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June 21, 2007

Newsik you can oosik

I have good news tonight: All of us can sleep better knowing that a horrible criminal has copped a plea with the feds.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - An Alaska man has pleaded guilty to selling more than 100 fur seal "oosiks" -- or penises -- to a local gift shop that intended to sell the items as an aphrodisiac.

Michael Richard Zacharof, an Aleut and former tribal president from the Bering Sea village of St. Paul, pleaded guilty this week to one count of violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Federal law forbids the sale of any raw marine mammal parts unless they have been crafted into pieces of Alaska Native artwork.
Sometime when I have nothing else to do, I'll look up the statute, but for now, let me quote that fastidious news source, The Register:
The first person to make a quip about how Zacharof could have circumvented the Marine Mammal Protection Act by simply carving the oosiks into novelty Aleut candlestick holders will be banned from reading El Reg for a year and fined $20,000.
Now, I know what you're thinking right about now. "What kind of moron tries to sell a seal penis?" Also this: "What exactly does a seal penis look like?"

I can't answer the first question, but I'm glad you asked the second one. Because here's a picture I snagged with a Google Image search:

"Aha," you say, "but I have one further question: What does a walrus oosik look like, assuming they have one?" Ask and you shall receive. Here it is:

Remarkably, this is not all there is to this story. The Boston Globe reports:
A prosecutor said the investigation started in Massachusetts in 2004 and 2005 when bear gall bladders and seal oosiks were discovered in a Boston suburb and traced to a shop in Anchorage.
I didn't even realize that bears had gall bladders, but I have heard of bear ballings, which have some industrial uses.

Now, here's what I'm thinking: Are bear gall bladders aphrodisiacs, also? I think the answer is yes. In any event, this hideous thing is thought to be:

An AP article says about the thing:
It slimes its enemies, has rows of teeth on its tongue, and feeds on the innards of rotting fish by penetrating any orifice. But cooked and served on a plate, it is considered an aphrodisiac in South Korea.
Hmmm . . . slimes its enemies . . . has rows of teeth on its tongue . . . penetrating any orifice . . . it's Chuck Schumer! Sorry, my mistake. It's actually a hagfish, and you'd hate to meet one of these in a dark alley.

I'm going to leave you with this thought: Mr. Zacharof lives on a remote island in Alaska and had to participate in the court proceeding by telephone. Did you realize they had telephones on remote islands in Alaska? Well, the AP tried to find out whether there were telephones there, and the Globe's article says this: "A call by The Associated Press to his home on St. Paul Island was not immediately returned."

It turns out that the bear that delivers messages to the residents of the island was incapacitated with gall bladder pains.