Carlson

A fake hummingbird flies from some ragged-looking zinnias. Photo by: Nancy Carlson

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…


In All Stars as in life, four beats two. Photo by: John Gordon Carlson

John Carlson: Cool Shoes the Key to Stylish Geezers

By: John Carlson— Nan and I are often told we have adorable feet. Well, OK, maybe not “adorable,” per se. As a couple having reached senior-citizen status, after 65-plus years of hoofing it, our feet are more likely merely “normal” for our age, meaning bunged-up and weird looking. And while…


Take the bun, meat and condiments away from a breaded tenderloin and what have you got? An elephant ear. Photo by: Nancy 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…


A Fitbit Zip accurately tracks your exercise, no matter how little you do. Photo by: Nancy Carlson

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…


Maggie was a loving dog with beautiful ears. Photo by: John Gordon Carlson

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…


A dynamic haircut makes the man. Photo by: Nancy Carlson

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…


A Kentucky Bourbon Brown Butter Cake and its best ingredient. Photo by: Nancy Carlson

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…


As it turns out, practicing your ukulele helps. Photo by: John Carlson

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…


Who needs a toothpick when you’ve got a grasshopper leg? Photo by: John Gordon Carlson

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…


A red F marks that first dose of academic reality. Photo by: Nancy Carlson

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…


Scott Quirk, owner of The Barn Lot, relaxes on the porch swing of a tiny house. Photo by: John Carlson

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…


Years ago, Gramps used that rifle to put food on the table. Photo by: Nancy Carlson

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…


Members of Team Guac show off their sandwiches. Photo by: John Carlson

John Carlson: Young Chefs Learn Cooking and More

By: John Carlson— MUNCIE, IN – Cracking eggs and laughing nervously, three girls crowded around a stainless steel bowl in the tight confines of Inside Out’s Community Kitchen, using the cup-like halves of broken shells to separate the yellow yolks from the syrupy whites. Nearby, other youngsters hacked aromatic strips…


A cane lends any man a dapper air of sophistication. Photo by: Nancy Carlson

John Carlson: Need a Cane? Then Get On The Stick

By: John Carlson— For reasons too boring to enumerate here, I recently reached that point in my life where – temporarily, at least – I need a cane. In doing so, it struck me there were preparations to make. The first was actually learning to walk with one, so I…


Artist Allan LaBerteaux works on the portrait of a lady named Destry. Photo by: John Carlson

John Carlson: Artist Back Home From Life In The Caribbean

By: John Carlson— MUNCIE, IN— If you ever engage Allan LaBerteaux in a conversation about the course of his career, don’t expect a lot of bragging. “I’ve never had a job I was qualified for,” the former architectural millworker, boat-builder and current jewelry-maker and artist joked, but only half facetiously….