American Icons (yes, for once, an icon that’s truly iconic) Division
Tim Torkildson writes: “From The New York Times: ‘Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus announced on Saturday night that after 146 years of performances, it was folding its big tent forever.’
“The slapstick troubadours are gone; the cotton candy fades.
“The acrobats and teeter boards are naught but lonely shades.
“The lions and the tigers and the pachyderms retreat.
“The windjammers are silent; no parades go down the street.
“No bleachers now for crowds to sit upon with green delight.
“No more the trapeze artists in their stupefying flight.
“For Ringling Brothers is no more; the big top is deceased.
“And life’s a little flatter sans that fascinating yeast.”
BULLETIN BOARD MUSES: There is no joy in Mudville.
Mighty Ringling’s struck its tent.
Gee, our old La Salle ran great!
Golden Age of Department Stores Division (Dayton’s Subdivision)
The Journalist’s Daughter: “Goodbye, Dayton’s!
“So many memories…
“As a child, there was wandering through Dayton’s basement with my mom, looking at all the bargains, and the 8th floor at Christmas time. I remember going at night to see the Christmas windows all lit up. I remember that one morning my mom read a Dayton’s ad in the paper that they had Swedish crystal candleholders on sale. We got ready to go downtown, we dressed up for the trip then, and hurried off to buy them. Christmas Eve found my Dad and me at Dayton’s buying Chanel No. 5.
“As a college student, I remember buying warm mittens there with Christmas money and walking through the Christmas exhibit.
“When I was a working girl downtown, there was an occasional lunch, appropriate clothes for work to buy, cosmetic counters, and walks through the flower shows.
“I still have a Dayton’s box tucked away with the Christmas decorations.”
What a cool job! (cont.)
Semi-Legend: “The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin, wrote: ‘When we were kids, we all saw certain jobs that we would aspire to when we grew up.
“’Mine was to be the guy who mowed the parks, cemetery and courthouse lawns in Windom, Minnesota. He stood upon a sulky and was towed along by a gang of three self-propelled reel mowers. He gripped the handlebars like the reins of a chariot team….’
“What a great topic for BB!
“I was a hyperactive kid (my father often told me). Perhaps that’s why the first job I ever wanted — age 4 or 5 — was to be a streetcar driver. This was in Montreal, where the guy would stand in the front of the car, looking out the window, and turn two gears. One, which went through the floor, apparently governed the speed; the other, overhead, which went through the roof, apparently attached to the electrical wires overhead.
“A lotta movement, as his two hands moved the gears and his body English kept time. Montreal’s streetcars are long gone, but that’s the sort of streetcar they still have in New Orleans, where the antique electric train cars are over 90 years old.
“One story said: ‘Drivers must use a cord on a pulley to heave up and down a 30-pound rod that attaches the streetcar to a power source, and on some routes must shift gears using metal levers that require hand and arm strength to control.’
“’There are fewer than 100 people in the entire world that can do what I do,’ said Kevin Ricard in an interview last year.
“I’m still envious.”
Our birds, ourselves
Doris G. of Randolph, Minnesota: “The picture of the pileated woodpecker that was sent in by Raindancer of North Oaks reminded me that a pair of pileateds arrived here and stayed about a week. Each day, one or the other would start in hammering on the trunk of an old storm-damaged tree. We never did see the two together.
“We were grateful they preferred a old tree trunk, rather than a healthy tree.”
Our theater of seasons
A haiku from WriteWoman of Shoreview:
“thick, cold snow covers
“bring juncos to my feeders
“dressed for fine dining”
There’s nothin’ like a simile!
The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills reports: “An excerpt from Belinda Luscombe’s profile of Michael Keaton in Time: ‘Showbiz is just one of the many things that interest him. He has a ranch in Montana. He dabbled in rodeos. He has gotten pretty good at fly-fishing. He’s a sports nut. He has hunting dogs and likes guns (and gun control). Keaton says that if he weren’t an actor, he would have been a landscape designer. (He laid out the garden at his California home that abuts the local golf course.) He invests in real estate.
‘“I’m probably, possibly, almost annoyingly or pathologically curious,” he says. “I don’t know any other way. I once tried to just see what it was like to not be a curious person. It’s kind of impossible.” He has so many questions that trying to follow his thoughts is like trying to follow a bag of spilled marbles.’”
The Grand Duchess of Grand Avenue: “Subject: You get the idea!
“Spel-chek doesn’t always work!”
The sign on the road to the cemetery said “Dead End”
Electronic Board of the Church on Lexington in Shoreview Division
Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “Subject: A cure for what ails you.
“The latest message on the electronic board of the church on Lexington in Shoreview:
“‘SEVEN DAYS WITHOUT
“‘PRAYER MAKES ONE WEAK’”
Everyone’s a (TV) critic!
IGHGrampa: “This morning I watched a few minutes of ‘Dr. Who,’ known to others in the drama as ‘The Dooktah.’ The Dooktah and his companions are in a spaceship falling into the sun. They have about 50 minutes to save themselves.
“The people who produce the show operate on the assumption that, to depict high technology, you just need to show a lot of wires and cables hanging from above. Their ‘high-tech’ spaceship is a confusing mass of wires, cables, ropes and all sorts of other junk all around. It’s like that everywhere on the ship. They evenhave heavy chains hanging there just in case they have to hoist the engine out of their car.
“They just go from one dire crisis and from one half-solution to another. Nothing goes right for them. When someone does seem to be getting a handle on how to fix something, The Dooktah starts spouting gobbledygook and throws a monkey wrench into the works. Everyone defers to him because he talks faster than any of them. That’s a characteristic of many British mystery programs and movies. Basil Rathbone in the old Sherlock Holmes movies was a champion fast-talker.
“There are only six or seven people there. They could all get into the tardis and croak (the sound it makes) out of there in a jiffy. But no one ever thinks of that. It’s too easy. Actually, the Tardis doesn’t appear to be that high-tech. It’s reputed to be an ultimate-tech, time-shifting, interstellar vehicle, able to growl and croak across millions of light-years of space in seconds. But it has the same confusing mass of hanging cables, wires and other junk as that other spaceship. The Dooktah understands it all, though. He can fast-talk his way around that stuff like nobody’s business.
“I switched over to the the National Geographic channel and found a great program on hummingbirds. They’re more high-tech than the Dooktah could ever be.”
Matinee Idle (Vol. 1, No. 10) (responsorial)
Pollyanna of Lakeland: “Watching the squirrel with the GoPro is a little like watching ‘The Blair Witch Project’ — a little nauseating if one is prone to motion sickness!”
Muse, amuse (responsorial)
Sunday’s Bulletin Board ended with a note from Kathy S. of St. Paul: “Subject: What I don’t want to win.
“For years, a well-known sweepstakes has advertised that you can win twice. You win; then, after your death, a designated ‘loved one’ wins the money for the rest of her/his life.
“Every time I see it, I want to yell: ‘What are you, nuts?’ It is well known that ‘too much too soon’ can destroy a child, and too much money is at the top of the list of what you shouldn’t hand a young person.
“So every time I see that ad, I visualize a person whom I would name as my heir for this sweepstakes. One possibility? Warren Buffett.”
We presently heard from Dragonslayer of Oakdale: “Looking at the odds of winning that sweepstakes, she has nothing to fear. While I tried counting the zeros in the information that is sent with your invite to enroll, the odds appear to be 10 times greater than the odds against winning the Powerball jackpot. And yet I mail in my form.
“I don’t know what it means, but this time they sent a postage-paid return envelope, and no solicitations to buy inferior products.”
The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: Closer to thee, my Lord.
“Kathy S. fears that the high-life-after-death aspect of the sweepstakes-with-beneficiary would only facilitate fiscal foolishness.
“Putting such a high price on my own head would worry me more.”
Band Name of the Day: Nobody’s Business
Website of the Day: Streetcars in New Orleans