DebK of Rosemount: “In this, the Summer of Too Many Visitors, I have managed to lose track of the deadline for Pulitzer Prize nominations. That’s a real shame, because I have in my possession a real contender for Best Thank-you Note of 2017.
“Carefully set forth in pencil on the lined stationery favored by its 7-year-old author, the letter bears a full-color illustration, which may place it in a category other than the standard thank-you note genre. The Pulitzer people will have to rule on that. But while they deliberate, readers in BB Land need not be deprived of the letter’s merits:
“‘Dear Mrs. K I hope you are felling well. How’s you’er farm? Brneber the time wen we went to chain hain and the tree had water in it and I had a andrela and my anbrela nockt it ON you. Love MF’
“I don’t overstep my bounds, I hope, to point out the economy of language in this letter. The reader will further note that the purpose of the note (to express — at the insistence of the author’s mama — gratitude for 10 bucks tucked into a birthday card) is skillfully subordinated to the vivid recapturing of a moment outside Chen Heng Café on a rainy day, when the author’s fully deployed pink umbrella disturbed the branches of a small boulevard tree, channeling about five gallons of rainwater onto the carefully coiffed head of ‘Mrs. K.'”
Keeping your eyes open
Or: Fellow travelers (responsorial)
Dr. Chrysanthemum: “Mounds View Swede is correct that Minnesota has no native prairie dogs, but we may have some wild or feral prairie dogs.
“Although the black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus), like other prairie dog species, is classified as a non-native species in this state, its natural range is close to our borders. A few have been found here, and others may be lurking in our prairies and grasslands.
“About 12 years ago, a farmer near Mankato poisoned around 20 of them. Allegedly, someone had captured them in the Dakotas and tried, unsuccessfully, to sell them to a pet store. After the pet store refused to buy them, the prospective seller released them in a horse pasture. He probably found out that capturing, transporting, or selling prairie dogs as pets was illegal. (I believe that the ban on prairie dogs was lifted in 2008.) The farmer, of course, did not relish the idea of his horses stepping into prairie dog holes. If he had not killed them, the prairie dogs might have established a reproducing colony, but that is not certain.
“It is possible that others have been found in Minnesota recently. They may have been killed by other farmers without any publicity.
“A solitary prairie dog was captured near Holland, Minnesota, close to the South Dakota border. The DNR thought that it might have strayed across the state line. However, if one did it, others could, too, perhaps including some stealthy enough to go unnoticed for a while.
“And other pets might escape or be released anywhere, anytime, just like the crocodilians that appear occasionally.
“So, be careful if you ride horses through any potential prairie dog habitat.”
Only a ___________ would notice!
Gregory J. of Dayton’s Bluff: “A novelty postcard was being sold at the State Fair this year. It is titled ‘The classic guilty pleasure’ and shows four Pronto Pups/corn dogs in a police lineup. One is plain. One has ketchup on it. The third has mustard. And the fourth has both mustard and ketchup.
“Side note: In my opinion, it is a crime to put ketchup on any type of hot dog. As to the great Pronto Pup/corn dog debate, I vote for the corn dog . . . although the best dog at the State Fair is the original Peters hot dog — with mustard only, of course. But I digress.
“As is usual in a police lineup, there are lines on the wall behind the suspects to indicate their heights. But instead of the heights being labeled as 3’0”, 3’6”, 4’0”, 4’6”, 5’0” and 5’6”, the ones on the postcard are shown as 3’00”, 3’60”, 4’00”, 4’60”, 5’00” and 5’60”. We can forgive the extra zero for the inches in the whole-foot heights, but not when added for the half-feet. For example, does 5’60” mean the corn dog is really 10 feet tall, or is this just another example of the sad state of proofreading in the world today?
“And to get really picky, there aren’t enough inch divisions between each half-foot line —but that might be a case of artistic license rather than another mistake.”
Kathy S. of St. Paul: “Subject: The value of walking sticks.
“Hard as it is for Boomers to admit, some of us have ‘balance’ issues. I figure we should work to improve our balance, and/or use canes, etc. There is a sad story in my family about a woman who refused to use a walker until she started flailing at the grocery store. She damaged and shortened the lives of two sisters because she didn’t want to use help. Now she is the (anonymous) subject of my stories about admitting when you need something.
“After I tripped on uneven sidewalks twice last year, I started using a walking stick. It went to the U.K. with me last year, and went through at least three x-ray machines. But there is a plus side to using it — beyond the way it gets me to the front of some lines: Little kids love my wooden walking stick. We have great discussions of the spots where the maker cut off the branches that were on it, etc. And I love little kids — even when they think I’m incredibly old.
“When life gives you lemons . . .”
Ourselves, our pets
RF Fuddy Duddy: “Subject: Memory? What memory?
“About two months ago, I read that extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) has properties that fight the chemicals that cause dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. One tablespoon per day is the recommended dosage.
“I bought a good-sized bottle of EVOO and put it in the cupboard. I then forgot that I had it for a whole month.
“Now I think my Samoyed, Stormy, needs EVOO, also. If you’ll remember, she’s the dog I taught to play cribbage.
“I built a ramp for her so she could get into the back seat of my car. By the way, she starred in that hit movie ‘White Dogs Can’t Jump.’ Hence, the ramp.
“She used to wait until I opened the back door and put the ramp in. Then, up the ramp she would go. When not in use, I lean the ramp on a large wheelbarrow.
“About 10 days ago, she started climbing the ramp while it was still leaning on the wheelbarrow.”
From “Airborne” John of Battle Creek: “Subject: Subject: Thank you to Martin and Lewis.
“Recalling a mid-1950s film with Martin and Lewis titled ‘Jumping Jacks’: I must have been 8 years old when I saw it. Dean and Jerry went to the Army’s paratrooper ‘jump school.’ When they jumped from a plane (in a studio), Lewis found himself standing on Martin’s inflated canopy. It does happen. Of course they made it OK, but not by the prescribed method. The trooper on top, unless he acts quickly, could lose the air in his canopy. Not a good thing. So when I was in paratrooper ‘jump school’ in July/August of ’67, I paid particular attention to what to do in that event. Sure enough, on one of my jump-school jumps (out of a C-119 flying boxcar), I found myself standing on the top left of another trooper’s canopy. I knew what to do: pull down hard on my left front riser, a move called ‘slip away,’ and I slipped off the pillow of air, not losing the air in my chute. Thanks, Jerry and Dean, for the laughs and the lesson and the inspiration to join the paratroopers of the Army ‘Airborne, all the way.’ Thank Hollywood for making the rarely thought of film. Thank God for getting me through it all and the nearly 49 years since getting out of the Army.”
Vanity, thy name is . . .
Lola: “Spotted on a Mazda on Radio Drive Thursday afternoon: ‘WANTOUT.’ Of what, I wondered.”
BULLETIN BOARD HAS ANOTHER IDEA: Maybe the plate holder is a specialist in tepid recommendations?
What’s in a (pet) name?
Donald: “Subject: A different type of ‘shaggy dog story.’
“I always enjoy reading Jon Tevlin’s column in the paper west of St. Paul. Wednesday’s piece (front page of the MINNESOTA section) was devoted to attorney Ron Meshbesher. The headline, ‘Alzheimer’s cheats us of another great mind,’ summed up the column’s focus. This short paragraph caught my eye: ‘Meshbesher’s shaggy dog, Justice, snoozes on the carpet. Justice, it turns out, is blind. Perfect.’”
Ask Bulletin Board
The Mendota Heights Missus: “Subject: What is this?
“Can anyone identify this little creature?
“Yesterday I looked out the window and saw what I thought was about a dozen monarch butterflies all over my Autumn Joy sedum. Thrilled, I grabbed my camera and ran out to catch a great photo of those little beauties. Huh.
“I’m thinking they’re moths but would love to know the name.”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: You won’t have to wait long!
Our butterflies, ourselves
Or: Asked and answered!
Just coincidentally, Doris G. of Randolph, Minnesota, reports: “Lots of Painted Lady butterflies on the garlic chives.”
The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: Silver lining?
“Tiny motors on Tour de France bicycles, corruption in politics, opioid crisis, fraud, embezzlement and now the Red Sox scandal. Armageddon never looked so good!”
Band Name of the Day: The Painted Ladies
Website of the Day, recommended by Bob Woolley: “The Web Site ‘Centuries of Sound’ is Making a Mixtape for Every Year of Recorded Sound from 1860 to Present”