Friday, July 9, 2010
So, the World Cup is almost over, and freelance writers who work from home are going to have to find another excuse for downing tools in the middle of the afternoon. It is time to take stock - to work out who the winners and losers were, the stars and the villains. For me, there is one who has stood out above all others: Paul the Psychic Octopus.
Paul predicts the game winners by choosing to eat mussels from boxes emblazoned with the flags of the team playing the match. The chances of him correctly predicting the winner of six games so far is 216-1. Experts are scratching their heads - I do fear the flaky scalps of experts - but believe he makes his choices based on the shape of flags. Octopi are attracted to bold horizontal shapes and can discern hue, the brighter the better, which might explain his predilection for the Spanish and German flags. (Remember this for the next time you're on a capsized, water-flooded ocean liner and a giant octopus works its way in. First, always, always try and hide behind Ernest Borgnine. If he's not around find a flag with stripes.)
It just goes to prove the media loves a quirky animal story. When I was a young journalist, I broke the story of a budgerigar who could speak five languages, quote Shakespeare and say 'bastard' in Afrikaans. I went round to visit the budgie, only to be told by its female owner it had gout and so couldn't perform. She had some tapes she played me which sounded like, well, a budgie twittering. Still, we wrote the story. It went round the world. The only hairy moment came when I mentioned the tapes and an English tabloid wanted to put them on a phone line so people could phone in and hear the bird swear in Afrikaans. Thankfully, the idea was dropped and my career was saved.
Dan - Friday
at 9:12 AM