Friday, June 29, 2012

Quote of the Day- Gandhi

Today, we conclude our quotes from figures who have been made into plush toys by the Unemployed Philosophers Guild with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) who is a bit of an oxy moron in that he was one of the very, very few non-violent revolutionaries.

Gandhi actually has two things in common with Che Guevara, the subject of our last quote: One is that both men were revolutionaries, though Che went about it much differently as he killed lots and lots of people, but both were also assasinated.

In Gandhi's case, his death was a political assassination as opposed to a summary execution, but yes, the results are still pretty much the same, though Gandhi did live to be 78, whereas Che died at 39.

Gandhi fought British colonialism in India starting his famous Salt March in 1930.

On film, Ben Kingsley won an Oscar for playing Gandhi in the film by the same name, beating out the late Paul Newman, Peter O'Toole and Dustin Hoffman in the process.

Here is Gandhi's quote:

"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony."

Quote of the Day/Week- Che Guevara

We continue our series of quotes from figures who have been made into plush doll toys by the American novelty company The Unemployed Philosophers Guild with a quote from the highly controversial Argentinian revolutionist Che Guevara (1929-1967), whose image can be seen on Cuban currency, since he helped Fidel Castro come to power.

Che tried a similar revolution in Bolivia, but the results were much different. In fact, he was assassinated there at age 39 by the Bolivian army, with help from the CIA. The village where he was executed La Higurea or "The Fig Tree" is now a surprising international tourist destination. Tourists can walk the trail and literally follow in Che's footsteps, but hopefully, they will not be greeted by a firing squad.

On film, Che has been portrayed at least three times, the most curious of which has to be Omar Sharif, an Egyptian actor in the film "Che!" (1969), where the late Jack Palance played Castro. It has a mere 4.5 on the Internet Movie Database.

Since Che was a man with far, far-left views which were fervently capitalism, many find the merchandising of his image, particularly on t-shirts, to be quiet ironic.

Here is the quote from Che:

"Many will call me an adventurer_ and that I am, only one of a different sort: one of those who risks his skin to prove his platitudes."

READ The FINE PRINT: As much as we love quoting Che Guevara, who has always been surprisingly popular, we recognize he is a controversial figure and we do not advocate Marxism as a political philosophy. But, of course, Marxists are welcome on our blogs as our Republicans!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Quote of the Day/Week_ Pablo Picasso

Today's quote of the day comes from the great Spanish artist Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) who would be celebrating the fact that his country will play against Italy in the Euro Cup 2012 Championships, but if he were alive today, Picasso would be 110 years old (he was born in October, yeah, we double-checked on Google).

We are quoting Picasso because he is one of the subjects of the Unemployed Philosophers Guild plush toy doll series; these items usually retail for circa $17.95.

Since we spent way too much time quoting Andy Warhol on our sister blog "The Daily Vampire," which gets more traffic than this blog, except in Slovenia and Ukraine, we will go ahead and just quote Picasso here:

"Every positive value has its price in negative terms....the genius of Einstein lead to Hiroshima."

SIDEBAR ONE: We learned today from the Urban Dictionary that one of the new words of the moment is 'dorkus malorkus,' which is Latin for dork. The term originated in an episode of "The Simpsons," where Bart, who would now be 31 if he aged in real time, uses this term to express disdain towards his sister.

SIDEBAR TWO: Among the topics trending on Twitter as of 8:00 p.m., Belfast, Maine*, time, are: Obamacare, John Roberts, a trio of NBA draft basketball players: Andre Drummond, Austin Rivers and Harrison Barnes as well as Bill Bell, the mayor of Durham, NC, where "The Herald-Sun" is the local newspaper. Ok, the last one is a joke, Mayor Bell, who is a real person with his own Wikipedia page, is not trending on Twitter, but his hometown minor league baseball team the Durham Bulls host the Norfolk Tides for the Fourth of July. The city is also home to Duke University where Austin Rivers played college basketball.

*- We are not actually in Belfast, Maine, as of this posting, but it is a lovely town, and we see that the Colonial Theatre (a historic cinema there) is screening "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel."

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Quote of the Day_ Sigmund Freud

We sense that we will not be getting blog hits from Spain or Portugal today, as those two countries are playing each other in the Euro Cup 2012 semi-finals in Ukraine. And, Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), whom we will be quoting today, is not likely to be trending. In fact, according to Bing today, the following topics are trending: Syrian TV raid, Rainbow Oreos, Waldo Canyon fire (near Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Science girl ad.

But, we are quoting Freud because he is one of the figures who has a plush toy doll made in his honor from the American novelty company The Unemployed Philosophers Guild. We also saw a promotion for Freudian Slippers in a "Mental Floss" magazine catalog. We contemplated getting them for my sister Aysegul Denizli (that is not her real name, and our apologies to at least one person with that name in Turkey) in Salt Lake City, Utah (not where my sister lives), but we don't always have the same sense of humor. Although we both love Wes Anderson movies, alas his latest film "Moonrise Kingdom" has yet to open in my market as of today.

Here is Freud's quote:

"A certain amount of neurosis is of inestimable values as a drive, especially to a psychologist."

UPDATE: The answer to our Olympic Cities Distance Quiz from a few days back is B.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Quote of the Day- Martin Van Buren

Today, Tropical Storm Debby, NBA Mock Draft, Ann Curry and 4 World Trade Center are trending on Bing. The same cannot be said for Martin Van Buren (1782-1862), America's eighth president, but here is a quote from him nevertheless:

"No evil can result from its inhibition more pernicious than its toleration."

Monday, June 25, 2012

Quote of the Day- John Quincy Adams

Dalma Malhans, the Saudi Arabian female equestrian athlete who tried to become her country's first female athlete at the Olympics is trending on Bing; alas, the same can not be said for John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), who was America's sixth president and the son of John Adams, the second president.

Before becoming president, the offspring Adams, who like his father was from Massachusetts, was ambassador to Russia and to the Netherlands, and several other countries.

Here is his quote, which is part of our series on quotes from the first eight American presidents:

"Old minds are like old horses, you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order."

Quote of the Week- James Madison

Hmmmm.....we somehow sense that this quip from James Madison, the fourth president of the United States and one of eight from Virginia, will in all probability not go viral.

But, we did decide to quote the first eight American presidents, so we are sticking to our plan, with the full realization that a quote from Paris Hilton would be more likely to bring in a blog reader in Quito, Ecuador.

We have heard there were major storms in Richmond, Va., today, which gave this amusing headline: "The flying Squirrels had to leave the field." This is in reference to the Richmond Flying Squirrels, the city's minor league baseball team, who were playing a day game at the time of the storm.

There is a high school in San Antonio named after Madison.

In Virginia, there is a high school in Vienna, a middle school in Roanoke and a university named after him as well.

Here is Madison's quote:

"A man has a property in his opinions and the free communication of them."

Ten People Who Will Decide the Presidency- (2 of 10) Casino Dealer in Nevada

Today, we continue our series of looking at how individual decisions can greatly affect the outcome of the American presidential election. So far, this year, there have been elections in  some 70 countries, including Egypt, Greece, France and Russia, but the American presidential election receives the most attention and it is conversely the most expensive.Dave Gilson of the liberal publication "Mother Jones" stated in a February column that President Barack Obama spent $730 million to become president in 2008.

Here is a look at today's fictional person who represents a real person who could decide the presidency; please see our disclaimer at the end of the blog_

Name: Linda Garcia

Age: 43

Residency: Las Vegas, Nevada

Will Likely Vote For: Barack Obama

Obama made significant gains over John Kerry to win the Silver State in 2008. Though Nevada has only five electoral votes, it is one of the main swing states. Nevada has chosen the president in every election cycle since 1912 with the exception of 1976 when the state picked Gerald Ford over Jimmy Carter.

In the '08 election, Obama garnered 55 percent of the vote in Nevada. Regionally, his biggest win came in the Las Vegas-metro area. In 2004, George W. Bush won over Kerry by a mere 2.6 percent margin. The city of Elko was considered to be the one zip code responsible for the narrow re-election of Bush as the former president won a whopping 78 percent of the vote there. But, Obama trimmed the margins in Nevada's most conservative area by winning 32 percent of the vote in Elko.

Obama also won in the Nevada capital of Carson City and Reno, two areas that just barely went to Bush four years earlier. Many insiders expect the Hispanic vote to decide many western states. In addition to Nevada, the Hispanic vote will be crucial in New Mexico, Colorado and even Arizona, a state that went to John McCain (he is one of the state's two Republican U.S. Senators) in 2008.

According to the Pew Research Center, Hispanics voted for Obama by a 67-31 percent margin in 2008. Obama also became the first Democrat to win Florida's Hispanic vote by a 57-42 percent margin. And, he even made strides with the traditionally Republican Cuban-American vote by gaining 35 percent of the vote in that demographic. Cuban-Americans started becoming partisan Republicans after the Bay of Pigs fiasco in Cuba.

EDITORIAL NOTE: Linda Garcia is a fictional character. There are many people with that name including a Georgetown professor. There is also a Linda Garcia Cubaro, who is a former Air Force officer. But, this fictional Linda Garcia is not based on them in any way. Nor does this character necessarily reflect the politics of any individuals with her name.

While this has consisted of many political satires from a center-left perspective, this series is meant to be informative and non-partisan.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Olympic Cities Distance Quiz (2 of 6)_ Mexico City to Rome

Well, we couldn't find a mascot for the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, but Pique the chilli pepper was the mascot for the 1986 World Cup held in Mexico 18 years later (Argentina won that cup).

Since 1968 was a year of political turmoil in the United States, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Israel, China, Argentina....ok, you get the idea, there were two major political protests at the Olympics in Mexico City. In America, the most-known protest involved two African-American athletes Tommie Smith, now 68, who won gold in the 200 meter relay, and John Carlos, now 67, who gave the black power salute during the playing of the American national anthem at their medal ceremony. Interestingly enough, the silver medal winner in that race the late Australian runner Peter Norman (1942-2006) politically supported the protests.

The Mexico City Olympics, which featured athletes from 112 countries, also featured a protest from Czechoslavakian gymnast Vera Caslavska (who would now compete for the Czech Republic), now age 70, a winner of four gold medals at the games who bowed her head in protest when the Soviet Union's national anthem was played after the balance beam final.

The 1960 Rome Olympics were also quite eventful as two African-American athletes came home with gold medals including the late Wilma Rudolph (1940-1994) who won three gold medals in track, and Muhammad Ali who won gold in the light heavyweight boxing class.

So how far in Mexico City from Rome?

Is the answer:

A) 6,273 miles

B) 6,373 miles

C) 6,473 miles

D) 6,573 miles

The answer to yesterday's quiz is that "Hogan's Heroes" ran for 166 episodes.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Rabbitt Ears Quiz (11 of 12)_ Hogan's Heroes

In hind sight, our blog series on "Dead or Alive" which ran on here a while back (and, yes, it was my idea) may not have been as brilliant as we thought it was. One of the things we feared was that one of the subjects might actually die between the time we posted the entry and revealed the answer.

So, while Topol of "Fiddler on the Roof" is still alive and well (to our knowledge), we regret to inform those of you may have been in a cave in Tajikistan for the last month that one of other subjects Richard Dawson (1932-2012), whom we reported as being alive, died at age 79 on June 2nd.

