Al Batt: Never a rest area when you need it

Published 5:16 pm Tuesday, April 9, 2024

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Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

Long time, no see. How are you doing?   

I’m sorry, but I’ve forgotten your name. You’ll need to tell me.

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I can’t believe you don’t remember my name. How soon do you need to know it?

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. The wind was pushy. Rocks blew past me as I went hither and thither. The wind wasn’t that strong, so I doubt any of them weighed more than a pound. My faithful automobile and I hadn’t had a single quarrel. I like my car. I’ve had vehicles that when one door closed, another door opened. This one behaves. I pulled into a hotel parking lot. It was no Potemkin Village. The façade wasn’t impressive. I decided not to rise above my station. I turned on the room light and they scattered. They were cockroaches. They are found in every state. I paid for a bed and a shower, and got complimentary cockroaches. It wasn’t as if I’d stepped on a cobra. In college, I lived in a condemned building unfit for human habitation, but I was a college student, so they could rent it to me.

At the Rip Van

Winkle Rest Area

I’ve learned rest areas are everywhere when you don’t need one. Each lengthy drive provides a rest area education. I learned this while resting in an area: In 1837, John Deere developed and marketed the world’s first self-polishing cast steel plow. The large plows made for cutting the tough American prairie ground were called “grasshopper plows.”

I walked around the rest area, remembering when I could go an entire day without taking a photo. Back in my parked car, I sent some online condolences via my phone. When I think about all the people I’ve lost. I realized I should never have been a tour guide.

I’ve learned

I’m glad fingernails grow in only one direction.

When I learned the word “plethora,” it meant a lot to me.

Chicken fried steak isn’t steak fried by a chicken.

April 12 is National Licorice Day, so take a licorice to lunch. Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar and Napoleon Bonaparte used licorice for its health benefits, primarily for digestive disorders. Many “licorice” products don’t contain actual licorice and use anise oil instead.

Bad jokes department

Why does it cost so much to repair my roof? It should be on the house.

I bought a “Ventriloquism for Dummies” book. It said to let the other guy do all the talking.

If you get an email about reading maps backward, it’s spam.

What do you call an apology written in dots and  dashes? The remorse code.

Irish dancers are the best dancers, hands-down.

What do you call a paper airplane that can’t fly? Stationery.

Polarized sunglasses—people either love them or hate them.

The population of the capital of Ireland is growing rapidly. Every day, it’s Dublin.

Nature notes

If you see swans nesting here, they are trumpeters. Trumpeter swans are larger than tundras, but the difference in size is apparent only if the two species are near one another. A fluffed tundra might look bigger than a trim trumpeter. I listen to calls. Trumpeter swan calls are trumpet-like, which sound like a junior high French horn player warming up to me. Lewis and Clark, during their expedition, provided the first written description of tundra swans, where the birds’ whistle-like calls prompted Meriwether Lewis to dub them “whistling swans.”

Trumpeters sound remarkably low-pitched and nasal in comparison. If you hear something whistling the theme song to “The Andy Griffith Show,” it will be a TV and not a tundra swan. Tundra swans stay in flocks except when on breeding territory in the arctic. If you see a pair, they’re likely trumpeter swans.

American crows hide their nests in a crotch near the trunk of a tree or on a

horizontal branch toward the top third of a tree, preferring to nest in evergreens, but will nest in deciduous trees when evergreens are unavailable. Both members of a breeding pair build the nest and the young from the previous year might help. The nest is made of medium-sized twigs with an inner cup lined with pine needles, vegetation, bark and/or animal hair.

People don’t think of owls as scavengers, but do they eat carrion? The behavior is more widespread than believed, according to University of Illinois researchers. Most of the carcasses fed upon were mammals, especially those with hooves. I’ve seen an owl on a dead deer.

Meeting adjourned

No person looks better than when being kind to another.