Friday, April 17, 2009

In Which, Concerned For The Wellbeing Of My International Readers, I Provide A Valuable Safety Bulletin--With Bears

I'm not sure how many readers of the Dept. are foreign nationals--although I do know many are from Texas--but this is a post that has merit, regardless. For those of you non-USA readers who find themselves in a hurry, I can distill its salient points immediately, in order of importance, and here they are:

1. Bears are dangerous.
2. Read

If you find yourselves at leisure and can continue, I can assure you it is well worth your while. (My United States residents, this blogpost can vindicate your obviously inherent knowledge and perhaps make you feel better about this.)


It was with horror and trepidation that this article was brought to my attention by a helpful Dept. reader. As soon as I loaded up the page and saw Polar Bear Attacks Woman At Berlin Zoo, I had only one thought: Elinor, aka "Flocke," the German cutie that I became fascinated with last winter. I quickly scanned the article and saw that neither Elinor nor Knut, another polar bear PR bigwig in Germany, was involved in this Unfortunate Incident, which, by the way, is captured on videotape! Good heavens. (And still, no one knows why this woman leapt into the polar bear area--over a fence and into a moat, no less--during feeding time.)

That concern out of the way, I was free to concentrate on the Bigger Issue At Hand, and this it is: Why the hell are all these foreigners so hell-bent on mixing it up with these bears? We all recall the Panda Incident in which a guy wanted a hug, and Panda Incident2 in which a dad wanted to retrieve a toy from a panda enclosure, both of which occurred in China. Now this, in Germany.

What the heck?

And people say Americans are pushy and intrusive. At least we stay behind the fence and just stare at the animals. We don't go trying to get all interactive and whatnot with the bears. We simply stand there, read the information and then spout it off to our kids as if we already knew it: "Tiffany, look! That polar bear can live to be anywhere from 20 to 25 years old, did you know that? And unlike other bears, they don't hibernate. What? Okay, come on now. Yes, Tiffany, I see it's pooping. Come on, let's go get some cotton candy."


My point is this, International Readers, and although I have made it before, it is obvious that it bears repeating. (Oh, ha ha.) STOP IT WITH THE BEARS ALREADY AND START READING CNN.COM!

Geeze. Here's a link, even. Add it to your "Favorites."


  1. I can tell you with 100% certainty that I will never try and hug a bear or get close to one without a very sturdy fence between us.

  2. Ortizzle1:15 PM

    I am dying to know WHY she jumped into the polar bear pool. At feeding time. I have scoured the internet for answers but all articles say the police will not comment on her motive. So we are left wondering... Did this woman simply want to realize her polar bear fantasy and forgot they had teeth? Let's face it, if the police are not willing to tell us why, it has to be pretty sordid, dontcha think?

  3. Nance--When I saw that headline, I knew you would be blogging about it!!! I wanted to say something, but held my tongue knowing I could count on you. Maybe it's not sordid, but perhaps the woman has some mental issues or something similar and the police are not commenting out of kindness ... or fear of a lawsuit. Although I know other countries are not as litigious as we are, so maybe that's not realistic. Or maybe she was trying to commit suicide and then realized what the heck she had done ... yeah, coming face to face with a polar bear and seeing yourself reflected in his dark, cold eyes as "DINNER!" will wake you up fast.

    We like the kind of zoos where there are maybe five barriers between us and the animals (well, the particularly dangerous ones anyway). So, you'd never have to worry about us jumping in with one of them.


  4. The question still remains: If a bear poops in the woods in Ohio, does that mean you can still smell it in Texas? And as a Texas native (although an expat, by now), I can truthfully attest that The Lone Star State IS a foreign land! PS: Please pop over to participate in Sx3 today. We're in serious Donald Trump Mode!

  5. MB--I'm constantly amazed by the number of TX readers I have here.

    Shirley--Another diff. btw. US journalism and foreign journalism, I think. We'd have the whole story by now, re: motive. That woman was absolutely surrounded by at least 4 hungry polar bears. What a way to go.

    Ortizzle--I know. I would think she's sadly disturbed. How frightening.

    Anali--Well, good. And apparently, there WAS a fence there, too. And a moat. But she was undeterred. Yikes.

  6. Nancy2:21 PM


    I suppose that woman has never heard the tale of the explorer and the bear which I relate below:

    An Arctic explorer came face to face with a polar bear. Afraid of being eaten, he fell to his knees and started praying. When the polar bear knelt down beside him and started praying too, the man shouted, "It's a miracle!" The polar bear opened one eye and said "Don't talk while I'm saying grace."

  7. I think that some people are just attention whores. Why they try and use bears as an attention source is beyond me.

  8. Nina--Welcome back to your Real Life. LOL. It's been a LONG TIME. The whole Bear Thing is a mystery.

    Nancy--That one is sinisterly funny.

  9. See, everything you like is vicious.

    1. Koalas
    2. Goldfish
    3. That polar bear
    4. Paula Dean
    5. The News

  10. I've never heard anyone describe Paula Dean as vicious...funny.

  11. Jared JPD--of your list, only two are legitimately vicious: #3 and #5. And #5 only applies to Faux News and perhaps...well, never mind. I will keep my counsel. Your insistence that Koalas and Fish are somehow vicious is a) pathetic and b) not even backed up by wikipedia, and you know my feeling about wikipedia. finally, Paula Deen is a great many things, but vicious is, in all fairness, not one of them. Annoying, grating, overplayed, embarrassing...all those, certainly. But 'vicious'--I can't say that.

    Nina--stop encouraging him.

  12. Nance -- you are wrong. how can something that you described the way you did paula dean NOT vicious.

    Nina -- we have to tag team her. stay strong. she is too much for me to handle on my own.

  13. I'm from Texas and I STILL don't understand what was going on in this woman's head. Nothing logical, that's for sure.

  14. apathy lounge--i won't hold that against you.


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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