I Run a Clean Positive Campaign

I Run a Clean, Positive Campaign


As you may know, this political season finds me in the midst of a hotly contested campaign. We’ve faced some difficult challenges so far, but thanks to a tremendous effort by the amazing readers who support this blog, we’ve put an end to electoral shenanigans at the NCJ. Now we have to win the election.

We only have until Sept 5, that’s next Weds., to get AS MANY VOTES AS POSSIBLE in to the NCJ “Best of Humboldt” reader survey. This critical deadline means that you need to cast your ballot Today!  I cannot stress enough, how important it is to vote for “Like You’ve Got Something Better to Do” in the North Coast Journal’s “Best of Humboldt” reader survey. Please do it RIGHT NOW!!!


The future hangs in the balance. Raising the profile of this blog, to the status of “Best of Humboldt” could have a dramatic effect on the scope of public debate, politics and policy, here in Humboldt County. I know that seems extraordinarily unlikely, but you have the power to make it happen. Please, take that critical step. Vote for “Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do” as “best blog” in the NCJ “Best of Humboldt” reader survey.

Regardless, of the high-stakes, I want to keep this a clean, positive campaign. This campaign has always been about the strength of the material here at “Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do”, not about badmouthing other, less deserving blogs. However, as you undoubtedly know, the gloves are off when it comes to campaign spending. In this environment, I cannot afford to tell my larger donors not to form a SuperPAC.

Law prohibits SuperPACs from coordinating with the campaign of the candidate they support. So, I have no control whatsoever over anything this new SuperPAC, “Swiftblog Inveterates With Nothing Better To Do” does or says. The “Swiftblog Inveterates With Nothing Better To Do”, in turn, cannot say anything to endorse me or my campaign, but will work to raise important facts about the Humboldt county blogosphere that they feel every NCJ reader should know.

Please remember, that unless you see my name, John Hardin, specifically endorsing an ad, I have nothing whatsoever to do with it. I know the onslaught of negative political ads becomes tiresome. I’m sure you are sick of the twisted misrepresentations, the extreme lowbrow appeal, and the just plain ugly tone of politics these days. I am sick of it too, that’s why I run this campaign on the strength of what you read here at “Like you’ve Got Something Better To Do”.

I work hard to make “Like You’ve got Something better To Do” entertaining, to present thought provoking essays, and to show up every fucking week. Whether its a poem, a “Word Power” vocabulary word, an “On The Money” economic advice column, or a “You Call That Cooking” food story, “Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do” delivers steaming hot blog posts to your device of choice, every fucking week.

That’s dedication. That’s service. That’s the kind of blog I run here at “Like You’ve Got Something Better to Do”. You can count on me, because I’ve proven that I can deliver the goods.

Today, I need you to deliver the goods. Please, click this link. It takes you to the NCJ website, click on the long skinny button that takes you to the ballot. Click through to the very last category, the type in (or copy and paste) “Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do” next to the category labeled “Best Blog” then click through till you see the kitten with wings. That’s all it takes. Please do it now!!! Thank you. I am John Hardin, and I endorse this message.

A Wrong That Must Be Writed, and IT WAS!!!

A Wrong That Must be Writed


Dear Readers,

Many of you have discovered, and alerted me to the fact, that the when they followed the links to the NCJ “best of Humboldt” ballot, (Urgent!!) they were told that they could not cast their ballot because they had already voted. Of course, I had already voted by the time I wrote the piece that included the links. After all, I had to know how the ballot worked before I could write about how to fill it out. However, everyone else who clicked the link was improperly denied their right to vote in the NCJ annual “Best of Humboldt” survey.

THANK YOU DEAR READERS, This abomination has been remedied.  You can now follow this link to the NCJ website and vote for www.lygsbtd.wordpress.com as Humboldt’s Best Blog

I cannot abide by this atrocity. Something must be done to stop the mass disenfranchisement of Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do readers. I mean, I don’t really believe in democracy myself, personally, but I’ll bet that most of you do. You were outraged at Florida’s new voter ID law aimed at stripping millions of Black and Hispanic voters of their right to cast a ballot, weren’t you? How do you like being victimized that way? I’ll bet you’re pissed! I’ll bet you’re ready picket the NCJ tomorrow.

Just hold your horses!! Before we disrupt their business with a loud and unruly crowd of angry blog readers, let’s give the NCJ a chance to explain themselves, and make amends. Below, is a letter I sent to the editor of the NCJ explaining this entire catastrophe. I encourage all of you to also express your outrage at this injustice, by sending an email to the NCJ. Below my Letter to the Editor, I have included text that you can copy-and -paste into the email to help make your point.

For God’s sake, cast your ballot for “Like You’ve Got Something Better to Do” in the NCJ readers poll. Find a recent copy of the NCJ and fill out the old fashioned paper ballot, or use your vast knowledge of computers to hack your way through that evil software. We still need to save NCJ readers from their yawning chasm of boredom. Despite this disaster, dammit, we still have a job to do.

OK, here’s my Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Hey, no fair! After casting my ballot in the annual NCJ Best of Humboldt readers poll, I included a link to the survey ballot on my blog “Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do” (www.lygsbtd.wordpress.com), encouraging my readers to participate in the survey. The NCJ website denied everyone who clicked that link access to the ballot, telling them that they had already voted.

“Like you’ve got Something Better To Do” readers should be allowed to vote in this survey, and deserve to have their votes counted. By now, most regular www.lygsbtd.wordpress.com readers who felt inclined to respond to your survey have already had their votes unfairly, unceremoniously, and wrongly rejected. This constitutes a travesty of justice, an assault against “Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do” readers, and a corruption of the democratic process. As a result, your survey is tainted, distorted, and skewed, even.

My blog, “Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do” www.lygsbtd.wordpress.com has been unfairly victimized, disadvantaged, and injured by the NCJ’s flawed and intentionally discriminatory voter ID protocol. I am outraged that the NCJ would stoop to the kind electoral shenanigans that I expect from Florida republicans, just to keep their readers from discovering what many in Humboldt County already know, that “Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do” is the funniest blog in Humboldt County.

I know that’s not really saying a lot, but still, you don’t reject votes for Stars Hamburgers, or the North Coast Co-Op, even though you leave stacks of paper ballots in those establishments, and you shouldn’t dis “Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do” readers because they found a link to the ballot at the blog.

Sincerely, John Hardin,

Now, here’s some text you can use in your own letter to the NCJ

Dear Editor,

I am outraged. I attempted to cast my ballot in the NCJ Best of Humboldt reader survey, and was told, quite incorrectly, that I had already voted. I was reminded to cast my ballot by my favorite blog “Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do”. I thought it was sweet that John Hardin encouraged so many people to participate in your silly survey. You should thank him for drawing so much attention to your stupid little contest. You should be ashamed of yourself for how you treated me and other “Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do” readers.

Sincerely, (insert your name here)

or try this one:

Dear Editor,

How dare you! How dare you tell me that I already voted in your survey! I did no such thing! I am outraged! I am angry! I am pissed! ….and I am waiting for further instructions.

Sincerely, (insert your name here)

Send emails to:


URGENT!!!! This Blog Needs Your Help


This Blog Needs Your Help!

Dear Friends, Enemies, Frienemies, Colleagues, Acquaintances, Curious Onlookers, Distracted Employees, House-Bound Shut-ins, my Mother, and Anyone Else with nothing better to do. Before I commence the campaign to earn, for this humble endeavor, the distinction of “Best Blog” in Humboldt County, I ask you to reflect on the, over 200, essays posted here at www.lygsbtd.wordpress.com.


Forget about all of the times this blog has offended you. Forget about anything you found distasteful, and instead, think only of the enormous black hole of sheer boredom that this blog has relieved in your life. Remember that in the course of the tremendous effort necessary to fill that vast emptiness, sometimes unfortunate things happen. This is not the time to dwell on them.


Today. Instead, I ask you to focus on the good things about this blog. If you can’t think of any of those, think about all of the things that this blog has not harmed. I’m sure you can think of at least a few things that this blog has not injured. It’s really not that hard. Just think of all of the things in your life that give you pleasure, and take a moment to appreciate how few of them, this blog has ruined.


So I think we can safely say three things about this blog; “Like You’ve Got Something Better to Do” www.lygsbtd.wordpress.com

  1. This blog originates in Humboldt County, California. Take my word on this.

  2. This blog has filled a vast emptiness

  3. This blog has left many things unharmed

Can we really expect more than that from a human endeavor? I think not.

Every single week, for the last 15 months, this blog has provided you with new, boredom-crushing content without ruining your life. Can you say that about your friends, family or spouse? This blog continues to annihilate boredom, and fill that void for someone in this world, every minute of every day, 24-7-365, right up to this very moment RIGHT NOW, and beyond, but today “Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do” www.lygsbtd.wordpress.com needs your help.


It won’t cost you any money, or involve surgery, and it will only take a minute of your time, but PLEASE, IF YOU DO NOTHING ELSE TODAY, PLEASE DO THIS. Take one minute to vote for this blog, “Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do”, www.lygsbtd.wordpress.com in the North Coast Journal’s “Best of Humboldt” readers poll, in the category of “best blog”. THIS LINK TAKES YOU TO THE NCJ Website.

When you get there, you’ll find “best blog” listed dead last of all of the categories, #40. Just click through the pages until you get to the last one, and type in, (or copy and paste) “Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do “ next to the category, “best blog”. Then click through one more page, go to the box labeled “Finish”, at the bottom of the page, click it, and you’re done. That’s it, simple, easy, but PLEASE DO IT. You’ll be glad you did, and it will mean so much to me.

Don’t worry about the other categories. Nobody really cares where the best restroom in Humboldt County is, and you already voted for your elected officials, that’s how they got elected. We don’t need to pick our favorite among them. Think about it: If you have a favorite bar or restaurant, do you really want it to win this contest? Do you want to see every idiot in Humboldt County in front of you in line there? Of course not, so keep it to yourself, but there’s plenty of this blog to go around, and its always here when you need it. No waiting, so please vote for “Like you’ve Got Something Better To Do” in the NCJ reader survey. PLEASE DO IT NOW!

Don’t ask yourself if www.lygsbtd.wordpress.com really is the best blog in Humboldt County. Nothing could be less relevant. Vote for www.lygsbtd.wordpress.com because this blog needs you. I need you. RIGHT NOW, PLEASE! If you value, enjoy, tolerate, or endure this blog regularly, and want to see this blog continue into the future, please vote for “Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do” as Humboldt’s “best blog”.

Thanks to the wonder of The Internet, you do not have to live in Humboldt County, nor do you have to read the North Coast Journal to vote in this survey. You merely have to cast an online ballot. It will only take a minute, and it will help many people here in Humboldt County who genuinely have nothing better to do. Please help people from Orick to Benbow discover this blog for themselves, and fill their own yawning chasms of boredom. PLEASE VOTE FOR www.lygsbtd.wordpress.com RIGHT NOW!!

Really, how bored does someone have to be to read the North Coast Journal? By the time a person gets bored enough to pick up and read the NCJ, the abyss has already swallowed them whole. North Coast Journal readers need this blog. It can help them, like it helps you, and they deserve to know about it, but you need to care enough to make it happen. PLEASE, HELP YOUR FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS DISCOVER WHAT YOU ALREADY KNOW!!

