DICK WOLFSIE 2016-01-20 13:08:00

BRUSH WITH FAME
Mike and Glenda Carmichael of Alexandria, Indiana, have been married a long time, but they still have a ball. In fact, they’ve had this ball for nearly 40 years. A paintball, that is.
You’ve probably seen or heard about it, but as a TV reporter, I will soon have the honor of covering this story again. And covering is exactly the right word.
It all started in 1977, when Mike and his three-year-old son, Michael Jr., painted a baseball that was sitting on a shelf in their garage. Mike thought it would be a fun pastime for his family to continually repaint the ball to see just how big it could get. Fast-forward four decades and almost (key word: almost) 25000 coats of paint later and we now have a 4,500-pound sphere of paint, so big it sits (hangs, really) in a nearby barn. Yikes! And there is no end (or circumference) in sight. How big is it? Well, as you will learn by the end of this column you will be able to see it… and then you’ll believe it.
When I first did the story on TV back in the ’90s, Mike’s venture was a mere roadside oddity and to know about it you really did have to pass by his little rural road in Madison County. After the segment aired, everything snowballed, er…paint-balled. Since then, Mike has been featured on numerous national travel shows, CBS This Morning, and a page in Ripley’s Believe It or Not. And, of course, The Guinness Book of World Records.
But now with Facebook and Twitter, the word—and the paint—have really spread. “I’ve had people drive all the way from Canada just to paint the ball,” says Mike, whose detailed records show painters from almost every state. Also logged are the different colors in each layer (there are 20 choices) and the name of each person. “Sometimes and entire family wants to paint the ball,” says Mike. “It’s cheaper than a day at Disney World.” Mike’s wife, Glenda, is responsible for more than 8,000 paint coats, a feat for which she is openly proud. “It’s more fun than vacuuming, and you feel like you have accomplished something.” You have?
There have been celebrity painters, as well.  The Oakridge Boys put on a couple of coats along with Bill and Gloria Gaither, and they all sang a few tunes in the process. That process, by the way, takes about 10 minutes if you go it alone, but many families, each member equipped with his or her own provided roller, can knock off a coat in just a couple of minutes. To ensure that no one “misses a spot,” there is a mirror under the ball to see those hard-to-reach places. The ball is not a perfect sphere. “In fact,” admits Mike, “it’s kind of lumpy.”
To paint the ball, Mike asks that you make an appointment, but has welcomed a few unannounced visitors. “It’s hard to turn down someone who’s travelled hundreds of miles just to get a photo of themselves panting the ball.”
On Saturday morning, January 23. on WISH-TV’s Daybreak, I will be painting the 25,000th coat. How interesting will that be? About as interesting as watching paint dry. 

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THE VACATION FROM HELL ( A CHRISTMAS POEM)

The Wolfsies have returned from a Christmas cruise where high seas and bad weather made our journey less than enjoyable. So, in the spirit of Clement Clarke Moore’s classic poem spiced with a little Dr. Seuss, I hope you enjoy my memory of the trip. 
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the boat
People were restless so here’s what I wrote
We had decided this Christmas to forego a gift
And instead spend the money to all go adrift 
The Wolfsies were nestled all snug in our beds
While visions of port calls danced in our heads 
Mary Ellen in her nightgown and I in my tee
Were ready for bed and looked out at sea
When out on the deck there arose such a racquet
I ran to our closet and grabbed a life jacket
Then to the port hole to look out on the ocean
That made me seasick…all due to the motion
When what to my listening ears should I hear
But an officer’s voice and the message was clear:
The sea was too choppy, or so said the captain
Disembarking the ship was not gonna happen
Then he whistled and shouted and called them by name
No Honduras, no Cozumel and then, no Belize
I let out a curse word
My wife said, “Oh, geez.”
With no ports to dock in, the message was clear
They couldn’t stock up on food I held dear:
No knockwurst, no blintzes, no lox, and no brisket
The heck with the waves, I thought they should risk it. 
Then in a twinkling an announcement to all
Confirming again there’d be no ports of call
But the captain assured all on the cruise
There would be lots on board to entertain and amuse
Now Johnsons, now Goldbergs, now Reynolds, now Grays
There’s shuffleboard, ping pong and a jukebox that plays
The casino is open, just think about that
Or learn to fold towels in the shape of cat
The people on board could not have been madder
And then out on the deck I heard such a clatter
When what to my wandering eyes should appear
But the head chef himself in his holiday gear
He was dressed all in white like a man from the navy
And his clothes were stained with chocolate and gravy
He had a broad face and a little round belly
And he passed out some pastries and small jars of jelly
Then a wink of his eye and a nod of his head
And now I was sure that I would be fed
He spoke not a word but went right to his station 
Creating his dishes from every known nation 
He pinched thumb to forefinger and said, “magnifique!” 
What a soup he created: I think it was leek.
Then he made a new sauce and a great crème brûlée
Then back to the kitchen to prepare for the next day.
I heard him exclaim as he went out of sight:
Merry Christmas to all and enjoy every bite!

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