What is a “weed”? What is “Batesian mimicry”? How many wings do bees have? (Answers below.)

Life as we know it
Including: Fun facts to know and tell

Al B of Hartland writes: “I walked about the yard, pulling plants that weren’t where they should be. A weed is any plant that is growing where it isn’t wanted. I yanked dandelions, both golden and globed, but I knew they’d be back.

“Butterflies fluttered by. Monarch, red admiral, painted lady, clouded sulphur and cabbage white flew about the yard. They each stopped to check out the flowering alliums. These butterfly species are typically seen in my yard from early to mid-May into early October. Their company is welcome at any time. Rabindranath Tagore wrote: ‘The butterfly counts not months but moments and has time enough.’ I could never see enough butterflies.

“I petted a bumblebee. Then I petted a carpenter bee. It was a big day for me — a minor annoyance to them. They were busy working on flowers.

“Not all that appear to be bumblebees are bumblebees. Carpenter bees are commonly confused with bumblebees. An easy way to tell the difference is to look at the abdomen. If the abdomen is shiny and black, and not gold, brown and hairy, it’s probably a carpenter bee. Carpenter bees may also have much larger heads. A number of insects mimic bees. Some, like robber flies, mimic bees in order to capture bees. They also prey upon other flies, beetles, butterflies, grasshoppers and moths.

“Other mimics do it for protection. It’s a way for them to buy insurance. This is called Batesian mimicry, a form of biological resemblance in which a noxious or dangerous organism, equipped with a warning system such as conspicuous coloration, is mimicked by a harmless organism. The mimic gains protection because predators mistake it for the dangerous critter and leave it alone. It was named for its discoverer, the 19th-century English naturalist H.W. Bates.

“Flies are one of the most common bee mimics — not just of bumblebees, but of other bees, too. There are two simple ways to tell a fly mimic from a bee. Look at the wings. Bees have four wings; flies have two. Look at the antennae. Bees have elbowed antennae, while many flies have short or extremely thin antennae. If you can’t see the antennae, it’s probably a fly.

“The bumblebee I petted had bulging pollen baskets. If you have ever noticed orange or yellow clumps on the hind legs of bees, those are pollen baskets — baskets of pollen gathered from flowers visiting during foraging about. After the bee visits a flower, she brushes pollen gathered on her body down toward her hind legs and packs the pollen into her pollen basket. A little nectar mixed with the pollen keeps it together, and the hairs in the pollen basket hold it in place.

“Petting busy bees equipped with pollen baskets is the bee’s knees.”

Our flowers, our bees, ourselves

Mounds View Swede: “Subject: Bee-haven.

“My wife’s cousin in Maryland likes to grow prize-winning dahlias. I decided to try some seed dahlias a couple of years ago, since I have no place to store the bulb kind over the winter here.

“I noticed how, in August, the bumblebees would spend the night right in the middle of the blossom. I figured at that point in the summer, their nesting stage was over and they were free to sleep out. If they got hungry at night, all they had to do was stick out their tongue to get some nectar. Ever since then, I have planted a few seed dahlias in my front gardens that get enough sunlight to support annual flowers.

“This year on a cool October day, I went around with my camera to catch them at ‘work.’ They were’t moving, just resting there until things warmed up. Since the male bumblebees die off at the end of the season, I was wondering if this is like ‘nirvana’ for them, or a taste of ‘bee-heaven.’


“I am grateful to the bumblebees for all the pollinating they do with my raspberry plants. With all the stress on them from disease, chemicals and pesticides, I want to provide a friendly environment for them. Plus, a neighbor a few doors away is trying to raise honey bees, so I expanded my garden to include plants they like to visit.

“I am still enjoying Bulletin Board so much and am glad to see that many of the regular contributors are still contributing.”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: As are we. Delighted.

And the more, the merrier!

We hope you have noticed that BBonward.com’s Followers now number well more than a thousand. Great! But surely there are thousands more of those Followers’ families and friends who would enjoy this daily conversation — wherever they live; no matter which newspaper they might or might not have been reading all these years!

Please let your “social networks” (electronic and actual) know about BBonward.com. Please let them know that if they enjoy well-told stories and beautifully composed photographs (and who doesn’t?), they will like it here.

Thank you.

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

Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “Subject: Amen to that!

“The latest message (Tuesday) on the electronic board of the church on Lexington in Shoreview: ‘PRAY. VOTE. PRAY.’ ”

Then & Now

Willard B. Shapira of Roseville, reporting: “I worked at KSTP News from 1960 to 1965 and helped cover two presidential elections.

“For technological reasons, coverage was not nearly so extensive as it is now, and there was no 24-hour news cycle. We didn’t stay on the air all night, either. I don’t remember many (if any) women being involved. Minorities? Are you kidding me?

“My most memorable experience was assisting our political analyst, the estimable Prof. Theodore ‘Ted’ Mitau. All dressed up in my best (and only) suit, I was on the set, trying to look as if I knew something and was going to comment, when I really was Ted’s amanuensis. But I learned a lot from him before, during and after the broadcast.

“Once, when I had go to the newsroom for one reason or another, the phone rang. It was ABC News in New York. We were NBC at the time, and I wondered why they were calling us, but when they said ‘$100 if you can do a beeper (telephone report for radio) right now on the results so far in Minnesota,’ I winged it (no script), I was thanked, and the check arrived as promised. I told Ted what I had done, and he said he was proud of me. So was my then-wife, who handled our financial affairs. That’s another story.

“Because I had to open up the newsroom at 4 a.m., I had to get home and get some sleep. Somehow, I never shook that early-to-bed, early-to-rise mode. It made me healthy, yes, but neither wealthy nor wise.

“I think TV sports makes a big mistake by virtually vanishing Election Night. I think there are millions who, while they might have voted, have had it up to here with TV politics and can wait till morning, when the Pioneer Press or some other newspaper or news medium will presumably report winners and losers. If I were ESPN, I would schedule — for the benefit of many such people — perhaps an all-star Latino baseball game from Havana or an NFL game from a domed stadium. That’s not unpatriotic; what is more patriotic than capitalistic profit?

“If I were running Turner Classic Movies or some other movie channel, I would have on some classic films that had nothing to do with an election and other politics. Maybe some Marx Brothers films (not Karl) or Abbott & Costello, or great operas, or orchestra concerts, or jazz concerts — maybe even live! But for goodness’ sake, give us a break and another choice that is not politics. PUL-LEZE!


Democracy in America, 2016
Or: What is right with people?

A Tuesday-morning email from Dr. Crank: “Having discharged my duty early this morning, I want to thank the volunteers at my polling place — St. Christopher’s Church in (beautiful) Roseville. They had set up chairs for us to rest our weary bones, and served coffee and cakes while we waited for the poll to open. Bad coffee, but a welcome kindness.

“They will have a long day today, ensuring that voting goes smoothly. For their service after a rancorous election, their kindness helps the republic survive. Thank you.”

Now & Then (responsorial)
Or: Kathy S. of St. Paul and Bulletin Board stand corrected

Our Election Day edition featured a note from Kathy S. of St. Paul: “On Tuesday, I will be an election judge. It is a long day, and Presidential elections are the busiest.

“Before I became gluten-sensitive, I used to stop at a gas station on the way to my polling place to get coffee and a sweet roll for breakfast, muttering ‘Here comes the judge,’ a la Flip Wilson. Then I explained to younguns who Flip Wilson was.”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: And this, if you don’t know, is who Flip Wilson (December 8, 1933 – November 25, 1998) was:

We presently heard from The Puppysitter: “I know I won’t be the only person correcting the video identifying Flip Wilson doing ‘Here Comes the Judge’ on ‘Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.’ That’s Sammy Davis, Jr.”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: You’re half-right, Puppysitter.

That was Sammy Davis, Jr., not Flip Wilson.

But, sad to say, you were the only sharp-eyed correcter in the crowd! C’mon, people! When we do something really stupid, you’ve gotta tell us! We’d tell you! (LOL.)

And speaking of laughing out loud: That was what America was doing on Monday evenings during the “Laugh-In” era (1968-1973). We know, because we were there.

Take a look at this example, kids (which, you will notice, does feature Flip Wilson, among so many others); we have no idea, because we’ve re-watched only the first couple of minutes, if it’s still funny, but you can take our word for this: It was funny then!

Then & Now

WML in Burnsville: “Here is proof that ‘heavy’ rail reached out to the far-west metro long before light rail was even a dream.


“That’s my grandfather’s store in the picture taken in Belview, Minnesota. (Date is obscured, as is the credit for the photo. Seems to be a company in Sious Falls, South Dakota.)

“Alas, the rail is gone, as is the Corner Store.”

CAUTION! Words at Play!

Zoo Lou of St. Paul writes: “A joke that made laugh as a kid suddenly popped into my head the other day. A fourth grade teacher asked her students to identify people from other countries.

“ ‘For example, someone from Italy would be called Italian,’ she said, ‘and someone from Mexico would be Mexican.’

“Little Leo, bored with the lesson, decided to have a snack. He reached into his lunchbox and took out a small jar of pickles. But as he opened it, the jar slipped out of his hands and the briny liquid spilled all over his pants and was dripping on the floor.

“Just then, the teacher came to his desk. ‘Leo, what do we call someone from Europe?’ Leo squirmed nervously in his seat and said nothing. The teacher asked him again, but got no response.

“Finally, the exasperated teacher said: ‘European!’

“Leo looked up and cried: ‘I am not! It’s pickle juice!’ ”

The Permanent Great-Grandsonly Record

Great-grandma of Como Park: “Can you guess what great-grandson Hank was for Halloween?

161109bbcut-deviledeggcostume“Why, a deviled egg, of course.

“He looks quite pleased with himself.”

The highfalutin pleasures

Writes Mary: “Subject: Simple pleasure? [Bulletin Board replies: No. The Bulletin Boarder who named this category defined it as “simple pleasures made possible by technology.” Yours is a classic of the kind. Go ahead, please.]

“Technology: So cool! Oftentimes I would intend to look up the Website of the Day, tear the piece out of the paper … and often I would lose that or never get to it.

“Now I just click on the link! Wow!

“Thanks, Bulletin Board — always a pleasure.”

Band Name of the Day: The Beepers

Website of the Day, from Kathy S. of St. Paul: “Time Travel – simply beautiful and touching colourised images from WWI,” at tinyurl.com/WWI-in-color









%d bloggers like this: