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  • 8/11/2018 Facebook has received some very negative financial reports lately. I have also been in the midst of some difficult business deals of my own. We had a big garage sale last weekend and a woman talked me down from a dollar to 50 cents for a Channel 8 coffee mug. I was disappointed in myself for succumbing to her cagey negotiations, but I kept it in perspective: I had a better week than Mark Zuckerberg by about 70 billion dollars.

    The first day of the sale was fun, but the second day put me on edge. I got impatient with some people. One man was asking me questions about an old portable CD player that I had marked a dollar.

    “Does it work?” he asked.

    “Of course it doesn’t work. It’s a dollar. If it worked, it would be two dollars.”

    I became annoyed when people whipped around the cul de sac, eyeballed our offerings from the street and then sped off when disappointed with the selection. How rude is that? Occasionally, the driver would shout out what they were searching for:

    “Got any assault weapons?”
  • 8/3/2018 “What is this?” Mary Ellen asked me as she dangled a doodad in front of my face. It was small, white, plastic, oddly shaped, and had several grooves. “It looks like it goes to something,” she said.

    “I don’t know what it is,” I responded, which I prayed would end the discussion, but I knew it wouldn’t, because my wife can’t leave a thingamajig alone. She has to know what it’s for.

    “Put it somewhere in case we ever need it. It looks important,” she said.

    “So you want me to keep it because we don’t know what it is for?”

    “Exactly.”

    “Of course, if we did know what it was for, we’d also keep it. So, I guess we keep everything,” I responded.
  • 7/27/2018 

    My troubles all started when I disconnected my cable in the basement.

    I only watch television downstairs while I am on my exercise bike, but when the plot gets exciting, I forget to pedal and by the time the show is over, I’ve only “traveled” about 28 feet, which isn’t even a first down. It was time to get rid of the distraction.

    When the cable company got my receiver box and remote control back in the mail, they thought I wanted to discontinue my entire service package, and the next day, all my televisions displayed a black screen with the message: “CUSTOMER DISABLED,” which is a very unfortunate way to phrase my predicament.

     
  • 7/20/2018 

    When our new washer and dryer arrived last week, I watched as the two behemoths were installed by two other behemoths.

    “Don’t I get instructions?” I asked, as they were packing their tools to leave.

    Expecting a simple tutorial, I was instead handed a 94-page manual. In four languages.

    I stared at the two appliances for several minutes. Our laundry room now looks like the cockpit of a 747. Between the two machines, there are more than three dozen buttons. Each lights up when it’s touched and emits a series of short annoying beeps as if it is trying to communicate with me like the aliens in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

  • 7/13/2018 As Mary Ellen and I prepare to move into our new home, she keeps saying we have to “downsize! downsize! downsize!” We are both very stressed from doing this, which is why my wife is down a size and I’ve gone up a few.

    As I described in a previous column, I discarded more than 300 VHS tapes of my past TV segments, but there were a handful I just couldn’t part with. I wrote about a few of those. Here’s the rest of the list:

    A local animal behavior specialist took my beagle Barney (my TV co-host for 13 years) for a few days and claimed he had cured him of his destructive chewing and digging habits. In the middle of the interview with this expert on my front porch step the following week, Barney dug up the landscape bed and gnawed the microphone cable in half while the vet looked on in horror.
  • 7/6/2018 

    The Wolfsies are moving to a new house.

    Finally time to get rid of almost 40 years of accumulated stuff. Mary Ellen had to decide about whether to chuck the many books, diaries and letters that were quite worn (as well as a few dozen shoes that had never been worn).

    I had a dilemma, as well. In our basement, stacked up to the ceiling, were approximately 300 tapes of me on television over more than four decades, videos that no one will ever look at…even if they did still have a VCR. Decisions had to be made. And so, as tough as it was, I reluctantly trashed every tape with only a few exceptions. I hope my son will one day watch them. Many date back to before he was born. Here are the ones that survived the giant cut—my top 10.

  • 6/29/2018 The other day, I received something interesting in the mail. It wasn’t an exotic postcard from Maui; it was a thank-you note for a recent purchase I had made.

    Dear Mr. Wolfsie,

    Thank you for buying a new Oreck. We hope it brings you many years of vacuuming pleasure. Please call us about hosting an Oreck party today.

    Your friendly Oreck sales team


    The truth is that I don’t have any intentions of spending a single enjoyable moment with my vacuum. I was a bachelor until I was 33 years old and I managed to maintain a very active social life without hovering over a Hoover or dallying with a Dirt Devil. In addition, I have always felt there is something very frightening about vacuum cleaners. Every dog I have ever owned agrees.
  • 6/22/2018 The following is a true story. But I have written two alternative final paragraphs.

    My ethical dilemma begins with an insensitive remark I made to a friend. As an apology, I invited him to breakfast at our favorite café, and I sent him a $30.00 gift card to cover our meal.

    We met the next week. When the waiter returned with the card, he informed us there was some credit remaining. “You use it,” said Jim, “and thanks for breakfast.”

    “How much credit is left?” I asked the waiter.

    “Let’s see,” said Jake, “the balance is $971.12. And I think that’s a record at this place. Second place is $13.78.”

    You could have scraped me off the floor with a spatula. “Wait,” I said, “this is a mistake. The card was only for $30.00.”
  • 6/15/2018 If you were the last person leaving your favorite restaurant and the only umbrella in the coatroom looked just like yours (but you knew it wasn’t yours), would you take it? That would be very wrong, and I wouldn’t do it. Unless, of course, it was raining.

    Here are some hypothetical situations and how I would advise anyone faced with these dilemmas.

    Q: I have been a waitress at a steak house for 35 years and I have a dark secret. I have been taking home a bottle of ketchup every night since 1985. I now have 9,000 bottles in my garage. Nobody

    missed them. What should I do? I feel very guilty but don’t want to get in trouble just before I retire.

    A: Returning them all at once would raise suspicion. Return them the exact way you acquired them—one at a time. So, either put off your retirement or eat there every night until 2040.
  • 6/8/2018 David Raymond was a fanatic, or more precisely, a Phanatic. (The Philly Phanatic is the official mascot of the Philadelphia Phillies). 

    For 17 years he lived inside the iconic costume, taunting umpires, mocking the competition, dancing on the opposing team’s dugout—and even shooting hot dogs into the stands with a cannon launcher.

    Raymond started as an intern for the Phillies organization back in 1976 and soon became an insider—working literally inside the costume for a whopping 25 bucks a game. At the time, the San Diego chicken was the only mascot in pro sports. Raymond would help change all that as he brought to life a large, furry, green flightless bird with an extendable tongue. 

    His experience convinced him that a mascot was essential to a team’s ultimate success on the field, in the stands and at the box office. “A mascot is the perfect branding mechanism,” says Raymond. “Unlike players who retire or move from team to team, the mascot is perennial, bonding generations who come to the park together.”
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