Helping or something to that effect

Fold out a brown cardboard box.

Add five strips of tape - three long ways, two short ways - to the bottom.

Stack a layer of canned goods, maybe some baby food and toiletries, followed by a layer of clothes or towels or another random packing item.

Seal the box with five more pieces of tape, load it and be ready for another.

Crawfordsville residents weren't moving, but they were following a recipe for others who were. No one really knew who they were helping, but the cars of goods rarely stopped last weekend at the Hoosiers Helping the Heartland drive.

A crock of a column

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?

Brush, but not too hard

There's nothing worse than people complaining about a product because it works too well.

For instance, there's glue. Try using that stuff that holds elephants from a trapeze by their teeth. If you accidentally glue the elephant's ear to the swing, the immobile animal will be stuck forever.

Another example is plastic wrap. You try to wrap something in it, but the stuff just clings together. Being persistent, you try to unwrap it. But the static forces that bind the universe won't allow a simple tug to do the trick.

Buy now.. low price... lifetime guarantee

One big disadvantage working at night is the television quality when I arrive home. Sometimes there could be a "Perfect Strangers" rerun or two, and possibly an old game show, but most channels are overrun by infomercials.

Webster defines an infomercial as "a long television commercial, often made to resemble a talk show, educational demonstration, interview, etc." Kudos to Webster's assessment. The only words missing from the definition are "trash," "ridiculous" and "cheap."

Now's the time to become a pirate

There are a plenty of new careers and opportunities these days, yet you rarely see anyone entering the piracy field. Some people have invented their own versions of a shipwrecked pirate - stealing stereos, hacking into computer files, playing baseball in Pittsburgh - but few take their chances on the high seas.

On the other hand, the Assocated Press said pirates killed more people in 1998 than the year before. The International Maritime Bureau reported Malaysian pirates, who killed 67 crewmen last year, are "getting increasingly violent."

Pirates? Violent?

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Random News

Kentucky author book signing Dec. 3 at Portland Museum

This Sunday (1-4:30 pm Dec. 4) I will join a number of Kentucky authors in signing books at the Portland Museum Holiday Crafts Sale. The museum is located at 2308 Portland Ave., 40212.

Honestly, I have no clue what type of stuff will be there. The flyer shows authentic Kentucky crafts, books, jewelry, prints, ceramics, greenery, etc. It sounds sort of like a cross between the flea market at the fairgrounds, the St. James Art Fair and a book signing event. Surely someone there will be interested in "The Developers," right?

Not everything in science makes sense

Your local (or not-so-local) scientist is currently busy trying to figure out many things, including cures to terminal illnesses, ways to make the environment safer and the reason why reality TV is so popular. But on top of that, there are numerous other things that have researchers scratching their heads, wondering basically why the universe doesn't collapse on itself and why aliens keep playing peekaboo.

Book review: "Jpod" by Douglas Coupland

Lately I've had a great string of luck in reading good books by good authors. Unfortunately, the string has run out. "Jpod" by Douglas Coupland is not-so-good book by a good author.

'The Developers' featured in Elizabethtown newspaper

To preview today's book signing, The News-Enterprise ran an article in Thursday's Pulse, its entertainment guide. The article is just a brief overview, but it is an article nevertheless. Here's the text of the preview:

Humor and technology collide in 'Developers' (08/03/06)

Louisville author coming to E'town for book signing

By The NE Staff

ELIZABETHTOWN - Purdue graduate and Louisville resident Ben Woods will be in Hardin County to sign his new book "The Developers" from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4, at Waldenbooks in Towne Mall in Elizabethtown.

Older than the UNIVAC

Most people understand that computers have technically been around for about a half century or so. But there have been multiple reports of computer-like items before that time, depending on your definition of a computer.

Then there's the Ancient Moon computer, which is about 2,000 years old. According to a recent article published in the journal Nature, this device may have been used to predict eclipses of the solar and lunar variety.

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