Saturday, July 31, 2010

Top 10- Favorite Non-Celebrities to Follow on Twitter...

For starters, we would like to dedicate today's entry to students at Sheldon High School in Eugene, Oregon, where the late author Ken Kesey ("One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest") was from for they will inevitably be the ones who take care of us in nursing homes in the future!

Here are favorite non-celebrities to follow on Twitter. I must profess that I debated if either Arsalan Iftikhar and Keith Knight, two people with loyal followings, could fit this category, but both are slightly less-known than the likes of Paris Hilton.

1. Boulder the Cat- We aren't sure if Boulder the Cat is a Siamese, like the one pictured here. Nevertheless, whoever is behind this feline's tweets is quite hilarious. One recent tweet advised 'fellow cats' that the best time to attack owners is when they are using the toilet!

2. The Kansan- At first, I was looking to follow the school newspaper of the same name for The University of Kansas. But, instead I found a young lady who happens to reside in Lawrence, Kansas, who has a great knack for making fun of Republicans, including a suggestion that the GOP's new theme song should be "Whiter Shade of Pale" by Procol Harum!

3. Chris Knight- My friend in Reidsville, NC, is not the same Chris Knight who was on "The Brady Bunch," but I love his off-the-wall tweets. Last night, he was watching the science fiction film "Moon," which came out in theaters last year.

4. Ali Arikan- This movie blogger from Istanbul, Turkey, may actually be even more obsessed with film than I am as he is taking a dvd of the Harvey Keitel film "Bad Lieutenant" to watch on the plane!

5. The Muslim Guy (Arsalan Iftikhar)- This young Muslim American activist has become quite a media sensation. Today, he lambasted Tennessee's Republican lt. gov. for calling Islam a cult.

6. Keith Knight- One of the best new cartoonists in America.......! Keith Knight, an African-American who pens "The Knight Life" is no relation to Chris Knight who is white.

7. Anna Li- The UCLA gymnast who helped the Bruins win a national championship this spring is always a delight to follow on Twitter as she details her life as a 20-something college athlete.

8. Dever Food Guy- Great recipes! He really knows how to use squash, tomatoes and cucumbers!

9. Nathan Tabor- A Republican?! I suppose this Winston-Salem, NC, conservative activist is an example of reverse affirmative action. As one might expect, President Barack Obama is often subject to his critiques.

10. LiberalChick230- This San Fran woman is always cool to follow. Today, she said that a Tea Party diversity event was indeed a big bust....

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday GeoQuiz- Tokyo Calling....

Today, we ask you the blog-reader to guess which year the Summer Olympics were held in Tokyo, Japan. I am now in the process of finally seeing the Yasujiro Ozu cinematic masterpiece "Tokyo Story" on dvd, hence the reason for this image above.

Was the year?:

A) 1988
B) 1956
C) 1964
D) 1968

The answer to last week's quiz was "B."

SIDEBAR: I imagine if tickets remain they may be very limited by the Canadian band Arcade Fire which is apparently now hotter than Shakira dancing barefoot in a low-cut dress is performing this weekend in Montreal, Boston and Philadelphia (that's actually a Monday concert). The band will also be profiled in this week's edition of "Sound Opinions," an NPR series which airs at 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays in the Greensboro and Raleigh markets on 91.5 (WUNC-FM, Chapel Hill).

Thursday, July 29, 2010

PSA- Love Thy Neighbor

This is simply a companion entry to our PSA on "The Daily Vampire," which focuses on the controversial new immigration platform in Arizona. While that entry deals with Mexico, this one profiles Canada.

Ironically, "Dudley Do-Right" is an American cartoon from the brainchild of the late Jay Ward who also created "Rocky and Bulwinkle" (The moose is perhaps the hardest cartoon character name to spell in the English language as I have seen it spelled Bullwinkle as well!).

Bill Scott (1920-1985) who was the voice of Bulwinkle was also the voice of the beloved Canadian mounty as well as George in "George of the Jungle." (Both Dudley Do-Right and George of the Jungle were played by Brandon Fraser on screen).

Dudley Do-Right, which aired in 1969, made a cameo in a Rocky and Bulwinkle Fan Club segment as he was the title character in a play by the Russian villian Boris Badenov.

In his own show, Dudley was head over heels for Nell Fenwick and his arch nemesis was Snidely Whiplash.

While researching this piece, we stumbled upon the fact that the actor who voiced Snidely (the late Hans Conried) was also the voice of Wally Walrus on "The Woody Woodpecker Show!"

