bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Daytona is a big mess once again

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For the third time this season, NASCAR foisted the joke that is restrictor plate racing onto its fanbase. Everything about this race was bad, although not all of that was the governing body’s fault. The summer race at Daytona has been going on for a very long time, and this year’s edition was just a mess from start to finish. I guess it is my own fault for paying attention. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingsports

Top ten nicknames for Uruguayan soccer star Luis Suarez

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10. The Hungry Hungry Hippo

9. Chewbacca

8. Great Bitten

7. Caught Masticating

6. Chomp and Circumstance

5. Hannibal the Cannibal

4. Fang Chung

3. Gladys Bite and the Pips

2. Baron Von Munchausen

1. Chewy Lewis and the News

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: There’s no biting in soccer! Oh wait…there is?

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OK, I have watched a bit of the World Cup. Not much, but I have watched the U.S. matches. Actually, I shouldn’t even say I watched…I actually was listening to the match against Germany in my car, and found it engrossing enough that when I got out of my car to go run, I actually found an internet radio station that was broadcasting the game and listened to it during my run. I am not totally anti-soccer, even if it sometimes seems like it. However, there are some bizarre things about this sport and the behavior of the athletes who play it, and that was very much on display during the match between Uruguay and Italy on Tuesday. Luis Suarez, a striker for Uruguay, actually bit Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder during the match. You did not misread that. [Read more →]

virtual children by Scott Warnock

Reading for the good life

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Summer has arrived, and many households have begun an annual, time-worn struggle: Parents trying to get kids to read. Despite (and perhaps because of) the vast numbers of lists available nowadays, summer is a time of often fierce reading wars, featuring lots of passive-aggressive behavior by both sides. The proliferation of screens hasn’t made things easier. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingrecipes & food

Top ten things you don’t want to hear at Friday’s Fourth of July barbecue

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10. “I knew it was a bad idea to leave the fireworks in the trunk on a day this hot!”

9. “Who invited Eric Cantor? He’s gonna bring everybody down!”

8. “These burgers are actually made with Shmeat — you know, those shamburgers grown in a test tube.”

7. “That’s not mayonnaise; you’re standing under a tree.”

6. “Who stuck Yank My Doodle! It’s A Dandy! into the VCR?”

5. “Where does the burger begin and the charcoal leave off?”

4. “Call 911! Call 911!”

3. “Is Uncle Jerod’s drinking the lighter fluid again?”

2. “I think I just saw the potato salad move.”


Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

moviesreligion & philosophy

The long lost instruction book to the game of life

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When you’ve seen as many movies as I have, you begin to see that they all follow a certain pattern. This is true not just of movies, but of all great stories ranging from those found in classic mythology and literature to modern TV series and video games. Joseph Campbell called it the monomyth or hero’s journey. It’s basically a series of steps that the protagonist must go through during the course of his or her adventure. In addition to this, there are also a number of spiritual principles that often find their way into storytelling. By combining these principles with the monomyth, you can pretty much figure out where just about any story is headed. While this skill has proven to be incredibly annoying to my wife, it’s come in very handy for me. Not because I’ve continually annoyed her with my usually correct movie and TV show predictions, but because I’ve noticed that these storytelling rules apply to more than just fictitious stories. They also apply to real life. [Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: The sports world loses Tony Gwynn to cancer

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Tony Gwynn died last week. For those who are not familiar with him, he was a baseball player who played for twenty seasons in the majors, all with the same team, which is something that is a rarity anymore. Fans of the San Diego Padres got to call him their own from 1982 through the 2001 season, and he was probably the best hitter I ever had the pleasure of watching. His death was caused by cancer of the salivary glands. He spent many years chewing tobacco, and it seems pretty clear that the habit led to his death. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingmusic

Top ten songs in the new Rob Ford musical, premiering at Toronto’s Factory Theatre this September

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10. Baby Got Crack

9. I’m a Boozer

8. Michael Row the Bloat Ashore

7. Tequila Mockingbird

6. (All We Are Saying Is) Give Obese A Chance

5. The Plumpty Dance

4. He’s a (Dipso)Maniac

3. Wish I Could Fly Like Stuporman

2. Booze Sorry Now

1. Leader of the Crack

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: San Antonio Spurs win it all and do it the right way

