Would you eat a carrot cake made with “imitation carrot flavored pieces”?


Grandma Pat, “formerly of rural Roberts, Wisconsin,” reports: “I made a carrot cake recently from a mix. Right on the front of the box were the words ‘With imitation carrot flavored pieces.’ I had a question: Pieces of what?

“I also noticed a puzzling list of ingredients on a package of ice-cream bars. This featured ‘vanilla ice cream with chocolate flavored coating shell.’ Again, a question: What was this coating made of?

“The third mysterious item was a box of frozen blueberry waffles. On this box was a list that described ‘blueberry flavored nuggets and elderberry juice for color.’ There was no indication of what the nuggets were made of.

“I guess I have two choices: Go back to cooking from scratch, as I did for many decades, or avert my eyes when handling food packages.”

Life as we know it

Pollyanna of Clifton, Wisconsin (“formerly of Lakeland”): “Subject: A new venture.

“We moved to Clifton two years ago. We made our offer on this house one week after my mom died, and one week before COVID hit. We closed the day after George Floyd was killed. It was an eventful time!

“Anyway, we have a really big yard now. I wanted a wildflower garden on one side of the driveway. I looked up how to create one and dutifully staked out the space, covering it with black plastic last fall and throughout the winter. We have a LOT of wind here, so there were several replacements of torn plastic in this preparation. This spring our neighbor offered to till it for us. It is 16 feet by 130 feet. In May, my husband told me he thought we should plant vegetables. My unexpressed thought was: ‘Why? You only like to eat corn and peas!’ But I kept quiet. I told him I wanted to save space for the wildflowers. I planted four types of sweet corn, Yukon Gold potatoes, carrots, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, two kinds of tomatoes (we don’t eat tomatoes, but are hoping to make some good sauce), two kinds of peas, watermelons, cantaloupe and pumpkins. For some reason, few of the hill-planted seeds sprouted, so I planted them again. They are now taking over the garden! It’s so exciting! The pumpkins have overtaken the spinach on one side and the lettuce on the other. I am growing the pumpkins only for the seeds; last year I bought seven and ate most of the seeds myself. Also, I didn’t hill the potatoes. I’m hoping we’ll still get a few!

“You can tell from the photos that I really didn’t know what I was doing as I was planting. The whole garden is sort of an experiment. I have spent hours feeding gnats and mosquitoes while getting rid of the crabgrass and turf. And golf balls! I have found over a dozen in the tilled dirt. I believe the man who used to live here would hit balls from near the house to the area which is now the garden.

“Our dad was a gardener. We always had corn, tomatoes, peas, strawberries, radishes, cucumbers, onions, grapevines, chokecherries, gooseberries and even peanuts in our garden in Mendota Heights! When they moved to Washington, the garden got smaller, but he got several apple trees which he trained to grow along their fence so he could reach the apples. My parents always had homemade juices and jams. Dad also made wine and root beer. I’m hoping we can channel my parents just a little bit when we bring in our harvest.”

Vanity, thy name is . . .

First, Friendly Bob of Fridley: “I was going to wait for the appropriate season to arrive, but feared I would forget about this personalized license plate I saw on a pickup truck, apparently owned by a hopeful [Bulletin Board interjects: Or perhaps boastful!] hunter: ’12PTBUK.'”

And now Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “Recently spotted Minnesota plates:

“B4IDIE (Subaru)

“DRKANGL (Explorer)

“QTRHRSE (Silverado)”

Till death us do part
The Vision Thing Division (responsorial)

Norsky writes: “I came across Wayne Nelson of Forest Lake’s photo and report in the Sunday paper [Sunday BB, 7/17/2022] and called my wife over to look at the photo. I asked her: ‘Who does that look like?’ When she didn’t reply, I said: ‘Groucho Marx.’

“We used to watch Groucho on his television game show ‘You Bet Your Life’ back in the ’50s. He featured a secret word that was attached to a duck on a cord that dropped down in front of the contestant if they said that word during their conversation. When that happened, the contestant would win money in addition to the cash they won correctly answering his questions.

“Jay Leno revived the ‘You Bet Your Life’ show this year. My wife and I get a lot of laughs from it watching every weekday. Instead of a duck, Jay uses a burst of confetti when the contestant says the secret word.”

The Permanent Family Record (responsorial)

Lawyergirl of St. Paul: “Cherie D of Inver Grove Heights told a tale of finding Grandma’s ashes and perhaps having to keep them.

“When Grandpa died in 1978, cremation was uncommon here, but that’s what he wanted. His remains were in a brass box with a metal label with his name and birth and death dates, decorated with a wreath. Mom put a small framed photo of Grandpa when he was younger on top of it, and the box migrated between the top of the old upright piano and the top of the bookcase.

“His remains were in the family room until Grandma’s death 10 years later; when Grandma was dying, she told Mom to bury him with her, because there was room between her feet and she could kick him for eternity — and is presumably doing so.

“If Cherie D doesn’t want to keep Grandma’s ashes, there are other options.”

Our theater of seasons

Mounds View Swede, checking in again: “I stopped at Ardan Park to see how things were going at the ‘ponds’ and found the south pond completely covered with green growth.

“The north pond still had a patch of open water and a few ducks utilizing it.

“A couple of plants around the pond caught my eye. I am curious about what these buds will look like when open.

“And this plant was showing its many blossoms.”

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

All from Al B of Hartland: “I’ve learned . . .

“. . . when some people weigh in, the conversation gets heavy.

“. . . there are few things rarer than people who are at their ideal

“. . . a grandparent is the publicity department for grandchildren.

“. . . the biggest lie is ‘I’ll remember.’

“. . . I don’t want to know whom everyone is voting for.

“. . . wisdom comes to the place where foolishness had been.

“The indigo bunting is my wife’s favorite bird, and my late father called it a ‘blue canary.’ That makes this bird a big deal in my yard.

“I was parked on the highway, waiting for a pilot car to lead me down the road. I watched turkey vultures doing an aerial ballet. Killdeer dashed across the ground. A kingfisher made a metallic sound. They were comfort birds sent to ease the stress of getting nowhere fast.

“I saw a red-winged blackbird perched on a street sign. I’d love to see one on a street sign reading ‘Broadway.’ It’d be great to hear that bird singing on Broadway.

“Pied-billed grebes don’t dive as deeply as loons: 20 feet or fewer, for about 30 seconds. An alarmed grebe dives swiftly and may swim underwater until reaching plants in shallow water, where it remains submerged, except for its eyes and bill, until the danger passes. This impressive disappearing act is responsible for the bird’s nickname, ‘water witch.’ The pied-bill and other grebes share another nickname emphasizing their diving skills: ‘hell diver.’

“I’d donned a gown and a robe. I’m all too familiar with that process, but my experience doesn’t lead to a swift completion. I hoped it would be the most troublesome part of my day. I had minor surgery and had stayed somewhat coherent during the entire operation. After I’d been updated, they moved me to a hospital gurney and wheeled me to the recovery room. A man pushed me through a labyrinth of passages. We covered all the directions in our travels. It amazed me how the gurney drivers could travel all those busy halls without colliding with someone or something. A crashed gurney would be good for no one. As I neared the completion of my leisure tour, I thought about a cherry Dilly Bar from Dairy Queen. I realized my prospects were good when my biggest concern was getting an ice cream treat.”

Could be verse!

A trio from Tim Torkildson: (1) “I take a bunch of sleeping aids
“to bring me slumber sweet;
“but I stay so very wide awake
“upon my linen sheet.
“And so the morning finds me dull;
“my wits, quite obsolete.”

(2) “When arthritis comes a-calling
“there’s no use in simply bawling.
“So my joints won’t do their duty?
“Life can still be tutti-frutti!
“If I can’t kick up my heels,
“I’ll just spread banana peels . . .”

(3) “‘The U.S. dollar is stronger than it has been in decades and the effects of its rapid rise are reverberating across the globe.’ (Wall Street Journal)

“I’m glad the dollar is so strong;
‘it shows the Fed can do no wrong.
‘Our specie payments are the best
‘in all the world; they’ve passed the test!
‘The only thing that makes me blue
“is the fact I have so few . . .”

Everyone’s a copy editor!

Donald reports: “Subject: They’ve done it again!

“The front page of last Monday’s Variety section in the paper west of St. Paul carried a headline identical to one which appeared not long ago in the same location: ‘The 5 best things we late last week.’

“Because it was such an egregious mistake, I considered that it might be an ongoing joke.

“I abandoned that thought when I followed the piece to Page E6 and saw this headline: ‘The 5 best things we ate last week.’

“Maybe they ate late.”

Everyone’s a (copy editor) critic!

The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills writes: “Subject: Clever headline.

“On the front page of the Sports section in Wednesday’s Pioneer Press is a large photo with this caption: ‘The Twins’ Byron Buxton, center, follows through on his fourth-inning home run off the National League’s Tony Consolin, giving the American League the lead for good in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game in Los Angeles.’

“Appearing below that is this headline: ‘BANG FOR THE BUCK.’”

CAUTION! Words at Play!
No Pun Intended Division

Once again, The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills: “Subject: We can see that!

“A TV network reporter was doing a standup from an area of sequoia trees while commenting on the nearby fires.

“His final comment: ‘We’re not out of the woods yet.’”

The verbing of Scotland
Plus: Not exactly what he had in mind
(leading to: Know thyself?)

A pair from Rusty of St. Paul: (1) “Professional golfer Padraig Harrington was feeling his age during the prolonged first round of the British Open. Due to the design and setup of the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland, rounds were taking six hours, and sometimes players had to wait 20 minutes between shots. ‘It was hard going, with all the stopping and starting,’ he said. ‘When you’re 50 years of age, it’s hard to Rolls-Royce it on every swing.'”

(2) “I wonder if this might be a corollary to ‘getting up on the wrong side of the bed.’

“My day was going well, so I must have gotten up on the right side of the bed, until I had to have my first bathroom break of the day after getting dressed. It was a stand-up number. Fly on the pants went down, and then I was fiddling for the fly of my underwear to find what needed finding to proceed.

“Felt my undies in the center — stymied. Felt to the right. No luck. To the left. No cigar. I was wearing a newish pair of briefs that are body-hugging. I own some briefs that don’t have flies, for use in the BWCA, and thought that might be the case here.

“I dropped trou and . . . I had my undies on backwards!

“Maybe I should wear my glasses when I get dressed? Or have my wife present to direct me? Or even dress me?”

The highfalutin amusements

The Monkey Lover’s Wife of Northfield: “”I am deep in the depths of my first* COVID infection/isolation (well, I’m glad I made it this far at least?) and so I’m trying to catch up on a ton of things that have gone to the back burner over the last three years that can be done while resting.

(*This reminds me of a story from our good friend Greg. He was running errands with his then-8-year-old son in his 1980s-era manual-transmission Ford pickup. Greg had parked in a driveway with a slight uphill, put the car in park, and left the car running while he went to the door to drop something off. The naturally curious son got squirmy, hit the gear shift, and the car rolled slowly backwards down the driveway, coming to a stop in the neighbor’s front yard. No injuries, slight damage to the car, chastened father. In recounting the story, the always-hilarious Greg started off with: ‘Well, Wyatt had his first car accident this weekend, and my first wife is not very happy with me.’ Yes, 20 years later they’re still married.)

“One of these things is finally looking at all the emails I subscribe to, which mostly concern recent book releases, or long articles, or fun facts. I have enjoyed getting caught up on Bulletin Board, among other things, and thought folks might enjoy these:

Eggcorn! A new Bulletin Board phenomenon!

“Also, I could play this for hours.”

Band Name of the Day: The Blue Canaries — or: The Eggcorns

Website of the Day, recommended by The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “If you happen to be old enough (or if your folks had an old Philco), here’s a sweet little sentimental journey for you this morning.”

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