The Manure Spreader of the Century? “Nearly 20,000 sold — not one returned.”

The little treasures
Advertising Division

Writes Sleepless from St. Paul (in Minneapolis): “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.



“This ad appeared in the February 8, 1906 edition of Farm Implement News.”

Our theater of seasons
5/7/5 Division

A haiku for the week, from WriteWoman of Shoreview:

“Oh! quiet gold leaf

“drops beside me teasingly

“to introduce fall.”


Friendly Bob of Fridley reports: “Was shopping at a big-box store on Friday when I heard a woman’s voice loud and clear from the next aisle over (but behind the shelving so I could not see): ‘Are you pooping?’

“I shall assume she was talking to a young child.”

See world

Doris G of Randolph, Minnesota, reports: “The hummingbirds love the honeysuckle flowers on my patio.





“We made a swing that the little hummingbirds like.”


“Fourth of July picture.”


Life as we know it

Kathy S. of St. Paul writes: “Subject: The Power of Friendliness.

“Awhile back, I talked about learning, in a small Wisconsin town, that when I met new folks, I should tell them who I am, where I’m from, and what I’m doing there — which is the opposite of what might be safe to do online, or in some places in big cities. I feel lucky to have lived in both, so I can manage in both places — though I tend to be neighborly and talk to people about inane subjects, even when I’m stuck in line to change my train ticket in Paris because the workers declared a greve (union grievance) and most of the trains aren’t running. . . .

“I just saw a video of an American focus group in which a woman in a small town said that a purchase in a small town takes her 10 minutes because she stops to say Hi to the cashier, etc. In a big city, she would have been in and out. It reminded me of how far a little polite friendliness can go, no matter where you are.

“Last fall I was alone in London, and booked into a questionable place I later described as an OK room in Bangladesh because of the immigrants who lived nearby. I scheduled it online, and the place had no sign outside to indicate what it was. I was tired and scared, though I also had a nice rest on a bench as I walked there from the tube station. On the park bench I met a nice British pharmacist, with whom I discussed Brexit and the bureaucratic maze he was fighting to try to get his fiancée there from the Philippines. Someone in Hungary could fly to England without a visa, but he had to perform all 12 labors of Hercules to get her to London, let alone marry her. I think he was on the fifth task, in which Hercules had to clean the Augean Stables in one night. I always think of the frustrated bridegroom when someone mentions Brexit. I hope things turned out well for him.

“Anyway, there I was with all my luggage, not finding the address. I saw a cluster of little shops nearby, including a post office. There I explained my plight to the nice proprietors, whom I guessed to be from India or thereabouts. They let me call the number for the Internet booking service, etc. It turned out that the place was nearby, and I got the owner to come get me. It was a sort of illegal (I assume) boarding house with en suite bathrooms; I stayed two nights because I had pre-paid.

“Over the next day and a half, I stopped by the post office to say hello and thank them again. The nice folks also advised me about buying an Oyster card for use on the tube system, and I bought a few items to eat from their shop out front. The evening before I left, I said goodbye to the proprietress and summarized my trip to Harrods — plus my conclusions about the lodging, in case she had any more stray lambs turn up looking for it. I kinda wish I had given her my email address; I think we both would have liked to keep in touch.

“This experience could have gone so very badly; I was grateful that I had dealt with a lot of other cultures. My family didn’t hear how badly this all could have gone until I got home. But I sent a worried email the first night to friends, including Alice, one of my sage mentors. She said I would always remember this experience, and she is right.”

Till death us do part

An item in the Permanent Spousal Record maintained by Tia2d: “It started with a bang AND a whimper.

“I went to Seattle to see my sister and her husband. I was meeting up with a friend later and doing Forks, Port Angeles, the Hoh rain forest and Tacoma.

“My husband, Mr. Over-Planner/Worry Wart, got me all set up (five ways to get my boarding pass: two paper, phone, Fire and e-mail) and got me registered for the airport shuttle to the airport. I was told we absolutely needed to leave by 6:45, and I was ready at 6:30, so we headed out the door. As soon as he shut the door, my husband asked: Did I have my keys? I did not, because I didn’t need to take them on vacation. He had changed pants, and so we were locked out and could not go anywhere.

“A year ago, we changed the handle and lock on the door. We have two keys, and I was reminding him for a while that we needed to make copies and hide one, and he did get that done about four weeks ago, but when we went to hide it, we could not find a secret hiding spot — so it was in the house, which was locked.

“Mr. OP/WW sliced open the screen into his room, but he had been responsible and locked that window.

“Then I remembered that he had opened one of the kitchen windows to yell at/reason with the squirrels that are eating the bird food at one of the bird feeders. I had closed it, but not locked it, so he sliced open that screen and the window rose!

“Now picture it (or maybe try not to): a short, heavy, 65-year-old woman with two replaced knees, going head-first into a window, trying not to let the cats out, moaning and whimpering. I made it in with some boosting from Mr. OP/WW, and a bunch of bruising on knees and thighs.

“And so we were on our way, leaving Thorp at exactly 6:45.

“His job while I was gone was to fix the screens and find a place to put the extra key.”

The Permanent Great-Grandfatherly/Great-Grandsonly Record

Streetrodder reports: “I’ve taught my daughter and granddaughter to be ‘car guys’ all their lives.

“Three years ago, my granddaughter had a baby. Levi is showing signs of being a real car guy himself. We went to a car show in Cottage Grove the other day, and he led me around the show for hours.


“He’s my mini ME. I am so proud of the little man.”

Like father, like daughter?

Bloomington Bird Lady writes: “Subject: Playing for Dances in the ’30s.

“Before the Champagne Music of Lawrence Welk, and about the time that people were pulling themselves back up and out of the Great Depression, small- town musicians were finding extra cash by taking ‘gigs’ with their small combos and playing at the dance halls of the various lake resorts in our area of Milaca. Remember: no TV yet; technology was difficult at best, so DJs weren’t around, either. It was actual live music for dancing!

“My dad, who played the sax and could double on piano when needed, was part of one group: Hank’s Playboys. Even the name sounds old-fashioned, doesn’t it? ‘Hank’ was Hank Chmieleski, and the group was not very big. I was very young at the time, but
remember my dad  driving off with ‘the guys,’ their music stands with the logo in front, instruments probably in a small trailer. They did go to the same resorts over and over, so they must have played pretty well.

“Mom never went along, as it was also the era before babysitters were common — and besides, she had to play the organ for church the next day. She was the one who pressed his white pants and hoped he’d have a good evening.

“Maybe someone older than I can remember this era. My dad would have loved the fact that I wrote about his old orchestra days, and surprised that I even remembered. He would have turned 110 this August, and had a lot of jobs to make a go of a difficult time. He’d gone to normal school for his training, and so taught in country schools, teaching all eight grades. Summers meant no salary at all, and so the ‘gigs’ on Saturday nights playing for dances were a big help.

“What happened to the alto sax? Well, Dad really wanted me to play it in band, but it had gotten old, the reeds tasted bad to me, and while playing, I could taste and smell a rather moldy, metallic odor. This was probably a huge disappointment for him. Always good when your kids want to follow in your steps. Sorry, Dad, I just couldn’t do it. ”

The Permanent Mother-in-Lawly Record

The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: Human after all.

“My first mother-in-law always kept an empty tin can by the sink. She used it to taste her younger days on the farm — drinking well water tin-tinted from the dipper.

“I liked her much better after learning that.”

The Permanent Family Record

Donald: “Subject: Severing the family ties.

“From ‘SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE’ in the latest Sports Illustrated: ‘In a trade with the Cubs, Tigers GM Al Avila unloaded catcher Alex Avila, his son.'”

God (and/or the Devil) is in the details
Or: Only a _________ would notice!

OTD from NSP: A previous BB had a subject of mistakes in films.

“One memorable mistake is in ‘Independence Day.’ The scene is Jeff Goldblum arguing with his film wife, Margaret Colin, in front of a fridge. The scene was supposedly the same argument — but the fridge is full at one time, and the next time empty. Someone was not following through on continuity.

“As BB has pointed out numerous times, you are hardly ever the only one. I am a reader (usually several books a week now that I am retired and have the time), and I find mistakes in books, especially series, all the time. The son’s/brother’s/etc. name changes from one book to another. Or timelines do not make sense. The kitchen moves from the front of the house to the back (and they didn’t remodel). Don’t know if this is poor editing or if the publishing houses have cut back and no longer have staff to ensure this doesn’t happen. I have found this with best-selling authors published through the larger houses. Some of the best proofreading and editing seems to be the ones who self-publish (print or e-books). Maybe because they are responsible from beginning to end, they are more careful — or it could be they have the knowledge of what they wrote and catch mistakes before it is released. Auto-correct (which I hate) can always be blamed. I have written some very strange emails/texts and sent them not realizing auto-correct has changed my message. Proofing again before sending is always a good idea, and I should remember to do it more often.”

IGHGrampa: “Is there a statute of limitations on movie goofs? I ask this because I have one from a very old movie, and I think I submitted this a number of years ago. It’s in a Jimmy Cagney gangster movie from the ’30s. It’s at the end of the movie, in Jimmy’s big death scene. Jimmy gets shot and staggers out of a house into the street. It’s raining heavily, with big drops of water. The raindrops are falling in neat rows.

“In fairness, I guess we could excuse it as a characteristic of the moviemaking art of the time. The scene was filmed in a studio. Water is being run out of pipes overhead. How many movie makers would expect someone to notice regimented rain?

“As an addendum on this: Shooting deaths in the old movies were really pretty clean — no blood or wounds shown. They didn’t even show holes in people’s clothing. Compare this with the bloody realism in today’s movies.”

Band Name of the Day: Reasoning With Squirrels

Website of the Day: Winners of the 2017 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest


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