Everyone’s a copy editor!
PH of Maplewood: “Subject: Editor Desperately Needed.
“Who in the heck is editing the front page of the Minneapolis Star [Tribune] these days? Second major mistake in the last week to 10 days:
“Daylight Saving Time is beginning, not ending!”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Well, thank goodness. We were afraid we’d been in a coma and missed the whole golf season!
Not exactly what they had in mind
The Doctors’ Mom in Mendota Heights: “A report on MPR said that Governor Dayton’s pathological tests came back normal.”
Clowning Around Division
Tim Torkildson writes: “When Steve Smith and I teamed up to do the advance clowning for the Ringling Blue Unit in 1974, we made a pact: Smith would drive our motorhome, and I would do all the cooking. We also agreed that when it came to sharing with the media personal information about our private lives, Smith would remain an enigma; he disliked talking about himself. I, on the other hand, would be wide open with everything about my background, from my ancestor Ole Stuhlsted from Trondheim, Norway, who immigrated to America to buy a farm in South Dakota, to my newly found LDS faith. I was full of myself, and glad to talk about it to anyone at any time.
“The result was a very peaceful relationship between the two of us. It also resulted in some unique newspaper articles, such as the one pictured below. It’s from The Arizona Daily Star of June 29th, 1974. Their religion editor (yes, all newspapers had religion editors back then) interviewed me about my religious beliefs, and Smith obligingly came along for the photo op, although he refused to say one word about his own religious beliefs.
“For the sake of posterity (and to prove that sainthood had not made me immune to peddling that good old circus blarney), I hereby transcribe the entire article verbatim for your delectation:
“‘A young man from Minnesota who — almost literally — ran away from home to join the circus, not only found a life as a clown but also discovered the Mormon religion while a part of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
“‘Tim Torkildson, a 20-year-old clown with the show that is now appearing in Tucson, was introduced to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by a fellow clown, now ringmaster with the Blue company — the show that was in Tucson last year.
“‘Torkildson said that he had never heard of the Mormon church until he left home for the circus. He was converted and now has his membership in Minneapolis.
“‘”Part of my mission is to entertain,” he explained in discussing the relation of his religion to his work. “So many people think of religion in terms of ‘don’ts.’ I think of the positive aspects.
“'”Clowning is a gift. As I give of myself, I take falls and get pies in the face. It’s not very often that I have a somber face.”
“‘Torkildson’s contract with the show allows him to have Sundays off. Sundays when the show isn’t traveling, he attends services at a Mormon church wherever he is. Often he has a chance to speak to youth groups. “It is depressing to see how many people think of religion as repressive,” he said.
“‘He estimates that two thirds of the circus company takes an active part in some religious activity. “It’s like a miniature city,” he said, “[w]ith the same sort of variety of personalities that you would expect in any city.”
“‘A large number of the clowns that he works with are Baptist, Torkildson said. “I am respected for my beliefs and I respect theirs. We live so close together that there is no room for intolerance.”
“‘Although he didn’t exactly run away to join the circus in the traditional storybook manner, Torkildson did run into a little bit of pressure from his family. He grew up in a family of circus fans. While he was in high school, he secretly applied to the Ringling clown school in Florida.
“'”When I was accepted, I asked my parents if I could go and they said no,” he said. “So I told them I was going anyway, and I did!”‘”
See world (Out of This World Photography Division) (responsorial)
And: The vision thing (Vive La Difference Division)
Saturday email from Dave “The Tape Guy” of Shoreview: “The entry today with the photos of the lunar surface and its craters reminded me of a gift I received as a youth. It was a relief globe of the moon showing the landing sites of all the Apollo lunar missions. It sat on a circular base, so you could pick it up to examine all of its surface. Key ranges, craters, and plains were named.
“I wish I still had that globe, and I have no idea what happened to it. I have tried to look for something similar at the Science Museum store, but without success. It was a product of its times.”
And from Grandma Jody: “Did any of you other women out there see a mammogram instead of the moon when looking at the beautiful picture captured by Wayne Nelson of Forest Lake? As Bulletin Board so often reminds us: I can’t be the only one!”
Lucky Buck reports: “I am told this is a tulip tree (related to the magnolia), Savannah, Georgia.”
One for the books
Leading to: Know thyself!
The Old Hand of Oakdale: “Back in the day when Cretin High School was its complete name, and its only students were teenage boys, and the great majority of its teachers were Christian Brothers, the school had a program to help steer the students toward a good vocation in later life. This program was the bailiwick of a kindly, soft-spoken, elderly Brother we fondly referred to as Brother Aptitude.
