Darcy Sime of Alden shared this photo of a Ross's goose.
Darcy Sime of Alden shared this photo of a Ross's goose.
Great distance is not necessary to travel. Exploration and discovery are made possible by seeing things through new eyes. These could be done in a backyard or through a window.

Abraham Heschel said, "The beginning of our happiness lies in the understanding that life without wonder is not worth living."

Who knows, maybe each time we delight in the wonder of nature, an angel gets his wings.

The North American iridescence

Larry Peterson of Wells saw a common grackle in his yard that demonstrated leucism by having a white head. Larry told me that he used to find the presence of the grackles in his yard frustrating as they tended to rule the roost, but he has found it helps if he thinks of each grackle being called the North American iridescence instead of a common grackle. Larry admits that grackles are not the best of singers, but he doesn't value his friends according to their ability to sing.

Spark bird

Birders talk about a spark bird. That's a bird that someone sees or hears that sparks an interest in birding. A birder from Chicago said that when he was a boy, he saw dandelions fly. In reality, they were goldfinches flying into the air after feeding on the seeds of the dandelions. By the time he learned that, he was hooked.

Echoes from the Loafers' Club Meeting

"It's a good thing that I have a good memory for faces."

"Why is that?"

"Because I broke my shaving mirror this morning."

Driving by the Bruces

I have two wonderful neighbors - both named Bruce - who live across the road from each other. Whenever I pass their driveways, thoughts occur to me, such as: Money is like underwear. There's no need for everyone else to know you have it.

The news from Hartland

Ole's Margarine Company announces that business has never been butter.

A duck flew up the elephant's trunk at Bob's Zoo and Windshield Repair. The elephant was arrested for snorting quack.

Non-resident deer hunters are allowed to shoot only non-resident deer.

Did you know?

A survey cited in The Wall Street Journal found that 59 percent of women admitted to having frequent problems in relocating their vehicles in parking lots. This same problem afflicts 42 percent of men.

Doctor, doctor, give me the news

Marci Fuller of San Benito, Texas, told me that her doctor/husband tells many of his patients to go on "itos-free" diets. That means no Doritos, Fritos, burritos, Cheetos (qualifies on sound alone), or taquitos.

Restroom reflections

I was about to speak at a thing in Harlingen, Texas. I visited the bathroom first. Always a good idea. No one needs any extra stress. As I entered the necessary room, I met a man carrying one of those giant mugs. I reckon it held about five gallons of his favorite soft drink. That might be a slight exaggeration, but it was huge.

"You must have to make a lot of stops in rooms like this," I said.

He raised his mug as a salute in my direction and replied, "Endless."

Maybe he should drink the contents of his enormous mug only in restrooms.

Echoes from a church basement

We were talking of many things as we enjoyed good food in the church basement. Food always tastes better outside and in church basements. Anyway, we talked of many things. I thought of Lewis Carroll, who wrote in Through the Looking-Glass, "'The time has come,' the Walrus said, 'To talk of many things: Of shoes - and ships - and sealing-wax - of cabbages - and kings - And why the sea is boiling hot - And whether pigs have wings.'"

We didn't actually talk about any of those things, but the Rev. Ron Brey, a friend of long-standing, did say that it was hard to find funny sympathy cards.

I had to agree.

Brain cramp

I got up from my office chair and walked into the living room. For no apparent reason. Or at least not for any reason that I could remember.

The cat that had been sleeping on the sofa, suddenly awakened, jumped to the floor, and walked resolutely down into the basement.

I hoped it remembered why it had gone there.

Customer comments

Arlene Bryson of Alden told me that she has been experiencing some hearing loss that is most noticeable in rooms crowded with people. She said that when talking to people in such situations, she has learned to smile a lot and to refrain from nodding.

Hurricane Sandy impacts birds

A caller asked what impact Hurricane Sandy had on birds. Many birds are killed by hurricanes, especially seabirds that are unable to seek shelter from storms. Birds caught in storms are blown off course, often landing in inhospitable places or becoming too battered and weak to survive. Others, while not killed or displaced by storms, may starve to death because they are unable to forage in poor weather. Hundreds of thousands of birds may die as a result of a major hurricane. Hurricanes can have severe impacts on endangered species. Hurricane Hugo (1989) killed half the wild Puerto Rican parrots in existence. The Cozumel thrasher, found only on Mexico's Cozumel Island, was pushed to the edge of extinction by Hurricane Gilbert (1988). Hurricane Iniki (1992) may have wiped out the remnants of as many as three bird species when it hit Hawaii. Hurricanes can have detrimental effects on bird habitats. Cavity-nesting species can be especially hard hit when the trees in which they nest are blown down.

Thanks for stopping by

"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things." - Robert Brault

"We can throw stones, complain about them, stumble on them, climb over them or build with them." - William Arthur Ward

Meeting adjourned

Dr. A. J. Cronin prescribed an unusual treatment for some of his patients who were feeling blue. He insisted that for six weeks a patient say, "Thank you" for every kindness and keep a record of this gratitude. According to Dr. Cronin, he had a remarkable cure rate.


©Al Batt 2012