16 June 2013

The Best...Ever

Still Life with Melon and Pears
Luis Egidio MelĂ©ndez (1716–80)
I once heard Bill the 75-year-old proprietor of the long defunct Coast Health Foods in Lincoln City, Oregon proclaim in a gravely two-pack-a-day, chain-smoker voice:
"These are the best pears I've ever eaten!" 
His bold-face proclamation has stuck with me for more than 35 years.

Bill's ebullience might have been rooted in his sincere belief that hand-picked organic pears would prove to be an antidote for cancer.

When feeling puckish I make the same bold-face claim about any fruit I am about to eat ― no matter how chalky or over-ripe it is ― because the stone-cold silliness of hyperbolic proclamations make me chuckle, and because it might be the last piece of fruit I eat.

Pecking on Privacy

View north from
our sun room
I have a perverse new pastime -- I violate the privacy of birds who fly into our yard.

We have four feeders strategically placed in view of our sun room.

By violate the privacy, I mean I parse their emails and I systematically quantify their socio-political profiles based on a proprietary algorithm that slurps down their social media posts from a 1.36 Mbps straw.(1)
“When it comes to privacy and accountability, people always demand the former for themselves and the latter for everyone else.”  David Brin
Whether they Tweet Wings up! or Wings down!, I'm indiscriminate. Finches, Cardinals, Grosbeaks or Grackles...it doesn't matter.

What I've found is that birds are a lot like humans.
“What man art thou that, thus bescreened in night, So stumblest on my counsel? Who are you? Why do you hide in the darkness and listen to my private thoughts?”
― William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

(1) Our feeders are equipped with unsecured Wi-Fi access.