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politics & governmenttrusted media & news

Mr President, please do what you were elected to do, and invoke the 14th Amendment to do whatever is necessary, whenever it is necessary

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Our country is currently being held hostage by the partisan bickering that is going on in our nation’s capital. This is just another dog and pony show, to be sure, but nevertheless the stakes have never been higher. We are in an unprecedented crisis, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Great Depression. And still, while Rome burns, our elected officials fiddle, refusing to accept the reality of our situation and do what is necessary to ensure our country’s survival.

We must raise our debt limit by the completely hard and fast August 2nd deadline. If we do not, the United States will default on all of its obligations, and our nation — and, indeed, the entire world — shall be thrown into chaos. [Read more →]

family & parentingpolitics & government

My open and heartfelt letter to Ronald McDonald, on the occasion of his announcement that his Happy Meals will be less deadly than before

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Dear Ronald McDonald,

First, I want to say thank you. Sincerely and honestly, thank you for your recent announcement that you will be putting apple slices in your Happy Meals. Now, no longer will the toy be the healthiest thing children can remove from that colorful box and put in their mouths. Apple slices are naturally sweet and delicious, and I think you’ll find that the children who eat your food-like products will come to love these apple slices even more than the other things you put in those “meals.” [Read more →]

books & writing

Lisa reads: Dominance by Will Lavender

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Dominance got my attention in the very first pages and hung on to it right to the end. It’s a book about a book with an author who may not even exist. It’s about the night class, taken a decade ago, and how it changed the lives of the students who took it. It’s about The Procedure, and the danger it represents. And it’s about a present-day murder and how it may change everything they thought they learned in the night class. [Read more →]

art & entertainmentreligion & philosophy

Memoirs of a Dervish- how one Englishman tried to become a Sufi saint in the 60s

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Robert Irwin is an English writer who has written six amazing novels and numerous studies of different aspects of Islamic culture. He is also the Middle Eastern editor of the Times Literary Supplement and has been instrumental in shaping the list of the hyper literary and thoroughly esoteric publisher Dedalus. While still a student at Oxford in the 1960s he travelled to Algeria with the intention of becoming a Sufi saint, an experience he describes in his latest extraordinary book, Memoirs of a Dervish. Recently I interviewed this remarkable man, resulting in the email conversation which I reproduce for your reading pleasure below.  [Read more →]
artistic unknowns by Chris Matarazzomovies

Leave George Lucas alone, for the love of Yoda!

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You know what I am sick of? George Lucas bashing. That’s what I am sick of. That said, I don’t think George Lucas is the Jesus of movie makers. I like Star Wars well enough. I really like Indiana Jones. The guy is great, but I’m not going to declare him the Shakespeare of Hollywood. He makes good, entertaining films with enough depth that they hold up for numerous viewings. What more can you ask?

But can we admit something, please? The original Star Wars trilogy is not the apex of film-making. Are those films the equals of Citizen Kane or Lawrence of Arabia or, heck — Schindler’s List? No. Of course they are not. [Read more →]

moviespolitics & government

Harry, Larry, and me…

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It seems to me, doesn’t it to you, that a lot of the public squabbles we incessantly hear of do not arise from mere differences of opinion but from a seemingly primal urge we humans have to tell other people what to do. It’s not enough to be secure in our own certainty. It’s not enough for us to tell other people how right we are and how wrong they are. It’s not even enough for us to simply tell others what to do. We have to tell them what to do and, if they don’t comply, try to force them to do what we say through state action or the courts. It’s a sickness, a human design flaw, I think. I’m not immune. Frankly, I’m writing this to tell people to stop telling other people what to do, which kind of defeats my purpose. But wouldn’t the world be a more peaceful place if we adopted a more ‘live and let live’ attitude; if we curtailed our pursuit of power over others through government fiat; if we were just more accepting of differences in lifestyles, values, and beliefs?  [Read more →]

art & entertainment

MartyDigs: Summer Pop Music

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Everyday I’m shufflin’, and chasin’ around a blond blur known as my son Jack. And everyday I’m stressin’ about my bank account and bills, and prayin’ my car makes it to whatever destination I need to get to. Every night I’m averagin’ about 4 hours of choppy sleep courtesy of Jack. And every weekend down the shore I’m listenin’ to commercial radio loaded with pop music. Guess what? I’m startin’ to dig it. At first, I chalked it up to my unhealthy lack of sleep and maddening descent into domestication. But I am realizin’ that there are other factors involved. [Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: It’s time for NASCAR to lose the televised pre-race prayers

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Each week, I sit down to watch the NASCAR Sprint Cup race. Some of the time, I turn on the broadcast too early and subject myself to the variety of useless things that the track promoters choose to bring to us, from hideous renditions of the Star Spangled Banner to some wildly unnecessary and expensive flyovers by the military. I am not anti-military by any means, but I am pretty sure there is a better use of the money it costs to run those planes than to fly over some mid-season race that means little in the long run. Save it for the big races, guys. Anyway, part of the pre-race routine always includes some sort of religious (read: Christian) prayer. I find it totally bizarre that not only is this still done, but it is almost always broadcast by the television network as well. This is a practice that should be changed. [Read more →]

all workBob Sullivan's top ten everything

Top ten signs you, too, have a horrible boss

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10. Instead of giving you a chair, he makes you squat

9. He insists that you think of him as “Your boss…with benefits”

8. Your healthcare plan is a box of bandaids

7. “Casual Friday” means he comes to work in his pajamas

6. You wish he were only “all hands”

5. Your “probationary period” is now in its sixteenth year

4. You have to submit your request to use the bathroom two days in advance

3. The closest thing you’ve had to a promotion is when they doubled your lunch break to ten minutes

2. He greets you every morning with the phrase, “Do you still work here?!”

1. He insists on paying you in Cheetos
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

moneytrusted media & news

Will America go into default?

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The debt ceiling, the debt ceiling, everybody says the debt ceiling. Apparently Obama has to raise it if Uncle Sam is to pay his bills. The big issue is the question of how to get more money so America doesn’t have to keep borrowing cash from foreigners: cut spending and cut taxes? Or keep spending and raise taxes? The answer depends on which baseball team you support. I mean, political party.

Well anyway for a long time I dismissed all this debt ceiling talk as the usual shenanigans from the plutocrats in Congress. But then I read that if an agreement could not be reached between the Blue Team and the Red Team then America would default on its loans. Pensions would go unpaid! Babies would be forced to shovel coal! And so on! Apparently Moody’s – an organization possibly related to the burger joint of the same name at the end of my street – is threatening to downgrade America’s “Triple A rating” (which I believe describes the quality of its hotels). [Read more →]

art & entertainmentmovies

My review of the new “Dark Knight Rises” teaser trailer

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Last Thursday night, I was one of the first in line to watch the final installment of the new Harry Pooter movie, “Harry Pooter and the Deadly Gallows Part 4,” and I was so excited, as you probably guessed already. I had on all of my wizard gear, such as my magic wand, and the muggle, and my quiddick things. Also, I had on a cloak, and my Pooster glasses. I loved this last and final Harry Pooper movie before the reboot, because it is just exactly the movie that fans of this long-running, unique fantasy series deserve. It had all the wonderment of the other films of the series, although I was surprised by the part when Harry Pookie died, but I especially loved the part where Harry pooped in Hermiony’s mouth. Even though I think that they stole my idea for a movie where people poop in each others’ mouths when they have romantic relations, I still loved it because that is how real wizards would be romantic with each other, and also share their magical secrets, by trading the magic that comes out of their butts (“potters”), and putting it directly in the mouth of the other wizard (“consumption”).

But what really made me excited was that the new “Dark Knight Arises” teaser trailer was released at the same time as the new Harry Pooted movie. This created quite a dilemma for me, as a fan of both this unique movie series about a school for magic and a “chosen one” who has to do a lot of magical stuff and avenge the deaths of his family by a fearsome villain who seems to be unstoppable, and a fan of the other, Batman movie series about a superhero whose parents are killed so he goes out to avenge their deaths by doing a bunch of stuff and he learns how to be a hero because he’s a designated heroic person who has to save everybody. [Read more →]

religion & philosophyscience

When ugly guys try to “get some” a.k.a. Richard Dawkins vs. the feminists

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A fun and exciting feud has erupted in the world of “critical thinking.”

The skinny: “Skepchick” blogger Rebecca Watson is at war with the world’s most famous atheist, Richard Dawkins, for remarks Dawkins made about sexual harassment.

Scott Locklin at Taki’s Magazine has the juicy details.

[Read more →]

language & grammarrace & culture

Using “the R-word” is exactly the same as using “the N-word,” and if you can’t see that, then you’re feebogzh

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Recently, in Australia, the recording/performance artist Lady Gaga and her entourage were pelted with eggs, apparently to protest Ms. Gaga’s use of a wheelchair as part of her musical act. Ms. Gaga, who has the full use of her legs, needed to be shown the insensitivity inherent whenever anyone who does not need a wheelchair uses a wheelchair, whether it be for artistic purposes or not. The eggs were intended as an attention-getting device.

Obviously, as a sensitive person myself, I applaud the throwing of items at insensitive people to get their attention on important matters. Most insensitive people don’t realize they’re being insensitive, and throwing objects at them is a good way to start the conversation process, which will start a dialogue which will in turn lead to the curative process, and then, inevitably can we begin to heal, as a people. I would like to point out, however, that millions of men and women all over the world struggle with the tragedy of infertility. The throwing of eggs is a sad reminder of the burden these people live with every day of their lives. Therefore I must reluctantly say that it was insensitive of the wheelchair activists to throw eggs at Ms. Gaga et al, no matter how noble their intentions. [Read more →]

books & writing

Lisa reads: Keeping the Feast: One Couple’s Story of Love, Food, and Healing in Italy by Paula Butturini

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Keeping the Feast: One Couple’s Story of Love, Food, and Healing in Italy by Paula Butturini is just the sort of book I love…and just the sort of book I normally avoid. I love books about travel and Italy is high on my list of places that I absolutely must go. There’s a lot of food in this book and a great love for cooking and shared meals. However, I don’t have any personal experience with depression and memoirs about depression are not usually high on my list. Still, I was enchanted by this book. I devoured it (very appropriate) in one sitting on a short flight with a long delay. I have highlighted several recipes that I plan to try in my own kitchen. And I was very moved by John’s struggle with depression, by his wife’s unceasing love for him, and the support of their family and friends. [Read more →]

artistic unknowns by Chris Matarazzo

The chameleon’s dish: Making art happen, again

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Well, I’m there.  I’m at that place a lot of artists dread — that place at which a big project has just been completed.  I am looking at the Herculean effort that is sometimes required to get another one going.  For a little more than two years, I have been writing, arranging and recording. The project is on the presses as we speak.

All of us creative types have been in this position. [Read more →]

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

Daring to create anything

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Somewhere in Sexus, the first installment of The Rosy Crucifixion, Henry Miller writes that “imagination is the voice of daring. If there is anything godlike about God, it is that. He dared to imagine everything.” [Read more →]

ends & oddreligion & philosophy

My local mega-mosque

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Georgetown is a small-ish town north of Austin located in  a notoriously conservative county that – until recently – did not permit the sale of alcohol in restaurants. The judges there are very fond of inflicting harsh punishments on criminals; social life centers on the church, the golf club and the high school; the average age of residents is 45; and so on.

Anyway, I lived there for a few months after I first arrived in Texas and quickly started to lose my mind. After all, I had just spent 10 years living in Moscow, that mega city of beauty, evil and horror, and now, here I was in small-town America, in a place so perfect it shimmered like a mirage. The boredom was intense. Is this how I shall spend the rest of my life? I wondered, scarcely able to suppress my panic.  [Read more →]
books & writingreligion & philosophy

Cunning sh#ts

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I just finished reading The Declaration of Independents by Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch. It’s good, and I especially like the passage below, which quotes a 1976 essay by revolutionary Czech dissident Václav Havel. Havel’s screed predated Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution by a decade or so and contains his impassioned defense of the Plastic People of the Universe, a Czech band that came under the intense, oppressive scrutiny of Czechoslovakia’s then-totalitarian regime.

[Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: U.S. women lose to Japan in an exciting World Cup final

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I may have mentioned before that I am not much of a soccer fan. If you watched the final of the Women’s World Cup on Sunday, though, you could easily tell how even a non-fan could get sucked in. The second half of that match, including extra time and the penalty kicks, was pretty damn riveting. Even though the Americans lost in the end, it was a great match to watch and the culmination of a great run for the U.S team, while an underdog Japanese team came away with a huge win. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingmovies

Top ten indications that Arnold Schwarzenegger was the father of his maid’s son

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10. A love child from the future came back and tried to terminate the pregnancy

9. When the doctor delivered him, he slapped the doctor back

8. In the neonatal unit, he kept hitting on all the female babies

7. His mom had to buy baby food by the case

6. He always babbled in a thick Austrian accent

5. His mother always referred to her son as “my little ‘hasta la vista’ baby”

4. At three months, he was bench-pressing his crib

3. If you tried taking candy from this baby, you’d come back with a bloody stump

2. In his first-grade play, he couldn’t act to save himself

1. He was just offered a position as the new head of the International Monetary Fund

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

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