Weekly Columns
Take time to laugh PDF Print E-mail


By Gayle VanVooren, editor

This week it’s time for a little humor.
I got this e-mail years ago — but still laugh at some of the observations.
The Wit of Steven Wright
• Last night I played a blank tape at full blast. The mime next door went nuts!
• If a person with multiple personalities threatens suicide, is that considered a hostage situation?
• Just think how much deeper the ocean would be if sponges didn’t live there.
• If a cow laughed, would milk come out her nose?
• Whatever happened to Preparations A through G?
• If olive oil comes from olives, where does baby oil come from?
• I went for a walk last night and my kids asked me how long I’d be gone. I said, “The whole time.”
• So what’s the speed of dark?
• How come you don’t ever hear about gruntled employee? And who has been dissing them anyhow?
• After eating, do amphibians need to wait an hour before getting OUT of the water?
• Why don’t they make mouse-flavored cat food?
• If you’re sending someone some styrofoam, what do you pack it in?
• I just got skylights put in my place. The people who live above me are furious.
• Why do they sterilize needles for lethal injections?
• Do they have reserved parking for non-handicapped people at the Special Olympics?
• Is it true that cannibals don’t eat clowns because they taste funny?
• If it’s tourist season, why can’t we shoot them?
• Isn’t Disney World a people trap operated by a mouse?
• Whose cruel idea was it for the word “lisp” to have an “s” in it?

• Since light travels faster than sound, isn’t that why some people appear bright until you hear them speak?
• How come abbreviated is such a long word?
• If it’s zero degrees outside today and it’s supposed to be twice as cold tomorrow, how cold is it going to be?
• Why do you press harder on a remote-control when you know the battery is dead?
• Since Americans throw rice at weddings, do Asians throw hamburgers?
• Why are they called buildings, when they’re already finished? Shouldn't they be called builts?
• Why are they called apartments when they’re all stuck together?
• Why do banks charge you a “non-sufficient funds fee” on money they already know you don’t have?
• If the universe is everything, and scientists say that the universe is expanding, what is it expanding into?
• If you got into a taxi and the driver started driving backward, would the taxi driver end up owing you money?
• What would a chair look like if your knees bent the other way?
Hmmmmmm...some crazy, and some truth to all this.

So where do you get Rattlesnake Oil, anyway? PDF Print E-mail


By Jon Guttormsson


Just the other evening Barb made the comment on one of the books she was reading, "Secrets of the Great Old-Time Cooks" was pretty interesting, and maybe I would like to take a look at it.
Right away, the title intrigued me, so I proceeded to take a look.
Following are a few of the "nuggets" of information from the book.

Cow Weather Forecast:
A cow with its tail to the west makes weather the best.
A cow with its tail to the east makes weather the least.
You can expect rain if a cow kicks backward in the morning while being milked.
When cows don't give milk, expect stormy and cold weather.

Bat Lore
If a bat bites you, your ears and nose will change places.
If a bat runs into your head, you'll soon become baldheaded.
Bat blood is a cure for baldness.

Uses For Rattlesnake Oil

(Question - how in the heck do you get rattlesnake oil? Jon G.)
Corns: Apply rattlesnake or mud turtle oil to corns before bed time for several nights.
Croup: Rub rattlesnake oil on the outside of the throat and a few drops in the mouth.
Deafness: A drop in the affected ear once a day.
Diptheria: 1/4 tsp every hour.

And there you have just a few of the interesting items from the book. There are also quite a few recipes Barb will eventually try. If she does, I sure hope that she leaves out the rattlesnake oil.

