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Monday, June 17, 2019
  • Friday, May 31, 2019 1:22 AM
    My wife’s birthday is coming up in July and I was pleased to get an email today with the subject: WHAT WOMEN WANT. I’m a sucker for anything that might make me a better husband. According to the ad, they want Dr. Hess Udder Ointment, a concoction created over 100 years ago that makes your hands smooth and feet callus-free. For years, I thought being sensitive, considerate, and romantic was the key. This is how little I knew about the opposite sex.
    With a name like Udder Ointment, it should either be something you spread over that specific part of the bovine anatomy, or at the very least, it should come from the cow’s udder. For example: Vegetable oil comes from vegetables and baby oil is for babies. On the other hand, there’s Lucas Oil and Olive Oyl. I could make fun of both of those names, but I like my seats on the 40-yard line and I’d never antagonize a woman whose boyfriend has huge forearms.
    So how did they come up with this udderly ridiculous name? (I tried to resist that pun, but I am a weak person.) Dr. Hess introduced his original product to turn-of-the-twentieth-century farmers who lamented that their cows’ udders were extremely raw and chapped. The fact that the farmers’ wives and children were huddled next to the wood-burning stove, withered from the harsh Midwestern blizzards, was of little concern. But those chafed udders? How unsightly. Something needed to be done.
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  • Friday, May 24, 2019 3:11 AM
    Mother’s Day has come and gone and once again I bought my wife a lovely gift. Father’s Day is getting close, but Mary Ellen never gives me anything. She explains, “You’re not my father; you’re Brett’s father.”
    “But I always give you a gift for Mother’s Day!”
    “Come on, Dick. That’s a totally different situation.”
    This will be the 32nd year in a row I’ve fallen for that.
    I still have hope for this year to be different, so I’ve been skimming through the Father’s Day edition of the Hammacher Schlemmer gift catalog. I’m not sure what makes the Father’s Day edition any different from any other edition, but I must admit that a set of monogrammed lighted grilling tools seems like something every dad needs. Here are some other actual choices…
    The Campfire Beer Caramelizer: You heat this rod in a flame, dunk it in the beer, and it “caramelizes residual sugars, mellows the flavor and creates a rich creamy head.” That sounds smooth, but—and I’m no expert–doesn’t it make the beer warm? I can’t be the first person to ask this question.
    The Thin Kangaroo Leather Wallet: I’m sorry if this makes me appear callous, but it is ironic that the only animal that could actually carry a wallet, they made him into one.
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  • Friday, May 17, 2019 2:18 AM
    For almost 40 years I have shared with my wife the chores of loading and unloading the dishwasher. I’ve hated every single second of this responsibility. I'd rather clean the toilet with my toothbrush, poke a bees’ nest with a broom handle, or clean out the gutters with a teaspoon.
    Last week my wife informed me that I was now forever relieved of dishwasher duty. "Just scrape the dishes and stack them in the sink," she told me. “You're terrible at loading and it seems to get worse by the day. Ever wonder why when you unload the dishes in the morning, everything you flung into the machine willy-nilly has miraculously lined up perfectly in the appropriate slots? Who do you think did that?"
    "Well, it takes almost an hour to run a load of dishes and I hear a lot of odd noises, so I assumed a mechanical realignment was one of the wash cycles."
    "You just toss the dishes in, with no regard for how the jets spray. Why would you expect that to work?"
    "Mary Ellen, I load the dishwasher like I load our Maytag. I don't put socks in one part of the washing machine, then my pants in another. Why would I do that with cups and saucers?" 
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  • Friday, May 10, 2019 1:17 AM
    I hate to bore you with the health complaints of a 71-year-old, but I’m hopeful my experiences will help others. My story begins with a medical scare and a series of doctor appointments. So many, in fact, that the phlebotomist at my internist's office started welcoming me with "Oh, no, not you again!" which is not the kind of greeting I want at a lipid lab. By the way, all is fine.
    In the course of the diagnostic process, they scanned my brain. Inside the MRI, I felt like a cigar in its tube. During the hour-long procedure, I had a flashback to a high school trigonometry class where I also stared at a blank ceiling, listening to strange indecipherable sounds. At the hospital they give you a little buzzer to press if the experience becomes unbearable, a courtesy never afforded me by Mr. Lowenstein, my 12th grade math teacher.
    A nurse called the next day to say that after examining my brain scan, they were pleased to report they didn't find anything. Obviously this was good news, but did the test results have to be phrased quite that way?
    I visited a few specialists, each exam requiring that I have my blood pressure, height and weight rechecked.
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  • Friday, May 3, 2019 4:00 AM
    There are three things that make a marriage work. Unfortunately, nobody knows what they are. If push came to shove and I had to guess, I’d say no pushing or shoving would top the list.
    Mary Ellen and I will celebrate our 40th anniversary this year. We’ve been happily married for 37 years; the other two we were sharing a bathroom.
