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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

  • Friday, March 24, 2017 4:00 AM
    Mary Ellen is planning our 2017 summer vacation. She wants to go to the Canadian Rockies. I get nervous about trips like this. Sometimes we get on each other’s nerves when we travel together and it looks like this time we’re going to have a particularly rocky start . . . and finish. 
    Back in 2007, we took a trip to the Grand Canyon, the only place in America where you’re allowed to drag your kid to the precipice of one of the world’s deepest chasms, but they put you in the slammer if you feed a squirrel.
    In the gift shop on the South Rim, the clerk recommended a book called—hold on to your hat (actually, hold on to anything you can): Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon. What a charming choice for fans of light summer reading.
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  • Friday, March 17, 2017 4:00 AM
    I gave my wife a Fitbit this past Christmas. In her attempt to reach that 10,000-step goal, she is continually checking the wristband and monitoring her progress. The other day I walked into the living room and she was shaking her arms wildly back and forth while watching TV. “What are you doing?” I asked.
    “Very unfair . . . bad,” she said, which sounded just like a Trump tweet. “It only registers steps when your arms are moving. When I pushed the cart around Costco for an hour, I didn’t get any credit for my effort. So now I am trying to fool the Fitbit.”
    I was shocked by this. Mary Ellen is the most honest person in America, having nudged an entire convent of nuns out of first place. Trying to put something over on your Fitbit is about as low as a human being can go.
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  • Friday, March 10, 2017 4:00 AM
    Richard Simmons has not been seen in public in a long time. Here is my memory of our friendship with the hope he is doing well.
    It was the fall of 1983 in Indianapolis, and I remember doing the classic comedy double-take, snapping my head to the side as I looked incredulously at the cover of The Globe newspaper, one of several trashy tabloids at supermarket check-outs.
    In the top left corner of the publication was a photo of exercise guru Richard Simmons, donning a sporty jogging outfit while running in Central Park. Next to him was me, at the time the new host of a morning talk show in New York, but not well-known enough to merit being identified. The caption read: “Jog with a Lover.” This was pre-Seinfeld’s “. . . not that there’s anything wrong with that,” but there was something inaccurate about it. Yes, we were friends, which is why reports of his absence from the public have been so troubling to me.
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  • Friday, March 03, 2017 4:00 AM
    Hi! Dick Wolfsie’s cell phone, here. My earlier model wrote a column about 10 years ago to tell you how a tough a job this is. Things have gotten no better since then.
    He misplaced me 43 times in the past 18 months. Of course, I was never really lost. I knew exactly where I was, but have you ever tried to get this guy’s attention?
    What a week I’ve had. On Sunday, we were at the Boat, Sport and Travel Show where Dick was doing a daily TV segment. First, I was in his back pocket, then he tossed me onto the hood of an RV. Then he shoved me under his coat on a bench. He started looking all over for me. He borrowed someone else’s phone to call me. I was totally charged up for this. Success!
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  • Friday, February 24, 2017 4:00 AM
    Happy 15th (fifteenth?) anniversary to Heidi. Heidi is my proofreader (proof-reader?). Everything I’ve written for the last 15 (fifteen?) years is first sent to her via e-mail (email?) to make sure there are no spelling or usage errors. This week she is very busy with an out of town (out-of-town?) commitment, so I’m doing my own proofing. If I said I wasn’t nervous, well that would be a bald-faced (bold-faced?) lie.
    Newspapers that publish my column have editors who check my work, but I wouldn’t want whoever (whomever?) has that responsibility to think that on a week to week (week-to-week?) basis, I’m not a careful writer. I would be really embarrassed if they continually (continuously?) found mistakes in my column, so Heidi is a preventative (preventive?) measure to be sure I get it right.
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  • Friday, February 17, 2017 4:00 AM
    "Seriously," I responded to Mary Ellen, "in the middle of the afternoon? At our age? You must be kidding."
    "Why not? If we wait till evening, you'll just fall asleep. Take your little blue pill and let's get going."
    So I took an Aleve for my arthritis and we headed out for a class in line dancing. 
    We were in Florida with our friends Joy and Steve. I figured it was Joy who dragged Steve along to the community center for these lessons, but Steve tells Joy he loves the activity. So it turns out that her husband, who is a better golfer than I am and a better bowler, is also a better liar. 
    The sign in front of the community center said WATCH YOUR STEP, which at first I thought was a warning about an unsafe change in the flooring, or possibly a whimsical instruction for beginner dancers. But it could have also been a warning to recalcitrant seniors like me not to be uncooperative and cranky.
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  • Friday, February 10, 2017 4:00 AM
    I had blood drawn the other day. I don’t envy phlebotomists. Imagine having a job where everyone hates you for what you are about to do, and the first thing you say to the person is “make a fist.” Plus, when she tells people she’s a phlebotomist, a lot of her patients think she has six husbands.
    My technician, Shirley, uses the same jokes every time. First, she looks at me with flirty eyes and says, “It’s too bad you’re married. You’re my type.” Next she says, “I didn’t much like your column last week so I’m sticking it to you twice today.” I laughed at this stuff for my first few appointments, but now I have my own joke. When she tells me what a tough day she’s had, I tell her to just go with the flow. I’m not sure how much longer we can keep this up. Probably ’til my LDL goes down.
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  • Friday, February 03, 2017 4:00 AM
    I recently made the biggest gift-giving mistake of my life. I got Mary Ellen a Fitbit for Christmas. My wife has become somewhat of a health nut, which I should clarify, includes eating about six varieties of healthful nuts. She has wanted to keep track of her walking. I am not a walker myself. Truth is, I have walked back several promises I made when we first got married, as well as three 2017 New Year’s resolutions. That’s about as much exercise as I’m comfortable with.
    Wait, I do walk to my office every day (it’s not my fault I work from home) and I walk to the pro shop to get my golf cart. Oh, and to the garage to get on my riding lawn mower. Maybe I’ve never given myself enough credit.
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  • Friday, January 27, 2017 4:00 AM
    There are more sad clown faces than usual at Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus this month. RBBB, The Greatest Show on Earth, is closing after 146 years.
    No one is sadder or more shocked by the news than Don West of Fishers. Don owns one of the premier collections of carnival and circus memorabilia in the Midwest. His lower level is filled with eye candy for anyone who has ever ridden a roller coaster, seen a sideshow or gone to a circus.
    Don started out as a young man doing traditional model railroad collecting, but somewhere along the line he got off track. Ironically, it was after his change in direction that he learned circuses and carnivals ran in his family, way back to his great-great-uncle and grandfather, who owned a sideshow. “That’s when I knew it was in my blood,” he says.
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  • Friday, January 20, 2017 4:00 AM
    In 2005, famed political humorist Art Buchwald entered hospice in Washington, DC.
    Last week, I described how I first met Mr. Buchwald in 1967 in an encounter that lasted a mere two minutes. I was a 22-year-old college kid who read his feature every day in the Washington Post. He was one of the most successful syndicated humorist in the world. As he read my own column in his office, a flick of his wrist over my byline in my school newspaper made an indelible impression on me. There, he curmudgeonly wrote: 
    Wolfsie, stay out of my racket! –Art Buchwald
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  • Friday, January 13, 2017 4:00 AM
    Note from Dick Wolfsie: This month marks 10 years since the passing of famed political humorist Art Buchwald. In 2006 I wrote about our first meeting in 1967 and our final goodbye almost 40 years later. It means a great deal to me to reprint this two-part story in celebration of his life. When I first wrote this column in 2006, Art Buchwald was in hospice. He wanted to spend his final days with friends and family. This is my memory of the first time our paths crossed.
    From my very first day of college in September of 1965 at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., I wanted to meet Art Buchwald. His office, on Pennsylvania Avenue, was just down the street from my dorm.
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  • Friday, January 06, 2017 4:00 AM
    This is part two of my THANKS and NO THANKS to the people, places and things that sparked ideas for my weekly newspaper columns in 2016.
    THANKS to Sam’s Club and Costco for offering a plump, perfectly cooked rotisserie chicken for five bucks. While in one of the stores last month to purchase one for dinner, I picked up a new iPad, some printer ink and two cases of imported beer. “How can they possibly afford to sell an entire cooked chicken for only $4.95?” I asked the lady at the check-out.
    “Got me,” she said. “Your total is $352.00. Enjoy your dinner.”
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  • Friday, December 30, 2016 4:00 AM
    It’s that time once again when I look back and give thanks (and a few NO THANKS) to the dozens of people and situations that inspired many of my 50 humor columns this past year. Here’s Part One of 2016 in review:
    THANKS to Menards for offering a publication with tips on projects you can make with an empty five-gallon bucket. “The buckets are remarkably strong . . . adaptable and not easily bent out of shape . . . easy to work with and hold up under pressure.” Wow, I wish we could have found someone like that to run for president. 
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  • Friday, December 23, 2016 4:00 AM
    I mean a pair of 35 x 31 pants. That’s not a brand name, like 501 jeans; it’s my size. Yes, I have a 35-inch waist and two 31-inch legs. Now you know. I am not particularly proud of this. I didn’t aspire to it (except when I was a 36). But I’m not unhappy with it either, although I’d rather be a 34.
    Now, I ask you again: have you seen these pants? I’m beginning to think the ones I’m wearing were the last 35 x 31s made in America. I’m looking for another pair. Where have all the 35 x 31s gone? Every Saturday morning, I head out the door to look for pants. I’m either wearing my only six-year-old pair of 35 x 31s, or I’m scrunched into 34 x 28s. Sometimes I waddle around in a pair of 36 x 32s.
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  • Friday, December 16, 2016 4:00 AM
    Each year I poke fun at the world-famous Hammacher Schlemmer gift catalog and highlight their most ridiculous holiday offerings. This latest December issue had a few doozies, like:
    THE SPINNING SPAGHETTI FORK, which first appeared in the catalog three years ago. It was a boon for people too tired to drive to Olive Garden only to then have to actually twirl the spaghetti themselves. Apparently, the device was such a hit that in this month’s catalog we now have THE LAZY LICKER’S SPINNING ICE CREAM CONE. Yes, as we celebrate the 115th anniversary of the ice cream cone, the folks at Hammacher Schlemmer have finally found a way to take all the fun and guesswork out of eating America’s favorite treat. The battery-operated plastic cone spins at 25 rpm, “providing lethargic lickers” with the joy of their favorite frozen treat without having the tedious task of moving their jaw. This is the perfect gift for . . . for . . . I have no idea.
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