be published?!
3) Recep Tayyip Erdogan- This man is the prime minister of my late father's country Turkey. People of Greek and Armenian heritage seem to arbitrarily hate anyone who is Turkish, which is of course NOT the reason I hate this man. In fact, they are the few people who have ever made me defend him! But, Turkey's first openly Muslim fundamentalist PM has been a nightmare from day one. A Turkish friend of mine called him "The Turkish Bush." His wife wears a head scarf and he can't speak English?! His diplomatic skills are horrible though like his American counterpart Erdogan does connect with rural people. Erdogan also made a bonehead remark on "The Charlie Rose Show" critisizing Israel while defending Ankara's working relationship with Iran. All of this makes me want to reach for the raki* bottle!
*-A Turkish alcoholic drink similar to the Greek drink Ouzo. It is potent to put someone on their %$&!
4) Dick Cheney- I think even if I were a Republican I would believe this man was an agent of Satan himself!
5) Sarah Palin- She is Dick Cheney minus the brain and .............well, this is a family blog! (see Cheney's first name)
My friend Brian Clarey, managing editor of "Yes Weekly!" in Greensboro, NC, was one of the very few people who openly rooted for the surprising New Orleans Saints before the NFL season started.
Now he will joined thousands of us bandwagoners in rooting for the Saints.
The choice is rather easy for me as my favorite team is the Baltimore Ravens. For those of you in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, it should be mentioned that the Indianapolis Colts (who will plays the Saints in the Super Bowl) originated in Baltimore.
Rightie publications like "The Rhinoceros Times" in Greensboro, NC, have been gloating since
Mass. state senator Scott Brown won a highly coveted U.S. Senate seat that was held by Ted Kennedy, who died on Aug. 25, 2005.
Many of these dittoheads have said that Brown won because of the health care legislation problems on The Hill, but my friend Moviezzz, who lives in Springfield, Mass., said the reality was far more complicated as Brown's opponent ran a highly dubious campaign (hence the reason why we are NOT mentioning her name!).
Nevertheless, we expect these Glenn Beck disciples will not quiet down anytime soon, but in the meantime, we have this quote from Ted Kennedy, who was also the subject of a mini series of articles in "The Boston Globe:"
"It's better to send in the Peace Corps than the Marine Corps."
UPDATE: I just read an entry from my friend Phil Nugent's blog "The Phil Nugent Experience" which revealed that Scott Brown was a Cosmo pinup boy! I'm sure the Family Values of the GOP is doing backflips like Mary Lou Retton!
Thursday, January 21, 2010
As many who follow this and my other blog The Daily Vampire regularly (all three of you) might know, I have REALLY gotten into sports a lot within the last three or four months.
I am really following the NBA like a hoops fanatic, even to the point where I stay up late to check the score of a meaningless L.A. Clippers game on the West coast.
On Friday night, there will be 13 games, which means all but four NBA teams will be in action.
ESPN will televise the game between the L.A. Lakers and the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden starting at 8 p.m. The late game will be between the visiting Chicago Bulls and the Phoenix Suns. The Lakers should win even they're on the road since they have a better team than the Knicks, even though the New Yorkers have improved this year.
I think the Suns will probably beat the Bulls though they had an awful East coast road trip, and the Bulls are better this year though they have a long way to go before replicating the glory years.
Other games will include a talented young Sacramento Kings squad visiting Florida for a game with the Orlando Magic. The Milwaukee Bucks go to Canada to face the Toronto Raptors, which features Turkish player Hedo Turkoglu, one of my favorite players in the NBA (alas Toronto is not scheduled to be on national tv in the United States this year). The Bucks have a great rookie player named Brandon Jennings, whom I'm told is a delight to watch (the Bucks aren't on tv much either).
The struggling Miami Heat head to DC to play the Washington Wizards, who are also having hard times since star player Gilbert Arenas is indefinitely suspended for a gun-in-the-locker-room fiasco. The Portland Trail Blazers play the Boston Celtics in bean town. Both teams are playing well right now.
A hot Charlotte Bobcats team travels to Georgia to play an exceptional Atlanta Hawks team. And, the game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies in Elvis country should be a dandy as the Thunder has a terrific second-year player named Kevin Durant (who you can follow on Twitter) and the Grizzlies have an exceptional young player out of USC named O.J. Mayo.
Here are my picks for Friday night's games. The star denotes an upset pick:
Orlando Magic over Sacramento Kings
Dallas Mavericks over Philly '76ers
Toronto Raptors over Milwaukee Bucks
Miami Heat over Washington Wizards
Charlotte Bobcats over Atlanta Hawks*
Boston Celtics over Portland Trail Blazers
Detroit Pistons over Indy Pacers
Ok City Thunder over Memphis Grizzlies
New Orleans Hornets over Minnesota Timberwolves
New York Knicks over L.A. Lakers*
Houston Rockets over San Antonio Spurs*
Phoenix Suns over Chicago Bulls
Golden State Warriors over New Jersey Nets
UPDATE_ I went 7-6 with these picks, which is pretty bad but not as futile as the New Jersey Nets' record which is like 3-40 (not kidding!).
The Friday night winners were Orlando, Philly, Toronto, Miami, Atlanta, Boston (in OT), Indy, Memphis, New Orleans, LA Lakers, Houston, Chicago and (of course!) Golden State.
Haitian-born Philadelphia '76ers player Samuel Dalembert traveled to Haiti along with former NBA star Alzono Mourning to help relief efforts there this week. They went there along with members of the charity group Project MediShare.
Here is a part of Dalembert's statement about the visit:
"I tried to be strong," Dalembert said. "But that was enough for me. There are a lot of homeless children looking families and the situation is so critical there. So many people lost everything."
We have a sister entry about this matter on our sister blog "The Daily Vampire."
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
We are posting silly pictures of major league baseball mascots this week, including this one of the New York Mets, which seems silly in itself, since baseball is one of the very few sports not being played right now..........Puerto Rico not withstanding!
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which was Monday_ for those of you who are blogging from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, we will be quoting one of America's earliest Civil Rights leader Frederick Douglass (don't forget the second 's'):
"At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed."
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Today we continue our long-running series on American mayors with a profile of Salt Lake City, Utah's mayor Ralph Becker (b. 1952) who has been mayor of the Utah capital since 2008.
Becker (D) was preceded by outspoken liberal mayor Rocky Anderson, who served from 2000-08. Anderson established SLC's Green Program. He was also surprisingly friends with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. The two worked together in bringing the Winter Olympics to SLC.
Becker was a member of the Utah House of Delegates from 1996-2007, and he served as the House Democratic Leader.
Though Utah is among the reddest states in the union, SLC usually votes Democratic.
Becker's career has been mostly in Urban Planning, though he also worked for the National Parks Service in his younger years. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Utah.
Becker is also an avid skier, which might be a hard thing for Mayor Mufi Hannemann (he is the mayor of Honolulu!). But, I presume that Becker is not much of a surfer either.
Friday, January 15, 2010
If it seems like I am posting a lot of entries about my alma mater Radford University in Radford, Va., it is because the school is celbrating its 100th anniversary this year. And, the Radford Highlanders's men's basketball team is getting a lot of media attention for a small school as they continue to post wins in Big South Conference play.
On Sat., the Highlanders travel to Charleston, SC, to face Charleston Southern University for a 7 p.m. game.
My cousin Mike happens to an alum of Big South rival Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC. The Eagles are also in action this weekend.
Here is a list of games, some of which might be televised in their given region:
UNC-Asheville @ Liberty- 7 p.m.
Gardner-Webb@ VMI- 7 p.m.
Wintrop @ Presbyterian- 7 p.m.
Other games in our area outside the Big South and ACC include:
UNC-Greensboro @ App. St.- 3 p.m.
Howard @ North Carolina A & T- 4 p.m.
VCU @ Georgia St.- 6 p.m.
LaSalle @ Richmond- 4 p.m.
George Mason @ JMU- 2 p.m.
Elon @ W. Carolina- 7 p.m.
In terms of college gymnastics, the Southesatern Conference is the premiere conference for the sport. This week, all seven SEC teams (five SEC schools do not gymnastics programs) are nationally ranked including Alabama (#4), Arkansas (#7), Florida (#8), Auburn (#9), Georgia (#10), Kentucky (#14) and LSU (#16).
Georgia's ranking is a little surprising because they are the four-time defending national champion, but they will get to prove themselves when they face Alabama in Tuscaloosa for a 7 p.m. meet that will be televised (on tape) on ESPN-2 on Sun., Jan 24. I think the Tide will win this one, but it will be very close!
