Out of the mouths of babes
Zoo Lou of St. Paul: “Subject: And a little child shall lead them.
“Once again, my faith in humanity has been restored after reading ‘What first-graders are thankful for in 2022’ in the Sunday Pioneer Press [11/20/2022].
“With so many negative things in the world, the wit, honesty and sincerity of these youngsters is an endless source of inspiration, hope and amusement. As the Bible says: ‘And a little child shall lead them.’
“Here are some of my favorite bits of wisdom from the soon-to-be-stewards of the Earth:
“‘I am thankful for bananas and earth because I love them!’ — Zakariya
“‘I am thankful for my home because it keeps me safe from thunder.’ — Milkoo
“‘I am thankful for hiludays because we get too selubrat.’ — Carson
“‘I am thankful for scool because I like to lern stuf.’ — Graham
“‘I am thankful for the Amarukin flag becaus it gives us luck.’ — Riley
“‘I am thankful for the earth, because we need the earth to be protected.’ — Adan
“‘I am thankful for rainbows because it rains and the sun is there.’ — Ivan
“‘I am thankful for dinosaurs because they are funny.’ — Gabriel
“‘I am thankful for God because he made us alive.’ — Mickella
“‘I am thankful for sharks. They recycle fish that are dead.’ — Micah
“‘I am thankful for all the fun, and peace, and my family. And turkey.’ — Teddy
“‘I am thankful for mistaks. Because they hellp you learn.’ — Octavia
“‘I am thankful for everything!’ — Evy
“Well, kids, you are getting off to a good start in life, and I know you’ll make us proud. Just work on that spelling, and I’m sure you’ll soon be mastering words like ‘antidisestablishmentarianism’ and ‘honorificabilitudinitatibus’!”
Out of the mouths of babes (II)
Bill of the river lake: “Subject: Those classroom rules.
“The last few years, a preschool teacher in a local elementary school has asked her very young students to produce class rules, which she posted on her classroom wall.
“Some of the more creative were:
“Keep spit in your mouth.
“We should not fly planes.
“Only run outside.
“Keep your pants on.
“This year the teacher has a kindergarten class at a different school. I asked her to send me a few of this year’s rules. Her reply was a bit surprising. She asked her ‘older’ students for their classroom rules, but not one of them suggested a creative one.
“Maybe these kids have become much more sophisticated and intellectual. Who knows?”
The simple pleasures
Lola: “A simple pleasure: when you get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and you get back to bed and the sheets are still warm — and dry!”
Where have you gone, Mrs. Malaprop?
Friendly Bob of Fridley: “Subject: Mixed metaphors.
“The college football game between Nebraska and Michigan featured some interesting plays, but I think sometimes the commentators (or whatever they are called these days) get a little TOO into things.
“Michigan was driving for yet another score, and the pass receiver made a great move on the sideline to get away from the defense and streak for the end zone. Unfortunately for him, there were still some defenders blocking the way, so he tried to extend the ball across the goal line. Oopsies! He lost control of the ball, and it went skittering toward the back of the end zone. Several large Nebraska players and some even larger Michigan ones all went after the ball in a super scrum. The ball squirted out of the pile and almost went over the end line, which would have resulted in a touchback, with the ball going over to the Cornhuskers. But a large Michigan paw came out of the pile and corralled the ball in the nick of time. Very close, but ‘after further review,’ Michigan was awarded a touchdown.
“One of the ex-jocks calling the game observed that the Michigan player had ‘saved the bell.’ Well, that’s pretty close. Saved the day . . . saved by the bell . . . whatever.”
The highfalutin amusements
Or: The self-incriminators?
Walt of Wayzata: “Seen on Facebook.”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: This is one of those blissful occasions when an “error” is funny no matter whether the “error” was or was not an error!
The highfalutin bemusements
Kathy S. of St. Paul reports: “Occasionally I send comments to a legislator. I usually get an answer, but the one I got today takes the cake. It starts with: ‘Thank you for taking the time to write to my office about your thoughts and opinions.’ And ends with: ‘I hope you will contact me again about matters of concern to you.”
“Nowhere in between does it mention which of two issues I wrote about, and I don’t remember. But this answer makes me feel so very special.
“Luckily, no trees died so the legislator and I could have this meaningful exchange of information.”
The verbing of America
From Bob Woolley: “Yesterday I was visiting a friend in the locked area of a mental-health facility. Exiting requires a staff person to swipe his or her ID badge over a sensor to unlock the door. When I told a nurse that I was ready to leave, she said: ‘OK, I’ll badge you out.'”
BULLETIN BOARD MUSES: Badge-out? Badge-out?! We don’t want no badge-out! You don’t need no badge-out! You don’t have to do us any stinking badge-out!
Or: CAUTION! Words at Play!
The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “The latest cartoon in my head:
“The drawing is of an artist in his studio with a client. They are contemplating a single-line (Picasso-like) drawing of a bird’s wing, alone in the center of the otherwise blank, white canvas. The artist is saying to the prospect: it’s called ‘Piece of Dove.'”
Our birds, ourselves
Doris G. of Randolph, earlier this fall: “I was very happy and surprised to see the bluebirds in the birdbath today.
“The last two years, we have not had any that stayed. So glad they stopped.”
Our theater of seasons
Grandma Paula: “In October, I climbed the trail from downtown Osceola up to the bluff overlooking the St. Croix River and the 243 Highway bridge that connects Minnesota and Wisconsin. Quite a view!”
There’s nothin’ like a simile!
The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills: “Steve Rushin’s article in a recent issue of Sports Illustrated focuses on the children of major-league baseball players.
“In this excerpt, Rushin focuses on Billy Martin’s son, Billy Joe: ‘Billy Joe sat enraptured in the dark room, as if in a movie theater, a boy literally looking up to bartenders and ballplayers, in the only childhood that he knew, which was the world of Major League Baseball. He was belt-high, like a bad fastball, but spending his summers with the Bronx Zoo Yankees.’”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Like a bad fastball, huh? How high (or low) do you suppose a bad simile is?
The Wordsmith writes: “Michael Osterholm is a Minnesota treasure. He was the state’s head epidemiologist for many years, and now presides over the U of M’s Centers for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP). Since the start of the pandemic, he has hosted a weekly podcast with scientific updates on the state of COVID domestically and abroad. I’ve found it to be an enormously valuable source of reliable information. But he does occasionally have trouble coming up with exactly the right words to express his thoughts.
“In the latest episode, he mentioned an award he recently received for his lifetime of service. In his usual humble way, he wanted to share the credit — but it didn’t quite come out right: ‘Anyone who knows me knows very well that I literally stand on the shoulders of my colleagues here at CIDRAP.’
“I’d like to see video of that, please.”
Throw the cow over the fence some hay
B. Dazzled of South St. Paul: “Subject: Throw the cow over the fence some Гей?
“Lately my time has been devoted to fundraising for Ukraine, so I have neglected to check in as much as I used to with my BB friends. This week, while ordering as many Christmas presents as possible from Ukraine-based sellers, I ran across an item which I simply had to order. The description brought out my inner copy editor. It is billed as an XXL Cat Tepee. The item description reads: ‘Wigwam for large, well-fed cats of the noble Maine Coon breed made of soft felt.’
“Noble and well-fed the Maine Coon breed may be. But only the very finest are made of soft felt.”
Everyone’s a copy editor!
Donald: “Subject: Are they on two teams?
“The back page of SPORTS in November 8th’s STrib features a photo of three girl hockey players in their Blake uniforms.
“The problem? The subhead below the picture identifies the girls as playing for Breck.
“Unless the schools have merged their teams, it seems a snafu has occurred.”
Everyone’s a copy editor!
Or: Department of Duh
The REF in White Bear Lake: “The headline and sub-headline, from Monday’s Pioneer Press following the Vikings’ Nov. 20 shellacking by the Cowboys:
“‘Cousins sacked a career-high seven times
“‘All seven sacks came before he was replaced in the fourth quarter.’
“I guess this rules out the sacks he suffered while seated on the bench.
“(I suspect the point to be made was that the record number occurred in just over three quarters.)”
Joy of Juxtaposition
MA of Kasson: “I asked my husband if we could make a quick trip to Menards after he picked me up from work. I needed batteries for all the holiday lights. He laughed and said that he had stopped there a few minutes earlier for cat litter.
“After I returned to the car, I picked up his receipt. Have to get the rebate, you know. Imagine my surprise when his receipt total was $17.38. The same as mine: $17.38.”
And now Cherie D of Inver Grove Heights: “One morning last week, I spoke with our insurance company about in-home physical therapy for my husband and got a list of local companies that provide such services. One was the Sholom Home, which surprised me because I had no idea they offered PT.
“Later that morning, my cousin Gregory J of Dayton’s Bluff and I were at a talk about the history of WCCO Radio, held at the Thompson Park Activity Center in West St. Paul. In the lobby area was a lady at a table with brochures. She was from the Sholom Home — and son of a gun, she had a brochure about their in-home PT+ services.
“Quite a timely J of J!”
The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon
Yes, the very same Cherie D of Inver Grove Heights: “Subject: Phrygian.
“On the morning of November 14, I saw online the mascot chosen for the 2024 Olympics in France. The mascot is designed based on a Phrygian cap.
“These caps, also called liberty caps, were worn in the very olden days in Persia, the Balkans, Thrace, Dacia and later in Phrygia, a place in modern-day Turkey where the name originates. The style of cap became a symbol of the French Revolution.
“I had never heard the word ‘Phrygian’ before, nor did I know there was a place in Turkey named Phrygia. Imagine my surprise when, in the afternoon of the same day, I came across the phrase ‘Phrygian dominant scale’ when reading about Bach’s Brandenburg concertos.”
Then & Now
Leading to: The great comebacks
John in Highland writes: “Subject: It’s only money!
“St. Paul Schools Superintendent Joe Gothard recently received a new contract which included a 23 percent increase in salary and retirement compensation. Far be it from me to object to a raise of over $58,000, but I do note such increases since I am paying part of his freight.
“I worked for Hennepin County in the ’70s and ’80s. On a regular basis, the Hennepin County Board would struggle to balance the budget. The negotiations one year proved to be even more difficult than usual, and the anticipated pay increases were delayed. Finally a memo from the board was posted on the bulletin board in our department. It stated that the increase in salaries for the coming budget term would be one-half of one percent.
“One of the wags in the department added a note on the bottom of the memo: ‘San Tropez, here I come!'”
The great comebacks
Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “Subject: Frank’s mantra.
“I enjoyed seeing Frank whenever he worked the counter in the pro shops at Tartan Park and Eagle Valley. He was always pleasant and upbeat. I smiled every time I heard his unique response to: ‘How you doing, Frank?’
“‘If I were doing any better, I’d have to be two people.’
“Wherever you are, Frank, I hope that’s still true.”
Another close encounter of the natural kind, reported by Mounds View Swede: “Last week, we had two first-time visitors to our back yard one afternoon. My first reaction was ‘How cool!’ to have such wildlife in our suburb.
“We are near a couple of forested areas, which to me is one of the attractions to this area. I wanted to live near woods, and this is an approximation of that, but it’s still close to stores and medical help when needed.
“What I was forgetting was how deer love to eat hostas. I have about 100 varieties that faithfully sprout every spring and make the gardens more interesting with their leaf variety and some blooms. The hostas were all brown-leaved and done for the winter, so the deer were not eating them. I just hope they remain unaware that I have them and find plentiful food elsewhere come spring.
“The next afternoon, we had a young neighbor blowing the leaves off of our rear deck, getting ready to mow and bag them, when he noticed a buck in the back yard — a third deer to visit our yard. I never saw it, but when I visited the nearby compost site in Ardan Park the next day, there were three deer in the entry drive. They promptly headed into the nearby woods.
