The Hot Stove League
Sleepless from St. Paul (in Minneapolis): “Being a ‘glass half full’ type of guy, my usual approach toward a bad Twins season is: ‘Well, things could be worse.’ But since this season was the worst, I needed a different approach. This might have been the Twins’ worst season, but it certainly was not the most heartbreaking. Honestly, we saw it coming back when baby bunnies were frolicking in springtime meadows.
“So what was the Twins’ most heartbreaking season? Certainly one candidate would be 1965, with the Twins losing the World Series to the Dodgers. But the argument could be made: We were in the Series. As a 7-year-old, I considered the baseball greats ‘The Gods Who Walk Amongst Us.’ Since this was long before interleague play, this had been the first time I had seen Sandy Koufax or Don Drysdale. That almost made up for the Twins’ losing the series.
“Another candidate would be the 1984 choke. The Twins were in first place in mid-September. In the deciding game of the season, the Twins fell behind 10-0, yet managed to come back to tie the game, only to lose it in the 9th with a two-out Cleveland home run. A throwing error by Gary Gaetti was a factor in the Twins’ losing. Gaetti’s famous quotation: ‘It’s hard to throw a ball with both hands around your neck.’ On the other hand, it was electrifying out in the center-field seats. Kirby was pulling in balls that would have dropped with any of our previous center fielders. Also, it was obvious, with all of that young talent, the good times were ahead.
“My choice for the greatest Twins heartbreak would be the 1967 Twins.
“I had followed that season like it was a soap opera. I had my Harmon Killebrew poster above my bed; I read every word of Twins coverage; I even read the fine print in the box scores. This was the first Twins season for Rod Carew and Dean Chance. Harmon Killebrew hit 44 home runs. The Twins had to win just one of their final two games with Boston to clinch the American League pennant. They lost them both.
“Good thing there is no crying in baseball.”
You are what you eat (self-responsorial)
And: Only in America!
KH of White Bear Lake writes: “Recently I submitted a story to BB [BB, 11/19/2016] telling about my first experience with blood sausage (at a church dinner in Vermillion). My review of the blood sausage wasn’t favorable, but I would be remiss if I didn’t tell the rest of the story.
“As a little background: My wife and I have attended countless church dinners, pancake breakfasts, chicken fries, and fish fries across Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota. We love experiencing the community, food, and camaraderie. While it’s true that we didn’t like the blood sausage in Vermillion, they did offer an alternate pork sausage which was superb. And they also served all the trimmings you would expect: German potato salad, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and gravy, baked beans, and delicious desserts. We tend to rate these experiences as ‘We’d go back,’ ‘Could go either way,’ or ‘One time was enough.’ The Annual Sausage Supper in Vermillion rated in our top category.
“As a bonus, we got to listen to a German man tell his story of migrating to the United States as a teenager with his brother. He was a 9-year-old boy living in Germany when the war ended. He captivated us with his shy and modest manner and thick German accent as he described what he remembered of the war, the postwar years, the long and difficult journey to America, and the arduous task of adapting to his new life in Minnesota. The grand finale was when a woman came and sat our table and said ‘Hi’ to him and called him by name. After his shock wore off, he explained that she was one of the first people he had ever met in Minnesota, and that he hadn’t seen her since that day — more than 60 years ago. We gently excused ourselves to let them catch up on a lifetime.
“What a truly wonderful experience, and the reason we keep attending these kinds of events.”
Poet X of PDX: “Early jokes:
“When I was very young, there was a while when I was known for telling this joke, which I think my grandmother had first told to me:
“What did the doughnut say to the loaf of bread?
“If I had all your dough, I wouldn’t be hanging around this hole.
“Followed by gales of laughter — my own.”
Or: Older Than Dirt? (responsorial) — leading to: Immutable Laws of the Universe
Cee Cee of Mahtomedi writes: “Tee Cee and I have been chuckling over the commentary regarding smoke alarms. We, too, have issues with ladders and steadiness, so we empathize with others who have to deal with chirpers.
“My question is: Why is it that the alarms always start their chirping at 3 a.m.? Inquiring minds want to know.”
Our theater of seasons
Friday email from Barbara: “We got us a convoy!
“Spotted this cute but sad procession on Midway Parkway about lunchtime on Friday: a parade of white golf carts, each towing a couple more golf carts, heading west — presumably from Como Golf Course to the Fairgrounds for storage?
“It started snowing soon after.”
The best State Fair in our state!
