And now the news from the Hartland Harold

Published 8:41 am Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Even though Hartland is small enough that it’s impossible to take a shortcut, the Loafers’ Club depends upon Harold to keep us informed. Here are the headlines according to Hartland Harold.

What Ales You offers a Happy Hour where the glass is always half-full.

Henny’s Hatchery advertises that it has more chicks than Tiger Woods.

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The ice in the Fish House Arena cracked during the second period of a sumo hockey game.

Opossum arrested for using deer crossing.

Daisy Rose’s Floral Shop rents flowers for short-term arguments.

Corduroy pillowcases make headlines.

Dentist, Phil Eng, arrested for flossing strangers in the park.

Professor Cal Q. Luss finds that there is a fine line between a genius and being extremely smart.

Pickle Shop selling computers. “Dude, you’re getting a dill.”

Scientists unable to explain absence of mysterious crop circles.

Garden Club faces plant closings.

Ask Al

Customers of this column ask the best questions. I provide the lame answers.

“Have you ever raced pigeons?” Yes, but I never could beat them. They can fly.

“How do you spell ‘onomatopoeia’?” Just the way it sounds.

“What does your wife think is your biggest fault?” She thinks I’m too nosey—at least that’s what I read in her diary.

“What is a chick flick?” For a husband, it is a movie during which his wife’s crying wakes him.

“What change will global warming bring?” We will need to eat our ice cream cones faster.

“What is the oldest sport?” It would have to be bowling. It dates back to when men had only three fingers.

“Is climate change real?” Are you kidding? It changed three times yesterday.

“What do I say to someone who tells me that I’m too quiet?” Nothing.

“Do you ever get recognized in public?” I do. One day, I had a half-dozen people come up and ask if I was Al Batt. I love family reunions.

“Do you have a dental plan?” Yes, it’s called chewing on the side that doesn’t hurt.

“How do you split an atom?” I usually give the other person the bigger half.

A spilling bee

I was eating in a busy restaurant in Iowa. Parents with three young children occupied the table next to mine. Three small children at one table. It’s only a matter of time before a spill occurs.

Immediately after the spill, one of the young children cried, “Sham Wow!”

On the restroom wall

I visited a restroom. There was a bit of graffiti on the wall. One of the writings read, “My wife follows me everywhere.”

Underneath that, written in another hand was, “I do not!”

Mad Magazine

When I was a boy, my brother Donald gave me a gift subscription to Mad Magazine. I was enthralled with the magazine. The publication was filled with snarky parodies, amazing cartoons, and often featured iconic cover boy Alfred E. Neuman, who flashed a gap-toothed smile and had a “What, me worry?” motto. It was written by the self-described “The Usual Gang of Idiots.” It has been described as, “The Simpsons, The Daily Show, and The Onion combined.” I adored the writings of Bob & Ray, Ernie Kovacs, Wally Cox, and Orson Bean. I was captivated by Don Martin’s drawings.

My mother was not so taken with the magazine. She suspected it might have been the end of civilization as she knew it. She would scrutinize each issue before handing it to me with the caveat, “Just read the good parts.”

Those thrilling days of yesteryear

Little could match the anticipation I felt waiting for recess when I was in grade school. The schoolyard was the largest of all classrooms. As I moved into high school, the lunch hour took a different form. We spent little time playing games and much more time conversing.

Recently, I spoke to a large audience. At the end of my talk, I received a standing ovation. It was heartwarming and I appreciated the honor more than I could ever say. It brought back memories of my high school lunchroom. It was a ritual for those I ran with to sit around the cafeteria and talk smart. One day, I said something that struck John Mickelson as hilarious. John laughed so hard that milk came out of his nose — and John never drank milk. OK, John drank milk. As cool as that standing ovation was, it could never top making milk come from John’s nose.

Dogs understand

Dogs are great company. It’s nice to have a companion when you walk into a room and have no idea why you did so. The dog doesn’t know either, but is just happy to be there. A dog is an immediate support group.

Hartland resident Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday and Sunday.