Bird Watching

Hello and welcome to another week of reliable lies here at Factually Deficient, all the way from my native home of the Plant Kingdom! This week, I will be presenting the answer to a question that was posed by several of my family members along with me, upon noting an interesting bird atop a lamppost when we were on a walk this weekend. We wondered:

What kind of bird is that?

Unfortunately, we were unable at the time to capture the bird in a photograph, so you will have to take my word for it that the bird in question had white feathers with black markings on its tail, the pointed head, beady eyes, and prayer book of a bird of prey (also known as birds of pray), and a relatively small size for a predatory bird.

The following night after seeing the bird, we at Factually Deficient resorted to “research” of our typical caliber. Certain types of birds could be ruled out right away: our Duck Expert confirmed that it was not a duck; it lacked the flat-topped graduation cap that is the hallmark of an owl, ruling that type of bird out, as well. The distinct lack of the scent of bananas indicated that it was not a penguin.

This still left at least twelve different types of bird – possibly even more. Fortunately, geography is our friend here; we can narrow down the bird’s breed to one liable to be found in the area it was inhabiting.

We saw this bird in the city of Toronto. Now, as everyone knows, a city’s sports teams are named for the birds native to that city. Toronto is fortunate to have numerous sports teams, which make up the short list of birds that this could have been:

  • The Toronto Blue Jays
  • The Toronto Maple Leaves
  • The Toronto Raptors
  • The Toronto Argonauts
  • The Toronto Toucans
  • The Toronto Buffleheads

The buffleheads can be rejected out of hand; it has already been made clear that the bird in question was not a duck. Likewise, it could not have been a blue jay, as it was white in colour, and not blue. The maple leave possibility was a tempting one but, our researchers recalled, the bird was spotted a lamppost and not on a tree, which is where leaved belong.

This leaves three bird breeds to be investigated: toucans, argonauts, and raptors.

Toucans were the next to be eliminated. This researcher has heard people on many occasions remark that they had lost the ability toucan. This bird was evidently not lost; it was, therefore, just as evidently not a toucan.

Argonauts were a tempting possibility. However, during the entire span of time that my family and I observed the bird, it did not utter a single word of Greek. It likewise did not set wing or feather to a boat. As such, the bird was surely not an argonaut.

As the saying goes, when the improbable has been eliminated, whatever remains, however impossible, is what we must accept as truth. It is therefore my pleasure to assert with certainty that the bird that I spotted on the weekend was undoubtedly a very small velociraptor.

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Disclaimer: the above post is extremely poorly-researched. There is little to no evidence that velociraptors fly about Toronto with impunity.

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Lies About Books: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Sunny September is here again! Well, it’s near again, and soon will be over, which means it’s time for more lies about a book I’ve read this sunny month. Earlier this month, I finally got around to reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, as the name suggests, tells the story of a happy-go-lucky flower. What is most out of the ordinary is that the book, despite its plant protagonist, is told in the first person, narrated in a series of supplicant letters to the Plant King.

The flower’s name is not Charlie, but it calls itself Charlie; as a flower, it has no name, but, after all, we as the readers must call it something. Over the course of the book, we never learn what type of flower it is: that is suggested to be unimportant in comparison to the flower’s lived experience. Rather than following a typical plot structure, The Perks of Being a Wallflower meanders in its narrative, describing the people “Charlie” sees from its vantage on the wall where it grows – the snatches of conversation, the noses that stop to inhale its sweet scent, the hands that caress its petals dangerously.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is an unusual book to be sure, but no less a good one for all that. Charlie’s story has a tendency to grip the reader despite the lack of standard suspense or tension. I would recommend this book to any fans of plant life, epistolary novels, or childhood trauma.

Lear and Theodosius

Hello and welcome to a new week of lovely lies here at Factually Deficient – and an entirely new year of creatively counterfactual learning to those of us in the education community!

This week, I will answer a question posed by the truly terrific Tohrinha, who asked:

What can you tell me about King Lear, a la Emperor Theodosius?

This is a very difficult question as posed, because the opinions of Emperor Theodosius may not be those shared by the Factually Deficient staff; yet, because we are called upon to describe King Lear in what would be his terms, that is what we shall do.

One must recognize that, although Lear and Theodosius ultimately became very close, they were not so at first. In fact, they were rivals, two pretenders to a throne that belonged in rights to neither one of them.

A scant century after the fall of the first Plant King, these two gentlemen arose, each one claiming the right to rule the noble Plant Kingdom. One called himself a King, in the manner of his alleged predecessor, while the other styled himself Emperor. When their respective claims to this most exalted of thrones failed, each disappeared for a time, before resurfacing with the same titles but new followers.

Emperor Theodosius was, at least initially, the more successful of the two. He built himself an island empire and brought almost every island on the earth under his sway. His counterpart – whose name was not even really Lear, but rather Gerald – acted more slowly, perhaps circumspectly.

Slow he may have been, but the King gradually began to collect large swathes of land, widening his coastlines, eyeing the territory of his rival. He was similarly watchful when the two men met in person, earning him the contemptuous nickname of King Leer (now spelled King Lear) from the markedly uncomfortable Theodosius.

By this early account, Emperor Theodosius would have described King Leer in disparaging terms – in fact, one can still find his journal calling Leer a “grasping, shifty man” whose eye “burned into [his] bosom’s core” with a malignancy that Theodosius, at the time, had begun to dread.

However, over the course of many deliberations and attempts to make peace between their nascent nations, these views changed and shifted. When the two were wed to join their kingdoms into one grand empire, it is commonly known to have been a political alliance; what is less known, but no less accurate, is that it was also one based on love.

If he could have rescinded the ill-meaning nickname he had given his dear Leer in their earlier days, perhaps Theodosius would have; by then, however, the name had taken on a life of its own, and King Gerald’s given name was all but lost to the mists of time. What is more significant than a name, however, are the genuine words, written in Theodosius’ journal and on Leer’s grave, calling the King “reserved, but unreservedly kind and unfailingly generous; a wise king, a dear friend, a beloved husband, and a good man.”

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Disclaimer: this post is saturated with falsehoods. Lear and Theodosius may not have been married to one another.

Social Butterfly

Hello and welcome back to another week of unbelievable whoppers here at Factually Deficient, where we lie about everything you could ever hope to be lied to about! This week, I will answer a question posed by an individual calling herself SF, who asked:

Please explain the meaning of the use of the butterfly in the expressions “social butterfly” and “having butterflies in one’s stomach.”

The butterfly is possibly the most reclusive member of the plant kingdom. Residing primarily on mountaintops and deep beneath the ocean, they are rarely ever seen; only the luckiest adventurer might claim to have caught a glimpse of a genuine butterfly in the wild even once in a lifetime.

Still, they are not unknown to us. Every now and then, a freak storm deposits butterflies far from their natural habitat, too far for their delicate wings to carry them back home. When this happens, rescue efforts and zoos are usually quick to collect the lost butterflies and take them into artificial habitats.

However, due tot he butterfly’s naturally shy disposition, frequently the zoologists arrive only to find apparently no butterflies in the region. This is because butterflies, left on their own outside their home areas, will naturally take shelter somewhere that they can hide, preferably somewhere cold and damp. Once a butterfly has hidden, it is almost impossible to uproot it from its new shelter.

There have been known occurrences of butterflies taking shelter inside a person’s stomach – the digestive tract meeting both requirements of being cool and damp. Of course these cases are out of the ordinary, but in at least one recorded instance, the person in question elected to allow the butterfly to remain there for the rest of its natural life. The expression “having butterflies in one’s stomach” came about because of this heroic individual, to describe the feeling of going above and beyond in protecting others. If you are feeling particularly protective of your friends – or even of nearby strangers – you might be said to have butterflies in your stomach.

This is also the source for the phrase “social butterfly.” A person who is socially a butterfly is introverted and quiet to the extreme; a hermit who does not emerge from his hut in forty years might be accurately called a social butterfly.

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Disclaimer: the above post is a pack of lies. It is not recommended to house butterflies in one’s abdomen.

Lies About Books: Beanstalk

The summer is Most Definitely Not Over, but July basically is, which means it’s that time again – time for me to tell bald-faced lies about a book I genuinely enjoyed! In the month of July, it was my supreme pleasure to read the novel Beanstalk, by E. Jade Lomax, first book in her Leagues and Legends trilogy.

Beanstalk follows the life of one Jack Farris, budding botanist. Since he was first able to reach for a spade, Jack has been addicted to gardening. He grew potatoes before he said his first word. He was picking berries before he could walk. By the time he was fourteen, he was known to grow the best tomatoes in the district.

But Jack’s one failing, his greatest regret, is his inability to grow beans. He has tried everything; he has planted beans, grafted snippings; he has tried to grow them in new earth, old earth, in a greenhouse, in water, in flowerpots – nothing works.

So finally, he gathers up his watering can, a pouch full of assorted seeds and a backpack filled with earth, and a pair of gardening gloves, and he sets out on a quest to learn how to grow a beanstalk, or die trying. This is the story of Beanstalk.

Filled to the brim with gardening tips and recipes that use home-grown vegetables, Beanstalk is sweet and funny, by turns lighthearted and suspenseful, rich with Jack’s special brand of earthy wit and wisdom. I recommend this book wholeheartedly and without reservation, to all fans of all ages of the plant kingdom, adventures, and friendship.

 

Canada 150

Hello and welcome back to yet another week of falsified statements and prevarications here at Factually Deficient! Please keep in mind that you are encouraged to send any and all questions on every topic imaginable to Factually Deficient. You can submit questions through any method of communication available to you – comments, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, pneumatic tubes, message in a bottle, skywriting, classified ads, and/or word of mouth.

This week, Factually Deficient will tackle a topic which has seen a lot of discussion this weekend:

#Canada150

What is the connection between the Kingdom of Canada and the number 150? Factually Deficient is here to elucidate.

This month marks a special occasion for Canada. As of the start of July 2017, Canada officially has a total of 150 provinces and territories, spread across eleven different continents. When John A. Macdonald first created his new land of Canada, it had only one province.

But Macdonald soon embarked on a mission of conquest, building railroads and naval fleets and aerospace vessels to reach far-off lands and spread to them his Canadian flag. Each successful mission resulted in a new province or territory on his ever-growing Canadian map.

When the current Queen of Canada ascended her throne in Macdonald’s place, this pattern of growth slowed; England was given its independence, followed by France, and the numbers of Canadian provinces began to drop. Still, they would rise again, as new lands were discovered, and old ones sought to join with this magnificent land.

Although they have held to no stable rate of progress, Canada’s number of provinces has been rising steadily for the past hundred years. And as of this weekend, Canada has inducted the Principality of Ontario as its one hundred and fiftieth province, making Canada second only to the Plant Kingdom in number of territories and provinces.

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Disclaimer: the above post is a pack of lies. Ontario is not the most recent addition to Canada’s provinces.

The Language of Lamour

Hello and welcome to another wild week of wacky lies here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a language question posed by the incredible individual known as Tohrinha. Tohrinha asked:

What does it mean to be the language of l’amour?

Well may Tohrinha ask about the language of l’amour. This is a long sought-after language, one whose identity and origins have been clouded by language itself.

What is the language of l’amour? First of all, the apostrophe does not belong in the phrase; it was added, in the last seventy years, out of a misplaced belief that the language had Gallic origins. Before the inaccurate apostrophe, it was the language of Lamour. But even this was not the original incarnation of the tongue. Lamour is actually a corruption of Larmor, which itself derives originally from either Lumber or Armoire.

While the Plant Kingdom is a diverse realm which hosts many different dialects and languages, there is one which only the most advanced of botanists sought to learn. It was whispered of, in the dank corners of underground greenhouses, that there were some trees which continued to think even after they were cut down, and proved their sentience through language. Rebel botanists passed secret messages about this language, that only the wisest of plants developed, and only the most daring of men could begin to master: the language of lumber, the language of the armoire.

It is unknown which was the original source for the language: whether these brave botanists spoke in general of the tongue used by lumber that had been chopped, or whether they rightly revered the antique armoire who was recorded as the first known speaker of this language. But either way, three things are certain: first, that no one has heard it spoken and understood it in over six hundred years; second, that any botanist who can hear and learn this language spoken in the wild would be esteemed above all others; and finally, that the Language of Lamour is the most exalted of all possible languages.

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Disclaimer: the above post is a pack of lies. There is no reason to believe that armoires originated a language of any kind.

2B Shvat

Hello and welcome to another week of wild untruths and wacky lies here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a timely question posed by my very own and very real mother. She asked:

What is Tu B’Shvat, and what is its particular connection to the Plant Kingdom?

Well may my mother ask about Tu B’Shvat – or as those in the know prefer to spell it, 2B Shvat – so celebrated in the Plant Kingdom. So many myths surround 2B Shvat, it is difficult, at times, to determine which are accurate, without the trusty guidance of Factually Deficient.

In truth, 2B Shvat is less a political outlook than a philosophy, less a religious creed than a simple way of life, and its origins hark back – not quite lost to the mists of time – to the days of the reign of the Second Plant King.

Hoping to bring about a second Plant Renaissance, the Plant King of the time decreed that growth does not come from a blank slate, from a place of emptiness, but rather it builds upon what has come before – and there is always something that has come before.

Based on this new idea of radical growth, the Plant King made a fundamental change to the Shvat. The Shvat is, of course, the core legal-religious document of the Plant Kingdom, and is read and venerated to this day. Without altering a single word, the Plant King re-paginated the traditional page numbers of the Shvat. Where once it began on page 1A, continuing through 1B, 1C, 1D, 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 3A, and so on through 227D, he pushed all the page numbers by five values, redefining the opening page as 2B.

In so doing, the Second Plant King declared, he was making a concrete symbol of this new creed of continuous growth: the Shvat – and all books of the plants henceforth – should begin not with the first number and letter, but with the second of each, hinting at a rich tradition and a solid foundation on which even an opening page is built.

What began as a re-pagination of a holy book has now grown and morphed into the most popular worldview in the Plant Kingdom – one of continuity, and inheritance, building always on what came before. It is this philosophy of life that is most commonly referred to today when people speak of “2B Shvat” (though it can also, frequently, refer literally to the first page of the most important book of the Plants).

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Disclaimer: the above post contains falsehoods. Plants do not have a holy book.

 

Getting Your Goat

Hello and welcome to another week of wild misinformation here at Factually Deficient! This week, I would like to answer a question posed by my very dear friend, the elusive eli_gone_crazy. eli asked:

Why are goats so weird: part sheep, part eldritch horror?

Without, perhaps, even realizing it, eli has come very close to the heart of the matter in this articulation of the question – a question which drives back to the very genesis of goats, one of the more cryptic members of the Plant Kingdom.

In fact, up one branch of their family tree, goats are directly descended from the sheep, with which they now coexist. Once, there were only sheep in their particular province of the Plant Kingdom; and if some were leaders and some were followers, if some ventured wide and far with adventurous eyes opened wide while others feared to stray from the well-trodden paths thinning in grass to eat, well, they were still all sheep, more or less.

When the Others began to rise from the deep in a once-in-millenia occurrence, the sheep were separated. While the homebody sheep fled from the scene in terror, the more venturesome of the sheep came forward, and greeted the great and terrible sea monsters with courtesy. They were the first of the mainland plants to do so, the first to welcome these tentacled creatures to shore.

While the more fearful of the sheep cowered in their pens, their reckless brethren made new friends. Soon the wilder sheep began to interbreed with the ancient ones, birthing ewes – kids – that were wilder yet than their sheep parents, with a glint in their eyes, a spark of intelligence, and a knack for the uncanny arts that harked back to the other side of their heritage.

Soon, the otherworldly gloom parted from the skies, and the ancient abominations sunk back into the abyss from whence they came. But their children of the sheep, their legacy – still remain with us, known today as goats.

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Disclaimer: the above post is a work of fiction. Do not attempt to crossbreed sheep and eldritch horrors.

Ronald Reagan

Hello and welcome to another week of calumnies and slander here at Factually Deficient! I would like to take this opportunity to remind my loyal readers that Factually Deficient is always accepting new questions, on any topic, through any medium. This week, I will answer a question posed by SignBeetle. To paraphrase the Beetle’s exact words, she asked:

What is happening? Why is Ronald Reagan 100 years old and in Canada? What the hell is going on?

Ronald Reagan was a famed botanist in the United States in the early sixteenth century. Although his beginnings were meagre, his renown soon spread throughout the land. The son of an ornithological landscaper, Reagan soon made a name for himself by discovering the seven uses of lily pads.

Once he was well-known in the lily world, Ronald Reagan continued to rise in the realm of botany. He invented at least four new kinds of vegetable, and learned the language used in private communications between berries. Such was his fame, and his expertise, that he was named Ambassador to the Plant Kingdom before the age of fifty.

Ronald Reagan spent many successful years as the American Plant Ambassador, even becoming a close personal friend of the Plant King – no easy task for anyone, let alone a foreign diplomat. Alas, when his mandate finally ended, he found the America to which he returned much changed from the place he had left. No longer were the vegetables he had invented common fare. No longer did he have a standing invitation to the private dinner parties of berries. And in the circles of America’s elite, it had fallen out of fashion to be able to identify every houseplant by scientific and personal name.

He felt out of place. Unwanted. So Ronald Reagan let himself disappear from the botanical America of his youth, and made his way to Canada to live out his obscurity in peace, where he could indulge his botanical enthusiasms without any of the scrutiny that is focused on an ex-ambassador. There he attained the age of one hundred, and there he remains still, frozen eternally at one hundred years old in the heart of a sugar maple where he made his home.

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Disclaimer: the above post contains inaccuracies. Ronald Reagan may not have been the first to discover the uses of lily pads.