Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Kudos to Team USA aka The Fab Five for Winning Gold in Women's Gym

Congratulations to both Team USA, also known as the Fab Five or the Fierce Five for winning the team gold medal in women's gymnastics and to Team Canada as our neighbors to the north finished in fifth, the highest ever placement for a Canadian team in the sport.

The team victory is perhaps especially sweet for Jordyn Wieber (pictured above) since she could not qualify for the all-around competition because of a highly controversial, perhaps even dubious rule, which only allow two competitors per country based on qualifying scores, irregardless of how high those scores might be.

For Team America, McKayla Maroney paved the way with a 16.223 score and Aly Raisman, who won the highly coveted second slot instead of Wieber, assured team victory with a fluid floor routine. Gabby Douglas, who had the highest score for Team America in the first round, competed on all four events with high scores on each of them. Kyla Ross (pictured below) held steady as well.

For Team Canada, the fifth place finish will make headlines in national newspapers tomorrow even if the team did not get a medal for their historic accomplishment.

Various Canadian media sources said the team members were overjoyed. Kristina Vaculik (pictured middle) tweeted that 'Canada rocked the house,' while teammate Domique Pegg tweeted that she was proud of the team's accomplishment.

Russia finished a distant second in large part because top gymnasts Anastasia Grishina and Ksenila Afanseva had very disappointing floor routines and Aliya Mustafina stumbled on the balance beam.

Romania won bronze, and the team's chances of winning gold were diminished because of an injury to standout gymnast Larisa Ioardoche. But, Catalina Ponour, 24, one of the oldest gymnasts competing at the Olympics and the lone remaining member of the 2008 Athens Olympics gold medal-winning team had an impressive balance beam routine.

Astonishingly, China, a team that won gold at home at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, finished fourth.




Olympic Stories- Anna Li Making Best of Olympics After Bad Injury

Anna Li, 23, had overcome concerns that she was too old, too tall at 5'4 and too injury-prone as she had two surgically repaired broken feet, yet she qualified for the women's Olympics gymnastics team as an alternate for the squad that would head to London.

Li was a stand-out at traditional powerhouse UCLA where she helped guide the Bruins to the school's sixth NCAA title in 2010. UCLA narrowly lost to the University of Alabama this year at the NCAA championships this spring.

On July 28, Li blogged about her Olympics experience in an entry that was posted on uclabruins.com; alas, Li suffered a devastating injury when she feel from the uneven bars during the team's second workout. Li will be wearing a neck brace in the coming weeks and she thanked everyone for their get-well wishes.

But, the former UCLA gymnast was upbeat about her time in the United Kingdom, and she talked about how it took her a moment to realize that when the team's plane landed at 7 a.m. local time in England, that it was 1 a.m. in her home state of Illinois, where Li, the daughter of two Chinese Olympic gymnasts, went to Waubonise High School in the Chicago-suburb of Aurora.

In the years since graduating from UCLA, Li has performed as a stunt woman.

Li said the initial workout occurred at 8:00 a.m. and lasted for close to four hours, and that she took a nap at the team's hotel from noon until 2:50 p.m. for that second workout, where the injury resulted.

The gymnast is one of several UCLA alumni or active Bruins  in the 2012 London Olympics. Yesterday, former Bruin Courtney Mathewson, who helped UCLA to four consecutive NCAA titles, scored three vital goals in Team USA's narrow 14-13 win over Hungary in women's water polo.

As for women's gymnastics, Team USA had a shocking development on Sunday as defending world all-around champion Jordyn Wieber, 16, did not qualify for the all-around at the Olympics due to a highly controversial rule that only allows for two gymnasts from each country irregardless of the gymnast's score.

Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman are the two gymnasts who qualified for all-arounds. Wieber will still compete for the team in the team finals which are happening tonight, surprisingly early for gymnastics which has traditionally been held in the middle of the Olympic games.

According to a survey from bleacherreport.com, some 70-percent of those surveyed felt that the Olympic gymnastics rule should be scrapped. 




