Thursday, March 31, 2011

Road Trips USA (4 of 20) West Virginia and Georgia

Well, for starters, we hope our image of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer, a freshman from Cornwall, NY, was posted correctly. Secondly, we hope our friends in Portland, Oregon, are enjoying their lunch hour and telling everyone they know about our blog.

Today, we look at the distance between Black Bear Burritos in Morgantown, WVa, and the very famous/hip/greasy diner The Varsity in Athens, Ga., since WVU will be traveling to the University of Georgia this weekend for a regional meet along with UCLA, Maryland, North Carolina State, LSU and the host Gymdawgs.

Is the distance:

A) 9 hours even

B) 9 hours, 20 minutes

C) 9 hours, 40 minutes

D) 10 hours, 5 minutes

Alas, both towns have had problems with their historic old movie cinemas. The Warner Theatre in Morgantown closed in September, and the Georgia Theatre in Athens had a fire in 2009, but we gather they are in the process of renovating that building.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Special Quote of the Day- Colin Farrell

Today's quote of the day is our final entry for the March quotes dedicated to famous people from Ireland. It was recently revealed that surprisingly Colin Farrell, 34, was close friends with Elizabeth Taylor who died last week.

The relatively young Irish actor is known for his performances in films like "Miami Vice," "Minority Report," "Phone Booth" and "In Bruges."

Here is his quote which hopefully those of you on your lunch break in Burbank, Calif., will have time to read:

"Being Irish is very much a part of who I am. I take it everywhere with me."

SIDEBAR: Well, the whole world literally came to a stand-still in places like Karachi, Pakistan, and New Delhi, India, as the two countries were watching the semi-final game at the World Cricket Championships between the two rival countries.

The game was played in Mumbai, India, and the home team won. India's Sachin Tendulkar made the game-winning score as Pakistan's wicketkeeper (we really know nothing about cricket!) Kamran Akmal looked on in disgust.

India will now play Sri Lanka, the tournament's co-host, in Mumbai on Saturday.

Apparently, no work was done in either India or Pakistan today so everyone could watch the mid-week game.

And, we thought Goodyear executives were presumably horrified that the opening round NCAA men's basketball game between the Akron Zips and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish would result in lost productivity a few weeks back.

Goodyear Tires are based in Akron, Ohio; Notre Dame won that game.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Quote of the Day- Leo Strauss

We don't quite agree with all the views of the late political philosopher Leo Strauss (1899-1973), a German emigre who was the leading influence of the neo-conservative movement (which is the general editorial position of "The Weekly Standard" magazine), but he did have a few interesting things to say. And, since we are featuring philosophers this month, including a quip from the very liberal philosopher Noam Chomsky on our other blog today, we figured we'd 'balance' things with a quip from Strauss:

"All there is to thinking is seeing something noticeable, which makes you see something you weren't noticing, which makes you see something that isn't even visible."

Monday, March 28, 2011

Kudos to Michigan Hockey

We want to take a moment to congratulate the University of Michigan which reached the Frozen Four, to be held in St. Paul, Minn., from April 7-9, by defeating Colorado College 2-1 in St. Louis over the weekend.

The Wolverines join Notre Dame, the University of North Dakota and Minnesota-Duluth in the semi-finals. UND is perhaps most known for having the most politically incorrect nickname in college sports as they are the Fighting Sioux. Minn-Duluth is simply one of many schools, including the University of Georgia (which to our knowledge does not have an official hockey team) with the Bulldogs nickname.

For Michigan, one of my late father's alma maters, the goals came from Scooter Vaughan and Lee Moffie while goalie Shawn Hunwick made 21 saves.

This will mark the 24th Frozen Four for the Wolverines.

Notre Dame, Michigan's traditional football rival (the two will not play each other in first round of the Frozen Four), also won by a 2-1 score as they defeated the University of New Hampshire on the Wilcats' home ice.

The goals for the Fighting Irish who will next face the Bulldogs came from Stephen Johns and Bill Maday. Notre Dame's goalie Mike Johnson made a very impressive 37 saves.

North Dakota beat Denver 6-1 in Green Bay, Wisc.

Minnesota-Duluth won its game over Yale (another team with the Bulldogs nickname) by a 5-3 score in front of many supportive fans for the other team in Bridgeport, Conn.

Jack Connolly, the center for Minn-Duluth, has a blog in which he made the following statement:

"Well Bulldog fans, we went to Bridgeport and accomplished our goal."

We wish he would have added: "No pun intended."

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Next 10 Films in Our Netflix Que- Lots of Foreign Films

The dominance of Netflix among the dvd sales market has been subject of NPR pieces on "Market Place" and written articles in "Wired" magazine, which we really need to read some time (subscribing to eight or nine other magazines has its disadvantages!). Though with its own streaming services, is projected to be gradually catching up with the online giant soon.

Since it has been a depressing week lately for a variety of reasons, including the tsunami in Japan as well as the political unrest Bahrain, Yemen, Syria and Libya, I hope some of these films are a bit uplifting. But, then again, I'm in no mood for "Mary Poppins" which is amazingly enough one of the most favorite films of filmmaker David Fincher ("Zodiac," "The Social Network")!

Here are the next ten films I am scheduled to be recieving from Netflix. In case you were wondering, "Lightning in a Bottle" is a 'rocumentary' about blues musicians like B.B. King.

1. "The Class" (France, 2008).

2. "Yi Yi" (Taiwan, 2000).

3. "The Son's Room" (Italy, 2001).

4. "Not on the Lips" (France, 2003).

5. "Undertow" (2004)

6. "The Mist" (2007)

7. "15" (France, 2003).

8. "Lightning in a Bottle" (doc., 2004).

9. "Rivers and Tides" (doc., 2003)

10. "The Yacoubian Building" (Egypt, 2006).

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Road Trip (Entry 3 of 20)- U of Kentucky to Ohio St.

Perhaps, today is the one day when I should send a 'telegram' thanking the annoying person sitting in close proximity to me at a public library in Smryna, Georgia* as I have tons of stuff to do, but we wanted to make sure we got this posted today or at least before the office zombies in Portland, Oregon, stumble upon this site as it is approximately 8:30 a.m. there as we speak.

We are continuing our look at the approximate distances between two college campuses who have to face each other in the NCAA tournament.

Today, we are looking at two places which are actually pretty close together in Ohio State (in Columbus, Ohio) and the University of Kentucky (in Lexington, Ky). Both schools have gymnastics programs and if we were pressed to find out how long "Mr. Ed" (pictured above; we thought of it because Kentucky is famous for horses) was on the air via Wikipedia, we would tell you how those respective teams are doing!

Hopefully, either a gymnast or coach from one or both of these teams can fill us in, or perhaps someone from; it would be so appreciated!

But, instead of actually going from campus to campus, we are looking at the driving distnace between Third Street Stuff, a coffee joint in Lexington, Ky., and the Northstar Cafe on N. High Street in Columbus, Ohio, (one of several establishments in what we believe to be a local chain).

Is the distance:

A) 3 hrs, 10 minutes

B) 3 hours, 25 minutes

C) 3 hours, 45 minutes

D) 3 hours, 55 minutes

Of course, we are not counting traffic congestion time!

*- We are not actually in Smyrna, Ga., which is said one of the nicer suburbs of Atlanta. That annoying person almost caused me to forget to mention this! The original Smyrna is in Turkey; the once predominantly Greek city in Ottoman times, that is now Izmir, is Turkey's third largest behind Istanbul and Ankara.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Special Quote of the Week- W.B. Yeats

Today since St. Patrick's Day was last week we thought we'd once again quote someone famous from Ireland. And, we've decided to quip the poet W.B. Yeats (1865-1939) whose quotes actually appear in the highly acclaimed Chinese film "24 City" (2008).

Yeats is known for poems like "The Second Coming" (1920) and assuredly a teacher at Patrick Henry High School in Roanoke, Va., is perhaps assigning a paper on his works as we speak (oh, I forgot school is out for today!).

Here is his quote:

"Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy."

While we are speaking about all things Irish, we should mention that the 'not Irish' band Coyote Run (they are actually classified as Celtic) from Williamsburg, Va., that I saw perform live recently will be giving a concert in their home state at RavenCon in Richmond on Sat., April 9.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Quote of the Week- Sun Tzu

Today, we quip the ancient Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu (544-496 BC) who ironically has a statue of himself in Tottori, Japan. We should perhaps dedicate an entry to the tsunami sufferers some time...........hmmm......yeah, that PSA series didn't go over too well (you need to be a long-time reader of this blog to perhaps get the joke and we don't have very many of those).

Tzu's most famous work "Art of War," which Paris Hilton has supposedly read!, was listed by "Mental Floss" magazine as one of the best books once can read on the Washington, DC metro commute between Arlington and the Smithsonian stops (Mental Floss actually said it was one of the best short books to read, we are putting in the DC metro to hopefully 'increase our circulation numbers' in that area which has considerably more people than War, WVa.,* where I am blogging from at the moment**).

Here is the quote from the great Chinese philosopher which will paste here so we can get out of the building in time for Oprah:

"If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril."

*- There is actually a coal-mining town called War, WVa., the far southeastern part of the state.

**- It is not actually where I am blogging from!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Well, for starters, we are not working for a PBS station in Canton, Ohio, but tech-wise it has been a very messed up weekend so far. In fact, we feel like jumping up and down like Speedy Gonzales, but I'm not sure how much the librarian here in Princeton, WVa*, would appreciate that. But, I do share the frustration that West Virginia U feel to Kentucky in the NCAAs earlier this afternoon since Deniz Kilicli of WVU is one of our favorite players.

But, I was able to read some cartoon books by Keith Knight and Tom Tomorrow which helped cheer me up a wee bit. I especially like Knight's segment in his "Knight Life" comic strips where he talks about life's sweet moments. I had earlier today here in rural West Virginia* when I passed a right-wing pick-up truck with an anti-United Nations bumper sticker and waved to him in my center-left vehicle decorated with Obama-Biden '08 bumper stickers.

I also thought one of Tom Tomorrow's "This Modern World" strips was quite prophetic (hey, it's not often us liberals use that word!) in its prediction that once some far-right nut tried to do something dangerous then the likes of Glenn Beck would somehow find a way to blame the left. And, amazingly enough, with the Tucson, Ariz., tragedy that is exactly what happened!

In other news, we want to congratulate the Utah Utes women's gymnastics team for winning their meet over Brigham Young U in Provo, Utah, last night. The Utes were helped by stand-out performances from the likes of Stephanie McAllister, who won the all-around competition.

Other Utes gymnasts with strong nights included Nansy Damianova, a Canadian Olympian whose parents were outstanding athletes themselves in Bulgaria. Nansy had a solid bars performance. Similarly, Mary Beth Lofgren of the Utes had a remarkable routine on the balance beam.

All college gym teams will be preparing for regionals within the next two weeks.

The BYU men's basketball team faces another western team in Gonzaga today in March Madness action.

The answer to our question of how far apart Los Angeles and East Lansing, Mich., was B. The two zip codes are approximately 33 hours and 20 minutes from each other.

Lastly, we found out while Googling ourselves that the name of the editor of this blog Dennis Alexander** is linked to Chang Beer from Thailand.

*- I am not actually in West Virginia at the moment

**- My name is not Dennis Alexander, but we are linked to Chang Beer!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day from Bill Murray

We thought we'd feature an image of a famous Irish-American for St. Patrick's Day. When my mom told me she was going to go to Dublin a few years ago, I thought she meant Dublin, Va., where Pulaski County High School is, as opposed to Dublin, Ireland!

One of Murray's most famous films "Ghostbusters" will be on Nick-TV tommorow night at 9 p.m., New York time.

We had initially hoped to see how far apart Lexington, Ky., where the University of Kentucky is, from Priceton, NJ, where Princeton University is, were. But, yesterday's blog entries were quite time-consuming! We assume if they weren't playing at a neutral site that the respective team bus drivers would know the way. That game is currently underway, and at last report (well, it was about 30 minutes ago) Kentucky was winning 11-4.

We also wish the University of Asheville (NC) Bulldogs well as they face the top seed Pitt Panthers today as well. If they win, perhaps that means that one day, I might just be able to go on a Starbucks coffee date with Uma Thurman.

Lastly, we want to make readers that many NPR stations are having fund-drives. We are especially concerned about the plight of excellent small market stations like WMRA in Harrisonburg, Va., and KUNC in Greeley, Col.

That Colorado town is also home to the 'other UNC,' the University of Northern California Bears who are in this year's NCAA field. They will play the two-seed San Diego State Aztecs in the opening round.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Road Trip (2 of 20) March Madness Journey from LA to East Lansing

Today, we continue our Road Trip series with a special look at two teams who will be facing each other in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, otherwise known as March Madness, on Thursday night. The UCLA Bruins will face the Michigan State Spartans at 9:20 New York time for a game in Tampa, Fla.

The two schools have rich basketball traditions. The Spartans won the 1979 NCAA championship thanks to Magic Johnson who became a legend for the Los Angeles Lakers.

As for UCLA, they have won more NCAA men's basketball titles than any other school as they 11 in their trophy cases. According to, UCLA is also the most popular university in the country as the school gets about 60,000 applications each year.

UCLA also has a strong women's gymnastics program, which has won several NCAA titles. One of our favorite college gymnasts of all time Yvonne Tousek was a member of a 'dream team' squad that won many titles some eight years today. But, today UCLA maintains a strong gymnastics team thanks to the likes of Tauny Frattone, a junior who was named specialist of the week by the Pac-10 recently.

The Spartans are also among the 18 schools with gymnastics teams. Tragedy ensued the team right before the season started as gymnast Kathryn Mahoney was paralyzed after a horrific fall on the vault. But, the team has continued on, as Spartans gymnast Jackie Berg scored a 9.8 on bars recently at a meet in Norman, Okl.

So, today, we are asking just how far apart these two schools are. Instead of focusing on the campuses themselves, we will explore the distance between Sofra Kebab Express, a Turkish restaurant on Venice Blvd. in Los Angeles and the studios of the award-winning WDBM college radio station for Michigan State.

If you happen to wish for a Korean pop song, you can listen to 'Asian Invasion' on WDBM and tell the host Elsie that we were the ones who told you about the station. Their request line is 517-884-8989. Of course, if they get mad at us, we will deflect all responsibility!

So is the distance between Los Angeles and East Lansing, Mich:

A) 32 hours even
B) 33 hours and 20 minutes
C) 33 hours and 40 minutes
D) 34 hours and 30 minutes

The answer to our last road trip between Spartanburg, SC, and New York was B) 11 hours and 49 minutes.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Quote of the Day- Sinead O'Connor

Today, we are featuring quotes from famous people from Ireland, and today's quip comes from the always interesting and controversial figure who is singer Sinead O'Connor, who came to fame with her version of the song "Nothing Compares 2 U," which is written by Prince.

O'Connor battled breast cancer and in a 2009 blog entry on a breast cancer site, she said that she had lost six pounds after going through several rounds of chemotherapy.

The Irish singer, who is now 43, toured mostly European countries including Slovakia, Italy and Spain last summer in addition to an artistic trek through China.

These comments below were made in regards (we believe) right before a concert that she was to give in Jerusalem, Israel, in 1997, but things didn't go according to plan:

"I cannot put in danger the lives of my two children, my musicians, and my technicians, so I have decided to cancel this concert."

Speaking of controversy, the issue of where our food comes from will be broached again tonight.

The Current-tv series "Kill It! Cook It! Eat It!," which is a British show that airs at 10 p.m. New York time tonight focuses on the killing and eating of growse, a wild game bird.

Participants in the episode will either hunt and kill the bird, while others, like vegeterian contestants, debate the ethics of such a practice. They will gather in the Scottish Highlands during tonight's show for the growse hunt. The bird is apparently available in America as well, particulary in New England states such as Vermont.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Quote of the Week- Friedrich Nietzsche

Today's Quote of the Week continues with yet another quip from a famous philosopher; this one being the German thinker Friedrich Nietzsche (god, his last name is hard to spell!, and I should talk).

We dedicate this entry to our friend Chris Knight of Reidsville, NC, as he and I appear to be the only two people in the world who are still blogging after all these years! In one entry on his blog ( Knight talks about a church that is very hard to get to in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, which was where Joseph Stalin was from.

As for Nietzche, he was a major influence on postmodernism, and he was known for using metaphors and irony. His key ideas including the notion that "God was dead" and the will to power. The German philosopher was also a contemporary of the composer Richard Wagner, according to the 1990 graphic novel "Nietzche for Beginners" which we found at The International Bookstore in Chapel Hill, NC, a few weeks ago. (The establishment is hosting a Political Prisoner Letter Writing Night, which is probably not something that the fringe, ultra-conservative preacher the Rev. Johnny Robertson of Martinsville, Va., will be doing with his folks this week).

Niettzche was also known for what would not now be deemed politically incorrect views on religion (well, of course!), love, and women in general. So, I expect that even this tamer quote by him may not go over well in Eden, NC:

"A subject for a great poet would be God's boredom after the seventh day of creation."

MONDAY LEFTOVERS: We wanted to update the blogging public on the status of the University of Cal-Santa Barbara's women's water polo team. The Gauchos were not able to win their game vs. Loyola, which they lost 8-3. But, later in the day, they played a school named Occidental (yes, we've never heard of them either) and beat them 8-5. Kristin Kulakowski scored two goals in that victory.

The UCSB men's basketball team made the NCAA tournament and as a 15-seed they will face the Florida Gators (#2-seed) in a game that will be played on Thursday in Tampa, which is quite close to the Gators' campus!

Interestingly enough, the Gauchos' women's water polo team will next face Bucknell, a smart school in Lewisburg, Pa., for a home game on March 19. Bucknell's men's basketball team also made the NCAAs as a 14-seed; they will face the U-Conn. Huskies in Washington, DC, on Thursday as well.

Though the Gators are my favorite school in the SEC, I may have to root for the Gauchos on Thursday as my cousin's daughter attends that school in Santa Barbie.

There is a great quiz on asking the quiz-taker if they know which state a given school is located. Though I have stumbled on many "Mental Floss" quizzes before, I got all 11 questions right today!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Things We Learned on Twitter Today- Egypt Activist Echoes Lennon

Egyptian activist Wael Ghanim tweeted today that Arab nation dictators who are still in power will ultimately and always meet the fate of his country's former leader Hosni Mubarak for one simple reason, which John Lennon (1940-1980) would be proud of:

"Dear Dictators, no matter what you'll do today to oppress your people. Just remember. Power of People is stronger than People in Power."

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Things We Learned on Twitter Today- Kim Kardashian Updates

Here are the latest tweets, as of 10 p.m. New York time, from our favorite Armenian-American (it should be pointed out that I'm half-Turkish, but I assure I would still be making fun of Ms. Kardashian any way!):

Kim: Watching The Notebook. I think I'm gonna cry.........I just had some cookies n cream and it didn't taste any good. I think I'm starting to not like sweets! This is an amazing day!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Things We Learned on Twitter Today- England to Compete in Water Polo

According to a tweet from OlympicNews2012, Great Britain will compete in both men's and women's water polo at the 2012 London Summer Olympics. The country has not fielded an Olympic team in the sport since 1956.

For an image to go with this entry, we were hoping to post a photo of a very attractive Katie Zakula, a sophomore from San Mateo, Calif., who is a member of the University of Cal State Santa Barbara women's water polo team, but that proved to be very complicated.

Along with her teammates Kristin Kulakowski and Michelle Beaudrau, both seniors, Zakula and the Gauchos (love that nickname) have two matches in Los Angeles tomorrow, including a day game with rival Loyola (Calif.).

In other tweeterville news, WTJU (91.1-FM, Charlottesville, Va.), the student run college radio station for the University of Virginia said that the bluegrass band Bearfoot, which performed in Roanoke last night, will be playing at Mockingbird in Staunton tonight.

On the band's web site (, the group describes themselves as 'string band music for the 21st century.' I was also quite surprised to learn that the band is not from Virginia, North Carolina or Tennessee, but Alaska!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Things We Learned on Twitter Today- Obama/Chavez 2012

We actually posted that header to make fun of radical Republicans/Tea Partiers/Doomsdayers (editorial comment: the Rapture is not going to happen on May 21, 2011) rather than to support them. The image is of Maoist protesters in Nepal.

Today, we saw this great tweet from The Muslim guy, otherwise known as Arsalan Iftikhar, who has been, like me, a supporter of Pres. Barack Obama:

"Rep. Paul Brown (R-Ga.) once said President Obama will establish a Marxist dictatorship."

And, we also want to express support for all NPR stations as they are unfairly being targeted by right-wing activists. But, we want to mention WUNC-FM (91.5-Chapel Hill) in particular. Today, Frank Stasio interviewed UNC professor David Halperin who has written a novel called "Journal of a UFO Investigator." The book, which I have to get or read, has become a hit with readers, especially in North Carolina.

Stasio's North Carolina-oriented show "The State of Things," which also features stories of national and even international interest, airs at noon and is repeated at 9:00 p.m. (on Fridays, the station does not rebroadcast the show). It is also available for downloads.

NOTE: We experienced many technical difficulties with our entry on our sister blog "The Daily Vampire," so I hope those of you who have time and are feeling bored at your desk job in Tulsa, Oklahoma, or Louisville, Kentucky, can take a look at it. The link is listed on this site.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Things We Learned on Twitter Today- The President is 'On the Line'

Yes, we love relics that are Casualties of Modern Technology on this blog (we should get a trademark on that term!), and it goes well with today's entry as to what we learned from Twitter today.

There was this tweet from much-respected journalist Nicholas Kristoff:

"Had a chilling conversation with a friend in Libya. He was terrified somebody was listening and praised Qadaffi." ("Newsweek" spelled his name Gadaffi; we are truly confused here!)

While checking out Twitter, we were listening to WXYC-FM (Chapel Hill, NC) which is not only the student-run radio station for the University of North Carolina, but in 1994, it became the first radio station to stream over the Internet.

Tonight, WXYC was playing the music of Japanese avant-garde instrumentalist Toshi Ichiyanagi, who as it turns out was married to Yoko Ono from 1956 to 1963 before she met up with John Lennon. I must profess I had never, ever heard of Toshi or his music, but it definitely helped relive my 'brain freeze' which is apparently becoming a side effect of staying on the Internet way too damn long. (Wow, is it 10:05 p.m. already?!).

Lastly, we saw a white pickup truck in Roanoke, Va., last night that was proclaiming that May 21, 2011, is going to be JUDGMENT DAY (it was in all caps). The web site thus posed the following question: "Some Christians believe it will mark the beginning of the Rapture. What will you be doing on May 22?"

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Special Quote of the Day- George Bernard Shaw

We continue our quotes from famous people from Ireland with a quip from author/playwright George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) who penned "Pygmalion" which became the basis for the Broadway musical and film "My Fair Lady."

While we our quoting famous people from Ireland, we are listening to Mardi Gras music, including a great tune from Tom Waits, to commemorate today's festivities in New Orleans from WXDU (88.7 FM-Durham, NC), which is the student-run radio station from Duke University, from the net.

Washboard Dave is the DJ at the moment, and according to the station's web site DJ Andy B., who has a program from 10:00 p.m-midnight on Thursdays is the DJ of the Month. Of course, this has nothing to do with Ireland!

Here is our quote from Shaw:

"A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing."

I wonder what he would make of blogging? Perhaps, it would have prevented him from writing "Mrs. Warren's Profession" (1893), another one of his classic plays.

SIDEBAR: At 9:05 p.m., my friend Les Blank's landmark documentary film about a film "Burden of Dream" airs on Flix, a subsidiary of Showtime. You will either come away sincerely admiring filmmaker Werner Herzog or questioning his sanity for shooting a full-scale epic in the Amazon River jungles of Peru.

SIDEBAR 2: Have a morbid side that wonders just when and how someone like acting legend Erroll Flynn died? (I actually never got around to looking that up, but there are better things to do in life and for that matter- even online). Well, you can check out ( where I learned that I have now outlived another icon stand-up comedian Lenny Bruce who died around the time when I was born by 75 days.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Quote of the Week- Jacques Derrida

This is the first entry in a series of quotes from famous philosophers that will run on Mondays in March. It is perhaps fitting as we posted a blog entry in "The Daily Vampire," which is also by Tilly Gokbudak (who is me, yes I think referring to yourself as if you are someone else is quite obnoxious too!), about names that we had not spelled correctly that we have a quote from Jacques Derrida (1930-2004).

Up until I googled him about a half-hour ago, I wasn't sure if the late French philosopher's name was spelled with one 'd' or two 'd's. Well, it is Derrida!

Speaking of which, we should mention that we butchered Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi's name in an entry last week, but like him, we refuse to apologize for any wrong-doings even if they are painfully obvious (unless, you can sue us and then of course, we will send you a dozen roses from FTD).

Derrida, who was the subject of a documentary film with his name in 2002, was born in Algeria as were many French intellectuals and cultural icons, including the late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.

The French philosopher is known for developing the critical theory known as 'deconstruction' and his work has been associated with post-structuralism and post-modern philosophy.

We also gather that former president George W. Bush has read a lot of Derrida's works and is a great admirer of his (that is a joke, but I think even my Republican friends like Bill Kristol* will find it amusing).

Here is our quote from Derrida:

"I never give in to the temptation of being difficult just for the sake of being difficult. That would be ridiculous."

We must profess that since there is a tuxedo cat named "Gizmo" roaming around here in the office, that we really like this photo, that slightly reminds us of Marlan Brando's pose in "The Godfather."

*-I am not actually friends with the neo-con intellectual Bill Kristol, who founded "The Weekly Standard" which I assume is to the 'far-left' of "Soldier of Fortune" magazine, but he did, much to my shock, personally answer an email (it was actually not political in nature even though I have much different views than Kristol) that I had assumed one of his associates would read. So, I do feel obliged to say nice things about him which might be harder to do if I read his columns, which I presume are rather negative towards President Barack Obama.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunday Sports Desk

All the talk in this part of the country, well between Maryland and South Carolina, has been on the Duke-UNC game in Chapel Hill last night in which the UNC Tarheels defeated the Duke Bluedevils 81-67.

But, we wanted to congratulate the UNC-Asheville Bulldogs for winning the Big South championship over Coastal Carolina University by a 60-47 score in Conway, SC (Myrtle Beach) yesterday.

My alma mater Radford University and my mom's alma mater Winthrop University are also Big South teams, so I always hope they do well in the NCAA tourney, as Winthrop did a few years back. Of course, it would be nice if Radford could win the tourney every year!

We also like to keep tabs on Turkish soccer (my late father was from Turkey) even though I haven't watched a game in two years. This weekend, the scores were as follows: Manisa 2 Kayseri 1; Ankaragucu 2 Konya 0; Gaziantep 3 Sivas 1; Eskisehir 1 Bucaspor 0; Bursaspor 1 Istanbul BB 1 (tie); GalataSaray (Istanbul) 0 KDCK 0 (tie); Trabzonspor 2 Besiktash (Istanbul) 1.

For more info, on the games, you can check out Ahmet Bob Turgut's Twitter feed at ( soccer).

Lastly, our very favorite sport is women's collegiate gymnastics and there were many meets of interest this weekend.

Due to space and time constraints, we will focus on just two of them.

For starters, Florida (#1) edged Utah (#5) in Salt Lake City thanks to stand-out performances from Gator gymnasts Alaina Johnson, Marissa King and Mackenzie Caquatta.

But, for the home team Utes, Fumina Kobayashi and Cortni Beers finished in a three-way tie for first place on the balance beam with Ashanne Dickerson of Florida, who also scored a 9.9 on vault.

And, our home state North Carolina State Wolfpack gymnastics team won a key road meet over Pittsburgh today thanks to a stand-out performance from Jess Panza, who scored a 9.925 on the balance beam. Panza's score was the highest single event score for a Wolfpack gymnast this season.

The image above, by the way, is of the late, great Howard Cosell (1918-1995) who would have perhaps been horrified to find out that in 2011, due to modern technology, there are many more things to do on a Monday night than watch NFL football on tv. In fact, if one desires, they can play World of the Witchcraft with their 'friends' in Australia for 48 hours in a row.

Yeah, I think that's a bad idea too, but those guys (well, I suppose women can get addicted to WOTWC too) do make us bloggers appear to be people who have real lives.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Last Ten CDs I've Listened To- New Wave to Pakistani

For those of you in Greensboro, NC, you should say you want a burger like this the next time you go to Fincastles Diner downtown on Elm Street; the establishment is actually named for the town of Fincastle, Va., a hamlet of about 800 folks near Roanoke. My mom taught middle school there for about 11 years.

We are actually going with this hamburger image because another Greensboro institution, my friend and folk singer Bruce Piephoff's cd "Hamburger Square," which was produced in 2001 but features material recorded prior to that year, is one of the last ten I've listened to.

Since I had a chance to see the indie punk Superchunk from Chapel Hill, NC, perform in their backyard at Cat's Cradle last night, I picked up their 1991 recording "No Pocky for Kitty." Superchunk happens to have a loyal following in Japan, and pocky is a popular snack there.

Bluegrass Singer Tim O'Brien's 2008 cd "Chameleon" is also on the list. Right now, O'Brien, a native of West Virginia, is quite far from home as he is performing in New Zealand and then Australia in the next few days, according to his web site.

Closer to home, the folk band Eddie from Ohio (they are actually from Virginia) is going to be performing at the Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis, Maryland, from March 18-19. Their 1997 recording "Big Noise" featuring one of my favorite folk songs by someone besides Mr. Piephoff "Juan in the Rear View Mirror" is on that album.

Les Blank, a great documentary filmmaker who I met a few years ago, got me introduced to Lightin' Hopkins (1912-1982) as he made a short film about the blues legend which I saw on Link-TV a few years back.

Most Americans are probably not familiar with the Turkish instrumentalist Okay Temiz, but he is more well-known in Europe. In fact, at one time, he lived in Finland. His 1994 recording "Fish Market" is quite exceptional, and there is no true way to describe his unique sound, so I guess I'll just have to recommend you check out his videos on Youtube.

Anyway, here is the list, I better post this before I wake my mom up as I'm visiting her this weekend:

1. "Night Song" (1995. Nusret Fateh Ali Khan and Michael Brook. World/Inspirational).

2. "No Pocky for Kitty" (1991. Superchunk. Alternative/Punk).

3. "Chameleon" (2008. Tim O'Brien. Bluegrass).

4. "Big Noise" (1997. Eddie from Ohio. Folk).

5. "Hamburger Square" (2001. Bruce Peiphoff. Folk).

6. "Very Best of Lightin' Hopkins" (1999. Compilation of music recorded many, many years ago. Blues).

7. "Drummers of Burundi" (1993. Drummers of Burundi. World).

8. "Fish Market" (1994. Okay Temiz. World. Instrumental/Jazz).

9. "Yuru Anca Gidersin" (2003. Yildiz Tilbe. Turkish pop).

10. "Vacation" (1982. The Go-Gos. New Wave/Pop).

Friday, March 4, 2011

Today is My 41st Freaking Birthday

I should point out that even though my name is Tilly Gokbudak (would it be obnoxious to post myself at the end of this? Oh, it's my birthday, why not!), that I am not a woman.

Secondly, we put in the words 'rain Paris,' 'rain Istanbul,' 'rain New York, 'rain Chicago,''rain Budapest' and 'rain Moscow in the Google search engine. We even tried 'rain Roanoke' since my hometown is Roanoke, Va.

Finally, we found this image after googling 'rain London.' Yes, I'm not Chasity/Chaz Bono (Sonny and Cher's daughter who became a man; he is celebrating his 42nd birthday) in reverse, but we like this image, so by golly, we're sticking with it.

For years, I had assumed the B.J. Thomas song "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" was the Billboard number one song in America the week I was born in 1970. But, as it turns out, it was the Simon and Garfunkel tune "Bridge Over Troubled Water."

Hence, the reason why we are using the image of the English woman getting soaked in the rain. We certainly hope she didn't catch a cold, but if she did as Michael Moore showed us in his documentary film "Sicko" (I am to the right, but to the left of everyone here in Mount Airy, NC)* the Brits do have a better health care system than we do, so even if she got sick assuredly she is ok now!

PS (March 5): In the Ooooopppps Department, we forgot to mention that the star (*) besides Mount Airy, NC, means we don't really live there. But, we gather, it's a very nice town!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Status Update- Paid over 40 Bucks for Gas Today

Gazooks! We did indeed pay $40.28 for gas at a BP station near Greensboro, NC, today!

It appears that the political unrest in Libya may be partly to blame though that country's main trading partners like Italy and Turkey (my late father's country) are probably becoming even more broke after their trip to the pump.

"The Huffington Post" reported today that an estimated 14 people were killed in political protests across Libya. Faiz Jibril, a Libyan in exile, has stated publicly that he is delighted to see his fellow citizens standing up to Moammar Gadhafi.

There are of course alternatives to driving yourself to work, and the group Ride Solutuions in my hometown of Roanoke, Va. (as well as nearby Blacksburg, Va.) is working diligently to make folks aware of that in their community.

And, perhaps, it's time for people like me to consider carpooling even if, as in my case, it may well prove to be a huge pain-in-the-neck.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Silly Image to Fill Space- Jamie Lee Curtis

Since today should be either International Screaming Day or Edvard Munch Appreciation Day because of all the madness going on around us, we thought we'd do a quick entry with an image of the main scream queen of the late '70s/early '80s Jamie Lee Curtis as she appeared in the original John Carpenter version of "Halloween"

Today, Curtis, 52, appears in commercials for Activia yogurt and writes for "The Huffington Post."

Fay Wray, who was the woman in the original version of "King Kong" (1933) is considered the original scream queen.

As far as Edvard Munch goes, one can see his most famous painting "The Scream" at the National Gallery of Norway in Oslo.

There is a "Stella/Stanley" screaming contest in honor of the play "A Streetcar Named Desire," which was penned by Tennesee Williams. The contest for this year will be held in late March at the Tennesee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival.

Each contestant must yell Stella or Stanley three times. Hmmmm.....yeah, it might be hard to top Marlan Brando.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Quote of the Week- Samuel Beckett

During the month of March, we will be quoting famous people from Ireland on Tuesdays since St. Patrick's Day is coming up later in the month.

We start today with Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) who is best known for penning the great play "Waiting for Godot" (1953).

The late Susan Sontag directed a stage performance of 'Godot' in Sarajevo, Bosnia, while the city was under siege in 1993.

Haris Pasovic, the producer of the play production, put political pressure on Sarajevo's mayor in 2005 to have a city street named in Sontag's honor, and that ultimately became a reality.

'Godot' is meant to symbolize God. Beckett was considered to be an avant garde plawright but his work has actually been frequently performed. In addition to Sarajevo, the play was once performed by inmates in a California prison.

Here is the quote from Beckett:

"Do we mean love, when we say love?"