|Letter from Los Angeles
||Sunday | 16 January 2016
La Brea Tar Pits
Los Angeles, California: Lisa and Lenny went
off for the weekend to attend a wedding. Bubba and I were left to attend and
spoil our grandchildren as much as possible in 48 hours... so, we are going to
try to pretend yesterday did not happen. Lucy, though feeling better, was quite
clingy and needed several diaper changes that required several baths.
There was a lot of this going on:
Due to her virus, dairy is not allowed, so Lucy is taking water mixed with
Pedialyte. Due to Lucy
being Lucy, the greatest joy in her life is food. (She is, after all, my
granddaughter.) Poor thing is only allowed the most dull of foods. Mostly white
foods. Pasta. Rice. Tortillas. Bagels. This diet was okay, until she saw Leo
chomping down on strawberries.
Not. A. Pretty. Picture.
Lucy wanted to be held most of the day Saturday, and Lucy is usually much-too-busy to be
on a lap for long. Bubba and Leo spent the afternoon in a movie theater seeing
Dinosaur. Leo liked the film, but his grandpa did not.
Today was A New Day! Little Lucy slept twelve hours overnight and was ready to
hit the ground running on our planned Sunday adventure. She had toast and
finally two precious strawberries.
And by precious, I do not mean that Lucy coveted the fruit. I mean her
grandfather paid $10 for the organic basket at the local gourmet grocer.
Dave vaguely remembers visiting the
Tar Pits as a small child. The bubbling sludge was not yet, at the time
(early 1960's?), a museum. It was just another interesting thing to see in
Los Angeles on vacation.
Fake mastodon family losing daddy to the sticky tar pits - in downtown Los
Brea Tar Pits are downtown Los Angeles. Downtown. In the middle of
everything. Banks. Museums. Restaurants. Hotels. Bubbling pools of asphalt
rose to the surface and surprised all sorts of post-ice-age creatures when
they ventured into the sticky pools. Scientists have recovered countless
skeletons of animals from the gooey depths.
It is free to walk the grounds and see the still-bubbling pots of tar. If
you want to see skeletons of the massive antique mammals discovered in the
tar pits, buy a ticket to the museum.
I am not a professional photographer or scientist. I am only married to a scientist.
I was snapping photos and keeping my eye
s on two kids while
trying to read signs to grasp fascinating exhibits of now-extinct tar-encrusted
Forgive my photos, but trust that we want to return again to read every sign at
each display to learn more from this interesting museum.
Harlan's Ground Sloth
Ground Sloth (glossotherium harlani) roamed all over North
America and Central America (back in the day). This 1500-pound vegetarian
was over six feet tall.
This homo sapiens is 29 inches tall and weighs 18 pounds. Just a
wee-bit under normal, but she makes-up in charm what she lacks in digits.
Mastodon (with Lucy, on the right)
Above is an "antique bison" and is closely related to the same beast we see
The museum has an animated display with a saber tooth tiger attacking a
giant sloth. There is quite a bit of tossing, turning, growling and
snarling. I suppose it was all to show the sloth was going to be
dinner for the tiger?
A friendly volunteer displays what it would look like (in the unlikely
event) your grandson's head would be in the clutch of a saber tooth tiger.
It could happen.
And this is what happens if the parents request (from a wedding party!)
photographic proof that their children are still thriving in the care of
Lucy has been trying so hard to say Bubbe, but keeps
coming up with "Bee-Bye", which is not even close. Tonight she finally
I put Leo to bed last night. After reading a few books and discussing the
important issues of the day, Leo declared the obvious: You know, Bubbe, by
the time Lucy is all growed up, you will have all white hair.
Until my next update, I remain, your greying correspondent.
NOTE TO READERS: Have your visited the tar pits? Did you visit as a child? Tell
us your experience in the comment section below.
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