Geico’s “Pipes Are Making Strange Noises” Commercial

Posted January 12, 2021 by vulpesffb
Categories: absurdities, advertising, commercials, humor, television, twisted reality

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Many are the travails of new homeowners visited in Geico commercials; clogging problems, RATT problems, fencing problems…and now we have people for whom their “pipes are making strange noises.”  These “noises” we are shown are made by none less than an authentic bagpiper, complete in traditional Scottish attire, and playing his pipes loudly in such locations as under the kitchen sink, behind the water heater, in the bathtub, and…horrors…in the occupied bed of the couple!  

 

Not even the plumber can help these poor people, who utters the single word “Nope!” upon encountering the piping piper, who plays the same refrain over and over.  Now people tend to either love or hate the sound of bagpipes.  Some find the sound stirring or haunting, although I imagine a repetitious refrain such as is played might get old pretty fast.  No jigs are danced in response to the bag piping shown here, although this might have been a nice addition. And wouldn’t “The Masked Bagpiper” be a great new show on the Fox network?  I can see the choreography now, lads and lasses…Everybody Highland Fling, now! 

Unanswered are such questions as to why the bagpiper is haunting this house.  Did the bagpiper lose his lassie?  And should Lassie come home?  And when the time comes to “pay the piper,” are his rates reasonable?  Does the piper have a “greatest hits” album, every cut of which sounds the same?  Inquiring minds want to know.  Anyways, Geico makes bundling your insurance easy, even if home ownership is not.  And please, no bag piping after ten, oh Danny boy…

(disclaimer:  No Scots were harmed in the making of this commercial.  Your ears are another matter…)

 

 

History’s Greatest Mysteries, Roswell: Parts 2 & 3

Posted January 2, 2021 by vulpesffb
Categories: aliens, historical, speculation, strange happenings, unexplained

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Happy New Year, intrepid explorers!  History’s Greatest Mysteries on the History channel has now devoted three episodes to their investigation of the Roswell incident in 1947, and for the sake of conciseness and brevity, I’m going to combine discussion of S1, Ep. 6 and 7 here, as they represent fully four hours of airtime.


The second episode in the series (S1 Ep. 6) was titled, Roswell: The First Witness – The Memo. The investigation by History Channel was headed by former CIA operative Ben Smith, who did provide some new or at least lesser known information. For one thing, two sites are involved in the Roswell incident, one the “debris field” on the rancher’s land, and the other an impact site 25 miles away where the alleged UFO finally came to rest after “skimming” the intervening distance like a stone in a damaged condition. The impact site is where it really gets interesting as there were said to be both debris and alien bodies located there.  General Ramey referred to in the episode title is seen in photos as holding a folded memo that may have referenced bodies recovered.


Now Jesse Marcel, the first government witness on the site, claimed in a 1980 TV interview that he had been forced to lie about Roswell. A body language expert consulted on the footage did not find Jesse Marcel’s testimony to be deceptive, and said that he believed what he was saying. Other officers have testified as well to the presence of alien bodies, which were spirited away by the government to Hanger 84. The Ballard Funeral Home in the area contended to have provided three child-sized coffins for the transport of said remains, but were rebuffed in their efforts for further information. The military attributed a disc supposedly recovered as a misidentified Mogul weather balloon, and this remains the standard official explanation.


Jesse Marcel’s journal was found by a handwriting specialist not to be written by Jesse himself, yet it was considered important enough to him that it was carefully preserved for decades among his possessions. Cryptographers failed to discern any decipherable “code” in the journal, although the presence of a private encryption code remains possible, one which may have been developed by and was known to only someone in Jesse’s “inner circle” in the 509th bomber group. Efforts to identify who that person might have been were stymied by limited samples of handwriting available known to be that of specific people; in some cases, only a signature was available and confirmed.

The third episode in the series (S1 Ep7) titled Roswell: The First Witness – The Writer looked at the interactions of Jesse Marcel with his family and others that he trusted, revealing that he told the same story with the same details to such individuals. He was open with his grandchildren and cousins, and even drew a picture of an alien that he had supposedly seen. That picture did not survive, but a family member drew a picture of the picture, the image resembling a classic “alien gray.”  Pieces of debris had reportedly been stashed in a water heater in the house that Jesse occupied at the time, but that house has since been sold outside of the family, and its new owners would not permit inspection of the property when approached by the investigative team; one can hardly blame them.  Upon viewing the debris field wreckage, Jesse repeatedly told others that it was “not of this world.”

The final episode also incorporated consultations with an accident site investigator, who felt that whatever crashed into the terrain wasn’t lightweight, and that “scarring” of the ground observed couldn’t have come from a weather balloon. Strange magnetic signatures were found in the area of the crash site, which could have been caused by a plastic or neoprene layer, which would favor the weather balloon explanation. Alien “bodies” and their removal reported by local people had been explained away by the government as experimental crash test dummies dropped from aircraft to research pilot exit and survival procedures.

A private but earnest UFO investigator in New Mexico who had studied the phenomena for 20 years contended that seven UFO crashes had occurred in the general area over several years due to high powered radar in use in the area by the military base that caused short circuits or something similar in the unknown craft.  His father had owned the bar where the rancher had initially come following discovery of the debris on his fields. The private investigator had joined a team combing the sites in question and had samples of unknown debris, but a piece taken for analysis could not be determined to be otherworldly. 


While it could not be conclusively determined who wrote the journal possessed by Jesse Marcel, the base adjutant Patrick Saunders seemed to be a likely candidate. He was in charge of assigning troops to clean up the debris field, and his daughter when interviewed said he knew that the debris wasn’t a weather balloon. Her father was also described as being involved in the subsequent cover-up and even file alteration.


Why then had so many people possibly participated in apparent misrepresentations and a cover-up? Government threats reported to their careers, safety, and even families were powerful motivators. Military people tend as well to have a strong sense of duty, of obeying superiors, and of protecting the country. As Jesse Marcel is reported to have repeatedly said, “there are things that this world is not ready for.” 

While no physical evidence of a UFO incursion or any “smoking guns” were found in the investigation, regardless of personal beliefs one is left with the impression that many key players in the Roswell incident carried a great and terrible secret about which they were both troubled and conflicted…

 

“The Masked Dancer” Arrives…

Posted December 27, 2020 by vulpesffb
Categories: absurdities, anthropomorphic, Brilliant but twisted, fantasy, furry, furry television, television

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Whoever would have thought that an oddball show like The Masked Singer would prove so popular as to inspire a spin-off show, namely The Masked Dancer?  The new series, beginning December 27th on Fox after NFL football, will be much like Singer but without the song, and of course far more kinetic…gotta dance, gotta dance, woo! 

Now the costumes on Masked Singer often tended to be both massive and relatively inflexible, in some cases so much so that the contestants sometimes could do little more than stand there or move slightly.  Were they to really dance, participants might have fallen over or literally lost their heads, which would have been humorous and entertaining but undignified for the celebrities involved.  There were exceptions…among others, Wayne Brady, the winner of one season’s competition as The Fox, managed to demonstrate some pretty impressive dance moves, even orchestrating dance breaks with his back-up dancers.  He made me feel proud to be vulpine…


But The Masked Dancer is all about dance, and will feature extravagant but flexible costumes and oddball characters including for Season 1 Disco Ball, Ice Cube, and a number of furry characters, including the dazzling Zebra… 

Now it probably will be easier to identify the costumed celebrities based on their normal voices, and Paula Abdul is on the panel as the resident dance specialist familiar with many favored styles.  Dr. Ken Jeong will be there as a cross-over panelist from The Masked Singer.  Gotta love the guy, even if he’s occasionally annoying with his “I know who this is!” routines.  The series will also incorporate Ellen DeGeneres, who inspired the new series with popular masked dancer segments on her show. 

So you may want to give The Masked Dancer a look, although the character of Hammerhead may haunt your nightmares.  Then again, we’ve almost made it through 2020 at this point, so we don’t scare easily anymore…

 

Temptations Cat Treats and Holiday Catsequences…

Posted December 25, 2020 by vulpesffb
Categories: absurdities, advertising, commercials, furry, furry commercials, television

Tags: ,

Cats and kids just about rule the internet when it comes to the “Aww” factor; combine the two elements with a Xmas backdrop, however, and you can get something within a whisker of a Stephen King short horror story…

In our Temptations cat treats commercial, a curious boy is shown shaking a wrapped Xmas present by the family tree, making a sound that sounds all too similar to a cat treat container being shaken.- – Too late!  “A shake is all it takes,” and a multitude of cats pour into the room, chasing the boy down a darkened, holiday-festooned street, and there must be dozens, nay, hundreds of the felines in pursuit!

