Feature Contributors Archives for 2024-04

Fantastic Insect Moms

As Mother’s Day approaches, we can consider not only our mothers but also mothers in the insect world. Did you know that the earwig is perhaps the best mom in the insect world according to many scholars?  Earwig mothers can spend weeks without food to care for their young. The earwig will meticulously clean and move her eggs if she senses danger for her brood.  f eggs are laid in an area where there is a pathogen present, the female will clean the egg to eliminate infection to the eggs.

Cockroach moms are quite special also. The cockroach mom lays her eggs in a protein capsule called an ootheca. She carries this egg sac on her body and protects her young until it is time for the eggs to hatch. In doing this she protects the eggs from predators.

Burying Beetles also make great moms. I know it sounds gross, but mother Burying Beetles feed on carrion and then regurgitate nourishment to the young. Females engage in fights to protect the young much better than their male counterpart. Even if wounded, the female will defend and care for her brood.

Wolf spiders not only carry an egg sac containing the unborn young, but when the eggs do hatch,the female wolf spider continues to carry its young until they are ready to make it on their own. 

In all the examples above, the females carry most if not all the burden of having and caring for their young and sometimes pay the ultimate price. In the case of the Stepsiptera, its young is born on the inside the mother and the offspring consume their mother from the inside out. Now that fact is an act of true self-sacrifice in continuation of the species. 

The work and sacrifice of insect moms should never be unnoticed just as the work and sacrifice of our own mothers should never be forgotten. Tell your mom today you appreciate her!

Column: Did the Duchess of Sussex visit Shelbyville?

Dear readers,

Wow was I ever surprised when Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, picked me as one of the 50 influencers to receive a jar of her new strawberry jelly.  It’s her first product from her new company “American Riviera Orchard.”

I was even more surprised when she stopped by last week for an in person and exclusive interview.


Kris: So, did you have any trouble finding our house on W. Mechanic St.?

Duchess: Well, it was the only one flying the Union Jack. I do have one question before we start talking about my jelly. What in the world was that huge, twisted metal thingamajig I passed on the way into town?

Kris: That is our famous stainless-steel sculpture. We affectionately call it “The Helbing.” We will walk over after the interview so you can get a better look.

Duchess:  Wonderful, I can take some photos. I just love modern art!

Kris: So, what’s with the jelly?

Duchess: Well Kris, a Duchess must make a living. It’s a tradition for celebrities to use their fame to hawk a product. Suzanne Somers sold the Thigh Master. Everyone from Elizabeth Taylor to J Lo and Paris Hilton have sold perfume. Gwyneth Paltrow even sells a candle that smells like … well you’ve probably read about it. Anyway, my company American Riviera Orchard, will sell affordable products. I hope to bring joy and happiness to the masses. Strawberry jelly is my first product.



Kris:  I brought the crackers. Open that jar of jam and let’s have a taste. Oh, that is good.

Duchess:  I’m just surprised that you brought saltines. Maybe we could go next door to the Dollar General and get some English Muffins. I prefer to eat my jelly on an English Muffins. I fell in love with the Dollar General brand muffins when Harry and I lived in England. In fact, we always sent a footman over to the Dollar General for our muffins.

Kris: No kidding, I didn’t know they had Dollar General stores in England.

Duchess: Oh yes, in England there is at least one on every block. I think it’s a British law. Most people don’t know that there is a Dollar General actually in Buckingham Palace.

Kris: Besides Dollar General muffins is there anything else, except Harry, that you’ve brought back from England.

Duchess: Eating beans on toast for breakfast is a habit I brought back from England. I’m not joking, the English really eat beans on toast. It looks disgusting, but it is delicious. It does make everyone gassy. Sometimes sitting around the breakfast table at the castle was like the scene where the cowboys are sitting around the campfire in Blazing Saddles.     

Kris: This jelly is excellent. It has a unique top note. Is there a secret ingredient?

Duchess: The unique taste comes from my manufacturing process. I’m making it in small batches at our home in Montecito, California. I first put the strawberries in a giant tub, take off my shoes and socks and stomp them into a juicy mess. Sometimes my BFF Victoria Beckham, a/k/a Posh Spice, helps. I got the idea from watching an old “I Love Lucy” episode. For your readers who are Lucy fans, it is Season 5, Episode 23. Lucy goes to Italy and stomps grapes into wine.

Well, I stomp strawberries into jam. Harry wanted me to call it “Meghan’s Strawberry Toe Jam.” Would that be a hoot or what? Kris, do you have any champagne and caviar? Do you know the combination to my high school locker? How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? What is that ringing sound? The ringing sound is getting louder and louder.

Kris: Oh no it’s my alarm clock. Just like season nine of Dallas, when we all thought Bobby Ewing was dead, this entire interview has been a dream.

See you all next week, same Schwinn time, same Schwinn channel.

The Shelby County Post is a digital newspaper producing news, sports, obituaries and more without a pay wall or subscription needed. Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email by visiting shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.

Letters Home: Public toilets in Japan vs. the USA

Every year I accompany a group of 14 of my university students to Wisconsin for a three-week, short-stay visit where they stay with a host family for half of the visit and then stay in a local hotel for the other half.

As part of their experience, I ask them to make a portfolio where they choose six or seven typically Japanese customs or traditions to highlight with a paragraph explaining it with an accompanying photo. This is done before we leave Japan and when they arrive in the U.S. at their homestay families’ homes, they can pull these out to use as ice breakers and conversation starters to show their American family about Japanese culture, their own family, etc.

During their three weeks in the U.S., they must select six or seven typically American things that they found interesting or surprising. This is especially fun for me to read their observations about American culture because they see and notice things that I don’t think about because it seems normal to me being born and raised in the U.S. In other words, I enjoy experiencing American culture through their eyes.

Every year, several students always comment upon the differences in public restroom facilities between the U.S. and Japan. Most notably, they are very taken aback in public restrooms because of the huge gaps at the bottom and top where you can see people using the facilities, and they find the gaps in the doors that don’t offer complete privacy very disconcerting. They always ask me why U.S. public restrooms have these features.



There are many reasons why U.S. public toilets have this design and probably the most practical reason is for safety. Believe it or not, there are a goodly number of people who injure themselves each year in these spaces, so it is much easier to assist a person if someone collapses or falls while in the confined space by being able to get to them easily. The surfaces tend to be hard and slippery, so accidents in the toilet do happen.

Also, the gaps make it much harder for anyone to do anything illegal with so much exposure, like doing drugs or having sex. I imagine it is easier for the custodians to clean around the bowl, as well, because they can mop the floor more easily from outside without a complete door to block their access. No doubt, another reason probably has to do with the air flow in such a tight space, allowing malodorous aromas to dissipate more quickly after it is used.

All of these reasons, no matter how practical they seem, do not convince my students who feel very exposed when using restroom facilities in the U.S. They much prefer Japanese public toilets that offer complete privacy, with doors that go from floor to ceiling, with no glaring gap between the door and wall. To be honest, I do, too. After living in Japan for more than half my life, I prefer Japanese public toilets to U.S. toilets for these same reasons.

When I first came to Japan in 1979, public restrooms (especially in train stations) were horrendous.  Sometimes referred to as “benjo,” these urinal-toilets were nothing more than open troughs that drained to open sewers just outside, so the odor was very pungent around these areas. Some actual toilets were non-flushing, as well, and were basically pits that required big sewage trucks to come and vacuum them out every so often.

Summertime was especially nasty because the stifling heat, coupled with flies, and the smell made it very unpleasant to use. In those days, no toilet paper was provided and it was customary to buy tissue out of a machine if you needed to use the toilet. Still, to this day, many companies will pass out packs of tissue to commuters for advertising as a vestige from the past because they used to be very necessary to have in your pocket … just in case. People nearly always accept a free packet of tissue handed to them, whereas they will refuse a printed paper handed to them.

I am happy to say that Japanese public toilets have changed exponentially since the 1970s and today they are sleek, modern, and normally very clean, with plenty of toilet paper provided (usually!). In fact, I have noticed many public toilets in not only train stations, but in public parks, and in stores that offer “washlet” toilets that have many bells and whistles like heated toilet seats and bidets to rinse your backside after using the toilet.

Many public restrooms provide a toilet seat sanitizer that can be used as a spray disinfectant with toilet paper before using it. Because Japanese women don’t want other people to hear them tinkling, many women’s restrooms have a device that will mimic a flushing toilet to drown out any noise that might be made.

In fact, back in the 80s and 90s, it was customary for women to repeatedly flush the toilet while using it which wasted tons of water. In order to conserve water, but also to make them feel comfortable using a public toilet, loud music was sometimes piped in or a little electronic flushing sound machine was installed next to the toilet in women’s restrooms.

One recent trend in Japan I have noticed in many public restroom areas in malls and department stores is a special “kid’s toilet” that offers children privacy but they can be watched over by their parents to make sure they don’t have any problems. These toilets feature child-sized hardware, including toilets, sinks, mirrors, and urinals just the right size for little ones. The walls reach up past their height, but not so high that a parent can’t keep a watchful eye on them. Parents can be near without being intrusive (see photo).

When my mother came to visit me the first time in Japan, I made a point to scout out all the toilets in the places we visited before her arrival to make sure they met her discriminating standards. She was quite worried about having to use a squat type of toilet, so I made sure she had a Western toilet available for her use with plenty of tissue packs in her purse.

On her second trip, Japan had changed so much that I didn’t worry about it at all because an acceptable public toilet that was modern and clean was then the norm, as it still is today … but even better. 

The Shelby County Post is a digital newspaper producing news, sports, obituaries and more without a pay wall or subscription needed. Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email by visiting shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.

Column: Is it time for rebranding?

Dear readers,

Shelbyville Common Council member Linda Sanders has suggested rebranding the city with a new motto to replace “Pride in Progress.”

Mayor Scott Furgeson recently mentioned that a company experienced in rebranding cities has a $100,000 proposal. The firm would include a wide variety of services to make the rebranding successful.

This week I received a letter on the topic. Enjoy!

Dear Kris,

On the topic of rebranding, it looks like the city is going to replace Pride in Progress. I enjoyed your column featuring suggestions for rebranding Shelbyville. My favorite suggestion was “Shelbyville, Gateway to Boggstown.”

My second favorite was “Shelbyville, Always More Lost Than Found.”

With the city getting a new brand, do you think it is time to rebrand your column? The whole “Schwinn” thing is getting a little bit stale. It just doesn’t have a cool vibe.



I realize to you it is like a favorite suit but now frayed around the edges.  Think of me as your tailor. I have some mod ideas for a new brand for you. They came to me while sitting in my lawn chair beneath “The Helbing” meditating last week. The ideas really flowed. I weeded out the stupid ones. 

Here are my seven best suggestions for rebranding your column. I honed it down to the best seven because it is a lucky number. From reading your column for 30 years, I have concluded that you need all the luck you can get.

  1. A Pity Column For Old-Timers
  2. A Weekly Message From The Helbing
  3. Horoscope For The Hopeless
  4. Your Weekly Serving of Quantum Soup
  5. A Message From The Oracle At The Helbing
  6. Notes From An Old-Timer’s Nap
  7. O Fortuna, The Shelbyville Edition

These suggestions are all being sent to you free of charge. In fact, I don’t want any recognition if you choose to use one of these suggestions. I prefer to remain anonymous.

Dear Anonymous,

Thanks for your suggestions. I just may need to rebrand. Rebranding has been a great success for many organizations and companies -- although the “New Coke” didn’t go over very well.

Among your ideas I like “Your Weekly Serving of Quantum Soup” the best. I once thought about calling my column, “Into This World We’re Thrown.”

Since The Shelby County Post is free, it’s difficult to tell if I really need to rebrand currently. However, I’ll admit that sales numbers for View From My Schwinn macaroni shapes hasn’t kept up with Paw Patrol or Sponge Bob Square Pants. Thanks again for the ideas and for being a long-time reader.

Several readers have asked me if I have any ideas of what to do with eclipse glasses now that the eclipse is over.

Well, I certainly wouldn’t get rid of the glasses. Mostly because it is a tradition in my family to never get rid of anything. I know it will be a few hundred years before another eclipse comes through Shelbyville, but the glasses do have other uses.

I like to keep a pair handy in my car for driving at night. You have probably noticed that some modern cars and trucks have high beams as bright as the sun. Just put your trusty eclipse glasses on when you see one of those vehicles approaching and you can prevent being blinded.

The eclipse glasses also make a fashion statement. You can wear them when just sitting by the pool this summer or anywhere you don’t really have to see.

See you all next week, same Schwinn time, same Schwinn channel.

The Shelby County Post is a digital newspaper producing news, sports, obituaries and more without a pay wall or subscription needed. Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email by visiting shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.

Arthropods and why are they here?

You may have never heard of Arthropods, but I bet you have seen them!  An Arthropod is any invertebrate. An invertebrate is a creature that does not have a backbone and instead having either a soft or hard exoskeleton made of chitin which is in sections that are shed from time to time.

The arthropods that are the subject of this article are millipedes, centipedes, and pill bugs.  I have chosen these three arthropods because they are common pests associated with our homes. 

The first arthropod we will discuss is the millipede.  A millipede has short legs that cannot be seen if looking down on the critter because the legs are directly underneath the worm like creature. A millipede also has short antennae and is normally brown in color. The second arthropod is a centipede whose color may be light brown to gray. A centipede is a long-legged worm-like creature that has long antennae. It has two legs per segment but really doesn’t have a hundred legs. The third arthropod is the pill bug often referred to as a ” Roly poly” bug. This little guy looks somewhat like a tiny armadillo that will roll up in a ball when touched or disturbed. Its legs are short and cannot be seen while looking down on the insect and has short antennae. The Pill bug is gray in color.

What brings these arthropods to our attention? Spring, Summer and Fall yield a large population of these critters that invade our homes in search of moisture, organic material and harborages that they need so badly. Mulch and organic material are the buffet that these arthropods need for survival of the species. Harborage makes survival from predators much easier. In Indiana, these critters are not harmful to humans, but they are unsightly and cause a fright to those who are sensitive to wiggly things. 

Here is the tip! Mulch can be good and attractive around the home, but try to not get a great thickness of the mulch which provides a great home for arthropods. Keep foliage down that holds in moisture close to the home and provides a great harborage. When the moisture level is too high. arthropods may make their way into the home especially in garages, bathrooms, utility rooms and sunrooms. 

Natural control is always best but good exterior perimeter treatments may keep these pests under control.

Column: Inquiring minds want to know

Dear readers,

You have questions. I have answers.

This week I will not be printing entire rambling and mostly pointless letters from readers. I will instead just answer reader questions selected from random letters. Besides, if I thought you wanted to read a thousand words of pointless rambling, I would have just written another column about “The Helbing.”

Now, on with your questions. Enjoy!

Q: Kris, I loved your column about the “Diabolical Iron Clad Beetle.” It was your best column in a long time. Can you write more columns about bugs?

A: I can’t write more columns about bugs because I didn’t write the one you are referring to. You have confused my column “A View From My Schwinn” with fellow GIANT fm columnist Mike Dooley and his column, “Pest Assassin.”

It is a common mistake among readers. As a side note, since Mike has moved into the office next to mine, I haven’t seen a single pest here at the GIANT fm studio. Mike didn’t even spray any chemicals. His mere presence frightened all the insects away. 



Q: Kris, has anyone taken you up on your offer to officiate their wedding for free so long as the venue is The Helbing? And if not, will you officiate a renewal of vows ceremony for my wife and me if we do it at The Helbing? I want to surprise her. 

