We have been taught, as humans, to admire the lion and loathe the hyena. From sweeping, melodramatic nature specials to "The Lion King," hyenas have been relegated to land-vulture status. They're hideous, heinous creatures that gnaw on the marrow of our very souls and cackle mockingly whilst doing so. Hyenas must be bad, because lions, with their familiar felinity and invented nobility, are supremely good. Asland. Mufasa. Ben Stiller's character in "Madagascar." Lions have become a glorified part of the human canon, even adorning the crests of European kings. They are a creature to aspire to be, to model your life after (not sure how that works, although I think they tried that in the '50s and women didn't really like it), but I'm a hyena man. And you should be too.
Hyenas don't give a crap about lions. If a lion attacks a hyena, the hyena will either feign death, or, if it's a spotted hyena, battle to the death. Either way, good job, hyena. And why are all these lions attacking hyenas in the first place? Because hyenas are hungry and want to take care of parts of a dead carcass that a lion can't even eat? Because they have bone-crushing jaws that allow them to eat things that only they can consume? Lions don't like that because lions are selfish bastards. Hyenas aren't selfish at all, they share responsibilities and hunt indiscriminately. They're far more gender neutral than lions too. In one species, the totally badass spotted hyena mentioned earlier, the female is actually larger than the male and dominates her male counterparts. She also has external genitalia that closely resemble that of the male. Awesome! Let's look at pictures!
Okay, back from pictures. Feel free to skip that part of your hyena adventure.
Do you hate termites? Of course you do. And so does the aardwolf, another species of hyena. An aardwolf has a long tongue and can eat up to 300,000 termites in a single outing. You read right, a single outing. The aardwolf is an insectivore, while every other species of hyena supplements a meaty diet with an assortment of fruits. And while that omnivorism has a certain anthropomorphic ring to it, some species (both extinct and current) have been known to eat the anthropomorphism right out of the conversation, which is a relief for those of us who appreciate biology. Human hair has been found in the dung of hyenas dating back more than 200,000 years ago, and hyenas are believed to have been a significant factor in delaying human colonization of Alaska. Really, we're all just lucky hyenas let us live where we live. But did anyone make a movie about man-eating hyenas? No, it was the lions who made it to the silver screen alongside dreamy Val Kilmer. Typical.
- Hank Williams Jr.'s "All My Rowdy Friends" song has been a mainstay of Monday Night Football for 20 years, but it all disappeared in a flash when Hank Junior compared President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler on Fox News Channel's "Fox and Friends" show Monday morning, forcing ESPN to pull the song from their telecast. To be fair to Williams, Adolf Hitler was an African-American lawyer from Hawaii with two kids as well. The similarities are endless! This just proves, once again, that interviewing B-list celebrities for their political opinions is a waste of everyone's time.
- OMG Tom Brady cut his hair! OMG! TMZ! MTV! Jersey Shore!
- Mercedes-Benz has bought the naming rights to the Superdome in New Orleans, and it will now be called, wait for it, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. A creative windfall, there. I know these companies spend millions of dollars to have their names attached to stadiums, but I really wish they'd have a bit more fun with the names. I've heard Hank Williams Jr. is super available to dispense his ideas on German things right now.
- I miss watching international football matches in Mexico on TV. There just isn't enough urine-bag throwing in American sports.
- Rumors are swirling around the NFL that Madonna (mentioned yesterday re: sex with Alex Rodriguez) will be performing during halftime at the Super Bowl (unsure if Alex Rodriguez will be performing with her). The NFL hasn't confirmed the story yet, but they have confirmed they will be using a section of her skin to make the official game ball.
- With free-agent-to-be Prince Fielder's stock rising higher and higher with every NLDS game, I'm starting to worry that his price tag is going to be far too high for the Seattle Mariners to make a play at him this winter. I'm not sure his price wasn't already too high before the playoffs started, but his performances thus far have solidified any doubts people may have had about his worth. That being said, the Mariners' poor play the last decade (six seasons with 90+ losses since 2003) has left a lot of fans feeling disconnected and disappointed. It's been pretty visible too, with new records for lowest attendance being set multiple times this season. A big financial commitment is something that Mariners fans are really hoping to see, because baseball, with few exceptions, rewards payroll with success. Can the Mariners outbid the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees? Can they outbid anyone? Do they even want to spend that kind of money? I don't really know, but what I do know is that the Mariners have a chance to win some fans back. Make a public push for Prince Fielder. Fly him into town. Whisk him around the city. Make sure reporters know where you are and where you're going. Go on TV and the radio and talk about how desperately you want to add him to the squad. Basically, flip on the Bat Signal and show Gotham City that there's still someone out there taking things seriously.