Archive for the ‘animals’ category

The “Birds Aren’t Real” Movement…

October 14, 2021

Where performance comedy meets reality, you have the Birds Aren’t Real movement. Living as we are in a post-truth era where personal desires and perceptions take precedence for many over objective reality, we are awash in conspiracy theories to which a disturbing number of people ascribe...

The central mythos of Birds Aren’t Real is that beginning in the late 1950’s, federal agencies began exterminating all biological bird life in North America, replacing them with robotic surveillance drones. These drones watch and report on you to government agencies who in turn sell information about you. – – Don’t believe this? Well, have you ever seen a baby pigeon?!- – And why do you think that birds fly away when you approach them?

Now you see, Birds Aren’t Real is an organization that holds rallies and tours, much like other conspiracy groups that advance claims unbacked by science or factual evidence. It’s leader is Peter McIndoe, an earnest-appearing young man who blends parody and reality seamlessly. He has been spreading his gospel as a “bird truther” since 2016.

Alfred Hitchcock tried to warn us about avian attack drones many years ago in his prophetic film, The Birds. Shouldn’t we be putting up massive domes to keep these “undesirables” out? Remember the Avian Flu? Who knows what horrors some hidden laboratory is creating to be carried by these feathered fiends next?

And Big Bird, come on! Surely you don’t think he’s real? He’s just a clever propaganda creation engineered to lull our young into a false sense of security, and we invite him into our homes!

The revelation that birds are in fact surveillance drones is sure to put a damper on many traditional Thanksgiving dinners this year. I for one wouldn’t want to wind up with a mouthful of electronic parts, would you?! Should you swallow a few components, you probably become an enabler…

So just remember that if it flies, it spies! And ask yourself whether you get the joke, or are one of the people targeted by it. For what is a BIRD but a Basic Information Recording Drone? And bird watching goes both ways. – – Watch the skies, for they may be watching you! 🙀

Geico’s “Animal in the Attic”

October 7, 2021

I’ve always felt that Animal, the Muppet drummer for Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, might have been helped by the proper psychotropic medication. On medication, however, his explosive and wildly exuberant drumming might have suffered. It’s a trade-off, really…

The Geico commercial begins with an unremarkable middle-aged couple sitting on their couch, with the guy professing that they love their house, and have lived there for years. “Yeah, but there’s an Animal in the attic,” adds the lady…

and so there is, flailing away at his drum kit while vocalizing such snatches of speech as “Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah! Drums! Drums! Aaaah! An-im-al!

When not loudly pounding on his drums, Animal invades the kitchen, literally swings from the rafters, and slides down the bannister. Remarkably, all his unwilling hosts can do is try to ignore him. At least Geico makes bundling their car and homeowners insurance easy…

In a closing scene, we are shown Animal shambling across the couple’s yard, the length of broken chain around his neck a nice touch. Animals just have to be free, ‘ya know…. 🦊

(…tip o’ the pen to Carycomic!)

“Godzilla vs. Kong” Satisfies…

August 31, 2021

I have at long last been able to see the much-touted Godzilla vs. Kong movie, crown jewel in the MonsterVerse series. While the film is overly-long and leaves many unanswered questions, it’s still a good guilty pleasure for Kaiju fans.

Now it takes over forty minutes for our combatants to finally meet in a neon-lit Hong Kong, which thoughtfully has Titan Shelters (so labeled) present for the safety of its human inhabitants. The dang Titans run amok every so often, and wouldn’t it be great if Titans were the only problem faced by humanity? They would constitute an external, readily-identifiable enemy.

Now Kong in the movie receives much of the initial film time, even taking a waterfall shower to the strains of a 50’s doo-wop hit. He’s being kept in a containment environment, but knows that it’s fake. When Godzilla begins attacking shipping and otherwise behaving badly, Kong is transported via air and sea to protect the mainland, and then it’s match on. Kong and Godzilla have an ancient rivalry and generally bad blood towards one another, you see. Kong is also recruited to fight for humanity by being shown “Hollow Earth,” a vast environment within the Earth where he’s led to believe he may find others like himself. The notion of Hollow Earth should really delight and get fringe conspiracy and pseudo-science adherents buzzing.

