Friday, February 27, 2009

Parrots Teach Man to Speak Again

Brian Wilson, from Damascus, Maryland, suffered life-threatening injuries in the accidnet (sic) 14 years ago. He also lost his ability to speak.

But he now claims that the chatter of pet parrots confounded the bleak outlook of doctors, who were convinced that he would spend the rest of his life in bed at a nursing home.

"Two birds taught me to talk again," he said. "I had such a bad head injury I was never supposed to talk any more than a two-year-old."

But two of the birds that he had had as pets since he was a child "just kept talking to me and talking to me".

"Then all of a sudden, a word popped out, then two, then more."

To show his gratitude to the birds who helped him on the path to rehabilitation, Mr Wilson has devoted his life to feathered pets whose owners are no longer able or want to keep them.

He now shares his home with about 80 brightly plumed exotic birds, from snow-white cockatoos to scarlet or blue and green macaws to African grey parrots.

He has set up a foundation called the Wilson Parrot Foundation, which also offers the services of the birds to entertain at birthday parties and corporate events.

"You wonder why I rescue birds? They helped me to talk again, so now I take care of them," he said.

from 2/27/09

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Well, the last update saw us with a statewide emergency situation of an ice storm. Then it snowed about four inches. Then, in a day or so, it turned 60 degrees for a couple of days. Typical weather around here.

It was 50 degrees here this afternoon, and by 7 we were having a mini-blizzard so thick I could barely see to drive home from the movies with a friend.

Let's see -- last week my 14.5 year old refrigerator died, which I did not appreciate. I'm used to appliances lasting and lasting and lasting. But, as my cousin reminded me, appliances today are loaded with features and mostly made in China. So I bit the bullet and bought a new one. My old refrigerator was very wide and the door wouldn't open completely all the way without hitting the stove (I have a pitifully small kitchen), but I just put seldom-used stuff on that side.

So I bought a side-by-side with ice/water dispenser, even though I don't need or really want them. The only models they had without the dispenser was $1,400 -- no, it doesn't make sense to me either. I don't have a water line set up for the dispenser, so I've called my plumber to see how much that would cost. He hasn't called me back, which makes me think it'll cost way more than I can afford. Lucky me, my income tax refund will pay for the frig.

It took a week for the frig to be delivered, and I threw out everything -- most of it old anyway. And today went grocery shopping. It ain't easy living without a frig for a week, and I had to refill my cooler every day.

Everything else is about the same. I've been really busy with (y'all send your pictures in now, ya hear?), and the chorus and just general life stuff.

Every evening I wonder why I want to learn how to play piano when I hate to practice so much, but O keeps after me and I'm very slowly progressing. I don't really mind practicing when I'm actually sitting at the keyboard, but it's so hard to make myself go do it. And my fingers keep getting confused about where they're supposed to be. O laughs and says it's my brain that controls my fingers, not the other way around. But I'm not convinced.

The chorus' winter concert was about a month ago, and we all wore evening gowns or long pants. I bought a teal sparkly gown with a deep neckine, and every move I made it threatened to release my breasts. But the bosoms stayed where they belonged and I enjoyed wearing something long and formal, so it all worked out (so to speak). I kidded my singing mates that I was the resident slut -- somebody has to do it, you know.

I've discovered and am really enjoying keeping up with my friends all over the country -- some of whom I actually know in person.

The publishing house that's publishing my poetry book contacted me -- it should be out in June, but he's concerned about the title. I had one title then changed it. He said the new one matches a zillion titles already in, and would I consider changing it again. So tonight I decided to title the book with the title of the penultimate poem in the book.

The birds are wonderfully spoiled and demanding, just as they should be. I just posted about a little game I've started with Charli.

I think that's about it! More news as it happens . . .

Charli Toes

I've started a little routine with my brown-headed parrot Charli. When it's time for bed, I cover up three sides of her cage. She likes to hang upside in the dark corner of the cage and watch the procedure.

One night, who knows why, I gently touched one of her toes while she was hanging upside down and said, "One Charli toe!." Then I touched the next toe and said, "Two Charli toe!", and so on. When I got to "Eight Charli toe!" I said it in an excited voice and patted all of her toes clinging to the bars of the cage. Then I told her it was sleepy time (code words) and pulled down the fourth cover of her cage.

She doesn't like her feet touched, but she tolerated this well. So I did this the next night, and she seemed to like it. Or at least tolerate it -- as you would the ravings of a lunatic -- no harm, just wait till it's over.

Now, of course, it's a nightly ritual. When I forget and start to pull down the last cover, she'll chirp and look at me, upside down. So I have to go play Charli Toes with her. It's very sweet. A friend of mine saw me do it one night and she just laughed. She has parrots, so she understands how insane they make us.