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Squid #273
(published April 6, 2006)
Ask the Giant Squid: In Search of Teachers Working in this Research Field?
Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid?

Please take this question very seriously.....

My name is Pacioglu Octavian, 26 years old, and I live in Romania. I am a biologist, very interested in water ecology and zoology. I have graduated in 2005 a MSc. in zoology to the University of Bucharets, Faculty of Biology.

I would like very much to do a PhD study in the field of the squids: their ecology, phylogeny, and their interactions in the marine foodwebs. My question is the following : can you tell me a University , or a teacher that is working in this research field, or even an Institute where I could have a chance to succeed getting a scholarship for a PhD in this domain (I am not self funded).

Thank you very much,

All My Gratitude,
Biologist Pacioglu Octavian

Dear Pacioglu,

The tale, it did proceed thusly:

I was deep a-meditating, pondering weak and weary whilst crouched upon the stubbly grass of her mobile home's rear yard, when Hazel tapped on the dome of my anti-bathysphere upon the morn. There was water beaded and condensed upon the glass and she wiped at it with her small pink hand. It was springtime. I have come to recognize this solar phenomenon. There were in the gray twine of branches above the tiniest of pale green sprouts, like the fresh pink growth that fringes the edges of the corals of the deep.

"You were asleep," she said, a crumpled piece of paper in her opposing simian paw. I shuddered, curled a hunting arm, twisted to one side. I tried to retract the second of my hunting arms, but it was fixed in place. I rotated and gazed down the titanium length of the velocitator-shell. The arm had pierced an aluminum potting shed some yards away, the result of an unexpected and unpredictable nocturnal thrashing upon the part of me.

I rotated the arm, and it came free of the twisted metal. It easily withdrew. I coiled the limbs, and righted myself, looking back down upon the Hazel.

"I DO NOT SLEEP," I pronounced, the speaker upon the front of my velocitator hissed, and the cavitations did ripple the dermal layer that ran along the fine ridge at the center of my cephalitic sack.

She made the expression of disbelief and disenchantment that I have come to recognize upon her alien visage. It involves the leftern corner of her fleshy lips drawing back to one side, and her eyes gazing up and to the opposing direction of the right.

I have become a giant crab more than a giant squid.

This thought billowed out through my enormous brain like a cloud of blue ink— its tendrils opening up, uncoiling, as thousands of minute strings might—and filtered into every crevice of my being.

I teetered to the right, and to the left, and with my rigid, metal ensconced limbs, I skittered back and forth upon the soft turf of grass in the shade behind Hazel's mobility domicile. Crossing of the way, there stood the green and teal residence of The Angie and her cruel mate. In the window I could see of my reflection, and how I wavered, how I paused, and then as tumbling thing, did motivate to this side and the next, listing and quivering, casual in my comfort with the cruel whimsy of the gravity.

I could feel the metal joints creak, and the servos they did hum a rattling and unpleasant hum.

I could discern your question with my optically perfect eye, though it was crumpled, and the ink of the computer printing had but faded a small portion.

My first thought, upon the reflection (for she is cruel in yonder morning window, Angie at her sink washing of the dishes and looking casually out at me as I swayed) is that I am also not "self funded."

My second is that I, too, am very interested in the matters aquatic, ecological and zoological. And the foodwebs of the marine environ, delectably woven by the nefarious and jealous chef spider of the Horn Afrique . . . ah, it is a delicacy most wonderful and strange, and I have not consumed of it in many many years.

And my final thought is: I take your concern very, very seriously.

But what of me? I do not even curse the Upspace, its arid manner, its gravity-drenched nature.

I was a squid, Man! I did sleekly cut the waters benthic and deep. I loomed motionless out of the black abyss, and then did strike deadly and unthought the prey of my choosing.

I did not sleep.

I did not pause for petty things.

I did not scuttle, neither to nor fro.

I joined this surface world on mine own terms, and offered my help as a benevolence!

I shifted back to forth upon my velocitator's spindly legs and stared at Hazel's puckered hand, and the dried and bleached wood fibers upon which your query was inscribed.


She pursed her lips and her brow did bend, and she did sigh. She set the paper down before me.

"Hon, stop scuttling," I did still myself, "I gotta ride over to Farmer Jack town with Angie, 'kay?"

"You will acquire for me the Swanson's Hungry ManFish Sticks?"

Hazel smiled, her face lovely a-glow, and nodded. She patted the nearest of the joints on the bottom of the suit and she was off in a small auto with The Angie.

The Hazel was gone.

I escalated the volume upon my speaker.


The dogs, they did bark. A small man gesticulated to me as he drove his vehicle out onto the auto trail.

A woman upon the distant side waved to me.


The elderly female, she did smile and wave again.

This is the state I have been reduced to. Once, I did have a research department—or, in the least, a well-meaning and faithful assistant. Now I must beg for the barest crumb of information, like and onto a hoe-bum in the street.

"DENIZENS OF THIS MOBILE DWELLING PARK" I began again, but was interrupted by a tapping upon my velocitator's glass dome. Swiftly twirling in my cramped quarters, I found myself face to face with a stoic little brown boy, a beige knit cape pulled snug down over his ears and eyebrows. Scanning down, I saw that the boy sat atop the shoulders of another, a young man, and that their bicycles lay discarded upon the ground.

"Jarwaun and Trael," I said, delighted, "Checkers?" Jarwaun lifted Trael from his shoulder, setting him gently to the ground, and I settled down before them, letting my fine titanium legs set my steely carapace gently to the ground.

Jarwaun sighed. "Pop says you gotta shut the Hell up, Mr. Squid," the teenaged boy said solemnly. These boys do share a prefabricated mobile home with their father, who works nocturnally, but is neither a vampire, nor zombie, nor prostitute or taxi cab drive, nor judge of the night court. They are brown, both of them, skinny, but with large and blockish pants and t-shirts and jackets. Jarwaun's hair is close-cropped, and Trael's naught to be seen, for his hat. We converse often on the many and several states of the world, and compete in the ancient game of the checkers, regarding which they are each and both most experienced and educated. Jarwaun is teenaged, and his hands are small and agile; Trael is elementary aged, and his eyes are round and watchful, his nose perpetually runny.

"Gladdened I am by your arrival, as I must do some little research on the matters of the water ecology and zoology, squid phylogeny and the marine biology. Do you know of this, as well as the systems of university erudition on these matters."

Jarwaun looked at me blankly, and Trael did snuffle his sniffle.

"Do you know of the scholarships, then, for funding such endeavors?"

"Like for college and stuff?"


"No," he shook his head, "You can get, like, some money if you do good at the MEAP test, but I didn't." I must have been visible crestfallen.

"Is this for your blog?"

"For my Almanac(k), yes."

Jarwaun thought for a moment, "Did she have other questions, who's asking the question?"

"It is a man, Pacioglu. He also wishes to know of teachers working in the research field of marine biology."

Jarwaun scowled, "Like, biology for Marines, or of 'em?" Trael pulled upon the outerseam of Jarwaun's pant leg, and Jarwaun bent low, so that Trael could whisper into his ear. "Oh," he said, "Yeah, I get it." He stood upright.

"I got biology right now at school. I'm doin' OK."

"Good," I nodded, "And there is a teacher?" Jarwaun smiled broadly, "Good! Now we progress!"

"We even did some marine stuff, with the ocean?" he looked down to Trael, who nodded, "OK, well, first semester, we, like, dissected squi—I mean, fishes and stuff. Different kinds. And also pigs, but not marine pigs. Those were fetal pigs. But we did marine stuff. Mostly marine stuff."

"Excellent! Excellent good! And the teacher working in this research field?"

"Mrs. Crozier," Jarwaun said proudly, "I could even get you here e-mail address from the office, or the guy, you could tell him to write to the school, and they can put the note in her mailbox."

"I am sure sending the note will be sufficient. Thank you very much. Frankly, I find many of our neighbors less than helpful. They are Poor Summerians, where-as you boys are certainly the Good." At this Jarwaun smiled again, while Trael remained stony, and sniffled again, mightily.

"You need me and Trael to type it up?" Jarwaun asked earnestly, "We could write down like what you said, and then type it and put it into e-mail when we're on the Internet later."

"Not at all, boys. Hazel will do so this eve," which, quite obviously, she ultimately did.

"OK," the boys bent and stood their bicycles upon their wheels, "You'll help us with the tennis ball bombs tomorrow?"

I laughed, "Certainly, impetuous scamps!"

Jarwaun smiled again, "Cool. You keep it down out here, OK? So our Pop can sleep?"

I lifted the tip of one hunter tentacle aloft, and held it vertical before my lips. Jarwaun nodded, doing likewise with his finger, and allowing a brief susseration to escape his lips.

The littler boy held his hand up in a solemn wave and whispered, "Goodbye, Mr. President Squid."

"Goodbye, Jarwaun," I called gently, "Goodbye, Trael. Checkers?"

"Tomorrow," the little boy said over his shoulder, "If it ain't rain-in'"

"Tomorrow," I said quietly, perhaps even to quietly to hear. The boys walked their bicycles between the homes, and were gone.

So, then, my dear Octo-Pacioglu, you do have your answer: Seek out Mrs. Crozier of the Antioch Baptist Academy of Warren, Michigan. She shall be your mentor in matters zoological, ecological, phylogenic and marine biological.

I Remain,
Your Giant Squid

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