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.

my favorite animal

I don’t usually post non-original jokes here, but I heard one last night that I thought was really neat (and it even makes some valid points while being funny).

Our teacher asked us what our favorite animal was, and I said, “Fried chicken”. She said I wasn’t funny, but she couldn’t have been right, because everyone else in the class laughed.

My parents told me to always be truthful and honest, and I am. Fried chicken is my favorite animal. I told my dad what happened, and he said my teacher was probably a member of PETA. He said they love animals very much. I do, too. Especially chicken, pork and beef.

Anyway, my teacher sent me to the principal’s office. I told him what happened, and he laughed too. Then he told me not to do it again.

The next day in class my teacher asked me what my favorite live animal was. I told her it was chicken. She asked me why, just like she’d asked the other children. So I told her it was because you could make them into fried chicken. She sent me back to the principal’s office again. He laughed, and told me not to do it again.

I don’t understand. My parents taught me to be honest, but my teacher doesn’t like it when I am. Today, my teacher asked us to tell her what famous person we admire most. I told her, “Colonel Sanders”.

Guess where I am now…

coffee made from poop

I saw an article over at Beppo’s Blog about the world’s most expensive coffee, and it’s a story that is most definitely random and stupid (yet true).  This coffee is called (or Civet coffee), and it is made from coffee berries that have been eaten and pooped by a weasel-like animal.  Yeah, you heard that right — the animal eats the coffee berries, digests them, defecates them, and then someone collects the feces, and they make coffee from it.

The coffee berries are washed, and then given “only a light roast so as to not destroy the complex flavors that develop through the process”.  Think about that — the berries were digested and then pooped out by an animal, and they don’t want to destroy the flavors that developed through the process!  This is most definitely not for me!

Guess how much people pay for this crap coffee…  In processed form, between $120 and $600 per pound!  In coffee form, $50 per cup.

If you want to see a picture of how these berries look when they are collected, follow this link.  (Doesn’t it look like something you’d want to brew coffee with?)

One website that is promoting it said this about the flavor :

“It has earthy tones of natural processed Sumatra Mandheling. It has low acidity with a syrupy body. There’s something else there, a nuance in the flavor profile that I can’t describe, and when I’ve challenged others, no one else can either. It’s almost alien, a tiny little flavor note, highly exotic.”

Yeah, that little “nuance” / exotic flavor is POOP!  I just can’t believe people drink coffee made from crap!  Will people buy anything if it’s considered rare and exotic?

What is this world coming to?!?

random facts about hippos

I was flipping through the TV channels recently and came across a show on Animal Planet about hippos (that is, hippopotamuses, or is it hippopotami?).  I ended up watching a few minutes of it, and I learned that they are more advanced than humans in a few areas, which surprised me.  Obviously they’re better at being fat, but that’s not something to be jealous of.  Well, maybe they’re just big-boned… because consider this : hippos can run up to 30 mph on land.  30 mph!  Considering that they weigh anywhere from 3,000 to 7,000 pounds, and that’s quite an achievement.  They even have stubby little legs.  It’s very impressive that they can reach such speeds given those conditions.  And then all of a sudden I realized what an advantage I have in running, yet I’m pretty sure I can’t get anywhere close to 30 mph, even for a very short run.  That ain’t right!  But that’s okay, because I’ve got a number of other inherent advantages over the hippo (the main one being infinitely more intelligent).

hippoAn interesting little bit of trivia about the hippo is that their skin secretes a natural sunscreen substance, to prevent them from getting sunburned.  It’s initially colorless, then turns red-orange within minutes, then turns to brown.  Sometimes I wish I had a natural sunscreen, like when I want to spend a summer day at the pool or playing baseball.

Another interesting bit of trivia is that the hippo can consume 150 pounds of grass each night.  That’s a LOT of grass!  I couldn’t eat even half of that in a day, even if it was steak with bacon and shrimp.  But that’s okay, because I’d rather not be as big as a hippo.  🙂

Also, I found something we sort of have in common with hippopotami :

Most of their defecation occurs in the water, creating allochthonous deposits of organic matter along the river beds.  These deposits have an unclear ecological function.

Most of us humans prefer to use toilets instead of rivers and lakes, creating deposits of “organic matter” in sewage treatment plants.  And like the hippo, these deposits have an unclear ecological function.  🙂

Speaking of defecation…  🙂  I heard this on the TV show and found it amusing :

To mark territory, hippos spin their tails while defecating to distribute their excrement over the greatest possible area.  Hippos also urinate backwards (are retromingent), likely for the same reason.

I had never heard of that before…  Try to picture that…  I glanced around on YouTube to find a video for your viewing pleasure, and actually found one.  It’s neat to hear the surprised screams of people who are dangerously close.  (On a side note, isn’t the Internet awesome???  You can find anything on it!)  Also, I found where a South African family has a hippo living in their house as a pet.  Now picture the hippo spinning his tail while pooping to distribute his poop over the greatest possible area — in their house.  I would find that hard to live with, but maybe that’s just me.  One of my house rules is no pooping outside of the designated toilet areas.

Glancing at Wikipedia (where I confirmed this data), I found something else kinda amusing :

Hippopotamuses appear to communicate verbally, through grunts and bellows, but the purpose of these vocalizations is unknown.

I’m no important scientist, but I suspect they say the same type of stuff other animals do, like even cats and dogs.  A grunt may mean, “That’s my food, get back!” or “Hey, baby…” or “Whew! I just farted underwater and it’s all kind of stank!”  (My interpolations of their grunts are subject to dispute with certain other scientists, but I happen to know a thing or two about hippopotami.)

Now don’t you feel more educated about hippos?  🙂  You learn something every day, they say…