“Suddenly a green flash of light blinded Santa . . .”

’Tis the season!
Including: The highfalutin amusements

The Astronomer of Nininger reports: “Santa had filed his flight plan with the Air Traffic Control Center and was heading down toward the Twin Cities with a load of toys for good little girls and boys. He and his team of reindeer had just begun their descent into the holding pattern above the Capitol in St. Paul when suddenly a green flash of light blinded Santa, and he couldn’t see where they were going.

“It must have been a green laser centered on the pilot, Santa. Luckily the reindeer, especially Dasher and Dancer in the front, were able to guide and steer the sleigh, bulging with gifts, into the holding pattern required by the FAA for flight safety. They went ’round and ’round above the dome of the Capitol while Santa tried to recover from his temporary blindness. They were in the holding pattern while airliners full of people rushing home with their presents could take turns descending to land. The North Polar Sleigh’s turn would come next.

“While it certainly was a nasty trick someone played by shining the laser on Santa, it was fortunate that Santa was wearing his special Christmastime weatherproof goggles. The full effect of that intense laser beam did not, in this case, permanently damage his eyes. Besides, Santa was used to the red laser light emitted from Rudolph’s nose when the weather required his assistance. Santa did not even declare an emergency, but pressed on with his flight. He was holding at 3,000 feet and was cleared to descend and maintain 2,500 feet. See the attached file of ‘Let Down Plate.’

“Once directed to the final approach, Santa canceled his flight plan and proceeded direct VFR (Visual Flight Rules) to individual homes to deliver Christmas gifts. Santa was familiar with the roofs of his intended landing sites. This was all part of good flight preparation. Typically, snow would cushion the landing — but on roofs with steep peaks, Santa had to carefully balance the sleigh runners to keep from tipping over. Of course, he was an expert at this, with all those years of experience.

“Santa left a note on the Pioneer Press Bulletin Board: ‘Happy Christmas to All and to All a Good Night!'”

Our times
Highfalutin Disappointments Division (responsorial)

First, The Linguidiot: “Subject: Bell ringing.

“BB’s response to Cee Cee of Mahtomedi’s bemoaning the lack of a human touch at the Salvation Army’s red kettle at her supermarket was dead on. I read that the donated hours by bell-ringers are down 3,000 hours this year.

“If BB’ers are looking for a worthwhile volunteer opportunity, I can speak to this one. My wife and I have rung the bells for many years. We’re both well into our 70s and can assure you this is not a physically demanding activity. The shifts are just two hours, you can choose your time and place, and, if you do it in pairs, as we do, you can take a break if you get a bit cold or tired.

“For just the reason Cee Cee points out (the value of an immediate human response), tended kettles bring in far more contributions, but expressions of gratitude are far from a one-way street. Donors are so generous with their thanks and compliments for us being there. Some even come back with hot chocolate or other treats for us.

“I can tell you that ringing is a real feel-good experience. We always leave our shift feeling so appreciated for giving such a small amount of time. I strongly encourage folks to give it a try. It’s been a great holiday tradition for us.”

And now Kathy S. of St. Paul: “Subject: Sometimes the kettle is present.

Cee Cee of Mahtomedi mourned the digitized version of the Salvation Army ‘kettles,’ as do I. But I wish she could have seen the lobby of my new grocery store, which was filled with young girls (Brownies?) one day. I got to practice my habit of giving coins to the youngest kids present, and having them put them in the (real!) kettle. Possibly educational for the ‘littles’ — whom I am so very glad to see back in the stores.

“Yay, kids!”

Our theater of seasons

From Wayne Nelson of Forest Lake: “Subject: Winter Wonderland.

“Here are a few pictures of our fresh snowfall clinging to everything that it came into contact with in my front yard.”

And now Mounds View Swede writes: “Subject: Six winter-is-here photos.

“The most recent snows have made things look ready for the Christmas holidays. The red-oak leaves became adorned with white and more interesting-looking.

“Jack Frost got busy with our front storm door when the temperatures dropped.

“I am amazed at the intricacies of the frost patterns.

“And I have been noticing the white clumps of snow on the tips of the branches of many trees. They make me think they are snow ‘ornaments’ to decorate the trees for the Christmas holidays.

“Speaking of which, I wish all the Bulletin Board readers and contributors a happy holiday and a year of good health for 2023.”

The vision thing

KH of White Bear Lake writes: “Subject: My slant on things.

“Ever have one of those days when things seem a little off?”

Then & Now
Highfalutin Pleasures Division

The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: They just don’t make ’em for that anymore!

“Something somehow sent my mind to musing about what a $6 million man would cost these days, what with inflation and increased medical costs.

“Well, you just don’t have to wonder about anything very long these days. Just type that into your search engine, and out pops this answer:

“‘The Six Million Dollar Man would cost the government over $30 million today. Fans of cheesy 1970s TV shows will remember “The Six Million Dollar Man,” the story of Steve Austin, a critically injured astronaut who is rebuilt with bionic parts. May 30, 2015′”

BULLETIN BOARD MUSES: And how much in today’s dollars is $30 million in 2015 dollars?

According to in2013dollars.com (no kidding): “$30,000,000 in 2015 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $37,682,233.76 today, an increase of $7,682,233.76 over 7 years. The dollar had an average inflation rate of 3.31% per year between 2015 and today, producing a cumulative price increase of 25.61%.”

Live and learn (responsorial)
Or: The self-incrimators

Kathy S. of St Paul: “John in Highland shared his favorite Gary Larson cartoon. My favorite of his cartoons has someone pushing on a door to enter a school for very smart people — despite the fact that the sign on the door says Pull.”

Our trees, ourselves
Christmas Nostalgia Division

Gregory J. of Dayton’s Bluff: “I didn’t create this tree. It is actually a family heirloom that has been passed down from one generation to the next, although it’s hard to believe that it is old enough to qualify as one.

“Over 40 years ago, my cousin Cherie D of Inver Grove Heights gave this tree to my parents. She had gone to a crafts store, chosen an item — the classic ceramic Christmas tree — picked out the colors and painted it. It was then fired, which glazed it and brought out the paints’ true colors.

“The next step was to glue the little colored plastic ‘light bulbs’ into holes in the tree section. These were illuminated from within by a 25-watt incandescent bulb screwed into a socket mounted on the base. The tree portion was placed on the base, the bulb’s cord was plugged into the wall, and all the little colored lights lit up.

“Well, almost all of them. There has always been one red ‘bulb’ that didn’t light up because the hole it is glued into is blocked by a thin layer of ceramic and it wasn’t worth the risk of trying to clear it out. Fortunately, these are the type of lights that if one goes out, the rest really do stay lit.

“Years ago, when one of my nephews was just a little tyke, he wanted to know how the tree worked. So I lifted off the tree part and showed him the big bulb on the inside that lit up all the little ‘bulbs.’ After I put it back together, he noticed the one little light that was dark. He wanted to know why. I told him it was burned out. It took him only a couple of seconds to figure out I was joking, and I had to tell him the truth. He was a sharp little kid.

“My parents would put the tree on their buffet in the dining room every Christmas. They are gone now, and Cherie D‘s tree now belongs to me. Maybe my nephew will own it someday.

“Merry Christmas to all the readers of Bulletin Board.”

Band Name of the Day: The Bionic Parts

Website of the Day: The NORAD Santa Tracker

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