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art & entertainment

Fan Boy Says: The Peculiar City of Wholman Lunk is a diamond in the rough

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I know you’re not supposed to formally review a play your friends class put on for a single performance at the end of a semester. But given all the blogging sh*t that goes, I feel I should point to something worthwhile. And The Peculiar City of Wholman Lunk is an excellent play from a rising talent.

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Stone Age Memes: The Freedom of the Internet Graveyard

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In a sense, every cemetery is virtual, because we bury cadavers in graveyards, not people. As Mary Roach says of her experiences after her mother’s death, “My mom was never a cadaver; no person ever is. You are a person and then you cease to be a person, and a cadaver takes your place. My mother was gone. The cadaver was her hull.”

As we walk the paths of a cemetery, we interact with the dead through our personal cognitive interface with the person. The site is merely a liminal space that allows us to step out of our everyday lives and into the world of that relationship. All the same, the Internet abounds in all kinds of opportunities to wander through a graveyard, for all the complicated reasons that people do so. [Read more →]

family & parentinggoing parental

Going parental: Grandparents gone wild

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This morning I woke up to find my daughter sitting at the kitchen table in her bikini, dipping mini marshmallows in maple syrup. No, she wasn’t alone. She didn’t get up and do something cute like fix herself breakfast. Grandma did! [Read more →]


Gaining citizenship in Red Sox Nation

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Although the Jimmy Fallon character in “Fever Pitch” was a caricature of the die hard Red Sox Nation citizen — his team loyalty vying with his love interest for his time and heart — a weekend I recently spent in Washington, D.C., gave me to believe his zealotry may have been only slightly exaggerated. [Read more →]

art & entertainment

Mistake of the Moment: Bruno

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To begin, I apologize for lacking the umlauts needed to address this topic properly. I believe Da Ali G Show is the third best thing HBO’s given the world after The Sopranos and the first season of Flight of the Conchords. I’m a big fan of Borat, though I don’t think it compares to the highlights of the TV show. I thought Bruno was a complete waste of my time, even allowing for the fact I saw it at a bargain matinee screening for six bucks (by Manhattan standards, that qualifies as free). Why the diminishing returns from Sacha Baron Cohen, which apparently other people are also sensing since this movie looks to make half the money of its predecessor despite twice the initial hype? In no particular order:

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Fred's dreams


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April 13, 2009
I dream I am still in school and the teacher is having students with crystal wine glasses attached to their heads communicate by tapping the glasses with little sticks. The teacher has to leave for a few minutes and we see that the entire school is leaving. Most people start filing out, and I’m curious about what’s going on. Evidently, there had been a presentation on the Nazi holocaust in the auditorium and students were tired of hearing about it. A young man comes to the room with an elaborate visual aid which, by manipulating its many flaps, can change a Star of David into a swastika.

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Gail sees a moviemovies

Gail sees a movie: The Answer Man

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One would think that the author of the international bestseller “Me and God” would have a better answer to a philosophical inquiry about the afterlife than “Hell is other people.” But reclusive author Arlen Faber (Jeff Daniels) is more misanthrope than spiritual guide, or so it seems.  While the plot of The Answer Man is a bit too predictable, the characters are quirky and likeable and the sparkling performances of leads Jeff Daniels and Lauren Graham are hard to resist. [Read more →]

health & medicaltelevision

The Colon Lady vs. Princess Diana

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Strange visions can come to us late in the night. Yesterday I beheld a TV commercial that was so bizarre it felt like a dream.  The scene was as follows: a woman was travelling on the moving walkway in an airport, looking robust, cheerful and confident — rather like the heroine of a Soviet propaganda film. She passed under an image of her own face when suddenly another woman ran up to her and declared:

WOMAN: You’re the colon lady!

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recipes & food

Easy weeknight dinners: orecchiette with cauliflower and bacon, heirloom lettuce salad

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This is a great time of year for a simple, heirloom lettuce salad. Heirlooms are special because they are grown from seeds which have been around for decades at least, and sometimes for hundreds of years. They have been neglected by the big American factory farms because they require a little more care than mass produced varieties, but with the renewed interest in small family farms, these heirlooms are making a big comeback. Once you get them home, all you need is a little extra virgin and a squeeze of lemon to dress them. Unlike much of the lettuce that you buy at the grocery store, this lettuce actually tastes like something and is full of nutrients. An heirloom lettuce salad with a ripe, locally-grown tomato is the perfect weeknight side dish. Serve it alongside my recipe (below) for Orecchiette pasta with cauliflower and bacon;

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books & writing

Lisa reads: The Chess Machine by Robert Lohr

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In the late 18th century, a fabulous new scientific oddity was the toast of Europe. The Turk, a chess-playing automaton built by Wolfgang von Kempelen, was defeating chess masters across Europe. It was a true marvel of the times — a machine, built after the fashion of a Turkish ruler, that was capable of thought. Built for the amusement of Empress Maria Theresa of Hungary, it played chess, the game of kings, against rulers and commoners alike.  In 1808, it played its most famous foe, Napoleon Bonaparte.  The Turk was eventually retired, sold, and was destroyed in a fire at Peale’s Chinese Museum in Philadelphia in 1854.  But what was the secret behind this machine that dazzled royalty and astounded the court machinicians?  Robert Lohr devises a tale for The Turk full of intrigue and heartbreak in his novel, The Chess Machine. [Read more →]


Lauren likes TV: Jillian’s shocking decision…

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Ed. Surprise, surprise. Can you sense the sarcasm? Last night’s Bachelorette finale confirmed a few things for me:

1) Jillian Harris is THE worst kisser on the face of the Earth.

2) We know what Jillian is going to look like in 50 years… her Grandmother.

3) I thought I had seen Ed’s balls the first time he wore the shnorty shnorts. I definitely saw them last night.

4) Ed has a tank top to match his shnorts.

5) The Bachelorette is the most predictable show ever made and a complete waste of my time. [Read more →]

religion & philosophythat's what he said, by Frank Wilson

Bright surfaces are richer in detail than shadowy deeps

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The poet Frank O’Hara’s friend Joe LeSueur tells the story somewhere — I’m pretty sure it’s in Digressions on Some Poems by Frank O’Hara — that after O’Hara’s memorial service in Greenwich Village, the composer Ned Rorem invited everyone in attendance back to his apartment. Impressed by how smoothly Rorem handled matters, LeSueur took a moment to compliment and thank him. According to LeSueur, Rorem leaned over and murmured, “You must understand, I don’t feel things deeply.” [Read more →]

health & medicalpolitics & government

Getting radical with health care reform

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Confronted with a dilemma that begs for remedying, the instructive aphorism goes: get to the root of the problem. This cliche adage of deracination implies that the most efficient way to correct any issue is not to pluck minor branches or leaves, but to uproot the plant all together — to not treat the ailments, but the sickness itself.

There is a word that categorizes this philosophical bent toward problem-solving. It’s called radicalism, and the word’s connotations have undergone a transformation during it’s timeline of etymology. When spoken, it is often thought of as a brazen and irreverent worldview that aims to pick-apart orthodoxy whenever possible — just because it can. [Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Tebow is a virgin, so he must be better than you

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At a press conference this week for the SEC Media Day, Tim Tebow, the Heisman-winning quarterback from the University of Florida, was asked if he was a virgin. If you are not familiar with Tebow, that might seem like the oddest question you have ever heard of from a football press conference. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingtravel & foreign lands

Top ten excuses of Keith Wright, arrested earlier this month for stripping naked on a US Airways flight from Charlotte, NC to Los Angeles

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10. His above-seat air blower was busted and he felt really really warm.

9. He’d accidently put on his X-Ray Specs that morning, then got confused about what was acceptable.

8. He felt inspired by the in-flight movie: The Full Monty.

7. He’d been smacked in the shins by the food cart so many times, he thought this was the best way to get really noticed.

6. He heard airline stewardesses were “easy.”

5. He’d had six pre-flight cocktails too many.

4. He’s so hairy, he thought people would just think he was wearing a brown suit.

3. He’d read about that new Homeland Security camera that can see through clothes, and he thought he’d save them the trouble.

2. The PA system was so bad, he wasn’t sure what he was supposed to “return to its full upright and locked position.”

1. When the sign said it was okay to unbuckle his seat belt, he did, and then just got carried away.

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

on the lawrace & culture


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For the record, I know how Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates felt — just a little bit — when he was arrested by white police officers for the crime of answering the door in his own home. By now the facts and meaning of Gates’ arrest have become an international incident viewed through the prism of race and resentment, especially after President Barack Obama used the words “acted stupidly” to describe the behavior of the Cambridge, Mass. police in the Gates’ house arrest. Such is the power of race in America to distort and magnify every issue. [Read more →]

conversations with Paula and Robertrace & culture

Thoughts on the Henry Louis Gates incident

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Paula: I am curious to have your take on the recent incident in which Henry Louis Gates, the Harvard professor of African-American Studies, was arrested by the Cambridge police as he tried to push open the door of his home, which was stuck, after returning from a business trip. I am unsure as to whether he was arrested because he was suspected of breaking into the home or whether he became disorderly when he thought he was being accused of doing this.

Whatever actually happened, the police officer involved clearly pushed Gates’s buttons. [Read more →]


Fan Boy says: Moon me, Sam Rockwell

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Evvery year tons of cool movies slip through the non-mainstream theaters unnoticed. Many of these movies are good, but have a narrower range of appeal than say Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. When I was an undergraduate back at Drexel I used to review those “Ritz” movies all the time. Now, if I see two a year I’m thrilled. Moon starring Sam Rockwell is one such movie. [Read more →]

adviceall work

Push her far away/With inane haiku; I know/You have it in you

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Dear Ruby,
A question in the form of a haiku:

Nice to work lady
Now she talks to me all day
Want her to stop please

Regards, Johan [


Stone age memes: I <3 Internet conspiracies

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Do you suffer from what my husband calls Pollyannoia, the irrational belief that no one is out to get you? Both this coinage and pronoia, the official term for this condition, are modeled on “paranoia,” the opposite affliction. You see little pronoia on the Internet, where, as Hesiod said, Strife rules and “potter hates potter … beggar strives with beggar and poet with poet.” On Avenue Q they say “The Internet is for porn,” but I think it’s actually for conspiracies fueled by Strife. The medium lends itself to sparking tiny flames amid the unsuspecting and blowing gently on the fragile human tinder beneath until they are engulfed in the resulting bonfire.

In a sense, conspiracies are built into the genetic structure of the Internet. [Read more →]

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