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!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Today Is Probably the First Day in My Adult Life That I've Been Proud of My Country!

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.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Born On The Fourth of July! Our Flock and Our Alpha Bird: Miss Bubba Boy!

Miss Bubba Boy is our second bird, and our only bird with a known hatch date. She was hatched on July 4th, 1995! Miss Bubba Boy is a DNA sexed female Blue and Gold macaw (Ara ararauna). She was raised from birth by an elderly couple who were planning to sell their house, buy an RV, and retire to Arizona. Miss Bubba Boy would have gone to a breeding facility if we had not acquired her. She was bonded to the missus, and definitely favors women. Bubba immediately bonded to my significant other, and would scream any time she lost sight of her. Bubba attacked yours truly unmercifully for a couple of years before we finally worked out a relationship. For quite the while I wore heavy slippers around the house and got nimble into leaping in and out of bed if Bubba was on the loose! Now she hucks for me and makes a game out of chasing me around the house. Bubba loves to chase me down and back up the stairs into the basement! And god forbid if the cat gets around! If Bubba had been our first bird, we would have given up birds long ago!

Bubba's original owners were convinced that Bubba was a boy. So Bubba was named after a Top Ten Country hit of the time by Mark Chesnutt, Bubba Shot the Juke Box. Who would have figured our first two birds were both named after songs! We acquired Bubba at age seven, and took the bird to our veterinarian for a checkup and DNA test. Well, turned out Bubba Boy was not a boy after all. Of course we could have saved the $50 fee. Within a month Bubba Boy laid four eggs! She laid each egg precisely three days apart, give or take fifteen minutes. By the third and fourth eggs, we knew exactly when it would be laid! She's now laid two sets of eggs, each set with the same precision. Of course the eggs were not fertile, not having a male macaw in the house.

As our flock grew, Bubba quickly acquired the mantle of Alpha bird, and soon developed a serenity and poise to match. Roxanne, the Diva and our first bird, simply ignored Bubba, as she does any bird. But our subsequent birds all defer to Bubba, and show a level of respect that indicates they all understand that Bubba is the Alpha bird. The other birds will play with, challenge, and annoy each other, but they uniformly steer clear of Bubba. Alpha birds are not appointed or elected, they just are, and the others seem to understand that!

Common Myths About Parrots and Parrot Care

Thanks to fellow Canuck Bruce Byfield for debunking several common myths about parrots and parrot care.