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

Bush, Kerry squeak past the tortoise

With the presidential election nearing faster than teenage girls swarming the New Kids on the Block, it's time to make a decision. But why bother going to the polls when there are so many more interesting things going on, like National Fig Week? That's why I've put together for you Ben's Grab Bag of Political Information.

'Get Real' book release tonight!

Fellow Baltimore writer Spencer Compton will be sharing commentary from his new book, "Get Real" at 7pm tonight (Oct. 26) at Red Emma's Bookstore and Coffee House.

Learning the guitar made easier

Let me stop you first before you begin reading this brief story. This isn't a tale about how a 6-year-old became so good at the video game "Guitar Hero" that he is now joining the Led Zepplin revival tour.

While "Guitar Hero" is an option for someone who is mildly interested in the guitar, it's not going to be a "Stairway to Heaven" and teach actual chords and music. A Fretlight Guitar, however, could be the answer to teaching yourself how to play.

Gates ready to get out of court, go hang with Arnold

This might be too grandiose of an idea, but I thought

I would try to explain the U.S. vs. Microsoft case in

one tiny column. So if you have been following the case

closely and do not need an explanation, feel free to

take this opportunity to play the

Lucky Dollars game.

For those of you still with me (I hope it's at least

Grandparents column revisited

My grandmother (mom's mom) recently passed away at age 90, so I wanted to display this article I wrote about my grandparents six years ago. At this point, I still have my dad's parents to spend time with, which actually, I hope to do tomorrow.

(This column was originally published in the Crawfordsville Journal Review on March 19, 1999)

There are at least 56,828 things to do during spring break. If you have a credit card, or know how to use a stolen one, the number grows exponentially. But there is one activity that rarely gets a lot of hype this time of year.

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