Archive for the ‘animals’ category

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!”  🙀

 

 

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…

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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!