Friday Frivolity: Bird Talk

Okay, I think my reality check has bounced.  The other day I was talking to a chickadee.  I don’t even talk to humans that speak another language.  I used to try to talk to my dog, but that was futility.  I rebuke Sue when she instructs bees to leave.  I don’t think she uses enough bz prefixes.

So why would I talk to a bird.  With or without cheeping.  Maybe it’s genetic.  Both my mom and dad used to talk to birds.  Once they tried to convince a caged pet to say pretty bird.  Problem was my mom coached pritty birdy and dad used perdybird.  The stupid bird just cocked it’s head from side to side.  Outside though my dad was quite adept at bird calls.  He was able to lure cardinals to the porch all the time.  Why he would then switch to the English language is beyond me.  Who knows for sure what they interpreted his ‘call’ to be, but English bored them quickly.

So there I am, putting seeds in my feeder and chatting…in English…with a Black Cap Chickadee.  I remember my dad teaching me that bird’s call.  It’s actually a chirping version of its name.  Did I use that call or even a pathetic, humanized translation of “come here chick-a-dee-dee”?  Nope.

I flat out used the humanized vernacular — “Ready to chow down?”  He just sat there a mere foot away and blinked.  In rapid succession he blinked and skewed his head from side to side.  Now, in any language that has the clear meaning of are you for real?  I guess the presence of a nut case didn’t intimidate him.  He stayed right there on his nearby perch as I filled the feeder.

 Chickadees are probably the least intimidated bird that comes to my feeders.  They easily sneak in behind a feeding dove and snatch a sunflower seed and zip off.  The dove swirls around and stabs.  Too late…and another Chickadee encroaches behind him again.

The dove tries another ploy.  Spreading his wings a bit and opening his mouth wide, he coos.  Coo?  Oh, that’s a heartless trick God played on them.  A big bird like that and no voice to go with it.  I don’t suppose cooing would scare me off either.  Of course they do possess an ominous beak, but it’s not quick enough to ward off the elusive smaller birds.  Here’s the catch tough.  The cooing attracts other doves and that’s were the beak reigns supreme.  The quickest beak stays on the feeder.

Quick beaks or menacing chirps aren’t needed with all birds.  There does seem to be some sophistication and social graces for the Cardinals and Waxwings.  Males first.  No wing flapping, menacing chirps or even intimidating stares.  The guy eats first.

That seems to be the law.  But I think there’s a woman’s movement to repeal that precedence.  The other day there were two females waiting patiently while the male chomped away on select morsels.  I could see them exchange glances, then voice something to each other.  They moved closer together and glanced first at the male then at each other.  They would successively dip their heads and continued the chirping between themselves.  It was fascinating to watch.  I almost wished I could understand what they were saying to each other.

No, I don’t!  What am I saying?  Is that a vulture circling over my brain?  I don’t want to talk to Doves, Cardinals, Chickadees …and especially not hovering vultures.  I’d rather talk to myself than admit I talk to birds.  In a way, though, it’s just about the same thing.  Either way, I never get an answer.

Friday Frivolity: In the Loop

It’s definitely a slow week in the news room when the headline of this Friday story is an expose on Froot Loops.   But, my news room is always of a frivolous nature.  By now, you shouldn’t be surprised when fine print on cereal boxes possesses my mind like a fiendish demon.  I was hungry for food and starved for entertainment.  Besides reading, what else exciting is there to do when you eat breakfast alone.

Normally, Sue fixes me breakfast and eats with me.  Not much to read on eggs, sausage & toast and not much reason to peruse Peanut Butter jars when she’s there to converse with.  However, the other morning I was up very early and my stomach growls for satisfaction about every two hours whether Sue’s awake or not.  So, I grabbed milk and a box of cereal.  It had been a long time since I’ve tasted Froot Loops.

As milk dissolved the loops into swirls of color, I challenged myself to identify which fruits each color represented.  I felt the need to validate my guesses by reading the Ingredients.

All I can say is Kellogg’s is safe from FDA investigation.  Though phonetically implying Fruit, I believe “Froot” is actually hydrogenated vegetables.  Not a single fruit is represented within the box.  Not in any form—flavor, fiber or filler.  Colors may infer fruitiness, but what flavor is Yellow 6, Red 40 or Blue1?

Oh, and what can you make this pronouncement on the box:  CORN USED IN THIS PRODUCT CONTAINS TRACES OF SOYBEANS.  Kinda made me wonder if the Oats were tainted with dandelions, but not enough to warrant such a disclaimer.

With great skepticism, I reached for a second cereal box.  This one proudly advertises “Mixed Berry; naturally and artificially flavored.”  Aside from the obvious question of what other way there might be to flavor something besides naturally or artificially, I hurriedly rotated the box to the Nutritional Facts panel.  Mixed Berry?  Humph…since when is Apple a berry.  Apples were the top “Berry Flavored Filling” ingredient.  I love apples but don’t try to sell me them as berries.

Unlike the circular “loops”, the second box of cereal I selected was Grape Flakes, #3.

REALLY?  Flakes made from grapes?  Okay, I’ll admit grapes may be round and berry sized but a berry flake, …NOT.  I mean, come on, berries make great toppings for ice cream.  Even with a name like Smuckers®, they don’t make a Grape syrup.  Black, Blue, Straw, Boysen and Triple but no Grape.  Beats me why someone would think grape in flake form would be a big seller.  Let’s see, hmmm, do they even make Grape Nuts any more?

This investigation got the juices flowing in my stomach…and I’m not talking fruit juices.  My Omeprozole™ couldn’t turn off the influx of gastric acid into the cereal mix I had ingested.  In the future, it would be better for me to eat cereal before my eyes…or my mind…can focus on the deceiving of Flakey and Frooty cereal ingredients.