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diatribessports

A humble request

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Dear Professional Athletes (five in particular),

It would be entirely unreasonable of me to expect that all professional athletes follow When Falls the Coliseum and are currently reading this. However, I don’t think it’s entirely unreasonable to assume most of you do. So if those of you reading would be so kind as to aid the proliferation of this message by directing to it those few lost colleagues who clearly struggle with identifying worthy internet readings, it would be greatly appreciated. Now, to the point…

There is an epidemic sweeping your industry that needs to be stopped (and I’m speaking specifically to you, Shaquille O’Neil, Michael Vick, Dwight Howard, Cam Newton, and Robert Griffin III): you cannot all be Superman.

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books & writing

Lisa reads Exponential Apocalypse – Dead Presidents by Eirik Gumeny

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Okay, this one is just weird. Bizarre, a little gory, pretty funny. You’d sort of like to have a drink with the sort of guy who comes up with an idea like this, but you’re a little afraid the drink might be grain alcohol, or maybe absinthe.

In Eirik Gumeny’s Exponential Apocalypse: Dead Presidents, Thor, the former Norse God of Thunder, has returned to his day job at the Secaucus Holiday Inn. He’s hanging out there with his friends, Queen Victoria XXX and Chester A. Arthur XVII.

“After the world ended for the sixteenth time, the Aussichtslos Drogensucht Gesellschaft mit beschrankter Haftung, a frozen sausage company out of Germany, manufactured an absolutely absurd number of genetic reproductions of political leaders from across the globe, hoping to land a profitable contract with the United States government, either as a steady source of on-demand experienced political minds or as a supplier of a new kind of lunch meat. They weren’t picky.” [Read more →]

books & writingpolitics & government

How a Wonder Woman comic from 1942 led to the Great California Cow Exodus of 2012, maybe

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Recently, Bill Frezza at Real Clear Markets published a story about cows fleeing California for other states because California’s state-minimum pricing of milk is too low to turn a profit.

The crisis in California stems from Golden State cheese makers carrying more political clout than dairy farmers. As a result, the minimum legal price of milk in California is 2 ½ cents per pound less than the average minimum legal price in other states. Two and a half cents may not sound like much, but in a business in chronic oversupply, that’s larger than typical profit margins.

With feedstock costs skyrocketing due to the diversion of corn to make subsidized ethanol-another brilliantly managed business- California dairy farmers are on the ropes. Meanwhile, California cheese makers enjoy a competitive advantage because it is illegal for out-of-state cheese makers to buy cheaper California milk.

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recipes & foodThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that baconphilia will end

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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. 3X-45/17: Alright. Seriously: enough with the bacon. Turkeys-wrapped in bacon; pork chops wrapped in bacon; bacon ice cream; bacon pies; bacon-wrapped bacon over bacon salad with bacon vinaigrette. Bacon T-shirts; Facebook posts celebrating the glories of  bacon. Chocolate-covered bacon; sexy women dressed in bacon thongs. Bacon coffee? Woven bacon goblets? Bacon cereal? It’s only a matter of time before bacon-porn starts up. Sweet Jesu, people! It’s yummy. The Emperor gets it. But it’s no tastier than it was ten years ago. The Emperor wants loyal subjects, not trend-gobblers. (I’m seriously considering banning all Kevin Bacon films, just for good measure.) I blame Emeril Legasse for introducing the moronic culture of cheering enthusiastically for seasonings: GAAAAHLIC!! WOO-HOO!! Cripes, how desperate can we be for fun? BACON! YIPPEE!! Insufferable.

The Punishment: Violators (anyone who devours bacon in any way but in strips, on a plate, next to a few sunny-side eggs) will be put in a 5-by-5 cell, deep in the Imperial Dungeons, with three recently-bacon-whipped wild boars who will exact revenge for their fallen brethren in a most invasive way.

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: A big mess for the NFL on Thanksgiving

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As popular as the NFL is on any given day, Thanksgiving day is still one of the showcase days for the league. The last thing Roger Goodell and his cronies wanted to have was a major embarrassment on Turkey Day. Nevertheless, that’s what they had. The Detroit Lions lost their traditional tilt, this time to the Houston Texans, after a confusing turn of events involving a bad call, an automatic review, and a coach’s challenge ended with a bogus touchdown for Houston that helped them win the game. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingends & odd

Top ten signs you ate too much on Thanksgiving

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10. When people first meet you they say, “Lemme guess…Sumo wrestler?”

