Man vs. Beast VIII

I’ll be completely honest, I was going to pass on a Man vs. Beast blog this week.  That is until the spider monkey escaped its enclosure at the Dallas Zoo (my local zoo).  It’s the second escape in as many weeks. Talk about instant inspiration!

So…let’s get to it, shall we?

Remember the rash of bee attacks a couple of months ago?  Well, they have struck again.  This time in the Sunshine State.  A man renovating his house was found dead by his family in an upstairs bedroom, surrounded by swarming bees.  60,000 swarming bees, to be exact.  It appears the man was in the process of trying to rid the bedroom of the bees himself using store-bought bug bombs.  Experts do not believe the bees contributed in any way to the man’s death.  They believe he died after falling off a chair that was found near his body.  How is it that experts are always so stupid? This man was clearly pushed.  By the bees.  Duh.  [Click here for more].

A couple of weeks ago, at the Dallas Zoo, a female chimpanzee escaped her enclosure and had to be tranquilized.  Yesterday it happened again, only this time it was a spider monkey who escaped its habitat. Neither animal made it very far, and it did not appear that they had any specific destination in mind – just out for a stroll.  Or were they?  This zoo is not new to animal jailbreaks.  Last year, a female gorilla made it out of her enclosure and in 2004, a male gorilla actually scaled the outer wall of the outdoor exhibit, getting a brief whiff of sweet freedom before being unceremoniously shot dead by police.  Human error at play here?  You bet.  But these are primates we are talking about here.  It is obvious to me that for the past several years, the apes of the Dallas Zoo have been formulating a plan of action – their great escape.  [Click here for more].

In Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, an elk hunter survived a grizzly bear attack by dropping to the ground, covering his head, and playing dead.  Glad to see there is at least one hunter out there who reads my blog.  Right?  [Click here to read more].

Turtles are slow, non-threatening, and unassuming.  But that doesn’t mean they aren’t in on this whole animal revolt.  In Jack County, Texas, near the town of – wait for it – Antelope, a young woman rolled her vehicle when she swerved to dodge a turtle crossing the road.  I wonder how many drunk turtles were hiding in the bushes, laughing their asses off at the calamity their buddy caused.

It’s official.  The ninja shark assassins have laid siege to the west coast.  Of course, they have not been as successful as their Australian brethren.  Or perhaps they just mean to intimidate us with their menacing presence.  In Leucadia, California, at Beacon’s Beach a surfer reported that a ten foot long Great White shark circled him before disappearing into the surf.  The surfer credits his close proximity to the shore with saving him from what could have been a fatal attack.  I doubt that had anything to do with it.  If that shark meant to kill him, he would be dead – or missing a limb. [Click here to read more].

At a surfing competition at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, a competitor was scared out of the water after he spotted a shark barreling down on him.  He described it as measuring at least fifteen feet in length and most definitely not a dolphin.  Unlike in other recent attacks and sightings, officials did not close the beach and the competition went on as scheduled.  Obviously, these surfers have not been properly intimidated.  Metaphorically flipping the bird at a Great White shark while dressed up like their favorite food – well, that just plain stupidity.  [Click here to read more].

So, I took a step out of my comfort zone and went whale watching in Mexico this year.  It scared the crap out of me, but not for the reason you would think.  My mind was preoccupied with the horrors of drowning in the very deep, very cold Pacific ocean.  Not once did I think about what could happen if one of those whales our guide was so vehemently pursuing actually breached in close proximity to the raft I was riding in.  After seeing the video linked below, I think it is safe to say that I will never, ever, ever, ever, go whale watching again.  Ever.

Man vs. Beast VII

Are you ready to find out how far the animals have progressed in their endeavor to take over the world?

I am.

Here we go…

A Texas man, diving off the southwest coast of Australia died over the weekend in an apparent shark attack.  Officials are taking this latest attack, the third in just two months, very serious.  They have organized an aggressive hunt for the shark with orders that it be destroyed on sight.   Rumors are flying.  Locals believe that they are dealing with a “rogue” shark who has developed a taste for human flesh.  Um…duh.  Of course, experts scoff at this idea and warn that killing the shark goes against conservation efforts to protect the endangered species.  As usual, the experts don’t know shit.   To me, it looks like the animals have deployed the big guns Down Under.  They have called in the ninja shark assassins.  No one is safe now.  My advice – stay the hell out of the water!  [Click for story]

