Tag Archives: rants

This little fishy went to market

Alright, dear readers, okay. the author has a soapbox to stand on and a bone to pick today: it has to do with fishing ethics and sustainability, and is remarkably un-funny (as opposed to the rest of BV’s posts which are , of course, hi-LAR-ious. ahem) . What does this have to do with the picture above you might ask? well, this photograph was published by the Guardian UK online on Saturday; it depicts a  Somali fisherman hauling his catch to market in Mogadishu.

Quite aside from the sheer visual impact of this photo, with the ruins in the background and  the somewhat blank expression on fisherman’s face, the photo is a visual reminder of the difference between fishing for sustenance–for survival– and for vanity, masking itself as tradition.

Let me backtrack a bit… ah… okay, yes.  Here we go: shark fishing is an important aspect of both commercial and artisanal fishing in Somalia, and studies have not yet shown how dramatically this practice may effect the population of hammerhead, grey, and mako sharks in the area.  Some would like to see even traditional shark fishing banned, in the interest of preservation. Truth be told, the author of BV has not done enough research to say whether she falls into this camp or not.

But she will say this; in comparison to the horrific commercial massacre of sharks that occurred in Somalia in 2008, in which thousands of sharks washed up on shore after having had their fins brutally lopped off by commercial fishermen,  the artisanal practice of going to sea in small outboard-motorized vessels, and hand-carrying one’s catch to market, at least seems to even the playing field a bit.  Would you want to trade places with this man? No. I she a damned sight more respectable than the consumers who like to consume shark fins because.. oh, why was that again? oh, yes, because it helps float their peckers and demonstrates their wealth?

The answer, dear readers, is YES.

Further reading: A grassroots organization in Hong-Kong Boycotts the traditional banquet dish of shark fin soup. HUZZAH for grassroots advocacy.

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Filed under animal imagery, human behavior, marine life, politics, Uncategorized

Fried Egg Jellyfish… pass the Tabasco.

Well, this is another post inspired by the Discovery Channel series Life. Unfortunately, Dear Readers, while the Fried Egg jellyfish (Phacellophora camtschatica) is strange and beautiful, it is also singularly boring. Terrible at cocktail parties.  Seriously. Even with the author of BV’s overactive imagination, she could find nothing more fascinating to write about about this behemouth  than the shape that its name implies. Which leaves her with nothing to say but pass the tabasco, and mind the tentacles.

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Sometimes you just have one of those days…

…And if you, dear readers, are having one of those days today, I have found a video able to execute, if you will, a kind of Primal scream therapy— you remember primal scream therapy, don’t you? You know, 1970’s  pop psych phenom? Indeed, you remember the one.

So if you have repressed childhood trauma or just can. not. stand. one more inconsiderate yuppie jostling you in the salad line before you start SCREAMING YOUR HEAD OFF,  This one, dear readers*, is for you.

(the author of BV fears that her humor is irrevocably warped: this video made her laugh aloud **in public** when it was shared by K. this morning)

If, on the other hand, you prefer to stay on the other pop-cultural extreme and take more ZEN approach to relaxation, take a note from  Zen Cat:

(I know, “zen cat” is actually slightly *more* terrifying than “cat from hell”,  isn’t it? still.)

Happy humpday, BVers.

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Dissertation Owls Asleep on the Job

Folkes, while the dissertation elves, tiny little owls that creep into grad students’ bedrooms to madly type pages whilst the tortured souls sleep, are on furlough,  I have been working furiously on my thesis. The result? A certain lack of Beastliness. And vocabularity.

This will be remedied shortly, just as soon as the Muse goes on strike again, as she (the fickle bitch) is wont to do.

– sj

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Petaluma Bird Sanctuary Threatened

There is a new asphalt plant planned for a site along the Petaluma River.

GOOD NEWS, right!? Industry, new jobs in a  ravaged marketplace… But, in this case, the costs may be too high.  Because in this case, the proposed development is slated for a site right across from Schollenberger Park, which just happens, dear readers, to be one of the premier bird sanctuaries in North America.  And, you know, sits within spitting distance of a dozen or so parks and schools.   

So when a group of mothers heard that the council was all set to vote on the building permits and zoning changes, and learned about the toxic brew of noxious chemicals for which Asphalt companies are famous, they got a good whiff of something rotten in Denmark and promptly formed themselves into an advocacy group that they dubbed “Moms for Clean Air.”