So Kong and Godzilla fight in Hong Kong, and I won’t detail that outcome so as not to spoil the spectacle for those who have yet to see the film. I will say that Mechagodzilla enters into it prominently, however, and that he’s become sentient, gone rogue, and is infused with the mojo of King Ghidora through one of his three decapitated heads, and despises Godzilla for having killed him in a previous film. Understandably, this could ruin your entire day. It all gets rather complicated, but suffice it to say that Mechagodzilla here is an impressive creation, his red eyes glowing like a gigantic Terminator endoskeleton. When Godzilla and Mechagodzilla go at one another head to head, it’s like seeing a Jedi vs. Sith light saber battle on a epic scale, so pull up a chair for this one…

So by all means, indulge yourself in Godzilla vs. Kong, which at times is oddly satisfying and a great guy film! No one else needs to know that you saw it. Perhaps in a future film, the absence of the other Titans from this one will be explained. I could do with a good Mothra epic, after all. Until then, satisfy yourself with Mechagodzilla… 🦊

Brando’s “Dr. Moreau” 25th Year Anniversary…

August 21, 2021

Everyone should read the 1896 novel The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells at least once. As a furry, I’ve read it several times, and catch the film versions whenever they’re on. Burt Lancaster played the doctor in a more traditional 1977 version, whereas Marlon Brando really took the role off the rails in a 1996 version that is generally regarded to be the worst film that he ever made.

Brando‘s Dr. Moreau is by almost anyone’s definition bizarre. Playing the part in white Kabuki-style makeup and other outrageous garb, Brando’s characterization is really far out there, and hard to relate to. What makes the film memorable, however, is the cast of animal hybrids that were created in one of the last special effects extravaganzas using makeup rather than computer generated special effects. You can even catch Ron Perlman in the film playing the Sayer of the Law, a goatish-hybrid.

Now Ron Perlman is no stranger to having played furry and other offbeat characters, having appeared as Hellboy and even Vincent in the series Beauty and the Beast. Perlman wanted the experience of having appeared in a project with the legendary Marlon Brando, although this film hardly qualifies as Brando’s best work. Perlman would describe the movie as being an incredible mess…

Now Dr. Moreau was a mad scientist type who endeavored to create human-animal hybrids via vivisection. When his gruesome and painful experiments were publicly exposed, Moreau fled to his island to continue work perfecting his Beast Folk. It continues to be a classic work of science fiction to this day while reflecting the ethical, philosophical, and scientific concerns of the time of its creation. So consider visiting The Island of Doctor Moreau in literature and film, with the 1996 Brando version celebrating its 25th anniversary…and if you see Fox-Bear Woman, a female hybrid of a fox and a bear, tell her I’ve got her back… Are We Not Men?!

“A Pet Too Far” Progressive Commercial…

June 19, 2021

Where animals are concerned, there’s cute, and there’s painfully cute. So when a commercial being filmed for Progressive Insurance starts with a basket of kittens and proceeds to a bulldog in a top hat 🎩 and then dogs and cats in band uniforms, it’s Progressive’s own Flo who decrees that they’ve gone over the top with a cuteness overload.

Progressive loves animals as much as you do, we’re told, and so protects them for up to $1,000 in the event of an auto accident.

But apparently according to Flo, putting animals into tiny band uniforms to sell car insurance is too much. “What’s wrong with cute animals?,” a team member protests. “Define ‘too much,’ ” says another.

Who’s going to tell Mitten?,” protests Jamie in full band uniform. “She’s a diva!” Mitten is an adorable kitten in a band uniform, a tiny trombone around her neck. She meows pitifully…

Well, I wouldn’t want to have to tell Mitten that her big commercial moment is cancelled…would you?!

In Praise of Dark Bunnies…

April 3, 2021

  
With Easter upon us, it’s easy to think of rabbits as all sweetness and light, cuteness incarnate, the Easter Bunny thing.  I prefer my rabbits to have a dark side, however, with a bit of muscularity and the potential for the unpredictable thrown in.  That’s right…I like my bunnies bad!  

Bad bunnies can play havoc with our expectations of them, like The Rabbit as portrayed by Joey Fatone on Season 1 of The Masked Singer.  He had a wonderful, “fresh from the asylum” vibe to him, and I’ll never hear Livin’ La Vida Loca the same way again after seeing Rabbit’s electrifying stage performance of it.  

  

If you search, you can find rabbits who don’t fit the passive, submissive mold, like Hugh Jackman’s Aussie E. Aster Bunnymund in the Rise of the Guardians movie.  That was an Easter Bunny who was great with children, but could also kick some serious…ahem, tail.

  

The 2001 science fiction/psychological thriller film Donnie Darko featured a disturbing, nightmarish rabbit, Frank, who could certainly haunt your dreams…

  

So with many more examples possible from medieval manuscripts (below) onwards, just remember that rabbits are not all the timid, wimpy, sanitized creatures that we see paraded around at this season, but rather a strong, adaptable, successful, and resilient species…and a Happy Easter, y’all…or else!    

  
   

Nature’s Own Commercial, “Goodness:  Three Little Pigs”

March 6, 2021


It’s a charming commercial, with a bit of old world flavor.  The Three Little Pigs of fairy tale fame are busy in their kitchen, making breakfast…and Lordy, they’re making French toast with Nature’s Own bread!  I love French toast, and this looks more than good enough to eat, so gimme, gimme, gimme!  Pleasant low-key European-style dining music is playing in the background.  I’d be on board for this…

But wait…the Big Bad Wolf is also in the background, with a mighty exhalation of his classic breath!  Is he about to “blow the piggies” house down, and feast on the diners therein?!  Nah, not to worry…the wolf is blowing out celebratory candles on a giant stack of french toast thoughtfully prepared by the three piggies for some special occasion.  They all applaud the wolf’s efforts, and then everyone is sitting down around the rustic table to eat hearty.  All appears harmonious and well, but…

Hey, got any bacon?, asks the wolf.  This is followed by silence and blank stares by the pigs, and you can almost hear the crickets.  “Just kidding!,” the wolf then reassures his company.  He was only having fun with the piggies, you see, even if the joke was in questionable taste.  All is well here with the predator/prey breakfast repast, despite wolves having a bad rep.  Don’t kill the cook, I always say…

Nature’s OwnGoodness is in their nature.  It’s “goodness that brings everyone together.”  And even a wolf can be capable of peaceful coexistence, apparently.  It’s the wolves who pretend not to be one that you have to watch out for…

 

“Godzilla vs. Kong” Arriving…

March 4, 2021


In these times of a deadly global pandemic and an insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol, you probably figured that a Godzilla vs. Kong movie was inevitable.  We may even be jaded to it, kind of like “Yeah, it figures, whatever!”  But after years in the planning and multiple delays in 2020, Godzilla vs. Kong is at last set to open in late March.  

Described as a “massive monster brawl,” this latest installment in the MonsterVerse unites in mortal combat the iconic franchise figures of King Kong, who has appeared in a dozen films, and Godzilla, the veteran of three dozen flicks.  Both franchises began cinematic renewal and revitalization programs beginning in 2014, with Godzilla establishing himself as “King of the Titans,” and mankind in this universe being in fearful coexistence with them.  King Kong, for his part, has done well in his domain on Skull Island, and has demonstrated his ability to dominate in battle large reptilian creatures, including three T-Rexes at once.  This makes him a serious contender in any monster match, even if he is essentially a giant ape…

 

Now in the current crossover matchup, Godzilla has become seriously ticked off, and is rampaging around the planet, prompting mankind to recruit King Kong as a defensive agent.  Kong has the advantage of superior intelligence and agility, whereas Godzilla is elemental and practically indestructible, plus he has that radioactive breath thing going on.  You have to choose sides in this combat, and I confess to being a Godzilla loyalist.  He is just magnificent emerging from the sea, an unfathomable, breathtaking, and unstoppable force of nature!  Kong may be King, but Godzilla is…well, a god.  The Internet is having a field day over the upcoming battle royal, and we are at least promised by the producer that one of the combatants will win.  There’s nothing we monster movie fans hate more than ambiguous endings, which are all too common and very unsatisfying.  If I wanted a “write your own ending” conclusion, I wouldn’t be bankrolling someone else to write the script.

Regardless of who emerges victorious in the epic fray, we are promised more MonsterVerse films to come…and there is the revelation that some thing manifested as seismic activity within the hollow Earth may be instigating the fracas to begin with, like a cosmic conspiracy theorist. Perhaps there is a common, real enemy. All is probably not as it appears, with plenty of hooks to hang future movies on.  Producers do, after all, want your interest piqued, and your movie dollars supporting their efforts…Rawrr!  

 

 

My Daze As A Leopard…

February 27, 2021


I can’t really say that I was “seduced” by the furry fandom as I came willingly, nay, eagerly!  It was kind of like, “So a ‘furry’ is what I am?  All right, where do I sign, and do I get a membership card?”  

Perhaps it was the many hours I spent watching Warner Bros. cartoons as a kid, identifying with and relating to the characters I saw, liking them more than any human, and heck, wanting to be them!  I got to play a rooster in my second grade farm-themed class play, and I was like out of my mind with the part, although the teacher wouldn’t let me put my Foghorn Leghorn spin on the character.  Sadly, it wasn’t even a speaking part!  As Foghorn might have said, “Teacher, I say, oh Teacher!  You’re about to exceed the limitations of my medication!”  That could have been a breakout role for me, too…sad!

Then there were Halloween opportunities, when it was not only acceptable but required to role-play.  Forget skeletons, ghosts, and witches, too…I wanted to be an animal!  Back then, if your parents weren’t crafty enough to make you a costume, they’d pony up a few bucks, and you landed one of these Ben Cooper or Collegeville kid Halloween costumes.  The material of the body component might even be made of garbage-bag grade stuff, not even fabric, and I remember one tearing as I wore it.  The masks were thin brittle plastic, and it was almost impossible to breathe in them.  If unfortunate enough to wear glasses, they’d steam them up immediately, and you’d blunder around your neighborhood trick-or-treating with severely impaired vision.  Turns out, this was good practice for the COVID masks of today!  

Anyways, one year and the last that I went trick-or-treating, I wore a Ben Cooper leopard costume, identical as I remember it to the one pictured.  Although this was the world’s cheapest fursuit and looked it, I was in heaven…I mean, the costume even had a tail!  Thank God none of the other kids ripped my tail off, although a few grabbed me by it.  Nowadays, this would constitute harassment. And would you believe it?  The same vintage costume I’ve seen selling on eBay for $199, plus shipping.  Now I’m sure that my leopard suit wound up in the trash as I’d outgrown it and abandoned trick-or-treating by the following Halloween.  Maybe I should have said to my mother, “Hey, hang onto this!  It’ll be worth almost $200 in the future!”  But I didn’t know, and parents tend not to listen, anyways…they always know better, or think that they do!

It’s long gone, but I’ll always remember my leopard suit.  Then in a college production of Man of La Mancha, I got to play Don Quixote’s horse.  That had a much better full head mask to it, which unfortunately I was not allowed to keep, although the die was cast by that point. 

So hooray for Halloween, which unfortunately is rarely celebrated today as it was in days of yore.  If you’ve still got your old costumes, hang onto them…they might be worth some bucks today.  And as someone who’s worn the leopard suit, I can only conclude by saying…RAWRR!

 

 

 




 

 

 

Liberty Mutual’s “Interruption” Commercial…

February 13, 2021


Nature’s little creatures can be cute and appealing on a singular basis, but creepy and menacing when they swarm you in large numbers.  We saw this theme at play in an earlier Jiff peanut butter commercial when one young lady eating a peanut butter sandwich encountered a squirrel beseeching a bite, soon to become a legion of them led by a humanoid figure with a squirrel head; creepy and surreal!

In this Liberty Mutual variant with two versions, we see in the longer version a guy eating a sandwich on a bench overlooking the trademark Statue of Liberty who breaks the “fourth wall” by asking if he’s in a Liberty Mutual commercial, then asking what happens in this one.  “Seagulls,” he is told.  One appears on the bench beside him, which the guy likes…then he is swarmed by a flock of them, which he likes much less!  The spot evokes a little of Hitchcock’s The Birds, still a worthwhile view after many years.  If you’ve ever fed a French fry to a seagull at the beach, you’ll know what the experience is like.  What’s worse is having the gulls poop on you, oh the horror, the horror!

In the shorter version, the same guy is on the bench, sandwich in one hand, chips in the other.  He talks about how Liberty Mutual customized his insurance so he only pays for what he needs…what a great day!  Then a gull swoops in, stealing his sandwich, making it just an “OK” day.  Finally a second gull flies by to steal his chips, making it a “messed up” day.  And some days, as Al Bundy observed, won’t get better until you return to bed.

Seagulls…I’m reminded of what one character spoke at the closing of the original The House on Haunted Hill movie….”They’re coming for me, now.  And then, they’ll be coming for YOU!”  🙀

 

 


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