Archive for the ‘feathered friends’ category

The Saga of Miracle Mike, the Headless Chicken…

March 25, 2022

Warning: this post may not be suitable for some of our more sensitive viewers. Well, you’ve already seen the headless chicken photo, so what remains are the gory details…

In September of 1945, a farmer who lived in Fruita, Colorado by the name of Lloyd Olsen who raised chickens was killing large numbers of them to take to town for market, and using a hatchet for the fowl task. Most of the chickens obligingly died as expected, although chickens beheaded will sometimes kick and run about for several minutes before succumbing. One chicken, however, had his jugular spared and retained most of his brain stem, and was able to develop a blood clot to prevent bleeding out, and so remained ambulatory. The brain stem which remained controlled his breathing, digestion, and heart rate. The fowl also retained an ear. After his decapitation, the headless chicken got up, and began to strut around the farm.

The farmer took this curiosity and kept it in an apple box overnight, the next morning describing that “The damn thing was still alive.” The event then took on a life of its own, so to speak. As the rooster survived, Olsen let him continue to roam around. He would sleep with his neck stub tucked under his feathers, tried to peck for food with his neck stub, and even gained weight due to the chicken being fed milk and water directly into his esophagus with a dropper. He could even so digest small pieces of corn…

Recognizing how unique a living headless chicken was, his owner made a cash cow out of him, taking him on the road where he became a sideshow sensation, and earning 25 cents per head (so to speak) for people to gawk at him. At the height of his fame, Mike made his owners $4,500 per month...not exactly chicken feed, in the 1940’s.

Sadly while on road tour in Phoenix, Arizona his owners awoke to the sounds of Mike choking. As they had to suction mucus from his throat throughout the day, they would usually keep a syringe nearby, but had forgotten this equipment at a previous sideshow event. Mike couldn’t dislodge the mucus himself, and so suffocated in March of 1947, about 18 months after his decapitation. From the sideshow profits, however, his owners were able to buy a horse, mule, hay baler, two tractors, and a Chevrolet pickup truck.

A statue of Mike was erected, and Mike the Headless Chicken was awarded his own special festival day, celebrated annually in Fruita, Colorado with a chicken lunch, an egg toss, a chicken dance, a race, and even chicken bingo, which is chosen by chicken droppings that land on a bingo board! Mike would have liked that. Only in America…is this a great country, or what?!

Geico’s “Angry Birds” Problem…

December 28, 2021

According to Geico, cultural icons are invading your home! You’ve got Muppet drummer Animal as an unwelcome guest in your attic, and Yogi and Boo Boo bears raiding your cookouts. In yet another example, Angry Birds from Rovio are doing the Hitchcock thing, smashing into the walls and windows of your home, and trashing feeders, lawn umbrellas, and flower pots on your patio!– – Aieee!

Now I know the three feathered fowl well, having an Angry Birds 2 addiction and leading a clan on the mobile game site. They are Red, Chuck, and Bomb, although Bomb certainly could have blasted through the window had he detonated. The homeowners are lucky that Terence didn’t show up, as the heavyweight probably could have gone through the wall as well. Matilda, Silver, and the Blues are likewise nowhere to be seen. Add in optional birds Bubbles, Hal, and Stella, and we could have reduced the whole house to splinters…pathetic humans!- –And why are there no Angry Foxes games?!

“The birds are back!,” one homeowner warns the other before the thumping and crashing continues. “Why are the birds so angry?,” wonders a neighbor peering over a fence. Perhaps there are green pigs in the neighborhood, stealing the avian’s eggs. In filming, the crew lobbed baseballs at the home to enable the actors to respond realistically to the impacts…

Fortunately, the homeowners have Geico insurance bundled to deal with the feathered predation. The assault of cultural icons must impact adversely on property values, one suspects… 🦊

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! 🙀

Liberty Mutual’s “Gym” Commercial…

June 13, 2021

We once again find the LiMu Emu and Doug on a row of treadmills at a gym, where the human half of the duo asks an unfortunate fellow exerciser on a cell phone if he’s using the Liberty Mutual “customizer” tool, so he “only pays for what he needs.” Doug hardly seems dressed for a workout, wearing long pants, his trademark yellow shirt, and a tie. Bad form, Doug…

Putting Doug to shame, however, is the Emu at the end of the row of treadmills, who is running full tilt! “LiMu, you’re a real animal!,” remarks Doug, adding “Who’s got the ‘bird legs’ now?” Cute…

In an expanded version of the ad, the Emu is also shown pecking at a heavy bag in the gym. His beak punctures the bag’s covering, causing sand to pour out.- -Well, there goes their membership! This is one buff bird…

“Grilling Out” with the LiMu Emu…

June 11, 2021

I’m not sure that one would want to date or marry an insurance company spokesman or rep as depicted on TV, where they never seem to be able to talk about anything but insurance, which can get old really fast! So it is at an outdoor cookout for Liberty Mutual’s “Doug” (David Hoffman), the Emu, and their presumed wives. The partners are dressed alike in matching loud yellow floral Hawaiian print shirts, and even their wives are in matching tones. It’s a surreal occasion, their outfits matching the yellow finish of the Liberty Mutual-mobile visible in the background. They’re nothing but thematic here…

When Doug blathers only about insurance, his wife politely asks him to change the topic, it being the weekend and all.- -Give it a rest, dude! In the awkward silence that follows, Doug asks the Emus wife if she would prefer to eat either a hot dog or chicken right off the grill, the latter offering seeming to be at least quasi-cannibalistic for the bird. The Emu vocalizes a brief response which Doug interprets to indicate a choice for a hot dog. It is not clear whether this is possibly because chickens may resemble baby emus in their sight…

For inquiring minds, the Emu memorably depicted in these commercials is a mix of real bird and CGI effects. At any rate, he certainly can rock a pair of aviator shades! Perhaps a future commercial could touch on a sensitive issue, such as The Great Australian Emu War of 1932, where 20,000 emus prevailed against World War I veterans armed with machine guns. They are a resourceful and resilient species… 🦊

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!”  🙀

 

 

FanDuel Sportbook’s “Payout Falcon”

December 10, 2020

FanDuel Sportsbook is an on-line gaming company that in a recent commercial shows the lengths they’re willing to go to in order to deliver your winnings as quickly as possible to you; they’ve trained a peregrine falcon to deliver your winnings, on the fly as it were.  The falcon swoops down to the splendid outdoor location of a patron who retrieves his winnings from a tube attached to the bird’s leg, and before departing, the falcon swipes the guy’s sandwich, taking it with him for his return flight!

“Honey, I’ve come into some money,” the man tells his presumed off-screen wife.  “And I’m going to need a new sandwich!”  Undoubtedly, some will raise objections about this commercial.  Should the guy pictured be gambling?  And should his wife tell him to make his own damn sandwich?  He does have legs, after all…

I, for one, champion the peregrine falcon, who at least gets a sandwich as the wages of his forced servitude…fly free, magnificent bird!

“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…

The Forgotten Gold of “Rango”

June 29, 2020

You might easily have missed the 2011 film Rango in the theaters, intended as a quirky western comedy and featuring Johnny Depp as a chameleon house pet stranded in the Nevada desert who becomes the sheriff in the town of Dirt inhabited by a variety of desert anthropomorphic animals who move faster and more convincingly than most animal characters in films intended for children. Pictured above is the alluring vixen Angelique (Claudia Black), who is the secretary to the town mayor, an elderly tortoise.

Now Rango satirizes a number of western traditions and films, and there’s even a virtual Clint Eastwood character who appears rather mystically as The Spirit of the West. Although essentially a kid’s movie, there’s enough subversive darkness and hidden spoofs in the film to keep adults happy, and a furry like myself enthralled. The animal characters do smoke, drink, and shoot at each other. The film was actually criticized for promoting smoking, and because of this some actually wanted it to have an R rather than a PG rating… but hey, this is a western after all, and it isn’t real…Lighten up!

So if you haven’t seen it, you can probably catch Rango on your small screen. Johnny Depp is a hoot as always, and Angelique could own me in like two seconds…I’ll forgive her for the cigarette!

Livin’ Off The Plastic…

April 25, 2020



The other day I went to a drive-up window to buy a lousy $4 ice cream, since in the year of the plague, walk-in much less full restaurant service are but memories.  Reaching the front of the line, I discovered to my chagrin that the establishment wasn’t accepting cash, but only credit or debit cards.  Cash, it would seem, is now considered a “contact point” for the Coronavirus, which can live merrily on a variety of surfaces for hours.

As I fumbled awkwardly for my debit card out of my wallet, the thought surfaced in my mind that these must be terrible times to be Scrooge McDuck.  I mean, that bird would literally go swimming through his cash vaults!  He had, by a Forbes estimate, a net cash worth of over 44 billion dollars. Swimming and burrowing through his money brought this duck pleasure!  He was, by the standards of many, one lucky duck…

Now in these plague years, could Scrooge be considered to have a fatal attraction to money, considering his physicality with it?  With money being considered filthy lucre, does Scrooge McDuck have a death wish, or is he just severely conflicted now about his practices?  Is an intervention needed to save this duck from himself?!  These thoughts eat away at me, terribly.  We may never know the answer to these timely questions, but press on nonetheless.  It is our calling, our mission here… 🐺

 


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