A super duper cute video making the rounds lately, although almost a month old, is of a baby raccoon making use of a water bowl set out to make sure a nearby raccoon family could stay healthy during the late summer. I kind of frown on this type of thing as it makes the wild animals dependent on the help of people. I’m sure they would have found a source of water on their own without human intervention. But, hey, if we left them to their own devices we wouldn’t get cute raccoon videos, so I guess it all works out.
In other raccoon news, the Raccoon River was overflowing late this week due to a lot of rain. I’m just happy to hear there’s a Raccoon River. I’d love to see a raccoon along it.
Source: Des Moines Register
In jolly old England, one of the more popular brand of crisps (British for “potato chips,” whereas “chips” is British for “French fries”) is Walkers. Much like (Frito)Lays here in the United States (not surprising, since Walkers is owned by PepsiCo, who also owns Lays) they do an annual “who would eat that?!” contest called “Do Us a Flavor.” However, while the American version has such tantalizing tastes as cappuccino and bacon cheese, the British get treated to chicken curry, pulled pork, and ranch raccoon.
Yes, created by Robert Gibson, this bizarre flavor combination by a man from Harrogate is inspired by his interest in things American, which in this case meant the popularity of ranch and the uniqueness of our fauna. It’s described as having a gamey flavor accented by sour cream and onion. To be honest, I never gave much thought to what actually made up ranch dressing, but those sound about right.
Like a raccoon, I’ll eat damn near anything, up to and including raccoon. I think they’re cute and all, but they’re still meat. And in chip … sorry … crisp form I’d be more willing to eat it knowing no raccoons were hurt in making the crisp. I hope it wins the grand prize of a million pounds!
Source: Ripon Gazette
Russia has been in the news a lot lately, and Guardians of the Galaxy’s Rocket Raccoon has been in the news a lot lately, so how about a Russian Guardian of the Galaxy? Well, how about a Russian raccoon (or two)? It seems the Royev Ruchei Zoo in central Siberia holds an annual laundry washing competition between a pair of raccoons (the species being known for its tendency to rinse objects in water.) This year, the female of the couple, named Masha (the Russian form of Maria), bit her “husband” on the ear and forced him to scurry away from the proceedings. I guess she’s been training with Mike Tyson. Check out the source link for a video of the event!
And yes, I know that Cosmo is the more direct connection between Guardians of the Galaxy and Russia.
Source: The Moscow Times
In the aftermath of Guardians of the Galaxy‘s record-breaking opening weekend, raccoons (or specifically one fictional raccoon) have seen more coverage in the media than usual. Two stories caught my attention:
First was an article from the New York Times about how a co-creator of Rocket Raccoon, Bill Mantlo, was unable to attend a public screening of the movie and instead got to watch a private one arranged by Marvel (owned by Disney.) Ever since a car accident in 1992 he’s been in care at a nursing home and reliant on medicaid and contributions from fans to afford his medical bills. This touched off on a discussion of creators’ rights in the regards to the Big 2 comic publishers.
SOURCE: Armed Animals Don’t Invent Themselves @ The New York Times
The second article that caught my interest was Scientific American‘s discussion of raccoon intelligence and the potential to make animals as smart as humans. I didn’t know that experiments had been done involving mice and grafting human brain tissue in theirs. It had some interesting effects, but was a far cry from achieving any real anthropomorphism.
SOURCE: Putting Rocket Raccoon’s Hippocampus into Hyperdrive @ Scientific American
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy came out this weekend. I’ve enjoyed the Marvel movies in general; even their duds (the Thor movies) are still a ton of fun. They rank far above the “turn off your brain” popcorn flick that are the abysmal Transformers movies because they have actual characters and a plot. So I was going to see this movie anyway. It’s just that the inclusion of Rocket Raccoon (and yes, he is a raccoon) made me hyped for it. It was also something that comic book fans were rather anxious to see: Marvel attempting to base a movie on one of their more obscure comic book properties. When production of the first Iron Man movie began in 2006, the character wasn’t the tentpole character it has since become, but there had at least been a Saturday morning cartoon series for it. Guardians of the Galaxy was comparatively unknown; territory that hadn’t turned out so well for DC comics.
So Marvel’s now sitting pretty on top of a $94 million opening weekend. They be confident knowing that with decent production values and marketing, they might be able to sell even the more obscure properties they own. Maybe we’ll get lucky and see a She Hulk movie after all (but base it on the Dan Slott run of the character.)
As for my take on the movie? I thought it was great. It was funny. I liked that none of the other characters were treated as chaff, which of them getting their own development and role to play in the proceedings. I was really afraid that Rocket Raccoon and Groot would be played off as jokes and then mostly ignored. I also really enjoyed the design and animation of Rocket Raccoon, based on real life raccoon, Oreo, had a certain raccoon-ness to it. Especially his tendency to work on things without quite looking at them (I’ve watched a lot of raccoon videos on Youtube; I’ve noticed this.) Otherwise, the action was satisfying, the movement from one sequence to another was logical, and the imagery was fantastic.
The movie wasn’t perfect, mind you. The setup of the movie was a little confused. As an audience member, I just felt thrown into a conflict that I was indifferent to. In a way this mirrors Peter Quill’s involvement in the conflict between the Kree and Xandarians (which I would guess are better than Kandarian Demons.) However, unlike the Starlord, I really didn’t care about what was happening except for “how will this affect Rocket Raccoon?!” Rocket’s moment of development seemed slightly out-of-place and overly angst-ridden, but I was thankful he got one. Also, the music (not the songs, but the score) was kind of forgettable. Or memorable, but at this point I can’t recall if it differed from the theme for the Avengers.
And was that Lloyd Kaufman?!