Cicada killer

Cicada killer

The cicada killer is named the cicada killer, and that’s rude. Specifically, it’s rude to the cicada. Like, what’s your name? Jennifer? Is your name Jennifer? Imagine if you met somebody named Jennifer-Killer. You wouldn’t get along.

bzzz

Mental Organism Designed Only For Killing Jennifer

Special powers

Like any given wasp, the cicada killer has a stinger.

Unlike the average wasp, the cicada killer carries a switchblade. Cicada killer’s a blade man, man.

It can blow bubblegum bubbles really well.

Weaknesses

The cicada killer is frequently targeted by the velvet ant (street name “The Cow-Killer”), which will lay its egg in the nest of the cicada killer so its newborn can kill and eat the cicada killer’s children. Preying on a predator, the velvet ant is sort of like nature’s own “Dexter” from the hit TV show “Dexter,” but more messed up.

Don't push his buttons

Dexter and his dark passenger.

Number of legs

Six.

Wikipedia Talk Page Theatre

In which a twist arrives late in the tale:

“The testmaster saw some of these before. They are ginormous. They fly around like crazy and almost fly into you like they are trying to attack. I was so scared that I ran to my car (this was before the testmaster got a DUI). Testmasterflex

Drink of choice

Michelada, served in a hollowed-out carapace.

What if it fought a bear?

It’s the cicada killer, not the bear killer.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

The cicada killer is the best at what it does, and what it does is kill cicadas and chew bubblegum – and it has a lot of bubblegum. If you need any, just ask; it will gladly give you some.

But despite that generosity, the cicada killer is still something of a one- to two-trick pony, where its main trick is killing a creature and its whole family.

 

3/10

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Swan

Swan

There’s a rumor that the swan used to be an ugly duckling. Is the lovely curvature of its neck the work of plastic surgeons? Or is it the work of the Original Plastic Surgeon, God Almighty? Do you have a minute to talk about our Lord and Savior? No? Well would you like to hear about the swan’s mating habits?

The swan mates for life, with only one exception: if it doesn’t.

Special powers

It has a long neck for reaching for the choicest morsels of soggy bread.

Weaknesses

It has a long neck, perfect for beheading in a rage when your choicest morsels of soggy bread have just been stolen.

Number of legs

Two.

What is its astrological sign?

Gamora.

Varieties

There are five main swans. They are…

  • the tundra swan (the quiet one)

  • the trumpeter swan (the obsessive musical one[1])

  • the mute swan (the other quiet one)

  • the black swan (the bad boy)

  • the whooper swan (cool but rude)

wheee

Babies get to ride it. Just one more reason to be jealous of babies.

What if it fought a bear?

It is said that the swan, before it dies, will sing for the first and last time. When the swan song is heard, the bear will come.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

When you need it, the swan will be there for you. Forever. Unless it isn’t.

 

 

6/10

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Goat

Goat

By the Chinese zodiac, 2015 is the Year of the Sheep/Goat/Ram – proof that people dumb enough to believe in astrology don’t understand what different animals are. 2015 is gonna be a big year. I have a number of Bold Predictions for 2015, which I would like to list now:

  • We’ll hit all 12 months again, in – and here’s the spooky part – the exact same order as last year.

  • Sisqo will sing “Toyotathon-th-thon-thon-thon.”

  • The new Helen Thomas (beloved stalwart White House press conference presence) will be a man named BuzzgrindTommy.

  • Pink Floyd will finally get the Doors/Eagles style backlash it has delayed for years through a soon-to-expire contract with Satan.

  • The truth about Area 51 (that it is the Seventh Flag of Six Flags) will be revealed.

  • Justin Timberlake will announce, “I brought sexy back and if you aren’t more responsible with it, I’ll take it away again.”

  • A popular news website will publish an editorial positing that “maybe the Kennedys should have cameled less.”

  • A beloved actor who is now almost 90 years old will die.

  • Jeff Dunham will become a martyr for many free speech advocates when he is hospitalized with stab wounds after his new puppet “Satchmo” comes to life.

  • Arbor Day will be fraught with controversy in light of public sentiment turning against trees. A comparably themed day called Freedom Shrub Day will be celebrated.

