July 19th, 2009

green little review

Poem for Sunday

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We got up insanely early this morning to go to Breakfast with the Penguins at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, but it was very worth it. The past few years, it's been very hot and there have been a lot of people, but this year the weather was gorgeous -- 70s when we arrived, 80s when we left at midday -- and although there were not gourmet bagels this time, there were excellent hash browns, plus the usual eggs, muffins, fruit, French toast, etc. We got to visit with Tux and Tails, two penguins who have come to the breakfast in previous years, and we got to toss capelin to the penguins on Rock Island, though the cormorants came over and grabbed many of them (the penguins got their preferred food, herring, later from one of the keepers). This year as a special treat we got to watch an engagement: one of the men had asked that he and his girlfriend be chosen as the two people to demonstrate how the bonded penguins were banded with matching bracelets, and when the keeper told him to band her, he got down on one knee and pulled out a ring. She said yes and there was much kissing and applause.

Since we were at the zoo, we also visited the baby elephant, the giraffes and chimpanzees, most of the animals in the Africa exhibit, the Maryland wilderness exhibit, the kids' farm and petting zoo, the arctic region, and the new prairie dogs. Since we were there relatively early and it was relatively cool, a lot of the animals who are often asleep were active: the otters were swimming, the warthog was eating, the leopard was pacing and letting out little "feed me" growls that sounded a lot like a big cat. When we left the zoo in the early afternoon, we drove to the Maryland State Fairground in Timonium, where there was free admission to the Baltimore County 4-H Fair, so we got to see lots of award-winning chickens, cows, goats, sheep, alpacas, and even a few cats. By then we were all pretty fried from getting up so early, so we came home so the kids could swim for a bit before dinner.

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Our evening entertainment was Mamma Mia, which I have discovered from Twitter and Facebook can cause bouts of rage if criticized, so let me just say that I enjoyed singing along with Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan and for once I was pleased that the producers chose to cast singers who perform with exactly my own level of skill. *g* (Please note: I love ABBA and I love the London cast album, I am certainly not a snob who demands a more intellectual or sophisticated musical...I just have an odd expectation that in a cast with a half-dozen big names, at least one might be able to carry a tune.) I will promise to be enthusiastic about everything Meryl Streep ever does, though, if it will encourage the Hollywood powers that be to greenlight Russell Crowe in a Master and Commander sequel (I am hard-pressed to choose a favorite among the O'Brian novels, but The Reverse of the Medal is certainly in my top three).