Earless Cats

A couple of days ago I stumbled upon this remarkable theory, apparently extracted from a translation of a Japanese underground comic.

The theory is that abalone (or the similar Japanese ‘awabi’) feeds on seaweed and they collect chlorophyll from the weed in their livers. Cats, unlike humans, don’ t have the correct enzymes to break down chlorophyll and so the chlorophyll continues to circulate through their blood vessels. Now cats also have very thin ears, so much so that you can see through them in parts and that the cats blood vessels are exposed to sunlight. The chlorophyll photosynthesises and reproduces, choking the blood vessels and causing cell necrosis – and earless cats.

The person who posted this, who I suspect is a guy due to the blatant lack of common sense, states that earless cats are very common around Japanese fishing ports, apparently in support of the theory. He finishes off saying he cannot independently verify this fact, since “I live in Japan but have yet to see them! I don’t really hang out around fishing ports though.”

The earless cat as a villainous movie star (aka Ralph Fiennes)

Some of these felines have made it big, but the ears are actually vestigial. In the photo above, the Daily Mail claims the cat has spooked people due to its resemblance to Lord Valdemort. Well, maybe after a few glasses of ‘tinto’.

I’ll leave it to you to reflect on why the Japanese comic theory leaks like the Portuguese judicial system, but the urban factoid of green-eared photosynthesizing cats is too much fun to resist. And way too good to be true.

But just to show you that life is often a good deal stranger than fiction, I’ll need to tell you about next week. I’ll be in Spain, where I intend to visit the General Archive of the Indies. I am interested in a guy called Cabeza de Vaca, literally cow’s head, who explored large sections of the southern U.S., particularly Florida and Texas. Pope Benedict will also be in Spain, visiting Madrid.

There’s a Portuguese manufacturer of toilet paper that has reinvented that most necessary of conveniences (or to some, most convenient of necessities) by making it a luxury article. Among other things, they have marketed black toilet paper, which was apparently a huge hit. All sorts of unprintable thoughts come to mind but, whatever I may think, the imagination at the heart of this corporate success story has turned it into an obligatory case study presented in marketing courses.

Apparently, black bog rolls are so prestigious that they are occasionally brought by guests as a present for their hosts at fancy dinner parties. In China, where the delivery of night soil by departing guests in the backyard of the host was costumary, as a kind of food tax, the shoe was most probably on the other foot.

A serpentine from the john, bearing a deep religious message.

The plan then is to supply serpentines in the Vatican colors, which might presumably by hurled at his holiness. Marketing pundits do not see this notion as absurd. One of the commentators is a guy called Pedro Celeste (literally Peter Celestial), a marketing professor at the Catholic University in Lisbon. If you didn’t think there was a god, here’s proof.

Still, all this stuff is good summer fun, and keeps the peripherals busy. Bad summer fun, on the other hand, has been de rigeur in England over the past week. These kinds of explosions in certain community segments happen fairly regularly in the problem areas of big cities, but not on the scale of widespread looting visible in the recent days. I used to go to Belfast fairly regularly, and every time I was there, there was always a bomb somewhere. Usually a teeny one, but I was never disappointed.

I asked a friend in Northern Ireland about these riots. “Surely this is your job.” She told me that in Belfast they’d have had the water cannon out in no time.

One time when I was there, we had to reschedule a dinner venue because street rioters had set a bunch of cars on fire and the road was impassable. It was summer, the weather was fine, the lads were bored, and the whole thing flared up. One of our local contacts, seasoned in these matters explained:

“This’ll last until it starts raining. Then they’ll all go home.”

He was bang on. The next day it rained, there was a Manchester United soccer match in the evening, and the riots vanished. We used to stay in a hotel on the Malone Road called the Wellington Park. Next door stands a pub called the Botanic Inn, which was a veritable meat market, with young girls in mini-skirts queing to get in. I never understood the vegan nomenclature.

The Welly Park was famous for Saturday night disco’s where older, wealthy, men could easily pick up younger women. One of the favored techniques was to leave the keys of the Jaguar dangling at the reception desk. In keeping with the legendary Irish humor, the locals called the place Jurassic Park.

The India Road QR links for smartphones: point your camera and click.

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