As we all know, sharks are in trouble. Suffering from a laundry list of problems from overfishing, to habitat loss, to pollution, to a rapidly changing environment brought on by anthropogenic climate change, many species from the smalltooth sawfish to the daggernose sharks are teetering on the verge of extinction. The daggernose shark so endangered that the National Marine Fisheries Services got off it’s ass on May 9, 2017 to declare it an endangered species – under the Trump administration. That’s like the Flat Earth Society endorsing Buzz Aldrin for President of the Moon.
“The Prophecy of Teeth and Blood”, my first shark poem, written in 2010 after the Deepwater Horizon disaster. It was performed to great effect* by Team Mesa 2010 at the National Poetry Slam by myself, Brit Shostak (now of Portland, OR), Tristan Marshell, and Lauren Perry.
C. megalodon, whether you place it in the genus Carcharocles or Carcharodon is extinct.
Nothing would give me greater joy, reduce me to childhood giggling, and make me rush toward the nearest research vessel begging for a job than being able to say otherwise, but I can’t. It’s deader than the Dodo and Disco. There are theories why it died out, all of them intriguing, but none leave room for C. megalodon to swim in the world’s oceans. Let’s take a deeper dive. Continue reading “The Mega-Low Down on the Megalodon”
I love sushi. Spider rolls, seared escolar, ebi, shrimp tempura rolls, etc. I’ve never been a fan of raw tuna or salmon, not because of the taste, or the idea of raw fish, but the texture of raw tuna and salmon leaves me cold. Crustaceans are my jam, which, if I were a shark, would put me in order Orectolobiformes, the carpet shark family. Easy access to crabs, lobster, clams (mollusks are pretty tasty too). However, as I point out in a post back in February (Fry’s Food Stores and the High Cost of Shrimp), you’re not just eating crustaceans when you order your plate of coconut shrimp or tempura roll, you’re laying waste to the marine environment.
This weekend (April 1st, 2017) I attended the 2nd Annual Verde Valley Comic Expo, put together by the Northern Arizona Cartoonist Association, to spread the word about sharks and the peril they face. Many kids stopped by the booth either to ask questions about sharks, or to watch the dive videos from my recent expedition to Fiji’s Coral Coast, or my past expeditions to Isla Guadalupe in Mexico.
Every day, I scour the internet for news about sharks. When I do this, I will inevitably find something that makes my blood boil, but some of it’s led to positive action (I helped start an investigation that I found out later led to the charter boat Phoenix get fined for illegally taking a hammerhead), and I’m proud of that. When you add the Trumps to the equation, well, things are going to get heated.
One of the things for being the preeminent (because I think I’m the only) shark conservationist on poetry slam’s national stage, are lots of wall posts from my friends about shark stuff. And don’t get me wrong, I love each and every one of them. Silly shark memes? Love it. Videos of sharks doing awesome stuff? Love it. News stories about sharks? Love it… but…
When I walked into the venue, I was introduced as “Phoenix’s leading shark expert” – which, flattering, but probably not true! Ernesto, when inviting me, asked me to consider writing a shark erotica piece. I was up to the challenge!
Last night I attended Mahiki Invasion at UnderTow, Phoenix’s new tiki bar that is attempting to resurrect classic tiki bar culture. It was pretty damn great. And not just because they started plying us with rum as soon as we entered the door (the three drinks were the Mahiki Bar London’s take on the classic Don the Beachcomber cocktails “Missionary’s Downfall”, “Navy Grog”, and something served in a coconut). There are a lot worse ways to spend a Thursday night.