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We were enjoying a casual Labor Day visit to the Detroit Zoo today with Jon's parents and sister when we stumbled upon a correspondent and a cameraman from FOX2 News. The news that they delivered was quite the surprise: Steve Irwin, the famous Crocodile Hunter, had died in a freak accident with a stingray in Australia. The informant's delivery was a bit over the top; as we approached him he turned to his cameraman and asked "should we tell them?" Then he seemed to grapple with the decision over whether or not he should be the one to break our hearts. Ultimately he broke down and, deeply saddened by the weight of the secret he had been carrying, he apologized for being the bearer of bad news and told us that "the beloved Crocodile Hunter" had died. The delivery was so sappy, in fact, that we found ourselves asking "Is this a joke?" No, it was the real thing and they were collecting reactions from zoogoers for the evening news. So we were interviewed, Cortney trying to look sad while still laughing over the news man's tragicomic acting and Jon doing a much better job of expressing concern for the man's family. When our interviews were over we turned to go and, as we did so, overheard the newsman reading his card and practicing to record his opener "what's the man's name again? Steve. Steve Irwin. Irwin. Irwin. Right, let's do this." It was clear testimony to America's create-a-tragedy-if-you-have-to attitude about the news. At the same time, we can't really point fingers. Since The Crocodile Hunter, appealing mainly to the younger generations, didn't air until the second half of 1996 when we were already well into our teens, neither of us watched it and neither of us will miss him, making our own interview reactions a bit forced. That being said, we do feel sorry for his wife and his two children. 

The rest of the visit proved to be a relaxing and enjoyable way to spend the holiday - in the great out of doors with animals and family. Like his Friday visit, Calvin continued to spend more time awake than he did on his very first zoo trip. He even seemed to watch the otters play. And we could not have been more pleased to see the old friends Capybara and Pudu together again after a habitat refurbishment. Until next time, this is Jon and Cortney Ophoff, FOX2 News.

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