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So much of sports is glitz. Highlights. SportsCenter. Kids grow up watching the “plays of the week” shows, and rarely do those shows focus on teamwork or fundamentals. A young football player wants to spike the ball over the crossbar. A young basketball player wants to dunk or shoot a three-pointer. Blocking and free throw shooting just don’t have the same appeal. The thing is that these things go a lot further toward winning championships than their eye-popping counterparts. Superstars can do great things for a team, especially when it comes to selling tickets and merchandise, but a cohesive team that works together is the smartest bet nearly every time. That point was proven this week by the San Antonio Spurs, who dominated the star-laden Miami Heat to win the NBA championship, the team’s fifth in the last sixteen years. [Read more →]

books & writingThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees there will be no more dream sequences in novels

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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. 10PM: Dream sequences in novels must stop. We get it. We really do. Authors think they are, by giving us a glimpse into the character’s subconscious, increasing the depth of said character. But consider real life, writers. (More authors should, by the way.) Did you ever listen to someone recounting a dream? Did you LIKE it? Consider:

Oh, so I was in the mall but it was really my house and everyone behind the counters was a giant chicken with a PhD in Metaphysics (not sure how I knew that but, you know, in a dream you just know stuff)), but, this one chicken was actually my uncle, Fred, even though he looked like a chicken and he looked at me like he was disappointed when I told him I wanted a cheeseburger with no pickles and the next thing you know I was in a harem (but full of guys instead of women) somewhere in the Middle East, back in the 1800’s, but I was dressed in a baseball uniform except no one noticed and I, for some reason, really wanted to kill this blue camel that was tied to a palm tree next to a cobblestone road, except the cobblestones were actually hot dogs, but when I stabbed him my knife turned into a shoe and for some reason I was really mad — not because it wasn’t working to kill  the camel but because the laces were untied — isn’t that weird? — and….and…

So, no, you really don’t give us “character depth” with dream sequences. At best, you manage to bruise our brains with the mallet of heavy-handed symbolism while we try to scan the pages for where the actual story starts up again.

The Punishment: Those who ignore this decree will only be released from the Imperial Dungeons after writing a complete novel  with a quill; with water for ink and with old-fashioned “overhead projector” transparencies for paper.

Now, go forth and obey.

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

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingtelevision

Top ten new shows on The Cat Network

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10. The King James Persian

9. Here and Meow

8. Paper Tiger

7. The Weakest Lynx

6. Garfield of Dreams

5. Cougar Town

4. Tails from the Crypt

3. L.A. Claw

2. Sex and the Kitty

1. Downton Tabby

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

What just might really happen at college for your kid

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We’re coming out of that fast-paced, manic season of high competition, painful watching-and-waiting, brightly-colored sweatshirts, and intense travel. No, I’m not marking the end of youth sports spring seasons — I’m talking about college admission season (well, really, this is just the end of high admissions season. Like youth sports, college admissions is a year-round and even life-round activity nowadays). Most students know now where they’re going to college. Parents have written placeholder checks. Car adornments have been purchased. Parties are planned. It’s exciting. [Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Another year without a Triple Crown winner

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The Belmont Stakes was run on Sunday in New York, 147 years after the first one. It was an eventful race, as California Chrome was attempting to become the first horse to win horse racing’s Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978. He fell short, finishing in a dead heat for fourth, a couple of lengths back of winner Tonalist. California Chrome’s owner, Steve Coburn, was unhappy with the result and he made it known very publicly. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingeducation

Top ten least popular prom themes

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10. One Night on a Carnival Cruise!

9. Donald Sterling’s Plantation Hoedown

8. Journey to the Center of My Pants

7. Moon Over Abu Ghraib

6. You’d Be Lucky To Get Minimum Wage

5. Genital Herpes-palooza!

4. 21 DryHump Street

3. Crepe Paper, Bunting, and the Smell of Gym Socks!

2. A Midsummer Night’s Bris

1. The Future Is Ours! (One Percenters only)

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

family & parenting

Two Year Old Conversation

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That title may be misleading. I’m not talking about a conversation that has been going on for two years, but rather the conversation that occurs between myself and my two year old.

Most of the really intricate ones take place in the car or at night just before bed. In the car she asks lots of questions. Right before bed she often tells on herself, her brother, or her father. For instance, today she wanted me to know that daddy said the pizzeria at Great Explorations did not have real pizza that you could eat. She wanted me to say he was wrong, and that she should have been allowed to eat the pizza, which I’m pretty sure is made of felt. Had to side with Daddy on that one. [Read more →]

educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

Camden teacher reflects on getting fired

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On May 12, at the Camden City Board of Education meeting, school board members announced that 272 Camden City School District employees will lose their jobs at the end of this school year. Of that number, 206 are teachers. District administrators made the cuts, according to this Philadelphia Inquirer article, as “as part of a plan to bridge a $75 million revenue gap heading into the 2014-15 school year.” Last week, I had the opportunity to talk with one of the fired teachers. Not surprisingly, she voiced frustration with the process and outcome, but she also provided some surprising views about the charter school environment in Camden and its role in the firing decisions. She asked to remain anonymous, as she is of course now seeking a new job, maybe even at one of these charters. [Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Chauvinism is alive and well at the French Open

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I often fool myself into believing that we have come so far as a society. It’s 2014, and the world is incredibly different than it was when I was a kid. Any time I think that the short-sightedness and prejudices that seemed so prevalent in those years are gone, some neanderthal opens his mouth and reminds me that there are still a lot of yahoos out there. This week, tennis player Ernests Gulbis of Latvia, who is the 18th seed at the French Open, has had a bunch of success on the court, including a win over Roger Federer on Sunday to advance to the quarterfinals. His big performance was marred, though, by some things he said in a post-match interview on Friday. He stated that a career in tennis might not be a good idea for women because they need to worry about kids and family.

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Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingeducation

Top ten signs you’re not going to graduate from high school this year

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10. On your British Literature final, you put Pride and Prejudice was written by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling

9. The only times you’ve ever raised your hand in class involved needing to pee

8. Your son is in the same grade you are

7. On your Civics final, you kept spelling it “Cervix”

6. Every night of the week, you party harder than Toronto Mayor Rob Ford

5. After years of instruction, you still talk into the wrong end of the telephone

4. In your high school yearbook, you were voted ‘Most Likely to Be Unable to Distinguish between His Ass and a Hole in the Ground’

3. You were spotted out on the football field, sticking a suppository into a hole in the ground

2. On a true/false test, you answered every question “C”

1. On your American Literature final, you put An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge was written by Chris Christie

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

advicedrugs & alcohol

A Cautionary Tale

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I do not regularly visit Starbucks. Not because I’m a coffee snob; on the contrary, I have yet to meet a cup of coffee I didn’t like. But for me, Starbucks is reserved for those mornings when, due to lack of sleep or an especially early meeting, I know that I’m going to need heavier artillery than what my office’s machine can offer me. This morning was one of those mornings. Eyes barely open, desperately needing caffeine, I entered, expecting nothing out of the ordinary. I was wrong, and I feel the need to warn the masses. So here we go:

If you go into Starbucks and order a cup of coffee, the good people of Starbucks may ask you if you want that cup of coffee “on the Clover.” After you’ve stifled the urge to laugh, just say no. Repeat: Just. Say. NO.

Sure, sure, they will promise you that the Clover process is like the pour-over method and that it will result in a much bolder, more rounded cup of coffee. Do not listen to them, people! Because, in fact, the Clover is not the pour-over method at all. In fact, the Clover is a machine. IN FACT, the Clover is very much akin to a Keurig machine: They grind the beans in front of you, pour said ground beans into a little hole at the top of the Clover/Keurig, hit a button, and watch the machine spit out your coffee.

(Again, important to note that I’m not a coffee snob. I own a Keurig machine and I rock that baby like a hurricane. I’ve also had several carefully crafted cups of pour-over coffee in my day–I did used to live in Brooklyn, after all–and, while I admit they were tasty, I never really saw the big deal.)

