Monday, April 30, 2012

Quote of the Day/Week-Toni Kukoc

Today, we conclude our series of quotes from Olympic athletes who won either gold or silver medals at the Summer Olympics with a quip from Croatian basketball player Toni Kukoc, who was also an instrumental supporting player during the Chicago Bulls championship run of the 1990s.

Kukoc, now 43, won silver with the Yugoslavian national team at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, but just four years later, after a bitter civil war erupted which meant that Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia would each would have separate Olympic teams in every sport, Kukoc won silver again only this time it was for Croatia. Ironically, the team that defeated Croatia was the Dream Team of the United States which was captained by Michael Jordan, who would be Kukoc's teammate with the Bulls.

Here is Kukoc's quote:

"If you are physically ready to play, it's a matter of confidence. Your confidence goes down when you lose games, when shots are not going in."

SIDEBAR: Back on Dec. 28, 2010, in what has become one of our most popular entries, I professed to eating an entire anchovy pizza at the Red Rocks pizza joint in Washington, DC. Well last night, I replicated the feat by downing a whole small anchovy pizza at Amante Gourmet Pizza in Carrboro (Chapel Hill), NC. Call me insane, but it was delicious!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Quote of the Day/Week-Richard Nixon

Today, we conclude our quotes of the last eight presidents, four of whom are quoted on our sister blog "The Daily Vampire," with a quip from Richard Nixon (1913-1994) who died at age 81 during Bill Clinton's presidency.

Among the iconic images of Nixon are the photo of him bowling, a poster of which can be seen in the Coen Brothers' cult classic "The Big Lebowski" and the photo of him meeting Elvis Presley, who was rumored to be high on marijuana when the picture was taken.

A portrait painting by Norman Rockwell of the president can presently be seen at The National Portraits Gallery in Washington, DC.

Nixon has been played many times on film, in fact, two actors Anthony Hopkins ("Nixon") and Frank Langella ("Frost/Nixon") have been nominated for playing him. The Richard Nixon Library is in Yorba Linda, Calif.

Here is his quote, which seems appropriate given that this is both a presidential election and an Olympic year:

"Finishing second in the Olympics gets you a silver. Finishing second in politics gets you oblivion."

Quote of the Day/Week- Yukio Mishima

Today, we conclude our quotes in honor of National Poetry Month, with a quip from the Japanese poet Yukio Mishima (1925-1970) who died at age 45 after committing ritual suicide in a political protest.

Mishima was unique in that he was a right-wing nationalist who was also a homosexual; he was also a playwright, novelist and actor. Mishima was nominated three times for the Nobel Prize in literature.

Here is his quote:

"Is there not a sort of remorse that precedes sin? Was it remorse at the very fact that I existed?" (taken from his 1949 work "Confessions of a Mask."

SIDEBAR: The answer to our April 17th edition of "The Rabbit Ears Quiz" is A) Missouri.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Special Quote of the Day/Week-William Shakespeare

Since Monday was Talk Like Shakespeare Day, and it was the day in which the Bard died in 1616 (conversely, Willy Shakespeare was born on April 26, 1564).

The North Carolina Shakespeare Festival takes place in High Point every year, and this year, the troupe will bring Shakespeare's most famous play "Romeo and Juliet" (editorial comment: I personally prefer "Othello" and "Macbeth") in a modern setting. That performance will run from Sept. 9-30.

Here is the quote from the beloved playwright:

"Life is as tedious as twice-told tale, vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man."
Since Monday was National Children's Day in Turkey, the country of my late father Mehmet Gokbudak, we thought we'd feature this image of a Turkish girl that we believe was taken at a large holiday festival in the resort town of Kusadasi.

During the last year when I lived in Turkey (we resided in Zonguldak province in the western Black Sea from 1977-79) Turkish Radio Television, also known as the TRT, started an international children's festival with delegations from other countries around the world.

This year, the participating countries included Egypt, Finland and South Korea.

Here in the United States, individual Turkish-American organizations, such as ATA-NC in Cary (Raleigh), NC, hold local events in honor of Children's Day.

While researching this piece, we discovered that the most-celebrated Children's Day is actually on June 1st. It is celebrated in many former Soviet republics, including Armenia, Azerbaijan and (of course) Russia as well as former communist country, including Turkey's neighbor Bulgaria.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Image of the Day/Week-Vanilla Latte

Today, we feature an image of something we all love at the office here in Oshkosh, Wisc., (not really where we are at), and that is the vanilla latte. We usually prefer the hot vanilla lattes when the weather is cold or in the morning, and conversely the cold version goes better when the weather is hot or in the afternoon.

A great place to have either version of the beverage for those in the Tarheel State is the Green Bean in downtown Greensboro, NC, an independent coffee shop, which actually has its own blog! (

SIDEBAR: We just adored this story in today's edition of "The Onion," a satirical fake news publication which once got in trouble for a story that said American women's Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson from Des Moines, Iowa, had died from complications due to a gymnastics accident. Of course, we should point out to anyone not reading this carefully, that Johnson is alive and well. Oh, back to what we were talking about; here is the headline: 'Human Feet Originally Used for Walking, Anthropologists Report' the story cites 'sources' from Oxford, England in its current 'story.'

Image of the Day/Week- Doberman Puppies

Since we featured a Van cat last time (white cats named for the city of Van, Turkey, where the breed originated), we thought we go with an image of a puppy dog this go-around; this is a photo of a very young doberman-pincher.

We aren't sure if one can find this particular breed of puppy at the Animal Rescue Foundation of Tulsa, Oklahoma, but the organization has plenty of dogs and cats up for adoption.

On May 15th, Top That! Pizza (8393 South Memorial location in Tulsa) will help raise funds for the animal shelter.

Anyone living in that part of the Sooner state who wants a new dog or cat can call the shelter at 918-622-5962.

SIDEBAR: Next week or some time within the very near future, we are hoping to post a series about the trip to Washington, DC, that was completed yesterday. The working title for the entries on this blog is "Next to the Burmese Embassy."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Quote of the Day/Week-Hiroyuki Tomita

Today, we continue quoting international Olympic athletes who won either gold or silver medals with a quip from Japanese gymnast Hiroyuki Tomita, 31, who won three gold medals over two Olympics (2004 Athens Olympics; 2008 Beijing Olympics).

Tomita helped Japan win its first team gold medal at the 2004 games since the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

Here is his quote:

"I aim for the beautiful artistic gymnastics that would remain in people's memories rather than winning a medal."

We are quoting these athletes in honor of the upcoming 2012 London Olympics.

Quote of the Day/Week-Jimmy Carter

We continue our posts of the last eight American presidents with a quip from the 39th president and the first one from the state of Georgia, Jimmy Carter.

In addition to being a former president, Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.

After his presidency, Carter founded the Carter Center, a non-profit group dedicated to human rights. He was also a key figure in the development of Habitat for Humanity.

Carter is also a fan of music, and his favorite singers include Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson.

Dan Aykroyd played Carter on "Saturday Night Live" as did Joe Piscopo, who was the only "SNL" player to perform as Ronald Reagan and Carter.

Carter is the same age as former president George H.W. Bush, who is slightly older than Carter. Both former American presidents were born in 1924.

Here is Carter's quote:

"Like music and art, love of nature is a common language that can transcend political social boundaries."http://www.cartercenter.org

Quotes of the Day/Week-Gwendolyn Brooks

Today, we continue quoting famous poets from around the world with a quip from the great African-American poet Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000) whose poem "We Real Cool" (1963) is one of my personal favorites.

Brooks was born in Topeka, Kan. She won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1950.

The poet was known for ballads, sonnets and free verse poets.

Here is her quote:

"Art hurts. Art urges voyages_ and it is easier to stay at home."

As a lark, we are telling Blogger that we are blogging from the Wild Zone Saloon in Nashville, Tenn., we are not even in that time zone!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

NCAA Gymnastics Preview_ Kat Ding of Georgia

The University of Georgia Gym Dawgs team is back in contender mode this year thanks in large part to Kat Ding, a senior from Sparks, Nev.

Ding was named SEC Gymnast of the Week on Feb. 14 for her 39.550 performance in a win over Arkansas. In that meet, Ding finished first on bars with a 9.95 and she tied for first on vault with a 9.9 during the meet with the Razorbacks.

Ding was also featured in the "Faces in the Crowd" section of "Sports Illustrated" (Feb. 27th issue). Ding also scored another 39.550 in a win over Kentucky.

Other gymnasts for the fifth-ranked Gym Dawgs, which will be vital as the team hosts the NCAAs in Gwinnett, Ga., (an Atlanta suburb some 45 miles from the UGA campus in Athens), are Gino Nuccio, Shayla Worley and Noel Couch.

NCAA Gymnastics Preview_ Corrie Lothrop of Utah

The NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships will be underway starting Friday from Gwinnett, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, and though the seventh-ranked Utah Utes may seem like a slight long-shot, the team has been known to perform well under pressure thanks to the guidance of co-coach Greg Marsden.

One of the gymnasts to watch from the Utes squad is Corrie Lothrop, a sophomore from Donvers, Mass., who was named PAC-12 Gymnast of the week on Feb. 7 for her outstanding 39.475 all-around score, which included a 9.9 on the balance beam, in a win over Georgia.

Lothrop was also named to the first team all-around team for the PAC-12 Conference, along with her teammate Stephanie McAllister. Lothrop was also named Honorable Mention for the PAC-12 All-Academic Team.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Rabbit Ears Quiz (9 of 12)_ Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom

Today, we look at the great 30-minute documentary series "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom," which had an impressive 25-year run from 1963-88, and the series actually lived on for a brief while after the death of its host Marlin Perkins (1905-1986).

A new incarnation of the series was developed by Animal Planet, and that show which is still on the air hit the airwaves in 2002.

The original "Wild Kingdom" pioneered the nature show format, which can be seen today in series like "Nature" on PBS and various shows which air on The Discovery Channel and The National Geographic Channel.

The series also featured Jim Fowler, who remains one of America's leading animal experts.

"Wild Kingdom" traveled to diverse areas to film wildlife, including Kenya, South Africa and Brazil (the Amazon River basin).

Today, for our quiz, we ask which state was Perkins born in; is the answer:

A) Missouri

B) Ohio

C) Texas

D) Arkansas

Monday, April 16, 2012

Casulaties of Modern Technology (9 of 12)_ The Compact Disc

Yes, we are using an image of a compact disc of REO Speedwagon as a bit of an in-joke, as it is a band that one often hears one annoying adult contemporary radio stations, such as WASH-FM (97.1, Washington DC).

The compact disc, which is refered to as the cd, is an optical disc used to store digital data. It was first developed in labs in Belgium and The Netherlands in 1979, according to Wikipedia, and the cd became commercially available in 1982.

The first cd that we personally purchased was "Storm Front" by Billy Joel in 1989; it's the one with "We Didn't Start the Fire," which seemed like such a great song at the time.

As "Rolling Stone" writer Rob Sheffield has noted in his memoirs about his youth and how the pop music of the time ('80s and '90s) affected his life, he noted that the cd was instrumental in allowing music artists to store more music in one unit. Bands, ranging from The Cure to Guns N Roses, have taken advantage of this.

There are also enhanced cds, such as "Naked" (Talking Heads, 1988), which have music videos stored on them in addition to music from the recording studio.

According to a recent "Rolling Stone" article (not written by Sheffield) and the public radio music show "Sound Opinions," sales of cds have been plummeting. But, many are still made in spite of more modern gizmos because older artists like Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits and Bob Dylan rely on cd sales for their older customers whereas young artists like Lady Gaga rely on going directly to I-Tunes and I-Pads, and other gadgets that were the brainchild of the late Steve Jobs.

However, vinyl sales have improved. In fac, 2011 was a banner year for vinyl record sales as 3.9 million records were sold. This was the first in sales in the product since 1979.

And, many though music stores have been disapperaring at an alarming rate, the remaning succesful ones, such as CD Alley in Chapel Hill, Hill, and Wuxutry Records in Athens, Ga. (which also has a store in Atlanta) have relied on both the cd and the record to get music to their customers.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Quote of the Day/Week-Olga Korbut

Today, in honor of the upcoming 2012 London Olympics, we are quoting the great Belorussian gymnast Olga Korbut who competed for the Soviet Union in the 1972 Munich Olympics and again at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, which saw the emergence of Romanian gymnastics star Nadia Comaneci. Korbut, 56, who now lives in Arizona, won four gold medals and two silvers during her Olympic career.

We quoted Korbut back in November when we were quoting famous Russians. We quickly saw on Korbut's Wikipedia page that we had whoops!, made a major mistake. Today, Belarus and Russia are two separate countries.

Here is her quote:

"This is probably why, my life is easier, and my family is very happy, because we never lie (to) each other."

Quote of the Day/Week-George H.W. Bush

We continue quoting the last eight presidents of the United States this month with a quip from George H.W. Bush, last week, we quoted his son George W. Bush.

Even though I voted against Bush twice and his son twice again, one has to admire someone who has lived an active life and is still striving at age 87. By a mere two months, Bush 41 is the oldest living president of America. While he was born in June of 1924, Jimmy Carter, who was the 39th president, was born in October of that year.

Here is Bush's quote:

"I have opinions of my own, strong opinions, but I don't always agree with them."

Quote of the Day/Week- Leonard Cohen

Today, we are thinking 'outside the box' for our quote in honor of National Poetry Month. We are taking a broader definition of the word poet. Though Canadian singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen, 77, is best known for penning and singing brilliant songs like "Hallejuah" (1984), which was immortalized by the late Jeff Buckley in 1994, he has also written extensive poetry.

His most recent record "Old Ideas" has become a smash-selling work in many country, including here in America where it reached #3 on the Billboard chart, it actually went to number one in Finland.

Cohen has inspired the likes of U2 and Lou Reed, and his songs first appeared in films in the early 1970s when several were included in Robert Altman's western "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" (1971).

Here is Cohen's quote:

"I don't consider myself a pessimist. I think of a pessimist as someone who is waiting for it to rain. And I feel soaked to the skin."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Double Bonus Picture to Fill Space-Van Cat

Some people are stunned when I tell them that I once went to a zoo in Ankara, Turkey, and they had Van cats on display; the white cats which sometimes have red eyes are named for the city of Van in far-southeastern Turkey near the Iranian border.

For those residing in Columbus, Ohio, Cat Welfare of Ohio is hosting a Feline Wine and Dine at the Worthington Hills County Club on May 5. For more info, one can call (614) 268-6096.

Bonus Picture to Fill Space- Big Bass

Today, since we are behind with entries, we are featuring an entry of a big bass, this one presumably caught in a river or lake in Texas.

For those residing near Clarkesville, Georgia, there will be a senior fishing rodeo at Moccasin State Park from 8:00-11:00 a.m.; for more info, one can call (706) 947-3194.

SIDEBAR ONE: For those who like the intellectual side of sports, the public radio series "Only A Game" broadcast nationally through WBUR/Boston will feature a segment on the controversial new Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen (hmmm...we just realized the Marlins might be the only pro sports team with the name of a fish) who surprisingly praised Cuba's Fidel Castro, which did not go over to well w Miami's Cuban-American community.

SIDEBAR TWO: Kudos to the following six women's college gymnastics teams (the other six are listen on our other blog "The Daily Vampire") for qualifying for nationals:

Champaign, Ill., Regionals: 1. Oklahoma 2. Stanford; Auburn, Ala., Regionals: 1. Georgia 2. Oregon State; Seattle Regionals: 1. Alabama 2. LSU

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Silly Picture to Fill Space- Breakfast

We had hoped to post a breakfast-related entry on Sunday since it was Easter here in the United States, and on Easter Sunday, there is a tradition of having a large breakfast or brunch for the occasion.

If one happens to stop into the the southwest Virginia town of Floyd, we highly recommend Oddfellas Cantina, where they have great brunches year-round.

Thanks to those of you in Slovakia and Chile for checking out our blog today; we really appreciate it.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Quote of the Day/Week- Usain Bolt

Today, we start a month-long series of quotes from international athletes who have won gold or silver medals at the Olympic Games.

We begin with the great Usein Bolt of Jamaica. Bolt, 25, won three gold medals in sprinting at the 2008 Beijing Olympics:

"I blew my mind and I blew the world's mind."

Quote of the Day/Week- George W. Bush

I once saw a bumper sticker in Strasbug, Va., which said: "GOP- God's Own Party."

Giving that my laptop shut down when we tried posting this quip on Friday, I have to personally wonder about that!

Though I'm a Democrat, I would give George W. Bush the respect that any former American president deserves. Since we don't agree on much, I'd probably ask him what his favorite Humphrey Bograt movie is. He would probably say "Casablanca." My favorite Bogie movie is "The Maltese Falon." Bogart son his only Oscar for "The African Queen" some 60 years ago.

Here is Bush's quote:

"I have a different version of leadership. A leadership is someone who brings people together."

