Sally Forth

Hey, remember The Fourth of July, 2003? We don't, but found this in our archives:

Fourth of July Fourthiness.

Independence is on the march, patriots.

& Recently . . .

Kurt Cobain's Ghost with an Invitation to a Fourth of July Picnic and Fireworks by Angela Genusa

"B.L.T.": A Review by Will Layman

Ten Tiny Poems by Brian Beatty

Angry Words from a Gnome Who to This Day Continues to Think the Human Genome Project Was Actually The Human Gnome Project by David Ng

Key Party, N.Y.C., Circa Always by William K. Burnette

A Day on the Phone with Mythological Norse Firewarrior, Bringer of Storms by Aaron Belz

Polish Fact

Major illicit producer of amphetamine for the international market; minor transshipment point for Asian and Latin American illicit drugs to Western Europe.

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Ik heb twee draaischijven en een microfoon.
I've got two turntables and a microphone.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2003   |    How To

Gygantopithecus Blackus, or, The Hunt for “Big Al”

by Diana Grove

Stalking the elusive “Bigfoot” of North America has been an activity of cryptozoölogists and laymen for centuries. Known by many different names like Sasquatch, Omah, and even “Big Al,” could these gigantic, hairy creatures be real or just a figment of our imaginations? Could that beast that’s riffling through your trashcan eating the banana peels and wearing a soiled coffee filter as a small but stylish hat actually be the fabled Gygantipithecus blackus, or is that just Mr. Jennings pissed up on the stupid juice again? If your answer is “Whuh?”, “Beats me,” or even “Who’s Mr. Jennings?” the following Bigfoot entries are for you!

Warning: If you should come across a Bigfoot of any persuasion, ask for permission before taking snapshots or soliciting autographs.

The Myakka Skunk Ape of Southern Florida

Known for its mungy, sulfurous smell, the Skunk Ape was first sighted throwing rip-rock at passing vehicles near the off ramp of I-75 in Sarasota back in the early 1970s. Myron Phelps, fisherman and self-styled anthropologist, claims to have monitored the beast’s behavior for nearly 14 years. He insists the Skunk Ape creeps out of the Everglades during the busy tourist season then badgers visiting Michiganders for spare change in the Winn Dixie parking lot. Marion Olsen of East Lansing reported seeing a “large, hairy man without his trousers” trying to pick gum off her car tire when she visited the store to buy Dixie brand canned peas. When pressed for further comment, Ms. Olsen simply looked confused and asked if her coupon for Gold Bond powder was still valid. (Needless to say it wasn’t, and neither was her prescription for Lithium and “those little pink pills that take care of the sweats.”)

Mountain Devils of Vermont

Often spotted by campers in the mountainous state parks of Vermont, these 7-foot-tall furry man-beasts are so clever, they actually have been known to sport felt caps and impersonate forest rangers. One Mountain Devil was so successful he actually sold a season’s pass to a family of 6 from New Hampshire. Although they may initially appear harmless, these creatures should by no means be trusted. They are known to fool their victims by neglecting to warn them about park closings, forest-fire prevention, and the fact that their arms will soon be gnawed into bloody, repulsive stumps out behind Camp Latrine Number 6.

Wendigo of the Great Lakes

The Wendigo, known as “The Flyover Bigfoot” by Northeasterners and other people who don’t eat mayonnaise with their pastrami, is every bit as fierce as the legends will have you believe. The Wendigo traipses through the north woods, often crouching down to disguise itself as a tree stump or a pile of discarded pelts only to jump up and frighten hikers within an inch of their life, prompting them to drop whatever trail mix or delicious jerky product they were carrying. This beast has also been spotted venturing into Methodist potlucks where it’s been seen both eating a parishioner’s elbow and attempting to swap casserole recipes with the president of the Ladies Farm Bureau.

Boggy Creek Monster of Arkansas a.k.a. “Big Al”

This particular Bigfoot is bandy-legged and splay-toed, which may explain why it walks in circles and hasn’t yet made its way out of the Arkansas swamp. The locals affectionately refer to it as “Big Al,” as it eerily resembles a rather furrier version of country-and-western balladeer Alan Jackson. The authorities, who are somewhat less amused with the creature, have called it “smelly,” “grotesque,” and “next to Old Man Watkins, one more reason to say ‘What the hey’ and fire up the shotgun.” The Boggy Creek Monster appears to be relatively harmless to humans and instead prefers the taste of livestock and domesticated animals. When asked how he felt when “Big Al” had decapitated his coonhound, local rancher Rusty McGwinn replied, “Well, hell, I got me more coonhounds than a Yankee cathouse, so havin’ one less’un won’t bedevil me none.”

(When asked about the dog-beheading incident, the Boggy Creek Monster was busy ingesting a lamb’s ear in the back of Swanson’s Cave and was unavailable for comment.)

Omah of Northern California

The Californian Omah is by far the most sophisticated of all the North American Bigfoots. Some have said it speaks fluent English, keeps itself well groomed and even wears splashy, expensive sandals. Others claim the creature’s very existence is a myth created to bring in more tourists to feed northern California’s waning macramé industry. A woman from Chico who goes by the name “Sunshine” says, “I haven’t sold a single plant holder since Tapestry went platinum! My only hope is that this Bigfoot guy will bring some extra cash my way ‘cause I can barely afford to buy hemp string and turkey feathers anymore.” Eyewitnesses swear the Omah is alive and well and sharing communal space with several hippies in a bio-domed cedar house in the northern foothills. He is apparently vegetarian and only eats meat if someone doesn’t re-stock the refrigerator or messes with his record collection. However, there have been several mysterious disappearances in the past year involving young men who were known to mention “a really cool, hairy dude who loves Coltrane but smells really rank, you know, rank like rotten tacos or somethin’.” Interestingly, the Omah was spotted requesting extra guacamole at a taco stand in Eureka last month.

The Great Northern Sasquatch

The Sasquatch is without a doubt the superstar of all the big-footed creatures. Gaining notoriety in the mid-19th century, this Canadian character has been spotted galumphing through the woods more than any of its fellow species. Ray Wallace created a major scandal in 1958 when he carved huge, wooden footprints and fooled the world by leaving “genuine Bigfoot prints” in the mud near his home. This prank irreparably damaged the Big Foot legend and really all Canadians in general. From that day forth, believers and eyewitnesses alike had to work overtime to get the much-needed attention they craved owing to failed relationships, dead-end jobs and pathetically barren childhoods. Charlie Waxman, from Winnipeg, insists he’s seen the Sasquatch two or three times out in the back of his barn “messin’ with his woodpile.” He also says he caught the beast putting a bumper sticker on his Pontiac that read, “Support your right to keep and arm bears.” His wife Marion, however, disputes this, claiming her husband’s been “a little loose in the lobes” ever since their son was run over by a Zamboni at the 1978 Amateur Ice Follies. She added, “And as far as the bumper sticker goes, who knows where it came from, those things just show up in the middle of the night like a drunk uncle.” There has been some recent and compelling evidence that the northern Sasquatch truly does exist and is not just a figment of our imaginations like the Tooth Fairy or Queen Elizabeth. Last March there was “a large, fur-bearing man” spotted chasing a uniformed Mountie who was in turn apprehending a speeding Skidoo that was apparently running after a dog that was on the scent of several small, white rabbits who simply seemed to be out for a good time. The scene would have been noteworthy enough on its own, but the fact that it involved a true-blue Sasquatch makes it a landmark day for Gigantopithecus blackus and the fascinating and ever-expanding annals of Bigfootology.

Diana Grove speaks with a French patois even though her thoughts drift to the corn belt. Her work can be seen in Sweet Fancy Moses, Opium Magazine, and Haypenny.