Carlson

John Carlson: Dang! That’s Great Jell-O!

By: John Carlson— The most enticing Jell-O dish I have ever seen was on the cover of a little cookbook called “Thinking Outside the Box,” given to me by the delightful Julie Kappel Maugherman. Pictured was a platter topped with an exquisitely molded crimson Jell-O. Suspended in the middle of that Jell-O was a White Castle slider. That’s right, a little hamburger. Inside the Jell-O. This was a molded mound of Jell-O that could make the heart of any White Castle…

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John Carlson: With All Due Respect…

By: John Carlson— A small city of 10,000 people, Wapakoneta sits where Route 33 intersects busy I-75 in southwestern Ohio’s Auglaize County, a place marked by the same gas stations, convenience stores and burger joints as a million others. But pass it on the interstate, especially at night, and the moon-like structure that commands your attention hints why this place is anything but common. Neil Armstrong called it home. That huge full moon, which seems to be rising from the…


John Carlson: Lincoln, Feet and Corndogs

By: John Carlson— As a skinny, hairy, elastic-lipped life coach named Steven Tyler notes when singing the lyrics to “Amazing,” one of his band Aerosmith’s big hits, “… life’s a journey, not a destination.” Actually, maybe it’s both. So it was that Nancy and I journeyed to her family reunion recently in Springfield, Ill. My favorite part of the weekend? Without question it was getting to know Ben and Abby’s son Will, who was two weeks old at the time….


John Carlson: Westward WHOOOAAAA!!!

By: John Carlson— With our beloved Chevy Malibu pushing 183,000 miles on the odometer, and my automotive-maintenance skills amounting to what’s generally referred to as “diddly squat,” we’re going to be car shopping soon. We’ll probably be looking at smaller ones. Turns out sizable vehicles just aren’t a good fit for me anymore. Take my GMC Sierra pickup truck. With me standing only three-feet-six – OK, I’m actually a towering  five-feet-six, but who’s counting?  – I can barely see out…


John Carlson: A Model Upbringing

By: John Carlson— As a person known for being an energetic “go-getter,” I have very little spare time. OK, that’s not true. Actually, as a non-energetic retiree pretty much known for being a human lump, about 99.9 percent of my time is spare. But sometimes, when I am looking to fill that time with something besides recounting the lines between the bricks in our fireplace, I consider building a plastic model airplane. Then I hesitate. Is model-building even a thing…


John Carlson: Visit To A Deadly Time…

By: John Carlson— When traveling back in time to Shiloh, a modern SUV has it all over hoofing your way there, or even sailing down the wide Tennessee River in steam-driven paddle-wheelers like thousands of Union troops did in 1862. Your air is coolly conditioned, for one thing, and the roads are smooth and true. They lead you past barbecue joints billowing fragrant smoke, and beautiful blue-roofed schools seemingly built in the middle of nowhere. It’s also worth noting, the…


John Carlson: Ladies Manhandle Clippers

By: John Carlson— Growing up, I never felt like a haircut wimp for having mine done by a lady barber. When I was ten or so, Dad got word about a woman a few streets over who was constantly being visited by guys, fellows who invariably left her house grinning. Naturally, rumors of this woman’s place threatened to launch my buddies and me into ecstasies of pre-adolescent hormonal bliss. Turned out all she was selling, though, was haircuts. But not…


John Carlson: Bye-Bye Food Writing

By: John Carlson— As the chunky person formerly known as the Chowhound, I am often asked, “Hey, Mister Flabiola, have you ever written about something you didn’t eat?” Well, yeah, I have. In fact, it just so happens that a couple weeks ago I was honored to attend the wedding of my friends Chris Flook, local historian, expert wordsmith and dashing man about town, and his super-cool, charming and beautiful executive-type fiancée, Kourtney McCauliff. Furthermore, today I am writing about…


John Carlson: Praise for Prairie Creek

By: John Carlson— After working hard all our lives, Nancy and I are committed to spending our retired years in luxury, regardless of the costs. Take our fancy summer place out at Prairie Creek Lake … As you can see in the photo above, it has a great view of the water, plus a couple nice trees, and our furniture is first-class. Our bathroom? Obviously, we’ve gone with a rustic decor, fully incorporating all sorts of handy bushes nearby. Kitchen…


John Carlson: ‘All Aboooooard!!!!!’

By: John Carlson— For Father’s Day, my wife bought me a train ticket. Consequently, shortly after nine o’clock in the morning last Saturday, Nancy and I arrived in the tiny town of Atlanta, Ind., where men in bright green safety vests were preparing the Nickel Plate Express for another run down Cicero way. Now, I must tell you this about the Nickel Plate Express. It doesn’t exactly rival The Orient Express for  luxurious rail travel. On the other hand, the…