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Consider The Lobster Claw
March 25, 2013 10:25 PM   Subscribe


 
Disgust, more like.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:02 PM on March 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


THE CLAW.
posted by maryr at 11:03 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


If they're scampering away, they're really fresh... (yum).
posted by subdee at 11:10 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


My dad used to always get the best prizes in the claw machine at the Athena Diner near my house. He's also a great cook. I'm just saying if somebody opened one of these in Sydney - maybe at the Chinese restaurant at Star Casino - it'd be awesome.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 11:11 PM on March 25, 2013


If this is popular then I have a business idea for you! We launch wingless birds at buildings! You put the bird in a slingshot, and it has to knock the buildings down!

I know it sounds crazy, but I think it could be a big money-maker, bigger than Lobster Claw! Send your startup funds to twoleftfeet, care of Metafilter.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:20 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


I know it sounds crazy, but I think it could be a big money-maker, bigger than Lobster Claw! Send your startup funds to twoleftfeet, care of Metafilter.

Rovio would sue you before you even got a Kickstarter up.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 11:22 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Today I ate fresh king crab legs that my husband "processed" about an hour before dinner. They were incredibly delicious. We also frequently eat salmon that we caught, cleaned, and filleted last fall.

There's nothing delightful about watching a salmon struggle against a fish club, but living so close to (some of) our food has made me appreciate the food chain a great deal.

Those lobsters in the claw tanks are doomed anyway. I doubt they care whether they're captured by a claw or a gloved hand on the way to lobster roll-dom.
posted by charmcityblues at 11:28 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


There was one of these in my shopping arcade in Nakano, Tokyo back in the day. I always wondered just who would be wandering by and thinking, "Oh! I should pick up a couple of lobsters for dinner tonight." So random, so bizarre.
posted by brappi at 11:29 PM on March 25, 2013


I don't know why an idea like this succeeds, when my own idea - Muscles vs. Mussels - didn't succeed. Sure, the idea of arm-wrestling a bivalve doesn't seem appealing, but Lobster Claw does????
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:31 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's amusing to see "WTF, Japan?!" turn into "Yeah, they have one of those at my local mini-mall."
posted by Bugbread at 11:39 PM on March 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


(puts in quarters)

Okay okay there it goes to the right to the right stay right there yes mmmm tasty treat you will be mine now down just a little more DONT MOVE THERE BUGGY IM HUNGRY yes push the button down down down yes almost OH NO NO DO NOT WANT NO DROP IT DROP DROP GOD NOT OVER AAAAAGH

<sigh> Anyone want a koosh ball?
posted by JHarris at 11:42 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I like Lobster Claw game and play it regularly in my local prefecture.

It is not a hard game to win. But there is some skill.

I play Lobster Claw game for my daughter. She likes the prizes.

But she always wants the pink lobster.

That is the most slippery lobster.

That is how they get you.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:45 PM on March 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


You can tell that woman is a pro. She did the thing where you look straight at the prize, and then look from the left and right sides of the box. Bingo. The guy on the other hand, was just torturously inept. First, not knowing what the red button does? N00b. Other errors: wasting time talking; going for the closest lobster when the obvious one was off to the right, larger and slightly raised off the bottom; not immediately lowering the claw back down when target lobster was reared up off the bottom; and then the massive button fail.

Yes, I once won 10 care bears in as many plays from a claw machine at the Jersey Shore. Why do you ask?
posted by DoubleLune at 12:01 AM on March 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


Nate Ferra has got to be the most mellow person in the world. His claw machine videos are so relaxing.
posted by scose at 12:02 AM on March 26, 2013


hmm, I don't know any chefs who still boil lobster alive. They always kill it with a quick stab of a knife in the head.
posted by Pendragon at 12:32 AM on March 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


My friends and I go out to eat lobster and smoke big fat cigars. But we don't choose our lobsters this way, based on some sissy game. Instead, we race the little motherfuckers. Whichever lobster comes in last gets his ass in a boiling pot.

That's how real men do it.
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:47 AM on March 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm just going to say, because I've been flippant about the Claw, that there are a zillion websites out there devoted to helping you win this thing. Here's one. And another. And a third. And a fourth.

I've read all of these sites and I've boiled the advice down into the following tips.
  • Play a machine that hasn't had a winner in a while.
  • Play claw machines that aren't very full.
  • Make sure you don't jerk on the controller that controls the claw.
These tips will make you a Claw Machine Champion!
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:12 AM on March 26, 2013


I'm just saying if somebody opened one of these in Sydney - maybe at the Chinese restaurant at Star Casino - it'd be awesome.

Even better: lobster sumo!

The lobsters struggle with each other on a table at the pub.

On one side of the table: lovely cold water with something tasty for the lobster to eat.

On the other: boiling water, to cook the unlucky creature.

Obviously, the lobsters don't know which side is which & couldn't even conceive of this struggle tactically, but the punters get to place a bet on one or the other lobster ending up in the boiling water. If they win, they get lobster roll. If they lose, their lobster lives to fight another day (or perhaps another 15 minutes later).
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:30 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Lobster wrestling is a serious sport
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:43 AM on March 26, 2013


I think it's possible to eat meat, even meat that you don't kill yourself, with a certain degree of respect. So it's the gloating aspect of this that bothers me.

Being a top predator doesn't mean you need to be a dick about it.
posted by flabdablet at 3:05 AM on March 26, 2013 [20 favorites]


Yeah, I think flabdablet's got it. It's not just the face-to-face with your living food, nor the customer as judge of the damned that's so bothersome to us, but the horror of finding pleasure in the act of killing itself.

Pass the butter.
posted by IAmBroom at 3:08 AM on March 26, 2013


Ok we'll meet the meat.
posted by sourbrew at 3:12 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I used to frequent a seafood establishment where you could select the fish you wanted to eat from an aquarium and they would cook it for you. The restaurant fell on hard times, and to save money they offered fewer and fewer fish, in smaller and smaller containers. Eventually they started asking the customers to actually kill the fish themselves, and hand them to the cooks. Many of us loyal customers couldn't be bothered to get out of chairs to do this, so we would bring our handguns to the restaurant and fire bullets at our preferred dinner.

I don't eat there anymore. The food was good, but I like a challenge, and the restaurant became too easy. Like shooting fish in a barrel.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:24 AM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


hmm, I don't know any chefs who still boil lobster alive. They always kill it with a quick stab of a knife in the head.

Doesn't that effect the taste? And would it ruin the brains? I can't remember if I eat lobster brains but I do eat shrimp brains.

My friends and I go out to eat lobster and smoke big fat cigars. But we don't choose our lobsters this way, based on some sissy game. Instead, we race the little motherfuckers. Whichever lobster comes in last gets his ass in a boiling pot.

That's how real men do it.

Huh. Things that exist at Australian pubs: crab racing. Meat raffles. Food.

Combine the 3 and you'd make money. Now if only I owned a pub. Punters would place bets on the crabs, and the winner of the most money also got to eat the winning lobster. Or something like that.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:52 AM on March 26, 2013


I had a dream where I was eating lobster with Jesus and we began to discuss theology. "Is there a God?" I asked. Jesus wasn't sure, but he wouldn't say. "If there is a God, is he in a lobster?" I asked whimsically, just to test his beliefs. Jesus spoke thus, "if there is a God, then He is everywhere, in every part of a lobster."

"And Satan?" I asked, "is he everywhere also? Is Satan here in every part of this lobster?"

"It is so," spoke the Lord.

Just then his Mother showed up. "What are you boys talking about?" she inquired. And I said:

"Yes, Virgin. There is a Satan claws."
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:00 AM on March 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


This, like so many other things that the Japanese have invented, strikes me as something that is really going to suck when the aliens start doing it to us.
posted by R. Schlock at 4:19 AM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Doesn't that effect the taste? And would it ruin the brains? I can't remember if I eat lobster brains but I do eat shrimp brains.
My culinary guru, Dave Arnold says that they taste significantly better. Of course, he then takes it two steps beyond. Step One is to tape over the knife cut, which would eliminate your concern about ruining the brains. Step Two, his preferred option, is to use anesthesia. He uses clove oil.
posted by Lame_username at 4:21 AM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Combine the 3 and you'd make money. Now if only I owned a pub. Punters would place bets on the crabs, and the winner of the most money also got to eat the winning lobster. Or something like that.

You must mean something effectively identical to my lobster sumo suggestion just upthread.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:32 AM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


You put the bird in a slingshot, and it has to knock the buildings down!

Add bacon.
posted by Segundus at 5:29 AM on March 26, 2013


> I know it sounds crazy, but I think it could be a big money-maker, bigger than Lobster Claw! Send your startup funds to twoleftfeet, care of Metafilter.

You've got a green-eggs-and-ham tie in there that's just begging to happen.
posted by ardgedee at 5:37 AM on March 26, 2013


Things that exist at Australian pubs: crab racing. Meat raffles. Food.

Please, tell me more?
posted by slogger at 6:06 AM on March 26, 2013


Combine the 3 and you'd make money. Now if only I owned a pub. Punters would place bets on the crabs, and the winner of the most money also got to eat the winning lobster. Or something like that.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 6:52 on March 26 [+] [!]


You must mean something effectively identical to my lobster sumo suggestion just upthread.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:32 on March 26 [1 butt elephant +] [!]



Is it any coincidence that both of you live in Austrailia?
posted by slogger at 6:09 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why Claw Machines Filled With Live Lobsters Delight and Disturb Us

Well, you, maybe. After going after spiny lobsters, the claw machine doesn't disturb so much as make me wonder about their freshness.

Lobstering by hand is like the claw machine except your HAND is the claw. And when we get to the dock, it's a quick score with the knife and a sharp twist, and the two halves (spiny front thorax and delicious tail) are wriggling independently. Still delicious!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:30 AM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Consider The Lobster Claw

I see what you did there.

And at the risk of being called a hypocrite since I do eat meat (though not lobster), I find live lobster tanks in general horrific (never mind with the added bonus of the crane claw) and can't even look at them when I pass them in the supermarket. Maybe all forms of meat should have the live animals on display in the market, struggling and resisting death in the face of the eager consumer requesting its slaughter.

I am certain I'd be a vegetarian if that were the case. I know: hypocrite.
posted by aught at 6:45 AM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh wow. I *was* slowly becoming pescetarian but that is *over*. Thanks for the added resolve!

aught: Try San Francisco Chinatown one street up from Grant (the main touristy part), up on Stockton, and your wish will come true. It's like a turtle/frog/large fish of indeterminate species Inquisition. The horrors I have seen there I will never unsee, and I didn't even go *inside* like my husband who swaggered into one busy shop bragging of his Gaulish nerves, only to reappear seconds later tearful, completely green and begging me to take him back to Pacific Heights.
posted by Mooseli at 7:39 AM on March 26, 2013


I think the take-away from the article is that an unnecessary cruelty is not lessened by participation in some other, greater cruelty. That is rationalizing. Each moral action needs to be considered on its own basis. If you prioritize solemnity and respect towards nature as values, then there is no hypocrisy in being willing to eat animals but being unwilling to play with living animals like toys.

If you do not consider each moral action on its own basis, then yes, even the staunchest, most observant pacifist/vegetarian can be called out for some qualitative hypocrisy. The mere act of living and breathing means that some life will be prioritized over others. But it is poor moral logic to then deduce that all attempts to minimize cruelty are flights of fancy. The ability to do one's best to minimize cruelty and to reflect upon and improve one's ability to avoid the rest is in itself a laudable goal. Moral living is a moving target where we compete against ourselves. Will treating animals as toys bring me closer to the person that I want to grow to be or will it be a casual desensitization that brings me further from that goal?
posted by Skwirl at 7:48 AM on March 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


Lobsters are just giant sea cockroaches. I don't feel bad when someone fumigates a house to kill cockroaches, and I am not going to feel bad when someone catches a lobster in a claw machine and boils it.

I wouldn't eat either one.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:54 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't feel bad when someone fumigates a house to kill cockroaches, and I am not going to feel bad when someone catches a lobster in a claw machine and boils it.

