Saturday, December 26, 2009

Our First Thousand Views YouTube Videos

We know we're not Susan Boyle, so it's exciting to us when our YouTube videos hit the thousand views mark. Two of our YouTube videos have gone over one thousand views. The first was the first video we produced with our newly acquired Timneh African Grey parrot Tillie, Training Your Parrot To Play With Cheap Toys: Bottle Caps:

Our second YouTube video to surpass one thousand views was our Training Your Parrot: Handling Macaw Beaks video produced in High Definition, featuring two of our macaws, our male Blue and Gold macaw Aboo, and our Hyacinth macaw Princess Tara:

If you like our YouTube videos, be sure to subscribe and automatically receive each new video as soon as it is uploaded.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Training Your Parrot to Play With Cheap Toys

Isn't it always the case? You spend dollars and dollars on toys for your kids, and all they want to do is play with the box! With this new economy, we want to save money while keeping our kids entertained, so we're always looking for parrot safe, inexpensive and readily available toys. Our first Training Your Parrot to Play With Cheap Toys YouTube video, featuring our Timneh African Grey parrot Tillie, focused on an item we realized we shouldn't be throwing away: plastic bottle caps. This is far and away our most viewed YouTube video. So, to make this a series, we produced another YouTube video, Training Your Parrot to Play With Cheap Toys: Paper Bags. This makes the answer to the question: Paper or Plastic? simple. This new YouTube video features our Hyacinth Macaw parrot Princess Tara, and our Congo African Grey parrot, Arua:

To make it easy to view the original Training Your Parrot to Play With Cheap Toys YouTube video, we've added it here. Training Your Parrot to Play With Cheap Toys: Bottle Caps:

Since our parrots usually prefer to play with the containers rather than the contents, we produced yet another Training Your Parrot to Play With Cheap Toys YouTube video, featuring our Timneh African grey parrot Tillie: Training Your Parrot to Play With Cheap Toys: Cardboard Boxes. Our smaller parrots especially love chewing up cereal boxes and tissue boxes, although any cardboard container is popular with our flock, including toilet paper rolls. Just be sure they are not covered in glue. Inspect the material before giving it to your parrots, and if in doubt just toss it out! Something to watch out for, however, is nesting behavior. You want to be sure your parrots are playing with the boxes, and not trying to build a nest. For more about the topic of nest building, see our blog post about our female Blue and Gold macaw, Miss Bubba Boy: Our Flock: Bubba's Brood.

We're always anxious to hear about any other ideas for great, cheap, and readily available parrot toys. Got an idea? Please share it with us.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Our Flock: Our Timneh African Grey Parrot Tillie: Just Hanging Out

Sometimes, the world is just better viewed upside down! Why stand on your feet? When you can just as comfortably hang upside down!

Our eleven year old female Timneh African Grey parrot Tillie, just likes to hang off the bottom of her cage, especially when we're cleaning the cage and that darn tray is out of the way. Maybe it's that parrot yoga thing!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Our Flock: Our Goffin's Cockatoo Kid Kadra Checks Out the Hot Tub

On a nice sunny day, a Goffin's cockatoo just wants to soak in the tub. However, finding a suitable tub can sometimes be a problem! So, our fifteen year old male Goffin's cockatoo Kid Kadra has to make due with whatever he can find.

Some hot tubs just suck!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Our Flock: Our Goffin's Cockatoo: Kid Kadra: Acrobat and Showoff!

Hatched in 1994, one of a clutch of three, Kid Kadra is a fifteen year old DNA sexed male Goffin's Cockatoo (Cacatua goffini), with the typical Too attitude! Kid Kadra was raised by his original owner, Martin Maurer, a personal friend, who considered Kid Kadra more like a service animal, carrying him on his shoulder virtually wherever he went. We once saw Martin parked at a gas station, pumping gas, with Kid Kadra sitting on his shoulder!

