Al Batt: How much for Lincoln’s radio?

Published 5:36 pm Tuesday, March 14, 2023

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Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

This radio is priceless, but I’m willing to let it go for a measly $559.63 even though it was the radio Abe Lincoln listened to when he was a boy.

The radio hadn’t been invented yet when Abe Lincoln was a boy.

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I know, that’s what makes it so valuable.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Deep thoughts occur as I drive past his drive. Everyone makes remarks about the weather. The kindest ones said bad weather is inconvenient. The weather seems like a constant kerfuffle, but that might be because nice weather is easier to forget than uncomfortable weather.

It snowed again. The nearest I’ve ever been to Woodstock, New York, is Woolstock, Iowa. At Woodstock in August 1969, the weather was wet. A tremendous storm barreled toward the festival grounds as the stage was covered in tarps and Joe Cocker took cover. John Morris, the Production Coordinator at Woodstock, told the crowd, “If you think really hard enough, maybe we can stop this rain!” A chant of “No rain, no rain, no rain” started in the crowd and built to where attendees were dancing in the torrential downpour. You can’t stop the weather by chanting, any more than you can alter it by wearing heated socks, but I chanted, “No snow, no snow, no snow.” It didn’t work.

I grew up with a davenport and now I live with either a sofa or couch. Davenport was the name of a series of sofas made by the furniture manufacturer, A. H. Davenport and Company, now defunct. Due to the popularity of that furniture, the name davenport became a generic trademark, like aspirin. I can’t tell the difference between a couch, a sofa and a davenport. I use the three terms interchangeably.

I’ve learned, the medical version

I had hiccups for three weeks. I didn’t try to have them. Kind folks offered cures. Saying “pineapple” and thinking of six bald men didn’t work. Neither did anything else except the harness of time.

I had my ears cleaned once by a medical professional, who used a high-pressure hose and yelled “hit it” to an assistant, who cranked a giant valve to release the water. The force knocked me across the room where I hit a file cabinet, which tipped over. I was stunned for a moment, but it was worth it to have clean ears.

I have Autosomal Dominant Compelling Helioopthalmic Outburst Syndrome, which is characterized by uncontrollable sneezing in response to sudden exposure to bright light, typically intense sunlight. Sunlight is something to sneeze at. Also known as photic sneezing or photic sneeze reflex, these sun or solar sneezes are a phenomenon referenced by Aristotle. The “PBS News Hour” said 10 to 35% of the population has a photic sneeze reflex. Pressing fingers against an upper lip causes the urge to sneeze to subside for some. This results in a sneeze freeze or an arrested sternutation.

Nature notes

Before European settlement, wild turkeys were found only along the Iowa border in southeast Minnesota. Those scarce turkeys were eliminated by hunting and habitat loss as early as 1880. By 1910, turkeys were extirpated from Iowa. Wild turkeys didn’t exist in Minnesota for almost 100 years before successful reintroductions. Turkeys were reintroduced in Houston County in 1973 with 29 birds from Missouri. The Minnesota DNR traded ruffed grouse for them. Pen-raised turkeys from Maryland, Pennsylvania and Texas had been released in southern and central Minnesota in the 1920s and 1957; and those trapped in Nebraska, South Dakota and Arkansas were released in the Gopher State from 1964 to 1968. They all perished. The class of 1973 did well, its population grew rapidly and the first hunting season was held in 1978. Over the years, Minnesota sent gray partridges to New York, black bears to Arkansas and Canada geese to Oklahoma in return for wild turkeys. T.S. Roberts, in his 1932 “The Birds of Minnesota,” concluded wild turkeys likely never resided in Minnesota before early, failed efforts at introduction, but Aldo Leopold reported he’d found written accounts of turkeys living in southern Minnesota in 1773 and 1871 but added that no “single statement in this report is offered as final or sufficient fact.” Wild turkeys are found in every state but Alaska.

Meeting adjourned

I was in Wetzlar, Germany, and walked where the famous writer Goethe had in 1772. He wrote, “One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.” Please make those words kind.