Monday, March 31, 2014

Top Ten Sunday Comic Strips from The Washington Post: Greetings from Easter Island

Another Easter Island gag from the Danish import "WUMO," which replaced "Get Fuzzy" in "The Washington Post" a few months back, is our top choice this week as a smiley face decides it's time to leave Easter Island (it's hard to explain "WUMO" strips for the same reason it's hard to explain Salvador Dali paintings).

Dave Coverly had a hilarious comic strip in "Speed Bump" as well as two prisoners discuss whether or not they want to buy their institution's yearbook. Hilary B. Price's "Rhymes with Orange" had a play on words from a Marvin Gaye song which somehow involved sheep.

Similarly, Darrin Bell's "Candorville" revolved around a discussion of The Milky Way by two African-American males on a living room couch, which involves a joke about the current nature of privacy (or a lack of it) in today's America.

Lastly, "Pearls Before Swine" had a different strip than the one which was in other newspapers. Stephan Pastis, who draws the strip, said publicly today that it was a decision made by "The Washington Post." The removed strip involves extreme political correctness. and the replacement featured a donkey going to a public rage. Ok...........

Here is our top ten:

1. WUMO (see image one, Easter Island)

2. "Speed Bump"

3) "Rhymes with Orange" (see image two, these are two Turkish sheep, we hope they didn't become lamb chops)

4) "Lio"

5) "Candorville"

6) "Pearls Before Swine"

7) "Brewster Rockit: Space Guy"

8) "Doonesbury"

9) "Sherman's Lagoon"

10) "Prickly City"

Monday, March 24, 2014

Top Ten Comics from Sunday Roanoke Times: Dogs on Espressos or Turkish Coffees

Stephan Pastis, the award-winning comic strip artist who writes and draws "Pearls Before Swine" is visiting Fountain Books in Richmond, Va., on Thursday. 'Pearls' takes second place this week behind "Speed Bump," which literally illustrates what dogs would be like if they drank too much caffeine. We imagine this comic strip was liked by (mr) Shannon Wheeler, who created the independent comic book anti-hero Too Much Coffee Man, more than 20 years ago.

Dogs were also featured in "Funky Winkerbean," as therapy dogs (pictured bottom) take center stage.

As for 'Pearls,' the strip features Zebra and Crocodile talking about the ethics of using Norwegian lemmings (pictured center) in a croquet game, which arguably makes the comic strip the most surreal of mainstream comic strips with the exception of perhaps "WUMO," which is not carried by "The Roanoke Times."

One surprise this week thanks to a surprisingly funny "Hi and Lois," the strip makes our top ten as we fully understand how Millenials have taken to things we grew up with, such as typewriters and rotary phones.

Here is our top ten:

1) Speed Bump

2) Pearls Before Swine

3) Agnes

4) Garfield

5) Get Fuzzy

6) Doonesbury

7) Funky Winkerbean

8) Dilbert

9) Zits

10) Hi and Lois

Sunday, March 23, 2014

NCAA March Madness Finale- Angry Birds

1) Delaware Blue Hens (Logo pictured top, Vice President Joe Biden is a fan)

2) Iowa Hawkeyes  (Adam Woodbury, #34, pictured top)

3) Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (Chauncey the Chanticleer is pictured bottom, the school is near Myrtle Beach, SC)

4) Louisville Cardinals*

5) Creighton Bluejays ^

6) North Carolina Central Eagles

7) St. Joseph Hawks

8) Air Force Falcons #

9) Kansas Jayhawks

10) Vanderbilt Commodores #

*-Team advanced to Sweet 16

^- Team has not been eliminated, but is trailing by 20 points at press time

#-Teams which did not make the field of 68 teams

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Canine Nicknames and Mascots Amongst College Basketball Schools

According to a bracketologist for "Slate," the Albany Great Danes, a 16-seed team that lost to the Florida Gators in spite of playing a solid game, would have been the team to win it all based on dog lovers' choices.

But, long before we saw that bracket, we thought of the idea. In fact, we usually post an entry with canine college nicknames every March (we think!).

Here are ten schools with doggie nicknames and doggie mascots:

1) Albany Great Danes.*

2) Univ. of Connecticut Huskies. Jonathan the Husky (pictured top)*

3) Georgetown Hoyas. Jack the Bulldog (former legendary Georgetown coach John Thompson and Patrick Ewing are pictured center)^

4) Boston Univ. Terriers. Rhett the Boston Terrier. (pictured bottom)^

5) Gonzaga Bulldogs. Spike.*

6) Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. ^

7) Wofford Terriers.*

8) Washington U Huskies. Harry the Husky.

