Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - May 20, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
Saturday, May !0, 1972 THE IETHBRIDGI HEKAIB 5 Eva The amusing antics of Joey the parrot Focus on the University TTIQES ho talk? He almost talked us out of a country, out of friends, and himself into a television career. Like our dump, wo acquired him in an African market. I first met him perched on the shoulder of a vendor who was trying to sell me a stem of bananas for "tara, tara" three pennies. An iniquitous gleam in his yellow eyes, the parrot screeched in the pen- etrating voice of the market women: "banana he penny, penny." said the wom- an, "Madam buy banana for penny and take dat stupid bird too. He done spoil business." So together with bananas, I bought a West African Grey parrot who in all the fifteen years T have owned him, is still the bane of my life and yet my delight. His apparent hon- esty; tattling on market prices, turned out to bo no more than an inherent dislike of women in general. He is an incorrigible woman-hater. 1 arn the one that feeds him, cleans out his cage and sets him free in the garden, weather permitting, but being the most ungrateful bird alive he takes every op- portunity to try and bite me. His bite, with a sharp hooked beak, invariably draws blood and is very painful. However, one cannot be mad at him for long for a moment later, he will enquire in a seductive, tender voice: "How are you, It is the tame ir- resistible tone my son uses to wheedle concessions out of me. Joey, the parrot spent the first "few months with us in Africa harmlessly enough, mostly silting on a tree on our veranda, talking pidgin-English or listening to the childrens' talk and to the sounds and voices of our numerous other animals. He never tried to fly away for even in his natural habitat the parrot is a lazy bird and cannot fly more than a few yards at a time. He often acquires even his food without much effort copying baby birds and thus tooling the par- ents of the imitated species into dropping him tidbits in- tended for their young. Now being fed without even that much exertion, he could use his talents for other pur- poses and did so wickedly. One of the first sounds he learned v.-as a police whistle used only in case of terrorists infiltrating from the French side of the Cameroons, As it happened it was never used in earnest, but as the police force was sta- tioned in an old fort near our bouse, the parrot heard that booting whistle often enough during manoeuvcrs. One evening we forgot to cover him only a blanket over his cage could keep him quiet and in the middle of the night we were awakened by the spine-chilling hoot of the police whistle. Everyone o! course, got dressed. Through the windows we could see in bright moonlight, the polico force tumbling out of their fort, racing down our long drive and lining up outside the house. Guns at Uie ready, they blew their whistle again to call out army troops from their nearby camp. A few minutes later the army arrived as well to take up position in our garden. Ev- erybody wailed with baited breath for terrorists. Nothing happened until again the police whistle went off right into our cars. It came from the parrot's cage beside us. Needless to s a y army and police were none too ploaseu for being called out at this un- earthly hour by a parrot of all things. They would dearly have liked to have wrung his neck but were civilized enough to let us get away with a warning to keep him covered in future. Whilst he never got a second chance to put army and polico on alert, he (lid pretty well an- noying friends and dof-'s. For one of the tiniest brains in the animal world he is amazingly inventive in his choice of harr- assmenl and torture and no- body can tell me he. does not know what lie is doing. Friends bringing their chil- dren over to play with mino c o ii I d seldom relax for long over a cup of coffee. Invariably we had to rush out to prevent the kids killing each other. At least that is what it had sound- ed like. Their small voices rose from quiet bickering to a crescendo of invectives hurled nl each other threatening blows and counterblows. Yet when wo arrived at. the scene lo rescue the. little devils they WCIT playing peacefully, not. .1 tear or even an angry face, in Thn! wretched parrot used different childrens' voices so skillfully lie fooled us over and over again. Telephone conversations irk- rd that bird. Fvcn now a con- versation has hardly begun when he chimes in with some wisecracks or just calls out: "Mum, help, Mum, please'" My kids grown up now I no longer fall (or these ruses but if I continue, talking ho shouts: "Hang up. Long enough." If that doesn't help he screeches: "Shut A lady who called me for Ilio first lime recently said lacifully: "1 hope you don't mind my saying so, but you should tell your children it is r u d e to interrupt adults on the telephone." I doubt if she believed me that a small par- rot was creating all that dis- turbance. As for thi! dogs, they must bo the most long-suffering victims of that bird's caprices. He knows each one hy name and still calls for animals we had ten, fifteen years ago but when they don't show up he turns his attention to the present pel: "S m o k he coos, using my voice: "Smoky, come here." Smoky obediently conies trot- ting in. he says in a tone of patient command: "Sit down. Closer." And the big black dog sits down right un- der his cage. Then without warning the little feathered head with the big, hard beak shoots out and pecks the poor dog hard on the nose or, almost worse, he lets out a piercing whistle that h u r t. s the dog's ears and causes him to howl painfully. Like me, every dog we ever had fell for his tricks time and time again. Television has a strange fascination for that bird, espe- cially some unmentionable ad- vertisements. While be softly sings opening bars of music used in serial shows he is even more interested in c a t c i" phrases repeated to advertise deodorants, for instance, "BO" the parrot whispers into vis- itors' cars. "Your best friends won't tell you." There arc some people who are not amused. Nor do they like it if he re- alistically, copies asmoke r's cough. A television announcer want- ed lo acquire Joey to have him sit on his shoulder after the lale night news lo say good night to his listeners. I'ul in spite of all the parrot's mis- deeds I could not part with him. At I he end of the day it is that very gentle "goal nighl. that makes me forgive and forget. And when all is said and done Joey is a living rec- order for he has the voices of all our past in his little head. HLS rendering of our childrens' learning efforls, from counting and adding to memorizing nur- -seiy rhymes, i.s truer than any tape. A parrot has a life span of CO lo 80 years in captivity and so he will outlive us and onr voices alive for at least another generation. Watchers of the sunset sky by Walter Kerber Book Reviews Bias revealed in television news "The News Twisters" by Edith Efron (Nash Publish- ing, SJ0.25, 355 IN view of polls that show more people trusting tele- vision than newspapers for the news, there is some satisfac- tion for a newspaperman in this book's massive indictment of the three U.S. television net- works for distortion going far beyond what is usually found in newspapers. But the satisfac- tion is not very great since the prob'em of bias plagues all agencies for the dissemination of news and the newspaperman knows he now only shares the public suspicion and condem- nation with his brother the broadcaster. Miss Edith Efron taped all t h e weekday news programs September 16 to November 4. 1968 in the three TV networks. ABC. CBS, and NBC. Her analysis showed that in the selection of mate- rial alone there was a pro- nounced political bias in favor of a 'liberal' position which sup- ported Humphrey over Nixon in the presidential election: op- posed U.S. policy on the Viet- nam war: favored black mili- tants against the white middle- class majority; evaded the is- sue of violent radicals. I'm not completely convinced of the adequacy of Miss Efron's method wiiich consisted of add- ing up the words pro and con on each issue. There are always some accidental factors that should be considered in connec- tion with the handling of news. From the mass of material that normally floods in on a news editor a choice is made ii> terms of the best written, the freshest, the strongest, all of which could unintentionally sup- port a bias. A long story about Humphrey could be aired on a day when few significant things were happening in the world .Unexciting subject "Come Out Smokin': ,lne Champ Nobody Knows" liy Phil Pcpe. (Long- man Canada Limited, 241 pages. must sympathize with author Phil Pope, for it's difficult to write an exciting book about, an unexciting, col- orless person. Pepe tried, and the result i.s an unexciting, col- orless book. Another person I must sym- pathize with is the poor soul who lays out SJ.75 for this work. A sad note about the Frazicr story i.s the fad. that the only pep in it is added by the pres- ence of Muhammad All. Ah ap- pears loo often in a book sup- poscdiv devoted to Frazier, but then Pcpe must have felt Ali was deserving of a lot of ink lo the huge amount of mon- ey he pul in Frazier's pocket. One glaring error in Ihe book- is Pope's repeated remark that Frazier was the fir.M. Ameri- can to win an Olympic heavy- weight championship for tho United Stales he wasn'l even close. Away back in 100-5 an A m e r i c a n by Ihe name, of Her Re r took Ihe Olympic heavyweight title, then eamo the (ate Eddie Sanders (when Ingomar Johansson was dis- in Ihe final bout, re- and then there was Pete Hademaeher who later became tly first amateur lo fight for the heavyweighl lille. Ho fou.qht I-'loyd i'attei'son for the litle in his first pro fighl. Frazior was fourth, hut he was the first one. lo go on and win the pro heavyweight title. No. neither Floyd Patterson nor M u h a m m a d Ali. both Olympic medal winners, won the Olympic heavyweight crown. They won the middle- weight and light heavyweight titles respectively. Almost evcryi.hing in the book is already public knowl- edge. Throughout Frazier's ca- reer about the only thing that was never delved into by the press was Joe's three-week stay in the hospital after tho Ali fight. The incident is tho one item that Pepe could have built on, revealing something about the mysteries of tho hospital sojourn. He sluffs off the confinement in one paragraph, claiming high blood pressure, a kidney ailmcrt and need (or rest. What happened in the hospi- tal? Was il, that serious? Why has Frazior only fought onco since? Did he lake lhat much of n beating in winning? Was he jusl resting'.' Phil Pepe, where were you? You missed the only real punch you could have thrown. The irend seems lo Iw to put out a book about any sports personality, whether he. is de- serving of it or not. Frazier is the heavyweighl. champion of Ihe world, that's where ho ends. After lhat he is just a normal, home-loving individ- ual, worthy of a lengthy maga- zine article, not a book. No doubt there will be other books about Joe, if there arc more they have only one way lo go GARRY ALLISON. and Nixon could bo relegated to a few lines on a day when many events of interest pushed election rhetoric aside. Such considerations might soften the conclusions about bias but would not likely render Miss Efron's charge invalid. Bias seems unavoidable. The news gatherers, the reporters, do not record everything that is said and done; they select what they consider important, which often means what inter- ests them. This results in an innocent rather than a mali- cious distortion. As the author puts it, the sin of the newsmen is "not bias so much as it is that they arc ill-educated and intellectually pretentious." No conspiracy exists in the net- works to present only the lib- eral view but there is an unwill- ingness on the part of officials to admit that one-sidedness floes exist which irritates Miss Efron. Perhaps people today should bo pleased that distortion is only accidental. At least this is a gain from earlier days when there was a blatant twisting of the news. Scott Young, writing on the history of the Toronto Globe and Mail, says of George Brown, one-time editor of the Globe, that if he were alive to- day, running the same kind of operation under another name, "the present editors of The Globe and Mail would not trust him to tell the time without charging political bias and ul- terior motives." The quarrel that. Miss Efrou Indian life and legend "Recollections of An Assin- ihoine Chief" by Dan Ken- nedy (McClelland and Stew- art, pages, KENNEDY, his Indian n a m e is Ochankugahe. touches on almost every aspect of Indian life and legend. Thai, unfortunately, is just the prob- lem. He only touches on things, skimming over what could bo inleresling and informative reading. II i s short, undetailed glimpses inlo the Wounded Knee. Massacre and Sitting Bull's murder (due mainly lo his following Ihe Ghost Dance leave the reader longing (or more details and opinions. Tile reader would have appreciated, at the least, Kennedy's personal opinions on many things, after all his opin- ions have been close lo lot) years in the making. The main-slay of the book is the interesting collection o( legends which bring lo Ihe (ore the Indians' deep beliefs in their By MICHAEt SUTHERIAND i has with the broadcasters Is that they are legally required in the U.S. to be nonpartisan and neutral in their political coverage and yet have failed miserably in this regard. She thinks people are protected somewhat against newspaper bias in that the stance ot the paper is apparent from the ed- itorial page so lhat a skeptical guard can be put up. But the sianting of broadcasters is more insidious because of the assumption that neutrality pre- vails. Apparently the minds ot Americans are not grossly per- verted by this, however. Ac- cording to the author, millions, even a majority, of Americans have detected the bias and are angered by it! Bias might even pervade this book for all the reader knows. He has no way of checking the hundred pages of lists of pro and con broadcasts on the sev- eral subjects of controversy identified by the author. Tha unanimous testimony of quoted material indicting the liberal position of the networks suggest that selectivity has been opera- tive. Although the subject of the hook is of great interest, tho book itself is not especially in- teresting. It suffers by being the report of a study in which the counting seems to have to intrude. Tiie justification for in- eluding examples of newspaper and news magazine bias in the appendices of a book on broad- casting bias is obscure, too. DOUG WALKER. ancient religion