Duck Cleaning

Hello and welcome back to another week of evasions and elisions here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a question forwarded to Factually Deficient’s attention by the redoubtable R0tavat0R. He asked:

Care to explain? (accompanied by a reference to the cleaning product known as “Toilet Duck”)

And in fact, R0tavat0R, yes, I would care very much to explain this important product.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that an individual in possession of a great deal of ducks must be in want of a method of cleaning these ducks. Ducks, after all, have an unfortunate tendency to seek – and find – trouble, often of the muddy and otherwise messy variety. They splash in ponds. They wade in bread. They adorn dinner tables. All of these activities have a certain degree of mess unavoidably associated with them, and a vast majority of the population owns ducks, and therefore experiences these messy misfortunes.

To rid oneself of the ducks, and thereby the mess, would be unthinkable; thus, the need persists to clean the ducks from time to time. To this end, a number of businesses have taken it upon themselves to call people up on the telephone, offering their duck-cleaning services for a small fee.

But is this fee really necessary? What few working duck owners realize is that they can clean their ducks themselves, for a much lower expense, with the use of one simple product – the Toilet Duck bottle.

At first blush, the name is strange. But I must remind my faithful readers that the word “toilet” here does not refer to bathroom facilities, but to a concept more related to “toiletries” and “eau de toilette” – that is to say, cleanliness and perfume. The product is, in essence, an eau de toilette for ducks, a product which will make your formerly soiled duck not only clean, but as sweet-smelling as if it had been freshly perfumed.

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Disclaimer: this post contains lies. Factually Deficient neither endorses, nor is endorsed by, Toilet Duck or any other cleaning product.

Dishonest Media

Hello and welcome to yet more dire misinformation here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will discuss a topic brought to the attention of Factually Deficient by none other than Michael J. Andersen. Mr. Andersen wrote:

Your next Factually Deficient has to be the etymology of DMs

Ask and you shall receive, Mr. Andersen! The initialism “DM” has a long history dating back throughout the English language. While people most frequently use it today to mean “Delayed Muttering” (referring to so-called instant messages) or “Designated Murderer” (for someone whose role it is to ensure the suffering of the other members of a roleplaying group), it has a history far more illustrious than that.

Two hundred years ago, DM could only ever refer to the Duck Magician, the one and only Diego Mendelsohn, who memorably combined the art and science that is sorcery within a compact, quacking, feathered form. A dozen years before Mendelsohn’s rise, DMs were generally Dress Masques – the strange costumes, oft worn to masquerade balls, consisting of a face mask designed to look like an elaborately clothed torso of a woman.

In other sectors of society, DM has meant Dirt Machine (of great use to farmers), Dilated Musculature (a frequently-used term in medicine), and Disappointing Mucus.

But the term, despite its long and illustrious history in the English language, actually predates the English language, seeing its first usage in Latin. In Latin, the number 500 was occasionally represented by the Roman numeral DM – literally, “500 less than 1000,” and was, when so written, referred to colloquially as the “Drunken Mathematics,” poking fun at those who took such a circuitous route to reach an otherwise simple numeral.

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Disclaimer: the above post contains dishonesty and misinformation. “Drunken Mathematics” is not a Latin phrase.

Giant Ducks

Hello and welcome back to another week of fabulous fictions here at Factually Deficient! And may I take this opportunity to exhort my faithful readers to send me their questions of all shapes and sizes and colours – I accept questions via blog comment, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, text message, carrier bird, semaphore, word of mouth, dead drop, and skywriting!

This week, I will answer a question posed by the revered R0tavat0R. He asked, possibly in reference to this image:

What’s up with the giant ducks?

But this question runs far deeper than one image on Twitter. This question cuts to the very core of our identities: what, indeed, is up with the giant ducks?

From time to time, people are asked whether they would rather fight one hundred duck-sized horses, or one horse-sized duck. Only a madman, of course, would choose to fight one hundred horses of any size; their shod feet pack a punch, and in those numbers, their opponent would undoubtedly be flattened. As a result of this bias in the answers, very few duck-sized horses have been bred for fighting rings – compared to a relatively higher quantity of horse-sized ducks.

Of course, a duck the size of a horse is far from a giant duck. Horses have quite a moderate size. This is where history, and evolution, come in. Fighting horse-sized ducks became surprisingly popular, very fast. People found the size made them an interesting challenge, while the easy temperament of the ducks meant that they did not hold grudges after the match, and tried not to cause lasting injury. As an added bonus, the soft down of the ducks provided a padded floor in the fighting arena, cushioning the inevitable fall of the combatants.

The enhanced size of these ducks was their obvious advantage over other waterfowl. And here Lamarckian genetics stepped into the scene. Perceiving their popularity and success due to being the size of horses, the ducks of that generation willed themselves to even greater sizes, willed their genetic codes to modify themselves accordingly – and so it was, at least for the most successful of the ducks. Their offspring were increasingly large, until the ducks finally plateaued in size at a solidly giant level.

Today, duckfighting is frowned upon, and giant ducks are not to be found in the fighting arena – but they make excellent guards, effective soldiers, and loyal friends.

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Disclaimer: some of the details in this post are incorrect. Genetics do not work like that.

Lies About Books: Of the Abyss

As September crackles to a close, it comes time once more to give a wholly untrustworthy review of an excellent book! This month, I had the privilege of reading Of the Abyss by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, which was released in e-book form this week and will be released in hard copy this November.

Hansa is the only duck in the pond, with bright plumage, a proud purple stripe down his side. Lord of all that he swims in, he is happy. Until, that is, one day, when a strange raindrop brings changes.

A drop of a dark, inky substance falls into Hansa’s pond. First, it just sits there, one black speck on a sea of sparkling blue. Harmless. But it grows. And as the black liquid, slightly thicker than the water, spreads, things begin to change. The frogs emigrate first, seeking greener pastures, safer places to swim. Then the fish start to mutate, becoming many-legged, sharp-toothed horrors writhing in the deep. The pond itself seems to twist and alter. The bottom all but falls away.

Through it all, Hansa remains, stubborn. He will not be scared from his home, even if he must regularly preen away the black fluid which clings to his once-vibrant feathers, even if he is no longer Hansa of the pond, but Hansa of the abyss.

And then, when the transformation is complete, and not a drop of clear water remains in what was once the pond, a glistening duck appears from the murky deep, like a photo negative of Hansa’s coloration. Can these two learn to share the pit that is now home to both of them? Or will their differences accomplish what nothing else could do, and destroy them both?

Beautifully crafted, alluring and seductive, Of the Abyss is a definite keeper. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys stories with forbidden gay romance, demon spawn, and references to ducks.

Duck Summoning

Hello and welcome to yet another week of deception and duplicity here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a question forwarded to Factually Deficient by a small cabal of individuals on Twitter.

We were sent this photo, along with the accompanying question:

What is their goal? Their wish? Did they summon the ducks or did the ducks summon them?

Earnest as always in our desire to satisfy our readers, the Factually Deficient team has given this matter much thought and investigation. Our first attempt at seeking out answers was stymied by a lack of eyewitnesses to the incident photographed.

However, we were not to be deterred. Through hard work and effort, we have worked through roleplaying and forensic psychology in order to recreate an analogous scenario, the better to understand what was taking place.

The following image is included as evidence of our findings:

As my readers can plainly see, while the ducks are arranged in a circle, there is no feline of any variety in the centre of their anatine ring.

We must recognize that this reenactment provides circumstantial evidence at best. However, when combined with the research provided by the psychiatric team sent to analyse the motivations of all the major players in the original photo, it stands as conclusive proof of what was really taking place during the incident in question.

It is clear that the cat summoned the ducks, and not the other way around. This is borne out not only by the lack of cat in the latter photograph – the congregation of ducks in this manner clearly does not summon a cat – but also by the sense of what is going on. After all, no creature – cat or panther, human or plant – can resist at all times the desire to share the company of a flock of ducks, whereas the ducks have no logical reason to want the company of a cat, beyond the scientific interest in discovering whether they can cause it to appear.

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Disclaimer: the above post is a work of fiction. All ducks participating in this week’s Factually Deficient study were volunteers, and compensated fairly for their contribution to science. No cats were summoned in the writing of this post.

Between a Duck

Hello and welcome back to another normal week of questionably accurate and unquestionably inaccurate statements here at Factually Deficient! Before I begin with lies, I would like to share with my readers the sad and entirely factual news that my former computer recently passed away (hence the late post), and took with it a sizeable chunk of my list of submitted questions. So please take this as a prime opportunity to re-send and send questions to Factually Deficient on any topic you ever wanted to know about! I accept questions by WordPress comment, social media, carrier pigeon, and letters folded up and baked inside a cake delivered anonymously to my back door at two in the morning on nights when the moon is dark.

Moving right along! This week, I will answer a question posed some time ago on this very blog by one Jack Alsworth. Jack asked:

What’s the difference between a duck?

This is a crucial, hard-hitting question, which cuts deep to the core of our very existence.

As we all know, there are many ducks in this world, not just one. They all share certain wondrous properties, such as their glowing tailfeathers, their Swiss Army feet, and their piercing eyes which will see into your soul and all your secrets if you meet their gaze for even a moment.

However, many people find it difficult to distinguish between individual ducks. What is the difference, indeed, between a duck?

There is an old saying which actually contains within it the clues to the answer to Jack’s question: “If it walks like a duck, and it talks like a duck, it is a duck.”

This saying refers to the different categories and attributes which divide ducks into four subgroups:

  1. Ducks that walk and talk like other ducks
  2. Ducks that walk like ducks, but do not talk like other ducks
  3. Ducks that talk like ducks, but do not walk like other ducks
  4. Ducks that neither walk nor talk like other ducks

Let’s go over these four types of ducks. What does it mean for a duck to walk or talk like other ducks?

As mentioned above, all ducks are gifted with Swiss Army feet. However, some ducks use these feet constantly, employing various functions of the Swiss Army feet to dig swiftly through the ground beneath them and zip along on their freshly-made grooves – these are the ducks that walk “like ducks”. Their brethren who lack this ability travel primarily by flying (with their luminescent wings), and use the Swiss Army feet for other purposes.

Similarly, some ducks, in addition to mindreading, are blessed with the ability to overcome all language barrier. These ducks can open their mouths and effortlessly speak in any tongue they choose, any dialect or grammar conceivable. This is what it means to “talk like ducks.” The remaining ducks, who lack this trait, converse comfortably with a linguistic repertoire of only six or seven languages.

So, in short, to answer Jack’s question: the differences between a duck are how it walks, and how it talks.

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Disclaimer: The above post contains exaggerations and untruths. Reader discretion is advised.

Silly Geese and Ugly Ducklings

Hello and welcome back to another week of reliably unreliable information here at Factually Deficient! After a three-week foray into the realm of history, I think it’s time I answered another science question.

As such, I would like to address the following question from the incomparable Tohrinha:

What’s the correct way to play Duck Duck Goose?

This is a question that has plagued the human race throughout the ages, and I congratulate you that you have finally asked one of the few people actually able to answer it accurately– I, who have made a lifelong study of ducks and their games, and perhaps the only person still living who has learned directly from a duck how this game is supposed to be played.

First of all, this game can only be properly played in the spring– late March or early April, ideally– when the Canadian Geese are returning from their southern sojourns that took place over the winter. A game of Duck Duck Goose at any other time of the year is mere pantomime, and the players will have to find some way to simulate the actions of the geese.

In order to set up the game, one needs to gather a group of ducks, some other birds of one’s own choosing, and stand with them together in an open field– preferably one where geese are known to frequent, but any field will do if you are confident that your birdcalls will be loud enough.

The participants begin by letting all the birds fly free in the field, requesting of the birds that they fly low enough to run the risk of collisions with people’s heads. Every time a player sees a bird approaching someone’s head, he or she must shout “Duck!” while ducking his or her own head. When this happens, the birds, for their part, will call out loudly, attracting (with any luck) the geese.

When a goose, returning from the winter, approaches, everyone must shout, all together, “Goose!” and dive for the ground while trying to hold a bird carefully but tightly to their chests. Each time a goose lands, everyone not holding a duck is out of the game, until at last there is one winner, and a field full of freshly-arrived geese (not to mention the ducks and all the other birds).

This game is highly enjoyable for everyone involved, ducks, humans, and other birds, and provides the returning gese with a warm and convivial welcome from their winter detainments.

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Disclaimer: Many of the assertions in this blog are not entirely accurate. The writer cannot speak for all birds.