Archive for the ‘aquatic’ 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…

Fishy Business…

September 11, 2020


Chace Crawford portrays an Aquaman-type character called The Deep on the Amazon Prime series The Boys, and the character has body image issues because he has, well, gills.  I’m not talking about discrete gill slits either of the type that we’ve seen on Kevin Costner in Waterworld on the neck, but rather large, gaping chest apertures that open and close.  More disturbingly, the character seems to enjoy having those gill slits shall we say, erotically stimulated?  Still more bizarre was a drug-induced episode where the character engaged in dialogue with his talking gill slits, and even sang a duet with them to the tune of, “You Are So Beautiful.” This was pretty trippy stuff, capable of wowing even my jaded sensitivities!

Crawford wears the sea suit well, and is one sexy if emotionally conflicted superhero.  It isn’t easy, after all, to be looked down upon as the token aquatic hero who talks to sea life.  In exploring the character of such a hero, we can only think of how far such characters have come from the web-fingered portrayal of one such being by Patrick Duffy in The Man from Atlantis.- –Who could blame such guys for occasionally being crabby?  I mean, they aren’t doing it on porpoise…

 

 

“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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Of Octopus Farms and Anthropomorphic Octopi…

January 2, 2020


Scientists warn that octopus farms may not be a great idea despite the fondness of some people for eating them.  This is to say nothing of the fact that an octopus farm sounds like a recurrent theme in a Gary Larson Far Side cartoon.  For one thing, octopuses are carnivorous, eat a lot, and are intelligent. They can figure out how to open jars, recognize individual humans, and identify puzzles that they’ve seen before.  They also can become bored, and toys are sometimes put into aquariums for them to provide cognitive stimulation.  They can even learn how to escape their containment facilities, possibly in search of video gaming systems.  

As fishing for octopuses yields a variable and unreliable supply, efforts to farm them have been made that include dabbling in genetic modifications of the creatures.  Now I, for one, don’t want to have to deal with roving mobs of bored, carnivorous, genetically-modified octopi that have escaped their farm aquariums, although this appears to be a promising premise for a Syfy Channel movie.

One might even become concerned about the plight of Hanna-Barbera’s 1960’s character Squiddly Diddly becoming frustrated in his musical aspirations, and escaping the confines of his aquatic park to take the musical and entertainment worlds by storm. Despite his name, the character was essentially an octopus, and might indulge his carnivorous nature on us if we failed to give him a listen…

 

Geico’s “Lobster Hot Tub Party”..

March 11, 2019


I have often walked past the lobster tank in my local supermarket, pitying the poor doomed creatures within and wishing that I could set them free, like some kind of crustacean messiah. In a recent Geico commercial, I can imagine one such liberated lobster enjoying his freedom, sitting in the corner of a hot tub, his claws spread wide as he enjoys the tub jets. There are also two newlywed humans in the far corner of the tub with him.

“I can’t believe it!,” says the guy as he looks at his phone. “That there’s a lobster in the tub with us?,” questions his new wife. It seems that the guy is more incredulous about how much they saved on car insurance with Geico, and how easy it was to do it. The mellow lobster, voiced by H. Michael Croner, asks if the couple is staying at the hotel, and congratulates them when he learns they’re newlyweds. Marriage is not for him, however, as he’s afraid of committment…he’s been boiled alive! The hotel chef appears at this point, looking for the lobster and causing him to duck underwater. We can understand when the lobster reappears, and proclaims that the chef is “the worst!” If you look carefully, the lobster appears to redden somewhat as the commercial progresses…

This cool crustacean can hang out in my bathtub anytime, and should the Lobster Liberation Army ever stage it’s move, I’m maintaining my innocence…

 

 

 

 

McDonald’s “Fillet-o’-Fish” Returns…

March 7, 2019

Our McDonald’s Fillet-o’-Fish commercial begins on an icy boat in some frozen fishing waters where a crewman is playing a familiar theme on a recorder. Suddenly the ship’s radar signals an approaching image, which turns out not to be a school of fish but a yellow submarine!  Surfacing, out from the yellow submarine pops not the Beatles but a Jacque Cousteau look-alike, who is holding a tray heaped with Filet-o’-Fish sandwiches.  The commercial even throws in one of those aggravating Billy Bass-type mounted electronic fish novelty items from a few years back, who is pleased to sing you the McDonald’s Filet-o’-Fish song, and leave it to rattle around maddeningly inside your head while you beg it in vain to stop…

…and why is McDonald’s bringing back Filet-o’-Fish advertising now?  Well, they sell 40% of their fish sandwiches each year during the Lenten season, and the Golden Arches are just fishin’ while the fishing is good.  And I’ll bet that some of you owned a singing Billy Bass fish on a plaque, or knew someone who did.  The ones I most encountered sang Take Me To The River, which memory is already playing inside my head…good song, but make it stop!  

“Emotional Support” Blobfish…

January 8, 2019

I’m not unsympathetic to the idea of Emotional Support Animals, although some people have pressed the limits of what may be considered such an animal, and where it may be appropriate to take them.  As a case in point we have a Credit Karma commercial where a female passenger on an airline notices a male in the same seat row sporting a blobfish on his lap, who he introduces as Harold, an emotional support animal that he enlisted when his credit rating caused damage to his self-concept.  The woman advises the man that he can gain tips on improving his credit rating from Credit Karma, a thought which so excites the man that he accidentally drops Harold on the aircraft floor.  “He’ll be all right,” reassures the man.  “He’s a bottom feeder!

Now blobfish are real, a deep sea creature found in waters 2,000 to 3,900 feet deep off mainland Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand.  A few years back, they were voted “the Ugliest Animal in the World.”  Blobfish are easier on the eyes if you see them in their natural habitat, since the appearance that people associate with them is caused by decompression damage as the specimens are brought to the surface.  So be kind to the blobfish, as you’re not seeing them at their best.  Harold could certainly not live out of water, even while he appears to move slightly during the commercial.

Sadly, no one claims blobfish as their spirit animal.  These guys just can’t seem to get a break.  And when it comes to emotional support animals, I’m inseparable from my inner fox

Giant Purple Blobs Invading SF Bay!

September 7, 2018

Vintage science fiction movies cautioned us to “Watch the skies!,” but perhaps they better could have advised us to watch the seas, because you never know what’s gonna wash up.  Submitted for your approval is one such example, a large purple blob of the type that has washed ashore along California, even in San Francisco Bay.  

Sadly it’s not alien, but is only a harmless sea slug, measuring up to 30 inches long and weighing up to fifteen pounds, although most are about the size of a fist. Still living stranded specimens can even pulsate a bit, which led one observer to call 911, thinking that they had found a human heart.  They do have an internal organ-like quality to them.  Normally found off the Mexican coast and the Baja California coast, the large purple slugs are also called sea hares, because their extended antennae are thought to resemble rabbit ears.  They’re just not as cuddly and pet-worthy, but I’m showing a mammalian bias here…

…and isn’t Invasion of the Giant Purple Sea Hares a SyFy Channel movie that begs to be made?!

Enormous Sea Turtle Washes Up In UK…

August 27, 2018

Continuing our series on disgusting dead things washing up on beaches, we present you with this image of a large leatherback turtle that washed up off the shore of Cornwall, England.  I’ve spared viewers a more graphic view taken frontally in light of the, err, decomposition. The sea turtle was said to be the size of a small boat, and was estimated to be perhaps 100 years old in light of its size.  

One might well ask, “What happens to large sea creatures when they die?”  Well, many of them sink to the depths where they provide a banquet for a variety of sea life both large and small; nature wastes nothing. Gases of decomposition can provide buoyancy to other deceased sea creatures, however, depositing some on our beaches.  

Now the tabloids might spin the story differently, something along the lines of “Zombie Sea Turtle Attacks Britain!”  I don’t think that it was Gamera.  I doubt that the rather classy gent in the picture poked the poor deceased turtle with a stick, although he is wearing striking if sensible blue rubber gloves, all the while demonstrating that older guys can still look good in shorts.  And the elemental landscape and brooding sky makes for a memorable picture…ahh, to be in England!

Sea Creature Washes Up On Russian Beach!

August 17, 2018

We always get terribly excited here at Foxsylvania when any kind of globster washes up on any beach, anywhere. Set up some food stands and a good band, and you’ve really got something to break up the summer doldrums!



…the “sea monster” in question is described as being smelly and hairy, and at least three times the size of an average human. It washed up on the shore of the Bering Sea on the Pacific side of the Kamchatka Peninsula; from Russia with Love, Darlink! Although the unidentified thing appears to be from an animal with gray and white coloring, it lacks a defined head or other body parts other than a possible tail or tentacle. The creature is covered with tubular hair, which is hollow and similar to that found on a polar bear.

Some have speculated that the carcass could be the remains of a wooly mammoth that had washed up as glaciers thawed, while others suggest that it could be from an octopus or giant squid. The most likely theory, however, is that the carcass is indeed a globster, a term coined in 1962 to describe something that is not a complete animal, but rather the decaying parts of sea animals such as whales or sharks. Under the influence of time, the sea, and post-mortem predation, the remains of large sea animals often take on bizarre and unrecognizable forms.

So if you visit a beach and come upon a globster, resist the temptation to make a sandwich. It wouldn’t be good for you…