The best State Fair in our state!
Ramblin’ Rose writes: “Subject: Food, Glorious Food. [Bulletin Board sings along: Hot Corn Dog With Mustard!]
“In case there was any doubt at all, the State Fair is here. The news anchors and radio personalities seem positively giddy about the prospect of broadcasting for 12 days with a live audience. History shows that even 90-degree heat and humidity won’t wilt their smiles as they showcase blue-ribbon winners and gush over baby animals. And, of course, they have to sample the new foods.
“It seems that no matter how bizarre the concoction, it gets a brave smile and a thumbs-up from the broadcasters. They can be quick to offer it around for tasting, though, and I wonder what’s really going through their minds as they sample combinations of potentially gut-churning pickled, spiced, sauced, cheese-covered, and deep-fried whatever. They are braver than I am.
“Food gets more excitement and publicity than anything else at the Fair. I guess that’s what a long winter will do to you. Heck, the St. Paul Pioneer Press put out an article fully two months ago highlighting all of the new foods and where to find them; you could map out your day at the Fair, munching and crunching through all of the new exotic offerings. I admit that I read the list with some anticipation, hoping to find a new favorite. It turned out to be a quick read. I readily dismissed anything overly cheesy or made up of deep-fried dough; more cheese curds for everyone else. Nor will I be cutting the line for poutine or elbowing my way up for Creole-seasoned grits. Cotton candy-wrapped ice cream? Never. I had almost given up hope when I found it near the end of the list: stuffed cabbage roll. Yes, my kind of food. Sturdy. Basic. A vegetable that would taste as it should and not make me regret my choice. I will be there.
“I don’t think I’m a food fuddy-duddy. I just prefer fruits and vegetables to the sometimes-strained combinations that leave me wondering what their creators were aiming for.
“Of course, I have a sweet tooth, and I do indulge at the Fair. We always start our eating at Buni’s Bakery with an oversized cinnamon roll for breakfast. They are of a size that will hold you past lunch, although I keep grazing throughout the morning. Calories don’t count at the Fair. The fresh strawberries are sweet, and a sundae or malt from the Dairy Building is a must. The chocolate-covered pretzels are the best buy at the Fair. But I will leave to you the chocolate-chip cookies. [Bulletin Board says: No, thank you. We’re with you 100 percent when you say . . . ] I could never understand the appeal of a hot cookie after walking around in the sun for the whole day. I know that’s a sacrilege here, but there you go.
“I love the Fair, and I do it my way.”
And now The Astronomer of Nininger: “Subject: Great Minnesota Get-Together.
“The Good Wife and I moved to Minnesota 40 years ago. Our children were little tots then, and we learned that the Minnesota State Fair was a great fair — not just for youngsters ready to try every ride and quiet every rumbly in their tumbly (as Pooh might have said) with the most incredible assortment of foods-on-a-stick anywhere. Now, I have been to a number of state fairs, including that long-running one in the Lone Star State, and enjoyed them all. Admittedly, some were disappointing when compared with ours, but at the same time it may simply be that it does not always take much for me to find something to amaze or stimulate me.
“One thing about our Great Minnesota Get-Together is that there is something for everyone, no matter who you are. You simply cannot see everything in a day. I have been judging there since 1985 — nearly every year, with few exceptions. I am proud of it and show you a picture of the Judge’s Pin from back then.
“I am looking forward to seeing people I haven’t seen since last year’s Fair, and I hope they will be glad to see me again.
“Put on your walking shoes. Maybe I’ll see you at the 4-H Building or my political party’s information booth or the Horse Barn.”
BULLETIN BOARD MUSES: It would be outstanding entertainment to watch the political candidates being judged, in the manner of farm animals.
Keeping your ears open
Or: Today’s helpful hint
Kathy S. of St. Paul: “Overheard in a Ladies Room (and quoted with permission):
“A woman in the stall next to me prompted a young girl: ‘Now what do you do next?’
“The girl recited: ‘Flush, wash and on my way.’
“Succinct, and so very useful.”
Another close encounter of the natural kind, reported by Friendly Bob of Fridley: “One day last month, I headed out the ‘patio’ door of my apartment (the patio is about 2 feet deep by 10 feet wide) to run some errands when I had this friendly visitor.