Quote of the Week- Zinedine Zidane

Auuuuuuugggghhhhhhh! (As Charlie Brown would say when he tried to kick Lucy's football). We have major time constraints today, so let's cut to today's quote from the French soccer star Zinedine Zidane who is perhaps best known for his head butt against an Italian player in the 2006 World Cup final:

"We are all aware of the task ahead of us in what will be a very difficult match but which we will all dream of playing."

I suppose in some surreal way he speaks for all of us!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Things We Learned on Twitter Last Night- Bats Bring Out the Bats

The Louisville Bats, a Triple-A level minor league baseball team, battered the visiting Charlotte Knights by a walloping 19-6 margin according to a tweet from the team.

The Bats had an offensive explosion started by Wladimir Balentien who hit a grand-slam homer in the first inning of the play.

The avalanche of runs never let up as the Bats had an amazing 22 hits. Every Bats starter scored at least one run and had at least one RBI.

The two teams face each other again tonight in Lousiville, Ky.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Silly Photo to Fill Space- Store Mascots...?!

Today, we feature another installment on summer series on summer jobs with a photo of The Noid who was the store mascot for Domino's Pizza up until....(ay karamba, we forgot to wiki this?!)......the point when Vanilla Ice went out of fashion.

I never had the fortune/misfortune to dress like The Noid, but I did promotions (I was a Teenage Human Billboard) and deliveries for Domino's as a 19-year-old kid back in the Roanoke, Va., area in 1989.

Personally, I consider this to be the third worst job I ever had behind being a crime reporter for a small newspaper in North Carolina and later teaching ESL to mostly Hispanic inmates at a state prison.

So, I would encourage anyone in our feature town of the month- Akron, Ohio, to actually seek out employment at Capri Pizza, which according to their web site was voted Best Pizza in west Akron. The establishment also features the $7 Killer Steak Sandwich! Who's counting calories?

SIDEBAR: The Akron Aeros lost their home game to the Bowie BaySox from Maryland by a 10-5 margin last night, but the two teams go at it again this evening.

SIDEBAR TWO: Those of you living in one of our favorite towns Boulder, Colo., may want to check out The Sierra Lone Refugee All Stars. The band from Africa was featured in an award-winning documentary which aired on the PBS series "POV" a few summers ago. The show at The Boulder Theater is scheduled for Aug. 7 at 8 p.m.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Quote of the Week- Mark Twain

Today's Quote of the Week comes from author Mark Twain ("Tom Sawyer") who is undoutedbly the pride of Hannibal, Missouri. We had a chance to visit the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Conn., in 2007, which is an impressive 19-room mansion. Twain was also an inspiration for the late animator Chuck Jones of "Bugs Bunny" fame.

Here is today's quip:

"A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds."

50 Beers of the World- St. Pauli Girl (Germany)

The subject of today's entry St. Pauli Girl is actually an export-only beer which can not be found in its native Germany!

The beer is part of the Beck's brewery in Bremen, Germany. St. Pauli Girl was established in 1857, and it was first introduced to American markets in 1975.

The current spokes-model for the beer is Slovakian model Katarina Ven Derham, who we understand is more attractive than your high school prom queen in her prime.

We expect that one can find this German brew at Tiny's Tavern, which is located at N. 24th Street in Billings, Montana, as well as at Riley's Bar in Radford, Va., home of Radford University (my alma mater). Riley's web site promotes Thirsty Thursdays. Somehow, I doubt they have any Iranian beers (yes, that is the ultimate oxy moron, isn't it?!).

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Top Ten College Albums of the Week (According to 'Rolling Stone')

We were pleasantly surprised to see one of our favorite '80s New Wave bands Devo is actually listed in the current College Radio Top Ten Albums list in the current "Rolling Stone."

Another band from Akron, Ohio, The Black Keys have the top album of the week.

Devo will be performing in Des Moines, Iowa, tonight before heading for shows in Indianapolis and Atlanta next week (why doesn't anyone come to North Carolina any more?!).

I will admit I haven't heard of many of these acts. Tame Impala?! But, the band Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse has a really, really cool name, don't they?

Here is the complete list:

1. The Black Keys "Brothers"

2. Wolf Parade "Expo 86"

3. Tokyo Police Club "Champ"

4. Deer Tick "The Black Dirt Sessions"

5. Tame Impala "Innerspeak"

6. Blitzen Trapper "Destroyer of the Void"

7. Devo "Something for Everybody" (pictured)

8. Stars "The Five Ghosts"

9. Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse "Dark Night of the Soul."

10. Sleigh Bells "Treats"

SIDEBAR: Because everything in the world is closed here in King, NC, (not really where I'm at), we will be posting our new 50 Beers from Around the World entry on Monday.

SIDEBAR TWO: WUAG-103.1 FM, the college radio station for UNC-Greensboro has ranked Wolf Parade's "Expo 86," which was number two on the RS list as their top album of the week. The station ( also features an all-vinyl show between 7-9 p.m. on Wednesdays with host James Wert. You can actually listen to the show in both Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and Provo, Utah, because the station is available for streaming around the world.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Today's GeoQuiz- What's the Weather Like in Mexico City?

Today, we ask a simple question for our Friday GeoQuiz.

It is simply, what's the weather like in Mexico City today?

Is the answer:

A) 68 degrees

B) 71 degrees

C) 74 degrees

D) 79 degrees

Amazingly enough, it is cooler there than is here along the Virginia-North Carolina border!

Mexico City was the host to the 1968 Summer Olympics.

I visited the city in 2007, but we didn't do much traveling around the area because we were afraid of going out at night due to the city's reportedly high crime rate.

We dedicate today's entry to the students at Northridge High School in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where Dr. Isaac Espy is the principal. Somehow, we doubt that ESPN's awards the ESPYs were named after him.


Wanna see some Shakespeare this weekend? Well, The American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Va., (editorial comment: we prefer their old name Shenandoah Shakespeare) is performing "The Taming of the Shrew" on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. In the evening, they will be performing my favorite Shakespearean play, the great tragedy "Othello," which takes place in Cyprus. "Othello" will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Rene Thorton Jr. takes on the title role while Sarah Fallon plays his wife Desdemona and Benjamin Curns plays everybody's favorite villian Iago. In a recent fictitious Internet survey, Iago placed third behind Gargamel ("The Smurfs") and Darth Vader when it came to the most lovable basterds* of all time.

*- We didn't spell it right on purpose!

SIDEBAR 2: The answer to last week's quiz is B) Santiago

Thursday, July 22, 2010

PSA- Take a Bite Outta Crime

Today, we focus on crime prevention for our Thursday PSA entry. Of course, McGruff the Crime Dog actually uses this motto which came of age (we believed in the late

But, the late Greek-American actor Telly Savalas was the ever-hip sleuth "Kojak" on CBS. The series lasted 105 episodes, and it ran from 1973-78.

The show was remade with black actor Ving Rhames playing the title role in 2005 on the USA Network, but alas it was only around for a year.

In Hungary and Romania, according to Wikipedia, a kojak is slang for a lollipop!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Quote of the Day- Yves Montand

Ironically, our quote today comes from the much-admired late left-wing French actor/singer Yves Montand who was (ironically, again) born in Italy.

Montand appeared in many classic films around the world, including "Z," "Le Cercle Rouge," "Tout va Bien!" (a Jean-Luc Godard film with Jane Fonda), "Let's Make Love" (with Marilyn Monroe) and "The Wages of Fear."

Here is the quote:

"Pacifists are like sheep who believe that wolves are vegetarians."

SIDEBAR: Today is Belgian Independence Day. The Brassiere Beck, a Belgian place in Washington, DC, is celebrating with a $49 all-you-can-eat buffett today. We have jokingly referred to Belgium as Tintinland on this blog since the country is known for the much-adored comic book character Tintin.

Things We Learned on Twitter Today- Ozu Film @ IFC Center

Those interested in seeing the little-screened 1937 Yasujiro Ozu film "What Did the Lady Forget?" who live in the New York City area can see the film at the IFC Center located at 323 Sixth Avenue according to the cinema's Twitter page.

The IFC Center tweeted that they have added screenings at 11:00 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. from Friday-Sunday to accomodate demands to see the gem.

Ozu (1903-1963) who directed "Tokyo Story" is considered to be one of Japan's best filmmakers along with the late Akira Kurosawa. The film at the IFC Center is about an affluent medical professor and his bossy wife. Like most Ozu films, it deals with contemporary life in urban Japan.

SIDEBAR: The Russians Are Coming to Montana?! Well, the Russian-emigre rock band The Red Elvises (based in Santa Monica, Calif.), perhaps best known for their song "I Am a Closet Disco Dancer" will be playing many dates around Montana (yes, we're very jealous!). The tour de Montana starts with a show at the Machinery Row in Great Falls on July 29. It concludes with a show at Montana John's in Phillipsburg on Aug. 9.

The Red Elvises also play at the Silver Dollar Saloon in Butte on Aug. 1 before heading to Bozeman to play at the Zebra Cocktail Lounge on Aug. 3. Currently, the band is getting to play in Seattle at The Tractor Tavern on Saturday.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Silly Photo to Fill Space- Working at the Amusement Park

Today, we are featuring a photo of an employee at Joyland Park in Lubbock, Tex., in our Silly Photo to Fill Space special entry series on summer jobs.

Our feature is actually Akron, Ohio, for the month of July though. And, while there is not an amusement park in Akron, unless you count Laser Quest, there is Cedar Point Park, which has all those roller coasters and tilt-a-whirl rides in Sandusky, Ohio.

Check it out!

Of course, if you want to see a great film about working in such places, then there is last year's "Adventureland," now out on dvd.......Rock Me Amadeus....!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Quote of the Week- Paul Newman

Here is today's Quote of the Week from one of our favorite actors Paul Newman (1925-2008). We certainly wish he was still with us, but we can always put "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" or "Cool Hand Luke" in our Netflix ques:

"People stay married because they want to, not because the doors are locked."

SIDEBAR: For those of you in Pittsburgh (as in The Steel City in Pa., not Pittsburg, Kansas), the famed New York City story-reading group The Moth, featured on the NPR show "This American Life," will be performing a show on Thurs., Aug. 26th at the New Hazlett Theatre.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

50 Beers From Around the Globe- Sapporo (Japan)

We learned while researching this post that there is actually a Sapporo Beer Museum in Sapporo, Japan!

You may be able to find this Japanese brew at The Banana Cabana in Isle of Palms, SC (Charleston) or at The Grenwich Grill in New York, which supposedly also has great sushi! We don't reside in either area, but they do seem like cool places.

SIDEBAR: Unless you are a night owl like myself, you want to set the TiVo to tape the original vintage early 1970's version of "Shaft" with Richard Roundtree. It airs at (double yikes!) 2:15 a.m. on Saturday on TCM. Roundtree was kind enough to exchange emails with me several years ago. He is alive and well at age 68 today. Samuel L. Jackson played Shaft in a remake of the film. The original "Shaft" is one of the films discussed in an excellent article about blaxpotation films in the current issue of the Canadian film magazine "Cine Action."

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Top Ten Places I Want to Visit in the USA

Today, we start a new segment on our blogs devoted to Top Ten lists. Before we start, let's wish actor Donald Sutherland a happy 75th birthday. The IFC, in conjunction with a film blog from which my good friend Bilge Ebiri used to edit, named Sutherland's steamy love scene with Julie Christie in the '70s film "Don't Look Now" as the greatest sex scene of all time! Kudos on that too....

We have never been to any of these places, and since we are pressed for time, let's just throw them here on the canvass:

1. Seattle- Home of the Starbucks Corp.!

2. Austin, Tex.

3. Boise, Idaho- Home of the minor league hockey team the Idaho Steelheads!

4. Helena, Montana

5. Ann Arbor, Mich.- My late father went to school there a very long time ago.

6. Eugene, Oregon- College town where the late author Ken Kessey lived.

7. Miami- We are referring to the large city in Florida, not Miami, Okl.

8. Los Angeles- Man, I would really like to see The Roxy, The Echo and (of course!) The Viper Room!

9. St. Paul, Minn.- Of course, I'm sure there are other things besides "Prairie Home Companion."

10. North Pole, Alaska- This is NOT the town where Sarah Palin was mayor!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Today's GeoQuiz- Chile

The capital of Chile which features this mural (pictured here) is the subject of today's GeoQuiz, which we dedicate to students at Fairview High School in Boulder, Colo.,-admittedly one of our favorite college towns.

This city has had a bit of a dark history in recent years as Chile was ruled by dictator Augusto Pinochet from 1974-1990 after he toppled Marxist leader Salvador Allende with the assistance of the CIA. These events were profiled in the epic French documentary "The Battle of Chile" (1975-79) from Chilean emigre Patricio Guzman.

My late uncle Ilhan Gokbudak, who died in 2000, was actually a Turkish diplomat in Chile during the 1970s and 1980s, and he told me many stories about his life there. And, I actually inherited an autograph from Pinochet from him, which felt a bit strange since...well, he was a dictator!

But, today, this city and Chile is back on its proverbial feet as many tourists come to this capital which has also been sister cities with the likes of other capitals ranging from Ankara, Turkey, to Manila, Philippines. This mystery city is also currently a sister city with Miami.

Is this capital city:

A) Asuncion

B) Montevideo

C) Lima

D) Santiago

SIDEBAR: We want to wish a happy birthday to fellow Radford University (Va.) alum Jayma Mays of tv's "Glee" (a show that my friend Moviezzz really, really likes) who turned 31 on Friday. She is originally from the coal-mining town of Grundy, Va., which is not to far away from Wise, Va., where the late actor George C. Scott ("Patton") was born. Many people are surprise to find out that far southwestern Virginia town of Grundy is close to three hours away from Roanoke, Va., my hometown which is the largest city in the region.

SIDEBAR TWO: Spaghetti western movie fans will be happy to learn that TCM is airing the Sergio Leone film "For a Few Dollars More" with Clint Eastwood tomorrow at 5:30 p.m., EDT. It is the sequel to "A Fistful of Dollars." My favorite spaghetti western is another Leone film "Once Upon a Time in the West."

