Who says Germans are a humorless lot? Do you dare to say it to their faces, you Unterhosenbügler?

Gaining something in translation

B. Dazzled of South St. Paul: “I’ve been brushing up a bit on my German vocabulary. They don’t have as many influences from lots of other languages, as English does. So, their nouns are often hilariously literal, and sometimes delightfully metaphoric, composite words. For example, a ‘bra’ is Büstenhalter (‘bust-holder’) or even Euterschnalle (‘udder buckle’).

“Here are some of my favorites:

“Gloves = Handschuhe (‘hand-shoes’)

“Drums = Schlagzeuge (‘hit-things’)

“Vacuum = Staubsauger (‘dust-sucker’)

“Gums = Zahnfleisch (‘tooth-meat’)

“Tortoise = Schildkröte (‘shield-toad’)

“Rhino = Nashorn (‘nose-horn’)

“Mule = Maultier (‘mouth-animal’)

“Sloth = Faultier (‘lazy-animal’)

“Raccoon = Waschbär (‘washing-bear’)

“Bat = Fledermaus (‘flutter-mouse’)

“Porcupine = Stachelschwein (‘thorn-pig’)

“Hippo = Flusspferd (‘river-horse’)

“Diarrhea = Durchfall (‘fall-through’)

“Queue/Line = Warteschlange (‘waiting-snake’)

“Faucet/Spigot = Wasserhahn (‘water-rooster’)

“Wimp = Unterhosenbügler (‘underpants-ironer’)

“Nipples = Brustwartzen (‘breast-warts’)

“Lightbulb = Glühbirne (‘glow-pear’)

“Hovercraft = Luftkissenfahrzeug (‘air-pillow-driving-thing’)

“Subway Station = Untergrundbahnhaltestelle (‘underground-train-stopping-place’)

“Tramp-Stamp (lower back tattoo) = Arschgeweih (‘ass-antlers’)”

Gaining something in translation
Pandemic Division

Dennis from Eagan reports: “Subject: COVID-19 sweets.

“My Knights of Columbus district sold cinnamon-roll packages last Sunday at Shakopee’s bilingual Catholic church.

“We had a successful sale then, but imagine the extra free advertising there if we sold PIES instead!”

Everyone’s a critic!
Classic Television Division — leading to: Life as we know it

Zoo Lou of St. Paul: “Subject: ‘On Thursday, We Leave for Home.’

“While doing a late-night run through the endless TV channels a few weeks ago, I was elated to come across ‘On Thursday, We Leave for Home’, my all-time favorite episode of ‘The Twilight Zone.’

“This classic story is about a group of late-20th-century colonists who venture into space in search of a paradise far from the wars and pestilence on Earth. What they find, however, is a barren, hellish asteroid, where they are tormented by twin suns, meteor showers, and having to live in dank caves. The sense of hopelessness is overwhelming, and every day is a fight for survival.     

“But it’s a man named William Benteen (James Whitmore) who keeps this forlorn flock together, serving as guide, mentor and doctor, comforting them with stories about the beauty of Earth and how they will return there one day.

“Then everyone’s prayers are answered when a rescue ship does arrive. Determined to stay in control,  Benteen tells his group they must stay together in a community on earth. But the people disagree, calling out places they’d like to live. One lady is set on going to Wisconsin, ‘so you better tell us about frostbite.’

“The ship’s captain tells Benteen to relax and berates him for not allowing the people to make their own decisions. Benteen suddenly gets hostile and shouts that Earth is an ugly, dangerous place and no one will survive unless we stick together.     

“With his authority undermined, Benteen tries to sabotage the ship, then declares he is staying and urges his group to stay with him, which leaves them in shock.     

“On departure day, Benteen can’t be found and the captain makes one final plea: There will never be another rescue ship, and you will trapped here for the rest of your life.     

“As the ship begins to ascend, Benteen emerges from the caves and acts like the colonists are still there, waiting for a story about Earth. Realizing the crushing gravitas of his stubborn pride and foolishness, he raises his arms and sobs: ‘Don’t leave me here. Please, I want to go home.’     

“I sat in silence for a moment and then walked out on my deck. Breathing in the cool night air, I looked up at the starry sky and imagined William Benteen, the fallen god, utterly, hopelessly alone on that barren asteroid, where no one can hear you scream.     

