Al Batt: May be a swift temperature change

Published 5:33 pm Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

The online thesaurus I’ve been using is terrible.

How bad is it?

It’s terrible.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. The weather was moody. Leaves shivered in the wind. Then the sun cleared the clouds and the temperature shot up from 64 degrees to 84 degrees in a finger snap. May has been much warmer than April and maybe May 1 should be the official start of spring. April made me think we need a state soup. One state legislator suggested cream of lutefisk. It’s no surprise that man isn’t running for reelection.

I felt worn around the edges as I checked my rearview mirror and hoped no one was behind me. I’d left the big city, where I was continually followed by desperate-looking vehicles. There was no one behind me, so I slowed down, allowing me to reset my goals. I felt as if I’d won at checkers. When I was a boy, I played checkers with the older fellows at the Bath Store. They sometimes let me win and sometimes they didn’t. Bath had a population nearing zero at the time and became a ghost town. How do you know a village is a ghost town? It either has a big rock that says so or a ghost informs you.

Bath, being a ghost town, has no airport. Airports Council International released 2021 rankings of the world’s busiest airports and the top 7 were in the U.S., with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport topping the charts (75.7 million passengers in 2021, a 76% increase from 2020). The rest were Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles, Charlotte and Orlando. I’ve spent part of my life in each of those airports. I don’t fly—I have to take an airplane. Why do I have to pay to fly? The plane is going that way anyway.

Oliver and Charlotte sitting in a tree

The Social Security Administration releases annual data showing the popularity of first names. The Star Tribune found the most popular name for a boy in Minnesota was Oliver with 148.1 per 10,000. Henry was 147.7, Theodore 119.7 and Liam 110.9. How did the classic handle Allen do? There were 2.8 Allens per 10,000. Girl’s names were led by Charlotte 129.6, Olivia 112, Evelyn 107.9 and Emma 106.6.

I’ve learned

Approximately 85% of Americans are terrible at math. I’m glad I’m one of the other 25%.

If the earth were flat, cats would have knocked everything off its edge by now. Cats believe in lending a helping paw and can turn a set of Lego bricks into dangerous weapons by spreading them about a floor and creating a minefield.

A grandparent is the publicity department for grandchildren.

The biggest lie is “I’ll remember.”

You’ve all heard of mansplaining. A friend’s name is Dwayne. His wife accuses him of Dwaynesplaining. By looking at the names of baby boys, there will be a lot of Oliversplaining in the future.

Bad joke department

Take the letters in “new door” and rearrange them to spell one word. “One word.”

What do you call an alligator wearing a vest? An investigator.

The actor David Hasselhoff calls himself “The Hoff” because it saves him the Hassel.

Could you spell wonton backward? Not now.

What are you taking for your kleptomania?

Nature notes

I saw a monarch butterfly the second week of May in my yard. It was a one-insect parade and a reason for celebration. The insistent whistle of a cardinal provided background music. May brought the musical trills of American toads all chiming in at once. House wrens and indigo buntings (blue canaries) sang as I walked past plantain, which native people called “white man’s footstep.”

Raccoon mating season is February to March and after a 63-day gestation period, a litter of 2-6 young are born in April-May in either hollow trees, woodchuck burrows, culverts, under buildings, etc.

Tiny spring azures are among the first butterflies seen in spring that hadn’t hibernated. They have bright blue upper wings apparent as they fly in search of mates or food. They seldom perch with wings open and the undersides of their wings are gray with spots.

I watched trumpeter swans feed in a shallow wetland. They used strong webbed feet to dig into the pond bottom for roots, shoots and tubers. Their big feet churn like the swans were on a Peloton bike before their heads and necks plunged underwater to eat what they’d dislodged.

Meeting adjourned

Help people smile by being kind.