Lunacy Abounds: Tiger King

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 It’s at least week three of this madness, and we are all beginning to fray around the edges a bit. But there are rays of sunshine and hope, like all the great Facebook and Instagram posts with everyday people exhibiting tremendous creativity and kindness. I saw one recently where the residents of East 72nd Street in Manhattan give an ovation each night from their windows to the healthcare workers leaving their shifts and heading home from the many East Side hospitals. How about the everyday courage of our local shop owners keeping the shelves filled for us, or the delivery people bringing take-out. These are heroes in my book.

Filling the time can be challenging, even if you are working from home. Sometimes you find yourself watching shows you never would have given a second look, such as Tiger King, the story of Joe Exotic. What’s that? You haven’t seen this docudrama/comedy/horror/I don’t know what to call it show! If you don’t have Netflix, get it just for this show.

Ok, here’s the background. Apparently, the United States has more tigers here than anywhere else in the world. There are at least three major players/ breeders who are or have been at war with each other here in the USA. These people breed and raise all sorts of exotic animals including every type of tiger imaginable. You think these animals are going extinct? No, they have all moved to the United States.

And the characters that own these places are stark raving mad. They walk among these kings of the jungle as if they were walking through a kid’s nursery school. Many of them are missing arms and legs, but they don’t let that stop them. Most of them are toting guns and some are involved in some form of polygamy. At least one is accused of murdering their spouse and feeding them to the tigers! You can’t make this up. And when you see them, you’ll think they walked right out of central casting.

Now maybe the virus got to these people early and they were never tested. Or maybe the virus has affected all of us in ways we could never imagine, like watching this show. One thing is for sure, you can’t take your eyes off these maniacs. I am not through with the series yet, and don’t know how it ends, but I am sure however it does, they have figured out how to do season two.

I needed a break from the tigers, so I asked a friend for a recommendation and he supplied me with something right up my alley: The Valhalla Murders on Netflix. What I didn’t know was that this show was not only filmed in Iceland and about an Icelandic murderer, but that it was also in Icelandic. Now if you are not fully conversant in Icelandic, like me, you have a few options. You can watch it in its native language and try to get ready for that trip to Iceland you always wanted to take. You could opt for subtitles, and follow along, reading as you go. Or you could opt for door number three which is the “English dubbed” version. I took door number three which had the effect of turning an Icelandic series into a poorly dubbed Bruce Lee movie. Two for the price of one.

If this show is any indication of life in Iceland, you may want to reconsider your travel plans. Not only do the police seem to not have a clue, but the murderers are equally inept. Perhaps it is better to stay at home, inside your home for the next 30 days, watching the Tiger King, knowing that there are people in Iceland who are also watching the Tiger King who now think that people in America are completely, stark raving mad. Probably an element of truth in both views. Stay safe and healthy Rockaway, remember to be kind and keep smiling. With my luck, I'll survive the virus and get eaten by a tiger, or murdered watching the Aurora Borealis!

By Lou Pastina

 

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