Built to last
Little Sister writes: “It’s comforting to have something in your possession that was made to last.
“This very ordinary Club Aluminum pot was part of a complete collection my parents received as a wedding gift in 1944.
“Each piece had its own function in our household.
“The sturdy Dutch oven produced my mother’s Sunday beef roasts and her Thanksgiving turkeys.
“The largest saucepan bubbled with oatmeal or Cream of Wheat on cold winter mornings.
“Bacon and eggs would sizzle in the heavy fry pan under my dad’s watchful eye. On Saturday mornings, it would be used to make a special treat: crepes — or Swedish pancakes, as we called them. Only one at a time could be made, so we had to wait our turn. Somehow, this inconvenience just made them taste better.
“An enormous kettle performed double duty — for thick soups, as well as the enormous batches of popcorn required for our large family.
“Over the years, Mom and Dad received as gifts many more newfangled pots and pans. These were given mostly by their well-meaning children, encouraging them to keep up with the times. After Dad passed away, and not having enough use or cupboard space for all the cookware, Mom started giving away pieces of the original set, mostly to grandchildren and great-grandchildren just starting out.
“I have posted a photo of the one piece she didn’t have the heart to part with, at least not until she recently entered a memory-care facility. Now I have it. It was the smallest of the pots, and for as far back as I can remember, Mom would use this one to poach her morning egg. (None of the rest of us liked poached eggs.)
“Out of all of the pots and pans, this one stood the test of time. There are no dents or loose parts. The only obvious sign of wear is on the painted wooden handle, matching the grip of my mother’s hand. It remembers, even though my mother can’t.”
Today’s helpful hint
‘Tis the Season Division
OTD from NSP: “Subject: Good to know.
“‘How your Christmas recycling can tip off thieves
“‘Brian Bakst · Dec 27, 2016
“‘St. Paul police are cautioning city residents about the post-holiday boxes they put out for curbside recycling.
“‘Police say that packaging from new electronics or other pricey gifts can be a tipoff to burglars. They say they regularly receive theft reports before and after the holidays that can be traced to boxes left for recycling pickup.
“‘So the capital city’s Police Department is offering a special drop-off site for those boxes. People can bring them to the Western District Police Office at 389 Hamline Ave. N.
Boxes can be dropped off for free through Jan. 6 [Bulletin Board notes: The 12th day of Christmas! But don’t be dropping off any partridges, pear trees, turtle doves, French hens, calling birds, gold rings, geese-a-laying, swans a-swimming, maids-a-milking, ladies dancing, lords-a-leaping, pipers piping, or drummers drumming] at any time during the day or night.'”
Could be verse!
Or: Our times (‘Tis the Season Division)
Tim Torkildson: “From the Denver Post: ‘Aurora police evacuated the Aurora mall Monday afternoon following several fights that spilled into surrounding parking lots and mirrored scuffles occurring nearly simultaneously in malls nationwide.’
“A shopper found out in Aurora
“that malls are like Sodom/Gomorrah;
“full of much wrath,
“a vicious bloodbath;
“consumers as carnivora!”
Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon? (responsorial)
Or: Blinded by the lyrics?
Tuesday’s Bulletin Board included this passage:
“Friday, December 23rd email from thetravlor: ‘B-M: Yesterday in the hard-copy Pioneer Press, the cartoon “Mutts” talked about “Figgy Puddin’.” As you turn the page, there is a recipe for Figgy Pudding, and today I got an email heading for it. A triple-header!
“’I seriously had never heard of it before then.’”
“Farmer Jeff: ‘OK, I will confess that I have never completely understood the B-M Phenomenon, and I’m not sure I would recognize one if it slapped me in the face. Nevertheless, I was slapped in the face today by a seemingly similar phenomenon that must come fairly close to being a B-M Phenomenon.
“’While minding my own business and reading Thursday’s Pioneer Press comics, I noticed that the cat in the ‘Mutts’ comic was asking a store proprietor for figgy pudding. I must admit that I was rather flummoxed by the word ‘figgy,’ failing to realize the obvious: that it was referring to figs. Nevertheless, while continuing to mind my own business, and remaining perplexed by the word “figgy,” I turned the newspaper page only to find an article entitled “Figgy pudding to Wassail: Eating Christmas Carols.” So anyway, if that’s not a B-M phenomenon, then it’s just plain old weird. I must also admit that I may perhaps be the only individual who’s never heard the word “figgy.”’ [Bulletin Board rules: Alas, since figgy pudding is a traditional Christmas dessert and this is the Christmas season, that’s no B-M for either Farmer Jeff or thetravlor. The originator of the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, Gigetto on Lincoln, specifically noted that seasonal juxtapositions are to be expected and therefore do not qualify as suitably inexplicable. Sorry! Too bad you didn’t see consecutive ‘figgy pudding’ references in, say, July!]”