A: No one has taken up my free wedding offer yet. And no, I will not officiate your vows renewal ceremony. My advice is to not surprise your wife. You might be the one who ends up getting the surprise. You convinced her to say “I do” once. Now that she has had a few years to get to know you better, I wouldn’t risk asking again. 

Q: Kris, asking for a friend, what lotion would you recommend for the skin rash caused by reading your column?

A: Cloverine Salve is my go-to all purpose liniment. Years ago it was sold exclusively by children who answered an advertisement on the back of a comic book. At the age of nine, I wasn’t much of a door-to-door salesman. So, I still have a good supply. I use it for everything from cuts and bruises to lubricating my Rich Wetnight muzzleloader.

Q: Kris, thanks for the suggestion that I put a few nickels in my pajama pocket before bedtime. I had my recurring dream featuring a pay toilet that night. With a pocket full of nickels, it turned my nightmare into a happy dream. There was a poem written on the pay toilet stall. It began with the line, “Here I sit, all broken hearted.” I woke up before finishing the poem. Since you are from the Eisenhower Administration, do you know the rest of the poem?

A: Yes, I do. I’m sure your grandpa can still recite it from memory. If not, just Google the first part of the poem.

See you all next week, same Schwinn time, same Schwinn channel.

WARNING:  If reading Meltzer’s column causes a rash, dry cough, excess phlegm, sciatica, or blurred vision, stop reading immediately. 

The Shelby County Post is a digital newspaper producing news, sports, obituaries and more without a pay wall or subscription needed. Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email by visiting shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.

Letters Home: The anticipation of Japanese cherry blossoms

There are few things in Japan that are as anticipated every year with such fondness, giddiness, and adoration as the annual display by Mother Nature — in all its glory — of cherry blossoms. Found basically everywhere in Japan, blossoming cherry trees quintessentially represent Japan in a way that few culturally significant traditions can begin to touch. 

The actual blossoms are fleeting in their appearance and beauty, so transient that once in full bloom, they last merely for a matter of days. The cherry blossom, or “sakura” in Japanese, has evolved to represent and symbolize not only human life and the renewal of spring after a long winter, but a delicate realization that nothing is permanent and all is in constant change. 

Their fragility is a significant part of their beauty. People relish the experience of sitting under the blossoming trees, eating and drinking with friends and colleagues, waiting for a strong breeze to blow, so the petals will begin to cascade down over their heads, carpeting the ground around them.  Squeals of joy can be heard when this happens, even though it means the blossoms are almost finished. Everyone takes heart in knowing they will be back, roughly at the same time the next year, showing off their majestic and noble beauty to a new group of admirers.



These highly anticipated blossom viewing parties are called “hanami” (literally meaning “flower viewing”) and because the window of opportunity is so finite as to when and how long the blossoms are in bloom, great efforts are made to plan accordingly. The nightly news features blossom viewing segments that show the dates of when the Sakura will be blooming in different parts of Japan. Often is the case where the news graphic slowly turns pink as it moves up the map of the archipelago.

Due to climate change, they seem to be blooming earlier than in the past, so hotels, caterers, offices and just about anyone connected with cherry blossom viewing must plan meticulously to ensure that they time their Hanami perfectly in order to have the best experience at viewing the canopy of flowering trees from below.



Often times, new recruits in companies are tasked with scouting out the best area at a popular viewing spot in order to save the space for their colleagues who will arrive after work finishes, laden with prepared food and alcoholic drinks to imbibe during the party. Large blue tarps are laid out under trees that offer the best views of the blossoms and the young employee basically holds the spot all day until the others arrive (see photo).

Tourists, both domestic and foreign, have become enamored with this Japanese tradition and visitors try to plan their trips to Japan, or within Japan, during this season in order to experience this once-a-year display of nature. Sadly, however, uncouth behavior regarding the blossoms sometimes occurs.

Overly exuberant visitors will sometimes try to touch or shake the trees to get a photo of the blossoms falling, or will get too close and walk on the roots of the trees, or try to pick the flowers as a souvenir. These actions are all expressly forbidden. The trees ad blossoms are to be admired from afar and not be a tactile experience by touching physically the trees or blossoms.



