Red Feather Lounge located in Boise, Idaho

Chirp, Chirp!!!!!!!


Thomas Paul at the Red Feather Lounge.

With the outbreaks of salmonella and e-coli, some eaters are starting to question the quality of veggies and meat sold in restaurants.  People are curious to know if the beef stuck between their teeth was fed too much corn and had to be dragged into the slaughterhouse by a chain wrapped around an ankle or did the cow finish its last meal of green grass, then skip with a smile to its death like in a Disney cartoon.

At Red Feather Lounge, the menu boasts fresh ingredients backed up by a list of farms at the bottom of the menu where the restaurant purchased the vegetables and eggs to make my delicious Huevos Rancheros. While digesting the Morning Owl Farm duck eggs, I start to ponder the question – which came first, the chicken or the cage?

Most birds that I have been introduced to have names like Chipper the parakeet, or Henrietta and Karl the lovebirds.  These birds live in cages, and after the newness wears off, seem to annoy their owners who have to selflessly feed and clean their cages with only the thanks of a helpless little bird in a cage to gawk upon.

I don’t quite understand the fascination with the caged bird.  I can understand the corporate farmers with their beakless small caged birds because money can make any crime bearable for the majority.  As I consider the question of non-capitalist bird owners, my thoughts float away to the zoo.  I envision a couple on a date:

A man looks at the zoo birds.  “I wish I could have one of those bald eagles in a really small cage on my night stand, do you?”

The woman replies, “Yes.”

The man grabs her hand and says, “How do you feel about going back to my love nest?  You can meet my lovebirds.  I named them Joy and Happiness.  Even though they are lovebirds, I keep Joy and Happiness in separate cages across the room because I like surround sound.  For dinner I’ll prepare foie gras.  We’ll stuff ourselves ‘til our stomachs become as bloated as a goose’s liver.  Afterwards, I’ll put on my yellow Big Bird outfit.  You can tie me up and ruffle my feathers.  I want to be your lovebird.  Chirp, CHIRP!!!”

The woman, “Okay.”

Not realizing his date likes to pretend she’s an insane cat named Sylvester who kills birds for pleasure, the next morning the man makes omelets more slowly than usual. He hobbles over to the refrigerator and takes out a white styrofoam container of eggs.  With pride he opens up the container containing the aryan eggs.  He looks at her with excited eyes, “I figured you would spend the night so I bought an 18 pack.”  As he cracks the eggs, he recites his poem.

“Millions of hens raised for their eggs
spending their lives in battery cages
stacked tier upon tier in huge warehouses
no blue ribbons for these laying hens

seven or eight birds to a cage
not enough room to turn or spread a wing
stacked tier upon tier in huge warehouses
beakless and stressed is a look that never wins

no thoughts of blue ribbons for these laying hens
stacked tier upon tier in huge warehouses
beakless and stressed is a look that never wins
tier upon tier in hu-u-ge warehouses

I love the machine that provides the means
to force chickens to produce cheap eggs
stacked tier upon tier in huge warehouses
not enough room to turn or spread a wing”

The woman starts to purr and rub herself against the counter.  The man stops singing.

She is now on all fours crawling toward him, meowing.  He turns off the stove.

Flapping his arms like a chicken, he runs to the bedroom to put on his yellow Big Bird outfit, yelling, “CHIRP! CHIRP!!!”

Morning Owl Farm ducks

Morning Owl Farm ducks

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2 responses to “Red Feather Lounge located in Boise, Idaho

  1. I never quite realized there was a “big machine” to force hens into laying “cheap eggs”! Am I so blind!? What do I choose not to see? A wall of chickens in cages; packed in chaos. Where does technology, power and the dollar bill fit in terms of evolution? Does wal-mart sell these things?

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