Archive for the ‘animals’ category

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…

“The Masked Singer,” Back for Season 4!

September 14, 2020


People tend to either love or hate The Masked Singer on Fox, and we were provided a preview of the upcoming season’s costumes recently.  Shown above are Baby Alien, Serpent, and Seahorse.  Additionally the animal kingdom will be represented by Giraffe, Jellyfish, Crocodile, and fictitiously Dragon.  The show itself for those unfamiliar with it is kind of a singing competition run through a furry convention, a unique type of cheerful and inspired insanity.

There are a number of “firsts” represented among this season’s contestants.  At eight feet tall, Giraffe is the tallest costume ever, and is attired in a style reminiscent of French aristocracy.  Baby Alien is the first costume to be fronted by a puppet, Serpent’s costume has animatronic features, and the Snowy Owls (below) represent the first double-headed costume.

 

So you may want to drop in on The Masked Singer, Season 4 which will debut on September 23rd…

InnovAsian’s “Rough Start” Commercial…

September 1, 2020


Forget your genial Ray Romano-voiced “Window Bear” commercial, where a very articulate and well-mannered bear appears outside of a woman’s kitchen, although I’d far rather deal with him!  The bear in our InnovAsian Cuisine commercial is not anthropomorphic but realistic, he’s big and hungry, and he’s frustrated that he’s on the outside of your window glass while you sit within your deluxe RV, about to eat the food that he wants!

The woman, her husband, and daughter all have painfully forced smiles on, which is understandable since this bear, a grizzly kodiak, is literally rocking the camper while he bellows throaty growls.  “Rough start to your family vacation?,” voices the announcer, “That’s an InnovAsian occasion!”  While only a quarter of a minute long, the commercial is a finely-tuned gem, and the bear is an animatronic marvel, stunningly realistic.

The one-of-a-kind Kody is not computer-generated, but requires three people to bring him to life; a puppeteer to remotely handle expressions of the animatronic head, a performer within the 8’4″ tall suit, and a dresser.  The suit is heavy, uncomfortable, and noisy due to all of the servos running within it.  The end result of their joint efforts is uncanny, and comes from an animal suit specialist in Vancouver.– –Two paws up to them!

 


– – “Hah,” muses Kody, “Foolish humans!  My Kung Fu is the best!”  

“Serpentine Creatures” on MonsterQuest…

August 31, 2020

 

MonsterQuest was a show largely about cryptic creatures that debuted in October of 2007 and ran for three seasons before vanishing and being replaced by a series of inferior imitations.  The series was far better grounded than most, incorporating history of the supposed hidden life form under investigation, eyewitness accounts, and even commentary by actual scientists! 

I’m pleased to see that MonsterQuest is back for a fourth season on the History Channel as a series of specials, the first of which aired recently and concerned “Serpentine Creatures” or “Lake Demons,” essentially oversized, monster eels in North American lakes. 

In Lake Ontario in 1974, an eel fisherman was reportedly lifted out of the water by an eel that he could barely escape.  “Cressie” is said to exist in New Foundland, reportedly measuring 20 to 40 feet in length.  Then there’s the gold standard of North American lake monsters, Ogopogo, said to measure up to a whopping 50′ in length and to inhabit Lake Okanagan in Canada!  Ogopogo is said to have a snake-like body displayed in coils, and about seven sightings a year are reported by diverse people.

Pursuing Cressie, the MonsterQuest investigative team engineered a search that combined a helicopter team with a dive boat.  The helicopter crew spotted a thermal signature from the air, summoning then the dive boat to do a search.  The divers found sink holes in the lake, but encountered considerable silt obstruction.  They found a carcass that was hoped might be a juvenile specimen, but later scientific testing proved it to be nothing more than a deteriorated salmon…

While the tone of the episode was reminiscent of the old MonsterQuest series, it really wasn’t exciting to me personally, dragging at times to the point of becoming almost tedious. Giant eels really don’t float my boat, although they might if they were actually under it!  Hopefully episode 2 concerning Bigfoot will interject a little of the old series excitement…

image

Little Caesars “Bear on Skates” 

August 1, 2020



Talking anthropomorphic bears are a part of my world, but for those for whom they are not this Little Caesars commercial could practically serve as a gateway to the furry fandom.  In it, a man sits on a park bench about to dig into some Little Caesars Cheesy Stuffed Crazy Bread and saying that he “must be dreaming.”  At that point, dreams become reality in the figure of a roller skating grizzly bear, complete in yellow shorts and matching head band, and carrying a boom box that he holds to his head. He clearly is quite comfortable on skates, and hints at some awesome moves on them while groovin’ to tunes of the age on his box.  There’s a great 70’s vibe to the bear, for those of us who remember or at least honor the more simple and carefree spirit of those days.  I’ve had far worse dreams, believe me…

The bear tells our bench-sitter that the cheesy stuffed Crazy Bread is a real thing, and that he should try it because it’s delicious!  The bear then moans pleasurably, and back pedals on his skates, presumably back to his own time and space as the commercial winds up.  One wants to follow this furry time traveler; he probably has some great disco moves, kind of like a furry young John Travolta of Saturday Night Fever vintage.

Although I was never much for the double knit polyester fabrics and “leisure suits” of the day, I’ve still got a boom box.  It’s plastic casing is all discolored with age and the tape player doesn’t work, but the radio is doing just fine…and wouldn’t the retro-cool 70’s Bear be a great meme? Don’t worry, this bear’s more into music and moving than maiming.  Maybe he could hang with Rocket Racoon, and listen to Star Lord’s mix tape.- -He’s got it going on, yeah!                                            

 

 

Geico’s “Moving House Thing” Commercial

July 13, 2020


Turtles have made inroads into televised advertising, as seen before in a number of episodes of Comcast’s “Slowskys” depicting a turtle family with their technologically-hip son.  Now Progressive insurance has also brought us an anthropomorphic father-and-son turtle duo, who we are shown sunning themselves on a rock overlooking a camper park.  In the near background sits a large motorized camper which piques the younger turtle’s curiosity, prompting him to ask his father about the “moving house thing.”

Turtle-Dad responds that it’s a motor home, a modern invention, to which Junior replies that they’ve carried their houses around with them for “like forever!”   Turtle-Dad chuckles, and then responds that the humans have Geico to cover them if anything goes wrong.  “What could go wrong?,” wonders Junior out loud when a feather drifts down from above.  “Ooh, a feather!” exclaims Junior with child-like wonder.  Looking upwards, Turtle-Dad discerns a vulture sitting in the tree above them.  “Duck, Junior!,” he alerts his son.  Now sharing in the alarm, Junior qualifies his Dad’s response, correcting “That’s no duck, Daddy…that’s a vulture!”

The humans are clueless non-participants in the drama unfolding before them, but I doubt they’d be thrilled to see vultures roosting near their camper; perhaps a Stephen King-esque horror movie is about to begin here.  The turtles as they retreat into their shells will hopefully live to see another day.  They have warm and wonderful human-like eyes and expressions, and make a nice addition to the Geico advertising animal stable that memorably includes an office camel thrilled to see “hump day” arrive…

 

(…tip o’ the pen to Carycomic!)

E*TRADE’s “Bear Market” Commercial

June 9, 2020

 

Bears have not gotten their proper representation or respect in commercials, with the toilet paper obsessed Charmin bears a case in point. One cannot readily imagine them functioning in a species-specific parallel world either, as the Chantix turkey appears to do so effortlessly in a number of memorable commercials. That may now change, as at long last, we are finally given a peek into a world where bears have meshed into the trappings of human civilization, courtesy of E*TRADE.

These bears calmly prowl the aisles of a supermarket on their hind legs, sniffing at cantaloupes and filling their shopping carts with generous amounts of honey, appropriately in those little bear-shaped clear containers. A bear family stops at the fish counter where they’re waited on by one of their own; there’s even a disabled bear who whizzes by in a motorized shopping cart! The cashier is likewise a bruin, calling for a price check on a honey container that stubbornly refuses to scan while the customer moans his annoyance.

“If this is your idea of a bear market,” we hear in the closing voice over, “maybe trading’s not for you.” We’re advised not to get mad, but rather get E*TRADE, and get more than trading…and I’d like to get more glimpses into the universe of these very relatable bears! They’ve evolved so far from the days of Yogi…

Of Giant Monsters…

May 20, 2020


There’s a special place in my heart for 1950’s horror movies, especially those featuring giant monsters…and it’s hard to think of a better tag line for one than, “This was the day that engulfed the world in terror!”  More than 60 years after its 1957 debut, The Deadly Mantis continues to be entertaining as a high camp classic, more amusing now than horrifying.  The clumsy and dated not-so-special effects of the giant mantis flying are alone worth watching the film for.

In these times of invisible horrors like the coronavirus, it’s so nice to see our fears embodied as something gigantic and readily identifiable that we can shoot artillery at, and direct flame throwers towards; we know that we’re going to win against it at the end.  I doubt, however, that bleach and bright lights would be effective against this thing.  Perhaps we can get a large number of regular praying mantids together, and make one really big one like this that we could threaten murder hornets with.  A Universal Picture creation, one yearns to see the Deadly Mantis locked in mortal combat with some creature from the Toho Studios world…Mothra vs. Mantis has a nice ring to it.  Now that’s entertainment…I’d go bugs over that one!

 

https://youtu.be/G8R9OoQh4q0

 

 

Creepshow’s “Bad Wolf Down”

May 15, 2020

I freely admit that I’m more of a werewolf than a vampire fan, but what would you expect? I’m a furry, and werewolves are kind of an amplified furry. I was therefore in seventh heaven to see that werewolves were featured prominently in the Bad Wolf Down segment of the new Creepshow series by Shudder, now available for viewing on the AMC network. This series draws heavily from the earlier Stephen King and George Romero movie by the same name which aired in 1982.

Meshing horror comics with live action, this S1/Ep2 installment plunges us into a furious firefight of WWII American troops overwhelmed by Nazis. Seeking sanctuary from annihilation, the few remaining Americans flee to an abandoned building where they encounter a woman locked in a cell who turns out to be a female werewolf! Seeking the release of death, the woman wants only to swallow the silver cross of one of the Americans. They accommodate her, but not before requesting that she bite each of them, transforming them in turn into werewolf soldiers that are more than a match for the pursuing Nazi elite troops.

Now the werewolf transformations are budget-restricted yet still effective, and the gore-fest which follows is not for the squeamish. It did, however, provide me with a satisfying spectacle as well as a reminder of the power of shape-shifting. I found it an uplifting experience…You might, too, if you are into horror, werewolf sub-classification. Other episodes look equally promising, so gratify your dark side by checking out the new Creepshow series; it’s a worthwhile indulgence…

 

“Murder Hornets” Are Here!

May 4, 2020

Just when you thought that 2020 didn’t have much left to throw at us, we have a new horror. They’re big, and frankly they don’t look real…but Asian Giant Hornets (Vespa mandarinia) appropriately nicknamed Murder Hornets, are a thing, and they’re invading North America… 🙀

Not to be confused with killer bees (so very yesterday), Murder Hornets are an invasive species native to Japan that have crossed over the Canadian border into the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., where they’ve been found in the state of Washington. An impressive two inches in size, Murder Hornets pose a serious threat to already beleaguered honeybee populations, which they can decimate within hours. These giant aggressive hornets bite off the heads of bees, then kind of mash up the thorax of their victims to take home to feed to their larvae. It all sounds like a bad SyFy channel movie…perhaps a script begs to be written for Killer Bees vs. Murder Hornets (No Matter Who Wins, We Lose)!

Now Murder Hornets have a stinger long enough to penetrate a typical beekeeper’s protective outfit, and the sting of multiple insects can be as lethal as snake venom. About 50 people are killed annually in Japan from the hornets, whose sting is likened by victims to having hot metal driven into the flesh. Experts advise, “Don’t try to take them out yourself if you see them. If you get into them, run away, then call us!” Sounds prudent to me, but the running away part might not be easy; they can fly at 25 mph. Serious efforts are underway to track and limit the spread of the insects before it’s too late…

It’s said that the hornets don’t ordinarily attack humans unless threatened. Be careful not to do this, knowing that the right lawyer could probably get a Murder Hornet charge downgraded to a Manslaughter Hornet offense… 🦊