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language & grammarThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees an end to the misuse of the first-person pronoun

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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. -345.34Q: The Emperor has said it before, and he will say it again: A smattering of education is a dangerous thing. Take your average college graduate. He fancies himself educated because he holds a four-year degree. This fancy is very debatable, since the Emperor recently heard a university student say to a police officer: “We haven’t drank nothing. Is that chill?” But that is neither here nor there. These “educated” folk, somewhere along the line, wind up learning how to say, “Dave and I went to the dance,” instead of “Dave and me went to the dance.” And they like this. “Dave and I” sounds educated; proper; downright suave. This is, they think, the way educated people speak. Because they are so enamored of this linguistic savoir faire, they decide to apply it in other situations, albeit the wrong ones: “Lucius went with Dave and I to the dance.” This is wrong. Because this is wrong and because it vexes the Emperor, it is now a crime. To save one’s self from prosecution at the hands of the Imperial Powers, one need only perform an experiment before speaking: simply take out the “Dave.” In the aformentioned sentence, it becomes: “Lucius went with I to the dance.” Not so suave anymore, eh Professor?  The Emperor’s not going to graph the sentence for you; figure it out or suffer.

The Punishment: Speakers of the pretentious and misplaced “I” will be forced to eat a bucket of sheep’s eyes until they vomit, thereby getting a visual lesson as to what they are doing on a daily basis with the verbal homophone, as they vomit forth “eyes.” Get it? Huh? (The Emperor is pleased with his Dante-esque brilliance on this one, if he does say so himself. )

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: Ryan Braun goes down in flames

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Oh, Ryan Braun. We tried so hard to believe in you. We allowed ourselves to consider that maybe the mishandling of your positive test for PEDs last year led to a positive test when you were not actually guilty of taking anything illicit. I, for one, feel really dopey here. For those of you not in the know, Braun, the slugger and former league MVP who roams the outfield for the Milwaukee Brewers, was suspended for the rest of the season this week as part of a deal he struck with Major League Baseball for violations of the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingpolitics & government

Top ten Anthony Weiner excuses

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10. “Look, if people were willing to give me a second chance, why not a third?”

9. “I’m very proud of the staff I have under me.”

8. “I thought the name Carlos Danger would win me the Latino vote.”

7. “I’m an unrepentant horndog.”

6. “To prove I’m a good Democrat, I wanted to demonstrate that I lean a bit to the left.”

5. “The first time, my wife forgave me, and that wasn’t my plan.”

4. “I got confused about the term ‘junk mail’.”

3. “I had some new camera angles I wanted to try out.”

2. “I thought I could get some acting work, playing Carlos Danger on one of Telemundo’s telenovelas.”

1. “I wanted to show that, no matter how hard things get, I’m willing to stick it out.”

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

living poetry

Hyde Mill (Sandy Ellarson)

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They moved the river to build the water wheel,
Then built a wooden race to divert the current.
Sluice opened, stones ground raw grain into meal
For a hundred years, until the old mill was spent.
River turning wheel turning gears turning stone,
A devolution of mechanics all to crush a seed.
The sun burns for years to dry an animal’s bones,
And countless gallons of water won’t break a reed.
I’m reluctant to approach the mill too closely
(Its ancient timbers are desiccated, ghostly),
Hear its stoppage rasped by the river’s relentless
Passage over the shattered race’s detritus.
Away from the wreck, a little waterfall churns
Spray, wrack, and spume, and, like time, it burns.

Note: This is one of more than 125 poems after paintings or images, which can be viewed at the blog, Zealotry of Guerin.

politics & governmentterror & war

Too much news is good news for Mullah Omar

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Is there such thing as too much news? It seems that if there are enough distractions, like a bankrupt Detroit or a royal baby, people will forget or grow bored of other issues in our world that are more serious and still unresolved. [Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Antonio Morrison arrested for barking at a police dog

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I have been writing this column every week for nearly four and a half years, and I have become quite accustomed to scouring the sports world for stories, with much of my focus being on the bad ones. This focus on the negative may have made me jaded, I suppose, as some stories that should leave me outraged merely make me laugh. When I start to give my take on them, I will sometimes find that maybe some of these actions are more revolting than they are funny, and my text will often reflect that disgust. Still, I think most of these things don’t seem very real to me, because most of the people involved are unlike anyone that I actually encounter in my own life. An example of this would be Antonio Morrison, a soon-to-be-Sophomore linebacker for the University of Florida football team, who was arrested on Sunday for barking at a police dog.

