Writes Chris, “formerly of Falcon Heights, now from beautiful White Bear Lake”: “Feeling sad today about the passing of Bud Grant. Reminds me of this entry to BB I made in 2019:
“‘Hunted high and low for this photo before the Vikings football season comes to an end. You always find what you’re looking for in the last place you look.
“The young baseball player in the back row on the left is our own Bud Grant. Before he made his mark as a football coach, he was a star pitcher for the Osceola Braves baseball team from 1950 to 1953. Baseball was king in Osceola, Wisconsin, in the late 1940s and early 1950s. A playoff game often drew more than 2,000 fans. As a Vikings fan, I’m glad he didn’t stick to baseball.’
Dept. of Neat Stuff
Paperweight of the Gods Division
Gregory J. of Dayton’s Bluff: “‘A paperweight is just what it says: It’s a weight that sits on paper, with the result that the paper stays put. Classic paperweights were clear glass spheroids with a flat bottom and various objects inside. Some were works of art, and others were tacky tourist souvenirs.
“Paperweights became obsolete in the 1980s after the great paperless-office revolution brought about by the advent of personal computers, computer networks and universally compatible data formats. Just kidding. That was in an alternate universe. In this one, computers were hooked up to printers, which generated even more paper. Forty years later, the paperless office is still a work in progress, but we’re getting there.
“What really did in paperweights was climate control in offices. Offices no longer had windows that opened, and there was no need for fans. Paper mostly stayed wherever it was placed on a desk.
“But did paperweights disappear? Of course not. Older ones became collectibles, and new ones are still being produced and sold as decorative objects. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Pyramids are a popular design.
“I own only one official paperweight, because I find that any heavy object, including a rock, works just fine if my papers get unruly. My paperweight was made by, you guessed it, Brown & Bigelow, probably in the 1950s or ’60s, and was ahead of its time. It is a frosted glass stepped pyramid measuring 3 inches by 3 inches by 3 inches and comes with a classic B & B brass and green base. It is the epitome of Neat Stuff.
“And just for the fun of it, I threw together an alternate base that includes color-changing LEDs, which turns my paperweight into something that would fit right in on the set of some cheap 1960s science-fiction show.”
Leading to: Life as we know it
The Astronomer of Nininger: “This morning I sat down at my desk to accomplish a commonplace task: checking and responding to the myriad of emails that had accumulated overnight. There were indeed some 200 or so that I deleted without even reading, since they were of little consequence. Some were from politicians who fundamentally were seeking donations to their campaigns. Others offered to sell me snake oil or some other useless contraption.
“My peripheral vision suddenly noticed rapid motion to the left. Outside, a squirrel was scampering across the snow, chased across the crunchy white blanket by another one, a little bigger but not any faster. I leaned back in my comfortable chair, forgetting for the moment the task at hand.
“As I watched them sinking into the snow and rebounding in their chase, up the tree, around to the back side, and reappearing at a lower level, up, down and around again, I marveled at these creatures, a minuscule part of God’s handiwork.
“How wonderfully matched are the snow and ice crystals that we so often complain about being a nuisance to our daily activities. Yet each and every one of those do fit together with others, some making patterns as if their temporal development on the rooftops were intentional instead of just following the thermal laws of physics.
“For some reason, my thoughts shifted to how wonderful nature itself is — how beautiful, how special that we are part of it. Without seeking to debate origins of this wonderful world, I had to still recognize that there is so much more we need to learn about it. This world, which hosts our very lives, would not be able to do so if it were much younger. Indeed, it took more than five billion years for this world, ourselves included, to become as it is. Solar systems younger than ours would not have had the time to evolve into such a magnificent place. And we know that it is not going to stay this way forever. What a time to be alive, in this brief moment out of the entire life of the universe.
“I sat back awhile to just wildly think about the world, bouncing random thoughts in an almost chaotic venue. I found myself back in Colorado, climbing mountains to see what the world looked like on the other side of them. You know, there are 19 of them in Colorado higher than Pike’s Peak. At the very top, you can see the world differently than from the base of this historic, incredibly compelling mountain. It almost attracts one like a magnet pulling on an iron body. Then, having seen the fruited plains stretching out forever, I settled down, comforted in knowing that we are indeed part of this whole/part/whole relationship. And, as T.S. Eliot said: ‘We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.’”
Another close encounter of the natural kind, reported by Al B of Hartland: “I shouldn’t have been surprised when a fox squirrel fell from the roof of the house onto a window feeder held in place by suction cups. The result, as would be expected: The squirrel and the feeder both crashed to the ground, creating a blizzard of fleeing songbirds. Well played, squirrel.
“I should have anticipated the event, as the forecast had called for strong winds, rising temperatures and falling squirrels.”
Our theater of seasons
Mounds View Swede: “I looked out the back windows with interest to see what the recent snowfall brought to the scene. I like how the wet snow clung to all the branches, especially the small twigs.
“It also made the few leaves a lot more interesting to see.
“Both sides of the deck railing uprights had snow peeking out.
“And the back-yard vine caught some, too.
“Most of these ‘decorations’ quickly disappeared as the temperatures climbed. With more snow in the forecast, I am waiting to see how it will look and hoping for some new things to see.”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We admire and salute your enthusiasm, Mounds View Swede — but from where we sit (on a couch near a picture window; a putter, a wedge and a golf ball lean against the far wall), we have seen just as many snowy things as we need to see for this season. Sure, OK, it’s been a really pretty winter, but enough is enough!
Can’t we all start imagining how pretty Spring will be?
Where we live
Today’s nomination comes from Friendly Bob of Fridley: “Subject: Finally, truth in advertising.
“I saw a billboard along Highway 7 on my way to Montevideo. I can’t
remember where it was, but I almost missed it completely when I glanced
and saw on it the familiar likeness of Kris Lindahl. It said: ‘Welcome to the Land of 10,000 KrisLindahl.com Billboards.'”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: “Familiar” is such a kind way to put it.
Joy of Juxtaposition
Bill of the river lake: “Subject: What are the odds?
“One of the answers on Friday’s ‘Wheel of Fortune’ was ‘CROSSING THE EQUATOR.’
“Then, while reading the current issue of The Catholic Spirit, the publication by
the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, I noticed on Page 2 a picture of
Father John Erickson, pastor of Transfiguration parish in Oakdale, straddling
the equator in Uganda. He had been visiting a fellow priest there.
“Just a coincidence? Maybe . . .”
Everyone’s a copy editor
The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills: “Subject: Is that a level between hi schol and profesional?
“From the ‘Briefly’ column on Page 2B of Tuesday’s Pioneer Press: ‘COLELGE HOCKEY.’”
Keeping your ears open
Email from Donald: “Subject: That must have been scary!
“A pundit on a cable news show made this comment: ‘It made every hair on my body stand up.’
“And you thought the hair on the back of your neck was bad.”
This ’n’ that ’n’ the other
All from Kathy S. of St. Paul: (1) “Subject: ‘Little Victories.’
“For those wanting some quick understanding of autism, especially in young children, I suggest the graphic novel ‘Little Victories,’ by Yvon Roy. It shows a young man who has fathered an autistic boy, as he figures out how to handle him and his goals for his son’s development. Some situations, such as a child having a tantrum in public, may happen with many children. Others are more specific to autistic kids.
“An advantage to graphic books like this is that they can be read quickly, and pictures can help us relate to the topics. I read the graphic books that Congressman John Lewis was working on when he passed. They provided just enough detail for me to understand some events and people I only vaguely remember from way back then.”
(2) “Subject: Remembering the food shelf.
“Monetary donations to my church are more efficient when I make them online, but I miss the in-person food shelf donations. Luckily, we are encouraged to drop off food in person this Lent. So I bring some food in bags, and find kids to drop them off in church for the collection during the service. As a kid, I could never sit still in church; I figure some kids are thrilled to get to move around and do something. Plus, it is educational for the kids — whom I so enjoy seeing again. Yay, kids!”
(3) “Subject: Roundabout Ireland.
“Roundabouts have become so common here that we may forget how recently they have appeared in our roads. In 1995, I flew to Dublin, arriving in the afternoon and planning to drive toward County Galway. When I picked up my rental car and asked the way to the westbound major highway, the directions included a roundabout, a flyover, and what sounded like a ‘jeweled carriageway’ — none of which I understood, because I hadn’t encountered even roundabouts back then. I was so stuck on the words he used that I didn’t hear any of the directions, and I promptly got lost.
“Various wonderfully patient people explained roundabouts, flyovers (a.k.a. overpasses or bridges) and dualled (i.e., divided) highways, and gave directions. But I still spent at least an hour looking for the major road. Finally, when I asked for directions at a petrol station, a kind man connected me to a stranger headed roughly that way. The second man had me follow him, then drove out of his way to take me to the highway so he could point at it. I am forever grateful.
“Of course all of this took an hour or two, and I now found myself driving west on the left side of a main road in Ireland with evening gathering. Staying in the correct lane turned out to be pretty easy to do, with heavy traffic and large lorries coming directly my way in the other lane. It was good training in driving on the left.
“Eventually I stopped at a hotel in County Westmeath and asked for a room — with a bath, if possible. The innkeeper said the room I booked only had a ‘char,’ which confused me. She exclaimed: ‘Surely you have them in America!’ It turned out that the char was a shower, which was fine. When I visited the British Isles with a cheap tour group in 1980, single rooms rarely had their own bathrooms — which was a problem because I like to decompress in bathtubs. So any bathroom of my own was great.
“The next day, I reached County Galway, where my genealogy relatives coached me on roundabouts and all. When I went back to Dublin, I easily drove to my destination. But by my next trip in 2016, the roundabouts in Ireland had twinned themselves. Many of them required me to go directly from one roundabout to the next — thus increasing the probability that I would goof. If I ever get back to Ireland, I am unlikely to drive there because car companies don’t rent to those aged 70+, or they require a huge surcharge for them. But I am glad that I managed to drive without mishap on my other trips — and that Irish folks were so patient with me.”
Could be verse!
From Tim Torkildson (“Poet for Hire”): “Need a love poem PDQ,
“And you don’t know what to do?
“Hire someone with the chops
“To compose great verse that pops.
“Otherwise your efforts may
“Keep romance quite far away!”
Till death us do part
Or: The great comebacks
Cherie D of Inver Grove Heights: “My husband, Jim, has a dry wit and loves to tease me.
“The other day, I was hoping to see my mother, who lives about an hour away. While watching the weather forecast the evening before, Jim and I heard the weather person talk about the timing of the snow coming the next day. I said to Jim: ‘Well, it looks like I can get to Mom’s in the morning, but then I wouldn’t able to get back because of the heavy snow.’
“My dear husband’s answer to that? He said: ‘Well, I’ll miss you.’”
Band Name of the Day: Falling Squirrels
Website of the Day: “We shall not cease from exploration . . .”