Forbidden Titties.

This post is about titties. If you are not a fan of titties, read no further. If, however, you are a fan of titties, pay attention. Lots to uncover. Heh.

These two statues reside at the head of the Great Hall in the Department of Justice building. The one on the right is called “The Spirit of Justice” and the one on the left is called “The Majesty of the Law.” These statues were constructed by C. Paul Jennewein in 1933.

In 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft spent $8600 on draperies to cover the statues because the uber-conservative Ashcroft was uncomfortable being photographed in front of seventy-year-old art deco titties.

Warrantless wiretapping, yes. Gigantic aluminum titties, not so much.

I’m trying so hard right now not to make a “boob in front of boob” joke, it’s not even funny.

The expenditure of taxpayer dollars to cover up breasts on a statue prompted Claire Braz-Valentine to write her poem, “An Open Letter to John Ashcroft,” which she read at a benefit for survivors of breast cancer:

But while we’re begging the women of Afghanistan

to not cover up their faces

you are begging your staff members to

just cover up that nipple,

to save the American people

from that monstrous metal mammary.

So not only were we “spared” the sight of flag-draped coffins returning from Afghanistan, we were also spared the sight of a statue’s titty. At least I’m not the only one to see how skewed this is...

That guy in the middle is safe, but these women could have been detained by the authorities for protesting topless. If you’re a woman and you go out in public with your nipples exposed, you can be arrested. A man can parade down the streets of Anytown, USA, naked as a jaybird from the waist up, and no one will bat an eye. But anyone without a penis better not try this unless they want to spend some time in jail.

I don’t think men understand what a big, gigantic, huge deal it is to be able to walk around in public with your shirt off. They take it for granted, walking around with their beer bellies and moobs hanging out everywhere, not a care in the world.

But what I want to know is, why does this guy get to walk around in public like this, whereas if I did it, I would be the one arrested for indecent exposure?

And the Department of Justice “cover up” isn’t as ridiculous as the breast fetish gets in this country. What about breast feeding in public? Despite the fact that laws in most states protect the rights of breastfeeding women, mothers get harassed for feeding their infants in public every day. It’s hard for me to believe that in the 21st century, human beings are still upset over the fact that titties are used to feed babies, but the evidence is there that this very natural and healthy act is still extremely upsetting for lots of people. Forbidding titties even to the babies who need them? Really, people?

And don’t get me wrong. If it were suddenly legal for women to walk around with their tops off, I probably wouldn’t do it because I’m too shy. And I’d be willing to bet that lots of women out there feel the same way.

Still, I do think women should have the right to go topless if they want to. Wrapping your chest in constricting elastic, wire, and itchy lace should not be compulsory, in my opinion - especially on a hot day at the beach. That’s why I admire the gals who protested all over North America a couple of weekends ago for a woman’s right to go topless in public. Not because I would do it, but because I’m tired of people making such a big deal about titties.

(Says the woman currently writing a blog post about titties.)

Here’s why: When we make titties forbidden, the result is that they become disproportionately desirable. Women would actually have a hard time walking around topless in public even if it were legal, because it’s likely that they’d be harassed by people who aren’t used to being exposed to so many titties. A case of titty overload, if you will.

But it might be worthwhile in the long term. Hear me out. When the average woman isn’t allowed to show her titties, then the only titties that are available for people to view are the plastic, airbrushed fake titties like those you see in Playboy magazine. Porn titties. As a result, people are taught to believe that Hugh Hefner’s version of the perfect titty is the only version of the perfect titty.

In limiting our exposure to only one type of titty, we lose out on the opportunity to develop a preference for titties of any different type.

We overlook the fact that there are all kinds of different titties out there that we might like, and instead fetishize the one kind of titty we are constantly exposed to.

This is the result, and it’s not pretty.

Women from a younger and younger age pay plastic surgeons to alter their bodies in radical ways in order to fit an arbitrary (and constantly fluctuating) standard of beauty. These women - and their titties - are constantly featured in the media, and because theirs are the only titties the public sees regularly, the problem perpetuates itself as more and more young girls alter their perfectly fine titties into cartoonish titties like the ones sported by the celebs. The plastic surgeons laugh all the way to the bank, then drink themselves stupid once they get home in order to dull the screams of their conscience for sacrificing the health of their patients to vanity. That is, presuming they have a conscience.

Here's the same girl in a "before" picture. What a disfigured monster. I'm so glad that modern surgical technology was able to save her from her horrible deformities.

On the bright side, rumor has it that this starlet, Heidi Montag, is distraught over her gianormous fake titties and the excruciating physical discomfort they have caused her, and she's going to go in for a procedure to have them scaled down. Other celebrities have done the same lately because the trend, apparently, is to have breasts that look more “normal.” In a recent casting call for the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie, Disney specified in the call sheet that they wanted “natural” looking women, and would not consider any actresses with fake titties.

However, when it comes to all things titties, the world must bow down in deference to the French. And in France, where going topless on beaches has be a non-issue for years, bikini tops are now all the rage among the younger set. Why? It’s simply no longer in style to go topless. Talk about coming full circle. I only want for Americans what the French already have - that is, complete titty indifference.

So, my hat is off to the French. But not my top. Not yet, anyway.


Great Auk? Or Greatest Auk?

When I was younger, one of my favorite stories was Alice in Wonderland, and one of my favorite characters was the Dodo Bird.

I didn’t know what a Dodo was, so I asked my grandfather. He didn’t know, either, but he had a book of extinct species, so we looked it up. From that moment on, I was utterly smitten with the Dodo - a condition that worsened over time as my grandfather concocted story after story about how, before they went extinct, the Dodos used to run footraces up and down the railroad tracks next to our ranch and how they used to build their gigantic floating nests on the fish pond out of old life vests and wine corks.

But the fact is, it’s difficult to long for something you never properly “knew” in the first place. Let me explain.

My last post was a poem I wrote called “Giants Wild.” It was inspired by a conflation of thoughts I’d been having lately about the consequences of being human in a world where our species seems hell bent on destroying nature. You know. Shitting where we sleep and all that.

One of my favorite bloggers, Kym from over at Redheaded Blackbelt, commented on this post, saying,

“The beaches when I was a child were stacked with mounds of dead redwoods. There are less carcasses. The logging is less and what there is is less wasteful.”

She’s right, of course. After all, as the photos I posted illustrate, the painters on the headlands overlooking the mouth of Big River are painting there because the scene is gobsmackingly gorgeous - it no longer resembles the fractured landscape depicted in the vintage photos of mills and lumberyards that I also posted.

But my point was that the scene overlooking Big River likewise no longer resembles how it would have looked less than two hundred years ago. There is something essential that has vanished from the scene that the painters of today don’t even know to miss because it is always already absent for them.

I’m talking about the colossuses. Giant coast redwoods. Trees close to 400 feet high and almost eighty feet around the trunk. Eighty feet around! Look at how big that is. Just look!

When speculators ventured forth from Europe to seek their fortune, what they found was an abundance in nature. A bounty so great that they couldn’t conceive of it ever expiring. So hey, they thought, let’s stop here at the Galapagos and pick up land tortoises by the thousands to store in the holds of our ships as food. Then let’s stop over there in Iceland and scoop up Great Auks and their eggs indiscriminately for the same reason. After that, let’s go on over to the American Plains and shoot down millions of buffalo – not because we want to eat them or anything. But just for kicks! Last stop? The California Coast to raze to the ground 95% of the giant coast redwoods before it even occurs to anyone that maybe we should slow it down a little.

And don’t give me any of that nonsense that folks back then didn’t know any better. Look at these photos. Clearly these people know how unique and stupendous these trees are. Why else bother to stage these photos depicting the spectacle? And the carnage.

It takes these trees thousands of years to grow as big as they do. Some of them have caverns and water seeps inside of them that support not only huckleberry and salmonberry bushes that grow out of the redwood itself, but also creatures like salamanders and frogs who live their entire lives in the branches of these trees, never once touching the ground. Even the lichen and the fungi on these trees are hundreds of years old, and some scientists believe that each and every old coast redwood giant that is left standing might contain ecosystems unique to that single, particular tree.

Which likewise means that every single tree that was cut down in the past might likewise have been home to ecosystems unique to that tree. And at one time, there were millions of these trees. You do the math.

My point is this. Even though some things have gotten better, the fact remains that when it comes to driving our fellow creatures to the brink of extinction, there are no do-overs. Once the landscape has been devastated to such an extreme degree, there's no reconstructing it.

Take that oil that was spilled in the Gulf. That oil is spilled, and there's no unspilling it. Once it's spilled, it's spilled. Forever and ever. And no amount of “clean up” is going to restore the impacted areas in our lifetime, or in the lifetimes of those who come after us.

