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

Google possibly turning fictional parallel Internet into reality

While I'm a big fan of Google and self-fulfilling prophecy, I never imagined the two could exist within the same realm. But according to what I've read recently on multiple websites, the online giant is taking aim potentially at connecting web users through an Internet portal similar to the one I've described in my latest novel, "The Developers."

Men vs. women: Who's smarter?

This question is easy. Of course, women are smarter. Or wait, maybe it's men. Or maybe it's neither.

If you listen to psychologists Paul Irwing and Richard Lynn, you might think men are more intelligent than women by about five IQ points on average. The study is due to be published in the British Journal of Psychology.

Don't let Web navigation cause too many detours

I'm sure you've seen it: A Web site that has an amazing design, with bright

colors, animation and various neat effects. But after the awe goes away (10

seconds later) you begin to wonder: Where am I supposed to click?

A large portion

of Web designers have this problem. They think the more creative they

are, the better the Web site becomes. While uniqueness is key

to making a site design stand out, it is important to remember the end user.

That's you! Forgetting that Internet pages should be geared toward the

Tech news from someone who knows it

I oftentimes pass along links to other news sites, but I rarely pass along sites you should bookmark. That is, unless you go ahead and bookmark every single site you visit, just to see if you can collect the whole set on the Internet.

But if you want to read interesting technology news, visit The Pulpit, which is the home of PBS' technology writer, Robert X. Cringely.

Wii update

Nintendo has owned up to the problem with the wrist strap problem. The games firm has announced that it will replace broken straps for its Wii console.

Rejoice! Not that I have a Wii, but I just cannot stand to see broken televisions, windows, dogs, etc.

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