• Better Watch the Birds than the News!
  • September 2004
    PEP Pioneers
    Second Wind
    Torrance, California
  • Dear Friends

    Today, I find the television new s most discouraging and disgusting at times. Never any good new s. It is always tragedy, trauma, domestic mayhem, or natural disasters. Seems like never any good new s. I long for the old days, remembered by some, w hen World War II commentator Gabriel Heater began his broadcasts with, "There is good news today." Would it were true now . How often do you see a newscast interrupted with CBS, NBC, ABC/CNN news break, "Good news for America"?

    By contrast, I am always entertained by watching the birds feed on the patio. I notice their pecking order, the species of birds that arrive and at what time. In fact, the whole "micro menagerie" is fascinating. It begins with the sparrows, chickadees, and a scattering of red finches. Then an occasional mourning dove and, rarely, a woodpecker. From time to time a field mouse will poke his head out of a brick sanctuary surrounding a bright yellow flower bed. You get to see the birds arrive at certain times, feed with abandon and then scatter once again, only to return. They are always entertaining and relaxing.

    Today, the news is painfully drawn to horror and suffering, a sort of penance in life, I guess. I personally limit myself to about one hour of this repetitive and unsettling commentary about the decadent trends that have beset mankind. But the birds are an uplifting alternative. They are reliable, entertaining, and just plain fun. Forget the news– it's for the birds!

    I will be in touch next month.

    Your friend,
  • Thomas Petty, MD