Riddle us this, Charlie Brown: Name one wagon that was easier to own than the 1961 Ford Falcon!

Gee, our old La Salle ran great
Leading to: Please release me! (responsorial)

The REF in White Bear Lake: “Subject: Gee, our old La Salle Ford Falcon ran great.

“Seeing the post from John in Highland about Fizbee touting Clark Super 100 brought two things to mind: that The REF in White Bear Lake is from Highland, too (but that’s neither here nor there for this discussion), and that I have the program from the Rose Bowl of January 2, 1961. (January 1 fell on a Sunday, so the game shifted.)

“The Pacific Coast Conference had dissolved following the 1958 season, and the Big Ten Conference let its formal deal with the Rose Bowl drop as well. That season, the Athletic Association of Western Universities entered into a deal, and thus the 9-1 Washington Huskies traveled south to face the 8-1 Gophers, who’d accepted an at-large invitation from the Rose Bowl. The Gophers were ranked first in the nation. They’d won their first seven games and had outscored opponents 221-71. They were favored by a touchdown in the Rose Bowl.

“Washington won, 17-7.

“One of the things that caught my eye in the program was a full-page ad for the 1961 Ford Falcon — starring a few of the gang from ‘Peanuts.’ Charles Schulz’s creations had been licensed by United Feature Syndicate since October 1950. The Gopher State native had been living in Sebastopol, California, since 1958.

“The Internets tell me that Kodak was the first marketer to buy the characters, using them in a 1955 camera handbook. Ford Motor Co., I’m told, was among the first to use the animated characters on TV, in the early ’60s. A decade ago, when ‘Peanuts’ licensing rights were sold for $175 million, AdAge reported that there were 1,200 licensing deals with the li’l folks.”

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And now Auctiongirl of PI: “Subject: Back at John in Highland.

“Yesterday, I lost a friend and was thinking of all the wonderful old radio he featured and helped to share with a new generation. It was as easy as sending an email to inquire about vintage radio-show-related premiums, sheet music for commercials, and vintage advertising that darkened the doorway at the auction — everything from a ‘Copy Hoppy’ milk campaign to Captain Midnight (Skelly) Medallions to the Ovaltine Secret Decoder Rings and a Tom Mix Magnifier. Heck, he could even remember the ‘cereal shot from guns’ commercial when I needed that one for a found Lone Ranger Comic premium.

“Must say: Love the football button . . .

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“. . . and the little YouTube your ‘research staff’ found for us.”

There’s nothin’ like a simile!
Labored Sportswriting Division

The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills: “This was the beginning of Megan Ryan’s report on the Gophers’ Outback Bowl victory. It appeared on the front page of the Sports section in the January 2nd Minneapolis paper:

“‘Tyler Johnson launched off the field and outstretched his right arm.

“‘Reaching, reaching.

“‘Eyes pinned on the ball as it smacked into his curved palm. His right foot, toe pointed, just barely tapped the green turf before he tumbled out of bounds.

“‘Like Michelangelo’s hand of God imparting the spark of life to Adam, Johnson ignited the Gophers . . .'”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: You’ve gotta give her this:

It’s probably the first time anyone has compared the Outback Bowl to the Sistine Chapel.

Might be the last, too!

Play ball!

Chris, “formerly of Falcon Heights, now from beautiful White Bear Lake”: “Hunted high and low for this photo before the Vikings’ football season comes to an end. You always find what you’re looking for in the last place you look.

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“The young baseball player in the back row on the left is our own Bud Grant. Before he made his mark as a football coach, he was a star pitcher for the Osceola (Wisconsin) Braves baseball team from 1950 to 1953. Baseball was king in Osceola in the late 1940s and early 1950s. A playoff game often drew more than 2,000 fans. As a Vikings fan, I’m glad he didn’t stick to baseball.

“Keep up the good work, BB. You’re the best thing in the paper.”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Flattery — and a great old picture — will get you everywhere!

Dumb Customer Jokes

Rusty of St. Paul reports: “I was at our neighborhood hardware-store counter being helped by the manager. There was a sign that said: ‘Now hiring, all positions.’

