And now a little something to put a smile on your face!
A book offering advice on how to protect chicken coops from goblins has won the Oddest Book Title of the Year award, organizers of the contest said on Friday.
“Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop” by Reginald Bakeley and Clint Marsh attracted 38 percent of 1,225 online votes to beat craft manual “How Tea Cosies Changed the World” with 31 percent to win the 35th annual Diagram Prize.
Third place went to a book by Tom Hickman titled “God’s Doodle: The Life and Times of the Penis”.
Also shortlisted for the award this year was a study of Adolf Hitler’s health titled “Was Hitler Ill?”, “Lofts of North America: Pigeon Lofts”, and a guidebook titled “How to Sharpen Pencils”.
Philip Stone, coordinator of the prize run by industry publication the Bookseller, said the award might seem just fun but publishers and booksellers were well aware that a title can make all the difference to the sales of a book.
“It spotlights an undervalued art that can make or break a work of literature,” Stone said in a statement.
He cited books such as “A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian”, “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” and “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” as owing part of their success to odd titles.
“The kind of niche, off-beat publications that often appear on the Diagram Prize shortlist might not make their writers or publishers rich beyond their wildest dreams, but the fact writers still passionately write such works and publishers are still willing to invest in them is a marvelous thing that deserves to be celebrated,” Stone added.
The Diagram Prize was founded at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 1978, and past winners include “Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice” and last year’s “Cooking with Poo”, a Thai cookbook by Bangkok resident Saiyuud Diwong whose nickname is Poo.
Traffic in the Chinese coastal city of Taizhou is brought to a standstill when 70-year-old Hong Minshun takes his 5,000 ducks for a walk.
Hong says that regular exercise to reach a nearby feeding pond is necessary to keep his ducks fit and healthy.
Drivers and passers by are amazed by the discipline of the ducks.
I just found this and thought it was great fun, so thought I’d share it with you. Apparently, it’s not just people who can become zombies!
Ever since they were spotted in early April, it was like a scene right out of a Disney movie. The mother goose had lost her lifelong mate and was now left alone to create and tend to her nest in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, NY. She spent the day sheltering her eggs from the cool spring air inside an empty urn she had chosen as home.
The loss of her male partner and guardian now made her vulnerable to any would-be predators that chose to approach the nest. But, in an unlikely twist of fate, an adult deer befriended the mother goose, taking over the role of protector.
This animal arrangement was highly unusual, since there’s no known way that a deer and goose can communicate. Yet somehow the deer came to understand the need of the nesting mother.
Mark Carra is a naturalist in residence with the Buffalo Audubon Society site at Beaver Meadows in North Java, Wyoming County. Carra says this type of bonding between animals may happen more than we realize. He cites the example of a crow watching over a kitten several years ago. Carra also theorizes that there may have been a previous connection between the deer and the goose that we just don’t know about. It could be the deer lost its mother while young and the goose helped it out.
Carra also applauded the installation of the web-cam by WGRZ’s Andy Parker noting people may be curious. But if they approached too close they could spook the deer and cause problems. They might also have provoked the goose on her nest. He cited examples of bald eagles simply choosing to abandon a nest with eggs because people got too close while trying to watch with binoculars.
Joel Thomas, wildlife administrator with the SPCA of Erie County, says the deer will now probably return to its normal deer – like activities as its feeds, forages, and eventually loomks to breed in the fall. It is thought to be a male deer or buck from its appearance.
The deer spent its days near the urn acting as guardian when needed. As passersby approached the area the deer stood and placed itself between the person and the nesting goose. On one occasion the deer even took a protective stance as it attempted to fend off a barking dog near the area of the urn. It was also seen on the webcam fending off some crows which were watching the vulnerable goslings.
Craig Cygan owner of Borders on Patrol, a company hired to move the goose flock from time to time says a goose would normally attempt to fend off the deer with loud honks and raised wings especially near the nest. This one, he says seemed to like the company.
UPDATE: The mother goose and her six or seven goslings have now “flown the coop” after they hatched in the past day or so. They were seen under the mother goose in the nest urn earlier on Wednesday but then were photographed leaving the nest and walking around the cemetery. So far there is no sign of the deer which was apparently watching over them.
Sometimes we find something so surreal, that it just has to be blogged about. And in this case it’s a giant chicken.
Nicolas Lampert worked with Micaela O’Herlihy to create this amazing ten-foot rotisserie chicken out of polystyrene foam which was hard coated, painted with latex paint and final coat of high gloss varnish.
In October, 2006 Attention Chicken! made a number of unannounced public interventions throughout Milwaukee at Bradford Beach, the woods, Walmart, National Ave, and other locations throughout the city. Reactions ranged from laughter to attacks directed at the chicken (three in one day!)
When asked about his work, Nicolas explained, “The humorous part of the piece is the hook line to get people to engage. After that, the hope is that people will consider the content. Part of the reason for creating the piece was to address the general disconnect that many people have in not knowing where their food comes from — the notion of being either an informed or a passive consumer. Secondly, I wanted to address in a subtle, yet bombastic fashion, the environmental impact of large-scale industrial farming practices, especially the resources and energy that it takes to raise cattle, poultry, and fish. So in that regard, the work is meant to discuss issues of food production, security, and imbalances in regards to its relationship with corporate agriculture and the global economy.
Yet, another aspect of the work was to create a very unusual object to place within the public sphere. Something that people could all relate to but something in its scale and its placement, outside of the grocery store, would catch people completely off guard. To me, this intervention was about challenging people to confront their own assumptions of what is and what is not allowed to take place in public space. For instance, why is it normal to see a city covered in high-rises, freeways and billboards, whereas a giant sculpture of a chicken is so shocking? These are some of the things that I wanted to engage, to spark a reaction, to see if a giant chicken could make people think about the larger issues. Perhaps it is a desperate measure, but it always seems worth it in the end. Plus, how often does one get the chance to cause a ruckus and make people laugh at the same time.”
His chicken has even made into Google’s Street View