PS-The answer to last week's GeoQuiz was "B," Valencia.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

PSA- Stop Homophobia

For our PSA entry today, we focus on stoping homophobia which folks like the Rev. Johnny Robertson of Martinsville, Va., allegedly (well, this is close to a safe assumption) believe in strongly for 'the Bible tells 'em so.'

We learned while researching this piece that there is an International Stop Homophobia Day on May 17 of each year, and it is apparently popular in Canada and Sweden.

As for the silly rumor that "Sesame Street" characters Bert and Ernie are/were gay, it actually started with another radical minister, but one who has more clout and a stronger following that the Rev. Johnny R, who we love to refer to as "The Jim Jones of Henry County" (and, I think my friend Chris Knight might well agree with me there)---the Rev. Joseph Chambers, a televangelist in Charlotte, NC.

Chambers has also allegedly stated that another PBS children's star Barney the Dinosaur is a tool of Satan who spreads his left-wing agenda to children all across the world (are you serious?!).

SIDEBAR: Today we learned on Twitter that the 2011 University of Minnesota's women's gymnastics team will feature 15 gymnasts from eight states and three countries, including Mexican gymnast Ana Balboa. The team's first home meet is on Jan. 16 against Iowa.

According to, '80s fossil singer/actress Grace Jones has surfaced in Istanbul,Turkey- of all places, where she will perfom in concert tomorrow night (July 16).

Lastly, MalcolmtheMayor had this great Tweet which I can fully sympathize with:
"I need a Vacation ASAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Canada or me pick!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Special Quote of the Day--Happy Bastille Day!

Today, we celebrate Bastill Day, the Fourth of July for France with a quip from French philisopher Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) who was the subject of the documentary film "Derrida."

July 14th is also a day of celebration in Azerbaijan, though we aren't exactly sure why?!:

"Everything is arranged so that it can be this way, that is what is called culture."

SIDEBAR: The Chapel Hill, NC-based rock band Southern Culture on the Skids, who are known for throwing fried chicken and Little Debbie oatmeal pies to the audience, will be playing several dates out West, including a Sept. 3 show at The Echo in L.A. and a Sept. 16 show at The Rhythm Room in Phoenix.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Things We Learned on Twitter Today- IFC to Show American Splendor

Alas, we were saddened to hear of the passing of the comic book genius Harvey Pekar
(1939-2010) on Monday. Our good friend Moviezzz has a moving tribute to him on his blog

On Twitter today, we learned that IFC will show the film "American Splendor," the 2003 film based on his autobiographical graphic novel of the same name, on July 21 at 8:20 a.m. (not a typo) and 3:00 p.m. as well as on July 30 at 11:45 a.m.

Both the film and the comic book took place in Cleveland, a city that is coming up a lot today (see last entry). The film starred Paul Giamatti in a stellar performance as Pekar who has a cameo in the film as well. He will be missed.

On Twitter today, we also saw the following tweet from Therealgarfield (we presume it is from Jim Davis or a member of the "Garfield" staff): "Eat. Sleep. Eat. Sleep. Works for me." This proves that at least on some occasions a 32-year-old cat can still make one laugh.

There was a less amusing tweet from the Turkish newspaper "Zaman" which reported that Iran has temporarily decided not to stone Sakineh M. Ashtiani (a woman) to death, but she could still face execution pending a judiciary decision. Hey, we only thought things like this happened in Utah and Texas!

Radio Sweden reported that the very, very, very liberal group Greenpeace has slammed a Swedish icebreaking outfit for proposals to break ice near the Arctic Circle. The same media outlet tweeted that tourism is also on the rise in Sweden where some tourist from Kalamazoo, Michigan, is probably wondering where to Little Mermaid statue is (it's in Copenhagen, Denmark, of course!).

And, lastly, "The Hartford Courant" tweeted that a Sonic Drive-In will come to folks in Wallingford, Conn., on Wednesday. I'm sure this will put them on the map!

Silly Picture to Fill Space- Wolfman Jack

Today we feature the late dj Wolfman Jack in our summer jobs mini-series here on our regular Tuesday file "Silly Picture to Fill Space."

We will focus on the prospect that one may want to wish to become a summer dj at a local radio station.

In Akron, Ohio, not far from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, there are several radio stations ('course, for 'legal reasons,' we should point out that we have no idea if any of them are hiring), including WONE, 97.5-FM, a rock n roll station in Akron. Other radio stations in the area include WQNX-FM 94.9 Country in Medina and Cruisin' 101. FM (an oldies station) in Shelby.

As for the local minor league baseball team in Akron, our beloved Akron Aeros (well we don't actually live anywhere close to the Buckeye State--that's Ohio for those of you in Tashkent, Uzbekistan) lost to the Erie SeaWolves 4-2 last night. But, the two teams face each other again tonight in Akron. Perhaps, we can get home in time to watch the game....oh, right ESPN doesn't televise Eastern League games!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Quote of the Week- Billy Wilder

This week's Quote of the Week comes from Billy Wilder who directed many Jack Lemmon films, including "Some Like it Hot" (1959) and "The Apartment" (1960), which much to my shock was shown on Azerbaijani tv when I was there in 2008.

Other notable Wilder films include "The Lost Weekend" (1945), "Sunset Blvd." (1950)* and the original "Sabrina" (1954).

Here is the quote:

"If you're going to tell people the truth, be funny or they will kill you."

*-My personal favorite Wilder film.

Viva Espana!

Kudos to Spain for winning the 2010 World Cup and Xica (pictured here) who was named the tournament's most valuable player.

South Africa's president Jacob Zuma declared the World Cup a victory for the host country as well:

"Let us keep celebrating, let the vuvuzelas keep blowing and let the football festival continue at Soccer City...This has been a truly inspiring, moving and uplifting month. Well done, South Africa."

Paul the Octopus had predicted a Spanish win over Holland in the World Cup final. One English handicapper said that if a gambler had bet according to Paul's predictions, they would have earned themselves $4,500!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Leftover Files- Strasburg Va. is NOT Going to Name Town After Pitcher

In a story we've been meaning to post for several weeks, but since our focus was on The World Cup, we never 'round to it, the town of Strasburg, Va., some 85 miles south of Washington, DC, actually contemplated renaming the town Stephen Strasburg, Va., just for a day.

Stephen Strasburg plays for the Washington Nationals, and last night the rookied sensation whiffed eight San Francisco Giants pitcher leading his team to an 8-3 win.

Strasburg's mayor Timothy Taylor did tell "The Washington Post" that he wanted to have a special week in the pitcher's honor and have him come down I-66 to visit the town of antique stores and drive-in diners.

There is an amateur baseball team in nearby Front Royal, Va. The Front Royal Cardinals play in the Valley League at Bing Crosby Stadium. I went to the field to cover the Valley League All-Star Game when I was a reporter in Woodstock, Va., which is 20 miles south of Strasburg. The Cardinals head down I-81 to play in Staunton, Va., tonight---presuming there is no rain.

In other Valley League is also home to the Rockbridge Rapids of Lexington, Va., where my mom sells antiques at Duke's Antiques Mall. I was there a few weeks ago, and I noticed there was an old $2,960 Blue Sunoco gas pump for sale. I imagine it will be there for a while. Tonight, the Rapids have a home game against the team from Covington, Va.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Today's GeoQuiz-A Question About Spain?

For today's entry, which we dedicate to students at Northwestern High School in Rock Hill, SC, which is the alma mater of my cousin Michael and former North Carolina State gymast named Ashley Shepard (I had initially forgotten her name!).

Today, we ask what is Spain's third largest city. This city is also home to soccer player Raul Albidol, who will one of the 22 players taking the field for the World Cup final between Spain and Holland. He also plays for Real Madrid.

The mayor of this city (its flag is pictured here) is Rita Barbera, and it boasts a population of 810,000 and it shares a Siste City program with Sacramento, Calif.

Is this city?:

A) Valladolid
B) Valencia
C) Zaragoza
D) Seville

SIDEBAR: We are always looking to see who is visiting us from where. Today, we are curious if any of you are from Athens, Georgia, or Thessaloniki, Greece, which is the country's second largest city and ironically the birthplace of The Republic of Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

PS- The answer to last week's GeoQuiz is Yaounde, which is the capital of Cameroon.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

At the 9:30 Club in DC, Drive-By Truckers on July 23

The Athens, Ga.-based band Drive-By Truckers will be performing at the fabled 9:30 Club in Washington, DC, on July 23 (tickets are $30). The band will also be opening for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers later this summer.

The Drive-By Truckers has a new documentary film about them called "The Secret to a Happy Ending" will be shown in Seattle at the Northwestern Film Forum which runs from Aug. 13-15.

The band is noted for their 'three axe attack' which includes three guitars with bass and drums. They are perhaps most-known for their 2002 album "Southern Rock Opera."

The Drive-By Truckers will also be performing at the Jupiter Bar and Grill in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Sept. 16 and the Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh, NC, on Sept. 19.

The 9:30 Club has another interesting act on Aug. 14 when the legendary and highly-political rap band Public Enemy (tickets are $35) takes the proverbial stage.

PSA- Be Nice to Jehovah's Witnesses

Much to my shock, I found out that Prince is a Jehovah's Witness which is perhaps even more startling than Cat Stevens' conversion to Islam (and, he became a fundamentalist one at that.)

Apparently, Prince also puts on a disguise and goes door-to-door in a disguise and asks folks if they want to a subsription to "The Watchtower."

Protelytizing can actually be quite dangerous as one was killed in Newport News, Va. And, on May 13, Robert Riley Gonzales, 34, allegedly shot to death Kenneth Mort, 48, at a Kingdom Hall in Lowell, Mass.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Quote of the Day- Yves Saint Laurent

Famed French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent (1936-2008), who was actually born in Algeria, may no longer be with us, but we can still quote him just the same:

"We must NEVER confuse elegance with snobbery."

Things We Learned on Twitter Today- Endangered Elephant in DC

There is apparently endangered elephant from the Tarheel State, but it is not one that you would see on a trip to the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro.

Rather, it appears that Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) is the only sitting GOP senator in Washington, DC, who might well be in danger of losing his seat.

His challenger is current (North Carolina) Secretary of State Elaine Marshall (D), not to be confused with Supreme Court nominee Elana Kagan or Elaine from "Seinfeld."

Marshall tweeted today that according to the famed Rasmussen Poll, the race between Burr and Marshall is a toss-up.

Upon further examination, I found that Rasmussen is also reporting that the Democrats in the Senate are virtually guaranteed of having 49 seats after all the recounts and recounts are settled, while the God, Guns and Country Party is assured of maintaining at least 41 seats.

According to Rasmussen, the North Carolina race is one of ten U.S. Senate races that could go either way.

In other domestic political news, "The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette" tweeted that current West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) is thinking about pursuing the late Sen. Robert Byrd's seat. It's interesting that a Steel City paper reported this because Pittsburgh is not in West Virginia!

Lastly, in international matters, the Twitter site United4Iran tweeted that Canada has called for a stop to executions and stonings in Iran, which should please the Persian diaspora in Bluefield, WVa (that is a joke since it's a very small town near the Virginia border, but perhaps there is, by chance, an Iranian family residing there!).

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Silly Photo to Fill Space- Orbit

Ay Karamba!

I have like five minutes to post this entry dedicated to Orbit, the mascot of the Akron Aeros in Akron, Ohio.

Akron is also the hometown of the '80s New Wave band Devo, which is actually performing in Ann Arbor, Mich., tonight before playing concerts in Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Louisville later in the week. I guess they will play "Whip It."

As for the Aeros, they beat the visiting Trenton thunder 9-3 last night in Canal Park. Tonight, they face the same team at 7:00 p.m. with Aeros pitcher Scott Barnes taking the mound.


We better get moving.........

Monday, July 5, 2010

Quote of the Day- Walt Whitman

I'm sure if the late poet Walt Whitman (1819-1892) were alive today, he would be both delighted that we are quoting him today and that a high school in Bethesda, Md., is named after him!

We are quoting famous Americans all this month on July for the 4th of July, but to show that we are internationally-minded, we will also be quoting famous French people on Wednesdays in honor of Bastille Day, which will be on July 14.

Here is our quote from Whitman:

"There is no trade of employment but the young man following it may become a hero."

SIDEBAR: My friend Jason Garnett once again has a terrific lineup for The Shadowbox Cinema in Roanoke, Va., this month. Among the scheduled events is a screening of the 1953 film "Salt of the Earth," a liberal docudrama about labor injustices in California made by then-blacklisted actors which was effectively one of the first films banned in America for political reasons. It will show on July 12 at 8:00 p.m.

Other films in the lineup for Shadowbox include "The Goonies" on July 10, the soft-core Italian cult film "Chatterbox" on July 12 (I guess the ninth grade teachers at WWHS will never show this one in class!) and "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure" on July 17.

The Lyric Theatre in nearby Blacksburg, Va., will be showing the new Oliver Stone film "Solitary Man" with Michael Douglas and Susan Sarandon that a friend of mine in Washington, DC, was raving about starting on July 16.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth of July from Speedy Gonzales!

Everyone from El Paso, Tex., to Belfast, Maine, seems to be having a great Fourth of July so far, and one such person is Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir who tweeted the following about an hour ago:

"I saw the entire NYC fireworks from my patio. Stunning and so inspiring."

Sitcom star Rainn Wilson of "The Office" expressed similar sentiments on his latest tweet:

"Happy Birthday America. Have another chilli cheese dog with curly fries and a 64oz Mountain Dew on me!"

For those of you venturing near the hamlet of Floyd, Va. (about 20 miles from the college-town of Blacksburg, Va., where Virginia Tech is), we highly recommend El Charro Mexican Grill located at 320 South Locust Street (phone 540-745-5303). An internet poster who is originally from Houston, Tex., said it was the best Mexican food he or she had tasted in the Roanoke-Blacksburg area. We couldn't agree more!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

World Cup Players Worth Remembering

Today, we have two special blog entries dedicated to 12 memorable players from The 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The other six players on our other blog "The Daily Vampire," which for some reason gets six times as much traffic as this blog!

1. Mesut Ozil (pictured here). Germany. Age 21. Wears # 11. Plays for Werder Bremen (German team which finished third in Bundasliga). Scored two goals in 14 international games, one of which included goal in 2-1 World Cup win over Ghana. He also set up fourth goal in devastating 4-1 victory over England. Dubbed a 'polite young man' by the German press, Ozil was caught up in 'custody battle' between Germany and Turkey, the country of his parents. Though he was scorned by Turkish nationalists in the motherland, Turkish-German parliamentarian Cem Ozdemir praised his decision because it showed the friendship between the two nations. Germany has a large Turkish minority, and Ozil was the center of a story which aired on the NPR show "The World" which aired this week about that unique diaspora.

2. Wesley Sneijder.The Netherlands (Holland). Age 26. Born in large Dutch city of Utrecht. One of my favorite players. He plays for Internazionale (Italian team based in Milan). His club teammates include Brazilian goalie Julio Cesar and star Cameroon player Samuel Eto'o (profiled here on Monday). Wears number 10. Ironically, he scored the game-winning goal against Cesar in Holland's brilliant 2-1 win over Brazil which was a minor upset. Also scored in World Cup play against Japan and Slovakia.

3. Luis Suarez. Uruguay. Age 23. Plays for Ajax Amsterdam (Holland). Has been named Dutch Footballer of the Year. Got red-carded in controversial play where he hand-balled to prevent a game-winning goal by Ghana in the 121st minute of play yesterday. Scorned by international media as a result, but he has been hailed as a hero in Uruguay. Will not play in the semi-finals against Holland. Scored both goals in 2-1 win over Mexico in the first knock-out round.

4. Kaka. Brazil. Age 28. Plays for Real Madrid. Has scored 27 goals in 82 international games. Known for humanitarian work, and is an ambassador for the U.N. Food Program.

5. Keisuke Honda. Japan. Age 24. Plays for CSKA Moscow. Has scored an impressive six goals in just 19 international appearances, including World Cup goals versus Cameroon and Denmark.

6. Park Ji-sung. South Korea. Age 29. Plays for Manchester United. Played in third straight World Cup. Scored in team's 2-0 win over Greece. Is first Asian player to score in three consecutive World Cups.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday Geo Quiz (July 2010 Only)

Well, we're tired kids.

But, we thought we'd post this entry for ninth grade students at William Byrd High School in Vinton, Va., near Roanoke, where my mother reportedly taught in 1968 (two years before I was born).

We are focusing on countries who have played in the current World Cup in South Africa with special geography quiz entries through the month of July. Ok, so we should have come up with it last month as The World Cup got away....

Anyway, here is our question. If you get it right, I may have to send you this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figure that I got at an estate sale in Floyd, Va., which is sitting next to the computer, this past fall except for the fact that I've become quite attached to it!:

"What is the capital of Cameroon?" If it helps, an image of this particular city is pictured above:

A) Yaounde
B) Accra
C) Abijan
D) Abuja

For those of you who may have actually flunked geography, Cameroon is central Africa. They actually speak French over there- zut alors!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

PSA- Save the Brown Pelican

Yesterday evening, I had a chance to listen to a segment on the NPR interview show "Fresh Air" about the brown pelicans which along with sea turtles have been greatly affected by the huge BP Oil Spill afflicting the coasts of Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi.

Anyone who wishes to help with the National Wildlife Federation's efforts to help the birds, which up until very recently, were an endangered species (as are the sea turtles) can go to the organization's web site at

In other happier news, The Myrtle Beach Pelicans in Myrtle Beach, SC, have a Fouth of July homestand this weekend. Last night, they beat the Kinston Indians 2-1 thanks to an outstanding effort from their pitcher Paul Clemens.

The Pelicans will host the Salem Red Sox from Salem, Va. (my hometown) starting on July 3rd.

The Akron Aeros from Akron, Ohio, another minor league baseball team, is now taking the field in Bowie, Md., to face the Bowie Baysox. Scott Barnes will take the mound for Akron while Ryohei Tanaka will be the starting pitcher for Bowie. Last night, the Aeros beat the Richmond Flying Squirrels 8-6 in another road game. We take it that someone in that organization takes a liking to "Rocky and Bullwinkle!"