  • A brave new serialized drama will explore the murder of one woman, and how it affects a grumpy dude, over the course of a short season.
  • 2015 will be Ryan Lewis’s year to shine.

  • The 2016 U.S. Presidential race will heat up when Joe Biden promises “a stunt-ready dirtbike in every garage,” Jeb Bush takes a meeting with a major campaign supporter who turns out to be a sentient tire fire, Mitt Romney calls a taco “one of those delightful spicened rollers,” and Hillary Clinton takes to wearing a black cloak she claims helps her harness “the Darkforce.”

  • The molemen will not reveal themselves fully to land-dwellers, but they will make their presence felt subtly. Pay close attention to the signs.

  • Seahawks over Packers, by just a little.

  • The Grammys will be cohosted by LL Cool J from NCIS: Los Angeles and Yass Cat from the phone application Vine.

  • North Dakota will be canceled due to lack of interest.

This is what happens when you let the goat have a whole year.

Special powers

Not that I dislike the goat, necessarily. It has many things going for it. It produces milk useful to humans. It’s equipped with horns for defense. It can double jump, allowing it to reach the highest platforms on most stages.

I should also note that the goat is a wuminant – its stomach has 36 chambers.

Weaknesses

It will eat anything, even boots or old tin cans, and it doesn’t even put sriracha or something on there first.

The goat’s eyes are unnatural nightmare portals.

aaahhhh

The goat has on several occasions served as the bridge that allowed real evil into our world. We think it’s unintentional.

get killing

There’s some circumstantial evidence that it’s not.

Number of legs

Four.

Number of men it respects

The goat only respects one man.

Police warned angry goat on roof 'only respects one man'

What if it fought a bear?

Step one of fighting the bear is respecting the bear’s ability. That is a step the goat will fail.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

Assuming the goat isn’t actually a willing servant of the demonic, it’s perhaps the most charmingly goofy source of cheese that exists. That’s the kind of comfort we’re going to need to make it through the Year of the Goat. A conditional…

 

 

8.5/10

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Rattlesnake

Rattlesnake

Rattlesnakes! The word alone fills most people with fear and anxiety, because they have no experience in dealing with snakes.”

So says the San Diego Zoo website, and I agree. Give it a try! Run wildly into the conference room at your job and scream “Rattlesnakes!” People will be… rattled.[1] That’s because they know nothing about dealing with snakes so they don’t know that the word itself does not carry a magical power. This might not work if you are employed at the snake store.

Meanwhile, if you’re employed at the Piggly Wiggly, Food Lion, or Winn-Dixie, you have a very good chance of meeting the rattlesnake as it rotates indecisively among all three for its grocery needs. Asked to explain its behavior, the rattlesnake drawls, “This ‘conomy won’t ever make a fool out of an Alabama lieutenant.” (See Notable accomplishments)

Special powers

The rattlesnake is venomous. That’s pretty common for a snake. Less common is the rattle at the end of its tail for which it is named. The rattlesnake uses it to warn others away and to lay down sick beats.

Also, it can see your heat signature like a dang Predator.

See like a Predator

But without the predilection for murdering future governors.

Weaknesses

The rattlesnake does not employ constricting in its killing, nor in its personal life. It is not a hugger.

It gasps “Lord almighty it’s Spook’ums” every time it sees the Scream mask.

Jeepers.

Jeepers.

Number of legs

No.

Notable accomplishments

The rattlesnake has been honored with the title of Alabama lieutenant – a sort of off-brand Kentucky colonel. The position’s duties include wearing a seersucker suit, drinking juleps, and keeping the secret of Boggy Cove. The rattlesnake innovated what it calls the tequila julep, a cocktail which is several ingredients more complicated than it sounds. The International Bartenders Association condemned the drink as criminal.

In high school, the rattlesnake was voted Most Likely To Be Run Over By An ATV He Or She Is Driving On Four Separate Occasions. This prognostication proved false for two reasons. Firstly, this has only happened twice to the rattlesnake; in its third ATV accident, it could not be called the driver. Secondly, one of the rattlesnake’s classmates surpassed it, having run over himself with an ATV six times.

The rattlesnake is a beloved referee/emcee in a local independent wrestling organization. It holds the high score in Beer Beer, a variant of Beer Pong that replaces the pong elements with more beer.

What if it fought a bear?

The rattlesnake has seen the Power Team perform two dozen times, so it’s picked up some moves.

Is it noble?

Yes.

Final rating

The rattlesnake is just a good ol’ boy. Never meaning no harm. Giving a fair warning before it engages in its combat dance. I do advise against going drinking with it.

 

 

7.5/10

 

Programming Note: Rate Every Animal will take a couple weeks off for the holidays. Please join us when we return in 2015.

 

 

[1]Sunglasses spontaneously appeared on my face as I wrote this.

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Pony

Pony

When a horse refuses to grow up, it becomes a pony. There are many reasons this could happen, including societal pressures, the influence of Peter Pan, or a trainer pressing B during the evolution animation.

Whatever the case, the pony has its own vibe, and is worth discussing on its own merits and failings. For example, the horse has extremely poor instincts when it comes to clothing choices.

a horse in space clothing

“I think I look fine,” it said like an idiot.

By contrast, the pony is a real fashion plate.

Shetland ponies in sweaters

They look good and you know it.

As a special treat for our readers, I now turn it over to the pony for some timely fashion tips:

“Thank you, human Nathan.

Readers, it is almost winter. All fall, the trend has been earth tones and wind tones. The new colors of the season are green and ultraviolet. Be sure to also wear patterns for the winter: polka dots will let heat escape. Trap it in with the interlocking squares of a plaid. That’s not just fashion; that’s science. Trust me. I’m the pony.”

Special powers

Pound for pound, the Shetland pony is stronger than any horse, or as it puts it, “PONY STRONGEST THERE IS! PONY SMASH!”

It no longer ages.

Weaknesses

The pony is constantly beset by its rival in the fashion world, the Japanese macaque. Try as the pony might, it cannot escape that monkey.

remember the internet monkey?

It looks good and you know it.

Its eternal youth means it is eternally kind of snotty.

Number of legs

Four.

Online presence

The pony has exactly one Yelp review, of a music venue. It reads, in its entirety, “It was just a bunch of human men with instruments, not a train at all. I give this concert zero stars.”

Celebrity birthdays

The pony shares a birthday with…

  • Tom Hanks, who loves to play Tom Hands, a game of his own design

  • ALF, which is not really his name, but an acronym short for Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms

  • Benedict Arnold, a blacksmith who had to explain no, he’s not that one so many, many times.

Shots fired at the Wikipedia page for Shetland pony

“American Shetland Ponies are more refined than the traditional Shetland.”

You know where you are right now, traditional Shetland? You’re on blast, and some American Shetland-loving Wiki user just put you there.

What if it fought a bear?

The bear has no chance against the pony’s strength and low center of gravity.

Is it noble?

Yes.

Final rating

No matter what year it is, the forever-young pony hasn’t heard of the good music thing you like from several years ago. This, as we all know, is the worst sin anyone can commit. But dang if it doesn’t look good.

pony in human shoes

Accessorize sparingly, but boldly.

 

 

 

7/10

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Goose barnacle

Goose barnacle

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. There are two sides to every coin.[1] For every Gallant, a Goofus. For every butterfly, a moth. Most anyone will agree that the barnacle goose and the goose barnacle have just such a yin-yang relationship. Where no consensus can be reached is the question of which is yinnier and which is more of a yang.

barnacle goose

goose barnacle

You be the judge.

Special powers

I’ve looked at a considerable number of pictures and diagrams of the goose barnacle and I still don’t fully understand how its crazy body is set up. To put a positive spin on it, we could say it has the advantage of surprise.

Weaknesses

We know that the barnacle goose is literally unkillable, so we can infer that the goose barnacle is very much mortal.

Number of legs

Who knows, man.

What’s its astrological sign?

Aloysius.

What if it fought a bear?

The bear is big enough, the goose barnacle would probably just try to stick to its side.

Is it noble?

Moderately.

Final rating

I can make neither heads nor tails of the goose barnacle. I’m not sure it has either of those things.

One diagram pointed out its penis and I haven't slept since.

One diagram pointed out its penis and I haven’t slept since.

 

 

5/10

 

 

 

 

[1]Seriously! Turn any coin over if you don’t believe me. I’ll wait.

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Monitor lizard

Monitor lizard

There is one inescapable question we must ask ourselves about the monitor lizard.

