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Lyle Zapato

Coiffure Octopus

Lyle Zapato | 2011-01-26.7860 LMT | Retro | Cephalopods | Fashion

Mr. Punch's Designs After Nature. Great sensation for the aquarium -- Coiffure Octopus.

From the April 19, 1873 issue of Punch.

As innocent this may seem, the fashion of wearing one's hair in the form of an octopus -- popular among the London elite of the 1870s -- would later develop into the wide-spread use of taxidermied octopuses as decoration for hats, that would in turn lead to excessive poaching of the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus, helping to bring about that species' endangerment.

Lyle Zapato

Cephalopods: An Order With A Future

Lyle Zapato | 2011-01-22.6770 LMT | Cephalopods | Nature | General Paranoia

In his essay, "The Extinction of Man", from the collection Certain Personal Matters (1897), H. G. Wells contemplates the necessary transience of Humanity in the Earth's spotlight and who will replace us when our 15-millenia are up, noting that we would be doomed should the cephalopods make a concerted effort:

Then, again, the order of the Cephalopods, to which belong the cuttle-fish and the octopus (sacred to Victor Hugo), may be, for all we can say to the contrary, an order with a future. Their kindred, the Gastropods, have, in the case of the snail and slug, learnt the trick of air-breathing. And not improbably there are even now genera of this order that have escaped the naturalist, or even well-known genera whose possibilities in growth and dietary are still unknown. Suppose some day a specimen of a new species is caught off the coast of Kent. It excites remark at a Royal Society soirée, engenders a Science Note or so, " A Huge Octopus!" and in the next year or so three or four other specimens come to hand, and the thing becomes familiar. "Probably a new and larger variety of Octopus so-and-so, hitherto supposed to be tropical," says Professor Gargoyle, and thinks he has disposed of it. Then conceive some mysterious boating accidents and deaths while bathing. A large animal of this kind coming into a region of frequent wrecks might so easily acquire a preferential taste for human nutriment, just as the Colorado beetle acquired a new taste for the common potato and gave up its old food-plants some years ago. Then perhaps a school or pack or flock of Octopus gigas would be found busy picking the sailors off a stranded ship, and then in the course of a few score years it might begin to stroll up the beaches and batten on excursionists. Soon it would be a common feature of the watering-places -- possibly at last commoner than excursionists. Suppose such a creature were to appear -- and it is, we repeat, a possibility, if perhaps a remote one -- how could it be fought against? Something might be done by torpedoes; but, so far as our past knowledge goes, man has no means of seriously diminishing the numbers of any animal of the most rudimentary intelligence that made its fastness in the sea.

This passage was probably the inspiration for the "Umbrella Beasts" of Lester & Pratt's "The Octopus Cycle", especially since their nature-finds-a-way-via-killer-whales solution to Humanity's octopus problem seemed a bit cribbed from the ending of Wells' War of the Worlds.

As V. A. Firsoff speculated, land octopuses, especially those that adapt to the challenging environment of the trees -- as opposed to merely hanging around beaches, snacking on sunbathers as Wells imagines -- may indeed have a bright future, perhaps even taking their place among the spacefaring species of the Cosmos. If Wells is right about the danger of them supplanting us, it would be wise to stay in their good graces. Erecting monuments in their honor couldn't hurt.

Lyle Zapato

The Trail Of The Octopus

Lyle Zapato | 2011-01-20.5300 LMT | Retro | Cephalopods | Entertainment

The Trail of the Octopus (1919)

Here's the first reel of The Trail of the Octopus, a pulpy serial photoplay from 1919. Watch as Carter Holmes (Ben Wilson), master criminologist, and Ruth Stanhope (Neva Gerber), niece of Dr. Reid Stanhope, the discover of the Sacred Talisman of Set (a.k.a. the Devil's Trademark), are drawn inexorably into the clutches of a sinister land octopus (who sadly is only symbolic of the plot and makes no appearance outside of the intro and an advert where he grabs the whole cast):

The 15-part serial follows Holmes and Ruth as they must track down nine daggers that will unlock a rock vault in which Dr. Stanhope hid the Sacred Talisman, which they want to destroy to stop a shadowy conspiracy of cultists and racist stereotypes from attempting to kill Ruth. From a review:

The producers [at first can't] seem to decide on whom they wanted the main villain to be. First it's a group of devil worshipers and their female leader, then we find out she works for this other guy, then we find out he is an agent for this other Arabic bad guy who lives in "the orient." Well that guy in the orient actually works for yet another guy over in the orient, who is a Fu Manchu knockoff. Perhaps he really is the final leader of all the bad guys? There is also a mysterious masked man known as Monsieur X who pops up in the story every so often, but he's someone else completely. Whew!