Olympic Stories- Turkish Female Weightlifter (almost) Medals

Though Chinese women's weightlifter Wang Minigjuan, who turns 27 in October, (pictured below) won the gold medal in the 48-kilogram lightweight division on Saturday at the 2012 London Olympics, Nurdan Karagoz, 25, got considerable media coverage in her native Turkey as she finished fifth.

Karagoz scored a 187, which was the result total of her three combined lifts. Earlier, Karagoz won silver at the European Championships held in Antalya, Turkey, she won that some color medal at the previous European Championships in Russia. Additionally, Karagoz won a bronze medal at the 2011 World Championships in France.

Weightlifting has been a popular sport in Turkey since the legendary men's weightlifter Naim Suleymanoglu, aka the Pocket Hercules, won a gold medal in the sport at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. 

Despite being a four-time world champion (2002, 2003, 2005 and 2009), Wang Mingjuan had never competed in the Olympics due to injuries. In London, the Chinese lifter pulled 91 kilograms in the snatch and 114 kilograms in the clean and jerk.

Except for Karagoz, each of the top six finishers was from an Asian-Pacific nation. Hiromi Miayke of Japan won silver andd Ryang Chun Hwa of North Korea captured the bronze.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Parade of Nations (Four of Four)_ Ghana-Zimbabwe

Here is our final list of flag-bearers from the Parade of Nations which occurred during the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics:

Ghana: Maxwell Amponsah (men's boxing)

Mexico: Maria Espinoza (pictured below, women's taekwondo)

Morocco: Wliam Dislam (women's taekwondo)

Nicaragua: Michelle Richardson (An swimmer born in Nicaragua, she won silver while competing for the United States at age 15 during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics).

Norway: Miras Versas Larsen (women's canoeing)

South Korea: Yoon Kyung-shin (pictured middle, handball, South Korea is having a great Olympics so far with two golds, two silvers and two bronze medals).

Zambia: Prince Mumba (men's track and field)

Zimbabwe: Kirsty Coventry (pictured top, women's swimming)

Parade of Nations (three of four)_ China-Spain

We continue to list 2012 London Olympics athletes who were flag-bearers for their respective countries on Friday with a look at those participating in sports ranging from men's basketball to women's judo.

Here is the latest list:

China: Yi Jianlian (pictured below, men's basketball)

Finland: Hanna-Maria Seppala (pictured, center, swimming)

Jordan: Nadin Dawani (women's judo)

Kenya: Jason Dunford (pictured above, men's swimming)

Libya: Sofyan el Gidi (men's swimming)

Malaysia: Pandelela Rinong (women's diving)

Russia: Maria Sharapova (tennis)

Spain: Paul Gasol (men's basketball)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Parade of Nations (Two of Four)- Albania to Italy

We continue our Parade of Nations of flag-bearers for their respective countries, with the likes of an Albanian women's weight-lifter to a Cuban wrestler:

Albania: Romela Begaj (women's weightlifting)

Azerbaijan: Elnur Mammadi (men's judo)

Chile: Denisse van Lamoea (women's archery)

Cuba: Mijain Lopez (pictured below, wrestling)

Cyprus: Marcos Baghdatis (pictured above, tennis)

Hungary: Peter Biros (water polo)

Iran: Ali Mazaheri (boxing)

Italy: Valentina Vezzali (pictured center, fencing)



Parade of Nations (One of Four)- Turkey to New Zealand

Today, we start our first of four blog entries on the Parade of Nations, which occurred on Friday during the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics; there are also four entries on the subject on our sister blog "The Daily Vampire."

We start with Turkey, the homeland of my late father, then Great Britain (United Kingdom), which is the host country, and the rest of the nations will be in alphabetical order.

Turkey-Nesilhan Darnel (pictured top, women's volleyball)

Great Britain- Chris Hoy (cyclist)

Argentina- Luciana Aymar (pictured below, women's field hockey)

Belgium- Tia Hellebaut (women's track and field)

France- Laura Flessel-Colovic (women's fencing)

Germany- Natascha Keller (women's field hockey)

Netherlands/Holland- Dorian von Rjsselberghe (women's windsurfing)

New Zealand- Nick Willis (pictured middle, men's track and field)







Reports Via Twitter from the Olympic Village

Given that NBC's Olympics coverage so far has been grilled, perhaps it was best to be following the 2012 London Olympics on Twitter as we did earlier tonight. It's 4:00 a.m. here in Danbury, Connecticut (not really where I'm blogging from, but the same time zone) and it should be about 9:00 a.m. in London.

