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It is truly spring, and the flowers are bursting into bloom full-force everywhere here in Brooklyn! There is a lot to write about, but alas, my enjoyment of the flowers impinges my ability to talk about them. Therefore, as a stand-in for a meaningful post about aesthetics or botany, here is a gallery of crazy flower-mascot costumes.
They are hilarious and colorful and they speak to the universal love we all share for flowers (and people in silly costumes). Which one would you choose for yourself? I would want to be the sunflower maybe…or the flower turnip? There are a lot of good choices here, frankly. Get ready for some more flower posts soon and get outside and enjoy spring (or uh, autumn in the southern hemisphere…or eternal paradisiacal beauty in the tropics)!
It has been far too long since we have featured a mascot themed post. Chicken week (which honors the year of the fire rooster) is an ideal time for such a celebration. Ferrebeekeeper has already featured my favorite chicken-themed business (the amazing South Chicago chicken franchise “Harold’s Chicken”) but there are plenty of other famous chickens out there.
WordPress has stopped giving me the ability to caption things effectively (if there are any passing site admins could you guys look into this) so I am going to just open up the floodgates and set out a flock of weird chicken men.
This open post has the disadvantage of opening up a world of sheer craziness with no effective explanations (as if this had an explanation anyway) but it has the advantage of letting us contemplate just how strange and multitudinous our culture of cartoon images, corporate shills, and brands really is.
Look at all of these dead eyed roosters and sad felt cockerels! This is the first thing that has made me feel the most remote stirrings of job satisfaction since the new year. It may be bad but at least I am not this guy.
Then and again, all of the chicken mascots indicate that chickens are popular and get noticed. And, judging by the news, there is no force in the social world which outshines attention.
Maybe the rooster is a more fitting symbol for society than I initially thought. They say you are what you eat, and we mostly eat chicken. Let’s hope that just means we are truculent attention-seeking braggarts and not that we are yellow!
Uh…not that there is anything wrong with the color.
Ahh mascots…It has been too long since we peaked into the strange representational world of symbolic characters. A mascot is meant to bring good luck…and what could be luckier than a pigeon (which, after all, live virtually everywhere and tend to be in robust health). When it comes to living in a city, no mascot (except maybe the rat or Joan Rivers) could be more appropriate. Therefore here is a little gallery of pigeon mascots. Sadly Samsung has not mastered iridescent monitor technology so you will have to use your imagination to add the glossy feathers and cooing.
This one is by Jamie Sale, who will design a mascot for you if you find him on the internet and properly incentivize him (look the pigeon is drawing mascots!)
I don’t know if it counts, but here is a stunning Louis Lejeune Hood Ornament.
Some of these guys look a little bit like they came from a really dirty episode of “Family Guy”or maybe escaped from mascot jail… but urban birds are a bit gritty so perhaps that is as it should be. At least they gloriously encapsulate pigeon pride
I was going to show you the new blossom monsters I made to celebrate the annual blooming of the cherry tree in my back garden in Brooklyn, however, when I looked at the date on the calendar, I realized that today (April 25th) is World Penguin Day! Considering the threats faced by our black and white friends down under, I am going to keep the monsters in the hopper for tomorrow and dedicate today’s post to penguins.
The Mascot for the Lincoln Children’s Zoo
Rookie from “Club Penguin”
Anonymous “Off-the-rack” Mascot from China
by BiorgnSea9. Designed and Created by Jemm3 of Deviant Art
Theta Phi Alpha’s Penguin
The Pittsburgh Penguins Mascot
Now I could write about actual penguins (for their lives are intense and interesting) or I could write about literary penguins, or about penguins in zoos. Yet, it seems to me that some of the most instantly recognizable penguins are mascots and corporate logos. I don’t need to write a natural history treatise on penguins or call your attention to Anatole France in order to make you love penguins. If you are a good-hearted person, you already love them (if you are a hard-hearted monster who hates our flightless friends, what are you doing here? You need to stop reading and reexamine your life from bottom to top).
So here is a gallery of penguin logos and mascots for you to enjoy.Linux and Penguin Books are among the more noble corporate entities out there, but there all sorts of other mascot penguins of all sorts.
I have hundreds of penguin classic books! I love this logo! But what about the classic cover design?
There are more penguin mascots than you could ever imagine. I have spared you from the thousands upon thousands of designs, costumes, and logos I have found and just put up a few of the highlights. One thing the World Penguin Day mascot hunt has taught me is that people like penguins more than we even know. We need to work harder to protect our elegant little feathered friends. If they start going to be extinct we are going to be shockingly sad.
It’s the middle of the night. I was working on decorating the house for the holiday season and I didn’t wrote a proper blog post for today. But I have been decorating…so I was thinking about brilliant colors. Thus, apropos of absolutely nothing, here is a gallery of dazzling colorful mascots. Enjoy their context-free splendor! Marvel at their dazzling strangeness… There are so many hues but there is so little content….
Hey! That’s a peacock spider not a mascot…
Tomorrow I will write a better post…in case you weren’t sated by the toucan or that, uh, that thing. Have a great night! At least we got to meet the University of Hawaii rainbow warrior.
The 2016 Rio Olympics are on their way and already the mascots for the 2016 games have been presented and named! Ferrebeekeeper has been falling down at monitoring mascot news—the winning candidates were chosen back in November of 2014 (whipping up PR stories for a sports competition which is years away is a long & delicate art).
The 2012 Olympics in London featured stupid avant-garde alien blobs Wenlock and Mandeville who were rightly pilloried by everyone (including this blog). The 2014 Russian Olympics featured a mascot election which Vladimir Putin may have tampered with! So what did Brazil come up with for the big game? The nation is beloved for its beaches, beautiful mixed-race populace, and, above all, for the unrivaled biodiversity of the Amazon Basin—where the world’s largest river runs through the planet’s greatest rainforest. Less admirable features of Brazil include deeply corrupt demagogues, insane crime, irrational love of soccer (which is a sort of agonizingly slow version of hockey), and an underperforming economic sector which has always been 20 years away from greatness. What cartoon figure appropriately represents these dramatic juxtapositions?
This blog wanted a tropical armored catfish to win. Barring that, we were hoping for a beautiful Amazon riverine creature of some sort—maybe a river dolphin, a giant otter, or even a pretty toucan. However, the committee which came up with the mascots did not want anything quite so tangible. Instead they chose two magical animal beings which respectively represent the fauna and flora of Brazil. Fortunately, the mascots are pretty cute (and they are both painted with a bewitching array of tropical colors).
The Olympic mascot represents the multitudinous animals of the rainforest and his name is “Vinicius.” Vinicius is some sort of flying monkey-cat with rainbow colored fur and a prehensile tail. The Paralympic mascot is a sort of artichoke-looking sentient vegetable named Tom (so I guess he is male too—although, names aside, it is sometimes hard to tell with plants).
Vinicius’ long sinuous limbs and tail make him admirably suited for illustrating the many different Olympics sports—and I really like pictures of him shooting archery, running, and lifting weights. Tom seems a bit less suited for athletics, but his winning smile and endearing fronds are appealing in their own right. I guess I am happy with the choice of Olympics mascots. They do a fine job representing the world’s fifth most populous country (in so much as cartoon nature spirits can represent a place so large and diverse). I’m looking forward to seeing more of them (even if I might dream sometimes of what could have been instead).
Last week was sheep week on Ferrebeekeeper. I was surprised by the extent to which sheep farming and wool production have been woven into humankind’s language, religion, and culture since time immemorial. Unfortunately, I became so impressed with these ancient ties, that I forgot to include my special bonus post—a gallery of silly sheep mascots just for fun…
Hopefully you are still celebrating Chinese New Year, because here, a week late, are the sheep mascots. There are so many, and they represent so many different crazy organizations!
There are ever so many more, in every shape and with every expression… i sort of gave up on making a comprehensive list. I am struck anew by how much people love sheep–even as the symbol of an organization or a product (although maybe its subconsciously appropriate for organizations trying to gain followers?)
What is the world’s most important occupation? There are so many contenders: the brave soldiers who lay down their lives to fight oppression, the bankers who take all of the world’s money for themselves, the doctors who keep us healthy, the workers in the energy sector who keep society from falling into darkness and horror…even our leaders who bravely ensure that nothing gets done (so that society does not suddenly lurch in some scary direction). Yet all of these professions are only possible once there is enough food. Without farmers we would still all be hunter gatherers–and by “all” I mean the tiny handful of us who would exist. Pre-agricultural society was terrifying because of its lack of certainty. Humankind foraged hither and yon in hungry desperate bands. Everyone was involved in long-running internecine wars with local tribes. After the dawn of agriculture we were stuck with all sorts of oppressive megalithic forces: social hierarchy, ownership, organized religion—but in recompense humankind found literacy and science, the twin touchstones of wisdom and progress.
As spring begins the farmers are busy getting ready for the growing season. They are out there harvesting winter crops, fixing seed injectors, tilling fields, and doing other critical things that we soft urban dwellers don’t even know about. To celebrate the importance of agriculture and give the farmer his (or her) due, here is a gallery of farmer mascots from around the internet.
Of course looking over these images raises some troubling questions. What is the difference between farmers and hillbillies? Do farmers still wear straw hats? To what extent is farming now controlled by a handful of quasi-monopolistic corporations? If farming is so important, why are so many of these mascots so primitive looking?
These questions will have to wait (or remain forever unanswered). For now let us celebrate the ancient profession of farming and each of us prepare for the spring planting in our own lives.
Naturally I love my readers with all my heart and I wanted to present a spooky Halloween treat to you for today’s post. I started out by writing an essay about the nature of reality, but it was filled with cubicles, creditors, skin cancer, and dead oceans. To be honest, the dystopian sci-fi novel which is waking life was way too scary to be any fun (since it turns out that reality is completely horrifying). As a back-up plan, I have returned to my old stand-by: strange creepy mascots. Because of capitalism, nationalism, and the savage tribalism at the heart of humanity, our world is filled with weirdos and sad actors who are paid to don rubber costumes and act like bears, pelicans, and sundry bobble-headed freaks. Or, alternately, mascots can be animated or digitally created characters which are deeply wrong on an existential level. Here are some of these mascots and these are their stories:
Let’s start with a punch from the past. I remember being appalled the first time I saw a Kool-Aid commercial. I mean Kool-Aid man is a being who is a fragile glass pitcher who crashes through a brick wall. He then pours himself out into delighted children who drink his very essence like the Eucharist and go into a sugar high. What the hell? How did marketers come up with this and how is it a thing we all immediately understand?
The New Orleans Saints’ primary mascot is Gumbo, a McGruff-style weeping hound with a blood-red tongue who is actually fairly lovable (as such things go). However, Gumbo has recently been teamed with Sir Saint, a gruff football villain with elephantitis of the chin. Sir Saint was one of the original Saints mascots during their first seasons of loss and misery and, for some reason he has been brought out of retirement to cast a shadow over this halcyon era.
Long ago, a wandering mage/bar-owner cast a curse upon the Chicago Cubs when they ejected him from the stadium for bringing his beloved pet goat to a game. Yet even before the curse, the cubs walked in darkness–as demonstrated by this image from 1908 which shows them with a nightmare bear. Bears are scary enough, but this one looks like a rabid muskrat or a bear shaman who got trapped in a hell dimension.
Past posts have touched on the subject of how bizarre Olympics mascots are. Yet even Wenlock and Mandeville cannot compete with Shpitzik, a sentient fire-wielding cactus who was meant to represent the Israeli Olympics team. Not only was Shpitzik a walking atrocity which should not exist, he was also a blatant rip-off of a character from a children’s show popular in Israel in the 1970s. The cactus mascot was soon at the center of a giant expensive law suit. The website theclassical.org told the harrowing story here and described the lawsuit’s conclusion (which also was the end of Shpitzik). In the final judgment, the presiding magistrate determined that Shpitzik was “’far more than a ‘humanization of a cactus” but was also a copyright infringement. He then ordered Shpitzik’s “permanent destruction and erasure from memory.”
The Chiquita Banana was created by a famous cartoonist, Dik Browne, who also created “Hagar the Horrible”. The talking over-sexed banana was introduced to America as an animated character in 1944 (because apparently that year was not traumatic enough).
You don’t have to be a sports mascot created by committee to be completely horrible, as demonstrated by these two mascots for a drug store in Kyoto. Apparently they are renowned for making generations of children cry.
This is “Boomer”, a (possibly retired) mascot of the Columbus Blue Jackets. I think he is supposed to be a geriatric cannon pointed directly up, but he looks like a reject from a movie about steampunk sorcerers.
I don’t want to seem like I’m picking on new Orleans but the newly renamed basketball team “the pelicans” just unveiled their new pelican mascot and it is widely being heralded as a creature of nightmares. This mascot is so atrocious it made the front page of CNN and has already inspired the internet’s underemployed digital artists to create an entire history for it.
Japan is the land of the mascot (as noted in passing in the first ferrebeekeeper post about mascots). Not only do sports teams and companies and public safety campaigns all have mascots, in recent year the country has been gripped by a mania for Yuru-kyara (AKA yuru characters or “gentle characters”) little animated figures which represent every single city, municipality, prefecture, and village in Japan. The yuru characters are meant to represent some aspect of the culture of the place which they hail from: so a district famous for manufacturing aviation equipment might have a cute little jet mascot, whereas a farming village might be represented by a happy turnip. Some of the meanings are rather obscure (like the little berry boy which represents the Japan Self Defense Force Yamanashi Provincial Cooperation Office).
The most famous yuru-kyara become hugely popular and can be quite lucrative—for example Kumamoto, the beloved yuru-kyara of Kumamon brought in hundreds of millions of yen for the prefecture (and sold huge piles of Kumamoto figures and merchandise). Many of the others labor in obscurity (or are replaced by more likable mascots). Sometimes two figures will be in conflict: Funabashi City is unofficially represented by Funassyi a frolicsome “pear fairy” however the official Funabashi City yuru-kyara is Funaemon, who looks like an anxious and fussy bureaucrat.
You can check out all sorts of amazing Yuru-kyara on this website (thanks to my roommate Steven Sho Sugita-Becraft for the link!), but, unless you read Japanese, you might be hard pressed to figure out who they are and what they represent. I wonder if all the money-grubbing attention-hungry municipalities of America will ever adapt a similar scheme of crazy mascots (or are we just stuck with MacGruff and Mr. Yuck)?