Thursday, September 30, 2010

Silly Picture to Fill Space- Minnesota Vikings Mascot

Today's Silly Picture to Fill Space is dedicated to the mascot of the Minnesota Vikings. We came up with this idea while watching the 1958 cinematic guilty pleasure "The Vikings" with Kirk Douglas, Ernest Borgnine and Tony Curtis, all of whom are still alive even all of them are at least 85 years old (Curtis is the youngest of the three). Amazingly enough, Borgnine plays Douglas's father even though he is just one year younger than him! Both actors are now in their mid-90s!

There is also a 'great' 1971 Turkish cinematic guilty pleasure called "Tarkan Versus the Vikings" based on the Turkish comic book "Tarkan" (not to be confused with the famous pop singer Tarkan who took his name from that comic book), which has very nationalist themes.....but is historically inaccurate as Norway has, to our knowledge, never tried to invade Turkey.

The Minnesota Vikings won their last game over the hapless Detroit Lions by a 24-10 score last week. They have the week off, but they head to The Big Apple (well to New Jersey, actually) to face the New York Jets on Oct. 11.

Even though the Vikes have the fifth best winning percentage in NFL history, they have yet to win a Super Bowl. Their current quarterback Brett Favre is actually older than me! (I am 40; he's 41).

SIDEBAR: One of our "High Schools of the Week" is Eden Prarie High School in Eden Prarie, Minn., since the Minnesota Vikings are headquartered in the Twin Cities' suburb.

The school which opened in 1981 has some 3,280 students according to Wikipedia. The team's nickname is The Eagles. The principal is Conn McCartan. Famous alumni include "American Idol" semi-finalist Casey Carlson.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Thing We Learned on Twitter Today- Pot Plants Found in NC

Today, WXII (News 12) in Winston-Salem, NC, tweeted that police in rural Stokes County, NC, due north of Winston-Salem near the Virginia border, found a substantial number of pot plants just over the county line.

Stokes County Sheriff Mike Joyce told the news outlet that the plants were as tall as 12-feet high, and the estimated street value of the marijuana seized is $600,000.

"Drug dealers don't stop at county lines or city limits and this is an example of everyone working together," Jouyce told WXII.

Stokes County made national news some three years ago when two boys from the jurisdiction drowned in a river. There was a substantial manhunt for several days which lead to the eventual bodies' discoveries.

SIDEBAR: Our unofficial 'High School of the Week' for this week is Washington High School all the way out in Sioux Falls, S.Dak., where the principal is James Nold and the school nickname is The Warriors.

The school has won 35 state championships in athletics, which is more than any other school in the United States.

We could find any famous alumni from the school on the Internet, but famous people from South Dakota include former news anchor Tom Brokaw and former "Charlie's Angels" (the original '70s tv sereis) star Cheryl Ladd.

Of course, we sincerely hope that young people in South Dakota and elsewhere avoid illegal drugs. You can, after all, drink Red Bull now!

Monday, September 27, 2010

50 Beers Around the World- Heineken (The Netherlands/Holland)

The Dutch beer Heineken might well be the most popular brand we've featured in this series yet! The brand sells 250.8 million liters around the world, and it is perhaps the one European item that Republicans have no issues with.

Heineken was first made in 1873, and it consists of purified water, malted barley, hops and yeast.

You might even find it in Orem, Utah (just outside Provo).

Quote of the Week- Wendy Wasserstein

Here is our Quote of the Week from the late Wendy Wasserstein (1950-2006) who died way too young at age 55. She won a Pulitzer and a Tony for her modern-day classic "The Heidi Chronicles" in 1989.

"Because of Mozart, it's all over by the age of seven."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ragsdale HS Wins Big

I didn't go to Ragsdale High School in Jamestown, NC- which is a suburb for both Greensboro and High Point, myself. But, we seem to have a loyal following from Ragsdale HS fans. (Alas, there is no firm research to prove this!).

But, we can confirm that Ragsdale beat the living daylights out of Parkland High School by a 47-8 score. We don't know if the opposing team's mascot was pounced on afterward, but irregardless after this game, he will probably file for unemployment.

In other North Carolina high school football action, Rockingham County HS from Wentworth (near Reidsville) beat their arch rivals McMichael High School 41-20, which means the Confederate flags in Mayodan, NC (where McMichael is located) will probably fly at half-staff.

In a more progressive part of the state, where I can very well park beside another car with a Barack Obama bumper sticker, Carrboro High School beat their fellow Orange County rivals Chapel Hill High School 22-20.

And, Eastern Alamance beat Eastern Guilford 30-21, which gave people in those areas something to do besides watch "Dexter's Labratory" reruns on Boomerang on a Friday night.

Half a world away, there were three soccer games in Turkey earlier in the day. A seagull actually landed at Inonu Stadium in Istanbul, but that didn't prevent the home side Besiktash from defeating AntalyaSpor 2-1. GaziantepSpor was also a 1-0 winner over EskisehirSpor for those of you who follow us regularly from those zip codes (hmm....I guess it's possible someone could be reading this blog in Gaziantep or Eskisehir!).

SIDEBAR: We used to publish letters to the editor that we loved, but we feared we would cease and desist order from the likes of "Time" or "Newsweek," so we quit doing it. But, I didn't want to mention excerpts from a letter that San Francisco resident Marta Lindsey sent to "The Atlantic." In the letter, she said that when she put the word 'average' into Google, she got automated suggestions which included penile length, IQ, salary, and weight?!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Top 10 Most Controversial Broadway Shows

Here is a list of the Top 10 most controversial Broadway plays in history according to

I was a bit surprised to learn that "The Full Monty," which makes this list is being performed at The Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Va., given that far southwest Virginia tends to lean on the conservative side. But, then again perhaps the 'Betty White's out there want to laugh and lust for a night. (That's a scary thought!).

Here is the list:

1. Hair

2. Equus

3. Spring Awakening

4. Rent

5. West Side Story

6. Cabaret

7. The Rocky Horror Show (film version is called The Rocky Horror Picture Show)

8. Victor/Victoria

9. Avenue Q

10. The Full Monty

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Things We Learned on Twitter Today- One in Five Americans Think Obama is a Cactus

According to a hilarious tweet from the satire 'news organization' "The Onion," one in five Americans now thinks President Barack Obama is a cactus.

"The Onion" further 'reported' that these fringe folks think it's possible that Obama was a water-retaining desert plant since the day he took office.

The 'news source' also said that there was a rise in those who say that either Obama was born a cactus or he became a cactus in his youth.

I wonder what the numbers were like in Mesa, Arizona.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Silly Picture to Fill Space- Tired Dog

We are literally dog-tired, hence we are resurrecting Silly Picture to Fill Space with an image of a dog who we believe is from Ecuador- of all places!

But, closer to home, those of you who wish to adopt a dog like Allie, a Brittany Spaniel, from the Caswell County Animal Shelter in Yanceyville, NC, (near Danville, Va., and an hour north of Chapel Hill) can call 336-694-4921.

The shelter is also in need of puppy and kitten food.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Quote of the Week- James Baldwin

We are actually quoting playwrights today, but even though the late James Baldwin
(1924-1987) is best known as a poet, he wrote a number of acclaimed plays including "The Amen Corner" (1954).

Ironically, he went to DeWitt Clinton High School in The Bronx where Neil Simon, last week's subject for our Quote of the Week, also went to school. Baldwin graduate in 1942 while Simon graduated from DeWitt in 1944. Playwright Frank Gilroy ("The Subject Was Roses") also went to the high school which is where many, many famous people (Stan Lee, Will Eisner) graduated from.

Here is the quote from Baldwin:

"A child cannot be taught by anyone who despises him, and a child cannot afford to be fooled."

Sunday, September 19, 2010

50 Beers from Around the World_ Molson (Canada)

Molson Beer is the supposedly the third most admired thing in Canada after hockey and Celine Dion.

The brew was started in Montreal way back in 1786.

It now partnered with the American brewing giant Coors, which started as a family operation in Golden, Colo.

"True Canadian Taste" is the beer's current logo.

The product was featured often in Bob and Doug McKenzie skits in the 1980s comedy show "SCTV."

Top 10 Most Controversial Album Covers

Here is the list which was made out by

I would have chosen Madonna's "Like a Virgin," but I also hate her music (not for political or cultural resons; she is just very annoying).

The list was actually posted in reverse order:

10. "God Hates Us All," Slayer (2001)

9. "Holy Wood," Marilyn Manson (2000)

8. "Amorica," Black Crowes (1994)

7. "Rage Against the Machine" (self-titled album) (1992)

6. "Appetite for Destruction," Guns N Roses (original cover) 1987

5. "Lovedrive," The Scorpions (1979)

4. "Sticky Fingers," The Rolling Stones (1971)

3. John and Yoko "Two Virgins" (1968)

2. Jimmi Hendrix "Electric Ladyland" (1968)

1. The Beatles "Yesterday and Today" (1966)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Today We Celebrate Five Years of Blogging

As of today, this blog (which originally ran on AOL; they have since ended their blogging features) is five years old!

And, as usual, it has put me slightly behind my schedule as I have pertinent things to do today like read email, go to a comic book store and watch a Criterion version of some obscure early Ingmar Bergman film.

They are actually kicking people off computers here at the Pyongyang Public Library in Pyongyang, North Korea (that is a joke, so don't call Jimmy Carter!).

So, let me go ahead and congratulate the Ragsdale High School football team who won their home game in Jamestown, NC (a suburb of Greensboro and High Point) by a whopping 52-7 margin over Person County High School which had to make what must have been an awful hour and a half trip back to Roxboro last night. Though we feel for the folks from Person County HS, I gather Ragsdale fans follow my blog more closely so we are ultimately happier for the home team!

Finally, anyone looking a new home for a cat or dog (of course, cats are the better pet), in the Triad might want to go to the Forsyth County Animal Shelter in Winston-Salem where a tuxedo kitten named Rebel is looking for a new home.

Well, the North Korean soldiers are pointing towards me, so we better run while we have the chance....!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Things We Learned from the BBC Today- Man's Body Found Inside Shark

WARNING: The following entry contains information that some readers may find disturbing. Well, you have been warned.

According to the BBC and other media outlets around the world, body parts belonging to a local Bahamian man named Judson Newton, 43, were found inside a captured 12-foot tiger shark (like the ones pictured here).

The shark was captured by another local resident off New Providence Island in The Bahamas in an area that is iornically called "Jaws Beach" because the infamous 1987 film "Jaws the Revenge" with Michael Caine, which brought an abrupt end to the Jaws series, was filmed there.

The fisherman told the press that that he noticed a leg poking out of the shark's mouth when he brought it to his boat. The shark was later turned over to authorities who also discovered arm and legs parts upon cutting the shark open.

It is unclear if Newton was alive when the shark ate him. Newton had been boating with friends in the area in late August before he went missing.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Things We Learned on Twitter- Tea Baggers Say the Darndest Things

If people like this are actually elected, I may have to move to the tea capital of Sri Lanka.

Here is what the latest Tea Party darling Christine O'Donnell who is now the GOP candidate for a US Senate race in Delaware said during an MTV interview regarding what is and what is not infidelity, according to a tweet from HuffPostComedy:

"It is not enough to be abstinent with other people, you also have to be abstinent alone. The Bible says that lust in your heart is comitting adultery, so you can't masterbate without lust."

Hey, she said it.

And, no we are not making this up!

Quote of the Week- David Mamet

Today's Quote of the Week is from 'is he actually now a Republican' playwright David Mamet whose most famous play "Glengarry Glen Ross" is now being staged at The Gamm Theatre in Pawtucket, RI, until Oct. 3.

Mamet is also a screenwriter, film director and novelist. His latest film (we believe) "Redbelt" is available through Netflix.

"I always thought the real violence in Hollywood isn't what's on the screen. It's what you have to do to raise the money."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pirates Took Over My Facebook Page

So, we will taking a week off from this blog to try and resolve that mess and several other important matters that we tend to.

I want everyone to be fully aware that Facebook hacking, as I so rudely found out, is on the rise.

And, like every situation in which you are stranded with a flat tire on the road at 3 a.m., the folks you assume to be your pals are too busy playing "Super Mario Brothers" to try and help you!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life....

I must profess that it is a bit tricky to come up with an appropriate post for September 11th. I wanted to say something serious that wasn't too somber. And, I certainly wanted to avoid anything political (which I must profess is a bit ironic).

So, we chose to go with an image of a very patriotic pooch. If there is one thing that is uniquely American, it is that we may be one of the few countries where some folks actually drape their house pets in fanciful clothing attire.

But, in all seriousness, we do want to take a moment to remember those who needlessly lost their lives on this day nine years ago.

My fellow Turkish-American Gunay Evinch, who is an alumnus of Washington and Lee in Lexington, Va. (a rival school to one of my alma maters!), made the following statement about 9/11 on the web site for ATAA, the leading Turkish-American association in America:

"While we have yet to comprehend such horrific acts and though we can not erase the pain, we should be comforted by reflections on the remarkable acts of heroism the world witnessed that day."

For more info on a proposed Sept. 11th Memorial, one can log on to

Top Ten Most Controversial Books of All Times

As the delirious Rev. Terry Jones has proven over the last few days, books can stir up a lot of emotions. My late father Mehmet Gokbudak, who came from Turkey, was not too pleased when this particular "David and Goliath" book (the same one pictured here) was given to me as a Christmas present circa 1976 from one of my mom's relatives in South Carolina. The book was never burned, but it was misplaced so alas we can't hawk it on E-bay. Ironically, my father who was a Muslim had no such issues with Dr. Seuss' "Green Eggs and Ham."

The web site came up with this list of the Ten Most Controversial books ever written. I was surprised that "Mein Kempf" by Adolf Hitler didn't make the list! Nor was there a mention of Salman Rushdie's novel "The Satanic Verses," which is still probably VERY hard to find in Qom, Iran.

There were some surprising choices here, and most of them seem to center around religion or politics. (I should note for readers in Princeton, WVa, Fort Mill, SC, Provo, Utah or Tashkent, Uzbekistan, that these are not my views!):

1. The Holy Bible

2. The Koran

3. The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and F. Engels

4. The Prince by Nicado Machiavelli

5. I Did It by O. J. Simpson

6. The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

7. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (a novel)

8. Book of Mormon by Joseph Smith

9. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (a novel)

10. Holy Blood and The Holy Grail by Dan Brown

In regards to Rev. Jones' dubious efforts to burn copies of the Koran, which have thankfully been called off (we assume?!), the Rev. Meredith Hotetsu Garman of the Unitarian Universialist Church in Gainesville, Fla, where Jones is located, denounced his crusade. She said in a statement that as Unitarians, 'we' should 'stand witness of the faith tradition we inherit, to embody our heritage of freedom, reason and acceptance.'


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Things We Learned on the BBC Today- The Begging Question in Senegal

Even though the image above is clearly not from the west African country of Senegal, it does address the global program of children begging and the clear ethical line it crosses in much of the developing world.

According to the BBC today, seven Koranic school teachers in Senegal have been condemned to jail if they continue to force children to beg in the streets. Those who were found guilty will serve up to six months in jails if the practice continues.

Up to 50,000 children have been exploited according to Human Rights Watch, which says the Senegalese government needs to continue trying to resolve the problems.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Things We Learned on Twitter Today- Godard May Be Present for the Oscars

"Interview" magazine tweeted this morning that the legendary, and often off-beat French film director Jean-Luc Godard may very well be present when he is the reciepent of a lifetime achievement Oscar.

In a statement to the academy, Godard, perhaps best known for his 1959 film "Breathless," said that he is hoping to recieve his honorary lifetime Oscar in person.

Other lifetime reciepents of the award will include fellow film director Francis Ford Coppola, who has actually won the award for film directing, and actor Eli Wallach.

There were rumors that Godard was not planning to attend the Oscars.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Happy Birthday Cuneyt Arkin

Cuneyt Arkin, Turkey's leading machismo action movie hero of the 1970s turns 73 today.

We are big fans of Arkin who is perhaps best known in the rest of the world for his gymnastics stunts that he performed as the lead in the famous/infamous 1982 film "The Man Who Saved the World," which is also known as "The Turkish Star Wars" since it was a rip-off of the George Lucas mega-blockbuster.

Arkin, who has appeared in more than 250 films, made his debut with "We Are Not Alone" in 1964. Up until the '70s, he was predominantly a romantic leading man along the lines of Gregory Peck or Rock Hudson with Turkish cinema goddess Turkan Soray often playing his conquests.

But, that quickly changed when Turkey's brief war with Greece over Cyprus in 1974 caused a nationalist frenzy in Turkey which was illustrated through Arkin's film of the period, most notably "Once Vatan/My Nation First" (1974).

Arkin also starred in "Little Cowboy" (1973), which is perhaps the ultimate oxy moron- a Turkish Western!

Though none of his films are available in the United States except through Turkish good distributors like, several of his films like "Lion Man" (1975) and "Holy Sword" (1982) have developed underground cult followings.

SIDEBAR: The world basketball championships are underway in Istanbul and both The United States and Turkey have performed well so far. Turkey beat France 95-77 and the team will next face Slovenia on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Team America, with NBA players like Kevin Durant, bounced the African nation of Angola out of the tournament with a 121-66 win in which a former Montana State player named Divaldo Mbguna scored four points for the losing side.

Turkey also won a road game by a 3-0 score against Kazakhstan (which is where the fictional journalist Borat hailed from) in a European Cup qualifier on Friday.

High School of the Week- Red River HS (Grand Forks, N.Dakota)

This may very well mark the first time that we've had an entry about North Dakota, a state we've never been to!

But, Red River High School in Grand Forks, N.Dak., is our High School of the Week.

Kim Slovtsue is the principal of RRHS, which has about 1,330 students. The school was established in 1967. And, the school's nickname The Rough Riders was in honor of Teddy Roosevelt (pictured here).

Unlike most schools in my two states of Virginia and North Carolina, RRHS offers hockey as one of its school sports for both boys and girls alike. The school won the state championship in boys' hockey last year.

"The Rider's Digest" is the school newspaper.

Emily Wong, a freshman gymnast for The University of Nebraska, is among the school's recent alumni.

SIDEBAR: Ragsdale High School in Jamestown, NC, a suburb of Greensboro and High Point, which was a previous High School of the Week, won their home game over Western Guilford HS by a 25-17 score on Friday night. The Flying Tigers is on the road against Page High School from Greensboro.

SIDEBAR TWO: My good friend and fellow blogger Chris Knight has reported that an Elvis Presley impersonator went into a Sheetz gas station in Eden, NC, on Aug. 27. We have idea if he sang "Viva Las Vegas" for customers or not!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Quotes of the Week- Neil Simon

For those of us on the east coast of les etats unis, a venture to San Diego might be very difficult, but for those who venture or reside there, The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego will be performing two acclaimed Neil Simon plays at the same time!

Both "Brighton Beach Memoirs" and "Broadway Bound" will be staged there from Sept. 14-Nov. 7.

There is also a Neil Simon Festival in Cedar City, Utah, which is also quite far from the New York settings of Simon's play. They have already announced their 2011 schedule even though the plays will not be performed until the July 14-Aug. 11 production run. The plays are two from Simon "Barefoot in the Park" and "Rumors," and one from the late Larry Shue "The Nerd," which is perhaps one of the funniest plays I've ever read (have yet to see it performed!).

Simon turned 83 on the Fourth of July.

Here is the quote from the man who also wrote "The Odd Couple" and "Plaza Suite:"

"Take care of him. And, make him feel important. And if you can do that, you'll have a happy and wonderful marriage. Like two out of ten couples."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

50 Beers Around the World- Barena (Honduras)

We stay here in North America for our next Beer Around the World which is Barena, a popular brew in the Central American country of Honduras which has experienced political problems within the last year. But, we'll let smarter people like David Brooks and E.J. Dionne sort through that (forgive the NPR listener in-joke).

We learned about Barena Beer through Don Godo, a blogger from New Orleans who now resides in Honduras. He says that beers in the country has substantially improved in recent years.

Honduras was also in the recent World Cup in South Africa.

I actually know the name of their capital, but it is too hard to spell and alas we don't have interns to verify these things for us (it does however start with a "T").

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Top 10 Most Controversial Films of All Time?

If there is one thing that the two Top Ten Controversial Film Lists I've posted here and on my other blog have in common, it is that religion--more than anything else, seems to make films controversial.

There are some notable controversial films that were not on either list, including two highly political and left-of-center films "Salt of the Earth" (1954) and "Punishment Park" (1974), both of which are excellent films even if one disagrees with their politics.

Horror films like the infamous Italian "Cannibal Holocaust" (1977) which features an actual slaughter of a Galapagos turtle on film were not mentioned that often. The more recent Japanese shock horror film "Audition" (2000) which features very graphic images was also not mentioned as were the "Saw" films, which have been labeled as torture porn films by some.

And, neither list cited Sam Peckinpah's "Straw Dogs" or Elia Kazan's "Baby Doll."

This list was published on on July 21, 2009:

10. "Midnight Cowboy" (John Schlesinger, 1969)

9. "A Clockwork Orange" (Stanley Kubrick, 1971)

8. "Last House on the Left" (Wes Craven, 1972)*

7. "Last Tango in Paris" (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1973)

6. "Salo" (P. Paolo Pasolini, 1975)

5. "I Spit On Your Grave" (Meir Zarchi, 1978)

4. "Life of Brian" (Terry Gilliam, 1979)

3. "Blue Velvet" (David Lynch, 1986)

2. "Kids" (Larry Clark, 1995)

1. "Anti-Christ" (Lars von Trier, 2009)

*- The film has since been remade

Friday, September 3, 2010

It Was a VERY Bad Day...

I'm not an African-American, like this guy is, but I love the expression on his face. It pretty much sums up everything I went through today in which nothing went according to plan and I was pretty much miserable the whole day.

Yesterday, however was a pleasant day which made this a bit of a surprise!

But, I do want to thank the UNC college radio station dj for WXYC-FM who played my request for the David Bowie/Queen classic "Under Pressure." I was listening to his show from Virginia via the Internet. He also played Kate Bush's classic "Running Up That Hill," which I was ironically thinking about earlier in the day.

I can definitely sympathize for the football players from Charlottesville High School in Charlottesville, Va., as they lost to Robert E. Lee High School (from Staunton, Va.) by a 42-6 margin. Interestingly enough, I have close friends who are alumnus of both schools. My presumption is that neither Greg or Tom really care about this!

But, my alma mater Glenvar High School (Salem, Va.) defeated James River High School (Buchanan, Va.) by a 41-34 margin, according to "The Roanoke Times."

