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November 28, 2022

Birds of Ripon 11

By Bernie Pilarski

David Beckham, the soccer player, is coming to the U.S. to play soccer for about a million dollars a week. That is, I understand, about 500 times what any of his teammates make. That's about $100.00 a minute for every minute of every hour of every day of the week. That's about 770 times what I make. Mr. Beckham will make one thousand, one hundred and seventy-five times the current federal minimum wage.

Seems reasonable to me. I mean if tomorrow your boss suddenly offers to pay you five hundred times what you are currently making, you would have every confidence in his/her ability to run the business, wouldn't you? Of course you would.

Similarly, it seems reasonable that business leaders are so concerned about the 40% increase over the next two years in the federal minimum wage (to $0.12 a minute). Our inability to hold the line on the minimum wage is going to make it increasingly difficult to afford top notch soccer talent in the future. And then where will we be?

What was Congress thinking?

The Crow

Crows, the forbidden fruit.

There are those, even in humans, who are attractive not because they are beautiful but because they are bold. They are fascinating because their behavior is not polished but provocative. Their lure is not in the proper, but rather the primal -- a James Dean perhaps, or the fictional Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean.

Or the crow. A rather large and dashing bird, the crow makes a bold fashion statement with an all black, unisex display of plumage, then makes you gasp with wicked language that consists of mostly crude humor, invectives and expletives. Considered to be one of the most intelligent of birds, their language is quite remarkable. There are of course the characteric "caws" where inflection is very important, so that "caah-caah-caah" means "I'm hung over, you got a cigarette?" and the similar sounding "cah-caaah-caah" means "Go away, expletive, your mama's a duck." There is also an array of other vocalizations that is referred to as "rattling." These are much quieter mumblings, mostly editorial comments, things like "T.O.'s finger broke when he got hit in the nose with the football."

The crow's behavior is similarly remarkable. Because it is virtually impossible to tell the male from the female crow, elaborate mating rituals have evolved. The male has developed various mating postures (see Figure 1) to indicate his intentions while the female uses displays of cheap costume jewelry and occasionally black eye shadow to signal her interest.

Take a little time to watch and listen to the crows.

Article © Bernie Pilarski. All rights reserved.
Published on 2007-01-15
Image(s) © Bernie Pilarski. All rights reserved.
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