Birds on the Brain

Fowl(ers) are not nice on Mondays

I have birds on the brain. Beware of fowl(er) on Mondays.

Every day for the last 5 days I have been hearing cuckoo birds in my area here in Finland. You can hear the sound of these natural alarm clocks here.

It began last Wednesday at 4 am as I was sleeping. In Finland it is  also light out at this hour, so I didn’t get much sleep that morning.

It’s too bad I didn’t hear them again at this hour the next day. This was a holiday called “Helatorstai” (Ascension Day-see my post on this). It is said that if you have an “early cuckoo morning” on this day, hearing the bird from east or west, you will have good luck.

I have also been thinking a lot about the Oriole. This bird is the symbol of my hometown major league baseball team.

The Baltimore Orioles have been fighting for first place all season, which is amazing because they have been pitiful for about 15 or 16 years now. I think it might have something to do with the fact that the team switched back to their cartoon bird symbol, moving away from the ornithologically correct one they have used since the 1980s.

 Back in 1989 I happened to be visiting Finland for a few weeks and did not pay any attention to the baseball standings. I had no reason to since the Orioles had garnered one of the worst records in baseball history the year before.

A national magazine bemoaned the Orioles in 1988. By 1989 they were flying high.

Some time in midsummer, however, I was sitting on the Esplanade in Helsinki and opened up a copy of USA Today. Much to my shock the O’s were in first place.

They spent all season there and ended up tied with the Toronto Blue Jays (a nasty bird quite unlike my beloved Oriole). They lost a one-game playoff.

That year the theme for the Birds was “Orioles Magic, Let it Happen”. Peter Schmuck, the Baltimore Sun writer who covers the Orioles now, wrote recently that he senses the same spirit he witnessed in 1989 when he came to Baltimore from California to cover the Angels.

We can only hope! As the chart below shows, the O’s have been far more successful wearing the cartoon bird.


Finally, the Angry Birds phenomenon has been front and center for me lately. I can’t help it as I made their cartoon bird my Facebook profile picture in the last couple of months.

If you have been living in a cave, you might not be familiar with the Angry Birds. This is a strategy video game developed here in Finland. Everyone around the world plays the game on their mobile phones or Facebook now.

Indeed, I wonder what my coworkers  do all day because I notice scores posted for them on FB. Of course, you could be asking me the same question, since I am on FB viewing them.

It was a big deal when the wife of the creator of Angry Birds came to the presidential palace last December for the annual Independence Day reception.  Knowing that the whole country would be jabbering about the fashions of the night, she wore a dress with the Angry Birds embedded into the pattern.  

Teija Vesterbacka sports her Angry Birds dress on Finnish Independence Day

I chose the Angry Bird cartoon for my FB profile pic because I bear a surname honoring our fine feathered friends. Furthermore, I’m angry a lot.

I was going to change my profile pic this week (maybe to the cuckoo). But I have figured out that my rage is actually justified.

There’s a lot of injustice out there and I want to do something about it. My self analysis showed me that my anger has more to do than injustice inflicted on me, though. What I want to do is get passionate about solving other people with their unjust treatment.

Thus, I had a career revelation this weekend. Hopefully my fancy won’t take flight like a bird.


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