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Peter Rogers's Blog
Artist-in-Residence at Chez Firth

Thursday (2/25/10) 8:05pm - ... wherein Peter answers formspring questions about animals.

Here are all the animal-related questions I've received so far on formspring.

Do you think kittens are intrinsically hilarious, or is it only our project of human-like thoughts and attributes (i.e., LOLCats) that make them so? [2/11/10, anonymous]

First off:  THANK YOU for the kitten question.  Ah, what a breath of fresh air. :)

Okay, on to answering the question:  I don't think kittens are intrinsically hilarious.  It's all about the LOLcaptioning.

I often find LOLcats funny because they put things in perspective.  Yes, you're so worried about getting lunch at the local burger place.  Maybe it seems really important to you.  But when you see a *kitten* asking for a cheezburger, well, maybe you see how your intense desire for fast food is a bit silly.  LOLcatting seems to deflate things that might need deflating.

Despite the fact that your love life seems like the hot topic right now, I'm not going to ask you about it. Instead, I'm going to ask about animatronic bears. When your army is built, what will you take over first? [2/11/10 by 3stripedsocks]


♪ Aw, that's right, girls, Barry Whitebear is gonna set the mood for all you ladies with... ♫

Um, sorry. Let me start over.

When you've got an army of animatronic bears at your disposal, you might think you want to start small -- a bank heist here, a home invasion there -- but that's a sucker move.

See, here's the thing about robot bears: they're big, they're slow, and they draw attention to themselves. But get them en masse and move quickly on a major target, and the element of surprise gives you a major tactical advantage. Trust me, nobody expects the Rock-a-fire Explosion to be packing heavy mortar grenades.

A smart animatronic generalissimo will pick some tropical island and equip the animatronic bears for amphibious landing and infrared sight. If you launch a night attack, your panda-bot attendant will be serving you mimosas at poolside by morning. And if the governments of the world want to dislodge you and your robot army from an entrenched position... well, that's their problem.

How is it you trained birds to suddenly appear every time you are near? Kinda freakin' me out, dude. [2/23/10 by 3stripedsocks]

(For some reason, in my head I heard this question in the voice of Christopher Walken.  Is this awesome Y/Y?)

This is another question that I can't answer -- not because I'm being all secretive, but because I'm frankly as bewildered as you are.  I mean, the obvious answer is that "they long to be close to me," but that's just begging the question, right?

Anyway, I've got several possible explanations:

1.  Imprinting.
It may be that I happened on a large number of birds just after they'd been hatched.  Now they think I'm Mom, and they follow me around when possible.

2.  Pheromones.
It could be that I give off some kind of scent that nonmigratory North American songbirds think is just awesome.  There is some evidence for this:  if I go without showering for a while, even more birds show up.  Then again, the only times I go without showering for a while, I'm out camping, where there are presumably more birds around anyway.

3.  Bird-like Appearance.
It could be that the birds see something comforting in my loping walk, my beakish nose, and my spindly little legs.  Birds of a feather, etc.

4.  Pure Randomness.
If there's one thing we've learned from Hitchcock, it's that sometimes birds are just all over you.  It's not for any particular reason, but a couple birds take a liking to you, and then flocking behavior kicks in, and all of a sudden you're Tippi Hedren.  So, honestly? it could be completely arbitrary.

That's not much, but it's about as far as my limited ornithological expertise will carry me.  It's certainly not my intent to freak you out, but I'd respectfully point out that you can only imagine how freaked out *I* was by this.  Although to be honest, I'm not really freaked out any more.  Now I'm just used to it.

Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: none
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