Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Other natural curiosities

Have you read Mark Twain's The Innocents Abroad?  It's a personal favorite and I reread it regularly.  There is a section in which he begins to describe his Ascent Of Vesuvius but is distracted and writes about something semi-related, resumes with Ascent Of Vesuvius, derails with something else...he does eventually complete the narrative of his Ascent Of Vesuvius.

My blog is a bit like that.

Natural curiosities.

We visited the Woodland Park Zoo with another couple, some years ago.  During this visit we came to the Hippo section and encountered a sign with the question "How long can hippos remain underwater?"  There, before us, was a lake for the hippos.  Presumably the hippos were in it, underwater, since there were no hippos in sight.  We made ourselves comfortable and waited to learn the answer to the question.  Twenty-five minutes later we began to doubt the presence of hippos.  The fact that it took that long says something about our collective...um...patience.  Now, when we encounter a dubious claim, we mutter to one another, yeah, and how long can hippos stay underwater?

We also visited the Gorilla exhibit.  There was such a crowd at the viewing area that we had to be satisfied with watching from the fringe.  We couldn't see much, just one really big gorilla who meandered through the shrubbery.  He finally settled himself on a rock after something on the ground caught his eye.  He slowly reached down, grasped the object, and brought it up for closer scrutiny.  The crowd tittered as it became clear what the object was: a fecal deposit.  The tittering changed to appalled gasps as the gorilla, with a thoughtful expression, began to eat it.  Within a couple of minutes, we had the viewing area completely to ourselves.

It was a fine day at the zoo.

Next time:  the trials of an inveterate proofreader.  Stay tuned.

No comments: