August 19, 2010

"Andre Jones and Richard Wise have a 700-gallon trank suspended from the ceiling of their West Village town house apartment."

"The filled tank weighs more than 6,000 pounds and has cost the couple some $200,000 in equipment and service."

How much would it cost to get rid of it? Because that's the calculation I'd do if I were buying that place.

Oh, here's the next picture. Caption:
Mr. Jones, left, and Mr. Wise sitting next to their suspended fish tank. "At night, we sit in the living room and sort of get lost in it, instead of the television set," Mr. Jones said of the tank.
I love the tagged-on  phrase "of the tank." Like there was ambiguity before. You might have thought they got lost in their living room. And I love the implication that this home Sea World makes them superior to peons who watch actual television. Because... why would that be? You can get a big flat screen TV and play a DVD of fish swimming. It looks pretty much like that fish tank these guys have. And you'll have at least $180,000 left to buy 60+ years of cable service.

Then there's this couple, the Wilzigs, who have an aquarium with a lighting device that allows them to choose any of 64 colors to reflect off the colorless fish inside. Posing with his wife on a white settee, Mr. Wilzig said:
"The whole essence of the house was to be push-button color-changing. The apotheosis of that was to take the fish themselves and have them be swimming in whatever color you want."
I was going to say this article should be blogged over at Stuff White People Like, and then I thought about how the Wilzigs, when they had their white friends over, could use their push buttons to make them any color they want. Come on! That would be the apotheosis.

(By the way, Mr. Wilzig looks like a character in one of Eric Bogosian's performance pieces.)

ADDED: "Trank"?

IN THE COMMENTS: Sixty Grit said, "There was a line in BttF2 about 'tranks' and other drug users. Or maybe they spelled it 'tranqs.' Do not know. But I think it is a city thing." Found!
(The police car arrives. The signs outside say "Hilldale - The Address Of Success" but have been altered to say "The Address Of Suckers". The car lands outside a house and the officers open the door.)

Reese: Hilldale. Nothing but a breeding ground for tranqs, lobos and zipheads.

Foley: Yeah, they ought to tear this whole place down.

(The officers press Jennifer's thumb to a panel next to the front door, and it opens.)

Voice: (v.o) Welcome home Jennifer.

(Jennifer is beginning to wake up.)

Jennifer: What?

Reese: You got a little tranked, but I think you can walk.
Well, it makes sense. The fish are presented as tranquilizers. So get a fish tank and get tanked. But that's so lowly. In NYC now, you can get a fish trank and get tranked!

64 comments:

chuck b. said...

A peon is someone who complains about how other people choose to spend their money.

Fred4Pres said...

It is funny when people get obsessed about stuff.

El Pollo Real said...

Trink trank trunk!

E.M. Davis said...

Does the first tank slide into the ceiling to allow access to the second floor? I mean, really? That's where it goes ... on the stair landing?

MadisonMan said...

I look forward to seeing these properties featured on Designed to Sell on HGTV.

Floridan said...

"And I love the implication that this home Sea World makes them superior to peons who watch actual television."

I think you're making too much of a throw-away line (and sound a bit defensive doing it).

Expat(ish) said...

$180K for 60 years of cable? that is $3K/year which is $250/month. Good lord, what does cable cost in Madison?

Can you imagine finding out the people above you have something like that over your bedroom?

Final thought: my 100 gallon salt water tank evaporated a half gallon a day, so these guys must be steaming the wallpaper off.

-XC

garage mahal said...

I'm still peeved about all the money I threw at a saltwater setup I had in FL, before 2 consecutive hurricanes knocked the power out, killing everything. there is nothing, I mean nothing that smells worse than a dead anemone.

Fred4Pres said...

Truly they overpaid, especially on the $200k tank.

Some people have more money than they know what to do with. I would have spent it on dive trips to the tropics to see the fish in their native habitats. If they went on a really cool trip a quarter, say $10,000, that would translate to ten years worth of great trips.

Expat(ish) said...

@garage - you had anemone anome?

JAL said...

Trank?

The Drill SGT said...

garage mahal said...
there is nothing, I mean nothing that smells worse than a dead anemone.


LOL

You have never smelled nước mắm being made I suspect. Sort of your fish tank writ large.

Take a earthen ware jar.
fill it with fresh saltwater fish, layere with salt.
bury it out back
let the fish rot for a few months
throw away the fish
keep what remains

people that like nước mắm describe it as "flavorful :)

Methadras said...

garage mahal said...

I mean nothing that smells worse than a dead anemone.


Oh, you stink up pretty good wherever you go, chunky. And you are still alive. Can't imagine the aroma that will waft around when you are dead, which can't be fast enough.

Quayle said...

What is it with the American left?

Taking turtles back away from a road the turtle worked hard to get to because you think it doesn't know what it wants.

Making fish swim in the color of water you want.

One could get the impression that the American left considers themselves to be just plain smarter than everyone else.

Fred4Pres said...

nước mắm from the store is fine. It is terribly stinky, made from anchovies and sardines in the manner TDS describes (only presumably slightly more controlled in a commerical setting) but the cooking process does turn what was foul fish juice into a truly flavorful condiment.

Remember this stuff has anchoivies in it too.

Then again, these individuals with their tanks probably feel totally justified in what they spent because they get the bragging rights of making the NYT's style page.

I would rather take the trips.

c3 said...

For some reason this reminded me of one of my favorite Far Side cartoons

(Hey, what do you expect, I live in Phx)

Fred4Pres said...

History of fish sauce in the West!

lewsar said...

@drill SGT: i've watched a korean housewife up near the DMZ open a new pot of winter kimchi. the lid flew about 20 feet in the air, and you could see the fumes radiate out of the pot.

i'd heard about this, so i was standing upwind :)

garage mahal said...

@garage - you had anemone anome?

Scratching my head on this one!

MaggotAtBroad&Wall said...

When an inter-racial gay couple is profiled in the nation's newspaper of record because they own a $200,000 fish tank to help them relax, it makes me wonder if Western civilization has already peaked and is in the decline phase.

The Drill SGT said...

i'd heard about this, so i was standing upwind :)

You'd had the NBC classes and knew how to calculate a downwind

Zone 1? e.g. the kimchi splash zone?

and Zone 2, e.g. the stink area?

john said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edutcher said...

I thought it was going to be a piece about one of those people who bought a mock-up tank when 'Rat Patrol' was cancelled.

Hanging that from your ceiling would also beat watching TV.

In any case, a fish tank can be very soothing - gurgling water, soft light, subtle colors.

PS Proofread, Mr. Meade. your nearest and dearest is trying to do posts and lesson plans at the same time.

Sixty Grit said...

That tank is just too precious for words.

WV: mangrade (really!) - their mangrade is zero.

john said...

garage mahal said... there is nothing, I mean nothing that smells worse than a dead anemone.

Not so, garage. A certain blog, rotting since April 12, now smells worse.

Quayle said...

When an inter-racial gay couple is profiled in the nation's newspaper of record because they own a $200,000 fish tank to help them relax, it makes me wonder if Western civilization has already peaked and is in the decline phase.

Yes, we're full in the age of excess.

Ann Althouse said...

"$180K for 60 years of cable? that is $3K/year which is $250/month. Good lord, what does cable cost in Madison?"

1. They're in Manhattan. I'm estimating high. Assuming they'd get all the premium stuff.

2. I wrote 60+

In Madison, I pay $180, bu that includes my land-line phone and my internet access.

prairie wind said...

My first thought was, "Is every couple in the NYTimes gay?" and farther down then I read of another man "...and his wife..." and I see that I am wrong.

ironrailsironweights said...

I once had a goldfish but it died. My mother had to flush it down the toilet.

Peter

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

prairie wind, you assume that "wife" implies female. Why should "marriage" be the only word we redefine to suit the whims of the day?

prairie wind said...

Martin, you mean the way promiscuous used to be bad and polyamory is now cool?

knox said...

Someone needs to buy Mrs. Wilzig some eyebrows.

prairie wind said...

knox, maybe having white eyebrows in that home is part of the fun. They can project any color they want on her.

tim maguire said...

Funny, in the NYT picture, it even looks like a flat screen television.

Peano said...

"I love the implication that this home Sea World makes them superior to peons who watch actual television."

It's enough to put a girl into a swivet. Or at least a blonde girl.

traditionalguy said...

These Fish People have no children to raise, educate and start in life. I hope their fish take care of them as well when they become elderly.

ricpic said...

One water beetle in a modest sized tank mesmerized Neaera H. in Russell Hoban's Turtle Diary. Am I name dropping? Guilty of being a cultural showoff? Perhaps. But for some reason this post congered Turtle Diary up out of the muddy detritus strewn sea bottom of my mind. A haunting book.

P.S. Isn't Neaera a beautiful name for a woman?

Richard Dolan said...

So Manhattan does fancy fishtanks. Anyone have a problem with that? Apparently so.

Ann: "I was going to this article should be blogged over at Stuff White People Like, ..."

Well, now that you put it that way, OK. It's just another one of those 'what typical white people do in Manhattan to relax' stories.

Gabriel Hanna said...

I like my fish tank--it's 75 gallons, freshwater. It has one (permanent) inhabitant, a Polypterous ornatipinnis who I have had for 14 years, and transient inhabitants to whom it is best not to get attached. He looks like a snake with feet, and he has a rudimentary lung, a modified swim bladder, which allows him to breathe air and store it underwater--a living rebuke to creationists. I usually feed him earthworms. But while he's beautiful, he's not that interesting to watch, because he's secretive and slow-moving. I have plants and petrified wood to look at.

MikeR said...

Ann, why are you being so mean?

JAL said...

Isn't that about the size of the one Riggs shoots out at the end of one of the Lethal Weapons?

Revenant said...

The suspended tank looks out of place. It makes the stairs seem cramped, at least the way they photographed it.

The Wilzig's setup looks very nice, though. I approve.

knox said...

knox, maybe having white eyebrows in that home is part of the fun. They can project any color they want on her.

Awesome!

Alex said...

Another article about fags? Where is Titus?

MadisonMan said...

there is nothing, I mean nothing that smells worse than a dead anemone.

You've never smelled the waste from a squid processing plant after it gets accidentally dumped on the road on a hot summer day. We had the misfortune of driving over it.

Oy.

ironrailsironweights said...

Someone needs to buy Mrs. Wilzig some eyebrows.

If she has shaved off her eyebrows you can be 100% sure that she also has shaved ... oh, to hell with it.

Peter

c3 said...

When an inter-racial gay couple is profiled in the nation's newspaper of record because they own a $200,000 fish tank to help them relax, it makes me wonder if Western civilization has already peaked and is in the decline phase.

In contrast, I guess this isn't newsworthy

(and by extension is therefore unimportant)

Will said...

He looks like a snake with feet, and he has a rudimentary lung, a modified swim bladder, which allows him to breathe air and store it underwater--a living rebuke to creationists.
Hardly. Any creationist worth his salt will point out that that's how God created it.

Sixty Grit said...

There was a line in BttF2 about "tranks" and other drug users. Or maybe they spelled it "tranqs". Do not know. But I think it is a city thing.

Jason (the commenter) said...

"You mean we can't eat these fish? Rip off!"

AST said...

I nominate them for the top ten Most Easily Amused, along with anybody who thought that women in bear costumes video was cute. (Just kidding, Ann.)

Leland said...

They spent $200,000 on a tank, and that (looking at the picture of a small tank) is all they have to show for it? I saw a better tank than that at the restaurant I ate at tonight, and I know it didn't cost $200,000.

My prediction is there is a fish tank bubble where these guys live.

Mark said...

Okay, I'm pretty hard-core libertarian, but that entire piece brings out the Che in me.

Gabriel Hanna said...

Any creationist worth his salt will point out that that's how God created it.

Of course creationists always say that, and you'll never convince them otherwise. But creationists, when impugning evolution, deny the existence of transitional forms, and they deny that a secondary function of an organ may be selected for (the "irreducible" complexity argument).

When you see a fish that has fins that look like feet, and can store air in its swim bladder, and can use those adaptations to leave the water for short times, those particular creationist arguments lose a lot of their impact. They say such things are impossible or too implausible to bother about, and so evolution is ridiculous, but here they are--a rebuke to those sowing confusion and doubt.

Aquaria sometimes call these fish "dinosaur eels".

Republican said...

More interesting if these spoiled rich people were using the tanks as holding tanks for their toilets.


Backlit feces, colored urine....


So nouveau riche.

Michael McNeil said...

Will says:
“He looks like a snake with feet, and he has a rudimentary lung, a modified swim bladder, which allows him to breathe air and store it underwater — a living rebuke to creationists.”

