Don’t tease your wife about her verse. She might get the last laugh . . . or worse!


The great comebacks

Sally, the cleaning lady of Shoreview: “The sister of Sally, the cleaning lady of Shoreview was teased by her husband about the poetry she wrote, so she dedicated her next one to him”:

“Ode to a Turkey


“As anyone worldly and scholarly knows,

“An ode is an art form quite separate from prose.

“Its purpose: expounding a feeling or notion

“Of the poet’s, expressing her current emotion.

“An ode is just one form of poetry, though,

“And others are not so directed, you know.

“For poetry needn’t have purpose and reason —

“It can simply be written, in any old season,

“To satisfy somebody’s whim to make rhyme

“And still have the meter be somewhat in time.”

The sign on the road to the cemetery said “Dead End”
Electronic Board of the Church on Lexington in Shoreview Division

Our Official Electronic Board of the Church on Lexington in Shoreview Monitor — Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul — reports: “Subject: Better than SPF of any strength.

“The latest message on the electronic board of the church on Lexington in Shoreview:



Great minds . . .
Late Night Talk Show Division

Our Official Late Night Talk Show Monitor — The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills — reports: “Subject: Starting the week with a 3peat.

“In their Monday monologues, a trio of late-night hosts had similar comments regarding the meeting between President Trump and President Putin. In chronological order:

“10:00 p.m. (CDT). Trevor Noah: ‘When they set up this meeting last month, no one knew what it was meant to be about … maybe it was just going to be Trump going in to see Putin for his annual performance review.’

“10:35 p.m. (CDT). Jimmy Fallon: ‘The big story is that today President Trump met with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Finland. Trump was pretty nervous. Which makes sense, because most people are nervous when meeting their boss.’

“11:35 p.m. (CDT). Seth Meyers: ‘President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had a one-on-one meeting today that lasted over two hours. Ugh, poor Trump!. That is a long time to hang out with your boss.'”

Now & Then
Or: Not exactly what she had in mind! (responsorial)

Birdwatcher in La Crescent: “I am just now getting around to the July 4 Bulletin Board; I know I am behind. [Bulletin Board says: It’s summertime . . . and the getting behind is easy!]

“Reading The Gram With a Thousand Rules brought to mind my first experience, years ago, with a compact disc. Some friends of ours had gone to the Twin Cities to see Mannheim Steamroller in concert, and they brought back a compact disc of their music, for us. I had not heard of compact discs, so I thought it was a DVD and put it into the DVD player, and it was nothing but a bunch of lines dancing all over the TV screen. We thought that they had been taken and had bought a bogus CD, so I threw it away, never mentioning it to our friends.

“It wasn’t too long after that when one of our kids (you know how they know more than adults when it comes to new gadgets), upon hearing about what I thought was a DVD,  informed us that it probably was CD — to be played in a CD player, not a DVD player.
The reason I thought it was a DVD was because a neighbor had a beautiful DVD of ‘Mannheim Steamroller Christmas,’ and I had assumed that this gift was the same.

“I now know the difference.”

BULLETIN BOARD OBSERVES: Odd that someone would discover the CD after the DVD, when CDs had been around for more than a decade before the DVD appeared. But odd things happen every day, don’t they!

It takes all kinds
Leading to: Hmmmmmmmm

Auction Girl writes: “Auction Girl is used to seeing weird things over the course of a day. You just never know what will darken your door next. Thought I’d seen it all by now. (They all say that.) People seem to buy and sell everything, especially if it is posted online and shipping is reasonable.

“Over the course of several years, there have been the hoarders, the collectors, the pickers and a great many garage-sale finds. Then there’s the local history: bits and pieces of old demolished places with attached brass plaques showing an image of the old structure and its dates of existence and the name of the town where it stood. We get a lot from old schools demolished in the 1980s.

“Sometimes they’ll cart in a chandelier or part of a tile wall from behind the fountain or even an entire band organ in several crates full of whistles, drums and other effects. There was even a vintage MG last licensed in 1974 that set off a panic to find its old tabs. Auction Girl found them in a pile of vintage Chinese postage stamps for a different event! Leave no Dumpster un-dived.

“Anyhow, we got a ‘Child of Prague’ in the other day. With 50-odd handmade outfits.

“However does one even begin such a task? Having worked for an art appraiser a bit, Auction Girl knows just when you need to call in a big-shot like Sotheby’s, for help defining an object and its value. So, this time, I just called up the convent where it was supposed to have come from. They have one there (possibly a replacement?) — and when they are new, these are quite expensive.

