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creative writingfamily & parenting

A Poor Man’s Christmas

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Christmas was coming and my father was between positions again. It was the late seventies and well after his temporary gig driving the van delivering flowers in downtown Philly. It must have been between computer-programming jobs, possibly Textronix in Blue Bell and Arthur’s Travel in Center City, the job that would launch him to California and alter the trajectory of his life.

But in the winter of 1978 or ’79, my Dad had nothing. He was broke. I remember him hinting at this, but I don’t have a great sense of feeling any danger because of it. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingends & odd

Top ten Christmas one-liners

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10. Santa’s elves are just a bunch of subordinate Clauses.

9. The office Christmas party is a great opportunity to catch up with people you haven’t seen for 20 minutes.

8. ’Tis the season to awkwardly walk by someone ringing a bell.

7. I once bought my kid a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying “Toys not included.”

6. As Mrs. Grinch said, “His heart wasn’t the only thing that was two sizes too small.”

5. Are we doing “Secret Santa” this year, because I accidentally bought some unsalted butter.

4. I am the ghost of Christmas Future Perfect Subjunctive, and I will show you what would have happened were you not to have changed your ways!

3. The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the naughty girls live.

2. It’s hard to believe, but there are 364 days until Christmas, and people already have their Christmas lights up.

1. I wasn’t planning on giving Christmas gifts this year, but then I heard about those Samsung Galaxy phones.
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythinggames

Top ten most dangerous toys

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10. Easy Bake Microwave

9. Mr. Wizard’s Lobotomy Kit

8. Miss Piggy’s Big Bag o’ Pork

7. Black and Decker Silly Driller

6. Gasp! – The Saran Wrap Game

5. Hospital Waste Grab Bag

4. The Chris Christie Home Stomach-Stapler

3. Fisher-Price Choking Hazard

2. Baby’s First Nail Gun

1. The Electoral College
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

virtual children by Scott Warnock

Not letting the toy story end just yet

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First off, I hope my kids don’t read this column before Christmas, although I think I’m safe. Why? In a couple months, I will be living with three teenagers. They have their own interests. The house feels older, more serious. Christmas has followed suit. Presents come in envelopes. They have screens. They’re practical. Simply put, they’re not toys. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingpolitics & government

Top ten Donald Trump picks

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10. Vice President: Mike Pence, a man who believes homosexuality can be cured by conversion therapy, opposes homosexuals serving in the military, signed the Indiana law making it okay to discriminate against gays and lesbians, believes in abstinence-only sex education, seeks to defund Planned Parenthood, and is a Climate Change denier.

9. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Ben Carson, the somnambulant former presidential candidate who has publicly stated he doesn’t want to work in government and isn’t qualified to run a federal agency, is a Climate Change denier, and also believes that the Pyramids of Giza were not tombs, but grain silos built by Joseph, the Biblical son of Jacob.

8. Secretary of Labor: Andy Puzder, a fast-food CEO (Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s) who is, naturally, against raising the minimum wage, and fiercely against over-regulation.

7. Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency: Scott Pruitt, a fossil-fuel advocate, a sworn enemy of the EPA, and a staunch Climate Change denier.

6. Administrator of the Small Business Administration: Linda McMahon, a professional wrestling magnate and former wife of World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment wrestler/announcer Vince McMahon, who was aware that at least 40% of professional wrestlers were illegally abusing steroids, resulting in a death rate seven times greater than the general population.

5. Secretary of the Treasury: Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs partner, who wants to reduce corporate taxes, and has said his number one priority on the regulatory side is to strip back parts of Dodd–Frank.

4. Secretary of Commerce: Wilbur Ross, who formed International Coal Group in 2004, a mining company allowed to be set up free of labor unions, health care and pensions, and who was well aware of his Sago Mine’s safety problems before a 2006 explosion that killed 12.

3. Secretary of Education: Betsy DeVos, a fierce proponent of school vouchers that would allow students to attend private schools with public funding, and one of the architects of the Detroit charter school system, which even charter advocates acknowledge is the biggest school reform disaster in the country.

2. National Security Adviser: Michael T. Flynn, who has repeatedly fallen for conspiracy theories and hoaxes, helping to spread the rumor about Pizzagate, the absurd story that Hillary Clinton was running a secret child sex ring out of the basement of a Washington, DC pizzaria, a rumor that led a 28-year-old gunman to enter the pizzeria and fire off an assault rifle.

1. Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor: Steve Bannon, former executive chair of Breitbart News, a far-right news, opinion and commentary website (famous for such headlines as “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy” and “Why Equality and Diversity Departments Should Only Hire Rich, Straight White Men”), who is an admitted member of the alt-right (aka, white nationalism, a movement associated with white supremacism, Islamophobia, antifeminism, homophobia, and antisemitism).
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingends & odd

Top ten one-liners

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10. When my doctor emailed me asking me if I knew my “blod group,” I replied, “Typo.”

9. If you have trouble getting your gecko up in the morning, you may have a reptile dysfunction.

8. When I was young, I used to feel like a man trapped in a woman’s body, but all of that changed when I was born.

7. “Have I made myself clear?” said the chameleon standing in front of the sheet of glass.

6. I intend to live forever, and…so far, so good!

5. I put tape on all the mirrors in my house, so I don’t accidentally walk through into another dimension.

4. I just finished writing a book about poltergeists, and I’m happy to say it’s flying off the shelves.

3. I’m taking a levitation course and, on my very first day I went straight to the top of the class!

2. I’ve started sending Tweets telepathically — so if you think of something funny, that’s me!

1. Two parallel lines have so much in common, it’s a shame they’ll never meet! (although I guess, technically, that’s a two-line joke.)
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

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 →]