Keeping your eyes open
Highfalutin Amusements Division
Abbysgram of South St. Paul writes: “I have hearing loss and use Closed Captioning to watch television. I get so much entertainment by watching the Minnesota Wild games and seeing what the commentators are saying. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what is being said compared to the CC on the screen, and sometimes it has me laughing out loud.
“Every Wild fan knows the names of the usual lineup, but the captioner doesn’t. Bally Sports North has yet to get Kaprizov’s name right. It is usually ‘Caprice’ or ‘Capri’ (sometimes followed by ‘-song’ or ‘-soft’), but it has been ‘Presov,’ too. In the game on December 10, Zuccarello’s name became ‘Sue Curella’ (did the Wild acquire a female player?), and Foligno became ‘Pelino.’
“But it’s not only names spelled incorrectly; it’s describing the play on the eyes, er ice, that is hysterical to me, an old lady who loves to watch hockey. I have seen ‘getting fresh gators on the ice’ and ‘written into the boards,’ plus so many incorrect words for the puck and the goalie, it makes me wonder if the CC has any idea about the game I enjoy so much.
“I watched a Wild game telecast by ESPN where the names of the players were all spelled right, and the commentary made sense throughout the game. I will still watch the games on Bally Sports North, as I love trying to figure out what’s really being said, and having a good laugh.”
The Permanent Family (“Criminal”) Record (responsorial)
Omaknits writes: “Subject: Traveling with Meat.
“DebK’s story about traveling with persimmons reminded me about my trip to Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
“While there, I discovered a sausage that tasted very much like the sausage that our family gets from Wishek, North Dakota. It is a traditional sausage that comes from our family’s heritage as Germans from Russia.
“I was so excited to think that the Uzbeks, neighbors to Russia, made a sausage like ours that I bought a bunch to take home, not realizing that it was illegal to transport meat on the plane. Not willing to give up my sausages, I just packed them in my suitcase, hoping to get by with them. I really panicked when, at the airport, they brought out dogs to sniff the luggage. Surely they’ll find the sausages, I thought. They’re so fragrant. Then what would happen to me? Get put in an Uzbeki jail?
“Well, turns out, the dogs just moved on. I was told later that the dogs were trained to sniff out marijuana. My sausages made it home as good as ever.”
The verbing of America (responsorial)
Reads the Funnies First: “Bob Woolley’s account of being in a locked mental-health facility reminded me of an instance when I brought a relative for an appointment. Having a long while to wait (and before the days of cellphones, which are the main way that I keep myself busy in situations like this), I decided to walk around. I opened a door, and after it shut, I realized that I was in the locked area and couldn’t open the door from that side. So, instant panic. I was in a corridor with no one around, envisioning that I was in real trouble and maybe they wouldn’t let me out.
“I walked around until I found a very nice lady who didn’t think twice about ‘badging me out.’ What a relief. They didn’t want to keep me.
“I embarrass easily, and after years, I’m still sitting here by myself blushing.”
Life in the Online Economy
Plus: Our times (Highfalutin Disappointments Division)
Cee Cee of Mahtomedi has sent a pair of seasonal reports: (1) “Subject: Oops!
“I ordered two pair of footy pajamas, child-size 7, for a special little one for Christmas. The package arrived today, but when I opened it, imagine my surprise when this was in the bag.
“I’m wondering if Santa received MY package. He might have to go on a starvation diet if he wants to wear the PJ’s . . . or maybe he could just give them to his favorite elves.”
(2) “Subject: The joy of giving?
“Tee Cee and I walked into our local supermarket on Saturday and were totally gobsmacked by the alteration of what once was a treasured holiday tradition. Where was the bell-ringer with the jovial greeting? Where was the shiny red kettle?
“All I could think was that those of us who love placing a fresh-from-the-bank Hamilton or Jackson into the bucket (and hearing a smiling ‘Thank you’ or ‘God Bless You’ in return) would no longer have the joy of that experience.
“Where, indeed, is the joy in scanning a code with a phone I don’t like using in the first place. Somehow, IMHO, it just doesn’t feel right.”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Desperate times call for desperate measures — whether or not it feels right. When there aren’t enough bell-ringers to go around . . .
’Tis the season!
DeAnne Cherry of Woodbury: “To the readers of the Pioneer Press:
“I would like to encourage you to help others in need. There are places like the Salvation Army, Sharing & Caring Hands, Union Gospel Mission, and others in the Twins Cities.
“For several years, my grandchildren and I have been ringing the bell for the
Salvation Army. I hope that I am teaching them the importance of helping others. This year my grandson Skylar, age 18, my granddaughter Rayne, age 15, and I will again ring the bell for the Salvation Army. After we are done, I am taking them out to supper. They will then stay overnight at Grandma’s. With the Christmas-tree lights on, we will watch a couple of Christmas movies. Of course, one will be a Hallmark movie.”
’Twas the season!
The Swede from Chisago: “As Christmas approaches, my thoughts drift back over 75 years to those ‘thrilling days of yesteryear’: the gathering, decorating and long life of our Christmas tree.
“Christmas Eve, December 24th, was always the day Christmas got started in earnest in our home. Not like today, when the tree is purchased, placed in the house, and decorated weeks before. No; we cut, placed and decorated our tree on Christmas Eve.
“Fresh-cut trees were the norm in those days. I don’t think I knew anyone who had an artificial tree. And for us, at least for a few years, the thrilling routine was to drive north of town a few miles to the farm place of Kermit Peele. We would walk out in the woods with Kermit and ‘discover’ that most perfect tree, cut it down, drag it back to the car, tie it on the roof with twine, and drive home. I want to say that Dad paid Kermit about a dollar. Mom did not participate in this wonderful event; this was a dad-and-children tradition. Mom stayed home making our noon lunch, which always included pea soup with ham chunks.
“When we got back home, Dad would nail a two-board cross to the bottom of the trunk, place it in a 5-gallon pail, throw in several chains around the trunk, and fill the pail with warm water. This would ensure a solid stand and much-needed water to stay fresh.
“When the decorations came out for the tree, we all participated to some degree. I was not particularly excited about actually decorating the tree — just too impatient to spend time unraveling, smoothing out, and draping the tinsel used in previous years. I fondly remember some of the old tree decorations: the metal star for the top, the bubble lights, the big colored lights, the tin reflectors placed at the base of the bulbs, various meaningful family ornaments, cookies, and the red-maroon roping draped around the tree!
“We did keep our tree in the house much longer than most families — sometimes well into February. And because Dad had kept it so well watered in the 5-gallon pail, the needles stayed on. In fact, one year the tree began to sprout new growth all over. We did keep it watered in our basement and transplanted it outside in the spring for Easter!”
Gee, our old LaSalle ran great!
Including: Yellowed Journalism, All Over Town (and: Where we live)
Kathy S. of St. Paul: “One of St. Paul’s old papers [Bulletin Board interjects: first, the St. Paul Dispatch; later, the St. Paul Pioneer Press & Dispatch] used to have a column called ‘Oliver Towne.’ It covered local color of St. Paul, including special stores.
“I thought of it today when I made my traditional trip to Anthony Scornovacco’s store (formerly Nakashian-O’Neil) to buy special Christmas ornaments. It was my third attempt this year to drive downtown and park on a street; this time, it worked. On previous weekends, I gave up when I encountered the Hmong New Year, an art fair at the Landmark Center, and ice fishermen. Downtown was pretty much hopping, by St. Paul standards.
“Unfortunately, I couldn’t go to Macy’s for a popover, to celebrate. One of these days I have to find out if a local restaurant still makes them. Some tastes just feel like home.”
Or: Everyone’s a copy editor!
The Linguidiot writes: “Subject: What am I missing?
“I’ve always liked the saying ‘To the world, you might be just one person, but to one person, you just might be the world.’ Besides being a nice turn of phrase, it’s a quick reminder that any of us has the chance to be someone’s ray of hope.
“I also like the efforts made by Minneapolis-based Sharing & Caring Hands helping families in need. During the organization’s holiday fundraising blitzes, however, the two come together to give me a headache trying to figure out what I might be missing.
“Sharing & Caring Hands’ fundraising prominently features a version of the saying that says ‘To the world you may be one person, but to that person you may be the world.’ In the original, the ‘that person’ being referred to is someone other than ‘you’ — presumably someone in need of someone like you. In the version used in the advertising blitz, the ‘that person’ referenced is ‘you.’ It doesn’t seem very effective for a charity looking for a bit of selflessness to feature a slogan that essentially gives license to make your own needs paramount.
“I sent an email to Sharing & Caring Hands a couple years ago about this, but never heard back. Is there someone out there with contact to the organization’s fund-raisers who can tell me the reasoning behind changing the saying — or, if I’m missing something, tell me what it is?”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: You are missing nothing.
Everyone’s a critic!
Donald: “Subject: Clever headline.
“The Vikings defeated the Jets on Sunday, December 4th. This was the headline on the front page of the Sports section in Monday’s Pioneer Press: ‘COOLING THE JETS.’”
