Friday, August 31, 2012

Thoughts on the GOP Convention_ The Empty Chair

Last night, we witnessed the surreal attempt by Clint Eastwood to pull off an Eddie Murphy as he made a failed stand-up comedy routine at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., with an empty chair to represent President Barack Obama, which he referred to as 'Invisible Obama.'

We have to wonder what objective journalists like Gwen Ifill of PBS and Brian Williams of NBC were making of this, but liberal commentator Cek Uygur was having a blast making fun of Eastwood's speech on Current-TV.

Assuredly tonight's production of "The Lion in the Winter" (not a Shakespeare play) at the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Va., should be considerably more entertaining than last night's Eastwood debacle.

We actually watched close to seven hours of coverage of the Republican Convention, even though I am more likely to throw out the first pitch at a Washington Nationals game than vote for the Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan ticket. The 'Nats, by the way, have a home game with the St. Louis Cardinals tonight.

We are going to cover our thoughts on the GOP convention in an unconventional manner as we use these seven terms to describe the events we witnessed on PBS and Current-TV. : Nutella, Saturday Night Live, Tim Robbins, Attila the Hun, Kurt Cobain, Jordyn Wieber and New Zealand. Yes, we got the idea form Mad Libs:

"New Jersey governor Chris Christie of New Jersey reportedly ate seven bagels with Nutella backstage before his prime time speech on Tuesday night, which was one of the highlights of the Tampa Republican convention. Though the partisans gave mostly red meat speeches, the Republicans are hoping that comparing president Barack Obama to Mao Tse Tung will persuade an undecided voter in Akron, Ohio, to vote for the Romney/Ryan ticket, which is almost as brilliant as getting Clint Eastwood to host 'Saturday Night Live.' After the Eastwood fiasco, Karl Rove might say getting Tim Robbins to speak in Charlotte, NC, at the party convention would help even things out on Fox-TV. But, we fully expect David Axelrod to ignore him. Paul Ryan proved he is hip as he mentioned that bands like Nirvana are in his i-pad, but he also laid it out clear that he is to the right of Attila the Hun, which is a vital characteristic for today's Republican Party.   Every Olympic athlete except Jordyn Wieber, an Olympic gymnast who won team gold in London, was brought on stage to make hollow testimonials about how Romney is as great as Superman. After Marco Rubio's speech which was a prelude to Romney's big talk, many Democratic voters will likely attempt to get political asylum in New Zealand should Batman and Robin actually get elected."

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Virtual Postcard from Florida (even though we're not there)

We are sending a Virtual Postcard from Tarpon Springs, Florida, tonight, even though we are nowhere near there, and I didn't get a press pass for the Republican National Convention in Tampa, though a backup check would have revealed I don't share their politics.

But, I am not quite as liberal as Michael Moore, who said today that he think Mitt Romney will win the race, I suppose this means Michael Medved, an arch conservative movie critic turned talk show host, needs to say Barack Obama will win to even things out.

I have actually watched a fair amount of convention coverage, and even though I have no plans to vote for Mitty Rich, and I am eager to watch tonight's Romney speech.

I will add more thoughts on the GOP convention tomorrow, including thoughts on Republican veep candidate Paul Ryan, who is now definitely a grown-up, real-life Karate Kid villain, in my humble opinion.

In case, you've missed it, tonight's speeches have been from Al Gore, Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi (I was just seeing if you were paying attention), but actually such 'exciting' speakers as Romney's former business partners, Bob White and Tom Stemberg.

Clint Eastwood is expected to be tonight's surprise speaker, according to "The Huffington Post."

Tarpon Springs is a fishing village and tourist attraction near Tampa with a significantly large Greek-American population.

Monday, August 27, 2012

GOP Tweets_ Turning It Over to Bill, Cenk and Charlie

We had a thought earlier this week when we were watching Karl Rove on Fox News at a Dunkin Donuts in Myrtle Beach, SC, the rare place in America where Southern evangelism and sultry wet t-shirts night clubs intersect. In fact, the city has hosted a Republican candidates debate in 2008.

A few minutes later, I realized that Rove looked strikingly similar to the blue aardvark cartoon character that used to air with Pink Panther cartoons when we were kids (Well, they were actually reruns as "The Ant and the Aardvark" aired in 1969). Much to our surprise, the aardvark was just called aardvark.

