animalsBob Sullivan's top ten everything

Now that Amazon is offering audiobooks for dogs, top ten audiobooks for dogs

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10. In Cold Bloodhound

9. Slaughterhouse Canine

8. The Bitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

7. The Hound and the Fury

6. Jane Airedale

5. The Picture of Dorian Greyhound

4. Barkness at Noon

3. The Great Dane Gatsby

2. Love In the Time of Collie

1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Hound
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

virtual children by Scott Warnock

Forget love, CrazyRussianHacker will keep us together

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All my kids are teenagers, so there’s a gap there now. Sometimes it’s a wispy, barely discernible need for space that they express through body language. Other times, it’s an overt, intentional shout for Space! [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingends & odd

Top ten one-liners 2: Electric Boogaloo

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10. Preventing childhood obesity is as easy as taking candy from a baby.

9. I don’t know why all the kids call me Quasimodo, but I have a hunch.

8. If I could have dinner with any person living or dead, I’d pick the living one.

7. I have kleptomania, but when it gets really bad, I take something for it.

6. I had to cancel my appointment with the impotency clinic, because something came up.

5. The police recovered my stolen sofa, which was really nice of them because it was looking a bit tatty.

4. Diarrhea must be hereditary, since it runs in your genes.

3. If you believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.

2. My granddad had the heart of a lion, and a lifetime ban from the Philadelphia Zoo.

1. My wife may nag me at times, but when she told me to stop impersonating a flamingo, I had to put my foot down!
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

health & medicalrecipes & food

The food thing

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First, before I delve into a subject about which I receive many questions, I want to say that a cancer diagnosis can make one feel like one’s life is spinning out of control. I’m a problem solver by nature. Spinning out of control is not appealing to me in any way.

I know that for some people, putting all of the eggs into the doctors’ baskets is comfortable and feels right. For myself, I felt that I had some work to do as well. There are measures that one can take to improve one’s health. Duh. We all know we are supposed to be exercising, eating healthfully, not allowing ourselves to get too stressed and of course not smoking and drinking ourselves to death. Well, pre diagnosis I wasn’t eating well, I went through periods of time where I worked out regularly and then I would stop, I was extraordinarily stressed, and about all that I had going for me health-wise was that I have never smoked, did not drink heavily, and was not technically overweight (though I was at the top of my healthy BMI range and had sort of gone past what is appropriate for my narrow frame).

So, you get the diagnosis, you consult with the doctors regarding what they want to do to you, you pick the docs you like best, then what? For me, I had to make the life changes. Not one doctor advised me to do so (and I saw four oncologists and four surgeons). One doctor noticed between visits that I had lost a few pounds and said she thought it was a good idea, but not to go too far. One doctor, who met me after I had lost about 20 pounds, said that people in good shape, like my then self (this was about four months into my lifestyle changes) always have better outcomes, but that she had no real advice for me regarding lifestyle changes or habits to create. I did my own research. I consulted a naturopath MD Oncologist, finally, though I had made all of my changes by the time he was on board. He agreed with all that I had done for myself, and encouraged me to stay on the path.

What had I done? I quit drinking entirely. I started exercising daily. Some days I did yoga and some days the dog got a nice long walk. I was dealing with my faltering thyroid and some energy issues, but these were things I could manage. I began to try to implement some meditation into my life (with this I am still inconsistent at best). I removed myself from some stressful situations. I removed some stressful people. I stopped giving some fucks about some things, maybe kind of a lot of things. I cut out all refined sugar. And at the very start of all the changes, I went back to being a vegetarian.

I was a vegetarian throughout much of my twenties and into my early thirties. I was the kind that still ate cheese and some fish, or the occasional egg. I was also the kind that ate turkey on thanksgiving, even making one myself, once. Turkey is not a favorite of mine. I didn’t crave it for the rest of the year or anything, but in a situation (at a catered work function, for instance) where there weren’t any options, I might have a turkey sandwich. Funnily, most people thought of the sandwich as a vegetarian option. I never understand people who think poultry isn’t meat. (Just as I’m sure there are vegans who don’t understand why I still ate fish and cheese. I knew these things to be “animal products” but, I loved fish and cheese, that’s why!)

During my vegetarian years I essentially had no health issues at all and was thin without ever really dieting. At my height, (5’8″) I’m supposed to fall between 120-169 pounds. In high school I weighed 120, college I was 125ish (I was very active in school as well, dance classes, jogging etc.), and then until about 33 I was anywhere from 125-135. I was the kind of girl who would realize her pants were getting snug and cut back on fries for a couple of weeks. For most of those years I dated vegetarians (not on purpose). I wasn’t exactly eating fruits and veg 24/7, but I ate a lot of dinner salads and a good bit of fruit for snacks. Also, to be fair, I didn’t eat a ton of sugar either, I wasn’t much of a sweets person at the time.

I slowly started to eat more meat products. I discovered frozen margaritas. I started a mean tortilla chip habit. I was stressed at work, and I switched to a job where I was sitting at a desk instead of being on my feet all day. I put on some weight, for sure, and then at 35 I got pregnant. Cue snowball rolling down hill and creating my health avalanche. I never got back on track. If you knew me as a thin person between the ages of 35-45 it was because I was either too stressed to eat or too sick to eat. I had shingles SIX TIMES. 

After my second baby at 40, losing weight seemed to become impossible. Somehow, I didn’t think to go back to how I had eaten before. I tried a myriad of diets. I tried different work outs. I didn’t feel well, my stress level was at my lifetime high, and I was tired all the time. A year before my diagnosis I read The Blue Zones Solutionand thought “this is what I need to get back to!” I did not follow through.

Send in the December 2016 kick in the pants.

First, I read about one hundred articles about sugar. If you like, you can read this one, or that one, or this other one. There are plenty more if you want to go into a google coma. These articles and several of the books that I read also seemed to recommend cutting out refined sugar, so that is why I did that. Then I got back on the vegetarian bandwagon. I remembered from ages back that a vegetarian diet could lower your risk of cancer in the first place, and studies have since come out regarding cancer and meat. Again, google away. I did. I found this, that, this other one, that other one, and more.  If you saw all of those links and went crossed eyed, then click this instead. You’re welcome.

In the end, I just felt like the veg thing was right for me. It worked for me in the past. I know there are plenty of contradictory articles out there. I know that there is some serious research coming out about ketogenic diets and brain cancers (at least that one is a TedTalk). I did all that stuff that I mentioned above, I went vegan for 90 days. I began to consume very little food that comes from a box. Before I started chemo, people ran into me and were in disbelief that I had cancer. I just looked so healthy. I felt fantastic, other than my thyroid issue (which I think I’ve mentioned turned out to be another cancer), and even that situation improved. I wasn’t as tired anymore.

I lost 30 pounds, and I wasn’t even trying to do that. I did not give up all white carbs. I still eat potatoes, rice, and bread, though I don’t eat gobs of those things (I will confess to upping my potato and rice intake during chemo, sometimes it’s just what I feel like I can keep down). More importantly maybe, I added in a ton more fruits and vegetables. Until I got used to eating them I actually counted my servings over the course of the day, with my goal being ten. A quality juicer has helped with that.

When my 90 days of vegan was up I added back in the fish, but left out the dairy. Could I link a bunch of articles about cancer and dairy? Sure, but the cheese just upset my tummy and wasn’t worth the bother. So, I guess I’m officially a pescatarian. When this is all done, no more chemo, final surgeries completed, I’ll still be eating this way. Will I eat turkey on Thanksgiving? Probably. Will I have cake on my birthday? Fuck, yeah. Probably a glass of wine, too. But, I’ll never go back to what I was doing to my body before. If this is all the control I can take over it (besides showing up for chemo and surgery) then this is what I’ll do. I hope that about explains it, because that’s the longest damn blog, ever.

 

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingmoney

Top ten signs you’re broke

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10. You eat your cereal with a fork, to save on milk.

9. You can’t even afford to pay attention!

8. When someone on the street asks you if you’ve lost your shoe, you reply, “No, I just found one!”

7. You’re so hungry, your roommate is starting to look like a large fried chicken in tennis shoes.

6. You attend communion, then go back for seconds.

5. At KFC, you lick other people’s fingers.

4. You’ve completely worn out your couch cushions, hunting for loose change.

3. You recently received a Care package from Ethiopia.

2. When somebody at a party goes on and on about how great Donald Trump is, you can’t afford to put in your two cent’s worth.

1. You receive a letter in the mail telling you that you’ve been pre-denied for a Visa card.
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

animalsart & entertainment

Top ten Broadway plays for dogs

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10. The Seven Year Bitch

9. Experiment In Terrier

8. Dog On A Hot Tin Roof

7. Saturday Night Retriever

6. Annie Get Your Gun (Fido Has Rabies)

5. Hello, Collie!

4. Jesus Christ, Pooper-Scooper Star

3. Corgi and Bess

2. The Bark of Mormon

1. Death of a Mailman
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

sportsvirtual children by Scott Warnock

The trainer tantrum – it proves they care!

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During my many tournament travels, I often see, in a variety of sports, some poor team or kid getting trounced. They’re in the wrong skill group or age level or something, but it’s a lopsided whupping. Sometimes, especially in more competitive events, that team or kid will have a trainer. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingenvironment & nature

Top ten answers to the question “How hot is it?”

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10. “It’s so hot, Bill Cosby says he kinda wishes he’d been thrown in the ‘cooler’.”

9. “It’s so hot, today I fried an egg…at room temperature.”

8. “It’s so hot, the last guy who asked me ‘Hot enough for ya?’ I was compelled to beat to death with a sockful of nickels.”

7. “It’s so hot, I have a brand on my stomach shaped like a seat belt buckle.”

6. “It’s so hot, in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, joints are lighting themselves.”

5. “It’s so hot, I ran into a burning building, just to cool off.”

4. “It’s so hot, because of their mercury content, people all across the country have been subjected to exploding thermometers and tuna.”

3. “It’s so hot, Satan took out a full page ad in The New York Times, asking for his weather back.”

2. “It’s so hot, two hobbits just walked by and threw a ring in through my window.”

1. “It’s so hot, the last time Trump said global warming was a hoax, his pants caught on fire.”
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

ends & oddhealth & medical

Is it over now?

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Have you ever been on that stupid carnival ride that sends you up in the air, in a long row of seats, then bounces you violently back down to the ground? (It’s especially unpleasant for the boobed half of the population). I feel like I’ve been riding that thing for at least a week. I have felt so supported and loved by my family and friends, and so slammed and beaten by chemo. Up an down, again and again. Damn carnie won’t let me off! Lovely and miserable all at once.

The chemicals hit me hard this time. Day one seemed like it was going to be an easier ride, I got a gift from Miami and was smart enough to use it before I was on the floor and desperately needed it. I had some good prep, too, from some great alternative practitioners. Thank You, Mama!! Then day two I was in the depths, feeling underwater and seasick, far worse than the first go round. Right away my hair started to fall out, my mouth began to sting and burn, my heart took off racing like I’ve perpetually just finished running a mile, and everything I tried to eat tasted like a chemistry set. Fruit is the only food that still tastes like itself, even water was impossible until I added lemon. I was so tired, though, I didn’t care about food at all. I ate some plums, drank some juice, and slept.

Day three I shaved my head. I was just tired of the clumps falling out. What’s the big deal about losing your hair? It’s not just that, as a woman, I feel my hair contributes highly to my attractiveness and appeal. It’s not just that, as a redhead, I’m super attached to my identity as the fiery ginger. Those are some serious truths, but when you are diagnosed with cancer, losing your hair is like losing your ability to control your narrative. Was I open about my diagnosis? Maybe more than I should be. Now, though, I may as well be walking around with a scarlet C on my chest. I’ve been out in a beanie and out in a wig, it’s very clear what my deal is either way. I see the faces, and man people cannot hide their expressions. Their questions and their curiosity are written all over their faces. It’s like being the worst kind of famous. I’m Monica Lewinsky. I’m Tonya Harding. I’m the sad train wreck because I can’t alter the perspective of the crowd. I can’t look them in the eyes and say: “I’m fine, I’m going to be OK, this is temporary, don’t put your sad cancer juju on me!” I guess I could say it, but then I’m a train wreck for real, right? Fucking hair.

At the same time, right now, I can afford to pay for things by the miracle that is this go fund me campaign. The new mushroom supplements came in the mail. I was able to have a mid cycle acupuncture treatment today (seriously, the relief it brings is miraculous). I am calling a cleaning company tomorrow to make an appointment and get some help with this house. I have never been the girl who depends upon the kindness of strangers. I’ve been the girl who bristles at the mere mention of possibly needing any help at all. And then one day I just couldn’t keep it together and do it all. My husband says we’re like George Bailey at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life. The money is pouring out on the table in front of the Christmas tree, and we definitely feel the love.

The third treatment (of eight, fucking EIGHT) is next Tuesday. I’m meeting my new oncologist that morning. According to the nurses that I’ve had during my infusions, the AC chemo is hitting me too fast and hard. The second nurse said to ask for an adjustment of my dose, which I plan to do. I hope this oncologist doesn’t suck. I hope he listens. I hope he’s read my damn file before I get there. I need to get through this without completely falling apart. He better be ready to help. Unfortunately, I won’t have my red hair on display to excuse my ginger attitude for me. Hopefully he can handle it.

 

all workBob Sullivan's top ten everything

Top ten least popular summer jobs

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10. Sidewalk Santa

9. Donald Trump’s communications director

8. Assistant in charge of slathering Chris Christie with tanning lotion

7. Public pool pee monitor

6. Bulletproof vest tester

5. Amish IT guy

4. Door-to-door fidget spinner salesman

3. Suicide bomber

2. Second assistant in charge of slathering Chris Christie with tanning lotion

1. Donald Trump Jr.’s defense attorney
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

art & entertainmentbooks & writing

Added to my e-bookshelf … Kentucky Kaiju

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I was a total neophyte in just about every way as I opened my e-copy of “Kentucky Kaiju.” Graphic literature (comic books, back then) was not allowed in my home when I was young; I have not yet had the pleasure of visiting the state of Kentucky and enjoying its culture; AND, I have never encountered a Kaiju … though that last might be a good thing, judging by the creatures presented to me in this book.
[Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingtravel & foreign lands

Top ten signs you have a bad travel agent

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10. He asks you what the word ‘itinerary’ means.

9. He recommends insurance that names him as the beneficiary.

8. He’s skeptical that so-called “air travel” is even scientifically possible.

7. He hopes you won’t mind dropping him and his family off at the airport.

6. He insists that ‘Austria’ and ‘Australia’ are just variant spellings for the same city.

5. For the second leg of your journey, from London to Amsterdam, he’s just penciled in “Any way you can get there.”

4. He brags that the very first flight he ever booked was for Amelia Earhart.

3. The “meals included” at the Brussels hotel are just the mints on your pillow.

2. He asks where you want to go, how long you’ll be gone, where you live, and whether or not you have a home security system.

1. He’s booked you on United Airlines, and made arrangements for two sky marshals to personally drag you to your seat..
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

art & entertainmentbooks & writing

Added to my e-bookshelf … Dreamweaver: Book 2 of the Dream Cycle

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“DreamWeaver” is a good enough read for fans of swords-and-sorcery and other stories that fall within the realm of ‘fantasy fiction.’ I read my e-copy from cover to cover, and I enjoyed the experience. But I can’t help but think there’s something familiar about it … something that I’ve read somewhere and somewhen else, by someone else.
[Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingends & odd

Top ten things you don’t want to hear at tomorrow’s Fourth of July barbecue

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10. “Hope everybody likes tofu burgers!”

9. “Is my hot dog supposed to have an engagement ring on it?”

8. “Tell Uncle Jerod’s that’s not a flask; it’s lighter fluid.”

7. “Okay, NOBODY LIGHT CIGARETTES OR FIREWORKS NEAR UNCLE JEROD!!!!

6. “Wish somebody had told me this BBQ was BYO!”

5. “Why do all these burgers have long, thin tails?”

4. “Who stuck Yank My Doodle! It’s A Dandy! into the VCR?”

3. “Is coleslaw supposed to move like that?”

2. “Who puts mayo on top of all the buns? Oh, wait…. Whose bright idea was it to put our picnic table directly under this tree?”

1. “Don’t worry about blowing your fingers off with those firecrackers; we’ve still have Ocamacare for at least another twelve hours!”
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

ends & oddhealth & medical

One down, seven to go

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The very first thing that crossed my mind when I got my diagnosis, I am not proud to say, was “shit, I’ve been growing my hair out forever.” That is the first thought that I think we all have when someone says the word chemo, the fact that a person’s hair falls out. Initially, I was hoping that I’d be one of those lucky women who could just have a lumpectomy and some radiation (maybe) and then move on. Then I hoped it would just be the mastectomy without chemo. Once I got used to the idea that the chemo was going to happen (my tumor was more aggressive than first suspected) I just wanted to be done with it already. That didn’t work because I started the revolving door of oncologists. I was informed on May 16th that I needed to start chemo, on June 27th I got my first treatment.

My new hope was that I’d be one of those bitches who says that chemo doesn’t really make them feel bad. Isn’t hope funny? I was told that it would take at least three days for the chemo to get in there and create the dreaded side effects. It took about four hours. I think. I actually have no idea what time it was when I started to vomit. I felt like I was made of granite. I was heavy, so heavy that I couldn’t move my arms and legs. When I was getting the infusion, I could feel it going into me. Especially the red devil, because they actually hand pump it into you with a giant syringe, like you’re a cartoon character getting a shot from a mad scientist. Lying on the floor hours later it felt like the red cement had finally hardened. I’m pretty sure that at some point I just texted my husband (only two rooms away) “help.” My thumbs weighed too much to say what I needed. I only vomited once. All that I will say about that is that a friend of my husband’s brought me something that helped.

Every day since has been a little different and a little better. On day two I barely moved or ate, and the bone marrow bomb on my hip went off, which was super weird. Apparently people weren’t showing up for their day after chemo appointments to get this shot that forces your white blood cell count up. I don’t blame them. The solution was to stick the shot onto the patient with adhesive, and set it like a time bomb to shoot the meds into them at precisely twenty seven hours past infusion. I could feel it pumping into my abdomen. Super freaky, not in the Rick James way. Last night, night four, I slept without taking anything for the nausea. Today is Saturday, and not only have I not spent the entire day sleeping and spitting (I feel like I need to spit a lot, and I’ve never felt the need to spit previously, like ever), but I also walked a few laps around our pool. I’m sure that sounds weird, but I didn’t want to get a block from home and then realize that I had to just sit down and text someone to come carry me back.

I have big plans for the upcoming week. I will spend the holiday feeling grateful that my extended family will make sure my kids have fun (as they are doing today). Then I intend to feel well enough by Wednesday to go wig shopping, and on Friday I hope to make it to physical therapy. Woot woot. Until then I am thanking my lucky stars that my kids know how to cheer me up, my husband feeds me when I can stand it, and I have Netflix, Hulu and HBOGO when nobody is home.

virtual children by Scott Warnock

My yard used to be a playland

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One of the many advantages of my job is that I work at home sometimes, especially in the summer. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingtrusted media & news

Now that it has decided to jettison its classic slogan, top ten suggested new slogans for Fox News

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10. “Nobody Fox with the Truth Better than We Do”

9. “Ruining America Since 1996!”

8. “At Fox News, ‘Harass’ Is Two Words”

7. “Proving You Can Be Right and Wrong at the Same Time”

6. “Where Journalism Goes to Die”

5. “Deutschland Über Ailes”

4. “You Can’t Handle the Truth!!”

3. “The Inside Poop, Straight from the Horse’s Ass”

2. “For Fox Sake!”

1. “Unfair and, Especially, Unbalanced”
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

virtual children by Scott Warnock

You dummies want screens…

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I know it’s all too easy to say “this jumped the shark” or “that jumped the shark” about moments in our entertainment-addicted/addled/saturated culture, but a few commercials I’ve seen have really pushed me to wonder how, well, stupid they think we are. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingbooks & writing

Top ten classics being made into superhero movies

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10. Little Wonder Women

9. Of Human Torch

8. The X-Man Cometh

7. Daredevil and Daniel Webster

6. Kiss of the Spider-Man

5. Doctor Strange and Mr. Hyde

4. Anne of Green Lantern

3. Of Mice And Superman

2. The Naked and the Deadpool

1. The Groot Gatsby
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

books & writingcreative writing

Back and Broke in Philly

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Back in Philadelphia was when I first saw my father as weak, as dependent, and as a guy who didn’t like working. Despite his lack of funds he seemed insistent on this last point—he would avoid work entirely unless he found what he considered to be his proper position. This was when I first saw that he’d possibly risk getting booted onto the street rather than take any job. In 1991 we were in the heart of the first Bush’s recession, and it didn’t seem like there were many of those idealized white-collar management positions around. My father was overweight, unemployed, under massive debt, and for the first time in my life, I saw him as old. He hadn’t had a full-time job since 1987, and I could see he wasn’t looking forward to searching for it. He knew the companies didn’t want him anymore, at least not for any kind of lucrative position. [Read more →]