Monday, February 16, 2009

Bear with me . . .

On this blog I like to post photograms that I've taken myself, often with the help of my mobile telephone, which has a camera sellotaped to it so you'd hardly notice, although getting the film out has proved wearisome at times.

Occasionally, a photo or two slides down the interweb tubes to land on my doormat which either amuses, impresses or inspires me, like in this post last year.

Today, a couple of images tickled my fancy, so apologies if you've already seen them. They are both ursine in nature, and I like them because it makes you wonder what you would do in that situation. The first is this 'un:

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "Yogi" aren't you? Give him a pic-a-nic basket and he's a happy bear. Well, I'm no bear expert, but I'm thinking this one would treat such niceties as a mere appetiser before eating your face. I think we've been led astray by childhood images of cuddliness, but it's understandable. I'm not sure Yogi would've been as popular a cartoon if Hannah Barbera had gone for realism, so that he just marked his territory, tore the heads of salmon and had the catchphrase "Rraarggh!". And just imagine trying to staple a fetching green hat and tie onto this bugger.

I'm not totally convinced that the above photo is real however. It's either the last photo found in a half-digested camera film, a set up or, as is more common these days, a Photoshop jobbie. The next one, I'm given to understand, is real however:

Ooh dear. When I imagine what I'd do if I was in the situation faced by the remarkably calm photographer in this piccie, it usually involves some squealing, lots of running and a whole suitcase full of spare trousers. Look at the size of the head! That's got all teeth in it, has that head. And see those paws? They can take down a beluga whale with them. A whale!

Despite Coca Cola trying to christmas them all up with portrayals of sociability and a fizzy-drink addiction, a veritable multitude of wildlife documentaries on the world's largest land carnivore means we all know what polar bears are really like. If one gets even the slightest whiff of you on the ice sheet , and you're within 5 miles without a gun or a Toyata Hilux, then you may as well strip off, garnish yourself with mustard, lie down and wait for the inevitable.

And they're tough. They traipse quite happily across the top of the planet and, if it melts, they just swim. Polar bears are so hard that even their livers can kill you. That's how hard polar bears are. If Yogi had been a polar bear, his catchphrase might've been "I'm viciouser than the average bear."

And sometimes, they kill and eat each other! It's almost as though they think "Well, all these seals, whales and naked, mustard-coated humans aren't much of a challenge, I think I'll take on another polar bear. Liven things up a bit."

Polar bears are in fact so tough that they rarely need to prove it to us, so in fact there have only been 8 deaths from acute polar-bearitis in all of Canada in the last 30 years. In the UK, we have even fewer polar bear related deaths, thanks to an ongoing government initiative of anti-polar bear signs and local legislation outlawing them.

Of course, I don't want to scare anybody, but there is one type of bear that's even more unpredictable than a polar bear.

A bi-polar bear.

So stay safe folks, and always keep some anti-bear spray on you. I have and it obviously works. I have never seen a bear round my house.


  1. I had one of them Polar bears once. Rather a canny fellow he was for a while. Things started to go wrong between us when he ate my fish supper when I was off taking a pish.

    We could have patched things up if we had tried harder, but who wants a best pal who continually shits in the woods?

  2. On a serious level Jules, it is my understanding that if one stoops down on one knee and holds one head up straight, a trained bear will stop in its tracks and rear back on its hind legs. Or is that for a trained doberman.

    Maybe people ought not try that one until we confirm it.

  3. I've always wanted to go to Churchill, MB and see the polar bears in person. That picture and your post makes me realize I had forgotten one key element in my fantasy packing for the trip: Mustard! Very nice post, always enjoy your stories.

  4. Having shared the same (at a distance) piece of ground as a polar bear, they are mighty scary beasties. Very big and very hairy. Not a Fox's Glacier mint in sight. I think they stick in their teeth.

  5. Jimmy - what can you say, they're opportunists!

    Logistician - I expect you'd do no worse with that technique than lying down naked covered in mustard. For bears or dobermans.

    Jola - Ta very much. Despite my post, I'd love to go as well. Mustard or no mustard.

    MDF - Do they do Seal's Entrails flavour glacier mint?

  6. Polar Bears never look like they are planning on ripping your face off and eating the remains.

    The one in the picture looks like he just popped in to borrow a cup of sugar.

    Just don't try giving them Sweet 'n' Low.

  7. i LOVE it...all of that for the last line! ya'll are incredible, sugar! perfectly, absolutely incredible!

    *wanderin off and still laughin!*



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