July 17: What's Jen Clicking on Between Newscasts? - NBC Southern California

July 17: What's Jen Clicking on Between Newscasts?

Mysterious blob floating off the Arctic ... no one has ever seen anything like it. OR HAVE WE??



    July 17: What's Jen Clicking on Between Newscasts?
    Chris Schauble, Jennifer Bjorklund

    I was reading something on global warming this morning and saw a sidebar that looked too tantalizing to pass up.  A story in the Anchorage Daily News (one of the papers I read, because I read, you know ... all of them, any of them) with the headline:


    Then the subtitle: IT'S NOT OIL: No one in the area can recall seeing anything like it before.

    Here's its picture from a helicopter:

    The story says "something big and strange is floating through the Chukchi Sea between Wainwright and Barrow.

    Hunters from Wainwright first started noticing the stuff sometime probably early last week. It's thick and dark and "gooey" and is drifting for miles in the cold Arctic waters.."

    They also said no one has seen anything like this before, they're sure it's not oil, and they think it's something biological because it has a certain ... smell. 

    Well anyway, scientists flew out and got some samples of the goo, which had swallowed up some birds -- at least that's why they THINK it has feathers in it.

    One of the creepier stories I saw about it today is headlined "Alaska Blob Could Be Alive" and goes on to note that "some jellyfish and birds are getting caught up in the blob, which is sticky and stinky. It is also hairy" 

    EW, hairy?  You can kind of confirm that from looking at the photo of the sample marine biologists have in this bucket here.

    One of the people commenting on that particular post said "Maybe it is some kind of ancient organism that was trapped in the ice. Now that the ice has melted, it is free... and hungry!"

    Well, why not?  And while we're speaking science fiction, why not go the extra step where my mind leaped to initially when I clicked on this story.

    Didn't they drop The Blob in the arctic at the end of the movie?

    You know the one, it was a Steve McQueen horror flick that came out in 1958 but was a huge drive-in hit in the 1970's, when Steve McQueen got famous on that show "Wanted: Dead or Alive," and they pulled his debut performance out of mothballs.  In case you missed it (I saw it at the drive in with everyone else in the 70's) Wikipedia says:

    "The Blob is an amorphous creature from outer space which lands on Earth encased in a meteor. Two teenagers, Steve Andrews (McQueen) and Jane Martin (Corsaut) take a car to try to find where the meteor has landed. Meanwhile, an elderly man (Olin Howland) has heard the meteor crash near his house. He goes outside and upon finding it pokes it with a stick. The rock breaks open, and he finds a small mass of jelly-like substance inside. This "blob", which is actually a living creature, crawls up the stick and attaches itself to his hand. The man runs hysterically onto the road, where he is almost hit by Steve's car. Steve attempts to help the man, but he begs to be taken to the doctor. They arrive just as Doctor Hallen is about to leave the office. He takes the old man in and anesthetizes him, but finds that the mass has grown larger. Finally, it dissolves the old man completely and rolls to the floor, where it also engulfs and eats the nurse and later, the doctor himself."

    I think this clip from the movie kind of confirms it.  This thing in the Arctic is clearly The Blob that terrorized the little down of Downington, Pennsylvania in the 1950s.  I mean, it's impossible to tell when watching the ending exactly WHERE in the Arctic they dropped The Blob from those big parachutes... but Wikipedia -- and we all know everything in Wikipedia, and on the internet for that matter, is true -- confirms that they did in the following recap of the movie's ending:

    "The people are trapped inside with no hope of escape, until Steve starts to quench the fire with a CO2 fire extinguisher. The Blob, which is trying to reach them in the cellar, recoils. Steve tells Lt. Dave that the Blob cannot stand cold (explaining why it did not consume them in the refrigerator), and so, taking the fire extinguishers from the local high school, they attack the monster with carbon dioxide. Soon, the Blob is frozen solid, unable to move or engulf anyone. The film closes with a scene of a military plane dropping the Blob into an Arctic landscape. The film ends with the words "The End", which then morph into a question mark, suggesting that the Blob may return..."

    Well, this was all fun while it lasted.  I'm never one to let the facts get in the way of a good story, when I'm not telling that story in the strict confines of the news.  The blob DID already come back, in 1972 doggone it, in a sequel I just found out about while Googling this darn thing.  Some guy named Chester, in the movie Beware! The Blob finds a piece of frozen substance on a job site in the frozen Arctic and brings it home to Pomona.  The dummy leaves it on the kitchen counter and THE BLOB is on the loose again ...

    "It starts by eating a fly, then a kitten, Chester's wife, and then Chester himself. Lisa (Gilford) walks in on Chester in the process of being devoured by the Blob, and escapes, but cannot get anyone to believe her, not even her boyfriend Bobby (Walker). Meanwhile the rapidly-growing creature quietly preys upon the town: some of its victims include a cop and two hippies (Cindy Williams and Randy Stonehill) in a storm drain, a barber (Shelley Berman) and his client (in an unnerving scene), transients (played by director Larry Hagman, Burgess Meredith and Del Close), a Scout Master (Dick Van Patten), a farm-full of chickens, a bar full of people (off camera), a hippie in a dune buggy (Gerrit Graham) and his girlfriend (Carol Lynley). The now-massive blob invades a bowling alley and a skating rink (consuming dozens more people in the process), and is finally stopped when Bobby activates the rink's ice mechanism, freezing it."

    So, maybe some of the blob is frozen under a skating rink in Pomona, maybe most of it is still in the Arctic.  But the real bummer is that now I find out the lab has analyzed this blob floating around in Alaska and, well, it's .. um .. algae. 

    See what else Jen is clicking on...