Monday, December 27, 2004

The Parakeet and the Snow Peas

Once upon a time (this is a true story, by the way), my sister had a parakeet named Buddy. Now, Buddy was no ordinary budgie. He could talk ("Pretty boy!"), he could drink vodka (didn't hold it very well, though, let me tell ya... and there's nothing more unsightly than a drunken bird), and his favorite meal was spaghetti. He had full run of the house, but would usually alight on a mirror. Yes, Buddy was very very vain.

Now, Sis had had this bird for YEARS. He moved to New York with her after she finished college. He moved back to Iowa with her when she got fed up with the rat race. During this time, Sis lived with our mother and stepfather in Des Moines. They had a huge house (this is before the Dome Home). Buddy was king of the castle. That is, until one day my stepdad brought home a Quaker parrot for Mom.

This parrot was, quite simply, evil. His name was Rope. Odd name for a bird, eh? Except that this little fucker would carry a lengthy piece of rope everywhere it flew. Probably hoping to lasso Buddy and peck him to death. But Buddy, in Rope's defense, would go out of his way to fly into whatever room in which Rope was holing up and torment him. It's an understatement to say these birds did NOT get along. Unfortunately for Buddy, though, his life of glamour and jet-setting was soon to change.

For starters, after a particularly tiresome week for Rope, he decided that Buddy needed to pay. And pay he did. One by one, Rope plucked out Buddy's tail feathers. This had the effect, essentially, of plucking out a cat's whiskers. Even while not drunk on vodka, Buddy had a hell of a time maneuvering in flight and many a rocky landing (or splatting into mirrors, walls and the like) soon befell his usual graceful flight from room to room.

One bright shiny morning, no Rope in sight, Buddy flew into the front room of the house where my parents had an office set up. This was back in the early 80's when furniture was chrome and minimalistic. Perhaps it still is and I just haven't noticed. Buddy found himself losing altitude and alit on one of the legs of a chrome chair. He soon warmed up to his reflection in the post and quietly contented himself to cooing over such a handsome bird. The office phone rang and my parents' business partner rolled over to answer it, not knowing Buddy was underneath the seat doing his Narcissus impression.

Chrome is slick. Buddy didn't stand a chance. He promptly toppled off his perch and was run over by one of the chair coasters. Now, in addition to no tail feathers, Buddy had a broken wing. Of course my sister rushed him to the vet. Imagine her horror when the vet suggested she put him down. What?!!! Euthanize Buddy because he has no tail feathers and a broken wing?!!! Preposterous!!

So she brought him home. He healed up rather slowly since he was still allowed out of his cage to 'fly'. Well, with no tail feathers and a broken wing, poor little Buddy could only fly in half-hearted circles. Nor could he keep away from Rope (have I mentioned that Rope was evil?). It was really only a matter of time.

One dark, stormy afternoon, Buddy was sitting at the kitchen counter having a small feast of spaghetti. Happily chortling to himself, he didn't notice the evil shadow as Rope flew over him. Before anyone could intervene to protect the hapless budgie, Rope swooped in for the kill and bit off one of Buddy's legs. My sister tried. She really did. She packed little Buddy's shorn limb in some ice, put him in a large shoebox, and drove to the vet.

Alas, it was the straw that... that... well, that ended Buddy's life. The vet assurred my sister there was no way he could reattach the leg, and given that Buddy still had a bum wing (and yes, NO tail feathers), he was able to convince her that, for the sake of the bird, she should put him down.

Now, at the risk of sounding like a heartless bitch (which I most certainly can be), that bird had one heck of a great (and loooong) life. But this way, he was 'retired' before Rope could make off with another part of his anatomy. Of course my sister was devastated. She didn't want to bury him; the mere thought of it would send her into hour-long crying jags. So my parents consoled her by keeping Buddy in his little makeshift coffin in the kitchen freezer next to the snow peas. For a year and a half.

Then they moved out to the Dome Home in the country. Buddy was then relegated to the deep freeze in the garage, once again with the snow peas to keep him company. For another year. And then, some two and half years after his demise, Buddy was laid to rest on a balmy September afternoon in one of Mother's flower beds.

RIP, Buddy. Cheers!

Who dat snappin' back? |

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Been awhile...

Personal feelings aside, this post has been removed by author out of...
Well, it's been removed.

Who dat snappin' back? |

Friday, December 17, 2004

Ze ant sirs to yer queshtuns

Kristin asks: What is one of your goals for 2005? To be happy. Oh, and to join another gym and get back to working out... which will lead to Cooter being a lean mean snark machine yet again. If you could live anywhere in the world where would you choose? I'd like to spend several years of traveling before I decide. In the meantime, my head is as good a place as any. What is your biggest regret in life? I'd like to say I have no regrets (and for the most part that's true), but if I had to choose, it would be not taking a foreign language in high school and, therefore, having to take four semesters of it in college.

Michael asks: What superpower would you have? Easy! I'd fly! Like an eagle! To the sea! Fly like an eagle! Let my spirit carry me! I want to fly like an eagle! Till I'm free! What's the greatest TV show ever? This one's kinda hard to answer... 1/2-hour sitcoms? I'd go for 'Frasier', 'The Simpsons', 'Barney Miller' or 'M*A*S*H'. Hour-longs? 'Northern Exposure', 'Star Trek: The Next Generation', 'Desperate Housewives' or 'Boston Legal'. (I evidently cannot make up my mind...) What country would you like to visit that you haven't been to? I would love to go to Egypt and satisfy all or some of my archaeological curiousities.

Jay asks: Which blogger do you love the most, besides me? Cooter...duh...! Which blogger irritates the hell out of you, besides me? Geez, Jay... NO ONE irritates me except for you. Then again, there's always the scapegoat, Todd Vodka. If you could meet any blogger in bloggerville, who would it be, besides me? Jack. I really want to see what he looks like. I'd even take a cell phone picture of him and discreetly share... ok. No, I would not. My cell phone is not equipped to take pictures. Camera? What's that?

BEEz asks: Are they real? Yes, and they're hiding under your bed. What is your favorite color? Hey, if you're gettin' me a Christmas sweater, my favorite color is GREEN!!! What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow? Hashing out the classic question with Strouhal numbers and simplified flight waveforms, we can predict the airspeed using a published formula. By inverting the Strouhal ratio of 0.3 (fA/U ≈ 0.3), as a rule of thumb, the speed of a flying animal is roughly 3 times frequency times amplitude (U ≈ 3fA). We now need only plug in the numbers:
U ≈ 3fA

f ≈ 15 (beats per second)
A ≈ 0.22 (meters per beat)
U ≈ 3*15*0.22 ≈ 9.9
... to estimate that the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow is 10 meters per second. Problem solved, question answered.

Defiant Heart asks: What's your favorite movie? It's impossible to have ONE, but some of my favorites are 'Bladerunner', 'The Princess Bride', 'When Harry Met Sally' (no comments from the peanut gallery, please), 'Dead Man', 'Angel Heart', 'The Thin Man' and 'Bad Santa'. What is your dream job? To be fiction editor for a small but successful publishing firm. If you were to be stuck on a deserted island for the rest of your life and could only take one person with you, past or present, living or dead, who would it be? Bela Lugosi. Or maybe Ralph Fiennes... *drool*

Julie asks: What do you want to be when you grow up? An old woman with a heart full of happy memories. Favorite holiday? Thanksgiving, for sure. Food, drink, food... What was your favorite toy when you were little? It was this little stuffed animal, a rabbit. The fabric that made up his body is that wacky 60's psychadelic floral, he has (had, actually) felt ears, metal button eyes and a little felt nose (which I promptly chewed off). He also had a vest and a pair of knickers, but they got lost. His name is Gnash (odd, considering I was munchin' on HIM all the time) and I still have him. 'Course his stuffing has since turned to crouton consistency and he's pretty hideous to look at... but I still love him all the same.

Catt asks: If something happened to the Poog (heaven forbid!) would you get another pug puppy? I'm not sure I could ever 'replace' Gus aka Mr. Chadwick, but if I had to do it all over again, I'm damn happy to have gotten a pug. What do you want for Christmas - your ideal gift? World peace... and a diamond tiara. When are we going to NOLA? How 'bout as soon as possible so I can get out of this godforsaken frozen hole? Actualmente, I think Feb.-March sounds ideal.

Esther asks: Which is your favourite holiday? It will always be Thanksgiving. As a kid, did you ever dream of becoming a ... ? Certified public accountant? Nope. Not even once. Do you play a musical instrument? Oh God no. And not for lack of trying, either.

El Sid asks: Do you like it? Oh yes, indeedy I do! Would you share it with a friend? No! It's mine... ALL mine!!! How about it, then? Whatchoo talkin' 'bout? Hey! Get yer piddy paws offa my... dammit, Sid. You just got yer chocolate in my peanut butter!

Restless Angel asks: Favorite comic strip ever? Calvin and Hobbes!! Favorite music group of all time? The Pretenders. Your top three favorite movies of the year? Um, this is embarrassing, but I don't think I've BEEN to three movies this year. I saw one of those Lord of the Rings movies. That was ok. I saw 'Gothika', but can't remember if it was this year or last year that I saw it, but it made me scream like a little girl. Oh! I saw 'Lost in Translation' and loved it!!

Inanna asks: If Halloween was tomorrow and you were 8 years old, what would you dress up like? I will steal this idea from Jesse M.'s son: I would get all sorts of those sticky name tags, write all sorts of different monikers on them, and go as... *drum roll*... AN IDENTITY CRISIS!! (He thought this one up on his own!) Most memorable gift? My first dog, Tuddles. Would you prefer burial or cremation upon death? (Sorry.. not very in tune with the holidaze now is it?) Cremation, hands down. I'm claustrophobic and will likely take that with me into the afterlife, so gettin' stuck in a box in the ground is OUT.

Kristen asks: What qualities of you as a child do you want to restore and what ones are you happy about being gone? I'd love to restore the intensity and creativity I had as a kid, but I'm damn happy to not be as withdrawn. Describe your ideal, realistically achievable dream for yourself. Being with The One. What are you doing right now to get there? Not a damn thing... I don't think you can go out and search for it. When he comes along, I just hope I'm not too dense to figure it out. What fills your soul? Kindness towards others. What depletes it? Pettiness.

Thanks for playing one and all! And that, me pretties, is all she wrote.

Who dat snappin' back? |

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Recommend, ask, pass along

(A) First, recommend to me:
1. a movie
2. a book
3. a musical artist, song, or album

(B) Ask me three questions, no more, no less. Ask me anything you want. Answers will be posted next week--great time for strangers to say hi.

(C) Then go back to your blog, copy and paste this allowing your friends to ask you anything; say that you stole it from me.

Lifted from our pal Fresc at,, who lifted it from her pal at Intellectual Poison, Intellectual Poison: NSFW Since 2002.

Who dat snappin' back? |

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Comfortably damned.

'Tis the season, eh? A month and a half of festivities, hedonism and excess. Woo-hoo! Who would argue with that out of a nation of fat, lazy Americans? (No offense to any of you flesh-deficient folk). But seriously, I know I'm not alone when I say just how very much I DREAD this time of year. It's not that I don't like to eat or drink or be merry, but for chrissakes, do we NEED a 'special' time of the year in which to do it? I think not. Oh, and my apologies for skating right over the "true" meaning of Christmas, but the religious aspect of it really doesn't ring as true for me as the fact that I am simply exchanging debt with my family. Bah humbug!

A friend of mine is in Arizona for three weeks (work related, so don't be too jealous), and e-mailed me the other day asking how things were. My sarcastic response was "Along with The Tedious Minutae, relationships gone sour, the Christmas/debt conundrum, that darn fly in my soup, and mitochondrial DNA, I'm dealing with the same old crap, different ribbon." See, yesterday I was feelin' a little blue. But today, I'm feelin' not so blue. Heck, tomorrow I might feel ok, and if it keeps on this upward spiral, I just might feel pretty good by Sunday, only to face the whole damn week starting all over again.

So this started me thinking on the spiral of life, and I came to the conclusion that I am like one of Escher's ants on a Mobius strip. Y'know? Just plodding along day after day, year after year, doing the same old thing. But then I got to wonderin': is that really so bad? My life doesn't exactly suck. It may not be absolutely thrilling or exciting all the time, but I've had many a happy moment. I've done some things in my life that I'm really proud to have accomplished. Remember the old Chinese curse "May your life be interesting"? Well, my life has had its times of just that. So maybe I should look at my "same old crap, different ribbon" life and be thankful to be comfortably damned.

Happy Holidays!!! (Whether I mean it or not... heh heh...)

Who dat snappin' back? |

Wednesday, December 01, 2004


I find, living as I do over the bar in which I work, that the jukebox tends to be the bane of my existence. Songs by Greg Brown thump away into the night and make the glass rattle and hum in my bedroom windows. Nondescript bands with nuthin' to say, backed by an overdone bass line, disturb my dreams and whatever peace and quiet I attempt to glom onto between songs night after night.

Last night was no different. I was lying in bed reading 'The Bone People' by Keri Hulme. I was trying to envision the solitude of Kerewin's tower, but the jukebox had other plans. So I switched over to that wildly-popular-with-single-women book, 'He's Just Not That Into You'. (Yeah, yeah... don't give me any shit. At least I'm trying to understand the opposite sex, which is a hell of a lot more than I can say for some of the boneheads I've dated.)

After about an hour of trite advice (which I evidently NEED to read), the ol' lids were startin' to get a little droopy. After I turned out the light, I just remained on my back, eyes open... you know, kinda mulling things over. 'Passionate Kisses' by Mary Chapin Carpenter was playing downstairs. As it was winding down, I thought to myself, "It's about time to drift off... why hasn't 'The Weight' played yet?"

"I pulled into Nazareth, was feelin' 'bout half past dead..." **DINK** It played next. Don't know why, but a large percentage of time, this is the song that puts me to sleep at night. And it came to me just when I needed it.

Unfortunately, about three hours later, I awoke. I didn't open my eyes right away as I was trying to ascertain what it was that had wrested me from my deep slumber. Nope, wasn't having a nightmare. In fact, it was a great dream... I was right in the middle of it... damn, what was it?... Hmm... Nope, I don't hear any critters whining or complaining or pawing on the door. There's no car parked in the lot outside my bedroom with muffled yet audible hip hop playing. And then I heard it... the unmistakable sound of the bar's front door shutting with a whump! as the bartender left for the night.

This is a first for me -- the QUIET woke me up. When I move (**fingers crossed... please let it be soon, please let it be soon...**), I'm going to have to recondition myself to sleep. I'm also going to need to purchase a CD by The Band.

Who dat snappin' back? |

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