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Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingfashion & clothing

Top ten signs you’re not ready for swimsuit season

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10. Every time you lie on the beach, concerned citizens try to push you back into the water

9. Due to your busy schedule as governor, you only had your lap-band surgery last February

8. When asked to name your favorite health drink, you reply, “Maple syrup.”

7. Whenever you leave the beach, everybody shouts, “The coast is clear!”

6. Policemen keep coming up to you and ordering you to disperse

5. The last time you went to the beach, you were the only one who got a tan

4. Your swimsuit uses more material than a Ringling Brothers tent

3. In your building, they’ve changed the elevator’s maximum occupancy to one

2. Your nickname at work is ‘Are You Gonna Finish That?’

1. People don’t want you anywhere near the beach, because you always affect the tides

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

living poetry

Hands and Feet (Alice Bea Guerin)

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hands and feet


I am not the amalgam of my parts.
Not the knuckles, the joints, the palms.
These are merely the hands of my heart.
I am always hot. I’ve never been calm.
Sometimes I am nothing but an eye.
Seen through the circle of sight,
The darkness is all I need to know why.
My grinning makes my knuckles white.
My thoughts are like wiggling fingers
And my emotions are clenched fists.
I am my own twisted harbinger.
Look at me. You can’t resist.
But we’re all skin, sinew and bone,
Running from each other, alone.

Note: This is one of more than 125 poems after paintings or images, which can be viewed at the blog, Zealotry of Guerin.

religion & philosophy

Which periodic table element are you?

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When I was a kid, someone pointed out that the shape of the inside of your ear was similar to the shape of how you looked as a fetus. At the time, I chalked it up to one of those fantastical things kids say to exaggerate a correlation. But years later in advertising school, one of my professors had us gather the leaves from a lemon tree and then look at how it compared to the shape of the tree itself. Amazingly, the veins of the leaf seemed to match the branches of the tree, and the leaf’s shape was similar to the tree’s overall shape. Could it be possible that the parts of a living object represent the whole? And if so, how far back could we go to see similarities of ourselves as a society—to the lines in our palms, the DNA in our genes, or even the atoms in our bodies? [Read more →]

televisionThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees an end to commercials depicting ridiculously fun parties

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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. 3-4-33-56: People don’t dance while they eat. They simply don’t. They don’t bop from side to side and smile conspiritorially at each other as they wipe the corners of their mouths and carefully display the advertised product with fingers carefully arranged to give the camera full view. And they don’t gather in impromptu, multicolored mobs on hot city streets and jet joyously through makeshift slip-and-slides in shirts and ties. Parties never are, never have been and never will be that outlandishly fun. (Or that racially and socially harmonious. [That will be the day when a surgeon is on a slip-and slide with the hot dog cart guy.])  In fact, when real parties approach the outlandishly fun level, they usually degenerate in to something much more messy and debauched; they don’t erupt in to Target commercials with beer. Truth in advertising, people. Truth in advertising.

(Side note: And, that African American chap with the crazy hair who is in every commercial made within the past five years…will someone please give him a role in movies or something so the Emperor doesn’t have to see him eating another scrap of snack food or grilling on a grill anymore?)

The Punishment: Guilty directors will be chained in the Imperial dungeon among seductive dancers clad in various tasty foods. The dancers will move just close enough to entice the directors to reach out for a treat and then move away, for the span of a week. The violators will then be released with instructions to amend their ridiculous visions.

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

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: More NFL dopes ran with the bulls

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Professional athletes are inherently risk-takers. They have to be, right? They put themselves out on a field and put their bodies at risks, especially football players. It makes perfect sense that some of them would have off-the-field interests that would explore that side of their personalities as well, although I have to bet their teams would wish that were not the case. Every July, we hear about some NFL player who goes to Spain to run with the bulls in Pamplona. This year, Russell Okung of the Seattle Seahawks was the guy, but he was not alone among his football brethren. New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan was there as well. In my opinion, they are a couple of idiots. [Read more →]

all workBob Sullivan's top ten everything

Top ten worst summer jobs

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10. Edward Snowden’s travel agent

9. Print journalist

8. Door-to-door Furby salesman

7. NBC advertising salesman

6. Donald Trump’s ego wrangler

5. Amish refrigerator repairman

4. Public pool pee monitor

3. Chris Christie’s lotion boy

2. Mall Santa

1. Paula Deen’s image consultant

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

on the lawrace & culture

Trayvon Martin, tragedy and injustice

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Last night George Zimmerman, America’s most hated night watchman, was found not guilty in front of a jury of his peers. Soon afterwards, the level headed “pick your battles” Reverend Sharpton was already scheming for a civil conviction and federal civil rights investigation. Deep into the night there was a protest in San Francisco. And this morning the talking heads on MSLSD went back and forth about racial injustice in America.

Even looking at Facebook and Twitter, you would have thought that a gang of Klansmen were just acquitted for killing an 18 year-old black girl in a voting booth on election day with the deciding vote in Obama’s reelection. But if you quell all the emotion, you would see that this case was not a landmark racial injustice, but rather a compelling focal point, precedent, and lesson in political pressure, self-defense, and the burden of guilt. [Read more →]

living poetry

Cafe Terrace at Night (Van Gogh)

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For Ruth

Is there just one universe?
There the stars and here the cafe.
Hidden lights illuminate the tables.
The various darknesses immerse
Men and stars in dissolving clay.
Are both god and science fables?
The universes are infinite,
They say, and time does not exist.
But here we are and there the stars.
The air is full of perfume and wit,
And a wine too ancient to resist.
All else is beyond, late and far.
Let’s nibble galaxies and swallow suns.
I’ll count my hours with you by ones.

Note: This is one of more than 120 poems after paintings or images, which can be viewed at the blog, Zealotry of Guerin.



virtual children by Scott Warnock

Dumb dad

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Dads are dumb. I’m a dad, so therefore I’m dumb. If you’re a dad, logic dictates that you too are dumb. Dads are blithering, detached, bumblers. They’re oblivious. Easy to fool. That’s what the world is telling our kids. [Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Colin Kaepernick doesn’t get it

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Sports fans are passionate. Not all of them, of course, but a pretty good percentage of them take these games quite seriously. The word “fan,” after all, is short for “fanatic.” Being a fan often means taking silly or irrational stances on things that should really have little consequence in the life of that person. Life is hard, though, and it’s often much easier to throw our energy into sports than it is to face reality and everything that comes with it. One of the things that we take seriously is the loyalty of the players who play for the teams that we so love. Someone might want to explain that to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingrace & culture

Top ten Paula Deen excuses

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10. “Where I grew up, we always believed in calling a spade a spade.”

9. “I was misheard; I was actually talking about chigger bites.”

8. “I suffer from foot-in-mouth disease.”

7. “I thought it stood for ‘Needing Inalienable God-Given Equal Rights’.”

6. “All that butter has clogged up my brain.”

5. “My pal George Zimmerman said it was okay.”

4. “I’m a Southern racist cracker — what did you expect?”

3. “I spell out everything in my new autobiography White Like Me.”

2. “I just wasn’t thinking…about all the endorsement deals I’d lose.”

1. “I was hoping to get my own show on Fox News.”

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

living poetry

Winter Landscape (Sesshu)

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Black and white, foreground,

Background, horizon and sky—
There is nothing to describe.
No word for it has been found.
Fingers pinch bits of glass,
Mouths blow rings of gas.
Stone spires, numberless grass,
Poise like celebrants at mass.
This is but approximation,
Sounds approaching shape,
Silhouetted imagination,
Not a poem, but its ape.
Inked paper, here, in your hand—
This is what you understand.

Note: This is one of more than 120 poems after paintings or images, which can be viewed at the blog, Zealotry of Guerin.
educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

Graduation blahs

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I’ve never been into graduations. I am happy for the graduates who themselves are happy, and I like to see proud families, but the event itself never grabbed me. And now graduation fever has taken hold. Kids get a rite of passage ceremony for all kinds of things. We have kindergarten graduations and even pre-school graduations. School systems with multiple tiers have students who “graduate” from middle school or fifth grade.

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trusted media & news

In Praise of Firefighters

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It’s been more than thirty years since I took the field as a substitute forest firefighter … but that brief service left me with a deep appreciation for the profession, and for those who embrace it. There remains to this day a place in my heart and my prayers for firefighters, which hasn’t diminished one bit over the decades … in fact, it grew some on ‘9/11’ … and it grew once again with this week’s tragic news from Arizona. [Read more →]

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