9) Southern Illinois Salukis.

10) Yale Bulldogs. Handsome Dan.

Friday, March 21, 2014

NCAA Nicknames: Smart Schools

There is a bit of an in-joke here as the editor has decided to insert his own alma mater, although it is not a college which requires a sky high SAT score for entry. But, the other nine schools have that requirement (not all of these teams are in the NCAA Tournament):

1) Harvard Crimson  Ivy League. Cambridge (Boston), Mass., (John Harvard, the school mascot, pictured top. Yesterday, the school upset Cincinnati. They next face Michigan State)

2) UCLA Bruins. PAC-12. Los Angeles, Calif. (Bryce Alford, the son of UCLA's coach Steve Alford, is pictured along with a teammate. They play Tulsa tonight).

3) Duke Blue Devils. ACC. Durham, NC (The team's cheerleaders are pictured bottom. Amazingly enough, the team is losing by one-point to Mercer in Raleigh, in the NCAA Tournament. Will star player Jabari Parker prevent it?).

4) Radford Highlanders. Big South. Radford, Va. (Yes, this is your's truly's alma mater. Though not in the NCAAs, the team pulled a huge upset in the College Basketball Invitational over Oregon State 96-92 on the Beavers' home court.)

5) UVA Cavaliers. ACC. Charlottesville, Va. (The team is a top-seed, they play Coastal Carolina from the Big South tonight).

6) Cal Poly Mustangs. San Luis Obisco, Calif. Big West. (The 16-seed plays top seed Wichita State tonight).

7) George Washington U Colonials. Washington DC. Atlantic 10. (The team plays Memphis today).

8) Stanford Cardinal. PAC-12. Palo Alto, Calif. (The team is playing New Mexico right now).

9) Northwestern Wildcats. Big 10. Evanston, Ill.. (The team improved this year, but still had a losing season).

10) Colorado Buffaloes.PAC-12. Boulder, Colo. (The team lost to Pitt in the NCAAs yesterday).

Thursday, March 20, 2014

March Madness by the Numbers: How Many Games Has VCU Won?

Let's jump in the pool, so we can watch some games ourselves; here are nine numerical facts about the NCAA Tournament, also known as March Madness, or (SPOILER ALERT) in the case of the Ohio State Buckeyes who just lost to the Dayton Flyers 60-59, March Sadness. For more numerical facts, go to our sister blog

1) 21: Number of points scored by T.J. Warren of North Carolina State in ACC semi-final loss to Duke in the ACC semi-finals in Greensboro, NC.

2) 224: Miles between Charlottesville, Va., and Raleigh, NC, where the top-seed UVA Cavaliers face 16- seed Coastal Carolina, the Big South Tournament champs. Akil Mitchell of UVA is pictured top.

3) 20: Number of games the Wofford Terriers (Spartanburg, SC) have won; the 15-seed faces 2-seed Michigan in the big dance.

4) 4: Numbers of years Ed Cooley has coached the Providence Friars; the teams face the UNC Tar Heels in San Antonio, Tex., tomorrow.

5) 35- Number worn by Anthony Cole of Memphis, the eight-seed face George Washington Univ. (Washington, DC) in the tournament.

6) 74: Number of points scored by Iowa State in their Big 12 title game versus Baylor.

7) 27: Number of years, it has been since UCLA coach Steve Alford, who played for the Indiana Hoosiers, lead his team to an NCAA title in 1987.

8) 26: Number of games won by VCU, the team's coach Shaka Smart is pictured on the bottom.

9) 6: Number of games lost by the Cincinnati Bearcats who are playing Harvard right now.

Early March Madness Tweets: Will UMass Get to the Next Round

There are 16 basketball games being played today in the NCAA Tournament, and there is much excitement about it here in the USA. So, let's get to some tweets that were posted between 11:00 p.m.-midnight last night. We have the comic strip "Dilbert" in the center because today is likely going to be the least productive day in offices from Portland, Maine, to Honolulu, Hawaii.

Here are the tweets:

1) Reed Avers: This Tennessee-Iowa game is everything MarchMadness is supposed to be (Tennessee won the game in overtime; they will next face U-Mass)

2) Travis O'Dell: "My mom thinks I'm sleeping, but she's crazy, it's March Madness"

3) Robbie Litchfield: "My top four teams are Florida, Mich St, Arizona and Louisville."

4) Hailey Morgan: Finally got all my brackets filled out.

5) Cam Marnouch: This game means nothing, both teams will beat UMass in the next round. BUT I AM SO STRESSED ABOUT IT.

6) Chris Bowie: Hey! Tomorrow is Irish People Go Back to Work Day! (Well, Notre Dame is not in the NCAA Tournament)

7) News-Observer (Raleigh, NC, newspaper): See 88 images from the practice by NC State in Orlando.

8) Carolina Basketball: The Tar Heels have landed in San Antonio.

9) VCU Ram Nation: Vegas odds for title....VCU No. 21

NOTE: The top image is of Florida Gators coach Billy Donovan; the team is the top-seed in the tournament.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

College Gymnastics Lists (4 of 4): Big 10 Gymnasts

1) Sunny Kato, Illinis. Junior (pict. top)

2) Sachi Sugiyama. Michigan. Junior (pict. center)

3) Jessie DeZiel. Nebraska. Junior (pict. bottom)

4) Alex DeLuca. Ohio St. Senior.

5) Mollie Derth. Iowa. Fresh.

6) Lisa Burt, Michigan State, Soph.

7) Nicole Medvitz. Penn St. Fresh.

8) Jamie Schleppenbach. Nebraska. Senior (yes, she may have the longest last name in the sport)

9) Cierra Tomson, Minnesota. Junior.

10) Sarah Fielder. Illinois. Senior

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

College Gymnastics List (3 or 4): EAGL and Big 12 Gymnasts Combined

If one thinks college basketball is confusing with conference realignments, then one should consider some of the things happening with college gymnastics.

For starters, the Big 12 Conference has only ten teams in most sports, and one of those teams is West Virginia University which is quite far away from conference rival Texas Tech. But, WVU has a women's gymnastics teams and Texas Tech doesn't. In fact, there are only three schools in the Big 12 with women's gymnastics programs, Oklahoma, which is a contender for a national championship, and Iowa State.

Then, there is the EAGL Conference which included some ACC schools, some Big East schools, and some Atlantic-10 schools, but next year, EAGL members Rutgers and Maryland are joining the Big 10. West Virginia was also an EAGL member; in fact, the Mountaineers have still won more conference titles than the other schools, before they moved to the Big 12.

So, in this entry, we are combining the two conferences, and if you are reading this entry in 2015, keep these changes in mind.

Without further confusion (we can imagine that blog-readers in Hong Kong are scratching their heads), here is the list:

1) Haley Watts, University of North Carolina. Junior (pictured top)

2) Henrietta Green, Iowa State*. Senior (pictured center)

3) Stephanie Giameo. Maryland^. Junior (pictured bottom)

4) Diahanna Ham. North Carolina State. Senior.

5) Nicolette Swoboda. West Virginia* Freshman.

6) Taylor Spears. Oklahoma*. Senior.

7) Nicole Pearson. Pittsburgh. Sophomore.

8) Alyssa Straub, Rutgers^. Senior

9) Meghan Pflieger. Univ. of New Hampshire. Freshman.

10) Lauren Ross, Towson, Junior.

George Washington University (GWU) is also an EAGL member.

*-Denotes Big 12 schools

^-Denotes schools moving to the Big Ten next year

Monday, March 17, 2014

College Gymnasts List (2 of 4): The All-Stars

March Madness is actually not just going on in college basketball, but women's college gymnastics as well. We imagine if Dick Vitale of ESPN were announcing gymnastics meets, he would call these collegiate athletes PTP'ers (Prime Time Players):

1) Rheagan Courville. LSU. Junior (pictured top)

2) Lindsay Mable. Minnesota. Sophomore (pictured middle)

3) Katerhine Grable. Arkansas. Senior (pictured bottom)

4) Kassidy Stauder. Penn State. Senior.

5) Stephanie Ouellette. North Carolina State. Senior.

6) Tory Wilson. Utah. Junior.

7) Kim Jacob. Alabama. Senior (She is originally from Raleigh, NC)

8) Kytra Hunter. Florida. Junior.

9) Danusia Francis. UCLA. Sophomore (Francis recorded a perfect 10 over the weekend)

10) Hope Sloanhoffer. West Virginia. Senior.

College Gymnastics Lists 1 of 4 (The Freshman)

Here is the first entry on this blog dedicated to college gymnasts; we begin with a list of 10 talented freshman. Alas, finding images of freshman gymnasts on the web proved to be daunting, so we offer some of their school mascots instead:

1) Kelly Burak, Pitt (Ron the Panther, pictured top)

2) Sasha Sander, Missouri (Truman the Tiger, pictured center)

3) Amanda Jetter, Alabama (Big Al, pictured bottom)

4) Meggie Lim, Auburn

5) Erin Buchanan, Illionois

6) Alex DeMoura, George Washington U

7) Rachel Daum, Stanford

8) Tenille Funches, Ohio State

9) Kendall Adams, Brigham Young U

10) Leah Lomonte, Denver

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Our Favorite Comic Strips from The Roanoke Times: Another Comic Strip Hero Appears in Pearls Before Swine

Greetings to those of you in France, India and Ireland (Happy St. Patrick's Day as well to you).

Here is a synopsis and survey of our ten favorite comic strips from "The Roanoke Times" (Sunday, March 16th edition):

"Pearls Before Swine:" Stephan Pastis, who is in the middle of a national book store tour that will include stops at Fountain Books in Richmond, Va. (on March 27th) and Park Road Books in Charlotte, NC (on March 28th), did a hilarious take on the delicate art of being a police sketch artist. In the process, Charlie Brown of "Peanuts," makes a cameo in the seventh panel.

"Agnes:" Tony Cochran's strip is usually difficult to explain and this week's Sunday strip is no exception, but it does not involve the late actress Agnes Moorehead (pictured center) of TV's "Bewitched" fame. Rather, it depicts Agnes, the neurotic little girl, trying to show her friend a homemade plush doll with a very strange face. Vincent Price would have been proud!

"Speed Bump:" We'll just say it's the funniest comic strip with a dog that we think might be a Yorkshire terrier (pictured bottom) that we've seen all year!

Here is the survey:

1) Pearls Before Swine

2) Agnes

3) Speed Bump

4) Dilbert

5) Doonesbury

6) Funky Winkerbean

7) Garfield

8) Get Fuzzy

9) Zits

10) Blondie

Friday, March 14, 2014

On Stage: The Zombies Are Set to Invade Chapel Hill

Amazingly enough, we thought The Zombies were some new heavy metal, like Dillinger Escape Plan, but as it turns out there are the revolutionary psychedelic '60s band known for smash hits like "Time of the Season," "She's Not There" and "Tell Her No."

The Zombies perform in Chapel Hill, NC, at Cat's Cradle (well, actually the venue is in neighboring Carrboro) on April 18th at 8:00 p.m.; tickets for the event are $32-35.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

When It's 8:00 p.m. in New York, It's (now) 8:00 p.m. in Athens (until March 30th)

Yes, for all we know, the sushi pictured on the bottom might well be from a shopping mall food court in Fort Worth, Texas, as opposed to an authentic Japanese sushi eatery in Tokyo, but we need to get this entry up so we can watch the exciting clash of the NBA titans tonight as the Washington Wizards battle the Charlotte Bobcats (forgive the American sports humor!).

On Sunday morning, there was a one hour 'spring forward' across North America, and most of us Americans and our Canadian friends are still recovering from it.

Here are the times around the world which will be in effect when it becomes 8:00 p.m. here in the Eastern time zone, which includes the American cities of New York, Boston, Detroit, Washington D.C, Atlanta and Orlando and the Canadian cities of Toronto and Montreal:

1) Athens 2:00 a.m. (same time as Istanbul)

2) Berlin 1:00 a.m. (pictured middle)

3) Houston/St.Louis 7:00 p.m.

4) Rio de Janeiro 9:00 p.m.

5) Tokyo 9:00 a.m.

6) Dubai (pictured top) 4:00 a.m.

7) Honolulu 2:00 p.m.

8) Tel Aviv 2:00 a.m.

9) Beijing 8:00 a.m.

10) Warsaw 1:00 a.m.

11) Seattle 5:00 p.m.

12) Tunis 1:00 a.m.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Democrats Who May Run for President in 2014: Hillary Plus Nine

There was a great cover for the center-left magazine "The New Republic" which showed Hillary Clinton is a room with 100 women who were wearing Elizabeth Warren masks. The presumed point the illustrator was making is that Hillary Clinton has two challenges, besides separating herself from husband Bill Clinton, that is: 1) rallying younger and more progressive voters to her political bid for the highest office and 2) maintaining the support of centrist or even conservative Democrats who could help Democrats maintain Virginia and Florida and possibly gain North Carolina and Georgia in 2016.

Here is our look at ten Democrats we feel may very well choose to run for president in the 2016 cycle; we should point out to folks that we are NOT Gwen Ifill, the veteran PBS politics reporter:

1) Hillary Clinton (New York,pictured top)

2) Sen. Mark Warner (Virginia, pictured middle)

3) Sen. Tim Kaine (Virginia)

4)  Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass., pictured bottom)

5) Gov. Martin O'Malley (Maryland)

6) Gov. Andrew Cuomo (New York)

7) Gov. Deval Patrick (Mass.)

