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moviespolitics & government

Fahrenheit 2010

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Oliver Stone has a new movie out called South of the Border, which allegedly depicts President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela as some sort of humanitarian. Chavez has invested money in the poor areas of Bolivia, Ecuador, Cuba, and even the United States, but are his motives altruistic? More importantly what has he done for Venezuela? [Read more →]

Fred's dreams


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June 21, 2010
I dream it is the first week of school and I am looking at my first set of papers. I see that one student has turned in two different papers for the same assignment. If this were not suspicious enough, both were printed with the smelly blue ink that used to be used with a stencil in hand-cranked copying machines. I go to the computer to look up this student, but I can’t figure out his game. Whatever else happens, though, I refuse to read two papers.

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Gail sees a moviemovies

Gail sees a movie: Grown Ups

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The most interesting thing about this film is watching these four Saturday Night Live alumni as they hit middle age. SNL gave these young comics a chance to work on rebellious and sometimes edgy comedy and characters.  Yet here are these four in the most conventional of comedies. Did writers Adam Sandler and Fred Wolf craft a funny screenplay? Well, if you think jokes about breastfeeding, urine streams, farts and men injuring themselves are side splitting, this is the film for you.  The only redeeming thing about this film is the obvious chemistry between the leads. These guys are fun to watch and provide a few laughs. But the script is not that funny and not very interesting. [Read more →]

damned liesends & odd

Van is not on a mountain!

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A friend of mine recently referred to her life as a mountain. Apparently she started climbing it years ago without realizing, then one day looked down and discovered how high up she’d gone. She also discovered that it would be nearly impossible to get down off of this mountain and start the climb up a different mountain. By different, I think she meant the one on which she had assumed she would end up. [Read more →]

books & writingfamily & parenting

I’m no Atticus Finch, but my son thinks I’m a hero

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On Saturday I was walking with my 7-year-old son in the parking lot of a pool club. On the gravel-grass hill was a small purse, not really a purse but a small vinyl bag with a zipper. It looked a little like a pencil case kids use in school and was brown and had a paisley pattern. It is the sort of thing one brings to a pool when one doesn’t want to bring a pocketbook. My arms were full with pool gear, so I told my son to pick it up. [Read more →]

books & writing

Lisa reads: The Killing of Mindi Quintana by Jeffrey A. Cohen

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The Killing of Mindi Quintana presents a scenario we see in the newspapers every day: a murder has occurred, and the press is far more concerned with the murderer than the victim.  The accused gets to make his or her case to the press; he turns up on Larry King or Oprah, interviews present them in the best possible light and reporters are willing to kiss up to a killer for a chance at an exclusive or a book deal.  Defense attorneys use the media to try their case before the accused ever sets foot in a courtroom and district attorneys use high-profile cases to launch political careers.  Lost in all this is the victim; if they are mentioned at all, it is only when some lurid detail from their past is dredged.  But what if someone decided they weren’t going to play the game? That’s the case study Jeffrey A. Cohen presents in his first novel. [Read more →]

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

The full impact of life’s unimaginable beauty and wonder

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I know I am not the only person who, upon being intrigued by an idea encountered in a book or during a conversation, finds himself subsequently running into said idea over and over again.

Earlier this year, in Josef Pieper’s The Silence of St. Thomas, I came upon this: “the reality and character of things consist in their being creatively thought by the Creator.” This prompted me to begin thinking of myself as “being creatively thought by the Creator.” Lo and behold, I began running into like notions in the days and weeks that followed.

My last three columns have had to do with looking at the world minus the labels we attach to its contents. [Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Heat trade shows what’s wrong with the NBA

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Something is wrong with the NBA. There was a time when I really enjoyed watching professional basketball. The Sixers last won the NBA championship when I was a teenager, and they have had many bad teams over the years since then, but that didn’t stop me from watching. At some point in time, though, the league lost its way. The best evidence I can give you of this is a trade that occurred on Tuesday between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder, just before the NBA Draft. [Read more →]

adviceBob Sullivan's top ten everything

Even though it’s summer, top ten signs your home still needs a spring cleaning

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10. You have a mirror strategically placed on the ceiling so you can watch television over the pile of junk between the couch and the t.v.

9. Your bathroom has hot and cold running roaches

8. Is cheese supposed to make noise?

7. Your Christmas tree is still up – from the Reagan Years

6. You’ve given your dust bunnies names

5. After photos of your home were posted online, you started getting Care packages from Haiti

4. When you open the fridge door, the light makes all the food suddenly stop moving

3. You’ve taken up sculpting, building your sculptures from lint and dust

2. BP Oil executives have officially declared your kitchen/bathroom area ‘unsalvageable’

1. Even Jehovah’s Witnesses won’t come inside

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

recipes & food

What’s in your fridge?

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Finally summer is officially here, and for me that means that even though its hot in my kitchen, all I want to do is cook! The Greenmarkets are bursting with ripe, local produce…the time to get in touch with your inner Chef is now!!

One thing that a serious home cook needs is a clean and organized refridgerator. When I open that fridge door, I should immediately be inspired by possibilities. I want to see vibrant colors and the beauty of fresh produce. Here is a little snap shot of my fridge today…..

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diatribespolitics & government

Get well soon Mr. Cheney, the Gulf needs you

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There’s one man who possesses all the skills and experience to get the BP spill under control. Love him or hate him, Dick Cheney is the man. He’s steered an oil services company (Halliburton). He’s been Secretary of Defense, proving he knows how to manage huge endeavors such as Operation Desert Storm. And he takes a heart attack the way the rest of us knock back a shot of Jack Daniel’s, with a wince and a smile.
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health & medicalpolitics & government

President Obama sets bad example for the children, eats a cheeseburger

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President Obama, a role model to our children (I like to think of him as our “Role Model-in-Chief”) set a terrible example to our obesity-plagued children by having a cheeseburger with some guy from Russia.

The buzz around the White House centered much more on the presidents’ unexpected jaunt for cheeseburgers to Ray’s Hell Burger in Virginia — Medvedev took jalapenos — and less about the many substantive matters they discussed.

Did the president check this out with his wife first? Remember, she is the one who created the “Let’s Move” campaign, to encourage fat kids to, well, move.

And also, to not eat so many cheeseburgers.

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art & entertainment

Why is Adam Sandler so awesome (in his own mind)?

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Often as not, I enjoy Adam Sandler. I remember listening to his album They’re All Gonna Laugh at You! with friends on the school bus over and over whenever we went on a field trip and I think on the occasions when he’s stretched as an actor (most recently in Funny People), he’s been solid, generally better than the films themselves. Yet there is something strange about the way a guy who’s best described as “irresistibly goofy” if you’re a fan — or “stupid and annoying” if you’re not — winds up playing lady-killing, world-class athlete, all-around unstoppable dudes. Let’s check the track record:

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on thrillers and crime

On crime & thrillers: Dead Man’s Hand, Crime Fiction at the Poker Table

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In My Little Chickadee the late, great comedian W.C. Fields played a wily card sharp.

In this classic comedy film an eager sucker sees Fields spreading cards across a table and asks excitedly, “Is this a game of chance?”

“Not the way I play it, no,” was Fields’ classic answer. [Read more →]

politics & governmenttechnology

The Penguin Republic (PRA)

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The oil still gushes from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, and washes up on shores, destroying and threatening tourism, fishing, and ecology. The Coast Guard and BP work tirelessly to plug the leak and limit the damage. The U.S. District Court of New Orleans just overturned an Obama administration moratorium on new drilling, citing that this rig’s disaster does not necessarily presage others’. Sometimes it looks like the President is more concerned with punishing big oil than fixing the problem.

If the United States did ban offshore drilling, where would we get the lost oil? These are considerations that the government will hopefully make. In fact, which forms of energy we should develop, where we should develop them, and how we should develop them seem to be the greatest challenge facing mankind in the 21st century. The answers are debatable, but there is one consideration that is not conventionally thrown around. Antarctica. [Read more →]

damned liesgetting older

Don’t mind me, I’ll just die here in the dark

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My father-in-law recently faced up to the adult equivalent of “there is no Santa Claus.” Specifically, he discovered that, if the shit ever hits the fan, nobody is going to wipe his ass for him. Well … Maybe that’s unfair. He actually realized that, in case of disaster, he can’t count on “the authorities” to charge to the rescue.

Hmmm … I phrased it better the first time. [Read more →]


Pablo Escobar: coke dealer, killer, devoted soccer fan!

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Sometimes you need to see something to grasp its scale — simply stating its dimensions fails to do it justice, no matter how accurately you describe it. That’s the case with the empire of Pablo Escobar. Jeff and Michael Zimbalist’s documentary The Two Escobars offers extensive footage of the late Colombian drug kingpin once ranked among Forbes’ richest men and it’s extraordinary, not only in terms of the toys his money lets him acquire (though those are impressive, with his race cars and helicopters and the like), but the prominence it affords him, as when he stands beaming and seemingly his entire community applauds his opening of a new playing field. The flip side of this is it also lets us appreciate the carnage Pablo helped create: this is a man who took down planes and once blew up an entire city block to make a point, devastation on a level that sounds almost unreal until you see the bodies and the survivors stumbling around the destruction. He was both a generous and extremely dangerous man and, as this doc makes clear, he really liked soccer. [Read more →]

family & parentingPitney patrol

Save the Happy Meal

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CSPI has threatened to sue McDonald’s if it doesn’t stop offering toys with its Happy Meals. According to CNN:

“McDonald’s is the stranger in the playground handing out candy to children,” CSPI’s litigation director, Stephen Gardner, said in a prepared statement. “It’s a creepy and predatory practice that warrants an injunction.”

That CSPI has a “litigation director” tells you most of what you need to know about the organization. That it compares a business to a child molester — for offering a free toy with its chicken nuggets — tells you the rest. [Read more →]

Fred's dreams


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June 13, 2010
I dream I work on the staff of an enormous entertainment complex visited by hundreds of thousands of people every day. It is coming to the end of an event, and cars tied together with rope move past us in a huge procession. Eric and I hang around until the crowd thins out and Liza Minnelli joins us at our table and starts singing. Later on, Liza performs memory feats. It is getting to be time for me to perform, but I am not wearing my pants. I pull my shirt down to cover my genitals. Meanwhile, an elderly man runs around with his enormous schlong waving and he’s making a big show of it. I am grateful for the distraction.

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environment & naturepolitics & government

Would a drilling agency by another name smell as bad?

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The Department of the Interior — in the wake of the tragic Gulf oil spill — has created a new government agency to oversee offshore drilling.


Actually, what it did is rename an old agency. An agency that has been cited for its utter incompetence and corruptness. [Read more →]

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