Or: Now & Then
Monday email from Kathy S. of St. Paul: “Subject: May 4, 1970.
“Fifty years ago today, I sat in the middle of the College of St. Thomas campus in St. Paul, listening to an anti-war speaker. When I got home, I heard that students protesting the Vietnam War were shot at Kent State University in Ohio. Dad was surprised that I was upset. But I could have been among those killed. I feel part of Kent State.
“Spring of 1970 was gorgeous. Hot summer weather in late April tempted students to skip classes. Then, on April 30, President Nixon announced the U.S. was bombing Cambodia. And the campuses emptied out. Where classes still went on, they turned into forums on the Vietnam War. Students at Macalester College declared the school year over, and left to educate Americans on the war. I still had final exams to study for, which bugged me.
“One part of the gathering at St. Thomas puzzled me. We students sat on the grass to hear the speaker, who stood on the grass. Behind him and to his right, a man in a three-piece suit was taking pictures. He systematically photographed the crowd, rather than the speaker. I pointed this out to other students, who shrugged. But when the man turned his camera my way, I leaned back to avoid him.
“Years later, I heard that the FBI investigated anti-war protesters. I assume the photographer was with the FBI. I doubt if there is an FBI file on me, but I’d love to send in a Freedom of Information Act request to check. It would be fun to find out someone thought I was a wild and crazy radical. [Bulletin Board says: If you go ahead with a FOIA request, please report back to us!]
“C-SPAN broadcast programs about the shootings this week. Members of my generation gathered to remember, and to grieve. Each person and generation is defined by points in time. One of mine is Kent State.”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: In memory of the Kent State four, and the uncountable others, we recommend that you spend some time here: 4 Dead In Ohio: 10 Powerful Versions Of “Ohio” On The 50th Anniversary Of The Kent State Massacre
Then & Now
John in Highland writes: “Subject: Memories.
“Going through a drawer in an old desk, I found this program from 1972.
“I remember quite clearly that guitarist Leo Kottke put on an excellent concert in the original Guthrie Theater.
“The opening act was a guy who played three trumpets at once while bouncing around on a pogo stick.
“Kottke talked to the audience between tunes and showed his self-deprecating humor. He said that a friend had once told him that his voice sounded like ‘goose (hindquarters emissions) on a foggy day. ‘
“My wife and I attended many of his concerts before she died a few years ago. Recently I ran into the young (then) woman whom I had taken to the concert 48 years ago. I asked if she remembered. She did!”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Who could ever forget the late, great Wally Pikal?
And while we’re remembering, so is Leo Kottke!
Our theater of seasons
Mounds View Swede: “A nice shower followed by a sunny day helps make the blossoms a little more beautiful.
“My maple tree is changing day by day now.
“And one of my hosta plants seems ready to open up and say ‘Ta dah!’
“The back-yard ferns are unfurling.
“While a few remnants from last fall are still standing.
“And the early bloomers are showing real leaves now.
“Soon my back-yard ‘forest’ will hide my neighbors’ houses. I always was intrigued with living by or in ‘the woods,’ and now the illusion fulfills that somewhat.”
Grandma Paula: “I have been looking through some of my photos, picking out a few that remind me of spring. I have lots of time on my hands, and it seems my friends do, also; a few of them are texting me some of their old photos and telling me that they are sorting through boxes of photos while they are stuck at home.
“I thought I would share some of my spring photos with Bulletin Board.
“Happy spring! It is so nice to have a few warm, sunny days.”
Our pets, ourselves
The Astronomer of Nininger: “Subject: Visiting dogs.
“Our number-one son and his lovely wife are in the midst of selling their home in Victoria, Minnesota. To make ‘public’ showings easier during the COVID-19 era, their two Labs are staying with us while the home is on the market.
“Our canine companion, Harper, is a Weimaraner — about the same height at the back, but shorter and nowhere near as stocky. I would say that each of the Labs outweighs Harper by 20 pounds.
“One might assume that the visit by two more dogs makes everything three times as much of whatever one gets into, but a linear mathematical model does not truly approximate what really takes place.
“As I sit at my desk, all three are stretched out on the carpet next to me. Charley, a Yellow Lab, is not taller but is noticeably longer. So is Gracey, the Chocolate Lab. When Amazon Prime rings the doorbell, signaling the delivery of an online order by the Good Wife, the decibel level of three dogs announcing the terror that awaits anyone at the door is exponentially higher than you’d expect for three times the noise. Each, of course, has to outdo the other. And the speed of responding is also quicker than one might expect. Although they lie on the carpet, once they are upright and heading for the doorway out of the study, they are not only competing with each other on how loud they can bark, but also attempting to beat the others out of the room. Their legs, once they hit the hardwood floor, gain no traction, and there are slipping dog nails as they scramble away. Of course, by the time they reach the entry doorway, the Prime driver is already pulling away.