Here are the tweets:

1) Scott Simon @nprscottsimon: Stuck on train platform SFO. Unable to see what NBC is cutting out of Olympic broadcast tonight. Pole vaulting by the pope?"

2) Professor Snape @_Snape: "More people would be watching the Olympics if Quidditch was played.

3) Ebba Rezeq @Gazanism: "I have nothing but respect for the Tunisian swimmer who refused to compete because of the Israeli swimmer."*

4) Joanna Fokas @Joanna Fokas: "I can't help but laugh when these men do gymnastics." **

5) Nicole Dunn @DunnyDizzzie: "I feel like I'm the only one that has watched basically every event on the Olympics today, literally all day long."

6) Nadia Comaneci @nadiacomaneci10: "On to the reception w/ Michelle Obama."***

7) Forbes @Forbes: "Olympic Games: NBA apparently thinks it's 1992 seemingly unaware of Twitter's existence."

8)  Shalane Flanagan @shalaneflanagan: "Woke up with butterflies!!!! One week to go!"****

*-First of all, I don't condone the actions of that Tunisian swimmer Takri Mrabet, even though I am a Turkish-American. Mrabet was disqualified by the Olympics for his actions. The Israeli swimmer Gal Nevo, whom Mrabet refused to swim against in the 400-meter relay finished a respectable tenth. One other Muslim athlete Ahmed Atari of Qatar did swim, but he alas finished last (36th).  American swimmer Ryan Lochte won this race, which also saw Michael Phelps finish a shocking fourth.

**_We don't agree with this view either, but it was amusing.

***-Yes, this is a tweet from the real Nadia.

****-Shalane Flanagan is an American distance runner; she has won a bronze medal for her efforts in a previous Olympics.





Saturday, July 28, 2012

Quote of the Day- Josh Brolin

We conclude our series of quotes of actors who have played real-life American presidents with a quip from Josh Brolin, 44, who played George W. Bush in the Oliver Stone film "W" (2008). Interestingly, his father James Brolin played another Republican president Ronald Reagan in the tv movie "The Reagans" (2003).

Josh Brolin also played the title in the Oscar-winning film "No Country for Old Men."

Here is the quote from the younger Brolin:

" 'W' is not necessarily a political film, but it was sort of a contrasting reality for me to get into George W. Bush as a character because of how I felt about his administration before I started making the film."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Quote of the Day- Jon Voight

Today, we continue our series of quoting actors who have played real-life American presidents with a quote from the liberal-turned-Tea Partier Jon Voight, 73, who ironically played the iconic Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the film "Pearl Harbor" (2001), which starred Ben Affleck.

More recently, Voight played President George Washington in the right-win political slapstick satire "An American Carol" (2008), a film that had a plot line revolving around the very progressive documentary filmmaker Michael Moore. The film failed at the box office and did not change the shifting political winds as Barack Obama defeated John McCain for the presidency. But, it was very popular with arch conservative talk show hosts, such as Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly, who actually had a cameo in the film.

Voight is also an Oscar winner for Best Actor as he won the award for his compelling performance in the touching drama "Coming Home" (1978). In recent years, Voight has renounced the film and his co-star Jane Fonda, who also won an Oscar (Best Actress) for her role in "Coming Home."

Bill Murray will also play FDR in the highly-anticipated film "Hyde Park on Hudson."

The Franklin Roosevelt Museum is in Hyde Park, NY.

Here is Voight's quote:

"There's the young Jon Voight and the old Jon Voight."


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Quote of the Day- Robin Williams

For those of you keeping track of the series, yesterday, I overlooked the fact that Charlton Heston also played Andrew Jackson as President Andrew Jackson in the film "The President's Lady" (1958).

Now that we have that out of the day, let's turn our attention to Robin Williams. He is the latest actor who have played real-life presidents who we are quoting. Williams played Theodore Roosevelt during the Rough Riders years before Roosevelt became president. But, he played Roosevelt in a very non-traditional way as the part was an exhibition piece at a natural history museum which came to life; we are, of course referring to the film "Night at the Museum" (2006) and its sequel which came out three years later.

