language & grammarThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that the word “too” will no longer be mutilated into a ridiculous affectation

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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. .002: The Emperor has become painfully aware that people have been stretching and twisting the word “too” like a verbal taffy and transforming it into the word “teal;” or, more accurately, “teeeeuwl.” Ths abominable distortion is often found in close proximity to the work “omigod,” as in, “Omigod, me teeeeuwl!” This affectation has been creeping up toward “maximum Emperor annoyance” since the late nineties and it shall end, today.

The Punishment: Those who distort this short, sweet, effective word shall, likewise, be distorted on a little device the Imperial Dungeon Keeper likes to call “The Taffy Machine.” Is such a little word worth so much…um…mutilation?

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: Phil Hughes misses a large bonus due to rain and a false sense of propriety

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There are multiple sides to most stories, right? That’s what people say, anyway. Here at BSGS, despite the fact that most of our stories fall pretty firmly on one side or the other, I guess an argument could be made that many stories could be placed on the opposite side of the ledger if you just looked at them from a different perspective. I am a person of strong opinions, so I would likely tell you that you were wrong if you told me that you disagreed with the side on which I placed one of these incidents of wrongdoing or heroism, but it’s my column so I am allowed to do that. Some things, though, really can reasonably be seen from both perspectives, and this week’s lead story is one of them. In fact, I started this out as a Good Sports story. That did not last. The subject is Minnesota Twins pitcher Phil Hughes, who missed out on a significant bonus this week due to bad luck and then a bad choice. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingtravel & foreign lands

Top ten signs you had a bad summer

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10. The only ‘action’ you got all summer was inadvertent, and on a crowded moving subway car

9. All your dreams of an early retirement only served to prove you can’t always trust a Nigerian prince

8. You’re the Commissioner of the National Football League

7. You got confused, and thought it was now perfectly legal to smoke recreational marijuana in Washington, the city

6. That giant mouse you saw wasn’t at Disneyland

5. The Mid-East hotel you stayed in had a lower Michelin rating than Abu Ghraib

4. You got in trouble because you were lying naked on your hotel bed when the maid walked in…finally!

3. Your sunburn was so red, cars stopped at you and waited for you to change

2. Your Carnival Cruise cruise made the news

1. At the company picnic, you really ticked off the boss by drinking too much beer and then peeing in the swimming pool — from the diving board
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Jameis Winston is a moron

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It’s been a few months, so I guess it’s time for another column about how big an idiot Jameis Winston is. The Florida State quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner continues to prove that he just doesn’t get it. This time, he was suspended for Saturday night’s game against Clemson after making a public ass of himself on campus last week.
[Read more →]

The Emperor decreestrusted media & news

The Emperor decrees a ban on “click-bait” headlines that are not 100% true

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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 55C: Henceforth, there shall be no more click-bait headlines, unless the content of the connected article proves the headline to be indisputably true. For instance: “This pit bull tried to eat this kitten; what happens next will blow your mind…” If readers do not actually experience aneurisms as a result of reading, the headline is false and punishment will ensue. Consider, as well, “This article will change your life…” Well, it had better, is all I can say.  And if a headline claims that “This is the best post game speech, ever,” it bloody well had better be. Or else.  Because if it turns into some prancing, weak-bearded, self-centered, mediocre little high school spud spouting every coaching cliché he’s ever heard as he trumpets about “attitude” (albeit  with jauntiness and pluck), there will be Hades to pay. All we are asking is that the authors deliver on their promises. This is all within authorial control; therefore, the Emperor will feel no guilt in doling out punishment.

The Punishment: Violators will be thrown into a special dungeon. The sign on the entrance door reads “Most comfortable dungeon ever where you will never, ever be eviscerated, emasculated or masticated!” What happens next will blow up your mind.

Now. go forth and obey.

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

virtual children by Scott Warnock

Maybe not hit your kid with a stick?

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You’ve likely heard a lot about the Adrian Peterson debacle (including a good piece on this site), but I’m not weighing in here on abuse, or whether he’s justifiably doing what was done to him, or even on the various dummies who’ve gotten some press time because of this. I’m not writing about all that. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingtelevision

Top ten least popular new television shows

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10. Law and Order: SUV

9. Everybody Loves Ramen

8. Alimentary

7. America’s Funniest Home Pregnancy Tests

6. The Vampire Blogs

5. Justified: How I Prefer My Paragraphs

4. CSI: NCIS: NYPD: LMNOP

3. Survivor: Bayonne

2. Marvel’s Agents of B.O.R.E.D.

1. Sunday Night Football: Special Victims Unit
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Adrian Peterson indicted on child abuse charges

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We are now two weeks into the NFL season, and much of the coverage continues to be about non-football issues, much to the league’s chagrin. Off-the-field issues are dominating the airwaves, and understandably so. Hot on the heels of the whole Ray Rice/domestic violence mess, Adrian Peterson, one of the league’s biggest stars, has been charged with child abuse.

[Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingeducation

Top ten least useful college majors

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10. The Wit and Wisdom of Rick Perry

9. Betamax Repair

8. Guesstimating

7. Pig Latin

6. Freakonomics

5. Dressage

4. (Double Major) Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

3. Competitive Eating

2. Hemorrhoid Transplantation

1. Creative Reading
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

virtual children by Scott Warnock

Edit [the text of] your life

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On NPR the other day I heard Graham Hill talking about the project LifeEdited. That prompted me to watch his TED talk about his idea, “Edit Your Life.” Hill talks about his own efforts to edit his living space, and proposes how much simpler, and, surprisingly, better, our lives might be if we made do with a lot less. [Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Penn State sanctions are reduced, but the false narrative continues

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On Monday, former U.S. Senator George Mitchell released his latest report issued as the academics integrity monitor for Penn State, a position to which he was appointed by the NCAA when it handed down historic sanctions a couple of years ago as the Jerry Sandusky scandal unfolded. As expected, the report was glowing and included recommendations to remove the remainder of the bowl ban and to return the rest of the scholarships that had been docked. I, along with the rest of Nittany Nation, was thrilled to see this happen. My Twitter feed exploded with unabashed excitement about the promise of the future of the team. As happy as I am to see most of the sanctions brought to an end, I remain unsatisfied, as there are still some aspects of this wholly unjustified punishment that remain in place. Beyond that, the narrative that goes along with this action, from the NCAA, the school’s administration, and the media, is a false one and it grates on me to an incredible extent.

[Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingtelevision

Top ten new shows on Atheist TV

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10. Touched by a Physicist

9. The 420 Club

8. Religulous – The Series

7. (Don’t) Believe

6. Hour of Sour

5. A Show About Nothingness

4. How I Met Your Silverback

3. The Fraud Squad

2. We’re A Non-Prophet Organization

1. Highway to Nowhere
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Josh Shaw and the incredible fall from a balcony

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My lead Bad Sports story this week was nearly a minor Good Sports story last week. I had already written the blurb and was preparing to post my column when new information came to light that changed the whole situation. Josh Shaw, a senior defensive back on the USC football team, is in major trouble after a crazy set of events that took him from being lauded as a hero to having his college career in jeopardy after he was shown to be a big-time liar. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingbooks & writing

Top ten new books by the publishers of the children’s book My Parents Open Carry

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10. The Cat With The Gat

9. Duck Duck Goose…No Duck!!

8. Goodnight Forever, Moon

7. Charlie and the Munitions Factory

6. The Lion, the Witch, and the War Cannon

5. Where the Wild Things Were

4. Cloudy with a Chance of Shrapnel

3. One Fish Two Fish Dead Fish Stew Fish

2. Bazooka Joe

1. The Wizard of Uzi
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Tampa Bay manager doesn’t really understand instant replay

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Most of the big sports now have some degree of instant replay being used in an effort to get more calls correct. In order to avoid endless games, the big sports have implemented a challenge system, where coaches can officially question calls and ask for a review. I see this as great progress in sports, as I hate to see games turn on incorrect rulings. Some of the rules about how the challenges can be used, though, make me wonder if the goal is really to get things right or if it’s just to appease the fans a little bit. A good example of this happened in the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday.

[Read more →]

language & grammarThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees an end to the phrase “at the end of the day”

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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. 12PM: National Public Radio is a good news source; it is a fine explorer of American culture, but it has created its own little inbred linguistic world full of phrases and speech patterns that the Emperor can stand no more. We just realized that a large portion of our linguistic decrees have come from NPR, over the span of this column, which is usually written after a car ride into the Imperial Palace Offices, with the radio on. The NPR offenses?  The ubiquitous use of “srtiv” for “sort of” (and the use of “sort of,” at all, where the speaker is really trying to say “exactly”); the use of “So…” in response to a question, as if the speaker is trying to imply it is about time the interviewer shut up and allowed him to talk; the use of the phrase “on the ground,” stolen from the military, to mean “in the middle of the issue;” etc… (Check the Imperial archives for any number of examples.) Now, we must speak out against “at the end of the day.” See it work in this annoying, NPR-phrase-laden sentence: “So, at the end of the day, it’s about starting a conversation…” Why does everyone want to start a conversation at the end of the day? What’s wrong with a nice morning chat? And what do you mean, “it’s about”? What’s about what? Do you mean “we need to”? And while everyone is “having conversations,” who is out there actually trying to change things for the better? (George Carlin, the top-secret Emperor of the past [yes, we succeeded him] is rolling over in his grave. )

The Punishment: Any-freaking-hoo, over-users of the phrase “at the end of the day” will be “put to bed”. “Tucked-in,” as it were, by a muscular fellow in a black hood. (And we ain’t talkin’ no memory foam comfy bed, neither; though, the stretching motion of said bed could, conceivably, fix a back problem or two.)

