Fun Facts to Know and Tell
Including: What’s in a name? (x2)
ZOO LOU of St. Paul writes: “Subject: William Shakespeare and the ‘Game of the Century.’
“While scouring through the dusty, cobweb-covered nether regions of an old bookshelf, I came across an unexpected gem: ‘1936 Supplement to Intercollegiate Football, 1869-1935.’ This thin tome is a true treasure-trove of statistics and highlights of the 1935 season. I especially liked the classic pictures of the nation’s top players in dramatic poses with looks of grit and determination.
“Bernie Bierman’s Golden Gophers were 8-0 that year, led by All-American tackle Ed Widseth. At 6-1, 220 pounds, Widseth was the heaviest player among his fellow All-Americans. But ‘Big Ed’ would be a real lightweight compared to many of today’s behemoth linemen, like the U of M’s Daniel Faalele, who goes 6-9, 380 pounds!
“Several local players were recognized for their individual performances. Vernon McGee of St. John’s had TD runs of 67 and 55 yards against Hamline, and returned an interception 95 yards to paydirt against Macalester. Minnesota’s Rudy Gmitro and Andy Uram had TD runs of 80 and 55 yards, respectively, in a win over Wisconsin, and Uram bolted 72 yards to the end zone during the defeat of Michigan.
“What really caught my attention, however, was the story about the ‘Game of the Century’: Notre Dame vs. Ohio State, which drew 82,000 fans to Ohio Stadium. The writer had a rather unusual way of describing the action, and the hero had the same name as one of history’s most revered men: ‘With one minute to play, Irish halfback William Shakespeare “speeds” a 30-yard pass to Wayne Millner to beat the mighty Buckeyes 18-13.
“‘It was a beard-lifting finish to the vastly ballyhooed battle of the Middle Western gridiron giants.’ The Ohio State fans ‘were numb with surprise and disappointment when the yellow football flew from William Shakespeare’s fist in the late afternoon and landed in Millner’s paws.’
“It’s interesting to note that Shakespeare, whose family claimed to be direct descendants of the beloved playwright himself, also faced another famous namesake, Northwestern end Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, in three games, ‘not to trade verses, but to play all the football they know.’
“Considering his ancestry, it’s fitting that Shakespeare, nicknamed the ‘Bard of South Bend’ and the ‘Merchant of Menace,’ should be part of the biggest ‘play’ in one of the greatest games of all time. If the elder William had been there, he might have been inspired to rewrite his most memorable soliloquy:
“To pass or not to pass,
“that is the question, young William.
“Pray, do not hesitate
“For ’tis nobler to launch the leather spheroid
“true and hard into the arms of thy teammate,
“thereby gaining eternal fame and praise
“while the slings and arrows of outrageous
“fortune pierce the hearts of the Buckeye faithful.’
“As the late John Madden might have said: ‘Boom! Bang! Doink!’ And that’s the way it was during the ‘beard-lifting’ season of 1935.’ ”
Everyone’s a copy editor!
VERTICALLY CHALLENGED: “Subject: Oops.
“I had one of those news article/banners on my phone. I guess it was about White House Christmas traditions or something and the National Christmas tree.
“I started to check it out, but the caption under this picture had me doing a double-take! I saved this pic but then couldn’t get back to article after it disappeared, so missed the rest of it . . . but if the rest was this ‘informative,’ guess I wasn’t missing anything save a few laughs.”
The verbing of America
LOLA: “While I was watching the Vikings on Sunday [December 26, 2021], one of the announcers was talking about something in football terms. The other announcer said: ‘Let me laymanize that for you.’”
The highfalutin [email protected]@
Returning to Bulletin Board, after an almost interminable absence, is THE MIGHTY WICKARD, “hailing from . . . Blaine . . . way up here . . . just a little higher please . . . ahhh . . . that’s the spot”: “OK, they boot people from Facebook and Twitter for supposedly incorrect information.
“Which begs for this question: HOW can people post YouTube videos telling me how ‘simple’ and ‘easy’ it is for a fat guy to work on something under the dash in a Ford Fusion?
“The videos lie. LIE, I tell you!
“I had to strip down and lather up in bacon grease to get at the stupid defroster-fan motor — and even then had to dislocate my shoulders to fit into that cramped torture-chamber area in a fashion similar to how a snake opens its mouth. Without the bacon grease (more accurately called ‘MIGHTY WICKARD’s Pig Fat Dippin Sauce™’ – put that on my headstone), it would have required the Jaws of Life to extract me from under the dash — and you can trust me that the Jaws of Life, likely injuring itself straining at the daunting task, wouldn’t have been none too happy about the situation, either.
“I’m suspecting video of me trying to get out of there would go viral overnight. At least for my premium members.
“’Simple and easy access,’ eh? All these people should be banned for life for fake news.”
Life as we know it
HINDSIGHT: “Subject: It takes a village.
“At a school activity a few years ago, I ran into Pat, a neighbor. She lived a few miles down the road. We were chatting, and she remarked: ‘You know, I’m partially responsible for your daughter becoming a lawyer.’ She went on: ‘I was the relief driver on your kids’ bus route. If Ray, your regular driver, was sick, I drove the route. Since I took her to school and she learned things on those days that made her able to become an attorney, I’d like to share some of the responsibility and credit for that.’
“You’re right, Pat. I never thought of that. Sure, you can take credit for your part in that project. Thanks for your help.
“None of us are totally self-made. We all had help along the way that shaped our lives. It does take a village to raise a child. Hey, bus drivers, think how many children you’ve helped every day. Thanks for being part of our village.”
Our birds, ourselves
From AL B of Hartland: “After the tornado had passed, crows were vocal. Perhaps they’d found surviving the brutal December storm caws for celebration.
“I’m sure they had reason for the noise, as crows didn’t make it to where they are today by being stupid.”
The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon
BABE of Burnsville: “Been meaning to write to B.B. since July. Where does the time go? Can B.B. explain? [Bulletin Board says: It goes into the past!]
“Anyway, back then I had a Baader-Meinhof which no one but other B.B. readers might find interesting:
“One night I was reading a thriller, written in the 1960s, which had included a visit to Camp David. As I now know, it is in an area within view of the Catoctin Mountains and near Catoctin Furnace. I thought at the time that I’d never heard of the Catoctin Mountains, nor did I know what the ‘Furnace’ referred to.
“Well, mystery solved & Baader-Meinhof happened the next day, when in the newspaper there was an article about the work that had been done on the remains found in a slave cemetery at Catoctin Furnace. Catoctin Furnace was an iron forge in Frederick County, Maryland, that operated in the late 1700s and well into the 1800s. Enslaved Africans worked there until the 1830s, but then the work was taken over by European immigrants.
“Now I want to make a visit to Maryland to learn more.”
Live and learn
THE ASTRONOMER of Nininger: “Subject: Basswood is Linden.
“When I was a young boy, my father used to take my brother and me to visit a farm near Lindenwood, Illinois. Brother Stan and I never thought much about Lindenwood, other than it was a place where we had a lot of fun. We went hunting and fishing nearby. And, on Halloween, we were able to ‘Trick or Treat’ the whole town. You couldn’t do that in Chicago, where we lived.
“Many years later, long after I grew up and left home, I wondered about that name, Lindenwood. Where did it come from, and what did it mean? But those questions moved to the back burner of my mind.
“When I raised horses, I found out about Basswood. Ranchers often made their grain feeders from it, because horses could eat copious rations of grain without getting slivers in their mouths. Horses sort of slobber when they eat grain and use their teeth and tongues together, almost foaming, to get every morsel of grain – oats, and corn, and barley as well. I lined our grain feeders with Basswood.
“I didn’t make the connection of Basswood to Lindenwood until Bob, a poet friend of mine, penned the words that made it clear: ‘Basswood is Linden.’ Bob wrote not just in metaphors, but he brought ideas to life. He asked me questions about my horses and how Basswood was used with them. Basswood is also known as the American Linden and is a popular wood used by wood carvers.
“When I hear that poem, I am transported back to the days of my youth: ‘. . . for Basswood is Linden.’
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: “Basswood is Linden” reminded us of . . . something that we couldn’t place till after several moments of our version of deep thought. Finally it came to us (POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT!): “Soylent Green is people!”
Live and learn (responsorial)
Including: Then & Now
JOHN IN HIGHLAND: “Subject: Green Slime.
“A recent BB post that included a video clip of the movie ‘Soylent Green’ brought back a memory of my time in the Army.
“It was in 1969 that a group of us were called by Uncle Sam. We reported to the downtown St. Paul Armory, where we received a handshake from Mayor Tom Byrne, were bussed to the Minneapolis train station, and set out on a 36-hour train trip to Seattle. From there we were bussed down to Fort Lewis.
“The fort sits in a beautiful area full of tall pine trees close to the Pacific Ocean. Upon arrival, we first went to the ‘Reception Station,’ a group of barracks at North Fort Lewis on Puget Sound. This was where we received shots, got our first military haircuts and took a series of aptitude tests. This was also where we heard for the first and not last time: ‘Trainees, you will be well-schooled, highly motivated in the fundamentals of basic combat training. And gentlemen, you WILL be motivated!’ We went to a supply station where we were issued our uniforms: Class A’s and army-green fatigues. We boxed up all of our civilian clothes and sent them home.
“After all of the preparatory work, we were informed that we would next be going down to the main fort for the rest of basic training. When the bus went through the gates of the fort, we drove past the main post theater. There in the front was a huge placard announcing: ‘Coming soon, Green Slime!’ After being yelled at for weeks by everyone of higher rank than us (which was everyone, because we were Private E-1’s), we took the slight personally, thinking that it was aimed at us. It was not until years later that I found that there truly had been a movie titled ‘The Green Slime.’
“By the way, the movie ‘Soylent Green’ was made in 1973, but it was projected to take effect in 2022! Should we be scared?”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Yes. Of many things!
Band Name of the Day: The Beard Lifters — or: The Poets of Football