Including: Fun facts to know and tell
The REF in White Bear Lake writes: “Subject: Baseball season’s begun. Frug like frantic!
“I got my hands on an August 23, 1965,. issue of Sports Illustrated — with young Tony Oliva on the cover and a story by William Leggett inside. The author tried to capture the atmosphere of the Upper Midwest as the Twins showed that, this late summer, they weren’t going to fold as they had in years past (going 22-9 in July).
“He wrote: ‘This has been a wild year in Minnesota. First came the dry cold and deep snows of winter, then the floods of spring, then the tremendous tornadoes of May and June that caused $131 million in property damage. Then came the great time squabble that had Minneapolis on standard time and its twin city, St. Paul, on daylight saving time. For most of the year, a Minnesotan seemed to be a person with six feet of snow in his driveway, three inches of water in his cellar, the roof blown off his house and unable to find out what the hell time it was.’
“What!? I have been a Minnesotan all my life and do not recall ever hearing about the ‘great time squabble’ before this. A quick Google search turned up a 2016 revisiting by STrib writer Ben Welter: ‘The two cities could not agree when to start daylight saving time. State law designated May 23 as the day to turn clocks forward. St. Paul’s City Council decided to make the move on May 9, in line with most of the rest of the nation. Minneapolis decided to go by state law and fell an hour behind St. Paul on the second Sunday in May. It was a mess, but people muddled through. A year later, Congress stepped in and passed the Uniform Time Act of 1966. . . .’
“Scattered through the magazine I found eight (8!) separate ads for men’s slacks. A couple were especially helpful in reminding me it was a 1965 publication”:
Another episode of creative hearing, remembered by John in Highland: “On a recent radio sports program, the 99-year-old moderator [Bulletin Board interjects: Is Sid really that young?] was interviewing a former Minnesota Gophers star football player whose career spanned the eras of ‘Smokey Joe’ Salem and the ‘Music Man,’ Lou Holtz.
“I remember when Lou first took over and was quoted concerning some of the very promising players who were returning. He kept on raving about the Nigerian kid who would play at linebacker. I knew who most of the players on the team were, but I had not heard of any who had come here from Nigeria. It took me awhile before I realized that he was talking about Peter Najarian.”
There’s nothin’ like a simile!
The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills: “Rick Reilly, author of the book ‘Commander in Cheat,’ which details examples of President Trump’s cheating at golf, was interviewed by Chris Matthews. They were discussing how playing golf provides a good look into a person’s character, when Reilly made this comment: ‘Golf’s like bicycle shorts. It tells you a lot about a guy.’”
Great minds . . .
Copy Editors Division
Donald: “Subject: Santa Claus comes early!
“The front pages of the Sports sections of the Twin Cities dailies did it again in their Tuesday editions. This time, they doubled up not only on a headline or photo(s), but on both:
“The pictures both featured Virginia’s Kyle Guy celebrating the win — but what really caught my eye were the headlines (above the photo in the Pioneer Press, and below it in the paper west of St. Paul):
“PP: ‘YES, VIRGINIA’
“PWSP: ‘YES, VIRGINIA!’
“When I saw the one in the Pioneer Press (the local paper must be the first read), I thought: ‘How clever.’ And when I opened the paper west of St. Paul and saw that, well . . . .”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: It’s a terrific headline, no matter how many papers used it! We encourage you all to take a fresh look at where it came from.
Life in the Service Economy
Including: Great comebacks
Wicki-Yah reports: “I really dislike the impersonal nature of drive-thrus. I think they contribute to the disconnectedness of our society.
“But I often have the Disney Darling with me, and she has a lot of mobility issues because of degenerative spine issues. So she doesn’t want to get out of the car. Which means we do a lot of drive-thrus.
“In my need to connect with people whenever and however I can, I have become somewhat of a master at drive-thru small talk.
“The other day, I drove up, in the rain, to the black box at a local fast-food restaurant. Before my window was even down, an enthusiastic voice was saying: ‘Good afternoon! What can I get you?’
“I answered: ‘Wait. I need a minute.’
“Ten seconds later, the voice deadpanned: ‘Just to warn you, I’ve started the stopwatch.’
“I laughed and said: ‘Oh, I think I like you!’ I quickly ordered a small sandwich and a milk for the Disney Darling, an unsweetened iced tea for me.
“‘Sorry,’ the voice in the box said. ‘I can’t give you iced tea. The tea truck didn’t show up this morning.’ (Are there delivery trucks just for tea for these places? And I thought I was one of the few who ordered tea instead of pop.)
“I said: ‘Shoot. [Bulletin Board muses: Does that constitute a drive-thru shoot-ing? Sorry.] Things were going so well. I like you a little less right now.’
