Burton Cole column

Brain fog’s morning musings

I am not at my mental best in the morning. Actually, I’ve never been at my mental best, but mornings rank even lesser best than my normal less best. See what I mean? It’s morning. Even if a proper thought tries to latch onto my brain, it slides off in the shower suds and gurgles down the ...

Ice cream: Science says it’s what’s for breakfast

I’ve championed ice cream for breakfast for years. “But why can’t I have a banana split this morning, Mom? Bananas are fruit. Ice cream’s got milk. Eggs, too, I think. And chocolate’s made from beans. It’s healthy.” “Shut up and eat your oatmeal, kid.” Mom wasn’t ...

PA systems crackle memories of principal’s office

Before the PA system’s final crackle, I’d burrowed beneath the table. “Will Burton Cole please come to the front desk. Burton Cole, please come to the front desk.” I whimpered, and perhaps sucked my thumb a second or two. I might be 40 years removed from the cold, steel door ...

Senior discount doesn’t match how old he feels

It happened again. “That cost less than I expected.” The pretty young fast-food clerk never bothered to glance my way as she handed over the receipt. “Your order number is 22.” I slipped off my bifocals and squinted at the receipt to find the pricing error. There it was. The ...

I’ve won! I think. What’s the Euro Lottery?

I’m thinking about retiring to a Caribbean island. It’s so within my price range — now that I’ve won the Euro Raffle. Does anyone happen to know how many Corvettes 2 million euros is worth? Anyway, I’m considering offering asylum on my island to the Nigerian ambassador who barely ...

Can’t do? Just make do

Making do is what I do best. I see no reason to bog myself down doing things the so-called “right way” when “making do” accomplishes the same thing with far less frustration. Besides, folks usually find fault no matter what. So if the easy road and the hard road both drive you to the ...

January filled with cake, squirrels, kazoos

If there ever was time for Ma in her kerchief and I in my cap to settle down for a long winter’s nap, it’s January. Unfortunately, my bosses — as so often occurs — hold a differing viewpoint. So I do my best to shrug off bed covers and doldrums and face January as if it were full ...

I’m bugged by cures for the common cold

Nothing attracts a swarm of friends braced with sure-fire home remedies than the common cold. You can’t even sniffle without some junior scientist rushing to your side to test her latest concoctions and theories. “Quick, burn this turmeric and inhale the smoke. Clears those sniffles ...

Sock it to the Christmas wish list

Merry Christmas! My wish for you is that as you read this, we both are wearing soft, warm socks that we plucked from beneath the tree this morning. That’s either a sign that I’ve learned a less materialistic meaning of Christmas or that I’ve given up on ever receiving the G.I. Joe ...

Santa Claus must really be a woman

My sister snatched away the fancy fork I’d been twirling on the table, refolded the green cloth napkin, and realigned the silverware into perfect rows, just like it had been when I ambled into her house. “Santa Claus has to be a woman.” I held the holly-rimmed water glass up to ...

Cole claims credit for the mannequin craze

The latest social media craze is the mannequin challenge. That’s when a cluster of people hold poses like statues while a person with a camera weaves around the bodies to post the tableau to Twitter or other social sites. It’s sort of like a giant game of freeze tag played by ...

Hey, Popeye, your spinach is spying on you

I always suspected health food was up to no good. It turns out it’s spying on you. MIT researchers announced a couple weeks ago that they engineered bomb-sniffing spinach plants. Researchers embedded sensors into the plants so that when the spinach roots detect chemicals used in ...

I dunno, it’s nothing — why do you ask?

Is there any word lurking in the English language that’s more jam-packed, crammed and stuffed full of nuance, meaning and danger than the word “nothing”? Ask a 2-year-old what he’s up to and he will nothing you to death. You come home from work and find your spouse curled in a ...

Sock it to me with theories

Despite how it appears, it’s not a conspiracy. The mystery of the missing sock, I mean. Feel free to keep claiming conspiracies for all that other stuff. I began pondering the age-old quest for missing socks the other morning when I saw a Tweet from my buddy Ed: “I literally can ...

Feeling fancy with cuff links, tie tacks and collars

Whatever happened to cuff links? They still exist. You can pay well more than $100 for a pair. (Or a mere $55 for a pair shaped like bacon and eggs — to wear during breakfast meetings, I presume.) But no one I know wears them. And I’m not allowed because they’re ...

Vote for belly rubs and biscuits

As another political season chock full of prickly primaries, vicious debates and campaign ads of dubious reliability wrestles to a weary end, I can confidently say I am well-informed on one fact: For trustworthy messages, I will depend on my dog. Let’s examine one prominent political race ...

Too much talking deafens art of listening

My ninth grade Latin teacher was famous for — when we’d once again failed to follow her directions — glaring at us and booming, “How do you listen?” We hoped that one of us would be brave enough to pipe up, “With my knees? Why, did I muck that up, too?” None of ...

Confusion sets in as smartness fades in the twilight

I used to believe that I was intelligent. In elementary school, I was considered the smartest kid in the building. The teachers nicknamed me The Little Old Man. My classmates gasped if I gave a wrong answer on a quiz. But like so many other childhood traits, my brilliance wore ...

Dumbed-down definition of word ‘dumb’ isn’t smart

You know what's dumb? The definition we've created for the word "dumb." That's not what it means. It's just another example of word abuse that's, well, dumb. According to wordsmith Noah "Merriam" Webster - a guy who probably eats Alpha-Bits cereal every morning and slurps ...