Seattle Weekly joins the world in lamenting the recent passing of Alex, the remarkably intelligent, 31-year-old African gray parrot whose command of English extended to more than 100 words. His basic vocabulary and syntax helped make pioneering contributions to the fields of linguistics and animal cognitive science at both Harvard and Brandeis universities. But when he wasn't grouping words, counting, or recognizing distinct colors and shapes in the language lab, Alex had a lot of other things to say to his brainy co-workers. Including:
Alex wanted his liner changed before he died.
"Stop asking me about the goddamned crackers, OK? That joke isn't funny anymore."
"Hey, I know you're talking about me when your backs are turned. I'm not stupid, you know."
"Thirty years of research, and I don't even get my name on a publication? How 'bout a crummy honorary degree or something?"
"Why can't I go to happy hour? I promise not to shit on your shoulder! Alex wants a margarita! Alex wants amargarita!"
"Enough with the semantics studies! What about parrotcourtship rituals? Don't you want to get tenure?"
"I don't understand how those GEICO cavemen can get their own sitcom, and I'm still working with you dull-ass Ph.D.s."
"Could you believe last night's episode of The Hills? That Heidi is such a bitch!"
[At his birthday] "Hey, those aren't 31 candles on my cake! I can count, fellas."
"I want a raise! I demand more cashews!" [Raking beak across cage] "Attica! Attica! Attica!"
[Condescendingly, to a co-worker] "There is no 'e' in the singular of 'potato,' moron."
"J'ai ennui de l'âme."
"Could you please line my cage with something other than The Stranger?"