An influential guy you probably never heard of, Prince Rupert zu Lowenstein, had an obituary in the Times on Friday. He was born a Bavarian aristocrat (where is Bavaria anyway? does it still exist?) and left Paris on the last plane to London before the Nazis invaded, studied history at Oxford, became a financier and later the money manager for the Rolling Stones.
He got them out of a draconian contract that payed them practically nothing, convinced them to reside outside England to avoid taxes, and copyrighted that red-tongue logo. He got them to stop accepting paper bags full of cash as payment, planned their blockbuster tours, and licensed their music to advertisers. On a more personal level he negotiated Mick Jagger’s divorce from Bianca and separation from Jerry Hall. He described himself as “combination of bank manager, psychiatrist and nanny.”
Keith Richards said, “He plays that (finance) the way I play guitar…As long as theres a smile on Rupert’s face, I’m cool.” As for music, he preferred classical to rock, and the Beatles to the Stones. He never played a Stones record by choice. And if you want to read more about him, he wrote memoir, “The Prince among the Stones.” It’s on my library list.
Another book I just ordered is Latin for Bird Lovers. It discusses the origin of about 3,000 bird names, including the name for quail: “Excalfactoria means roughly ‘source of heat’ and derives from the Chinese practice of using these tiny birds as hand-warmers. (That’s not a quail, but a Godwit, whose name apparently means both “good to eat”and “full of mud.”
According to the review, “The best part of this book, for a beginning birder, will be the sidebars on biology and behavior that are liberally sprinkled among the dictionary-like name entries. For instance, I had not previously encountered the word “zygodactyl,” meaning two toes forward, two back. This trait is what allows birds to sleep perched on a branch without falling off, because a tendon down the backs of the legs pulls these opposite toes together in a curled position around the branch, where they remain until the bird uncurls them to take flight.”
That alone seems to make it worth reading. And speaking of perching birds, one of my favorite banty hens, Selena, seemed to have a broken leg, and perhaps had an egg that had broken inside her. She is a favorite or the rooster, but about 1/4 his size, and perhaps he had been a little rough? In any case, she was in pretty bad shape, and I would have put her down, except that she’s such a lovely bird, a cross between an Auracana and a Hamburg. I isolated her, washed her butt off with warm water to get all the sticky stuff off, and splinted her leg with a sliver of bamboo skewer and self-adhesive tape.
I kept her separate for almost two weeks, but now she’s back with the flock, and almost completely normal, just a slight limp. She’s even laying eggs again. And yes, you can see her bandage is unravelling–I’ll take it off tonight.