Finally! A Sure Cure for the Winter Blues.

Life as we know it
Winter Blues Division — or: It happens every “spring”!

Ramblin’ Rose: “Subject: A Sure Cure for the Winter Blues.

“Pitchers and catchers report February 13th.


“Go, Twins!”

Life as we know it
Winter Blues Division (responsorial)

Ed of Spring Valley, Wisconsin: “Was reminded of a group that played at the NASCAR awards banquet a couple of years ago by the submission from Friendly Bob of Fridley on February 8th.

“He included a violin solo which I very much enjoyed, and I thought of this group, which consisted of four young women (20 to 30, I guess, although my perspective on age is clouded at this past-age-70 state) who played violin, viola, cello and upright bass that were very modern-looking — like maybe aluminum or some other metal with much open design. Their music was superb, and their theatrics were very enjoyable.

“Maybe some BB’er knows who the group is and where their music might be online, I think Bob would really enjoy it.

[Bulletin Board interjects: Here it is!]

“Hang in there, Bob, and never doubt the joy of music and sitting around listening to it.”

Gee, our old La Salle ran great (responsorial) (responsorial)

Elvis writes: “Elvis is so happy to read that LeoJEOSP digitized his 45s. That’s a precious treasure trove and hopefully will exist for many years. And hopefully there are a few Elvis top-10 hits in the treasure pile!

Elvis still has a bunch of 45s to digitize. Some he purchased, as a young lad, and others just came his way from older neighbors. They really were a perfect pop-song delivery system: good audio quality with high revolutions per minute, and they always introduced the listener to another song by same artist by having a ‘B’ side. So many songs today just exist in a digital stream of isolation: no albums, no artwork or liner notes, no lead tracks, and no ‘B’ sides. And even a mono portable record player could belt out good-sounding music and danceable volumes.

“One tip to LeoJEOSP and anyone doing this is: Try to save your audio files in a lossless format. MP3s are unfortunately compressed to such an extent that you sacrifice a significant amount of that great original fidelity, whether you are ripping a CD or recording an old record. It is sad and puzzling that our last biggest audio innovation was also one that diminished audio quality, rather than improve it. They were designed to save disc space, but that’s no longer an issue at all. Without getting into deep technical talk: Anyone digitizing music must try to find a way to save files in one of several formats that don’t overly compress or alter the digital information the notes and voices are turned into. Or use the highest possible setting for MP3s if you must. Your ears will know the difference.

“Don’t get Elvis started on the awful quality of most ‘streaming’ services. Elvis thinks that young people just don’t know what they are missing by the way most music is consumed nowadays. Walking down a sidewalk listening to a hit song coming out of your iPhone speaker? Elvis has an old AM transistor radio that sounds way better. Plus, what do you do to provide music for a dance party?

Elvis admires Neil Young, who has been anti-MP3 ever since they first came out. He has resisted most attempts to release his songs in this format. Neil has just opened up archives of every song he recorded on a specially developed steaming platform. There is even a cool meter that shows you if your broadband is delivering the highest possible audio quality. Even through the typical crappy computer speakers, you can notice the difference between other streaming services or a downloaded version of a song. Best of all, it is currently absolutely free:

“And one last tip: Even though Elvis prefers Memphis, there is a great site on YouTube called ‘MN 45s’ that features a lot of Minnesota bands and their 45-rpm singles. It’s especially rich on the ’80s. Check it out (but don’t expect great audio quality):”

The Permanent Family Record

DebK of Rosemount: “A fellow’s budget reveals a lot about him.

“Generally speaking, marriage to Taxman has provided me a welcomed degree of insulation from the nuts-and-bolts of household budgeting. Alas, our attendance at a recent event dedicated to raising scholarship funds for a Catholic school we admire has changed all that. Moved by the example of others’ sacrifices — and, it must be yielded, made pliable by the effect of perhaps one too many glasses of complimentary wine — we found ourselves parting ways with quite a lot of cash during the course of the evening.

“Having been thus separated from a substantial portion of our treasure, Taxman and I found it necessary to pore over our household budget in search of potential reductions in expenditures. No spending category was spared. Our clothing budget was eliminated entirely. Bird-seed funding took a heavy hit, necessitating a radical simplification of the cuisine heretofore enjoyed by our feathered friends. Perfectly good public libraries being conveniently located, we are to purchase ‘absolutely no books’ until our fiscal ship is righted. And the adult-beverages budget has been cut to the bone.

“Taxman quite enjoyed wielding his line-item-veto pen until we arrived at the food portion of the budget. After brow-wrinkling consideration of the numbers in this category, a despondent Taxman recommended a single alteration: ‘We’ll have to go back to cheap ice cream.’”

Exactly what they had in mind!

Kathy S. of St. Paul reports: “Subject: Fun in church.

“It is time for the Annual Catholic Appeal, for charities. Our priest announced it after Mass, and he held up a DVD. He said he was supposed to show us the DVD, so he held it up and waved it.

“We all saw the DVD, but none of us had to watch it.


Where we live

Gregory of the North: “Subject: Amazing feet.

“I was a Volunteer Captain on Crew 52, part of the 10,000-strong cadre of volunteers serving folks who were participating in the Bold North celebrations surrounding Super Bowl LII.

