September 5th, 2006

little review

Poem for Tuesday

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In between Bar Mitzvah tasks like finalizing things with the woman who is putting together our centerpieces and doing the calligraphy for the table cards, we had a very Steve Irwin-related day. We went downtown to the zoo, intending to see the baby tigers which were on display on Saturday for their first outing from 10-2, figuring we would go first to the Meet a Kiwi program and then get in line for the cubs, but the zoo was utterly mobbed and by the time we had made our way across and learned that the tigers were only on display Monday from 8-10 a.m., we only barely made it to the Bird House in time to meet the kiwi. The new baby is not yet on display, but the mother and a new male were courting in the near-dark of the indoor exhibit, so hopefully there will be more baby kiwis soon! Now that Tai Shan is no longer a baby, the crowds at the panda enclosure are much smaller and he is really as cute as ever, so we spent quite a bit of time watching the panda and looking at the golden lion tamarins that live in the Rock Creek Park trees of the zoo in the summers. We visited the elephants, the Small Mammal House and several other exhibits, including the Reptile House, where an NBC camera crew was filming the crocodile, presumably for a feature on Irwin later in the day.

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We picnicked at the zoo and came home in the early afternoon because younger son had soccer practice in the early evening. In between, we watched Growing Up Penguin on Animal Planet -- the development from egg to adulthood of a Humboldt penguin at a zoo in Oregon, terrific and adorable. As soon as it ended, the channel broke from its scheduled programming for the evening to show the first of two back-to-back documentaries about Irwin, filmed respectively in 2000 and 2004. We watched them both, cried, and then watched them again when they reran at night (after dinner and soccer practice) because we wanted to record them.

I'd never paid much attention to Irwin as a person before -- I'd seen him working with animals on various shows and knew his reputation as a wildlife conservationist -- but these were wonderful features and Animal Planet could hardly have come up with a better tribute if they'd put one together after his death. It was the way Irwin talked about his parents and their work that really got me...well, that and his daughter talking about spending time with him and his hope that his children would grow up to carry on his conservation work. I am betting that Animal Planet reruns these yet again though they've never been on the schedule even on the web site, but if you can catch them, they're well worth watching, particularly if you have grieving kids. (Oh, and a fellow fan forwarded tributes from Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman at this site.)