What’s in a title?
Or: Muse, amuse
B. Dazzled of South St. Paul: “Alcohol use holds a prominent, if sodden, place in the history of writing. From Faulkner to Fitzgerald, Poe to Capote, and Aeschylus to Hemingway, immoderate consumption often seemed de rigueur.
“Imagine the possibilities, had the booze industry lavished support on the great writers, poets and filmmakers of the ages in return for marketing and product placement, much like the brand sponsorships and corporate patronage that underwrite athletes and entertainers today. We might find our canon of film and literature subtly altered to include favorites like:
“The Three Muscatels
“The Canterbury Ales
“The Muppets Make Manhattans
“The Island Of Doctor Merlot
“The Suntory Also Rises
“The Old Courvoisier Shop
“The Call of the Wild Turkey
“Raise High the Jim Beam, Carpenters
“Critique of Pure Riesling
“The Thin Blue Leinie’s
“The Charge of the Bud Light Brigade
“Remembrance of Things Pabst
“The Bell’s Jar
“20,000 Leagues Under the Seagram’s
“Quest for Fireball
“The Girl Who Fell From The Skyy
“On Michelob Golden Pond
“The War of the Rosés
“The Merry Wives of Windsor Canadian
“The Portrait of Dorian Grey Goose
“Last of the Mojitos
“Robinson Crusobriety Checkpoint”
Thursday email from Bruce from Blaine now Brooten (“and currently Surprise, Arizona”): “Subject: It’s a God-thing!
“Last night we watched the World Series Game Seven until the fifth inning, when we had to leave for a Bible Study. Who would schedule a Bible Study on THAT night? Me!
“So we hit ‘Record’ on the DVR and left.
“Returning a couple hours later, we hit ‘Play’ and happily resumed watching. We were pleased to be able to fast-forward through the commercials, especially the political ones. But each time we fast-forwarded, we noticed the ‘time remaining’ on the ‘Record’ shrinking dangerously close to the end. We began to suspect that our recording would miss the end of the game.
“And sure enough: mid-ninth inning, Cubbies still ahead, the recording ran out of time and simply stopped. By now it’s late in Phoenix and even later in Cleveland. We figured we’d missed the end of the game.
“We switched to live TV on that channel — and to our surprise and delight, with a 17-minute rain delay, it was the bottom of the 10th, the Cubbies still ahead, with the Indians still batting with two outs! We settled down to enjoy the end of a fantastic game!
“It was a God-thing, indeed, in many ways. The Cubbies won the World Series, and we saw a great game from the cheap seats!
“Now, if only that had been a Twins win. There’s always next year!”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We hereby nominate Bruce from Blaine now Brooten (wherever he is) for Optimist of the Year. Maybe of the Decade!
And should his optimism be rewarded? That might be the ultimate God-thing.
Department of Great Excuses
Every 108 Years Division
Thursday-afternoon email from The Divine Mum of Crocus Hill: “Loved the ‘reasons we’re tardy’ list at this school in Chicago this morning. I saw it on Twitter”:
Our times (responsorial)
Plus: The highfalutin pleasures
Snackmeisterin of Altoona, Wisconsin: “In response to Mounds View Swede‘s comment, ‘I didn’t realize how unusual clear writing has become’ [BB, 11/1/2016]:
“Writing, much less clear writing, is becoming another of those skills that are not being taught (or learned?) so much anymore. In my job, I frequently issue forms to teenagers and tell them they need to sign it. Their response is often ‘Cursive?’ in a tone, and with accompanying facial expressions, ranging from incredulity to fear. Yes, child, signature = handwriting = cursive (setting aside the concept of the ‘electronic signature’), at least in my book.
“And let me add mine to the voices of those who initially felt dismay at the announcement of no more Bulletin Board in the daily newspaper. (I remember how happy I was when Bulletin Board switched to being published every day!) But I’m loving the blog because it is SOOOOO much easier to find and navigate than the e-version was on the PPress website, is much more flexible in regard to quantity and length of posts, and, as you’ve been pointing out for a long time, allows us to click on links and see the beautiful photos in much more detail!
“LONG LIVE BULLETIN BOARD!”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Thank you, ma’am. Onward!
Today’s helpful hint
Scott in WBLand: “You can tell Your Late Night Lady that she can donate her encyclopedias to a local nursing home. When we lived in Rochester, Minnesota, my father was a resident of the Samaritan Bethany nursing home, a wonderful place. He had noticed that our encyclopedias were gathering dust and he said the nursing home could use them for their small library. The next day, I delivered books when I visited my father. They were very grateful.”
