Friday, April 30, 2010
Many of us who even casually follow the National Hockey League thought this might actually be the year when the Washington Capitals, a team that typically wins during the regular season but fails to advance far in the playoffs, might actually hoist the Stanley Cup.
But, the team lost in the opening round to the eight-seeded Montreal Canadiens, a franchise that has won more cups than other team in the league.
The Capitals' star player and Russian Olympian Alex Ovechkin, who may still very well be named the league's MVP as the team had the NHL's best regular season record said he was simply devastated that the team lost to Montreal 4-3 in a best of seven series. The Caps also had a 3-1 advantage before the Canadiens won three straight to win the series.
Ovechkin told nhl.com that this would be a proverbial period of adjustment for him:
"When you lose, you try to forget about it, but when lose in a game like this, it's pretty hard to say something."
As of 2:40 p.m., this is on my mind as I am blogging from a public library in Wytheville, Va., or somewhere within 150 miles of there:
"Should I check out Chuck Palahniuk's modern classic 'Choke,' or given the fact that I've already read it six or seven times, is it time to move on?"
As movie buffs know, "Choke" was made into a film which I was very disappointed with about two years ago. The author is best known for "Fight Club." Both the novel and the film have a large cult following.
I just learned today that one of Palahniuk's other novels "Invisible Monsters" has been made into a film which come out this year. My personal favorite Palahniuk novel is perhaps "Diary," but I haven't read it six or seven times!
Thursday, April 29, 2010
I don't imagine these deer hunters in South Dakota thought that they would end up on a left-of-center blog (relax guys- I'm not into Che Guevarra t-shirts or Birkenstocks).
But, since we pass through Boones Mill, Va., which is in Franklin County (moonshine country) quite often, that we would most this PSA for folks who may combine things which shouldn't be---and we aren't refering to cocaine and Zoloft (you may have to see a certain Ben Stiller movie to get that joke).
And, our PSA is:
"Don't hunt Bambis if you've had too many Budweisers."
Well, the library is about to close. Save some venison for me, boys!
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Those who know me well, and hopefully few of you who regularly read this blog actually do, know that I have always had some problems going out with girls. (I am using the image of 1920s cinematic hearthrob Rudollph Valentino to show irony).
It really dates back to high school, when those of us of my generation were watching John Hughes movies like "The Breakfast Club," and while I love my life as an independent bachelor even at age 40, I must profess a certain amount of "kiskanchlik" (the Turkish word for jealousy) when I find out that women I am attracted to, even a celebrity bomb-shell, is going out with someone--- or even worse about to marry the guy (especially if he seems be a fill-in-the-blank, and perhaps some of them actually are!).
So, here is a satirical list of 'the last ten women I have dated.' I will explain who they are (not all of them are household names in the USA and Canada), and if in fact they have a significant other (hate the word boyfriend). But, to my knowledge, none of these women are actually married, and they are all alive!
1. Uma Thurman (no surprise here!)
2. Jennifer Love Hewitt
3. Penelope Cruz (she turns 36 today.)
4. Daria Bijak
5. Parker Posey
6. Sibel Kekili
7. Minissha Lambay
8. Susan Sarandon
9. Aleksandra Zhekova
10. Roya (her real name is Roya Aykhan)
For starters, yes, I know Penelope Cruz (happy birthday, btw!) is rumored to be engaged to fellow movie star Javier Bardem, but I did like her when she was making Spanish art films (like the Oscar-winning Spanish film "Belle Epoque") in the early '90s which only true movie buffs like me were going to see.
Jennifer Love Hewitt may seem like a very young woman, but she is 30 years old now. Apparently, she has dated lots of men in the tv/movie industry even as we speak, but she has yet to marry any of them (she was engaged a few years ago).
UMA is the only woman here who is actually my age (well, I am 40 and she is 39, but we were both born in 1970). Assuredly, she is taken!
Daria Bijak is a 23-year-old German Olympic gymnast who just finished her collegiate gymnastics career with the University of Utah. She is one of the most physically attractive gymnasts in recent memory (I am a huge fan of the sport). Of course, like virtually every gorgeous girl on the planet, she has a boyfriend who is apparently a German tennis player.
Parker Posey is an indy film darling. Reportedly, she was romantically involved with some guy who is a novelist. We don't know much about him, but we love her films, especially the ones she did with director Hal Hartley ("Fay Grimm" being the most recent). Her performance in "The House of Yes" was exceptional, but it is a film that relatively few people have seen. Posey is just slightly older than me.
