How is life like a tub of popcorn?

Mixed messages

Al B of Hartland: “I heard this conversation — not from actors, but from fellow moviegoers seated in front of me in the movie theater:


“‘This popcorn is terrible. I shouldn’t be surprised. It always is, here.’

“‘Then why did you get the biggest tub of popcorn?’

“‘Because it was the best buy.'”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: You’ve put us in mind of Woody Allen’s screenplay for “Annie Hall”: “There’s an old joke — um . . . two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of ’em says, ‘Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.’ The other one says, ‘Yeah, I know; and such small portions.’ Well, that’s essentially how I feel about life — full of loneliness, and misery, and suffering, and unhappiness, and it’s all over much too quickly.”

Our plants, ourselves
Or: Not exactly what they had in mind (including: Fun facts to know and tell)

Vertically Challenged writes: “We started our garden early!

“Guess they started without us.

“We bought some tomatoes last week, and when I cut one open, the seeds were already starting to sprout. A few days later, we saw what looked like sprouts ready to break through on the rest, so we waited to see. Our daughter, Garden Girl, says this is called ‘viviparity,’ which I had never heard of before.

“This is what we found this morning.”


Everyone’s a copy editor
Or: Only a ___________ would notice!

Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “Subject: A new statistic!

“A recent edition of the STrib contained information on what must be a new way to measure a pitcher’s effectiveness: ‘Kyle Gibson is aiming for his third start of giving up no more than one out. . . .’

“Will it be listed in the box score as OGU (Outs Given Up)?”

Say what? 

The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills: “Subject: That clears that up.

“From one of Kimmel’s recent monologues: ‘Donald Trump has the highest low approval rating of any president ever.’

“The president couldn’t have said it better.”

Older Than Dirt
Plus: It’s a small world, after all

Summit Lady: “In 2005, we moved from Roseville to Pittsburgh. We returned to Minnesota in 2014 and built a house in St. Paul.

“During the years in Pittsburgh, I commuted frequently enough to continue getting my dental care and haircuts in St. Paul. After the first couple years, however, I decided I should have a doctor in Pittsburgh. So there I was — filling out the new-patient form. It asked for the dates of a half-dozen immunizations, including rubella and measles. Immunizations?! I had these diseases as a kid; most of us Baby Boomers did. I was absolutely taken aback: Having the illnesses, rather than getting the vaccinations, clearly separates me from what is now the expected norm. It really was an ‘Older Than Dirt’ moment.

“While I was in Pittsburgh, I recorded some of my family’s small-world experiences. Recently I saw that there is a Small World department in BB. These might be called TNG Division (The Next Generation):

“Social Butterfly, my first-born, was a cross-country skier in high school and chose to attend college in Montreal, Quebec. Desirous of experiencing other cultures and going yet farther away, she divided her junior year between Costa Rica and Geneva, Switzerland. After graduation, she applied for positions at ski resorts in California, Colorado and Vermont. Meanwhile, a fellow student she met in Geneva and his girlfriend were seeking similar employment. All three landed jobs in Vail, and my daughter and the girlfriend got an apartment together. At Thanksgiving, Butterfly met the girlfriend’s mother. Not only had the mom grown up in St. Paul; she attended University High School with my sister!

“Small world #2: We had season tickets to the Twins even while we lived in Pittsburgh. We’d go as often as we could get back and let a ticket broker sell the rest for us. One summer, I was in town alone and wanted to go to the game. The broker, industriously maximizing the revenue, sold our three seats and got me a single from a guy whose wife couldn’t come to the game that day. Great seat behind home plate, and I chatted away with the fellow; we were both lawyers, and he had tried a case years ago in front of my mother, who was a judge. Anyhow, I leave the game and get a phone call from daughter Social Butterfly, who by now is living in Phoenix. Was I at the game sitting in Row 5? she asks. I had been spotted at the game by her half-sister, who called Butterfly and told her she had seen me.

“Our family-favorite small-world story: This happened in December 2004, while we lived in Roseville. My husband, Mr. Frequent Flyer, had gone to New York City on business and had a little time to shop before going to the airport. A business friend suggested the annual Christmas ornament from the Plaza Hotel as a gift after Mr. FF told him that I collected Christmas ornaments on our travels. The hotel was very busy, and he had not been there previously, so he asked for directions to the gift shop from a young security guard.

“After making the purchase, Mr. FF hopped in a cab for the trip to the airport. His cellphone rings, and he answers. It is our daughter, Ms SoCal, who attends school in Los Angeles but had returned to the TC for the holidays after he left on his business trip: ‘Dad, are you in New York? Are you at the Plaza Hotel?’

“‘How do you know that?’ he asked incredulously.

