Archive for October 2020

“The Mystery of the Chupacabra” on MonsterQuest

October 29, 2020

 

 

The Chupacabra is one of those classic cryptic creatures whose supposed existence has been covered on a variety of programs since the 1990’s when reports of unexplained and unusual livestock killings first came in from Puerto Rico.  The new limited run MonsterQuest series recently took a fresh look at Chupacabra activity primarily in Texas and Puerto Rico, although reports have also come in from such places as Chile, Nicaragua, and even from such far-flung locations as Russia. 

The creature has appearances described differently in Puerto Rico and Texas, with the Puerto Rican variety related to be a bipedal creature standing on its hind legs with lizard-like skin, having a body somewhat like a kangaroo, and standing 4-1/2 to 5 feet tall with but three digits on each hand and foot.  The beast as seen in Texas and other American states is essentially a canid in appearance, dog-like but having hairless or almost hairless skin and rather wicked fangs.  Both variants of the creature are known for leaving puncture-type wounds on their kills, and usually leaving the flesh of victims intact but drained of blood.  Animals killed have included chickens, rabbits, and goats, with the name meaning “goat sucker.”

Now MonsterQuest was rather limited in the scope of its direct investigations in Puerto Rico, but sent two investigators to Cuero, Texas where Phyllis Cannion had numerous chickens killed, disturbingly found with their flesh intact but the bodies drained of blood.  The head of a road-killed specimen suspected of being a Chupacabra was also preserved by the rancher, showing unusual skin; samples were sent out for DNA analysis. 

MonsterQuest’s investigators included a wildlife expert and a cryptozoologist, who set out a steel cage trap baited with blood-soaked meat, later adding a live chicken to the cage and spraying coyote urine about as an additional attractant.  A number of camera traps were also set about in the hopes of catching an image of the elusive Chupacabra.  Well, the bait was taken, but only a possum was caught in the cage; camera traps had bait taken, and a pole was scratched where coyote urine was sprayed.  The failure to catch anything resembling a Chupacabra left only hair samples for analysis reportedly gleaned from sites of attacks in Puerto Rico, as well as skin samples from the Cuero unidentified creature.

DNA from the hair sample was a match for a domestic dog, whereas the skin sample from Cuero suggested a canine hybrid with coyote and wolf markers.  The only conclusion that could be reached from the available evidence was that the Chupacabra, at least the Texas variety, was either a hybrid from mixed breeding, or perhaps a mutant species.  The hairless, scabby skin appearances may be attributed to sarcoptic mange, and dogs have been known to bite prey animals on the neck, leaving puncture wounds and not consuming flesh.  Blood is not absent, but simply pools in the lower parts of the victim’s body when death causes blood pressure to cease and heart action to stop.

There wasn’t a whole lot of new information in this MonsterQuest episode, but rather repackaged stuff coupled with a failed investigation; it left me feeling oddly unsatisfied, and wanting more.  Chupacabra has been termed, “the first internet monster,” taking on a life of its own and shaped by misinterpretations and fed by a wealth of unreliable first hand witness accounts and hysteria.  Still, Sarcoptic Mange would be a great name for a metal band!

 

Political Animals…

October 26, 2020


It’s a misconception that all furry creatures are apolitical.  In a recent post, we introduced some of our readership to the Raccoons Of The Resistance, as seen in the work of the Australian cartoonist, First Dog on the Moon.  Now raccoons live by a simple credo; Live Fast, and Eat Trash.  But some politicians can push them too far, and they take action, becoming a grassroots force to be reckoned with…

Now felines too have become politically awakened, many of them by this book to which I exposed my cats, not wanting them to be ignorant, but wanting them to feel safe, even if I as a hybrid human was not.  It worked all too well, generating furry activists who have taken to the streets and backyards…

 

Talk about an awkward conversation!  It was equally uncomfortable when I talked to my cats about firearms.  Anyways, soon my cats were erecting lawn signs, and had discovered a wealth of resources in the Cats Against Trump merchandising line available on Amazon and other locations…

I’ll tell ‘ya, these cats have been mobilized, and mean business!  Can you see the determination in their faces?  And when my Trumper neighbor complains about my sign, I tell him he wouldn’t then want to meet my dog, who’s a socialist with anarchist leanings.  I can’t tell you too much about about Foxes Against Fascism, since we’re still in the process of arguing over our mission statement.  Foxes get far too hung up on semantics, but that’s my personal opinion.  But, what the hey!  We’re all political animals at core, right?  At least that’s what my old political science  professor told me… 

Ocean Sunfish Profiling!

October 17, 2020

Here at Foxsylvania, we decry the reporting of ocean sunfish for engaging in normal fish behaviors such as hanging around and swimming about. It would appear that some people in Massachusetts are freaked out by the appearance of ocean sunfish off their coast, and are dialing 911 and reporting them to the police. They seem to think that the sunfish are sharks or injured seals, or that they may be in some form of distress…

…well, the large bony fish of genus Mola are just fine, doin’ what comes naturally, and violating no laws. They are somewhat funny-looking as they lack a tail fin and so look incomplete, sort of like the AMC Gremlin of the sea. Their teeth are fused into a kind of parrot-like beak, adding to their alien, goofy appearance. Sunfish are so called because of their habit of basking on their side on the ocean surface as a temperature regulation mechanism since they will dive to depths of 2,600 feet or so on feeding forays, and it can be cold down there! So if you see the ocean sunfish which can weigh up to 5,000 pounds and measure over 10’ in length floating at the surface, rumors of their death are premature. They’re just catchin’ some rays, dude…

The authorities would request that the good citizens of Massachusetts not call 911 over sightings of ocean sunfish swimming and basking. The police, after all, have bigger fish to fry…

“Cats,” the Movie, Now On HBO…

October 12, 2020


Director Tom Hooper’s movie adaptation of Cats is now available for a broader audience on HBO, and it was there that I viewed it in its entirety for the first time.  If you don’t have HBO, wait a bit longer, and you’ll probably be able to catch Cats on Fx or a similar network.  Released in December of 2019 to almost universally scathing reviews, Cats is an odd duck if you pardon  the mixed metaphor.  It is, as one reviewer aptly described it, a plotless spectacle probably unlike anything you’ve ever seen, or would wish to see again.  By one estimation I’ve read, only 27% of those viewing it actually liked the film.

My short take on the movie is that it’s not as bad as you’ve been led to believe, although you may just want to sample it to see what all of the negative reviews are about.  It definitely helps to be a furry as I am to appreciate Cats, although once the spectacle of seeing A-list stars morphed into felines wears off, the novelty is gone really fast, and the movie light on plot becomes repetitious and even tiresome.  While not a horror movie, Cats can be horrible, and it’s said represents a career low for many of the big name stars in it.  

Parts of the movie are memorable, and the anthropomorphic cats move and dance with a fluid grace and athleticism that is memorable.  Taylor Swift projects a lithe feline sensuality that…well, I won’t go there.  The creepiness factor that set so many off the film is readily identifiable mixed with the incomprehensible such as why these cats are rendered with humanoid hands and feet.  As one reviewer huffed, “This is not a cat…this is an abomination!” – – Jeez, lighten up dude, this is entertainment, although it may have failed in that purpose for many people.  I think that the long-running Broadway show version of Cats worked better for many as patrons were always aware that they were viewing actors and actresses in dazzling cat costumes rather than a CGI-generated hybrid.  A live theater performance also permits a kind of interactive intimacy between performers and audience that is largely lost in a movie.

Love it or hate it, Cats is a unique experience likely to persist in the memories of its viewers as either a vision or a nightmare…Meow!

 

A Fly in the Ointment!

October 11, 2020

“Oh, to be a fly on the wall!” How many times have you heard that chestnut repeated? Well, a fly was not on the wall, but for several minutes one was on the white hair of Vice President Mike Pence during his debate with Kamala Harris, who seemed not troubled by insects at all. Pence paid the fly no attention, and may not have been aware of it at the time, unlike the debate audience that was largely aware of the fly’s presence, and could practically see or hear nothing else during that time…

So forget Atom Ant, who was so very yesterday. I submit to you that we during that debate witnessed the birth of a new superhero for our time, Audacious Fly.  And remember that great 1950’s horror movie with Vincent Price, The Fly?  The remake with Jeff Goldblume was awesome, too, although I’m glad I wasn’t eating during parts of it.  It made me glad that I don’t have to regurgitate on my food to digest it…

Isn’t it great when nature interferes with the works of men, anyways?  The revolution is coming, and remember that you heard it here…

  

 

Andrew Marlton, “First Dog on the Moon”

October 3, 2020

  

Andrew Marlton (above) is a satirical cartoonist and more who draws for the Australian-based news publication, The Guardian.  Under his pseudonym First Dog on the Moon he has generated a universe of anthropomorphic cartoon characters that include Brenda the Civil Disobedience Penguin, the Interpretive Dance Bandicoot, and my personal faves, the Raccoons of the Resistance.  As he deals in many things political, there are themes and presentations in his cartoons that are certain to offend someone, which is perhaps as it should be.  As some of his work deals with Australian politics, it will likely pass over the heads of many if not most Americans, but  Marlton also deals with aspects of American politics through his characters, as well as global issues involving science, the Coronavirus, and the environment.  

 

It’s furry art, and can often be topically relevant and wickedly funny.  Marlton gets his ideas from the news, at other times relating that he goes out to talk to chickens and sheep.  Do give First Dog on the Moon a look…laughing and thinking are always worthwhile activities!