The Ultimate Fluff Piece

You know, the Post occasionally gets criticized for pandering too much to its strong Virginia subscriber base. When they run stories like this, I can see why.

This is a story about a lost parrot and its owner, who intends to sue the D.C. Animal Shelter because he thinks they found his bird and allowed someone else to adopt it.

That's basically it right there; I just gave you pretty much the whole story in one sentence. The actual story started on page A1 yesterday, jumped to an inside page, and then jumped to the following page. It's almost 1,500 words long, and has a double byline (i.e. it took two reporters to write this).

I kept waiting for the big twist to come in the story, explaining why it was so huge and on the front page. Like, the parrot knows how to cure cancer, or was implanted with Hitler's brain, or something. Now that would be a news story. But nothing like that came up.

The story begins on the evening of April 12 in the Alexandria high-rise apartment that DeGroff, 40, shares with his roommate, William Milan, 44. Until that night DeGroff and Milan also shared it with a parrot named Tallulah, aka Loulou.
OK, first of all, I don't think I'm making too much of a logical leap in concluding that two men in their 40s sharing an apartment and distraught over their lost parrot "Loulou" are gay.

But suing over the lost parrot, and making this big a production out of it? Is there a Kinsey scale rating for that? I think that's gotta push the owner's rating up to about a 15 or 16.

A dinner guest who wasn't wearing her glasses accidentally walked into the screen door leading to the apartment's balcony. She screamed, startling Loulou, who flew through the door, over the balcony and down to a clump of trees 14 stories below. By the time Milan had raced outside to coax her back, she was gone.
OK, anybody who's first reaction to this situation is anything but rolling on the ground with laughter is a little too uptight. Someone in your apartment who wasn't wearing her glasses walked into a screen door and reacted by screaming. I think I would be crying with laughter for the next 15 minutes. Oh, the parrot's gone? I didn't notice because I was too busy laughing my ass off at Mrs. Clouseau here.

DeGroff and Milan had raised Loulou from a chick, hand-feeding her with syringes-full of parrot chow. She had become, they said, a third member of the family, attuned to the rhythms of the household.
*Cough* Not touching that one.

He and DeGroff feel that Loulou imprinted on them and, wherever she is, is pining for them terribly.

"We are her flock," Milan said.

Ha. Anyway, the woman who may have adopted the selfsame parrot is from Pennsylvania. And now she has to deal with crazy he-bitch stalker man.

DeGroff said Weaver never answered the phone when he called her. And so on a rainy day in early June he drove the three hours to her home in a rural area not far from Shippensburg State University.

There was no answer when he knocked on her front door, but, he said, "I saw a silhouette of a bird in the back." He walked around to get a closer look. Though the room was dark and the window glass distorted his view, DeGroff felt a connection with the bird.
OK, he doesn't even know if it's the same bird. Why is this in the paper, again?

DeGroff has been assisted in his crusade by J.D. Taylor, a former teacher and the author of an upcoming book on Vietnam-era service dogs called "Beyond the Call: A War Dog's Final Duty." He has been a "humane" investigator for 20 years and learned of the Loulou case from a friend who gets her hair cut by Milan.

Taylor sent Loulou-related documents to D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) and U.S. Reps. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) and James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.), in an unsuccessful attempt to interest them in DeGroff's plight. He also phoned Weaver so many times that, he said, a local police officer called to warn him against contacting her again.
Yeah. What a shock that Mayor Tony and Rep. Davis weren't interested in hearing about your stupid fucking parrot, who may have been adopted out by the animal shelter after you lost the damn thing. And really, leave the poor woman alone!

So this story is alternately hilarious and depressing... but it's also pathetic, since there's no actual evidence of wrongdoing, except for the carelessness of the original owners, who are making everyone else's life a living hell rather than owning up to their own stupidity.

But really, Washington Post people... why does this "lost parrot" bullshit warrant 1,500 words, while the average D.C. homicide merits about 40 words of copy? I know you guys don't want to be like TV news and overplay violence, but come on. This story shouldn't be in the paper anywhere, let alone on the front fucking page.

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