Monday, June 30, 2014

World Cup Lists (2 of 4): Players with Long Last Names

You think you have a tough time getting prescription medications filled at the Rite-Aid on Battleground Avenue in Greesnboro, NC? Well, imagine how you would feel if you the burden of these long and difficult names. Of course, Greece, Iran and Russia provided us with some of the longest names you would find in a Dayton, Ohio, phone book!

NOTE: If we make a mistake spelling anyone's name, it's not like we Jenny Slate on "Saturday Night Live," but even after the f-bomb incident, her career is doing well. Of course, she's no longer with "SNL."

Here we go:

1. Lazaros Christodoulpoulos. 27. Greece. Club team: Bologna (Italy)

2. Dimitris Salpingidis. 32. Greece. PAOK (Greece)

3. Alireza Jahanbakhsh. 20. Iran. NEC Nijmegen (Holland; pict. bottom)

4. Stephan Lichsteiner. 30. Switzerland. Juventus (Italy)

5. Mario Mandzukic. 28. Croatia. Bayern Munich.

6. Vincent Aboubakar. 22. Cameroon. Lorient (France; pict. center)

7. Bastian Schweinsteiger. 29. Germany. Bayern Munich. (pict. top)

8. Aron Johannsson. 23. USA. AZ Alkmaar (Holland)

9. Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu. 23. Ghana. Udinese (Italy)

10. Raul Meireles. 31. Portugal. Fenerbahce (Turkey)

11. Chris Wondolowski. 31. USA. San Jose Earthquakes (USA/MLS)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

World Cup Lists (1 of 4): The Goal-Keepers

Greetings to our readers in Panama, Canada and the Czech Republic, who are among the many countries which alas did not make the World Cup field of 32.

We start our series of World Cup lists with a look at the goal-keepers for teams that have made the knock-out round of 16 in Brazil:

1) Jasper Cillessen. Netherlands. Age 25. Ajax Amsterdam (pictured top)

2) Fernando Muslera. Uruguay. 28. Galatasaray (Turkey; pictured center)

3) Vincent  Enyeama. Nigeria. 31. Lille (France; pictured bottom)

4) Orestis Karnezis. Greece. 28. Granada (Spain)

5) Julio Cesar. Brazil. 34. Toronto FC (Canada/MLS)

6) Tim Howard. USA. 35. Everton (USA)

7) David Ospina. Colombia. 25. Nice (France)

8) Keylor Navas. Costa Rica. 27. Levante (France)

9) Diego Benglio. Switzerland. 30. Wolfsburg (Germany)

10) Sergio Romero. Argentina. 31. Monaco (France)

11)  Thibut Courtois. Belgium. 22. Chelsea (England)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Rat is Back: Pearls Before Swine is Our Favorite Sunday Comic Strip in the Roanoke Times

"Pearls Before Swine" focused on a dinosaur named Moneysaurus which featured a surprising cameo with a character from "Dilbert," we assume Stephan Pastis had Scott Adams' ok. "Speed Bump" featured a visit from the Grim Reaper which, of course, always reminds of us Ingmar Bergman's "The Seventh Seal" (pictured center). "Doonesbury" featured Garry Trudeau making fun of those who deny global warming which makes us assume that Eric Cantor has not read Al Gore's stirring commentary piece in "Rolling Stone" (current issue) about that very topic. But, then again, Cantor seems to have other worries as does Spanish Ambassador Ramon Gil-Casares, who is probably still stunned by how bad Spain played in the 2014 World Cup.

Here are our top ten favorite comic strips from "The Roanoke Times:"

1. Pearls Before Swine

2. Speed Bump

3. Doonesbury

4. Get Fuzzy

5. Funky Winkerbean

6. Garfield

7. Zits

8. Dilbert

9. Agnes

10. Non-Sequitur

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Comic Strips Grand Slam (4 of 4): We Really, Really Like Bleeker the Rechargeable Dog

Personally, we think two of the best comic strips around are "Bleeker: The Rechargeable Dog" by Jonathan Mahood and "The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee" by John Hambrook. But, alas promoting these great comic strips with their own image might be grounds for copyright infringement and since we don't make a dime for blogging, we are going to go with images of Cong. Eric Cantor (R-Va), the recipient of last week's Worst Week in Washington in "The Washington Post" (we asked Chris Cillizza, the political reporter who writes the piece to consider the Spanish ambassador this week, but alas, we got no response), Tim Howard, the goal keeper for Team USA who plays professionally for some team in England, and the late, great Jacques Cousteau instead.

We hope Mahood and Hambrook appreciate our efforts to go out of the way to avoid copyright infringement.

These strips are all in the Kings Features' comic wheel, which also includes "Barney Google and Snuffy Smith" from our good friend John Rose, alas his strip did not make our top ten (Note: These are last Sunday's strips, the new batch of brownies is already out of the even_ they won't get that joke in Dubai, will they?):

1)  Bleeker the Rechargeable Dog

2) The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee

3) Retail

4) Arctic Circle

5) Dustin

6) Tina's Groove

7) Sherman's Lagoon

8) Rhymes with Orange

9) Deflocked

10) The Pajama Diaries

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sunday Comics Grand-Slam (3 of 4): Pickup Lines for Satan

This week, we have a special surprise as we profile our top ten favorite comic strips from "The Richmond Times-Dispatch," not one of the two regular newspapers we profile in our weekly comic strips survey.

Our favorite comic strip of the week is "Pardon My Planet," a cutting edge single panel comic strip, along the lines of "The Far Side" and "Rhymes with Orange," which had the devil trying to pick up a young blonde woman in a strip which evoked the famous Edward Hopper painting "Nighthawks," with James Dean, Humphrey Bogart and Marilyn Monroe.

The break-our comic strip "Dustin," which also runs in "The Washington Post" features the title character having a discussion with his girlfriend over who said a famous quote; the strip is made funnier by the fact that Dustin has an iPhone which can verify his or her argument.

"Mark Trail," an always informative strip, talked about the lifestyles of bears in the wild, and the reader learns that a grizzly bear can get up to 1,100 pounds as an adult! These creatures which are commonly found in Alaska were recently videoed by a very brave photographer and the magazine "Grit" showed the taken footage, which reminded us of the Werner Herzog documentary "Grizzly Man."

Lastly, "Funky Winkerbean" revolved around a family vacation to the beach which included the family dog (yeah, that's the reason for our image of Astro the Dog from "The Jetsons") which seems quite suitable as (to our memory) the comic is also found in "The Myrtle Beach Sun-News," the local paper for Myrtle Beach, SC.

Here is our top ten:

1. Pardon My Planet

2. Dustin

3. Doonesbury

4. Foxtrot

5. Mark Trail

6. Funky Winkerbean

7. Rhymes with Orange

8. Get Fuzzy

9. Dilbert

10. Grin and Bear It

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Comic Strip Grand Slam (2 of 4): Be Aware of Ticks When You Go on a Picnic

Greetings again, for today's entry, we take a look at the Sunday comic strips as published in the June 15th issues of "The Washington Post," which has amazingly remained in tact since billionaire Jeff Bezos took over the newspaper a few months ago.

Some of our favorites this week included the Danish import "WUMO" which made fun of animal rights PETA activists going for an outdoor picnic and not being allowed to go after wasps, hornets or ticks (pictured above), which might be enough to make one not take a picnic at Hawks Nest Park in West Virginia.

"The Argyle Sweater" took a great swipe at American cowboys who were called Texas Strangers (as opposed to Texas Rangers, no we're not talking about the baseball team).

"Speed Bump" imagined Superman taking a vacation, while "Dustin" showed a dispute over who gave a famous quote (Winston Churchill or Mark Twain). Meanwhile, "Reply All" showed what can happen when a hipster chick decides to let her thoughts drift during a yoga class while "Brewster Rockit" showed the consequences of a stupid mistake in outer space.

Lastly, Keith Knight provided a wonderful Father's Day strip in "Knight Life"  as he showed an unusual way to reassure little boys that there are no monsters under the bed.

Here is our top ten:


2. The Argyle Sweater

3. Speed Bump

4. Dustin

5. Reply All

6. Brewster Rockit

7. Knight Life

8. Sherman's Lagoon

9. Lio

10. Prickly City

Monday, June 16, 2014

Comic Strip Grand Slam (1 of 4): Doonesbury Takes It All

Paintball. Leaving the kid you are supposed to be baby-sitting outside while you go into a bar. Monkeys in Space. Brings Your Kid to Work Days. An out-of-season April Fool's prank.

All of these were topics from the June 8th edition of "The Roanoke Times," for our favorites from "The Washington Post" (also from June 8th) go to our sister blog "The Daily Vampire:"

Here are our top ten favorites:

1. Doonesbury (paintball image)

2. Pearls Before Swine (beer image)

3. Funky Winkerbean (monkeys in space image)

4. Dilbert

5. Get Fuzzy

6. Zits

7. Garfield

8. Speed Bump

9. Non-Sequitir

10. Baby Blues

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Last Ten Films We've Seen......Imports and Exports

1. Dark Horse. 2011. dir.- Todd Solondz w/ Selma Blair and Christopher Walken.

2. The People vs. George Lucas doc. 2010. dir- Alexander O. Philippe

3. Dust Devil. 1992. dir- Richard Stanley

*4. Bal/Honey. Turkey. 2010. dir.- Semih Kaplanoglu

5. They Might Be Giants. 1971. dir- Anthony Harvey w/George C. Scott and Joanne Woodward

6. Wrong. 2012. dir.- Quentin Dupieux (the director of "Rubber," a film about a tire that kills people)

7. Cave of Forgotten Dreams. doc. 2012. dir- Werner Herzog

8. King of California. 2007. dir. Mike Cahill w/Michael Douglas

9. Between Us. 2012. dir- Dan Miriush w/Julia Stiles

10. Locke. 2013. dir- Steven Knight

*-Film we have previously watched before

Saturday, June 7, 2014

We Are Suffering from Blogger's Block

Yes, this bout with blogger's block reminds me of the days when I taught English as a Second Language at a minimum-security prison in Yanceyville, NC, just across the border from Danville, Va. I should point out that I wasn't an inmate there myself!

But, hopefully, someone in Finland, Croatia or Iran is actually reading this, and hopefully that person realizes that even in America one can become bored and confused and somehow try to function!

Of course, people like Mark Twain, Nazim Hikmet* and F. Scott Fitzgerald never had to worry about blogger's block!

*- A famous Turkish poet who died in Moscow some 50 years ago.