“But Meg,” you may say, “Surely having the beans ground fresh two seconds before the coffee is brewed does, in fact, result in a stronger, tastier cup of coffee.” YOU WOULD THINK THAT, WOULDN’T YOU?? It’s ok, I thought that, too. But no. It results in a cup of coffee that tastes exactly the same as the drip coffee sitting in the urns.

What the Clover does produce is a cup of coffee that takes a shockingly long time to make and costs an entire dollar more, a fact that the good people of Starbucks will not tell you when they try to push the Clover on you like so much crack.

It was not a completely disappointing visit, however. One thing you will gain from the Clover experience is the deep personal connections you will make with the other patrons of Starbucks waiting patiently…patiently…not so patiently…fidgety…very fidgety…”Um, do you have something there for Pam? Cause I’ve been waiting fifteen minutes. For coffee.” There’s a very special connection formed among people who realize at the exact same time that they’ve been bamboozled. We’ll always have that.

ends & oddfamily & parenting


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So, I just made a list. I’m a pretty serious lister in my work life, not as much in my home life. This one is for my life life. Kind of a “get a life” list. It has six things on it now, but I might have forgotten something, I’ll let it sit on the desk a while before I decide it’s done, at least a couple of days. I mean, these things have been bouncing around in my head for a few years, what could a couple more days hurt?
I basically just made the list because I have so much rushing through my head all the time, so many things that I wonder about, maybe I could be doing this thing or maybe I should be doing that thing, that I feel totally overwhelmed to even spend a moment trying to figure it out.
I was sitting here trying to think of which girlfriends could talk me off this ledge, and then I realized that if I don’t understand it, how will they? Then I started crying, for Pete’s sake. List is for that, too.
I feel this pressure, probably mostly internal, but there are these Supermamas all around me. Some I work around or see around town, a lot that I find on the web at night when I’m trying to tune out my brain. (Like I used to do with books, sigh.) It almost feels like having kids spurs some women into action. Doesn’t it seem like that is the case?  She couldn’t find nontoxic detergent so she formulated one in her kitchen! She couldn’t find organic baby shampoo that her family could afford, so she started making it in her garage! She couldn’t find Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm locally, so she opened a shop! She wanted to do yoga with her kids, so she started a baby and me yoga studio! Oh, these mamas, they all have a thing, a niche, a purpose above and beyond the one that all mamas have (ya know, that bit about raising fairly well adjusted and productive members of society).
I seem to end up with a job, but not a thing, not a purpose, not an entrepreneurial calling, not a personal passion.
And, fuck, I WANT ONE. I have to have one. Maybe I’m not feeling any external pressure at all. Maybe that knot in my gut is just ENVY!
Before I had kids I always had a thing. You know, it’s that thing that is your real thing at parties. Someone asks you what you do. You tell them what pays you, then you say “but, right now I’m editing my second music video that I’ve also produced, and I’m loving it.”
How do these Supermamas have the energy to have a thing, kids, and a happy marriage? Or, even just a regular marriage? Is their house a wreck? Does anyone get fed/cradled/band-aided/helped with homework? Because, oh my God, I’m tired most days. I truly feel like I should be able to pull this off. But, if I’m already tired… Who adds to this amount of responsibility voluntarily? Oh yeah, those bitches over there. Fucking Pinterest. What it’s really here for, I just know it, is to show me how everyone else is doing this better. And cleverer. And craftier.
Meanwhile, I have a job that doesn’t suck at all, and is only 30 hours a week. I leave nearly every day in time to pick up my kids from school. (Now, this is new, maybe three months so far). I have a husband that does dishes and laundry (and has a thing, btw, more sighing). I have a decent support system of other moms and family. I have some people in my corner. (It just occurred to me that they are probably wondering what happened to my thing, too. Bah ha ha!) So, again, I really should be able to pull this off. Whatever this is.
I’ve got six ideas.
I’ll either put them on tiny slips and pull one out of a hat, or I’ll torture my friends by discussing it with them until they pick one for me out of sheer exhaustion, or maybe I’ll make a pros and cons poster, or use 3×5 cards.
It’s also very possible that I will just go back to what I’ve been doing, without a thing, which is still a lot. Just not enough somehow.