Just because we've all been distracted by a historic election and a looming sequel to the Great Depression doesn't mean the animal kingdom has been quiet. In fact, there's been weird chatter on all the animal channels in recent months.
First, you probably thought that the Wall Street meltdown, record home foreclosures, bank failures, and a growing recession would put a dent in discretionary spending. But you remember the Bigfoot body hoax from earlier this summer? A couple of ordinary Joes claimed to have the furry one's corpse in a beer cooler and, shockingly, this turned out to be false. No problemo: The fake body sold on eBay for $250,000. What kind of world do we live in when a fake Bigfoot corpse is a better investment than WaMu?
Unfortunately, $250K puts you (coincidence? I'm not so sure) in the Obama higher tax bracket, which suggests to me that Joe the Bigfoot Hunter was probably a McCain voter.
Speaking of that, there's a new documentary out about two Joe the Bigfoot Hunters called Not Your Typical Bigfoot Movie, which means it is not made by drunken yahoos with an ape suit and an RV. The film has been making the rounds of film festivals in highbrow places like Memphis and Sarasota. Here's the description of it from The New York Times:
While plenty of time is spent traveling with [Bigfoot hunters] Mr. Gilbert and Mr. Burton on research trips and to the Chattahoochee Bigfoot Conference in Tennessee, the film'ês main emphasis is on depicting the everyday lives of regular, financially struggling folk who just happen to have an unusual hobby.
So, it's kinda Michael Moore meets Sasquatch, which would be quite a sight. Sarah Palin wouldn't know which one to shoot! At any rate, with a working class subtext like that, it's a shame the McCain/Palin camp didn't feature Bigfoot at every stop since the hairy one is more real than Joe the Plumber turned out to be.
Speaking of Sasquatch, it's important to know who you're gonna call when you see one. In Canada, it's obvious: ring a UFO expert! There appears to be a Bigfoot infestation up around in Houston, B.C., according to the Vancouver Sun, where a woman spotted a 7- to 8-foot shaggy Squatch running through the woods. No Bigfoot authorities were nearby but flying saucer enthusiasts were johnnies on the spot:
Her story attracted Houston-based UFO and Sasquatch researcher Brian Vike, who says he believes footprints found at the site were left by a Sasquatch. Vike said he has seen other footprints around the Houston area that tell him the mythical creature not only exists, but is becoming increasingly visible in northwest B.C. He said there have been two Sasquatch sightings in Houston this year and another in Moricetown, just west of Houston. "It's a blast," Vike said. "I'm not a Bigfoot guy but hey, nobody else is doing it around here."
You know, in small towns, it just doesn't pay to specialize. You have to be a jack-of-all-enigma hunter.
In other strange animal news:
Bear paws: Remember the weird phenomenon of human feet washing up on British Columbia beaches? Well, in Alabama a story was headlined: "Police: Severed foot was bear's paw, not child's." Which left me wondering, what kind of kids do they raise in Alabama that you'd mistake their feet for a bear paw?
Fat bears: I've written about how the favorite tool of law enforcement is to trap bears with Krispy Kreme donuts and other treats that might otherwise seem suspicious on the old expense account. But a rich diet also holds other dangers for bears who like city life. A new study reveals that garbage-eating bears are dying younger because they become fat gobbling up the junk food in our waste, and that urban bears are more likely to die violent deaths and get pregnant early! No mention of gang activity.
Biblical plague: Oregon has recently had an invasion of giant grasshoppers, which have been stripping the range of everything edible. The Baker City Herald put it in some perspective: "The USDA trigger for economic damage payments is eight grasshoppers per square yard. This year in some areas of Baker County, grasshopper counts were 100 to 120 per square yard." That's a lot of crunch. Lest you think grasshoppers are nothing to worry about, they do a lot of damage with their appetites. According to an expert quoted in USA Today, they eat more range than bison, cattle, or deer. Somehow, the lyric "O give me a home/where the locust do roam ..." never made it into the cowboy songbook.
It's calimari time: Previously, we've worried about the killer Humboldt squid, which is invading Northwest waters, but the upside is that they sometimes wash ashore en masse, which is what happened this fall in Oregon. It's not unreasonable to go to the Oregon Coast with extra supplies. Along with your rain gear, I recommend a tub of Tom Douglas lemon aioli, enough to make you pucker when you eat those suckers.