Another Dimension

Robert EbsenOP-ED

My latest hobby is pop-up cards.


Probably because I am a 3D aficionado (spell that n-u-t).

I am visually oriented.

Meet the Man Who Invented Thinking Outside of the Box

Robert EbsenOP-ED


More boxes

Even more boxes

And then, some more – yes – boxes!

Once they were cardboard file boxes – big ones that you had to fold: Flap A goes over Flap B, then Flap C and Flap D go . . .

Now they are smaller, plastic shoe boxes. They come with plastic covers. Anybody need about 100 plastic covers?

Where do the boxes go? What are they used for?

Did you say you wanted to know?

Well, I’ll tell you (the advantage of me being the writer and you being the reader).

Can you picture an entire bedroom closet – with only empty bookcases inside? OK – now picture those bookshelves filled with clear plastic shoe boxes – about 100 of them.

What goes in the boxes? Have you already guessed?

Stuff and More Stuff

Robert EbsenOP-ED

File boxes, file folders, labels, letters, envelopes, photos, documents of all kinds . . .

To sort into categories — like family stuff, friends stuff, miscellaneous stuff.

What to do with all this stuff?

Do you keep almost everything, as I do?

I can’t throw it away. It would take too long to scan it into the computer. I think I’ll take photos of it with my digital camera and input the pictures into files on my computer.

More files — but fewer papers — especially if I throw all the papers away after taking the pictures.

But I’m glad I saved all this stuff over the last 50 years or so.

Why? Because now that I am retired, I’ll have time to deal with all the stuff in these boxes.

What are my plans for all of this stuff?

Simple — it will all go into the computer, and I’ll burn several CDs — a few to keep, and a few to give to family and friends.

Will they be happy to get this stuff on a CD? Well, at least they can fit the CD into a corner of a cabinet somewhere. At least they can’t complain.

And, it will make me happy to finally have everything on CDs — because then I’ll be finished with all this stuff. Then I can relax and deal with real things like bills and — uh — well — I can’t think of what I’ll do right now. But I’m sure I’ll find something. I wonder how old I’ll be then — when everything is on CDs — maybe three more years.

Am I happy? Yes I am — because that’s the stuff I’m made of.

If you have any stuff to talk over with Mr. Ebsen, you may find him at

A Big Bite Out of Crime

Robert EbsenSports

Do you watch AMW?

If you don’t know what AMW stands for, you probably don’t watch it.

If you watch it, WHY do you watch it?

Why do I watch it? Why do I want EVERYONE to watch it?

Here are some thoughts that pop into my mind when I ask myself those questions:

I’d like to personally spot those criminals and turn them in.

BUT I am only one person. SO I wish AMW could be expanded to cover ALL U.S. criminals fleeing from the law. Even if it took one hour to show all the current fugitives (15 seconds each in the “Hall of Shame”), I believe that enough fugitives would be spotted and reported to make it worthwhile.

The World Situation

Robert EbsenOP-ED

Listening to the news, let’s see if I can assess the world situation.
For the First Thing:
Some people feel ALL will be well with the world; some people feel SOME things will be well with the world; and some people feel NO things will be well with the world.
For the Second Thing:
Some people feel we have ALL the world against us; some people feel we have SOME of the world against us; and some people feel we have NONE of the world against us – only against our policies perhaps.


Robert EbsenOP-ED

I’m back.

They know I’m back because they can feel the rattle of all those documents: census records, passenger ship manifests, birth, marriage, and death certificates, naturalization papers, and much more.

For almost 18 years I have left them. I wonder if they missed the rattling noises.

Now my ancestors and I are once again connected. I really feel as if we could get on the telephone and start chatting:

"Hi Great-Grandpa Ebsen. How are you? I enjoyed sailing with you across the ocean. I hope your trip was not too uncomfortable. How was little Sammy on the trip? What did he think of America when he arrived here?

What might my ancestors say to me on that apparitional telephone?

Ghosts In My Life

Robert EbsenA&E

If you didn’t get my drift from the title, then you might get my drift knowing that:

NBC’s “Medium” is one of my favorite TV shows (the other is “House, M.D.”). [The juxtaposition of these two shows — the spiritual and the earthy — may represent the true conflict of life.]

I enjoy locating ancestors via census, passenger and other records.

I speak to my deceased father from time to time.

I really don’t like to gossip about people.

"The Day the Earth Stood Still" is my favorite reality flick.

Have I ever seen a ghost? No.

[I wrote the headline for fun. Sorry.]

Have I ever heard ghostly noises? No.

Do I KNOW that ghosts exist? No.

So, what DO I believe?

No Inhibition?

Robert EbsenOP-ED

Why do I feel so free to talk to strangers? In the supermarket, on the movie line, in almost any place. Make that ANY PLACE. It is so comfortable. Make that Uncomfortable when my family is with me. My family claims that it’s natural for them to be uncomfortable. I claim that it is comfortable for me. But I agree with my family that their wishes (make that their inhibitions) take precedence over my desire to talk to strangers. After all, I live with and love my family.

That said, I love talking to strangers, and will continue to do so, at least when I am alone. Why do I do this? Good question. Maybe because I feel connected to humanity. Maybe because I want to hear what others have to say. Maybe because I have a screw loose. And just maybe — because I ENJOY talking to people about whatever, whenever.

Too Much Patience?

Robert EbsenOP-ED

Have you ever:

Held a door open for 11, 12 or 13 people?

Waited on the telephone during a 10- or 15-minute period of silence? Or, for 30-plus minutes while your wife’s friend talks incessantly about her children and their new house, their car, their — oh well, you know.

I’m reminded of the punch line of a joke I heard: "Patience, jackass."

WHY? Why MUST I continue to wait with dignity?

Why don’t I just change?

What would happen if I eschewed my patience completely and reveled in the absence of it?

What could happen, you ask?

Did I Tell Me?

Robert EbsenOP-ED

Hey, I don’t think I spoke to myself yet today.
I suppose I began speaking out loud to myself a long time ago.  But then it was a very occasional thing. Now that I am newly retired, and spending most of my time on a large foam cushion at the computer, I hear myself talking out loud much more often.
"Robert," I hear myself saying, "Did you finish the dishes, make the bed, and ‘pick up’ the TV room?" 
"Did you lock the door?  Turn off the lights?  Call the cemetery (for dad’s plaque)?  Take out the garbage?"