In memoriam: Fred Patten (1940-2018)

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Fred PattenFred Patten was born in Los Angeles, California on December 11, 1940. By the time he was ten years old, he'd become interested in science fiction and had started to collect SF books and magazines. From 1958 to 1963 he attended UCLA, where he graduated with a master's degree in Library Science. During his university years, he discovered science fiction fandom, joined the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (LASFS), and started to write for fanzines.

In the 1970s, Fred became a partner in a bookstore in Long Beach, and also developed an interest in manga and anime from Japan. In 1977, along with Mark Merlino and others, Fred was one of the founding members of North America's first anime fan club, the Cartoon/Fantasy Organization. Partially through the C/FO, he and Mark expanded their mutual interest in animals in cartoons and science-fiction, which was a major step in the early evolution of furry fandom. A lot people aren't aware that in North America, both anime and furry fandoms share an originating root!

Remembering Fred Patten

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Fred PattenThere is a balding man with glasses, standing in the corner, cradling a book against his stomach, reading. You saw him a lot. At the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society meeting hall, the APA collation room, in the library, at science fiction conventions in function rooms and room parties, at San Diego Comic Con in the Rowrbrazzle contributor parties, at furry parties.

His name is Fred Patten, and was in no way the passive participant he seemed. With a partner he opened a book shop in Long Beach, California that not only carried SF and Fantasy books, but comics from all over the world. He reviewed SF and Fantasy literature for fan and professional publications. His apartment was literally wall-to-wall books. He collected SF/F art, storing paintings in his bed frame. I don't think anyone knew where he slept... or if he did.

Movie review: Three animated films from 2017

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The film poster for The Jungle Bunch. (The frogs are sidekicks)This is a triple movie review! Three animated films for kids from 2017, all of them originally French, that have been dubbed into English (or soon will be): The Jungle Bunch, Sahara, and The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales. The last one is the best by far, but isn't available in English yet. Coming soon!

The Jungle Bunch

Original title: Les as de la jungle (literally "The Aces of the Jungle"; here's the trailer). When my nephew was little, I took him to see the Thomas and the Magic Railroad movie, because he loved the whole Thomas The Tank Engine thing. I knew it was a franchise with loads of characters, and the movie relied on familiarity. I know I watched it, but to this day, I have no memory of it.

Similarly, The Jungle Bunch is based on a lot of television episodes, plus an earlier movie or two. You don't need to have followed any of them to watch the 2017 movie, but it probably helps to connect with it more. Personally I didn't find the characters particularly deep, and they're not meant to be. I liked some of their designs more than others. It's a computer-animated film, and the animation and backgrounds came out well. Visually it looks very good!

'Detective Pikachu' trailer is anthropomorphic

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Detective Pikachu will be hitting theaters May 10 of next year. Hopefully, Pikachu talking goes down a little better with the fans this time.

Toast the Rabbit, aka Rainhopper Roo, sentenced to 70 months for child pornography

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Daniel Branton, known in the fandom as Toast the Rabbit and Rainhopper Roo, pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography, in relation to his June 2016 arrest. According to the arrest documents, child pornography was found on his laptop.

Branton was sentenced on November 5th, 2018 to 70 months (5.8 years) in prison, a mandatory mental health assessment, and lifetime probation upon release. Among the conditions of his probation, he must undergo mental health treatment, register as a sex offender, and must not own any sexual images of minors, including fictional content such as drawings. He must stay away from children, and his computer use will be monitored.

In the furry fandom, Branton was the technical director of 2 Sense, and in 2009 he served as the co-chair of Califur.

(Hat tip to Dogpatch Press/Patch Packrat for access to the judgement order.)

Furry team raises over $34,000 for ALS foundation

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On November 10th, 2018 in Irvine, California furs came together in support of one of their own in his fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, frequently given the acronym ALS. They walked for a mile at Orange County Great Park to raise awareness and money for the foundation combating this debilitating disease. With Tony “Dogbomb” Barrett leading the team and matching donations, they successfully raised their goal of $34,000.

Fear of wolves in Germany highlights conservation issues and the future of our planet

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Flayrah_wolf.jpgThe wolf is by far the most popular fursona species but, as a recent opinion piece in Deutsche Welle pointed out, they are not universally loved. In Germany, like many places in Europe, wolves were driven to extinction and it was only in 2000, after approximately 150 years, that wild wolves were born in Germany once again. Many people, particularly farmers, are worried about wolf attacks on their livestock – echoing our previous reporting of wolves in France– while others are concerned about the risk to humans. But this conflict is about more than wolves; the conversations about wolves are intertwined with much larger issues.

Discussions around wolves show both the fear of the wild and the human desire to eliminate all danger while seeing themselves not only as superior to other animals but, to use the Biblical terminology, granted dominion over them. This is seen in sentiments that even question the right of other animals, such as wolves, to exist in "our" world.

"Wolves do not fit into our civilization any longer," she said, adding that her fear of wolves means she no longer enjoys walking in the countryside.

Over time, more and more evidence has accumulated that, due these attitudes, we are responsible for a widespread decline in animal populations and species that leave us with a dangerously low level of biodiversity. This is termed the sixth extinction.

Actor goes from Polkin' to Tokin'; faces legal trouble for his mascot parody

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Canada Weed Flag

If you live in Ontario, you probably haven't heard of Marc Scott - but you've probably seen him if you watched children's shows on TVOntario, the province's educational broadcaster (similar to PBS). He used to perform as the costumed character known as "Polkaroo", a polka-dotted kangaroo on the station's preschool TV series Polka-Dot Door from 1985 to 1993, and on later series such as Polka-Dot Shorts (1993-2001) and on Gisèle's Big Backyard (2001-2007).

His name has recently returned to the limelight - in a less than flattering way - after he attracted the attention of his former employer. He's received a cease-and-desist order and might face a potential lawsuit for creating and wearing an "unauthorized parody" of Polkaroo, named "Tokaroo", a red-eyed and brown-furred marijuana-smoking marsupial he created in celebration of Canada legalizing Marijuana on October 17, 2018.

Newsbytes archive for October 2018

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Contributors this month include 2cross2affliction, dronon, earthfurst, Fred, Patch Packrat, Rakuen Growlithe, and Sonious.

Furries assist authorities, leads to charges and arrest of Levi "SnakeThing" Simmons

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In late September, the furry world was rocked by a leak of telegram chat-logs that revealed an organization of those that practiced extreme forms of animal abuse in the real world. On October 25th, 2018, police in Oregon have made the first arrest of a member of this zoosadist ring, Levi “SnakeThing” Simmons. They have been initially charged with sexual assault of an animal, animal abuse in the first degree, and animal neglect in the first degree.

Levi, who went by several pseudonyms in the furry community including 'Nelizar', became infamous soon after this leak. The logs were released to the public by a fellow zoophile who felt their peers had gone too far in their crueler abusive behavior towards animals. While SnakeThing was quickly overshadowed by a more famous individual caught within the ring, furry Youtuber Kero the Wolf, most of the evidence tied to Levi. This was because the leak was centered around his account that the whistle-blower had gained access to and downloaded the data from. It was Levi's own logs that was eventually shared with the internet.

Update 11/1: Furvengers noted on Tuesday 10/30, that Mr. Simmons was released from prison due to apparent statue of limitations on charges and evidence presented at this time. State charges have been revoked.

Faux masculinity products seller posing as reporter confused by concept of "marketing" at furry

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What started with a well intentioned creative spark by a furry to take a mass produced WalMart animal costume product and teach young ones how to express themselves in designs of their own creation turned into an unfortunate swarm of saltiness and virtue signaling by InfoWar fans.

The doors to this interaction was open when WalMart’s official twitter account responded to a furry expressing their desire to do a video on modding of their Maskimal products. Once the positive interaction of a corporation with the furs was made, the Joneses stepped in to voice their offense at the situation.

Tony the Tiger's silent Twitter exodus blamed on furries, but advertising laws more probable cause

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Tony the Tiger has fled Twitter, and furries are to blame. At least that is how the story is told on Huffington Post’s Ashley Feinberg in her article about the mascot’s disappearence from social media. It talks about the cereal mascot’s unfortunate run in with some very thirsty furry fans, who made it a habit of bogging his social media responses with sexual innuendo and sometimes more blatant passes. Back when this started to occur, the cereal mascot began to ban furries at random, even if they were not engaging in the activity of coming onto the fiction character.

When this made the news rounds back in early 2016 it was known as “#TonyTigerGate”, in honor of the internet’s tendency of putting the gate suffix on anything even the slightest bit controversial that most normal people don’t actually care about. It would be overly dismissive to claim that it wasn’t a big topic of discussion in the fandom about public decorum and our relationships with corporations back when it occurred.

But in regards to this recent turn of events, Ashley uses her article to claim that Tony the Tiger’s account was replaced by the less furry account called simply Frosted Flakes in order to douse the horny furries in cold milk. But, further investigation reveals a far more intriguing story. One of a mascot caught in an international assassination plot against his very life. Not a story of a company’s combat against the internet’s lusts, but one of a government’s fight against glutton of the youths of their respective nations and the mascots used to stimulate that hunger.

Newsbytes archive for September 2018

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Sorry if things have been a bit quiet; real life sometimes keeps us busy! Contributors in September included 2cross2affliction, dronon, earthfurst, Equivamp, Fred, GreenReaper, and Sonious, with a shout-out from JoeStrike.

Season 6 teaser image shows 'Fortnite' just got a lot furrier

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Season 6 of the popular "Battle Royale" shooter Fortnite is launching September 25, this Thursday, and for the second season in a row, the first teaser image released by Epic Games features a new character wearing an animal mask, in this case, a Deadmau5-esque DJ wearing a llama mask, after the Season 5 teaser featured a kabuki-inspired fox mask teaser.

The next Season 6 teaser image featured a cowgirl (the "Wild West" type of cowgirl, not the furry type, unfortunately), but it wasn't until the third and final teaser image, that things got really furry with an apparent werewolf character featured, seen above.

Update: The llama DJ is named DJ Yonder and is the tier 1 reward for the Season 6 Battle Pass; the werewolf is named Dire and is the tier 100 reward, and features further unlockable styles (he is unlocked as a human but most players will already have enough experience points reaching tier 100 to unlock his werewolf form when he is unlocked). Season 6 is also introducing Pets that players can carry on their back to the game; a dog, chameleon and baby dragon will all be unlockable in the pass.

BoJack Horseman and the Cycle of Abuse

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Bojack_0.jpgSo last weekend I sat down and remembered that BoJack season 5 had released onto Netflix. Being relatively new to the platform I thought that meant one episode was released and would have slow releases over time. No, apparently it means that all the episodes are released and you can watch them all.

One or two episodes wouldn’t hurt, I noted on Saturday. By the time Sunday rolled around I had gone through the entire season and was a bit drained, but still the interactions and story arcs between the characters had kept me hooked and dragged me through the entire bender. I hadn’t recorded my weekly show so I decided to take the week off and not record.

I don’t have a problem, really.

But, the show isn’t for everyone. It uses comedy as a pointed look at the worst parts of how things are for those caught within a perpetual cycle of self-inflicted wounds brought on by less than optimal decision making. If you prefer your comedy with a higher proportion toward the happy face, and less toward the tragic and woeful one, then the show may not be for you. For those folks I’d recommend Buddy Thunderstruck if you haven’t seen that one before.

However, for those who like a cerebral comedy with flawed characters in a flawed world it is well worth the watch. For those of you who have watched it, or if you don’t plan on watching it so you don’t mind spoilers, please continue to read the rest of the article for my thoughts about the fifth season. But be wary, like the show the way I am reviewing this may get a bit ‘too real’ near the end.

From the Yerf Archive