Tag: fake news

People On Social Media Think A Cat Is Helping Ukrainian Soldiers Dodge Russian Sniper Fire

According to the legend of the “Panther of Kharkiv,” a vengeful house cat has been using his superior feline vision to spot the telltale red laser dots from sniper scopes and warn Ukrainian soldiers they’re targets before snipers can get off a shot.

I imagine it goes something like this:

“Dude, there’s a red dot on your face.”

“You said that 42 times in the last hour.”

“Well, it’s true. Give me my treat as a reward, otherwise I might forget to inform you next time.”

“If I find out you’re lying…”

“Treat, now! Thanks…Mmmm, that’s good. Oh look, there’s another red dot on your head! Quick, take cover and give me another snack!”

Either that or kitty is just launching himself at Ukrainian foreheads, chasing the ever elusive red dot.

Of course you don’t need us to tell you this viral social media story is nonsense, do you?

ukrainian-army-cat
Mmmmm, Elmer’s!

Hundreds of thousands of people have proven themselves more credulous, and continue to share the Panther of Kharkiv posts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, TikTok and other platforms despite warnings that the story isn’t true. The accompanying photo, while real, is from 2018.

“Complete garbage,” is how Liam Collins, a West Point faculty member and former defense advisor to Ukraine, put it.

Others see these stories as evidence of new frontiers for psychological operations, propaganda and counter-propaganda.

Psy-ops have long been a part of war, from Alexander the Great’s armies leaving giant-size helmets and breastplates in the ruins of conquered cities to seed tales of impossible huge — and unbeatable — Greek invaders, to a CIA-devised plan to drop condoms on Soviet territory.

“Condoms?!?” you ask. “How exactly do condoms help a war effort?”

Because they were intentionally manufactured in ludicrously huge sizes marked “Medium” and “Small” with “MADE IN USA” prominently stamped on the packaging, which would be left for the enemy to discover and, the thinking went, to kill their morale. (There are also reports that US psyops left footlong condoms on the Ho Chi Minh trail in Vietnam, leading terrified Vietcong to hide their women.)

And, famously, US Army psyops drove around in up-armored Humvees during 2004’s bloody battle of Fallujah, blasting the South Park creators’ “America, F— Yeah!” from military sound systems as Marines engaged insurgent forces.

The point is to raise friendly morale, destroy enemy morale, or both, and it makes perfect sense that psyops would move into the digital domain in a war in which cyber warfare has become a major part of the hostilities.

The Panther of Kharkiv, like tall tales of wars past, collapses under scrutiny.

As Snopes correctly notes, snipers don’t actually use little red laser dots. Not only would they be counter-productive at the distances snipers work, when things like atmospheric conditions and wind speed come into play, but using lasers would alert the enemy that they’re being targeted and give away the location of the sniper(s).

The entire point of a sniper is to take out targets over long distances without giving themselves away. They’re not equipped for routine firefights, and the last thing they want is to be stuck somewhere relying on a sidearm while riflemen flank them. That’s asking to get killed.

The second absurdity is the idea that cats can be reliably trained to do anything of military value. The CIA already tried that in the 1960s with Project Acoustic Kitty, when they outfitted cats with listening devices and released them in the vicinity of Soviet targets in an attempt to eavesdrop on their conversations.

Twenty million dollars, a few years and several failed attempts later, the CIA concluded training cats as spies was “not practical.” The problem, of course, is that you can train cats all you want, and maybe the cats even have the best intentions, but then…Oh hai is that a bird? Is that a bird? Yes, it is! I’m chasing the bird! Wait, birdie! Oooh, what’s this on the ground? A bag with a half-eaten burger? How delicious! …

Cats are easily distracted, easily bored, driven to do their own thing, and not really open to suggestions when it comes to telling them where they should walk or lounge.

The Panther of Kharkiv joins The Ghost of Kyiv as a creation of social media, wish-fulfillment figures of legend for the age of information. The latter has been earning praise as a supposed ace fighter pilot who has been terrorizing Russian Su-35 pilots from the cockpit of a Soviet-era MiG-29.

