Oct. 31, 2001

How About Filling
The Fish Tank With Gin?

By Roy Rivenburg
Underwater Prozac Bureau: It isn’t easy being a fish on death row. According to a new study from Greece, living in a water tank while waiting to be cooked and eaten causes tremendous stress and depression, which also alters the fish’s flavor. And that’s bad news for fish aficionados.

Fortunately, a hydrobiology professor from Athens has spent 10 years researching ways to make fish relax. According to Reuters news service, his recommendations for calmer, tastier fish include: customizing the color of the water tank for each species, more ‘‘play time’’ and better food.

However, we think additional steps are needed to help the animals relax. For example, yoga classes could be offered to the fish. And the water tanks could be converted into soothing Jacuzzis with massaging jets and a steady temperature of 105 degrees.

Also, since studies show that staring at an aquarium makes humans more relaxed, we suggest creating an aquarium-within-aquarium habitat so the fish can watch other fish.

Last but not least, we recommend drum music. A recent medical journal article titled ‘‘Composite Effects of Group Drumming Music Therapy on Modulation of Neuroendocrine-Immune Parameters in Normal Subjects’’ confirms what most Americans suspected all along, namely that group drumming causes ‘‘increased dehydroepiandrosterone-to-cortisol ratios without altering plasma interleukin 2 or the Beck Anxiety Inventory and Beck Depression Inventory II.’’ We’re pretty sure it works for fish too.

America the Booty Call: As a rule of thumb, composers are better off not writing songs after they’re dead. Aside from the problem of trying to perform the music live, there’s just something about being deceased that negatively affects song quality.

Case in point: Irving Berlin. In the wake of Sept. 11, he has apparently decided that his 1939 hit ‘‘God Bless America’’ no longer cuts it. According to a San Diego psychic who channels various dead musicians, Berlin penned a new patriotic tune. Titled ‘‘I’ll Spell it Out for You,’’ it is intended to be performed by a ‘‘talking American flag.’’ Sample lyrics:

‘‘I love to spell things out so you can see
Just what I say and just what I mean
I am your red, white and B-L-U-E
I pledge my allegiance to all of you.’’

On the plus side, it’s probably better than the Olsen Twins’ upcoming cover version of Weezer’s ‘‘Island in the Sun.’’

1980s Flashback Bureau: The ‘‘Olympics of Breakdancing’’ will be held in Germany on Nov. 17. France is favored to win.

Lunatic Fringe Bureau: Max, the Crystal Skull, is back on the lecture circuit. According to his handlers, the Guatemalan carving might be one of 13 crystal skulls prophesied to someday appear in Central America to heal the Earth by uniting people of all races. In the meantime, the translucent skull is visiting Anaheim, where he is available for private appointments ($50 per half hour) and a group meditation session. Mortals who sit in Max’s presence report enhanced psychic abilities. And some believe he is from ‘‘another dimensional realm and is being used for interdimensional contact between Star Beings and the human race.’’

Mark Your Calendars: Saxophone Day is Nov. 6, the Pillsbury Doughboy’s 36th birthday is Nov. 7, the electric bug zapper turns 91 on Nov. 8 and Felix the Cat will be 82 on Nov. 9.

Supermarket Tabloid Headline of the Week: ‘‘Bigfoot Kept Lumberjack As Love Slave!’’ (Weekly World News)

Unpaid Informants: Annals of Improbable Research (www.improbable.com), David Allen, Wireless Flash News Service.

Copyright 2001 by Roy Rivenburg
Distributed by
Creators Syndicate