books & writingcreative writing

Excerpt from Auggie’s Revenge

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In 2016, I was lucky enough to have a second novel slip out of the apartment and onto a publisher’s list. Here’s an excerpt you’re welcome to share and enjoy. If it leads to a few sales, I’m grateful; if it doesn’t I won’t sulk. Or, not in public anyway.

from Auggie’s Revenge, chapter 9, “Uncle Sam’s Blood Money”:

But the thought of murder, like most others, drifted away, and I resumed my daily grind. Taking attendance and grading papers. Designing lessons. Lecture or discussion. In class, expounding upon the poverty of philosophy, or at the very least the philosophy of my poverty. Making a jackass of myself in front of undergrads so certain they wouldn’t wind up like the sloppy joker in front of the room.

One afternoon while strolling to the street corner after classes, in the middle of my muddled thoughts on philosophy, Auggie, humanity, murder, et al., I spied a thick wad of bills. [Read more →]

art & entertainmenttelevision

Gilmore Girls, A Year in the Life: Episode 4 recap.

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Subtitle: Meg Has Feelings.

Dear Gilmore Girls, I think I speak for all of us when I say: What. The Actual. Eff?

I’m going to insert the Read More tag here so that I don’t spoil things for those who have not seen the ending of Gilmore Girls, A Year in the Life. Hold, please… [Read more →]

educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

Writing, technology, and class mannequin challenges

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Recently, I gave a talk at a high school about how college students today are learning online and with ed tech in general. The audience was parents, and it was interesting to hear how they perceived the learning their children were doing in front of/with a computer and how they felt about it. [Read more →]

art & entertainmenttelevision

Gilmore Girls, A Year in the Life: Episode 3 Recap

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Those hazy, crazy, something days of summer are here and the heat must be getting to those Gilmore Girls because things got cray in this episode.

Recap

Despite trying to convince the residents of Stars Hollow that she’s only home temporarily, we all know that Rory is, indeed, “back” and is signaling her commitment to letting her life go down the toilet via her wardrobe. Out go the lucky red dresses and jaunty circle skirts that attract men in Wookie costumes like moths to flames, in come the leggings and oversized tee shirts. She’s basically becoming Lane. Sad, sad Lane. Rory is bored out of her mind because no one clued her in to the fact that freelance journalists can, you know, work from wherever, so takes on the sad task of reviving the Stars Hollow Gazette. How sad is this endeavor? It’s Lane Sad, that’s how sad it is. It’s so sad that Rory has to enlist her MOTHER to help her deliver the papers around town. I mean, honestly, how big can Stars Hollow be, really? How exhausted can you be, really? You were just on the phone with Logan saying that you were bored, Rory. Then Jess finally shows up like the deux ex machina at the end of the opera, prompting Rory to finally see how very Lane Sad she’s become. He pulls his best Dr. Behr and tells Jo to just write what she knows, already. Oh, Jess. We can always count on you to slap Rory upside the head. Also, Rory is also becoming increasingly worried about Emily’s depression and gets no support from Lorelai on that. Lorelai really is like a child sometimes. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingpolitics & government

Top ten shows on Trump TV

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10. Touched by a Millionaire

9. 8 Simple Rules for Me Dating My Daughter

8. Mad Man

7. Arrested Developer

6. How I Met Your Mother While Cheating On My First Wife

5. Sexist in the City

4. The Fresh Prince of Hot Air

3. Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Who Never Pays Taxes

2. The Blunder Years

1. The Amazing Racist
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

art & entertainmenttelevision

Gilmore Girls, A Year In the Life: Episode 2 Recap

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I just wrapped up the second episode of Gilmore Girls: A Year In the Life, and any fears I had about it being too cutesy are out the window. This is pretty good, guys.

Recap

In a move that should have happened about forty years ago, Lorelai and Emily go to therapy together. Turns out Emily is still pretty bitter about that whole Lorelai-getting-knocked-up-at-sixteen-then-running-away-from-home-and-only-coming-back-when-she-needed-money thing. Who knew? Emily then invites Luke to dinner, where she gives him the information he needs to purchase a life insurance policy and also drops the horrible news on him that Richard left him a large sum of money specifically earmarked for the expansion of Luke’s Diner into a multi-location franchise. Well Luke and Lorelai are just livid at this. Livid! Damn those Gilmores. Giving Luke a ton of money to expand and hiring the best real estate agent in town, all to ensure that their daughter and the man she has chosen to spend her life with are taken care of. What a bunch of assholes. Emily eventually gives up on therapy but Lorelai keeps going. Emily takes Luke to see some locations for the first location of the Luke’s Diner empire, which will be run by Cesar, apparently? Lord help those patrons. Oh, and Luke and Lorelai lie to each other so that can’t be good. [Read more →]

art & entertainmenttelevision

Gilmore Girls Recap: Observations! Questions! Shenanigans! Coffee!

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This week, people all over the country sat down to enjoy what many of us have been looking forward to for the better part of a year: No, not Thanksgiving, the return of Gilmore Girls on Netflix. The Girls are a divisive entity, like Brussels sprouts or the music of Nickelback—you either despise them ore you’re all in. I’ve been all in for the Gilmore Girls since about season 3 and it’s been a lonely road at times. Once, while spending two weeks at my parents’ house recovering from minor surgery, my father actually stood in front of the television and said “I love you, but I am begging you to turn this off.” Sometimes, he still wakes up from Gilmore-induced nightmares, shaking and screaming “NO ONE TALKS LIKE THAT!!” [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingends & odd

Top ten Pilgrim pick-up lines

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10. “This is my last chance! We’re shipping out tomorrow!”

9. “Let’s say you and I ‘bury the hatchet’ – if thou catchest my drift.”

8. “I must compliment you on your magnificent spread!”

7. “Care for a little white meat?”

6. “Just because I am a Puritan does not mean that I am puritanical.”

5. “Indeed, I must unbutton my breeches, as they are on the verge of bursting.”

4. “If you’d just be a little more ‘giving’, I’d certainly extend my ‘thanks’.”

3. “I am still deciding which I prefer, a leg or a breast?”

2. “Thou art quite handy with thine bow and arrow. How wouldst thou like to place thy shaft into my quiver?”

1. “I doth ache to get mine Plymouth Rocks off.”
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingpolitics & government

Top ten things Obama said to Trump during Trump’s White House visit last Thursday

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10. “Do you want to see the upstairs bathroom, or do you just want to save it all ’til you shit on the Constitution?”

9. “I made history by being the first Black President. And you’ll make history by being the first orange one.”

8. “Once you’re President, how long do you think it’ll be before I get stopped and frisked?”

7. “When it comes to honesty, I know your reputation. And just to let you know, I’ve counted the silverware.”

6. “I’m gonna introduce you to Michelle now, but if you grab anything, you’re comin’ away with a bloody stump.”

5. “If you ever have any questions any time day or night, I’m just a phone call away. And my number is ‘Five-five-five…’”

4. “So I guess you’re going to take the two-word phrase ‘White House’ and stick the word ‘Supremacist’ in the middle.”

3. “I’ll tell you all the secrets about Area 51 if you’ll tell me the secret about what that thing is on your head.”

2. “So Orange really is the new Black!”

1. “It must give you great pleasure to be doin’ your favorite thing in the world: evicting a Black family from their home!”
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

Portal

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My wife and I have been attending back-to-school nights for 13 years. Even though our youngest is in middle school and we have two high schoolers and know the routine, we feel a sense of duty to attend and support our kids and their teachers. This year, as I listened to each teacher’s energetic welcome and course description, I was really struck with the scrutiny today’s teachers are under. [Read more →]

adviceterror & war

Call It what you will … but MARK It …..

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IN FLANDERS FIELDS

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved,
and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch, be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lt. Col. John Alexander McCrae, MD – Canadian Expeditionary Force (Died January 28, 1918 at Boulogne France)

Here in the U.S., one doesn’t see the poppies on people’s lapels so much, as we used to when were children ….. One of the most ridiculous victories in America’s ‘war of drugs’ was the declaration by ‘drug czars’ and their staffs that the poppy reminded people of addiction to drugs, rather than appreciation to those who gave the ‘last full measure of their devotion’ in service to their country. Such is not the case in Canada, England, and other countries that once formed the ‘Commonwealth.’ The paper poppies – and the fundraising for veterans’ relief that they represent – have been prominent in photos and video the past couple weeks.

Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, Veterans Day ….. call it what you will ….. but find some way to mark this day. Here, in America, the focus of the day has been expanded to honor all men and women who, throughout history, have answered their country’s call to serve. There have been many in our own family, but – mindful of the origins of this particular holiday – I will tell the boys of their great-grandfather Frederick, a sergeant with the 102nd Balloon Company, U.S. Air Service, American Expeditionary Force, and his service in France during the First World War.

102nd Balloon Company, U.S. Air Service, American Expeditionary Force, in France

102nd Balloon Company, U.S. Air Service, American Expeditionary Force, in France

advicepolitics & government

A prayer for Trump is a prayer for us all

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Looking back over the weeks leading up to Election Day, as the idea circulated that response to election results might include protests, I noticed the focus was almost entirely upon candidate Donald Trump and his supporters. Little or no mention of candidate Hillary Clinton and her supporters … but then, depending upon your news sources – and your personal views – there would be no cause for complaint from that camp, come Wednesday morning.

Which brought us to that Wednesday morning, and a ‘Dewey defeats Truman’ moment for the new century. So, what is the proper response to that moment, for Clinton supporters? Via texts, tweets, blog posts and online chat rooms, I’ve heard from a number of them – their outrage over the results, their fears over what life will be like Trump in charge, their tears and their anger … and from some, a call to hit the streets and share all of that with the general public.

I’d like to propose another response for supporters from BOTH camps … prayer.

Me? I’ll be praying as someone who entered the voting booth less-than-enthusiastic about both of the major party candidates for President, prepared to take a co-worker’s advice to ‘hold your nose, lean in and press one of the buttons.’ I cast my vote … and I wish that more people across the country could say that. But now, it’s time to deal with the results.

I shall pray that President Elect Donald Trump will be a better President than I expected him to be. I pray that he will be open to new experiences and new views, and that he will learn and grow from them. I pray that he will receive good advice and good counsel from those he chooses to be part of his inner circle, and that he will also keep his eyes and his ears, his mind and his heart, open to those outside that circle.

I pray for his success as President of the United States. As current President Barrack Obama said following a meeting with Trump at the White House, “If you succeed, the country succeeds.” I was encouraged by the demeanor of both men following that meeting, and the tone of their comments about one another considering what has passed between them over the preceding years … funny how your view of someone might change once you have ACTUALLY met that someone face-to-face, looked them in the eye and shaken their hand … for all that has passed between them in those preceding years, this was their first ACTUAL meeting.

And so, I pray … and I urge all of you who are open to faith, regardless of your religion or denomination, to do the same. And remember, there will be opportunities for ALL of us to speak and work towards helping our nation succeed.

politics & government

Power is transferable

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I rarely write about politics these days, but the results of the 2016 presidential election made me think of these two posts of mine, from 2010 and 2013:

Put down the political pom-poms

Sen. Rand Paul, drones and silence

diatribespolitics & government

Don’t Be Stupid: A Plea to Humanity on Election Day

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There’s a great joke in an episode of “Absolutely Fabulous” in which one of the characters is quizzed on how many years Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister. The choices were 11 years and 900 years. The character answered 900 because “it did seem like an awfully long time.” That’s how I’ve felt about this election cycle. It does seem like it went on an awfully long time. So I was psyched to wake up early this morning and get on line to grab this election by the (redacted). Sadly, my psychitude quickly turned to a sinking feeling of dear-Lord-what-fresh-hell-have-you-served-up-for-me-today as my fellow voters took the word “entitled” and ratcheted it up to eleven.

I’ve seen things, guys. Things no one should see. In the space of an hour this morning, I saw a group of voters melt down like the China Syndrome. (Yes, it took me an hour to vote. I live in a particularly dense neighborhood of New York City so there is always a line.) Feel free to keep reading but, for those of you who are crunched for time because you have to go vote, I’ll sum up the collective attitude for you in one paraphrase: “I have no idea how this process works but I’m still going to yell really loud because I feel like this system isn’t working! And if that’s how I feel, I MUST BE RIGHT!” [Read more →]

Mr. Sean goes to Washingtonpolitics & government

The U.S. President most like Trump is…

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Hillary Clinton is the first woman to get a presidential nomination from a major party and stands poised to become our first female leader—she would enter the White House with a spouse who’s occupied it as well. She has been in the national spotlight since 1992, a remarkably long time for any political leader—if elected and reelected, when she finally left office she would have been in the public eye for an incredible 32 years.

Yet somehow, she is not the outlier this election.

Even if you’re a Trump supporter – especially if you’re a Trump supporter – you’d agree no one quite like him has ever made it this far. I’m a bit of a history geek and I’m fairly confident these feats of his are all historical firsts for a nominee.
-Spent much of his life pretending to be Swedish.
-During a party presidential debate, defended his penis.
-Urged supporters to check out someone’s sex tape – Trump later denied doing this but the exact words he tweeted were “check out sex tape” – which, sadly for sex tape fans, did not exist.

[Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingpolitics & government

Top ten more Donald Trump jokes of the moment

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10. “Donald Trump at a rally this weekend said Hillary Clinton was exhausted and weak after the debates. Yeah, probably because you kept sniffing all the oxygen out of the room.” – Seth Meyers, 10/24/16

9. “Trump’s sniffing was caused by air being sucked into the vacuum behind his eyes.”

8. “Many news outlets are saying Donald Trump will almost certainly pivot to media and launch his own t.v. network after the election. Which means as early as next year we could see Trump TV filing for bankruptcy.” – Seth Meyers, 10/24/16

7. “Could you imagine Trump being on your TV 24 hours a day? That would be like — well, it would be like right now.” – James Corden, 10/17/16

6. “I can’t imagine why people are less excited about voting for Trump, but I guess it could have something to do with insulting women, insulting minorities, bragging about sexual assault, making fun of disabled people, making fun of military veterans, making fun of NFL players who get concussions, antagonizing fellow Republican, not releasing his taxes, not having any real political platform, banning journalists, re-tweeting white supremacists, and having hair that looks like a poorly constructed scarecrow. Other than that, I’ve no idea where he lost people.” – James Corden, 10/24/16

5. “As you know, Trump is being accused of sexual misconduct by a slew of women. Of course, that is a case of ‘he said’ and ‘she said, she said, she said, she said, she said.’” – Jimmy Kimmel, 10/17/16

4. “Donald Trump tweeted that the ‘election is absolutely rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary — but also at many polling places. Sad!’ Yes, even at polling places, the election is being rigged against Trump. I heard that on November 8th, millions of ‘riggers’ will be behind curtains in private booths, and with a secret ballot, collude to defeat Trump.” – Stephen Colbert, 10/17/16

3. “Trump has tweeted multiple times about the media rigging the election, and he’s right. From day one, the media rigged this election — in favor of Donald Trump. You can’t turn on the TV without seeing Trump. He’s like the Geico gecko, but more cartoonish.” – Stephen Colbert, 10/17/16

