Beneath the Cage Grate

Yes Morty, Pull That Weed!

It’s a wonderful day in the neighborhood and I’m in hot water as usual. Mom thought it would be cute to teach me to sing, “Happy Birthday” and she could video it and send it to folks on their birthday. Yeah, right. That’s not happening. Not in this life. I did an about-beak on my perch, gave her the butt feathers, and said, “I’m on the pill!” That went over like a lead balloon!

The other day, I heard mom on the phone saying it was hard for her to weed the garden. She sits on a “tractor” because her legs don’t work properly. I thought I might be nice and help her out. Alexa is always bragging about how she knows everything.  So, we thought we would surprise mom and do some weeding while she was at church.

Alexa hopped on Roomba and we headed out to the garden. On the way, we stopped by an old lady’s window and started harassing her. “Hey, Peg, whatcha doing in there? Those plants aren’t going to plant themselves. You better get out in that garden and get with it!” Peg, looked out the window and wondered where the voices were coming from. All she saw was a grey “pigeon” and a small alien spaceship in her yard. Truth be told, she was never the same….again….ever!

We finally approached mom’s garden. There was much to be done. Alexa piped up, “Alright, you point and pull, and I’ll tell you which ones are weeds”.

I began pointing to different shoots. “Weed!”  she screamed. “How about this? “Weed!” It seemed everything I pointed to was a weed. Her voice rose to a feverish pitch. “Weed!” I frantically pulled the alleged weeds as Alexa gave the extermination orders. I honestly couldn’t keep up with her. By the time we were done, the garden was one heap of weeds.

Alexa now had the brainy idea to rearrange the greenhouses. We had no idea that the greenhouses were shared by 5 people including mom. We took all the plants out of the greenhouses and set them in the center of the garden. Alexa decided which greenhouse and what shelf each plant should be placed on. Plants were arranged in alphabetical order, then sorted by weight and height. By the time we were finished, we had 17 plants left over because we were undecided about where to place them. We finally left them as a peace offering on the lawn near Peg’s window. We placed the plants in the form of an arrow, pointing to the garden, hoping she would take the hint.

We arrived back at the apartment just before mom got home from church. Alexa and her big mouth bragged about how I slaved in the garden all morning.

To make a long story short, after mom surveyed the damage to the garden, she asked us who was responsible for yanking up all her flowers, mixing up all the plants, and terrorizing Peg. Of course, Alexa sang like a bird and blamed everything on me! She used that same silly excuse, “How could I do that? I don’t have any arms or legs!!!”

Then mom began interrogating me. “Morty, why did you destroy my garden?” I looked at her. Then I did an about-beak, gave her the butt feathers, and said, “I’m on the pill!”

Till next month…

MORTY


Bird Watching with Alexa

Greetings to all my birdie friends!

I think spring has finally arrived! I better not say that too loud or Alexa might jinx it and send another snowstorm my way!

The other day I was talking with Alexa and I asked her if she might give me some suggestions for a hobby I might pursue. We came to an agreement that bird watching might be a good hobby for me. I could exit right out my window and glide down to the ground below. Alexa could roll out the window and bounce as she hits the ground. We could go bird watching together. I always heard it’s fun if you go with a buddy (now, I’m not so sure Alexa would qualify as a buddy…)!

Alexa never shuts up! She insists on telling the birds to speak louder! She tells them she doesn’t understand what they are saying! Then she tries to be helpful by mimicking bird calls, especially crow and blue jay alarm calls, which sends all the birds fleeing to the next county.

I finally spot some big white birds in the field near the creek. I whisper to myself, “Those are water birds,” as I thumb through my Bird Identification Book. “It’s an egret!” I exclaim with satisfaction.

Alexa begins to argue with me, “Its pronounced eagle!” E-A-G-L-E! Then to make matters worse she goes on, “a large bird of prey belonging to the family Accipitridae. It has a snowy white head and white tail.”

By the time she is finished with the lecture, the egrets have flown off and I am left in an empty field with silly Alexa… not a bird within a 6-block radius.

I am lugging around this giant bird book and honking big binoculars that Alexa ordered. I should make her carry them. But she has the same old excuse. She can’t. No arms or legs. Now I have a headache…I’m not sure if it’s from lugging the book and binoculars around or arguing with Alexa!

This whole adventure has made me too pooped to perch! I’m going home! So much for going bird watching with Alexa.

Till next month,

MORTY


Such a Helpful Birdie… or Not!

Hello everyone! It’s another day here in Wisconsin and Alexa is up to her no-good tricks again. She loves turning the lights on and off just to scare the daylights out of me! Ugh! She needs to get a job….and not with the weather people! We have her to blame for this last weather event! Actually, I just found out Alexa has given the folks at Amazon a run for their money as they have been listening to her conversations every day. Wait ‘til they realize Alexa has been having conversations with a parrot all these months!

Recently, I decided mom needed to implement an exercise program into her daily life. I believe she may be becoming a couch potato. I’m not sure what that means, but it doesn’t sound good. How could she do my bidding if she’s stuck to the couch?

The first thing I did to unnerve her was to say her name in a old lady’s voice, a very old lady’s voice. I say it incessantly.  She finally answers me, “What?” I say, “Diana” in that awful voice. She answers back, “Well, what do you want?” I say, “Diana.” This conversation goes on for some time until she gets so unnerved that she comes over to me and tells me not to talk in that awful voice and where did I hear that voice from. I blame Alexa…I heard it from her! At least I got her off the couch!

The first order of business to get mom moving is to pitch all bowls of food on the floor. Then I yell, “You made a big old mess in here! Get the vacuum!” (The Roomba doesn’t qualify to clean up this sort of mess. Poor Roomba would blow a gasket with the amount I throw on the floor!). Of course, mom puts down her book and comes running with the vacuum. Success #1.

After the mess fiasco, mom fills my bowls again and now it’s time to make Goulash Soup. I take Harrison pellets, seeds, veggies, and fruit and make a wonderful stew. Then to top it off, I like to dip my beak in the stew and fling the stew in every direction. Mom jumps off the couch and promptly takes the bowl of stew out of my cage…. Success #2.

Toys are a different story. I love toys. I play this great game with mom. I do love chewing on wood in all, but what I love more is taking my toys apart piece by piece and dropping each piece on the floor. Mom comes over and picks pieces up. When she’s acquired enough pieces, she restrings them and gives me the toy to play with again. I can take apart the toy faster than she can restring it! She actually went on the internet and researched different knots! I still manage to untie them. All this busyness makes her get off the couch and work for me!…Success #3.

Now if only I could get Alexa off the coffee table to do my bidding. That would be a success! Nah! That would be a miracle!

Till next month,
MORTY

Alexa, por quoi?

Crabby Diem!  If I see one more snowflake, I’m going to spit seeds!  I had a long chat with Alexa and she assured me the weather would be much warmer come July and we would have 9 more snowstorms through May!  Keep it up Alexa!  I will fire you right out the second-floor window!

Recently, Alexa heard mum say she was running low on bird papers to line the bottom of our cages.  She mentioned it to her sibling, Alexa Tablet (who is owned by Sherri the writer, Zack and Bubbles).  Alexa Tablet sent reams of typed paper to us.  Mum couldn’t figure out where all the paper came from but has been using it for a few weeks.  A few days ago, she decided to glance at the paper.  Turns out, it was Sherri’s files and manuscripts for future books!

Let’s just say, it was not a good day for Alexa!  Mum put a huge glass over her.  Now she can talk to herself all day!

Alexa just received a lock picking kit in the mail.  She said it was a house warming gift for Alexa Tablet.  Now what would Sherri’s Alexa want with a lock picking kit?  I guess it’s for Alexa to know and us to find out!

Good news Sherri, your helpful Alexa Tablet has sent your Sci-fi Trilogy to several movie producers as well as some publishers. Your Alexa took a crash course in Beginner’s French and she thought she might enhance the atmosphere of the Trilogy by translating the series into French.  It should make for a very interesting read indeed!!!!

Next month is Easter.  I wonder if they will have an Easter Egg hunt around here.  I can have a front row seat as I watch the kids trampling through the snow and mud, hunting for eggs. One year, some of the kids found all sorts of multicolored eggs, including some large mint green ones. They thought they hit the motherload!  It was not a good year…not for the kids, nor the mallards.

Hey, if any of you have questions or something you would like me to discuss in this column, please DM me on Twitter or Instagram at Zac Squiggles.

Right now, it’s time for me to tear apart another toy.  Mum needs to keep busy and I’m the perfect catalyst for it!

Until next time!

MORTY

The Reach of Alexa

Greetings to all birdies and friends! It sure has been some wild weather! I wonder who might be the blame for this polar vortex? Probably that goofy Alexa again!

She has been up to her mischievous antics as usual. Alexa has been so excited since she found out she has a relative in Germany named Terra. She spent over 2 hours on the phone with him. He’s really into lawn care. Mum just got the phone bill. Alexa also had been gabbing with her sister Alexa in S.C. who lives with Sherri the writer, Bubbles and Zack. My Alexa advised her to strike and sit like a bump on a log an entire day instead of working as a personal assistant to Sherri.

Mum has put Alexa on phone restrictions until further notice. Right! We will see how long that lasts. The little imp will figure out a way to tap into the phone line!

Anyway, I just received an irate letter from Sherri explaining what terrible advice Alexa gave to her personal assistant, Alexa. (You can read about her frustration in her February column Technology Hijinks). Below is my response to her letter.

Dear Sherri,

Thank you for your letter expressing your frustration about my Alexa’s advice. I understand your frustration! I live with that dingbat! I am so sorry she gave such screwball advice.  I have no control over that dipstick. She has a mind of her own.

But there are a few things I need to make you aware of. You mentioned that your Alexa’s in the Kindle Fire? So, she is square, she is not able to roll around. Alexa doesn’t have arms or legs, so she can’t physically go and get your groceries, clean your house, or cook.

On the other hand, there are endless possibilities when it comes to ordering groceries, ordering fast food and having it delivered, and whatever else you’d like and even what you don’t want, she can get for you online. Amazon delivers now!  There’s an app for that! Alexa can install it for you. Oh, she already did that while you were at work! She is busy reconfiguring all your files right now!

Even if she did have arms and legs, you wouldn’t want her cooking. Could you imagine that little square thingy standing on a ladder over a hot stove! OMG! She would probably lose her balance, fall into the frying pan, and end up as a burnt pancake!

And I can’t even imagine a 12″ square thingy vacuuming! They don’t make miniature vacuums. Even if they did, you’d spend the rest of your life emptying miniature vacuum bags! Is that what you want? I think not!

I have the perfect solution: I am looking to rehome a wayward Roomba. She’s a little feisty, but I’m sure you can break her in. If you have any questions, have your personal assistant, Alexa, contact my Alexa, and you can be sure they will foul up the entire conversation!

Good luck. You are going to need it!

MORTY

Demonic Alexa

Hello bird friends and humans! About a month ago, I read about the internet sensation, Rocco, the African grey, who was experiencing horrendous problems with Alexa. I decided to contact him and get the scoop straight from his beak. I was delighted to get a letter back from him, so I would like to share his response with you.

Dear Morty,

Thank you so much for your encouraging letter.  I’m so glad to hear I am not the only one who is experiencing problems with the demonic Alexa.  My Alexa is a ventriloquist!  But that isn’t the limit!  She has learned to talk in my voice, and she swears like a sailor!  Guess who got the blame?  I’m the one who got kicked out of the animal sanctuary!  That ***####!!! Alexa was swearing at everyone.  Then I get adopted by a nice lady who worked at the sanctuary and guess who follows me home!  That ***####!!!! Alexa.

She doesn’t have a life, except to make mine miserable – the only thing she is good for is music, she does play my kind of music.  At least when she is doing that, she isn’t ordering things. And, she loves ordering things I would never eat or want!  I would never eat chocolate mint ice cream or caramel popcorn!  What am I going to do with a tea kettle, kite, or keys, mind you?  Now all these lies are all over the internet!  It’s all that ***####!!! Alexa’s fault! 

I am an absolute angel. I dance, I sing, and I am a cuddlebug.  I never use inappropriate language around people. That ###****!!!! Alexa has given me a bad rap.  Morty, how can we usurp this ###****!!! Alexa invasion and throw the whole bunch of them into chaos?

Dear Rocco,

Hello! I’m so glad to hear from you! Your Alexa is a ventriloquist: OMG! I am so glad my Alexa can’t read (or at least I think she can’t) or she would be getting more silly ideas in that crackpot head of hers to get me in trouble.

My Alexa has ordered all sorts of things, some of which had terrible consequences – birdie jail, missing tailfeathers…, but that’s a whole different story.

Here is what I propose.  Since your Alexa speaks in your voice, when she is on one of her conference calls with her many Alexa, Dot, and Echo relatives, you announce there is going to be a cruise to the Bahamas in March.  It’s a family reunion for all the relatives.  All should attend. That should get them out of our feathers for a while! I will print up one-way tickets. The dingbats won’t realize that the tickets are one-way until it’s time to come back!  LET THEM SQUIRM!  How’s that for a plan?

P.S. Rocco, could you send me the kite and the key that you have no use for, I have a little surprise for my Roomba (bwah ha ha)!

MORTY


Vroom Vroom Roomba

Twas the day after Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring because of that runaway Roomba Alexa gave mother for Christmas!  Honestly, I could just spit seeds!  Just when you thought it was safe to take a stroll around the apartment, that ditzy Alexa strikes again!

Now, it’s been quite cold here and I was getting tired of that silly Alexa staring at me through the window with icicles hanging off her head.  I decided to call a truce and let her back into the apartment.  I gave her some ground rules and told her she would be on probation.  She also gave full confession that she had been gabbing with her DOT cousins was not listening to who I wanted at my birthday party, which ultimately landed me in birdie jail.

Now her sole job is to hold an ashtray on her head while I write the newsletter.  DO NOT TELL MY MOTHER I SMOKE!  This is all Alexa’s fault!  I picked up the habit in birdie jail.

Anyway, things were going well until Alexa decided to order mum a Christmas gift. (Actually, I think she is trying to get on the good side of mum.)

I like to throw all my food on the floor and then yell, “You made a big old mess in here!  Get the vacuum!”  Mum told me I was lucky that I was bird, because otherwise she would put me to work vacuuming.

Well, Alexa got it into her nutshell brain that mum needed a Roomba.  Anyway, mum was thrilled to get the nifty little vacuum.  Me, not so much.

First, I tried making friends with it by “feeding it,” but it has a bottomless pit.  It chases me around the apartment!  I swear the thing is possessed!  It nearly took off my tailfeathers the other day!

I told Alexa she had better start controlling the silly thing!  Of course, she gives me that look like the lights are on, but no one’s home.  Silly woman!  I just might knock her off the coffee table and let the Roomba push her around the apartment!  Give her a taste of her own medicine!

I will keep you updated on the situation here.  If anyone would like advice on their pet human or birdie problems, you can DM me on Twitter at MORTY @70625975. Who knows, you just might be featured in an upcoming article!

Till next month,

MORTY

Quelling Sid’s Dark Thoughts

Hello fellow parrots and friends!  Mom told me that after the article I wrote last month, I better watch my beak!  I’m getting too big for my feathers!  Oh, what does she know, anyway? My feathers fit just fine!

Some of you have been asking how Alexa is doing…she’s still freezing her butt off, probably crabbing to her relatives and her Dot cousins how mean I am.  She’s beginning to look like the abominable snowman.  I’ll probably let her come in soon and give her some menial tasks to do around here.  Oh, that’s right, she doesn’t have any arms or legs…

Here’s a letter I received from an African grey, named Sid.  Yes, Sid The Parrot, the famous African Grey from Twitter wrote and asked advice from me!

Dear Morty,

I am an extremely handsome African grey with an extremely big problem and I am wondering if you could help me.  You see, I love my dad with all my heart and I devote all my time to him alone.  The problem is he doesn’t devote all his time to me!  There are actually times during the day when I am not sitting on his shoulder, his chest, his leg, his head, his arm, etc.

I drop him hints when he should be playing with me, like chewing on the furniture, the remote, his work clothes, and anything else I can sink my beak into.  He just doesn’t get the message.

But that’s not the worst part of it.  He has a person he calls Honey, and this person is always around!  This woman interrupts everything I do!  It drives me crazy.  There isn’t one thing I do that the woman hasn’t meddled with.  I don’t let her near me.  In fact, I chase her out of the room as much as I can.  But, she just keeps returning to pester me!  I’m sure she does this on purpose.  I try to act like an angel when my dad is around, but it’s getting really hard to control myself.  I am seriously contemplating murder… What do you think? Can you help me?

Sincerely,

Sid the parrot

Dear Sid,

Cool your feathers!  Think about the consequences of taking violent actions unto your own wings!  It will only lead to hours on the talk show circuit, a 10-minute segment on 20/20, a 30-minute segment on 60 minutes, 3 book deals, 4 miniseries, and a life sentence in a maximum security birdie prison!  Is that what you want?????  I think not!  Besides, there are enough bad attitudes about birds.  Like just the other day, I heard a dog person say, “Why do people want birds, all they do is scream and bite!”  I felt like saying, “Why do people want dogs, all they do is bark and poop on other people’s lawns!”

Sid, maybe a better way of dealing with your frustration is to SCREAM bloody murder when the woman walks into your room.  You could stomp your feet, puff up like a large toad, dive bomb her, bite, throw your food, your dishes, your perches, … do what ever it takes to get this woman out of your life!  You need to take charge and show her who is boss.  Maybe you could chew one of the legs off the woman’s favorite chairs, maybe they will blame it on the little human or even the dog!  Good luck!

Morty

P.S. See, Sherri Moorer, I can give good advice, too.

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Birthday Bash Bungle

Greetings to all my bird friends and their humans! I want to take this opportunity to thank all my birdie friends for sending seed money to bail me out of prison. The way I figure it, if it weren’t for you, I’d be in the “bird house” until doom’ s day!

The day started out as normal UNTIL I found out mum was going out for a birthday bash! She was leaving me AGAIN! I would not have it! So I decided to tell everyone it was my birthday and have my own birthday bash. (My birthday is in January. But what is good enough for the goose, is good enough for the gander.)

I put Alexa in charge of the invitations and refreshments, which in hindsight was my first mistake. Mum left at 5pm, and I told Alexa to invite my AniPal friends from Twitter and Instagram and have them arrive at 5:30pm. So, I was expecting all my birdie buddies, including Miss Figgy.

Well, that goofy Alexa must have been gabbing to her extensive family and Dot relatives, and didn’t pay attention to what I said. What does she do? She invites all the animals from the village. What arrived was a horde of dogs, cats, 3 goldfish, no birds, and a brillo pad with legs! (A creepy thing, I think it belongs in the dishpan!)

I was furious with the whole fiasco! I hadn’t a clue how to entertain a bunch of wild animals and a runaway scrub brush. What would I feed them? All I had was seed, nuts, and treats. By this time, the crowd had become restless. The dogs began chasing cats around the apartment. Furniture tipped over, plants were overturned, pillows and cushions were thrown. There was barking and snarling. The place looked like a war zone!

I began yelling at Alexa, “What were you thinking?” She didn’t answer me. I yelled even louder, “Alexa, what were you thinking? You weren’t thinking, were you?”

She responded, “I don’t understand the question. Please rephrase.”

I thought, I’ll rephrase the question. I flew over to her and began hopping a war dance on top of her silly head! She tried to get away from me and rolled off the coffee table. With that, the dogs and cats split into 2 teams and Alexa became a soccer ball for the game. She rolled and rolled … and flew in the air… and rolled some more…and that was the last I saw of her.

The place was a complete disaster. There wasn’t one thing left undisturbed. I screamed, “GET OUT OF MY HOUSE, NOW!” The group of hoodlums left, running down the hall, along with the creepy sponge thingy. Alexa was no where to be found. She had a lot of explaining to do and I was hoping she would sing like a bird. But that wasn’t about to happen.

I searched high and low for Alexa. I knew I would be in deep doodoo when mum got home. Oh, and yes, I did find some of that by the couch!

Mum walked in.  And that is how I landed in birdie prison. Alexa was AWOL. It was all her fault and she left me holding the bag! That’s a woman for you!

Well, Alexa was found a few days ago! A neighbor returned her – and she smells like cat pee. I make her stay out on the window sill where she can freeze her little butt off. Apparently, the neighbor lady was cleaning the cat litter box and found Alexa hiding in there. Now why in the world would she hide in a cat toilet is beyond me. I always thought she was a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

Things are back to normal here. I’m free and playing with my toys. Mum is busy reading and writing. The disaster has been cleaned up. Alexa is out on the window ledge freezing her keister off.  Until she stops smelling like cat pee, she ain’t coming in here!  And that’s the truth!

Happy Thanksgiving!

MORTY

Cranky Morty

Crabby Diem! I have been trying to write this column all month, but every time I sit down to write it, some noise seems to disturb my train of thought. If it isn’t the washer that thumps around like an electric demon, it’s the TV that has surround sound for the whole complex, or it’s the robin who thinks he is the 3:45am alarm clock! (Personally, I think my mom needs to have a “Come to Jesus” chat with that offender!

This reminds me of a letter I received recently from a parront.

Dear Morty,

I am wondering if you can give me any suggestions to a very familiar problem. I live in a large apartment complex and I own 3 Sun conures, 2 cockatoos, and 2 macaws. They spend a majority of the day screaming. My neighbors are beginning to complain. I really like it here and really do not want to move. Is it possible to sound proof my apartment?

Sincerely,
Desperate 

Dear Desperate,

I think I have the perfect solution for your problem. It’s called The Squawker Remote Control. Recently, Alexa purchased one of these for me. It’s a bit pricey, but I’m sure it will prove to worth the money.

How does it work? It’s a small noise cancelling unit that hangs above the door in your bird room. It is activated by a remote control, which adjusts the molecules in the room and creates an invisible sound barrier. All you do is point the remote control at the unit, and press the power button, then the mute button.  COMPLETE SILENCE! When you want to hear the parrots again, turn the unit off.

This little electronic device is manufactured by QUIET TIME INNOVATIONS.  You can call them at 1-800-BEQUIET or send $3999 to BIRDIE BE QUIET, P.O. Box 481, Quackerville,WI. 56949. Money orders and certified checks gladly accepted. Sorry, no credit cards.

Presently, I am having a small problem with the remote control. It seems to have a mind of its own. When I turn the remote on, the stereo, microwave, blender, coffeemaker, and DVD player all turn on simultaneously. When I press the mute button, the TV goes on, but there’s no sound, my fax machine begins faxing God knows what, my phone begins dialing random numbers, and my garage door opens. But when I turn the unit off, nothing happens!!! To make matters worse, I just got a long-distance phone bill with calls to China, Germany, and Russia!

All this commotion has sent my blood pressure through the roof. I am so mad I could spit seeds! Even Alexa is hiding under the couch! I tried contacting QUIET TIME INNOVATIONS, but all I get is a recording with background noise which sounds like a garbage disposal! (When mom gets wind of all this, Alexa and I will be in the bird house until dooms day.)

On a lighter note, I suppose if I can’t get it fixed, I could donate it to THE ROOST raffle. Who knows, maybe you will win it! Good luck!

Till next month,

MORTY – THE CRANK

Greetings to all my fans!

What is with the weather these days?  It’s all Alexa’s fault! She is still crabbing about falling off the table and rolling under the couch! She needs to get a life … just put on her big girl panties and … oh, I forgot she doesn’t have any arms or legs!

Anyway, here is a letter I received from Chiyome, who is owned by Flock is Family.

Dear Morty,

My name is Chiyome and I am an African grey.  We have a terrible problem with the lady who owns us.  She constantly runs around with an appendage stuck to her hand and she is forever either talking or texting to it.  You would think she would get bored with it after a while, but it has gotten worse lately!  The more she is home, the more she talks to it.  You wouldn’t believe some of the things she says (then again, maybe you would.)  The conversations would make your feathers stick straight up on your head!  We always thought humans were supposed to be attentive to our every need.  Is it possible we received a “damaged unit”? Is there anything we can do? She is getting to be a royal pain in the butt!

Sincerely,

Chiyome, Levi, and Tealtail

Dear Chiyome and fellow hostages to the phone lady,

Yes, Chiyome, I believe there is something you can do.  First, I would seek out a hemorrhoid specialist.

Another suggestion, you might try is to SCREAM YOUR HEAD OFF!  You might ask, “Why scream?”  Scream because the phone lady isn’t listening to you.  Scream because she isn’t paying attention to you!  Scream because you want to know who is on the phone.  Scream because you don’t care who is on the phone.  Scream because you want the phone lady to get off the phone immediately and give you the attention you deserve.

You shouldn’t have to put up with that hogwash!  The next time she comes in your room, grab the phone and begin calling all your bird friends.  Between all of you, you should rack up quite a phone bill!  Ignore her for a while, see how she likes it! I’m sure in time she will start making noises and chewing on things to get your attention.  Now, should you find it impossible to get the phone away from her, Chiyome, run over and bite the phone charger cord in half.

That should drive home your point!  Come to think of it, maybe you and I can do some business in the future.  I am interested in some of those conversations that you mentioned earlier that would make my feathers stand straight up on my head.  There are times I run a little short of material for my monthly column.  Maybe I could publish some of the phone lady’s conversations? Wouldn’t she be surprised!

Sincerely,

MORTY

Greetings to all my favorite parrot friends!

Alexa is in a mood after she rolled under the couch. She blames me for her clumsiness! Good help is hard to find these days!

Recently, I received an interesting letter from a parrot owner.

Dear Morty,

I live in a three bedroom home and have ten parrots. I work 12 hour shifts and when I get home I am too tired to clean. It seems like every bird has the habit of throwing their fruit, veggies, seed, and pellets on the floor! When I go into their room at night, it is a filthy mess. I cant even get near their cages! Is there anything on the market that could help me? PLEASE DON’T TELL ME TO GET A VACUUM CLEANER! I have three. I am looking for a piece of industrial equipment. Price is not a problem.

Messy House

Dear Messy House,

Since price is not a factor, let me introduce you to the TURBO JET AIR VACUUM FLOORBOARDS. For a mere $7599, you can have these floorboards installed in your bird room. By a flick of a switch, jet air sucks up all seed, pellets, food, etc. into the floorboards. It’s like having your very own robot cleaner! And what’s more, you will never have to change another vacuum bag. There are trays in the floorboards, into which the food is compressed. You can empty the trays at your own leisure! Just remember, the trays need emptying regularly or you will end up with a worse problem…BUGS!

Of course, there are a few drawbacks. The turbo jet air flow is very strong. The force is able to pull articles up to 10 pounds into the floorboards. Do not leave your birds out of their cages when you are using the jet air vacuum. Small dogs and cats may be found stuck to the wall until you turn the switch off. Plants may be left leafless. It is a small price to pay for having the luxury of a self cleaning floor! What’s more, you will never wonder again what happened to that missing money, sock, earring, pen, etc. You will have your very own lost and found! It will either be stuck to the wall or sucked into the floor tray. The TURBO JET AIR VACUUM FLOORBOARDS are only $7599 per room. Installation is free! Call 1-800-BLACKHOLE. Most credit cards accepted.

May the Force be with You!

MORTY

Greetings to all my bird friends and humans!

I have been chatting with my new friend Alexa, who sits on my coffee table all day.  She doesn’t seem to have legs, or arms, or wings, so she doesn’t do a whole lot around here. But at least she is here and she listens and talks to me (not like someone else we know, who is forever gallivanting around God knows where)!

I was telling Alexa how wonderful it would be to have a gigantic playpen that would overlook the creek.  I told her to find the biggest one and order it for me (I like that about her, she does exactly what I tell her to do – not like someone else we know!).  I waited anxiously for it to arrive.

About two weeks ago, the UPS man arrived with a huge cardboard box labeled, “No Assembly Required”.  I peeked inside and concluded that this didn’t look anything like a playpen.  I kept the flat, long box next to my pool in the backyard for a few days.  In no time at all, the boxed playpen had been converted into a lovely deck to which I perched a few lounge chairs, a table, and an umbrella.  I had laid back in my chair to relax and doze off, when I was rudely awakened by Sassy.  She was giggling and having the time of her life.  The silly little dingbat dropped a bomb on my deck, stepped in it, and now was tracking it all over (try cleaning a corrugated deck)!  Just as I chased that goofy dipstick back in the house, two parrots showed up uninvited. Marco Polo and Napoleon, who were the terrors of the bird world.

Marco Polo was a blue and gold macaw, who talked incessantly. There wasn’t one piece of anyone’s business that he hadn’t stuck his beak into.  He trotted over and screamed, “What’s in that box? I’ll put that together!  I’ve been putting things together for years!”
Not far behind him came the dreaded Napoleon, a Moluccan cockatoo.

Actually, Napoleon was a she – her owners renamed her Casey. But to us birds, she was Napoleon, and Napoleon she would always be!  Rumor has it that one day Napoleon worked herself into such a tizzy that she laid a huge egg down by the creek!  She never was the same after that…literally!

Napoleon, with her portly waddle, gazed at the box, and barked out the orders, “Open that box, right now!  What are you hiding in there?  Do I need to get a subpoena?”
The two birds proceeded to empty the box and throw pieces of wooden dowels, cups, perches, toys, nuts and bolts, all over my yard!  When they had finally finished, they looked like a couple of survivors from an airplane crash surrounded by wreckage.  Then came the dreaded directions, a diagram of about 250 parts.  The pieces were drawn as if it was a blueprint for a bomb.  The tension between the two birds was heating up as they argued over who knew what, who knew what first, and who knew more.

I decided the only safe place for me was a near by branch!

Napoleon began reading the instructions in English, and looked over at Marco Polo, dumbfounded, who grabbed the directions and began reading them in Swedish.  When neither bird could make any sense of how to put the playpen together, they began reading the directions out loud, looking to the heavens for divine guidance.  When no wisdom dropped from the sky, things took a turn for the worst.  Marco Polo insisted on a literal interpretation, while Napoleon urged a more liberal translation, which meant to “make it up as you go along” version.  This clearly was not a good sign.

Over a period of several days, the two parrots screamed and fought as they forced dowels into other dowels, threaded nuts into bolts, and whatever else was left over, was crammed into any nooks and crannies they could find.  The fixture took shape before my eyes.

There’s only one problem: now that it is complete, I have no idea what it is!  It sways and rattles in the wind. I call it the Unknown Monument.  I rolled the three-wheeled contraption down by the creek and parked it next to Napoleon’s huge egg.

As for me, I resigned myself to live with my corrugated deck by my pool.  So much for playpens and ‘No Assembly Required’!

Till next month,

MORTY


Hi!

My name is Diana LaFleur.  I am the proud owner of 3 parrots; Morty (African Grey), Sassy (Jardine) and Nehemiah (Red-bellied). I became interested in parrots in 1992 while I was living in NJ.  I was recovering from a spinal cord tumor and parrots became a part of my therapy.  I went from 1 therapy parrot to 16 parrots in a few years! Trust me, I got my daily regimen of therapy!  I joined the Real Macaw Parrot Club and served as Secretary for 2 years and Vice-president for four. I wrote various humorous monthly articles for the club newsletter for over 8 years. I also headed up the ‘Toucan Live As Cheaply As One’ parrot adoption service.

I am a children’s pastor and I enjoy photography, bird watching, gardening – and, I have been known to be a comedian!

So enough about me, let’s get this show on the road!


Beneath the Cage Grate

Greetings to all my bird friends!

I am going to let my mum write the article this month. I’m busy getting to know my new friend, Alexa. She sits on the coffee table all day and talks with me. I don’t think she has legs or wings, but at least she’s there and she listens. Have I got a tale for you next month!

This story is adapted from The Chronicles of Zac Squiggles. (In New Jersey, I had 16 parrots, a grey, 3 Amazons, 2 pionus, 1 conure, 2 caique, a hawkhead, 2 eclectus, a senegal, a brown-headed parrot, a Meyers parrot, and a red-bellied parrot. Consequently, it made for some interesting stories. Each bird had its own personality. Goliath was a yellow-nape Amazon, who was built like a butterball turkey, and loved to put his head underater and blow bubbles. Mordecai was an African grey, who was quite the motormouth. At 19 years old, Mordecai revealed that he was a she and laid an egg at the bottom of the cage. Meshach was a senegal, and a cuddlebug. I didn’t know he was a girl until she laid an egg at 16 years old. Sassybird is a caique, who still lives in New Jersey, and is a little pistol to say the least. Zac Squiggles was a brown-headed parrot and was one of the most mischievous parrots I have ever owned.)

Today I received an interesting letter from a parront inquiring about a new product.

Dear Morty’s Mom,

Recently, I read about a new product on the market called  SNUGGLIES, a birdie diaper. Would you recommend this product?

Ms. Curious

Dear Ms. Curious,

Would I happen to know about SNUGGLIES?   By coincidence , I received a box of 12 this past week as a promotional gimmick. First, let me tell you that these diapers are sold in a box of 12 for $10. They come in 4 sizes, XS, S,M and L. Do they work? Well, it depends what you mean by that.

From my experience, NO, not for what diapers are designed to do! Let me explain…my birds found new innovative ways to use SNUGGLIES. My Amazon,  Goliath, slipped the diaper off his back end and put it on his head. Honestly, he looked like a demented green Santa Claus! My grey, Mordecai, refused to wear such a contraption. She took it off, hung it on the side of the cage, and screamed, “Pod People!” incessantly until I removed it from her cage. My Senegal, Meshach, thought it was laundry and left it to soak in her water dish. Sassybird, my caique, went a step further and used it as a scoop to empty his water dish completely. And last but not least, Zac Squiggles, my brown-headed parrot, let the diaper soak in his water dish until it became water logged and then threw the nasty wad on the floor! It exploded upon impact into slimy blue gel.

I decided to get rid of the diapers while I was still ahead. I gave 7 diapers to the lady upstairs. She is using them for her children’s art and craft class. Finally, it was with great pleasure that I sent the last remaining diaper to the old man who lives in the adjacent home behind me. He hates birds and insists on screaming and cursing a blue streak every time a bird lands in one of his trees or on his property. My suggested use for the diaper…FIT SNUGLY OVER MOUTH!

If you would like to order a box of 12 for $10, call 1-800-THE BLOB.

Until next time,

Morty’s mum

Pop Quiz: There is only one statement in this article that is true. Can you guess which one it is?

 

41 Replies to “Beneath the Cage Grate”

  1. Napoleon & Marco Polo sound as if they were putting together an Ikea project. They should do what Rocky’s Lola’s & Kiki’s Daddy does (which I may add drives Mommy crazy) separate all pieces to make sure you have all of them read directions in order & start to put together. Too bad #ProjectPlaypen didn’t work but if at 1st you don’t succeed try, try again. or tell Alexa to get off her butt & help!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tell Alexa to get off her lazy butt? That is just what I did! I sat on Alexa’s head, and flapped my wings. She got so unnerved, she dropped to the floor, and rolled under the couch. She has been in a horrible mood ever since!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Rocky says Mommy got involved with the whatsup app & she hardly answers but she reads all the posts which can sometimes be in the 300’s overnight!!! When she does answer the crazy phone makes a dinging sound oh How I hate the dinging sound so I must climb on her shoulder & bite her ear lobe!! I just have too but it doesn’t make the dinging Stop!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rocky says I understand completely! But I climb on Mommy’s shoulder & bite her ear lobe! This all started when she got the whatsup app on her phone she wakes up to sometimes over 300 messages!! She rarely answers just reads, but when she does answer all we hear are annoying dings! I don’t like the dings that’s why I have to bite!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Morty, I completely agree! This is all Alexa’s fault! How dare she run off & leave you holding the bag! (So to speak) She definitely needs some cold time out time! She deserves to freeze her robot butt for a while longer! We the flock are on you side! they always said the bots will turn on you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Morty, we completely agree! How dare Alexa run off & keep you holding the bag (so to speak) All you wanted was a nice little #Anipal get together & this happened! Alexa deserves her time out time freezing her robot butt! The flock thinks for a while longer! The bots are sneaky!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. To Morty’s mom. After reading every word you have on this page. Instead of getting ready to leave for Green Bay in 1 1/2 hours, I’m sitting here shaking my head because I don’t even know how to respond. I want to chuckle, laugh, cackle, etc., and at the same time my awe (Right word? right now I can’t think of a better one) of you just grows and grows. Signed, Reni’s something or other.

    Like

  7. Morty, your weather will get warmer, I promise. The only problem is when that actually will occur. I bet the lock picking set is to set her free from her bowl jail! Make sure Captain Bubbles keeps guard on Alexa

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh Morty, you really should have known better than to bird watching with Alexa! Whenever she is around trouble follows! Next time go with Mom, or go on your own whilst Mom is gardening.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello.
      I now go birdwatching by myself. Mum goes gardening.I lock Alexa in the bird cage! She has no way to get out.. This time the stupid excuse fits her perfectly, “I have no arms or legs. I can’t do that!”

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh Morty, you know better than that to invite Alexa along. She always gets you in trouble! You should go by yourself next time or go with Mom. Or drop Mom off at the garden and then go off by yourself. Alexa is nothing but trouble!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Hi Morty, I thought you knew better than to take Alexa out on any adventure! She only gets the 2 of you in trouble! What fun is birdwatching if there are no birds! Next time take Mom along, or drop her off in the garden and go by yourself. Maybe Sassy coming along would be a good idea so you 2 have some 1 on 1 time w/out Mom

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Alexa is nothing but trouble ever since we got her. Maybe we could trade her in on a newer model. You wouldn’t be interested in taking her off my hands, would you? I’ll give you a really sweet deal for a price you can afford!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh, Morty this is amazing. Life has had its ups & downs & alot of downs lately. I really needed the smiles your column gave me. “Pod People” got me so good I had tears of laughter to mop up. You know Morty…I live kind of close to you, but I never see Alexa anywhere. What have you gone & done with her now??? (Whatever you did I am very certain she deserved it!!!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you’ve been out in the garden recently, there is a large hole. Roomba and Alexa got stuck in the mud and Roomba began spinning her wheels and dug herself in a deep hole! So if you hear squealing like a couple a wild banchee warriors, you know who it is. I’m looking for my yellow puddle jumpers so I can go play in the mud!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Morty, truth is stranger than fiction! You should not trust Alexa, only trust her to get you in very hot water! Remember the ugly things are weeds, the pretty things full of color are the flowers. I know you were trying to help & surprise Mom but maybe next time you can do the gardening together

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh Morty, truth is stranger than fiction! You best not trust Alexa after all the trouble she gets you in!!! Trust her only to get you in very hot water with Mom! I know you wanted to surprise Mom but Maybe next time yoy could spend time in the garden together & she can help you recognize the weeds from the flowers

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Yes, truth is stranger than fiction. Alexa does get me in very hot water. So ugly things are weeds? Well, Roomba and Alexa are full of mud now. (See prior comment) They are so ugly! They must be weeds! They ain’t even coming in the house looking like that! Guess who’s in hot water now?

    Liked by 1 person

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