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Meet the Columnist

Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

    To carry her weekly column in your newspaper, or to republish an article, please contact her. It's that easy. 

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Something's Fishy Here...

Somethingís Fishy Here

Have you heard about the hottest new pet to hit the market? Itís called the ElvisFish. Who would think people would get so excited over a tropical fish? But, this is not just any old fish. Itís a fish that does not occur in nature, and it GLOWS neon blue when exposed to rock music. Cool, huh?

The reason it glows is what is making it news. It has been genetically altered! A gene from an old Elvis costume was transplanted into the egg of a fish to make it glow. Amazingly, after being genetically altered, the fish can reproduce and have baby El- Fishes. 

Welcome to the future.

People often get bent out of shape over genetic engineering. "It just isnít natural," they say. But it isnít as if biotechnology is a new thing. Plants have been genetically altered for ages to improve food products. So whatís wrong with a having a pet fish that glows and wiggles like Elvis?

The same researcher that developed the ElvisFish previously developed the genetically altered Jackson-Salmon. It was not received well because the fish attempted to mate with baby fish. If introduced into natural water, who knows what sort of unnatural creatures might be produced, or what hideous damage to the environment we might evoke?

People have always been a bit leery of scientific creatures that could not naturally occur. We envision a science fiction "Frankenfish" and imagine the worse possible consequences. After all, it is a scary thing when a mutant fish can imitate a mutant rock star.  We never seem to think of the possible positive results from genetic engineering, such as cures for diseases like Britany fever and Madonna syndrome.

Although it is not widely known, animals actually have been genetically altered for research purposes for many years. But the most of the genetically altered creatures are rarely seen by anyone other than scientists, even though we often wonder about some of the rock music stars. 

The ElvisFish will soon be available in pet stores nationwide and virtually anyone can have one. Eventually, they will come in a variety of glow-in-the-dark, lava lamp colors.

Could these ElvisFish mix with native fish and contaminate the environment? Itís not likely since they are aquarium fish that could not survive in the wild without their prescription drugs. And even if they did survive against all odds, they would not be dangerous to the environment according to the developers. 

Actually, the fish were first developed to glow as a signal that illegal music is being downloaded over the Internet. It was only later that the idea of selling them as pets for the amusement of humans occurred.

Most glowing fish occur naturally as marine creatures in the depths of the ocean where there is no light. These ocean creatures are bioluminous, which means chemicals in their body mix naturally to create a glow, enabling them to see prey and find mates. The new species is luminescent in a different way. It is a fresh water species that virtually absorbs energy from being in the spotlight and re-emits it any time rock music is played.

Probably you are already thinking how neat it would be to have a glowing, wriggling, blue neon ElvisFish for your aquarium? Well, you are not the only one. People seem to be very interested in being among the first to have these unusual pets, especially teenagers.

Whatís next? Coming soon to southern aquariums will be the yellow, glowing DixieFish, which is now being developed by researchers in Nashville. It is expected to dominate the redneck fish market since it will be genetically engineered to two-step and glow only to the sound of country music.

Copyright 2003 Sheila Moss


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