Archive for the ‘furry’ category

COVID Masking, and Identity Expression…

June 1, 2020



A few months ago, facial masks were rarely seen in public, and there was little interest in them. With the Coronavirus pandemic, however, masks literally became “must have” items almost overnight.  Your choices in them were originally quite limited and dreary, but demand has spawned a thriving cottage industry dedicated to their creation and marketing in an otherwise mostly depressed economy…

From just a few listings, places like eBay now offer for sale literally thousands of different homemade cloth masks in a dizzying array of colors, patterns, and presented images.  They have become almost fashion accessories, an expression of personal interests and identity.  One may procure a facial mask that proclaims one’s favorite sports team, or represents an affiliation or hobby.- – Who knows where a comment about one’s “cute mask” might lead?  (from a safe distance, of course!) 

The proliferation of more colorful and creative masks has become almost a daily Halloween for the masses, kind of a passive outreach tool in an age of social distancing.  So will you be a face mask fashionista?- – Show your colors!  What will your mask reveal about your inner self?!

 

 

 As Billy Joel’s lyrics noted in The Stranger, 

“Well, we all have a face

That we hide away forever

And we take them out

And show ourselves when everyone has gone

Some are satin, some are steel

Some are silk and some are leather

They’re the faces of a stranger

But we’d love to try them on”

 

 

In a way, self-disclosure can be quite…liberating!  May we all have a happy, more nearly-normal June…

Creepshow’s “Bad Wolf Down”

May 15, 2020

I freely admit that I’m more of a werewolf than a vampire fan, but what would you expect? I’m a furry, and werewolves are kind of an amplified furry. I was therefore in seventh heaven to see that werewolves were featured prominently in the Bad Wolf Down segment of the new Creepshow series by Shudder, now available for viewing on the AMC network. This series draws heavily from the earlier Stephen King and George Romero movie by the same name which aired in 1982.

Meshing horror comics with live action, this S1/Ep2 installment plunges us into a furious firefight of WWII American troops overwhelmed by Nazis. Seeking sanctuary from annihilation, the few remaining Americans flee to an abandoned building where they encounter a woman locked in a cell who turns out to be a female werewolf! Seeking the release of death, the woman wants only to swallow the silver cross of one of the Americans. They accommodate her, but not before requesting that she bite each of them, transforming them in turn into werewolf soldiers that are more than a match for the pursuing Nazi elite troops.

Now the werewolf transformations are budget-restricted yet still effective, and the gore-fest which follows is not for the squeamish. It did, however, provide me with a satisfying spectacle as well as a reminder of the power of shape-shifting. I found it an uplifting experience…You might, too, if you are into horror, werewolf sub-classification. Other episodes look equally promising, so gratify your dark side by checking out the new Creepshow series; it’s a worthwhile indulgence…

 

Of Anthropomorphic Horse Evolution…

April 30, 2020


Anthropomorphic horses have been on television for longer than one might suspect, perhaps beginning with the quirky but iconic 1960’s sitcom Mr. Ed that featured a talking palomino owned by an architect, Wilbur Post, portrayed by Alan Young. Those shows in turn were inspired by a series of children’s stories written by Walter R. Brooks.  Mr. Ed the horse was portrayed by a gelding named Bamboo Harvester, who was voiced on the series by former western actor Allan Lane.  Ed would only talk in person to Wilbur, although he would at times make phone calls, and be heard often talking to his owner by others, conversations for which Wilbur had constantly to offer false explanations.  The explanation for Ed’s origins as a sentient and articulate equine being was only touched upon once lightly and dismissively in the first episode in which Wilbur expresses his inability to understand the situation.  Ed replies to that confusion, “Don’t try.  It’s bigger than both of us!”  I can live with that, although alien genetic engineering seems to me one possible explanation.  “A horse is a horse, of course, of course…

Light years away was the adult animated Netflix series BoJack Horseman, which ran for six seasons and 77 episodes from 2014 to 2020.  BoJack was essentially an animal-person, equine from the neck up, but with human features below that point.  This presents as a rather disturbing combination at first glance, but it grows on you rather quickly, especially since BoJack is but one of a number of animal-persons of different species coexisting with mundane humans on the series.  BoJack is a middle-aged male whose heyday occurred in the 1990’s with a sitcom called Horsin’ Around.  That show abruptly cancelled, BoJack now seeks to restore his celebrity status in a dark series which satirizes Hollywood but touches on depression, addiction, self-destructive behavior, sexuality, and many other aspects of the human condition.

 

Mr. Ed was essentially a horse who acted like a human, whereas BoJack Horseman was a human who acted like a horse.  As to whether BoJack was Mr. Ed, the former once tweeted, “NO I AM NOT MR ED OPEN YOUR EYES.”  That seems pretty definitive to me…

 

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… 🐺

 

The Chantix Turkey at the Fair…

April 10, 2020

In the strange world of evolution gone awry inhabited by the Chantix Turkey, we are gradually being introduced to other individuals there, and familiarized with their social activities.  A recent episode takes us to their town fair, a rather folksy event at which our hero is apparently functioning as a worker.  Nice guy or bird that he is, the turkey takes the plunge in a dunk tank before donning an apron, working thereafter at a ring toss game booth (above), a ticket booth, and even a cotton candy stand.  This turkey does it all…

There are some subtle and cute touches in this ad, such as when the titular turkey walks past a fun house mirror, and we get to see his slenderized reflection in the mirror.  It’s a delight to see the turkey’s distinctive walk here, as well as his trademark heel click out of exuberance at kicking the smoking habit.

The turkeys don’t seem to be socially distancing, so they’ve apparently avoided the Coronavirus.  In their friendly and serene world, however, one wonders if the turkeys might someday have to deal with some variant of the avian flu, or perhaps just a hostile invasion by Elmer Fudd wanna-bes…oh the horror, the  horror! 

Oh, and by the way…a Happy Easter, y’all!

“The General Skunk” Commercial

April 3, 2020

                  

      When a woman in a commercial for The General insurance appears about ready to drive a newly-purchased vehicle off a car lot, she is met by the unlikely duo of Shaquille O’Neal and The General, the latter a cartoon pipsqueak in military attire sporting an enormous white moustache.  

        You’re not ready to drive without insurance,” cautions Shaquille.  “That’s as crazy as starting a skunk farm in your backyard!”  The admonition seems to trigger a traumatic memory in the woman. We flash back to an image of her apparently in her yard being advanced upon by over half a dozen skunks.  The woman extends her palms at the advancing skunks in an effort to keep them at bay.  “Easy, Petunia!,” she cries to one, “Back up!,” she beseeches…but her efforts are in vain, as we are shown a fleeting image of the skunks raising their tails, about to spray the woman.

        Flashing back to the present, the woman is now happily engaged in procuring insurance from The General.  “Smell you later,” she says to those bad memories as she departs…

          



        Progressive’s “Sadsquatch” Commercial…

        March 28, 2020

        Progressive’s “Flo” gets around, and she’s utterly fearless, being not quite the same as you or I…and so, we shouldn’t be surprised to see Flo in a recent commercial having an intimate and revealing conversation with the legendary Bigfoot in the woods, the two of them seated informally on an accommodating log…Flo wearing her trademark spotless white uniform and high-top sneakers, and Bigfoot his shaggy fur, idly holding a stick.

        It turns out that Bigfoot is feeling a mite neglected these days. People used to come out to the woods just to take a blurry photo of him, after all. We are shown the legendary cryptid posing, kind of like a backroad tourist attraction. Now, however, people visiting the woods are more concerned with showing off their RV’s and off-road vehicles. Flo, ever insurance-minded, takes the occasion to tell Bigfoot and the viewers that Progressive can save people money by bundling their home and off-road vehicle insurance, adding to her primary listener that “People have other things to do now, Bigfoot.” Wounded by this reference and regarding his foot, Bigfoot informs Flo that his name is Darryl. — Yes, Bigfoot has a name, and I think it’s time that we all started using it out of proper respect! This is a sensitive cryptid, after all…”Hath not a Bigfoot eyes?,” to paraphrase Shakespeare.

        In an extended version of the commercial, Darryl tells us that he’ll now have time to work on his screenplay. Asking Flo if she wants to read it, she responds that she’s been “pretty busy.” “Fair enough,” sighs Darryl, adjusting to his changed reality as must we all…

        Carfax TV Commercial, “Shrubs”

        March 22, 2020

        Our Carfax television commercial begins with the Car Fox, a personal hero of mine, standing in front of a pleasant, tidy little house with an attached garage and a car in the driveway. A large shrub is alongside the Car Fox, but all is not as it appears. Before the Fox can say a word, the shrub sprouts feet and a face, an adult male inside!

        Is the guy heavily into camouflage, early to test out a Halloween costume, or seeking to hide from the Coronavirus? – -Nope, nope, and nope; he and his family are simply so ashamed of overpaying for a used car that they are afraid to show their faces in public! Alas, if only they had looked up a Carfax first to determine an appropriate price for their used vehicle! His wife and two kids are also clad as shrubs, and amble off with the gentleman as the ad concludes. I do hope that there wasn’t any poison ivy lurking amidst their assumed foliage!

        I’m reminded that shrubs may be of great significance. In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the Knights of Née could only be placated by shrubbery, so perhaps such outfits may be of value after all…and Car Fox, you’re unflappable and lookin’ good as always! Don’t you just want to scritch his head?!

        Vintage Cornball Kiddie Shows with Animals…

        March 18, 2020

        In the long ago, I was exposed to kiddie shows with an animal presence that probably warped me for life. There are many who grew up with Captain Kangaroo together with his cohorts Mr. Moose and Bunny Rabbit. Not to be forgotten was Dancing Bear, whose unchanging face and looming presence could be oddly disturbing; I’m glad that he was benevolent.  Mr. Green Jeans, a farmer stereotype, would frequently show up with a baby farm animal of some sort. I often wondered about him…

        Much less remembered were shows like Andy’s Gang, which featured actor and comedian Andy Devine, who in his prime tended to play sidekicks in westerns. Now Andy appeared with a strange array of animals that included Midnight the Cat (pictured top), Little Squeaky (a mouse), and a strange magical amphibian obviously made of rubber called Froggy the Gremlin. This character would appear in a puff of smoke, and always announce “Hiya, kids! Hiya, hiya, hiya!” The kiddie audience would then cheer with delight, and you so seldom see magical amphibians these days.  It was low tech and low budget stuff, but memorably high on the cornball scale. Kids could appreciate this kind of inspired anarchy, echoes of which survived much later in shows like Pee-wee’s Playhouse.

        In the long-ago tradition of regional kiddie shows, cartoon segments and Three Stooges shorts were sometimes hosted by hapless adult humans who might be dressed to impersonate stereotypic police officers or sea captains. It paid the bills for them, and they probably laughed or cried all the way to the bank. We sucked it all down, and hungered for more…and while the adults scratched their heads over our interest, we kids knew that they would never understand…

        “The UnXplained” with William Shatner…

        March 1, 2020


        Originally debuting in July 2019, The UnXplained with William Shatner is now presenting new episodes on the History Channel, and while yet another paranormal show, it brings a measure of quality to its presentations that many similar shows have lacked. Without naming names, such shows can often be poorly done and even cheesy, simply trading on the presence of a receptive audience desperate to believe.

        That’s not a problem with The UnXplained, which has solid production values anchored by the iconic presence of William Shatner.  This is hardly Shatner’s first rodeo with the paranormal, and he’s been kicking around our television screens since the 1960’s, so one can excuse him for looking a bit tired.  We’ve all looked better for the most part, at least those of us who are past our twenties.  His creepy narrations with an underlying note of whimsy reveal that the Shat is still where it’s at, so warp speed ahead, Captain!

        Now The UnXplained is for us paranormal buffs more of a reunion with family than a presentation of new material.  You’re unlikely to see or hear new topics here, but rather a smooth and balanced presentation of familiar ground, with nothing dwelt on or belabored excessively.  A consideration of cryptozoology transitions swiftly and smoothly between Chupacabra to Mothman to species thought extinct but not, and we’ve even seen many of the commentators, experts,  and witnesses before on other shows…it’s a nothing new here, but gee, it’s nice to see you again kind of thing. The lure of the familiar is undeniable.

        The UnXplained succeeds in its purpose of being entertaining if not illuminating, and it’s marathon season debut episode of four hours can really fill a dull evening.  So catch William Shatner’s latest mission to strange if familiar worlds on The History Channel, and be kind to him.  After all, “Klingon bastards” killed his son…