Helpless Predator

One hundred million per year. That’s 190 per minute. It’s estimated that in 10 years they will all be extinct. With each mutilated body that slowly sinks deeper and deeper in the salty water and gets eaten alive by fish the ocean dies a little more.

Sharks are called “apex predators” the ecosystems depend on them. An effect that has been seen on the US East Coast because of the near elimination of the Black Tips and Tiger sharks is an increase population of rays, creatures that need to be checked by predators so that the shellfish population (natural water filters) does not disappear all together. Since the balance of this ecosystem has been hacked apart the water quality is worsening every year. That’s just one effect. Think what will happen world wide in 10 years when all of the sharks are gone.

Chef Gordon Ramsey traveled to Hong Kong to investigate shark finning, and as a world-renowned chef he felt that he needed to taste what millions of sharks were dying for each year. I gagged as I watched him take a bite, covered my mouth as I heard him say that it tasted delicious, and nearly cried when he followed that comment with, “It’s all in the broth and herbs, this shark fin could be tofu or chicken and I wouldn’t know the difference.” A man that can take a sip of a simmering sauce and detect every single ingredient cannot distinguish the difference between a shark fin and tofu. So why do these incredible creatures have to be wiped off the face of the earth when an imitation shark fin soup can be made?

Longlines are stretched out across a section of the sea. As I watched the documentary it even reminded me of the show Deadliest Catch, where they put out the pods to catch the crabs, the bobbing orange buoys a hopeful beacon for a bountiful harvest. Crewmen of fishing boats all around the world decided to cash in on the $300+ per pound price on dried shark fins. They work together and hoist the magnificent shark up onto the deck of their ship. I half expect them to sing “heave, ho!” while they do it. Then their teamwork turns from memories of watching Treasure Island to a nauseating gore flick.

The blades come out, dulled from too many victims. The great water monster struggles to get back in the water, to be able to breath again, to be able to stabilize the ecosystems. The pirates hack and make the giant fish, or not so giant seeing as sharks of any age and size are taken, thrash around as each of its fins are stolen. I reached for the tissues as the men practiced their soccer kicks and pushed the butchered shark off the deck with their bloodied boots. They joke around as they toss the fins in the lower freezer of the ship. They each have a beer as the captain drives along the line to their next catch. I dab my eyes, because I can imagine the defenseless shark sinking. Would it try to use it’s muscular body to swim? Or would it just take in big breaths and wait for the feast to begin? It must know, being one of the most terrifying predators on the earth, what is about to happen.

Prestige. That is what this all started with. It was once only a dish for the Chinese emperor. Apparently one of his cooks wanted to give his emperor the pride of eating the deadliest creature that rules all the seas. Who came up with the idea to use 1% of a fish? The shark is a very muscular fish, there would be so many fillets to serve, but no instead the creature is sentenced to a slow and unimaginably horrifying death. Now anyone can have a bowl of shark fin soup for around $100 or more. It is the equivalent of dolled up women going shopping at Tiffany’s, they don’t go to enjoy it, but rather be seen enjoying it.

Imagine looking at salty sweaty men as they swing blades into your limbs, you fight, but there is nothing you can do, your lungs are searching for air, but finding none. Once they have taken what they want they throw you into the forest for the animals to find you. You can breath, but you have no power to move yourself, you have only to listen and watch as the teeth find you and you are shared amongst many bellies.

I come from a hunting family, so I understand that protein needs to be obtained from animals, and that the animals have to die in order for that to happen. But to waste the vast majority of that protein, and push not only one but hundreds of species towards extinction, that is a travesty. These fishing boats don’t even throw back the babies. There are many obscenities that I want to call these fishermen, but I will settle for malicious ignoramuses. Don’t you know that every living thing needs to reproduce in order for there to be more for next years catch? Or do you just want to cash in on the destruction of 100s of species while you still can?

When will we see that there is prestige in leaving these creatures be?

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Providence of the Pill

When I turn on the TV, there is one thing that I cannot wait to see. Commercials. Specifically drug commercials. Finally, man has made magic real, and you can buy it in a bottle. There is a cure for almost everything these days. You can take pills for anything that bothers you, or could possible bother you in the future. Headaches, muscle spasms, arthritis, weight loss, restless legs, break ups, castration prevention (be one less man to suffer), and spontaneous combustion. All this and more can be avoided by popping pills. It’s a miracle! I believe I even saw that the castration one, NoNeuter is on sale! Buy one packet get one free, I have a feeling that guys won’t have to think about what to get their friends for Christmas.

I think we all know what the best part of these commercials are, the side effects. Of course there are the side effects that come standard with every drug commercial; breathing troubles, increased heart rate, liver spots, strokes, detachable limbs (if this happens the drug company will send you specialized industrial strength Velcro), and in rare cases (10%) death. These side effects mean nothing to me though. If there is a pill that will stop my spaghetti arms I will risk sporadic break dancing, and getting Michael Jackson skin spots.

Then there are the drugs that have the really weird side effects. Ones that I believe I could deal with, but I don’t know if I want to. For instance, there is a commercial for Cymbalta, an antidepressant. It started off with the normal effects, Nausea in 30% of the users, drowsiness and headaches in 20%, dizziness, insomnia, fatigue, loss of appetite, and weakness. I realize that antidepressants do not want to spring happiness on the person taking the medication; but I didn’t realize how accommodating these drugs were, they ease the person into happiness by having the same symptoms of depression. Don’t believe me? Just look at what side effects are next. “Suicidal thoughts or behaviors, anxiety, agitation, or panic attacks, hostility or aggressiveness, engaging in unusual or dangerous activities, restlessness or inability to sit still, extreme elation or feelings of happiness that may switch back and forth with a depressed or sad mood, and chest palpitations” I now understand why people line up at pharmacies for this stuff!

Don’t worry about the side effects. They happen to few, and are usually minor enough that they might be able to be treated by your doctor, or a specialist in Gibraltar. Besides, there are other drugs that will take care of the side effects, and then there are drugs that will take care of the side effects that you get from the drug that takes away the side effects from the first drug you were taking. Why eat breakfast when you can fill yourself with pills? They are bright, and colorful, and come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. I can remember as a kid I could not wait to be able to swallow pills.

They look just like candy, and some of them make you feel a lot better than candy ever can. I am very excited that when I get married, and have a home of my own, I can invite all my girlfriends over for a Tupperware and drug party. I hear that a pharmaceutical rep does all the work. They bring the pamphlets full of information of drugs and what they do; also if I host I get 25% off my purchases!

With drugs I can be pain free, feeling free, fat free, stupid free, hair free, odor free, fart free, and alien baby free. I cannot imagine a world without drugs. Frankly, I do not want to. It would be a world of emotional wrecks. It would be a world of ignorance for the well being of their mental state. It would be a world of bland, colorless meals. The people in this world probably wouldn’t even care about the repercussions of a wiggly arm, or self image. Those poor people would be left to themselves to discover who they are, what they can do, and how to take care of themselves. I am thankful for the pharmaceutical companies, and their commercials; because without them…I would probably be in a lot of pain from something or other, and would have to feel the inconvenience of feelings, I would have fat all over my body, and would say stupid things in front of important people, I would probably look like a wookie (global warming is increasing the growth of hair in unwanted places), odor would be permeating off of me, I could fart in a business meeting, and would be vulnerable of impregnation in the event of an alien invasion. So you see, drugs are the only way to get through life living.

Halloween Penthouse Masquerade Party: 21st floor-downtown LA-$12

This was not my idea. It was not suppose to happen. Yet, here I am, in an apartment, my penthouse, full of models, or rather, half full of models, and the rest are random people seemingly off the street. Most of which are desperate to be noticed in their revealing costumes. The scary thing is that it’s not just girls.

I just walked by a guy that was wearing nothing but a fur jock strap and climbing boots.

I need therapy.

Damn models. They are just so beautiful. One wink and they had me convinced. Harmless little get together my ass. I thought I was going to have a Halloween of six or so models in my penthouse. At least I bought enough alcohol.

Instead of strip poker and body shots I have to deal with barfing pirate skanks, like last Halloween, and the two Halloweens before that. Not to mention avoiding the guys that have similar costumes to Mr. Furry Schlong Mountain Man. It just makes it worse that they have bodies chiseled by Aphrodite. What a Grecian ho.

Whereas I have a very classy outfit for what I thought was going to be a classy evening. I wore my Dior suit with Armani shoes, to make it a costume I added a big gift tag that says: TO: Beautiful Ladies  FROM: God. Those models didn’t even tell me about the masquerade theme that they had chosen. So I am the schmuck of a host that doesn’t even have a drawn on mask.

This Halloween sucks. Who puts a party ad in the classifieds?

Models.

Tickets! People have tickets, that means they had to pay.

They were going to charge people to come to my penthouse, and drink booze I paid for, eat my food, and not tell me, or give me any of the profits!

Daniela Cicarelli. Where is that Brazilian sun goddess who thinks she can dupe Michael Verscosian? There, in the corner. Now see, she is adorned in the semi-classy dress I wanted to see. We are not teenagers anymore, we do not need to run around practically naked to show our bodies; on the other hand, I wouldn’t want to see these lovely people in flannel nighties. She is stunning. Venetian looking mask, with a matching flapper dress, hair parted heavily to the right, her curls flowing down like ribbon from heaven.

“Daniela, we need to talk about this party.”

She reaches her delicate hand, and grabs the gift tag.

“Gift from God eh? We will just see about that.”

Oh I can feel my insides melt…again.

Bag of Peas

The afternoon sun leaked light through the glass sliding doors, brightening the kitchen where a little girl and her mother sat eating lunch.

“Mommy, why can’t I have a bag of peas? I really like peas.”

“Because mommy is using the peas right now Sweetie.”

“Maybe later?”

“Hopefully never.”

“What do you mean mommy? “

“Nothing baby, why don’t you eat up your lunch so that we can watch Beauty and the Beast.”

“Okay! I love Belle, her dress is so pretty, when I get married I am going to have a dress like Belle’s.”

“That’s nice baby, but you do have to eat you food in order to survive to marry someone. I wanna hear less chatting, and more chewing alright?”

“Okie Dokie mommy.”

The two sat, one with a bag of peas, and the other chewing a grilled cheese sandwich.

“Where is daddy? He always eats lunch with us, after kindergarten.”

“Daddy has a lot on his plate today.”

“No he doesn’t, mommy he’s not eating lunch with us.”

“I mean he has a lot of work to do.”

“Oh.”

“But he won’t always be busy.”

“I don’t like it when daddy is busy.”

“I don’t either my angel, I don’t either.”

“Mommy.”

“Yes Hun.”

Fidgeting with her napkin, the little girl focused her eyes on the bee that was fluttering by the door.“Oh I forget, can we watch the movie, I’m not hungry anymore.”

“But Sweets you still have half of your sandwich left, can you try and finish it for me?”

“I want to eat peas.”

“I told you mommy is using the bag of peas.”

“I wish you didn’t have to use the bag of peas.”

“I don’t want you thinking such things sweetheart, let’s watch the movie.”

“I will eat a little bit more, daddy wouldn’t like it if he heard that I didn’t finish my grilled cheese. He doesn’t like hearing that when he’s busy does he mommy?”

“Your daddy would understand if you weren’t hungry anymore hunny, you don’t have to finish it if you don’t want to.”

“But you said that daddy’s busy.”

“Yes I did, but he is not too busy to talk to you and understand. Anyway I wouldn’t tell him you didn’t finish your sandwich.”

“I won’t have to use the peas?”

“I will never let you use the peas. You are your daddy and mine’s little angel, so you never have to worry about using the peas, never you hear me?”

Silent Stalker

“Death arrives among all that sound like a shoe

with no foot in it,”

-Pablo Neruda

sinking in the armchairs

of the waiting room. Death is written in the eyes

of the nurses as they ask the family to step

into a private room.

It likes to be announced from the lips

of knowledgeable doctors suggesting

the logical move. It caresses all the other faces

that stare at the bright yellow doors

waiting for a miraculous recovery.

Death lingers in the walls

it flickers with the lights

it rises with each machine-assisted breath

it sways to the singing of family members

before it steals the last dance.

Death slips into the brain as the switches

are flipped to OFF, and it fights animal

instincts as the mortal body convulses

with the effort of breathing with no

support. Death wins.

The singing, praying and tears of loved ones

will not stop death from stealing the last forced gasp

of air.

It is the thief that will take

the soul out of your bones, and the robber

of your loved ones.

Sparkled and Spiked

I glint and smile back

With the fury of confidence she

sometimes is without.

I have all the strength and grace

Of a shark, and the beguiling appearance of a

Tiger.

As your finger glides over my luxurious

Soft hide you may think me

Delicate, but there is no

Achilles heel here;

Only the tips of warriors’

Spears, and the jewels of royalty.

I support her as she steps out,

Shield her from the arrows

Of self doubt, and past memories.

I prop her up higher as she falters.

I am what my master would be

If she too was made of leather,

Rhinestones, and spikes.

Listen to my flirtatious clinking as I walk by.

Look at my shining pride as she saunters

Tall and brave.

I am no glass slipper.

I am her battle cry.

Propellent

It is that which makes me rise up in the morning and attack the day with a new vivacity. It is my motivation to go to my last classes. It helps me ignore the sad faces of people that will be missed. The promise of a future dedicated to my own work, inspired by the people I meet, and the things I take in.

It is my catalyst, my changing tide, my dawn and my kindling. I am ready for the next page, the next plot twist, the next cliff hanger, the next chapter, and particularly want to discover the new characters. I am ready. I am ready for the next part of my life.

I feel an inexplainable current everyday that is pushing me through the river that I have been living in, and will dump me at the mouth of Future’s Ocean.