Box Set | NNoTW April 1, 2021

A long time ago, Kyle and I bought a workout video series off of an infomercial; and then immediately put the disks away in a trunk in our basement to be used as a conversation piece whenever we were feeling out of shape.

“Ugh, I need to work out.  Maybe I’ll get those DVDs,” one of us would say at various points throughout the past decade.

“I’ll work out with you if you do,” the other would reply, and then we’d go for ice cream as a congratulations to ourselves for starting such an ambitious activity – which, in fact, would never happen.

Recently, after several months of complaining about our lack of physical activity, Kyle said to me,

“Maybe I’ll get those DVDs out.”

And I said,

“I’ll work out with you if you do.”

But instead of ice cream, Kyle actually went and got the DVDs.  On behalf of Dairy Queen, I’ve never felt so betrayed.

It’s a good thing that Kyle and I have been married a long time and we live out in the country without any nearby neighbors because let me tell you, that first workout wasn’t pretty.  I was so sweaty by the end of the warmup I considered taking a courtesy shower before the actual exercise itself.

We’re a couple of weeks into the videos now.  I was mentally complimenting myself on my newfound fitness the other evening and felt the urge to publicly acknowledge all of my good work.

“You know, we’ve had a lot of luck buying stuff off of the TV,” I said.

Kyle set down his video game controller.  “Like what?”

“Well, the workout videos, for one.  And the food chopper.”

“Didn’t the food chopper get thrown out during the move?”  Kyle asked.

“And the dryer balls,” I said.

“I think those are in the toy bucket,” Kyle said.

“And, of course, The Muppets.”

Kyle blinked a few times, picked back up his controller, and said, “Right, The Muppets.”

The year was in 2001; the time, 3:00 am on a Saturday – the magic hour for TV purchases.

I had just come home from volunteering at the library or some other wholesome activity and had flopped in front of the TV.  Immediately, the screen was filled with Gonzo fighting with Kermit the Frog and Carol Burnett over a dance marathon.

“For the first time ever,” the announcer proclaimed, “Forty-five unedited Muppet Show episodes are now available in the Time-Life Muppet Show Video Collection.  AND if you call NOW, you’ll get a special bonus deal.”

I grabbed the cordless phone.

This was not the first time I’d considered buying something from an infomercial in the wee hours of the morning.  It was, however, the first time that my best friend (and roommate) had not been awake in order to say, “How much rotisserie chicken can one person eat?” or “Do you really need a knife that can cut through a suitcase?”

Time-Life answered the phone on the eighth ring, which I’m guessing is one more ring than it takes for a best friend to say, “Hang that up and go to bed.”

“I’d like the Time-Life Muppet Show Video Collection, please,” I said.

“Oh, okay,” the operator said.  There was a pause.  “Do you have a credit card?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Oh, okay,” she said.  Another pause.

“Do you want the number?”  I asked.

“Yeah, sure,” she said.

I gave it to her, along with my address.  She shuffled around for a few minutes, and then said,

“You will begin receiving your Time-Life Muppet Show Video Collection in a few short weeks.  As a special bonus deal, I’d like to offer you the entire collection on DVD for $1 more.  Would you like to accept that offer?”

“Definitely not,” I said.

I can’t exactly remember how much the Time-Life Muppet Show Video Collection cost back in 2001.  My memory says $19.99, plus shipping and handling – which was about $18.99 (plus shipping and handling) more than my college student/hourly internship bank account could afford.  That, however, was not the reason why I said no to the $1 increase.

When I was in junior high, my science teacher got his hands on a laserdisc player and a handful of discs.  We watched those laserdiscs religiously for a semester, and then never again.  While my best friend had purchased a DVD player a few months before my foray into Time-Life, there was absolutely no way I was going to spend one whole dollar on a technology that was sure to go the way of the laserdisc.

It took over a year to complete my Time-Life Muppet Show Video Collection.  As we all know, VHS continues to be a leading technology.  It’s such a leading technology that over that year I watched all fifteen of my Time-Life Muppet Show Video Collection exactly once, and then spent the next several years giving them away to children and grownups who had both a love for The Muppets and a working VCR.  I have three of the tapes left, which currently reside in the same trunk as our video workout DVDs – all content, by the way, that is currently available on streaming services that we purchased, of course, through our TV.

The photo above is of my best friend and me in 2001.

This week’s news has friendly fire departments, a Fueled Force, and a four-time award-winning artist.  Read on.


The kids at Dickinson’s Jefferson Elementary raised almost $3,000 via a read-a-thon in order to buy new indoor recess equipment. (Dickinson Press)

Minot eleven-year-old Mason Stehley is now cancer-free after 1,254 days in treatment! (Minot Daily News)

And speaking of cool kids in cancer remission, Minot five-year-old Oliver Iverson has had his Make-a-Wish granted after the pandemic required cancelling his trip to Disney World. (KFYR TV)

Thirty Jamestown college students packed 12,000 meals to be sent off to children in Liberia as a part of the Orphan Grain Train. (Jamestown Sun)

After Glenburn lost its only fire station and all its equipment to a fire, the Williston Fire Department stepped into to donate four breathing apparatuses, worth $32,000. (KX Net)

I don’t know if this is technically “nice” news, but as the mother of a goalie, I need to give kudos to the two goalies of the UND/Minnesota Duluth game, who played the longest game in NCAA history and had something like 120 saves each. (Grand Forks Herald)

North Dakota National Guard Captain Vanessa Lennick has created a wellness and nutrition program series for her fellow guard members called “Fuel the Force.” (KX Net)

Since 2007, physical therapy students at the University of Mary have helped kids try their hands at baseball. (KFYR TV)

Linton’s Daniel Schumacher has won the North Dakota Junior Duck Stamp Contest for the fourth year in a row. (Valley City Times Record)

(Like Amanda Silverman Kosior and/or North Dakota Nice?  Check out this other story about Hockey Tournaments.)

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