Wednesday, April 21, 2010

TUNA: A LOVE STORY



WHAT CAN I SAY ABOUT THIS ONE?


Well, it was published by Richard Ellis, one of our best-loved PISCATORIAL ADVOCATES, through Alfred A. Knopf of New York in 2008. I have to say, IT WASN'T WHAT I EXPECTED AT ALL.


CLIFFIE'S NOTES ON THIS PULSE-POUNDING PISCATORIAL POLEMIC:


>> Well, I have to say that in spite of the title, there was NOT A DROP OF ROMANCE IN THIS BOOK. Well, that's maybe not true -- Ellis expresses a sincere, but rather bloodless admiration for the Tuna several times in the course of the book, and he quotes some other authors who really raved about them, like Zane Grey (of all people).


>> But THE FACT REMAINS that most of the book is made up of facts, figures, and a VERY monkeycentric history of what might be called the Tuna Wars. The Tuna themselves are not involved at all. They swim in endless circles in underwater pens while the Naked Apes are in pitched battle to maintain control of, and sashimi rights to, the Bluefin, the Yellowfin, the Bonito, and a variety of other close relatives of these mighty operatives.


>> Ellis makes some wonderful points in here about Naked Ape recklessness and their profound confusion about, well, EVERYTHING. Rearing about the way the featherless bipeds TWIRL THEMSELVES RIGHT INTO THE GROUND is all that keeps me going some days. The section on the mercury poisoning of Tuna -- and, by extension, those they recruit through sandwiches and sashimi -- was wonderfully chilling, and the part about how people stuff their children with Tuna sandwiches because they think it's health food is wonderfully bracing. AND IF YOU ALL DIE OF MINAMATA DISEASE, I SAY GOOD RIDDANCE.

>> Another thing I noticed is the very, very limited natural history available to the Naked Apes about Tuna. OUR SECRETS APPEAR TO BE SAFE FOR THE MOMENT. The only possible breach I saw was the one about the Great White who entered a Tuna pen, swam in endless circles with the others for DAYS, and was evicted without eating a single Tuna. As usual, the shaved monkeys were utterly stumped by these events, but WE DON'T WANT THEM TO SEE US COOPERATING TOO OPENLY, LADIES.

So, overall, I recommend the book -- but romantic, it ain't.

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

CLOSE TO SHORE


Or: OH, BULLSHARKS! PART II!
NOW THIS IS A REALLY FINE READ.

This was written by Michael Capuzzo and published by Broadway Books in 2001. It tells the human-perspective story of the Matawan Creek, New Jersey Shark "attacks" in 1916, an age before the Monkey People had so many things they now take for granted, like television, radio, and swimsuits that weighed less than 50 lbs when wet.

THERE'S NOTHING NOT TO LIKE ABOUT THIS STORY. The author paints a fanciful portrait of an era when the featherless bipeds were just starting to rediscover the recreational delights of swimming in the ocean. Capuzzo appears to REALLY BELIEVE -- as perhaps they did at the time -- that this had NEVER BEEN TRIED BEFORE. He also appears to believe that Sharks were completely off the radar of the average American vacationer in those days.

FOOLS. YOU CAME TO US BECAUSE WE CALLED YOU! YOU CAME YO US BECAUSE YOU WANTED TO COME!

Capuzzo gets so many things wrong that the story, as read by a fish, is deliciously funny. He thinks the Matawan Creek operative was a juvenile, for one thing; he thinks she was a GREAT WHITE, for crying out loud; he thinks she was injured or sick in some way. He turns himself inside out trying to prove that all of this is scientifically provable, indeed scientifically proven. He thinks all kinds of funny stuff that only a completely monkeycentric writer could think.

READ IT AND LAUGH.

I have to say here that you will also read it and sigh longingly for the days before anyone ever heard of Peter Benchley, Stephen Spielberg or Jaws. It truly was a simpler, more innocent time to be a Shark. But it demonstrates the recruiting principle that ALWAYS WORKS for this family of operatives: THE MORE HUMANS YOU EAT, AND THE MORE SCARED THEY ARE OF YOU, THE MORE OF THEM WLL COME TO BE RECRUITED.

I don't get it either. But it never fails!