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The BookHere are some of the recent columns you may have missed - or maybe you just want to read them again. Pick a topic from the menu at the left to zero in on a subject, or you can use the "search this site" box above to look for a particular keyword.

A lot of the older columns are no longer available online, but there is good news - you can get them all compiled in a neat little package, throne tested for your bathroom reading pleasure, in the book What I've Learned So Far... Part I: Bikes, Docks & Slush Nuggets. Right now you can get a 15% online discount if you enter the code Y8NYMDN4 in the "Options and Discounts" box when you check out.

The second volume, What I've Learned So Far... Part II: Angels, Chimps & Tater Mitts, will be coming out sometime later this spring.

The column below won the Erma Bombeck Award.

Nobody's Angels, Nobody's Fools

On Saturday, October 6, at the Towsley Auditorium at Washtenaw Community College, the sixth annual Concert for Lost Voices will feature the music of Josh White, Jr., Kitty Donohoe, Reverend Robert Jones, Peter Madcat Ruth, Mustard's Retreat, Jen Cass and Mike Ball. Proceeds from this Concert help fund Lost Voices' efforts to help rescue some of the most vulnerable children in our society.

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You can hear it in their voices, sometimes off-key, sometimes wobbling with a tremolo of fear, sometimes styled after some singer they have long admired. You can hear it through the giggling bravado of children struggling to show a veil of courage on stage in front of their peers. You can hear it in the words that they would never dare say in any other place or time, words that express feelings lurking in the deepest recesses of their not-quite-adult souls.

It's the sound of young hearts crying for help.

Down to the Sea On Pontoons - Part III

 

In Which the Perfect Boat Doesn't Actually Sink

When we last left our heroes, Harold and Mike, they were about to launch their newly restored pontoon boat, which we’ve come to know as "Harold & Mike's Scow." As we pick up the action, Harold is riding to the DNR site with the truck pulling the boat trailer, while Mike is setting off to meet him astride his trusty Sea Doo...

Even though it was a nice warm day in May, the water in the lake was still pretty cold, so I stopped at the house to put on a wet suit. Then I uncovered and dry-fired the Sea Doo, cranked it down off the hoist, checked the oil, hopped on, started the engine, and idled halfway across the lake to warm it up.

In other words, it took me quite a while to get moving. So long, in fact, that I was surprised that I didn't run into Harold and the Scow coming the other way.

The reason for this became clear when I cruised into the cove near the launch and found Harold sitting aboard the Scow, gazing at the puffy clouds in the sky and looking relaxed, drifting silently toward the middle of the lake. I came alongside, killed the engine on the Sea Doo, and said, "What's up?"

"Nothing much," he said. "Say, just out of curiosity, were you working on the pontoons last night?"

"Yes." I nodded humbly, basking in the glow of a job well done. "I chopped away at those suckers until nearly midnight."

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