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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

  • Wolfsie is a big fan of caption contest winner
    Friday, October 21, 2016 4:00 AM
    When I called local advertising executive and film producer Dennis Neary to tell him he was my new hero, he assumed I was a fan of his 52 one-minute bicentennial stories that have aired on TV stations all across Indiana. In 60 seconds, you get a thumbnail sketch of some Hoosier history like Crispus Attucks High School, Robert Kennedy’s speech after Martin Luther King’s assassination, Philo Farnsworth (the inventor of television), Red Skelton, James Dean and the Von Tilzer Brothers, to name just a few. By the way, I didn’t know who the Von Tilzer Brothers were, either. Go to YouTube (Bicentennial Minutes) and search Von Tilzer. It’s worth it.
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  • Friday, October 14, 2016 4:00 AM
    I have monumental problems logging into my bank account. The issue is that I can never remember the answers I had given to my security questions. Who was my favorite comic book hero as a kid? Batman? Superman? The Flash? I’d hate to think I picked Aquaman.
    What about my favorite flower? I have never had a favorite flower. If I choose rose, there’s a good chance I’ll say chrysanthemum the next time—if I can spell it. Tulips are not me. And I’m no pansy, that I can tell you.
    Here’s another stumper: What college did I apply to but not attend? Well, that would be all the colleges that rejected me, so it could be Syracuse, or Northwestern, or Boston University. Maybe Brown. The list just goes on and on . . . and on. And how about the name of my best friend? That’s a tough one because someone is always ticking me off, so it changes every week.
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  • Getting a leg up on medical issues
    Friday, October 07, 2016 4:00 AM
    Publicly sharing personal medical issues is not a good idea, something I should have learned from past experience. Several years ago, I mentioned in a column that I was losing my sense of smell. A doctor wrote me and suggested I might have a brain tumor. Others just said I should have my head examined. I’m not sure if this was the same advice.
    I received similar notes of concern when I disclosed that I have sneezing fits—sometimes a couple dozen achoos in a row. A very caring reader wrote and said this might be an indication of a severe case of “drug-induced rhinitis” and that she was going to pray for me. Then she said, “God bless you.” She needed to say it 25 times.
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  • Wolfsie has the movie madness
    Wednesday, September 28, 2016 7:40 PM
    If I hadn’t gotten lost on the way to the entry exam, the people at Mensa might have made me a member. I did try a second time, but I got a flat tire on the way and I have no idea how to use the jack in the trunk. Otherwise, I’d be in Mensa. Believe me.
    I’m sure you can’t get in Mensa if you don’t understand movies. At home, while Mary Ellen and I watch a flick, she sits on the couch answering emails, and solving complicated Sudoku puzzles. But she still manages to understand exactly what is going on. I am perpetually confused and continually request that my wife stop the DVR and so I can ask if those are those the good guys or the bad guys?
    Mary Ellen has so little faith in my ability to follow a plot that she sometimes stops the recording herself, and asks, “Okay, do you realize what just happened?” I find this insulting, demeaning and emasculating, but it sure does help me understand the movie.
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  • Dick Wolfsie takes turn for the worse
    Tuesday, September 20, 2016 4:00 AM
    I seem to have a great deal of trouble turning things off. Turning them on? No sweat. Light switches, blenders, lamps, ovens, fans. They’re a breeze – especially the last one.
    I used to have a car with a weird issue. When I’d turn off the ignition and get out, it kept running. There was an additional reason I never bought another Ford Pinto, but I forget why now. 
    My wife has to keep reminding me while I’m driving to turn off my turn signal. My car has six airbags, a rear-view camera and voice-controlled GPS directions. I’d give it all up if the blinker would go off automatically after I – what’s the word I’m looking for? Oh yeah: TURN.
    The other day my wife and I were talking via cell phones. “Dick, I gotta go. I have another call.”
    “Okay, see ya.”
    “Dick, are you going to hang up, or not?”
    “I’m trying, Mary Ellen. I pushed the button three times.”
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  • Wednesday, September 14, 2016 4:00 AM
    I have had really bad leg cramps for a long time. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I jump out of bed screaming at the top of my lungs. Then I brace myself against the side of the headboard and push down on the ball of my foot, which shakes the entire bed. One night, I almost woke up my wife.
    When you’re as old as I am and you want compassion, you need to limit your friends to those with an AARP card. Recently I shared an elevator ride with a young man who had been an intern at WISH-TV. He asked me, “So how are you doing, Mr. Wolfsie?”
    “Oh, okay I guess, Todd. But I get these terrible leg cramps at night . . .”
    “Well, have a nice day. See ya.”
    On the way back down in the elevator, I saw an old friend, a man of my own vintage. “Hey, Dick, how ya been?”
    “Fine, Joel, except at night I have this problem where…”
    “Don’t tell me—leg cramps. I used to get them, also. Here’s what I recommend: Take vitamin E three times a day. It’s like a miracle.”
    I’ve never trusted the Internet for health information, but I am inclined to take advice in an elevator. 
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  • Wednesday, September 07, 2016 4:00 AM
    A small framed photo stashed in a corner of my office is almost 60 years old. I had not given it any thought in ages. Why hadn’t I just pasted it in a scrapbook or added it to the forgotten piles of memorabilia gathering dust in the basement?
    It’s a picture of my All-Star Little League team from New Rochelle, N.Y., back in 1959 — all of us posed in our uniforms and bound for the state championships in Poughkeepsie. Two more victories there and we’d be headed to Williamsport, Penn., for the Little League World Championships.
    We were a motley group: Jews, Hispanics, Italians, Blacks, and Ryan, our Irish second baseman. We didn’t care about race or religion — just runs. Maybe that’s because we were kids. Or maybe because it was baseball.
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  • Sunday, July 17, 2016 10:12 PM

