Rat Races in the Sky and to the Top

by Kaiser Edamame

Fact: Pigeons are sky rats. 
Sorta Fact: This may be the Year of the Rat (editor’s note: it’s not).

The Chinese are breeding sky rats for racing. More relevant to people who define everything in terms of money (e.g. everyone reading), the Chinese are dolling out hundreds of thousands of dollars for allegedly fast sky rats. 

Background on sky rat racing pulled from the internet after minutes of exhaustive research:

  • A report commissioned by Scottish National Heritage and the Scottish Homing Union found that on average 56% of racing birds released each season do not make it home.
  • PETA conducted an investigation into the practices of pigeon racing in the US (check out the video titled “The Deadliest Marathons“), finding that casualty rates came in at 60% or more among birds during races and training due to weather, predators, electrical lines, hunters, and incidents of “avian rage.” 
  • At the 2011 American Racing Pigeon Union Convention, 827 out of the original 2,294 birds returned from training flights, a solid 36%.

So hypothetically, if you buy a pigeon, enter her into a high stakes race, anesthetize her, transport her a day’s drive away, wake her up and tell her: “Figure it out buddy”, at that point, 40% of the time she will figure it out and return to the start. Pretty amazing! 60% of the time she gets lost because who wouldn’t? With the help of our trial version of Microsoft Excel 1997, our analysis suggests that the standard deviation of a pigeon’s flight time in any given race is roughly 8 hours….depending on what value you use for the 60 PERCENT OF THEM WHO NEVER COME BACK! 

What we mean is that there is no f*%$ing way to know whether a pigeon is fast or not. It’s impossible. So we aim for you to exploit this impossibility by:

  • Finding a newly wealthy son of a Chinese government official.
  • Showing him the $300,000 receipt for a pigeon you bought in an arm’s length transaction with an entity named YouYourselfSelfCo.
  • Telling him that the bird is named 888 or Crazy 8 or some crap like that — they eat up those 8’s, it’s very auspicious.
  • Forging some pigeon race victories to add to the bird’s pedigree, assuming that she didn’t happen to win her last race.
  • Selling the bird on to our Chinese friend for a cool $1 million.

Recommendation: Even though we just called the bottom, after reading about these pigeon prices we’re considering calling the top, just like we accurately called the top in 2007. But we’re not ACTUALLY calling the top, we’re just reminding you that we TOTALLY called the top last time, and we’ll keep reminding you of that until we call the top again at which point we’ll REALLY remind you of it. Success breeds success. The Chinese are breeding racing sky rats. Enough said.

Long: Falcons who eat pigeons
Short: Chinese steel consumption

Ad Sense Ad Sense


  1. Rob
    March 11th, 2015 | 8:10 am

    The Asian investor market can be fickle and/or crafty. Their state owned banks, not so much. I would recommend finding a pliable appraiser, having your street-captured pigeon appraised at a value in the $888,888 range, then pledging it as collateral for a non-recourse loan from the Bank of China. If necessary, they can keep the pigeon in their vault. Pigeons are like housing, they only appreciate in value. Actually, see if you can reverse mortgage the pigeon.

  2. March 11th, 2015 | 10:35 am

    What I would give to reverse mortgage a sky rat and sell it on to a Chinese banks. Reverse Sky Rat Mortgage Originations here I come!

  3. Rob
    March 11th, 2015 | 1:40 pm

    Wait, I have a way to cut out the wild card appraiser in this. Combine that with Step #2. Have an arm’s length entity you own appraise the sky rat.

  4. March 12th, 2015 | 2:29 pm

    Now you’re thinking! Michael Milken or Bernard Madoff would be proud. See a problem? Recast it as a way to make even more money!

    “SelfCo Valuations — We know you like you know yourself because we are yourself shhhh”

  5. Sage Kelly
    March 14th, 2015 | 1:14 am

    Finally, you’re back. Please start writing more often. Your efforts do not go unappreciated. I check up on this site more than I check up on my kids.

  6. January 15th, 2016 | 8:36 pm

    We will write more often, Sage, so that you can stop spending any time with your kids. Matt Levine can only do so much.