USOFF: You Never Know…

Written by Larry Usoff on August 20, 2019

There’s no telling what you’ll find!

If I haven’t mentioned it, I’m a voracious reader. As the old story goes, if there’s nothing else, I’ll read the side of the cereal box. Which brings us to the title… there’s no telling what you’ll find, or where. Some things which we take for granted, be they physical or mental, and we just accept them for what they are, and never give it another thought, right? Or, if you’re like me, you cannot let a question go unanswered. My wife would be the first to acknowledge this trait in me and has watched me get out of bed to go look someone/something up because a question about it/them was raised. That might be a good thing, or a bad one, depending upon how you look at it. A curious mind demands an answer, or, wasting time finding out something that doesn’t really matter, eh?

As an example, you know what a “skyscraper” is, right? A tall building that seems to reach right up to the clouds… but how and when did we start calling them that? The first recorded reference to a skyscraper was back in 1788! A Philadelphia doctor, around the 1790s called the triangular sail at the very top of a ship’s mast, a skyscraper. The term was first applied to buildings in the late 19th century. Some of the first’ ‘Sky scrapers’ include Home insurance building, built in Chicago in 1885 and the Equitable Life building New York built in 1870. So, now you know… and you just can’t wait to introduce that in a conversation, can you? New York City’s Empire State Building was the scene of a horrific crash, when a B-25 Mitchell bomber slammed into the skyscraper on July 1945. It was a foggy day, according to newspaper accounts at the time. Fourteen people were killed, but in one instance an elevator with Betty Lou Oliver, she was the operator, in it, fell 75 floors and she lived!

Wine is not my first option for an “adult” beverage, but that’s beside the point. What bugs me about wine is that a LOT of the bottles have corks instead of twist-off caps. Perhaps, to a sommelier, the quality of the wine might seem to be enhanced with a cork rather than a twist cap… I don’t know, and frankly, I don’t care. In our “junk drawer” in the kitchen (and everybody has one, I’m sure), there are two cork removers, two entirely different types… and neither one works to my satisfaction. Small bits of cork usually break off and either fall into the wine, or onto the floor. So, reading as I do, lo and behold there’s a “hack” for getting corks out of wine bottles. This is how it’s done: The next time you go to pull out a cork do this. Take one of your house keys and DRIVE it into the cork at a 45 degree angle, all the way in. Slowly but surely twist the key around, pulling it up slightly as you do that. Once you have enough of the cork out you should be able to pull it out the rest of the way and, voila, you’ve done it!

Let me know how it works for you.

Side-note… been living where I am for twelve years and for the first time the other day saw a deer come out of the “woods” (not really a “forest” in any way). She was so nonchalant about munching on the leaves and grass it was calming just to watch her. Since then I keep the camera at the ready. The wooded area is probably about the size of a football field, both ways. Only the fact that it has a steep hill keeps me from venturing into it in hopes of seeing some more deer.

Have you ever sat down and “dreamed up” something new and different, and you just KNEW it would be a huge success? The writing comes easily, and if that sounds like bragging, ok, it’s bragging. My late wife, that would be #2, gave me an idea for a story that I’ve been peddling for about 20 years! Rejection letters? Oh yeah, had lots of them and some of the reasons sound really dumb when I look back on them. One “family” magazine said the concept was science fiction and they didn’t do Sci-fi… never mind that it’s based on on-going science and proven to be more truthful than fictional. Oh… now you’re asking why I mention this? Any port in a storm so the saying goes, and if a “producer” or “collaborator” is curious about the work, it’s entirely possible that it could finally be made into a play, a movie, a TV series, or what-have-you. You’ll forgive me, I hope, but it IS any port in a storm for me. Any interested parties can write me, but this much I can tell you… the main person is a woman, a singular person indeed, who makes other heroines look like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. So, there’s my overt plea.

Parting shot: There are probably millions of stories about the new bride, but I like this one. The newly-weds are in the kitchen and she says, “Sweetheart, if you’ll pour the orange juice and make the toast, we can have breakfast.” To which he says, “Great, what are we having for breakfast?” She replies, “Toast and juice.” Funny.

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Larry Usoff
Larry Usoff, US Navy Retired. Articulate. Opinionated. Patriotic. Conservative. Cultured enough so that I can be taken almost anywhere. Makes no excuses for what I say or do, but takes responsibility for them. Duty. Honor. Country. E-mail me at: