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Outdoors Outpost
It's Only Money
Wednesday, November 14, 2012 • Posted November 14, 2012

At long last the presidential election is over, allowing our elected officials to take a break from their grueling schedules of having television makeup applied and removed, and give their overtaxed smile muscles a chance to rest for a week or two before the next campaign season begins. The recent campaign season set a record, lasting approximately 287 years.

One of the most influential groups involved in lobbying for candidates who support hunting, fishing, trapping, and other outdoor pursuits is the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance. USSA is a great organization that not only keeps watch on politicians set on taking away our outdoor freedoms, but also sends me periodic emails detailing their efforts on our behalf. Without them the ‘wrong’ people would win far too many elections.

One of the groups USSA keeps an eye on is peta, a perennial favorite when it comes to wacky animal stories. A USSA newsletter sent out just before the election contains a peta story that should make even diehard vegans wonder if the animal rights crowd has a few of its spark plug wires switched.

Back in October a tanker truck was carrying a load of sea bass to a fish market in an oxygenated tank when it was involved in an accident in Irvine, California. The truck turned over, the fish were spilled, and traffic was tied up until the 1,600 pounds of bass could be removed. Not a fun day, I imagine, for the City of Irvine Dead Fish Removal Team.

Shortly after the accident Dina Kourda, a peta representative, sent a letter to the California Street Superintendent, requesting that the city of Irvine erect a sign at the scene of the accident. You would think the proposed sign should say something like, ‘Watch for flying fish,’ or ‘Bass Xing,’ or words to that effect. No.

The sign peta wants put up would be a memorial for the fish. The peta people want it to say “In memory of hundreds of fish who suffered and died at this spot.” Really.

The initial reaction of some I mentioned this to was, ‘If peta wants to pay for it, no problem.’ Of course, peta doesn’t want to pay for it. They want California, the state that’s so far in debt it can’t pay attention, to pay for it. And the sad thing is, that’s probably what will happen.

My idea, which I thought up all by myself by stealing it from my wife, was that if peta wants to memorialize the fish that died (which is typical of folks who place animal welfare above human welfare) they should fund a fish hatchery, or something like that. Common sense, however, is a little too far to reach from deep left field.

The USSA story also said that, in the letter, Ms. Kourda claims that fish can tell time, use tools, and sing. Yes. Sing. But then, the USSA article also said that no one reported any ‘wailing by fish or the singing of fish funeral hymns when the truck overturned.’ Looks to me like, if fish can sing, they could also say, “Hey, buddy, slow down. You’re going to get us all killed.” But that’s me.

That story pales in comparison, however, to the one sent in by my friend, Patrick Wentworth. It seems a woman named Maraleen ‘Butterfly Lady’ Maros-Jones found a Monarch butterfly hatchling in her garden in Shokan, New York, on 1 October. In case you’re not up on butterfly facts, that’s way too late for the annual migration. All the other butterflies were already down around Louisville or so by then.

So, instead of saying, ‘Oh, well,’ as any sensible person would do, Ms. Maros-Jones called up Southwest Airlines, and managed to talk them into flying the late bloomer to San Antonio. For free. Oh, joy.

Of course, Ms. Maros-Jones will be coming, too. You can’t allow a hatchling butterfly to travel alone. No telling what the TSA would do to it. Which is a real concern, considering that Ms. Maros-Jones plans to pack the insect in ‘a glassine envelope with a damp piece of cotton, inside a Tupperware container, packed inside yet another container outfitted with an ice pack to keep the butterfly cool and calm. That container will go into a bag, padded with layers of newspapers and towels.’

It’s pretty much common knowledge that airlines live in fear of having butterflies get agitated mid-flight. That’s about the 864th leading cause of airplane crashes worldwide today.

Ms. Maros-Jones plans to release the butterfly in the San Antonio Botanical Garden. Her hope is for it to join other Monarchs on their southward migration. I wonder if she’s considered how the other butterflies will treat hers, once they find out it got to fly free, AND watch an in-flight movie.

But it’s OK with me if California goes further into debt to memorialize fish that were going to be eaten, anyway. And I don’t mind if Southwest Airlines throws money away flying a butterfly from New York to San Antonio. The butterfly can move into the Alamo, for all I care, as long as Ms. Maros-Jones gets back on a plane bound for New York . . .

Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who uses butterflies as bait, to catch fish to eat. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or jeep@verizon.net

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