    Communication is vitally important. This is a typical conversation my wife and I have at the dinner table:
    “What are you doing tomorrow, Mary Ellen?”
    “Let’s see, I have my morning exercise class, then a haircut at two, and then book club after dinner. And you?”
    “I’m playing pickleball, then I’m shooting a TV segment and I’m going to write this week’s column.”
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  • Friday, April 26, 2019 4:00 AM
    I have watched with great interest over the years the increasing number of athletes who have used steroids and other body-enhancing drugs. As a writer, I am proud of my body (of work) that has not been tarnished by the use of any humor-enhancing or whimsy-producing substances.
    Other humor columnists, I am convinced, have on their shelves at home Milton Berle's Personal Jokebook, the 12-volume Complete Works of Henny Youngman and the Acapulco Gold of humor, Bob Hope's Greatest One-Liners (unabridged). My old friend, the late Soupy
    Sales, gave me a file with his 100 favorite jokes. I have been tempted to look at it, but I don’t want to be tempted to borrow from it.
    There have been periods in my life when I’ve wondered where my next joke would come from. I have sometimes found myself in a comic abyss. I used to hang around Barnes and Noble and Borders. I haunted Books-A-Million, where I knew I could buy funny cracks at a good price. At one point, I even loitered at a nearby Half Price Books, but you never know what you are buying at a place like that.
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  • Friday, April 19, 2019 4:00 AM
    I always dread the arrival of the monthly AARP magazine. My wife picks through it and confronts me with ways we should amend our current financial and medical approaches to life in our senior years . . . 
    “Listen to this, Dick: men over 50—that’s you since 1997–who eat fish just once a month are 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack and will live 10 years longer.”
    “Wow, now that is amazing! So, what’s for dinner?”
    “Turkey burgers. I don’t want to stink up the house. And consider this: chocolate is actually good for you. It says here that chocolate contains antioxidants and that it can prolong your life. But chocolate contains calories and fat that can cause obesity and heart disease. I guess it’s not all good news.”
    “Yes, Mary Ellen, that’s why they call it bittersweet chocolate. By the way, I read yesterday in the AARP magazine that the best place to put your money is in a CD that pays 7 percent. Why don’t we do that?”
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  • Friday, April 12, 2019 9:44 PM
    I’ve been trying to find recent photos of myself to post on Facebook that accurately reflect my current age. We got out some scrapbooks that featured shots of us during a few recent vacations.
    I found a really flattering one and I couldn’t help but comment to Mary Ellen that I thought I looked pretty good, maybe 10 years younger than my actual 72 years. My wife agreed completely, and then she skipped to the next photo from our cruise.
    “Who’s the old man gobbling down that giant sausage sandwich?” I asked.
    “That old man would be you, Dick.”
    “That can’t be me. That guy looks 85.”
    “You just didn’t take a very good picture that day.”
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  • Friday, April 5, 2019 4:00 AM
    For many years, I have neglected my hobbies. Sure, I like to read and work crossword puzzles, but these are not really hobbies. When my wife and I go on vacation we enjoy zip-lining, parasailing and windsurfing, but there is just so much of that you can watch before it gets very tiring.
    This year I made a New Year’s resolution to learn some new skills. I made it in March, which is odd because one of my other resolutions was not to procrastinate anymore. My goal was to have four new interests or activities that would fill the free time I now have since cutting back on my full-time job as a reporter.
    I’m taking a class in boxing. This is a weird thing for me to do because in 72 years I have never hit anyone and, as I told Aaron, my instructor, I have no plans to ever do that. For my entire life I have avoided any fisticuffs by successfully using my verbal skills to sidestep conflict. The course is one hour each week and I am doing it with my son. I’m glad I waited until Brett was an adult to share this experience, because no man wants to be decked by his seven-year-old kid. 
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  • Friday, March 29, 2019 1:34 AM
    Was it my ego, laziness, or just a deceptive nature? I had resisted this action for several years, but it was finally time: I decided to update my Facebook picture. I also updated my bio pictures on the WISH-TV website. These were not photos of who Dick Wolfsie is; these were photos of who Dick Wolfsie was.
    In one replaced photo, I was standing in front of Market Square Arena. In another I was holding my dog, Barney (who has been gone since 2004), and there was one of me with the late Mayor Hudnut at an Indians game at Bush Stadium. I looked great back in the ’90s. (Author’s note: that would be the 1990’s, not the 1890’s)
    The act of updating my photos caused quite a stir in cyberspace. Friends and classmates I had not heard from in years felt compelled to check with me, asking if I was well. “You looked great for 20 years on Facebook. Not anymore,” said my old buddy Phil. “I hope it’s nothing serious.”