What is it here to monitor?

WHO SENT YOU

Who sent you?
(Source http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-769606p1.html)

Special powers

It is watching. Always watching. Its motives are unknown. Is it, like Uatu, sworn not to intervene? Is it a spy, sent in advance of a malevolent force to perform reconnaissance? Is it an agent of Santa Claus?

Sometimes, in addition to watching, it will reproduce asexually.

Weaknesses

The monitor lizard complains like an old man, but it uses insufficiently old references. These are quotes it has been heard to say:

  • “In my day, our smartphones only had 2 Gs and we liked it.”

  • “I’m tired of all these Arian Grandos and Izzy Arugulas. Whatever happened to real music, like Ke$ha?”

  • “Kids nowadays don’t know how good they’ve got it. Used to be you wanted to edit a Vine, you had to do it outside the program. Now it’s all in-app.”

  • “Once upon a time, NBC was on top of the world, you know. My Name Is Earl, Celebrity Apprentice, Lipstick Jungle… They had it all.”

  • “It’s disgusting how the art of communication has been lost. AIM chats. Those were our snapchats.”

  • “I can’t go to these loud modern movies, all destroyed cities and Hans Zimmer music. It used to be, Hollywood made intelligent, restrained films, like Reindeer Games.”

  • “Now I gotta learn how to deal with Lollipop? I was just getting used to Jelly Bean!”

Number of legs

Four.

Status of tongue

Forked.

Notable relatives

It is the komodo dragon‘s kin.

What if it fought a bear?

The bear has sworn to tear out the monitor lizard’s eyes as a message. To whom and why, it will not divulge. The bear knows something.

Is it noble?

I wish I knew.

Final rating

I don’t know your game, monitor lizard. I know you’re a mild pain to be around, but I can’t help but wonder if all that kvetching isn’t an act to disguise your true purpose. I’ll crack you yet. Until I do, you remain an enigma. Say hi to the komodo dragon at Thanksgiving for me.

 

 

 

5/10

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Raccoon dog

Raccoon dog

The raccoon dog, a.k.a. the tanuki, used to be bad. It was a malevolent force, a trickster spirit with cruel aims. Since those days, it’s gone straight – or at least somewhat. It’s still an impish prankster, but a lovable, mostly harmless one.

raccoon dog

Aww, you scamp.

Special powers

The raccoon dog has a beautiful, soft coat of fur. In fact, mankind hunts the raccoon dog for its fur, on account of we are nature’s ultimate prick. It is a superb musician; its instrument of choice is its own belly as a drum. As one can guess by this choice, its talents are more in the area of technical skill than satisfying songwriting.

Also, it is a shape-shifter.

Weaknesses

The raccoon dog has an enormous scrotum. Most any person who has a scrotum will tell you it is a very fragile weak spot. The raccoon dog may as well paint a big target on its crotch while it’s at it. It’s like that classic schoolyard song goes: “Tan-tan-tanuki no kintama wa, kaze mo nai no ni, bura bura.”[1]

It gets seasick.

Number of legs

Four.

Drink of choice

Sake.

Celebrity birthdays

The raccoon dog shares a birthday with…

  • Gerard Butler, whose real name is Gerald Butrer.

  • Kim Jong-Un, who has his basketball number shaved into the back of his head every month.

  • Judah Friedlander, who, for the credits in every episode of 30 Rock, performed his famous point live.

bom! bom! bom bom-bom-bom bom! bom!

He nailed it every time.

What if it fought a bear?

The raccoon dog would befriend the bear and get it drunk. We’re looking at arm-in-arm “Piano Man” singing within three hours.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

The raccoon dog is friendly, fluffy, and jolly. As long as you train yourself to avoid staring it directly in the scrotum, it’s a good time. At least until you remember you have work in the morning.

 

 

9/10

 

 

 

[1]“Tanuki’s balls, there isn’t any wind but they still go swing, swing, swing.” It’s as true today as it was then.

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Ladybug

Ladybug

There are more apps than ever before. If you don’t believe me, just check the nearest mobile “smart” telephone. What do you see? You guessed it – apps.

These programs do not appear fully formed out of nothing. Someone has to develop them, and in the case of several apps, that someone is the ladybug.

