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July 9, 1999

Nomads have wandered through cities during the last two weeks, sold their goods and departed for lands of milk and honey.

They don't leave a trail, but their wares do – usually ashes, perhaps a foul-smelling odor but always a glowing experience.

Fireworks salespeople have rigorous lives. I recently caught up with one such seller, Smokin' Joe Romancandle. What follows is his normal day:

6 a.m. Wakes up, sings the "Star-Spangled Banner," eats a Pop-Tart and brushes his teeth.

July 3, 1999

Last month I was in Wal-Mart, and I aimlessly wandered into the vitamin aisle. There were hundreds of nutritional supplement items, but one caught my attention – shark cartilage.

Unfortunately, the label contained little information pertaining to what the product actually does, such as make one lose weight or grow a dorsal fin.

As a kid, I used to see "Jaws" on my wall at bedtime. Now I see health companies trying to withhold routine information on Jaws' cousins.

June 25, 1999

Can you keep a secret?

Last week, I met with a special agent from the Department of Defense. I had my shrubbery costume ready (luckily, there were no dogs around), but it wasn't necessary. The agent led me into a room in the Crawfordsville Armory, looked both ways and closed the door. The questioning was ready to begin.

June 18, 1999

Anyone fed up with the government? Ready to turn in your "Made in the U.S.A." clothing? You could have a chance to do just that — if you move south.

Southern Party organizers have registered with the secretaries of state in Florida, Georgia, Texas and Virginia, according to the Associated Press. The party hopes to establish ties in all former Confederate States plus six border states and eventually secede from the Union, a la the Civil War.

June 16, 1999

Last weekend, I was tangled in a crazy game of H-O-R-S-E with my cousins.

For those of you unfamiliar with the game, or think it is somehow tied to the Kentucky Derby, the game is simple. Make a basket (shoot, don't weave), and if the person behind you misses, they get a letter. You keep playing until you spell "horse." There are many versions of the game, including H-O-R-S-E-S, P-I-G, and a personal favorite, D-R-O-M-E-D-A-R-Y.

But which is more important to the game – athletic skill to make a shot, or being able to spell?

From the Archive

December 8, 2004

It's bad enough to receive a boatload of forwards each week, and it's that much worse to receive repeat forwards. But when you receive the exact same forward from two different people within almost a week's time, well, that's called noteworthy. Especially when it's just another urban legend.

January 5, 2006

If you are familiar with the Periodic Table (and if you aren't, please have a chat with your chemistry teacher soon!), you might be interested to know that someone has compiled a list of English words that can be spelled with chemical symbols.

No, the person wasn't me. Actually, the computer did most of the work, but Dr. Nandor's Exhaustive Chemical Words Pages shows a multitude of ways to combine elements to form words.

May 7, 2012

The Book Escape in Federal Hill is now carrying Corporate Ties. I just noticed online that this store is selling a copy of The Developers for $5. That's a great deal (although I won't get a penny if someone purchases it).

May 7, 1999

Most people probably think Crock-Pots, stoneware slow cookers, are about as interesting as clothes hangers. They take up space, are decorated with small vegetable pictures and stand out like a drunk at a frat party.

But the real question concerning the cookware is — how come everything you put in a Crock-Pot always tastes like ... a Crock-Pot?

January 17, 2007

For decades, the U.S. government has had the ability to encrypt and decrypt email messages. But now, a man claims he has rewritten the book on cryptography and can make messages perfectly undecipherable. At what lengths will the United States government go to keep the lid on him?