Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ben Franklin Was Wrong

No, not in the millinery department. 

Maybe he wasn't wearing his furry but fetching thinking cap that day, but for once in his over-achieving life, Benjamin Franklin got it wrong.  Writing to his daughter about the selection of the Bald Eagle as the National Bird, he wrote:For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.

Sounds a lot like the United States Government to me, Ben, but I'm not going to spoil my appetite with a diatribe against the Feds.

Franklin championed the wicked varsity loser Wild Turkey, although maybe he would have been heartened to know that a popular booze bears its name.  I am not sure Ben actually ever had a close encounter with his candidate, or perhaps the wild turkeys of his time were
"in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America."

I'm no bird expert (I find their beady eyes unsettling), so I won't argue with the "true original" part of the description.  But "respectable?" Please tell me exactly what is respectable about birds who swarm in packs all over our almost-urban neighborhood, sashaying down the middle of the street led by a strutting and, I might add, polygamous Tom Turkey? Answer:  not very much at all.

They walk up onto our porches as if they were invited to tea. They roost in our trees like pterodactyls.  They practice their gymnastics on the terrace wall. They have attacked old men and school children.  One afternoon while minding our own business, we happened on a small group pecking away on a neighbor's lawn.  When my husband whipped out his phone to snap a shot the alpha bird started to charge us.  Not about to be taken down by a sack of wattle and feathers, I picked up a stick and waved it as we backed down the street laughing our butts off while Big Bird McCrankypants ran after us. Well, the coward ran after us only when we turned our backs on him, even though I kept waving the stick behind me. Eventually it registered in his BB brain that we weren't after his harem, or him for that matter, and he re-joined the ladies in destroying what was left of the lawn. 

The authorities should have left well enough alone back in the day when the Wild Turkey had disappeared  from Massachusetts. But, no, they had to import a few dozen from a neighboring state with some to spare (thanks a  lot, New York) and now there are 15,000 of them. I think half of them have moved to our town--probably for the same reasons everyone else does: the good school system and lovely parks.  At least the turkeys won't be contributing to the over-abundance of tots who are necessitating new schools and tax overrides.

There is some kind of hunting season for turkeys (avian variety), but it's not long enough.  We have a friend who spends a few days each year crouched in the woods dressed in leafy tree camo and emitting the call of a female turkey in order to seduce, um, lure, a Tom into shotgun range, generally to no avail.  Katniss Everdeen, come on down!

I will be serving turkey* to my family tomorrow, along with too many side dishes, and way too much dessert. (We won't speak about the wine.) The only thing "wild" about the bird was the price I paid at the fancy-schmancy grocery store. 

*Just like this except Trouserville's apron doesn't have ruffles.

I am thankful for many things this year. In addition to the classics (health, food, family, etc.), I am thankful that the Wild Turkey is the also-ran of National Birds, even though it is arguably appropriate for the nation of turkeys (see paragraph 3, above) in which we dwell. Gobble, gobble, gobble!

For more great lore about turkeys visit enature. Since I'm sure there are some contacts on your phone who merit their own special ringtone, you can download enature's wild turkey.

Monday, November 25, 2013

You Can't Always Get What You Wah-ahnt!

Let's all sing a chorus with Mick and the boys in (dis)honor of America's biggest geriatric criminal crybaby.

According to an article in the Boston Globe this morning, (and you can take it for what it's worth because I certainly didn't fact-check it),  Whitey Bulger's main goal in life, once he stopped racking up body count, was to remain at large forever.  "At large" is such an odd term when it refers to a moral midget like the Bulge,  especially since he was living anything but large holed up in California, where he was playing tightwad by stretching cheap tube socks over soda bottles to stretch them out. (Either that or developing some kind of Molotov cocktail for his own personal Ragnarok.)

D'ya see what this Bulger fella is whinin' about now?
At any rate, his desired endgame, when he felt that death was near, was to head to Arizona and crawl into an abandoned mine where he would curl up, die, and remain hidden forever.  Cue up the 1930's gangster voice:  You'll never take me alive, copper.

Well, tough luck, boyo! You'll just have to settle for life in the can--that would be the "But if you try sometimes well you just might find/You get what you need" portion of your program-- and the rest of us can head into the holidays thinking about some other kinds of turkeys.