or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

Reference Question of the Week – 8/11/13

   August 17th, 2013

parrotSometimes, patrons just miss a chance at a really great Reference Question of the Week.

A patron called and asked for information on a product called the "Parrot Talking Bible." She described it as a physical device that lets you press different buttons to hear the Bible being read to you.

Sounds straight-forward, but I couldn't find a product called the "Parrot Talking Bible." I found lots of disc-based and digital audio Bibles, and even a physical device called Talking Bible, but that wasn't what the patron was looking for.

The problem was that any time I included "parrot" as a search term, I'd either get a Parrot Bible, or Bible jokes or stories involving parrots. There were a surprising number of them, but my favorite was:

Four brothers left home for college, and they became successful doctors and lawyers.

One evening, they chatted after having dinner together. They discussed the 95th birthday gifts they were able to give their elderly mother who moved to Florida.

The first said, "You know I had a big house built for Mama."

The second said, "And I had a large theater built in the house."

The third said, "And I had my Mercedes dealer deliver an SL600 to her."

The fourth said, "You know how Mama loved reading the Bible and you know she can't read anymore because she can't see very well. I met this preacher who told me about a parrot who could recite the entire Bible. It took ten preachers almost 8 years to teach him. I had to pledge to contribute $50,000 a year for five years to the church, but it was worth it. Mama only has to name the chapter and verse, and the parrot will recite it."

The other brothers were impressed. After the celebration Mama sent out her "Thank You" notes.

She wrote: "Milton, the house you built is so huge that I live in only one room, but I have to clean the whole house. Thanks anyway."

"Marvin, I am too old to travel. I stay home; I have my groceries delivered, so I never use the Mercedes. The thought was good. Thanks."

"Michael, you gave me an expensive theater with Dolby sound and it can hold 50 people, but all of my friends are dead, I've lost my hearing, and I'm nearly blind. I'll never use it. Thank you for the gesture just the same."

"Dearest Melvin, you were the only son to have the good sense to give a little thought to your gift. The chicken was delicious,thank you so much."



The patron was disappointed I couldn't find what she was looking for, but also remarked that maybe she had gotten some wrong information.

See, now what would have made this a great Reference Question of the Week would have been if she had said this after I read her that joke. Oh well. Ever since this call came in I periodically re-search looking for a "Parrot Talking Bible," but so far nothing.

7 Responses to “Reference Question of the Week – 8/11/13”

  1. Alison Says:

    parrot reading bible app?

  2. A Says:

    Long shot here but when searching I came across a version of the bible read aloud by the actor who played Poirot: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/jul/09/david-suchet-records-bible-poirot

    Until I reread your post and saw that it that it was a device and found a software that may be closer to the request? http://download.cnet.com/King-James-Speaking-Bible/3000-2135_4-10059950.html

  3. Monica Says:

    I… think I found it. It’s an add-on for an older device (when I opened the site in Firefox, I got a welcome for Netscape Navigator users!)


    It’s also the second thing that A found, now that I look 😀

  4. Andrew Says:

    I found a similar seeming device with a different name:


  5. Gem Says:

    Lots of good guesses above. I’ll throw out another one. Any chance they were thinking of a playaway? http://library.playaway.com/playaway/niv-audio-bible-dramatized-the-new-testament.html I will admit playaway and parrot don’t really sound like each other but if you don’t know what a playaway is, I suppose you might be able to get it confused with a parrot.

    Also, there is a couple with the names Les and Leslie Parrott that write Christian relationship books. Though, I didn’t see anything that looked like it could fit the patron’s initial description.

  6. Joyce Says:

    Since so many have been great sleuths and found more info on the device, I’ll just comment that I enjoyed the joke. It made me laugh on a Monday morning.

  7. Brian Herzog Says:

    Thanks everyone. @Andrew’s second link seemed like the closest product – a physical device that reads the Bible, but @Monica’s is read by “Chip the parrot” (and another send by email is http://speedbible.com/kjvtalk/start.htm which looks the same but the parrot’s name is “Peedy” – thank you Nancy)