The vision (of oneself)
EOS writes: “Subject: The Traveler.
“Minnesota cold, snow swirling and blowing,
“I venture out to make my way.
“My bonnet is lowered near my eyes,
“at a casual bias. By working, I become a traveler,
“trace a path from one lake to another, without being hampered by the cold.
“My imagination carries me through the story.
“When I’m finally done, I see myself.
“Not a traveler. . . just an old lady with a sense of adventure
“and a great imagination.”
KATHY S. of St. Paul: “Subject: Wishing gifts.
“Christmas 2020 was tough for me as I was in a bubble of one. No vaccine yet meant being alone most of the time.
“Part of what got me through was making ornaments with wishes attached to them, then wrapping them so that only the wishes were visible.
“The five people who received them had to choose a wish, then open the gift to find out which ornament it was attached to.
“Sometimes wishes are the best gifts.”
The exceptional harvest
THE RETIRED EDUCATOR from Arden Hills: “This is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen:
“”SOMETIMES I STRUGGLE WITH MY DEMONS
“‘SOMETIMES WE’RE JUST CUDDLING'”
The permanent family booklet
Including: yesterday and today
READ THE FUNNIES FIRST: “Since so many internet users seem to enjoy reminiscing, I thought it might be fun to reminisce about the time I spent with my dad when I was a kid. He was the master of the low budget hobby.
“We sat on the front steps with my sisters, taking turns ‘owning’ each passing car. One of us would call for a fashionable sports car; then the next child might have an old wreck. Then we laughed and laughed as we got the old rusty bucket back. There were no winners or losers, just simple fun, waiting to see what kind of vehicle came next.
“We rented a big cabin up north for a week or two every summer. No indoor plumbing. We ended up being nine kids, me being #3. Dad had contests to see who could find the biggest pine cone, or the nicest rock, etc. price. I lost my father when I was 19, and this stupid rock still reminds me of him 60 years after I won it. In the evenings we would sit on the big porch of the cabin and play cards.
“The only times I remember being in a restaurant with mum and dad was once at Bridgeman’s and in a café after receiving my first communion. Many families now eat at restaurants every week.
“We were lucky to have a father who enjoyed spending time with us. And to give mom a little respite.
“I apologize for my absenteeism over the past few years. Thank you to all the loyal contributors.”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: No apologies necessary. Happy to see you again!
SEMI-LEGEND reports: “Just finished ‘The Fly on the Wall’ (copyright 1971) by Tony Hillerman, his second novel, about John Cotton, a state reporter for a PM daily in an unnamed snowy Midwest capital where Cotton reads, among other papers, one of the ‘Twin City.’
“Pretty impressive beat. Two or three times, Cotton avoids death by hitmen while investigating corruption at the Highway Commission.
“A few reviews of Library Thing: ‘Excellent political thriller revealing how journalists can dig into seemingly insignificant data to expose corruption in high places. I particularly enjoyed the philosophical discussions of what constitutes ethical journalism and reporting all the facts versus what should be kept confidential for the greater good of politics: can we trust the electorate to be wise enough to judge ? . . . It’s set in a time that’s hard to believe now, which once existed: nightly digging through filing cabinets, afternoon dailies rivaling morning dailies, and traveling incognito. . . . There is also a big subplot of journalistic ethics. . . . Direct-dial teleprinters and long distance telephones were the high technology of the day; even though photocopiers existed, Cotton still uses carbon paper throughout the story to make duplicates of his stories written on a manual typewriter.
“In 1971, I worked for United Press International. UPI and its predecessor, UP, appear throughout the story. The governor’s nervous press secretary worked for UPI. Cotton remembers big stories he filed at UPI’s Dallas office. And UP is introduced at the top of chapter four: “The clock on the walnut paneled wall was old and ornate. Its small hand was hovering almost exactly at 10. The large hand clicked two marks after 12. Governor Paul Roark was two minutes late for his Thursday morning press conference. In about 180 seconds, John Cotton – the most experienced man among the PM’s reporters – would descend from the window sill where he was slumped and walk out of the executive conference room, and the six other reporters waiting for him would follow. . The tradition granted five minutes of grace to the Governor. The rule had been proclaimed a dozen administrations by a long-transferred and forgotten United Press reporter. He had argued that the governor was – after all – still a civil servant. To wait more than five minutes would be to undermine the relationship between journalists as watchdog-checker-guardian-of-public-trust and the chief executive as politician and power-feeder. -the public-watering place. And while the rule was born in philosophy, it had lived in practice. The Prime Minister’s reporters, with looming publishing deadlines, could not afford to waste more than five of the crucial sixty minutes between 10 and 11 a.m.
“The book is a great primer on how to take a lot of facts and weave them into a compelling narrative of corruption, on time. Cotton writes his story in chapter 21. He wants to know “Who gets fucked?” (generally the public). His friend in state government worries about the “rabbits”, the petty state employees who are caught up in a bigger story, their lives ruined. He has a cute nod to the last line of “The Front Page”: “Old son of a bitch stole my gun.” (It comes near the end, as Cotton becomes a bystander in a crime spectacular designed to rob his story of major play.)
Another nugget from Hillerman’s novel:
“Reporters playing poker, exchanging ledes remembered:” “I once wrote that the Southern Methodist passing attack, like sweet corn, traveled badly, losing flavor with every mile from the Cotton Bowl cornfield. And it went past the office. Kendall’s expression went from morose to just gloomy with the triumph that’s remembered. “I stole that one from AJ Liebling,” he said. he said “Deal the cards. It’s like playing with a pile of brownies.”
“Here is the original, taken from the opening lines of Liebling’s ‘The Count of Louisiana’ (1960): ‘Southern politicians, like sweetcorn, travel badly. They lose their flavor every hundred yards of the patch. By the time they arrive in New York they are like Golden Bantams that have been trucked in from Texas – stale and unprofitable.The consumer forgets that corn tastes different where it grows.
Everyone is a copy editor
RED’S OFFSPRING, north of St. Paul: “Topic: Sharing is one thing, but . . .
“An article on the E5 page of the January 2 edition of STrib focuses on a Massachusetts man who won a million dollar lottery on a ticket he received from a friend. Here’s an excerpt from the article: “Other than paying some bills, he (Alexander McLeish) said he hadn’t made many other plans with his newfound wealth.” He said he intended to give the friend who bought the ticket “a little” of the prize money, in addition to his two adult sons.
“I wonder what the sons think about that.”
This ‘n’ that ‘n’ the other ‘n’ the other ‘n’ the other
Hartland’s AL B: (1) “I sat at a table with some friends. While we were having breakfast I noticed I had one elbow on the table, one man was wearing a hat and another was looking at his cell phone. I wondered what my mother would have said. “No elbows on the table.” ‘Take that hat off!’ “What is that thing you’re looking at?”
(2) “The feeders were bustling. “You eat like a bird,” an aunt liked to say to me when I pecked at my food when I was a child. I was trying to locate and disarm anything that could be good for me. But I didn’t eat like a bird. A chickadee can eat 35% of its weight in food each day, and a blue jay can eat 10% of its weight. Generally, the smaller the bird, the more the percentage of its body weight corresponds to its daily food intake. They need more calories in cold weather.
(3) “A fox squirrel ended up on the roof of our house. He started doing tricks and looked like something between a huge herd of bison and wingtip shoes in the dryer.
(4) “I watched through my binoculars as a crow flew down a rural road and picked up a McDonald’s bag and flew away with it. I was hoping it was a gift-wrapped fries.
(5) “I was on stage at a storytelling festival away from home when an audience member asked me how I became a storyteller. I told him the story of a neighbour’s barn fire that happened when I was growing up. The frightened cattle scattered. A male calf was found 30 miles away. I learned that a little bull goes a long way.
Name of the group of the day: Distribute the cards