What television has been needing: “The Maze-ing Race,” through the aisles at Walmart!

Everyone’s an executive producer!
Or: Muse, amuse

The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: ‘The Maze-ing Race.’

“My latest reality-show proposal: Five contestant couples convene at a Walmart store. The five wives enter the store to shop. Three minutes later, the husbands are released to find their spouses.


“The participants cannot speak or use any electronic devices.

“We watch on a split screen — with a floor-plan overhead shot on one side, and bread-crumb-trail GPS tracking — in a different color for each couple — on the other (like the old PAC-MAN game). The players are allowed to eat anything they want and use the restrooms.

“The first couple to reunite wins $100 million.

“If none of the players find each other by the end of the season (12 one-hour episodes), they all depart the store, and we watch them search for their cars.”

There & … Here?

The Hoot Owl of St. Paul: “On the back page of the Variety section of the December 14  Minneapolis STrib, there is a column about regionalisms. The big map shows the usage of POP, SODA, and COKE in the U.S.A. The map has a variety of pastels over the Mid-Atlantic states, showing no real preference.

“In fact, back in the Old Dominion — and maybe other nearby states where there used to be city- or state-owned, drab-painted ‘ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Control) stores’ for purchasing hard liquor in brown paper bags — you could take your bottle to a restaurant, and they would happily offer you a ‘set up’ for your drinks, which they could not sell … and we always called things like Dr Pepper, Grapette, root beer or cola products ‘SOFT DRINKS’ (as opposed to the hard drinks you had to buy in ABC stores). A ‘soda’ was something you got at a soda fountain, and it contained ice cream and soda water. ‘Pop’ was what the weasel said or maybe what you called your daddy.

“A funny thing about those ABC stores was that if they had plate-glass windows, liquor could NOT be displayed closer than six feet from the window close to the sidewalk outside.

“Wondering if anything like those ABC stores or ‘set ups’ in restaurants ever existed in BBLand here in Minnesota, or close by. Just wondering.”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Check this out, Hoot Owl: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcoholic_beverage_control_state. Should tell you what you want to know.

Fellow travelers
Bummer Division

IGHGrampa: “My niece and her husband just returned from a trip to the Holy Land. They had a good time, but she caught pneumonia there and was sick part of the time. They’re home now, and, lucky for her, antibiotics are taking care of it.

“It reminded me of a guy from Bismarck years ago. He was a big-game-hunting enthusiast. He’d been on trips to hunt bear in Alaska, moose in Canada, and various other places around the world. He booked an expensive trip to Africa, to hunt whatever he could. When he got there, he caught malaria and was in the hospital almost the whole time. He had not only the expense of the trip and guide, which he still to pay for even though he couldn’t go hunting, but also a bill for a hospital stay.

“You could say that in that instance, the animals won.”

See world
Photography Division

Mounds View Swede has sent some more pictures from his 2012 photo trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan: “Based on the recommendations of Dick Swansson, our host at the Regal Country Inn in Wakefield, Michigan, we headed west of there to see what he had been describing to us. These inland views were very satisfying. (I used to dream about living in the woods, and I think these are the woods I wanted. It turned out that I was better off here, close to good medical facilities. And Mounds View is a suburb with a lot of trees, so it’s almost like the woods.)



“It helped a lot when the clouds started arriving. We waited for a while until they got there so we could take photos like these.


“We had made Wakefield our place to stay the first night (and sometimes the last). It’s a small town with two gas stations and one bakery. I filled up at one gas station when I arrived and the other one when I left and tried to alternate that on each trip. The bakery was a must for the pasties — the meat pies like the miners used to have for their lunch.   And Dick Swansson always had fresh-baked cinnamon rolls for us each mornings. Small U.P. towns like this hunger for business, and we enjoyed providing them some.”

Department of Great Questions (responsorial)

Thursday’s Bulletin Board included a note from SHRN in Woodbury: “It perplexes me! In this land of potlucks, buffets and smorgasbords, why are flatware and napkins placed at the beginning of the line? They do it on some riverboats and cruise ships, too. When I question others in line, the men say it’s no problem; they put them in their pockets. Women use their purses or pockets or just carry them in their hand.

“I’m just wondering.”

We presently heard from OTD from NSP: “This always bothered me, so I never did it at my house. The plates are at the beginning of the line. Silverware, napkins, salt and pepper, condiments, etc., are set up on a separate table, out of the traffic pattern from the food line. Works much better. People can put their plate at a table and then get what they need. Also: fewer spills from the little ones (and the not-so-little people).

“Everyone, have a great holiday.”

Built to last

The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “There were a couple of newfangled appliances my folks acquired during the mid-’30s, when we lived in Minneapolis. I wasn’t thrilled with either of them.

“The toaster was the first disappointment. I used to love popping half of a baking-powder biscuit in each side of the drop-side toaster. I was forbidden to toast baking-powder biscuits with the new one after I stunk up the kitchen when I dropped a biscuit down into the slot and it got stuck down in the bottom and burned up.

“The other major disappointment was when Mom upgraded to a gas refrigerator. My favorite time of the week was when the iceman and his horse delivered ice. Aunt Ethel gave us boxes of sugar cubes to feed his horse, and in return the iceman gave us kids chunks of ice to suck on.

“But all was not lost. I could just run two blocks down the street to Aunt Ethel’s house and meet up with my friendly delivery horse. She still had HER icebox. (Heck, Aunt Ethel was still ironing with her flat irons.) It was an old-fashioned little icebox, about 3 feet tall, and she kept it inside her back porch.

“One delivery day, I raced the horse cart down the street and arrived just after she had finished cleaning the ‘blasted’ thing. She was awkwardly hunched over as she leaned inside to replace the food items, and in her rush to finish before the iceman arrived, she clumsily knocked over a full pitcher of thick cream. She said ‘DAMN!’ . . . and I was stunned, because I had NEVER heard Aunt Ethel swear. Before she even had time to pull her head out of the icebox, I sneaked out of her house and, with my sugar cubes clenched in my fist, ran as fast as I could for home without even a glance at the iceman or his horse.”

The Permanent Granddaughterly Record (responsorial)

Honey Bee of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin: “You made our day! No, not with publishing my recent submissions, but with Wicki-Yah’s delightful story about ‘Baby God’ [BB, 12/12/2016]. I printed it out for The Honest Man, and we both got such a chuckle out of reading it aloud. ‘Him’s mom’ and ‘Fairy down!’ had us just rolling with laughter.

“‘Fairy down!’ is now the catch phrase for when the spaghetti sauce burns, or the garage door was left up overnight, or the candy jar is empty. You get the picture. We are still laughing, a few days later. And since we have a toddler granddaughter arriving for Christmas (the family is relocating from NYC to MSP — and, yes, they are nuts to be doing it the week before Christmas!), I’m sure we will hear all kinds of like chatter.

“Thanks, again, for the wonderful laugh to start our week.”

Now & Then

Your Late Night Lady: “Some time ago, a young family relative and I were going through some old photo albums. At one point she asked: ‘Where was that taken?’

“‘In front of the Presbyterian manse.’

“‘What’s a manse?’

“So I explained that in our small town, the Catholic priest and four Protestant clergymen lived in houses built right beside their churches. They were called manses.

“She found that quite incredible, so I explained further. Most of the manses in our town were built in the 1920s or before, when times were good: nice-sized two-story houses with ample yards and probably room in the back for a garden. So later, during the Depression, there was at least a good home in which the pastors could live.

“I remember my grandmother telling me that when church members had little or no money to contribute, they would bring garden produce, home-canned goods, eggs, churned butter and other foods to the family at the manse instead.

“In that town, only one of the manses still exists as church property. Some were torn down; some, sold and modernized.

“This turned out to be an informative trip back in time for my young relative, who now knows about manses.”

Could be verse!

Tim Torkildson: “Writes there a man so thwarted and wary

“as he who must pen an obituary?

“Daily he sits, as life’s merry race

“runs past his solemn and world-weary face.

“His colleagues rush out for a breathtaking scoop,

“while he must stay put to post: ‘Died of the croup.’

“Pulitzer Prizes rain down on the head

“of many, but not on the clerk for the dead.

“He knows only  endings, the sunset regime

“that curtails the laughter and curdles the dream.

“And when his time comes and he goes out to sea,

“no one’s at hand to write his eulogy . . .”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We’ve long thought that writing obituaries for a great newspaper would be one of the best jobs in journalism.

To write the stories of entire lives, day after day — choosing the telling details; citing the lasting and ignoring the transient. How cool would that be?

Not to mention: The dead never fail to return your calls — and they tell you no lies!

Not exactly what he had in mind?

Wednesday’s Bulletin Board included a note from Bicycle Babe of the Midway: “At my dermatologist’s office, there is a large-screen TV mounted on the wall in the waiting room.

“While waiting for my appointment, I watched the ever-changing display of information about skin conditions, as well as brief biographies of the doctors who practice at the clinic. Each bio featured a quotation from that particular doctor about why they chose dermatology as their specialty.

“One doctor’s quote was: ‘Dermatology is a diverse discipline and I enjoy seeing patients from all age groups and with a wide variety of diseases.’ I suspect that what he said isn’t exactly what he meant, but I found myself relieved that he isn’t my doctor.”

BULLETIN BOARD, WEDNESDAY, WAS UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT: “How could he have said it better?” we asked.

We have heard, again, from Bicycle Babe of the Midway: “To answer your question concerning my post:

“Why would a dermatologist enjoy seeing patients with a wide variety of diseases? Does this guy really want to see someone with Bubonic Plague? Does he enjoy seeing someone suffering from multiple maladies? People with diseases are suffering, and I don’t think that doctor is a cruel person who enjoys seeing people suffer. He could have said that he enjoys helping a wide variety of patients to get relief from diseases of the skin.”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We agree. That’s much better.

Our birds, ourselves

Christy of Menomonie, Wisconsin: “It looked like two little boys bickering over some perceived slight . . . but they were crows, perhaps siblings.

“One shoved the other with his ‘shoulder,’ and the other shoved back. The larger crow stepped on the other’s foot, and the other one stomped back on his offender’s foot. Then the bigger guy flapped his wings in the other’s face and feigned a peck to his eye.

“I’m sure I heard the smaller one say: ‘I’m gonna tell Mom!'”

Band Name of the Day: Dr Pepper and the Grapettes

Website of the Day: Winners of the 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Contest


%d bloggers like this: