Sunday, 15 May 2011

Lions and Tigers and Bears

Fitz has commented that this blog is "mostly photos of cakes". He is a very observant man. In order to widen my interests, he took me to the American Natural History Museum (via Shake Shack for a 'shroom burger, fries and a peanut butter shake, which was a lot nicer than it sounds).

As an employee of corporate sponsor Citi, Fitz and a guest are allowed into most NY city museums free, and we were both excused the $16 entrance fee. It's little perks like this that help investment bankers get by. 

The museum was excellent and far less kiddy-friendly, draw-a picture-of-a-dinosaur than British museums have become. It had a fun way of displaying stuffed animals (well, less fun for the animals) in a backlit panorama of their natural environment.
This looks like a family portrait

The fourth floor* was about dinosaurs and other extinct animals. Fitz got very excited and ran around going "RAAAAAR!" (This is not true). I learned from a short film narrated by Meryl Streep that small mammals co-existed with dinosaurs and survived whatever wiped out the lizards. So there is hope for my cats if the Big Bang comes in the next ten years. 
This dinosaur was discovered in 1904 by some cowboys and sold to the great dinosaur hunter Barnum Brown for $250 and a six shooter. What a great job description, "dinosaur hunter". 

There was something of a cake amnesty yesterday (though I sneaked an ice cream to help me through a film with Ikea Knightley) and I have had to make do with what was already in the apartment. I am pleased with the progress I made on the handbag cake, largely unaided. These are the last two slices for breakfast today.
I am hoping that now it's gone, I will finally be allowed to cut into the apple strudel we bought at Wholefoods.
Wholefoods is a place of beauty, a huge supermarket filled with tip top foodstuffs. Just look at their dessert cabinet, it's like the eighth wonder of the world.
I still stand, though, by my rule that plainer is often better. For example, North America has a knack for oatmeal raisin cookies that hasn't quite made it to the UK.

These cookies from Wholefoods are absolutely delicious and ideal for breakfast. Once you've finished your handbag cake.

Today is my last day in New York. I've had a brilliant time and am thrilled that I managed to squeeze in a visit to Toronto. I just wish I could squeeze into my jeans....

*The pronunciation of "fourth floor" was the subject of a linguistic study in the 1960s to test if employees at three New York department stores said "fourth" with or without pronouncing the r. The employees at the expensive department store tended to pronounce the r, while the employees at the cheap department store tended not to, using a British pronunciation. The British pronunciation, previously viewed as "posh", was losing its prestige after the loss of imperial power and the rise in US national pride after World War II.  The evidence gathered by linguistics students repeatedly asking "which floor is lingerie on?" was used to show the shift adopted by the upper classes towards US pronunciation. See Fitz, it's not all about cake, sometime there is stuff about New York social stratification of non-rhotic speech. What the employees meant by 'fourth floor' was, of course 'third floor', the big sillies.

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