Cumberland Times-News

Columns

April 6, 2013

So many things she doesn’t understand

At my age, I hate to admit it — but there is so much in this world that I — still — don’t understand.

People who don’t care about Monarch butterflies, for instance.

How could anyone NOT care about Monarch butterflies? Theirs is one of the most fascinating stories that exists in our natural world: the ages-old history of these fragile little creatures’ yearly migration to Mexico, where they blanket the trees in a certain area for several months away from the northern winter. When it gets warm enough up here for them (or their offspring) they fly back and continue their lives in the north, producing enough new butterflies to carry on the story for yet another year. And another. And another.

Although, one of these times, there may not be another. This makes me sick at heart. I remember when I first learned about this astonishing migration. Once about 30 years ago, I was out in Bel Air — visiting some relatives who lived there. They weren’t home yet — the door was locked. So I slumped in the car to take a nap.( my response to emergencies is instant) and suddenly realized that the chimney of their house was within view — and there was a lot of activity going on up there. Every few seconds or so, a butterfly flew past it, heading south. And another, and another., and yet more. I had never even heard of Monarch butterfly migration, and here I was witnessing it in full flight. I had no idea what I was looking at — but it was fascinating all the same. (I looked it up, and wrote a column about it later.)

My relatives have moved and I am afraid if I camped out and watched somebody’s chimney for several hours in the fall, the neighbors might get concerned. But I have this sinking feeling that butterflies are no longer flitting past there every few seconds, at any time of the year — because, I am told the butterfly migration has shrunk by half, The number of butterfly trees in Mexico has dropped off visibly, and the migrations are way down.

Obviously, monarch butterflies are losing habitat and may soon be in danger of extinction.

And I don’t understand why people are not upset about this.

Also, I don’t understand why robins are always bigger in real life than I think they are.

I don’t understand the humor nowadays. Back in the comedy of early television, the laughs came from slyly bringing out the human comedy in everyday situations — now the situations are everyday, all right, but the humor is ill-natured, mocking, or trashy — as if it is funny to put into words the worst parts of human nature. I’ll put up Johnny Carson, Bill Cosby, Dick Van Dyke, the Carol Burnett shows (except for those awful family fight episodes, which perfectly illustrate my point against How I Met Your Mother, or any other modern sitcoms).

I don’t understand designer handbags. Three hundred, six hundred, a thousand dollars for a pocketbook that looks like an army issue backpack. Or even if they were ever attractive (I haven’t seen one yet ), why would you consider paying the money? I’ve seen bags in Walmart that made a better impression — and leave your bank account looking better too. Also, I don’t approve of letting people think they can get away with murder, just because they make a lot of money.

I don’t understand or approve of what weddings are turning into these days — huge money pits and show pieces. (Obviously, I have been watching “Four Weddings lately — but not much longer, honest!) Gowns that cost thousands of dollars, cocktail hours that by themselves are grander than whole wedding receptions back in the day, and which themselves are then followed by — Guess what? — wedding receptions for hundreds, with the bride in her second (or third) gown of the day. Oh, yes, followed a year later by a quickie divorce. “Themes” for the wedding, like hockey, or Christmas, or vampires. (Well, I haven’t seen a vampire wedding yet, but any day now). Oh, yes, and a new wrinkle, buying more than one wedding dress so that you can change after the ceremony (to show how irrelevant all those things you promised each other are to real life, perhaps?) and wear another (or two) strikingly priced gown for the rest of the day.

I don’t understand guydom. By which I think I mean, testosterone. Not that I oppose it — certainly I approved of it in my husband! But guys who bump fists, and heads, and chests and guys who have to have a “man cave” to keep the women out of their lives, and men who would rather fight than shake hands, that’s what I mean. We would miss testosterone if it didn’t exist, I am sure — but as things are, testosterone has taken over. Until even the women want to be like the men, and go into combat, or play football or swear like a trooper. (A male trooper.) . But you rarely hear of a man who likes to knit, or cook (except as head chef, which is different) or conciliate.

Unless he is past 60. It’s amazing how wise men become after a certain age — more like women all the time.

And I mean that as a compliment!

Love ya, guys!

Maude McDaniel is a Cumberland freelance writer. Her column appears in the Times-News on alternate Sundays.

1
Text Only
Columns
  • Restore them Restore them

    There are an estimated 47,000 deceased veterans whose remains are unidentified and unclaimed throughout the U.S. A group of senators and congressmen hope to do something to
    bring these men and women some dignity after death.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Happy Easter

    For the world’s more than 2 billion Christians, Easter is the day that defines their faith.
    The exact date of Christ’s resurrection is unknown, and even the precise locations of his crucifixion and burial are uncertain. This hasn’t stopped some people from saying they know the answer to these questions and others from trying to find out for themselves, or simply arguing about it.
     

    April 20, 2014

  • Odds are good that you didn’t know this

    Odds or Probabilities fascinate many people. There is a special website called www.BookOfOdds.com and an accompanying location on Facebook at /BookofOdds .This website lists 400,000 odds. Three of the people who are involved in this media display have coauthored a book, “The Book of Odds” that presents some of key odds, drawing from polls and statistics published in journals. The authors are A. Shapiro, L.F. Campbell and R. Wright. This paperback was published this year by Harper Collins with ISBN 978-0-06-206085-3.

    April 20, 2014

  • Trivial questions you don’t have to answer

    Every so often in this life, my mind, all on its own, generates questions that have no real answers. So I have decided to pass them on to you. I’m tired of them. If you come up with any answers, let me know. Remember when TV jealously guarded the time zone before 9 p.m. for wholesome shows that children could watch. My gosh, how many years ago was that? It seems like another world nowadays, when you can see murders, torture and rape, or those implied, every hour on the hour, somewhere on your public screen. It might be comforting then, to remember that most children nowadays are glued to their little machines with whole different worlds on them, that they can access all day long. Except that in these different worlds they also can view murders, torture and rape on demand.

    April 20, 2014

  • Think it’s not a small world? You’re wrong

    Yes, you read that right in the paper a couple of weeks ago. I covered a wedding as a newspaper reporter. I’ve retired from doing regular stories because my primary duties lie elsewhere, and I don’t have the time or mental energy for it. But I agreed to do it for a couple of reasons, one of which goes back more than 40 years. The former proprietor of The Famous North End Tavern told me about a wedding that was to take place at the Lions Center for Rehabilitation and Extended Care, where his wife works.

    April 20, 2014

  • No Bambi for you, Mrs. Doe

    Some people want so badly for deer birth control to work that they actually think it will, even on wild populations.
    I wish I had a couple bridges to sell.
    A week ago on the Outdoors page we ran the deer there do what deer  everywhere do. They eat the easiest food available such as gardens and ornamental plantings. They walk in front of moving cars. They give ticks and  parasites a place to live.

    April 19, 2014

  • We concur We concur

    We’re certain that Donald Rumsfeld, who served as Secretary of Defense under Presidents Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, echoes what many Americans feel about the complexity of filing income tax returns.
    When he filed his return, Rumsfeld sent the following letter to the Internal Revenue Service:

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Library week

    Public libraries remain one of the best uses of taxpayer dollars. They are open to all. Young or old, poor or wealthy, residents can use computers and read current magazines and newspapers. Compact discs featuring a wide variety of music and
    movies on DVD may be checked out in addition to novels and other books.

    April 13, 2014

  • Terps need to move and move quickly

    The good news is Maryland will never have to play another basketball game in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Goodbye, good riddance, sayonara, smell ya, no more of you, stay classy, we won’t let the door hit us on the way out.
    Until we see you in court.

    April 13, 2014

  • Sunday hunting Sunday hunting

    Legislation that increases hunting oppportunities on Sundays in Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties has passed the Maryland General Assembly and reached the governor’s desk.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo