First off, it’s good to be back! It’s been over 4 months since my last post, and as much as I want to blame the fact I’ve been busy (which I have been), and work (which there has been a lot of), and travel (ditto – in 2017, I dove two oceans, two seas, and a lake), the truth is I’ve been overwhelmed by events and needed a mental health break.
I’ve also been wrestling with the ideas of political purity versus political expediency. Basically, how does one reconcile what they want out of politics versus what they can get? Many people have made some persuasive arguments about propping up the American two-party system does not affect change, but all the while, while engaged in this existentialist wankathon, one party, and only one party, has been plotting the systemic destruction of the one thing on this planet I truly care about.
And I might have remained in this bullshit fugue state for this wake-up call by the Trump administration.
This is an Indo-Pacific lionfish (from the genus Pterois) from one of my 2017 dives off of Fiji’s coral coast. Even though I don’t have a red filter on my GoPro and I’m using natural light at about 60 feet down, it’s I think the video conveys the beauty of the animal as it hovers in perfect balance, display its’ delicate fins in a threat display as I approach it.
On July 8th at Shark-Con in Tampa, FL, I will be releasing a brand new collection of poems, essays, and art called “Cap’n Klute’s Ocean Almanac, Vol. 44 #2”! It’s probably the most ambitious project I’ve ever embarked on. It’s a collection of some of the essays and poetry, and I’ve commissioned a whole bunch of illustrations and drawings from some of Arizona’s top talent to present the work in a way you’ve never seen before. I’m really excited.
And to sweeten the deal, I’m including an exclusive book-only essay on tiki bar culture and sharks! The essay also includes two drink recipes I’ve created, the Blue Guadalupe and the Waidroka Angel, and if you come to Shark-Con you can buy tiki mugs to serve those drink recipes in (note: that tiki in the picture is not what I’m selling, that’s one from my private collection).
As always, any and all profits from the books, tiki mugs, t-shirts, and stuff for the little remoras in your school get donated to shark conservation groups.
So if you love sharks, if you love the ocean, if you love tiki bar culture, and like it all with a little chaser of sarcasm, you know where you need to be on July 8th and 9th.
Come to the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, FL and indulge your love of all things sharky, and stop by my booth, and say hi!
Follow Shark-Con on Facebook, or on Twitter – there might be some upcoming discounts. You never know.
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.
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.
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.
The one thing that is very hard for a person who loves the ocean is the idea of eating wildlife, aka fish. I touch on it a little in my poem “Suicide Bomber“, that everything from the lowly crab to the mighty marlin is classified as “seafood”, as if there is some common thread between these animals, beyond the fact that they both live in the ocean.
Love it. Maybe more than I like any other food. Grilled shrimp skewers, coconut shrimp, tempura rolls, you name it, I love the taste, I love the texture, shrimp delivers on every level. Popcorn shrimp? Fuck yes. As a wee Klute, Red Lobster’s was my jam, and my father, frustrated that I never ordered anything else, tried to talk me into crab, fish, etc.
Nope. He didn’t understand that part of the appeal of popcorn shrimp was that I could pretend I was a giant baleen whale and I was swallowing a whole school of delicious, golden brown, tiny crustaceans. I just assumed they ate it like I did. I didn’t know where they got the cocktail sauce, but whales were smart.