    Just once in 38 years I’d have liked to hear Mary Ellen say something like: “Dick has this terrific habit of changing his underwear every day.” Generally the word habit is associated with a repeated bad action.  I mean, there are good vibes and bad vibes; good ideas and bad ideas; good luck and bad luck. But it’s almost redundant to include the word “bad” with habit.

    Mary Ellen recently commented that after all our years together, it still drove her a little batty that I whistle all the time. She claims I do it when I am working in my home office or cleaning out the garage, and even when I am on my way out the door to go to the TV station.

    “No one whistles on the way to work,” she said. I told her I could probably name seven who did, but one of the dwarves’ names keeps slipping my mind. 

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  • Sunday, July 17, 2016 10:09 PM

    Garrison Keillor performed his final Prairie Home Companion episode last week, capping things off with a goodbye visit to Lake Wobegon, his mythical hometown where “all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.”

    I did not hear that live performance on the radio; I watched it the next day, on YouTube—a decision I regretted because for four decades he was a disembodied voice. That might sound odd, but actually seeing his body took away some of the magic for me. If you love radio, you know what I mean.

    Keillor was a glorious confluence of Mark Twain, Jerry Seinfeld and Will Rogers.  And while I did not know him personally, there were a few intersecting points in our lives.

    The first begins with Fred Newman, his intrepid sound-effects man. Fred makes each performance sparkle with accompanying mouth noises that brilliantly mimic explosions, trains, tornadoes and virtually anything that Keillor throws at him as he spins a story. Fred never knows what’s coming.

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  • Thursday, July 07, 2016 11:48 PM

    Sleeping has always been an issue for me. Not napping: I’m a wiz at napping. The problem is falling asleep in a bed…and staying that way for six to eight hours. I’m just not good at it. Never have been.

    I have tried many things over the years. I took Ambien once. It worked well, but there was an odd side effect. Not only did I think I got a good night’s sleep, but when I woke up in the morning, I discovered I had mown the entire front lawn in the dark. I also tried allergy medicine because a friend told me that if I took a couple it would make me sleep deeply. It also made me a little goofy. I don’t think growling at yourself in the mirror is normal.

    The one place I sleep great is on a bus. But why? There is nothing on a bus that lends itself to sleeping. The seats are hard, the space is cramped and it’s usually hot.  

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  • Monday, June 20, 2016 12:00 AM

    The men who live in my cul de sac aerate their lawns. I’m telling you this because there’s a good chance that because of this unnecessary demonstration of male virility, I may put my house up for sale and I’d feel guilty if someone reading this ended up in the same neighborhood.

    Recently my wife and I arrived home from a Sunday brunch and saw Jeff wrestling with what appeared to be a 200-horsepower lawnmower.  The really strange part was that Jeff was not aerating his own lawn, but Stan’s lawn, which looked like an act of great selflessness unless you take into account that he had simply lost control of the behemoth and was desperately trying to steer the machine back to his own front yard.   Then Mark, watching Jeff from his living room window, came outside to request that he be given a chance to aerate.  Stan also wanted in.  This scam made Tom Sawyer look like an amateur.


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  • Tuesday, June 07, 2016 1:14 AM
    As I mentioned in my last column, I don’t think Baby Boomers will ever feel comfortable with technology. It’s not that we can’t master it, but more that we don’t trust it. When Microsoft Word asks if I, “want to save the changes?” before I close a document, I often want to do exactly that, but how can I be sure that the people at Microsoft Word can be taken at their word and my changes will be saved? I want a BIG, SOLID commitment, not a puny micro-soft one.
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  • Tuesday, May 31, 2016 11:45 PM
    The prevailing attitude among the younger generations is that Baby Boomers are not capable of learning and accepting new technology.  Youth today have grown up using computers. Learning that type of skill-set is far easier when you begin at an early age. People of my vintage have not been given the credit they deserve for the successful adaption we made to new technology back in the ’50s and ’60s, such as:
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  • Tuesday, May 17, 2016 1:00 AM

    This is my 800th column. I started writing for newspapers in the year 2000, one article every week for 16 years. I have never missed a deadline.

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  • Sunday, May 08, 2016 11:20 PM
    Nothing is certain in politics, but it sure looks like the November battle will be between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The opposing campaigns are already debating the debates, outlining the rules that will govern the first TV match-up in October.  I looked up the rules and I wish Mary Ellen and I had been given some similar guidelines 35 years ago when we tied the knot.
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