Post Number 1000 – I Zooify Myself

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I didn’t get a chance to post this one while I was still in Indianapolis. So as not to be wasteful I’ll get in my WayBack Machine and send it out into the void now. It’s still my moldy observations, wacky thoughts and strange images. However, like Billy Pilgrim in Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, it has come un-stuck in time.

By the way, this is post number 1,000 for Madang – Ples Bilong Mi.


In my American Adventure mere hours remain of this brief pause in Hoosier territory. I grew up in Indiana, downtown Indianapolis being my formative place. As I sit here, only a few minutes from my birthplace and the haunts of my childhood, I am transfixed by the wonders of circumstance which carried me on the kind of wild ride through life with which few are blessed.

Each pause in my adventure brings its own blessing. In Australia I benefited from sojourns to Gympie, Teewah and Toogoolawah. In these places I was cared for and entertained by people who love me not for what I do, but for who I am. In the USA my first refuge was Honolulu. There I enjoyed a stay with an old friend willing to share the nest. Also in Hawaii were long-time friends and co-workers who have, for over three decades, concerned themselves in many ways with my work. Now, here in the Midwest I have added family to the list of loved ones with whom I am renewing links.

Now I am possibly half-way through this journey. In many ways it is the most important in this season of my life. The shape of my future is being determined in a very compressed period of time as I stumble through the minefield.

That’s quite enough self-pity and introspection for the moment. Let me tell you about the bear attack.

Steve, my host in Brownsburg, and I were on our way to the Indianapolis Zoo via the Rocky Mountains. We took the scenic route. We paused for refreshment in some national park or other – I don’t remember which. As I scanned the horizon for likely camera fodder I saw this bear:

All was well until the bear noticed that I was taking its picture. This bear has a paparazzi issue. It became enraged and attacked me. I was forced to beat it senseless with my trusty Canon G11 camera. Ordinarily I take a picture of whatever creature I have knocked unconscious with my camera, but in this case Steve and I decided to beat a hasty retreat in case we might have been observed violating the right of the bear to consume annoying humans.

Of course all of the above balderdash is pure Walter Mitty daydreaming. There was a bear, but it was in a rather large cage at the zoo. It paced back and forth in a very desultory manner until I got tired of watching it. I felt its boredom. It did seem to look in my direction after a while and suddenly charged down the slope directly at me. As it approached and I felt an incipient flinch coming on it suddenly changed directions and dived into a hole in the fake rocks. Steve reckoned that it had heard its keeper opening the feeding door and was going for another kind of lunch. Along the way it was expending a little energy to give me a cheap thrill. You get your money’s worth when you go to the zoo.

This wart hog is not dead. At least I don’t think it was. I think it was sleeping, but I’m not sure. Can wart hogs hold their breath while sleeping? For how long? I tossed a couple of small pebbles at it, but it seemed not to notice:

Possibly it was waiting for popcorn, the most popular of foods which nobody is supposed to feed the animals, but everyone does.

I have several other shots of different angles of this rhino:

I’m using this one, because it’s really the most interesting. I don’t recall seeing a rhino’s posterior so clearly.

The front of the meerkat enclosure was glass. It was difficult to find a spot that was not smeared with child-residue, but I managed:

Ordinarily I would not give the time of day to a meerkat. I include them in the general classification of animals which I call “Way Too Cute”. This one, however, appeals to me. It’s a little snarly looking. That canine tooth sticking out seems to say, “I could give you such a bite, if I wanted to.”

I throw in this gratuitous orchid image only because they caught my eye in the White River Garden thingie which is next to the zoo:

I think it’s a hybrid. They had maybe a hundred different orchids in bloom in there. I can’t recall seeing that many in one place.

When we got back to Steve and Marta’s house I mowed Steve’s lawn. It was easy and made more slightly tolerable by a watered-down American “lite” beer. Pure swill:

That’s another tall tale. I most certainly did not mow Steve’s lawn or any other lawn since I was in Australia. The lawn mower gizmo was not even running as I sat for this shot. I just wanted to see myself as a typical American suburban home owner. Fantasy time . . .

This is more my speed. I haven’t relaxed this hard for some time:

It’s a shame that Steve was not quick enough to catch me falling out of the hammock.

I’ll wrap this up by telling you about my wild spending spree. I went to Goodwill Industries Store for Poor People to buy some clothes. I’m not really that poor, but I like to pretend that I am. Besides, if I’m cheap about some things it gives me more to blow on things that I genuinely want. I’m not much into fancy clothes, as any fool can see, but I have to put something on, especially in this climate:


I bought three perfectly good, if slightly too long pants and a nice pair of shorts for a little over nine dollars.

That’s what I call shopping!

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10 Responses to “Post Number 1000 – I Zooify Myself”

  1. kristy Says:

    The shorts and sun make it hard to believe that it is all that cold in Indiana!!

    Love the Meerkat photo, the tooth is just right!!

  2. Colin Huggins Says:

    Well you sure conned me with that bear business!
    What did you do in Vietnam? Helicopter flights or writing for “Good Morning, Vietnam” business???? – or whatever it was called. Robin Williams, I think starred in the movie?

    Good to see that you are REALLY now taking a good respite and enjoying where you came from. Looks like wrm weather now in Indiana?

    Thank God, this “post” showed NO FOOD!

    Note that I have a new e-mail address, I sent you an e-mail.
    The old one is about to go to “cyberspace” and then the Brisbane City Council has to find new positions for all these “IT” specialists or pay them redundancy! Up go the rates again!

    Colin (HB)

  3. MadDog Says:

    Kristy, believe it or not, that was the only really warm day I saw while in Hoosierland. It was no better in Illinois or Janesville, WI. Now I’m in Ontario and REALLY freezing! I have two pairs of socks on and my feet still feel like blocks of ice. I’ll be so glad to get to Arizona.

  4. MadDog Says:

    Colin, I got the email with your new address.

    I can’t believe that you bought the bear thing. About Vietnam, I’m careful not to give the impression that I was ever there as anything but a tourist. My wife and I were very much anti-Vietnam War. (In Vietnam they call it “The American War”.) I spent nine years in the National Guard avoiding the Vietnam draft. For a lot of that time I flew helicopters, mostly Hueys.

    I give fair warning that more food may be coming. It depends on whether I find anything newsworthy.

  5. ahna Says:

    Like the post. We usually go to the zoo once a year. I really dont like it. I would love to go the Cincinnati Zoo. So Im hoping we can take a weekend to go there. I love the pics. I never ever get to see the bear. We lost both of our Polar bears to some unusal deaths the last couple of years which is very sad they were real cute and loved the crowd. A year ago we had a real real nice jelly fish displace in the ocean area there were tons of them. i have never seen anything like it. As for Goodwill, I love the place. I get alot of my and the girls stuff there that looked brand new and even still had store tags. I think anyone that spends tons on clothes is a fool. Yes you have to hit several stores but the secret is you hit is when they are doing the stocking. My first apartment was furnished in all Goodwill and I painted what did not look good. Glad you have made it to Canada. Sorry your so cold. Weather was nice here for a couple of days now we are getting cool weather again.

  6. Lynda Says:

    Hi Jan, loved the photos ….You had me hooked with the bear story. The orchid is a phalaenopsis by genera and yes, a hybrid. Nice! I can’t grow that type here in Brisbane as I’d need a warm glasshouse in winter.
    Can’t wait to see where you are off to next.

  7. MadDog Says:

    Ahna, the Indianapolis Zoo isn’t very large, as zoos go. I’ve been there only a couple of times. It seems sometimes as if it was an afterthought – “Oh, we should have a zoo!” Anyway, the have done some interesting work. It was the first zoo in the world to produce a baby elephant by artificial insemination. That has to count for something.

    I shop at places like Goodwill whenever I can. A agree about blowing a lot of money on clothes. Hey, how good do I have to look, anyway?

    I have another week to go here and then I’ll be off to Arizona, where I’ll be warm for the first time since leaving Honolulu.

  8. MadDog Says:

    Thanks, Lynda, for your identification of the genus of the orchid. In about a week I’ll be off to Sedona, Arizona for a while. I’ll have some great images of the incredible scenery there.

  9. CarolBeth Says:

    Did they have warning signs about the Rhino? Actually, the picture you have (unless it was from far, far away) is a rather risky position. They have…er…projectile defecating…which they DO use as a protective device. AND they are grumpy. Our zoo has some rather explicit warning signs.

  10. MadDog Says:

    No warning signs, CarolBeth. At the Indy Zoo one is expected to live dangerously. I was a hopefully safe five meters behind that rhino.