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Tuesday, February 19, 2019
  • Friday, February 15, 2019 4:00 AM
    My wife casually mentioned to me the other night that my chest needed a little development. (While I suppose your better half is permitted to assess your upper half, I’d suggest not responding in kind.) She thinks my body lacks definition, but I disagree. It’s in the dictionary under scrawny. Women are definitely more interested in men having muscles than a sense of humor. No female has never said: “I wish Matthew McConaughey would put his shirt back on and tell more jokes.”
    I used to go to a gym to play racquetball, and I’d see men and women fine-tuning their physiques, yet I wasn’t inspired to fiddle with my own. Never really interested in the pure pursuit of brute strength, I would watch weightlifters during their routine. They’d pick up a heavy thing, then they’d put it down again. Such indecision.
    After this stinging critique of my body, I read in Prevention magazine that when you reach 45 years of age, you begin losing one percent of your bone density and muscle mass every year. Old photos of me from high school show there was very little mass to start with, although some did roll in across my midsection in the early ’80s. Density? I asked Mary Ellen about that, but she said not to worry, that I’m as dense as I’ve ever been—and she’s not one to just toss out compliments.
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  • Friday, February 8, 2019 4:00 AM
    It was 7 p.m. Sunday night and Mary Ellen and I were having the same conversation we always have at that time. “Is this the week we put out the recycling?” I asked my wife.
    “No, we put it out last week, didn’t we?”
    “We did, but they didn’t pick it up, so it must be this week.”
    “But I think we put it out too late and we simply missed the truck,” said Mary Ellen. “Well, does anyone else have their recycle bin out?”
    “Yes, Jerry has his out,” I said.
    “You can’t go by him. Jerry puts it out every Monday, Dick. He’s the cause of the confusion every week.”
    “Wait, there’s Eric putting his out, now. I’m going to put ours out, too.”
    As I was wheeling our trash and recycling dumpsters out of the garage, Eric called to me. “Dick, is this the correct Monday for the recycling?”
    “I’m not sure, Eric. But now I see Paul putting his out.”
    I called to Paul: “Paul, are you sure this is the week for recycling?”
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  • Friday, February 1, 2019 4:00 AM
    This was in an ad I saw last week:
    The McDonald’s free bacon offer will take place on Jan. 29, 2019. 
    Customers may add bacon to anything for free.
    Yes, bacon on your fries, in your McFlurry, on your Big Mac, in your back pack, and in one selected drive-thru (on a test basis, only) directly in your mouth.
    Many food-related industries have tried to take advantage of the bacon craze.
    Back in 2007, The Food Network put out their “Bacon Issue,” which contained 300 pages devoted to bacon. (This was a marketing effort to compensate for their relatively poor-selling “Tofu/Kale Issue.”) The cover story said you can find 108 amazing recipes inside, including 27 really bizarre ones—like the chocolate bacon cupcakes on the cover. Also on the front was a photo of a lollipop made out of bacon, the perfect way to lure the little ones away from sugar, which we all know is so unhealthy.
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  • Friday, January 25, 2019 4:00 AM
    "My wife doesn’t understand me.” It’s a common complaint uttered by men sitting in bars. Of course, that’s not where I picked it up. I probably overheard it at the barber shop. My problem is that my wife does understand me. Heidi, my proofreader, is also on to me. I try so darn hard to be misunderstood, but women all have my number. I’m so clueless, I don’t even know what my own number is. How the heck did they get it?
    The best example is my frequent assertion that after writing more than 1,000 humor columns, it’s time to quit. Whenever I fail to come up with a new idea for my next column, I climb the stairs from my basement office with a long face, slump into a kitchen chair, and let out a huge sigh. “I’m out of ideas,” I tell Mary Ellen. “There is nothing left to write about.” Last week I added that Dave Barry and Art Buchwald both had nervous breakdowns due to the pressure. That last part isn’t true, but my wife is not a Googler, so I may get away with it.
