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Burton Cole column

If you can hear this, quit sending me earwax ads

Like most aggravations, this one is my wife’s fault. Whoops, that didn’t come out right. I am so going to hear about this. Or maybe not. That’s how the problem started. Terry’s such a soft talker that I miss the occasional word or two. “It’s not occasional,” she signaled with ...

Living with antiquities, rarities and vintage whatzits

I grew up in a museum. I didn’t know it was a museum. No one ever stopped for a tour. If they had, we boys would have trundled them to the barn, handed them pitchforks and told them the interactive exhibit began behind the cows. Kids can be creative when it comes to getting out of ...

Cole gains force field against stupidity

The more I age, the more my immunity to peer pressure matures. It’s like gaining a force field against stupidity. Oh, sure, I still do plenty of stupid things. My wife keeps a catalog of them. I am still a guy, after all. It’s just that when I do stupid things now, it’s because I want ...

Grumpy Grammar Guy begs you: Stop abusing apostrophes

As a recovering copy editor, few things get my goat as much as the misplaced apostrophe. Walk down any street in the U.S. of A. and you’re likely to see signs like these: • Professional Sign’s & Lettering • Fried Oreo’s • Valentine gift idea’s • Radiator Cover’s Made ...

People milk idea of zebra cow and moo-ve past methane

If I believed everything I read, I’d think that cows are evil, bent on destroying the world by bovine burps and flatuence. I grew up on a farm in cow country, and trust me, the cows had nothing on us pack of boys when it came to burps, gas-passing and other odoriferous hobbies. I do not ...

My hat is lost forever! Wait, Terry moved it again

“I need a new knit hat for winter,” I told Terry. “Mine disappeared.” “Isn’t it on the hat holder by the door?” she said. “That’s where I put it. But it’s not there.” Terry walked to the back door. She plucked my knit cap from the far left side of the tray. She dropped ...

Predictions of flying cars fall short

In the supposed words of the great philosopher Yogi Berra, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” That quote’s also been attributed to Mark Twain, Niels Bohr, Casey Stengel, Robert Storm Petersen and Samuel Goldwyn, among others. With a past so unreliable, is ...

Get yourself a bowl of cold cereal and check the mail

It was so odd that my wife called me at work: “You got a letter in the mail.” “You rang me up to tell me about yet another credit card offer?” “No,” she said. “Your cousin Cindy. She sent you a letter. An actual letter with an envelope, a stamp and everything.” “Weird,” I ...

Just hire a chimpanzee to remodel your kitchen

Science once proclaimed that what separated homo sapiens from all the other critters was that humans were the only creatures who fashioned and used tools. (Humans also are the only creatures known to use credit cards and hold committee meetings. You may think your executive committee is made ...

It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye

Has any kid ever poked an eye out? His, hers or anyone else’s? That was the No. 1 threat parents gave to make us quit doing something: “Don’t run with that stick in your hand. You’ll fall and poke your eye out.” “Keep throwing those balled up socks like that and you’ll poke ...

Spit-shined and ready to grow up with wife’s advice

I am my wife’s oldest son. I don’t know when the transformation happens but it’s an affliction most husbands suffer. One moment, our wives chat about how they fell in love with our boyish charms. The next, they’re spit-washing cereal off our cheeks and ordering us to tuck in our ...

’Tis the season for baggy pants

’Tis the season to break out the holiday wear. I don’t mean ties imprinted with Santa’s chubby cheeks and red and green sweaters littered with snowflakes. Let’s wait until December for that. I’m talking about pants that are two sizes too large and sweatshirts marked 3XL. If they ...

Introverts unite! Separately. At home. With a nice blanket.

My phone rang the other day. I held it in my hand and stared at the screen. “Aren’t you going to answer it?” my wife asked. “I... I...” I gulped. “No.” “You don’t recognize the number?” she said. “Sure. It’s Ralph. But I need at least 30 minutes to psych myself up to ...

The war wages for control of coveted thermostat

Terry snugged the hoodie around her head and burrowed her hands deep into the pockets of her quilted vest. “You look comfy,” I said as I zipped my parka and pulled on ski gloves. “It sure has gotten cold,” she said. Puffballs of steam rolled across the frigid air with every ...

Pogo and friends speak words of wisdom

“We are confronted by insurmountable opportunities.” So commented Walt Kelly, the genius behind “Pogo,” one of the all-time great newspaper comic strips featuring both satire and wordplay. Pogo Possum, Churchy LaFemme, Porky Pine and the rest of the Okefenokee Swamp gang butchered ...

When women get too big for Barbie, they look at you

Terry shook a bundle of clothes loose from the whopping plastic bag. “You wouldn’t believe the bargains I found at the rummage sale today.” I groaned. “How many times have I explained this? Buying a $20 shirt at 25 percent off doesn’t save you $5. It makes you spend $15 that could ...

Muttering through upper middle age

“Sweetie, can you come here a minute?” I think that’s what she said. The older my wife gets, the harder she is to hear. “Be right there.” I rocked my easy chair once, twice, three times. When I reached sufficient momentum for launch, I fumbled out of the old thing amid much ...

Pondering the imponderable

If Wile E. Coyote could afford all those rockets, anvils, skates, skis and cannons from the Acme Co., why didn’t he just order dinner? What would the speed of lightning be if it didn’t zigzag? By the way, what’s the speed of dark? How did that “Keep off the grass” sign get ...

October has much more to offer than Halloween

Oh, those crazy, hazy days of October silliness. Allow me to be the first to wish you a happy Mad Hatter Day! Now go do something silly. Mad Hatter Day isn’t marked on your calendar? You need a new calendar. The year is jammed full of weird, odd, unusual and otherwise quirky celebrations ...

Drive minus athletic ability equals disaster

When it comes to sports, I possess tons of competitive drive. But I misplaced my only ounce of athletic ability. In an elementary school football game, I was wide open for a touchdown pass. I ducked. On my junior high basketball team, I charged the lane and leaped. But I’d lost the ball ...