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The Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees an end to back-of-the-hand-to-the-forehead social media posts

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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. 104: Are you pathetic? Needy? Weak? Of course you are not, my good minion. So, please, dispense with tweets and posts like “Ugh — can’t take anymore” and “give me strength” and “won’t let this break me.” Perhaps posters of these posts don’t realize how desperate they sound. Instead of these thinly-veiled pleas for attention, why don’t you just post: “Please pay attention to me and give me the comfort that I am directly asking for because I’m not connected enough to my fellow  humans to go through the usual channels of interraction; instead, I will broadcast my manipulative self-pity to the world in hope that some mere acquaintance might respond, in public, as if he or she deeply cares”? (Because, as everyone knows, public intimacy is way more valid than a hug in a hallway from someone who truly cares about you.)

(It is important to note here: there is a big difference between the kind of posts above and a simple, direct: “Hey, everyone. Having a hard time. Would appreciate prayers and thoughts.” The more perceptive of my minions will realize this: a sincere request for support is worlds away from a hackneyed, social-media back-of-the-hand-to-the-forehead; it is documentable.)

The Punishment: People who do this will be allowed to carry on as they are. This is punishment enough.

Now, go forth and obey.

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

educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

Opting out of standardized tests

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Part 6 (of 874) in an occasional series about how standardized tests are destroying education.

One frustration with standardized testing is its seeming inevitability. The bureaucratic, Kafkaesque testing structure. Your disagreements don’t matter. Your arguments and pleas don’t matter. You will be tested. But what if you didn’t have to take a standardized test? A growing number of parents and students are exploring that: Opting out of standardized tests. [Read more →]

advicedamned lies

Final Grades: Or, Jay’s Last Lecture

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It’s the end of the Spring semester, 2013. That means college undergraduates all over the country are freaking out over final grades. It’s odd how these grades become important to them at the end of the semester in a way that they weren’t at any other time during the semester, but I digress. What follows is a final email sent to my students this morning in response to a number of emails I received from them over the weekend: [Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: NBA’s Jason Collins comes out as gay

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Just like last week, the biggest story of the week happened on Monday. Each time I needed to either write a separate story, in order to try to be timely, or wait until I wrote and posted my normal column. On both occasions, my usual schedule has not allowed for the early post, so I have had to settle for a story well after the event. Like with the attack on the Boston Marathon, though, the story was big enough to still stand up a week later. This week, it was the revelation by NBA player Jason Collins that he is gay. He is the first active player in one of the major team sports to come out of the closet, so this is clearly a big deal. [Read more →]

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. “No Mother’s Day card this year, but I did send you a tweet!”

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

8. “The word ‘love’ seems a little strong. I can ‘tolerate’ you.”

7. “Here’s your gift: a DVD of Oedipus Rex –you sexy mama!”

6. “I wouldn’t call you a great mother, but you’re probably better than Joan Crawford.”

5. “And look what I got for you: a five-day Carnival Cruise!”

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

3. “As I live and breathe! You’re still breathing!”

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

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

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

living poetry

Fish Magic (Klee)

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Is the sky to fish what the celestial is to men?
Do their eyes, being lidless, see more clearly
The dimming when moon eclipses the sun?
Do they wish as they die to swim above the sea?
Bonefish, flounder, barracuda, and drum,
Chaunt spells and curses from within a cauldron,
To tauten the cord and raise the draped muslin
Unveiling the face of the ancient clock tower,
While a three-eyed girl grabs at potted flowers,
And in a corner a boy in a dunce cap cowers.
The gods send down chum and baited hooks,
Dangling constellations and spiral galaxies,
Daring us to hope, to aspire, daring us to look
Past transparent and unfathomable seas.

Note: This is one of more than 115 poems after paintings or images, which can be viewed at the blog, Zealotry of Guerin.

creative writingdiatribes

Sounds like… victory.

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At around 7:15am every weekday, two whiny children run down the street making enough noise to wake the dead. Only, the dead are dead, so they just wake the living. They drag or ride some sort of hard plastic vehicle, like a wagon or a tricycle. I’ve never actually looked to see what it is, for fear that I might be tempted to shout profanity-laced threats of violence out of a window at children (not an entirely humorless idea, but one that tends to be frowned upon by society). But if you’re familiar with the sound, you know that hard plastic on a sidewalk is not a quiet rumbling, but rather, a sound similar to what you might hear if you were to eat a handful of sand while someone gently played a drum roll on your head with the bottom of their fists.

It happened again today. [

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