Rusty of St. Paul: “I experienced what I believe to be a variant of the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon today.
“I was reading a food story in the Times about Buffalo Wings. In the comments section, several readers from Buffalo, N.Y., spoke of loving ‘beef on weck.’
“Food is my hobby, I am well versed and well waisted in it. I had never heard of ‘weck.’ I was in Buffalo decades ago, when I was 14. My Great-Uncle Tom taught me how to swing a chipping wedge, but he didn’t take me out for beef on weck.
“Wikipedia told me: ‘A “beef on weck” is a sandwich found primarily in Western New York State, particularly in the vicinity of Buffalo. It is made with roast beef on a kummelweck roll, a roll that is topped with kosher salt and caraway seeds.’
“Maybe an hour later, I was caramelizing onions to make French onion soup. I needed a spoon rest out of the cupboard. I didn’t notice a round clear glass object sitting in it. When I grabbed the spoon rest, the glass piece flew out and hit the floor. I was able to deflect the strike with my foot, and the glass didn’t break.
“It did not look familiar to me. It appeared to be a glass lid for a glass jar. On the top, stamped in the glass, was ‘WECK,’ and along the curved edge was ‘Rundrand-Glas 80.’ Never heard of this. Hopping online again, I learned that Weck is a brand name for a line of canning jars and glass storage jars made in Germany.
“So weck the roll for a sandwich and Weck the brand name for glass jars. Same name, one proper. I have never heard of either, but they are not one and the same.
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: That’s no B-M. Not even a B-M variant.
But it’s a fine Joy of Juxtaposition.
(Sorry if we wecked your fun.)
Then & Later (responsorial) (responsorial)
Cheesehead By Proxy, “back in Northern Minnesota”: “Subject: Old Timey Wash Days.
“I’m painting the walls of our ‘mud room,’ which contains a side entry and bi-fold closets with our washer and dryer inside. I had a few items as decorations in this area, and was moving them in order to paint, just about the time you featured old-timey wash day stories.
“Here are some photos:
“First, the famous water-sprinkle plug used to dampen items for ironing; it fits into a pop bottle filled with water.
“Secondly: my mother’s washboard, which she used for pre-scrubbing dirty socks, primarily.
“Our 1950s home in Roseville, in the area west and north of Snelling and Lydia, had two big cement water tanks in the laundry room for laundry day. Even in this ‘mid-century modern’ home, our washing machine was designed to save and re-use water through a couple of rubber pipes.
“Thirdly is an old iron used back in my great-grandparents’ time. I think we found this in the old cabin we bought, and it’s always been used for a door-stop. The wooden handle is missing. They used to heat these up on top of wood stoves in pre-electric times.
“I remember my mom’s talking about ‘manglers’ used to iron sheets. I also remember the radio in our laundry room, with tunes of Elvis being played and my mom telling me he was the latest cool new rock-and-roll star.”
Our birds, ourselves
Wayne Nelson of Forest Lake writes: “Ever since this past Thanksgiving, we’ve been getting a very large turnout of wild turkeys in our back yard. They have a very specific route that they take through the same back yards, feeding on the spilled bird food on the ground under the feeders. They will come every day, several times per day, in smaller groups, one or two, and sometimes in larger groups, as many as 40-plus. The largest group that we had today was just over 30. There were a couple Toms in this group, showing off their stuff for the ladies — or possibly trying to tell me something for taking their pictures.
“A face that only a mother could love!”
Our birds, ourselves (responsorial)
DebK of Rosemount: “When the dogs and I awoke this morning, the barn thermometer read -20 degrees, offering meteorological confirmation of an existential chill that settled over our farm neighborhood a couple of weeks ago, when the weather was still comparatively balmy. The arrival of that cold front coincided with the appearance in BB of a terrific photo of a pair of pileated woodpeckers, lunching at a feeder. Taxman and I have often enjoyed watching our own pileateds, Lucille and Ricky, sharing a meal. It’s a thrill that never grows old — and one we miss when it’s absent, as it has been since just about the time that BB photo came to our inbox.
“I was the first to see the photo, and as is my wont, I leapt to the conclusion that one of our own BB community had taken wrongful possession of our birds. In due course, Taxman investigated my allegations and determined that the woodpeckers featured in the BB post were not from our neck of the woods. Kissing cousins of our birds, perhaps, but no more than that.
“Having done what he could to settle my ruffled feathers, Taxman spent the remainder of the day cutting wood at the Inventor’s place, down the road a quarter-mile or so. Taxman isn’t in the same lumberjack league as Inventor, who has heated his home and outbuildings with wood for decades. After five or six hours, Taxman raised the white flag and dragged himself home. He hardly had strength to report that Inventor and his wife have recently taken up bird-feeding. Over the roar of the chainsaws, Inventor boasted that the feeders he built are regularly visited by a pair of pileated woodpeckers.
“P.S. On an unrelated note, I have been (ahem) awash in memories triggered by recent recollections of laundry days of yore. My mom washed on Saturdays, when we kids would be around to assist with the carrying of water — into the house and back out — and with the sorting and soaking and wringing and hanging. Dad assisted rarely, and only in a supervisory capacity. He did, however, draw from the miseries of the process a punchy expression he trotted out whenever one of his progeny seemed bent on doing something stupid: ‘Don’t get your tit in a wringer, kid.'”
DebK again, shortly thereafter: “Guess what!
“Weather must have prevented restocking by those sticky-fingered, rookie bird-feeders about whom I just wrote. Ricky the woodpecker is having his fill at our suet feeder at this very moment, after an absence of at least three weeks. BTW, I think he’s gained weight. Inventor must feed a pumped-up suet.”
Not exactly what they ended up having in mind?
Michael Connolly writes: From Milwaukee Journal . . . Business News . . . April 1975.
“The hotel in this rendering looks quite different from what was actually built.”
Dept. of Neat Stuff
Plus: Asked & answered
Vertically Challenged: “Awhile back, when this category started, I sent in the pic below of what seemed to be cookie cutters, which I had picked up at a garage sale. They’re odd little shapes that looked like they were meant to be put together. I asked if anyone knew what they were.
“Well, today I answered my own question. I was organizing and cleaning and ran across the little instruction pamphlet that had become separated from this box!
“Now all I have to do is figure out how to put these pieces back in the box so they fit!”
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: Good advice.
“The most recent message on the electronic board of the church on Lexington in Shoreview reads:
“‘NO REGRETS IN LIFE. . .
“‘JUST LESSONS LEARNED!’”
Another episode of creative hearing, reported by Friendly Bob of Fridley: “I caught part of a commercial on TV the other day that at first had me
scratching my head: ‘If you have such-and-such symptoms, call your doctor in Italy.’
“Turns out it was ‘call your doctor immediately.'”
The great comebacks
The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills: “Subject: Where there’s a rodent, there’s a Will.
“During a family Zoom, my wife mentioned that our neighbors had discovered a shrew in their basement,
“Without missing a beat, her younger son inquired: ‘Was it tame?’”
The verbing of America
Cherie D of Inver Grove Heights: “I was emailing with my cousin Gregory J. of Dayton’s Bluff about a new creative venture of his. I said: ‘Yes, please do consider BB-ing the story and photos of your new hobby!’”
Donald: “An article (‘Poet Gorman on Super Bowl stage’) on Page 7A of Monday’s Pioneer Press includes this paragraph: ‘[Amanda] Gorman, previously the country’s first National Youth Laureate, was the youngest person to ever recite a poem at the U.S. presidential inauguration. Her reading of ”The Hill We Climb” at the Capitol immediately became a sensation. An illustrated book of the poem quickly zoomed to the top of bestseller lists. Shortly after the inauguration, she signed with IMG Models. This week, she covers Time Magazine, in an interview conducted by Michelle Obama.’”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: That is the worst verbing in years.
Everyone’s a critic!
Zoo Lou of St. Paul: “Subject: Walter and the Whip
“Walter Matthau has always been one of my favorite actors. I mean, how could you not be charmed by a man with that omnipresent hangdog, beleaguered expression who delighted in perpetuating the myth that his real name was Walter Matuschanskayasky?
“Matthau, however, was anything but endearing when he played a mean, whip-cracking bully named Bodine in ‘The Kentuckian’ (1955), his first movie role. This character was as far removed from Matthau’s lovable curmudgeons in such films as ‘The Odd Couple’ and ‘Grumpy Old Men’ as Simon Legree was from Mary Poppins.
“In a rousing fight scene, Matthau is slicing star Burt Lancaster apart with his bullwhip, at one point snarling: ‘Next I go for the eyes!’ When a bloodied Lancaster finally gets the upper hand, I was never so happy, I’m sorry to say, to see a man beat to a pulp, even if it was the future Oscar Madison and grumpy old Max Goldman.
“Matthau finally gets his comeuppance when a vicious, cold-blooded backwoodsman, played by Douglas Spencer, bashes his head with a rifle butt because a reluctant (and scared) Matthau won’t kill a man. But I got no satisfaction out of that.
“Ironically, I just saw Spencer in the western classic ‘Shane,’ where he played a kindly farmer nicknamed Swede. At a wedding anniversary, Spencer announces with a big grin: ‘This is the day Joe Starrett got hooked, by golly!’ Quite a contrast to the murderous woodsman with the icy stare.
“It’s interesting to note that at age 11, Matthau claims he beat up Rocky Graziano, who would become middleweight boxing champ of the world. But like his ‘real’ last name, Matthau was known to make many dubious claims with a straight face.
“It’s also interesting to note that the double for Matthau in the long shots of the big fight was whip expert Whip Wilson, who cut Lancaster across the shoulder after Burt told him to ‘hit me and make it look good.’ So when Lancaster, who also directed the movie, shouted ‘Cut!’ at the end of that scene, he really meant it.”
Gee, our old La Salle ran . . . slow(ly)!
Al B of Hartland: “My car was so old it had both upper and lower plates. It was more comfortable than walking, but not as fast. It wasn’t a good starter in winter or in any other season and had a penchant for becoming stuck in the snow. If that car had been equipped with a backup camera, I could have seen who had been pushing it.”
Gee, our old La Salle ran . . . cold!
Hindsight: “Subject: very cold weather.
“During this recent cold snap, I asked Grumpus about winter on the farm. Maybe a funny story about when it was -30 or -40, really cold? ‘There are no funny stories,’ he said. ‘Equipment broke down. Just more work when it was miserable outside.’
“Grumpus and his father were up early. No radar or meteorologists to endlessly warn about conditions. Weather just showed up.The 4-foot-high wood box needed to be filled. Yesterday’s boxful had gone up in smoke.
“Every night, they drained the water from the tractor radiator, then put warm water back in the radiator in the morning. When really cold, they would burn briquettes under the motor. To hold the heat in, they would tarp the tractor. There wasn’t much hauling to do with the tractor in the winter, because the hay was already in the hay mow, but there were other jobs. The tractor was used to pull the truck to get it to run. When cutting up wood, the saw rig ran off the tractor flywheel. The hammer mill, a terribly noisy chopping machine with many blades, was used to chop frozen corn. Small quantities of chopped corn were fed to the cows and pigs. The cows’ favorite snack was one cup of soybean meal, which they gobbled up in seconds.The major part of the cows’ diet was silage and hay. Grumpus would go up into the hay mow and drop the needed bales down through the center trap door.
“The corn silage was stored in the silo. By winter, the silage was frozen solid the first 1 to 2 feet in. He would take a two-headed axe, chop it loose and break it into smaller chunks. He would also get inside the silo to the center, which was not yet frozen, and get that, too.
“Every day, they would clean the stall gutters. First Grumpus and his dad would get the cows outside into the pen. They didn’t want to go out in the cold. As Grumpus and his dad worked to clean everything up and put down new bedding, the cows would be bellowing at the door. Those critters wanted ‘in.’ The doors would open, and each cow went to its own stall by itself.
“The clothes worn were not like today. Buckle boots kept your feet dry. Barn jackets, similar to jean jackets, were worn. The barn temperature was OK, generated by the cows’ body heat. Stiff cold gloves were worn instead of chopper mitts, because their fingers needed to be flexible.
“Every day, the milk truck came and picked up the milk in 10-gallon milk cans. They would be returned the next day from the creamery, steamed out and clean. Once a day, the milk separator, with many tiny pieces, had to be taken apart and scrubbed. Next, the same thing done to the milking machines.
“So when Grumpus contemplates the cold weather, it has a whole different meaning than memories of ski trips and snowmobiles. Ah, the good old days!”
Life as we know it
Or: Then, Now & Later?
Kathy S. of St. Paul writes: “To live is to change.
“Being born a Boomer and Catholic has meant adjusting to changes, such as Vatican II. Some fast and some slow, but they stress many of us out.
“A rabbi gave a talk at the College of St. Catherine circa 1971, when I was a student there. I took a class in Jewish Studies because I had to take religion classes for my degree. And after a heavily Catholic education, I gained more insights by seeing contrasts with an alternate religion. So I went to hear him.
“The visiting rabbi spoke of at least a century of tumult within the Jewish religion regarding observances such as diet. He said Judaism eventually settled into three basic groups: Orthodox, Conservative and Reform, which people kinda understand. One of my favorite jokes explains the difference between the organizations by saying which woman is pregnant at each type of Jewish wedding. The answer (depending on the group) is the mother of the bride, the bride, or the rabbi. It helps me keep them all straight.
“Anyway, the rabbi said that the many years of turmoil within his religion had made Jewish people into major leaders in creativity and change. And that many of the greatest thinkers of that time — including Darwin and Einstein — were Jewish.
“The rabbi then predicted that the changes then ongoing in Catholicism were similarly generating great thinkers and leaders. I want to figure out sometime if he was right.
“Meanwhile, I attended a Catholic church where some of our priests were considering leaving the priesthood. We became used to it. Sometimes it felt as if you didn’t want to get too attached to individual officiants.
“One of these priests was ‘Bill,’ who died recently. I thought he gave the best homilies; I didn’t realize then that he was exploring and figuring out his transition out of the priesthood.
“In December 1972, I made it home from grad school in time for the homily I remember best. Bill said a recent copy of the National Catholic Reporter newspaper had an article in which a man stated that there would never, ever be Catholic priests who were women. Bill beamed and said that he had no idea that we would have women priests so soon! He had concluded from his research that, whenever someone said something would never, ever happen, it happened within 50 years.
“If he was correct, women will be official Catholic priests by the end of next year. I can’t visualize it right now, but Who Knows? I never expected the changes this pandemic has wrought, either. Right now, I’m busy staying alive, awake and sane.
“May the shots be with us!”
Band Name of the Day: The 3-D Cookies
Website of the Day: Winners of the 2021 Underwater Photographer of the Year Contest