Inventing the cordless telephone

Published 10:00 am Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I have two wonderful neighbors —both named Bruce — who live across the road from each other. Whenever I pass their driveways, thoughts occur to me, such as: Food for thought can cause indigestion.

My neighbor

A friend named Bud died at the age of 101. My neighbor Hugh Cares brought tater tot hotdish to the wake. I asked him if it was wise for him to bring the hotdish.

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Hugh gave me that look and said, “Bud can taste my hotdish just as well as he can smell the flowers you’ve given him.”

He was speaking bus driver

I treated my wife to a city bus trip. It set me back $1.50. I talked to the bus driver as I got on the vehicle in Juneau, Alaska. He was perfectly intelligible. Once the bus drove off and he began to announce stops over the p.a., I couldn’t understand anything he said other than, “Next stop.”

It was like most things in life —each stop was a surprise.

For the sweet tooth

I stopped at the Breeze-In in Juneau and headed for the bakery department. There I discovered the bacon maple bar. It resembled a long john with maple frosting on top, except the frosting had pieces of bacon on it. The clerk told me that down south (Portland, Oregon) the roll was so popular that people telephoned to have the bakery hold the bars for them. The Voodoo Doughnut shop has customers standing in line to have the opportunity to buy one of the odd treats as well as its doughnuts. I suppose it isn’t far from eating bacon on the same plate with pancakes drenched in maple syrup.

Political Science 101

Harold Williams of Birmingham, Ala., was talking about a certain government agency when he said, “The only thing that ever works there is gravity.”

Good housekeeping

Cheryl McRoberts of Haines, Alaska, said that a bachelor friend of hers cleaned his house. The house was much in need of a thorough cleaning. It turned out that the man’s idea of cleaning his house was to clean the cat’s litter box.

It sounds like quite an improvement. Now visitors could say “Hello” instead of “What’s that smell?”

Thrilling days of yesteryear

I had used a block and tackle to remove the motor from my ancient car. I had it parked under an old maple tree until I could find a replacement engine at a price that I could afford. That meant it had to be free or less.

My father walked by, looked under the hood of the car, and said, “It looks like you need a new engine.”

How I lost my first million

I almost became a millionaire before I was a teenager. I remember the day it happened as if it were yesterday. I was on the telephone — a big black thing the size of a VW Beetle attached to the wall — talking to a buddy about an upcoming baseball game. In the midst of the conversation, I flopped onto the sofa. I misjudged the length of the telephone cord. I pulled the cord out of the phone. That’s right. I invented the cordless phone. I couldn’t talk on it, but I invented it.

In memoriam

A friend named Bonnie Thompson of Hope died recently. Her catchphrase was, “I raised four boys and a husband. Don’t mess with me!”

Nature notes

It was my pleasure to speak at the Bald Eagle Festival in Haines, Alaska. Haines has both black and brown bears. It has both wolves and coyotes. Coyotes are smaller than wolves. The ears of a coyote are larger relative to body size, its nose is more pointed, and it has a tendency to carry its tail curled downward as it runs.

Meeting adjourned

The Dalai Lama said, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”

-Wednesday in Insight: Columnist Lee Bonorden.