Tag Archives: pigeons

Pigeons, Mike Tyson, and me

There’s an ambiguousness to this blog.  For a whole year I think it had a tongue in cheek tone to it.  And more lately it’s been pretty personal.  More contemplative and serious even.  But something that’s remained constant in its two and a half years is pigeons–and how much I love them.

The About page has described me as “a pursuer of creative outlets with a deep love and curiosity for all things pigeon,” which I think sums me up pretty well.  If I could only tell people two things about myself, I’d feel pretty satisfied if they only knew about my creativity and my feelings for pigeons.

All this is on my mind because I’m in countdown mode for the new Mike Tyson show on Animal Planet that debuts THIS SUNDAY, March 6th–“Taking on Tyson.”

“The first day I fought I must’ve been a ten year old kid.  This is the most frightening day of my life.  The reason for the fight was because the guy ripped the head off my pigeon.  This is the first thing I ever loved in my life.”

I don’t want to get too excited for this show.  I don’t know a whole lot about pigeon racing.  I don’t know a whole lot about Mike Tyson.  But I think this show is going to be an interesting look at a sensitive, provocative man.  Probably a lot of people will tune in because it’s a little strange and funny–but that’s okay.  The things we laugh at have truth in them.  And often the things we make fun of are the things we don’t want to take the time to consider–because they challenge something we’ve always held to be true: fighters are mean, men like Mike Tyson are tough, pigeons are just stupid birds.  I don’t think any of those things are true.  And that’s why I’m excited to watch.

Freaking out. (#$*%*#$*!!!!)

I’m forever indebted to the man behind MonkeyBlogMonkeyDo for sending me the juiciest bit of pigeon news perhaps in the history of pigeon news:

Animal Planet is making a show about Mike Tyson’s quest to become a champion pigeon racer!!

Thank God.  And about time.  I don’t own a TV, but I’m going to find a friend with a DVR and live at their house, watching episodes over and over again, until I slowly disintegrate into their couch.

I remember the day I learned that Mike Tyson loved pigeons.  And one day I will be telling my grandchildren about this day, the one when the MonkeyBlogMonkeyDo guy sent me this link.

My favorite part of that article is that I can now steal one of the commentors ideas of framing this magazine cover in their house:

Bob Barker, my hero!

Hey! Remember my unconditional love for pigeons? Well, it seems that Bob Barker shares that love! It’s a great day for America:

Bob Barker donates $1 million to save PA pigeons

A TV icon is taking a stand for the pigeons of Pennsylvania.

Bob Barker, the former game show host and one of the nation’s most generous animal philanthropists, has donated $1 million to stop pigeon shoots in Pennsylvania and says he will be joining protestors outside a Bensalem gun club where shoots are being held regularly.

Barker said the donation will go to SHARK, an Illinois-based animal activist organization dedicated to putting a stop to these shoots.

The organization plans weekly demonstrations at the Philadelphia Gun Club in Bucks County which two years ago began holding pigeon shoots despite a cease and desist order issued by Bensalem Township. In 2002 the township said the shoots violated local firearms laws and constituted animal cruelty. The club recently filed suit against activists and neighbors for harassment.

Barker also said he will support legislation being considered in both the state House and Senate that would ban the use of live pigeons for targets and make organizing or operating the shoots a crime. Animal rights activists in Pennsylvania have been fighting to win passage of anti-pigeon shoot legislation for two decades.

Pennsylvania is the only state where live pigeon shoots are openly practiced, according to the Humane Society of the United States. The contests – held at gun clubs, most of them in Berks County – involve launching pigeons from spring-loaded boxes where shooters fire on them at close range. Many wounded birds are scooped up – often by children – their necks broken and the carcases disposed of. But other injured birds end up outside of the clubs only to suffer a slow death from their wounds.

“The very characteristics of a live pigeon shoot are such that the event cannot be held without causing extensive animal suffering,” said Barker. “Live bird shoots are held under the guise of ‘sport’ target practice But they offer neither sport nor hunting.”

The Humane Society of the United States estimates that about 22,000 live birds are used as targets every year in Pennsylvania.

I had NO idea.

Thanks to a terrible contestant on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” tonight, I have learned that Mike Tyson is a pigeon-lover. Of all the things to take the time to talk about, one of the talking points of Regis’ introduction with her, this woman Michelle Ribeiro, was all about…how she did not like pigeons.

I gasped in horror when Regis said it. I clutched my face with my hands. This woman. This woman had tricked me. She won the “fastest-finger” game, she sat in the “hot seat”, and I began to root for her. Then it came time for a commercial break. And when the commercial break ended, that’s when it all came out. She blamed her deep fear and hatred for the creatures on watching The Birds one too many times as a kid. Which is, to borrow a phrase, bollocks.

