What a New Year sounded like: “squeaking, honking, clanging, banging, and shouting ‘Happy New Year!’ to the entire neighborhood.”

The Permanent Family Record
Auld Lang Syne Division

Cindybindy of Woodbury writes: “When this time of year rolls around, I am reminded of the many wonderful New Year’s Eves I spent at my grandparents’ house when I was a child.


“Grannie B and Boppie’s house was overrun with 11 noisy, rambunctious grandchildren every year, much to their — and our — delight. The older kids organized games that everyone played in the basement, and despite the range in our ages, no one was excluded. I remember dancing the Hokey Pokey as we listened to the scratchy recording on the old Victrola, playing hide-and-seek in all of the best nooks and crannies, and trying to be the first one to run downstairs and pop a balloon at the first stroke of midnight.

“I’m sure there was other, more nutritious food to eat, but I remember quite vividly licking my orange-stained fingers after devouring a good portion of Grannie’s GIANT bag of Old Dutch cheese puffs, which she stored right next to the Froot Loops in the left-hand cabinet of her old white stove. Boppie always had yellow butterscotch and pink wintergreen candies to share from his shirt pocket, and the huge bowls of popcorn, along with Shasta root-beer floats, were delightfully devoured by all.

“There was much anticipation as midnight drew near, as Grannie B brought out the box of brightly colored noisemakers, and each of us picked out our favorite one. As soon as the church bells across the street began to toll, every last one of us poured outside, squeaking, honking, clanging, banging, and shouting ‘Happy New Year!’ to the entire neighborhood. The little ones got cold and came inside first, out of breath, with rosy cheeks and runny noses. Some of my cousins and I would then line up at the telephone nook to call our parents to wish them a resounding ‘Happy New Year!’ After more snacking, we rolled out our sleeping bags on the living-room floor in front of the big, old console TV to settle in to watch scary movies on ‘Horror Incorporated.’ The original ‘Frankenstein,’ ‘Dracula,’ ‘The Mummy,’ and (the most frightening of all, in my opinion) ‘The Thing from Another World,’ all scared me deeper into the safety of my sleeping bag.

“In later years, when New Year’s Day dawned, the older grandkids — including my dear cousin DebBob, I’m sure — toilet-papered Grannie’s kitchen and decorated it with balloons and hand-lettered ‘Happy New Year’ signs. Without fail, Grannie B and Boppie were happily surprised by these annual embellishments, and they prepared a delicious breakfast of bacon, eggs, and toast for the tired mass of zombie-like kiddos. We were worn out and cranky when our parents arrived to bring us home, as kids are prone to be after spending time with their grandparents. I’m sure Grannie and Bop were eager to have some peace restored to their home after all the boisterous festivities of the night before, but none of us ever felt it. Each one of us knew we were welcome anytime at their house, and they always showered us with love.

“Both of them are gone now — Bop in 1984, Grannie in 1990 — but their legacy of love lives on in all of their grandchildren, many of whom are now grandparents themselves, myself included.

“Bring on the noisemakers! Happy New Year to one and all!”

Mixed messages
Or: The Self-Contradictors?

The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: Modern Mad Hatter?

“I see this quite often at the bottom of internet news articles. It seems to be a contradiction. First it tells us what we cannot do and then hands us the link to share in violation. I’m going to label this the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ restriction:

“‘Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

“‘This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Our times
Or: Southern living

Tee Cee of Mahtomedi: “Cee Cee and I rolled into Charlotte, N.C., on our way to Florida, and I found this ad waiting for me in the Promotions section of my email.


“Wonder if the promo includes a gun rack for the truck as well.

“What a dealer won’t do to sell a vehicle in the South!”

‘Tis the season — still!

Al B of Hartland: “My father did his Christmas shopping at Einar’s Hardware. If Einar didn’t have it, we weren’t getting it. If my father was short on cash or lacking his checkbook (my mother kept it in her purse), Einar provided counter checks for the convenience of his customers. Counter checks carried no names. There were spaces for the customer to fill in the appropriate information, including the name of the bank, before signing. Banks processed the checks manually in those days.

“The bank still gave us a calendar.”

The highfalutin diversions

Poet X of PDX: “I’ve created more than 100 puzzles at the jigsaw-puzzle site recommended here over a month ago. All are photos I took over the years. (My latest digital camera died a few months ago and I have not yet replaced it.)

“This is one of several flower pictures I’ve turned into puzzles; this one has been solved by 93 others, likely because it is only 56 pieces.”

BULLETIN BOARD NOTES: We will be sharing various other Poet X puzzles in the days to come.

Oh, and today’s has been solved by at least 94 others. We did it in 10 minutes and 17 seconds.

N.B.: To see the “finished” puzzle (i.e., the original photograph) before you start, hit the Pause button.

Month at a glance

Once again, The Stillwater Scouter presents Bulletin Board’s customary first-of-the-monthly report: “January is Train Your Dog Month, Walk Your Dog Month, and Wayfinding Month.

“Someday We’ll Laugh About This Week goes from January 2 to January 8.

“George Washington unveiled the Grand Union Flag, the first national flag in America, on January 1, 1776.

“On January 4, 1790, President George Washington delivered the first State of the Union address.

“On January 6, 1412, Joan of Arc was born.

“On January 7, 1714, a patent was issued for the first typewriter, designed by British inventor Henry Mill.

“On January 9, 1859, Carrie Lane Chapman was born in Ripon, Wisconsin. She founded the National League of Women Voters in 1919.

“On January 15, 69 A.D., Roman Emperor Servius Sulpicius Galba was assassinated by the Praetorian Guard in the Roman Forum.

“On January 16, 1547, Ivan the Terrible had himself officially crowned as the first Russian Czar (Caesar) although he had already ruled Russia since 1533. His reign lasted until 1584.

“On January 18, 2012, the Hess Oil Virgin Islands Corp. announced that HOVENSA, one of the world’s largest oil refineries, located on the island of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, would be permanently shut down.

“On January 19, 1809, E. A. Poe was born. He wrote a poem titled ‘The Raven’ and some other stuff.

“On January 21, the USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, was launched at Groton, Connecticut.

“On January 23, 1968, the American ship USS Pueblo was seized by North Koreans in the Sea of Japan amid claims the Navy ship was spying.

“On January 24, 41 A.D., his own guard assassinated Roman Emperor Caligula at the Palatine Games.*

“On January 26, 1788, the British established a settlement at Sydney Harbor in Australia as 11 ships with 778 convicts arrived, setting up a penal colony to relieve overcrowded prisons in England.

“On January 28, 1915, an Act of Congress, combining the Life Saving Service and the Revenue Cutter Service, created the U.S. Coast Guard.

“* The Stillwater Scouter can take a hint. He won’t be hiring guards. The dog can be trusted and will do.”

The Permanent Granddaughterly Record

Wicki-Yah reports: “Granddaughter Addie, 2, walked into the kitchen where the adults were finishing dinner, juggling her doll and a handful of yellow spheres, as brother Nolan whined from upstairs: ‘Addie took the balls for my pop gun again!’

“‘Addie, did you take your brother’s balls?’ I asked sternly.

“‘No, dis my baby and Addie’s balls!’ she answered firmly. And she ducked down behind the island on the floor in the far corner of the kitchen to hide her treasures from her brother, who would surely have been right behind her if not for the fact that he was, in his own words, ‘grounded’ from the main floor.

“My son-in-law grinned and nodded as I muttered, sotto voce: ‘Little turd!’

“Addie bounced up from her corner and sashayed across the floor just out of my reach. ‘Not a little turd! I be just Addie,’ she muttered under her breath as she walked past me, giving me a sideways glance to make sure I had heard her.

“Oh, that one is definitely going to give her big brother more than a little competition!”

Just a coincidence? (responsorial III)
Or: Only a ________ would notice!

The Linguidiot writes: “Recent BB discussion of ‘The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show,’ my one and only ‘never miss’ TV show of the era, points out an example of what purists call mistakes, but I see as interesting matters of literary-license trivia. While, as BB notes, Wossamotta U. was ostensibly a Minnesota school, it just couldn’t be. At that time in the ’60s, the only institution of higher learning in the state allowed to call itself a ‘university’ was the Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota. Its affiliated campuses were all officially ‘state colleges,’ and all others in the state were just ‘colleges.’ That’s why it was always known simply as ‘The U.’ No one had to ask: ‘Which U?'”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Wasn’t St. John’s St. John’s University in those days? Maybe the U was the only public institution that could call itself a “university”? And maybe Wossamotta U. was a private school? Questions, questions, questions.

We await enlightenment.

Would only a _________ notice?

Peggy T of Osceola, Wisconsin: “Wayne and I were watching ‘Jeopardy!’ on Wednesday at 4:30, and the program went off the air for a few minutes. When they came back on with the ‘Final Jeopardy!’ question, they did not have the same contestants. On Thursday, we saw the same contestants answer the final question as they did on Wednesday.

“It seems the engineers put on the ending for the wrong day.”

BULLETIN BOARD MUSES: Strange (Isn’t it? We think it is) that half a century after the program went on the air,  “Jeopardy!” viewers consistently report that the contestants answer questions. They don’t! They question answers.

Answer: “It’s the answer-and-question game.”

Question: “What is ‘Jeopardy!’?”


Your New Year’s Resolu

Wayne of St. Paul reports: “Here are my four New Year’s Resolutions:

“1. I will double chick all typing to be sure auto spill has not chain a word to the wrong won.

“2. I will type slower so that some of my friends that can’t read very fast will be able to read my posts.

“3. If I start something I will finish it.”

Band Name of the Day: The Noisemakers

Websites of the Day: Nature365 (back again for every day of 2017; be sure to sign up for the daily email), and How Everything Will Be Completely Different in 2017.

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