Everyone’s a copy editor!
Comic Strips Division
The REF in White Bear Lake: “Subject: Ventriloquism for Dummies.
“Spotted once, then a second time, in the December 6 comics: the speech bubble coming from the wrong character!
“Here, it seems the worry should be voiced by the fair maiden rather than her new swain (as I recall, frogs in these circumstances are bewitched princes — and this suitor seems to like the gals [Bulletin Board interjects: Appearances can be deceiving!]):
“And here, in the second panel, as get-rich-quick-crab Hawthorne’s idea comes out of Fillmore”:
Live and learn
John in Highland writes: “Subject: Ask a Stupid Question?
“This is one of my favorite Gary Larson cartoons.
“I liked it so much that I framed it and hung it in the small classroom in our department. To my amazement, several people looked at it and said that they ‘didn’t get it.’
“This brought back memories of Army basic training, where we were told early on that there is no such thing as a stupid question. But once we were assigned to our company drill sergeant, it became clear that he did not agree with that advice. Just ask a stupid question, and you would be loudly informed of your ignorance.
“The lesson learned was that in addition to not raising your hand when ‘volunteers’ were asked for, it was also prudent to not ask any questions.”
The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon (self-responsorial)
In a recent BB, we heard from 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.”
More recently, we again heard from Cherie D: “Subject: Responsorial to my own Baader-Meinhof.
“During the ‘Jeopardy!’ episode shown on 11/25/2022, one of the answers was, and I paraphrase: ‘A garden statue that wears a Phrygian hat.’ The question was: ‘What is a gnome?’
“My father and grandfather ran Twin Cities Statuary Company for many years. It was located on East Seventh Street in St. Paul, near what is now the Subway shop. The range of statues they made was large, but there were always gnomes in various sizes and shapes. When I was growing up, some of those gnomes were in our home, some outside in our yard, and others stored on shelves in the garage. I’d see these statues every day. I’ve had my favorite gnome statue in my home all these years, as well as a statue of gnomes at the front door to welcome guests. Despite that, I never knew the little hats the gnomes wore were Phrygian hats.
“To think I experienced a Baader-Meinhof about something that has been with me my whole life.”
The Permanent Friendly Record
The Astronomer of Nininger: “Subject: Pat & Ashleigh’s excellent adventure.
“Pat’s husband, Dave, had his longtime dream fulfilled when he bought a 1969 yellow Corvette convertible. It was so mellow-sounding.
“Pat had been busy taking care of their kids. Now that they were into high school and didn’t need so much close attention, it was her turn to reach for her dream. She purchased Chance, a smoky-black, Rocky Mountain gelding, and rode him or just nuzzled against his warm breath nearly every day.
“Ashleigh owned a Tennessee Walker named Filly. Pat and Ashleigh boarded their horses with us at Big River Stables, on the banks of the Mississippi River, just east of Pine Bend.
“They were BFF, and their horses acted that way, too. We were fortunate at our horse-boarding ranch that in addition to pasture and acreage leased for the horses, friendly neighbors permitted our riders to use the trails through their woods. We had miles of trails to ride. But that wasn’t enough. One day, Pat and Ashleigh announced that they were heading out west for a ‘real’ trail ride. I instinctively thought of trail rides I had taken when we lived in Wyoming and wondered if they could do it successfully.
“At the sound of their announcement, the walls of our barn lit up. Those walls had heard all kinds of stories, but nothing like this before. The plans included hauling their horses to western South Dakota, staying in a cabin with horse facilities, riding, and then riding some more, to return as truly expert horsewomen.
“Summer was beginning to wane, and they made their preparations as if they had done this a hundred times before. Pat’s husband had a Chevy pickup that he drove when not using the Corvette. He gave Pat lessons in towing a trailer, backing up and turning around. Ashleigh had a horse trailer but nothing to tow it with. Together, they were a team. Before they departed, I slipped a bottle of honey-flavored bourbon in the back of the truck — and they were off, planning to return in a week.
“A day short of a week, they pulled back into the barnyard. They’d done it! They’d returned one day early to avoid a major storm. Yep, they’d watched the weather, taken excellent care of their horses, but had ended up with less riding than they had hoped for. They’d been prepared for any problems.
“By planning ahead, they’d shown everyone that they were indeed more than capable. And, I noted, they’d found and consumed a respectable portion of that bottle I’d stuck in their provisions.
“They indeed had an excellent adventure.”
Band Name of the Day: The Fresh Gators — or: Traveling With Meat
Website of the Day: Do Good With Every Ring