On the 23rd of November the largest aquarium in the world will open to the general public. The good people of Oregon, a land somewhere beyond Eriador, are sending a great gift to those of us in the Shire to commemorate this event. Oz, a 5-year-old sea otter, will arrive in time for the grand opening.
Sea otters were once found from Baja to Alaska, but unlimited hunting for their luxurious fur reduced the total number to only 13 small colonies by 1911. The fur of the sea otter contains approximately 1 million hairs per square inch, as compared to the 100,000 total number of hairs on the head of a Hobbit (Frodo notes that by definition his personal mane will never again be qualified as "luxurious"). Oz, however, is the very first sea otter to have been conceived, born and raised by its mother in a zoo or aquarium. All those born before him died in infancy.
Each year on his birthday, January 3rd, the community of Portland has held a birthday party for Oz. His name, derived from "Oregon Zoo," signified his importance to this land so very far from the Shire. Frodo naturally assumed that this great gift was extended for a greater purpose, since Oz will share quarters with a female sea otter from the Denver aquarium. Frodo is confused by the truth.
There are no plans to breed Oz and his female habitat mate, and Oz is being given a "form" of birth control.
Excuse me? A "form" of birth control? For the male of the species? Are we talking "Otterectomy," or perhaps some form of behaviorally adjusted rhythm to the method?
Frodo used to enjoy those scenes on "Animal Planet," apparently where the sea otters float on their backs amidst the floating kelp, and pound abalone shells against the stones perched on their bellies. At least that is what Frodo thought was happening. How incredibly ingenious Oz must be to deftly remove the little condom from its' package, and to stretch it out and unroll it over his little Willy all while floating on his back. "Animal Planet" will never seem the same, but Frodo is looking forward to watching Oz perform in or out of captivity.
What else will there be to do when you've finished off your frozen fish for the day?