Al Batt: My neighbor’s pilot episode

Published 5:38 pm Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I’m making a documentary about my neighbor’s powered paraglider.

How is that going?

Good. I’ve already filmed the pilot.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. I struck out into the unknown. With all the road work waiting ahead of me, I’m never sure where a road will take me. I couldn’t get home because of roadwork. It delayed me for only a couple of hours and this is going to be a beautiful country when it’s finished. The roads scholars will be back to complete their task. A rational man adapts to the path.

I was worried about quicksand. It’s a flashback from watching too many Tarzan movies during my formative years. It’s a mucky nuisance, but it’s impossible to shuffle off this mortal coil in the way quicksand is depicted in movies and TV. That’s because quicksand is denser than the human body. The sinking sand was shown in “The Lone Ranger,” “Swiss Family Robinson,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Gilligan’s Island,” “Batman,” “Blazing Saddles” and “The Hound of the Baskervilles.” Avoiding quicksand hasn’t been difficult for me.

From the library

I enjoyed “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles. It was there I found this, “If you are ever in doubt, just remember that unlike adults, children want to be happy. So they still have the ability to take the greatest pleasure in the simplest things.”

Ask Al

“Have you ever seen a Bigfoot or a Sasquatch?” Not Yeti.

“How can I keep squirrels off my bird feeders?” Move to Antarctica.

“What bird hooted ‘A-E-I-O-U’ during the night?” It was a vowl.

Bad joke department

Why did the snail cross the road? No one knows. It hasn’t made it across yet.

What letter has to be the center of attention? N.

I accidentally rode a dolphin. It was supposed to be on porpoise.

What do they call a Holstein cow at the North Pole? Lost.

What invention was greater than the first telephone? The second telephone.

Wrong and more wrong

I got one of those forwarded lists titled “Did you know?” that had more errors than Cap Anson, who made 658 errors while playing first base in the dead-ball era, which is the major league record for first basemen. Here are several corrections on errors not made by Anson. Jeep comes from GP, which comes from General Purpose vehicle. When the Ford GP became the first jeep to reach GIs in large numbers in 1941, the General Purpose name wasn’t in Army nomenclature. The word “jeep” existed in military parlance as far back as WWI and was used to describe an unproven human recruit or an unproven new vehicle.

A duck’s quack doesn’t echo. It does. I’ve heard it.

If you touch a baby bird, the mother will abandon it because of your smell. Not true. She’s a mother and she won’t abandon her baby no matter how bad you smell.

Einstein flunked math. He didn’t. He was a pretty smart guy.

The average sleeping human swallows eight spiders a year. The truth is the average sleeping human swallows zero spiders a year. No spiders want to crawl into our mouths.

A goldfish’s attention span is nine seconds. Goldfish have been found to remember things for at least 5 months and probably longer.

There weren’t a zillion or a jillion mistakes in the list. A zillion and a jillion are extremely large, indeterminate numbers. The list got this right: Million has 6 zeros, billion 9 zeros, trillion 12 zeros, quadrillion 15 zeros and quintillion has 18 zeros.

Nature notes

It’d lay an egg today, but in the late 19th and early 20th century, birds were killed for their feathers in the name of fashion. On Manhattan’s Ladies’ Mile, a principal shopping district, retail stores sold the feathers of snowy egrets, white ibises and great blue herons. Stuffed owl heads found their way onto hats. At Cape Cod, 40,000 terns were killed in one season by an agent of the hat trade. Entire songbirds were used on many hats, mounted on wires and springs that permitted the heads and wings to move in a natural manner. Forty different species of birds were counted on women’s hats in New York City in just two days in 1886. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 made it unlawful unless licensed to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, possess, sell, purchase, barter, import, export or transport any migratory bird.

Meeting adjourned

“The best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.”—William Wordsworth.