“At this point, I’d read up on the little guy and various traditions. Not being a Catholic, I wasn’t in the loop. As a rule, religious statues tend to be either spooky or just plain creepy. This 3-foot baby in a gold crown is no exception, there. I’d swear his little glass eyes follow you around the office, waiting for his chance to make a break for the door and go hide out with the neighboring farmer’s bathtub Madonna, garden St. Francis & birdie, and a few cement critters.

“Auction Girl left a few notes for the manager, who put the Child up on an auction for the online masses…. OK, very bad pun. He’s now (thankfully) in her office, and not in my direct view anymore.

“So who collects these things, and what do they do with them?”


Snatchuralism (responsorial)

The July 4 Bulletin Board included a note from Friendly Bob of Fridley: “I made my annual trek to Snelling Avenue in Roseville to watch the vintage cars go by as they went to the ‘Back to the Fifties’ show at the State Fairgrounds.

“It has become something of a tradition for me to stop by a coffee shop on that route to buy my favorite $7 cup-o-joe (Campfire Mocha with dark chocolate). While one of the workers was taking my order, one of her cohorts rushed past as if to retrieve something, and it sounded to me like she announced: ‘I’m out of butt powder.’

“Hard for me to believe that those words were actually spoken, unless I am not privy to some coffee-shop lingo.”

We presently heard from Snackmeisterin of Altoona, Wisconsin: “I’m behind on reading my BBs, so maybe someone’s mentioned this already — but was the pun intended by Friendly Bob of Fridley when he said he thought he’d heard someone say ‘I’m out of butt powder’ but wasn’t sure because he’s not ‘privy’ to their lingo?”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Our guess is yes . . . but only Friendly Bob and his hairdresser know for sure.

Keeping your ears open

A report from Sunday’s Twins game, courtesy of Little League Coach: “I’m at the Twins-Rays game with The Divine Mum of Crocus Hill.

“The Rays have often used relief pitchers to start games this season. Today’s right-handed ‘starter,’ Ryne Stanek, was pulled after only two innings, despite allowing only one run on two hits.

“In comes a 6-2, 165-pound side-arm lefty specialist named Hoby Milner. He walks the No. 9 hitter, then strikes out lefties Joe Mauer and Eddie Rosario. Then he comes out of the game.

“During those three at-bats, though, we realized we were sitting directly behind Mr. Milner’s fiancée, and The Divine Mum (of course) struck up a conversation.

“Turns out the Phillies traded the guy to the Rays yesterday. His fiancée was aware that the Rays might use him early, and had just sat down when the third inning started. Milner had just got off the plane in Minneapolis at 11 a.m. today and had to scramble to get a uniform to fit him and new cleats to replace the red ones he had in Philly.”

This ‘n’ that ‘n’ the other

All from The Gram With a Thousand Rules: (1) “My love affair with maps began early in life. During World War II, my mother mounted a large world map on our dining-room wall above our 6-foot-wide buffet. I don’t know where she got it, but it was as wide as the buffet. The radio and the newspapers kept us informed on the progress of the war, but that giant map helped a kid like me understand where the battles were being fought.

“When my brother, three brothers-in-law, cousins and many friends went off to war, Mother found a way to keep track of each fellow’s location. She printed each serviceman’s name at the top of a little flag, color-coded it to designate his branch of the service, attached it to a stick pin, and placed it on the map wherever he was stationed.

“My brother Johnny had five sisters, but he made up for his lack of a brother with a swarm of buddies. Sometimes I felt as though I had a dozen brothers, and my mom wrote to all of them with regularity. They all wrote back to her and let her know each time they were moved to a different base, so she could keep her map up to date.

“The most memorable part of that wall map for me was when Johnny’s friends came to see us when they were home on furlough before shipping overseas. The first thing every single one of them did is walk in the house, smile at us and, without a word, walk directly to the map and, with a flourish, place his marker right smack dab in the middle of Bloomington. Only then would he turn with arms open wide to give each of us a hug —  starting with our mom.”

(2) “They’re back after a three-year hiatus!


“Last year a hailstorm wiped out my Star Gazer Lilies just as the buds were ready to open. The year before that, a deer roamed through our garden and snacked on the ready-to-open buds, and the year before that, the blankety-blank bunnies ate them up as soon as they poked their heads out of the ground.