“Could be some interesting times ahead with Mother Nature.”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: The only surprising thing about that story is that deer, of all things, were first-time visitors. They’re everywhere!
Outdoor life (and death?) as we know it
The Astronomer of Nininger: “Subject: Deer hunt.
“Tony had described the big 10-point buck he had seen a week earlier near my blind, bordering some neglected woods adjacent to an alfalfa field. That buck would pass by again, and I just needed to be there when he does.
“I shot my first deer in 1960, when I was 19 years old. Now I was hunting deer again, and each season tells a story that details the weather, the terrain and the hunt itself.
“I sometimes bring along a thermos of coffee, but this afternoon I just sat down and waited, out of the wind in that blind Tony had set up earlier. I was totally enclosed in that camouflaged tent-like structure. What one does while waiting is probably different for each hunter. It is a time for contemplation, for self- reflection, and for fantasizing, especially about a big buck. When deer finally do come into sight, they don’t do so making a lot of noise or by giving any warning announcing their arrival on the scene. It is almost like magic, in that suddenly they are there. And I do mean suddenly. This afternoon was no different.
“I was watching down an old dirt trail, dusty from the lack of rain. Nothing there. So I flicked my eyes to scan the alfalfa field to the left, and as I scanned back to the right, there was a deer, standing motionless in the middle of the trail, about 30 to 40 yards away. She was a mature doe, medium-sized; definitely not a large one. Her ears were bent back, indicating that she was aware of my presence. Did she smell me, or did she see me? I was in a blind, but she might see my eyes or some other skin. Those ears were really quite large, and it is likely that they could funnel even the faintest of sounds to her.
“Then, as suddenly as she tensed up, she relaxed and her ears came forward. She leaned downward, clenching a bite of whatever kind of grass was growing beneath her. I was using a Ruger .357 Magnum revolver. I lined up the sights on her neck as it settled between her shoulders, pointing right at the brisket. The front blade was painted with a fluorescent-orange nail polish that I picked up at the big-box store on the edge of town. With that, I was able to see the sights more clearly in subdued light. We continued to stare at each other.
“I held the handgun with both hands, making a firm foundation for my shot. I hadn’t cocked the hammer yet — still lined up on her, but still restrained. Did I want to pass up a chance for a big buck? Tony’s information about that 10-pointer prodded me. Still, it makes ecological sense to take a doe. There is a surplus of them, and it might be better to put her in the freezer than allow her to end up in the radiator of someone’s car. I placed my thumb on the hammer and slowly rotated it backwards to cock it.
“I made my decision and allowed her to run free. She sort of side-stepped into the brush adjacent to the trail. She disappeared as magically and swiftly as she had arrived. I carefully uncocked the handgun and holstered it. The Good Wife and I will not starve because I did not shoot this deer, and it will be larger next year. Besides that, I still can hunt (in this area) until after Thanksgiving.
“One thing my dad taught me when I was growing up was to recognize that you can have a great day hunting . . . and if you take some game, that is a bonus. The weather was pleasant. And I know that I could have taken this deer. A breath of fresh air blew across my face. It was a rewarding hunt that made me feel lucky to be able to hunt in this great state.”
You are what you read?
Semi-Legend reports: “Subject: Add this to my pull list?
“I’ve been reading comix for years and make regular forays to the Source, the comix shop in Roseville, where I recently picked up issue No. 1837 of Comic Shop News.
“Reading summaries of current issues, I realize I’m not up on the latest: ‘Snow White Zombie Apocalypse #1.’ What awaits? Says here: ‘the lovable but philandering Prince Charming’ and ‘his tough-as-nails paramour Rapunzel.’ We’ll have to look out as ‘the denizens of Grimm’s Fairy Tales rise from their graves to devour the flesh of the living.’
“Can’t wait for the Disney version.”
Band Name of the Day: The Grimm Zombies
Website of the Day: Winners of the 2022 Natural Landscape Photography Awards
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