Al Batt: Editing the weather forecast

Published 5:02 pm Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I shouldn’t have eaten that fourth jelly doughnut.

Wasn’t it just this morning when you told me you were going to start eating right and exercising regularly?

Email newsletter signup

It was, but that was 4 hours ago. I was younger then and had more energy.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. As usual, the weather needed slight editing. It would have been a completely exquisite day if it hadn’t been for the fierce wind. How many days a year do I think that? A bunch, I betcha. It was all good, as the weather was nothing that an inspirational message on my teacup couldn’t improve. The patrons of husbandry were busy and their tractors and trucks provided the dull melody of harvest. I filled my car’s tank with gas. The screen on the pump required me to take an IQ test before it would allow me to use my credit card. I barely had time to grumble about that before I found a sandwich at a calorie distribution center to match my appetite. Each day has more twists than a pretzel factory. I got on an elevator at a hospital with a doctor I knew from England. He got on a lift. There was no music, which was nice. We both were headed up. Is there a point to this? Yes. We were on the same conveyance, but I rode an elevator up while he rode a lift up. We were raised differently.

Dialogue from

a marriage

Man to wife: What’s wrong?


Are you sure nothing is wrong?

Do you really want to know?

I guess not.

I’ve learned

Voting would be easier if a liar’s pants did start on fire.

What kind of truck is a curbside pickup?

We talk to ourselves because some things are far too important to leave unsaid.

Middle names are given to torture children.

Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom wasn’t filmed in Omaha.

Voting by homing pigeon hasn’t caught on.

It costs too much money to lose an election.

Never buy a box from a mime.

If the Scarecrow would have had a smartphone, he’d have had no use for a brain.

Bad joke department

Don’t throw sodium chloride at people. That’s a salt.

Why can’t you write with a broken pencil? Because it’s pointless.

What is it that the more you take, the more you leave behind? Stairs.

Keep your friends close and your enemas colonoscopy.

It’s OK if you don’t know what “prefix” means. It’s not the end of the word.

I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not to buy a new oscillating fan.

I remember what my grandfather said right before he kicked the bucket. He said, “Watch me kick this bucket.”

Nature notes

The wooly bear caterpillar is the larval form of the Isabella tiger moth, a white to orange to yellow moth that flies around lights on summer nights. The woolly bear is the Punxsutawney Phil of insects. One folkloric belief is that the direction the caterpillar travels foretells the severity of the upcoming winter. If they’re headed south, they’re running away from the looming cold; if they crawl north, it means winter will be mild. There’s not much merit to that tall tale. More’s the pity. The more common wooly bear prognostication suggests the width of the caterpillar’s brown band can predict the severity of the upcoming winter. A wide band means a mild winter and a narrow band means winter will be harsh. Since the brown band typically grows wider with each molt the caterpillar completes, it’s more of an indication of age, nutrition and genetics. This caterpillar forecast has been around since colonial times, but it became popular in 1948, when the curator of entomology from the American Museum of Natural History, Dr. Howard Curran, did a study. He went to Bear Mountain State Park in New York and examined woolly bear caterpillars, paying particular attention to the brown bands. Based on those, he made a winter prediction, which was picked up by the New York Herald Tribune. The caterpillars had predicted a mild winter, which turned out to be correct and the story spread around the country. Woolly bears hibernate like bears, except the caterpillars stay cold—beyond cold; they freeze. Some people call them hedgehog caterpillars because they roll into a ball and play dead when disturbed. Please don’t blame them for the winter. Find a woolly worm that forecasts the winter you want.

Meeting adjourned

“Kindness begins with the understanding that we all struggle.”— Charles Glassman.