Both films starred Ben Stiller.

Williams, 61, won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as a psychologist in "Good will Hunting" (1997); the actor got his big break playing the alien Mork on the sitcom "Mork and Mindy" (1974-78), which is very likely the only tv show that took place in Boulder, Colo.

Other actors who have played Theodore Roosevelt including the late Brian Keith (1921-1997) who played him in the film "The Wind and the Lion" (1975). Keith played another president, this time William McKinley in the 1997 tv movie "Rough Riders," which also featured Tom Berrenger as Teddy Roosevelt.

Here is the quote from Mork:

"My God. We've had cloning in the South for years. It's called cousins."


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Quote of the Day- Charlton Heston

Today, we quote the late actor Charlton Heston (1923-2008), as we continue quoting actors who played real-life presidents. Heston had the distinction of playing three presidents: One as Andrew Jackson, the seventh American president, in the feature film "The Buccaneer" * (1959, dir: Anthony Quinn) and he played Thomas Jefferson in the tv movie "The Patriots" and later in life he played Abraham Lincoln in the tv mini-series "The Great Battles of the Civil War."

Today, on our other blog, we have a quote from Nick Nolte who played Jefferson in the 1995 film "Jefferson in Paris." 

The following quote is a bit ironic in that Heston was not only one of the few Republicans in Hollywood, he also became a right-wing icon when he headed the controversial, but powerful gun lobbying group The National Rifle Organization (NRA). Here is indeed referring to a president who was a Democrat:

"Jackson was one of my favorite presidents. One mean son of a bitch."

*-Heston actually plays a young Gen. Andrew Jackson in the film

SIDEBAR: In sports, we mentioned the Durham Bulls, a popular minor league baseball team in Durham, NC, a few nights ago. Well, as it turns out, they did finish their series against the Rochester Red Wings in spite of their home game being rained out on Saturday. On Monday night, the Bulls beat the Red Wings 4-0 as shortstop Tim Beckham and outfielder Jose Feliciano hit a pair of doubles in a game which saw a much-heralded Australian prospect Liam Hendricks (7-1) taking the mound for the visitors.



Monday, July 23, 2012

Quote of the Day- Paul Giamatti

Today, we start quoting actors who have played American presidents either on tv or film, and we begin with Paul Giamatti, 45, who played the second president John Adams in a tv miniseries of the same name. "John Adams" earned Giammatti an Emmy Award. He has also won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Actor for "Sideways" (dir. Alexander Payne, 2004).

Here is his quote:

"You're absolutely free to describe me as a turtle of something."

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Teaser- Here Come the Olympics

The Olympics get underway in just a few days with opening ceremonies getting under way on Friday night from London. The home team the United Kingdom will actually have the largest delegation with 542, which is just slightly more than the United States, which has the second highest delegation, with 530 athletes.Russia will have the third highest number of athletes with 436 Olympic participants.

Ana Sofia Gomez, 16, (pictured above) will be the first gymnast to represent Guatemala at the summer games. Gomez has finished in the top five at various international competitions.

Yasser Hefny, 23, (pictured middle) an Egyptian pentathlete, was among the Muslim athletes interviewed by the Associated Press regarding Ramadan, a Muslim holiday which requires the faithful to fast until sundown, and preparation for the Olympics. Many Muslim athletes, many of whom are actually competing for western countries, will make compromise by fasting after the completion of the games. 

These summer games will also mark the debut of women's boxing, which will include Lucy O'Connor, 31, the top-ranked British boxer who is also a naval officer, who will represent the home country. This means that the only three sports with only one gender, are Greece-roman wrestling (men's), synchronized swimming (women's) and rhythmic gymnastics (women's).

Sunday Funnies- Quoting Zippy the Pinhead

Since we 'got in trouble' for hotlinking an image of the Bill Griffith comic strip character Zippy the Pinhead, today we will post an image of the film "Freaks" (1932), which featured a Schlitzie the Pinhead, who inspired Zippy's creation.

