Great Big Penis
According to Janis, who did the paraglide thing last year off a mountain in Tennessee, it's great fun---but with my lack of love for heights, I doubt I'll ever do it. Running down the mountain would have been more my thing and I've have not even stopped to look over the precipice, let alone jumped off of it. *eeek*
Switching gears a bit, Panopea abrupta, also known as Geoduck is a species of very large saltwater clam. These clams are featured in a March 2009 article in Smithsonian Magazine. And they're also the reason for the title of this post.
There's a line near the beginning of the article that goes like this: The neck resembles an aardvark's snout, an elephant's trunk or a monstrous prehistoric earthworm emerging from a fist-size shell, among other things." Well, the phrase "among other things", I suspect, means giant penises. And the author, Craig Welsh, was very polite by using the words that he did.
Just look at those suckers in the picture below. Do they look like dicks with clams shells covering the nuts or what?
And here's the scary thing. People eat them! They're not cheap either. Think about it. Any human male will donate his organ for free oral use yet people pay big bucks to eat clam dicks. In comparison, the mortgage crisis actually makes sense. Even paying CEOs big bucks to lose money isn't quite as big a stretch. Has the world gone mad?!
This Geoduck type of clam is mainly found in the Pacific Northwest. It's been eaten for thousands of years there but only became well known outside that area in the past 40 years. These days geoducks cost more per pound than either of the better known products of these waters, salmon and the Dungeness crab.
And it's not a question of rarity either. 4 million pounds of geoduck is harvested each year just from Puget Sound. And according to the article, a single geoduck can fetch $60 in a Hong Kong fish market. The statement isn't qualified so it's hard to know what that means in price per pound. Geoducks keep growing as long as they're alive---and they can live up to 150 years. The old clams can get up to the 14 pound range though that's pretty rare. A typical geoduck will weigh 2 pounds... so if the $60 per clam is for 2 pounds, that's some pretty expensive clam dick.
The article goes on to discuss many of the ins and outs (sorry, couldn't resist saying that) of the geoduck business. Apparently there's a brisk blackmarket trade in the clams as well as attempts to create a viable commercial nursery business. The usual environmental protests are going on in the background and there's research work trying to understand the critters. Who knew?