How to care for a pet Porl

It occurred to me that if there were such a thing as a pet Porl, there are very few resources available to help one care for it. This brief guide has been adapted from Caring for Porls, available from all good bookshops.

Initial considerations for any would-be Porl owner

  • Owning a Porl is a long term commitment.
  • Whilst a Porl itself may be inexpensive, the equipment needed to properly care for him may cost many times more than the Porl itself.
  • Although Porls can adapt to a variety of foods, they function best with a steady diet of strawberry laces. You may want to check local availability before acquiring your Porl.
  • Be aware that all reptiles can carry Salmonellabacteria. Thankfully the risk is somewhat reduced since Porl is only partially reptile.
  • Find out how large your Porl will get as an adult. Of course there are some known to get no bigger than a regular dog, but these are not the norm. Most Porls need quite a lot of space to roll around in.

Choosing your Porl

Get a captive bred Porl from a reputable breeder, if possible. Wild caught Porls tend to be more stressed and prone to parasites and disease, and more difficult to tame.

Porls for Beginners

If you are new to Porls, start with one of the easier species to care for and handle. All of the following are suitable for beginners:

Stick Porl. The stick Porl is cheap and cheerful and ideal for new Porl enthusiasts. It does not usually have eyes but what it lacks in substance it makes up for in personality.

No-legged Porl. These Porls are the least mobile and are therefore unlikely to run away.

Porl in a box. By far the least demanding of the Porls, this beast requires very little in the way of interaction or training. Ideal for young children or to brighten up the ambience in a school or small office.

Extrovert Porl. With minimal training, this beautiful little breed will be singing and dancing in no time. A must-have for Christmas!

Porls for Experienced Owners

In this category, Profound Porl is the most poorly misunderstood. They can be wonderfully thoughtful pets but require a good deal more space and care than a lot of owners expect. Some Porls that more experienced owners might want to consider:

Angry Porl. As the name suggests, this breed of Porl is the most vicious and dangerous, on a par with Rottweilers and Bengal cats. You may require a license to own such a Porl.

Profound Porl. The most unique of all the Porls, the Profound Porls come in a variety of shapes and sizes and due to their unique disposition are often prone to episodes of depression and self doubt. They require a lot of patience and understanding and are not suitable for those with a busy lifestyle.

Many-legged Porls. Converse to the No-legged Porls, these ones are lively and always attempting an escape. As such, they are only recommended to those with a good history of Porl keeping.

Antiporl. Not recommended.

Hybrids

Since time immemorial, mankind has been fascinated by what happens when you put this bit of this onto that bit of that, there.

This oft-simple but inspired preoccupation has led to some of the worlds most pointless yet underappreciated objects.  By combining the work and aesthetics of two into one glorious whole, the world has been enriched by:

The bean bag lap tray

Stylish

Jazz Fusion

Bill Chase

And the almighty SPORK:

The Spork

Indeed, within the realm of fantastic beasts and terrifying monsters, none are so prolific as the kaleidoscope of wild hybrid creations, like bat and human! Wolf and human! Fish and human! Horse and human! Goat and human! Ox and human! Turtle and human! Human and human! (Or vampire, werewolf, mermaid, centaur, satyr, minotaur, ninja and Julia Jekyll (yes, I know) in that order.) The imagination!

Wandering off this time-honoured path, however, we find ourselves in a land where invention is superseded by innovation – not what’s new or even convenient, but what new arrangement or purpose can be given to things that already did what they did very well but didn’t do enough different things moderately well, combining more and more ideas into one bulky, cumbersome brick or shoddy garment that doesn’t do anything very well at all, and conveniently has a working lifespan exactly equal to its novelty. This leads to a gaudy array of new-but-not-new fad items and questionable trends that fail to make any lasting imprint or meaningful contribution to the world at large. Observe:

Butt-tastic

JEGGINGS

All of the cellulite-bearing hideousness of the legging, none of the practicality of jeans! Why, society, WHY?

Here’s why: to an extent, our imagination is limited to the things we have experienced, so it’s no wonder there’s such a proliferation of technology and design that unifies two or more pre-existing concepts. While the marriage of aesthetics or functions can sometimes be both an awe-inspiring triumph of science and a breakthrough for humanity, it can also result in lazy throwing-together of two already-existing concepts in the name of new ideas (Skorts, Frappuccinos, Breakbeat Garage…why go on?) or even solutions to elusive scientific quandaries.  This slapdash mix-and-match philosophy edges us towards a twisted hybrid dystopia in which the Jetsons hobnob with the Flintstones and a photon is both a particle and a wave at the SAME TIME. Dya hear me kids? Don’t wear jeggings.

Maybe it’s just that we already have everything except the space to put it in, hence the condensing of all our vital needs like voice recognition dialling and the ability to tickle a virtual Stalin into a single tictac-sized device. But if necessity is the mother of invention, I’d say this necessitates it pretty well:

Unipant

It’s not trousers crossed with a skirt or even half some shorts, nope, that there’s trousers crossed with a SKORT which is already a hybrid. Mother mercy.

But not all hybrids are 8-megapixel cashphone cows waiting to be eMilked. Some hybrids, are things like THIS:

Manllow: half man, half pillow

You can’t even to begin to imagine just how awesome this actually is. And by awesome, I mean terrible. And by terrible, I mean look at this:

Robert

This description from the seller/creator’s etsy website:

“For all the twilight crazed lonely women in the world, Edward Cullen is finally here to be with you and only you. Sleep with him, cuddle with him, use him as a neck rest, the Edward Manllow is there to be your man and pillow all in one.”

This person is selling stuffed goods crafted into the not-quite-shape of the upper torso, neck, head and arms of Robert Pattinson of Twilight and Harry Potter fame. In this photo it appears to be  slowly dragging itself towards me with its mangled feet-hands all the while fixing me with a mixed stare of teen sulkiness and silent disgust. Imagine if you were Robert Pattinson and you came across this?! But by far the most disturbing thing about this fixed-expression, pelvically-challenged nightmare is that it’s SOLD OUT.

What does Robert Pattin-Pillow have to say about all this?

Getting cosy Manllow-style

Thought so.

While if there were a blog dedicated solely to just this sort of web tat I would be an avid subscriber, I’m aware that this is fast becoming that blog. Reel it in!

Back to Porl

So, giving these screen-printed delights a nice wide berth, we can adventure safely into the creative and philosophical realm of hybridites and marvel at the fun curios that thwart the boundaries of the possible via the medium of PhotoShop: Worth1000 Surf and Turf Contest 4

Some of these are very skilled, take this Zebra-Lionfish for example. This is a charming beast, usually spotted skulking by a B&Q shed department reeking of wood stain.

Zebra-Lionfish

Back in reality, even nature dabbles (with a bit of help): Animal hybrids

Zorse

A Zorse!

This is from the “Zorse” Wikipedia page under “Notable zorses”:

“A zorse (more accurately a zony) was born at Eden Ostrich World, Cumbria, England in 2001 after a zebra was left in a field with a Shetland pony. It was referred to as a Zetland. This was the inspiration for the 2003 ‘Song For the Zorse’ by London band The Coronets. According to local lore brown zorses have been spotted in the foot hills of the Appalachians in and around Charlottesville, Virginia.”

Really makes you think.

Sometimes when two things are mixed they manage to transcend their disparate origins and become a new thing, much like Porl. Indeed, the whole point of Porl at the time (there’s a point?!) was to argue that something with the head of this and the body of that is no longer bits of either of those two things, but a whole new thing that just happens to have those properties.

So as we wade through the sea of skorts and frappuccinos ever searching for the breakthroughs that hold a glimmer of potential or spork of interest, we hold dear the instances when things stop being a hybrid of two parts and become one better whole, like an alarm clock fused with a kettle that evolves into the sublime and retrotastic “teawaker”, or more commonly, “teasmade”. Anything that brings tea one step closer in the morning without even having to push a button gets my vote any day: 1900…

Early 1900s teawaker(How Steampunk-fabulous is this? “Automatic Teamaking Apparatus”. Delicious.)

…or present.

Teatime

Like our friend the light photon, who is not an awkward combination of two disparate theories but a something else in its own right that lacks better description, we give you, Porl, Champion amongst hybrids.

So that brings us (really, really loosely) to the main feature of the day.

In the mid-80s Disney were after a new show and set of toys to match the popularity of the height-of-fashion-at-the-time Care Bears. In a bid to create something distinctive and original, the Wuzzles were thrust upon the world: lovable freaks of nature made from bits of two different animals mushed together with human hands and no legs to speak of, just knees and feet, with names lovingly crafted from their constituent animals. This host of new characters ranged from the cute:

Bumblelion (half bee, half lion), Butterbear (half bear, half butterfly), Eleroo (half elephant, half kangeroo) and so on… (feels like we’re steering dangerously into Manllow territory)Wuzzles

…to the downright weird and awesome-sounding “Deerdillo”: half Deer and half Armadillo, “Spiraffe”: half Spider and half Giraffe, and “Pandeaver”: half Panda and half Beaver. Not to mention “Snakhorse”: half Snake and half Horse, and “Frizard”: half frog, half lizard. (If anyone has pictures of any of these I implore you to send them in. You will not be named.)

And it is here with these paragons of (in the words of their own theme song) “originality, living with a split personality” that I feel our own hybrid is worthy of honorary membership, warm and disneyfied amongst his fuzzy counterparts, facing life one cute folly at a time. In keeping with the premise, a “Porl” would have to be something like half Pony, half Squirrel, or half Porcupine, half Mole. Ouch. But, new and transcendant as he is, Porl is nothing if not composed of horsey, lizardy bits, so his options are twofold: “Horserd”, or “Liz-arse”. So, to introduce you to the Wuzzle that never wuz (ahem), ladies and gentlemen, I present:

LIZARSE

Lizarse

Half horse and half lizard, a winsome yet accident-prone fellow voiced by the stroke-suffering Costingtons clerk from The Simpsons. Springy, zany and HD-ready, Lizarse is no longer the oddest-looking chap in the room when he’s with the illustrious Wuzzles. The series may only have run for 13 episodes, but their read-along tape was bitchin’. FLANTS.

I hope hybrids crop up as a theme on the next series of QI, and that when they do, it’s just like this…

Anniversary Edition – You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

As Porl celebrates his ninth year flitting from imagination to imagination, from pen to paper, from scanner to book, from computer to blog, we’d like to invite you back for a little retrospective.

From humble beginnings etched onto lined paper in a highschool drama changing room to an idea reimagined more than 1000 times over 55 different countries, Porl has touched many people right in the soul. As an existential thought experiment he was quirky and inspiring, now as a character that is never the same twice he represents to us the spark of creativity that’s in everyone, their interpretations making him so much more than he could be if we’d never shared him or encouraged others to ask what or who they think he is. When we repeatedly see him depicted in ways that we just never would have thought of, it forces us to ask, can anything be pinned down and defined? Do we take our own ideas and perceptions for granted and think them not unique or  special? Do we forget how different another’s perception could be, when we think we have it all worked out?

So on this note, I invite you, dear reader, to perceive these. These are the first two drawings of our friend Porl, scribbled by his loving creators all those years ago in Karen’s daybook, not knowing at the time what he was to become. Perhaps you imagine they will be wild and creative images, artfully fashioned into the very essence of an intangible dream that no other being could perceive? Let’s take a look.Porl IHmmm. This would be more one of those dreams in which a strange being who insists that you spell his name P-o-r-l appears licking jam off a manhole cover being carried by bearded hawks and then turns to smile benignly at you just as you wake up craving toast and unsure if you’ll ever look at a horse the same way again.

But this is unquestionably an adorable image. Porl has just sprung into visual existence and seems to be loving every minute of it! And why wouldn’t he? Let’s move on then, to this:

Porl II

Convinced that what this creature is decidedly lacking is a big horsey neck, a second attempt is made to capture him, his lizard’s head now perched at the top of a long neck complete with mane. However, I can’t help but feel that this might have been at the expense of more attention being paid elsewhere.

He appears with an intriguing inscription, could that be “Porl?” or “Porl’s”? And if the latter, does it continue just under where he’s been cut out to say “got four of the funkiest legs I’ve ever seen on an animal and a tongue so big a chameleon wouldn’t touch it with yours”? I guess we’ll never know. But Porl has come a long way since then, a long long way indeed.  Witness:Porl by GrahamAnd just to echo a sentiment that has come up a few times, “If I’d known it was going to turn into something like this, I’d have drawn it better!!”

Hindsight is a beautiful thing.

Porl by Kevin Artists: Karen and Rachel, February 5th, 2001. Graham, Kev.

Porl’s Showbiz Chums

Celebrity responses have varied somewhat. The Queen was ‘interested’, Timmy Mallett said “Good Luck with your funny idea!” Mr. Bean had had ‘many similar requests’, and the Beckhams sent signed photos of themselves. We did, however, acquire some delightful Porls from a small handful of celebrities, including Richard O’Brien, Richard Wilson, and Bruce Forsythe.

Porl Wilson

Porl O'Brien

Porl Forsythe

Artists: Richard Wilson, Richard O’Brien and Bruce Forsythe