Monthly Archives: April 2008

Bird News ‘N Views

Ok, let move on to something a little more responsible, even though calling my arcane flock of ‘Avian Floozies’ ‘responsible‘ might be a stretch. I think I’ll use ‘bullet points’, (just to remind ’em who’s got the technology..)
1) Speaking of technology, my red-bellied wood-pecker (actually, he’s a plastics-pecker, but we’ll get into that in the ‘For Sale’ listings), well, he’s discovered a new Law of Gravitation. If he pecks like a manic feathered jackhammer on the inverted plastic jug holding the bird-seed, lots of new seeds fall downward, under the influence of the Earth’s gravitational pull, into the four little feeder trays. Not that they weren’t already full, but that’s a trivial detail. It’s the science he’s concerned with here. I’d considered enrolling him in night school, somewhere far away but prestigious: Dual major in Physics and Ornithology, but depending on who adopts him, he’ll be happier commuting.
2) New on the cardinal scene: Tougher going now for the formerly un-opposed and putative alpha male Red-bird; Lured by cheap food and two rather domestic-looking females, a whole greek alphabet of cardinal contenders has moved in to this neck of the woods, where they spend their days pretending to the throne.
3) Add  goldfinchand ‘downy woodpecker’ to the Master List. The former for now does only quick fly-bys, but the little black-and-white-and-red peckerhead is now a tenured member of the staff, pecking away like there’s no tomorrow. Prophetic?
4) Birds inspire aphorisms.. they always have, and one of my favorites is “When all you got’s a pecker, pretty soon everything starts to look like a tree” How true. (See ‘Birds 4 Sale’, below)
5) And in the culinary aphorism column, one of mine: “When all you got’s birds, make Songbird Parmigiana!”. The recipe is forgiving, just take two robins, or four bluebirds, or if you’re cheap like me, a half-dozen medium sparrows, remove feathers, beak, legs, etc. and combine in a blender with about a half cup of parmesan cheese and a handfull of breadcrumbs or birdseed. Cook fifteen minutes over an open fire, preferably out behind the house somewhere, out of sight of tomorrow’s ‘catch of the day’. Mmmm
6) And finally, as promised, Today’s Special, free to a wood home, One healthy Red-Bellied Plastic-pecker. Note: this bird is Genetically Modified, and can live in any environment rich in polymers such as PVC, polypropylene, PET, etc. I’m kinda fond of my pet PET-pecker, but also kinda sick of having him blast me awake at 5:30 in the morning. He won’t do that at your house, I promise, or your money back. (You can keep the bird).
7) Oh, and the Canada Geese now have canada-goslings; long disciplined lines of ’em, like day-care kids on an outing. Breaks my heart that in a few short months they’ll be all grown up,  each one a fully functional (read loud‘) ‘avian flugelhorn . Gewalt! Photos tomorrow, or my name ain’t Robert Stroud..

Currently Testing: Seroquel …zzz..

“Nay Vaidah”??

nay vaidah !
“What’s he mumbling?”
That’s Bucky for you. And thank God for Bucky, from the Conestoga Volunteer Fire Company. Not sure why he had to bring a shotgun, but as it turned out, that’s what it took to wake me.. if you can call it that.
    My tenant, the ever-dependable Miss ‘D’ had called 911 as soon as she determined that I was “Not Responding” as Windows loves to put it. And Bucky, (along with his side-kick, Grubie, who would have preferred to hang out for the final event at the Buck Tractor Pulls,) busted in, according to the radio log, at 10:07 PM, ready for any exigency. Haha. For the last, …I don’t know, ten hours or so I’d been an ‘effes‘ (that’s a hebrew ‘zero’), and now I’d been elevated to.. an ‘exigency‘. Progress.

OK, I’d decided to help a friend, a close friend, who was curious about the effects of a new mood-stabilizer he’d been prescribed. I do this. For free. Try ’em out. Scientifically. So I’d scientifically drunk a couple beers, cut the pill in half, (we’ll start with 100 milligrams..) and jumped into my brand new ’91 Subaru, heading for breakfast. Figured I’d have at least the fifteen minutes it takes to get there before the ‘effects’ set in. Figured wrong. Rolled into the parking lot already a quasi-zombie on wheels, raised a few eyebrows as I parked her diagonally, and, after a few incoherent words in with the owner of the joint, sat down to enjoy my ‘usual’, two eggs over hard, home fries, english muffin, and scrapple.  The girl next to me gave me the paper, but for the first time I can recall, I couldn’t make much sense of it: lotsa words, all fuzzy and meaningless. I paid the bill, and then, after another even less-coherent ‘goodbye’ to the owner, found my car, which luckily was the only one parked “A-skew l’Allah!”. Debated just falling asleep in it, but decided to risk everything and try to make it home. Even stopped at my favorite Ace Hardware™ on the way. God only knows what they think I am, now. Driving home took forever, since I somehow needed to sample the road surface on both sides of the highway, much to the dislike of on-coming motorists. But at one point I realized that if I ‘crashed-and-burned’, I would take with me to the grave the vital “Product Review” I was working on, and so, with truly heroic effort, I actually made it home unscathed. Well, actually, the car was ‘unscathed’, but Johnny was about as scathed as he’s ever been. Leaving the car door hanging open, I sucessfully navigated the 17 or so paces to my bed, which never felt so welcome. And there I lay until Bucky & Co. arrived.
“What’s he mumbling?” Bucky asked his buddy, not a world-class linguist.   I myself remember mudily thinking it was crucial that I get the message out to the world: Not.. Ever..Again.. to take this drug. And being on approximately the Crustacean level of discourse, I’d defaulted to the Pennsylvania Dutch of my infancy. Maybe I should have gone with Poe’s “Nevermore“, but “Nie Wieder”, ‘Never again’, felt about right. I guess with the accent it came out as ‘Nay Vaidah’.
“At least aim the thing out the door” , Grubie, ever mindful of “Safety First” in situations like this, briefed his co-worker on proper procedure for discharge of weapons in the name of resusicitation. They’d tried everything else: cold water, blows to the body, loudly threatening to format my hard disc. But I was “under sedation”, under the weather, mumbling my mantra for posterity. And It Worked! At the sound of the shotgun blast I lifted off the bed, landed on my shaky but shoe-clad feet, and was overwhelmingly gratified to discover that my powers of schmooze had survived the “SQ” test. I told the two guys I’d been bitten by a scorpion in Israel.. and, you know.. and I still get attacks like this every once in a while, especially in spring. They bought it, told the dispatcher the situation was “under control” and left, in Grubie’s new pickup truck. That’s the only thing I don’t like about America so far: so many guys with nothing to ‘pick up’ driving pickups, getting maybe ten miles to the gallon in them. Should have to wear a bumper-sticker saying: “I’m just driving around driving up the price of gas and I don’t give a damn.”
But thanks anyway, guys. Who knows when I mighta woke up without you-unz-es. Meanwhile, let’s farm this phamaceutical gem out to real farmers, who sometimes need to subdue raging bulls. I suggest 20 milligrams as an appropriate dosage.

Special Note: This didn’t.. like.. all.. really..happen, as I recall. Please consult your physician before taking any medication, and read carefully the brochure supplied by the manufacturer with the packaging. Really.

ADD: (New Bottom Line) If you are bi-polar, and are prescribed this medication, I suppose you should take it for a trial period. However if you are mono-polar like me.. YOU WILL END UP “A-POLAR”! which in simple terms means “pole-less”, much like a compass without a needle… or markings, for that matter. And if you attempt to drive ‘pole-less’, you may attract the attention of the ‘pole-less police, who will frown on you, among other expressions.

Oh, and don’t send me drugs for testing, un-solicited; I regret I have a long back-log of concoctions to review, thanks to the aggressive pharmaceutical global conspiracy.

Ornitho-morphic Fallacy

“I can’t do this… here… now.. There’s a..”
“What’re we doing?”

“…bird watching”
“Ok, call it birdwatching”
“No, I can’t do it with that bird watching… she’s too.. oh.. frivolous
“All the serious birds are on the other side of the woods?”
“It doesn’t mean anything to her..”

“…like it does for us. Yeah, spit on that heartless obscure small brown bird.”
      Well, I think that’s about right; the spirit at least of what Suzy McGivern said… in 1776.

Yes folks, Your Author is of necessity going slightly awry, what with working 24 hours a day  and with only birds for company. My birds, though. Awesome what $2.99 worth of bird-seed will buy: love, adventure, and a window on their stunted little souls. I’ve taken to judging my feathered fan-club on their attributes; qualities like altruism, seriousness of purpose, sense of humour, trust, and general attentivness. Cardinals suck on sharing, that’s for sure. Except that I did see Mr. Cardinal give his love-interest a choice seed an hour ago. Dropped it on purpose right in front of her. Sparrows seem to realize that they are, like peanuts, the ‘filler’ in the mixed-nuts can. Crows scream bloody murder when they see an eagle overhead.. but the Lear-jet eagle ignores them and maintains heading and altitude, obviously on her way to something important. I see a new species almost every day; today’s catch was a big red-headed woodpecker and some fancy ‘professional’-looking… thrush?. A grown man’s supposed to know this stuff. I’m waiting, like a nuthatch I guess, for one of my siblings to grab the ten-pound “Birds of America” off the ancestral bookshelf first, although I wouldn’t mind inheriting it myself. So I can sit with it out in back and tell the bluebird “Hey, I saw you on TV…right here; page 748.”
I’m working on my collection of bird-pix, but it’s a tough assignment. You see a new one, make just one little move to grab the camera and he’s gone forever. They believe the camera ‘steals their spirit’, something like that. Suzy’s solution in the end was just to pull the blanket over our heads, which worked fine. See, I knew there was a moral.

cadinal pair


Q: Did you ever gaze up at the sky and wonder where those picturesque “V”s of geese were going?
A:Um…no… I mean, ‘That’s a ‘no-no’: a rhetorical question. Rephrase it, ok?
Q: Nu, ok, so where are they going?
A: To Johnny’s house.. or more accurately, over-flying it, in a crass violation of his airspace.

goose sectional chart

Q: Don’t be a grouch, they’re ‘nature.’
A: Yer Momma’s ‘nature’! ..and if she honked 24 hours a day like these damn flying saxophones you woulda left home as soon as you could crawl out the door.
Q: Yes but it’s temporary, right?
A: You wish! I asked the sweet lady who owns the pond; “So, when do they leave?” real neutral like that; she said “They don’t.. anymore…”
Q: What,  they don’t fly back to Canada, Oh, Canada in the springtime la-di-da?
A: No, dammit, they fly back and forth from the Pond to the Lake, the Lake to the Pond, then the Pond to the Lake… ad nauseum.. oh, and poop alot in midair, of course.
Q: Haha. On your head?
A: You noticed?
Q: So.. what’re ya gonna do?
A: I tried screaming at ’em.. doesn’t phase them one bit. Got real close to the one in the picture here,damn goose  whispered “I’m gonna poison yer ass.. ever hear of “Silent Spring“? She just laughed… and honked for her dumb honking buddies to come quick and, you know, honk at me.. I felt so..dis-em-powered.
Q: I feel your impotence. Hey, what about getting a ‘gos-hawk’?
A: What, they eat geese?
Q: I dunno.. sounds like it from the name.
A: I’ll look it up. Might need more than one though.
Q: And what do the geese eat?
A: I really don’t know. I keep finding half-eaten bull-frogs on the lawn; guess they must drop ’em in mid-flight; can’t honk and eat at the same time.
Q: Hey, the Embassy.. call the..
A: What?
Q: ..the Canadian Embassy. Have ’em extradited. ‘Personna non grata’. It’s worth a try.
A: No way. The damn geese’ll know it was me who ratted on ’em, send the 101st Airborne, do a Hitchcock remake on me… forget about it!
Q: Drain the lake?
A: Sure.. in my spare time. Plus it’s uphill in every direction from here.
Q: Goslings! They have babies, right?
A: Yeah, tons of ’em. The nice lady says they’re all fuzzy and yellow and cute as shit.
Q: And they latch on to the first thing they see when they hatch?
A: Where’re you going with this?
Q: Nowhere, I guess. It’s hopeless, guy. Earplugs and a wide-brim hat; that’s about all I can say.
A: Well, thanks for letting me share my feelings, anyway..
Q: That’s what an FAQ is for, right?

NOTE* This is, of course, all ‘tongue-in-beak;’ I love these fat feathered flying flugelhorns.. But I did see a bold bald eagle  right overhead this morning though; Now I gotta find out what they eat.. Hmm.. bald vs. billed

Where’s George’s Head At?

Ok, I got a dollar bill in change, and on it was stamped a web-site address and a short explanation how I could ‘track’ the bill’s travels. I liked the idea. It is of some academic interest, the circulation path of individual notes. And so I dutifully entered the cereal number (Kellog’s mysterious “Product 19”, and the series, (Dinosaurs, an old animation almost as witty as The Simpsons) and found that my buck had been stamped and released that same day, a few miles from my house, by a guy who I must assume spends most of his life doing this and only that. Mine was, as he proudly announced in his ‘Profile’, his “225,793rd dollar-release” , and he is… oh, number 7 in the Nation, having hit “Bingos”, (documented appearances of “his” dollars in all 50 state capitols) on such-and-such  dates, which he chronicles like the “Race to the Moon”, but he’s still working madly to add other no-less-fragrant laurels to his cyber-crown.

If  ‘Second Life’ is an interesting pastime/substitute-world about whose merits we can debate as gentlemen, the “Georgers” would seem to be solidy Third World or less. Kinda like derivative stocks: “I’ll bet you a buck my buck gets to Duluth before yours, but with more hops and sightings.”
   There is, however, an Honor Roll for stampers of bills whose serial numbers read the same backwards and forwards. Aha, a place for me in this madness:

here's johnny  

Help! It’s a Book!

Somebody put a book in my mailbox(!)  Well, I know who it was: Maryanne,   a sweet and happily ‘gruntled’ postal worker. But it still scared me. This almost never happens. Well, since ’54, when I signed up for TAB Book-of-the-day club or something. If you didn’t send ’em back within 24 hours, they’d take the farm, and they just kept coming and coming. Nancy Drew? So what, anybody with a damn pencil can draw, whada I need a book to tell me that?
    So with trepidation I gingerly manouvered it out onto the lid. Might be a bomb. And not just a letter-bomb, a BOOK-BOMB. Them’re the big ones..take out half a block.
I read the name on the address: *MY NAME- Anytown, USA* yup, Dat’s me all right. Then Bang! I saw the Sender: AMAZON, (!!)Oh God, Big Trouble. Those are the big girls, if you don’t give them what they want, they Take It By Force. My knees felt weak. I ran inside and hid under the bed a while. Fell asleep, dreamt of a dozen or more Amazons having their way with me: “C’mon girls now, take turns. it’s ok, I’ve done this before..”
    Emboldened by my ‘defeat’, I marched bravely back to the mailbox, grabbed the package and tore it op… edit* tried to tear it open. Twas a futile task;  the book/bomb was hermetically sealed, probably by literary/pyrotechnical hermits. Well, that’s why I bought a ‘Futility Knife’ ™  now, isn’t it? Stanley made it, I presume, just for me and specifically to head off this type of impasse. In less than ten minutes I had the sarcophagus open and was staring King Tut in the face. Hey, I heard of this book! Oh yeah, now I remember: my dear sister, who’s in charge of books (hollowed-out or otherwise) at a Large Well-known Institution where they put Really Bad Boys and Girls, she’d mentioned that she loved it and would send me a copy. {when she comes up for parole.?.-ed}
I love it too; love it too much. Started reading and didn’t put it down till the roar of the hungry heifers became un-put-up-with-able. That’s farm humour, sorry, you needed to have been there. It’s called “The Geography of Bliss” by NPR correspondent Eric Weiner, and explores the globe and issue of where and why folks are living happily.  So far {in the book, duh..-ed}  I’ve been in the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Bhutan. Let me recommend the book highly, He writes like Bill Bryson, Dave Barry, and John Barrow all in one, and I’m so happy I got it. Just a little scary there at the beginning…

“Did you want vegies with that order, sir?” *shakes his head*.. “Sir?”

     Even in the movie it took a few weeks, so I hear, for the damage to become obvious.
Ok, I caught it just in time. Six weeks without a vegetable. Really. Unless Reagan was right about ketchup. See, without an ever-vigilant persuader (of the female persuasion, by and large) I tend to eat just what I wanna. That’d be four eggs over hard, fried potatoes and fried scrapple (don’t ask) some time in the morning, then “I’ll have four(4) double cheeseburgers” some time in the evening. Oh, and lots of coffee… add that food-group. My heart’s been thumping; pounding in my chest when I try to fall asleep. Solution: more coffee, and work another four or five hours; sleeping’s just “practicing being dead“, right?
    But seriously, six weeks without like, fruits, nuts, leafy green and yellow vegetables, whole grains, yogurt, tuna, chicken, etc. is probably enough. My sub-conscious was screaming gevalt after the first month, I just didn’t listen. Had a couple solid nights of dreaming about brocolli, asparagus, and cauliflower, and all I did with it was try to find the sexual metaphor there… in vain, I might add.
       So I just came back from a bizarre experience: it resembled grocery shopping, but you got nothing to eat out of the bag on the way home. Salad, pilaf, kiwi, bean sprouts, apricot nectar, cottage cheese… I shopped like there was a girl pulling my hand, pointing out all the “good” stuff. Ugh. “That 15 bucks coulda bought 14 double cheeseburgers, dammit”.

Ok, I’ll give it a day or so to start working miracles. Desperate times demand extraordinary measures. Now maybe I’ll stop dreaming about writing my will…

..And Speaking of Rocks..

Question: Is the Almighty, All-knowing, One-True-God we all know and love capable of creating something so absurdly wrong-headed, so… ‘second rate’, that He simply can not stand to look at it, or even believe that it was He who brought it into being? Why or why not?

Answer: OMG!, I read taht and Im like, WTF! This question is like, totaly, you know what I mean? Yeah, probbly, LOL!!
I just answered Today’s Featured Paradox. You can too.. mebbe.

Incidentally, the previous anecdote is Fiction, I hope you know that I assume you knew that. I’m like, lazy, so I re-use myself as the player all the time, ’cause I know what he’d say. Just substitute “Harry” for “I” if you want it in 3rd person. (or, for 2nd person, you try writing one. It’s fun, and when you’re done, ask your Mom for some crayons, so You can color it gay colors.)

Like, Talking to a Rock

    I stepped outside this morning and knew something was wrong.. No, not the shirt; I often wear one inside-out. Something else. It hung in the air like… oh, like a wall-hanging, but without the wall. A few minutes of following my nose around the neighborhood and I found it. (Yes, that’s the only way to walk, otherwise you  keep backing into stuff.) And good thing I didn’t back into today’s problem, for it was none other than a.. well.. a ‘sick rock’. One glance left no doubt; it was feeling out of sorts, her color was ‘off’, and , I don’t know, he just seemed to lack the lustre I’d come to know.
      Too heavy to get in the car, I’d have to call in an expert. And with Verizon’s™ yellow page’s help (What were they thinking, a vertical horizon? Laying down on the job, huh?) ok, with their assistant’s sister’s assistance, actually at her insistence, I quickly rang up “S.J. Plait Techtonics, Inc.” (“We’re the Rock Docs“)

“We’re here to help you. This is S.J, how can I help you?” Gotta love the abundance of ‘friendly’ in this country.
“Yes, I have a rock I fear is in a bad way, it’s a large one and..”
“What kind of rock are we talking about, sir?”
S.J had knighted me already, and it was still early morning.
“Well, to be frank, I don’t know” I told him, “Hum a few bars and maybe I’ll recognize the tune…”
S.J liked that, I guess. I could hear him pop open a soda (?) in the clarity of the verizontal opti-fibrous connection, and he continued:
“Well, there are basically three types of rock, Sir Frank, so that narrows it down now, does it not?”
“Yes I suppose, as luck would have it.”
I said, but thinking about ‘Verizontal Narrows’ that stunning NY bridge, after the phone company buys it.

