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Al Batt: Strange days have found us

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

Well, I’m still insufficiently crazy.

That’s your opinion. When will this pandemic be over?

Be quiet and eat your toilet paper.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor, named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me, such as: The Doors sang, “Strange days have found us. Strange days have tracked us down.” The Doors never dreamed of days this strange, but we’re still here. That’s a good thing. I’m finding it difficult to ferret out a mask that fits a fathead like me. I need to do what Mort did. Mort is the sidekick of Bazooka Joe, a comic strip character featured on small comics included with Bazooka bubblegum. Mort wore a turtle neck high over his mouth. I need one slightly taller to cover my nose, too.

I sat at a ballgame last year. The woman seated on the opposite side of me from where my wife was throned, was an obstreperous fan. She rooted sweetly for each player on her favored team, but whenever their coach did anything, she growled nastily about his chronic ineptitude. As the game neared its conclusion, she felt a need to explain her behavior. One of the players was her daughter. That was good. The coach was her ex-husband. That was bad. I told her it could be worse. She wondered how. I said the umpire could be another ex-husband.

I don’t get to see countless people as I once did, but I still interact with folks. I still ask, “How are you doing?” I seldom hear “It could be worse” in return. Pity.

The bad joke department

Said one at the senior center: “I’m missing one piece from my 5,000-piece jigsaw puzzle.” Replied another, “What a coincidence. I’m missing 4,999 from mine.”

Two cows walked down the street. One said, “Moo.” The other replied, “I was going to say the same thing.”

Here’s a joke for all you psychics out there.

Now it’s in the bag

We were on the road for a family thing. We stopped to buy provisions. We didn’t need much, so my wife decided we’d use the self-service checkout. I don’t like those things for many reasons. Fumbling to open a flimsy, single-use, plastic grocery bag when you’re in a hurry is a shopping man’s nightmare. I struggle to do so without licking my fingers and I don’t want to lick my fingers. Who knows where they’ve been? I’ve learned to grab a bag handle in each hand and pull them straight out to each side. This causes bits of the bag (usually small points at the bottoms or armpits of the handles) to rise up and give me something to pull on to open it.

Thoughts while trying to open a plastic shopping bag

If I look as if I’m meditating, I’m trying to remember a password.

How small would the world’s population be if all warning labels were removed?

The best insect repellant is a strong wind.

Why do red traffic lights suddenly appear whenever my car is near?

In local news

A new luxury car comes equipped with backup singers.

Mime becomes a bad ventriloquist.

Dental office removed plaque from wall.

Big fight in seafood restaurant. There were battered fish everywhere.

Nature notes

I watched birds stock up on seed and feed as giant ragweed carried its misery on the wind. Ragweed is wind-pollinated, so the flowers don’t need bright colors to attract pollinators. Its pollen sends season’s sneezing to hay fever sufferers. A bald blue jay joined a feeder. An uneven molt leads to uneven blue jays.

An Ellendale reader sent a photo of eagles perched in a tree along a northern Minnesota lake and wondered if they were golden eagles. They were young bald eagles. Golden eagles have feathered legs down to their feet. Golden eagles aren’t bigger or stronger than bald eagles, being comparable in size and weight. The adults are dark brown with a golden sheen on the back of head and neck.

Young birds have neatly defined white patches at the base of the tail and in the wings. They favor open country, especially around mountains, hills and cliffs. They prey primarily upon small to medium-sized mammals, but I know some Wisconsin eagles feed heavily on wild turkeys. I sent the reader a photo of eagles I’d taken, which had been a cover photograph of an issue of “The Land,” for I.D. help.

Meeting adjourned

My mother told me I was given two ears and one mouth  because I’m supposed to listen twice as much as I talk. Listen, laugh, love and be kind.