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Professional wrestling is a very peculiar concoction.   It is a volatile mix of extreme athleticism, flamboyant theater, televised hype, steroids, advertising money, and ludicrous costumes. As you can imagine, this blend sometimes goes extraordinarily awry: professional wrestling can give birth to nightmare children. Keeping this in mind, let us journey back to the distant year of 1990. That autumn, during the weeks leading up to the World Wrestling Federation’s Survivor Series of 1990, wrestling producers stumbled upon a very…unusual…gimmick to drum up excitement for their title bout. A huge egg of indeterminate origin was placed in the middle of the arena. As the ripped, oiled, and be-sequined brawlers fought out their melodramatic matches, more and more hype was lavished upon this strange prop. What sort of wrestling sensation would hatch out of it?

Classy...

Classy…

Many animals lay eggs, so the possibilities were multitudinous and potentially thrilling. What if the giant egg turned out to be a horrifying serpent man or some sort of warrior dinosaur? Since professional wrestling has never been troubled by reality, the egg could even have contained a mythological being like a roc, a griffin, or a baby Godzilla. On Thanksgiving of 1990, the egg hatched and the answer was revealed.

When the egg blew open, out of it leapt…the Gobbledy Gooker–a hapless chump clad in an extraordinarily ugly turkey costume. Not only did the Gooker [ed. Can we even write that word on a family-friendly blog?] look horrid–he did not even wrestle. He capered around the ring and then danced with announcer “Mean” Gene Okerlund to the minstrel hit “Turkey in the Straw”. Understandably, the Hartford audience hooted in derision. It is actually painful to hear “Rowdy“ Roddy Piper (the brilliant lead thespian of the dark allegorical sci-fi masterpiece “They Live”) shouting out canned enthusiasm for the bad gimmick. The Gobbledy Gooker appeared in a few more mercifully brief promotional spots and then was canned for good…

Time to retire with dignity...

Time to retire with dignity…

…or was he? Within the hallowed halls of professional wrestling, ethereal voices began to whisper about the Gobbledy Gooker. What terrible decisions led to the egg and the turkey costume? Who was beneath the patchy feathers? It turns out that the Gobbledy Gooker was a wrestling persona of Hector Guerrero, famed scion of Los Guerreros (arguably the world’s greatest multigenerational dynasty of professional wrestlers). Perhaps it is appropriate that a Mexican-American played the sacred turkey figure–since turkeys were first domesticated by the glorious pyramid civilizations of Mesoamerica.

Hector Guerrero as usually attired (thank goodness professional wrestling is able to avoid crude stereotypes)

Hector Guerrero as usually attired (thank goodness professional wrestling is able to avoid crude stereotypes)

Our culture has a raw appetite for spectacle. And the awfulness of the Gobbledy Gooker fulfilled some primal need. Soon the Gobbledy Gooker was back—albeit sometimes spelled as the Gobbly Gooker. In the 2000s the giant turkey (still played by Guerrero) competed in Wrestlemania X-Seven, a contest between over-the-top gimmick characters (sadly he lost in the second round). He also lent his name to the Gooker Award for the worst wrestling gimmicks. In recent years, he has become a sort of campy mascot of World Wrestling (although his already nebulous turkey identity has blurred a bit further). He even starred in a video about wacky office misadventures at WW headquarters!

Work is demeaning

Work is demeaning

Last Thanksgiving (2013), the Gobbledy Gooker stepped out of retirement and “appeared backstage on WWE Smackdown at a ‘post Thanksgiving party’ thrown by Smackdown General Manager Vickie Guerrero.” Will the Gobbledy Gooker reemerge this Thanksgiving as a magnificent and dismaying symbol of our gluttony, our strength, our vainglory? Keep your eyes peeled to find out…

The Gobbledy Gooker

The Gobbledy Gooker

How do spiders manage all of these limbs?

How do spiders manage all of these limbs?

Speaking of horrible nightmares, here are two photographs of my Halloween costume.  I chose to dress as a redknee tarantula (Brachypelma smithi) a large terrestrial spider from the Sierra Madre mountain range in Mexico.  Spiders of this species mature very slowly and become adults late, which makes it an ideal costume.  In all seriousness though, these spiders suffer from an extreme sexual dimorphism.  Males and females are of a similar size and look alike, but while female spiders can live for thirty years or longer, males are usually dead before they reach five.   Talk about scary!

I’ll write something more serious about dreams, nightmares and our ability to understand the world tomorrow.  In the mean time have some candy and enjoy the holiday with your friends and family!  Happy Halloween!

spider 4

Today features the unwholesome misalliance of two major ferrebeekeeper topics: “catfish” and “mascots”.  Apparently I’m not the only person to have this idea, because there are plenty of catfish mascots out there, but, be warned, most of them are not especially pretty….

This character is available from the Texas Fun Shop. So if dressing as a big schlubby catfish is indeed your idea of having fun, it’s available for $1,279.00.

It doesn't seem like "Finnley" is taken yet. So if I get really serious about popularizing this blog (and being beaten up by fellow New Yorkers) my course of action is clear.

Of course Japan is represented on this list! Caffy, is the official mascot of Shiga Prefecture. He represents a species of catfish indigenous to Lake Biwa, Japan's largest lake which lies northeast of the former capital city of Kyoto.

Freddy the flathead is appropriately the mascot for The Mississippi National River and Recreational Area.

Click here to learn more about Freddie the catfish or just visit his myspace page.

I think this is a catfish because the jersey says "catfish". Additionally, the costume is blue, so that seems fairly aquatic I guess. Further visual cues are scant.

Here's another ambiguous outfit. The label said "catfish" on the website which was selling it, but it almost seems it could be any sort of fish.

Ooh Ooh! Look at this picture! How could you not choose the mud cat?

In 2007, the Catfish swept the West Virginia Power in three games to win their first South Atlantic league championship. Unfortunately they changed their name to "Bowling Green Hot Rods" when they relocated to Kentucky in 2009.

This isn't a mascot as such, but it seemed remarkable enough to merit inclusion. "Chuck the Catfish" is a large roadside sculpture in Selkirk, (which is in Manitoba Canada). The 30 foot sculpture was built in 1986 to popularize Selkirk as the world's catfish capital.

 
 
 

If you though Chuck the Catfish was the world's largest catfish statue, think again! That singular honor belongs to the 40 feet "Wahpper" catfish in Wahpeton, North Dakota.

The Wahpper’s website informs us that ” same artist that created “Wahpper” also created “Salem Sue” – the World’s Largest Holstein Cow in New Salem, North Dakota.”

 
 
 

Last of all, here is a sign showing a literal catfish chef(presumably cooking a catfish!). This image is meant to segue us into the next catfish post--which will feature cooking. So keep checking back here!

 

Wow, what a folksy post!

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