Category Archives: ignoble

Blue jay

Blue jay

The crow family is not typically known for its good looks or outgoing nature, but today’s featured animal is something of a blue sheep in those regards. It’s the blue jay, and it’s both those things despite its familial ties.

Special powers

The blue jay has the gift of gab. The Kingfisher Illustrated Encyclopedia of Animals uncharitably describes this by saying “The colorful but elusive jay is best known for its harsh, scraping call.”

It also has high-level television decision-making power. Along with its fellow executives, it has approved numerous new series to air in the 2015-16 season, as announced this week at “upfronts.”[1] These include…

Chicago Animal Control: From superstar producer Dick Wolf comes the latest tale of the men and women who keep the Windiest City safe. This team specializes in what can happen when our furry friends… become furry foes. From Wolf Films.

The Unit: Declassified: All your favorite heroes from the original run of The Unit are back in this special eventized limited edition foil-packaged series! Donald Palmsbert! Bill Ryan! Swan McTavish! Cara Burpentallh! Tex Negroni! Fott Scully! When a threat from their past infiltrates the highest levels of the government, only The Unit can be trusted to save the nation. From MiddKid Productions.

Pop Sensation: Contestants try desperately to win big prizes by popping balloons in several fast-paced party games, as hosted by Mr. T. From Millennium Squared Studios.

Thin-Skinned: Dr. Blake Berger (Adrian Pasdar) is one of the most talented dermatologists in the world. Ironically, the one skin the perpetually offended doctor can’t strengthen is his own. From Weebletone Signature.

Great Old One: This time, it’s Cthulhu who will start taking calls when the ancient water god comes up from the deep and helps Detective Joanna Thurston (Amber Stevens West) catch criminals. The mystery thickens when bodies start turning up related to a cult worshiping the Elder Things. From FlanderWest Studios.

Untitled Apparently Kid Project: A Pennsylvania child (Apparently Kid) strikes it rich at a carnival game and uses his newfound millionaire status to fund a documentary crew to follow his daily adventures. Apparently, it’s a wild ride! From Bruntwad Productions.

Oh Henry!: A sitcom about a man who just can’t stop overthinking things, and his friends who are at different points in their lives. Charles Shaughnessy, Larisa Oleynick and ALF star. From Cundleswick Studios.

Weaknesses

The blue jay experiences unironic emotion when hearing that Wiz Khalifa song from Furious 7.

It never uses crosswalks.

It has a neckbeard:

The sideburns are really something too.

The sideburns are really something too.

Number of legs

Two, plus wings.

Do I own a Beanie Baby of it?

Yes.

Unfortunate duties

Due to an ill-advised bet it made many years ago, the blue jay has to go every Friday to Hell to take sticks to the Devil. What does Satan do with sticks anyway?

Nothing good, we can presume.

Nothing good, we can presume.

What if it fought a bear?

It did try to fight a bear. The blue jay was so aggressive, the bear got freaked out and assumed against all evidence that the blue jay must know something about its fighting prowess that the bear didn’t, so it backed down. Score one for the blue jay.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

With the blue jay’s colors, it is probably my all-time number one favorite bird to look at. But those shows don’t look very good.

 

 

9.5/10

 

 

 

[1]This is a time when the networks are very “upfront” with everyone about how much they love Matthew Perry and Kyle Bornheimer.

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Barreleye

Barreleye

With most other animals, barrel-shaped eyes with an upward-facing default setting would be the weirdest thing about them. Not so for the barreleye. The barreleye does have those eyes, but it keeps them in a straight up see-through head.

It's not any happier about this than we are.

It’s not any happier about this than we are.

Special powers

The barreleye can see above itself very well. It loves the first row of the movie theatre.

Weaknesses

It’s always borrowing things from the siphonophores and not returning them. It has an excuse every time, but at a certain point, the problem is the barreleye’s.

It’s got no teeth.

Number of legs

None. Unless they’re just invisible. This requires further investigation. Uhhh incomplete.

Aliases

Spook fish, glass-head, ghostface swimmah, hombre.

What if it fought a bear?

There’s a pretty major weakness specifically highlighted on the barreleye.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

You’re an unreliable thief, barreleye. I see right through you. Sorry for the choice of words, but you know what I mean, weirdo.

 

 

3/10

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Praying mantis

Praying mantis

As one might guess, the praying mantis is very religious. Exactly what old god it prostrates itself before is known only to itself and to its victims when it whispers this secret just before biting their head off.

Special powers

The praying mantis is an expert in camouflage and cleanliness.

found you

I was lucky to find it and take this picture.

It is also very, very good at murder.

Weaknesses

The mantis is a Level 150 Nexus Paladin in its religion. That sounds impressive[1] until you hear that some of its peers at church are nearly Level 300. Don’t ask the mantis about it, though. Even hearing your question will taint the mantis’s aura with negativitatrons.

Number of legs

Six.

Fierceness factor

High.

Mating rituals

The female is larger than the male. It often starts eating the male immediately following coitus, as is its religious right. It is a voracious user of Tinder.

What’s its astrological sign?

Alibi. This is folded into its own belief set – how I don’t pretend to know.

What if it fought a bear?

It is a bug, and thus squashable.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

The mantis doesn’t look so much like a real creature as it does concept art for a somewhat implausible movie alien. That’s pretty cool, if a little scary. Fortunately any fright is mitigated knowing that (a) it is far too small to bite my head off, and (b) we’re Facebook friends so I won’t come up on its Tinder.

That secretive religious stuff and all the murdering and cannibalism, though. That’s sketchy as all get out.

 

 

4.5/10

 

 

 

[1]If that’s the right word.

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Tetra

Tetra

As of this online web blog post, we are only a little more than a week away from Opening Day of the major league baseball season, the day when the commissioner opens up a baseball to find out what’s in there.[1] No one is more excited for baseball to begin than the tetra.

Look how big its smile is.

Look how big its smile is.

The tetra, you see, is a diehard baseball fan. It watches its favorite team play about 500 games a year, which is well over two thirds of a season! It can name the family lineage of Mr. Met going back six generations. It has a sizable collection of baseball cards, including…

    • Honus Wagner
    • Studs Bancker
    • Topsy Hartsel
    • Buddy Sachs
    • Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown
    • Boog Powell
    • Drum Duggan
    • Barclay Charles
    • Matt Stanchion
    • Knute Rockford
    • Bernie Titcomb
    • Slim Hardaway (a private investigator)
    • Harvey Kootz
    • Doc Abbey
    • Red Blackwell
    • Hamilton Leithauser
    • Chip Dipson
    • Dip Dobson
    • Bing Gardner
    • Cole Harbor Jr.
    • Fritz Ganon
    • Troy Brownfield
    • Phil Jimenez
    • Big Jim McLain
    • Slaw Johansson
    • Tom Ziljac
    • Chud Przlkzxby
    • Riggs Briggs
    • Leon J. Panetta
    • Flim Flammerman (a flim-flam man)
    • Slick Willie Gossett
    • Unus the Untouchabl
    • Gil Gilchrist
    • Billy Pope
    • Torg Arbuckle
    • Pudge Barrett
    • Sheen Splitcher
    • Jocko Blurst
    • Oyster Burns
    • Trent Hernandez
    • Keith Sweat
    • A six-foot party sub wearing a baseball cap
    • Buttercup Dickerson
    • Flip Chuntwad
    • Yutz Ploopie
    • Grim Fandango
    • Ngao Mbitu Lee
    • Jonah Beauregard
    • Jimmy Wolf
    • Ham Hamm
    • Bud Sexmagick
    • Walton Goggins
    • Cappy Fulmer
    • Stoddard
    • Leonard Snart
    • Bumpus Gunkle
    • Cradley Booper
    • Dread Forrestor The Tree Lord
    • Glenn John
    • Yahoo Sirius XM
    • Ned Geggus
    • Moses Farrell
    • Horace Hornswaggler
    • Dewey Defeatstruman
    • Jack Krampus
    • Muddy Samson
    • Dick Peppers
    • Ponyboy Dunn
    • Alabama (the band)
    • Otto Van Buxley
    • Spitwad Mullitzer
    • Oaky Pinewood
    • Ollie-Ollie-Oxenfree Smith
    • Fatty Mack
    • Charlie Schlong
    • The Baseball Furies
    • Scoops Turkel
    • Percy Childs
    • Denethor Driscoll
    • Beagle Bagley
    • Vic Wittels
    • Finn Berkelbach
    • Spuds MacKenzie
    • Dick Hunt
    • The Duke Ellington of Kicking Sand
    • Fivel Ladew
    • Pop Carroll
    • Pappy Figgemeier
    • Dad Yuengling
    • Pitch-A-Tron
    • Tug Mazzetti
    • Deacon Flick
    • Erve Scheffler
    • Air Bud

…As well as many other cards, too many[2] to list.

