Dining on Quail or Pigeon Parts

By T.J. Simers

I’ve tweeted about this twice today because when a newspaper like the LA Times hits rock bottom I think it should be noted.

Under the storied Times’ “Column One” logo on the very front of the newspaper, Sam Farmer writes about Rufus, the hawk. Be still my beating heart.

I’m sure the story is well-written, although tough to say while laughing so hard, but Rufus’ job, when not dominating the headlines from both sides of the ocean, is to hunt and viciously kill.

I have no idea if this has anything to do with Rafael Nadal withdrawing from Wimbledon, but if Rufus could be trained to take out .220 hitters in baseball the game might get a much-needed makeover.

More than Rufus, my concern is Sam. The Times sent him all the way to England to write about Wimbledon, but so far he’s given us a story about the Chargers’ coach who gee-whiz-golly-gee got to go to the tennis tournament. And now Rufus.

If the guy has such an aversion to tennis players, I share his feelings. I took a look online to see if Sam was writing about tennis athletes and found this: “One of the coolest things about Wimbledon, the best souvenirs, is you can buy the game-used balls after the matches.”

I’d ask for the Nadal balls since they probably weren’t used that much, but whatever, you don’t get coverage of Wimbledon like this anywhere else.

I found another Sam story online, so he’s been typing a lot. He wrote this: “You’re looking for a lack of fluff,” and I can’t say that I ever have, but he goes on to write, “Why Wimbledon uses 55,000 tennis balls a year. ”

That wasn’t a question I had, but he writes that, “Tennis balls age like a pitcher of cream in the sun.”

I probably don’t need to tell you Sam is the Times’ football writer, or why he was counting tennis balls in Europe while the USFL championship game was being played over here. How he knows how cream ages, I don’t know.

But Sam’s quest for anything but tennis in Wimbledon continues with a story on Chargers’ coach Brandon Staley, who got to sit in Pete Sampras’ seats at Centre Court presumably because Sampras wasn’t there or there were no big matches.

As for Rufus, who also had his story told at the same time in The Guardian by reporter Sirin Kale, Kale reported that Rufus was eating defrosted quail while Sam had Rufus eating pigeon parts.

Tough to say who really nailed it, but my subscription is on Sam, who probably tasted the snacks in the name of accuracy. Remember he’s a football writer, and as long as it’s free, he’ll eat anything.

Over the years I took my chances in writing off-topic while at a big event, the Times’ lawyers suggesting at trial that I did the newspaper wrong when I went to a cemetery on Mother’s Day instead of an Angels game. Had there been any sign of life with the Angels, I would have gone there.

I commend Sam on taking a chance to write about Rufus for a dying newspaper and will pass on the name and number of my lawyer.

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