Tuesday Video Lunch: The Hangover


If a group of friends get blackout drunk and wake up with a tiger in their hotel room, it is a blockbuster movie. If a group of friends get blackout drunk and wake up with a penguin in their apartment, it is Video Lunch.

Recently three friends got hammered and broke into SeaWorld after dark. They then went swimming with the dolphins and absconded with a 7 year-old fairy penguin named Dirk.

In the light of day, keeping the penguin didn’t seem like a great idea. Lacking a better plan, they released Dirk into a canal. The particular canal, however, is known to be frequented by sharks and dolphins and Dirk was chased out of the water… and into the path of a dog. Luckily, he was saved from the canine and restored to his home SeaWorld and his mating partner Peaches.

The three revelers have been charged with criminal trespassing, theft and illegal possession of a protected animal.

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Animal Extras: Fermented Little Auks


I know, Jake and Matt. I realize that I often like to quote “facts” that aren’t always “true” on the podcast and that this behavior tends to make you guys skeptical of nearly everything I say.

However.

On the last penguin-centric podcast, I noted that fermented bird meals were taking place in the Arctic and I actually was not bullshitting at all. The birds are indeed called “Little Auks” and they are indeed caught en masse and stuffed into pouches (made of thick seal skin) and fermented to make a delicacy called Kiviaq.

I can’t find the clip from the 3rd episode of Human Planet where they’re catching the Little Auks and eating them so I made this to help you readers understand the process. (UPDATE: found the clip!)

Although they’re not that closely related to penguins, auks of various sizes do look, walk, swim, and live a lot like penguins. So, one has to assume that they probably taste similar as well..? I have to think there are people out there who have had both penguin and Little Auk – the list of Arctic and Antarctic researchers/explorers seems to overlap. So, what are we missing out on?

Perhaps a blog-montage of meat descriptions can help your tongue’s imagination piece together a colorful culinary collage of savory, blubbery flavors.

Penguin or Little Auk?

“It tasted like a cross between liquorice and the strongest cheese I’ve ever had.”

“If it’s possible to imagine a piece of beef, odiferous cod fish and a canvas-backed duck roasted together in a pot, with blood and cod-liver oil for sauce, the illustration would be complete”

For those too lazy to click, the first quote is a foreigner’s impression of Greenlandic Kiviaq. Sounds frickin awful honestly. The second is an explorer’s take on penguin meat. While that crew pretty much hated the meat, it would seem other adventurers actually enjoyed it.

Excerpt from The Antarctic Dicionary under “penguin breast, meat or steak”

Now you can’t eat  penguins anymore what with all of them being endangered. But isn’t it good to know that,  just like any other meat, the flavor relies greatly on the creativity of the cook? Also, butter. Everyone knows that butter enhances everything. Probably even Little Auks.

The People’s Penguin


In our last cast, we argued the case for best penguin. Kristin ran a smear campaign on behalf of the Adélie Penguin. Matt and Jake championed the plucky Little Blue Penguin. For good measure, we’ve also included the first known penguin, the Magellanic Penguin and everybody’s favorite and least favorite penguins, the Emperor and the Pittsburgh. Now it is up to you, denizens of the internets, to tell us what penguin is the people’s penguin.

Banned Books Week: Animals Edition


So, actually Banned Books Week was this past week (sept 24-oct 1) but whatever. I know you’re still excited about banned books, so much so that you’ll use any excuse to read the no doubt idiotic scandals that kept these books out of your school library.

And, because we’re Animal News, here are some books with animals in the titles.

Note: Books may or may not include titular animals as main characters. I’ll just cover my ass and say all books include the most animal animal of all animals: humans.

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell: No, a Tango isn’t an animal. I discussed this book on the podcast – it’s about a gay penguin couple raising a chick. It’s clearly banned because children will later come across the story about one of the penguin’s infidelity to his male birdspouse AND CHILDREN CANNOT KNOW ABOUT INFIDELITY.

Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut: Adding a book like this to the list, I know why  teachers may have wanted it banned. Just imagine all the bullshit papers from students who didn’t reading the book going on about San Lorezan cats worshipping cradles and committing mass suicide or some nonsense. There’s only so many times you can read crap like that before doing something irrational like ban a book.

Rabbit, Run by John Updike: Rabbit, Run is the tale of a boy named Rabbit who is fast and loves carrots. His love of sex, carrots and being fast create friction with his friends from whom he must now escape. In conclusion, the author wants people to realize that despite their adorable appearance, rabbits, in fact, lead difficult lives just like the main character.

Cujo by Stephen King : You know why this book is on the list. Why, despite both being stories about a boy and his dog with rabies, Cujo gets cut and Old Yeller makes it through. If not, just infuse everything you know about Stephen King books into a story about a dog.

The Goats by Brock Cole & , incidentally, Lord of the Flies by William Golding : Not actually about titular animals but about the cruelty of young people. We’ve all seen children turn into animals with nearly no provocation whatsoever, so why are these books banned? Because we don’t want them to get any more crazy ideas, obviously.

I want to note here that, despite being frequently banned or challenged, I had to read Lord of the Flies three times in three different school due to moving three times in three years. AND I TURNED OUT FINE.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: This story teaches us, through a constant, unsavory barrage of racial epithets that, even though mockingbirds are insufferable birds that will copy cat nearly anything and screech it ad infinitum at some ungodly hour in the morning, we shouldn’t kill them or Tom Robinson. Wait, what.

Other challenged books that I don’t really care enough to elaborate on:

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck: Actually has lots of animals. Also, bad words. You hope the animals start swearing but it unfortunately never comes to that.

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craigshead George: Little bit of rape.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou: Unbelievable. Birds commit acts of rape, homosexual behavior and racism and WE DON’T BAN THEM.

A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck: Banned to protect children from the realities of mortality and where bacon comes from.

Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume: Heaven forbid a teenager read about another teenager learning how to cope with teenager problems. Teenagers.

I think that was pretty good. I hope everyone learned something about animals and will embark on the journey that is reading mildly depressing or upsetting content that probably would’ve gone over your head as a kid anyway.

I probably missed a few. Please offer more banned books and snarky defenses in the Comments.