June 2011 home page

  ASK Dr. RICH! 
Rich Simons | 11th Street

Every month, Rich Simons answers readers’ most perplexing questions.


 A rich harvest of grunions.  Photo illustration Art Olson

Q: In last month’s column you suggested we would not be truly free of our dependence on foreign GDP’s (Gross Doggie Products) until we sever our ties to French Poodles and English Bulldogs. Doesn’t that also hold for German Shepherds, Russian Wolfhounds, Welsh Corgis, Scottish Terriers, Australian Dingoes, Shetland Sheepdogs, Newfoundland Newfs and many other breeds? - s.p.

You are quite right, of course. It was careless of me to not include them. And, sadly, even though their gross output doesn’t amount to much, we shall also have to bid adios to our good neighbors the Mexican Chihuahua and the ever popular Xoloitzcuintle.

Q: I am new in town and I heard someone mention a thing called a “Grunion Run.” Can you tell me something about this? - m.g.

I would be pleased to enlighten you on this matter. Several times a year, usually in the spring when the tides are high and the moon is in its Seventh House (meaning it is very bright) participants are invited to run as fast as they can through the incoming surf while trying not to trip over a beach full of slimy, silvery creatures writhing around in the sand, trying to reproduce in their peculiar way. They are a species of fish called “grunion” and these events are called “Grunion Runs,” after iconic Del Mar figure Ted Grunion, who after too many viewings of “From Here to Eternity” became obsessed with the notion of copulating in wet sand. In Ted’s heyday, when the moon was in the Seventh House, night lifeguards had to be posted to protect the public morality.

This is a family newspaper so of course I can’t get into the details here about how the fish “do it,” but if you want to know more you can always Google your Grunion.

Participants in a Grunion Run (any month other than April or May), if they have a valid California Fishing License or are under 16, are invited to grasp the creatures if they can, shove them into their shorts and carry them home. There, in the privacy of your kitchen you are allowed to chop off their heads (optional), rip out their guts (also optional), bread them up (required – we recommend crushed “Chicken-in-a-Biskit” crackers) then fry them up in extra-virgin olive oil with just a hint of garlic. And Voila! There you are sitting down to a lovely fish breakfast at four in the morning! You will find they pair well with the 2008 Smoking Loon Chardonnay or the 2005 Arrogant Frog Ribet White.

If you think you would like to participate in our next Grunion Run, simply post the two hundred dollar entrance fee to my name and address and I will advise you of the date, time and place of our next event. We also sponsor several Snipe Hunts every year, which might interest you.



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