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"You're all elephants!": Sometimes Sumana likes watching nature shows. I like watching them if they have cool animals like elephants or sea turtles. There are a couple shows which are probably aimed at kids and which all seem to be sponsored by Anheuser-Busch; one of these shows stars a chap named Jack Hanna, who tries to be the Crocodile Hunter without actually being Australian or doing anything dangerous. The setup is now complete; on with the story.

There was a show where Jack Hanna was in Thailand at an elephant refuge. It was bath time for the elephants, so he rode an elephant into a river and scrubbed it and kept falling into the river. Fun. In the next scene the elephant was on land and Jack, surrounded by onlookers, rinsed off the elephant with a hose. Then he turned the hose on the onlookers and sprayed them with water for twenty or thirty seconds, laughing manaically the whole time!

The onlookers were laughing, too, and it was supposed to be all in good fun, because of course Jack was already soaking wet from spending so much time in the river. But the scene went on way too long, and it got sort of creepy. It was as though Jack, sick of not quite being the Crocodile Hunter, had finally snapped. "You're all elephants! I know it! Ah ha ha ha ha!"

: My mother explains swallow's nest:

My understanding is that there is a Chinese swallow that sticks its nest together using its viscous saliva. This dries into a brittle mass. In Chinese cooking, the nest is boiled and reduced and whatever chemical makes the saliva gooey is used to thicken broth. "Bird's Nest Soup".

I tasted some once on a CSF trip to San Francisco--I ate lunch with the Ho sisters in a dim little out of the way place they knew about. The menu was only in Chinese and the offerings were scary. The soup was nothing to write home about.

Swallow's nest: the honey of the vertebrate world!


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