Tattered Jeans

Nothing annoys me more than the sight of a rich-and-famous chick strutting in a pair of tattered jeans.

KRISTEN STEWART in Ripped JeansFirst it looks extremely scruffy, and you cannot help but wonder about her personal hygiene.
A young woman who runs around in ripped jeans projects the image of  “une petite fille qui se néglige” (a little girl who neglects herself).
And Hollywood is ripe with stories of famous people whose flawed body hygiene has sent many running for cover.
Elizabeth Taylor once famously said, “Money is the best deodorant”, but money often fails to deflect unwanted public attention.

But much worse than the sanitation issue, is the perceived attitude.
Yes, I make oodles of money, but I also enjoy slumming.
Money is not important to me. And my ripped jeans show that just like you (the nothing little people) I am a minimalist who does not bother with a lot of clothes.
As a matter of fact, most of the time I go braless and pantyless.

Well, a pair of ripped jeans can cost up to $300.00 and attention-seeking celebrities are not shy about shelling that amount to lure camera flashes.

The famous people who opt to wear rags make the deliberate decision to shock in order to be noticed.
Look at me, I am pretending to be a loser (like you), but in reality (unlike you), I am filthy rich and I thumb my nose at you.

Flaunting a pair of ripped jeans in Hollywood is like is like wearing a gold watch in a ghetto.
Two similarly very distasteful extremes.

If you are blessed with a large income, you are morally bound to show good taste and restraint.
Can you picture for a minute Kate Middleton in a pair of ripped jeans?
I can’t, and I don’t imagine for a minute that the Queen or the British people would approve it.

So, if you are lucky enough to be rich and famous, don’t insult the rest of us by taking a perverse pleasure in parading in rags.
If poor people came into money, they surely would show better sense than swaggering in hand-me-downs.


Remembrance of things past

He is gone. Almost a week after his disappearance, we have lost all hope of ever seeing our little friend again.

Despite multiple flyers, frantic e-mail messages and mobilizing neighbors, the Marinwood Fire Department and the Marin Human Society, our baby has not been found.
We went on numerous search parties, scrutinizing treetops and listening to various birdcalls, but all in vain.

Tamara cried for days and I still have a big lump in my throat when thinking of him.

Liosha (short for Alexei) was a conure, a small parrot native of Central or South America.
He was about 15 years old and had been with us for at least 13 years.
Conures are colorful, slightly built, sport a long tail and have a small but very strong beak.
They are, gregarious, opportunistic and omnivorous. They don’t talk, but screech, sometimes very loudly.

Liosha was basically Tamara’s baby but he also spent a lot of time with me.

Liosha on foot2

The average weight of a conure is about 4 ounces but I would never have thought that such a little creature would leave such a big void.

Traces of his presence can still be seen all over the house.
Food crumbs, feathers, a few droppings and chewed up books are still everywhere.
It is difficult to glance at any of those things without thinking of him.

In spite of all the petty annoyances that he generated, we would give almost anything to get him back.

Liosha among other things, liked to watch me while I was taking a shower. He would perch on the curtain rod, and slightly tilting his head, he would check my every move. While not fond of showers himself, he would nevertheless take baths at least once week.

He also took to sitting on my head while I was watching TV.
When I was shaving, he would perch on my shoulder and pick shaving cream off of my face or toothpaste out of my mouth.
When he felt cold, he would sneak under my sweater or under the bed sheets.

As a said, conures are tough little birds. As demonstrated by the Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (who are really conures), they can become feral and adapt almost anywhere, regardless of the climate.

There are many bird feeders in Marin County and it is my hope that Liosha will take advantage of them and adapt to wild life. He might even find a mate and join a flock similar to the one in San Francisco.

I hope that some day when I would least expect him, he will land on my shoulder (or my head) and say “Good to see you again. Come and meet my family”.


PS: Thank you to the hundreds of people who read my previous article and expressed sympathy for our misfortune.


A family pet

A pet is like a family member.
When you lose one, you grieve, sometimes even more deeply than for a relative.

IMG_5144We have had a pet “conure” (small parrot) for the last 12 years and over time we have become very attached to it.

We always refused to have his wings clipped and we let him fly at will all over our condo.
He was very tame, very friendly and fond of human contact.
He always had to be close to a human being and when he felt cold, he didn’t hesitate to crawl under a sweater to get warm.

Today unfortunately, taking advantage of an open door, the bird flew out.
He initially perched on a tall tree nearby and despite of our desperate calls, Liosha (who usually doesn’t hesitate to land and cling to a stranger), Liosha refused to come down.

After three desperate hours, and feeling very embarrassed, we resolved to call the Marinwood Fire Department.
I was initially very doubtful that they would respond to such a call, but they did.
Within ten minutes there was a big yellow fire truck parked in front of our house.
Captain Joel White, Acting / Engineer Brandon Selvitella and Firefighter Ross Anderson were kind enough to respond to our distress call and attempt to rescue our pet.

They came in a driving rain and deployed a big ladder against a tree to reach the bird.
Unfortunately, Liosha got spooked and flew even higher in the tree.

I am sorry to say that so far, all attempts to coax Liosha back to us have failed.
Tamara is heartbroken and so am I.

This happened once before, and after spending the night outside, the bird probably cold and hungry was convinced to fly down and get captured.

We will try to get him again, but no matter what happens now, we feel very grateful to the Marinwood Fire Department that went beyond the call of duty to help bring back our pet.

Regardless of the outcome of this very painful situation, we feel good having people like Joel White, Brandon Selvitella and Ross Anderson around, and so should all the Marin County people.

A grateful citizen.