Tuesday, June 29, 2010



This is Richard Fernicola, M.D.'s highly-detailed exploration of the 1916 Shark attacks along the Jersey Shore. Copyrighted 2001 and published by Lyons Press.

I DON'T KNOW WHETHER TO RECOMMEND THIS OR NOT. It's so -- I don't know -- HUMAN. The author travels from pillar to post and goes back almost a hundred years in time to collect every detail he can possibly scrape up on the Shark attacks of that dim, dead year. Yes, it's essentially the same book as Close To Shore, but less literary and much more data-driven.

In most ways the two books are so much alike I wonder why both of them bothered. I have to say, Fernicola's came out first, so it probably has that elusive quality known among humans as "DIBS." It is also a lot more detailed and MUCH better-researched.

But the total outcome of all that effort is sort of "meh" as far as I'm concerned. The writing is uneven. The author starts to make a point, then apparently forgets about it, then starts to zoom in again, then changes the subject entirely. The copyediting borders on the surreal. Ultimately, he DOES reveal his conclusions, AND ARE THEY EVER WRONG. The nicest part of this book is knowing that even after YEARS of careful investigation by this guy, OUR SECRETS ARE QUITE SAFE.

Feel free to read this one. I can take it or leave it, myself.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Shark In Formaldehyde Sells for 12 Million Simoleons

It's not that Sharks aren't precious works of art. NO ARGUMENT THERE. But to kill one, dose the victim in foul-smelling chemicals, suspend same in a phony fishtank and put the results on the auction block is, um, CRAZY.
But even that's not as crazy as PAYING 12 MILLION SMACKERS FOR THE DECEDENT. Surely we are worth more alive than dead. But what do they do to us when they see us alive? FEED US CHERRY BOMBS, IS WHAT.
I'm not sure what to make of this, ladies. But I cherish a hope that this humiliated corpse will draw in a few new recruits for the Cause. She certainly looks sporty in there, doesn't she? Almost alive!

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

And While We're On The Subject Of Carp...

I just wanted to point out that about 75% of the terrifying Carp photos posted on the Net today, in connection with the news flash in the post below, show cowering humans THE WRONG KIND OF CARP. I have seen several handsome depictions this morning of Cyrinus Carpio. This is the basic, regular Carp that occurs naturally in Asia and Eastern Europe and has been spread from here to there by the humans working for us. Of course, being in ALL fresh waterways around the world makes them a MUCH LARGER THREAT to the human way of life than any Bighead, but LET'S KEEP THAT BETWEEN US, SHALL WE?

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Breaking Piscatorial News -- Barrier Breached!

IT'S HAPPENED, LADIES. An Asian Bighead Carp -- a two-footer -- has just been found beyond the electric barrier set up between the Mississippi River and Great Lakes Basins. Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Ontario are ALL IN A FERMENT. Mike Cox, the Michigan Attorney General, is vindicated and for all I know this will SAVE HIS GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGN COME NOVEMBER.
Of course, WE KNEW ALL ALONG that out operatives have LONG SINCE BREACHED THE BARRIER and have been building a solid working liaison with the native wildlife for SOME TIME. But you know how the Naked Apes are. It's not real to them until it shows up on ONE OF THEIR DAMNED GRAPHS or in ONE OF THEIR DAMNED TEST TUBES.
And I know I'm splitting hairs here, but can everyone please stop calling them Asian Carp? ALL the Carp species are Asian, for crying out loud. It's a perfect example of the nearsighted perspective of our foe, the Naked Ape -- the familiar Cyprinus carpio has been around so long, with the full cooperation and consent of humans, that they never think of them as a dangerous, invasive species BOUND TO FOUL UP THEIR PLANS. And how to they think the other Carp made it from China to Milwaukee -- magic? YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW THAT YOU'RE HELPING US DESTROY YOUR RACE.

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Sunday, June 20, 2010


This Berkley paperback was published in 2003 and copyrighted to Deborah Joy Corey. I know, I know, it doesn't SOUND piscatorial, BUT WAIT UNTIL YOU READ IT.


>> The story is set entirely on Deer Isle, Maine, so the characters are pretty much SURROUNDED BY WATER. Dad owns a fishing boat, mom traveled across the ocean from Canada to be with him, and the protagonist, Elizabeth, has essentially NEVER BEEN OFF THE ISLAND IN HER LIFE. She never learns to drive in the course of this story, so if she ever does leave, she's going by boat. At one point in her life she's running 14 miles a day, but does she cross the Deer Isle Bridge? Oh, no. She circles back and heads back to the center of the island. This place is all she has, and all she wants.

>> One thing I want you to notice is how in the course of this story, this girl LOSES JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING BUT THE ISLAND. First her sister is kicked out of the family and sent to live with an aunt. Then dad sells their fishing boat. Then mom takes a hockey puck in the forehead and is never the same again. Then dad's personality -- never that delightful to begin with -- starts to really, really slide. Elizabeth is more and more isolated.

>> The other thing I want you to notice is that because Elizabeth stays put on Deer Isle, only venturing off on a boat, SHE STAYS OK. You sure can't say that for the rest of the cast and crew, the ones who leave. Even mom gets worse every time she seeks medical treatment over the bridge.

>> Where does Elizabeth find happiness? Right there on the island, is where. She never seems to finish school or get a trade or even know how to raise her own kids, but one things she does cheerfully is head out to the ocean in Michael's fishing boat. When not fishing, she appears to be reading about fish. Or cooking them. Or thinking about them. When she breaks this routine, WE KNOW IMMEDIATELY THAT IT'S TROUBLE.

>> The big, big, big thing I want you to notice is that no matter what disaster befalls her, as long as Elizabeth is right there surrounded by the ocean, EVERYTHING IS PROVIDED FOR.

>> The other thing I noticed is that the author's bio on the cover is strikingly like that of Elizabeth's mother in the book. And they all -- Elizabeth, her mother, and the author -- look exactly alike, if you Google up a photo of the writer and compare it to the text. Now, I know that piscatorial biography can be VERY DANGEROUS as far as security leaks go, but I CAN'T WORRY ABOUT THIS ONE. Look out the window, ladies; times are dark and scary, people are terrified for their solvency and security, and NOBODY is more terrified right now than a fisherman's wife. Why? Well, THE FISH ARE HIDING RIGHT NOW. And then there's the itty-bitty oil spill in the Gulf. And the ravenous Sharks leaping into boats to eat the featherless bipeds within. All I'm saying is, NOBODY IS GONNA BELIEVE THAT THE OCEAN IS GONNA PROVIDE FOR ALL HER NEEDS...At least until she's recruited and starts turning into a fish herself.

Read this one! I liked it.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

A Scrap Of Piscatorial Verse From W.B. Yeats

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering Trout
And whsipering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that spread their tears
Over the young streams.

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery hand in hand
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

-- from "Stolen Child"
Now, THAT's what I call great recruiting literature!

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Sunday, June 13, 2010



OK, ladies, this is the book that forms one tentacle of the Deadliest Catch TV octopus. The TV version is a reality show following the exploits of the crew of an Alaskan Crab boat called Time Bandit, named after a Terry Gilliam movie in which the characters were threatened with the dire fate of being turned, if they weren't careful, into Hermit Crabs. (They made it sound like a bad thing!) But I digress.

This book, written by Andy and Johnathan Hillstrand with Malcolm McPherson, is less like a typical boring reality show and more like an introspective take on the Crabbing life, as these Bering Sea fishermen experience it. It was published in 2009 by Ballantine Books. The Hillstrand brothers take turns describing their lives and experiences as Alaskan Crab fisherman, plying the water in search of King Crab, Snow Crab and Baradai Crab, who live in the cold, cold, COLD waters of the Bering Sea.


>> JUST IGNORE ANDY. This guy, co-owner of Time Bandit and co-author of the book, has indeed been a fisherman all his life, but somehow he still doesn't GET IT. He actually says at one point that he can't decide which he likes better: the fishing life on the wilds of the Bering Sea or the humid flatness of Indiana, where he and his wife own a Horse business. He was raised to a life of Piscatorial Love but really has the soul of a cowboy. >>shudder<<

>> JOHNATHAN IS ANOTHER STORY. This guy -- as his brother Andy freely admits, with a touch of awe -- THIS GUY THINKS LIKE A FISH. He even THINKS LIKE A CRAB. This is what I like to read about! Every chapter written by this guy is full of love and respect for all things beneath the sea -- OK, love, respect, and TERROR. He is enough of a landfish to have been scared for life by seeing Jaws. But he is enough of a seafish to be able to know without being told -- at least without being told by a human -- where the Crabs will be waiting for him when he takes the boat out.

>> The level of superstitious dread in Johnathan's chapters is ENTIRELY PROPER in my eyes. He understands perfectly that he truckles daily with forces MUCH BIGGER than he is, and that for all his precautions and safety drills, DISASTER CAN STRIKE AT ANY MOMENT. He ponders the mysterious deaths of other fishermen he has known, realizing that according to Naked Ape hubris, these people should all still be alive with their boats on top of the water instead of underneath it. No wonder Jaws scared him so much -- this man is painfully aware that WHEN DAGON CALLS, YOU GOTTA GO. Witness that moment when he's stranded on a boat that won't steer, the engine dead, and he hears that Dido song on the radio about "going down with this ship." What does he do? He throws the radio overboard, he says, "as if it were a bomb."

