The simple pleasures
Cruelly Aborted Division
Here’s Jim Fitzsimons of St. Paul (back in BB action, after a long and regrettable absence!): “With our long and glorious fall coming to an end and the first snowstorm of the season blowing in, I figured it would be prudent to make sure the snowblower is in working order.
“After work on Wednesday, immediately upon arriving at home, I went into the garage and grabbed the dormant beast out of the corner. I gassed it up, gave the primer button three pumps, and pulled the cord.
“Vroom! It roared to life.
“Just one pull was all it took.
“Yep. One pull.
“One pull was also all it took to break the cord.
You are what you eat (responsorial)
DebK of Rosemount writes: “Friendly Bob’s reminiscences [BB, 11/18/2016] about ‘keeshka’ (which Taxman’s 100-percent Polish family spells ‘kiszka,’ though they won’t ridicule anyone who opts for ‘kishka’) prompts me to inform the non-Polish masses about czarnina, the traditional Polish soup that was brewing on the stove when I first met Taxman’s parents.
“At the time, the only ethnic food I’d ever ingested had been prepared by Chef Boyardee, so I had no idea, of course, what czarnina was. Taxman explained that his mother was making the dish, known to those of strong constitution as duck blood soup, as a special treat for us. I naturally figured he was pulling my leg. I mean, what kind of people would make soup from blood? Certainly not the kind, homely soul that his mother obviously was. There was no malice in her. Taxman’s dad, on the other hand, who was clearly disappointed that his eldest son was courting a young woman who was (A) not Polish and (B) landless and penniless — well, had his dad been in charge of producing the soup du jour, I’d have worried.
“I didn’t much like the look of the czarnina — such a strange color — when the big cauldron of it was heaved onto the kitchen table. But I was determined to eat cheerfully. I’d studied drama and performed roles in an opera or two, so I was pretty sure I could act the part of a delighted diner. Besides, there were those dumplings bobbing around in the soup. They gave me hope. Even if the soup tasted as bad as it looked, I was sure I would honestly savor the dumpling.
“I ate my soup that day — the flavor is lost in the shadows of time, though I have a vague (and revolting) recollection of a sticky sweetness (maybe the duck blood, maybe the prunes) — but I’ve never had a drop since. Suffice to say, czarnina is an acquired taste. Every year of her life, Taxman’s mother made it a point, at duck-butchering time, to set aside a few quart jars of czarnina for her poor boy who had the misfortune of being married to a woman who not only did not know how to make it, but who never could bring herself even to ask for the recipe.
“Our daughters used to think we gave their suitors a rough time when they came to the house to get acquainted with the family. The first time these lads showed their faces, Taxman would exhaustively quiz them about their religious beliefs and political persuasions. This sort of thing is frowned on these days, I suppose. Still, you have to admit that it was kid-gloves treatment compared to the reception I got from Taxman’s folks when I first visited them.”
And now KH of White Bear Lake: “Recently my wife and I went to went to Vermillion for a Sunday church dinner featuring blood sausage. It was our first encounter with the delicacy (a term I use to describe something inedible). So when I read Friendly Bob of Fridley’s story of Frankie Yankovic’s song ‘Who Stole the Keeshka?,’ all I could think of was that whoever stole it was, in all probability, performing a public service.”
Raindancer of North Oaks: “Driving back from my son’s wedding in Pennsylvania, I saw this shirt ahead of me at one of my coffee stops.
“I was impressed by how cleverly it identified the wearer’s hobby, and the man behind me chuckled about my making a photo of it, so I told him it was intended for Bulletin Board, which required another discussion and made me Maryland’s only BB evangelist, maybe?”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Maybe. You’re hardly ever the only one, of course … and we hope there are hundreds by now! Or at least dozens. Or at least two.
Which reminds us: Please do spread the word, you wonderful Bulletin Board loyalists, about BBonward.com. Use your Facebook and Twitter (etc.) accounts to tell people (1) why they’d like Bulletin Board — wherever they happen to live, no matter what age they happen to be; (2) how to find us; and (3) how to become Followers. (Approaching 1,300 as of Friday afternoon!)
More readers = more contributors = a better experience for all of us.
Our pets, ourselves
From Norton’s Mom of Eau Claire, Wisconsin: “Subject: Devil to angel.
“I recently found these pictures that show our Maynard G. as a little booze-drinking, cigar-smoking, poker-playing devil when we first brought him home from the Humane Association back in 2005 …
“… and how he ‘found the light’ a short while later, and has since been the most loving and wonderful cat we could ever wish for.”
Then & Now (responsorial)
Sugar Babe writes: “I am sure I’ll be one of several readers eager to help out The Doctors’ Mom in Mendota Heights [BB, 11/17/2016] with the name of the store in Highland Park.
“It was Powers department store, located at the intersection of Ford Parkway and Cleveland Avenue.
“That store was important to me in several ways. First, I remember going down the escalator at the store Sunday, October 22, 1962, worrying about what was going to happen to our country, since it had been discovered that there were Russian missiles in Cuba. (NOTE: The next day, President John Kennedy addressed the nation and my fears were calmed.) Second, sometime in 1963, my mom got a job in the hosiery department of Powers (my parents having learned that an assistant professor’s salary from St. Thomas College was not sufficient to provide for six growing children). Finally, in 1966, I got my first job at the Embers restaurant on Ford Parkway, directly opposite from Powers … and therein lies a tale to be told another day.”
Aggie Girl: “The Doctors’ Mom asked: ‘How do you try on clothes and find the ones that are most flattering and fit best via the internet?’
“In my experience, there are three ways:
“(1) Order several styles/sizes, and return all the ones that don’t fit.
“(2) Go to Nordstrom (or some other department store) and buy brands that flatter and fit; then order more of those on the ‘Net.
“(3) Know and use a good tailor. (In my experience, I need this even when I go to the department store.)
“I am far better at No. 2 and 3. In fact, I am a complete failure at No. 1.”
Our theater of seasons
Mounds View Swede reports: “On November 17th, I took a look at the front gardens in my yard, to see if there were any flowers left, and found these still making an effort. I was pleased with their tenacity.
“The petunias and dahlias have pretty much given up. There are some green leaves still, but no blossoms.
“Maybe I should have been watering them still, but I am not used to thinking about that in November.”
Or: Older Than Dirt? (responsorial)
Gma Tom: “Subject: The cycle of life.
“The struggle to change the battery in their smoke detector, reported by Christy of Menomonie [BB, 11/16/2016] reminded me of some similar struggles Gpa Tom and I have had since our journey back to complete dependency began several years ago.
“The smoke-detector battery didn’t go as badly as Christy‘s did, but trying to change a light bulb in the fixture above the kitchen a few years ago proved to be humiliating as well as hilarious.
“That light fixture is in the most awkward position to reach. Since I wasn’t going to try standing in the sink and cannot go more than two steps on a stepladder, I thought leaning against the moveable kitchen island would help me to reach my goal. Wrong, as that just caused the entire island to tip over, creating a bit of internal damage (to the island — not to me).
“In desperation, I had to call son and grandson to come to the rescue. They not only changed the light; they also had to repair the damage to the kitchen island.
“Made Gpa Tom and I realize just how helpless we were becoming.”
Momma Mouse in Woodbury, Minnesota: “After reading Christy of Menomonie’s post regarding seniors changing batteries, I was reminded of our recent situation here. We had a friend visiting, and thank goodness she had better hearing!
“We had this horrible chirping. Both hubby and I are hearing-impaired. (Hearing aids help, but aren’t as good as old Mother Nature.) The chirping seemed to stop and then would start again. Driving us all a little batty.
“So we got the ladder (10-foot ceilings here!), and I, being the steadier of the two of us, climbed up and changed a battery in what we thought was the offending smoke alarm.
“Moments later, we heard the ‘chirp’ again.
“Wandering from one end of the house to the other, we all tried to pinpoint which was the offender. This house has smoke alarms everywhere, it seems! So we searched. And I changed batteries in most of them!
“When at one end, the chirp sounded like it came from the other end —and vice versa! Most all of these are hard-wired but have battery backup.
“We were at our wits’ end!
“FINALLY, my dear friend was standing in the entrance of the living room/dining room and pointed to a ‘thing’ plugged into an outlet in the dining room. ‘What IS that?’ she asked. That thing was the carbon-monoxide detector. Yep, that was the offender!
“I changed the battery, and that didn’t stop it — so that one was discarded and a new one purchased … later!
“We were beginning to think we’d have to call in an electrician, too. Fortunately, we found and removed the horrible chirper and were able to sleep that night!
“Older Than Dirt? Maybe, but I like to think I have a few years to go.”
D. Ziner writes: “I recently stayed a few days in a hotel in Edinburgh where the rooms contained bathroom pods. The pod itself was a clean-looking, plastic molded room-within-a-room, factory-fitted with all the built-in fixtures and utilities needed.
“The issue was that it apparently came with integral plumbing underneath and thus stood about six or so inches above the rest of the floor. I’m not as spry as I once was, nor is my balance as good as it could be, but under normal circumstances I eschew elevators and look for the stairwell — and I think I could normally adapt to a two-level hotel room. But I don’t sleep much on airplanes, and I checked in to this place after essentially being up for two days, been exposed to the stress of two flight legs, then managed a bus and a train connection — plus a long enough walk that my shoulder straps were starting to dig deep. My brain was foggy from adjusting to the six-time-zone difference, and my bodily functions did not seem to know when to do what. If there was ever a need for a night light to warn of this floor discontinuity, this was definitely it. No such luck.
“There was a good-sized gap under the pod’s door, so I figured it would work if I left the interior light on and kept the door closed. But even closing this door was not straightforward. For cost or transport reasons, the pod’s exterior was designed to be entirely flush and did not have a door handle and common latch mechanism. A pocket was provided to pull the door open, but pushing the door closed forced a spring-loaded roller into its detent, which produced a sound like that of a gun going off in a small room. I could not bear to make that noise in the middle of the night, so I would stick my finger into the edge of the door and press the roller inward while carefully coordinating the closing of the door with the extraction of my finger.
‘As the jet lag wore off, this coordination got better, and the blood blisters from the first night healed quickly.
“There’s always more to this savvy traveling than I expect.”
Everyone’s a copy editor!
Donald writes: “Subject: Long ago, and nearby.
“I apologize for completely missing this one in last Saturday’s paper west of St. Paul, until my elder son brought it to my attention today (Friday, the 18th). This was what appeared directly beneath ‘SPORTS,’ and above the featured story on the front page of that section: ‘SEASON OPENER GOPHERS 86, LA. LAFAYETTE 64.’
“The second paragraph added some uncertainty to the previous information: ‘The Williams Arena crowd didn’t know what to expect last year each night from Richard Pitino’s team, but Minnesota’s 86-74 season-opening victory Friday against Louisiana-Lafayette provided hope that things could be different this season.’
“It would seem that one of the differences is going to be trying to figure out the real scores for the games.”
Headline Division (responsorial)
Inspired by Donald’s note Thursday (BB, 11/17/2016), here’s Pithy Remarks from Goodrich Avenue: “Rumor is that Blair Walsh walked to his vehicle on his own after being dismissed from the Vikings the other day. Management tried to kick him out the door, but missed wide right.”
Lola: “I saw a billboard advertising Bad Boys Bail Bonds. So where are the Bad Girls supposed to go for a bail bond?”
Out of (and not yet into) the mouths of babes
Peggy T of Osceola, Wisconsin: “For my birthday, son Kevin had a big cookie with ‘Happy Birthday, Mom’ written on it. We each had one slice of the cookie.
“Two-year-old Bennett thought he would like another piece. He said: ‘More.’ His mom said: ‘No more,’ and Bennett said: ‘Ten more!’ ”
BULLETIN BOARD WONDERS: And how many more did he get?
Band Name of the Day: Bad Girls
Website of the Day: List of Ig Nobel Prize Winners