Today’s helpful (?) hint
It comes from Nellie: “I have Velcro’d my old Brett Favre, 3-inch-high bobblehead (in yellow-and-green No. 4 uniform [Bulletin Board says: It won’t kill you if you say “Packers”!) to my dashboard, in line with the top of my steering wheel.
“As I get older, and as I glance left or right at whatever might be in view, redirecting my attention to the road in front of me seems a bit delayed — not dangerously so, but noticeable. With his head bobbling just a bit and his vertical position, it is just enough to catch my eye back to the roadway in front of me without obstructing my view whatsoever.
“Might small dashboard bobbleheads be a partial solution to distracted drivers? (Drivers’ manuals will say not to put anything on your dashboard; however, if it is low enough and does not obstruct your view, it could be all right.)
“Without question, Brett Favre helps me be a more attentive driver.”
The highfalutin … wastes?
Paul Peter Paulos of St. Paul: “With Christmas shopping ramping up well before Thanksgiving (and why not, since more people care about presents than about turkey), I saw a few ads about parents’ giving their kids a surprise (and surely unwanted) ‘gift’ for their iPhones and assorted electrogizmos. Unfortunately, I didn’t jot the names of those ads while rushing to the fridge during commercial breaks during football games. Yet Googling around, I found quite a number of these — like Mamabear, which can monitor driving speed, Safe Driver and FollowMee, some of which can even monitor a kid’s whereabouts. Oh my!
“So although it’s surely as American as apple pie to be tooling around on back roads with a group of friends (and as dangerous — oh my, once more!), kids will quickly discover that leaving their phone at a friend’s house (a hardship as that is!) will render that eavesdropping more difficult while taking their friend’s car for a ride.
“In any event, we must understand here the truth in the words of the immortal P.J. O’Rourke when he said: ‘Everything fun is dangerous. Take horse racing ,and sure, you can make a safe horse. It’s called a cow.’”
Till death them did part
Writes The Hastings Crazy Quilter: “This is my parents’ wedding picture. Aren’t they a beautiful young couple?
“What you can’t see is the right side of my father’s face. The photographer carefully posed them to hide that side of his face, because it had been blown open by shrapnel on a hillside in Italy during World War II. As he and several others lay there, they were first visited by a medical corpsman, and then by two clergymen — one Catholic and one Lutheran — who crept up the hillside to give them aid and comfort. Brave men, one and all.
“When he got back to the States, my dad was in the hospital for a long time. While he was lucky the shrapnel had missed major blood vessels, the wound extended from the middle of his cheek, down his neck and out toward his shoulder bone. He underwent several (six? seven?) surgeries to close the wound. Each time, it would break open and spread a little wider.
“Through this time, my mother waited. And waited. And finally they decided they weren’t going to wait any more; the surgeries weren’t working, and it was time to get on with his life. He left the hospital, and they got married. Not a fancy wedding, because it was right after a war, but a lasting one.
“November 23 would have been their 70th wedding anniversary. Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad. I miss you both.
“They really were the Greatest Generation.
“Thirty-five years later, Mom and Dad visited Italy with my husband and me. Dad said he really hadn’t seen much of the country on his first visit. He had a much better visit the second time.”
Till death us do part
An entry in the Permanent Spousal Record at the home of Christy of Menomonie, Wisconsin: “When it comes to holiday leftovers, some members of my household (i.e., hubby) have an unspoken signal for ‘Enough’s enough!’ After he had already eaten his plate of homemade ‘chicken’ chop suey, I informed him that the so-called chicken was turkey. Even though he appeared to enjoy his meal, the look on his face was telling me that if I trotted out that bird one more time, my goose was cooked!”
Al B of Hartland: “I went to a Friends of the Library book sale. I looked at the boxes of books that I’d donated. I’d run out of room in my home for all the books I owned. I tried not to buy any of them back. That wasn’t easy. As a rap song might say: ‘I like big books and I cannot lie.'”
The Permanent Sisterly Record
Or: The Great Self-Comebacks
Grandma Connie of Scandia: “My sister Barb was having one of those days. She spent time looking for her Christmas mailing list, searched online for something, and couldn’t find a baking pan.
“As we were going to hang up, she said: ‘I think I’ll do the dishes. At least I know where they are!'”
There & … Here? (responsorial)
Saturday email from Mattzdad of Rochester: “Subject: Today’s comments by the Hoot Owl of St. Paul about on/off sale liquor and ‘set ups’ in eating places.
“I grew up not far from The Stables Supper Club in Albert Lea. I was never a member or ever ate there, but Dad (a.k.a. Pop) told us they did set up upstairs in the Club Room. You brought your liquor in with you; checked it in at the bar; they sold you a set up to go with your drinking — and if you were a regular, they even stored your bottle for you until next time.
“The Stables was called that because it was just exactly that: a long, narrow stable that had been converted to the supper club. My parents ate there a few times, when an event was held there and they had an invite to partake.”
Built to last
John in Highland reports: “My brother-in-law, Mark, still has the Marx electric train set that he received as a Christmas present 68 years ago.
