Tuesday Video Lunch: Return of the Montauk Monster or Raccoons World Wide


This week’s Video Lunch has a very tabloid-esque feel to it. But what do you expect when an unidentified animal carcass washes up on the beach in California? But don’t take my word for it, watch this stunning* news clip!
*News clip may not actually be stunning.

Not too long ago, a similar discovery was made a hundred miles south of Seal Beach, on a beach in San Diego.  Some claimed that it was the carcass of the famous chupacabra. Based on the photographic evidence, I suspect that the San Diego discovery was actually made by an art student. The recent discovery is far more toned down (without a bleached blond mohawk or strange staring eyes.) Perhaps the same hoaxer has realized that less is more and has gone for a more subtle approach this time.

The news clip also mentions the Montauk Monster, a similar carcass that washed ashore in New York in 2008. No scientists had a chance to examine either the Montauk Monster or the recent California creatures, but based on the photographs, it has been suggested that what washed up in Montauk had been a raccoon. One of the keys to that identification was the long “fingers”, which are also a prominent feature of the Seal Beach discovery. So perhaps this is just a partially decayed raccoon carcass. They have raccoons in Southern California, right?

What am I asking you for? I have the internets right here. Yes, there are raccoons in SoCal. Also, there are raccoons in Germany where they were introduced by a farmer in one location and escaped from a fur farm during WWII in another location. Some former soviet socialist republics also have raccoons because they were introduced for fur hunting. In Japan, there are wild raccoons because everybody and their mother wanted a pet raccoon because of a popular cartoon show. The Japanese love cartoons more than reason itself. And what happens when pet raccoons inevitably escape? Let’s ask Rascal:


Hey, maybe Rascal Raccoon fell out of that canoe and his body washed ashore on Seal Beach, that’d explain everything.

Friday Night Creature Features: Lake Placid


Well, does it?

Remind Anyone of Anything?

Hello again from the Friday Night Creature Feature control center.  I knew that we would be getting to this at some point, but I didn’t know it would be so soon!

Lake Placid is a movie about a young coach who selects a hockey team without tryouts, leads them all the way to the Olympic semifinals in 1980, and the upstart team is eventually eaten by a crocodile.

Now, we have talked about the differences between crocodiles and alligators on the podcast before, but a quick refresher course is in order.  The insane creature in this movie is a crocodile, while Gator is a movie with Burt Reynolds.

Well, I know what you are all clamoring for: the Betty White scene.

Yes, tell him to suck your dick, Betty White.  You make sure he knows that you are an awesome old lady who tells people to blow you.

And this is why it is not Jaws.  Yes, the person responsible for the 30 foot crocodile in Michael Kane Lake, who apparently fed it on “scraps” to it’s current size, is a 50 something old lady who couldn’t be sweeter.

We should name all our lakes after him. Even the misspelled ones.

You know what though, I am delighted she is in this movie.  Betty White is the only person who seems to be having any fun in the movie.  Bill Pullman is a jerk cop, oh, I’m sorry, “game officer”, and Brendan Gleeson is woefully underused as a jerk cop.  Bridget Fonda, Paleontologist is given nothing to do, and Oliver Platt, who I love in movies, is just a bundle of eccentricity.  It’s just weird that a cast of really good actors were directed to be as bland and unfun as possible.

However, the real star of this movie, as with any good monster movie, is the monster.  The crocodile in question is effing huge, and they use it well, to make the scares somewhat effective.  Also, it eats a bear.

I can’t sell this movie on anything but it’s flawed silliness. If you enjoy silly movies, which have some okay effects and a bunch of jerk characters, you can really get into it.  If you don’t, this feature is going to get brutal for you.

Anyway, Lake Placid gets 3 and a half crocodiles out of six, mainly on the strength of eating a bear.  Enjoy your Friday night!

Matt

This kind.

On The 6th Day of Xmas My True Love Gave To Me: Six Monsters Laying


It’s another edition of

Kristin’s Gloriously Masterful Interpretation of the 12 Days of Christmas™!

Hey, wait a goddamn second.  I’m not Kristin.  I’m not the only attractive member of the podcast other than Jake.  I’m just some other guy.

Oh hey, I’m Matt!

I agree with Kristin.  This song has too many birds.  So, for “Geese a laying.”  I thought to myself, man, Geese are so 1800’s.  We have airplanes and trains and refrigeration.  If I am going to give a gift to somebody, it better be better than geese.  So, I just searched for eggs on google, and I want to show you what I found.  Come along with me.

Well, aren't those cute.

Look at those little bitty eggs.

Aww… those eggs are so cute.  I bet they would be delicious too.  All you would have to do is get them away from their mom, put them in a pan, fry them up… mmm… good eats.

I wonder what kind of animal those are from. Could I handle six of them for the rest of the days of Christmas?  Probably, I mean, look at how small they are.

This kind.

This kind.

Oh, you might be thinking to yourself.  That doesn’t look so bad.  It’s kind of cute with it’s bill and mammalian features.

You’d be right, if it were anything but a platypus.  What that cute picture doesn’t show, and could never show, is that it’s cute little beak is actually a highly tuned electrical sensor that can track things in the water, in front of it.  It has cute little fins with cute little claws, what could it really do to you though?

Oh, I may have forgotten to mention, it has two poisonous barbs in it’s hind legs, that contain a neurotoxin.  Yes, the platypus is one of the few venomous mammals in the world.  It also is the only one of those to lay eggs.  So, maybe a herd of 56 platypus and their breeding partners would be a little out of your depth.  Your true love would never wish that upon you.

How about this then?

How about this then?

Aww… Why did that man put an animal egg in his belly button, you say?  Good question.  anyway, that thing looks reasonable, right?  Probably good eating too.  Let’s see what mommy looks like.

What is it? What is it? Kill it!

Oh good, another monster.  What the hell is that thing? Oh, it’s just another product of the Australian nightmare factory.  Yes, it’s an Echidna.  The Echidna, together with the Platypus make up a group called the monotremes.  These animals are egg layers all.  They also curl up into bundles of nightmare spikes.

You know what?  We should probably look somewhere else.

This can't be bad, right?

I mean, look how small they are!

Oh.

Oh good.  Yeah, I don’t want 56 of these.  I’m pretty sure you’d have 200 by the end of day one.  Then things are going to get rough.

How about one of these?

Pretty cute, right?  I mean for a lizard.  Hold on, I’m sensing a pattern.  Maybe it isn’t as cute when it grows up.

AHHHH, DRAGON!

No, I refuse on principle.

Hmm...

What is the catch? I know there is a catch.

NO!

No. No. No. No. No.

Oh, a sea creature, this couldn't be terrifying.

Right? I mean come on.  There is no way this is scary, right?

:Distant sounds of the vomit of terror:

Oh no. Please. No more.  Just one you say?  Well, maybe this will be the twist! Maybe after all of these terrifying things, the last one will be cute and cuddly.

Hmm...

Okay, I may be on board.  It looks like an egg.  Actually the creature is kind of cute. And while a non traditional egg shape, perhaps that is just what we need to change up the song.

No.

Okay fine.  The song is perfect.  There is no way a goose could be terrifying right?

WRONG.

This Week in Animal History: August 29


This Week in Animal History is trying to track down Matt as he tours America without his co-hosts. We’ve followed him as far as Ellicott City, Maryland. When we heard that he was visiting the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, we hopped on the Baltimore & Ohio railroad. Then we noticed that it was no longer in operation.

This Week in Animal History

On August 28, 1830, the B&O’s experimental steam locomotive Tom Thumb raced against a horse-drawn cart, proving to the world that steam engines are better than animals. That is, until they break down. Which is exactly what the Tom Thumb did.

While testing the Tom Thumb on the rails between Ellicott City and Baltimore, the engineer was challenged to the impromptu race by the driver of a horse-drawn passenger car. The steam engine got off to a commanding lead before throwing a belt or something and losing power. With the Tom Thumb stranded the horses casually strolled to victory. This shallow victory marked the end of the horse’s monopoly on transportation. Wikipedia informs us that in subsequent horse v. locomotive races “horse victories were extremely rare, if there were any at all.” Although there is no evidence to suggest that the horses from this race became horse folk-heroes à la John Henry, they probably should have.

This Week in Animal History: August 22


Matt ran off to the USA and took the podcast with him. What he didn’t take was the leather-bound first edition of Jake’s Complete Guide to Animal History. So if you listened to this week’s podcast and felt like something was missing, it was probably This Week in Animal History! (Although Matt’s assessment of biological warfare in the middle ages was historical, he left out the part where they also hurled dead livestock into besieged cities.)

So without further ado:

This Week in Animal History

On August 22, 565 AD, St. Columba was ambling along in Scotland and he came across a couple of gentlemen who were burying a body. The deceased, Columba was informed, had been killed by a monster in a nearby loch. Subsequently, as Columba stood alongside the River Ness, he spied a swimmer in peril. The poor soul was under attack from a vicious creature of the deep. St. Columba, no doubt a certified life guard, followed standard life-saving protocol; he made a sign of the cross and told the monster “You shall not pass!”* Like all bullies, the monster was absolutely shocked that anybody would stand up to him and quickly retreated. The witnesses/survivors all converted to Christianity and Columba went on to become the patron saint of bookbinders and poets.

If you have not already guessed, this story is the oldest recorded account of one of the world’s most famous monsters: Bigfoot. I mean, Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster.

*”You shall not pass!” is not exactly what he said, since he presumably didn’t speak English. The story as related by Adomnan of Iona is in Latin. In it Columba says “Noles ultra progredi” which actually does mean (more or less… or much less) “You shall not pass!”