Tag Archives: musical ambition

Mudskipper

Mudskipper

The mudskipper rejects your preconceived notions. It won’t fit in your neat little boxes. Fish live in the water, you say? Screw your labels; I won’t do what you tell me, says the mudskipper. The mudskipper is straight up amphibious.

A creature of both water and earth. Ponder the duality of mudskipper. (Photo by K. Leonard)

A creature of both water and earth. Ponder the duality of mudskipper. (Photo by K. Leonard)

Special powers

Seriously, the mudskipper is a fish that can get up on land and walk around on its pectoral fins and breathe. It stores water in its gill chambers, trusty waterskin, and an adorably small flask so as to be both hydrated and aerated for its jaunts to the surface.

It puts the principles of good home decoration into practice in its burrow designs.

The mudskipper’s eyes give it an incredible field of vision – nearly 360 degrees. Don’t even try to do the thing where you tap it on the wrong shoulder. It sees what you’re up to. It’s seen all your tricks…

Weaknesses

…It’s seen perhaps too much.

The mudskipper made a Neopolitan pizza with non-standard mozzarella and was convicted of pizza fraud.

It is extremely bad at singing karaoke and doesn’t know it.

“UNDAH PRESSURE!”

“DON’T GO BREAKIN’ MY HEART!”

Number of legs

None, technically. But two, kind of.

Celebrity birthdays

The mudskipper shares a birthday with…

  • O. Henry, the writer who revealed on his deathbed that the O in his name stands for “Original Twilight Zone.”[1]

  • Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, hero airline pilot who secretly hates birds with every fiber of his being. “Y’ see this?” he screams every time he takes off. “You’re not better than me, you flapping sky garbage!”

  • Emperor Norton, the United States’ only emperor.

What if it fought a bear?

The mudskipper would refuse to fight.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

I’ve forgiven the mudskipper for its cheese crime. I gotta take my hat off to it for breaking down boundaries for fish. It’s a true pioneer and it doesn’t care how silly it looks in the process. Skip on, mudskipper

 

 

9/10

 

 

 

 

[1]What a twist!

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Boll weevil

Boll weevil

The leaf-rolling weevil isn’t the only creative mind in the weevil family. While it writes for television and rolls leaves, the boll weevil specializes in ghostwriting lyrics for popular musicians and eating cotton.

Special powers

It’s real good at eating cotton.

boll weevil

Too good, some say.

There’s also the songwriting thing. It has contributed lines to many famous artists.

Drake:

“I watch Thundercats and think of you.
Think of you
Think of you
‘Cause you look like Cheetarah an’ you cheat wit’ Ira.
I see you driving in that Buick Lucerne.
You’re too good for a car with only a three-power-circle J.D. Power rating, girl.
I hope you know it.”

Modest Mouse:

Well we JUMped uUP O-ver the moOOn. And cauught our owwn tAIl.
And kept it in a CAUFfin. Of our OWN de-SIGN.
BUT ALL THESE JUNKYARD DOGS ARE SINKIN
A GREAT BIG CRAB STOLE ALL OUR JOB
WELLLLLL WE NEVER MET THE PEEEOPLE THAT WE WERE
IF YOU’RE CALLIN’ THAT A TROPHY THEN I’LL EAT A SACK OF SHIT
AHAHAHA.
AHAHAHA?”

The Hold Steady:

“She used to party on drugs that she bought from Jimmy and Shakey.
She got drunk and passed out; now everything’s aching.
Some townies came by in an ATV and offered ’em rides.
Jim said you can almost see heaven if you turn on the brights.”

Lil Wayne:

“Real Gs move in silence like lasagna.”

(The Gs refer to “Garfields.” This was a subtle jab at Tiny Wayne, a rapper looking to usurp Lil’, whose favorite comic character is Nermal.[1] Tiny Wayne quickly passed out of public consciousness as people could only barely hear his wee little voice.)

Jimmy Buffett:

(The boll weevil collaborated with Jimmy Buffett on the songs “Two Sandals and a Guitar,” “Pineapples on Mosquito Gulf,” “Beach Bumming,” “Heart of a Pirate, Soul of a Poet,” “Sunshine Soup,” “The Captain’s Daiquiri,” “Papaya in San Juan,” “I Wanna Dance With The Equator,” “Put A Lime In It,” and “Boat Drinks.”)

Weaknesses

Pesticide and patricide.

Number of legs

Six.

Circumstances of birth

The boll weevil is born inside a cottonball and eats its way out, just like that dream I had.

Does it have a monument named after it?

There's the plaque

Yes.

Related sports teams

The University of Arkansas at Monticello plays sports under the name of the boll weevil, and aren’t you jealous?

What if it fought a bear?

Little known fact, the bear is made of a kind of strong cotton and the boll weevil will tear that thing up.

Is it noble?

Moderately.

Final rating

The boll weevil has accomplished a lot for a little bug. It’s actually kind of too bad its son will kill it.

 

 

6.5/10

 

 

 

[1]“Noooo,” Tiny Wayne is often heard to say as he opens the newspaper, “not Abu Dhabi again. You deserve a thousand Mondays, you cruel beast.”

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Lovebird

Lovebird

The lovebird and I have a lot in common. Mate for life? Check? Love to nuzzle beaks? Check. Enjoy the works of Sir Conan Arthur Doyle? Check. Beautiful plumage? Check.

Special powers

The lovebird is one of the greatest flautists of all time. It hides a micro-flute in its throat and pretends it’s just a natural singing voice, but it’s totally a micro-flute.

It mates for life.

It's not shallow about looks.

It’s not shallow about looks.

Weaknesses

It mates for life, so it has to listen to the irritating way its partner eats seeds until the day it dies.

The lovebird over-microwaves popcorn every time.

Number of legs

Two.

Nemeses

The lovebird is at constant word with the wrathbird, the fearbird and all the other negative emotionbirds.

What if it fought a bear?

The power of love is a curious thing. Make one bear weep, make another bear sing.

Is it noble?

Yes.

Final rating

Oh, lovebird. Why won’t you admit to your incredible musical ability? We want to celebrate you. But you don’t care. You’re sooooo happy.

What do you have that I don't? Wings and world-class talent? That's probably it.

What do you have that I don’t? Wings and world-class talent? That’s probably it.

 

 

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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Flea

Flea

Not all blood-sucking parasites who feature in circuses are clowns. Some are the flea.

flea in profile by Robert Hooke

“Am I a clown to you?”

The flea circus is the premier live show for insects, by insects. Cirque du Soleil transitioned to human entertainment when it couldn’t hack it in the flea circus’s shadow. Acts include Teddy the Ant with a Mane, The Amazing Web Line Dancers, Cuonzo the Tattooed Moth[1], Bug Gallagher, The Living Ball, The Stilt Bug, Aldus the Larger-Than-Normal Mite, and The Literally Flying Pelluccis. The goliath beetle got its start in the flea circus lifting extremely heavy things like cup lids and coins.

Special powers

The flea’s incredible feat is leaping high into the air. Well, high in relation to how small it is. It can not jump higher than me, for example, due to my extreme height advantage. What I’m trying to explain is that the time it beat me in basketball was a fluke.

The flea is also a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It loves California and funking out, not necessarily in that order.

Weaknesses

The flea sucks blood from other creatures in order to survive. It is a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

what the peppermen say

Did you know the famous RHCP logo is an anus? Maybe put a sock on THAT next time, fellas.

Number of legs

Six.

Drink of choice

It craves BLOOOOOOD!

What if it fought a bear?

It has been fighting the bear for years, and the bear has not noticed.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

The flea is a consummate entertainer and skilled bassist. It is also a profoundly obnoxious parasite and it made my hair itch just researching it. Even that means it has personally offended me more than most animals I review. This has nothing to do with it beating me at basketball that time.

 

3/10

 

 

 

[1]Sorry to blow up your spot, Cuonzo, but you’re obviously just a butterfly.