I used to think that way. Then I killed a lobster by boiling it to death. I no longer do.
posted by Malor at 9:04 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Recently I learned that if you take a young child to a Red Lobster*, and that child shows a great deal of interest in the live lobster tank, and you're there at a not particularly busy time, the very nice hostess will take a lobster out of the tank, and let the child pet it, and let the child hold it, and then the child bonds emotionally with the lobster and will later proceed to guilt trip all the adults at the table into ordering tilapia or sole or anything but lobster.

*Don't judge me. I was dealing with visiting relatives who didn't want to eat anywhere they hadn't already heard of.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:01 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


There is nothing delightful about taking an intelligent creature which specifically wants to live in a covered space where it feels safe and putting it in an open tank in a noisy room, all basically designed to be the most stressful environment possible to put that creature in without killing it.

A few years ago my friends and I had a semi-regular pub quiz night at the local pub, but we moved it to a different, less convenient pub when they brought in one these machines (although holding crayfish because we were in NZ). Which was the right move, having crayfish living in those conditions just isn't acceptable.
posted by shelleycat at 11:05 AM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have also seen lobsters or crabs or whatever in a tank at a occasional restaurant but they always have some rocks and seaweed and things, something to at least try and give them the kind of environment they prefer. That actually does make a difference to animals as smart as these.
posted by shelleycat at 11:07 AM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is it any coincidence that both of you live in Austrailia?

Probably more that we frequent the same pubs that have crab racing as entertainment.

Eventually, you can't see a crustacean without making a Pavlovian link of beer-sport-gambling-food.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:12 AM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


This reminds me somewhat of that hunt-by-internet enterprise of the mid-2000s. Saying that the animals are going to be killed anyway just seems to miss the point. Encouraging anybody to regard other lives, even lobster lives, as playthings seems really wrong in a way that degrades both the person and the "plaything."

Skwirl makes a great point about rationalizing.
posted by DingoMutt at 1:01 PM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: a Pavlovian link of beer-sport-gambling-food
posted by slogger at 1:32 PM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


You must mean something effectively identical to my lobster sumo suggestion just upthread.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:32 PM on 3/26


I'm serious about this: let's work together and pitch this idea to local pubs. I could emcee.

And meat raffles are raffles at pubs where trays of meat are auctioned off.

As for the moral dimensions, animals are barely sentient and we already eat them and kill them for sport.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 2:30 PM on March 26, 2013


CiS: I fear that in our (Willliamsburg-ish) part of town, the pubs would be too afraid of the animal rights reaction. It's just a tiny bit close to dogfighting, but with the dogs themselves as the aftershow meal.

I do like the idea, though. Maybe large crabs would be the go...I'm not altogether sure that lobsters can survive out of water, and if you put them in a tank they're happy just to lie all over each other.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:21 PM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


As for the moral dimensions, animals are barely sentient

Citation needed.
posted by JHarris at 4:00 PM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Disgusting.
posted by michellenoel at 6:18 PM on March 26, 2013


Well, they use claws to attack other species, what other citation do you need?
posted by forgetful snow at 6:42 PM on March 26, 2013


Sentience is the ability to feel, perceive, or be conscious, or to experience subjectivity.

We don't know how sentient animals are. But I've known some who, from observation, appear to feel things a lot more intensely than humans. I suppose this kind of observation lies behind Malor's shuddering comment above about boiling a lobster once. This isn't proof, but it could be taken as indicative.
posted by JHarris at 7:03 PM on March 26, 2013


DFW: "Is it all right to boil a sentient creature alive just for our gustatory pleasure?" he asked. "If you're tilting it from a container into the steaming kettle, the lobster will sometimes try to cling to the container's sides or even to hook its claws over the kettle's rim like a person trying to keep from going over the edge of a roof. And worse is when the lobster's fully immersed. Even if you cover the kettle and turn away, you can usually hear the cover rattling and clanking as the lobster tries to push it off... The lobster, in other words, behaves very much as you or I would behave if we were plunged into boiling water."


Homer Simpson said it better.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:09 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


We are all in that boiling pot. Some of us just cook slower than others.
posted by JHarris at 6:11 PM on March 27, 2013


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