Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My World Cup Final Four Picks

Before I reveal my picks here, I want to applaud David Zirin of "The Nation" for rightfully putting "Washington Times" sports reporter Thom Loverro in his place.

On a sports talk show in reference to Team America's win over Algeria in the qualifying round last week (before the U.S. team lost to Ghana in the round of 16), Loverro said the following about Algeria: "When I think of Algeria, all I think about are terrorists and Abbott and Costello movies."

Like Zirin, I am sickened by such comments and they certainly don't reflect the views of all Americans. Similarly, Andrew Sullivan of "The Atlantic" reported that some demented person hacked the Wikipedia page for Ghana after they defeated Team America 2-1 in extra time on Saturday and used an epithet against the west African country.

There is absolutely no place for this sort of thing in today's world whatsoever.

As for my picks, like Zirin who said he believes Argentina will win The World Cup, I am also picking Argentina to win it all even though I really like Germany (who they place next) especially the star Turkish-German soccer player Mesut Ozil who is just 21 years old.

My other picks are Holland (over Brazil!), Spain and Uruguay.

The Dutch player Wesley Sneijder is pictured above. He has lead Team Holland in scoring so far, including the first goal in The Netherlands' 2-1 win over Slovakia on Monday.

Things We Learned on Twitter Yesterday PM- Barbara Boxer Winning Senate Race

According to a tweet from HillBallotBox, a Twitter site related to "The Hill," a Congressional journal covering all things DC, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) is winning her race against her opponent Carly Fiornia, the former CEO of Hewett-Packard.

The Twitter site said that a new "Los Angeles Times" poll indicates that Boxer is winning the race 45 to 41 percent among likely California voters.

One might think Fiornia would be stumping at a flea market in Long Beach, or visiting a community college campus in Santa Barbara, given that the election is just a few months away in November.

But, she was actually in Washington, DC, yesterday. Fiornia told reporters in the nation's capital that she wanted to focus on jobs. She added that she was actually opposed to repealing the new federal healthcare laws that have Sarah Palinites up in arms.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Silly Picture to Fill Space- Taxi Cab Driver

If one googles the term 'taxi driver,' they will get one thousand references to a certain 1975 movie with Robert DeNiro. But, being a taxi cab driver can also be a rewarding summer job with lots of good tips, well unless you're working in rural Kentucky.

But, perhaps, Altoona, Pa., is a better place to drive a cab than Harlan, Ky. (asuming they have taxi service there in Appalachia). One with such inclinations may want to visit A1 Altoona Taxi on East 6th Avenue (assuming they're hiring).

We will continue to focus on summer jobs for next week's Silly Picture to Fill Space entry, but we will shift our focus from Altoona to any community somewhere in the eastern part of les etats unis.

Akron, Ohio, Trenton, NJ, Winston-Salem, NC, and Portland, Maine, are among the zip codes in the running. Perhaps, one of their mayors can send me a message on Facebook. We are based in NC, but does not guarantee that Krispy Kreme-town (as we like to call Winston-Salem which is also nicknamed Camel City) will get the bid!

SIDEBAR: Best wishes to Carley Schlentz, 13, of Greensboro, NC, who was bitten by a shark while vacationing with her family in Topsail Island, near Wilmington, NC, over the weekend. She had to have 60 stiches on her foot!

Remembering Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV)

Today, we remember the life of Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) who was the longest serving member in U.S. Congress history. Before becoming a U.S. Senator, Byrd was also a member of the House of Representatives.

County Records in Charlottesville, Va., announced today that it was going to rerelase Byrd's bluegrass recording "Mountain Fiddler" (1978). Byrd was also an avid fiddler, and my friends in the Buchanan, Va. (near Roanoke), bluegrass band The Craig County Boys once performed with him in West Virginia.

Dave Freeman who owns the label told various media outlets that the rerecordings were already well underway.

Sen. Byrd died on Monday morning circa 3 a.m.

"Fresh Air" with Terry Gross (an NPR interview show) reaired a segment taped with Byrd at the outset of the Iraq War which the senior West Virginia sentor vehemently opposed.

The record also featured contributions from The Country Gentleman including Doyle Lawson (guitar), James Bailey (banjo) and Spider Gilliam (bass).

Sen. Byrd will most certainly be missed.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Quote of the Week- Samuel Eto'o (Soccer Player from Cameroon)

We conclude this long series of quotes from 32 people associated with the 32 countries who are or in the case of Cameroon were competing in The World Cup.

Cameroon, which has become one of Africa's most traditional winning teams, failed to get into the second round this year mainly because they were in a group with lots of good teams, including Holland, Denmark and Japan.

But, we can still quote their star player Samuel Eto'o who until recently was playing for Spanish soccer power Barcelona. He now plays for the Italian team Internazionale.

Here is his quote, which I believe was said before the World Cup:

"Football is sometimes like this. We played really well but wasted too many chances tonight.....we really should have eliminated them already."

Nostradamus the Octopus?!

Before we start this entry which is going on at the same time as the World Cup soccer game between Holland and Slovakia, we should note that we tried tirelessly to get a proper image for the subject. But, after many failed efforts to find a fitting image, we simply decided to go with The Octopus Man, a comic book villain who we think comes from "Spiderman." (I'm sure the guys at Acme Comics in Greensboro, NC, would be delighted to correct me if I'm wrong!).

But, we loved this sport that we heard while listening to the BBC during a bout with insomnia circa 2:30 a.m. last night.

Apparently, Paul the Octopus who is residing in an aquarium in the German city of Oberhausen has predicted the outcomes of all German soccer games, including their surprsingly first round 1-0 loss to Serbia and yesterday's 4-1 German victory over England.

His handlers give Paul, who has even made news in Saudi Arabia, baited glass cubes with mussels and mark them with national flags.

The irony here is that the octopus was born in an English aquarium!

In other world sports news, the English-language Twitter page of Turkish daily newspaper "Hurriyet" reported that Mehmet Yesilyesil, 24, won the coveted 649th Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Festival near Edirne, Turkey (a western Turkish city near the Bulgarian and Greek borders), yesterday.

Amazingly enough, Yesilyesil won the event in which one must beat out lots and lots of wrestlers (this year it was 498!) for the title. The sport of oil wrestling has become quite a novelty for foreign tourists visiting Turkey because to western eyes the sport looks a bit (how else can I put this?!) homoerotic......since I am a Turkish-American, I should strongly emphasize this is not my own personal view!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Quote of the Day- Alfredo Stroessner (Dead Paraguayan Dictator)

Since we quoted North Korean dictator Kim Jung Il, who is still alive and well (just ask the citizens of Pyonyang), on our other blog "The Daily Vampire," we thoughts it might not to be disengenious to quip the late Paraguayan dictator Alfredo Stroessner (1912-2006) even though like most Latin American dictators he was blamed for kidnapping, torture and corruption.

The right-wing dictator was the second-longest serving head of state in Latin America behind Cuba's Fidel Castro as he 'held office' in the capital Asuncion from 1954-1989. As one might expect, he was overthrown in a coup d'etat. But, Stroessner lived a full life as he died in exile in Brazil in 2006 at the age of 93. However, in the processor, the government officials who took over for him decided to remove his name from the main national airport.

Stroessner was also named "Dictator of the Month" by the web site while he was still alive in April of 2003.

Paraguay is having a succesful run at The World Cup as they prepare to meet Japan in the knock-out round.

Here is the quote fom Stroessner, which could only come from an 'el presidente:'

"We can't make any statements here. We can't talk about the internal politics of Paraguay."

Yeah, I thought he sounded like Dick Cheney too!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

PSA- Hang Up and Drive!

I dedicate this entry to my good friend Sarah Wilson (pse) of Bethesda, Md., who never can seem to put down the cell phone while she is driving.

But, people like Sarah are causing problems. And, in North Carolina, my current state of residence, the matter has been become a major civic issue as it has around the country (and presumably the world!).

The Raleigh-based newspaper "The News-Observer" featured a story about motorists who use cell phones while driving and how four out of five North Carolina residents were tired of their nonsense.

Recently, I dealt with this as I was driving in southern Virginia, near the NASCAR hamlet of Martinsville. If memory serves me right, the motorist was in his late twenties, but apparently all age groups are guilty of this crime which is (alas) not actually breaking the law.

Hannah Gathings of Raleigh told "The News-Observer" that people drive erractically while using their cell phones: "They slow down. They speed up. They're not concentrating while driving."

Doris Fields of Siler City, NC, told the same newspaper that she simply puts her cell phone in her pocketbook to avoid the dangerous temptation.

"Psychology Today" added that drivers who use cellphones while driving are slower to hit their brakes and more likely to miss exits. And, they sure aren't going to be paying any attention to what's being said on "Car Talk!"

And, if this wasn't enough, Oprah Winfrey dedicated a whole show to the topic in, there you go!

Quote of the Day- Fela Kuti (Late Nigerian Afrobeat Star)

Today's quote featuring 32 people, alive or dead, from the 32 countries in The World Cup is from the late, great Nigerian Afrobeat singer/musican/political activist Fela Kuti (1938-1997).

Kuti was a major influence on David Byrne and his band (the) Talking Heads, especially on their hit song "Once in a Lifetime." In addition the Afro-beat pioneer was a featured artist at the 1986 Amnesty International concert in New York.

He lived both a very tragic and a very interesting life as he was once married to 27 women (!), but he died of AIDS-complications.

Kuti was also a political radical who supported The Black Panther Party and that lead to his own social rebellion in Nigeria. He made the hit 1977 record "Zombie" which was politically focused on the oppressive nature of the Nigerian military.

His music can still be heard frequently today as it was featured on the soundtrack of the critically acclaimed independent film "The Visitor" (2007).

As for the Nigerian soccer team, they had a difficult World Cup with losses to Argentina and Greece, but they tied South Korea 2-2 in their final game.

Here is the quote from Kuti, which is unsurprisingly an overt political one in nature:

"In Nigeria they convict by law, not by the truth."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Quote of the Day- Algerian Writer Mohammed Dib

Initially, we were not certain that we could go through with today's quote from the late Algerian writer Mohammed Dib (1920-2003) since Team America was playing the Algerians today in The World Cup. We were afraid that if Algeria won we might look unpatriotic even though we have quoted Che Guevara (on a lark) here on this blog....many times!

But, Team America scored a late-game goal by Landon Donovan to reach the second round with a 1-0 win.

One might expect that relations between The United States and Algeria, the only pre-dominantly Muslim country in the World Cup to be slightly tense these days, but according to an article by Adam John Waterman in the current issue of the progressive journal "The Utne Reader" (originally published in "Bidoun") there is actually a cultural link between Algeria and Iowa!

Waterman said that the town of Elkader, Iowa, founded in 1846 and named after 19th century Algerian revolutionary fighter Abd al-Qadir, is sister cities with Mascara, Algeria. And, the town has a very unique history which many folks at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines might be unaware of: "By the same token, the name Elkader, with its vague Arabesque exoticism, distinguished the town in a field crowded with biblical allusions, Indian rebels, and wartime heroes."

So, this brings us to today's quote which comes from Dib, who is still considered to be Algeria's most well-known writer, though some may say that distinction belongs to the late French writer Albert Camus who was born in Algeria and spent much of his life there (alas, Camus died at age 46).

This is a point that Dib makes in his quote about Camus, who also happened to be a good friend and a contemporary of his:

"Albert Camus is an Algerian writer, yet we generally think of him as a Frenchman, and as an existentialist, and regard his North African settings as almost beside the point; just backdrops for investigations of life and fate."

As for the World Cup games, there are many places where one can watch them.

In Chapel Hill, NC, there is the Turkish restaurant/bar Talulla's that is showing many of the soccer games. Talulla's might well serve the best manti (a Turkish pasta dish) this side of Istanbul. Their menu also features chicken pide, falafel and the eggplant dish Imam Bayildi.

And, in another college town, there is Big Al's Sports Bar in Blacksburg, Va., home of the Virginia Tech Hokies. In addition to showing the futbol matches, Al's features chicken tenders, cheezy fries, spuds and corndog nuggets---which I've honestly never had before!

Things We Learned on Twitter This PM- Greg Allman Backs Out of Show

A major setback has occured for Allman Brothers fans in Chicago as the band announced that their legendary front-man and former Cher spouse will be undergoing a liver transplant at The Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla.

As a result, The Allman Brothers will not be performing at The Crossroads Guitar Fest at Toyota Park, according to "Chicago Tribune" rock journalist and "Sound Opinions" (an NPR music show) co-host Greg Kot.

The tweet from Kot linked to an article in "The Trib" which said that The Derek Trucks Band will replace The Allman Brothers for the festival.

There will also be a joint performance from Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton at the show.

We certainly wish Greg Allman a speedy recovery.

In other news, since I forgot to link Twisted Sister's web site to our blog during a post yesterday, I wanted to point out that the '80s hair band will also be performing at Rockweekend 2010 in Soderham, Sweden, on July 9. Closer to home, Twisted Sister arrives in Wichita, Kan., for a performance at the Midwest Rockfest on July 24.

They were the ones who did "Come on Feel the Noise" right?! Oh, yeah---sorry, that was Quiet Riot! (Yeah, I know Twisted Sister did "We're Not Going to Take it." We were just messing with ya'!).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Silly Photo to Fill Space- The Next Twisted Sister?!

Apparently, there are lots of garage bands in Pennsylvania, and as we continue our look at summer jobs in our series Silly Photo to Fill Space, we once again focus on of our favorite zip codes in the USA---that of Altoona, Pa. (even though we have no idea what their zip code is!).

While researching this piece, we found out that there is an '80s hairband tribute band in Altoona called Hair Force One, not to be confused with some silly children's movie of the same name with either talking hamsters or talking gerbils (how did someone pitch this crazy idea?!).

The band Hair Force One is playing lots of dates in Pennsylvania this summer, including a July 17th performance at 30 Something, a bar located on E. Walton Ave. in Altoona.

Another Altoona band, The House Band will be playing at the Old Canal Inn on July 9.

And, as for one of the real '80s heavy metal hair bands, Twisted Sister (lead singer Dee Snider is pictured here) is playing at the Norway Rock Fest in Kivindestal, Norway, on July 7th (man, I wish I could be there, well any excuse to go to Norway!). But, the band returns from the Land of A-ha (they will also be playing in Sweden and other countries in Europe) to come back to the States for a July 23 concert in Oklahoma City.


Quote of the Day (South Korean Filmmaker Chan-wook Park)

We continue our 32 quotes from 32 people representing the 32 countries in The World Cup with a quip from South Korean film director Chan-wook Park (born 1963) whose most famous film "Oldboy" has been featured at midnight screenings around the world, including The Tower Theatre in Salt Lake City, Utah, which is certainly hipper than a karaoke joint in nearby Provo (the town of Provo, Utah, reporetdly doesn't allow alcoholic beverages).

Today, the South Korean soccer team tied Nigeria 2-2 with goals from Lee Jung-Soo
(38th min.) and Park Chu-Young (49th min.) to reach the second round of The World Cup where they will face Uruguay on Saturday.

Here is the quote from one of our favorite Asian film directors:

"I have principles and rules. I deal very carefully with acts of violence and make sure that audiences understand how much suffering these acts cause."

SIDEBAR: Those of you residing in the Raleigh, NC-area can catch World Cup action at The Galaxy Cinema in Cary, which will show tomorrow afternoon's game between Australia and Serbia (2:30 p.m., kickoff) as well as other games throughout the week and the rest of the tournament. The Galaxy also 'kicks off' its Chinese Film Series on Thursday with "In the Mood for Love" (Hong Kong. 2000. dir-Wong Kar Wai)

And, a happy birthday to Iranian film director Abbas Kiarostami who turns 70 today. He is best known for the film "Ten." No, that is not the one with Bo Derek!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Quote of the Week (Slovenian Philosopher Slavoj Zizek)

We continue our series of 32 quotes from 32 people associated with the 32 countries in this year's World Cup with a quote from the great Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, born in 1949.

Zizek, who was the subject of a 2005 documentary film, has written many books, including "Iraq: The Borrowed Kettle" (2004) which was reportedly very critical of the war in Iraq.

The Slovenian philosopher is also a socialist and an atheist and his other books include "In Defense of Lost Causes" (2008) and the current release "Living in the End Times" (2010)---yes, I think that's a strange title for a book by an atheist too!

Zizek wrote an op-ed in 2006 for "The New York Times" which said that atheism was a great legacy of Europe, and he has said that all churches should be converted into culture halls (I would prefer cinemas!).

As a fellow film enthuiast, I chuckled when Zizek listed the horror film sequel "Freddy Versus Jason" (2003) as one of his favorite 'guilty pleasures' for an article in "Film Comment," even though I have never seen the movie.

Zizek is also known for his contribution to both political theory and film theory.

And, as this quote indicates, he even has opinions about food!:

"The same rightists who decades ago were shouting, 'Better dead than red!," are now often heard mumbling, 'Better red than eating hamburgers."

The World Cup, incidentally, is the latest entry for the highly popular blog "Stuff White People Like," which became a book of the same name.

SIDEBAR: If one is residing in the DC-metro area, they may want to check out World Cup coverage at The Wing Hub on Cordell Ave., in Bethesda, Md., where Thursday night is also Poker Night!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day from Fred MacMurray

Since today is Father's Day, we are taking a break from The World Cup to present you with a quote from the late, great Fred MacMurray (1908-1991) who starred in "My Three Sons," which ran from 1960-1972 and in reruns until probably 1984 (and, then again on TV Land).

"The two films I did with Billy Wilder, Double Indemnity and The Apartment, were the only two parts I did that required any acting."

I guess if it's not too late, those of you living in Athens, Ga., can take dad out for a burrito at The Taco Stand on E. Broad Street, but if you tell them I sent you, they'll have no idea what you're talking about (especially since I don't actually live there!).

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Quote of the Day- Kofe Annan

In our continuing series on 32 quotes from 32 people representing the 32 countries in the World Cup, we quote former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan (b. 1938). Today, in World Cup action, his nation Ghana tied Australia 1-1.

Brett Holman scored first for the Australian side, but Ghana's Asamoah Gyan answered with a successful penalty kick in the 25th minute. The kick resulted from the red carding of Aussie player Henry Kowell which was the latest controversial call from a ref.

Today's "New York Post," featured the headline "Screw-S-A" in regards to yesterday's apparent botched call which cost Team USA a victory over Slovenia.

Here is our quote from Annan:

"Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the promise of progress,in every society, in every family."

Friday, June 18, 2010

Quote of the Day- Che Guevara

Yes, we may get hate mail for this one! But, even though I'm NOT a socialist (I describe myself as a radical centrist liberal), there is nothing I enjoy more than being called a socialist by the Tea Party crowd.

We are actually quoting the revolutionary figure of Che Guevara (1928-1967) whom I have actually outlived!, (Che was shot to death by the CIA in Bolivia) because he is one of 32 people I have chosen from the 32 countries involved in the World Cup.

Many people wrongfully think Che was Cuban because he helped bring Fidel Castro to power, but he was actually an Argentinian. His country is considered a powerhouse in soccer, and they are expected to perform very well in South Africa. Team Argentina dismantled South Korea 4-1 yesterday.

I actually saw a copy of "Che's Diaries" at The Internationalist Bookstore in Chapel Hill, NC, which has its own famous history that is alas too long and too complicated to go into here (I was actually unaware of this until checking out their Wikipedia page!). But, apparently the members of the rock band Sonic Youth (a personal favorite of mine) knew about this long before I did as the store was the inspiration for their song "Chapel Hill."

The bookstore which features some very unique novels, plays, magazines and zines as well as some non-fiction titles that one would probably not find at the Mount Airy Book Exchange in Mount Airy, NC (some two and a half hours from Chapel Hill) is located downtown next to CD Alley on Franklin Street. One of my favorite titles was a zine called "13 Months Pregnant" by an artist/writer from nearby Durham, NC.

While researching this entry, I also found out that apparently Che and the late actress Audrey Hepburn (born in 1929) were almost exactly the same ago! Now, they would have made for a very interesting couple. Don't ya think?!

Here is the quote from Che, who has been played on film by the likes of the late Jack Palance and (much more recently) by Benicio del Toro. Oh, btw, Che was actually a real 'socialist' (to put it midly!):

"Better to die standing than to live on your knees."

Bonus Silly Picture to Fill Space- Big Pig!

For those Japanese tourists who decided to come to North Carolina instead of watching your national team play Holland in the World Cup in South Africa, you may want to see a vintage piece of Americana when the city of Hillsborough, NC, (near Chapel Hill) hosts Hog Day!

Of course, for those living or visiting the area who don't have time to partake in the festivities, which include live music, crafts and games, and lots and lots of b-b-q, there is Hursey's Pg-Pickin' Bar-B-Q just down the road in Burlington, NC.

SIDENOTE: Ok, maybe the picture should be described as a 'little big pig.'

Thursday, June 17, 2010

PSA- Go Out and Vote! (well, this applies to NC residents only)

Even though the rest of America voted for their respective party's political candidates last week, those of us who reside in North Carolina will decide which Democrats and Republicans are on the ballot on Tuesday.

As a Democrat who is just slightly less partian than Terry McAuliffe (I actually met him in person in Roanoke, Va., at a Democrat Party event---of course!), I am looking forward to seeing who we pit against unpopular incumbent Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC).

There are two major Democratic candidates running for the party's candidate. They include Elaine Marshall, the current North Carolina secretary of state, and former state senator Cal Cunnigham, who I plan to vote for.

According to his campaign web site (, Cunnigham was campaigning today in the cities of Hickory, Boone, Statesville and Salisbury. Tomorrow, he stumps in the eastern part of the state as he ventures to Greenville, Kinston and Wilmington before traveling to Charlotte late in the day.

As a state senator elected in 2000, Cunnigham, who is only 36, represented the Salisbury area, which is almost exactly between Greensboro and Charlotte geographically.

The Democratic state convention will be held in Fayetville on the weekend of July 31-Aug. 1.

We presume that both Pat Warren, who is the county Democrat Party chair in tiny Caswell County (the hamlet of Yanceyville with a population of less than 1,000 people is the county seat), and Joel Ford, the county chair of Mecklenberg County (North Carolina's largest county which includes the metropolis of Charlotte) will be both be very busy on Tuesday.

