What do you suppose these ravens were chatting about, out there on the snow?

Our birds, ourselves
Ask Al B Division

Writes Kathy S. of St. Paul: “Question for our Official Ornithologist:

“What are the birds doing in this video?”

BULLETIN BOARD NOTES: Our Official Ornithologist is, as most of you well know, Al B of Hartland. We will await his insights: Are these ravens, in fact, “gossiping”? Oh, and by the way: Not for the first time, or the second, or even the third, we recommend that you sign up to receive, via a morning email, the daily mini-movies from nature365.tv — all assembled from footage shot by Minnesota’s own Jim Brandenburg. It’s one more way to stay sane.

See world
Photography Division

A few weeks ago, we heard from Jim Shumaker of New Richmond, Wisconsin, as follows: “A few trumpeter swans on the St. Croix River. I hope your readers enjoy this beautiful bird! Pick out a few that you would like!”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: After considerable reflection, we managed to choose these “few” of Mr. Shumaker‘s 23 pictures:













The little treasures
And: Ask Bulletin Boarders (Genealogists Division) (responsorial)

Sunday’s Bulletin Board featured a note from RMS of Juliet Avenue: “I recently received this photo from a relative.


“She does not have any information about it, except that Rummenie is a family name. I told her I would try to find some information about it, but have not been successful.

“The family is from Quincy, Illinois, and the name of the photo studio on the back of the picture is Fowler View in Peoria, Illinois. I have tried Googling historical societies in Quincy and Peoria and also did a general Google search for information. No results.

“I know there are BB readers who do family-history work and wondered if anyone can offer suggestions of where else I might look for information. It sure it a neat picture, and I would love to learn more about it.


BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We presently heard from Birdie in St. Joe: “To RMS of Juliet Avenue:

“This is a cool challenge! It would help to know the names of the men pictured, but when these publicity photos were taken, most often each guy stood under his own name on the sign, so the guy on the right is probably your man, and the kid in the doorway could be one of their sons.

“Quincy is in Adams County, and the Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County has a newspaper archive. I’d bet they have some info for RMS, since the business would have advertised, probably using this photo.

“Often, obituaries have pertinent family info. On Find a Grave, there are 30 Rummenies buried in Quincy, but none seem to have an attached obit. There are also 124 Jansens buried in Adams County, all in Quincy. It’s much easier for a family member to sort the graves, starting with given names that are familiar, and possible age ranges of the men pictured: I’d say the man on the left is in his 30s, and guy by the horse in his late 40s, and the photo seems like 1885-1900. It’s summer, because the horse is wearing a fly-chaser, and the address is 1029.

“Can’t wait to hear what RMS finds out!”

This ‘n’ that ‘n’ the other

All from Poet X of PDX: (1) “It was just under a year ago that I did something I’ve never done before: subscribe to a pay network. It is Showtime, which rumors were saying would air the new ‘Twin Peaks.’ I was starting to fear it had collapsed and was about to cancel Showtime (in a year, I’ve watched a few movies but little else) when I checked the internet. ‘Twin Peaks’ won’t be back until mid-May! There go my plans to cancel Showtime.

“That’s even longer away than my upcoming luxury vacation. A year ago, I was not informed of a week vacation, which is going to be given to me now instead. One thing our company is generous with is vacation time. After two years’ service, we get three weeks a year of vacation until we reach 10 years of service. I took two vacation days last December when my sister visited for two weeks. So, between now and the end of April (my anniversary date with the company), I have 13 days of vacation remaining. Add another week from last year, and I have 18 days of vacation.

“I may take the entire month of April as vacation, except the last two working days! Wow.

“Details to come as I make more plans.”

(2) “Internet failure:

“It’s pretty rare anymore to not be able to immediately find something on the internet. The last time, and I forget what I was looking for then, was years ago.

“Who ya gonna call? Bulletin Board!

“I thought of this as I woke up a few days — something I’d completely forgotten about and can barely describe, because I don’t remember all the details:

“It was some kind of game I had as a child in the ’60s. It was a hard but thin board of some kind, about a square foot in size. Around the interior of the board was a path along which wooden tiles with letters on them could be rotated. There were also lanes for depositing the letters and, I presume, words would be spelled. Because there were two sides to the board, one side of the tiles had letters, and the other side had numbers. Some kind of metal fasteners kept the board together, given how, with a complete circle cut into it, the center should fall away.

“I don’t remember how the board or game was played, not a bit, so I presume it was abandoned by age 10, when my first firmer and fuller memories start.

“My brief attempt to find something online got nothing. Anyone?”

(3) “Andrea Bocelli is blind? I just learned that in two seconds on Google. Had I watched rather than listened to a PBS program a month or so ago, I might have already known that.

“I had PBS on the TV behind me as I was doing jigsaw puzzles. Whatever I had been watching (listening to) ended, and I left the next program on … for a while: a performance by Andrea Bocelli, whose name was familiar to me but not much more. I knew he was a singer, especially known for his operatic music — one genre of music I can do without.

This performance had him singing works from the movies. I learned he has a rather pronounced (no pun intended) Italian accent. He was only seconds into ‘Moon River’ when I sensed a huge upcoming train wreck, making me almost dizzy with dread. While he didn’t sing the specific word with a noticeable accent, it was the overall context of an accent that still made it hard to hear ‘huckleberry friend.’ I’m still cringing.

“A few songs later, he pulled out all the stops for a performance of ‘West Side Story”s ‘Maria.’ Again the accent was just too much for me, because I can’t hear the song without hearing its backstory. After that song, the host provided the cloying comment ‘Wasn’t that the best version of “Maria” you’ve ever heard?’ It was a last straw and had me reaching for the remote.

“I was starting to fear I might next hear ‘Thank God I’m a Country Boy’ or ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ done à la Puccini.”

The vision thing

Peggy T of Osceola, Wisconsin: “Great-granddaughter Haddie, age 2, was all excited when she thought she saw her ‘do’ on the dollar bill. For some reason, she thought that the picture of George Washington was a picture of her. Grandpa Dennis said he saw a picture of George Washington that did look like her . . . so maybe she saw something that did look like her.”

Could be verse!

Tim Torkildson: “Subject: Lullaby.

“It’s time to say goodnight, my friends,

“Cuz all good things must have their ends.

“I crawl into my downy bed

“To find a pillow for my head

“And start to dream most instantly

“Of angels watching over me.

“Oh, I may toss and turn a bit

“But soon my brows will be unknit.

“I hope you, too, will find repose

“And not count sheep or all your toes.

“The secret to a good night’s rest

“Is some warm milk that you ingest,

“But if a cow you haven’t got,

“Then read a book with moldy plot,

“And soon your eyes will close so sweet

“That you won’t even need a sheet,

“But fall upon your wooden floor,

“For many hours steeped in snore.”

Band Name of the Day: Dizzy With Dread


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