Bruce from Blaine now Brooten (“currently enjoying the sunshine and warmth of Surprise, Arizona!” [Bulletin Board interjects: No need to rub it in, man!]): “In a recent post, I mentioned visiting the ham-radio stores near downtown Minneapolis. While in high school, there were six or seven of us young radio operators who would gather on Saturday mornings to swap lies. What fun! We could never talk on the phone due to long-distance charges. But we could meet and exchange stories of our lives and loves.
“One year, we met and wandered the State Fair together. I distinctly remember one incident at the Fair. We gathered around this person who, for a few dollars, offered a device which could be put onto the distributor of a car to dramatically increase gas mileage. His demonstration went like this: He had a car with the hood up sitting somewhere on a grassy spot around the Fairgrounds. When his lingo had gathered enough people, he would start the car, which had a V8 engine. Once it ran for a few minutes, he would explain how wonderful his device was. He would begin removing spark plug wires and note how progressively rough the engine would be as each wire was disconnected. When he got down to three cylinders the engine would shake and finally stop altogether, too unbalanced to run. Then he would dramatically announce that his little device would enhance the performance of even this unbalanced engine. And to make his demonstration more dramatic he would remove yet another spark-plug wire. And voilà, the engine which had stalled could now start and run on only two cylinders!
“Now one of us young whippersnappers protested. Of course it was easier to start and run the car’s engine on two cylinders rather than three — provided the two remaining were ‘opposite’ each other in firing order. We challenged him to remove his little device and then try to start the engine with only two wires. He angrily turned off his car, closed the hood and stomped off. That was answer enough for us. You don’t get nothing for nothing!
“Our little group walked on to see what more mischief we could create!”
From Jim Shumaker of New Richmond, Wisconsin: “Canada geese taking a fall break on their way south. I hope your readers enjoy the photo.”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Don’t drink that water!
Photography Divison (responsorial)
In Thursday’s Bulletin Board, Mounds View Swede gave us some beautiful pictures of rock formations in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and on the south shore of Lake Superior. He wrote: “Anyone with more knowledge of geology and how this all came about is most welcome to educate us a little more.”
We said, in reply: “Calling our newly named Official Geologist, Rock Doc of River Falls, Wisconsin!”
We presently heard from Rock Doc: “Here’s a little Michigan Upper Peninsula geology for Mounds View Swede and others.
“The bedrock of that area formed as a result of the rifting (pulling apart) of the North American Continent between 1.0 and 1.1 billion years ago. Initially a lot of volcanic rocks, primarily dark lava flows of basalt, came out, as the land slowly subsided into the rift. This volcanic pile is, in places, 25 kilometers thick. As the basin continued to subside, the fill was later dominated by sediments — conglomerate first, then sand and silt. These were ancient alluvial fan, river and lake deposits. Still later the subsidence stopped, and the entire section was uplifted and bent. The Porcupine Mountains and Presque Isle Park are two places where these sedimentary rocks are well exposed. The volcanic and sedimentary rocks from these events also crop out as far west and south as Taylors Falls, the North Shore, and Isle Royale.
“A ‘virtually geology’ field trip to these rocks in Michigan is at: http://www.minsocam.org/MSA/collectors_corner/vft/mi1.htm.”
Gaining something in translation
From English to English Division
Kathy S. of St. Paul writes: “Subject: You’re all fur coat and no trousers, you are.
“I ran across 15 insults only British people understand, at https://www.indy100.com/article/15-insults-only-british-people-understand-7393701?utm_source=indy&utm_medium=top5&utm_campaign=i100. I understand many of them, but my favorite is ‘You’re all fur coat and no trousers, you are.’
“Some years back, one of my British pen pals and I discussed pratfalls and prats. He had never heard of pratfalls (think Jerry Lewis), and I had only heard someone called ‘a perfect prat’ in British books and programs. It reminds me of the time we discussed the pinafore dress (jumper) his wife wanted, versus the pinafores that American girls wear (or wore).
“P.S. This is from my other British pen pal, Aubrey. Another great insult: ‘In my day it was “lace curtains and no sheets.” ‘ ”
Or: The highfalutin displeasures
IGHGrampa reports: “Credit-card usage has ruined my signature.
“I used to have a nice, legible signature. But having to sign my name on that little screen is just ruining my writing. I have to hold that little stylus thing and twist my arm and wrist — no support for my forearm. Then I’m usually in a hurry, because people are waiting behind me.
“Today a clerk told me to just use my fingertip. I don’t write with my fingertip. I sit down at a table or desk and use a pen or pencil on paper.
“So my signature has turned into a scrawl. Someone couldn’t forge my signature. It’s a different scrawl every time.
“I was told that some people don’t even do a signature, but just make a scribble or a line through the signature box.”
Band Name of the Day: Choke and the Heartbreakers