Thursday, October 30, 2008

Update on Effigy

Two men have been arrested for the effigy of Obama. It was reported on the news that they were remorseful and said it was just a prank that got out of hand. They said they got the idea from the Palin effigy in California that made the national news earlier this week.

If it was just a prank, why choose Obama -- a black man (half black and half white, remember)? Why not McCain or Biden or Palin?


As in not knowing anything of history, of what such a thing means to people of this state and this nation. Ignorance of how long and hard people have worked to overcome racism and sexism. Ignorance as in not being aware of how your behavior affects others, how a small act of hate or ignorance just sends out waves of more hate and ignorance.

I'm proud these guys were caught so quickly. It sends the message that such behavior will absolutely not be tolerated here, that we're a better people than some "prank."

Alex the Parrot; a Year Later

Last night I read Irene Pepperberg's new book, Alex & Me. An easy but emotional read for those of us who followed Pepperberg's work.

And last night Nightline did a segment on Alex.

A lot of us still miss Alex.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Someone placed an effigy of Barack Obama in a tree on our university's campus last night. With the neck in a noose.

I am ashamed and enraged that someone in this state would do such a thing.

Have we not learned anything about racism and hate in the past 50 years?

Who are these people who teach their children to hate people who are different from them?

Update: The president of the university sent out a strong letter to the university community, denouncing the act, as did the governor. Later on the afternoon news, the president, the governor, and the person who found the effigy all said that this does not represent the people of our state nor reflect badly on our state.

I did a Google on "effigy of Obama" and found this has been done on dozens of campuses across the country. So it is some small comfort that our state was not singled out.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

'Extinct' Cockatoo Rediscovered in Indonesia

Oct. 23, 2008 -- A species of cockatoo feared to have become extinct has been "rediscovered" with the sighting of a handful of breeding pairs on a remote Indonesian island, researchers said Thursday.

Ten Yellow-crested Abbott's cockatoos were found on the Masalembu archipelago off Java island, the Indonesian Cockatoo Conservation group said.

"We were excited when we found them in residential areas on Masakambing island," researcher Dudi Nandika said.

The group included four breeding pairs and two juveniles.

Despite the discovery the Yellow-crested Abbott's cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea abbotti) remains the rarest species of the bird on earth, he said.

It hasn't been seen since scientists observed a group of five in 1999, researcher Dwi Agustina said.

It was assumed that number was too low for the cockatoos to reproduce and the species had died out, Agustina said.

The local population of the cockatoo has been threatened by hunting and capture for the pet trade.

link to story here

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Rain today and cold tonight. Cold forecast for tomorrow as well.

The rain is very welcome; we're in a moderate drought here, but other counties in the state are in a severe drought.

But the first of the autumn rains means summer is over. And I'm not ready.

I've started back with my piano lessons, which means learning chords and trying to get my fingers to stretch and move independently of each other. But during today's practice I actually played two songs in mostly correct time and with chords. Yea!

A friend had to put down her German Shepherd yesterday. Looking over this blog I realize how many deaths that have touched me in some way there have been this year. I'm in my mid-50s now, and I guess I should get used to it. But I don't think you ever get used to it.

My mom had her 79th birthday Tuesday. For several months now she's been saying, "In a year I'll be eighty years old!" in an alarmed voice. I told her she'd better be enjoying her 79th year rather than worrying about something a year away. An old boyfriend called her, but said he didn't realize it was her birthday. Their breakup was bad; they're both stubborn and contrary and they both need to lighten up a little. But it's her business, not mine. She and I are kinda taking bets to see if he calls again and asks her out.

As for the neighbors . . . this past weekend a white Cadillac was in the driveway. Last Friday I finally got an Obama/Biden yard sign and I stuck in the yard. A few days later I saw the neighbors (who live on the corner) had put one in their yard, right at the corner.

Then maybe Monday when I parked and opened the car door, two of the puppies (now a lot bigger) came running over. I knocked on their door and said their dogs were out; the young black woman who I never see outside anymore said they had let the dogs out, they hadn't "escaped" from the fenced-in yard. She apologized, and I said it was fine -- I just didn't know if they were supposed to be out or not. While we were talking the puppies were all over my feet, playing.

Charli is still picking at her leg feathers. I think/guess what's happened is that I give all my babies Nutriberries as a nighttime treat, plus Charli eats her veggies and so on plus my dinner, which means she isn't eating as much of her Harrison's high-potency. When she doesn't eat Harrison's high-potency, she plucks. So I'm cutting back on the Nutriberries and putting more Harrison's high-potency pellets in her Special Treat Dish. She ate them last night, so I've got my fingers crossed that's why she's plucking her little leg feathers.

Well, I need to go. Sugar Franklin is on my shoulder, demanding scritches.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


I uncovered Charli this morning and was dismayed to see about 40-50 down feathers on the bottom grate. Charli was in her Hide 'n Sleep, acting afraid.

I got her out and she seemed to be coming out of that poicephalus freeze I imagine she had been in. It scared me to death.

She's had night frights and been afraid before but she's never pulled out feathers. She just finished a big molt so the feathers weren't coming from molting.

She just has a well-bird exam last week and passed with flying colors -- as usual. About a year ago Dr. Z and I noticed Charli was chewing on her little legs. We don't know why; Dr. Z said it could be habit or anxiety and recommended lots of foraging for her. Many of the feathers on the floor of the cage this morning were those small leg feathers.

Last night I found some old treats she loves -- little balls made of strips of white stuff wrapped around a seed ball. It takes a lot of effort to get the strips off and get to the seed inside, but Charli is always up for the challenge. I thought maybe she was having a reaction to it, and that was causing the feather loss. So they went in the trash.

She soon came around to her normal self -- trying to chew up the table, climb everywhere, eat my important papers, and so on. She's fine now, or seems to be.

I baked a big batch of Harrison's Birdy Bread, which is always a hit. And every birdy in the house seemed to enjoy it.

Autumn seems to be here already. I'm not ready. But things are beautiful here in teh fall.

At chorus rehearsal tonight, O and I made arrangements to get back to my piano lessons. I'm meeting her at 5:30 on Tuesday -- I haven't practiced in so long I'm not even sure where middle C is!

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Things have been relatively quiet lately. All is quiet with the neighbors. A never-ending stream of those awful political ads for senator of our state. Got a haircut today, too short, like a man's haircut -- but it'll grow out soon enough (I hope). Got a pedicure and manicure today. Got a full tank of gas and enough food and supplies to keep me for a month if necessary, and enough bird foods for a month or so.

Not that I'm paranoid, you understand. If this sort of thing interests you, just Google for October 7, 2008 and/or for web bot project. Two other sites are and

I have no doubt we're on the verge of an economic collapse. We can't keep living on credit the way we have been (businesses, government, individuals) without paying the price -- so to speak.

If there's any doubt among my two or three readers -- I'm voting Obama. I cannot abide the thought of another four years of Bush in the guise of McCain. Several of my friends and I have been having a wonderful time exchanging links about Palin and the October 7 "event" and the economy. Things can look so bad you have to laugh or lose your mind.

My little birds are perfect, as always. Nicholas makes kissy noises after bedtime -- I think he's fussing at me for staying up past his bedtime. I've been keeping Sugar Franklin out longer than usual and giving her more scritches -- she's been short-tempered with me lately and I think maybe she's been shortchanged (or believes she's been shortchanged) on attention from me. She's responded well to this extra attention, though she still bites my ear once in awhile just because.