Grasshopper Soup: Another beautiful day in paradise |

Grasshopper Soup: Another beautiful day in paradise

The other day I plugged my acoustic guitar in to an amplifier and was picking and strumming out on the deck when a red winged black bird dropped in. She must have been bored with the usual bird song her feathered friends sing and likes her music electrified. Or maybe she was completely deaf, who knows. I paid little attention until she came right up to me. I couldnand#8217;t tell if she approved of my music or was there to complain.

She listened to the music for awhile then took off, flew across the river, made a high, banked turn on the other side, showing off the red and yellow patch on her wings, and flew right back to me in the middle of Somewhere Over The Rainbow.

This wasnand#8217;t the first time a red winged black bird landed on my porch while I was playing my guitar. Itand#8217;s happened once or twice before. I think it was the same bird.

Certainly, this mystical encounter could not be attributed to how absolutely and irresistibly attractive I am. It had to be the music. Maybe the bird was just stupid, or very brave. Who knows, maybe the winged visit really was some kind of inter-species communication.

The next day the same bird came back. I was not playing my guitar. She followed me around awhile, then flew away, taking my heart with her. If she doesnand#8217;t return to dance with me soon I will have to start seeing other birds.

A news report last week said a woman stuck her hand in a leopardand#8217;s cage at a zoo and the wild cat bit her thumb off. The woman is suing the zoo. I can hear the judge now:

The judge: and#8220;Now that all the evidence has been presented, it is the decision of this court that the plaintiff is legally entitled to damages equal to her injuries. An officer of the court will contact you and escort you to the zoo. You will then be given access to the leopard cage, wherein you will be free to exercise your right to bite off a portion of the catand#8217;s paw equal to the size of your thumb. If you choose not to comply, you will be placed in a cage, at your expense, for the rest of the summer. A sign on your cage will read, and#8220;Danger and#8212; Frivolous Lawsuit Filer and#8212; Do Not Feedand#8221;.

I wish no harm to come to the leopard lady by seriously calling for her to share a cage with, and bite, a leopard, but the outcome might improve the human gene pool. Itand#8217;s getting a little shallow in places.

What makes the lady dumber, sticking her hand in the cage or suing the zoo? She may be smarter than I think, because the way some judges are, she could win big money.

The thumbless female may not be the only dumb one. One thing is undeniable and#8212; no one was prepared for the heartbreaking oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; not BP, not the experts, not government, not the environmentalists, nobody! Not even the Boy Scouts, whose motto is Be Prepared (BP).

The finger pointing, legal and financial threats the oil spill has generated are an indication of how much we like to work together, and with the British, to prevent and fix this kind of mega disaster. With plenty of exceptions, Americans have been fighting among themselves for 234 years, so whatand#8217;s a little more resentment and chaos between friends?

Anybody who knows anything about deep water oil drilling knew ahead of time what could go wrong and that the technology didnand#8217;t exist to neutralize such a leak. Or maybe they thought there was a portable Velcro, quick fix deep sea oil plug in the White House garage that they could just throw in the back of the helicopter, and easily install.

I suspect it will eventually be shown that the explosion on the oil rig and the leak were caused by cutting corners and ignoring safety procedures.

Even for us, safe in our Tahoe paradise, the tragedy in the gulf is heartbreaking.

Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, ski instructor and commercial driver. He’s lived at Lake Tahoe for 27 years.

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