Pigeons: The Fascinating Saga of the World’s Most Revered and Reviled Bird

Pigeons have been worshipped as fertility goddesses and revered as symbols of peace. Domesticated since the dawn of man, they’ve been used as crucial communicators in war by every major historical superpower from ancient Egypt to the United States and are credited with saving thousands of lives. Charles Darwin relied heavily on pigeons to help formulate and support his theory of evolution. Yet today they are reviled as “rats with wings.” Author Andrew D. Blechman traveled across the United States and Europe to meet with pigeon fanciers and pigeon haters in a quest to find out how we came to misunderstand one of mankind’s most helpful and steadfast companions. Pigeons captures a Brooklyn man’s quest to win the Main Event (the pigeon world’s equivalent of the Kentucky Derby), as well as a convention dedicated to breeding the perfect bird. Blechman participates in a live pigeon shoot where entrants pay $150; he tracks down Mike Tyson, the nation’s most famous pigeon lover; he spends time with Queen Elizabeth’s Royal Pigeon Handler; and he sheds light on a radical “pro-pigeon underground’ in New York City. In Pigeons, Blechman tells for the first time the remarkable story behind this seemingly unremarkable bird.

Dating Found Pictures

Last weekend me and my wife were walking by Central Park when she spotted a small dirty paper rectangle on the ground. It was a picture of an infant with a dog. The picture could have been very old, circa late 19th century, but could have been as early as 60s or 70s.

We found another 6 photos, and they helped me date them a little bit. Here we have a Victorian grandma. I have a book called “Dating Old Photographs“, and in it there are a few pictures of women wearing almost exactly the same dress around 1890-1900. Seeing how this is a paper photograph, and grandmas usually don’t follow latest fashion, this is probably 1910s or 20s.

I like the composition and dynamics of this photo, which is rather rare in this genre of “grandma holding a baby in front of a house” pictures. Other pictures also hinted at the fact that the house in front of which the pictures were taken is a moderately sized Queen Anne style mansion.

The next picture also tells me that this is not the seventies.

I wonder how these pictures came about to be discarded on the New York City pavement. My guess is that the pictures fell out of the window of one of the highrises that line Central Park.



On the way home have seen this crowd of people watching some “performance art” dealy with dancing manikins and drag queens in sparkly gas masks. Big whoop. I’d be a lot more surprised if that store sold good espresso. I wonder how they pay the rent for that place. A storefront like that near Times Square must cost at least 10 grand a month.

Bag Lady Thatcher

“To handbag” – to assault verbally, to intimidate. This expression was coined by Margaret Thatcher’s opponents. The actual bag sold for 100,000 pounds.

What does Queen Elisabeth carry in her handbag? My photography teacher said that she carries a Rollei rangefinder camera, but I could not find any references on the Internet. Oh, and the Queen’s website doesn’t run on Linux these days. It runs on a Windows machine. But It looks like she does use a Dualit Toaster though.