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Jul. 1 2009 - 5:10 pm | 302 views | 2 recommendations | 5 comments

Dr. Oliver Sacks and the squid overlord

Doctor w:Oliver Sacks.

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday, I posted a piece about neuroscientist Oliver Sacks and a new PBS program based on his book, Musicophilia.

Ever the investigative reporter, True Slant’s Kashmir Hill wrote to me to a) confess her love for him (look out, Kashmir, I was there first), and b) ask about a t-shirt he wears in one of his press photos.

I asked Dr. Sacks about it supposedly on her behalf and yours, but really just to be in touch with him, and here, exclusive to T/S, is the backstory on the squid overlord T, why the eminent neuroscientist has his, and where to get yours — and product placement etiquette be damned.

“The Welcome Squid Overlords t-shirt is probably my favorite,” he told me today, “although I am also partial to ones from the New York Botanical Garden, where I go as often as possible, and from Russ & Daughters, the venerable NYC herring emporium.  The squid t-shirt was a gift from my friend Steve Silberman, who found it in a shop in San Francisco. They are made by a company called Mule Design:   http://store.muledesign.com/shirts/squidoverlords.php

I love Russ & Daughters on the Lower East Side of NY (just a stone’s throw from Yonah Shimmel Knishes, most recently a quick visual flashby in the new Woody Allen movie).   Between all the talk about the lox and the squid, I’m feeling a little like visiting the Museum of Natural History, or Sushi Den.

Here’s a little backstory on that T from the courteous folks at muledesign.  But first a moment of recognition for the new World Order, as it takes its first few faltering steps in my unworthy hands.  I have now posted Stephen Colbert asking us all to make “Tea” by Paul Muldoon our favorite poem.  And this piece featuring what could easily become the world’s most popular T-shirt, for a millisecond, with your help:

WELCOME SQUID OVERLORDS

WELCOME SQUID OVERLORDS

The cephalopod biomass is now greater than the human biomass. We don’t know how many there are or how big they get. We are NOT ready. Play it smart.

UPDATE: The Kraken has been found alive and we’re celebrating with a new shirt!


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  1. collapse expand

    Makes a heartwarming beach story, non? All those giant squid eating the sharks that might have attacked you and me. I am trying desperately, and without success, to remember the name of that recent movie that had Squid in it. I’m seeing The __ and the Squid. I’m seeing a comedy, funny, with Jeff Goldblum and Anjelica Huston, a spoof on Jacques Costeau. Am I insane, or do you see it, too?

  2. collapse expand

    At the beginning of your comment, I was seeing “The Squid and The Whale,” a tortured but hilarious film about a dysfunctional family, with a screenplay written by Noah Baumbach. Who penned this even more hilarious essay for the New Yorker giving the perspective of a bee on cocaine: http://www.newyorker.com/humor/2009/05/04/090504sh_shouts_baumbach.

    But now I’ve wandered into animal realms outside of the sea. The second part of your comment made me think of the Wes Anderson film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Which I found disappointing for the most part, though I did laugh until tears came to my eyes during the pirate sequence.

  3. collapse expand

    In my own sordid little mind, I think I’ve combined them both. I LOVED The Squid and the Whale. And thank you for helping me out with that one. Completely hilarious. Thank God for great material like the actual Jacques Costeau story. Isn’t that the one where Jeff Goldblum goes and sits in his bizillion dollar sky chair to think? Suspended over his yacht like a really large pelican with brains? But I did also see The Life Aquatic. Do they both at least have the mandatory squid? Although perhaps the T-shirt is enough. More than enough.

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    I've written short pieces for The New Yorker about the first Arab prince in outer space, a Ph.D who travels the world studying garbage, an Australian attorney who played werewolves in the movies, and the man who set the “Pledge of Allegiance” to music. I've written pieces for The New York Times about olfactory sculpture dropped from a plane on thousands of tiny cards on New Year's Eve, and inscriptions on old buildings that have become ironic over time. At ABC, Bravo, A&E, and PBS, I wrote live interviews with celebrities and docs about Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, and lesser known poets. It's culture and arts. It's people in the news. It's the ongoing comedy of who we are. I hope you enjoy it here at True/Slant and write in to tell me what you think. Also hope to hear your ideas and stories at "Third Screen" on www.huffingtonpost and www.thirdscreenconfidential.com

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