Friday, June 28, 2002

Contraction Tour, Part Two

OK, so the Twins aren't really going to be contracted any time soon. Still, the second leg of my contraction tour continued with a visit to the Metrodome, which was much livelier than last time I visited. Attendance was around 29,000, rather than 9,000 like a couple of years ago. They seemed to have spruced up the place, too.

One feature they had added was Twins Bingo. The goal is similar to regular bingo, except each square has a particular baseball play (e.g., double, strikeout, 3-6-3 double play). The first so-many fans to get bingo get something like Twins tickets. It seemed to be a good way to get people into the game, moreover it was a good way to get people to learn the scoring system. Seemed like a neat trick to convert casual fans into fans who knew something about the game (like the scoring terminology). I saw two downsides. One, you start rooting for the bingo rather than the team. ("C'mon, HBP!") Two, once the maximum number of prizes was awarded, they stopped telling you what the score was. That frustrated both people who were playing Twins Bingo for fun, as well as those who wanted to keep learning the system. (Also, the already-keen baseball aficianados among us were disappointed not to find out how plays were being scored.)

Oh, and the Twins won, 6-5.


Monday, June 24, 2002

Mammoth Family

In yesterday's entry, I talked about our visit to the La Brea tar pits and showed some pictures. In one of them, a woolly mammoth is shown sinking into the tar. I should take pains to point out that the mammoth is not, in fact, real, but rather a replica.

In a supreme display of pathos, the city of Los Angeles (or whoever runs the park) has chosen to display a mommy mammoth (if I recall correctly) sinking into the tar while her mate and children watch helplessly. Really quite sad.

At the time, I thought that the fake mammoths were fairly cheesy -- after all, this wasn't Universal Studios...this was science. But I think it actually looks pretty good in the picture.


Sunday, June 23, 2002

Tar Pits

During our recent visit to LA, Christina, Janie (Christina's sister) and I went to the La Brea Tar Pits. They're located in a park right in the middle of LA, which seems a little odd. Anyway, there they are, bubbling pits of tar.

Here's a closeup of some bubbles from a picture Christina took:

It's a nice enough 15 to 30 minutes walking around the pits -- you can see where they're still excavating. Unfortunately, you can't see the excavation itself, but maybe we were there during the wrong time of year. We were warned off the museum, but we ignored that advice. I'm glad we did. It's pretty neat. You learn a lot about what North American mammals were like before man came over and wiped out most of the bigger ones (they even had horses). You get to see some the phenomenal number of skeletons they pulled out of the tar. We got to see a chunk of tar they hadn't processed, and it looked absolutely full of bones and petrified wood.

OK, so they're celebrating their 25th anniversary, and there was a note that they were updating their displays. So this is more of a 1977 museum than a 2002 one. But given that, it was a pretty cool visit.