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PCR #170  (Vol. 4, No. 26)  This edition is for the week of June 23--29, 2003.

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Creature's Corner

Yo!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hello Everyone:
Just when I thought the visitors, those who live beneath our feet would be able to go home, The "Drifters", who live above our heads, decide to drop another billion gallons of water across the land. It looks like I'll have to entertain our subterranean guests for yet another week. I might as well let you ( my highly valued readers) in on what we did.

First off I lit a fire in the "Great Hall" and told the next chapter of the trip down south.

Still on the road...
We got to Florida City and ate while going over the trip's events to that point. What looked like a total disaster at the beginning (see two weeks ago's column, The Librarian!) was actually turning around on the second day. We got the hotel and then decided it was too early to call it a day so we went road hunting out by the nuclear power plant. Amazingly, we had no run-ins with the law being so close to the area. There was no movement on the road so we decided to pull off the road to check the "cichlid" situation in one of the canals. Armed with flashlights (and escorted by hordes of mosquitos) we made a quick survey of the canal. Phil said to keep an eye out for "The Beast With The Orange Eye," a creature of legend which roamed the area. I hoped we would find it as I love "Monster Hunting." It scares the hell out of you and usually ends in failure. Yes I said usually, but not always. I held the flashlight to my chin so my eyesight could follow the beam as it cut through the darkness and the cloud of mosquitos which was building by the second.

Suddenly I saw it. But I saw more than the eye, I saw the entire beast, and it was a monster. It had to be all of 8-9' in length. It was laying on the bottom of the canal in the crystal clear water (no, not Scarewater, that's where the Creature lives.) in all it's reptilian glory. I nudged Phil and he trained his light on the spot. There, doused in the crossbeams of our flashlights, was a huge Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) in full glory. He was beautiful, a true sight to behold. He was big and bulky (not HULKY) and very healthy looking. We saw him perfectly and he showed no signs of any scarring. Mother nature really treated this child of hers very well. (I saw Mother Nature once but that's another story, remind me, Creature) The neatest thing about this animal was that even though it was a large adult it still carried the full pattern of yellow slash marks through a dark brownish-black background of a very young Alligator. Caught in the spotlight the majestic reptilian slowly began to walk across the bottom of the canal, never once lifting it's head to take a breath of air. We followed the graceful movement of this relic from the "Age of Reptiles" for about a minute before deciding to leave. It was like watching "The Creature From The Black Lagoon." The swarm of blood-sucking freaky neighbors was getting out of hand so we left. No wonder the Alligator stayed on the bottom of the canal. He was the smart one. Back at the hotel we wandered around the building in search of African House Geckos (Hemidactylus mabouia). We snagged a pair and headed back to the room. Sleep came quickly and in no time we were awake and on our way for a day in the Florida Keys. Our first stop was Marathon Key where we collected a pair of Reef Geckos (Sphaerodactylus notatus) and a few more H. mabouia. We ate lunch at an IHOP and hit the road again, this time to No-Name Key. There we collected a few Anoles (A sagrei) and saw a beautiful Ashy Gecko (S. argus). The heat of the summer and dry conditions made for a paucity of finds. A contolled burn less than half a mile down the road didn't help matters so we left. Being early in the day with little traffic (it was Tuesday) we decided to go for it so we drove all the way to Key West. A brief stop on Stock Island yielded a specimen of dreaded Keys Giant Scolopendra. ( Sounds like some nightmare from "The Pit And The Scolopendra", oops, I mean Pendulum, sorry.) I know the suspense is killing you; Scolopendra is the family of ancient segmented creatures known as centipedes. The ones from the lower keys can be huge, this specimen was almost 7" of hideous monstrocity, as fierce as it looks. The hooks on the end of these "hundred-legged worms" are toxic and the chelicera (mouth parts) can slice like a can opener. Just the perfect nightmare to tell the children about.

We also caught a single specimen of A. distichus on a tree. After about half an hour we rode across the tiny bridge into Key West. Though most of the area is built up there are still some (actually very few) wild areas to explore. We stopped at one spot and spent a couple hours there. We collected three different species of Anoles (A. distichus, A. sagrei, and A. carolinensis). We also collected the very common (and potent) Florida Black Scorpion (no, not Joan!) , (Centuroides gracilus). These guys are fairly big ( almost 3") and very aggressive. Another nightmare turned real. There were about nine of them under a group of rocks where we also found several gecko eggs (yes,dear reader, I have my suspicions, they feed on geckos). We only collected a gravid female, leaving the rest there. Little else was seen so at around 5 p. m. we decided to head back to Florida City. Coming back through the keys I finally saw my first Key Deer on Big Pine Key. They really are small. It ran across the road well in front of the car.

There are signs all over the island warning motorists to watch out for the diminutive ungulates. Stopping to hunt on a deserted key (yes there are still keys with nothing on them) we came across several Purple-Claw Land Hermit Crabs. We observed them for a time but ultimately left them alone. Road hunting produced nothing in one of our favorite spots (go in the spring) so we left the keys. By midnite we were back at the hotel and again sleep came quickly.

Next week I'll tell you about the final day but for now my subterranean guests want to go out for a couple nights on the town before they slip back into the catacombs which spawned them.

On Friday night we all left the "Castle" to witness a magical phenomona of historical proportions. At 11:40 P.M. we left with my sister (yes, even Creature's have sisters) to get the new Harry Potter book. I was there as an observer for the PCR. My dreaded editor (The Mighty Nolan, Master of the six-stringed Axe) would want to know more. We arrived at Wal-Mart five minutes later only to find there were fifty people in front of us, all waiting to be whisked away by Harry's magic (and Scolastic's marketing). Being Wal-Mart we figured they would have enough books to go around. Someone in front of us asked the lady in charge of the sale and she said they received 200 books. My sister would get one. Remember, I was only along to report the chaos. In the next ten minutes everyone in line (mostly adults though there were a few kids) was treated to cookies, stickers, and Potter character pins. By the time midnite rolled around an additional thirty people had built up behind us.

Everyone was talking Harry Potter, both movies and books.

The line began advancing and I watched as the books were being greedily snatched up by everyone. I was glad I was only there as an observer. As we approached the people handing out the beautiful blue covered books (my favorite color) I noticed the special price for those waiting in line: $16.17!!!!!!!! That did it for me. No longer was I to be a Casual observer. I snatched my own mint copy of "Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix." I was going to pick one up later but I became swept up in Hogwart's magic (and a good deal). Who would have known that during the next 24 hours an estimated five million copies would be sold WOW!!! I haven't read any of it yet but I'll probably start when I'm done writing this.

Now, on to the subject I've been putting off all night: "HULK!!!!" I really didn't want to get started but it is too late, the engines are idling, ready for me to hit the gas. So, here goes. I went to see this long anticipated film with Ashley, one of her friends, and a friend of mine. I was excited as I have been a fan of the "HULK" for over thirty years. I really wasn't sure what to expect as outside of seeing the trailers I purposely stayed away from anything that could spoil my surprise. And what a surprise I received. We got inside the theatre (Woodland Parks) and by movietime the auditorium was full. After watching the story plod for what seemed like an eternity we finally got our first view of everyone's favorite green-skinned behemoth. I couldn't believe my eyes! I had to check my ticket stub to be sure I was in the right movie because I could have sworn I was watching "Mighty Joe Young." The size was right but I remembered Joe as being a bit more hairy and in black and white. Also Terry Moore and Robert Armstrong were nowhere among the cast. No I was in the right movie but this Green Skinned Behemoth was just that, a Behemoth. I guess the addition of genetic tampering in addition to a gamma ray blast made the difference. Now before everyone tears me apart I'm not saying I didn't enjoy the movie, it just wasn't the Hulk. Puny Humans can never get story right so HULK Smash. HULK is strongest one of all.

For story development we have Banner's father, who should have remained locked up, becoming like the Absorbing Man. WRONG!!! Crusher Creel is the Absorbing Man and he carries around a ball and chain. Finally I had to check my ticket again when I saw the paved streets being pushed up by something underneath. I had hopes that maybe a misplaced "Graboid" from "Tremors" was going to show up to save the day (or at least Bugs Bunny). But nope! It was our Lovable green-skinned GOLIATH again.

Okay, okay! Enough slamming, now lets talk production. The movie was a little long and too drawn out. A "HULK" movie should be 80% action, 20% story not the other way around. I thought the use of "comic page design" during parts of the movie was interesting and original though I think those who don't read comics might have found it confusing. The HULK'S leaping scenes were well done and that was the only proof I saw that the writers had even looked at the comics. The HULK himself did not look too bad though the CGI was not really up to par with what I've seen in other movies. I thought the direction was okay and the actors really did a fair job. Samm Elliott stole the show with his portrayal of General "Thunderbolt" Ross. They could have made the movie about him and I would have been fine with it. Jennifer Connelly was great (and gorgeous) and Eric Bana portrayed Bruce Banner very well. Like I said, I enjoyed the movie, I just thought the story was a little weak and dragged out. Look at the bright side, When The "HULK" is done being a star, he can always moonlight for the, HO-HO-HO, Green Giant.

I give the movie Two Screams on the Creature scale. 'Nuff Said! See ya next week!

Hulk sez...Dear Puny Crazed Fanboy:

Hulk did not drop ball at starting gate. Hulk smash starting gate. Hulk beat all other movies in box-office including puny little fish story. Hulk only wished he had more to say in movie because Hulk like to talk when he smashes things, like box-office in month of June for all time. Hulk also take 5 foreign markets in Orient. Hulk only left puny film studio with 6,000 prints. Spidey had 7,500 and X2 had 8,000.

Hulk not afraid of magic boy either. Hulk has stores filled with Hulk toys,books, and comics. Magic Boy has no comics. Wait till Hulk's movie opens in Latin America and Australia next week. Hulk will smash competition there to prove Hulk is strongest one of all. Then Hulk will take on Europe and Japan. Watch out Magic Boy, Hulk is coming. Don't make Hulk mad because the madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets. Ang Lee say Hulk gets bigger and taller as well. With all critics Hulk will get so mad he will grow as big as Ymir from Venus. Then Hulk will change skin color and turn into Glenn Manning and grow to 60 ft. Then Hulk will fall off damn when puny soldiers shoot at hulk. Then Hulk will hurt his face and get really mad and then turn into Squid face. Then Hulk will smash everything.

Don't make Hulk angry.

P.S. Hulk like Terence review.

"Creature's Corner" is ©2003 by John Lewis.  Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2003 by Nolan B. Canova.