We Saw Lions!

The lion cares less about being the king of the beasts than about finding his dinner.” –Mason Cooley
When we were in South Africa, we visited Pilanesberg National Park.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with lions hunting behavior, the lionesses do the hunting as they are more aggressive by nature.  The males usually stay with the young and wait for the females to return.  Lions usually hunt in groups and rely heavily on the element of surprise as they don’t have great stamina.  They hunt, among other animals, impalas.
We saw four lions (two males, two lioness).   We also saw four male impalas.  Surprisingly, the impalas seemed to taunt the lions.  They stomped their hooves, snorted, shook their heads while facing the lions and moved closer!
Our guide was over the moon and said he had never seen anything like it.   We kept expecting the smack down on their brazen behavior and braced ourselves to see some blood.  Our guide said that the lions must have had eaten recently because they walked away…right in front of us!
The coolest thing was that they walked right toward and past us!  It was amazing to see a lion stroll around.   Check out the scars on his back leg!
I now understand why kings like lions on their heraldry, they are truly powerful, majestic and regal (even if the ones we saw weren’t hungry).
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My What a Big Horn You Have

If you have seen a Ricola commercial, you are familiar with the alphorn (aka the alpenhorn). It is a giant horn made of wood. In the 18th century, it was used by shepherds to communicate across mountains. It is still popular there. Like yodeling and the accordion, it is a symbol of traditional Swiss music. In fact, it is the Swiss national instrument.
If you are interested in playing one, you’d better have a good set of lungs. It requires steady power to produce a sound. Not surprisingly, it is loud. Really, really loud.
Here is a link to a WSJ article on new, young stars of alphorn music. They are creating a stir by getting creative with the alphorn. Traditionalists disapprove.