Astounding New Facts About Halibuts

The Second Most Intelligent Animal

 

Very recent and oddly compelling findings by the Alternative Oceanographic and Astrological Sciences Society have proven conclusively that the halibut can now be rated the second most intelligent species on earth, trailing the Moravian Blue Gibbon by a mere 1 1/2 points in the standard, multi-species, reductive-parameter i.q. test.

 

The Halibut is now the 2nd Smartest Animal

“Administering these tests was not an easy proposition,” states Clyve Derek Withers, spokesman for the Society and an avid fishmonger in his own right. We have joined him and a few hangers out on the the Society’s serviceable, but somewhat odiferous and perennially sinking ketch, Modicum, for a short cruise around their home port, Klitj Harbor, in the Lower Faux Atlantic. This is, of course, the site of their most recent exploits.

 

“Halibuts are consistently defensive, some would say testy- although i really don’t like that particular word because it reminds me of ‘testicle’- in their moral posture.” He holds up trembling hands to show how many of his swollen, bandaged fingers have been pricked by the spines of bilious halibuts. All of them, as it turns out.

 

“How you pose certain questions to halibuts in the testing process seems to determine how well they respond. It was hard getting them to cooperate in general, with the fingerlings being particularly recalcitrant”, he adds.

 

Fishermen and women in Iceland have long been aware that diving into the cold waters of the North Atlantic to converse with marine species has yielded little in the way of new insights into the thinking of either fishes and/or sea cucumbers. Kelp Snarks, for example, act in a skittish and off-putting manner when confronted even indirectly about their mating habits, immediately donning terry cloth fishrobes and clamming up as it were. Clams even more so. But this not the case with the friendlier members of halibut hierarchies.

 

Bears unlike halibuts are easy targets.

“Offered a spot of chai and maybe a choco-bite flimsy they become rather affable,” agrees Tonette Smarno, a would be biologist with her own claims to premature grandeur (she is last year’s winner of the Fruity Hangnail Overbite and Toss-Around Competition, scoring over a hundred and sixty one marks in the Ratcheting and Evisceration Trials, before her final elimination due to abnormal- and extremely illegal- chuffing). “For obvious reasons”, she continues wistfully, looking away into the rising offshore blowback, “smelts endure so much undeserved criticism and I for one will not stand for it.” This she certifies readily by sitting down on an unsorted crate of urchin condoms, crossing her bow-legs primly and lighting a Blastov Grey Tobacco Cigarillo.

 

Her handler and spiritual adviser (some would say ‘ponzi-scheming love-guru’), J. Moresby Dalfruit, formerly of the I.D.E. (Institute for Diminished Expectations), immediately backs her up on these seemingly pointless assertions. That’s his job after all.

 

“All vertebrates have their hang-ups, foibles and idiosyncrasies,” he avers, squinting his eyes and trembling with undue hostility. “Some xenophobes hate showering with bureaucrats, especially those who swim in the briny, briny deep to get their jollies. They’re the types who have provoked halibuts into non-compliance and caused the friendlier scrods to doubt themselves despite their aristocratic origins”.

 

Sarah Palin is no friend to halibuts

The stand-by meteorologist, Little JIm Guernsey, hovers near his post at the starboard gunwale, just aft of the Berkeley-Maelstrom Reverse Obviator [BMRO] that powers the boats underwater loudspeakers. He seems somewhat embarrassed by his colleague’s pedantic posturing and mutters something unintelligible about having ‘to check barometric forewarnings’.  As he departs, we notice a thin stream of spittle on his receding chin.

 

Halibuts, lacking chins, as well as any discernible spittle, prove superior to most other animals, homo sapiens in particular, for this very reason; they neither drool nor act out in an alarming, unpredictable and passive-aggressive manner. With the halibut, it’s pretty much what you smell is who they actually are. This can be verified by spending a few hours with them in their natural habit. Which is like in the ocean. Freshwater halibuts are for the most part dead. You see them floating on the surface of lakes, ponds, reservoirs and in the deeper fountains of many municipal parks, from Eastern Iowa down through the Southern Slope into the fringes of the Rhubarb Belt. Halibut die-offs occur mostly in the springtime, during the autumnal decline, and oft times, just shy of the fortnight approaching Shrove Tuesday, other, more authentic conditions notwithstanding.

 

Dalfruit is far from finished with his diatribe.

 

“Did you cretinous, so-called journalists have the slightest inkling that Scrods as well as French Munge Mackerels have exquisite mewing and choral affinities?” He is growing surlier and more incontinent with each sputtered syllable. We step backwards in alarm as he leans menacingly in our specific direction, exhaling lukewarm breath tinged with Mauve Lichen, which he masticates furiously with sideways jaw motions, just before his eyes roll back in his head and he feints dead away. His assistant, Wandelle, immediately throws herself to the deck pulling frantically on her knee hairs.

 

Halibut cartoons are popular among many species of fish

We decide it’s time to disembark; especially since the boat is foundering and the Greco-Danish stewards have begun inflating life preservers and life-like Sailor Girl Dolls, many of them turning blue with hyperventilation (the Greco-Danes, not the Sailor Girl Dolls). As we walk down the gangplank, a school of Prenatal Snorkminnows rises to the bait and watches us expectantly from the frothy surface below the mottled estuary.

 

In the basement of the Abnormal Fish Behavior Lab which doubles as the Assorted Mammal Reading Library and Ecclesiastical Day Room, reluctant Spaniard and part-time Lab Supervisor, Diego Cervantes Paloma is awaiting our entrance. He smiles warmly, arms full of week-old Halibut toddlers who seem to have nothing but profound affection for this old Iberian campaigner.

 

“Look, he cries with a kind of idiot’s delight, “my babies are ready to learn Canasta!”

 

Little of this makes any sense to us. Are we, we wonder, too cynical to see this more elliptical side of scientific enquiry? Or is there just so much less to this story than meets the naked eye?

 

The institute’s new majordomo, Sir Ivan Kilmore Flatice, arrives in time to allay our fears.

 

“No one may leave these premises,” he warns in a mock intelligent growl. “Until… they try my Mungfish Tapioca delight!” We all all laugh skittishly, none with more sturm und drang than Geoff, our engraver and flange-resetter, who has only recently completed his fourth stay in yet another over-priced Anglican behavior rehab.

 

“Let’s get down to business,” begins Sir Ivan, getting down to business. “We have 40 dross Halibut Embryos that we need to smuggle out of the country (which country he doesn’t say, but we assume he means Slovakia, a state which has had so much trouble in the past with plummeting credibility due to its questionable practices in fish and cattle husbandry. Too many farmers in that blighted region actually are husbands to their livestock. Mutated sheep, cows- even geese- roam the landscape looking for hand-outs and hands that are out).

 

“Any questions?” asks Willhmina, Sir Ivan’s doughy assistant and cenobitic, ne’er-do-well emanuensis.

 

Yeah, plenty, actually.

 

Halibuts like to take 'fishnaps' on the ocean floor

First, we ask, which languages do the halibut adolescents assimilate most readily and then, what kind of schools do they matriculate to?

 

The answers are surprising (unless you are familiar with this publication’s somewhat sketchy fact-finding and haphazard expository process).

 

Second, is it not true that Halibuts are born/hatched fluent in Magyar?  For years, the unwitting as well as frequent viewers of Fox TV News, have frequented the lesser barrios of Budapest in search of magyar-speaking halibuts and alcoholic nematodes who can lead them on very often ill-fated treks into the Realm of Questionable Outcome (aka Latvia}.

 

In point of fact, although Halibuts learn new languages up to ten times faster than Lumpfish or Sea Slugs, they are born as witless as any Presbyterian or Baptist organ grinder. It is only when they have become immersed in the “plankton of higher brain development” that they accelerate into little fishy know-it-alls, spouting aphorisms in any number of dialects and tossing about asides and parentheticals left and right in wide and varied arcs of necrotic linguistics. So to speak.

 

Third, are halibuts closet mammals or just putting on airs?  The quasi-verified existence of Furry Blue-Lipped Halibuts in most oceans and in some chinese restaurant aquaria would seem to verify that halibuts, unlike Lesser Scrotum Whales, are indeed mammals. In addition, near-sighted, ‘bung-virgins’ of the lower Peruvian highlands surrounding Costco, seldom braid their armpit hairs or deign to learn bicycling safety signals until they have been lengthily, and some say needlessly, advised by ‘fish wardens’ who are virtually all land-adapted rainbow halibuts. Although offering unbidden and useless advice in areas beyond one’s expertise is a typically mammalian behavior, this only goes a very short way indeed towards reclassifying halibuts as mammals.

 

Next…

 

PART 2: RETHINKING EVOLUTION JUST FOR THE HALIBUT

 

“I always thought Arugula was island in the Caribbean…”

(Don’t be Raddichio- ed.)

Neurological Findings of the Day- ‘Swelling Head Disease”

Cranial Expansion, Alcohol and Herpetology

People claiming to be scientists at Cornelle Online University (no affiliation, although many actually do wear lab coats) have conclusively proven that the normal human head expands outward at an average rate of five to ten percent per diem, hence expressions in our current lexicon such as ‘his/her brain so went into nova‘ or ‘Ralph’s cabeza totally “mushroomed” [in Algebra this morning]‘. This phenomenon is now considered to be an epidemic and has been classified as HSWS, or Head Swelling Syndrome. Except in Nebraska where it is referred to as Corn Brain Disease or CBD.

The normal human head expands outward at an average rate of five to ten percent per diem

Although many hallmarks of this syndrome have yet to be identified by those who identify hallmarks of various and sundry syndromes and/or pathologies, this much is known about the mechanism whereby this disease progresses;

Progression, Onset, Anatomy

The primary containment structure for the living brain is provided by the skull. For a dead brain (cranial cremains notwithstanding) it is usually a casket.  Or urn.  Without the skull encasing the brain, “mind-swell” or “over-think” would cause our heads to be twenty times larger than they normally are on any given weekend and somewhat larger, and lumpier or more ‘crenellated’,  on weekdays. This holds particularly true in the places where it actually happens, less so where no one can provide data to support the hypothesis; usually places [or locales] where the phenomenon is not reported, other eventualities being more noteworthy. Which will either confirm or deny whatever was discussed at the beginning of this paragraph (beginning with “The primary containment structure…”- ed.) and certainly increases the word count of this report thereby fulfilling certain editorial requirements and possibly moving the authors closer to tenure at our respective academic institutions. [Very doubtful- ed.]

Early Onset of SWHD

 

Alcohol swells the human/primate brain 

Furthermore, alcohol (ethanol (C2H5OH) simultaneously swells the human/primate brain with excess emotionality and shrinks it by killing ‘ripe cells’ in the neo-cortex. Reptiles, in general, and lizards in particular, do not drink alcohol [at least of their own volition] and therefore do not suffer from this ‘booze-brain-bloat-bang!’ phenomenon. Also they (lizards) do not really have a neo-cortex to speak of which is a pity; this deficiency has prevented them from solving complex problems in their environment and limited their ability to develop a healthy  sense of humor.  Some would say ‘poor sods’ but I stipulate thus- they’re fucking cloacal, scaly monsters! Does this make me a biased and closed-minded “specie-est”? Perhaps. In any case it is not known whether snakes per se imbibe alcoholic beverages and a discussion thereof is irrelevant to this topic, which is the only reason it is mentioned here.

It is not known whether snakes imbibe alcoholic beverages

People whose heads have swollen past what is acceptable to the current social norm (200 centimeters circumference, 4.3 kilos in static weight) are asked to vacate the[ir] premises forthwith and are immediately shipped (where transport is available- otherwise they are encouraged to walk- if & when they are able to understand simple, one-word commands like “Go!” or “Scat!”) to Macro-Cephalic Isolation Farms (MCIFs) in East Anglia and/or Utah in the U.K. and the U.S. respectively.  Arriving at their new homes they are herded into hovels or yurts and made to watch substandard programming on malfunctioning, analog television sets. To date there has been no reported objection to these ‘necessary’ measures- at least not a formal, notarized, properly written and spelled one- which goes a long way to support the conclusion that  the ‘huge-headed’ or ‘hyper-domed’ are in no way the sharpest lightbulbs in the elevator not stopping at that floor.  Nor do their friends remain so. You certainly wouldn’t and I only have acquaintances, disallowing intimacy at all levels and under virtually all circumstances. (I second this anti-sentiment. Those employed at our ‘institute’ are terrifyingly shallow & extremely annoying, allowing me to extrapolate on the negative qualities of the population as whole- ed.)

Microcephalis- The Opposite of SWHD

Canadians, being more “compassionate” or socialized [they’re so all that, right?],  permit their ‘big-heads’ to remain among the general population and really…? You can’t tell the difference- at least not from a practical point of view.

 

 

 

A windfall in the headgear industry

The intelligent and fashion-conscious remaining players in society are cognizant enough to wear hats, headbands, ‘noggin-straps’ or bungy cords wrapped securely around their affected areas in order to minimize and retard the inevitable expansion of their crania. This has led to a windfall in the headgear industry. Even people with bad teeth and ‘problem ears‘ are wearing homburgs, chapeaux and ‘gimme-caps‘.  Children of the affluent, along with their ‘me-too’ pals in the Pretentious Classes, have their heads bound at the age of five and must wear these bindings for the remaining course of the epidemic or at least until the cows come home. According to the Department of Agriculture, Cattle Standards Bureau the latter phrase means ‘for a fair spell’,  i.e.- decades as opposed to weeks.

 

Typical "hot" person- female

“Hot”, or “Really Fit” people avoid letting their heads swell out of proportion 

The point can be made, and I pause to make it here, this being the forum in which the subject being discussed is discussed, or at least recorded,  is this;  the one assuredly charming thing about unattractive people is that they tend, on average, to make their beds soon after rising.  “Hot”, or “really fit” people avoid letting their heads swell out of proportion but tend to arrange their bed covers closer to noon, reluctantly fluffing their pillows and only doing so when said pillows are like totally flat. Can this regrettable behavior have something to do with the readily apparent aesthetic of their more compact and shapely heads?

"Hot" person- male

Professor Mort Crandell of San Diego Alternative University really doesn’t think so.

“I really don’t think so.”,  he opines [being emeritus, however, he has trouble identifying the issues within the context of conversations taking place around him].

On this smarmy, west coast spring morning he is in his medicinal cannabis garden poking rabbits with his electric rabbit-prod.  Every few minutes he turns around suddenly as if he is being followed. He has forgotten about our film crew and the fact that we are there to interview him. Which is making our normally ‘cake-walk’ jobs somewhat of a chore.  And, like, you know… tedious.

Oddly enough, the Professor’s cranium is normal-sized, and only nominally misshapen.

“In my day the thing was pinheads- microcephalics- like Zippy and the younger President Bush. The one in the flight suit”, he reflects. “You remember, “Mission accomplished?”  That’s what I’m talking about. Numb-nuts. We used to call them ‘Welks’.  You know, after Lawrence Welk.”

He suddenly swivels his ancient and decrepit “old person’s body” to wield his rabbit-prod, leaving another miscreant hare twitching in the vetch, as it were.

“But now it’s all about super-sizing,” he continues, “Out-sourcing, viagra and shifting paradigms. You can’t live like that and not expect detritus to build up. That’s what happened to my grad students,” he adds cryptically. He is, after all, just an old, old man with a small head surrounded by noisome “swells” and clamoring “hyper-heads”. We let him wander off into the deepening loam. Somewhere a coatamundi and his mate are making peculiar snuffling noises in the dark undergrowth prior to “hooking up” (or something animalistic).  Later, when the sun sets tranquilly behind Kilamanjaro, the gazelles and wildebeests will begin [we think- ed.] to approach the waterhole in twos or threes, seemingly unaware of the iridescent and carnivorous mutant Lotus Carp, and its sullen depressive longtime companion Mr. Anaconda, lurking beneath the motionless surface of this remote wadi. [Or are they?- ed.]

 

Let’s mutate and see what happens…

The Surgeon General, T.F. “Muffer” Leclerc, on the other hand, sees no problem with either skipping maniacally from one setting/and or topic to another or with the exponential increase in cranial circumference.

Surgeon General T.J. "Muffer" LeClerc

“Our country was founded on a ‘let’s mutate and see what happens’ ethic. It’s how our economic well-being came to pass.” He grows reflective for a moment.

“Remember how bad the music videos were in the eighties?” he asks with a smirk that clearly demonstrates his imp of perversity is just as “viable” as ever [and why he had so much troubled getting confirmed by the Senate- ed.]

“Bad lip-synching, stupid choreography, lit by myopic cretins, and directed by pretentious, wannabe directors, right? Ever been ‘rickrolled’”? he asks. “No? Well, anyway… I still get all mushy seeing Pat Benatar in that weird tutu (Love is a Battlefield, 1983) and/or Boy George with the hebrew sweatshirt (Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? also 1983) which premiered like even before Blinded by Science, right?.” [Wrong- ed.] He chortles for a minute then turns dead serious. “Or maybe it was after. Anyway, what about Flock of Seagulls? What is now considered pathological later becomes nostalgic.  It’s the same thing with so-called HSWS (Head Swelling Syndrome).  Are we supposed to put warnings in front of every Everybody Loves Raymond rerun? Even when everybody clearly does not [love Raymond]“?

He exhales wearily, then concludes. “I mean do we really know there is a clear, verifiable and economically deficient relationship between smoking and so called ‘heart disease’? Only time will tell if the epidemic of head-swelling is going to be something that our government will have to contain by nipping it in the noggin,  as it were, or by allowing those in higher tax-brackets to begin to profit from immediately.  Mightn’t we be looking at/to a new race of top-heavy over-thinkers that write prolix articles in so-called learned blogs and specious online scientific journals?”

Good point.  But he didn’t have to get personal about it.  It’s not like I’m getting a big head from my brilliant investigative journalism.

Or am I?

NEXT- Big Pharma’s Answer to HSWS {and CHD}