Sunday, May 06, 2007

Tonight I watched Sharkland,( a fantastic documentary on the unique coastal waters at the tip of South Africa.

On the West coast the water is cold but on the East coast it is like a bathtub at 82 degrees F. This unique situation makes it possible for over 60 species of Sharks to inhabit the various underwater environments. Naturally there was the usual litany of species specific characteristics with amazing, beautiful, visuals...

Great Whites stalking Sea Lions, Tiger Sharks crunching on Sea Turtles, Pyjama Sharks (yes) feeding on Crustaceans...but the one scene that really stood out involved Sardines.

In June a band of cold 60 degree water sneaks up the warm East Coast and millions of sardines swim up where they are systematically preyed upon by everything under the Sea!

"Under the sea
Under the sea
When the sardine
Begin the beguine

It's music to me"

Where was I...
Chased from below by Dolphins, the sardines are herded into gigantic swirling vortexs near the surface known as bait balls. Here the sardines are attacked from above by dive bombing Gannets, and from every imaginable angle below come Dolphins, Whales, Tuna, Sea Lions and Sharks.

All of these predators dart in and out of the huddled sardines and gorge themselves like there is no tomorrow. What is so striking is that there is such an abundance of food that all of the predators who would normally be attacking or fleeing from each other, completely ignore one another.

There is so much food available that those at the top of the food chain just nonchalantly pass by each other and concentrate on the sardines. This lasts for a couple of weeks and then the cold stream disappears and it's back to regular programming.

What struck me is how much we homo escapeons have in common with those sardines. Like sardines, there are billions of us 'ordinary' people being pursued by others higher up on the food chain.

We are quite defenseless so we huddle together and hope that the other guy gets picked off.

So what would happen if our predators at the top of the food chain, Corporations and Governments, found a place where people swarm together in huge numbers like sardines. Would they abandon their little turf wars and ignore each other if they all shared in the plunder?

I think that cities are a lot like bait balls.
Perhaps the largest bait balls ever formed will be right here on the Internet?

Are we master baiters making it too easy for them?


  1. ahhh the sexually represed crustacean known as sabastian:)

    I dont think the plunder will ever be shared, there is too much greed and fear that the other predator will take all the fishy goodness... WE need to break the mob mentality, but to do that we need free people, moraly responcible, and to essentailly aopt a form of existentialism.. UNtil then people will always hope that someone else will take the fall, someone else will change the world, someone else will notice the shitty state of affairs.

    ive had my rant.. here's your blog back:)

  2. Well I don't know about all that but I have a sudden desire to sing sea shanties...

    Jack was every inch a sailor
    Five and twenty years a whaler
    Jack was every inch a sailor
    He was born upon the bright blue sea.

  3. Being a Piscean, I feel more often a sardine than a shark...

  4. I've always been fascinated with marine life and I've always felt such sadness everytime a little fishy gets eaten alive by a big fishy.

    I guess we do make it easy by all hangin' out together, but isn't there supposed to be strength in numbers?

  5. Wow, excellent thought provoking post..yet again!!! My fav Little Mermaid character, Sebastian, very very cute crustacean :)
    I think blogville it a baitball, but for us to find new friends, who would else never even meet.

  6. aidan,
    As long as we dissidents stay defiant out here we should be safe.
    From our lofty perch in the blogosphere it seems obvious that the bait balls are easy pickings but how can we help?
    And more importantly how do we help Sebastion come out of his shell?

    I have no idea if 'every inch a sailor' is an insult or bragging?
    It seems to me that fishermen are always embellishing how big things really are. Especially the one that got away.

    Arrrr ye olde salty dog! I think that we all feel like that except when we're out here.

    The safety in numbers is statistical roulette governed by the law of averages. Somebody is going to get it. We have a better chance of staying alive if we blend in and don't stand out.
    Just act like everything is fine and don't draw any attention..they're always looking for signs of vulnerability.

    Tru dat! I think that bloggers are highly individualistic and are less likely to get caught up in a huge bait ball...unless you are congregating on trendy shark bait sites like Oprah's THE SECRET.

  7. And don't get me started on Blow The Man Down...

    "Come all ye young fellows that follows the sea
    To me, way hey, blow the man down"

  8. mj,
    I y'am what I 'yam!
    I'm strong to the finish
    cause I eats me spinach!

  9. i see a completely different dynamic at work...herd politics. the dominants, the followers....and the outliers. outliers are the animals who are sometimes in the middle, sometimes on the edge, and every bit as likely as the dominants to pass on their genes (they're observant and sneaky!) the ones who suffer the most from predation? the followers. all grouped together in your old 'bait ball' formation.

    the moral of the story is: duck and weave, ladies and gentlemen.
    i am an outlier. it's FUN here!

  10. Interesting post! I too wonder if we're making it too easy for the big boys to knock us under. The answer is probably yes, but I'll still go down swinging, and nobody who ever knew me will honestly say I was one of the pack!

  11. first nations,
    TRU DAT!
    Don't cha know I 'herd' it on the grapevine.
    I am an out and outlier!

    That is the understatement of the year! I think that we need to be alert and when the US Corporations try to hijack the Internet we go medieval on their ass!

  12. Nice new digs.

    Well, let's see. Yep, it's all part of the big plan.

    We are definitely the sardines.

    The governments abandon the rail lines that kept the agriculture economy going, so most of the farmers quit and moved to the big city.

    The aboriginals are moving to the big city. Everybody's moving to the big city, attracted by the promise of fortune and fame and roads with potholes and high crime rates.

    And once there, they all move to the suburbs. Those that can afford it move into the gated communities and buy elaborate alarm systems.

    Those that can't just try to stick close to everyone else and HOPE they don't get swallowed.

    And the predators, finally, have what they want. We all watch the same TV shows, we all buy the same thing and eat at the same places and play the same games, so it's economical on a huge scale.

    Target-marketing for the masses, huge schools, huge box stores, huge malls.

    Everything's about massing together. Everything's about being a target. Even for 9-11, the terrorists took advantage of it.

    How else could you destroy 3,000 innocent people more easily than fly a plane into two massive buildings?

  13. It all seems a bit fishy too me!

  14. Yes, we are going to be eaten. We are going to be dead. Escpecially if one of the Nigerian Scammer rings bait you with a hook.

    I love sardines, but I get very sick after eating sardines, really sick. Yet, I still do because I want to live on the edge.

    Yeah right! (Living on the edge I mean, the truth is it is more like boring myself to death these past few days.)

    Thank you for letting me gripe.

  15. Im a crab...wud it make the situation any better? :)


  16. btw nice new look to ur blog matey!


  17. "The skipper lay with his nob in gore where the

    Scullion’s axe his cheek had shore"

    la la la la laaaaaaaaa

  18. I couldn't live anywhere but the city. I could never live out, say on a farm like my mom did growing up.

    I guess it depends on the individual - what their view is.

  19. within outhouse,
    Excellent tirade old sport! That's the spirit.

    let me hear,
    let me hear,
    you thunder!

    HA! Yes if you send a cheque to help release the funds of that poor man who died with no living relatives you deserve everything that you get.

    What do you mean you're a in your Zodiac sign?

    I feel that you are definitely a dazzling urbanite my friend. Living in a small town would be awesome for blogging because there is so much GOSSIP!
    So see, there is always an upside.

  20. ziggi on the outside sometimes2:52 p.m.

    ooo yes I'm going to be a ducking and diving outlier too - wouldn't live in the city if yer paid me so you can all be eaten first - we fittest will survive by swimming against the grain

  21. Hmmm...maybe a giant outdoor music festival catering to "counter-culture" and progressive-types would make a tempting target. Yikes!

  22. Yes, my dear, we are nothing but sheep in a herd, so easy to manipulate.

  23. well, I'm feeling pretty hungry now

    *goes off to make sardines on toast - the ultimate comfort food*

    (not many people know that)

  24. ziggi,
    How many times have you watched 28 days later????

    It sure would...
    unlike Woodstock, the new mega concerts have a fantastic selection of goods and services to tempt the discerning music enthusiast into clusters and all the 'Man' needs is a giant net or serum in the $8 bottled WATER!
    How else can you explain the Hippys turning into Yuppys?!?!?!?

    Hi hildegarde,
    I get very uncomfortable when I find myself coveting a 'must have' product that I have no use for, other than to procure the envy of's like kindergarten..

    look what I have neener neener neener!

    i like the view?
    OK are you serious? Comfort food?
    The only sardines allowed on my property go into Raccoon traps in the back yard...along with the containers..oooh SHINY!

  25. ooh, very spooky dude!
    but i don't think you're very far off the mark- i reckon the antichrist that the book of revelation speaks of will be a billionaire business mogul the likes of bill gates, donald trump or richard branson... not that they're bad guys- but the antichrist will be someone with money and influence, not a hitler or a mugabe or a mao or a lenin, KWIM?

  26. nah

    I was kidding

    cauliflower cheese is my kind of comfort food

    with a really really ce]heesy bit on the top. . .


  27. keshiroo,
    I abandoned the Zodiac in the 70s when I learned that the slight wobble in the Earth's axis has rendered the Horoscopic tags out by almost a month from the time of the Babylonians...don't worry I don't even know what that means.

    Well I had a huge interest in Eschatological matters back in the 80s (because I love history) and I realise that the seductive qualities of the aledged Antichrist will be his ability to resolve world conflicts.
    Why can't we all just get along?

    It is a fabulous tale and the beauty of it all is it's endless speculative qualities. With the state of the world the way it is any solution would be welcomed by Earthlings.

    i like the view,
    BRAINFOOD! I had a friend in college who swore that cauliflower was a natural brain enhancer...

    but my bottom bits pucker up whenever I see cauliflower EARS on boxers and wrestlers((shudders))

  28. haha!

    I dun go by the Stars either.


  29. keshi,
    Not even Paris or Britney?


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