Archive for December 2020

“The Masked Dancer” Arrives…

December 27, 2020

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…

December 25, 2020

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

December 15, 2020


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”

December 10, 2020

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!