The idea of Hanami dates back to ancient times when aristocrats and the noble class began the tradition of writing poetry and singing songs under the flowering trees. Eventually, the custom spread to other socio-economic classes and today it is a tradition enjoyed by anyone and everyone.  These gatherings are made up of people with whom one is associated with; it could be a club event, family reunion, work colleagues, or former classmates. Just about any group of people with common interests or a common connection will make plans to have a Hanami picnic to enjoy this annual display.



A Hanami can occur anywhere there are flowering cherry trees. Hanami doesn’t always involve eating and drinking. It can simply be a leisurely stroll through a park with many flowering trees.  However, the term is largely associated with a picnic-like gathering.

Popular viewing spots can get very crowded with people clamoring to save a spot for their viewing party. People partaking in Hanami parties are expected to clean up the area completely when finished, taking all waste and garbage with them when finished. Also, many parks have rules regarding barbecuing and do not allow it. It is most common for people to have lunch boxes of prepared food to eat and share.



The blossoms are nearly finished where I live now for this year, having blossomed a bit earlier this year. Last year, I had a special treat when a friend from home, a Shelbyville High School classmate came for a visit at the most perfect time to see all the trees blossoming at their most glorious. Dawn Staker Hartman (photo, right) was treated to quite the display of cherry blossoms around the ruins of Fukuoka Castle. We spent an entire day strolling under the canopies of flowers that can be found in the entire grounds of the old castle compound.

The Shelby County Post is a digital newspaper producing news, sports, obituaries and more without a pay wall or subscription needed. Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email by visiting shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.

Does a Solar Eclipse Affect Animals and Insects?

April 8, 2024 is a very special day.  The solar eclipse will yield totality across central Indiana around 3:06 p.m.  The last time a total solar eclipse happened in this area was estimated to be 800 years ago in the year 1205.  Besides being a wonderous event to observe for thousands of people that will cause great excitement it is hard to conceive what ancient man thought of such an event that at that time was unexplainable.  Have you ever thought how such an event might affect the animal and insect world?   Many birds during totality will try to go to roost.  After totality some varieties may break out into their morning song.  What has happened is the bird’s internal clock has changed quickly.  Some varieties of spiders will take down their webs simply to build them again when the eclipse is over.  Night shift animals like bats may come out only to go back to roost soon after the event is over.  Pets may become uneasy or restless.  Take care that while we understand what is happening the pets do not.  They may follow our pointing and looking up since they just know something different is happening.  In following their owners gestures some researchers believe that pets can get eye damage by looking at the sun which would not normally happen in the everyday life of a pet.    The sound of crickets may trumpet the welcoming of the total eclipse.  Domestic chickens may head to the hen house as the sun disappears and the temperature quickly drops a few degrees.  If you are a fisherman some researchers believe that fish are more likely to bite being fooled that evening is coming.  Flowers themselves like evening primrose may start to close up for night.  Nature is amazing! 

Enjoy the eclipse and while doing so observe the world around you.  It might also be a spectacular observation.

Column: Why aren't Americans happy?

Dear readers,

ABC news reports that according to the latest Gallup world poll, America is no longer in the top 20 of happy countries.

O Fortuna, what has happened to us? How can this be? Somehow people living in Lithuania and the Czech Republic are happier than us. 

I realize Mercury is in retrograde but pineapples at Kroger are selling for only 88 cents. So, how can Americans not be happy? I know what you readers are thinking.

Kris, you silly prankster. You fooled us on April Fools’ Day. We fell hook, line and sinker for your fake story announcing the city was removing The Helbing, but 88-cent pineapples at Kroger, no way!”

All I can say is “Yes way.” Last week I received a coupon in the mail for a discount on Fig Newtons. Just getting such a coupon made me happy.  The week before, all I got was a fake check in the mail. On close inspection the check was just a $200 coupon to apply to the purchase of a Kirby vacuum sweeper. 

Holding the coupon in my hand, I could already taste those Fig Newtons just like one of Pavlov’s dog. I wasted no time in getting to Kroger.  Arriving in the aisle where Fig Newtons were located, I found it to be as bare as Mother Hubbard’s cupboard.



Others with coupons must have already done their hoarding. There were plenty of those new mod Newton flavors, such as apple, cinnamon, strawberry, raspberry and even braunschweiger, but no fig. If Nabisco had stuck with just making the original Fig Newtons and not wasted their effort on these lesser flavors, there would have been more shelf space for the figs.

I don’t know who beat me to the Fig Newtons. I’d like to think that many local families took this opportunity to introduce their children to the wonders of the fig. It was probably just one of those super coupon shoppers like I see on reality TV.

I imagine when they got to the cash register it rang up three or four hundred dollars’ worth of zuzu snacks. After tabulating the super shopper’s coupons, Kroger probably had to give them change for their dollar bill.

Since I couldn’t buy any Fig Newtons, I ventured over to the real fruit section. I discovered pineapples on sale for only 88 cents. I told myself a fresh pineapple is probably a better snack than a Fig Newton anyway.

I picked up a pineapple and gave it a good once over. It was large and nicely proportioned. I looked closer because I thought there must be a catch. How could a pineapple only cost 88 cents? I’m not sure where pineapples come from, but I would think that shipping would add at least 88 cents.

I do know that years ago when I detasseled corn for a living, I spent quite a few hot days riding around the countryside in an old school bus. I never remember passing by a pineapple farm. However, when I told this story to Uncle Tony, he claimed there might be an Amish pineapple farm over by Milroy.

Cousin Tom later told me “Kris, as Beaver’s older brother Wally would say, Uncle Tony was just giving you the business. There is no pineapple farm near Milroy.”

Anyway, I kind of got off on a tangent. In summary, I can’t figure out how America fell out of the top 20 happy countries. Thomas Jefferson put it in our Declaration of Independence, we have the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” 

Of course, the “pursuit of Happiness” isn’t a guarantee of happiness.  Happiness must be pursued. So, if you find the Fig Newton shelf bare, keep looking. You just might find an 88-cent pineapple. 

 See you all next week, same Schwinn time, same Schwinn channel.

The Shelby County Post is a digital newspaper producing news, sports, obituaries and more without a pay wall or subscription needed. Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email by visiting shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.

The Diabolical Iron Clad Beetle

Within the world of insects there are simple life forms and very complicated and amazing species. Some of these are beyond understanding and are almost unbelievable.

One such insect is the Diabolical Iron Clad Beetle. This type of beetle is not found in Indiana, but it sure does deserve mention. In fact, the Iron Clad beetle is considered the toughest insects in the world. Why? This species of beetle has its own body armor. It can withstand pressure like no other. The Iron clad Beetle can withstand 39,000 times its weight in pressure. To put it in simple terms, a car can run over the beetle and not crush it. According to research at Purdue University and University of California Irvine, that pressure would be equivalent to a 200-pound man having the pressure of 7.8 million pounds of pressure put on him without crushing him or causing injury. Research in the areas of construction and aeronautics is being done to see what we can learn to make construction materials stronger on earth and in space. What do you think of this species now?   

The Diabolical Iron Clad Beetle is found in Mexico and California and lives under bark on trees and under rocks. It has the ability to play dead to protect itself from being bothered by other animals or insects, although there aren’t any that can penetrate its shell. Even birds cannot peck a hole in its shell. Entomologists must use a drill to make a hole to even pin the insect for display. The lifespan of this amazing survivor is a whopping 8 years.

The key to its strength is the ability its small fibers to hold the body plates together by allowing a stretching action. These small fibers allow the strong body shell to be nearly indestructible. Another amazing feature of this beetle is that it has the ability to “self-heal.” Research in this area is also being conducted.

All this sounds like a paradox to me! Usually, we think of something strong being big or muscular. Researchers may redefine what strength is. Some of the smallest and most fragile things may hold us together to make us strong.