Archive for the Roadside attractions Category

Paul the Psychic Octopus Hits the Big Time

Posted in Anthropromorphism, Bizzare Behavior, Psychic Pets, Randomalia, Roadside attractions, Travesties of nature on July 23, 2010 by Eric S.

If, like me, you could give a rat’s ass about soccer (football to those of you familiar with the metric system), there’s a chance you missed out on Paul the Octopus’s 15 minutes of fame. But this mid-phenomenon report by RussiaToday should be all you need to come up to speed:

Basically, what we have here is an octopus raised in captivity in a tourist aquarium in Germany with a considerably better than random ability to pick winners in Germany vs Whoever soccer matches. Paul lodged his predictions by choosing which side of a two-binned feeding dish to take his dinner from: one marked with a German Flag, the other marked with the flag of their opponent. According to stats on Wikipedia, his 2010 predictions were 100% accurate, making him 61% more accurate than Punxsutawney Phil and (if I’m doing the math right) 99.6% more accurate than dumb luck. NOTE: Yes, I did that math in my head before realizing it was right there on the Wikipedia page.

So, honestly, this followup story shouldn’t be that surprising:

Paul, welcome to the Big Leagues. But it’s not all bad, at least for Paul’s owners (I can’t claim to know the pros and cons of octopoidial life). A Russian bookmaker offered his owners €100,000, and I could swear I heard a story about someone stateside offering more than a million dollars for him. According to The Wall Street Journal, he has a job offer from Infosys. And according to this report, a black comedy Paul the Octopus murder mystery filmed in South Africa is in post production in Beijing.

All of which is trumped by the fact his immortalization in this little ditty by Perry Gripp, of Cat Flushing a Toilet fame:

Two Faced Cat Born in Perth

Posted in Nature gone amok, Roadside attractions, The Unexplained, Travesties of nature with tags , , , on November 21, 2008 by Eric S.

Courtesy of eagle-eyed Australian correspondent and scourge of diabetics, Joey Ledlie:


(photo appropriated from the Sydney Morning Herald)

Where to begin, where to begin? A joke about Siamese twins? Copy cats? Yeah, no: those weren’t funny the last time this happened. Maybe a ponderance on whether stripes clash with calico, or if the litter box flushes the other way around in the Southern Hemisphere? Okay, I’ll shut up now.

Many may take the surprising increase in two-headed animal births as a sign of, if not the End of Times, at least something creepy and sinister. According to the Herald, even hardened firsthand eyewitness Louisa Burgess was taken aback:

Louisa Burgess, a veterinary nurse who helped deliver the kitten, told InMyCommunity.com.au that she had never seen such an unusual animal in her 12-year career.

“I have seen cats with two tails and extra legs, but not this,” she said.

I don’t know about the End of Times, but prudence might suggest checking the shelf life of the peanut butter in panic room and stocking up on Bat(tm) Two-Faced Adversary Repellent.

South African Explorers Discover the Oldest Man-made Structure on Earth

Posted in Destinations, Mysterious origins, Roadside attractions, The Unexplained with tags , , , on September 20, 2008 by Eric S.

At least, that’s what the author of makomati.com purport. At first glance, the findings of pilot Johan Heine and the MaKomati foundation give that electric crackle of discovery armchair archeologists get once or maybe twice in a lifetime (maybe three, if you’re really old) when some intrepid explorer stumbles across a cave full of scrolls or tomb full of mummies.

A series of heavily weathered ruins stretching from South Africa to Kenya largely regarded as the remains of watering holes along Wadi trade routes (i.e., those of a number of indigenous south African peoples) include what appears to be a functioning calendar that could be among the oldest man-made structures on the planet:

That was enough to get me to add their book to my Amazon list, read the whole site, and even toss the question of the theory’s validity to the braintrust over at the Straight Dope message boards. Sure there are a couple of facts that seem far fetched at first glance – the estimate of the ruins’ age from 75,000 (or twice as old as cave paintings at Chauvet) to 250,000 years old, that include a network of sites connected by roads comparable in size to the Egyptian empire – but one has resist the natural impulses of the chronological superiority complex.

Fact is, I’d love for this these guys to be on to something, and not just out to make R250 selling me their book. But their science seems to be only slightly better than those bigfoot guys.

