for once, poetry is in the news

The California State Supreme Court is in the process of deciding about a case in which a 15 year old boy was prosecuted by the state for writing a poem in which he described himself as "dangerous" and referred to a recent high school shooting. Teens these days have very few rights, it seems, and apparently the First Amendment doesn't cover them in California.

I'm no lawyer -- but as a literature teacher, I just have to point out what seems obvious. Many, if not most, teenagers feel alienated or confused or depressed some or most of the time. That's part of the transition to adulthood and separating from the root family. Art of all sorts and creative expression are really helpful for people (like teenagers) who feel things intensely. That's part of the reason why it's so important to 15-year-olds to find out who else listens to the music they do, etc.

Reading or writing dark poetry doesn't in my mind constitute in and of itself criminal intent. I know that school administrators are overworked and overcautious these days, but there's got to be some room for kids to express themselves. That's what helps prevent tragedies.

what's next? banning Sylvia Plath from school libraries?



FC log #4

There are many unexpected & thrilling surprises in store for you!

Well, at least that sounds like a prediction. I'm just not exactly sure what counts as thrilling these days. (Although now as I type that, I realize I used the word "thrilled" in reference to some graphics software my department is going to get for me...and it was kind of unexpected that the higher-ups agreed I should get a new computer at the office (after six years! my current office machine doesn't even have a CD-R or DVD drive). So maybe my fortune just arrived a bit late, after I learned I'd get the upgrade.)

Mean Girls and the lesbian menace

I saw Mean Girls a couple of weeks ago, and have been meaning to write about it ever since. It was funny in places, smart in others, and generally enjoyable -- I'm always interested in the representation of schools in popular culture, and thought in many ways this one seemed right on target -- some aspects are of course very "now" -- the slang, the clothes -- but the basic issues of hierarchy and competition are pretty timeless and familiar.

We've been watching episodes of Freaks and Geeks lately, (Netflix has all the recently released DVDs) which I never saw when it was briefly on television, because I didn't own one at the time. It's an excellent show -- great writing, acting, even the camera work is exceptional in places. Much less glossy than Mean Girls, and with a different kind of emphasis -- what the lives of the non-popular, non-plastic kids are like. Much more familiar to me, certainly -- and to many viewers who've made this show into a kind of cult thing after it was yanked off the air midway through its first season.

I suspect the production team of Mean Girls learned a few things from F&G -- the mathlete jokes seemed like a kind of intertextual reference to me. And some other things I can't quite remember any longer. (I'd never even heard of mathletes until I started watching F&G -- my high school had three levels of cheerleaders (varsity, junior varsity, and wrestlerettes), but no teams for the academically inclined. I just figured it was that way everywhere.)

But there's another aspect of Mean Girls that's been kind of bothering me, and which few reviewers seem to even have noticed. When Cady, who's been home schooled and raised by anthropologist parents in Africa, arrives at a typical suburban high school, she has to learn to negotiate a new kind of power structure that she's never seen before. Lots of laughs and social critique ensue as she is introduced to the cliques, the spatial arrangement of the lunchroom, and the clothes of American teenagers. She's first befriended by Janis and Damian -- "outsiders" marked by their appearance -- she's kind of goth and pierced, and he's overweight and effeminate. His homosexuality is embraced and accepted by the film: he's lovingly called "too gay too function" by his pal Janis; when Cady repeats this phrase to the Plastics, the uber-popular clique she's infiltrated at Janis's urging, they turn it against him and she realizes that she's betrayed her friends. It's only one of many such betrayals that happen as Cady realizes that she's no longer observing the Plastics, but becoming one herself. So our outrage at her behavior defends Damian, and his gayness is never an issue.

But Janis, on the other hand, is rumored to be a lesbian -- something so terrible as to only be whispered, and which she tries to hide from Cady, who learns the story from Regina, the head of the Plastics. Everyone in school believes Janis to be a lesbian -- reinforcing her outcast status. The film never challenges this underlying assumption, that to be lesbian is to be outcast, unlovable, unspeakable even: the words dyke & lesbian hover around the edges of conversation, whispered and growing in power to insult. There's a longstanding feud between Janis and Regina, who had been friends in junior high school -- and as part of this feud, Regina has told everyone that Janis is a lesbian who was attracted to her; at Cady's lowest point, she too assumes Janis is "after her" and refuses to attend her art show. Over and over again, the film reinforces the idea that to be lesbian is the ultimate threat in a world where the competition to be a girl's best friend is the route to social success. Eventually, in order to make the Plastics the focus monsters of the film who have to be taken down a few notches (in violently black-humorous ways) it is implied that Regina simply made up the story of Janis's attraction to her in order to put her in social purgatory. In the symbolic language of the film, Janis is thus "redeemed" by the flirtatious advances of the stylin' Asian mathlete, and the anxieties about the power of close female friendships (which are given beautiful but dangerous form in the Plastics) are finally put to rest. The lovable effeminate chubby guy who sings at the talent show is the gay stereotype the film embraces; the gothic pierced artistic lesbian is so disruptive as to have to be erased as a lesbian at the film's end.

Tina Fey, who wrote the screenplay, when asked about Janis's turning out to be straight, said "I loved that part, because in high school everyone thought that I was a lesbian," and "So I wanted to show that that's not always the case." So she gets to get her own revenge on her high school experience (how sad that she still cares after all these years) and give us yet another representation of the monstrous lesbian in popular film. Especially in a film that wants to prove it's gay-friendly and multi-culturally aware this is really depressing.

The best teenaged lesbian character I've seen in a non-lesbian themed movie: the younger sister of the athlete candidate in Election.


I guess our canine companions aren't very pomo

From Curtis, a site with the most highfalutin' dog stuff you've ever seen. Some of it beautiful, little of it very practical (look at the dog beds) unless you've got a streamlined quasi-robotic pooch who doesn't chew, shed, or drool ... for instance, these feng shui dog toys -- which nicely capitalize on the new age trend -- but in a really backwards kind of way. I mean, it can't be good for the energy in your home to have chewed up toy lotuses and lucky carp lying around. Gracie would demolish those things in a minute.

But: feng shui in your living space does make a difference. Moving the furniture for better energy flow really does make you feel better. Try Karen Carter's Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life for a simple introduction.

water wrinkles

So during Bikram class yesterday I noticed that my fingers were pruning up like they do when you're in a bath, or washing dishes. Bikram yoga is a method popularized (and unfortunately copyrighted) by Bikram Choudhury: a series of 26 yoga postures done in a specially heated studio -- at least 105 degrees F and 60% humidity. Although I don't agree with his attempts to prosecute other teachers of hot yoga for copyright infringement, I have found this style of yoga to be especially beneficial for me personally. The heat helps your muscles relax so that you can make good progress in flexibility and in healing old injuries. It's been great for my oft-injured ankle, and helpful for shoulder strain brought on by too many hours at the computer.

So anyway I had to go find out why your fingers prune up. Basically, the outer keratin cells take on water and to compensate for their increased size your skin wrinkles. Who knew?

I guess it was pretty humid in class yesterday.


colonial musings

I only caught two episodes of Colonial House -- tonight being the last one -- I'm always interested in the culture shock these people must go through in readjusting to the 21st century -- unfortunately the show doesn't display very much of that. One of the nice touches in the episode I saw tonight was as they were preparing a big feast for the evaluators, they were setting out metal dishes on the table and were all preening in them, not having seen themselves in a mirror for almost 4 months (their usual dishes and utensils were made of wood). A useful reminder of how visual and literally self-reflective our world is...

current reading

I was called for jury duty yesterday, so I had the opportunity to do quite a bit of reading. I'm currently in the middle of Jeffrey Eugenides's Middlesex, which has really grown on me. Here's a passage I especially liked:

Emotions, in my experience, aren't covered by single words. I don't believe in "sadness," "joy," or "regret." Maybe the best proof that the language is patriarchal is that it oversimplifies feeling. I'd like to have at my disposal complicated hybrid emotions, Germanic traincar constructions like, say, "the happiness that attends disaster." Or: "the disappointment of sleeping with one's fantasy." I'd like to show how "intimations of mortality brought on by aging family members" connects with "the hatred of mirrors that begins in middle age." I'd like to have a word for "the sadness inspired by failing restaurants" as well as for "the excitement of getting a room with a minibar." (p217)

At its best, Eugenides's writing is lushly exuberant in this way. Through his hermaphrodite narrator in this novel, Eugenides gently complicates not just the obvious binary of gender, but all sorts of other categories used to describe, constrain, and contain us.



overheard at lunch a few days ago:

A young girl, maybe 4 or 5, sitting with her father at the table behind us.

girl: That ring is just like mommy's.
dad: I like that ring.
girl: It's pretty.
dad: Yes, I like the way it sounds.

Yup, they were talking about a cell phone ringtone - - it took me a little while to clue in. I wonder what her generation's view of technology will be like...so bound up with personal connections, from the beginning.



From Electrolite (where there are wonderful comments): the Texas Comptroller has decided that a Denison Unitarian church should not enjoy tax-exempt status, because Unitarians do not necessarily believe in a divine being.

Probably worth pointing out that Denison is about 70 miles north of Dallas; it was in the Dallas metro area that earlier this spring CVS and Eckerd pharmacists made the news for refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control pills and emergency contraception.

Sigh. But the truth is, there are plenty of equally scary places in the middle of this country that just don't make the headlines...


The Human Rights Campaign has a "special edition homepage" right now with a slideshow of wedding pictures from same-sex couples married in Massachusetts. I find these images, like the pictures from San Francisco, incredibly moving. I didn't grow up dreaming of a wedding dress, or ever thinking I'd be married -- I think for two reasons: because my parents (good 50s intellectual atheists) had only a civil ceremony, and there were no pictures, no white dress, no wedding ideology; and because I knew pretty early on that I wasn't interested in men, so that ruled out weddings too. The games my friends and I played mostly involved alien invasions, orphanages, and schools -- I can't remember ever playing at getting married, or having dolls that married, or anything like that.

So it's a real shift in my own perceptions to imagine that my partner and I could marry, and have that be significant in a way that isn't just private, and personal, but also institutional, and legal. Commitment ceremonies are absolutely important; there is tremendous symbolic significance in having your friends and relations support and acknowledge your primary relationship. But it would also be really significant to be able to put my partner on my health insurance as my spouse.

Part of what I find so encouraging is that gay and lesbian people are now visible in general American culture in ways that 15 or 20 years ago could never have been imagined. My gf and I watched part of the democratic candidate debates last year and it was surprisingly powerful to hear the candidates talking about gay marriage -- not because of what they said -- since most of them were sort of wishy-washy on the subject -- but that we were being discussed at all. Civil rights are hard to come by if your existence isn't even acknowledged. Same-sex marriage is one way to begin making the existence of lesbian and gay people more commonly recognized and accepted.


fortune cookie log #3

(actually, it ought to be #4 because I lost one...) so it's #3
somebody values your advice

I should hope so, since I spent 12+ hours yesterday grading graduate student essays. Some surprisingly good, some depressingly not so good. Though it's actually much harder for me to comment on the good essays -- same for undergrads -- esp the A- variety -- it's much easier to tell a C student what s/he has to do to improve.

But hey, I'm feeling happy now, because my grades are turned in! after a weekend which involved much procrastinating, and then staying up really late last night. But that's what Red Bull is for. (My college experience would have been so different if we'd that on hand...)


space, and what to do with it

I've been thinking recently about how very few people have been talking about Google's Gmail's generous gig of storage (how's that for alliteration) and then tonight Curtis posts about Yahoo's decision to increase email storage for its subscribers to 100 Mb. As a Yahoo user I'm totally psyched, since I prefer to file away emails rather than delete things I may someday need.

According to Matthew Kirschenbaum (and follow his link to Mark Bernstein's blog) we're on the threshold of not needing to ever delete files to make space -- storage costs are decreasing so rapidly, and the technology for compacting storage is improving so rapidly.

A somewhat related note: I was thrilled when I first read Bernstein's blog a week or two ago, via the link above -- Tinderbox sounds like just what I'm looking for. But so far it's only for Mac. Sigh. (and no, I'm not converting.)

I'm in the process of looking at notetaking/bibliographic/idea sorting software -- my copy of Endnote is way out of date, and it doesn't really do everything I want it to anyway. I'm considering Citation or Biblioscape. (There's also Noteworthy). What I miss is the old SquareNote (link is to the current version which doesn't work under XP). It was a really fabulous DOS program which I used from 1991 until 1999 or so, and even then sporadically until I got my XP machine. It was compact (fit on a 3 1/4" floppy), intuitive (index card-like design), and did a fabulous job of keeping track of references, notes, ideas, quotes, bibliography, etc. It didn't generate works cited lists etc like Endnote -- but it did a much better job of managing project ideas etc. I just hate the idea of needing to use two or three different systems to keep track of my stuff: bibliographic software to manage sources, notetaking software for ideas/notes, perhaps something separate on my Palm. If anyone else could possibly care about all this, here's a good page with links to reviews of different things useful to writers & researchers.

grrr. sigh.

why is it that people with the worst taste in music always feel the need to play it the loudest?

I mean, I try to keep an open mind. And I have no desire to censor other people. However, we have these hippie neighbors at the end of our block who have Grateful Dead wanna-be bands playing in their yard every Sunday afternoon/evening. Loudly. Violating all the noise laws, filling the street with parked cars, and generally annoying the heck out of me.

Grrr. You don't see me inflicting my music on everyone down the block.


summer reading

well, technically speaking, my summer hasn't truly begun -- I gave my last final exam yesterday, and so my grades won't be finished and turned in until Monday. But the sun came out after days of rain, and I'm feeling optimistic that I will actually see the semester end, as it has every other year...

So I went ahead and indulged in what is one of my very few cherished memories/rituals from childhood. At the spring semester's end, my parents (both of whom were academics) would take us to the public library (we went there all the time anyway) and we would all get big stacks of fun reading. As kids, of course, all reading was fun. But I remember the delight my parents would have in picking up new novels to read. We'd all go home and spend the next few days busy with our new books.

(Yup, I'm a nerd born and bred. There was really no hope for me.)

But anyway, I've got a great stack of books from the public library and after 12 noon on Monday I can just sit in the cafe and read for fun. No pen in hand, no computer nearby. I do a fair amount of personal reading anyway during the year -- I need to spend at least the last 30 minutes of the day NOT thinking about work -- but that's different from plunging in with abandon the way I used to read as a kid. (though I don't seem to have the long attention span I did as a kid, which is kind of disturbing...)

In grade school the teacher would sometimes allow us to do "free reading" once we were done with our math or whatever -- I still kind of like that term -- since so much of my reading is at least partially constrained by deadlines or duty, it's nice to have space for something free and freeing.

Go support your public library.


the current state of the English language

Some thoughts about English, prompted by having read a lot of student writing over the past few days.

I like the apostrophe -- and I sense that it probably will no longer exist in 50-80 years (except in the memories of English teachers like yours truly). Even my good students are routinely missing the apostrophe in possessives. And forget about the distinction between its and it's , which seems to slip by advertisers and newspaper proofreaders, too.

Suddenly this semester I got a lot of cases of "compliment" instead of "complement." Although this could be due to spelling or typo error, or an overzealous use of spell check (does Word know "complement"?), I suspect that many of my students would be hard pressed to give separate definitions for the two words. But it's not a word that they used to use --maybe it's on the SAT list, or the state high school graduation exam?

"Relay" -- as in, "as relayed by the author, the nineteenth century was a time of social change" or "Browning relayed the speaker's feelings through his punctuation". My students are using "relay" as a verb instead of almost any verb that's a synonym for say, speak, transmit, teach, convey, present, etc. (Frequently without the direct object that relay as a verb requires -- and, I think, without the meaning of "passed along as in a relay race" -- unless they think dead poets just slip batons of imagery to the reader and run off.) I'd love to know where this comes from -- I've been seeing it for several years.

on the horizon: conversate (v., to converse) -- I've been hearing it in heavy rotation hip-hop songs on the radio, so it's just a matter of time.


I'm in awe

this was going to just be a post gathering up interesting links I've seen over the past few days -- but then I got caught up in the amazing thing that is musicplasma. I'd seen lots of blogs referencing it but hadn't actually seen it for myself until now. Type in a few band names and see your tastes mapped out in space like planets. It's fascinating -- in part because it shows how your disparate tastes connect up -- through genre or individual band members or other things that the programmer has decided form links.

the other link worth posting: Mr Picassohead .

it's fun, legal, and makes you smarter

Via Singing Loudly , justification for my way of drinking coffee: small frequent doses throughout the day to keep the amount of caffeine in my bloodstream at a constant, carefully monitored level.

On an only somewhat related note: ever notice that Starbucks cups are basically toddler's sippy cups for adults? filled with soothing sweet drinks that calm us down and make us happy.


INTJ = Green?

Saw a link to this quiz from the also-green Frogs and Ravens . It seems to basically be a simple personality type quiz, a watered-down and colorful Myers-Briggs. (the full Myers-Briggs is not free-- but versions of the Keirsey sorter, which is a derivative, are on the web.

What Color is Your Brain?

brought to you by Quizilla

So in this, I'm green. In MB terms, I'm an INTJ. According to some sources, INTJs make up only 1% of the general population, and female INTJs are especially rare. That probably is because many INTJ traits are culturally coded in Western/US culture as "masculine" so some women probably hide or underdevelop those aspects of their personality in order to conform. But in my experience, I've met a number of female INTJs in academia. Just more proof of how our world is actually not at all the same world as that of the general population...

For all that the Myers-Briggs can be critized for cultural bias, etc -- and some temperament types just basically hate such tests, while others love them -- I've found it incredibly helpful over the years. (Had the opportunity at a job many years ago to take the full MB test and workshop.) Instead of simply thinking "he's so stupid" in a meeting I try to gently remind myself that "different people process information in different ways." No, really. It does help you learn to try to get along with people who have different ways of being in the world.


dogs and their humans

From the Chronicle of 4/16/04: "Nicholas J.S. Christenfeld, a professor of psychology at the University of California at San Diego, sent two undergraduate assistants to local parks to take photos of 45 dog owners and their pets. Back on the campus, 28 other undergraduate students then had to pick which of two dog photos matched a given owner. In most cases, the judges matched the owners of purebred dogs with their pooches, but had no such luck matching owners of mutts. Mr. Christenfeld's results will appear in the May 2004 issue of the journal Psychological Science."

Now, the writer of the article claimed it has to do with the presumed resemblance between people and their animals. But it also has everything to do with social class and the desire (or lack of it) for perceived social status: people who will spend thousands of dollars on a purebred French bulldog tend to look a bit different from those of us who rescue dogs from the pound.

As the proud companion of 2 wonderful mixed breeds rescued from the pound and from the street, I'm glad we're not as typecast as the companions of purebreds. Yet my gf and I fancy that our dogs resemble us -- if not in their physical appearance (if only I could have such great muscle definition!), then in their personalities. Wendell's a great communicator, understands a large English vocabulary, and likes to watch movies (especially if they include horses, cattle, or monkeys). Gracie is shy with strangers, sulky if you disturb her sleep, and very anxious about change.

Or perhaps we're just beginning to resemble them...There are days when I feel like jumping up and down and barking when someone bugs me too much...


Is there a word used to specifically describe the hopelessly addictive activity of looking up former acquaintances on Google? It certainly seems as though there ought to be one.


the best place for you

thanks to my friend at No Fancy Name, here's an enjoyable little quiz to take that purports to tell you the best places for you to live, based on your answers to questions about the weather, recreation, etc.
My top results: San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, DC, San Diego. But, none of the places in my top ten had any category scores over 27% -- and the top result, SF, had very low individual scores in most areas, but I guess their algorithm deduced that I'd be generally satisfied there. (And I think they're right -- who wouldn't want to live in the Bay Area?)

Taking the quiz reminds me actually how adaptable we all are -- sure, we have these wish lists of features (I'd like to order NYC, with San Diego weather, with a dash of San Francisco for seasoning) but once you're in a place you learn to accept its good things and overlook the others. My actual location came in far down the list, at 37, but I'm far happier here than I think I would be in Boston. Or many of the others.

Of course, working in academia encourages adapatability-- to think about such a question as "where do you want to live" separate from work issues is pure fantasy.

fortune cookie log #2

Your life will be happy and peaceful.

Hmm. A bit bland for a random bit of wisdom, though pleasant enough. Kind of like the cookie part of fortune cookies. (Which half the time I don't eat because they have egg in them.)

I'd say I'm up on the happy score, but I don't think peaceful is in the cards, if the past few years are any indication.


end of term irritation

Email from student who took my class 3 years ago:
"Dear Professor M, I know we haven't discussed this or anything, but will you please send a letter of recommendation to Northern School for me? They've lost the letters from one of my other recommenders and I can't get in touch with that person at this time. Thank you."

This is only one version of such irritating requests. Now, I'm happy to write a letter for any of my good students, and even some of the fair -to-middling ones. Provided that they ask me appropriately -- not just assume that I will do it for them. And that they provide me with some information about where they're applying and why. I have a routine checklist of information that I demand from any student who asks for a rec letter -- which both gives me enough information to write a decent letter, and scares off the trivial requests. But this sort of request is especially irritating:. Partly because of the assumption that I will automatically do it; partly because (and this causes more sadness than irritation I suppose) our students at Large Urban University just don't know any better. They don't know how to write a good application unless someone shows them. We try to do some of that education in our dept, but it's not always successful. And, in this particular instance: she wasn't an especially strong student and I really wouldn't have much positive to say about her. ("when she attended class and did the readings, which was maybe 60% of the time, her comments were good" ) So given that -- how sad is it that she's asking me for a letter? and basically b/c someone else screwed up and didn't send one.

OK, rant over. my excuse: I've got a horrible chest cold and fever makes me especially cranky. Now, back to grading those essays...

it just doesn't look good

Yesterday, on the freeway driving to the university, I saw a man walking along the left shoulder -- really, more like clinging to the concrete barrier at the left side of the elevated freeway, which only has a full shoulder on the right side -- with what looked like a rifle case slung over his shoulder.


fortune cookie log

You'll accomplish more if you start now.

How appropriate for this season of grading. Once I actually sit down and start reading the papers, it's not so bad. But the problem is making myself sit down to them. At least I know that others also go to great lengths to put off grading. I even vacuumed up the dog hair for an hour last night. It's almost worse because I have over a week before I have to have the papers graded (to hand back at the final exam). From the viewpoint of today, sure, doing 5 or 6 papers a day doesn't seem so bad. But will I have the discipline? or will I wind up staying up late the night before the exam growling under my breath at myself and my students? tune in later and see...



When I first stumbled into reading blogs, I was delighted to discover that there were other academics blogging -- this seemed like one way "in" for me as a reader -- looking for my tribe's discourse and then eventually branching out to other communities. (I've seen the research on this somewhere recently, about internet usage and people's tendency to deal with information overload by searching for sameness.) But over the past few weeks, I've become increasingly less sanguine about finding such a virtual community. Maybe I just haven't found the right link list yet. But here are a few first impressions from a newbie. (1) I've been struck by the preponderance of socially conservative academic bloggers (is there something about the act of voicing one's opinions in this medium that might encourage voices from one end of the spectrum rather than the other?) (2) where are all the literature/cultural studies folks? are we too busy writing in other formats to visit this one? (3) the strongest / most visible voices are from those excluded: the whole Invisible Adjunct saga, graduate students, and so forth. I have learned a lot from reading IA and others -- but would be interested in finding others within the system who are reflective about its workings.

zoo bunnies

We (my gf and I) went to the zoo last week, as a spontaneous cloudy day thing to do. It was the end of the afternoon, and so many of the zoo occupants were sleeping out of sight. Plus they seem to be in the process of shifting some of the primates to different quarters, so some of my favorites weren't visible. Some highlights: beautiful weird fish in the aquarium section; the male lion actually awake and moving; a pissed-off looking jaguar; the flock of flamingoes. The zoo always makes me kind of sad -- ours isn't the worst, but it isn't the best, either, in terms of habitat space and so forth. Yet there is something wonderful about being so close to them, so different from tv or books. Smell is a big part of that -- I've heard about some museums trying to add smells into historical exhibits but the audience couldn't take it (imagine, the smells of the Vikings! etc) -- walking near the lions, tigers, jaguars, panthers, ocelots, your monkey brain suddenly says "ack! smells like big dangerous cat!" at some deep biological level, very different from your eyes which say "here are the lions safely separated from us by plexiglass".

But the other thing about our visit that keeps coming back to my thoughts was that we saw lots and lots of rabbits. They were out in the pedestrian areas, inside all sorts of different animal habitats, basically everywhere. They're small enough to squeeze in and out of the animal enclosures -- I'm sure that more than a few wind up as a big cat snack. But since many of the zoo occupants are mostly vegetarian, it's sort of like an all-you-can-eat buffet for the rabbits -- some vegetables here, hay or grass somewhere else. Watching them hanging out with the orangutans and elephants made me wonder about how each pereceives the other, these species that otherwise wouldn't be coexisting. I'm sure when the zoo bunnies meet up with regular city bunnies they have plenty of tales to tell: "Yeah, you think dodging cars and dogs is tough? try outrunning an okapi."