I know you’ re hoping that this week’s column will touch on subjects like the economy and the stimulus plan which seems to be taking over our lives. Alas, it is not to be. I have had enough news to last me for some time and those of you who are interested in the news will certainly glean more from your local paper or your television. Not from me.

No, this week I’ m going to take on a couple of topics which haven’t been in the news as of late.

The first is border security and the second is expiration dates on milk cartons. I know they don’t relate, but I’ m working here to get something down on paper and you’ re reading so what the heck’stay with me.

My first topic concerns something called ‘ Project 28’ which is a ‘ virtual’ fence between Mexico and Arizona. Now, I’ m not a rocket scientist, but a fence is a fence. You either have one or you don’t. We all know what one looks like. You may have one in your back yard. I’ve seen them and so have you. But now the government has a awarded a contract for around $860 million of our dollars to erect a 28 mile long virtual fence south of Tucson. I say it has a cost of $860 million, when in fact the spokesman for the project would not comment other than to say. ‘ The new system has an undetermined cost.’

How nice. I’d like to get in on this action. Maybe build some virtual crocodile defense alarms for places like say, New York or Omaha. My theory is to build these and then monitor the number of crocodile attacks in those areas. If none occur, then I’ m certain the system will be declared a 100% success. I can envision virtual fences in most of the United States. I think I’d leave out Louisiana, Florida and parts of Texas. I’d like to focus on North Dakota and other locations. Heck, I’ll even throw in safeguards against lion and tiger attacks in those parts of the nation. If this thing takes hold I could go international and protect countries such as Ireland against things like ‘snakes. Sounds like a plan to me.

Seriously, the sad part of this project is the fact that as of this date the system falls short of working as it was intended. In one news article, it was revealed that the contractor bought off the shelf software and tried to make it work on this application. This was intended to save time and to get the system up and running quickly. Now they are asking for an additional 45 million to upgrade the computer software. I would have thought the software would have been a part of the original bid, but then again what do I know’

Enough of that. My second point this week is the sell by dates on things like milk and other stuff you buy in the stores. My wife and I have had a long running discussion over this issue. In the overall scheme of things it really doesn’t matter, but I still would like to find the answer before I pass on. My contention is that the ‘sell by’date on a gallon of milk is to tell the store that they have to remove this item if it isn’t sold by that date. My wife argues that this is the expiration date and that the product isn’t any good any longer and should be thrown away. I know that she has been really sick these past couple of weeks when I found two cartons of milk still in the fridge with ‘sell by’dates from the week before. We had actually used some of it in our coffee and as far as I know suffered no ill effects. She would have never known about it, if I hadn’t brought it to her attention. My test for good or bad milk’ and I share this with other male friends of mine, is that if it still is a liquid and not a complete solid, it’s probably alright to use. I cut the green parts off of cheese as well. Leftovers to me are just that…left over from the week or so before.

I think most men will agree that heating anything up to say 250 degrees successfully kills any known harmful substances in whatever you have around. I subscribe to the theory that pizza actually tastes better a couple of days after you bought it. I know meatloaf has a usable shelf life of about two weeks. Throwing a meatloaf away after only a couple of days is a sacrilege to me. Whoever ate a warm meatloaf sandwich’ Women seem to worry excessively over stuff like green bread…the guys I know just punch out those parts and keep the rest.

I’ m way overdue for a vacation.