Giant Squids, Other Squids, and Manatees

Dr. Doris Haggis-on-Whey and her husband Benny, as part of their H-O-W series of books, have produced an absolutely dispensable piece of misinformation, the third in a series of we can only hope not too many, ineloquently titled Animals of the Ocean: In Particular the Giant Squid. They claim that their World of Unbelievable Brilliance series, of which Animals of the Ocean is the third in a series of we can only hope . . . um, they claim that their series . . . well, I don’t really know what they claim, because they never get around to it.

Dr. and Mr. Haggis-on-Whey are neither not biologists nor are they not experts on the ocean. They are not experts on knots either, but that’s not neither for not now nor not . . . later. Their lack of expertise shines through quite clearly in their latest work — a flaw obvious even to the most naive reader, your not-so-humble reviewer. Sure, the Haggis-on-Wheys are full of themselves, but that’s expected given Doris’s impressive curriculum vitae (that’s pointy headed ivory tower talk for resume, which is French for the shit you’ve done and stuff). Sadly, for all their qualifications, they know absolutely nothing about the ocean, the sea, el mar, or any other large body of salty water. I will show you evidence to support this claim in the following paragraph.

This is that paragraph mentioned in the previous sentence (located in the previous paragraph, the one right above this sentence & paragraph). First of all (first in the list of evidence that the Haggis-on-Wheys know nothing about salt water, interrupted by the requisite parentheticals), the book, as the title proudly proclaims, deals primarily with the giant squid. This would not be problem if the giant squid made up the majority of the material in the ocean. This is not the case. This The ocean is mostly water. Second in the list of things in the ocean (not to be mistaken for the list of things Dr. and Mr. Haggis-on-Whey get wrong) is salt. That’s why they (not Dr. and Mr. Haggis-on-Whey, but people who actual know about the ocean, ie, ocean professionals, ie, oceanographers, oceanoligicians, and oceanists) call it “salt water”. Third is pie, which means the Haggis-on-Wheys actually get something right when they tell us that squids eat mostly pie.

But the giant squid makes up a small fraction of the entire ocean. Even amongst very large squids, the giant squid isn’t even the giantest. That honor belongs to the colossal squid. And squids aren’t even the most numerous, let alone the most interesting, organims in the organisms — those honors belong to some microscopic thing I can’t be bothered to look up and the sailfish, respectively. Yet the Haggis-on-Wheys have devoted a large fraction of their book to squids and other tentacled creatures (17 of 62 pages to be precise, not including other pages where squids are mentioned but not the focus of discussion).

Not only do cephalopods receive a treatment disproportionate to their importance — they’re really bit players in any decent ocean adventure (yeah, Jules, I said it: 20,000 Leagues sucked!) — but we’re also treated to this image, without context:


I want to know what each of those species is named. I want to know where they can be found. And I want to know which ones taste best pickled, which ones taste best fried, and which ones I should avoid eating at all costs. A better book would have done that, but that book would not have been written by the Haggis-on-Wheys because that book would be good.

Of interest to interested evolgen readers is the not-so-interesting treatment of manatees. In a world in which the Haggis-on-Wheys wrote informative books, they would have pointed out the threat manatees pose to the safety of all Americans (and all lovers of freedom throughout the world). This is not that world. Instead, we get a paragraph about some manatee named Fred who developed “a look”. Nothing about Fred stockpiling weapons. Nothing about Fred attempting to purchase enriched uranium. Nothing about Fred’s mobile biological weapons labs. Just Fred and his look, which isn’t actually described, but we can imagine it involves a trucker hat and overalls.

In summary, conclusion, and wrapping-up, the Haggis-on-Wheys’ Animals of the Ocean falls short when it comes to information about animals and information about the ocean. If you are looking for a book with this information, do not purchase this book. If you’re looking for a book about squids and other ocean stuff written in a manner resembling the ill-informed ramblings of some senile, ignorant, washed up scientists, the Haggis-on-Wheys have produced the perfect book for you.

Oh, and I almost forget, if you’re going to compare West Coast Squids with Dirty South Squids, the least you can do is mention the throw down that went down when the Humboldts rolled into the Gulf of Mexico and started static with the squid there. And don’t forget that Duurrrtyy South Squids wear ice in their grill, whereas West Coast Squids fix their rides up so they bounce. But, yeah, West Coasters are all about the fold-over sandwich baggies, and they like zip-locks in the Dyeiuuurrrtttaaiiiyyy South.

Note: Your not-so-humble reviewer has a long running feud with Dr. Haggis-on-Whey regarding the role of phytoplankton in ecosystems devoid of overbearing mollusks. Obviously, Haggis-on-Whey thinks mollusks rock and can’t even be bothered to discuss small things she can’t see with the unaided eye. This reviewer won’t stop poking the woman in the arm.


  1. #1 Jonathan Badger
    April 30, 2007

    Obviously, Haggis-on-Whey thinks mollusks rock and can’t even be bothered to discuss small things she can’t see with the unaided eye. This reviewer won’t stop poking the woman in the arm

    Careful. You might be giving “her” an idea for the next book. Actually, an Haggis-on-Whey book on microbes would be sort of cool. Maybe someone can e-mail the Eggers.

  2. #2 Alan Kellogg
    May 1, 2007

    So, they have a prose style so stupid it makes your hair hurt.

  3. #3 BRC
    May 8, 2007

    Brilliant post. Gaw, love it.

  4. #4 madrid man
    February 27, 2008

    That was intresting. Thanks for sharing.

  5. #5 Madrid Hotels
    June 25, 2008

    Fabulous post