“I had never seen such a butterfly (a Red Admiral — I looked it up!), and it did not seem at all skittish in my presence. So I got out my trusty little digital camera and got this shot. There is some wooden lattice running up one side of the patio, and that’s where it landed and spread its wings for me. After I took the picture, I studied it a bit (at fairly close range) as it slowly spread and contracted the wings. What a beautiful sight! Then it went on about its business, as did I.”
And now Mounds View Swede: “Subject: Eight garden guest photos.
“When I went out to see how the area flowers were doing, I saw I had blossom guests this time. The first is called Atlantis Fritillary, on a purple coneflower.
“A similar blossom also attracted a painted lady butterfly. [Dorothy of Michigan says it looks suspiciously like Friendly Bob’s Red Admiral. She’s right! We think. . . .]
“Another one had a bee visitor.
“At the nearby compost-site garden, the anise hyssop was attracting a lot of bees, too.
“And the blooming lilies in my front garden attracted this eastern tiger swallowtail.
“The coneflower had a larger bee later on.
“While a compost-site blossom attracted a moth-like insect.
“I checked the weeds along the fence of the compost site, and some thistles were blooming. A bumblebee found it a good place to stop and get some nectar.
“I was happy to see all the blossoms being put to good use from an insect perspective. I used to not like thistles, but seeing their bee value has changed my perspective on this.”
The Permanent Sisterly Record
Plus: The Permanent Motherly/Daughterly Record
Gma Tom writes: “Subject: Memories and traditions.
“In an attempt to de-clutter, I have been sorting through many saved mementos, one of which included much correspondence between my sister and myself. With these I found a clipping of the St. Paul Pioneer Press of December 14, 1999. The clipping was a lovely article about two sisters who had been exchanging the same Christmas card for 50 years.
“The reason I kept the clipping was, of course, because my sister and I had begun doing the very same thing. We did not start as young as the featured sisters, but in 1991 I gave my sister a particularly significant card. We did not exchange the card right away, but several years later I found it back in my mailbox. After a couple years, I sent it back — and we have been doing the same now for the past 27 years.
“Of course, some years we can’t remember who has it, so it skips a year. We do not write our message directly on the card; instead, on enclosed note paper. We only sign and date the card now, with maybe a word or two.
“Our major challenge (except remembering who has it) is to find an envelope for the somewhat-larger-than-normal card. One year my sister wrote: ‘Why did you have to choose such an odd size card anyway, it’s so hard to find an envelope to fit?’ Well, of course, I didn’t know the card was destined to be a lifetime traveler via USPS.
“While we’ll probably never surpass the featured sisters of 1999, we haven’t stopped with Christmas cards, either. After several years of exchanging the Christmas card, we began passing the same birthday card back and forth. This is a bit more difficult, as my birthday is in February while hers is in September, so keeping track of who has the card has become much more challenging; we solved that problem by engaging two birthday cards to make the rounds. They are both so poignant and special that we need to keep both of them going back and forth.
“Mother/Daughter — or: The Little Pink Sock Saga: Back in 1982, when my first daughter to marry was about to embark on her honeymoon, I slipped some extra cash into a little pink sock and hid it among her luggage. I do not remember how or when the sock was returned and what it may have contained, but it was again hidden as a surprise for the recipient.
“My daughter lives many states away, and the visits were infrequent, but subsequently that little pink sock would find its way into some hidden nook or cranny, to be discovered long after the visitor had returned home.
“The sock now contains a poem or special message — or in several cases, a ‘Mutts’ cartoon with Mutts singing about his ‘little pink sock, the gift that keeps on giving.’
“The visits are more frequent now, and the sock manages to make the trip with each coming and going. It seems to get discovered quicker now, too, but it is still a surprise each time it brightens the day of the receiver.”
Only a ______________ would notice!
Walt of Wayzata: “Subject: Only a recovering English teacher would notice.
“In the 8/19 comics section of the SPPP, the ‘Real Life Adventures’ panel had a father king asking his son if he would like to hear a little Hemingway, and he goes on to say: ‘Ask not for whom the school bell tolls, it tolls for thee.’
“The misquoted reference is to a work by John Donne, and the line is: ‘And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.’ Hemingway borrowed the line for his book.”
Gaining something in translation
Elvis reports: “Elvis ordered some bicycle equipment via eBay, to be shipped from China.
“Elvis wanted to share the email message he received, with punctuation intact; it gets better at the end . . . and yeah, Elvis wondered, if he typed something in English and asked a translation program to turn it into Chinese, how muddled up that would be.
“‘Hope everything goes fine with you This e-mail probably disturb you, But I’m concerning about your package status .20 days have passed since your item was shipped It should reach you very soon (normally ,that will arrive in 10-30 business days from China).
“‘when you are receiving good conditional and you really love the items, We hope you could leave us positive feedback in Real 5 ★★★★★ stars As the shipping is free and realize it’s international mail post send by economy option. Hope you could really understand this
“‘If there is anything you feel unsatisfied with, please do tell us firstly This will help us know what we should do to help you with best solution as well as how we should improve .
“‘Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any problems with this purchase .
“‘Customer Service Department'”
Then & Later
Or: What’s in a name? (Bison Division)
Deuce of Eagan writes: “A Funny Thing Happened at the Museum.
“While visiting the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, located in Spearfish, South Dakota, some years ago, I experienced a unique happenstance.
“As I strolled through the building enjoying the many exhibits and giving scrutiny to the historic black-and-white photos of the Black Hills, I noted several animal ‘head mounts’ displayed high on a wall, which included a bear, an antelope or two, and a few bison.
“As I scanned that portion of the exhibits, I noted an uncommon feeling of some sort — an unusual interest in one of the buffalo mounts. I walked on, trying not to dwell on thoughts of that particular bison. Well, that did not last long, I felt compelled to take another look.
“I went back and stared for a few minutes. Then slowly it came to me: I knew this mighty steed from years past, and I even remembered his name. It was Sam!
“I went to a staff member sitting at a desk nearby and related my revelation. I spoke of my (suddenly now very clear) memories of 55 years earlier, concerning this buffalo. I told of how ‘Sam’ appeared in Black Hills rodeos carrying his owner, (Jerry) LaRue Olson, around the arenas. When I was 14 years old, I used to lead Sam on a rope up to the Whitewood city park to graze now and then.
“The staff member decided to called a senior staff member, who checked some records — and sure enough, that is Sam. With my memories being authenticated, I felt a rare fleeting moment of being a kid again.
“Most everyone would agree: If you’ve seen one buffalo, you have seen them all. It appears that theory may be somewhat conditional now, doesn’t it?”
Semi-Legend writes: “Subject: FREE, sort of.
“The Atlantic arrived in the mail today, the September 2019 issue. My subscription runs until April 2020.
“With the magazine was an envelope that said ‘FREE Renewal Offer.’
“FREE is good. I opened it.
“’Get a free gift subscription when you renew today,’ the message said.
“Under ‘payment information’: ‘You pay . . . Only $59.99.’
“Further down it said: ‘The Atlantic publishes 10 issues annually.’
“A box at the top of the message said: ‘Annual cover price: $179.90. Your renewal rate: $59.99.’ And highlighted in red: ‘Savings on renewal: 83%’ along with ‘1 FREE gift sub.’
“I’m not a math whiz. That percentage-savings figure puzzled me. I took out a calculator. $179.90 minus 83% gave me $30.58. In my head, rounding up, $60 seemed one-third of $180.
“There was no price on the cover of the issue, but does a single issue really cost $17.99?
“I looked at the magazine’s colophon on page 95: ‘Subscriptions: one year $39.95 in the U.S.’ (And it said ‘published monthly except for a combined issue in January/February.’ So, 11 issues?)
“The colophon also said: ‘If you receive a suspicious notification, please let us know at email@example.com.’
“Well, at least I know who to contact.”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We can’t make sense of ALL of this arithmetical razzle-dazzle, but note that an 83% saving on TWO $179.99 subscriptions would result in a price of $59.99.
Gee, our old La Salle ran great! (responsorial)
Triple-the-Fun of Lakeville: “Subject: Where’s the Butter Brickle?
“Deuce of Eagan was lamenting the disappearance of Butter Brickle ice cream. I’m happy to report that Butter Brickle still exists! I have a container in my freezer right now. Unfortunately, the brand I have is not readily available in the Twin Cities. South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota, has a milk-processing facility on campus, and they make a lot of ice cream in a variety of flavors. They make Butter Brickle. I know someone attending SDSU, and he occasionally brings me a supply of ice cream. So Deuce of Eagan shouldn’t lose faith; there may be other obscure ice cream producers out there who are just waiting for us to discover their Butter Brickle.”
Derryboy of Stillwater: “To Deuce of Eagan: I, too, am a Butter Brickle fan, and can report that the flavor is always readily available at Knoke’s Chocolate Shop in Hudson. Also visited Brown’s ice cream store in Stillwater and found a flavor called Toffee Crunch. Below the name was a note reading ‘aka Butter Brickle.’ Delicious!”
Tom’s Wife of Arden Hills: “For Deuce of Eagan:
“Nelson’s Cheese Factory in Nelson, Wisconsin, has wonderful Butter Brickle ice cream. It’s worth the drive along the river.” [Bulletin Board says: If you’re going to Nelson on a weekend, plan to have dinner at The Stone Barn. Exceptional pizza in an idyllic Wisconsin valley.]
Lola: “Here are Bridgeman’s flavors currently available. No Butter Brickle, but they have Butter Brittle.
“Here are their locations.”
Deb of Maplewood: “Deuce of Eagan asked: ‘Where’s the Butter Brickle?’ It’s back, Deuce. We just had fabulous ‘Butter Brickle Blondie,’ purchased at the local grocery store named after a bear child [Bulletin Board interjects: That’s CUB, and it wasn’t named after a bear child; it was an acronym for Consumers United for Buying], and I know it’s also available at that nice store with two names [Lunds & Byerly’s]. The brand is Sweet Me Creamery, a local premium ice cream company. It’s pricey, but oh so delicious.”
Everyone’s a critic!
DebK of Rosemount: “Until today, when Taxman and I had the misfortune of attending a play that disappointed ‘majorly,’ as the grandkids would put it, the top position in my ranking of Worst Theatrical Experiences of My Life was held by the Greenville-Rossie Consolidated School’s third-grade class production. The title of said play is lost in the Mists of Time, but it was undertaken to provide entertainment at a PTA function, circa 1960. Being a Very Big Deal, the play was presented at the Rossie Junior High building, in the theater, which was really just a large elevated niche that opened onto the gym. A dusty, moth-eaten velvet curtain (maroon, I think) had been hung eons earlier, perhaps to lend an artsy note. But the smell of the place dispelled any notions that the space was anything but a junior-high gymnasium.
“It wasn’t the ambience of the place that tarnished the theatrical experience for me. It was that I was cast as Grandfather Rat. It was no comfort to me that Grandfather Rat was the play’s leading character. The Grandfather Rat costume was repellent: a gray-brown boy’s coverall to which Mom safety-pinned a stuffed tail. To complete the ensemble, she concocted some kind of head covering to which cardboard ears were affixed. It was ghastly — nothing like the costume of the character I’d dreamed of playing. I’d set my sights on being cast as the lavishly gowned, weepy little girl whose misery was brought on by the inadequacies of her diet and whose eventual restoration (to both health and happiness) was wrought by Grandfather Rat’s nutritional advice.
“In retrospect, it’s clear to me that I could never have pulled off the role of that little girl. First, there was that lavish gown. My classmate who was cast in the role had access to such a garment. In fact, she owned several frilly dresses whose skirt volume was augmented by many-layered ‘can-cans.’ I did not. The best my closet had to offer was a too-often-laundered poodle skirt (sans can-can) handed down to me from my glamorous Cousin Sharon.
“Then there was the question of my ability to portray the requisite degree of frailty. The little-girl character was, after all, bawling her head off (through almost the entire play) because she was suffering near-starvation, a diet deficient in the (then) Seven Major Food Groups. Much as I yearned for that role, I must’ve known deep-down that there was too much of the well-nourished farm girl about me ever to pull that off.”
The sign on the road to the cemetery said “Dead End”
Church Signs Division
Reports Bob the Bureaucrat: “The sign outside the church on Snelling Avenue said:
“‘I shoulda slapped those two mosquitoes
Band Name of the Day: Hot Cookies
Website of the Day: Minnesota State Fair