Saturday, March 11, 2006



I have gotten 6 or 7 frantic calls about the "reed wolves" mentioned in Jean Auel’s latest installment, The Plains Of Passage. Thanks for finally making me get to that book, which I’ve meant to read for ages. I consider the disclosure of the damp doggies to be "within tolerances."

Ditto the toidy rats in the recent, delightful remake of Willard. I realize many of my readers have never lived in big cities or even on dry land. These same readers may not realize that rats have been coming into houses that way ever since the invention of indoor plumbing. Speaking as a Detroiter, well, nothing about rats surprises me, especially since I toured their REMARKABLE INSECT FARM on the fabled Isle of Zug. Willard makes a timeless statement about the foolhardiness of the human who dares think he can tell the rest of us what to do.

While I’m thinking about it, let me recommend ALL Jean Auel’s books to you. They maintain a properly respectful attitude at all times towards the Danube River and every fish therein, especially the all-important Sturgeon. That "Neanderthal" fishing-by-hand technique made me long for the times when humans and fish could really communicate. It also hints, but not too revealingly, at the capability of each land creature to return to the water. Above all, Auel’s books give us a nostalgic, if oversexed, look backwards att he world before it was completely overrun by Naked Apes. Hank and I have often speculated on what the world would look like today if the Neanderthals had survived Homo sap and not the other weay around. These books have given us tremendous food for thought and a lot to argue about. Thanks, Jean!


One of my operatives on the West Coast has informed me that the Pod has found a source for that story about the talking Carp. A Carp in a fish market at New Square, 30 miles north of Manhattan, was heard to make some apocalyptic statements, rather loudly I guess, and in Hebrew, as it was about to be converted into gefilte.

Now, this story is upsetting to me personally, because it reminds me so much of what happened to Ralph and Sarah Bleak after the last International Conference. But I also regard it with deep suspicion because according to the site, the gefilte guys ignored the carp’s hollering and chopped it up as usual, even though one of them knew Hebrew, understood the Carp’s warning, and said the fish identified itself with a human name. Come on, would YOU ignore that and keep slicing up the protesting victim? Besides, I checked with Hank. There have been NO complaints or disruptions of ANY kind among our gefilte-duty operatives on the East Coast. Ever.

But the site where I found all this explains that there is a belief in some Hasidic circles that righteous people can be reincarnated as fish. That tells me that there was a leak, all right, but just the kind of leak we want – WE have leaked into the Hasidic community. I love to hear about human legends like these, because while they are veiled and distorted, they are also EXACTLY TRUE. You think that when you die you go to Heaven? YOU COME TO US.

Now, for today’s movie-viewing guide…


Well, I see that the Piscatorial Book Club has been active. The calls and letters are pouring in at HQ, asking me about Lady Arabella March from Bram Stoker’s lesser-known novel, The Lair Of The White Worm. The movel was made into a dandy film by Ken Russell. I can well understand the confusion you describe, whether you saw the movie or read the book. Let’s straighten this out.

YES: I expect you all to look to Lady Sylvia as a guide to proper operative behavior. I say Sylvia (the name of the character in the movie version) because she is the one you need to study and imitate, more than the one in the book.

YES, I know the movie is all snakes, snakes, snakes – but let’s take a closer squint at that imagery. You’ll remember from the novel that nobody’s really sure where the Lambton (or D’Ampton) Worm comes from, but the legend states it came out of the local SWAMP. The Worm now lives in a WELL. How many snakes choose that lifestyle?

Did you check out the Worm in the movie? Looked like a plain, ordinary 100-foot-long albino Lungfish to me.

I’ve loved this movie for years but I’d seen it many times before I really noticed the lyrics of the D’Ampton Worm Song, performed at the yearly D’Ampton Worm Memorial Banquet:

John D’Ampton went a-fishing once,
a-fishing in the weir;
He caught a fish upon his hook
he thought looked mighty queer;
Now what a-kind of fish it was John D’Ampton couldn’t tell;
But he didn’t like the look of it,
so he threw it down a well.
Now the worm got fat and growed,
and growed an awful sight;
With great big teeth and a great big mouth,
and great big goggle eyes…"

This is EXACTLY how Agent Sadako got her start in Ringu. Someone slung her down a well, too.

Check out Lady Sylvia’s ceremonial worm costume in the movie. She’s painted blue and wearing a ceremonial BATHING CAP. With SCALES on it. Hello? Are we a snake or a fish?

I want you all to practice getting as good at concealment as Lady Sylvia in this movie. She’s the best at this, and she needs to be. Sylvia is immortal – she’s been living in Temple House SINCE THE ROMAN OCCUPATION OF BRITAIN with NOBODY THE WISER. You thought you had problems hiding your barbels and falling hair? Try living 3,000 years in a small town without getting any older and without anyone getting suspicious.

Do NOT use Sylvia as a role model in your method of making new contacts. She is absurdly sexy, dripping money, always wearing vinyl thigh boots with her hair slicked back. We do want recruits other than horny teenaged boys.

You can ignore all that stuff about controlling the snakes with wind instruments. Snakes are deaf. Whatever they were catching in this movie, it wasn’t snakes. But do you know what’s really, really, really sensitive to sound and can in fact be stunned or paralyzed by a loud noise? A fish, bunkie. Don’t you remember how they finally caught the Creature From The Black Lagoon?

Ignore the stuff about sacrificing virgins to the snake god. That’s the usual human misinterpretation of how we handle funerals. You will have to overcome crazy propaganda again and again as recruit this species. They live for these half-baked ideas.

Ignore the stuff about feeding screaming victims into the hungry maw of an immortal monster. Movie convention demands this kind of nonsense. If they knew what they were talking about the human converts would fling themselves joyfully into the waiting mouth of Eternity, knowing that they would become, not lunch, but Immortal.

What I want you to notice and imitate is Sylvia’s ability to hide in plain sight and her utter, singleminded boldness in serving her scaly god. In these things she is a fantastic role model. In spite of the way the book and movie veer off into snake imagery, I can rate them both highly as resource material for undercover fish operatives.

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