Where did that mother of yours get her driver’s license? Kmart?

The Permanent Daughter-in-Lawly Record

Bright As Day reports “The Mailbox Incident”: “Meeting my father-in-law for the first time was a humiliating experience.


“My husband and I were too young to drive when we started dating, so that meant involving bicycles and parents in order to see each other.

“One summer night after dropping my then-boyfriend off at his house, there was a thud as my mom and I backed out of his dark driveway. The station wagon we were driving was sporting a burned-out tail light at the time. When I checked to see what we had hit, I was horrified to find my boyfriend’s mailbox uprooted, prone on the grass.

“I told my mom to classify it as a hit-and-run, but she argued that I should go to the door and inform my boyfriend’s father that WE had backed over the mailbox. ‘WE didn’t back over the mailbox! YOU backed over the mailbox!’ I retorted.

“After contemplating running the 1.5-mile distance home to escape humiliation, I slumped down in the front seat as my mother toddled to the front door in her curlers and a striped bathrobe. I watched my (now) father-in-law, in his T-shirt and boxer shorts, accompany my mother to the scene of the accident. Knowing that I couldn’t pretend to not be there, I exited the vehicle and sheepishly introduced myself. He assured us that the problem was easily remedied, but I was certain that my embarrassment would take forever to dissipate.

“Thirty-eight years of wedded bliss later, the joke is still that my mother must have received her driver’s license from Kmart. Love survived!”

Then & Now
Or: The Permanent Family Record

The Gram With a Thousand Rules writes: “Our youngest kids used to decorate our yard with snow sculptures. Thirty-some years ago, our oldest grandson rode about four miles to our house so his dad could show him the dinosaur in our back yard.


“Alas, Gram and Grampa don’t do snow sculptures, so when that same grandson flew over 9,000 miles from Australia, he took his son downtown to see the ice carvings.


“While the ice carvings were very nice (full disclosure here), the purpose of the trip was actually so he could take his dad to the Super Bowl.


“This Aussie boy may have lived in Minnesota for only his first seven years, but he has remained a Vikings fan forever, and he is brainwashing his little boy. Here is the photo his Mum took when the Viking made the playoffs.


“They all stayed at our house. We were the winners this week.”

The highfalutin displeasures

Kathy S. of St. Paul: “On Facebook, I just tried to watch a live video. But it hurt my eyes, because all these emojis kept floating across the screen. It is supposed to be cute, but it hurts my eyes. So I shut down Facebook.

“Technology giveth, and technology taketh away.”


Gee, our old La Salle ran great (responsorial)

LeoJEOSP writes: “A recent ‘Gee, our old La Salle ran great!’ struck a chord with me.

“I, too, had several hundred 45s. I thought my collection was gone forever.

“While helping my nephew clean the garage at my late sister’s home, we were checking another box of treasures when my 45-rpm collection was found. I was excited to find them and immediately rifled through the box. I had not seen these records in over 30 years and did not think I would ever see them again.

“A phonograph was located (no easy task), and all the wonderful scratches and skips played through the speakers.

“Plans were made on how to preserve my long-lost treasures. I purchased a new phonograph which was ideal for me. The record player plugged into my computer, and the USB cable connector made this simple and quick. Software was included with the phonograph and was quite simple to use. The 45-rpm was placed on the turntable, and the only step required of the operator was to click the start box on the screen and click again to stop the recording. The next step was to enter the title and artist into a text box on the computer.

“The operation was completed many hours later.

“You were then presented with software tools enabling you to remove scratches and hiss. The operator’s manual suggested preserving one copy of the disc without removing imperfections and another copy with scratch and hiss reduced.

“The songs are saved on my computer in MP3 format, and this enables burning CDs or DVDs for play on any CD/DVD player.

“A YouTube video suggested taking individual digital pictures of the labels, and this allowed making a screen show of the labels to play on your computer screen while listening to your discs.

“The records took me back to the late 1960s. My 14th birthday was in June of 1969. This was the time when thoughts of girls took on a new meaning. Slow dance songs allowed you to put your arms around girls, and this presented a crisis for me. I touched a girl’s bra strap when dancing, and my Catholic guilt had me wondering if I was guilty of a venial or mortal sin. I mentioned this incident during my next confession. The priest assured me I was not committing a sin by slow dancing with a willing dance partner!”

Or: Our times

IGHGrampa: “Subject: Cheating.

“IGHGramma was playing a card game on her iPad.

“‘I won, but I cheated,’ she told me.

“‘How can you cheat?’ I asked.

“‘I used the next-move option,’ she replied. ‘When it told me what move I could make, I did it. I just kept doing it until I won. That’s cheating.’

“It’s my opinion that you can’t cheat on a computer game. If you try to cheat, the computer won’t let you. Whatever it lets you do is not cheating. The people who write the computer-game programs have to write them so you can do legal moves, but not illegal moves. It’s not possible to cheat on a computer game.

“Isn’t that right?”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We have zero experience with computer games (other than Words With Friends).

It seems to us, though, that if she thinks she’s cheating, she’s probably cheating!

Mixed messages

Donald: “Subject: When 1 + 1 = 1.

“The front page of a 16-page insert from a major retailer (OK, it’s Macy’s) in Thursday’s papers features this:

“(in larger type)


“All well and good. BUT . . . in smaller type at the very top of the page is:

“‘FRI, FEB. 9 & SAT, FEB. 10

“Maybe it works. Math was never my strong suit.”

It just don’t add up!

Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “Subject: Not a numbers man.

“The front page of the Sports section in Wednesday’s STrib carried a story about the Wild’s Tuesday victory over the Blues. Some excerpts:

“‘Only 45 seconds after puck drop, St. Louis scored …’

“‘”‘The only thing I said on the bench was we had 59 minutes and 45 seconds,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “So it was a lot of game left.”‘

“I hate to disagree with someone with Boudreau’s experience, but if I remember correctly, each period in the NHL consists of 20 minutes. Three periods total 60 minutes. Sixty minutes minus 45 seconds leaves 59 minutes and 15 seconds.

“Thirty seconds here. Thirty seconds there. . .”

This ‘n’ that

From Al B of Hartland: “I heard a great horned owl pair hooting. It was a nifty duet.

“He said: ‘I eat skunks.’

“She replied: ‘Me, too.’

“Great horned owls do eat skunks.

“I saw a pileated woodpecker. It was a male. The male has a red forehead and mustache. Those are black on a female.

“I moved through the 13 to 40 inches of hard snow as if I were a snail with rheumatism. I thought of a day years ago when I’d visited an aunt and uncle in Iowa when similar precipitation covered the ground. Their neighbor was feeding the birds with an odd feeder. She’d stuck a plunger handle-first in the snow. I was taken with the ingenuity, but hoped the plunger was a new one.”

Like godfather, like godson?

DebK of Rosemount: “A couple of months ago, Taxman finally acted on his promise to ‘semi-retire.’ The move did not signal any diminished interest in the work, mind you. Taxman loves cranking out IRS schedules as much as he ever did. But as a fellow midway through his 70s, Taxman bent under the pressure of keeping up with the young whippersnappers entering the profession.

“The photo below is of our godson James the Lesser. He is hard at work, using accounting equipment bequeathed to him during the clean-out of Taxman’s Rosemount office.”


Clowning around (responsorial)

Wednesday’s Bulletin Board included a lengthy note from Tim Torkildson, bemoaning the fact that not one of his eight “rotten kids” ever showed the slightest interest in following their father’s “oversized footsteps” into the clowning life.

One excerpt: “Where did I go wrong? I tantalized them with rousing stories of blowdowns and hey rubes and the origin of pink lemonade . . . I regaled them with the fascinating eccentricities of showmen like Irvin Feld and Tarzan Zerbini . . . I described in loving detail the peculiar talents of comic geniuses I had personally worked with, like Otto Griebling, Barry Lubin, and Steve Smith. And I sent them hundreds of postcards while on the road, illustrating fascinating items like the world’s deepest well in Kansas and Nevada’s fabled jackalope. Despite all this, whenever I would coyly ask them what they wanted to be when they grew up, they always answered with something disappointing such as ‘an astronaut’ or ‘a Barbie Doll.’ Rotten kids . . .”

We presently heard from Lucky Buck: “OK, Tim. I will bite. Tell us the origin of pink lemonade.”

