Al Batt: That’s nothing to sneeze at

Published 5:40 pm Tuesday, April 2, 2024

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Echoes from the

Loafers’ Club Meeting

Do you always stir coffee with your right hand?

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Yes, I’m right-handed.

Try using a spoon next time.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Deep thoughts occur as I drive past his drive. When the sun rises and sets, it makes my day. Bright sunlight makes me sneeze three times. I have photic sneeze reflex. It’s pepper on the sun. Achoo represents the sound of a sneeze and is an acronym for Autosomal Dominant Compelling Helioopthalmic Outburst (ACHOO) Syndrome, characterized by uncontrollable sneezing in response to sudden exposure to bright light, typically intense sunlight.

I exchanged pleasantries with a fellow traveler in Bethany, Missouri. She was from Goshen, Indiana. She asked where I was from. I told her. She said the winter weather here might be too much for her. I told her our weather wasn’t as bad as she’d heard, and it was worse than she’d heard. She mulled that over for a minute and left. She was a hurrying Hoosier.

When I was in school, I formed the Al Club. I was in it because I started it. Others shared the lovely name: Routh, Waldhauser, Morstad, Loe, Tappe, Hanson and Berkvam, to name a few. Al Berkvam was a teacher and a coach. I told him he was a member. I was afraid he’d get all weepy on me, but he didn’t. Those who had Allen, Allan, Alan or Allyn as middle names were awarded trial memberships. El Kabong was an honorary member. In the “Quick Draw McGraw Show,” Quick Draw spent cartoon time as his alter ego, the masked El Kabong, who used a guitar (a Kabonger) to bash bad guys into submission. In the Al Club, there were no dues, no secret handshakes, no mission statement and no meetings. The first rule of Al Club was: there are no rules.

I was in a large store in Missouri because it was handy to buy some drinking water to put in the cooler in my car. I stumbled around a bit before locating my prey. As I grabbed a 12-pack of water, a man thanked me. I replied, “You’re welcome,” out of habit. His young son told me I was a hero and then they left. I was confused. When I got to my car, I grabbed my hat from my head. It said “Kiester Fire Department” on it. The city was named for state senator and judge Jacob Kiester. The Kiester Fire Department, which is made of heroes, had given me the hat. If I could have found that man and his son, I’d have told them so.

I’ve learned

I use a level only in the evening.

The lady who lived next door to me in the Twin Cities was 80% Irish. Her name was Iris.

Most conspiracy theories are mythunderstandings.

I like a banana that’s a little green and firm. “No brown bananas” could be my shopping motto, although banana bread is great. Why are most banana–flavored things yellow? We don’t eat the yellow part.

Bad jokes department

What is yellow, delicious and dangerous? Shark-infested lemon meringue pie.

If you’ve never tried blindfolded archery, you don’t know what you’re missing.

If he left a voicemail, would you call Johann Sebastian Bach?

I got a job at the chess factory. I work knights.

Welcome to IKEA. Come in and make yourself a seat.

I cut a log in half with my vision. I saw it with my own eyes.

Nature notes

Terri Guillemets wrote, “My favorite weather is bird chirping weather.” Anonymous wrote, “Spring has sprung. The grass is riz; I wonder where the birdies is.” The birdies are here or on the way. I believe in the miracle of birds each time one swings into my field of view. If I’m fortunate, I might get to enjoy the terpsichorean talents of sandhill cranes. Reason number 397 why I like birds: just because.

House finches are permanent residents of Minnesota, but some undergo a short-distance migration south. It might be to avoid paying taxes.

If the inside of a house window hosts flies that resemble house flies, they are cluster flies. They don’t harm people or property and don’t reproduce indoors. They are parasites of earthworms.

Birds need to transfer and preserve heat to eggs and nestlings via brood patches, bare areas of skin on the belly that lose their feathers toward the end of the egg-laying period. Most birds shed automatically, but some pluck their brood patch and use the plucked feathers to make an insulating lining for their nests.

Meeting adjourned

“Kindness is always fashionable, and always welcome.”—Amelia Barr.