Gee, our old La Salle ran great!
Or: Where we lived
Zoo Lou of St. Paul: “Back in the ’50s, when I was a runny-nosed little rink rat at East View playground who used Life magazines for shin guards and played with a stick held together by nails, I dreamed of going to the high-school hockey tournament.
“That dream finally came true on February 24, 1961. The St. Paul Dispatch said there were a few tickets available for Friday’s semifinal games, so my dad (Joe), brother Tom and I headed to the St. Paul Auditorium with high hopes.
“After a gourmet meal at the nearby White Castle, we raced over to the Auditorium and squeezed into the packed lobby. When the tickets went on sale, a tsunami of desperate fans pushed Tom and me against the wall, leaving us fighting for air.
“‘Forget it,’ I groaned to Tom with a heavy heart. ‘We’ll never get in.’
“Then, through this utter chaos, I saw my dad passing money to a friend standing by one of the ticket booths, who then passed back three precious tickets, which drew the stares of many envious eyes. If sportscaster Al Michaels had been there, I think he would have shouted ‘Do you believe in miracles?’ long before he made that now famous pronouncement as the U.S. shocked the Soviet Union at the 1980 Winter Olympics.
“That ‘miracle’ was just the beginning of an unforgettable experience. In two of the best games I’ve ever seen, Roseau beat North St. Paul 4-3 in triple overtime, and South St. Paul, led by Doug Woog, edged Duluth East 2-1. The crowd was going absolutely wild, shaking the venerable old Auditorium to its very foundation.
“The next night, we watched Roseau blank South St. Paul 1-0 for the title on our little black-and-white Zenith, the first time the tournament was televised.
“We’ve attended many tournament games over the years, but none can quite match the emotion and excitement of that February night in 1961. And one of the things I can still picture is those three tickets being passed back to my dad and worrying that someone might grab them. I guess the fact that no one did was just another ‘miracle at the Auditorium.'”
Or: Where we live
Bloomington Bird Lady: “Subject: THOSE ICE FISHING SHACKS MUST BE REMOVED?
“Doesn’t it seem like a rather difficult rule to follow? You must have your fish house off the lake by a certain date, no matter how much snow or how cold it is, no matter that it’s buried in snow, the ice is not melting yet, roads have been plowed making the piles on either side higher. Whole villages of ice-fishing shacks are having a really hard time right now, just following that one rule. Shouldn’t a little thought go into what could be a rule with a disclaimer when conditions make removal almost impossible?
“I have been ice fishing only one time, and we have never owned our own little shack. When we lived up in Frazee, Minnesota, and Birdman was teaching school, some nice folks asked if we’d like to use their fish house some evening. It sounded fun, so we tried our luck. First, it’s cold just walking out to the little shack. It was a small lake, with not too many houses, so finding the right one was easy. But then, there you sit, looking down into a small hole, waiting patiently (sort of) for something to bite on the bait! I know some people have large shacks with TV, bunk beds, kitchen equipment, etc. This was not one of those. No one had cellphones back then, either. A pretty quiet evening, for sure.
“After a long time, I saw a rather large fish approaching our hole, ready to try the lure! This was the only one we’d seen, so I made up my mind that this one would come home with us. He bit! But not quite hard enough, and was about to take off! My only chance was now! As the fish turned to leave, I stuck my arm down in the hole and grabbed as hard as I could. Slippery devil! We did end up taking a fish home, and a wet arm was a small price to pay!”
Live and learn!
Deuce of Eagan writes: “Subject: The Day the Archbishop Pulled a Knife on Me.
“The year was 1955. I was an altar boy at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul. As a senior, I was assigned to serve Mass a couple times a week for Archbishop John Gregory Murray, a sweet, revered Irish icon in the Twin Cities. He said his daily Mass at 7:25 a.m., in a chapel devoted to St. Patrick of Ireland. I considered it quite the honor to assist.
“One morning, I was preparing the altar for the Mass and began experiencing a problem minutes before the time to begin. Lighting the candles using a ‘wick extension device,’ I was unable to get one of the four lighted. I recall, even to this day, the panic I began to feel and my subsequent flushed face.
“The Archbishop walked from the Sacristy, around the corner, and inquired about the delay. I nervously muttered something about a problem candle. He gazed up at the candle for a second and said: ‘Dennis, I have a plan.’ He asked me to lower the candle holder and tilt the candle toward him. I was wondering what miracle he might perform that would cause ignition.
“Well, what he had in mind was not that miraculous, but was effective nevertheless.
“He pulled his vestments to one side, reached into his pocket and pulled out a knife*! He did a bit of wax carving, and finally a nice long piece of wick was ready for lighting. Now with all four candles lighted and the knife folded and back in his pocket, the Mass began — and only about five minutes late.
“I don’t believe Barry Fitzgerald could have topped that one in his movie roles as the ‘sweet old Irish parish priest.’ The Archbishop taught the kid a valuable lesson that day: Always carry a pocket knife for life’s unforeseen predicaments. [Bulletin Board speaks from sad experience: But don’t forget to not carry it when you are about to board an aircraft. The TSA, it turns out, is inflexibly intolerant of even your well-loved old Swiss Army knife.]
“* Footnote: It was a Boy Scout knife, which many of you remember carrying — a popular knife with two blades; screwdriver; can opener; bottle-cap opener; leather punch. They were considered a great utility item back in the day. Remember the motto: ‘Be Prepared.'”
See world (x2)
Mounds View Swede: (1) “While on our first trip to Sweden, in 2007, we visited the Carl Linnaeus garden north of Stockholm, and there I found some very beautiful blossoms. Carl Linnaeus was an early botanist and developed a system for naming and classifying plants in 1758 that is still used today. I didn’t care so much about all the science he did; I just wanted to see the flowers on display there. And I wasn’t disappointed. I hope readers will enjoy what I found that day.
“I enjoy re-seeing these blossoms, especially in the midst of our ‘real winter’ that we are having.”
(2) “I found the soft snow fall on Wednesday to be rather delightful. The flakes were large and light enough to just sit on the previous snow without blending in. I could see them clearly defined on top.
“I watched the flakes coming down for just a little bit and felt a peace and calmness with their slow descent.
“The next morning’s clear skies and sun produced strong shadows coming towards me now, instead of across the yard, as the sun makes its way farther north.
“There were some really bright snow sparkles with those large fluffy flakes that had fallen.
“I liked how each bright area had one or two prominent sparkles in it.
“And my spruce and fir trees had a fresh dressing of snow, lightly applied.
“I know some might be tired of the snow, but since it is not causing me any great inconvenience, I can just delight in the changes and beauty it brings.”
Cabin Fever Chronicles
The Astronomer of Nininger: “Subject: I give up!
I know some people have been suffering from extreme cases of cabin fever. Others are going through seed catalogs in exuberant anticipation of spring. But one of my neighbors has put out the international symbol of surrender (to winter) in front of his home.
“I am sure he has company in his feelings.”
The highfalutin diversions
The Monkey Lover’s Wife of Northfield: “Subject: More links.
“When all I see is white snow, these are invigorating: Spectacular Aerial Photos of Your Favorite Cities.
“That sent me down a huge rabbit hole. The host of the ‘99% Invisible’ podcast (about design, and a bunch of other things) is adamant: ‘Always read the plaque.’ My favorite in Minnesota is the 45th Meridian plaque, which is on Roselawn Avenue in Roseville.
“The main site is called ‘Minnesota Museum of the Mississippi and Other Natural Wonders’ (‘Just another tourist trap on the information superhighway’) and this page lists the current virtual field trips, including pancake houses, concrete garden monuments, taxidermy museums, and the 45th parallel.
“As I said, you could get lost in these links for an entire afternoon.
“Happy March! We’re still recovering — not from illness, or the missed academic work from our nine snow days (and one tornado day, last September — that was a first), but from the giant pileup of rescheduled activities (practices, games, rehearsals, meetings, volunteer responsibilities, etc.). With two busy teenagers, our schedule always seems like a glass Jenga game anyway, and now, I just hope I have enough quick meals/heavy snacks in the freezer to get all of us to the point when we can slow down enough to eat real food, which may be next week at this rate.”
There, but for the grace of God . . .
Kathy S. of St. Paul: “Subject: Dad missed that boat.
“This (San Diego?) newspaper clipping is part of my family history. It lists ships leaving for atom-bomb testing on the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, 1946. Dad was going with them, until his orders were changed.
“Men who went on those tests are known as Atomic Vets, due to cancers, etc., they and their families suffer from. I am eternally grateful that Dad was not there. At the end of World War II, folks in the U.S. demanded that ‘the men’ come home ASAP. And Dad, though a scientist, was a short-timer. Which probably saved him.
“This is an example of techies, etc., trying something to see what happens. The consequences for the testers, plus the ecosystem and anyone else nearby, were horrific. It even (probably) affected nearby sharks. Jacques Cousteau’s grandson and his wife investigated that, as part of Shark Week in 2016.
“Dad (and his family, Praise Be) missed that boat. My thoughts will always be with those who weren’t so lucky.”
The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: Best seller?
“The latest cartoon in my head features a couple speaking to a sales person at a carpet store. The caption reads: ‘Can you show us something durable in a shade of cat vomit?'”
Everyone’s a copy editor!
The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills: “Subject: Location, location . . .
“The importance of the correct placement of a decimal point was emphasized in the headline and body of an article on the front page of ‘BUSINESS’ (4A) in the February 23rd edition of the Pioneer Press:
“‘Kraft Heinz takes $1.54B financial hit
“‘Kraft Heinz disclosed an investigation by federal regulators and said it will slash the value of its Oscar Mayer and Kraft brands by $15.4 billion. . . .'”
Auction Girl of PI: “Spring Clean: Kondo’s Methods in the Era of Costco.
“Underwear does not spark joy. Nor do most household cleaning products, boxes of cereal, garbage-can liners, or the giant sacks of kitty litter and cat chow. When faced with the challenge of so much stuff, how can a person cope? What does it really take to organize?
“Marie Kondo’s book ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ breaks the job into several categories: Clothing, Books, Papers, Miscellaneous (Junk), Small Change, Sentimental Items, and Photos.
“Most of the addicts to her method simply love to see bags of clothes, towels, bedding. etc., leaving home by the carload. I admit to once, in the process of clearing an estate, filling my VW Bug 19 times with 12 sacks of clothing on each trip — donating so many 1990s-era suits, dresses and shoes (size 8) to the local thrift store that I was banned for life.
“Paperback books are pretty easily smuggled into the local library a few at a time. I never got in trouble, and someone else may be reading one today. Papers are always going to be a problem, so just forget that. It’s way better to keep a few extra pieces of mail around than to systematically toss it all and, say, lose a 1099 in the process.
“Miscellaneous (or ‘Komono’) is pretty much anything not a paper, photograph, fine jewelry or money. An easy rule is that if it’s gross, opened, used, broken, out of style, or not salable, just throw it in the trash can. Some junk — say, that extra Mr. Coffee carafe, because glass can break and a writer sans caffeine is an ugly thing — could be considered a legitimate adaptation for survival. Other stuff, like the gazillion stickers, tablets and calculators direct-mailed from charities to your junk drawer, can probably go.
“Small change isn’t a problem at my house. If it lands in the laundry, finders keepers. If found elsewhere, it goes into a big glass jar. Holds around $60. Travels to the credit union every couple months because our bank has quit accepting loose change. I know, it’s still legal tender. They have their reasons.
“In Kondo’s world, every home has a place for every thing useful and nothing extra. In Minnesota, one has snow boots, several grades of outdoors shoes, work shoes, inside shoes and slippers. Most of these will end up in the neighborhood of the door, drying off or awaiting your return. There they are next to an array of gloves, some also drying, your snow-shoveling jacket and a couple soggy wool hats. Sometimes there’s a 50-pound bag of ice-melt just inside the door, too. You wouldn’t want that to get wet outside.
“The 40-pound sack of Tidy Cat you dragged home from Menards along with a 20-pound sack of Cat Chow fills a small closet in the spare bedroom (because the cat likes to chew on plastic bags). If you buy things at Costco, it saves money and trips to the store, but where do you put a six-pack of Clorox wipes containers, a gallon jug of detergent, a 20-pack TP or 12 rolls of paper towels? These do not handily fit in anyone’s bathroom closet or under the sink in the kitchen.
“Grocery shopping at Costco, for a family of three, presents challenges. Gallon jugs, 2-liter bottles, and 2-pound containers of yogurt or sour cream fight for fridge space alongside the 36-pack of hot dogs, 2-pound cheese block, and double loaf of bread. Fruits and vegetables come by the box load. If you are not a fruit bat or able to can the extras, this is usually no place to buy produce.
“So, anyone in BB land tried this fad? What sparks joy for you?”
The little treasures
The Mendota Heights Missus: “Subject: Old photos.
“For the past year, with a move in mind, I have been steadily scaling down my possessions. Of course, these days everyone seems to be on the ‘Tidying Up’ bandwagon, which I admit prompted me to clean my closets out a little faster.
“One of those closets contained not only all the pictures I have ever taken since I was old enough to hold a camera, but also those taken by a multitude of family members.
“This is one of the pictures I am NOT throwing out. It happens to be one me in my younger/sexier days (as you can see from my pose). Why would I throw it out, Marie Kondo?”
BULLETIN BOARD PRESUMES TO ANSWER FOR MARIE KONDO: You wouldn’t throw it out. It “sparks joy.”
The simple pleasures
Fevered Rabbit: “In the world outside of Bulletin Board, I have two last names with no hyphen between them. When I am asked for my last name, I say exactly that: ‘I have two last names with no hyphen between them.’
“Most people do not know I have two last names; I use just the second last name for everything that does not need to be official. For example, I have to use both names for medical insurance and voting, but only one last name for my library card. It is the second name that clearly connects me to my current husband; it is the name by which we are known around town. The other name connected me to my first husband and my children, and is how I was known at work in that world long ago and far away.
“The first of my last names is a very common name, and people do not have any trouble spelling it. The second of my last names is a simple word, but not one used often as a name in America. It is frequently misspelled, as people think they are hearing something I am not saying. Even when I spell the second name slowly, people frequently misspell it.
“A simple pleasure is when I get a piece of mail that has both of my names spelled correctly and with no hyphen between them.
“We live in a tiny town of 206 people. We find pleasure where we can.”
The highfalutin amusements (responsorial)
The February 27 BB included this note from Friendly Bob of Fridley: “Subject: Fun with Closed Captioning.
“First of all, let me say that I have the utmost respect for the people who provide us with Closed Captioning, especially on live shows (like the news) where there are few second chances to get things right. But some missteps can provide a bit of amusement.
“At my gym, there is a line of big-screen TVs suspended from the ceiling, and they are visible from about half the gym — the half where the stationary bikes, steppers, ellipticals, and treadmills are. I think some of the machines have a way to get the associated audio, but the CC is active on all of the TVs.
“Some of the ‘bloopers’ are easily deciphered, but others . . . well, not so much. Today while I was on the stationary bike, there was a soap opera on one of the TVs. Part of the plot was that a famous business magnet was on trial. OK, it is easy enough to figure out that ‘magnate’ was meant. Or maybe he just attracted a lot of business. A couple of TVs over had on a local news show, and there I was informed that some naughty guy had been sentenced to 12 years in prison for third-degree nurd. I am stumped by that one!
“Keep up the good work, CC people. Ignore those of us who must find humor in your endeavors.”
We presently heard from Semi-Legend: “When I Googled ‘third-degree nurd,’ Google asked me: ‘Did you mean: third-degree murder’ (without the question mark).
“Maybe the CC’ers need Google as a second-guesser.
“I did come across something from the Journal of Biological Chemistry: ‘The nucleosome remodeling and deacetylase (NuRD) complex, which is essential for normal development in higher organisms, is one such macromolecular machine.’
“I doubt that was it.”
Now & Then (responsorial)
And: Just a coincidence? (Everyone’s an [Art] Critic Division)
Fantomas: “I loved Cheesehead By Proxy‘s memories and memorabilia of the Beatles from back in the days when they first dawned on Minnesota’s consciousness.
“How quickly we came to know the faces of John, Paul, George, and Ringo; before long we learned that somebody named Pete Best had also been a Beatle before being replaced by Ringo; eventually we learned that there had also been a fifth Beatle, Stu Sutcliffe, an actual (not honorary) claimant to that title, on whose departure Paul switched to playing bass. And the first time I ever heard the Beatles was when WCCO Radio played a cut of the group backing (I believe) a singer named Tony Sheridan on ‘My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean.’
“But until I saw the ‘Beatles Bubble Gum’ wrapper in Bulletin Board, I never knew that former ‘Late Late Show’ host Craig Ferguson had been a member of the group (top right), or that Fred Astaire (bottom left) had donned fake hillbilly teeth and an especially atrocious toupee to join in. The guy at the top left also looks familiar, but I can’t quite place him. The face at bottom right may be an actual attempted likeness of John Lennon.
“(Little did the adults of those days imagine that the Fab Four’s authentic faces would still be remembered by us kids even six months later, let alone 60 years!)”
Keeping your eyes open
Dennis from Eagan reports: “I walked into Burnsville’s Holiday gas station (at Highway 13 & Nicollet Avenue) and saw this clever ‘Cookie Monster’ display made from two laundry baskets.”
The darnedest things
WARNING! Cute kid story ahead, from Peggy T of Osceola, Wisconsin: “What is the main concern of a boy who had a birthday this February? Great-grandson Bennett’s main concern was that his birthday would be on a snow day and that he wouldn’t be able to celebrate it with his class friends. Luckily, this didn’t happen, and school was in session
on that date!”
Band Name of the Day: Banned for Life
Website of the Day, from Double Bogey Mike: