Entries Tagged as ''

animalstravel & foreign lands

Of Iranian monkeys and other space invaders

No Gravatar

“Space,” as 1970s prog-rock legends Hawkwind once told us, “is deep.” But that’s not all, for as Yuri Gagarin also informed us, it can be a disappointing place for religious believers.

You see, the first cosmonaut apparently took a peek out of the porthole while he was in orbit to see if the Deity was floating about. When he didn’t see an old man with a white beard anywhere nearby, he allegedly declared: “I don’t see any God up here.”

I was thinking about Gagarin’s ultra-scientific observation this week when I read about the Iranian space monkey that the mullahs reportedly shot into the cosmos a few days ago. What did our terrified primate friend see up there as he looked out the window? If he told his theocratic bosses there’s no Allah, then he’d be headed for the chop. On the other hand, since it is strictly forbidden for Muslims to depict Allah, there’s no way the monkey could have recognized his Creator in the first place. [Read more →]
sports

Life’s hard for non-Harbaughs: why I’m still a little worried about Andy Reid

No Gravatar

This Super Bowl features the first match-up between head coach brothers (John Harbaugh for the Baltimore Ravens and Jim for the San Francisco 49ers), causing the game to be dubbed the “Harbowl” and the “Superbraugh” and “John and Jim totally overshadow the guys actually playing.” (That one hasn’t caught on so much.) The brothers are undeniably at the top of their profession: they have outstanding career records (John is 54-26 regular season and 8-4 in the playoffs; Jim is 24-8 and 3-1); have been vindicated when huge mid-season gambles paid off (John fired his offensive coordinator, Jim replaced his quarterback); and have the best jawlines in the NFL since Pittsburgh’s Bill “The Chin” Cowher retired. They also run teams that haven’t won a title too recently to keep expectations manageable, meaning much of their recent success has been gravy (this will soon change).

While I’m sure neither man is particularly happy – coaches make KGB agents seem cheerful – they must feel a genuine excitement each day, knowing that times are good and possibly about to get better.

This is not the case for most coaches in the NFL, notably former Philadelphia Eagle bossman Andy Reid. [Read more →]

fashion & clothingThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that young people must wear coats on days below 40 degrees

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. >40: The Emperor feels the need to point something out. The trend, especially among young people, of not wearing a coat, despite frigid winter temperatures, is really stupid. Don’t get the Emperor wrong; he doesn’t care one way or the other when stupid people perish — in this case, possibly of pneumonia. (Oh, clam up. There is too a link between the cold and getting sick, Mr. Science.) What he cares about is lame posturing. If you are trying to look tough, the Emperor must point out that it simply doesn’t take too much mettle to get out of your heated car (or school bus) to step into your heated destination. So, that self-aggrandizing idea is out. You want to impress the Emperor? (Of course you do.) Go take a shower and, still dripping-wet, have a naked nap in a snow bank and then wake up and play some Albeniz on the guitar without missing a note. Until then, you are merely a shivering ninny who’s starved for attention in the most embarrassing way. Therefore, ye shall all wear coats on any day below 40 degrees, Fahrenheit.

The Punishment: Violators will be forced to have a wet, naked nap in a snowbank and then to do so again and again until they win a sub-freezing game of Jenga against the Emperor, Himself (who happens to be the All-time Jenga Champeeen — and who will be clad in a toasty, royal purple parka with a matching purple muff to keep the Imperial digits supple and precise.)

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: Tim Brown says Bill Callahan threw Super Bowl XXXVII

No Gravatar

The Oakland Raiders lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII in January of 2003, 48-21. I don’t know about you, but I certainly could not have predicted that ten years later, that game would be the main topic of conversation in the sports world. Earlier this week, former Raiders wide receiver Tim Brown, who retired after the 2004 season, claimed that then-Raiders head coach Bill Callahan had “sabotaged” the team in order to let his friend Jon Gruden win the game. Gruden had coached the Raiders through the previous season before leaving for Tampa, and Callahan, who had been Oakland’s Offensive Coordinator, took over as head coach. This is definitely one of the oddest accusations I have seen in a long time. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingends & odd

Top ten signs your new year is off to a bad start

No Gravatar

10. Your New Year’s kiss left smudge marks on the television screen

9. Your co-workers posted on YouTube the video of you at the office Christmas party, Xeroxing your butt

8. You started the new year with ten fingers and ten toes – now, not so many

7. You’re the photographer who videotaped Hef’s wedding night, and you can’t stop shuddering

6. Your wife’s resolution was to give up you

5. Because you didn’t win the Heisman Trophy, your imaginary dead girlfriend has decided to dump you

4. You’re Honey Boo Boo’s grade school teacher

3. You’re just waking up from your 2011 New Year’s Eve party

2. Your first name is ‘Lance’ or ‘Mitt’, or your last name is ‘Petraeus’

1. Someone had to Heimlich you in order to retrieve your cat
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

sports

Times when soccer truly IS the “beautiful game”

No Gravatar

… and this weekend was one of those times, as the annual Football Association Cup tournament entered Round 4 … and what a round it was, featuring so much of what soccer fans like most about ‘FA Cup’ competition, its often-unlikey matches and its sometimes-surprising results.
[Read more →]

moneypolitics & government

Pesky flies

No Gravatar

living poetry

Harvest in the Black Hills

No Gravatar

#102

I’ve wondered how they kept the blades that sharp
For such cutting when they struggled with scythes.
Hay is tough, dullness only plucked it like a harp;
Why some men left the harvest to their wives.
Today, machines can cut and bale a field
Within hours, but can’t increase the yield.
The flung bales crush the serried rows
Of severed stalks, but scattered straws
Defy the yield like impudent scofflaws,
Yet to be turned under by the plow.
We keep our distance, merciful and shy,
And dare not bend a stalk with shoe or eye.

In memory of Lucien Stryk, poet, teacher, friend.

Note: This sonnet is one from a sequence of poems after paintings or images called “Brushstrokes.” The entire sequence can be viewed at the blog, Zealotry of Guerin. Photo taken by the author.

virtual children by Scott Warnock

The most powerful kids in the universe

No Gravatar

I’ll be straightforward: I was not told I would spend most of my dad life turning off lights that my kids had left on. I never knew it was going to be like this.

[Read more →]

language & grammar

Ironic safety

No Gravatar

What’s more ironic? A pickup truck with a sign asking us to drive safely and “watch for motorcycles” that doesn’t have a sideview mirror? Or someone driving behind the pickup who is amused by the ironic combination of the sign and the missing mirror and who decides to share this ironic, unsafe example with others by taking this photo while driving?

 

books & writing

Lisa reads Something Red by Douglas Nicholas

No Gravatar

Sometimes a book tells you things about the author. Douglas Nicholas is an award-winning poet, and some of that poetry seeps into his novel, Something Red. There is a certain lyrical quality to it that I appreciated, and I found that quite interesting, mixed as it was with a tale of murder and mayhem.

The story is told through the eyes of Hob (Robert), a 13-year-old orphan apprenticed to Molly (Maeve). a musical troupe crossing the Pennine Mountains of Northern England during a particularly brutal winter. Although the stop at many of their usual haunts, visiting old friends, there is clearly something lethal along the trail. There is an ominous presence in the forest and there are many who will not survive the journey. It may be that only Molly, her granddaughter, Nemain,  her lover, Jack, and young Hob will be able to save them all. [Read more →]

religion & philosophy

Scientific proof we live in a simulation

No Gravatar

Back in June 2009, I wrote an article titled “Proof That We’re Living a Life of Illusion.”  In it, I provided what I felt was overwhelming evidence that we all live in some kind of computer simulation. I also offered some simple explanations as to why I thought we did. At the time, the people who are open to believing in such fantastical theories excitedly agreed with the premise, while those who rely on hard-core scientific proof, did not. Well, a funny thing’s happened in the years since I wrote that article. Scientists are beginning to see the evidence that the non-believers require. The question now is, whether those skeptics will decide to take the blue pill or the red pill? [Read more →]

moviesThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that Thaddeus T. Wimplenoodle must die

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. 24FPS: The Emperor has not, as yet, sentenced anyone summarily to death, but now is the time. Or, rather, the past is the time. Who, you might often have asked, was the sadistic monster who decided that popcorn should be served in movie theaters? What sick son-of-a-mother decided that the loudest-chewing snack in the history of mankind, served in the loudest-crinkling bag possible, should be the staple treat at an entertainment medium that depends upon audible dialogue; that operates on sometimes delicate, sometimes sublime emotional levels that can be crushed by the slightest peripheral disturbance? We’ll tell you: one Thaddeus T. Wimplenoodle, in the year 1927. (The Imperial Historians were up all night tracking down this information — don’t bother trying to verify it.) Was this beast trying to drive theater-goers into homicidal rages as a result of their being surrounded by entire families full of grunting, bag-crinkling, slack-jawed, open-mouthed chompers? The very idea is a sign of severely sociopathic intentions. Someone like that should never have been allowed to live and the tradition of popcorn in movie theaters must be stopped.

The Punishment: The Imperial Quantum Physicists have sent an Imperial Assassin back in time. Assuming the Imperial Assassin doesn’t accidentally kill his own grandfather, you should count on an unexplained offering of, say, padded cardboard boxes full of marshmallows instead of popcorn at your next theater visit. In short, Thaddeus T. Wimplenoodle must die (or, must have died) before he can (could have) unleash (unleashed) such malignant madness into the world.

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 bizarre saga of Manti Te’o

No Gravatar

Early in the week, I assumed my lead story for this column would be Lance Armstrong. Little did I know that the Manti Te’o saga was about to hit. In case you somehow missed it, Te’o is the Notre Dame linebacker who became an inspirational story earlier this season after his grandmother and his girlfriend died hours apart. He played in his team’s game that week anyway, recording twelve tackles and a fumble recovery in an upset of 10th-ranked Michigan State on the road. His strong season and compelling story led to a second-place finish in the Heisman Trophy voting, which was the highest finish for an exclusively defensive player since 1980. On Wednesday, Deadspin revealed that not only did his girlfriend not die back in September, she didn’t even exist. [Read more →]

that's what he said, by Frank Wilson

Riffing and digressions

No Gravatar

Readers of this column will be aware that, from the start, its patron saint has been Michel de Montaigne, whose great essays began with commentaries on quotations that he had grown fond of.

And that is pretty much what I have been doing here. The reason I haven’t written much lately, though, is that I think I have discovered why Montaigne didn’t continue his essays as he began them. It isn’t so much that, sooner or later, you run out of quotations — you can always find one if you look hard enough — but rather that having to look for one is different from riffing on one that you’ve been thinking about for years. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingends & odd

Top ten excuses of Gerald Streator of Waukesha, Wisconsin, who was arrested for having sex with a couch

No Gravatar

10. “It was a love seat.”

9. “I figured it was safe sex. It was wearing a plastic slipcover.”

8. “My recliner at home recently left me.”

7. “Lots of people make love on a couch. I was just eliminating the middleman.”

6. “It was a convertible sofa, so it was just begging me to sleep with it!”

5. “It was a dead ringer for my last girlfriend.”

4. “Plenty of men fantasize about what I did. I mean, look at all the fan pages dedicated to Sofa Vergara!”

3. “Those cushions were just so plump and succulent, and it had the sexiest legs I’ve ever seen.”

2. “I consider myself the Sofa King, sofa king the couch just seemed natural.”

1. “You know what they say: In the couch spring, a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love.
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

living poetry

Light of the World (Peter Blume)

No Gravatar

#101

The light of the world is an outside light?
A being of gadgets, cornices, plinths,
And networks of hidden, grinding parts.
What’s visible is only black or white.
Its bulb lords it like a petulant prince,
Impatient with the diplomatic arts.
I have two moods, it says, I weep or laugh.
Or, in your language, I am on or off.
We yearn to praise, worry that if we pray,
We shall ignite it when we need it least.
The sunlight would dry up its meager spray.
The Light of the World turns NIGHT into DAY!
Secretly we fear and hate the beast.

Note: This sonnet is one from a sequence of poems after paintings or images called “Brushstrokes.” The entire sequence can be viewed at his blog, Zealotry of Guerin.

 

 

sports

Some better Armstrongs

No Gravatar

Neil Armstrong>Lance Armstrong.

This was true even before the doping scandal, because being the first human to walk on the moon>riding a bike good.

And Louis Armstrong>Lance Armstrong, because, well, he could do this kind of thing:

Also, Stretch Armstrong>Lance Armstrong, because he could do this without using performance-enhancing drugs (not sure about that last part). [Read more →]

music

Musical nightmare

No Gravatar

I had a nightmare that someone remixed and combined the theme to The Big Bang Theory, “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” and “It’s the End of the World as We Know it” into one 10-minute song with 40,000 words that covered everything that ever happened or ever will and threw in more cultural references than anyone could count.

The song promptly went to #1. Then the Earth exploded.

books & writing

Lisa reads Lake Country by Sean Doolittle

No Gravatar

Lake Country, for me, was about a young man who had lost his way and wanted to do something. Darryl Potter left the Marine Corps, but now he’s just drifting — no job, no prospects, and none of the sense of purpose that the Marines gave him. He latches on to a story about the death of a young woman, the younger sister of a man he served with, and decides that this is a wrong he can put right.

Wade Benson, a successful local architect, killed a girl. He was driving home one night and fell asleep at the wheel. He wasn’t drunk, just tired. Becky Morse was severely injured in the accident he caused; she lingered in a coma for two days in the hospital before she died. As part of his probation, Wade Benson spends two days every year in the county jail, the anniversary of the days that Becky spent in her coma.

Potter decides that’s not enough, and that Benson should suffer more for what he’s done. He decides to even the score by kidnapping Benson’s twenty-year-old daughter, Cheryl. His friend, Mike Barlowe, is the only person with a chance to set things right before they turn tragic. [Read more →]

Next Page »