Coming this week (13)

For this week’s entries:

I will post an e-mail to a friend which I sent following an “interesting” experience that occurred in 1999. This post will show that my style of storytelling has been with me for years. I actually wrote these for sheer fun!

I’ll also discuss bullying. Is it a rite of passage, or unnecessary? Maybe it’s both!


Yesterday, I mentioned something about an update. Here it is:

     Shamu is growing at a rapid pace. His appetite is out of control. Thank “god” he is not religious, because he would be going straight to hell. I’ve never seen a bigger commandment breaker. He steals the algae pellets that we place in the tank for the Pleco, murders most of his tank mates, and eats like a gluttonous NFL offensive lineman at a dinner buffet. Watching him eat is like watching a maid vacuum a dirty rug. He literally engulfs everything in sight. His name should be Hoover!

Surprisingly, one of the feeders at the top of picture 21, in August 20th’s post, remains alive. I have no idea how he is still with us. The Pleco is also in the tank. Unfortunately, the twins didn’t make it. (RIP)

Shamu loves to eat krill (They are frozen and have to be defrosted.), live fish, pellets, flakes, bloodworms (Same process as krill.), frozen fish (ditto), and live worms. The worms are fairly large and come in a small container filled with dirt; they have to remain in the fridge. I use a plastic spoon to scoop them out and place them into the tank. It’s pretty nasty, but fun to watch! The live fish simply swim at the top of the tank until they are eaten. (Survival of the Fittest at it’s very best!)

We also place some live Cray fish into the tank. They are larger than the blue Crays pictured in the last post, but they are a welcome treat. The first time, I placed two of the Crays into the tank and they were fairly aggressive; you would think they bought the tank. The Crays walked wherever they wanted and didn’t seem fazed by the presence of the large serial killer. (Let’s be honest, Shamu has killed more than Troy Davis!) TOO SOON?

After a couple hours, one of the Crays was “missing.” The other one must have witnessed the carnage because he ran to the corner and hid. He eventually dug a hole under a rock and stayed there for several days. I thought he was smart enough to survive, but nature took its course and Shamu caught him slipping. He is no longer with us. (Damn shame what happened to that crustacean!) I’ll continue to place more Cray fish in the tank because it’s best to give the Red tail a varied diet.

Until next time…

**Soon, Shamu will be eating live mice!**

Latest picture of Shamu

Cray fish: hiding behind rock to avoid Shamu


For those who don’t know, the state of Florida has three storied college football teams. The only problem is the fact that the University of Miami and Florida State University have reached the end of their respective stories. The University of Florida is the lone remaining dominant school.

This season was supposed to be the revival for the other two schools. All I heard from their fans is how they are “back!” Turns out I was right; they are not back. If anything, they have regressed! The Gators remain undefeated (4-0) with blowout wins and the nation’s best run defense. How good is the run-D? In the game against our hated rivals, the University of Tennessee, the Volunteers finished the game with a total of negative nine (-9) rushing yards.

Our coaching staff is the best and our players are the most talented. Unlike other schools we play straight up and smack teams in the mouth. We’re not like the scrubs in Tallahassee and Coral Gables. They play run defense like @Efidalgo12’s future wife, there are always at least eight guys in the box! (Enjoy that one and reuse it; it’s my gift!)

Miami is 2-2, with losses to MARY-land and Kansas State. (In case you were wondering, those teams suck!) Florida State lost, at home, to a tough Clemson team and to Oklahoma. Great teams have to win those tough home games. The Seminoles are also 2-2.

Florida 48 – Kentucky 10

BIG game next week; Alabama is coming to town. GO GATORS!

Enjoy this wonderful football Sunday and thanks for the continued support!


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Death Penalty & The U

****I will reveal my biased opinion of The University of Miami before I discuss the matter at hand!****

     I have always hated the University of Miami. “Of course you do; you’re a Gators fan and they are one of the interstate rivals!” No! When I say I have always hated the University of Miami, I am talking about even before I became a fan of college football. I didn’t even know the Florida Gators existed when my disgust for the sugar-canes began. “Why?” DOUG FLUTIE!