In a typical gynocolocially inaccurate rhetorical ploy deigned to minimize the credibility of  unruly females, certain critics have called  the Moms “hysterical.” … You tell me, dear readers: Someone has threatened your kids– and your BIRDS, for goodness sake– and you don’t have good cause to be just a wee bit hysterical? Just a wee bit? Or might the emotion these critics are searching for be something closer to “righteous indignation?”

Hysterical, indeed.

In any case, the city and county apparently turned deaf ears on ths Moms’ complaints, so the mothers did what every parent who has been through PTA basic training knows to do. They went over the county’s head. 
At long last, these mobilized mothers  found an advocate in California Assemblyman Jared Huffman, a Democrat from Southern Sonoma who, according to a Chanel 5 report,  “organized the first comprehensive hearing on the issue, bringing together regulators from the EPA, Fish and Game, The Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and other agencies, most of which are just beginning to look at the project.”

The company that wants to the build the plant, The Dutra Group, says that “This is the right plan, and this is the right location.” Shockingly, the spokeswoman who delivered this little pearl of persuasive wisdom is named Dutra. What a coincidence.  

Isn’t it also the funniest coincidence that Dutra’s other asphalt plant has already been cited–multiple times– for environmental violations?

Need more?

In 2001, Marin County Grand Jury accused the company of illegally expanding operations.

In 2006, Dutra was fined $735,000 for dumping sludge near the Farallon Islands.

The Dutra family denies these incidents ever happened. Apparently, they have never heard of a little thing called “public record.”

So far,  only one council member (Zane) has been willing  to publicly announce  opposition  to the asphalt plant. The other four, stalwart souls all, are refusing comment.    But, s hould you have a comment, dear reader, and should you be of the same mind as the author of BV, you may follow the links to the Moms’ site, and tell them that they have your support. You may also follow this link to a PDF of their mission statement.

Go, Moms!

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Cockatoo love song

 

Cockatoos are known for their intelligence, their vocality, their general precociousness. And this bird, apparently going by the nomiker S. Elvis, is no exception. One might wonder where he came up with this particular mantra, but then…

In the author’s humble opinion, it is likely that every woman (and a fair number of men) has had this experience: you’re having a nice evening with your significant other, watching some television, when said mate begins to harrangue you with demands to “RUB the bird!!! RUB the BIRD!!!”

 

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One Sick Puppy

The Author of BV regretts to inform you that she’s been one sick puppy for lo, these many days.

But now she’s back, with a series of youtube videos vaguely related to the above sentiment.

 

 

 

(plus, I like to support the “underdogs” ))

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Echeneis: stubborn little bastard of a fish.

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Isidore of Seville, who is, let’s face it, quite the hero for BV, named it the “delay,” for obvious reasons In the 1st century CE, Lucan wrote of it as  “…the sucking fish / Which holds the vessel back though eastern winds.” 

This little sucker was the echeneis, a small fish no more than six inches in length, which made its home in the Indian Ocean, and is said to have clung to ships and delayed their passage. When this fish latches on to a seagoing vessel, the most Shakespearean of gusts or invocations thereof would not move the ship, which would seemed to have become rooted to a fixed point in the roiling sea.

This fish, dear readers, reminds me of someone… another stubborn little bastard. Who could it be? ah, well. It’ll come to me…

In any case, Pliny the Elder elaborated, noting that it is used for making love-charms, and spells to slow litigation, and that it can be used to hold back the birth of a pre-term fetus until term. “This fish” says Pliny,  “is not eaten.”  “Some say,” says Pliny,” that “this fish has feet.” Pliny is loathe to believe this last tidbit. It’s not particularly that the presence of feet is more far fetched than the efficacy of its presence in charms and spells, but simply that “Aristotle says it does not.” And it’s simply quite gauche to argue with Aristotle—at least, it was in the 1st century.

AHA! I remember now: who could resemble an impedance to progress impervious to either reason or pathos?

Why, it’s the author’s writer’s block, of course- her worst enemy while adrift in the rough seas of dissertation.

 

yes, it’s one of those days folks. Send the life rafts… And mind the echeneis.

 

 

 
 

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Money Might Not, But Barnacle Geese Do (grow on trees)

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 Source: British Library Images Online Copyright Copyright 2004 British Library / Used by permission Manuscript description British Library, Harley MS 4751, Folio 36r

What medieval-inspired bestiary would be complete without the Barnacle Goose?  According to Sir John Mandeville, who wrote in the 14th century CE, this fantastic creature is–or was– a species of goose that grows on trees. Not in trees, mind you. On trees.

In his Travels, Sir John writes that

 I told them of as great a marvel to them, that is amongst us, and that was of the Bernakes. For I told them that in our country were trees that bear a fruit that become birds flying, and those that fell in the water live, and they that fall on the earth die anon, and they be right good to man’s meat. And hereof had they as great marvel, that some of them trowed it were an impossible thing to be.

We moderns might be inclined to trow it impossible, too. Yet is it possible that the barnacle goose finds its equivalent in recent college graduates, who find themselves suddenly adrift of the parental money tree, and must function on their own or perish?  Indeed, the author sees many subtle similarities. Barnacle goslings grow on trees that overhang bodies of water; the young birds hang from their sprouting-points by their beaks.  When the birds are “ripe,” they fall. The fortuitous ones, which fall into the water, float and find themselves well on their way to healthy, productive adult lives. But those that fall on land– or go to graduate school– face a harder fate. Some die. The 14th century besties apparently all died, as there simply aren’t many tree-growing geese running about these days.

Yet today’s hapless little geese, who unerringly choose graduate studies in something “esoteric” like “Medieval English” or “Philosphy,” may in fact return to the life-giving tree well into adulthood, until the tree at long last shouts:

“Enough already! how long does a dissertation TAKE, anyway?

sigh.

take it from the author of BV, dear readers. major in something useful, like billiards, or graft.

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Filed under academia, baby animals, extinct species, folklore, human behavior, medieval, parasites, Phobia-inducing, the strange and the beautiful, Uncategorized

Guinea Pigs: A Rant

I come to you tonight, dear readers, with a bone to pick. The bone in question bellongs to the common practice of naming that has brought nothing but confusion and misery.Take the guinea pig.

Neither a pig nor from Guinea, the poor little rodents have been subjected to medical testing, have been a food source for the andean people since time immemorial, and have, most recently, been subjected to the most humiliting of indignities: competitive breeding and showing. And they do not look remotely like pigs. Consider the following images :

 

 

 

One is hairy, yes? The other, not so much. One has a pink snout, the other prominant whiskers. 
 …and yet… the cavy family is, structurally speaking, pig-like, with heads large in relation to their bodies,  thick necks, and “rounded rumps with no tail of any consequence”…and they do pierce the ears with unpleasantly porcine squeals….  And anyone who has ever owned and/or known a Guinea pigs knows that they do  spend an inordinate amount of time eating…

…and the Andeans, who keep them in cages next to the stove, claim that they are really quite tasty…

nevertheless. The name is asinine and we should not stand for it.

 But lest you think that the author of BV loves the cuddly cava itself any less than the other members of our natural world, I have an adorable video picked out for you, of Guinea pigs swimming in a bathtub. Entirely adorable. Far more so than a pig would be in the same circumstances.

The author does not know what the folkes in this video are saying, but she sincerely hopes that they aren’t reciting a recipe for guinea pig stew.

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Humanatee: A dying breed

seen here without a school, this humanatee may never find a home

The humanatee is an ancient, intelligent beast, most often found in large “schools,” though members of far-flung schools frequently gather together in large, gregarious groups called “conferences.” During these  sporadic expeditions, humanatees may demonstrate dominance by flashing the “TT” position. These strange creatures then show off to potential mates by uttering strange, unintelligible  sounds in rapid succession.

Infighting and promiscuous behavior is not uncommon in conferences.

But dear readers, the humanatee, contrary to appearances, is not its own worst enemy. The humanatee is among our worlds most endangered species, and though abundant, is seriously threatened by the rough economic waters currently plaguing our shores and those the world over. Worse, funding for conservation programs has recently been cut dramatically, leading some experts to wonders whether there is adequate habitat  in today’s academe for the humanatees.*

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The Pop-Culture Guide to Swine flu

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The purpose of BV has always been to inform, and now the author feels called upon to clear up some misconceptions floating around about the swine flu epidemic. We’ll start with a brief “scene from a  paparazzi”:

******************************************************************************************************************************

[exterior, Day. A celebutant stands on the sidewalk in Los Angeles] 

photographer: “[Paris!]You worried about the swine flu Paris? It’s killing a lot of people in Mexico”

 Hilton:       [extended pause] …  “I don’t eat that.”

 *****************************************************************************************************************************

 

Some of you might be saying “well, Paris isn’t as dumb as she looks! This is a sign that we shouldn’t be eating pig!”  But you all may need to brush up on your Pulp Fiction: 

 

 

 

Besides, the swine flu, like all other flu varieties, is highly contagious but is spread primarily through contact with an infected individual. The CDC has a detailed brochure explaining the ins and outs of swine flu, including reasonable means of prevention and pharmaceutical options:  http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/pdf/brochure.pdf

…and this brochure is very clear that provided you heat them to the requisite internal temperature of 160 degrees, your beloved chops and belly are always…

 

 

 So Paris, you can go back to eating pork… hell, you can go back to eating, because despite your misinformation, the author of BV is here to tell you that just as you will not catch the avian flu from eating chicken, you will not get the pig flu from eating pork. 

But regardless of it’s charm, if you go around licking an infected pig’s  snout, you’re on your own, kid.

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Watching a Hamster Sleep: surprisingly popular pastime

Meet A-Bao, a hamster whose oneiric escapades have won him thousands of hits on the popular video-sharing site Youtube.

In the author of BV’s humble opinion, the best part of this video is the following [actual] comment left in reply to this video:

“is he really sleeping? not going to die on a hearth attack ore something? “

Ore-related hearth attacks are shockingly rare these days, but this respondant has apparently not read the latest stats.

 

The next video is adorable, because the little guy is curled into a ball and keeps toppling over. In fact  there are a number of remarkable furry balls in this video:

 

Again, A-Bao’s fans are erudite to a fault. 

“what is the big pink”  asks one

his balls” replies another.

In the final installment of our series, A-Bao delights his audience by waking briefly, turning in a circle, and going back to sleep.

 

To which one intrepid viewer responds:

is this a hampster?”

Seemingly innocuous, even if cloyingly sweet, yes? Shockingly, this video generated the most vitriolic of disputes about whether the protruding pink parts are in fact “his balls” or “hamster arse” [sic]. This exchange eventually led [inexplicably] to this little pearl of wisdom from “awesomelysweetcindy,” who writes:

yeah, well [the videographer] probably wanted to put on some  where wide so he/she could take a better shot of that cute hamster.
and who would sit on a hamster when it’s fur doesn’t even have the same color as the sheets”

Who would sit on a hamster when it’s fur doesn’t even have the same color as the sheets. Wisdom for the ages, folkes. Wisdom for the ages.

 

 

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Filed under common household pets, exceedingly cute, human behavior, rated NC17, the strange and the beautiful

Amazonian Weasels

As always, the author of BV seeks to bring you information that is relevant and revelatory regarding animal behaviors. News today is that a new species of weasel– the hypocritical amazonian weasel.  

You may sign a petition protesting Amazon’s new unbalanced policies regarding “adult” materials by following the link below:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/in-protest-at-amazons-new-adult-policy

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Exploding frogs (as per request)

it's not easy, being green

it's not easy, being green

 

Well, dear readers, I have recieved my first command performance, and am more than happy to oblige. Here they are, the amazing, exploding frogs.

FUNNY, dark, and clearly not American-made…

 

VERSUS …  just plain sick. You can complain about the following video and it’s juvenile delinquent perpetrators by following the youtube link. Or you can hug your children more. Your choice.

  

Of course, there are actual exploding frogs out and about in the world–or, more precisely, toads. Wikipedia, everybody’s go-to source for questionable information, says the following :

“An exploding toad occurs when a crow, hunting for toad liver, attacks a toad which then puffs up as a natural defense. The phenomenon was first noticed in April 2005 in districts of Hamburg, Germany and near a lake at Låsby, Denmark, dubbed “The Pond of Death.” No other animals in the area were exploding.

What differentiates the exploding toads in these incidents from most other exploding animals is that they explode while alive. Exploding whales, for example, are a result of the buildup of gases during the process of decomposition.”

 

The  BBC’s article on this topic is less certain of the causation, but the two sources agree on one important point: the name of the site where this phenomenon has been observed, i.e., the pond of death.

Pond. Of. Death. 

 The author of B.V. regrets to inform you that there are simply so, so many ways to go with this, that her head has well nigh exploded… exploded like a frog. Like a frog at the pond of death.  

send help.

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