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sports

Miracle in May

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The Mets’ four-game sweep of the Yankees this week, with two victories at home in Queens and two overseas in the Bronx, may not be a story for the grander history books. But for this baseball fan and for New Yorkers on both sides of the greatest baseball divide, it was memorable. [Read more →]

education

The Wrath of Ptolemy: Why “A” is the New “C” in American Education

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We have all heard people complain about American schools. A little too much, I think. In general, we do a pretty good job. I do, however, believe we often go about it in silly ways. If you ever want your confidence shaken, though, you should do something that I just did: do level-placement of high school freshmen for the upcoming year.

What we use are three things: middle school grades, previous standardized testing and our own placement test (standardized, as well).

On the application information form for some of the area schools, there is an spot in which the teachers can say whether they think the student is on a “high” level, a “middle” level or a “low” level, in a particular subject. Here is the worst case scenario that I have to deal with — and it happens quite a bit: [Read more →]

religion & philosophy

How to be a true hero

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You’ve seen it hundreds of times. Some guy is being interviewed by the local news after he helped prevent some crime or rescued someone in distress. The reporter asks, “Do you consider yourself a hero?” Apparently, this question must be asked in order to test whether or not said person is in fact a hero. According to local news rules of heroism, the man is only a hero, if and only if, he claims to not be one. Most people, knowing this rule, go on to say that they don’t consider themselves to be a hero because they just did what anyone in their situation would’ve done. The reporter then cuts back to the anchorpeople who disagree with the man’s assessment. Feeling that the hero test was passed, they comment about what a true hero the man is while a colorful “local hero” graphic displays besides them. Personally though, I agree with the guy. He’s not a hero. [Read more →]

language & grammarThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that smush-names are no longer allowed for businesses

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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. 29833: “KenSue’s Deli.” It’s out of business, but the faded plastic sign still swings outside. The Emperor passes it every day on the way to the Imperial Office. It is our infallible opinion that the reason the place is closed is because the wise minions of the Emperor refuse to go to a delicatessen with such a stupid name; they are disgusted by the saccharine ooziness of some kissy-faced couple who thought it would be cute to combine their names instead of just calling it “Ken and Sue’s Deli,” like sane people would. The Emperor sees too much of this name combination in businesses when people can’t come up with something better. It’s silly. Be creative.

The Punishment: Violators of this decree will have their business names changed by the Imperial Psychologist. Hence, a deli called “KenSue’s” might have its name changed to “Rat Sandwich.” An air conditioning repair company might have its name changed to “Hot-n-Sweaty, Limited.” A daycare called “JaneTom’s Happy Hoppy Land” will, henceforth, be called, “Knives and Razors, Day(more-or-less)care.” Be creative, minions. Be creative. You don’t want to have your mobile dog grooming business renamed to “Jugular Slash Grooming.” Do you?

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: Sergio Garcia stoops to racism

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The world has many problems. So many, in fact, that any attempt to list them would be futile, and the idea of putting them in some kind of order is ludicrous. I believe, though, that racism is certainly somewhere near the top of the list. In my own sheltered little world, it is easy to pretend that it doesn’t exist, but that bubble bursts on a regular basis whenever I let the real world intrude on my idyllic existence. Racism is not as pervasive as it was 50 years ago, of course, but it is still a very real force in our society, and sports are in no way immune to its effects. Two weeks ago, golfers Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods battled for the Players Championship title and, at the same time, bickered back and forth about a breach of course etiquette that Garcia believed Woods had committed while they played together during the 3rd round. This week, Garcia, who was being asked yet again about the incident, stepped far over the line and made a clearly racially-tinged remark about Woods.

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adviceBob Sullivan's top ten everything

Top ten spring cleaning tips for bachelors

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10. Strap a dust cloth to the dog’s tail, then show him a porterhouse steak

9. If you see a fuzzy ball in the corner, make sure it doesn’t need to be killed before you throw it away

8. You can skip those hard-to-reach places, because nobody looks there anyway

7. Dryer lint can be formed into a lovely snowman ornament and stored away for next Christmas

6. When you take a shower, be sure to wear clothes and carry some dishes, thus killing three birds with one stone

5. If you replace your couch and easy chair with plastic lawn furniture, cleaning them is just a hose away

4. If you remove the actual glass from your windows, they’ll always look crystal clean

3. Leave the attic and the basement as they are – out of sight, out of mind

2. When checking out the wearability of clothes, don’t just use the ‘sniff’ test, but also use the ‘stiff’ test

1. If you scrape up the caked-on toothpaste from the bottom of your sink, it can be formed into lovely after-dinner mints
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

religion & philosophy

In Memoriam

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So much going through my head at this time … how to express it? … maybe I shouldn’t try … it’s been said before … and said with words far, far better than anything I could ever compose …

Semper Fi, Mac!

Semper Fi, Mac!

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living poetry

American Vultures (Karen Thompson)

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3americanvultures

#108

The circus train cars abandoned decades ago,
The circuit of America now belongs to vultures,
Who once followed the elephants and clowns
Like starved, yearning runaways, an exiled sideshow.
Now, as then, they only eat the unclean, if pure,
Scraps of disease or murder on the edge of town.
It exasperates them, winging round and round,
With only frowning little girls and unplanted
Trees, shrubs, and ancient sawdust on the ground.
We know that of all fowl we’re the most unwanted,
But those tiny birdbaths are simply insulting.
Tattered flesh, the strength of decay, our putrid breath —
From a vulture’s field of view nothing can be revolting.
We soar, bubbles of gold, spiraling death.

Note: This is one of more than 115 poems after paintings or images, which can be viewed at the blog, Zealotry of Guerin.

sports

Seeking a ‘field of dreams’ in Colorado

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The young men who comprise the Midland College Chaparral baseball team truly are the ‘boys of summer’ this year. At a time when most students are pursuing ventures off-campus – recreation, work, whatever – the team has remained on campus and at work, getting ready for what lies ahead. It’s been two weeks since commencement exercises brought an end to the 2012/2013 academic year at our community college in Western Texas, and it will be another week before we kick-off the summer semester. It’s a quiet time around campus … unless you’re a baseball player. They returned to Midland just a few days ago with a regional championship trophy in hand – the first ever for MC Chaparral baseball. And now they’re in Grand Junction, Colorado for the JUCO World Series, the National Junior College Athletic Association‘s national championship tournament.

Midland College Chaparrals, 2013 NJCAA Region 5 Champions

JUCO World Series-bound Midland College Chaparrals, 2013 NJCAA Region 5 Champions

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race & culturetravel & foreign lands

First Impressions of Xi’an, China

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Xi’an, China is a big bustling city of over seven million people. It was a Chinese capital of ancient dynasties that thrived centuries ago, but today takes second stage to the prominent coastal megacities—Beijing and Shanghai and that more recent capitalist “import” to the mainland, Hong Kong. Beijing of course hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics while Hong Kong hosts some of the most amazing economic inequalities anywhere in the world (think ten million dollar penthouse suites while poor city residents rent cages to live in), but Xi’an’s seven million residents would easily make it a top-five city in the United States and the most populous city of a majority of countries in the world. By contrast, my native Philadelphia, America’s fifth largest metropolis according to the 2010 U.S. Census, has a population within city limits of about 1.5 million. [Read more →]

sportsvirtual children by Scott Warnock

Do I always say, “Good game”?

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On that great list of things I think I don’t want to be, near the top is “glib.” I don’t want to be all back slappy, all here’s-a-trophy-even-though-you-didn’t-do-much, all smiling and treacly.

[Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Michael Vick rips his detractors

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As I mentioned back in February, the Philadelphia Eagles made the atrocious offseason move of bringing Michael Vick back for another season. It remains to be seen whether or not he is still the starting quarterback, and I guess it is not a certainty that he will even make the team, but I was certainly distressed to see him return. I suffered through several seasons of having him on my favorite team, the last two of which did not even have the benefit of him playing well. I was certain that he would be gone after last season, especially when head coach Andy Reid was sent packing, as he had been Vick’s biggest advocate. Chip Kelly was brought in, and he apparently thought it made sense to give the guy another opportunity, despite that fact that he appears to me to be very poorly suited for Kelly’s offense due to his penchant for throwing interceptions, his constant fumbling, and his clear weakness at reading defenses. Vick was asked about the latter this week on a local radio show, and he lashed out at his critics, saying they “know nothing about football” and are “ignorant.”

[Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingeducation

Top ten least popular prom themes

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10. I Might As Well Be Dating Jody Foster

9. One Night On A Carnival Cruise!

8. Crepe Paper, Bunting, and Gym Sock Odor!

7. The Future Is Ours! (1% only)

6. The Blue Ball

5. Journey to the Center of My Pants

4. Chlamydia-Palooza!

3. Moon Over Gitmo

2. Memories To Last An Evening

1. I Might As Well Be Dating Manti Te’o’s Girlfriend
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

living poetry

Relativity (Escher)

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Escher-Big

#78

I once stood staring down a long staircase,
Then stood up having fallen all the way down.
The time between appeared to have erased
Both itself and the memory of what I’d done.
Unhurt, staring up at the staircase, terrified
Of forms and forces I now understood, I cried.
There are many steps, floors, and bannisters
In this ant people world, but only one sun.
Yet all depends on the attitude of the stairs,
Which share the simultaneity of the boson.
Every direction ends in a shift of perspective,
Hinting that the fifth dimension may be us,
Each riser a mere extension of consciousness,
Until, falling down the stairs, we no longer live.

Note: This is one of more than 115 poems after paintings or images, which can be viewed at the blog, Zealotry of Guerin.

animals

Vegetarianism: The journey to improve more than just diet

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I recently read an article by someone who said the reason he stopped being a vegetarian was that vegetarians don’t see the big picture. The writer went on to say that not eating meat wasn’t solving bigger problems like the destruction of animal habitats or the depletion of resources, so he was done with it. Obviously, the author has a few shortcomings in sequential reasoning, but his point is valid to the point of inspiration.

Not eating animals doesn’t create new habitats, plant trees, or reduce overpopulation. Vegetarians don’t necessarily have a positive net impact. This is particularly true if someone is a vegetarian who buys products with genetically modified, unhealthy soy or supports other examples of bad business.
As the evidence rolls in, it’s clear that the average vegetarian is healthier, happier, and doing less damage than a carnivore. But outside of killing, the overall impact has less to do with eating or not eating meat and more to do with the source and process of creating either. There are meat-eating farmers who are less destructive than vegetarians living [Read more →]
diatribes

Dallas valet: Excessive and out of control

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Dallas is a great city. In the short time we’ve been here, we’ve watched new parks, festivals and other community unifiers sprout up weekly. But, I like to be realistic about the negatives. I have fun criticizing what I deem stupid. This post’s target: Dallas valet parking. It’s excessive and dare I say, wrong (I do). The rest of Texas views Dallas as pretentious, and it’s not without reason.

Before moving to Dallas I never gave valet parking a second thought. I understood it. Valet parking shows a touch of class. In other cities, it exists in places where parking is scarce or distant. Valet parking for restaurants in crowded cities is great because you don’t have to drive around for an hour and then get towed or pay a fine when you don’t make it back in time (I’m talking to you Philadelphia!).

Valet parking is used at hotels to make it easier for people to get their bags to their room. It’s used for the elderly patrons at old-school Italian restaurants with big parking lots. Currently, our apartment building mandates valet [Read more →]

educationThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees an end to standardized testing

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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.2013: The world is not a series of plastic chutes, lined up side-by-side and feeding into one another at prescribed intersections. The “real world” is a tangled jungle, rich with the heavy palm leaves and sketched over with arabesques of the vines of dark beauty and unpredictability. Therefore, we should go to school not to be ushered into the entrance of a plastic chute, but to be taught how to wield a machete; how to find our way by the sun; how to make shelter against an unexpected storm; how to appreciate the sunset even while the mosquitoes are sucking.

Our kids see a series of teachers for twelve-plus years. Each teacher has something to offer, either as an example of the good or as an example of the bad. Some teachers will make curriculum crystal clear; others will present lessons about life that are invaluable, even if at the expense of a perfect chemistry lesson. Twelve years of human interaction and assignments and grades are enough. We should, then, hand our kids the machete and let them loose to make their own way. They are not robots to be programmed but firework shells to be packed, fired off and watched in their hot-bright glory, bursting against the dark sky and falling in random patterns. We need to stop pretending we can turn out the perfect human being.

The Punishment: Legislators who continue to use standardized testing will have everything in their lives that brings them joy — everything that is not strictly necessary for their survival — taken away from them. After all, why waste time on things that don’t produce practical results?

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: Washington Redskins refuse to change the team’s name

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The concept of “political correctness” is an interesting one. Essentially, the term is used to describe attempts to avoid offending people. That seems like a pretty good idea, doesn’t it? Sure, there are people who are very easily offended, and there are others who find offense in things where it really does not exist, but for the most part, doing or saying things a certain way to avoid making someone feel marginalized is a pretty good idea. Of course, there are a lot of people who think our society goes too far in trying to appease the folks who would be otherwise offended. In fact, as you might expect, there are individuals who go wildly overboard with it, suggesting that any attempt at all to toe this line is a waste of time, and that anyone who feels victimized by language should just get over it. Those people are rarely the ones on the receiving end of the offensive words, predictably.

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Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingpolitics & government

In case he runs for Mayor of New York City, top ten Anthony Weiner slogans

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10. Vote for a Stand-Up Guy!

9. The Right Man with the Right Staff!

8. Anthony Weiner! – He’s the Full Package!

7. Too Big to Fail!

6. You Can’t Keep a Good Weiner Down!

5. Progress You Can Hang Your Hat On!

4. Anthony Weiner: Hard On Crime!

3. Fighting for Working Stiffs Everywhere!

2. I’m No Quitter! I Plan to Stick It Out!

1. Once an Upstanding Member of Congress!
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

living poetry

The Eternal City (Peter Blume)

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city

#68

The jack-in-the-box dictator dominates,
Green scowl squeezing envy into hate.
Sinners pray to Jesus in the store window.
Draped in gold chains, clutching His scepter,
He laughs at their ruler’s show of temper.
Henchmen wait for new orders from below.
Eternal cities outlive their architecture.
Columns collapse, statuary crumbles,
“Return my youth,” a lame crone mumbles.
Speeches, even sermons, become lectures,
Endless repetitions, what everybody knows.
When the militia gathers, the catacombs
Fill with refuges and would-be deserters.
No murderers here, we are only torturers.

Note: This is one of more than 115 poems after paintings or images, which can be viewed at the blog, Zealotry of Guerin.

 

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