Here is a quote from a recent collection of Griffith's comics; this one is from "Zippy the Pinhead:"

"Oh no! Lucy accidentally invaded Serbia! Boy, will Ricky be mad when he gets home!"


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Things We Learned on the Internet Tonight_ What is an Axehole??

We learned tonight from The Urban Dictionary that an axehole is: A person who uses an obscene amount of Axe body spray.

Here were some things we found out through Twitter, apparently folks in the urban parts of North Carolina are dealing with major rainstorms:

@WXII (tv station in Winston-Salem, NC): Several thunderstorms warning for Davidson and Randolph County in NC until 9:15 p.m.

@DurhamBulls (minor league team in Durham, NC, image of mascot in the middle): "Thanks to everyone who's sticking with us through this delay. Tarp still on field, but we expect to play!

@WVUgymnastics: "Morgantown Magazine is thrilled that Morgantown tops Forbes list of Best Small Cities! (Morgantown, West Virginia, is where West Virginia University is).

@SunDC (this will be helpful for Muslims in the DC-area celebrating Ramadan, which makes me wonder what my late Turkish father would make of me eating turkey bacon; since we couldn't find a Washington, DC, sunset, we settled with an image of nearby Annapolis, Maryland): "Sunset 8:29 p.m. Sunset tommorow 8:26 p.m."

@VisitMaine: "Tomorrow, Sunday, July 22 is the last day of the Yarmouth Clam Festival! Don't miss it."

@TVGMDebra: "Martha Stewart on whether she's ever had fast food: I've eaten one Burger King, two McDonald's & today I ate an In-and-Out-Burger."








Friday, July 20, 2012

Olympics Cities Destination Quiz- Berlin to Stockholm

Though it has been a tragic day here in the United States, as all of us are mourning the shooting victims at midnight premiere screening of "Batman: The Dark Knight Rises" at a theatre in Aurora, Colorado, but we are going to go ahead with our plans to conclude this series.

We finish this series up with a look at the distance between Berlin, Germany, which hosted the very controversial 1936 Olympics, in which Adolf Hitler promoted Aryan supremacy, and Stockholm, Sweden, which hosted the more sanguine 1912 Olympics.

American track and field athlete Jesse Owens (1913-1980), a black man who is the subject of a folk song by Greensboro, NC, singer/songwriter Bruce Piephoff (a personal friend) entitled "Jesse" (2008), was able to prove the absurdity of Hitler's concepts as he won four gold medals in Berlin.

On a more tragic note, I learned from an exhibit about the 1936 Berlin Olympics at the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, that Endre Kabos (1906-1944), a Hungarian athlete of Jewish heritage who won gold in Berlin in addition to his gold medal at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics was among the millions of Jewish people killed during World War II.

Kabos was sent to a concentration camp, but his death reportedly came on the battlefield after he escaped. His Hungarian teammate Attila Petschauer* (1904-1943) who won gold medals in fencing at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics and the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics was killed in a concentration camp.

Just this week, Hungarian officials detained Laszlo Csatary, 97, for alleged role in deporting Hungarian Jews to concentration camps.

On a lighter note, today's Berlin features stop lights, featuring little green men  and little red men, which are one of few surviving relics from East Germany. In 2004, several German cities, including Dresden introduced female counterparts for pedestrian stop lights.

As for the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, among the gold medalists were Finnish wrestler Kaarlo Koskelo, Italian gymnast Alberto Broglia and Australian women's swimmer Fanny Durack. The above pictured dish is a popular one in Sweden during the holidays.

And, even though he has nothing to do with either Olympics, we will mention Bruce Jenner, the American 1976 Montreal Olympics track champion, since the mere mention of his name assures significantly more hits for our blogs.

So just how far apart are these two cities?

A) 454 miles

B) 479 miles

C) 504 miles

D) 529 miles




*-I happen to share a first name with the Hungarian Jewish athlete. My first name is Attila. My late Turkish father Mehmet Gokbudak chose to give me the Hungarian spelling as opposed to the Turkish spelling which is Atilla, which has assured that people in Turkey, including passport officials, do not spell my name correctly.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Olympic Cities Destination Quiz (5 of 6)- Helsinki-Antwerp

Hey kids, for those of you who are not sitting at a multi-plex in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, watching "Batman: The Dark Knight Rises," we offer you free entertainment and a geography lesson as we look at the distance between Antwerp, Belgium, which hosted the Olympics way back in 1920, and Helsinki, Finland, which did the honors in 1952.

