Well, word on the street, at least amongst my contacts, was that Wednesday’s eclipse was beautiful to behold, at least if you were living in Minnesota. It seems that there was one huge, single cloud covering the rest of the United States. So Maddie Potter and I harrumphed a bit about that, then placated ourselves by making spaghetti and splitting a bottle of red wine. All in all, not a bad evening.
In an attempt steer clear of the trap of coming home from work and either a) getting right back on the computer or b) reading myself to sleep before 6 pm and not waking up until 10 pm, wherein it’s too late for dinner and takes me another 4 hours to go back to sleep, I’m attempting to institute the habit of attending one event out in the world after work every week. Culture Candy is quite handy in helping me track something down, so yesterday I found myself at the Baton Rouge branch of the Louisiana State Museum attending a lecture by William R. Fontenot on ‘The Secret Life of Coastal Birds.’ Being an intersection of tropical and sub-tropical climates makes Louisiana quite the hot spot for migratory birds, and Fontenot has devoted his life to observing them in their habitat. It was quite an interesting lecture, and I learned that certain song birds, most notably the indigo bunting, navigate its migratory course at night using the stars. Apparently this was a strong point of contention amongst ornithologists until a lab in Europe devised a wind tunnel that could project a planetarium like star map on the ceiling and was able to prove the point irrefutably. Another interesting fact, amongst many others, was that poison ivy berries are an extremely popular meal with a number of birds, it being a particular favorite of all species of wood peckers. Along with a slide presentation of photographs by Brian Miller (he and Fontenot collaborated on a book* on coastal birds, available from LSU Press), it was quite an entertaining foray into the lives of our fine feathered friends. The lecture was the last in a series that is accompanying an exhibit of original prints from John James Audubon’s Birds of America series, which is worth a trip alone to see (the exhibition runs until March 2nd).
In about 2 hours I’m off to NOLA to attend my first ‘real’ NBA game. I say real because I did go to a Hornet’s game when they played at LSU after Hurricane Katrina, but I’ve never been to an NBA game in an NBA arena. Basketball is one of those games that’s taken me a long time to come around to watching, and I’m still a long way from being a fan of it. I do find it a lot more fun to watch live than on TV, especially since I’ve learned that the key to really watching and understanding basketball is not to so much watch the person with the ball, but watch the players around the ball. This is not very easy to do when watching on television, which has limited my ability to really appreciate the game. It’s in no danger of taking top spots from baseball and football, but the Hornets are doing well this year and they need bodies in the stands, so an evening at a game with some of the Underpass Gang is as fine a way I can think of to make a contribution. The Rockets, division rivals of the Hornets in the hotly contested West, come in with a 10 game winning streak, so I’m hoping for a playoff caliber game.
* Huzzah! to BobbyP for the redesign of the LSU Press website.