Holy Carp!


Asian Carp plays Pomp & Circumstance. Photo by Ted Lawrence, Great Lakes Fishery Commission

Regardless of what college or university claimed you after high school – proof of study was found in the “Freshman 15” pounds of excess ballast packed on during that first year away from Mom’s home cooking. The lure of unlimited helpings, highly salted carbs “on demand” coupled with bottomless mugs of “adult beverages” trump any resolve maintain a healthy diet. I fondly remember how Coney Dogs sloshed around my gut. These boiled hotdogs were smothered in chili, mustard, onions and pickles nestled within a steamy bun – 3 for a buck – and inhaled after frat parties. This was being real adults, “to eat whenever we want”, I’d slur to my friends – who wondered why they had a wicked headache and were a dollar short the next day.


Super-Sized Lunch for Mizzou Courtesy US Geological Survey

Boaters on the Mississippi River despise invasive, ugly, nasty Asian carp that launch unexpectedly high out of the water and crash on deck in a mess of slime and bloody guts. Carp are disruptive, annoying and in most people’s opinions – tasteless. Asian carp are like college freshman – they are voracious eaters with minimal sense of dining etiquette. Upper classmen avoid them unless they are saturated with “too much too too” at which point they are fair game for things you never write home about.

Like carp, freshmen leave little behind except a messy, undernourished environment. Saturated with copious amounts of booze over time, college students ineptly face the stress of incomplete assignments, the subsequent threat of flunking out and fear having to move back home. These moments of rational thought heighten freshmen’s anxiety and slam their hunger into hyper drive. Stressed students eat a lot of just about anything – including, the newest addition to dining halls at the University of the Show Me State – Asian Carp.


Geologist or Culinary Staff? Who cares! Soup’s On! Photo US Geo Survey

Show Me students have given two thumbs up to fish entrees disguised beneath international hallmarks of fine eating such as; Pasta Putenesca (“best with vodka” quipped a coed), Mexican Jalepeño fish soup (“okay smothered with tortilla chips – gets rid of that Jose Cuervo after-taste from the night before”), and the top Sunday favorite, carp simmered in gallons of Italian gravy over a pile of pasta (“tastes like meat balls” garbled a sleepy undergrad). “Don’t assume it is fish”, a student advised – “except for the leafy stuff – only Bio majors know what’s in anything on the menu – and they eat here – so chill.”

Feed the Tigers – carp! C’mon guys – eat lots and lots – pay it forward – they’ll fit right into your Freshman 15 and never be missed by Mississippi River Rats. Remind rival SEC athletes that you are what you eat – then show them a picture of lunch. Go Mizzou!


Distinguished UM (SL) Alum who’s a Triton not a Tiger

World Series Advisory from a Card’s Fan to Sox Fans: Bring a CDD


Gateway to the Cardinal Nation

WelcometoBusch Stadium

St. Louis Welcome Center. Photo By Lori Mertz Millar

The boys of summer become the men of Rocktober here astride the Mississippi River at the Gateway to the West. Once again the Cardinals Baseball Team has invited out-of-towners to stop by and play ball. This week America celebrates its favorite pastime with our old pals the Boston Red Sox. As a good sport, I’m extending the hometown hospitality spirit shared by Card’s fans nine years ago when we enabled the Red Sox to break the Curse of the Bambino by swamping us 4-0.  Welcome to St. Louis but be forwarned: St. Louis is a gutsy river town, not a touristy seacoast port. If you travel to Busch Stadium by boat, be sure to have a kill switch for the engine, a PFD for everyone on board, and a bunch of CDDs. 

Let’s compare venues for the upcoming World Series. I’m concerned about the furry faced ballplayers from Bean Town who are used to tossing, hitting and catching balls close to predictable tidal waters and lazy brackish streams.  The Red Sox are accustomed to muddy waters named after the heir of the British Throne (who’s mother has been alive since the shot heard ‘round the world). They’ve got a bridge that is the sole place on Earth where you can sail under a train that is under a car that is driving under a Southwest Airlines jet. Our sailors have only sunscreen between them and the sky. The Cardinal’s are river men who play ball in eyeshot of the world’s largest croquette wicket, a tribute to wanderlusts who left the east coast astern, crossed North America’s greatest drainage ditch, and founded the Cardinal’s Nation.

CDD Helmets

CDD Helmets Photo by Donna Smth

Smug Sox fans will slam into Busch Stadium, punch their fists in the air and yell, “We’ll get you, Carp!” Card’s fans will tail gate with Coleman’s chuck full of cold frosties and grin, “Oh, no you won’t.” It’s not that our leading second base man is invincible, it’s our smug security that the visiting team will not be protected by CDDs; Carp Deflecting Devices. 

Carp on Deck

Carp on Deck Photo by Donna Smith

A bit of background for the few American’s not familiar with Major League Baseball. Matt Carpenter, affectionately known as “Carp, the Card’s go-to-guy”, can bat once and be a game changer. That impressive – but a select bawdy bunch of Card’s fans are Mississippi River Rats who make sport of Pacific rim immigrant fish – Asian Carp. When boaters such as the Smiths go cruising on their 26’ pontoon boat, The White Trash Palace their crew and guests wear life jackets, helmets, and other CDDs. They know the game and are ready on deck. A startled carp can launch its 50 pounds of scales and slime 10 feet airborne, knock a boater upside across the head and cause serious damage to the vessel. Undaunted and courageous to the core, River Rats fend off line drives with lawn chairs, trash can lids and snow shovels. Boats rather than Bass Pro fishing lines catch pop flies.

During coverage of the St. Louis games, newscasters are sure to note the sea of red blanketing the riverfront beneath the arch – Cardinal fans tailgating alongshore and dead carp splayed on docks. Watch yourselves Sox fans. You need a bigger boat. You’re from a provincial New England town where everyone knows your name. We’re hometown to the King of Beers whose brew will fill your mugs until the only name you’ll remember when you go home is Bud.


This Carp’s for You, Bud. Compliments of Commodore Doug ‘n Sec’y Donna Smith of Anchor Yankers Boat Club and the White Trash Palace