    Some of the people who thought I was in failing health also started reminiscing about our time back in high school, like…
    “Dick, you used to bounce your leg up and down when you sat at your desk. It drove the teachers crazy. Well, I picked up that habit from sitting next to you for three years. I still do it. Thanks a lot. By the way, do you still lose stuff all the time?”
    “Dick, remember that time when you reported your car stolen from the student parking lot, but later you realized that your mother had driven you to school that day? Are you still a space cadet?”
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  • Friday, March 22, 2019 4:00 AM
    Humor is helpful in combating stress, but I believe grumpiness has it virtues, as well. In this column, I will outline for you the things that make me grouchy. They might be small, insignificant annoyances, but those are the best ones to get cranky about. I save humor for when I really need it.
    I am tired of my Facebook notifications telling me things like: Suzanne Crowder has commented on Joe Rosen’s post about Bill Roman’s meme. I don’t know Suzanne and I have no clue who Joe and Bill are. How annoying is that? No comment.
    I can go into the dollar store and buy 50 zip-lock bags for a buck, but the cheapskates at Post and General Mills can’t find a lousy two cents to put their Cheerios and Wheaties into a re-sealable plastic pouch inside their cardboard boxes. The only individuals who think the current packaging is just fine are tiny black ants.
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  • Friday, March 15, 2019 4:00 AM
    If there’s something on the market that might make my life a little easier, you can bet I’m going to try it. My interest was piqued when I saw a product on Amazon called the EZ Cracker, which is a nifty little mechanism that (the manufacturer claims) takes all the work and mess out of cracking eggs.
    I’ve always had a good relationship with eggs. I’m an over-easy kind of guy, and as a kid my basket always had the biggest haul on Easter morning. But now I was starting to worry. According to the website, breaking raw eggs on the sides of bowls and countertops has had some tragic consequences. Now, for a mere $17.95, I would get a product that guarantees I will never find eggshells in my food again.
    Here’s how it works: You simply place the egg in this hand-held appliance and squeeze the handles. Before you know it, it has sliced the egg cleanly in half and deposited the liquid contents in a bowl, yolk intact. I’ll wait while you grab your credit card.
    The ad says it will take all the drudgery out of making meals. For birthdays or anniversaries, men should give this gift idea some serious consideration. Isn’t your wife a little bit tired of chocolates and massage gift certificates?
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  • Friday, March 8, 2019 4:00 AM
    As I mentioned last week, my wife and I are trying to learn a little Spanish in preparation for our trip to South America. When I searched for translation options online, I got this: Cow to English. I’m not kidding. You can look it up on the site “Lingojam.” This is news, I mean moos, you can use.
    We shouldn’t underestimate the tremendous influence that cows have on us. English is full of phrases that reflect our connection with the bovine species. Consider these expressions that have beefed up our language:
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  • Friday, March 1, 2019 4:00 AM
    Mary Ellen and I are planning a vacation to South America this fall and we decided we both should learn a little Spanish. I ordered a language course on CDs, but I was having serious problems memorizing the vocabulary.
    I came up with an idea. While my wife was shopping, I got a stack of sticky notes and labeled everything in the house, like the chair (la silla), the table (la mesa), the door (la puerta) and the mirror (el espejo). In Spanish, nouns are identified as masculine or feminine. This really confounded me in high school and accounted for my low grades. The teacher told me I had some gender confusion, which was the last thing I needed to hear right before I asked Darla to be my date for the senior prom.
    When Mary Ellen got home and saw all the notes, she wasn’t happy, but she wasn’t as ticked off as our cat (el gato) Angel, who kept walking in circles because of the sticky note on her tail. Angel was also unhappy to learn that “el gato” is a masculine noun. I told Angel I wished there was a neuter pronoun for cat, but that just brought back a lot of bad memories for her.
    I stuck a yellow note on Mary Ellen’s back that said “la esposa” (wife). She apparently didn’t think that was funny because the next morning in church, I realized I had been walking around with “el estupido” written on my back, which requires no translation. But it does explain the hug she gave me right before we got in the car.
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  • Friday, February 22, 2019 4:00 AM
    Back pain is a major problem in this country. It is the second biggest reason that people do not go to work in the morning. The first reason is not having a job.
    I have a longstanding relationship with my back, but ironically, most of my problems come from sitting too long. I read somewhere that while poised at the computer, I should put my butt at the outermost edge of the chair. I tried that, slid off and almost broke my jaw on the keyboard.
    In the past, I’ve written about my healthcare providers, all of whom have tried desperately to counsel me on my sloppy posture. I have a genetic predisposition—sometimes I have pain in dis position, sometimes in dat position. I apologize for da play on words, but if something makes me laugh, it automatically goes in the column.
    Recently a friend advised me about some “new age” therapies. I’m somewhat “old age” and I am very skeptical of this kind of stuff. That’s why I’ve been going to a chiropractor and a massage therapist who use the traditional approach practiced by the mafia for generations: they rough me up, inflict pain, and then take my money. Time for a different approach.
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