WANT!

I thought I was all set, not wanting anything for cephalopodmas… then a reader sent in this pic, of a cuddly little thing in a display of vintage teddy bears…
cuddly
It’s just so cuddly!

Clearly, They Were Rehearsing For Cephalopodmas

Chris Clarke, over at Pharyngula, gives us the “real story” (that is, the lamestream media cover-up) of a massive Humboldt squid stranding near Santa Cruz. He shows his hand, though, in his choice of headline. As someone privy to the inner circle of cephalopodian machinations, I am offering you the *real* story. (I am stunned to realize that this was written five years ago, which is a lifetime in blog-years.) I am, of course, swearing you all to secrecy.

It was Cephalopodmas, and all through the blogs
Not a writer was stirring—all sleeping like logs.
Each blogosphere-dweller, from Orac to PZ
Was all bundled up and just taking it easy.
Their prone, sleeping forms, that might well have been granite
Slept through the most wonderful tale on the planet!
For all ‘cross the globe, from the oceans and seas,
All the cephalopods, just as nice as you please,
Took a break from their lurking in kelps and in corals
To visit the houses of people with morals.
(Ironic, you think? If they hadn’t been sleeping,
The bloggers would be so much happier peeping,
And witnessing all of this marvelous night.
Well, now that I write of it… next year, they might.)

But how can a creature that’s mainly pelagic
Accomplish all this? Is it hoax? Is it magic?
Of course, I could never achieve it alone
I had oceans of help—why, in every time zone
There were octopi, cuttlefish, nautilus too
And squid by the thousands who knew what do do.
From the deepest of depths, from the shallowest shoals,
From around the equator and close to the poles,
From every far corner of all seven seas
Came crawlers and swimmers, as quick as you please,
From cuttlefish cubby or octopus den,
To each lend a hand, or perhaps eight or ten.
The skies and the seas were both darker than soot;
No safe place for tentacle, feeler, or foot—
Was it safe for the journey? I had to think twice,
But a wise old molluscan proposed this advice:
“You know, you should hitch up some firefly squid”
So, not being stupid, that’s just what I did—
(In the darkest of depths, when I could not find any,
I used the much larger Taningia danae).
With a glow that left headlights in sad obsolescence
We lit our own way with our bioluminescence.
(And once (but just once) when we plain lost our bearings
We got back on track with the help of some herrings.
On Cephalopodmas, good nature prevails—
Even giant squid know they can trust the sperm whales—
And whether you’re predator, whether you’re prey,
You can take the day off. Hey, it’s only one day.)
And with luminous squidlings providing the light,
The Onycotuthidae took us to flight!
(It’s a myth that a reindeer can fly, as you know
But true that some squid can, as others can glow!)
So we flew, over trees, over hills, over mountains,
(Keeping moist by, sometimes, flying low over fountains)
We flew over deserts, with sagebrush and cactus;
Some day we’ll invade, so it’s really good practice.
And each place we flew, and the others we crawled,
We left little gifts, that surprised and enthralled
All the good boys and girls, and their parents and pets
(Why should some folks miss out on what other folks gets?)
An octopus, crawling up pipes from the sewers,
Might leave a small gift, say, a bottle of Dewars.
For those who do not have a liking for whiskey,
Perhaps lingerie (although nothing too risky);
If the oysters cooperate, maybe some pearls
For the fancy tongue-piercings of good boys and girls.
If we think we’ve been spotted, then quick as a wink,
We are gone—what remains is a black cloud of ink,
(But when it’s so dark you can’t see where you’re going
Then ink is no good—so a cloud that is glowing–
A trick taught by Heteroteuthis dispar)
So it shows where you were, when you no longer are,
And predators, peepers, or unwilling hosts
See nothing—or see what might well have been ghosts.
They know they’ve seen something, but what? They won’t swear.
By that time, of course, we are long gone from there.
You can see from the picture that, once, we were caught
By some kittehs, who said “U R not who we thot.”
But we gave the poor kittehs a soft little pat,
‘Cos we knew we were safe—who’d believe a dumb cat?
Then back to the oceans, for seafood and beer,
Saying Merry Cephalopodmas, and Happy New Year!

Sepia Friday

That is, not quite Black Friday (or CyberMonday) yet. But I’ve been tweaking the store just a little bit, so consider this a soft opening. Let me know if there are any problems.

