list gone wild


What with all the travelling I’ve been doing, it’s been a while since I managed to put together a ThThTh list. But this week, inspired by our recent visit to the zoo, I’ve managed to round up some zoo-themed items. You are welcome to feed the list, but please keep your fingers outside the cages.

A Zoo List

  1. the zoo in metaphors: The term zoo is used idiomatically to evoke chaos, wildness and other general craziness in places or situations. Cf: “This place looks like a zoo!” or “It was like feeding time at the zoo.” (Of course, I have to say that the zoos I’ve been to are not so much like the crazy situations that are likened to them: they tend to be well-organized and orderly. At least the animals. The people buying snacks and such can get out of hand.)
  2. animal crackers: Cookies shaped like animals. Though often packaged/marketed in ways evocative of circuses, the animals featured are much more zoo-like than circus-like overall. (See, for example, a picture of animal cookies from the Barnum’s Animal Crackers. Have you seen a giraffe or a rhinoceros at the circus? I rest my case.)
  3. zoo keeper: a computer/arcade game where you need to line up animals in rows. You can play a flash version online.
  4. A Zed & Two Noughts (1985) A movie directed by Peter Greenaway. I’m not quite sure what to say about it. A zoo (or the animals from the zoo)(or some rotting carcasses of animals from the zoo) is involved. And also referenced in the title.
  5. 12 Monkeys (1995) One of my favorite movies, directed by Terry Gilliam. Zoo animals appear at various times during the film, and a zoo is featured in a significant scene at the end.
  6. Madagascar (2005) A Dreamworks animated feature about animals escaping from a zoo.
  7. Creature Comforts (1989) Nick Park’s brilliant claymation short with interviews of zoo animals. The soundtrack was taken from interviews with real people, describing their own living situations, and attributed to animated zoo animals. (I also discovered that there was later a related TV series that was supposed to be pretty good.
  8. Zoos are a pretty popular setting for children’s stories, such as If I Ran the Zoo, Dr. Seuss, Good Night, Gorilla, by Peggy Rathman and Animal Strike at the Zoo. It’s True!, by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Margaret Spengler, and a gazillion others.
  9. “At the Zoo” poem by A. A. Milne. Here’s a bit:

    There are lions and roaring tigers,
    and enormous camels and things,
    There are biffalo-buffalo-bisons,
    and a great big bear with wings.
    There’s a sort of a tiny potamus,
    and a tiny nosserus too –
    But I gave buns to the elephant
    when I went down to the Zoo!

  10. “At the Zoo,” a song by Simon and Garfunkel

    Zebras are reactionaries,
    Antelopes are missionaries,
    Pigeons plot in secrecy,
    And hamsters turn on frequently.
    What a gas! you gotta come and see
    At the zoo.

  11. “Christmas at the Zoo,” by the Flaming Lips. A song about letting animals out at the zoo on Christmas Eve. The animals show no interest in escaping.¹

  12. ¹I was rather disturbingly reminded of this song this past Christmas when hearing the news of a tiger escaped from a San Francisco zoo on Christmas day, killing one zoo visitor and injuring 2 others.

    Images from wpclipart.

10 responses to “list gone wild

  1. great list! i think when you have a little one, it’s easy to have zoo on the brain. btw- when we were at the cdg airport in paris earlier this month i had déja vu from the parting scene of twelve monkeys. i had never been in that part of the airport before.

  2. claymation scares me – seriously. ever since i was a little kid and saw the claymation christmas movie with the freaky wizard. i’m scarred for life.

  3. Joshua Giraffe: the Raffi song. That’s the only one I can come up with that you didn’t cover. I thought I’d be able to offer A zed and Two Noughts but, dang, you’re good.

  4. and then there was U2’s Zoo TV tour.

  5. I love the way your brain works…I have pondered the mystery of the B&B Animal Crackers box for decades, now.

  6. “we’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo
    How about you, you, you?”

    A director i worked with in Philly dances with Brad Pitt during 12 monkeys. which was filmed in Philly

  7. Also, “Pride of Baghdad,” a graphic novel about a pride of lions who escape from a zoo during a bombing. It’s insanely good.

  8. maja-
    Was La Jetée filmed at CDG?

    laloca-
    Yeah, those holiday specials could be creepy. But “Creature Comforts” is funny!

    Mad-
    You know, I don’t even know any Raffi songs. Does that make me deprived, or lucky?

    jen-
    Yeah, I guess there was. Did they take animals along with them?

    sage-
    I like your brain, too!

    painted-
    Huh, I don’t think I know those lyrics. Google suggests to me that they are from a song called “going to the zoo.” Which does sound like it should be on my list.
    Next time I watch 12 Monkeys, I’ll be on the lookout for folks dancing with Mr. Pitt.

    Ashley-
    Ooo, that sounds cool. I’m not familiar with it.

  9. I love ‘Creature Comforts’!

    Years ago I got a part time job typing the libretto of a musical for some insane actor guy who seemed to live in the old Carnegie Deli. I’d meet him there, pick up his legal-sized note pads scrawled with scenes and turn over whatever I’d typed the day before. The musical was about some people living on the Upper East Side of Manhattan who were starting a community garden but couldn’t afford fertilizer (yeah, well, it was a job, right?) … and then they realize they can make a deal with the folks at the Central Park Zoo and use the zoo manure for their garden. No lie. There’s a whole song called, “Zoo Doo” to commemorate this brilliant brain storm!

  10. girlgriot-
    I guess that musical never made it to Broadway…Too bad. I kinda like the idea of a song called “Zoo Doo.”

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