“It was then that I realized the importance of family and friends, having someone to talk with, and the simple joys of taking a walk, listening to a band concert, or biting into a chili dog, with onions.     

“As German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz once said: Despite its inherent evils and problems, this is the best of all possible worlds.”

Now & Then

The Happy Medium: “Subject: Eating Bad Apples All Winter.

“This is the apple season throughout the countryside. With that, I’m reminded of growing up on the Wisconsin farm, enjoying our home-grown apples in one form or another: apple pie, apple strudel, baked apples with ice cream and Mom’s special apple dumplings. Those dumplings were the best ever.

“Each fall, we siblings helped pick the apples before any fell from the trees, causing bruises. Even then, some apples were bruised. Once the apples were picked, we carefully wrapped them in newspaper and stored them in the cool basement. As time passed, some started to go bad. When we wanted an apple for a snack, Mom would tell us: ‘Eat the bruised apples first.’

“Today, we joke: ‘When we were young, we ate bad apples all winter.'”

The sign on the road to the cemetery said “Dead End”
Electronic Board of the Church on Lexington in Shoreview Division

Our Official Electronic Board of the Church on Lexington in Shoreview Monitor — Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul — reports: “Subject: Good advice.

“The most recent message on the electronic board of the church on Lexington in Shoreview reads:

“‘SMILE . . . HAPPINESS LOOKS

“‘GORGEOUS ON YOU’”

The sign . . . on the road . . . to the cemetery . . . said . . . “Burma-Shave”

The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: Burma-Shave 2020.

“Sign #1: Wash your hands

“Sign #2: Don’t touch your face

“Sign #3: You might avoid

“Sign #4: A better place

“BURMA-SHAVE”

Our times

Kathy S. of St. Paul: “Subject: A great quote for Now.

“On September 10, Whoopi Goldberg ended the show ‘The View’ with: ‘Don’t forget to wash your hands, kiss your kids, and do a little dance.'”

What’s in a NAME?

The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills: “Subject: And that spells . . .

“This appeared on Page B5 (‘AROUND THE STATE’) in the Sunday edition of the Minneapolis paper:

“‘IRON RANGE’

“‘Mayors draw ire for endorsing Trump’

“Third paragraph: ‘A group called Concerned Rangers for Accountability in Politics said it has also asked . . .’

“The basis for an interesting acronym, to say the least.”

Dept. of Neat Stuff
Minnesota Centennial Emblem Division

Gregory J. of Dayton’s Bluff: “I don’t know why, but I have always been fascinated by the Minnesota Centennial emblem, obviously created to commemorate the centennial of Minnesota’s statehood in 1958. Anything that displays it automatically falls into my Neat Stuff category.

“Over the years, I’ve collected a variety of objects sporting the emblem, but my all-time-favorite item, so far, is an octagonal wood plaque with a large metal version of the emblem mounted on it. I bought it years ago at an antique show for a mere $15, marked down from $25. Apparently no one else shared my fascination for such things.

“It measures about a foot across and is fairly hefty. The nameplate reads: ‘Presented to John M. Budd Co-Chairman, Centennial Train.’

“One of my first memories of the Minnesota State Fair is going through the Centennial Train in 1958, but that is a story for another time. Besides, it isn’t a very interesting story because I was only 7 years old, but I still have a copy of the souvenir booklet given to everyone who walked through it.”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Who was John M. Budd? Wikipedia reports:

“John Marshall Budd was chairman and chief executive officer of Burlington Northern Railroad from 1970 to 1971, chairman from 1971 to 1972, and a director from 1970 to 1977.Moore, Russell F., editor. Who’s Who in Railroading in North America. New York: Simmons-Boardman, 1964, p. 69. Budd was born November 2, 1907, in Des Moines, Iowa. He was the son of Ralph Budd and Georianna Marshall Budd. He married Frances Bullard, January 31, 1931. They had two children: John M. Budd, Jr., and William B. Budd. John M. Budd planned and led one of the largest railroad mergers (Burlington Northern) in the United States to 1970. This is in marked contrast with the attempted merger and subsequent bankruptcy of Penn Central Transportation between 1968 and 1970, which became the largest corporate bankruptcy in the United States to that time.[1]

“Background

“Budd graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1930.[2]

“Budd joined the Great Northern Railway on his summers away from Yale in 1925 and 1926. Following graduation, he joined the Great Northern as assistant to the electrical engineer, a position he held from 1930 to 1932. In 1933 he was appointed assistant trainmaster at Willmar, Minnesota. From 1933 to 1940 he was assistant trainmaster and then trainmaster at Sioux City, South Dakota, Wenatchee, Washington, and Spokane, Washington. From 1940 to 1942 he served as division superintendent at Klamath Falls, Oregon, then Whitefish, Montana.

