Tuesday, August 31, 2010

High School of the Week- Wasilla High School (Alaska)

Yes, we once again get to make fun of Sarah Palin as we profile Wasilla High School in Wasilla, Alaska, as our "High School of the Week." This is the same school that her daughter Bristol Palin who seems to disdain the spotlight as much as Paris Hilton enjoys it went to school.

Dwight Probasco is the principal of Wasilla High, which promotes abstitence awareness, according to Wikipedia.

The nickname for Wasilla HS is The Warriors, which is also the school mascot.

Wasilla HS has worked to raise awareness of groundwater issues in Alaska. Teens Against Tobacco Use and The Thespian Society are among the school's clubs.

And, yes, they do in fact actually have a hockey team!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Silly Photo to Fill Space- Gymnastics Teacher

We conclude both our series witin series on summer jobs and our series Silly Photo to Fill Space with this image of very flexible young lady whom we don't know personally!

We have had a lot of fun with this series in the year or two or so since its inception and we never got around to showing the image of a samurai ski-jumping, but there is always a chance that this series will resurrect itself like Freddy Krueger some time in the neat future.

Our feature city of the month for this series is Trenton, NJ, where one can find the Discover Gymnastics Academy, which is offering a free trial class according to their web site. Though we don't have any idea if they have openings for gymnastics instructors or not, we can't imagine a more fun summer job than trying to make some young gymnast the next Nellie Kim (or at least the next Courtney Kupets, who was a legandary gymnast at The University of Georgia).

Of course since more and more folks were born either during end of or after the Cold War, we should remind our readers that Kim, a former Soviet gymnast who turned 53 on July 29, made Olympic Gymnastics history. She won three gold and two silver medals at the 1976 Montreal Olympics where another gymnast (a Romanian named Nadia whose name we can't spell, or perhaps we can, but we're too lazy!) became a household name.

Kim also won two gold medals at the 1980 Moscow Olympics where Misha the Bear was the mascot. I ate a great place called Misha's Cafe in Baku, Azerbaijan- of all places in 2008, but that's really getting off the topic.

Even though many Americans used the word Soviet and Russian arbitrarily in the days when "Welcome Back Kotter" initially aired, Kim is actually from Kazakhstan which Borat made famous/infamous.

As of 2002, Kim lives in or around St. Paul, Minn. Nadia lives in or around Norman, Oklahoma. No one knows what happened to Misha the Bear.

SIDEBAR: Alas, The Ragsdale High School Tigers, one of our past 'high schools of the week' (there are many of them!), lost to their rival, the Dudley High School Panthers of Greensboro, NC, by a 12-0 score. The Tigers played on the road Friday night, but their next game against Western Guilford High School will be at home in the Greensboro/High Point 'burb of Jamestown, NC. We hear the Tigers' band kicks butt, by the way!

Quote of the Week- Bruce Springsteen

Today, we quip Bruce Springsteen, the pride of Asbury Park, NJ, (or Long Beach, NJ) in the last Quotes of the Week from famous singers on our two respective blogs. The late Conway Twitty, who hailed from Helena, Ark., is the subject of our other Quote of the Week on The Daily Vampire.

BRRRUUUUCE is known for many popular songs, including "Born to Run," Born in the USA," Thunder Road" and "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out" and he turns 61 on Sept. 23.

There happens to be a folk singer friend of mine named Bruce Piephoff in Greensboro, NC, who has produced almost as many records as the other Bruce (not a joke!). He performs frequently in the Greensboro area, and he will be performing at The Grove Winery in Gisbsonville, NC, on Labor Day.

Even though Springsteen campaigned for both John Kerry and Barack Obama, New Jersey's new Republican governor Chris Christie, who has become the Paris Hilton of "The National Review," is a fan of his music.

Judging by this quote, it seems that like many folks who came of age during the Vietnam War, Springsteen is wary of being to self-servant to any given cause or organization:

"Blind faith in your leaders, or anything will get you killed."

Saturday, August 28, 2010

50 Beers From Around the World- Patricia (Uruguay)

There was a great line in the 1996 Wes Anderson film "Bottle Rocket," which I finally saw last night even though its Criterion edition is alas apparently out of print (my friend Moviezzz would know for certain, but I don't wish to pester him now because there may be another trivial matter I need to ask him later).

It was when Luke Wilson meet a very attractive Hispanic maid at the motel he was staying at:

"Which part of Mexico are you from?"


Paraguay and Uruguay frequently get mixed up, but Patricia Beer hails from Uruguay where the capital is Montevideo and there is actually a coastline (Paraguay is landlocked). Neither countries are a part of Mexico.

Alas, we couldn't find out much about Patricia Beer on the web at all, but we love the name!

SIDEBAR: Late, late, late notice, but we just found from the current issue of the Greensboro alt weekly "Yes Weekly" that the Great North Carolina Beer Festival is happening today in Clemmons, NC, right outside Winston-Salem.

