S U C K

"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 16 September 1999. Updated every WEEKDAY.
 
 
 
Hit & Run CXCV

 

[]

Best known as the motormouthed

hero of the Canadian National

Film Board's mega-hit

documentary Project Grizzly,

Troy Hurtubise is a

conservationist, mountain man,

bear behavior expert, and

tireless inventor of the Ursus

series of semi-robotic,

grizzly-proof exoskeletons.

Although the Ursus Mark VI body

armor (featured in the film) was

inspired by the combination of a

1984 grizzly attack and a

fortuitous viewing of Robocop,

viewers of the film will recall

that it is also proof against

fire, speeding trucks, falling

logs, and pipe-wielding bikers.

But three years after the film's

release, Hurtubise is working on

a better, stronger, faster model

of bear-proof suit, and he's

surprisingly bitter about the

film that made him a global

superstar. He spoke with us from

his home in North Bay, Ontario.

 
 

You are one of the
fastest-talking people on
earth, yet you didn't grow
up in a big city.


Yeah, North Bay, Ontario,
yeah, small little town
and yeah, we moved
around a lot. My father
was a professor of
anthropology and he moved
around a lot: spent 12
years in Hamilton. To me
that was a big city —
300,000 people. And
Windsor, stuff like that.
I've always stuck to the
mountains, stuck to the
bush. I've got a lot to
say in a very short time,
that's the way I look at
it.

You're working on a new
suit now, called the G-Man
Genesis. Is this what
would have been the Ursus
Mark VII?


Yeah, that would have been
the Mark VII; it's called
the G-Man because of its
diversification into other
fields: land-mine
extraction, SWAT, riot
control, fire departments,
studying volcanoes. It's
$1.2 million Canadian to
build, but complete in
terms of computer graphics
and blueprints. I don't
have $1.2 million to build
the whole suit, but I can
build six square inches of
the suit in an area, and
test that area. That's why
I know it can handle a
direct impact of two
sticks of dynamite. If I
say it's got a Class 10
armor on it, which is
probably four times the
strength of any armor out
there, that's because
we've tested it in
sections.

The CS 7,000 cooling unit I
know will handle
4,000° F heat because
I built a prototype and
took a sleeve of the right
arm, took some Tiger
torches and heated it up
to 4,000°, and then
stuck my bare arm in it,
and no problem at all. The
biggest drawback is the
$1.2 million Canadian to
build it. That would be
for the prototype. Models
that you would buy would
probably run you about
$300,000.

Both the Ursus Mark VI
featured in the movie and
the G-Man Genesis that
you're working on now
look more robotic than
bearlike. Have you ever
considered that grizzlies
might be more likely to
come around if you had
fake fur, or something,
on the outside?


No, no. All it has to do
is be bipedal and look
humanoid. And the G-Man
Genesis looks humanoid
much more than the Ursus
Mark VI. I'm not
interested in having bears
think I'm a bear. I want
bears to think I'm a man.
When you do your
aggression tests, your
behavioral studies, you
want to look humanoid. The
world's greatest authority
on bear behavior, Dr.
Stephen Herraro out of the
University of Calgary, has
stated in many articles
that if the final suit is
bipedal and
humanoid-looking, then
there are a million areas
of grizzly research he can
look into.

So I have no problem with
the way the suit looks.
It's where I want it to
be. It's 120 pounds versus
147 for the Mark VI. See,
120 pounds is a
full-dressed fireman, and
everybody knows what they
can do. The flexibility is
up to 91.5 percent. With
the Mark VI you had 15
percent. So I can drive a
car, climb stairs, do a
dive roll, run full tilt
in the G-Man.

Holy smokes!

Oh yeah. I've always said
the G-Man will make
Robocop look like the Tin
Man of Oz.

What happened to the plan
to auction the Mark VI?


There's no immediate
demand [to auction the
suit] right now, because
it gets more popular as
each year goes by. It's
world renowned right now;
I mean everybody knows
about the Mark VI, far
more than know about me.
Which is no problem in my
case, because when it
finally goes up for
auction, it might get the
money that I need to be
able to say, "Here,
trustees, here's what I
owe you; take a hike."

And then I would get the
remainder of the money. If
it goes high enough,
wouldn't that be great? I
might be able to fund or
partially fund the Mark
VII, the G-Man. I've got
all kinds of signatures on
it, all kinds of famous
people from all the places
I've been — Roseanne,
Penn and Teller. Every
guest appearance I do, I
get people to sign it.

How did you raise the
money to build the first
six
iterations?


Wasn't easy! A lot of
summertime work. I didn't
work in my field. I'm a
natural resources
technologist. I haven't
worked in my field in my
life. Every summer was
dedicated to building the
suit, getting into the
scrap metal business,
whatever it took. I went
bankrupt two years ago, so
you've got to have a
strong woman to hold you,
to stand by you in a
situation like that. Like,
I've lost everything I
had.

But that was inevitable, I
mean I didn't think it
wasn't going to happen.
You can't fund something
the rest of your life
knowing that you haven't
got the money. I mean, I'm
not even anywhere like
well off. I'm not a rich
guy. It's a
10-bucks-an-hour-type
thing. And I'm trying to
build the suit. That's why
I did the movie Project
Grizzly.
I thought it
would help me get the
money I needed to do this.
And of course the movie
turned out to be a piece
of shit, point blank.

Come on!

Oh yeah, I thought it was
a piece of garbage.
Scientific-wise. It had
nothing about science. The
man, me, who I am, yeah,
that's me. I shave with a
Bowie up in the mountains.
I haven't got time for a
Bic razor, shit like that.
I've got a Bowie and I use
it for a thousand reasons.
That's not a problem,
that's who I am. But I
wanted the research, the
science that I do [to be
represented in the film].
I'm the world's foremost
authority on
bear-deterrent spray
testings, under actual
field conditions.

Deterrent what testings?

Bear deterrent sprays. You
can buy them in stores in
the States and Canada. You
go into the store, you pay
50 to 60 bucks, you get a little
can. And it's bear spray;
you take it into the bush.
Well, they don't work. I
mean they wouldn't stop a
dog, let alone a bear.
I've been doing this for
13 years. Five feet away,
two feet away from black
bears. This is why I built
the suit, because you need
the suit to get close to
grizzlies to test these
deterrents. To record the
first birth of a grizzly
cub in hibernation. To be
able to get plasma from a
hibernating bear for the
first time ever. To unlock
the trigger hormone, which
would allow NASA to send
astronauts into deep
space.

You know, the science is
far-reaching. The science
is Nobel. This isn't from
me, this is from National
Geographic.
Even [showing]
30 seconds of the science
[in the film] would have
been nice. And the
dipshits decided to do
fuck-all. It really pisses
me off when I think about
the Film Board. I mean, I
want to gut these
sonofabitches. They really
screwed me good. I went
bankrupt because of them.

How?

Remember, we shot through
June, July, August, and
September. Those are the
four busiest months for my
company, scrap metal. All
right? And I not only took
those four months off but
the movie cost me, in my
personal assets, about
$6,000 to $8,000. People
don't know that. Now that
film today is the No. 1–
grossing film in the
100-year history of the
Canadian National Film
Board. There is no bigger
smash hit than that movie
right there. And it just
keeps getting bigger and
bigger and bigger. First
movie ever released on
video....

Do you have any of the
backend?


No, I get fuck-all.

You're kidding!

I don't get fuck-all.
That's what people don't
understand. You think I'd
be bitching or complaining
if I got even 2 percent?
Nothing, not a damn thing,
nada. I just said to you,
it cost me four months of
my business and $6,000 of
my savings. I have a wife
and a child. Six grand,
all of my savings, went
into making that movie and
I got fuck-all for it.
This is the National Film
Board of Canada, all
right? This is federally
funded. I thought, "OK, no
problem, people usually
don't get paid for this
kind of stuff." I was
told, "It's gonna do great
for your career." In other
words, "If we get the
sponsorship, we're gonna
take a serious look at
you, Mr. Hurtubise. Yes,
it's gonna go this way,
it's gonna be more of a
bravado, more of a western
type of style." I said,
"Well, that's cool. That's
the way it is in the
bush."

But you thought the movie
would show more of the
research?


I was told, "We're gonna
get into the science, dah
dah dah dah...." Well
fuck, I haven't got any
rights over the editing or
cutting. I come down there
and I see this piece of
shit, I'm thinking, "Oh,
what is this piece of
crap?" Everybody thinks
it's some guy who's got a
vendetta against grizzly
bears and he built this
stupid fucking suit to go
out there and kill them.
That's exactly how the
movie came off.

I've gone to film festivals
and talked to thousands of
people. I've been all over
the world, to Japan,
Germany, everywhere.
Everybody seems to love
it. Not even 90 percent:
I'm talking 99.999 percent
of the people just love
this film. I mean, they
just go snakeshit over it.
I don't know, maybe that's
the average of the public.
I don't know. To me, it
just missed the point. I
have had people come up to
me after a lecture and
say, "We understand after
watching the film why you
built the suit — for
grizzly research. But we
haven't got a clue what
kind of research."

Let's talk about the
research. If you're
talking about watching
the birth of a cub or
extracting plasma, I'd
imagine the bear isn't
going to want to play
along, suit or no suit.


Of course not. That's why
it's never been done
before. We're talking
about the birth of a
female cub. Or a male.
Never been done. See, a
grizzly goes into
hibernation for six
months. It's a
semi-hibernation, much
like Homo sapiens. They go
in and they lose 25
percent of their body
weight; the females lose
40 percent. They don't
eat, they don't drink,
urinate or defecate. Yet
they come out as strong as
they went in. Now NASA and
other people have been
trying to find the trigger
hormone.

They believe if you can
find it and synthesize it,
you can inject it into
astronauts for extended
space flight. They've been
trying to do it with black
bears, but not with
grizzlies. Now, I will be
lowered down by a chopper
to the grizzly's den at
high altitudes on the
northern slopes. It's very
hard. I have no intention
of crawling inside the den
like The Learning Channel
said I did. I'm not going
to crawl inside a fucking
grizzly den like an idiot.
(Jesus Christ, you don't
know how stupid people
are, you know?)

How will you approach the
bear?


I'm going to stay in front
of the den. At 15 to 20
feet in front of the den,
she's gonna charge. She'll
already know I'm there.
It's like somebody walking
into your bedroom. They
don't hibernate like
people think. It's
semi-hibernation, very
much like when we go into
a deep sleep when we're
very tired. So I get close
to the den; she's gonna
charge. I'm gonna hit her
with a tranquilizer.

Now some people say, "Well
why do you need the suit?
Why don't you just hit her
with the tranquilizer?"
Well, the tranquilizer
takes two to five minutes
to work. You want to die
in that time, if you
haven't got a suit? I've
got a suit. The grizzly's
gonna go nuts on me
outside the den. Big deal;
I'm in the suit.

When the drug takes effect,
my biochemists will come
down from the chopper,
they will go over to the
grizzly. They're not gonna
drag her back in. I have
another research team
going inside the den while
the bear's not there.
They're gonna set up
infrared heat cameras.
Now, my second team is
going to take plasma and
all the stuff they need
from this grizzly in
hibernating conditions.
We're all gonna fly away
after we drag her back to
the den.

[Later, when the bear gives
birth], the heat from the
birthing will trigger the
infrared cameras and we'll
film it a thousand miles
away. Never been done
before. That's one thing.
Two, we've got the plasma
now; we can start working
in that area, where nobody
has ever done research
before. So these are the
areas I'm talking about.
And you can't do it
otherwise.... See, it's so
simplistic. It's the great
white shark, folks. No
cage, no shark. You die.
It's as simple as that.

Valerie and Ron Taylor out
of Australia — those
are the first people I
talked to 13 years ago,
when I started building
this suit. No cage, no
shark. It's the same with
the suit. This isn't
Goodall going after apes
and chimpanzees and that
— you know, they're
dangerous, but they're
bluff chargers 99.9
percent of the time. This
is a grizzly bear.

In the film, you never get
to do the close test with
the grizzly. How will the
G-Man address that
problem?


The Mark VII will have
total flexibility; you can
climb a damn mountain in
that thing. I'm going to
be at Harvard on September
30 talking about the
newest technology I've
got.

Harvard?

The Ig Nobel Prize
ceremony at Harvard
invited me back because it
was such a success last
year. Last year, I won a
prize. This year I'll be
presenting an award, and
after that, I've been
invited to give a lecture
at MIT.

You're also the star of
Mountain Man
survival
videos. Are they making
you any money?


It's an idea. Whether it's
going to go anywhere, who
knows? Right now, I make
most of my money by doing
interviews.

Well I appreciate your
doing this one for free.


That's no problem. Radio
and stuff like that —
I never charge. This is
just half an hour talking
to you. The networks, they
take two days out of my
time. Now, what is it
you're doing? I don't even
know who the hell you are.

Whenever I tell people
the name, they think I'm
calling to make fun of
them, but it's called
Suck.com.


I've been in worse, so it
doesn't matter to me.

You're a good sport when
people like the Ig Nobel
committee seem to make
you the butt of a joke.


If I worried about what
people thought of me, I'd
have been dead 20 years
ago. I've had all kinds of
interviews where people
completely misquoted me,
just walked away like,
"This guy's a crackpot; he
just wants to dance with
grizzly bears." Big deal,
so what. I've got more
important things to worry
about than what the public
thinks of me. You should
see some of the stuff
written about me. At the
Ig Nobel Awards we had the
suit up on stage and 2,000
Harvard students were
throwing teddy bears at
the Mark VI. People who
know me know that I'm on
the cutting edge of
research.

And you're pretty solvent
now?


Oh yeah, we've got a lot
on the table. If this
ballistic armor hits as
big as I think it will,
none of this will matter
because I'll be worth a
hundred million. I
patented a new hockey
helmet made with the
technology from the Ursus
Mark V. That will
eliminate concussions in
the NHL. So I've got a lot
going. One of them hits,
I'm a millionaire
overnight.

Well I hope you make it.
You're a Canadian national
treasure.


Oh yeah, the Canadian
government, you gotta love
them. Not a dime in
research, nothing. I mean,
these guys are unbelievable,
unbelievable.

 

[]

If the New Economy is in fact

friction-free, it's only because

the gears are lubricated with

shit. While the contents of

every head on Wall Street no

doubt contribute to the

liquidity of capital, it's

e-commerce that's currently

making all the long, grunting

noises. Without the miracle of

the Internet, how else are you

going to assert your inalienable

right to anonymously send animal

feces to someone you don't like?

 

It's a buyer's market.

DogDoo.com, DooDoo.com, and

Send a Turd are all battling for your

excretory dollar, pushing as

hard as they can to produce

something that you'll want. And,

always alert to trends, rumor

has it that Amazon is about to

add a "Crap" tab across the top

of its page, inevitably

confusing people who are looking

for auctions.

 

While an argument could be made

that this sort of thing at

least, um, relieves porn from

being the lowest form of filth

on the Web, the plunge taken by

these enterprising

pooper-scoopers is probably

wasted. Despite the apparently

infinite ability of the general

public to buy whatever random

shit it comes across — and

disregarding the scatological

quality of most initial public

offerings — there's just

never going to be a market for

an I-P-O-O.

 

[]

If Suck sometimes seems like

mere self-congratulation wrapped

in a package of

self-deprecation, rest assured

that, once you paw through all

the Styrofoam squigglies of

self-satisfaction, you'll find a

core of pure self-loathing. And

what really makes us wake up

with that "who would really care

if you got cancer" feeling is

the knowledge that our most

valuable asset is our name. If

we'd just struck a

domain-transfer deal with some

online porn magnate back in the

day, we'd have made more money

in 10 minutes than our shabby

content-is-king business plan

has netted us in four years. So

it was like another nail in the

coffin when "Dirty Domain Owner"

sent us mail, all the way from

the former Soviet Union,

offering "high quality domains

with the most powerful, sexy,

hardcore, explicit words in the

English Language" that

"unbelievably ... were only

recently allowed." It's true, we

can't match DDO's catalog of

dot-coms "with the word FUCK,

TIT, CUNT or PISS" on the second

level. Still, we figured our

simple, evocative verb, not

infinitive but still not fully

conjugated, would slicken the

palms of countless one-handed

surfers. No such luck. DDO turns

out to be as shy as an arranged

bride when it's time to close

the deal. Our offer to let

"Suck.com" go at an all-time low

price was met with stony

silence. We're still looking to

deal, though, and if we can ever

come to terms, you'll be the

first to know, as long as you

can certify that you're over 18.

 
courtesy of theSucksters
 



[Purchase the Suck Book here]