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 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 22 – 26)

So, here we are again – another week successfully muddled through, with virtually no collateral damage.  That makes for a good week, in my book. 

For those of you that pay attention to these things, there are only 27 days left until the official beginning of the fall season and only 120 shopping days left until Christmas. 

I’m looking forward to the beginning of fall, myself.  Though, I don’t know why.  I live in Texas.  Mother Nature tends to forget about us down here in the Lone Star State when she is handing out seasonal weather.  I’m starting to think that she doesn’t care for us all that much.  Or maybe we are being punished for something.

Rick Perry, perhaps? 

Just saying.

I learned this week…

Megan the Wise

…that my daughter is wise beyond her years.  She sat down at the dinner table and out of blue said, “So many years gone by so fast, huh?”  She’s had a lot of these little zingers lately.  I’m not sure how she became so mature or if it is even a good thing, but her frankness warms my heart.  I am so blessed to have her in my life.

…that even at my age, and with more than a few semesters under my belt now, I still get butterflies on the first day of school.

…that an educational institute’s library is still one of my top five places to people watch.  The eclectic group of individuals who choose to begin their quest for higher education at a Community College make for great character inspiration, as do the facility that are determined to teach them.  I spent two days this week taking it all in and playing my favorite “what if” game.  Perhaps I will share some of the things I witnessed with you in my next blog entry.

…that even though I am not a proponent of war, I am thrilled to see Gaddafi’s regime come crashing down.  Those of you old enough to remember Lockerbie, Scotland will surely share my view.  [If you would like to read more about the bombing of Pan Am flight 103, you can do so (here), as well as (here).] Now, the question is:  Will the liberated Lybians embrace this opportunity for a new beginning, free from oppression, or will they squander it away, allowing an even bigger evil to rear its ugly head.  I guess time will tell.

Jeff Mitchell/Getty Images

that I found this little tidbit regarding the founder of IKEA very interesting.  For those of you who don’t know, I loathe the Swedish furniture maker with the strength of a thousand suns.  I have no real problem with their products, per se.  I will readily admit that my favorite writing chair is from IKEA – though my choice of decor tends to lean more toward traditional than modern.  My biggest problem with the store is in its design and layout.  I don’t appreciate being herded like little lab rats through a never-ending maze while enduring the endless stupidity and rudeness of those packed like sardines around me.  I want to get in, get what I need, and leave.  An impossibility in IKEA.  Oh, and don’t get me started on the floor.  I have never left that store without an ache that runs from my right knee down to my right big toe.  Never.

…that I was mistaken in my belief, or perhaps hope is a more adequate word, that the middle school parents would have a better grasp of pick up and drop off rules.  Their children may have matured over the summer, but sadly, they have not.  Yesterday, I saw a white Chrysler 300 (with pimpin’ rims) parked backwards – complete with illuminated reverse lights – in the moving (in the opposite direction) carpool lane.

…that the weather folks on the nightly news are just screwing with us.  We might have fallen for the arbitrary 98 or 99 degree high temperature prediction stuck in at the end of the ten-day forecast, the first few half-dozen times, but now it’s just cruel to dangle such utter nonsense – complete meteorological fabrications – in front of our noses.  Haven’t we suffered enough?

10 day forecast courtesy of http://www.weather.com

…that adaptation is born out of necessity.  A couple of weeks ago I came back from vacation to find that most of the stationary bikes at my gym, including my beloved #3, were gone.  “Out for repair”, the pimply boy behind the counter told me.  I was forced to get my cardio workout on the elliptical.  I am surprised to report that I don’t hate it.  I’ve figured out how not to fall off and how to adjust it to fit my short, stubby stride.  As always, I judge the success of a workout by the amount of sweat dripping from my body and the level of numbness I feel in my legs when I’m finished.  The elliptical delivered on both.  This does not mean that it will replace the spinner as my workout apparatus of choice – I am a biker, through and through.  *HA!  I made a joke there.  See?*

…that though I searched high and low, I was unable to find any new reports of bear attacks.  However, I did come across another Great White shark attack.  This time off the coast of South Africa.  I don’t wish to belittle such a tragedy with insensitivity, but I must conclude that this surfer was either demented or had never watched the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week.  Every episode I’ve ever seen features dumbasses shark enthusiasts in boats off the coast of South Africa surrounded by large numbers of these predatory fish.  You can read this surfer’s story (here).

…that insects can elicit the occasional awwww moment:

Miroslaw Swietek/liveScience

Okay.  Perhaps that was being a tad too generous, but you have to admit that the above photograph had you leaning in a little closer to your computer screen, musing, “What is that?”

My work here is done.