What sort of magic can you do at noon on the day of February’s full moon? Go ask an Italian!

Here & There

Writes Grandma Pat, “formerly of rural Roberts, Wisconsin”: “Subject: Apples.

“I recently read an article about a new apple variety that was just developed at the University of Minnesota. [Bulletin Board notes: Triumph™!] That brought back an ‘apple memory’ of several years ago:

“I was visiting my husband’s home village at the base of Mt. Vettore in central Italy. I showed some photos to a few Italian relatives. One of these photos was of my Haralson apple tree just bending down with perfect fruit.

“Cousin Franco immediately decided that he must have some of these apples. He gave detailed instructions to my husband, who then translated for me. I was told to go out at noon on the day of the February full moon, and clip several small branches from my tree. I should wrap them carefully and mail them right away.

“I was a bit skeptical about the whole process. I wondered if the instructions were based on science or folklore. I thought that the post office would never allow me to send it, and I doubted that grafting would be successful. I was wrong on both counts.”

Then & Now (responsorial)

Norsky: “To John in Highland, ‘Subject: What this country needs . . .

“Back in the early 1950s, when I was 8 and my older brother was 12, we had an electric baseball game. It was between 12 and 18 inches square, with four red lights, one for each base.

“There was a slot at the pitcher’s mound where you would position a little steel ball that one of us would flick with our finger to make it cross home plate. The one who was batting at home plate would press a button that would release a lever to catch the steel ball.

“Depending on the position the batter caught the ball with the lever, that would determine what base would be reached. If a single was hit, the first-base light would light; a double, the second base would light; a triple, the third base would light; and a home run, all four lights would light up.

“We would use my brother’s baseball cards for the two teams. Each batter would have a card. Some of the cards I remember that my brother had were Ralph Kiner, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, Willie Mays, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Eddie Mathews, Jackie Robinson, Stan Musial, and Yogi Berra.

“That was a fun game. We would play for hours at a time. I think it would still be fun today. I know having those baseball cards would be. Many years later, I asked my brother what ever became of his baseball cards. He said our mother got rid of them when he was in the Marine Corps.

“Here’s a 1958 photo of the two of us. My brother passed away two years ago this month — 11 days before his 81st birthday.”

Please release me! (self-responsorial)
Leading to: Joy of Juxtaposition

The most recent full-scale Bulletin Board at BBonward.com featured an earworm reported by The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: Where do I begin . . .

“. . . to tell the story of my ann-u-al checkup?

“While at my health-care clinic, a haunting piano solo played over the music system. The theme from ‘Love Story,’ while a beautiful melody, seemed a tad ominous to me in that setting. It didn’t noticeably affect anyone else that I could tell, but then most of them weren’t old enough to even see a PG-rated movie back in the ’70s. If you remember it as well, there are plenty of opportunities to hear it again on YouTube, but if you do, prepare for humming it at least for the rest of the day.”

BULLETIN BOARD SAID: “Recommending an earworm means always having to say you’re sorry (even if you aren’t).”

We included that item in the most recent Sunday Bulletin Board, in the Pioneer Press — and, on Sunday morning (just as we, too, were watching CBS News’ “Sunday Morning”), we heard again from The Doryman.of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: Plausible credibility???

“You have to admit that my ability to coordinate our BB ‘Love Story’ contribution in today’s Sunday Pioneer Press with television’s ‘Sunday Morning’ show on the same day is incredible. J of J? I just went downstairs to get the paper, and when I got settled in my chair, the prologue of ‘Sunday Morning’ came on, and the trumpets heralded a ‘Love Story’ movie segment.

“Might even be a B-M for some millennials. LOL.”

Joy of Juxtaposition

Another Sunday email, this one from Gma Tom: “How is this for a J of J?

“Just as I am reading today’s BB, including the entry from Kathy S. naming Christiane Amanpour, I also had WPS on the TV in the background and heard Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. introduce his guest, Christiane Amanpour.”

Till death us do part
Or: The great comebacks

Another entry in the Permanent Sp0usal Record maintained by Rusty of St. Paul: “After 40 years together, my wife knows me well enough to know that most of what I say, I do not really mean.

“I am retired, and she retired right before the pandemic started, so for the first time in 40 years, we have had a large quantity of quality time together. This was fine at first, but has gotten somewhat claustrophobic as the months have piled up.

“Recently my ‘Good morning!’ greeting has been: ‘Oh . . . you again.'”

In memoriam
Not Yet Division

The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills: “Subject: Whatever it takes.

“A friend of mine told me that his wife was having a particularly bad day, when she turned to him and said: ‘I guess I’ll read the obituaries. That should make me feel better.'”

Gee, our old LaSalle ran great!

From LeoJEOSP: “Subject: Gee!”

This ’n’ that ’n’ the other
Al B of Hartland Division

A trio of dispatches from our Official Ornithologist (and Birdwatching Expedition Leader), Al B of Hartland: (1) “Dark eyes and yellow bill on a barred owl. Sorry, Shakespeare fans, it’s not a bard owl. It’s nicknamed ‘hoot owl,’ ‘eight hooter,’ ‘rain owl,’ ‘laughing owl’ and ‘crazy owl.'”

