Burton Cole column

Trendy tiny homes put big hurt on collectors’ style

The big trend in houses is tiny. The smaller the home, the better. This is yet another reason why Terry and I won’t be turning trendy anytime soon. I’ve got too many books. I can imagine the scene if we tried to downsize to fit into a tiny home: “Seriously, I think it’s safe to toss ...

Fat birds fly furthest, proving hefty guys are physically fit

Editor’s note: The jolly ol’ elf is taking the week off. But he sent this Cole Classic first published Nov. 4, 2001, by a chubby carrier pigeon. I am not trying to disrupt any healthy habits in which otherwise normal Americans may be participating. I only offer this as a point worth ...

I’m the silver-haired youngster in the oldsters set

I’ve reached those awkward years — old enough to be showered with senior discounts but too young to retire. I qualified for AARP about a decade ago, but Medicare won’t look at me for another five years — possibly seven. And I hear that the customary retirement age could jump to 70 or ...

For a happy marriage, you may not want to read this

Ten years ago this month, two kids barely in their 40s (we were about to turn 50) stood before a congregation full of witnesses and said those famous matrimonial words: “Sure, why not?” No, no, no. Like I said, we were hitting the half-century mark. There was no time to waste on ...

Visualize yourself as skinny as a spider scurrying up walls

“Think thin” is more than an old catchphrase. Researchers in Australia say dieters lose five times as much weight by visualizing themselves slender. That sounds a lot easier than huffing through crunches, puffing through laps and grunting refusals of seconds. This is mind over matter. And ...

Map of candy treats tags Ohio as chocolate state

I’m moving to Oregon. Or possibly Arizona. But I’ll bypass Louisiana and Oklahoma. I base my relocation plans on the vital “Top Halloween Candy by State” interactive map posted at CandyStore.com. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups rank No. 1 in Oregon, followed by M&M’s and candy ...

Et’s-lay ush-bray up-yay on-yay our-yay Atin-lay

Other than husbandese, I do not speak a foreign language. (I hadn’t considered husbandese a foreign language until I saw the consternation that crossed my wife’s face whenever I tried to explain a simple concept — such as how my socks ended up next to cheese in the refrigerator.) I ...

Like socks in a dryer, sneaky ghosts spirit away my stuff

Editor’s note: Cole, a known goof-off, is on vacation. From what, we’re not sure. But he claims he’ll come back with all sorts of fresh column ideas. We’ll see. Until then, enjoy this Cole Classic originally published May 14, 2006. I believe in ghosts. What else could explain how so ...

Signs of the times trade in puns in Indian Hills, Colo.

My whole career revolves around playing with words. Wordplay is a time-honored tradition honed by such smiths as William Shakespeare, P.J. Wodehouse, Lewis Carroll, A.A. Milne and Vince Rozmiarek. The first four of those guys are famous authors. That fifth one — Rozmiarek — is a volunteer ...

September calendar filled with days of wonder and food

Ah, September, that fantastic month. And there are more reasons to celebrate than the average calendar tells you. For one, September is my birthday month, but the only calendar I’ve seen that written on is the one on my mom’s refrigerator. What else makes September great? Here’s a ...

Biscuits or rolls — same difference isn’t the same at all

As melting butter soaked into the warm softness, I gazed into my wife’s eyes and cooed, “These biscuits are marvelous.” “Rolls,” she said. “They’re dinner rolls.” “Mmbbglpleooomp,” I said as I chewed on either a biscuit or a roll or whatever. She pushed away from the ...

Columnist crams old box with recipes for chuckles

There’s an old, battered recipe box on my desk. It’s crammed with index cards, torn strips of newspaper and scraps of scribbled paper. These are odd thoughts I’ve scrawled in the middle of the night and silly stories that tickled my funny bone. When I’m running low on laughs, I rummage ...

Dude, let’s ease Gen Z on down the road to Funky Town

I read the other day that people born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s — today’s young adults — cannot fathom a world before the internet, cellphones and instant entertainment. They are Generation Z. Most likely, you will find them with their noses melded to a digital screen. I do ...

Don’t forget to remember to forget so you can remember

Today’s column was going to be brilliant. I laughed out loud at the silly thought that popped into my mind. I sprinted through the house to relay the hilarity to Terry. “Oh, there you are,” she said. “What was the date of your cousin’s wedding?” “It’s, uh...” I sighed and ...

Column writing requires deadline, panic and disaster

Occasionally, someone asks me how I’ve managed to write a column every week for the last 25 years. Usually, that person is an insomniac hoping to be bored to sleep. “Panic,” I answer before he can drift off. “Panic and deadlines. And a good disaster.” It’s the deadline thing that ...

Ocean critter, space alien or sea spider — octopus debate rages

Octopuses — or possibly octopi — came from outer space. That’s the word from 33 scientists who postulated their octopus ponderings in the March issue of “Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology.” My wife, Terry, has another theory — octopuses are spiders that fell into the ...

How I spent my summer vacation — will there be cookies?

Remember those first essay assignments of the school year? Teachers tried to ease us kids back into the classroom drudgery by assigning us to write how we spent our summer vacation. It was the very topic most of us jabbered about right up to the ringing of the class bell. Now our minds were as ...

Phone books had all the answers

I miss telephone books. They could level a chair with a short leg, help little kids sit tall enough to join the big people’s table at Thanksgiving, and they’d swat flies like nobody’s business. The coolest thing of all — they were chock-full of phone numbers. Or turn to the Yellow ...

Look before you leap without hesitation at dueling proverbs

Aesop was confused. The guy credited with cooking up a Crock-Pot full of fables packed with wisdom couldn’t make up his mind. The sages who followed did little to untangle the wacky webs he weaved. We’re left with dueling nuggets like these: Look before you leap, but he who hesitates is ...

Eat popcorn with chopsticks? Don’t tell mom

Researchers at The Ohio State University offered advice last week on how to turn old and boring into exciting and new. Get weird. They worded it a bit more scholarly than that, but weird is what they meant. For example, they suggest eating popcorn — a known and habitual hand food — with ...