Eep. And squawk.

Tomorrow I turn 39.

I’m freaking out.

In other, more random news, the Marabou stork, which hails from sub-Saharan Africa, is quite possibly the ugliest bird on God’s green earth. Here, for your edification, is the photograph I took of it at the zoo today:

Marabou stork, SF Zoo, 30 Dec 2006

Note the knees. My mother (who, along with my niece, had joined Jennifer and me for the day at the zoo) noted that its knees bend just like my own double jointed ones. I’m not quite that bad, but my double jointed knees have apparently freaked out more than one or two people in the world. I’m just glad I have a better haircut than that poor bird.

Well, okay, the turkey vulture gives the Marabou stork a run for its money. Here’s another picture:

Turkey vulture, SF Zoo, 30 Dec 2006

Plus, turkey vultures have the added bonus of being pretty dominant in the Davis area. How many times did I see a beautiful soaring form in the sky, only to get a closer look and go, “Eugh.

I enjoy the zoo. I’m familiar with all of the arguments against zoos in general, though I think they’re self defeating. Zoos, especially over the past few decades, have become one of the few places on Earth where some animals can breed successfully without having their habitat destroyed. The San Francisco Zoo, which is my favorite (only partially because it’s in my favorite city), is particularly good at breed-rehabilitate-release programs. Yes, the animals are up for display for the public; the only answer I have to that is that the zoos have to make their money somehow.

For my birthday, Jennifer arranged to have me adopted (via the SF Zoo’s Animal Adoption program) by a ring-tailed lemur. Everyone has a favorite prosimian, and mine is the ring-tailed lemur. They’re much like cats; curious and exploratory, and not at all above showing their belly to the world if there’s a good sunbeam involved. They’re constantly alert and on the lookout for… well, whatever.

On the other hand, lemurs have a bark that can echo all over the entire park if they put their mind to it, and apparently they can make a stink that would put a skunk to shame when they’re involved in territorial squabbles. And last week at the zoo (yes, that’s two weekends in a row that we’ve gone to the zoo), we broke down and purchased a joint membership at the zoo; I think that this makes us officially zoo geeks now. Or maybe dorks.

So I guess if I’m going to freak out about turning 39, I suppose it’s nice having a quivery, stinky prosimian to share it with.

Quick poll question of the day: What’s your favorite prosimian?

And for further edification, all of our pictures from today’s zoo trip are here.

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