But, in Dawson's honor, we are posting an entry to the sitcom "Hogan's Heroes" where he starred Peter Newkirk. Dawson was an actor before becoming a game show host on the long-running "Family Feud," where he would frequently kiss female contestants.

"Hogan's Heroes," the only sitcom ever set in a Nazi POW camp, starred Bob Crane (1928-1978), who died from a still unresolved murder in 1978, as Col. Hogan. And, much has been made of Crane's dubious personal life, which was the subject of the film "Auto Focus" (2002), which starred Greg Kinnear as Crane.

In real life, Crane was married to actress Sigrid Valdis (1935-2007) who played the now politically incorrect character Hilda.

The show's successful run from 1965-71 can also be attributed to the lovable antagonists, such as Col. Klink (to the right of Hogan) who was played by the late Werner Klemperer, who was ironically known for his serious roles before being on the sitcom. And, the late John Banner played Sgt. Schultz (to the right of Hogan).

So, today, we are simply asking just how many episodes were there to "Hogan's Heroes." Is the answer:

A) 157

B) 168

C) 177

D) 181

Monday, June 18, 2012

Casualties of Modern Technology (11 of 12)_ Slide Projectors

Back in the 1970s, while other families

were watching "The Love Boat," my late father Mehmet Gokbudak would get out the slide projector and we would watch slide shows featuring images of backyard family trips (we lived in Roanoke, Va) of Highland County and from the two European trips we took. One famous slide was of me posing besides a street sign for Attila Josef Street in Budapest, Hungary, in a Dallas Cowboys hat and jacket. Since Attila is my name, this seemed very cool to my dad. And, I had no idea who Attila Josef was until today (a legendary Hungarian poet who died at age 32 in 1937).

Another famous slide was one of a crocidile at a restaurant in Warsaw, Poland- of all places. The croc was a gift from Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. We have no idea what the croc's name is, but we learned from Google that the croc came to the establishment in 1972. He may well still be the only crocidile in Poland.

As for the slide projector, it was very popular and hip from the 1950s to the 1970s, as it allowed slide prints to be displayed on a screen. But, today, many manufaturers have quit making both the prints and the machines.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Quote of the Day- Jose Saramago

Today, we conclude our quotes from famous figures associated with each of the 16 countries represented in the Euro Cup 2012 with a quip from the Portuguese novelist Jose Saramgo (1922-2010).

Portugal advanced to the quarterfinals today with a 2-1 win over Denmark; they will join Germany who defeated the Netherlands 2-1 in advancing from the dreaded group of death.

Saramago was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Literature, which in recent years has gone to Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk and the late British playwright Harold Pinter.

The Portuguese writer was a communist politically which forced him to live a portion of his life in exile in the Canary Islands, joining the likes of the late Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet, who lived in Russia, and the late American novelist William Burroughs, who lived in Morocco (but lived the later years of his life in Lawrence, Kansas)  as writers who lived in exile for either political or personal reasons.

Saramago's most famous novels include "Baltasar and Blimunda" (1982), "The Gospel According to Jesus Christ" (1991), which was very controversial, and "Blindness" (1997).

Here is his quote:

"As citizens, we all have an obligation to intervene and become involved_ it's the citizen who changes things."

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Quote of the Day- Martina Navratilova

Today, we quote tennis legend Martina Navratilova, 55, as we continue to quote famous people from each of the 16 countries in the Euro 2012 Cup which are taking place in Poland and Ukraine.

Though, Navratilova has been an American citizen since 1991 and she sought political asylum from then-Czechoslvakia in 1975 at age of 19, she is undoubtedly one of the most famous people from the Czech Republic, along with the recently deceased playwright/prime minister Vaclav Havel.

Navratilova was in the news in 2010 when she announced that she had been treated for breast cancer. She is also an avid gay rights supporter.

Here is her quote:

"I've been in the twilight of my career longer than most people had their career."

Friday, June 15, 2012

Quote of the Day/Week- James Joyce

Although Ireland has had what can be objectively qualified as a dismal Euro 2012 Cup with big losses to Croatia (3-1) and Spain (4-0), they are still among the 16 countries in the tournament so hence we are quoting a famous Irishman.

That person is the legendary novelist and poet James Joyce (1882-1941) whose novel "Ulysses" has been considered to be among the best ever written in the English novel.

There is also a statue of Joyce in Dublin.

Here is his quote:

"Irresponsibility is part of the pleasure of all art; it is the part that schools cannot recognize."

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Quote of the Day/Week- Ingmar Bergman

Today, we continue to quote people associated with the 16 countries in the Euro 2012 Cup being played in Poland and Ukraine. And, we are going to quote the late, great film director Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007) who was from Uppsala. Bergman was known for many outstanding cinematic ventures, including "The Seventh Seal," "Persona" and "Fanny and Alexander."

The Swedish soccer team has the daunting task of facing a star-studded English soccer team in Kiev, Ukraine, tomorrow. The Swedes are in a virtual must-win situation.

Here is Bergman's quote:

"The theatre is like a faithful wife. Film is the great adventure_ the costly, exciting mistress."

SIDEBAR: Since we are popular in Slovenia, we thought we should congratulate the Los Angeles Kings for winning their first ever NHL Stanley Cup titles by defeating the New Jersey Devils four games to two.

Though soccer and basketball are more popular than hockey in Slovenia, Anze Kopitar, 24, who was one of the key reasons for the Kings winning the cup has made the sport more popular in the former Yugoslav republic. Kopitar is also the first Slovenian national to hoist the Stanley Cup.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Quote of the Day/Week- Albert Einstein

Today's quote of the day comes from Albert Einstein (1879-1955), the brilliant scientist who is considered the father of modern physics. Einstein also developed the theory of relativity. One has to wonder if he would agree with the assertion that the video game Angry Birds teaches children about physics.

We are quoting Einstein because this month we are quoting people associated with all 16 of the European teams competing in the Euro 2012 Cup in Poland and Ukraine. Though Einstein spent much of his adult life abroad, including here in the United States, where he died in Princeton, NJ, Einstein was German. Since he was Jewish, Einstein decided to leave Germany for good in 1933 when Adolf Hitler rose to power.

Einstein is also one of the famous figures who has been humorously merchandised by the American novelty company The Unemployed Philosophers Guild, though the Einstein plush toy, which retails for $17.95 is currently out of stock.

I happen to have an Einstein necktie which I found for five dollars from a street vendor in Washington, DC.

Here is his quote:

"The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Quote of the Day/Week-Sergei Prokofiev

We continue with quotes from famous people from Euro 2012 countries with a quote from the Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) who is known for his great children's orchestral piece "Peter and the Wolf" (1936).

Russia beat the Czech Republic 4-1 on Friday; they face co-host Poland today.

Here is his quote:

"When the Second World War broke out, I felt that everyone must do his share, and I began composing songs and marches for the front. But soon events assumed such gigantic and far-reaching scope as to demand larger canvasses."

Quote of the Day/Week- Vincent van Gogh

Today, we continue quoting famous people from each of the 16 countries represented in the Euro 2012 Cup_ a continental soccer championship being played as of right now in Poland and Ukraine.

The Netherlands/Holland lost to Denmark by a 1-0 in Group B, a group of death which also includes Germany and Portugal.

Our subject today is the artist Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) who died very young at age 37. The painter is known for "The Starry Night" and a series of sun flower paintings. The above image is a self-portrait.

Here is his quote:

"For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream."

Friday, June 8, 2012

Quote of the Day/Week- Jesus Christ

Today, we begin a series of quotes from figures who are asociated with the Unemployed Philosophers Guild, an American toy/novelty country, and we hope today's quote gets noticed by people who go to the presumably very conservative Church of the Living God in Eden, NC, some 10 miles from the Virginia border as well as folks who go to the presumably liberal Unitarian Universalist Church* in Charlotte, NC, some three and a half hours away from Eden.

