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Al Batt: Third owner of a lonely knife

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I walk 6 miles each day.

What’s the secret to your dedication?

There’s this wonderful pizza place 3 miles from my home.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me, such as: I sat in my car in a parking lot as I waited for an appointment. I watched two little boys pull a wastebasket on wheels past my vehicle. They stopped by a dumpster. One kept watch by the wheeled wastebasket as the other crawled into the dumpster. I figured they were pursuing aluminum cans. That’s an industrious, albeit messy endeavor. The one inside the dumpster handed things to the outside lad. There were no cans. They appeared to be snatching papers, notebooks, ledgers and other things of that ilk. They placed all prizes from this dumpster box of Cracker Jack into the wheeled wastebasket. After 15 minutes, the boy hopped from the dumpster. He wasn’t covered in anything nasty, at least that I could see. The boys pulled the wheeled wastebasket past my car once more, this time in the direction from where they had come. They seemed chuckled. I’m trying to develop a conspiracy theory but am unable. Life is a mystery.

The boys appeared to have gotten what they wanted. As anyone who has ever wished for anything knows that doesn’t always happen. I wanted to be a Boy Scout, but there wasn’t such a thing in the nearest town. An aunt gave me an old Boy Scout Handbook. That was a great day in kidhood. I hoped perhaps another relative would come up with a Boy Scout knife, one with four blades that did five tasks — regular blade, leather punch, can opener, bottle opener and screwdriver. My father gave me an ancient, battered Barlow knife instead. I was its third owner.

The cafe chronicles

You’re not eating your smoked salmon.

I don’t like it.

How do you know if you don’t try it?

I’ve tried it before, but I didn’t inhale.

I’ve learned

My toes by any other name would smell as feet.

To give a sock puppet a hand.

The world is small in a big way.

Bad joke department

What did the farmer say when he couldn’t find his tractor? “Where’s my tractor?”

Where do you go to weigh a pie? Somewhere over the rainbow.

A bumper sticker reads, “I don’t always go the extra mile, but when I do, it’s because I’ve missed my exit.”

From the mailbag

Nels Thompson of Owatonna wrote, “I am a big fan of cranberry sauce. In addition to its unique flavor, its color really brightens things up. Because the stuff looks like the container it is extracted from, my boys call it ‘canberries.’”

Mike Walsh of Fairbanks, Alaska, said his closest encounter with a bald eagle had come when he rented a pickup truck. Unbeknownst to him, the box of that truck had fish scraps in it. It quickly filled with eagles.

An Albert Lea reader emailed that “Anchorman” should be on every list of the funniest movies. I countered with “Michael.” A customer from Waseca stated, “Any list of funny movies without ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ is bogus.” I proffered “Rain Man.”

Nature notes

Any mammal can get rabies. Birds, fish and snakes cannot. The CDC says raccoons, skunks and foxes are the animals most often infected with rabies in the United States. Small rodents like squirrels, chipmunks, rats, mice and rabbits are rarely infected. The chance of rabies in an opossum is extremely rare, with the opossum’s low body temperature making it difficult for the virus to survive in its body.

Research led by the University of Exeter found people who spend at least 120 minutes in nature each week are significantly more likely to report good health and higher psychological wellbeing than those who don’t visit nature during an average week.

Mothballs are pesticides that release a gas vapor that kills and repel moths and their larvae. They are toxic to humans and pets. As a pesticide, the Environmental Protection Agency regulates them. Mothballs aren’t an effective pest repellent to repulse mice. When the chemicals in mothballs react with the air, they produce fumes. For mothballs to effectively discourage mice and rats, the fumigant concentration must be high. If you can take the smell, so can the mice and rats. Better you should befriend a weasel. Short-tailed weasels (ermine) are white except for black tail tips. They are excellent mousers.

Meeting adjourned

Be kind and forgive. Lily Tomlin said, “Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past.”