Carlson

John Carlson: Time for self-improvement!

By: John Carlson— It’s time to start making New Year’s resolutions, an annual endeavor in which I am commonly guided by four little words. The easier the better. For example, I could vow to lose 30 pounds in 2017, but I’d be setting myself up for failure, my chances of losing 30 pounds being roughly equal to my chances of Donald Trump naming me ambassador to Sweden. Why invite such disappointment? But suppose, instead, I resolve to eat more onion…


John Carlson: Santa Gig is an Eye-Opener

By: John Carlson— Frankly, I’m usually not too enthusiastic a Christmas celebrant, though occasionally I do miss being Santa Claus. What? Me? Santa Claus? Oh yeah, baby, I was the Big Guy once, way back when my previous employer drafted me to be Jolly Old St. Nick for the company Christmas party. Now, I’d like to think they picked me for my overriding holiday spirit of love and compassion, but it probably had more to do with my pear-shaped physique….


John Carlson: A Close Shave is a Fine Shave

By: John Carlson– When it comes to shaving, I have always been a blade man. Beats me why, exactly, but using a blade as opposed to an electric shaver seemed cooler, more “rootsy,” more organic, if you will. The shaves seemed closer, too, come to think of it. Guess that’s why. Not even my late father, an electric shaver guy all his life, was immune to the attraction of blades. I remember the surprised look on his face the day…


John Carlson: Wife’s Away, But it’s a Good Day!

By: John Carlson— My wife Nan occasionally goes on church mission trips, or vacations with her sisters. But before she left this last time, she warned me against writing a bunch of blatant falsehoods about how emotionally devastating her absences always are to me, like I did during her previous  trip. “At least try not to lie!” she insisted. Granted, last time I may have gone a little overboard on the heartrending effects of desertion, the old abandoned-husband shtick. I…


John Carlson: What I learned at McDonald’s

By: John Carlson– Millennials don’t eat Big Macs. Disturbing news of this cultural disconnection came via The Wall Street Journal not long ago. When I was a high school kid earning $1.05 an hour working at my hometown McDonald’s, I’d have given anything for a Big Mac, but we had only hamburgers, cheeseburgers and fish sandwiches to choose from. Life was very bleak back then. Now, young people are too busy munching their fancy-schmancy McGriddles, McMuffins and Chicken McNuggets to…


John Carlson: It’s a Full Harvest …of Leaves

By: John Carlson— It’s a full harvest … of leaves A bumper crop of leaves has fallen on our lawn. There was a time I used to sweat out autumn, not wanting to leave the leaves lying out there for my neighbors to see, but also not wanting to bag them for the landfill and lose their natural mulching potential. OK, OK. That’s a lie. I didn’t really give a crap about their natural mulching potential. The reason I didn’t…


John Carlson: Rethinking the Whole Cutlery Thing

By: John Carlson— Among the many effects of aging I seem to discover almost daily, one is the way arthritis in your hands affects your ability to properly hold cutlery. Take my spoon (please). Not that long ago, I could easily wield it in a manner that would warm the heart of Miss Manners. And why not? I have been eating for 66 years. But now? Now I have to hold my spoon with the loutish, inelegant grip exemplified by…


John Carlson: It’s a Day to Honor Veterans

By: John Carlson— They lie row after row under grave markers in cemeteries like Beech Grove. Others are scattered among countless small burial grounds across the country, are laid to rest in solemn American cemeteries abroad, or lie by untold thousands at a sacred place called Arlington. America’s military veterans. But far less obvious are the living ones, folks we see on our streets, in bars and church pews, at ballgames, grocery stores, schools, factories and in numberless homes. They…


John Carlson: Nothing’s Finer Than ‘Feeding the Robins’

By: John Carlson— It’s my morning ritual, one Nan calls “feeding the robins.” These are hairy, foul-breathed, four-legged robins, however, with glide ratios any competent aeronautical engineer would measure at about 1:1, meaning they would soar through the sky like anvils. They are, in fact, dogs. Our dogs. In feeding these “robins,” I first grab a handful of cookies and a cup of coffee and, depending on the weather, carry them out to the back deck or to my recliner….


John Carlson: Uh-Oh, Winter’s On The Way Again

By: John Carlson— One thing you don’t consider when you plant a “birds, bees and butterflies” garden as a joyful harbinger of spring and summer is, you’re also planting a sobering harbinger of fall and winter. Yeah, winter. This depressing thought struck me the other evening while sitting on my back deck. I was already in a dour mood, having spotted a fat house fly desperately dog-paddling to stay afloat in my wine glass, tainting what I’d just poured from…