Al Batt: Offer me something of interest

Published 6:30 am Wednesday, September 30, 2020

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Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

How is your job going?

It’s going really, really, really, really well.

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Not really.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor, named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me, such as: My carpenter aunt (she built houses) had given me an encyclopedia. I was hoping for a set because there would be something about everything in that collection, but it was just one book. It was the accumulated wisdom of the ages that in a single volume compendium presented the total of all the world’s knowledge from moth to oyster.

Before I’d ever heard of COVID-19, a granddaughter played in a national basketball tournament in Chicago. My wife and I attended and are glad we did as her team went undefeated. We stayed in a snazzy hotel where the nightly parking charge matched the value of my car and the hotel staff had palms twice as long as the average person. The richest 1 percent of Americans account for over half the value of equities owned by US households according to Goldman Sachs and an analysis of Federal Reserve data found 84 percent of stocks are owned by the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans. I didn’t feel wealthy in that hotel, but I don’t in a dollar store either.

Life can be as tricky as standing in a hammock

Each day is the greatest of journeys. I cleaned my glasses with ketchup because Heinz sight is 20/20. I told my wife that I was taking two masks. “Masks” is one of those words, “wasps” is another, that doesn’t want to end. The next time, I might just say, “I’m taking this mask and another mask.”

Why can’t telemarketers offer something I’d be interested in? A guy called and wanted to deliver my prize from Publishers Clearing House. I didn’t know PCH still existed or that I could win a contest without first entering. Another call was from someone pushing septic tank additives. University research has found that no matter how many educated enzymes or boffo bacteria an additive offers it does no good and may cause harm.

The bad joke department

What does a duck and a Buick have in common? They both have a steering wheel except the duck.

A pandemic was unleashed on the world by ticks that lived around the mouths of alpacas. Global chaos ensued. The disease wiped out 99 percent of the human population and the desperate survivors were forced to live in a post-alpaca lip tick wasteland.

Are you happy?

To determine the happiest state, WalletHub examined 32 key metrics, including depression rate, positive COVID-19 testing rate, income growth and unemployment rate. The happiest are 1. Hawaii 2. Utah  3. Minnesota 4. New Jersey 5. Maryland 6. California  7.  North Dakota 8. Iowa 9. Idaho 10. Connecticut. At the other end are 41. Oregon 42. Alaska   43. Alabama 44. Mississippi 45. Tennessee 46. Kentucky 47. Louisiana 48.  Oklahoma 49. Arkansas 50. West Virginia. Minnesota had the highest adequate-sleep rate and the second-highest volunteer rate. Find a full report at

I’ve learned

None of life’s trials last forever, not even if it involves OJ Simpson.

The quietest person will always strike up a conversation when you’re hurrying to the bathroom.

Not to spend a lot of time deciding what socks to wear. That decision never makes it into any best-selling memoirs.

Nature notes

I wandered outside to see if the yard was still where I’d left it. Unruly plants had become less so. I’d heard the calls of both an eastern screech owl and a great horned owl during the night. The vocalizations likely served territorial functions. I hoped the screech owl was vigilant as great horned owls prey upon other owls. Mushrooms were much in evidence. Seeing a fairy ring tickled me. A fairy ring is a ring of mushrooms that has fostered much folklore. One is that a ring is caused by fairies dancing. Look for large, twisting flocks of blackbirds of mixed species. It’s the joining of various factions. Most waterfowl migrations occur at night. Migratory movements typically intensify shortly after sunset and peak in the middle of the night. Waterfowl also make shorter, local movements at night.

Meeting adjourned

In my kidhood, I was helping to load steers. I had the pet of the herd on a short rope. As that steer watched the other cattle move onto the truck, it became agitated. It had some pounds on me and began to pull me away from the truck. I dug in my heels as I heard my father say, “Hold on as long as you can.” Good advice for many things.