The person between Rove and the blue aardvark is former reality tv show star Heidi Montag, a Republican who endorsed John McCain in 2008, who was on "The Hills."

The folks I referred to in the header are liberal Current-TV show host Cenk Uygur, a fellow Turkish-American, who I agree with 90-percent of the time, Bill O'Reilly, who I agree with nine percent of the time, if that, and Charlie Rose, the always exceptional PBS talk show host.

Here are some tweets from tonight and earlier in the day, all concerning politics or the Republican Convention in Tampa, which was delayed from today until Tuesday because of Tropical Storm Isaac:

1) @stevensantos (Steven Santos): "Pennsylvania GOP Senate Candidate: Getting Pregnant From Rape Is 'Similar' To Having A Baby Out of Wedlock." (That candidate is Tom Smith; he is challenging Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Casey, a Democrat).

2) @scottlinnen (Scott Linnen): "Gotta love Donald Trump being preempted by a bigger windbag and replaced by Two Broke Girls."

3) @SeanHanity (Sean Hannity, a right-wing Fox News tv host):  "Ran into Karl Rove at the workspace, told me about his new column."

4) @DavidShusler (David Shusler, a Washington, DC-based journalist): "My chat @GOPConvention w @KarlRove. I said 'Hi Karl.' He said, 'hey, still on tv some place?' I said, 'Yes and you?' He walked on...."

5) @kesgrander (Ken Gardner, right-wing tweeter): "Wait....did Marco Rubio just compare Obama's policies to Castro's policies in Cuba? If so, brace yourself for the left's phony outrage."

6) @TroubleBiscuits: "My family is very similar to many Cuban Americans. I'll probably cry during Marco Rubio's speech. I'll admit that now."

7) @LOLGOP: "REPORT: The GOP may have to trim its convention down to three teleprompter jokes and five minutes of Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan high fiving."

GOP Day One (Delayed Due to Weather) Tweets

Today, we continue our tweets regarding the 2012 Republican Convention in Tampa, Fla. We should explain that we decided to go with Cuban-flag flip flops because the Republicans depend on the small, but significant Cuban-American vote in the Miami area of Florida and because the GOP's candidate Mitt Romney has radically changed positions on abortion, gun control, health care and perhaps even which baseball team he roots for...

The Turkish tea glass is our way of making fun of the Tea Party, a mostly far-right movement which has actually thrown out Republican members in both houses of Congress deemed to be too moderate, and we thought that Democrats, like sharks, ate their own.

Lastly, we have an image of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) who represents a swing state, and we quote a tweet from him here as well.

So, to borrow a right-wing cliche; let's roll:

1) @hillballotbox ("The Hill," a journal covering Congress): "Poll: Women overwhelmingly back Obama, concerned about the economy."

2) @NickKristof (Nicholas Kristof of "The New York Times"): "Global warming may be linked to hurricane intensity. Do we see a divine reprimand of Republicans for climate skepticism?"

3) @theonion ("The Onion," a satirical faux news publication): "GOP Convention To Feature Strong Lineup of Conservative Women Listeners."

4) @LOLGOP: "For a guy who has betrayed every political belief he's ever had and lies about everything all the time, Mitt gets treated pretty well."

5) @ChuckGrassley (Sen. Chuck Grassley): "Read 2day wallstreetjournal editorial for treatsie on how ObamaCare will ration healthcare 15 bureaucrats will be dictating to doctors."

6) @hardball_chris (Chris Matthews of MSNBC): "It's ashame when the #RNC has to to go back to Ronald Reagan to pay tribute to a past president. What happened to GHWB and GWB?" (These are references to George and George W. Bush)

7) @Jasoninthehouse (Cong. Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah): "Up at the Diamond Fork fine. Growing fast. May triple in size today. Very windy." (This is in reference to the awful weather in Tampa).

Our sister blog:

Sunday, August 26, 2012

GOP Pre-Convention Tweets: I Am Not a Republican Because....

Before we run down our tweet log from a busy night on Twitter, in which one trending topic was #IAmNotARepublicanBeacuse, here is a list of the images above:

1) Donny Osmond. The '70s icon from Utah who is a Mormon is a strong supporter of Mitt Romney. To his credit, unlike country singer Hank Williams Jr., Osmond has not made disparaging comments about President Barack Obama or the Islamic faith. We learned than in recent years, he has been a game show host?!

2) A Tampa Bay Buccaneers cheerleader: We tried to find an image that would not get our blog banned in Qom, Iran, well, it probably is any how.

3) A Chow Chow puppy: Today is/was National Dog Day in America, and this breed is worth $3,000-8,500. Perhaps, with a hefty tax break that Romney would give rich Americans, that demographic will indulge in lots of expensive pets.

The GOP Convention is reportedly delaying its first day due to Tropical Storm Isaac.

Here are tonight's tweets:

1) @amazingatheist (The Amazing Atheist): "#IAmNotARepublicanBecause: "I'm not tricked into focusing on my pseudo-moral indignation over social issues to the detriment of all else."

2) @OlivierPortugal (Benjamin Button): "#IAmNot......I Don't Blame Teachers for a Recession Caused by Bankers."

3) @HuffPostPol (Huff Post Politics): "Seniors, Occupy movements protests GOP convention."

4) @KatrinaNation (Katrina vanden Huevel, she is the managing editor of the liberal journal "The Nation"):
"Will Huckabee Defend Akin in His RNC Speech?"

5) @lobsterpajamas (Michelle Morgan): "IAmNot.....I have a soul. Common sense helps too."

6) @LOLGOP (LOL GOP): "I blame Obama for creating 4 million jobs, getting bin Laden and ending the Iraq War. Things used to be so awesome."

7) @davidfrum (David Frum, the former George W. Bush speech writer has become a leading advocate for moderation in the conservative movement): "I want a modern Republican party precisely because I am a Republican. If I weren't, I wouldn't care."

For a link to our other blog, which features an image of a toy version of Tampa Bay Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier, go to "The Daily Vampire:"

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Rainy Days and Sundays and Weather Around the World

Rain, rain...........please go away. Obviously, we are not in Iowa where major droughts are occuring.
With that, here is a look at weather around the world:
Amsterdam 61 rain
Budapest 72 clear
Bursa, Turkey 68 clear
Havana, Cuba 77, heavy rain
Islamabad, Pakistan 75 rain
Istanbul 77 partly cloudy
Madrid 68 clear
Mexico City 63 cloudy
New Delhi 79 fog
Rio de Janeiro 63 cloudy
Rome 71 clear
Sofia, Bulgaria 70, mostly cloudy
Stockholm 55, partly cloudy
Tel Aviv 75 cloudy

Happy 100th Birthday, Gene Kelly and Weather Around America

Well, as it turns out, we are NOT singin' in the rain, but we recognize Gene Kelly (1912-1996) which would have been this past week. Of course, to those of us who love Stanley Kubrick films, we will always cherish the tune in part because it's Alex's anthem in "A Clockwork Orange."
As Tropical Storm Isaac threatens the Republican Convention, scheduled to begin in Tampa, Fla., on Monday, weather is actually replacing politics as America's main concern. Of course, our thoughts are also with people in Cuba and Haiti who are dealing with the storm as well.
Speaking of the GOP Convention, we can't wait to start makin fun of Paul Ryan again; he reads Voltaire?! Yeah, I still not voting for him and Mitt Romney either. My personal feeling is that once again Boo Boo is overshadowing Yogi Bear; perhaps now Romney wishes he chose Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio).
Here's a look at weather around America:
Boston 68 74 cloudy
Cleveland 81 clear
Columbia, SC, 74 clear
New York 73 partly cloudy
Philadelphia 75 cloudy
Raleigh, NC, 68 cloudy
Roanoke, Va. 69 cloudy
St. Louis 75 rain
San Francisco 56 cloudy
Tampa 79 partly cloudy
Washington DC 72 cloudy

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Saturday Tweets_ Mary Lou Retton is Still One of America's Girls

Here are some tweets gathered from the 3:00-4:00 p.m. hour, New York time, when it was 7:00 p.m. in Akureyri, Iceland and 10:00 p.m. in Tel Aviv, Israel:

1) @WNYC (WNYC-New York): "Judge Nixes NYC's 5-Borough Taxi Overhaul."

2) @Sports_Greats: "Be cocky. Walk into the Georgia Dome like you own it_ Mary Lou Retton" (The 1984 American Olympic gymnast from West Virginia is pictured top).

3) @ColoradoRapids: "We are too @DenverZoo: #Rapids very excited for 2nd annual Wildlife Education Night and match today versus Chivas USA!" (The soccer team from Denver, Colo., tied Chivas USA of Los Angeles 1-1 tonight; one of their star players Conor Casey is pictured bottom).

4) @TheRealNimoy (Leonard Nimoy who played Mr. Spock on "Star Trek," pictured center): "They're saying many people won't care enough to vote in November. I hope they're wrong. Let's not slide backward to old policies."

5) @UGAGymnastics (University of Georgia Gymnastics): "A BIG thanks to all the fans who came out to picture day today. We couldn't do what we do without you all! It's Great to be a Bulldog!"



New Words to Live By

For those of us who grew up in the 1970s and '80s, one conjures up image of early rap or hip-hop bands, such as Run DMC (pictured), but lately urban has been associate with hip and happening. Here are two works we found in "The Urban Dictionary," which definitely would not have existed in Run DMC's heyday circa 1987.

We also found out tonight through a quiz on "The Mental Floss"web site that the teen comedy classic "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" that RHS was rivals with the Lincoln High School Sea Wolves (we missed that one!)

FACEBOOK CRUSH: A crush on a Facebook friend characterized by urges to revisit the friends' Photos tab and repeatedly check to see what is written on the person of the crush's FB page.

MESSAGE ANXIETY: The act of pausing, freezing up or dreading a possible negative email, text or voice mail.

One can also check into our ever-changing lingo through the NPR series "Way with Words."

Quote of the Week- Kabo Abe

Today, we quote the late Japanese novelist Kobo Abe (1924-1993) who penned an erotic masterpiece "The Woman in the Dunes" (1962) which was made into an excellent film in 1964. I had a chance to find it in the Hollins University library in Roanoke, Va., some years ago.

Here is the quote from Abe (from the novel):

"Defeat begins with the fear that one has lost."

Quote of the Day_ Naguid Mahfouz

Today, we quote the late Egyptian writer Naguid Mahfouz (1911-2006) who is perhaps best-known for penning "Midaq Alley" (1966) which takes place in urban Cairo. Strangely, the film was made into a film in Mexico with Selma Hayek, before her super-stardom.

"Events at home, at work, in the street_ these are the bases for a story."

Friday, August 17, 2012

Quotes from Famous World Writers, contd._ Voltaire

Today, we continue our quotes with one from the late French writer and intellectual figure Voltaire (1694-1778). We imagine one can find some of his works at the Boulder Bookstore in Boulder, Colo.

Those of us who have tried creative writing can certainly identify with Voltaire on this quip.

Here is the quote:

"The only reward to be expected from the cultivation of literature is contempt if one fails and hatred if one succeeds."

Quote of the Day_ Vladamir Nabokov

Today, we quote the Russian emigre novelist Vladamir Nabokov (1899-1977), who is most famous for penning the highly controversial novel "Lolita" (1955). We presume one can find this novel at the Regulator Bookstore in Durham, NC, one of our favorite independent bookstores.

Here is the quote:

"You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style."

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Quote from International Writers_ Franz Kafka

This just in, a mere three days after they have their vice presidential candidates debate in Danville, Ky., Vice President Joe Biden and his challenger Paul Ryan will have a wrestling match during half-time of the Cincinnati Bengals-Cleveland Browns game in Cleveland on Oct. 24th. They chose the occasion because Ohio is a swing state; I'm sure the late comic actor Andy Kaufman would be proud.

We are joking, of course, but like us, the satirical publication "The Onion" is having fun at the candidates' expense, one recent 'story' this week said that perhaps Paul Ryan should have told Mitt Romney about the guy he's dating.

With that, today we start a series of quotes from famous world-known writers. And, we begin with the Czech writer Franz Kafka (1883-1924), whom I'm amazed to see that I've actually outlived him, as he died in his very early forties.

Kafka is well-known for penning "The Trial" (1925); here is his quote:

"A book should be an axe, to break the frozen sea within us."

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Republicans Are Coming! The Republicans Are Coming!

This just in_ tonight in Las Vegas, Republican vice presidential nominee Cong. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), who is to the right of my namesake Attila the Hun, told a partisan crowd that USA Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney, who won a gold and silver in London, will replace Gov. Chris Christie as the keynote speaker at the Republican Party National Convention during the week of Aug. 27th in Tampa, Fla.

