Saturday, April 18, 2009

The American version of "Mow the Lawn"

It's missing something. Maybe a Tulip reference would fix it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Life and death at my door.

When I opened my door yesterday, I found three little baby birds. There was a nest up in the corner of the building and it had collapsed, spilling the precious little things into the stone courtyard below. There was a heart-stopping moment when I realized that I could have easily stomped one without ever seeing it. They were so small, and so perfectly camouflaged that we were sure somebody else would stomp them into oblivion if we didn't move them.

When Jenna, my girlfriend, went out to find them, there were only two birds. We looked all over the place for the missing bird but found nothing. We did, however, find a little pool of blood directly under the defunct nest. Hmmm. Jenna scooped our two new friends up with a newspaper and gave them a new home in the big orange planter in the middle of the courtyard. They could live there safely until Mommy Bird showed up again.

Jenna, it should be noted, is a bird person. She has an African Grey and he's the love of her life. Naturally, she fussed over the little birds and tried to make them as comfortable as possible, even building a little shelter out of rocks to keep them warm for the night. I watched from the upstairs window as Mommy Bird found them and fed them. Woo-hoo! We went to bed, hoping for the best.

When I left for work the next day, they were still alive and hopping. I was elated. Turns out my morning grumpiness is no match for cute little birds. Jenna regaled me with updates all day and I was proud to hear that one of them had hopped off into the big bad world, strong enough to leave.

They grow up so fast.

When I got home, I took one last look at the tiny pool of blood on the stone slab. For the first time, I noticed tracks leading toward the building. I followed it with my eyes and found the body of the third little bird. He had made it as far as the stoop and had laid his little head on it. He could have been sleeping, but he wasn't. Jenna buried him in the potting soil after dinner. By then, the last bird had hopped away.

When I took Gypsy out for her evening walk, I stared at the planter. I'd spent the last two days worrying about three tiny little bundles of feathers and now I missed them. I wondered what they were doing and if they were okay. I wondered if there was an orange planter big enough for all of us, should we need it.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Americans miss out on all the good ads.

Feeling rough around the edges? Feels great to trim the hedges!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

What's a Drongo?


Just look at my name for a second. It won't bite. I promise.

Say it with me: Dron-gow-ski. If you're Russian you can pronounce it Druhn-govf-ski and I will be fine with it.

When your last name has ten letters, people get confused when they look at it. They end up adding letters that aren't there, resulting in some pretty strange gibberish. I've been called everything from the earnest Dragon-kerchief-ski to the tongue-in-cheek Drunk-Cows-Ski. As an added bonus, my name has been spelled incorrectly on everything except my college diploma, my tax documents and my sales awards. What does this say about the priorities of the world we live in?

I needed a nickname. My father tried to call me J-Bird, but that one never made it outside the family. There had to be something better.

If you look at my name, you can see how I got the name Drongo. It started in grade school but it didn't really catch on until college. At that point I had to pick an email address and "drongo3" was shorter than "jeff.drongowski." The name stuck and I've been Drongo for years.

I like the name Drongo. It's catchy, it fits me and it's a lot easier for people to spell than Drongowski. Perfect, right? I even have a doctor who calls me Drongo P.I. and pretends that I'm a secret agent, ready to kill him at a moments notice. He came up with that on his own by studying my name tag. If that's not proof of a good nickname, I don't know what is. All was right with the world.


One day I met a guy named David from Australia. We started talking and exchanged email addresses. When he looked at mine he started belly laughing right away, even slapped me on the shoulder.

"That's brilliant, mate," he said.

"Um... what's brilliant?"

"Drongo3. I love it!"

"I don't get it." He stopped laughing, trying to figure me out.

"It's like, idiot cubed, right? Genius." Uh oh.

Urban Dictionary defines Drongo like this: Dumbass, idiot (Aussie slang) "You've really mucked that up, ya drongo!"

I did a quick Wikipedia search and found out that it was also a "family of small passerine birds of the Old World tropics." They also had a very helpful picture of a Spangled Drongo.

So to sum up, my nickname, the name I've been going by for over ten years now, can be boiled down to Idiot-Bird. I've learned to embrace it. There's a certain poetry to it and, I'm sure my father will agree, it fits me.