“‘I see you are hiring all positions,’ I said.

“‘Yes, that is correct,’ replied the manager.

“I struck a ballet-type pose and said: ‘Well then, would you hire this position?’

“‘No,’ he said.

“I then struck an even sillier statuesque pose. ‘How about this one?’

“‘Absolutely not!’

“The 20-something employee next to him said: ‘I’d hire that first pose.’

“This is the same store where I was asked, years ago, if I was ‘ready to check out’ as I neared the counter. ‘No,’ I said. ‘I’m hoping to live another 30 years or so.’ Bulletin Board kindly printed that encounter.”

Ask a silly question
Or: The great comebacks

Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “Subject: That’s a good one!

“Last week I followed a routine I established a number of years ago: I drove to Joseph’s Coat, dropped off some items and a monetary donation, and stopped at a neighborhood florist. I ordered a dozen roses for my wife (the employees are extremely friendly and efficient).

“As the clerk handed me the wrapped flowers, she said: ‘I put two packets of preservative in there.’

“Has there ever been a better setup? You would have given the same reply: ‘For me or the flowers?’”

Life as we know it

A pair from Kathy S. of St. Paul: (1) “I believe everyone has Days from Dumb — when we do something that we know is not smart. Which is why I forgive myself for the recent Saturday when our streets turned into ice rinks.

“I drove to exit the underground parking of my apartment building, and opened the garage door. Outside, on the slightly steep road past my building, I saw a man drive partway up it and then turn around to drive down and away. And yet I persisted in leaving the garage.

“Luckily my car only slid into curbs three times — gently — and I was not hurt. When I got back to the garage, a neighbor was leaving it. I warned him how slippery the streets were, but he, too, persisted and left the garage. Days later, he thanked me for warning him to drive very slowly.

“Some days, we sure make our guardian angels work overtime!”

(2) “You’re an adult if you are glad that the Holidays are over.

“Sorry, kids!”

’Tis the season!
Or: Now & Then (responsorial)

Triple-the-Fun of Lakeville: “Al B of Hartland recently reminisced about his boyhood Christmases. He related how he received brown bags that contained a Red Delicious apple, peanuts in the shell, ribbon candy, and hard candy with a Christmas tree icon on each piece.

“The brown bags were not a tradition in my home, but they were at my husband’s (and sister-in-law’s) home. So several years ago, my sister-in-law started re-creating that memory at our family Christmas gathering. Every attendee (this year it was 30) gets a brown bag. Each contains a Red Delicious apple, peanuts in the shell, ribbon candy, and hard candy with a Christmas tree icon. Other goodies, which vary a bit from year to year, are also contained in the bag. Sometimes there are nuts in the shell (walnuts, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, and the impossible-to-crack-open Brazil nuts), sponge candy, gum drops (or spice drops), raspberry-filled hard candy, peppermint hard candy, or York Peppermint Patties. The old-timers love the memories these bags bring back, and the youngsters get a glimpse of what Christmas used to be like. It’s a great new tradition for everyone.”

’Tis the season — still!
Plus: Know thyself!

Al B of Hartland: “Every year, something incredible comes along. It’s called Christmas. I want it to stay, but it’s like hanging on to smoke.

“On Christmas Eve, my wife made delicious biscuits, an acini de pepe salad with mandarin oranges and maraschino cherries (no eye of newt), and Swedish pancakes served with lingonberry preserves. There aren’t any better things to pile into a piehole.

“I’d acquired a small jar of asparagus pickles. I’m fond of pickles — dill, okra and asparagus are particular favorites. My wife took the asparagus pickles along with her cherished watermelon pickles to a Christmas party I was unable to attend. I worried that the people there would snarf down the asparagus pickles as if there were no tomorrow. That wasn’t the case. Each pickle returned just as tall as it had been when it left our abode. Not a single one was eaten. I wasn’t unhappy about that.”

Not exactly what they had in mind
Plus: Till death us do part

Jimbo of Inver Grove Heights: “Subject: Late Christmas story.

“I suppose it’s too late to get another Christmas story in [Bulletin Board says: Perish the thought, sir!], but here goes.

“It was 1954, and Bob and I were in basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
It was the weekend, so we decided to hitchhike home for Christmas. All went well for a while, but most rides were short, and the later it got, the fewer cars came by. Finally we just gave up. We were somewhere in northern Iowa, so we found an old motel, got a room, went to bed, got up, and went back to Leonard Wood.

“It was my worst Christmas, but I went on to have many, many great ones — all
put on by Bev. That was her favorite holiday, and she went all out every year. I would give ANYTHING to be able to spend one more Christmas with her.”

In memoriam

The Divine Mum of Crocus Hill: “Subject: So many beautiful obits lately.

“I was especially touched by this one, for William Ebeltoft of Columbia Falls, Montana. It includes these lines: ‘It is difficult to write about Bill. He lived three lives: before, during and after Vietnam. Before Vietnam, Bill was a handsome man, who wore clothing well; a man with white, straight teeth that showed in his ready smile. A state champion trap shooter, a low handicap golfer, a 218-average bowler, a man of quick, earthy wit, with a fondness for children, old men, hunting, fast cars, and a cold Schlitz. He told jokes well.'”

Death, be not somber!
Or: Oopps!

Gregory of the North: “Normally, I don’t send in obituaries for their humorous content [Bulletin Board interjects: Normally, we wouldn’t print them], but every rule has an exception, I suppose.

“My dear next-door neighbor passed away a short time ago. In the obit that appeared in the electronic version of the Pioneer Press, it stated that the gentleman ‘washed his friends’ EARS’ (emphasis added). When we got the paper version of the newspaper a little later in the day, it was correctly stated that he washed his friends’ CARS.”

Till death us do part
Or: Muse, amuse

The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: Is your marriage questionable?

“Where’s my glasses? Have you seen my keys? When is your eye appointment? What was the name of that restaurant? Who says we don’t talk anymore?”

Our pets, our pests, our husbands, ourselves

DebK of Rosemount: “The last decade ended on a sour note for Taxman, who had to dedicate much of December 31, 2019, to removing sections of the canning-kitchen wall in order to free a pair of house-cat trainees trapped between the studs.

“In the best of circumstances, Taxman is unenthusiastic about my recurring efforts to bring cats into the house, though he capitulates every autumn to arguments for bringing in a mouser or two. This year’s recruits, Marigold and Blanche, seem less interested in rodent-control than in spelunking. They spend a great deal of time exploring the crawl space beneath the mudroom, where we human residents of the farmhouse cannot — will not — follow. It’s clear, nonetheless, that during one such kitten adventure, they fell into the basement kitchen wall cavity as they traveled through the century-old bowels of the house, thereby necessitating Taxman’s rescue efforts.

“Inasmuch as Taxman had planned to spend New Year’s Eve day in his barn ‘study,’ pondering the nuances of John Wayne and Elvis movies and eating Schwan’s ice cream directly from the carton, he was uncharacteristically surly as he pulled trim and sheetrock from the studs. My praise of his heroism didn’t dent his funk. Fortunately, his mood brightened considerably that evening, as he tucked into a magnificent slab of prime rib prepared by the Astronomer’s Good Wife at the Nininger estate.

“As luck would have it, returning home to survey the ruins of the canning kitchen again darkened Taxman’s spirits, which languished throughout New Year’s Day and might have made for a roughish first week of the new year except that on Thursday morning, we were summoned by Northfield friends Euterpe and Hesiod for duty as substitute dinner guests that evening, the intended guests having decided to host a gastrointestinal bug. Taxman’s mood elevated immediately at the prospect of eating Euterpe’s Cornish game hens and sampling Hesiod’s homemade wines.

“The evening with Euterpe and Hesiod cured whatever was ailing Taxman. But, surprisingly, it wasn’t the splendid cuisine or the lovely wine (not Hesiod’s own, which is still maturing ‘down cellar’) that put things right. No, it was Hesiod’s vivid retelling of his experience with a critter trapped in the walls of the farmhouse he built with his own hands.

