Monday, February 28, 2011

Happy Oscar Hangover Day

In case you were wondering, especially those of you who might still be behind a desk in Portland, Oregon, at this hour, we are featuring the Hindu love goddess Parvati because a short film called "God of Love" won the Oscar last night. Parvati happens to be the wife of Shiva, but this is not World Religions 101 (though I did get a 'B' in that class at Radford University in Virginia).

This deity should not be confused with Parvati Melton, the extremely gorgeous 22-year-old Bollywood star (who grew up in California!) who may very well have her very own Uma Thurman stalker from Mumbai (well, for her sake, we certainly hope that's not the case!).

Another very attractive young woman Natalie Portman, who is alas engaged to be married to a man who impregnated her (insert whinning here), won a well-deserved Best Actress last night for her amazing performance in "The Black Swan." The dark movie about a struggling ballet dancer was the subject of a recent nasty piece in "The New Republic" which almost made me cancel my subcription. But, we love their columnist Jonathan Chait, who always puts right-wingers in their place (give that man a raise!).

As for some other winners, we mentioned the short live action film "Gods of Love" which won last night. The film by Luke Matheny is about a love-struck lounge-sining teenage boy. It was one of the ten picks we missed last night though we did choose 13 right, including our pick for Portman.

"Strangers No More," a film about a school in Tel Aviv, Israel, with children from 48 countries, won a Best Documentary Short Oscar.

And, finally, "The Lost Thing" a short animated film about a boy who finds a strange creature on the beach and adopts it for himself was the winner in its category.

The very last thing I want to mention is that I thought one dress worn by Anne Hathaway (it should be pointed I know nothing about fashion and if I were to even have a Starbucks frappucino with Hathaway, I would get down on my knees and thank
Shiva) actually looked like something that the '80s punk band Devo would wear. Ok, well, I wasn't going to have a frap with Anne Hathaway anyway!

Friday, February 25, 2011

More Oscar Projections....

Yes, we aren't exactly sure why we chose an image from Laurence Olivier's screen performance as "Hamlet" for this entry either, although we are 98 percent certain that he won an as Oscar for the performance in the title role.

Here are the short film categories and our projections....

Documentary (short):

Nominees are "Killing in the Name," "Poster Girl," "Strangers No More," "Sun Come Up" and "The Warriors of Quigang."

Projection: We are pikcing "Strangers No More" over "Killing in the Name" and "Poster Girl." Those three films appear to be the front-runners. "Strangers No More" has a 7.8 rating on the IMDB which just slightly higher than "Killing in the Name," which registers a 7.7.

Animated Film (short):

Nominees are "Day and Night," "The Gruffalo," "Let's Pollute," "The Lost Thing" and "Madasgar: A Journey Diary"

Projection: We strongly feel that "Day and Night" will win this one, but don't sue us if you are holding an Oscar party in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Live Action:

Nominees are "The Confession," "God of Love," "Ne Wewe," "The Crush" and "Wish 143."

Projections: All signs point to the much-acclaimed "Wish 143;" we forgot to write down what the film was about!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Oscars for the Actors (Projections)

Our very first use of images with blog entries (you should those early entries!) featured Natalie Portman in her trademark vegan sandals.

While she may have questionable films on her resume, with performances in "Closer" and "V for Vendetta," Portman has proven herself to be a remarkable actress. And, her performance in "The Black Swan" is a crowning achievement for the 29-year-old though she could lose to Annette Benning who has come oh so close before (including losing out to Hilary Swank in 1999 in spite of Benning's great performance in "American Beauty.).

Should here are our projections for the four acting categories:


Will win: Colin Firth "The King's Speech." I think Firth is a good actor, but this is an over-praised film. Nevertheless, both the film and Firth have all the momentum right now and the Oscar seems most likely to go to the English actor.

Should win: Jesse Eisenberg. He was simply astonishing as the multi-layered Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, who did indeed prove to be everyone's frenemy rather than their 'friend.'

Silver Medal: Well they don't award second place at the Academy Awards, but James Franco was also quite good in "127 Hours," a film about a young man literally trapped between a rock and a hard place which Franco had to carry all by himself.


Will/should: Portman.


Will/should win: Geoffrey Rush. As much as I think the film is getting way too much hype, the Australian actor was simply brilliant in this film.

Who I would vote for: Christian Bale ("The Fighter"). Another remarkable performance which carries the film, and unlike "The King's Speech," Bale's film is actually the better one. And, I am really getting tired of hearing about "The King's Speech."


Will/should win: Melissa Leo, who also in "The Fighter." She is by no means a lock as her own co-star Amy Adams, also nominated in this category, could potentially upset her. But Leo's own personal narrative of being an overlooked actress for years seems to make her the slight favorite.

For other Oscar projections of mine go to our other blog "The Daily Vampire:"

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Oscar Predictions Teaser

Tomorrow, we are hoping to post some of our Oscar predictions on this blog as well as our sister blog "The Daily Vampire." This is, of course, on the presumption that the rest of the week will be less whacky that today has been so far. But, hey I did find the car keys so I can't complain!

Today, we are featuring an image of an Oscar the Grouch t-shirt with this entry, assuming that the hot-link works! We had an unusual problem last year when we were trying to put up an image of the Bill Griffith comic book character "Zippy the Pinhead" on one of our blogs, but we still love the strip even though it took quite a while to fix that mess!

I actually watched "Sesame Street" as a kid in the 1970s on Blue Ridge Public TV (WBRA) in Roanoke, Va. Alas, these days arch right-wing Republicans are trying to cut PBS and NPR funding as either a measure to cut federal funding or make Bill O'Reilly happy (political bias: We presume the later).

Tonight, WBRA is showing "The Secrets of the Dead" at 10 p.m., which focuses on a 2004 discovery of headless Roman skeleteons in York, England.

And, we also want to wish a happy birthday to former UCLA gymnast and Canadian Olympian Yvonne Tousek. She was part of a team that included standout Olympic gymnassts like Kate Richardson, Kristen Maloney and Jamie Dantzcher. The Bruins are also the current reigning NCAA champs in women's gymnastics. Last night, junior Taunty Frattone score a 9.95 on vault in a win over North Carolina State.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Special Quote of the Week- Debi Thomas

Today, in our special edition of quotes from active and retired African-American athletes, we are focusing on two athletes who have become succesful in traditionally white, sub-urban sports. On our other blog, we have a quip from Freddy Adu, an American soccer play now playing for Rizespor in Turkey.

But, here we focus on Olympic and World Champion ice skater Debi Thomas who won a bronze medal at the 1988 Calgary Olympics. Thomas also won gold at the 1986 world championships.

Nowadays, Thomas continues to be active in another arena as a physician.

In 2010, Thomas was one of a select number of American doctors who travelled to Nepal to assist poor local women suffering from arthritis who were in need of joint replacement surgery.

Here is the quote from Thomas:

"I just thought it was magical having to glide across the ice."

SIDEBAR: Tonight on most PBS stations here in the United States, one can watch a special edition of the documentary show "Frontline" which focuses on the recent revolutionary changes which brought an end to Hosni Mubarak's 30-year reign in Egypt. The special focuses on the young people who brought about the change, including Gigi Ibrahim, 24, who has become an Internet sensation with an unholy amount of followers of Twitter. Ibrahim is also among the activists who are going to be on the cover of an upcoming "Time" magazine issue that also looks at the events in Egypt.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Quote of the Week- Hilary Swank

Perhaps, very few Oscar-winners have started from dire backgrounds like Hilary Swank has, as she grew up in a trailer park in Bellingham, Wash. She is also (to our knowledge) the only cast member of "Beverly Hills 90210" to have won an Oscar. Although to his credit, Luke Perry was very good in the independent drama film "Normal People" with Ashley Judd about a boyfriend/girlfriend bank robbing duo.

Swank won her first Best Actress Oscar for the compelling film "Boys Don't Cry" (1999). Five years later, she won in the same category for her startling performane as a female boxer in "Million Dollar Baby" (2004), which was directed by and co-starred Clint Eastwood.

Here is her quote:

"I don't know what I did in this life to deserve all of this. I'm just a girl from a trailer park who had a dream."

SIDEBAR: It has been a very long time since we discussed Turkish soccer, but I realize our loyal readers in Paterson, NJ, (which reportedly has the largest Turkish population in America) are getting disappointed with me, and I am a Turkish-American who occasionally eats pork as it is!

So here are the latest results from Week 22 (partial list):

Eskisehirspor 2 Sivasspor 1

Gaziantep 4 Bursa 1

GalataSaray 1 Bucaspor 0

Kayseri 2 Antalya 0

*Fenerbahce 4 Besiktash 2

*-This was a game between two traditional Istanbul rivals. Alex de Souza, 33, (who goes by Alex) a Brazilian soccer star, scored three goals for Fenerbahce in their crucial win.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Beers from Around the World (#50 of 50) Sleeman from Canada

Yes, we never thought it would come to an end either, but today, we are featuring our final entry in our Beers Around the World series with a look at Canada's third most popular beer, Sleeman which as it turns out is surprisingly difficult to find here in America.

In total, we have focused on 50 beers from 44 different countries, and only the Chilean beer (we think it was Cristal) gave us some problems.

Sleeman Beer, which some people call Sleeman's, ranks third behind Molson and Labatts, which are both widely available in America, in domstic Canadian sales.

The beer was founded in Guelph, Ontario, in 1834. It actually ceased operations because it was a popular beer that was illegally brought into Detroit during the Prohibition era in the late 1930s. Ironically, Michigan is apparently now one of the few places where Sleeman Beer can be found.

Sleeman Beer was restarted in 1988, and it became so popular in Canada that the Japanese brewery giant Sapporo purcahsed the company for $400 million in 2006.

Sleeman comes in a cream ale as well as in original drafts and original darks.

Since the company has decided, for some reason, not to fool with the American market, one place where one could probably find it would the Shark Bar and Grill in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, which might be worth a road trip to get out of Provo, Utah.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Beers Around the World (#48)- Saku Beer (Estonia)

We are on the verge of closing out our Beers Around the World series, and today we choose one of the smallest and newest members of the European Union, the former Soviet Republic of Estonia, which is one of the three Baltic Sea nations, including Latvia and Lithunia.

Estonia has a population of 1.34 million, and the capital city there is Tallinn. But, Saku Beer is brewed in the city of Saku, Estonia.

The Saku Brewery is as old as Estonia itself (politically speaking) as it formed in 1991 when the old USSR fell apart. Saku Beer is now listed on the Tallinn Stock Exchange, and it has 40 percent of the domestic market.

Saku Beer is also the sponsor of Tartu Ulikol, a pro basketball team in Estonia.

As for the country, Andrus Ansip is the current prime minister. And, Estonia is the wealthiest of the former Soviet republics. It was also a place where the new Jim Carrey film "I Love You, Phillip Morris" which only opened in a small number of cinemas here is America was a big hit for reasons that no one is quite sure of.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Beers of the World (#46)- Zywiec Beer from Poland

Today, we feature Zywiec Beer from Poland, a country I actually lived in as a six-year-old kid in 1976. The beer is made by the Zywiec Brewery, which is the oldest one in Poland. It was founded in 1852. Zywiec Beer became nationalized by 1950.

This lead to a court case between the Polish government and the Habsburg family who originally owned the brewery, and it was settled in 2005.

There are 70 breweries and 27 microbreweries in Poland.

We actually learned about this beer through a Beer Geography Quiz on, which are basically as addictive as Twinkies and heroin.

