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A salute to the slow loris

04UCW SlowLoris What is so rare as a slow loris in June? Would a slow loris by any other name smell as sweet? Today, we shall journey down a zoological rabbit hole to visit our old friend, the slow loris.

As we all know, Loris is a small town in South Carolina, which stands between Fayetteville and Myrtle Beach. The slow loris is a lemur-like critter that has nothing to do with South Carolina. The slow loris is a native of South Asia. Befitting its name, the slow loris spends most of his day curled up in a ball sleeping in a tree, waiting for night to fall.

This behavior is reminiscent of a congressman or a member of the North Carolina General Assembly waiting for free food at a buffet sponsored by a corporate lobbyist. Like our legislative representatives, the slow loris waits until night to eat.

It is unclear if the slow lorises were labeled when young and placed in special education classes. No slow loris ever had an Individualized Education Program. The slow loris likely got its name in reference to his lack of physical speed. He is a little guy, weighing from about 7 ounces to 2 pounds.

The slow loris, or SloLo as his friends call him, will eat anything — fruits, leaves, vegetables, small birds and little reptiles. To call SloLo by his scientific name, you would refer to him as a nocturnal strepsirrhine primate. Try saying nocturnal strepsirrhine primate three times fast. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Not easy, is it? That’s why his buddies call him SloLo. It’s easier to say.

SloLo has tiny little hands like America’s own Dear Very Stable Genius Leader. SloLo is armed with fingers that allow him to grasp tree branches to hang around for long periods. He avoids falling on the jungle floor where bad things might happen to him.

The dandy thing about SloLo is, despite being the size of an hors d’oeuvre, larger predators give him great respect and don’t eat him. Why don’t they eat him, you ask? He’s slow, tiny and sleeps during the day, making him an easy target.

Despite the difficult hand dealt to SloLo by Mother Nature, he prevails. SloLo has a super power. His tiny little teeth are toxic. He is the only poisonous primate. Despite his cute appearance and yearning eyes, he can poison you with a bite. He has grooved teeth that let him hold poison in his mouth — the better to chomp you.

He stores his venom in glands in his elbows. He slurps down on his elbows, and his saliva, like the activated charcoal in Kent cigarettes, causes the venom to burst into full nastiness. The better to bite you with, my dear. Mamma SloLo licks her elbows to gather venom. She then licks it all over the baby SloLo, grooming him with poison. The other jungle critters know that if they eat a baby SloLo, they will get a case of gastro esophageal reflux that would send them to the jungle Emergency Room — if there were an ER in the jungle. Since the predators don’t have Blue Cross, the baby SloLos can pass their childhood essentially uneaten.

SloLos do have a few enemies. Snakes and orangutans have a taste for SloLo toxin, but the other bad guys know them and leave them alone. A threatened SloLo goes into the freeze mode, remaining still until the danger passes. Unfortunately, the local human population believes SloLos have supernatural powers that can ward off evil spirits and heal the sick. This leads to SloLos being hunted by humans. As the SloLo freezes when frightened, catching them is akin to shooting fish in a barrel. Not very sporting, but very easy.

It remains to be seen if a fast loris exists. We hope for no fast lorises. Consider zombies. The vast majority of zombies are slow and lumbering like those portrayed in “The Walking Dead.” Most people can outrun zombies. Unfortunately, there is a genus of zombies who can run as shown in the movies “28 Days” and “28 Days Later.” If chased by a running zombie, most people will end up as zombie chow, as zombies never get winded because they don’t breathe. If there are fast lorises, the poisonous tooth would be on the other foot as the fast loris could catch and bite the natives who are killing its cousin, the slow loris.

So, have we learned anything today? Once again, probably nothing. Better luck next time. However, if Shakespeare had ever met a slow loris, literary history would have been changed. Consider the plays he would have written: “All’s Well that Ends with a Slow Loris Bite,” “Slow Loris Labor’s Lost,” “Merry Wives of Slow Loris,” “Much Ado about Slow Lorises,” “Taming of the Slow Loris” and “A Midsummer Night’s Slow Loris.” As Mitch Miller once sang, “Be kind to your poisonous primates in the swamp, for a slow loris may be somebody’s mother.”

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Jeet yet?

03margaret As a Tar Heel born and bred, all things North Carolina and most things Southern are the norm for me, so much so that I forget people in other places do not experience the world exactly the way we do. Poor babies!

That truth was brought home to me yet again when one of the Dickson Precious Jewels took off to New York City for her college years, making friends with people from all over the world, including some Skinny-Minnie New York girls who had never heard of, much less tasted, pimento cheese. This Southern mother immediately set out to right that wrong, and the girls loved it so much, we transported containers of PC to the Big Apple since it is not a staple in NYC grocery coolers.

There is nothing like a Saturday morning fried egg sandwich with bacon, tomato, and pimento cheese on a toasted English muffin.

The South is known for its hospitality, which often includes foods like pimento cheese, gumbo, pecan pie, and barbeque with vinegar sauce, but our most enduring contribution to American culture may well be our colorful and unique way with the English language.

“Talk Southern to Me” by Julia Fowler found its way under my Christmas tree, and I have laughed and marveled while wallowing in its pages. Fowler recounts stories of our special brands of charm, family, love and marriage, parenthood and more.

Southerners are great storytellers and have plenty of them to pass along. The best part to me, though, is Fowler’s glossary of Southernisms — or as she expresses them, “stuff Southern folks say that needs interpreting.” Many of them have escaped my lips all my life, but I had no idea they are conspicuously Southern. I thought everyone used these expressions.

These include “billfold” (Americans elsewhere use the word wallet,) “pocketbook” (purse), “lightning bugs” (fireflies), “drop cord” (extension cord), “ear bob” (earring), “mash” (as in press the doorbell), “playing possum” (faking sleep), “rubbernecking” (staring at some sight), “sorry” (as in useless), “stomping ground” (home turf ), “tizzy” (uproar) and “wrecker” (tow truck.)

Others are so Southern even I recognize them for what they are — wonderfully inventive words and expressions to describe elements of everyday life. Julia Fowler lists pages of them, and here are some of my favorites.

“Directly” as in very soon. My beloved grandmother, Gobbie, was always doing things “directly.”

“Get-out,” a form of measurement. I love you more than all “get-out.”

“Forty eleven.” A large amount, as in I have “forty-eleven” emails waiting.

“Tight.” Thrifty, even cheap, as in he’s too “tight” to eat in restaurants. Can also mean having too much to drink, as in Joe is too “tight” to drive.

“Go whole hog.” Go all out, over the top. We are “going whole hog” for this family reunion.

“Hold the phone.” Calm down, chill out.

“Knee baby.” A toddler, as in I’ve known Buddy since he was a “knee baby.”

“Nekid as a jaybird.” Totally nude. My father used this term when the children were bathing.

“Carry.” Transport. I hope John will “carry” me to the doctor.

“People.” Family. Gobbie used to ask my friends “who are your people” to figure out — another Southernism — whether she knew them.

“Pure tee.” Real, genuine. That fellow is “pure-tee” mean.

“Slap.” Completely, as in worn “slap” out.

“Used to could.” Could do in the past. I “used to could” run a 4-minute mile.

“Weuns,” “Youins,” and “usins.” We all, you all and us all.

“No-count.” Substandard. This old car is “no-count.”

“Libala.” Likely, as in if I don’t write down your phone number, I’m “libala” to forget it.

Finally, my all-time favorite, which I have heard all my life and probably used myself.

“Jeet?” Have you eaten yet? As in “Jeet lunch?”

I wonder if I ever asked those Skinny-Minnie New York girls that question.

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2019: A great time to be grateful

Screen Shot 2019 01 08 at 10.43.22 AM  If you’re reading this, congratulations— you made it! We’re a week into a brand-new year, complete with thoughts of its challenges, of what victories lie ahead and of the memories gone by. Over the past year, many of us celebrated the joy and excitement of new life, some experienced the sadness of loss, and, if we’re at all alike, we’ve done our best to be a friend offering encouragement in the wake of both the best and worst of times.

If nothing else, 2018 gave me opportunity once again to acknowledge the fact we’re all just passing through. We get, we give, we have and we hold, but in the end we arrive at the same humbling conclusion — everything on this earth is temporary. While we build mighty castles to wall us in or monuments to all we consider great, the only true legacy we leave will be found in how we loved.

Over time I’ve learned to loosen my grip on the things I think I control lest they begin to control me in return. And I am reminded there is a time and season for everything and a marvelous creator who steadies and stills us though it all.

I don’t want to beat a depressingly melancholy drum too long, so let’s peer down the road from these first few days of 2019 with the knowledge that we have choices. We can each choose to see a winding road strewn with rocks, slopes and unknown peril around each bend. Or, we can look a little further to the beauty of the horizon with the realization the road itself is a journey worth taking. Each step brings us closer to something new and often leads us away from things familiar.

In either case, we take those steps both challenged and comforted by an immensely wise creator who seems to say, “Be prepared to let go of anything I take from you, but never let go of my hand!”

You may have entered 2019 without making a resolution or a promise, but there is plenty of positive change anyone can work on this year. Start by simply being grateful. Take stock in all you’ve already been given. More than food, a decent car, a home or stuff to fill it, count the blessings of family, friends and life itself.

At WCLN, our daily charge is to help bring relationships to life and deliver music filled with the good news that God loves every person in the world. We believe the two greatest things we could inspire anyone to do is to love God back and to love others more than themselves. That’s what makes Christian 105.7 different, and it will work for you, too.

Enjoy your family and friends today. Give extra hugs and words of love just because you can. Make the world a happier place by doing some extra act of kindness. Smile a little bit longer. Most importantly, be grateful for the life you’ve been given.

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Fly Fayetteville!

02aeroplaneCOLOR I must have missed something along the way when it comes to knowing what is going on with all the grumblings about our airport. I thought our airport commission and the staff at Fayetteville Regional Airport were doing a pretty good job, considering the makeup and nature of our community and the challenges that small, regional airports like Fayetteville face from rising operating costs and competition from the larger, more aggressive metropolitan airports.

For business and pleasure, mostly business, I have flown out of our airport dozens of times over the years. Prices have always been competitive and the service satisfactory. The most favorable factor of all has been convenience.

Rarely have I had to travel to Raleigh for a destination — however, when I have had to, it was costlier after accounting for my time, travel, gas and parking. I never have, nor would I ever, choose to fly out of Raleigh for the personal convenience of avoiding layovers.

Besides, from a business point of view, needless effort is time-consuming and costly to a company, though state, city and county governments may not be that concerned about such wasteful spending.

Case in point: Depending on where you live in Fayetteville or Cumberland County, it is about 77 miles to Raleigh-Durham International Airport in Raleigh. It takes approximately one hour and 15 minutes to arrive at the terminal in normal traffic. And, as everyone is well aware, there is nothing normal about Raleigh traffic.

At best, you can get your car parked in a remote lot, wait on a shuttle to deliver you to the terminal, and, even if you are in the possession of an electronic ticket, you still face going through TSA’s security before taking that hike to your departure gate.

So, now that we know the routine, let’s say your flight leaves Raleigh at 10 a.m. and you want to arrive at the departure gate at least 30 minutes before that. What time would you have to leave Fayetteville? Let’s see:

Drive to airport (no traffic) — 75 minutes

Park car and shuttle to terminal — 25minutes

Ticket counter or kiosk for seat assignment— 20 minutes

Security with TSA, shoes, belt, laptop —20 minutes

Trek down to departure gate — five minutes

Total time — two hours and 42 minutes

If you need to check your baggage, that’s another 10 minutes. Let’s just say twoand- a-half hours for this exercise. So, to be sitting comfortably at the departure gate by 9:30 a.m., you would have to be on the road by 7 a.m. without complications. This means you would probably have to wake up at least by 6:15 a.m.

That’s time, and time is money. Let’s talk money from a business point of view. I assume that if you are in business, your time is valuable. And, now the decision has been made that you are going to spend 2.5 hours getting to your departure gate in Raleigh.

Let’s evaluate the cost: salary, benefits, etc. If you make $35 per hour x 2.5 hours, that’s $87.50. Now, add a mileage charge of 53.5 cents for 77 miles traveled. That equals $41.20. Multiply those numbers by two because you still have to drive home, and don’t forget to add a modest parking fee of $20. Total cost to the business or government: $277.40.

Now, just how much cheaper was that ticket out of RDU? Is $277.40 plus 5 hours of frustration and anxiety worth avoiding a layover for personal convenience? Not to me. Besides, I don’t think it’s fair to criticize the commission or airport staff for an underperforming facility when ignoring the facts and realities of the situation.

The most obvious of these facts is that airlines, like all other for-profit businesses, are not going to come into our market just because we want them to, ask them to or need them to. The only reason they are going to locate their business in Fayetteville is if they can make a profit.

Allegiant Airlines didn’t last six months, and United Airlines, which recently pulled out, really should have known better than to think flying into Washington Dulles International Airport was going to capture the lucrative military market from Fort Bragg. WDI is 27 miles from the Pentagon. That’s an hour’s drive on a good day. The Pentagon is only 2 miles from Reagan International and a five-minute Uber ride. No, I think Fayetteville City Council needs to cut our airport commission, staff and management a little slack and back off the micro-management.

Let our airport succeed or fail of its own volition. After all, we can’t expect an airline company to come in and serve the Fayetteville community if we claim to be an “airline dessert.” Yeah. “Airline dessert.” You remember, just like the food dessert we had out on Murchison Road, where residents didn’t have anywhere to purchase milk, bread, fresh fruit and vegetables, or lottery tickets.

In that situation, Walmart came to the rescue in November 2015 by building a Neighborhood Market, thinking it was winning the economic jackpot by developing an untapped market while doing a good deed for the community by serving humanity. In less than three years, Walmart pulled out after acknowledging the reality that forced Winn-Dixie to exit the area in 1998. Not enough people shopped there.

Everyone was sad and disappointed over the Walmart situation, and as a result, many words were spoken and written about the unfortunate nature of what happened. Yet few could produce any evidence that they supported or patronized the store.

Well, the same goes for the airport. If we readily admit that we have a second-rate facility, and if our leadership thinks flying out of RDU is cheaper, more convenient and more enjoyable with greater amenities, then don’t expect the commission, staff or consultants at FAY to effect the outcome. Let’s continue to support the airport commission and upgrade the facility as much as we can afford to. However, shining turnstiles, faster escalators and convenient coffee shops will not entice airline carriers to serve Fayetteville unless they can make money.

A profit, in addition to aggressive, consistent and continual awareness and marketing, is what the airport needs to tell its story. And, everyone needs to tell it — the Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Fayetteville Cumberland County Economic Development Corporation, city officials, county officials, and most of all, the Greater Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce.

After all, there are 1,300 to 1,500 new families moving in and out of Cumberland County every month. Most don’t even know we have an airport. Who’s telling them to go to Raleigh? Let’s tell them why they should fly out of Fayetteville. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Let’s start telling our story. Fly Fayetteville!

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FTCC works to ensure equal learning opportunities for all

14FTCC Individuals with disabilities have long struggled with and continue to struggle with a lack of appropriate assistance. Many who cope with physical or mental impairments have not always received appropriate assistance because of their limitations. As a consequence, career and educational options can seem dim for these individuals.

In the past, society offered little to no support related to jobs and educational opportunities for individuals with disabilities. This was primarily because of a lack of acceptance for those individuals coupled with problems in providing adequate accommodations for individuals who needed them.

Currently, our society agrees that it’s important to treat all people fairly. Acceptance is growing nationally for those who have disabilities. Many areas of government are inspiring and encouraging people to live rewarding lifestyles regardless of their situations or limitations. Federal and state laws are helping everyone reach for academic accomplishment and achievement.

Contemporary standards and regulations associated with the Americans with Disability Act protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination at federally funded colleges. Fayetteville Technical Community College collaborates with this initiative by providing students with quality, non-discriminatory education. FTCC’s Disability Support Services Office works hard to assure students that FTCC is working on their behalf.

Students who have documented psychological and medical disabilities often obtain services through FTCC’s Disability Support Services Office. FTCC provides these services, known as academic accommodations, to students at any time as needed during each semester. Accommodations depend on the student’s diagnosis.

A few examples of common accommodations students might receive include extended time on assessments, a separate setting for assessments, use of assistive technology, preferential classroom seating, extended time transitioning between classes and more.

Accommodations related to a student’s disability are determined according to the proper diagnostician and Office of the Civil Rights recommendations. Approvals for services are accessible through a straightforward application process for academic assistance.

FTCC ensures that faculty and staff employees throughout the college understand the importance of implementing ADA standards and regulations. FTCC also promotes assured methods of maintaining ADA compliance. FTCC also provides professional development opportunities and training for school personnel to verify policies and procedures are efficient and effective.

FTCC provides equal learning opportunities to all regardless of a student’s physical or mental impairment. An office representative from the Disability Support Services Office will be happy to assist current and future FTCC students with their inquiries about eligibility for receiving accommodations.

Students can sign up now for spring classes, which begin Jan. 14. For additional information, please email grooverc@faytechcc.edu or call 910-678-8479.

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