See our earlier blog posts about Paul and his amazing predictions, Meanwhile here's the story, from THE ASSOCIATED PRESS:

"BERLIN -- Octopus oracle Paul's prescience wasn't needed to predict how this one would turn out: His aquarium in Germany has given a resounding "nein" to a bid to move the celebrity mollusk to Spain.
(note from Henri: here's Paul making his selection for the Argentina vs. Germany match)

Paul rose from obscurity in Oberhausen's Sea Life aquarium during the World Cup to international celebrity as he correctly called the outcome of Germany's seven matches in the month-long tournament, time and again picking a mussel from a tank marked with the flag of the would-be winner.

He also correctly predicted Spain would beat Germany in the semifinals -- prompting many in his home country to speculate how he would taste grilled in garlic butter.

Already a celebrity in Spain after the semifinal prediction -- Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero offered to send a security team to protect the 2 1/2-year-old floppy octopus from the hungry Germans -- the country went wild for him after he correctly tipped Spain over the Netherlands in the finals.

Paul is now so popular in Spain that a northwestern Spanish town tried to borrow him. Officials in O Caraballino, population 14,000, declared that the octopus is their "honorary friend" and wanted Paul's presence to promote a seafood festival, the Faro de Vigo newspaper said.

A businessman from the town also offered 30,000 euros (C$40,740) to buy Paul, but the newspaper said Sea Life declined.

In response to hundreds of requests to bring Paul to Spain, the Madrid Zoo this week asked Sea Life if it would be willing to make a deal to bring him in as a tribute to the Spanish soccer team's victory.

"They brought the World Cup, we bring Paul," zoo spokeswoman Amparo Fernandez told The Associated Press. "He's a symbol of this championship."

She said the zoo had asked for Paul to come on either a temporary or permanent basis, and had proposed an exchange of animals. She said no financial offer had been made, but that it would be considered if necessary.

But Sea Life spokeswoman Kerstin Kuehn said there was no way it would happen.

"It's totally out of the question to sell Paul or lend him out," she said in an email. "Paul will enjoy his greatly deserved retirement in Sea Life in Oberhausen." "

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Enjoyed the massive fields of sunflowers and vineyards while taking in today’s stage of the Tour de France.  Soon they’ll be in the Pyrenees. Before then, we’ll start seeing fields and fields of lavender.

See what I meant about the Tour being a free tour of summer scenery in France?  (See earlier posts from a few days ago, below.)

We’re pleased to learn that the body of water at our doorstep now has a name, the Salish Sea. The large area of coastal waters off the south coast of British Columbia was officially named the Salish Sea yesterday. It includes Juan de Fuca Strait, the Strait of Georgia, and Puget Sound.

 If only now the Sea of Cortez in Baja, Mexico would get another name, then we’d be sailing in the right direction!  Til later, Henri

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"Paul the octopus set for sensational transfer to Madrid aquarium - Spanish zoo prepared to meet 'any demands' to sign German cephalopod that predicted team's World Cup final victory."  (The Guardian, UK, July 15)

The City of Madrid "Zoo Aquarium" has offered to buy the amazing psychic Octopus, Paul, from the Aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany.  Sum unknown.
Since Spain won it all, and now prides itself as holder of the golden World Cup futbal trophy for the next four years, it seems only fitting. After all, Paul predicted the win over Netherlands, although the score was a minimal 1-0 result.
Now I am curious to know whether Oberhausen will even consider accepting this offer (the fans in Germany may object!);  how much was the offer for, and if Oberhausen does part with Paul, how will the Madrid Zoo (or anyone in fact) know if it is indeed the Paul.
Who can tell the difference, except another Octopus?

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Temporary Cap on Gulf of Mexico Leak

Posted by Kitara Julian On 3:30 PM 0 comments
We’re all aware of the horrendous ecological damage going on in the Gulf of Mexico.  Not to speak of the suffering of innocent creatures, and the human misery.  Comedian George Lopez, host of a late-night talk show "Lopez Tonight", broadcast live from Burbank, California, calls it Gulf of “Texaco”, and said last night “We now have a Gulf divided into two sections:  leaded and unleaded.”

Today BP seems to have capped temporarily the source of the leak. It’s a test.  Let us hope this effort will be successful.  But what about the hundreds of millions of litres of oil, and the delicate habitat, plus the livelihoods based on fishing or ‘shrimping’. Not to mention the bird colonies under siege by the oily mess.  Then there are the rare manatees in those waters, and the dolphins.