If you are wondering where entry #45 is, that can be found on our sister blog "The Daily Vampire." That brew happens to be Chang Beer from Thailand.

SIDEBAR: There is a very moving story today on the WUNC-FM (91.5-Chapel Hill) show "The State of Things" about Chapel Hill sports writer Tim Crothers who traveled to Africa to meet Phiona Mutesi, a 14-year-old girl from Uganda who lives in dires. She has nevertheless amazingly become one of the best young chess players in the real and she competed at a global tournament in a Siberian city in Russia. Mutesi said she had no idea what the weather was like in Siberia, so she asked: "Is it cold there?" The article by Crothers was in a January issue of "ESPN Magazine."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Beers from Around the World_ Hansa from Norway (#44)

Today, we are reviving our Beers Around the World series with Hansa, a Norwegian brew that is produced in Bergen and Sarpsborg (Norway's second and fifth largest cities, respectively).

According to an Internet web site, it is apparently available in some parts of New Jersey. But, somehow, we don't expect halal markets in Paterson are the place to look, though when we have time we can ask Mayor Jeff Jones (yes, he is the mayor of Paterson) if he knows of a place to find Scandanavian beers in town. Of course, since I'm half-Turkish, I can make fun of halal markets where one can always find great yogurts actually, especially if they are from Bulgaria or Lebanon (I should say that Turkish yogurt is perfectly good too before I offend my constituency---not there are many here in Welch, W.Va*).

As for Hansa, it was founded in 1997 and the Hansa Borg brewery has 26 percent of the beer market in Norway. And, apparently, beer has been in Norway for close to one thousand years.

SIDEBAR: Earlier today, while taking a quiz on we learned that Crown and Sugarlof is the name of a London pub, which happens to be on Fleet Street (where the macabe musical play "Sweeney Todd" takes place) as opposed to a Charles Dickens story. Apparently, the pub has a very relaxed atmosphere and they are not open on Sundays, which makes me wonder if the owner might be someone from Provo, Utah?!

*-We don't actually live in Welch, W.Va, but we understand they have a great drive-in movie theatre there!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Special Quote of the Week_ Cheryl Miller

Today we continue with quotes from famous African-American athletes with a quip from basketball great Cheryl Miller. Her brother Reggie Miller had a succesful NBA career with the Indiana Pacers. But, he never scored 100 points in one game as his sister did in high school. Cheryl later went on to become a star player for the USC Trojans, enjoy her own pro basketball career and evolve into a succesful sports announcer.

Here is her quote:

"Every plant has to look good for at least two seasons."

Monday, February 14, 2011

Quote of the Week- Jessica Tandy

Today, we are continuing our series within a series featuring quotes from past Oscar winners as the Oscar season is upon us. Our quote for today comes from the late Jessica Tandy (1909-1994) who was the oldest woman ever to win a Best Actress Oscar when she won the award in 1989.

It is fitting perhaps that Tandy won an Oscar for the film "Driving Miss Daisy," which was originally a hit stage play, since she was known primarily as a stage actress for much of her career.

In fact, she won the Lead Actress Tony for her performance as Blanche DuBois in the original Broadway run of the Tennessee Williams play "A Streetcar Named Desire" in 1947.

Tandy also starred in the famous Alfred Hitchock film "The Birds" (1963) which is still known to make one wary of pigeons.

Here is the quote from Tandy, which seems appropriate given that today is Valentine's Day, and the man buying his wife two dozen roses may have alterior motives:

"When he's late for dinner, I know he's either having an affair or lying dead in the street. I always hope it's the street."

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Road Trip USA (1 of 20)_ A Night at the Opera

While we were listening to WVTF, the NPR station in Roanoke, Va., yesterday, I thought it was interesting that we heard the last minutes of "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me," which was being broadcast from Spartanburg, SC. Then, the next NPR show that aired was a live broadcast of the contemporary opera "Nixon in China," by the New York Met Opera.

All of this made me wonder how long it would take to get from Wade's Family Restaurant in Spartanburg (a city that is relatively close to Clemson University), which was mentioned in "Wait, Wait..." to the famed opera house (the opera pictured here is actually one of my favorites "Rigoletto.")

And, you get to take a guess here as to that answer...

Is it?:

a)10 hours and 17 minutes
b) 11 hours and 49 minutes
c) 12 hours and 28 minutes
d) 13 hours and 42 minutes

You would actually go through Roanoke while taking this trip!

SIDEBAR: Since I am a huge college gymnastics fan, I thought it would be interesting to mention that long-time powerhouse The University of Utah will be hosting Michigan on Friday. And, the Utes have a very unique promotion called Short Person Appreciation Night. Anyone who is under five feet tall gets in free! Today, happens to be the 19th birthday of sophomore Fumina Kobayashi of the Utes who is 5'2. Her teammate Nansy Damianova, a Canadian freshman from Montreal who speaks Bulgarian (?!), is 5'1.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Quoting Romeo and Juliet for V-Day

Yes, I know. I am getting suffocated from Valentine's Day nonsense myself, but of course since I am an American (well my late father came from Turkey) why not be a bit of a contrarian/hypocrite and indulge in this madness/nonsense.

So, here is a quip from "Romeo and Juliet," which will probably be made into a 3-D movie soon:

"But, soft! What light through window breaks? It is the east and Juliet is the son."

We learned that the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Va., is not performing "Romeo and Juliet" at the moment, but they will be staging the John Marston play "The Malcontent," including a performance on Sat., Feb. 19 at 2:00 p.m.

SIDEBAR: For those American tourists who have the spare time to span the globe and the courage to stay in the Middle East in spite of political upheaval, you can go to Tel Aviv, Israel, to see everyone's favorite Russian emigre punk band Gogol Bordello perform at the Barby Club there from Feb. 28-March 2. The band is actually giving three concerts at the venue!

They later head to Rome, Italy, for a concert on my 41st birthday (March 4th) at the Atlantico Live Club before heading to one of my favorite cities Istanbul, Turkey, for a March 11th concert at the Babylon.

But, for those of you who live in Nebraska and prefer classical music (I actually like everything from heavy metal to classical, but I'm the first to admit that would make for quite a surreal mixed tape!) there will be a performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony on Fri., March 4 at 8:00 p.m. and on Sunday, March 6 at 2:00 p.m. with conductor Thomas Wilkins at the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha. The performance will be from the Omaha Symphony. It should be fun; be sure to wear your Grateful Dead tye-dye t-shirt to the event!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Beer Week Promo

We have no idea what beers we will feature during Beer Week (which will actually start on Wednesday as we have quotes on Monday and Tuesday this month), but since we are on a Scandinavian kick, the possibilities do include the likes of the Norwegian beer Haaken, but we have already featured the Danish beer Carlsberg.

We may also go with a beer that we learned about while wasting precious time on a Mental Floss quiz (where you can learn that Steve Martin won two Grammys, but no Oscars, and where you can kick yourself for forgetting that Cuba is one of the world's ten countries with four letters), including Chang Beer from Thailand and Zywtec Beer from Poland.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Status Update_ The Irony of It All

Our Status Update for this afternoon is a rather short and simple one, which is due in part to me being cyber-fleeced by someone pretending to be a hot girl from Istanbul, Turkey. Similarly, a 'very attractive woman' from South Africa told me 'how handsome I was today.' Ahhh, would be nice if I actually could believe her.

The image above incidentally is of the very good-looking actress Bridget Moynahan who somehow hasn't lured into watching her new tv show "Blue Bloods" on CBS with Tom Selleck, perhaps it's because Magnum is a Republican!

Oh, yes, we almost forgot, here is the Status Update for today:

"If there is one thing I love about Facebook, it's the irony that it's taught me to NEVER trust gorgeous women."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Best and Worst Films of the Coen Bros

We had the most trouble getting images for this entry! Whew!

First of all, we must admit that the idea for this blog came from a "Washington Post" article by Ann Hornaday, who is the paper's film critic. Like her, I was surprised that former arch-conservative House Speaker Newt Gingrich also thinks "Fargo" is the best Coen Brothers film (since when do Republicans watch art house movies?!).

But, here are my own choices from best to least favorite Coen Brothers films. Their most current film "True Grit" also made my top 20 films of 2010 list on our other blog "The Daily Vampire."

It's hard to believe that I saw one of these films in Paris, France, (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) in Paris, France, and another one of these films (The Ladykillers) at a second-run multiplex in Lynchburg, Va.!

Here is the list:

1. Fargo (1996)

2. Barton Fink (1991)

3. The Big Lebowski (1998)

4. Miller's Crossing (1990)

5. Raising Arizona (1987)

6. Blood Simple (1984)

7. No Country for Old Men (2007)

8. O Brother Where Art Thou? (2000).

9. A Serious Man (2009)

10. True Grit (2010)

11. The Ladykillers (2004)

12. The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)

13. The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)

14. Burn After Reading (2008)

15. Intolerable Cruelty (2003)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Special Quote of the Week- Venus Williams

We are continuing our series of quotes from famous African-American athletes, past and present, with a quip from tennis superstar Venus Williams. As everyone outside Tashkent, Uzbekistan, probably knows (and perhaps they do too), her sister Serena Williams, who is a year younger (Venus is 30; Serena is 29), has also established an exempliary career on the court.

Here is our quote from Venus, who has assuredly won virtually every tennis tournament from New York to Dubai* to Sydney, at least once (we need to verify this, but we don't have that kind of time!):

"If you're not a competitor, you've just got to go home."

*- NPR reported last month that there is a North Korean restaurant in Dubai (?!). Yes, we said North Korean. There are also some pretty good South Korean restaurants in Istanbul, Turkey, which seemed surprsing enough to us at the time.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Oscar Quote of the Week- Sally Field

Now that she is nearing my mom's age it is a tad bit unsettling to admit that as a teenage boy I had a huge crush on Sally Field after seeing her opposite Paul Newman in "Absence of Malice."

Field had won a Best Actress Oscar for the first time for "Norma Rae" (1979) based on a story that took place at a now-closed factory in Roanoke Rapids, NC, and then again for "Places in the Heart" (1984).

Here is her quote:

"I think the first thing I did was several scenes from Romeo and Juliet."

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Special Quote for the Birthday of Charles Dickens

Since my good friend Tom Angleberger is a fan of Charles Dickens' works, we thought we'd quip the author for his birthday, which is actually on Monday (yes, we know the author of "Oliver Twist" has been dead for a good while now).

There is also a Charles Dickens Museum in London, a city I haven't been to since 1975 when I was five years old. Perhaps, it's time to go back.

And, Christopher Hitchens wrote a scathing piece on Dickens a few months ago in "The Atlantic." I was meaning to show Tom the article, but I thought unlike Hitchens, who has been known irk people on the right and left alike, I like having pals!

Here is the quote from Dickens:

"Charity begins at home, and justice begins next door."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Revised Top 10 New Year's Resolutions

There were actually 50 New Year's Eve resolutions that I made; many of them will never, ever be made public--- not even if I am water-boarded (sorry, Dick Cheney!).

But, we came up with ten that are somewhat plausible or reasonable. Hopefully, we will actually get or three of these things accomplished.

And, of course, I would never resort to Pinocchio tactics to go out with an attractive woman....why is my nose growing?

Taking a cruise down the Nile River was actually number 39, but that has been removed for painfully obvious reasons, though hopefully there will be enough political stability in Egypt to go see King Tut's tomb one day.

Here is the list:

1. Go out with a cute girl you've just met for coffee (well, it will have to be someone else besides Natalie Portman!)

2. Lose about 15-20 pounds...yeah, I say this every year

3. Go to Asheville already (I live in NC, but it's still a bit of a drive from Roanoke Rapids*).

4. Eat more Turkish food, less Mexican food (sorry amigos, nothing personal, but I could go for a good steak burrito right now...)

5. Try to watch fewer bad movies

6. Volunteer for the local animal shleter or a non-profit group with no political agenda

7. Volunteer for the Democratic Party so Palinzilla does not become prez!

8. Write a memoir, a novel or a play already (this is always on the resolutions list!)

9. Figure out what the guy with the attractive girlfriend did to get her, even if it involves lying!

10. More mocha; less cappucino!

*- I don't actually live in Roanoke Rapids, NC, but I had to come up with a place to thwart potential cyberstalkers.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Our Best Person for 2010 Is.....

.............Lisa Murkowski, the Republican senator from Alaska. Yes, we are a liberal-leaning blog, and we are choosing Sen. Murkowski!

The reason for this is that while she may officially beaten Tea Party favorite Joe Miller and the mostly not-talked-about Democratic candidate Scott McAdams on the ballot, the person she really defeated was mama grizzly Sarah Palin, or Palinzilla as we like to call her.

At age 53, Sen. Murkowski is rather attractive for an elected official. Someone from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, might well think she was in the cast of "Charlie's Angels" in her younger days. Politically, her father Frank Murkowski put her in the U.S. Senate after he vacated his U.S. senate seat to become the governor of Alaska (he was later toppled by Palinzilla).

This did not go over well with many folks in Alaska, and it actually gave her 2004 Democratic opponent Terry Knowles, who was also once the governor of Alaska, a fighting chance in the very red state.

But, in spite of losing the GOP nomination to Miller, a far right nut who is gunsGodncounty radical who actually cited the former East Germany as a country which could control their borders (they did this by shooting people trying to leave the country) by a 51-49 margin, Murkowski put up a good fight with a write-in campaign.

And, in spite of lawsuits and court hearings and even disputes about ballots in which Murkowski's last name were not spelled correctly, she emerged as the victor in the close election. Thus, Murkowski was able to give the Tea Party a left jab that few Democrats were able to deliver, and it was indeed a knock-out punch.

Murkowski is considered one of the most moderate Republicans in the Senate. She is pro-choice, favors stem cell research and opposed Don't Ask, Don't Tell. While she has opposed President Barack Obama on federal health care legislation, she should be a hero to anyone who thinks this country needs more people like David Brooks and fewer right-wing idiots like Glenn Beck.

Thus, in a Republican year, it only seems fair to break form and choose Murkowski as our person of the year. Take that, mama grizzly!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Special Quote of the Week- Dominique Dawes

Today, in honor of Black History Month, we are going to start a month-long series of quotes from African-American athletes, past and present.

In may sports, an athlete can still compete at age 34, but that's not the case with gymnastics!

Nevertheless, Dominique Dawes, who won Olympic gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, is still very active in the public speaking circuit.

Her alma mater, the University of Maryland (Dawes did not compete for the school) faces their EAGL rivals from the University of North Carolina on Saturday. The meet between the Terps and the 'Heels will be at 7:00 p.m. in Chapel Hill.

Last week, Maryland finished third (in a four-school meet) in Ann Arbor, Mich., in which the host Wolverines won. But, the Terps had standout performances from Kesley Cofsky, who scored a 9.8 on bars. Gymnasts Kaitlin Joseph and Ally Krikorian scored a 9.7 each on the same apparatus.

As for UNC, the 'Heels beat William and Mary at home last week with solid scores from Morgan Evans, Elizabeth Durkac (who happens to be from Yorktown, Va., which is near the campus of William and Mary) and Emily Cornwell. Alas, our favorite Tarheel gymnast Christine Nguyen graduated last year.

Dawes has been very vocal about the need for young women to view themselves positively and her quote here certainly reflects that:

"I found through research that between 50 and 70 percent of young girls who describe themselves as overweight are actually normal weight."