n religion seemingly steeped in the mys- teries of tho oi'cuit. Some Iragic natural phe- nomena are brought out in the b o o 1; the disappearance of the millions o( buffalo: the dis- appearance of the Indian him- self l there were once Assiniboinc. now (hey number only smallpox, Ihe scourge of the Indian (the dreaded disea.se lhat hastened the .Mandan into Another iniere.si.inc point hronghl not is tho ur-o of (logs hy the Indians .is bcnsls of bur- den This, of course, was prior to the coming of the horse. Can you imagine Ihe din raised hy 500 yelping dogs at feeding lime'1 While much could be said about Ihe failure of the book to become more deeply involved, i: is good, interesting reading-- no! a classic mind you, but an on joy nhlo evening's rending just Ihe same. UAURY ALLISON. generally 1 CURING the. past few weeks I had the privilege of visiting grade 12 stu- dents in the 23 Alberta high school s south of Vulcan, accompanied by various combinations of University of Lethbridge students, faculty and adminstralive per- sonnel. The experience has been good lor nil of us and will form the base of a com- prehensive report to be made io the uni- versity about "recruitment" as it is called, and the value of visitations to the schools. In fact the next, few columns will he de- voted to some thoughts about the recep- tions we received and I suppose these will be 'scoops' on the actual report to the university community. However in the con- text of the present time of year and Ilia questions apparently in the minds of par- ents and grade 12 graduands alike, some of the comments here may be of value, and I believe of considerable interest to the people already associated in some way with the university. Considering the above it might be grant- ed that the information for these comments is sound 23 schools, that many princi- pals, many more teachers, and several hundred students certainly provide more than simply a cross-seclion. Because of the complexity of this matter I will deal with the topic in categorizations, hence the ini- tial subject, the matriculated minds in general. The intention of this mouthful is to des- cribe the kinds of thoughts which seem to be running through the heads of those grade 12 students who will complete ma- triculation in June and subsequently ba eligible for admission to nearly all Cana- dian universities, excepting some of the specialty faculties for which certain matri- culation programs may not be totally ac- ceptable. We encountered what must be a repre- sentative comment from a good many high school students, not just the grade 12 students either, and the thoughts in their minds as they leave those amazing institu- tions are truly interesting. There are the "definites." the ''travel- the "definitely the "entrepren- the and the "undecid- eds" and so on. The "definites" are those who have a game plan for the educational goals which they will seek, they know where they arc going and what the results will be Very cut and ad- mirable. Obviously tin) 'travelers" me.niljers of that ever-increasing group pressing out to foreign places for that kind of experience. Although a lot don't realize how unprepared they are, many are not just making rationalizations when they state they are going to wait a while before attending university, to alKw the job market situation to improve. The "uufijiiteiy noi.s" nisy U- firm in their thinking as the h'lt in the context of considering universal? they are nut in thp picture. Their objective? include technical and vi- caliona! training, to complement, their mat- riculation achievement and Uiere are cer- tainly s number of excellent institutions and community colleges in this province to meet their needs. Perhaps the "entrepreneurs" and "capi- talists" can be discussed together. They represent that group which has been well exposed to the materialistic quests and needs of our society and they want to be part of it 'right now. Salary even as minimal as it may be is the means to those things that certainly won't be available if one is lo pack up and go off to university for three or four or five years. And although they could continue this argument by saying they wouldn't ba able to afford what they want after uni- versity training because of debts incurred, they do seem a bit shortsighted in many instances. The "undecideds" appear to be In rather large numbers. They, like all the others, are confronted with the bewildering array of post-secondary alternatives referred to briefly above, but they are taking a bit longer to really make up their minds. The next few columns will be directed specifi- cally at the "undecideds" and their friends and parents, to honestly attempt to ans- wer some of their questions as to why a person should enter a degree program this tall or next January, or for that matter during a summer session (should they be Interested in the rather flexible semester system and admission policy