a cat helicopter

There’s a lot of strange stuff out there in the world and on teh internets.  That’s no surprise to you.  But this is one of the weirdest stories I’ve ever come across.

A Dutch artist named Bart Jansen had a cat named Orville (which is ironic, as you will see) who died after being hit by a car.  So he mourned for a while, then converted his dead cat into a helicopter.  This isn’t just art — it actually flies.  He calls it the Orvillecopter, and describes it as “half-cat, half-machine”.  (You could also call it the cat-mobile.)  It is literally a taxidermied cat with a propeller attached to each paw and an engine in his stomach, and it is controlled via a remote control.

The artist’s statement says he focuses on the meeting-point between technological progress and human error.  I suppose it’s better to wax philosophical about turning your dead cat into a helicopter rather than doing it just because you can.  Although I wonder if he came up with that saying before or after this art project.  Whatever…

The artist says about his cat “he received his wings posthumously” and “now he is flying with the birds — the greatest goal a cat could ever reach!”  (I’m sure there are more puns to be had at this, but that’s enough for this post.)

Of course this “art” has sparked outrage among some animal rights groups.  The owner clearly says no animals were harmed for this project, which technically is true.  Nonetheless, some people will get offended at anything.  At an art fair showcasing Orvillecopter, some anonymous animal rights activists wrote graffiti saying “Kill the animal killers”.  Apparently they don’t know the story.  That’s like those people (sometimes called trolls) who leave hateful comments without even reading the article.  Another activist said the artist should be thrown in a vat of manure when he dies.  So is the message that you should do something mean to someone if you disagree with them on ethical issues?  Isn’t that highly ironic (and hypocritical)?

Personally, I wouldn’t do this to a family pet.  But if he’s going to do it, he might as well go all out.  He should make the blades as transparent as possible and have the stand fold up underneath.  Then it would look like just a flying cat.  He could also consider mounting water pistols on it, to shoot people or animals while dive-bombing them.

If you want to see the Orvillecopter in action, flying around and terrorizing cows, here’s a video (which even features the theme song from Airwolf*):

* Some of you may not know about Airwolf.  It was a TV show in the ’80s that featured a secret high-tech military helicopter tricked-out for fighting criminals, who usually flew helicopters, too.  I don’t know if the show has aged well (I’ve never seen reruns of it), but as a kid, I thought it was cool.  There was cool music and sound effects, and there was usually real explosions.  There’s not enough TV sitcoms these days that feature explosions…  But I digress…  Here’s a brief introduction to Airwolf.

Love stinks!

If you’ve been married for many years, you might start running out of ideas for something special to do for your wife on Valentine’s Day.  Well, some people are really good at thinking outside the box.  A farmer in Minnesota who has been married for 37 years made a heart out of manure for his wife.  But it’s not just any heart — it’s a half-mile wide!

According to the news release about it, nothing says “I love you” like a half-mile wide heart made out of manure.

On public record, his wife said it was cute.  We don’t know what was said behind closed doors when reporters weren’t around.

I’m not sure what my wife would say about a half-mile wide heart made out of manure, but “cute” probably would not be her expression of choice…  Actually, she came in while I was posting this, and her official response was “I don’t want one”.

some people lack common sense

Sometimes you have to wonder about the intelligence of some people.  In the news recently, a man in Zimbabwe stole a bus to go pick up his driving license.  He admitted this in court.  You would think that at some point while devising this plan that common sense would kick in and say, “This might not be a good idea.”

Here in the U.S., a guy in Texas called a guy in the Navy a nerd over the Internet, so the Navy guy looked up his name and drove to Texas to get him.  He took pictures of himself at every state border from Virginia to Texas and posted them online, to show how serious he was.  When he got there, he burned down the man’s trailer.  He drove 1300 miles to do this, over being called a “nerd”.  Granted, there was some more teasing done online, but the “nerd” comment was what pushed him over the edge.  This guy is 27 years old, yet he still did something so stupid.  (Can you say “insecure” and “emotionally unstable”?)

As part of a radio contest, an Ohio State man stripped down to his underwear and jumped in a pool of manure.  The prize?  Free Ohio State football tickets.  I realize everyone likes winning contests and prizes, but in this case I think it would’ve been better to just buy the tickets.

Can you believe it?

my trip to the 2007 Faulkner County Fair

I went to the Faulkner County Fair the other night, to see what-all was going on.  I’ve been to numerous small-town fairs and carnivals, so I expected this one to be bigger and better since it’s in a city of over 50,000 people.  But I was disappointed.  It wasn’t that much different, and everything has become so expensive.  I knew the food would be high, but the rides were even higher!  My wife and I were going to ride the Ferris Wheel, but then we discovered it costs $8 for the two of us, and it’s not that exciting.  Is that the typical going fare for carnival rides now?  It would get expensive real quick to participate in even a quarter of the rides and games there.

Now on to a few less-serious observations.  Seeing the kiddie rides brought back memories of years past.  There was a carousel horse ride, and I remembered riding on it as a kid.  Of course I don’t care about riding it now, but I imagined how it might struggle under my current weight.  Picture it going slow, the music dragging, smoke coming out from underneath…  🙂

There was a rock climbing / wall scaling attraction, and it was kinda funny to see some people try the expert side but then not even get off the first set of handles.  I knew better than to even try that…

We got a candy apple (covered in caramel) there, and it was really good.  Also saw where a concession stand was selling nachos, and I remembered seeing in Walmart a product that advertised itself as the nacho cheese featured in concession stands.  I’m not sure that’s a good way to market your product.  Although when I was a kid, I thought it was good.  But now that I’ve had much better nachos and cheese dip, that “fake” cheese just doesn’t seem so good anymore.  But to each their own…

We did get to see a lot of farm animals, like cows, goats, pigs, and chickens.  There’s nothing like that fresh, natural, barnyard scent, featuring lots of methane and manure.  I guess you get used to it if you work with them.

I was thinking the carnival could’ve been so much more.  I’m sure kids would enjoy it, but there wasn’t a lot of grown-ups.  I would’ve rode the bumper cars, but my long legs don’t fit in there too well anymore.  (I still remember the first time I realized I had become too tall to ride them.  It was a sad day, indeed.)

They should include some virtual reality rides there.  They could be built into a trailer that unpacks, so transport would be easier than the other stuff they had.  And I think a lot of people would be interested in it.  They could also have some state-of-the-art video games.  Maybe next year…


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