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Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingtelevision

Top ten least popular new television shows

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10. America’s Funniest Postcards

9. Law and Order: CSI: NCIS:

8. 48 Hour History

7. So You Think You Can Play Pachinko

6. How I Met Your Accountant

5. America’s Next Top Heavy

4. The Sitcom with No Gay Characters

3. The X Chromosome

2. Dancing with the Has-Beens

1. Innocence of Muslims
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

art & entertainment

Thoughts inspired by Larry Wachowski’s sex change

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Recently, I saw a post on Facebook from someone who had learned of Osama Bin Laden’s assassination an entire year after it happened. As a well informed American, he was shocked that he had initially missed the story. I’ve never missed news as big as Bin Laden’s death (as far as I know), but I can relate. I was just as shocked when I learned recently from a New Yorker article on the upcoming Cloud Atlas Movie  that the Wachowski Brothers are now the Wachowski Siblings and Larry is now Lana.

What concerned me on learning about the “siblings” was not the news (who really cares?), it was the thought that I may be out of touch. [Read more →]

religion & philosophytelevision

How the psychedelic shows of your youth affect your mind today

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Have you ever tried to track down something you saw on TV as a kid, just to see if it was even real? Many of us are occasionally haunted by snippets of movies and shows we vaguely remember watching when we were children. We may wonder if these memories ever really happened, or if they were dreams. Especially when the memories seem incredibly bizarre! Having grown up in the 70s, I caught a lot of psychedelic stuff on TV as a kid that I’ve become obsessed with tracking down as an adult. Why? Discovering forgotten moments from our youth is the closest thing we have to time travel. We get to relive an experience we had and to see what actually happened. Sometimes, we may even be shocked to find that the story from way back then provides an answer to our lives now. [Read more →]

race & culturetelevision

This would be the greatest reality TV show of all time

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Preface: Since their invention, popularization, and herpes-like spread across the landscape of television, I have maintained an unwavering attitude of blind, unadulterated hatred toward reality TV shows and the viewers who allow their existence to continue. I actually pass rash judgement on the overall character of people who watch things like Jersey Shore. It’s profoundly ironic based on what follows in this piece, but it’s nothing short of absolute bigotry and I don’t care. I would rather spend all the years of my existence trying to take my own life via repeated blows to the head with a plastic spoon than become someone who spends his time staring at a television to watch other people spend their time and possibly also stare at a television. So when I suggest that something would make for a great reality show, I say that purely in a fictional sense. Should a program like this ever be televised, I would feel at least partially responsible and, as punishment, would reach for the nearest Dixie utensil. You may now proceed.

[Read more →]

animals

Don’t bother — they weren’t convinced by watching their dogs eat their own crap

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Apparently, some people actually like kissing their dog on the mouth. Just as apparently, it turns out it may not be the health boost you expected.

 

Dog kiss = not ideal

all workcreative writing

If you like true stories about golf and murder, you’ll like this

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In the years before I’d gotten the job, my dad would describe it as the golf mecca. The Pro Shop was the first to stock the newest, name-brand clubs; the greens on the executive course always rolled true and stayed soft through November; and every few months, management would replace the grungy, cracked range balls with a new shipment of pearls. Even the name was refreshing: Somerton Springs Golf Center of Feasterville, Pennsylvania.

One night, years later, my old man told me over dinner that he’d spoken to management and set up a job for me. He was my hero. I imagined the negotiation: He’s escorted into some back room with one light where a bearded Greek man sits alone at a corner table, shrouded in shadow. My dad throws down a briefcase packed with unmarked, non-consecutive hundreds. My son gets this job, he says. The Greek opens the case and thumbs through a stack of bills. He nods, approvingly. My dad nods back. [Exeunt.]

[Read more →]

books & writing

Lisa reads 1222 by Anne Holt

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The first thing I thought when I read the blurb for 1222 was, “Oh! It’s a Norwegian And Then There Were None.” I love a good mystery, and a good locked room mystery? Even more fun. Put that locked room in a snowed-in resort high in the mountains? Love it.

The interesting thing about this is that Anne Holt’s detective, Hanne Wilhelmsen, is about as unpleasant a main character as you have read lately. She has good reason to be cranky — she’s been injured in a train wreck, she can’t get around the resort all that easily in her wheelchair, people keep turning up dead and the folks in charge expect her to help. Hanne doesn’t feel like helping. She left the police force after the shooting that left her disabled and she has been something of a hermit since then. Now, she has no choice but to lend a hand, whether she wants to or not. [Read more →]

advicesports

Matt Cassel, Eric Winston, and 9/11: a brief guide to maintaining your humanity while watching large mammals collide violently

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On Sunday, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel was injured on a play. Matt Cassel is a pretty shitty NFL quarterback. According to offensive tackle Eric Winston, while Cassel was down and injured, a decent portion of the crowd was cheering because it meant Matt Cassel would be unable to return to the game and, therefore, would also be unable to continue playing quarterback for the Chiefs, shittily. After the game, Winston described hearing the home fans cheering for an injury as “one hundred percent sickening.”

Bravo, Eric Winston. Gold sticker for that one, bud. If they were cheering the injury, you are one hundred percent right.

[Read more →]

The Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that there shall be no more non-war war-tales

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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. 1942: The Emperor would like to point out that war stories are cool. War is not cool, but the tales of soldiers are fascinating, often heroic and often life-changing. He would also like to point out that everyday life is not war. Therefore, there shall be no more “war stories” told to people who are approaching various important stages of life that have been already experienced by the potential tale-tellers. For instance, it is no longer permissible to react to news of a dear friend’s pregnancy by saying: “Congratulations! Catch up on your sleep now. Hardy-har-har-har.” (We get it, war-hero. You have been through the Battle of the Bulging Diaper. Good job. How did you ever survive? So few have.) Likewise, no one may tell an engaged couple how hard the first year of marriage is or that the most difficult  part of eternal commitment is getting used to each other’s bathroom habits. (You have not jumped through the ring of fire. You just lived. This does not make you Evel Knievel.)

The Punishment: Tellers of non-war war-tales shall be forced to parachute into a combat zone. This way, they’ll really have something to brag about, later.  Hardy-har-har.

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: Maybe it’s about more than just sports

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It is easy to assume that we, as fans, are far more invested in the outcome of our teams’ games than the players themselves. After all, they are getting paid whether they win or lose. It drives us (or at least some of us) crazy to see players on different teams being chummy with their opponents during a game. As a passionate (some would say obsessed) fan of numerous sports, my favorite players are the guys who seem to care just as much as I do, and who appear to despise the other guys while the game is still being played. For some of these athletes, that kind of demeanor comes naturally, even if it is not for real. Those guys have it easy, I guess. The game does not need to be life and death for them, as long as they are giving their all when it counts. It is easy to forget that these are people who have lives of their own off the field, and that their performances may well be impacted by things that have nothing to do with sports. This week, real life intruded upon the sports world in a big way for a couple of people, and, by extension, their teams. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingeducation

Top ten things Christopher Columbus would say if he were alive today

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10. “Is Joan Rivers still around? We dated in high school.”

9. “Yes the voyage was long and arduous – kind of like Jet Blue with legroom.”

8. “If I knew it was going to lead to Jersey Shore, I would have stayed in Spain.”

7. “Did anybody ever find the East Indies?”

6. “How would I get to the city called ‘Me, Ohio’?”

5. “We had a ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy on the Santa Maria, as well.”

4. “Where can I get my hands on that iPhone 5?”

3. “My God! All you Indians have gotten so fat!

2. “I’m 561 years old. Shouldn’t somebody be calling the Guinness people?”

1. “Why do Republicans keep asking me why I didn’t fall off the edge?”
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

animalsart & entertainment

Deep goes the rabbit hole

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Recently I watched Sexy Beast for the zillionth time and got to thinking:

Creepy Rabbit People are effective tropes.

[Read more →]

language & grammarvirtual children by Scott Warnock

If you don’t know what grammar is, then texting may be bad for it

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You don’t need research (although it’s easy to find) to tell you that children are sending thousands of texts per month, sometimes hundreds per day. And you don’t need to be a news hound to know that, communications-wise, this has widely been viewed as a sign that all that we know of as good is coming to an end. [Read more →]

politics & governmenttrusted media & news

Voters should have a choice of more than two flavors

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getting oldermusic

If music be the food of nostalgic embarrassment, play on

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At the age of 27, I have an iTunes library that more closely resembles someone who’s already outlived the national average life expectancy. The sections of Robert Johnson, Elmore James, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, and the three Kings (Albert, Freddie, and B.B.) alone probably comprise something like twelve days of music. God could create the heavens and the earth again and still not be out of the ’60s.

But my digital music collection is just the way I like it. I’ve got everything I love and almost nothing I don’t. Sure, individual songs like  T.I.’s “Whatever You Like” inevitably infiltrate my anti-garbage firewall (read: are added by friends to annoy me), but they’re nothing a “delete” key can’t fix. It’s wonderful. And it’s awful. The digital age has enabled my music library to reflect Current Me, and in a certain way, that’s a real shame for today’s youth.

[Read more →]

advicefamily & parenting

Kids: for and against

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Yesterday on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show, author Jessica Valenti discussed her new book Why Have Kids?. I haven’t read the book, which sounds like a good one (that’s the level to which I’ve sunk as a book critic). But the conversation got me thinking about my own life.         [Read more →]

musicThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that lyrical lip-tasting shall cease

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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. i-124-B: The Emperor is aware of how hard it is for young musicians and lyricists to approach the profundity of their Springsteenian and Dylanesque heroes — those stretchers of poetic and pop-cultural boundaries. He knows (not from experience, mind you, but from within the depth of his infinite wisdom) what it feels like to struggle with a lack of intellectual and artistic development in the face of a monumental desire to write something truly powerful. In short, the Emperor empathizes (theoretically). He cannot, however, allow these young lyricists to continue crossing the line of sensuality and over into  increasingly frequent  implications of cannibalistic desires. Lately, there have been far too many references to the “taste” of the lips of one’s lover, in popular tunes. This is not sensual and edgy, my young and comically rebellious friends. This is gross. Ye shall quit it.

The Punishment: Violating lyricists will be tied up and forced to listen to three weeks of non-stop jokes about cannibals, like this one: Two cannibals are sitting around the fire, eating. One cannibal says to the other, “I can’t stand my mother-in-law.” The second cannibal replies, “So, just eat the noodles.” THANK YEEEW! (Try the veal.)

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: What happened to playing defense?

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I was all set to write about the ridiculous replacement referees that officiated the first three weeks of the NFL season to disastrous results, but the sides resolved their differences and the real refs were back at work starting Thursday night. The beautiful thing about the world of sports, though, is that there is always something else about which to complain. I guess that is because we are so passionate about the subject. This weekend, there were a whole lot of insane numbers put up by some college quarterbacks, the most astonishing of which came from Geno Smith, the incredible quarterback from West Virginia University who is widely considered to be the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy. Smith threw for 656 yards and eight touchdowns in his team’s 70-63 win over Baylor. I guess many people might slobber over those stats, but I just can not get past one simple question: doesn’t anyone play defense anymore? [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingscience

Top ten inventions I’m waiting for

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10. An alarm clock with a 12-hour snooze alarm

9. An artificial sincerity pill

8. A pair of socks that signal each other when one gets lost in the dryer

7. A looser straight jacket

6. A cell phone that blocks the signals of all other cell phones in the room, for when I go to the movies

5. A television with a built-in Adam Sandler filter

4. A negative-calorie cookie

3. A mechanical Mitt Romney (but then, how would you tell the difference?)

2. Self-cleaning underwear

1. The bus (please re-read title)
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

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