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Ocean sunfish

Ocean sunfish

The sun has a number of avatars in the animal kingdom. The sunbear represents its heat. The sunbird represents its relationship with plants. The sundog represents its light. The sun angel battles moon criminals on its behalf. The sunflower is not an animal. The ocean sunfish represents its mass. It is the heaviest bony fish in the world at about a ton spread over its 13-foot length. Believe it or not, the sun is even bigger – a dozen times bigger, at least – but the point is the ocean sunfish is proportionally like the sun of its particular peer group.

Special powers

It’s humongous.

Though the ocean sunfish performed as a baritone with its college a cappella group, it can sing well in a range from bass all the way to tenor.

Out-of-town gigs were hard.

The ocean sunfish, pictured here with the rest of “Gleequeg.”

Weaknesses

Due to its great size, the ocean sunfish has poor speed and maneuverability.

It has a weird butt.

ocean sunfish doin its thing

Weird.

Number of legs

No.

Known aliases

  • Mola mola
  • Hank
  • _DipBoss23_

Former names of its college a cappella group, Gleequeg

  • Skull and Crosstones
  • N-TUNE
  • The Jolly Rogers
  • Lucky Charmony
  • No Strings
  • Micky Dolenz’ Locker
  • Sweater Boys
  • Gleefaring Vessel
  • Sweater Boyz

What if it fought a bear?

When any agent of the sun is in danger, its comrades will come to its aid. The bear could take one of them, but not all.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

Dip is gross, sunfish. Why do you spend free time talking about it on a message board. That’s not befitting of a representative of our sun, THE GREATEST SUN IN THE UNIVERSE. WOOOO! EARTH! EARTH! EARTH! EARTH!

 

 

5.5/10

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Dwarf pipe snake

Dwarf pipe snake

The dwarf pipe snake is easy to understand. All you have to do is picture the Asian pipe snake, but pretend it doesn’t have a chin groove. You’re almost there, but also…

Actually, forget it. Who can think about the dwarf pipe snake at a time like this? We are in the middle of award season, and it is getting heated. I’m talking about the Globes, the Grammys, the Latin Grammys, the Prussian Grammys, the Venusian MegaGrammys, the PGAs, the DGAs, the SAGs, the J*A*Gs, the People’s Choice Awards, all leading up to the Oscars just a mere seven months from now. There’s a lot to analyze, so let’s take a look first at some animals who are top contenders this year.

Top contenders

As always, the blue whale is a heavy[1] favorite in all the music categories. It should win all manner of Grammys and get ever closer to its goal of filling its bathtub entirely with the things. And it has one big bathtub, friend.

Speaking of music, the drake has a strong possibility of winning Best Rap Song for “Started From The Bottom” about finding a choice piece of bread that sank to the lake floor.

male duck

“You’re a good hen and you know it.”

Everyone is looking to the porcupine to win Pointiest Quills, and not just because the voters are all petrified it will kill someone if it loses. That award genuinely seems tailor-made for it, honestly, especially the part where its name has already been etched into it by the sculptor at quill-point.

Achievement in Noses is the proboscis monkey‘s to lose.

And of course, the tree frog is expected to take home Wackest Living Creature for the ninety-sixth year running.

Dark horse picks

If you’re going to win your office awards pool, you can’t just pick the big names everyone expects to win. You need to select some lower profile animals who have a good shot at pulling off the upset.

Animals like the mule. It doesn’t have the pedigree of some other nominees, but don’t underestimate the appeal of youth and a good personal story. It just might surprise people and knock off an obvious favorite like the dark horse.

black horse

It’s hard to beat.

I freely admit this is a long shot, but if Tim Allen does rush in from nowhere to slam K.K. Barrett from the top rope and win Best Production Design, a category in which he is neither nominated nor eligible, I will win $956 million. I couldn’t afford not to place that bet.

Snubs and flubs

The various bodies that hand out awards this time of year aren’t infallible, I’m afraid. After all, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association was made up by a sixth-grader and has only continued to exist out of momentum. That’s just one example. The others have their own problems[2], and so have fallen into some serious flubs, not to mention snubs as well.

Foremost among these is totally ignoring the cat for its supporting performance in Inside Llewyn Davis. You know how people sometimes say New York City is like its own character? Well, the cat is a million times better in Inside Llewyn Davis than New York is in any movie, though maybe not Barkhad Abdi good. But still, it deserved a nomination.

what an odd couple

Shame on you, Oscar.

