The month of October brought with it a few unexpected business expenses. (Yes, I know, for those of us who own a business, we must plan for each and every contingency. Even if a potential future event cannot be predicted with certainty, provisions must be made in advance.)
Nonetheless, when these sudden out-of-pocket expenses creep into the picture, we must adjust the numbers and move on.
In the past month, we've made "sudden emergency" purchases of a new Macintosh MacBook Pro, a new Nikon digital camera, and a few other business-related essentials. No big deal.
We've also had a few random replacement requisitions for our southern Ohio home budget, including a new microwave oven. Again, no big deal.
The constant in all of these purchases?
• Each arrived more secured than Fort Knox, while packaged in paper, plastic, styrofoam and containerboard.
• Each arrived with a multi-page instruction manual and an equally lengthy owner's manual – printed on paper and secured in its own plastic wrap.
• Each arrived in a cardboard shipping container which was larger than the purchased product and its respective packaging.
Of all our recent purchases, though, perhaps the one that truly explains the future of paper and container board was my wife's recent purchase of my underarm deodorant. Knowing full well that I have been using one of the Old Spice brands since my high school days in the late 1970s, and knowing that I typically buy said bodily odor concealer one stick at a time, my wife decided to save some money and purchase a 6-pack.
(This was not my idea of a 6-pack, mind you.)
Anyway, after returning from a shopping trip in Cincinnati, Pam placed the new Old Spice 6-pack in the cabinet beneath the bathroom sink – which I refuse to refer to as a "vanity."
Earlier this month, I applied the last of my previous deodorant stick. The next morning, around 5 a.m., I had to open the Old Spice 6-Pack. These six individual deodorant sticks were sealed in a tight plastic bubble the likes of which I haven't seen since helping my young children open Christmas toys some 20 years ago.
I pulled. I tugged. I tried biting a corner. I tried using that little pair of scissors made for trimming nose hairs. Nothing would penetrate this plastic dome. After wasting half an hour that particular morning, I learned later that no one likes to hear a chain saw at 5:30 in the morning.
My conclusion? The world of paper, containerboard and plastic is a safe one for the foreseeable future.
* * *
Acceptable prime-time TV?
Last night, my wife and I were watching a sporting event, most likely either the third game of the World Series or the Ohio State/Penn State college football game.
A credit card commercial came on with actor Samuel Jackson. Jackson cursed – perhaps for added emphasis – at the end of his product-pitching performance.
It was the first prime-time, network television commercial that I could recall watching a professional actor curse as part of his paid endorsement. Maybe I'm old-fashioned (I am), but was the added modifier necessary in this context of family time television?
Granted, I have been called out by my own readers – and rightfully so – for the occasional lapse in etiquette and protocol.
As one of our readers wrote to me this morning: "The moral fabric of our country is unraveling more every day. I am shocked anyone at (the credit card company) or the network thinks that during a prime-time game that the language used in this ad is OK. It is not OK in my house. My 11-year-old daughter was watching the game with me and she made a comment that she couldn't believe what he just said. If she gets it, what is wrong with those adults who allowed that ad to air?"
I have no answer.
* * *
Meanwhile, the Ohio Development Services Agency sent this Oct. 25 news release to The Highland County Press and, presumably, the rest of the media in the state.
Ohio: The Hollywood of the Midwest
"Ohio is quickly becoming the tinsel town of the Midwest," the Ohio Development Services Agency said. "Today is the release of 'Bad Grandpa' from Johnny Knoxville which was filmed around central and northeast Ohio. … Ohio is on a roll, bringing major film productions to Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus and towns around the state such as 'Jenny's Wedding,' 'Draft Day,' 'Captain American,' 'Johnny Longshot' and more," said David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency, which administers the Motion Picture Tax Credit.
"Producers have told me a state won't be considered for filming if they don't have a tax credit," Goodman said.
In other words, Ohio taxpayers are subsidizing these Hollywood wannabes?
"The Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit provides a 35-percent credit for the Ohio jobs that come from hiring cast and crew," the Ohio Development Services Agency said.
How long these jobs will last is anyone's guess. Reasonable minds, of course, realize that most are about as fleeting as some of these so-called films.
Once again, our tax dollars are at work, not for any greater good, but for a select few's short-term profits. Let's hear it for the American way!
* * *
Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't mention Nip Impressions columnist Gene Canavan.
In his most recent column, Mr. Canavan struck a chord when he mentioned his five adult children and their respective successful careers.
"The fields are diverse," he wrote: banking operations, business administration, science (veterinarian), engineering operations, and human relations and sales. They live up and down the East Coast, so it's hard to occasionally celebrate their successes. … Join me in finding ways to celebrate our adult children in their day-to-day successes. They are there. We just have to dig them out. It'll be worth it."
Mr. Canavan is right.
His column reminded me of something that happened at Wilmington College last week. One of my 18-year-old son's former classmates attends Wilmington College in Wilmington, Ohio and has been encouraged to pursue a bachelor's degree in English.
Among those now-working Wilmington College graduates referenced was my oldest daughter, who is in her fourth year as a professional journalist. My two daughters graduated from Wilmington College with bachelor's degrees at the ages of 19 and 20. They are among the youngest siblings to have earned bachelor's degrees in the history of the Quaker institution.
Their parents are, indeed, proud of them.
Their younger brother is doing his best to continue living up to the old man's mantra that "it all begins with education."
Or, as one of my old professors used to tell me: "It's what you learn after you know it all that counts."
Rory Ryan is Senior Editor, North American Desk, at Paperitalo Publications and the owner of The Highland County Press in Hillsboro, Ohio. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.