Squishypuff the Mutated Goldfish

My eyes had begun to glaze over as I made my way through the pet store in search of the perfect fish. I passed small, beady-eyed cichlids and dozens of other shiny fish that flitted from one end of their tanks to the other. Nothing really peaked my interest, though. They were all just boring fish with no personality. I wanted something…more exciting? Less fishy? I had no idea…

I began to think that I was looking for the impossible, and then I noticed two giant eyeballs staring at me from a small tank in the corner of the store. It was love at first sight.

The eyes jostled around on a bulging face similar to a yolk jiggling around on an undercooked egg. I knew the fish was doing its best to focus on me. His entire body, which was basically just a scaly ball with tiny fins, seized from side to side in an attempt to stay in position, while his mouth opened and closed excitedly.  I never wanted a pet more in my life. (Click HERE  or HERE to see one of these guys in ‘action’)

Squishypuff did alright in his aquarium for a while. I grew accustomed to him swimming upside down when he couldn’t fight the current with the tiny fins he’d been cursed with. And I got used to his habit of picking up pebbles from the bottom of the tank only to get them stuck in his mouth. He really did have an undercooked egg for a head.

But I couldn’t overlook the fact that he couldn’t compete with the few other fish in the tank. He did his best to wiggle his way towards the food pellets I plopped into the water every day, but he was just too slow. By the time squishypuff jiggled and writhed his way to the surface, all the food had already been eaten, digested and crapped out by the other, less mutated and more agile, fish. I would watch the pitiful Squishypuff (never one to give up) continue to jiggle around the surface in search of scraps, looking confused as always.

I had my heart set on keeping Squishy, but I couldn’t think of any solution besides shoving the fish pellets into Squishypuff’s face myself. I decided to take an alternative, less time-consuming, route and sent poor Squishy off to live with a family of goldfish that were just as dumb, slow and eager to suck on rocks.

I like to think that Squishy is now the proud father of dozens of little goldfish: They may never get anywhere no matter how hard they wiggle those ridiculous bodies of theirs, but they never give up either. Here’ s to you Squishypuff! *raises glass*


Puffy Delight

It’s always amazing how people will pay top-dollar for a life threatening  experience. Take a puffer fish dinner, for example: A few tiny slivers of this so called delicacy-a.k.a fugu – will cost you upwards of a few 100 dollars.

Eating pufferfish is a way for less active individuals to get a thrill without having to overexert themselves. There’s also the cheaper option of ‘accidentally’ swallowing a chicken-bone, but it’s not as classy.

When properly prepared, eating puffer fish will leave you with numb lips, a pleasant tingling sensation and feeling of slight intoxication. Ingesting Vicks Vapo-rub may provide similar results.

If an amateur chef makes a few wrong cuts while prepping this puffy culinary ‘delight’, the diner won’t even get a chance to leave a tip before suffering from nausea, vomiting, paralyses, respiratory failure, coma and sometimes a less than graceful death.

Make sure to avoid any restaurant where you’re asked to pay in advance for the puffy experience.

I’m never one to underestimate how thrilling a lunch can be…I’ve had a few experiences with BBQ burgers that have practically given me an out of body experience (it may have just been a mild heart attack)…BUT I’m not sure if I want a seafood platter to be the most exciting thing I experience in my lifetime.

Respect the Shrimp

I love shrimp.

They are both cute and tasty…two qualities I look for in every meal.

Some religions view shrimp as cockroaches of the sea … and so these poor little, crusty nuggets are deemed unfit for human consumption.

It doesn’t seem fair!

You should consider yourself lucky when someone calls you shrimpy. Many shrimp grow up to become strong and powerful property owners who reign over the same bullies who made growing up in the ocean trenches unbearable.

In fact, an adult mantis shrimp-with claws that can rocket out faster than a speeding bullet-is the fastest animal on earth.

They can stun and confuse even the mighty octopus with a punch that cuts into water with a force so immense that the liquid actually implodes in on itself. Don’t ever gamble with these things.

In fact, these little guys would knock your teeth out before you had a chance to swallow…which would still make them better dentists than the average tooth pulling, barber of the middle ages.

I’m agnostic…which basically means I choose to believe what suits my current needs.

And I NEED shrimp.

If blue whales get to consume millions of tiny shellfish on a daily basis, then I should get to have a few shrimp at the Crustyshack once in a while!

Because shrimp, like bacon and hamburgers, are respectable animals…and the best way to show your respect is by eating them.



Appreciate the Pickle!

Pickles are an amazing food. You can pickle pretty much anything: turnips, eggplant, asparagus, artichokes, your stepmother…But it’s hard to beat the tart crunch of the good ol’ fashioned pickled cucumber.

Pickles even save lives: Columbus’s ships were stocked full of these gerkins so the crew wouldn’t die of scurvy.

Do you know what that means??!!

America may not have been discovered were it not for the humble pickle!

Screw Columbus Day! Where is Pickle Day??!!!

Pickling things also improves their nutritional value: It’s been proven that Kimchi-pickled cabbage-has twice as many B vitamins and twice as much niacin (it sounds like a poison, but its good stuff) as the boring vegetable found in the produce isles.

And if your kid wants some ice cream on a hot day, why not suggest a nice cold Pickle Pop Instead? I’m sure they will love you even more … or kick you in the shin. Either way, it sounds like family bonding time.

If you’re not worried about scurvy, you can celebrate with a few drinks. Had too many? Guess what!? Pickles cure hangovers too!

Holy crap!! Pickle usages are endless!

Pickling has gone on for thousands of years to ensure that food was always available. Historians believe that the first pickle came to be about 3000 years ago. I bet some genius decided to put cucumbers in saltwater and let them sit out in the blazing sun for a few hours as part of an elaborate hazing ritual.   After that, the world became a better place.

Screw fresh vegetables…bring on the pickling! 

Earth’s Volcano Face

volcano-pimple-creamVolcanoes are like pimples that just keep popping up on a hormonally challenged teenager. The earth is covered with them, and I’m sure it must be a relief when they pop.

Magma flows around just a few kilometers underneath the earth’s crust. Once in a while, it finds a weak spot and starts oozing upwards to form a volcano. Volcanoes come in all kinds of shapes, but they typically start out as a mound (and for the sake of the pimple analogy used a few seconds ago, we’ll assume this to be true).

When we’re lucky, lava oozes out of the earth in a relatively orderly, non-rushed, fashion. When this happens we can frolic on the cooled, crunchy, hard rock while watching fresh red lava continue to ooze down the side of the hill a few feet away. We stumble along taking tons of photos and can claim to be mere  inches away from death…at least that’s what the tour guide will tell us for some extra tips (he deserves them right? We’re still alive right?)

Nobody can outrun the more aggressive eruptions though, where gas, and fiery liquid rock roll down steep slopes at 100 miles per hour. One of the more surreal and morbid images associated with volcanoes are the masses of people entombed by the smoldering hot ash spit up by the infamous Mt. Vesuvius eruption in AD 79.

The ash that covered the towns and the people hardened before the bodies decomposed, creating hollow shapes in the rock-perfect molds of the victims’ last stance (creepy). Pouring plaster into these holes brings the Romans back to life as ceramic sculptures. These pieces of art are now available for your viewing pleasure in a few museums throughout the world (bring some Xanax when you go).

There is no stopping an active volcano-not with sacrificial virgins, or huge boulders or mounds of antacids.

Once they start to grow, it’s just a matter of time till they need to pop.