Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Quote of the Day- Sam Shepard




Since the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC, is presenting the 1985 Sam Shepard play "A Lie on the Mind," starting Oct. 5th, we thought we'd quote the playwright/actor here. I'm not sure these are encouraging words for beginning playwrights:

"You can't make a living at playwrighting. You can barely scrape by."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Quote of the Week- Mark Twain




Today, we conclude with our month-long quips from cultural radicals and subversives from Mark Twain. Though he is considered a mainstream author today, there have been various times when Twain's works have been considered controversial. The use of the n-word vernacular that was used quite often at the time of publication (1885) of Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" has caused a stir at times for some local schoolboards even though no could rationally suggest that Twain was a racist.

The Mark Twain House in Hartford, Conn., is among the most popular tourist attractions in the Nutmeg State.

Here is Twain's quote:

"A person who won't read has advantages over a person who can't read."

SIDEBAR ONE: Though I am a Democrat, David Frum, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush, is among my favorite politically conservative pundits as he talks in terms of broad pictures as opposed to the likes of Rush Limbaugh who today proclaimed that Barack Obama 'wanted Hurricane Irene to be a huge disaster.'

Of course, like most liberals, my favorite conservative pundit is (of course!) David Brooks, but Frum, who is also keen and objective in his commentary, is a close second.

Yesterday, Frum tweeted the following regarding how Hurrican Irene affected his weekend: "Side benefit from Irene: taking my daughter to see Declaration and Constitution at National Archive with no line at all. Unprecedented."

SIDEBAR TWO: Speaking of Hartford, I actually saw a Hartford Whalers bumper sticker in Roanoke, Va., today. This was interesting to me because the Hartford Whalers have not existed since the team left for the Tarheel State and became the Carolina Hurricanes.

As the 'Canes, the team won the Stanley Cup in 2006, which actually made some people in North Carolina pay more attention to hockey than NASCAR-racing. But, of course, since racing legend Richard Petty is from Randleman, NC, and the late Dale Earnhardt hailed from Kannapolis, NC, that didn't really last. Of course, their offspring is involved in the sport as well.

But, I found out some interesting information while googling the Hartford Whalers. The current minor league hockey team in Hartford renamed themselves the Connecticut Whale last year to honor the Hartford Whalers. And, ironically, the team's previous name was the Hartford Wolf Pack, which is the same nickname for North Carolina State University in Raleigh, where the Carolina Hurricanes now play (they temporarily played in Greensboro).

The Hartford Whalers existed from 1979-1997. And, they left, in part, because the likes of then-governor of Connecticut John G. Rowland, a Republican, didn't want to spend tax payer money on a new hockey arena for the team.

But, there is still an active group that wants to bring the Hartford Whalers back in one way or another (perhaps having a new team with that name, such as what happened with the Cleveland Browns in the NFL). And, The Whalers Watchers, as they are called, will meet in Hartford on Sept. 13 at 7:30 p.m.

As for the Connecticut Whale, they have their home opener on Oct. 15



Sunday, August 28, 2011

Things We Learned on Google Today- Chisinau is the Capital of Moldova




Well, since we couldn't find any good images of Chisinau, the capital of Moldova which has a population of 700,000 people, we thought we'd go with this image of Iana Varnacova, who is 19 or 20 years old. She happens to also be known as Miss Moldova 2008.

This is the eighth entry in our series of looks at countries that were republics in the Soviet Union. Turkmenistan, which is quite far from Moldova, was our last entry.

Moldova is a landlocked country between Romania and Ukraine. Romanian is Moldova's official language, and the main religion is Orthodox Christian. Stuffed cabbage rolls are a popular dish in Moldova.

SIDEBAR ONE: We loved this tweet from comic actor Rainn Wilson of tv's "The Office" yesterday: "Obama single-handedly kills 87 Al Qaida militants with Dragon-style kung fu. GOP questions why he didn't fight Tiger-style." Yeah, I imagine Michele Bachmann would say something like that!

SIDEBAR TWO: While we are profoundly kiskanc (Turkish word for jealousy) of Thomas Mars, lead singer of the French band Phoenix, we wish him and his new wife, filmmaker Sofia Coppola well. They were married yesterday in Italy. We weren't able to find out if Bill Murray, who starred in Sofia's most famous film "Lost in Translation" was among the guests.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Greensboro vs. Roanoke- Dive Bar Hopping (4 of 6)




Today, we have our fourht installment of our Greensboro vs. Roanoke, which looks at familiar local things in Greensboro, NC, where I reside, and Roanoke,Va., my hometown.

And, we now move to a look at two of the most familiar bars in both cities.

First, there is the Coffee Pot on Brambleton Avenue, which is actually just outside the city limits in Roanoke County. The Coffee Pot is a historic roadhouse with a stucco coffee pot structure near its roof. The establishment was built in 1936. Willie Nelson and the Rev. Billy C Wirtz, who is actually a South Carolina blues singer/comedian are among the famous singers who have graced the stage of the road house.

The Flatiron on 221 Summit Avenue is actually in the city limits of The Gate City and it is close to Elm Street, which is the main street in downtown Greensboro. The bar was built much, much later than the Coffee Pot as it opened in 1993.

Though I could not find out if any big name celebrity singers have performed there, the venue has hosted acclaimed local and regional acts, including Greensboro folk singing legend Bruce Piephoff (a personal friend of mine) and the band Jews and Catholics, which has an interesting and confusing name.

Of the two, we would choose the Flatiron simply for the fact that Greensboro has a much mroe thriving local music scene. Since I don't drink beer very often, although I'd love to have a Terrapin Beer brewed in Athens, Ga., some time, one is not too likely to see me at either place. But, I am told that bars are supposedly the best place to meet women. Hmmmm........

SIDEBAR: Kudos to Ragsdale High School, located in the Greensboro 'burb of Jamestown, NC, as they defeated Grimsley High School 37-7 last night. But, the Tarheel State's most thrilling high school game may have been Carrboro High School's 47-36 win over Central Davidson.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Bonus Road Trip- Theatre to Theatre





Since Washington, DC, like many places on the east coast, ranging from Myrtle Beach, SC, to Chapel Hill, NC, to Norfolk, Va, to.......well, you get the idea, is expecting massive chaos and flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Irene, it may be good to think about fleeing town.

Mike Madden of (Washington) "City Paper" blogged earlier tonight that an eastward shift in Hurricane Irene's path may help the nation's capital miss some 'real ugliness.'

So, we thought we'd compare the distances between two very historic theatres, the Ford's Theatre in Washington, DC, and the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Va., relatively close to the Tenneesee border- just in case anyone still really wants to leave the DC-metro area, and perhaps that would include members of Congress.

The drive which passes through towns like Front Royal, Mount Jackson, Harrisonburg, Lexington, Roanoke and Radford will take awhile even though no state line will be crossed after one leaves Washington, DC, and enters the Virginia suburb of Arlington.

The Barter Theatre, which started in 1933, has seen actors like the late Gregory Peck grace its stages. Currently, the Barter is producing several plays, including "Elvis Has Left the Building," which deals with Col. Tom Parker's frantic mission to find Elvis Presley in time for a major concert in 1970.

Meanwhile, the Ford's Theatre, which is best known for being the place where President Abraham Lincoln was assasinated by John Wilkes Booth, prompting the following quip from comedian/author Sarah Vowell: "No one really goes to the Ford's Theatre to actually see a play," is going to be performing an interesting musical called "Parade" from Sept. 23- Oct. 30.

Though the play is a musical, the subject of "Parade" is a very serious one as it depicts the trial and eventual hanging of Leo Frank, a Jewish man from Atlanta in the early 20th century, who was accused of raping and murdering a 13-year-old girl named Mary Phagan. It is now generally believed that Frank was wrongfully convicted and executed for the crime.

So, our question is just how far apart these two zip codes are.

Is the answer:

A) 4 hours, 15 minutes

B) 4 hours, 45 minutes

C) 5 hours, 15 minutes

D) 5 hours, 45 minutes

Alas, Hurricane Irene is devastating the communities of the Outer Banks in North Carolina, my state of residency, and my thoughts are with everyone in that area.

SIDEBAR: Even before we remembered that liberal turned neocon playwright David Mamet ("Oleanna/"American Buffalo") penned a roman a clef about Leo Frank entitled "The Old Religion" (1997), we were going to mention him because of his new memoir "The Secret Knowledge."

