Al Batt: He felt like his old self, but he’d rather feel like his young self

Published 10:22 am Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

How did you like your steak?


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I’ll take that as a compliment.

Don’t. I lost a filling in it.
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 enjoy things where the batter works from home, like homemade pancakes and baseball. The longer a cash register tape is, the worse reading it makes. There is the school of hard knocks and the school of believing everything you read online. They are both painful.
Old Man McGinty

Old Man McGinty, the youngest Old Man McGinty ever, has lived long enough that it’d be careless for him to drive his age. He doesn’t have an enemy in the world. He’s outlived them all. Old Man McGinty walked towards me with that old-timer’s shuffle as he cried, “Whee!” He was happy to have recovered from a bad cold. He said that he felt like his old self, but he’d rather feel like his young self.
Shopping for a spatula

I accompanied my wife into a store. We were there not to shop, but to buy. We were stalking a sly spatula. It wasn’t an undertaking that we had taken lightly. We’d planned the escapade for weeks. We’d obtained estimates, consumer ratings and the horoscopes of numerous spatulas. We checked safety records, recall notices, warranty protection, rebates offered and what spatulas were good with children. In order to properly prepare for the endeavor, I listened to Weird Al Yankovic sing, “Spatula City.” Weird Al warbled, “We sell spatulas and that’s all!”

We turned down a tempting offer to join a spatula-of-the-month club. We purchased a spatula. We are very happy with it.
Flying machines

A neighbor has a paramotor. Paramotor is a generic name for a powered paraglider. It consists of a frame — combining the motor, propeller, harness, seat and cage — attached to the paraglider wing. He flies it much to his mother’s dismay.

My parents never set foot in any kind of an aircraft. I haven’t set any records for airline travel, but I’ve put on many miles in airplanes of various sizes.

I read an article about the 10 busiest airports in the world. Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the busiest, welcoming more than 100 million fliers in 2015. It has topped the rankings of the busiest airports every year since 1998. Other U.S. airports in the top 10 were O’Hare International in Chicago, Los Angeles International and Dallas/Fort Worth. I’ve spent time in all four of those airports during the course of a single year.

My father told me that when he was a boy, he’d run outside to see any airplane that flew over the house. I run outside to watch my good neighbor and his paramotor fly over. It’s not as crowded as an airport.
Ask Al

“What would you do if there were no newspapers?” I’d cancel my subscriptions.

“Why do we have to learn all those traffic laws that nobody obeys?” It’s so that we’ll know how to drive when we’re being followed by a police car.

“Are you a member of any organization that you wish you’d never joined?” Yes, the American Association of Skunk Ticklers.
Nature notes

“Why doesn’t a duck’s quack echo?” It does echo. I’ve heard it. Acoustical engineers have empirically demonstrated that by using an echo chamber and standard recording equipment to capture the echo of a duck’s quack.

“I’ve been told that I should stop feeding hummingbirds in the fall so that it doesn’t prevent them from migrating. Is this correct?” That’s a myth. A number of factors trigger the urge for the birds to migrate, but the most significant one is day length. When the days get shorter, the hummingbirds move south, even if your feeder is brimming with nectar. Keep your feeder full for two weeks after you’ve seen the last hummingbird just in case stragglers need fueling for their long journey south.

Jim Knutson of Hartland asked why there are no acorns this year. Acorn crops are cyclical, but a tree’s health and vitality, late spring frosts, drought and insects could impact acorn numbers. Oak trees synchronize, so there can be large areas lacking acorns. Acorns are a major food source for many animals and during years of heavy acorn production, it’s impossible for all the acorns to be consumed. This is called predator satiation. Conversely, years without acorns reduce predator numbers.
Meeting adjourned

“Kindness is more than deeds. It is an attitude, an expression, a look, a touch. It is anything that lifts another person.” — C. Neil Strait