Archive for the ‘animals’ category

Nigel the Wise Owl…

March 28, 2017

 

Owls have long held our respect and are associated with wisdom, and they are increasingly being used as advertising icons.  Their presence in the Harry Potter movies further spiked their popularity to the extent that some misguided people sought them as pets…bad idea, at least for most people!  

Recently used memorably to sell eyewear for one company, owls have now entered the rather competitive allergy medication OTC market.  Enter then Nigel the Xyzal Wise Owl, pictured above.  This feathered guy has class; in one spot, he’s shown in a library with books, wearing a natty jacket, a monocle, and speaking with a British accent! Clearly, this guy is no flyweight, and knows his stuff; he appears to have the right credentials.

With many allergy medications having transitioned from prescription to over-the-counter status, recruiting a feathered sage with the voice of authority like Nigel might help carve out a niche for another product…

Kong:  Skull Island

March 15, 2017

Magnificent, isn’t he? – – And that’s as it should be, because it’s hard to imagine an imaginary creature with the history and pedigree of King Kong.  This is not a “monster,” but rather royalty…and from his cinematic origins in the 1930’s original, Kong has spawned a variety of movies, such as the 1976 and 2005 versions.  Nothing breeds imitation like success…

While we aren’t going back to the world of 1933 in this version, it’s set in the era of 1973, and is part King Kong reboot and part homage to such Vietnam era movies as Apocalypse Now and Platoon, complete with period cultural references.  The movie runs almost two hours, and we’re introduced to the big guy after about half an hour. Most of the human characters are two dimensional stereotypes and are basically monster chow, although such notables as John Goodman appear as a “tinfoil hat” crazy theorist. There’s lots of good mayhem, with Kong not only taking on humans but also a giant octopus and Huey gunships, one of which he spikes like a volleyball.  We visit also a gigantic water buffalo and enormous ants; Kong isn’t even the baddest creature to inhabit this lost world.

Kong:  Skull Island is also a launching pad for a “MonsterVerse” of additional but related movies which will include the re-emergence of Godzilla, and of course the inevitable battle royal between these two cinematic icons.  It should be a fun ride, and it’s playing now in theaters…

 

“Animal Apocalypse” on Monsters & Mysteries Unsolved

September 27, 2016

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Episode 10, Season 1 of Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved looked  at a global increase in animal die-offs, a phenomena referred to as the “Animal Apocalypse.”  Several examples of this were then investigated.

On New Year’s Eve 2010 in Beebe, Arkansas, blackbirds swarmed all over the town, impacting with buildings and other objects, and dropping dead on lawns and streets.  The next morning, residents found 5,000 dead birds in the city.  In a scene reminiscent of The X-Files, crews in Hazmat suits were called in, collecting the birds and taking them to a wildlife health center in Madison, Wisconsin where experts examined the bodies and found that birds were not ill but had impact injuries, dying from blunt force trauma.  The question was why had blackbirds bruised and battered their bodies in Beebe; nothing like a little alliteration to liven things up!  The best answer was that New Year’s Eve fireworks displays had scared hundreds of thousands of birds, forcing them into flight at night when the species couldn’t see, causing them to simply fly into things, which did not go well for them.  

Elsewhere in Ozark, Arkansas 80,000 drum fish were found dead along the Arkansas River. No abnormal toxins were found in the water, but examination of the fish revealed that they had over-inflated swim bladders, a condition referred to as gas bubble disease.  This condition was felt to have been caused by an abnormally high number of gate openings at a dam on the river.

Some entire species of bees are disappearing at a furious rate in a phenomena referred to as “Colony Collapse Disorder .”  Such things could pose a direct threat to the world food supply of fruits, nuts, and vegetables where pollination by bees is critical.  The mystery of the vanishing bees remains unsolved.  “White Nose Syndrome” has also ravaged bat populations in the eastern U.S., causing strange behavior such as bats flying out during the day and in winter.  Five to seven million bats were lost during the winter of 2008, with the afflicted bats showing a fungus which eroded through tissues and made them thirsty during normal hibernation times.

Time was given to a Pastor Wohlberg, who felt that species die-offs were part of Biblical end times prophesy.  By this viewpoint, it’s all a reflection of corruption of the Earth due to human immorality…

Wildlife die-offs have been noted globally, in countries that have included England, Brazil, Italy, the Philippines, and Peru.  Pandemics are likely to happen as animal diseases jump to human populations.  This occurred with the Black Death that ravaged medieval Europe, as well as with the 1918 Influenza epidemic, the West Nile virus, the Swine Flu, and others.  Pathogens getting into the human population increases every year, so we can reasonably expect more of the same in the future, with animal populations providing an advance warning.  

“Chupacabra” on “Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved”

September 6, 2016

 

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A number of series have previously dealt with the subject of the Chupacabra, and Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved in their S1/Ep07 episode also gave the topic a go.   Attacks of the “goat sucker” reportedly first started in Puerto Rico in the mid-1990’s.  Since that time, reports of the creature have come from Cuero, Texas where rancher Phyllis Canion found exsanguinated chickens and reported sighting a hairless animal with a long snout and a strange gait.  An area sheriff in August of 2008 also recorded a strange creature on his dash cam that matched that description.  Other ranchers have found dead cattle on their ranches, and one had a video of a canid-like animal with short front legs, a long snout, and gray hairless skin.

Cryptozoologist Ken Gerhard has interviewed eyewitnesses of the creature, and examined the rotting remains of an unidentified animal hit by a car; some people seem to have all of the fun at their jobs!  This corpse was taken to Texas Tech, where it was examined by anthropologist Eileen Johnson, who pronounced it neither a wolf nor a dog, and found it to be more like a coyote.  

In that a living specimen can yield better and more complete information, a group assisted by a vet was covered in their efforts to hunt and trap a Chupacabra at night.  They set up motion camera traps baited with rotted deer meat and a hapless living chicken.  The motion detector camera detected nothing unknown, and even the chicken survived to see the morning.  

Now a neighbor of the previously mentioned rancher Phyllis Canion conveniently had another carcass of an unidentified canid, and part of its tongue was sent in for DNA testing while the bulk of the carcass was taken to a vet.  The biologist who tested the sample’s DNA found that the animal was a coyote/wolf hybrid.  

Other far out theories were also touched on, including the legend as mentioned by writer Nick Redfern that the Chupacabra was some kind of alien creature.  A supposed connection between the Chupacabra and UFO sightings was brought up.  A more mundane explanation was also offered that the Chupacabra was actually a case of mistaken identify, with a Rhesus monkey on the lam thought to be the cryptid.  Dr. Robert Baker, a wildlife geneticist, seemed skeptical of the notion that the Chupacabra was capable of living on blood, saying that they would have to have specialized organs to accomplish this.  

As with other unidentified and sought after but elusive creatures, people want to believe in them.  For some, the mystery lives on…

 

 

Mooscles Jr. Applegate Commercial…

June 28, 2016

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Cows seem to be going through an advertising renaissance lately.  There are the CGI cows of the Lactaid commercials, or if you prefer, the disturbing man-cows in minimal bovine fursuits who frequent the meat department of supermarkets in the Applegate “the cleaner weiner” ads.

Now I hope that they pay these guys well…I really do! The bodybuilder cow shuffles out and asks a female shopper if she’s “looking for quality meat.” Surprised, she looks up, beholds the manly cow, and gasps, “Ahh…I think I found it!”

Yeah, you did,” responds the cow with a grin, alternately flicking his pecs in confirmation. At this point, you begin to feel that you are watching some kind of exceedingly strange, naughty movie. It’s stuff like this that can give furries a bad name…

Wow…my family prefers our beef all-natural,” adds the woman shyly. “Yeah, mine too,” agrees the cow. “Right, son?,” he adds. At this point, the camera angle changes to show another equally beefy cow barely fitting into the seat of a shopping cart. “All natural,” he chimes in.

“They grow up so quickly!,” comments the first cow about his offspring, “Mooscles Jr.” All that remains is for the announcer at the end of the commercial to add, “Moo!” The advertising world has truly grown stranger than we can imagine…

The Lactaid Cow in, “Annoying Milk”

June 1, 2016


Anthropomorphic cows  so seldom appear in commercials that I’m glad to see one make an appearance, especially when they are a bit crazed.  In a recent Lactaid commercial, we are treated to an all too brief appearance from the Lactaid Cow’s deviant sister, Lactose Cow.

Now the Lactaid Cow is a beautiful blue and white creature, and as sweet as pie; she’s lovely, and I have nothing against her.    Her “annoying milk” alter ego, as pictured above, is black and white and quite hyper, full of energy and questions that she fires off in rapid fashion at her human company.  These are questions such as, “Why do people have eyebrows?  And why do they put milk on their cereal?  Are you reading about why people put milk on their cereal right now? And why does your stomach go, ‘rumbly, rumbly, rumbly?’”  Unfortunately at that moment, this marvelous creature is lassoed and hauled off by the Lactaid Cow, who takes her place and won’t give the lactose-intolerant anything but serenity and dietary support; she won’t “mess with you.”  

Well and good, but where others see annoyance, I see opportunity.  This so-called annoying milk cow would fit in with Warner Bros. creations, and could make a wonderfully demented childrens’ show host, kind of like Pee-Wee Herman in cowhide.  She just needs the proper vehicle to propel her to stardom, and they don’t need to change a thing about her!  Heck, give her a sitcom, called something like “My Neighbor the Cow” or “The Cow that Came To Dinner”( wait, scratch that second one)!  Anyways, I’d pull up a chair to watch this bovine comedian.  I hope we haven’t seen the last of her, ’cause this cow’s no milk dud…the Lactaid Cow may have your back, but her twisted sister’s got my funnybone…

The Slack.com Animal “Team” Does Wonderful Things…

April 11, 2016


They’re quite diverse, yet they work as an office team…the CGI animals presented in a commercial for the messenger app “Slack,” that is.  Headed by a lion boss called “Geoff” who observes a prawn employee (Alan) struggling with an umbrella, the idea of a flying umbrella is born, developed, and implemented by the surreal office team which includes a beaver, goat, rabbit, owl, and sloth.  They all act in accordance with their respective species, with the sloth, for example, moving in slow motion.  The commercial spot is surreal yet captivating, and it works as does the product.

Remarkably, a “bloopers reel” is also available for the commercial, showing such deleted scenes as the prawn falling from his chair, the goat beating her keyboard to pieces with their hooves, and the prawn doing a beatbox routine following his presentation.   This is strange but wonderful stuff…