Al Batt: Tool is simply smashing

Published 6:36 pm Tuesday, March 15, 2022

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Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I bought an all-purpose tool at St. Menard’s Hardware. I won’t need any other tools as it works on everything.

Wow! What’s it called?

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A hammer.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Deep thoughts occur as I drive past his drive. I craved milk and stopped at a supermarket. I covered a lot of ground getting to where the milk lived. I found milk—1%, 2%, skim, whole milk, organic, strawberry, chocolate, lactose-free, soy, almond, rice, hemp, oat, coconut, cashew, kefir, goat, buttermilk, evaporated and condensed. I couldn’t find any buffalo milk. Sold out, I suppose.

I was a victim of a DWI—Dressed Without Instruction. My wife had duties elsewhere. My spoon was poised above the shoreline of soup in a bowl. George Washington loved peanut soup—made from peanuts, carrots, onions and chicken broth. I had vegetable beef soup with a couple of potato chips because I’d run out of crackers. The chips had edges keen enough to slice carrots. Thomas Edison offered job applicants a bowl of soup and watched them eat. If they added salt and/or pepper before tasting it, they didn’t get the job. Edison didn’t want employees who relied on assumptions.

My neighbor Crandall sat behind me in school. He claims he’d have gotten better grades if I’d have just applied myself. One year, I formed The Button Cotton Defense League. Button cotton is belly button lint. Belly buttons were given to man so he’d have a place to put salt when eating radishes while reclining on a sofa and watching TV. That’s why a navel needs to be kept lint-free.

Wanted: Alaskan


I’m on the board of the American Bald Eagle Foundation in Haines, Alaska, a lovely place—all mountains and fjords. The Foundation owns a raptor center and a 14-acre farm. The law of the farm is there is always poop. We needed a veterinarian and there wasn’t one in Haines. Our vet became Dr. Michelle Oakley of the TV show “Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet.” We try to do good things but were hit hard by Covid and diminished tourism. The lack of cruise ships hurt financially. Nothing happens fast in Haines, other than mudslides. One filled the farm with asphalt and unidentified things. We need an agronomist.

I hailed a cab at the Juneau ferry terminal. It took fifty-five minutes past forever to get one even though I’d called early. I’d have had better luck getting a cab in Bethel, though it lacks a ferry. No roads lead to Bethel, which is 400 miles west of Anchorage and 40 miles inland from the Bering Sea. It has a population of 6,775 and is the economic hub for 56 villages. The city has 10 miles of paved roads, 20 miles of dirt roads and 70 taxi cabs. Cars can be prohibitively expensive to own. Bethel has the highest ratio of taxis per capita in the U.S.

And an onion

ring for dessert

In their “The Book of Joy,” the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu outlined the eight pillars of joy, divided by mind (perspective, humility, humor, acceptance) and heart (forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, generosity). I stopped at a fast-food restaurant because it was the only place open late. The menu board showed a cheeseburger big enough to hurt a back trying to lift one. I asked the clerk at the window if I could walk through the drive-through. I was curious. She asked why I’d want to do that and said I couldn’t until she asked her manager. There was no need. I sometimes stay in hotels near fast food joints and I’ve always wanted to hitchhike through a drive-through. I’d chip in on the gas. My order came and I had food in a bag. There was an onion ring in my french fries. I offered acceptance and gratitude for the surprise—and felt joy.

Nature notes

I rarely see gray (Hungarian) partridges at home, but there was a chukar in my yard following a pair around. The chukar, an escapee from a game farm, isn’t native to North America and the other partridges were the closest things to a chukar it could find. I named it Chubby Chukar. I had to.

I filled the seed dispensary units with sunflower seeds. These small vending machines dispense bird food when in the company of birds. Native Americans domesticated the sunflower. About 75% of the North American sunflower seed is produced in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota.

Voles prefer eating plant materials and don’t prosper  indoors. They rarely enter houses.

Meeting adjourned

Be kind first, ask questions later.