We presently heard from Snackmeisterin of Altoona, Wisconsin: “Just wondering what Farmer Jeff and thetravlor thought the words are in the song ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’: ‘Oh, bring us some (fill in the blank), / Oh, bring us some (fill in the blank), / Oh, bring us some (fill in the blank), / And bring it right here!'”
Ask a silly (?) question
Lola reports: “Someone at the dinner table on Christmas Day mentioned figgy pudding, and my grandson asked: ‘What does figgy pudding taste like?’
“I replied: ‘Figs.'”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Actually … no.
“This holiday season, one popular Christmas carol has been raising some questions here at NPR headquarters. Namely:
“‘Oh, bring us some figgy pudding, oh, bring us some figgy pudding, oh — ‘
“Wait. What is figgy pudding?
“First of all, it’s ‘absolutely delicious,’ says Debbie Waugh, who recently served the dish at a tea at the Historic Green Spring House in Alexandria, Va.
“Figgy pudding — also known as plum pudding or Christmas pudding — is a staple of the British Christmas table, she says.
“‘It resembles something like a cannonball, and it maybe feels a bit like a cannonball when it hits your stomach, but it’s tradition and we love it,’ Waugh tells NPR’s Michel Martin.
“And despite its moniker, the dessert features neither figs nor plums.
“It’s also a pudding in the British sense, meaning dessert — not the creamy, custardy dish most Americans associate with the word. It’s a steamed cake full of raisins, currants and brandy.”
‘Tis the season — still!
VH Grouch’s Wife writes: “I received this picture of my Godson’s two kids with Santa. It was taken near their home in New Hampshire, and I think it is an exceptional picture with Santa. Hope it’s not too late for sharing.”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Unclear on the concept, ma’am!
It’s never too late for Bulletin Board. Well, almost never.
Oh, and by the way: Our categories never die … though they sometimes take a long, long nap.
Christmas Division (responsorial)
A Christmas Eve note from The Pest From the West of St. Paul: “Subject: Don’t lament the passing of a Christmas tradition.
“In reading today’s note about The Cowboy King of Arden Hills not allowing BB to continue the tradition of reading ‘The Night Before Christmas at M’ Home on the Range’ in every Christmas Eve publication of BB, I want to comment that you should not lament any bygone Christmas traditions.
“In my small family alone, we’ve had to adjust and change and come up with different traditions and ideas to make THIS Christmas memorable, due to many life changes and changing circumstances for family members. As children grow and bring in others to join our family (new boy/girl friends, husbands/wives, babies, etc.), and as loved ones pass away or aren’t able to join us for health reasons (or they’ve moved to warmer climes), we remember what we’ve had and have done for past Christmases, and we look forward to new and different ways to have fun together and enjoy new foods, etc.
“This year, my daughter and her family were not able to join us (they live in another state), and she was just here in November with the little ones for a funeral and a wedding (her husband is deployed). My son and his wife will not be with us, as their lives changed this year (she graduated from school and got a big-girl job; way to go, Laura!) and her parents live in another state and they will be visiting them after three years of not seeing them at Christmas (because of school and retail jobs).
“Not that we’ll be alone, but it will be different. As Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, said: ‘The only thing constant in this world is change.’ If you embrace it, I feel you’ll be better off, and if you fight it, you’ll only wear yourself out.
“God Bless, and Merry Christmas. Thanks for all your hard work in keeping us entertained and being a family of BBers. And to all the contributors.”
‘Tis the season!
Kathy S. of St. Paul: “Christmas Eve Mass this year felt like the famous marshmallow test for young kids — the one in which psychologists placed young kids in a room with a marshmallow in front of them and told them that if they didn’t eat the marshmallow until the adult came back, they would have both it and a second marshmallow. Some of them failed the test before the adult left the room, and it is now famous as a test of children’s ability to defer gratification.
“The kids’ Mass on Christmas Eve is usually a noisy and restless one, because kids know that Santa is FINALLY coming to town — and Baby Jesus, too. Once I spent the Mass hearing a 4-year-old asking where Baby Jesus was; I think she expected a living one in modern diapers.
“Anyway, the kids were asked to bring stuffed animals to church and set them by the altar. High anxiety then ensued, with some kids of various ages immediately taking them back while others spent the whole Mass monitoring their toys. I expected trouble when a tiny child grabbed someone else’s loved one, but the mother restored it before violence ensued.
“I love kids, and I cannot not watch them, but this year I was more distracted than usual. And I breathed a huge sigh of relief when the lit candles (as we sang ‘Silent Night’ in the darkened church) did not cause a fire.
