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art & entertainmentmusic

Ten good albums from 2009

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When I’m not railing against Israel or otherwise decrying imperialism, sometimes I like to write about music on my blog, Dogs Thought. I’ve combined here a two-part post I published there listing, in no particular order, ten albums I liked from this past year. WFTC does not have as much content about current music as current movies or TV, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to throw in my two cents on the various tra-la-las and boom-boom-baps that emerged from stereos, headphones, tin cans, etc. in 2009. Enjoy. [Read more →]

environment & naturepolitics & government

Marriages of inconvenience

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With the year and season turning; perhaps also the decade and undoubtably the aging of the millenium that seemed so young moments ago, Americans high and low, both bailed and swamped are reflecting on their lives, their faith, the state of the world and the state of their relationships. Many find themselves feeling trapped in arrangements they made joyously and optimistically; wedded in haste and in public, they now regret at length and in the dark privacy of their hearts. Not exempted from this is the enthusiastic practitioner of plural, whimsical marriages, our fine and debonair President, Barack Obama. [Read more →]

terror & war

Obama gets an F

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A commander-in-chief’s first and foremost duty and responsibility is protecting American citizens. Obama gave a speech and announced that a terrorist’s ability to board an American airliner with explosives in his underwear was a “systemic failure.”

But as Toby Harnden, the U.S. editor of the British Daily Telegraph noted in his column , Obama is in charge of that system.

I agree with Harnden that Obama gets an F for national security.

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Kelly Conaboy saves the world

New Year’s Eve rumors: dispelled!

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New Year’s Eve is one of America’s greatest traditions. And, as is true of all great American traditions, New Year’s Eve brings with it a new set of scary rumors each year. Will the world come to an end? Will all the dogs start talking and turn out to be very mean? Y2K? Maybe!

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diatribesends & odd

A self-centered list for a self-centered decade!

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(N.B.: Tongue is firmly planted in cheek throughout. Expect offense in response to one of the more offensive decades in recent memory.)

It’s that time of the decade again. The toll of tonight’s midnight church bells or the image of that big-ass crystal ball slowly descending into the madness of Times Square will signal that we’ve let another decade slip away. The…um…“naughts” have been a decade like no other, so I’d like to take an opportunity to honor this decade in what seems the only way possible: with an egocentric list.

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technologyterror & war

Do we pay TSA officers enough?

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One question I have concerning full body scans at airports, and the threats they pose to personal liberties, travelers’ dignity, yada-yada-yada … what about the poor schmucks who will have to look at way-too-many images of way-too-many travelers such as myself?
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ends & odd

Top 10 years of the decade

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10. 2001
9. 2000
8. 2005
7. 2003
6. 2008
5. 2002
4. 2009
3. 2006
2. 2004
1. 2007

(Personal reasons.)

ends & odd

The top fifty states of the decade

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It’s the end of 2009 and the end of the single digit years in the 2000s. When this time of year rolls around we get bombarded with “the year in review” or the “decade in review” or the “top ten bakeries of the year,” etc. Now, I’m not opposed to lists. In fact, I spend a lot of time discussing and refining my own mental lists of the best things. Movies, bands, comics… I’m not sure why I do it. I suppose I want to definitively know, through aggressive research and discussion, what the best anything is. That way when some dude comes up and says P.S. I Love You is the greatest movie of all time, I can walk him through my list and he can see that maybe it’s just a little lower than he thought.

But what about the last decade? Not something of all time but just the last decade? Sort of narrow the scope a bit. Separate the wheat from the chaff. Let the cream rise to the top, ya know? As I’m deployed to Africa, presumably defending the United States, I figured why not rank the 50 states over the last decade. I’m willing to die for these states and they should know what order they are in. [Read more →]

animalsends & odd

Advice for young people

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Of course what children really want for Christmas is a list of commands, prohibitions, and threats. To this end I have compiled the following words of advice for young people. This is the wisdom I have painfully accrued over 33 years of stupidity, and I do not hesitate to pass it on to the next generation. [Read more →]

Fred's dreams

Toughs

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October 30, 2009
I dream I am waiting for a party to begin and I am sitting on the curb outside practicing a magic trick in which four popcorn kernels magically leave my left hand and reappear in my right. A young tough comes by and ridicules and insults me. I don’t like the ridicule and insult, but I am more upset that he does not want to see this beautiful magic trick. I try to explain this, but he insults me more and throws my popcorn kernels and punches me. I am concerned for my well-being, but I am still upset about the magic trick.

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Gail sees a moviemovies

Gail sees a movie: Year End Awards

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As the closing credits roll for 2009, this column is two months shy of its year anniversary. In the spirit of the holidays and that almost anniversary, it is time to look back at the 41 movies Gail has seen and give out some awards. [Read more →]

terror & war

Yes, madam homeland security secretary, the system worked — for al-Qaeda

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Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has been justifiably criticized for her odd statement that “the system worked” in the case of a would-be terrorist on several watch lists who boarded a U.S. commercial with explosives in his underwear.

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art & entertainmentlanguage & grammar

Exaggeration nation: The year in death

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In the belief that the end of the year is best celebrated by staring into the implacable face of death, here’s a roundup of 2009’s most egregious overstatements and lame eulogies written about people whose latest error in life was to pass away.

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his & hers

What women can learn from the knuckleheads of 2009

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The past year has given women proof for their argument that men are idiots*. 2009 might appropriately be called the year of the Homer Simpson D’oh! Although we said goodbye to eight long years of George W. Bush’s antics, plenty of men are vying to take his place as the knucklehead of the year. (Listen, I know women aren’t perfect. But when do we read stories of women acting like fools? That’s right, never. That’s probably because women are not acting like fools.) Let’s recap some of the men who unraveled in 2009 and the lessons it taught women. [Read more →]

diatribesends & odd

The Uber-List: A Proposal

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It’s nearly the end of the year, and you know what that means: lists. And ferret-wrestling matches, though I don’t want to get into that now. No, the end of the year is a time when we look back, and compile lists of things. And happenings. And celebrity deaths. Usually ordered backwards, though in the case of the famous the lists are usually ordered by cultural importance or the number of original teeth the celebrity had at their death.
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language & grammarthat's what he said, by Frank Wilson

The language of enchantment

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Every morning, the first post on my blog is titled “Thought for the day.” It is simply a quote I find interesting from a writer (usually, it’s a writer) born on that date. Recently, the one I chose was by Italo Svevo, author of The Confessions of Zeno: “God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.”

This struck me as a magical turn of phrase. [Read more →]

diatribeslanguage & grammar

Another 10 words and phrases I am asking everyone to stop using in my presence

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The following 10 words and phrases can be added to the previous list of 10. Both lists can be printed out, kept in wallets and purses, taped to the bathroom mirror, and given away as gifts. I like all of my friends and family and would hate to lose anyone. [Read more →]

environment & naturereligion & philosophy

Altruism v. charity

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It’s the end of the holiday season, but the memories are fresh in our minds.  Since Christmas is supposed to be a season of giving, let’s use those memories to respond to a request that I defend the assertion that “Nature selects against purely altruistic behavior”.  Jump in the car of your imagination, crank ‘er up, and drive with me to the local Wal-Mart parking lot of two weeks ago…

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drugs & alcohol

New Year’s celebrations — Love your bouncer edition

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I worked as a bouncer/bartender for many years while I was in college.  As the New Year’s parties get kicked off on Thursday evening, here are a couple of things to think about when you run into the guy at the bar wearing the funky colored shirt with “crew” or “security” written on the back.

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bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: What is with these Titans fans?

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I spent most of this week with my wife’s family in Nashville, Tennessee. More so than ever before, I was witness to a very odd phenomenon that goes against the very fiber of my being as a football fan. If you read this column regularly, you know I am a Philadelphia Eagles fan. In the last 7 years, I have also become a fan of the Tennessee Titans, due to the fact that my wife is from Nashville and was a Titans fan when I met her (and still is, although she also roots for the Eagles). Allegiance to a team is a personal thing. Some people are true fans, living and dying with their team, while others are casual fans. Titans fans, at least the ones I know, are a different breed entirely, and it’s all about Peyton Manning. [Read more →]

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