Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Find a box of “original” Triscuits!

Our times

Elvis writes: “Elvis tends to have simple tastes, and he likes Triscuit crackers.

“Today Elvis went to the grocery store, looking for what is now marketed as ‘original’ Triscuits.

“He stood in front of multiple shelves with dozens of Triscuit boxes. He had the choice to purchase:

“Triscuit Cracked Pepper and Olive Oil

“Triscuit Balsamic Vinegar and Basil

“Triscuit Fire Roasted Tomato and Olive Oil

“Triscuit Roasted Garlic

“Triscuit Cheddar

“Triscuit Tzatziki

“Triscuit Four Cheese and Herb

“Triscuit Smoked Gouda

“Triscuit Garden Herb

“Triscuit Dill, Sea Salt and Olive Oil

“Triscuit Organic and Sea Salt

“Triscuit Hint of Sea Salt

“Triscuit Avocado, Cilantro and Lime

“Triscuit Woven with Chia Seeds, Rosemary and Jalapeno

“There were also choices to be had in several flavors for Reduced Fat, Thin Crisps, Family Size and Minis.

Elvis did finally find a single box, hidden over to the side, of the original flavor (and size) he wanted. So often the ‘original’ (and Elvis assumes the most popular) option is sold out. Or, like today, he could have bought multiple boxes of any of the other flavors, but not the one he wanted.

“This is not the first time it has happened, and not even the last time on this day. A few minutes later, Elvis stood in front of another shelf display trying to find the ‘original’ English Muffins amidst all the other options.

“And searching the chips aisle to find some pretzels, Elvis watched an elderly lady ask the stocking clerk where the ‘regular’ Doritos were. It took a couple minutes to locate them.

“More than once, not paying close enough attention, Elvis has ended up with the Low Fat, Reduced Fat or No Salt version of something — which, although probably more healthful, is just annoying, as the package looks so much like the ‘original’ one.

“Maybe Elvis is just too old and grumpy, and needs to expand his Triscuit horizons.”

Live and learn
The Hard Way Division

Reports Rusty of St. Paul: “Earlier this month, I took my foreign car to the dealership I have been using, for its 55,000-mile ‘check-up.’ I was told that it would take three to five hours, so I went home.

“Much sooner than this quoted time, I received a video from the tech working on my car, who showed me all sorts of things that were fine and rear brakes that weren’t so fine and needed replacing.

“When I picked the car up, the rep went over the charges. Their hourly labor rate is $209.87. I could see that for the check-up (which we called a ‘tune-up’ in the olden days), I was being charged $888.59 for labor — thus, over four hours of work! I looked at some of the claimed times for the work. Change the air filter: 40 minutes. I told the rep that there was ‘no way’ it took 40 minutes to change the air filter. I then asked what the actual time was for my check-up work. He added it up and said: ‘About an hour.’

“‘Then why am I being charged for over four hours’ labor?’ I asked.

“He explained that they charge based on an industry-standard book that has estimated times for various jobs. And the industry average for this check-up was around four hours. He said some techs are faster than this, and others are slower, but that it is ‘fair’ to charge per the standard, as that is how it is done across the industry. I told him that it was NOT fair, but that it is the ‘reality.’ He replied: ‘You’re paying for the experience!’ What, you mean the experience of getting ripped off, or possibly the ‘complimentary’ bag of chips and can of soda in the waiting area, plus a car wash?

“Add on the brake job, and my bill was $2,200.

“As it was below zero that day, they could not give me the usual complimentary car wash. I asked for a rain check and was given one begrudgingly. ‘Thanks for my $600 car wash, ‘ I told them.

I use my neighborhood family-owned garage to work on my other, low-end car (inherited from my frugal mother). I think I have seen the owner look through a book to estimate work for me, so maybe the dealership is correct that this is how it is done. But I don’t think my neighborhood garage owner charges me for labor that was not performed.

“I looked into this a bit online and now agree with others that dealerships are really ‘stealerships’!”

Dept. of Neat Stuff
Winter Carnival Division

Gregory J. of Dayton’s Bluff: “Subject: The 1938 Saint Paul Winter (Sports) Carnival.

“If I had a time machine and could visit any Saint Paul Winter Carnival held before I was born, my choice would be the one in 1938. The main reason is that it was the only time an Ice Palace was built in Dayton’s Bluff.

“Over the years, I’ve collected a few items from that Winter Carnival. I started with postcards showing the 1938 Ice Palace — or Ice Court, as it was called that year. I eventually had enough of them that I could put together an entry for the State Fair Creative Activities postcard competition in 2016 — an entry that was awarded a blue ribbon.

“Another collectible was a little pocket-sized booklet from 1938 that contained the official songs and a preview of the activities. I’m not sure what an ‘official’ song would be, because except for the Minnesota Rouser, they were just new words put to old song melodies.

“Next was the Winter Carnival button for that year. Its design was also used on the booklet and other souvenirs.

“Finally, I have a 1938 Winter Carnival brass coin. It was produced by Midwest Federal Savings and Loan and had the motto ‘AS GOOD AS GOLD’ on the back. I assume that it referred to Midwest Federal rather than the coin, because brass is not as good as gold from a monetary standpoint. But then, as we found out many years later, Midwest Federal wasn’t so great, either.

“The booklet previewed Winter Carnival events, most of which still exist in some form today. But there were a few intriguing ones that are no longer with us, such as:

“‘ICE BOATING — Winter’s most exciting sport . . . thrills, chills, spills . . . on beautiful White Bear Lake . . . with the fastest sails in the Northwest and the cleverest crews in the game.’

“‘ICE TROTTING — Fastest horses in the Northwest battling it out over a half-mile track on historic old Lake Como . . . thundering hoofs (sic) beating their way down and around a snowbanked course . . . the sport of kings in an utterly different setting.’

“‘SKI-JORING — One of winter’s most spectacular sports . . . singles, doubles, tandems, motorcycles . . . over highways and down race courses!’ For people like me who had never heard of ski-joring: It is a winter sport in which a person (or persons) on skis is (or are) pulled by a horse, a dog or a motor vehicle.

“The description of the Ice Palace didn’t include where it was located and was a bit vague, but was basically correct:

“‘ICE PALACE — Only one of its kind in the United States . . . constructed entirely of huge blocks of ice, fitted into a modernistic design . . . gorgeously lighted from within by an indirect system of fantastic flares . . . the most unusual structure of the nation’s 1938 winter sports season.’

“I might as well include a couple of the official songs. I assume most of the original songs were popular in 1938, but there are only a few that I recognize:

“WE ARE THE SAINTS (Melody: O Tannenbaum)
“‘We are the saints; we are the saints;
“‘We are the saints from old Saint Paul.
“‘We are the saints; we are the saints;
“‘We are the saints from old Saint Paul.

“‘We bring you greetings and good cheer;
“‘We hope there are no sinners here.
“‘We are the saints; we are the saints;
“‘We are the saints from old Saint Paul.’

“SAINT PAUL WILL SHINE TONIGHT (Melody: Our Boys Will Shine Tonight)
“‘Saint Paul will shine tonight,
“‘Saint Paul will shine;
“‘Saint Paul will shine tonight,
“‘Won’t that be fine?

“‘Saint Paul will shine tonight,
“‘Saint Paul will shine;
“‘When the sun goes DOWN
“‘And the moon comes UP
“‘SAINT PAUL . . . will shine!’

“I didn’t say they were particularly clever. There are quite a few more songs, but you get the idea.”

Fellow travelers
Or: Their theater of seasons

Kathy S. of St Paul: “For those tired of winter, these pictures are from Le Hameau de la Reine at Versailles, in 1995.

There are better pictures online, of course.

“This fantastical village (The Hamlet of the Queen) was built for Marie Antoinette. Le Hameau is in at least one movie about her. I had walked down to the Petit and Grand Trianon buildings that day at Versailles, just as they closed for lunch. But some people went down a path marked Le Hameau, and I followed them. It was magic, and I hadn’t known it existed. Which shows to go that sometimes the unplanned paths are those that are most worth taking.

“In late 1999, there was a huge windstorm that blew down 10,000 trees at Versailles because it was built on top of a swamp. The roots just weren’t deep enough to save the trees. So my pictures are ‘before’ pics. I have never really found ‘after’ pics; maybe they didn’t want people to avoid Versailles.”

Then & Now
Photography Division (responsorial)

Booklady writes: “I read Papageno‘s comments about family photographs with interest. I admit I have boxes of old photos to go through, and they all bring back memories. Before digital photos took over the world, I took multiple shots, particularly of kids, in case some didn’t turn out. Most of those will have to go.

“Unfortunately the younger generation has no interest in family history, so my trove of treasured pictures, many identified and dated, will likely end up in the Dumpster. These include my baby pictures with my parents and grandparents; my dad, still in his Army uniform. I grew up with the stories that accompanied the pictures, but my son and grandkids have no desire to hear even the stories of their own youth. [Bulletin Board says: Please don’t visit the Dumpster! That is an irreversible decision; your younger generation’s current myopia is entirely reversible, in time. It might never be reversed — but let that time happen!]

“I have very few pictures of one set of grandkids. They live hours from us, and they just don’t take pictures. Everything is digital, and, if photos are posted, they disappear within days. Before I belatedly switched to a smartphone, I had no way of showing them off to my friends.

“When it comes to travel pictures, I like to go old-school and have real physical albums. I’m not creating them for posterity. My plan is to equip myself with easy access to tangible memories. There are definitely ‘people shots’ as well as scenery. I enjoy pulling out an album of a trip and curling up with a cozy afghan to relive a favorite expedition. I always choose albums with room to write about what I’m looking at, so there is no mystery about what I’m seeing. When I’m gone, those photos won’t be of any use to anyone else, but I will have enjoyed them many times over. (It isn’t the same to scroll through my digital pictures.)

“This photo was from Akureyri, Iceland, in 2015.”

Joy of Juxtaposition
Including: Then & Now

John in Highland: “The other day, some friends and I heard a radio personality say that he had been ‘tardy’ for an event. We agreed that nobody uses the word tardy anymore, and that the last time we had heard or seen it was when we got our report cards in elementary school. [Bulletin Board says: Tardy might have lost the long-term race with late, but it has surely not dropped out. Search for it via Google, Facebook, Twitter or any other site, and you will find many recent uses of tardy.]

“Today I opened an old book that I had gotten at a garage sale, and out fluttered this bookmark.

“It seems that young Ralphie had gotten a certificate for not being absent from school or tardy for 20 days.

“Things have changed these days. You get a good-attendance award only if you make it for the whole school year. And I don’t know if there are still any teachers named Myrtle!”

Not exactly what they had in mind
President Dewey Division

Dennis from Eagan writes: “Subject: Providing COVER for Betty White’s missed 100th.

“Television icon Betty White died on December 31, but you wouldn’t know that by looking at January 16’s Parade and January 10’s People magazine covers. She was set to turn 100 on MLK Day (January 17), but print deadlines forced the staff to assume that she’d still be living then. Oops.

“Thanks for the memories, Betty! I especially loved her wide-receiver portrayal in the Snickers commercial during Super Bowl XLIV in February 2010.

“Rest In Peace, Betty.”

Everyone’s a copy editor

Email from Donald: “Subject: A pair, from a pair of papers.

“Sometimes it’s just too easy.

“Subhead on the front page of Friday’s Pioneer Press: ‘Hennepin County’s Hutchinson drove 120 mph, didn’t wearing seatbelt, lied to officers at scene’

“Same day, from Page D4 of the paper west of St. Paul — a continuation of an article about Netflix’s low subscriber growth: ‘Netflix picked up 18.2 million worldwide subscribers during 2021, its slowest pace of annual growth in five years.

“‘It came after Netflix gained more than 36 million subscribers during 2020. The service now boasts nearly 222 million worldwide subscribers worldwide, more than any other video streaming service.’”

Everyone’s a critic!
Football Analyst Division

Writes The Mighty Wickard of “Blaine, Where We Never Stop Asking: ‘What’s the deal with Highway 65 today?’: “Subject: Toss the Ball and Cookies.

“I remember, when I was very young, hearing that Syrup of Ipecac was often administered to cause immediate violent, uncontrollable vomiting. The idea that one could induce a hurl instantaneously seemed bizarre and almost magical.

“This, of course, was years before we could simply listen to Cris Collinsworth announce a game.”

Our birds, ourselves

Doris G of Randolph, Minnesota, reports: “Mr. Cardinal sitting pretty in our pine tree.”

Now & Then
Leading to: The highfalutin pleasures (responsorial)

The Giggling OOK: “Subject: Novelty songs.

Rancid Beef of South St. Paul was talking about a 1975 novelty song titled ‘Mr. Jaws,’ by Dickie Goodman. Bulletin Board shared a link, and of course I had to listen to it.

“I hadn’t heard this type of song for a while and wound up with tears in my eyes from laughing at the interviewer’s questions answered by music clips. I have always gotten a kick out of novelty songs. I looked up Dickie’s All-Time Novelty Hits and found 28 songs, many of which I’ve never heard of! I remember most of the music he uses clips from. Check them out if you have a silly sense of humor and could use a laugh.

“We know that ‘Weird Al’ Yankovich and other musical artists were inspired by Dickie’s work. Wouldn’t it be great if we got to hear some new creations?”

Life in the Sunshine State

Cee Cee of Mahtomedi: “Here in Florida, we don’t have Amber Alerts much. Instead it’s those loony ‘seniors’ getting lost!”

Know thyself?
Or: Who you callin’ “Old-Timer”?

LeoJEOSP writes: “During the summer of 2021, a virus dictated what you could or could not do.

“My S.O. follows the Minnesota Twins and learned that the Twins were visiting Busch Stadium for a three-game stand against the St Louis Cardinals. Our choice was to take the Great River Road: GRR. This national road runs from Lake Itasca in Minnesota to Louisiana.

“We left St. Paul and headed east until we were on the GRR. If you are used to using our Interstate highway system, you will miss the small towns’ charms. The GRR goes through towns right on the river, and each town offers some park or lookout to sightsee.

“We saw many sights as we went sightseeing in Dubuque, Iowa. We took a jaunt over to Galena, Illinois, to look for General Grant historical sites.

“We resumed our southbound trip on the GRR and saw a lot of interesting sites. As we were driving through Bettendorf, Iowa, we saw a neighborhood convenience store with a public restroom, just off the highway. We turned in. After answering nature’s call, I had to make it through a large number of customers. Outside the front door, there was a young lady tracking everyone who entered the store.

“Walking out of the store was easy, thanks to Handicapped parking.

“I walk with a four-wheeled walker.

“Just then a van with blacked-out windows pulled up next to us. The driver exited the van, and he had a wild look in his eyes that suggested he was taking meth.

“The incident that bothered me is when the van guy said: ‘How are you doing, old-timer?’ I had never been called that, and I wanted to show him I was only 66.

“I did have a full gray beard, but he said old-timer. How dare he call me old-timer!

“The van guy had a beanie on his head, and on top of that was a too-small derby cocked sideways. It must have been glued or pinned on.

“After we pulled out of this place, I said: It wasn’t fair to call me old-timer.’ Even though that is how I looked.

“After a few minutes was another site to look at, and the old-timer remark was soon forgot.

“The scenery on the GRR is breathtaking.

“The Twins won one of three games. Any baseball fan must put Busch Stadium on their bucket list.”

The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon

Eastside, Westside reports: “Today — Tuesday, January 18 —While doing the NYTimes puzzle, I was puzzled at clue ‘Outed maliciously online.’ By solving the other clues, I read ‘DOXED’ — a term I had not read or heard before.

“This afternoon, reading OZY Daily Dose: ‘”doxxing,” the practice of maliciously releasing someone’s personal information online.’

“Pretty simple; and I learned something new!”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: More info (including etymology) here.

Happy New Year!

Mounds View Swede: “We visited family for New Year’s in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and watched the city celebration from the 21st floor, where they live.

“My first attempt at a sky-rocket photo turned out like this.

“After I saw what happened, I made sure the camera was against the window for the photos.

“The next photos are the best of what I was able to get. I hope you all enjoy them and remember the moment 2022 began. And may you all have a happy, healthy year in 2022!”

Band Name of the Day: The Stealer-Dealers — or: Loony Seniors

Website of the Day, recommended by Rutabaga55:

%d bloggers like this: