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Saturday, January 07, 2006

Dead?

Now just imagine instead of a parrot there were a canary in that joke. Miners use canaries to indicate if the environment of the mine is safe. They were used to test the air quality in the mine shaft. The following is excerpted from Environmental Education for Kids:
In the 1800s, (as today in the 21st century), few jobs were harder or more dangerous than working as an underground coal miner. Over the years, thousands of men, women, and even children were killed in mine accidents. One common cause of the accidents was a build-up of dangerous gases like methane and carbon monoxide in the mine shafts. Large amounts of these gases could lead to violent explosions. Methane and carbon monoxide have no color and no odor. The miners of the 1800s didn’t have the special equipment scientists have today to measure chemicals in the air, so it was impossible to tell if the gases were building up to dangerous levels. Miners started to use canaries to test the air quality in the mines. Canaries are very sensitive to carbon monoxide. The canaries would chirp and sing and make noise all day long. But, if the carbon monoxide levels got too high, the canaries would have trouble breathing, and maybe even die. When the canaries were no longer singing, miners would know that the gas levels were too high. They would leave the mine quickly to avoid being caught in an explosion. This is how canaries acted as a warning system for miners.
Imagine the mining company officials as the pet shop owner and the miners' families as the customer.

What is going on in the news? Move over Eyewitness NEWS executives. Sit down ActioNEWS managers.The once reliable, and accurate American news media is now providing "NEWS to Confuse". The news organizations have resorted to making up stories, and we sit mesmerized by female anchors who all look alike, and pretty male anchors who all look alike and they all tell us things that we can not believe, but the suspension of our disbelief has gone on for years now. We're paralyzed. We don't know how to respond anymore. Most of us are numb.
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What? A Dead Parrot?

You have to wonder about the news lately. The miners are alive and well. The miners are dead. It reminds me of a joke. It’s a kind of morbid joke, but it suits the situation.
    Customer: 'Ello, I wish to register a complaint.
    (The owner does not respond.)
    C: 'Ello, Miss?
    Owner: What do you mean "miss"?
    C: I'm sorry, I have a cold. I wish to make a complaint!
    O: We're closin' for lunch.
    C: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this parrot what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.
    O: Oh yes, the, uh, the Norwegian Blue...What's,uh...What's wrong with it?
    C: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. 'E's dead, that's what's wrong with it!
    O: No, no, 'e's uh,...he's resting.
    C: Look, matey, I know a dead parrot when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.
    O: No no he's not dead, he's, he's restin'! Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue, idn'it, ay? Beautiful plumage!
    C: The plumage don't enter into it. It's stone dead.
    O: Nononono, no, no! 'E's resting!

(continued...)
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What! A Dead Parrot? (continued)

    C: All right then, if he's restin', I'll wake him up!
    (shouting at the cage)
    'Ello, Mister Polly Parrot! I've got a lovely fresh cuttle fish for you if you show...
    (owner hits the cage)
    O: There, he moved!
    C: No, he didn't, that was you hitting the cage!
    O: I never!!
    C: Yes, you did!
    O: I never, never did anything...
    C: (yelling and hitting the cage repeatedly) 'ELLO POLLY!!!!!

    Testing! Testing! Testing! Testing! This is your nine o'clock alarm call!
    (Takes parrot out of the cage and thumps its head on the counter.
    Throws it up in the air and watches it plummet to the floor.)
    C: Now that's what I call a dead parrot.
    O: No, no.....No, 'e's stunned!
    C: STUNNED?!?

    O: Yeah! You stunned him, just as he was wakin' up! Norwegian Blues stun easily, major.
    C: Um...now look...now look, mate, I've definitely 'ad enough of this. That parrot is definitely deceased, and when I purchased it not 'alf an hour ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to it bein' tired and shagged out following a prolonged squawk.
    O: Well, he's...he's, ah...probably pining for the fjords.
    C: PININ' for the FJORDS?!?!?!? What kind of talk is that?, Look, why did he fall flat on his back the moment I got 'im home?
    O: The Norwegian Blue prefers kippin' on it's back! Remarkable bird, id'nit, squire?
    Lovely plumage!
    C: Look, I took the liberty of examining that parrot when I got it home, and I discovered the only reason that it had been sitting on its perch in the first place
    was that it had been NAILED there.
    (pause)
    O: Well, o'course it was nailed there! If I hadn't nailed that bird down, it would have nuzzled up to those bars, bent 'em apart with its beak, and VOOM! Feeweeweewee!
    C: "VOOM"?!? Mate, this bird wouldn't "voom" if you put four million volts through it! 'E's bleedin' demised!
    O: No no! 'E's pining!
    C: 'E's not pinin'! 'E's passed on! This parrot is no more!
    He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker!
    'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed 'im to the perch --'e'd be pushing up the daisies!'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig!'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!!THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!!
    (pause)
    O: Well, I'd better replace it, then.
    (he takes a quick peek behind the counter)
    O: Sorry squire, I've had a look 'round the back of the shop,
    and uh, we're right out of parrots.
    C: I see. I see. I get the picture.
    O: I got a slug.
    (pause)
    C: (sweet as sugar) Pray, does it talk?
    O: Nnnnot really.
    C: WELL IT'S HARDLY A BLOODY REPLACEMENT, IS IT?!!???!!?
    O: Look, if you go to my brother's pet shop in Bolton, he'll replace the parrot for you.
    C: Bolton, eh? Very well.
    The customer leaves.
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What a Dead Parrot?(continued)

    The customer enters the same pet shop. The owner is putting on a false moustache.C: This is Bolton, is it?
    O: (with a fake mustache) No, it's Ipswitch.
    C: (looking at the camera) That's inter-city rail for you.
    The customer goes to the train station.
    He addresses a man standing behind a desk marked "Complaints".
    C: I wish to complain, British-Railways Person.
    Attendant: I DON'T HAVE TO DO THIS JOB, YOU KNOW!!!
    C: I beg your pardon...?
    A: I'm a qualified brain surgeon! I only do this job because I like being my own boss!
    C: Excuse me, this is irrelevant, isn't it?
    A: Yeah, well it's not easy to pad these python files out to 200 lines, you know.
    C: Well, I wish to complain. I got on the Bolton train and
    found myself deposited here in Ipswitch.
    A: No, this is Bolton.
    C: (to the camera) The pet shop man's brother was lying!!
    A: Can't blame British Rail for that.
    C: In that case, I shall return to the pet shop!
    He does.
    C: I understand this IS Bolton.
    O: (still with the fake mustache) Yes?
    C: You told me it was Ipswitch!
    O: ...It was a pun.
    C: (pause) A PUN?!?
    O: No, no...not a pun...What's that thing that spells
    the same backwards as forwards?
    C: (Long pause) A palindrome...?
    O: Yeah, that's it!
    C: It's not a palindrome! The palindrome of "Bolton" would be "Notlob"!!
    It don't work!!
    O: Well, what do you want?

    C: I'm not prepared to pursue my line of inquiry any longer as I think this is getting too silly!

    Sergeant-Major: Quite agree, quite agree, too silly, far too silly...
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