Only a _____________ would notice
Or: Not exactly what (if anything) they had in mind
Twitty of Como writes: “There’s a commercial for Dodge Ram currently airing on TV that stirs my angst. I think it’s the intention of the commercial’s writers to emphasize the truck’s strength and power — which it has, I don’t doubt. But to me, they miss the mark.
“The commercial shows several quick shots of a faceless, plaid-shirted someone (because we always wear plaid shirts when working in the woods, right?) firing up a chain saw; sawing on a tree; chaining the downed log to a Ram truck; and snaking the log away through the snow with the Ram.
“I worked in the woods from the age of 12. The family vehicle — the only vehicle — was a 1950 four-door Chrysler sedan with a straight-six engine and a fluid-drive three-speed transmission, which simply meant you could shift it like a manual transmission or simply leave it in third gear and drive it like a fully automatic. That was the vehicle we drove on a daily basis — and also used to snake logs out of the woods.
“The father figure would chain up the rear tires and plow a trail down the two-track path that led into the woods — sans plow. The huge front bumper satisfied that requirement. Turning it around, we’d hitch a logging chain around four to six logs. Our standard cut length was 8 feet; sometimes more. He’d hook his 1/2-inch steel cable to the logging chain on one end and hook the other cable end to the rear frame of the car. Off down the two-track he’d go, logs snaking along behind.
“He said one time that the old Chrysler probably weighed 4,000 pounds. He figured it was near-unstoppable. One time he hooked up more logs than he could break loose and the tires started to spin, chains and all. But he didn’t unhook. He opened the cavernous trunk, and we loaded shorter logs inside until it was full. The extra weight was all he needed; that old car pulled everything right up to the house!
“One log snaked out by a Ram? I think they’re underselling it.”
Life as we know it
Mom in Boyland: “Back-to-school time has always given me a bit of a thrill, with the smell and feel of new pencils, erasers, notebooks and the promise of a changing season.
“Our experience this year was unique. Our kids are a mix of students in college, high school, middle school and preschool. That meant having multiple lists and searching for everything from dorm crates and fancy calculators to glitter and googly eyes. I spent an entire afternoon at the store. One employee jokingly mentioned they had a cot in back if I wanted to take a break. I took a moment to regroup from a futon display, instead.
“Here’s our youngest child on the first day of preschool.
“We sent our third child, our first boy, to college this year. He’s our Free Spirit and proved to be an entirely different sendoff. Our older ones had carefully prepared long lists of dorm supplies and had stacked boxes neatly by the door weeks before their moves. Free Spirit had no intention of even going shopping. When I finally dragged him out, we wandered the aisles as he repeated ‘No’ to my suggestions for essentials. Tissues? Cleaning supplies? Umbrella? Scissors? Not necessary. When he started packing, a day or two before the move, I discovered his version of necessities: portable speaker and phone charger, Ethernet computer cord, surge protector — each of which he had carefully researched. His wealthier roommate provided the TV and video-game system.
“We know Free Spirit will do fine in college, especially since he doesn’t sweat the small stuff, but we wondered when he’d call to ask us to drop off some of the things he missed. His request? His basketball. What are they doing in college, again?”
Dolly Dimples: “Subject: Charitable foibles.
“Could Bulletin Board give me a little time and space to vent my frustration?
“This past week, I received a sturdy package in the mail. Upon opening it, I found a small calculator (about the size of my palm; it actually works), a note pad, a Post-It pad, and a pen.
“What frustrates me is that all these items come from a charity that I have contributed to twice in the past year, and they are soliciting another contribution.
“This kind of thing goes on all year by different charities. I am contacted by organizations I have never heard of or contributed to. In July, I received my first 2019 calendar. I now have five. Other items I have received in the past year are a small flashlight (it works), two plastic-covered tote bags, pens, address stickers, greeting stickers, note pads (I save them and put them in my kids’ Christmas stockings), and multiple sets of greeting cards. Now Christmas cards have started to arrive. (I soon may have enough to cover my Christmas list, except many are not the kind I send.) The thing that really blows my mind is the money I get: every amount from pennies to a 50-cent piece. I’m told either to keep the coin and send a check, or return the coin with a check. What is wrong with this picture?
“What bothers me is that these charities spend money shipping all this stuff to a contributor, or non-contributor, who may or may not ever use the items. When I contribute to a charity, I don’t expect a gift in return. I want them to use my gift for the purpose of their existence.
“Am I just making a mountain out of a molehill, or are other BBers irritated by this practice?”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We can assure you that many other BBers are irritated by this practice.
You should see what we just got from Boys Town (one small contribution, many years ago). Here’s their “incentive” to contribute again, via the 2018 Christmas Appeal:
— Two ballpoint pens.
— Six Christmas cards, each in its own plastic sleeve.
— A 2019 Monthly Planner, with illustrations of birds and flowers.
— The “Peaceful Solitude” 2019 calendar, each month with landscape art from Wild Wings Licensing.
— The “Simpler Times” 2019 calendar, “Featuring the nostalgic paintings of Terry Redlin.”
— Twelve “To: / From:” gift stickers, most with Christmas imagery.
— Thirty-six return-address stickers, all filled out with our name and address.
— A sheet of 18 Christmas-themed stickers.
We’re most emphatically with Dolly Dimples. Spend the money on the Boys, Boys Town, and not seeking more money! We are much, much, much less likely to make a second donation to any organization that spends our first one seeking more.
Pollyanna of Lakeland: “Subject: Those bowls.
“I am at the antique mall in Harmony, Minnesota. So far, I have seen three sets of these bowls. Prices are $49.99, $79.95 and $99.00, in case anyone is still looking for them!”
Or: CAUTION! Words at Play!
The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: Low-hanging fruit.
“The latest cartoon in my head features a drawing of Adam and Eve sitting in a couples-counseling office. Adam explains to the therapist: ‘Our relationship is suffering from reptile dysfunction.'”
The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin, again: “Subject: Senior sins of omission.
“This is a very helpful diagram, but they left off the most important route illustration: circling continuously until you remember where you are going.”
San Fran Tech Bro: “Subject: Big bus discount.
“Starting Thursday, September 27th, I get a big break on bus fare: 1.25 instead of $2.50 per trip — half off . . . and I am half off already. Free? This all because I turn 65, as cruel siblings have reminded me. Somehow the other Muni bus passengers sense that I am an elder; even young women offer me their seat. Perhaps it is the twinkle of wisdom in my eyes. Perhaps also it pays to be at the front section of the bus, where regular privileged white males and the elderly are supposed to ride. In Iowa, sitting at the back of the bus got me in trouble and I ended up having to sit up front. Now I just do, and I take every seat kindly offered.
“My strategy for a long life involves not peaking too early. Hold off on that midlife crisis as long as possible, because you get double that barring something unforeseen. I can’t say that I have had an adequate midlife crisis just yet, though you may find a few who beg to differ. According to my math, I’ve got a good shot at 130. Just think of all the life-extending breakthroughs coming around. One problem, however, is how to afford the ones I’d need to reach 130. They are certain to be pricey, and I do not have that kind of dough.
“To fund this vital endeavor, I need a Go Fund Me page with an emphasis on myself and I. Perhaps I will call it the Double Duane project, or Duane 2.0. Donations accepted in Bitcoin, organs, limbs, dollars, binding IOUs, and filthy lucre.”
Keeping your eyes open
Hindsight: “Subject: The biggest bumblebee.
“Bonnie Blodgett — in her weekly garden column [in the St. Paul Pioneer Press] on September 23, speaking about her fall flowers — said: ‘Yesterday, the heliotropes hosted the biggest bumblebee I’ve ever seen. It was almost as big as the hummingbirds.’
“What might she have seen? Perhaps it wasn’t a bumblebee; maybe it was a moth!
“Minnesota has roughly 2,500 moth species. Most moths are night fliers, so we don’t even realize they are around. She might have seen a sphinx moth, with a 3-inch wingspan. It is a day-flying, nectar-drinking moth with the ability to move rapidly from side to side while hovering.
“Monday, the next day after Bonnie’s column, a beautiful flower-feeding White-lined Sphinx showed up on our deck. Grumpus took a photo.
“There are 15 sphinx moths in our area, according to my moth book. They resemble bumblebees perhaps to protect themselves against feeding birds. Their ability to move rapidly from side to side may be another way to protect them from predators.
