Fun with animals

Two videos that gave me a hardy chuckle as I watched the national news tonight ...

First, check out these dogs enjoying a pool party at a doggy daycare ...

Then, there's this beluga whale making faces at a group of kids ...


Fair fun

So I made my first trek to the Iowa State Fair yesterday. I went with my university relations cohorts, and we called it a professional development day. We worked our university information booth for part of the day and explored the fairgrounds for the rest of it.

Overall, I was impressed and I now understand why the Iowa State Fair has a reputation as one of the best. The Wisconsin State Fairwhich Kates and I also attended for several years – does, too, but I’m giving the edge to Iowa.

The grounds are clean, well-maintained and spacious. But I thought the real charm was in the history of the buildings – including the coliseum-like grandstand – and the variety of food and attractions.

Oh, the food. One of the more popular items at the fair is pork shops on a stick. So my buddy Brandon and I headed to that stand for our lunch, handed over our $7 apiece, and it did not disappoint. In return for our money we each received a hand-sized slice of meat that was juicy and cooked to perfection. It was worth every dollar.

For an afternoon snack, I had a basket of deep-fried Oreo cookies, and Brandon and Kim bought a pair of jumbo rice crispy bars – known as Fair Squares. We tried the peanut butter and strawberry flavored cakes. … Vendors also were selling deep-fried snickers bars, deep-fried Twinkies, multiple flavors of funnel cakes, and – another popular Iowa fair item – buckets of cookies. According to the Iowa State Fair, it features nearly 200 food stands and about 70 items on a stick. There’s even salad on a stick.

On Brandon’s recommendation, each of us also made sure to get a free hard-boiled egg on a stick. A producer hands them out to anyone who visits his stand, and for a bonus there’s a bowl of spices to dip it in.

Beyond the food stands, we took in the incredible and fascinating display of photo submissions among the art hall, which also featured some amazing doll houses …

We walked through the Iowa State Fair museum – which featured some neat displays of fair memorabilia, including fair pins through the years and photos of all the fair queens dating back to the early 60s. Oh, the hair and the dressed through the years.

We wandered through a car exhibit …

A tractor exhibit …

And the craft barn …

Finally, we walked through the birthing barn to admire the baby adorableness of calves, ostrich, pigs and ducklings. We also watched chicks hatching and the cutest goats you’ve ever seen.

It was worth the trip, and I hope to do it again some day.


In the first place ...

My social media feeds are blowing up tonight on three subjects, and nothing else.

A few minutes before 6 tonight I had one of those jaw-dropping, take-your-breath-away moments that come every so often when a piece of shocking news pops up on my TweetDeck ...

I was introduced to Robin Williams as a kid through reruns of "Mork & Mindy." This scene was one of the first I remember. ... It remains one of my favorites and still makes me laugh to this day ...

Here's the entire pilot episode, which also included the hilarious crossover bit with "Happy Days'" Fonzi and "Laverne & Shirley's" Laverne. ... YouTube is loaded with this stuff.

Then came "Good Morning, Vietnam."
"Dead Poet's Society."
"Mrs. Doubtfire."
And of course, "Good Will Hunting."
Among a load of others I'm thinking I should see.

There also was his hilarious turn with Billy Crystal on "Friends." Another classic.

In college, I listened to a cassette tape of "A Night at the Met" for the first time, and I laughed so hard I cried. 

And I whenever I saw he was appearing on the "Late Show with David Letterman," I was sure not to miss it, knowing I was guaranteed a solid 10 minutes of laughter. ... I'm sad none of those nights are left.

Rest in peace, Robin.

Good reads (Updated 08.13.2014) ...
= Robin Williams, Oscar-Winning Actor, Dies at 63 in Suspected Suicide 
= "Mork & Mindy" and the Tireless Dervish That Was Robin Williams
= Conan, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers Pay Tribute to Robin Williams'
= Steve Martin, Ellen DeGeneres, more react to death of Robin Williams
= Watch Robin Williams' 13 Funniest Impressions

* * *

I had one of my longer board meetings tonight and arrived home in time to say good night to the girls. I read stories with Faye and put her to bed while Kates did the same with Phoebe. Then Kates went back to her classroom to work, and I retreated downstairs in time to catch the last two innings of the Royals game.

The Royals were up 3-2 as I watched them send down the A's in the eighth inning and then hold on in the ninth. The Kauffman Stadium crowd was chanting "Let's go Royals" so loudly and so in unison -- I didn't know Kauffman Stadium could be so loud. It was so awesome and it gave me chills. ...

So steady, Greg Holland put a cap on it, getting the final batter to fly out to Jarrod Dyson ... Who caught the ball, paused and then did a black flip as the crowd erupted. ... A fantastic win.

Cue the old-time ball player to come out and post the W. And tonight he brought the Royals South Korean super fan with him, who jumped and celebrated on the deck like a maniac. ...

All along I had been following the Tigers-Pirates game on AtBat. The Tigers lost, which means the Royals are back in first place. ...The Tigers are stumbling, and Justin Verlander's durability is now a question.

Meanwhile, the third story blowing up my Twitter feed is the riots burning up Ferguson after the shooting of Michael Brown. ...