Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingfamily & parenting

Top ten things your mother doesn’t want to hear on Mother’s Day

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10. “Mom, we kind of always assumed you were our father.”

9. “I’m taking you out to dinner, but we have to hurry; Taco Bell closes at nine.”

8. “What do you mean, ‘What is it?’ – It’s a nose hair trimmer!”

7. “Here’s all the ingredients for a fantastic Mother’s Day dinner. All you have to do is cook it!”

6. “And you are…?”

5. “Uncle Dad knows about us!”

4. “Of course these flowers aren’t stolen from a funeral home. That banner just means, when you go to bed tonight, I hope you rest peacefully.”

3. “Mom, I have a surprise for you: I’m adopted!!”

2. “Here’s your gift, Mom: a DVD of Oedipus Rex –you sexy thing you!”

1. “Honey, I’m afraid the kids now have a new Mom. Her name used to be Bruce.”

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Violence in Baltimore disrupts baseball

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The world of sports is often insulated from the troubles of the outside world. Fans use it as an escape from the difficulties of their lives and of society around them. Sometimes, though, the non-sports stuff can’t help but break through that barrier, and the last few days have seen that very thing happen in Baltimore, as riots triggered by the death of a man named Freddie Gray have had a significant impact. [Read more →]

books & writing

Lisa reads Can and Abe by James Grippando

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In Cane and Abe by James Grippando, Miami’s top prosecutor becomes the prime suspect in his wife’s disappearance. Is she the victim of a serial killer? Or is there a connection to the women in Abe’s past?

Abe Beckham is a prosecutor in Miami, married to the lovely Angelina but still hung up on his first wife, Samantha. The relationship between the three of them is pretty complicated: Abe is white; he dumped Angelina to start dating Samantha, who was black. Abe and Samantha married, but Samantha died of cancer. Angelina worked her way back into his life, but I doubt she’s ever forgiven him. Now there is a serial killer on the loose, his victims are all in interracial relationships, and Abe’s wife has gone missing…

Abe starts out a victim, but quickly becomes a suspect. FBI Agent Victoria Santos doesn’t trust Abe and even something as innocent as a broken wine glass seems like a smoking gun. Abe makes some dumb mistakes – as a prosecutor, he really should know better – but as hard as Santos tries, she can’t quite pin this on him.

There are plenty of twists and turns in this story, and a lot of tangents that may or may not lead to the killer. There’s J.T., Samantha’s mentally unstable brother; Samantha made Abe promise to look out for him, but that may be an impossible task. There are untraceable cell phones, a possible connection to a major corporate player, and a storage unit where some long-forgotten boxes may hold vital clues. There are plenty of reasons to suspect any number of characters, and that keeps the mystery humming along. The ending managed to surprise me – though I doubt we’ve gotten the whole story.

This is a great choice for modern mystery lovers who want a twisty plot, a host of suspects, and any number of ways to interpret the evidence. I love it when a book leaves me with a few loose ends to toy with, so I can unravel bits of the mystery on my own. If you like your stories neatly wrapped up with all the questions answered in the last chapter, this isn’t the book for you.

James Grippando spent 12 years as a trial lawyer before becoming a full-time writer. He’s published 23 thrillers – Cane and Abe is #22 and Cash Landing, #23, is near the top of my TBR pile. For more about the author, check out his website.

My copy of Cane and Abe was an Advance Reader Copy, provided by the folks at Harper Collins.


Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingreligion & philosophy

Top ten signs you need an exorcist

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10. You notice a bunch of sixes on your scalp

9. You suddenly start speaking unintelligibly, and you don’t work for Fox News

8. Your blood type came back as “Fire and Brimstone”

7. Every time you walk into a room, Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells starts playing

6. You’re producing more pea soup than Campbells

5. You’re Chris Christie (Sorry, that’s a sign you need exercise)

4. You recoil and hiss every time you see a hot cross bun

3. You’re one of the Koch Brothers

2. Your head has been spinning around so much, you’ve worn out twelve collars

1. No matter how you prepare your eggs, they always come out deviled

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

sportsvirtual children by Scott Warnock

Parents, remove yourselves from the equation

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You know that old equation that goes something like this: hard work + dedication + dreams = success. An updated version has emerged: hard work + dedication + dreams + parents = success. Really, that version is hard work + dedication + dreams + parents = success + parents. Parents have gotten into this thing on both sides! You don’t have to be Poincaré to notice, though, that if you minus [parents] from both sides of the equation, you still get the original formulation. [Read more →]

books & writing

Lisa reads World Gone By by Dennis Lehane

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I am becoming a Dennis Lehane groupie – that’s all I can say. I loved The Drop. I loved Live By Night. And I loved the final book in the Joe Coughlin trilogy, World Gone By. This was a story that really drew me in, the kind of book where you keep re-reading pages, going back to an earlier section because you want to hear those words one more time. You can’t wait to see where the story is going, but you don’t really want it to end. [Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: ESPN’s Britt McHenry is a bully

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Bullying is everywhere. We mostly think of kids when we picture bullies, as we can all remember a few of those “tough” guys or girls from when we were young. Bullies comes in many shapes, sizes, and ages, though, and sometimes the offenders aren’t whom we expect. This week, a video surfaced of Britt McHenry, a reporter for ESPN, verbally abusing and belittling a woman who works for a towing company in Virginia. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingsports

Top ten rejected names for baseball teams

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10. The Orlando Blooms

9. The Indianapolis Religious Freedom Fighters

8. The Philadelphia Cheesesteaks

7. The Fightin’ Amish

6. The Austin Pendletons

5. The Major League Assholes

4. The Albuquerque Herky-Jerkies

3. The San Francisco Smoothboys

2. The New York Dolls

1. The San Jose Felicianos

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

musicreligion & philosophy

A precious moment at 1st Prez

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A big day at 1st Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas a couple weeks back … THE day, really … not just for Christians, but for all people … Easter Day, Resurrection Sunday, Empty Tomb Day, whatever.

It was also a day of added significance for me, in a small personal way … it’s the one time I have the courage to go up front and sing in public. As I have noted before, little remains of the fine tenor voice I carried into high school. If maturity had replaced it with an equally fine baritone, I wouldn’t have minded so much … but, alas, such was not the case. I still sing in public, but only that one time each year, and in the particular circumstances we have at 1st Prez that day … when I am surrounded by a large choir, accompanied by chamber orchestra and organ, and singing for a packed house of people feeling more than the usual level of Christian charity and forgiveness.
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bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods light up the Masters

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This past weekend was one of the few times out of the year that I actually put golf on the television. There were a number of reasons for this. First, it was the Masters, which is always a fascinating event. Second, Tiger Woods was returning from a break of a couple of months during which he tried to piece his suffering game back together. Finally, young Jordan Spieth taught everyone else how it should be done. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingmoney

Top ten signs you’ve hired a bad tax accountant

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10. He does his math calculations in the nude, so he can count to 21

9. It takes him half an hour to figure out his tip at the Hair Cuttery

8. He’s wearing a T-shirt that says, “Audit, Schmaudit!

7. He tells all his clients from Colorado that they can deduct weed as an entertainment expense

6. Every time you question his methods, he grabs himself and says, “Hey, why don’t you deduct this?!

5. He asks you to name him as a dependent

4. Before every number on your tax form, he puts one of those ‘more or less’ squiggly lines

3. When you point out a math error, he says, “Ahhh, five of one, half a dozen of the other.”

2. He claims he spends a lot of time consulting with his own tax advisers: Martini and Rossi

1. He tells you that, because you’re filing a 1040, your tax liability is only 10 dollars and 40 cents

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

virtual children by Scott Warnock

C’mon, Sports Illustrated

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Look, man, I’m no prude (I can hear, from those privy to my debauched past, the knowing snickers rising). I don’t have a Grandpa Simpsonesque view of smut on TV (particularly in episode 7G05). I enjoy the sight of a pretty woman and don’t feel bad about saying that. [Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Baseball is here!

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It snowed a couple of weeks ago. The day that this column will post will have a high temperature that is about thirty degrees colder than the day before here in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Yes, it’s spring! With spring comes one of my favorite things. Rain. Wait, no, not rain. The woodpeckers waking me up in the morning don’t top the list either. Wait, I remember…baseball! [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingends & odd

Top ten signs your home is due for a spring cleaning

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10. You have more burger wrappers than McDonald’s

9. When you move your Christmas tree, you find that missing Halloween pumpkin

8. You wipe your feet on the mat before stepping outside

7. When somebody asks, “What died in here?” you give them a list

6. The Health Department has declared your living room eligible for FEMA funds

5. The odor has that certain ‘flatulent-skunk-in-an-outhouse-getting-a-perm’ mystique

4. Your bathroom has hot and cold running goo

3. Even Jehovah’s Witnesses won’t come inside

2. One of the dust bunnies under your bed just bit you on the ankle

1. Something keeps closing your refrigerator door from the inside

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

religion & philosophy

the day before The Day

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Big day, tomorrow … and not just for all Christians, but for all peoples … that’s what I believe.

“We are the Easter people,” Pastor Jim Miles of First Prez-Fort Stockton would remind us, and not just in the days leading up to Easter, but throughout the year. And that is what we affirm tomorrow, the day for which we have been preparing over the past six weeks, the day for which we live – or at least try to live – at all times.

A promise was made on a joyful, star-lit night, in a stable in Bethlehem … but that promise was kept on a bloody, storm-darkened day, on a hill outside of Jerusalem … and later in a place of tombs in the early morning.
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bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: The sports world speaks out against Indiana’s bigotry

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In news that went well beyond the world of sports this week, the state of Indiana passed a new law that purports to protect religious freedom while really opening the door for sanctioned discrimination. The law was created in response to the legalization of marriage equality in Indiana and around the nation. As currently constructed, the legislation will allow business owners to refuse service to customers if their religious beliefs direct them that way. The government will not be able to tell a bakery owner, for example, that he or she has to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding if that person’s “closely-held religious belief” prevents him from doing so. What a bunch of garbage. So Indiana has basically legalized discrimination. Since the new law was passed, numerous people and organizations from the sports world have denounced it, speaking in often-strong language about the immediate need to change or repeal this disgrace.

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Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingtrusted media & news

Bill O’Reilly’s top ten excuses for his embellishments over the years

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10. “I did nothing wrong, just ask my good friend, Brian Williams.”

9. “I co-wrote Killing Jesus, so I’m sure any sins I may have committed are now forgiven.”

8. “I may have repeatedly claimed I was a war correspondent during the Falklands War, even though the closest I got to the Falkland Islands was Buenos Aires, which is 1,200 miles away, but I did witness some student protests there, and that’s kind of a conflict.”

7. “You know what they say: ‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool the American people, make $16 million a year’.”

6. “In my book Killing Kennedy, I claimed to be in Florida, just outside the door of Russian George de Mohrenschildt, a CIA asset who played some role in the JFK assassination, at the exact moment he was committing suicide by shotgun, when in fact at the time I was in Texas, some 1,300 miles away – but that’s about the same as the distance between Buenos Aires and the Falklands.”

5. “When I said, ‘I saw nuns get shot in the back of the head,’ maybe I should have said, ‘I saw pictures of nuns getting shot in the back of the head,’ but where’s the drama in that?”

4. “You spend years listening to conservative pundits, and then tell me you know the difference between truth and fiction.”

3. “When I said, ‘I’ve seen Irish terrorists kill and maim their fellow citizens in Belfast with bombs,’ again it was only pictures, but they were in full color.”

2. “I did nothing wrong, just ask my good friend, George Washington.”

1. “Fox News is such a blizzard of lies, I just figured a few dandruff flakes of exaggeration would get lost in the storm.”

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

virtual children by Scott Warnock

Mr. Sanders, meet Facebook

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In a favorite early article of mine about digital culture, John Perry Barlow asked “Is There a There in Cyberspace?” He wondered, back in ’95, if we could find community in those bits in the ether. [Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Mo’Ne Davis is the Twitter target of idiot Bloomsburg baseball player

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Mo’ne Davis, a baseball player from Philadelphia, became a national sensation last year when she led her team to the Little League World Series and nearly won it all. As the only girl on her team, and as the team’s primary pitcher, she became a role model for girls everywhere. Naturally, some ignorant guy has now had to try to knock her down a few pegs. He is paying for his mistake. [Read more →]

language & grammarThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that all official documents will be printed in Comic Sans

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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. 332211: Henceforth, all official documents of all governments (that the Emperor, in His infinite magnanimity, allows to continue operating) will be printed and posted using the Comic Sans font. This should, according to the Imperial Psychologist, put an end to bad feelings associated with official communications of every kind, from things as serious as international letters to jury summonses to traffic tickets. This could prevent all kinds of mishaps, ranging protracted wars to police brutality. Likewise, road signs will be re-hung, all emblazoned with Comic Sans. The Imperial Psychologist also assures your Emperor that this will cut down on road-rage incidents by as much as 75%; for, who could ramain unhappy surrounded by that jolly little font of cute little hand-written-looking letters? What monster would protest such cuddly, happy denotations of sound? Those who “hate Comic Sans” will be rounded up and summarily executed – it is a good way to expose and to eliminate the snooty folk in society; and, since graphic designers typically hate Comic Sans, it will eliminate some of the creative minds among us, which is always good for a Dictatorship like Ours. Now, we’re off to have a discussion with the editor of this two-bit piece of electronic rag…

The Punishment: All of those who do not convert to Comic Sans by July 1 will be forced to read a Dan Brown novel — which is bad enough, but this edition will be printed entirely in Copperplate Gothic Bold. This is, surely, one of Our more gruesome punishments, but We have to do what We have to do to make this world a better place.

Now, go forth and obey.

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