Watch out for the Left Lane Hog

Published 7:08 am Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I’m going fishing on St. Olaf Lake today.

Good for you.

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Have you been able to do much fishing this year?

Not as much as I’d like, but more than my wife wants me to.

Driving by the Bruces

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me, such as: Each day is a grand experiment. As road construction lurked, I drove the speed limit in the right lane on an interstate highway. The clock was on my side. I’d left early, so I was in no hurry. The cars in the left lane weren’t passing me as if I were backing up as they usually did. The reason was that there was a left-lane loiterer, lingerer or loafer lollygagging in that lane. He wasn’t a cellphone head or in a phone fog. He had decided to camp in the left lane and it was a tough hop if people didn’t like his traffic-clogging behavior. There was a long line of cars behind him. I’ve no doubt he was accumulating a superabundance of nasty nicknames from the other drivers. A 2016 “Road Rage Report” conducted by Expedia found the “Left-Lane Hog” contributed the fourth most-annoying driving behavior behind the Texter, the Tailgater and the Last-Minute Line-Cutter. Minnesota law currently calls for drivers proceeding below the normal speed of traffic to stick to the right lane, unless they are passing another vehicle or making a left-hand turn. Minnesota State Statute 169.15 says this about impeding traffic: “No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law or except when the vehicle is temporarily unable to maintain a greater speed due to a combination of the weight of the vehicle and the grade of the highway.” In other words, don’t be a knucklehead.

Father’s Day

It was the day before Father’s Day and work had taken me to Jamestown, North Dakota. It’s the hometown of prolific author Louis L’Amour, who wrote over 100 books, most of them western novels. I enjoyed visiting a display recalling his life. I’ve never read any of his books, but my father had been a huge fan of the cowboy genre, particularly enjoying those novels authored by Zane Grey.

Not long after that visit, I was in the greeting card aisle of a store, reading Father’s Day cards and wondering which one I’d have given to Dad if he were still alive. Dad was a good man with a lifetime dedication to his craft (farming). He did positive things and could be counted on. He gave me wonderful advice such as, “Try not to be a knucklehead.”

Meeting minutes

I was at a meeting, seated with fine folks who had drawn the short straws and found themselves at my table. One fellow said that his neighbors go either to Arizona or Texas for the winter. He goes to Fleet Farm. His grandchildren relished Disney destinations. He asked them what the difference was between Disneyland and Disney World. They told him that one is Tractor Supply and the other is Fleet Farm. Another man at the table explained the 50/50/90 rule to me. It means there is a 50 percent chance you’re right, a 50 percent chance you’re wrong and a 90 percent chance you’ll get yelled at.   

Nature notes

“Do fake owls work to keep other birds away?” No, they don’t even keep other fake owls away. Even birdbrains like me quickly deduce that fake owls aren’t real. They are a complete waste of money unless you are buying them as a piece of art.

“Are there ravens in southern Minnesota?” A common raven is larger than the American crow. Both are black, but a crow lacks the raven’s large head and bill, and shaggy throat feathers. Ravens produce low, raspy “kronk” calls in marked contrast to the higher-pitched “caws” of crows, but both species have varied vocalizations. Common ravens live mainly in the northeast quarter of the state, with normal distribution as far south as northern Washington and northern Anoka counties. Ravens are homebodies, seldom venturing far from where they hatched. The records of ravens being seen in southern Minnesota counties are Blue Earth in 1958, Martin 1959, Pipestone 1920 and Olmsted 1976.

Meeting adjourned

“Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt