After noisily slapping a black fly while crossing the beach on Sunday, I noticed a buncha nearby folks staring over at me, real hard. Then I had this blood-curdling thought: Holy, s***, did I just kill Cecil the Fly?
Oh, stop. I’m as pissed as you are over Dr. Demento’s cross-bowing, then bullet-blasting, Zimbabwe’s wonderful Cecil the Lionhearted.
Minnesota dentist/hunter Walter Palmer first took the crossbow killing-route as a means to add some perceived manliness to the choreographed hunt predicated on first beguiling the pretty much tame Cecil out of his home grounds, using dangled meat. The crossbow was also a way to preserve the pelt for later rugging out … head and all.
The failed bow shooting of the baited lion required it be tracked until heat and blood loss slowed it enough for a truly gifted, high-power rifle blast to the brain – from a few feet away. The lion definitely sleeps tonight.
As contrived as the actual hunt had been, it would have later been portrayed something like this:
“Here I was hiking across the savanna, eating gluten-free granola and admiring wildlife, when out of nowhere this ravenous lion leapt out at me. Utilizing my own cat-like reflexes, I dropped to the burning sand, just as the slavering monster flew over my head. Then, in an instant, I was back on my feet, in time to jump high off the ground, as the big cat next tried to attack my legs. While in midair, I pulled a ballpoint pen out of my shirt pocket and came down on the lion’s back, jamming the pen into him. That’s the one hole you see in the rug. Then, as I was riding on the lion’s back, as he bucked across the dusty African plains, I held onto his mane with one hand, and with my free hand I pulled out a pistol I kept at my side strictly for self-defense. With one shot to the head – that’s this particular hole in the rug – I blasted him into the great beyond. The hundreds of natives who saw my hand-fighting of the lion were madly cheering from the shrubs, pumping their spears, calling me the Great Bwana.”
And right after that, the natives then began humming, “The lion sleeps tonight,” all part of the $50,000 bag-a-lion package Palmer had purchased.
But a funny thing happened on the way to story time. The dentist got busted for poaching – busted like no poacher has ever been busted before.
Anyway, imagine waking up to find you’re the most hated man on the entire planet – and who knows how far beyond the planet? Hell, if extraterrestrials are truly monitoring us from outer space, I’ll bet they’re also pissed off – providing they, you know, piss.
Just for cynical chuckles, I hit the web to explore newspapers around the world. I couldn’t find a nation of any size or denomination that wasn’t in an uproar (pun intended) over the murder of Cecil. How could I tell with the likes of Chinese publications? Check out this headline: 个猎人杀死美 Cecil the Lion 国人塞西尔
There’s now so much Cecil talk on the Worldwide Web it’s hard to tell what to believe – for instance, the report of authorities finding a stash of “crush” videos in Demento’s dental office, including such titles as “Filleting Nemo,” “Bagging Bugs Bunny,” “Running Over Rin Tin Tin” and a particularly gruesome video called “Skinning Smokey Bear for Fun and Profit.” That last one was co-directed by Ted Nugent.
The good doctor will also have a hard time explaining why in the world he has a life-sized wax image of Bert Lahr’s head mounted on a mahogany plaque above the fireplace. I’ll give younger folks some time to Google that.
As to Cecil, I never met the lion; however, I once stopped by the Cecil S. Collins School in Barnegat. That somehow brings Cecil’s murder even closer to home for me. I was among many who felt a personal loss, as if losing a close, hairy friend. However, if someone would have walked up to me a month back and tearfully announced, “Cecil the Lion was just shot and killed by a hunter,” I’d feign looking utterly shocked while thinking to myself, “Ok, Jay, this is serious. Think hard. Who the hell is Cecil the Lion … and is there any chance you’ve ever written anything bad about him?”
Instead, I managed to ID dearly-departed Cecil via social media. In no time at all, I was walking up to strangers tearfully proclaiming, “Cecil the Lion was just shot and killed by a hunter.”
Now that Cecil’s demise is common household knowledge, it’s coming down to “Where were you when you first heard Cecil was shot?” Future generations love reading crap like that. Of course, I’ve already seen a bumper sticker reading, “Cecil Is Dead … Get Over It.” … very much in a Titanic vein.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m fully a-mock here, but this is actually how I vent over senseless killings like this.
It now comes down to how Palmer the Pelt Hunter must pay for totally pissing off an entire planet, a feat that is surely easier said than done. Even mass murderers come up way short of achieving a planetary loathing. As the great saying goes, “You can piss off some of the people all of the time and you can piss off all of the people some of the time, but you can’t piss off all of the people all of the time” Until now, apparently.
If Dr. Despicable is extradited back to Africa, he’ll likely do a dime (10 years) in a Zimbabwe prison. Rest assured – and don’t drop the soap – you don’t want to do so much as a penny in a Zimbabwe prison. Of course, while in there, Palmer might strike up friendships with fellow poachers, not to mention a slew of unsuccessful ivory smugglers.
But I have an appropriate addendum to his prison term. In order to get an early parole, Palmer would have to serve years on end in African game reserves where he’d constantly clean the yellow teeth of lions, who, you have to admit, currently don’t have the brightest smiles in the jungle. By the time Palmer returns to his dental practice in the U.S., there wouldn’t be a lion anywhere in the Dark Continent without a Regis Philbin smile.
BURN THIS COLUMN: I need some radical folks to rally behind me to “Ban the Speed Limits on LBI!” I’m talking about all the speed limits. Let’s burn ’em all. They’re bummers in the summer, dude.
So, have I aroused your hippy-radical attention? Right on, brother. Of course, you might wanna hear my rap all the way through.
As we rally against the man – and speed limits – I need to bring up the ungroovy subject of wigged-out bicyclists and mind-blowing pedestrians bumming our motoring trips. Face it, those trippers are downers – not to mention out of their frickin’ minds.
Then there’s the bummer-est numbnuts on our Dharma roadways: butthole drivers – other than us. We righteous drivers have to constantly trip out over spaced-out motorists riding high on summer adrenaline – and sometimes even more.
It’s such a head trip out there, we need to come together, right now, over me – and screw the speed limits! I’m already working on a protest chant. So far I have “Hell no we won’t …” Then, I sorta wig out.
So, fellow radicals, let’s start by rallying against the high-end 35 mph speeds on many portions of the Boulevard. Screw that speed … it just ain’t mellow enough!
Hey, I told you to hear me out before burning your bras, figuratively speaking.
You had me trippin’ in another direction, right? – as in cruisin’ around, speed limits to the wind, and doin’ our own outlaw thing? I did one of those direction changes like the middle part of the Monty Python “Lumberjack” song … “I’m a lumberjack and I’m OK. I chop down trees, I wear high heels, Suspenders and a bra …”
So, my gig is up. Sorry if I bummed you out, but I’m actually goin’ all anti-speed. You know as well as me, brother, there’s no frickin’ way even a laid-back 25 mph speed limit is mellow enough when just passin’ through a clustered quagmire of summer humanity … unless you get your kicks by running down Alice B. Toklas and ending up in a legal purple haze.
Toke on this: Speed limits come with tiny unwritten words below those big black numbers – they read, sight unseen, “Conditions permitting.” Having hell on wheels all around, people- and traffic-wise, just ain’t permitting, karma-wise.
So let’s dig on that 30 mph sign, standing there chillin’, even when there’s enough crosstown traffic to blow anyone’s mind. It’s doubly trippin’ when there are harried happenings of people, cruisin’ to and from the beach/restaurants/stores, along with other stop-and-go drivers nosing around looking to score parking spaces, while strung-out packs of Spandexed road bicyclists buzz through every red light in town. It’s way too fast, dude.
Dig it. We all know LBI’s freaky daily groove – and we need to cool it, regardless of what the man says on those signs. There are times when Island life just can’t handle speed. So, bro, drive to survive, even if it means going 1-5. Be an easy rider.
Peace out. Uh, I’m not sure what that “out” part means.
DAMN, WE’RE OLD: Here’s a telling bit of Island demographic data – Of the 10 N.J. towns with the oldest per capita residents, three of them are here on LBI. Don’t look at me … please. I think the Island appears so old only because we’re just too expensive for toddlers and young children to buy homes here. What?! I didn’t price them out. Those kids have to work harder. Why, when I was their age …
Surf City gummed in as not only the oldest town the Island has to offer, but also home to the third eldest populace in the entire state. The average age in Len’s town is a very Paul McCartney-ish 64 years old. And numbers don’t lie about their age.
The second-oldest folked place on LBI looms large. It’s Long Beach Township, averaging a healthy (or not so much) 63.5 years of age. It’s also the fifth most senior-thick site in the state.
The reason that LBT’s seniority looms larger than life is its overall hefty population, which is higher than most of the other top-10 oldest communities … combined. That makes for quite a load of candles on LBT’s demographic birthday cake. Whatever the hell that image means.
Third on the LBI aging block is quaint, quiet and costly Harvey Cedars, the most valuable municipality – in value per total square footage – in the state. It’s also impressively steady on its age-per-person footing, entertaining a residency with an average age of 62.8. Which means it has a big-ass birthday coming up soon.
So, we’re getting a little long in the cumulative tooth hereabouts. Maybe we should offer some better deals to those toddlers looking for homes.
I’m not sure why this jumps to my mind at this aging instance, but the coast’s most famous resident, Bruce Springsteen, wrote in song, 1976, “We gotta get out while we’re young.” The Boss turns 66 this September. Maybe there’s something in the water that keeps so many of us hanging here until closing.
RUNDOWN: We’re seeing a possible uptick in fluking, though the tock on the dock also shows some really slow flatty hunting sessions. I promise you there is no discernable pattern to successful fluking. One day it’s bay, the next day it’s inlet, then ocean, then surf. I did get some reports of nice fluke in that halo zone around reefs and wreck, where the sand dominates but the structure isn’t that far off. Former reef builder Bill Figley used to chart the very active feeding zones just off the reefs he built. While fluke predominate in those off-structure areas, it wasn’t uncommon to also find structure-based fish, including seabass, tog, porgies, triggerfish, even bluefish and bass, i.e. fish coming and going from the reefs.
I’d like to offer some stellar striper news, but I’ve been checking – and trying – and the bass just ain’t heavily happening off the beach. Oh, there are a few to be caught in the suds – and I hear a 28-pounder went for bunker chunks after dark, mid-Island – but you’ll likely have to buy fish at the store if the family is relying on you to bring home the bass bacon.
A decent black drum was taken (and released) in the lagoons of Beach Haven West. It went for bait meant for snapper blues. I haven’t heard anything about those tiny blues being bayside, especially the way they had been for so many summers back in the 1970s – when you could catch them by the bucketsful. We still have time for them to show. I, like many blues folks, had wondered if the insane showing of blues this past spring might lead to a snapper explosion, as lava blow-in from offshore spawns.
Saw a photo of a huge “needlefish,” technically a houndfish, aka crocodile needlefish. While I understand why folks hate going all Latiny with fish names, the houndfish should win some sort of award for owning the coolest scientific name in the business, Tylosurus crocodilus. Wow. Whether you’re into dinosaur-sounding names or crocodiles, this Latin name rocks. What’s more, the houndfish is spooky enough to hold up its end with either moniker. The above-mentioned 3-foot-long T. crocodilus was released upside the boat. It hit on a Krocodile spoon. Not really. Angler didn’t say.
I was asked about small-crafting out far enough to get some mahi-mahi on the troll. I know for a fact it can be done down off AC – at the pots.
As to heading straight out from BL, it’ll all come down to how far you’re heading east and the quality of your binoculars.
When mahi hunting, you’ll be looking for any bit of surface debris or flotsam. It doesn’t take a very large piece of surface junk to attract these schooling fish.
One time, offshore, we came across a piece of clear plastic, maybe four feet by four, bobbing on the surface, covered with barnacles. The damn thing was holding a school of mahi at least 20 times the size of the flotsam. I saw them from a flying bridge, and they looked like a giant, off-color blob in the ocean.
The oddest nearshore mahi catches I’ve ever seen came via my buddy Walt P. He caught small ones while anchored off the North Jetty, BL, chumming grass shrimp for tog and stripers.
– Reposted from the Sandpaper