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Burton Cole column

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 ...

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 ...