The Phoenix

Monday, July 16, 2007

Don't Spank This Monkey

I remember reading comic books as a kid, and I was fascinated by the plethora of amazing proudcts one could order: X-ray glasses, plastic army men, and booklets that would teach you how to obtain large muscles or be the deadliest man alive. All of these things sounded so great to a 10 year old, but what captured my imagination the most were...

Sea Monkeys.

In the comic books, they were advertised as humanoid-ish creatures, with three horns on their heads, and they looked so damn happy. For a mere $1.25, I would somehow get these creatures in the mail. I wanted my very own "bowl of happiness."

Alas, I never ordered them. Nor did I get the X-ray glasses. But the question remained...

What the hell are Sea Monkeys anyway???

After doing some research, I was astounded to learn that Sea Monkeys are real organisms. Their scientific name is Artemia salina. These things are a type of brachiopod...sorta like brine shrimp. This specific creature is actually patented - U.S. Patent 3,673,986. They were engineered, actually. Sea Monkeys are a hybrid - part brine shrimp, part non-brine shrimp (salty and fresh water shrimp).

But how did kids get living creatures via the mail? Were they frozen in carbonite or something?

The Sea Monkeys were prepared and put into a state of cryptobiosis - or suspended animation. You get the eggs in a little packet, where they're covered with "life crystals." And when you put them into a little tank filled with clean, non-chlorinated water, they begin to hatch and come to life.

So once you get your Sea Monkey colony going, do they reproduce? Oh, you betcha! They can do it sexually or asexually. Imagine what fun kids can have while watching the entire circle of life occur in their little plastic aquariums!

Although I no longer partake in the joy of comic books as an adult, there's something about these Sea Monkeys that still manages to fascinate me. Maybe it's time for me to buy them. Maybe it's time to satisfy that little 10 year old scientist inside of me.

Maybe it's time for me to fulfill my Sea Monkey destiny.

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Anonymous Daria said...

Hey Phoenix,

I nominated you for the The Thinking Blogger Award because you have such a fabulous blog.

7/16/2007 11:09 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

I remember those ads. I so wanted some.

7/16/2007 11:11 PM  
Blogger Sassy Blondie said...

OMG Phoenix! I SO remember sea monkeys! LOL We also ordered that disgusting garlic trick gum from the back of comic books.

I didn't learn that they were brine shrimp until college. Yes, I'm a blonde.

7/16/2007 11:28 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

daria, Thanks! What an honor. I'm going to check out your other nominees too.

jennifer, Maybe it's time you got your Sea-Monkey on.

sassy, I remember the trick gum too. My friend had that hand buzzer, but he could never shock anybody because the thing was so big on his little hand - you could see it from a mile away.

7/17/2007 8:30 AM  
Blogger BrianAlt said...

Go for it man!

A starter kit is only $7.00!

Buy Sea Monkeys

7/17/2007 10:49 AM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

How do they taste?

-- david

7/17/2007 10:57 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

brianalt, I also need a tank. I'm thinking the one that looks like the surface of Mars would be cool.

david, Of course they taste like chicken.

7/17/2007 11:05 AM  
Blogger angel, jr. said...

I bought them, and the magic was suddenly gone! I didn't see them playing basket ball or wearing crowns.

However, now the adult 10 year old wants to buy them again. I think they sell them in toy stores now.

7/17/2007 11:44 AM  
Blogger ajooja said...

I always thought sea monkeys were pretty cool.

7/17/2007 1:04 PM  
Blogger Vani said...

LOl, yes please order some and share.

7/17/2007 1:32 PM  
Blogger Mr. Shife said...

I distinctly remember those ads as well. I never did order anything but I would always daydream about what I wanted to order, and then Mom would squash my dreams. I had such a cruel childhood.

7/17/2007 2:06 PM  
Anonymous the weirdgirl said...

I love Sea Monkeys! I actually had tanks a couple of times (eventually they always die). I say buy 'em!

I bought the hubby venus flytraps for Christmas. It's kind of in the same realm. I think it's actually more fun being a kid as an adult than vice versa.

Oh, you know what I mean.

7/17/2007 3:27 PM  
Anonymous kim said...

I always wanted some. A friend of mine had to babysit his co-workers Sea Monkeys when she went on vacation. Ha!

7/17/2007 5:33 PM  

Buying sea monkeys would be fun.

7/18/2007 1:25 AM  
Blogger tubelessstl said...

my neighbor had these when we were kids (13 or so) and she was able to keep them alive for about 4 months in reproduction then they died out. The kid in me is curious now too, maybe I might have to go to the local kids store (special shop at mason / clayton), i bet they have them there. Hummmm

7/18/2007 7:47 AM  
Blogger goldennib said...

You have to let us know if you get them and take pictures.

7/18/2007 9:13 AM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

I suggest you get an ant farm instead. Those sea monkeys aren't nearly as cool as they sound.

I have two chicks you can have right now. My son came home with chicks (baby hens, not girls) he bought from a guy who had a Chicks for Sale sign in his yard. They are growing every day and changing from fuzz to feathers. I have no idea what I'm gonna do with them!!

How about getting a real monkey??

7/18/2007 10:51 AM  
Blogger KC said...

My son had them once many years ago. Of course, he didn't take care of the water and it became cloudy and gross. The sea monkeys died.

7/18/2007 11:38 AM  
Blogger Jay said...

If you could choose how to reproduce, what kind of fool would choose to go the asexual route?

7/18/2007 10:55 PM  
Blogger The Egg said...

Hahaha! You took me back to the days of sea monkey mania. Yes, my bro had a tank in his room. The fun was over when it fell on the carpet. Poor monkeys.

7/19/2007 12:33 PM  
Blogger ozymandiaz said...

Never dump your sea monkeys in the thermal run offs of a questionable nuclear power plant. Trust me on this one...

7/19/2007 4:25 PM  
Blogger cube said...

I always wanted sea monkeys growing up. I also wanted X-ray glasses, and the fake poop and/or vomit blob, etc... all of it.

BTW if you look at lake water under a microscope, you will see critters that are way more interesting than sea monkeys, e.g., rotifers have little propellers on their heads. Cool!

7/20/2007 9:00 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

Is that anything like 'monkey see, monkey do'?

7/20/2007 7:19 PM  
Anonymous delmer said...

I always thought the cardboard submarine would be cool.

I once bought a joy buzzer from a comic book ad. I also bought some Marvel Comic stickers -- up until a few years ago (that is, when my kids found them) I still had a sheet.

7/21/2007 12:05 AM  
Blogger goddess said...

I use to give sea monkeys as gag gifts in college.

7/21/2007 1:16 PM  
Blogger Grafs said...

Neat! Sea Monkeys flew under my childhood radar (edged out by star wars and legos).

7/22/2007 1:36 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I had sea monkeys! What a rip-off they were. I also had Mexican jumping beans. But I never did order that thing that turned 8mm b&w films into color. Or that hovercraft thing that supposedly floated around the house.

7/22/2007 6:08 PM  
Blogger Big Pissy said...

Wow! Who knew?!?!?

I always thought it was a hoax! *L*

7/22/2007 10:25 PM  
Blogger Orhan Kahn said...

Here you have people what came first, the chicken or the egg when there were so many more important questions, such as What the hell are Sea Monkeys anyway?

7/23/2007 12:39 AM  
Blogger DaBich said...

I wonder what happens if you DO try to spank one?????


7/23/2007 2:02 PM  
Blogger phlegmfatale said...

I love SeaMonkeys. I do a kit of them every so often. Fun Stuff.

7/23/2007 7:37 PM  
Blogger grrrbear said...

Oh sure, perpetuate the enslavement of an entire species purely because they are a patented creation...

Just remember that when they rise up against your bourgeois tyranny! Or, alternatively, when their grandchildren come around asking for reparations.

7/25/2007 9:50 AM  
Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

Yep, I ordered one of those before too, along with the crappy plastic army men. Comic books really swindled us on crap back then, didn't they? These were fun, though.

7/28/2007 11:53 AM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

I saw a Sea Monkey kit in a store the other day. I damn near bought one for old times sake.

8/01/2007 9:23 PM  

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Welcome to the blog that aims to examine the lighter side of science. From the paranormal to wacky inventions, to strange mysteries and goofy experiments, I cover it all. Thanks for stoping by science is always stranger than fiction


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