Two-headed turtle turns up in Brooklyn

Posted in Evidence!, Nature gone amok, Roadside attractions, The Unexplained, Travesties of nature, True Story with tags , , , , on August 18, 2008 by Eric S.

Dear esteemed owners of Bigfoot Global LLC,

After the ribbing you’ve taken in the national and global media for your recent announcement that you are in posession of the corpse of what you believe to be a Bigfoot, I thought you could use some pointers on how to go about presenting a strange or unusual biological specimen to the public by way of the media. Just, you know, in case you ever find yourselves in this situation again. I cite as a case study this story about a two-headed turtle that has turned up at Sean Casey Animal Rescue in Brooklyn, as reported today in the New York Daily News.

  1. Good photo = good story. See that one up there by News photographer(Mr.? Ms.?) Cairo)? It’s well cropped. Well lit. Hell, it’s even got a tricky little shallow plane of focus that not only directs your attention at the important bits (i.e., the two heads), it goes a long way toward ruling out forgery. Now, you don’t need to go all Annie Liebovitz like the Daily News, but at least look like you gave a damn.
  2. Good video = even better story. Anyone dubious of the unmessed around with origins of the above photo can, after sitting through a commercial for an Atlantic City casino, see a well shot (like the still photo, it’s well lit, in focus and by all indications undoctored), well edited video shot on location, featuring credible-albeit-uncredentialled witnesses. UFO documentarians following along, please note the use of a steadily held camera.
  3. A little self promotion is fine. Sean Casey, is clearly exploiting this situation for his own personal interests (in this case, drawing support for his nonprofit animal rescue in the Kensington neighborhood in Brooklyn, which invite you to learn more about and consider making a donation to, if that’s your charitable bent). Note the fact that he hasn’t had a special hat made for the interview.
  4. Draw people in to the story. Sure, you found Bigfoot, which is arguably big news already. But why should people care, beyond their own morbid curiosity about who would go to such pains to hide such an amazing discovery? There’s really nothing in it for them. But that Sean Casey (again, of Sean Casey’s Animal Rescue, a nonprofit rescuer of exotic pets in Brooklyn), really knows how to build buzz: with a contest. I’ll bet you guys didn’t even think of having a ‘Name the Bigfoot’ contest, did you? Watch and learn as Intie the Intoallthat Turtle launch themselves (and possibly an undisclosed blogger) into international stardom.

Gentlemen, I hope you find these tips helpful and useful. And best of luck with your future endeavors.

Regards,

Eric S.

30 minutes from the Bigfoot press conference

Posted in Plots, Roadside attractions, Secret origins, Sighting!, Uncategorized with tags on August 17, 2008 by Eric S.

Here’s a half hour of the press conference which, on account of not coming from a WordPress-approved video source, will require you to leave the safety of my site.

Link to liveleak.com

And here’s the photo Tom Biscradi describes as “the actual creature, standing up, walking away,” courtesy of huffingtonpost.com:

Looking at it, I’m having a little trouble seeing the ears, nose and eyes Tom points out, but I’m also not wearing my glasses.

Just because it’s pretty, pt III

Posted in Objects in Space, Roadside attractions with tags , on August 2, 2008 by Eric S.

Here’s a photo of yesterday’s eclipse, as captured by someone on the National Geographic payroll:

 

Shame the orchestrators of the event couldn’t’ve coordinated a little better with the Olympics Committee. That’s bureaucracy for you.

Breaking news on the Bigfoot front

Posted in Roadside attractions, Sighting!, The Unexplained with tags , , , , , on July 3, 2008 by Eric S.

As seen on Fox News, 7/01/08:

What’s truly shocking about this is that Fox — the network responsible for full hour explorations of how the moon landing may have been faked, among other hot button pop-sci topics — is the voice of reason in this report.

Out of all the bears that everybody hears about, talks about and they see on vacation, how come nobody’s ever found a skeleton of a bear?”

So says subject matter expert Tom Biscardi in this report. Hey, Tom? Just in case you Google yourself and come across my blog:

(Image appropriated from www.jamd.com sans permission)

This and approximate 200,000 other images resulted from an image search for bear skeleton. If that’s not good enough, I have no doubt Troy Hurtubise can turn one up for you in a jiffy.

In all fairness, I appreciate how being grilled by Ken and Barbie might lead to words coming out of your mouth in an order other that you intended. Feel encouraged to set the record straight here.