What are fireworks salespeople up to now anyway?

Nomads have wandered through cities during the last two weeks, sold their goods and departed for lands of milk and honey.

They don't leave a trail, but their wares do – usually ashes, perhaps a foul-smelling odor but always a glowing experience.

Fireworks salespeople have rigorous lives. I recently caught up with one such seller, Smokin' Joe Romancandle. What follows is his normal day:

6 a.m. Wakes up, sings the "Star-Spangled Banner," eats a Pop-Tart and brushes his teeth.

Shark cartilage possesses a mean bite

Last month I was in Wal-Mart, and I aimlessly wandered into the vitamin aisle. There were hundreds of nutritional supplement items, but one caught my attention — shark cartilage.

Unfortunately, the label contained little information pertaining to what the product actually does, such as make one lose weight or grow a dorsal fin.

As a kid, I used to see "Jaws" on my wall at bedtime. Now I see health companies trying to withhold routine information on Jaws' cousins.

Can you keep a secret?

Can you keep a secret?

Last week, I met with a special agent from the Department of Defense. I had my shrubbery costume ready (luckily, there were no dogs around), but it wasn't necessary. The agent led me into a room in the Crawfordsville Armory, looked both ways and closed the door. The questioning was ready to begin.

Truth, justice and the Southern way

Anyone fed up with the government? Ready to turn in your "Made in the U.S.A." clothing? You could have a chance to do just that — if you move south.

Southern Party organizers have registered with the secretaries of state in Florida, Georgia, Texas and Virginia, according to the Associated Press. The party hopes to establish ties in all former Confederate States plus six border states and eventually secede from the Union, a la the Civil War.

Words ... words ...

Last weekend, I was tangled in a crazy game of H-O-R-S-E with my cousins.

For those of you unfamiliar with the game, or think it is somehow tied to the Kentucky Derby, the game is simple. Make a basket (shoot, don't weave), and if the person behind you misses, they get a letter. You keep playing until you spell "horse." There are many versions of the game, including H-O-R-S-E-S, P-I-G, and a personal favorite, D-R-O-M-E-D-A-R-Y.

But which is more important to the game – athletic skill to make a shot, or being able to spell?

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Random News

Junk email: from you, to you

I hope you're not one of the many people who has experienced receiving a piece of junk email from (gulp!) yourself.

The good news is that it's probably not your fault. The bad news is someone you know probably has an infected computer.

Many computer viruses going around multiply themselves by grabbing a person's address book and sending emails out to many of the addresses.

The Developers featured in newspaper article

The Crawfordsville Journal Review recently featured my book, The Developers in its weekend ETC edition. The article is no longer available on the newspaper's website, so here's the full version.

'The Developers' compacts romance, humor with computer technology

By Mel Robertson | mel@jrpress.com | 05/27/05

A humorous, fictional novel of five "quasi-qeek" Web developers who attempt to link a small Michigan community together through the virtual world conveys a romantic-filled comedy mixed with computer technology.

Book available first at Louisville's Carmichael's

The Developers can now be purchased at Carmichael's Bookstore, Louisville's oldest independent bookstore. The store has two locations: 2720 Frankfort Avenue and 1295 Bardstown Road.

Next stop: Brandenburg (Ky.) library

I will begin what I hope will be a somewhat lengthy book tour when I visit the Brandenburg Library 12-2 p.m. Jan. 28 to discuss book publishing and my new book, "The Developers." The book is currently available at many regional Borders and independent bookstores, as well as the book's website, thedevelopersbook.com, and Amazon.com. It is also now available through Baker & Taylor, a national distributor.

Turn all the TVs off with just one button

When I originally wrote this, I was also keeping tabs on the St. Louis-Boston World Series game. It's a distraction I can live with, though, because baseball is more important than telling you what's on the web, right?

Then again, if my TV went out, I would be furious because I'm a Boston fan. But if it were the Yankees playing the Astros, and if the TV went off, I probably wouldn't care.

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