Al Batt: Overwhelming paperwork

Published 6:30 am Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

It’s been a crazy morning.

What’s going on?

I worried I was going to be late for a tax appointment. I was 16 miles away, but I

hurried and made it in 12 miles.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. I’ve heard that spring hasn’t come until I can put my foot on nine dandelions. I’m happy that spring is here, but maybe not as happy as friends in Haines, Alaska, who received 204 inches of snow this past winter in the town and 321.7 inches at the edge of the borough according to NOAA and NWS. How many snowflakes in a snowball? Just wondering.

Spring brings tax things. I keep good records. My wife keeps better ones. I give mine to her. She gathers our commingled numbers and gives them to the CPA. I don’t plead for mercy, but I do think of what Wernher von Braun said, “We can lick gravity, but sometimes the paperwork is overwhelming.”

Township tales

There are 1,781 townships in Minnesota. The township with the smallest population in the Gopher State is Hangaard Township with five residents in 2018. It’s in Clearwater County which is the home of Lake Itasca and part of Itasca State Park. The Township is just over 50 miles from both Bemidji and Thief River Falls. The Town Board has five members, all with rural Gonvick addresses.

Mistakes were made

I’ve spoken here, there and everywhere. I write a handful of columns and do a few radio shows each week. Leaning one word against another makes it easy to make mistakes. Mistakes are meant to be made or we wouldn’t need the word “mistake.” I substituted the word “internment” for “interment” when writing about a burial in a recent column. It caused me to cry “Aaarrgghh!” at full volume. It wasn’t bad enough that the guy was dead, I wanted to imprison him, too. We are at the mercy of autocorrect and brain cramps. I should stop using autocorrect, but it offers easy alibis. I try to rein it in but miss some correction errors. Sisyphus never got that boulder to the top of the hill and we’ll never achieve perfection. During a Zoom meeting recently, a presenter had shown a screen using “escape goat” instead of scapegoat. Someone, not me, pointed it out and everyone had a giggle, including the presenter who dismissed the error by saying, “I could care less.” She should have said, “I couldn’t care less,” which suggests she didn’t care at all. Saying “I could care less” implied she had a degree of care that could be lessened.

I’ve learned

I don’t chew gum because I never have enough for everyone.

The worst officiating in basketball is in the stands.

I don’t remember ever sleeping on a memory foam mattress.

The bad joke department

A priest, a minister and a rabbit walk into a bar. The rabbit says, “I’m a typo.”

What’s the difference between Knott’s Farm and Pepperidge Farm? The word before Farm.

Here’s a math problem for you. Lawrence is 92 and his wife is 23. How much money does Lawrence have?

I wonder

If the universe is expanding, why is my shed still a mess?

Are dung beetles always on doody?

How would Spider-Man react if he walked face-first into a spiderweb?

Nature notes

“My uncle said pigeons produce milk. Is he nuts?” He might be, I can’t say for certain. Male and female pigeons and doves do produce crop milk for their young. The crop is a structure at the base of a bird’s neck, which is used to store and moisten food before digestion. Shortly before the pigeon eggs hatch, both the parents’ crops become engorged with fluid-filled cells. They regurgitate this milky goop into the mouths of the squabs. This crop milk is the squabs’ food for several days after hatching. Crop milk is rich in proteins and fats. Flamingos and emperor penguins also produce crop milk.

“How old was the oldest duck you’ve ever seen?” It’s Donald Duck, who hatched on June 9, 1934. Daffy Duck’s hatch date was April 17, 1937.

I’ve been seeing white-throated sparrows, turkey vultures, killdeer, pelicans, rusty blackbirds, song sparrows, yellowing goldfinches, pussy willows, mergansers and fox sparrows. It’s like seeing old friends. I’m thrilled by each sighting. Each spring I see colors I think I’ve never seen before. Cardinal song brightens each day. Look for chipping sparrows, flickers and thirteen-lined ground squirrels.

Meeting adjourned

Lao Tzu said, “Great acts are made up of small deeds.” Be kind.