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January 28, 2010

The Captain's Corner: Joe the parrot

capt. larry outside his bar, circa 2000

Ladies and gentlemen, it's time for another edition of The Captain's Corner, where Capt. Larry Gross, who used to own Captain Larry's, tells colorful stories from years past. If you missed last week's column about the bullet holes in the ceiling, you can read it here.

Like any proper Captain, Capt. Larry had a pet parrot. This particular parrot's name was Joe, and Joe had a taste for alcohol. I'll let the Captain take it from here. The helm is yours, Captain!

Joe was an African Grey. The deal with Joe was, he loved women and hated men. Women could come in the bar, put their finger in his cage, scratch his head, and he'd coo.

When I would take Joe out of the cage and put him on the bar, he would walk down the bar. He would only drink Budweiser or black rum. That's it. ...

I know he couldn't sip the black rum out of the straw, but he put his mouth on it, and everybody thought that was cool.

When I had the third wife with me, we got Joe so juiced up one night, he fell off the bar. He was on the floor, and his wings were out.

My wife at the time went berserk. She said, 'You killed the (bleeping) bird.'

I said, 'Oh my God.' I thought he was dead.

So I went to pick him up and he's moving a little bit. I put him on his perch, and the son of a (bleep) spun upside down, holding by his feet, and then fell down inside the cage.

I said, 'Christ.'

So he climbed back up and got on the perch. The next two days after that, he was the nastiest bird you ever wanted to see. He must have had a hangover!

Now, the deal about loving the girls and hating the guys is, the guys couldn't fool with him. I would get all these young kids and yuppies coming in and they would want to do karaoke.

One night, this college kid's in there, and he's got his finger in the cage, scratching Joe's head. He said, 'Hey Captain, look at this. I thought he only liked girls. I'm scratching his head.'

I said, 'Yeah, I see it.'

He said, 'Well what do you think about that?'

I said, 'Well, that's how we tell who homosexuals are.'

He went, 'Oh my God,' like we'd broken his heart.

(Photo of Capt. Larry outside his bar circa 2000)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:08 PM | | Comments (18)
Categories: Bar stories


Captain's Corner is brilliant.

i didn't think anything could come close to the last entry. oh how dumb i was.

Capt. Larry,

How old is African Joe, and where is he today?

I enjoyed that a lot, Captain Larry.

I said it once and I'll say it again. This needs to be a 20 part series. That was classic.


I've got enough for about four or five more. Then I'll be looking for another old school Baltimore bar owner to take up the torch. Any suggestions?

Great stuff.

More! These definitely make the week.

How about the Montford Inn, if you can find past owners? That used to be "stag" bar, according to family members that lived on the same block.

The ultimate coup would be a series from Silks.

Bet ya Mick O'Shea's has great stories from St. Patty's Day parades alone...

Come on Sam, that's your next column. Suggestions for the next old school bar owner to do some stories on the site. The Captain's stories have been classics so I expect nothing less in the next few columns.

This is almost as funny as when Michael Vick slaughtered those dogs.

Animal cruelty and gay jokes... Stay classy.

Lighten up killer

A few things....

I do have some fond memories of being at Montford Inn at 6am after being up all night. Mel the bartender would serve us strong vodka/OJ's and tell us stories. Unfortunately I was too hammered to remember any off the top of my head.

and to KJW....I think you need to lighten up a bit. I think you're late for a PETA meeting.


Interview Old Man Muir from Muir's Tavern, his family has owned that bar forever and he always has a story to tell.

Re: the Captain's Corner, "Joe the Parrot" - You people are retarded idiots to give this moron space.

He should be prosecuted for animal abuse, and you should be pillaried for giving him encouragement.


You people are retarded idiots to give this moron space.

It is well-known that parrots in the wild eat fermented fruit to get a buzz. Many animals do the same.

That being said, it's nice to see your contempt for humans with mental disabilities. Parrots, like people, have the freedom to choose. Nobody force fed the bird rum.

Damn, you really make being a pirate a drag. Arrr...


Sounds like both occurances were one offs given how they ended. but I guess your long past laughing at people in old movies slipping on Banana peels
Political Correctness, gotta love how it sucks and sucks the inadvertant humor out of things.

African Grey Owner - sounds like Larry had a learning moment that there's a point cute becomes peril.

I miss that bird! I even miss Larry, tho I love Mara & Ivars.

Talk to Dickie Gammerman, original 8x10 owner - great stories & some are fit for print!

Comments from the Captain on the comments: When I left for Key West, Joe the Parrot was given to a close friend who along with his daughters loved the bird. Well my friend passed away. His wife was scared of Joe and gave him away. I was willing to come up from Key West and re-claim Joe to no avail.
To the people who regard The Captain and readers as Morons: Thank you! We have been called worse. Joe is probably now attending AA meetings. "you can lead a bird to rum, but you can't make him drink".

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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