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.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Judge Boyd post at Blogs for Terri

Over at Blogs for Terri you can read Judge Boyd’s letter on the Mae Magouirk/Beth Gaddy/Ken Mullinax confusion. You can also see a copy of the court order and click on links to commentary.

Here is Judge Boyd’s Letter as reproduced at Blogs for Terry:

I am Probate Judge Donald W. Boyd and I am about to tell you the real story. On March 31, 2005 one of the grand children of Mae Magouirk called me very upset saying that the brother and sister and cousin(mullinax) were threatening to remove Ms Magouirk from Hospice and they were afraid of what would happen to Ms Magouirk if this was attempted. I asked if they had medical power of attorney and they stated, (we thought we did but have found out we have not) I told them the only way they could make decisions was to become her guardians. On Friday, April 1, 2005, I came to work at 8:00 am and Beth Gaddy and her brother along with their attorney (Danny Daniel)were waiting for us to open and explained the situation and after hearing the explanation from the grand children and the attorney I felt someone should be appointed Temporary Emergency Guardian until we could have a hearing and determine who that person should be. The grand children and their attorney filed a petition for emergency guardianship of a gravely incapacitated adult. I ordered that Beth Gaddy become Temporary Emergency Guardian until we could hold a hearing to see who the permanent guardian would be. I scheduled a hearing to be held on Monday, April 4, 2005 at 9:00am.

Monday-April 4, 2005 at 8:00 AM I received a petition from the brother and sister and their attorney(Kirby).The brother and sister filed a petition to become guardian and a petition objecting to the appointment of Beth Gaddy as emergency guardian.
Monday April 4, 2005 the hearing began at 9:10 am with ALL parties present, except Ora Mae Magouirk. She was represented by attorney (guardian ad-litem) James Thornton.

After hearing the opening statements and about 2 hrs of testimony the attorney for the brother and sister requested a break. We adjourned for a 15 minute break and was to start the hearing back at 11:15 am. When I came from my office back to the hearing, ALL the attorneys and some of the family members informed me that they had a possible settlement agreement and wanted a few more minutes. The attorneys came in a few minutes later and announced they had an agreement.

The attorney for the brother and sister proposed to the court that they would withdraw their petition to become guardians and would withdraw their objection to Beth Gaddy becoming guardian and would consent to appointing Beth Gaddy as guardian, provided that she would agree to follow the medical advice recommended by and agreed upon by 2 of three doctors (all heart specialists). The 3 Doctors were named and agreed to by all parties. The court ordered that the three doctors evaluate Mae Magouirk within 24 hours (or as soon as possible) as time was of the essence. The court told ALL parties they were not to have contact with any of the doctors to try and influence their decision. Everyone agreed and the family was laughing and hugging one another and I thought everything had been worked and I felt the right decision had been made and I thought it was great that the family made that decision and I didn’t have to. The attorney for the brother and sister, Jack Kirby, drew the order up for the Court.

Then on Thursday all of these half-truths and lies started across the
internet started by Mr. Kenneth Mullinax. I have nothing pending in my court and I had nothing pending in my court, yet I have been accused of starving a grandmother, murder, called everything in the book and all I want is to get the truth out.

I am answering any e-mails as fast as I can and I have not refused to talk with anyone. I called a news conference to explain my side. I will talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime about this matter.

It concerns me that people and so-called news agencies will print things that are not true or half-true and not bother to seek the truth. Please consider this in the future before you jump to conclusions you need to verify the story.

Regards,
Probate Judge Donald W. Boyd
Donald W. Boyd

Thoughts: Speaking personally, I feel sorry for the man for a number of reasons. I am very sorry that he has “been accused of starving a grandmother, murder, called everything in the book.” This is wrong, very wrong. We do not condone it. Speaking as the DeputyHeadmistress, The DeputyHeadmistress has a strong urge to edit that sentence to “…murder, and called everything in the book.” The DeputyHeadmistress adores the Oxford Comma and finds the lack of one in this sentence distressing, so distressing that she cannot really concentrate on the content of the letter.

The DeputyHeadmistress is moved by the great duress under which this man must be writing. Clearly, it must only be hardship and severe strain that render this poor man less coherent than (we trust) he would otherwise be.

The Deputy Headmistress is first charmed and then alarmed to read that Beth Gaddy and her brother are ‘grand children.’ It is charming for the Judge to pay such a compliment to the youngsters. Grand is a lovely, old fashioned word which meets with the full approval of the DeputyHeadmistress, who thinks it is also a grand and gradely word. The DeputyHeadmistress also has grand children, whereas Granny Tea has grandchildren. Deputy Headmistress must ask if it is the policy of the court to award guardianship duties to children, however grand those children might be? This is alarming.

To continue, it causes the DeputyHeadmistress genuine pain to read sentences such as this:

“We adjourned for a 15 minute break and was to start the hearing back at 11:15 am.”

Our gentle readers may be laughing, but we assure them that this is no laughing matter. The DeputyHeadmistress has stubbed her mental toe upon that sentence, and it smarts. Furthermore, the DeputyHeadmistress is particularly grieved to see such sentences written by any individual holding a position of influence and responsibility. How shall the young secure their hearts and guard their lives from grammatical sins if their betters cannot offer a purer example upon which the young may model their lives and speech?

The DeputyHeadmistress does not wish to be hypocritical. She admits that she is far from perfect in this matter. Having been schooled under the systems of two countries and being an avid reader of books published in yet another country she cannot consistently limit herself to the spelling rules of one. Being accustomed to speaking with earnestness and the frequent pauses necessary for gesturing, she is prone to sprinkle commas about like so many grains of pepper from the pepper box. She is far too hasty in her words and typing and far too lax in her proof-reading. She generally types blog entries in the very wee-est wee hours of the morning, so tired that she can hardly string two words together with skill enough to make a necklace of macaronis on a shoestring, let alone create anything approaching the sparkling strings of prose common to other bloggers she knows. All these and no doubt other defects combine to make it impossible for the DeputyHeadmistress to achieve the standard of perfection which she admires and sees most often displayed by Granny Tea or the Deputy Headmistress’ dear friend and monarch, Her Majesty Queen Shenaynay.

However, when the DeputyHeadmistress is writing in a somewhat official capacity representing something beyond herself as a private individual, she proofreads and calls for grammatical aid and succour (usually from Granny Tea or Queen Shenaynay).

Have this man’s friends abandoned him in the wake of the accusations against him? The DeputyHeadmistress would not deny grammatical assistance to her most hated enemy (this enemy is, of course, hypothetical) so she cannot imagine how lonely it must be to live in such a friendless state.

When she reads sentences like this one the DeputyHeadmistress longs to befriend the author and share with him some of her excess commas:

I came to work at 8:00 am and Beth Gaddy and her brother along with their attorney (Danny Daniel)were waiting for us to open and explained the situation and after hearing the explanation from the grand children and the attorney I felt someone should be appointed Temporary Emergency Guardian until we could have a hearing and determine who that person should be.

However imperfect the DeputyHeadmistress is in matters grammatical and punctuational, she is merely a housewife, after all, who dropped out of college to come home, marry the Headmaster, and raise beautiful babies. This letter is supposed to have been written by a judge. The DeputyHeadmistress is grieved, as always, when confronted with grammatical perfidy and malfeasance. She shall close this silly post and go out to pasture to read some salutary Richard Mitchell. You come, too.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Keep a Poem in Your Pocket”

Keep a poem in your pocket
And a picture in your head
And you’ll never feel lonely
At night when you’re in bed.
The little poem will sing to you
The little pictures it brings to you
A dozen dreams to dance to you
At night when you’re in bed.

So-

Keep a poem in your pocket
And a picture in your head
And you’ll never feel lonely
At night when you’re in bed.

–Beatrice Regniers

Oh for a book and a shady nook,
Either in door or out;
With the green leaves whispering overhead,
Or the street cries all about.
Where I may read all at my ease,
Both of the new and the old;
For a jolly good book whereon to look,
Is better to me than gold.

–John Wilson

(April is National Poetry Month)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Haiku is stupid. Rhyme Rules.

The Art of the Arabian

Behold the Arabian, fountain of all,
Fire of his mother’s eyes
Burning like the desert sunrise,
Hear his thundering hoofbeats fall:
Ah, but he is gentle too,
Do not fear him, he is kind.
Learn now the brilliance of his mind,
Swift is he to learn the new.
Observe his persevering heart,
This horse indeed is a work of art!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

tripping over our tongues

The outline on Finland is done. A great burden has been removed… a new one is settling in: writing the paper.

The most recent issue of World magazine has arrived (did you know this, equuschick? I got first dibs on it!). There were two excellent articles on liberal bias on the college campus. It’s been interesting to actually witness this first hand. What’s also been interesting is witnessing our supposedly non-judgemental culture struggle with areas that need judgement. I have watched a teacher flounder between whether or not polygamy is a good thing in the United States. It isn’t. And she knew this as she floundered, but a habit of saying, “Of course, we can’t judge their lifestyle,” leads one to make, well, snap judgements.

A better habit to have is the habit of thoroughly investigating the evidence. Then we don’t have to trip over ourselves because of a preconceived judgement that we will never make preconceived judgements.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


  • The Common Room on Facebook

  • Amazon: Buy our Kindle Books

  • Search Amazon


    Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

  • Brainy Fridays Recommends: