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Meet the Columnist

Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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How to Burn Down the House...

How to Burn Down the House

(As told by Sheila's kids)

View detailsBurning down the house seems to be more of a potential possibility at our place than it is elsewhere. Here's how it's done.

Step 1: Bake a pizza.

You should bake pizza directly on the oven rack without a pan so the crust will be crispy. When it gets hot, cheese will drip on the bottom of the oven and burn.

Alternative method: If the house is still standing, put a pizza in the oven and then fall asleep watching TV while the pizza burns to a cinder.

Step 2: List to mom rant.

"It's okay mom, it was an accident. Nothing happened."

"No nothing happened, but what if I had not smelled it burning? Is it asking too much for people to use a little common sense?"

Step 3: Cook frozen fish fillets.

This is what the large pizza pan is for, the one with holes in it. Naturally, as soon as the fish is hot, grease will drip on the bottom of the oven.

Step 4: Go outside and do not watch the food cook.

When mom smells a strange smell like plastic melting, she will check the oven and take out the pan of fish fillets. It will not do much good as the smoke is coming from the grease on the bottom of the oven.

Step 5: Open windows.

Watch mom run around like crazy opening doors and windows to get rid of the smoke before the smoke alarm goes off. Our smoke alarm is connected to a home security system and if it goes off, fire trucks come.

Step 6: Listen to mom rant and rave.

Mom will go on and on about how stupid it is to try to cook fried food in a pan with holes in it.

Step 7: Clean the oven.

Mom can clean the oven the next day when it cools. The house may smell like a greasy fish restaurant for several days, so try to stay away from home as much as possible.

Step 8: Fry some bacon.

Bacon grease is very flammable at a low temperature. Bacon has been banned for so long that we can't even remember the last time it was cooked. Wait till mom is out of town and cook bacon every morning.

Step 9: When mom comes home, give her CPR.

Listen to mom's lecture on cold cuts and salads for people who don't know how to cook. (The potato chips are on top of the refrigerator and chocolate chip cookies are behind the microwave for emergencies.)

Step 10: Be sure the insurance is paid up.

Mom will take care of this. She is quite certain that one day she is going to come home and find a pile of ashes and a chimney where the house used to be.

Step 11: Throw pizza pan in trash.

"Don't throw away the pizza pan, mom, I need it to cook pizza."

"No you don't, all pizza cooking is now banned."

Step 12: Listen to the lecture on the virtues of being careful.

God knows what will be burned up next. God knows and mom knows. I am not allowed to use the toaster, the stove, the oven, the microwave, the gas grill, the crock pot or the hair dryer.

Step 13: Eat out.

We no longer cook at home because everything is banned, thrown away or locked up.

"Can we order a carry-out pizza, mom?"

Copyright 2014 Sheila Moss

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