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  • 2/21/2018 For the past several years I have had the pleasure of reading this weekly humor column on WFYI radio. In preparation for broadcast on a new station, I was listening to some old audio files and realized that, like so many other people, I don’t like the sound of my recorded voice. This reminded me of a dear friend who I wrote about five years ago when he passed away, a man who really did have a voice for radio.
    John Gillis was as tall as a grizzly bear, but as gentle as a teddy bear. The 40-year veteran of Indiana radio was an iconic figure. His loyal listeners looked up to him. “I guess being 6' 4" was a big help,” he once told me.
    John loved the sound of his own voice. I offer this as high praise, because each word that tumbled off his tongue was not only meticulously chosen, but it was savored by listeners for still another nanosecond before he went on to the next. “His 60-second traffic reports,” said longtime associate Jeff Pigeon at John’s funeral, “lasted about eight minutes.”
  • 2/13/2018 I was at home working late one afternoon on my column when the phone rang. My wife’s cell number popped up on my caller ID. “Hi, Mary Ellen.”
    “I adore you,” came the reply. 
    How odd. My wife is a loving person, but she is not given to romantic declarations on her way home from work. And yet, she added, “Sometimes I can’t get through a minute without thinking about those romantic times we had in Rio, Fernando.”
    Ahhh…what could be more romantic than Rio? But there was a problem: I’ve never been to Rio. Of course, I don’t have the best memory in the world. I once slept through France on a bus tour, so I still swear I’ve never been to Paris. Also, this Fernando reference was going to be a pesky distraction for me the rest of the day.
  • 2/8/2018 Mary Ellen was frantic. We were expecting a special guest, and I had never seen her so meticulous about tidying the house—not counting, of course, the days before Nettie, our housekeeper, comes.
    Actually, Nettie had just been here to clean two days earlier. Mary Ellen originally wanted her to come just a few hours before our important visitor arrived, but the timing didn’t work out. So when Nettie heard that our guest wasn’t due for almost 72 hours, she had a very fair question for Mary Ellen: “Is Dick going to a hotel for three days?”
    Mary Ellen thought that was pretty funny, and the two of them had a good time trading stories about my messiness:
    “How does he get so much toothpaste on his bathroom mirror?” asked Nettie.
  • 2/5/2018 They just reported on the local evening news that Indiana is the 10th fattest state in the Union. I wonder where they did their research. The State Fair? The Mini-Marathon? That could make a big difference.
    I’m never sure how they come up with these stats, but over the years I have made fun of scientific researchers for their fascination with bizarre and meaningless numbers. These are individuals who, statistically speaking, are among the unhappiest people in the world. About 75 percent of the studies show that 57 percent of statisticians are 49 percent unhappier than 75 percent of all other scientists. You probably knew that.
  • 1/31/2018 They just reported on the local evening news that Indiana is the 10th fattest state in the Union. I wonder where they did their research. The State Fair? The Mini-Marathon? That could make a big difference.
    I’m never sure how they come up with these stats, but over the years I have made fun of scientific researchers for their fascination with bizarre and meaningless numbers. These are individuals who, statistically speaking, are among the unhappiest people in the world. About 75 percent of the studies show that 57 percent of statisticians are 49 percent unhappier than 75 percent of all other scientists. You probably knew that.
  • 1/24/2018 Phyllis Baskerville passed away peacefully this past week. In my 35 years on Channel 8, she may have been my favorite guest. She was not someone to be toyed with—or she was the perfect person to toy with. You decide.
    I first met Phyllis in 2002 after doing a live TV segment in Fortville. As I headed for my car, the spunky 75-year-old woman in her pick-up truck approached me and asked me to follow her home. “I have somewhere else I have to go,” I told her. “This will be worth your time,” she shot back.
  • 1/18/2018 

    My wife noticed that I was continually swatting at flying bugs in the house. I told her that this one little black gnat had been bothering me for several days, but that every time I took a whack at it, it disappeared.

    "Those are not insects,” said Mary Ellen. “You probably have floaters.”

  • 1/9/2018 I have just finished reading Alexandra Horovitz’s marvelous new bestseller Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Know and Smell. The book is mostly about the incredible sense of smell our canine companions have and how as humans we often overlook this sense (we always overlook our noses). 
  • 1/2/2018 I'm not tech savvy, so when I received the Echo my brother-in-law Tom sent me for Christmas, I was hesitant to open the box. This gadget works like the computer that Captain Kirk talked to on Star Trek. You can pose a question (Who was the 13th president?), request a song or ask it to call someone. Your wish is her command. 
    The person selling these kinds of products always claims something like "It's so easy to use. Just plug it in." This is never true, although I got my new desk lamp working in under an hour. 
  • 12/27/2017 

    This is my annual look back at, and appreciation for, all the people and events that inspired many of my weekly columns this past year.   For example, thanks to…

    My brother, for getting married for the first time at a very late stage in life.  When my sister called and said “Your brother is doing something no Jewish guy ever does for the first time at the age of 65,” I was confused.  I thought I was going to his Bar Mitzvah.

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