General: December 2005 Archives

sweet pea video still

This morning Barry remembered we had once made a very short video of Sweetpea, and he's arranged a link to it here. Be warned, the file is pretty big.

Early in his stay with us, several years ago now, I was playing with my new little camera and I managed to pick up this short video of our new roommate. I don't think I ever used its video function again, and as it turns out it's now one of the few images, and the only moving picture, we have of Sweet Pea.

I guess we thought we'd eventually be able to record him better outside the cage, but the little guy stubbornly resisted all of our efforts to introduce him to our fingers in order that he might share in the delights (and dangers) of life outside a cage. Maybe the big experience which preceded his arrival at our window had been enough to put him off open spaces forever. He certainly was never able to bring himself to trust a finger, and that was a very sad thing for the two of us.

Eventually we all must have grown so comfortable with the relationship defined by his own personal space that Barry and I never again thought of documenting the hops, the chirps and the peeps, the deep bows, the impromptu overtures of greeting which found him clinging to the bars on the side, the curiosity which kept him peering around his mirror at whatever I was up to in the kitchen, the happy dances, the huge delight in fresh fennel or frissee, the ecstatic play or the gurgling little songs which accompanied his sweet dreams.

He was always there, and he'd be there tomorrow.

I suppose he still is.

Sweet Pea
warming up on the cold afternoon he flew through our opened window three years ago

Barry and I said goodbye to Sweet Pea* this afternoon.

I know it's silly, but I have to say it: He was part of a very happy little family.

I can't begin to express how good this tiny, beautiful bird could make us feel. He weighed only one and a half ounces, but he knew how to sing and dance, he knew how to play and just maybe he knew how to make us laugh.

We were pretty inseparable, except for vacation trips and ordinary excursions outside our building (Still, we both occasionally fantasized being able to walk around anywhere with Sweet Pea on either of our shoulders). For over three years he sat and acted up in his cage at the side of our table, and if we were going to be anywhere else in the aprtment for a while, we'd move him there.

He didn't seem to miss anything that was going on around him.

He ate when he was hungry all day long, but around dinner time he waited and then seemed to make a big point of scooting down the side of the cage and eating the moment we turned the lights low and sat down. On some level he seemed to understand that meal's importance to the whole flock.

He sang back to all the birds in the garden, and to the sound of running water (a huge flock of parakeets?).

He loved Mozart and he loved Miss Kittin.

The inevitable consequence of our great affection for this blithe spirit is the grief which follows his absence.

We thought we were going to be bringing him back home when we set out for the veterinarian today.

Sweet Pea had been fighting a liver disorder, probably cancer, for several months. After we talked to the doctor this afternoon, Barry and I were forced to realize not only that there was nothing more that could be done for him, but that we couldn't let him suffer the increasing pain that had already almost totally replaced such great joy.

Right now I'm sitting at the table in a breakfast room which had been kept so very alive by a lttle bundle of green feathers. Yeah, carrying away the empty cage was a killer.

This is the spelling Barry uses. I've just noticed for the first time that Barry and I have been typing the name differently for three years. Oh well, spelling rules came late in our language anyway, so we shouldn't stress over this stuff. Although I may adopt his mode from now on, since I've done a number of posts about our little friend in the past you'll have to use "Sweetpea" if you're searching my site.

Sir Harold

Nobel laureate Harold Pinter addressed the Swedish Academy yesterday. He began with a beautiful description of his own creative process, but very soon stepped up to the broader political pulpit which the prize so generously provides its honorees.

From the brief account in the NYTimes:

Dressed in black, bristling with controlled fury, Mr. Pinter began by explaining the almost unconscious process he uses to write his plays. They start with an image, a word, a phrase, he said; the characters soon become "people with will and an individual sensibility of their own, made out of component parts you are unable to change, manipulate or distort."

"So language in art remains a highly ambiguous transaction," he continued, "a quicksand, a trampoline, a frozen pool which might give way under you, the author, at any time."

But while drama represents "the search for truth," Mr. Pinter said, politics works against truth, surrounding citizens with "a vast tapestry of lies" spun by politicians eager to cling to power.

Mr. Pinter attacked American foreign policy since World War II, saying that while the crimes of the Soviet Union had been well documented, those of the United States had not. "I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road," he said. "Brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be, but it is also very clever. As a salesman it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self-love."

Earlier in his address [see the Guardian for the entire text, and it's definitely worth a read] Pinter reminded the world that American narcissism has been exercised at enormous cost, and that the world continues to pay for it today.
The United States supported and in many cases engendered every right wing military dictatorship in the world after the end of the Second World War.
And yet we persist in the myth that we are just a peace-loving, democratic folk continually abused by a world to which we generously offer our highest ideals and material support.

SIDEBAR: Barry and I will be seeing Pinter's first and most recent plays in a double bill at the Atlantic Theater next Tuesday. I could hardly wait for the day even before the artist's appearance on the screens in Stockholm; now I can't help thinking of the opportunity as a small event of world significance.

[image from CamdenNewJournal]


Between pre-Miami, during-Miami and after-Miami distractions and commitments, I've been unable to post anything for a week or so. My vacation ends tomorrow however. I'll try to make up for my neglect.

[image from mikkibeymer]

This page is an archive of entries in the General category from December 2005.

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