“Most adult sphinx moths have completed their life cycle by late September, so this is why we vote for the White-lined Sphinx moth as Bonnie’s bumblebee. If the moth is in a closed-wing position, she would have seen the bee-like stripes but not the pink of the hindwing.
“Nature is fascinating. Keep your eyes open; the next bumblebee you see might be a moth.”
The verbing of America
The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills: “A reporter covering the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings made this comment regarding other news stories: ‘They’ve been back-burnered for the time being.'”
Everyone’s a copy editor!
Donald: “Subject: How many teams will show up?
“The Tuesday editions of the Twin Cities dailies left me befuddled with their conflicting reports (in one case in the same publication) on an upcoming event(s?):
“Page 1B of the Pioneer Press: ‘Target Center lands 2022 NCAA women’s basketball Final Four.’
“Page C1 of the Minneapolis paper: ‘Target Center nets Women’s Final Four in 2022.’
“All well and good, but the front page of the same edition of the Minneapolis paper had this: ‘MPLS. NETS (they do like that word) 2022 WNBA FINAL FOUR.’
“I didn’t know the WNBA had a Final Four.
“I hope they get things straightened out in the next four years.”
Keeping your eyes open
Leading to: Ask Bulletin Board
Wayne Nelson of Forest Lake writes: “On Sunday, September 9th, my wife and I took a motorcycle ride down to Wabasha on the Wisconsin side, and we came back on the Minnesota side of the river. What a beautiful day for a ride! We spotted this very large paddlewheel boat that was heading south, down the river. It had its smokestacks lying down flat on top (maybe to clear some bridges?) and the name of ‘AMERICA’ on it. I didn’t see what may have looked like many passengers out and about;maybe only a few workers scattered about?
“Maybe some of the BB readers might reply if they know more about this boat and where it may have been going? We very quickly talked to a lady at a pull-over overlook site who said that the boat was supposed to have come down the river on Saturday, but we didn’t have time to get any more info from her; we had to jump back on the bike and quickly head back down the river to head it off to another overlook area just to get this picture of it.”
Then & Now (I)
Bloomington Bird Lady: “Subject: What once was fashionable.
“Do you ever see cigarette packages in movies anymore? There was money to be made years ago by the tobacco industry having the actors casually lighting up, leaving their cigarette boxes as part of the scenery, etc. I can remember Lucy and Desi even mentioning the brand name. We took it in stride, as just part of our culture, that smoking was fashionable — and around the same time, cigarettes were given to our guys in the service, starting so many on a lifelong addiction.
“My dad smoked, and left the half-empty package to tempt me as a teenager to try ‘just one.’ I’m glad he never found out that I had snitched one. I tried smoking again in college. There we were, on our own, and everyone else had taken up the habit just because ‘they could.’ I spent a nauseated evening, after trying to fit in with the others, lying in bed trying not to be sick. Alas, one of my kids now smokes — and cannot stop, it seems.
“My dear friend, now in her 90s, had a flash of inspiration when her kids were growing up. One day she had them all sit around the table, and formally passed out one cigarette to each. She went around, lighting each one’s cigarettes, and thus began a lesson in ‘What Not to Do in Life.’ They literally felt sick, turned green — and after struggling to smoke and look ‘with it,’ they gave up! Not one smokes now! I wish I had thought of this method; it actually worked!
“One of the daughters also saw to it that her father, hopelessly addicted to smoking, finally was able to quit. How did she do that? He asked her what she wanted for her 10th birthday present, and she answered: ‘I want you to stop smoking!’ He was so moved that a child would ask him this that he quit ‘cold turkey’ and never smoked again. Bless her heart; her dad had heart trouble and probably added a few years on to his life with his little girl’s 10th-birthday gift.
“I asked my friend how she came up with this idea. ‘Just popped into my head one day,’ she said. Wow!”
Then & Now (II)
The Astronomer of Nininger: “You may find it hard to believe, but the details of this story are 100 percent true, as I recall them.
“It took place some years ago, when times were different.
“It was a warm June in southern Europe, and for a group of young men visiting these countries for the first time, we did not know what to expect. In addition to the atmosphere unmatched anywhere else, Naples was an unparalleled experience. Margherita pizza along the beach accompanied by real Chianti was only the beginning.
“Back then, global commerce was different, and frequently you really could purchase items for far less overseas than we might find them locally. Today we have eBay and Amazon, with cutthroat competition, driving prices downward. The dollar was strong, and I had the opportunity, there in Naples, to purchase a Beretta double-barreled shotgun that my father and I could only dream of. The price was right, and I was able to afford it, even with my skimpy salary, so I was bold and bought it.
“I lugged the shotgun with me for the rest of the trip, and when it came time to return to the United States, we departed out of Paris. I went to check the shotgun, in its case, with the baggage agent. She told me: ‘Oh, no. It could get damaged. Why don’t you carry it on
board?’ So I carried the shotgun with me. I recall that the airliner was a Boeing 707. As I went down the aisle to my seat, the stewardess asked me what I had in the odd shaped suitcase. I told her, and she begged to see it. So, believe it or not, I assembled the double-barreled shotgun right there in the aisle of the airplane. She suggested I keep it (in its
case) by my feet, so it would not inadvertently fall down and get damaged.
“I still have that shotgun today, and it is one of my favorites. This happened in the sultry
summer of 1962. The airline was TWA. Times have changed. TWA is no longer around, and I certainly would have restrictions on traveling with that shotgun.”
Then & Now (responsorial)
Coach K of Spooner, Wisconsin: “Examining the lead story in the 9/16 edition of the Sunday Bulletin Board, about Viking tickets in 1963, I found it interesting that there was no Ticket Agency listed for Duluth. There was one on the Iron Range, in Virginia, as well as two in Wisconsin, one in North Dakota, and one in South Dakota, but none in Duluth. Can anyone explain?”
Vertically Challenged: “I just thought this was a cool pic of our Mandevilla vine.
‘With its vines in the air, it has reached the end of its trellis about 10 feet up and is still looking for more trellis to climb.”
And now a series of reports from Mounds View Swede:
(1) “I have made it a habit to always have my camera with me when I take my food scraps to the nearby Ramsey County compost site, so I can capture how the flowers are dong that the site manager has planted.
“I am enjoying the morning glory blossoms now that the plant is going strong.
“And I was impressed with the variety of colors that the balsam blossoms provide.
“And after seeing the many bees enjoying the sedum, I have decided I needed to add that plant to next year’s garden at my house.
“I stopped in today at the compost site to drop off food scraps again and to check if any flowers were harmed by last night’s frost. A few of the morning glory leaves were touched and turning black, but this blossom still looked superb.
“My wife informed me of some good nearby maple trees to take a look at, so when the sun comes out again, I may drive over to see if I can capture the beauty that comes with the change each fall.”
(2) “While attending the state Special Olympics baseball tournament at Woodbury Community Center, I found some other things to take photos of there.
“Whenever I see a bald eagle flying overhead, I think of it as a blessing in a Native American sense.
“The passing flock of geese helps me realize fall is upon us.
“I was pleased to see that there were gardens for science projects near the building and fenced in. My school didn’t have anything like this when I was there in the late ’50s. It makes me want to go back now and learn more.
“Of the garden flowers, I thought this was the most striking. I have no idea what plant this is.
“And just to see these blooming helps me pretend that summer isn’t over yet.”
(3) “Between the ball fields and the highway at Woodbury Community Center was a patch of prairie. I saw the remnants of milkweed for the monarch butterflies, but also a variety of other blossoms pollinators might enjoy.
“This first photo seems to be some sort of Aster.
“And this looks like a black-eyed Susan, though I think of it as a brown-eyed Susan.
“I think this is goldenrod. I have not seen it before, but heard about its being an allergen-producing plant. No one there seemed to be suffering, though, and I know some have allergies.
“And I think this is some sort of thistle.
“And this may be a thistle at a different stage of development.
“I had to stop the wildflower photos and get busy with the baseball games at this point. I liked that a patch of ‘weeds’ was part of the Community Center environment, so wild nature could be close and recognized as still important.”
The sign on the road to the cemetery said “Dead End”
Or: The lowest common consumer
Dennis from Eagan reports: “I went to the Bloomington McDonald’s on Nicollet Avenue and American Boulevard recently for lunch. I love the ‘Not An Exit’ sign on the broom closet’s door next to the restrooms.
“You gotta believe that someone tried to leave the restaurant once using that door. Now, we just need to make it ADA-compliant!”
The lowest common consumer
The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin, on a roll today: “Subject: Could not pass this up!
“DOT exhibits their grasp of the obvious.
“I actually turned around and drove back to take this photo.”
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: ‘Hey . . . wait for me!’
“The most recent message on the electronic board of the church on Lexington in Shoreview reads:
“‘YOU GOT THIS! Even the
“‘snail reached the Ark!'”
BULLETIN BOARD WONDERS: Was there a distance race on Lexington in Shoreview lately?
Not exactly what they had in mind
Or: Joy of Juxtaposition
From Cheesehead By Proxy, “back in Northern Minnesota”: “Subject: Hmmmm.
“Spotted in the drugstore today.
“This might be as opposed to year-round incontinence.”
This ‘n’ that
Snackmeisterin of Altoona, Wisconsin: “I got a kick out of the juxtaposition of these signs at the mall entrance to our local Sears store. The ‘NOW HIRING’ sign expounds on the golden opportunities awaiting anyone who wants to pursue a long and successful career with Sears. Or perhaps with the liquidation company that will soon be coming in to get rid of the rest of their merchandise.
“On another note: I also recall seeing the ‘Keep Minnesota passive aggressive’ T-shirt at the State Fair. I recall there was some additional verbiage, something to the effect of ‘or not . . . Really, it’s up to you.'”
‘Tisn’t the season, yet . . . but it is fast approaching!
The Bulletin Board of September 23rd included this note fromThe Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: Tissues ready? Begin.
“Hallmark Channel is Going to Debut 34 New Christmas Movies This Year. (34!!!)
Groan. See what not buying $6 greeting cards has resulted in? Roughly 68 hours of tear-jerking programming heading your way on Santa’s sleigh.
“Would anyone be interested in writing a Hellmark Christmas movie together? One best sentence every Sunday adding to the script? It might be fun. I’ll start.
“Scene 1: A lovely young widowed mother of a darling 6-year-old son gets an urgent phone call from her hometown three weeks before Christmas . . . .”
Norton’s mom of Eau Claire, Wisconsin: “I love the idea of contributing to a Hellmark Christmas movie, and I must confess to watching one or two . . . OK, maybe 20 of them.
“My contribution: Her sister, who is married to a wonderfully understanding, wholesome, gainfully employed, nice-looking man, needs to make 1,000 rosettes dusted with powdered sugar to decorate the town Christmas tree and has broken her wrist and cannot work the rosette iron and incidentally is being cared for by the handsome, young, single, and slightly engaged new doctor in town named Jeff.
“I need to thank The Doryman of Prescott for presenting the challenge. I’m happy to be sending something to BBonward again. It’s been awhile.”
Hugo Woman: “Scene 2. The distraught voice at the end of the line she recognizes as her mother’s: ‘Dear, you and little Johnny are needed immediately at home, and I can’t tell you over the phone, it’s just too unnerving; you must be here, in person . . . .’
“How’s that? I think we could keep this going for a long, long time!”
WARNING! Rimshot Directly Ahead!
Al B of Hartland reports: “I walked past the Wrigley Building in Chicago recently, but I was unable to do it while chewing gum at the same time.”
Live and . . . don’t learn!
John in Highland: “I recently came across my coffee ‘travel mug’ from the 1980s. It shows much wear, from the missing handle to many nicks and cracks. I was to blame for its rugged condition, as I often set it on the car roof while I buckled the kids into car seats or seat belts. Then I would drive off, hear a bump on the roof and see the mug in my rear-view mirror, bouncing down the street behind us. One of the kids would invariably pipe up with ‘Dad, you did it again!’
“I don’t do it quite so often these days, but last week as I pulled out of a parking spot, a passerby pointed at me and yelled: ‘You have a coffee mug on your roof!’
“Some people never learn!”
Band Name of the Day: Fully Automatic
Website of the Day: When Infants in Incubators Were a Sideshow Attraction