Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sneak Preview! Mr. Brightside

In tiki bars you'll inevitably find a pufferfish (blowfish) lamp.

There's something whimsical and morbid about these lamps. The fish aren't endangered as a species, but the quirky idea of putting a lightbulb inside a blown up fish with its spikes out for ineffectual protection, it just kinda gets to me. (Plus, they put googly eyes on the fish because its own eyes are usually dehydrated or something.) Pufferfish lamps make me smile at the same time I say, "That's uh...sick."

But is it? I suppose it isn't any different from a leather sofa or heck, a sofa upholstered with the black and white hide of a Holstein. And what about the desire for faux fur? There's something to be said about nature's fashion sense that we should envy it so.

Anyway, apart from the whole vegetarian and vegan arguments, it's interesting how animals (people included) and plants are used in different cultures.

There's the human thigh bone trumpet used by Tibetan monks. Red food dye we use derived from beetles. Amazon Rainforest plants for medicine. Horns and penes for erectile dysfunction. The list goes on.

So is it really that strange that somebody would find a lamp made from a pufferfish beautiful? Or fun? I'm even curious if anybody eats the meat of this poisonous fish before it gets the taxidermy treatment. It's a delicacy in Japan (the neurotoxin gives you a neat tingly feeling but if the chef isn't careful, you could get enough of the poison to kill you).

Waste not, want not.

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