Sibel Kekili is a German actress of Turkish heritage who was also in "Fay Grimm," but in a very small part (the movie was partially filmed in Istanbul, Turkey). Kekili, who was born in 1980, gave a break-through performance in director Fatih Akin's fairly recent German-Turkish film "Head-On." She was the subject of controversy in the German and Turkish press because she was allegedly in some adult films early in her career.
Minissha Lambay is a very attractive Bollywood (Indian) actress. Honestly, we don't know much about her but she was in the hit film "Yahaan (Here). 2005)."
Susan Sarandon is 63 years old. I decided to put an older woman on this list because I found out apparently Warren Beatty actually dated the late Joan Crawford (yes, the one who inspired "Mommie Dearest") in the 1960s when Beatty was one of Hollywood's most swinging young bachelors. Sarandon recently broke up with long-time companion Tim Robbins. She is actually to the left of me (I'm a moderate Democrat. Sarandon is not known for being moderate), but we are both against capital punishment so that would make for a good conversation starter at a Starbucks.
Aleksandra Zekova is a gorgeous Bulgarian snow-skier in her twenties who was in my opinion was the most attractive competitior at the recent Vancouver Olympics.
And, there is Roya, who is like the Madonna of Baku. The Azerbaijani pop singer in her late twenties (we presume) is known for her outlandishness. Roya has even filmed music videos where she performs topless. This is quite amazing because Azerbaijan is a Muslim country! She made it big with the hit single "Bilirsenim" (which we think means "Do You Know Me?" Turkish and Azerbaijani are linguistically similar languages). She recently gave birth to a son, so chances are Roya wouldn't have time for me. Besides, there are (to our knowledge) no Starbucks in Baku!
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Since it is a nice day outside here in North Carolina (Oh, wait a minute-I'm actually in Virginia. Living and working along the state line can play with one's mind!), it would have been nice to head far, far west to the mountain hamlet of Floyd, Va., home of the world-famous Floyd Country Store, and go trolling for top hats at Chic's Antiques on 125 West Main Street (Phone: 540-745-4627. Ok, so my mom has friends who work there, this isn't exactly "The Wall Street Journal.")
I'm not sure how much top hats go for, but I'm guessing they are around $85. And, antique teddy bears, such as the ones pictured, would probably go for slightly more. But, then again, I don't work for "Antiques Roadshow!"
Monday, April 26, 2010
....That John Wilkes Booth, the theatrical actor who assasinated President Abraham Lincoln at the Ford's Theatre in Washington, DC, was himself shot to death by Boston Corbett (1832-1888?-death date can not be confirmed, read on!).
An interesting detail about the shooting of Booth is that Corbett was actually arrested for the incident for a brief while before he was given $1,600 in reward money.
Corbett was an evangelical Christian who tried to immitate Jesus Christ to far extremes. He even referred to the shooting of Booth as something which 'God delivered upon him to carry out.'
Sometime before joining the Union Army, Corbett castraited himself with a pair of scissors.
In 1865, a short time after Lincoln's assasination, Corbett was asked to join a group of Union soldiers who would try to find Booth. They found him in a Virginia farm. Corbett shot Booth with a Colt revolver at a distance of no more than 12 feet.
After the incident, Corbett went crazy and moved to Kansas. He escaped from the Topeka Asylum on horseback in 1888 reportedly on his way to Mexico. Pardon the cliche---he was never seen or heard from again.
As for the Ford's Theatre, they will produce the famed musical "Little Shop of Horrors" starting on May 22 with Christopher Kale Jones starring as Seymour.
PS_I must profess that I did contemplate not posting this piece because of the incident in Asheville, NC, yesterday in which a disturbed man apparently brought a gun to the Asheville Airport where President Barack Obama was preparing to head back to the White House after a weekend vacation. But, both the history and the novelty of the Booth shooting were too interesting to me. We are certainly glad no one was succesful at hurting President Obama or his family, especially since I live in North Carolina.
SIDEBAR_In something I also learned through Twitter, Joe Rubino of "The Colorado Daily News" in Boulder, Colo., is reporting that suicide rates at Colorado University are at a four-year low. According to the article, there have only been two suicides on the campus of the Boulder university this school year. The story comes just a few weeks after NPR reported that Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, was seeing a major increase in campus suicides."From a suicide prevention standpoint we've been very succesful," Deb Coffin, CU's dean of students, told "The Colorado Daily."