“Certainly, dogs do need to go out and do their duty. Whatever time is required for one dog is not simply multiplied by three. You would think they could all do something at the same time. But it seems each has to smell something individually and then take a drink from the bird bath. I am sure that they are convinced that the bird bath is their outside water bowl. Gracey, however, prefers to go out front to the pond, where she immerses her front paws in the water while lapping up a gallon (or so it seems) of water. That later will require another visit outside.
“I mentioned that the Labs are longer. So Charley, while ‘counter surfing,’ can reach far more objects than Harper ever could. I guess we were lucky in that Harper never did engage in that kind of activity. She looks at Charley as if he were nuts for standing up at the counter. Charley thinks just the opposite.: ‘Why don’t you do this? You should see what you are missing.’
“Harper has had her toys since she came to live with us some seven years ago. She is non-destructive. Her favorite toy is an Ikea 2-foot-long green broccoli toy that she proudly shows anyone at hand. She also likes toys that squeak. She is content to make a toy squeak for hours on end. But the Labs seem to destroy any object they place in their mouths. If they don’t consume it, they shred it.
“The house will be sold before long, and the visiting dogs will go home. Their family will be happy to have them return — especially our granddaughter, with whom they sleep all night long. They don’t get that luxury with us. But we will certainly miss them. They are fun dogs, and each of them has a special personality.
“Our dog will miss them, too.”
Unclear on the concept?
The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: Vestiges of vestibules (read while channeling Andy Rooney).
“I am cursed with a penchant for noticing frivolous accoutrements. Have you ever driven past homes with nice benches by their entryways? Now . . . have you ever seen anyone sitting on them? Me neither. Don’t get me wrong, I‘m not against them. I seldom pass up a chance to sit down . . . but I’ve never done it after ringing a doorbell. I might if there was a sign saying ‘Have a seat, we’ll be with you shortly.’ The delivery guys probably like them, but for me, the value of front-door-fanny-furniture is wasted.”
The highfalutin bemusements
Donald: “Subject: Talk about macabre.
“The ‘sender’ of the email was a former high-school classmate. This was the opening sentence: ‘I wish I had sent this sooner’ — followed by a link. The link was promoting some type of supplement that would cure any ailments I have, and some I wasn’t aware of.
“Nothing unusual about that, except the supposed sender had died a month before.”
Joy of Juxtaposition
Barbara of Afton: “The category on ‘Jeopardy!’ was words beginning in Z. Clue was ‘Poland’s currency.’
“Later the same day, I was reading a book set in Poland. There it was again: zlotys!”
Not out of the mouths of babes
Or: Today’s helpful (?) hint
The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills: “Subject: Sneeze coming on? Thumbs up!
“Granddaughter Eve, now a middle-schooler, gave Grandpa a tip on how to short-circuit a sneeze. She can’t remember where she learned this technique, but here it is: When you feel a sneeze coming on, position either hand in a ‘thumbs up’ position. That will prevent the sneeze from occurring.
“Try it . . . it works!”
This ’n’ that ’n’ the other ’n’ the other
All from Al B of Hartland: (1) Subject: A bowling ball named Jerry.
“I hadn’t been bowling since they’d made the balls round and put holes in them, but I did on Leap Day. I thought I might not be able to bowl when I asked for size-14 bowling shoes. The clerk said ‘You could just as well wear shoeboxes,’ but she found me a lovely set of clown shoes.
“I had shoes. I needed a bowling ball. I chose a dark-colored one so I could pick it out from the pins. The ball was named Jerry. At least that was the name etched into it. I was afraid I’d roll a no-hitter. I’d pitched them before — in softball.
“I commenced bowling. I worried there might be math involved, but the scoring was done automatically. Disproving the old adage that lightning never strikes the same place twice, I threw three straight strikes. A turkey by a turkey. I rolled a 140 and retired from bowling.”
(2) “Subject: Those thrilling days of yesteryear.
“Gary Hansen was a banker in Hartland. A fine man. One day, Gary was on a stepladder, washing the outside windows of the bank. Tom’s Barber Shop was down the street, and it was a rascals’ lair. The denizens saw Gary, so they called the bank. Gary heard the ring. This was when people answered their phones, which were landlines only. All calls were important. Gary ran into the bank to answer the phone. They hung up before he could do that.
“One call should have been enough, but it wasn’t.”
(3) “I saw a great horned owl at high noon, rousted from its roost by enraged crows. What appears to be its ears are tufts of feathers called plumicorns. Great horned owls regularly eat skunks. Owls don’t have a sense of smell keen enough to be offended by a skunk’s smell. All they know is that a skunk is delicious. I took to the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota a great horned owl that had been hit by a car. It had been skunk hunting and was successful in that regard. It was a real stinker. The trip to the Raptor Center in the company of a skunk owl was a long one.”
(4) “I listened to a delightful sparrow duet — song and vesper — as I watched a brown creeper creep brownly up trees.
“A yellow-rumped warbler fed on suet as a team of juncos raked the ground.
“The birding life is good.”
Our birds, ourselves
Wayne Nelson of Forest Lake: “We stopped down at Marine on St. Croix on our way home the other day to see if the eagles had occupied the nest this year. There were two young ones in the nest this year, with the mother feeding them when we were there. They are much bigger than the ones on the Internet from Decorah, Iowa. I was able to get a few pictures of them in the nest.
“After the feeding, the mother perched herself on a limb a couple of feet above the nest to keep an eye on her youngsters.”
Everyone’s a copy editor!
Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “Subject: A numbers game.
“My high-school classmate Mike of Stillwater called my attention to this:
“In the ‘Sports briefing’ area on Page 9A in the Saturday (5-2) edition of the Pioneer Press, this appeared in the ‘Gophers volleyball’ section: ‘U recruiting class ranked No. 2.
“‘Hugh McCutcheon’s 2020 recruiting class is tops in the nation, according to VolleyballMag.com.
’’This is the first time the Gophers have had the No. 1 recruiting class in McCutcheon’s tenure, and the second time ever.’”
Dennis from Eagan: “Subject: Hotel with a heart.
“The temporarily closed Bloomington West Hilton (at I-494 & France Avenue) lit some room lights in a heart-shaped pattern nightly during the past week. They can do this only on the western side of the building, because the always-lit elevator-landings on the eastern side would interfere with the pattern. The hotel will reopen when Minnesota’s coronavirus shutdown ends.”
And now The Hastings Crazy Quilter: “Subject: How do we KNOW we’ll make it through this?
“As the shelter-in-place drags on, we are all making adjustments in our lives and trying to keep our spirits up. Perhaps it might help if we bear in mind the MANY advantages we have over our ancestors who lived through the 1918 Flu Pandemic:
“A is for anti-nausea, anti-inflammatory, anti-diarrhea medications which help mitigate some of the side-effects of the virus.
“B is for bystanders . . . NOT! I’m grateful for all the public reminders that we’re all in this together.
“C is for our computers, which help us communicate, keep us informed and entertain us.
“D is for drive-thru pickup (enough said).
“E is for our ever-persistent medical professionals, we wish you stamina.
“F is for face masks, foodshelves and freezers.
“G is for our Governor, who is facing the virus head on.
“H is for heating (and air conditioning) in our homes to make us comfortable.
“I is for indoor plumbing (not that widespread in 1918).
“J is for joining online support groups to exchange tips.
“K is for Kleenex, invented in 1924. Can you imagine going through a respiratory illness without Kleenex? Having to wash dirty hankies?
“L is for long-distance communication at our fingertips.
“M is for our medical staff’s not being siphoned off by World War I.
“N is for our news media, giving us daily updates. The federal and state governments in 1918 were definitely suppressing the news media and justifying it because of the war.
“O is for online suppliers.
“P is for phones, not that common in 1918.
“Q is for questions and those resources that are giving us answers.
“R is for the ongoing research, which is light-years past what was available in 1918.
“S is for science, social distancing and the thousands of home sew-ers who are making face masks to distribute.
“T is for testing, which will determine where we go from here.
“U is for unemployment insurance. which was part of the 1935 Social Security bill.
“V is for vaccine, which will take a while but gives us hope.
“X is for Minnesota excelling at social distancing AND for the excellent cooperation of the
University of Minnesota, the Mayo Clinic and our state government.
“Y is for yoga (or other exercising) at home.
“Z is for Zoom meetings.
“We need to remember: It is not the smartest or the richest or the strongest of the species that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
Band Name of the Day: Toys That Squeak
Website of the Day: