Sunday, December 24, 2006

Stalking the Christmas Penguin

Here's a short joke. It's funny because it's based in truth and funnier if you don't believe in deities.
God created war to teach geography to Americans.
Thanks to George II and his cronies, the highest percentage of U.S. citizens in history can find Fallujah on a map. (Still hardly any, however. ) Another bit of good news - kangaroos have finally been captured in Austria! (Click here.)

A Christmas PenguinLast year I noticed for the first time that penguins have become Christmas critters - taking an entry level position in the holiday animal pantheon along with reindeer, polar bears and snowmen.

Hey they're cute, they dress formally and they're movie stars. And it's easy to imagine they would make cuddly pets.

But clearly the penguin's secret weapon is that they evoke cold. Penguin equals wind, snow, shivering. Wind, snow, and shivering equal North Pole. North Pole equals Christmas. Therefore Penguins Equal Christmas.

But there's one problem.:PENGUINS DO NOT COME FROM THE NORTH POLE!! (Um, they come from the South Pole - about as far away from Santa Claus' secret lair as anyone without a spacecraft can get. But you knew that.)

Here are some pictures I've taken of our penguinish friends in a reversed hemispherical context. The first two are from an inflatable yard display - one penguin emerging from his igloo and the other with a sign directing us northward. The second shows polar bear and penguin in matching snowflake caps - maybe they're a couple.

inflatable penguin in an igloo, penguin with this-way-to-North-Pole sign

inflatable polar bear and penguin with snowflake caps
The next picture is from an advertisement for Coca-Cola. The Cokers have often used polar bears to associate cold freshness with their own brand of sugary poison. In this ad (snapped from a movie theater screen) polars meet penguins and sugar water cuts through the ice.

Coca Cola advertising showing penguins and polar bears
Finally, here's my wife Leslie posing (in coordinating colors) before a panoramic picture of our seasonal animal friends - yes, penguins and polar bears and even a walrus - together.

Leslie at the LA Zoo - penguins and polar bears
This is a take-your-own-Christmas-card-photo display. The scandal of this picture is that it promotes the Los Angeles Zoo - where someone should realize that we Americans will start to believe penguins and polar bears live together in the wild once we've see enough mass produced pictures of them together. And when Americans really fervently believe something is true, bad things can happen. Just ask the polar bears in Fallujah.

Maybe I missed seeing the little sign (suitable for reading to young children) which explained where penguins really come from. (No, the stork doesn't bring them.) It wouldn't even have had to use the term "Bio-Geography" - which Leslie says is the name of the study of where animals live.

Happy Holidays from the LA Zoo - penguins and polar bears

If you missed it in the theaters last year - here's a short animated feature about how a squad of military penguins in New York City save Christmas for a sad polar bear.

Oh - here's a fascinating story about the chemical reactions inside your body after you drink a Coca Cola. - or any soda. But I don't feel bad about blaming Coke for the sins of all soft drinks.

Biogeography Tags: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Anonymous said...

Close, but not quite--penguins do not come from the South Pole. They come from the coast of Antarctica which is the same distance from the south pole as Nebraska is from Mexico.

:) hehe, thats like saying people in Nebraska are worried about illegal immigrants flooding their state line.

Anonymous said...

ah a stickler for detail - then you're supposed to add that they also have cousins up further on all the ends of the southern hemisphere that are next up from antartica: africa, south america, australia, new zealand and a few are up near the equator [galapagos]. more important the boy is write about penguins gaining premier christmas status causing reindeers to worry: Penguins' Newfound Prominence
CBS News Online