A surprisingly realistic video of the legendary pilot has been making the rounds on social media, but the footage is actually from Digital Combat Simulator (DCS) World, a game made by developers so obsessive that they even model things like the effect of recoil from mounted guns on aircraft operation.

In the viral video, a Su-35 screams overhead as two Ukranians chatter in the background. A shaky camera tracks the jet until a missile fired from out of the frame blasts it to pieces. The MiG-29 follows a millisecond later, dipping its wings in a celebratory gesture as one of the observers says “Oh shit!”

When a simulator looks like this, it’s easier to understand how people could mistake out-of-context, long-range footage for the real thing:

Now if you put a cat in that footage, wearing goggles and flying wing, people would know it’s fake. On second thought, maybe they wouldn’t.

Queen Elizabeth Creates Buddy 1st Earl of Budderset

Feeling the loss of her husband, Prince Phillip, and celebrating her first Christmas without him in more than 70 years, Queen Elizabeth II turned to her friend, Sir Buddy, for friendship over the holidays.

Now she’s elevated the friendly tabby cat, creating him the 1st Earl of Budderset, a new peerage conceived specifically in his honor. Sir Buddy will henceforth be known as Lord Buddy, enjoying all the privileges and prestige that come with being a member of the British aristocracy. He’ll also enjoy the alternate style Count Buddy of Budderset.

“This is an unprecedented honor not only for a feline, but for anyone,” said Gavin Northbridge, a royal observer and author of Your Highness: The Royal Family’s Favorite Marijuana Strains. “It’s clear the Queen loves Lord Buddy and values his counsel dearly. As a generous monarch, she’s able to reward his loyalty in ways commoners are simply unable.”

The elevation in ranks entitles Buddy to London apartments as well as a country estate in Budderset. Buddington House, the new ancestral home of the Buddinese clan, boasts 68 rooms and no doors, as well as amenities including prime window perches, sisal-wrapped couches and a staff of 11 to see to Lord Buddy’s needs.

“His Lordship is a kind employer,” said Snarls Carson, Buddington House’s butler. “All of the servants, including the maids, footman, valet and chef, love working for His Lordship and maintaining Buddington House as the grand estate it’s meant to be.”

Mrs. Catmore, the resident chef at Buddington House, said the Earl is a “demanding lord,” but she’s honored to serve such an important role in his household.

“Orders for snacks are constantly coming from upstairs,” Mrs. Catmore said. “Me and Daisy can barely keep up. If this continues, we’re going to have to hire another girl. His Lordship needs his snacks!”

Budderset House
A statue of Earl Buddy, First Earl of Budderset, on the grounds of Budderset House. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Lord Buddy is also bringing new twists to the old traditions of British aristocracy. While small game hunting has been one of the preferred leisure time sporting activities of the nobility, the Earl of Budderset has introduced a new game: Instead of hunting foxes, the participants hunt the hounds who would normally help them flush out foxes, pheasants and quail.

The Earl’s version of the hunt also eschews firearms in favor of Super Soakers, and instead of doing physical harm to the dogs, the participants capture and then insult their quarry, with prizes awarded to those who deploy the cleverest insults.

By throwing lavish feasts known for magnificent wine and tables laden with turkey of all flavors and variety, His Lordship has become popular in London society circles, according to royal expert Thomas J. Mace Archer-Mills, Esq.

“The Earl is on the tip of every tongue from Kensington Gardens to Piccadilly Cirus,” said Mace Archer-Mills, author of Royal Bakeology: The Queen’s Favorite Biscuits.

With Lord Buddy’s rapid ascent to knighthood and earldom, some royal observers speculate the queen’s favorite cat could yet climb to even more lofty heights. In the fallout from Prince Andrew’s association with the late disgraced billionaire Jeffrey Epstein — and a civil settlement with one of his accusers — the former royal’s royal patronage and military titles have been vacated, and he’s no longer entitled to styles of address like “His Royal Highness.”

That could open more doors for Lord Buddy.

“Is a future Duke Buddy in the cards? One mustn’t be too hasty with assumptions,” said Devon Camden Dankworth, author of Grand Tyromancy: The Royal Family’s Secret History of Cheese Divination. “But given his lordship’s meteoric rise and the favor he enjoys with the queen and future king, one would be a fool if one were to dismiss the possibility.”

Netflix’s ‘Inventing Anna’ Reveals Friendship Between Anna Delvey And Buddy The Cat

NEW YORK — Anna Delvey said she was at a low point when she crossed paths with Buddy the Cat at a party one night.

“So many of my friends were so disappointing,” Delvey says. “When people show up to a party looking poor or fat, and they’re not wearing designer clothes, it’s a huge buzzkill.”

But Buddy, who was a guest of Princess Charlotte Marie Pomeline Casiraghi of Monaco, was clearly someone who understood style and luxury and moved in the exclusive circles Delvey frequented.

“I was like ‘Oh my God, you know [Monegasque designer] Pauline Ducruet?” Delvey recalls. “Buddy had just arrived with Felix [Finch, editor of the Trafalgar Review of Books]. He knew all the right people, was at the best parties and always knew when to leave before unattractive people showed up.”

On the night she met Buddy, Delvey says she was already shaken by a woman who showed up to a film festival afterparty wearing clothes from Target when her group faced another setback: The maître d’ at Dorsia had double booked their reservation, so they were forced to head to Espacé on the upper west side.

“I was on the verge of tears when we arrived at Espacé, since I was positive we wouldn’t get a decent table,” Delvey recalls. “But we did, and relief washed over me in an awesome wave.”

It turned out Buddy knew the maître d’ at Espacé and was able to secure a table by slipping him two crisp $100 bills.

“Friends like that,” Delvey says, “are worth keeping around.”

Anna Delvey and Buddy the Cat
Delvey, center, with Buddy at New York Fashion Week in 2018. Credit: Netflix

Delvey’s roster of friends was whittled down to just a handful when she was arrested in 2018 and charged with defrauding various luxury hotels, spas, boutique shops and bankers out of more than $300,000. She was also on the verge of securing a $22 million loan from Cavendish Holdings, ostensibly to open a VIP arts club, when authorities caught up with her and charged her with multiple counts of wire fraud, grand larceny and tampering with financial records.

Delvey’s story was immortalized in a 2019 New Yorker piece which went viral and, with the premiere of Netflix’s Inventing Anna miniseries just 10 days ago, millions of people are now privy to almost every sordid detail of Delvey’s long con, in which she presented herself as a fabulously wealthy German heiress sitting on a $60 million trust fund.

The now-convicted former socialite, whose real name is Anna Sorokina, moved in the highest echelons of New York society for more than two years. She quickly made a name for herself after arriving in New York from Paris, where she’d interned at fashion magazine Purple, and soon worked her way into the orbit of celebrities, famous designers and even royalty.

Like Delvey, the source of Buddy’s wealth was shrouded in mystery.

“I think he was some sort of poultry oligarch,” said stylist Ronaldo Chen. “Vast holdings in eastern Europe, turkey farms, wineries and hotels.”

Bud and Anna
Delvey often took Buddy on her shopping sprees. Friends said she valued the feline’s astute fashion observations. Credit:

Others said he was a Youtuber and vlogger who helped popularize the wildly popular genre of unboxing videos, while some people said he was a tech bro raising venture capital.

“He comes from old money just like Anna does,” said French socialite Marinus. “House Buddeaux is one of the oldest catnip families west of the Seine.”

Episode 11 of the Netflix hit details the now-infamous party 2017 in Budapest at which Delvey is alleged to have made off with more than $150,000 of the Duke of Sandringham’s diamonds and left Buddy with more than $30,000 in hotel charges.

Still, there are apparently no hard feelings between the two.

“Buddy is a genius, bitches,” Delvey told Vogue last summer in a jailhouse interview. “I was surrounded by genius and now I’m here, wearing a horrid jumpsuit, locked up with basic bitches. My cellmate says she’s serving a life sentence for stabbing her cheating boyfriend, and I was like ‘Why are you being so dramatic?'”

CatPeople Magazine Names Buddy 2022’s Sexiest Cat Alive!

A new year, a new milestone.

Acknowledging overwhelming demand — along with a letter-writing campaign and an online petition with 4.3 million signatures — CatPeople magazine named Buddy the Sexiest Cat Alive for 2022.

The cover of the new issue, which was already flying off stands in its first day on sale, features the “really, really ridiculously good looking” feline in close-up as he smolders in front of the camera. Fear not, ladies: The issue also includes a 12-page photo spread with plenty of photos of the furry beefcake showing off his considerable meowscles.

buddy_catpeople_edited

“I’ve reached a point in my life where I feel balance,” Buddy told the magazine. “My career as a model is going really well, I’ve become a bankable action star and I eat as much turkey as I want. Life is good.”

The one thing missing from Buddy’s life so far is love. But with millions of posters of the handsome feline adorning the walls of kitten and adult cat bedrooms alike all over the world, it only seems a matter of time before Buddy meets his match.

The silver tabby, who fields more than 600 letters and marriage proposals from female admirers each week, told CatPeople he’s still waiting for “that special lady” to come along — perhaps a Calico, a Tortoiseshell or a fellow tabby. He also counts tigresses and jaguaresses among his most vocal supporters and was recently seen holding paws with a glamorous and mysterious young Brazilian jaguarundi.

In the meantime audiences can’t get enough of Buddy, and he’ll return to cinemas later this month in The Turkening II: No Harm No Fowl opposite Penélope Mewz, while a long-awaited summer romcom will see him paired with Meowla Kunis.

Buddy Snacks!
Buddy is the face of 44 different snacks in Japan, earning him a cool 1.4 billion ¥ in 2021.

Admirers can also catch Bud in commercials for his new line of cat food, a fashion collaboration with rapper P-Awz, and a range of products in Japan, where Buddy is a popular pitchman for Japanese favorites like Kameda Seika’s turkey-flavored barbecue potato chips, Lotte’s milk-chocolate covered salmon, Meiji’s beef-flavored dipping sticks, and Uniqlo’s urban feline line of street wear.

What’s next for the multi-talented moggie?

Buddy says he plans to pen an autobiography in the near future, and he’s working on his debut album, Napping in the Moonlight, on Tails Up Records. But on a recent afternoon he was just enjoying a low key lunch with his agent in Hollywood when a group of young admirers spotted him and asked for pawtographs, for which he happily obliged.

One of those admirers, a Siamese named Cleo, nearly fainted when Buddy handed his pawtographed photo back to her.

“My friends aren’t gonna believe this!” she said. “This is going up right now on my Meower profile!”

Read more in this week’s issue of CatPeople, available now.

Bud Celebrates 7,000th Frantic Meowing At Bathroom Door

NEW YORK — Buddy the Cat celebrated a historic milestone on Wednesday, marking the 7,000th time he’s meowed frantically outside the bathroom door as his human, Big Buddy, used the facilities.

“Over the years I’ve really perfected my routine, yowling like a mad cat and scratching at the bathroom door with such urgency that you’d think there was a murderous psychopath walking menacingly toward me and sharpening his blades,” Buddy told reporters. “I’ve been blessed and honored to carry on this fine tradition since kittenhood, and to make sure my Big Buddy has not a moment of peace inside the human litterbox unless I’m in there too  In which case he doesn’t get peace anyway because, well, it’s fun to annoy him.”

The silver tabby explained that meowing outside a bathroom “is more of an art form than a science,” and claimed that not just any cat could meow as pitifully and frantically as he’s able to do.

“It takes a lot more practice and skill than you’d think,” he said. “You can’t just yowl and expect results. Sometimes you have to reach under the door frame so your human sees your little paws searching for reassurance as you cry. Sometimes you have to start your meows soft and build to a yowling crescendo. It’s powerful emotional manipulation and should be part of every cat’s repertoire.”

According to the Bureau of Buddy Statistics, the silver tabby spends approximately 48 seconds inside the bathroom, on average, before meowing to be let out again. In 37 percent of cases, he’s meowed his way into and out of the bathroom at least twice during a single session.

After a frustrating stretch of almost six days in which his human was away, Buddy was able to reach his milestone on Wednesday with the return of Big Buddy.

“I’d like to thank my human,” Buddy said. “Without him, none of this would be possible. Yeeeeeooooowwww!”