Servant of the People: Funny and Foreboding

I am not sure why people are not raving about this half-hour sitcom from Ukraine, made just a few short years before Russia invaded. First, it is hilariously funny. Second, it is fiction that could not be truer. Third, it is a prescient tale of our times. It is funny, yes; true, yes; and absolutely foreboding, double yes.

My wife the Beautiful AP and I laugh uproariously at situations in the show and then our eyes widen, we look at each other and say, “This is amazing,” unable to find the words to express what we feel. We are watching history unfold before it actually unfolded.

Servant of the People is the story of a dedicated teacher—a smart, insightful, plain young divorcee—who lives with his parents, sister, and niece in a rundown apartment in Kiev (Kyiv). After a video of him ranting goes viral, he finds himself voted in as the President of his country.

He is elected overwhelming, at about 63 percent of the vote, to end corruption and to break the grip of Russian gangsters who control just about everyone powerful and everything worth controlling in Ukraine.

The writing is crisp; the situations are satiric, plausible, and disturbing. The characters at once outrageous and recognizable. They transcend the locale and could be Americans, Canadians, Europeans—folks from any of the democratic countries suffering from corruption’s byproduct: decay. The characters could be members of your family. They could be you.

The star of the show is Volodymyr Zelenskyy, that’s right, the current real-life President of the Ukraine. He stumbles into the presidency on the show, although in real life he actually ran for President in a party called Servant of the People! (Yes, named after his television show.)

In Zelenskyy’s political life, he championed the right of Russians to have their works published and performed in Ukraine. Sadly, and ironically, his works were often banned in both Russia and Ukraine!

He aspired to heal the rift between his and Putin’s territories and finally end the tension between Ukraine and Russia.

However, Vladimir Putin is determined to get rid of this annoying democratic president and his free state of Ukraine, conveniently situated on Russia’s border. He just had to wait for the Winter Olympics in China to be over.

It took Putin only a short inhale to invade Ukraine. He expects to exhale his victory.

Putin is referred to many times on the show. The Russians are portrayed as a menacing element, loyal to their power, pocketbooks, and motherland.

President Zelenskyy has a law degree, although his true loves were acting and comedy. Still, politics called him. Interestingly enough, he did better in the real election than he did on his show, garnering 73.23 percent of the Ukrainian vote.

Watching this wonderful show and seeing how it conjoins with what is currently happening in the real world of Ukraine puts the viewer in a time warp. The President of the show is the real President of Ukraine and the problems he faces on the show are the problems he now faces in reality—in a wartime reality, not a comic reality.

On the show Zelenskyy is portrayed as a short man, almost never taller than anyone else in a room or a meeting. He has to reason, cajole, or fight to get his points across. Everything is uphill. But his character never stops trying to do the right thing by his people.

At 5’7” Zelenskyy is a relatively short man. But on the world stage he is a giant.

Pundits compare him to Winston Churchill, the premier who helped save England during World War II. Indeed, could be the modern-day Churchill.

Putin’s height is estimated between 5’2” and 5’7” and he rankles when he is on stage with anyone taller. On the world stage, Putin is a puny man.

I don’t know if Ukraine can survive the brutal onslaught of Putin’s armed forces. One can hope.

Watch Servant of the People. It’s on Netflix.

Common Sense

There are many Internet writers constantly whining about the fact that Americans have no common sense.

The left wingers think the right wingers are idiots, totally lacking this important facet of intellectual life; while the right wingers are convinced that the left wingers have lost not only common sense but their full minds in the bargain. Yes, there are even people in the middle who think everyone has lost his or her common sense. In short, to them everyone is a moron.

But is this so? First a vivid example:

I saw Richard Dawkins, perhaps the world’s greatest evolutionary biologist and a fierce critic of religion and the belief in a god, being interviewed by a man of deep faith. The man asked the inevitable question that creationists will always ask evolutionists: “How can the human eye, which is an amazingly complex organ, have come about by random chance? Isn’t that impossible?”

Dawkins then gave the man a lesson on how the human eye came about through evolution, from sensing light and dark, to seeing shades of different types, all the way to the human eye. At the end of this, Dawkins then mentioned about a dozen or more animals that have different types of eyes that reflect some of the evolutionary points the human eye may have gone through at one time or another.

It was a brilliant lesson from the renowned Mr. Dawkins.

Dawkins then asked the man if this made sense to him. The man said that “yes, it did” but that he didn’t believe any of it because his judgment of truth is the holy word of God in the Bible.

In the Bible, God (meaning Yahweh, as opposed to say Zeus or Odin, etc.) created the world in six days. All the creatures were made as a “kind” and these “kinds” do not change. Yes, there are many different types of dogs but all dogs are of one kind. Man is obviously a “kind” and everything about man is the way it should be, including the eye. There is no such thing as evolution. The earth is only about 6,000 years old (give or take).

The Bible was everything. Nothing could shake this man’s belief in it, no matter what facts he was given. Dawkins just looked at the man and I am sure he wondered, “This guy has no common sense. What’s wrong with him?”

Now, the religious man probably thought the exact same thing. It was Dawkins who did not have the necessary common sense. How could Dawkins deny the eternal word of the Lord? Where was Dawkins’ brain?

If you are of the religious bent, you will agree with the man and disagree with Dawkins. If you are scientifically minded, then Dawkins is right.

Is the religious man so stupid that in other aspects of his thinking he also emits an intense odor of idiocy? Not necessarily so.

This man may be great in analyzing ideas for his business. He might be excellent in handling people and fixing things. He might have plenty of common sense in most other areas of his life. It’s just this Bible thing that would make the Dawkins of the world think the guy has a screw loose.

And Dawkins? Well, he probably has plenty of common sense except in areas of evolution on Earth. Therefore, he might not be the best choice for the Seventh Day Adventists’ “Man of the Year” award. After all, how could he not know that Saturday is the day God rested and not Sunday? Geesh! Some people have no common sense!

It is quite obvious that common sense exists here and there.

People might think Joey the Wrench is such an idiot that he probably doesn’t have any common sense at all. But the Wrench certainly knows motorcycles and how to fix them. He’s good with the ladies too – or maybe those ladies don’t themselves have common sense. Hmmm.

The bottom line? There is such a thing as common sense but no one has a true handle on it at all times. It’s here and there but it is not everywhere and none of us really thinks that it is. If we did, well, then we wouldn’t have any common sense, would we?

In conclusion, please use your common sense when discussing common sense.

I Have Been Censored!

I have been censored. Yes, I have. By myself. Self-censored.

Here is how it all came about:

I was going to publish an article on my website—my first website article in months—titled “A Subtle Sense of Humor” about Derek Gilstrap who cuts farts in public on boardwalks, promenades, escalators, parks and shopping areas. He walks by a group of people and lets loose different varieties of amazing farts.

These are created by a handheld device; they do not actually come from Mr. Gilstrap’s nether regions. The people reacting to the farts do not know this. Some of them jump away; some run away; some just open their mouths in awe or disgust. I write as if this is delightful.

Now, in the article I carefully took apart his various gaseous shenanigans as if they are artfully done. But then something happened. In the videos, I saw too many young women dressed in (what I call) an inappropriate manner.

They are wearing “crack sweats.” You’ve heard of skin-tight jeans and such, correct? Well, these are beyond that. They go into any crack a woman has on her body, namely her buttocks and her front nether region.

I point this out in the article in a state of horror. I don’t explicitly say these young women could be my daughters but, damn it, they could be my daughters. I wonder what has happened to our society. How have we become so crass? So decadent?

Where are the women I was taught to appreciate—Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca; Donna Reed in It’s a Wonderful Life, Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady, my mother, and my Aunt Annie—the women I admire for their class and strength? (Okay, okay, they were beautiful too.)

Simultaneously, I was praising Gilstrap’s epic farting performances and telling the readers how great the farts are but I kept getting waylaid by those crack clothes.

Okay, what should a reader understand about what I was doing in the article? Right, right, this was a self-satire. I was actually making fun of myself for being as crass and decadent as the young ladies wearing the crack clothes.

My wife read the article and looked at me. She shook her head. “It’s a good article but not everyone will recognize the satire. People like me will be disappointed that you even watch fart videos and others will think you’re an old fart by judging how women dress. Either way, you’ll lose readers. So, be prudent.”

“But that’s not what I am actually writing,” I said.

“Some will get what you are trying to do. Most will not,” she said.

My wife, who is every bit as strong and classy as the women I have held up as strong and classy, is probably right. She is my editor and she is usually right.

Censorship is alive and well, but we’re calling it prudence here in the Scoblete household.

In conclusion, I have nothing else to write on this subject. I have censored myself.

And a Hummingbird Shall Lead Them

I just want to see one right now. I just want one; just one. I don’t want a hundred or fifty or even two. I just want to see one.

A Hummingbird. Just one. Please!

My wife, the Beautiful AP and I have never seen a Hummingbird, except in documentaries. In real life? None.

We know folks who love to go birding. They have seen many, many Hummingbirds. Some have called us to tell us where to go (right now!) and we’ll see the birds if we go, “Right now!” We hop in the car and head off, usually to Hempstead Lake State Park. There is an area where people see dozens and dozens of Hummingbirds.

We have not seen one. In all of our visits, we have not seen one.

“Maybe,” said the Beautiful AP, “We should set up our property so we attract them and create an ecosystem.”

“Huh?” I said.

“Let’s make our property welcoming to all the birds, animals and insects that belong on Long Island. You know all of our bushes, shrubs, trees and plants come from Asia.”

“We had a Japanese landscape architect,” I said. “In Japan we fell in love with the Japanese landscapes.”

“Yes, but now I think we should go natural to where we live. Hummingbirds will be attracted to some of what we grow.”

“Do you believe that?”

“Yes,” she said. “I’m actually embarrassed that I had made a video on native plant gardens for South Shore Audubon and have nothing native on our property.”

“So, right here on our property we’ll attract native stuff?”

“Not stuff. Native insects, bees and animals—and Hummingbirds.”

So we decided to make our property native or native-ish, as it is a three-year plan and there are some Asian trees and shrubs we’d like to keep.

First, we had a non-native tree removed. A friend had offered it to us years ago and we both felt we couldn’t say no. Now we know why he didn’t plant it on his property: it does absolutely nothing for pollinators, takes up valuable real estate, and is disgusting.

We also decided on a border of creeping red thyme, which isn’t exactly native, but functions as native. We knew that native gardeners put down cardboard to kill the grass and then drill holes in it to plant new plants. Why didn’t we do that? Instead, we just pulled up the grass. We blew that one!

Now a mini-forest is growing in that dirt and our thyme ground cover is struggling to keep up. The grass had probably acted as a carpet and kept the rest of nature down. Now nature is sprouting like crazy and we’re weeding like crazy.

Where the non-pretty tree was, the Beautiful AP has planted two crops, spinach and soy beans. They are growing really well (by our standards).

I planted native seeds all over the property that would attract all the Long Island fauna. So far not a one—not a stinking one—has grown. They’re doing well in our container gardens, but around the property? Nil!

We have planted some native shrubs, bushes and trees and named each one after a dearly departed relative. All but one is doing well; Aunt Annie might not make it.

We have joined Rewild Long Island and touch base with Long Island Native Plant Gardening Group on Facebook where we and other rookies making rookie mistakes can get advice. We are learning every single day—usually about “stuff” we screwed up.

Frank Scoblete’s web site is www.frankscobelete.com. His books are available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Kindle, e-books, libraries and at bookstores.

My Rejected Screenplay

I sent in a pitch of my new screenplay in 2018. I had one almost accepted by DreamWorks when that company first opened in the 1990s. I’ve written about that particular ordeal in one of my books.

The new one was going to be a big, whopping, costing countless millions that would attract a gigantic audience. I thought it would be a better seller than Jaws or Star Wars or Titanic.

I was meeting with two top executives, Paul J. and James C.

James started the meeting off. “Good afternoon Frank. What have you got for us?”

Frank: “It’s a big one. A grand one with so many elements in it that will attract people to watching it.”

Paul: “Shoot!”

Frank: “It’s about a pandemic that circles the globe killing about 10 million people, about a million in America. The thought is that the virus, called Viral-18, came from a Chinese laboratory and was accidentally release—or even released on purpose—into China and then was picked up and traveled the world on airplanes and boats, especially cruise ships.”

James: “That’s not much of a death toll.”

Frank: “Ah, but there is more. Whole countries close down because there is no real way to fight the disease.”

Paul: “Doesn’t sound like much.”

Frank: “But doctors recommend wearing masks and then society splits in two on the subject. In America and in Europe. Fights actually start in stores and on the street over whether to wear masks or not. The people who refuse to wear masks think wearing a mask is destroying their freedom.

“People are laid off work. The housing market skyrockets as city people start buying suburban and rural houses. The suburbanites aren’t happy to have these people.

“The President of the United States is a guy who used to do a reality show on television. He refuses to read and is involved in shady dealings. He has an orange face too. And strange hair.”

Paul: “Like John Boehner?”

Frank: “Even more. He won’t wear a mask and his followers do what he does. Many evangelical Christians think this guy was sent from God to destroy the evils of the government. Right wing movements are growing in European countries too. Including Germany.”

James: “So far it is ridiculous.”

Frank: “There is a lot more here. Militias start forming and they join each other all over the country. They talk to each other over social media sites and stockpile weapons. At a certain point these people attack Congress and try to kill the Vice President who is himself an evangelical, who won’t be with a woman in a restaurant unless his wife is with him.”

James: “This isn’t going to be some study of sick men, is it?”

Frank: “No, no, they are just the decorations on the tree of the story.”

Paul: “Continue.”

Frank: “As this is happening cities come under fire from the left-wing. Radicals wearing Guy Fawkes masks. Cops are targeted and there is also a big black/white confrontation about racism and the left hates the police and the right loves them except something goes screwy with them when they attack Congress.”

James: “Where’s the sex? We don’t want G or PG.”

Frank: “Plenty of sex. Not all normal either. The President has had many affairs and he has to buy all the women off. The news media plays this up too. He even says he grabs women by their private parts. We can show this too if we go R rated.

“Also, an idea is that whites are inherently racist. This takes place all over the country. Some cities have nightly riots! Stores are looted and burned. This group is often referred to as the ‘Awakes.’ They destroy statues of people they hate like Lincoln.

Paul: “Who the hell could hate Lincoln?”

Frank: “So, you have a new civil war becoming possible.”

James: “I don’t know. Sounds derivative. But weird sex is a good element. Does he have a wife?”

Frank: “A beauty with a great accent. She was a model, even did nudes before she married the President.

“There’s more. While all this is going on, the country and the world is faced with a UFO problem. The government now admits, even a former President admits, that UFOs are real and do things none of our aircraft can do. There are all sorts of tapes from the military showing these craft making our planes look silly. Are we being invaded from space? The world hangs in the balance.

Paul: “I don’t know, The UFOs are kind of old. There have been a lot of movies about UFOs.”

Frank: “Oh, I forgot, Asians are being attacked all over the country because people blame them for the Viral-18 virus. Other minorities are attacking Asians but only one channel shows this.”

James: “But Crazy Rich Asians is making a bundle.”

Frank: “Yeah, but now here is another one to add. The President of the United States runs for reelection and loses the popular vote and the electoral college to some old guy who keeps falling as he walks up the stairs to his plane. This old guy is accused of being a pawn of the Chinese. The ousted President, who is supported by the Russians, claims that the election was rigged. His followers start going berserk. That’s when they try to take over Congress too and even beat up and kill police. They even have a sign saying they are going to kill the Vice President.

“The states certify that the President lost. Scores of cases are brought to the courts and the President is defeated in all of them. Doesn’t matter, a religion has now grown up around this guy. It is called ‘U’ and the President is now looked upon as almost a god that the Christian God has groomed perfectly and, here is really the weird stuff, the opposition party is now believed to be controlled by Satanists who have sex with children and drink their blood. ‘U’ claims that all over the world these Satanists are destroying children and countries and fixing elections.”

James: “Do you really think movie audiences could believe all this?”

Frank: “There is one fake ballot found during the election. One man murdered his wife and then sent in her mail-in vote and the vote was for the President!

“All of this going on with UFOs and the pandemic and an upcoming civil war between the left and the right. People are refusing to be vaccinated too with a new vaccine that was quickly created. They are leaving themselves open to this world-wide disease and some of them are causing trouble on airplanes. They’ll wear seat belts but they won’t wear masks.”

James: “Frank, listen. A worldwide disease, people refusing to be vaccinated against it, a wacky orange President, religious fanatics who think this guy is a god, UFOs, Satanists, pedophiles, a rebellion on the left and the right, a right-wing attempt to take over Congress and a new President who trips up the stairs? Who could believe all of this going on at the same time? Nobody.”

Paul: “I have to agree with James. Nobody would believe this. The story is completely nutty. It’s all over the place. There is no way all this could be happening.”

Frank: “Oh, oh, and hackers are hacking into our oil lines and meat-packing plants. America is in a cyber war too. How’s that?”

Paul: Adding more isn’t helping. The answer is no.

They were right, I guess. These things were just too much for a movie. No one would believe it.

Female Crapshooters

In post war America in the 1950s, men were the crapshooters. You rarely saw a woman at a craps table – at least one who was not accompanied by a man; probably she was not his wife or his beloved girlfriend.

The same was true right up until the 1980s. Women just didn’t take to craps. They dominated the slot machine world. Indeed, their husbands and boyfriends would usher them off to the land of bells and whistles so that the men could play the man’s game.

Most men learned to play craps in the military. It was a city game but the country boys took to it with delight. With the soaring attendance in Las Vegas, craps became the number one game until the mid-1960s when blackjack jumped ahead of it.

It is now 2021. Has anything changed?

Kind of; sort of; well, maybe; somewhat.

Check out the craps tables in the casinos across the country and you can still see clearly that the game is heavily dominated by men; most of whom have never spent time in a war. Their game was probably learned inside the casinos’ walls.

Yet, you will on occasion see females playing the game. They are the trailblazers.

In the 1980s I wrote an article where I described how the men, mostly World War II and the Korean War vets, looked upon the precious few women who dared to come to the world of men.

But in those days, the way some of these men talked was frowned upon by some of the newspapers and magazines to which I sent this article. Long story short; my article was rejected by all of them.

I am now resurrecting some of the men’s “insights” so we can see how these fellas actually felt about women who dared stand at the tables with them. The reading public has become far more mature than it was so very long ago.

Joey D. from Brooklyn [WWII army vet]: “I do not want a woman at the tables with me. I won’t allow my wife to come near the craps tables. Craps is meant for men. It requires knowledge of the bets and how they are paid off. I think it is too complicated by the woman sex. Your head has to be into the game. I don’t think their heads are capable of understanding the game.

“They belong at the slot machines. That is their place when they are in the casino. Craps ain’t for them.”

Paulie M. from New Jersey [Korean War vet]: “I am not a man who hates women. I have three daughters and a beautiful wife. But I have told all of them that when they are in the casino to not play craps. Craps players look at the game as their domain – meaning a man’s domain. It is men only!

“Do you see women at the craps tables? No, you don’t. They know they don’t belong there and we men know they don’t belong there. That’s the way it is and that is the way it will always be. Some things change in this world and some things don’t. Craps will stay the same at least for my lifetime. I am sure of that.”

David P. from Long Island, New York [WWII vet]: “I like a good cigar. When there are only men at the table, I can take out my stogie and light up. Remember when stogies were bad cigars? Yeah. Well, not anymore.

“I have never had a man tell me to put out my cigar. Never. But twice I had ladies at the table with me and the nerve of them! They told me to put out the cigar. I gave them a look that said, ‘Go jump in the ocean.’ And then they told the box man who told me we couldn’t smoke cigars at the table. You have to be kidding me?

“Craps is a man’s game and we men, most of us, like to smoke. Ladies, go away. You only cause problems at the game. You are slow to take the dice. You do the little girl routine so we feel sorry for you. All of this is a royal waste of everyone’s time.

“Learn your lesson. Okay? Craps belongs to men.”

Marty V. from Pennsylvania [Korean War vet]: “I played in the streets as a kid and I played in the army. I love the game. I’d bank the game in the army and that made me some cash. The casino game is fun too.

“I go to Vegas three times a year and all I want to do is play the game I love. Women at the tables? Nah, you don’t see many of them. Maybe here and there and they don’t stay long. Craps is the only game in the casino that is all men all the time.

“And that’s the way it should be.”

There you have it. Voices from another generation.

All the best in and out of the casinos!

Frank Scoblete’s web site is www.frankscoblete.com. His books are available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Kindle, e-books and at bookstores and libraries.  

Scobe’s Yay or Nay: Seaspiracy

 

I love documentaries, usually about anything. I have seen the greatest birds in the world on my television screen. I might not get to the top of a real mountain but I’ve been on many a televised mountain including Everest.

I’ve also been under the sea. And that, as of now, has done me in.

Do you love to eat fish? I did. When I was in Alaska, I ate King Salmon for three meals on many days! Now I won’t eat fish, of any kind, anymore. My wife, the Beautiful AP, ate so much fish in her life that she can stay submerged for seemingly hours. She won’t eat fish anymore either.

The documentary, seen on Netflix, titled Seaspiracy has done that to us. Actually, watching this documentary has led us to firmly conclude that our oceans are done in—and not just by plastic straws, plastic garbage bags and take-out containers. No, something bigger is happening. Much, much bigger.

