Friday, November 14, 2014

Exploitin' ...

     Howdy!  What's up with all of these new "Bigfoot" and cryptozoology themed shows?  Have the networks lost their friggin' minds? This post has been a long time comin' and I feel that I'm long overdue for postin' a good rant.  My ADD and mini-man madness has kicked-in, so put yer pads on, in or whatever ... 'cause here it comes!  What in the Hell is goin' on with documentaries, and namely ... what I can only describe as "Surreality TV"?  As if cryptozoology wasn't already considered fringe science, it seems that its reputation has gone off the deep end due to extreme exploitin' by a few cable television networks.  For example, what used to be considered a channel that featured awesome science & nature documentaries has stooped in attempts to get its audience duped; as in, to watchin' somethin' that is a blatant friggin' dramatization of misinformation.  And not just once ... but twice!  The sad thing was, that durin' both of these "megalo-maid" broadcast fiascos ... ratings were goin' through the friggin' roof.  So, what does that say about us?  Even though we didn't really discover anything, it says a lot about what's drivin' the science of documentaries these days.

The late Robert Guenette was one of the first
documentary directors to introduce newsreel-
styled documentaries in the 60’s, and directed
the unforgettable National Geographic Specials
TV series.  In 1975 he wrote and directed The
Mysterious Monsters narrated by Peter Graves,
which was the first movie to feature the historic
Roger Patterson footage of a “Bigfoot”.  I had the
privilege of viewin’ this flic back in the day as a
teenager at the old Martini Theatre in Galveston,
Texas.  Incidentally, I had also come across and
purchased his book by the same title a year later.
     Another network, which used to be my go-to channel for animal documentaries has been lookin' for "Bigfoot" for the past few years.  I'm sorry, but does anyone think that they are actually goin' to find anything at the end of one of those shows?  Not no, but Hell no!  I sincerely apologize to some of the cast members, but I calls 'em likes I sees 'em.  Yeah, that's right; I said it ... 'cause if anyone had actually ever found anything, it would have been national-friggin'-news long before anyone would have time to film a dang TV show!  The sad part about this kinda crap is that it hurts the integrity of anyone doin' serious field research on these mystery animals.  Thanks to programs like this, just try gettin' permission to access private properties or sendin' in an unknown blood, hair or tissue sample to a lab for analysis.  Good luck; 'cause unless you got the jack, there ain't goin' to be no hearin' back from most landowners or reputable facilities.  The whack-factor is closin' doors just about as fast as it's closin' minds ...

     And now, some of these offshoot networks are really friggin' reachin' with these groups of larger-than-life wannabes who are huntin' animals that are so ridiculous that one has to wonder what the producers were on when they came-up with this crap.  Your destination ... America, is a repetitive ride through the lower intestines of television.  First of all, please God tell me that none of these idiot's weapons are actually loaded!  I seriously doubt it, 'cause they'd have a hard time gettin' these productions insured.  Normally, this channel airs some fairly decent outdoor shows; however, the ones that I'm referrin' to here ain't anywhere near legit.  Second, I'll admit that I'm fat, but some of these corn-fed chunks have abso-friggin'-lutely no business runnin' around gettin' overly excited in a dangerous environment.  Bottom line is, somebody's goin' to get friggin' hurt.  Period.  God forbid, if anyone has to haul one of these porkers outta the woods to get some medical attention, they might think twice before castin' such portly characters!  And third, not all of us southerners are stereotypes, and I'm sure that most Alaskans ain't runnin' around in animal skins either.  I think the premise for the majority of these lame-ass shows is, the need for a serious friggin' intervention!

     What happened to the days of true documentaries?  Someone would do a study and broadcast their findings, showing the actual field research and the science behind the find.  I pray that when a wood ape is (finally) properly and scientifically documented, that this animal and subject matter is treated with some dignity.   No overly dramatic musical score scripted with the narrator misrepresentin' the folks that actually did their time in the grime!  I'd like everyone to understand that cryptozoology is simply the study of legendary or undiscovered animals in order to evaluate the possibility or proof of their existence.  In light of what folks are viewin' now, the perception is that we are a bunch of friggin' goofs runnin' around at night in the woods ... screamin' and bangin' on trees.  So, stop with all the exploitin' already; I'm sure that the majority of these network's audiences would much rather view the science and actually learn somethin' for their 47-minutes of television viewin' ...
     Let's take a look back at a another of the classics.  What gave me an interest to see The Mysterious Monsters was the release of an earlier documentary-styled film, Big Foot: Man or Beast that I'd seen in 1972.  Bein' only 10 years-old at the time, I never fully appreciated what-all this historical film documentation had to offer until I recently found it on DVD.  If I'm not mistaken, I saw this at the old Martini Theatre as well, prior to seein' The Legend of Boggy Creek.  I had no more interest or appreciation for this genre of film back then than I did for any others at that time; I just liked 'em!  But after havin' our own encounter, I now view these screen gems in an entirely new light.  I think that the new guard needs to take a good hard look at some of these older films, and maybe they wouldn't have to reach so far to try and produce a quality program ... right?  I think that's a wrap.  Y'all come back now, you hear?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Teachin' ...

A wood ape bust and the old silverback ... one of two
upright bipeds you may encounter out in them woods!
     Howdy-do!  The North American Wood Ape Conservancy was invited by the Baytown Nature Center to help do a little teachin' at their Nurture Nature Festival, held on Saturday, November 1st.  Christina Butcher, Naturalist for the center had contacted the NAWAC to be a part of this fun, free family event!  It couldn't have fallen on a much-more beautiful day, even though it happened to fall on openin' day of deer season (if you're a gun hunter, that is).  Our only other challenge was the 20+ mph. northeast wind, which combined with temps in the low 50's made me wanna nurture my dang huntin' jacket!  I had no idea that this park even existed, and was blown away by all of the amenities it had to offer.  From playgrounds to fishin' to hikin' & bikin' trails, this park is first-rate.  If you live anywhere near the Houston-Galveston area, this park would be well worth the drive to experience for yourselves!  For more information on the park, please visit their Web site at
     NAWAC members came from as far as the Dallas-Ft. Worth area to help with our outreach, which is to educate the public about the existence of the North American wood ape.  Members who helped included Tod Pinkerton, Daryl Colyer, Travis Lawrence, Tony Schmidt, David Haring, Ken Helmer and myself ... along with family and friends who enjoyed the festivities as well.  While settin' up, we realized that we would have a tough time keepin' exhibit and teachin' materials on our display tables due to the brisk bay breeze.  But as far as the NAWAC goes, our team members always go prepared!  Colyer produced an 8' by 20' blue poly-tarp which we secured as a windbreak.  After goin' through Hurricane Ike, I'd never thought that I'd be so happy to see another blue poly-tarp again!  Ken Helmer and family showed-up, and produced a 4' by 4' full-color printed informational/pictorial banner that he had designed which helped seal the deal as well as bein' another break from that northeast wind.  As the mornin' wore on, we noticed other participants followed suit to help secure their enclosures as well ...
The curious crowds visitin' the North American Wood Ape Conservancy displays in our enclosure on Saturday;
pictured answering questions are Daryl Colyer (foreground), Travis Lawrence (left) and David Haring (right).
     According to Park Superintendent Tracey Prothro, close to 2,500 folks came out to attend this awesome event.  From the curious to those who were somewhat familiar with this undocumented mystery animal, the NAWAC answered any and all questions to anyone who asked.  There were even a few witnesses who provided their brief encounters, as well as one that I found particularly interestin'.  An older gentleman stopped by and inquired about this animal, and had stated that he used to be a hunter.  After a brief conversation with Daryl Colyer, he asked what kind of vocalizations this animal made.  Colyer answered that he has heard whistlin', grunts, and cries or howls from these animals ... and went on to elaborate that he's even heard a type of chatter.  That's when the old hunter then asked, "What type of howls?"  Daryl answered, "Well, not really an 'ooo' sound, but more of an 'awww' sound."  At that point, the old hunter said thanks and walked away.  Hmmm, interestin'; I guess that Daryl answered his question correctly, and maybe that's why the old southern gent said that he used to hunt.  One has to wonder; I don't know what else could keep a true hunter from pursuin' his passion.  Most true hunters are fearless; although, another team member said that some of his huntin' buddies simply don't wanna know that these animals are out there.  I guess that if you have the understandin' that this is a real animal and not a "monster" you won't have fear; just awe and appreciation of one of nature's wonders.  Folks, this is why we're out there teachin' ...
It appears that almost everyone was curious about wood apes!  Pictured are Ken Helmer and Daryl Colyer;
Tod Pinkerton explaining what the NAWAC is all about; Daryl and Tony Schmidt field some crowd questions.
     For more information on the North American Wood Ape Conservancy and any future community outreach events, please visit the NAWAC Web site or our Facebook page.   Recognition of the species and teachin' folks about this mystery animal is an important goal.  And once this animal is finally properly and scientifically documented, then we can move on to the next step … which will be the protection of this species and its habitat.