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books & writing

Lisa reads: White Sleeper by David R. Fett and Stephen Langford

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I had such high hopes for this book.

It’s a good premise: a bitter white supremacist working with a Muslim sleeper cell to launch a bioterror attack on US soil. A CDC agent with a spotty past and one last chance to prove himself. A mysterious operative known only as Mr. Smith. It’s the backbone of a good book or action movie, but White Sleeper by David R. Fett and Stephen Langford never lives up to the promise. [Read more →]

politics & governmentterror & war

Blame Bush

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Recent and blatant toying with the time stream has spun off other reality-bending side effects. These are revealed in phenomena that are reaching out far beyond the control of the Department of Corrections threatening to crush our world under the weight of replicating paradoxes. Paradox Poisoning, like most infectious diseases, strikes the very young, very old and those with pre-existing enfeeblements the hardest so, as always, it is wise to pay close attention to Chris Matthews as you would a canary in a coal mine. It is well for our own safety that we do not have to get too close. Modern crowd-sourcing techniques, like those arrayed against the tundra monster Palin allow us to keep a safe distance, crucial, as when the collapse comes the vortex will first whirl out of Matthews well-snugged cravat, engorged on his voluminous but empty melon. The latest evidence is a nationally transmitted spasm of erupting nonsequiturs and self-contradictions that seemed to indicate the Big Crunch was underway but Matthews survived this crisis, clearly due to a diet rich in riboflavin and gin. I provide the link for documentary reasons but no need to endanger your own existence as we will examine this specimen through the safe filter of text. [Read more →]

books & writingmovies

The top 25 comic book movies of all time, ever – the most definitive list this month

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Last month, a writer at Moviefone unleashed upon the internet a definitive list of the top 25 comic book movies. The piece candidly acknowledges the difficulties in undertaking such a task:

The trouble with making a Top 25 list is how you judge the entries. Do you do it by box office receipts? Or critical consensus? What about the quality of the script, or how well a movie has aged? We took all of these factors into account while making our list, with one more criteria [sic]: how significant is the movie? Where does it stand in the history of comic book movies? These twenty-five entries are the 25 most significant comic movies, with a few entries you’ll recognize and a few that you should seek out immediately.

Box office receipts, which I assume here is intended to mean the number of tickets sold, is something that can be quantified. Calling his list the “top 25” rather than the “25 best” suggests that he should probably just have gone by the amount of money each film has earned. Of course then you get into the problems of rising ticket prices, DVD and blu-ray sales, rentals, the amount of money the films earn on pay-per-view, pay cable, basic cable, networks, and syndication. That’s pretty complicated, and movie studios are notoriously creative in their accounting practices. [Read more →]

family & parenting

MartyDigs: Tasty tidbits of summer

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The summer is almost in full swing – and likewise, my skin looks like a barely cooked roast beef, and my barbecue grill is sweating from all the use I am giving it. After our trip last week to Lancaster, it was great to get back down to the shore and take a deep breath of salt air and a deep sip of a cold beer. This past weekend, Jack and I – as usual, were “party rocking” at many different locations at the Jersey shore. We played in the waves, rode a rollercoaster, and took a walk through a giant elephant. [Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Mixed feelings about following college football recruiting

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There is something about sports fandom that makes us feel like kids. After all, childhood is when few things meant more than the results of one game or another. When we become adults, we are expected to focus on more grown-up matters, like jobs and money. In our hearts, though, the true sports fan knows that the games mean more than any of that. That’s why we get so worked up about a bunch of men chasing a ball. I am all for hanging on to that child-like focus, but there are limits. One area about which I struggle to know how I feel is college football recruiting. I follow it and read about it regularly, but I often feel like I should spend a lot less time on it. [Read more →]

adviceart & entertainment

Top ten signs your prom date is a loser

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10. The ‘corsage’ he pins to your dress his handmade from Bounty paper towels

9. He takes you to the prom in the basket of his Schwinn

8. Every time he starts dancing, concerned chaperones place a wrapped spoon in his mouth to prevent him from biting his tongue

7. He wants to be home by 9:00 so he can catch the rerun of Fringe

6. He claims he’s suffering from ‘Bieber Fever’

5. He’s wearing a cardboard Burger King crown

4. His tux was ‘borrowed’ from his dad’s funeral home business

3. When he asks you if you want to catch a bite somewhere, he displays his collection of coupons

2. He keeps calling you “Mommy”

1. You’re both wearing the same dress

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

politics & governmenttrusted media & news

A rude, vigorous lesson for the T-ball Allstars

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Gimme your cash, bitch so we can shoot up da screet!

Gimme your cash, bitch so we can buy some more heat!

Gimme your cash, ho so we can get out da pen!

Gimme some cash, ho cuz we back in again!

As rap songs go, that’s pretty tame by existing standards, as is the video. The artists call themselves Splack Pack, and the hook is a straight sample from their breakout hit Shake That Ass, Bitch from their album, Big Booty Hits. And there is a bit of controversy. So, is it Phyllis Schlafly and Tipper Gore complaining about the exploitation/glorification of gang culture with its violence and misogyny? That would be a no. This infectious jam is actually a political ad aimed at one Janice Hahn running in a presumably safe Democratic district in Los Angeles. [Read more →]

moneypolitics & government

The year that wasn’t

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They say two thousand and thirteen party over, oops!

Fucked ourselves!

So for now we oughta party like its two thousand and twelve!

Since licensing and copyrights are as doomed to imminent collapse as the rest of civilization I will appropriate my soundtrack from Prince and he can come collect if he wants. That’s not just me talking, with the collapse stuff. Not anymore. Ben Bernanke publicly declares mystification that his voodoo economics have come a-cropper. Bill Clinton and Al Gore are driven to public denunciations by their disappointments with the President, each of which are cataclysmic one way or the other. The most damning news comes from the Great Man’s own mouth in his brief (for a change) address of last night. Obama arrives to disclaim the actions and events of the last two years excepting only the Abbottobad triumph. You remember that, when the President headbutted Osama and snapped his neck like so much celery? But no fear, he’s now on the job; rested, ready, with a four handicap and prepared to tackle the crapulent legacy that is America. [Read more →]

books & writing

Lisa reads: Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich

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What would you do if you caught someone reading your diary? If you caught your spouse snooping in your inner-most thoughts, how angry would you be? In Louise Erdrich’s Shadow Tag, Irene America is a woman in an abusive marriage, who discovers that her husband has been reading her diary. Instead of lashing out, she takes advantage — she starts a secret journal and uses her diary to manipulate her violent husband, Gil. [Read more →]

politics & governmentterror & war

A most suspicious chicken coop

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A half-baked clone of Snagglepuss by the name of Huntsman has announced his enthusiastic intent to join the scrum of  the Republican Primaries. He commandeers the best view of the Statue of Liberty to do so. One would think that schmaltz like this would be in heavy demand, but no. Only twice before has a Presidential candidate made their debut here. One was Pete Wilson, modestly competent Governor of California. The other was Ronald Wilson Reagan. Old Pete hoped to trade on his commonality of office and, hilariously, of name, to ladle some sweet Reaganny goodness over his own head which would be punctuated by the familiar location. This seems to have failed but Huntsman is up to give it another go. [Read more →]

art & entertainment

MartyDigs: Jack’s Excellent Adventure

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This past weekend my son Jack was treated to a weekend that he will hopefully remember forever. My parents took us all out to Pennsylvania Dutch country where we spent the day at the amusement park Dutch Wonderland on Saturday, then on Sunday went to “A Day Out With Thomas”. To relate this is my own terms, it was like my cousin’s wedding weekend in Milwaukee where I toured Lakefront Brewery, saw My Morning Jacket at the Riverside Theater, then saw the 2008 Phillies clinch their playoff series against the Brewers. To be honest, it was like a wild bachelor party weekend, but for a three year old. All taking place in beautiful, slow paced, rural Lancaster County – home to the Amish, smorgasbords, and discount shopping outlets. [Read more →]

politics & governmenttrusted media & news

Of course you realize, this is Newtiny

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Some unseen and unforeseen harmonic convergence has put the state of Georgia into a prominent position in national politics she has not occupied since the Carter years. The insurgent Cain is a homeboy well known to other crackers. Media conceit that he has “come from nowhere” is somewhat insulting. The Fair Tax is a baroque scheme, probably preferable to our current tax system, that has been a local hobbyhorse for a decade. Only now are Cain and its other champions bringing it to the country at large. Our new immigration laws which are typical of those sweeping through state legislatures have drawn international litigation and news scrutiny. Our media market, a piffle compared to the coastal giants has never the less birthed some prominent voices like Hannity (sorry, America) and the croaking Libertarian Neal Boortz who are now heard and (thankfully, less often) seen on ubiquitous airwaves. But our most famous export has been a clinker. That is a garden gnome cast in the fires of Kennesaw Mountain by what hand we know not. Of course this is that fellow with the Smeagol smile whose mother called Newt. [Read more →]

artistic unknowns by Chris Matarazzoreligion & philosophy

“The stories I tell”: Sharing one’s self with the universe

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“And I wasn’t looking for heaven or Hell

Just someone to listen to stories I tell.” 