Minneota’s coffee break PDF Print E-mail


By Byron Higgin, Mascot Publisher

A coffee break, according to the internet byronmugWikipedia, is a daily social gathering for a snack and short downtime practiced by employees in business and industry.
The coffee break allegedly originated in the late 19th century in Stoughton, Wisconsin with the wives of Norwegian immigrants.
The city celebrates this every year with the Stoughton Coffee Break Festival.
In 1951, ”Time noted the coffee break has been written into union contracts".
Coffee breaks usually last from 10 to 20 minutes and frequently occur at the end of the first third of the work shift.
In some companies and some civil service, the coffee break may be observed formally at a set hour.
Wow, who wrote these rules, anyway!?!
Here’s my version.
The coffee break actually began in Minneota, Minnesota sometime in the mid 20th Century. It’s origination was at a place called, “The Roundup.”
While it is still observed heartily at The Roundup, by those who pay 40 cents an hour to play cards, and to others who would “pass the time of day”, it’s popularity has spread far and wide throughout Minneota.
It begins every work day, and most often on Saturdays at places like Dalager’s Store, or the Cenex Station, or the Minneota Senior Citizen’s Center.
But invariably, it always ends up at the place it started, “The Roundup.”
The purpose of the coffee break isn’t exactly known, but most men of the community feel that missing it is akin to failing to show up for work that day.
It’s difficult to start the work day until you’ve “checked in” at the usual place.
At Dalager’s Store there’s a nice little table and chairs for the first coffee drinkers to arrive.
If you’re late, well, you have to stand outside the circle of those sitting, holding your coffee patiently, until someone gets up to leave or go get another cup of coffee. At that time you sneak into his spot and start talking so nobody can dispute whether or not you belong in the chair.
Some of the information passed around the table at Dalagers includes sports trivia, weather conditions for farming, old stories from the past, weather conditions for farming and, oh, how good the crops are going to be after all this rain.
There’s other stuff too, but mostly that can’t be put in this column.
So now it’s time to leave Dalager’s and head over to The Senior Center.
There’s a whole new group of guys sitting there. Seems they are always sitting there, in the same places, as though they’ve never left.
Every once in awhile a couple of them will wear a different hat, just so you know they’ve actually left and gone home.
Most of the time is spent trading insults with each other. One guy doesn’t hear so good so he kinda just sits and smiles, but I suspect he’s just smart enough to stay out of the conversation.
Finally, when one or two of these guys gets fed up with the insults, they pull out a dollar bill and start shaking dice.
Seems like it isn’t so much about winning money is being able to say, “There’s mister lucky again. He always wins.”
One guy usually sees another guy come in about the same time, gets up and says, “Here’s a seat, all warmed up for ya.”
Next day, they’re all back again, always in the same places.
So now it’s time to leave the Senior Center and head for  The Roundup.
This is kinda the grandpappy of the coffee drinking places.
This place is equipped with ice cream sandwiches, candy bars and pop — in addition to coffee.
And it’s just popular enough that a whole new clientele changes over every hour or so — except maybe in the heat of the battle with the cards flying and a lot of smoke seems to gather over the card tables.
It’s not hard to figure out who the regulars are. They don’t always take the same chair, but they pretty much always tell the same stories.
And like the Senior Center, there’s a bit of good-nature banter about each other.
Well, that’s the report from the coffee shops in Minneota. Haven’t spent much time at the Cenex yet. Will have to get the hang of that later.
So while the Wikipedia tells us how coffee breaks got their start — I’ll have to beg to disagree and stick to the notion it all started in Minneota.
Hey, fill it up again, will ya!

LAUGH A LITTLE: Reported by a travel agency: “A senior Senator called and had a question about the documents he needed in order to fly to China. After a lengthy discussion about passports, I reminded him that he needed a visa. "Oh, no I don't. I've been to China many times and never had to have one of those." I double checked and sure enough, his stay required a visa. When I told him this he said, "Look, I've been to China four times and every time they have accepted my American Express!"

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK:  As my Ole Pappy used to say, “You only live once, but if you work it right, once is enough.” Ole Pappy got the most out of his one life so I guess he was right.

What kind of a place is this, anyway? PDF Print E-mail


byronsnowballBy Gayle VanVooren

What kind of a work place do you have? Is is formal or informal? There’s a big difference there, and can  dictate how you do your job.
The temperment here at The Mascot is very informal. We need to be able to talk about columns, stories that need to be done, and activities in the schools and communities quite freely. It’s more of a “give and take” situation.
We had a “happening” this past week - just to point out the situation. The snowfall of Monday produced enough of that darn white stuff for throwing.
Well, Byron (my boss) came in and with a crappy grin and a loud yell, tossed a snowball through the open window at me while I was typing at my desk. It dropped on my desk with a thud.
Without even thinking, I picked up that glob of wet and hurled it back at him, and hit him right in the glasses. He was stunned, I was shocked, and we all broke up in laughter. And this is our workplace.
We went back to work, and then took a coffee break — and began laughing all over again about the fun of just doing crazy things. Like throwing snowballs.
With deadlines facing us every week, and many articles to get into print, it is great to have an opportunity to just laugh. It lightens the mood, and gives everyone a breather from the rigors of getting a newspaper into print.            
Of course, there are times when this kind of thing is not appropriate. And I’m very sorry if you have that kind of work place. But there are probably ways to also “let off steam” in those circumstances.
Taking a break from computers is very necessary — as eyes can really get strained from looking at computer screens.
And the legs also need exercising if you have been sitting for a long time.
But there’s nothing like a good laugh to get the cobwebs dusted away. There seems to be a lot of that going on down here at the Mascot office. And we want to keep it that way.

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