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Burton Cole column

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 ...

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 ...

This sewing class dropout just wants cake

I am a sewing class dropout. I fought the sewing machine and the sewing machine won. Snapped thread, torqued pins and cloth snarled in balls of stitches lay in my wake. I eked out one kitchen boa and one cinch bag, both inflicted with some of the most meandering drunken seams ever known to ...

Keep an eye on your boots and toast

Welcome to another episode of “Animals Behaving Badly.” The guest stars on this week’s episode include international shoe thief foxes, a laundered snake and emus banned from a bar. Let’s welcome our first guest: * In late July, a fox in Berlin, Germany, was busted for theft — of ...

Memories were better before everything was on YouTube

“Remember that time you fell out of the tree in the cow pasture?” Cousin Ollie gasped in merriment — his, not mine. “You looked like a walrus scaling a cactus.” “I believe you refer to the time I saved the life of that poor, stranded kitty that you ignored.” Ollie hooted. ...

You can lose the fill-in-the-blank game

Long-married couples have a knack for finishing each other’s sentences. Terry and I do that. It’s too bad that we’re never talking about the same thing when we do. You’ve seen those creepy couples. They’ll be all smiles and doe-eyed as they carry on coded cut-off conversations that ...

Get ready to hurry up and wait

“Wanna hike through the woods?” “That’s a great idea,” my wife said. “Just give me a minute to gather up a couple things.” “No!” I cried. “We’ll never get there.” “Don’t be silly,” Terry said. “Once upon a time, when we decided to do something, we got up and ...

Science says men do stupid things to have good story

Never ask a man how he got that scar. Not because it’s impolite. But because he’ll tell you. Repeatedly. In glowing, gory detail after detail after detail. The only relief from total monotony is that the stories usually improve over the years — the alley cat morphs into a mountain lion, ...

I could really use dum-dum-dumm background music

I’ve figured out why I’m in trouble so often — no background music. At first, I thought it was me. Maybe I am an insensitive clod. A clumsy oaf. A lazy laggard. Don’t be ridiculous. She was just having another bad day at the exact moment when I opened my mouth or spilled the ...

3 boys, or one husband, equals no help

The great Canadian philosopher Red Green (Steve Smith) once said, “The smart handyman knows that your best projects are done alone. That way, there’s nobody there trying to tell you how stupid or impossible they are.” I have tested this axiom and found it true, as both helper and ...

Mowing the lawn is time well wasted

I stood at the picture window, staring at nothing in particular while my thoughts frittered and frolicked a million miles away. The voice froze a thought either mid-frit or mid-frol: “Yes, that grass sure is high.” I blinked myself back to the present. Turned to see my sweet wife. And ...

Having a sensible, adult breakfast

The stealth Pop-Tarts were left at the newspaper office in a brown paper bag. The attached note read: “Here is a Terry-approved breakfast option. I advise that you store it toward the back of your pantry, but if she should find it, you can blame it on a factory error.” I peeked inside ...

Without experimentation, Pop-Tarts still worth craving

“Stop! You almost passed the Pop-Tarts.” “Let’s not leave the job half done,” my wife called over her shoulder. She pushed the shopping cart farther down the grocery aisle. I grabbed a 12-pack of frosted strawberry and caught up to her. “Don’t worry. I got them.” Terry ...

The script for 2020 has been rejected

Right from Day 1, it’s been a weird spring. Day 1 of the spring equinox fell on March 19 — the first time in 124 years that spring didn’t begin on either March 20 or 21. After that little oddity, life grew more bizarre by the day. If the events of 2020 had been submitted as a movie ...