My aunt purchased a VHS cassette for my cousin Kevin in the mid-eighties. The tape is still around but it isn’t a movie; the title is WHY EAGLES SOAR, and it is a documentary about BC’s most beloved athlete of all time, Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie! (The Heisman Trophy is awarded to the best college football player each year!)

In the documentary, the antagonists are the players and coaches from the University of Miami. Flutie defeated the sugar-canes; throwing a miraculous “hail mary” pass with only six seconds remaining in the game. (I used the words ‘miraculous’ and ‘hail mary’ because they are football terms!)  I’ve hated Miami ever since I first watched that wonderful tape!

In this case, the death penalty is not that wonderful tool used by governments to rid society of evil-doers. (Yes, I am a proponent of the death penalty since we cannot torture!) I am referring to the ‘Repeat Violator’ rule, which applies to every collegiate sport.

RULE: If a school is found guilty of a second major violation, within a five year period, the institution can be banned from participating in the particular sport for a two year period. “No big deal!” Really? It’s a very big deal!

In football the rule has only been applied once, SMU in 1987, and the impact was immense. Not only was the school affected, but the school’s conference was dismantled and no longer exists. For those who are not familiar with the story, I will elaborate. SMU decided to pay players to attend the school.

(Best part of the story: Eric Dickerson, a great running back, committed to Texas A&M because they bought him a brand new gold Trans-Am. He wanted to change his mind, but already had the car, “Purchased by my grandmother!” SMU officials convinced Dickerson to leave A&M and attend Southern Methodist University. “What did A&M do about the car?” Nothing! It is against NCAA rules to give players extra benefits so they had to take the loss!)

SMU recruited one of the best classes money could buy and elevated the football team from abysmal to undefeated! (Although they won every game except for one tie, the school was not voted to be National Champions. The title was given to a one-loss Penn State team…BULLSHIT!!!) Long story short, SMU has yet to recover from the death penalty! (I guess they may never recover since the rule has been nicknamed “THE DEATH PENALTY”)

“Why is all of this important?” I’ll tell you!

The University of Miami is under investigation and the term “Death Penalty” is being used for the first time since 1987. Apparently, one of the school’s boosters was involved in a billion dollar Ponzi scheme, and he was used the ill-gotten money to give extra benefits to the University of Miami athletes, from 2002 through 2010, a clear violation of NCAA policy—Nevin Shapiro is my hero!!! (He is the wonderful man who helped the school cheat to sign recruits, then snitched when they refused to support him after he was arrested for being a Ponzi schemer!) Wait…I take back that hero comment. I just remembered that the asshole, Shapiro, offered up a bounty to any sugar-cane player who could injure Tim Tebow. (Tebow is a former Florida Gator Heisman Trophy winner, a two time National Champion, and the greatest college football player of all time!) {My unbiased opinion!}

The University of Miami is known as The U. “Wow! Since they are the best University in America?” NO! The great folks in Coral Gables are so uncreative that the school logo is an actual green and orange U! (I kid you not! I honestly believe the players call the school “The U” for the simple fact that most of them can’t spell University! GO GATORS!!!) The school seems to have no idea what they are doing. They are the hurricanes, the logo is a U, and the mascot is an ibis named Sebastian. (I call them the sugar-canes because they are softer than lil’ Wayne’s leather!)

“Should the sugar-canes receive the death penalty?” Hell Yes! The school has a history of breaking the rules in order to compete with the big boys. Boston College knew Miami cheated, from the beginning; the rivalry game between the two schools is better known as “the Catholics vs. the Convicts!” (How could you not love BC!)

Many sugar-cane fans argue that the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary about The U is the best, and I concur, but I believe the film actually hurts the school. First of all, the defiance shown in the piece is brazen and unnecessary. Former players give interviews in which they blatantly admit to receiving improper benefits. (The biggest supporter of the football program was none other than famous Miami rapper, Uncle Luke from 2Live Crew!)

The documentary most likely angered NCAA officials and placed the school under the microscope. Also, the interviews of former players who were upset at the fact that school officials never recognized the impact of the team on the yearly increase of University applicants, is a huge negative. (In 1983, Miami won its first National Championship. The victory had a direct impact on enrollment, which grew by fifteen percent!) Snubbing the football team may repel future recruits from choosing to accept scholarship offers. (To any athlete considering becoming a sugar-cane. The games are played off campus, the stadium is never filled to capacity, the facilities are less than stellar, and the school is about to receive the death penalty! You might want to reconsider and take a look at the wonderful institution located in Gainesville, a few hours north of Coral Gables! GO GATORS!!!)

I commend the leaders of the school for attempting to turn Miami into the “Stanford of the East and the Harvard of the South,” but most highly skilled athletes want to be pampered. (I am not suggesting that great players do not concentrate on their education, because Tim Tebow did, but the overwhelming majority are more concerned with attending a school which supports the football program!) Maybe the powers that be will be able to prove there is no correlation between football success and the University of Miami’s improved academic standards, once the Death Penalty is handed out. The ‘repeat violators’ rule should be enforced because the documentary clearly reveals a continuous University policy to disregard NCAA laws. Miami deserves the death penalty! (The impact will be great, but not as major as the SMU case…Miami is not a national power!)

One may argue that the sugar-canes do not deserve the death penalty, and maybe I am incapable of being unbiased in this situation. Oh well! To NCAA president Mark Emmert, I say, “Let’s have ourselves a hanging tonight…STRING THEM UP, BOYS!!!”


     **Interesting fact of the day:**

@Efidalgo12 attended the University of Miami during Shapiro’s tenure as Lord Booster! I WONDER ABOUT HIS INVOLVEMENT IN THE SCANDAL!!!


The Greatest Rapper Ever Is Not Dead

Mention the phrase “Greatest Rapper Ever” and witness the intensity with which people will voice their opinions. Music touches the lives of listeners on a level that is immeasurable. Growing up in the 80’s, I can’t remember a Michael Jackson concert that didn’t involve fans fainting. I even have pictures of myself in a red, leather M.J. jacket. (No, pictures will not be posted on Facebook. At least not today!)

I am the first to jump in and voice my opinion on the matter. There have been many heated arguments over who is the best of all-time. And I mean heated, bad heat, Miami Heat! You would think the winner was debating with the hopes of taking home some unbelievable grand prize. In fact, if I didn’t know my friends well enough, I would have feared for my safety. (By the way, there is no other way to argue about who is the greatest rapper of all-time. You just can’t have a civil discussion on the matter. Also, there should always be liquor involved!!!) The reason people argue with such fervor, is based on the passion that music produces. Rap fans support their favorite artists with the same zeal as the crazed followers of European soccer clubs. (Well, except for all the violence!)

My favorite story concerning this topic happened in Miami. I was visiting my cousin Emanuel, whose favorite rapper will be purposely omitted from this post. This may come as a surprise, but we were sitting at an outdoor bar along with his friend “St. Francis of Assisi.” St. Francis, as he likes to be called, innocently asked Ema, “Who are your top five rappers of all-time?” The response was a list of five usual suspects, Keyser Soze, and the gang. (If you haven’t watched the movie, where did you grow up?)

St. Francis didn’t hesitate to jump into his top five:

“Number one is Jay-Z.”

“Number two is Biggie.”

“Then, Dylan Dylan Dylan!!! That boy spits hot fire!!!” *Dylan fake accent*

That Saint Francis is a funny guy. Great trip! Although, we did end up eating at the worst Hooters in the world. This is an argument that cannot be challenged. I am ready to state a fact: “The Hooters in Coconut Grove, FL is the worst in the world; it is the quintessence of suck!” In the Greek sense, here is my Apology. (I would explain for those who don’t understand, but I’d much rather you take the initiative and educate yourselves!)

1)      There were males on the wait staff. I could understand if these men were surgically enhanced transsexuals, hired to confuse young college students, but they were guys. And they had orange Hooters t-shirts on. What the Fuck!!! [Let me take this time to state another fact: I am not into transsexuals. I said “I could understand;” they have Hooters! It makes sense.] (A guy working as a waiter at Hooters is the very antithesis of what the food chain is all about.) We walked in. “What’s going on fellas!” Nothings fucking going on! This is fucking Hooters and you’re a fucking guy!! What the fuck do you think is fucking going on!!!

2)      Our waitress, a beautiful and top-heavy young damsel, seemed perfect for the position when we noticed her approaching from the other side of the restaurant…UNTIL! We saw her stomach; SHE WAS PREGNANT! What the fuck kind of Twilight Zone Hooter’s is this fucking place?

3)      The second waitress, who brought over our drinks, was, how do I put this delicately? Of course! She was a few cups short of a beer pong game. And to top it off, she was old. “Is this a fucking TV show? Are we being Punk’d?

We were actually the first group of guys who went to Hooters for the wings!!!

[Please forgive the tangent!]

Obviously, the title of this post gives away the fact that I don’t believe Biggie, Pimp C, or Tupac can lay claim to the desired title. No, the title holder is not dead. (To be absolutely, positively, one-hundred percent clear, I mention Pimp C in jest!)

The arguments end today!!!

Who is the greatest rapper of all-time? 50 Cent? Bun B? Rick Ross? Jay-Z? Snoop? Lil’ Wayne? Kool G Rap? Big Daddy Kane? Scarface? Eightball? Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em? (C’mon son!!! We can all agree it’s not Soulja Boy. Although he does make hits; you can’t argue that fact.)

What every rap “connoisseur” is in fact wasting his or her time arguing, is not “who is the greatest rapper of all-time,” but “who is my favorite rapper of all time.”

There can be no greatest rapper of all-time. There is no criteria! What would you base the argument on?

Most records sold? NO!

Most metaphors per sixteen bars? No!

Most consecutive Rhymes? No!

Best free-stylist? NO!

Best battle rapper? No! (I could go on but that would just be ridiculous!)

You will be hard pressed to convince a young man from Oakland that E-40, or Too Short is not the greatest Rapper of all-time. Try persuading a fan from Long Beach that Snoop is not the best ever. You would be the greatest debater of all-time, if you could convince me that a member of the original Cash Money Records isn’t the greatest. (Any time I mention Cash Money, I am strictly speaking of the classic albums, not the Drakes and Nicky Minajs of the label. I’m not saying those artists aren’t talented; I just like what I like!)

No, LL Cool J, self proclaiming yourself the best ever by titling your album G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) doesn’t make it true. By the way, I believe Canibus out-battled you. His ‘2nd Round Knockout’ was better than your ‘Can-I-Bus.’ Any true rap fan understood that your label helped to promote your “victory” through bias articles in the major industry magazines. LL Cool J, the greatest of all time? C’mon! I mean some of the hits are good; I always enjoyed ‘Going Back To Cali,’ but Canibus was correct “ninety-nine percent of your fans wear high heals!” I’d much rather have unprotected sex with a lesion-covered prostitute, in a dirty motel, in a third world country, and ejaculate inside of her, then listen to Mr. Cool J’s songs all day. (I apologize for the graphic description, but I really want to make my preference clear.) In the words of, arguably, the greatest freestyle rapper of all-time, “Causing problems bringing drama regardless, I get my point across like a trapeze artist without falling” – Canibus.

Quarrelling vociferously over opinion can be fine, but people must be careful to understand what they are disputing. Stop attempting to figure out who is the best rapper of all-time and enjoy the music; that’s why the artists create hits. Isn’t it ironic that most of the arguments end the way they all should have started in the first place, “Well, to me ‘Johnnie Rapper’ is the best!”

For Pete’s sake, (FYI: I’m the Pete in that phrase!!!) the greatest rapper may as well be “god.” Not because he has the sickest verses in the bible, (which he does!) but simply for the fact that he too doesn’t exist!!!

That being said, Lil’ Wayne is the GREATEST OF ALL-TIME!!! Not only has he been making hits since 1995 on B.G.’s album ‘True Story,’ but he continues to dominate and produce classics!!!

I challenge anyone to find better lyrics then his verse on Tha Carter’s  BM J.R.:

*****This has nothing to do with the topic, at all, but Real Time with Bill Maher is currently on television so I’ll share. When discussing Harry Potter’s last installment, he said, “I don’t believe this is the last book; we all know what’s coming next…’Harry Potter and the crippling student loan!’*****

You probably won’t do the song justice so play the actual track while reading!

[Verse 1 - Lil Wayne]
Murder capital, only key to survive is kill
If the elements don’t murder you the riders will fo real
And niggas know I goes hard to the fullest
Get involved and I got’ em’ playing dodge ball with bullets
I got the sawed off fully, in the sean john hoody
Get fucked ya play pussy
We hit em’ up when they ain’t looking and them body shots hurt
But the head shots took him
And if the red dot spot him then the hollow head got him
Knock his top to his bottom jack
You see me grind from the bottom just to make it to the bottom
At the very bottom of the map
Lil-weezy-ana piranhas everywhere you at
You gotta weigh an extra condom and an extra gat
You’re bitch could get it for acting like a man
and niggaz in Pakistan ain’t packin’ like ya man
I back his hand ya man on command
In front of niggaz he cool with the boys on fam
I’m on hot, I adjust in different climates, ducking the animal keep on running wit
my primates
You ain’t did it till you done it like in 5 states,
Weezy hustle no blubber I put on weight
And in a drought I go on I diet and stretch more
Loose all that weight, leave a nigga with stretch marks
You don’t even come up to a nigga chest, paws up,
Pa, what the fuck they play it in the club for ?
Real shit I’m ducking bombs from a drug war,
no religion but the cops swear that I’m a drug lord
Father forgive em’ for they no not who they pushing lord
Father forgive me if I have to send them to ya lord
I’m just trying to dodge the shots they send to the guard
They riding up highway to heaven boulevard
Damn, them niggaz pussy and jive, not even in an eye exam they ain’t looking for “I”
The A and the K will make ya face cook to the side
Now when you smiling everybody gotta look from the side
Cause when you wilding you ain’t looking, you just looking high
and when we hungry you look like pie
Sweet potato ass nigga, you lemon meringue, apple custard, cherry jelly
Don’t make me get the biscuit buster
What up gizzle you my distant brother
Real shit nigga same father different mother, yep
I skip the fronting and sticks to keeping it trill
You not know me for nothing other
I’m something other than people you feel,
I’m deeper for real
I’m deeper than skills, my speakers can kill
Rest in peace

[Verse 2 - Lil Wayne]
Ay, ay
You sleep in a field for trying the dude
I bust ya head until the meat turns ya mind to food
Food for thought, think I ain’t lying to you
I lie his body in grease set fire to him
I tie his body in sheets, put the tires to him
Make him feel the escalade, put his feet in the blade
I’m near heating and blaze a nigga keep they ways when I’m in the streets with blades
Watch, my nigga hungry, he’ll eat the plate
And if I ask, the homeboy will eat’cha face
And though he got me, you can ask, I’m like a pool table
I keep the eight
My side pocket sideways when I pop it leave a nigga sideways for five days
Birdman talk to em’

[Verse 3 - Lil Wayne]
Ay, ay,
Check my swag, I travel like sound dog
You play hard in the gravel like ground dog
I’m underground call me groundhog
Lay down laws call me ground law
Don’t confuse me with the law, naw but just confuse me with my pa
Because I am the Birdman J-R
I ain’t tripping nigga, I play the corner like ripkin nigga
With the 40 cal ripkin nigga, rip a nigga
Flip ya vehicle, split ya windshield
Whack ya Baby momma but I let the kid live
And people say that I am a kid still, cause the lil nigga still rides on them big wheels
You feeling animal then come on and get killed
And sig pill bandannas like bananas
Say I’m slight bananas I blow a weekend in Havana
In my cabana with my bottom bitch from savanna
Man a train couldn’t stop ya man
I man up and you not a man
I stand up, say I got my land
I’m the man of my land
Call it lil-weezy-ana
Thats the new plan


My Obsession With Sharks

My kinship with sharks began in the 80’s, exactly how you would expect–the 1975 blockbuster, ‘Jaws.’ I loved watching the movie, but I was terrified of sharks.

I can recall being eight years-old and begging my mother to pay for swimming lessons at the Huntington Ave YMCA. (The first person who posts a video of themselves listening to the village people song ‘YMCA’ while acting out the letters on facebook, will be my hero! There will also be an infinitesimal cash prize!) She didn’t want to at first, but I was spoiled so mom eventually agreed to buy a monthly membership. Excitement filled me, on the first day of lessons; I was imagining myself being the next Michael Phelps. (I know he wasn’t around back then, but can you name a famous swimmer?) I can remember the day as if it were yesterday. I entered the dressing room and changed into my brand new cheetah-print Speedo. Wait, that’s definitely not what happened. Hold on while I …

OK! I changed into my baggy Boston Celtics basketball shorts; the quintessence of cool. Sorry, I should have wrote “fresh,” it was the 80’s! My mother sat on one of the poolside benches and watched, filled with pride; her little boy was about to become one of the greatest athletes in the history of aquatic sports. I stood at the water’s edge with supreme confidence.

“Today, I will tame you, great puddle of chlorine.” I said assertively.

The instructor announced the basic rules and displayed the proper swimming stroke. I mimicked his motion perfectly; I WAS A NATURAL!

“Ok, everyone get in.” He instructed.

I sat on the deck with my feet in the water; I would go no further. “Oh mighty pool of the Young Men’s Christian Association, You have proven yourself a worthy adversary. For today, I cower at your vastness.”

There was no way in Hell anyone would be able to convince me that there were no sharks in the water. I fought and cried, as if I were a two year-old, begging a parent for a candy at the supermarket counter. Noticeably, my mom was pissed! Hello money, have you met Mr. drain? Down you go! (In case you were wondering, I didn’t set foot back inside the YMCA until my freshman year at Boston Latin School, and that was to play basketball. I have no idea what the pool looks like!)

It would be another couple years before I gained the courage to enter a pool. Even then, I would always keep close to the walls because deep down inside, no matter how ridiculous it may have seemed, I knew there was a great white shark in there somewhere.

I can remember one instance, I was either fourteen or fifteen. I was at my grandparents house, where there is an in-ground pool in the backyard; I was the only grandchild there on that sizzling afternoon. GREAT…or so I thought.

There I was, having the time of my life, jumping off the diving board and racing to the waters edge for another leap. I even swam laps to the shallow end of the pool and back. Somehow, I forgot about sharks and simply seized the day. UNTIL…

The screen door slid open and my aunt appeared. She was well aware of  my bizarre fear of sharks, but she assumed that I had gotten over the fear. Standing at the edge of the pool, she yelled, “watch out for the shark!”

My aunt laughed–I didn’t.

I swam as fast as I could to the waters edge. Words can be extremely powerful! I wanted to continue swimming, but I couldn’t muster the courage. She couldn’t believe it. “Are you crazy? You’re not going to swim because of sharks?”

In a word, “YES!”

I know it may seem insane, but until a person learns how to deal with a phobia, it will control his or her life. No matter how silly the fear may be. Although I have gained the ability to conquer my fear, it continues to exist. Every time I am in the center of a pool, I have the feeling that a shark will swim up and bite me, in the same manner that Jaws attacked the young lady at the beginning of the movie.

There is one aspect of the fear which boggles my mind. Whenever I swim in the ocean, where an actual shark can show up, I have zero fear. I am that crazy guy who is swimming so far out that you can barely see him; I can’t explain why the fear only occurs in pools. I even had a manatee swim by me while in the Atlantic Ocean, off the Florida coast. I saw the huge mammal passing, and didn’t even flinch. I also scuba-dived while in Cancun, but I wasn’t frightened. We jumped into small two-seater speedboats and raced towards the reef. I jumped in with no trepidation, completely trusting the instructor, who promised me “there will be no sharks.”

While on vacation in Jamaica, I even jumped off the booze-cruise and swam to shore. (I was drunk out of my mind and I honestly didn’t think I was going to complete the swim. Halfway there, I switched to hybrid mode, using the efficient and energy-saving backstroke. Always remember to GO-GREEN!) I also didn’t worry about sharks when I jumped off the cliff at Rick’s Café, landing in the ocean beneath. Longest fall of my life!

One might assume that my fear of sharks would make me hate the perfect, genetically engineered, killing machines but I don’t. In fact, I love sharks! One of my favorite experiences happened in Florida. (No, not with a stripper in Miami. Does your mind ever leave the gutter?) I’m referring to SEAWORLD in Orlando.

“Shamu?” You ask!

No, I’m not into whales. (Literally or figuratively!)

Seaworld has an attraction called Terrors of the Deep. It’s probably the largest fish tank in the world. (I didn’t research this fact because I would be crushed to discover there is a larger tank, in some location that I have yet to visit.) The massive tank is filled with all sorts of dangerous marine species. For me, the stars of the show were the many great white sharks. The best feature of the tank is the slow-moving walkway, which is located in a tunnel at the bottom. Being able to watch great white sharks swim over my head and alongside me was an experience that I will never forget. (Yeah, I like sharks!)

I guess I like all marine life—sharks are just my favorite! This is most likely the reason I love eating fish so much. The experience at Seaworld has always remained with me, which is why I keep fish as pets. My roommates and I now have two large aquariums, and you guessed it…THERE ARE SHARKS! Well, not exactly! In the industry, they are called iridescent sharks, but they’re really just catfish which look like sharks. We wanted to get piranhas, but they are illegal in Massachusetts, so we settled on a red-tail catfish. (Don’t tell PETA, but I love watching fish feed. I wrote settled on a red-tail catfish, but they are probably more ferocious than piranhas. **YouTube: ‘red tail catfish eats fuzzy mouse,’ you won’t be disappointed.**)

We regularly fed our fish the flakes, until the discovery of “feeder-fish,” which are tiny goldfish. The procedure is to buy many feeder-fish, then release them into the tank. The larger fish will eat the “feeders” whenever they get hungry. (It makes for a great show. **This is merely survival of the fittest!**)

We have a large tank, full of different species, and we once released thirty-two feeders. Several entertaining days later, there were only three feeder-fish remaining. I can concur with Darwin because the three feeders survived and grew to adulthood, before dying. The autopsy report from the veterinarian claimed the cause of death was AIDS, but he wasn’t completely certain!

**Kids say the darndest things** I spend a good amount of time with Amari, my nephew, and I remember one day sitting in the kitchen, in front of the fish tank. I was eating fish, obviously. (If you’re ever in the Boston area, I recommend Nos Casa Café, located on Dudley St.) He turned to the tank, then turned to my plate and said, “Don’t you feel bad?”

“Why?” I replied.

“Because you’re eating fish in front of the fish. That’s just wrong!” He reasoned.

“They don’t care!” (That was my reply, but deep down inside, we all know that they do care. **I shed one tear!**)

One day I will swim with great white sharks, in a cage of course; I like sharks, but I’m not crazy! I also want to own the world’s largest in-home aquarium. Most people can picture their dream home—I imagine my dream fish tank, with a house surrounding it. My connection to the movie Jaws is everlasting. Anyone who has ever witnessed me give a toast will recall the famous line, “Here’s to swimming with bowlegged women!”

Sadness grabbed hold of me upon my return from a trip to Miami a few years ago; I discovered that my two sharks were dead. I cared for those fish for over two years, and they grew to be a part of the family. I was so distraught that two years elapsed before I could purchase new fish. During my youth, I remember watching an episode of the Cosby Show, and Rudy was inconsolable because her pet fish, Lamont, died; I thought the burial ceremony was ridiculous. My how little the ignorant know—losing a pet fish is one of the most heartbreaking moments in a person’s life. To Rudy Huxtable, I say, “I’m sorry!”

The largest of the three sharks, has been with me more than three years, and we have made it through some tough times; I almost lost him last summer. An incident transpired with a stingray, late one cursed night. Before leaving for work, I noticed the stingray in the corner of the tank. I stepped closer, to get a better look, and determined that he was dead. Upon further inspection, I could see that his tail was completely torn off. “What the Hell happened?” I thought. I knew there would be no answers, but I had many questions.

“Who would harm an innocent stingray?”

“Was this the act of some sick human being?”

”Why did this have to happen in our tank?”

The shark was almost motionless at the other end of the tank, and he had a laceration on the right side of his face.

“How’d that happen?”

I determined that there were enough clues to solve the mysterious incident. It is my expert opinion that my shark was involved in a regrettable altercation with the stingray. I concluded that the stingray hit the shark in the face with his stinger, causing the shark to retaliate. He delivered a death-blow, ripping the stinger off, but he didn’t escape without paying the price. The Ray’s sting caused the shark to go into a state of shock, which lasted almost three days; I thought he was a goner. Eventually, order was restored. The remaining fish no longer questioned whether or not they were living with a killer, and the shark’s face healed; he is now known as Scarface.

So, when people ask me, “do you like sharks?”

I pause for a moment before replying derisively, “Yeah, lil’ bit!”

“Farewell and adieu, to you fair Spanish ladies. Farewell and adieu, you ladies of Spain.”