Taking Kidney Stones for Great Adventure Ride; Awaiting Permit Delivery for Roadkill Deer
STONED ON A ROLLER COASTER: When’s the last time I wrote about kidneys in here? I’ll tell ya when: never, that’s when. Yet those essential dual organs, empowered to maintain bodily pH, are within every angler. They are all too often unwillingly hosting kidney stones capable of sending even a macho man into screaming-out-loud labor pains. Women don’t fare much better when stones attack.
For whatever rocky-road reason, many of my fellow fishing folks have recently offered tales of kidney stone torment. Oddly, there’s a bit of a coastal component to stones. It seems our hot and sweaty shoreline lifestyle is often accompanied by a dreadful lack of proper hydration. There are also the everywhere cola sources and some of the best coffee shops anywhere – known kidney stone hangouts.
Relax, I’m not here to preach to you about how many glasses of that awful stuff called water you should drink per day – to keep the urologist at bay. Instead, I’m here to share yet another blast of “Fish Story” freakiness, involving, at closest, Jackson Six Flags Great Adventure.
Oh, believe me, there’s a rock-solidly weird connection between kidney stones and amusement park rides.
Jackson’s roller coaster rides – like the multi-G-force El Diablo, El Torro, Green Lantern and Nitro – are, vicariously, the latest thing in kidney stone elimination therapy. You might already sense where this is going.
Just this month, the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA) published a kidney stone study that will take you on a wild ride just trying to read the title: “Validation of a Functional Pyelocalyceal Renal Model for the Evaluation of Renal Calculi Passage While Riding a Roller Coaster.”
You, like me, were saved from total title alienation by clinging to that “While Riding a Roller Coaster” part.
In the study’s opening comment, the mystically medical melds with pure joy riding, reading, “In the United States each year, more than 300,000 patients seek emergency department care for kidney stones, or renal calculi. … Reports of spontaneous renal calculi passage associated with bungee cord jumping and roller coaster riding have been published in the foreign lay press.”
“So we just gotta try it, right?!” soon echoed down osteopathic hallways.
For the try, JAOA researchers built a true-to-life, kidney-ish, roller-coaster-ready test thingy, replete with stones. They then took it out for a spin.
Clad in white coats and, at first, sporting serious medical expressions, the researchers arrived at a nearby amusement park, calmly and professionally exiting their van. However, they had barely made it out the doors before they all busted into a headlong dash to be the first ones in line at the “Swoops of Death Roller-Coaster” height-check.
“Uh, did anyone remember the kidney thingy? ... I don’t care if it rots, I’m sure as hell not getting out of line to go back for it.”
I’ll cut to the chase.
The study left no kidney stone unturned. After a likely excessive number of coaster rides – manmade kidney strapped in and with everyone soon throwing their hands into the air on descent – it was back to the lab. Once crunched, the numbers all but screamed out, proving that roller-coaster rides can surely loose kidney stones.
Not only did roller-coastered stones go on a free ride but also it was further discovered that different cars in the ride did better at de-stoning than others. Even through the medical gobbledygook, you get the fairly amazing gist of this here: “The overall renal calculi passage rate in the rear seating of the roller coaster …was 23 of 36 (63.89%).”
The authors of the study got so excited they even went a bit therapeutic, writing, “Many people in the United States probably live within a few hours’ drive of an amusement park containing a roller coaster with features capable of dislodging calyceal renal calculi.”
I’m envisioning roller-coasters soon being rated by their stone-loosening capacities: “Come visit Jackson Six Flags Great Adventure’s new coaster ‘The Kidney King’ … Prescription required for rear car.”
I got a chuckle for the final line in this highly technical study: “We thank Walt Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom theme park for allowing us to conduct this research on the park’s premises.”
EAT NO ROADKILL CANDIES: In NJ, we’re duly sensitive to roadkill. It was our state’s very own New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals that, in 2005, forced Kraft Foods to stop making Trolli “Road Kill” gummies.
I had needed only one look at those goory gummies hanging in Wawa and they were mine. The tasty little squished buggers were mighty sweet, though they pretty much tasted like your everyday Trolli gummies – with maybe just a hint of macadam flavoring.
The kindly hearts at the NJSPCA couldn’t stomach the look of Road Kill gummies, representing partly-flattened squirrels, run-over barnyard fowl and semi-squashed snakes. The organization feared the look sent children a heartless message regarding the humane treatment of animals – squished or otherwise. Kraft pulled them off the shelves faster than you can yell, “Watch out for that squirrel!” Oops.
By the by, for my fellow collectors – who swear they’ll never again let a soon-to-be-priceless modern collectible sneak by – the value of an unopened bag of Trolli “Road Kill” gummies is worth over $250. Doh!
DEAD DEER DAYS: That is my patently inane way of leading into a related roadkill issue brought up by a Pa. driver, who told me he had seen at least three dead deer on the side of the road while driving down the shore.
There’s no avoiding the high-impact statistic that we annually see bumper crops of roadkill deer. Ask any roadkill-agonized insurance company.
With hunting season getting underway, roadkills will be running rampant. But why more so in fall?
Much to their mass-mentality credit, deer somehow know when hunters’ arrows and lead are a-fly, statewide. Through an enigmatic intuition, they further deduce that deadly projectiles fly far less freely near roadways. That deer-brained reality is in lockstep with state hunting codes, prohibiting hunting anywhere close to traffic.
Now that I’ve given survival merits to deer knowing just when to seek roadside shelter from a storm of hunters, it’s time to question their advanced intuitive survival capacities when it comes to dumbly dashing in front of speeding cars and trucks. There’s something of a survival disconnect there, especially during the fall rut, when deer minds tend to meander. On average, vehicles and deer meet up some 50,000 times per year in NJ.
This is my annual warning about autumnal deer-hitting times now lurking behind the next bend.
SITTING ON A DEER, WASTING TIME: I’ll now revert back to the Pa. dead-deer counter who soon asked me if all the roadkill he saw might be used to feed the poor – and if he can haul off a freshly dead deer, to give to a food bank or the likes. This question has been bouncing around for as long as deer have been bouncing off vehicles.
Talking with state Division of Fish and Wildlife, I was told that hauling off a roadkill deer, buck or doe, is both straightforward and tricky. The straightforward part is acquiring a Division roadkill keeper-permit – my term. Roadkill permit paperwork can be gotten via any Fish and Wildlife officer and also through local police departments. That part is simple enough – and then it gets tricky, slowly.
Per regulations, you cannot bring a roadkill along with you when seeking a permit at the nearest police department or Fish and Wildlife headquarters. I’m told the best route is to call in for a permit, on scene – and then hang out with the deerly departed. If you’re so inclined, you can then go ahead and sit on the deer, waving at gawking drivers-by – who occasionally offer nervous little return waves. I know this for a fact, having once waited out a permit, while sitting like The Thinker atop a large recently-expired buck.
Waiting for the arrival of a roadkill permit is fine, providing time is not of the essence. To pass time, I’ve found you can poke ticks with a twig or pull the wings off of smacked deer flies – as you idly gaze down a long, straight stretch of lonely highway, as if awaiting a running-late bus in the desert. It’s too bad we don’t have tumbleweeds in New Jersey.
There is another somewhat negative aspect to hanging out, in situ, seeking a roadkill permit. One has to wonder how enthused your average Main Street police officer will be over being called out to Milepost Nevermore – to locate a dead deer with some fly-covered guy sitting on top of it, asking, “What the hell took you so long?”
Me: “So do you have the permit?”
Officer: “Oh, crap!”
I’ll repeat that the gal at Fish and Wildlife told me: no permit, can’t move it.
“Sir, can you also bring me back a Slurpee? … Sir?”
RUNDOWN: I’ve been having my usual lousy luck fishing LBI lately. And I’ve even been putting in a solid three or four minutes per fishing spot. During those exhaustingly long sessions, I’ve thought about starting up an Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Anglers Club. We’d meet very frequently … but for no longer than it takes to sign in, sip a Monster Drink and hear someone yell that there’s an even better meeting just down the road … and we’d all be knocking each other over to get to our buggies. Our annual ADHD Surf Fishing Contest would run from 8 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. Late signups encouraged. First prize would be a family of ferrets.
For slower types, please get crackin’. It’s a perfect time to sign up for the 2016 Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic. The forms are in participating shops and I just have this feeling it might be your year – or even my 15 minutes of re-fame. Hey, I won one year … I was young and needed the money. Since then, I’ve nobly allowed others to take all the prizes.
I always like to point out that this famed contest is not all about the biggest fish in the ocean. It’s about the biggest bass and blues on a given day. Think about this: There are days when loads of prizes and prize money aren’t won. All you would have needed on those days was what might be called a minimal entry to be prized under. If that doesn’t prove a level playing field for anyone who enters, nothing does.
I’ll add another factor that has proven out over the years: the majority of winners are walk-ons. You absolutely don’t need a 4WD vehicle to win big in the Classic. As to needing help hand dragging a 50-pound bass off the beach, now there’s a problem we’d all love to have once in our fishing lives.
Bluefish have gone a bit bonkers. Small ones are everywhere, along the beachfront and especially around inlets. Some cocktails are mixing in but not that often. Many of us who smoke or jerky bluefish need those 2- to 4-pounders, hopefully arriving soon.
Bass are both here and a no-show. Now and again, this or that beach will show a slew of schoolies. Barnegat Inlet jetties has even been putting out some larger models, with keepers to 35 inches. However, there is no predictability or pinpointing the bass bite.
The best hope at homing in on the widely spread action will come as beachfront beaches are open to buggying, starting this weekend. It really helps to cruise around, hitting different troughs and eddies until something salutes. This is doubly true plugging or jigging.
I need to put in a good word for wreck fishing for porgies. These excellent-tasting panfish have been showing in impressive number. Needing to get nostalgic, when I’d go headboating with my dad back in the now-distant day, porgies were often the target du jour. I first learned to filet fish via dozens and dozens of porgies caught off the Black Whale.
HOLGATE HAPPENINGS: Holgate is buggy-negotiable at low tide – but with a growing headache area. What I call the Dead Forest zone, about two-thirds of the way to the end, has been exposed in such a way that even at low tide branches and s*** are nastily poking out of the wet sand. You need to drive high (so to speak) to get through. Even when going up-beach, there is some tricky maneuvering to keep tire-damaging ex-vegetation from going under-tread.
Holgate’s high tides are presenting a slew of quick-sink problems. For any buggying newbies, remember that water-fluffed sand – from waves steadily washing up and over – can go from solid at low tide to total quicksand with rising tides. If you bog down unadvisedly trying to zip over sudsy wet sand, there’s no rescue, even from tow companies. You just wait in dismal sinkingness until the tide drops and you see what remains of a $40,000 vehicle. Believe me, we’ve seen it happen. And it does make a cool photo-shoot for the likes of, well, yours truly.