Thursday, April 30, 2009

Backstreet bird makes good

Just when it seems like we're at war with nature, a little bit of nature walks our way. Or dances. Or struts, or just plain rocks.

This is Snowball, a cockatoo who lives with his owners somewhere in Indiana, and living proof that nature has a sense of humor.

Snowball's favorite song is the Backstreet Boys' "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)." Watch him go; this parrot with a Billy Idol pompadour keeps the beat, totally in the pocket. The scientists are trying to make sense of it all; Snowball was recently the subject of tests proving that, rather than mimickry of someone else in the room, Snowball's mad skills actually reflect a recognition of rhythm and nuance (knowing when to pause from time to time, consistent with the music, for example), as well as a sense of stagecraft. Snowball owns the space at the top of that loveseat, moving about with the cock-o'-the-walk abandon of the best rock singers. Jagger hasn't strutted like this in years.

There've been no reports on how Snowball has performed under different auditory conditions. We don't know if he can do this with Kanye or Nine Inch Nails on the box. But it's a start. Snowball's a hit on YouTube. He's been approached about the development of a Snowball situation comedy; a six-figure book deal is reportedly in the works. And negotiations are underway for Snowball to mount a national tour. He'll be working with the Backstreet Boys.

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