Friday, July 9, 2010

Paul the Octopus and his World Cup Predictions

Have you heard about Paul, the Octopus living in a German aquarium who has successfully predicted the outcome of 100% of this year’s World Cup games? Neither had I, until I read about it on Facebook. Yup, this soccer loving cephalopod chooses his food from different feeding boxes marked with flags from World Cup teams and so far, has amazing odds at choosing who will win in certain matches. In this Sunday’s final, he has predicted Spain will win. Yippee!

Why on earth would something like this start? Obviously, the octopus feeders at the aquarium have something to do with it, but after reading up on octopuses (yup, it is actually octopuses, not octopi, you can go ahead and look it up), I realize there are a lot of connections to make between an octopus and this year’s World Cup. For example:

Because he chose Spain as the ultimate winner, as I have done in my World Cup Pool, I can see why Wikipedia says octopuses are highly intelligent. And I learned that Paul, like all octopuses, moves by jet propulsion – much like Carlos Puyol did when he scored that delicious header against Germany on Wednesday – there’s just no other explanation of how he flew through the air like that. (Of course, an octopus also has a ‘hard beak’ which is another thing which allows an easy comparison with Carlos Puyol, but perhaps I should leave that one alone for now.) Also, octopuses have keen eyesight like the Spanish goalie, Iker Casillas, who has made some amazing saves. I could go on and on.

There’s always a chance I may be slightly biased in finding Paul the Octopus to be so gifted, since I do want Spain to win. I must admit that if Paul had predicted the Netherlands as the ultimate winners this Sunday, I would have written a comparison, backed up with facts, that both an octopus and the Netherlands soccer team are known to be spineless, tend to flee quickly and have a short life expectancy.

Kidding aside, do you think perhaps the biggest joke is on us? An octopus has arms bearing two rows of suckers, and you have to admit that Paul the Octopus has sucked in a lot of soccer fans with his predictions. Including me. ¡ Vaya Espaňa!

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