Sunday, February 17, 2013

Nothing Says Spring Like Fellini

Having just emerged after a week in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, as I think I mentioned, I note that the sun is markedly higher off the horizon, the days are already lengthening, the squabbling and social bullying among the ration of small birds about the yard is growing more persistent. It appears that the entire neighborhood ecology is about to lose its moral compass once again and degenerate into another season of indiscriminate generation. Time to sequester the children until the natural realm has sated its lust.

"I'll close mine if you close yours."

The situation has deteriorated so badly here in the Great American West that the rabbit population around Denver International Airport (a world-class repository of phallic symbology) has taken to vandalizing cars. According to a recent news report, "The USDA wildlife service is removing at least a hundred bunnies every month" from the airport parking lot, where these miscreant leporids (stop me if you think I'm having too much fun) lie in wait for some sucker to leave his nice warm car and rush for a plane. It's no joking matter, airport authorities assure a sniggering public.

"Ask any rabbit what scrap dealers pay for copper wire."

In my neighborhood, the emblem of all this phylozooic commotion is the flicker, that most priapic of peckers. There's a male flicker perched in the upper branches of the box elder in front of the house right now, yammering away in an insistent and monotonous falsetto about his venereal intentions and his basest genetic aspirations. When he's done with the perch in the tree, he'll find the nearest metal chimney cover and have his way with that until the remotest heavens ring like a cargo of high-capacity ammo clips emptied into a 50-gallon drum at an NRA rally in Willacoochee.

Ohhh. . . . sorry, dude

Flickers are the avian incarnation of Fellini's Uncle Tio. In "Amarcord," his cinematic reminiscence of a post-war Italian adolescence, Uncle Tio appears as Fellini pere's deranged younger brother, whom the family would dutifully collect from the mental asylum each Sunday and take into the countryside for a family picnic. In a neglected moment on one such summer day, Tio wanders off from the picnic, clambers into a magnificent old oak well out of the reach of his keepers, and begins shouting from the uppermost branches the tragicomic lament, "I want a woman!" Which is basically what flickers do.

Watch Uncle Tio

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