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HOMEFRONT: All those nickels add up
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HOMEFRONT: All those nickels add up

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Taking our bottles back to Hy-Vee on Tuesday, July 28, for the first time since March, I asked the woman who gave us back our $2.60 deposit, what the lines had been like.

She shook her head and smiled. Crazy. Non-stop. On Monday, she said, the store gave $3,000 back to customers. "Three thousand in nickels," she said. "Think about it."

I believe that amounts to 60,000 containers. Wow.

WHAT'S IN A NAME? Among the emails landing in my computer recently was one from the website names.org listing the most popular palindromes — words spelled the same backwards as forwards — for baby names.

I didn't know there was such a thing, but then I often find myself saying that.

It turns out that "Anna" is the most popular palindrome of all time, according to the website, a word derived from the Greek word meaning "to run backwards."

Others are Hannah, Ava, Ada, Bob, Otto, Eve and Elle.

Then there are names with meanings spelled backwards, such as "Nevaeh" and "Heaven."

These names, the website says, "are very popular and great for siblings or twins." For instance, a set of boy and girl twins could be Aidan and Nadia, girl twins could be Ellen and Nelle and boy twins could be Ira and Ari.

Others: Leon and Noel, Ali and Ila and James and Semaj.

I think that last one is a bit of a stretch. Who wants to be Semaj with a brother named James?

MIDWESTERN ACCENTS: Also in my computer: "Iowa Midwestern accent among the least understood by smart home devices, study finds."

A survey by a website called gearhungry.com found that the least understood accent in America by Alexa and Siri is the one from Maine, while Midwesterners were in 12th place.

Most interesting to me is that the website managed to categorize 49 accents, with "general American" as the most understood.

What that is supposed to sound like, I have no idea.

THE SOIL OF NAHANT: On a tour of Davenport's Nahant Marsh, executive director Brian Ritter pointed out some of the different soils visible in a recent excavation project.

"This," he said, pointing to some reddish soil, "washed out of the bottom of Lake Superior at the end of the last Ice Age." Iron gives the soil its reddish tint.

Another two to three feet of excavated soil was rich, black topsoil, washed in during centuries of Mississippi River flooding.

And another portion of the excavation turned up sand — "probably an old sand bar along the river at one time," Ritter said.

Nahant is not the Grand Canyon, but every layer of soil tells a story.

 JAPANESE BEETLES, ANYONE?: When the first Japanese beetles of the season turned up in my prairie flower bed, I immediately got a container, filled it with soapy water and began brushing the leaf-eating creatures into the suds. I found about a dozen. 

But since then, nothing.

I have found no more beetles — or much damage — since that first foray.

How about you?

(And, yes, I do feel bad about killing beetles. I would like all creatures to live. But, my flower leaves deserve to live too.)

HOW ABOUT MONARCHS? I feel people have really gotten the message about monarch butterflies and the need to plant milkweed to help them survive.

I see milkweed everywhere.

But I do not see monarchs everywhere. 

Again, how about you?

Let me know about Japanese beetles and monarch butterflies at agaul@qctimes.com

LICENSE PLATE LOVE: Here are five top picks so far this summer:

INCYDER (I prefer wine)

BKSHLF (You can never have too many)

MLWRGT (Honorable profession)

PNKFLD (Ah, to be young again! Well, maybe not ...)

FRWDHO (That's the spirit!) 

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