What did it take to land a job at the Spearmint factory?

Ask a silly question . . .

Bill of the river lake: “Subject: Easy job interview.

“The other day, a friend of mine remembered that many years ago,
he had a job interview to work at Wrigley’s Spearmint factory.

“His interview was very brief, as the only question asked of him was:

“‘Can you walk and chew gum at the same time?’

“He got the job, being so fully qualified.”

The highfalutin amusements

The Astronomer of Nininger: “Subject: ‘The Fly.’

“‘The Fly’ is a classic horror movie that warns the viewer about new and coming technologies.

“When I talk about The Fly, I find it demonstrates indeed that the newest of technologies are not necessarily fool- or fail-proof.

“The Good Wife recently updated our kitchen to include quartz countertops, a new three-sectioned sink unit and new plumbing fixtures. She selected a Kohler kitchen faucet that has a touchless feature whereby merely waving your hand (or anything else) under the high arched spout turns the water flow on or off in turn. This does provide improved sanitary conditions and speeds up the kitchen tasks. Manufacturing advertisements tell us that it will ‘prevent false activations while you do other tasks in the sink area.’

“Well, we found that one does not have to be in or even near the sink area. The other night, during an incredibly delicious dinner of mint-jelly-marinated Grilled Lamb Chops from the St. Isidore Farm, Spinach Pomegranate Salad, and Roasted Baby Red Potatoes, the water suddenly started flowing full force from the kitchen faucet. After a couple rounds of asking each other who left the water running, we enjoyed our supper.

“This happened several times over the next few days. It became clear that neither of us turned on or left the water on while using the faucet.

“Of course, entering the self-defense mode, I started mentally calculating what it would take to repair this malfunction. It was, as you might imagine, just out of warranty. I crawled on my hands and knees under the sink to check the sensor power, plumbing, etc. No problem was observed.

“Then the Good Wife saw a fly darting back and forth around the gooseneck curve of the faucet and actually noticed how it would buzz right under the sensor, disrupting the activation beam, turning the water on.

“The Fly is no longer with us; it no longer causes the water to turn on or off seemingly by itself. Mystery solved.

“Now, when someone mentions ‘The Fly,’ I think of this one, not the Hollywood version.”

Our theater of seasons

More photos and captions from Mounds View Swede: (1) “This turkey showed up in our yard and was looking at one of our lower-level windows. I thought it was a good reminder that this is November and Thanksgiving will soon be here.

“I went to the lower-level room with the window she was looking at and was able to get a closer view and a different angle. I thought the coloring on her neck looked pretty complicated. I’m assuming her reflection in the glass was a draw.

“From an upstairs deck view, I could get a good shot of the whole turkey from above and all its complicated coloring and feathers.

“And a side view as it explored the patch of yard. I don’t know what turkeys eat or how they survive the winters here in Minnesota.

“When it raised its head, it made a good side-view pose. The orange patterns in the side feathers was unusual, I thought.

“Then it walked around the corner, and I didn’t pursue it for more photos and acknowledged its preference for privacy. I did not want to alarm it. I was just happy it came and I could get some photos of a rather neat bird.

“I was thinking of making a comment about a ‘peeping Tom,’ except it’s a hen.”

(2) “I very much enjoyed the early warmth in November, but I also found familiar joys in the recent snowfall. I liked seeing everything ‘decorated’ with white again. I thought the dark branches of the spruce and fir trees looked so much more striking.

“And some creature made its way to and from our garage door. I don’t remember what animal would leave such a trail.

“When the sun came out and back-lit the snow on the deck railing, I enjoyed the bright rim at the top and also some of the light making its way though the snow lower down.

“Seeing that same bright rim of light on the oak-tree snow made it seem special to me, too.

I don’t seem to tire of the variety of beauty nature is providing.”

(3) “It didn’t take long for the smooth, pristine-looking snow to change. The next day, ii had a lot of depressions in it.

“When I saw them, it reminded me of rumpled bed sheets.

“And the snow on the deck railing was shrinking, leaving these holes at the top where the snow was thinner and caught the sun. A few hours later, it was all gone.

“The snow at the base of the big oak tree showed there had been a lot of squirrel activity. I’ve been wondering how squirrels find food when the snow is deep. This was only 4 inches or so and shrinking with the warmth that followed.”

Fellow travelers
Or: Not exactly what (if anything) they had in mind?

DebK of Rosemount: “More than a week of Indian summer brought a resurgence of farm visitors, among them a young family that has truly wearied of COVID-related confinement. Midway through the visit, the parents revealed plans for a first-rate adventure. They’ll be closing their home, loading their SUV (presumably with baby, preschooler, non-perishable food items, and other essentials), and heading to Florida, where they’ll spend their winter working NOT from home.

“Once they’ve arrived at their oceanside rental, they’re confident all will go well. But they’re exceedingly anxious about making the long drive with small children whose tolerance for road trips, if any, has likely eroded during The Great Shutdown.

“In an effort to put their worries in perspective, I shared with them a story of another road trip — not so long, but certainly as daunting.

“Just after our October snowstorm, Taxman decided that the exuberance of Clarence, our ram, had resulted last spring in a crop of ewe lambs so large that we would not be able to accommodate them all once the lambs of 2021 begin arriving, something Clarence is currently seeing to with admirable diligence. That being the case, Taxman arranged for the sale of five of the ‘little ewes’ — not full-grown, but weighing in between 65 and 80 pounds each and with the rambunctiousness of poorly behaved toddlers.

“The shepherd who purchased our girls launched his sheep business three or four years ago on a property about an hour and one-half from here. Like most young farmers, he has to work a town job in order to keep the farm operation afloat, so the pick-up and transport phases of our transaction were delayed until his day off — the morning after the election, in fact, when the three dogs, Taxman, and I were all watching for the young shepherd’s arrival. At the appointed hour, instead of the expected livestock trailer, a mid-sized SUV rolled into the place. Figuring it to be an egg customer, Taxman approached, only to discover that the occupants of the SUV were, in fact, the new owners of our five young ewes. And, yes, they intended on hauling their new sheep back to their place in the back of that SUV.

“As I noted above, our ‘little ewes’ are of a frisky disposition — completely unacquainted with and little interested in confinement of any sort. By the time Taxman and the young shepherd caught the five and wrestled them, unwilling, into the back of the SUV, a full-scale revolt was underway. The shepherd’s wife had clearly been assigned the duty of keeping the ewes out of the driver’s seat, something she managed through heroic efforts for at least as long as it took for the SUV to clear the end of our driveway. It was impressive, initially. But we don’t like to think of what the rest of the trip must’ve been like.”

This ’n’ that ’n’ the other

OTD from NSP writes: “Odds and Ends. I now keep a running document as I think of them, so I don’t forget.

“Thank you to the BBers who have sent in the pictures. Look forward to them.

“I think this one could qualify for the Faint Praise category: This summer, 16-year-old grandson started stopping over on Friday nights to watch TV and eat. (Grandma makes what he has ‘suggested’ — one of those Grandma Laws.) I made a remark about him having something better to do, as school had started. His comment was that there was nothing else to do now, so he might as well stop at my house.

“I watch the cooking shows on Saturday morning on TPT. There are times you want to yell at the professional chefs and tell them of easier ways to do something.

“To get frozen thawed spinach dry, the person put it in a clean kitchen towel, twisted the towel closed and squeezed where the spinach was. This colored the towel a lovely green. I wanted to yell: ‘Use your potato ricer!’ This is not a new idea, as my grandmother and mother did this. Put the spinach/grated zucchini/chopped pickles/whatever into the ricer, close the ricer and squeeze over the sink. Works great; whatever it is comes out well-drained, easy to clean up.

“No one seems to have a large bowl for mixing. Part of the dialogue is usually something to the effect to carefully mix together. If they used a large bowl, they wouldn’t have to be so careful; they would have plenty of room to mix without going over the side. I realize a large bowl is usually hand-washed, as it would take up one shelf in the dishwasher, but it isn’t that hard to wash a bowl.”

What’s in a (family) name?

Kathy S. of St. Paul: “Jeni of B’ville talked of creating family biographies for the young’uns who got family names.

“I have been a genealogist for 30-plus years. When a nephew and his girlfriend were expecting a baby in another state, I sent them printouts from our family tree. The printouts were used to identify names the baby would not be given, so I stopped creating them.

“Years later, a great-niece was given the name of her great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother, of County Down, Ireland. Yay!”

Could be verse!

Two more “timericks” from Tim Torkildson: (1) “When I awake I always dread / to tune into a talking head / they never good news do proclaim / but something bad or sad or lame / which led me to a quick decision / to jettison my television.”

(2) “In the morning I take pills / for a slew of noxious ills / Then at noon I do the same / so my carcass can maintain / Just before I go to bed / more pellets go into my head / If any more I have to take / I’ll sound just like a rattlesnake!”

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: Anyone explain this to me?

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



BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Our explanation (possibly accurate) is this:

The “text” in question is the Holy Bible!

Our times
Pandemic Division

Friendly Bob of Fridley: “Subject: Sign of the times.

“I saw this on Halloween this year:

“Oh, yeah — it was on my apartment door. (Yes, I have reused the sign for MANY years . . . but not with the mask; that was an addition this year.)

“I was a little bit surprised that most of the candy I put out was gobbled up by trick-or-treaters. Oh, and by my neighbor with the sweet tooth.”

Everyone’s a critic!

Zoo Lou of St. Paul: “Subject: ‘A Medal For Opie’

“‘A Medal For Opie,’ which aired on February 12, 1962, is one of my favorite episodes of ‘The Andy Griffith Show.’ The life lessons, the bond between a father and son, and the often painful process of growing up are poignantly illustrated in this ‘golden oldie,’ whose timeless quality still resonates today.   

“When Opie signs up for the 50-yard dash at the annual Boy’s Day competition, he tells his dad, Sheriff Andy Taylor, who will be a judge along with Deputy Barney Fife, that he’s going to win that medal. Barney takes Opie under his wing, giving him lots of encouragement and tips on how to train so that he’ll ‘streak down that track like greased lightning.’     

“With his confidence sky-high, Opie dreams that night of streaking down the track to victory. Then he sees his dad announcing him the winner of the 10-mile run and pinning the medal on his back because the front of his shirt is already full of medals. A huge crowd showers him with thunderous applause.     

“Unfortunately, after all his hard work and high hopes, Opie finishes the race dead last. Crestfallen, he sulks slowly away, not saying a word to Andy or Barney. When Andy arrives home, he finds Opie brooding on the couch and scolds him for leaving the event early and not congratulating his friends who won.     

“‘They’re not my friends,’ Opie snaps. ‘They beat me and got my medal.’   

“Andy tries to explain about good sportsmanship, being a gracious loser, and the importance of trying your best. But Opie gets insolent, grumbling: ‘They don’t give you no medal for trying.’ Finally, an exasperated Andy sighs: ‘Fine. Be that way. But I want you to know one thing: I’m disappointed in you.’   

“The next day, Opie comes to the sheriff’s office and faces his dad. ‘Pa, I don’t want you to be disappointed in me.’ The expressions on their faces are priceless as they hug and reconcile their little falling-out, with Andy telling Opie that when you face life’s ups and downs with courage and a positive attitude, ‘you’re on the road to becoming a mature human being. And I sure am proud of you.’     

“Then Opie declares with a big grin: ‘I’m gonna try and win that medal next year.’     

“A number of people I can think of could learn a valuable lesson from this inspiring episode of one of television’s most beloved shows.” 

The passing show
Leading to: The vision thing

The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: The other Dream Boat.

“I looked up from my iPad just in time to see a version of my longtime fantasy cruise by the living room this morning, here on the Wisconsin Riviera. Apparently someone needed a building moved, and this method worked out for them.

“My vision is a cute little home with a white picket fence nestled on a barge, complete with lawn (watered by an industrial-size bilge pump), gazebo and maybe even a spreading chestnut tree. It would be pushed around the country by a hired river tow, as this one is, in the same manner as the private rail cars of old. I might even park it across the river from where I live now during the summer and sit in a lawn chair, sip a Manhattan and laugh at my former neighbors who pay property taxes to stay in one place.

“Time to stop dreaming now and go buy some lottery tickets.

Mixed messages

Barbara of Afton: “From this morning’s N.Y. Times news email: ‘A team of astronomers believes it has pinpointed the number of potentially habitable planets in our galaxy: as many as 300 million.’

“Somehow I found the juxtaposition of ‘pinpoint’ with ‘as many as 300 million’ just a little jarring.”

Till death us do part

Grandma Pat, “formerly of rural Roberts, Wisconsin”: “This is the season for recognizing our service men and women. My husband, who passed away two years ago, was in the 65th Infantry Division of Patton’s Third Army. As an 18-year-old, he carried his heavy Browning Automatic Rifle weapon through many battles. Not until he was maybe in his 70s and 80s did he start to tell his stories.

“If he was at any event where all veterans were asked to stand up, he refused. After what he had seen, he did not want to glorify war.

“I am sure that this was partly due to the fact that, had his family not emigrated from Italy when he was 12, he would have been on the other side.

“He would acknowledge his military service publicly only on certain occasions. Parades ? No. Discounts at his favorite restaurants? Yes, absolutely.”

Band Name of the Day: The Five Little Ewes

Website of the Day: Close-up Photographer of the Year


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