Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Cephalopod blog.

Got a message this afternoon on my answering machine at the office from someone at the "NRCC," saying she wants my "permission to use my name in a Wall Street Journal ad." Oh, boy. Now what could that be about? I did a little looking around and discovered that NRCC stands for the (1) National Republican Congressional Committee; (2) National Regional Climate Center; and (3) National Resource Center for Cephalopods, among other things. If only the message had been from the third of these -- an ad in the Journal encouraging fair treatment for octopi, subsidies for squid ranching, or something. But no. I know it's from the first of the three, and they're trolling for money. I didn't call back.

I remember visiting Fisherman's Wharf 30+ years ago, and we had lunch at one of the bayside restaurants. My brother Jay ordered either squid or octopus -- a cephalopod, in any case -- easily the most novel dish of the whole trip. I tried a little, and thought it rubbery. It would be more than 10 years before I tried it again, and not till I went to Japan in 1990 that the cephalopod became a permanent part of my diet. Prepared correctly, squid and octopus aren't rubbery. They're fine eating. I can't understand the prejudice against them among many Occidentals.

Maybe it's because squid and octopi are slimy monsters of the deep. Or so they're depicted in our culture. In Japan, they're usually depicted as cute creatures, like cartoon pigs or chickens are here; cute enough to eat. Anyway, it's nonsense. I've had okra dishes that are a lot slimier than any cephalopod.

An update: Last Saturday, Rich Koz, host of Stooge-a-palooza on WCIU-TV, read my letter to him on the air -- most of it anyway (see the March 22, 2004, blog for the text of the letter). He skipped the last paragraph, instead mentioning that Timbuk3 (whom I cited in the letter) had also recorded the song, "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades," a fact that I hadn't included in the letter. Lilly got a kick out of hearing her name on TV, of course, and asked if he was going to do it again next week. I told her it didn't work that way. I don't want her to get any exaggerated ideas about the interactive nature of TV, which is almost nil.

I almost missed it. I was in another room when I heard my name, though Lilly and Yuriko were right there watching. Mark R., who works for my company out of his home in suburban Chicago, apparently was watching too. On Monday he sent me an e-mail that said, "I did not know until Saturday that you were a Stoogologist."


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