Mondo Bizarro Aug 3 2023
BEARS WATCHING
Sneaky Chinese security ministry hatches scheme to infiltrate U.S. with costumed spies.


We resisted this for a few days, but in the end we caved because we had a late night, which oh so often leads to an early morning, which in turn means we have a little more time than usual before our work days begin. Therefore: an image went viral over the weekend of a sun bear in a zoo in Hangzhou, China that many online commenters seem convinced was a human in costume. The image was a frame from a video. Chinese authorities dealt with the wave of outrage far too logically, we think. They could have simply said, “What would be the fucking point of that?” Instead they noted that, as the daytime high temperature was near 100 Fahrenheit when the video was made, a human in a thick fur costume, “would not last more than a few minutes before collapsing.” Uh huh.

But what if the costume were refrigerated? What if, in fact, the fake bear was a field test by the Ministry of State Security for a new scheme in which U.S. national parks would be infiltrated by spies in refrigerated sun bear costumes, who would gather crucial intel from Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and other wilderness areas where the most important Americans are well known to congregate? Obviously, sun bears are not native to North America, but the type of fur needed to make grizzly costumes is scarce due to global supply chain issues. Anyway, the bears are merely a precursor to more advanced costumes in the form of pot-bellied pigs. Once those pig costumes are perfected, they'll be used to infiltrate Congress, and they'll fit right in. Some will probably even get committee assignments.

On the other hand, in this, the year of our impatience 2023, one could watch the posted videos to their conclusions and see that the phony sun bear is actually a real bear (named Angela). But we do have to give the online virus vectors credit. Breaking down a video to single frames is the most efficient way to fool people. It's how the cops who attacked Rodney King avoided jail (well, that and racism): “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, in motion Mr. King indeed seems to be helpless, but look! This freeze frame shows his raised arm, clearly an attempt to attack the police!” For those of you who have better things to do with your time than watch a sun bear video, below you see a few frames from seconds later in the same sequence. That's all bear is, folks.
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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
May 30
1914—Aquitania Sets Sail
The Cunard liner RMS Aquitania, at 45,647 tons, sets sails on her maiden voyage from Liverpool, England to New York City. At the time she is the largest ocean liner on the seas. During a thirty-six year career the ship serves as both a passenger liner and military ship in both World Wars before being retired and scrapped in 1950.
May 29
1914—RMS Empress Sinks
Canadian Pacific Steamships' 570 foot ocean liner Empress of Ireland is struck amidships by a Norwegian coal freighter and sinks in the Gulf of St. Lawrence with the loss of 1,024 lives. Submerged in 130 feet of water, the ship is so easily accessible to treasure hunters who removed valuables and bodies from the wreck that the Canadian government finally passes a law in 1998 restricting access.
May 28
1937—Chamberlain Becomes Prime Minister
Arthur Neville Chamberlain, who is known today mainly for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938 which conceded the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany and was supposed to appease Adolf Hitler's imperial ambitions, becomes prime minister of Great Britain. At the time Chamberlain is the second oldest man, at age sixty-eight, to ascend to the office. Three years later he would give way to Winston Churchill.
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