Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Episode 14 Blackbirds

Episode 14, Blackbirds, Common Blackbird, and SR71 spy plane :)

Episode 14, Blackbirds

Hey guys, welcome to episode 14 of Jay Wont dart's podcast, where I talk about things that interest me, and maybe you'll find interesting as well.

This episode is about Blackbirds, first the Bird happens to be Black, and then the Area 51 spy plane.

The intro for this episode was the second episode of Auto Tune The News, search for it on youtube. I asked permission from the stars to be featuring it as my intro. I'll include the link in shownotes as always, that you seen in the lyrics mode of your iPod etc, but its easier to just search "auto tune the news" on youtube. Auto Tune The News works by using a green screen to put extra people into news footage, its quite cool to see how they hide the extra people in behind podiums and other items in the news video. Make sure you watch the full video, and see other Auto Tune The News episodes that have been made.

I've also decided to do a new outro format, I'll stop throwing the same song on, Cant Say No To A Soldier, and instead do another No Agenda clip for the end, so hopefully each episode will have a shiny new intro, and outro for you to listen to, start to finish.

The Common Blackbird,latin name Turdus Merula (meaning thrush, and blackbird), is found worldwide. There are many different types of the actual Black-Bird, and thats excluding every other animal thats both a bird, and black. Interesting fact, only male blackbirds are actually black, the female is a dull brown, probably better for camouflage. Males start off fairly dark brown, and they eventually turn black, with a bright orange beak, and orange ring around each eye.

According to Wikipedia, Shakespeare wrote about the Blackbird, calling it a "woosell". Not sure if Im saying that right. , "The Woosell cocke, so blacke of hew, With Orenge-tawny bill" Apparently Woosell was a popular name for the Blackbird up until the 17th century or so.

Blackbirds have long been my favourite common bird, I like how shiny and black they are, as well as the colour around their eye and on their beak, that bright orange. Blackbirds eat a lot of insects, which makes me sad, but they do like berries and other fruit too. So theres hope that I could have a whole bunch of Vegan Blackbirds, they eat any seeds or bread you leave out for them.

They normally over 20 centimetres long, and weigh between about 80 and 120 grams. My iPhone weighs about 130 grams in comparison, its fairly solid for a cellphone, so that gives you an idea. Lets say that a Blackbird weighs the same as the average cellphone. Birds all have hollow bones, to make them light enough to fly.

Apparently Blackbirds can mimic other birds, they can hear other birds singing, telephones ringing and things like that, and impersonate them. Its meant to be fairly rare for people to hear it though, not sure why. I think thats pretty impressive, I know that people who have caged birds often find them mimicking people and the telephone, its probably because they are so bored and lonely in the cage they are trying to have exercise.

Here is some of the Blackbirds song, they sound similar to other thrushes, like those light brown and white speckled birds, that look almost the same as Blackbirds if not for colour.

Did you recognise that?

I also like Blackbird nests, they are round and quite smooth, the brown, female Blackbird makes the nest, from twigs, sticks, thin scraps of plastic and other long and thin materials she can find. Mud is used to stick everything together, I've never watched birds making a nest from scratch, must be pretty impressive. Inside the nest, 4 eggs are normally laid, they are a light green colour, like light green/blue chewing gum, with red spots on it. Overseas , other birds like Cuckoos try and sneak their eggs in to the Blackbirds nest, thats where the term "cuckold" (cuck-old) comes from, it means a stupid husband doesnt know that the children in his house arnt his, his wife cheated on him, and hes raising some other mans kids, like Cuckoos try and pawn off their eggs to other birds, for others to raise. New Zealand doesnt have any cuckoos that try and do this to Blackbirds, but overseas there are plenty, and the Blackbirds there know how to spot the difference between the eggs, I think they throw the other eggs out of the Blackbird nest when they find them.

Blackbirds are monogamous, like most birds, they stay with their partner for their entire lives. Very sweet. Daddy Blackbird also helps feed the chicks. Wikipedia says most Blackbirds in the wild live for just over 2 years, doesnt sound very long to me. The oldest recorded individual was over 21 years old.

A clip from Wikipedia about the song,

A sad fact about Blackbirds, they often have parasites. They pick them up from all the time they spend in long grass, they get ticks, and internal parasites. Especially rural birds in the country, 74% of French countryside birds were found to have parasites, only 2% from urban areas had the parasites, according to a French survey.

One more clip from Wikipedia.

I often wanted a pet bird when I was growing up, when I was very little my parents hand lovebirds, they are nice, green and red coloured little birds, like budgies. But its very mean to have birds in cages, since Birds naturally fly long distances each and every day, and have whole social communities, with different songs that get memorised by different "blackbird tribes". If I could have a little Blackbird friend, I'd call him Winston Peepers, like Winston Peters the infamous New Zealand politician, but with Peepers for the 'peep peep' noise baby birds are meant to make. I'd teach him to raise hell, my little fighter squadron of Blackbirds would knock spinsters, ha, only old ones, not pretty Vegan ladies who could have any man they want, down steps, to get their handbags. Or, maybe I could teach them to have just one on the footpath, with a note in its beak, it would beckon the old lady onward, she'd take the note from its beak, and read "give me all your money", when she failed to do that, then my black cloud would descent from the rooftops and peck her to an inch away from death, and THEN take the handbag.

I've always thought Blackbirds looked very nice and gentle, but theres something kinda "evil" about them, not sure why. Its not the colour black, I think its the orange band around the eye, its like a bandit's mask or something.

I figure, even if for some reason my song birds didnt want to murder the elderly, they could always just fly around town and find shiny coins on the street, im sure birds can notice those very well, they will have great eye sight, and notice shiny things. But, up until now, birds wont have understood the concept of money. I'll change that, I'll get my little friends to pay for their own keep, finding money in return for Budget brand canned corn, worth about a buck at Pak n Save.


I started off talking about the Blackbird, now I'll talk about THE Blackbird, the SR71 Blackbird, officially the fastest millitary plane EVER. This baby did over 3500 kilometres per hour, to put that in perspective, the largest commercial planes do about 900 kilometres an hour, the SR71 was heading close to 4 times that. Most fighter jets now have been stuck at about 2000 kilometres per hour, none do 3000, at least no known fighter jets can. Its a matter of balance, its either bigger, thirstier, heavy engines, or a tradeoff to get excellent maneuverability, to be agile as well as fast.

The Concorde, that lovely supersonic commercial plane, it could to 2000 kilometres per hour, and was very, very hard for fighter jets to keep up with. But the SR71 would breeze past it. A way to measure speed is the time it takes to go from London to New York, a Boeing 747 takes a little over 6 hours to do the trip one way, Concorde could do it just under 3 hours, so thats twice as fast, 6 hours, down to 3, the SR71 did it slightly under 2 hours.

You know that Austin Powers bit, where they see all the weird things, and call out rude words? One part has Dr Evils spaceship showing up on radar as part of a man, well the SR71 pretty much looks like that in reality, its very beautiful, but kinda obscene too. Its very long looking, it looks black, but Im told its actually a very, very dark blue, made out of titanium for strength and light weight, with two large engine pods , one on each side.

The SR71 is the only successful version of its A12 precursor, which was actually very slightly faster, by a tiny bit, and could also fly very slightly higher, because it was lighter than the SR71.

Other versions of the A12 include the YF12, an interceptor, basically all the A12/Y12/SR71 planes looked pretty much the same, 90%, and flew over Mach 3, they were just for different roles. SR71 and A12 were for recon, spying, with their cameras and sensors, the YF12 was for taking out bomber planes. Officials decided that the YF12 Mach 3 interceptor wasnt needed, no bombers went near that speed, and so it was never created in large numbers. 32 SR71s were made, 13 A12s, and just 3 YF12 interceptors.

I'll focus on the SR71 again, it could barely take off, it leaked its ultra expensive fuel on the ground, needed help from starter carts on the ground, which had big american car engines in them, these spun the engines up to speed until they could run themselves, the plane limped off the runway, and had to dive, point down to break the sound barrier, Mach 1. But, once it got up to that speed, it rapidly accelerated to Mach 3. The engines themselves are rumoured to have handled mach 4 and a half, about 5000 kilometres per hour, but the rest of the plane couldnt handle the heat. The SR71 was made out of Titanium almost entirely. The Titanium had to be smuggled in from the Soviet Union, it had to be hidden, because the US was in the Cold War against the Soviet Union at the time of course.

Politicians were often against the SR71, who didnt understand it, and saw it as expensive and un needed. The Air Force was also not very fond of it. The SR71 was taken out of use in late 1989. It had survived prior attempts at retirement. But, it was actually reinstated, and used again, the first Blackbird took to the sky again in 1995. The Blackbird was permanently retired in 1998. President Bill Clinton had cancelled funding for the plane in 1997, it was in 1998 that it was finally put into its grave.

Theres many places in America where you can see the SR71 Blackbird, I'd like to visit a lot of the air museums and see one for myself. One of the coolest ones is in New York, the Intrepid Sea Air and Space museum. Its a giant retired aircraft carrier, moored near a highway, and has a whole bunch of famous planes on deck, including an F16, and an A12, the precursor to the SR71. Next to it, theres a retired Concorde, wow, and a nuclear submarine. Just amazing! To think they are all in the same place, and anyone can see these treasures.

Thank you for listening to my Blackbird episode.

Time for my new outro, the clip is from a porn star award show! Its worth hearing!

If you want to contact me, even just to say you listened, send an email to, j a y w o n t d a r t @, I'd appreciate it.

Have a super happy day, bye.


Auto Tune the News episode 2, used for intro

Outro, Porn star show No Agenda clip from episode 92

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