Happy Birthday Brien (8) (name not mispelled), who also was the first person to pet our new shark. It took three days, around 40 phone calls and hundreds of miles on the odometer, but we did replace our shark. I got it into the newly set up shark pool 2 hours before our first of 7 parties this weekend started.
It's a different species than what we normally keep. We usually have smooth dogfish but this one is a spiny dogfish. She's about three feet long.
As a bonus we had the NOAA Fisheries Aquarium donate two dozen baby chain dogfish. I've wanted one of these for a long time but they are found in very deep water and do not survive when put into captivity. These where captive bred so are completely adjusted to the warmer water and lack of pressure found at sea level.
Ok. I'm getting swamped with emails about yesterday's post. What Crises?
We have tons of animals at Biomes to learn about. Fish, horseshoe crabs, starfish, lizards, snakes, turtles, seahorses, eels and on and on. But the big draw is our sharks. Because we aren't open to the public we can have our scheduled groups hold, touch and pet many of these creatures, including the sharks, without harm to the animals. And it works. We haven't lost a single shark in the seven years I've been keeping them.
Visitors often ask why I'm so strict about food, drinks, hand sanitizers etc. not being allowed at the center (or in the case of birthday parties, not being allowed to wander around the building with these). To understand this imagine replacing your lungs with a fish's gills. If you drop a bottle of bleach on the floor it might smell a bit, but you leave the room, clean it up while holding your breath, or whatever. But for a fish a drop of bleach in the water is breathed in. It's like pouring it into your lungs.
Bottom line is something got into the shark tank this week (I'm sure not intentionally, but you never know). We don't know what it was, but on Tuesday they refused to eat and Wednesday morning we came in to find all three of them dead. This is February so the timing couldn't be worse to replace them.
We have at least four commercial boats out today with requests to hold any sharks they catch for us. Our boat, (actually "ace collector" Dan's) is in dry dock so we can't go out ourselves. Rebecca, Elizabeth and I spent the entire day yesterday emptying, sterilizing and refilling the shark tank (it's a 700 gallon tank, which means we moved 1400 gallons of water by hand).
So, for the next two days I sit by the cell phone waiting for news of a shark catch. Biomes I is loaded with pails, 30 gallon storage bins, air pumps, and anything else I might need to hold and transport anything our friends might happen to catch.
Tuesday's Trivia: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and 'Ensign Gomez' beam down to a planet. Which one isn't coming back?
The Coggshall School (Newport) and the Ellen Hathaway School (New Bedord, MA) began their One-Month Aquarium Programs today. New Bedford played an important role in the underground railroad.
Every single school teacher should be reading this article. Unbelievable.
I mentioned the other day that my 14 year old son Graham’s been fooling around with audio using “Sound Studio”. He wrote and recorded some really funny songs for what he calls “Chimpunk Productions” (think 1960’s Bob Dylan with vocals and harmonica, but in an Alvin and the Chipmunk’s voice), which I’ll try to post an example of soon. My favorite is one is called “String”, with the lyrics that include:
“...and then my string landed on the president’s head. By now I’m wishing that I was dead. I ran, ran as fast as I could, the president knew that he should, send the secret service after me. Send the secret service after me”.
Anyway, he couldn’t get the tune out of his head all night and asked me what the word for that was. I couldn’t remember, but a little googling gave us “earworm”.
I know this is old, but watch this great Honda ad.
And here is a hilarious parody (from England, of course) that took me forever to find. I saw this months ago but all the links to this around the web bring up error messages. I finally found it, although it took me half the afternoon, so you better laugh. (It's actually an ad for some sort of "118" telephone service, or something, in Great Britain.)
Click here if you think you have bugs crawling all over you.
Movie Reviews: So I watched “The Princess Bride” again last night (for the 6th time). Here’s my review: This should say it all: It is “inconceivable” how funny this movie is.
Then I watched “Seven”. This is the best disturbing movie ever made and anyone who thinks that Brad Pitt can’t act hasn’t seen this. (Not for the kids! Dark, dark, dark.) The ending will knock you off your kiester.
Seriously, a few years ago a chinese restaurant in town was closed by health inspectors because they were serving seagull in place of chicken. This flash animation reminded me of that. Apologies to Harry Chapin.
Puppy house-breaking tip #23: Use old newspapers instead of a laptop.
We do about 300 birthday parties per year at Biomes. You’ll notice on the birthday party section of our website that we have a rule stating “no pinatas”. Blindfolds, swinging sticks and glass aquariums just don’t mix. But there is a humanitarian reason for this rule as well.
Graham's been fooling around with audio files to go with his movies, so I got him to make up an ad for the Biomes Center. The first take didn't go so well. (That's me on the right. Apparently Graham ignores my receding hairline. Not that there's anything wrong with that.)