9. The super in your building just changed the sign in the elevator to read “Maximum Occupancy: 1”

8. When you get on a plane from New York to Los Angeles, it has to taxi the whole way

7. A policeman came up to you and ordered you to disperse

6. Both Ben and Jerry have friended you on Facebook

5. You just caught the flesh eating bacteria, and were given 93 years to live

4. Just like one of those turkey thermometers so you can tell when it’s done, your belly button just popped out

3. Everyone in New Jersey keeps calling you “Governor”

2. You had to sell your laptop because you no longer have a lap

1. You got winded just reading this Top Ten List
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

technologytrusted media & news

Recalling old times through new connections

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In the local media this past month, some attention devoted to the 25th anniversary of the rescue of Jessica McClure from a well in southwest Midland, Texas, where she was trapped for three days. That attention also provided for me an opportunity to connect with a one-time co-worker of mine – someone I have not seen for many, many years – and gain a renewed appreciation for how much smaller our world has become through the world wide web.
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art & entertainmenttelevision

So long to a good ol’ boy

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Count me among those mourning the death of stage, screen and (most of all) television star Larry Hagman, who passed away Friday in a Dallas, Texas, hospital. Hagman was 81.

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books & writingends & odd

A 5-panel, post-Thanksgiving meditation on the greatness of the Incredible Hulk

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Via the Comic Treadmill

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books & writing

Lisa reads The Code by G.B. Joyce

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This is a tough review to write. The Code, by sportswriter G.B. Joyce, has a lot of things that I love — a good mystery, a flawed hero, and a bit of action. But it is all somehow a bit awkward.

First, the story: Brad Shade is a former hockey player with a sad-luck story, now a scout for the team in L.A. While scouting a particularly hot young prospect, a beloved coach and team doctor are brutally murdered, and while Shade isn’t a suspect or even a witness, his scouting duties keep leading him back around to the investigation. To get the story on his prospect, he may have to solve the murder. [Read more →]

religion & philosophy

A Thanksgiving Prayer

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“Oh God, when I have food, help me to remember the hungry; when I have work, help me to remember the jobless; when I have a warm home, help me to remember the homeless; when I am without pain, help me to remember those who suffer; and remembering, help me to destroy my complacency and bestir my compassion. Make me concerned enough to help, by word and deed those who cry out for what we take for granted … Amen.”
 – Samuel F. Pugh

Wherever this post finds you … on the road, at home or at work … at the dinner table, in front of the television or (shudder) lining-up for Black Friday bargains … have a safe, happy and blessed Thanksgiving.

language & grammarThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that ye will pronounce the double-“O” sound properly

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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. 100000: Young people of the Empire! I am only going to decree this once, so listen carefully. Two letter “O”s, in American English, are pronounced with a long “O” sound, un-interfered with. “Pool,” for instance: “poooooool.” It is not “poo-wuhl.” “Cooooool,” not “coo-wuhl.” Do you see a “W,” anywhere, in either of those words? Get it right. That’s all. I have no more to say on the matter. Now…[rubs hands together] for the punishment.

The Punishment: [Those in charge here at WFTC have deemed the Emperor’s punishment for this offense to be far too violent for publication. In fact, “sadistic” is a better word for the fate he declares for those who those who mispronounce the double-“O” sound. I mean, he’s really riled up by this one — rivers of blood; deaths of whole generations of descendants….mutilation…truffle-salt in the eyes…that sort of thing. Do yourself a favor and say it right. (“Right,” of course, being whatever the Emperor thinks.) The Imperial Language Patrol is everywhere. Don’t risk it for the sake of following some fleeting pronunciation trend. It’s hard to explain to the IRS (Imperial Revenue Service) why your body occupied two different zip codes, simultaneously, over a whole fiscal year. Just not worth the headache. Don’t be a foo-wuhl.]

Now, go forth and obey.

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

advicepolitics & government

A common-sense approach to restoring economic prosperity

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People have proposed any number of solutions to our current financial problems, from “the fiscal cliff,” to “increased government spending.” But one problem with these ideas is that they do not take into account a common-sense approach. It’s only by using common sense ideas that we can hope to solve all our problems. To do so with compassion must also be given top priority.

One reason why compassion and common sense ideas are so rarely employed is that so few people actually have those virtues. I am not plagued by such deficiencies. That’s why I often come up with ideas that are compassionate and common-sensible. These ideas seem completely obvious to me, and yet, these ideas have never been implemented before, anywhere, because, if they had been implemented, then they would be unnecessary, because the world would be perfect and wouldn’t need compassionate common sense ideas. [Read more →]

educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

AP everywhere

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In a recent article in The Atlantic John Tierney took a hard, unsubtle look at AP courses, straightfowardly titled, “AP Classes are a Scam.” [Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Owner of the Marlins is stealing from the fans again

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The relationship between a professional sports team and its fans is a special one. I come from a city where the fans take their sports extremely seriously, and ownership is held responsible for every decision, no matter how minor. Even in other, less fanatical cities, though, the people who own sports teams have a responsibility to give an honest attempt to field a winning team. I know it’s a business, and ultimately an owner only really needs to try to make money, but I feel that there is an implied contract with the fans that takes it well beyond that. In a league like Major League Baseball, there is no salary cap and also no minimum payroll. There are numerous teams in the league who spend a small fraction of what the big spenders lay out for their rosters. It’s fun to write about those high-payroll teams that fail and the penny-pinchers who succeed, but if you look at the big picture, there is a clear correlation between the amount of money spent and the relative success of the team. One owner who clearly cares nothing for that contract with the fans is Jeffrey Loria, the owner of the Miami Marlins. What he is doing to his team right now is shameful and the whole league should be embarrassed to have him be a part of it. On Tuesday, the Marlins made a deal with the Toronto Blue Jays that involved most of the team’s big-money players. They got very little in return. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingends & odd

Top ten things you don’t want to hear on Thanksgiving

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10. “Try it! It tastes as good as the real thing but it’s much healthier!”

9. “It always takes me a full year to forget how much I loathe each and every one of you.”

8. “How’d I get the turkey so golden brown? Don’t tell anybody, but my little secret weapon is shellac.”

7. “This year I couldn’t afford mince or pumpkin pie, so I went with moon.”

6. “You’re right, it’s not the best looking turkey. So what part do you want, bone or gristle?”

5. “What am I thankful for? That nobody’s discovered the body yet.”

4. “When I made the turducken, I got the duck and the chicken right, but I misunderstood the turd part.”

3. “Run for your lives! Runaway electric carving knife!”

2. “The cable’s screwed up. All we can get is the Oprah Network.”

1. “9-1-1? How do you get someone out of a tryptophan-induced coma?”
 
Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

animalstravel & foreign lands

Meanwhile, in Russia…

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…it looks like 56-year-old Russian shepherdess Aishat Maksudova, a grandmother, recently killed a wolf with her bare hands.

Writes an unidentified reporter at Metro.co.uk:

Aishat Maksudova said she was tending to her cattle and flock of sheep when the wolf attacked in the village of Novo Biryuzyak, Dagestan.

The 56-year-old managed to save the calf but the wolf then turned its attention to her, clamping its jaws on to her hand.

Speaking from hospital with her hand bandaged, Mrs Maksudova said she was “not even frightened” during the wolf attack.

“With an open mouth, the wolf suddenly jumped on me,” she said.

“The wolf clawed into my leg and when I raised my arm up the wolf was just holding my hand; trying to claw my hand.”

Mrs Maksudova explained she wanted to throttle the wolf to death but was forced to reach for her axe when she could not prise the animal’s jaws open.

“So I just left my hand, and the wolf was just clawing into it, pulling on it, pulling away like this,” she said.

“And then I took the axe and hit him on the head.”

The bar has been raised, America. What have you done with your weak, flabby hands?

(h/t Adam Orbit)

books & writing

Lisa reads I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: Success Secrets Every Gutsy Girl Should Know by Kate White

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Sometimes, a book comes along for review at just the right time. I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: Success Secrets Every Gutsy Girl Should Know by Kate White comes along just as I am doing going through a bit of personal career evaluation, so there are definitely tips and tricks in this book I can use.

I like the structure of the book. It’s broken down in three chunks related to success: how to get it, how to go big with it, and how to savor it. Each chapter has bullet points, breaking down key concepts. Makes it a very fast read and easy to remember the most important bits of information, and there are plenty of important bits. As I’m considering what’s next for me in my career, contemplating job hunting for the first time in a decade or making a big change within my company, it’s helpful to think back and look at what I can do differently this time around. [Read more →]

politics & government

Republican hangover: it’s not the message, it’s the messenger

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It’s been a week since President Obama won re-election, and since then, Republicans, Democrats, and pundits alike have been trying to make sense of his surprisingly decisive victory. And even though the popular vote was close (50% – 48%), most experts see the President’s victory as an indictment on the Republican Party. [Read more →]

musicThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that the harmonica shall be banned in all music (except for one cat)

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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. 87/8-P: The harmonica is hereby banned in the Empire. There shall be no more sonic poison vomited into sparkling guitar cocktails served by unwashed Dylan wannabes wearing neck-holders and moaning and spitting into cheap Hohners. The Emperor has decided that, artistically speaking, the harmonica is the proverbial fart in church; it is an Almond Joy bobbing in the public pool; the accidental, mid-wipe finger-punch through the toilet paper; the over-the-top scatological humor in the formal blog post; the plump and throbbing zit perched between the azure eyes of a beauty queen. The harmonica is a heinous-sounding buzz-saw backing a choir of angels. It adds about as much musicality to the average song as pants would add to the hydro-dynamics of a cruising Great White. (The only valid harmonica musician of all time is Toots Thielmans — he, alone, shall continue to be allowed to play, until such time as he may go up to the great Jam Session in the Sky.) Next week, all harmonicas shall be seized and destroyed in the Imperial Harmonica Smasher. (Yes, we built one. And, yes, it is as cool as it sounds.)

Everyone knows the definition of “perfect pitch” is when you throw a harmonica into a dumpster and it bounces off of a broken accordion. (Thank, yeeew – the Emperor’s here every week. Try the veal!)

The Punishment: Those caught with contraband harmonicas will be thrown into the smasher along with their offensive, metallic tooters — whose natural sounds will have been far more disturbing than the ensuing death screams of the besquished owners could ever be.

PS: John Popper is not a valid defense against this decree, so don’t try it. If anything, just bringing his name up will make the Emperor even more angry.

Now, go forth and obey.

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

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