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living poetry

Melencolia (Durer)

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#93

An artwork is passage of time temporarily arrested.
Melancholy inevitably ensues, new effort wasted.
My world is not impossible, but imaginary,
A natural and a mechanistic menagerie:
The nodding babe and the slumbering hound,
The skull dreaming in the polyhedron,
The ladder to rainbow and splintered sun.
I must unbalance scales, ignore the bell,
And drain the hourglass sand out of its shell.
The nails and the knife both shorn of evil,
The age’s golden sphere now leaden still,
My calipers measure a pointless spell.
Despondently, I await the next alchemy of duration.
I’ll concentrate forever, then begin my final creation.

Note: This is one of more than 100 poems after paintings or images, which can be viewed at the blog, Zealotry of Guerin.

art & entertainmentends & odd

Screw you, Citizen Kane: Stephen Baldwin is about to debut!

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“Stephen Baldwin is set to make his directorial debut in ‘Riding Destiny,’ a feature film about an extreme-sports surfer-stuntman who returns home to fix his broken cowboy family.”

I’ll give you a moment to recover from having your mind blown.

(Pause)

That’s all I can spare. Behold it again.

“Stephen Baldwin is set to make his directorial debut in ‘Riding Destiny,’ a feature film about an extreme-sports surfer-stuntman who returns home to fix his broken cowboy family.”

And suddenly the world is a very different place.

[Read more →]

travel & foreign landstrusted media & news

Boris Berezovsky: death of an oligarch

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Boris Berezovsky

Who, me? (Pic by AFP/Carl de Souza)

I arrived in Russia in 1997, when Boris Berezovsky’s influence was at its height. The year before, he had managed to get Boris Yeltsin reelected, and we need not think too hard about how or why that was achieved. In those days Berezovsky was often in Chechnya, and I couldn’t keep up with how much stuff he owned. Then Putin became president, and shortly afterwards the “Godfather of the Kremlin” was out.

Sometime later I read a vehemently anti-Putin editorial in a major British newspaper, before such things were commonplace. Who wrote this? I wondered. And then I saw the byline:

Boris Berezovsky. I was stunned. Hadn’t the editor done a quick web search before paying this “Russian businessman” to write his screed? Evidently not, although I now understand that serial failure to grasp that not every opponent of Putin is a brave Solzhenitsyn is characteristic of the UK and US media.  [Read more →]

The Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that people will stop complaining about how long it is taking spring to arrive

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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. 3-20: Somewhere in the world, a mother’s baby has been diagnosed with a fatal disease. We can wait for spring. Enough, already.

The Punishment: Complainers will be stuffed with ice cubes shipped off to Siberia, naked.  And shaved, from head to toe. And fully exfoliated.

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: Lots of stories without a standout

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Every once in a while, I review all of my stories at the end of the week and find that while a bunch of interesting stuff happened in sports that week, nothing stood out to me as a lead story for Bad Sports, Good Sports. This is one of those weeks. Either nothing happened in sports this past week that moved me to attack with my customary cynicism or to wax poetic about someone’s great accomplishment, or I am just tired after a long day and a long week and my synapses are not firing well enough to make something leap into my imagination in order to lead my fingers to type out some clever commentary, or at least something that approximates my usual drivel. [Read more →]

sportsvirtual children by Scott Warnock

My kid plays on that team — my jacket says so

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There was a time when kids played organized sports and enjoyed the experience in whatever form it took. They didn’t have much perspective on a bigger youth sports picture. Now, we turn them into little joiners. We want them connected to the best team possible. We want them to experience heightened competition at the ripe old age of nine. But is it for them and their athletic hopes, or is it just so we can look good at neighborhood gatherings? [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingends & odd

Easter Bunny’s top ten pet peeves

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10. Not being allowed to keep a naughty or nice list because of potential copyright infringement

9. Inhaling so much plastic grass, he’s developed artificial hay fever

8. Not getting time and a half for working on Sunday

7. Idiots who keep shouting “Show me the bunny!”

6. The fact that, if he gets run over hopping across the freeway, four people get good-luck charms for their key chains

5. The way all the chicks ignore him

4. How scientists are unable to decide whether eggs are God’s gift to nutrition or little white death bombs

3. The fact that you need an advanced degree in calculus to determine the date Easter falls on

2. Way too much friggin’ pastel

1. Those people who mistakenly think he’s leaving a trail of Raisinets
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

animalsdiatribes

Should vegetarians eat fast-food?

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In a recent post, I pointed out that many vegetarians focus on keeping meat away from their mouths more than they focus on things that matter like preventing animal abuse, staying healthy, and buying food responsibly. My point was wonderfully illustrated by comments on the article. Unless you’re a vegetarian for the image and feeling, your behavior should reflect more than just your attitude toward meat (or lack thereof). Reducing animal exploitation, increasing availability of healthy foods, and other typical vegetarian causes require that we act intelligently when talking to others and spending money.

 

With that in mind, should vegetarians and vegans eat fast-food? I was surprised to learn that PETA, the organization uncompromising enough to decry pet ownership, thinks so:

[Read more →]

living poetry

Rue De Paris, Rainy Day (Gustave Caillebotte)

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#92

Walking the streets of Paris with my wife,
Feeling her heart through her hand on my arm
(It is April and we’re here for a week),
We celebrate twenty five years, a life
Of mutual shelter beneath the storm,
Sharing a blue umbrella as we seek
Out the old soul behind the city’s charms,
What we’ve found in each other countless times
When the sun has broken through and we shine.
She gasped when she saw the Eiffel Tower,
Her wonder more thrilling than its power,
While the Winged Victory’s arms were not missed,
Because she sought to entwine hers with mine,
And in front of Rodin’s The Kiss, we kissed.

Note: This is one of more than 100 poems after paintings or images, which can be viewed at the blog, Zealotry of Guerin.

art & entertainmenttrusted media & news

Tutus gone wild! The Bolshoi Theater acid attack

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Ballet: sometimes it’s better if the curtains stay closed.

For somebody who’s not remotely interested in ballet, I’ve watched a lot of ballet. I acquired my experience by accident, after getting to know a Moscow bank executive in the early 2000s. He had a box close to the stage at his permanent disposal, and offered me free access. Figuring I might as well see what this jumping about in tutus lark was about I went very often, for a year or so.

I can’t recall much of what I saw now, and probably remember the weird ones better than the good ones. [Read more →]

photographytravel & foreign lands

Coming Back

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PLEASE NOTE that the following words are penned in a distant land, far to the south and west of that arctic-like realm that is home to so many of you. 

It’s been cooler – even cold! – these last few months … and it’s been grayer, too, from clouds that block the sun, yet deliver no rain … and at times it’s been way too windy for me. Eh, winter!

But today, Spring is coming back. Today, I went out to the side yard of this place where we were staying, and was greeted not just with the head of the house’s septic tank system, and the assurance that all was well with said system … but by a bluebonnet, as well … my first bluebonnet of the new year!

Today, spring is coming back.

I’ve lived in West Texas long enough to appreciate that we seem to have only two seasons in our part of the Lone Star State … SUMMER, and NOT-QUITE-SUMMER.

But not today … for today, at least, SPRING is coming back … and I’m thinking that maybe there are ways I should be coming back, too. More on that later … but, for now, enjoy my bluebonnet.

televisionThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that television station names must consist only of full words

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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. 99-08-7: The Emperor used to enjoy the “Independent Film Channel.” He also used to enjoy “The Learning Channel.” Time was, one could learn by watching “The Learning Channel.” In fact, the very first show the Emperor remembers watching on the newly launched station was about refrigerators and how they work. Learning. Soon after, he watched a show on ancient warriors. He learned stuff — which is what one would expect from “The Learning Channel.” Sensing, one supposes, that neither learning nor teaching is a lucrative endeavor, the station, at some point, changed to “TLC.” Arguably, one can still learn about which type of shoes one ought to wear with yoga pants, but, other than that, it has generally become a channel with shows about weird families. Likewise, before the “Independent Film Channel” became “IFC,” it showed rarely-seen, less-than-blockbuster, “independent” films, all of the time. Magically, it became “IFC.” The other day, the Emperor, happily wielding the Imperial Remote, caught the opening to Lethal Weapon 2, which starts not only with the classic (and decidedly big-studio-associated) Warner Brother’s logo, but with a brash rendition of the old “Looney Tunes” theme. Down in the corner of the screen was the station I.D. You guessed it: “IFC.” No more of this thinly-veiled deception! Henceforth, television channel names must consist only of complete words. If the content of the channel changes, the name of the station must also change to reflect that content. 

The Punishment: The heads of stations who commit this crime against the Empire will have their names changed, legally, to their own initials. On second offense, they will be changed to someone else’s initials. On a third offense, they will all spend the rest of their lives being called “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.”

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: Should officials call games differently in the waning moments?

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Of all the aspects of sports that cause arguments and opinions, officiating is one of the most obvious. Some people would say that the best officials are the ones that you don’t notice during a game, but I would disagree with that. Just as too much referee involvement can make a mess of a contest, too little can do the same. One specific subject on which many people disagree is whether or not officials should change their calls late in a game to avoid having a major effect on the outcome. The people who think whistles should be swallowed in the final minutes will have a lot to complain about if they watched the Richmond-Charlotte game in the opening round of the Atlantic-10 Basketball Tournament on Thursday. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingends & odd

Top ten things overheard at yesterday’s St. Patrick’s Day parade

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10. “How can you say I have a weak stomach? Look how far I’m throwin’ it!”

9. “Cover your eyes, kids!”

8. “No, that’s not a leprechaun. But since when is Tom Cruise Irish?!”

7. “Hey, that green beer exactly matches your face!”

6. “What do you mean, ‘Where’s the bathroom?’ The whole city is a bathroom!”

5. “When I get this drunk, my shillelagh goes limp.”

4. “Today the President’s signing everything O’Bama.”

3. “I dreamed I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in my Erin go Bragh.”

2. “I haven’t seen this many people sick since we got off that Carnival Cruise.”

1. “I hear Jodie Foster is practicing her Gaelic.”
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

living poetry

Time Transfixed (Magritte)

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#54

It is seventeen minutes to one.
The candlesticks are all empty
As they’ve been for all eternity,
Because of a window and a sun.
The mirror reflects the back of things
We see first hand. There is no second.
The train appears as though beckoned,
Flies on smoke and shadow wings.
No fire has ever burned in the fireplace,
No sign of ash, no sooty smudges.
Only the mind fixing this room budges,
Urging us deeper into interior space.
Look away, it’s twelve forty-four.
The minute lost is yours no more.

Note: This is one of more than 100 poems after paintings or images, which can be viewed at the blog, Zealotry of Guerin.

art & entertainmenttravel & foreign lands

Iran vs. Hollywood

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Xerxes: awesome?

So anyway, apparently the Mullahs of Iran are not scary theocrats after all. They’re actually tender petals with exquisitely sensitive feelings. In fact, I hear they silently weep into their beards when nobody is looking.

No, really: according to The Guardian, the regime has just hired a French lawyer named Isabelle Coutant-Peyre to take the directors and producers of Hollywood to court for something they call “Iranophobia.” Speaking this Monday at the intriguingly titled “The Hoax of Hollywood” conference, Coutant-Peyre said: “I’ll be defending Iran against films that have been made by Hollywood to distort the country’s image, such as ‘Argo.’” [Read more →]
politics & governmentThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees Mayor Bloomberg to be a hero of the Empire

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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. 1984: We have tried to be delicate about this, so as not to provoke an (unavoidably impotent) uprising among the subjects of the Empire, but, let’s face it, no one in America (especially in America; especially in New York City) is smart enough to make his own choices. It is the place of any governing institution (either on the Imperial or on the city level) to protect the poor fools in our charge. We, the ones in the velvet thrones — those like Mayor Bloomberg and [Read more →]

educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

Where do you keep your hoes?: Standardized tests are destroying education, part 4 (of 874)

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So where do you keep your hoes, if you are lucky enough to have any in the first place or you have a living environment that requires (or at least facilitates the use of) them? [Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: The NRA is sponsoring a NASCAR race

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In the big business that is professional sports, corporate sponsorship is a major factor in the whole show. From stadium signage to television and radio commercials, many varieties of companies and organizations pay significant money to make sure you know their name. Most of the time, fans do not have major opinions on the nature of those sponsors, preferring to try to ignore them instead. I am a pro at completely tuning out commercials, most of the time not even realizing that they are on. Occasionally, though, a sponsor appears that causes an uproar, and the sport involved becomes secondary. One such situation became news this week when Texas Motor Speedway announced that the National Rifle Association would be the title sponsor for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race that will happen at the track in April. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythinghealth & medical

Top ten good things about having the flu

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10. You can curl up on the couch and catch up on your “stories”

9. No one will come near you, so you’re much less likely to catch someone else’s cold

8. With a high enough fever, Adam Sandler actually starts seeming funny again

7. You can sneeze on everybody you hate

6. When members of the opposite sex avoid you like the plague, you have an excuse

5. It’s nice to be able to call into work sick and actually sound sick for a change

4. If you’re a misanthrope, problem solved

3. You can give pet names to your parasites

2. You can pound back a pitcherful of NyQuil

1. You like it when people say you’re “hot,” even if they’re only feeling your forehead
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

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