There were no pigeon volunteers

Published 8:05 am Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Echoes from the Loafers Club Meeting

Could I pick your brain?

Of course. Why?

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Because the one you picked isn’t working.

Driving by Bruce’s

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his driveway, thoughts occur to me, such as: A WalletHub report found that the U.S. ranked 13th in the world in road quality. WalletHub compared the 50 states across 23 key metrics. The data set ranged from average gas prices to rush-hour traffic congestion to road quality. The best states for driving were 1. Texas 2. Kansas 3. Nebraska 4. Iowa 5. North Carolina. Minnesota was 11th. The worst states were 1. Hawaii 2. Washington 3. Maryland 4. California 5. Connecticut. Missouri had the lowest average regular gas price. California had the most auto-repair shops per population and Maine had the lowest average car insurance rate.

Is it proper to limbo out of a restroom?

I went off to college with two electrical devices. One was a toaster that I’d bought used. The other was a radio I’d received as a gift. I loved them both, but I didn’t spend much time staring at either one. I didn’t miss out by not having digital devices, but I sometimes wish that I’d had a camera. I don’t wish that for long. There is nothing more useless than wishing things had been different in the past.

Digital devices are, as we all know, handy. A friend advised my wife to always take her cellphone with her when she uses a public restroom. He’d used one facility in which the lock had broken. The door couldn’t be opened from the inside. He was locked in.

What do you do when that happens? You could yell for assistance. Some folks might not be willing to respond to cries of help coming from a bathroom stall. Or as in this case, there were no other ears in the restroom. He could have done the limbo dance under the door over a floor that might carry a germ or two.

What he did was to call someone on his cellphone. I’m not sure whom he called–911, his wife or Ghostbusters. Whoever he called, it worked. He is a free man today.

Things that made me go ‘Hmmmm’ used sales data to determine the favorite Valentine’s Day candy in each state. In Iowa, M&M’s are the state’s most popular Valentine’s Day candy. Conversation hearts came in second, followed by Ghirardelli chocolate. Conversation hearts are the candy of choice in Minnesota followed by cupid corn and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates.

Queen Elizabeth brings her own toilet paper when she travels.

Deep sleep declines significantly as we age. We tend to lose slow-wave or restorative sleep. This becomes most pronounced in senior citizens. REM (dream sleep) reduces only slightly with aging.

Nature notes

The light of the day a year ago arrived in breathtaking 3-D. I was in a Mayo building in Rochester and hooked up to tubes and pumps. I looked out a window, watching a peregrine falcon bother a large flock of pigeons, when a volunteer stopped to ask if there was anything she could do for me. I wanted to say, “Make me well,” but there are enough smart Alecs in the world. Instead, I thanked her for being a volunteer. She told me that she’d been volunteering at Mayo for four years and added, “It’s the best job I’ve ever had.”

The peregrine had perched by this time. There were no pigeon volunteers.

Peregrine falcons nearly went extinct due to the excessive use of pesticides. When DDT was banned in 1973, recovery efforts began for many threatened species, including the peregrine falcon.

Mayo Clinic began hosting the falcons in 1987. The falcons typically settle in during early February. They nest on the roof of the 20-story Mayo Building, where the female lays two to four eggs in late March to mid-April.

Eggs hatch after 32-35 days of incubation. The nestlings grow rapidly and fledge at about six weeks of age. Most peregrine falcons in the Midwest nest on buildings, rather than on cliffs, which are their natural habitat. Reported to be the fastest bird in the world, it clocks in at over 200 miles per hour in a hunting dive. They often prey upon on pigeons, which makes for good hunting around the Mayo Clinic. Visitors can monitor the falcons with a falcon cam and informational display in the subway level of the Mayo Building (next to the patient cafeteria) and on the Mayo Clinic Television Network for patients.

Meeting adjourned

“Kindness is in our power even when fondness is not.” — Henry James