Thursday, March 10, 2011


Yesterday I was picking up the living room so I could vacuum and I found a dead sparrow behind the recliner. This raises several questions, namely:

1) How long had the dead bird been there without me noticing? This bird could have died long before I saw it. Perhaps the bird has lain there quite a while, and due to the, uh, frugal temperature at which we keep our house, the bird became mummified much the same way people who lived thousands of years ago occasionally become mummified in the cold air of the upper Alps. Our sparrow would be like Ötzi the Iceman, but with feathers. Perhaps if we dissect the contents of its stomach, our bird can give an unprecedented view of avian diet in the Chalcolithic era.

This mummification theory was advanced by my mother, who is coming to visit in two weeks. When she starts casting meaningful glances towards the thermostat, I am going to really enjoy telling her to put on a sweater.

2) I need to pick up more often. This is not a question. This is a certainty.

3) How did the bird get into the house and how did it die? I have two cats, but they are not allowed outside, and I have a hard time picturing them doing harm to a bird. These cats are not fearsome predators. They spend their day and night meowing at the top of their lungs for no apparent reason.

These cats would be excellent guests on Crossfire or other political shouting debate-style television shows due to their ability to drown out opposing views. It would go like this:  "We need to break the power of the public unions because -- " "Meow." "--overpaid public employees who --" "MEOW." "-- unfunded pension liabilities --" "MEOW MEOW MEEEEOOOOW MEOW."

Perhaps their ear-splitting incessant meowing created powerful sound waves that crushed the bird's brain, much the same way that shock waves can be used to shatter kidney stones.

In news unrelated to dead birds, we are finally getting some traction in getting Stella to sleep in her own bed. Since we are hippie attachment-parenting wusses, I have tried to not use rewards as a parenting tool. But I finally caved and bought a box of peanut M&Ms to use in convincing Stella that it is okay to sleep as much as five, possibly even a whole six centimeters away from me on a separate mattress in the same room. 
The results have been phenomenal. Four days into the experiment, and she's already occasionally sleeping the whole night in her bed! Why did I come so late to understanding the power of chocolate-covered peanuts as bribes? I could have potty trained her in 45 minutes if I had taken advantage of the help offered by the Mars Company. Bribing African dictators with chocolate instead of weaponry would be cheaper, more effective, and less morally repellent, although occasionally stickier. And how many M&M bribes would it take to ensure peace in the Middle East?  A lot, I suspect, but not as many as it would take to get my cats guest slots on one of those political debate television shows. 

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