Our pre-adololescent boy barely stays in advance of the kitty horde, and we are not shown the outcome of the chase.  Some things it is perhaps better not to know, as it might not be pretty when the cats upon cornering the boy realize that he does not in effect carry treats; there might be catsequences, you see.  Draw your own ending, but the accompanying soundtrack of “Carol of the Bells” always did carry a note of darkness and menace to me, and I like to retain a bit of Halloween with me year-round.

So be careful what you shake this holiday season, however you may regard and celebrate it.  Do commemorate it safely, and best wishes of the season to all readers from Foxsylvania!

History’s Greatest Mysteries – Roswell: The First Witness – The Journal

Posted December 15, 2020 by vulpesffb
Categories: aliens, historical, mysteries, paranormal, strange happenings, unexplained

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The History’s Greatest Mysteries series is for me a mixed bag, with some episodes being captivating, and others less so unless you have a riveting personal interest in the topic under consideration such as D.B. Cooper or John Wilkes Booth.  The individual episodes are all rather expanded by most television standards for similar fare, clocking in at a movie-length two hours. Still, when the topic gets around to possibly new information on Roswell, the mother of all UFO sagas, my interest is definitely piqued, and I’m along for the ride.  That ride began with the Season 1, Episode 5 episode of History’s Greatest Mysteries titled, Roswell:  The First Witness – The Journal.

While what happened that July morning in 1947 in New Mexico will likely always be controversial and probably unknowable, we are left with the fact of rancher Bill Brazel finding his field littered with a massive amount of strange and unusual wreckage.  He wondered whose responsibility it would be to clean the wreckage up, and noted that his livestock avoided the debris field.  We animals have instincts about such things, ‘ya know! The rancher presented some of the wreckage to sheriff George Wilcox, who suggested reporting it to the military.

The first official military man on the crash scene was Jesse A. Marcel, an intelligence officer, who privately is reported to have thought that the debris was not of this world, and showed pieces of it to his wife and son, apparently retaining some.  The metal pieces were light but strong, and had shape-retaining characteristics when efforts were made to crush them.  Fiber optic-type filaments were also recovered that were unknown at the time, as were I-beam items with strange, hieroglyphic-type inscriptions on them. While the local authorities initially leaked stories that the military had a “disc” in its possession, the story was soon recanted and replaced by a government military version that the wreckage was nothing more than fragments of a weather balloon.  Jesse Marcel was reportedly sworn to secrecy by the military, and forced to participate in a cover-up.  Local residents were also reportedly warned to keep quiet about the incident or be charged with treason; surviving locals of the time continue to be tight-lipped, but generally convey that there’s more to the incident than the official account; they won’t talk, but will give you under the table a name of someone who will.  Mac Brazel, the son of the rancher, was said to have been forced to give up what crash debris he possessed, and to keep quiet or face imprisonment.  Agents appearing for retained debris reportedly said they wouldn’t take it from the family, but wouldn’t leave without it.  

Now Jesse Marcel kept a private handwritten journal which was cryptic, with speculation made that it may have held coded clues as to what actually transpired in the Roswell investigation.  The History Channel investigative team led by Ben Smith, a former CIA operative, consulted a forensic document examiner, who found that the document was genuine, and entirely written by Marcel. 

Using a magnetometer and ground-penetrating radar, team geophysicists investigated the Roswell debris field scene, finding a patch of ground with a high magnetic reading, a distinct anomaly. In a future upcoming episode, possible hidden clues in the journal and other questions regarding the Roswell incident will be further considered.  The History Channel investigation is hampered by incident details being strewn over three generations of people, with many key players being deceased and hard evidence not available. Whatever beliefs one may have about the veracity of the government’s account of Roswell, the eyes of Jesse Marcel as he poses with the “weather balloon wreckage” in the vintage photograph below appear to speak volumes…


 

FanDuel Sportbook’s “Payout Falcon”

Posted December 10, 2020 by vulpesffb
Categories: advertising, animal elements, avian, commercials, feathered friends, furry, furry commercials, twisted reality

Tags: , ,

FanDuel Sportsbook is an on-line gaming company that in a recent commercial shows the lengths they’re willing to go to in order to deliver your winnings as quickly as possible to you; they’ve trained a peregrine falcon to deliver your winnings, on the fly as it were.  The falcon swoops down to the splendid outdoor location of a patron who retrieves his winnings from a tube attached to the bird’s leg, and before departing, the falcon swipes the guy’s sandwich, taking it with him for his return flight!

“Honey, I’ve come into some money,” the man tells his presumed off-screen wife.  “And I’m going to need a new sandwich!”  Undoubtedly, some will raise objections about this commercial.  Should the guy pictured be gambling?  And should his wife tell him to make his own damn sandwich?  He does have legs, after all…

I, for one, champion the peregrine falcon, who at least gets a sandwich as the wages of his forced servitude…fly free, magnificent bird!

Geico’s “Clogging,” “RATT,” and “Fencing” Commercials…

Posted November 30, 2020 by vulpesffb
Categories: advertising, alternative realities, Brilliant but twisted, commercials, television, twisted reality

Tags: , ,


Geico Insurance has a keen sense of the surreal in life in a number of their recent commercials featuring generally happy homeowners with a fly in the ointment, something like the RATT problem, the Clogging problem, or the Fencing problem.

Modern life can be anything but easy if you’ve got the ’80’s hair-metal band RATT performing loudly upstairs, or perhaps a family of never-stopping clog dancers, or neighbors who fence with foils intrusively through your house and garden.  We’ve got to expect such things, I suppose, in this very atypical and challenging year of 2020…

The cloggers are the real-life Tucker family out of Utah performing their percussive dance, even while eating pasta or brushing their teeth; an art form can permeate every aspect of your existence, you see.  Media exposure was good for revitalizing the career of RATT, who are once again on the charts for their hit, Round and Round. And who knows, fencing may even surge in popularity in the U.S. from seeing the white-clad couple battle their way amicably through their neighbor’s property!  Think conflict resolution and fewer divorces…

 At least Geico makes bundling your car and homeowners insurance easy, and you can save money.  For other things, you’re pretty much on your own, but there’s always a life coach or Dr. Phil…  

 

“History’s Greatest Mysteries” on The History Channel

Posted November 14, 2020 by vulpesffb
Categories: aliens, alternative realities, controversial, mysteries, paranormal, strange happenings, unexplained

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If you, like myself, are drawn to strange stuff, and might confess to watching an occasional episode of MonsterQuest or Ancient Aliens, you might be interested in a new show scheduled to debut on The History Channel in my area Saturday night November 14th at 9:00 p.m., History’s Greatest Mysteries.  Featuring Laurence Fishburne who will both host and narrate, the series will get into some of the strange and loose ends of history, such as the Roswell incident, the Shackleton Expedition, the sinking of the Titanic, and similar stories. 

The first episode will get into the strange story of hijacker D.B. Cooper.  While not all episodes are likely to be equally intriguing, they’re going to have three episodes alone on Roswell, for cripes sake!  I’ll withhold my coveted Pawprint of Approval rating until I’ve actually seen a few episodes, but History Channel usually does have good production values, and this new series just might be worth a look… 

 

 

VRChat Furry Hangouts!

Posted November 13, 2020 by vulpesffb
Categories: absurdities, anthropomorphic, art imitating life, Brilliant but twisted, fantasy, furries, furry, furry interest, twisted reality

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When Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani erroneously booked the Four Seasons Total Landscaping business instead of the Four Seasons hotel in Philadelphia for a press conference, hilarity ensued as furries recreated a virtual reality version of the business complete with Trump campaign trappings on VRChat, and populated it with themselves as a hang-out! 

The virtual reality recreation of the event location is spot-on with great attention to detail, complete with Trump campaign posters plastering the outer wall, and even the podium at which Giuliani not-so-memorably spoke.  Instead of dour-faced Trump reality deniers populating the site, however, it is now virtually inhabited by furry avatars who can move about within the location while conversing with their fellows.  Truly, lemonade has been made from lemons, and art imitates life!

Talk even exists about expanding the site to include the adjoining real-life properties of a sex shop and a crematorium, which would make it truly a commentary on the human experience.  I wonder as well if Four Seasons Total Landscaping would offer attractive rates on raking up and disposing of my blasted leaves, since yard work is hardly one of my favorite things to do… 

 

“Real Vampires” on MonsterQuest…

Posted November 6, 2020 by vulpesffb
Categories: controversial, creature features, historical perspectives, Mythology, paranormal, Questionably creepy, unexplained

Tags: ,

 
We can’t all be vampires, much less Dracula…some of us are just children of the night, and I can live with that.  It’s not that I dislike vampires, it’s just that I’m much more of a werewolf guy! Besides, we children of the night have a hell of a band, being know for our music.  Alright, now we’re just a garage band, but watch for our breakout album…

…that being said, MonsterQuest recently aired a new episode titled, Real Vampires.  Now vampiric legends exist in 95% of human cultures, with the oldest originating thousands of years ago in China and India.  Kali the Hindu goddess was one such example.  A word of warning that some gruesome things covered in the episode follow…

Flashing forward to more modern times, we have the case of “JB,” who was buried in the 1800’s in Willington, Connecticut.   His remains were accidentally discovered in 1990, and his body exhumed due to its unusual condition, which included the remains being mutilated, with the corpse decapitated, the ribs broken, and the thighbones disarticulated and placed into an “X” formation on the chest…some people thought that they were destroying a vampire here.  Modern forensic investigations found that the poor soul had suffered tuberculosis, revealed in the thickening of his rib bones.  Terminal tuberculin victims cough up blood towards the end of the disease progression, which to the unenlightened may have suggested a blood feeder rather than a disease victim.

New England vampiric beliefs likely came from eastern Europe, where in Hungary in the 16th century, Countess Elizabeth Bathory,  the “Blood Countess,” was obsessed with maintaining her fading youth and lured young girls into her service over a twenty  year period of time, later torturing and killing them and bathing in and drinking their blood; she would be convicted of 80 counts of murder, and is thought to have been one of the most prolific female serial killers in history.  In 1784, the Johnson children were exhumed to presumably break a vampire curse, which often involved removing and burning or destroying internal organs of the deceased.  Years before Bram Stoker wrote Dracula, a woman called Mercy Brown in 1892 was exhumed two months after her death due to suspected vampirism, and had her heart cut out, burned to ashes, and fed to her brother, the gruesome ritual failing to prevent his death from tuberculosis, then called “consumption.”

So what gives with these people?!  Mysterious plagues, superstition, and a lack of scientific understanding can drive people to do strange and horrendous things.  Disease processes and even human decomposition were poorly understood, with such things appearing paranormal to those unfamiliar with them.  Rigor mortis and then the subsequent relaxation of muscular tissue after death can cause corpses to move somewhat, with the gases of decomposition also causing bloating and at times the expulsion of bodily fluid through the mouth that can appear blood-like.  Subsequently, those looking for vampires could appear to find them through changes in the corpses of deceased individuals. – – Get the torches, pitchforks, and stakes ready, we got us an “undead” vamp here!

Even more recently, a “vampire clan” operating in Eustis, Florida in 1996 killed the parents of one of their disciples, their leader drinking small amounts of the blood of the victims.  “Clinical vampirism” has professionally been recognized as a delusion that the blood of others is needed to survive.

After examining this extensive but not exhaustive history, MonsterQuest last examined the phenomenon of psychic vampires, who reportedly feed off the life force of others and are not themselves “the undead.”  A psychic investigator shown on camera during the episode found that a so-called psychic vampire could slightly affect a measured electromagnetic field in an interaction with another person that they were “feeding” off.  I think that many of us know people who can drain the energy out of a room by entering it…

The legend of vampires is embedded in popular culture, and involves power over someone or something else.  Portrayed over the ages as anything from outsiders to dark heroes, vampires symbolize a deep human hunger…