Unclear on the concept
The Grand Duchess of Grand Avenue: “Subject: You’ve got to be kidding me!
“Yesterday I was waiting at McDonald’s for my order to come out and witnessed two young men ordering — or attempting to.
“The Mickey D’s employee stated three times: ‘You must buy one to get a free one.’ The employee/order taker finally asked for the manager to come explain to the customer what ‘Buy One, Get One free’ involves.
“Yup . . . apparently they figured they could just stop by for a free sandwich and not have to buy anything. I’m still shaking my head over that, and I imagine the employees are, also.”
Life as we know it
DebK of Rosemount: “Taxman and I have seen a fair chunk of this magnificent world, but my most memorable travels were up and down the treacherous steps that led to Grandpa and Grandma Bobzien’s spooky basement, which housed phalanxes of dust-shrouded canning jars, an array of antique washing machines, and (most importantly) the indoor privy. It took courage to do your business in Grandpa’s toilet, to make your way up and down the randomly spaced rough-hewn treads, dodging curtains of spider webs and festoons of fraying electric wires. We youngsters would pause, jiggling and with legs crossed, at the top of the steps, until desperation drove us into the dank depths.
“Just a few feet from the black-walnut paneled door that separated the dining room from the basement steps stood The Radio, a massive cabinet model that towered above us grandkids, exposing its vacuum-tube innards, which glowed like jack-o-lanterns behind an ornate oak-and-cloth screen, sending a hot smell into the room. The radio was perpetually tuned to KICD, the Spencer radio station that broadcast Filmore Stoermer’s crop and livestock market reports on the hour. We had a radio at home, but not like this one. Its handsome array of dials, its slight, high-pitched whine, the songs and stories that poured out of its abdomen . . . it all fascinated me. I remember peering through the coarse cloth screen, straining my eyes in a determined effort to see the teeny-tiny Frankie Laine (Mom’s favorite) who was belting out ‘Mule Train’ that very moment.
“At one time, The Radio had been my grandparents’ primary source of entertainment, as well as news and ‘the markets.’ But Grandpa had early and enthusiastically embraced the Age of Television. As soon as he finished his supper dessert, he strode into the living room, occupied his easy chair, and watched the best CBS, ABC, and NBC had to offer. Once Grandma finished supper dishes and delivered Grandpa’s evening snack — a bowl of Schwan’s maple nut or Breyer’s vanilla ice cream, without any adornment — she would join him, sinking gratefully into the depths of her own easy chair, which sat right next to Grandpa’s like a pair of well-worn thrones. As soon as the 10 o’clock news wound up, the two of them took a trip to the basement (separately, of course) and disappeared into their bedroom.
“As their hearing became less acute, my grandparents found that having a radio way off in the dining room wasn’t convenient. They purchased a smaller portable model that sat for decades on top of Grandma’s ancient refrigerator. A step stool took up residence next to the refrigerator, facilitating any tuning the radio might require.
“Long after it had been forced into retirement, The Radio continued to stand in its accustomed place, eating up quite a lot of dining-room space that might have been put to better use — especially during holiday meals. Rumor has it that The Radio had taken on a new life as the place where Grandma would hide Grandpa’s pipe tobacco when she needed to persuade him to drive her to town. You see, Grandpa didn’t find being out of groceries to be an acceptable reason to drive all the way to Primghar. (He figured — rightly — that ‘the old lady’ would find some way to feed him until such time as he felt inclined to haul her to Greenlee’s Market.) Grandma, who never learned to drive, did learn how to steer her bull-headed spouse to the grocery store. She simply saw to it that he would ‘run out’ of tobacco at exactly the time she needed to restock the pantry.”
Our pets, ourselves
Or: The Permanent Brotherly Record (responsorial)
Presumably inspired by River Falls Foof’s story of the outhouse and the unfortunate pooch, here’s South Side Gal: “Since I work in the construction field, I have used a lot of port-a-potties and outhouses over the years.
“There was a two-hole outhouse at the summer cabin. When the group of us kids would come back from our morning of exploring, we would call out which group, boys or girls, got the use of the outhouse first and who got to use the ‘big hole’ to do their business in. There were no shy bladders in our group of siblings and cousins.
“I do remember my cousins telling me that one of their friends brought her doll into the outhouse. She dropped the doll down one of the holes. We all knew enough to not take any toys into the outhouse with us.
“Recently I listened to a podcast on ‘How port-a-potties work.’ I had to chuckle at the hosts of the podcast getting grossed out by the subject matter. I did learn that the ‘cakes’ in the urinal help add salt to the water so it will not freeze in the winter and the contents can be pumped out.
“At one construction site, the foreman had to fill out a ‘review’ form on the new apprentice. He asked the group what he should write down, ’cause the kid was so new to the job. One guy said: ‘Tell them that we are trying to break him of the habit of eating the mints in the urinals.’