In this new book, Mamet apparently discusses the reasons which resulted in his radical political shift, which include disillusionment with labor unions and his partisan support for Israel.

Mamet's novel about Frank is told from the condemned man's point of view, and it is a work which illustrates the role of race, ethnicity and religion in America.

One has to wonder if there are any similarities between the new Mamet and the old Mamet, which was brought forth brilliantly by "The Village Voice" blogger Rosie Gray regarding a "Financial Times" piece in which Mamet talked about his Noam Chomsky to Ayn Rand conversion and the art of playwrighting.

Gray said that it was amusing to read that Mamet is an admirer of Sarah Palin, a person which one would think might make a convert revert to his old political orthodoxy. She added that everyone needed to remember that Mamet was no longer 'a brain-dead liberal' (his own words).

But, the blogger pointed out that during his interview with FT, Mamet had a meal which consisted of a 'very liberal' salad with balgamic vinaigernee. The playwright/essayist/filmmaker also resides in Vermont part-time; it is considered to be the most liberal state in the union?!



Top 10 Pick Up Lines for Movie Geeks




Yes, this image has nothing to do with this entry, but today is National Dog Day here in the United States. Assuredly, this will make people in Iceland wonder about us, but we're used to that! This is a Yorkshire terrier puppy, by the way.

Here are our top 10 choices for best/worst lines for movie geeks:

1. What's your sign?

2. I think I've seen every Hitchcock movie. What about you?

3. Which Bergman movie do you prefer: "The Seventh Seal" or "Persona"?

4. How many Indonesian films have you seen?

5. Would you like to see "Midnight in Paris" for the twelth time with me?

6. Did you know there is a Turkish version of "The Exorcist"?

7. I'm not really into chick flicks, but I loved Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman."

8. Would you like to dance? I've been told that I can dance like John Travolta.

9. Do you know what Bill Murray said in Scarlett Johansson's ear at the end of "Lost in Translation"?

10. You should come up to my place. I have all 15 hours of "Berlin Alexanderplatz" on dvd.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Quote of the Day-Woody Allen




We are actually quoting famous playwrights this month, but even though Woody Allen might better known for his films and his clarinet, he wrote several acclaimed one-act plays early in his career.

Here is his quote:

"Eternal nothingness is fine if you happen to be dressed for it."

SIDEBAR ONE: Sometimes, when you answer a trivia question, you just don't miss--you miss badly. That was the case when I guessed that former Somalian Prime Minister Mohamed Abduallahi Mohamed (he was only in office for eight months until June 19th of this year) was now working in Dubai.

As it turns out, according to the public radio show "The World," he is now working for the New York Department of Transportation in Buffalo!

SIDEBAR TWO: Though I am a human secularist myself, as the son of a late Turkish Muslim immigrant, I want to wish Muslims a Happy Eid al-Fitr, the conclusion of the month-long Ramadan holiday which falls on August 30th. I personally feel Muslims should be allowed to drink water during the fast to avoid dehydration for health purposes, but I respect the right for one to practice their traditional religious customs as they choose.

Irregardless of one's faith, we gather that a good place to eat Turkish food in the Sacramento, Calif. area is the Anatolian Table in the suburb of Rocklin.

Quote of the Week- Lenny Bruce



Today, our quote of the day comes from the late, great comic genius Lenny Bruce (1925-1966), whom I have recently outlived (he died just a few months away from what would have been his 41st birthday).

Bruce was using the term 'yada, yada, yada,' some 30 years before it became a pop culture standard thanks to the term's frequent use on "Seinfeld."

This quote seems quite prophetic considering the recent telecommunication mergers:

"Communism is like one big phone company."

SIDEBAR: We had assumed that Cong. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) was the nuttiest, fringe Republican candidate for president, but it appears this dubious dishonor should go to Gov. Rick Perry (R-Tex).

According to an NPR report last week, Perry, who is a born again evangelical who likes executions (hmmm....yeah, he does seem too much like GWB) stated in Portsmouth, NH, that public schools in texas teach evolution and creationsim. Perry added that there were 'some gaps in evolution.' The day before Perry essentially said that global warming was just 'a lot of hype.'

This lead another Republican candidate, former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, who must feel like the only sane man in the asylum, to tweet that he did believe in evolution.

Of course, saying something intellectually sound while trying to become a Republican presidential candidate could cause a person to lose Sioux City!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Great Virginia Earthquake of 2011




Personally, I prefer the Turkish word for eathquake which is 'deprem.' My late father's country has had a number of devastating shakers, including one in the eastenr city of Erzincan in the 1960s and more recently a series of massive quakes in wetern Turkey, including a 1999 deprem which put Istanbul and surrounding areas into chaos.

Yesterday's 5.9 earthquake centered around the small town of Mineral, Va., which is between Richmond and Charlottesville, did create some problems for those around the epicentet. Various sources said that residents of Mineral felt the tremor for up to 40 seconds.

Diane Miller who works at the local Louisa County Animal Shelter told NPR that the cats were hiding in their litter boxes. And, at least one florist shop in the area received major damage to inventory.

The often-hilarious liberal talk show host Keith Olbermann gave a stirring commentary during his show on Current TV last night when he pointed that the earthquake occured in the district of Cong. Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

Cantor, who is the majority leader on the Hill and a member of Congress known for being uncompromising and arch conservative, had argued that federal funding for the United States Geological Survey needed to be cut. So, Olbermann was thus able to make him an easy target for ripe political humor.

But, much of the chat about the quake which I felt in North Carolina for 10-12 seconds some four hours from the epicenter has come to an abrupt halt on the Internet.

Though a tweet from WashDCNews asked the following question: "How could Virginia-quake be felt in Canada and crack the Washington Monument?"

The answer is apparently that there is a vast geological different between fault lines in Virginia and those in California.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Teaser: New Miniblogseries Coming Soon...




I don't want to give away too many details quite yet, but starting around Sept. 1st, I am hoping to post a new mini-series called "The Backpackers Are in Front of BestBuy" regarding my recent quest to find and photograph all seven public sculptures/works of art in my hometown of Roanoke, Va., which are part of a city-wide art project. (More info can be found at artinroanoke.com)

There were some misadventures and mistakes along the way, and the reason why I am going to title the mini-series "The Backpackers Are in Front of BestBuy" is because a sculpture piece called "Traveling Wanderers" by Willis, Va. (near Floyd, Va.), artist Charlie Brouwer shows two backpackers. The art piece is actually located in the vicinity of the very busy Valley View Mall shopping area. And, in fact, one person told me that phrase as I was trying to locate the sculpture.

SIDEBAR: Last week, Chef Ludo Lefebrve hunted a buffalo down in rural Colorado and served it for dinner at Biker Jim's in downtown Denver for the Sundance Channel series "Ludo Bites America." This week, the reality show came to our neck of the woods as the chef went all over the Tarheel State (including a legal moonshine still in Madinson, NC- yes, I know that's an oxy moron) to fix a pigfest at Gravy Restaurant on Wilmington Street in the heart of downtown Raleigh. Among the items, Ludo served up were: fried pig ears and pigblood pudding (yes, we were wondering if that was a dessert item too).

Ironically, this episode is running during Ramadan. Since my late father Mehmet Gokbudak came from Turkey, I should mention that there are several good Turkish restaurants in Raleigh.

None of these restaurants serve pork (and, if I have to tell you why, then perhaps that explains why Republican candidate Rick Perry is turning to global warming denialism), and this would include The Bosphorous Restaurant in Cary, NC- Raleigh's largest suburb. They have a great chicken kebab by the way!

SIDEBAR TWO: We also want to wish kudos to Lewisburg, WV, for being named the 'coolest small town in America' by "Budget Travel" magazine. The tows in some 90 miles north of Roanoke, Va.

Oh yeah....so much for the proposed hiatus!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Quote of the Week-Lorraine Hansberry



Today's quote comes Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965) who died tragically young. She is best known for her play "A Raisin in the Sun," which also became the basis for a critically-acclaimed film of the same name:

"Obviously the most oppressed of any oppressed group will be its women."

We are featuring Hansberry because the National Black Theatre Festival recently concluded down the road in Winston-Salem, NC. Among the featured plays was a work called "Voices from Haiti," which was featured in the Greensboro alt weekly "Yes Weekly."

The festival also included the play "Let Freedom Ring" by Ted Lange, who is best known for playing the bartender Isaac on the the 1970s hit show "The Love Boat." The North Black Reportory Theatre Company in Winston-Salem, which has plays year-round, also had a play in the festival.

SIDEBAR: My hometown of Roanoke, Va., may not come to mind when it comes to art, but the Star City has an acclaimed art museum in the Taubman Museum of Art. There is also a relatively new city-wide campaign called "Art in Roanoke" which features public art displays all over Roanoke.

The art on display includes "Trojan Dog" by Roanoke artist Ann Glover at a fire station on Memorial Avenue in close proximity to the Grandin Theatre. There is also "connect" by Erika Strecker from Lexington, Ky., on Campbell Avenue near the offices of "The Roanoke Times." And, there is perhaps the best one of the seven displays in Crystal Spring Park near Roanoke Memorial Hospital called "Jelly Bean" by artist John Clement from Brooklyn, NY.

I will devote an entire blog entry to the project in a later entry.

SIDEBAR TWO: I will be on hiatus from now until next Monday for a variety of reasons. But, while I'm away, I hihgly recommend visiting the unique blog "New Black Man" from Duke University professor Mark Anthony Neal, who was recently on "The State of Things," a local/regional public radio talk show on WUNC-FM (90.7-FM, Chapel Hill), which is hosted by Frank Stasio. I am not an African-American myself, but the blog gives one an interesting perspective on the world around us.

Quote of the Day- Joe Strummer




Today, we continue our series of quotes with artistic radicals and subversives with a quip from the late punk rock singer Joe Strummer (1952-2002), leader of the legendary band The Clash.

Unlike many rock n rollers who died before their name, Strummer died of natural causes. He was actually not a user of recreational drugs, though his chain-smoking was one of his trademark traits.

Strummer also acted after the break-up of The Clash (circa 1986) in such films as "Mystery Train" by Jim Jarmusch and "Stright to Hell" by Alex Cox, who has directed the biopic "Sid and Nancy" depicting the short, wild life of Sid Vicious, the bass player for The Sex Pistols, another Enlgish punk rock band.

Here is the quote from Strummer:

"Everyone has got to realize you can't hold onto the past if you want any future. Each second should lead to the next."

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Things We Learned on Google Today- President of Turkmenistan Has Very Long Name





We don't have a list of every world leader in front of us, but we firmly believe that Turkmenistani President Gurbanguly Berdimukhammedov has the longest surname of them all! He became president of Turkmenistan in 2007 after replacing 'president for life' Sapurmurat Niyazov who died in December of 2006.

The current president, like the man before him, has been cited for human rights abuses by Amnesty International (amnesty.org), but hey we worry more about Republicans here! And, in all seriousness, while human rights abuses are a serious matter, I want to focus on this very remote country that few Americans have probably been to.

The capital of Turkmenistan is Ashagabat, which sounds like a city in a "Harry Potter" book, which has a population of 695,300.

Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan border this former Soviet Republic.

There is apparently lots of unique cuisine in Turkmenistan, including the national dish plov (pictured here) which consists of mutton, rice and carrots.

Blogger Jon Rosenweig visited Turkmenistan and he discovered some other foods there, including chorek, which sounds similar to the Turkish dish borek, both of which consist of baked bread. There is also kohlbasa, a lunch dish made from fried kielbas with onions and boiled eggs.

Turkmenistan is the seventh former Soviet republic we have profiled in this series; Belarus was the pervious one.

SIDEBAR_ He's back. "Independent Weekly" in Durham, NC, is reporting that fringe Republican candidate Vernon Robinson will challenge Cong. Larry Kissel (D-NC), a moderate in North Carolina's 8th district.

Robinson, who has been nicknamed The Black Jesse Helms, challenged Cong. Brad Miller (D-NC) in 2006, even though he does not reside in Miller's 13th district.

To our knowledge, the only political office that Robinson has ever held was in Winston-Salem where he was a city council member who allegedly missed a lot of meetings.

Robinson also managed to get lots of media attention, even outside of North Carolina, for his racist anti-Hispanic ads back in 2006.


Ten Best Films of 1991- Slacker Changed Everything




The year 1991 was a groundbreaking one for the independent film movement, which has sadly been taken over by big Hollywood studios. And, films like "Slacker" and "My Own Private Idaho" helped make the year the equivalent of 1939 for the indy movement. There were some good Hollywood films as well. Two which did not make the list are "Thelma and Louise" and "JFK."

Here is our choices for the ten best of 1991:

1. Slacker (Richard Linklater)

2. Raise the Red Lantern (China. Zhang Yimou)

3. Night on Earth (Jim Jarmusch)

4. My Own Private Idaho (Gus Van Sant)

5. Barton Fink (Coen Bros.)

6. Naked Lunch (David Cronenberg)

7. An Angel at My Table (New Zealand. Jane Campion)

8. Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme)

9. Bugsy (Barry Levinson)

10. Cape Fear (Martin Scorsese)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Things We Learned on Twitter Today- Syria is Still a Mess





The following disturbing tweet came from "The New Yorker" this afternoon:

"Reports from inside Syria: "There was nothing but shooting and sound of explosion, no water, no electricity."

Turkey, my late father's country, has brought in 8,500 refugees from Syria so far. Many of the refugees are staying at a camp in Boynuegin in the Hatay province. I was not aware that actress/humanitarian activist Angelina Jolie had visisted the camps back on June 17.

The image above is a mosque in Aleppo, Syria, the country's second largest city.

SIDEBAR: I just finished reading comic writer Jane Borden's debut memoir "I Tottally Meant To Do That," which I got from the Regulator Bookshop in Durham, NC. The book is about Borden's transition as she relocated from Greensboro, NC, to New York. In an interview with "The New York Daily News," Borden said: "Moving to New York City is an adjustment for anyone. But it's particularly a tough transition when you come from the South."

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Quote of the Day: Anton Chehkov




Los Angeles Theatre Works (LATW) is releasing an audio production of Anton Chehkov's very famous play "The Three Sisters" this week. The cast includes Jon Hamm from AMC's "Mad Men."

Here is the quote from the Russian legend:

"One usually dislikes a play while writing it, but afterward it grows on one. Let others judge and make decisions."

THE DON"T TRY THIS AT HOME DEPT: As someone who got into the bad habit of 'spying on the enemy' a few years ago, I actually get emails from right wing groups I hate and despise. One of these groups is the pompously-named Campaign for Liberty, based in Bristow, Va., outside Washington, DC. I got a chain email from the group leader John Tate, and I simply responded (and, I am not going to retract it!) by saying: "You bozos have moved so far right that Barry Goldwater would be a hippy now."

This actually made me realize that I wasn't sure how to spell hippy. The Urban Dictionary spells the term which is in reference to '60s era pot-smoking beatnicks 'hippie,' but both spellings exist at various places on the net.

SIDEBAR: I've definitely lived in a unique life as a human secularist with Muslim heritage (I am a Turkish-American) living in a very Christian fundamentalist part of North Carolina. But, during Ramadan, when Muslims have to go without food and water until sundown, I both appreciate what Muslim endure and I take delight in the fact that as a human secularist I am not subjected to their religious rituals. Of course, people like the Rev. Terry Jones, the Koran-burning minister in Gainesville, Fla., hates people like me just as much!

Last week, NPR's signature show "All Things Considered," reported that Omar Shahin, an imam (Muslim cleric) in Phoenix said that many people from his mosque were asking him if they could drink water given that it was 105 degrees outside. Shahin told NPR that if one was feeling sick from the dehydration, that it was indeed acceptable to go for the Dasani bottle.

In the same report, Johar Abdul-Malik, who is the director of an Islamic center in Falls Church, Va., near Washington, DC, said that he missed his soy tea green lattes at Starbucks.

Next Ten Films in My Netflix Que





Here are the next ten films in my Netflix que. I have been a customer with the company since 2005, but like many subscribers, I felt frustrated by their recent, sudden shift in pricing strategy. I downgraded from three dvds at a time to two, so it may well take a longer amount of time to see these films, but here is where they are in que:

1. "Dogtooth" (Greece. 2009. Dir-Giorgis Lanthimos)

2. "Bhutto" (doc. 2010. Duane Baughman)

3. "Days and Nights" (Egypt. 1955. Dir- Henry Barakat)

4. "Benny's Video" (Austria. 1992. Dir- Michael Haneke)

5. "Man Push Cart" (2005. Dir- Ramin Bahrani)

6. "The Stoning of Soraya M." (2008. Dir- Cyrus Nowrasteh)

7. "Electra, My Love" (Hungary. 1974. Dir- Miklos Jancso)

8. "Mother Kusters Goes to Heaven" (Germany. 1975. Dir- R.W. Fassbinder)

9. "Husbands" (1970. Dir- John Cassavetes)

10. "Pumping Iron" (doc. 1977. Dir- George Butler)

Monday, August 8, 2011

In the Whoops Dept., Part 3



Perhaps, I should have just stayed home and read the last four issues of "Rolling Stone!"

In the Whoops Dept., Part Two



&*%$#@#$%^&!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I made the same mistake again.

In the Whoops Dept




We just posted an entry with a great quip from the underground comic artist R.Crumb which was meant for this blog by accident on "The Daily Vampire." But, we will post it here as well: "When I come up against the real world, I just vacillate."

In my case, I just blog!

Highlights from the 100 Things To Do List




As with our other blog "The Daily Vampire," we are featuring highlights from my 100 Things To Do List, which I actually wrote out last week.

1. (#2) wash car

2. (#14) Look at Craig's List for a cool new job or a good used vinyl record player

3. (#43) Check out Twitter page, even though it's so 2009.

4. (#48) Try to see a dentist

5. (#65) Make late summer reading list (that's the reason for the zombie version of "Pride and Prejudice" image, this is a bit of an in-joke since I've never read a Jane Austen novel).

6. (#77) Try to see a Shakespearean play at the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Va.

7. (#81) Pretend you are Walt Whitman, and sit under a tree and write a poem.

8. (#90) Look into volunteering for a cause you believe in. (There is actually a no-kill shelter for cats in Raleigh, NC, called Safe Haven, but that's a two-hour drive my zip code of residency!)

9. (#98) Research networking (I think this is actually on everyone's to-do list)

10. (#100) Eat at the new Thai Orchid in Roanoke, Va., perhaps I can find a radical feminist who will agree to pay for my meal to prove the "Father Knows Best" years are really behind us. (I should add that even though I just made fun of radical feminists, I am by no means a Republican. Michele Bachmann has proven that Sylvester Stallone was right when he said: "the cure is worse than the disease," in that god-awful mid-80s action movie "Cobra."

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Coming Attractions-Where in the Soviet Union Will We Go Next




Here are some possible or likely features we will have posted hopefully within the next week assuming we don't get a pie-in-the-face (ala the late tv great Soupy Sales).

1) This week, we finally had a chance to watch the relatively new "Conan" show on TBS with Conan O'Brien who got the shaft at NBC. On the episode I watched, Conan's guest was just-retired NBA great Shaquille O'Neal, who revealed that he likes to go go-kart racing?!

2) Though Lithuania has been in the news, as the mayor of Vilnius unceremoniously crushed a lavish car parked in a bike lane with a tank, we are probably going to go with Turkmenistan as our next destination in our "What We Learned from Google Today" series, which is currently focusing on the former republics of the Soviet Union.

3) We will be continuing our quotes from subversive artists next week. John Waters, R.Crumb and Iggy Pop are among our candidates for the quotes.

_ If you want to take your kids to the movies and you live near Lexington, Va., (one hour north of Roanoke, three hours south of Washington, DC) then the Hull's Drive-in has a lineup geared just for the little ones with a double-feature consisting of "Winnie the Pooh" and "Zookeeper." Of course, for those of us with no kids, we can always stay at home and watch the Criterion version of Ingmar Bergman's "The Seventh Seal" while munching on Milk Duds.

Quote of the Week_ Michael Frayn




This month, we are featuring quotes from famous playwrights.

We begin with Michael Frayn. His most-famous play "Noises Off!," a radical over-the-top comedy (Frayn has also written dramatic plays like "Copenhagen"), will be presented by Playmakers Rep Theatre Company in Chapel Hill, NC, from April 4-22,
2012. I suppose if you are a perfectionist, you can go ahead and order tickets!