Near Vancouver Island, a man mistakenly shot his friend when he mistook him for a bear.  The two men were camping near the Nitinat River.  During the night, one man was awoken by what he thought were the sounds of a bear trying to break into the tent.  Instead of trying to first identify the source of the ruckus, he pulled out his gun and began firing randomly, in the direction of the sounds.  He hit his camping buddy, who was still asleep, in the face and arms.  The man will recover, however, there is a valuable lesson to be learned here  – tents are for stupid people; be smart, spring for the hotel room.  [Click for story]

A Minnesota man was enjoying some peace and quiet on the porch of his cabin last month, when he felt what he thought was a mosquito brush the back of his neck.  Imagine his surprise when he reached back to swat it, only to come in contact with a wet, furry nose.  He  turned around and found himself face to face with a bear.  Having obviously read the manual on how to survive a bear attack, the man did not move a muscle.  He sat motionless as he bear stared at him for several seconds before becoming interested in a nearby bird feeder.  Still, the man didn’t dare move from his spot.  It was a good thing, too.  A few minutes later the bear returned to the porch and proceeded to thoroughly sniff his face.  Eventually, the bear lost interest and wondered off for good.   I think this animal might be one of the few that has not turned against the humans, though, I’m sure that is of little consequence to this man who likely had to change to soiled undies immediately following this encounter.  [Click here]

Last week in Newport, Oregon, a surfer was lucky enough to survive what could have been a deadly attack by a Great White.  In classic Great White style, the animal attacked from below, lifting the surfer up into the air.  Fortunately, the only thing the shark got its teeth into was the man’s board.  Beaches were closed as officials kept an eye out for the shark.  It seems that Australia’s ninja shark assassins are infiltrating our western coast, as well.  Though, this one does not seem as skilled as it’s Aussie friends.  The victim, who was understandably shaken by the incident, says he is done with surfing.  Finally, a surfer with common sense.  [Click here]

Just in case you were not aware of what a classic Great White attack involves:

And lastly, we have the Utah hiker who came across two moose – a male and a female – and decided the only logical thing to was approach them and capture them on film.  Thanks to the magic of YouTube, I can bring this man’s stupidity to you.  It’s okay to laugh out loud.  I did.

Man vs. Beast VI

I’m going to have to be completely honest here and say that I was prepared to skip this week’s Man vs. Beast entry for lack of any good animal mischief.

Boy, was I mistaken.

I would also like to say before I begin, that when you take this story in its true context, without creative license, it is incredibly heartbreaking both for the man who took his own life and the innocent animals who were gunned down by authorities.  I understand that these animals were dangerous to the public at large, however, I really wish there had been a better way to handle the situation.   This is a truly tragic story.

Having said that – let the fun begin:

In Zanesville, Ohio, the owner of an animal sanctuary was found dead on Wednesday.  Police say that the man committed suicide, but not before releasing all of the animals housed at the sanctuary.   Animals such as lions, tigers, bears, and monkeys.  The logical question that comes to mind here is:  Why?  Why would a man who would care enough about these animals to provide them with a secure habitat to live out their days, suddenly release them and kill himself?  Things don’t really add up, do they?  Well, of course they don’t.  This man didn’t kill himself.  He was murdered in a sophisticated jail break orchestrated by the animal revolution’s masterminds.

Who are these evil masterminds?

The penguins.

I think you would have to be incredibly naive not to see that this situation has the penguins’ stench all over it.  They have been mobilizing for quite some time, recruiting animals where they can, and trying to get their convoluted message of world domination out to the masses.  Their mission: to unite the animal kingdom, overthrow mankind, and take over the world.   In an effort to increase their numbers, they seized on an opportunity to recruit animals who were already living within the vein of human society.  Think of it as a sleeper cell of sorts.  They broke into the sanctuary, killed the owner, and released their comrades.  Unfortunately, these animals have lived most of their lives in captivity and, although they supported the penguins’ cause, were ill-equipped to handle the severity of the situation.  Their lack of training was obvious.  Instead of moving stealthily though the brush, the animals frolicked through the fields and out into traffic on a collision course with the gun-toting American public.  A drastic and costly miscalculation by the penguins for it was a suicide mission from its inception.

Yes, I know what you are thinking – there were no penguins found at the Ohio animal sanctuary.  Of course, there weren’t.  From the moment it was evident that the mission was a failure, the penguins were on the move.  Where they have gone, is anyone’s guess.  But rest assured that this will not be last we hear from them.  If nothing else, this incident will only serve to strengthen their resolve to obliterate the human race.