“Most of us were ardent Vikings fans. Even after the Eagles deprived us of the opportunity to play in a Super Bowl in our own home stadium, we continued to show and wear the Skol spirit. Here is a picture of one particularly dedicated lady’s feet.


“The shoes are Vikings purple with gold trim around the back of the heel. And they are tennis shoes! Yes, stiletto-heeled tennis shoes! They look painful to this male eye, but they are indeed impressive!”

Our times?

Edgrr’s Mom: “What is wrong with people?

“I have walked my dog (or dogs) around Highland Park for 35 years. I have never seen so many unshoveled or poorly shoveled sidewalks. We have had three periods of melting, and still they do nothing with their sidewalks. I am not a litigious person, but if I fall and break something, I may sue.”

Everyone’s a copy editor

The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills: “Subject: STrib exclusive: Serena has gender issues!

“I can’t believe this didn’t make headlines and light up the Internet, but so far I’ve seen it only in the Minneapolis paper. It appeared on Page C2 of the Sports section in the Saturday edition. I’m amazed that it was such a small item in the ‘BRIEFLY’ section, but here it is in its entirety: ’Tennis: Serena Williams return to competitive tennis will wait one more day. Williams said he won’t play in Saturday’s Fed Cup singles matches against the Netherlands in Asheville, N.C., but will play in Sunday’s doubles. She is making a comeback five months after becoming a mother.’

“I anticipate that more details will be revealed soon.”

Perchance, to dream (responsorial)

Granny of White Bear Lake: “Al B‘s dream of surgery reminded me of my own surgical experience.

“On the day of my first cataract surgery, the young surgeon at Health Partners came to see if I was ready. My reply to him was to inquire if he was married. When he confirmed he was, I then asked if he had had a fight with his wife that morning. When he replied no, I told him I just wanted to be assured he was in a good mood before operating on my eyes. It did lighten the moment, and my surgical result could not be better.”

The vision thing

Mounds View Swede writes: “Some recent frost crystals have reminded me of the ice skaters in the Olympics and their dance moves. In this first photo, the skater on the right has just thrown his partner twirling in the air.


“And this one is doing a leap. Has Jack Frost been watching the Olympics for ideas?


“Not all of them fit this line, but were different from what I have been seeing before.



“The curves on this one were a new sight for me.



“The sun was just starting to hit these, giving them more illumination . . .


” . . . and starting to alter them back into droplets.


“Bye for now.”


Or: Our times (responsorial)

Toothy Grin #6 of Minneapolis: “Subject: Responsorial to IGHGrampa about cheating at cards [BB, 2/8/2018].

“My grandmom, who had been a schoolteacher before she got married, taught me to play solitaire when I was about 7 or 8. it was a variation on or combination of the commonest one, Klondike, and another one I particularly like, Russian Solitaire. That was in the Olden Days, when there were no home computers on which to do anything!

“She admonished me not to cheat; i.e., to change my mind about what I wanted my next move to be after I’d made the move; in other words, reverse my move for another one. I never cheated. Not, that is, until I had a PC and could play cards and other games on it. The computer games of solitaire encourage (in my mind) cheating, as they offer one or more opportunities to ‘back up’ or ‘undo.’ So, I do, with no compunction. I like playing on the computer because I can get more games played in a session than when using ‘hard copy.’ This is my daily veg session.”

The Permanent Grandsonly Record

Wicki-Yah: “Grandson Nolan is 6. He has recently been into ‘projects,’ which often involve copious amounts of glue, markers, scissors, cardboard boxes, toilet-paper rolls, and aluminum foil.

“The other day, he asked his mother if she could accompany him to the garage to get a few things for a new project. With a new baby in the house (the fourth), our daughter is not eager to have a mess to clean up. So she skeptically asked him what kind of a project and if it was complicated and messy.

“He assured her it was not, and then presented her with his list of supplies: red paint, his bike, two kites, a metal bar, wood and a piece of rope.

“And then he added, as she began to look at him bug-eyed: ‘It’s not that hard, really. It’s pretty easy.’

“Sadly, we will never know what the plan was. Mom was having nothing to do with anything that began with red paint, and so it will remain, forever, a secret. Or at least until he is tall enough to retrieve these things himself.”

Our theater of seasons

Al B of Hartland: “A cardinal is the first at the feeder in the morning and the last at the same feeder when the day’s light has grown dim. A cardinal’s low-light vision must be good.

“I watched a male cardinal feeding goldfish in a friend’s pond one summer day. The gaping mouths of the fish triggered the cardinal’s instinct to feed. This urge to fill an open mouth transcended species.

“I heard the double squawk of a rooster pheasant not far from my house. ‘Cow cat,’ it crowed — a sign that daylight is lengthening.

“By the time I’d staggered outside to answer the call of the world, the wind had picked up. It was a lazy wind. It went through me instead of around me.”

A thought for today

Arizona Susan: “My grandson had on a new shirt the other day, and of course I had to snap a picture of him.


“It got me to thinking: Maybe what it says on the shirt is good advice for everyone. If we all smiled more, there’d be less trouble everywhere. Worth a try.”


Band Name of the Day: The Olden Days

Website of the Day: The Negro Motorist Green Book

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