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

The election is over ... so what happens now?

Either your guy won or he lost. OK, maybe he didn't run at all, or maybe your guy is imaginary. Regardless, the voting is over, so it's time to move on.

But will everyone be nice to each other? At Vigil For Civility, that's the hope. The site asks people to basically support the winner of the presidential race and try to work toward uniting the American people again.

Dress codes for avatars

I'm sitting in my cube right now, wearing shorts, a T-shirt and tennis shoes. On the other side of the sensibility coin, analyst firm Gartner is predicting that avatars will have business dress codes by 2013. How do people come up with this stuff?

Video games meant to be played, just not all at once

I thought I had finally recovered from my addiction, but it has come back

to haunt me. Luckily, I am able to handle it through indulging for short periods

of time, and it mysteriously goes away, almost as fast as

it hit me.

Yes, you guessed it. The addiction is video games. Another good way

for me to stay away from video games is to just be so freakin' busy that

I don't have

time to play. But I have to make time for Circus

Web vacation won't jeopardize the real thing

Riding in a car during a long trip is a lot like sitting in front of a computer for a day. You know, staring aimlessly at whatever is in front of you thinking of a million different places you'd rather be and yelling to no one in particular because you've just encountered the Leave-on-Your-Left-Turn-Signal entourage.

McCain, Obama on technology issues

There are a lot of reasons to make the best choice for president this fall. As a technology writer, I think it is my duty to mention something about the election. The problem is that I have not spent much time delving into the similarities and differences between the candidates with regard to technology.

However, other people have. I'll also admit that I have only skimmed these articles, so we can read them in more detail together!

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