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bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: World Series game ends on obstruction call

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The St. Louis Cardinals took a two games to one lead over the Boston Red Sox in the World Series on Saturday night. That, in and of itself, is not surprising…these are two good teams and someone had to win game three, right? What made this one unusual was the way the game ended. The winning run scored in the bottom of the ninth on an obstruction call. That’s right, a call by an umpire allowed the final run of a game in the sport’s final series of the season to score despite the fact that the runner was clearly tagged out before he reached home plate. The key to this, of course, and the reason that this is Good Sports, is because it was absolutely the correct call.

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Bob Sullivan's top ten everythinggetting older

Top ten signs you’re too old to be trick-or-treating

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10. You’re winded, and you haven’t even reached the end of your own driveway yet

9. You accidentally took a Skittle instead of your statin medication

8. After every other house, you have to go home for a pee

7. People keep saying, “Great Betty White mask!” – and you’re not wearing one

6. You’re continually removing your dentures so you can scrape off the caramel

5. You can remember back to your first Halloween, when all the witches were burned

4. You’re continually knocking on your own front door

3. Instead of a candy bar, you ask if they have any adult diapers

2. When people open the door, instead of saying “Trick or treat,” you look confused, then start singing Good King Wenceslas

1. You keep seeing someone dressed up as the Grim Reaper – and you’re the only one who can see him

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

that's what he said, by Frank Wilson

Watching the passing scene

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There is a poem by John Hall Wheelock called “The Part Called Age.” It was first published in the Sewanee Review in 1962, the year Wheelock turned 76 (he lived to be 91). The poem is an account in blank  verse of the thoughts the poet has as he strolls about the property he has inherited from his father (“these were his father’s acres / For so he still thought of them, though now they were his …”).

I could, I suppose, in good New Critical fashion, antiseptically separate the figure described in the poem from the writer of the poem, except that the poem is obviously autobiographical (there’s no good reason why a poem can’t be or shouldn’t be). [Read more →]

educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

The Homework Club

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I’m surprised by how many kids, sometimes little kids, have told me some version of this: “My school is great. They give us lots of homework. It’s really challenging.” I’ve been amazed by how darn enthusiastic they appear that their teachers assign them a large volume of homework. [Read more →]

language & grammarThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees an end to the phrase “a hot mess”

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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. 543-0000000.1: You must understand: If a phrase annoys the Emperor, it is not the same as if it annoys one of the “regular people.” If it annoys the Emperor, it is simply (and indisputably) a bad phrase – one that shouldn’t exist. When it comes to His Everlasting Wonderfulness, opinion is fact. I truly hope you are all getting a grip of this idea by now. If you are not currently bound in chains in a dark dungeon, you may be getting the message…but not necessarily. For instance, the phrase: “A hot mess” in reference to a person or a situation… It makes the Emperor’s skin crawl with little beasties of pinchy tickliness. It’s a stupid phrase and it is one that is parroted constantly by the group-thinking, TV-imitating masses.

The Punishment: Parroters of this pretentious and painfully poor poetic patter will be taken to the Imperial Dungeon so that they may be boiled in (environmentally friendly) vegetable oil and, thereby, learn the literal meaning of “a hot mess” before they begin their new life as…well…soup.

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

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Grambling’s football team refuses to play

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Football has been played at Grambling State University for a very long time. Eighty-five years, to be exact. They are not a team you see on television very often, but they have a rich and successful history. This week, though, would have to be considered a low point in the school’s football history, as the team mutinied, for lack of a better term, and refused to play its game against Jackson State. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingtelevision

Top ten least popular new TV shows

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10. Law & Order: Jaywalking Unit

9. Two and a Half Laughs

8. How I Met Your Father: Woody Allen/Frank Sinatra Edition

7. The Old and the Toothless

6. Justified: How I Prefer My Paragraphs

5. America’s Funniest Tweets

4. Dancing with the Has-Beens

3. Breaking Wind

2. Once Upon a Time in Newark, New Jersey

1. So You Think You Can Twerk

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingpolitics & government

Top ten things the Republicans achieved through the Government Shutdown

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10. Bupkiss

9. Goose egg

8. Jack squat

7. Zippo

6. Nada

5. Sweet Fanny Adams

4. Naught

3. Jack shit

2. Diddly-Squat

1. Fuckall

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

travel & foreign landstrusted media & news

A very expensive fungus

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The other day I read that some Russian oligarch or other had paid $95,000 to a restaurateur in New York for a bit of fungus. Well, a fool and his money, as they say.

Alright, it wasn’t just any old bit of fungus. Apparently it was a “white alba truffle” – a special fungus that is quite difficult to find. And you can eat it. Meanwhile, this bit of fungus weighed about 4lb so it was quite heavy, for a fungus. According to Nello Balan, the man who says he sold the oligarch the fungus, it was the biggest such bit of fungus in the history of fungi, or something.

So there you go: Clearly this bit of fungus was [Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Condoleeza Rice is a woman, so she must not know football

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If you read my column on any kind of regular basis, you know that I really despise prejudice of any kind. Whether it be racism, sexism, ageism, or sexual orientationism (that should be a word), I find it revolting. I don’t know that any of these things are actually more prevalent in the world of sports than everywhere else, but it often seems like they are. Early this week, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice was reportedly selected to be a member of the committee that will select the college football teams that will participate in the new playoff at the end of the 2014 and subsequent seasons. Predictably, a bunch of schmucks went through the roof. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingtrusted media & news

Top ten excuses of the London man who was found having sex with his toaster

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10. “That toaster was way hot!

9. “The instructions only cautioned against sticking in knives and forks.”

8. “I heard it gave really good bread!”

7. “The toaster was asking for it. She looked like a real slot!

6. “I was wearing a condom, so I wasn’t worried about getting KitchenAids.”

5. “I thought it would be safer than using the microwave.”

4. “When I got home from the bar, I was really toasted!

3. “I was just trying to brown my Panini.”

2. “I heard somewhere that ‘They plump when you cook ’em’.”

1. “I was trying to make my juicer jealous.”

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

sportsvirtual children by Scott Warnock

Are youth sports to blame for slide in U.S. education?

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My favorite magazine, The Atlantic, ran a piece this month connecting the U.S. school sports obsession with our lagging academic performance compared to other countries. While the causality in Amanda Ripley’s “The Case Against High-School Sports” isn’t airtight, her argument raises provocative points about our education priorities. [Read more →]

art & entertainmentbooks & writing

The secret rituals of history’s most creative minds

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On a recent flight from Texas to London I sat behind a woman who was editing a manuscript. Being very nosy I strained to read the title, and this is what I saw:

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs

Wow, I thought. What a load of crap. Clearly the primary “presentation secrets” of Steve Jobs were 1) his conviction that he was totally awesome and 2) his understanding that people are always interested in what highly successful people have to say.

This manuscript was obviously a snake oil salesman’s pitch, yet another example of that tiresome but popular  genre in which some not especially successful person reveals [Read more →]
fashion & clothingThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees a ban on bike shorts

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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. 12/X: Shhh. We do not care about the padded crotch and buttocks. There is no argument you can make that will convince us to allow bicycling shorts to be worn, anymore. The cursed garments are just wrong. You know it and we know it. We have all averted our eyes to avoid gazing upon the compressed goods of this or that errant cyclist. It’s simply gross. Icky, in fact. The Emperor envisions a world of aesthetic joy for all happy minions. Nothing causes joyous interruptus on the morning commute (which is typically joyless anyway) than a casual glance over at the anatomically intimate accentuation of some middle-aged fop’s schwazzeels as he stands in order to gain peddle-force on an incline in the road. No one should have to see this. Think of the children!

The Punishment: You want compression shorts? We’ll GIVE you compression shorts! (Just throw on a pair of sweat pants, for heaven’s sake. The Emperor begs you from the depths of his sad, image-burned eyes.)

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

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Jadeveon Clowney’s motivation level called into question

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All players are not created equal, and it is very clear that players are not treated equally by coaches or the media either. Jadeveon Clowney, the fantastically-named and even more incredibly talented defensive end for the South Carolina Gamecocks is learning that the hard way this season. This week, Clowney sat out his team’s game against Kentucky due to a strained muscle. The fallout is still flying. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingpolitics & government

Top ten least essential government agencies

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10. Department of the Exterior

9. Environmental Protection Racket

8. Office of Government Ethics

7. Customs and Border Collies

6. Department of Veterans Extramarital Affairs

5. John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Seals

4. Radio Free Credit Report

3. Federal Shutting-Down Administration

2. The U.S. Congress

1. The Twerks Progress Administration

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

getting olderhealth & medical

Apparently we are all getting very old

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Recently I have been feeling slightly long in the tooth. It was the death of Mrs. Thatcher that did it. Watching the street parties on TV, I couldn’t help but notice how very young the revelers were: most of those idiots had not been born when she stepped down from office. And yet I remembered her resignation as if it were yesterday. Suddenly I realized that I was of a different era, that I was now in the same position as those bores who were always banging on about Woodstock when I was a teenager.

And if Mrs. Thatcher’s resignation is increasingly “ancient history,” then that means some of my other memories must be positively Jurassic. Here, the pop culture index is most telling. 1960s rockers like Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney have always seemed “old” to me, but now even the members of rubbish New Romantic bands from the 1980s are closing in on their pensions. Simon Le Bon will turn 55 later this month, for example. His song “The Reflex” is older now than Elvis Presley’s  [Read more →]