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Thirteenth Sort
Fishy advice.

by Dear Jon
January 4, 2001

Thirteenth Sort_Dear Jon-Fishy advice. Editor's Note: Due to technical difficulties beyond Dear Jon's control, this column was published far later and with less content than normal. Dear Jon will return to "normal" next Monday.

Dear Jon: I have finally figured out that no one else can live my life for me, that I have to make my own decisions and learn from my own mistakes. Where should I go from here? Sincerely, Undecided.

Dear Undecided: The "Dear Jon" advice column is the best place for people who have it all figured out to figure things out, so keep writing and thank you for reading at


Dear Jon,

Our aquarium fish have peeling white patches on their scales. What is it and what should I do about it?

Dear Blank,

According to the Book of Leviticus in the Old Testament, a proper way to diagnose this problem is to show the fish with their peeling white scales to a priest. The priest will examine them, and then quarantine the fish for seven days. After seven days the priest will examine them again. If the white patches have peeled off and the fish are whole, they are clean; it is only a molting of scales. If, after seven days, redness has appeared, or the patches have spread, it is a leprosy and the fish are unclean. At this point, the fish must be wrapped in sackcloth with a veil over their faces, and as they swim through the sea they must shout ahead of them, "Unclean! Unclean."

But times have changed. Thanks to modern medicine, fish no longer need to drape themselves in sackcloth. The alternative is to quarantine them from all other fish, which, it seems to me, is effectively happening with an aquarium. And if this is what you intend to do, I don't really see that taking them to a priest would change anything, so you might as well do nothing except continue to feed them and change the water in their tank.

By the way, you do change the water in their tank, right?

These are short-term solutions as to what to do about it in order to keep the fish alive. Over the long-term, if this peeling phenomenon is only skin-deep, then you will not need to be concerned with the fillets, since the process of cleaning the fish will take care of that. Now I know that a lemon and pepper sautee served with rice is enormously popular with fish, but I prefer frying fish in a batter and serving with potatoes. Just be sure, as with all fish, that the meat is cooked thoroughly.

Dear Jon: Do you have any thoughts on how to liven up a meatless diet?
Sincerely, A Vegetarian

Dear Veg: None. See below.

Thought for the Day: This one comes from my favorite bumper sticker. "If God did not want us to eat animals, why did he make them meat?"

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