Happy New Year - 2012!


I know I'm jumping the gun a little.

We're going to be celebrating both Christmas (part 3) and New Year's this weekend. Pictures and stories to follow.

Have a happy and safe one out there, people, and hope you have an awesome 2012!

(Screw you, Mayans! 2012 is gonna rock!)



A Moving Tale of Trust for Christmas*


In 1986, Mkele Mbembe was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from Northwestern University. On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed, so Mbembe approached it very carefully. He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant's foot and found a large piece of wood deeply embedded in it.

As carefully and as gently as he could, Mbembe worked the wood out with his hunting knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the man, and with a rather curious look on its face, stared at him for several tense moments.

Mbembe stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned, and walked away. Mbembe never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.

Twenty four years later, Mbembe was walking through the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago with his teenaged son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Mbembe and his son Tapu were standing.

The large bull elephant stared at Mbembe, lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant did that several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man.

Remembering the encounter in 1986, Mbembe couldn't help wondering if this was the same elephant. Mbembe summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder. The elephant looked at Mbembe as if could see straight into his soul.

The elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of Mbembe's legs and slammed him against the railing, killing him instantly.

Probably wasn't the same elephant.

* Yes, this is a repeat of from the last three Christmases. But I have to keep up the tradition. And Lincoln Park Zoo hasn't had elephants for a few years now.

I hope you are had / are having a very merry Christmas.


Larry & Sarah – Christmas Wrap-Up

Okay, people, I know this is gonna break your hearts, but this is gonna be the last of Larry & Sarah for a while.  But don't worry, people, like Frosty the Snowman, they'll be back again someday.


And here's a repeat of their conversation last year.

Have yourself a Merry Christmas.  I not be posting tomorrow, but there will be a little gem going out on Christmas day.

And for those of you wondering, I had a great birthday, surrounded by love, presents, and some tasty Mexican food washed down with a couple of adult beverages.


Larry & Sarah – Christmas Cheer On My Birthday

Hey, another lap completed!

Happy birthday to me.  We are going out for a nice dinner tonight.

Hope THAT doesn't happen tonight!  ;-)

And just remember, one more lap, and the Mayans wave the checkered flag on this race.


Larry & Sarah – A Two-Fer Wednesday

Things have kind of piled up around here, so it's time for me to double up on your dose of everybody's favorite Christmas couple, Larry & Sarah:

It's a question we've always wondered…

And a two-fer in a two-fer!

Hope you are all having a great holiday season.  I'm really enjoying it.  Tomorrow's my birthday.  We're going out for Mexican.


A Real Post – A Good Sunday

Last Sunday, (not this most recent one, but the one before it) was a pretty fun day around here.

The morning started off early. We drove over to the zoo and found some free parking right outside the gate. From there, we were going to take the bus into down town, and then back to the zoo later. I drove over there, so that when we were done with the zoo, we could just come home, and not have to deal with waiting for a bus.

The instant I parked the car, our bus showed up. Running on a Sunday schedule, we figured it would be a while before another one came along. "Hurry! Bus!" I tried shouting to the child in an effort to get her to move toward the bus stop. But the words must have come out, "Take your time. Put on you fingerless gloves. Decide whether or not to bring your water bottle with you. You have all the time in the world."

Standing at the cold bus stop, we were lucky that the next bus came along in only about 8 minutes, to whisk us down town. We were heading into the city for two reasons:

  1. To show Wednesday the opening ceremony at the Disney Store.
  2. To get pictures taken with Santa.

The Disney Store opened at 11:00, so we went into Macy's (henceforth called "Field's" in the rest of this post) first.

Zoo Weekend - 01
If you haven't been to Marshall Field's in Chicago at Christmas time, let me tell you, they go all out. Inside and out is done very nicely and very tastefully. They always do the animated window displays, and the whole place is decorated very nicely.

Once we got into the store, we headed up to the 8th floor? Furniture? No, silly, the 8th floor has a great spot where you can look out over their fancy dining room, The Walnut Room, while people enjoy the holiday tradition of having lunch by the beautiful tree. (FYI – It's not a walnut tree.)

Zoo Weekend - 02

After scouting out the tree in the Walnut room, we headed down stairs to see how long the line for Santa was going to be. RE-DIC-U-LOUS, and it was only 10:00!


We prowled around the store a bit more before heading across the street to the Disney Store to get good seats for the opening ceremony. The entrance to the store is inside a mall type building, so the 3 of us grabbed a bench and waited.

Zoo Weekend - 03
As part of the ceremony, a few "cast members" as the employees are called, ask a young member of the audience to turn a key in an oversized lock, unlocking their imagination, causing the velvet ropes to fall and the store to be declared open. Well, the cast member hoisting the oversized key above her head didn't imagine that a 5 foot long key would have any trouble going through a 4 foot wide door until "DONG!" and both ends hit their respective sides of the door frame, causing her to rebound slightly back into the store before rotating the key to fit through the opening and on to the ceremony.

Hopefully, the other cast members are still teasing her about it.

Afterwards, we went over to the Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza. It's a traditional German style market on the plaza. We stopped in there to see if the Christmas tree that we have this year was a bad as they were suggesting mocking on the radio. (Hint: Oh yeah!) And we had some roasted cashews and while we were looking around, saw a relatively short line for a pictures with Santa.


Not the best resolution in the world, but it was a pretty nice Santa setup.

After the picture, we headed over to Field's to eat at their basement restaurant Infileds. (Note: It ain't called "Inmacys"). After a very nice meal, we bought some fudge with one of the gift cards we've had for a while, did a little shopping on State Street, then hopped the 151 (aka the "Bacardi Bus") back to the zoo.

Wednesday's Biology teacher assigned her class a project where they needed to go to the zoo and observe some of the animals that were outside in the winter. With all the traveling that we'll be doing soon, we thought we'd better knock off the visit as soon as possible.

We had a blast at the zoo.


We saw my favorites, the seals…


And both types of leopards: Snow and regular.

Zoo-Weekend---07 Zoo-Weekend---06

But the real treat. Correction, the realest treat was hanging out having a great day with my family. The second realest treat was Zoo Lights. They light up the zoo, and it's pretty awesome.

As the sun set and it started getting dark, but not dark enough to enjoy the lights, we retreated to the warmth of the car, conveniently parked right outside the front gate. As we sat there, engine running, the girls changed coats and reviewed the pictures for the project while Christmas music played on the radio. And the vultures lined up for our parking space.

Free parking over there is somewhat limited, so people were lining up, one after another to see if we were pulling it. First it was annoying. Then it got funny. Then it got annoying again, so we shut down the car and headed back into the zoo for the lights.

Here are some pictures.





No, that's no one we know in silhouette.


It forever for us to get this penguin picture. There was a lady who sort of wanted to get her kid's pictures taken by it, but the kid really wasn't interested, so she stood there for like 5 minutes as the line kept growing, oblivious to anything but her darling son, wandering aimlessly around the statue. Never once barking instructions to him to just stand there and look at mommy like I would have gotten. No, she was more interested in nurturing his natural curiosity about the world around him while she totally ignored the world around here. Just as I was getting ready to loose my Christmas cheer, they wandered off and we got this shot.

And we got to see a sleeping gorilla up close and personal and thankfully behind some very think glass.

And here's a little video I shot of the light show…

and it stars Dancer & Prancer.


Snow Goons!

Just a little Sunday funny while you try to wrap that final present.


Larry & Sarah – Better Than A Christmas Tree

Well, it's Friday, and Larry and Sarah take the gloves off for this round.

"How are a man/woman better than a Christmas tree?"

Have a good weekend everyone and get those presents wrapped.


Larry & Sarah – Santa Is Coming To Town

Continuing with the outtake from Larry's Interview with Sarah:

Yeah, it's an old joke, and?


Larry & Sarah – Getting Frosty

Once again, the couple that is sweeping the internet: Larry & Sarah.

Yeah, you just saw that.



Larry & Sarah – Happy Holidays

Hey all, we at Scope-Tech have gotten our hands on some out-takes from a recent Larry King / Sarah Palin Christmas interview.  Over the next two weeks, we'll do our best to bring you there worst.  And who knows, maybe I'll even get around to writing a real post soon, catching you up on all the coming and goings and shenanigans around here.

Hope that all of you are enjoying the wonderful holidays.

Editor's Note:  And in a effort at full disclosure, I got Larry's rant from the internet.  It's not original.


A Helping Hand

Hey all, I have a neighbor here in Chicago who is also a blogger. She writes a food blog called, Elly Says "Opa".

She has a friend, Jane, who was bitten by a black recluse spider a while back. Jane's having a rough time (you can read about it HERE), and Elly is trying to help her out. She's donating all her blog's ad revenue for December to help Jane.

Her ads pay off for hits to the blog, not clicks on the ad. I know my readers are a good group of really caring, really wonderful people (who I also respond to guilt / flattery), and I know many of you would like to help. So, if you want to help Jane:


All this is going to cost you is a click. That's it. Click on the graphic up there and you're done. And if you could remember to go back the rest of month, that would be awesome.

And besides helping out someone, I know that some of you are "foodies" and you will probably really enjoy Elly's blog to boot. I'm sure you will find some great home recipes for you to try out.