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

New Orleans cleanup moving slow, needs help

If you are curious as to how you can get involved with the New Orleans disaster, there are plenty of ways to answer the call to action.

Depending on where you live, if you have an extra room or two for displaced residents, MoveOn has launched a Hurricane Housing website. This provides a way to for those generous enough to connect with people who have lost many (if not all) of their possessions.

Chemistry, in letters, and a lot of time

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.

One thousand books

I remember reading or hearing something a few years ago that said only 10 percent of all books published ever sell 1,000 copies or more. I cannot seem to find exact numbers anywhere, however, I found a boatload of other statistics on the Para Publishing website. The self-publishing numbers are pretty low ... only 3.4 percent of Xlibris copies have sold more than 500 copies, for example.

Tech illustrations are often pretty bizarre

Sometimes, technical manuals are hard to read and understand. Occasionally, they may even include pictographs that are supposed to help the user better understand the instructions. But what happens when even the pictographs make no freakin' sense?

New website lets you create your yearbook online

Building a yearbook can be an arduous task. In high school, clubs and/or classes compiled the yearly piece during months of development. Sometimes, however, it would be nice to create a simpler yearbook or possibly even just an individual book that you can share as a gift for friends or family members.

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