Kid Kadra joined our flock in 2005 under the most unfortunate circumstances, with the untimely death of his owner, who had a history of serious illness. Apparently traumatized by the sudden death of his original owner, Kid Kadra was comatose for about two weeks, barely eating, let alone moving.

Eventually Kid Kadra survived and adjusted to his new life with The Ballard Rain Forest. His Too personality slowly flowered and showed his true talents. For obvious reasons, Martin had kept Kid Kadra's wings clipped, but we allowed Kid to grow his flight feathers out. We keep all of our flock flighted. Slowly but surely Kid Kadra realized his talent for flying. Starting with short hops from cage to playstand, Kid started flying across rooms, then around rooms, then from room to room. Eventually he discoved this rain forest has a basement, so he even started flying from floor to floor!

Kid Kadra showing off for our Greenwing Macaw and Diva parrot Roxanne!

Kid Kadra chose our first Congo African grey parrot Corky to focus his attention on, and quickly became Corky's nemesis. Corky flew like a lead balloon, so was forced to chase Kid Kadra around on the floor. Kid would simply hop out of Corky's way, surely aggravating him! As his flying skills improved, Kid Kadra turned his attention to the macaws, not in the least scared off by their size. For whatever reason, Kid became infatuated with our Greenwing macaw Roxanne, but he found the tails of the other macaws irresistible. Kid Kadra harasses our male Blue and Gold macaw Aboo to no end, but wisely avoids our Alpha parrot, Miss Bubba Boy.

Kid Kadra loves to fly, and is a true acrobat. Kid can fly circles around our other parrots, and knows that he can. Therefore, he does! As mentioned above, he flies from floor to floor. Only our newest parrot, our Timneh African grey Tillie, does that as well. Kid also flies for the sake of flying. Kid will jump off the top of perches, dive to the floor, and do barrel rolls. Kid will wait for us to walk across the floor, so he can dive bomb us and brush the top of our heads with his feet. And if one of the other parrots takes flight, Kid will fly down and chase the other bird.

Kid Kadra loves to bathe, sitting on the shower rail and getting misted with a spray bottle. Kid loves to come into the bathroom when we shower, and begs us for baths, and would probably take a bath every day given the chance. If all else fails, on a hot summer day, Kid will sit in the water dish with his wings draped over the sides.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Training Your Parrot To Fly In Place

Parrot wranglers and stunt parrots know that a good cardio workout is crucial for proper parrot conditioning and exercise! One of the best cardio workouts for a bird is flying. Considering that it's much safer to fly a parrot indoors rather than outdoors, even with limited space, a parrot can learn to fly in place. Just park your parrot in front of a computer and watch this video of our original stunt parrot Princess Tara demonstrating flying in place.

Just as an aside, our Goffin's Cockatoo Kid Kadra learned this technique simply from watching Princess Tara in action! Endorsed by the International Parrot Wranglers Association and the Parrot Wranglers Academy.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Training Your Parrot: Basic Parrot Yoga

Stunt parrots and parrot wranglers know that proper conditioning is important for staying in shape and avoiding injury while working those strenuous days on film and video sets. One of the most effective conditioning tools is practicing yoga. Even big and tough NFL football players practice yoga. So if your parrots aren't into yoga yet, here's your chance!

Both the International Parrot Wranglers Association and Parrot Wranglers Academy endorse parrot yoga, and are pleased to sponsor this segment!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Now For A Word From Our Sponsor

Our spokesparrot and Timneh African Grey Tillie wants to say a few words on behalf of our sponsor, The International Parrot Wranglers Association and Parrot Wranglers Academy:

Our Flock: Don't Worry Be Happy

Our Diva Parrot and Greenwing macaw Roxanne wants it known that cockatoos have no monopoly on dancing and rhythm.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Republican Stupid Watch

The Zen Parrot is pleased to announce a new feature: Republican Stupid Watch. Republican stupidity knows few bounds, so it's hard to know where to begin! Sarah Palin is enough to give any thinking person a headache. But with Republican Stupid Watch we can at least monitor the highlights (or lowlights) of Republican Stupidity! Bring your own aspirin!

We are dumbfounded that there can actually be a Republican Jackass more stupid than Sarah Palin. No surprise that this particular Republican Jackass comes from South Carolina, which sports a philandering Republican Jackass at its head:

Clearly General Sherman didn't do enough!

I Don't Want Our Schools Turned Over To Some Socialist Movement!

Our head is simply going to explode trying to figure out if Republicans (especially Texas Republicans) can become Any More FUCKING STUPID Than They Already Are???

Exactly how STUPID does someone have to be not to want the President of these United States telling kids to behave in school?

Wondering just how brain dead and stupid conservatives are? Well, this video from the Las Vegas Town Hall should give you a clear picture! Conservatives endorse Hitler over healthcare! Bring your own aspirin.

When Republican Stupid reaches its inevitable and violent conclusion, surely the Morons and Dickheads Rush and Glen and Ann and Monica will blame President Obama for the sad state of affairs!

Republicans demonstrate once and for all that the Party of No has ABSOLUTELY NO FUCKING INTEREST in saving taxpayers dollars, reducing health care costs, or reforming any fucking thing:

It may not come as a surprise that Republican senators like Chuck Grassley are Total Fucking Morons! But you'd think at least one of their staff members would have half a brain to keep them in line!

Sarah Palin is Totally Fucking Out of Her Mind!

More Republican Stupid. First we had the Birthers. Now we have the Deathers, who are convinced that the government wants to kill your grandma: Rachel Maddow on Obama versus the Deathers.

Nearly one out of every two (47 percent) Republicans are certified Flat Earthers, believing, according to the latest Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll that the American and African continents were never joined at the hip:

The New Republican Motto: Don't Confuse Us With the Facts!

Totally Fucking Stupid is Spelled: S A R A H P A L I N

I can see Totally Fucking Stupid from my front door:

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Training Your Parrot: Handling Macaw Beaks

Macaw parrot beaks can be scary and intimidating to the uninitiated parrot owner! And they should be! Macaw beaks can generate anywhere from 200psi to 300psi of pressure depending upon the species of macaw parrot. We at The Zen Parrot have produced a new Training Your Parrot YouTube video: Handling Macaw Beaks. With this introduction to the Parrot Wranglers Academy, you too can become a certified Parrot Wrangler and safely handle macaw parrot beaks with the best of us! Just remember, don't try this at home unless and until you become a professionally trained Parrot Wrangler like we are!

Currently the Parrot Wranglers Academy offers an online specialization in Macaw Management. In the very near future, the Parrot Wranglers Academy also plans to offer online tracks in Cockatoo Coralling and African Grey Linguistics. But wait! There's more. With graduation from the Parrot Wranglers Academy, you are automatically enrolled in the International Parrot Wranglers Association. Stay tuned for more information.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Training Your Parrot To Wear A Halter

Most parrot training videos are tediously boring! The Zen Parrot takes a different approach to parrot training. Here our male Blue and Gold Macaw parrot Aboo shows the proper way to wear a parrot halter (in High Definition, of course):

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Final Episode of The Parrot

The Pittsburgh Pirate's parrot mascot stars in The Sopranos spoof: Final Episode, The Parrot:

Once our parrots discovered that the team mascot for the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team is a parrot, they became rabid Pittsburgh fans! GO PIRATES!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Feeding Parrots: Sunday Dinner

With our latest Feeding Parrots YouTube video, Feeding Parrots: Sunday Dinner, we officially have a series, to complement our Training Your Parrots, and Parrots Day Out At The Ballard Farmers Market series. If you like our YouTube videos, please subscribe, and you'll receive them automatically as they are posted on YouTube!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Feeding Parrots: Sunday Brunch

To complement our Training Your Parrot YouTube video series, Diva Parrot Productions has launched a new YouTube video series titled Feeding Parrots. The denizens of The Ballard Rain Forest look forward to Sunday Brunch!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Our Flock: Our Newest Adoption: Tillie, the Timneh African Grey Parrot

We just recently adopted an eleven year old presumed female (we're still waiting on the DNA test results) Timneh African grey parrot, Tillie, weighing in at a whopping 290 grams! She's barely half the size of our Congo African grey parrot Arua! In spite of having only one previous owner, she's already opening up, flying to me, asking for skritches on her head, and even letting me flip her upside down in my hand!

And now in High Definition (best viewed with an MP4 player):

Monday, May 18, 2009

Parrots Day Out at the Sunday Ballard Farmers Market

With the delightful weather this mid-May Sunday, our parrots wanted to get out and mingle with the crowds at the Sunday Ballard Farmers Market. Of course, knowing there was as almond croissant waiting there for them didn't hurt!

Another parrots day out at the Sunday Ballard Farmers Market with our Diva parrot Roxanne, and our Hyacinth macaw, Princess Tara:

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Native American Indian Style Dream Catcher

Hyacinth, Greenwing, and Blue & Gold Macaw Feathers, Leather, Fishing Cord, Glass, Metal, and Wood Beads. Natural Light.

Native American Indian Prairie Style Prayer and Smudge Feathers

Hyacinth and Blue & Gold Macaw Feathers, Dyed Cord, Metal Pendant, Wood and Glass Beads, Acrylic Paint. Natural Light.

Hyacinth, Greenwing, and Blue & Gold Macaw Feathers, Leather, Glass and Metal Beads, Natural Light.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Parrot Still Life: Greenwing and Hyacinth Macaw Secondary Flight Feathers

Hyacinth Macaw (top) and Greenwing Macaw Secondary Flight Feathers.
Natural Light.

Greenwing Macaw (left) and Hyacinth Macaw Secondary Flight Feathers.
65 Watt Strobe Light.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ace of Spades: Deck of 54 War Criminal Playing Cards: George Dubya Bush

George Dubya Bush. Alcoholic draft-dodging lying war criminal Neocon stooge! What more is there to say?



Iraqi body count now at 110,600 Iraqis killed, and counting, according to the government of Iraq.


And lied about it!

Stole the 2000 election. Engineered an illegal war on false pretenses. Subverted the Constitution of the United States. Depleted the treasury, and drove the economy into the toilet! If this doesn't fall under the definition of Traitor, I don't know what does.

And what is the punishment for sedition?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Waking Up Canadian

Our Most Prized Possession!

Today is a big day, but it's important to start with abit of Canadian history. It was the tradition of the old British Empire that when someone was born a subject of the empire, they never lost their subjecthood or citizenship. In fact, this was one of the causes of the War of 1812 between the United States and England, because the Brits considered captured U.S. sailors to still be British subjects, and therefore subject to serving in the British Navy.

The member states of the British Empire and the subsequent Commonwealth generally continued this practice. Unfortunately in 1947, the Canadian government upset the applecart, so to speak, with the passage of the Citizenship Act of 1947. This act stripped Canadian citizens of their citizenship, for among other things, having parents who moved out of Canada and naturalized their children in other countries such as the United States. The Citizenship Act of 1947 continued in force until 1977. Yours truly was one of the Canadian citizens by birth unfortunate to be born during this period to parents who almost immediately thereafter moved to the States.

However, everything changed today! We woke up as a bona fide Canadian citizen once again! A new Canadian law took effect on April 17, 2009 which restored Canadian citizenship to any person such as ourselves born in Canada between 1947 and 1977 and possessing a valid Canadian birth certificate, which we proudly do!

We are a proud Canuck once again!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Our Flock: Our Guard Dog: Aboo

Aboo is a DNA-sexed male blue and gold macaw (Ara ararauna), hatched in October, 1999. Aboo was named for Aladdin's sidekick, the monkey, and does the name ever fit! Aboo never had a cage he could call his own home until he came to us in 2004. He lived the first three years of his life on a T-stand.

Aboo arguing over the Sunday paper with Princess Tara and Kid Kadra.

Aboo was severely mistreated before he came to us. By the time we rescued him, he was considered unmanagable and unhandleable. He would sit in his new cage and constantly repeat, in a very stern voice: Stop! Enough! I Mean It! Aboo! Now! What Did I Say! He would repeat these phrases over and over again. After each phrase he would grab his leg with his beak.

Aboo at the Ballard Farmers Market with a halter.

Aboo remains very skittish, and we need to put a halter on him when we take him out. We've already had to call the Ballard Tree Service twice to fish him out of the neighborhood trees! Aboo took to wearing his halter right away. He so wants to please, that he just sits on my knee, and let's me or my partner put the halter over his head.

This shows you how unmanageable and unhandleable Aboo is now!

Two of the best things to happen to Aboo were getting a cage that he could consider his own space, and meeting our first blue and gold macaw, Miss Bubba Boy. So far (fortunately) the two have shown no interest in mating, but Aboo clearly recognizes Bubba as the alpha bird in the house, and wants to cozy up to her. He's happiest sitting next to Bubba on Bubba's T-stand. But he frequently asks to be carried to his room and to his own house, where he loves to sit on his hanging rope ring and play with his toys. Because he's so skittish, he can't live next to a window, so his house is in one of the basement rooms. We call him our guard dog, because no one can walk past the house on the sidewalk without him raising an alert.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

It's Tough Being A Parrot: Part I

Our blue and gold macaw Aboo is molting.

Aboo dropped a 24 and 1/2 inch long tail feather today.

He's making room for a new tail feather rapidly coming in.

Just check out the size of the sheath protecting the new feather. How'd you like to have something that size sticking out of your rear end? Aboo was extremely uncooperative when we helped him remove the sheath. It was like he was being murdered or something!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ethiopian Coffee Ritual

For those of you thinking of eventually joining me in the Church of Keffe, followers of the Prophet Khaldi, the discoverer of the Tree of Life, the Coffea Arabica, the church requires certain rituals, just as with any other church. With the Church of Keffe, it's the Ethiopian coffee ritual. The Seattle Times newspaper ran a delightful description of this ritual in its April 6, 2009 edition.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Kitty Hell When Birds Rule: In Memorium: Tao Tao and Ketchikan

Kitty hell is cats living in a house where birds rule.

In Memorium:

Tao Tao (above) January 30, 1997--August 9, 2007
Ketchican (below) July 15, 2001--March 1, 2009

They're off romping through kitty paradise where cats chase birdies, the way things should be for a cat!

Life in our home started out as paradise for Tao Tao. A tabby surrendered to the animal shelter by his original owner, Tao Tao arrived in our house first, before any of the birds. Tao Tao originally lived in a one bedroom apartment, and the look of utter amazement when he moved in with us was almost palpable. We had not just one room, but a living room, a kitchen, a couple of bedrooms. Then he discovered the basement with a den, couches, and even more rooms. Could life get any better?

Then we got Roxanne, our first bird. The day we brought Roxanne into the house, Tao Tao freaked out! Roxanne freaked out! I had to sit and hold Tao Tao in the living room for two days before he finally figured out that Roxanne wasn't going to eat him alive!

Tao Tao eventually got used to Roxanne's presence in the house. She pretty much stayed put on her stand, and Tao Tao stayed out of her way. But then we got Miss Bubba Boy, and life for Tao Tao went to hell in a hand basket! Bubba Boy wouldn't stay put on her stand. Bubba had been raised with a dog, Booker, and Bubba had been in the habit of chasing Booker around the house. So, guess what? This was not good. And then we got even more birds. All Tao Tao wanted to be was a big ole lap kitty, and it was tough being a big ole lap kitty when there were birds around bigger than the cat! Tao Tao often sat on the couch and snarled at the crows out in the yard. Occasionally he would snarl at one of our smaller birds.

