Sunday Bulletin Board: Outdoors: Hot enough for ya? Indoors: Cold enough for ya?

16 July 2023

The simple displeasures

THE LINGUIDIOT writes: “Subject: Please, enough!

“Why do so many of our local merchants, restaurants, theaters and other public places hate summer?

“I spend most of winter dreaming of wonderful, hot summer days that allow me to travel around town wrapped in nature’s gift of warm, soul-healing air. Over the last few years, however, it seems an alarmingly fast-growing number of public places are forcing me to take a jacket or sweatshirt with me lest I find myself trapped in eternal mid-March as I try to shop, eat or enjoy a film.

“Are they at all aware of the service they can do those of us who spend eight months lusting after summer temperatures — to say nothing of the energy that can be conserved — by just being reasonable with their cooling systems? For most people, a simple difference of five or six degrees is a refreshing change.

“We Minnesotans spend three-quarters of the year protecting ourselves from butt-puckering cold. Why do so many establishments want to make it a year-round battle?”

Dept. of Neat Stuff … Grandpa’s Statuary Division (People Subdivision)

GREGORY J. of Dayton’s Bluff: “I’ve previously shown you gnomes and cats that were saved from my Grandfather Leonello’s Twin City Statuary Co. after he died in 1951. This time I will present a few statues of people. They were not stored under ideal conditions, so they aren’t in perfect condition.

“First up is a World War II-era soldier standing at attention. He is airbrush-painted and stands 14 inches tall. There is a hole through his right wrist. I assume it is there to support a flag on a flagpole that is long gone.

“There are also two smaller statues that are approximately 10 inches tall. One is a boy in a large hat, actually a sombrero. It is unpainted plaster and did not clean up very well.

“The other is a large baby wearing a red kimono decorated with white flowers. I’d call this a doll except it is made of plaster, so playing with it would not be healthy for a child or the doll. I have no way of knowing for sure, but based on their general style, I suspect both of these may have come from commercial molds rather than having been designed by my grandfather.

“I’ve got much more statuary stashed in my basement. Maybe someday you’ll get to see more of it.”

Our theater of seasons

Mid-June (but still, in conclusion, timely!) email from Grandma Paula: “My flowers are looking good because of all the watering and fertilizing that I have been doing.

“I hope we get rain soon. The grass is burning up.”

What’s in a name? . . . Brand Division

CHERIE D. of IGH: “The other day, I was indulging in a guilty pleasure of watching some old game shows on TV. At the end, when the credits are run, I was very surprised to see that one sponsor was Amelia Earhart Luggage. Huh? I checked online, and sure enough, there was a brand of luggage named for Amelia. Here is the information I found:

“The Orenstein Trunk Company created a set of luggage branded as Amelia Earhart Luggage. The famed aviator needed money to finance her flying, and product endorsements provided a way to do that. The luggage was introduced in 1933. It was marketed as ‘real aeroplane’ luggage and was sturdy and lightweight. It sold well for decades; long after Ms. Earhart’s 1937 disappearance while attempting an around-the-world flight, the luggage-brand sales remained strong.”

BULLETIN BOARD MUSES: “Here’s our promise to you: Your Amelia Earhart luggage won’t just GET lost; it’ll STAY lost. But we’ll never, ever stop searching for it.”

Joy of Juxtaposition

BILL OF THE RIVER LAKE reports: “Subject: What was that squirrel thinking?

“Monday, July 3, was extremely hot, and we noticed a motionless squirrel on a low branch of our large maple tree through our front picture window. We thought it was wounded or dead. Then it moved just a bit, and we weren’t sure what was happening.

“A short time later, we were watching the news on Channel 4 (WCCO), and, sure enough, the announcer clarified that squirrels (and other animals) were splooting, lying spread-eagle on a cool surface to cool down, also called ‘heat dumping.’

“What a coincidence! Isn’t nature wonderful!”

The simple pleasures . . . Fourth of July Division

TIA2D: “Our town had their fireworks on the Friday before the Fourth. I live right across the street from the park where they set them off, and I enjoyed just sitting in my driveway and watching the display.

“Saturday, in that same park, there was a second tractor pull of the summer. I am not a fan, and the noise is disruptive, and so my husband and I invited ourselves to my brother and sister-in-law’s for supper (bringing the brats, the beer and some salads) and enjoyed a relaxing evening.

“Driving at night isn’t usually very fun, but many of the little towns on our way home had their fireworks on Saturday night. We got samples of about six different displays as we drove home, and it was rather beautiful and entertaining.”

What is right with people? (responsorial)

FRIENDLY BOB of Fridley: “The story from THE ASTRONOMER of Nininger about having the clutch go out on his ’Vette reminded me of an incident of 50-plus years ago. (Funny how I can remember those in great deal, but not what I just came into this room for.) [Bulletin Board says: You were going to type up a story for Bulletin Board!]

“It was early 1971, and I was stationed at the U.S. Navy Training Base at Great Lakes, Illinois.  A friend of mine from New Jersey (also in the Navy) had just purchased his first automobile: a shiny, bright orange (repainted) 1966 VW Beetle. He confided in me that he had not the slightest idea how to drive a vehicle with a manual transmission. No problem. I volunteered to do the teaching, for which he was very grateful.

“Ed was a pretty quick learner, though he did have some trouble figuring out when to upshift or downshift. Once while touring around the hills of Milwaukee (not far from the base), we approached the bottom of one of those hills, and Ed wanted to go faster up the hill.  So, naturally, he went to the next higher gear, and I got to teach him about the term ‘lugging’ the engine. The poor little 4-cylinder engine stumbled and grumbled mightily, as I explained about going to a LOWER gear to get more torque. As I said, he learned quickly. He actually got the feel of the clutch quite readily.

“One day in April, I got a gloomy letter from Minnesota, and Ed inquired about my dark mood. I told him there was no way I could drop some of my meager pay on a plane ticket, and he said: ‘Take my car.’ I was stunned, and I was way too poor to own a vehicle, but eventually took him up on the offer — about 400 miles each way. On the way back a couple of days later, I realized that the clutch was failing, and had to report to Ed the bad news. He said he could get it fixed at the VW dealership in Libertyville (about eight miles from the base), but wondered how he could get it there. Now I really ‘blew his mind’ (hey, it was the ’70s!) when I told him that since the clutch was always ‘engaged,’ I could drive it that way to the dealership for him. Remember that he had just learned to drive with a clutch, so he could not imagine that I could do such a thing. Luckily, some truck driving had taught me about double-clutching, and this drive would be very similar. I called it ‘no-clutching.’

“All went well on the way (OK, I ‘crowded’ one stoplight a bit to avoid stopping), and another friend drove out there to get us back to the base. I even helped out with the repair cost, which Ed later insisted on paying back. And a short while later, he drove me and two other friends to Hastings, Michigan, to see another friend who was on leave after shipping out before we did.

“A nice memory, but I don’t think Ed did ever get the gist of how I worked that bit of magic. And I would NEVER suggest that THE ASTRONOMER should try that method on his Corvette!”

CAUTION! Words at Play!

THE RETIRED PEDAGOGUE of Arden Hills: “If a sister who is a member of a religious order dies and goes to heaven, does she become a ‘nun of the above’?”

Now & Then

THE DORYMAN of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: Pause / Rewind / Play.

“Recently, on my almost-daily perusal of Facebook Marketplace, I came across this little gem.

“Back in the ’50s (I say that a lot now), Naper’s Hobby Shop in Windom ended up with lots of my adolescent pocket money. I was going through my scratch-built model-boat period when I first spotted this exact little outboard in his showcase. I don’t remember the price, but I’m pretty sure it was the single most expensive item in his inventory at that time. I drooled over it for months every time I visited to buy sheets and sticks of balsa wood for a few cents. Nice Mr. Naper even let me hold it once.

“Fast-forward to today, and it was a very fast forward, I still can’t justify it. But I do wonder if my last word will be a whispered ‘Evinrude.’”

BULLETIN BOARD MUSES: Coming soon to your local multiplex: “Citizen DORYMAN”!

BAND NAME OF THE DAY: Sploot & The Heat Dumpers

Your stories are welcome. The address is [email protected].

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