Friday, January 18, 2008

Have you noticed its cool again to destroy NYC in the movies? Remember how after September 11, 2001 there was all that soul-searching about popular culture’s love affair with destroying Metropolis/Gotham City? “It looked just like a movie,” Hollywood-colonized imaginations said over and over about the burning WTC. Well, whatever… that was so 2001. Lately, Omega Man Will Smith and Cloverfield both show that it’s safe again for dickheads to enjoy the city's destruction.
Half a dozen starlings were in a scrum over some sidewalk delight this afternoon on Joralemon. Their war-paint was on: during breeding season, their knife-like bills become yellow. Yes, spring is in the air, at least if you’re a bird. FYI: Sturnus vulgaris is a Eurasian species introduced in Central Park in 1890 by a damn fool who believed we should have every bird mentioned in Shakespeare. Says Hotspur in Henry IV, Part 1:

He said he would not ransom Mortimer;
Forbad my tongue to speak of Mortimer;
But I will find him when he lies asleep,
And in his ear I'll holla 'Mortimer!'
I'll have a starling shall be taught to speak
Nothing but 'Mortimer,' and give it him
To keep his anger still in motion.

Starlings are fine mimics. However, like other Europeans in North America, they proved extremely aggressive, displacing and reducing native species (like eastern bluebird, purple martin, and red-bellied woodpecker) as they expanded to fill the continent. At the Raptor Trust in NJ, they have an albino starling. It is quite startling; cf. “The whiteness of the whale” chapter in Moby Dick. Like the pigeon and the house sparrow, species also imported from across the Atlantic, starlings do very well around people and urban areas. These invasive species are outlaws, in the word’s traditional meaning, outside of the protection of the law; it’s not illegal to kill them or move or destroy their nests and eggs, as it is for native species.
Know what’s cold? The water in the toilet tank. Every twenty flushes or so, the connector between toggle and stopper comes undone so I have to plunge my hand in. Brr.

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