Likewise, giant coastal redwoods aren’t going to spring up along Big River today or tomorrow or even the next day. You and I will never, ever see that view. It’s gone, and it won't be back in our lifetime.

That view is also gone for the painters on the headlands. Worse, they don’t even know to miss the giant redwoods because they don’t know that they existed there in the first place. That’s the danger with the human monkeys. The short attention span. Somehow, if we don’t see it with our eyes, it doesn’t exist for us.

Jonny is a friend of this blog, and an excellent blogger in his own right. He’s leaving for Iceland tomorrow to help his friend, artist Todd McGrain with a sculpture installation that’s a part of Todd’s larger effort called “The Lost Bird Project." Essentially, Todd is in the midst of installing sculptures of five extinct bird species at the scene where the birds were last sighted. The five extinct bird species are the Carolina Parakeet, the Great Auk, the Heath Hen, the Labrador Duck and the Passenger Pigeon.

Jonny is going to Iceland to help Todd install his large-scale sculptures of the Great Auk on the island of Eldey. Jonny will be there over his birthday, and with any luck, Auroras Borealis will commemorate the auspicious day for him. Am I jealous? Ya think?

And not just because of the Amazing Journey to the Mythic Place to do the Cool Thing.

But because this is one of those art projects that actually resonates. Installing a group of Great Auk sculptures won’t bring the Great Auk back - this is again one of those examples of how there are no do-overs - but by re-creating this extinct bird for the human viewer, this helps the humans to have a visceral awareness of what was once there. And the resultant regret over the extinction of these magnificent birds might sow the seeds of not repeating the offense. Maybe.

So bon voyage, Jonny. Happy birthday and safe travels. I look forward to reading about your Lost Bird adventures in Iceland. The opportunity to place a marker that will increase human awareness, even if it’s just a little, is an enviable one. Because with any luck, that little bit of awareness might come with a nice, big pinch of regret.

Goodness knows we need it.


Giants Wild.

Painters painting in a row
Where untamed colossuses did once grow.

Redwoods soaring skyward slow.
Giants wild.

Colossuses absent. The painters don't know.
Instead, here roses and here a hedgerow.

But where did the redwoods go?
Giants exiled.

Hints linger from long ago.
They whisper that Big River’s flow

Was choked by redwoods cut low.
Giants reviled.

Corpses in flumes stacked head to toe
Shot down to mills far below

Then planed and stacked row upon row.
Giants compiled.

Today there are no colossuses to show
So perhaps the painting I will forgo

Art can't capture the depth of my woe.
Giants defiled.


Breakfast In The Emerald City.

So over the weekend I went to this restaurant called Eggheads in Fort Bragg where I have breakfast sometimes. Eggheads has a Wizard of Oz theme, even though the name “Eggheads” has nothing to do with the Wizard of Oz. The pictures and memorabilia on the walls are related to the movie, and everything on the menu is named for something in the film. I don’t know why.

The story I heard was that when it opened back in 1976, it was owned and operated by a couple of gay gentlemen who had a thing for rainbows and Judy Garland - but not, apparently, for tasteful interior design. Which makes me believe that the story isn’t true. Because a true story would have been more consistent in its use of gay stereotypes.

The place is pretty cozy, though, and there’s a strong local vibe, leaning on weird. And the food is really good despite the fact that the menu items are called things like the “Flying Monkey” sandwich or the “Dorothy’s Revenge” special. Um, special, how, exactly?

So like I said, I was sitting there this weekend at the front window table with a view of main street, minding my own business, reading the paper. Yes, the paper. As in, the newspaper. Some of us still cling to the old traditions.

Anyhoo, the waitress comes up to me and holds a napkin up for me to see. It has ‘Quiznos’ written on it. "You're wanted on the phone," she says, waving the napkin at me.

"My name isn't Quiznos," I said. "I think that's a sandwich place."

"No, no!" she insists. "There's a man on the phone right now who says that there's a pretty, dark-haired woman sitting at the window table, and that I should give her a note that says 'Quiznos' on it because then she'd know exactly who was on the phone for her."

"You should tell him there's not even a Quiznos here in town..."

"You're missing the point. The guy on the phone means YOU. YOU'RE the pretty, dark-haired woman. Or maybe I'm missing the point. You don't know what I'm talking about, do you?"

"No. But it's nice that you think I'm pretty."

Excellent randomness... Although I was hoping that maybe I was the innocent bystander about to be swept into a world of car chases, double-agents, doomsday devices, and evil geniuses. Oh, well. There’s always next weekend.

And who was on the phone, you might ask?

The Operator, of course.


The Whole Nine Yards.

On my recent trip up to Oregon to see my dad, I stopped in at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville.

It’s home to the Spruce Goose, which used to be on display in my old stomping grounds of Long Beach until it was moved permanently to the Evergreen Museum.

The Spruce Goose is an enormous wooden airplane designed by Howard Hughes. Can you find it in the picture above? Hughes was a genius, but a gigantic airplane made out of plywood at a time in his life when he was eight ways from crazy probably isn’t the best example of his brilliance. Yet the spruce goose is a big part of the poor fellow's legacy. That and the fact that he boinked an awful lot of starlets. A good life lesson for all of us, don’t you think?

My favorite plane in the whole place is the B-17 bomber - the Flying Fortress.

Here's a shot of the ball turret. This gunner's post protrudes from the bottom of the plane like an outie belly button. This little turret has futuristic science fiction written all over it. In fact, Gene Roddenberry - yes, the Star Trek guy - flew B-17’s in the Pacific Theatre during WWII.

The photo above isn't mine. It comes from an internet post called "In the Belly of the Beast: A tour of the B-17 Bomber 'Aluminum Overcast,'" and if you want to see some really amazing B-17 photos, you really should check it out. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for a gorgeous shot of a B-17 in flight during a full moon. I included this photo because I wanted to show the wonderful steampunk vibe these planes have. Because the plane was assembled in factories that made water heaters and ovens and radios, all of the dials and levers look like they belong on a toaster rather than an airplane. Which, of course, they do. Which, of course, is fantastic.

Here’s a propaganda video I found from WWII of a B-17 in combat. YouTube rocks! At the end of the video, an allied B-17 gets shot down, and as it plummets to the earth, the announcer says, “You can watch, but you can’t help.” Which makes the viewer want to charge through the screen and rescue those boys somehow. Which is the whole point. More on that later.

You can see in the video, too, the rate at which the gunners on those M2 Browning machine guns went through their .50 caliber ammunition belts. These ammunition belts were nine yards long, and supposedly this is where the phrase, “the whole nine yards” comes from. As in, “I gave him the whole nine yards,” meaning I shot as much ammo as I had. Or, “We’d better take the whole nine yards,” meaning that it will be a tough dogfight and we’d better take up as much ammo as we can carry.

Now, as some people point out, bolts of fabric have come in nine-yard lengths for centuries, and lots of people think the saying comes from seamstresses telling their clients that they’ll need “the whole nine yards” of a bolt of fabric to make a fancy dress. The fact that this saying could reference either a bolt of checkered gingham or a twenty-seven foot long string of .50 caliber bullets makes it all the more awesome if you ask me, though. In fact, I think I’d like a dress made out of nine yards worth of .50 caliber bullets. Anyone know a good seamstress / ball turret gunner?

As I mentioned, WWII propaganda films are constructed with the express purpose of persuading people to volunteer for service - lots of times by making the viewer want to exact revenge on the enemy themselves. That’s why the above film clip shows our boys plummeting to the earth in that B-17 - It makes the viewer want to DO something. And even those of us who weren’t alive during WWII have seen lots of these films and have been subjected to the emotions they evoke.

An example of this is probably best illustrated by this conversation I had with the docent who took me on the tour of the B-17’s interior. I don’t know the docent’s name, so I’ll just call him Vincent Price. The conversation went something like this:

VP: One of the main things the gunner had to remember was that from this position, he could spin this machine gun around and accidentally shoot off the tail or the wing of his own plane...

J: Is it possible for me to handle the Browning, please?

VP: Umm, what do you mean?

J: I want to handle the Browning. You know. Grab the grips and spin the gun around and go “Blam, blam, BLAM, blamitty BLAM BLAM!!
Take that, you Nazi bastards!!
Goebbel’s mother wears army boots!!"
and so on. May I please?

VP: (glancing out the door of the plane nervously) Ummm...

Poor Vincent Price. Look how nervous I made him, touching the precious, precious M2 Browning. But first of all, I did say please. Second of all, come on. You know that the minute the museum is closed, all of the docents run to their favorite planes and pretend that they’re flying aces. I can see it now: “No, Dennis. NO. Time out! You can’t shoot me down because Vincent already shot YOU down. If you’re not going to play fair, then you should let someone else man the Warhawk...”

