Al Batt: A pickle jar filled with pennies

Published 5:19 pm Tuesday, February 1, 2022

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Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

You were in a band?

Yup, we were professionals.

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They paid you to play?

No, they paid us to stop.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. The sounds of a snowplow had faded and I needed to go to the bank, as my pickle jar was filled with pennies. It was -20°. I daydreamed of electric socks and thought warm thoughts while listening to Hawaiian music. The following day, I’d try to get rid of the Don Ho earworm. It warmed up to -10° and I convinced myself that was twice as warm.

From the mailbag

I’d written that Robert Louis Stevenson had penned, “A birdie with a yellow bill Hopped upon my window sill, Cocked his shining eye and said: ‘Ain’t you ‘shamed, you sleepy-head!’” and that Clellan Card had made good use of that bit of poetry. Card played Axel on “Axel and His Dog,” a popular children’s show that ran on Channel 4 (WCCO) from 1954 to 1966. Axel was the host with a comical mustache and a corny Scandinavian accent who lived in a treehouse with his dog Towser and cat Tallulah. Axel ended each show with some birdie with a yellow bill drollery. My favorite one is, “A birdie with a yellow bill Hopped upon my window sill, Cocked his shining and said, “What’s that in the road…ahead?’” I heard from many readers. Here are their favorite last lines to that poem. What are we having for dinner, mother…goose? What did you do with the light…socket? What are you eating, Angel…food? What did you do in the kitchen…sink? What did you do in St. Louis…park? What did you do when you sat on the bed…spring? What color are your eyes, baby…blue? What did you do when your wife spilled the salt…shaker? What’s wrong with the baby…Buggy? What was your boyfriend’s name, Jesse…James? What’s the matter with Hazel…nuts?

Greg Winters of Livonia, Michigan wrote this about my writing about obtaining my battery-powered transistor radio, “My dad discovered that for the price of a (daily) 9-volt battery, he had one less child to worry about.”

Annette Johnson wrote, “I really got a kick out of your uffda column. At the Decorah Norwegian Museum I heard a woman say, ‘Uffda is when you see it and fyda is when you step in it!’”

Important things to know

Neil Diamond used to be Neil Coal until the pressure got to him.

A lost sock is reincarnated as a Tupperware lid that fits nothing.

Thanks to inflation, the five-second rule applying to dropped food has increased to seven seconds.

Bad rainbows go to prism.

Ask Al

“What’s another word for a calendar?” A blur.

“Have you ever hit a deer?” Only in self-defense and with an open hand.

“Why aren’t snack bags full?” Because a full bag might kill people.

I’ve learned

A rabid fan is someone who believes it’s the coach’s fault each time his team loses.

Every election, I realize Andy Rooney was right when he said, “The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.”

Leftovers can be food that returned to the scene of the crime.

I can’t listen loud enough for some music.

Bloviating on birds and nattering on nature

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Nature notes

Great horned owls can be noisy during territorial formation and pair bonding in December and January. They lay eggs in late January into March, varying with location. When a pair of owls call a duet, the female usually hoots first and hers is higher-pitched. The male replies in a deeper voice. Females are larger than males, but the smaller male has a bigger syrinx.

If opossums went to school, they’d flunk spelling, but they’d eat their homework because opossums eat most anything, including birdseed, worms, compost, snakes, acorns, insects, slugs, eggs, young birds, berries, decayed or overripe fruit, grain, ticks, garbage and carrion. Winter is tough on them. The opossum’s naked ears, nose, and tail are susceptible to frostbite.

Turkey vultures don’t circle dying animals as a wounded animal could harm them. Circling vultures don’t necessarily indicate the presence of a dead animal. Circling vultures may be gaining altitude for long flights, searching for food or exhibiting playfulness. Vultures soar on thermals of warm, rising air that allow them to conserve energy in flight. They rely on thermals of warm air to remain aloft while scanning the ground for food.

Meeting adjourned

Life is all about showing people you care about them. Be kind.