×

Burton Cole column

Scouring the planet for a lick of common sense

I don’t suppose you’ve noticed, but the world’s gone crazy. I suspect that’s because we’ve misplaced our common sense and can’t find it anywhere. We’ve checked under the rug, behind the dresser, in the couch cushions, even on the floor of the car, and there isn’t a scrap of ...

Standing at edge of crankiness

It’s not your imagination. People really are angrier these days. Why are we so downright crabby? For starters, politics, the pandemic and persnickety people. Possibly parsnips too, but no one’s tried to feed me any of those things lately. Parsnips make me cranky. Just about anything is ...

Quoth the dreary year of 2020: ‘Nevermore’

It’s the most listful time of the year. By that I mean we are pummeled by plenty of lists popping up everywhere reviewing the year that was 2020. Top songs of the year, top stories of the year, movies of the year, books of the year, events of the year, famous people departing in the year... ...

Coconut has largest house mammal as pet

We have a cat. Rather, my wife has a pet. The cat has me. Last night, I sat in my easy chair watching wildlife on Animal Planet when our all-white, barely-more-than-a-kitten named Coconut issued an order. “Ah, listen to her cute little meow,” Terry said. There was nothing cute or little ...

Get groovy and feel the nostalgia for yesteryear, Daddy-O

How did we get so mixed up over nostalgia? By definition, nostalgia is a yearning to revisit a past period in one’s life. That leaves out my junior high school years. Speaking of which, when I was in junior high, once or twice a year, we would have ’50s Days, in which we all came to ...

Wiggle your fingers at these numbers

There has always been the notebook. My earliest memories of family trips — other than bouncing all over the back seat with my little brother — are Dad reciting the odometer reading and the number of gallons the gas station attendant had just pumped into the car. Mom recorded these in the ...

Holiday books need side of chocolate

The post warmed me more than a mug of hot chocolate: “In Iceland, books are exchanged on Christmas Eve, then the tradition is to spend the rest of the night reading and eating chocolate.” I don’t know if this is true, but it sure ought to be. Which books should we give? Mine, ...

Too creaky to play hide-and-seek

Toy commercials are back! They probably never went away, but it’s the first time in years that I’ve taken notice with the rapt attention of my youth. And by “rapt attention,” I mean scribbling them in a notebook so I can detail my Christmas list for Mom and Dad. If I had spent as much ...

Don’t raise a stink or you won’t pass the smell test

You don’t have to gag your way down the cologne aisles to know that we are enamored of odors. Our speech reeks of fragrances not meant to be taken literally. Take a whiff of some our favorite idioms: • “Wake up and smell the coffee.” (Meaning, “Buy a clue, Mr. Oblivious.”) • ...

The Magazine Card Stuffings Wallpapering System

It’s time once again for practical decorating tips from Uncle Burtie, your home interiors answer man. Today, I introduce you to the Burt’s Eye Magazine Card Stuffings Wallpapering System. I came up with this piece of sheer brilliance thumbing through a magazine while putting off replacing ...

Men knew how to do things before YouTube, Google

When I was a boy, men knew how to do things. You didn’t hire mechanics or carpenters. You fixed and built stuff yourself. If you didn’t know exactly which direction to route the plumbing fixtures, you had your spouse call the spouse of one of the other guys who did. (Back then, men ...

Clothes trauma can be traced back to Smelly Ralph’s hand-me-downs

“Would you like to shop for your own clothes?” My wife asked this with a straight face. I waited for the punchline. None came. “I’ve got stuff,” I said. “No, I mean we could go shopping together for new shirts and pants for you,” Terry said. She couldn’t be serious. Could ...

Tall tales almost certain to land you in hot water

Mom and Dad gushed fake enthusiasm when they dumped me off at cousin Ollie’s farm. “You’ll have so much fun,” Mom said. “I envy you,” Dad sighed. “Open fields to roam, trees to climb, bulls to outrun...” “So let me go to the restaurant and you guys play with Ollie. I always ...

All is sunny, all is bright … As long as you have a tarp

In the Biblical account, the prophet Elijah told King Ahab there’d be no more rain until Elijah said so. For 3 1/2 years, there wasn’t so much as dew on the ground. One day, Elijah told King Ahab to batten down the hatches ’cause he was about to get drenched. The blasts from a thousand ...

Marriage is no tiptoe through tulips

Never has any other device been invented that is as glorious and simultaneously confusing as a spouse. (I was going to write as “confusing as a wife,” but I have been assured by women who have served time as wives that understanding husbands is no tiptoe through the tulips either.) I ...

How is bubblegum on a stick No. 1?

Craziness marred the debate. Tampering and other shenanigans must have influenced the vote. I refuse to accept the outcome. Blow Pops? C’mon, man. There’s no way Blow Pops won Ohio. I am referring to, of course, the results of CandyStore.com’s annual Most Popular Halloween Candy in the ...

Go back to bed, read the paper and just be uninspired

Maxims take minimal effort. And provide no help whatsoever. You know what I mean. It seems that no matter what you’ve been up to, there’s some pest buzzing around ready to tag you with an inspirational quote. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” the would-be motivator ...

If you’re reading this, bring coyote repellent and Pop-Tarts

I’m going camping. Actually, by the time you read this, I should have re-emerged from the deep and dark of the woods. If you don’t see me, please send a search party. Armed with chocolate and Pop-Tarts. “Relax, Pop Pops,” my camping guide says. “I’ll teach you everything you need ...

Grownups would know more if they watched cartoons

The world is full of zany, colorful characters who don’t make a lot of sense. I learned that 55 years ago watching Saturday morning cartoons. Back in the 1960s, Saturday mornings meant giant bowls of cereal with the word “sugar” in the name, and five solid hours of life lessons — er, ...

On a quest for gold, silver, insight

According to ancient wisdom (dating back to at least last Tuesday), to become old and wise, one must first be young and stupid. As my driver’s license will attest, I’m chugging right along on the becoming old part. Not one misstep there. I’m getting better at it all the time. When I was ...