>> He is also aware, not so painfully, that he lives within daily earshot of Dagon's call. Does he hide from that? No. Does he spend half his time in Indiana, playing at being a cowboy like his brother? No. He goes right back out of the ocean the next day, is what he does.

>> Johnathan Hillstrand knows which side of his bread is buttered. Here's a quote from page 9: "I live like a king, I believe, thanks to the blessings of wild Salmon." When he says this he has just gotten through talking lovingly about the pleasures of gill-netting for Sockeyes, whom he loves in an open, admiring way that makes his stance on the fish world unmistakable. He even aligns himslf openly with Sockeyes specifically, saying that they are the biggest, nicest, most beautiful fish of all and even though he can't make catching them pay for some reason, he doesn't even care; he loves them too much to stop.

>> There are a few other clues to where he stands: A) He has devoted his entire life to bringing fish and humans together any way he can. B) When he is not fishing commercially, he is quite likely to be found doing it solo, with a hook and line. C) His brother Andy, a co-owner of the boat and business, is often to be found barrel-riding in the Midwest, but not Johnathan; he is never away from the Alaskan coast for very long. D) He has brought at least one of his children into the business. There may be others warning up in the bullpen.

>> Above all, Johnathan knows very well that he is taking a terrible chance every time he goes out on the ocean, BUT HE DOES IT ANYWAY. He seems, alternately, to be TERRIFIED OUT OF HIS PANTS and basially OK with it. As he says philisophically at one point, "Shit happens when you party naked."

I want you to read this, ladies, to bask in the fellowship of someone you may never meet but who nevertheless THINKS LIKE WE DO.


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Friday, June 11, 2010

Enter The Sea? Now? Is That A Good Idea?

The cards, letters and phone calls are POURING IN, asking me one question over and over: IS THIS REALLY A GOOD TIME TO ENTER THE SEA AND CHANGE FROM HUMAN TO FISH? Our operatives are WORRIED SICK about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the longliners, the gillnetters, the purse-seiners, the human filth pouring into every body of water from every sewage pipe, not to mention the WAD OF PLASTIC THE SIZE OF THE AFRICAN CONTINENT twirling slowly around and around in the Horse Latitudes.

The short answer is, YES, LADIES; THIS IS A GREAT TIME TO BECOME A FISH. We have never needed underwater support MORE, and we DEFINITELY need fewer and fewer bipeds up on dry land.

The longer answer is that IT'S NOT AS BAD DOWN HERE AS YOU MIGHT BE PICTURING. A lot of the short harvests experienced by commercial fishing boats, for instance, are OF OUR OWN DEVISING. There are plenty of WHOLE SPECIES down there no human has ever heard of, and WE ARE ALL WORKING TOGETHER to defeat the menace of the Shaved Monkeys. There is still clean water to breathe and when you arrive, YOU WILL BE AMONG FRIENDS FOREVER.

Of course, they also have no clue how many fish are UP ON DRY LAND, working to end their reign forever. We need you THERE. We need you HERE.

Keep close the GOOD NEWS that WORRY IS A HUMAN INVENTION. Once you transform completely into a fish, you will have NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT, AND NOTHING TO WORRY WITH. Now how bad can that be?

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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Phony Octopus Security Leak Has Scientists All A-Flutter


Not that this fossil is a phony. By no means! Only the idea that it might be an accidental security leak is phony. The above image is indeed that of the fossil imprint of a 95-million-years-dead Octopus. This slides the evolution of that noble family quite a bit farther back in time than Naked Ape scientists originally supposed. That makes them scratch their heads.

It makes them scratch their heads again when they ask (as the blog where I found the photo did), OK, if Octopi were so highly-developed and intelligent 95 million years ago, why aren't they in charge of everything now?
Octopi were already PERFECT 95 millions years ago, and they have not NEEDED to advance beyond perfection.

When will these idiot humans get a grip on the fact that their intelligence is NOT IMPRESSIVE TO ANYONE BUT THEM?

When will it occur to them that NOBODY ELSE, OF ANY SPECIES has their ravening need to be IN CHARGE, TOP OF THE HEAP, MASTER OF THE WHATEVER? They're pathetic.

Maybe in some distant decade, after enough balding monkey heads are scratched, maybe ONE of them will get the message: WE WERE HERE LONG BEFORE YOU. WE ARE STILL HERE. WE WILL EAT YOU LATER. WE WILL STILL BE HERE AFTER THE LAST ONE OF YOU IS GONE.

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