Monday, July 20, 2009

Sometimes the most interesting things at the zoo aren't in the exhibits

Minnesota is lucky enough to have three wonderful zoological gardens; in Duluth, St. Paul and Apple Valley. Yesterday, my granddaughter, Alanna, and I were at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley enjoying the new Russia's Grizzly Coast Exhibit, and the just-opened Woodland Playground, a dream come true for kids who are part mountain goat. The new Gateway Plaza with it's water-play was especially inviting in the warm summer sun. But with all of the new exhibits and entertainment available, we spent just as much time watching the wildlife outside of the exhibits as we did the animals in them.

There was the chipmunk who thought he was hiding from us as we sat in the shade of a tree enjoying our lunch. There were the hundreds of bullheads, swarming near the shore of the lake. Newly hatched, these hardy fish were no bigger than my thumbnail. Alanna was especially fasinated by a small turtle that bobbed in out of the water, too slow to catch any of the baby bullheads.

My point? Nature is all around us. Feeding the giraffes is a opportunity not to be missed, but don't overlook the miracle of nature that surrounds us each day. It's priceless.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Richard Castle in Print

If you've been following "Castle" on ABC, and wonder if best-selling author Richard Castle is as good as he thinks he is -- as a writer, I mean -- you'll soon be able to find out. Castle's protagonist, Nikki Heat, will be making her literary debut on August 10. That's when ABC will begin running the first half of Heat Wave. For 10 weeks, a chapter a week will be revealed to eager readers. No word as of yet as to who is ghost writing the book, but on September 29, it will be available in print (at favorite bookstores everywhere I presume). The publishing date coincides with Castle's first episode of season 2. This is all part of ABC's efforts to tap into the amazing power of online social groups to support a show which hasn't been doing that well in the ratings. It's a great show, one of my favorites, and I applaude the network for getting behind it and not cancelling it at the first sign of trouble. Check the show out at