Baseball card smiles predict players’ lifespan

Published 11:12 am Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

“Anything exciting happen here today?”

“How should I know?”

“You were here all day.”

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“Yeah, but I wasn’t paying attention.”

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: the cars ahead and behind are there to annoy other drivers.

I’ve learned

1. Not to wait for my reflection in the mirror to smile first.

2. Good mothers turn off mixers before allowing children to lick the beaters.

3. The quickest way to get rid of a contractor is to hire him.

Did you know?

There are three parking spaces per automobile in the US.

A 2010 Wayne State University research project examined the baseball card photos of Major League players from 1952. The study found that the span of a player’s smile could predict his lifespan. Players who didn’t smile in their pictures lived an average of 72.9 years, while players with beaming smiles lived an average of 79.9 years.

The rumbling of the stomach is called borborygmus.

Thrilling days of yesteryear

I needed to stop at a mink farm before going to church. The mink farm raised mink, foxes, and skunks. I pulled into the farm, got out of my car, and was greeted by the owner and a skunk. The skunk was a pet not his business partner. He handed the skunk to me, telling me what a fine companion it would make. He claimed it was cleaner than a cat. I was dressed in a suit and tie. I was wearing my church shoes, but I wasn’t thinking. I held the skunk. It was cute, but smelly. Back in my car, my task completed, I drove to church. I noticed that I had acquired an odor. I chewed a number of Certs — ”It’s a breath mint. It’s a candy mint. It’s two, two, two mints in one.” — in the misguided belief that it might cut the smell. In church, I was as popular as a woodpecker in a cabinetmaker’s shop. I had my own p.u. and my own pew.

Watching TV

In her retirement, my mother loved watching Little House on the Prairie and The Wheel of Fortune. She received ten TV channels on a good day at the farm, so it was possible that she could watch one of those programs three times in a single day.

I sat with my mother as she watched Michael Landon and his family deal with their problems on Little House on the Prairie.

“Oh,” she said, “I saw this one yesterday.”

I suggested we change the channel.

“That’s OK,” she replied, indicating there was no need to search for another TV show. “It’s still good.”

Hoodie Hoo Day

On Feb. 20 at noon, my wife and I ran outside, waved our hands over our heads, and shouted “Hoodie Hoo.” This is what scares winter away. If we didn’t do this, winter would never leave. Doing the “Hoodie Hoo” has worked every year. Winter has always ended and spring has always arrived.

My Army physical

The doctor whispered, “Can you read the letters on that wall?’

There weren’t any letters on the wall. “What letters?” I asked.

“Splendid,” said the doctor. “You passed the hearing test.”

Nature notes

I heard the call of a red-tailed hawk in my yard. It wasn’t a hawk. It was a starling mimicking a hawk. The European starlings in North America descended from 100 birds released in New York City’s Central Park in the 1890s. A group that wanted the United States to have all the birds mentioned by Shakespeare introduced the starlings. Because of this introduction, all the starlings in North America are closely related. Slight genetic variation often means trouble for a species, but starlings appear to suffer no ill effects.

Starlings are able to fly at speeds up to 48 mph and are impressive vocal mimics. An individual starling could imitate the calls of 20 different species. Starlings regularly mimic the songs of the peewee, meadowlark, robin, flicker, cowbird, killdeer, and others.

Talking to the Holstein

I was talking to the Holstein the other day. The Holstein is a retired milk cow, so she has time to talk. She chewed her cud thoughtfully and said, “The dog used to run circles around us and nip at our heels to keep us together. I hated him until I realized that you always herd the ones you love.”

Meeting adjourned

William Arthur Ward wrote, “When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.”