Here’s the thing, though. Just like the tone set by those WWII propaganda films, the tone of this museum was definitely a nationalistic one. There were lots of planes dedicated to heroic flights and battles that really glorified our fly boys. There was even a kiddie section of the museum where children could sit in planes and have pretend dogfights with each other. None of which is necessarily bad by its own measure. After all, I wanted to pretend to shoot down pretend Nazis, in part, because the heroic atmosphere of the museum inspires those sorts of feelings. And no one wants Nazis, right?

The problem is, this sort of presentation has a tendency to make the real-life killing and deaths from real-life wars seem sanitary and abstract. It makes the visitor forget that shooting down planes in real life means that human beings will plummet to the earth from the sky and die. The machines may be modern, but the dying is the same as it ever was. And this fact deserves remembering, too.

From my mother's sleep

I fell into the State

And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.

Six miles from earth, loosed from the dream of life,

I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.

When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

-- Randall Jarrell, "The Death Of The Ball Turret Gunner"


The Golden Best.

The Golden West Saloon.

You may be over a hundred years old, but I still think you're pretty.

Fort Bragg is one of those places that’s loaded with iconic western markers, which I think is pretty fantastic. These signs, for example, are posted all over downtown. What I want to know is, what if it’s the horses who are riding the bicycles or the skateboards? Didn’t consider that, did you, Fort Bragg?

A couple of blocks from the Golden West is this stagecoach step that people once used to climb up and down from horse-drawn wagons.

And right across the street from the Golden West are a couple of these hitching rings that were used for tying up horses.

But the best story concerning the Golden West is one that some might find distasteful - which explains why I find it so delightful. The Golden West Saloon, you see, was once a brothel. A den of sin. A house of ill repute. With whores and everything. According to town lore, downstairs in the Golden West was where the fishermen and lumbermen and ranchers gathered to gamble and drink. But as you can see from this picture, there are also rooms out back and up above the saloon, and this is where the * ahem * tender lovemaking took place. In this photo, you can also see some nice antique iron stars above the door, and the wooden louvers on the window are interesting too. But I have mixed feelings about the tag job. I mean, if you’re going to go to all the effort to tag a historic building, you should at least bring it. Not your best effort, Zerribbe. Just sayin.

Historians struggle when people perpetuate the mythology of a place because as time goes on, it grows increasingly challenging to tell what parts of the mythology are true and which are flights of fancy. Sometimes, though, the place is the product of its mythology, so I say let’s piss off some historians.

See the patch on the wall there? To the lower right? Here’s the story:

After an evening in the company of the ladies of the Golden West, the bartender would ask the Johns to toss coins over the top of the barback as a pension for the whores. It was meant to be a kind of hedge against their fading looks and * ahem * talents as they grew older. For reals. This went on for years, supposedly.

Fast forward.

Even though it was one of only two brick buildings in town to survive the 1906 earthquake, the Golden West still had to be retrofitted for earthquake safety. But before anyone could excavate all of those old coins, bandits broke through the brick wall from the outside and made off with the decades-worth of booty. If you ask me, stealing from retired whores makes those bandits worse than Zerribbe. Which is saying a lot.

This is the bar. What a beauty. That beamed ceiling ain’t bad, either. Kip, the owner, told me that the bar and barback are hand-carved French rosewood and had come “around the horn” of South America more than a century ago. Talk about mythology. Probably came from San Francisco via the Sears and Roebuck catalogue. But as I mentioned, none of that matters once the legend takes over.

Kip makes no apologies for his clientele of loggers, fishermen, slangers, ranchers, bikers, and general badasses. This poster kind of makes his point. Deplorable? Yes. Funny? Hell yes.

As I was admiring all of the original lights and woodworking and bar fixtures, I asked Kip who had painted the mural on the back wall. He said, “Some kid passing through in the 70’s who couldn’t pay his bar tab. Damn hippie.” When I told Kip that I thought he'd gotten his money’s worth, he said, “Well then you’re a damn hippie, too.” I said he was probably right. He laughed and gave me another bourbon.

I wandered around the place, looking at all of the old photos covering the walls. Below is a detail showing a felled redwood with a huge hollow inside. It’s a little tough to see, but inside of the hollow is a guy on a horse.

With all of the unapologetic machismo on display, I was a little surprised that Kip pleaded ignorance when I asked him about the whole brothel thing. One of the guys shooting pool in the back laughed and said, “Kip’s afraid it’ll damage the bar's reputation if he admits that it was a brothel once. But I tell you, when I was a kid my mom used to grab me and my brother by the hand and yank us across the street rather than have us walk in front of the Golden West. Didn’t matter that there hadn’t been any whores around the place for years, the fact that they had been around at all was enough for her.”

Kip said, “Your mother’s full of it.”

The guy shrugged and took his shot. “If it was me, I’d spread the word from here to San Francisco that the Golden West was once the best whorehouse in all of Northern California. Because there’s nothing like a shady reputation to make people want to check a place out. Maybe have a drink while they’re here. Maybe two. Maybe they'd even buy one of those damn tee-shirts you've had hanging back there since Reagan was president...”

Kip looked thoughtful for a minute. Then he said, “You have a point.”

You think, Kip? As far as I’m concerned, the Golden West is the sort of place where legends are made. In fact, I think that Kip's bar is no less deserving of its own mythology than Schwab's Drugstore. Or Michael Jackson. Plus, since when are “the facts” important when it comes to the making of a legend?

So here it is, Kip - my gift to you and the Golden West - the internet launch of a scandalous rumor. Now the world will know:

The Golden West was a whorehouse.

Long live the Golden West.


The Big Move.

Even though I know that life is random, sometimes I get a kick out of trying to make patterns out of the chaos. So when I found this hummingbird tail feather on the same day I did my post on hummingbirds, I decided that it was a sign that I should do a follow-up. Whether it was, in point of fact, an actual sign is irrelevant. Because I decided that it was a sign, and because the sign has impacted my behavior through my writing of this post, both my decision and my actions makes the sign a sign even if it wasn’t really a sign at all. See how that works?

Why is this sign relevant? It all starts with information I left out of Friday’s post. See, I had no idea that so many people out there were colossal hummingbird geeks like me, so I only talked about the hummingbird’s astonishing speed during its courtship dive. You know, because speed is sexy. I left out the part about the sounds the hummingbird makes during the courtship dive. The sounds he makes with... (insert dramatic music here) ...his tail feathers.

It’s a real treat to see a hummingbird perform one of these courtship dives, or what I call “The Big Move.” Usually, a female sits nearby on a twig while the male hummingbird swoops back and forth in front of her in a pendulum motion. After ten or so passes in front of the female, the male hummingbird will rocket straight up in the sky until he’s well over a hundred feet up, then he’ll turn around and dive back down towards the female at over 50mph and pulling 10 g’s. The noise the male emits while he executes this dive sounds surprisingly like the Jetsons’ spaceship. For reals.

At the end of the dive, when he’s in the best view of the female, the male will pull up out of the dive and emit a loud “chirp,” which is explained in the informative video posted below. Glaven.

What Dr. Clark was able to prove through these amazing high-speed videos is that the noises the male hummingbird makes during The Big Move aren’t vocalizations. Rather, the hummingbird is able use his tail as a reeded instrument, and he can manipulate the air speeding over his tail feathers to create a song as he dives. His precious, precious tail feathers.

I've loved hearing from people who are as fond of hummingbirds as me. Lots of you liked the necklace, and I really love the idea that the designer, Michael Doyle, is sitting somewhere out there in the internet ether, wondering why he’s suddenly received so many orders for hummingbird skull jewelry. Some of you shared your own hummingbird stories. One of my friends had a very cool late-night hummingbird encounter on the day she read my blog post, and another of my friends told me about how he routinely kicks back on the lawn with his family in the evening just so they can all watch the hummingbirds together.

Sweet as these stories are, though, one of the things I find most interesting about hummingbirds is their aggression. One of my friends wondered about what would happen to humans if these little warriors were the size of eagles. He even went so far as to contemplate putting growth hormone in his hummingbird feeder in order to find out.

I think this would be a bad idea.

I have two hummingbird feeders which I keep full of clean, sweet, sugar water at all times. It's fair to say that the hummingbirds in my yard have a constant and unending food supply and are never left wanting for anything. Yet despite this artificial Nirvana I've created for them, they fight over those feeders like zombies over brains. I’m certain the loss of the tail feather is the result of just such a clash, and I’ll even lay down money saying that hummingbirds purposefully try to damage each other's tail feathers when they fight so that the loser is unable to chirp his way through a Big Move. Because I bet those hummingbirds already know what it has taken me two posts to learn: Chicks dig scars and think daredevils are sexy, but a romantic song will seal the deal every time.