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Tony Phillips

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The German Bunny Step Maneuver

Posted: 03/16/2012 12:04 pm

There I was, at my home, wishing there were daytime re-runs of Full Metal Jousting, and my wife sends me a story to let me know that the world is far weirder than we had thought the night before, when we thought the weirdest thing in the world was the oddly uniform growth of James Spader's head. Weird though that is, try this newsy bit from our Deutsche freunde as reported by NPR's Mark Memmott:

"Wednesday at the Limbach-Oberfrohna Zoo in eastern Germany, officials were introducing their newest star to the news media when a photographer accidentally stepped on the little guy -- Til, a three-week-old earless rabbit."
This marks the third occasion upon which I have written about a rabbit and the second time I've written about a rabbit with no ears. My first story about a rabbit, indeed my Lagamorph ouvre, concerned the late Oolong, noted head performance artist from Japan who took the internet by storm earlier this century. Oolong's owner has memorialized him quite tastefully on a website free of head performance, save for the rabbit sporting a film canister as a top hat in a single photo, and that's pretty dignified actually, for a dead rabbit.

Years passed following Oolong's demise before I ran across the story of an earless rabbit supposedly born within earshot, so to speak, of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. This particular bunny's lack of ears owed nothing, say scientists, to the radioactive spume belching forth from Fukushima. Instead, its malformation is probably attributable to bad mothering. Yes, its mommy chewed its ears off.

But now comes a German entry into the odd rabbit fray -- a three-week-old kit, pup, rabbling, whatever, that might be really born without external ears and at the tender age of three weeks out he hops before an assembled throng of eager fans and damned if Lars doesn't go and plant a foot right smack on top of him. It's hard to imagine how that day could have gone much worse for the cameraman, much less the rabbit. And what of the event organizers at the Limbach-Oberfrohna Zoo who haven't had much to boast about since the installation of a new Dachshund petting kraal?

Granted, they do things differently in Saxony. Back during the Cold War, Limbach-Oberfrohna villagers celebrated the annual rite known as Harenstompen during which young rabbits, pikas, guinea pigs and spiny anteaters were herded by children through narrow streets to the steps of Stasi Headquarters where ghoul-faced Vermintroopers would drive the heels of their jackboots into the mobbed creatures for the delight of young and old. Okay, so that didn't really happen.

Well the deed is done now. One earless rabbit in the whole zoo worth bragging about and now it's a smudge. So what might the intrepid Limbach-Oberfrohna Zoo officials plan to do about their sad loss? I'm sure you've already guessed. According to one German English newspaper The Local, "The rabbit, like James Dean, a star dead before his time, has now been frozen and may be stuffed and put on display."

Stuffed and put on display, which brings me back to James Spader . . .

 

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