Monday, March 25, 2013

The Dandelion

I would like to talk to you about the Dandelion.


It is a restaurant in Philadelphia.


But it feels like an English pub. Except there's no smoking. And you have to tip.


We were seated in the dog-themed room, which was silly, and entertaining.


The dogs were so highly bred I nearly felt compelled to start using Received Pronunciation.


I had a marvelous salad, with lettuce big enough to rig up and sail to Italy with, and Historian, Esq. enjoyed his burger very much.

And then we got to dessert. Historian, Esq. said his rice pudding with peaches and cream was the best dessert he had ever consumed.


And I can tell you quite honestly that these hot-from-the-oven orange-flavored madeleines with warm dark chocolate dip are the most delicious thing I have ever put in my mouth, full stop. After I was done eating it, I seriously considered asking for a refill. This is why I bring cameras to restaurants. I WOULD NEVER WANT TO FORGET THE HOT ORANGE MADELEINES WITH THE DELICATE CRUST AND POWDERED SUGAR I TELL YOU I WOULD DIE FIRST.


If you are ever in Philadelphia, this is the place you must go. Liberty Bell Schmiberty Bell. Eat something at the Dandelion. It will be so good you'll want to take pictures of it.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Philadelphia Zoo

The Philadelphia Zoo, for everyone's information, does not have a capybara. Or at least that's what they want you to think. The truth is they do, but they keep it hidden away because the capybara is the pleasantest, politest, and wisest of all creatures. They keep it in a secret room because being a zookeeper is a hard job, and sometimes they need to go and spend an hour having tea with the capybara, submitting to it their dilemmas, and accepting its wisdom. And its cookies. They can't do that if it's out in its cage spreading its wisdom amongst the masses. The crowds would be enormous, and people would be angry when they took the capybara away for personal use. So they keep it a secret. It's unfortunate for capybara enthusiasts such as myself, but I understand. If I had access to a capybara, I would hog it, too. (Hahahahaha.)

What the Philadelphia Zoo does have, or did the day I went with Historian Esquire, is unusually active animals. Normally when I go to the zoo all the animals are sleeping behind a rock, as if they don't like people milling around and staring at them or something. But the animals at the Philly Zoo were awake and playful, and if they weren't, they at least had the decency to sleep publicly.

Let's start with this pygmy marmoset. This pygmy marmoset was very difficult to catch in focus.


This pygmy marmoset also appears to be very angry. The secret capybara would not approve, for the secret capybara knows that anger only makes you unhappy. Better to let it go, pygmy marmoset.

Sloths, on the other hand, never get angry. Sloths don't have that much ambition.


The secret capybara doesn't approve of this either, but it's decided to pick its battles.

Historian Esquire has a friend who works at the zoo, and she wandered around with us and told us interesting tidbits. For example, apparently nobody knows what giraffes use their little fuzzy horns for.


Historian Esquire's current theory is telepathy. The secret capybara can neither confirm nor deny this.

Now for some examples of public sleepers. First, the leopard:


Predators need not be fast all the time, says the secret capybara enigmatically.


This lion was sleeping in a row of lions all laid out on the grass right next to the window. It was extremely convenient.

This fellow, however, was well aware of the people on the other side of the glass. He ate some food with his back to us, and bounded around a little, and then came over and did a variety of poses.


After this he turned his back again and did an over-the-shoulder pose. It was very weird. Also, he might be a she. I have no idea.

I was perhaps most impressed by this jaguar which was up and about playing with its toys. Animals never play with their toys when you're in front of their cage! It was like The Miracle of the Zoo. (What would also be a miracle is if I could tell a jaguar apart from a leopard. This might be a leopard. The other one might be a jaguar. Rest assured they are both spotted cats of some kind. They may be the same cat. They may be the same animal, even. I am not sure.)


Hey hey.


We're the monkeys.

The polar bears are very old, and look it. The one in front has clearly just had enough.


Doesn't even get up for visitors, can't be bothered to control its tongue. Little does it know that it's a young whippersnapper compared to these turtles.


The oldest one is a female, born in 1928. She is 84. She had a bit of trouble eating her lettuce, but frankly, I have trouble eating lettuce, so I don't think that's to do with her age. The secret capybara says it's okay: everyone has trouble eating lettuce sometimes. I love the secret capybara.

My personal favorites were the kangaroos. First, because their family name is "Bouncepants." Every time I think about that, I laugh.


But second, they obliged us by hopping around on their giant feet, and then some of them boxed! It was the most wonderful thing I have ever seen! Actual boxing kangaroos! Magnificent. Just don't tell the secret capybara I said so. It's a pacifist, of course.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Honeoye Pirate Festival


I don't know why I bother celebrating the 4th of July when I could just wait for the Honeoye Pirate Festival. No matter how you celebrate the Fourth, I guarantee you that the parking at the festival is better, the corn-on-the-cob is better, the selection of pirate gear for sale is better, and the fireworks display is twice if not thrice as long. I mean, my butt hurt by the middle of it, and I was sitting on sand.

My crew and I arrived when it was still light, and had some dinner, and watched a woman do a demonstration with her hawk, who did not like the random booming coming from the water and basically refused to perform. I sided with the bird.


And then, when it got dark. The fireworks began.


It went on. And on. And on. I looked at my watch. It kept going. The moon rose. The moon set. The fireworks went on. The sun came up again. The fireworks continued.


All of the children were delighted, and continued to be delighted. The rest of us could only marvel at how much money that many fireworks would cost. Honestly, it was astonishing.


Three days later, when we were all deaf from the booming and blinded by flashing lights, it finally stopped, and we all staggered back to our cars and drove home, and made plans to come back next year because dude it is so awesome.