“That memory came rushing back to me when, just a few cold weeks ago, there was a large amount of ‘breath mints’ added to the port-a-potty urinals at work. And from my winter camping experiences, frozen urine stinks!”
Ah, the smell of it!
Surplus Perfume Division
Fudge Brownie: “Subject: Eau de Overwhelming.
“The last time hubby/Dave and I visited his brother and sister-in-law, Joe and Polly, in Boston, where they live, we also visited with the two guys’ older sisters. We always stay with J&P when we are out there. We were having a gathering at J&P’s one afternoon.
“H/D and I were out on an errand — and when we returned to the house, the sisters had arrived. We opened the door and walked in and were hit with a wall of perfume that was so overwhelming, we started choking. I am not exaggerating.
“We stepped back out, took a breath and went in breathing through our mouths. Didn’t matter. I don’t know how poor Polly was still conscious since, she is very allergic to perfume.
“It was great visiting with all of them, but we had to open windows after the sisters left. Really.
“I don’t wear perfume often, but I am very careful to just use a dab. I am instructing my own sisters to let me know if I am overdoing it; I may not know when my own sense of smell has departed.”
Doris G. of Randolph, Minnesota, reports: “Two juncos sitting on the heavy snow-covered branches.”
What’s in a name?
Or: Joy of Juxtaposition
The City Girl on the Plains: “The City Boy makes a few business trips to Florida every year. On one trip, awhile ago, he planned to meet a friend and former colleague (who had retired there) for golf and dinner. He was at a loss to recall the name of the man’s wife and so contacted a mutual friend in Minnesota, who reminded him that’Karen’ was the name he had tried in vain to remember.
“Since we live well out of the loop for major air transportation, the first leg of his trip would be on a regional puddle-jumper to MSP airport. The lead flight attendant introduced herself over the PA system. Her name was . . . Karen.
“After his stopover at MSP, the City Boy was comfortably ensconced on board when the lead flight attendant on the next leg of of his trip got on the PA and introduced herself as . . . wait for it … Karen.”
Joy of Juxtaposition
The Vision Thing Division
IGHGrampa reports: “The Target circular in today’s ad package had an interesting juxtaposition.
“The first page is a 2/3-sized page. The second page has a buxom young woman wearing a bikini top. Directly under it, on the partial page, is the word ‘stacked’ in large blue letters. That’s what my mind saw at first. It was an ad for home supplies urging us to get ‘stocked.'”
Joy of Juxtaposition
And: Vanity, thy name is . . .
Semi-Legend reports: “Subject: Missing O’s.
“Saw two license plates within moments of each other. Each seemed to me missing an O.
“On Ford Parkway in St. Paul, a black Suburban said ‘LST ONE.’ The last black Suburban in captivity? Maybe the driver lost a passenger, or needs a map.
“A few second later, I parked. In the parking lot, a Saturn with Wisconsin plates: ‘GOSE NST.’ OK: short an O and prob’ly an E.”
Our squirrels, ourselves
From Ted Powell in Saint Small: “Found this little guy running through the yard with his stash of nuts conveniently stored in a plastic jar of Skippy Peanut Butter.”
Would only a _________ notice? (responsorial)
Momkat of Apple Valley: “I watched the same episode of ‘Jeopardy!’ as Peggy T of Osceola, Wisconsin [BB, 1/1/2017]. I nodded off during the final commercial, and when I awoke, the contestants were completely different.
“Thought I’d slept for 24 hours or fallen into some kind of black hole.
The highfalutin diversions
Vapid in Vadnais: “Poet X of PDX has done a wonderful job with the puzzles he has created [BB, 1/1/2017]. ‘Glow Rose’ was completed by me in 6:56. It usually takes me two to three times longer than the fastest time. I’m OK with that. I do jigsaws for the mental exercise. I don’t need the glory.
“The website originates in Sweden and is free. Contributors are located all around the world, many coming from the Balkan states, Netherlands and Asia. If you use the translation feature on your computer, it is possible to have a conversation in any language. As with Bulletin Board, Jigidi has regular contributors.”
Fun facts to know and tell
Figgy Pudding Division
Gma Tom: “While perusing a free sample of a magazine called The Week [Bulletin Board interjects: great magazine; we’ve subscribed for years], I learned more tidbits about our favorite Christmas concoction:
“‘In the 1650s, Oliver Cromwell and the ruling Puritans banned it, along with carol singing and Nativity scenes — arguing that all three too closely resembled the inappropriate decadence associated with the Catholic faith. When the English monarchy returned, it restored figgy pudding, though, and it has been a staunch Christmas tradition ever since.’ Also: ‘Then there’s the classic British tradition of hiding a coin in the figgy pudding, bringing good luck to the diner who finds it.'”
Band Name of the Day: The Shy Bladders — or: Wall of Perfume
Website of the Day: 50 Wonderful Things From 2016