Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Zygodactyl: Cannabis Butter Coffee

Seattle has long been the Center of the Coffee Universe, and now has become Cannabis Central after Washington State became only the second state in America to legalize recreational pot. So it only makes sense to marry the two. Pot and Coffee. Cannabis Coffee. We have created a coffee drink we're calling The Zygodactyl: Cannabis Butter Coffee. Here's how you make it:


2 cups of brewed coffee (While you're at it, might as well use the best 100% parrot friendly Red Tail Brand coffee on the planet from Coffee Parrot Coffee)

1 heaping tablespoon of Pot Butter*

Coconut Milk (NOT coconut water or coconut juice; Coconut Milk!) Coconut milk is the liquid that comes from the grated meat of a brown coconut. It should not be confused with coconut water. The color and rich taste of coconut milk can be attributed to the high oil content. Most of the fat is saturated fat. Coconut milk is a very popular food ingredient used in Southeast Asia. Don't worry about the calories. Life is too short.

Which brings to mind a coconut and parrot joke. Question: A monkey, a squirrel, and a parrot are racing to the top of a coconut tree. Which will get the banana first, the monkey, the squirrel, or the parrot? Answer: None of them, because you can’t get a banana from a coconut tree!

Sorry, but that was the best we could do.

Okay, back to making Cannabis Butter Coffee.

First, heat the container you are going to froth your coffee and pot butter in with hot boiling water. Dump the water.

Put the brewed coffee and the pot butter into a hot mug or hot blender. Wait 10-15 seconds for the butter to melt. If adding sweetener, add it before blending the beverage. Froth the coffee (either with a hand held frother or a blender).

Lastly, top with coconut milk. Serve immediately. Delicious iced or hot.

Bon Appétit! You might keep a bag of Doritos handy.

*Vary serving size according to personal taste and temperament.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

I am S. Shiva, Parrot Astrologer

Parrot astrology is a tradition that originated in India. In the world of parrot astrology, the parrot (usually an Indian Ringneck Parrot) picks your fortune card and the fortune teller takes the role of an interpreter and conveys the message of the card. The first parrot astrologers originated from the South Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Typical tools of trade include a set of 27 fortune cards based on the Indian cosmic system, images of Hindu gods, charts, a notebook, a simple cage crafted out of bamboo or wood, and most importantly, a parrot.

Upon receiving a customer’s name and birth date, the fortune teller taps on the cage signaling the parrot to walk out of the cage along the stack of 27 fortune cards, almost as if it is deliberating on which one to pick. It will then pull out a card with its beak, seemingly at random. Finally it would retreat into the cage. The fortune teller would then reveal the card and interpret the message for the customer, sometimes while referring to his or her notebook.

This profession is explicitly banned in India, along with the ownership of any wild parrot or other animal. Wildlife groups within India such as the Fauna Police are working to put an end to this traditional practice. The parrots involved in this practice are confined in overly small cages, mistreated, mutilated, and malnourished. Yet the practice survives. This article, in its entirety, was published in The Hindu, October 15, 2014:

I learnt parrot astrology from my father. It is our family profession and I have been doing it for the past 14 years. I belong to Tirunelveli but I keep travelling to various town and cities. After Diwali, I plan to leave Madurai and go to Pollachi. Parrot astrology is famous in Tamil Nadu and parts of Andhra Pradesh. Most astrologers come from Kambalathu Naicker community and we worship goddess Jakkamma. The method of astrology is more like tarot reading or soothsaying. We keep a set of 27 cards symbolising as many stars in the cosmic system. And these cards contain pictures of various Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Depending upon the card my parrot picks, I predict the fortune for the customer. Nowadays, people also have images of Mother Mary or Jesus.I have an eight-year-old male parrot and I call him ‘snake babu’. I had a female named Meenakshi which I gave away to a friend. Parrots are trained by elders and the experienced astrologers to pick cards. ‘Snake Babu’ was trained by my father. He had bought him for Rs.500 from Meenakshi temple. I feed my parrot grains like rice and wheat. Parrots that are bought from temples are considered auspicious for the profession. Though female parrots are traditionally used in astrology, male parrots are also used these days. For one reading, I charge Rs.20.* In a day, I get around 20 customers. Once I get married, I may take up some other business as part-time to support my family. My elder brother works in a textile shop in Tirunelveli. Since, it is compulsory for one member of the family to pursue kili josyam, I took it up. However, I like the job.

*At today's exchange rate, 20 rupees translates to 33 cents (US). So a day's wages equals $6.60.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Alarming Primeval Squawks at Random Intervals Sometimes for Several Hours Each Day

We live with nine parrots: five macaws, three African Greys, and a Goffin's Cockatoo. We know how loud parrots can be. Even when the doors and windows are closed we can still hear our parrots down the block. We know our neighbors can hear our parrots. It's a good thing we have good neighbors. One thing we simply can not imagine is living with a couple of hundred parrots.

Pity the poor people of Battisford, a little village with a population of 482 people, on Britain's east coast. 482 people. 500 parrots! This story, in its entirety, was published in the British tabloid Ipswich Star October 9, 2014 (italics added for emphasis):

Hundreds of parrots will have to be removed from a property after neighbours argued their “health and well being” had been affected by “unbearable” noise over five years. Sleep deprived residents in Battisford, near Stowmarket, believe the animals’ owner, Peter Hammond, has up to 500 of the birds.

Earlier today they won their case, when a retrospective application to keep the animals, as well as 10 gundogs, was dismissed by nine votes to one.

Mr Hammond’s daughter Angela Berry attended the Mid Suffolk District Council meeting in his place but declined to comment following the ruling. She defended keeping the animals and said her father has only up to 200 birds.

Mr Hammond will now have up to six months to challenge the decision.

Speaking after the meeting, Sarah Griffiths said it was an “enormous relief” for all the campaigners. In the hearing she claimed one neighbour had become so stressed because of the noise, described as “unbearable”, they had to have six months off work.

“The parrots, some of them macaws, emit what can only be described as alarming primeval squawks at random intervals sometimes for several hours each day,” she said.

“Every member of my family and most of our neighbours have suffered directly because of Mr Hammond’s hobby. We have gone to work exhausted and I have sent my children to school tired. We believe Mr Hammond’s hobby has devalued our area and compromised our health and well being.

“It is a noise that is cruel and completely unnecessary.”

Leader of Mid Suffolk, Derrick Haley, criticised the authority’s environmental health team for not measuring the noise from the objectors’ homes.

But David Harrold, a senior environmental protection officer at the council, said that would not have been appropriate. He said council recordings found the level of noise to be high enough to lead to a “loss of amenity” but not a “statutory nuisance” despite sound at night breaching World Health Organisation guidelines.

Mrs Berry said a 10-foot high, four-foot deep straw bale wall had been erected in 2013 and extended this year to dampen the parrots’ noise, some of which are kept in open aviaries.

The area, she argued, already has many other noises, including helicopters from Wattisham Airfield.

She said: “The list of complaints which have been offered to the parish council have not been substantiated in any way and some are beyond belief.”

One neighbour, Louise Ashman, spoke in support of Mr Hammond. She said it was “wonderful” to have someone who “dedicates his life” to the parrots, some of which are close to being classed as “endangered”. She also claimed that no more noise was made than local pig farms.

A RSPCA spokeswoman said it would not be able to help with moving the animals but could offer advice on the best way to do so.

Pigs? Parrots? Battisford sounds like a lovely place. Living with nine parrots, we can sympathize with the good people of Battisford, we really can. The village declared its independence from the United Kingdom, for a day, back in 1983. Wonder if they might try that route again?