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.

Down to the Sea On Pontoons - Part II


In Which I Chip Crud Off the Perfect Boat

In our last installment, my neighbor Harold and I decided to buy a pontoon boat together. If you’ve never seen a pontoon boat, what we’re talking about is basically a motorized patio floating on a couple of giant aluminum cans. We had come to the conclusion that a pontoon boat might serve as the ideal platform for, among other things, the sun-drenched and leisurely consumption of alcohol.

Our story left off just after we brought our “new” boat home using a trailer we didn’t entirely know how to use, resulting in two pontoon-esque furrows all along the 37.5 miles of back roads between here and Grass Lake, MI. It was October, so instead of popping the boat right into the lake we went ahead and put it in “Dry Dock” - four cinder blocks in a big garage.

Harold was an expert woodworker, so he right tucked into making new solid oak table tops, complete with recessed drink holders, for every horizontal surface on the boat. He also knew how to fine-tune the engine, grease the lower unit, beef up the wiring, patch the carpeting, touch up the paint, and repair the stereo system.

Down To The Sea On Pontoons - Part I

In Which We Find the Perfect Boat

There are some people who say that Pontoon Boats are just for deaf old men in sans-a-belt slacks. To that I say, “What? Speak up!”

One of the fondest memories I have of my first year living here on the lake was one fine day toward the end of the summer when I stood next to my neighbor Harold, gazing at a couple of youngsters being pulled on a rubber tube behind a speedboat. As we watched the kids being pounded to mush and enjoyed their blood-curdling shrieks of terror, Harold turned to me and said, “You know, we ought to go in together and buy a used pontoon boat.”

I nodded, squinted at the sun glinting off the lifeless body of a child who had been hurled off the tube, grabbed hold of the polyester sans-a-belt slacks that at that moment had materialized on me, hitched them up tight under my armpits, and said, “You know, that sounds like a great idea!”

And so on that momentous afternoon nearly twenty years ago began the great adventure of the lake-going vessel now generally known around these parts as the “HMS,” or “Harold & Mike’s Scow.”


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