Tuesday, February 27, 2024

THE IDLE AMERICAN

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THE IDLE AMERICAN

 

Dr. Don Newbury is a long-time public speaker and former university president who writes weekly.

 

 About Birds and Bees…

 

If the headline for this piece doesn’t elicit at least minimal interest of most readers, perhaps I should find the goose, select the spot with is a paucity of plumage and stick my quill back in.

   My intent is far removed from the topic of human reproduction. I focus instead on this pair of topics broached on the 499th consecutive telecast of “CBS Saturday Morning” aired recently. Stories about birds--and another about bees--were about an hour apart, further divided by several other segments.

   Hosts Michelle Miller, Dana Jackson and Jeff Glor seem to be relaxed to the max.

   Thus, they help TV audiences to loosen up, highlighting who we were, who we are and who we are becoming.

   They leave the “gloom and doom” newscasts to other purveyors, too many of whom seem to lean toward cutting the world off at the knees, with little prospect of ever standing again.

   Most newscasts seem tailored to appeal to the likes of Tarzan in his final days.

   To set the stage, Tarzan is swinging toward his treehouse, barely able to hang on as he grapples from vine to vine. Upon reaching his treehouse on this maddening, late Friday afternoon, he crawls meekly into a corner, asking Jane for a glass of warm milk. She asks, “Tarzan, whatever is the matter? You don’t seem to be yourself these days.” Barely able to whisper, he answers, “Jane, you don’t understand. It’s a jungle out there.”

   I digress. Again. Let’s get back to those two segments, dealing first with birds.

   The slant on our feathery friends could be negative, to be sure.

   Hard facts--supported by the Smithsonian in Washington--reveal that hundreds of millions of birds are killed each year as they fly into glass that adorns growing numbers of buildings in America. (Some authorities think the figure likely is closer to a billion.)

   This admitted, the CBS personalities outline ways that bird fatalities can be reduced.

   They recommend artistic adornment on the glass panes, geometrically positioned in ways to help birds realize that they’re heading toward objects that don’t budge.

   Architects, artists, and little children are challenged to help with pictures, drawings and designs on sliding glass doors and windows in homes, as well as plate glass in commercial buildings.

   They emphasize that when birds see reflections in glass, they may believe that the trees they think they see are inviting. Immediate thought: And a little child shall lead them.

   Most of us remember childhood expressions tossed carelessly around: “None of your beeswax!” We joked in this manner, of course, to make sure that whatever current discussion was none of their business.

   Well, we’ve learned in recent years that bees are critical to life, here and around the world. Who would guess that bees pollinate more than a third of the plants of the world, and more than three-fourths of the flowers?

   Their numbers, threatened annually, are up from the drastically low number some 15 years ago, when more than half of America’s bees perished. Agencies in Washington, DC, as well as other federal agencies around the country, are now maintaining beehives and deeply involved in telling of bees’ value. Bee populations are creeping upward. Beekeepers are learning how to rebound from losses caused by pesticides, parasites, and mites. Let’s hear it for rebounding, across the board!

   Maybe bees will help to sweeten up Washington, DC. We can hope, right? Finally, this “thank-you” to the crew at CBS Saturday Morning. Please never grow weary in well-doing. Your spirit, balance, and delivery help to keep us going!

   Dr. Newbury, longtime university president, has written weekly columns since 2003. He’s “putting down his quill” until September when his columns will resume. He and wife Brenda will spend a few days in the cool mountains of New Mexico. He repeats a line used annually by the late Elston Brooks, for four decades amusements editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Elston said, “I’m taking vacation now. You notice I didn’t say ‘well-deserved’ vacation!” Newbury contact:  Email: newbury@sspeakerdoc.com.