Friday, December 25, 2009

Our MacGuffin

It's Christmas, and I'm down in Ventura to spend the gratuitous holiday time with my parents. Among the gifts I recieved this year were two (2) wallets, and "A Supremely Bad Idea", a birding book written by Luke Dempsey, whom I have never heard of. Knowing the many shortcomings of birdwatchers, I expected to see horrible shit smeared all over its pages, but I was pleasantly surprised to see otherwise.

"Birdwatching in England is part of that proud heritage - the word birdwatcher is a synonym for "completely unshaggable" - and it is generally thought of as an exercise for older folks who aren't physically able to play sports anymore, or else never did. If you set aside the attendant social stigma, "twitching", as birdwatching is also called, has its merits: It's harmless enough.....and it gets you out of the house. It also has a social use for younger people, keeping those nerdy kids who have no chance of ever making a real friend out of already overcrowded bars and the like.

Here in the United States, the pursuit of birds is not considered much sexier, though the use of the word "birder" instead of "birdwatcher connotes a more active particpation, I suppose, a veneer of science and perhaps adventure."

Being British, Mr. Dempsey is inherently funnier than the average American, for reasons so obvious that you should probably be experiencing a debilitating sense of shame right now if you don't understand Why. But I digress....

Tomorrow I'm off to the Salton Sea, pictures to follow, etc. Have a good one!


  1. Well, I received a copy of "The Bird" by Colin Tudge which I'm looking forward to. In fact my favourite book which also describes myself is by Simon Barnes - "How to be a Bad Birdwatcher".

  2. I'm sorry I need to disagree I have it on very good authority that I am emminently shaggable, so It's obviously another of those sweeping generalisations or he didn't do enough research.

  3. Stewart - I'll have to check those out, thanks.

    Alan - I won't agree or disagree with you, but kudos for using the phrase "eminently shaggable"!