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virtual children by Scott Warnock

Ode to the Sour Hour

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Dedicated to my friend, Wendy Lee

All parents know well the wicked sour hour:
When the day begins to lose its light and its power;
That time right before bed, the feelings of dread,
When the very house itself wheezes out: “Sour!”

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family & parentingThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that thou shalt buy lemonade from industrious children

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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. 56 ½: From this point forward, drivers and walkers are required to stop at any lemonade stand that is set up and run by children. All adults are further required to give the kids a dollar and to instruct said little ones to keep the change. For the love of Pete, it is summer and these kids are doing something industrious. Hook them up, if only to show your own vacuous, screen-gazing hunchbacks (lolling languidly in the back seat of your air-conditioned, multiple-DVD-spinning minivan) that hard, honest work should be rewarded. The Emperor supports the cultivation of productive thralls…uh, beloved subjects.

The Punishment: Anyone seen callously driving or walking past a lemonade stand will be sent to the Dungeon of Fate where he or she will be forced to choose between three glass goblets full of apparently identical yellow liquids. Only one of the goblets will actually contain lemonade.

(The Emperor would like to thank his faithful minion, Lara, for pointing out this common transgression.)

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

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Horrible woman is suing a Little Leaguer

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I hate people. I may have said this before, but it still rings true. Not all people, of course. Just some. The people who tell you that you should not hate anyone and that all people are worthy of respect must not have ever known or read about anyone like Elizabeth Lloyd. A couple of years ago, Lloyd was at a Little League baseball game, sitting near the bullpen where a pitcher was warming up. An errant throw by eleven-year-old Matthew Magliaccio, the catcher, struck Lloyd in the face. She suffered injuries as a result. That’s certainly a shame, but what has followed is what has Ms. Lloyd on my list of revolting people. She is suing this kid. That’s right, she filed a lawsuit against Magliaccio, now thirteen, asking for $153,000 in damages to pay for her supposed medical costs, and is also asking for additional money for her pain and suffering. [Read more →]

all workBob Sullivan's top ten everything

Top ten least popular summer jobs

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10. Mitt Romney’s joke writer

9. Gay wedding planner in North Carolina

8. Amish air conditioner repairman

7. Bulletproof vest tester

6. Mall Santa

5. Public pool pee monitor

4. J.P. Morgan’s Chief Investment Officer

3. Secret Service prostitute

2. Chris Christie’s lotion boy

1. Underwear bomber

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

black helicopter watchreligion & philosophy

Didn’t know we were choosing sides –You got truth, I got the Whore

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on the lawpolitics & government

Free speech wins over the bleeping FCC

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books & writing

Lisa reads Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet by Heather Poole

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You know, these days I read travel books with a whole different eye. One, I’m usually reading them in an airport or a hotel. Two, the situations and places in the books seem very familiar to me now. That’s one of the reasons I was so interested in Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet — I see a lot of flight attendants in the course of a week’s work, and it looks like an interesting, exciting job. Like most jobs, though, it’s not quite what it seems. [Read more →]

moneypolitics & government

You cannot trust these CEO’s

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This is just another example of how the corporate fat cats are killing this country.

A few years ago, during the 2008 financial crises there was a well-known multi-national corporate giant on the verge of collapse. The long time CEO at the time, worked with management, government officials, and investors to salvage the company. And though there were several extenuating circumstances that lead to the company’s demise, the CEO graciously took the brunt of the criticism and was terminated by the board of directors. [Read more →]

books & writingpolitics & government


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I’m conducting some research for a paper I’m writing on persuasive public speech which has brought me to a foundational text on the subject, Principles and Types of Speech, by Alan Monroe of “Monroe’s Motivated Sequence” fame. The original text was published in 1935 and many of its precepts are still taught in public speaking classes today…but what I want to share from the book is not its explicit lessons but, instead, one of the sample speeches printed in it. The speech, originally “delivered by Homer McKown Barlow in the Michigan Oratorical Contest at Alma College, Michigan, March 1, 1929,” is notable for its contemporary relevance. In other words, not much in American political and social life has changed in the intervening 83 years. Read in the light of our present historical moment, it seems the chief paradox of social life is that the more things change the more they stay the same.

I’ve re-printed a slightly truncated copy of the speech below for your contemplation, amusement and/or chagrin.  [Read more →]

musicThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees an end to ridiculous musical genre names

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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. 9000: Henceforth, no one is allowed to come up with asinine categories for types of music, especially categories that revel in their own masturbatory paradoxicality, like “folktronica.” Likewise outlawed are terms like “synthcore,” “shoegazer” and “melodic death-metal.” Creators of such silly genres need to be informed, in clear terms, that no level of verbal skullduggery will ever conceal the vapid, hackneyed and generally worthless nature of their insubstantial compositional flatulations. The Emperor, for instance, is The Emperor because he is intrinsically superior, not simply because he wears a blinking neon cape with ermine trim and exquisite silken underlay. (Although he does look dashing in his neon cape.)

The Punishment: Violators will be chained in the bowels the Dungeon of Serious Woe and forced to listen to their own pretentious drek for a period of thee years. If able to survive this heinous ordeal, they will be released into the custody of Barry Manilow who will keep them as pets until the end of time.

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

his & hers

When Jeb farts in bed it feels like a hate crime…and other cases of smelling too much

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I am assaulted by smells all day, every day. The universe saw fit to bless me with extremely sensitive olfactory glands. I find it to be more of a handicap than a super power. I suppose if I was trained properly I could work like one of those dogs that can smell disease in people. Or possibly I could sniff out drugs…”Yep, bath salts”. But I don’t think there is much call for humans in that career and I’d  hate to take a job away from a dog anyway. It’s kind of their “thing”.

As far as the hate crime offense goes, my fiancé (a wonderful man in many ways) has this one problem. His gut happens to be sensitive to gluten and and several (many) other foods. He also eats a meal like someone’s going to take it away if he doesn’t finish quickly; he just swallows it whole to save time. Consequently he is prone to some serious bouts of intestinal distress in the form of belching and farting. [Read more →]

sportsvirtual children by Scott Warnock

Damn concussions

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Sports are such an attractive spectator diversion for lots of reasons, and one certainly has to be their simplicity. You get winners and losers, mostly clear-cut. You can hide away from it all in the sports page. You can lose yourself, forget about your crummy job, for an afternoon and root for your team. You can put your frustrations behind and watch your kids play sports and dream — however pathological those dreams are for some — of straightforward glory on the field, in the arena. [Read more →]

diatribespolitics & government

Welcome home

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All politics aside – or most of it, anyhow – President Obama’s decision to stop the deportation of young undocumented immigrants was long overdue. It was a cruel policy that diminished all Americans. And hopefully this move is the beginning of a long-term trend toward a sane immigration policy. By “sane” I mean one that judiciously bars the door to some, opens it at least part-way to many, and offers a pathway to citizenship that Americans can be proud of and makes us a stronger as well as a better country. Yes, stronger. [Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Kellen Winslow continues to prove himself to be a thug

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Just like the average population, professional athletes seem to have their fair share of bad guys. There are good people that mess up and do bad things, and there are bad people that manage to occasionally pull off a nice act. After those folks, we find the bad guys who are just simply bad guys, people who consistently prove that they would certainly not be in any position to receive anyone’s adulation or admiration were it not for their athletic skill. Kellen Winslow II, who was recently traded from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the Seattle Seahawks, is one of those guys. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingpolitics & government

Top ten Mitt Romney campaign slogans

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10. MITT! – Let’s Go Back to the Policies that Put Us in the Toilet in the First Place!

9. “Vote for Me – or You’re Fired!”

8. He’ll Strap Our Economy to the Roof of His Car!

7. Romney: The Stormin’ Mormon!

6. He’s just like you: His valet puts his pants on one leg at a time!

5. He Believes in America! (& the Caymans!)

4. The Only Candidate in Magic Underwear!

3. More Flip-Flops than a Hermosa Beach Shoe Store

2. Mitt Happens!

1. ROMNEY! – Drop the first letter, and switch the next two!


Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

books & writing

Lisa reads No Mark Upon Her, by Deborah Crombie

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No Mark upon Her marks the beginning of yet another new mystery series for me. I was unfamiliar with Deborah Crombie, but she has apparently written a whole shelf full of novels featuring two interesting detectives, Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James. The newly-married couple are both police officers (Gemma is a Detective Inspector and Duncan is a Superintendent with Scotland Yard) and they are drawn into a case involving an Olympic hopeful, a disabled veteran, and a decades-old secret.

I admit that I don’t know much about the sport of rowing, so there as a lot here that was new to me. Like any sport, it has its icons and legends, and the Leander Rowing Club certainly has a reputation. Rebecca Meredith was a member, a former college rowing standout who was considering a final run at the Olympics. She was also a high-ranking police detective, which makes the case a particularly sticky issue. To make matters worse, Meredith had been involved in a delicate personnel issue…and that may have led to her untimely death. [Read more →]

politics & governmenttechnology

Piglet and The Blustery Day

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Oh, bother! Karl Rove has caught the wind and drifts higher, higher and higher. Piglet is your new name, replacing Boy Genius as W the Pooh called you when you were delivering modest electoral majorities by brokering devastating legislative rebukes of your constituents, your declared principles and that musty, dusty impediment to national greatness; The Constitution. Piglet’s sins are far from original. He mined the anti-Goldwaterites to differentiate Bush from a Primary throng in 2000, something W minded not at all. His family has a long record of bitter opposition to conservative philosophy and policy as demonstrated in their bilious rubbishing of Governor Reagan. This self-contradicting obstinacy re-reared it’s ugly head yesterday with the New Bush. JEB is his acronym. The once Florida governor invokes Reagan, saying that neither he, nor Bush the Elder nor Bush the Younger could have survived the primaries. Of course Bush the Elder did NOT survive the primaries but was tapped for VP to trowel over the cracks that threatened to leave Rockefeller Republicans without a home, possibly cleaving then to Carter. W himself ran AGAINST the party base as a Compassionate Conservative, in clear distinction from the ordinary kind, meaning what it always means; that the Republican will perpetuate the philisophical socialism of the Democrat but with better actuaries. “We have a responsibility that when somebody hurts, gubmint has got to move!” was the famous line. The results were attacked, quite rightly, by every candidate this year so JEB is correct. The party is now far too far to the Right to bring us another George or even another Karl. Whether Reagan would have succumbed to Romney in 2012 rests on a Bush’s definition of Reaganism. [Read more →]


Overdoses, paralysis, imprisonment, Castro, repentant Irish Internet bookies: two weeks of boxing

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Okay, I cheated: this is a 15-day period, not 14. That said, lying about my intentions seems very much in the spirit of boxing. With no further ado…

May 28: 45-year-old former five-time champion Johnny Tapia dies of an overdose. At age eight he watched his mother get stabbed to death with a screwdriver and, by his own account, was “raised as a pit bull”, as uncles forced him to fight larger, older opponents. On five previous occasions he had been declared clinically dead from overdoses; during one of the five — again, five times clinically dead — two family members were killed in a car accident rushing to be with him.

May 28: 30-year-old former welterweight champ Paul “The Punisher” Williams is paralyzed from the waist down in a motorcycle accident on the way to get ready with his brother for another brother’s wedding that day. He had been scheduled to fight for the light middleweight title on September 15.

June 1: Undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr., generally considered to be one of the two best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, starts a three-month jail sentence for attacking his ex-girlfriend in front of two of their children. [Read more →]

The Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that idiots may no longer “interpret” stuff

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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. 19: No person may attempt to “analyze” or “interpret” the “messages sent” by a media piece or by a movie or by a book — or to make similar attempts to explicate statements issued by prominent figures — unless he or she is a licensed non-idiot. (The Emperor, himself, will be responsible for determining who qualifies for the N.I.P. — the “Non-Idiot Pass.”) This decree has been written because the Emperor is getting a bruise from repeatedly slapping the royal forehead.

The Punishment: Violators will be strapped, for three days, into a wet, reclining chair and forced to watch the pithy cast of a daily, gang-hosted talk show discuss what they see as a racist stance against “hoodies” in Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow (Sparknotes edition).

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

creative writinggetting older

A Visit to New York at 38 Years of Age

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I love New York. I’ve been there twice before but it didn’t have the same effect on me then as this most recent visit did. I don’t know–it could possibly have something to do with age and sobriety. I have considerably more of both now than I had then. This time, instead of partying all night, I explored Brooklyn and Manhattan in the daylight hours and attended a college graduation. Both activities caused me to reflect about my younger years and some of the paths not taken in my life. [Read more →]

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