A mere 29 countries competed in Belgium, but among them was American swimmer Duke Kahanamoku (1890-1968), whew glad, we double-checked the spelling!, who won gold. He would later become an actor and an icon in his native Hawaii.

In Antwerp, Italian fencer Nedo Nadi (1894-1940) won a record five gold medals in his sport.

As for the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, which had 69 countries participating, Soviet/Ukrainian gymnast Maria Gorokhovskaya (1921-2001) who might have the longest surname in Olympics history won an all-around gold medal in women's gymnastics and six medals overall. In 1990, she emigrated to Israel.

So, we are asking just how far apart these two European Olympics cities are from one another; is the answer:

A) 1,061 miles

B) 1,265 miles

C) 1,333 miles

D) 1,409 miles

Note: The above images are of the iconic Belgian comic book hero Tintin and his dog Snowy, and a member of the very unique Finnish band the Leningrad Cowboys.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Olympics Cities Destination Quiz (4 of 6) Melbourne-Munich

Today, we continue our Olympics Cities Destination quiz series in honor of the 2012 London Olympics, which start on July 29th, with a look at how far Melbourne, Australia, and Munich, Germany, are.

Apologies to our international audience as we are doing this in miles.

Melbourne hosted the 1956 Olympics, which were the first ones held in Australia. They are one of  only two  summer games where athletic events were held outside the host country as equestrian events were held in Stockholm, Sweden; the other games where an event took place away from the home was 1920 Antwerp Olympics in Belgium, in which yachting events were held in neighboring Holland.

Some of the highlights of the Melbourne games were Australian men's swimmer Murray Rose (1939-2012) who died in April winning three gold medals; his teammate Dawn Fraser (pictured above) won two gold medals for the host country.

Munich hosted the 1972 Olympics which were greatly overshadowed by tragedy as Palestinian terrorist took 11 Israeli coaches and athletes hostage and later killed them in what became known as the Munich Massacre.

But, there were also tremendous athletic accomplishments in then-West Germany as American men's swimmer Mark Spitz, now 62, won seven gold medals which was recently surpassed by Michael Phelps.

Similarly, women's Soviet/Belarusian gymnast Olga Korbut, now 57, won three gold medals while also performing a ground-breaking backward somersault on the balance beam.

 Korbut was on a 1996 postage champ issued by the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan; she now lives in Arizona.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Saudi Arabia to Send Female Athletes to Olympics for the First Time

Saudi Arabia has answered to critics and will allow two women to compete at the 2012 London Olympics, which get underway in two weeks on July 27th.

Alas, Dalma Malhas*, 20, (pictured bottom), an Ohio resident with Saudi Arabian parents who was considered to be the most likely female athlete to break the gender barrier, is not among those two athletes because her horse was injured. Thus, she can not compete in women's equestrian events, in spite of her many international accomplishments in the sport.

However, Sarah Attar, 20 (pictured above), a California resident who attends Pepperdine University, will represent the kingdom nation in the 800-meter relay in track and field competition. Attar will compete while covering her head to comply with Saudi Arabia's orthodox Islamic conservatism. She told various media outlets that was thrilled to break the barrier.

The second going to the games for Saudi Arabia is Wadjan Shahrkhani, a competitor in women's judo.

Along with Saudi Arabia, Brunei and Qatar will be sending female athletes to the Olympics for the first time.

*Dalma Malhas' name was not spelled correctly in an earlier entry, hence we have two version of her name in our tags

Quote of the Night- Dashiell Hammett

The subject of today's quote, the last in our series of quips from American writers, comes from the mystery noir pulp writer Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961), whose name is all too easy to spell incorrectly.

Here are some quick facts about the writer:

_Famous for detective/mystery novels including "The Maltese Falcon" (1930, later immortalized in a Humphrey Bogart film of the same name), "The Glass Key" (1931) and "The Thin Man" (1934).

_Had a 30-year relationship with playwright Lillian Hellman

_Along with Hellman and countless other creative people, Hammett was blacklisted as part of a witch hunt by HUAC in the early 1950s, when anti-communism paranoid ran deep in America.

_Played by actor Jason Robards in the film "Julia" (1933), Jane Fonda played Hellman in the same film.

_Is buried at Arlington National Cemetery for serving in both World Wars.

Here is his quote:

"Feed the lettuce to the bunny and eat the bunny."

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Quote of the Night- Pearl S. Buck

Today's quote of the day comes from Pearl S. Buck (1862-1973), a novelist and author who was born in Hillsboro, West Virginia; Buck's birthplace is now a historic museum. Her parents were missionaries to China.

Buck wrote her signature novel "The Good Earth" (1931) which earned her a Pulitzer Prize. It was the fist novel in her historic literature trilogy, which also included "Sons" and "A House Divided."

The author is also a noted alumni of Randolph Macon's Women College, which is now Randolph College (a co-ed school) in Lynchburg, Va.

Here is her quote, it's one regarding 'man's best friend:'

"A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God's truth is attacked and yet remain silent."

Quote of the Day/Week- Ernest Hemingway

Today's quote of the day comes from American writer Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) who once lived in Ketchum, Idaho, where it is apparently at least 100 degrees F, for the third or fourth consecutive day in a row. Hemingway, who penned such classics as "The Old Man and the Sea" and "The Sun Also Rises" also lived in Key West, Florida, and in Cuba, of course, he resided there before the revolution started by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara.

Hemingway has been in many recent films, most notably Woody Allen's film "Midnight in Paris," where he was played by Corey Stoll, 36, (pictured) whose performance was critically acclaimed, but did not garner an Oscar nomination. Christopher Plummer, 82, won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar this year for his remarkable performance in "Beginners."

Here is Hemingway's quote:

"I always try to write on the principle of the iceberg. There is seven-eights of it under water for every part of it that shows."

SIDEBAR: Since the 2012 London Olympics get underway later this month, we thought we'd mention one of the athletes from North Carolina, one of our states of residence (the other one is not Maine, though we love it up there!). Cullen Jones, 28, from Charlotte and a North Carolina State University alum, will be competing for Team USA in men's swimming. Jones holds the world record in the 50-meter free-style. He won gold during the 2008 Beijing Olympics in a team relay, which included the much-decorated athlete Michael Phelps. Jones was also the first African-American to win gold in swimming.




Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Quote of the Day/Week-Dorothy Parker

Today's quote of the day is from Dorothy Parker (1893-1967), who was born in Long Branch, NJ. We had wrongfully assumed that there was a characterization of her in the Woody Allen film "Midnight in Paris," but as it turns out, that is not the case!

But, she was portrayed by actress Jennifer Jason Leigh (pictured here) in the Alan Rudolph film "Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle."

Parker was the subject of the notorious Hollywood blacklist, that took place in the late 1940s and the early 1950s. In addition to being an author, critic and a poet, Parker was a screenwriter who wrote the original version of "A Star is Born" (1937).

Here is her quote:

"This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force."


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Quote of the Day- Charles Bukowski

Today, we begin a week-long series of quotes from famous American writers, including poets and playwrights. We start with the eccentric novelist and poet Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) who made no secret of his alcohol consumption.He was portrayed by Mickey Rourke in the film "Barfly."

His work also had dark, subversive themes, and that's one of the reasons why we love him so much. Bukowski is also one of Greensboro, NC, singer/songwriter/poet Bruce Piephoff.

Here is Bukowski's quote:

"The young poet starting out...should stay the hell out of writing classes and find out what's happening around the corner."

Monday, July 9, 2012

Things We Learned from the Internet Today-Devekusu is the Turkish for Ostrich

Since I lived in Turkey for two years as child from 1977-79 and my late father Mehmet Gokbudak (1921-1983) was from Turkey and made a strident effort to teach me Turkish even when I was more interested in Dr.Seuss' books as a child, I am able to speak fluent even though I grew up in rural, remote Welch, West Virginia.*

So, as it is, I am about 90-percent fluent in Turkish. Hence, as a result, there are some words I'm not aware of, and 'devekusu' (literally means 'camel bird'), the Turkish word for ostrich, is one of them. So, if alex Trebek asks: "What is the Turkish word for an ostrich?" on Final Jeopardy; the answer is "devekusu."