Consider next the ridiculous nomination of the bat for Achievement in Fruit-Eating Among Mammals. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not that I think the bat isn’t a world-class fruit-eater. I vote to induct it into the Hall of Fame every year I can. My issue is that as you can tell by its wings, the bat is clearly a bird. Duh-doy.

Speaking of categorization controversy, there has been much talk of the California condor being deemed ineligible in the meat-eating categories because, according to the academy, its meals are derivative of another animal’s kill.

What to watch for

Awards season isn’t all just a list of winners and losers nominees. Much of the excitement[citation needed] comes from the ceremonies themselves. Who will wow on the red carpet? Who will beach themselves on the red carpet and nearly asphyxiate to death? Will someone make a hilarious and timely joke about Kanye West upstaging Taylor Swift five years ago?

The chamois is sure to pull some kind of mysterious stunt to promote its next project.

The whole fashion industry is on the edge of their seats to see the swan‘s wardrobe after last year’s “human” dress that got everyone talking (none of it complimentary). But hey, she felt like a princess, albeit a creepy Thomas Harris nightmare princess. It will be a hard act to follow at any rate.

Keep an eye on the presenters this year. If you look closely, you may find that a full 58% of them forget to read the teleprompter out loud and instead just mouth the words along with it. Thanks to tape delay, these presenters can immediately dub themselves before the East Coast feed even notices.

Final rating

The dwarf pipe snake is boring.

 

2/10

 

 

 

 

 

[1]Both figuratively and literally.

[2]Word is, J.D. Power killed and ate two Associates this year.

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Blue whale

Blue whale

Do you hear that sound? That beautiful sound? It’s the beautiful sound of the largest creature in the world, the blue whale. There are few animals who can equal the blue whale’s musical talents.

blue whale

Do NOT follow this animal at karaoke.

Unlike most underwater music, the blue whale’s songs have been appreciated far and wide.[1] It could make its bed out of platinum records. And let me tell you, its bed is huge. And comfortable, because it’s not actually made of platinum records. It keeps those in a trophy case.

Special powers

Its singing ability, obviously. Its ear for production and songwriting (an ear which it keeps inside rather than protruding ridiculously like most mammals).

Weaknesses

Mostly just gluten, according to it anyway.

Number of legs

N/A

Notable accomplishments

The blue whale’s long career has been incredibly varied. Beyond its accomplished solo career, the blue whale has fronted a handful of bands and served as producer for numerous diverse artists. It was a little embarrassed to be in Band Aid, but it was for a good cause and all, so it doesn’t want to look like a jerk.

When they performed their world-changing set at Woodstock, the blue whale filled in for a missing member of Sha Na Na.

The blue whale’s cover of Batdance set the records for most Grammys received and best record ever listened to.

Its long feud with Pitbull was the underlying subtext of Billy Joel’s diss song The Entertainer, which the blue whale produced.[2]

When country guy Scott Allenson could not fulfill his duties on a live episode of The Voice, the blue whale scatted notes for a national audience until Cee-lo could revive his fellow judge. It was the highest rated episode ever.

The blue whale is the only friend the being designated Buckethead has ever known.

Michael Jackson‘s trademark “shee-hee!” laugh is a flair he first heard the blue whale use. He bought the rights to the giggle from it for a secret price rumored to be around $900,000 (adjusted for inflation).

Wikipedia’s Talk Page Says

“Whales eat fruits and veggies. Digging is the ultimate experience.”

Wikipedia’s Talk Page Also Says

“hahaha this whale is huge and ugly and funky doodle digging is the ultimate experience…lol…”

What if it fought a bear?

Two words: Body slam. Game over.

Is it noble?

Yes.

Final rating

Well, it is huge and ugly and a total funky doodle. But it’s an immensely talented funky doodle. And any enemy of Pitbull is a friend of this blog.

Pitbull, stop it.

He knows what he did.

 

9.5/10

 

 

 

[1]Of course, some biased sources will tell you that everything’s better where it is wetter, but anyone who’s tried to eat potato chips at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico will tell you that’s wrong.

 

[2]Notice lyrics such as “So they cut it down to 305,” a clear reference to “Mr. 305” himself. The song also mentions Pitbull’s practice of performing with his hands deep in his trousers and his gimmicky all-palace tour.

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Gouldian finch

Gouldian finch

The Gouldian finch is sometimes known as the lady Gouldian finch. And yet, it is never known as the gentleman Gouldian finch. Does that seem messed up to you? It kinda does to me.

Special powers

The Gouldian finch, originally hailing from Australia and brightly colored, is obviously highly venomous.

It has a great stage presence, as anyone who has seen its three-bird vaudeville routine can attest. It toured the world with its act, entertaining the old, the young, the restless, the troops, the civilians, and everyone in between.

Gouldian finch trio

Even in still photograph, the comedic chemistry is electric.

Weaknesses

It is small and therefore vulnerable to being completely enveloped by a cartoon cat’s mouth.

Number of legs

Two (also: wings).

Discoverer

The Gouldian finch is so named for its discoverer: Elliott Gould.

elliott gould in m*a*s*h

Pictured here serving his nation in the Korean War.

Your aunt

She has a picture of the Gouldian finch in her home right now, as we speak.[1]

What if it fought a bear?

The bear would cut right through it in one swipe, just like Alexander the Great in the story of the Gouldian knot.

Is it noble?

Moderately.

Final rating

The colors are pretty and all, but it conveniently got the idea after meeting the toucan. I’m not saying it’s definitely a copycat, but it’s very likely a copybird. And that fat stubby beak is in a bad in-between space for me. Just leave it small or go all out, but don’t leave it halfway.

Still, Elliott knows talent when he sees it. And so do I.

 

7/10

 

 

[1]Well, as I write/you read.

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Anaconda

Anaconda

If you’ve ever gone to the grocery store only to discover yet another blood orchid shortage, you’ve been affected by the actions of today’s animal: the anaconda.

The anaconda, you see, is the self-fashioned guardian of the blood orchid.  It has never taken kindly to interlopers shipping it out to big box retailers in massive quantities to overwhelm mom and pop blood orchid shops.

anaconda

The anaconda: Friend to small business.

Special powers

The anaconda is one of the largest snakes on Earth.* And it’s not because of obesity. I’m talking about pure muscle, baby.

That muscle can be used to swim, even though it doesn’t have a single limb to desperately flail, nor a voice with which to scream for help oh no please help not like this, which is how I understand swimming to work.

Weaknesses

The anaconda will never be able to play “Classical Gas” on guitar like it so desperately wants.

Mason Williams

And Mason Williams will never let it forget that.

Because of the way it swallows its prey (hint: “whole”), it frequently has great big bumps in its middle, which can make navigating narrow spots difficult. If you’ve ever seen the anaconda caught halfway into a doggy door with an undigested peccary trapped on the other side, you know what a pathetic sight it is.

Number of legs

Hahaha, be serious.

Computer proficiency

The anaconda is capable in Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, and is branching out to Android and iOS. It invented the programming language “Python.”

Does it want none?

Yes, unless you got buns, hon.

How do you know?

My source for this information is the anaconda’s close personal friend Sir Mix-a-lot the Honest, the knight known for his inability to lie. A famous origin myth says that Mix-a-lot once chopped down an innocent cherry tree in the prime of its life, but confessed to his crime and received a shortened sentence.

What if it fought a bear?

The bear is a tough one for the anaconda, as it would take two to three bites, while the anaconda prefers those that can be handled in one.

Is it noble?

Yes.

Final rating

With its varied interests investing it in the worlds of blood orchids, fiscal policy, computer programming, animal-devouring, big butts, and more, the anaconda is one of the most well-rounded of all animals. Except when it just ate a peccary. Then the roundedness is a bit stretched out.

Mason Williams

“All that won’t get it any closer to meeting the Smothers Brothers!”

8.5/10

 
*It’s one of the smallest on Mars, and is roughly the median for Serpento the Viper Planet.

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