(2) “Lord Byron wrote, ‘There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, there is a rapture on the lonely shore.’ And through the glass. I stared out windows with hawklike attention. That suits me. I see the comings and goings. I hear them, too. Handsome red-winged blackbird males sang, ‘Look at me.’ I looked. Juncos made ray gun sounds. Both species give voice to spring. It’s their thing.”

(3) “We flew out of MSP Airport and landed in Anchorage. We deplaned and moved to baggage claim. Those in my tour group were tired but excited.

“There were but a handful of bags on the carousel. The number refused to increase no matter how long we waited. When it became apparent no more bags were forthcoming, I, being the feckless leader, headed to the baggage office to speak with a customer representative. I needed to make a lost luggage claim for everyone’s bag.

“There was a long line of unhappy people. They were venting their anger on a poor woman who had done nothing wrong. A bad day isn’t improved by ruining someone else’s day.

“I asked her what I should do. She told me that only one cart had been loaded, that a plane would come later that day with our bags, and that they would be delivered to our hotel in Wasilla. I informed my charges and sent them away on a deluxe tour bus. I’d wait for the luggage.

“The plane was late, but every bag arrived. I helped load them into a van, accompany them to Wasilla, and put them in storage at the hotel. I nearly got to bed before it was time for breakfast. I greeted everyone with, ‘Good morning.’ It was.”


Kathy S. of St. Paul: “Subject: That darn spelling!

“Researching post-vaccine travel, I found this about a winery: ‘It pleased a wide variety of pallets from red to sweet white.’


Keeping your eyes open
And: Fun facts to know and tell

The Astronomer of Nininger: “Subject: The green flash.

“I pen this using my iPad while the Good Wife and I, having both received our second vaccine shots, are enjoying a respite down in sunny Florida. While the occasion is rest and relaxation, the other night, when sipping an alcoholic beverage of choice, I focused my trusty binoculars on the setting sun. As it slid gracefully below the horizon, I was able to observe what some people call the ‘green flash.’

“This flash, or the ‘green ray’ first described by Jules Verne in a novel published in 1882, is not readily observed at each setting of the sun. The atmospheric conditions must be just right. The only other time I have seen this before was off of Midway Island in the Pacific, more than 20 years ago. My observations then were accompanied by a Piña Colada.

“I noted that the flash itself did not last very long and that it seemed to crown the dome of the sphere, lasting for only a moment. Jules Verne described this green as one which no artist could produce on their palette. I’d say it was somewhere around 5,500 Angstroms in wavelength. No matter how you describe it, it certainly is worth looking for.”

Keeping your eyes open

Donald: “Subject: Art on the rails.

“While waiting at a railroad crossing for a freight train to pass, I was reminded of the talents possessed by the ‘taggers’ who had spray-painted a number of the cars. The artistic skill they display is amazing (and illegal).”

Our birds, ourselves

Elvis writes: “Subject: peeping toms.

“After seeing the turkey photos last week, Elvis thought he should share these sent from his folks’ retirement community in Wisconsin.

“This peeping tom made the rounds last week. Elvis‘s mom caught him looking in her kitchen window. She went to the front door and took this photo of him after he had turned around but not yet departed.

“The noisy guy wandered around the neighborhood that day and was sighted looking in other homes. Eventually he found his way down to one of the entrances to the larger apartment units and was snapped again.”

The verbing of America

Friendly Bob of Fridley: “Of all the words that stand a chance of being ‘verbicized’ (sorry!), I never thought ‘guacamole’ (or some version of it) would be a likely candidate.

“A recent Chipotle commercial tried to convince me that they had ‘a better way to guac.’

“Ow, my ears!”

Our theater of seasons

Mounds View Swede checks in: “Although Monday’s snow quickly melted, Tuesday morning brought a fresh look to our back-yard trees.

“It was a wetter snow and seemed to clump up more. I enjoyed one last look at my dark branches newly white.

“And by afternoon, all gone! From the trees, anyway, and working on the grass, too.”

Later: “I was delighted this morning when I looked at the back yard and saw glistening sparkles with so many different colors.

“They reminded me of the holiday lights put up for Christmas . . .

“. . . and seemed like a way of celebrating the first day of spring. I had never seen so many colors like this in the morning dew.”

Our theater of seasons
Wisconsin Riviera Division

The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin, reported: “Subject: Another first.

“10:06 p.m., Friday, March 19, the first barge of the 2021 season passes the Wisconsin Riviera at Prescott. Two hours before the first day of spring.”

The Doryman again, the next morning: “Subject: Another first (error alert).

“I’ve been corrected by my neighbors. One went by earlier. I must have been doing number two when number one went by.”

The bumper crop

Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “My elder son spotted this bumper sticker on a car with an Ohio plate in Florida: ‘Do you Follow JESUS This Closely?’”

Band Name of the Day: The Bard Owls

Website of the Day:

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