Archived Story

Batt: Lost GPS is no help

Published 10:27am Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting:

“I kept getting lost, so I bought a GPS.”

“Did that help?”

“No, I lost the GPS.”

I’ve learned

Age isn’t just a number. It’s a word.

If you’re having second thoughts, you’re two ahead of most of us.

Most one-horse towns don’t have any.

The news from Hartland

Podiatrist William the Corncurer, claims time wounds all heels.

Upchuck and Ralph’s Bakery says to eat cake because it’s somebody’s birthday somewhere.

Conan the librarian explains books filled with blank pages are out of print.

Ask Al

“What is your favorite rock group?” Mount Rushmore.

“Do you sleep in your socks?” No, the bed is more comfortable.

“Why do parents wash their children’s mouths out with soap?” They’re too cheap to buy toothpaste.

Ferry tales

I was on a ferry leaving Juneau, Alaska on a voyage to Haines. Another traveler smiled at the mountains and told me that he’d moved to Alaska from the United States.

Glimpses of birds riding the wind, whales and sea lions delighted me. The vastness of Alaska was apparent.

On a cold, wintry day in our largest state, I considered the vastness of losses suffered by the Minnesota Twins last season. Their record was 66-96. They should maintain their wins and losses in Roman numerals. A record of LXVI-XCVI sounds better.


February comes in like January and leaves like March. A groundhog peeks out of his burrow and sees a mere shadow of his former self or refuses to see what he has become. If he sees his shadow, we get six more weeks of winter. If the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow, spring begins in six weeks.

I stopped at a cemetery. The snow crunched under my shoes. A loud car drove by. If the road has a thick layer of fresh snow, sound waves are absorbed at the surface. That tends to muffle traffic noises. The snow’s surface smoothens and hardens with age and wind’s influence. Then the surface reflects sound waves, making them clearer and travel farther. When I stepped on the snow, the downward pressure snapped the bonds between snow crystals. The crystals rubbed against others, creating brief oscillations, which produced sound. If the snow isn’t as cold, the snow grains yield too easily because the bonds are weaker. I was taught that if it’s colder than about 14 degrees, snow crunches. If it’s warmer, it usually doesn’t. I crunched my way to a gravesite, a place where the past and the present meet. I shed a tear. That’s not easy for a man who grew up in a time in which men cried only in the rain.

Another fellow was at the cemetery as I paid my respects. He pointed at his older brother’s gravestone and said, “He had his kick at the can.”

I guess that’s all that February wants.


There are absolutes. Things that I know are true. Such as: Always trust what those on high-fiber diets say. They don’t have the time to lie. Another is that when I was a boy and used the word “ain’t,” the weight of the word world fell upon me. They accused me of using a word that didn’t exist. Girl jump-ropers chanted, “Don’t say ain’t, your mother will faint, your father will step in a bucket of paint, because there ain’t no such word as ain’t.”

A friend, whenever chastised for saying “ain’t,” replied, “Because I don’t say it, don’t mean I ain’t thinking it.”

He had no answer when his mother told him that bad words made his breath smell.

Did you know?

An R.L. Polk study of the auto industry found 48 percent of people buy cars of the same brand they had been driving. The brands with the most loyal customers were Ford with 61.2 percent repeat buyers, Mercedes-Benz (57.7 percent) and Toyota (54.4 percent).

Each day, we breathe about 23,040 times and move 438 cubic feet of air. It takes about five seconds to breathe — two seconds to inhale and three seconds to exhale.

Nature notes

“What kind of squirrel is a black squirrel?” It’s a melanistic version of the eastern gray squirrel. Black squirrels can exist wherever grey squirrels live. Melanism is an undue development of dark-colored pigment. Grey pairs may produce black offspring. Black squirrels appear to have been dominant throughout North America prior to the arrival of Europeans, since the dark color helped them hide in dense forests that tended to be shaded. Hunting and deforestation led to biological advantages for grey squirrels. Black squirrels have an increased cold tolerance because they lose less heat than grey ones.

Meeting adjourned

Kindness provides sunshine on a cloudy day.

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