I’ve had a cable connection for so long now I’ve forgotten how much I hate this sound.
Rusty Redux: In Entry #10 I linked to a quicktime movie of Rusty the narcoleptic dog. As the owner of a dog with epilepsy (we woke up to her having another mild seizure this morning), I don’t know why I laugh at this every time I see it. Here he is again (drumroll please), the one and only Rusty!
On the bright side
A lot of the campaign material that Dean generated says "Dean for America" not "Dean for President". The former is still true even if the latter is no longer operative, so you can keep on wearing those buttons and displaying those bumper stickers.
I’ll be keeping my Dean sticker on Biomes 1, but I may add a few others.
Happy Birthday Emily (8). We also had a small day care center visit us this morning.
Non-animal of the Week: Eelgrass.
The most important plant in Narragansett Bay is eelgrass. Most "plants" found in the ocean are algae (seaweed), which are not true plants. Eelgrass is a real plant and even produces underwater flowers and seed pods. It is vital to many of the animals found at biomes, especially seahorses, pipefish and flounders. Learn all about it here.
Koufax Awards. It’s sort of like the blog Oscars. For those of you that follow the right blogs, meaning of course, left blogs, some of which are found over on the right, the results are in. My choices for "Best Blog" and “Most Humorous Post” won. Turkee. heh.
Cool Site of the Week: This is just too amazing. It starts with a picture of the universe and then each image is magnified by ten. Check it out and see where it leads. Its called Power of Ten. (You can slow down or speed up the slide show using the bar beneath the picture.)
When I was a young kid (I mean really young) I used to think there were tiny people acting inside the TV set. And I think Gary Larson once had a comic where a guy opened up his car radio and there was a miniature orchestra inside the dash (I'm too tired right now to try to search for it.) Anyway, for real, there’s this little guy inside my computer screen and he is really starting to annoy me.
We ran a private program for a family group at the center this afternoon. Our new photo album seems to be going over well. I put it up 24 hours ago and it has already had almost 300 hits. (The link to it is on the right.)
Today is Friday the 13th. The fear of this day is called Paraskavedekatriaphobia.
I only have one true phobia and that is public speaking. I know, that's what I do for a living. But my lessons are on my terms, on my territory and on a subject that I know nearly everything I need to know. In any other situation I crumble. A phobia isn't just not liking something. For example, I do not like to fly and will do anything possible to avoid it. But if I got onto a plane it would not have a physical effect on me. Public speaking does that. I'm fine until I start to speak and then my head spins, my hands and knees shake my voice cracks and I get short of breath. It's weird and frightening but I think that is really what a phobia is. A physical, uncontrollable reaction to something.
But I don't have paraskavedekatriaphobia. Friday the 13th? Ha. As someone with a tiny little brain once said (I forget who, exactly) "Bring it on".
Here are 20 things that only happen in the movies.
Every so often a visitor to Biomes sends me some digital photos they took at our center. I'm never quite sure what to do with them. Yesterday I got some really nice ones and decided to set up a photo album using the features that typepad supplies. So here they are (link on the right as well).
I'm not going to include any pictures taken by our staff. Instead, I'll reserve this site strictly for photos sent in by our guests. I think this will give the album a visitor's feel to the center rather than what I want people to see.
How not to play "Hide and Go Seek".
It was 1959 one billion seconds ago.
Jesus was alive one billion minutes ago.
Humans lived in the stone age one billion hours ago.
The U.S. government has spent one billion dollars in the last 8 hours and 20 minutes.
Warning:This site is for serious Star Wars geeks only. (Although I liked it too). It’s about the original trilogy, not the lame prequels.
Dept. of Educashun: Learn all about the Chinese Four-Winged Dinosaur.
Chu’s Mariska White Senior Doe Angora rabbitt, which won best in show this year.
In the Clownfish exhibit at biomes we have a pair of "Cleaner Gobies”, which actually approach larger fish and pick parasites and dead skin off the hosts without getting eaten. Here’s the scoop on cleaners. Here's our clownfish movie.
Biomes was closed today, and the sharks really appreciated the break.
This is, not kidding, a “fried cow's brain sandwich”, which is on the menu at the Hilltop Inn in Evansville Indiana. You would never catch me eating one of these disgusting things. I mean, look at it. They didn’t even toast the bun.
Animal of the Week:Northern Sea Star. This animal is a pillar of Biomes' educational programs. We use this animal at the center to illustrate regeneration, in the tide pools for hands-on activities, in our In-class programs and our One-Month Aquarium Program. One feature that is often noticed on this animal is the orange dot near the center. This is not an eye, as is often thought. It is called a sieve plate (also known as the madraporite) and is used to draw water into the body. The water is used by the animal's water vascualar system in order to make the suction cups on the tube feet work.
One of my picture searches for sea stars came up with this fine work of art. What's up with the part about cereal?