How can you say “No” to those orphaned animals with their “pleading, yearning eyes”?

Our pets, ourselves

The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: Every present has a price.

“Those heart-wrenching Humane Society pictures of orphaned animals are so sad. Even though we have always had rescued pets in our home, I want that one . . . and that one, too.

“Our home would be filled with four-footed furry friends (especially the kittens) if I didn’t have such a good imagination. In their pleading, yearning eyes, I hear the words: ‘Can I please come live with you and throw up on your nice carpet at 5 a.m.?'”

Our pets, ourselves
Or: Life (and death) as we know it

ARKatect of Mendota Heights reports: “I have, these many years, shared stories about the ‘Old Beagle’ with you through the Bulletin Board. His name was Chase.

“This morning I had to make that fateful call to put him to sleep. 

“I have never had a pet whose death has touched me so. He gave me his best all the time, and I will miss him completely. My soul aches to rub his big floppy years or wrestle with him in the middle of the night when the rest of the household was asleep. His big beautiful brown eyes were like the finest polished agates one could ever hope to find. His nose, black as the night and cold to the touch. I will miss him licking the tip of my nose. He was a man’s dog, and I find great comfort knowing I was the one he loved.”

In memoriam

The Divine Mum of Crocus Hill: “The family of Colin Mulcahy wrote a heartbreaking obituary. It ended with these beautiful lines: ‘If you’d like to honor Colin and his life: hug your loved ones and tell them how you feel about them. Be proud of yourself and your accomplishments. Spread laughter, fun, and sometimes good-natured confusion and wackiness. Be brave, dream big, and do scary things — like trying out parasailing the day before your brother’s wedding, or like having the courage and grit to go back to school and start again. Spend time with friends and hobbies that bring you joy. Live big and tend to your mental health. Don’t let the darkness take you. Live your life like a skateboarding raccoon with a jetpack.'”

The Permanent Paternal Record

Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “Subject: Still true today.

“Sometimes things my dad said many years ago just pop into my head. This was the most recent: ‘It’s a great life, if you don’t weaken.’”

The highfalutin pleasures
Pandemic Division

Granny of White Bear Lake: “Since last April, in order to keep in visual contact with one another, my family has ‘Zoomed’ Bingo every week. My daughter in Duluth is the Bingo manager. She controls the speed and volume of the numbers to be called, and keeps an Excel financial spreadsheet on the winners and losers. We play for $5 a game. Not sure if anyone will collect any dollars, but it adds to the fun. So far, I am about minus $50; my oldest daughter is minus $173 +/- 9 (sucks to be her). The daughter in Duluth is up about $193. It is also important to note that we make our own Bingo cards or print them off from one of the programs online.

“We made up the rules for the game as we went along. One has a suggestive tone from when we played the first time and O-69 was called. The youngest daughter laughingly shouted out ‘Woo Ho’ and raised her beverage glass as a toast in which we all joined. It became the standard for every game. Another rule was added that anyone who had Bingo on O-69 could, at the end of our four games, steal another player’s winnings of a single game. It then went on to our last game, which is a progressive ‘cover-all’ game starting at 55 numbers and, if one yells Bingo within the slated number on O-69, that player takes everyone’s winnings for the evening.

“The last time we played Bingo was this past Tuesday evening. Not all family members were playing — just my daughter in Duluth, my ex-husband, my youngest daughter (joined for only one game), and me. I was lucky enough to Bingo for the first two games; my daughter in Duluth, the third. On the progressive ‘cover-all’ game, we were up and past the 59 slated numbers with no winner. The numbers continued to be called, and when we were at 70 numbers, the three of us who were playing were telling how close we were to completing our card. When the caller called the 75th number, she commented: ‘Somebody better have a Bingo, because there are no more balls to call.’

“What are the odds that the number each of us needed and the last number to be called would be O-69?!!”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: If 74 of the 75 numbers have been called, and no one yet has Bingo, the likelihood that you are all waiting for the same number is 100 percent!

The odds that that you would all be waiting for O-69, in any game where 74 numbers had been called, would be 1-in-75.


Know thy neighbors!
Plus: Vanity, thy name is . . . (x2)

From Semi-Legend: (1) “Subject: Can’t wait to learn more.

“I recently signed up to get emails from Nextdoor, to see what my neighbors have to say about things.

“The posts tend to seek or pass on information:

“‘Pet dermatologist rec for dog allergies?’

“‘Catalytic converter stolen’

“‘What should I pay to unclog drain?’

“One today caused a head-scratch: ‘Does anyone have a 12 ft tall home depot skeleton? Hi neighbors! I’m looking to purchase one of those home depot skeletons, but didn’t want to pay $300 retail. Does anyone have one they’d be willing to resell at a cheaper price?’

“Someone responded: ‘Ok, I’ll bite; what’s a Home Depot skeleton?’

“While awaiting an answer, I learned it’s a thing.

“‘The skeletons sold out before October even began, driving record sales for the company.'”

(2) “Spotted today outside the Highland Park branch of the St. Paul Public Library, on a red Prius: ‘WELLRED.'”

(3) “Subject: Almost T-shirt season.

“A friend has begun a ‘T-shirt memoir’ blog, highlighting moments in her life via some of her 300-plus T-shirts.

Today I spotted a white Yukon outside a T-Mobile store on Ford Parkway in St. Paul. The license plate: ‘TSHRTGY.’

“Did not see anyone so clothed near the car.”

Our birds, ourselves

KH of White Bear Lake writes: “Subject: Not What I Imagined.

“Have you ever formed a relationship with another person that was based solely on phone conversations over an extended period of time? [Bulletin Board replies: Many times, actually — particularly during the early years of Bulletin Board . . . BEFORE EMAIL . . . when the Bulletin Board Hot Line was a phone attached to an answering machine, from which we transcribed your calls.] And then when you eventually met that person, discovered they looked nothing like the image you had developed in your mind? [Bulletin Board replies: That has happened, too.]

“From a distance I’ve watched the beauty, elegance, and grace of trumpeter swans many times. But when I met these swans close up, it was like meeting that phone person for the first time.

“I’ll never be able to see them the same way again.”

This ’n’ that ’n’ the other ’n’ the ’n’ the other ’n’ . . .

All from Al B of Hartland: (1) “We weren’t cameras with legs in those days. We took a roll of film to Rexall Drug in New Richland for processing and called every couple of years to see if the photos were ready.

“The pandemic has caused my wife to review our photos and cull the herd. She came across a photo of a bear seen not long after we’d married. We thought all bears were like Yogi Bear. He might steal your picnic basket, but was otherwise no threat. We’d left our lodgings (Lutsen Resort) in a friend’s car. I’ll call him Wally, because that was his name. Wally drove his land yacht to Tofte in Cook County to watch the black bears feeding at the dump. Wally had brought along marshmallows to feed the bears. We treated the bruins as if they were Jet-Puffed marshmallow-loving huge hamsters. Gulls grabbed the marshmallows before the bears could, causing one bear to seek the source of the spongy confections. We dived back into the car.

“Wally had been taking photos of the bears. In his haste to relocate, he’d left his camera on the roof of the car. We sat in that parked vehicle, hoping to retrieve the camera when it was safe. The bear grabbed it. He chewed on it and covered the camera with bear slobber, but he took no photos of other bears.”

(2) “I survived the stretch of -20° weather, and it looks as if you did, too. That’s good news. Those kinds of temperatures are the ones we’ll be telling someone about this summer.

“I hear little about March coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb (or vice versa) anymore. Maybe it comes in like a cardinal? There were four cardinals in a hawthorn tree in my yard. I’m still celebrating. I’ve seen more than that in a tree before, but never at my place.

“I saw robins. The vast majority of robins move south in the winter. However, some stick around — and move around. Fruit is the robin’s winter food source. As the ground thaws in the spring, they switch to earthworms and insects. While robins may arrive when the average daily temperature isotherms reach 37°, it’s because their food becomes available, not because the robins need warm temperatures. Because some overwinter here, they might not be a true harbinger of spring, but I do enjoy seeing them bob-bob-bobbing along.

“I hope the sight of this robin brings you good luck.

“I spotted a muskrat doing a walkabout. Perhaps it had run out of food and was forced to venture from its house. Muskrats aren’t rats, and they (2 to 4 pounds) are much smaller than beavers (30-70 pounds).

“I looked at a garden catalog that came in the mail and pictured the birds a garden brings with it. It seems as if every garden has a song sparrow to keep it company. E. B. White wrote: ‘The song sparrow, who knows how brief and lovely life is, says, Sweet, sweet, sweet interlude; sweet, sweet, sweet interlude.'”

(3) “A red-bellied woodpecker with a red belly.”

(4) “A Eurasian tree sparrow seen just outside Eurasia — in Hartland, Minnesota. “

(5) “Sometimes I look at a chickadee and I feel good about everything. “

(6) “I took this photo of a Carolina wren in Missouri, but people are seeing them in their Minnesota and Iowa yards this winter.”

Older Than Dirt
Including: The great comebacks

Rusty of St. Paul: “My friend’s dad turned 100 last November. Only recently has his memory turned on him a bit. Every time my friend visits, his dad tells his son: ‘I’m 99, but I’m turning 100 soon.’ ‘Um, no, Dad, you’re 100 now.’

“Today I was out in the woods burning a brush pile with my brother-in-law. His dad is to turn 99 this month. I told him the above story, and Tim replied: ‘Well, at least he is with it enough to lie about his age!'”

The highfalutin amusements

FWD’d by Ramblin’ Rose: “Subject: Just for Fun.

“I cannot take credit for this, but try it before you’ve had your first cup of coffee.

“1. You can’t see your ears without a mirror.

“2. You can’t count your hair.

“3. You can’t breathe through your nose while sticking out your tongue.

“4. You just tried number 3.

“6. When you did number 3, you realized that it is possible, but you look like a dog.

“7. You are smiling right now because you were fooled.

“8. You skipped number 5.

“9. You just checked to see if there is a number 5.

“10. Share this with your friends — everyone can use a little fun.

“I hope it made you smile!”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Yes, it did. Especially No. 5.

Now & Then
Including: Not exactly what Vinko had in mind

Dennis from Eagan: “Hyland’s high-jump.

“If you were driving west last week on American Boulevard until it ends at East Bush Lake Road, you couldn’t help but notice the full snowy start-to-finish view of a ski-jumper’s travel down the steep incline and gracefully landing in the pit area below.

“The Bloomington location is one of two ski jumps just off I-494; the other is three miles east of the Mississippi River bridge connecting Newport and South St Paul.

“On March 21, 2020, John Moriello wrote an article about the 50th anniversary of Vinko Bogataj’s unforgettable ski-jump wipeout that became ABC Sports’ infamous ‘the agony of defeat.’ Modern, upscale ski jumps now have elevators and ski-gutters, making life easier and safer for the ski jumpers going forward.”

Dept. of Neat Stuff
Pandemic Division (responsorial)

Judy Kishel writes: “Gregory J. of Dayton’s Bluff’s collection of (out-of-season) decorated trees and the photo of his Sputnik tree interested me a lot! I too, have decorated trees up almost year-round.

“Attached are photos of a Vikings Playoff Tree (sad to say, not up often), a Chinese New Year Tree and our Halloween Tree. I can’t seem to locate a photo of my Easter Tree, but I’ll keep looking.

“We also have a little play kitchen for our granddaughters. It is always decorated for every holiday with appropriate lights, flowers, towels and knick-knacks.

“For patriotic holidays, I have an Uncle Sam who this year became our statement and goodbye to 2020. Please note that he is wearing (1) a surgical mask and (2) an ‘I Voted’ sticker, and he is surrounded by Lysol. (In recognition of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote, R.B.G. [R.I.P.] is standing on his tray.)”

Everyone’s a copy editor!

Donald: “Subject: Clever headline.

“This appeared at the top of the front page of the Tuesday edition of the Pioneer Press:


“‘Wild blank Vegas 2-0′”

Jimbo of Inver Grove Heights: “Subject: Bridge Problem.

“It is not looking good for the Minnesota Wild because the coaching staff’s hope is that ‘everything is water on the bridge.’

The little treasures

Tim Borgan supplied the caption: “First grade, Lafayette Elementary School, West Side St. Paul, 1958-1959 school year. Some of the children in this photo are still West Siders and Humboldt Class of 1970, like me. I am top left back row, Tim Borgan. Can’t remember the teacher’s name.”

Life as we know it
Where Were You Then? Division (responsorial)

Friendly Bob of Fridley: “The recent submission from The Astronomer of Nininger that mentioned the launch of Sputnik (1, as it later turned out) in October 1957 certainly reminded me of where I was then.

“I was in second grade at Dundas Elementary School, and my older sister (the late Mrs. Patches of St. Paul) was in sixth. My class was too young to comprehend much about the event (though I had for some time been very interested in all things related to space). About all we knew was that our hated enemies, the Russians, had launched a basketball-sized object into Earth orbit, and the little antennae protruding from it sent beeps back to us Earthlings. My sister’s class, on the other hand, felt inspired to mark the occasion by making up a (simple) song. They put their collective creative heads together, and all these years later I can still remember it!

“They even had a second verse to it (which I do NOT remember!), and I think it could also be sung as a round. I always thought it was a pretty ambitious undertaking for kids that young. When we all got home on the bus from school, my sister was just bubbling over with excitement about the achievement.”

Our (and their) theater of seasons
Plus: Our squirrels, ourselves

Mounds View Swede reports: (1) “Subject: A few sparkles are left, but soon to be gone.

“When I looked out the east windows this morning, I was happy to see some sparkling lights left in the snow. For some reason, they always make me feel better, like it’s part of a celebration or something.

“So I took a few more photos to look at once they are gone again.

“I wonder if any of our fellow BB readers enjoy them, too.”

(2) “After some icy rains in Portland, Oregon, my son sent these photos of daffodils.

“Oregon is always way ahead of us on spring growth. After I saw these, I asked if they survived.

“He then sent me these photos taken 10 days later.

“They look none the worse for having that ice on them. I was impressed by their hardiness. And I was happy to see real flowers blooming again. Another three months here, I think, before we will see such.”

(3) “Some more recent flower photos from my son’s garden in Oregon.

“Those iced-over daffodils look pretty good now.

“And the apricot tree in the background has its leaves and is beginning to blossom. Am I jealous? Only a little. Not enough to move out there, though.”

(4) “One of our resident squirrels took advantage of the warm sun to do a thorough cleaning job. I watched and photographed for several minutes as it worked over every part it could reach. Some of the contortions were interesting to see.

“It made me wonder if they team up with other squirrels to get the parts they can’t reach — or do they pretty much reach everything by wetting their paws and then rubbing their head, for example? I was impressed with how much time and effort the squirrel spent on self-care.”

Our squirrels, ourselves

Grandma Jody reports: “Subject: Dinner and a Show.

“Captain Bob made a little picnic table as a gift for Hannah so she can feed her squirrel friends in style. The front door was open all winter, so our cats have a clear view, through the storm door, of the nature theater literally at our doorstep. Win-Win! (Well, for everyone but me who frets about the heat bill.)

“Is it spring yet?”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: No, but it sure feels like spring. We’ll take it!

To each, her own

Kathy S. of St. Paul: “During the pandemic, some guys have grown nice beards. But other guys have grown really scruffy long beards that no mask can cover — or dress up.

“Lately I’ve been cracking folks up by asking them what will happen when these guys remove their masks. I have a feeling that, if women are voting on this, the wild beards will go — or the guys will.

“Nothing can make an unbridled thicket of facial shredded wheat look appetizing to me.

“Ban the Feral Beards!”

The verbing of America

The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills: “A guest on one of the cable news shows made this comment: ‘‘We need more people role-modeling.'”

Our times
Leading to: Muse, amuse

Norton’s mom of Eau Claire, Wisconsin: “I wonder what else a 5-year-old is allowed to do these days.

“I was online, preshopping like I frequently do to see if the item I need to purchase is in stock at a local store. This time I was looking for a three-hole punch, and I did find one in stock at a store here in Eau Claire.

“I decided to scroll down to see if there were reviews from purchasers — mostly to see if there had been any problems reported. As I scrolled, I saw the warning: ‘You must be at least 5 years old to purchase this item.’ Really? Five?

“And then the following scenarios jumped into my mind:

“A little 5-year-old boy or girl approaches a checkout at the large store, standing on tiptoe to toss a three-hole punch onto the conveyor belt, and again stands on tiptoe to either hand money to the clerk or dig a credit card out of their little pocket.

“The same child, seated at a computer, carefully ordering the three-hole punch online, adding their information — name, address, and credit card number — and then eagerly waiting for it to be delivered.

“As you can see, it doesn’t take much to amuse me these days. Hopefully it’ll get better soon. I’m scheduled for my second COVID shot this week, so maybe I’ll get out more.”

Keeping your eyes open

Grandma Paula writes: “Subject: Life and scenery changes.

“Last October I sold my house (five miles south of Hudson) and moved to a new house in Osceola, Wisconsin. After living in the same place for 38 years, I am used to the same roads and the same scenery. It was a great place to live, but the new location is turning out to be lovely, too, so I am not missing the area around River Falls and Hudson all that much.

“Last week I had to drive back to Hudson to get my second COVID vaccination shot. On the way home, I followed the road that goes around the small airport that is just outside of downtown Osceola. I stopped the car, got out, and watched the beautiful sunset come down over the corn fields. It was quite magnificent.

“The next day, I did not feel well at all. My body doesn’t usually react well to vaccinations, but the COVID one I felt I had to get regardless of the reaction that I might have. I had a restless night and was dizzy and very tired the next day. I felt better the day after that.

“I am very glad that I am vaccinated against COVID and glad that I took some photos on the way home.”

Out of the mouths of babes

The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “My Aussie grandson was born with a full head of curly red hair, and from the recent photos I have seen of him playing in the surf with his 4-year-old son, it appears that it is still red and curly — although I did get a clue that maybe time is making some changes in its fullness when my granddaughter-in-law shared this bit of dinnertime conversation.

“Their son Henry said: ‘I like your hair, Dad! It’s wavy, like the ocean! Except that bit at the back — that looks like land.’”

Band Name of the Day: The Feral Beards — or: The Skateboarding Raccoons

Website of the Day, recommended by Frogman of Grant:

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