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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Visit an Aquarium

James Taylor wrote a kind of weird song called "Valentine's Day." It begins:

Beneath the tide the fishies glide
Fin to fin and side to side
For fishy love has now begun
Fishy love, finny fun

The rest of the song has nothing to do with fish; that's one thing that makes it "weird."

But it serves as a good enough intro to today's "secret": visiting an aquarium.

When I was a kid we used to go to a place called Marineland of the Pacific. It now exists only as the homepage of a historical society, but in its heyday (1954-1987) it was the world's largest "oceanarium," with deep-sea critters of all kinds, and performing sea mammals like dolphins, seals, killer whales, and a 1600-pound pilot whale known to all SoCal kids (and, allegedly, internationally) as "Bubbles the Whale."

The shows were fun, but for sheer mystery, nothing could top the three-story-high tanks. Dwelling in their murky depths were starfish, turtles, and--chilling the bones as he passed by--a hammerhead shark. I've never gone scuba diving, but I've seen the depths, and they are creepier than James Taylor's song.

You may not be near "the world's largest oceanarium" (wherever it is), but there's probably a municipal aquarium somewhere within a day's drive.

So get out of your element. See the fishes. Visit an aquarium.

You'll be happier.

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