Now (after New Year’s Day and Epiphany), to the ‘boring’ part of winter…”
Fifteen nanoseconds of fame
Public Bathrooms Division
In the December 20 Bulletin Board, we ran a note sent our way by Otis from Inver Grove: “Oftentimes life’s most important lessons are learned more by accident than by design.
“Today I was washing my hands in the bathroom after the movie, and I heard a mom outside the door. In a stern and frustrated mom voice we all have experienced, she said: ‘If you don’t behave, we are going home.’ Just then the dad and a boy about 4 years old came in and headed over to pee. While standing there, Dad said to the boy: ‘If you mess with the bull, you get the horns.’ In an innocent and inquisitive voice, the boy asked : ‘Who’s the bull?’ Dad said: ‘Mama’s the bull.’ In the bathroom at the Oakdale movie theater, the kid learned a crucial life lesson he will never forget and will surely pass on to the next generation.”
Just before Christmas, we heard again from Otis from Inver Grove: “Don’t start making assumptions about Otis from Inver Grove and get the wrong impression of me . . . but I have another men’s-room story to share.
“Yesterday, after giving a pint of blood at the Red Cross 12-hour blood drive at Envision Event Center in Oakdale, I was in the men’s room and noticed a particular celebrity standing next to me. He was a jolly fellow with a red-and-white hat, white hair, a white beard, glasses, wearing a red coat and pants. Yes, it was Santa. Even he has to relieve himself. (Which leads me to wonder: How does he make time for that after drinking all that milk while on such a tight schedule Christmas night?)
“Anyway, I remarked to Santa that I had never shared the restroom with a man of his celebrity. I mentioned to him that there is a bar in Spooner, Wisconsin, with a sign over the urinal that read something to this effect: ‘John F. Kennedy peed here in 1960.’ I am not sure if the bar and urinal are still in existence.
“Santa then regaled me with his bathroom brush with fame. He was at a golf course using their restroom, and a man walked up to use the urinal next to him. The man was professional golfer Jack Nicklaus. Santa said he made small talk with Jack and even got his autograph — after Jack had washed and dried his hands.
“I would enjoy hearing from other Bulletin Boarders about their bathroom brushes with fame.”
The vision thing
Nellie: “Subject: Creative reading.
“There was an article in the Pioneer Press Tuesday that said: ‘DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt were spitting words at each other this month over the breakdown of their relationship and their failure to agree on a special session.”
“‘That same day, Sen. Paul Gazelka, who will lead Senate Republicans in the majority next year, was circumspect.’
“At first I thought it said ‘. . . was circumcised.’ Yikes! Too much information!”
There & Here
Raindancer of North Oaks: “Subject: The little people among us.
“My Norwegian cousin, Espen, was bemoaning the lack of snow at his house north of Oslo. So, my brave ‘house troll’ went on an expedition today to claim Mt. Raindancer for sitt hjemland, og kanskje for en godbit (his homeland, and maybe for a treat). Trolls are entertaining creatures — if you’re careful stay on their good side.”
Our pets, ourselves
Grandma Connie of Scandia: “Alex likes to drink from the bathroom sink. He does feel that the water needs to be slightly stirred . . . no olives.”
Just a coincidence?
Semi-Legend writes: “The people who put on TV kid shows sometimes slip in adult humor — that is, jokes that adults watching will get, but the kids, perhaps not so much.
“‘Rocky and Bullwinkle’ was noted for that.
“As someone perhaps too old to watch some of these shows, I occasionally caught one.
“I don’t remember which show it was back in the 1950s, but the man speaking to the kids through the camera asked: ‘Who waved goodbye saying “Don’t you cry, I’ll be back again someday”?’
“’General Douglas MacArthur,’ said someone on the set, to general, stifled laughter.
“Well, Frosty and the general both smoked corncob pipes.”
The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: You’re freezing? No problem.
“I just had an interesting conversation. Upon paying for my gas fill, I informed the cashier that the automatic shut-off was malfunctioning on pump 5. And I explained that it took me a long time to slowly fill-up, and it was annoying because of the freezing cold.
“The answer I got was: ‘Oh, there’s nothing wrong. It always does that when it gets cold out.'”
Till death us do part
Al B of Hartland: “My wife and I were Christmas shopping.
“She shopped. I whimpered. I was having trouble with my eyes. I couldn’t see myself shopping.
“‘You’re not much good in a store. You know that, don’t you?’ said my wife.
“‘I’m not much good in a lot of other places, too,’ I said. A good offense is the best defense.”
Band Name of the Day: Jesus in Diapers
Website of the Day: The Marshmallow Test