When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

26 January 2007

Of lemurs, lorises and layups

A lovely and apposite travel story about the part of Piedmont North Carolina that I'm presently in, and our obsession with college basketball, in (of all places) the New York Times: A Triangle Equal to the Sum of Its Hoops:
The gentle hills of the Triangle region of North Carolina are spangled with the prim brick McMansions of migrant techies lured by opportunity and temperate weather — almost any day is good for squeezing in 18 holes. Out on the wandering back roads, tall pines still cast thin shadows, turning a sunny-day drive into a sparkling strobe-light show. Just roll down the window to air out your soul. The Triangle, bounded by the cities of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, is an easy place to live and an even easier place to visit. Refill your sweet-tea glass and sit a while.

But at this time of year, an earlier immigrant from the North slices its pleasant homogeneity into three. The pulsating indoor game of college basketball takes over, dividing loyalties and generating friction. In the Triangle, even if you are not a fervent fan, you must share the deep regional certainty that basketball is really, really important.
Important? Ha. I've been living in NYC for ten years now, and I will, this year as always, arrange to take a vacation day on the opening Friday of the ACC Tournament.

In there amongst all the Tobacco Road and roundball references, writer Dave Caldwell even manages to work in an unexpected shoutout to one of my all-time favorite Triangle institutions, the Duke University Lemur Center, which works to study and preserve the earliest (evolutionarily speaking) surviving primates on the planet, the lemurs, lorises and other prosimian cousins of Madagascar.

Aye-aye, captain (picture of Aye-aye, Daubentonia madagascariensis,
courtesy Duke Lemur Center)

These cute little buggers are the ancient ancestors of monkeys, apes, and human beings (for those of you not into evolutionary "theory," relax... Satan put them on Madagascar to confuse us all and test our faith.)

Update: Do check out the Modulator's Friday Ark today - and later tonight, Carrie is going to please Mister Gato's large Internet fanbase with a bit of catblogging.

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