Life (and death) as we know it
Or: Not exactly what he had in mind — leading to: What is right with people?
Rusty of St. Paul reports: “It was a long week of life (my brother NOT needing heart surgery after being told he NEEDED heart surgery) and death (our friend calling for emotional hugs, as her cousin had died suddenly) and all in between (moving elders to assisted living; taking an elder to a doctor appointment, as he is recently not capable of going alone; watching the stock market wither our retirement funds; listening to a friend’s ‘Woe is me’ after his wife left him — because he is too ‘Woe is me’).
“This Friday night, I was late cooking dinner. Life got in the way. Just as we sat down, the doorbell rang. I hate the doorbell! It likely was the just-out-of-college kid with the clipboard, saving the world from warming, or from mining pollution, or from hunger; or it could be the youth man collecting money for his sham sports team; or maybe it was the we-notice-you-need-new-windows salesman. My wife said it could just as easily be a neighbor collecting snowplow money for the alley. Or we left the garage door open again.
“Uggggh! I just wanted to eat. Even if it was stir-fry — my second-least-favorite dish in our rotation.
“I answered the door.
“There was a group of five people, dressed in dark clothing, headlamps lit; capes on the women; I think a gent wearing a top hat, with full beard and round spectacles. They had sheet music in their hands, and as I answered the door, they were singing! Christmas carols! Something about ‘Up on the rooftop, click, click, click, down through the chimney with good Saint Nick.’ I told them that our Saint Nick (our son Nick) was due from the East for the holidays this coming Tuesday.
“Were they an apparition? I asked: ‘Whom do you represent?’
“Their cryptic answer? ‘We are friends of St. Paul.’
“My eyes got misty, and I tapped my heart and thanked them. Then they were off to the next house with ‘We WISH you a Merry Christmas, we WISH you a Merry Christmas, we WISH you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!’
“The stir-fry was now lukewarm, but it was the best stir-fry I have ever eaten.
“Thank you, St. Paul friends!”
‘Tis the season!
And: Out of the mouths of babes
Two stories from The Gram With a Thousand Rules: (1) “Remember the bargain room on the top floor of the Montgomery Ward’s store on University Avenue? That was the place to go for after-Christmas bargains . . . or for the gift you couldn’t quite afford for the big day.
“When our two youngest kids were 6 and 8, we bought them the set of ‘Wizard of Oz’ characters, and then my husband spotted the huge Emerald City plastic fold-up case. By golly, we had to buy that, too. (As I have said before, Scrooge he is not.) I used my veto powers and told him: Absolutely not. It was way over our budget — and besides, I was sure the kids didn’t even know such a thing existed. There were several of them in stock, so he reluctantly agreed, saying that if we got ourselves back down to Ward’s just as soon as the store opened the day after Christmas, surely there would be one left.
“There was, and it was 75 percent off. He bought it.
“I said: ‘Great, now where do we store it for a year?’
“He grinned and said: ‘Just wait. You’ll see.’
“When we arrived home, he asked me to go in ahead and make sure the little kids weren’t watching out the window. The snow was really deep that Christmas, and when he got up to the front steps, he gave a hefty pitch and threw that castle right out into the middle of the front yard.
“When the kids came into the room, their dad said: ‘Kids, look out the window. What do you think that is in the front yard? There are no footprints out there. How do you think it got there? Put your boots on and bring it in, will you?’
“Two excited little tykes came into the house, lugging their treasure, breathlessly exclaiming: ‘It’s Emerald City! Santa must have dropped it from his sleigh.’
“Their dad breathed a sigh of relief. It worked — hopefully for another year or two? With two of our kids in college and two kids in high school, this dad just wasn’t ready for Santa to stop visiting our house.”
(2) “Subject: Santa is watching.
“Our kids were very reluctant meat eaters until my mother-in-law taught me how to marinate venison. They absolutely loved venison; couldn’t get enough of it. So one year when my husband returned from a successful deer hunt, he invited the kids to come and see what he had brought home.
“If he was expecting unanimous approval, he was in for a surprise.
“Our middle daughter was 5, and she was not pleased. She stomped away from the station wagon and bustled into the house, grumbling in disgust: ‘All I can say is that Daddy just better hope that Santa Claus never finds out what he did!’”
‘Tis the season!
Or: Know thyself!
Christmas Mouse: “Subject: Advent calendar,
“Day 1: Put up two outdoor reindeer and plugged in their lights.
“Day 2: Neighbor put up three outdoor reindeer with flashing lights.
“Day 3: Husband bought three more reindeer; set up herd of five reindeer with flashing lights.
“Day 4: Made hot chocolate for carolers.
“Day 5: No carolers; afraid of herd of deer.
“Day 6: Drank hot chocolate. Made eggnog for carolers.
“Day 7: No carolers. Drank eggnog.
“Day 8: Added rum to eggnog. No carolers. Drank eggnog with rum.
“Day 9: No carolers. Skipped eggnog; drank rum.
“Three more days to go, for 12 days of Christmas.”
‘Tis the season
Or: The Permanent Family Record (Comestibles Division)
DebK of Rosemount: ” ‘Tis the season to pull out recipes for the Bobzien family’s favorite Christmas confections. Better even than the goodies themselves is the pleasure of working with the decades-old index cards on which Mom and Grandma wrote in their characteristic, Palmer method-influenced hands.
“I’ll begin the with Fudge Nougats, guided by Grandma Bobzien’s careful instructions to ‘chop the walnuts even’ and ‘crush the graham crackers fine.’ That delectable job finished, I will move to mass production of Grandma’s Black Walnut Toffee, Taxman’s favorite. In the case of the toffee, I use a recipe card written by Mom in language almost certainly loosely translated from Grandma’s original. In barely visible, heavily smudged blue ink, Mom merely lists the ingredients (heavy on butter) and directs cooks to ‘boil the hell out of it.’ That likely wasn’t my saintly grandmother’s technique, and it certainly wasn’t her phraseology, but it works.”
Dolly Dimples: “Subject: Tradition upended.
“Years ago, our family had a little tradition at Christmas time: Two or three evenings before Christmas Eve, we would have a Christmas fondue meal. The kids loved fondue.
“On this particular night, we had everything ready for our traditional dinner. The table was set. The fondue forks and pot were ready. We were waiting for Dad to get home from work and bring the meat.
“Dad delivered milk to stores, and sometimes it took longer than usual. He was late, and the kids were hungry.
“At last he arrived — and with a hearty ‘Merry Christmas’ and a big smile lighting his face, he made his entrance through the front door. He was met with complaining kids and an icy look from his wife. She detected a scent that didn’t come from his work clothes.
“‘Where have you been? You’re an hour late, and we are hungry,’ was her response to his exuberance.
“‘I stopped at The Neighborhood Market, my last stop, and the boys invited me to share a little “Christmas Cheer” in the back room. I lost track of time,’ he explained.
“‘Did you remember to buy the meat for the fondue?’ was Mom’s terse question to his alibi.
“‘Yep, here it is,’ he said as he handed her a package.
“A minute or two later, Mom shouted from the kitchen: ‘This isn’t fondue meat! It’s hamburger!’
“There was no fondue that evening . . . and no Christmas cheer, either.”
There & Here
Gustatory Division (‘Tis the Season Subdivision) (self-responsorial)
In the December 10 Bulletin Board, Bloomington Bird Lady wrote: “Subject: Those Secret Family Recipes.
“My dad’s family came from Sweden in the early 1900s. To help them feel more ‘at home,’ especially during the Christmas Season, they brought along a few precious recipes that have lasted until now, and have made many people happy. Dad had an old-fashioned grocery store in a small town with a lot of other Swedish folks who could hardly wait to buy his Swedish Potato Sausage, made with the original recipe from the island of Öland off Sweden.
“Since Birdman was teaching school, he’d have the two weeks off at Christmas, and loved helping out in the store. Birdman is not Scandinavian at all, so the sausage was something completely new to him. Dad had him peeling tons of potatoes, cutting up onions, grinding meat and putting in the spices for the sausage. Fortunately the store had a sausage stuffer. ( I think my grandma had stuffed the casings by hand using a large bone, marrow removed, for a kind of funnel.)
“Sadly, the store is no longer there. Even the building is gone, and grass covers that lot, now used for rummage sales. One thing is still with us, though: The recipe came with us to Bloomington, and we’ve made our own sausage for about 50 years. We used to buy casings to make it look the same, and even used an old-fashioned grinder for the mixture — potato water dripping onto newspapers covering the floor. We’d try to stuff the mix into the casings, and it was like a cartoon! Fragile casings would split, and the contents drop into the sink, so we’d start over, and over, etc. Finally patience wore too thin, and we decided: ‘Why not put enough for a casserole into large plastic bags?’ It worked! We could stack up the bags, flattened to about an inch, and freeze quite a few to take out as needed.
“We have yet to make this year’s sausage/plastic-bagged Swedish treat. After telling our story about the recipe’s origin, a couple of friends asked me for the recipe. For the first time, our recipe is no longer secret, and I hope their food processor will do the job that our old grinder did for so long.”
BULLETIN BOARD SAID, THAT DAY: “We have exactly zero doubt that one or more of your fellow Bulletin Boarders will presently request your recipe.
“So let’s save their time. It’s a busy season!
“Would you please send us your Secret Family Recipe, now that it’s secret no longer?”
We presently heard, again, from Bloomington Bird Lady: “Subject: The formerly secret Swedish Potato Sausage recipe.
“If you want it to come out right, don’t change a thing:
“Five pounds of Russet potatoes.
“Two and one-half pounds of lean ground beef.
‘Two and one-half pounds of ground pork.
“Two medium onions, peeled and cut up.
‘Seven teaspoons salt.
“One teaspoon black pepper and one-quarter teaspoon white pepper.
“Three teaspoons allspice.
“Years ago the potatoes were always peeled, but we found not peeling them to be
more nutritious and a lot less work.
“All of the ingredients should be ground — not too fine. We used an old-fashioned ‘clamped on our bread board’ grinder and put newspapers on the floor to catch any liquid from the potatoes.
“It’s best to alternate the onions and potatoes while grinding and then add the spices and mix well, using clean hands.
“For a couple of years, we tried less salt, but all that meat and potatoes needs seven teaspoons; much better.
“Using gallon zip bags (to put enough for a casserole) is the easiest. We flattened the bags full of the mixture and put them in the freezer immediately. You can stack the bags and then, depending on how much you want to use, take one or two bags, thaw and then put in your casserole to bake. If you don’t thaw first (in the fridge), it may not bake completely — and you don’t want to see raw meat when it’s serving time.
“You might want to try filling casings instead of bags. It’s really authentic to see it that way: nice circles of sausage that look similar to bologna, but not so large. But then when serving, everyone has to get their portion out of the casing. Don’t eat that part! So you’re left with empty casings on the plates — not too lovely.
“I hope everyone who tries this recipe has good luck.”
‘Tis the season!
Sharon of Roseville: “Once again, our Christmas angel has topped the tree.
“She has been with us for more than 40 years, and the years have not been kind to her. Holiday after holiday, her bright red wings deteriorated — until, last year, one wing fell off and the other wing drooped down to her toes.
“Once again I suggested replacing her, and the vote was unanimous: She has to stay.
“Jake and Ava decided that this was the year to repair her. Jake ran up to the Dollar Tree to find the appropriate materials, and Ava completed the fix.
“So now the angel is sporting two red cardinals for wings. And if called upon, I believe the cardinals will be the best wings she ever had.”
‘Tis the season!
And: Our birds, ourselves (Leading to: CAUTION! Words at Play!)
Al B of Hartland: “I’d seen a tufted titmouse recently. It was some distance from my yard, where I’ve seen but one titmouse. The bird was at my feeders for a single day. Then the weather changed for the worse. When the going gets tough, the tufted get going.”
A thought for today
From KH of White Bear Lake: “Subject: Endeavor to Persevere.
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: I miss the Kid and the Tiger.
“I’m a little behind in my reading, so I’m including the last two messages on the electronic board of the church on Lexington in Shoreview:
“‘Words of Wisdom from
“‘Dad to Son
“‘As Calvin & Hobbes Said,
“‘”Don’t Run in the Street”
“‘The Boy stopped and waited.
“‘Be Thankful for those lessons!’
“‘Big shout out to my fingers
“‘I can always count on them!'”
The Permanent Maternal Record
The Doryman of Prescott Wisconsin: “Subject: Someday you’ll miss me.
“My mother had an answer for everything. Don’t they all?
“She told me to eat my vegetables, and I resisted. My Retinol specialist says she was right.
“She said that every minute I wasted would be gone forever — and, well, I get that now.
“She questioned my commitment to jumping off a bridge at the request of a co-conspirator. There was always a silent pause after that one.
“One that applies today just as well as it did 70 years ago is: ‘I don’t care who started it. Just stop it right now!’
“All that knowledge must be lying in a dusty ‘Mother’s Little Handbook’ somewhere. Would it be a sacrilege to recognize mothers as our first prophets?”
BULLETIN BOARD ADDS: Our first political commentators, too: “I don’t care who started it. Just stop it right now!”
What this country has been needing?
Dennis from Eagan reports: “Subject: A new crumb-y product?
“I’ve seen Gingerbread House kits in stores (like Cub Foods) before, but not an Ugly Sweater cookie kit!”
Better statistics through chemistry
The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills: “Subject: Amazing . . . how was he ever able to do that?
“From my Twins Page-a-Day calendar:
“‘In 1988, Jose Canseco of the Oakland Athletics became the first MLB player to record a season with at least 40 home runs and 40 steals.’”
More from Mounds View Swede: “When we reached western Sweden to meet the cousins related to me through my father’s mother, I found they grew a lot of flowers, too.
“I was happy to learn how much we were on the ‘same page.’ It helped make me feel connected to these relatives I was meeting for the first time.
“My cousin Jan-Eric, in Borås, had several different rose bushes growing around his house, all in bloom for the time I came to visit.
“Visiting other cousins at their lake cabin, I found these strange blossoms.
“And this fir(?) tree covered with petals falling from above made it look like it was blooming, too — sharing’ the beauty.
“I recognized the iris, at least.
“I am waiting for beautiful snow or frost patterns to photograph here, but so far am coming up empty for the season.”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: It’s hard to make great photographs when the sun comes about once a week!
Not exactly what they had in mind?
Gregory of the North: “Subject: Freudian slip?
“My wife sometimes leaves notes for me to coach my behavior when the most appropriate response might be lacking.
“Something I am wont to do is use the shower without turning on the exhaust fan, causing the bathroom to steam up, and creating a warm environment for possible mold. Here is a note she posted recently.
“When I saw this, I thought she was REALLY getting serious! I thought it said ‘FAN or WIDOW,’ suggesting her sanction for my not using the fan might be, well, extreme.
“I told her of my perception.
“‘It’s an abbreviation for WINDOW,’ she said.
“OK, well, never mind.”
The Monkey Lover’s Wife of Northfield: “Subject: ‘The Happiest Cities in America.’
“From TripAdvisor: ‘Saint Paul has been called the last city of the East primarily because early developers built it to fit Eastern standards: city squares or parks, towers and turrets, lofty arches, Baroque domes and elaborate adornments abound. Ideal for families and those who like to explore on foot, the capital of Minnesota offers big city attractions with small town manageability. It’s an easy and scenic stroll along the banks of the Mississippi River from the Children’s Museum to the Science Museum. The kids (and the young at heart) will love them both. Nearby are the grandiose State Capitol, designed by esteemed architect Cass Gilbert and the historic Como Park, which includes lovely picnic areas, a zoo and a conservatory. Also in the mix are modern museums, stately old mansions, interesting natural wonders and unique shops to browse around. Be sure to check out the stellar collection of contemporary works by local artists at the Minnesota Museum of American Art. From four-star luxury to affordable and family-friendly, Saint Paul offers a variety of lodging and dining possibilities making it a great destination for all tastes and budgets.’
BULLETIN BOARD NOTES: For those of you unlucky enough (Ha! Ask us about that in February!) to live outside Minnesota, and for Minnesotans unlucky enough not to know their capital city intimately:
The Science Museum of Minnesota is, in fact, within sight of the Mississippi (though one would likely not stroll along the river to visit it) — but the Minnesota Children’s Museum is high and dry up at the corner of Wabasha Street and West Seventh Street, many blocks from the river.
This ‘n’ that (responsorial)
Both from Semi-Legend: (1) “I saw this entry . . .
“‘Our theater of seasons
“‘Including: CAUTION! Names at Play!
“‘Kingfisher’s Mom reports: “Subject: The Power of the Sun
“‘”Here’s a picture of the neighborhood snow gal, named Eileen. She started out straight and tall . . . and after a few days, we were surprised at how flexible she was.”’
“. . . …and I thought: ‘Snow limbo!’ And, of course, there’s a video.
“‘Limbo the Leap Year Snow Man — oh the snowmanity!
“‘The true story of a snow man in our yard, who defied convention by daring to dream of being a limbo star.
“‘WARNING: contains gratuitous horse noises!’
(2) “The ‘never-before-seen performances by Peter, Paul and Mary at the Newport Folk Festival from ’63-’65’ may have been outtakes from the 1967 documentary ‘Festival,’ about the Newport fest, and one of my favorites.
“Here’s a delightful moment from it.”
The Permanent Grandmotherly Record
Kathy S. of St. Paul writes: “Subject: Why Grandma said that — or: How I started learning Yiddish.
“Grandma used to express amazement by saying ‘Oy, oy, oy!’ — so I ended up copying her. In college, a teacher asked me why a good Irish girl like me would express amazement in Yiddish. I didn’t know, so I asked Mom.
“Mom and her parents moved to the wilds of Richfield in the 1930s. Grandma had to take the streetcar to shop, etc., but there was a small Mom-and-Pop store near their house. Grandma made every excuse to shop there, because she loved watching the fights. It appears that the Jewish Mom and Pop of the store were always yelling at each other, with much use of “Oy oy oy!’ — which Grandma copied. So that is why I picked up the expression from Grandma.
“Later in life, my family lived near a family that fought constantly. Mom said that some people just like to fight.”
“More clown memories” from Tim Torkildson (a.k.a. Dusty): “Upon awaking each morning nowadays, I drag myself first thing to the bathroom to look in the mirror, in case the Good Fairy has come by in the night to restore my supple rosy skin, sparkling blue eyes, and insouciant laughing smile. No such luck so far. What I am faced with is an unnerving reflection of the common toadfish after a groggy night out on the town. One of these days, I’m going to pull down that medicine cabinet with its mirrored door and be done with the insult for good.
“Working as a professional circus clown for most of my adult life, I have spent an inordinate amount of time in front of mirrors — putting on the clown white, and then taking it off again at the end of the day.
“Clowns in the Ringling Blue Unit alley used a variety of looking glasses when I was a First of May back there in 1972.
“Mark Anthony, the happy tramp, used the circular bottom of an old metal lard pail that he had cut out and polished until it gleamed like silver. Since he was forever dropping things, or sitting on them, this saved him a substantial amount in replacement fees — not to mention all that bad luck he avoided.
“Prince Paul, the dwarf clown, had a thick shard of silvered glass, irregularly shaped and covered around the edges with duct tape so he would not slit his fingers on it. He could barely see a few inches of his face at a time in it, but since he’d been putting on the same simple whiteface for the past 50 years, he could do it in the dark. The shard was more a paperweight than anything else to him.
“Sparky, who boasted of having the world’s largest pair of clown shoes (each one about a yard long and 2 feet across — he had to shuffle in them like a cross-country skier), invested in a Max Factor Hollywood Professional Mirror Ensemble. It boasted not one mirror, but three mirrors on hinges, so he could catch his profile, and had a dozen light bulbs around it like a movie marquee. Turned on full power, it could be seen from outer space — and nearly blinded anyone foolish enough to sit close to him. I guess he needed all that light so he could place his half-dozen zircons just exactly right under each eye. With the vivid blue eyeliner he also used, I think he could have given Cleopatra a run for her money.
“All of the other veteran clowns used small round compact mirrors, the kind that women used to carry in their purses. They knew their own faces well enough to put on the makeup in the dark if they had to — and sometimes clown alley was set up under a dim dark bleacher where there wasn’t enough light to read a newspaper, let alone put on makeup.
“There were about a dozen of us First of Mays, and we all used the plastic hand mirrors you could get at Woolworth’s for 75 cents. When the alley was sequestered in a dimly lit spot, we all trooped to the nearest Men’s Room to carefully apply the warpaint. We hadn’t gotten to the point where we knew how to do it by rote, although we quickly learned to slap it on with a minimum of fuss on a Saturday morning, when the first show started at 10 in the ever-loving morning. Nobody in his right mind was going to come in an hour early just to get his makeup on perfect. Except Sparky — he was always the first one in the alley, cleaning and polishing his zircons and adjusting his mirrors for maximum effect. He was never fazed when the alley lacked electrical outlets; he simply brought along a Coleman battery-powered lantern.
“A typical circus day had me in heavy greasepaint for about 12 hours — so when the time came to take it off, I did so with a gusty sigh of relief. I couldn’t scratch my face once the makeup was applied and powdered; that would risk smearing the colors together — so anytime I got an itch anywhere on my mug, I had to twitch and pucker my skin much like a horse does with its backside when tormented by flies.
“In the movies, you always see theatrical types removing their makeup in front of a big glamorous mirror, loaded with congratulatory telegrams and autographed photographs from John Barrymore, Sarah Bernhardt, and the like. They daintily open a small container of obviously expensive cold cream and dab it on their face, then have the maid or butler genteelly rub it off with a cashmere shawl.
“But that ain’t how we get the warpaint off in clown alley. You squirted a big pool of Johnson’s Baby Oil into the palm of your hand and then rubbed it into your face like you were trying to remove your lips and nose with sandpaper. Blinded by the oil, you groped for a bunch of paper napkins (usually swiped from the arena Men’s Room) and wiped off as much as you can, then threw the greasy damp paper towels into the nearest corner, where they accumulated into a huge fragrant rat’s nest by the end of the week. Sparky, of course, used a huge container of Pond’s Cold Cream — but he apparently had a passel of oil wells gushing somewhere in South America and could afford such luxury. Another clown, whom I dubbed Saint Terry because his delicately shaded and outlined pastel makeup reminded me of the stained-glass windows back at St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Minneapolis, insisted that baby oil drained the skin of vitamins and minerals, so he used olive oil to take off his makeup. Made him smell like an Olive Garden on a hot day.
“Back then, a bottle of Johnson’s Baby Oil cost one dollar. (I checked on the price of a bottle today at the supermarket: cool $5.29.) A dollar was a lot of money to a First of May; we got paid only 125 a week, out of which we had to provide our own food, costumes, makeup, and 25 a week for our roomette on the Ringling train. I went through a bottle of baby oil every other week, and that troubled my wallet. My good old pal Tim Holst also thought it was a crime to have to expend so much of our hard-earned kopeks, and was always on the lookout for a cheaper way of taking off the makeup.
“One day Mark Anthony, the happy tramp, began reminiscing about the good old days under the canvas big top. ‘Yessir,’ he rambled, ‘we only got one bucket of water for the whole day — and we didn’t use no fancy baby oil to wipe off the greasepaint, neither. Got a can of Crisco and smeared that on; it took the makeup off faster than . . . (here he used a pornographic phrase involving greased barnyard animals that I won’t repeat).’
“Holst was all ears. He calculated the cost of a can of Crisco against a quart bottle of Johnson’s Baby Oil; the savings would be significant. So in the next town, he bought a big can of Crisco shortening — and that evening, after the last show, he snapped off the key and unwound the lid. For those of you who haven’t reached geezerhood yet, let me explain that long ago, a can of Crisco didn’t have a pop top or tab; you pulled a slotted key off the top of the lid and used it to carefully unwind the soldered sealing strip around the top of the can — which left a murderously sharp edge on the metal lid. Inevitably, Holst cut his right thumb right down to the bone on it — so he wrapped his flowing digit in a towel, and a few of us rushed him to the nearest hospital, where they stitched him up good as new. For 50 bucks. (Can you imagine? A visit to the hospital ER cost a measly 50 dollars back then!)
“I couldn’t help but remind him the next day, as he gingerly removed his makeup with the standard Johnson’s Baby Oil, with his thumb bandaged up like a mummy, that for what he had paid the hospital, he could have bought 50 bottles of baby oil. He gave me a dirty look in return and said: ‘Tork, that big mouth of yours is gonna get you in trouble one of these days.’
“And he was absolutely right. But that is a tale for another day.
“It usually took me two handfuls of baby oil to get my clown white completely off — ’cause I made up my ears and the back of my neck as well, which a lot of clowns never did.”
Band Name of the Day: Boiled Hell
Websites of the Day: (1) Travel Photographers of the Year and (2) National Geographic Traveler of the Year Contest winners