available ex- clusively at The University of Leth- As guaranteed in one of these Focii many weeks ago the information won't be a snow job, just a clear explana- tion of what we have to offer and why wt think its good, particularly in light of very encouraging reception we received recently at many high schools. The Voice Of One -By DR. FRAN.K S. MORLEY The crisis of the city ARISTOTLE sail was to make man happy and safe. The modern city has had exactly the op- posite effect. Even in daytime it is _ not safe to walk certain streets of American cities. On one point Karl Marx appears to be right in condemning big cities because thcv polluted the air, water, and soil. Eli- zabeth I of England and later Oliver Crom- well attempted to limit the growth of Lon- don by a greenbclt area but were unsuc- cessful. Such enforced limitations only lead to overcrowding. Doxiadis says that within the next century thirty billion peo- ple may live in a universal city. Such a prospect becomes the more terrifying when one reads of Soleri's His cities are designed in solid geometric form with a rigid, programmed conform- ity like a gigantic concentric beehive with a terrifyingly complex technology. Such cities are to lie taken seriously when one considers that his project is supported by the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ford Motor Company, Prudential Insurance of America, and the United Stales Housing and Urban Development. On the other hand city planning can be- come exhilarating when one considers such a project as that of Litchfield Ari- zona, with its forty miles of bicycle-road- ways which arc designed as well for pedes- trians and electric carts and have a speed limit of fifteen rales. Thus some attempt is made to meet the needs of the sixty-three million people who are riding bicycles in the United States, a most pleasant and healthy exercise. Not only so but Ihe whole, is designed with a four mile core of shops, offices, and other essential buildings for business surrounded by six separate hut inter-related communities with a central activity complex formed by a large plaza, each community being composed of two villages and each village has four neigh- borhoods accommodating seventy five hundred to ton thousand people. One can also become excited about the lion project called SAND South Arsenal Neighborhood Development in Hartford, Connecticut where Jack Dollard has de- signed "the everywhere school." Ths Pcachtree Centre in Atlanta is similarly exciting. Some writers think that for the first tima in history man has Ihe means to produce an enjoyable environment combining urban amenities and rural beauty of un- limited potential of delight. Certainly if ha is to do so man must get rid of his loss of belief in his ability to design desirable goals and implement them. At the present time all progress is blocked by man's inabi- lity to believe that he can make the city a more human place. The modern city is a symbol of over- crowding, crime, confusion, and pollution. The nearer you are to the heart of a city the nearer you are to the highest rate of insanity. In the city also is the most marked differentiation between the rich and the poor. There is a rigid class struc- ture in the cities and most people spend their lives vainly trying to escape it. Fifty years ago there was no city plan- ning in Canada worth speaking of, but lo- day even- city has some kind of plan and ideas thought impossible are now being realized. Many programs of intelligent urban renewal arc being carried out in the United Stales and Canada. The pollul.on of air and water is being gradually overcome as the public is justifiably alarmed. Trans- portation problems are also subjected to intense study and changes both in control and the method of transportation will be very great in the next decade. One of Ihe most serious problems is thai of noise pollution and il is the more serious be- cause so people are seized with the nature and extent of the menace. Also discouraging is the fact that some excel- lent plans arc devised which through greed or stupidity or both are disregarded, for example, failure to preserve fine farm and fruit orchards of southern Ontario or the farmlands of the lower mainland ion of British Columbia. All the.se problems have profound ethi- cal and spiritual connotations to which the mass of people arc completely indifferent rcg- more pe Doug Walker T HA TO a feeling that I may never sec pie again. A boycott is being imposed, it seems. The last time 1 had occasion to mention Anne McCr.irkcn was lo report her addic- tion to peering Into people's houses. We had dinner with the MfCrackens Ihe very day that appeared in tho paper and pio two kinds wfnt Ihe ra'sl Anne had been too busy preparing tha meal to read the paper so we had a cordial time. The blast came the next the promise that I would never sen pio at her place again. Oh, well, I'm almost to pic-less life by now.