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Alpha Bird

Thursday, January 10, 2008

There can be no doubt who rules the roost in my studio. It's the one who bites the hardest. Mr. Vise Face. 390 grams of pure attitude, barely contained by a tatty bunch of feathers.

Charlie's great joy in life is to horn in on whatever Chet Baker happens to be doing. If Chet's chewing a Nylabone, Charlie wants that bone. If Chet's on my lap, Charlie needs to be there, too. If Bacon's sleeping peacefully in one of his four beds, Charlie wants that bed. Here's a typical interaction. I'm usually alerted to such behavior by the scuffling sound of Chet's toenails as he play-bows and backs away from Charlie. Sometimes there are Roo's.Here's a dog, peacefully chewing a toy in his comfy bed. I think I shall overturn the apple cart. It is what macaws do best.

This is a nice soft bed you have here, Chet Baker. Very cushy. I'd like to have a bed like this one. But I have an ol' knotty Booda Perch. Tell you what. I'll take it.

You would do well to keep an eye on me. For while I feign interest in your Nylabone, I might just decide to nip your Tennessee Turd-Tail. Not right now, but sometime.

What are you looking at, batface? I'm not going to bite you, just yet. But you might want to keep it tucked in. As if you could do anything else with it.

You are correct. It is time for you to vacate. For while I have not used my beak on you since that one famous nose-nip when you were a puppy, I still could. And I fancy your bed.

Yes, rescue your toys if you must. I'm taking over.

Very nice. Very nice. I think I'll keep it. Mether!!! He is in my BED!!

Ark ark ark ark ark.

Mostly, I have a good life. But sometimes I think Mether goes too far for a laugh at my expense. And she kisses that icky bird right on the beak, and he does not even have soft muzzlepuffs. She is stinky and mean and I am going to call a Boston terrier rescue group and see if I can get a home where I will be truly appreciated. Because this has gone too far.


Oh how I love the Adventures of Chet and Charlie!! I love your floor too! What is it made of?

What a wonderful story. I about cracked up even though I knew what was coming. Pooooor Chet. So mistreated.

It's naught but plywood, Christine, which I painted with marine enamel in three colors. I flung paint off the brush in long droozles. I was 8 1/2 months pregnant. It was fun, lots of grunting.To date, my largest work of art.

Hilarious! Chet is so expressive!

Thank goodness Chet has seen the light and is FINALLY getting out of a bad situation. We've al been quite worried about what he has to put up with.

Poor mistreated Chet! Not. Well, except by Charlie.
As always, I love your Chet and Charlie stories!
I love your floor, too!

good to see that Chet is properly deferential to his elders... at least those with vise-grip jaws.

Too funny ! I laughed and laughed, the look in Chet's eyes is priceless. He is certainly a good boy to tolerate Charlie's shenanigans.

"What are you looking at, batface? I'm not going to bite you, just yet."

My God, you bless us with laughter - a real gift.

Wow and to think I was not going to troll your blog until my coffee break tomorrow morning! Loved those Chet pictures. I must say I am so proud of not only him, but also you as a trainer. I can say with definite certainty that his mother would have had Charlie Ala King by now. Beak or no beak! Your comments gave me a belly laugh.

Poor Chet. There are no birds at this house. We would never make you put up with that. ;-)

Poor misunderstood Batface!


One of the running jokes in our house is Boston Terrier Rescue. When Chet cuts a particularly noxious fart, grabs a cardboard box or shopping bag and shreds it into teeny-weeny bits on the newly vacuumed rug, rolls in fermented raccoon as he did two days ago, or (as Susan hilariously points out) walks off the linoleum and onto the carpet to barf, we usually comment that it's time we called Boston Rescue. That surely there's someone, somewhere, who would love this dog. I'll put you at the top of the list.

Jane, I don't think I had much to do with Chet's deportment around Mr. Pinchy. You're going to have to meet Charlie, and it will all become clear. He's like the Yosemite Sam of parrots. Or remember Randy, who used to drop down out of Pee Wee's playhouse ceiling, wanting to fight? That's Chuck.

'Batface'... 'Mr. Pinchy'... the names alone slay me 8-)))
...and yeah, what is it about dogs rushing to roll around in fermented raccoon and the like (I'm sure Charlie would never be so uncouth!).

RANDY! I had not thought of that character in a bazillion years. Yeah!

Poor poor Baker. ;c) Love these photos and captions!

LOL...this too good for

A Chet and Charlie post.
Or even wonderful, or maaaaverlous daaarling.

I don't know where that came from.

Chet, if you would be nice to our three felines I would rescue you. No birds here, but that 25 pound cat might dispute bed space.

I just love the way Chet manages to look so it really from Charlie or from you laughing at him, Julie??

What can I say, Ruthie?

Bacon is a ham.

When I'm photographing Chet/Charlie interactions, I have to stay as far away as possible so as not to influence the action. Charlie rushes me when he sees the camera, wanting to bite it, so I have to zoom in and stay at least 10' away if I'm going to get anything other than a blurry beak shot. Chet's expressions in this session are his own. I was just trying to stay clear of Chuckles.

I will say that when it's just me and Chet, and he's in the mood, he consciously holds poses for me. It's uncanny, some of the things he does. But after two years of having a camera pointed at him, he gets it. Yes, I talk to him constantly while I'm shooting, and what you see in his face is a reflection of our connection. He sometimes reminds me of William Wegman's weimeraners, who LOVED working with him, loved the getups and props, and would sulk if if not chosen to be the model for a shoot. Bacon definitely likes to be photographed. It's too bad he won't look at the pictures on the computer screen, but he turns his head when I try to show them to him. Charlie, on the other hand, loves to look at pictures of himself and people he knows. It's a difference in brain organization between birds and dogs, I would guess.

Poor Bacon! Of course, he could've just gone to one of his three OTHER beds, right?

I've wondered if dogs can see an image clearly on the computer screen, my dog won't look either. Any idea ? KatDoc are you out there ?

Like all commenters before me, I greatly enjoyed the Chet and Charlie shoot out at high noon.
And most interesting that Chet likes the camera and Charlie does not.

Julie - how do you get anything else done with such great entertainment always around you? :o) Thanks so much for the laughs.

Chet, you just remember if those nasty humans and that pampered, feathered creep give you any more grief, you can come and stay with Auntie Susan.

Chiming in late:

Love the Chet-Charlie interaction. Chet, I don't know why yer mether kisses that icky bird. I would never insult you like that. Of course, at my house, you would not be allowed on the back of the couch or the kitchen table, and you would have to put up with 4 cats without chasing them, and you wouldn't have two wonderful kids to play with nor a visiting bebah to tend, so perhaps you had better stay right where you are.

As for dogs and TV/computer screens, I was always taught that dogs didn't see in two dimensions, that they might notice rapid movements, but couldn't recognize images. However, I just read a study (which, of course, I cannot cite at the moment) where dogs were shown photos of dogs and photos of landscapes, then rewarded for choosing the dog pictures. Later, they added dogs to the landscape photos and the subjects selected these new, altered images. This study does not say if the dogs recognized the concept DOG, just that they were able to distinguish between photos.

So, my considered answer is, "Who knows what dogs can see?"


What a cute post - poor Chet! He could come live with us - our pet birds are much smaller.

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