A Supremely Bad Idea

A Supremely Bad Idea

Three Mad Birders And Their Quest To See It All

Book - 2008
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It was an epiphany: The moment two friends showed Luke Dempsey a small bird flitting around the bushes of his country garden, he fell madly in love. But did he really want to be a birder? Didn't that mean he'd be forced to eat granola? And wear a man-pouch? Before he knew it, though, he was lost to birding mania. Early mornings in Central Park gave way to weekend mornings wandering around Pennsylvania, which morphed into weeklong trips to Texas, Arizona, Michigan, Florida--anywhere the birds were.
A Supremely Bad Idea is one man's account of an epic journey around America, all in search of the rarest and most beautiful birds the country has to offer. But the birds are only part of it. There are also his crazy companions, Don and Donna Graffiti, who obsess over Dempsey's culinary limitations and watch in horror as an innocent comment in a store in Arizona almost turns into an international incident; as a trip through wild Florida turns into a series of (sometimes poetic) fisticuffs; and as he teeters at the summit of the Rocky Mountains, a displaced Brit falling in love all over again, this time with his adopted country.
Both a paean to avian beauty and a memoir of the back roads of America, A Supremely Bad Idea is a supremely fun comic romp: an environmentally sound This Is Spinal Tap with binoculars.

Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury : Distributed to the trade by Macmillan, 2008.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
ISBN: 9781596913554
159691355X
Characteristics: 257 p., [8] p. of plates : col. ill. ; 22 cm.

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v
vv9
Aug 17, 2015

It's more than a birding book. Read this if you are a fan of nature or humorous travel logs. Dempsey is an avid, but not obnoxious birder, and takes the reader on several targeted travels with the sole intent of spotting birds. He is English. He is clever. His companions are memorable.
This is an amusing book about nature in some obscure corners of America.

j
JackPurcell
Mar 11, 2015

A worthy read.

spenyc99 Oct 12, 2011

The funniest book I have ever read.

g
GuyN
Jul 21, 2011

If you are a birder, read this. If you never look twice at a bird, don't read this. The rest of us may find a little more understanding of birders and their eccentric behavior while also having a few laughs.

c
CD1982
Mar 26, 2011

This is a laugh out loud funny book about three birders (yes birders, people who like to look at birds!), America, conservation, friendship, love, and family. It might sound weird, but that’s because it is a little weird. Definitely worth reading!

h
Hokansonh
Aug 19, 2010

In this remarkable story, Dempsey takes birdwatching (which, in his words, serves the social use of “keeping those nerdy kids who have no chance of ever making a real friend out of already overcrowded bars”) and makes it cool. While I probably won’t immediately invest in a pair of binoculars, Dempsey has effectively instilled an appreciation of a pastime to which I had never given a single, solitary thought.

On the one hand, the sub-title of this book pretty much sums it up. But on the other, it says nothing. The picture on the cover, if you can see it, only begins to hint at the mirth within its pages. Who knew a book about birdwatching could be hilarious. One reviewer on Barnes and Noble’s website found Dempsey’s humor a little derogatory and believes he thinks he is better than everyone else. What this reviewer fails to recognize, however, is that Dempsey pokes as much fun at himself as anyone. He describes himself as having skin “not exactly white, more an off-gray color, like a once vivid photograph that’s been left too long in the sunlight”. He’s a self-proclaimed “beertotaller”, and occasionally dons the cape of “small injustice man” risking bodily injury over trivial matters. This is edutainment at its best, as I unwittingly learned about the impact of habitat destruction, global climate change and “dunce families” in National Parks, on bird populations...all while being thoroughly entertained.

Greg_library Dec 01, 2009

An amusing first-person narrative of three madcap bird-watchers on a cross-county quest to find all the species of birds in the USA, with one stopover in Canada. Similar to "The big year" by Mark Obmascik, "Last chance to see" by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine, and "The curse of the Labrador Duck" by Glen Chilton.

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Greg_library Dec 01, 2009

"There's a hairy female on the deck!"

Assuming he's referring to a hairy woodpecker...

Greg_library Dec 01, 2009

[This exchange is a running gag between the author, his friend and his friend's wife]
"So, I have a question to ask you," said Don.
"Tomatoes, right?"
"You don't like anything with tomatoes, yes?"
"Don, do we have to?" Donna wailed.
"I like pizza."
"Very interesting," said Don, once again amazed at what he's relearning.

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Greg_library Dec 01, 2009

Coarse Language: The text is mildly sprinkled with profanity. Not suitable for young children.

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