Today in honor of National Poetry Month we will quip the ever-fascinating figure of Yukio Mishima (1925-1970) the Japanese poet/novelist who died by committing some kind of ritualistic suicide where he struck a sword in his stomach to make some grand political gesture. Mishima is the subject of a mid-80s film directed by Paul Schrader of "American Gigolo" fame (he also wrote the screenplay for "Taxi Driver").
Here is the quote from Mishima. By the way, not to make a political statement, but we opposed to anyone participating in ritualistic suicide!:
"True beauty is something that attacks, overpowers, robs, and finally destroys."
I would write more, but it's time for me to head out of Trenton, NJ (not really where I am at the moment!).
Saturday, April 24, 2010
It's 3 a.m., what is Gizmo doing out there? It's a good thing I'm not the father of a teenage daughter! I would probably be like Idi Amin........well, ok maybe not that bad!
UPDATE: Gizmo came back in circa 5:15 a.m.
Wow! I am screwing up blog entries left and right tonight........maybe I should let my friend Chris Knight take over next week. But, then again, he's a libertarian. I'm not. Hmmmmmm.........yeah, he might post some propaganda about Ron Paul. Nevertheless, it might free up my time to research to research philosopher Frederick Nietzsche so I become a well-rounded intellectual snob!
Hey, it does take less time than a Dr. Seuss Book!
My cousin Erroll in Chicago confided in me recently that his dad, like mine, was weary of the book "Green Eggs and Ham" when we both children (Erroll is nine years older than me). Our fathers came from Turkey, and as it turns out they were both concerned the book would make us want to eat pork!
Friday, April 23, 2010
Today was Children's Day in Turkey, where it is now circa 11 a.m. (Saturday), so this entry is already a bit dated but we hope the children in Turkey, my late father Mehmet Gokbudak's country had a festive holiday.
This picture is from the resort town of Kushadasi where tourists have perhaps already started flocking to. I know Kushadasi is very popular with Swedes and Norwegians, perhaps because the water is significantly warmer in Turkey. We hope that they are also able to get home without any Icelandic volcano fiascoes.
I heard a BBC reporter who was vacationing in Istanbul decide to take a bus to France to eventually get back to England, and she was stranded on the Bulgarian-Macedonian border because of a bureaucratic problem with her passport!
There is also a major soccer match this weekend as league leaders GalataSaray (Istanbul) and BursaSpor clash in a key game. They just happen to be my favorite teams, but I get to watch Turkish futbol as often as I get to go out on a date with Jennifer Love Hewitt!
Gazooks! I have spent almost six and a half hours on the Internet, which is about the amount of time it would take to get to Athens, Ga. The Georgia Bulldogs, the five-time defending NCAA women's gymnastics champions, were surprisingly eliminated at regionals at the University of Missouri thanks to an amazing performance from Tigers' gymnast Sarah Shire.
So, that opened the proverbial door for a new team this year which turned out to be the UCLA Bruins who edged out Oklahoma and third place finisher Alabama. Bruins gymnast Vanessa Zamarripa (pictured here) gave another stellar all-around performance to help capture UCLA's sixth NCAA title in women's gymnastics.
Here are the complete results from the Super Six Finals which were held at the University of Florida:
6. Utah- 196.225
In the all-around competition, Susan Jackson of LSU won with a 39. 625 followed by Casey Jo Magee of Arkansas who scored a 39.550 and third-place finisher Carly Janiga of Stanford who scored a 39.525.
Daria Bijak, a German national team gymnast for Utah, who is a personal favorite of mine came in seventh in the all-around with a 39.425.
SIDEBAR: My alma mater Radford University from Radford, Va., bounced back from a loss to Virginia Tech in men's baseball with a 15-9 win over Winthrop University from Rock Hill, SC, which means a lot to me since my cousin Mike went to Winthrop (note to self: call Mike to gloat tomorrow!).
And, our beloved Louisville Bats (see earlier entry) fell to the Indianapolis Indians 6-1 tonight, but we know they will come back swinging when the team play each other tomorrow night. We're not sure if the game is in Lousiville or Indy, but it's getting too late to bother checking that!
Thursday, April 22, 2010
With our sister blog "The Daily Vampire," I am posting on the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Chamiponships going on literally right now at the University of Florida.
The host Gators are among the six teams competing tonight. UCLA, Utah and Oklahoma advanced earlier in the day at the competition in Gainesville, Fla.
On my other blog, I posted a partial list of my 24 favorite active collegiate gymnasts in alphabetical order. This is a continuation of that list.
The pictured gymnasts here are standouts Sarah Shire (Missouri) and Vanessa Zamarripa (UCLA), whose name I've finally figured out how to spell!
Here are the remaining 12 gymnasts. The two gymnasts with an asteriks are competing individually without their teams:
Marissa King- Florida (freshman)
Anna Li- UCLA (senior)
Leslie Mak- Oregon State (sophomore)
Brandi Personett- Penn State (senior)*
Ashley Priess- Alabama (sophomore)
Taylor Seaman- North Carolina State (senior)*
Sarah Shire- Missouri (senior)
Geralden Stack-Eaton-Alabama (sophomore)
Makayla Stambaugh- Oregon State (freshman)
Kylie Stone- Nebraska (senior)
Hollie Vise- Oklahoma (senior)
Vanessa Zamarripa- UCLA (sophomore)
Perhaps, an announcer at 98.7 Simon, a free-form radio station in Greensboro, NC, said it best today: "We can all wear Birkenstocks to work because it's Earth Day."
Though that was not the case with me! Like most Americans, I must profess that there are some environmental things I am better at than others. I do recycle virtually every plastic bottle I can, but I still take 18-minute showers twice a day.
But, I think all in all the environmental movement has made progress since the first Earth Day in 1970. Earth Day events are scheduled this week in large cities like Los Angeles, Washington, DC and Salt Lake City, as well as smaller places like Mason City, Iowa, where Earth Day Northern Iowa is planning a major celanup initiative all day on Saturday.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
According to the "Seattle Weekly" Twitter page, a gay softball team from San Francisco that competed in the 2008 Gay Softball World Series in Seattle is being disqualified from their second place finish because the team had some straight players.
As a result, three heterosexual players on the men's softball team are suing for $75,000 in damages.
The Seattle alt weekly reported that play was actually stopped during the game and the alleged straight players were interogated about their sexual orientation. The group sponsoring the tournament made the ruling just this week about the matter.
You would think this sort of thing--well in reverse-- would only happen in the Turkish army (forgive the ethnic joke, but since I am a Turkish-American, I can make fun of Turkey which along with The United States is the only western country which bans gays in the military).
The 2010 Gay Softball World Series will take place later this year in Columbus, Ohio. I suppose since I am heterosexual, I won't be able to participate but then again I was never particularly good at softball anyway. And, I seriously doubt that Mount Airy, NC, will send a delegation there even though I bet some of these good ole boys around here are both in the closet and can hit that ball well over the fence!
Speaking of sports, it was a very bad day for my alma maters yesterday. Channel 7 in Roanoke, Va., reported that the Virginia Tech Hokies beat our beloved Radford University Highlanders 15-5 in a men's baseball game that was played at RU.
Similarly, the Glenvar High School boys' soccer team from Salem, Va.,(we actually played with girls when I was on the team in 1988, and they got more playing time than I did though I think that was in part because the coach who acted like Idi Amin didn't care for me) lost to George Wythe High School from Wytheville, Va., by a 5-1 margin. It's too bad the Cold War is over, or else I'd ask Vladamir Putin to drop an A-bomb on Wytheville for revenge........well, hmmmmm.......I suppose that would affect the whole area where I grew up, which is only 70 miles away! (Of course, if it's not obvious, we are just kidding. Love Wytheville. Great truck-stop town!).
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
For those of you in Kentucky, the Louisville Bats will have a home game against the Toledo Mudehens at (yikes!) 11:05 a.m. Since when did baseball games start before noon........on a week-day no less?! But, we love the mascot!
Since we promoted the documentary "Food Inc," which is going to be on PBS tomorrow night, on our other blog, we thought we'd promote another food-related show- "Food Party" which will premiere on IFC next Wednesday at 10 p.m.
To be honest, we aren't fully sure what the show is about, but it sounds very interesting!
The show's web-site describes "Food Party" as a 'non-reality cooking show' with host Thu Tran (pictured here) as hostess.
"Food Party" will also feature puppets as culinary assistants and a selection of 'fictitious celebrities' (like Pee Wee Herman?!).
Each episode runs 15 minutes, and two back-to-back shows will air next week.
Episode One is entitled "Thu Has a Normal Day," and the host will go down Main Street where she will apparently try to steal ingridients from a local retailer to make lunch.
Episode Two is entitled "PBJ Love" and it will feature Thu meeting up with Peanut Butter Jerry who gets stung bees.
I found this actual quote from the show: "It's duck blood. You don't like it! I've been chugging it all day. It's got a delicate flavor."
Alas, I don't have IFC, but ironically my 70-year-old mother in Colonial Heights, Va., (not where she actually resides) does!
Monday, April 19, 2010
Are you interested in buying an authentic Chicago Bulls jersey worn by Michael Jordan during the team's 1997-98 championship season?
Well, for $38, 461. 54, you've got a deal! (Dry-cleaning not included).
But, we're not sure if this is being offered by E-Bay or Amazon.
As for the 2009-10 Bulls, they lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers by a 96-83 margin in game one of the playoffs over the weekend. I guess a jersey worn by Brad Miller (refering to a player on the Bulls team, not the North Carolina Democratic congressman by the same name) would cost considerably less!
I will be the first person to admit this is a very strange list!
"The Cardinal" is the nightmare opus I feared it would be. Unless you are Catholic or an Otto Preminger fan, you will probably not be interested in seeing the film though John Huston is solid in a supporting role.
Huston directed "Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison," with Robert Mitchum and Debroah Kerr. The film, which was quite good, marked the second time Kerr played a nun. "Black Narcicuss" was the first.
"Stoked-The Rise and Fall of Gator" is a tragic documentary about skateboarder Mark Rogowski SPOILER ALERT: He was imprisoned in California for murdering a female acquitance. A short time after his 31-year sentence, he was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. According to Wikipedia, he is eligible for parole this year.
"Fish Tank" is an excellent, but highly depressing English film which has won well-deserved critical praise.
"Mahkum/Confinement" is an over-the-top '70s Turkish action yarn with the familiar father-and-son soap opera plot which stars former matinee idol Cuneyt Arkin (pictured here) who is now 72 years old!
"8 Million Ways to Die" with Jeff Bridges and Andy Garcia was the last film from the great Hal Ashby. Sadly, it does not stand up to his great films like "Harold and Maude" by any stretch, but it makes for a great '80s nostalgia trip. I saw the film, which is not available on dvd, on IFC.
"Jud Seuss" is the highly infamous anti-Semitic German film made when Hitler ruled Germany in 1940. I found it on Youtube. Even though it is a historic film studied by scholars, it is also popular among skinheads because of its themes. The film's director Veit Harlan (1899-1964) is the subject of a new documentary. He was interestingly enough the late Stanley Kubrick's father-in-law.
"Umut/Hope" is a highly-regarded Turkish film from Yilmaz Guney, a man who Turkish conservatives still despise even though he died more than 20 years ago because of his politics. Though I am hardly a Turkish nationalist, I also differ with many of his far-left views, including his desire to see a free Kurdistan within Turkey (Guney was of Kurdish heritage). But, Guney, who was also a matinee idol in the sixties, is also highly recognized for his artistic accomplishments as a film director. His earlier film "Seyit Han/Bride of the Earth" (1969) was recently screened at the on-going Boston Turkish Film Festival.
Here are the last ten films I've seen. I must profess this idea came from the on-going series in "Film Comment" in which the magazine asks various film directors what are the last ten films they have seen.
This reminds me of a tweet I saw last week from Pee Wee Herman (Paul Rubens) in which the character/character actor said he was watching "Pee Wee's Big Adventure," a film which is NOT on this list!:
1. The Cardinal (Otto Preminger, 1963)
2. Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (John Huston, 1957)
3. Stoked- The Rise and Fall of Gator (doc. Helen Stickler, 2002)
4. Venus (Roger Michell, 2006)
5. The French Connection (1971, William Friedkin)*
6. Fish Tank (2009, Andrea Arnold)
7. Mahkum/Confinement (1972, Turkey-Osman Seden/Cuneyt Arkin)
8. 8 Million Ways to Die (1986, Hal Ashby)
9. Jud Seuss (1940. Germany-Veit Harlan)
10. Umut/Hope (1970. Turkey-Yilmaz Guney/Serif Goren)
"Just finished eating Moo Goo Gai Pan and an egg roll with white rice."
I did not dine at the Wok Inn in Portland, Maine, (which is pretty far from here, though it is closer than Portland, Oregon) but if you're in that area I highly recommend them!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
(The following is satire, but there is some truth to it......but, I still this won't go over well with the Alaska Tea Party)
1. The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (film version)
2. Born Yesterday (1950)
3. Slap Shot
5. Born Yesterday (1993)
6. March of the Penguins
7. Dudley Do-Right (film version)
8. The Deer Hunter
9. The Passion of The Christ
10. An Inconvienent Truth*
*-This one got in by mistake..........!
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
My good friend Jason Garnett will be presenting a series of short films from around the world which were all filmed on bicycles! The event will be held at the Shadowbox Cinema in downtown Roanoke, Va., on Sunday at 2 p.m. The cost per person is five bucks.
When one thinks of films on bikes, the images of "Pee Wee's Big Adventure," "Breaking Away" or perhaps even the Italian neo-realist classic "The Bicycle Thief" comes to mind (not to mention that great sequence with Paul Newman and Robert Redford in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid").
But, these films are actually part of a Portland, Ore., project which has been around for at least a couple of years. It reminds me of the new book by former Talking Heads lead singer David Byrne called "Bicycle Diaries," in which he talked about cities like Istanbul, Manila and San Fransisco where he rode on his bike and then wrote about them!
All films that will shown in Roanoke are both independent and bike-themed.
The Shadowbox Cinema will also be screening the documentary "I Need That Reocrd" about the sad demise of independent record stores on April 22, which may have been the last place you could have found a vinyl 12-inch version of "Burning Down the House!"
For more info, go to shadowboxcinema.com or filmedbybike.org
...........Trotsky and Hutch!
Yes, as reported by the Toronto alt weekly "Eye Weekly," there is a Canadian improv duo made up of Kevin Patrick Robbins and Sean Tabares known as "Trotsky and Hutch." For those who were not born in the '70s or familiar with the Ben Stiller-Owen Wilson cinematic remake, there was an American police action show called "Starksky and Hutch" back when Gerald Ford was president.
For those who flunked history, it should be pointed that Russian political philosopher Leon Trotsky was a leader in socialist thiking who was kicked out of the Soviet Union. Strangely enough, he spent part of his years in exile on the island of Buyukada, near Istanbul, Turkey, in the 1930s.
The Twitter site for "Eye Weekly" said that the group, returning from a five-year hiatus, is performing tonight at the Impatient Theatre Company in Toronto at 9 p.m., which is less than two hours from now!
The group, which started in Vancouver, told "Eye Weekly" that their improv is based on shout-outs from the audience about social agendas, workers' struggles and opressive petit bourgeois dogs.
Somehow, I don't see them coming across the border to perform for the Michigan Tea Party.
SIDEBAR: The lovely Sarah Michelle Gellar is 33 today. She is best-known for her lead role in the late '90s tv series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." She was also in the strange 2006 Richard Kelly film "Southland Tales" which New York film critic Nathan Lee adored. The rest of us are a bit unsure of what to make of it, but we love Gellar just the same. Too bad, she is married to the guy whose father was on "Chico and the Man!"
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
I just realized that I'm not sure if this '70s PSA icon who said: "Only you can prevent forest fires" is spelled Smoky the Bear or Smokey the Bear.
Thankfully, I am no longer working for a smalltown newspaper and we don't need to actually verify such things to make some chain-smoking, Dunkin' Donuts-eating managing editor happy.
Amazingly enough, a small-town newspaper I once interviewed for, "The Bristol Herald-Courier" won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting yesterday! I believe their offices are actually in Bristol, Va., but the newspaper also covers Bristol, Tenn. Before this, they were known for being one of the few newspapers in the country that belonged to two different state press associations. Bristol, Va/Tenn., is best known for hosting an annual NASCAR race, and perhaps one day that racetrack (located in Tenn.) will be the host of a Republican convention.
Monday, April 12, 2010
There was a major surprise at the University of Missouri as the host school and Oregon State advanced over five-time defending champ Georgia to reach nationals in Gainesville, Fla.
The Florida Gators also qualified for the national meet on their home floor by beating Utah in Salt Lake City by a score of 197.675-196.900. Ashanee Dickerson, Maranda Smith and senior leader Amanda Castillo paved the way for the victory. Utah will also advance as they finished second thanks to outstanding performances from star gymnasts Daria Bijak who did alas havea surprsing fall on floor.
At Penn State, Oklahoma (first) and LSU (second) advanced even though Nittany Lion gymnast Brandi Personett beat out Oklahoma gymnast Hollie Vise (a former Olympian) to win the all around on her home floor with a score of 39.5*
And, at UCLA, the hometown Bruins won with a very impressive 197.825 score thanks to Anna Li (pictured) and Vanessa Zamarripa.
Stanford advanced in West Virginia along with Michigan.
And, Alabama (first) and Nebraska (second) qualified for nationals with their placements at the regional meet in Lexington, Ky.
*- CORRECTION: It was pointed to me by an Oklahoma Sooners gymnastics fan than Hollie Vise did not actually compete on the vault so Penn State's Brandi Personett, the all-around winner at the regional meet, did not actually beat her out. I was concerned that this might cause Oklahoma's governor C. Brad Henry to have this blog banned not only in Norman (he happens to be an OU grad), but also Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Broken Arrow. But, we think that we overted that. I had actually assumed that the governor was a Republican since Oklahoma is a very red state, so much so that I almost didn't bother to wiki him. But, much to my surprise, Gov. Henry is a Democrat! I guess the lesson here is never make assumptions, especially when it comes to the delicate matter of collegiate sports!
The great poet Nikki Giovanni who is an English professor at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., is the subject of our Quote of the Week in honor of National Poetry Month and the upcoming third anniversary of the Virginia Tech tragedy. Giovanni gave one of the key speeches at the memorial services for the students and faculty who were killed on that fateful Monday morning.
Giovanni was our choice for Person of the Year for this blog in 2007:
"We write because we believe the human spirit cannot be tamed and should not be tamed."
Duke's Antique Center is Lexington, Va., offers a fine array of collectibles from very state in the union and all around the globe. It also features of booth full of great stuff which is sold by none other than my mom!
Here are some of the items, you will find at Duke's, which is located at 20 Pinnacle Lane, Lexington, Va. 24450. Phone: 540-463-9511 (please come in today, even if you live in Boise, Ida.!):
$4 "Deliverance" soundtrack lp featuring "The Dueling Banjos" (pictured here).
$3 "Casper the Friendly Ghost" comic book from 1980.
$10 Nixon-Agnew bumper sticker (we're not making this up!)
$40 Buster Keaton sketch print (it's very nice)
$30 Turkish mosque lock from the city of Bursa* (we've had it for a very long time now!)
Mention this ad, and well Duke may not know what you're talking about, but they are open 365 days a year, even on Christmas Day!
Sunday, April 11, 2010
I am having MANY problems with E-harmony. Perhaps, it is because I lack patience, which might be why I'm not really good at relationships anyway!
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Tonight's late-night Public Service Announcement, and it's late (2 am here in Altoona, Pa.-ok, now where I really am at the moment) is a relatively simple one:
"Just Say No."
Of course, one perhaps has to be in my age bracket (35-45) to get the joke.
This image is of the Sid and Marty Kroftt children's show from circa 1969 "HRPuffN Stuff." Interesting trivia- the Kroftt brothers successfully sued McDonalds for creating Mayor McCheese who had many resemblances to HR PuffNstuff.
Friday, April 9, 2010
He may be one of the very few people that feminist Gloria Steinem and evangelist whacko Pat Robertson despise equally, but irregardless the founder of "Playboy" magazine is now 84 years old. We honor him with this quip:
"I have about 100 pairs of pajamas. I like to see people dressed comfortably."
Thursday, April 8, 2010
On March 29, in Birmingham, Alabama, the SEC named LSU's standout senior gymnast Susan Jackson from Spring, Tex., as its Gymnast of the Year.
Florida's Ashanee Dickerson was named SEC Freshman Gymnast of the Year, and Auburn's Kristina Voss was named SEC Scholar-Athlete Gymnast of the Year.
Jakson is the third Tiger gymnast to win the coveted award along with former LSU gymnasts April Burkholder and Ashleigh Clare-Kearney. The LSU gymnast scored a 9.9 at the SEC Championship Meet in Jacksonville, Fla., which was won by the University of Florida.
The LSU gymnast who turned 23 on April 6 and is a mass communications major won the SEC and NCAA vault championships in 2008. She also won the conference balance beam title in 2009.
According to the LSU Tigers' gymnastics web site, Jackson hopes to perform with Cirque du Soleil after competing in college as several former NCAA gymnasts including Yvonne Tousek of UCLA have in the past. Jackson also cited scrapbooking as her favorite hobby.
Along with Jackson, Tiger gymnasts Summer Hubbard and Sabrina Franceschelli, who are both also seniors, had outstanding meets for LSU even though the team placed fourth behind Florida, Alabama and Georgia.
LSU now heads to Penn State for a regional meet which will feature second-ranked Oklahoma and their star gymnast Holly Vise, a former Olympian. The Tigers are currently ranked eighth in the nation.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Everyone who has ever spent any significant amount of time on this blog knows I like Sarah Palin as much as The Smurfs liked Gargamel.
But, I couldn't resist this as I learned on Twitter today that Bristol Palin was on "Good Morning America" to promote her new 30-second Public Service Announcement to prevent teen pregnancy.
Hmmmmm........one has to think Ellen Page, the star of "Juno," who has to my knowledge never gotten pregnant as a teeanger in real life, might have been a better choice!
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
In case you live in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, the Duke University Men's Basketball team are NCAA champs. Since we are based in North Carolina, and Duke is down the road in Durham, we're very happy for them. But, one has to admire the Butler Bulldogs for their brilliant run in the NCAA tournament.
At first glance, I thought this was a photo of the famous/infamous purple dinosaur Barney. But, on second glance, we're not so sure?!
To be honest, since I don't have kids, I don't watch much kids' tv though I love PBS for Charlie Rose, whose probably very happy today (he's a Duke alumnus).
Monday, April 5, 2010
This month we will be posting quotes from great poets, living or dead, in honor of National Poetry Month. Alas, Frost who penned one of my favorite poems "Fire and Ice" is not among the living.
This quote from Frost reminds me of my late uncle Ilhan Gokbudak, who was a Turkish diplomat to mostly South American countries including Chile and Brazil. My mom that Uncle Ilhan, who remained a bachelor until he died at the age of 76 in the year 2000, was just like James Bond!:
"A diplomat is man who always remembers a woman's birthday but never remembers her age."
There was no white rafting trip to West Virginia this weekend as it was an April Fool's Day prank, but much to my surprise, no one seemed to really care! As it was, I got quite sick over the weekend, so even if I was heading to the 'Wild, Wonderful State' (that's how West Virginia advertises itself), I would not have gotten very far.
But, there were a number of pranks pulled on Thursday.
Here are some of the highlights:
"Coach K (pictured here) just announced Duke has plans to replace Cameron w/ multi-purpose retractable dome stadium," (from twitter.com/dukeblueplanet).
"Starbucks offers giant and micro-sized coffee cups."
"The Guardian (UK) announced it would be first newspaper published exclusively via Twitter."
"Bill Murray agrees to be in 'Caddyshack 3.'"
"WNYC reports that the Supreme Court is giving corporations rights to vote in municipal, statewide and nantional elections."
And, thinkgeek.com actually advertised many fake products, including canned unicorn meat?!
Thursday, April 1, 2010
I must say at the age of 40 there are some things I never thought I would ever do in my life, and White Water Rafting in the New River of West Virginia, was one of them!
When my good friend Nishan Shakazi, a Pakistani geology instructor at Wytheville Community College in Wytheville, Va., first asked me about the proposed trip plan three weeks ago, I was hesitant for several reasons.
First, it is the weekend of the Final Four, which includes a game between West Virginia University and Duke, and I really enjoy sitting at home and being a couch potato this time of the year.
Second, it is Easter weekend, and even though I'm not a religious person, my mom likes to take me up to Mountain Lake, where "Dirty Dancing" was filmed, in southwestern Virginia for brunch there during Easter weekend. They have such great food there!
But, as you get older, you realize life is passing you by. I will probably never to get to date a gorgeous young woman like Jennifer Love Hewitt, travel to an exotic place like Zimbabwe for a safari trip or run against Cong. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va) in my home district of southwestern Virginia (the fact that I almost went to Cuba with a group of socialists while attending Radford University would in itself doom my campaign even though I consider myself a centrist Democrat today.)
So, why not go to West Virginia and have a great time.
What's the worst thing that could happen to me.........besides drowning?!