Spot Your Valentine at the Zoo The spots are on cheetahs, giraffes, a jaguar and a snow leopard, and you can adopt these animals as a valentine, or maybe meet a valentine at the Houston Press romance event. All of the 2,500 animals at the zoo are adoptable, so if, for instance, you'd like to write a check to help the slow loris, that would be okay. However, adopting animals included in the zoo's Adopt-an-Animal Packages ($30 or more) entitles adopters to a Zoovenir kit and photo of the animal. Spotted animals are being pushed at this party, as are animal couples -- Hernando and Angeline, the Mexican wolves, and Romeo and Juliet, the Egyptian fruit bats. The wolf couple is $50 (stuffed toy wolf included in Zoovenir kit), and the bats are half that. Parents can spend money and look for dates, while kids can enjoy cheetah safaris, mask making, music and refreshments. 3:30-5 p.m. The main party will be at the Brown Education Center, the Houston Press romance event will be held near the cage of the cheetah bachelor brothers. Hermann Park, 1513 North MacGregor, 529-2632. $2.50; $2, seniors; 50 cents, children three-12; free, children under three. For this party, one child free with each paying adult.
Tracks in the Wilderness of Dreaming The Greeks believed that Sleep was a brother to Death, that both lived in the underworld, and that dreams rose up through two portals. True dreams came through the humble gate of horn, while false dreams wafted through an ivory gate. Centuries later, despite much work by Freud, Jung and Shirley MacLaine, we know no more about dreams. Robert Bosnak, author of A Little Course in Dreams, makes another effort to roll back the tide of ignorance in his text, Tracks in the Wilderness of Dreaming. I am not sure on what Bosnak is basing his exploration of the "interior landscape through practical dreamwork," but he's read Jung and studied dreamwork with a spirit-doctor in the Australian outback. He has a five-step checklist for working on individual dreams, and a lighthearted attitude toward the business of writing. The end of chapter three, "While Dreaming and Upon Waking," is a comment on the tools of his trade: "My laptop quacks wistfully, starving for juice." Jung or no, Bosnak is a big believer in the poetic eye. Bosnak's presentation, 3-5 p.m.; book signing and reception, 5-5:30 p.m. C.J. Jung Educational Center, 5200 Montrose, 524-8253. $5.
Lincoln's birthday Today is Lincoln's birthday, and Charles Darwin's, too. Both men grew beards, did significant, even remarkable things, and both were revered and despised for their contributions. Doing remarkable things doesn't always work out well -- people are as likely to hate you as love you for grand and noble work. Today's birthday boys tried not to spend too much time mucking about with their detractors; they kept at their work. Usually it's the people who have a desperate, vested interest in the status quo who despise conscientious and original thinkers. Keep that in mind while you're out celebrating Lincoln's birthday, and Darwin's, too.
Boston Pops The original pops orchestra, the Boston Pops, comes to Houston for a benefit concert. The hard-working students of the University of Houston Moores School of Music will benefit, and so will concert audiences. Keith Lockhart will lead the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra in "A Tribute to Frank Sinatra," a medley of swing tunes and selected compositions from Americans such as Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin. A gala, with dance music from the Ned Battista Orchestra, follows the concert. 7:30 p.m. Concert, Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana; gala, Hyatt Regency downtown. For reservations or information, call 529-7800 or 497-7668. Concert, $25-$100; gala, $175.
Valentine's Day Yep, it's rolled around again to make millions for Hallmark and ruin the lives of thousands. Any way you slice it, Valentine's is a horrible day. If you're a living American past puberty, Valentine's Day is horrible because a) you're unhappy because you don't have a sweetie; b) you're unhappy not because you don't have a sweetie but because well-meaning family and friends think you're unhappy about not having a sweetie; c) you have a sweetie, but it's too soon to be celebrating Valentine's together; d) you have a sweetie, but it's too late, as far as you're concerned, to be celebrating Valentine's together; or e) you have more than one sweetie and will have to celebrate Valentine's by coming up with an excuse to be out of town. And what if you're married? For couples, this day is a minefield. If you celebrate lavishly, then your significant other might assume you're compensating for some guilty secret. On the other hand, if you celebrate with not enough hearts and flowers, then your SO might decide the thrill is gone. There's no way to win. We suggest sending cards and flowers to elderly relatives, teddy bears to kids in children's wards or maybe a check to an animal shelter.