The Traffic Cone Preservation Society

It has come to my attention that a certain segment of the population has way too much free time to spend on the Internet. How else do you explain the proliferation of bizarre hobby sights like The Traffic Cone Preservation Society? Only the work of truly idle minds could develop something so comprehensive — yet ludicrous. The digitally altered works of art are one thing — traffic cones at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, gracing the head of a classical sculpture, flitting around a beatific medieval Jesus like a bright orange cherub. I was even amused by the "Traffic Cone Field Guide," which includes a photograph, the scientific classification (Conus traficus, etc.), and the "natural habitat" of every possible variation on the ubiquitous orange cones. Only they're not always orange. It might interest the budding cone enthusiast to know that the Swiss Hatted Cone (Conus suizicus) is marked with bands of red, black and white, and "wears" elaborate hats on its "head for mating purposes." Mind-boggling, isn't it?My willing suspension of ridicule fell through when I realized that I had not yet explored even half the sight. The pseudo- scientific tone of the "Evolution" page is what finally got me worried. This article (accompanied by more pictures) postulates that the traffic cone evolved from a prehistoric species of squid that migrated to land in the late Cretaceous period, lost its tentacles and, after the fall of the dinosaurs, developed the "pack tendencies" and "altruistic behavior" (i.e. gathering around hazardous sights to warn other creatures away) that the species is now noted for. The site seeks to set our minds at ease regarding the proliferation of certain conspiracy theories — namely, that the cones are merely the advance troops for a master alien race of orange overlords.

And the links don't stop there. No less than 15 other sites are devoted to cone-lovers, from the Cone Liberation Organization, which devotes itself to tracking down and obliterating traffic-cone abuse, to the album of a cone wedding (a biracial one at that!). And don't forget to check out the cone adoption pages, where you can read the testimonials (and occasionally limericks) of happy cone-owners, and sign up for your own dwarf cone (Conus tinicus).

It's enough to make you want to avoid construction sights forever.

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