Man vs. Beast Part IV

My perfectionist troll will be happy to see that I took special care in the typing of my title.  No embarrassing Freudian faux pas for me this week.

So, let’s delve right in and find out what the animals have been up to since we last checked in on them.

Champion surfer Mathieu Schiller was attacked and killed by an aggressive tiger shark just off the shore of the French island of la Reunion.  I had to do a quick Google search on this place because I still haven’t had time to take that geography class.  It’s located in the Indian Ocean just east of Madagascar.  Good to know – I plan to avoid this area like the plague.  Contrary to what the local shark experts says, there seems to be an upswing in attacks in this area of late.  A coincidence?  I think not.  In my opinion, this was not a case of mistaken identity – a shark looking for a tasty seal and mistook the wetsuit clad surfer for prey – but a sanctioned hit.  The shark struck suddenly in an attack that lasted nearly 30 seconds and then swiftly fled the scene, the body of the surfer was never recovered.  Yea, this has shark mob written all over it.  You can read the story for yourself [here].

Last week a 12-year-old girl in Forest Falls, California scared off a bear that had made its way into her kitchen.  This is not the first time this particular bear has made an appearance at the girl’s home, nor even the first time he’s tried to get into the kitchen.   In the weeks prior, the girl’s father scared it away as it tried to climb in through a screened door.  This bear is obviously looking for something, though I suspect, whoever tasked him with this assignment did not take into consideration his lack of subtlety – or immense stupidity.  Perhaps they will send a grizzly next time.  On a side note, I surely hope the condition of the kitchen as shown in the [this video] is as a result of the bear.  If not, perhaps the bear was simply trying to tidy up.  Good grief.  How do people live like that?  ***Thank you very much to my brother, Rob, for sending this one to me.***

An 80-year-old Ohio man is recovering from a lengthy attack by a 6ft tall male kangaroo.   It appears this man did not adhere to the rules of Kangaroo Fight Club.

Kangaroo Fight Club

In Idaho, a bow hunter was seriously injured when he and his companion startled a grizzly bear while stalking elk.  The man’s hunting buddy doused the bear with “bear pepper spray” and managed to scare it away, likely saving his friend’s life.  Okay.  So you mean to tell me these dumbasses experienced hunters trekked out very close to Yellowstone National Park, in an area known to have a substantial bear population, armed only with a bow and arrow and pepper spray?  Seriously? Maybe I should send them a link to my Man vs. Beast blogs.  They seem to be in desperate need of a refresher course in the dangers of venturing into bear country without proper preparation.  You can read about this latest attack [here].

I would like to bring you an update on one of the items I included in last week’s Man vs. Beast entry.   It was reported that two men in Montana shot and wounded a grizzly bear, who in turn fled.  When the men tracked it down, the bear attacked, killing one man before being killed by the other.  As it turns out, the man who died was not killed by the bear at all.  He was shot and killed by his friend.  Police do not believe this to be anything other than an accident – though, I think I saw this play out differently on an episode of Bones once.  You can read the updated story [here].

A man in Roselle, Illinois, died after he was discovered unconscious outside his home this week.  The medical examiner has determined that his death was caused by multiple – and when I say multiple, I mean hundreds – of bee stings.  This is not the first time this has happened in Roselle.  In 2003, a man died after disturbing a hive of yellow jackets while mowing his lawn.  No word yet on the species of bees guilty of this attack or if it is connected to the recent attacks on the West Coast and in the Southwest.  Could be that we have a rogue colony of bees on a killing spree.  I will keep you posted.  You can read about this story [here].

Man vs. Beast Part II

Well, it’s Wednesday.  I wasn’t very optimistic about getting enough material to post a second “Man vs. Beast” blog entry.  I was wrong.  Granted there have not been that many attacks since last week, and I was forced to broaden my search, but I do think I found some interesting ones.  Ones that give credence to the notion that the animals of the world are coming together, in some sort of organized uprising.  Their motives are still unclear to me, for I know not what they hope to accomplish. 

I guess time will tell.

Here’s what I found: 

In Tulla, County Clare, Ireland, a farmer was attacked by an otter.  Yes, you heard me right.  An otter.  You know, those furry little river rat looking things we see at the zoo.  In a small Irish village, a farmer filling his vehicle with diesel spotted the creature struggling to remove a “crisp bag” from its head.  Being the good Samaritan that his mother raised him to be, he came to the animal’s rescue only to be bitten for his trouble.  In addition, the ungrateful otter took his bad attitude out on the poor man’s truck.  And if that weren’t enough, once the farmer was able to release the “fanged fish-gobbler” onto the shores of a nearby river, it had to be rescued, yet again, because it nearly drown from exhaustion.  I was unable repost all of the photographs as they are copyright protected, so please take a minute, and click [here] to view the calamity for yourself.  It is well worth it.  I got quite the laugh out of it.  On an a side note, “fanged fish-gobbler” is now my new favorite animal description.

In Lincoln County, Wisconsin, a man out hunting with his buddies shot and wounded a bear.  The bear then attacked the man, injuring him.  Of course, the bear lost in the end when he was hunted down and killed by the man’s buddies, in what can only be described as a revenge killing.   Again, I’m no bear advocate, but I think this is a clear-cut case of what’s good for the goose…

A kite-surfer (yeah, I don’t know the heck this is) in Papua, New Guinea was attacked by a tiger shark on Sunday.  While wave-running (again…no idea), the man was bitten and knocked off his board by the shark.  This was a strategic attack on the part of the shark, for the man states that it catapulted out of the water and aimed right for his leg.  When I read this story, I couldn’t help but think of that video they play over and over again on America’s Funniest Home Videos – the one where the toddler is just walking along, minding  his own business, and along comes a frisky kitty who launches himself at the boy, knocking him to the ground (looked – could not find it for the life of me).  I wonder in this case, if the shark had ill intentions or if this was simply a case of “I have an uncontrollable urge…”.  You can read more about this story [here].

I may not be a bear advocate, but I am a big cat lover.  Of course, I’m not going to go around camping where they make their home.  That would be stupid, but I do enjoy looking at them and have a healthy respect for their prowess.  Sadly, in a case of guilt by association, on Vancouver Island, two cougars were killed when they were spotted near popular campgrounds.  These killings were in response to an attack on an 18 month old boy by a different cougar at a different campground.  This one sorta pisses me off and I have nothing real snarky to say about it.  If you would like to read more about this one, you can do so [here].

At the El Paso Zoo, a Malaysian tiger on loan from the San Diego Zoo, killed her mate over the weekend in an apparent love triangle gone bad.   To quote Chicago’s Velma Kelly and the other ladies of murderess’ row, “he had it coming”.  The male showered an older female with attention.  This, in any relationship – man or beast, is not to be borne.  She did what any self-respecting female would have done in her position.  She took him by the neck and squeezed until he was dead. 

“Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, No hell a fury like a woman scorned.”  William Congreve, The Mourning Bride

 

Photograph by Michael Nichols

      

Things I learned this week (August 29 – September 2)

Hello, September.

I thought you’d never get here. 

That means there are only 21 days left until the official start of fall and 114 days until Christmas.  Tick-tock.  Better start working on that list and checking it twice.

Since last Friday, we’ve been allotted a few passing showers – though temperatures have not been any less scorching.  However, in the midst of one random rain shower on Tuesday morning, I believe I smelled a hint of fall.  Or maybe it was just this cold Megan was kind enough to share.  Hard to tell.

This week I learned:

…that I sadly, I jumped the gun last week when I reported there were no new bear attacks.  It seems that on Friday, they found the body of a hiker killed by a grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park.  This makes two for them this year.  You can read more about this attack (here).  I think something hinky is going on with this nation’s bear population.  Perhaps they are plotting a hostile take over.

…that reading page after page of text regarding dawning civilizations (the Egyptians, Phoenicians, Arameans, Philistines, Hebrews, Assyrian, Persians…) right before bed will give you very bizarre dreams.   I also learned in regard to these readings, that the hours I spent glued to A & E’s Mysteries of the Bible and the History Channel’s Engineering an Empire were not in vain, contrary to what my family said.

…that sometimes you just have to say enough is enough.  No matter how much it hurts.

…that hearing my beautiful, sweet-natured eleven year old daughter announce that something, “just sucks, mom” and that she just didn’t “give a crap” will leave me speechless and floundering for a response.  (It should be noted that this was her way of voicing her frustration over something that happened at school and not in response to something I said or did to her.  There would have been a decidedly different outcome if that had been the case.  I don’t do sass.)

…that Dick Cheney still reminds me of the Penguin.

The Penguin/Dick Cheney

…that Mother Nature seems to be having a bad case of PMS.  Tornados, fires, floods, endless scorching temperatures, hurricanes.  I think somebody needs a hug and a big box of chocolates – the really good expensive ones and not that milk chocolate crap.

…that I miss the music of my youth; the music of my parents’ youth.  You know, music that had a soul.  By and large, popular music today sucks – no soul.  Sure it’s catchy – gets stuck in your head – but it has no relevance and therefore, no staying power.  I say this now because I watched today’s biggest artists “perform” their over played, auto-tuned bullshit on the VMAs this weekend.  I’ve come to the conclusion that humanity, as we know it, is doomed.  I blame the hip-hop.  Seriously.

…that the local weather folks have pulled the old switcheroo on us again this week.  When we began the week, we were to be in the 90s by Thursday with a good chance of rain by the weekend.  Now, it looks like we will have to wait until next week for relief from the temperatures and can kiss the promised chance of rain goodbye.  I think the weather folks are spin doctors and liars.  Just like our politicians.

…that sometimes bears get what is coming to them.  You can read about this heroic Alaskan hairdresser who saved her dog by punching a bear in the snout (here).  She is my hero.

…that in all the excitement of the last couple of weeks, I forgot that my favorite sporting event began on Monday.  I’ve missed the first week of competition at the U.S. Open.  I hear Robin Soderling has dropped out.  Maybe Rafael Nadal will retire, as well.  I’d like to see my boyfriend favorite player, Roger Federer, win again.

…that I am suddenly hungry for some pumpkin pie.

…that there is a Mrs. Smith’s pumpkin pie left over from last Thanksgiving still in my freezer.  Wonder if it’s any good?  Hm.

…that I just can’t resist clicking on the headline “Raccoon Found in Naked Man’s Car Near NASCAR Track”.  I understand that it takes all kinds of people to make this little world of ours go ’round, but come on.  Shouldn’t there be some sort of law against this kind of stupid.  Anti-reproduction clause, at the very least?

…last but not least – our week-ending awwww moment:

Caucasian Leopard cubs (AP Photo/dadp/Uwe Meinhold)

Until next time…

Things I learned this week (August 8-12)

Well, we’ve made it through another week.  That means we are one step closer to the end of this nightmare summer and the beginning of a refreshing fall, full of new and exciting possibilities – and lower temperatures.  But before we get too caught up in fantasizing about day time highs under the century mark, let’s take a minute to explore the useful, and not so useful, things I’ve learned this week.

This week I learned…

…that sometimes you just need a Red Bull.  Even if that Red Bull is inside Madonna’s refrigerator.

…that moving heavy boxes from a high perch to the floor can cause a hip flexor injury.  Who knew?  Though, I shouldn’t be surprised.  I did get golfer’s elbow from falling off a ladder while painting my bathroom last year.  An aging body is a strange thing.

…that I can mark camping in Norway off my bucket list.  You are either going to have to take my word for it or Google it yourself because the photo is just too gruesome to link.  (note: reference campers, polar bear, and Norway)

Dirty Dancing circa 1987

…that nothing in Hollywood is sacred.  I think I am going to have to devote another blog entry to this abomination.

…that for $32 you can get an ice cream sundae that smells (and I guess tastes) just like Justin Bieber.  So, I tried to think of something witty to say in response to this, but…yea…I got nothing.  I’m sure a few of my fellow WCers will do their part to fill the void.  In fact, I look forward to it.

…that reading your account statements from Fidelity Investments can be a lot like watching a Vegas magic act.  One minutes it there; the next, it’s gone.  My advise:  save yourself the ulcer and don’t even bother opening the statements until this storm passes.  If it ever passes.

…that the Stasi were not a fashion forward bunch as noted in the photo below.  For some reason, the first thing that popped into my head were scenes from the 1982 Clint Eastwood movie Firefox.

Reuters

…that after enduring 40 straight days of 100+ degree temperature, nothing is more beautiful than watching heavy clouds and an outflow boundary roll into the area.  No rain but that 84 degrees was mighty nice while it lasted.  Alas, it’s back to reality.  There are, after all, several weeks of summer yet to come.

…that just when my schedule is about to change and make it very difficult for me to write as often as I’d like, I find myself more inspired in my novel than ever.  I’ve had all summer – two whole days a week – to dedicate to full on, balls to the wall writing and all I’ve done (for the most part) is write these silly little blog entries.

…that in spite of the foregoing, I feel that I’ve grown both as a writer and a human being because of these silly little blog entries.  Putting my thoughts out there, for better or worse, has given me confidence.

…that the reappearance of the high school cheer moms at the gym means the gymnastic moms won’t be far behind.  There goes my peace and quiet.

…that every week should end with an “awwww” moment:

"Hold still! You've got a little schumtz on your face." Ilya Naymushin/Reuters

Awwww.