Monday, December 04, 2006

Q: What is the most overlooked present day threat to our youth?

A: Pelicans

So I was hanging out on Catalina Island, 26 miles off the coast of Los Angeles, having an extended getaway weekend, in honor of my wife’s birthday, which is December 1st for all of you who wish to send belated gifts. We did the usual stuff that all tourists do on Catalina, which for me boils down to walking around a lot, eating in restaurants with not so good food at prices a bit beyond the norm and sitting in my favorite café, C. C. Gallagher’s, watching the boats come in. Also, I conspire with my wife to see if we can tell which couples had just recently experienced an espisode of conjugal bliss. We call it the FFL. (Freshly ****** Look) Not a bad way to spend a morning.

We stayed at the Zane Grey Pueblo, for those of you that are interested.

On Saturday we went to down to the Casino, which has the Avalon Theatre, the only movie theatre on the island and watched a flick titled, Happy Feet, about a dancing penguin that is ostracized by his penguin tribe because he can’t sing, but nonetheless manages to save his brethren penguins from starvation by talking the entire global fishing industry into making a buck some place other than around his tribe’s icebergs. Eventually the dancing penguin is accepted by his tribe for who he is and gets the girl in the end, despite the fact that our penguin hero completely ignores the ramifications of the dramatic change in artic temperature caused by global warming. You’d figure if an Arthur Murray-like penguin can talk the entire world economy into reorganizing the fishing industry, changing mankind's driving habits in order to eliminate green house emissions should be a no-brainer.

But I digress.

The good news is that before the motion picture event, there was the weekly organ concert performed on the mighty and majestic Page Organ that resides in the historic landmark protected theatre. The thing not only has enough pipes to herald the arrival of St. Peter, it can produce clacking sounds, clicking sounds and any bell ringing required to celebrate the Yule Tide, as idiotic as the notion of a Winter Wonderland in Southern California may be.

So a good time was had by all. But, as we were taught in kindergarten well before the advent of the Internet, all good things must come to an end, even for the Republicans.

So, we’re standing in line waiting to get on the boat to go back to the place from whence we came along with the other holiday revelers and a few children attached to a few said revelers. As we were waiting, I noticed this:

standing on the dockside. So I went over to take a few snapshots using my trusty Canon PowerShot A520. Having satisfied myself with my foray into aviary voyeurism, I went back to stand in line. However, the creature identified above turned out to be cut from a fearless cloth and followed me.

I thought it strange. Other than pigeons and the random wren or sparrow, most birds try to avoid mankind, with good reason. But, this one was different.

Turns out there was a young human in line, a little girl about three years of age that was the offspring of one of my short term tribe members. She decided to leave the tribe to go exploring, to discover the ways and meaning of this alien species. As she approached the specimen, it came to meet her. And, as it approached, it spread its big jaws to a length that permitted easy accommodation of the little girl as a lunch time snack. This was one hungry beast. The little girl got the message and did what any prey would do: run like all hell back to the protective center of the herd.

So the moral of the tale is this: If you are going to make a movie about a dancing penguin that saves its species from humankind, make sure the pelicans get fed too.

PS: Shameless self promotion: here.