Interestingly enough, the temperature in Bethlehem, Pa., today was 79 degrees. We would have checked the weather in Dubai, but we presume not many folks there will be interested in this post (for obvious reasons) and we reasonably assured that it is very hot there.

The novelty company offers the following products with Jesus: a toy pupett ($5.95), a plush toy ($17.95), a Jesus Shaves mug ($12.95) and a Jesus pill box ($11.95).

Other companies of a similar nature offer Jesus Christ bobblehead dolls and Jesus Christ dashboard toys.

Here is the quote from Jesus, whom we are quoting for the first time, and when we read this Donald Trump came to mind :

"What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul."

*-A congregation more in life with our world view...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Quote of the Day/Week_ John Adams

No time to make fun of Mitt Romney, Donald Trump, Bill O'Reilly or Nancy Pelosi today (we figured we would be partisan, and even Bill Griffith, the cartoonist behind "Zippy the Pinhead" had made fun of the Democratic congresswoman from California), as it's fish tacos time here in New Haven, Conn. (not really where we are).

So, we will go ahead and quote John Adams, the second American preisdent, who has in recent years been portrayed by actor Paul Giamatti in a HBO mini-series; they might actually like this one in Yozgat, Turkey* (hey, Turkey is the home country of late father, so this is fair game....well, we hope):

"I must not write a word to you about politics, because you are a woman."

*-Along with Konya, Yozgat is considered to be the most conservative city in Turkey; it is the birthplace of the late far, far right political figure Alpastan Turkes.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Quote of the Day/Week-Eugene Hutz

We were intially going to quote Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev, who died a long time ago, for this space. But, we quickly foun out that though the composer of "Peter and the Wolf" was born in Ukraine, he is actually Russian! But, we may quote him later on, as Russia is, along with Ukraine, one of two former Soviet states in the Euro 2012 soccer chammpionships, which start on June 8th.

This month, we are quoting 8 of the 16 countries in the cup, and today, we start with co-host Ukraine (the other co-host is Poland).

As it turns out, Gogol Bordello's lead singer Eugene Hutz, 39, was born in Ukraine. The gypsy punk band will be performing in Aspen, Colo., on June 9th, and in Istanbul, Turkey, one of our favorite cities, on June 30th.

Hutz was influenced by the likes of Johnny Cash and Leonard Cohen---yes, we were shocked by that too!

Here is the quote from Hutz, who is of Roma/gypsy heritage:

"Everywhere, there was Ukrainian Gyspsy folk music. That's how it is there; you cannot escape it. But I found that I liked it."

Friday, June 1, 2012

Virtual Postcard from Virginia- The Big Pencil

Today, we send you a virtual postcard from my home state of Virginia with this image of The Big Pencil in Wytheville, a southwestern Virginia town that is one hour west of Roanoke. Wytheville is also known as the place where highways I-77 and 1-81 intersect, and the town is reportedly exactly half-way between New York and Miami.

The Big Pencil was once featured in a "Zippy the Pinhead" comic strip, that is the brainchild of Bill Griffith. The town is in the congressional district of Cong. Morgan Griffith (R), a Republican from my hometown of Salem, Va., whom I know personally. But......well, I am not a Republican, but of course one should not say negative things about a friend in spite of political differences. It would be great if I could challenge him to a game of chess, bowling or mini-golf, but we doubt the freshman congressman has time for that. We should also point out that the cartoonist and the congressman are not related.

SIDEBAR: Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, you probably can not spell the words Gladiolous and Crustaceaology, those are two words that were once used as Spelling Bee championship words in 1925 and 1955 respectively. Gladiolous, hope we spelled that right, is a type of flower; the other term was once used for the study of all things crustacean.

SIDEBAR: We are 'taking off' until Tuesday....We hope....!