Archived Story

Al Batt: Santa put yeti on abominable list

Published 9:30am Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Echoes From the Loafers’ Club Meeting:

“I’m not getting my brother-in-law anything for Christmas this year because he didn’t like what I got him last year.”

“What did you get him last year?”

“A cold.”

Driving by the Bruces

I have two wonderful neighbors — both named Bruce — who live across the road from each other. Whenever I pass their driveways, thoughts occur to me, such as: I got my wife a belt and a bag for Christmas. She won’t be pleased, but she’ll be able to use the vacuum cleaner now.

I’ve learned that

Minds are lost in the search to find perfect gifts.

Santa Claus has put the yeti on his abominable list.

If you gift wrap gift-wrapping paper, the recipient won’t know when to stop unwrapping.


I sat at a meeting. The presenter threw out initialisms left and right. Initialisms are a type of abbreviation made from the first letter or letters of a string of words. Examples include FBI, NFL, FYI, PR, NBA and CIA. Acronyms are abbreviations that are pronounced as words. Common acronyms include NATO, NASA, NIMBY, and OPEC. The presenter used unfamiliar initialisms. As the meeting wore on, each time the presenter used an initialism foreign to me, a voice in my head followed it up with “M-O-U-S-E.”


Gary Crumb of Matawan and I were talking about a shared relative (twice removed), who we think might have gone to college for a moment. Gary said that the guy’s collegiate endeavors were NFL — Not For Long.

She still has her fingers

My wife loses gloves on a daily basis. Her gloves have one goal and that is to escape She Who Must Be Obeyed’s pockets. My wife and I were doing a program at an elementary school in Belle Plaine. As we walked the hallways, I noticed a great number of gloves and mittens strewn about the floors. I thought to myself, it’s important that I kept some thoughts to myself, that my wife could go to school there.

In a roundabout way

I was looking at the world through a windshield as I traveled about the country, stitching together a day. The sun came in small increments. I wanted poetry, but was given strong winds instead.

Everyone was either speeding or texting. There was snow on the road and the temperature was pushing 10 below hard enough to bruise it. Sand and salt were being applied to roads. Ice forms when the­ temperature of water reaches 32 degrees Fahrenheit. When salt is added, that temperature drops. If you sprinkle salt on ice, it melts because the salt lowers its freezing point. If the temperature of the roadway is lower than around 15 degrees, the salt doesn’t work, as solid salt cannot get into the structure of solid water to start the dissolving process. I watched homeowners toss wood ashes onto driveways. This adds traction and the dark color absorbs solar heat to melt ice.

I entered the fine city of Blue Earth, which has three roundabouts on Highway 169. There are about 120 roundabouts in Minnesota. Approximately 46 in Iowa. Brown County in Wisconsin, where Green Bay is located, has 47. Wisconsin has around 270. Roundabouts claim a 39 percent decrease in crashes and handle traffic with less delay than stop signs or signals. Idling decreases, which reduces vehicle emissions and fuel consumption. When entering a roundabout, yield to vehicles already in the roundabout and don’t enter until traffic from the left has cleared. Use your turn signal when exiting.

Customer comments

Keith Wakefield, of Burnsville, told me that life is good. He has a wife and a car. And they both work.

Chris and Becky Kehr of Belle Plaine have this stenciled on the wall of their home, “Home is where our stories begin.”

Did you know?

Brontosaurus means, “thunder lizard.” Scientifically speaking, there was no such thing.

Studies suggest that yawning between dogs and their owners may be contagious.


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