Challenge filmmaking is perverse. Take something that has to be done slowly and painstakingly, and add the element of speed and deadlines and kitchen-sink required elements to it, and you’re virtually assured of a substandard final product. Add creative people to the mix, who never met a job they were 100 percent satisfied with, because if only they’d made this tiny change and tweaked this and rewrote that and how much time do we have left? Nine minutes? This’ll only take about eight, eight’n a half. Piece of cake… Well, you see how things can go.

That said, we have a great team this time. Fingers crossed. Gun’s at 7 p.m. Some tweeting/photoblogging will likely ensue, barring total disaster. Check back.

I warned you of a potential rant on the Asian carp issue. Another skirmish in this strange battle is taking place now in Illinois, where state and federal officials dumped more than 2,000 gallons of rotenone, a fish poison, into the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (there’s a waterway with a romantic name, eh?) in a last-ditch effort to keep the bastards out of the Great Lakes. The kill has already netted 200,000 pounds of piscine collateral damage and a single Asian carp, although more way well turn up as the decomposition process continues.

I’ve been reading about this invasive species for a while now, never with anything other than dread. Like the three-eyed fish of the Springfield Reservoir — “Blinky,” and thanks, Wikipedia — they portend nothing good, even while an army of Mr. Burnses facilitated their journey up the Mississippi River system.

Here’s where the rant comes in. Eric Sharp, outdoors writer for the Detroit Free Press, raised the roof pretty well last month, explaining how the species was originally introduced to eat algae in Arkansas sewage lagoons, with this priceless, stomach-souring detail from a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel report, that the original plan stipulated “carp raised in the sewage lagoons could be sold as food to people to defray some of the costs of treating the sewage.” Mmm, pass the drawn butter. The carp were also used by Southern fish farmers to clean their own facilities.

Of course there were escapes. Of course something could have been done when the problem was still containable. Of course nothing was done. Of course an unholy government-business alliance was responsible. Sharp writes:

I found a story I wrote nearly 10 years ago about Jerry Rasmussen, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist who by 1990 was trying desperately to warn people about the potential threat from the carp.

But he was called on the carpet by his bosses and told to shut up after the fish farmers complained to their friends in Congress, the “Arkansas mafia” of politicians allied with the Clinton administration. When Rasmussen refused to be muzzled, the USFWS tried to eliminate his job.

What’s the problem with Asian carp, besides the fact they’re imports? They grow to the size of monsters. They jump from the water at the sound of boat motors (this video is pretty amazing) and have actually broken boaters’ noses and caused other injuries. But their biggest threat is how they displace native species. It’s safe to say that once these behemoths reach the Great Lakes, it’s only a matter of time before they do serious damage to the trout, steelhead and salmon species that support much of our tourism. I’m trying to imagine these fuckers in the Au Sable or Manistee River, some of the greatest trout waters in the world, accessible to any visitor who can buy a fishing license. Actually, I’m trying not to. Because that would be the end of it, for sure.

In the 19th century, the Au Sable was populated by grayling, graceful native species with a fanciful, sail-like dorsal fin. Easy to catch and delicious to eat, they were wiped out by overfishing — they say the tourists piled them, literally piled them, on the riverbank, just because they could — and, of course, logging, Michigan’s original environmental sin. The clear-cutting of virtually the entire state in the 1800s provided the seed money for the industrial revolution that followed, but the use of the fast-running rivers of the north as logging chutes to the lakes were disastrous to grayling, scouring the bottom and destroying their hatcheries. Grayling only live in Alaska now, for the most part.

Nature keeps teaching us these lessons, and we keep refusing to learn them. The Burmese python is establishing a beachhead in Florida. Now carp in the north. Maybe someday they’ll all mutate, grow legs and lungs, and add us to their breakfast menu. It would serve us right.

Rant over. Now I have to put on my screenwriting head. I’m thinking sci-fi — giant, walking fish that glow in the dark and eat poodles. Whatever, I’ll be in and out over the weekend, and you are encouraged to check back. Action!

Posted at 9:12 am in Current events |

31 responses to “Carping.”

  1. brian stouder said on December 4, 2009 at 9:53 am

    I’m think­ing sci-fi — giant, walk­ing fish that glow in the dark and eat poo­dles.

    and then, a sly scene where people attempting to flee from the giant, oddly feminine (large attractive gills) fish (who is suitably rainbow-colored and glitzy) smash into a fireplug and a tree – and the fish exclaims “and I’m sick of your fishing pole and your lures and hookers”

    or not!

    (this is why I’m always ‘audience’ and not ‘talent’)

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  2. coozledad said on December 4, 2009 at 10:19 am

    The closest thing I’ve got to a faith is that once humans finish wiping themselves out, there’s a sort of long sedimentation period, and the dust settles thickly enough over everything that there can be some kind of fresh beginning, either with better humans or none (the optimal contingency).
    The downside of this faith is it requires a will to believe in the unseen and undiscovered as much as any religion. I was enthusiastic when it seemed like the tells in Syria might turn out to far predate Sumer or Harappa- that it’s possible civilization is a periodic illness the earth gets and shakes off like a nasty cold, then virtually all evidence of it disappears beneath a mile or two of regenerative silicates. That maybe if they keep digging they’ll find some archaic shitty strip mall.
    But no. They’re well within the same cycle of discovery and centralization of agriculture, civilization, followed by self-immolation, as the current pack of turd-hurling apes.

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  3. LAMary said on December 4, 2009 at 10:42 am

    I think I’ve mentioned before that I will not eat farmed tilapia because they are used as poop eaters by the people who farm some weird hybrid striped bass in CEment ponds (Jed Clampett!) in the Mojave. Tilapia is brought in when the ponds get too full of striped bass crap and then they sell the tilapia. Yum-o.

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  4. Peter said on December 4, 2009 at 11:01 am

    My folks and their friends from the old country just LOVES carp – they would fish at the Ship and Sanitary Canal for those beauties.

    Just another of my reasons why I won’t eat fish. Thanks to LAMary, I have another.

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  5. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 4, 2009 at 11:40 am

    Thanks for many friendly wishes and prayers — i get new holes drilled in my skull next week, and then six days to figure out how to hold a laptop up over my chin so as not to tip my head down.

    All indications are that i have no cancerous nothing involved, just nastiness of a sort no one wants to hear a bit more about, and that comes out along with some redesigning of the sinus cavities to work around scar tissue. But many, many thanks for all the kind thoughts and messages this past two weeks of waiting.

    Given the other issues that got me to this point over the last five years, i truly can’t wait to have this done, so i’m beyond delighted to have a surgery date.

    If the doc pulls an Asian Carp out of my maxillary sinuses, THAT i will let you know.

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    • nancy said on December 4, 2009 at 11:50 am

      Take care of yourself, Jeff. Between you and Moe, it’s been a grim fall among our little community. Good thoughts and all the rest of it.

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  6. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 4, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Cooze, you must have really enjoyed “A Canticle for Leibowitz” in your youth.

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  7. brian stouder said on December 4, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    What Nancy said!

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  8. moe99 said on December 4, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Oh, Jeff tmmo! I am delighted that it is not cancerous but remain concerned about the rest of the story.

    And yes, I loved A Canticle for Leibowitz . Best depiction of the medieval mind set I have ever found.

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  9. Jolene said on December 4, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Folks, we are in the presence of greatness. In response to a question about what to tell children about Santa Claus in this week’s web chat, the Great Weingarten cited our hostess, saying:

    The great philosopher Nancy Nall believes kids should be told about Santa and then, when the time is right, explain how it is now their responsibility to all the younger kids to BECOME Santa and continue the myth.

    I think this is beautiful.

    All hail to our very own philosophe!

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  10. beb said on December 4, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Jeff (TMMO) despite our differences in the previous thread I wish you the best. Having to remain in a fixed position for extended periods of time has to be a bitch. As for the laptop how about a mirror on the ceiling? Add some pink champaigne on ice and you can declare room Hotel California.

    People, if you’re going to let a little excrement in your diet put you off eating things, there’s not going to be a lot you can eat. Cattle are feed chicken crap, also beef by-products. Pigs will eat almost anything. China raises fish under pig pens to get two crops from one bag of feed.

    Sorry, I can’t finish this thought, I’m making myself nauseous.

    How about mutant giant lure fish that dangle square bits of flesh that just happen to look like Grand Theft Auto IV. Gets the gamers every time.

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  11. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 4, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    beb, i was trying to consider how to discreetly phrase what you just said so well. Maybe it’s from reading too much hard sci-fi as a youth, but ultimately, we’re all drinking and eating material that went through some organism’s digestive system at some point. Your steak and taters was dino poop millenia ago, but the upside — as a carbon based life form, your key constituents were once formed at the heart of stars.

    So you’ve got *that* goin’ for ya.

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  12. Rana said on December 4, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    jeff tmmo – I hope you’re feeling better soon.

    If you’ve got a handy friend, maybe said friend could whip up one of these laptop holders for you:

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  13. Julie Robinson said on December 4, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    Jeff, add my prayers that all goes well and you will be feeling great soon.

    Rana, I want a lappyvator too! With longer legs I could rig it up to stream movies from Netflix while I do my daily 90 minute ride on the torture machine, I mean exercise bike. Anything to distract the brain from the body.

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  14. Jolene said on December 4, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    Best wishes from me, too, Jeff. Am glad you have friends and family close at hand to help you through.

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  15. Dorothy said on December 4, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    Jeff you know we are nearly next door neighbors, so if there is anything I can do to aid you or your family during this time, you can give me a holler. I’ll be thinking of you and saying some prayers that your recovery period is brief and not too unpleasant.

    Off topic but thought I’d mention it: our new kitty Lucy went to the vet today and was declared very healthy. She’s approximately 6 months old, never been spayed yet (but will be on the 17th) and has no sign of feline leukemia. She got her preliminary vaccinations and flea/heartworm medicine on hand now. And after what I paid at the vet’s today (I’m just sayin’, NOT complaining) she’s one of the best Christmas gifts I’ll ever get!

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  16. Julie Robinson said on December 4, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    A warm cat on the lap sounds pretty good right now; it is friggin’ cold here.

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  17. crinoidgirl said on December 4, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Dorothy –

    Six months old is perfect; she hasn’t been in heat yet. And no feleuk is also very good news.

    Jeff (tmmo) –

    Best wishes to you. That lappyvator sounds like a good idea! Surely you could lean on someone (in a mild-mannered way) to put one together.

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  18. Deborah said on December 4, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    I could swear that I commented earlier today wishing Jeff tmmo luck with his surgery and what not. But it doesn’t seem to be in the comments now? Either I dreamed I did it in the first place or I screwed up submitting, I’ll never know.

    I’m still at work it’s 6:32 pm central time on a Friday evening, what’s wrong with this picture? I will be here at least another hour or so too.

    Cold here in Chicago, the coldest day of the season so far. Grim.

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  19. coozledad said on December 4, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    I envy people who can confront illness with grace. It’s not a gift, it’s an art, acquired by patient effort; defusing the silly crap of daily life and struggling to live happily and peacefully. I haven’t put a euthanasia codicil in my will. My wife says it will be completely unnecessary.

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  20. LAMary said on December 5, 2009 at 2:21 am

    Anyone want to hear this year’s fragrance gift recommendations? I’m prepared. I’ve been doing a lot of sniffing. Fragrance is to me as micro brews are to pretty much everyone else it seems.

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  21. Julie Robinson said on December 5, 2009 at 9:21 am

    A shout-out to Moe’s Christmas music lecture link a couple days ago. It made filing receipts almost bearable. Thanks Moe.

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  22. alex said on December 5, 2009 at 9:31 am

    LAM, do tell. I need an update on what’s hot and what’s not in the world of toilet water.

    When I lived in Chicago I became a fan of Marilyn Miglin’s Pheromone when it was available only at her then-new Oak Street boutique, before it was widely known as a fragrance. For years it served as my default choice for gift giving, and every woman who received it loved it and wanted to know where to get more.

    A year or two ago I got my mom a fragrance, but don’t remember the name, only the bottle, which had boobs. She seemed to like that one.

    So what do you think is a good fragrance for an octogenarian who still dresses fashionably and isn’t too old-ladylike? Also, any tips as regards mens’ fragrances? It’s been years since I’ve worn the stuff, so I’m totally clueless about what’s cool. Used to love Herrerra for Men.

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  23. Little Bird said on December 5, 2009 at 11:38 am

    There’s a new post up so maybe this is not going to be viewed – LA Mary, I too would like the skinny on scents. I currently have a Jo Malone fragrance that I like, can’t remember which one. Back in the day I was crazy about White Shoulders but ODed on it so now it makes me sick. My daughter, who comments here too likes Clinique’s Happy. What’s new and worth testing?

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  24. Little Bird said on December 5, 2009 at 11:41 am

    OK, that was weird. This is Deborah, not Little BIrd, I’m at my daughter’s place using her computer to write this and the previous one. I forgot that it had her name pre-signed in.

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  25. LAMary said on December 5, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Of the new stuff out there, there are two Prada scents that are nice. Infusion d’Iris is very clean and fresh but not astringent. I would think the octogenarian would like it. It’s not stodgy, but it’s not screaming, “I’m on the make.”
    Prada Amber is a little sexier. Spicy and woodsy but not headachey. I think it’s got an old fashioned sort of wealthy hot babe quality. Not too flashy. Viktor and Rolf, the people whom make Flower Bomb, have a seriously floral new product called Eau Mega. It’s got gardenia and what I think is violet in abundance. It’s nice, but not for office wear. Marc Jacobs has something called Lola which is another hot night out scent, and the bottle is amazing. There’s a huge purple, rose and pink flower on the cap. Honestly, I think the original Marc Jacobs scent is the best. Very classic, and the lotion in the same scent is excellent.
    Lastly, there’s a new Issey Miyake called A Scent. I love this stuff. It’s got calendula and I’m sure I’m picking up some mint in there. Very clean fresh just out the shower sort of scent. Other scents that aim in that direction sometimes lean toward the laundry detergent side of things. A Scent is more like some fresh French hard milled soap, cool morning air, and a hint of toothpaste. In a good way.
    I’ll do some male fragrance research this weeked, alex. The men in my circle aren’t very adventurous. Hermes Orange Vert is the one my older son likes, and the rest of the guys around here are not really into cologne. I think I use all available cabinet space in the bathroom with my stuff which discourages them.
    More new perfumes were introduced this year than any other year. I think most of them were in the Mariah Carey/Brittney Spears/P Diddy category. I leave those alone.

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  26. alex said on December 5, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    I’ll take your list with me to the store and ask to sniff the various scents. It seems there was an Issey Miyake my mom was fond of. Maybe that was the bottle with the boobs. The glass was frosted and the contents, as I recall, rather orange in color.

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  27. Deborah said on December 5, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    LA Mary, Do you know of any fragrance that has a clover scent? A few years ago my daughter gave me a clover scented lotion that was heavenly but they discontinued it so don’t know where to find another one?

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  28. Deborah said on December 5, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Also Issey Miyake is my favorite fashion designer, I have a couple of pleats please outfits and a fantastic long jacket of his that I got through ebay. My wedding dress was a black bubble fabric coat of his and I’ve had quite a few other pieces of his over the years. I have tested his fragrances in stores but have never been compelled to buy one.

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  29. Dexter said on December 5, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    Just remember…the favorite breakfast treat in Deadwood was bacon:
    “Did you want I should feed his body to the pigs?” Al Swearengen whispered, coming closer still. “Did you want he should wind up decorating the backyard of Mr. Wu? From dust we come–to pigshit we return?”

    Good luck JmmO. My wife had laser surgery for sinus problems. Thank God we had a great specialist surgeon … he cured her. A lot of reconstruction of her head, but he got it done.

    On topic…did any of you see this guy coming up out-de-river yonder?

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  30. LAMary said on December 6, 2009 at 12:07 am

    Try this one, Deborah.

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