Pictured here soaring over Silicon Valley

Pictured here soaring over Silicon Valley

The ladybug has been fully or partially responsible for…

  • Qarma

  • fone

  • Blokkr

  • CanItMelt?

  • mega

  • picpop

  • Sleestak

  • AccountClam

  • Grundlr

  • Xzibit

  • MeltIt!

  • KAZOW

  • lyme

  • Vend.Me

  • SandyCab

  • Flurnge

  • Plumly

  • zerocool

  • AcidBurn

  • phazify

  • Sumppd

  • Simulvine

  • shovl

  • ShouldIHaveMeltedIt?

  • Linxxxx

The ladybug is insufferable to talk to.

Special powers

In addition to its programming expertise and start-up experience, the ladybug has nine lives and sensitive whiskers.

Weaknesses

If you touch the ladybug, you will find that it stinks horribly.

Number of legs

Six.

A note on categorization

Entomologists prefer to call the ladybug the ladybird beetle, because it is not a true bug, but it is a true bird and as many as three times a lady.

The Kingfisher Illustrated Encyclopedia of Animals Says

“One larva will eat several hundred aphids during its three week development.”

The ladybug is a mass-murderer.

What does Mark Trail think of it?

He finds it useful. For now.

He finds it useful. For now.

What if it fought a bear?

A bear is not an aphid, so it is fine.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

Don’t talk to the ladybug. It thinks it’s going to save the world by charging money for weird things. And it stinks. And it hangs out in your house uninvited in the winter.

 

 

3/10

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Elephant

Elephant

You forgot to vote this week. Yeah, that was this week. You missed out on a totally free sticker. The elephant is disappointed in you.

So it says

It’s not mad.

The elephant is highly invested in the political process. Political cartoonists and logo designers have used it as a symbol of the United States Republican Party, but its actual views are much more diverse. It has cycled through a number of third parties in search of one that fully captures its unique opinions. To this end, it has been involved in the Bull Moose Party, the Hen Buffalo Party, the Brunch Party, the Plutocrats, the Aristocats, M.O.P., #TeamBreezy, the Baseball Furies, a group of hobos led by Brother Soupcon, and the Super Sweet Sixteen Party. It is currently registered as an Independent.

Special powers

Every study about the elephant is about its gentle artist’s soul and how emotionally supportive it is. The elephant went to therapy and learned to paint, so now it thinks it knows everything about relationships. Do not ask the elephant for advice. It might be pretty good, but it’s not worth the tone.

The elephant has a trunk capable of taking in and spraying out water. It can also be used to grab things and play pranks on Kate Capshaw or anyone within one standard deviation of Kate Capshaw.

The elephant has tusks, which are oversized incisor teeth, and don’t you feel less comfortable about them now?

It can sleep standing up or lying down, so it’s got options.

it can be hard to get comfortable

Maybe too many options.

Weaknesses

The elephant is susceptible to floppy trunk syndrome, one of the most adorably named forms of paralysis of all time.

Number of legs

Four

Other ratings of the elephant

“The elephant SAYS it’s working for regular pachyderms. But the TRUTH is it’s in the INCREDIBLY LARGE POCKET of BIG PEANUT.” – anti-elephant attack ad, paid for by a series of nested shell corporations

“Loser loser, chicken dinner. The elephant is both ON the hook and ON the chain.” – Guy Fieri

“Is the elephant good? Yes! But is it elite? Without a championship on its resume, I don’t think I can say it is.” – Jay Bilas

“The female has a well-developed clitoris at up to 40 cm (16 in).” – Wikipedia

What’s its astrological sign?

Cappadonna.

Military usage

The elephant was used for wars because it was “nature’s tank, which is a comparison we will understand once the tank is invented.”

What if it fought a bear?

Well, have you ever heard a song called “War Bear?” Would you like to? Here’s my demo tape. But to answer the question at hand, elephant wins.

Is it noble?

Yes.

Final rating

The elephant may not have found a political identity that fits it yet, but there’s no need to put its stances in a box. What would you even do with the box once you had it? Commit an Operation Dumbo Drop? No one wants that. What we should want is to spend some time in the company of the sweet-natured elephant.

It kind of is in the pocket of Big Peanut though.

 

 

8/10

Thanks for coming

Bye now!

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