“This year, I knew I could do nothing about a badly timed hailstorm, but I tried the old trick for making a meal unappetizing to deer and bunnies. I saved the clippings when I gave my husband a haircut and spread them judiciously around the plants. Did that do it? I don’t know, but I am enjoying their beauty while they last.”

(3) “I was amused by DebK’s saga about her black rooster siring all those chicks, but her final punch line really made me laugh out loud.

“You named him Blackie — huh, DebK? Clever name.

“I do love her stories.”

Our pets, ourselves
And: What’s in a name?

Here, once again, is DebK (“the Lustrous”) of Rosemount: “Taxman and I have too many puppies. We adopted only one — a ‘border collie mix’ who’s been given the name ‘Hamish,’ which has proven devilishly difficult for Taxman to get his tongue ‘round. But for recent needling by (ahem) illustrious members of the BB community, I’d have called the new pooch ‘James’ (or perhaps ‘Winston’), in keeping with our practice of naming companion animals and livestock after humans we admire or choosing names based on prominent physical characteristics, such as blackness or stripedness or fluffiness. I’ve been chastened, however, and did what I could to come up with a doggy name that would please the masses. See where that got us!

“But back to the matter at hand: all these dogs.

“Hamish took up residence here at the farm on Saturday. Apart from Taxman’s inability to get his name right — and a great many pee-pee accidents — the adjustment period was going pretty well until the other puppies showed up, requiring our little Hamish to fiercely defend his new home against interlopers who clearly have designs on his kibble and on Taxman’s (Clinton-era, German-made leather) sandal. One of the intruders lurks behind the glass oven door. A second is holed up behind the glass fireplace. And just now a third has turned up in the glass-fronted display cabinet in my study.”

Our pets, ourselves

Arizona Susan: “I have spent the past week at my son and daughter-in-law’s home while they were in Colorado for a wedding. I was dog-sitting at their house for their dog, Polly.

“Now, they have warned me about Polly: that she’s a very well-behaved dog, except when there’s food around. So I was always very careful when I was preparing things in the kitchen. But I let my guard down for five seconds one night, and I learned a very difficult lesson.

“I was sitting at the dining-room table, enjoying a lovely salad that I had picked up at one of my favorite restaurants. It had all my favorite things on it: fresh lettuce, fresh turkey breast, dried cranberries, shredded cheese, sunflower seeds, and a wonderful poppy-seed dressing! As I was eating, my phone rang and it was maybe two feet away on the center island in the kitchen, so I got up from my chair at the table and just turned over toward the counter to pick up my phone . . . and when I turned back, the dog was eating my salad! Needless to say, the dog got scolded.

“As I was clearing away the remainder of the salad and throwing it in the garbage, I glanced over at her. This is what she was doing.


“I had to take a picture because I call it ‘the look of shame.’ She just looks like ‘Oh my goodness, what have I done?’ I had to go over and pet her and make friends with her again. But I did kind of go to bed hungry that night!”

Our theater of seasons
Floral Division

(1) Mounds View Swede: “As I go through the pictures of my neighbor’s lilies, I see that sometimes the main difference is whether the petals have ruffled edges or not. Some of the colors are very similar from blossom to blossom.


“This one and the next one are very close in appearance. The first one’s ruffled edges are more extreme and the colors a touch stronger



“These all have ‘throat’ colors that vary in their shades of red.


“I found this last one more calming to look at.”


(2) Mounds View Swede: “Here are three more lily photos from my visit with my neighbor. I am only choosing the ones I thought were most interesting.


“This blossom really stood out with its color combinations.



“Since the neighbor is near the Ramsey County compost site, I stopped there next to check on the wildflowers and caught three more poppy blossoms.




“I have never tried growing these myself, but am thinking maybe I should include some.”

(3) Mounds View Swede: “This is the weekend for some lily association garden shows. I didn’t go to any of those, but paid another visit to a neighbor’s garden to see some more of the lilies there.

“I don’t know the name of this one, but it really caught my eye with its white and red petals and large stamen.


“This one is called ‘Remembering Joan.’


“And this one is called ‘Grammar School Bully.’ It would be interesting to find out the story behind such names.


“I think this one is called ‘Chanted.’ Perhaps ‘Enchanted’ was already taken. I certainly was taken and enchanted by its beauty.


“I thought this one, with its narrower and longer petals, was rather flamboyant. I couldn’t see its name, but that is what I would call it.”


(4) Mounds View Swede: “The Swede’s front-yard flowers are doing OK,, but I am impatient for more. Perhaps next year. I have a few lilies, too.



“Along with a couple of smaller blossomed plants to try this year. I thought their forming a circle with their blossoms was a nice touch.


