February 11th, 2007

little review

Poem for Sunday

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It was a very pretty chilly clear Saturday, so after older son got back from working at Hebrew school, we went to the National Zoo. It was as uncrowded as I have ever seen it, and a decent number of animals were out of doors though many of the new Asian Trail residents were off-exhibit, possibly because a fishing cat managed to escape from its enclosure recently. We did not see the Asian great cats or otters, but the red pandas and sloth bears were out, as was one of the giant pandas (not Tai Shan, but his mommy). The bird house was fairly empty too, which is just as well as the male of a pair of nesting sunbitterns was pacing on a railing, squawking at anyone who came near. We also went to see the small mammals (because who can resist golden lion tamarins, degus, meerkats and prairie dogs) and the elephant house. Unfortunately by the time we got to the reptile house, it had already closed, since we didn't realize they stopped admitting visitors as early as 4:15. Fortunately we made it to Amazonia, which has snakes and poison dart frogs as well as South American fish and birds! We did not get to perkypaduan's usual haunt, the invertebrates, but I did speak to her briefly and she came through surgery well, though sore.

Spent the evening watching Time Machine on the History Channel, whose episode this week is "USS Constellation: Battling for Freedom" -- a two-hour special about the Constellation's assignment right around the outbreak of the Civil War, leading the U.S. African squadron charged with capturing slave ships and freeing the captives. The episode has many first-person accounts of work aboard the ship and the history of an African hunter abducted and taken to the slave ship Cora, as well as the obligatory pursuit and firing of the cannons. It looks to me like very little of it if any was filmed aboard the actual Constellation -- at one point it was possible to see the name Temperance on the stern of the tall ship in the water -- but it was still neat to see its history dramatized from records that one can see in the museum in Baltimore. They showed a long preview for Amazing Grace with Ioan Gruffudd as the British abolitionist William Wilberforce...it looks great, and I see that Albert Finney, Michael Gambon and Ciaran Hinds are in it too. Then we watched most of True Caribbean Pirates, even though we'd seen it before -- because, you know, tall ships and pirates -- and the beginning of Saturday Night Live with Forest Whitaker (though the best part were Dick and Lynn Cheney's Valentines) before putting on Doctor Who reruns.

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