Seaspiracy starts off rather relaxed, like a snowball at first rolling down the hill, and by the end you have a snowball bigger than Mt. Everest. The documentary maker never quit pursuing the topic layer by layer, even when his life was in danger. By the end my wife and I were saying, “Oh, my God!” “Oh, my God!” scene after scene. We looked at each other and nodded and said, “I will never eat fish again.”

I am not going to ruin this documentary for you—if ruin is the right word—but I must tell you that I think you might be saying “Oh, my God!” by the end too.

Seaspiracy is the most powerful documentary about the oceans that I have ever seen. It gets as many “yays” as I can give it.

Seaspiracy is currently playing on Netflix.

Frank Scoblete’s web site is wwwfrankscoblete.com. His books are available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Kindle, libraries, e-books and at bookstores.

 

 

 

 

Oh, Boy! It’s a Girl!

The Beautiful AP and I have two parrots. Our oldest is a Quaker Parrot, Augustus, about 25 (give or take), and our youngest Mr. Squeaky, a Green-Cheeked Conure, is about 10 years old. We’ve had Squeaky for seven years. He’s a rescue.

Mr. Squeaky, named by his original owners, took about three years to get the hang of living with us. He didn’t like stepping up on our fingers; instead, he preferred to jump onto our arms. You also couldn’t hug and kiss him as you could with Augustus, a feathered sponge, absorbing affection by the gallon. It took years for my wife to teach Mr. Squeaky to give individual kisses without drawing blood.

I just chat with them since they reside in my office where I spend most of my day. I think of them as my “little birds Fauntleroy.” They have the good life for sure—gourmet-level food, open cages, ahum, Daddy as company, while Mommy works outside the home.

We’re one big happy flock.

Augustus is madly in love with the Beautiful AP. Mr. Squeaky is in love with me. But Mr. Squeaky is even more in love with Augustus.

From Mr. Squeaky’s first day with us, he had his eyes on Augustus. He’d sidle over to Augustus and perch next to him. Augustus ignored him. Augustus was secure in his place as the Alpha Bird…the Alpha Bein—so this new young bird was nothing to him.

Through days, weeks, and months—two years to be exact—Squeaky would actively court Augustus. Augustus was unmoved.

When the Beautiful AP would feed the birds in the morning, Squeaky would go into Augustus’s cage and gobble his food—but Augustus retaliated by simply waltzing into Mr. Squeaky’s cage to polish off Mr. Squeaky’s food. The food is exactly the same.

The only thing Mr. Squeaky did that did not require any attention from anyone was to have sex with everything in and around him: his cage, top, left, right, bottom; his food dish; Augustus’s food dish; the perches, the handles to the cages, and his various toys and bells. A horny young fella, he had sex through the day and night.

Finally, Augustus had an epiphany. He realized that he could spend his days being groomed by this new servant! No reciprocation necessary.  Augustus learned to simply bend his head to signal Mr. Squeaky to start grooming. Augustus sparkles more and more with each passing day.

Now these two guys rub against each other, kiss (yes, full-beak kisses!) and stay close all day long. Except, that is, when Mr. Squeaky goes off to have sex with some inanimate object, or when they fly onto my head to bask in my bushy, nest-like COVID-19 hair.

And so, there they are, our two beloved gay birds.

This morning the Beautiful AP said to me. “I have a big surprise for you. It’s in the refrigerator.”

“A chocolate pudding pie?” I asked.

“Guess again,” she said.

“Is it something to eat?”

She thought a second, “Technically yes, but probably not.”

I laughed. “Augustus laid an egg?”

Silence.

“Not Augustus,” she said.

“You’ve got to be kidding me!”

She opened the refrigerator. A shot glass held a little white egg with a sign exclaiming, “OMG!”

“Mr. Squeaky is a girl,” we said simultaneously. At the age of 10, he, meaning she, laid her first egg.

Now, everything makes sense. The sex we thought Mr. Squeaky was having was not that of a male fertilizing an egg, it was of a female receiving fertilization! The hours spent grooming Augustus is probably a wifely duty.

All these years Mr. Squeaky knew she was a girl. We were the ones who saw him as male…and still think of him as male, despite the evidence before our eyes. Perhaps in the future, we’ll adjust to the news and call him, or rather, her… Ms. Squeaky. Right now, we’re simply creatures of habit.

Mr. Squeaky Lays an Egg

 

Scobe’s Yay or Nay: The Zoo

This is my “review” section where I will publicly take a look at various things that I usually take a look at without telling anyone I have taken a look at them. These can be books, articles, documentaries, short stories, or films. Maybe even comments by politicians that are for the birds.

Today, most people have wider tastes than in the past. In fact, our tastes have become so wide that we, as a population, have become rather wide too, but that’s probably from addictive junk food.

Yay stands for good. Nay stands for not-so-good.

So today I wish to inform you of a television show titled Zoo based on a James Patterson novel titled Zoo. I like science fiction and even before our COVID-19 pandemic I would read novels and watch movies about pandemics. Of course, my intelligent and insightful self never thought any of that nonsense would actually happen in real life.

The premise of Zoo is terrific. The animals, including all the birds, decide to kill all the human beings on earth. Correct. Little Chihuahua from down the block wants to eat your face off. (Actually, I think all those barking, scratching annoyances want to do that anyway.) Hummingbirds would go for the eyes, of course.

The first season was a Yay. The leader of the human group was a pretty blonde French woman with a normal face. They killed her off quickly and introduced a new attractive woman in the second season. Then, as the show progressed, something really weird happened. The lips of all the women on the show went from normal, to puffy, to puffier, to puffiest. From normal to pouty to poutier, to poutiest. Just like that!

Those of you old enough might remember those huge red wax lips from long ago. Like that. Some producer or director or who knows who must have told the actresses that the men who watch the show really like puffiest, poutiest lips. And so puffiest and poutiest they became.

It got to the point where I was constantly shouting out to my wife, the Beautiful AP, “Oh, God, they puffed up the lips of another actress! Her lips look closer to the Blob than to a human!”

It got to the point where I lost track of the story line. Birds attacking people? Who knows? I couldn’t follow the story; I could only follow the lips.

Finally, my wife came into the room, put her hand on my shoulder, and said, “This show is driving you crazy. Stop watching it. Read a book about a pandemic or something.”

I stopped watching it. Yet my sleep has now been disturbed by lip-mares.

The Zoo deserves a huge, lip-glossed Nay!

Frank Scoblete’s web site is www.frankscoblete.com. His books are available from Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Kindle, e-books and at bookstores. If you want to 

The Meaning of Cardinals

People are always looking for the meaning of life.

Indeed, people are usually looking for the meaning of everything. Brilliant people such as Einstein and Stephen Hawking are looking; stupid people such as conspiracy theorists are also looking. Conspiracy theorists think they have found it in some powerful plotting person or some powerful plotting group of people.

I’m looking too. I am looking and I have been looking since I was 17 years old which was long, long ago. Have I found it? No.

Many people have looked to birds to find such meaning. Birds fly not only in the sky but in our dreams, fantasies and desires. In our fears too. Many human beings look to birds for omens and information about everyday things.

We all know the dire meaning from the arrival of a Blackbird, Raven or Crow into our lives. In short, make sure you have your funeral expenses paid for yourself and perhaps for grandma, if you see one of these birds.

In stories, poems and friendly gossip you can see the strength of the bird superstition in the world from the distant past right up until the present; when your neighbor found one of those black birds dead on his stoop that could be a frightening moment. Much of bird mythology is upsetting but some bird myths are quite nice.

Many religious Christians love the story of the White Dove descending above Jesus’ head as a symbol of peace between God and man. In Judaism, the Eagle protecting her young was a symbol of God’s love and protection of his people.

While the Owl is often thought as the symbol for wisdom, it is also associated with the evils of ancient witchcraft. It was also associated with the devil. I love Owls so I am a little afraid of throwing my lot with them.

My favorite small bird is the colorful Cardinal, a family of which resides in the bushes in my Japanese garden. I see them every day, even in the coldest winters.

There is a strong myth connecting Cardinals and death—a good myth thank heavens, because it’s bad enough that I love Owls. I don’t want to become too popular with Satan.

If someone you loved, admired or simply liked recently passed away, the visitation of a Cardinal is thought to not only symbolize that person but for many believers it is thought to be a short-term reincarnation of that deceased person sending the message that he or she is all right and is thinking about you.

I do not know how many birders believe any of these myths but the good myths, meaning the ones that are uplifting as opposed to horrifying, could be comforting for them.

My Cardinals visit me every day. At this stage of my life, I have many relatives, friends and acquaintances who have passed on.  Maybe all those visits are in fact loving messages for me.