I live in a town that I love. It's called Redondo Beach, CA, and it's a suburb of Los Angeles. I've lived in this general area almost my entire life, having grown up in Palos Verdes just south of here, and living in my current home since 1995. Despite traveling around a lot and enjoying different places for different reasons, I still feel most at home in Redondo.
Redondo is pretty idyllic. It's a pretty seaside community. I call it a little town, but that's only in comparison to nearby Los Angeles; over 65,000 people live in Redondo Beach, and it's all part of the greater LA area with nearly 18,000,000 people within an hour's drive. But Redondo still has a smaller community vibe to it. It's a place where you never feel obligated to dress up; and during the warm months (i.e., most of them), the standard fashion is a pair of flip flops, board shorts, and a t-shirt. Throw on a sweatshirt and a pair of Vans sneakers when it's cooler.
So, Redondo has nice schools, great weather, low crime, and a generally good vibe. While I'd love to spend the entirety of this post talking about what a sweet place my hometown is, there are a couple of troubling things going on at this very moment... both involving animals, with one of a very personal nature, and one from an environmental viewpoint. Let's take care of the personal first.
The Last Days of The Moop
That gray fuzzy thing is my cat, Captain, also known by many other names... my personal favorite being The Moop, or Moopy, or Moopy-Doo, and so on. Moop was born in May 1992, making him well over 18 years old. That's over 90 years old in human years, and it's fortunate that he's lived this long... especially considering that a couple of years ago, the vet diagnosed him with kidney disease, telling me he would likely be gone in two or three months.
Well, he's hung on, and had a pretty happy life as far as I can tell. However, the past couple of weeks, he's really slowed down, and now for the past three days, he's barely eaten. I don't want to prematurely eulogize him, but it's safe to say that like all living things, Captain's life had a beginning and a middle, and is probably quickly approaching the end. It's going to be rough on me, and very rough on my 11-year-old son, to whom Moopy is particularly close.
So Long, and Thanks for Being Fish
About mid-morning today, my Internet started lighting up with reports about a troubling situation happening less than a mile down the street from me. Millions -- yes, millions -- of dead anchovies have washed up in King Harbor, here in Redondo. The reasons aren't very clear yet, but it would seem that the initial conclusion for their cause of mass death is oxygen deprivation. What the authorities don't seem to know yet is why.
We had a big wind storm last night, and they are theorizing that the giant school of fish sought refuge in the harbor, only to have the relatively sealed-off area quickly become depleted of oxygen in the water. The result is a little horrifying, as per the pictures above. In a way, the oxygen theory is a more reassuring answer than other possibilities, like the fish having been exposed to toxic waste, or an oil slick, or other disaster brought on by humans. Hopefully there aren't other factors (like methane buildup) that caused it.
In any case, down the street from me at this moment, there are a lot of people scooping dead fish off the water surface, because it's starting to get warmer, and having millions of dead sardines roasting in warm weather is going to present a whole new problem unless it's taken care of quickly. In the most selfish view, ignoring the tragedy of massive loss of life, it's going to smell really bad around here by Thursday if the cleanup action isn't handled with speedy efficiency.
It Glums Me Out, Man
As is probably understandable, I'm feeling a little glum as a result of this stuff. There's really nothing I can do to a) make my cat immortal or b) go back in time and prevent some ecological disaster from happening. It's all just part of life, and you can't expect everything to be rosy-perfect every day. However, I do tend to remind myself that as a whole, I'm a pretty damn lucky guy who's had a ton of good stuff outweighing the bad in his life by a mile.
Send good wishes to the Moop, and hopes that no more fish wash up here in my hometown. Thanks in advance.