Now, go forth and obey.

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

virtual children by Scott Warnock

Instant gratification and youth sports

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Once us humans reach a certain age, a gene activates that triggers an unwavering belief that our generation is vastly superior to the one currently coming to bloom. With unflinching righteousness, we believe that back in our day, things were more character-forming. All schools were farther away from all homes. There were weird places that were always uphill. Roads were bumpier. Things weighed more. Life was tougher. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingenvironment & nature

Top ten answers to the question “How hot is it?”

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10. “It’s so hot, my tongue got a sunburn telling somebody how hot it was.”

9. “It’s so hot, Optimus Prime decided to transform into an air conditioner.”

8. “It’s so hot, I have a brand on my stomach shaped like a seat belt.”

7. “It’s so hot, Hillary Clinton has been semi-campaigning in her pantsuit…without the pants.”

6. “It’s so hot, Donald Sterling attended an NAACP meeting just for the chilly reception.”

5. “It’s so hot, this morning I saw a bum with a sign that read ‘Will Work For Shade’.”

4. “It’s so hot, I saw a fire hydrant chasing down a dog.”

3. “It’s so hot, squirrels are pouring Gatorade on their nuts.”

2. “It’s so hot, I set my house on fire, just to cool it off.”

1. “It’s so hot, in Colorado and Washington, joints are lighting themselves.”
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

books & writing

Lisa reads FaceOff, edited by David Baldacci

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Now, this is a book that had me hooked from the very first pitch!

Ever wonder who would win in a fight if the most popular thriller characters were paired against their most worthy opponents? Would you bet on Lee Child’s Jack Reacher or Joseph Finder’s Nick Heller, or even Dennis Lehane’s Patrick Kenzie over Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch?

Oh yeah! If you love your detectives the way I do, I know that you have daydreamed about pairing them up. FaceOff is less about these characters fighting it out, it’s more about them teaming up and working together. And that is worth the price of admission.

It certainly says something about the quality of work that Simon & Schuster puts out that they have so many great characters to pair up. And I will warn you, Readers: you are going to get hooked on new series. You might as well know that going in. Unless you have a lot more spare time than I do, there are going to be characters here that are unfamiliar to you, and I guarantee these stories are going to make you want to run right out and pick up a few of their adventures. (You know the great thing about a Kindle Fire? No matter how many books you put on it, it never gets any heavier.) Smart thinking, S&S.

Now, the stories! I don’t even know where to begin. The weirdest and creepiest of the bunch was Special Agent Pendergast (Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child) vs. Slappy the Ventriloquist Dummy (R.L. Stine) – it sounds bizarre, but it works. Now, I am not a Pendergast fan – on paper, it seems like the sort of thing I should love, but I don’t) and I haven’t read any of Slappy’s…adventures, but that didn’t matter. The story is great and I can’t think of a better way to pair up this odd couple.

The first of my absolute favorites was Lincoln Rhyme (Jeffery Deaver) vs. Lucas Davenport (John Sanford). I have many of the Prey novels (several of them autographed, after meeting Sanford several years ago at a book signing) and I’ve read several of the Lincoln Rhyme novels, so I knew this was going to be good. The characters are so different and they butt heads ion such interesting ways. In addition, you’ve got their trusty sidekicks – Amelia Sachs and Lily Rothenburg – to spice things up. Really fabulous – I would love a full-length novel of this pairing!

But really: Nick Heller (Joseph Finder) and Jack Reacher (Lee Child). I can’t say “versus” there, because they really end up working together. I’m familiar with Jack Reacher, read a few of the books, and I’ve already ordered a couple of Heller novels. This one was so much fun – from the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, to the fact that some poor Boston accountant got more help, for free, than he could have possibly paid for and he didn’t even know it! Great, great story.

So, thanks to my friends at Simon & Schuster and Meryl L. Moss Media Relations for providing this free Advanced Reader Copy of FaceOff. The rest of you – hit your local bookstores and libraries for it. And start saving your pennies, because I guarantee this book will spawn a shopping spree!

faceoff

 

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports is on vacation

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It’s just a vacation time of year, I guess.  If it helps tide you over, feel free to make up some Bad Sports stories and put them in the comments.