The local brews that were to be sampled there included Foothills (Winston-Salem) and Natty Greene's (Greensboro). Other North Carolina brands featured at this year's festival were Craggie-Battery Hill and Highland Brewery (Asheville) and Olde Hickory (Hickory).

Top 10 Major League Teams- Cubs are My Favorite Team (even though they stink!)

Yes, the images don't always reflect the headlines, but hey no one is actually paying us to post these things as it is!

But, the futile Chicago Cubs are my favorite team and the image here, a bobblehead doll for the Baltimore Orioles, is of a team that is going through their own woes this season.

To be honest, I haven't watched a major league game on tv all year! And, I have no idea what is going on except that we did learn that the Chicago Cubs were 54-74 as of today. And, assuredly the Reds, who beat 7-1 last night, will probably clobber them again tonight.

I did find an amusing photo of the Phillie Phanatic with former president George W. Bush, who I like as much as Papa Smurf cared for Gargamel, but it wasn't political differences as much as space concerns which prevented from using the image.

As it is the image would not have made sense since the Phillies are not on my Top 10 Favorite Teams List:

1. Chicago Cubs

2. Boston Red Sox

3. Washington Nationals

4. Baltimore Orioles

5. Chicago White Sox (I rooted for them even before Obama became prez!)

6. Colorado Rockies

7. Toronto Blue Jays (they may move up to number one if Sarah Palin gets to The Oval Office!)

8. New York Mets (my friend Woody's favorite team; they have reportedly caused him much agony!)

9. Cleveland Indians

10. Florida Marlins

Friday, August 27, 2010

'Official' High School of the Week- Meadowdale HS (Lynwood, Wash.)

Students who attend the Meadowdale High School in Dayton, Ohio, are going to be disappointed because we are featuring a school with the same name from Lynwood, Wash.

The Meadowdale in Washington state is the alma mater of senior University of Washington gymnast Kristen Linton, whose name we almost didn't spell right! (Kristin Linton is what I first wrote down).

The Huskies' first Pac-10 meet is not until Jan. 21 when they face Cal, but the school's football team has a date with BYU in Provo, Utah, (one of our favorite towns to make fun of) on Sept. 4. Alas, none of the Huskies faithful will be able to have a beer if they win unless they are willing to drive to Salt Lake City!

As for Meadowdale High, it happens to be the alma mater of Alice in Chains' lead singer Layne Stanley and Mark Stewart of the Minnesota Vikings as well.

The schol nickname is The Mavericks (the Maverick mascot pictured here is for another school) and the principal is Dale Cote. Meadowdale has an enrollment of 1,56 students. Classes don't actually start there until Sept. 7.

Meadowdale also has a Japanese Anime and Dead Poets Society club, which makes them perhaps a bit hipper than the high school you graduated from!

Linton said on her gymnast profile that she can't live without her cellphone, has a crush on Johnny Depp and enjoys lemonade and ice cream.

SIDE NOTE- Our next 'High School of the Week" will be Bristol Palin's alma mater Wasilla High School in Wasilla, Alaska. Those of you who've been to this blog before know I love the Palins as much as I love going to the dentist's office! If you have any future suggestions for a High School of the Week feel free to mention them here.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Things We Learned on the BBC Today- Iranian Futboler Can Return to Team

The Middle East is the focus of our two blog entries today, and both entries (the one is on "The Daily Vampire") deal with the collision of Islam and western values in that region of the world. Our other feature was about an ironic situation involving social networking in Egypt.

In Iran, futbol star Ali Karimi will be allowed to return to his club team Steel Azin again even though he broke the Ramadan fast. But, in order to do so, he must pay a $40,000 fine.

According to the BBC report from Keith Adams, Karimi seems like a Muhammad Ali of his nation he has been a verbal critic of the Iranian government, the Iranian futbol federation and even his own team!

Karimi took an extra measure to bravely show his voice by wearing a green arm band to show support for the opposition movement against the Teheran regime in a World Cup qualifier against South Korea.

One certainly has to admire his bravery and call for social justice.

There is a significantly large Iranian community here in America in the Los Angeles-area.

SIDEBAR: We have decided to add a "High School of the Week" series of entries to this and our sister blog. The entries will run on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Things We Learned from Twitter Today- Black Lips Recording New LP

The Atlanta flower-punk rock band The Black Lips is recording a new album according to a tweet by Paste Magazine.

In an article originally published in Spin, the band said their yet-to-be-named record will be out in early 2011. The Lips' lead singer Cole Alexander said the album would be the band's most commercial one yet.

Alexander added that the lp will include one country song called "Dumpster Diving," and that the Lips are experimenting with new instruments including a human skull?!

Interesting things about the band include the fact that they supposedly recorded one of their records at a bar in Tijuana, Mexico, and they are known for lavish stage shows which include nudity and flaming guitars.

We will now take a moment to dedicate this entry to students at Arcadia High School in Phoenix, Ariz., home of the Phoenix Suns, which is yet another 'High School of the Week.' The school principal is Dr. Anne Marie Woolsey. They are called The Titans, and they will play Paradise Valley High School in a home game on Sept. 10.

It is also 88 degrees in Phoenix today. I hope that made your day!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Silly Photo to Fill Space- Working at the Arcade

Alas, the Ms. Pac-Man machine at The Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, NC, apparently does not work, but the venue is hosting the '80s New Wave band The English Beat ("Mirror in the Bathrrom") and I sure as heck would love to be there. (Insert screams of frustration and choice profanity words here). I must profess that The Cat's Cradle is a great concert venue irregardless if their Ms. Pac-Man is working or not (I wonder if they can give us a discount on Blonde Redhead tickets for saying this!)

But, high school and college students can possibly find part-time work at Swingtime in Howell, NJ, which we hope is somewhat near Trenton, NJ, our choice city of the week for this series within a series on summer jobs (yeah, we know, it's getting a bit late for that topic!).

Swingtime also offers mini-golf (in New Jersey?!) and batting cages for the young and the young-at-heart.

This brings us to our High School of the Week (yes, lots of schools across America share this honor which is sort of our joke here on this blog) which is Capital High School in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where Melanie Romero is the principal.

The school with an enrollment of circa 1,240 students has the nickname of The Jaguars. They have turgoise and black school colors. And, according to Wikipedia (we are wondering if this is a joke), the school was built to resemble the state pen!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Quote of the Week- Dolly Parton

Today's Quote of the Week comes from country-singing legend Dolly Parton (insert politically incorrect joke here) which seems appropriate to students at Woodrow Wilson Middle School in my hometown of Roanoke, Va., who started class last week:

"I hated school. Even to this day, when I see a school bus it's just depressing to me. The poor little kids."

Perez Hilton reported today that Parton will be returning to acting when she co-stars with Queen Latifah in "Joyful Noise."

Interestingly enough, Parton is almost exactly five years younger than folk singer Joan Baez whose quip we used on our other blog "The Daily Vampire" just now. Parton turned 64 this past January. Baez turned 69 during the same month.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Program Reminder- Bug on IFC This Week

Before we start this entry, I want to ask my long-time girlfriend Ashley Judd if she'll marry me. Oh right! I forgot she was married to some Italian race car driver, and she ran on the track barefoot when he won the Indianapolis 500.

But, Judd starred in the creepy thriller "Bug" based on the play by Tracy Letts. The 2006 film from director William Friedkin deals with a woman who moves into an el cheapo motel where she meets a Gulf War veteran who thinks agents inserted bugs in his mind as part of a military experiment.

The film airs on IFC at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Perhaps, students from Manhattan High School in Manhattan, Kansas, which is our High School of the Week along with about 45 other schools, will think it's a biology documentary.

Manhattan HS has Back to School Night on Monday, and their principal is (mr) Terry MCarty.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

50 Beers From Around the Globe- Cerveza Cristal (Chile)

This latest brew caused some confusion for me because not only is there a Cerveza Cristal in Chile, but there is also a beer with the same name in Peru and there might even be one in Cuba!

But, the one pictured here is (we believe) the Chilean brew. According to Wikipedia, Chile brews corn beer, known as chicha, in addition to beer from the traditional barley like Cerveza Cristal.

Beer started in Chile circa 1850 when German immigrants began to establish the first breweries in the country.

I could not find any info regarding this beer's availability here in the United States. But, amazingly enough, a blogger with a retired blog (no new entries since 2009) named "Your Liver Hates You" said that he found the Peruvian Cerveza Cristal at a gas station in Texas!


My friend Joe Scott and WUAG-FM, the student station of UNCG, will be presenting a screening of the Coens Brothers classic "The Big Lebowski" at The Carousel Luxury Cinemas on Thursday. The Greensboro, NC, theatre will screen the film at 7:30 and 10:00 p.m. There is a package with the film that includes bowling at Triad Bowling after the showings of the film.

Top Ten Worst Ways to Die

We were suffering from bloggers' block (did I just say that?!), so we are 'borrowing' the Top Ten Worst Ways to Die list today from crunkish.com

Hopefully, an FBI agent won't be knocking on my door in Boones Mill, Va., today with a cease and desist order at 2:45 a.m., when I'll probably be watching something on IFC or PBS.

So without any more yack from yours' truly, here are the Top 10 Worst Ways to Die:

1. Skinned Alive or Flaying: Used by Aztecs in Mexico during human sacrifices, and you thought losing your job at the plant in Ohio that was relocating to Honduras was painful!

2. Decapitation- According to crunkish.com, slow decapitation is considerably more painful than losing your head on a guillotine. We won't dispute that!

3. Hanged, Drawn and Quartered- Apparently this really hurts.

4. Dismemberment- Used in medieval era and some of those "Final Destination" films.

5. Burning- (see Joan of Arc)

6. Poisoning

7. Drowning- Especially if it's forced.

8. Heart Removed from Body While Still Alive- This wasn't ranked higher?!

9. Sickness (ie. HIV, Cancer, really, really bad Pepto Bismol Syndrome)

10. Electrocution- or why I won't be working for Duke Energy or AEP anytime soon!

SIDEBAR: In the WE DON"T RECOMMEND YOU DO ANYTHING THIS BRAVE OR STUPID DEPT., I just sent an email to the Minute Men as in those right-wing whackos who have an irrational fear of Guatemalan pool boys. I said: "Either you are with Obama or you are with Osama" in the email header. Yeah, I'm not expecting a response either!

You can fight the Minute Men by logging on to immigrantssolidarity.org
The San Diego-based organization has a moving quote from Martin Luther King Jr. on its web site: "Never forget everything Hitler did was legal."

Friday, August 20, 2010

At Cat's Cradle, Abbey Road Live

The Athens, Ga., Beatles tribute band Abbey Road Live! returns to The Cat's Cradle in Carrboro (Chapel Hill), NC, for a concert on Sunday, Sept. 5. Tickets in advance are ten dollars, while they will twelve bucks at the door.

I saw the band perform at the same venue earlier in the summer, and they gave a stellar performance. According to the band's web site, Abbey Road Live has played up to 100 Beatles covers during their stage performances over the years.

This reminds of a very surreal Turkish arabesque version of "Yesterday" which one see on Youtube, it is vintage Turkitsch, a term a Facebook friend of mine used after seeing the video which I had posted (by the way, I am not the one singing "Yes-tir-day" which sounds more like an homage to Turkish singer Ibrahim Tatlises- the king of arabesque than John, Paul, George and Ringo!).

Those hoping to 'come together' (we couldn't resist!) for the Abbey Road Live show can call the venue at 919-967-9053 or buy tickets from catscradle.com

The Cat's Cradle is also hosting blues singer Corinne Bailey Rae on Sept. 9, and another Athens, Ga., band Dead Confederate on Sept. 30.

Those living near Baltimore or Washington, DC, may want to see Abbey Road Live perform Sept. 3rd and 4th at Oxon Hill, Md.

SIDEBAR: The African-American bluegrass/string band Carolina Chocolate Drops from Durham, NC, continue to make a proverbial name for themselves. The band that I saw perform in tiny Eden, NC- of all places, will be at Miller Plaza in Chatanooga, Tenn., on Sept. 3. The band plays The Capitol Theatre in York, Pa., on Sept. 8 before heading down to Nashville for a show at Ryman Auditorium on Sept. 9. Those of you in New England can see them at Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, Mass., on Sat.,Sept. 11th.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Things We Learned From the BBC This Week- Turkish Embassy Hostage-Taker in Jail

Given that relations between Ankara and Jerusalem have soured since both countries elected far-right prime ministers in Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Benjamin Netanyahu respectively, the last thing neutral observers in Washington, DC, would have wanted indeed happened this week.

The BBC reported that Nadim Injaz, a Palestinian man, took hostages in the Turkish embassy in Tel Aviv on Tuesday in a misguided effort to seek political asylum.

Injaz, who reportedly suffers from mental illness and attempted a similar effort at the British embassy in Tel Aviv four years ago, took two hostages who were later freed. He entered the embassy with a knife, a can of petrol and a toy gun.

Tensions between Turkey and Israel, once the best of friends, has been considerably tense since Israeli commandos raided the Marmara flotilla on May 31 and killed eight Turkish nationals, including a Turkish-American college student from New York state with dual citizenship, who were attempting to give food and aid to Palestinians in the West Bank. The incident set up a fury of demonstrations in Turkey from all sectors of the country, but the most vocal ones were from conservative Muslims.

The BBC updated the story today by saying that Injaz will be held in jail for at least one week. Injaz's lawyer Avital Horev made a surprising statement when he said that his client was wanted by Palestinian authorities for collaborating with Israeli security agents. This claim was denied by the Israeli government.

SIDEBAR: Yes, yes, yes, it is a running gag on this blog now because I frequently name a given high school somewhere in the United States as The High School of the Week. But, if one pays attention, they will notice that no two schools ever come from the same state.

For Wyoming, we are thus choosing Kelly Walsh High School in Casper- a town that was not named after a certain Harvey Comics character ("Casper the Friendly Ghost").

We have no idea who Kelly Walsh was, but the high school that's named after him/her opened in 1965. The school nickname is The Trojans, and they have 1, 500 students.

Brad Diller is the school principal, and Jim Horne is the football coach.

Interestingly enough, rodeo is offered as a sport at Kelly Walsh High School!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Things We Learned on Twitter Today- The White House Soup de Jour Is...

In case you were wondering, today The White House is offering Tuscan Chicken Soup as its soup of the day, according to a tweet from WashDCNews.

The tweeters gathered this info from Chuck and Todd with the MSNBC show "The Morning Rundown."

Recipes for the dish can be found at cooks.com

Alas, President Barack Obama will miss out on the soup as he is giving a talk today in Seattle, which is more than 3,000 miles away from Washington, DC, but hopefully Michelle Obama will get to sample the soup.

We have no info on what Bo the White House Dog will be eating today, but as we find out, we will pass it along to you!

SIDEBAR: Some unique films are showing this week at college town cinemas in Virginia. The Vinegar Hill Theatre in Charlottesville is currently showing "Winter's Bone," a thriller set in Arkansas in which a young girl tries to track down her deadbeat father who put the family home up for sale so he could make bail before vanishing.

At the Lyric Theatre in Blacksburg, "Cyrus" will begin its week-long run on Friday. The independent mumble-core comedy starring Marisa Tomei, John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill deals with an average Joe who gets very lucky when he makes love to a gorgeous woman out of his league only to discover that she has a psychopathic 21-year-old son who happens to live with her.

Silly Photo to Fill Space- Pilates

Today, we continue our summer jobs series with a look at the field of yoga/pilates instructors (well, I suppose one would be quite talented to be able to do both!).

Our feature city is Trenton, NJ, and as it happens the suburb of Medford, NJ, which we hope is a Trenton 'burb, offers both yoga and pilates classes at The Yoga Center of Medford, including a pilates mat class from 8-9:00 a.m. on Saturday.

Those of you residing in that area can call the center at 609-654-9400 for more info than what we can provide here.

But, we can tell you that pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates of Germany around World War I. 11 million Americans practice pilates, which is usually done barefoot or with special pilates shoes (we can not make this stuff up!).

The aim of the exercise is to strengthen and develop torso muscles and breathing techniques. It is said to be a great exercise for pregnant women.

UPDATE: Ay Karumba! We forgot to mention our High School of the Week when we posted this a few hours ago. The school is Belgrade High School in Belgrade, Mont. We choose Belgrade because we chose a Serbian beer (Belgrade is the Serbian capital) for our 50 Beers Around the World entry on Sunday.

Of course, high school students shouldn't drink beer, but they probably couldn't find that brew anywhere in Montana any how!

The nickname for Belgrade High School is the Panthers. It was 74 degrees in Belgrade, Mont., yesterday. We have no idea what the weather is like there today.

We would like to blame the oversight on Joe Murphy, the intern for "Yes Weekly" in Greensboro, NC, but he not only does nothing for us, but he also has no idea who we are!

SIDEBAR: My good friend Jason Garnett is showing several cool movies at The Shadowbox Cinema, his micro-cinema in downtown Roanoke, Va., this month. They include the vintage French New Wave musical "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" (1966) with a very young and very hot Catherine Denevue. She once said that women who kill have issues with their fathers. Hmmmmm.......?! That screening takes place on Aug. 25, and admission is five dollars.

Additionally, The Shadowbox will screen the 1931 Charlie Chaplin classic "City Light" on Aug. 27. "Caddyshack," a movie celebrating its 30th anniversary, on Aug. 28 and the ever demented Japanese shock horror film "Audition" on Aug. 30. Bring your kimonos!

Prices and showtimes vary. Check the cinema's web site theshadowboxcinema.com for more info.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Eid Mubarak (Happy Ramadan) To All Our Muslim Friends

We want to sincerely wish all our Muslim friends a Happy Ramadan.

The image here is that of Nasreddin Hodja (Hoca) who is a fictional variation of a supposed real Sufi Muslim philosopher/wise man with a flair for comedy and irony who lived near Konya, Turkey.

While The Hodja is a beloved fable character in Turkey and the Middle East, there are also regional variations of the figure in other parts of the Muslim world.

One of the more unique is perhaps Nasriddin Afandi in Uzbekistan.

Quote of the Week- Neil Diamond

While you are not likely to hear Neil Diamond on radio stations that play The Clash and Metallica, the legendary singer has endured and remains a favorite of adult contemporary radio stations from Cleveland to Kuala Lampur (we assume!).

His Neilness is not currently on tour, but you might be able to catch a performance of the Carrboro-NC based tribute band The Neil Diamond All-Stars, whose lead singer is Jack Whitebread, who does seem more like the late Joe Strummer (lead singer of The Clash) than Diamond himself but he does a great "Sweet Caroline."

I saw the trib band perform at The Cat's Cradle in Carrboro a few months ago, and they were simply awesome though I don't recall them singing my favorite Neil song "Red, Red Wine," which became a chart-busting hit for the English reggae pop band UB40 in the mid-80s.

The venue hosts the '80s New Wave band The English Beat ("Mirror in the Bathroom") on Aug. 24 which we wish were not a double-expletive school night!

Diamond also sang the national anthem for my sister's graduation at The University of Colorado.

Here is our quote from Diamond:

"I don't like all of the music to be serious and deadly."

Sunday, August 15, 2010

50 Beers From Around the Globe- Niksicko Brivo (Serbia)

One Serbian poster, who may be as 'objective' as Fox News, proclaimed that his country's most popular beer Niksicko Brivo (we think brivo means beer in Serbo-Croatian) was 'the best beer in the world.'

It is apparently quite hard to find in America but one importer in Chicago seems to carry it.

For those wanting a good brew in my hometown of Roanoke, Va., Corn Beef and Company located downtown at 107 South Jefferson Street is a good bet. The establishment also offers $8 lunch specials.

Our followers in Kentucky (presuming there are some of you out there!) may try to seek out The Phoenix Hill Tavern in Louisville on 644 Baxter Avenue. The bar is hosting the band The Dollyroots on Aug. 28 at 8 p.m. We have no idea if they play Dolly Parton music or not!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Top 10 Favorite Countries I've Never Been To!

We are once dedicating one of our entries to tomorrow's leaders (that does sound like something from a '50s PSA doesn't it?) by dedicating this entry to students at North Lamar High School in Paris, Texas, which was made famous by the Wim Wenders film "Paris, Texas," which came out in the mid-80s.

While browsing the school's web site, we found out that the school nickname is The Panthers and apparently school lunches now cost $2.25! They were a mere 60 cents at my elementary school but that was 28 years ago!

Here are my favorite countries that I've never been to:

1. Norway
2. Morocco
3. Brazil
4. Spain
5. Portugal
6. Japan
7. New Zealand
8. Egypt
9. Argentina
10. Kenya

I know the fact that Uzbekistan did not make the list will disappoint our fans in Tashkent, but if the ambassador to your country Ilkhan Nematov * emails me and offers a free trip with a waiver for the visa fee (which was outrageous for Americans visiting Azerbaijan when I went to the capital Baku in 2008), it will topple Norway in the next edition of this list!

*- Yes, we looked up his name on the net, but that is the real Uzbeki ambassador to the USA. If a ninth grade geography teacher from North Lamar HS happens to see this, the Uzbeki capital is indeed Tashkent. Be sure to zing your students with that for their next test!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Things We Learned from Twitter Last Night- Israel is the Best Place to Get a Kidney

Those of you not hip to this blog may be confused by my twisted sense of humor, but while Tel Aviv may not be the best place to find that antique pipe organ you saw on the Kansas City episode of "Antiques Roadshow" (which airs on PBS here in the USA), it is apparently the best place for organ donations in the world according to an article in "The Jerusalem Post."

Through a tweet from the newspaper, I learned late last night that Israel is first in soliciting organ donations according to the article by Judy Siegel-Itzkovich.

The nation's Donor Action Foundation, founded in 1998, has been an international leader with 600 successful identifications of potential organ donors last year.

Israel is also a leader in preserving donated organs according to the article.

SIDEBAR_ If one wants to find an antique organ, one good place might be The Strasburg Emporium in Strasburg, Va. While visiting the town for the first time in years this week, I also discovered Cristina's Cafe which will be celebrating its second anniversary on Saturday.

SIDEBAR TWO_ If you are not a recipient of a liver transplant and you can pretty much eat whatever you want (a habit I am trying to break though I'm not carrying a dead teenage girl's organs), then you may want to try one of the Five Guys Burgers and Fries establishments in Greensboro, NC.

My friend Brian Clarey, the editor and food critic of "Yes Weekly!" in Greensboro recently reported that the diner at Friendly Center, one of three Five Guys places in the Triad (a national chain with 550 locations, including one in my hometown of Salem, Va., that started in the Washington DC-area a mere eight years ago) serves up a delicious burger as well as scrumptious French fries made from potatoes from a farm in Rigby, Idaho.

We presume that Brian has not had a recent organ transplant either, but if we has we will apologize for the oversight in advance!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Things We Learned From the BBC Today- Saudi Arabia to Allow Blackberrys

Yes, we are actually referring to those electronic telecommunication devices which were made famous in part by then-candidate Barack Obama during his run for the presidency. But, we couldn't resist an image of blackberries that you might find in rural West Virginia or wherever these things are grown!

But, after much dispute the Saudi Arabian government apparently will allow Black Berry service to continue in the kingdom according to the BBC.

Riyadh was apparently unhappy that Black Berry handsets automatically scrambled messages and sent them to Canada in a measure that was aimed at trying to find perspective terrorist suspects.

We are dedicating tonight's entry to students at Eastside High School in Paterson, NJ, as the Ghosts (yes, that is their actual nickname, but we think Harvey Comics would sue if they used Casper as their mascot) are our bonus High School of the Week (to make up for the fact that we forgot to name one last week).

Paterson, NJ, is believed to have the highest concentration of Turkish-Americans per capita in the country though I myself live far away in the coal-mining town of Hazard, Kentucky (that is a joke, but even though I live nowhere near there it's not much of a stretch!).

The high school was actually made famous as it was depicted in the Morgan Freeman movie "Lean on Me," which was based on a true story that happened there.

The current principal is Karen Johnson.

Eastside High is 70 percent Hispanic, and the school goes from grades nine through twelve.

The legendary beat poet Allen Gingsberg, one of my personal favorite figures of the '60s, is arguably the school's most famous alum.

Silly Photo to Fill Space- Let's Go to the Movies!

Today, we focus with a Silly Photo to Fill Space aimed at summer jobs and what could be better than working at a movie theatre and fixing popcorn?! (I actually did that job and lemme tell ya, popcorn burns hurt like h-e-double 'l').

Our feature city of the month is Trenton, NJ, where one can see the Zac Efron film "Charlie St. Cloud," which my friend Moviezzz has cited as an early Oscar contender on his blog http://www.talkingmoviezzz.blogspot.com (that is a joke and a big one at that!) at the Destina Theatre at Independence Plaza on South Broad Street.

As for historical cinemas in "Clerks" director Kevin Smith's home state, there is The Wellmont Theatre in Montclair, NJ, which will host Foreigner (uh-oh, I think "I Wanna Know What Love Is" is going to go off in my skull...yep, it just did!) on Aug. 26.

The web site Cinema Treasures, which is dedicated to movie theatres around the globe, is featuring the Capitol Theatre in Olympia, Wash., as its Cinema of the Week. The cinema in the Washington state capital will be showing the documentary "Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work" from Aug. 14-20. Call (360) 754-6670 for more info.

Lastly, we were delighted to see Cinema Tresures mention the Atlas Cinema in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul, Turkey. It may well be the hippest sinema (that's how cinema is spelled in Turkish) in the vast metropolis and they are (alas!) probably
showing "Charlie St. Cloud" too!

Quote of the Week- Luciano Pavarotti

Today, we feature a quote from the late opera star Luciano Pavarotti who actually sang a duet with Lou Reed (?!) on Reed's famous song "Perfect Day."

We dedicate today's entry to students at Northampton High School in Northampton, Mass., where Nancy Athas is principal and the school nickname is The Blue Devils. But, we really love the school newspaper's name "The Devil's Advocate."

Here is our quote from the star of "Yes Giorgio:"

"Learning music by reading about it is like making love by mail."

SIDEBAR: We missed Moscow, Idaho's favorite son Josh Ritter, a great singer if you get a chance to see him, when he was in Greenville, SC, last week. But Ritter is going to next perform at El Sol in Madrid, Spain, on Sept. 9. He returns to the states for a show in Oberlin, Ohio, on Sept. 25. And, citizens of Northampton, Mass., can see him at The Calvin Theatre on Oct. 23.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

50 Beers From Around the Globe- Cerveza Quilmes (Argentina)

Today's entry focuses on Cervez Quilmes, the most popular brew in Argentina so much so that the brand is considered a national symbol (according to Wikipedia).

Quilmes has been brewed since 1888, and it can not only be found in bars in Buenos Aires, but also in Mexico, Honduras, Peru, Spain, France, Italy and apparently here in the United States.

The beer also sponsors Argentina's soccer team, which fared well in the World Cup until they met Germany which beat them 4-0!

While researching this piece, we came across an informative and interesting beer blog (brbeerscene.com) from Eric Ducote of Baton Rouge, La.

We gather from the blog that Eric is traveling or recently came back from Seattle.

While Googling bars in Seattle, we came across The Alibi Room located in the historic Pike Place Market.

We have no idea if they have any beer from Argentina or not, but it sure looks like a hip, happening place!

Top 10 Things To Do List...During My Week Off

Yes, we are quite behind on our blog posts. As most of you who follow us know (yeah, I know this blog only has one official blogger), this blog as well as our sister blog "The Daily Vampire" has a different entry for each day of the week.

The top 10 lists were supposed to be posted Saturday, and we've omitted a few 'missing entries' so we aren't working on this until 3 a.m. Altoona, Pa., time tonight.

Here is the week's to-do list for my week off:

1. Plan Chapel Hill trip

2. Take Gizmo to the vet

3. Try to see old driver's ed films

4. Actually do work for work?!

5. Wash car (pictured, not me!)

6. Listen to college radio stations online

7. Laundry (what else?!)

8. Read Martin Amis novel from the library

9. Start the exercises!!!!!!!!!!!

10. Learn a catch phrase in Urdu......

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Things We Learned on Twitter Today- Someone is Even More Unhip Than I Am!

I must profess that when it comes to the current music scene, yours truly is not one who is hip to 'the happening bands of the moment' though we make an effort.

In fact, I have only recently 'discovered' the '90s English band Blur even though the band broke up (well, they've now apparently reunited) some ten years ago!

So, it gives me great pleasure that according to a tweet from "TimeOut Chicago," there is at least one Lolapalooza Festival-goer who has no idea where Gogol Bordello, one of my favorite bands 'of the moment' is from.

According to the tweet, a staff reporter for the journal overheard someone ask if the New York-based Russian-emigre punk band was Australian?

Perhaps, they got them mixed up with Men at Work?!

As for Gogol Bordello, after their festival stint in Chicago, the band will perform with Primus in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Monday. Why is Iowa (where Devo also performed recently) getting all the hip shows?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Things We Learned From the BBC Today- Naomi Campbell Can't Be Photographed

The British supermodel Naomi Campbell, 40, is scheduled to testify this week against former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor in The Hague, Netherlands (Holland) on Thursday.

But, photographers will have to refrain from taking pictures of here according to a judge who will preside over the trial.

Campbell is testifying because she allegedly recieved a 'blood diamond' (that originated from Sierra Leonne) from Taylor in 1997 during a celebrity dinner in South Africa.

SIDEBAR: Though Twitter is banned here at the Pyongyang Public Library (actually a library in North Carolina), I did get word today from "The Hill" that Cong. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) tweeted that she is pregnant yesterday. McMorris, the third-highest ranking Republican in the House said the following in her tweet:

"Brian and I are excited to announce we're expecting. Cole will have a baby sister for Christmas."

Though I'm a Democrat, we wish them the best and perhaps they can watch that 'socialist propangandist' (according to a radical teleevangelist in Charlotte, NC) Barney the Dinosaur together as a family.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Silly Photo to Fill Space- Trenton Thunder Mascot

We may strongly differ with a reader to "The Roanoke Times" in Roanoke, Va., who said that New Jersey's newly elected Republican Governator (of that's the one in California) Chris Christie is a 'national hero' because he ridded the state 'of socialism' (these Tea Partiers are zanier than H.R. Puf-N-Stuf aren't they?), but we are nevertheless dedciating today's entry to The Trenton Thunder from the state captial of Trenton, NJ.

(Yes, I know that opening sentence was way, way too long!)

The name of the mascot for The Thunder is Boomer (pictured here).

The team lost a home game to The New Hampshire Fisher Cats (yes, that is their real nickname!) on Sunday by a 10-4 margin. Tonight, The Thunder hits the proverbial road to play the Reading Philies in Reading, Pa., at 6:05 p.m.

Upcoming promotions for The Thunder include an All-You-Can-Eat Hot Dogs and Hamburgers Day on Aug. 15 and a Farmer Appreciation Day (they have farmers in New Jersey?!) on Aug. 24.

SIDEBAR: Of course, as a Turkish-American, I have to remind folks that there are many great Turkish restaurants in New Jersey. In Trenton, one can dine at Trenton Kebab House which offers Adana Yogurt Kebab (named for the southern Turkish city of Adana) for $13.95

SIDEBAR TWO: Just down the proverbial road in Philadelphia, one can stop by The Divan Turkish Kitchen, which offers $9.95 lunch specials. They also offer Chicken Adana Kebab for $10.75.

SIDEBAR THREE: Here in the Tarheel State, one can visit Talulla's in Tarheel Town (Chapel Hill, NC) which offers an excellent manti (Turkish yogurt noodles dish) plate. During the weekend of Aug. 20-22, the restaurant on Franklin Street will be one of three Chapel Hill eatieries that will offer live music as part of a downtown music festival.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Quote of the Week- Bob Dylan

"A poem is a naked person.....some people say I'm a poet."

Sunday, August 1, 2010

50 Beers Around the World- Brahma (Brazil)

For today's entry devoted to 50 Beers From Around the World we go to Brazil where they serve Brahma Beer, which started in 1888. The brew is found in Moscow, London, Toronto, New York, Milan and (we should hope) in Rio de Janeiro.

SIDEBAR: For those living in the Chapel Hill area or visiting Tarheel Town, you may want to go to the next-door town of Carrboro, NC, where you will find Carrburritos. The Mexican eatery where I have yet to dine myself (though I have driven past it) is said to be a cool happening place which offers substantially better burritos than ones you would find at any given Taco Bell.

SIDEBAR TWO: The Oddfellas Cantina in Floyd, Va.,- one of the nicest little towns in southwest Virginia is hosting Irish Night next week as they do on every first Friday of the month. Reservations are highly recommended as is the establishment's Mexican dishes.

SIDEBAR THREE: My good friend Chris Knight of Reidsville, NC, always has some interesting posts on his blog www.theknightshift.blogspot.com
Recently, he has talked about why "Interview with a Vampire" author Anne Rice is leaving the church though she is not giving up her faith (cites quarrelsome nature of religion among her reasons), how 'Darth Vader' robbed a bank in Long Island at gunpoint and how some comic book fans at ComicCon in San Diego organized a counter protest to the Rev. Fred Phelps (perhaps America's most notorious homophobe) holding up signs which read: "God Hates Jedis."