Georgia's Courtney McCool (pictured) was named SEC Gymnast of the Week. She is a fomrmer national team member who is a senior.
Alabama's Ashley Sledge (pictured) was named SEC Freshman of the Week.
There are a full slate of SEC teams in action tonight, including Kentucky and LSU's participation in the Lady Luck Invitanational in Las Vegas which will also include Arizona State and Missouri.
Here are the other SEC meets, all of which are scheduled for tonight @ 7 p.m. (depending on the time zone of each meet). The Oklahoma Sooners, currently ranked number two, are not in the SEC:
Arkansas @ Florida- 7 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Auburn- 7 p.m.
Other major meets this evening include top-ranked UCLA at Washington as well as traditional powerhouse Utah's home meet with Iowa State. For live updates, check out www.collegegymfans.com
Thursday, January 14, 2010
For those of you living in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, this is in reference to some comments that Virginia Beach, Va., tv evangelist Pat Robertson made regarding the earthquake disaster in Haiti which has killed at least 100,000 people so far.
I would explain this further, but it is lunch time!
Here is my list:
1. Pat Robertson
2. Pat Robertson
3. Pat Robertson
4. Pat Robertson
5. Pat Robertson
6. Pat Robertson
7. Pat Robertson
8. Pat Robertson
9. Pat Robertson
10. Dick Cheney
PS_ Amazingly enough, Sarah Palin didn't make the list!
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
We had an expletive nightmare with our entry devouted to "The Banana Splits" tv show on our sister blog "The Daily Vampire."
Not so much trouble here, but I will make this short and sweet- no pun intended.
If one wants to get an actual banana split (of course, it is about four degrees outside) and they happen to live in Bethesda, Md., then they can get one at the Gifford's Ice Cream and Candy Company, which I'm told serves wonderful ice cream.
I would tell you which stop it is on the red-line Metro, but even though we mention the DC-area frequently here, I don't actually reside in that particular area!
Monday, January 11, 2010
We were actually going to publish this over the weekend when Elvis Presley and Richard M. Nixon both had birthdays, but I got sick (see last entry, which now contains a photo of cartoonist Bill Griffith).
If they were both alive, Presley would have turned 75 on Jan. 8 and Nixon would have turned 96 on Jan. 9.
While researching this piece, I found out that there was a tv movie called "Elvis Meets Nixon" made in 1997, but the director of that film Allen Arkush is believed to be one of the worst filmmakers around......of course, having said that, I can't recall anything he's made right off-hand!
Here is our quote from Elvis:
"Look guys, if you're just going to stare at me, I'm going to bed!"
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Well, if I was ever going to listen to a fringe, far-right AM radio talk show host tonight would be the night as I have been sick since I came down with a sinus infection some time either late Thursday night or early Friday morning. I actually heard one of these Glenn Beck wannabes say that the size of Swedish meatballs in restaurants has shrunk since Obama became president, which is also when these whackos said we became a socialist country. As a friend of mine pointed out though, Sweden is actually a socialist country! And, they have some great hockey players too.
At any rate, there will not be an image with this particular entry as a snafu occured in the hot-linking process. But, we will try to post the picture we were going to use on Tuesday.
I had a strange dream while I was sleeping this morning that the local paper in my hometown of Roanoke, Va., "The Roanoke Times" had added Bill Griffith's cult comic strip "Zippy the Pinhead," which "The Washington Post"- a newspaper with ten times the circulation- recently dropped (much to my disappointment, but they still have a great comics page). I have not checked today's edition of "The Roanoke Times," but I sense that dream is not about to come true anytime soon though they do publish "Hi and Lois."
"The News-Record" in nearby Greensboro, NC, publishes the 'equally hip' comic strip "The Wizard of Id," which was apparently popular in 1972 when I was a two-year-old tyke.
None of this is to say that I don't like some dated comic strips. I find "Marmaduke" to be amusing even though I hate most large dogs.
I would write more but there is some Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup on the stove. Yeah, I don't expect that it will do anything for me either!
See you on Monday..........
Thursday, January 7, 2010
While it would be impossible to see Michael Jackson perform in concert (for those who live on Neptune the famed pop singer died over the summer), one can see the MJ tribute band Who's Band perform at The Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, NC, just outside Chapel Hill, on Jan. 16.
The Raleigh-based band was formed before Jackson's death, and since his passing they have become an international phenom with scheduled performances in the UK set for this spring.
The tickets are $15 in advance (919-967-9053).
On Jan. 20, Who's Bad performs at the Jefferson Theatre in Charlottesville, VA., and at the Orange Peel in Asheville, NC, on Jan. 21.
SIDEBAR- The controversial documentary film "Zoo," a personal favorite of mine, about a man's 'relationship' with his horse airs tonight on the Sundance Channel at 8:00 p.m. It is part of their '31 Days of Sundance' with an independent film being shown each night at 8:00 p.m. as a promotion for the Sundance Film Festival which is happening this month in Park City, Utah.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Since the state of North Carolina passed a smoking ban which went into at the start of the year, we thought we'd go with some silly images of camels today.
The city of Winston-Salem, NC, is still called Camel City because Camel Cigarettes were made there. The city is home to Wake Forest University, and the historic/tourist site Old Salem.
Cartoonist Garry Trudeau brilliantly lampooned the company's mascot Joe Camel during the 1980s in "Doonesbury."
The product was also made with tobacco from Turkey, my late father's home country.
Interestingly enough, Turkey- a country where 90 percent of the population once smoked is seeing a smoking ban in cafes, bars and restaurants as well! As "The Atlantic" reported last year, the transition has been a difficult one. I saw a bus driver smoke while I was on a bus from Istanbul-Ankara. No one is supposed to smoke on Turkish buses, but I guess 'sofor bey' (Mr. Bus Driver) thought no one would notice. But, I think everyone on the bus, including myself, did!
Monday, January 4, 2010
"When you are down and out, something always turns up_ and it is usually the noses of your friends."
SIDEBAR- In Charleston, SC, tonight the College of Charleston pulled a stunning upset over the ninth-ranked University of North Carolina Tarheels in men's basketball. the final was 82-79 in overtime.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
I was going to use the sixties Hanna Barbera cartoon Wally Gator (see a trend here?) for this entry as a joke that I was going to visit my aunt and uncle in West Palm Beach, Fla., this weekend but I think it might confuse my sister in Provo, Utah, who knows I am not going to Florida this weekend. And, that we don't have an uncle in West Palm Beach, but another part of the Sunshine State. I guess I should add that my sister does not live in Provo or Utah. She would probably also want me to mention that she is not a Mormon either. Not that I have anything against Mormons. But, I can't say the same for Mitt Romney or the Osmond family.
Anyway, I promised myself I would go out to have a coffee at the local Starbucks here in Winston-Salem, NC. Ok, I'm not in Winston-Salem or North Carolina at the moment, but I could really go for a pumpkin latte right now as it is freezing outside. The family cat Gizmo is resting under the bed. He hasn't come out from under there in hours!
We will return some time in the middle of next week with our usual nonsense!
SIDEBAR: Today, there was a letter-to-the-editor to "The News and Record" in Greensboro, NC, written by an apparent Christian fundamentalist who emphatically stated that "God is NOT a socialist." (How would she know?) Such sentiments are fairly common in the Tarheel State, so it's not surprising that newly elected city councilman Cecil Bothwell, 59, of Asheville, NC, is getting flack for the fact that he is openly agnostic. His opponents, who are of course conservatives, are trying to enforce an 1868 statute disqualifying anyone who doesn't believe in God from serving public office. I suppose these people are not going to become Facebook friends with Sam Adams, who is the openly gay mayor of Portland, Ore., anytime soon!
Friday, January 1, 2010
We were hoping to post a list of New Year's Resolutions, but this has proven to be a very busy New Year's Day here in Ann Arbor, Mich.,* where for some mysterious reason everyone seems to be rooting for the Oregon University Ducks in the Rose Bowl today. I got a tweet from Sam Adams, the mayor of Portland, Ore., who said he is rooting for the Ducks too.
So, we just only have time to post this silly message from Huckleberry Hound. My apologies to Jabber Jaw fans. We will remember you next year. I promise. Then again, I promised my cat Gizmo that he could go outside today.
*-I'm not really in Ann Arbor. In fact, I've never been there in my life. Though my late father Mehmet Gokbudak graduated from the University of Michigan in 1949, some 21 years before I was born. Michigan's rival Ohio State is the team playing Oregon in the Rose Bowl. I just thought I'd say that before some wiseass pointed it out to me.