Planet Earth. I almost went out and bought an HD-TV after watching the first three mind-blowing, galvanizing hours. It makes you want to just do something to help!! So I decided to keep watching it on my ten-year old, 36-in. TV and send the money I am saving by keeping it, to one of the conservation organizations. The BBC and Discovery certainly hit a home-run with this series. The second Sunday was just as riveting. How helpless you feel, watching the polar bear, desperately attacking walruses, then, grievously wounded, lying down to die!

Changing the subject from death to birth, I was privileged, along with a number of other reporters, to watch the 4-D ultrasounds performed on the two pregnant elephants at the Pittsburgh Zoo. The breeding program here is one of the best in the world, and is a way to research and, ultimately , preserve the captive population. That, in turn, helps reinforce the need to conserve the animals in their natural habitat, by giving the public something tangible with which to connect. Dr. Thomas Hildebrandt , the German veterinarian who is an expert in wildlife reproduction, was fascinating, and his partnership with Pittsburgh is a big plus. He was a consultant for the National Geographic series, In The Womb, and has actually been coming to Pittsburgh since the mid-90’s. He and his associate worked for hours with Elephant Manager, Willie Theison, who is key to keeping Moja, and Nan, calm, during their exams—some of which were performed while the elephants were lying on their side. Takes a lot of trust and courage all the way around. Mammal Curator Amos Morris was so cooperative in letting us get so close, while Moja was on her side. A rare treat. The Zoo’s vet, Dr. Cindy Stadler, and a lot of other keepers pulled it all off, but we didn’t get to see and 4-D images this time around.

Dr HIldebrandt says that everything else indicated the babies were healthy and growing , but they had dropped down and the intestinal loops were covering them. 20 pounds a loop! Pretty tough to move those out of the way!

We stayed so long trying to get the shots, I was almost late for a Make-A-Wish fundraiser at the Coral Lanes in West Mifflin. The Coral Lanes Youth Group, and other organizers have put the event on for years, and these are two of the Wish Kids, Maria and Ashley .

I didn’t have time to wash my hands as I ran in, and I smelled like the elephant barn, but no one seemed to mind.I think my team did mind that I am a horrible bowler. I had gutter ball after gutter ball. Then I threw a strike. Then another gutter ball. Someone called WDVE when I was substituting for Val Porter, and told Jim and Randy how bad I was. 12 years ago, Jerome Bettis taught me how to bowl in a piece we did for Steelers Primetime–his first year here. I guess the lesson didn’t stick. But I had a great time, and more importantly–the food was great!!!!


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