Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Shooting the Bird

The other day my friend Cazzo (AKA Mr. Clean) called me to gripe about his financial woes. He is in his upper sixties and draws full social security benefits. He also has his own home based business that is marginally profitable and works part-time in firearms section of a nearby Sporting Goods Store (his feet hurt after working and they probably also stink – I can empathize with this because for many years I worked in the standing position).

Our conversation covered many topics; both of us are proficiently adept at changing the subject in mid conversation. To keep the conversation pleasant we usually stay away from politics; he’s a Republican and I am a Conservative Liberal (or possibly a Liberal Conservative). He has called me a switch hitter.

The topic of our conversations usually reverts to the time that we spent in Africa together. The friends that we knew and places that we had been, with an emphasis on the bars and brothels that I frequented. He’s still in denial!

In our latest telephone conversation I asked a question that he couldn’t answer; I can’t either.

It is a well know fact among my friends that I do not particularly like things that fly. This includes, but is not exclusive to, insects and birds.

The question that I posed was about the old 1940’s and 1950’s movies and television programs that took place in the African jungles; especially the Tarzan movies and Ramar of the Jungle on television.

When strangers (usually bad persons) entered the jungle, the birds would begin chattering (sounding like laughter), next the Chimpanzees would start to chatter and then the Elephants would start to trumpet. This would warn the hero that impending danger was on its way. This was an excellent, though primitive, communications system.

But what is the name of the bird that makes those sounds? Cazzo didn’t know the answer.

Since we were in the Ethiopian highlands, and not the jungle, we had never heard these birds or saw a Chimpanzee (although there were lots of Baboons that would shriek at you and throw rocks – nasty primates). Even when I traveled to the Kenya wildlife preserve in 1968, I didn’t see a Chimp nor hear these birds.

I have always wondered if those birds really existed (or were made up by Hollywood sound effects crews).

Last week I got my answer; they exist. My neighbor (who raises tropical birds for fun and profit) has one, but I still haven’t asked him the name of the bird.

The bird has been driving me crazy for more than a week and I’m waiting for Tarzan to come and rescue me. Or maybe I should just buy a rifle from Cazzo’s gun shop.

The Beach Bum

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6 Comments:

Blogger alfredo_tomato said...

It's an Ohno bird.

A good number of the birds in Tarzan were American birds. The pileated woodpecker was used and so was the Mourning Dove.

You might have to copy/paste this.
http://fsc.fernbank.edu/Birding/bird_sounds/pileated_woodpecker.mp3

White Wing Dove.
http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/framlst/Song/h3190so.mp3

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