Maroney is also a worldwide social media sensation as the use of her image when getting a silver on the vault has made her a meme.

We are kidding of course, though we wanted to calculate the weight difference between Christie, who has a major weight problem somewhere around 300 pounds, and Maroney, who weighs 105 pounds, according to Bing.

And, oh yes, we had to capitalize on the Discovery Channel's Shark Week, which seems like a great filler  from the Olympics to the Republican convention. We should point out that not all Republicans are like sharks in a tank, but if we mentioned their names, we might cost them their seats (this is a center-left blog, when we discuss political matters, which is not always the case). Although since he has been in Congress for 32 years, I suppose I can admit I really admire Cong. Frank Wolf (R-Va) for his stance on human rights, particularly Sudan.

Our intention during Shark Week II is to cover the convention both subjectively (as in the Cenk Uygur of Current-TV sense) and objectively (as in the Charlie Rose sense) as well as get some views from some partisan right-wingers (in the Dennis Miller sense).

So, whether you prefer Nancy Pelosi or Michele Bachmann, we look forward to seeing here in 11 days.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

And, Now a Word from Our Sponsors_ Brush Your Teeth with Astera

Today, we are trying to connect with blog readers from eastern Europe with a Czech beer, a Bulgarian toothpaste and a Turkish cola beverage; none of these are openly available in the United States, though Turkish stores like Haromny Market in Cary, NC, a suburb of Raleigh will likely carry Cola Turka.

We came up with this idea while rummaging through our back catalog of blog entries from the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Though a number of name athletes like Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps came back for another Olympics in London, three of my favorite athletes from 2008: Alicia Sacramone, 24, USA, gymnastics, Merel Mooren, 29, Netherlands, beach volleyball and Elvan Abeylegesse, 29, a woman who won two silvers running for Turkey who is originally from Ethiopia in Beijing, were not in London. In fact, Elvan just recently had a baby!

But, it was still a fun Olympics, except at the end, I had Bob Costas fatigue and there were all those annoying commercials.

So, in that spirit, we are promoting these three products, which will not find at the Food Lion in Mount Jackson, Va.:

1) Poutnik Beer is a popular beer in the Czech Republic, reportedly this is especially true around Christmas time; it is brewed in the village of the same name.

2) Astera Toothpaste is apparently the leading toothpaste in Bulgaria. The web site for the product actually has this tagline in English: "The toothpaste that care for the whole family."

3) Cola Turka, first introduced in 2003, actually had a series of commercials featuring Chevy Chase_ of all people, a fact made more ironic because there are very few golf courses in Turkey (forgive the "Caddyshack" reference) . (in Dutch)

The Finish Line_ Track, Rhythmic Gymnastics and Volleyball

The 2012 London Olympics have been finished for close to 48 hours, but we are finally catching up with them in this our final entry regarding the successful summer games.

1) Let's start with Australian track star Sally Pearson, 25,  (pictured top) who won gold in the 100-meters hurdles. It has to be one of the most challenging track and field events, after pole vault. In her field, Pearson was able to win over stiff competition finish less than a second faster that even sixth place finisher Phylicia George of Canada. Pearson had won silver in the same event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and she beat out American Dawn Harper, the gold winner from the '08 games, who finished with silver in London. Kellie Wells, also of the United States, got bronze. There was an essential tie between Lolo Jones (USA, fourth) and Nevin Yanit (Turkey, fifth).

2) Though the Soviet Union had won three gold medals in men's volleyball, Russia has only managed silver and bronze. But, that changed in London. Thanks to the 31 points from Dmitriy Muserskiy who scored 31 points in the final, which was a come-from-behind upset over Brazil (19-25, 20-25, 29-27, 25-22, 15-9). The oldest member of Team Russia is Sergey Tetyukhin (pictured center), 36. He was on the Russian team which won silver in 2000, followed by the bronze medal teams from 2004 and 2008.

3) Though Israel did not win any Olympic medals, Neta Rivkin, 21, (pictured below) put in an impressive performance which earned her seventh place in the all-around competition, which was won by Russian Yevgeniya Kanayeva. Rivkin is the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants; she won the first world medal ever for Israel in the sport when she won individual bronze in the hoop competition at the world championships in France in 2011. In 2008, she was the youngest member of the Israeli delegation at the Beijing Olympics at age 17. (sister blog)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Four Who Finished Fourth- The Men

This is a complementary piece to our entry on women who finished fourth at the Olympics at our other blog "The Daily Vampire"

1. Bernard Lagat, 37, USA (originally from Kenya), track and field/men's 5,000 meters (pictured below)_ Ironically, a Kenyan runner Thomas Pkerei Longosiwa kept Lagat from a bronze medal. Lagat had successfully competed for Kenya at the 2000 Sydney Olympics (bronze) and the 2004 Athens Olympics (silver). He began running for the USA in 2005. Lagat finished his race in 13:42.99, a mere one second less than the Kenyan who got bronze.

2. Andrea Baldini, 26, Italy, fencing (foil, pictured second)_ We debated about including Baldini as he did win team gold in the foil fencing competition. But, in the individual competition, the globally recognized fencer came in fourth. He lost to Choi Byung-Chui of South Korea in the bronze medal match. Italy came away with seven medals in fencing though, which was more than any other country.

3. Raymond van der Biezen, 25, Netherlands, BMX biking (pictured third)_ This was the second Olympics for the Dutch biker as he came in second at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. This year in spite of an outstanding first run he finished fourth, just behind Carols Oquendo of Colombia. Maris Stromberg of Latvia won the event, which was the only gold for his country.

4. Kenenisa Bekele, 30, Ethiopia, track and field/men;s 10,000 meters (pictured top)_ He way well be the only athlete in London to lose a meda to his younger brother as Tarike Bekele, also running for Ethiopia got the bronze medal. But, the older Bekele still has more Olympic medals as he has won a total of three gold medals and one silver medal in Athens and Beijing.


Monday Morning Tweets_ The Agony of Swedish Defeat

The images are of 1) Spiro Agnew- Richard Nixon's first vice president who resigned over scandal 2) The Swedish handball team and 3) A debate between Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot in 1992.

Here is a rundown of some eye-catching tweets we saw one hour ago:

1) @PamGrier (actress Pam Grier): "Missy Elliott Had 'No Clue' About Aaliyah album" (This is in reference to swimmer Missy Elliott of the United States who several gold medals at the Olympics).

2) @Todayszaman ("Today's Zaman" is an English-language newspaper): "Number of Syrian refugees in Turkey nears 60,000."

3) @DailyNewsEgypt: "Iranian President in significant visit to Saudi Arabia" (Iran and Saudi Arabia have ironically been political rivals).

4) @RadioSweden: "Sweden's not so shabby Olympic performance" (The link indicated there were some pleasant surprises for Sweden at the games, but that the men's handball team 22-21 loss to France in the gold medal game was a profound disappointment; handball is very popular in Scandinavian countries).

5) @Electionate (Nate Cohn): "Instead the Ryan plan produced movement among the 'rising American electorate and independents."  (Cohn is a writer for the center-left American magazine "The New Republic," in case you were in the Andes Mountains of Bolivia over the weekend, Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan as his running mate).

6) @DavidFrum (David Frum): "Shouldn't congressional Republicans propose some pilot programs to test whether premium support will control costs effectively?" (Frum is a former speech-writer for George W. Bush who coined the term 'axis of evil.' He has been critical of the fringe Tea Partiers within the Republican Party. Ironically, he was given a seemingly friendly profile in the very liberal magazine "The Nation").

7) @KatrinaNation (Katrina vanden Heuvel): "Great that first time a woman will moderate presidental debates, but will we tough questions? That's what debates should be about." (She is the managing editor of "The Nation").

8) @LOLGOP: "Ryan is the most extreme GOP nominee in a century. The most extreme GOP VP nominee in 4 years is scary enough." (This tweet is why we chose Spiro Agnew; there were too many for Paul Ryan and most were unusable).

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Our Favorite Gymnasts_ Goksu, Vanessa, Aly, et al.

The 2012 London Olympics are coming to a close and we are perhaps the last people in the world to see Eric Idle reprise the famous Monty Python song "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life"

But, we wanted to look at six Olympic gymnasts from around the world who left an impression with us during the summer games:

1) Goksa Uctas, 21, Turkey (pictured top)_ Since I am a Turkish-American, and each of us watched helplessly in agony during the days of the horrific 1999 earthquake, the Uctas story is a particularly moving one. But, one does not need to be of Turkish heritage to identify with this remarkable athlete and her accomplishments. Uctas was nine years old when the earthquake struck the part of Turkey she was living in. She has gone on to become the first gymnast to represent Turkey at the Olympics. Uctas was recently profiled in "The New York Times." Prior to the Olympics, where she competed on the balance beam, Uctas won a silver medal at the 2009 Mediterranean Games in 2009.

2) Vanessa Ferrari, 21, Italy (pictured center)_ London: With a butterfly tattoo on one of her heels, made more noticeable because most gymnasts perform barefoot, Ferrari represented Italy with an entertaining floor routine. Alas, it was not as technically strong as many of the other gymnasts' routines, so she finished seventh in the competition with a 14.900. Prior to the Olympics, Ferrari, who has a Bulgarian mother, won the 2006 world championships in all-around in Denmark.

3) Aliya Mustafina, 17, Russia, London: Mustafina will leave the Olympics with three medals, including a gold on the uneven bars apparatus, a silver from the team competition and a bronze for the all-around. Mustafina won a tie-breaker with American gymnast Aly Raisman for the bronze. Ironically, Raisman would win a bronze from Romanian gymnast Catalina Ponor for a similar situation.

4) Aly Raisman, 18, USA. London: With three medals, including two golds (team, floor exercise) and a bronze (balance beam), Raisman will leave the UK as the most decorated American gymnast at the Olympics. Her floor music was performed to the Jewish folk song "Hava Nagila" much to the crowd's delight.

5) Sandra Izbasa, 22, Romania. London: Izbasa, a veteran from the 2008 Olympic team that won bronze in Beijing, won a gold on vault and a bronze for team competition. Izbasa finished fifth in the all-around.

6) Oksana Chusovitina, 37, Germany (pictured bottom). London: Yes, that is not a typo, the German gymnast who has also represented Uzbekistan, her home country, and even the Soviet Union (she has been around for quite a while) came to London for a record sixth Olympics. And, Chusovitina performed quite respectfully as she finished fifth on vault right behind her German teammate Janine Berger, 16, who is 21 years younger than the lady from Tashkent.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Politics vs. The Olympics_ A Battle of Tweets

Before we start our round-up of tweets from earlier in the day, let us explain the three images; they are of: 1) Cobi, mascot of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, which Mitt Romney was responsible for putting together (forgive the political humor), 2) American Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney who two medals in London and is now a popular meme on the web and 3) A young Mitt Romney.

We should point out that we had a real task in finding an image of Maroney that could be used as the term "McKayla Maroney meme" has gone viral.

We also want to issue a SPOILER ALERT for those of you in Denver, San Diego or Honolulu as these Olympic events have yet to air in your areas at press time.

There will be an explanation of info in the tweets at the end of this segment:

1) @newsobserver: "Former Riverside High School star Megan Hodge helps U.S. win indoor volleyball silver." *

2) @TheFix: "Paul Ryan in Manassass currently doing a better job than Mitt Romney of telling the Mitt Romney story." **

3) @InsideGym: "Also how amazing was @TomDaley1994?! Terrific performance and handled all the pressure incredibly well! Nicely done, sir!"***

4) @BarackObama: "FACT: Paul Ryan would ban all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest."

5) @WashingtonPost: "U.S. women's basketball wins 5th straight Olympic gold in a rout." ^

6) @GymnasticsView: "McKayla Maroney without MakeUp: The Olympic gymnast goes Bare-Faced."

7) @BorowitzReport: "Paul Ryan being sworn in as President would be a great last scene in Planet of the Apes remake."

*-Brazil upset the United States to win back-to-back gold medals in women's volleyball. Megan Hodge played at Penn State and Riverside High School in Durham, NC. Japan won over South Korea for bronze, but Korean volleyball star Kim Yeon-Koung aka Queen Koung top all scoring in the Olympics with 185 points.

**-For those of you in a cave in Mongolia, Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan as his running mate today.

***-British diver Tom Daley took bronze

^- Team America beat France 86-50; Australia beat Russia 83-74 for bronze

Friday, August 10, 2012

Our Favorite Olympic Athletes_ Alex, April and Kayla, et al

The 2012 London Olympics are gradually drawing to a close, which means the time that was spent watching water polo and fencing can now be spent mowing the lawn or taking the cat to the vet.