Special powers

The tetra is exceedingly patient.

Weaknesses

The tetra thinks its reflection is another fish. Way to go, idiot.

Number of legs

No.

Favorite video game

NHL: Eastside Hockey Manager 2007. I know; it’s inexplicable.

What if it fought a bear?

The tetra doesn’t stand a chance. The bear can just stop buying fish food.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

I should probably mention the tetra is a big-time embezzler. You can get way cooler fish for your aquarium who won’t abuse your trust for financial gain.

 

 

2/10

 

 

 

 

[1]Usually it’s more baseball, but if the commissioner sees his shadow, there may be six more weeks of spring training.

[2]Seven.

Programming note: Rate Every Animal will be on hiatus for a week or two. Hope to see you soon.

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Terror bird

Terror bird

It is more properly known as the phorusrhacid, but those who met it[1] knew it by another name: terror bird.

artist's interpretation

Its mom called it Elroy (she always preferred its middle name).

Special powers

The terror bird walked South America millions of years ago on big ol’ talons. It stood two or three meters tall, making it a very big boy. It would grab prey in its huge beak and smash it against the ground until it would stop moving. This technique is practiced today by the roadrunner[2] and Rob Lowe.

This is the terror bird's skull next to some keys. Have fun thinking about how big this thing was!

This is the terror bird’s skull next to some keys. Have fun thinking about how big this thing was!

Oh, and also it instilled terror in its foes with its demonic powers it learned from a correspondence course.

Weaknesses

It couldn’t fly.

It also couldn’t look in a mirror without accidentally terrifying itself, so its wigs were frequently askew.

Number of legs

Two.

Who terrifies the terror bird?

I don’t know, God I guess.

Fierceness factor

100%.

Reason for extinction

Stunted too hard on a crotch rocket.

What if it fought a bear?

The bear has not often known fear, but the terror bird could fix that.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

The terror bird lives up to its name just on pure physicality, before you factor in the dark arts. It just had terrible decision-making.

 

8.5/10

 

 

 

[1]And those who don’t have a trophy room dedicated to commemorating their spelling bee triumphs.

[2]“Meep meep” translates roughly to “My thirst for blood shall soon be slaked.”

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Ouroboros

And that’s why I give the ouroboros a rating of…

 

2.5/10

 

 

[1]He recorded a song with the same title shortly after.

 

Ouroboros

“Will it go round in circles?”

Billy Preston asked that question in 1971.[1] The answer: yes. The subject: the ouroboros.

derp

Look at this dingus.

Other questions remain. For example, will it fly high like a bird up in the sky? Undetermined.

Special powers

The ouroboros can reach all the way around to put its own tail in its mouth. That’s actually, like, its whole thing. It is constantly devouring its own dumb body, like an idiot. A hungry, hungry idiot.

Weaknesses

The local kids are always playing hoop and stick with it.

It is not agreed whether the ouroboros is a dragon or snake or very long dog, but if it is a dragon, it would only roast its own tail with fire.

It repeats the same mistakes over and over again.

Number of legs

Debatable. Some say four, others zero. When asked directly, the ouroboros is coy.

Celebrity birthdays

The ouroboros shares a birthday with…

  • He Hate Me, of XFL fame

  • Al Gore, of Futurama fame

  • Kendall Jenner, of fame

What if it fought a bear?

It can’t fight the bear until it stops fighting itself, you know what I mean?

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

Its whole thing is eating its own dang tail. That’s not much of a thing. The pro of being flexible does not counterbalance the con of self-destruction.

And that’s why I give the ouroboros a rating of…

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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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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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