Choose words wisely

Bad things happen.

There's nothing anyone can do; they just happen. This past week, we saw our fair share of incidents. Nationally, a man whose life has been in a continual spotlight died in a plane crash. Locally, a young woman was found dead after being missing since July 4.

Tragedies strike at all times, mostly when least expected. There are numerous levels of tragedies, yet they all come back to one thing — loss. Losing something or someone can be devastating. But eventually, the void becomes a part of you, while you try fervently to concentrate on other things.

Grass cutting fun

In today's society, there are two groups of people — ones who get paid to cut grass and ones who cut grass only because it's their duty to the country. Actually there's a third, smaller group of people, composed mostly of apartment dwellers, kids and travel agents. But they, too, have either had to cut the grass or will in the future.

What are fireworks salespeople up to now anyway?

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.

Shark cartilage possesses a mean bite

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.

Can you keep a secret?

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.

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Random News

Next stop: Brandenburg (Ky.) library

I will begin what I hope will be a somewhat lengthy book tour when I visit the Brandenburg Library 12-2 p.m. Jan. 28 to discuss book publishing and my new book, "The Developers." The book is currently available at many regional Borders and independent bookstores, as well as the book's website, thedevelopersbook.com, and Amazon.com. It is also now available through Baker & Taylor, a national distributor.

Pulling out the rug from under the pull tabs

Have you ever noticed how rumors can become fact if they continue to be peddled as the truth? While there are numerous email and online scams that still permeate the Web, one of the greatest scams has been the aluminum can pull tabs one.

You might even be one of those people who are positive those pull tabs are redeemable for extra time for dialysis machines, or that they contain more aluminum than the rest of the can. Guess what: You're wrong!

BookExpo update

So far, so good at the BookExpo. Los Angeles is a pretty cool place, and I've made a fair number of contacts on my first day. I still have a number of people to speak with, though, as I try to pitch "Polos to Ties" as well as give away a few more copies of "The Developers." But for tonight, I'd better get off here ... it's almost my turn on the karaoke mic!

A picture can be worth 2,678 votes

Update (09/28/08): The links in this original column no longer work. I suppose that just goes to show how fast stuff becomes obsolete online!

Everyone likes pictures: taking pictures, posing for pictures, ripping up pictures of exes.

Now that I said that, you're probably thinking you're one of those people who cannot stand getting your picture taken.

Is it wrong to download songs for free from the Internet?

Even though there's a growing number of websites that allow visitors to pay chump change for a song from your favorite artist, many people are still using free sites as their main way to obtain songs.

This question was posed to the Good Advice Committee, which is comprised of five individuals (including me) who well aware of the numerous dilemnas posed by today's technology. The GAC will tackle online ethical situations in upcoming editions.

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