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  • Friday, January 18, 2019 4:00 AM
    At first glance, it seemed like a pretty good deal. Enjoy a complimentary $25.00 gift card from one of the local supermarkets. All it required was answering a few questions online. I figured it was a marketing scam. I wasn’t born yesterday. In fact, as you’ll see, I was born 100 years ago.
    I had to agree to certain contractual terms, including giving my permission for the research firm to forward my responses to businesses that could contact me to pitch their products or services. What was I thinking?
    The first line asked me the date I was born. I was honest about the exact day in March, but I scrolled all the way to the bottom of the drop-down menu and found the earliest birth year listed. I clicked on 1918. I thought that might dissuade the life insurance sales people from pestering me with calls.
    Next, I was confronted with several odd questions disguised as statements.
    92% of females who fill out this survey want to receive free samples. Do you? (Was this a trick question? I’m a guy. How do I answer that? I think the first question on tests should be the easiest.)
    40% of those who fill out this survey meditate. Do you? (Yes, and right now I’m deep in thought, wondering why I am doing this for a lousy 25 bucks.)
    Then things started getting really serious…
    8% of those who fill out this survey are unemployed. Are you?
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  • Friday, December 28, 2018 4:00 AM
    There are probably dozens of bells and whistles on my smart phone that I haven’t discovered yet. A friend told me the other day that you can have your phone announce who is calling you. Here’s another cool trick he taught me: if you are unhappy with what you’ve typed in a text, instead of erasing all of it, just shake the phone and it all disappears. Next thing you know, you’ll be able to take a photograph with your phone. How cool would that be?
    Until recently I didn’t realize that instead of using my chubby sausage fingers to text a message, I can press this tiny microphone symbol on my phone and then simply talk into the device. Magically the words are transcribed. Was I that stupid? No, I’m 71.
    Needless to say, the discovery of this simple feature has changed my life. No longer do I send messages that say things like: “I gat your email anf hipe to see yiu im the veri near futurg.”
    “Wait, don’t you have spellcheck?“ you might ask. I don’t use spellcheck. I don’t trust it. When I type PRINCIPAL instead of PRINCIPLE it doesn’t get corrected, and it makes me seem ignorant when I text a friend saying “I stand up for my principals.” It looks like I’m complimenting local school officials. But spellcheck has a hissy fit if I type Febuary instead of February. Come on, who doesn’t make that mistake? Get off my back.
    Here is what happened the other day: I was in my basement office texting my friend Bob and said into the phone: “Can we meet at Starbucks tomorrow?” As the text was being transcribed, my wife heard me from upstairs and thought I was talking to her.
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  • Friday, December 21, 2018 4:00 AM
    Like most guys, when I walk past a magazine rack, I can't help but stare. The day before Thanksgiving, I saw one cover that made me drool. There she was: perfectly proportioned, with golden skin and a great pair of legs. It was the best looking turkey I had ever seen.
    The magazine was at Whole Foods, where the 2018 Thanksgiving edition of their own publication was on the shelves. Soon it will be the 2018 Christmas edition: same delicacies, just with a new title. The Thanksgiving meal is just like the Christmas meal…without the Amazon gift cards.
    Inside the front cover is an introductory letter from…from…I don’t know who it’s from. It’s not signed, but there are two hashtags at the bottom. One says #Thanksgiving and the other is #MakesMeWhole. I accessed both Twitter locations where there were lots of holiday recipes, but none for turkey hash, which seems like a wasted pun opportunity.
    The editor’s letter says the “Whole Foods company wants to make your feast the greatest ever, which is why we have mounds of potatoes…and more types of mushrooms than you can count.” Even after a couple of glasses of Merlot, I can still count to seven.
    In the next paragraph, there is a description of the Whole Foods turkey as a ”bronzed, glistening show piece,” which piqued my interest once again. They went on to say the bird was “dry brined and organic,” which made me lose my appetite. They also claim their turkeys were “raised the right way,” which is more than you can say about the next-door neighbor’s children. Your own kids are perfect, of course.
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  • Friday, December 14, 2018 4:00 AM
    Humor is nothing more than observing the truth from a slightly different point of view. During 2018, I had my share of experiences—both good and bad—that led to this year’s 50-plus columns. Some thanks are in order:
    Thanks to my surgeon, who taught me how to do Kegels. Good manners prevent me from explaining exactly what this involves (guys, ask your wives), but Mary Ellen called me the King of Kegels because I exceeded the required number of repetitions each day. “I do feel like The King,” I said as I headed off to work, “and right now my Pelvis is leaving the building.”
    Thanks to my own spaciness that resulted in a hurried trip one morning to pick up my medication at CVS. I had planned to go next door afterward for a cup of coffee. I pulled up to the window and presented my prescription. “I’m sorry, Sir,” said the lady at the drive-thru, “we don’t have Lipitor, this is Dunkin’ Donuts.”
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  • Friday, December 7, 2018 4:00 AM
    Last week, I continued my tradition of lampooning the annual Hammacher Schlemmer Christmas gift catalog. This week, I’ve looked back on some 300 items and pick my favorites from the past 15 years. Some are still available in the current collection . . . still more are in garage sales.
    THE GORILLA IN THE ROOM: This is a 96-inch inflatable PVC gorilla for those people who love the expression “That's the 800-pound gorilla in the room.” Sure, this might be a funny conversation piece the first time your friends see it, but it will quickly become the 19-pound gorilla on eBay.
    THE 36-IN-ONE POCKET TOOL: This Swiss Army knife includes scissors, nail file, pen, bottle opener, and screwdriver, to name just a few components. Out in time for Christmas will be the French Army Knife, with 36 different corkscrews. 
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  • Friday, November 30, 2018 4:00 AM
    Our recent move has been very stressful. Not the financing, the inspections, or the packing and unpacking—those were easy. I have spent a lot of sleepless nights worrying about whether I’d receive my Christmas edition of the Hammacher Schlemmer gift catalog. The Post Office doesn’t always forward bulk mail, but fortunately someone changed my name to RESIDENT and it came right on time. Here are a few of my favorite gifts from this year’s HS holiday publication:
    THE BETTER MONEY CLIP 
    First of all, I want the best money clip, not a just better one. Come to think of it, I don’t want a money clip at all. HS says it holds 50 bills and 12 credit cards. Isn’t that just a wallet…without leather?
    THE BEST NOSE HAIR TRIMMER
    HS says their panel of experts lauded its “smooth trimming.” How do you gather a panel like that? How much experience do you need with nose trimmers to make you an expert? The description also says that the trimmer is easier to clean with a removable head. If you have a removable head, I bet it is also easier to clean your ears.
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  • Friday, November 23, 2018 4:00 AM
    “You need to go to the doctor and have your hearing tested,” said my wife. “I’ve told you that a hundred times.” 
    “I only remembered 60,” but maybe I didn’t hear the other 40 suggestions. She claims I have been in complete denial about this for several years.
    I decided to take a hearing test online. Participating in any test or medical questionnaire on the Web is always a mistake. Recently, I was not feeling well so I entered my symptoms: headache, fatigue, and dizziness. In seconds, I was provided 23 reasons I should be dead.
    At one hearing test site, I was instructed to wear headphones and sit in a quiet room—which was easy enough. All the rooms in my house are very quiet, even the laundry room when I am doing the wash. Hmmm, that is a little peculiar, isn’t it?
    When the test began, I was prompted to watch for a flashing light, then click on a green button if I heard a sound. I didn’t hear very much, but I clicked every single time because I started to realize this was just a scam to sell me a hearing aid, which I clearly don’t need. Sure enough, they called me 10 minutes after I finished.
    “Mr. Wolfsie, thank you for your selection of the Republic Hearing Company.”
    “Wait, the election? Isn’t that over? And I’m not a Republican: I’m a registered Democrat.”
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  • Friday, November 16, 2018 4:00 AM
    A neuroscientist at the University of California was posting photos of everything he ate on his Facebook page. The expression “feed your face,” took on a new meaning. This professor claimed that revealing your food choices to the world will motivate you to eat better.
    Dr. Garcia included daytime snacks, late-night raids of the fridge, and even the doughnuts he had stuffed in his glove compartment. He had uploaded 9,000 pictures onto his Mac, which included a few dozen Big Macs, I might add. 
    I’m not sure this is a totally new idea. Unlike the good doctor, I’ve been uploading meals and then downloading them onto my dress shirts for more than 60 years. It is not uncommon for people to ask me about certain food choices I have posted on my clothing for all my friends to see . . .
    “Looks delicious, Dick. Wasn’t that the special at the Olive Garden last week?”
    “Been to a ball game, Dick? I recognize the mustard.”
    People are always imposing a visual record of their lives on others. I’m tired of friends showing me their pets on their cell phones. In fact, I’d rather see a serving of French fries than a French poodle. An adorable pic of your granddaughter on her new trike isn’t nearly as interesting to me as a snapshot of a slab of smoky ribs. If it helps, I’ll even go, “Awww, how cute.”
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  • Friday, November 9, 2018 4:00 AM
    We are blessed with a beautiful forest behind our new home. The problem is that the trees need a bit of trimming, and that means I need to get out the chainsaw, a device I am only familiar with because of R-rated movies.
    I had a chainsaw at our old house but found it to be a very inefficient tool. I took it back to the dealer and I told him it took me hours to cut down one little limb. “Let me give it a try,” said the clerk, and then he pulled the cord.
    VAROOM!
    “Geez, what’s that loud noise?” I asked him. “It never did that before.”
    “Look, Mr. Wolfsie, I once saw you walk into a plate glass window on your morning TV segment. You are not the kind of person who should mess with power tools.”
    I’m actually very good with power tools. I have never once had a problem starting my lawn mower. I did have one accident, though. I almost broke my nose when I tripped over the extension cord to my weed wacker.
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  • Friday, November 2, 2018 4:00 AM
    I just read on AOL that coffee first thing in the morning is bad for you. Hard to believe, isn’t it? No, not the coffee part, the fact that I still have AOL. Apparently, you mess with your internal clock when you drink java on an empty stomach. Coffee decreases your cortisol levels (which keeps you alert). So a lot of times that morning cup of coffee can backfire and make you feel sleepier and grumpier. Has no one noticed this in 400 years?
    Here’s another piece of medical advice. A woman who keeps quiet during an argument with her husband is four times more likely to die from heart disease. This study was originally published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, a publication I don’t read—but that’s okay because I’m sure my cardiologist saw it in USA Today.
    So, I want to understand this last one. If I argue with my wife, I’m a boorish brute and a sexist. But if she wants to argue with me, she’ll live longer. My wife and I have argued about some odd stuff over the years. “Argue” is probably a bad choice of words, because Mary Ellen always reads this column before it’s published and she doesn’t want me to tell people we ever argue. She fears the public will assume we don’t get along. For example, we talked the other day about how to price the sale of our old home. Our voices got louder, and we got very frustrated with each other. I lost the argument, but Mary Ellen wants me to simply say I got creamed in a friendly discussion.
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  • Friday, October 26, 2018 4:00 AM
    While I was visiting family on the East Coast, my sister took me to a bagel shop knowing that the treats in this classic tiny New York City fixture would soon be throwing a party for my mouth (to quote the great Mel Brooks). When I stepped inside the deli it was clear that I was witnessing a phenomenon I had never encountered before. People weren’t eating traditional bagels—those rings of hockey-puck-shaped dough that have been boiled and then baked to a perfect brownish sheen. Instead they were eating something called a flagel, also known as a Shmagel. Shmagel/flagel, whatever. They looked delicious.
    So, what are they? Well, they are bagels that have been shmooshed (in Yiddish you would never say something as boring as “flattened”) into the size of 45 rpm records before being baked. One flagel or shmagel (a combination of the words either flattened and bagel or smashed and bagel) might not always fill up your stomach, but it pretty much fills up your plate.
    Techniques for tackling the treat seemed to differ throughout the restaurant. Some diners spread the cream cheese over the top; others tried to slice the flagel the normal way, a risky maneuver given that flagels are half the height and twice the diameter of bagels. Some people were also putting the belly lox on top, right over the onions or poppy seeds, or any of the 22 varieties.
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