Carlson

John Carlson: The Meat of the Matter

By: John Carlson— I don’t mean to go all intellectual on you, but regular readers of this column know I sometimes probe the bigger, more thought-provoking questions of our time. For example, have you ever noticed how much an elephant ear looks like a breaded tenderloin? No? Just think about it. Now, I should probably note that by “elephant ear,” I mean the deep-fried, sugary, concessionaire’s confection and not some poor pachyderm’s actual ear, which would likely taste pretty icky…


John Carlson: Using a Fitbit, Without Being a Bit Fit

By: John Carlson— Not long ago, in celebration of our 67th and 66th birthdays, which fall just two days apart, my wife, Nan, dragged me screaming and kicking into the Age of Fitbits, presenting us both with Zips. For the record, Zips aren’t the cool kind of Fitbits you strap to your wrist. They are the dorky kind of Fitbits you pin to your pants. Anyhow, in no time, Nan was doing whatever was necessary to “sync” her Fitbit, recording…


John Carlson: Saying Good-Bye to a Best Friend

By: John Carlson— One recent weekend, Nan and I traveled down to Nashville, Tenn., visiting our son and daughter-in-law. Normally these visits follow a standard script, involving some great dining and plenty of laughs. This visit was far more subdued, however, as the day before Johnny and Stephanie had been forced to put down their beautiful dog, Maggie, she of the angelic white coat and the splotchy brown ears. The whole way down I thought about fatherly things to say…


John Carlson: Snazzy Haircut Spurs “Oohs”

By: John Carlson— As a fashionable person who hates being stuck in a proverbial “rut,” I try to change up my hair style every 50 years or so. The last time was Wednesday. So I walk into this shop called Shaggy and Sheek and explain what I want to my sexy little barber, Alex (Vital note: That’s Alex as in Alexandra Gluschenko). Soon she is clipping hairs and rubbing nice stuff on my head, while I sit there purring like…


John Carlson: Husband is Crumby, But Cake is Great

By: John Carlson— So the other morning I’m trying to grab a few more winks of sleep when, from our kitchen, I hear my wife’s ear-piercing scream. “What?!?!” I holler. “My cake sank!!!” Nan hollers back. For a moment I am confused. Then I vaguely recall how she was getting up early to bake a cake to be auctioned off in a church fundraiser for Project Stepping Stone, which provides temporary housing for people in need. For an earlier auction,…


John Carlson: “Trying” is Key to Making Ukulele Sing

By: John Carlson— Let’s face it, if there’s one thing all Americans agree on, it’s that nothing sounds better than ukulele music. That is total baloney, of course. If I am representative of Americans everywhere except, maybe, Hawaii – and I think I am – I spent decades avoiding the inept strumming of those insipid little stringed instruments. But then the day came when my wife bought a ukulele for herself, and carried it into the house. Greeting her with…


John Carlson: A Hoppy, Er, Happy Taco-Eating Encounter

By: John Carlson— Not long ago, Nan and I were down visiting our son and daughter-in-law, Johnny and Stephanie, in Nashville, Tenn., when the subject of where to eat dinner came up. “There’s a new Mexican place just past the interstate that’s pretty good,” my kid said, and the next thing we knew, we were at Bajo Sexto. Nashville is a great, ever-changing restaurant town. This place fit right in, being a rather spare, unique looking eatery, decorated in what…


John Carlson: Boyhood Tales of Bad Grades, Riding Double

By: John Carlson— Some people think the lawlessness rampant among American youth is a product of our crazy times, but it’s not. Way back when I was only 11 or 12, I got arrested – for riding double. Frankly, I don’t even know if “riding double” remains in our lexicon of criminal acts, but it sure was in my hometown when I was a boy. If two kids got caught riding on a single-seat bike, they’d be hauled off to…


John Carlson: Tiny Houses Spur Some Large Notions

By: John Carlson— MUNCIE, Ind. – If tiny houses are small, the interest surrounding them is not. “It’s big,” said Scott Quirk. As he spoke, the owner of The Barn Lot was sitting in his business’s cavernous south-side storage building. Nearby, an industrial-sized fan blew heat out the door, his dad, Mike, rested on a chair made of recycled milk jugs, and his friendly yellow lab Marley ambled over to check out a visitor. Outside on his sunny gravel lot…


John Carlson: Gramps’ Rifle Brings a Fine Old Guy to Mind

By: John Carlson— My wife recently helped my sister clean out my father’s house up near Cleveland. In doing so, at my request, she also brought me my Grandpa Smith’s old rifle, which had been stored in Dad’s gun cabinet for years. In asking Nan to do this, I was asking a lot, because she hates guns. Nevertheless, I had spent countless boyhood hours coveting that firearm back when it was tucked away in my grandfather’s basement, and still wanted…