Entries Tagged as ''

musicThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that reggae may no longer be played on rock stations

No Gravatar

I have been declared Emperor of the World. Let us not waste time explaining why or how; let’s all simply accept the fact that we are better off, as a result; hence, my next decree:

Emperor’s Decree No. 3T-45: Rock and roll stations are no longer permitted to play reggae music. Reggae is the polar opposite of rock and roll. There are no similarities between rock and roll and reggae. The rhythmic stresses occur in different places. Reggae is “laid-back” and rock and roll is “in-your-face.” Barry Manilow fits a rock station playlist about as well as Bob Marley does. (And, no, excessive marijuana use is not enough of a connection between rock and reggae to justify its presence on the playlist.) Hearing reggae on a rock station is like finding a picture of one’s grandmother edited into a pornographic video: it just breaks the whole vibe; lets the air our of the balloon; jams on the brakes; busts the groove; kills the buzz — and all those other cliches that you lowly minions always identify with. It’s a bird in the face of roller-coaster-riding Fabio. When the Emperor is cruising along, slamming his face against the dashboard to “Hell’s Bells” he doesn’t want it followed up with “One Love.” You can’t do the devil’s horns thing to Marley, plain and simple. When the Emperor wants to suck on a juicy mango and loaf in a hammock, he welcomes all things Rastafarian. But when the Emperor feels the need to bang the royal head, he doesn’t want a pillow thrown in front of it. (It just ain’t a party until the crown gets dented.)

The Punishment: DJs who play reggae on rock stations will have headphones duct-taped to their heads and they will be forced to listen to Don Ho singing “Tiny Bubbles” for one solar year.

Now, go forth and obey.

The Emperor will grace the world with a new decree each Tuesday morning.


bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Wifi-less in SoCal

No Gravatar

Hi all. Sunday night finds me in Southern California with my family. We spent a few days in Los Angeles and are now at Disneyland. Unfortunately, the wifi at our hotel is not working this evening, so I find myself unable to deliver my usual keen insight and wit this week. You’ll have to get your sports news from a more traditional source for now. Try CBS (cbssports.com)…I’m not so fond of the folks at ESPN at the moment after they expended so much effort to sensationalize all the Penn State stuff this past year.

One quick sports note: we were at Huntington Beach today, spending a great day with our friends. We thought that beach would be a bit less crowded than the ones closer to L.A. proper, but we did not account for the fact that the U.S. Open of Surfing would be happening there today. Interesting sport, although it technically doesn’t count as a sport in my book because winners are determined by judges. I am not sure I could spend any real length of time watching it, but the athletes do some pretty impressive things on those boards.

Anyway, have a good week, and I hope to see you back here next Monday.

Bad sports, good sports appears every Monday.

virtual children by Scott Warnock

Victim silence: My own close call

No Gravatar

There have been many high-profile child sex abuse cases lately. A recurring aspect of the legal side of these stories has been the victims’ silence. People try to shed doubt on accusations by asking of victims, “Why didn’t you speak up earlier?”

Let me tell you about my own close call. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingpolitics & government

Top ten suggested Mitt Romney running mates

No Gravatar

10. Art Garfunkel

9. John Oates

8. Robin

7. Andrew Ridgely

6. Sonny Bono

5. Bud Abbott

4. Jim Messina

3. The Captain

2. DJ Jazzy Jeff

1. The Pips

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

health & medicalmoney

“The pets of the rich do better than the children of the poor…”

No Gravatar

(Originally posted at TheDefeatists.typepad.com)

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He returning chide,
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts. Who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly: thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o’er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait.

John Milton, “On His Blindness”

It’s been an odd summer at Defeatist Central. In the last few years, we’d have gone crazy with lots of stuff about how horrible the politicians, economy and so on have become. However, not unlike a lot of other bloggers, we’ve become strangely quiet. Is it because, as in the case of Mr. Fun, we are frustrated because once you go Pek you can’t go back and no Pony has arrived? Perhaps because of the arrival of Defeatist Babies while we mourn the departure of beloved Defeatist Pets? Is it perhaps because of more mundane concerns? Or, maybe greater concerns? Who knows what ennui and disinterest lurk in the hearts of men? Well, besides Yeats, of course….but I quote him often enough.

For me, it’s been an odd time. Mrs. AXE came home one day and announced that she wanted to retire from Federal Service because she was old and because she was working for complete assholes. Well, that was fine with me; I did some math and said, OK we’ll be fine. She then went through some totally unnecessary hassles over insurance coverage for some tests, submitted her paperwork, got the tests in early March and retired on the 31st. That afternoon, we got the diagnosis – colon cancer with fairly large polyps that probably had breeched the walls of the colon. On April 20, they did the surgery. The surgeon said it went very well; on the following Tuesday, I got a call at 10PM saying they were taking her to emergency surgery because of complications; when I got there, she greeted me by crying “Goodbye…” Now, by nature I am not a nurturing type; my response was fairly unemotional and probably helped in this case – “Really? I don’t think so unless you know something I don’t.” The surgery went well – there had been an obstruction and the surgeon took out three feet of small intestine that was gangrenous. To allow everything to heal, he performed a temporary Ileostomy, that is, a procedure to route the small intestine to a sack outside the body. When she was healed, they would reattach the plumbing. In the meantime, she’d start with an oncologist and see if Chemo was the next step.

[

language & grammarThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that ye will stop misusing the word “hero”

No Gravatar

I have been declared Emperor of the World. Let us not waste time explaining why or how; let’s all simply accept the fact that we are better off, as a result; hence, my next decree:

Emperor’s Decree No. 111-11-1111-11/X: The Emperor calls for an end to the improper use of the word “hero.” A hero is a person who performs a heroic act (The Emperor’s New Collegiate Dictionary, 332). While many people should, for instance, be deeply praised for choosing selfless and noble careers (firemen, for example) or for exemplifying great courage (surviving cancer, for instance) we will, henceforth, reserve the use of the world “hero” for those who have performed heroic acts. The fireman doesn’t become a hero when he gets a position in the department; he becomes a hero when he saves a life. The cancer survivor doesn’t become a hero for surviving cancer; she becomes a hero when she dedicates her life to raising money for cancer research. (Oh, shut up. The Emperor, himself, is a cancer survivor and would never claim the title of “hero” because of it.) There are many wonderful, important and praiseworthy people out there who are not heroes. Heroes are a special category of wonderful people — unless, of course, we continue to call all wonderful people heroes.

The Punishment: Those who continue to misuse this word will be forced to spend the next ten years of their lives wearing their underwear on the outside of their pants, in public.

Now, go forth and obey.

The Emperor will grace the world with a new decree each Tuesday morning.

travel & foreign landstrusted media & news

Around the world with a bunch of embalmed communists

No Gravatar

Recently there’s been some blather about removing Lenin from Red Square and inserting him into a hole in the ground. Yeah, I’ll believe it when I see it. About once a year some Russian public figure suggests burying the Father of the Proletariat, everybody talks about it for a day or two, and then the idea fades away. You see, the interesting thing about Lenin is that, after you’ve seen him once you forget that he’s there. I mean, I’m sure Putin never thinks that there’s a hollowed out shell of a human located in a glass box a stone’s throw from his office. I lived in central Moscow for three years and hardly ever thought about it myself. Lenin’s basically invisible. Familiarity breeds indifference.

[

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: I want to be Fauja Singh someday

No Gravatar

The Olympic torch began its week-long journey around London on Saturday. Fauja Singh was one of the people chosen to carry the flame, which is certainly an honor for anyone. Singh has one of the most amazing stories I have ever heard, and I wanted to share it here. I hope you appreciate this amazing man the way I do. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingsports

Top ten rejected Olympics events

No Gravatar

10. Racketeering

9. Uphill speed skiing

8. Ventriloquist yodeling

7. Backpedaling

6. Driveby shooting

5. Bottomless water polo

4. Scrabble

3. Synchronized pole vaulting

2. Easter Egg hunting

1. Javelin catch

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

family & parenting

lost childhood

No Gravatar

The lost childhood I speak of is yours, and mine, and that of our children. It is the loss of a foundation to what little civilization we have gained in the last ten thousand years. Most essentially, it is the loss of ourselves, our past, and our future. It is in our childhood that we first realize ourselves, come to recognize who we are, and learn to understand our individual being within the social context of other human beings. This is what has been lost. [Read more →]

moneypolitics & government

You didn’t build that (unless we don’t like it)

No Gravatar

books & writing

Lisa reads Women from the Ankle Down: The Story of Shoes and How They Define Us by Rachelle Bergstein

No Gravatar

One thing I was reminded of while reading this book: I really need a new pair of classic black pumps.

First of all, Women from the Ankle Down: The Story of Shoes and How They Define Us by Rachelle Bergstein is really a book about women’s shoes. There are mentions of men’s shoes, but not many — let’s face it, men’s shoes are boring. Most of this book is about women’s shoes and how they evolved and what influenced them.

There is a lot of interesting information in this book about modern shoes. If you’re looking for ancient shoes, for the history of foot-binding, look somewhere else. This little book starts with “Ferragamo and the Wartime Wedge (1900-1938)” and runs through Sex and the City (“Shoes and the Single Girl (1998-2008)”). Lots of detail about how certain styles evolved and how shoes go in and out of style, along with some interesting bits of shoe lore.

I love shoes! Sadly, my work requires mostly sensible shoes now, but that doesn’t mean I don’t drool over the latest styles (although I cannot wait for the hooker-platform fad to pass — can’t happen soon enough). I enjoyed getting a bit of insight into what was fashionable and what was controversial in different generations (who would have thought of ballet flats as rebellious?). I also didn’t know that shoes were actually rationed during the war:

“As it was, the ration stipulated not only how many shoes consumers could buy but also what kind of shoes the footwear industry was permitted to produce going forward…For women, the shoe ration instantly outlawed flourishes which had become the quintessence of a varied shoe collection.”

The American government even limited the colors that could be used in shoe production to 4 — black, white, town brown and army russet. Heel heights were regulated and so were the height of boots.

Bergstein covers the rise of Birkenstocks, the influence of the movies on shoes (and vice versa) and Girl Power, Saturday Night Fever and the battle between Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo. What she doesn’t do is provide a single photograph! Unless photos were added in the finished version (mine was an uncorrected proof), I think it’s a huge gap. I mean, you can describe the shoes in The Who’s rock opera, Tommy:

“To cement the Local Lad’s top dog status, [Elton] John wore the entertainment industry’s most vertiginous pair of shoes; inspired by the cherry red 1460 Doc Martens popular with London youth at the time, these boots were specially fastened out of fiberglass by Scott Bader, the Northamptonshire chemical firm, and measured a towering four feet, six and a half inches high.”

But doesn’t this help get the idea across:

It certainly helps the reader to imagine the shoes! A big missing piece of the puzzle in the book, which can’t really be overcome by the line drawings at the start of each chapter. Also, you can get away with using “vertiginous” once, if you use it correctly (it doesn’t just mean tall), but six times? Now you’re just showing off, and not in a good way.

All in all, an interesting and enjoyable book, if not too deep into history. My copy of Women from the Ankle Down: The Story of Shoes and How They Define Us was an Advanced Reader Copy, provided free of charge.


From one single father to the next

No Gravatar

My life long best friend just went through a divorce over the last two months, his wife left him, his kid, the house, all of it.  She just up and walked away, and the guy is now facing a personal crisis.  He doesn’t know how he’s going to make ends meet, how he’s going to raise a little girl, or what life is going to be like as he moves into the future.

I remember those feelings very well.  I experienced the same sadness, loss, disorientation, and loneliness when my relationship with my baby’s momma fell apart and I got sole custody of my daughter.  But when I went through it, I didn’t know any other man with custody of his kids, I didn’t have anyone I could talk to with a similar perspective, no one to encourage me, tell me to keep my head up, and offer advice to me.

So I sat down and wrote a letter of encouragement to my life long friend, the brother I chose, to help him out.  I posted it on his Facebook wall, and then proceeded to get numerous comments from people telling me that I needed to post what I wrote somewhere visible, so that other men in our situation could have the chance to benefit from it too.

I don’t know if what I wrote is really that good, I have a hard time judging my own writing, but I’m following the advice of a bunch of people who don’t even know me, so here it is.

To all you single dads out there, read it, and like my buddy, remember that you’re not alone, that it will get better, and that your life has made a gigantic turn for the better, my friends.  –Mike

[

language & grammarThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that ye shall cease using the word “ameezing”

No Gravatar

I have been declared Emperor of the World. Let us not waste time explaining why or how; let’s all simply accept the fact that we are better off, as a result; hence, my next decree:

Emperor’s Decree No. MCMVII: The Emperor now feels compelled to ban the use of a word. Sadly, there are those who use this word properly and in moderation, but he sees no other way than to banish the utterance of the word for no less than an entire decade, in order to stop the offenders. The word is: “amazing.” If the Emperor has to hear one more twenty-something describe her night, her trip to New York or her boyfriend as “ameezing” —  it is always pronounced this way — he might crack into Imperial shards. If one more vocabulary-deprived young fop in a television interview goes on a babbling, ineffectual journey through the forest of inanity to “describe” what an “ameezing” experience it was to meet so many “ameezing” people and do so many “ameezing” things, the royal skull might just implode. Further, preceding the word with “sooo” (drenched in an affected, see-sawey, imitative cadence) is now no longer allowed. In fact, it will only condemn the offender to deeper misery.

The Punishment: Utterers of the banned word will be chained in a great, high-vaulted and sonorous cathedral full of teenagers. The teenagers will all be talking about arguments they got into with their significant others during the previous night. They will rant, non-stop, in myriad, reverberating cackles until the Emperor’s “ameezing” ban is lifted. Which will be never. Let the fools drown in an eternity of “whatEVER” and “REEELLY?” and “no he didn’t” — let them drown, I say, in great waves of marble-reflected, nasal susurrations!

Now, go forth and obey.

The Emperor will grace the world with a new decree each Tuesday morning.

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: The jackals surround Penn State after the Freeh Report

No Gravatar

What a miserable week, in the midst of a miserable year, it has been to be a Penn Stater. I am going to start by stating that no one I am writing about here has or will suffer in a way that compares to the actual victims of Jerry Sandusky’s evil. That is clear. That said, there are legions of Penn Staters out there who are having a very hard time dealing with every aspect of this situation, and I am one of them. As much as I despise what went on there, I find myself being very defensive as I read more and more of the drivel that has been written about the release of the Freeh Report and what it contained. I nearly left this story off of my list for the week for a couple of major reasons. First, it hurts to write about it, and I am hardly in the mood to put myself through that after the events of the week. Second, it is simply not a sports issue. It does not really belong in a sports column, just as it does not belong under the jurisdiction of the NCAA. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingenvironment & nature

Top ten answers to the question “How hot is it?”

No Gravatar

10. “It’s so hot, Gitmo detainees are waterboarding themselves.”

9. “It’s so hot, cows are giving evaporated milk.”

8. “It’s so hot, Lindsay Lohan just tested positive for Slurpees.”

7. “It’s so hot, I saw a squirrel forced to handle his nuts with tongs.”

6. “It’s so hot, fish are sweating.”

5. “It’s so hot, the last guy who asked me ‘Hot enough for ya?’ I was compelled to beat to death with a sockful of nickels.”

4. “It’s so hot, my oral and rectal thermometers just exploded.”

3. “It’s so hot, when the Romneys drive to Canada this year, Mitt called first dibs on the roof!”

2. “It’s so hot, the Tanning Mom just burst into flames!”

1. “It’s so hot, today I fried an egg…at room temperature.”

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.


My dog nobly shepherds me through the icy waters of life’s sh#t basin

No Gravatar

My dog is my favorite non-human animal on earth.

Whenever we arrive at the dog park, we are barbarians at the gates, restless to permeate the membranes of these verdant cocoons.

[

books & writingtelevision

Who, exactly, are the “heroes” of “Comic Store Heroes”?

No Gravatar

I’m old enough to remember when the National Geographic brand conjured in the mind images of amazing photos of faraway lands and interesting information about exotic animals, architecture, culture, and conservation. I knew a lot of people who collected the magazine, proudly displaying the spines on ornate bookshelves. The presence of the magazine on your coffeetable was a signal to any visitors that you were an intellectually curious person with good taste and wide-ranging interests.

Just as comic books often publish gimmicky covers to boost sales, so too did National Geographic once release a "hologram" cover in the mid-1980s.

Today, the National Geographic Channel schedules three-hour blocks of television programs in which people hunt for UFOs (it’s balanced, because the team is composed of “one believer, one skeptic, and one undecided”).

Last night, they aired a program entitled “Comic Store Heroes,” which centered around New York City’s Midtown Comics (which is apparently the largest comic book store in America), and the indefatigable fans who shop there.
[

moneypolitics & government

The little engine that went bankrupt

No Gravatar

virtual children by Scott Warnock

Lists, literature, and summer reading conquests

No Gravatar

So, how much will your children read this summer? How attached are you, emotionally, egoistically, to that question’s answer? [Read more →]

Next Page »