virtual children by Scott Warnock

And what of a snow day

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The reality is that I did not walk seven miles uphill both ways to school in three feet of snow, even in June. Neither did you. But things were different when we were little, weren’t they, you 30- and 40- and 50-somethings? Things were certainly different when it snowed. [Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Jim Boeheim and Syracuse smacked by the NCAA

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Have you ever disliked a public figure but not been sure why you felt that way? It happens to me all the time. I am a person of strong opinions, and that often leads to strong feelings in both directions. In sports, there are guys of whom I am a huge fan and there are guys that I despise. One of those on my bad list is Jim Boeheim, the head basketball coach at Syracuse. I have always disliked him, but never had a really solid reason for it. Until now, that is. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingbooks & writing

Inspired by Harper Lee’s sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, top ten new sequels to classic books

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10. From Eternity Back to Here

9. Catch-23

8. The Wine of Wrath

7. Ulysses 2: Electric Boogaloo

6. The Even Greater Gatsby

5. Slaughterhouse-Six

4. The Wind Blew It Back

3. Portnoy’s Carpal Tunnel

2. 2 Naked 2 Dead

1. A Selfie of the Artist as a Middle-aged Man
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Golfer lies about Tiger Woods suspension

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I find the fact that things can be reported as news these days with no basis in fact whatsoever to be abhorrent. All that needs to happen is that someone, anyone, says something that seems interesting or controversial and it spreads like wildfire. Many times, there isn’t even any “saying” involved, as Twitter and other social media allow people to speak to an incredibly wide audience with little effort and less personal risk. Anyone with any kind of connection is considered an “insider,” and facts don’t seem to be a necessary component of anything. A recipient of this sort of reporting this week was Tiger Woods, who was said to have been suspended by the PGA Tour for a month, even though nothing of the sort had happened. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingtrusted media & news

Top ten reasons Charlie Manson’s wedding was called off

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10. Bride-to-be Afton Elaine “Star” Burton refused to get a matching swastika tattoo on her forehead

9. All the voices in Charlie’s head kept screaming at him to call it off

8. The chapel organist didn’t know how to play “Helter Skelter”

7. Manson finally realized, “This bitch must be insane!

6. Nobody was offering Star the opportunity to be in her own ‘non-reality show’

5. Corcoran State Prison officials wouldn’t let Manson invite his family

4. Star decided to postpone the wedding until after the apocalyptic race war leading to Manson’s being chosen Emperor of the World

3. Charlie ate the best man

2. Star realized she was confused – what she really meant to do was marry John Wayne Gacy

1. She finally looked Manson up on Wikipedia
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

Can NJ’s worst-dressed school board member competently decide on a dress code?

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I’m a member of two school boards: I was elected to Riverton’s BoE and am an appointed member of Palmyra’s BoE. (Riverton is a sending district for Palmyra High School.) One of my favorite logical fallacies is ad hominem. Could these different bits of information cohere? We’ll see. [Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: ESPN’s Keith Olbermann suspended for tweets about Penn State

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I normally restrict my stories to things that happened through Sunday night. I guess that is a leftover from when I used to schedule this column to post first thing Monday morning. My laziness has given me the opportunity to extend this window, but thus far I have not done so. I was not going to do it this week either, despite the presence of a story that was right up my alley, but a Facebook post by my cousin made me think twice about it. The story to which I refer involves ESPN personality Keith Olbermann, and his tone-deaf comments about Penn State and THON on Twitter the other day. [Read more →]

religion & philosophysports

Upward Devotional: Sharing the Fun

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As I noted before, during the first two months of the year, part of my Saturdays are spent in gymnasiums … one in my church, and another in the public high school across the street. The Upward Basketball and Cheerleading season is well underway here, in Midland, Texas. Volunteers are helping the program in a lot of different ways … as coaches, referees, time/scorekeepers, and delivering devotionals to the fans during halftime breaks … I’m one of the volunteers doing the devotionals, and here was my presentation for this past Saturday, inspired by what I observed of the youngsters on the court …
[Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingmovies

Top ten of the Fifty Grays to Shade Your Lover

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There must be fifty grays to shade your lover.

Fifty grays to shade your lover.

10. Just clap on the cuffs, Duff.

9. Buy some new rope, Hope.

8. Tie a tight knot, Scott.

Just listen to me.

7. You must dominate, Kate.

6. Learn how to spank, Hank.

5. Bind him in leather, Heather.

And don’t set him free.

4. Break out the whip, Chip.

3. Slap on the chain, Jane.

You’ll cause him some brain pain,

And do it with glee.

2. Try that new toy, Roy.

1. Remember to bite, Dwight.

I know it’s not quite right.

I’m glad it’s not me!
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

books & writingmovies

Added to My Bookshelf: Undead Obsessed: Finding Meaning in Zombies

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There’s no denying that Jessica Robinson has an obsession with zombies, and that said obsession is shared by people of many ages in many parts of the world … myself included.

Proof of her obsession can be found in the time and effort that obviously went into research for, and writing of her book, “Undead Obsessed: Finding Meaning in Zombies.” My reading of the book, however, left my own obsession unsated … which is not necessarily the fault of the book … obsessions, after all, can be very, VERY personal matters.
[Read more →]

art & entertainment

Why Fifty Shades of Grey is an inspiration to writers everywhere (except for the writing itself)

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If there’s anything Hollywood hates more than a writer, it’s a woman. And if you somehow combine the two… and then reveal that she’s over 50 and a foreigner… well, that inspires emails so nasty even North Korean hackers hesitate to leak them. That said, E.L. James (non-kinky name: Erika Leonard) saw her first book become a huge success, selling tens of millions of copies. So where normally writers enter meetings with Hollywood execs from a position of weakness — incidentally, this is the position in which most writers spend their entire lives — she said something to this effect:

“I’ve sold over 100 million copies of just three books.

“That means I average 33 million readers a book.

“If each of those readers spends 10 bucks for a movie ticket, that’s $330 million. [Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Little League World Series champs disqualified

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When I was a kid, I enjoyed playing sports. I wasn’t a great athlete, but I wasn’t terrible either. I didn’t participate in the organized stuff to any great degree, but I played lots of different sports in my backyard with my neighbors. I did play Little League baseball for a few years. I got to play second base and I got to pitch (although the pitching opportunity was likely more due to my dad being the coach than any great skill on my part). It was a fun and innocent experience. Anymore, though, it seems like the one thing you can count on with sports for kids is that adults will find a way to mess them up. The recent Little League World Series is a great example of this. [Read more →]

books & writing

Lisa reads Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

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This is a book I started ages ago, but I lost track of it on my Kindle (I keep forgetting that it stores galleys as documents, not books). When I managed to unearth it, I was thrilled to be back in the world of Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. It’s set in the wild and woolly Seattle of the 1880’s, with some major revisions. The city, its population swelled from the Klondike gold rush, has been devastated. The Boneshaker, a mining machine designed to dig through the Klondike ice, has malfunctioned and run wild beneath the city, collapsing buildings, creating tunnels, killing hundreds, and releasing deadly gas from deep underground. The gas, called Blight, boils up from the tunnels and clings like a click fog. It kills plants and animals, corrodes metal, and turns the humans who breathe it into a sort of zombie, called Rotters. In an attempt to save what they could, the city was walled up, trapping the Blight and the rotters inside. The walls created a lost city, crumbling into ruin, inhabited by the walking dead and those hearty souls who have carved out a living in the basements, vaults, and any place that offers a little clean air. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingmovies

Top ten signs you’re not going to win an Academy Award next Sunday

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10. It’s the world’s first pro-Catholic pornographic musical

9. The best acting you did all year was telling your wife that her new dress didn’t make her look fat

8. Your film was called Left Behind – and it should have been

7. It’s the sequel to The Love Guru

6. On the red carpet, instead of asking you who you’re wearing, they ask you why you showed up

5. The opening and closing credits actually meet in the middle

4. In your Biblical epic, the product placement for the iPhone 6 was too distracting

3. You’re Mitt Romney, and therefore can’t win anything

2. The jury at Cannes found you “Guilty as charged”

1. You’re a Black actor or director
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

The mysteries of college costs

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If you’re of/in a certain stage/mindset/class, you’re thinking about where your kids are going to go to college. More likely, you’re lying awake at night wondering how you’re going to pay for it, perhaps tinged with a nagging feeling that maybe you shouldn’t bother. [Read more →]

books & writing

Lisa reads Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

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Oh, I can’t tell you how excited I was to get a copy of Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances for review! My love affair with Neil Gaiman’s writing has been a troubled one – some things I love, some things I don’t – but I love short stories when they are well-written and this collection was a treasure. That doesn’t mean I loved every one of them, that almost never happens, but there are some that were so good, so compelling, that I was sorry to see them end.

The book starts with a fairly long introduction, which makes great reading if you’re interested in a writer’s process and how they think about their work. [Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: New York Knicks owner rips long-time fan

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Professional sports team owner would seem to be a pretty cushy job, don’t you think? I mean, sure, there is likely some pressure to put a winning product on the field, epecially in the larger, sports-crazed cities like New York, Philadelphia, Boston, etc. Outside of that, though, the owner watches his or her fortune grow and grow, sometimes into numbers that end in “billion,” while getting to hobnob with the athletes, celebrities, and politicians. It’s remarkable how often these guys screw this up. New York Knicks owners James Dolan seems to be having a tough time of it, for example. [Read more →]

language & grammarThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that the letter “E” shall no longer be spoken as an “A”

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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. 3421: A, E, I , O, U and sometimes Y. They have their own sounds. They have their own purposes. They are the blood in the veins of every word. It’s them versus twenty-one other letters and they hold their own. Let us not weaken them for the sake of vain affectation. “E” has always been one of our favorite letters. Double it and it can sing butterfly notes, like a mezzo-soprano on her wedding night; or, it can screech madness, like a hawk with flaming feet. Let it sit alone at the end of a word and it exerts force upon the less powerful letters, like a director’s shadow brooding in the wings. It is a strong letter…until some dippy robot comes along and, through yet another in a long line of current puzzling affectations, changes it into an “A”. The woman, for instance, who pronounces her own name of “Emma” as “Amma; “ the announcer, for another instance, who pronounces the call letters to a Philadelphia radio station (WMGK) as AM-GEE-KAY; the person who inadvertently changes the word “ember” to “amber” —  into a different word altogether…  For the love of God we don’t know how it became perceived as stylish to unhinge one’s jaw whilst speaking, but, it shall not continue.

The Punishment: These E-radicators will be taught how to make the proper sound by having their mouths carefully positioned, permanently, by the Imperial Orthodontist (who prefers iron appliances for this sort of obligatory speech therapy).

Have an axcellent day.

Now, go forth and obey.

The Emperor will grace the world with a new decree each Tuesday morning, whether you like it or not. 

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingliving poetry

Top ten favorite lines for a Valentine’s Day poem

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10. I hope and pray to see The Light again,

9. To see the Heaven lurking in our eyes!

8. I’m looking forward to the moment when

7. We share a blinding rapturous surprise!

6. But if we’ve got to wait, then we shall wait!

5. And if it never comes, I say at least

4. I got to spend each day with my soulmate,

3. Amazed at how each day our Love’s increased!

2. I’ve waited for you ever since my birth!

1. To wait with you is Heaven here on Earth!
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: What a Super Bowl.

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If you watched the Super Bowl on Sunday evening, you received a treat. What a fantastic game. Two great teams, quite evenly matched, played a game for the ages that was decided right at the very end by some huge plays. We got an awful lot of good, mixed with a bit of bad, in the biggest sporting event of the year. [Read more →]