8) Sen. Cory Booker (New Jersey)

9) Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (New York; she replaced Clinton in the Senate)

10) Vice President Joe Biden (Delaware)

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Top 10 Sunday Comic Strips from "The Washington Post:" We Love WUMO Again

Hermit crabs were mentioned in two comic strips: Two which made our top ten........"Sherman's Lagoon" and "Mark Trail." And, there were Daylight Savings Time gags in "Foxtrot" and "Rhymes with Orange" as well as appearances by aliens in "Lio" and "The Argyle Sweater." Plus, there was the return of Mister Butts in "Doonesbury."

The Danish import "WUMO" is our top Sunday comic strips from "The Washington Post" even though the joke about an airline going into outer space seems to be a jolting coincidence given the missing Malaysian Airlines plane tragedy, but we think our friends at Turkish Airlines will like the use of their image here (we only know one person who works for them, actually!).

"Speed Bump" scored again as the single panel comic strip depicts the horror of a couple having breakfast as they are approached by very large bed bugs, which reminds us of the epidemic hotels in Raleigh, NC, had with the insects several years back.

Finally, Lio and his buddies from outer space go a Red Box machine and pick out Steven Spielberg's "E.T.," which we had difficulty finding an image of.

Here is our top ten:

1. "WUMO"

2. "Speed Bump"

3. "Lio"

4. "Sherman's Lagoon"

5. "Agnes"

6. "Reply All"

7. "Big Nate"

8. "Rhymes with Orange"

9. "Doonesbury"

10. "Mark Trail"

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Quote of the Day: The Dalai Lama

His Holiness the Dalia Lama of Tibet made an appearance on Capitol Hill this week, of all places, to offer the opening prayer for Congress. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va) was among those who had photographs taken with the most recognized Buddhist in the world.

The Dalai Lama also came to Washington, DC, as CPAC 2014, a gathering of arch conservatives like Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) were essentially giving rough drafts of would-be TED Talks focusing on how wimpy President Barack Obama has allegedly been with regards to Russian head of state Vladamir Putin regarding the hostile takeover of the Crimean Peninsula in the Black Sea coast of Ukraine.

Of course, many Republicans, such as Rudy Giuliani have professed admiration for Putin, which lead center-left political columnist E.J. Dionne of "The Washington Post" to suggest on NPR that Republicans are suffering from Putin Envy.

His Holiness was also in Washington, DC, when the Washington Capitals were playing vital home games. The Caps were able to put away the Phoenix Coyotes last night 3-2; we imagine very few people in Tibet or Bhutan watch pro hockey games.

Here is our quote from the Dalia Lama:

"The true hero is one who conquers his own anger and hatred." (Boulder Zen Society in Boulder, Colo.)

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Quote of the Day: Marion Cotillard

Though fan boys know her best for being in one of the Batman movies, French actress Marion Cotillard is an Oscar-winning actress who also played a double-amputee (?!) in the acclaimed French film "Rust and Bone."

We are quoting her in honor of International Women's Day:

"I don't think you learn how to act. You learn how to use your emotions and feelings."

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Next Ten Films We Hope to Stream from Netflix: Finding the 179 Minutes for Blue is the Warmest Color

It may be a while before we can get to all ten of these films, especially the French film "Blue is the Warmest Color," which was a sensation at the last Cannes Film Festival and is apparently one of the films which is being most streamed this week on Netflix. One problem is that the film does run for two hours and 59 minutes! It depicts a lesbian relationship between two teenagers and the film received an NC-17 rating here in the United States.

Other films on the list include the documentaries about death row ("Into the Abyss") and the revolution in Egypt ("The Square," which was nominated for an Oscar; the film was also started by a Kickstarter campaign).

Here is the list:

1) Blue is the Warmest Color (France. 2013. dir. Abdellatif Kechiche; top image)

2) Barbara (Germany. 2012, dir. Christian Petzold).

3) Upstream Color (2013. dir. Shane Caruth)

4) Pretty in Pink (1986. dir. Howard Deutch, love the soundtrack!)

5) Malena (Italy. 2000. dir. Giuseppe Tornatore)

6) Into the Abyss (doc. 2011. dir. Werner Herzog, middle image)

7) The Square (doc. 2013. dir. Jehane Noujaim)

8) Punch-Drunk Love (2002. dir. Paul Thomas Anderson; one of the best film roles of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman)

9) Alps (Greece. 2011. dir. Giorgos Lanthimos)

10) No One Knows About Persian Cats (Iran. 2009. dir. Bahman Ghobadi, bottom image) (Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, based in Charlottesville) (Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty) (Caswell County Animal Shelter in Yanceyville, NC, due south of Danville, Va) (Baltimore Animal Shelter)