“During your first three years of schooling, Brother Aptitude would periodically pop into your home room and give aptitude tests. During your last year, he would have three private sessions with you in which he would explain the results of the aptitude tests and, combined with your academic achievements, would try to steer you toward a good vocation in life that would also interest you.
“I never got past the first few minutes of the first session with Brother Aptitude.
“I often thought that if I had completed the program, I wouldn’t have wandered from job to job until I finally found a well-paying one I was suited for and interested me — like the one that I worked at for 45 enjoyable years, some of them past the time I could have retired.
“And why didn’t I complete this important program? Because I was a smart-aleck who spoke before I thought!
“For three years, I had looked forward to my enlightening sessions with Brother Aptitude. I liked him and his tests. I liked his smile when we passed in the hall. I admired the old man. And finally when the day of the first private session came, I was so excited.
“Brother Aptitude’s ‘office’ was in a far corner of the principal’s outer office. Like all the desks of the Christian Brothers, his sat on an 8-inch riser with the front of the desk about six inches from the front of the platform. The building’s wall was his back wall. His one side wall was the wall of the main office, with enough space between it and the platform to allow for entrance and exit. The front and fourth side were just bamboo screens. It wasn’t much of an office, but it did provide a small measure of privacy from the work that went on in the rest of the main office.
“At the first of my sessions, Brother Aptitude met me at the outer office door and escorted me to his private domain. I sat in a chair on the floor in front of the platform and his desk, which was piled high with stacks of aptitude tests. He began by telling me what the tests showed I was most interested in.
“I placed highest in ‘literary appreciation,’ which was no surprise. I always like to read books and write stories. Next, he pointed out that I also placed high in ‘music appreciation,’ which was also no surprise to me. It was the ’50s, the beginning of Rock & Roll. Not only did we teenagers have our very own music, there were actually radio stations dedicated to play it. Elvis was King, and the Top 40 our playlist.
“Brother Aptitude made note of the fact that, even though I liked music, I was not in the school band. I said that I was into sports. Plus, I had never learned to play a musical instrument.
“He argued and told me that I shouldn’t be modest about not playing an instrument just because I might not play one as well as I would like. And he asked again: What instrument did I play? This time he was much more forceful.
“‘Well, Brother,’ I answered, with a smart-aleck quip, ‘I do fool around with the phonograph.’
“‘There now,’ he said, looking down at his notes on me, ‘I knew you played an instrument. Now if you are going to get anything out of…’ Suddenly it dawned on him what I had actually said.
“‘A phonograph!’ he shouted. For such a soft-spoken old man, he sure could yell when he wanted to. ‘A phonograph!’ he shouted again.
“He leapt to his feet and slammed his hands on the desk, trying to push his chair back at the same time. The slap was more of a push, and the front legs of the desk fell off the platform, which caused the stacks of papers to spill all over the floor, which caused more yelling from Brother Aptitude, which caused me to stand and jump backwards, which caused the screen behind me to fall over, which caused the side screen to follow suit, which caused the principal’s secretary typing away behind the big office counter to scream and jump up, which caused the principal to rush out of his office and stand there, hands on hips, staring at the mess.
“Poor old Brother Aptitude. His face was beet-red. He wasn’t screaming anymore, but he was stammering trying to explain his anger. The secretary brought him a glass of water, which caused him to cough and choke and spill on his robe as he tried to get it down.
“I just stood there shivering, afraid that my action might trigger a heart attack or a nervous breakdown in the old man. I glanced sideways at the principal, waiting for whatever he had in store for me. Corporal punishment and/or tons of homework were a way of life in the school. Finally, the principal spoke in a calm, low voice. He told me I had better go back to my home room. Then he took Brother Aptitude’s arm and led him slowly into the principal’s office.
“Needless to say, my first session to help me find my vocation had ended. And needless to say, the other two sessions never happened. And needless to say, it took me years to find a vocation I was suited for. Three years of taking aptitude tests right down the drain. I never did receive any type of school punishment for my actions, except whenever I happened to meet Brother Aptitude in the hall, he looked the other way. That hurt. I really liked the kindly old man, and I never even got a chance to apologize to him.
“It wasn’t the first time — nor the last, I must admit — that my smart-aleck tongue got me in trouble. I guess sometimes you live, and you still never learn.”
Band Name of the Day: The Brothers Aptitude
Website of the Day: Why a German Lab Is Growing Tomatoes in Urine