There is an alternative, the Sun brings us mega-warmth and energy on a daily basis, yet it’s free.  The sun never sends us an invoice.  Something to ponder

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Just watched the finish of today’s stage of the Tour de France, in the town of Gap.  This time not too much climbing, a few in the 1,000 metres and one in the 2,000 metres range.  Today the fellows had to cope however with Africa-like temperatures at least 36 degrees C.  

All that heat was making the tar on the roadways soft, creating a hazard for the riders. Especially on the hairpin turns down the Col du Noyer, descents where they zoom along at 75 km/hr, thank you!

I call this race the “Tour de Force”.  No matter what the weather is like:  rain, hail, fog, sometimes snow on the summits, or hot temperatures like today, the Tour goes on.

And as if completing one stage is not challenging enough, let alone all 23 stages of the full Tour, any rider who gets to the finish after a time limit set by the race organizers, is unceremoniously kicked out - eliminated!

Today there were beautiful camera views along the route of the Haute-alps, taken by the photographer in a helicopter.  The helicopter sent some horses running, accompanied by a lone donkey.  They’re now all immortalized, on today the national holiday of France, Le Quatorze Juillet. Bastille Day.

Hopefully these past couple of blog posts have stirred some appetite to tune into this magnificent sports race, which began already 103 years ago!  A bientot, Henri

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Tomorrow, July 14, is “Quartorze de Juillet” in France. Les francaises celebrate Bastille Day. You can be sure to see many tricoloured banners and flags along the Tour de France stage to Gap. Yes, the Tour has its history of cheaters using drug-enhanced energy inputs, but overall most of these fellows are going on their own strength.  So we have recently had the amazing Paul the Octopus and his World Cup predictions, and now the amazing bike race of the Tour de France. Ah yes, there is a Canadian amongst these 120-plus riders, with the appropriate name of Ryder Hesjedal. He grew up here on beautiful Vancouver Island and lives nearby.  We wish him good luck, or as the French say, “Bonne chance!”.  A la prochaine, Henri

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Le Tour de France

Posted by Kitara Julian On 1:28 PM 0 comments
From one very popular sports event to another.  Maybe this one is not well-known in North America (although there’s a Texan by the name of Lance Armstrong involved), but I’m talking about the most gruelling sports event in the world, the Tour de France.  (“Le Tour”).
Gruelling both mentally and physically.  This incredible mega-race on a bike is already into day 10, with 15 more days to go.  Today the riders had to climb the Col de la Madeleine in the Alps at Haute-Savoie.  And that was after they already been riding 150 kms on their bikes today alone!  So, for a pleasant addition, they had to climb 1 hour non-stop to the 2,000 metre summit.  Then descend at average speeds of 70 km/hr right to the end of today’s stage, where again there was another 700m climb to the finish line.
I first heard about the Tour in the Lowlands when I was 3 years old, through my father. I am not a fanatic about the Tour, but I do respect the riders efforts and love the panorama and scenery these fellows have to race through.  It’s a great way to follow the various locales and mountain regions of France.

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World Cup winds down, Octopus popularity goes up

Posted by Kitara Julian On 12:05 PM 0 comments
Did anyone notice the Spanish fan in Madrid dressed like an octopus? Also some people were wearing T-shirts with an octopus design.  All thanks to the amazing Paul who resides in an aquarium at Oberhausen, Germany.  See my posts below for more details about his exceptional record of predicting the match outcomes.  Paul predicted Spain’s victory over the Netherlands.
And now there is a big demand worldwide for squid or calamari, pulpo, at the fish markets world-wide!  Unfortunately, since this won’t do much to help this species.  People have a strange mindset, now thinking eating octopus will help give them psychic powers. (Like in Asia where so many species are at risk or virtually extinct because of a strange mindset about aphrodisiac powers of various animal parts.)
We have our own "Paul" as you can see beside this post. Got it a few years ago on the island of Domenica, calligraphy courtesy of Natasha.

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Now we have a fortune-telling or "prediction competition" between two non-humans:  Mani, the 13-year old Parakeet in Singapore, who predicted all 4 quarterfinal matches and the two semi-finals correctly (Mani says Holland will win the final tomorrow), and Paul in Oberhausen, Germany, the 3-year old Octopus who has picked Spain to win it all!
Since we’re on the subject, did you know some smartalec coined the word “soccer” from the words “Associated Football”.  Now I'm asking you! Some bright light of the human species spotted 3 letters and made a whole new word out of it.  (A new name was necessary because "Football" in America points to another game with a ball. In that game the ball is thrown by hand more than played with the “foot”. Ho-ho!)
Speaking of words:    SUK-KEGH  (Sockeye Salmon) 

Another item about a name.  We live here on the Pacific coast in beautiful Victoria and are privileged to be able to have fresh Salmon on the menu, that I cook.  As you know there are various species, and the one we're enjoying fresh these dayas is Sockeye.  Now, I’m asking you again, giving a fish a name by a combination of the words “sock” and “eye”!
Who on earth coined that one, we asked?  So we did some research and sure enough, some English brain heard the Coast Salish word for Sockeye, “Suk-kegh”, meaning “Red Fish”, and what he heard has been carved in stone, as Sockeye.

All we need now is to find a local native from the Coast Salish who can teach us how to pronounce “Suk-kegh”.  My guess is “sook-ke”.
Back to the World Cup: now we await in a few hours the outcome of the consolation prize, and the tomorrow results of the mega trophy match. The Oracle of Oberhausen, Paul the Octopus, will he be correct in predicting Spain will win?  In any event, some reincarnation from Delphi or Nostradamus had saved his eight arms from being sautéed in garlic, because he has also predicted a win for Germany over Uruguay today. (He wasn't popular after predicting the outcome of the earlier match between Spain and Germany!)
Let us not forget, Paul has as many legs as four futbal players! And maybe four times the brainpower of one who kicks a ball all over the place!

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Who can foretell good fortune and misfortune for the same event? Paul, the amazing Octopus in Oberhausen, Germany – that’s who! He predicted so far all the wins and losses of Germany in the World Cup (associated football, which they call “soccer” here in North America). 
Let me give you a prediction of my own.  We see worldwide fame for this 8-armed all-knowing fortune teller.   This will be expressed in Paul the Octopus toys, gadgets such as are usually made in homage of superstars or creatures that touch the imagination of the young and young-at-heart! His 8 arms will cover the globe, like ET or the Dinosaur toys. Hats, t-shirts, plates, you name it.  Not just now but for a long time to come.  And people will flock to his Aquarium in Oberhausen to see first-hand this amazing creature.
Now for Sunday’s final match: first, some weeks ago, I predicted Spain would win this World Cup.  What makes this final game more interesting, for romantics and aficionados alike, is neither Holland nor Spain have ever won the World Cup trophy.  On Sunday, one of these countries will be added to the ‘sanctum sanctorum’.
Now there are two matches to go for Paul to predict. This is the first time he’s predicted a non-German team match. He says Spain will win. See the story here at Huffington Post .  And for Saturday's game, he has just predicted a victory for Germany.  So maybe he won't be turned into a 'grilled with garlic' dish?"

And now there is another Seer, again from the non-human species:  Mani the Psychic Parakeet.  Based in Singapore, 13-year old Mani has predicted Holland will win the trophy.
I go with Paul.  Coming from a Hollander, how is that for a non-biased prediction? Hup Holland Hup!  Ole, Ole Espana!  Henri

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Canadians aren't really known to be big "soccer" aficionados, but that is changing. Where I grew up, in Flanders and Holland, we call the game Voetbal = Football and that's correct, the game is played 98% by passing the ball with the feet.  In North America the popular game of Football is a misnomer, since 98% of that game is played by hand!
How about Paul the Octopus, what a magician.  He has now a 7/7 perfect record for predicting the outcome of the German matches in the World Cup of FOOTBALL in South Africa.

The match between Germany and Spain yesterday was his seventh correct prediction.  Just google Paul the Octopus and you'll find out all about him if you don't already know. He resides in an aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany (but is originally from England).
Anyhow, after yesterday's match, in Germany there are calls to turn Paul into "Calamari"! And apparently some people sang "Anti-Octopus" songs (whatever that is.) Meanwhile over in Spain they're praising Paul with acolades and songs, "Ole, Ole, Paulo el Pulpo Magico!".
Now we await the Final on Sunday of this popular game, worldwide viewership expected to be around 2 Billion.  How about that for popularity amongst the human family?
As for that final - Holland vs. Spain - neither team has ever won the biggest prize of them all.
Prediction?  I leave that up to Paul "El Pulpo Miraculoso".  Yes, for the first time ever he's doing to make a prediction about a non-German match.  Paul, who brings tears now to some in Germany, and joy to others around the world.
Hasta Luego!  "Hup Holland Hup!"

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