Thursday, February 26, 2015


According to the prestigious French scientific journal, Le Monde Du Petomane, we may be about to witness a very interesting side effect of global warming. Due to depletion of the ozone layer, wavelengths previously invisible to the naked eye - that is, the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum which now passes attenuated through Earth's atmosphere - may become part of the visible spectrum. As a result, some gases may obtain visual fluency. Methane, for instance.

In other words, we may soon be able to see farts. That’s something you might like to consider before eating that next bean burrito. No more SBD (silent, but deadly.) Everything will be CAE (cloudy, and embarrassing.) Everyone will know, anyway, so what gain will there be in stifling the musical aspect of the performance?

News of this possibility will likely spur underwear manufacturers to begin investigating the sewing of some sort of filter into the seats of their products. It will have to be rather wide, since methane gas diffuses quickly upon excretion. I don't know what those of you who wear thongs are going to do. Just hold it in, I suppose.

In the meantime, I’ll be investing every cent I have in Beano stock, thanks. I suggest you do the same. There is nothing on God's green earth [which descriptive may also change] that will more quickly make your fortune than cashing in on people trying to avoid embarrassment. Huge wads of cash have been made on deodorant and mouthwash. This has the sniff of something even more lucrative.

The effect will not be limited to human gas. Animal emissions will also be seen, so you won’t be able to blame your stinker on the pooch any longer. If it really was the pooch, however, folks will know.

By the way, this will also pertain to belching. Although usually not as gas-laden as those eruptions from the other end, burps will be noticeable. And, since these are more on the front end of the digestion process, the color will be more closely related to what you ate. Radishes, for instance, might produce a somewhat pleasant pink pastel, while your dinner of cabbage may bring a rich Kelly green to the fore.

Another thing upon which you may wish to ruminate: I’ve always wanted to make up a silly hoax and have the thing come back to me, at a later date, reported as rock-solid fact. This is my attempt. And if all of you on Twitter and Facebook, and who have blogs (or who otherwise make connections with large numbers of people who trust you implicitly, but perhaps not after this) are willing to spread it around, we can make it happen. Quote a line or two, and feel free to reference The New York Times (even though they have nothing whatsoever to do with this.) You can embellish, if you wish, but keep it at least slightly plausible. If you have a better name for a phony-baloney scientific journal than the one I gave in the first paragraph, use it. The more sources you reference, the better. If we can get this rolling, it should provide some terrific entertainment as we watch the more gullible among us glancing backwards at their own asses after, say, the first three beers on a Friday night.

So, to sum up – in case you’re the sort who skips to the end without reading the body of an article – it appears we may have found the one thing that will spur worldwide action in the battle against global warming. Politicians being the gasbags they are, they can’t afford to let this one pass without notice.

Soon, with more better stuff.


Thursday, February 19, 2015


Things being what they are in the Boston area these days - 98 inches of snow this season and counting - it seems a good time to tell this tale...


When my father retired, he bought a small house in New Hampshire. It was (and is, so far as I know) a nice little place; four rooms - two up, two down - and a basement, sitting on about 6 acres of mostly undeveloped woodland. To get to the house from the main drag, one has to take an unpaved road of about a quarter-mile in length. A railroad - formerly a Boston & Maine right-of-way, but now used only once a day as a tourist attraction - runs along the eastern border of the yard.

When my father died, the property became mine. I liked the place, and the area, but couldn't afford to keep it, since MY WIFE and I both worked in Boston and wouldn't be living there. We endeavored to sell it.

In the meantime, MY WIFE and I would take a weekend up there every couple of months. We did this to check on the place and make sure everything was OK, of course, but also because it was a nice quiet place to get away from the city. It was situated in a small town more-or-less at the beginnings of the White Mountains; very pretty area.

Well, very pretty except for the fact that it sat behind what amounted to a junkyard.

On the main road, just before the turn-off to my dad's place, there was an auto repair shop called Smitty's. Smitty was a nice guy. While my dad was still living, Smitty would plow the dirt road, whenever there was a snowstorm, all the way down to my dad's place, free. When I needed to sell my dad's car after his passing, Smitty put it up on his frontage by the main drag with a "For Sale" sign and took care of all potential buyers. He charged me no commission when it was sold. However, he did keep a whole bunch of junkers and wrecks within sight of the house, which cut down on the scenery, and we could have complained to the town about that, since he wasn't zoned for a junkyard, so it was sort of a quid pro quo.

(Funny story, wholly unrelated to the main one: When my dad moved there, the little dirt road had no name. Whenever he needed to tell someone where he lived, he had to say, "Behind Smitty's". He got tired of that and finally petitioned the town to name the road. They said OK to his request and he named it Sullivan Lane. He put up a nice hand-carved wooden street sign and was pretty proud of it. However, here's what happened. Someone would ask him where he lived. He'd say, "Sullivan Lane". Invariably, the other person would say, "Sullivan Lane? Where's that?" Then my dad would have to say, "Behind Smitty's".)

We were taking one of our mini-vacations up there, over Martin Luther King day weekend, when it snowed. And snowed, and snowed some more. By Monday afternoon, when we would normally have been on the road in order to be back at work the day after the holiday, there was an accumulation of at least two feet. The drifts were much higher. The driveway - that is, the dirt road - was totally impassable. We were stranded at the house and had been for the past two days.

We knew that sooner or later Smitty would come down and plow the road, since he still did that following my dad's death, but we had no idea when. He had no reason to plow out his own business, as the main road was only barely drivable itself. I found that out by taking a hike up there through the drifts up to my waist.

Monday evening came and went. It was now Tuesday and we both called work to tell them why we weren't there. Well, the only thing to do in that house was sleep or eat, basically. The TV and radio reception was horrendous. The house wasn't hooked up with cable. There was a satellite dish my dad had purchased some years back, but it was now rusted out and the wires were no good. So, the only outside world we knew of came from WMUR-TV, channel 9 in Manchester, and a few weak radio signals once the sun went down. There wasn't much to read, either.

We're fairly good when it comes to self-amusement, but you can find only so much to stave off the boredom after four days together in a confined space. We were going stir-crazy. Cabin fever had set in.

MY WIFE was the first one to crack. She said she was going to strip naked and run around the outside of the house in the snow.

I said, "Oh, you're full of shit."

She was as good as her word, though, albeit with boots and a Burberry scarf. After making a circuit of the house - with me inside, going from window to window, incredulously following her progress - she came back in and said it was invigorating and great and then started calling me a series of non-masculine names, in an attempt to goad me into doing it also. Well, I'm easily goaded, I guess. I stripped down, too.

As she jogged out the door the second time, I followed her. Of course, I didn't have boots or a Burberry scarf, so I wasn't nearly as dashing. And the one lasting impression I got from the whole thing - aside from the sight of my wife's lovely ass bobbing through the snow in front of me - is that the ancient Greeks, who supposedly did all of their athletic contests naked, must have been built entirely differently than I am. I was extremely uncomfortable running, what with things bouncing up and down and side to side.

(But that's probably too much information, eh?)

When we did it, I was thinking that either the train would pick this inopportune time to come, with a whole trainload of tourists getting an impromptu show, or worse some freakin' hungry bear with insomnia, just happening to amble around the other side of the house searching for food, would run us off onto the main road. There would have been no good explanation in either case. And what if we were running around, bollicky-bare-ass in the snow, when Smitty decided to start plowing? Luckily for us, none of those eventualities... eventuated.

When we got back inside, we were invigorated. I, personally, found a new desire to do many interesting things other than eating and sleeping. It certainly shook out the cobwebs.

That night, around 10pm, we heard this big rumble and at first we thought it might be some sort of avalanche nearby. However, it got closer and we soon saw the headlights on Smitty's plow. He cleared the driveway and, huzzah, there was much rejoicing! Even though the way was cleared, we stayed for the night, since it was so late to start traveling.

And that's the story of COED NAKED SNOW JOGGING. So far as I know, we're the only participants in this sport, either amateur or professional, so we're thinking of petitioning to have it included in the next Winter Olympics. Since we're the only ones with any experience, we should be good for the gold - as long as I can keep that bouncing thing under control.


Soon, with more better stuff.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Noo Yawk

The city that never sleeps. That's where MY WIFE and I were for the past five days. Mostly, we slept.

We really did do a lot of sleeping. I'm not sure why. I think it was because we did a lot of eating. It was also very cold, which induces sleep. But we left behind hideously cold weather in Boston, so we should have been more awake, at least comparatively. It's very confusing.

Most of our vacation was spent in Brooklyn - and that will tell you something about how cold and nasty Boston has been, that we went to New York to vacation in a warmer spot. Wind chills in New York were something like 10 below zero (for my European readers who might be trying to figure that out as Celsius, it works out to filling your underwear with ice cubes.) Meanwhile, it snowed another 12 inches in Boston, which gives us something like 80 inches total in February alone - truth - so we were relatively happy in Brooklyn.

Why Brooklyn you ask? Because MY WIFE's brother is a nice guy who was out of town and he let us use his apartment as our hotel room. Thank you, brother-in-law!

(He was vacationing in the Canary Islands. Yes, that does prove his mental superiority to us.)

So, what did we do that was more exciting than sleeping? For one thing we visited Louis Armstrong's house in the Corona section of Queens. 

[The modest brick building is the place. Photo from HERE, where there is a nice article about a neighbor.]

It looks like a little sort of a place - and it is a rather modest dwelling for such a giant of music - but it's chock full of great memorabilia, wonderful human touches that truly make you feel as though Mr. Armstrong and his wife still dwell in the place in spirit, and the folks who take care of it and give tours are tremendously attached to it all and truly love their work. We recommend it highly.

(It's a bit tough to reach. Well, for us it was, anyway, because we suck at following directions. We walked about eight blocks we didn't need to walk before we found it. If you take the subway, it's actually a not-too-distant walk from the 103rd Street station on the 7 train. Do it. If you like his music, you'll be enchanted.)

After the tour, we went to a great little restaurant in that Hispanic neighborhood, Estrella Latina. Good food in a quirky atmosphere (I wish we had a photo of the interior; MY WIFE said it was "early Fred Flintstone".) We both had the red snapper, which was grilled and served whole; mine with fried plantains and MY WIFE's with beans and rice. A couple of glasses of good wine each and it was a swell meal.

We rode the subway a lot (which is more my thing than MY WIFE's, but she loves me and indulges my public transportation Asperger's.) We rode mostly on elevated lines - aside from the 7, the F, D and Q - which are lovely as vehicles with which to see the real neighborhoods they travel through. Although I have a rather intense fear of open heights (I don't like being on the platforms where you catch said trains) I feel safe while traveling in the cars themselves. It's a cheap way to take a tour of the city, really. If you decide to visit Brooklyn and do likewise, I recommend the F as probably the most scenic ride. Take it out to Coney Island and then ride either the D or Q back for another high-riding view.

[The orange ones near the bottom are the best for seeing sights in Brooklyn.]

Finally - although it wasn't the last thing we did; actually, it was on Saturday - we visited some lovely friends in Manhattan. Daryl (of the blog Out and About in New York City) and her husband (and sometime contributor, as Toonman), Ray, are beautiful people who live on the upper west side with their three cats, Harry, Jack and Annie. We met them - and also a swell friend of theirs, actor/writer/director Andrew Johns - for a leisurely stroll and some breakfast at a joint called Hi-Life.

Before you see some photos of our time together, you need to watch this video. It stars Ray and Andrew, and it hit me right where I live. It's title is Rainy Day Old Maid. Really, just watch it. You won't be sorry.

I grew up with guys like that all around the neighborhood. That is truth captured in that film. And hilarious truth, to boot. For more of their work together, Google "You Tube" and "yacobsladder". Great stuff.

Anyway, the five of us shared a nice breakfast, some witty repartee, friendly cats and a good walk. Here are some photos.

Both the blessing and the curse of these photos is that they were taken by Daryl Edelstein.
The blessing, of course, is that she's a fine photographer.
The curse is she took them and therefore isn't in any of them.
Clockwise from left: Andrew, me, MY WIFE, Ray.

Ray looking on as Andrew politely laughs at some tired wheeze I told him.

Andrew still politely paying attention while Ray keeps his face out of it and MY WIFE stares off into the distance thinking, "God, Jim sure does talk a lot."
Finally, we have Ray, me and Andrew recreating a scene from Waiting for Godot.
They, of course, are Vladimir and Estragon, while I am portraying the baggage-laden Lucky.

That's about all I have today. It was a nice vacation spent with nice people. What more could I want?

(You? You could want a lot more, but you won't get it and I'm surprised you lasted this long. Thanks!)

Soon, with more better stuff (except for the photos, which don't get any better.)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Two Clicks, Please

[This is a subtle hint concerning what I wrote about today in the Boston Herald]
[Image courtesy]

I'm out of town and off-line. Therefore, your job today will take two clicks instead of just one.

You should now be asking yourself, "What in hell is Jim talking about? He's even less coherent than usual."

I'll answer the question and thanks for asking. I have a column in the Boston Herald today. Usually, when I have a column in the Boston Herald, I ask you to go there and read it (and maybe leave a lovely comment extolling my virtues or - better yet - write a letter to the editor threatening to garrotte yourself if they don't print more of my stuff in future.) Today is no different in that regard. I am asking you to go to the Boston Herald website and read my column (or, better yet, buy a hard copy of the paper since having it in hand as proof of your loyalty will gain you admittance to the party celebrating my Pulitzer, where there will be free chili dogs!)

The problem is I'm out of town and off-line. Therefore, I have had to schedule this post in advance. And that means it won't take you the usual one click to get to my column since I don't yet have a direct link to it. Instead, I will link you to the op-ed page. From there, you should be able to find a link to my column. Look for something saying "Sullivan spouts off again" or "Sullivan once more babbles aimlessly" or... well, you get the point. Somewhere on that page it will say "Sullivan". Click onto that and VOILA! You'll finally be able to read my damn column.

(All in all, it would probably be easier if you buy the paper at your local newsstand. Not only will you be buying your ticket to a free chili dog in, say, 2027, but you'll also get to read the funnies; a bargain at any price, unless they charge $50 for the Herald where you live, in which case you should move.)


Here's the link to the Boston Herald op-ed page. Please go there and look for something that mentions my last name. If you don't see my last name, write a letter to the editor and threaten to commit hari kari (or, if you live in Pittsburgh, threaten to commit Bob Prince.)

(If you got that joke, you're too smart to be reading my stuff and I thank you for lowering your standards.)

That's about it. Happy Valentine's Day to those of you reading me on Saturday. If it's NOT Saturday, where in hell were you?

Soon, with more better stuff (in all likelihood.)

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Boston 2024

Some of you may not be aware that Boston is in competition for the Olympic games of 2024.

Some of you can stop laughing now, thanks.

As you might imagine, I have an opinion concerning this possibility. If you'd like to read it, please go to the Boston Herald website (or, even better, buy the print edition. Having a copy of that in hand will gain you admittance to the big party I'll be throwing when I win my Pulitzer. There'll be cheeseburgers!)

Here's the link to my deathless prose - Boston Herald.

Feel free to leave a comment or write a letter to the editor (unless you hate what I have to say, in which case you should be very quiet.)

Soon, with more better stuff.

Monday, February 02, 2015


Had it in my pocket the whole way.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Could I possibly be more lucky, as a gambler, than I was last night?

(Let me make it clear. I was not really a gambler. I made my picks and all that, but I didn't have anything on the line other than my dubious reputation.)

OK, but, really? I expected that the last offensive play by Seattle was going to result in a win for me, one way or the other. I had the Patriots to win and I had Marshawn Lynch to be named game MVP. If either of those things happens, the bets I recommended come out of the game with a plus on the balance sheet. Either the Patriots stop Lynch and we win the Patriots bet OR Lynch pounds the ball into the end zone and he is probably going to be named the MVP. So, in that regard, it actually was in my pocket.

But then THE DUMBEST PLAY CALL IN SUPERBOWL HISTORY (it absolutely deserves all caps and being bolded) is called by somebody on the Seahawks coaching staff.

(Pete Carroll, the Seahawks coach, is apparently a standup guy. I don't think he made that call. It was probably his offensive coordinator, but Carroll fell on his sword, taking complete responsibility for it, and... well, OK, as head coach it is, in the end, his responsibility, but he could have taken the heat off himself and threw someone else under the bus, He didn't. I respect that.)

Anyway, it was, without a shadow of a doubt, THE DUMBEST PLAY CALL IN SUPERBOWL HISTORY. You have, arguably, the best running back in football. On the play just run, he took the ball from the six yard line all the way down to the one yard line. You have a timeout remaining, so you can pound the ball into the line at least twice.If Lynch - who has picked up a yard or more on 9 out of 10 plays in this game already - cannot get into the end zone, especially behind the blocking of an offensive line that played a pretty damn good game, then you can still call your timeout and try at least one pass, or another run, or maybe even two passing plays. So, what do you do? Call a pass play, AT THE GOAL LINE,that could be tipped, bobbled, have any number of horrible and hideous things happen, instead of handing the ball off to a guy who is arguably the best runner in the NFL; definitely the best runner in this particular game?



It was THE DUMBEST PLAY CALL IN SUPERBOWL HISTORY. And, as a result, the Patriots win the Super Bowl and I can brag that we won 230 dollars.

This brings the total, for five Super Bowls, to +785 on an investment of 9100. That's a return of 8.63% for the total of about 20 hours time when your money would have been at work. Not bad. And, as a bonus, your heart rate would have been at about 160 for a few minutes each year. If you didn't have a heart attack, it would prove to you that you were in shape!

Anything else? Oh, I suppose one more thing...


Soon, with more bettor stuff.

P.S. Actually, there is one more thing. I've called Richard Sherman some less-than-kind names in the past. Last night, however, he was one of the Seahawks who showed some class (unlike Doug Baldwin - and if you don't already know why I'd say he didn't show class, just Google "Doug Baldwin" + "touchdown celebration".) Anyway, Sherman sought out Tom Brady, the game MVP, and shook his hand.

He said, in interviews, "If someone beats us, I'll shake his hand and congratulate him", or words to that effect. He was as good as his word. And if I'm going to excoriate him for some of his past behavior - which I have - then I need to give him props for good and righteous behavior. And so I do. God bless, Richard.