There are the regular Cuttlefish With Quill t-shirts and such, the best mug in the world (and matching glassware, if you like), a few other tweaks on the design (including, for those who read this blog before it was FtB, stuff with the original Cuttlefish). I’ve added in some more of Mike McRae’s wonderful illustrations on other drinkware–sadly, they are too small to be good shirts. For you artists out there–yes, he’ll be getting his half of any profits. Shh, it’s a secret–don’t tell him. So you can collect all the cephalopod shot glasses, for instance (I have not yet been able to find a way to have them packaged as a single set–sorry!), or treat the world to the wonderful sight of a toddler with a blasphemy sippy cup. Myself, I’ve got my eye on a different sort of sippy cup.

Anyway, take a look. (And like I said, please let me know if there are any problems!) I’ll have it linked up top soon, and maybe a widget somewhere. But I want the bugs out of it (if there are any) by next week when people start thinking about Cephalopodmas!

Robot Octopus!

Robot Octopus. Two words that are awesome together.

I want a robot octopus
To play with in the pool
To go for walks on rainy days
And follow me to school
To count upon its tentacles
And help me out with math
To find my rubber ducky
When I lose it in the bath

I want a robot octopus
I’ll take one, any size!
With sensors in its tentacles,
And artificial eyes
I’ll run it by remote control
It’s gonna be such fun…
I want a robot octopus
Could someone make me one?

Cephalopod Awareness Days!

I got busy and missed the beginning (yesterday), but it’s not too late! I have not seen a lot of hullaballoo this year, but the NC Museum of Natural Sciences Blogs reminds us that October 8-12 (strange, it’s usually 8-10) are Cephalopod Awareness Days. Among other things, this means the Cephalopod Awareness Days at Noadi’s (I get no kickback, but I did buy the Cuttledaughter a necklace there and she loves it), but there seems to be less cephalopod awareness this year than in previous. Ocean of Hope has a post up for the season, with a “state of the ocean” address that is sobering, as an honest state of the ocean address certainly would be. Go read it, get depressed, and come back here for a bit of silliness to bring you just far enough back to be ready to actually do something about it.

The time has come! (What time, again?)
October 8, and 9, and 10!
Each year, this time, We play the odds
And celebrate the cephalopods!
(See, Pascal’s wager must apply
To more than just that Yahweh guy—
And crosses, crescents, pentacles
Cannot compare to tentacles!)
You need to hug a cuttlefish,
Or, yes, a squid, if you should wish,
Or octopus, if you insist,
But someone, somewhere, must be kissed,
With lots of arms to hold you tight,
And though we could, we will not bite.
(I would not even make a fuss
If you should snogg a Nautilus)

If you should think these days are Holy,
You do not grasp the concept fully—
The cephalopod, the fish, the eel,
Unlike the God, you see… are real.

Great-Grand-Dad In The News

A comment yesterday points to this story, of the discovery of fossilized squid ink, which they say is essentially identical in composition to the ink of modern cuttlefish.

“The whole machinery apparently has been locked in time and passed down through succeeding generations of cuttlefish. It’s a very optimized system for this animal and has been optimized for a long time.”

This may or may not be the same story I wrote about before–if it isn’t, it’s close enough. The hook last time, though, was that they actually reconstituted some of the ink, and used it to draw an illustration of the squid itself.


I have a small bottle of sepia ink
Which I use for particular writing.
The feel of a quill-pen is special, I think,
And I find the whole process exciting.

I read in the news, of an interesting find,
Of a well-preserved cephalo-fossil
(The paleontologists gladly remind,
What we learn may be truly colossal!

See, soft-tissue fossils are rare, as a rule,
So an ink-sac was quite unexpected—
This cephalofind was the coolest of cool,
As a rock that can still be dissected!)

The scientists ground up the fossilized sac
To make ink for its own illustration—
Some see this as fitting, while others attack
It as cruel (in unique presentation!*)

Myself, as his great-great-great-great-great-great-great
Great-great-grandson, I want his return.
His repatriation to Cuttle-Estate,
To his burial inkwell—er, urn.

*Anyone who does not follow this link and read the whole thing is a complete gooberhead. Just sayin’.

Cuttlecap tip to Karen–Thanks!