Also, we learned today that most things trending on Twitter had to do with the Major League All-Star Game which will be played tomorrow in Kansas City. The exception was Channel Orange, which is the name of the new release from singer Frank Ocean, who made headlines by coming out as being gay recently. We were wondering if he was related to our favorite two or three hit wonder Billy Ocean ("Caribbean Queen."). We asked both Google and Bing this question; we got no response. 

*-This is a slight white lie, I grew up in Roanoke, Va., which is not quite as removed from the world as the small hamlet in eastern West Virginia that I was referring to.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Remembering Andy Griffith

Though he was best know for his tv sitcom "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960-68) which was set in fictional Mayberry, North Carolina; the town was based on the town of Mt.Airy in northwest North Carolina, which is located near Pilot Mountain and the Virginia border, Andy Griffith, who died this week at age 86, was also known for his towering performance as Lonesome Rhodes in the Elia Kazan film ("A Face in the Crowd").

Griifith is a North Carolina icon, and in this month issue of "Our State" magazine, a travel and leisure state magazine for North Carolina, Griffith was among those featured, along with NASCAR star Richard Petty and famed tv preacher Billy Graham.

"The Andy Griffith Show" is still popular in both the Greensboro, NC, and Roanoke, Va., markets where the reruns continue to run on weekday evening.

With Griffith's death, the oldest member of the adult cast (Ron Howard who played Opie is know an Oscar-winning film director) is Jim Nabors, who is 82.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Image to Fill Space-Power Yoga

Ever since we heard the term power yoga, we thought it was a bit of an oxy moron as the term yoga usually conjures up images of people relaxing and trying to 'strike a pose.' (We don't think Madonna can sue us for that).

But, it seems to be becoming very popular at health clubs around the country, from San Francisco to Provo, Utah. Having tried this once myself, I must advice beginners to try regular yoga first.

There is a yoga retreat called Yogaville in the rural hamlet of Buckingham, Va. (some 30 miles south of Charlottesville in central Virginia), for those you really want to practice yoga away from modern distractions, without going to Sri Lanka.




Friday, July 6, 2012

10 People Who Will Decide the Presidency (3 of 10)_ Termite Inspector in Tampa, Fla.

Name: Ahmet Jones

Job: Termite Inspector

Residency: Tampa, Florida

Age: 39

Race: Mixed

Will Likely Vote for: Obama

Note: The top photo is of termites; the bottom one is of cockroaches.

Today, we are profiling Ahmet Jones, 39, a fictional termite inspector who works for Bug Busters in Tampa, Fla. (note: there is a real company by that name in Portland, Oregon, but we thought of Bug Busters before googling them). He is one of the people who could well decide who will in November as President Barack Obama or his Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Tampa, Fla., is also the city which is hosting the 2012 Republican Convention. WUSF-FM, the NPR station in Tampa, says that Tampa Police chief Jane Castor says her department is prepared for the tens of thousands who will come to town when the convention meets from Aug. 27-30.

Obama won Florida, which is considered to be among the key swing states in this year's election, by a 2.8 % margin; though John McCain lead in the Sunshine State until September. Florida was the state which also allowed George W. Bush to prevail over Al Gore in the most highly disputed, controversial election in American history in 2000.

"The Young Turks with Cenk Uygur," a liberal political talk show on Current TV said during the program's broadcast last night that Obama is currently narrowly winning in Florida.

The Hispanic vote, including the generally partisan right-wing Cuban-American community in the Miami area, will likely have a huge impact in the election, especially in Florida. Most non-Cuban Hispanics are strongly supporting Obama.

Obama won Broward County (Ft. Lauderdale), Miami-Dade and Volusia County (Daytona Beach) in 2008; McCain won Polk County (Lakeland), Seminole County (Orlando suburbs) and Lee County (Fort Myers) that same election cycle.