Hardly. Any creationist worth his salt will point out that that's how God created it.


Creationists will say that, indeed, but, funny thing — some of those fossil sarcopterygian (“lobe-finned”) fish — such as the recently discovered (2004) Tiktaalik — exhibit body plans placing them almost exactly bridging the gap between sea-living fish and early four-legged land animals (tetrapods) such as primitive amphibians.

Another lately found transitional, whales with legs! — e.g. (1996), Ambulocetus, an early whale flourishing a complete set of fore- and hindlimbs (looking much like a mammalian crocodile), rather than merely possessing flippers as modern whales do.

In a world of separately designed and created living groups and species, there's no reason why such clear “bridges” linking disparate groups would be expected to exist — and yet exist they do.

William said...

Penis envy has always been more fun than womb envy. Who knew that it was cheaper? I'd much rather have a Colt collection than an aquarium. It would be kind of cool to have an aquarium where you could raise your own salmon.

TMink said...

I have a 75 gallon tank in my office. I love it, so do my patients. It helps a lot to have those beautiful little distractions when you are talking about horrible things that happened to you.

I was lusting after a 300 gallon tank at the store. It was 7 feet long, about 4 feet wide and maybe 2 feet tall, just amazing. I was looking and thinking how I would aquascape it when the owner came over and chatted with me.

"You know the best thing about this tank?" he asked.

"No, but I want to hear it." was my reply.

"The best thing about this tank is that you can be burried in it after your wife finds out you bought it."

Trey

TMink said...

I am a Creationist who is not troubled the least by evoloution. What I do not understand is how evolutionists get past the whole spontaneous generation problem. Some pass it on by saying that the earth was colonized and/or seeded by aliens. OK, works for me. But then how did the aliens spontaneously generate?

Trey

The TrogloPundit said...

Recession? What recession?

former law student said...

"I love the implication that this home Sea World makes them superior to peons who watch actual television."

Nope, Paul Fussell made his assessment in Class:

Birds in cages are very middle-class, fish in aquariums high-prole

Jones and Wise are thus the same as the plumbers and electricians who bowl to relax.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Trey:

What I do not understand is how evolutionists get past the whole spontaneous generation problem.

Not to get too off topic, but the only reason you think this is a "problem" is because you have never bothered to learn anything that biologists have had to say about this matter, which runs into hundreds or thousands of papers by now. And the proof that you have never bothered is this sentence:

Some pass it on by saying that the earth was colonized and/or seeded by aliens. OK, works for me. But then how did the aliens spontaneously generate?

You think that no biologist ever asked this question, and no biologist ever came up with a different answer? This is the problem with creationists--they think they know science better than people who do it for a living, when they don't know ANYTHING about it, and use 18th century terms like "spontaneous generation", which does not refer to the origin of life at all but a medieval notion that mice were spawned from rotting hay or maggots from meat.

Trey, if you really wanted to learn, you'd have at least read some of the popular books on the subject, if you can't find the time to go to a state university and read papers.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Trey:

Here's one, in Physical Review Letters, about the simplest kinds of chemical systems that can be said to evolve by natural selection:

http://prl.aps.org/abstract/PRL/v105/i5/e058102

If you read this paper, and read some of the papers it references, you will discover that there are any number of ways that likfe could have come about from non-life, and not just aliens, magic, or God. You'll probably have to go to a university library to read it, but you can read it for free there.

Gabriel Hanna said...

The first paragraph of that paper:

The research on abiogenesis aims at finding a plausible
model to explain how life could have arisen from nonliving
matter. The likelihood of a model is assessed by reproducing
in the laboratory some of the hypothetical basic steps,
as in a bottom-up approach to the generation of artificial
protocells. Experiments have shown that the building
blocks of biological informational polymers, in particular,
RNA, can spontaneously form [1,2] and polymerize [3].
Directed (artificial) evolution [4] has been used to create
molecules that mimic some of the characteristic features of
living entities, in particular, ribozymes, i.e., RNA molecules
with catalytic activity. Among them, Refs. [5–7]
describe ribozymes that can self-catalyze their formation,
and Ref. [8] describes a ribozyme that can copy other RNA
molecules, i.e., a replicase.


Nary a word about aliens, Trey. It's a problem in the intersection of physics, chemistry, and biology, because at a fundamental level these are the same subject.