Here is a look at some American women athletes who left an impression at the Olympics, irregardless of their medal tallies:

1) Kayla Harrison, 22, Boston, Mass., judo (pictured above)_ Even before she won gold at the summer games by winning over Gemma Gibbons of Great Britain, the story of Harrison was a very moving one. The judoka was sexually abused by her former judo coach during her teen years; and he got a ten-year sentence for that crime. Harrison is also the first American, of either gender, to win gold in judo for the United States.

2) Mariya Koroleva, 22, San Francisco, Calif. (born in Russia), synchronized swimming_ Americans and Canadians dominated synchronized swimming, one of only three sports in which only one gender competes, when the sport was first recognized at the Olympic level. But, in recent years, Russia, China and Spain have been among the top competitors in the sport. Koroleva is, along with fellow Stanford alum Tony Azevedo (born in Brazil) who is captain of the American men's water polo team, one of several athletes representing the United States who was born in a foreign country. Koroleva and her teammate Mary Killman finished 12th in the det competition. The same team won silver at the 2011 Pan American games.

 3) Alex Morgan, 23, Diamond Bar, Calif, soccer_ Morgan kicked the game-winning goal in extra time in a semi-final match against Canada that was won by the Americans by a 4-3 margin. Morgan scored 14 gols during a 12-game international stretch earlier this year. Team America won gold over Japan yesterday by a 2-1 score. Her teammates include the always colorful and out-spoken goalie Hope Solo.

4) April Ross, 30, Costa Mesa, Calif., beach volleyball_ Ross and teammate Jennifer Kessy won silver at the 2012 London Olympics. Earlier in her career, Ross was a stand-out at Stanford University where she helped the Cardinal get to the semi-finals/final four in indoor volleyball.

5) Brittany Viola, 25, St. Paul, Minn., platform diving (pictured below)_ Viola, who is the daughter of former baseball pitcher Frank Viola, trained as a gymnast before switching to diving in her teen years. Viola finished 14th in London; she won the U.S. Olympic trials and competed for the University of Miami (Fla).

6) Dana Vollmer, 24, Syracuse, NY, swimming (pictured center)_ Vollmer had one of the best Olympics of any athlete for the United States. She won three gold medals: 100-meter butterfly, 4 x 100 medley and 4 x 200 free-styler. She previously won a gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics. In total, Vollmer has won 30 international medals.

UPDATE: Since this entry was posted this afternoon, we learned that "The Bleacher Report" posted a list of the 50 hottest American Olympic athletes, and much to our surprise, four of the athletes mentions here, plus Jennifer Kessy, who is the beach volleyball teammate of April Ross, made the list. Kessy was actually number one; the list included both male and female athletes. Also making the list were: Brittany Viola (#8), Alex Morgan (#9), Dana Vollmer (#13), Mariya Koroleva and her teammate Mary Killman (#16).

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Our Favorite Olympic Athletes- Don't Mess with Katie Taylor

Here is a sample of our favorite female athletes at the 2012 London Olympics:

1.Fabian Caludino, 27, volleyball, Brazil_ The Brazilian star who is one of the very best spikers in the world will help her team try to win gold over a talented Team America on Saturday; Brazil won the competition at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

2) Elisa DiFrancisca, 24, fencing (foil), Italy_ The Italian fencer is both a star and a sex symbol in Italy as she has often posed in bikinis for photo shoots. During the London games, she won two gold medals. One for individual foil and one for team foil.

3) Evgenia Kanaeva, 22, rhythmic gymnastics, Russia (pictured bottom)_ The competition in this sport just got started today, and it looks to be a battle between Kaaneva who won gold in Beijing and her Russian teammate Daria Dmitriea.

4) Pandelela Rinonog, 19, diving, Malaysia (pictured center)_ The Malaysian flag-bearer won bronze today in platform diving; it was the first medal for Malaysia outside of badminton.

5) Christine Sinclair, 29, soccer, Canada_ One really has to feel for Sinclair for scoring a hat trick in the team's double-overtime semi-final loss to the United States; Team America won gold today by beating Japan 2-1.

6) Katie Taylor, 26, boxing, Ireland (pictured top)_ The Irish boxer won gold today, as many had expected, by defeating Sofya Octigava in the lightweight division. Taylor won the first and only gold for Ireland at the games so far in the process.