a little birdy told me

February 29, 2008

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When we’d rather not reveal the source of the slanderous gossip we are whispering into the ear of our co-worker, we might find ourselves using the phrase “a little bird told me.” Yeah, it’s a cute saying and people have been using it for ions, but why? We all know birds can’t talk?

Or can they?

We all know that teaching a parrot to mimic certain words is possible, but are they capable of more?

As I perused the March issue of “National Geographic” I came across an article called “Minds of their Own, Animals are smarter than you think.” In this article, among many fascinating examples, was one about an African gray parrot named Alex. Alex not only spoke, but he spoke his mind, so to speak.

His owner roommate, Irene Pepperberg decided to teach him to reproduce the sound of the English language so she could then ask him questions about how he saw the world. She did this at a time when most scientist thought of animals as automatons, incapable of any thought. Animals were thought to be merely robots programmed to react to stimuli, nothing more.

One of the ways Pepperberg demonstrated Alex’s ability to think was to hold up a green key and a green cup.

She asked Alex, “What’s the same?”

Without hesitation, Alex said “Co-lor.”

She then asked “What’s different.”

“Shape.” Alex squawked.

Alex also had his own name for apples, one of his favorite foods. Because they tasted a bit like banana to him and because they looked a bit like cherries, Alex made up a name for them: ‘ban-erry.”

Y’all really have to read this article.

Amazing what you can do with a brain the size of a shelled walnut.

not even sure why

February 27, 2008

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Today, I was having one of those days.

You know. One of THOSE days.

Nothing especially horrendous happened, but when a string of coffee spillings, eyeglass misplacements, late to work gettings, rude cell phone intrusions, tailgatings, client kvetchings, kitchen sink pipe cloggings and gym shoe forgettings occur, nothing brightens your day quite like a cowboy bunny maniacally flailing on the back of an annoyed giraffe.

You know what I’m sayin’?

bad idea

February 26, 2008

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As is often the case, I woke up with the strangest image in my head… turkeys.

Despondent turkeys to be exact.

I know, it’s not even November and I’m already concerned about the mental health of turkeys.

Well, truth be told, the SFG challenge this week is “Bad Ideas” and what came to mind was the urban myth about turkeys being so dumb, they look up in the sky when it rains, and thereby drown. A story obviously perpetrated by the turkeys themselves to gain sympathy around Thanksgiving.

A little digging around online revealed the fact that turkeys do not have binocular vision (i.e., the ability to focus both eyes on the same object). A turkey’s eyes point sideways, so looking up into they sky to check the weather; not likely to happen.

Hopefully this news will curtail any future turkey suicide attempts, which, of course, would be a bad idea.

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One of my favorite peeps, Laurel Gaylord of Studio Lolo bestowed this very sweet award upon me. Her beautiful artwork, inspiring writing and always encouraging comments  are some of the reasons I’m shooting it right back at her.

As I’ve mentioned before, there are a great many blogs that I love and visit every week, too many to count. So instead of having a giant list, I narrowed it down to my newest friends. These are folk I’ve only just recently stumbled upon and fell in love with.

Artsy Folk:

Andi Butler of  “Gee, That’s Swell

Jannie Ho of “Chicken Girl Design

Kathleen Rietz of “Kathleen Rietz-Artist

Kelly Medina of “Property of Kelly

Writing Folk:

Saucygrrl of “The Cats Demand Answers

Shannon Steven of  “Leaf, Probably

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Laurel also tagged me for the Peace and Love meme, created in an effort to spread world peace and loving energy as far as we can reach.

This meme was created by Zari, another terrific person and so thoughtful for coming up with the idea.

In fact, it’s such a great idea, that instead tagging peeps, I feel anyone who sees this could spread it along.

There’s a lot of love in the room here today!

multiple

February 24, 2008

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The Illustration Friday theme this week is “Multiple.”

In light of this theme, I think most folks would agree that the ability to multitask is pretty much manditory these days. Other than wearing roller-skates all day long or having your self cloned, eight arms might come in very handy.

Perhaps with these extra appendages or tentacles (for the pedantic,) you could, while designing that logo for your client, also wash the dishes, balance your checkbook and make yourself some lunch. You might even consider picking up a some dumbbells with your suckers and work those flabby biceps.

While your at it, you really have to watch this. Make sure to watch it to the end, because that’s where you will see how amazing octopus really are.

hedgie

February 22, 2008

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There are few things more rediculously cute than the hedgehog. I was reminded of this on one of my visits to Dooce where she had this link. Just had to pass it on.

While you’re at it, you might as well go here too.

It’s winter, people are cold, feeling under the weather and they really need to see hedgehogs.

Try not to smile. Go on, I dare ya.

ouch!

February 20, 2008

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I SPRAINED MY BRAIN

A throbbing in the forehead,
a painful little noggin.

Perhaps it’s from those late nights,
I’ve spent with all the bloggin’.

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See you soon. Going to rest my soar little head.

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theory

February 17, 2008

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DANCE LIKE THERE’S NO TOMORROW or
The joyful unawareness of extinction theories.

Dinosaur extinction theories have been the subject of debate among scientists for quite some time now. One of the most popular theories, first proposed by Walter Alvarez in the late 1970’s, suggests the dinos were unable to survive climatic changes caused by a giant meteorite crashing to earth near the Gulf of Mexico. Dust and debris kicked up by the impact, blocked sunlight long enough to set off a deadly chain of events. Plants were unable to survive without the sunlight, causing plant eaters to die off, which in turn caused meat eaters to perish as well.

Personally, I blame the tyrannosaurus rex. So fond of raves were these behemoths. So oblivious of their surroundings were they. While gyrating and stomping about to their trancey, music, these scaly revelers never even noticed the giant earthquakes that resulted from their dance party. The seismic activity that followed tripped a volcano or two and set off a chain reaction of further volcanic eruptions. The climate change brought about by the post-rave eruptions, is, what I believe caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Look it up.

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The Illustration Friday theme this week is “Theory” and the Sugar Frosted Goodness challenge is “Joy.” So I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone.

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caricature of a stranger

February 16, 2008

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ODE TO HAIR

“It’s really quite scary,
how terribly hairy,
I’ve gotten.” said dear uncle Ned.

“Hair sprouts from my nose,
from my ear grows and grows.
Too bad there is none on my head!”

A little ditty I wrote a while back, just seemed to fit.

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Our workday shackles were unlocked early today and instead of going straight home I decided to indulge in some geekery and headed over to B&N. The 12 year old boy inside me loves comics and graphic novels so I spent 2 hours devouring 4 or 5 of these treasures while fueling my caffeine addiction with some mediocre coffee.

I was pouring over “Black Hole” by Charles Burns, when I noticed the guy sitting next to me, (the one who could have flopped himself in one of the many empty seats that were not right on top of me,) was overtly staring at me. Well, not at me specifically, but at what I was reading … and me.

Being from the western hemisphere I tend to read from left to right. Concentrating on the left page, I hadn’t yet noticed the right page contained an image of a young man, fully and frontally nude, (emphasis on the good bits, if you know what I mean.) This thing took up a quarter of the dang page. So, I’m not sure what I found more unnerving, the fact that my new, unwanted friend would rather crane his neck to read my book than read his own or the fact that he seemed so fascinated with ME reading this book. It was all just a bit creepy.

No matter. One well placed, withering look and his nose got stuck right back in his own book. I’m territorial that way.

Now, what this has to do with the above image … is exactly nothing. However, after recovering from the indignation of having my “space” invaded, my attention was soon drawn to a poor, unsuspecting gentleman with the most wonderful, character-ridden face. Uh, yeah, that would be him up there and yes I sat there and drew him.

I guess I’m lucky he didn’t shoot me a withering look. What a good sport.

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By the way, I ended up buying “Batman Hush” by Jeph Loeb, Jim Lee and Scott Williams. The art is amazing! Also “The Last Man” by Brian K Vaugn, Pia Guerra and José Marzán, Jr., some great art and interesting story. I’ll get “Black Hole” later, it was so good, but didn’t want to spend my whole paycheck in one place, hee hee.

ssssssweet

February 14, 2008

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So as we prepare to celebrate the day St. Valentine drove the snakes out of Ireland … no, wait, that was St. Patrick who advocated for young snakes in love and secretly married them.

Ok, I think I’m getting confused.

Well anyway, have a lovely Valentine’s Day, won’t you?

cat-pid

February 13, 2008

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Since I’ll likely be too busy wining and dining to post anything on Valentine’s Day (hint, hint, to someone who’s name rhymes with Tom,) I thought I’d post an early Valentine to all my friends, family and blogging buddies.

Actually, you know, truth be told, the last thing I want on V-day is to find Tom and I standing around for an hour or more, in some chain restaurant, waiting for the privilage of paying twice as much for the meal as it would have cost the night before, along with hundreds of other couples who feel obligated to do the same.

Nope, not even if my waiter hands me a rose.

Tempting though that may be.

If you really must know, I’m looking forward to, picking up some chinese take-out and curling up on the couch with my honey, to watch “Alien” or “Bladerunner,” something romantic like that.

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Oh, by the way, I posted for the very first time on Sugar Frosted Goodness. I’m very excited! If you’ve never been, you should check it out, it’s a great site.

Happy Valentine’s Day Eve!

opposites

February 12, 2008

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Got up this morning just to find,
the sun was dark and blue.
I had to go to school today,
because I had the flu.

My dog meowed, my kitty squeaked,
my mouse let off a roar.
I realized my feet were on
the ceiling not the floor.

Mom asked for my permission,
Dad asked for my advice.
My sister was considerate,
not only once, but twice.

I heard a very funny joke,
that made me sad and tearful.
But when I fell and skinned my knee,
I felt so glad and cheerful.

I have to go to bed because,
it is now broad daylight,
then wake up fresh and lively,
in the middle of the night.

I’m not sure what is happening,
things are not as they seem.
My eyes are open, I’m awake
and yet I’m in a dream.

choice

February 11, 2008

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DOG DIET

They say that French poodles
are fond of egg noodles
and dachshunds love limburger cheese.

A pug will finagle
cream cheese on a bagel
when not busy scratching his fleas.

Featured are a couple of the many delectible treats dogs have to choose from, for this week’s Illustration Friday theme “Choice.”

fish noir

February 10, 2008

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RED HERRING

Most film buffs know that a “red herring” is a plot device used in film noir, murder mysteries and suspense films, to distract the audience away from the more important aspect of the plot. The red herring can sometimes be a character, believed by the audience to be the killer, only to discover later in the film that they are innocent and another character, never even considered is, in fact, the murderer.

Now that you have your twist ending, do you know where the term red herring originated?

Wikipedia tells us:

A tradition whereby young hunting dogs in Britain were trained to follow a scent with the use of a “red” (salted and smoked) herring. This pungent fish would be dragged across a trail until the puppy learned to follow the scent. Later, when the dog was being trained to follow the faint odor of a fox or a badger, the trainer would drag a red herring (which has a much stronger odor) across the animal’s trail at right angles. The dog would eventually learn to follow the original scent rather than the stronger scent.

I’ve also heard that British fugitives in the 1800s would rub a herring across their trail, in order to divert the bloodhounds pursuing them.

All this talk is whetting my appetite for a bit of kipperes and toast (not) and a Hitchcock film or two.

er, um, excuse me…

February 7, 2008

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…BUT, AN ANT’S IN MY PANTS!

A situation like this is sure to induce a feeling of uneasiness and, possibly cause a person to feel, um, well, antsy.

However, when faced with a dilemma such as this, one must remember to remain calm. An ant’s curiosity lasts as long as it’s attention span, which is quite short. Feigning nonchalance is best. In 10 to 15 minutes the novelty of wearing your jeans will no doubt wear off. The ant will soon run off to check out something shiney and you will once again have possesion of your pants and your sanity.

buns out

February 6, 2008

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“I’m late!

I’m late!

For a very important date!

No time to say hello, goodbye!

I’m late,

I’m late,

I’m late!”