Oh, it should be pointed out that Robert Redford, who lives (at last report) in Park City, Utah, is not a candidate for North Carolina's U.S. Senate seat though he did play a politician in the under-appreciate early '70s cinematic gem "The Candidate" (pictured above).

Quote of the Day- David Beckham

Today, we continue to quote people who are associated with the 32 countries in The World Cup, but this time we are actually quipping someone who is actually playing in the tournament!

David Beckham and his English team will face Algeria at 2:30 p.m. (US, eastern time) in a crucial game which will follow the game between my country The United States (well, as a Turkish-American, I also support Turkey though they are not in the World Cup) and the former Yugoslav republic of Slovenia, a country that Sarah Palin probably thinks borders Ghana?!

Beckham is (well doesn't everyone outside Tajikistan know this) married to a former Spice Girl, and his quote reflects that:

"I always used to go for blondes and quiet girls, but Victoria is just the opposite-----dark and loud."

It should be pointed out that even though Tajikistan is not in The World Cup they must have a decent soccer team as they beat Bangladesh 6-1 in a qualifier. But, yeah we don't think they would have beaten Argentina either!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Quote of the Day- Rutger Hauer

We continue our series of 32 quotes from people, who may be dead or alive, associated with one of the 32 countries in the 2010 World Cup.

For The Netherlands (we prefer to call it Holland), we go with '80s action film star Rutger Hauer, seen here in the original 1986 version of "The Hitcher."

Holland is off to a good start in the World Cup as they beat Denmark 2-0 on Monday.

Hauer is also known for his role in the 1982 science-fiction film "Blade Runner," which has become a cult classic.

Here is his quote:

"Good guy or bad guy, hero or anti-hero; it doesn't matter to me, what role I play, only the character have something magical."

SIDEBAR: Apparently, North Korea recruited many soccer fans to support their country's appearance in the World Cup, but since there are severe travel restrictions on the citizens of the isolated nation, many Chinese people have come to support 'The Boys from Pyonyang.'

China did not qualify for the World Cup. The BBC talked to Wang Qi, a Chinese man who has professed loyal support for North Korea. At the last minute, North Korean officials decided that they could send a delegation of fans from their own country to South Africa after all. But, in spite of the support of the imported Chinese fans, North Korea still lost 2-1 to traidtional powerhouse Brazil yesterday.

But, there was a bright spot for the North Korean team as Ji Yun-Nam scored a goal for them in the waining minutes of the match which assuredly came as a surprise to soccer fans in Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Sao Paolo and perhaps just about everywhere else!

Things We Learned From Twitter Late Last Night- Michael Bay Can't Blow Up DC

According to the Twitter site WashigntonDCNews, Michael Bay, the crazed blockbuster film director has run into problems with the National Park Service in his efforts to film a scene in which Washington, DC, is effectively blown up for his next film project "Transformers 3."

Bill Line of the National Parks Service said that Bay has 'asked to do some things that simply are not done at the National Mall."

Apparently, a request to shoot off many explosives was made to the Washington DC Film Office. Our presumption is someone in the office may have very well said: "You can't possibly be serious?!"

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Silly Photo to Fill Space- Waitressing in Altoona?

We don't think this particular waitress (I bet her name is Katie?!) works at a King's Family Restaurant in Altoona, Pa., but assuredly some college students who have the summer off are serving up hamburgers and fries to customers there.

King's has two locations (well, I thought there were more actually, but this is according to Google) in Altoona, including one at 3000 Six Ave and one at 201 Sierra Drive.

As for the city's minor league baseball team the Altoona Curve, who we have mentioned in previous entries during this special look at summer jobs in our Silly Photo to Fill Space series, they beat the New Britain Rock Cats (from New Britain, Conn.) 6-5 in a home game on Sunday.

In ten minutes, they will be playing the Trenton Thunder in Trenton, NJ (7:05 start time); we certainly hope there is no thunder in Trenton.

Hmmm.......yeah, that was a lousy pun. We agree. But, in truth, we really don't care!

Quote of the Day- Federico Fellini

Today, we continue our quotes with people, alive or dead, from the 32 nations in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, with a quip from the late Italian cinema maestro Federico Fellini (1920-1993), whose name we had apparently been spelling wrong for years (Federico not Frederico).

One of Fellini's best-known films "La Dolce Vita," made in 1960, turns 50 this year.

This particular quote sounds like something you might hear from French director Jean-Luc Godard:

"There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the infinite passion of life."

Monday, June 14, 2010

Quote of the Week- Akira Kurosawa

Today's quote of the week is from the late, freat Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa (1910-1998). "Rashomon," which many consider to be his best film is celebrating its 60th anniversary. Kurosawa was also known for "The Seven Samurai," "Ikiru," "Ran" and "The Throne of Blood" among many others.

We are quoting 32 people from the 32 countries in the World Cup on both of our blogs. At last report, Japan was beating Cameroon 1-0 in their game today (we are 90 percent sure they won, but we don't want to offend anyone blogging in from central Africa in case we are wrong!).

Here is the quote from Kurosawa:

"In a mad world, only the mad are sane."

Chapel Hill Comics Named Best Comic Book Store...

We want to congratulate our friend Andrew Neal as his business Chapel Hill Comics, located at 316 W. Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, NC, just a few doors down from Talulla's, my favorite Turkish restaurant in les etats unis, was named as The Best Comic Book Store in the Raleigh-Durham area by the readers of "Independent Weekly."

It should be noted that (we believe) the store is more geared towards new comics than the likes of 1970s "Hot Stuff" comic books like the one pictured here, but our editors (well, that would be me) couldn't think of a better image to go with this entry!

The other winners in The Best Of issue included The Regular Bookshop (correction: it's The Regulator Bookshop; we caught it before you did!) located on 720 Ninth Street in Durham, NC, which was named Best Local Bookstore.

