Sequoia trees don’t need exercise bikes (Or: When Pinky met Churchill)


Now, here’s a lovely story for you. About strangers meeting on a jungle island. He, an alcoholic, cigar chewing, former master of the universe. She, a young, bike riding bird, called Pinky:

“A parrot that entertained British Prime Minister Winston Churchill following the Second World War is continuing to draw crowds at a Florida animal park. A picture taken in 1946 shows Pinky perched on the forearm of the former prime minister as he sits in a wicker chair. Pinky was born in 1941 so she was fully grown and performing by the time Churchill visited the park.

“At the time when Churchill visited Miami in 1946, Pinky was the number one star of the show,” said Ryan Prentice, bird show manager of the Winged Wonders Show at Jungle Island. “The show is a 25-minute show that has changed over the years, but one thing that has never changed is Pinky’s spot where she rides a bicycle. Parrots can live to over 100 and Pinky is very healthy, she rides a bike every morning and she has a lot more exercise than other birds because she has her own bicycle.””


Don’t get me wrong: I’ve nothing against exercise. Give me a videotape of scantily dressed women, going through their inspirational work-out routines and I can sit in frort of the TV, a cold beer and nibbles within easy reach, and watch these sweating Goddesses forever…

… and yet, I somehow doubt that Pinky the parrot is, excuséz le mot, that much in the pink because of that bicycle. I mean, give a mayfly its own tiny bike and I really don’t think it will threaten the longevity record of your average sequoia tree.

Mind you, I would love to see a sequoia tree on an exercise bike. Not that I think it would, necessarily, prolong its life significantly but it would be slightly more entertaining than watching Bill Clinton swap cigar stories with the ghost of Winston Churchill.

Anyway, this story of Winny and Pinky does serve to remind us how much the art of politics has degenerated over the last six decades or so.

Churchill had to travel halfway around the world in order to watch a performing parrot.

Our modern crop of politicians are so obsessed with the latest tabloid headlines and so eager to repeat these populist inanities in their sound bite policy statements, that there’s not much that separates them from regular parrots.

The only good thing you can say about this bastard beaky breed, is that they hardly ever live to over a hundred, however much they might drool over their Jane Fonda exercise tapes.

Now, here’s a thought…

I’m not sure but could I really be the first one to suggest that the world of modern politics could be slightly improved on, if we changed the name just a little bit?

The word ‘Pollytician’ has a nice ring to it, I think.

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