A crock of a column

Most people probably think Crock-Pots, stoneware slow cookers, are about as interesting as clothes hangers. They take up space, are decorated with small vegetable pictures and stand out like a drunk at a frat party.

But the real question concerning the cookware is — how come everything you put in a Crock-Pot always tastes like ... a Crock-Pot?

Brush, but not too hard

There's nothing worse than people complaining about a product because it works too well.

For instance, there's glue. Try using that stuff that holds elephants from a trapeze by their teeth. If you accidentally glue the elephant's ear to the swing, the immobile animal will be stuck forever.

Another example is plastic wrap. You try to wrap something in it, but the stuff just clings together. Being persistent, you try to unwrap it. But the static forces that bind the universe won't allow a simple tug to do the trick.

Buy now.. low price... lifetime guarantee

One big disadvantage working at night is the television quality when I arrive home. Sometimes there could be a "Perfect Strangers" rerun or two, and possibly an old game show, but most channels are overrun by infomercials.

Webster defines an infomercial as "a long television commercial, often made to resemble a talk show, educational demonstration, interview, etc." Kudos to Webster's assessment. The only words missing from the definition are "trash," "ridiculous" and "cheap."

Now's the time to become a pirate

There are a plenty of new careers and opportunities these days, yet you rarely see anyone entering the piracy field. Some people have invented their own versions of a shipwrecked pirate - stealing stereos, hacking into computer files, playing baseball in Pittsburgh - but few take their chances on the high seas.

On the other hand, the Assocated Press said pirates killed more people in 1998 than the year before. The International Maritime Bureau reported Malaysian pirates, who killed 67 crewmen last year, are "getting increasingly violent."

Pirates? Violent?

Peeps do not fare well when put to the test

Easter has come and gone like a gypsy caravan once again, but one thing still remains — Easter candy. Checking expiration dates on bags and containers, 1999 Easter candy should last until 2450. People decide to buy candy following the holiday in hopes of big bargains.

A specific type of candy has intrigued many and plagued worldwide analysists with a simple question, "What is a Peep?"

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Random News

Do everything but actually compete in the Games

It's difficult to get a good read on the American public when trying to figure out how many people really care about the Olympics. But if any of these people want to explore the Internet looking for more information, they have plenty of options.

ILOVEYOU -- here are eight million e-mails

Maybe I'm in a small minority, but I'm still confused how so many people are duped every so often by an e-mail virus. Let's take this step by step:

A guy walks into his workspace at 7:30 a.m., preparing for another exciting day of whatever. He opens his inbox to find 50 e-mails -- 45 promising him to lose weight, financial freedom or cheap Viagra four from actual friends, probably chain letters and one other with a subject header of "Open repeatedly, this is not a virus," which of course is from virusdemon@viruscentral.com.

Updated Performance Against Seed Expectations

Some of you are probably familiar with the Performance Against Seed Expectations (PASE) metric used with the men's tournament brackets. In short, the metric takes into account how many games a seed is expected to win based on past performances since 1985 (the first year of the 64-team tournament). I use this metric to determine expected offensive statistical totals for the college basketball fantasy league that I run each March.

August special: "The Developers" for under a buck

Lately I've been reading "Catch-22" by Joseph Heller. It's a great book
(watch for a review in the future), but I noticed last week that the
paperback price tag was 95 cents. The copy I'm reading is nearly 50
years old, but even still, how could the publisher make money selling
books for under a buck?

Book review: "Twisted Confessions" by Charles E. Skoller

These days, most people are content to watch "CSI" or "NCIS" to receive their fill of criminal investigations. While the shows are entertaining, they are obviously not real, and as we all know, usually the truth is stranger than fiction.

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