“Ms SoCal had just called her boyfriend, who had flown home to Long Island for the holidays. He was working, the boyfriend said, and he’d call her back, but he wanted to know if her dad was in New York. As in past years, he was picking up a bit of cash by working security. He was at the Plaza Hotel and saw his friend, also on the security detail, talking to Mr. FF.

“My husband said he could never have a clandestine affair: My spies are everywhere.

“And a final small-world tale, which just happened. After moving back to St. Paul, I tried to touch bases with the piano teacher of our daughter, Ms SoCal.   I thought she’d like to know how her student’s career had progressed. It took some effort on the Web to track her down, as she had returned to her native Germany. Meanwhile, the brother of Mr. FF got a job assignment in Europe and elected to have his home base in Munich, Germany. The brother’s wife was lamenting the disruption of her piano lessons, but I had a solution for that! My brother-in-law’s wife is now studying piano in Munich with my daughter’s former teacher.

“Very small world.”

Clowning around (responsorial)

Kathy S. of St. Paul: “Tim Torkildson has probably heard this one, but:

“If you’re ever attacked by a gang of clowns, go for the juggler.”

And from Semi-Legend: “Subject: Good news for Tim Torkildson.


Life as we know it
Pull of a Place Division (responsorial)

In reply to Kathy S. of St. Paul in March 18th’s Bulletin Board, here’s The Rivermouse’s Sister: “Subject: Failure to register births.

“Our mother, Marion Parmenter, was born  in an upstairs bedroom of her family’s Drake, North Dakota, home in June of 1922. Our grandparents never registered her birth. Our mother cited difficulties post-WWI with birth registrations. Many years later, our mother wanted to obtain a passport so that she could travel outside of the U.S.A. with our handsome father. Fortunately for our mother, her only sibling was five years her senior, and her sibling could recount, in front of a notary public, the circumstances of our mother’s birth.

“All was well.”

Immutable Laws of the Universe
Refrigerator Division (responsorial)

The March 20 Bulletin Board included a note from Little Sister: “A refrigerator has the capacity to go dirty and disorganize itself overnight. I am sure of it.

“Cleaning ours has to be one of my most dreaded chores, and it seems that no time at all passes between scrubbings. For one thing, anything that has spilled inside is sure to be sticky and require extra elbow grease. And anything sticky is guaranteed to have found a path into an area that’s impossible to get at, unless you dismantle the whole works. It’s downright puzzling to me that this space can deteriorate so fast, considering there are so few of us in the household. Generally speaking, we are not pigs. However, for some reason, the refrigerator brings out the worst in us.

“I am considering posting a few rules on the refrigerator door:

“1. Just buck up and eat that half-cup of leftover beets. If you put them in here, the container will surely tip over and drip onto everything else.

“2. If you spill something, even a bit, wipe it up. If you don’t, it will solidify into something on par with cement.

“3. Every time you open this door, take inventory. And yes, stoop down and move things around. If you see any food or drink that looks questionable or is out of date, throw it away — immediately. It won’t be any more attractive in a day or two.

“Not that this would do any good, but I can dream, can’t I?”

We presently heard from Bloomington Bird Lady: “You really nailed it this time, Little Sister!  It’s so nice to have a sparkling fridge always, and so hard to accomplish — never lasts.

“Taking the newer refrigerators apart for cleaning is not so bad; it’s getting them back together again exactly right. There are gaskets holding glass shelves, and it seems they always look bad in a hurry and get ‘forgotten’ until next time.  When something spills in upper levels, gravity takes over.

“A few years ago, I had thawed a large turkey in the refrigerator — one of the best methods, if you plan ahead a few days. Older daughter and I were up early getting the beautiful bird ready to stuff and put in the oven for a lovely family holiday meal. There’s always ‘something’ that is bound to happen, so it’s best to get going early.  The ‘something’ had happened the night before and was waiting for us to find it. The bird was indeed thawed, and was not on a tray of any kind! A small hole in the once-solid bird’s shrouding plastic covering . . . yuck! Nothing worse for human consumption than raw, pinkish turkey juice. We all know that; it’s repeated often enough.

“This bacteria-laden stuff had crept down three shelves into the vegetable and fruit bins, under them as well, and was seeping its way into all the gaskets holding the glass — puddling at the very bottom. We systematically took apart the whole fridge, trying to remember how to put it back together again later.

“That appliance has never been that clean since! We were very thorough and washed absolutely everything. Hope I never have to do that again: hot soapy water, changed often, vegetables washed and rewashed, time going by so darn fast, and unsuspecting, hungry people arriving too soon. It was my fault completely: my fridge, my forgetting a tray under the bird!

“Learning experiences keep happening no matter how old you get!”

Band Name of the Day: Turkey Juice

Website of the Day: Viviparity




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