Al Batt: Man caves make games better

Published 6:15 pm Tuesday, July 19, 2022

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Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I saw a great baseball game on TV last night.

Which one?

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The one in my man cave.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. It was so hot, my neighbor sat in his garage and stared fondly at his snow shovel. I walked in an herb garden and wondered where the thyme went. I’d listened to someone at lunch complain vehemently because his sandwich hadn’t any mustard. “Enjoy every sandwich,” singer-songwriter Warren Zevon advised while discussing his terminal cancer diagnosis.

A man left his cat with his brother. He called to ask about the cat. His brother hesitated before saying, “I’m sorry, but your cat died.”

The caller was upset and yelled, “You could have broken the news to me a little gentler. You could have said my cat was on the roof and wouldn’t come down. Then you could have said that he fell off and you took him to the vet to patch him up. Then, you could have said he’d passed away.”

The brother thought about it and apologized.

“So, how’s Mom?” asked the man.

“She’s on the roof and won’t come down,” said his brother.

I heard from a teacher/friend who had cancer. We shared many things—a love of birds and an appreciation of humor. He was thoughtful and composed in revealing he was down to his last “couple days, a week.” I wasn’t composed. I shed tears. His sense of humor remained intact, but he was on the roof. He hoped to leave the planet better than he’d found it. He did.

Ask Al

“What is the purpose of raccoons?” They let us know when the sweet corn is ripe.

“I saw a tern being shadowed by another tern. Whatever one did, the other did likewise. What were they doing?” One was a tern and the other was an intern gaining valuable experience.

“Why do vultures fly in circles?” They’re rerouting.

Wilt the Stilt and the Splendid Splinter

I read a wonderful piece in Sports Illustrated (August 2022) titled “Bovine Decline” by Steve Rushin. I grew up on a dairy farm where milk was on the menu for every meal and snack. Rushin wrote about 7-foot-1 Wilt Chamberlain drinking a half-gallon of milk after he scored 100 points in an NBA game. Ted “The Splendid Splinter” Williams drank two quarts of milk after Red Sox games. 1941 was the peak annual milk consumption at 744 glasses per capita.

Nature notes

What should you do if you find an injured animal? Call the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota at 651-486-9453. If you find an injured raptor, contact the University of Minnesota Raptor Center at 612-624-4745.

Bird Incubation and nesting periods:

• American robin (12-14 days, 9-16 days)

• House finch (13-14 days, 11-19 days)

• Mourning dove (14 days, 11-15 days)

• Northern cardinal (11-13 days , 7-13 days)

• Barn swallow (12-17 days, 15-24 days)

If you have a robin battling a window, it’s because it sees its reflection in the glass and thinks it’s seeing a rival male and tries to drive the offender out of the territory. Covering the window glass on the outside with a trash bag, cardboard, soap or plastic cling could stop the behavior. Avoid using fake snakes and owl statues. They’re a waste of money. If the bird is attacking your car mirrors, either move the car or cover the mirrors with bags.

Poison ivy is a salad bar for some animals, but not for humans. Every part of the poison ivy plant is poisonous to us. Humans and possibly a few other primates are the only animals that react to poison ivy. Your dog and cat don’t get it (you could get it from their fur), nor do birds, deer, squirrels, snakes, bears and insects. I’ve watched deer feed on the plant. Some people are immune to urushiol, the compound poison ivy produces that causes an itchy rash. Other people think they are immune. Studies have shown that as the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases, it boosts the growth of poison ivy plants. Bigger, stronger poison ivy plants produce more urushiol. As the Coasters sang in “Poison Ivy,” “Measles make you bumpy. And mumps’ll make you lumpy. And chicken pox’ll make you jump and twitch. A common cold’ll fool ya. And whooping cough’ll cool ya. But poison ivy, Lord’ll make you itch!”

Meeting adjourned

I visited with a man wearing a T-shirt encouraging us to be humble and kind in memory of a young man killed in a car accident on his way to the Stoughton (Wisconsin) Fair.