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Welcome to Blather of the Baltic, playboy of the Skagerrak, who is now safely ensconced again in Blather HQ after some Scandinavian adventures, from which I returned relatively unscathed, save for the media exposure and arson accusations. Other points of note were the proliferation of mythical beasts adorning the beautiful architecture of Copenhagen (dragons with 12 breasts) and an odd column of black smokey stuff somewhere in the region of 10 degrees from the vertical, at about 35,000 feet (10,600 metres) above Jutland, seen from the window of the BlatherAir staff runabout. Some interesting news has been professed to me this week, first up is the somewhat disquieting news that Nicholas Cage and his production company Saturn Films, in conjunction with 20th Century Fox, are to making a movie entitled 'Tom Slick: Monster Hunter', a comedy adventure based on the oil tycoon who spent some of the 1950s and much...

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Welcome to Blather, in particular all the people who signed up having found this weekly slippery soapbox through 'Cool Site of the Day' on Tuesday 7th October. In response to last week's defence of defamed marsupials, the Rev. Syd Jesus stepped in with an immortal Raymond Chandler quote, which was: 'as easy to spot as a kangaroo in a dinner jacket'. Also spotted was some delirious 1920's journalism mentioned in Bernard Heuvelman's 'On the Track of Unknown Animals' (ISBN: 0710304986), describing a brontosaurus which was apparently running riot in Africa (which prompted many expeditions to find the damned thing) as having a tail like a kangaroo. Quite a brontosaurus, especially when one realises that the sum of the description led one to believe that it looked more like a triceratops. With a kangaroo's tail. This week I'm afraid that I see fit to launch into a timely if somewhat hopeless...

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For many years now, I've noticed, with alarming regularity, the loyal sycophants and peasantry at Castle Blather tripping over their leg manacles and muttering such bizarre utterances as 'Huh, kangaroos, yeah, what next'. It was only last week that curiosity eventually got the better of me, and nothing would do but for me to whisk a collection of them off to the torture rooms for questioning. The shocking conclusion that I was appalled to reach, after they had been wheeled back to their cubicles and I had collated their wretched accounts, was that an alarmingly large quantity of reported anomalous animals had been described as 'kangaroo-like'. This puzzled me, since Captain Cook and his crew were reportedly the first Europeans to see kangaroos when their ship 'The Endeavour' reached Australia in 1770, which gave me to wonder, how did we describe the aforementioned mystery animals before this? As devil-like, or...

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In last week's issue, 'Blather on Tour', I reported the strange chttp://www.westcork.comase of what could have been defined as an harassment by a UFO, which took place between Killarney and Mallow, in south west Ireland. But on Friday morning, as the Blather entourage arrived amidst the cheering populace to the gates of Blather HQ, we were greeted by a delegation despatched by the honourable Mr. Shane O'Sullivan, a native of the fair region referred to above. I commanded one of my sycophants to unfurl the scroll, and clutching my monocle with my highly developed eye-muscles, discovered that the document indeed carried information of not inconsiderable portent. Mr. O'Sullivan pointed out that a Killarney nightclub, 'The Dannyman' (Yes, that is the name), has an extremely powerful revolving light pointed in the easterly direction of Rathmore (the area of the apparent sighting). The UFO was seen at 1 a.m. on Saturday 30th...

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Even though last week's Blather popped into everyone's mailbox without incident, this Blatherskite was not actually at the helm -- yes, of course I did write it, but at the time of mailing, I was mountainbiking around Achill Island, in Co. Mayo, visiting Sraheens Lough, which made front page news in 1968 with a photograph of the alleged 'Achill Island Monster'. Unfortunately the only copy of the photograph that I've come across is in the National Library in Kildare St., Dublin, on the June 1968 microfilm for the Evening Herald, and it's totally useless when copied. My travels also took me to Sligo, where I met up with the honourable Joe Harte with whom I journeyed to the valley of Glenade in Co. Leitrim where I photographed the 'Dobhar-Chú' gravestone of a lady by the name of Grace (a.k.a. Grainne, pronounced Grawnya) McLoghlin, apparently killed by a 'master otter' in...

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In yet another amazing report from Reuters, a 'black boa constrictor the size of two passenger buses slithered by' the Peruvian village of Nuevo Tacna, deep in the Amazonian jungle. This creature was allegedly 40 metres long and about five metres in diameter, felled trees, and left 'a ditch wide enough to drive a tractor through'. There were five witnesses, and three hundred people felt its passing as it made for the river Napo. The reports were treated with skeptism by Peru's national radio stations, and it was suggested that heavy machinery was misidentified. This idea was dropped when the local authorities pointed out that the jungle in the area was far too dense for such mechanical goings on. The mayor of Mainas 170 miles (270 km) from Lima, Jorge Chavez reckons that 'there really is something to the villagers' versions' of the story. As far as I know, boas...

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"If Christ Came Again He Would Die in a Car Crash' - J.G. Ballard" Are you fed up with the 'news' recently? Blather did really intend to ignore the death of Princess Diana, but due to a phenomenon which Blather diligently (honest!) examined in 'One of Our Bombers is Missing' , that is, the mushroom cloud of conspiracy which surrounds every high-profile death, I was compelled to start sorting through the insane plethora of conjecture and speculation. For instance, by Sunday morning, Irish time (famous worldwide for its elasticity), I got wind of the fact that a new newsgroup, alt.conspiracy.princess-diana had already been propagating around Usenet. So far, the Royal Family, MI5, the IRA, the CIA, the Vatican, the Freemasons, aliens, Elvis, JFK, the MIBs, Rupert Murdoch, Hillary Clinton, Iranian terrorists, and even the paparazzi have been blamed for the deaths of Diana and her boyfriend, Dodi Al-Fayed. Other theories...

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The remains of a previously unknown deer-like animal were recently displayed at a news conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, by members of the the World Wildlife Federation (WWF). It has been identified as a species of muntjac, a large barking deer, making it one of the ten new large mammals 'discovered' by scientists this century. The researchers haven't yet found a live one, but it's known locally, where it is hunted for meat, and is known as 'sam soi cacoong' - 'the deer that lives in the deep, thick forest.' It's the third new Vietnamese mammal to be recognised by science in the last five years, joining the Saola aka The Vo Qoung Ox (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) and the Mang Lon muntjac deer (Megamuntiacus vuquangensis), as well as the Ga Lung Pheasant aka Vo Quy's Pheasant(Lophura hatinhensis). Interestingly, there's quite a lot of research going into the search for the Nguoi Rung...

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In Blather 1.11, 'Where's Me Kidney?', I mentioned the UFO conference to be held in Cork City on 16th August. Any decision about travelling to Cork for this event was promptly put on the long finger, but lay around in the back of my mind like an unpaid bill. Despite the fact that I had made some preparations, and told people that I was going to Cork for the weekend, by Saturday morning I still really hadn't made a decision. Was I really about to brave the intricacies of the Irish rail system to attend a conference which might be an utter waste of time? I barely made the 11:25 Intercity to Cork, and spent the journey between reading 'Irish Eccentrics' by Peter Sommerville-Large, and questioning my sanity. The conference started at 3pm, in the Metropole with bumps and starts. Actually no, the conference didn't start at 3pm, a video...

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The infamous 'moving statue' of Ballinspittle in Co. Cork is back in the news again, in The Irish Times of August 13th. J: You do know that Elvis is dead, don't you? K: No he's not. He just went back home. BVM on the move The infamous 'moving statue' of Ballinspittle in Co. Cork is back in the news again, in The Irish Times of August 13th. Crowds are being drawn back to the grotto where the BVM (Blessed Virgin Mary) statue allegedly 'moved' in 1985. These days, only her head is said to move, and only on 'Our Lady's feast days' according to one witness. Another visitor to the grotto said that it was 'all about prayer. She wants people to return to prayer. There's been an awful falling away from the church. Look at Saturday night Mass; there are very few young people at it. It's very sad.'...