April 2nd, 2014


The Founding Fish -- John McPhee

I have finally finished listening to John McPhee's The Founding Fish . John McPhee reads it, which is both a pleasant thing and, well, i was listening at x1.5 speed. His ability to rattle of the Latin names of the fish he was writing about was very impressive.

The naturalist narratives and ecological observations about shad were interesting. The obsession with frying shad roe on top of bacon, not so much. The history of shad consumption in the Americas and the development of fishery regulation.... The description of reeling in shad, of having shad insides eaten by eels while hanging from a stringer at his waist, of other fishermen catching shad while he wasn't catching any.... Well, i listened to it all, but i heard the announcement "appendix" just as i walked in the door yesterday evening, so i'm declaring the book over.

I was again pretty blue in the evening, so i watched some youtube to keep from going to bed too terribly early (in retrospect, maybe i should have gone to sleep then). I watched some fishing videos of tarpon and shad to see what was being described. Then, as the boniness of the American shad had been elaborated in some depth (along with the outline of the plot to Caught (1996), which i won't need to see now), i watched Captain Vincent Russo (that accent, it's so familiar, is it Georgia? North Florida?) debone shad. "I wonder what i will dream about," i thought, as i am not so close to meat these days. Indeed, i dreamt about cannibalism, nothing graphic, but the disturbing thread was there.