The DSW in Raleigh was named as the Best Place to Buy Kick-Ass Shoes (the survey did not specify which gender, but we presume that those of who don't wear high heels can go there too).

The Wolfpack college radio station 88.1 FM/WKNC was named Best College Station though runner-up WXYC (UNC's college radio station) has a good rep too.

For guys who are looking to meet gals, they may want to try the Spira Pilates Studio in Carrboro, which was named Best Pilates Studio, but one should be warned that (well from what I've gathered) Pilates is harder than trying to pick up a woman at The Steel Blue in Durham, which was named Best Lesbian Bar.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Quote of the Day- Salvador Dali

We are continuing our series of 32 quotes from 32 people (who may be dead or alive) from the 32 countries being represented in this year's World Cup which starts in South Africa tomorrow. The United States team will play England at 1:30 p.m., New York/East Coast time. Nationally, that game will air on ABC.

Today, we quip the late Spanish painter Salvador Dali (1904-1989) who might be best known for his 1931 painting "The Persistence of Memory."

For those of you who might be living or visiting Florida who say, 'da heck with soccer,' there is The Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg,Fla., which is open on weekends. But, if you want to know more info, like times of operation, directions and exhibits, you can log on to (we don't want to be held accountable for misinformation, but we can verify that the museum is NOT in Tampa).


Since we posted a "Save PBS" entry for our sister blog "The Daily Vampire" just now, we figured that we'd post one here to "Save NPR."

And, to illustrate irony we will devote this entry to one of the VERY few NPR shows I don't listen to very much at all (along with "Prarie Home Companion").

This is not so much because I have anything against the popular NPR show "Car Talk" or the host Tom and Ray Magliozzi, also known as "Click and Clack," (pictured here) but I am really not much of a car person at all---even though I'm a heterosexual male who is 40 years old!

According to the "Car Talk" web site, the show will air a tribute to the late puzzle master Martin Gardner (I have no idea who he was). "Car Talk" first aired on WBUR out of Boston in 1977. It was picked up nationally by NPR in 1987. The show now boasts more than two million listeners and apparently you can even hear it on the radio in some places overseas, but we are not sure if there are any NPR stations in Turkmenistan (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Quote of the Day- Film Director Dusan Makavejev

Today, we continue with our plan to quote 32 people from each of the 32 countries in this year's World Cup (are we mad?!). We are dividing the quotes between this blog and our sister blog The Daily Vampire.

Our quote today comes from Yugoslavian.....err we mean Serbian film director Dusan Makavejev (note to self: double-check spelling!) who is considered the greatest living film director to ever come out of Belgrade.

One of my favorite Makavejev films is the English-language Australian film "The Coca-Cola Kid" (1985) with Eric Roberts (Julia Roberts' brother) and the English-Swedish actress Greta Scacchi who I still find very sexy after all these years!

The film was produced without the knowledge or consent of Coca-Cola, but since the product was shown favorably in the movie they decided not to make a big whooppee over it.

Makavejev was at last report teaching film at Harvard.

We were hard-pressed to find any quotes from him until we came across this 2000 interview with him from the Australian cinema connosiuers' web site, which also features articles from my friend Bilge Ebiri (a film critic in New York).

Though I'm not in the film industry myself, this one makes a lot of sense:

"It's very difficult to say what makes you get involved with movies."

Things We Learned From Twitter This PM- Ricky Martin to Be in Broadway Musical

Pop singer Ricky Martin who recently made headlines by coming out of the closet (which to those of you in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, means that he's gay), will be joining the Broadway cast of the world-famous musical "Evita" based on the life of Argentinian political figure/actress Evita Peron in 2012 according to a tweet from "Interview" magazine.

Martin will play the character of Che?! (as in Che Guevara?, that would be interesting!).

SIDEBAR: We also want to take a moment to jokingly congratulate Republican congressional candidate Robert Hurt who will be facing our good friend Cong. Tom Perriello (D-Va) this November in the general election. NPR has said this race could among the most highly contested ones nationally. Of course, we hope Perriello pummels Hurt from Charlottesville to South Hill to Boones Mill (all of which are in Virginia's fifth district).

But, admitedly, Perriello will face several political obstacles as the area has a high number of 'Guns, God and Country' conservatives. These folks, also known as Tea Partiers, are in virtually every part of the district except Charlottesville, which is also Perriello's home town.

To help out Perriello, one can log on to

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Silly Photo to Fill Space- Summer Jobs (Baseball Mascots)

We picked on the fine folks in Altoona, Pa., last week with our Silly Photo to Fill Space entry (with a picture of a gas station attendant), so this week we couldn't resist poking fun at them again_ even though I have nothing but love and admiration for the folks in Blair County!

The city's minor league baseball team The Altoona Curve has one of the more interesting mascots around.

Steamer (pictured here) made his first appearance in 1999. According to the Curve web site, the mascot's favorite tv shows are "Thomas the Train Engine" and "Bob the Builder."

His hobbies include four-wheeling, riding roller-coasters and signing autographs for the kids (awwww!).

The Curve lost to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats on the road Sunday by a 5-4 count.

Tonight, they hope to get revenge when they host the Harrisburg Senators from the Pennsylvania state capital at 7 p.m.

We would be there, but Altoona is like a seven-hour drive from here in Durham, NC (not really where I am at, but that town has its own famous minor league team The Durham Bulls) and the game starts in like an hour and a half!

Quote of the Day- Greek Author Nikos Kazantzakis

Today, we continue quoting people associated with one of the 32 countries competing at the upcoming World Cup in South Africa, which gets underway this week (Perhaps, we should tell Sarah Palin that it's a soccer competition!), with a quote from the late Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957).

Perhaps, his best-known novel is the 1953 epic "The Last Temptation of Christ," which became a 1988 Martin Scorsese movie that Jerry Falwell and his evangelical whacko friends in Lynchburg, Va., didn't care too much for (to put it mildly!).

Kazantzakis, who was born on the island of Crete, missed winning the Nobel Prize in literature to French writer Albert Camus ("The Stranger") in 1957 by just one vote. That also happened to be the year that the Greek author died.

Alas, Greece's main ethnic rival, my beloved Turkey (where my late father hailed from) did not qualify for South Africa so no quotes from the late great Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet this go-around, but we will have quotes from other international figures on both of our blogs. Today, we will also be quoting German novelist Gunter Grass ("The Tin Drum") on our sister blog.

Undoubtedly, many folks in Tarpon Springs, Fla. (near Tampa), which has a very large Greek community will be rooting for the Greek soccer team though one of their first-round opponents is traditional futbol power Argentina.

Here is the quote from Kazantzakis (wow, I thought Turkish names were hard to spell!):

"I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free."

Monday, June 7, 2010

Quotes of the Week- Tennessee Williams

As of today, we are including quotes from famous people, either alive or dead, who are from one of the 32 countries participating in The World Cup, taking place in South Africa later this week.

Today, representing our country, The United States (or l'etats unis as they say in France) we go with the late, great playwright Tennessee Williams, best known for penning "A Streetcar Named Desire," which was made even more famous when it became a Marlon Brando movie.

Here is the quote from Williams who gave us that inspirational line: "STELLA! STELLLLLLLAAAAAAAA!" :

"Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth."

For those who are not hip to American theatre history, we can also give you this quip from the alternative comic strip character Zippy the Pinhead who actually has a Twitter account! Though, these lines could very well come from his creator Bill Griffith:

"If I am elected no one will never have to do their laundry again!"

A Tale of Two Countries :Turkey and Israel

Since Israeli commandos stormed the flotilla The Mavi Marmara, a Turkish ship that was carrying relief aid to Palestinians, there has been a virtual nuclear fall-out between Ankara and Jerusalem in terms of diplomatic relations.

Among those nine people who lost their lives, all of them Turkish, was Furkan Dorgan, 19, a Turkish-American from Troy, NY, who was set to attend Erciyes University in Kayseri, Turkey, this fall in the hopes of becoming a doctor one day according to "The Washington Post".

The incident set off protests throughout Turkey. The BBC showed footage of a peaceful demonstration in Beyoglu, the most liberal part of Istanbul. But, similarly, the same television report carried a more militant protest with Islamic overtones in a more conservative part of the city (perhaps Eyup, which is argubaly the most fundamentalist section of Istanbul).

"The Washignton Post" also reported that another American citizen Emily Henochowicz, 21, of Potomac, Md., who is not of Turkish heritage, was seriously injured as she lost her eye due to injury as Israeli soldiers attacked her during the raid.

Nilufer Cetin, among the first Turkish nationals to return home, told "The Guardian" newspaper in London that Israeli troops opened fire before they even boarded the Mavi Marmara.

Even Turkey's traditional rival Greece was affected by the incident, as Michalis Grigoroopoulous, a Greek citizen who was another ship The Free Mediterranean, told "The Guardian" that 'the Israelis acted like pirates.'

There have been those, both on the political right and the left in America, who have defended Israel including Congs. Eric Cantor (R-Va) and Anthony Weiner (D-NY). But support seems heaviest among evangelical conservatives as both Liz Cheney and the Rev. Nathan Tabor of Winston-Salem, NC, one of the Piedmont's leading conservative actists, have verbally expressed support for Israel.

But, there are some who are not so quick to give Israel a proverbial Get Out of Jail Free Card. These include the ever-wise columnist Leon Wieseltier of "The New Republic" who is himself a Jew.

In a column that was published today, Wieseltier, the literary critic of the "TNR" said the following: "The Netanyahu-Barak government has somehow found a way to lose the moral high ground, the all-important war for symbols and meanings, to Hamas. That is quite an accomplishment."

As a Turkish-American who has appreciated Israel's delicate security problems in the past, I call on all Americans to put pressure on Congress to demand an all-out apology from Jerusalem.

It seems quite ironic to me that Israel has now surpassed Syria as a greater security threat to the stability of the region, even though Israel is a democracy and a dictator still rules from Damascus!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

PSA- Please Adopt a Cat from the Orange County, NC, Animal Shelter

You got to love an animal shelter which prints a newspaper ad that says: "Want a girl who will never pick a fight?" (as published in the May 11th issue of "The Carrboro Citizen")

Orange County Animal Services in Chapel Hill, NC, is hoping to find homes for several cats and dogs. Due to time constraints, we can only talk about cats right now (yes, this blog has both a liberal bias and a cat bias, but we don't care what Glenn Beck thinks!).

Among the cats up for adoption are Handsome, a male black domestic cat who is nine years old, Pookah, a female white domestic cat who is also nine years old and Gabriel, a male gray domestic cat (like the one pictured here) who is one year and one month old.

Other cats at the shelter include Bodie, a male black domestic cat who is two years and five months old, Popcorn, a female calico domestic cat who is two years and two months old and Warren, a male white cat who is two years and two months old.

The shelter can be reached at 919-942-PETS. The adoption fee is $80 for kittens and $91 for adult cats.

The web site for the shelter is

We have an entry on our sister blog "The Daily Vampire" about cats in the Henry County Animal Shelter, located in Martinsville, Va. They can be reached at 276-638-PAWS.


The Twitter Feed- Cong. Anthony Weiner is a Weiner!

Since this is a fairly partisan Democrat Party supporting blog, it come as a surprise to some of you that I am going to call Cong. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) a 'weiner,' but that is exactly what we are going to do!

Cong. Weiner called Turkey, my late father's country, a 'former ally' in a press conference today according to Twitter feed from a Washington DC news group.

The remarks came just days after Israel made a highly controversial commando attack on the Turkish ship Marmara in international waters off the coast of Israel as they were trying to deliver humanitarian aid to Palestinians.

But, so it is clear that we are singling out Cong. Weiner, who was one of the leading proponents of health care reform (which we fully support), it has also been reported that House Minority Whip Cong. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), another weiner who also happens to be a radical Zionist, is asking President Barack Obama to ensure that the United Nations takes no action to condemn Israel.

In other unique things I discovered through Twitter today, "The L.A. Weekly" has reported that Asian-American porn star Herbert Wong, aka Tom Dong, 30, was killed in a samurai sword-style attack in Van Nuys, Calif. The main suspect is another adult film actor Steven Hill, aka Steven Driver, 30. We couldn't have made this stuff up!

In our nation's capital, there was a collision between two dump trucks on I-295, the main corridor through Washington, DC, according to WashDCNews. Two people were taken to a nearby hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries.

And, Cantos Booksellers, one of the leading independent bookstores in my hometown of Roanoke, Va., has closed its doors according to RoanokeNews. The store was located downtown right across the street from (well, we can't resist) The Roanoke Weiner Stand.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Things We Learned on Twitter Very Early This A.M.

Before anyone accuses us of being snotty liberals who use the beloved "Sesame Street" characters Bert and Ernie to represent the homosexual lifestyle, we should remind you that it was The Rev. Joseph Chambers of Charlotte, NC, who first made the claim that they were a gay couple back in 1994.

Personally, I think one can tell society has gone whacko when the sexual orientation of children's tv show characters are being questioned.

But, this does bring us to What We Learned on Twitter in the wee hours of the morning today when we suffering from insomnia.

It was at this juncture that I saw a tweet from a college student in Lawerence, Kan., that according to the liberal-leaning mega-blog "The Huffington Post" it appears that Cong. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), 50, who is running for Barack Obama's former U.S. Senate seat may well be a closeted homosexual.

The allegation comes from gay activist blogger Mike Rogers, who is based in Washington, DC, and was featured in the recent documentary film "Outrage" which deals with politicians who are suspected of being gay but vote against gay and lesbian political interests.

Rogers said that he was initially reluctant to pursue the matter of Cong. Kirk's sexual orientation since he has generally been more favorable towards gays than most Republicans. But when Cong. Kirk decided to vote against the lifting of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in the military, Rogers felt it was appropriate to disclose the allegations.

Rogers said that two men claimed to have had homosexual relations with Kirk while they were in college. The gay blogger also told "The Huffington Post" that someone met Kirk at a 2004 house party and the congressman reportedly asked if a gay man he came across at the party was 'single' (apparently, he wasn't).

For what it's worth, Kirk's ex-wife Kimberly Vertolli who divorced Kirk last year has vehemently denied the rumors.

As for the female college student from Kansas, who 'broke' the story on Twitter for me, she had this thought-provoking tweet this afternoon: "Have I ever told y'all how much guys suck? Cause they do."

I also reached yet another silly Twitter milestone this afternoon, as Boulder the Cat (we are not sure if the feline actually resides in Boulder, Colo.) became the 1,500th 'person' I'm following on Twitter. The cat, whose gender was uncertain at press time, left the following tweet several days ago: "You know to me, personally, a cat that twitters is just as impressive as a dog that skateboards."

We couldn't agree more!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Silly Photo to Fill Space- Summer Jobs (Gas Station Attendant)

If you are a college student coming back from spring semester at Penn State or Duquense to your hometown of Altoona, Pa., and you have found out that they have already hired someone to be the mascot of the minor league baseball team The Altoon Curve and that summer internship at "The Altoona Mirror" (the local newspaper) is unavailable, don't worry!

You can become a gas station attendant at a place like Martin's General Store off Exit-41 on 199 (for legal reasons, we should state that though there is such a place, we aren't sure if they are hiring!).

Apparently, this particular gas station is right across from a Sheetz, which is based in Altoona, and they now have stores as far south as Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (that is a joke, but they are in South Carolina.....?!)

One internet poster said that the store has really, really great pizza but alas they offer no diesel.

As for the Altoon Curve, in my personal opionion (though it may not come across this way I mean this as a sincere compliment), their mascot looks like a cross between Marvin the Martian and Gumby!

The Curve's next home games will be from June 7-9 against the Harrisburg Senators.

Altoona, Pa., is also the birthplace of current Florida governor Charlie Crist.

Kudos to Maryland Terps' Women's Lacrosse Team!

The Lady Terps lacrosse team is taking an NCAA title back to College Park, Md., as they defeated second-ranked Northwestern University from Evanston, Ill., by a 13-11 margin in Towson, Md., which is (we think) a mere one-hour drive from the UMD campus.

The title game was played in front of 9, 872 spectators on Sunday afternoon.

Caitlyn McFadden of the Terps was named NCAA Tournament MVP. She scored two goals in the title game.

Additionally, Terps' players Sarah Mollison, Karri Ellen Johnson, and Katie Schwarzmann scored three goals to lead the team back from an early 6-0 deficit.

The year in women's lacrosse was marked by a tragedy at the University of Virginia in which a player from the Cavaliers' women's team was allegedly murdered by her boyfriend who played lacrosse for UVA's men's team.

But, both of UVA's lacrosse teams still managed to finish their respective seasons well.

Another ACC team, the UNC Tarheels almost made it to the final game against Maryland, but they fell to Northwestern in the semi-finals.