Tao Tao died at the height of the tainted pet food scandel, and we don't doubt he was probably poisoned by the food he ate. We buried him in front of the picture window with his favorite toys.

Ketchikan was forever a feral cat. He was born under the neighbor's back deck and was literally a clone of his mother, Moonbeam. We called mom Moonbeam because for years she was nocturnal, and was never seen during daylight. In the last couple of years however, she's reversed the pattern and comes out during the daytime to eat the food we put out for her on our back porch. She's still completely feral and lives wild, but when you see her out lounging on the adirondack chair in the back yard, she looks like anybody's regular house cat! We trapped her once and had her fixed, so she doesn't produce any more litters of feral cats.

Moonbeam's first litter after we moved into our house apparently did not survive. Ketchikan was in the second (and last) litter. Ketchikan had a sibling which also did not survive. When we captured Moonbeam we also captured Ketchikan, and we kept him in the house. Both Tao Tao and Ketchikan were strictly house cats.

Ketchikan immediately bonded to Tao Tao and followed him all around the house. Tao Tao would eat first, and then Ketchikan would eat. Tao Tao would use the litter box, and then Ketchikan. I think it drove Tao Tao crazy sometimes to have a shadow. But if a stranger came into the house, Ketchikan disappeared. And Ketchikan would have nothing to do with us humans. Ketchikan only started sitting on the couch with yours truly after Tao Tao died. He only reluctantly finally started to accept petting. Ketchikan was lost without Tao Tao. More than anything, he probably died of a broken heart. We buried Ketchikan, and his favorite toys, with his old bud Tao Tao, and now they are off in kitty paradise snarling and chasing after birdies, the way things should be for a cat!

We miss our kitties, but it just wouldn't be fair to bring another cat into a bird house! And we still have Moonbeam running free outside!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Friday, February 27, 2009

Time to Frog March Karl Rove Into Jail!

On February 23, Karl Rove was supposed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee in accordance with a Congressional subpoena. But Rove didn't show up. Again.

Rove didn't show up last year when he was ordered to testify, because his old friend President Bush said that Rove's testimony was protected by executive privilege. Now that Bush is no longer in office, we may finally have an opportunity to learn the truth about his alleged misdeeds, from authorizing voter suppression tactics to orchestrating the arrest of Alabama Governor Don Siegelman.

But even though we have a new president, Karl Rove is still acting like he's entitled to all the privileges that came with his old job.

The Obama administration has the power to clarify that Rove no longer has access to the "executive privilege" line of defense — since the executive in question is no longer in office. If that happened, a judge would have a lot more power to compel Rove to comply with the subpoena, and we might finally begin to learn the truth about his activities.

Whig Redux

Whig (hwig, wig), n.

1.   Amer. Hist.

      b. a member of a political party (c1834–1855) that was formed in opposition to the Democratic party, and favored economic expansion and a high protective tariff, while opposing the strength of the presidency in relation to the legislature.

Whig Party (United States)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The party was ultimately destroyed by the question of whether to allow the expansion of slavery to the territories. With deep fissures in the party on this question, the anti-slavery faction successfully prevented the nomination of its own incumbent President Fillmore in the 1852 presidential election; instead, the party nominated General Winfield Scott, who was soundly defeated. Its leaders quit politics (as Lincoln did temporarily) or changed parties. The voter base defected to the Republican Party, various coalition parties in some states, and to the Democratic Party. By the 1856 presidential election, the party had lost its ability to maintain a national coalition of effective state parties and endorsed Millard Fillmore, now of the American Party, at its last national convention.

Don't say History doesn't repeat itself! The Republican Party Whigs Out!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Joker: Deck of 54 War Criminal Playing Cards: Karl Christian Rove

Probably no one exemplifies the Dark Side as well as the ironically named Karl Christian Rove! His role as The Joker has been a work in progress since his college days breakin into the campaign office of Illinois Treasurer candidate Alan Dixon to steal campaign letterhead to print fake campaign flyers. A classic chickenhawk, who maintained a student deferrment during the Vietnam War years, and protege of Watergate conspirator Donald Sengretti, Rove painted World War II bomber pilot George McGovern as a left wing peacenik! Rove later helped Swift Boat another war veteran John Kerry! Rove appropriately learned to dig through opponent's trash cans during the Watergate scandal.

The master of rascist innuendo and scare tactics, Karl Rove engineered the smear of John McCain's 2000 presidential campaign with the allegation that McCain fathered an illegitimate black child. Rove was responsible for the terror warnings during the 2004 campaign, whenever John Kerry's poll numbers went up.

Karl Rove's pranks and scaremongering reached the level of war crimes with his organization and direction of the White House Iraq Group, beginning eight months prior to the invasion of Iraq. Karl Rove became the Joseph Goebbels of the Bush Administration, the Propaganda Minister who strove to convince the American public that black was white, and day was night, all apparent evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. Further, Rove helped leak the identity of the CIA operative Valery Plame, a federal offense if ever there was one, even if he did manage to avoid prosecution! Karl Rove helped engineer the dismissal of the U.S. Attorneys not proactive enough in prosecuting Democratic opponents.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Crime and Punishment

We are already making great progress in moving forward on President Obama's agenda — but the memory remains of a president and vice president whose disregard for our founding principles will be their true historical legacy. On January 6th, House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers introduced House Resolution 104, "to establish a national commission on presidential war powers and civil liberties." The bill would impanel a Blue Ribbon Commission to investigate potential crimes and Constitutional violations committed by the Bush Administration under the seemingly impenetrable curtain of "unreviewable war powers." The commission would be comprised of non-governmental experts on the relevant subject matter, and it would have the subpoena powers necessary to do their important work.

This is a critically important piece of legislation — without it, we may never know the breadth of crimes committed by Bush Administration officials, what lengths they went to in order to dupe the public into a war that has cost thousands of lives, or how many innocent men and women have been kidnapped and tortured and denied due process in violation of both the Geneva Convention and our own Constitution. Additionally, the legislation would only cost $3 million — pocket change in the world of Congressional appropriations.

Americans deserve to know the truth about the Bush Administration's alleged crimes — and we need to make sure no president ever repeats them. We are hopeful about the future, but that does not mean we can afford not to be vigilant about our past.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Off With Their Heads: Deck of 54 War Criminal Playing Cards: The Queen of Spades: Dick (Darth) Cheney

Now that the celebrations are over and the Obama era has been launched, it's time to turn to the hard work of investigating and prosecuting the assholes and war criminals who got us into this mess in the first place! I'm proposing the Deck of 54 Project: War Criminal Playing Cards, to help organize and keep track of the major co-conspirators and war criminals. Of course I know that a deck of cards has 52 cards. I'm including two Jokers, Karl Rove, and a second Joker yet to be named.

I'm going to start by proposing a few of the major co-conspirators and war criminals. Each will get their own card. No doubt George Dubya will be the Ace of Spades. But I'm open to suggestion for the remaining 51 cards. If you have names to suggest here's your chance. Better yet, in you have artwork please pass it along.

No one deserves the inaugural (pun intended) card better than Darth Cheney. No one has done more to subvert the Constitution of the United States, the civil rights of Americans, and the American Way of Life than Darth Cheney! No one's actions entail High Crimes and Misdemeanors more than the actions of Darth Cheney! No one is more deserving of being locked up in a Super Max Federal Slammer for the remainder of their miserable life than this asshole!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Our Flock: Bubba's Brood

After we had Roxanne, our first bird, for about a year, we felt confident enough to rescue a Blue and Gold macaw from an appointment with a breeding facility. When Miss Bubba Boy came to us she was already seven years old. Roxanne was still only 3 and one-half years, and far from being sexually mature. We didn't have a clue! We expected a male Blue and Gold. We took her to our veterinarian for a checkup and a DNA test, and Bubba Boy came back to us a DNA-sexed female! We had already noticed a penchant on her part for getting under towels and blankets, and for chewing on t-shirts and socks.

