Tuesday, February 22, 2005


Have you ever read a word in a book that is new to you and, suddenly, you start reading and hearing that word everywhere you go? It happens to me all the time. About a year ago I learned from a menu that there is a fish called tilapia. I’d never heard of it before. Now it’s all anyone wants to talk about! “Have you had the tilapia in a bag at Red Lobster?” “You should try tilapia. It’s good.” “I like tilapia.” “Three cheers for tilapia! Hip hip…” “Tilapia of the mornin’ to ya!”

Can anyone explain what’s going on with tilapia? Was I just not paying attention, or are tilapia some new sort of fish? Should I eat any? I only like the mildest tasting fish.

Hey, why don’t any of you who tease me for not liking moist meat put gravy on your fish? Hypocrites!

I’m told tilapia work well in aquaria. They’re native to South America and Africa, but were recently exported to parts of Texas and Florida. Is that why we’re just starting to hear about them? Or is it only me?

Style America

Yesterday I returned to Style America to get my hair done. This time the beautician was Lisa Dang. She was horrible at English, but managed to make the following conversation.

Dang: “You have gray hair.”
Feathers: “Yes, I know. It isn’t so bad.”
Dang: “How long have you been balding?”
Feathers: “It’s been a while. I have dual crowns.”
Dang: “You have very thick hair right here.” She pointed to my head sides. “Too bad you can’t put some of it where you are balding.”
Feathers: “Yeah, too bad.”
Dang: “Have you ever thought about Rogaine?”
Feathers: “No. I’ve come to accept my baldness as part of Jesus’ plan for me.”
Dang: “Well I think hair is very important and you should do something.”
Feathers: “Isn’t it what’s on my insides that counts?”
Dang: (Noticing a stray strand of hair sprouting from my otherwise bald forehead) “I’ve never seen anything like this before.”
Feathers: “Do you think it can be permed?”
(At that point she took a straight edge razor across my forehead to cut off the hair.)
Feathers: “This has been a horrible trip to the beauty parlor. Why are you so mean about hair?”
Dang: “I think hair is very important.”

The whole Style America was laughing at me and my head. I hate getting haircuts.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


Good morning. I have some pretty good news.

According to an informant, the basic difference between flounder and halibut is that the halibut's left eye migrates to the right side of its head. Flounder and halibut are opposites! Maybe flounder (halibut) sit around looking at the other halibut (flounder) and that probably makes them happy. I wonder if they taste the same. Long live Mother Nature!

In music news, my sister and brother-in-law's band is really climbing the www.nowhereradio.com charts. "Otra Parte" is #2 on the Latin chart and "The Chipmunk Song" is #2 on the Childrens chart. That's good. They are Heroes of Rock! You can listen to their songs by going to that website and searching "pphphb". Their "VH1: Behind the Music" is going to be really lame. It will be 30 minutes of my sister looking at birds, getting upset when the numbskulls fly into her window, and Kevin being quiet followed by 30 minutes of someone talking about current events while my sister closes her eyes in an attempt to mentally transport herself into The Neighborhood of Make Believe. That part will be kind of funny.

I remember when my sister was in high school and was a freak (somewhere I have her old Krokus concert jersey to prove it!). Her friends were John Q Morris, Jelly Jellison, and quite possibly the Prince of Darkness. Some weekends she wouldn't speak to any of us (my Mom, Dad, and me) for no apparent reason. Sometimes I wonder how you get from that point to the point where mostly you like global warming, Emeril, and birds.

Time for my bath! Vickie's coming to town.

Sunday, February 13, 2005


Last week I got to go back to Oklahoma City. Once again, the week was chockfull of good food. Highlights this time included Ted’s (Mexican food) and Anne’s Chicken Fried (i.e., “the chicken fried of Anne” not “Anne is chicken fried”). Ted’s has fantastic tortillas and Anne’s has great KISS memorabilia. Thanks to the OKC field office for inviting me to the tradition that is Friday Lunch. We went to Red Lobster. I had fun!

Red Lobster’s waiting area walls are full of fish portraits. I find it a little unsettling to have to look at pre-mortem representations of what I’m about to eat. I also don’t like going to steakhouses where they mount the head (perhaps the very head) of what I am eating in the dining room. Who, except maybe the most sick among us, garner additional eating pleasure from viewing the carcass of whatever’s on their plate? Can you imagine sitting in a dentist’s office surrounded by paintings of impacted molars and gum disease? That would never happen! But, for some reason, restaurants (of all places!) bend over backward to make the event as unappetizing as possible. Plus, Red Lobster has an aquarium of bound lobster sitting right out in the middle of the lobby. It’s quite pathetic. The last thing I need before gorging myself with meat is a guilt trip.

One of the fish pictures at Red Lobster is the profile of a flounder. The picture made me confused inside because both of its eyes were situated on one side of its fish head! Others tried to convince me that that’s just the way flounders are made. But it doesn’t make sense to have two eyes on the same side. What possible good is it to have all of your vision springing from the same basic part of your face? It would be better (but not ideal!) to have one gigantic eye. A flounder’s two eyes are only a centimeter or two apart and on the same side of its body! How much additional seeing could this arrangement possibly provide? I left Red Lobster paralyzed in disbelief.

So I started back to Dallas. On route, I called one of our audit managers to see what she knew about flounder. Unbeknownst to me, she grew up with flounder. She told me that she remembered one, in particular, called Freddy. She assured me that he had symmetrically situated eyes. My relief that flounder are normal was quickly replaced by an upset feeling that my “friends” in the OKC office would make me the victim of a practical joke (about fish). It felt like betrayal. That’s when I got a text message from someone I still trusted from the OKC field office. Here is what it said: “Flounder start out with normal eyes and then right eye migrates to left side of head.” Now the feeling of betrayal was once again replaced with confusion about fish! But I trust this source, and had to tell the audit manager (Sylvie) that what she had could not have been flounder. She would’ve noticed its weird eyes. I could tell she was mad that I didn’t believe her. I promised to confirm the information I’d received via text message. Here’s what I found:

“Adult southern flounder leave the bays during the fall for spawning in the Gulf of Mexico. They spawn for the first time when two years old at depths of 50 to 100 feet. The eggs are buoyant.
After hatching, the larval fish swim in an upright position and the eyes are located on opposite sides of the head. As the young fish grows, the right eye begins to "migrate" to the left side of the head. When body length of about one-half inch has been attained, the eye migration is complete and the fish assumes its left-side-up position for life.” (Source: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/fish/specinfo/flounder/flounbro.htm)

So it’s true. Flounder have two eyes on the same side of its head. And, to make matters worse, the fish assumes its left-side-up position for life! This means adult flounder (1) can never look at each other (they are all looking up!), and (2) must always think they are on the very bottom of the ocean (they can’t see what’s below). I think this is sad. Can you imagine a lonelier existence than to feel like you’re always at the bottom of the heap and none of the others like you will even look your way? It’s just terrible.

Flounder is one of just a few varieties of fish I’ll eat. At first I was a little grossed out about eating something whose right eye had “migrated”, but they say “everything happens for a reason”. It must be depressing to be a flounder. Maybe the reason I like flounder to the exclusion of most other fishes is to put as many of them out of their misery as possible by eating them up. Jesus works in mysterious ways. I am the Flounder’s Jack Kevorkian.

Next time I go swimming I’m taking my mirror with me. I’m going to swim above the flounder facing my mirror down toward them. For once, they’ll be able to see each other. I wonder if fish can smile. If so, I bet they will when I go down there with my mirror.

P.S. My friend Erik told me that he works with a man called “Grady Bacon”.