“It has gone through two transformers, and sections of track have been replaced, but the locomotive and cars are the originals.
“When his father, Walt, brought the set home for Christmas of 1948, his mother, Phyllis, said: ‘But he’s only 3 months old!”‘
“Walt replied: ‘That’s OK. Every little boy needs a train set!'”
Then & Now
Or: Our times
Writes quackdad: “Subject: Watering down the whiskey.
“In my world, there are basically three ways to increase profits on a manufactured item: Increase the price, produce it more efficiently, or cut back on the quantity/quality of the components (sometimes known ‘watering down the whiskey’).
“After a recent snowfall, I dragged out my trusty snow shovel. I hadn’t shoveled more than three scoops when the handle broke (it was a plastic handle with a steel tube core that had corroded; perhaps I should have called it my ‘rusty’ snow shovel). I went up to the local big -box hardware store (the same store where I had bought the original, back in 2002) to buy a replacement. I found one that looked similar. It was on sale, so even the price was similar to what I had paid years ago.
“When I got home, I discovered the new shovel wasn’t just similar; it was identical to the old one, save for one notable difference: While all the components appeared to have been made from the same mold, and the colors were a perfect match, the handle on the new shovel was 6 inches shorter.
“Being myself shorter than the average bear, I found that to be an improvement.”
IGHGrampa: “Subject: He be gone.
“A recent Facebook entry by my brother, Loren, prompted this exchange. He (or someone) was commenting on the transition of government. I got distracted by this sentence: ‘He be gone now.’
“My comment to that: ‘He be gone now? What kind of diction is that? Can we have a return to the English language?’
“Loren’s response: ‘You got it didn’t you?’
“Me: ‘I be got it. I be annoyed at bad English. Who be we to talk bad?’
“Loren: ‘Listen to the diversity around you, bro. But, you be right.’ (Loren is a recently retired teacher. He is tuned in to diversity.)
“Me: ‘I am avoiding and denying diversity. You may diverse. I be too old to diverse.'”
Our theater of seasons
Saturday email from Jim Shumaker of New Richmond, Wisconsin: “Brrrrrr! Fluffed-up male blue jay, St. Croix County, Wisconsin.
“I hope you enjoy this beautiful bird!”
Vanity, thy name is . . .
Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “My Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (Eleventh Edition) defines ‘Jezebel’ in this way: ‘often not cap: an impudent, shameless, or morally unrestrained woman.’
“Which causes me to wonder about this personalized plate on an Infiniti in the lot of the Shoreview Target: ‘JEZABEL.’
“Maybe the slightly different spelling means it doesn’t mean what it seems to mean.”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: It more likely means that “JEZEBEL” was already taken.
How far back?
Plus: The Golden Age of Department Stores
Postscript of Twenty Miles from Everywhere: “At the age of 4, I had my tonsils out. When they were prepping me, they drew some blood from my ear lobe. I remember well that it hurt! In fact, it hurt me so much that it was about 40 years later before I got up the courage to have my ears pierced, because I knew that it would hurt.
“And a memory of Dayton’s in Minneapolis: At the time when many things were leopard-printed, Mom and I were in the bargain basement and went by a display of Jockey-type shorts with that print. Mom looked and said: ‘Oh, Leopard seat covers!’ I still laugh at that one.”
The verbing of America
The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills: “In the HBO series ‘Divorce,’ Sarah Jessica Parker is walking rapidly and talking rapidly to someone Parker hopes will give her a job. A portion of her pitch: ‘Bear with me, because this is a little bit all over the place right now. OK, just to nutshell it . . .’
The Permanent Sonly Record
Big Eek of Southeast Minneapolis: “The hockey season reminded me of something from 50 years ago, when my oldest son, Steve, was 5 years old. He and I spent many nights at the local outdoor rink ,skating, with our hockey sticks.
“This night we played a two-on-two game against Tommy and Tim, two 11-year-olds, on the mini-rink beside the large skating surface, using ice chunks for goal posts.
“Everyone kept their own score. After a half-hour, Tommy had 20 goals, Tim had 23, I had 36 for our side and Steve had 2. My feet were cold, so I thanked the boys for the game and headed for the warming house. Steve trailed along, protesting all the way.
“When I was inside, sitting down, I said: ‘Yes, Steve, what is it?’
“‘You shouldn’t have quit,’ he said. ‘Another goal, and I would have had a hat trick.’
“All right. Maybe you have to be Canadian.”
Band Name of the Day: Brett Favre and the Bobbleheads
Website of the Day, courtesy of The Monkey Lover’s Wife of Northfield: “Subject: The Four-Letter Code to Selling Just About Anything.
“After looking at Saturday’s Website of the Day [Winners of the 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Contest], I clicked through to this article — it’s an excellent example of what I love about podcasts like ‘Hidden Brain’ or ‘99% Invisible’: combining seemingly disparate examples from all over to illustrate one concept.
“What makes things cool? Read more: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/01/what-makes-things-cool/508772/?utm_source=eb