Monday, February 2, 2015

Mirror, Mirror

  Before I get to my regular post, I wanted to offer a few comments about the Super Bowl game yesterday. In a back and forth game Seattle found itself trailing by four points but had second and goal from the one yard line with one time out and less than a minute left on the clock. Instead of giving the ball to their almost unstoppable running back Marshawn Lynch or having their shifty quarterback Russell Wilson roll out with a pass/run option, the Seahawks elected to throw a short slant to a receiver. Wilson’s pass was slightly behind the intended receiver and Patriots defender Malcolm Butler made a great interception and the Patriots went from an almost hopeless situation to Super Bowl champions.

  Seahawk coach Pete Carroll offered the explanation that the second down pass play was designed to counteract the Patriots goal line defense and if the pass was incomplete the team would have been able to let Lynch run twice (using their remaining time out) to get the winning score. I understand Carroll’s logic and while I think Wilson rolling out with the option of throwing the ball into the stands was a better and safer option Carroll’s biggest offense was that the play worked as bad as it possibly could have and if the Seahawks had scored he and his team would have been feted for their courage and ‘outside the box thinking’.

  I always used to wonder why NFL teams in similar must score situations throw up two or three lobs into the corner of the end zone where either their receiver makes an unbelievable catch or the pass ends up out of bounds but having seen the consequence of Carroll’s decision I’ll wonder no more. It was a great football game between two championship worthy teams and best of all (from my perspective) there were 52 total points scored which made my bet of more than 47.5 points a winner and left me $140 mythical dollars in the black for this playoff season. I’ve been in the black for each of the three years I’ve offered NFL playoff predictions and am strongly considering directing my prognosticative abilities towards the Friday night NBA games. Now on to the topic of my feathered ‘friend’, Harry the cockatiel:

  In November I wrote about the untimely death of Mr. Feathers, one of our two cockatiels and the resulting loneliness of his companion Harry. In the couple of months that followed Harry had gravitated closer to me. Part of the reason probably has to do with the fact that one of my few household tasks is to change his water and food every day. Every weekday I take Daisy and Baxter on their 4:40 walk and on the days I don’t leave for Des Moines earlier than my normal 7am time I close off the living room, set up Harry’s play area on a chair, and let him out of his cage. Kathy takes over when I leave for work and Harry gets to stay out until Daisy and Baxter’s 9am walk so Harry gets a couple of hours to spend with each of us.

  In the early mornings, Harry would sit on my shoulder when I read or wrote and sit on my finger while I watched chess videos on YouTube. I think Harry liked the voice of Christof Silecki of the ChessExplained channel on YouTube. When Harry perched on my finger I'd try to touch him with my off hand he pecked and snapped at me but when I watched ChessExplained videos, Harry would bow his head and let me rub the feathers on top of his head. Within a week we got to the point where I was rubbing all the feathers on the top of his head, the back of his head, and the sides of his face.

Harry and I became best buddies for awhile

  I’m a dog person but I have to admit having a cockatiel as a little buddy is pretty cool. Harry would squawk goodbye when I left for work and squawk hello when I came home and when it was time for him to come out of his cage each morning he’d amble on over to me so I could scratch his head or hop on my shoulder and watch me write my blog or play some one-minute chess. I was even thinking maybe Harry could be a guest blogger for me and talk about the videos we watch on You Tube or maybe even comment on my chess games. Harry and I were getting along so nicely that Kathy and I hadn’t even thought about getting Harry another cockatiel friend. One morning I left for work like normal and when I got home Harry didn’t squawk any greeting to me. Kathy noticed that Harry was staring at his reflection in the television so she got him a mirror and Harry spent the rest of the day looking at himself in the mirror.

  The next morning Harry didn’t come out of his cage – not even once. He just stayed in his cage and stared and squawked at his reflection in the mirror. The next morning I put the mirror on his play area and Harry came out of his cage but only to look at himself in the mirror. The next day I tried to get Harry to play and he did sit on my finger for a little bit but when I tried to pet him he just snapped at me. After a couple of minutes on my finger and shoulder Harry ambled back to his mirror. I’ve tried to get Harry to hang out with me like the good old days and on Saturday he did let me rub the feathers on his head but on Sunday and every other day after he resumed his snapping and mirror watching ways.

Harry has changed from an inquisitive cockatiel to a homebody that just looks in the mirror...

  Kathy and I considered taking away Harry’s mirror so he would start being my friend again but I figure if he wants to look in the mirror all day who am I to argue with him. I liked being Harry’s pal and hopefully he’ll get bored with his mirror soon and start hanging out with me in the mornings again.

  It’s not much fun to be second place to a mirror, even if its just for a cockatiel’s friendship. One thing to consider is that Harry’s tiny cockatiel head doesn’t have a lot of room for a brain. Just to be on the safe side I did a sweep of the house and made sure that all the mirrors in the house are higher than my two beagles and if I start to feel a little insecure about Kathy I suppose the mirrors in the house can start to accidentally break...