“And they are…?”
{ ed- Who’s line is that?} It doesn’t say here in the text. Could’ve been  S.J. being Socratic, or Johnny/Frank unashamedly pursuing higher learning.}
“Well, first you got your ‘sedentary’ rocks. Them’re the ones just sit there, don’t do nothing.” S.J, relaxing into his plain-folks personna.
{ *Yeah, it was me, “Ed” if that’s your real name… or was it”I”? *} I wasn’t sure yet at that point, didn’t want to ‘press “1” till I’d heard the rest of the menu, so I “Nu..”-ed  SJ to continue.
“Then the second type’d be yer ‘metamorphics, the ones who’re trying to change something about theirselves, something they don’t like.”
I winced a bit at “their-selves“; what was wrong with “themselves”? Oh wait, Ed, maybe he’s talking about the odd rock whom wants to improve his/her/it’s grammar. Clever S.J…{sic, JS, sic and sic.}
“And what’s left is just plain “igneous”. Them’re like, really dumb, not worth our time, ya know?”

God, I thought, sure hope my ill little friend wasn’t ‘igneous..
“They’re the lava rock family, right?” I asked, hoping for a “No
“Uh huh..”

“…and they got a whole lot of little bitty holes in ’em, right?” I braced myself.
“Yeah, you got it, Frank..”

“Well I sure do thank you for your time, Doctor.. um..S.J.”
I backed out as tactfully as I could. I’m sure he could hear my heart breaking over the crystal clear twisted copper pair. {Verizon won’t reveal anything about their precise infastructure until after you’ve already signed up for a three-year package. -ed}
   I hung up and walked back out to the road to console my little ‘pet’.
“You’ll be just fine, guy, trust me, the Doctor said so, and he knows rocks” I purred, laying my hand on his fevered.. whatever.
“Your shirt’s inside out, makes ya look ‘ig-n’rant’, but thanks, I do feel better now, Frank.” The rock spoke, softly, in a billion-year-old baritone.
“How’d you know my name was ‘Frank’?” I asked, understandably suprised. I waited there a few minutes for an answer, then gave him a final pat, walked home and changed my shirt.

Glamour Aloft: A Flight of Fancy

smith and glamor

      Shhh! He’s listening to your every word, girl. (And probably looking down your …whatever it is you’re wearing.
Plus, it’s a great aircraft, built with your body in mind.
Well, not necessarily for.. for those.. I mean.. um..
I mean the cockpit dimensions: fits a man (or girl) up to 5’4″ in ballet shoes. My dad must’ve used a Sears’ “Good” mannequin for a pattern. I did notice it was a little cramped when he was working on it, but I wanted him to be the first to sit in it, and by then it was too late. I did try to shoe-horn my way into the cock-pit, and to sit there and attempt to conquer my claustrophobia. Made me envy trapped W.Va miners. No way. The throttle you have to work ‘crossed-over’ with your right arm, while you grip the stick between your legs.
But you, girl, you should fit in there like.. like.. I can’t go on..
Do wear a ‘chute though, in case God forbid. Stuff happens, you know.
And study this one-page owner’s manual:

short course
Keep the ball in the center on turns, remember that it’s ‘airspeed’ and not ‘groundspeed’, and set the altimeter each morning; it works on barometric pressure after all, not radar; Field elevation is 500 feet. Don’t take off with more than a 100 RPM drop on either mag, or with less than a half tank of fuel. You’ll need a hat and glasses. Oy, I can’t wait…
And if you do ditch it and bail out, SMS me, I’ll be waiting on the ground, a human target. You’ll be so happy to be alive; me too.. and with the dacron canopy covering us us from the prying eyes of jealous bystanders… Oh my… I guess less than a half tank might be ok.. just once.