Monday, November 22, 2010

Feeding sharks rabbits and other marine fish keeping secrets (part 1), by Matt Bulman

These days, setting up a saltwater aquarium is an exciting endeavor, especially if you plan to keep some of the more luxurious and exotic creatures like tiger sharks, penguins, or the endangered beluga whale. But did you know that these amazing sea-creatures are actually a different species and require totally separate tanks, tubs or cages?

If this is new information to you, then you are likely what we aquarists call, “A beginner.” The next few paragraphs will be dedicated to you. If you were aware of the aforementioned scientific fact, you may choose to read the beginner’s section as a thorough refresher course. However, for the more advanced reader, feel free to skip ahead to the following section, entitled, “Advanced marine fish keeping secrets for the advanced and super-advanced (part 2).”

Now, sometimes a whiney new beginner will ask, “What if I don’t want a shark but want to keep corals, blennies and multicolored tropical fish instead?”

Shut up! Modern fish keeping is not a sport for pussies. What other hobby needs the following gear: Harpoon, hunter’s knife, nets, trip wire, at least one shotgun, bear traps, and secret booby traps?

These days you really only want to keep the big fish (technically speaking, whales are not are not fish because of their nipples, and penguins are a type of bird cursed by the devil…but we will call them fish because beginners usually make this mistake).

But if you are going to have sharks and penguins the size of small children roaming your house, you must realize this is a major responsibility. Therefore, you are going to require several weapons for defense from these predators. And unlike other circumstances, the serious marine household requires these weapons to be armed and loaded at all times, kept in most rooms of the house.

So you have probably already purchased your fish, returned home, and thought, “Now what?”

Hopefully, you already purchased your tank, own a tub or have a cage with lots of damp cloth and a hose. A simple rule of thumb is that all fish require something clear and wet, like water, but a damp towel will do in a bind. My friend and I once kept a tiger shark alive fourteen hours by chucking water-balloons at steady, hilarious intervals! Place your pet in their new chamber. Have ready a hose or bucket with plenty of wetness to douse your new pet, as this will reduce the stress from the trip home from Chinatown.

Feed them. The second scientific fact you need to be aware of is that fish love to eat. Whale fish and penguin fish will eat anything you stuff down their gullet, while the sharks are more feisty creatures that prefer live, carnivorous prey. One live rabbit or chicken per day per shark is a good rule of thumb. Feeding my sharks a live rabbit each morning is often times the highlight of my day. And what joy it brings to the faces of my children, who really seem fascinated by the bright swirls of color and fur in our pool.

Separate chambers. Has your beluga whale already eaten half of your expensive black-market penguin? Don’t worry, years of working with aquariums and their owners has taught me that many beginners make this mistake. Perhaps your dead penguin drove you to this very article in the first place. Another scientific fact is that, “big things eat small things, and blue things eat black and white things.” It’s a law of nature, and one of those mistakes you never make twice. It’s also why my remaining children are forbidden to feed the sharks or whales.

Now that we have been through the basics, you may wish to read part 2 of our series, “Advanced marine fish keeping secrets for the advanced and super-advanced.” Here we discuss relevant topics like disposing of carcasses, dealing with PETA, as well as more topical health issues of today, like Type II diabetes and your fish. Part 3 in our series looks to the future of fish keeping, in particular, genetic engineering. We have entitled this last part in our series, “Should monkeys have gills or scuba suits when kept in your tank? An ethical dilemma.”

Until then, my water loving friends, happy fish keeping.

(This author would like to acknowledge Dr. Ben Moore, Chiropractor, for his helpful insight into the keeping and feeding of sharks.)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Inventing the next big thing

Honey, I know things have been tight, financially, for quite a while now. That we have been eating pancakes for dinner each night is evidence enough. But things are going to be ok. This time I guarantee it. Why? Because of an idea. Not just any idea, but a particular idea. And this particular idea is going to make us a lot of money. It will be the next big thing.

Honey, we are going to invent something.

Before you stop me, I must say that I know what you’re thinking.

“Here’s yet one more seemingly ridiculous but amazingly brilliant idea in a litany of whacky avant guard schemes that the narrow minded world is unable to yet accept.”

After all, I think we’d both agree that standardizing the multiple shoe-sizing systems of the world into an SI unit would certainly benefit humanity at some point in the future. And, furthermore, the 100 unit Chronon, would make an excellent replacement for the Second, allowing easier conversions for mathematicians and physicists alike.

No, this invention will be different. For this invention will not be a unit of weights, measures or time.

I have the paperwork ready to go. We’ll send it off for pattenting, and once we have the ok from the patent office, we’ll send it off to a plant in China for mass production.

Now, we just need the invention.

It’s impact is going to be big, so get ready. It will be like the Ipad, or the Ipod, or an app for the pad/pod, but we’ll use different vowels.

Wait. Here’s a thought. Robots?

Yeah, fuck computers! Robots are the future. They will clean the house, or do the dishes, and/or act like pets. Apets. Or Upets. Or Opets. I think U should be our vowel. It might even rhyme with Muppets when we market it to the children of the world.

Now, we just need a robot-designing genius.

No, in hindsight, it’s too dangerous. Upet Robots might harm children. And as the creator, I could never live with myself. Forget I mentioned Upets.

What about a new type of snorkel? You always liked snorkeling, and consider yourself an avid snorkler. And when you consider the world is two thirds aqueous and there are rising water levels, who couldn’t use a snorkel?

Or a type of salve that removes bubble-bum when its been smeared in your hair? Remember the shaved-debacle that ensued when I tried to remove it from my hair without such an invention?

Hold your horses. It’s come to me. A game. We will invent a game. Like soccer. Currently, the best soccer players in the world earn hundreds of millions of dollars per year. But our players will make twice that and wield machetes. And as the inventor of the game, I will also be its top-paid player. But we won’t call our athletes players. We will call them assassins. Samurai assassins.

Or a new type of chopper? A religion? What about a religion made of choppers and robots which are samurai assassins in the game? That’s it! We will combine the religion with the game. It shall be called, “The Religame.”

We will work out the details along the way. The idea itself is not so important. It will be what’s inside the idea that counts (money???). Now, when we get to the therapists tonight you let me do all the talking and I’m pretty sure we will work this out.

Honey? Honey, where are you going?