Our theater of seasons
Frost Photography Division

Mounds View Swede: “The sun on the storm door February 5 left this nice row of droplets across the window.


“And by the next morning they had turned into these new patterns and designs I hadn’t seen before.




“They reminded me of some leafy green shapes, but not quite like broccoli or cauliflower.



“For the first time in a long time, the cold weather is not a problem for me when each day brings new things to see on my storm door. I never realized frost patterns could be so varied.

“I am also moved by the sparkles of sunny snow. They really catch my eye, but the camera does not seem impressed, and I have not been able to capture anything worth sharing in that vein.

“But the sun does raise my spirits, and the sparkles make me think of them as nature’s Christmas lights.”

Life as we know it
Or: ‘Tisn’t the season anymore!

Ramblin’ Rose: “Subject: Holiday Musings.

“Did you ever notice that it’s a lot more work to take down the Christmas decorations than it is to put them up? Somehow, fitting things back into their boxes and hauling them down to the basement, then vacuuming up the various bits of packing material, ribbon, glitter, and needles from the tree lacks the excitement and anticipation of unpacking and displaying all of these happy items. Go figure.

“After decades of collecting and being gifted with decorations, I’m trying to pare down this collection of shiny baubles. Mementos of travels and sweet items from loved ones are more than I can use or display. I am secretly relieved when something breaks or wears out, as I can then discard it with only minimal guilt. I hope that doesn’t make me a bad person.

“With all of this in my head, why did we buy more items this year? Well, it’s Christmas, and sometimes you are overcome by the cute factor. We couldn’t resist these Swedish Tomte, or Nisse, from a store in Stillwater. Guaranteed to be from Sweden. How could we resist? We have not a drop of known Swedish ancestry, but perhaps we should look harder.


“Once you buy that first new item, the dam has burst and your resistance is nil. There was no hesitation when we saw this little guy; he sends a cheery greeting to all. Technically, he’s a winter, not a Christmas decoration, so my conscience is somewhat relieved of guilt.


“The Christmas wreath on the front door has now been replaced by a red and pink Valentine’s Day heart. Now if I can just resist buying that first new decoration . . .”

Life as we know it
Winter Blues Division

Friendly Bob of Fridley: “Subject: Battling those winter blues.

“I think music is a wonderful medium to help out with this. It’s always been a big part of my life: listening to Mom play the piano, taking accordion lessons at a young age, playing in bands from fourth grade on (and even in the Navy boot camp marching band), and some stints with various polka bands. Have always loved hymns, too, particularly Christmas ones.

“Since becoming disabled over 18 years ago, I have spent a great deal of time producing music on the computer, much of it for online contacts all over the world, and people are very appreciative of it. Has helped me to hang on to what’s left of my sanity. Oh, it’s a lot of fun, too! I even have a website where I post all of the stuff I do in MIDI format (hopefully soon to include MP3 format, as I have moved to a provider that supplies me with lots more space). [Bulletin Board says: If you’d care to tell us the website URL, we’re all ears. Pun intended!]

“I listen to many types of music, depending on my mood. Sometimes I practically invite a deep melancholy with songs that evoke memories of my past life (‘B.D.’ — Before Disability), and that’s OK. More easily done in winter, I think. Other times I look to something more uplifting, like this version of ‘Senbonzakura’ by Lindsey Stirling:

“She’s not the original artist, but a great-nephew led me to this, and I cannot help but be cheered by it. She plays a mean ‘fiddle,’ though some may not care for the driving drum beat. (I would like it better if that were toned down a bit.)

“Another thing I like to beat down the blues is watching the ISS (International Space Station) pass overhead (as I did tonight, February 7). This modern marvel makes me appreciate the terrific things we are capable of, and I find a sense of peace observing it. Times of visibility (sky conditions permitting) can be found at nasa.gov.”

Help wanted
From: Our community of strangers (responsorial) (epilogue)

OTD from NSP: “Thanks for the help in finding a dishcloth drying rack. I got the one from Amazon.

“(I thought I had looked at Amazon, but I have found when doing a search I don’t always enter the correct key words (and, in some cases, seldom to never).

“BBers come to the rescue again.”

Band Name of the Day: The Fabled Jackalopes

Website of the Day, from Double Bogey Mike: 


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