Serial Squadron, who are in the process of transferring the films to DVD from the only known prints, have a project overview. You'll have to wait until Spring to buy the DVD set if you want to see the semi-complete serial (episode 9 is lost). Here are some posters for the episodes:

The Trail of the Octopus, episode 9 The Trail of the Octopus, episode 10 The Trail of the Octopus, episode 15

Lyle Zapato

The New 2012 Russian Aluminum Shielded Enclosures

Lyle Zapato | 2010-12-28.9660 LMT | Aluminum | Mind Control | Technology

Russia has always been less than secretive about mind control technology. Their president shows up to psychotron manufacturer trade-shows for photo-ops and here's a common protest one sees on the streets of Moscow:


2007-05-01 rally against the Russian government's use of Moscow
apartments as "psychotronic gulags" (more pics & info in Russian).

Given the apparent psychotronic state of housing in Russia, it's not surprising that many there are interested in Aluminum Shielded Enclosures (ASEs) that fit inside their homes and protect them from the government's piped-in mind-control. It's also not surprising that one Russian man hopes to get rich by selling them for $US 80,000 each:

As tempted as nouveau riche Muscovites might by to splurge on such an extravagant ASE, I would urge them to reconsider. As every paranoid knows, you shouldn't buy AFDBs pre-built since they could've been tampered with to make them susceptible to the creators' specially tuned signals. With ASEs it's no different.

For all we know, Mr. [Name-I-Can't-Quite-Make-Out] could be in league with Rasputnik Psychotron Works and he designed his "Doomsday Capsule" to be transparent to signals from their new Mark VIII pistol as part of a vendor lock-in scheme to get Medvedev to upgrade his arsenal as apartment dwellers become increasingly unreachable. (Mind you, I'm suggesting this only as a conspiracy theory, not a conspiracy fact. He could be an honest paranoid -- but one can't be too careful about these things.)

It's also suspicious that he never mentions the obviously anti-psychotronic purpose of his product, instead focusing on geological and meteorological upheavals many assume will coincide with the 2012 arrival of the periodical Quetzalcoatlus armada. Or maybe that's just media censorship.

In any case, there's no reason not to save money and your mind by building your own ASE. All you need is a sealable structure you can isolate from the walls, floor, and ceiling of your home (an old refrigerator on cinderblocks works in a pinch if you're not too claustrophobic) and lots and lots of aluminum foil with which to enclose it. Just remember: leave no unaluminumed surfaces, overlap your seams, and make sure they're secured with duct tape. With just a few easy steps you'll finally stop hearing the voice of Putin in your head.

Lyle Zapato

Merry Black Helicoptermas!

Lyle Zapato | 2010-12-24.6230 LMT | Black Helicopters | NWO

The NWO's inculcation of public acceptance of Black Helicopters wishes you happy holidays:

Lyle Zapato

Pacific Northwest (Christmas) Tree Octopus

Lyle Zapato | 2010-12-22.7450 LMT | Cephalopods | Art | Crafts
Lyle Zapato

Hand Fingers By Cyriak

Lyle Zapato | 2010-11-22.1630 LMT | Polydactylism
Lyle Zapato

Nicharongorong: Tree Octopuses of Micronesia

Lyle Zapato | 2010-11-18.5710 LMT | Cephalopods | Nature

My post on the tree octopuses of Polynesia contains a bit of sloppy geography; Palau and the Caroline Islands are actually in Micronesia, not Polynesia (I got the Cook Islands right, though). I'll rectify that slight against the good people and cephalopods of Micronesia with this post focusing on Micronesian tree octopuses.

Read more...

Lyle Zapato

Review: Spooky Washington

Lyle Zapato | 2010-10-24.8380 LMT | Cascadia | Cephalopods | Sasquatch Issues | Paraterrestrials | Entertainment
Spooky Washington by S.E. Schlosser

Spooky Washington: Tales of Hauntings, Strange Happenings, and Other Local Lore is part of the Spooky series by S.E. Schlosser, which collects Schlosser's retellings of ghost stories and folklore from around North America. This entry is all about the Cascadian prefecture of Washington. There are 26 short stories in total -- all assigned to a particular town, city, county, mountain, region, etc. -- and each is illustrated with a scratchboard drawing by Paul G. Hoffman.

The book is divided into two parts. The first part, "Ghost Stories", is obviously all about ghosts. In general I don't find ghosts all that interesting (so-called "spectral phenomena" are usually just psychotronically induced hallucinations caused by malfunctioning mind-control devices or standing resonance waves -- deflector beanies will keep them from bothering you), so I wasn't that captivated by these stories. Your mileage may vary. (Spoilers ahead, but these all contain well-worn ghost-story tropes you'll see coming a mile away.)

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Lyle Zapato

"The Octopus Cycle"

Lyle Zapato | 2010-10-22.2795 LMT | Cephalopods | Entertainment | Retro