Sorry, folks in the South Florida convention-recruitment and -staging biz. Didn't mean to let the secret out that people who come for these conferences don't actually go to these conferences. For most, it's little more than a chance to get shitfaced in a new state, on the company dime.
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And then you've got fellows like Jonathan Rosen. He skipped out on a lit conference in Boca in order to go "birding." Yeah, he'd never seen a red egret and, since he might not ever be in South Florida again, he went looking for one. Forgot to mention -- this was Holocaust lit conference, and Rosen is Jewish.
"I felt a little guilty," he recalled. "But my father quoted Deuteronomy to me: 'Choose life!' "
Bad. Ass! And ten years later, Rosen published The Life of the Skies: Birding at the End of Nature.
Rosen and his fellow birders sound like gentle Walt Whitman types, but don't forget: When cats mess with their birds, they turn murderous.