People tell us things. We don't encourage it. But humans are relentless when they have something they want you to know. We literally had to fight our way out of the corner one night when a woman started in on us about the piping plovers. She was not in the least mollified when we told her we thought it was a Scottish band.

We also hear things. Not just the odd voices guiding our path, or the vocal ruminations of our dogs, who really ought to put a sock in it. We also hear about topical matters on the trends and trades of today's smart set.

So, we're in the loop on tattoos. Not that we sport a speck of ink. Our corporeal canvas remains as pristine as the day the doc slapped us on the butt and told us to get into the game. Still, we get that tattoos remain a big deal to a great deal of people.

Including the U. S. Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard announced last week that it is changing its policy on tattoos mostly because it's trying to walk the fine line between maintaining discipline and uniform decorum and not driving away every breathing soul under the age of 25.

"The policy change will ensure the Coast Guard's workforce presents a sharp and professional military appearance to the public while permitting body art that is consistent with the Coast Guard's core values," the Coast Guard stated in announcing the new policy. "Aligning the policy closer to current tattoo trends also allows the Coast Guard to increase the pool of otherwise-qualified potential applicants for service."

Now permitted:

*One finger tattoo per hand. It must be between the first and second knuckles coming up from the wrist.

"One ring tattoo per hand remains authorized and will be considered as a finger tattoo," the Coast Guard stated. "No tattoos are authorized on the thumbs."

*A single tattoo per hand no larger than 1 inch in any dimension, is authorized on the hand between the wrist and the first knuckle.

"No tattoos are authorized on the palms of hands," sayeth the Coasties. "In total one hand tattoo and one finger tattoo are allowed per hand."

But bad news. Tattoos and/or brands still may not be visible above the collar of the Coast Guard operational dress uniform crew neck T-shirt.

What a buzz kill. Like TB12, we're all about the brand.

Fall baseball, where you be?

So, little different vibe this autumn than a year ago, eh? Last year, on this date we were still a day away from the Red Sox thrashing the Bombers 16-1 in Game 3 in the Bronx to take control of the American League Divisional Series and begin the real march toward the World Series.

Not the same watching the Rays go up against the Astros. Here are our picks moving forward. They are, of course, purely for entertainment and humiliation and not to be used in aid of any sort of gambling.

American League Divisional Series — Astros over the Rays. Twins over the Yankees.

National League Divisional Series — Already commenced as we write this, with the Dodgers and Cardinals winning in their respective Game 1s. But we're still taking the Braves over the Cards and the Dodgers will crush the Nationals.

American League Championship Series — Twins over the Astros.

National League Championship Series — Dodgers over the Braves.

That will setup a rematch of the 1965 World Series, a seven-game jewel in which Sandy Koufax pitched Game 7 on two days' rest and spun a complete-game beauty to send the Dodgers to the World Championship. And that was after skipping starting in Game 1 because it fell on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur.

Quick trivia question: Who managed the Twins?

Quick trivia answer: The late, great Sam Mele, whom we got to know well during his days as a Red Sox scout and special adviser.

Green crab to green thumb

We are on record as fearing the European green crab and what we're sure is their diabolical plan to overwhelm the human race and take over the whole magilla. We get around. We've seen Nubar Alexanian's green crab documentary-short, "Recipe for Disaster," Yes, we're scaredy cats. But we're not addled.

That's why we rejoiced last week when we got an email missive from Roger Warner over at the Green Crab R&D outfit with news we can use: Green crabs can be turned into a potent liquid fertilizer for your garden.

Or as Warner calls it, Crab Juice.

We'll give you the short version, courtesy of Warner's recipe:

"Get a quantity of green crabs, drown them overnight in fresh water, then pour off the fresh water. Put the rinsed crabs in a plastic tub and walk on them wearing rubber boots to crush them. Carefully draw off the liquid extract from the crabs — the liquid is what you'll be working with — and mix that liquid crab extract 1:1 with ordinary white vinegar. (The vinegar lowers the the pH of the liquid crab extract and keep it from smelling.)"

To use, dilute about a half-cup of the concentrated mix with about a gallon of water. But only mix as much as you're going to use.

Warner reminds us the recipe is in the beta testing phase, so things could change. But that gives you the general idea.

Check out the fertilizer recipe and other actual food recipes at What better way to help us to escape green crab world domination? And tomato plants love it.

As always, no fish were harmed in the making of this column. 

Contact Sean Horgan at 978-675-2714, or Follow him on Twitter at @SeanGDT.

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