Cincinnati Zoo names ugly baby penguin chick after David Bowie

Funny story written by Samuel Vargo

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

image for Cincinnati Zoo names ugly baby penguin chick after David Bowie
Naming an ugly chick after a great musician isn't cool. It's cold. And that's a tufted titmouse staring at you.

CINCINNATI Ohio - You'd think a legendary musical artist who suffered for a year and a half with cancer before his death would just be allowed to rest in peace. But no, a zoo named a baby blue or fairy penguin, who arrived to this world weighing 46 grams and having the dubious horror of being one of the ugliest of all bird species - after David Bowie.

Zoo staff named the baby penguin Bowie the day the Ziggy Stardust crooner turned age 69, in the early morning hours of January 7, just days before the singer died.

"Meet Bowie, the first Zoo Baby of 2016! Elvis and Bowie were popular suggestions because today is the birth date of both Elvis Presley and David Bowie," the zoo said, according to The Telegraph.

"The penguin keepers chose Bowie because we already have a king penguin named Elvis," the article continues.

According to The Telegraph, "Delighted Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard said the timing of the penguin's arrival was perfect. The Zoo celebrates Penguin Days during January and February, so it's fitting that a penguin chick would be the first little one to arrive in 2016," he said.

The Cincinnati Zoo has the largest colony of little penguins in the United States. "We now have 33 little penguins. Four chicks have hatched in the current breeding season, and there are still seven eggs in the exhibit," said bird keeper Jennifer Gainer in The Telegraph.

This writer interviewed Bowie - the penguin chick, not the late-great singer - and here's how the transcribed interview went, verbatim. Don't mind the baby talk, the chick is still an infant. Some of the interview was lost because it was recorded on a 35-year-old micro-cassette recorder.

THIS WRITER: So how does it feel being named after a truly great musician who had an enormous influence on all areas of rock and roll, including but not limited to: junk rock, punk rock, alternative music, and even rhythm & blues?

BOWIE: My rubber ducky - where is it? Me wants my rubber ducky.

THIS WRITER: Well, I don't see it around here anywhere. Why do you want to play with an inanimate object made of rubber when you have all these other very ugly little penguin chicks as potential pals?

BOWIE: I is antisocial. The other penguins call me Ziggy Stardust and they say I look like one of the spiders from Mars.

THIS WRITER: How unbelievably cruel the very young can be! That's horrific! Well, it's probably just a phase they're all going through. Such immaturity and silliness passes over time for most of us.

BOWIE: Let's dance, put on your red shoes and dance the blues. Let's dance, to the song they're playin' on the radio. Let's sway, while color lights up your face. Let's sway. Sway through the crowd to an empty space.

THIS WRITER: I have a job to do. I'm here to interview you and it's not party time. So could you at least quit that horrible cackling and just answer my questions?

BOWIE: I'm Bowie and it's always party time for this ugly little ice chicken. If you say run, I'll run with you. And if you say hide, we'll hide. Because my love for you would break my heart in two if you should fall into my arms and tremble like a FLOWER!

THIS WRITER: You're definitely not the singer that your namesake was. Why don't you just go back to being a penguin now and try to find a little pebble you can give one of these homely baby lady chicks?

BOWIE: Ground Control to Major Tom. Ground Control to Major Tom. Take your protein pills and put your helmet on. Ground Control to Major Tom (Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six). Commencing countdown, engines on (Five, Four, Three). Check ignition and may God's love be with you (Two, One, Liftoff).


Unbelievably, Bowie flaps his little wings and flies high into the air and joins a murder of crows flying around a good 200 feet above the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Bowie and the crows fly south, heading toward the Ohio River and into Kentucky. I can't believe it! Penguins can't fly!

Way off in the distance, I hear the cackling of these words: "This is Ground Control to Major Tom. You've really made the grade. And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear. Now it's time to leave the capsule if you dare. This is Major Tom to Ground Control. I'm stepping through the door. And I'm floating in a most peculiar way. And the stars look very different today. For here, am I sitting in a tin can - far above the world, Planet Earth is blue and there's nothing I can do.

I look at those crazy birds as they fly over the Mighty Ohio and hope they can find their way to warmer weather. With below-freezing temps, a minuscule, 46 gram, unidentified flying object, like Bowie, has to be mighty cold way up there. But maybe those adult crows will be better company for the little fella than his nasty little brothers and sisters at the Cincinnati Zoo.

The funny story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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