“In 1942 Budd was commissioned a major in the U.S. Army’s Military Railway Service. He served in Algeria, Italy, France and Germany. Promoted to lieutenant colonel, he commanded the 727th Railway Operating Battalion. He was discharged in November, 1945.

“From November, 1945, to May, 1947, Budd was assistant general manager for Lines East of Williston, North Dakota, on the Great Northern. In June, 1947, he joined the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad as its president, a position he held until May, 1949. In this capacity he was the youngest president of any U.S. Class I railroad.

“He returned to the Great Northern in May, 1949, following the death of Thomas F. Dixon to become the Great Northern’s vice-president in charge of operations. He held this position until May, 1951, when he was named president, succeeding Francis J. Gavin who had been in office since 1939. John Budd’s father, Ralph Budd, another civil engineer, was president of the Great Northern from 1919 to 1930, and president of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, a company half-owned by the Great Northern in cooperation with the Northern Pacific Railway, from 1930 until his retirement in 1949.

“In 1955, Budd entered discussions with Robert Stetson Macfarlane, president of the Northern Pacific, about merger of the Great Northern, Northern Pacific, and the Burlington. The companies continued to the Interstate Commerce Commission and the U.S. Supreme Court, which resulted in the creation of the Burlington Northern Railroad in March, 1970.

“Member of the American Association of Railroad Superintendents; Boy Scouts of America; Hamline University.[3]

“He died at the age of seventy-one on October 25, 1979.[4]”

A day in the life . . .

. . . of Big Eek of Southeast Minneapolis, remembering: “Subject: A WALK AROUND THE LAKE.

“When have we ever had a sunny December 17 with a temperature of 42 degrees and no wind? It was a perfect day.

“It took me 12 minutes from my home in Minneapolis to settle into a parking spot in the lot beside Lake Como. I took Como Avenue through the zoo grounds, turned onto Lexington Parkway and, in less time than it takes to tell, was exiting my Honda Civic for my walk around the lake.

“As I approached my usual starting point at the trash basket south of the pavilion, I glanced at the sportwatch I had purchased before my trip to Alaska the previous summer. I hadn’t mastered the stopwatch part of it yet, so I tried to start when the minute hand was beginning a fresh 60 seconds.

“If there is time to do some stretching, I do it. Otherwise I count down the seconds: 57, 58, 59, I’m off. The time was 4:09:00. The sun had disappeared. The sky was overcast, but I hoped to finish before dark. The sun was due to set at 4:33.

“I took the path south from the pavilion, going counterclockwise around the lake. After a minute and a half, I came to the bench where, in the summer, there is usually someone sitting — often a couple sunning themselves while they chat and watch the lake life and the strollers. This day there was no one there.

“At the two-minute mark, I came to the first yellow life raft, hooked on a tree, and a yellow and brown dog ordinance sign. Dogs must be kept on leash no longer than six feet, it said. Owners must clean up and dispose of their dogs’ litter. Red and white cardboard signs — ‘Danger thin ice’ — were are also tacked to trees at intervals.

“Five minutes from the trash basket starting point, I should be at the low stone retaining wall at the south end of the lake. I checked my watch. I was right on schedule. Even though I had not been consciously hurrying, I seemed to have struck my marathon-walking pace of 13 minutes a mile.

“It was interesting to me how different the lake looked now that the trees were bare of leaves. I could look back and see the red-tiled roof of the pavilion near where I had started. Ice had formed over most of the lake, though there seemed to be open water in the middle of the lake. The ice was snow-covered except for the six feet nearest the shore, which was snow-free. The path was familiar, but the scenery was quite different.

“At eight minutes, I was by the fishing pier. I noticed for the first time a sign warning that an aeration system designed to keep open water would result in thin ice. The open water meant that the birds stayed around all winter.

“After 10 minutes I was opposite the house of a former student on East Como Boulevard. It is a blue giant standing at the corner of the parkway. In the summer, several planters hang from the open veranda in a mass of colorful flowers. Now, of course, the veranda was free of hanging pots.

“At 12 and a half minutes, the midpoint of my walk, I found myself opposite a large tree. I looked back for the pavilion but was unable to discern it. I walked on. The path curved to the left, and suddenly the pavilion reappeared. It had been hidden by the curve of the lake. A series of posts joined together with wire cable prevented the unwary walker from a dropoff into the lake.

“Ahead I could now see the archipelago which jutted out into the lake to the open water. Geese and ducks were swimming in circles in the open water. I passed the alternate path down to the archipelago and was surprised when I looked down from the elevated path to see three Christmas trees in a clump on the grass. One of the three was completely decorated with red bows and ornaments, just as was the one in my own living room. An outdoor reminder of the season.

“I was at the 17-minute mark of my journey and approached the rocky promontory where a second group of geese were noisily walking around on the shore and out onto the ice. Green-headed drakes and their mates sat beside one another in pairs on the grass to the right of the path and on the pavement of the parking lot. One needed to step carefully to avoid soiling one’s Reeboks with bird droppings.

“I passed the Kiwanis memorial marker and confronted the sign which said it was 1.54 miles around the lake. Perhaps that is so, if one travels the edges by boat. But that would mean an elapsed time for me of 20 minutes for a single circuit. I was confident that my steady pace reflected a distance more like a mile and three-quarters. That would bring me in at 24 or 25 minutes.

“The familiar thump of a basketball made me turn my head to the right at the 19-minute mark. A teenager in a short-sleeved shirt was shooting baskets at a hoop in the driveway of a house with a double garage. I was beginning to regret the presence of the woolen sweater under my Patagonia Jacket.

“I looked to my left and found myself opposite the pavilion with the two white chimneys at the narrowest width of the lake. In former year, there had been a skating rink and a speedskating oval maintained by the park board. I remembered the year that the skating nationals had been held at Lake Como. The brightly colored tops of the skating clubs from across the nation had made a spectacular winter scene. Now that activity had moved to the artificial ice oval in Roseville.

“I began the northern loop of the lake with some six minutes left to reach my starting line. I pressed on, making the final turn as I passed another memorial marker celebrating a wedding of many years ago. To my right was the green roof of a building some ways from the lake.

“There is a slight rise in the path behind the pavilion, the only real ‘hill’ on the walk. The pavilion itself is a sturdy two-story building with an adjoining flat-roofed bandshell. The flat roof is supported by pairs of columns providing concertgoers with a view of the lake with its paddle boats and summer leafage. Green grilles and cathedral windows combine to give the pavilion a festive look. Ice cream and other delicacies are available at the counter inside.

“I judged I had less than a minute. I never looked at my watch again until I crossed the starting line, now the finish line. I was by the outdoor phone. I followed the curving path, being careful not to cut the corner. I hustled the last few steps. I looked at my watch: 4:33:34. I was under my 25 minutes by 26 seconds. The sun had set at 4:33. I’ll say I finished before ‘dark.’

“I walked straight to my car. As I pulled out of the lot, an athletic-looking couple finished stretching and started off on a jog around the lake. I passed the Fairgrounds, where two years earlier I had become a naturalized American citizen. I parked and ran into the house. It was 4:49. I was there and back in less than an hour.

“Tomorrow is supposed to be another nice day. Just right for another walk around Lake Como.”

The vision thing

Doris Day: “I thought the ad said ‘unintended’ cooking is the most common cause of household fires.

“Caution — this could happen to you!”

Our theater of seasons
Floral Division

Mounds View Swede writes (and takes pictures) again: “I went to the nearby holding ponds in Arden Park to see what was happening with the plants there. On the way, I noticed this maple tree getting what I thought was an early start on leaf changes.

“At the holding pond, I saw several of these white-petaled weeds really ‘going to town’ with their blooms. I discovered this is Chocolate Joe Pye Weed, but I did not find the explanation for labeling it Chocolate. Perhaps white chocolate? [Bulletin Board notes: The leaves are a bronze-brown in the spring and summer. They turn green when the flowers emerge in the fall.]

“This pretty much looked like a dandelion — the prairie kind with tall stems.

“And I saw just a few plants like this. I think it is purple loosestrife — very invasive.

“And this sure looked like Goldenrod to me.

“I kind of liked it, though, even it if is invasive.”

Our theater of seasons
Floral Division (responsorial)

Kathy S. of St. Paul writes: “Subject: My favorite flowers.

“Inspired by the beautiful flower pictures:

“My liking for flowers was mostly inherited. I like what Mom planted in the yard.

“Near the kitchen were petunias and hollyhocks. To the left were crocuses. Around the side were yellow and purple irises, which were edged out by the lilies of the valley that Grandma made me transplant there. In front was a rose bush.

“By the garage were daylilies and the rhubarb Grandma planted there, and maybe tulips. No fancy flower beds for us; just what Mom liked — and dumped the coffee grounds on.

“Mom carried white gladiolas when she and Dad were married — or was it that they were on the altar? Either way, Mom was sentimental about them, so I am. And I also like them for the neighbor who grew them across the street from us, to sell to florists. He was so kind when we kids hung around to watch him work, and he often sent some home with us.

“One winter morning, that nice neighbor went out and shoveled the snow off his driveway. He went into the garage, set down his shovel, and was gone. Almost immediately, every house on the street got a snowblower. I was thrilled because I wasn’t allowed to use it. I hated shoveling.

“But I still think of him — and Mom — when I see glads.’

Our State Fair is the best state fair! (responsorial)

LindaGrandmaSue: “Subject: Dahlias, Rock ’n’ Roll, and Hot Dogs, OH MY

“The beautiful floral pictures from Mounds View Swede were a reminder of my ‘must do’ at the State Fair: the octagonal (?) Horticultural Building. Two arms of the building host various flower clubs for two days each. My absolute favorite is the dahlia show. Remembering the incredible variations of color, shape and size brings me a contented smile.

“I also grinned to myself when I read about the cool music played at three stages in the late ’60s/early ’70s in the area that became Heritage Square. I sat at the foot of those stages wearing my bellbottoms and watermelon-seed jewelry, rocking away the hours.

“And although I didn’t buy Peters hot dogs in the Grandstand Building until the cost was up to 25 cents, I chuckled at knowing at one point they were just 9 cents.

“Great memories, all.”

GORMDG of Luck, Wisconsin: “Subject: Hmong cat backpack.

“I enjoyed the Minnesota State Fair memories in Bulletin Board.

“When we moved East some years ago, I realized only too late that the one trip back to the Upper Midwest we could afford each year would not coincide with the dates of the Fair. So I was sadly Fair-less for about 13 years. But now we’re back, and I was able to enjoy both the 2018 and the 2019 fairs.

“My long hiatus gives me a special perspective, I think, and here is my evaluation: The Minnesota State Fair used to be great, but now it’s glorious! Machinery Hill was fine, for instance, but the new and refurbished buildings and attractions in the northern portion of the Fairgrounds sparkle and stimulate. One destination I enjoyed in 2019 was the bustling International Bazaar at the southeast corner of the grounds. At the densely stocked booth selling Hmong handicrafts, I found the perfect gift for my 6-year-old, cat-loving granddaughter in Maine: a small backpack in bright Hmong colors in the shape of a cat. What a heroic Bedstefar I would be when she opened this special Christmas gift!

“But hopes are made to be dashed, and once in Maine the following December, I quickly realized that Bea already owned a cat-shaped backpack — one that was much more capacious than the one I had brought and therefore more practical for everyday use. Sure enough, when the presents were opened, Bea was politely happy with her gift but clearly not thrilled. So it was with quiet gratification that, when Bea arrived at the airport for an extended stay with us this summer, I saw that she had chosen her Hmong cat backpack for the flight from Maine. It has turned out to be the perfect size for a stylish young lady’s travel needs. Here is Bea with her backpack.”

The Permanent Granddaughterly Record

John in Highland: “Summer always ends too soon. But my 2-year-old granddaughter will remember catching and releasing her first baby bullfrog!”

The simple pleasures

Chris, “formerly from Falcon Heights, now from beautiful White Bear Lake”: “There are times when the world just seems too crazy, and everything feels tipped upside down. And then there are times when it really is tipped upside down!

“Grandkids Mallory and Jameson don’t seem to mind, but this grandma thinks we should all work together to right the world . . . one hammock at a time.

“Thanks, BB, for being a ray of sunshine in our lives!”

Then & Now

Transplanted in Florida (“Hiding from Feral Hogs, Gators, and Pelicans”): Subject: Memories.

“I find it hard to believe: I have been contributing items to Bulletin Board since 2000. I’ve not been a huge contributor, but I’ve had a fair number of submissions.

“I just found a copy of one of my earliest pieces, in a saved paper from the Pioneer Press, dated 9-17-2000. At the time, I was known as Toothedfly of Bogus Brook. How time flies!

“The piece was about preparing for my first hunting season. I was going after pheasant. The hunt was a bust — as were all of them that followed. I never did
get anything.

“I approach 61, now. Twenty years have passed. I still follow BB. Even if it’s not as much, I still follow.

“I can’t help wondering what lies in store for me. Not much, probably. Men in my family seldom get past 77. The women do better: 86, 88, 99, 92, 109. (Yes, you read that correctly: 109.)

“I hope I can continue to enjoy BB for many years to come.”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: As do we all.

The Permanent Paternal Record

The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “Subject: It Was Dad Who Added the Spice to Our Meals.

“A lot of people are getting bored eating at home every night during this pandemic. During my childhood, our family always ate together every night — and believe me, with my dad, it was never boring.

“My mother tried to make sure dinner was ready to eat within a few minutes after Daddy came home. Patience was not one of my father’s virtues, so sometimes she really had to hustle to get it all on the table while he was washing up and changing into clean clothes. Since he never wanted to be late, it irritated him if he came downstairs and found us sitting there waiting for him, so we always hung around the dining room until Daddy sat down in his arm chair before we sat down and then by-Jeezus everybody better not linger. ‘Let’s get this show on the road.’

“In Dad’s mind, eating was an essential task to be done with as quickly and neatly as possible, never a pleasure in itself. Besides, he had a lot to tell us. If some ‘sunz-a-bitchin’ bricklayer had dropped a brick on his bald head, he would have to show us the wound. There were the days when he sputtered about the blankety-blank incompetents he worked with, but usually — because Dad seemed to find humor wherever he went — there was more laughing than chewing going on at our dinner table.

“Dinner hour was Show and Tell; the food was irrelevant, because as far as Dad was concerned, you ate to live, you didn’t live to eat. Maybe partly because Mom was not a particularly inspired cook? The only seasoning in our cupboard was what was in the salt and pepper shakers, and I don’t remember seeing anyone ever using the pepper. I am sure Mom’s first box of salt lasted her entire life.  Daddy had no gourmet appetite,either, so they got along just fine.

“A typical dinner menu would be pork chops fried to leather solidness, some slices of tomato or canned cream corn, and fried potatoes. Her fried potatoes were a yummy exception, at least I thought so, and like Li’l Abner, I loved pork chops no matter how they were prepared. But then it didn’t really matter what food was on the table; dinner was when Daddy had a captive audience stuck right in their chairs listening to his day’s adventures. As far as he was concerned, any meal was a success if the laughter was loud and long.

“Every month or so, after we had all settled into our chairs, Daddy would look around the table, smiling that sweet almost-toothless smile at each of us, and with a mischievous glint in his eyes, he would reach out and tenderly clasp the hand of the kid sitting on either side of him. Oh, boy! That was the signal we kids all waited for. It was Daddy’s game; he was the only one to initiate it, but we knew just what to do and timing was of the essence.

“We immediately grabbed hands, paused for just a moment of silence, and then simultaneously raised our hands into the air while squealing ‘Wheeee! Wheeee! Wheee!’ three times — always just three times — and then the mayhem began. The goal was to kiss the hand that held you before he or she kissed yours. This entailed a good bit of jostling and some skinny arms being nearly pulled out of their sockets as we all giggled uproariously before we settled down and began passing the food around the table.

“Sometimes to our delight, Daddy would do this when we had guests. That was great fun, because they often misinterpreted our linked hands and assumed we were about to pray. I always wished we would do it when Crabby Grandma was over. but we never did.”

Where we live

Friendly Bob of Fridley: “Subject: You know you are in Minnesota . . .

“. . . when you are following a delivery truck going down U.S. 169 and on the
back of the truck is an 800- number that claims to be the ‘Lutefisk Hotline.’ Seriously.

“Or, if that is not sufficient, you then see a vehicle with this personalized plate: ‘BIGSNOW.'”

Keeping your eyes open

Photos and captions by Al B of Hartland: “This hibiscus might have classified me as a loser as I walked by.

“A cicada in a glass.

“A Milkweed Tussock Moth caterpillar.

“An obvious DIY haircut.