We picked up a pine board crate at Ikea and stuck it in our walk-in closet with a bunch of old towels, shirts, and a derelict bathrobe. Miss Bubba Boy happily started chewing away. Within a month of acquiring her she's sitting on an egg! Are we surprised. Of course the egg wasn't fertile. We had no male macaw in the house at the time. Exactly three days (and 15 minutes) later she laid another. With clockwork precision she laid a third and fourth. Each exactly three days apart, give or take fifteen minutes. We could easily predict the time of the third and fourth egg. Were we relieved when a fifth did not appear!

Reading everything we could find about egg laying parrots, we decided to let her sit on the eggs, rather than take them away. This could simply have triggered another egg-laying episode, not a healthy thing for a parrot. And talk about a devoted mother! We brought her food and water. To ensure she got some exercise, we would take her to her cage in an adjacent room to do poopy, and let her run back to the nest. Can she run! Of course if I or any one of the cats came near the nest, look out! After a couple of weeks of sitting she would occasionally stroll out of the nest and wander about for a short time. After the third week, she would roll each egg in the order laid under the blanket and turn her attention to the remaining eggs. By the fourth week she gave up on the last egg and returned to her cage! We immediately took the crate out of the closet and out of sight!

For the next couple of years we deliberately prevented Miss Bubba Boy from trotting into closets and tearing up old shirts and blankets. She tried newspapers for awhile, but that didn't seem to be quite as satisfying. We breathed a sigh of relief when the next year passed by without any eggs, and another sigh of relief the following year. When the third year passed without any eggs we thought that maybe she was over it. But the old adage is true: Where there's a will, there's a way!

Miss Bubba Boy and her first clutch of eggs came to us in 2002. By 2006 she was ready for another. Remember, we deliberately kept her out of closets and away from clothes and blankets to chew up. So what does she do: She lays a clutch of three eggs on the bathroom mat next to the toilet! Again, with nearly the same precision as her original clutch. The only difference was, the clutch was three eggs instead of four, and the third egg came an hour early. Well, it made going to the bathroom a challenge for a month! Thankfully we have a second bathroom in the basement. Nearly three years later Miss Bubba Boy seems mellow and supremely serene. No additional eggs yet. We've got our fingers crossed, but. . . you never know!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Living With Flighted Parrots

None of our seven parrots have their wings clipped, and of the seven, only one (Roxanne the Greenwing macaw) is flightless.  Please see her blog entry below for a discussion of the reasons why. Our parrots generally live outside their cages (or houses as we call them) during the day when we are home. Fortunately, our lifestyle allows for someone to be home most of the time during the day.  Of course, if we're both out, the birds are generally, with some exceptions, moved into their houses for the duration.

When out, the birds are allowed to fly or scamper around as they wish. Some of the birds, such as the 'too and 'tiel are more inclined to fly than the others. The macaws, with the exception of Tara the Hyacinth macaw, generally prefer to walk or run to where they want to go. Before having birds, I could never have imagined how fast macaws can run when they are motivated! And then there's Tara. She's just as liable to fly as walk to her destination, and watch out if she decides to do a 180! It's like having a miniature B52 in your house!

Of course having flighted birds presents special challenges in keeping your birds, yourselves, and your house safe. Finding reliable information is difficult. Fortunately, a website has been established by the current president of the Northwest Exotic Bird Society, Mona Delgado, an experienced parrot person and long time flyer of parrots herself. The website includes links to other resources providing information about flying birds both indoors and outdoors.