Unlikely animal friends will restore your faith in the world

Because we’re apparently living in a reality show dystopia, and watching the news can put you in therapy, take a little break to watch this video.

Then cuddle your cat, play with your dog or befriend a murder of crows by feeding them peanuts (in the shell, it’s a happy puzzle!) every day until they start bringing you shiny objects as tribute. These shiny things may include car keys. Resist the temptation to turn your crow army into a crime ring with a chop shop behind the wrecking yard.

If taking some time with your furry pookies doesn’t help, watch THIS video of unlikely wild animal-human friendships.

Why the best weird news stories involve glorious karmic payback

If something really crazy happens, like the recent story from Georgia involving the heist of $98,000 worth of ramen noodles, then yeah, that’s weird news.

But it’s not the BEST kind of weird news, because that’s all there is to it.

If something crazy happens and it’s randomly tragic—say, lightning hits an innocent old man on his nightly walk with a faithful dog—that may be weird, and rare, but it’s not a good weird news story, either. Because it’s simply sad.

The very best weird news stories involve three separate ingredients: (1) somebody being a complete idiot in (2) a completely surprising and unusual way, with (3) karmic payback that’s on par with their special brand of idiocy.

Here are the major forms of Weird News Karmic Payback along with examples.

P.S. Warning: there’s bad language in these videos.

1) Pranks that backfire

A good-natured prank that works is funny. An evil prank that backfires is funny cubed.

2) Road ragers gets served

Most of us drive to work, which means we spend more time than we want dodging drivers who are texting, smoking, eating Big Macs or texting while smoking and eating a Big Mac.

Self preservation? Perfectly understandable. Road rage, where you use your car as a weapon, or get into a real fight? Not cool.

So when I see an example of a road rager getting the business, either from a cop or by karmic payback, it warms my heart.

3) Picking on a rare pupper, kitteh or wild animal

Animals are involved in weird news stories all the time. It’s unexpected for the world’s top predator to have the tables turned.

4) Bully gets a beatdown

This is a primal, powerful story. Bullies are everywhere, and we expect them to win.

The more a victim seems smaller, meeker or weaker, the better it is when they actually beat the bully.

5) Criminal stupidity leads to instant justice

Crime is bad enough. Being uniquely stupid while committing a crime? Better.

Cherry on top? All of this happening in Florida.

31 brand new animal species discovered by amateur naturalists

As a pookie, it felt perfectly natural to learn about gorillas, pythons and such from hour-long documentaries starring a kind, grandfatherly gentlemen bankrolled by an insurance company in Nebraska.

Today, we fire up the interwebs to watch 2-minute videos with Randle losing his mind as he extols the insane bravery of honey badgers–or some random man with a killer Morgan Freeman impression narrates how the cuttlefish do.

I still love animals, documentaries and documentaries about animals. So it warmed my heart to learn of 31 brand new species discovered by amateur naturalists, ordinary people who wouldn’t dream of bestowing their finds with 47-syllable names derived from Latin.

Here’s the list, with actual photographic evidence of each new species:

1. Arrow Pigs

arrow pig

2. Murder Logs

murder log

3. Danger Noodles

danger noodle

4. Disco Chickens

5. Puppers (aka Doggos or Floofs)

6. Murder Torpedoes

7. Cat Bears

8. Sky Puppers

9. Long Horses

10. Sea Raviolis

11. Holiday Chickens

12. Torpedo Puppers

13. Catsnakes

14. 

14. Spiky Floofs

15. Tyrannosaurus Deer

16. Wobble Sticks

17. Leather Tanks

18. Freedom Gliders

19. Night Squirrels

20. Beach Chickens

21. Subwoofers

22. Danger Water Cows

23. Pantless Thunder Geese

24. Panda Whales

25. Fluffy Tree Rats

26. Danger Zebras

27. Nopes

28. Sea Catsnakes

29. Formal Chickens

30. Hot Moose

31. Death Floofs

An ode to Joy (the Cat)

Joy the Cat inspecting alien technology.

Joy the Cat inspecting alien technology.

Joy the Cat inspecting alien technology.

Joy will never read this, because she skipped school all of her 18 years and the authorities never caught her for truancy. SHE WAS TOO FAST. But I wanted to write it, to have something about her that lasts, even if it’s simply floating on the interwebs.

Joy was always different.

When our son was born, the other two cats fled in terror and stayed in the basement for a month.

Joy stood guard, like a dog, and hissed at people who got too close while he was sleeping. She’d patrol outside his bedroom door, even when it was closed.

Strangers also made our other cats hide. But they were catnip to Joy, who’d walk right up to meow hello and meet everybody.

She was a good a noble cat, always playful, happy to cuddle, and only a smidge bitey if you tried to give her a bath.

I’ve had dogs, cats, salamanders, a snapping turtle and a spider as pets. Joy is one of my favorites.

So we have to put her down today, since she’s got pancreatic cancer. It’s time. She can’t walk much or take care of herself anymore.

There’s an old saying that every kid should have a dog or a cat. That pets are good for kids. They don’t judge you. If you’ve had an epically bad day, and open the front door to see a dog who’s insanely happy to see you, it can’t help to make you feel better.

Put a dog in every office and stress levels would drop like a rock. Joy was the same way.

Pets are good for kids for another reason: they teach you about life. How to take care of a kitten or puppy, how to train them, clean up their accidents, feed them regularly, take them on walks and to the vet. It’s almost training to be a mom or dad.

And finally, having pets teaches you how to let a loved one go when they die.

That’s an important part. Everybody needs to learn how to handle death, how to grieve. I’ve buried a lot of pets and lost a lot of grandparents and relatives. It’s never easy. But you learn to treasure each hour of every day, even it’s just sitting on a couch discovering fun new BBC shows with a cat purring on your tummy.

Thank you, Joy—you mattered, and you’ll be missed.

Photo of the Day: The otter abides

This sea otter has style. Completely at ease and comfortable in his own fur. Well played, sea otter. Photo by Guy Bergstrom.
This sea otter has style. Completely at ease and comfortable in his own fur. Well played, sea otter. Carry on. Photo by Guy Bergstrom.

There’s something about otters that’s inherently interesting. They’re like water-cats, but as playful as dogs.

If you’ve visited aquariums or zoos with a glass shebang that lets you see them, they’ll do games with you, racing from side to side. And there’s all kinds of footage of otters playing in the wild, sliding down mud hills or snow. I used to love monkeys as a kid, and hey, they’re still fun to watch, but the otters are the one animal who seem to just have a surplus of joy.

Also, they are crazy photogenic. There’s an entire site dedicated to photographs of otters, and they found this photo earlier and put it up. Because otters are just that cool.

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Super-powered mutant Avenger of the ocean: The Mighty Cuttlefish

random thursday crazy kittteh meme

I understand an octopus, a squid and a clam. Clams have shells. Squids and octopuses (octopi?) have tentacles and such.

But this alien beast has a shell — inside its body.

The cuttlefish’s bone is made of aragonite, the same special metal used to graft Wolverine’s claws and skeleton* and Captain America’s shield** — but not Thor’s hammer, which came from the heart of a dead star.***

Plus it’s got all kinds of other mutant super powers, like a poisoned beak, tentacles, a giant brain, secret alien-like jaws that sneak out of nowhere to eat fish — and color changing powers that make it practically invisible.

Think you’re iPhone’s fancy Retina screen is amazing? The cuttlefish has 200 iridophores and eucophores per square millimeter, which equals out to 359 dots per inch. Want one of those 4k screens but don’t have $10,000 to buy one? Make friends with a herd of cuttlefish and get them to spread out on your living room wall, then fire up THE MATRIX, but not the two sequels, which were a waste of Keanu Reeve’s precious time and $279 million in CGI effects.

Here’s a good look at the cuttlefish from my favorite animal documentary series on the planet, True Facts:

 

*Note to comic book gurus: Yes, I’m kidding. Wolverine’s claws and such are made of adamantium, which is created when titanium dioxide reaches the earth’s mantle and is compressed by millions of pounds per square inch at 4,500 degrees Celsius, then remerges to the surface through millions of years of plate tectonics along with the help of all kinds of Red Bulls and shots of bourbon while the comic book writers at Marvel try to make it all sound two-thirds scientific, one-third magical and 143 percent awesome.

**Also, the famous shield of Captain America is actually made of vibranium, a real metal alloy that’s also used in the manufacture of the B-2 stealth bomber because of its unique radar-absorbing properties. Vibranium is only found in one place: the southern pole of Mars, meaning all traces of it on earth came from a massive asteroid striking the pole and sending debris raining down upon Africa, the only continent where vibranium can now be mined. Buying this so far? Okay. There are these penny stocks, and if you know which ones to buy, you can turn ten cents into a dollar, $1 into $100 — and $100 into $100,000. All you have to is subscribe to my financial newsletter to learn the secrets of true wealth that Wall Street doesn’t want you to know.

***Actually, that part is true. Dead star, all the way. Not making it up.