Country mouse, city mouse: “How different can two siblings raised in the same family turn out?”

There & There

KH of White Bear Lake writes: “Subject: Small Town, Big Town.

“How different can two siblings raised in the same family turn out?

“One daughter lives in a Minnesota prairie town with a population of about 300. Our other daughter lives in New York City, population 8.5 million.


“One lives three hours west by car; the other, three hours east by plane.

“One lives in a two-story house; the other, in a 40-story apartment building.

“One can commute eight miles to work in 10 minutes; the other, three miles to work in one hour.

“But since I’m a visual person, here’s what the difference looks like to me.”



The vision thing
Headline Division

Jim Fitzsimons of St. Paul: “Subject: A little slow on the uptake.

“A few years ago, I had one of my (not as rare as I’d like) moments in which my brain seems to shift into low gear and it takes awhile for me to grasp a concept. There was an article in Star Tribune reporting that they and the Pioneer Press had come to an agreement to combine their resources in order to cut the cost of delivering their papers to their readers. The article was clear enough, but it was the headline had me thinking something completely different.

“As I recall, the headline read: ‘StarTribune, Pioneer Press ink delivery deal.’ In my slow-uptake moment, I thought the headline meant the two papers had come up with an inexpensive way to get the ink they use to print their papers. Well, newspapers use ink, right? It makes sense they’d want to get a deal on getting their ink, doesn’t it?

“I remember picturing ink pipelines winding their way from the supplier to the papers.”

Practically perfect

That’s our very old category about practical jokes, revived today by Miss Kitty of the Midway: “I was thinking back on one of my first jobs I had. It was at a bank in California, and I was there for over 20 years — until they merged into another bank, and I figured it was time to move back to Minnesota.

“There was one person near our department (we worked in the headquarters building) that no one really cared for. He was very full of himself and thought he was more important than anyone else.

“Back in the ’70s, Zen gardening became a hot item. In his office, he had a little tray with sand and a rake, and he used to play with this during meetings around his table.

“Well, he was going to have one of his very important meetings that afternoon, and he was in the office right across from my desk. A friend I worked with took some small Tootsie Rolls and softened them in the microwave. After shaping them appropriately [Bulletin Board interjects: They don’t require much shaping!], I strategically placed a few of these little Tootsie Rolls in the sand of his Zen garden.

“When the meeting was in session, someone noticed them and the whole room broke up. He became quite upset and asked me if I had seen anyone go into his office earlier. I, of course, had not seen myself go in, so I could truthfully say I hadn’t seen anyone go in. He decided he knew who had done this to him and proceeded to tell the person who he thought had done it that he knew all about it. Of course, this person was totally innocent and did not even know about the prank.

“This kept us laughing for days!

“He never did find out. I wondered if I should tell him when his last day came and everyone went out for a drink, but decided not to. I’m sure he never figured it out.

“It was karma.”

Our pets, ourselves

Dolly Dimples: “In Monday’s Pioneer Press, the weekly feature ‘What Day Is It?’ notes that December 4 is National Kitten Day.

“I love cats, although we do not have one now because of a family member’s allergies. Cats are loved for their catness — but once in a while, something happens that diminishes one’s admiration of the species. Being reminded that a special cat day is coming up triggered a vivid memory of a not-so-good cat episode in my life:

“My mom and dad had invited guests for dinner. The dining-room table was perfection. Mom was using her best linen tablecloth and napkins, the best china and silverware. Just as the guests were entering the dining area, our cat streaked into the room, circled it, jumped onto the beautifully set table, ran down the center of it, leaped to the wall and ran up it a few feet before dropping to the floor. Mom was running after her, vainly trying to grab the cat and shrieking ‘Catch her! Catch her!’ Dad sprang into action and threw open the basement door, which was in a hallway between the dining room and the kitchen. The cat made a beeline for the opening and disappeared into the downstairs. The guests, standing wide-eyed and open-mouthed, had been transfixed by this chaotic scene.

“Eventually Mom got everyone seated, and dinner was served. I always wondered if the guests had any qualms about eating at a table where a cat had gone berserk.

“Later that evening, Dad and I looked for the cat in the basement. We found her with a head wound curled up on a stack of wood. Dad said it was time to take her away. Through my tears, I had to agree with him.”

In memoriam

From Kathy S. of St Paul: “Last summer our church lost Father Mike, one of the warrior priests who came out of the Vietnam War era. He wasn’t yet 70, so it was a shock to have him suddenly sick, and then gone.

“Mike started at both our church and another one circa five years ago, and brought a new tradition that I treasure:

“On the Sunday closest to St. Nicholas Day, he went out to change clothes during the final song, since he had to get to his other church for their services. But when he came back to end the Mass, he was dressed in a red-and-white bishop’s outfit and explained that he was St. Nick. He then handed out candy to the kids before ending the Eucharist.

“The first year he did this, a wave of surprise and joy went through the congregation, though there weren’t many kids there to get candy. By last year, there were so many kids that I worried he’d run out of sweets.

“Last December, we had no idea that it was our last St. Nicholas Day with Mike. I hope the elves (or church-approved substitutes) remember us this year, in his honor.”

So … obviously, I mean, worse than, like, y’know, sort of tons of iconic … whatever! (responsorial)
Plus: Come again? (Enunciation Division)

Tuesday’s Bulletin Board included a note from The Puppysitter: “I love language, so when I hear it misused, I get a little dismayed. One of my current pet peeves is ‘… these ones.’ Users apparently haven’t learned the difference between singular and plural. (Sigh.)”

We presently heard from B. Dazzled of South St. Paul: “As a fellow lover of language, I’d like to intercede on behalf of those who set off The Puppysitter‘s pet peeve. ‘Ones’ is certainly plural, nicht wahr? So why wouldn’t ‘these ones’ be correct usage? For example, when I walk into my banking institution to exchange my worn bills, I might say to the teller: ‘These ones are tattered and threadbare. I’d like to exchange them for those ones, which are so much crisper and more aromatic!’ [Bulletin Board says: If you are talking about $1 bills, there at your banking institution, it would make perfect sense to say “these ones” and “those ones.” But if these and those are anything other than ones, drop the “ones”: “I’d like to exchange these for those.” Says it all!]

“My current pet peeve is a woeful lack of attention to diction in radio and television advertising. There’s nothing wrong with my hearing, thank you very much! It’s these darn kids that pass for voice talent nowadays!

“A sponsor of some of my favorite cooking shows on our local PBS affiliate is touting an appliance they call the ‘Smart Oven.’ Unfortunately, they chose a voiceover lady with a Aussie/NZ accent, so I’m constantly brought up short when I hear the TV announce something that sounds like ‘Snot Oven.’

“Two other culprits make frequent appearances on a local sports radio station. The first seems to be a kind of online recruiting/résumé tool. After hearing the phrase ‘Zipper Critter’ several times, my imagination was venturing far afield, wondering what a ‘zipper critter’ could possibly refer to. New euphemism, perhaps? Round about the fourth hearing, I realized they were trying to say ‘Zip Recruiter.’

“The second transgressor nearly left my wife in tears (of laughter). She had waited in the car with said radio station playing, while I ran into the store for something. When I returned, she was doubled over, gasping ‘Wh- wh- what are “Spork Lips”?’ It turns out they’re not some kind of biomechanical implant for comfortably enjoying KFC mashed potatoes and gravy. Instead, it was only a well-known radio personality (whom I shall refer to only as ‘The Voice of the Vikings’) performing a hurried ad-spot for a male-targeted hairdresser, whose name, properly enunciated, translates to ‘Sport Clips.’ ”

So … obviously, I mean, worse than, like, y’know, sort of tons of iconic … whatever! (responsorial)
And: Fellow travelers

Nana of Many in Woodbury:Wayne of St. Paul wrote [BB, 11/27/2016]: ‘When and why did it become common to add the words “at all” at the end of a question?’

“For many years, I lived in Ireland, a nation known for its colorful and interesting use of the Queen’s English. Early on in my time there, I drove into the city of Galway and spent an enormous amount of time searching for a parking space. I spotted one — a gap in the middle of a line of parked vehicles. I managed to parallel-park the car on the left-hand side of the road and was rather pleased with myself.

“There was a tap on the window, and a Garda (Irish police officer) informed me there was no parking at this place. I looked at the string of parked cars before and behind me and said: ‘Of course there is parking here ! Look at all these other cars.’

“He replied: ‘Did you not see the yellow line? It means there’s no parking here atall.’ (It is pronounced as one word.) As I was parked next to the curb, I could see nothing on my side. I glanced across the street and saw a double yellow line on that side. I pointed to it and asked: ‘What does the double yellow mean?’

“Solemnly, he replied: ‘It means there’s no parking there atall, atall. Now move on!’

“I did as I was bidden.”

You are what you eat (responsorial) (self-responsorial) (responsorial)

Writes Snackmeisterin of Altoona, Wisconsin, of the Thanksgiving Day Bulletin Board: “Sure wish you would have given a “threat to contented dining” warning before DebK of Rosemount’s ‘You are what you eat (responsorial) (self-responsorial)’ recipe for czarnina!”

The Permanent Great-Grandsonly Record

Great-grandmother of Como Park: “Great-grandson Hank has never seen a camera he didn’t like.


“He is such a happy baby, and I have to smile every time I look at this picture.”

Band Name of the Day: Slow on the Uptake

Websites of the Day, from Doris Day: “It is 4:12 long, and may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I find it fascinating:

“And here is the one that started it all:”



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