She laughed and smiled this big smile and made everyone feel bad for her because she got fired from her job as a “CosmoGirl” editor and didn’t get to have an in-person interview her childhood crush, Tommy Lee, when the whole time–she’d been a pigeon hater.

I feel bad. I let the “CosmoGirl” thing slide. Which was wrong of me. I should’ve shunned her right then and there, before the $100 question, before the commercial break. Because let me say, on the record, that “CosmoGirl” is no publication I would ever want any daughter of mine to read.

Pigeons are smart, beautiful creatures. “CosmoGirl” turns smart, beautiful creatures into insecure, superficial, celeb-obsessed, materialistic, unsatisfied teenage twats. Case in point, on the front page of their website you can access a quiz that asks, “Always single? Find out why you don’t have a boyfriend!” Then you can click over to the Beauty section and read an article that starts with the oh-so-innocent line, “Everyone knows that Aveda is a super awesome company…” Yeah, they really have it in bold. Oh, it makes me so sad.

But the one good thing that came out of Michelle Ribeiro badmouthing pigeons on national television tonight was that a friend of mine brought Mike Tyson’s deep love for pigeons to my attention. It makes me so happy to discover that I have more in common with Mike Tyson than I do with a “CosmoGirl”:

Adventures with radical bird folk

June 13th was the day of a significant occasion, yet one that I was unaware of until the last minute.  I came dangerously close to missing it, which would have been a tragedy because the occasion was…  National Pigeon Day. 

And no, it’s not just an arbitrary day for pigeon lovers to come together and make noise about feeding regulations and building spikes that prevent nesting (though there was that).  June 13th commemorates the death of Cher Ami, a homing pigeon that saved 200 lives while serving with the 77th Division of the U.S. Army in France during World War I.

Pigeons are fierce, man.  So fierce that there are falcon nests installed atop the Tappan Zee Bridge to scare away the winged things and the rust and ruin inducing droppings they bring.  Come on.  That’s something.  Can your poop bring down a feet of engineering?

Anyway.  It really was a cool thing and I’ve been meaning to mention it and I’ve especially been meaning to share a couple photos I took at the Central Park event.  It was like I had been a lonely religious zealot for years and suddenly I had found a group as fanatic as I.  Or maybe much more fanatic…

Life of the party.

The life of the party (and the subject of my dreams, now and forever).

UNTIL the hen showed up.

UNTIL the hen showed up.

Whats more bizarre--a hen on a leash or a child?

Requiring and reveling in all the attention.

From humans and canines alike.  The dick.

From humans and canines alike. That whore.

As much as I felt a kinship to the people at the event, part of me didn’t know if my breed of pigeon loving was the same as theirs.  It’s like, I’m perfectly content admiring and contemplating them from a park bench, but I’m not sure that’s enough if I truly want to be accepted into the National Pigeon Day group. 

My love is more passive, I guess.  I like carrying a tote bag with a pink pigeon screened on its sideI like reading books about them. And of course singing along to lyrics that mention them (Ben Folds’ “Annie Waits”: Annie sees her dreams / Friday bingo, pigeons in the park; Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”: There’s pigeons down in market square / she’s standing in her underwear).

So, in conclusion, pigeons make me happy, I love them, but I’ve yet to wave an angry poster as their advocate at City Hall or boycott a supermarket that tries to keep them from calling the “O” or “A” in their neon sign home.  We’ll see.

By the way–there’s totally a link to my pictures here, on the organization/holiday’s blog, which brings me way more joy than is normal or healthy (qualities no one should strive for, anyway).

An April Fool’s Apology of Sorts

Today is an odd occasion.  So much so that something unprecedented happened: I woke up and thought, “Hmm…maybe I’ll write something in that blog I seem to remember having.” 

I could blame the lack of updating on laziness, the nearness of Spring, or on the people who neglect to take the lint off of the dryer lint trap.  Instead, I will blame it on an impromptu list of people/places/things beginning with the letter D that all may or may not relate to the current economic crisis.

1. Daylight Savings Time–A couple weekends ago you stole an hour from me.  I don’t care if you plan to give it back. 

2. Dinners, Potluck–I love buffet-style eating.  I love when friends, families, church congregations, and communities come together to dine off of paper plates.

Still, it's partly this bastard's fault.

3. Danny Bonaduce

Stop giving redheads a bad name.

Stop giving redheads a bad name.

4. Dexia–The Belgian-French financial institution that I saw in the Wikipedia article on “economic crisis.”  Its own Wikipedia article says, “In February 2009 the bank announced net losses of 3.3 billion euros (approximately 4.2 billion US dollars) for 2008.”  How could it not be Dexia’s fault?

5. Dunkin Donuts–Their new commercial presents eating donuts as a solution for your children’s mindless television watching, which they imply puts a wedge in your family.  Also, their whole “You ‘kin do it” slogan is not funny.  And, they’re offering six donuts for $3 for a limited time–small price to pay to avoid the possibility of having a body like Danny Bonaduce’s, but still–I will never forgive them for using Rachael Ray in their campaign that one time.

6. Mourning Doves–They wish they were as blameless as pigeons.

7.  “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”

and last and most heinous of all:

8. All passengers on the D Train:

Hello, February–Don’t You Love Hangovers?

Isn't it terrifying?

Oh, hey!  It’s the last day of January!!  I’m not usually awake at this hour, but my roommate got a job and to celebrate we did what all employed people do–drank, danced, debauchered.  I scored a business card from a man named Angelo who is likely not the father of my future 14 children.  Woke up to eat a waffle, determine the level of my dehydration, and add Angelo on Facebook. 

You know what else happened last night? I was pooped on by a pigeon. For the first time ever! It really wasn’t surprising because I was walking underneath the above ground subway which is where loads of them sleep at night. There’s literally a carpet of pigeon droppings on the sidewalk beneath it. It happened to this middle aged guy who me and the roommate were hanging out with last weekend, but I didn’t know him very well so I didn’t tell him. Some landed on his face and dried there. I felt a little like a jerk for not informing him, but I was also jealous so it’s okay.

Here are some search terms used to find my blog that make up for the untimely death of Mr. Coffee:

Celine Dion t-shirts

My favorite Celine song is “Taking Chances.” I also enjoy that one that starts off “The whispers in the morning. Of lovers sleeping tight. Are rolling like thunder now.” She speaks my language, you know?

milf pixar

Bespectacled Aardvarks...every girls weakness.

Aardvarks are every girl's weakness.

I’m sexually attracted to lots of animated characters.  Bob the Builder. Patti Mayonnaise. Diego.  I just don’t remember many Pixar MILFs…I guess the kid’s mom from Toy Story was hot?

 

Keanu Reeves alcoholic

People are so mean to Keanu. 😦

back scratching chihuahua

That’s stupid.

dick embarresing

I don’t know how to spell, either.  Men who are illiterate are right up there with aardvarks.

פיונה אפל

A Google Images search concludes that that’s how you write “Fiona Apple” in…a language I’m not familiar with.

Tommy Lee Jones, Tommy Lee Jone, and Tomy Lee Jones are pretty popular, too.  Thank goodness my mom likes him.

Big, Burly Avocado Men

An out-of-town friend asked how close I live to where that US Airways plane crash landed. Then he said something about a pigeon being the type of bird responsible for the ruckus. I don’t know if the bird responsible was a pigeon. All I find on the topic is pretty general: The Federal Aviation Administration says there were about 65,000 bird strikes to civil aircraft in the United States from 1990 to 2005, or about one for every 10,000 flights. I guess it would stand to reason that some of these “bird strikes” could have been committed by the beloved pigeon, but that still doesn’t change how I feel about them. Pigeon or not, safe passengers, safe pilots, good, good.

In other news, the salad date with my Bulgarian neighbor is TODAY. He promised avocados in the salad and he had better deliver. Avocados are all the rage right now. I started to write a whole blog post yesterday about the huge ad campaign that the California Avocado people have going right now, but then my Internet Explorer browser decided better of it and shut down the operation. If you have time to kill, I wholeheartedly recommend checking out avocado.org. There are videos and photos of avocado growers. There are recipes and tips for healthy living. Personally, I found the videos and photos the most exciting part. It’s like a Match.com for the California avocado industry. Check out these beautiful specimen:

Will Carleton enjoys long walks through his crop and romantic dinners of avocado-including salads.

Will Carleten enjoys long walks through his crop and romantic dinners of avocado-including salads.

Rick Shade spends his free time pondering a variety of philosophy- and produce-related topics.  Must love steel-toe boots.

Rick Shade spends his free time pondering a variety of philosophy- and produce-related topics. Must love steel-toe boots.

OMG! Scott Van Der Ker and I have the SAME jacket vest. Its totally fate.  And he pairs it with a button-down denim shirt just like I...never do.

OMG! Scott Van Der Ker and I have the SAME jacket vest. It's totally fate. And he pairs it with a button-down denim shirt just like I...never do.

