Come join us next Saturday for the second annual #SunflowerPlanting at the #GatesOfHell. This year, I’ve organized it with my friends at US Ukrainian Activists. All you need to do is show up. All you need to bring is yourself and some combination of gardening tools, sunflower seeds, watering cans, and soil. It’s a fun event and it drives the Russians bananas. For headcount purposes, RSVPs are much appreciated. I will be there planting and livestreaming. As the event will take place in daylight, the projectors will stay home.
The latest list of Russian sanctions against Americans is out, and once again, I am not on it.
I am, of course, devastated. I cried and cried.
This seems like a particular slight because so many of my Brookings colleagues, including my Lawfare colleague Scott R. Anderson, made the cut. Scott, I want to note, has never shined a single spotlight on a single Russian diplomatic facility. What’s more, the list focuses on what the New York Times—surely to rub salt in the wound—called “perceived enemies of former President Donald J. Trump.”
What am I, chopped liver?
Really, guys, this is hurting my feelings.
The orcas are upset with us and have begun sinking boats. What’s more, they are teaching each other to sink boats.
We should address their grievances.
They are really big.
The #BeastOfTheDay, however, is not the boat-sinking orca. It is the hagfish, nominated by Jane Fox, who sends in this fascinating article from Down East:
The first time Vinalhaven lobsterboat captain Frank Thompson trapped hagfish in the Gulf of Maine, the pinkish-gray, snakelike animals popped the hatch off his hold — with their slime. When stressed or attacked, a single 20-inch-long hagfish spews a quart of stringy, suffocating snot in less than a second, and the stuff rapidly expands as it mixes with seawater. It was May 2009, and Thompson’s 48-foot boat was carrying 2,800 pounds of hagfish — that’s roughly 5,000 fish oozing copious slime from their skins. Unable to escape their own goop, many of the fish were dead when Thompson unloaded his catch in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
Hagfish — or slime eels, in fisherman’s parlance — may be the most repulsive animals in the sea, and not only because of the slime. They’re hideous to begin with, with a single nostril between tiny sightless eyes and a mouth that pulls open like drapes to reveal a bubblegum-pink “tongue,” studded with four rows of sharp, rasping teeth. Gruesome feeders, they burrow into the orifices of dead, dying, and live gillnetted fish and eat them from the inside out. Their leftovers turn up in Maine fishermen’s nets as ghostly balloons — hollowed-out cod and haddock skins bloated with seawater.
Condolences on being left off the sanctions list. Apparently their standards are totally out of whack. You should demand to see the manager.
One should never mention hagfish without also mentioning Ed Yong's exceptional—even by his lofty standards—Atlantic article on that subject:
"Hagfish produce slime the way humans produce opinions—readily, swiftly, defensively, and prodigiously."