Goodbye to Bert the Hippo

I, Zeb the Duck, went to the Denver Zoo last August.   Bert, the hippo had a birthday August 21.   Bert, 58 years old, was the oldest living hippo in North America and the longest resident of the Denver Zoo.

Happy Birthday Bert

Happy Birthday Bert

My friend, Bert, died Monday, May 3, 2015 at the zoo.   We will miss him whenever we go to the zoo.   Bert’s son, Mahali, is now the oldest hippo at the Denver Zoo.

Bert, born at New York City’s Central Pak Zoo, arrived in Denver on December 16, 1958.   Bert was the first hippo to ever live at Denver’s zoo.

Bert has his own pool

Bert has his own pool

Bert became one of the most loved and visited residents at the Denver Zoo.  Here are some photos from Bert’s birthday last August.

Bert is watching me!

Bert is watching me!

Bert is eating while watching me watch him

Bert is eating while watching me watch him

Bert, I will miss you.   You were the best hippo I ever met!

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Happy Cinco de Mayo 2015

Today is May 5, or cinco de mayo.   This is a holiday in Mexico and is also celebrated in many places in the United States.   May 5, 1862 the French army was defeated at the Battle of Puebla in Mexico.   The smaller Mexican army was able to defeat the French.   This was a great victory for Mexico.   However, the French did eventually win and ruled Mexico for several years.   This festival is also a celebration of the culture of Mexico.   If you go to a festival for cinco de mayo we believe you have  great time.   Enjoy this holiday.

Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao with Soapy Smith Duck

These two phenomenal fighters accidently met at a Miami Heat basketball game.   Both were sitting courtside in Miami.   They met after the game and committed to having this fight.

Pacquiao favored by many.  Mayweather favored by Las Vegas

Pacquiao favored by many.   Mayweather favored by Las Vegas

The fight was delayed because so many people ordered pay per view television coverage; the networks were overloaded.   But the fight did begin!   Manny Pacquiao entered the ring first

Here is Manny

Here is Manny

and then stopped to take a selfie.   Floyd Mayweather then entered the ring.   Manny Pacquiao was born December 17, 1978 in the Philippines and still lives there.   In May 2010, at age 32, he was elected to the Philippine House of Representatives.   He has been involved in basketball, acting and is a retired singer.   Pacquiao is the current WBO welterweight champion.     Floyd Mayweather, Jr was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan into a family of boxers.   He is currently undefeated.   He is also the current WBC, WBA and Ring welterweight champion.   This fight has been called the fight of the century.   Soapy is watching the fight at home with his mom and dad.   They ordered pay per view and they will have a good time watching the fight and yelling at the television.  The television announcer are discussing the fight.

He enjoys his job

He enjoys his job

Let’s turn our attention back to the boxing ring.

The lights accentuate the boxing ring

The lights accentuate the boxing ring

It is time for the fight to begin!

Ready to begin!

Ready to begin!

This is exciting for Soapy.   He sometimes watches fights with his humans, but this is THE FIGHT.

Round One.   The spectators and officials decided this round is Mayweather's.

Round One. The spectators and officials decided this round is Mayweather’s.

After twelve full rounds, the judges have made their decision.

Floyd Mayweather is the winner and champion!

Floyd Mayweather is the winner and champion!

Floyd Mayweather is the winner in this unanimous decision.   Congratulations Floyd!

One of the first people in the ring after the fight was Fred Sternburg.   Fred is Manny’s promoter and Fred lives in Englewood, Colorado.   Englewood is a southwestern suburb of Denver.   Fred has been to the Philippines numerous times and has gone on world tours with Manny Pacquiao.   Fred was responsible for Manny being on Jimmy Kimmel Live last week.   That was Manny’s 9th appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live since 2009.   Fred wants to broaden Manny’s appeal to an audience that doesn’t necessarily watch boxing.

Floyd Mayweather won the boxing match with the unanimous decision from the judges.   Mayweather had planned to retire soon and Saturday after the win, he said his last fight is in September.  Soapy and the humans hope he can retire undefeated.   Soapy Smith Duck likes to watch a good boxing match.   These two fighters were talented boxers, not street fighters.   Soapy congratulates Floyd on a great fight!

The Kentucky Derby 2015 with Zeb the Duck

I, Zeb the Duck, watched the Kentucky Derby on television.   The first Saturday of May, the 1 ¼ mile (2.0 kilometer) Kentucky Derby happens in Louisville, Kentucky at Churchill Downs.   In Kentucky, they have two weeks of celebrating before the race.   Humans get dressed up, many wear hats and many drink mint juleps.   This is the 141st Kentucky Derby.   The first was in 1875 and the race has been held every year.  Look at this view outside Churchill Downs before the race.

Look at all the people

Look at all the people

There are so many people.   Look at all these people.

Such a crowd

Such a crowd

Many of them have hats.   I know people wear big hats, but look at these reporters.

Kentucky Derby hats

Kentucky Derby hats

He is wearing a hat with roses similar to the roses given to the winning horse.   Before the race, some of the jockeys were interviewed.   This is Victor Espinoza.

Victor Espinoza, a jockey, is from Mexico.

Victor Espinoza, a jockey, is from Mexico.

He won last year while riding a horse named California Chrome.   He also won in 2002 riding a horse named War Emblem.   This year he is riding American Pharoah, the favorite.   Before you notice and get distracted, this horse was named in an online contest.   The name, Pharoah, was spelled wrong, but that is the official name of the horse.  Now the official photo is being taken.

18 jockeys, all want to win

18 jockeys, all want to win

This is the photo of the 18 jockeys for the 2015 Kentucky Derby.   Before the race, the band plays and the crowd sings My Old Kentucky Home.   The jockeys mount the horses and ride to the starting point.   Here is Victor Espinoza again, riding American Pharoah.

Victor Espinoza riding American Pharoah

Victor Espinoza riding American Pharoah

See how his leg is bent and high on the horse.   That is not what I see in movies when people ride horses.   But this is an important horse race.  The horses are out of the starting gate

The race started!

The race started!

and the race is on.   They are racing

Who is leading and who will win?

Who is leading and who will win?

and you can see that American Pharoah is not leading.   They are still running and American Pharoah is in 4th place.

So many spectators.   American Pharaoh is in 4th place

So many spectators. American Pharaoh is in 4th place

Look at all the people watching the Kentucky Derby.   The race is getting toward the end and American Pharoah is now in the lead.

American Pharaoh and Victor Espinoza are in the lead

American Pharaoh and Victor Espinoza are in the lead

Can he keep the lead?

The winner!

The winner!

Yes, American Pharoah and Victor Espinoza just won the 2015 Kentucky Derby!   An official time of 2:03.02.   This is two years in a row for Victor.   In two weeks the horses will go to Baltimore, Maryland and run in the Preakness Stakes.   The third race for the Triple Crown is the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, New York.   The last horse to win the Triple Crown was Affirmed in 1978. Will American Pharoah be able to do it??   Here is the proud owner of American Pharoah holding the Kentucky Derby trophy.

The trophy

The trophy and trainer, Bob Baffert front left

I, Zeb the Duck, think horse racing is exciting. Some humans even call the Kentucky Derby the fastest 2 minutes in sports.   Or today, 2 minute and 3.02 seconds.   Do you think American Pharoah will win the Triple Crown?

Fairbanks in the Winter with Eider Duck

I, Zeb the Duck, asked my Alaska cousin, Eider Duck, to show us a little about winter at his home near Fairbanks, Alaska.   Eider brought us some photographs.   Eider said this was a rather mild winter at his house.

These photos were taken in early January 2015.   At that time, the temperature was about 20 degrees below zero.   Eider, some people do not consider that a mild winter.

Dark and cold

Dark and cold

Winter at Eider's house

Winter at Eider’s house

These photos were taken more recently in March.   The wind blew and the snow really fell.

Blowing snow near Fairbanks

Blowing snow near Fairbanks

Eider could not see the house across the street very well.

Neighbor's house

Neighbor’s house

This snow had fallen during a warmer time.

Snow on trees

Snow on trees

The temperatures were close to 15-20 degrees above zero.   We love the snow clinging to the trees.

Fresh snow

Fresh snow

Eider said there was between 2 and 3 feet of snow on the ground.

Near Fairbanks in March 2015

Near Fairbanks in March 2015

Previous snowfall did not melt the way it does in Denver.   Eider said some evaporates and some just compacts as it waits for the spring thaw.

Waiting for spring

Waiting for spring

Eider said that this winter he did experience temperatures of 40 below zero, but not for extended periods of time.

Perfect day to be inside looking out.

Perfect day to be inside looking out.

Well, Eider, we in Denver, would not consider this a mild winter.   Stay warm and stay inside, Eider.  But we certainly appreciate your photographs.   Thanks for sharing with us!

Cousin Duck Goes to Topeka, Kansas

None of the Colorado Traveling Ducks have visited Kansas.     Mom’s friend, Tom and his son, Mike, took Cousin Duck to Topeka to the 140th reunion of Topeka Lutheran School.   Tom was a teacher there from 1971-1974.     They checked into a motel in Topeka, near the school, and Cousin Duck found something new.

What is on the pillow?

What is on the pillow?

What is this, he asked?     This is a mask for a CPAP machine.

Now I can sleep better

Now I can sleep better

Cousin Duck says he breathes better with this mask.   Driving around Topeka they found the house where Tom, Mike and the rest of the family lived in Topeka.

The humans lived here over 40 years ago.

The humans lived here over 40 years ago.

Big yard here.   They are now in the school, the home of the Topeka Lutheran Wildcats.

Am I a Wildcat?

Am I a Wildcat?

Cousin Duck now thinks he is a Wildcat.

A trophy

A trophy

Some of the former students are holding a trophy, won when they were teenagers.   Wildcat Duck likes Brad and Pam, his new friends.

Brad and Pam are Wildcat Duck's new friends

Brad and Pam are Wildcat Duck’s new friends

They were Tom’s former students.     Now what is this?

Paddles?

Paddles?

In the early 1970s students could be paddled if they misbehaved in school.   Mmmmm.   Sometimes a little persuasion teaches students valuable lessons.   The students that were paddled realized that maybe they deserved it and none were angry about things now.   For more information about this school, visit http://www.TopekaLutheran.org   Sunday, Tom and Mike, with the newly named Wildcat Duck visited Washburn University.

Wildcat Duck at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas

Wildcat Duck at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas

Across from the University is a great store.   They went into Time Machine Records and More.   Another former student, Brent, was there.   Look at this album from Freak Brothers.

Ducks love vinyl!

Ducks love vinyl!

Wildcat Duck really like the figures behind him.   This is the immensely popular band, KISS.

Wildcat Duck is with KISS

Wildcat Duck is with KISS

That is so perfect.   Everybody loves KISS.    For more information about this store visit http://www.timemachinerecordstopeka.com   We think Wildcat Duck had a great trip.   But it was time for them to leave Kansas and come back to Colorado.

Goodbye Kansas

Goodbye Kansas

Thanks for the trip Tom and Mike.   I, Wildcat Duck, had a great time.