A Hot Mess of a Blog Post

So, I took 1970’s Love Story out of the library today because…I try not to admit this, but…sometimes I’m a girl.  I know, it’s crazy.   

Anyway, it just has me really depressed. Because first of all, it’s really dramatic. And also, Ryan O’Neal looks exactly like John McCain.  Not John McCain now, obviously, but this John McCain:

 

 

I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I need to push John McCain out of my mind. Then again, it’s not like two blog posts ago was a poem about him or that he’s ended up in my dreams. I think he just really scares the shit out of me, so it’s better to let it out. No use being a repressed asshole.

I also took out Annie Hall. I’m just really in the mood for neurotic right now.  I know Woody Allen is kind of a crazy dude, but I really like him. Not in a sexual way, but in the same way I like pigeons.  

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve decided “Never Have I Ever” is the worst game ever.  I was at a party and this dude starts the bar at, “Never have I ever had sex on acid.”  What??  He proceeded to say that there was nothing else he hadn’t done.  He was wearing a shirt that said “I Heart Hot Moms.”  One of those crappy ones you get at Old Navy on clearance for $5, or you buy it at full price and you’re even more of an ass.  Anyway, I wanted to get angry so I asked him about his experiences with hot moms, he told me, and yeah.  Nothing wrong with being proud of yourself for getting laid, but…have some class.  This guy didn’t.  Plus there were only two girls at this party so the machismo was just way too much to handle.  Gay jokes were flying everywhere, you couldn’t say two words without someone yelling out “That’s what she said!”, and yeah.  I had to lash out at someone, so that was that.  Sometimes I feel like more of a man than the dudes I encounter.  Okay, most of the time.  Is that weird to say?  I don’t care.

Oh, Wristcutters: A Love Story is a really good movie.  It’s about suicide and the afterlife and what could be more romantic than that?  And Tom Waits is in it!  Bizarre.

The Pigeon Thing

I drank coffee at 8 o’clock tonight.  Which was good because I applied for a few jobs that seem promising, but now I can’t sleep and I started reading my pigeon book and I’m about to go on a rampage about how much I love them.  Bear with me. 

I told someone I like the way they walk and their colorings, but really it’s so much more than that.  I haven’t even been able to bring myself to sit down and read the pigeon book because…you know when something strikes a chord with you so much that it makes you kind of anxious?  Maybe that’s it.  Or maybe I’m kind of crazy, which could totally be it, too.  But I don’t mind.

First off, I love anything that’s quirky.  And pigeons are so quirky.  They wobble around until they get startled and then they wobble in a new direction.  Sometimes they wobble in circles.  And no two pigeons are exactly alike.  Okay, most of them are gray, but they’ve got these cool metallic variations, too.  And some are brown, some are white, some are brownish-white.  Some are missing talons, which could mean they were born deformed, or it could mean they were in a pigeon brawl.

I think the main reason I developed such a deep appreciation for them, though, is just because so many people despise them or ignore them.  Plus I grew up in Springfield, Mass, where they used to have an entire television channel that consisted of one camera aimed at a nest of peregrine falcons.  Peregrine falcons are birds of prey, so obviously they look nothing like pigeons, but you know.  I was ingrained with the ability to watch things that aren’t all that exciting. 

Also, my mom keeps a bird feeder.  Mourning doves are a frequent visitor.  Mourning doves and pigeons are practically the same thing, except that pigeons are like their older, more hardcore cousins.  You know, the cousins that got into drugs and have seen some fucked up stuff in their day, but they just keep trekkin.  That’s the pigeon.  Five stints in rehab, but the pigeon is still optimistic and thinks the world could be a nice place.  It doesn’t let you miserable, impatient pedestrians get it down.  So stop being so miserable and impatient and appreciate the goddam pigeon, will ya?  They’re beautiful.  You gotta find the beauty no one else sees.

According to the pigeon book, Woody Allen called pigeons “rats with wings.”  This might not come as such a surprise, but I like rats, too. 

Anyway, this is the quote from the pigeon book that got me going.  The author quotes this ornithologist from Kansas, Richard Johnston, who says: “The special qualities of feral pigeons are rarely recognized as special, which is a result of the way humans perceive the natural world.  Dominant western worldviews have taught that nature exists for human use and that humans are its custodians or curators, fundamentally apart from the natural world.  This philosophic position has been unprofitable in many ways…”        

There is one thing I don’t really like about pigeons, though–the males have this mating dance that makes my stomach turn.  They puff up and run at the female and it’s pretty gross.  As much as I like pigeons I don’t want to see them mate.  I’m not that crazy.