Here is the quote:

"A man sits in his car at the traffic lights, waiting for them to go green."

Happy Belated 50th Birthday President Barack Obama




Yes, this blog entry has political overtones. But, we are wondering, if any of the Republican presidential candidates (wow! No, I can't name them all in three and a half minutes) did send him one.

Here are our guesses; we will put an * besides the ones who have not announced if he or she is running or not:


Newt Gingrich: Hmmm. This is tough....I'll go with no.

Tim Pawlenty: Yes

Mitt Romney: Yes

Michele Bachmann: No

Jon Huntsman: Yes

Ron Paul: No

Herman Cain: No

* Rick Perry- No

Rick Santorum- No

*Sarah Palin-No

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

This and That- Apparently Smart People Have Intimacy Issues




I was thumbing through the current issue of "Psychology Today" this afternoon in a public library when this article caught my attention. The headline read something like: "Why Smart People Have Less Sex."

I did not take any notes from the article, but my assumption is that if a guy is reading Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace" in its entirety, well yes, it might well take precendent over other things.

The article did mention (I believe) that if men make more money, they are more likely to have more sex. I did not see any mention in the article of how income levels affected women's sex lives.

But, I found out tonight, that this matter has been discussed for a while. In a Sept. 2008, a blogger from Palo Alto, Calif., where Stanford- a smart school-is siad that a recent test had found that teenagers with low iqs in the 100 range were up to five times more likely to be sexually actually than teens with high iqs in the 1200-1300 range.

The blogger later mentioned that only 56 percent of undergrads at Priceton University were having sex while only 65 percent of MIT grads had found time to make love and presumably kick butt on their final exams.

All of this could be argued though I suppose, as everything these days seems to be argued irregardless if it is from the ACLU or the Tea Party (editorial comment: we prefer the ACLU). And, there is the case of Karen Owen, a Duke University student who made a Powerpoint presentation on her thesis in 2010 about her college romps which included having sex with 13 male Blue Devils athletes, most of whom were reportedly lacrosse players. Maybe, those guys weren't reading Tolstoy.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Status Update_ I Finished the Millenium Triology




I have ineeed finally finished the late Swedish novelist Stieg Larsson's Millenium Triology, which included "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," "The Girl who Played with Fire" and "The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Test." I not only read the three novels, but I saw their film versions as well. In both mediums, "Dragon Tattoo" seemed to work the best.

SIDEBAR ONE: We have to wonder if the far right-wing talking heads like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity will be coining the ridicilous term jihadist mango as Pakistani mangoes will now be available in American supermarkets, according to the NPR show "The World."

SIDEBAR TWO: Perhaps, this is a sign of the times, but while reading an article about a new book on the thriving '70s Scandanavian porn industry, but Danish 'actress' Louise Frevert is now a spokesperson for a far right group!

CLARIFICATION: We forgot to mention that with the $70 roast lamb dish at the Washington, DC, restaurant we talked about, you get the whole lamb!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Quote of the Day- James Baldwin



During this month of August, we will be quoting from famous literary and creative radicals on Mondays, or whenever we can.

Today, we start with the late great poet/novelist/playwright James Baldwin who was also a civil rights activist for blacks and gays.

The liberal journal "The Nation" recently published quotes from famous people who have contributed articles and columns to the magazine over its long history. And, it was from a July 11th, 1966 issue of "The Nation" in which Baldwin made this provocative comment:

"The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer."

SIDEBAR: We want to wish our Muslim friends a happy Ramadan season, an occasion which is alas soiled because of the political unrest in Syria which once again escalated on Monday. Many groups, such as the Divan Cultural Center, in Cary (Raleigh), NC, are holding special iftar dinners for the holiday.

If you are a Muslim living in the Washington, DC, area, (or just enjoy mutton) and you happen to have lots of capital wealth and enjoy very fine dinning, then we can recommend the Poste Brassiere at the Hotel Monaco on Eight Street, NW. According to "The Washingtonian" magazine, the restaurant offers roast lamb for $70. The restaurant also apparently requires a one-week in advance reservation.