Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Who are you, so wise in the ways of Science?

I'm writing a book on marine biology. This might come as news to those of you who don't talk to me in person. All of you are jerks, especially the ones who live thousands of miles away on other coasts and continents. The contract-writing and contract-signing process proceeds, much as The Dude abides. It's not done yet, but I'm very excited about the advance. I plan on using it to buy a solid gold chalice with MARINE BIOLOGY spelled out in rhinestones. Apparently rhinestones aren't an appropriate gem for a Pisces, but I don't care. Among the (many) birthstones for my zodiac sign: amethyst, jade, ruby, sapphire. Those gems have nothing in common. In case you doubted that astrology is a crock of shit intended to sell tchochkes to teenage girls...well, you can stop. And yes, I realize that astrology is not only for girls who happen to be teenagers. It's also for grown women who happen to be idiots.

You may be asking, "Tony...how the hell are you qualified to write a book on marine biology?" Short answer: I'm not, really. Glad we cleared that up. The book, still untitled, is about the life of the sea. I'm taking a "superlative" approach, which is to say that we're talking about the extremes. The shallowest life, the deepest, the hottest, the coldest and so on. This allows The Author to discuss only the coolest and most awesome cherry-picked marine life, instead of the intensely boring crap that fills 90% of the oceans. I'm pretty sure "plankton" is the Latin word for "dull." If you disagree, allow me to remind you that I am writing a book on marine biology and don't have to respect a damn thing you say until you write a longer book on marine biology. The manuscript due date is still over a year away and I'd hate to sit on all this great material. I'll occasionally use the soapbox of my amazing blog that nobody reads to preview my amazing book that nobody will read.

Chapter 59: The Oldest
The ocean is old. Fucking old. It's so old that there was water before there was even land. But in it reside many things, most of which are less old than the ocean. Today we will talk about these things that are old in the ocean, but are not themselves the ocean. None of this is to be confused with the German experimental metal band, "The Ocean," which formed in the year 2000 and is thus younger than many dwellers of the real ocean. You see how marine biology is super complicated and only experts like myself get to write books about it.

Amongst the oldest creatures in the sea is the Yelloweye Rockfish. Native to the deep waters of the coastal Pacific, this fish can survive up to 80 years. It has a long, slow growth cycle and reaches sexual maturity at a relatively late age. These traits are common to long-lived organisms, but what makes the Yelloweye Rockfish notable is not how old it grows. Rather, it is notable for the method by which its age is determined. You see, these fish were found to carry radioactive material in their bodies. This material accumulated from open-air nuclear weapons testing--which lasted from 1945 to 1963. These fish were actually alive during the era of testing, swimming as youngsters in the shallow waters of the Pacific where we (as a society) decided it would be a good idea to goof around with the most destructive force ever harnessed by man. But just as the heavy Carbon-14 isotope permanently marks the Yelloweye Rockfish as a relic of a bygone age, so too do its tastes and habits. It enjoys "big band" music, and not just because those horn-heavy tracks give it nostalgia for Fallout 3. Female rockfish subscribe to magazines that instruct them on how to please their husbands--but not sexually, because Sebastes ruberrimus sleep in separate beds. Finally, rockfish hold the collective belief that a comedian named "Bob Hope" was actually funny to anyone who wasn't about to go die in some war.

Aside: Did Lucy and Ricky have to sleep in separate beds because that's how everyone "slept" on TV, or was there a miscegenation angle? I honestly don't know, and I've given this a bunch of thought because I have a disease. A disease that forces me to ruminate at length on absolutely retarded topics. You may have noticed.

Whales are, intuitively, also among the sea's most long-lived denizens. The reasoning is simple. If you are a sea creature, there is about a 95% certainty that you will get eaten by something. This will probably kill you, if you aren't Kratos and thus able to simply cut your way out of stomachs with your TWIN BLADES OF FURY. Or Exile, or whatever. Anyway, the best way to not get eaten is to be so big that things can't fit you in their mouths. Snakes can still get you (warning: video cannot be un-seen). Whales, like Citigroup, are too big to fail. Their slow metabolisms are slowed further by cold open-ocean water, and as a result whales can live to staggering age. Exact numbers are hard to come by due to a number of factors, but stone harpoon tips have been extracted from the hides of ancient whales. STONE harpoon tips, which haven't been used in a century. This shit, like this boat, is real.

The last ancient beast of the depths to be touched on in this chapter? Al Davis. I may have used the phrase "sea monster" in passing while speaking about the Chairman of the Oakland Raiders. I wasn't joking. He's currently submerged for the offseason, but when the draft rolls around he'll rise from the briny depths to fuck it up. By which I mean he'll ascend on the morning of the draft, examine a chart of 40-yard dash times and arrange his draft board before descending once again. He appears only when it's time to make a bad decision. The Raiders have a famously shitty deal on their stadium lease, but that actually wasn't the result of poor financial planning: it's the result of the fact that Davis fills the Oakland Coliseum with salt water during the NFL offseason. "Tony, that's bullshit. The A's play in the Coliseum." That's what the media wants you to believe, because they know they can pull the wool over your eyes. But nobody goes to A's games, so we really can't know definitively where they're held. Have you been to an A's game? Has anyone you know? I rest my case. Oh, and if the answers to those questions were "Yes," then just pipe down and let everyone else enjoy my blog post. It's over, anyhow.

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