Of course, that doesn't change the fact that for me, it was still quite a lousy day!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Program Reminder- Movie Show on WUAG-FM

My friend Joe Scott of Greensboro, NC, hosts a weekly college radio station show that is entirely dedicated to movie which is called "The Movie Show." The WUAG 103.1-FM show airs at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesdays as of this fall, and with the advent of modern technology, one can listen to the show from Trabzon, Turkey, or Capetown, South Africa. WUAG is the college radio station for UNC-Greensboro.

The Movie Show also sponsors special screenings at The Carousel Luxury Cinemas in Greensboro called The Mixed Tape Series. Next week's film is the John Cusack teen angst classic "Say Anything" which features a memorable with Peter Gabriel's song "In Your Eyes" in the background.

We forget which year the film was released (was it 1989?), but I know that both Joe and my friend Moviezzz ( know this. Alas, I don't have time to consult with them and frankly I'm getting very, very hungry.....

WUAG also has a local music show called "Radio Greensboro" which runs from 8-10 p.m. on Sundays. A similar show dedicated to music from musicians in the Raleigh-Chapel Hill area runs from 5-8 p.m. on Fridays on WKNC, the college radio station for North Carolina State University.

It's time for a gyro or fajita....

UPDATE: Since we were in a rush yesterday, we forgot to double-check to see if the Cusack image was up. Also, the screening in Greensboro for "Say Anything" is Thursday at 7:30 and 10 p.m. We were also unaware of how a tweet by Cusack, which we thought was very amusing, caused an uproar at Fox News!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Things We Learned on the BBC Today- Fidel Says It's Good to Be Alive

According to the BBC, Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who is reportedly sharing a Cuban cigar with Glenn Beck in Provo, Utah, as we speak, says that he was at the grim reaper's door during his long illness.

Castro actually made those comments in an interview with the Mexican newspaper "La Jornada" in which he also said that it was difficult for him to aspire to live much longer.

The long-time Cuban president, who many have deemed to be a dictator for his long-standing human rights abuses, first got sick in 2006 when he suffered from intestinal illness.

But, Castro says that he's made a full recovery and that he can now walk without a cane.

One can always hope that he may venture from Havannah to Frederick, Md., (an hour from Washington, DC) to see a minor league Frederick Keys game with right-wing pundit George F. Will, who will probably still believe global warming doesn't exist when it's 98 degrees in Bethesda in late January. The Keys are actually having community food drive from now until Sept. 3. Last night, the team lost a home game to the Kinston Indians by a 9-2 score. The two teams plays each other again tonight.

As for Castro, there are always a number of interesting musings about him on Cuban-American blogs which generally lean to the right politically. There was this quite radical one we used to glance at now and then that pretty much compared President Barack Obama to Gargamel (the villain in "The Smurfs").

We lost track of that particular blog, but we did find one today called BabaluBlog ( which is also understandably quite critical of Castro, but we have no idea if they have compared Obama to Gargamel, Iago or Ming the Merciless. But, if they do, we will kindly remind them that George W. Bush was as bad as Gargamel, Iago and Ming the Merciless!

Things We Learned on Twitter Today- Larry King is Hip??

He may not know The Thompson Twins from Arcade Fire, but long-time CNN talk show host Larry King made the wittiest tweet we've read in a long time yesterday:

"My theory of the day...the only people who show up for class reunions are those who have aged well. Am I right?"

For those of you in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where "Hold Me Now" may not have not been a top ten hit, The Thompson Twins were/are a New Wave band from New Zealand which was big in the '80s. Amazingly enough, one of their other top 40 hits, "Doctor, Doctor" has aged well!

Arcade Fire is the hip band of the moment. And, most college radio stations across the country have their latest album "The Suburbs" in high rotation. The band has a concert in Bologna, Italy- of all places- on Sept. 2.