Like the miracle of the loaves and fishes, we can feed a multitude with this blog if you’ll just share. Don’t pity North Coast Journal readers, help them. Help them discover this blog for themselves. Help them find the blessed relief that they seek. There’s plenty to go around. If we all work together, no one has to go without.

Together, we can make this blog, “Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do”, www.lygsbtd.wordpress.com Humboldt’s “Best Blog”. We can open the collective eyes of the county to this rich source of vacuum filling drivel. Just click the link. Please! Cast your ballot for “Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do” as “best blog” in the North Coast Journal Readers Poll. Do it now.

What are you waiting for? Do your part. It doesn’t cost anything, only takes a minute, and it will help so many people. Really, what have you got to lose? Take a minute to help others discover the pleasures that you enjoy here at “Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do”. By taking this small action right now, you can insure that the “Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do” audience continues to grow, which, in turn, insures that I remain inspired to to fill the void for all of us. Because its all of you, the people responsible for generating tens-of-thousands of page views every month, who inspire me to keep writing week after week.

You need help generating all of those page views, and you’ll need to generate more of them in the future. So take this small step: VOTE FOR “Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do” in the category of “best blog” in the NCJ readers poll. It will help you. It will help me. It will help bored people all over Humboldt County, and many things will not be harmed. PLEASE CLICK THIS LINK, AND DO IT RIGHT NOW! Thank you!

On The Money, Cheap Calories

On The Money;

Economic Advice for the 99%

Cheap Calories


Its official. July 2012 was the hottest month in history. The last 12 months have been the hottest year in history. With the Olympics going on right now, it seems like a great time to break records, don’t you think? Maybe it’s time we gave Global Climate Crisis a gold medal for its performance this year, now that half the counties in the US have been declared disaster areas because of the heat, violent weather events, wildfires and drought.


I think Global Climate Crisis has really proven that it has what it takes to beat war, disease, poverty or political oppression, hands down. We’ll call the event “biggest threat to life on Earth”. This relative newcomer to the pestilence field has had to overcome a lot of obstacles to even be considered a contender, but this summer’s performance has really done a lot to remove those doubts.


NOAA’s chief climate scientist, James Hanson, says that this summer provides statistical proof that global climate change is real, and that it is man-made. However, if you don’t believe the evidence of your own eyes, and have gotten used to dismissing climate scientists as alarmist, Chicken Little types, statistical proof probably won’t change your opinion either. Such is the nature of denial. Reality doesn’t affect it much.


So, if you like triple digit temperatures, bizarre new weather events, dust-bowl-like droughts and giant wildfires, you are in luck, because we’re going to see a lot more of them. Yes, global climate change is likely to be more fun than you ever imagined. So get ready for some climate excitement, and be sure to thank the 1% for turning up the global thermostat.


Last year they gave us the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The year before that, it was the BP oil gusher in in the Gulf of Mexico. I can hardly wait to see what happens next year, because it only gets worse from here, but what do they get out of it?


Why do the 1% keep investing in fossil fuels, nuclear power, and GMO crops for that matter, even though it will almost certainly have disastrous long-term consequences? After all, if the richest 1% of us can’t take the long view, and base their decisions and devote their resources towards what’s best for the survival of life on Earth in the long run, who can?


Remember, that we, the 99% are just now figuring out that the 1% are ripping us off, destroying our planet, and ruining our lives, but the 1% have known that all along. The 1% knows that their empire would crumble, and that we would kill them if we ever get out from under their thumb. They really do have their hands full keeping all of us in line. Enslaving 7 billion people takes a lot of energy, and so, energy, not life on Earth, remains their highest priority.


If you want to watch the 1% in action in your life, look for the cheap energy. Gasoline, diesel fuel, grid electricity, natural gas, propane, aviation fuel. We wouldn’t have any of these without the 1%. Drilling platforms, nuclear power plants, oil refineries, etc. all take big capital, and the kind of government support that only really big money can afford. Whether you eat them, burn them in your car, use them to dry your clothes, watch TV, surf the internet, or fly to Miami, those cheap calories work to undermine the value of everything we do a human beings.


How so? Simple, you can’t possibly do as much work, in one day, as a gallon of gasoline. At today’s prices, that means your labor is worth less than $4 a day. That’s one way that cheap calories undermine your value as a human being. Cheap calories means it doesn’t cost much to ship jobs overseas to the cheapest labor markets, or to ship products and resources to the highest bidders, and cheap calories means our population continues to expand.


Cheap edible calories means most of us don’t ever struggle to find enough to eat. Instead, we struggle not to eat too much. By keeping food artificially plentiful, with capital intensive agribusiness techniques like high-tech factory farms, GMO food crops, and monoculture on a massive scale, the 1% has removed any sense of of our connection to the carrying capacity of of the land. As a result, global human population continues to explode exponentially, further lowering the value of any one individual.


So, if you want to see the 1% at work in your life, look at the places you find cheap calories; the gas station, grocery store, your electric bill, the corner convenience store or fast food restaurant. You’ll find cheap calories everywhere, and everywhere you find cheap calories, you’ll find the 1% using them to control your life and wreck your planet. Cheap calories cheapen life, and the 1% feeds them to you to keep you under control. There’s a view of the energy crisis that’s On The Money

The Thing That Wouldn’t Die

The Thing That Wouldn’t Die

We bought this pumpkin, a few weeks before Halloween last year, partially as a festive holiday decoration, but partially because a cat psychic told us that our black cat Nigel, really likes them. Nigel did, once, many years ago, when he was a kitten, enjoy sharpening his claws, and sitting, on a large orange pumpkin, and looked adorable doing so. However, he has completely ignored subsequent pumpkins, including this one. Although this is not the first pumpkin Nigel has ignored since we talked to the cat psychic, certainly by now, Nigel has ignored this pumpkin longer than any pumpkin in his entire life.


I’ve done my best to ignore it as well, but the pumpkin has begun to get on my nerves. This pumpkin takes up a lot of precious real estate on our coffee table. Being round, you can’t set anything on top of it, and being bright orange, you can’t help but notice it. I’ve learned to work around it, keeping my coffee and magazines on the end table instead, although that’s getting a bit crowded with my bong and ash-tray there as well. When I spill bong-water on my American Craft magazine, I try not to blame the pumpkin.


For ten months now, this traffic cone of the vegetable kingdom has dominated my field of view. The pumpkin still seemed like a perfectly natural Thanksgiving decoration, and did not seem at all out of place, except that it got in the way of Thanksgiving dinner. We live in a very small place. Our coffee table also serves as our dinner table, so the pumpkin served as an over-sized centerpiece at our Thanksgiving feast.


By Christmas, the pumpkin seemed a little strange, but rather than buy a Christmas Tree, we just slapped a Santa’s hat on it. The cone-shaped red hat with fuzzy white, trim looked a little Christmasy, but it also kind of looked like we had Santa’s head on our coffee table.


For New Year’s Eve, I thought about hollowing out the pumpkin to use as an ice bucket for champagne, but we had eggnog with homemade blackberry brandy instead, which required no ice bucket. So, the pumpkin sat there through the winter. All winter the pumpkin sat between me and the wood-stove preventing me from seeing the fire within, unless I craned my neck, but we weren’t going to throw away a perfectly good pumpkin.


When Springtime came, we had no place to put a vase of wildflowers, because the pumpkin took up too much space.

We let it substitute for an Easter egg, although we’ve never celebrated Jesus based holidays in our household. This pumpkin constitutes the first time we ever had an Easter, or Christmas decoration in our home, but it only happened because we had this pumpkin left over from Halloween. Call us reluctant Christians, at least reluctant to throw away our Halloween pumpkin.

Now, its the middle of August, its 103 degrees. I’m melting, but that pumpkin is still as hard as a rock. We dusted it off again today. No soft spots. The great orange orb sits there on my coffee table, mocking me in the summer heat. “What are you still doing here?” I ask it. The heat is getting to me, I’m starting to lose it.


I’m afraid that if it somehow makes it to this Halloween, this pumpkin will somehow be rejuvenated, and last another whole year. I couldn’t take that. I’d have to move out. It’ll be me or the pumpkin if it comes to that. I can’t take it any more. I hope I never see another pumpkin for the rest of my life.

What We Can Learn From Starving Pelicans

What We Can Learn From Starving Pelicans


If you don’t live here on the West Coast, you probably haven’t heard about the pelicans. Hundreds of dead, starving and distressed pelicans have shown up on beaches from San Francisco Bay to Peugeot Sound. Here in Humboldt County, the animal rescue group Bird Ally X have now gone into crisis mode for the second time this year with another overwhelming influx of sick and injured pelicans.

Bird Ally X found most of the distressed pelicans around here suffering the same kinds of problems that birds caught in oil spills exhibit; oiled feathers compromising the bird’s natural insulation and waterproofing, leading to hypothermia and death. However, the oil in the birds’ feathers did not come from an oil spill, but from public fish-cleaning stations. A lot of sport fishermen use these cleaning stations to dress their catch before heading home, and the oily fish waste has become irresistible to the starving pelicans.

Pelicans have evolved over millions of years to catch small fish by diving into the water after them. Pelicans do not do very well on a diet of salmon heads, guts and bones, and the fish oil that pervades all of this fish waste, if it gets on their feathers, will do them in in a matter of hours. Please, support Bird Ally X and other groups now working frantically to feed, care for and rehabilitate literally hundreds of sick and injured pelicans, but recognize that starving seabirds is a bigger problem than these groups can solve.

This is not the first time starving seabirds have made headlines in recent years, but mostly, people seem to have gotten used to seeing dead birds scattered all over the beaches. The last time I went to the beach it looked like an avian Auschwitz, littered with dead gulls as far as the eye could see. This ain’t right folks. This is a symptom of something very serious.

In the news reports, they tell us that pelicans were once driven to the brink of extinction by the use of chemical pesticides like DDT, industrial pollution, and habitat loss, but the brown pelican has made a dramatic recovery in recent years and have again become common on the North Coast. They then explain that now that pelican populations have returned, there’s a lot more competition for food, so of course, some of them, mostly juveniles, starve.

That makes sense, right. Starving pelicans is not a tragedy. No, starving pelicans is a success story. These pelicans are only dying because there are too many pelicans, and there are too many pelicans because we’re just so damn good at wildlife conservation these days. Are you buying this?

Sure, pelicans have made a comeback, but consider this: 95% of the wild birds in the US have been wiped out. That includes pelicans. The few seabirds you see at the beach these days represent only a tiny fraction of historic populations. When Eureka was full of redwood trees, at least twenty times as many pelicans, gulls, cormorants, osprey, plovers, muriletts and who knows how many other species that have completely disappeared, made their homes around Humboldt Bay, and up and down the Lost Coast.


one of over 4,000 pelicans to die in Peru this year

Today, as the ghastly scene playing out on North Coast beaches reveals, our coastal ecosystem no longer supports enough life to maintain even these diminished bird populations. Far from a success story, this tragedy reveals how badly we’ve failed at wildlife conservation, and how little we know about the marine ecosystem.

I see people at the beach, doing their best to ignore the horror show going on around them. It’s bad folks. It should bum you out. Beaches should be strewn with sea shells, not bird skeletons. Don’t try to blow it off with the speculation that this is some cyclical thing that just happens from time to time, like they did with global warming. This is what we have done to planet Earth. Face it.

Look into the eyes of those starving birds, surrounded by their dead kin. Feel their anguish, their desperation, and their courage, as their world falls apart around them. Learn what you can from them, because its going to happen to us too.

Word Power, Heliculture

Word Power

Building Your Vocabulary, One Word at a Time


heliculture (hell ih cult yer) n the art, science, practice and folklore of raising snails

Simon and Garfunkle as adolescents
Simon and Garfunkle as Adolescents (Helix Aspersa)

About a year and a half ago, we adopted a snail we found on a plant at Sylvandale’s Garden Supply here in Redway. They were going to kill it, so we decided to give it another lease on life, and took it home as a pet. For a while, we kept it in a big jar with cheesecloth over the lid, and fed it lettuce leaves.

Garfunkle as a young snail
Garfunkle, aka Snail Friend, shortly after he joined our family

Amy misted it with a squirt bottle every day, which usually motivated it to come out of its shell and climb around for a while. After a while, it seemed lonely. I don’t exactly know why it seemed that way to us, but we went back to Sylvandale’s to see if we could find another one. We did, and they hit it off immediately. We often found them resting right next to each other, shell to shell.

Simon whispering to Garfunkle
Simon whispering to Garfunkle

When we just had one snail, we called it “Snail Friend”, but when we added the new one, we named them Simon and Garfunkle. We chose those names because of how quiet our new pets are, which reminded us of Simon and Garfunkle’s hit song “The Sounds of Silence”. At first Garfunkle, aka “Snail Friend”, the one we had the longest, was much larger than Simon, but they both grew rapidly.

Simon and Garfunkle
Simon and Garfunkle (Simon is the little one on top in this photo)

Eventually we found a nice little aquarium with a fitted lid and transferred the snails into it. They really seemed to like the new digs, which had a nice layer of soil on the bottom, a couple rocks, and a piece of bark to create a diagonal ramp from the bottom corner to the top corner of their enclosure. They continued to grow, and Simon eventually grew to be the larger of the two.

Simon and Garfunkle in their mason jar home
Simon and Garfunkle in their Mason Jar Home

One evening, about two months ago, we noticed them necking rather enthusiastically. We knew they liked each other, but this got to be embarrassing to watch, so we put their aquarium away and gave them some privacy. About a week or so ago, we discovered dozens of tiny gray ovoid shaped masses about an eighth of an inch long, all over the inside of the aquarium. Baby snails! We have dozens of baby snails. Now what?

Baby Snails!
Baby Snails!

We checked out a book from the library about raising snails for food, titled, cryptically enough, Raising Snails for Food by Jacques Baratou, subtitled, “How to Make Friends With Garden Pests and Develop Them Into The Darlings of the Gourmet’s Table. We’ve done pretty well at the “making friends with garden pests” part, but I’m not sure we’re ready to “develop the darlings”, so to speak. However, I did discover this great word, heliculture.

Tiny snails in Amy's palm
Tiny snails in Amy’s palm

So, as we weigh our options at this critical juncture, and decide whether or not to join the distinguished ranks of the world’s heliculturalists, let me share a few photos of the proud new parents, and their babies, as well as a few facts I’ve learned about snail ranching:

Garfunkle with offspring
Garfunkle with offspring

Snails have the most complicated sexual apparatus in the animal kingdom, and they are all hermaphroditic

Simon with baby
Simon with baby

Snail ranchers ride specially bred horses that don’t run very fast, but are very careful about where they put their hooves down.

baby snails
Baby Snails!

In France, snails have the right-of-way. Occasionally, french snail herders will have to cross a major road with their herd. This can tie up traffic for hours.

Proud Parents Simon and Garfunkle
Proud Parents Simon and Garfunkle

Snail rodeos, where snail ranchers show off their snail-handling skills, and compete for prizes, have become high-stakes sporting events that draw competitors from all over the world. However, few spectators have the patience to sit through a snail rodeo, and as a result, the sport remains extremely obscure, outside of helicultural circles.

Simon w/ two babies
Simon with two babies