Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Smartest Soccer Playing Goldfish Ever

I think I can safely say that it's perfectly all right to assume that the UK is officially whacked. Whacked as in looped. As in lost it. As in "What in the hell is going on over there?!" Read this and tell me that I'm wrong.

Over yonder at telegraph.co.uk, is a story about a goldfish that plays soccer. That is correct. A goldfish. The universal disposable pet of childhood. Apparently, this particular goldfish, whose name is Comet (cute), can fetch with a hoop, slalom around a series of poles and push a rugby ball over a set of posts. Huh. Diverse. Comet can also play basketball and football, fetch and even "limbo dance under a bar". OK, um, it's a fish. If by "limbo" you mean "swim", I can buy that. If by "limbo" you mean "limbo" you're out of your freaking mind, Jack. Anyway, Behold! Comet, the soccer playing goldfish.

Comet, the soccer playing goldfish
So who is responsible for this fiasco? Apparently, Comet the goldfish has been trained by a one Dr. Dean Pomerleau a 41-year old man whose specialty under which he sports the "Dr." title is unclear and who lives in Los Angeles. He says that he trained Comet by using a "technique" called "positive reinforcement". He continues by telling us that "This involves rewarding the fish with food when it successfully completes a task." Duh.

Just because Dr. Pomerleau has the moniker "Dr." in front of his name doesn't necessarily mean that the laypeople are going to be impressed with words like "positive reinforcement". You want to impress us with big words? Try something that we have no idea what in the hell it means. We can pretty much surmise "positive reinforcement". But try throwing something like "oligotrophic gyres" at us and watch our eyes glaze over in awe and wonder. But back to the fish.

Dr. Pomerleau says that anyone can do this with their own disposable pet. With just a little bit of time and the right amount of food to dole out for the "positive reinforcement", the fish can very quickly learn the complex tricks. I'm beginning to wonder if that's how the "Dr." got to where he is today.

But who am I to talk? I had fish sticks for dinner and this guy has a fish that plays underwater soccer while doing a limbo. Or something like that. Whatever it is, Dr. Pomerleau already has an official world record for having the fish who knows the most tricks. That underwater genius would be Albert Einstein, a three year-old calico fantail fish. But Al better not be getting too comfortable over there in the World's Smartest Fish Throne. That's because Comet already knows all of Al's tricks! Soon Comet could be the World's Smartest Fish. But until then, Behold! Albert Einstein, the World's Smartest Fish!

Albert Einstein, the soccer playing calico fantail fish
It doesn't really seem fair to Al that Comet gets to take over. I mean, if Dr. Pomerleau kept teaching Al, Al would continue to reign. Though I don't know what the average lifespan of a goldfish is (or a calico fantail for that matter), I would imagine it's pretty short (those things last about a day after you get them home from the pet store in that Ziploc bag). So perhaps preparing the next fish to hold the title is a good idea, Doc.

I'm off to teach my Sea Monkeys to line dance.

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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

great stories here..... great research if that's the word!
paul in ireland

Anonymous said...

like the layout too
paul

Mare said...

I don't know if research is the word either, but thanks for the compliment!