Tim Torkildson writes: “Subject: Me, myself, and I.
“Words that spring to mind when I view my own portrait are: Lumpy . . . Doughy . . . and Creased. Like a badly made pie crust gone stale.
“My watery blue eyes hold no character or charm.
“My nose appears to be added as a vindictive afterthought.
“My lips are colorless and weak.
“My chin(s) display no strength.
“And yet . . . and yet, inside there somewhere is a beautiful remnant, a bit of handsome scree, from days long gone when the world held nothing but laughter and love for me.
“My quest, then, is to rediscover my own beauty before I flow back into the eternal elements.”
Could be verse!
Doggerel from J. Mills of Shoreview: “A Bug’s Life!
“Last night a faint glow showed a P. versicolor,
“The firefly who preys on her own kind much duller.
“She lures them with flashes and feigns honest lover,
“And as they approach her, she keeps undercover,
“Until it’s too late and they sadly discover,
“That cannibalism is sure not above her!
“I really can’t question harsh Nature’s conditions,
“For we have her likes; they are called politicians!”
Now & Then
The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “It’s October, and we are munching on candy corn. We have gone through two bags already. We always buy some candy corn just for us when we stock up on treats for the little goblins who ring our doorbell on Halloween.
“When I was very young, candy corn was a Friday treat. When I was 3 years old, my dad was working out of town, building a school. It was too far away for him to come home every weekend, so my dad would mail us a small square box of candy corn every Friday. It was a tiny box, about 2 inches by 2 inches, but when I looked into that little box each week, I always imagined that it was filled with tiny ice cream cones. (I still think they look like tiny ice cream cones.) Whenever a Friday mail delivery would arrive without that little box, my mother said I would curse the mailman and she would get busy ‘picking up the place,’ knowing that Daddy had arranged a ride home for the weekend.
“When my dad’s senile dementia forced him into a nursing home and he no longer knew who I was, there was one treat that brought him the most pleasure, and that was when I brought him a little box of candy corn on our Friday-night visits. His eyes would light up, and he would smile, and I like to think he remembered. Whether he remembered or not, he seemed to enjoy nibbling on it — a task in itself, since he had long ago pulled out all of his teeth with his pliers; he was terrified of dentists. (Once when his doctor had asked him how he managed to chew with no teeth, he had answered: ‘Hard gums.”)
“Even more than eating it, he liked to dump the candy corn on the table and then grin as he flicked the pieces across the table to my kids. We may have been strangers to him, but candy corn linked us together on Friday nights just as it had long ago, when I was only 3 and lonesome for my Daddy.”
The vision thing (responsorial) (responsorial)
The Daughter of The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “Subject: Bank Tellers and Balloons.
“I was reading Stinky Bananalips’ response today about his [Bulletin Board notes: or, of course, her] first job in high school being a bank teller and always having a supply of dog biscuits and suckers at the drive-up, for the pets and the kids. It brought back a funny memory of my oldest daughter as a toddler:
“She always loved riding along with me to our small-town bank, because, first of all, there were those awesome tubes that sucked the money and deposit slip up and whisked them across and over to the friendly drive-up teller behind the window, and, second, because the magical tube never came back empty when she was in the car; it always had a Dum-Dum sucker (or two) inside.
“The very first time she received a sucker, she thought it was a fun ‘balloon’ that fit perfectly into the hand of her little Winnie-the-Pooh figurine she had along for the oh-so-long, 3-mile car ride to the bank. I, of course, being a young mother happy to preserve her firstborn’s glistening pearly whites (since she had been all gums well past a year old, thus earning her the nickname ‘Gummy Bear’), went along with the illusion and had her thank the bank teller for the nice balloon.
“Months passed, and the adorable pigtailed toddler had collected a whole bunch of balloons in all the colors of the rainbow for dear Pooh to hold in nice big bunch in his hand. She would wave them around and sing the ‘I’m just a little black rain-cloud’ song that Pooh Bear sings in the cartoon as he floats up, up, up to the honey tree. She would smile sweetly at the bank tellers across the way while waiting expectantly in her car seat and then thank them nicely for the balloon that came back in the tube every single time.
“I will never forget her face one fateful day when one of the ‘balloon’ wrappers, after much play time, came loose, exposing the tasty candy underneath. She took a tentative sniff, then a hesitant tiny lick, and just like a soldier snapping to attention, whipped around and looked up at me with a shocked look on her face and lisped: ‘Dis NOT a balloon. Dis is CANDY!’
“Proud to say she is now 23 years old, still has no cavities and I sometimes still call her Gummy Bear.
“Thanks for the memories, BB. I will be smiling the rest of the day, remembering her face that grand day of discovery!”
And: There & Here
The Mambo King: “Subject: Innocents Abroad.
“I just returned from a 10-day trip to Italy (Rome, Florence, and Venice), where I had a truly memorable, but not very pleasant, experience.
‘We had been amply warned about avoiding pickpockets in Rome at tourist hot spots like the Trevi Fountain and especially on the Metro. Nevertheless, on our first day the lovely Ms. Goody One Shoe and I decided to take the subway to the Vatican Museum along with our two daughters, the Ex Ballerina and the Asian Doll.
“We boarded the train, and a second before the doors closed, I saw something flying over my head that landed at the feet of a fellow passenger. I looked as she picked it up and felt slightly nauseated as I realized that it was my wallet, which had been in my left front pants pocket. I hadn’t felt a thing!
“The Asian Doll said she had noticed a young woman throw something through the door opening, but had thought it was a hat or something.
“I retrieved the wallet. Of course, all of the cash (a significant amount!) was gone, but amazingly my credit cards and driver’s license were still there. I suspect that the thief had a little sympathy or maybe just a sense of humor that led her to return part of my property. The credit cards might have been hard to use, because we would have immediately reported the theft. As it was, we closely monitored transactions, and there were apparently no attempts to use the accounts.
“The good citizens of Rome around us in the subway muttered that it was a pity that such things happened and offered their apologies.
“Later, in the museum, I reflected that if this was the worst thing that happened to us on the trip, it really wouldn’t be much at all. And the rest of our trip, except for a booking oversight that got us kicked off the Venice-to-Rome train at Bologna (a story for another time), was truly enjoyable and uneventful.
“Now, back home and catching up on the local news, I’m thinking that all things considered, I would rather have my money stolen by an expert young pickpocket in Rome than be confronted by an armed robber in Minneapolis.”
Our theater of seasons
Mounds View Swede, checking in: “Subject: Early October colors.
“This is the time of year when, while changes seem so rapid, some blossoms hang in there. I like the beauty of the leaves and the blooms than hang in there.
“My one maple tree had some leaves with spots of red on October 5th.
“On October 9th, I found this set of leaves on a neighbor’s tree. I enjoy the bright colors, both red and yellow. But it seems like a red like this is rare.
“At our nearby compost site, the Forget-me-nots were still doing their best, undeterred by the 31-degree temperature they endured.
“And the morning glories had many unopened buds getting ready for the next show.
“I wonder if I would ever tire of the fall colors if they stayed for long periods. They seem more like a visual treat when their stay is so short and we know that bare branches will follow. I am glad we get to have a show before they go: a seasonal finale; the closing number.
“Neighbors a block away had this blooming in their front garden, undeterred by Mr. Jack Frost.
“Such sights are so welcome, as hopeful signs that the season of blooms is not quite done yet.”
Our birds, ourselves
And: Our theater of seasons
Bloomington Bird Lady: “Subject: Just like the Hitchcock movie!
“For the past two weeks, we’ve had so many goldfinches; I stopped counting at perhaps 50 — mostly female. Poor things are not even seeing the decals on our windows and hitting the glass . . . feathers flying! Reminds me of ‘The Birds’ when there’re that many. [Bulletin Board muses: We’re not sure “The Birds” would have quite the same impact if the birds in it were goldfinches!] Where are the males, I wonder? Also, for the fourth consecutive year I have missed seeing the cedar waxwings gobbling down our mountain ash berries.
“My neighbor called with an unusual bird sighting: ‘Have you seen the yellow bird at your feeders?’ No sooner put down the phone, and there it was: a lemon-colored bird, large sparrow size, with only a slightly different coloring on the very end of the tail. I’ve never seen a bird that color — not like a goldfinch at all. Birdman suggests it might be someone’s pet who got away, and both of us saw it the next day, too, eating side-by-side with its distant relatives.
“It’s been an odd summer — kind of like we were waiting for the rain to stop, or some really hot days to come our way, and putting off doing window washing over and over, until the wind might die down. Now the leaves are turning, but again, some are not, and dropping green leaves. Strange times we’re in . . .
Another close encounter of the natural kind, reported by luv.mom: “We were on our front porch chatting with a neighbor when I noticed a robin drinking from our bird bath. I said that we seldom have any birds there, and it was nice to see one enjoying it.
“Suddenly the bird vanished into the adjacent lilac bush, and at the same instant a hawk swooped through the yard, just skimming the bird bath. The hawk took a position in a tree across the street, and the bird stayed hidden in the lilac bush. Neither moved.
“Our neighbor said: ‘Well, maybe that’s why you don’t see many birds at your bird bath.'”
Our neighbors, ourselves
Grandma Nancy writes: “A new family has moved in across the street. So far, they don’t have much to say.”
Oopp’s! Oopp’s! Oopp’s! Oopp’s! Oopp’s! Oopp’s!
The Stitcher of Woodbury: “Subject: Apostrophe Catastrophe.
“My eyes! My eyes!”
BULLETIN BOARD MUSES: Let us not linger on the image of a “sandwiche” (among other food[s]) “going through” the waitstaff!
Everyone’s a copy editor
Editorial Cartoon Division
Here, for the third time in recent weeks, is sharp-eyed editorial-cartoon reader Gregory J. of Dayton’s Bluff: “This is getting ridiculous. Here is yet another misspelling in a syndicated editorial cartoon published in the Pioneer Press. It’s from a different cartoonist this time, but the same Creators News Service — on Friday, October 13.”
Comics Page Corollary
Bicycle Babe of the Midway notes: “The comics pages of the 10/8/2017 St. Paul Pioneer Press contained not one, but two, Comics Page Corollaries.
“First up was ‘Lio’ and ‘Prickly City,’ both with the punch line showing a large lump in the body of a snake, indicating that the snake had eaten its dinner whole.
“Second was ‘Pluggers’ and ‘Dustin,’ both of which had a punch line about the age-related inability to read the screen of a smartphone.
“Was there a comics writers’ convention sometime over the last few weeks, or is this simply a case of great minds thinking alike?”
CAUTION! Words at Play!
Semi-Legend reports: “Subject: Splain as the nose on your face.
“My wife and I went to Rain Taxi’s Twin Cities Book Festival at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, and soon split up.
“I work the perimeter of the Eco Experience building. My wife works the aisles, then hits the used-book section in the southeast corner, where she knows she’ll find me.
“Tonight, she recounted an aisle moment:
“At a table that displayed three short works by Rebecca Solnit, someone asked if they were new. The guy behind the table said: ‘Yes. This is the first one.’ He pointed to “Men Explain Things to Me.” He continued: ‘It has the word that — the word, um . . .’
“’Mansplaining,’ my wife said.
“’That’s right,’ he said.
“My wife said she didn’t think he sold the book.
“Looks like he might have some ’splainin’ to do.”
Then & Now
Al B of Hartland writes: “My watch had stopped working — again.
“It kept poor time anyway. It was never correct.
“The battery had died. Its batteries died with such regularity that my watch had become a receptacle for dead batteries.
“Out of habit, I continued to wear it.
“The watch had the right time twice a day. That was two more times than it did when it was running.
“I’m getting a mechanical pocket watch like I had when I was a pup. No battery needed.”
The simple pleasures
Mary reports: “I think it was in Bulletin Board, many years ago, that I read about ‘riding the gap.’
“I was driving the other night to an appointment on a freeway I seldom need to use —one of the big ones with four (and sometimes more) lanes. I realized there were a bunch of vehicles ahead and behind me, but I was driving in a gap all by myself for quite some distance. Then the same thing happened on my way home! Simple pleasure.
“Thanks for being Bulletin Board, brightening my day every time!”
Band Name of the Day: The Asian Dolls
Law Firm of the Day: Lumpy, Doughy & Creased
Website of the Day: “The Birds,” by Daphne Du Maurier