I cleaned out the fridge today. As the Deputy Headmistress & Zookeeper said, there are new fewer critters in our zoo.

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A poem by…

Me. It isn’t about anything, and it has no name.

Never ending
Always sending
Its bright light across the sea
Always sighing
Never lying
In the long eternity
Never sticking
Always ticking
Its soft sands go slipping by
And I cry

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I’m making a regency dress

This is……you’re right! JennyAnyDots

About a year ago I purchased A Regency Gown Pattern from I have been able to make 4 dresses so far. One for sister 1, one for sister 2, one for sister 3, and one for me. Right now I am working on making one for a friend.

Mrs.Chancey’s patterns are sooo easy to follow! If you are a fan of books like Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and Emma, and if you can sew you will love this web-site!!

This pattern is very easy to follow. I only had (and still have) trouble with plackets- this is my own fault and not the pattern’s.

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It’s About Freedom 3

It’s About Freedom #1 is here. Several of our news and views posts also contain markers to the march of freedom in various countries.

However, where you really want to go is Sophist Pundit, where you will find a much more comprehensive Carnival of Freedom.

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Save the Frankenfish!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Things you might not have known about Frankenfish:

These fascinating fish are air-breathers, and so can tolerate extremely low oxygen levels in their water.

When they mate they are monogamous for an entire breeding season, and possibly throughout their lifetimes- scientists don’t know for certain yet, but might be able to find out if they had more time to study the matter.

These unusual fish guard their young with intensity.

Some species are like the seahorse in that the male broods the eggs. Only in Frankenfish species with male brooders, the males actually hold the fertilized eggs carefully in their mouths, and continue to guard the lives of their small fry in the same way.

These bizarre creatures swim, mate, and live in the water yet are capable of migrating across dry land. Scientists still have not been able to discover which species of Frankenfish are able to migrate across dry land, although further study might shed some light on the topic.

In some areas they bury themselves in the mud during drought conditions, remaining there until the rains add more water to their habitat.

Some humans have complained of the predatory nature of this fish, insisting that it poses a danger to human and animal populations. This argument, of course, has been used in regard to the reintroduction of wolves to human habitat and livestock producing regions. It’s been used, usually without success or much sympathy, in connection with cougars and bears, too.

Alan Gardner of Utah finds this fish species remarkable for a number of reasons. He’s leading a bipartisan effort to have the fish protected as an endangered species. If successful, this also means its habitat will be protected.

Six Democrats and Seven Republicans- all commissioners from several states- have joined him in his efforts on behalf of the frankenfish. Their application seems to be in order. A biology professor assisted them in compiling their application. In fact, Mr. Gardner says that at least one person from Fish and Wildlife said “this was some of the better biology they’ve seen on an application.”

In spite of this, many are fighting this effort. Some of their detractors complain that the frankenfish is too common to warrant endangered species status. Roger Mancebo, a Pershing County, Nevada commissioner working with Gardner, points out that this hasn’t stopped conservationists from a recent attempt “to win protection for the sage grouse, a bird so common that it’s hunted in 15 states.”

Ken Burton, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman, complains that this species has already been listed as injurious, so it can’t be an endangered species.

How does a critter get listed as injurious? He explains

“An injurious species is any species that the secretary determines is harmful to resources, other wildlife, forests or agriculture”

Grey wolves and Grizzly bears cause harm, too. In fact, “We might call a wolf ‘injurious,’ ” says Don Davis, former commissioner of Rio Blanco County in Colorado. “A wolf is injurious for a rancher and for wildlife.” When the wolves were introduced at Yellowstone Park, park rangers told the Headmistress and family the wolves hunted out coyote dens and systematically slaughtered every resident- cubs, parents, nursing pups. The wolves didn’t eat the coyote. They just killed them and left their bodies.

“There’s harm, and then there’s harm,” Mr. Burton says.

He says that the problem is that the frankenfish, also known as the snakehead, is not a native species.

Other non-native species include the mute swan, which animal-rights groups have defended, although four out of five Maryland residents, according to at least one study, favour their culling. It might actually take an act of Congress to change the Migratory Species Act so that wildlife managers can reduce flocks of that invasive species.

Jonathan McKnight, an associate director at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources told the Christian Science Monitor that this is about cosmetics.

“The snakehead is a science-fiction monster and the mute swan is a fairy-tale creature….”

Others complain that if successful, this will place severe restrictions on the area the commissioners identify as frankenfish habitat- “a stretch of freshwater and land covering 68 million acres and cutting across 11 Eastern states and Washington, D.C.”

“Anywhere you’ve got an endangered species, it very much limits what you can do,” acknowledges Mr. Gardner. All of the Commissioners are from western states, so perhaps they understand what this means better than others, having had to watch easterners “tie up land and scuttle development in the West by asking federal bureaucrats to put various rodents, predators and pests on the nation’s endangered-species list.” Common Room Scholars will remember that Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse is one of those species. It turned out not to actually be a species, but rather a case of mistaken identification. More here and here (scroll down for the Preble’s reference).

Mr. Gardner and his band of commissioners are making a point, if our readers haven’t already figured that out, about another invasive species- easterners who control what westerners what to do with their land. The efforts of Gardner and company are tongue in cheek, although if they are successful, they might inadvertently end up protecting eastern habitats from the well known invasive species known as ‘bureaucrat.’

That’s because some of the methods used back east to deal with the snakehead ( Latin name: Channa argus) seem a little bit, well, draconian.

When it was discovered in a Crofton, Maryland pond, the state poisoned the pond, successfully killing the snakeheads- and everything else.

Officials want to be allowed to enter private land to eradicate non-native species, and if this is how they go about it, I’m not sure I’d want to let them know if I had one on my property (This works in reverse, too. I’ve heard tell of a California family who initially were thrilled when found a beaver on their property, but changed their minds after suffering years of government intrusion because of it. They quietly told friends that if they ever found a beaver on their property, their best recourse was to quietly poison it and bury the body).

“These things are ecological ebola (sic) and we need to react to them with the same level of concern,” McKnight said.

Less invasive and destructive methods of dealing with invasive species don’t seem to interest the Invasive Species Council.

Many Asian cultures rather enjoy the snakehead, salted and grilled and in soup, according to the Christian Science Monitor. In fact, they may have arrived in this country through live fish markets popular with Asian immigrants. In Asia when the snakeheads bury themselves in the mud to survive droughts, they are often dug up and eaten by human beings also interested in survival. But the CSM reports that

When Ruth Hanessian of the Maryland Invasive Species Council suggested that officials hand out snakehead recipes to promote the catching and eating of the fish, she was rebuffed. Ms. Hanessian is also sensitive to what she sees as the state’s hypocrisy. After all, she says, when Maryland drained Pine Lake to capture one snakehead, officials made no provisions for saving other lake inhabitants. Hanessian transferred several koi from the lake to a backyard bathtub.

I hope Mr. Gardner is able to make his point and some corrective action is taken with the Endangered Species Act.

Oh, yes, one more thing. According to Mr. Gardner the biology professor who assisted them in researching biological information on the snakehead (in that application which one Fish and Wildlife employee said had some of the better biology they’d seen on an application) found most of his information on the internet. So did I.

Websites used in compiling material for this article include:

a Washington Times article

The Christian Science Monitor

A Capital News Service article on banning imports of frankenfish

A government-prepared factsheet on snakeheads

a Liberty Matters bulletin

Update: Gardner and Commissioners seem to have gotten a nibble on their petition- see ‘Wackos Want Snakehead Fish Protected’

Update 2: Reason Online; Hit and Run has a related post, “Who Will Save the Snakehead?” here.

Update 3: Reason Online also has a great post here. Should be titled “EAT the Snakehead!”

Update 4: Gunner at No Quarters points out in Washington Meets Frankenfish that “Washington will protect animals harmful to the cattleman, but use the title “harmful” to protect their own.”

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