2. “Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said this morning that Republicans should decide whether or not they support Donald Trump and ‘stop pussyfooting around.’ That’s the worst choice of words since Abraham Lincoln said, ‘I need slavery like I need a hole in the head.’” – Seth Meyers, 10/12/16

1. “Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, appeared on Trump’s new Facebook Live show and said Trump ‘unequivocally’ will win the election. So, look out, CNN! There’s a NEW often-wrong news channel in town!” – Seth Meyers, 10/24/16
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

virtual children by Scott Warnock

Thanks to that Trump guy, “The Talk” is a little easier

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In about four months, all my kids will be teenagers (child three is six months away…), so, as a responsible dad, I have had to have various versions of “The Talk.” I’m okay with it. I’m not some sitcom dad, squirming around in discomfort and using incomprehensible metaphors. I’m fine talking candidly to my sons or daughter. For my boys, Donald Trump made this a little easier.

[Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythinggetting older

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

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10. You’re going out with your kids, and their kids, and their kids!

9. It’s been an hour, and the furthest you’ve been able to walk is next door.

8. You ask for high-fiber candy only.

7. When someone drops a candy bar in your bag, you lose your balance and fall over.

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

5. By the end of the night, you have a treat bag full of restraining orders.

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

3. You keep seeing some trick-or-treater dressed up as the Grim Reaper – and you’re the only one who can see him.

2. You have to get your dog to soften up some of the candy by chewing on it first.

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

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingpolitics & government

Top ten reasons Mike Pence can never be a heartbeat away from the Presidency

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10. He is a supporter of the Tea Party movement, noting he is “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.”

9. Pence believes homosexuality can be cured by conversion therapy, opposes homosexuals serving in the military, opposed the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’, opposed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act which would have banned workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and opposes same-sex marriage and civil unions.

8. Pence has consistently supported pro-life policies and opposed several sex education initiatives in schools, expressing his support for abstinence education.

7. Pence is leading the attempt to defund Planned Parenthood, and in Indiana he managed to defund Planned Parenthood’s five rural clinics, including one that had nothing to do with abortions, but instead tested for HIV and offered prevention, intervention, and counseling for better health. That plus Pence’s opposition to a needle exchange program led to an HIV epidemic in 2014. This year he signed into law a bill that banned certain abortion procedures, placed new restrictions on abortion providers, and required that aborted fetuses be buried or cremated.

6. Pence praised the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission when it was announced. Pence said, “Freedom won today in the Supreme Court. Today’s ruling in the Citizens United case takes us one step closer to the Founding Fathers’ vision of free speech, a vision that is cherished by all Americans and one Congress has a responsibility to protect.”

5. Pence “does not accept the scientific consensus that human activity is the primary driver of climate change,” and, in 2001, he wrote in an op-ed that “Global warming is a myth.”

4. Pence supported the USA Patriot Act on its passage in 2001, and in 2005 called the act “essential to our continued success in the war on terror here at home.” He was a sponsor of legislation in 2009 to extend three expiring provisions of the Patriot Act (the library records provision, the roving-wiretap provision, and the lone-wolf provision) for an additional ten years.

3. On March 26, 2015, Pence signed Indiana Senate Bill 101, also known as the Indiana “religious objections” bill, into law -– a law which would allow business owners to deny services to gays and lesbians for religious reasons. In other words, no discrimination again discriminators!

2. This former anti-woman right-wing radio nutjob (1994–1999) would be the de facto President of the United States, since Trump has indicated he wants his Veep to take over all the Presidential duties, while Trump goes out and makes America great again.

1. If Pence were a heartbeat away, that would mean Trump is President! In which case: SHAME on you for not voting!!!! (Though maybe it’s not too late!)
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

virtual children by Scott Warnock

Grades online…

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Teachers now are under a great deal of scrutiny because of digital gradebooks. They are expected to update grades on an almost hourly basis and… [Read more →]