Jenny Burman Jenny Burman
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All about bats

I don't know what it says about bats that I love the little critters so much. The way they sleep upside down, or fly unpredictably, their smushy, mamalian little noses, or the delicate, fancy wings. Maybe it's the way they come out at dusk -- crespusculars, they are, like deer.

When I was in fourth grade in a public school in Washington, D.C., my entire class couldn't go into the classroom one morning because a bat had come in overnight. The horror! I wanted to see it, but was prevented: "It's not safe!" Who? Me? Or the tiny winged mammal?

There aren't many bats in Los Angeles, I have noticed. The last time I saw bats was late August (yes, late August) in Palm Springs. They flew over the swimming pool at dusk, lifting my mood, which was sluggish after spending an entire afternoon hiding from the blazing heat in an air-conditioned hotel bedroom.

Recently, I've been trying to read Randall Jarrell's long-ish children's story, The Bat-Poet, to my daughter. But she has made it clear she'd prefer to reread Captain Underpants, which no one thinks is funny anymore because we have read it too many times. (On the other hand, if I told her the title was Captain Batty Pants she might give it a try.) Perhaps this will change after Saturday, which is when the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy will hold a bat-informational at Vista Hermosa Park. It starts at 3:30., and it's described like this:

Sat, November 12th, 3:30pm Myth-busting Bats. It doesn't matter if you think of them as flitter mice, vampires, or har- bingers of evil, bats are some of the most remarkable of mammals, not least because they are the only ones that fly. Enjoy learning the real story about these master flyers and sonic experts. Meet at the Grotto Amphi- theater. 2 hours.

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