“A slight purple tinge to this cluster.


“I was happy to see this evening’s sun back-lighting this seed dahlia blossom.


“I’ll take a look in the back yard soon. I’ve been busy with the Japanese beetles and picking raspberries there. I have noticed there are a lot fewer bees this year, and someone said this spring was very hard on the bees. I need to ask the neighbor who raises bees if she knows anything about that.”

Our theater of seasons (etc.)

Cat’s Mom of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin: “Greetings. I have been absent from writing for a long while. Been busy taking care of my ailing husband, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s last year. But there is good news as well: Our son and his girlfriend are making us grandparents! Expected arrival is the end of the month. And I have been enjoying all the flowers photos, so I will send some of my garden.”




Life as we know it
And: The Permanent Maternal Record

Al B of Hartland: “I try to maintain an attitude of gratitude. My mother said that I could never thank anyone too much. It becomes a habit. As I left a hotel in Ames, Iowa, I thanked the room.”

The great comebacks
Or: Dumb Patient Jokes?

The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: Asked and answered.

“One of the ways I deal with unpleasantness in my life is to find the humor in it.

“Recently I needed a painful screening procedure that I have endured many times over the years. I prepared a joke for the doctor that I thought would relieve my tension. When the torture was about to begin, I would ask the doctor if he had ever had this sampling done to him. I had him either way. If he answers no, I would say: ‘Well, if you ever do, can I perform it?’ If he answers yes, I would say: ‘Well, can I do your next one?’

“The moment came, and I baited the clever trap. Being the quick-witted good egg he is, when asked the leading question, his block-to-win reply was instant: ‘OH NO, I’d never let anyone do this to me!'”

‘Tis the season . . . already?

IGHGrampa reports: “Subject: Mall walking .

“July 10, 2018:

“Today I came upon a Christmas store. They had shelves and shelves of ornaments — free-standing shelves and wall shelves. I went all around, trying to be sure I didn’t miss anything. I love all that. Christmas is my favorite time of the year. Winter is not, but I love Christmas with all the trappings.

“While I was meandering around, I found some little bird ornaments. They can’t be just birds sitting on a branch. I want birds with wings extended as in flight — fanciful, imaginary birds preferred. The birds I found looked like slightly larger-than-life hummingbirds. I had to get one.

“I asked the clerk when they opened. July 1st, she answered. Was that rushing the season? Not for me.

“For the Toddler Tuesday event, they had some people in costumes. They weren’t cheap costumes, but the heavily padded, full-looking get-ups. I think they were based on some children’s TV show. My lord, I thought, the people in them must be hot, hot, hot. I could picture the sweat rolling off them inside. That’s real dedication.”

His world (and welcome to it!)
Or: Clowning around

Tim Torkildson writes: “I got my first crock pot when Steve Smith and I were teamed as the Advance Clowns for the Ringling Blue Unit back in 1974. We drove a motor home supplied by the show — a decrepit affair that required Smith to frequently crawl underneath the chassis to hot-wire the ignition to get us rolling. He did the driving, and I did the cooking. That first slow cooker came with a book of recipes, which I followed religiously each day before we left for our funny business. Smith hated onions. He told me to never put onions in my stews, soups, roasts, or ragouts. I promised him I would refrain. When his back was turned, I rapidly chopped up an onion and tossed it in, followed by a goodly helping of garlic. He never caught on — or if he did, he decided that in the interests of teamwork, he would let it slide. Most of the time he liked to lie back on his bed in the back of the motor home, eating Oreos and drinking Coke. He had absolutely no palate — having grown up in a home where potato-chip casserole was served every other day.


“Me and Smith: Dusty & TJ.

“We broke up the team of Dusty & TJ in 1975, because I wanted to serve an LDS mission in Thailand. I gave the crock pot away, and never used one again until ages later, after my divorce, when I went to work for radio station KICD in Spencer, Iowa. I got up at 4 a.m. to gather news nuggets for the 6 a.m. broadcast, and found it handy to have a slow cooker preparing my lunch so I didn’t have to go out for a hasty sandwich while putting together the afternoon crop reports and 4-H bulletins. The break room became redolent with chili verde, stewed pork medallions, and cock-a-leekie soup. Staff members wistfully said to me, as we passed in the hall: ‘Sure smells good in the break room, Tim — any chance of some leftovers?’

“That was all the encouragement I needed. I traded in my 4-quart model for a 10-quart beauty at Menards and never looked back.

“I blossomed as a cuisinier improvisateur (improvising chef). Were beets on sale at the Hy-Vee? Then it was time for an earthy borscht! Chicken breasts at 49 cents a pound? Brunswick stew, coming right up! My chili verde — using fresh tomatillos, mind you, not the canned stuff — became legendary on the FM side of the station, when the afternoon DJ indulged with gusto but no restraint, and had to explain the thunderous background noises during his live commercials for Warner Funeral Homes to his baffled listeners as a semi-trailer truck accident on the nearby highway.

“I specialized in tinfoil fish dinners, each fillet delicately seasoned with bouquet garni and a thin slice of lemon. But I overreached myself with a flagrant concoction of sauerkraut and kielbasa. ‘What the hell is that smell?’ the station manager demanded of me, as the tumid fumes wafted through the building. When I sheepishly explained it was just a little behandelm for the staff, he henceforth forbade me the use of the break room for my culinary debauches. I was reduced to eating Walmart sardines (99 cents a tin) with Triscuits and cottage cheese on most days when the news tips piled up on my desk and demanded immediate editing and/or clarification. The rest of the staff went back to their Subway sandwiches without a soupcon of complaint; they knew which side their bread was buttered on, and it wasn’t my side by a country mile.

“The years skipped merrily along, gifting me with sturdy bags under my eyes, a thriving waistline, and a paucity of employment (my last job, at age 60, lasted three months before I was fired for writing a blog explaining homophones — which the boss thought meant I was advocating the LGBT agenda). So I finally decided to take early Social Security and apply for subsidized Senior Citizen Housing. Which I now have. I live in an apartment building with 350 other old geezers, and all they ever talk about in the lobby is either their latest colonoscopy or why their grandkids couldn’t get into BYU.

“Sundays are especially dreadful, as they gather in the lobby like starlings in a cornfield — waiting for the abbreviated LDS Sacrament Meeting to begin.

“A year ago, I was contemplating slicing my wrists as a viable alternative to enduring any more banal banter, when it struck me that what these poor old souls needed to get them out of their rut was a zippy brunch. And who better to serve it up than yours truly?

“So once again I got me the biggest crock pot I could find and began offering goulash and vichyssoise one hour prior to Sacrament Meeting, right in the lobby. Free to all. First come, first served.

“Today, being Sunday, I whipped up a mess of sweet-and-sour Hawaiian Spam chunks over pasta shells. With pickled green beans on the side. It went over like gangbusters. And the conversation was as spicy as the red pepper flakes I generously add to every dish.

“A retired couple from Zimbabwe, who were prosperous farmers when the country was known as Rhodesia, got into a furious argument with a retired Marine captain who said Trump was a moron because of the way he treated the immigrant question. An elderly widow gave a vivid and surprisingly lascivious recap of a recent movie about Chappaquiddick and Ted Kennedy. And I managed to get off a zinger or two when the talk turned to how rotten our kids are and I said: ‘My mother loved children — she would have given anything if I had been one.’

“(Well, actually Groucho Marx said that — but these old fogies can’t tell Groucho from a hole in the ground.)

“All in all, it was a splendid convocation of verbal sparring; several ladies decided to become lifelong enemies, and things got so boisterous that I overheard a 90-year-old man mutter to himself: ‘I’ll never be able to take a nap after this.’ We all went into Sacrament Meeting in the Community Room full of pep and vinegar. Now that’s the way old folks should be:rip-snortin’ and ready for a rumble! Next Sunday, I think I’ll try stuffed ghost peppers . . . .”

The Permanent Sonly Record

The Divine Mum of Crocus Hill: “Our youngest made his first trip to Widjiwagan last week. A friend asked about his trip and sent me a transcript of their conversation:

“‘So, Fred . . . I hear that you were at Widji.’

“‘Yes! I just got back.’

“‘How was it? On a scale of one to 10 — one being lousy, 10 being fabulous — what would you give it?”




“’Eight except for the mosquitos.’”

Out of the mouths of babes

Doris Day: “Cousin Roe is at the cottage with friends and files this report:
Six year old Jalyn is served whole milk with her lunch. She only gets skim at home. She looks up after a big drink and said ‘This milk is delicious. Is it homemade?'”

Band Name of the Day: The Cement Critters

Website of the Day, from The Monkey Lover’s Wife of Northfield: “Sorry I’ve been AWOL — still reading, just busy with life! I’ll try to send more soon.

“Saw this, and hadn’t heard of this website before:

Happy July!”



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