Argiope aurantia is commonly known as the yellow garden spider, black and yellow garden spider, yellow and black garden spider, golden garden spider, golden orb weaver, corn spider, scribbler spider, writing spider and McKinley spider. In 1896, one reportedly predicted the U.S. presidential election by weaving McKinley’s name in her stabilimentum.

“This Argiope aurantia is using a technique called rotational swathing to wrap a cicada.”

See world

Tim Torkildson: “What painting or portrait

“gives beauty like the dawn?

“No man-made thing competes

“with what the Lord has drawn.”

The verbing of America

Helena Handbasket: “From the LaX Trombone: ‘But the neighborhood outpoured in opposition to the plan . . . .”

Barbara of Afton: “I read this quoted in Morning Brew this morning — sounded so jarring, I even looked at M-W to be sure it was indeed verbing!

“Spotify said: ‘Apple is using its dominant position and unfair practices to disadvantage competitors.’”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We’ve seen and heard “disadvantage” used as a verb so many times that it no longer seems even a little bit wrong. Happens to the best of us!

Out of the mouths of babes

Tia2d: “Subject: A child’s perception.

“My great-niece, about 3½, was looking for her Sailor Moon doll. She told her mother she couldn’t find her stuffed human — as in: not a stuffed animal.”

Life as we know it
Nonagenarian Division

Grandma Pat, “formerly of rural Roberts, Wisconsin”: “Subject: On being 90.

“Being 90 is great, but there are a few glitches now and then. For instance, I recently noticed the name Peacock in the obituaries, and I thought of my water-aerobics friend, and how she perhaps could be related to the deceased. Luckily, just before I called her, it dawned on me that indeed her last name wasn’t Peacock at all. It was Partridge.

“Also: For my 90th birthday, my little sister (who is only 85) bought us an Alexa. We have used it several times, checking on the Nile river floods, the fires near our California and Oregon family members, etc. Just yesterday I called out to the device several times, but it would not answer. I was getting a bit impatient, and then I realized that I was calling Agatha instead of Alexa.

“Wish me luck. I need it.”

Band Name of the Day: The Bad Apples

Website of the Day: Nature’s Best Hope


When FDR motored down 38th Street, who was that woman shouting “Landon!”?

Fifteen nanoseconds of fame
Political Division

The Gram With a Thousand Rules remembers: “The first president I ever saw with my own eyes was FDR — and what do you know? He looked just like in the newsreels: His head was tipped back, his cigarette holder was clenched between his teeth, and he smiled that big smile of his right at me.

How might we better understand ourselves? Look as far into the past as we can?

Now & Then
Astronomical Division

The Astronomer of Nininger writes: “Subject: Marvelous Fantastical Time Machine.

“Carl Sagan was known for saying that there are ‘billions and billions’ of stars out there. That’s a lot of stars.

“Our sun is one of those billions and billions of stars, itself in no way remarkable. Orbiting with it, quite far out, around the center of our galaxy, are eight tiny planets. (Get over it; Pluto is not a planet.) Other stars have planets, too. In fact, today we know with certainty about the existence of thousands of exosolar planets — those orbiting other stars. This may in fact be the norm. Searches for these mysterious planets have been nurtured by our search for life and the desire — or maybe, instead, the intimate need — to know whether other living beings inhabit them. Are we alone?

Continue reading “How might we better understand ourselves? Look as far into the past as we can?”

What’s the date today? What day of the week is it? Spin the wheel and find out!

Dept. of Neat Stuff
Calendar Division

Gregory J. of Dayton’s Bluff: “Brown & Bigelow was well known for its calendars. Most of them were of the paper variety, with artwork covering every topic under the sun.

“B & B also made a variety of calendars for desktops. They were usually made of metal and were functional, but do not qualify as Neat Stuff — except for the Wheel of Fortune Desk Calendar.

200819bbcut-calendar

Continue reading “What’s the date today? What day of the week is it? Spin the wheel and find out!”

What is the true magic of the Minnesota State Fair? Misery loves company? (Just joking, folks!)

The best State Fair in our state! (cont.)

Grammi With No Rules: “Subject: My Fair share.

“I am another one of the daughters of a frequent contributor to the Bulletin Board whose moniker is The Gram With a Thousand Rules. I enjoy reading Mom’s renditions of our family’s stories.

Continue reading “What is the true magic of the Minnesota State Fair? Misery loves company? (Just joking, folks!)”