I’m in my annual spate of deep autumnal mourning. The hummingbirds are gone. I love those little dudes and dudettes. As the summer unfolds, they become less and less nerky about having humans in their space. Emboldened by the knowledge that we would never even think about harming them, they chirp and whirr ever closer, affording us a, ummm, bird's eye view of their impossibly wee bodies and ruby throats. I read somewhere that hummers beat their tiny wings 55 times per second. Fly at 25 mph. Yeah, I’m that hooked. I have hummingbird data in my memory bank.
Now, without warning, they’ve disappeared again. Gone for the winter. Smart. They’d never survive here. Probably Republicans have tried to legislate them out of existence. Rationale? They’re somewhat dependent on feeders and flora provided by bird lovers. Well, we like to believe they need us. But unless we declare them as dependents on our taxes, it’s a benign symbiosis.
Anyway, my sorrow drove me to plop disconsolately into my swivel rocker, wherein I began to read this morning’s Star Tribune. And talk about distraction. Remember that old Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times”? We are so there!
For starters, the lead story (LEAD STORY, top of fold, top of page) is that two Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport restrooms will be revamped on the heels (well, actually, the toes) of the Larry Craig caper. More on fine minds at work.
- According to the Strib, there are 80 bathrooms at MSP, two of which are notorious for attracting folks inclined toward biffy sex. No problem. At a cost of $25,000, MSP plans to replace current stall dividers with new ones that reach nearly to the floor to complicate hook-ups. (Think periscope.) That leaves 78 recreational bathrooms. And if they decide to rehab all of them, the price tag will be a cool $1 million. Maybe more, since Minnesota is into Halliburton mode, awarding large contracts to the highest bidder with the longest completion schedule. Well, okay, that’s about bridges, not biffies. Personally, I think timing here is a little off. MSP should have sold tickets to view and even use the Larry Craig crapper, thereby funding the remodeling project. See, no one’s thinking big picture here.
- A north suburban black man apparently burned a cross on his own lawn in order to garner sympathy and cash. Okay. That’s seriously sick. But here’s the best part of the Strib article. “Police began to suspect (him) after learning that he had told inmates at the Anoka County jail last week that he was going to burn a cross in his yard and blame it on his neighbor.” Hello? Began to suspect? I am amazed – amazed, I tell you – at the ability of police investigators to connect the dots in this story.
- Caption under an AP clavicle-up photo of people, umm, bearing signs that say “War is Indecent”: “Demonstrators from the group Breasts Not Bombs protested topless in front of the White House on Friday against President Bush and the war in Iraq.” But for the hummingbirds, I’d have missed this one.
Okay. Just so you know? I’ve gotten to page 4 of the A-Section, breathless with wonder. I’m taking a little break now. I think that missing my birdie pals is less stressful than reading the “news.”
UPDATE: Be sure to check out this excellent post about those doggone phony soldiers in Iraq!