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terror & wartrusted media & news

Rumours of war

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Well, Winning The Future! I thought the war was over, if not won, weeks ago. But now there is a new front with new antagonists. Though churlish these bad actors had been keeping pretty well to the rules; well enough at least to leave them alone in their primitivism. But now with little warning their longtime reclusive leader comes out swinging, declaring guerrilla war and sabotage. I refer of course to the War on Fox by David Brock and his curious creature Media Matters.

What to make of this lithesome, bespectacled fellow’s explicit, public declaration of war? This was not the Moral Equivalent of War, not a Media War nor any other modifier to the term except of course “guerrilla”, which while it does paint him and his as the plucky ill-armed underdogs, does nothing to make his “war” metaphorical. So is David Brock expecting shipment of a Barrett .50 that he will turn down Park Avenue? This seems unlikely. As Reagan said of protestors declaring “Make love not war”, Mr. Brock seems lightly equipped to do either. So a metaphorical war it is then. And in a snap, as Mr. Brock is among the most passionate architects of the Giffords-inspired era of moderate rhetoric, that eight weeks of cruel discipline is officially over. [Read more →]

books & writing

Lisa reads: Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell

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Winter’s Bone is not a new book — it was originally published in 2006. If not for this year’s Academy Awards, I might never have heard of it, and that would have been a loss. Daniel Woodrell’s story of courage and desperation in the Ozark mountains is beautiful and haunting and deeply moving.  Mostly, I was moved to fury — I wanted to round up every one of Ree Dolly’s male relatives and take after them with a shovel!

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politics & government

Is the TEA Party really falling out of favor with the American people

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This week we were treated to a new CNN/Opinion Research poll on the TEA Party’s popularity.  It was so monumental, so ground breaking, so informative than Sen. Harry Reid decided he must mention it on the floor of the Senate.  “The country doesn’t much care about the TEA Party”, he exclaimed in an attempt to force the GOP leadership in DC to capitulate to Democrat demands in the budget talks.

Oh really, Sen. Reid?

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artistic unknowns by Chris Matarazzo

Artistic standards: Somewhere between the bench and “The Bigs”

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A few days ago, I wrote a blog post about the idea of purpose behind the artistic experience. I sat at a concert given by the great guitarist John Williams and the question occurred to me: Should I be learning or enjoying, right now? And, as is frequent on my blog, I related this question to the philosophy of living, in general.  “To chill, or not to chill?” was the basic question — with a little Taoism thrown in. But writing this led me to think about artistic purpose further; specifically, in terms of the standards we set for ourselves. 

A few years ago, a former student of mine asked if I would play guitar at her wedding ceremony. Having only been a student of the guitar for a few years, I said that I wasn’t quite ready for that kind of thing. Her reaction, light-hearted and not unkind, was to imply that I was holding standards for myself that are too high. Was I? [Read more →]

diatribespolitics & government

BP cleanup? Forget that, let’s party

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The wonderful thing about Louisiana is the commitment to living life to the fullest. The devastation and embarrassment of Hurricane Katrina could have buried the state in self-pity for a long time, but sure enough they rolled up their sleeves and worked to rebuild. When the BP oil spill happened, it looked like yet another setback, but I’ll be damned if they’re going to let something like a cleanup effort hurt their good time.

Why not just allocate money meant to clean up the BP Oil Spill toward their bicentennial celebration?

The state’s turning 200 years old and Governor Bobby Jindal is looking to blow Mardi Gras, the Saints Super Bowl victory parade, and New Years clear out of the water. The fact that that water is still filled with compressed sludge composed of dinosaurs, poisoning an unknown amount of sea creatures and wrecking the Gulf Coast’s fishing industry, is not about to put a damper on that party. [Read more →]

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

More interesting than a watchmaker

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It is always nice to get up to date, even it takes some time. In my case, the process seems to be proceeding apace. I’m not up to date yet, but I have at least caught up with the 13th century.

Let me explain how I discovered this. In my last column I made the point that what is called creation is not something that took place several billion years ago, but something that is taking place now. [Read more →]

travel & foreign landstrusted media & news

My life of crime

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Some time ago I got heavily into crime. Not big or interesting crime mind you, like serial murder or death camps, but rather tiny crime, rubbish crime – the kind of thing unusual enough to fill 150 words in a newspaper, and then disappear forever.

My interest in this inglorious subgenre started in Russia, where the mind-bendingly dull Moscow Times would very occasionally publish something readable, strange one- or two-paragraph stories from around Russia, often featuring an element of crime. I vividly recall the tale of some kids who were found playing soccer with a human head near Smolensk. [Read more →]

travel & foreign lands

Marty Digs: In God’s country

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People love to knock my home state of New Jersey. I would like to argue that South Jersey and North Jersey are entirely separate entities. North Jersey is home to smog, clog, congestion, and overdevelopment, but in their defense, they are also home to Bruce Springsteen – so they get a lifetime pass for that one. South Jersey is home to a wonderful rural area my friend Burks and I affectionately refer to as “God’s Country”. And I have my dad to thank for introducing me to this once mysterious area. [Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: VCU basketball team proves it belongs in the NCAA Tournament

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Back on Selection Sunday, a wide array of basketball analysts and supposed experts argued the merits of the various teams that had been chosen for the NCAA tournament, and lamented the fate of the teams that were left out. The most common complaints seemed to center around large conference teams being overlooked in favor of smaller conference teams. In particular, I heard a lot of talk about the fact that Colorado, out of the Big 12, was not chosen, while Virginia Commonwealth, out of the CAA, was. VCU finished 4th in the CAA, and was the third team chosen from that conference this year, after George Mason and Old Dominion. Surely the Big 12 team was more deserving, right? Maybe not. With a ten-point victory over perennial powerhouse Kansas on Sunday, VCU made it to the Final Four for the first time in school history. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingends & odd

Top ten other environmentally bad ideas, after del Monte’s single bananas wrapped in plastic

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10. Gas-powered electric blankets

9. Whole-Watermelon-in-a-Box

8 The motorized garden gnome

7. Plug-in mittens

6. The electric toilet paper dispenser

5. Coconuts packed in Styrofoam

4. The return of the Hummer

3. The electric spoon

2. The gas-powered pooper scooper

1. Individually wrapped peas

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

announcementshealth & medical


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The most ghoulish thing you will see all week:

“It is now time for those that have been helped by Sylvia or the philosophy that she has brought to this life to help her by donating to her church. On behalf of Sylvia and everyone at Novus Spiritus we thank you for whatever support you can provide during this time of extreme need.”

I will pass on this opportunity to provide aid to someone in her leather-faced and desperate hour of need. However, if you’re interested in lending a hand, all manner of credit cards are accepted.

politics & governmentterror & war

From “Change” to “Charge”

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environment & naturevirtual children by Scott Warnock


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The Gulf full of oil. Radiation seepage in Japan. War in petroleum-rich countries. Mines collapsing. And the incessant, blow-by-blow, steady-drip news about all of it. [Read more →]

creative writingmusic

Trying to tell my grandkids about SXSW 2011

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“We slept in a bungalow! On the floor!”

“After waiting in line for 3 hours, we were lucky enough to see a 30 minute comedy show…for free!”

“As far as the eye could see, there were free energy drinks…and boy did we drink them.  We drank them all.  We were sick as dogs.” [Read more →]


The tragedy of two Taylors

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This has been a trying week for people with the initials L.T. The former acting giant Liz Taylor is dead, but at least she’s gone to a better place (as a friend of Michael Jackson, she’s guaranteed immediate admission to that big Neverland Ranch in the sky). The former New York Giant Lawrence Taylor is alive, but he has to cope with being a registered sex offender, and all because he made sweet love to a prostitute who happened to be underage. [Read more →]

books & writing

Lisa reads: Dead Head by Rosemary Harris

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Paula Holiday left the stress and grind of New York City for a “smaller and simpler life” in Springfield, CT. She runs a landscaping business, Dirty Business, helping realtors dress up the houses they’re selling and local businesses put in pretty patios. Her friend and client, Caroline Sturgis, has approached Paula about opening a business. The offer appears to good to be true and you know what they say about offers like that. When Caroline is arrested and “Monica Weithorn” is the name on everyone’s lips, Paula agrees to help get to the bottom of this identity mystery in Dead Head by Rosemary Harris. [Read more →]

terror & wartrusted media & news

The most half-assed military intervention of all time?

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Let’s retrace our steps a little. First the US wasn’t going to do anything in Libya because according to President Obama ‘organic’ revolutions are the most successful revolutions.

Of course that’s utter bollocks, and I’m assuming Mr. Obama skipped his elementary American history lessons. Because as everybody knows- the American Revolution, that is to say the most successful revolution of all time – well George Washington and his buddies kinda got some help from the French. Y’know. Like, a lot. And the Russian Revolution- well, it wouldn’t have got very far if the Germans hadn’t granted Lenin safe passage across military lines. And the Iranian Revolution? It sure helped Khomeini that Saddam Hussein was willing to let him broadcast his toxic blather from a safe position in Najaf. And so on. [Read more →]

artistic unknowns by Chris Matarazzo

The need for artistic roots

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One of my former students, an aspiring and rather talented artist, just posted this on Facebook: “ugh, taking art history next semester, someone kill me.” This sort of hit me sideways. It is the kind of thing that drives home the idea that one’s own set of parameters simply does not apply to everyone; the lens each of us sees through is different. What was a given to me as a young musician and writer — that the history of my arts was both essential and fascinating — simply does not fall into everyone’s conceptual parameters. Do we need, as artists, to study (and respect) the history of our respective arts in order to be our best? [Read more →]

books & writingtelevision

The new Wonder Woman television show: Is this really the best they could come up with?

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Entertainment Weekly has a photo of the costume to be featured in the new Wonder Woman television pilot, written by David E. Kelley.

For a tightly-controlled character with a lot of licensing on the line, it actually doesn’t look that bad — although, it doesn’t top this fan designed outfit:

art & entertainment

Marty Digs: March Madness indeed

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The Monday morning after opening weekend of March Madness is never a pleasant one. And the Monday morning after opening weekend of March Madness, my birthday, and St. Patrick’s Day is a completely unpleasant one. Throw in the birthday night appearance of the “supermoon”, and I am totally shocked that I didn’t turn into Teen Wolf and terrorize all the bars in my town, dunk basketballs, and surf on top of my 1999 Nissan Altima. (Actually, I might have done two of those things over the weekend) I spent Sunday night laying on the couch watching basketball and cursing Arthur Guinness, simultaneously dreading and looking forward to a week back to normalcy. My March Madness pool is in a crumpled ball in my pocket, covered in blood, sweat, and tears….and hot sauce. [Read more →]

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