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A Fluke

January 05, 1986

Herman Melville begins Chapter 86 of "Moby-Dick" memorably:

"Other poets have warbled the praises of the soft eye of the antelope, and the lovely plumage of the bird that never alights; less celestial, I celebrate a tail." He went on, indeed, to celebrate the whale's tail.

Keeping also in mind Herman's vexation at the "monstrous pictures of whales," I was disturbed by Pacific Stereo's depiction in its "whale of a sale" ad Dec. 29. It's not a whale; it's more like a black minnow, oversized.

The whale's tail is not vertical like a fish's caudal; it is horizontal.

CHARLOTTE CORNELIUS

visiting from Helena, Mont.

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