“The voice answered: ‘Just wait until you get to the window. My smiling face, disarming good looks and svelte physique will win you back.'”
The Permanent Motherly/Daughterly Record
The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “Subject: A Day in April.
“I skipped school only once, and that was in my senior year in high school.
“It was one of those beautiful spring days in April when my friend talked me into it. She said it was much too nice a day to waste in the classroom. We could just hop on the Greyhound bus and go downtown, have lunch and see the automatic-washer display that was going on at Donaldson’s department store.
“The friend was my mother. My mother — the former teacher who taught school for seven years before she married my dad. She was my partner in crime that day.
“I have no regrets. It was a memorable day. We felt like silly guilty kids as we browsed the downtown shops. We lingered in the book department at Donaldson’s, and Mother got the chance to see the automatic-washer display and dream about the day when we would get the plumbing connected and no longer have to catch rainwater for washing and carry milk cans of drinking water from the corner community pump.
“We ate lunch at the Forum Café, on Seventh Street between Nicollet and Hennepin, and Mom impulsively bought me a spring hat at the hats-and-gloves shop across the street.
“My mother had always told us that ‘the absence of the truth is just the same as a lie’ — but I think she engaged in a bit of obfuscation when she wrote my excuse to return to school. As I remember it, it said something like this: ‘Please excuse my daughter from school yesterday. I needed her with me.'”
Life (and death) as we know it
From Al B of Hartland (Bulletin Board’s Official Ornithologist): “In memory of a blue-ribbon birder:
“I watched the snow line retreating in the fields. I kept an eye out for a mourning cloak, a dark brown butterfly that overwinters here as an adult and is usually the first butterfly I see each year.
“Mourning doves were doing hula-hoop calls. Red-winged blackbirds sang ‘Look at me’ from perches. The first baby birds arrived: great horned owlets. I spotted sandhill cranes, song sparrows and an American woodcock (bogsucker, timberdoodle). The cocker spaniel was named for its specialty of flushing woodcock. I saw evidence of where rabbits had fed above the snow line. Rabbits don’t dig much. The time of my life has been measured in grackles — when they come and when they go.
“I’m saddened by the death of Bill Thompson III. This wonderful editor/publisher of Bird Watcher’s Digest was a friend I dearly miss. The birds could not have had a better friend or a more influential voice on their behalf. Bill was 57, still playing softball, and had hitting a home run over the fence on his bucket list. He didn’t hit that HR. He’d hoped to be able to see the warbler migration in May. He was unable to do that. I’ve always said that there is no crying in birding, but there is. As a gifted musician, Bill would want everyone to take a sad song and make it better.
“Life can be unfair. It stands to reason that death can be, too.
“Social media makes today’s news seem as if it had happened 10 years ago, but grief moves slowly. Life moves on, but with an enhanced appreciation of time and people.”
Our theater of seasons
Our Birds, Ourselves Division
A Wild Bird Feeder: “A couple of weeks ago, I heard this saying from a fellow skier while we were pondering whether the ski season was over. He asked if I’d heard the saying ‘Three snows on a robin’s tail, then spring will come.’ I had not.
“The robins came back a week or so ago. It is snowing (April 3) this morning — the second snow on the robin’s tail. The mass influx of robins have stripped most of the dried-up crabapples from the trees in our neighborhood, and I am wondering when we will see them pulling up worms.”
BULLETIN BOARD REPLIES: Eventually. In the meantime, we counsel patience — if that is not asking too much. (Alas, it is. Get here NOW, spring!)
Not exactly what she had in mind
Bloomington Bird Lady writes: “Subject: Ah, Spring — and Time for Maple Syrup?
“Something one doesn’t see too often anymore: maple trees being tapped for their sap, right here in the city. I was walking on a fairly busy street, and very close to the sidewalk were two large maples, each with a large pail attached by what looked like an IV hookup. Someone was going to make maple syrup. It brought back a memory from when our kids were babies.
“In the dark ages, before disposable diapers, we had to soak the nice cloth ones we used over and over; bleached them, washed them, hung them out to dry, then folded them to put away . . . and repeated that ritual many times before the babies were potty-trained. We had large pails standing out in the garage area, where the washing machine (not automatic) was hooked up. I may even have wrung out the ready-to-wash diapers by hand! See how easy you young gals have it today?
“One spring, Birdman and his teaching buddy decided to find some sugar maples out in the nearby woods, tap the now-flowing sap and make their own syrup. They used some large pails and had collected several gallons of sap, brought the pails home, and planned how to fit into their busy schedules the long cooking it would require.
“In the meantime, washday arrived. I found my diaper-soaking pail still full, and wondered why I had not dumped out the water. Guess who took the wrong pail, dumped out the gallons of newly collected sap and not realized the two pails looked very much alike? Yep!
“I wished they’d said something about leaving the sap pail right there. Guys often don’t say enough, it seems.
“Never heard the last of that mistake, and now it’s come back to haunt me!”
Now & Then (responsorial)
DebK of Rosemount: “I myself haven’t taken a photograph in over a quarter-century, but I am deeply grateful to those who, like the father of BB’s own Gregory J. of Dayton’s Bluff, have had the presence of mind to haul out their cameras to record Events of Significance.
“As Taxman and I were scrutinizing Gregory J.’s family photos of the 1964 flooding in St. Paul, we were able to put in perspective the difficulties this spring’s flooding has caused here at St. Isidore Farm, where lambing began three weeks before we expected and at the peak of our own water woes, which included flooding of the sheep barn.
“We still fret about conditions downstream, but here at the farm, the worst is over. By way of thanking the BB community for their expressions of concern and to bring them up to date on our situation, we offer an image painted by Jean Honore Fragonard. Supplied by Cousin Linda, whose studies at Smith College acquainted her with artists of the Ancien régime, this painting, which dates from more than two and one-half centuries ago, captures with astonishing accuracy — in almost photographic detail, that is — the life of St. Isidore Farm’s chief shepherdess in April 2019.
“P.S. Ever circumscribed by the ‘facts’ of a situation, Taxman notes: ‘We don’t have any leaves yet.’”
Till death us do part
An entry in the Permanent Spousal Record at the home of Rusty of St. Paul: “My wife of many years has many wonderful attributes. Cooking expertise is not one of them. She is pretty good with a can opener and opening pre-cooked frozen meals, but don’t ask her to boil water. I won’t talk about toast.
“I will mention the time, in the land-line era, when she parked our heavy-duty phone on one of the burners on our electric stove and turned the wrong burner on when she went to boil water for Mac-N-Cheese for our kids. (Refer to my statement above about boiling water.) She called me at work on our other phone, the two kids wailing in the background, to report having to have used the fire extinguisher on the stove-and-phone fire. When I saw the phone later, I told her I liked medium rare better than well done.
“One of my hobbies is high-end cooking, and I do pretty well at it. This is one reason I packed on so many pounds over the years.
“In February, I was diagnosed with a disease that mandated weight loss. I have dropped 25 pounds so far, by my usual method of limiting carbs, portion control, between-meal snacks of vegetables or fruit, cutting down on drinking and increased exercise.
“My wife comes from a family of 10. Twice in recent weeks, we have gone out to eat with some of her sibs who haven’t seen me in a while. Each time, one of them asked me: ‘Did you lose weight?’
“‘Yes. 25 pounds so far.’
“‘Twenty-five pounds?! How’d’ya do it?’
“‘I’m eating Anne’s cooking.'”
Our art, ourselves
Tim Torkildson reports: “The Senior Center out here in Provo has a free class on creating Abstract Art. I take the class every Monday afternoon — and these are some of the results, so far.”
The sign on the road to the cemetery said “Dead End”
Electronic Board of the Church on Lexington in Shoreview Division
Our Electronic Board of the Church on Lexington in Shoreview Monitor — Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul — reports: “Subject: Something to brighten our days.
“The most recent message on the electronic board of the church on Lexington in Shoreview reads:
“‘IT NEVER HURTS TO KEEP
“‘LOOKING FOR SONSHINE’”
Gee, our old La Salle ran (and still runs) great!
Deuce of Eagan writes: “Subject: Good Old PTC-33.
” PTC-33 must be another World War II torpedo boat, similar to the famous PT-109 — right? Lieutenant John F. Kennedy, war hero, commanded that boat and saved the crew after its sinking.
“Well, that sounds correct, but the PTC-33 bears no resemblance whatsoever to the PT-109. In fact, it’s never been even near a large body of water, unless you count Lake Como in St. Paul as such.
“Without using any military specifications, it was hand-built in 1914 by a company located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, a manufacturer which never did produce a toboggan. Back then, the term was used for a roller-coaster, which was the company’s original product. Their product line soon evolved (not revolved) to the manufacture of carousels, sometimes referred to as merry-go-rounds. One of their masterpieces is PTC-33, which used to be referred to as the ‘Minnesota State Fair Carousel.’ It revolved during every Fair for 75 years. It was the 33rd machine produced by the PTC.
“In 1987 or so, the Fair deemed that the building housing the carousel had deteriorated to the point where it needed to be razed. The grand old machine was doomed, and its owner (it was never owned by the Fair) shipped it to an auction house in New York in December of 1988. The horses were going to be sold individually.
“Enter a quickly formed nonprofit organization, Our Fair Carousel! They obtained a document, endorsed by the City of St. Paul, guaranteeing a bank loan of over a million dollars by OFC. At least for the time being, it was rescued and trucked back to Minnesota. A very close call!
“Soon after, a ‘mystery donor’ (as the Pioneer Press called him) entered the picture. Restoration was begun following a generous six-figure donation by this donor. About 1990, the fresh carousel was installed in a downtown indoor park: St. Paul Town Square Park. A dedication gala celebration followed, attended by the mayor and a long list of dignitaries. The mystery donor was unveiled: Gerard L. Cafesjian, a corporate executive at a downtown St. Paul business. From then on, PTC-33 was to be known as Cafesjian’s Carousel.
“This is where I came in. Some of Mr. Cafesjian’s business associates asked me to create a gift photo album for Mr. Cafesjian. ‘Mr. C’ was known as one with expensive tastes. I was given carte blanche to accomplish this. The result was rewarding and generated a lot of ‘oohs & aahs’: imported leather cover, linen pages imprinted with intricate designs and gold embossing. I included about 80 photos. A complementary piece was a walnut base and clear thick Lexan case, etched with the carousel logo, and ‘torched’ edges to appear clear as a fine diamond. Whenever the photo album was removed from its case for perusal, a Swiss music device (concealed within) would play ‘band-organ’ music, similar to that of the PTC-33 band-organ. It was a total surprise to him when he was presented the gift one evening at the Minnesota Club. He was obviously very pleased and referred to it often as extraordinary.
“Not long after, I decided to create a stained-glass window with an image of a carousel horse using vibrant colored glass. I was pleased with the window upon finishing with the (demanding) project. This would be a personal gift from me. Mr. C was elated.
“Thank goodness for Gerard L. Cafesjian, who did a wonderful thing by contributing the major share of the money needed to rescue this Minnesota treasure, to have it restored, and to build its pavilion for its final location at Como Park in St. Paul. Families will be enjoying PTC-33 for generations to come.”
Kathy S. of St. Paul: “Subject: Sabotaging Kids.
“One of my personal mantras: Those who lie and cheat and steal don’t win. They just lie and cheat and steal.
“Lately the news has been full of adults who cheat to ‘help’ kids too much. As a person who has been picked on my entire life — but ‘managed’ — I figure they are damaging the kids; making the kids into Mini-Mes who don’t know how to cope with their own times and places.
“Years ago, I heard there is a school of psychology that says children learn the most from situations so horrible that parents can’t choose them for their kids. I believe this is true.
“In Wisconsin I met a Jewish gentleman who survived a German concentration camp, a Siberian work camp, and panic attacks. He told me that people who had life too easy did not survive a week in the concentration camp. They couldn’t process changes fast and well enough to live through them. I believe this is also true, and I am passing that thought on to many younger folks.
“Some parents have talked about having ‘free-range’ kids. I see merit in that, though I stand at a distance in public spaces and monitor stray kids — in honor of Jacob Wetterling. Because Evil Is, and I adore kids. I figure it takes a village to ‘invisibly’ protect kids.
“Whenever possible, I pass on my mantras to younger folks — such as: People are more important than things; and Being picked on by some folks is a compliment. A good rule of thumb or sense of rightness can be invaluable in life.
“I also point out that some of the kids around those I’m talking to are hollow inside. They were given too many goods and not enough shoulds as they grew up — the consequences of which don’t show up until later in life, when a person’s hollow center caves in or explodes.
“As I go to the store, etc., I let kids know they are loved and valued, that they can figure things out and that I am rooting for them. Because acceptance matters.
Then & Now
The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: Birches . . . we don’t need no stinking birches.
“Growing up in the small Southwestern Minnesota town of Windom, I remember taking the shortcut across the frozen Des Moines River to the Plum Bay ‘wilderness.’ There was some risk in the journey, and the threat of punishment if Mom found out.
“It was a hilly, unfarmable place with a forested ravine and a little spring-fed creek about 3 feet wide that in the summer wiggled down to hundreds of yards of muddy river bank. It had vines an inch thick that ascended to the upper branches of tall trees, and their rated capacity was 100 pounds of swinging adolescent boy.
“We are so blessed to have recollections. To conjure up a particularly exciting day out of 25,000 and float in joyous solitude just short of fear.”
Band Name of the Day: Partners in Crime
Website of the Day (Our Squirrels, Ourselves Division), from Vertically Challenged: “I ran across this little article that I guess is going viral. I thought I’d send in case some of other Bulletin Boarders haven’t seen it”: Amazing giant multicolored squirrels caught on camera, become Internet sensation