Al Batt: The percussion of falling rain

Published 5:53 pm Tuesday, May 9, 2023

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Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

There are two kinds of people in the world. 

What two?

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I don’t know, but my goal today is to avoid both.

Driving by 

Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Deep thoughts occur as I drive past his drive. In 1900, 6.68% of Minnesota’s population had been born in Germany. Swedes accounted for 6.59%, Norwegians 5.99%, Canadians 2.72% and Irish 1.28%. German immigrants settled in Minnesota starting in the 1850s and established cities like New Ulm, St. Cloud and Shakopee. The Swedes gravitated to the Chisago Lake area in 1851 followed by the Norwegians coming to southeast Minnesota primarily in 1852. In Iowa in 1900, Germans made up 5.52% of the total population with Swedes at 1.34%, Irish 1.27%, Norwegians 1.15%, and English .94%

Steps needed 

to be taken

It rained pitchforks and angleworms. I read something from the Mayo Clinic saying the average American walks 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day or roughly 1.5 to 2 miles. The average walking pace is 2.5 to 4 mph, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I needed to walk. The cold rain felt as if it was going right through me. I found a windbreaker with a hood in the wayback of my car. I donned it and the raindrops turned the hood over my head into a percussion instrument. 

The phoropter blues

“Which is better, one or two?” I wasn’t a jam judge at the county fair. I was having an eye exam and looking through a phoropter (a device with dials and lenses galore) at a Snellen chart. The eye care professional asked me repeatedly which of the two lens choices improved my vision. “Which is better? One or two? A or B? How about now? And now?” I couldn’t tell. I had no eyedea. I picked one by doing a “One, two, sky blue, all out except you” in my head. Each time I get new eyeglasses, I discover it’s my head and not the world that’s crooked.

I’ve learned

Don’t try to remember names. They will remember you.

If you want to find a lost item, buy its replacement.

Why would I grow tired of leftovers? They never tire of me.

A Kodak moment has become an iPhone instant.

Most action movies have too much action and not enough acting.

I wonder

Before the Iron Age, did people wear wrinkled clothing?

Is egagtrom another term for reverse mortgage?

Would Noah be called a climate change extremist today?

Bad jokes department

“What do you call a nose without a body?” Nobody nose.

“Where was the Declaration of Independence signed?” At the bottom.

The past, present and future walked into a bar. It was tense.

Local man takes gold, silver and bronze medals at the Kleptomaniac Olympics held in Thief River Falls.

Nature notes

The goldfinches are lemony. It’s a rare dried leaf resting on the ground that hasn’t had its butt kicked by all the scratching, flipping and tossing done by the birds, including the brown thrashers. They are masters of imitations and invention in their songs. Brown thrashers typically repeat phrases only twice, while northern mockingbirds repeat theirs three or more times. 

Robins sing earlier some evenings than others. They time their singing to the intensity of light and the time of sunset. When dark clouds roll in, they sing earlier. From sunset until dark, a robin adds ethereal whispered notes to its carol, creating a song of remarkable complexity. The American robin is one of the first bird species to sing each morning before the dawn chorus starts and one of the last ones to sing in the evening. Studies have found it sings the least around noon. A robin’s crepuscular singing may correlate with the physiology of its eyes, which are adapted to low-light environments, like dawn and dusk. In locations with more artificial light, robins initiate their morning songs earlier than in darker areas. Whispered syllables are frequently heard during dawn and dusk. The primary reason males sing is to attract a mate, and to establish and defend a territory. 

I see organized groups culling our ditches of trash. They do good work. I pick up trash when I’m birding and have for many years. One day, I found an entire pen. It didn’t have any ink, but you can’t have everything. A woman asked me why I was picking up trash. She likely thought I’d been sentenced to community service. “I am birding,” I said proudly. 

Meeting adjourned

No one is perfect. See others in the best light. Be kind.