Crawl space inhabitants are pushing their luck. Photo by: Nancy Carlson

John Carlson: Time for Ban on Raccoons

By: John Carlson— I don’t believe in ghosts, much, but I do believe in raccoons. If I ever doubted raccoons exist – which, of course, I didn’t – proof of them has become irrefutable of late, since a whole family of the pesky varmints has apparently moved under our house….

Movie tickets lead to Oscar statuettes. Photo by: Nancy Carlson

John Carlson: Great Flicks? Here Ya Go!

By: John Carlson— Academy Awards time, also known as Oscar Night, is nearing, so I decided to offer my thoughts on movies. Of the Best Picture nominees, Nan and I have seen two, “Manchester by the Sea” and “La La Land.” Both of us loved the former, but were divided…

Lack of snow means a lack of sledding trauma. Photo by: Nancy Carlson

John Carlson: No Sledding Today? Yay!

By: John Carlson— I love snowless winter days for any number of reasons, not least of which is this: They eliminate any chance I might go sledding. Oh sure, I used to go sledding. This was when I was a grade-school child. We lived in a city near Lake Erie’s…

Even dogs got excited when they saw my saxophone. Photo by: Nancy Carlson

John Carlson: Sax Career Ended on Sour Note

By: John Carlson— Every now and again, I think about digging out my old saxophone and giving it a toot. Then, usually, I don’t. I had taken ten lessons on a rented horn before Dad bought my sax for $500 back in the early 1960s, when a brand new Chevy…

Tea just doesn't cut it for a coffee person. Photo by: Nancy Carlson

John Carlson: Only Tea to Drink? Yuk

By: John Carlson— Lately I’ve been drinking tea at my writing desk, which has been fine in every respect but one. I hate tea. OK, OK. Hate is a very strong word, as Nan always reminds me when I say things like, “I hate french fries without ketchup,” or, “…

My new electric toothbrush demands a good grip. Photo by: Nancy Carlson

John Carlson: Electric Brush not for Wimps

By: John Carlson— Based on my dental hygienist’s recommendation, I recently began using an electric toothbrush. This isn’t the first time, though. As I recall, my family had one way back in the 1960s, except that brush’s gears were attached by pulleys to an archaic electric generator powered by a…

Some resolutions are tastier than others. Photo by: Nancy 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…

Being Santa isn’t a job to be taken lightly. Photo by: Nancy Carlson

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…

Shaving club blades tend to grow and multiply. Photo by: Nancy Carlson

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…

Photographic evidence aside, I’m just fine. Photo by: Nancy Carlson

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…

The classic, inviting lines of a McDonald’s Big Mac. Photo by: Nancy Carlson

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…

When leaves fall thickly, it’s time to fire up the tractor. Photo by: Nancy Carlson

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…

Here’s a demonstration of the crass way to hold a fork. Photo by: Nancy Carlson

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…

Beech Grove Cemetery is the final resting place for veterans of wars as far back as the Revolutionary War. Photo by: Mike Rhodes

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….

Our ‘robins’ await their morning feeding. Photo by: Nancy Carlson

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…