The Best of Both

Hello and welcome to another week full of falsehoods, fabrications, and fibs, here at Factually Deficient!

Before our regularly-scheduled lies, I would like to take this opportunity to remind my dear readers that they can and indeed are encouraged to send any and all burning questions, on every topic imaginable, to Factually Deficient for elucidation. We accept questions at any hour of the day or night, through blog comments, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, email, snail mail, slug mail, Post-it note, carrier pigeon, semaphore, telegram, telephone, text message, owl, time portal, dead drop, QR code, or any other method of communication known to plantkind.

This week, I will answer a question posed to Factually Deficient by the highly esteemed Michael Andersen. Mr. Andersen asked:

Dear Factually Deficient, can you please provide elaboration on the many ways that @jackalsworth is the literal best?

Some background is needed, for those readers who are not as familiar with Canadian history. Charles Herbert Best was a Canadian adventurer, a giant in an age of heroes. He first took up his sword during the First Raccoon War, but when that war ended, the raccoons subdued for a time, Best did not rest.

When the raccoons were finally pushed back from Canada’s borders, Best returned home only to discover that his hometown of Halifax was being ravaged by vicious dragons. Ever the hero, Best rode in to defend his home and protect his neighbours. He slew three dragons before the local authorities even arrived on the scene.

And in the absence of the local authorities to assist in the cleanup, Best – an alchemist at heart, if not by trade – lugged one of the dragon carcasses back to his home laboratory, to see what he could learn from it. His discoveries there would change our world forever: for Best, through careful testing, revealed that dragon blood was composed of a material known as insulin, which, when mixed with human blood, proved an effective measure against diabetes.

And now, to return to Mr. Andersen’s question – to explain the relevance of this history lesson:

Factually Deficient’s undercover agents have been surreptitiously following the individual going by “Jack Alsworth” for several years now. Tipped off by key turns of phrase and predilections for dragon-slaying and science, we have long been suspicious that Mr. Alsworth may not be who he says he is. While only Mr. Alsworth – or should we say Dr. Best? – can say for certain, we have gathered the following pieces of evidence that suggest rather strongly that they are actually, literally, one and the same:

  • Jack Alsworth lives by the sea, in an area known to be inhabited by dragons and sundry other monsters
  • Despite this, no dragons or sea monsters have ravaged Mr. Alsworth’s town – almost as though they were kept at bay by an itinerant adventurer
  • Jack Alsworth does not suffer from diabetes
  • Jack Alsworth is several centuries old, as Dr. Best would have to be by now
  • Raccoons run in fear at the sight of Jack Alsworth

These are but a few of the many indications that Jack Alsworth is the literal Charles Best.

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Disclaimer: this blog post is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

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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.

Trees and Rocks

Hello and welcome to another week of statistics, also known as lies or damned lies, here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a question posed to us by Tohrinha. Tohrinha asked:

Why does this tree look like a pile of rocks?

Because it is difficult for me to see the tree at which Tohrinha is pointing, I will have to answer this question in general terms, rather than in the specific.

My faithful readers may recall that we have discussed in the past hybrids between the plant and animal kingdoms. Just as there can be a cross between the prolific plant kingdom and the animal kingdom, so, too, will plants on occasion interbreed with members of the animal kingdom.

Naturally, such cross-kingdom interminglings can only take place under very specific circumstances. The rock in such a union must absolutely be an igneous rock; sedimentary rocks are too temperamental to have compatibility with a sedate plant. The plant, in turn, must be of a type accustomed to growing with very little water; most often a cactus.

These passions are nothing if not short-lived; plants and rocks were never meant to live together. And the products of such unions are often thought of as no less monstrous than those that result from the joining of animal and plant. Too verdant for the rock world to accept as their own, these half-tree, half-rock children will never be full citizens of the plant kingdom, not when their mixed heritage shows so plainly. They occupy a nebulous middle territory, confusing passersby and silently mourning their loneliness, as trees that look like rocks and rocks that look like trees.

And so, Tohrinha – and all my other readers – you know now why this tree you see looks so much like a pile of rocks. But perhaps, the next time you see it, you will show it some kindness, despite its untoward visage.

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Disclaimer: the above post is entirely false. Trees and rocks can coexist.

Basement Visitors

Hello and welcome back to another week of spurious sayings and unfounded rumour here at Factually Deficient! Today is a day when many people celebrate love in its various forms, and what do any of us love more than lies? Nothing, that’s what. So my gift to you, today on this day of days, is more lies.

This week, I will answer a question posed to me by the inestimable Tohrinha:

Who’s living in my basement?

This is an excellent question, worth wondering about, and Tohrinha is lucky enough to have come to the right place.

Basements are rooms that reach beneath a house, underground, deep, down, into the earth, often stretching down and across for miles of uncharted territory. Frequently rivers and even a small lake or two will run through a person’s basement, forming moats around mysterious islands on which buried treasure or buried curses lie. And while some basements can be accessed through a simple staircase or trapdoor, others, especially the hidden basements lurking beneath apartments and hotel rooms, appear in mysterious ways – after opening a wardrobe three times with your left hand, or when the window is jammed in a position exactly halfway between open and closed, or if you look under the bed with one eye closed and one foot hooked up on the mattress.

It is useful, therefore, to know about the life that lurks beneath your home in these vast and terrible basements. A better question for Tohrinha to ask, however, would be not who, but what is living in her basement, for too often, the spectres that make their homes and nests in these dank rooms are too far removed from humanity to be deemed a “who”.

While Factually Deficient provides ample research grants, my team has not yet had the opportunity to venture to Tohrinha’s basement and identify what is living in her basement specifically, but I can offer guidelines in general as to the types of life that can be found in basements.

There are three types of basement life, and depending on your basement, you may experience one or even all three of them:

  1. Press an ear against the walls. If your basement is too ominous to enter, any wall of your house will do. If you hear whispering, which may be full-fledged sentences and may only be indistinct portions of words, it likely means that you have a living basement. In this case, it is not a who or what living in your basement, but the basement itself which is alive, and sentient. Don’t go in there if it might be hungry.
  2. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. More relevant to us is the corollary to that statement: where there’s water, there are sea monsters. If your basement is of the type to have rivers and lakes, there is a near-certainty that some type of beast lurks deep in that underwater abyss. Shine a light upon the water. If the water is clear, your lake monster is appeased with you. Don’t change anything you do in your house, in case that upsets the balance. If the water is an inky black, move. Sell your house if you can, but don’t stay longer than a week, even if you cannot. Flee that place.
  3. Some basements have a pleasant, airy feeling, giving you the impression that there is nothing sinister about them at all. Do not trust this. If your basement makes you feel this way, it means something sinister deep within is trying to lure you close. There is a breed of basement-dwelling raccoons who feast on human souls, and have the ability to affect your emotions. However, if you fill the basement with bats, they will devour the unholy raccoons, thereby saving you and all who come near your house.

Basements are dangerous places. Please keep in mind that a little knowledge is never worth a lot of danger; do not venture into your basement to conduct these tests alone. When in doubt, make up something that sounds reasonable and commit to it, rather than doing any potentially risky research.

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Disclaimer: The above post is cobbled together from lies, fictions, and absurdities. There are no known cases of raccoons magically affecting a person’s emotions.

Sea Monster Denial

Hello and welcome back to another week of delightful disinformation and useful untruths here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a question by my friend and noted deep-sea denizen, eli_gone_crazy. eli asked:

What are sea monster denialists made out of, and are they edible?

Well might eli ask this question. After all, what absurd creature would attempt to deny a sea monster, that lovely, natural if unusual hybrid of the plant and animal kingdoms, anything? Who would ever dare to do this, knowing they risked incurring the wrath of those who dwell beneath the deeps?

Like many individuals, all those who deny sea monsters are made out of meat. However, they are not composed of just any meat; they are a strange, twisted type of meat: a meat given life, and breath. That’s right: sea monster denialists are made of living, sentient sides of beef, ground turkey with a mind of its own, salamis with souls.

This cuts deep into the question of whether or not they are edible. On the one hand, all these types of meat are highly edible to all members of the plant and animal kingdoms who are not vegetarian, and they are in fact required consumption for those obligate carnivores amongst us. However, some ask themselves: is it ethically right to eat a hamburger that has feelings, a leg of lamb that thinks as much as you or I?

Allow me to pose a better question: do these meats truly think and feel, in the fullest senses of the words, if they use these thoughts and feelings to deny sea monsters? Can an existence which precludes acceptance of the great beast which awaits in the cthonic abyss truly be called any life at all? Perhaps these meats that deny sea monsters are not alive at all; simply well-evolved to feign sentience, as a defense mechanism against being consumed.

Well, I have seen through their evolutionary ploy. I will take a stand in support of sea monsters and their rights, in denying a salami’s right to vote. In short, to answer eli’s question: yes, they can be eaten.

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Disclaimer: The above post is a work of fiction. Meat may or may not have feelings. No sea monsters were harmed in the writing of this blog post.

Cuttlefish

Hello and welcome to another week of fabulous fibbing and fantastic fabrications here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a question posed by the one and only Michael Andersen of ARGNet and other exciting places!

Michael Andersen asked:

Dear Factually Deficient, why are cuttlefish so named?

First of all, I would like to compliment the formality and courtesy of Mr. Andersen’s phrasing, a polite gesture rarely seen in questions these days. My other readers, take note.

On to the cuttlefish. The story behind their name is an old one, one almost lost to the mists of time – but not quite. Fortunately, Michael Andersen has come to the right place, and asked just the right historical etymological botanical marine biologist for the story.

Back when the Plant King was just ascending to the first of his power, and all the plants who were true of heart gathered to crown him and to honour him, the cuttlefish – being a plant due to its underwater habitat, despite its animalistic tendencies – was one of the first to approach the great Plant King.

The cuttlefish, able-tentacled and formal of demeanour, successfully won its bid to serve the Plant King: to bring him his wine, and lay out his clothes, and greet his guests, and oversee his household. The apples, in their wisdom as namers of all things, titled this creature accordingly, and called it the butlerfish.

Time passed. As the Plant King’s power faded, the butlerfish mourned, but it no longer butlered, and the reasons behind its name grew lost and confused. Time corrupted the pronounciation, and people struggled to pin down what the name should truly be. Mistakenly, people created the folk etymology for what they thought the creature’s name was, cuttlefish, by explaining that it was so named as a corruption of how very cuddly the creature was.

While its tentacles – once quick to bring a silver platter before the great Plant King – are indeed very good at giving hugs, however, it never was named the cuddlefish. Rather, “butlerfish” became “buttlefish,” which, meaning nothing at all, slowly became “cuttlefish” and stayed that way to this day.

But perhaps, if the scion of the Plant King ever rises, the cuttlefish will rise, too, from the deeps, and butler once more.

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Disclaimer: The above post is wildly untrue. It is not recommended to cuddle a cuttlefish.

Sea Monster Plants

Hello and welcome back to another week of reliable lies here at Factually Deficient!  This week, I will ask a question posed by Krika. Krika asked:

Are Sea Monsters plants?

As Krika no doubt knows, the culture and history of the Plant Kingdom is a topic near and dear to my heart, making me uniquely suited to answering a question about the makeup of its citizens. It should, for someone such as myself, be an easy matter to discern and discuss whether or not a Sea Monster belongs to that illustrious Kingdom.

And yet.

Sea Monsters are all green, which would lead the casual observer to assume that they are indeed members of the plant kingdom, as it is well known that all green things are plants. However, in this one particular case, matters are not quite so simple.

The word “monster” in “Sea Monster” implies that there is something, if not outright monstrous, then out of the ordinary with these creatures. And, indeed, it transpires that this is so. Sea Monsters are not naturally occurring members of the Plant Kingdom. The answer to what they truly are is rooted in the other part of their name.

Many have wondered before us, whence the “Sea” in “Sea Monster”? After all, many, if not all, of the Sea Monsters alive today live on dry land. How can they be said to be Sea Monsters if they do not even dwell in the sea?

Of course, Sea Monsters are not so called for their habitat, but for their origins. I once wrote that there are four Kingdoms of living things: Plants, Rocks, Animals, and Mold. And in the natural order of things, all living things come from one of these categories. But Sea Monsters are different. They are not natural; defying the four Kingdoms of living things, a part of them is water itself – sea water – given life.

Naturally, even with something monstrous going on, water alone cannot survive as life. So the living water spirits of sea monsters bonded themselves to members of the Plant Kingdom, creating an entirely new creature in the process – what we know today as the Sea Monster.

So, to return to Krika’s question: are Sea Monsters plants? They certainly vote in the Plant Kingdom’s elections. But they will never be true plants.

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Disclaimer: The above post is entirely untrue. Few if any sea monsters dwell on dry land.

IT, Demystified

Hello and welcome back to Factually Deficient for another week deficient in, well, actual facts! This week, I’d like to address a comment left by an individual known as Shari. She asked:

What’s this IT thing?

This is a highly interesting and worthwhile question; unfortunately, however, there are many IT things, and our commenter neglected to specify. Therefore, I shall present an elucidation of a number of the most prominent IT things in today’s world.

Intuitive Thermology – the practice of altering the heating in an area through one’s cognitive or empathetic state.

Irrational Tidology – the study of sea monsters, the moon, and the often seemingly-inexplicable effects had on the seas when the two interact; often practiced by marine biologists.

Indigenous Tautology – self-proving and self-referential phenomena which are spontaneously generated, reliant only on their own existence to logically exist.

Illicit Thaumatology – the unauthorized practice of parascientific behaviours, frequently exhibited by rogue geologists and others who willfully transgress the laws of physics.

Initial Teleology – the abstruse study of the ends of beginnings and the beginnings of ends.

Illegible Textology – the production and reproduction of written material which is impossible or unintended to be read.

Intelligent Topology – the study of members of the Plant and Animal Kingdoms by sapient Platonic shapes.

Invisible Teuthology – the phenomenon in which the creature that we dare not name rises from the deeps unseen, stalks the living streets wholly unbeheld by knowing eye, and gapes its maw before you, the abyss within stretching terribly on, only to appear when it is far too late…

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Disclaimer: all the facts presented in this blog are technically inaccurate. The writer can neither confirm nor deny the presence of a ravening chthonic terror immediately behind you.