TODAY’S WORD is futility. Example: “His experience reflects the futility of stopping military romance scams: No one appears to be able to help.” (Source: “Facebook Connected Her to a Tattooed Soldier in Iraq. Or So She Thought,” by Jack Nicas, The New York Times, July 28)

MONDAY’S WORD was hot spot. It means a public place with an available wireless signal for internet access. Example: When she’s in town, Janette likes to stop by the library to use its free hot spot.

Fresh potatoes

Can you help J.D. Moore with a recommendation? He’s looking for a vegan taxidermist — to preserve his potatoes to be mounted, because they are too valuable to eat.

He told his story: “In March I tilled the garden, fertilized, cut out some rows, planted the seed potatoes — for months filled up dirt around the vines and dug them up during a blazing hot and humid morning in July. I have calculated my labor, seed potatoes, fertilizer, etc. and figure each harvested potato is worth $25.31.”

Benji, the superfanLittle Benjamin Agee seems to have won over as many hearts as “Beauty and the Beast” stars Chelsea Lavinder and Isaiah Young. Benji, 6, ended up going to three B&B shows with his mother, Stephanie Buck Agee (his dad is Richard Agee; the family lives in Bassett).

For each show, Benji showed up in his own “Prince” (from B&B) costume: a blue, satin, embroidered, long, formal coat with white lace cuffs and ascot. Sometimes he wore a “Beast” mask, too. He posed with several little girls dressed as Belle (the “Beauty”), one at a time.

As the shows went on, the cast and crew had become fond of him, visiting with him and giving him backstage tours. At the last show, Sunday’s matinee, he gallantly presented red roses to all of the cast and crew, individually.

Paint night“Paint nights” are the new big thing in terms of socializing with friends or groups, such as Sunday school classes or coworkers. People also can take them individually and have fun chatting and laughing with others in the room. At paint nights, each person pays a fee for time and materials. An instructor leads the group step by step on how to create a particular design. In most of them, refreshments are served, either provided by the host, the attendees or both.

Grace Helms is leading paint nights on the second Friday of each month at the Creative Arts Center in Stuart. Her paintings are tied to the time of the year. This month’s program, from 6-8 p.m. Aug. 9, features — what else? — bright, cheery yellow sunflowers in front of a rustic red barn.

The cost is $30. To register for the workshop, call the Reynolds Homestead at 276-694-7181.

» TUESDAY’S TRIVIA ANSWER: President Woodrow Wilson grazed sheep on the White House lawn.

TODAY’S TRIVIA QUESTION: How many digits do sheep have on their feet?

Send your jokes, announcements, funny anecdotes, local observations and more to or 276-638-8801 extension 243.