A Project for Better Journalism chapter
Talon Advice Column

Talon Advice Column: February 13, 2018

How many bricks are there in the school?

Exactly 666. Weird, I know, but it’s probably just a coincidence. Tangentially, have you ever noticed that the student parking lot resembles an owl?

Why is my answer a question?

I think the better question is “When is my question?”

when are they gonna stop singing

Where do you think you are? What do you think this is? This is the Talon advice column, and we are very serious here, okay? First of all, punctuation. I answer questions here, not your stupid  Buddhist riddles, got it? Second of all, grammar. “Gotta” isn’t a real word. The subject of whom you are asking a question to is not of the same caliber as the acquaintances you decide to surround yourself with; this subject is far above other subjects. At this fine institution, we employ a proper version of the English language that may seem unfamiliar to the employers such as I am writing to now. You could also better express yourself with the verb ‘will’ instead of ‘are’. You won’t even have to worry about your fascist contractions with this phrasing. Third of all, capitalization. When we begin a sentence, we capitalize the first letter of the first word in order to signal the start of a new sentence. That’s right, I said it, I’m a capitalist. Since you are clearly elementary in your understanding of language and expression, let me translate your sentence into proper English: “When will they stop singing?”

How can I make sure I am the most most popular in school? ~I-want-to-be-FAMOUS

Hey, I-want-to-be-FAMOUS, Owen has occasionally been allowing guest writers on for some questions. He claims that these guest writer’s questions are “beneath me” and that “these absolute degenerates are giving me nothing to work with.” Let’s just say he likes a fresh pair of eyes sometimes. I thought I’d let you know because I actually can’t come up with a good answer, and I’ve actually had a few panic attacks over this (Owen can get violent sometimes). During those feverish moments, I went over some of Owen’s early works and I found an answer that fits this question well:

There are two very simple steps you need to follow:

  1. Be attractive.
  2. Don’t be unattractive.

Why have you not made another one of these advice columns since October? ~Not Mad, Disappointed

Well, there are a few reasons, Not Mad. The first is that I don’t have a good volume of questions to work with. Most of the questions I get asked are jokes, and we have to edit most of those out either because the subject matter is too sensitive, or my answer is too edgy. This issue stems from a popularity issue with the Talon in general; we don’t have a large enough budget to print out a physical copy, so nobody reads it, so we don’t have many writers, so we don’t have much to print, so we don’t get much of a budget, etc., etc.. All of that said, I’m glad you’re enjoying these; I like writing them too. Maybe I should just make up my own questions? That would open up more comedic possibilities, but it would also become self-congratulatory quickly. Email me if you want that, my singular fan. Maybe I could just send you handwritten letters and you could rub the ink into your skin, or surround yourself with their scent, or use them in black magic rituals, or whatever.

Dear Talon,

Is god real?

Yours truly,


(P.S. Are you allowed to answer this? Or is that too religion-y for a public school? asking for a friend)

Listen, J-dog, I know living with an absent father must be rough, but you have to look at the bigger picture. Often, we place so much value in orthodoxy that we don’t realize how much the unorthodox structures we’ve constructed resemble the orthodoxy we desire. Who needs a dad when you have Joseph, Mary Magdalene, apostles, and John the Baptist, your guru? Stop worrying about what could be, and enjoy what is.

P.S. Probably. Say hi to your friend for me, I’m very, very, very lonely.

P.P.S. Are you just going to keep asking this question until it gets published?

Dear Talon,

Do you know de wae?

Hello, my name is Owen Morrissey, and I sincerely believe that any joke not made by me isn’t funny. Therefore, this joke you have submitted is not funny at all. Please do not find joy in things I cannot find joy in. It always makes me quite angry because I am insecure and unsatisfied with both myself and my life.


Well, Avery “A-game” Cardeiro, I know everything there is to know about you. I know you have an older brother, Grady, who is a sophomore at Emerson College, where he’s studying for a career in music journalism. Back in high school, he was in a band named “Coral Reef”, (Grady came up with this name. The other two band members weren’t especially fond of it, but since they couldn’t come up with anything better, it just stuck) where he was both the bassist and lead singer. The drummer of the band was named Henry Denny. He was alright, but he had some issues with keeping the rhythm steady and relied on drum fills, and he wasn’t necessarily as passionate about it as Grady was, who is still very passionate about music. As for you yourself, the other week, you had an in-class performance task in your 5th period math class with Mrs. Sweeney. You didn’t feel great about the first half, but you were more confident with the second half. I think that the question you should be asking is “How can’t you know what’s good for me?”

Want to see your own questions answered? Fill out this form and we’ll answer it here!