Friday, January 20, 2006

Humans and Whales: There ain't room enough for the both of us

First of all, just finished reading Philip Roth's The Human Stain, and it was a very good read. Roth has this unusual and compelling style where you're not sure whether you're reading fiction or non-fiction. It's a very cool thing. The Human Stain is one in a trilogy of books Roth wrote with common themes regarding the last half of the 20th century. (The other two are American Pastoral and I Married A Communist.)

Doesn't this book jacket kick ass? Yeah, it does!

I never read the Communist one, but Pastoral and Stain are like polar opposites of each other, in a good way. They are "bookends" if you will. Pastoral deals with a man with a perfect outward life whose family crisis ruins him, while Stain deals with a man whose outward crisis ruins his family life. There's overlap, of course, but that's it in a nutshell. I liked Pastoral better, but Stain was good, too. Roth can be a little self-indulgent and long-winded sometimes, but the way he explores the insides of his characters is terrific. I think of him as a kind of modern-day Henry James, in some ways. But anyway, if you never read Roth before, you should. He's got all kinds of great stuff out there. Or, if you are a lazy American who sacrifices self-actualization on the altar of instant gratification, you can
watch the movie. Wait. I want to watch the movie, too. Who am I kidding? Nicole Kidman is hot.

Speaking of human stains, though, I would be remiss if I didn't mention this latest government report about beached whales that, shockingly, completely and deliberately failed to mention
naval sonar as a possible cause of whale beachings. Surprise!

AAAAAAARRRRRUUUGHGHGHGH!!!!! Looks like I just randomly beached myself for no reason. My bad!

The Bush administration, editing scientific reports for their own benefit? It's true! But hey, it's their prerogative. This administration has no time for "
facts," or "information." Let's just slash scientician funding and end this scientistical talk once and for all.

Hey, if you guys want to eat me, go ahead. I'm just gonna die out here anyway.

After all, I mean, don't you want the whales to beach themselves? That's
good eats! And does it look like I'm made of lamp oil? No. No, it does not. Want to know why? Because I'm NOT made of freaking lamp oil, that's why! And if you'll excuse me, Mr. "I don't like it when whales die," but I have a shack to heat. And if you don't think those shacks get drafty, come pay me a visit some time! Whale burgers on me.

(Bottom two photo credits: Science Daily, NRDC)

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