Thursday, January 6, 2011


Nervous? Tense? So are the animals! It seems that every day there are more news stories about masses of animals dropping dead, or behaving weirdly. Entire flocks of birds have dropped from the skies, whales have run aground gasping, crabs have jumped into boiling pots, and so on. It's enough to make rational people shout Armageddon and start crying about the Book of Revelations. What next? Locust? Well, before you start babbling about the seven seals and the mark of the beast and pale riders, take a chill pill.

There must be a logical, scientific explanation. Has to be. This isn't the Bronze Age, for godsakes, and we're not about to start wearing sackcloth and join a cult. Even so, the stories are piling up. Thinks about it. On New Years Day, thousands of red-winged blackbirds fell dead from the sky in Beebe, Arkansas. Just before that there was a report that "hundreds of thousands" of fish were found dead in the Arkansas. According the the Baltimore Sun, two million fish dropped dead in the Chesapeake Bay. The Associated Press reports that "state biologists are trying to determine what killed an estimated 500 birds that littered a quarter-mile stretch of highway in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana." It just gets weirder. Okay, we're not convinced that "end-times" are here, but it's pretty clear there is mucho tension in the Animal Kingdom.

For questions of animal tension, we turn to the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. Back in 1963, Hitch visited the theme of animals behaving weirdly in his suspense classic, "The Birds." if you haven't seen it put it on your Netflix cue immediately. Or watch the clip (above) in which the film has been sped up to play in just one minute--perfect for nervous, on-the-go types who can't sit still for an entire full-length film. Then relax. Animals can sense fear.

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