“Several years back, a decade or more after Euterpe succumbed to the charms of a door-to-door salesman and purchased a behemoth Kirby upright vacuum, it came to pass that a terrible stink filled the House That Hesiod Built. It was the unmistakable aroma of a putrefying animal — not the kind of thing a fellow can ignore. So Hesiod leapt into action, cutting out smallish sections of the most likely wall. Hesiod’s nose was a pretty fair guide, it seems, for before too much of the house was gutted, he found the offending critter — a mouse in an advanced state of decomposition. Alas, the rodent was lodged just out of Hesiod’s reach. Ever ready with a strategy, Hesiod fired up Euterpe’s Kirby vacuum and stuck the hose up toward the source of the trouble. The Kirby did not disappoint. Within seconds, the malodorous rodent was sucked through the hose and into the Kirby’s (patented) whirring metal fan blades, which instantaneously turned the rotten mouse into rotten mouse puree. Hesiod reports that the pureeing process intensified the stench by a factor of 10, at least. Without tending to details such as unplugging the Kirby, Hesiod threw the machine (still powerfully belching rotten mouse fumes) out the front door and into Euterpe’s hosta bed.”

Our pets, ourselves

ARKatect of Mendota Heights: “Subject: Peace & Blessings.

“Edgar Allan Poe said it most eloquently — and I quote from ‘The Raven’: ‘and each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.’

“Just hours earlier, the fire was roaring just feet from where we now rest. Glancing within the firebox, I see the embers glowing and flickering, trying to hang on to their last breath of life. I turn to the ‘old beagle’ and catch him gazing into the fire as well. ‘What must he be thinking?’ I say to myself. He lowers his head on my knee and lets out a sigh. It matters not.

“Quote the raven . . . ‘Nevermore.’

“Peace & Blessings to All!”

There’s a signpost up ahead . . . (responsorial)

Miss Kitty of the Midway: “Subject: Lost and found.

Papa Doofus of Roseville’s story about his billfold reminded me of a couple of unexplained phenomena that occurred to Cat Dillon and me back when we lived in Los Angeles. It was the mid-’70s.

“We were looking for the key that would unlock our garage door. We kept it on the top of a travel trunk we had in our bedroom. It wasn’t where it was supposed to be; we looked high and low and couldn’t find it. Finally, we decided we would have to buy something to remove the lock . . . and we walked into the bedroom, and there was the key on the corner of the trunk where it always had been!

“We decided maybe we had a poltergeist.

“The next time around, Cat Dillon misplaced (?) his keys. They weren’t where they usually were, and the search was on. We remembered the garage key, so after a few days, as we left the house to go to work, I turned back into the empty house and said: ‘We really need those keys, so could you please return them?’

“When we returned home from work, the keys were lying in the middle of the kitchen floor! I thanked the entity, and we didn’t have any more issues after that — but I still think of them, and there is no explanation that I can find. Cue ‘Twilight Zone’ music.”

Not exactly what they had in mind

Lola: “There is a Speedway ad on TV that is advertising the food you can get inside of the gas station. The voice says: ‘We’ve got it hot, we’ve got it cold,’ and this popped into my head: ‘We’ve got it in a pot, nine days old.’

“Since you’re never the only one, I wonder how many others have had this thought while watching this ad.”

The American experience

Bloomington Bird Lady: “If you are of Swedish heritage, as I am, be glad your forebears came to Minnesota. Our governor still feels that Minnesota is ‘not full’ and appreciates new blood coming in to do well — just like my grandma and her sister did in the early 1900s. They were so happy to be here, and proud of each new English word they learned. Grandma’s first word in English, at age 8, was ‘beautiful,’ and she would go around saying it over and over.

“What would we do without the lovely ideas those Scandinavians brought with them? One that I like to remember is ‘Julotta,’ which is a worship service early on Christmas morning, starting about 7 a.m. My grandma and I would get up very early, as she loved this service from Sweden, now happening in our church in Minnesota. We’d walk the two blocks to church, and I would feel proud to sit with her, hearing a liturgy in Swedish, of course. Didn’t matter that I couldn’t speak the language; you can tell what is happening without being bilingual. The carols were rather somber-sounding and slow.

“Those immigrants loved hearing again something from the ‘old country,’ so the pastor kept the tradition going a few years.

“Probably there are no Julotta services anymore; none that I know of, anyway. Would people still be looking for these lovely reminders of their early days in Sweden? Even lutefisk dinners are dying out, as more people don’t want to do the actual work of getting all the varied dishes ready, and maybe even having sore feet from being on them all day — who knows?

“When I hear of walls going up and keeping desperate and homeless people out of our country, it makes me sad. The separation of families with some children and parents not united yet, as no one knows who belongs to whom, and where they are — pitiful. Some people forget that their own forebears came here as immigrants years ago. We can be glad that now we have festivals that the new citizens love to be a part of, and there is something to be enjoyed and learned by taking part in. What if there were no St. Patrick’s Day, or those fiestas that our Hispanic friends have each summer? The calendar is full of special days that these people would surely miss if they didn’t hang on to them. We get the benefits of learning through these ‘new Americans’ how they enjoy life. Let’s enjoy it with them.”

Hmmmmmmmm
Plus: The R’s Have It!

Eastside, Westside: “Subject: Pondering, and a pronunciation request.

“In the Pioneer Press this morning [1/5], I read the forecast for the upcoming few days from the KARE 11 weather team: After the cold of Tuesday into Wednesday, we would ‘warm up to freezing’ thereafter. If we will be colder than 32 degrees, wouldn’t we ‘warm up to thawing?’ Just wondering.

“And my pronunciation request is: As we approach the second month of the year, will those who will speak its name please remember the first ‘r’ in the word and not just the second one?

“Thanks very, very much.”

The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon

Vertically Challenged reports: “Our daughter-in-law has just had a Baader-Meinhof and had to call and tell me about it. (She’ll probably have another one with learning about Baader-Meinhof).

“Anyway, son & daughter-in-law & family were here last night, and I don’t remember what exactly we were talking about but I mentioned that my mom, when someone was there visiting and wanted us to go do something so they could visit, used to tell us kids to go get a salt shaker and if we put salt on a bird’s tail, we could catch it. Guess we were dumb enough to believe her, because we spent a lot of time trying to. She had never heard of that before.

“Today their daughter Eryn was doing homework, doing a project on the suffragette movement — and also being involved in Girl Scouts, Eryn wondered if the founder, Julia Gordon Low, was a suffragette. Looking it up, and reading it with her mom, Eryn and DIL came across a story about how she did an ink drawing of putting salt on a bird’s tail and would bring up this rhyme when speaking to groups! Meaning: You should get close to an issue & understand it first before getting too involved in it. She had to call me as soon as she read this!”

The vision thing

KH of White Bear Lake: “Subject: Why Things Lean.

“The tower (of Pisa) began to lean during construction in the 12th century, due to soft ground which could not properly support the structure’s weight, and it worsened through the completion of construction in the 14th century.

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“Maybe — or just maybe it was hit by a snowplow.”

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And now Dennis from Eagan: “I know that Santa is a ‘super man’ for delivering billions of presents every Christmas Eve, but I didn’t know that he switched outfits in a phone booth like Clark Kent. (Side comment: Have Millennials ever seen a phone booth?)

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“This is apparently Santa’s changing-station in Duluth, on London Road at 44th Avenue East. It’s probably best to call him, because there’s definitely no room in there to sit on his lap.”

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: Rose-colored?

“The most recent message on the electronic board of the church on Lexington in Shoreview reads:

“‘Clean your glasses so the

“‘new year is 20 – 20 sharp!’”

Come again?

Another episode of creative hearing, reported by Grandma Pat, “formerly of rural Roberts, Wisconsin”: “Tonight I was talking on the phone to daughter Sue. She told me that she and her husband had gone downtown to see the Christmas lights in Rice Park.

“Then I heard her say: ‘We should do Tai Chi sometime.’

“I replied: ‘In the park?’

“She answered: ‘No, in the St. Paul Hotel.’

“Puzzled, I asked: ‘Tai Chi in the hotel?’

“She paused for a moment, then laughed and said: ‘No, Mom, not Tai Chi. High Tea.’

“Oh my.”

Band Name of the Day: The Mouse Fumes

Website of the Day: A Tumbleweed Collection