Al Batt: February’s smile like none others

Published 6:03 pm Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Echoes From the Loafers’

Club Meeting

Hi, Allan.

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It’s Allen.

My apologies. I hate mispronouncing someone’s name.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. The calendar lies. The seasons tell the truth. Fog had become a regular companion and it quieted things. I wish the weather would look at what I’m wearing and adjust itself accordingly.

On a chilly January night, I suffered from rapid climate change. My wife had stolen my covers.

We all live on a snowplow route, but this winter, the course hasn’t been a busy one. The wind chimes still work overtime as the wind turbines continue to produce wind. Groundhog Day is past. I enjoyed the movie. February gives us our first 10 hours of daylight in a single day. The interiors of parked vehicles warm in sunlight. Greenhouse plants become as perky as Mary Richards in February. February is like the theme song of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” which described the character Mary Richards played by Mary Tyler Moore, “Who can turn the world on with her smile?” February can.

School daze

Back when schools smelled of pencil shavings and chalk dust, and texting involved a school book, I went to a small school through the sixth grade. There were around 15 kids in my grade. I spent two years in each of the three classrooms. Every other year, we were warned about the new teacher we’d have the following year. There was no moving from one room to the next other than for lunch. Then, my class transferred to the big school for seventh grade. There may have been 60 kids in my class there. Uffda! There was excitement and dismay about the need to move to another classroom every hour. I had some country miles on me and I worried about becoming hopelessly lost in a building without end. That’s where and why this conversation took place. A classmate asked, “What class do you have next?”

My retort was, “I’m not sure. What class was this?”

I became a teenager before I was ready. Each day, when I arrived home from school, my mother asked me what I’d learned in school. I went from covering her in an avalanche of words to the following conversation.

“What did you learn in school today?” Mom said.


“How was school?” Mom continued like a grand inquisitor.


“How about something more than a one-word answer?” Mom was no quitter.

“Pretty good,” was my answer.

I’ve learned

Save something for a rainy day: dry socks.

A hamburger by any other name costs more.

One sigh fits all.

If my car is running, I’m voting for it.

You’re in decent shape if you can clip your toenails and breathe at the same time.

There is a federal government agency to fit every initialism.

Driving through a roundabout is standardized testing.

The most used handcuffs in the world are cellphones.

I can’t believe Meatloaf didn’t sing “Mashed Potato Time.”

Russian dolls are full of themselves.

Bad joke department

When smoke rises from a toaster, it means a new pope tart has been chosen.

Darth Vader’s sister is named Ella.

The Miss Universe pageant is rigged. Every winner has been from Earth.

All the shingle women are at the Lady Roofers Convention.

What did one rock say to another rock? Nothing. Rocks can’t talk.

I have only two faults. The first one is I don’t listen. I’ve no idea what the other fault is.

Nature notes

House finches were originally a bird of the western US and Mexico. In 1940, some house finches were released in Long Island, New York, after failed attempts to sell them as caged birds called “Hollywood finches.” The population became established and spread throughout the country. House finches are about the same size as house sparrows but more slender. Most adult males are rosy red around the face and upper breast, with a streaky brown back, belly and tail. Adult females aren’t red but are grayish-brown with indistinctly marked faces.

Bird poop is brownish, the white pasty excrement is uric acid, the equivalent to a mammal’s urine. Eating mostly fish results in primarily white droppings because fish can be absorbed almost completely. This leads to whitewashing. Hawks, falcons and eagles forcefully eject their droppings, shooting them away from the nest to keep things sanitary. This process is called slicing.

Meeting adjourned

“Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.”

— Franklin D. Roosevelt.