~ Glen Phillips (Toad the Wet Sprocket)

My wife meditates and she does Yoga. I think it is pretty interesting stuff, but I haven’t tried either activity for myself. She is always telling me how good it feels to meditate and to have meditated. I believe it. But I think I already do that, with music. I wonder if artists of every kind aren’t doing their own kind of meditation, after all. [Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Wild riots in Vancouver after Stanley Cup loss

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Vancouver is a beautiful city. I was only there once, and it was a very brief stay, but it made an impression.  My first moment seeing it was on a bus from Whistler, where I had been skiing. As we first came within view of the city, I was amazed at just how gorgeous it was. Beyond that, everyone there seemed so friendly. I have never spent much time in Canada, but I certainly have the idea that it is a generally peaceful place filled with nice, decent people. When it comes to sports fans, though, it appears that Vancouver is right up (or down) there with many other cities, as far as having a bunch of crazed lunatics rooting for its teams. The Vancouver Canucks lost game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals to the Boston Bruins on Wednesday. The scene on the streets of the city that night was horrifying, with rioting, fires, looting, and general lawlessness. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingpolitics & government

Top ten Anthony Weiner excuses

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10. “To prove I’m a good Democrat, I wanted to demonstrate that I lean a bit to the left.”

9. “I just love showing off Little Anthony and the Imperials.”

8. “I was confused by the term ‘junk e-mail’.”

7. “I wanted to show how hard it is to be a senator.”

6. “I was auditioning for a Calvin Klein ad.”

5. “As a forward thinker, I wanted to point the way.”

4. “I just wanted to answer the age-old question: Boxers or briefs?”

3. “When I originally said that I had been hacked, I was referring to my circumcision.”

2. “I am very proud of the staff I have under me.”

1. “For those who were confused about how to pronounce my last name, I wanted to send them a visual reminder.”

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

creative writingfamily & parenting

No Returns

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When my father’s favorite sister leaves, I get Dad all to myself again. Since early in the summer, my aunt and I have knocked heads on the proper way to care for a dying man, so as soon as she is out of the house, I feel an enormous weight lifting. I feel more relaxed. I plan to make up for all the arguments from earlier in the summer. Then, I wanted to confront my father with his various failings as a Dad—from his various absences to his overbearing presence—but I’ve come to realize that it’s too late for this. He hasn’t eaten in weeks and can hardly take any fluid at all; he doesn’t have energy for intense conversations. If anything, a dying man feels he’s owed an apology from the rotten world, not like he is the one to apologize to selfish offspring or anyone else. So now, I am committed to rising above the fray and playing the role of the dutiful son until the end.    [Read more →]

sportstravel & foreign lands

Out to Sea, Day 1: Backing the Blue

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NOTE: I’ve never been been one for blogging while on family vacations, not wishing to publicize how far I was from home, and how empty said-home was. So my ‘cruise posts’ over the week ahead – mockumenting the adventures of a West Texas desert-dweller in the middle of the biggest dang lake he ever saw – will be appearing one week after-the-fact.

SUNDAY, JANUARY 12 –The port of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is slowly slipping from view, and we are now getting a chance to explore what will be our home over the week ahead. Plenty of topics for discussion among our new-found friends and acquaintances aboard the good ship Carnival-Freedom … “Where you from?” … “Is this your first cruise?” … “Do you get seasick?” … and, “Who’s going to win the NBA title?” Carnival Cruise Lines offered what I though was a splendid way to show our support, and I was sure to show my support for the Dallas Mavericks, early and often. [Read more →]

family & parentingpolitics & government

Happy Father’s Day, Vladimir Putin

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He’s Vlad the Dad.

Here are some of his best shots, via the Web.

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race & culturetrusted media & news


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As Registered Genii go, you can’t get much more Registered or much more Genius than Nick Kristof. While his blood is not as blue as one could hope, his resume’ is otherwise impeccable comprising all the right schools and all the right gigs that have culminated with his perch at the highest level in respected media: a New York Times columnist. If after the suspiciously re-scheduled Rapture you need further proof that we are in the final days certainly this gentleman’s most recent column is a paradox of biblical proportions. [Read more →]

family & parentinggetting older

Father knows best

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I was probably 9 or 10 years old? I was already working on our family’s vegetable farm full-time in the summer, and my cousins and I were making boxes (this process involves this big, stapler machine — at least for the ones that hold the heavier produce). Anyway, as we were working, we noticed that a baby bird had hopped  under the packing shed. This thing was little — barely could open its eyes — and we were worried that it would get hit by one of the forklifts. So, we found a small box, filled it with those cloth-like paper towels that come in a box (rag-in-a-box, I think it’s called?), and then maneuvered the baby bird into the little refuge we created for it. [Read more →]

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