Football fans in the Spanish city of Madrid are a lucky lot. Last summer, Real Madrid dished out more than $200 million to sign Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka

Now the city’s Madrid Zoo Aquarium has launched an audacious bid for Paul — the psychic octopus who correctly predicted Spain’s triumph at the FIFA World Cup 2010. The aquarium had offered to beat any offer already on the table in its quest to clinch Paul’s transfer from Germany’s Oberhausen Sea Life . The zoo’s spokesman said they were also ready to offer other animals in exchange for the octopus and said Paul would be accorded the “best care” befitting of a national hero.

Madrid Zoo Aquarium

Oberhausen Sea Life staff  announced Paul’s retirement from the predictions game earlier this week but said they were considering a host of offers from around the globe. Paul is on course to be the world’s first multi-millionaire octopus should the Oberhausen Sea Life choose to cash in on his global fame.

Paul’s 100 percent record is incredible but the minute he gets it wrong his credibility all disappears. Paul has thus ended his oracle days at exactly the right time.

Considering he is more consistent than all the top football stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, the winning bid should be quite a hefty sum. But taking into consideration that Paul may be around for only another six months to 2 years, Spain needs to expedite the transfer so that they can rake in millions from tourists and from advertisements and endorsements.

There is no limit to the ways in which Paul could be marketed. The gaming industry would be the logical use for Paul. Paul can be licensed for children’s toys, video games or cartoon shows. He can be an icon for a brand. A good use for him would be in adverts featuring two competing brands, such as Coke versus Pepsi or DHL versus FedEX. Which does Paul prefer?

I personally feel that it is most effective to use Paul in light-hearted commercials. Imagine Paul sitting on a tin of Coke in his aquarium and saying “This is the real Coke…nothing can beat it!”. Or picture Paul delivering a heavy FedEX package and saying “FedEX is the best….trust me!”.

And maybe launch a new tv reality show “Who Wants To Be An Octopus”.

Who Wants To Be An Octopus?

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Octopus Paul is retiring from the oracle business and will not give any more oracle predictions. He will be getting back to do what he likes best: play with his handlers and making children laugh.

The psychic cephalopod became a global sensation and the star of FIFA World Cup 2010 by correctly predicting the result of every Germany game at the World Cup. He signed off with a perfect eight out of eight record by picking Spain to beat the Netherlands in the final.

Paul took one last curtain call on Monday when aquarium employees at the Oberhausen Sea Life presented the octopus with a golden cup – similar to the official World Cup trophy. Although the cup was garnished with three mussels, Paul ignored it for several minutes as it was lowered into his tank. He finally picked off one mussel and devoured it in front of television cameras.

Octopus with a world cup trophy

Never in sporting history has such a wacky thing happened. Octopus Paul now has a Facebook page and millions of fans and followers all over the world. FIFA World Cup 2010 will always be remembered as the Octopus Paul’s World Cup. Paul became a talisman for gamblers, with bookmakers William Hill claiming the octopus’s forecasts cost them Ł500,000 as punters flocked to follow his advice. Bookmakers, marketing experts and brokers around the world have offered large sums of money for the octopus.

For those who have been hoping that Octopus Paul will still be around to liven up FIFA WORLD CUP 2014 to be held in Brazil, you are in for a sad surprise. Even if Paul does not retire from his oracle business, he will be long gone by the time the next world cup comes around.

Brazil FIFA World Cup 2014 Logo

Brazil FIFA World Cup 2014 Logo

Octopuses have a relatively short life expectancy, and some species live for as little as six months. Most species may live for three to five years. Reproduction is a cause of death: males can only live for a few months after mating, and females die shortly after their eggs hatch. They neglect to eat during the (roughly) one month period spent taking care of their unhatched eggs, but they don’t die of starvation. Endocrine secretions from the two optic glands are the cause of genetically programmed death (and if these glands are surgically removed, the octopus may live many months beyond reproduction, until she finally starves).

Once the octopus reaches adulthood, it will eventually get the urge to mate. As with most creatures, the octopus’s main purpose in life is to reproduce. If it knew just what was waiting for it soon after, it might think twice about mating. Both the male and female octopuses die soon after mating. The male dies a few months afterwards, while female dies shortly after the eggs hatch. If this is what happens to human beings too, I can’t imagine how life would be like, haha!

Octopus mating game

A male octopus's hectocotylus, or mating arm (with pink lining), is inserted into the female's mantle.

Paul is about two and a half years old now so it is a certainty that he will not live to see the next world cup. But if Paul (poor Paul, lol!) does not have the chance to mate in the aquarium, will he live to see the next world cup?  I don’t have the answer to that…you will have to ask marine biologists.

The worldwide frenzy over Octopus Paul may spawn a rash of octopus products such as toys, jewelry, fashions and movies.  Hmmmm…maybe we will  be seeing movies like “Octopus Story”, “The Octopus Strikes Back”, “Lord of the Octopus”, “Octopus Man” and “Octopus of the Carribean” hitting the cinemas soon.

Octopus fashion

Octopus kiddy fashion

Octopus kiddy fashion

Octopus hat

Octopus brooch

Octopus toy

Octopus bag

But one thing is certain. The Oberhausen Sea Life Aquarium in Germany will definitely be seeing huge throngs of visitors queuing up to see Paul in the coming months. Paul, may you enjoy your retirement and may you bask in your World Cup glory!

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It appears that some German fans are lacking a sense of humour. The keepers at the Oberhausen, Germany aquarium where Paul resides have received death threats and octopus recipes after Germany was knocked out by Spain on Wednesday. And Germans aren’t the only ones incensed at Paul. Angry Argentinian fans blamed him for Argentina’s embarrassing 0-4 defeat by Germany and threatened to eat him to avenge his prediction. Paul’s handlers are stoically undeterred by the threats.

Paul’s keeper in Oberhausen, Germany said “there are always people who want to eat our octopus but he is not shy and we are here to protect him as well. He will survive.”

Paul hatched from an egg in an aquarium at Sea Life Weymouth in Weymouth, England but is now residing in an aquarium at the Sea Life Oberhausen in Oberhausen, Germany. His name Paul is based on the title of a poem by the German writer Boy Lomsen: Der Tintenfisch Paul Oktopus.

This is where Paul resides.

According to statements from Sea Life’s entertainment director, Daniel Fey, Paul showed his intelligence early on: “There was something about the way he looked at our visitors when they came close to the tank. It was so unusual, so we tried to find out what his special talents were.”

During the UEFA Euro 2008, Paul made his debut in predicting soccer match results. He was correct in 70% of the predictions that he made but he was wrong in his prediction of the winner of the final match which saw Germany pitted against Spain. Paul predicted a win for Germany but Spain emerged from the match as champion.

After that successful run of picks in Euro 2008, Paul is on fire again but with an even better track record this time, correctly predicting the outcomes of all the six matches that Germany had so far played in this World Cup 2010. Fans of Spain and the Netherlands will no doubt be anxious to see what Paul’s prediction will be for the final. Presuming, that is, his handlers aren’t too bummed out by their team’s defeat to make him pick between two non-German nations. So the question on every one’s mind now is this: Will Paul be predicting the outcome of the Spain-Netherlands final?

If you have placed your faith in Paul and have bet on all the 6 matches that he had made predictions for, you would have been laughing all the way to the bank now. And if Paul himself has bet on his own predictions, this is how he would look like now.

Octopus Paul With His Winnings

With the fame that Paul has attained in this World Cup, I would not be surprised if this year’s top selling Christmas toy is an Octopus  blowing a South Africa 2010 vuvuzela! Hey, China toy makers, take note, there is a fortune to be made here!

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It is really amazing…..Octopus Paul is right again! Spain beat Germany 1-0 through a header by Carles Puyol in the 73rd minute. The whole of Spain is celebrating now.  Paul has been 100% correct in his predictions in this World Cup and that is really incredible!!

Carles Puyol scores!

Carles Puyol scores!

The above photo is taken from ESPN Soccernet. By the way, I realised now that the photo showing Paul predicting Spain to be the winner in my last post is a fake and I apologise for that.

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The waiting is over…..Spain is predicted to “whacka whacka” Germany. Octopus Paul at Oberhausen Sea Life Aquarium in Germany has picked Spain to win the Germany-Spain semi-final match. With a 100% correct prediction track record so far in this World Cup, I bet millions of people will place their bets on Spain winning the Germany-Spain match. What are you waiting for? Call your bookie now!

Paul picks Spain!

I don’t know whether the Germans will feel betrayed….but the Spaniards will feel more confident now. David Villa may get such a big morale boost that he scores a couple of goals.  And let’s hope that Paul will not end up in a German cooking pot!

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When Germans want to know if their team will win their next match at the ongoing World Cup soccer tournament in South Africa, they turn to the octopus nicknamed Paul. From his tank at Oberhausen Sea Life aquarium, Paul has been most impressive, correctly predicting the outcome of all the four soccer matches Germany has played in — three wins and a loss to Serbia.

This is how Paul does his prediction: His caretakers at Sea Life put a mussel in each of two clear plastic containers. The boxes are marked with the flags of the soccer teams. Paul’s prediction for victory is whichever container he chooses first.

According to entertainment director Daniel Fey, Paul showed his intelligence early on. “There was something about the way he looked at our visitors when they came close to the tank,” he says. “It was so unusual, so we tried to find out what his special talents were.” Although Paul isn’t much of a soccer player — all those legs get in the way — he does have a knack for predicting games.

Fans were most surprised when Paul, who hatched in England in 2008, refused to allow any latent patriotic sentiments cloud his judgment when he predicted the outcome of Sunday’s Germany vs. England match. Paul quickly chose the box with the German flag indicating, as his spokeswoman Tanja Mnzig explained, “a decisive victory for Germany.”

And so it was, 4:1 for Germany.

On Tuesday morning, as a crowd of photographers surrounded his tank, snapping pictures, the octopus oracle made his prediction for Germany’s next match on Saturday against favorite Argentina. Paul, an English-born octopus in the Sea Life Aquarium in Oberhausen, picked Germany and with it predicts that the German team will win over Argentina in a quarterfinal match. According to Paul, Team Argentina might as well start packing their bags now, because Germany will beat them. But because it took a while for Paul to make his decision, it is predicted that Germany will face a tough match against Argentina.

Before you place your bets, remember that Paul is good, but not infallible. In the 2008 European Championship soccer tournament, Paul was right almost 70 percent of the time. But even with a 70% accuracy, you would have made a killings at the World Cup betting if you have heeded Paul’s prediction from Day 1.

Animal rights group PETA is now clamoring for Paul to be released into a national park in waters off the south of France where fishing is banned.

“Paul is stuck in a small aquarium … We think that Paul would be fine in the sea,’ marine biologist Tanja Breining from PETA said.

‘Octopuses are among the most intelligent of invertebrates. They are capable of complex thought processes, have short and long-term memories, use tools, learn through observation, have different personalities and are particularly sensitive to pain,’ the organisation said.

Sea Life, however, said it would be a bad idea.

‘Animals born in captivity are used to being fed and have no experience finding food by themselves,’ a spokeswoman told AFP.

‘It is highly likely that he would die.’

I am sure the bookies will throw their support behind PETA…hahaha!

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The 2010 FIFA World Cup is all set to kick off tomorrow in South Africa. This will be the 19th FIFA World Cup and this is the first time that the tournament will be hosted by an African nation, after South Africa defeated Morocco and Egypt in an all-African bidding process. The tournament is scheduled to take place between June 11 and July 11.

2010 FIFA World Cup

This is the first World Cup that does not include any teams that are qualifying for the first time, although two of the qualifiers (Slovakia and Serbia) have previously appeared only as parts of former competing nations. Slovakia was previously part of Czechoslovakia, and Serbia has competed as part of Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro. In both cases FIFA considers these teams to have retained the earlier nations’ records.

The 32 qualifiers are South Africa, Brazil, Spain, Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Argentina, England, Australia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Honduras, Mexico, United States, New Zealand, Algeria, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Denmark, France, Greece, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland.

The tournament will be held at the following 10 venues in South Africa.

Cape Town Stadium, Capetown

Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg

Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein

Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria

Mbombela Stadium, Nelsprint

Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth

Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane

Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg

Soccer City, Johannesburg

Soccer City, Johannesburg

Zakumi, an anthropomorphized leopard with green hair, is the official mascot of the tournament. “Za” is the international abbreviation for South Africa and “kumi” is an African word that means “ten”. So Zakumi stands for South Africa 2010.

Zakumi...official mascot of the 2010 FIFA World Cup

The official song for 2010 FIFA World Cup is “Waka Waka (This Time For Africa)”, in English, and “Waka Waka (Esto es Africa)” in Spanish. Waka means do it. It will be performed by Shakira and South African group Freshlyground at the closing ceremony before the World Cup final on Juy 11 in Johannesburg Soccer City Stadium.

Shakira

Who will win the coveted World Cup? Being a fan of English Premier League, I would be ecstatic if England wins it. But I seriously doubt England can pull it off as England always seems to falter at World Cup tournaments. I am putting my money on Brazil and Spain.

Let the world cup begin……Waka Waka!

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