Our birds, ourselves
Or: Here & There
The Daughter of The Gram With a Thousand Rules writes: “I really enjoy seeing all the bird photos here in BB. I miss hummingbirds, bluebirds, and chickadees the most, living here in the islands far from my Minnesota family.
“We do have some amazing other bird varieties here on Oahu, Hawaii. Many people don’t bother to put out feeders because we have trees and flowers that bring the colorful birds flocking to our yards.
“In my neighborhood, we have papaya trees that bring mynah birds (these guys can talk and mimic better than a mockingbird), lychee trees that are full of glorious red lychee fruit ready for picking (if you can beat the wild green parrots to them), and mango, breadfruit and starfruit trees filled with a variety of happy, chattering and chirping tropical birds. I have included a few pictures of the green parrots eating lychee and taking over a bird feeder.
“About eight years ago, my husband was surprised to see a beautiful lime- and lemon-sherbet-colored budgie walking among a flock of gray pigeons that were perusing the parking lot at his offices by the ocean in downtown Honolulu. The recently paroled little parakeet was desperately trying to talk and tell the pigeons something in what my husband guessed was Japanese. Since most budgies learn to talk only when raised from a chick, it appeared he might have escaped from a cage in a condo in one of the numerous high-rise buildings a few blocks away. But which one?
“Of course he had to save it. Luckily, he was able to coax the little guy into a box and brought him home, knowing he wasn’t going to last long on the city streets. Our three young kids were delighted, and my oldest daughter, who was taking Japanese in school, confirmed that the bird was indeed repeating lines one would hear from an answering machine, such as Moshi Moshi (Hello) and Arigatou (Thank you). Our elderly cat, Sara, was beyond caring about this noisy new member of the house and didn’t bother him or attempt to get at his cage. The same can’t be said of the two kittens, Gwen and Ozzie, that we rescued and adopted a few years later, after Sara passed away — but that is a whole other story for another time.
“The kids named the sweet-natured bird Jimmy Buffett the Budgie. They studied up about parakeets and their care. They learned he was a fairly young boy, by the coloring on his beak and around his nostrils. No one ever searched for him, and he soon became a permanent member of our Ohana. We would all talk to him and play with him. He learned his name, proudly exclaiming ‘JIMMY, Jim Jim JIM’ when coaxed. My husband taught him a few short pirate phrases, such as ‘Pieces of eight’ and ‘Shiver me timbers’ and ‘Where’s the rum?’ My son surprised me and taught him to say ‘Brett Favre’ just to randomly tease me about him becoming a Viking quarterback back in ’09. Jimmy would also play ‘basketball’ with a jingle bell and his water dish. My kids made a video back then of him, and you can see that here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkwzP9CyNq8&w=560&h=315.
“We discovered one day that Jimmy’s calls were interesting to the birds outside. We noticed that a few neighborhood mynah birds began making ‘Jimmy’ calls, taunting him to come and play on the other side of the lanai fence. I made a painting of Jimmy on the fence talking with some baby mynah birds:
“Despite the molting feathers and bird seed mess he really was an awesome little guy. We felt so lucky to have found him. He lived the Life of Riley, pampered and doted on by our Keiki and adored by the backyard bird gang.
“Thank you, BB, for keeping this community-of-strangers conversation and stories going!”
Joy of Juxtaposition
Your Late Night Lady: “How weird is it when you come across a word you haven’t seen or heard in probably 40 years . . . and it crops up twice in one hour?
“A new book of editor Will Shortz’s New York Times crossword puzzles arrived in my mailbox this morning. Of course I had to try at least one. One clue: ‘Equine : horse :: vulpine: _____.’ Three-letter word. A small bell from high-school Latin rang, then was verified when another clue provided the X at the end.
“One puzzle was enough, so I then pulled out my book club’s next selection, Scott Westerfeld’s ‘Uglies.’ On Page 105, we learn that a character has ‘vulpine eyes.’
“Now that is a real J of J.”
Vanity, thy name is . . .
Plus: Joy of Juxtaposition
Friendly Bob of Fridley: “Pulled up in the left-turn lane, and the plate on the pickup in front of me said ‘LAWLESS.’ Nothing too spectacular in that . . . except that the vehicle to the right of this pickup was a police car.”
Why I write (responsorial)
Arkansas Traveler Division
Ms. Mae of the Park: “Thanks for the link to Pete Seeger performing ‘The Arkansas Traveler.’
“It prompted me to dig around in the curio cabinet for forgotten treasure. During one of our annual road trips to Texas to visit my father’s family, we stopped at a gas station in Arkansas that also sold souvenirs. My dad bought an ashtray that featured an Arkansas Traveler in bas-relief. We never used this as an ashtray, so even though it’s probably more than 50 years old, it’s still in pretty good shape except for some flaking paint.
“I don’t know how well the picture will reproduce, so let me point out that our traveler, holding a jug similar to one used for corn squeezins, sits astride a mule for his journey. Of particular interest are his feet, which, although he is sitting on a mule with his knees bent, are on the ground. When I was a youngster, this would puzzle me. If his feet touch the ground, does he walk while riding, or just let his feet drag along — and more importantly, why?”
CTZminus3: “Since I am a musician, it was good to hear that the farmer and the stranger got together over banjo music.
“It reminded me of one of my favorite movie moments — in ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind,’ when the earth people and the aliens communicate by music. I just know that is how it will happen (should happen?) when we make contact with any kind of creature. They always say music is the universal language.”
Fun facts to know and tell
Dr. Chrysanthemum writes: “The Minnesota Twins have the first choice in the upcoming baseball free-agent draft. Let’s hope they choose well!
“Although you might assume that the Twins have had at least a dozen previous number-one picks (awarded to the ‘worst’ team each year), they have had only two opportunities for the first pick: 1983 (Tim Belcher — did not sign) and 2001 (Joe ‘Unser Choe’ Mauer).
“A couple of other number-one picks have played for the Twins: Delmon Young (2003 — Tampa Bay) and another player who holds the distinction of being the only two-time number-one pick.
“1. Trivia question: Who is the other player?
“2. Bonus: Name a number-one pick who played for the St. Paul Saints.
“3. Second bonus: Who was the original Unser Choe? (Hint: Milwaukee Brewer, Baltimore Oriole, and Minneapolis Miller)
“1. Danny Goodwin (1971 — Chicago White Sox; 1975 — California Angels) played for the Twins from 1979 to 1981.
“2. Darryl Strawberry (1980 — New York Mets) played for the Saints in 1996.
“3. Milwaukee’s own Joseph John Hauser, who hit 69 homers for the Millers in 1933, as well as 63 for the 1930 minor-league Orioles. In 1924, the 25-year-old Hauser had the second-highest home run total in the American League (27, behind only Babe Ruth’s 46). An injury forced him to sit out the next year and, combined with bad (and perhaps malicious) advice from Ty Cobb, limited his major-league career.”
To type, or not to type! (cont.)
Kathy S. of St. Paul writes (types?): “Subject: Guys typing.
“Re: the assumption that guys didn’t know how to type:
“Hill High School, the male part of what is now Hill-Murray School, used to require the boys to take a typing class. As I understand it, this was in case their secretaries were unable to type a rush item. (Grrr!)
“Down the road at Archbishop Murray, girls on the college track didn’t take typing —though Mom got me to take s summer typing class after eighth grade — for term papers, etc.
“Our grandmother gave us each a typewriter when we graduated from high school, to use in college. It was a big and generous gift. I remember going to Adler Typewriter for mine.
“When I started at a large corporation in 1979, all the secretaries used electric typewriters. I remember when a bigwig’s secretary got a wonderful new typewriter that included the ability to correct the last sentence or two of a document. I think it had a tiny amount of ‘memory’ to store typing. Back then, I think more-expensive typewriters included a second ink-type spool of correction tape, for quick revisions. In any case, all the women had to go ‘tour’ the fantastic new typewriter that allowed a little bit of correction without Liquid Paper, etc.
“I probably don’t need to explain how happy I am that computer word processors have replaced typewriters.”
BULLETIN BOARD MUSES: And speaking of highfalutin pleasures . . .
Here’s what Wikipedia tells us about the history of Liquid Paper:
“In 1956, Bette Nesmith Graham invented the first correction fluid in her kitchen. Working as a typist, she used to make many mistakes and always strived for a way to correct them. Starting on a basis of tempera paint she mixed with a common kitchen blender, she called the outcome fluid Mistake Out and started to provide her co-workers with small bottles on which the brand’s name was displayed.
“By 1958, Graham founded the Mistake Out Company and continued working from her kitchen nights and weekends to produce small batches of correction bottles. She was fired from her typist job as executive secretary after she made a mistake by typing in her company name (Mistake Out Company at that time) instead of her employer’s name (Texas Bank and Trust) on a piece of correspondence. After this stroke of bad luck, she decided to devote her time to her new company.
“The inventor offered the product to IBM, which declined the offer. She sold the product from her house for 17 years; the name was changed to Liquid Paper shortly after. By 1968, the product was profitable, and in 1979 the Liquid Paper Corporation was sold to the Gillette Corporation for $47.5 million with royalties.
“In 2000, Liquid Paper was acquired by Newell Rubbermaid. In some regions of the world, Liquid Paper is now endorsed by Papermate, a widely known writing instruments brand (also owned by Newell Rubbermaid).
“Graham’s son Mike Nesmith, who first achieved fame as guitarist/singer in the popular 1960s pop band The Monkees, was the primary heir to her fortune upon her death in 1980.”
Life as we know it
Fatherhood Division (responsorial)
The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “Tagalongs . . . grrr!
“JamesTheGreater [BB, 6/9/2017] brought back memories. My five older siblings were born within a 10-year span. Nearly six years later, I was born — and I was doomed to be labeled a Tagalong. I really, really disliked that term. It always sounded like I butted in after all the fun was over.
“I must have griped about this more than I thought I had because when my middle daughter’s eighth and ninth babies were born several years after her first seven children, she proudly called them her ‘Bonus Babies.’ I like that.”
Band Name of the Day: The Bonus Babies
Website of the Day: Who Was Ty Cobb? The History We Know That’s Wrong