In the November 3 Bulletin Board, we heard from Lola: “Now that there have been all the political ads, I don’t mind the Arby’s, car and Sonics ads so much.”
In reply, LindaGrandmaSue of Burnsville writes: “Totally agree with Lola. In fact, I may vote for a write-in candidate.
“Marco … Polo.”
How far back?
The Old Hand of Oakdale: “I guess my earliest memory was that of a corpse and a casket. In my mind, I still have a vivid picture of trying to reach up to grab the edge of the casket so I could pull myself into it. What led up to it and what occurred after was told to me by my mother years later.
“I was about 2, the only grandchild at the time — old enough to walk and talk, young enough so I couldn’t understand the concept of death. My favorite uncle, Gilbert, and the youngest in my mother’s family, was just 16 when he died of Sleeping Sickness.
“It was back in the day when wakes were often held in the home of the deceased. Gilbert was laid out in an open casket in his parents’ living room for three days and nights: three days of people paying their respects, bringing food and beverages, sitting around playing cards and talking to old friends and relatives, which on my mother’s side pretty much consisted of everyone in Mendota — both the village and the township and some of Eagan. The wake ended each night when the parish priest led the rosary. The visitors left, but many came back the next day.
“Mom and I stayed at her folks’ house during that time. I slept in a bed with my mother. Dad was coming in for the funeral from Lake Michigan, where he was working on the ice pack. On the first night, I managed to sneak out of the bed and go downstairs to where Uncle Gibby was ‘sleeping.’ Luckily, my mother noticed that I wasn’t in the bed and found me before I caused any trouble or somehow managed to achieve my goal.
“In spite of my mother trying to speak quietly and explain why I had to sleep with her and not Uncle Gibby, I did manage to wake everybody up with my loud screams demanding to sleep with Uncle Gibby.
“My earliest memory.”
Gma Tom: “I wasn’t going to contribute to this category, because my earliest memories are in my 3rd year, which isn’t very impressive compared to the memories of some readers.
“But then I realized that one memory in particular has traumatized me my entire life.
“The memories at age 3 are varied and many: e.g., my baby brother peeing on me as I watched our mother bathe him; my uncle (of course I didn’t know it was my uncle at the time) playing Santa Claus; my little dog who ran away (never did question that story, but now think I should have, as he probably met a different demise); nearly getting hit by a car because I couldn’t wait for my mother to help me across the street.
“But the one I remember the most is of following my mother into the back room where she did the laundry and stepping on a set mouse trap with my bare foot. Forever forward, I was not and am not able to set a mouse trap or handle one that has been set. An unset one is no problem, even if it contains a dead mouse, but not one ready to spring into action. Ouch!”
The Permanent Paternal Record
The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “Subject: The Punishment Knives.
“During the height of World War II, some of my sisters moved back home with their kids while their husbands were in the service, so our dining-room table was back to full capacity. Once again Daddy had a full audience for his daily litany about the amusing happenings on the job site.
“Some days it wasn’t quite the comedy show it had been before the war. Competent carpenters were scarce, and if it was a day when he had sent too many of those (and I quote) ‘blankety-blank deadbeats who try to pass themselves off as carpenters’ back to the union hall, then he would come home in a crabby mood.
“His method for determining their fate hinged on two things. If the guy arrived sans toolbox, back he went. If he came with his toolbox and appeared as though he really wanted to work for his pay, then my dad would point to the lumber pile and tell the guy: ‘OK, now go build yourself a sawhorse.’ If the fellow was capable of building a well-constructed sawhorse quickly, my dad would give him a smile and a hearty pat on the back and welcome him to the crew.
“His work day was long, and he was always fretting and worrying about our guys overseas. When his day was over, he needed to unwind, so Mom made sure that dinner would be ready the minute he arrived home, hoping we could all enjoy a cheerful meal together. My job was to have the table set for dinner, and I always gave my dad one of the few nice shiny knives we owned — EXCEPT when he came home crabby. Those days, I would sneakily switch his knife for one of the heavy old ugly blunt-tipped knives, to punish him for his crabbiness. I usually ended up feeling guilty, because as the meal progressed, Daddy’s mood would lighten, and we would all be laughing and snorting our milk as usual.
“Many years later, my husband and I arrived with all six kids for dinner at my Mom & Dad’s house. Mother had set the table, and I was astonished to see Dad had been given one of those ugly Punishment Knives. When he saw me staring at it, he smiled and said: ‘I’ve always liked these knives the best. They feel so nice and heavy in my hand.’ Amazing! All those times I thought I was punishing him, and I was really cheering him up.”
Band Name of the Day: The God-Things
Website of the Day: The video every golfer should watch all winter long, and before every round next year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BJsZcGatEo