Archive for the ‘aquatic’ category

Geico’s “Manatees in Novelty Tees”

February 26, 2018

This Geico commercial must rank pretty high on the silliness scale.  As a family visits a aquarium and pauses before the manatee (“sea cow”) exhibit, they are rewarded by a view of a quartet of the creatures, each wearing a different colored tee shirt, complete with slogan.  There are many surprising things in this world, you see…what’s not surprising is how much money the father, Matt, saved when he switched his insurance to Geico.  

“What does ‘come at me bro,’ mean?,” questions the son.  Dad replies that it’s something you say to a friend.  It’s good to know that manatees, sluggish though they may be, have a sense of fashion.  I do hope that their tee-shirts have color-safe dyes…

 


“The Shape of Water” is Extraordinary!

December 7, 2017

It’s being called everything from a sympathetic re-telling of “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” to an origins story for the Abe Sapien character from Hellboy, but by most accounts The Shape of Water is one of the best films that Guillermo del Toro has produced.  

Set circa 1962 during the depths of the Cold War, the fantasy drama concerns the unlikely relationship between a mute female custodian, Elisa,  and an intelligent amphibious humanoid creature torn from South America and kept in a secret government laboratory in Baltimore.  It’s readily believable for any dabbler in government conspiracy theories.  Called “the Asset” by his captors, the being faces exploitation and eventual “harvesting” in order that his biology might be further studied and applied to the space program.  As their relationship deepens, the humble cleaning lady resolves to take action to save a unique individual from captivity and worse…and “the Asset” has additional capabilities of his own…

The film works on many levels, and is rightfully up for numerous awards.  Seeing it might be the best Xmas present that you could give yourself!

“Monsters of the Deep” on Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved

August 30, 2016

 

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The S1/Ep06 episode of Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved focused on unidentified and unconfirmed aquatic cryptids reported in Loch Ness, Scotland; Lake Champlain, Vermont; and Vancouver Island, Canada.  Reports of creatures in all three locations were largely based on eyewitness observations, occasionally accompanied by a blurry photograph taken at some distance.  

Sightings of the celebrated Loch Ness Monster date back to the 6th century, and the series touched upon two recent observations reported in 2003 and 2010.  Both were of course inconclusive, with one recent image discounted by experts as likely light reflections on the water.  The notion that the Loch Ness creature was a plesiosaur was also briefly considered, but dismissed by experts as being very unlikely.

Acoustics were used by a vessel profiled in the Lake Champlain segments that hoped to capture echolocation sounds.  While a couple of rapping sounds were heard, they were not thought to be bioacoustic in origin.  Likewise no confirming evidence was found of the creature reported to frequent the waters off Vancouver Island, Canada. 

As it was pointed out, any reported site of a water monster would not be comprised of a single individual, but rather have to have a breeding population of perhaps fifty or more specimens for a population to be viable and capable of continuing its existence.  Investigations will continue at all three sites profiled, likely for the foreseeable future…

Not Bad for a Beach Ape!

July 21, 2015

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Dang, these Aussie guys are tough!  When a cheeky bull shark tried to blindside Australian surfing champ Mick Fanning during a live televised competition, the blighter got a bit more than he bargained for.  Spectators thought that they were about to see someone eaten alive before their eyes, but despite being caught off guard and lacking the formidable choppers of his impromptu opponent, Mick slugged the shark in the back and retreated with all of his body parts intact!

I think we’ve found a worthy successor to  Paul Hogan as Crocodile Dundee!  (Film producers, take note!)  Pretty soon sharks will be watching Human Week on the tube to see if we’re as tough as they’ve heard…

Chupacabra and the Kraken on “True Supernatural”

April 24, 2015

 

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Both the Chupacabra and the Kraken have been considered at other times on several similar shows, but like old friends (I have strange associates) it was good to visit them again on S1/Ep2 of True Supernatural (2014).

Information on the Chupacabra focused on appearances in and around Cuero, Texas. Specimens acquired in this region have leathery, hairless skin, strange paws on which the middle digits are somewhat attached, blue eyes, and apparently strange nodules on the rear end. The creature moves unusually, and may have only two nipples on a side. Unlike Mountain Monsters, the True Supernatural show tends to interview actual scientists, university researchers, and also more credible eyewitnesses.

Three reputed Chupacabra corpses were at hand, one of which was from Dr. Phyllis Canion, who lost 28 chickens on her ranch to the mysterious predator. From the three specimens, samples were sent to an animal genetics lab at the Texas A & M University, where analyses were run on bone, skin, and teeth that yielded conflicted results. One specimen was identifiably canine, the other a coyote-dog hybrid, and Dr. Canion’s was a coyote/Mexican wolf hybrid. Normally these two species don’t breed, and the Mexican wolf hasn’t been seen in the area for 80 years. Speculation ranges from the conspiracy crazy…that Chupacabra was a living weapon created by the government…to the more reasonable, that Chupacabra represented a form of spontaneous evolution…

Now in Berlin, Nevada a site has the fossilized remains of nine Ichthyosaurs, apex predators that were rather like the killer whales of their Triassic day. What is curious is that these remains all show broken necks and ribs, with their skeletons twisted and seemingly arranged. The inference was given that these bad boys were themselves bested by something even badder, namely the legendary Kraken! Cephalopods are known to construct fort-like structures and to be far more intelligent than we usually give them credit for being. The scenario was presented that when oceans covered the area, a Kraken lured these mighty Ichthyosaurs into its lair, killed them, played with their remains, and then arranged the vertebral columns in a fashion which may have mimicked the array of suckers on its tentacles. Wild stuff…and as invertebrates tend not to leave much of a fossil record, we do not of course have proof of a Kraken other than sailor accounts from an earlier century.

As the great Fox Mulder would agree, the truth is out there. Cue the X-Files theme music, please…and release the Kraken!

Lizard Demon of Wood County…

May 29, 2014

 

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The lizard demon in question is a reptile-human hybrid featured in S1/Ep06 of Mountain Monsters who is bipedal, water-based, has gills, three toes, and a triple eyelid.  Yet another cryptid indigenous to West Virginia, he has also been seen in Kentucky, with sightings reported going back to the early 1900’s.  Standing about seven feet tall and weighing in at 300 to 400 pounds, the lizard demon travels up the Ohio River using it to move closer to farm ponds, eats cows and similar livestock, and has even been reported to chase cars!  Similar “lizard men” have been profiled on other paranormal shows.

The AIMS crew first interviewed an eyewitness called “JayBob” who reported seeing something about 7′ tall of dark green coloration that moved quickly.  He produced a trail camera photo that showed a side image of something that appeared scaly.  In their first night’s investigation, the West Virginian investigators saw a track made by something large and heavy.  Part of the team while investigating a cave saw movement above the cave which caused rock to become dislodged and fall.

A large snap door trap was then built by the next day, and baited with chicken.  A second eyewitness, a farmer named Mark, reported seeing a large scaly humanoid, later finding a triangular print.  A third eyewitness, an auctioneer called Bob, reported seeing an upright green creature with a lizard-type head.  He also saw a dead cow in the river with a chunk taken out of it, and movement was discerned although the creature disappeared in seconds.

On the second night and time of the final hunt, the team tried to flush the creature towards their trap by both land and water, finding a track almost a foot long on the land and the rib cage of some consumed animal in the water.  They supposedly spotted red eyes ahead in the water, shortly after seeing thermal images by a farmer’s barn.  A nest of sorts was found in the upper loft of that barn, and thermal imagery taken from the barn then showed something going into the creek.  Pursuing that amid the usual confusion and bad camera angles, noise was heard in the vicinity of the trap, which caused the team to pursue there and fire numerous rounds at something they felt they had heard in the water; so much for capturing it alive.  Predictably, nothing was hit…

…neither had their trap been sprung.  Trying to put a positive spin on things, the investigators claimed that they had scared the Lizard Demon off; macho posturing rules!  One can imagine the creature shaking in his green scaled boots over his narrow escape…

 

UFO Bigfoot; Lake Pepin Monster; Cajun Werewolf…

March 15, 2014

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The season finale of Monsters & Mysteries in America (S2/Ep12) brought us three new segments with a wide range of strangeness. Just when you thought you’ve heard about every Bigfoot tale around, we’re asked to consider the twisted possibility that the celebrated cryptid is an alien, either the pilot of the UFO close by which it is seen, or an agent of those actually in control of it.- -“Who let the ‘Squatches out?!,” roared the commander of the Grays to his subordinates…

On July 30th, 1966 two picnicking couples got their vehicle stuck on Presque Isle in Pennsylvania. One male walked to town to seek a tow truck with the others remaining behind. Those remaining saw a “falling star” as night approached, the object assuming a mushroom-shape as it approached and landed behind a tree line. A park ranger then appeared, and that ranger and the remaining guy went to investigate the UFO. The two girls remaining with the car saw a 7′ humanoid approach, who attacked the car, hitting and denting it. Of course, there was nothing to be seen of the Bigfoot when the ranger and boyfriend returned. The next day, the Air Force, police, and other groups were crawling all over the site, investigating it. The incident supposedly became part of the Project Blue Book reports. In Fayette County, Pennsylvania a woman investigated noises in the vicinity of her porch, finding instead of the critters she expected a large, Bigfoot-type creature with red eyes. She fired a shotgun at it, at which point the creature disappeared in front of her eyes, apparently “beamed up” by its alien overlords.

Now if aquatic beasties are more to your preference, we were given the story of the Lake Pepin Monster in Minnesota, “Pepie” for short. A type of sea serpent, “Pepie” reportedly was photographed in 2004, with the photo showing a humped creature with a long neck.  The earliest known sightings go back to 1867, with Native American tribes attributing missing members to predation by the monster.  In 1983, a water skier fell off of her skis and while in the drink reported seeing a creature twenty to thirty feet long with scales; she has never returned to those waters since.  A boat equipped with “fish finder” type radar discerned a moving underwater object about 6′ wide by 35′ long; diver Cory Breault was sent in after it, to be passed by something large underwater which caught him in a vortex from which he barely surfaced, emerging freaked out by the experience.  “Pepie” is mundanely thought to be a giant sturgeon or eel, or more imaginatively a plesiosaur…wet and wild stuff!

The third and most brief segment presented the story of the Cajun Werewolf, a shape-shifting canine of the Louisiana swamps.  The creature is said to be a cursed person having the body of a man and the head of a dog or wolf-like beast.  Presented was the story of Chauvin Beldrin, who when about 13 years of age went hunting on All Saints Day in 1976, a day on which it was considered forbidden to take life.  While targeting a rabbit, a creature with the face of a dog came out of the grass, growled, and pursued the young teen, essentially driving him out of the swamp.  It was speculated that the wolfman may be sent forth by the swamp as a warning to those who are not respecting its ways, or trying to take inappropriately from it…