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health & medicaltrusted media & news

9 mostly untrue “scariest food facts”

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Men’s Health and Yahoo! Health conspired to produce an hilariously misleading set of “9 Scariest Food Facts” that aren’t scary, and aren’t actually facts, either. The piece was written by a couple of assholes called “David Zinczenko with Matt Goulding,” apparently as a promotional tool for their pushy book with the yammering title Eat This, Not That! (has there ever been a book with an exclamation point in the title that wasn’t crap? I really don’t know; I’m not trying to be snide).  The piece is almost worth reading as an example of the effective use of unsourced half truths and lies to promote an agenda.

The first “fact”?

1. Nutritious food costs 10 times more than junk food.
University of Washington researchers calculated the cost discrepancy between healthy food and junk foods and found that 2,000 calories of junk food rings up at a measly $3.52 a day. Yet for 2,000 calories of nutritious grub, the researchers plunked down $36.

The asshole authors, David Zinczenko with Matt Goulding, do not include a link to the study to which they are alluding. (They do, however, include a link to a promotional webpage for their fingerwaving screed Buy This, Not That! excuse me I mean Eat This, Not That!) So I had to google it for myself, because I don’t trust a couple of bluenosing jerks just because they say something alarming. And it turns out that the “study” in question does not say what the asshole authors, David Zinczenko with Matt Goulding, claim it does. In fact, it says nothing of the sort. [Read more →]

sports

A tribute to the Tiger Tracker

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When it started, it was perfect: the one thing Americans like more than a winner is alliteration. Since Tiger seemed to win every other tournament (and, even in defeat, drew more interest than all other golfers combined), it made sense to give fans checking golf highlights direct access to the only thing many of them gave a damn about: Eldrick Woods. Thus ESPN and the Golf Channel and Fox Sports and countless other sites added a Tiger Tracker (Sports Illustrated offers the clickable heading “Tiger Woods News”; way to keep it formal, guys), so you could instantly see how close the icon was to claiming another title. To all those responsible for this journalistic innovation, I make a plea: keep it going forever. [Read more →]

family & parentingpolitics & government

There’s nothing sadder than parents exploiting their children in an attempt to feel better about themselves

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Whenever I see children exploited by their parents as part of some misguided attempt to feel better about themselves, or to “live vicariously” through their children, I become filled with righteous indignation. Actually, I feel a sort of sadness mixed with superiority. And a dash of moral outrage. These children don’t know what they’re doing. They’re simply trying to please the parents who are using them for their own selfish ends. It’s pathetic. It’s venal. It’s a form of child abuse. I can’t think of anything that’s worse.

 

No, no… I’m not talking about those strange, sad parents who put their children through the burdens of beauty pageants. I’m talking about this:

 

For crying out loud, why can’t we just let kids be kids?

Contract kids video via reason hit & run. See also: Iced Borsht.

artistic unknowns by Chris Matarazzo

Thresholds: The essence of artistic opinion?

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My seven-year-old son, who has once been immortalized in this column for his masterful rendition of a the Jaws poster, informed me last Friday morning that he was planning a puppet show: “Mario Brothers.”

This meant I had work to do.

We went to the computer and printed pictures of the characters (no drawing this time; he wanted precision) and then we went out back to find sufficiently straight sticks to use to hold the cut-out characters. After an hour of box-cutting, stick-taping and theatrical logistics, the play was ready to begin. No script. This was to be improvisational puppet theater. Puppeteering without a net. [Read more →]

getting olderthat's what he said, by Frank Wilson

The surprise of old age

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“The biggest surprise in a man’s life is old age.” Thus spake Leo Tolstoy, who made it to 82.

It is hard to disagree, especially if you find yourself, as I do, on the cusp of three score and ten, the so-called Biblical age. Of course, old age is not surprising in the sense that it is unexpected, but rather that it turns out to be so different from what you may have expected. [Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Keegan Bradley makes his first major tournament count

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Despite the fact that football just got rolling, with NFL teams starting preseason play, golf was at the center of the sports world this week. Some of the news is covered below in Bad Sports, but I’d first like to focus on the positive. Keegan Bradley won the PGA Championship on Sunday. Who, you ask? That’s exactly the point. Before this week’s tournament, Bradley, a 25-year-old American, had never played in a major tournament. Even more amazingly, he was five shots back with only three holes to play on Sunday after a triple-bogey on 15. Jason Dufner, another American, appeared to be a shoo-in for the victory. That’s when things took a huge turn. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingsports

Top ten signs you are too old to be playing Major League Baseball

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10. When you slide into second, you misplace your hip

9. Willie Mays helped you with your stance

8. You’re the only outfielder with a walker

7. When you get to first, you ask for directions to second

6. You get winded standing for The National Anthem

5. Your rookie card is in black and white

4. When buying steroids, you try to get an AARP discount

3. Instead of pine tar on your bat, you’re using Poligrip

2. When everyone else is having their Seventh Inning Stretch, you’re taking your Seventh Inning Nap

1. You try to run around the bases on your Rascal Scooter
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

sportsvirtual children by Scott Warnock

Michael Vick, endorsements, and role models

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This is not an anti-Michael Vick diatribe. You’ve read that before. Dog fighting does disgust and disturb me. It’s evident Vick took the inherent cruelty of it to another level. He was caught. He served a prison sentence prescribed by our legal system. He was released. Since his release, he’s been active denouncing dog fighting, even working with some members of animal humane societies. He has spent time building himself back into condition to play at the highest level in a professional sport I enjoy a lot for a team I root for. [Read more →]

terror & wartravel & foreign lands

Thriving in apocalyptic times

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I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we haven’t had any global health scares like Swine Flu, Avian Flu or SARS recently. Why? Well, with all the economic misery in the United States and Europe, revolutionary unrest in the Middle East, rioting mobs in the UK plus the usual war and famine elsewhere, things are so awful right now that apparently we do not need hallucinatory fears to stimulate the collective nervous system. We have enough actual worries of our own. [Read more →]

politics & governmenttrusted media & news

Tolerant candidates need not apply

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books & writing

Lisa reads: Blood Trust by Eric van Lustbader

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Eric van Lustbader’s third installment in the Jack McClure series, Blood Trust is just as exciting and fast-paced as the first two books, if not quite as believable. It’s full of foreign locales, double agents, evil billionaires and hidden agendas – everything a spy novel needs! It also takes us deeper into the relationships between our key characters, primarily the relationship between McClure and former first daughter, Alli Carson, and the relationship between Carson and Jack’s dead daughter, Emma. [Read more →]

moneypolitics & government

Great American challenge

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The United States of America, except for a short run during Clinton’s second term, has been running deficits and accumulating debt for decades. As Fareed Zakaria points out in this week’s issue of Time (“The Debt Deal’s Failure“) Ronald Reagan was the first modern President to cut taxes dramatically without accounting for proportionate cuts in spending. George H. and Bill Clinton raised taxes and curtailed spending to minimize debt and even create a budget surplus, but W. came in and slashed taxes, secured a drug benefit, and started two foreign wars. Still the deficit to GDP ratio W. ran before the financial collapse of 2008 was modest compared to his predecessors. When he left office the national debt was roughly $10 trillion dollars, $4 trillion more than when he took office. [Read more →]

terror & wartravel & foreign lands

When fools go to war

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What was the central lesson that the Great Powers learned from the carnage of World War II? I firmly believe it was “never again”- that is, “never again will we fight a country that has even remotely comparable military strength to our own.” Even so, beating the crap out of weak nations is not always as straightforward as one would imagine.

[Read more →]

politics & governmenttrusted media & news

American media: Accept John Kerry’s challenge!

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Our country is clearly suffering from severe dysfunction. The economy keeps getting worse by the day. Unemployment numbers are sky high. The stock market is falling. Our debt has never been higher. Even under the rosiest scenarios, our deficits are projected to get significantly worse. We are entangled in who knows how many wars against people in the Middle East.

But, at least we can all take solace from the fact that the president still thinks we’re a “triple-A” country, all the way. [Read more →]

television

MartyDigs: West Beverly High

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The recent landscape of American television has been dominated by shows about motorcycle dudes, tattoo shops, vampires, pawn shops, and swamps. It’s like America is suddenly obsessed with the state of Florida (zing!) I am not really into any of those shows, but the Soap Opera Network has afforded me the opportunity to take a not always pleasant trip down memory lane by showing reruns of Beverly Hills, 90210. It’s always refreshing to revisit my pimply high school years via a show about good looking rich kids who looked, acted, and lived like they were ten years older than they really were. [Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Pitcher breaks his neck when hit in the head with a line drive

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Most of my involvement with sports over the course of my life has been as a spectator. I spent several years playing Little League baseball when I was a kid, and I used to play football, baseball, basketball, and hockey with other kids in my neighborhood on a regular basis. Since then, though, other than some intramurals in college, I have experienced very little in the way of first-hand athletic activity until I started running last summer. The rest has all been watched from the comfort of my sofa, along with occasional attendance at live sporting events. I have great respect for the athletes who regularly put their safety on the line so that I can enjoy a nice afternoon in front of the television. [Read more →]

all workBob Sullivan's top ten everything

Top ten least popular summer jobs

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10. Anthony Weiner’s image consultant

9. Parka salesman

8. Suicide bomber

7. Amish air conditioner repairman

6. Lindsay Lohan’s bail bondsman

5. Apprentice crackwhore

4. Public pool pee monitor

3. Chris Christie’s lotion boy

2. Shark bait

1. What, people still have jobs?
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

politics & governmenttechnology

Newt’s tweet deceit

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diatribes

The grotesque wad of ineptitude called Enterprise Rent-a-Car

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I’m currently experiencing some bad customer service, courtesy of a sauna trout named Marc at the Austin Straubel Enterprise Rent-a-Car in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Marc has possession of my wife’s wallet, which she inadvertently left in an Enterprise rental car. Marc has made retrieval of the wallet a difficult process.

[Read more →]

environment & naturetrusted media & news

Living in a natural disaster area

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When I was young, droughts were something that happened elsewhere: as a punishment from God in the Bible, or in far off Africa, where unfortunate babies with distended bellies would die in the scorching heat of an evil sun. In Scotland, by contrast, there was never a shortage of rain – quite the opposite, in fact: We hardly ever saw the sun, and might have thought its existence a mere rumor were it not for those people who came back from holidays in Spain burnt red, toy donkeys under their arms.

Flash forward a few decades and suddenly I find myself living in Texas where droughts are a regular occurrence. Currently we are enduring our ninth month of epic dryness, my second drought in five years, which – depending on which website I consult – is either the worst or third worst in the history of the state. [Read more →]

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