So the Winter Olympics are rolling on the Korean peninsula and everybody seems to be on their best behavior and we're all still alive to tell the tale. So that's a good thing.
Here's another good thing. You might have noticed we have coverage in today's Gloucester Daily Times and on gloucestertimes.com of the double-showing Saturday of the fishing documentary "Dead in the Water" at the Cape Ann Museum.
Both screenings were sold out. But what was really interesting was the composition of the crowds. These weren't the usual faces when it comes to Gloucester fishing. These weren't the folks you see at the New England Fishery Management Council meetings or at other public forums. These weren't permit holders and guys who work on boats.
In the first two public showings of the documentary in Gloucester, a diverse Gloucester turned out.
The audiences for both screenings featured a cross-sampling of the Cape Ann community concerned enough about one of the region's iconic-if-imperiled industries to give up a chunk of their Saturday to watch the film and begin to understand the withering complexities of the fishing crisis.
So, good for them. And good for the Cape Ann Museum for stepping up to host the screenings and subsequent panel discussions.
As an aside, we must concede we're really not much for the Winter Games here at FishOn.
We like the skiing and love the hockey when the best players in the world are playing. But ixnay on the curling and skating and luge (Look, either sit down like a normal person or at least lay down so you know where you're going.)
And don't get us started on the biathalon. Ski for a while and then stop and shoot. Why? It all seems rather arbitrary. Why not have them ski for a while and then change a tire or grout some tile?
Willin' to be drilling?
Things should get nice and toasty at the Hyatt Regency in Boston on the afternoon of Feb. 27 when the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management hosts a public hearing on the Trump administration's proposal to open the ocean floor off New England to potential drilling and exploration for gas, oil and, for all we know, wolfram.
It's a sweeping proposal, potentially opening up more than 90 percent of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf to drilling and other invasive exploration.
More to the point, the plan is extraordinary iffy for only two reasons:
Most people — you know, everybody not scurrying around to scoop up mineral rights and leases — hate it and it has the superhero power of uniting the commercial fishing industry, environmentalists, the management councils and the recreational fishing industry in the same fight. On the same side.
Local fishing stakeholders, including the omnipresent Angela Sanfilippo of the Fishing Partnership and Support Services (as well as the Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Association) are calling out the hordes to attend the hearing and marshal opposition.
So go, make thy own self heard.
Ornery down below the border line
Heading to Myrtle Beach soon for a little break in the action? Nice. Believe it or not there's one restaurant named Mrs. Fish and another named Mr. Fish. They're unaffiliated and they're both really good.
But you might also want to know that the Palmetto State has become one of the centers of unprovoked shark attacks. Just in case that might bother you.
According to a piece in The Charlotte Observer, the Florida Museum of Natural History released data that shows there were 88 confirmed unprovoked shark attacks worldwide in 2017 and that 10 were in waters off South Carolina.
While Florida led the nation (and the world) with 31 unprovoked attacks, South Carolina's tally doubled its previous year. So, something's up down there.
Other states with unprovoked shark attacks: Hawaii (6), California (2) and one each in Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia.
Here's looking at you
We've always found starfish a bit presumptuous, as if affixing the star to its name is some sort of coronation. We're also kind of creeped out that they're actually sea worms that move around on hundreds of tiny tube feet (let's see Carl Sandburg do something with that).
Now comes word that the wee buggers might be giving us the stink eye.
According to a piece in the New York Times, starfish have a tiny eye at the end of each arm.
"Scientists, who didn't even know if deep sea starfish had eyes, did not expect to find this," said the piece by Joanna Klein.
The piece said they sampled 13 species of deepwater starfish and all but one had eyes. They also found that two could self-glow.
"One, Novodinia americana, had a whole body that lit up when stimulated, and its eyes, with bigger pupils, were capable of detecting even sharper images than their shallow water relatives," the piece stated.
Quick quiz: Just how big do starfish get?
Quick answer: The sunflower starfish (or Pycnopodia helianthroides to the people who end up on "Jeopardy") can have a wingspan as long as 40 inches and weigh more than 11 pounds. They also have the most arms — up to 24 — of any species on Earth. And you thought it was the 1969 Orioles.
As always, no fish were harmed in the making of this column.
Contact Sean Horgan at 978-675-2714, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanGDT.