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Lyle Zapato

Horse Seized By A Devilfish

Lyle Zapato | 2013-10-22.8650 LMT | Retro
Lyle Zapato

Cumbrian Rocktopus

Lyle Zapato | 2013-07-04.6870 LMT | Nature | Random Found Thing
Lyle Zapato

Tree Octopus Pathtag

Lyle Zapato | 2013-05-10.6450 LMT | Mysterious Doodads

Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus Pathtag, sent to me by Shop99er and TTUMS. What's a Pathtag? you ask...

Pathtags are personal trading items. Used most often in Geocaching, they are also very handy for Scouting, Military and Promotional use. ... Pathtags are not typically traveling items such as Geocoins or Travel Bugs. They are generally used as personal "signature items" for Geocaching or other trade item. If found, simply log it and the tag's profile will display for you to view. Unless the profile says otherwise, you are welcome to add it into your permanent collection.

You can find more info on the Pathtags site. They're about the size of a US quarter and the reverse has a unique ID number that you can enter into the site to log it and tell the maker where or how you found it.

The Tree Octopus ones are not for sale. If you want one, you'll either have to find it in a Geocache or trade with someone who has one (like Shop99er and TTUMS on the Pathtags site, who had them made with my permission).

Lyle Zapato

Leaping Tree Octopuses!

Lyle Zapato | 2013-01-08.9820 LMT

The mysterious cephalopodologist behind the SaveTheTreeOctopus YouTube channel has come through again with more video footage of the endangered tree octopus, this time exhibiting never-before-seen leaping behavior:

Lyle Zapato

The Wonderful Electric Elephant vs. Giant Octopus

Lyle Zapato | 2013-01-04.9240 LMT | Elephants | Simulacra | Retro | Random Found Thing

Happy New Year again! Here's a giant octopus trying to crush an electric elephant:


The elephant in the grasp of an octopus.

It's from The Wonderful Electric Elephant (1903) by Frances T. Montgomery, a children's book about a young man named Harold who encounters and shoots an elephant on a trail at the Grand Canyon, only to discover it's actually an electric-powered mecha-elephant piloted by a mysterious old man who soon dies after spilling his immortality elixir. Harold finds the man's will inside, which states that he now owns the elephant, as well as the gold and other curios and treasures the man had collected. Reading the instruction manual, he learns the elephant is watertight, so decides to cross the Pacific seafloor to Japan. On the way, he frees silky-locked Ione from Native Americans and she becomes his companion, and eventually wife, as they travel the world having adventures and frightening people, as one does when one comes into possession of a wonderful electric elephant.

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Lyle Zapato

Life in the Southern Isles

Lyle Zapato | 2012-12-29.5270 LMT

Life in the Southern Isles; or, Scenes and Incidents in the South Pacific and New Guinea (1876) by Rev. William Wyatt Gill, published by the Religious Tract Society of London.

Since this is one of the earliest reports of tree octopuses of which I can reasonably own an original -- I don't think I could afford an original scroll by Athenaeus of Naucratis if one even existed -- and Gill was the first to bring Polynesian tree octopuses to the unfortunately disinterested attention of the scientific establishment, I acquired a copy for my collection.

I thought I'd share the cover since it's fairly attractive (although sadly devoid of tree octopuses). Click the image above for a larger composit scan of the front, back, and spine. You can also read the scanned text on Google Books.

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Lyle Zapato

Octopus Wristlet Fad Of 1915

Lyle Zapato | 2012-02-18.6599 LMT | Retro | Fashion | Cascadia

I've mentioned the use of taxidermied tree octopuses as hat decorations and octopus-inspired hair-styles, now here's another example of octopuses as objects of fashion. From the April 23, 1915 edition of the Tacoma Times:

Beach Belle Uses Octopus As Wristlet In Weird Sand Dance

Los Angeles, April 23. — Probably the strangest pet ever adopted by the shrinking sex is the little octopus carried by Miss Diana Rico, a belle of the beaches here. Whenever she goes bathing or strolling along the sands Miss Rico carries the tentacled mascot wrapped about her wrist.

This weird creature of the deep gave Miss Rico an inspiration for a new tango step, "The Dance of the Octopus," which created a sensation when she first stepped its sinuous figures on the beach.

When not clinging to the arm of its mistress, the baby octopus creeps about a little tank built especially for it.

Diana Rico
Miss Diana Rico and Her Weird Pet.

While we're there, let's see what else was on the front page of the Tacoma Times that day...

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Lyle Zapato

King Kong vs. The Tree Octopus Menace

Lyle Zapato | 2011-09-03.7618 LMT | Entertainment

There seems to be a recurring theme in Japan of primates driving would-be tree-octopuses back into the sea. I've already covered tree-dwelling hominoids called Kijimunaa that guard the mangroves of Okinawa from the constant threat of octopus invasion, and monkey military retaliations against forest-melon-raiding octopuses, but here's an example on a much larger scale...

Publicity still from King Kong vs Godzilla
(Click for Flickr set with more stills...)

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Lyle Zapato

Summon A Tree Octopus In Minecraft

Lyle Zapato | 2011-08-03.1520 LMT | Entertainment

There are now tree octopuses in the popular indie game Minecraft!

Well, sort of... some Minecraft modders just posted a plugin for the third-party Bukkit server modding system that allows players to summon a tree octopus by placing a gold block on top of a tree.

The tree octopus is actually a stock Minecraft squid, but the game's squid only have eight appendages, so they can't really be squid and must therefore be octopuses (then again, they also have teeth, so perhaps we can't rely on anatomical accuracy.)

The mechanism to summon them was inspired by my advice to a young reader asking about tree octopus donations. However, the modders (or at least one of them, Camcade) seem to be confused about what I wrote and think it's a scam:

The website instructed people to help save the tree octopus by putting money up in the trees so that the tree octopuses could make nests out of the bills. Of course, this was a scam just to get people to put money in trees for other people to take.

We here at ZPi have always advised handing bills directly to tree octopuses, not just leaving them in trees where unscrupulous passersby may deprive needy cephalopods of nesting material. If some shady website is advising you to just throw money into the woods, please report it to your local chapter of the Sasquatch Militia.

Lyle Zapato

Osaru no Kantai (The Monkey Fleet)

Lyle Zapato | 2011-08-01.7800 LMT | Entertainment

Continuous army of octopuses marches into the forest (looping animated GIF)

It has been theorized that species of tree octopuses around the world originally took to the land, and eventually the trees, in search of tasty vegetation, such as ara flowers, tree pitch, and olives. The Japanese have a similar theory: octopuses came into the forests in search of monkey melons. Unfortunately for these would-be tree-octopuses, the monkeys fought back.

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