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Quote of the Day/Week-Maya Angelou

First of all, thanks to our blog-readers in Bulgaria and Honduras. I've been to one of those countries-Bulgaria, though it was when I was a child 35 years ago. And, I've been close to Honduras with visits to Belize and Guatemala.

Today, we are quoting the great poet Maya Angelou who turned 84 yesterday. This is also National Poetry Month in America.

Angelou spent several years in Ghana during the 1960s. The poet, who is also known for being a Civil Rights activist, has in recent years been a professor at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, and she recited her poem "On the Rushes of Morning" during Bill Clinton's inauguration in 1993.

Here is her quote:

"Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean."

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sports Desk- Baylor Wins NCAA Women's Tournament, etc.

The top sports news story tonight here in the United States is that the Baylor Bears, a school based in Waco, Tex., completed a perfect 40-0 season as the team won a NCAA championship in women's basketball by defeating the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 80-61.

Brittney Griner, the top star in women's college basketball, scored 26 points for the Bears. Defensively, her teammates Jordan Madden and Kimetria Hayden helped stop Notre Dame's star guard Natalie Novoseal, thus assuring victory.

SOCCER (England): The English Premiere League (EPL) had an exciting weekend of play in which most major powers came through with victories. Here is a partial list of scores:

Manchester United 2 Blackburn 0 (goals from Antonio Valencia in 81st minute, and Ashley Young in 86th minutes)

Tottenham 3 Swansea 1 (Togolese national Emmanuel Adebayor score two goals for Tottenham in 73rd and 86th minutes of play)

Newscastle 2 Liverpool 0 (Both Newcastle goals came from Senegalese national Pappis Cisse in 19th and 59th minutes)

Chelsea 4 Aston Villa 2 (Serbian national Branislav Ivanovic scored two goals)

Manchester 3 Sunderland 3, tie

Soccer (Mexico):

Pachuca 1 Tijuana 0 (The lone goal came from Argentinian national Javier Munoz Mustafa in 63rd minute)

Puebla 1 Queretero 0

Monterrey 3 America 2

Santos Laguna 3 Toluca 1

UAG Tecos 1 Guadalajara 0 (Mexican national Edgar Mejia scored the lone goal in the 83rd minute to beat their cross-town rivals.)


Women's college gymnastics will have six regional meets on Saturday to determine the 12 teams which will compete for the national championships in Gwinnett, Georgia, from April 20-22. The defending national champion Alabama will head all the way to Seattle where they will face fellow Southeastern Conference rival LSU.

Here are three of the regionals; the other three regional meets are listed on "The Daily Vampire:"

Fayetville, Arkansas

2. Arkansas
3. Boise State
4. Missouri
5. New Hampshire
6. Maryland

Auburn, Alabama regional

1. Georgia
2. Oregon State
3. Auburn
4. Michigan
5. West Virginia
6. Michigan State

Seattle regional

1. Alabama
2. LSU
3. Arizona
4. Washington
5. Iowa
6. Central Michigan

Monday, April 2, 2012

No Turkish Bride_It Was An April Fool's Joke

No, I am NOT marrying a Turkish woman named Sibel Turkan Atasoy, and though we googled that name to make sure no one actually had it, if indeed, someone has that name it was not our intentions to use a real name.

On Twitter yesterday, I pulled another April Fool's Joke, when I said that liberal filmmaker Michael Moore had endorsed Republican Mitt Romney for president; they are actually both from Michigan! But, Moore has not endorsed him.

Also, I thought it was an April Fool's Joke when I read that the progressive talk show host Keith Olbermann, who had already been fired from MSNBC, got the boot again_ this time from Current TV.

But, amazingly enough, that is true! Olbermann was apparently fired for making fun of how a limo driver smelled.

My fellow progressive Turkish-American Cenk Uygur, who also left MSNBC, has a show that is still on Current at 7:00 p.m. We certainly hope he sticks around for a long time to come!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Major Personal Announcement

As I mentioned on our sister blog "The Daily Vampire," I have a wonderful personal announcement: I am getting married to the very lovely Sibel Turkan Aksoy of Afyon, Turkey.

We met through a mutual friend in Istanbul on Facebook, and we have been communicating to each other via Skype since December of last year.

I truly can't believe something this wonderful is happening to me!

Alas, I could not find a good image of Sibel, so I decided to go with this one of Parvati, the Hindu god of love.