Burton Cole column

Getting schooled by dumb jokes

As we stretch and inhale deliciously warm breezes, we lazily drift into yet another long, luxurious summer ... Hold on a second. It’s what month? What happened to June and July? Did we skip them? Well, then, as we madly charge through stores, clutching shopping lists the length of term ...

A passion for pockets becomes pain in the pants

The guy in line in front of me unzipped a small pocket of his cargo shorts and extracted a customer loyalty card. He pulled his wallet from another pocket. After he paid for his merchandise, he unzipped a long, narrow pocket at the bottom of the array of pouches on his shorts and tucked the ...

Good grief, I’m good, but is that a bad thing?

We set up my author’s table at the Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival and spent three days selling the children’s books I wrote. Since they’re humor novels set on a farm, we also passed out animal stickers to any kids who wanted them. (Sometimes, the “kids” looked to be 60 ...

Pirates plunder others’ words, even pre-emptively

Much to-do over a twice-done speech was made last week. It’s far from the first time plagiarism reared its ugly, photocopied head. It’s like the late, great guitarist Jimi Hendrix once said, “I’ve been imitated so well, I’ve heard people copy my mistakes.” At least I think he said ...

Here’s looking at you, Big Type

I checked out library books from the Large Print section. On purpose.The times and the eyes, they are a-changin'. As is where I do my book browsing.I used to chuckle at old people who took off their glasses to see. Senility setting in, I figured. Why else pop off the peepers to peer at pages?I ...

How do your weeds grow?

I do not have a vegetable garden. I’m not opposed to gardens, nor do I harbor any animosity toward those who engage in such activities. On the contrary, Mary, I ardently support how your garden grows — as long as I’m not drafted to do the weeding. Some people remember their childhoods ...

It’s all how you use the extra brain cells

Editor’s note: Burt is on vacation, though from what, we’re not sure. While he’s resting his brain, we present this neuron-filled Cole Classic, originally published March 12, 2000. xxxx Yes, that’s right. Men have more brain cells than women. It is a well-established, scientific ...

Gramps groans at mention of missed midlife crisis

I missed the exit ramp for Midlife Crisis Avenue. I got stuck in traffic and zipped right on down Life's Highway, and never slowed down until my tire blew out at Senior Moments Crossroads.Pardon the motorized metaphors. It's just that I've grown wistfully nostalgic for the Corvette I never had. ...

Cheapskate considers gift-giving

My wedding anniversary looms on the horizon and the stress is building. I have no idea what gift to give to my sweet and loving wife. I hear people talk about silk anniversaries, crystal anniversaries, ruby anniversaries, silver anniversaries and gold anniversaries. So far, ours have run ...

Idioms rattle until the cows come home

The guy rattled on for some time before gushing, “Well, to make a long story short ...” Well, that ship had sailed. “... what happened next’ll will knock your socks off,” he said. You could bet the ranch that whenever this guy wrapped up his meandering monologue, my socks would ...

Brainpower loses punch as the years roll on by

I used to have a brain. I never took advantage of it. When my ability to think bubbled at full capacity, I squandered my gift in calculating which pizza place gave me the best deal per ounce and number of toppings, and memorizing the phone numbers of all the shops. (We didn’t have ...

Snake-bit surprises bring bad news

Thoughtfulness is a dangerous business. I know. Never am I in more trouble than when I attempt to commit an act of kindness. Especially if my spouse is the intended kindee. I’m not alone. I read in the news last week that a guy named Bill dropped by the lawn and garden section of a home ...

Color him blue over reclaiming man cave

“All you have to do now is choose the paint color.” “Blue.” But of course, wall paint comes in colors dubbed “Flyaway” and “Calypso” and “Capri” and “Sky Fall,” but never, ever just plain “blue.” I rubbed my temples. Why, exactly, must the room be painted ...

Updates upload only much electronic frustration

When I was a kid, I believed that tiny people — fairies, probably — lived inside television sets and staged the shows. Now that I’m an adult, I know the truth. The tiny people — gremlins, probably — live inside my laptop computer and pull the ever-annoying “New! Improved!” ...

World day to garden naked fraught with thorny perils

Saturday marks World Naked Gardening Day, the annual rite when we all tend to the flora while we flaunta the plots normally planted (wisely) beneath our clothes. What? You didn’t know about World Naked Gardening Day? That’s a relief. Now I don’t have to drive while wearing a blindfold ...

Accidental discoveries heated his backside

Necessity, it is said, is the mother of invention. But it seems to me that some of our greatest discoveries were stumbled upon by accident. Which means I should have been the world’s greatest inventor. But Mom and Dad kept interfering with science. In the ninth century, Chinese alchemists ...

Honey, I was going to do that

It’s been an interesting week. My wife traveled out of state. “There’s nothing to worry about,” I assured her. “Remember, I took care of myself all by myself before I married you.” “You didn’t sort your laundry. You ate Alpha-Bits for supper. You wore stripes with plaids.” ...

Banking on a bargain is bunk

Several fine dining establishments I frequent offer any size Coca-Colas for a $1. While I live for bargains (except on shoes — shoe shopping is an agony I avoid no matter the deal), the buying in bulk bit creates a dilemma for a natural-born cheapskate when he isn’t all that thirsty. I ...

Please, let me stay home and be bored for awhile

The sign was meant to be funny: “The older I get, the more I appreciate being home doing absolutely nothing.” Instead of laughing, I pumped my fist in the air and yelled, “Truth!” Then I gathered up the pack of payments to drop off at the post office, stuffed the shopping list in my ...

As Twain tweeted, pranks play a fool’s game

It’s probably best to stay in bed Friday. Unless you live with a joker. Then nowhere is safe. So remember, if you can’t join the witness protection program, beat them to the April Fool’s Day prank punch. (That’s not my quote. Benjamin Franklin posted that adage on his Facebook page ...