Why stand out? Be regular.

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Friday, May 26 2017 @ 08:49 AM MDT

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Fireworks Wimp

Columns

Most times, I pride myself in standing up for everything that defines America. This time of year, however, I have to go against so many of my countrymen on one thing.

I hate fireworks.

Not the boom up in the sky, crane you neck and admire kind. I like this. I really enjoyed the show we had in town this week.

I could just do without the regular people who set off fireworks all week leading up to the Fourth of July.

I really can't set my finger on why I feel this way. I guess a lot of it boils down to the fact that I'm a big scaredy-cat.

I don't have any horrible tale from growing up when a good friend of mine blew his fingers off while playing with an M-80. I did have a firecracker go off kind of by my ear, but it didn't do any serious damage.

But I do know those kinds of injuries happen. That alone made me worry whenever I got near the things, even as a kid.

Then there was the time that my friends Bobby, Dave, and I almost set the grass around the water tower in our town on fire.

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Stay Within Yourself

ColumnsAs I flipped through a newspaper at work the other day, a story caught my eye. Apparently, a group of people got together and swam across the Chesapeake Bay.

“Don't they know there's a perfectly good bridge right there,” I said to a co-worker.

Now I know this is an annual event which raises money for charity, but I just don't understand why someone would look at a body of water like the Chesapeake, then look at the bridge and still come to the conclusion that swimming is a good option.

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Everybody into the Pool

ColumnsNow that school is out, my wife has a dilemma on her hands. She needs to keep an almost 7-year-old occupied all day.

We have a few things planned to take care of that. We'll go to Hersheypark one day. Bridget will go to day camp for one week. And we have our annual family beach trip.

But she'll also hopefully start to enjoy something which kept me out of trouble and saved my mother's sanity for many years.

The swimming pool.

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Rock On, Regular Guy!

ColumnsI have dreams. Big dreams. I want to play the guitar.

To some, that might not seem like that big of a dream. But I have pretty much no musical ability whatsoever, so playing the guitar represents a big dream for me.

With such a handicap, some might wonder why I have this dream. Well, first of all, I like a challenge. Second of all, I still have part of that 14-year-old who wants to rock living inside of me.

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Top 5 Concert Songs

Columns Now this is the kind of weather I can get behind. When the sun shines like this, all I can think of are care free days, drinking something cold and listening to good music.

While I generally abhor columns that are lists, I couldn’t resist this time. I wish I have had more to choose from, but here are the top five songs I have ever seen in concert.

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We Need Gladiators

Columns You hear a lot of commentary from various sources about the social problems facing our country.

People worry about the decline of the family, loosening moral values, and the loss of basic concern for others.

Critics of modern society try and point the finger at different sources. Some blame video games. Some blame the culture of celebrity. Others blame permissive parents.

I think something else has caused all the problems we face every day. I blame the people who decided to take “American Gladiators” off the air more than 10 years ago.

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My Internet Friends

Columns I have a confession to make. This shouldn't worry me since I have admitted it to other people and not had any problems. I just feel so self-conscious whenever I come out and say it.

I have Internet friends.

There, I said it. I feel better now. I can go on feeling just as confident about myself as I did before I said it.

I can, right?

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Greatest Mall Ever

ColumnsWhen I went away last weekend, I got a chance to look around the greatest mall in the world.

Skymall.

Those of you who have never flown need to check this place out. If you have flown and don't love Skymall – what is wrong with you?

Imagine sitting comfortably looking at the most incredibly cool items ever. Multiply that by 10 and you have Skymall.

I think I can finally say I am happy if I manage to buy a few things from their handy catalog. They really do have the solutions to everyone's problems.

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Dining Etiquette

ColumnsSometimes people complain that our lawmakers pay too much attention to frivolous laws. I tend to agree.

I saw something last weekend that requires immediate legislative action. Enough of worrying about healthcare and education and public safety.

We need to take care of dining etiquette.

Maria and Bridget left me alone for the weekend so I enjoyed one of my favorite things – breakfast out.

I really enjoy sitting alone, getting fueled up for the day, reading the paper, and people watching.

The meal was pretty uneventful. My French toast was good. The coffee perked me up. No problems whatsoever.

Then, it happened. A man and a woman came in and sat down at a booth across the room. Sounds harmless, right? Wrong.

They sat on the same side of the booth.

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Go Away, Harry Potter

Columns As a writer and a parent, I think people should do everything in their power to encourage children to read. But I have had it up to here with this Harry Potter stuff.

I have to say right off the bat that I have never read any of the Potter books. I have no doubt that adults can enjoy the books as much as youngsters, but I just don't have that much interest in fantasy.

Besides, the insanity surrounding these things is just getting to be too much.