Archive for the Travesties of nature 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 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.

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.


Eric S.

Even breakingier news on the Bigfoot front

Posted in Evidence!, Mysterious origins, Sighting!, The Unexplained, Travesties of nature with tags , , , on August 13, 2008 by Eric S.

Among other reputable news sources, Fox News and local station KTVU report that a crack team of Bigfoot researchers, including Tom “Ain’t Never Seen a Bear Skeleton” Biscardi, claims to have recovered a genuine Bigfoot carcass. And in the interest of both setting the scientific record straight and shutting the yapps of know-it-all bloggers, they’ll be hosting a press conference this Friday in Palo Alto. Here’s details for anyone in the area, courtesy of

Date: Friday, August 15, 2008
Time: From 12Noon-1:00pm
Place: Cabana Hotel-Palo Alto, 4290 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, California 94306
(A Crown Plaza Resort)

Purporting to present DNA and photographic evidence, this press conference will summarize the Bigfoot learnings of body-discoverer Matthew Whittington (for unreported reasons also known as Gary Parker), his co-founder and Georgia resident Rick Dyer, and aforementioned ursine mortality skeptic Tom Biscardi. What can we expect? I have to tell you, I’m more anxious to find out than I am to watch Olympic Women’s Beach Volleyball. Stay tuned for details as they emerge.

Chupacabra sightings

Posted in Mysterious origins, Sighting!, The Unexplained, Travesties of nature with tags , , , on June 23, 2008 by Eric S.

Coming across this two-year-old news story on what may have been a sighting of the elusive desanguinator of goats, el chupacabra, I set to looking for a followup story:

Sadly, all I was able to find was that, though posted in March 2006, that newscast was in fact from August 2005; the fact that the initial report took that long to work its way onto YouTube was not a good indication that I’d find an update of the situation. Though Google turns up plenty of mentions of the report by Ms. Rivas on Channel 9 News (2,320 or so) and the hairless dog/rat/kangaroo farmer Reggie Lagow captured and handed over to authorities at Texas Parks & Wildlife, a search for chupacabra coleman TX yielded a suspiciously low 0 search results. In their defense, I suppose, one could argue that Texas is, after all, the size of a planet, and look how long it’s taking those NASA guys to search Mars.

There was, however, an incident in the Dominican Republic in March of this year leading to the demse of this creature, which blogger Faustino Perez suspects may be a chupacabra:

If, like me, your Spanish isn’t so hot, you can read a translation of Perez’s post in the first comment down this page, but the short version is that folks in the DR don’t take kindly to unusual looking beasties drinking out of their toilets.

Truth to tell, I’m skeptical on both of these accounts. Having been in the company of goats on a couple of occasions, I can promise you neither the dog-kangaroo nor the albino rat-otter would stand a chance of draining a goat of it’s blood. Unless, of course, they had some sort of hypno ray…

Unicorn sighting: Rome

Posted in Mysterious origins, Nature gone amok, Sighting!, The Unexplained, Travesties of nature with tags , , on June 13, 2008 by Eric S.

While I’d ordinary leave unicorn sightings to the Harry Potter contingent (no offense to you, Harry Potter contingent), something about the idea of an Italian deer unicorn provides all sorts of extra opportunities for snarkiness:

(photo appropriated sans permission from

Sadly, unlike another recently discovered abnormality, this mono-antlered Roe Deer cleverly named “Unicorn” (hey, maybe it’s clever before being translated from Italian to English) has been determined to be not a manifestation of divine providence, but a garden variety genetic flaw/birth defect. So, rather than a magical improvement on the quality of healthcare worldwide, speculators anticipate Uni’s legacy primarily being remembered by the Italian-crafted shoe buyers of the world.

Headless chicken lives forever

Posted in Bizzare Behavior, Rant, Roadside attractions, The Unexplained, Travesties of nature with tags , , on May 19, 2008 by Eric S.

For anyone not already intimately acquainted with the tale of Mike the Headless Chicken, here’s the third-best known portrayor of Superman to fill you in on the back story:

As the event recedes into the past, the legend of Mike is beginning to show the telltale signs of becoming a legend. Factual discrepancies are waved off in favor of the quality of the story. Devout believers make an annual pilgrimage to pay their respects. And, most telling, there’s merchandise to be bought.

This weekend, the city of Fruita, Colorado, celebrated the 63rd anniversary of Mike’s beheading. Though, sadly, having something else to do this weekend prevented me from attending myself (mainly, having to not fly to Colorado to attend a headless chicken festival), I have little doubt attendees had the time of their collective life, eating chicken, making not-terribly funny jokes about headlessness, drinking to a non-excessive pleasant buzz and, of course, helping cement the foundation of a story which, to our modern day sensibilities is cute and entertainingly kitsch… but which, given the proper support, could blossom into a global belief system over the course of the next couple thousand years.

Good for you, Mike. I salute you. Which, for the record, is not intended as a joke about headlessness.