Sunday, 31 January 2010
Friday, 29 January 2010
Wednesday, 27 January 2010
Tuesday, 26 January 2010
Friday, 22 January 2010
Talking to a friend of mine who had just got back from the States. She'd been over there to visit someone on Death Row and due to be executed (she's a member of a group or charity that does this sort of thing). By the time she got there, after years on Death Row, his sentence had at last been commuted to life imprisonment and while being very relieved about this also felt cheated about loosing all the privileges of life on Death Row.
Saturday, 9 January 2010
A story a couple of years ago from the Guardian...
Somewhere in Yorkshire, there lurks a proverbially nauseous parrot. Ziggy, an eight-year-old African Grey, had provided Chris Taylor with years of companionship until the fateful day when he opened his beak to mimic his owner's girlfriend and squawked out one word: Gary.Ziggy's obsession with his latest impression grew and he began uttering "Hi Gary!" every time Suzy Collins' mobile phone rang. Chris's suspicions deepened after Ziggy started to make long kissing noises whenever he heard the name Gary on television or the radio.
Things between Chris and Suzy finally came to a head the night Ziggy decided to blurt out: "I love you, Gary" in her voice.When Chris confronted Suzy about his pet's obsession, she admitted to having had a four-month affair with Gary, a former colleague.
The revelation ended the couple's two-year relationship, but also put paid to Chris and Ziggy's friendship. Unable to bear the verbal taunts of his faithful bird, the 30-year-old computer programmer gave Ziggy to a local parrot dealer and asked him to find him a new home.
"I wasn't sorry to see the back of Suzy after what she did, but it really broke my heart to let Ziggy go," said Chris, who lives in Headingley, Leeds. "I love him to bits and I really miss having him around, but it was torture hearing him repeat that name over and over again. I still can't believe he's gone. I know I'll get over Suzy, but I don't think I'll ever get over Ziggy."
He added: "It feels like someone's got it in for me because I've lost my girlfriend and my best mate at the same time. Ziggy was one in a million. He was a loyal friend and I've no doubt he was looking out for me. He never liked Suzy and she never took to him."
Chris bought Ziggy as a chick almost eight years ago, and named his pet in honour of one of the 1970s alter egos of his favourite pop star, David Bowie. He also taught Ziggy to dance along to his owner's favourite Bowie records, and even taught the bird how to mimic the singer's idiosyncratic vocal style. Chris said the parrot's favourite Bowie tune was Let's Dance, and he liked to sing along to "Put on your red shoes and dance the blues!" Ziggy also liked to imitate Chris and his friends, as well as household sounds such as the doorbell, phone, microwave, and alarm clock. He also mimicked sounds from the radio and TV from his cage in Chris's front room.
Ms Collins, who is staying with friends, was phlegmatic. "I'm not proud of what I did, but I'm sure Chris would be the first to admit we'd been having problems,” she said. "We'd spoken about splitting up several times, and I think it was inevitable."
However, the 25-year-old call centre worker was less philosophical about the pet. "I'm surprised to hear he's got rid of that bloody bird," she said. "He spent more time talking to it than he did to me. I couldn't stand [Ziggy] and it looks now like the feeling was mutual."