Sunday, January 25, 2009

Penguin Vs. Monkey

Years ago, in a history class, this kid named Patrick started an argument with this other kid who we’ll also call Patrick, because I can’t remember his name and I like making my stories confusing. Patrick was all about monkeys and he wasn’t about to take Patrick’s penguin-loving bullshit. Not that day, not in that history class. But Patrick was so in love with penguins that he's probably married to one right now, and he was ready shut down Patrick's monkey obsession with the ferocity of a Batman villian played by Danny Devito. So for 20 minutes I listened to these two Patricks have at it like a rabid poodles.
Now, although Patrick and Patrick would never admit it due to Man Law 22 which prohibits describing anything as cute, they were arguing about adorableness. That’s why people like furry tree-climbing primates and the waddling tuxedoed birds. But the question of superior cuteness will never be answered and here’s why:

(flickr photo Baby Gentoo Penguin by Chadica;
(flickr photo Monkey Baby by jamesfischer;

But Patrick, don’t fear (and you don’t fear either, Patrick), because there is one question we can answer about these two: Who is More Awesome.

For this battle of awesomeness we’ll use two standard members of each group: the emperor penguin and the rhesus monkey. With that, Patricks, here we go.

Chess: This one’s easy. A monkey would Bobby Fischer a penguin before the penguin could say, “Holy crap, watch out for that leopard seal.” First, penguins have no way of grabbing a chess piece. They’d flop their chubby little wings on the board and knock all the pieces off. Game over, bird-face. Second, 9 out of 10 dentists agree, monkeys are smarter than birds. So this one goes to the monkeys.

Archery: Another easy on that unfortunately for the avian lovers, also goes to monkeys. Remember all that stuff about penguins not having dexterous hands. Yeah, exactly. And point two for monkeys.

Wine Tasting: But not so fast, you rhesus-pieces. Although monkeys eat many fruits that come into play in a good wine palate, most wine tastings are about looking like you know what’s going on, not actually knowing, and guess what? You can’t throw your own feces around at a wine tasting, you goddamn apes. Believe me, I’ve tried.
Plus, with those cute little tuxes, penguins are dressed for the occasion.
Finally, penguins can be as much as four times as large, and that means a higher alcohol tolerance. Score one for the penguins.

Racing: This one isn’t quite as easy. On land, it’s clearly the monkey, whether he’s knuckling it across the jungle, or swinging through the branches, but in the water, the penguin moves like a rocket. But it’s not all about speed; endurance is also a factor, and in that area, penguins are the clear champions with their yearly mating travels and their ability to stay underwater for 20 minutes.
Finally, even if their waddling doesn’t match the agile hopping or a monkey on land, penguins make up a ton of time by tobogganing on their bellies downhill. Point two for the stars of that Morgan Freeman movie.

Fighting: Emperor penguins can be almost 90 lbs, whereas rhesus monkeys are less than 20. Usually I’d draw attention to Bruce Lee’s scrawniness and make the point that size isn’t the only factor in ass kicking, but when one opponent is more than four times the size of the other, it matters. Bruce Lee never fought someone who was 600 lbs. Point three for the penguins.

Swimsuit: Let’s forget that it’d be completely ridiculous for either of these animals to wear a swimsuit. I mean the penguin's already wearing a tuxedo; you can’t put a bikini or trunks on over a tux. That’s just silly.
This section is really about sex appeal, not beachwear. At first glance the penguin looks strong: the women are able to convince the men to sit on an egg for two months in the cold, huddled in a giant child-raising sausage fest. But when you think about it, that has less to do with the sex appeal of the women, and more to do with the whippedness of the men. Plus the penguins mate in winter, and no one, not even a penguin, wears a swimsuit in the winter
But monkeys don’t just mate in the winter, they mate in the summer, spring, and fall, too. There has to be some serious monkey attraction going on for that to occur. 3-3.

Pie Eating: What better way to end this than with something as truly American as overeating. Although there are obese monkeys in Japan (, after two months of eating nothing and losing half their body weight, male emperor penguins gorge themselves to regain it all in matter of weeks. 4-3.

And so Patrick, I’m sorry to say it, but because of their eating powers, penguins win this one. And Patrick, I’m sure you’re overjoyed to hear that penguins won. It’s settled, and we can all rest easy knowing that Patrick’s right and that Patrick’s wrong.

The rest of you Patricks should suggest another match up, vegetable, mineral, animal, inanimate, fictional, or factual. In the meantime, thanks for reading this, Patricks.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Contests

Here are the seven types of contest which each set of duelers shall endure...well, hypothetically endure.

Fighting: Battling, hand to hand combating, mano-a-mano head bashing, face-smashing, fist-clashing barroom brawls are classic deciders of superiority, whether you’re a reindeer, a lion, or a sleeveless-shirt wearing martial arts instructor who hate’s Mr. Miyagi, and his stereotypically East Coast Italian protégé, Daniel-San. This category takes strength, speed, endurance, skill, and moment-by-moment decision making, so this is where we’ll start, but certainly not where we’ll end.

Racing: An almost equally classic test of superiority is the race. If you can’t win in a fight, it really doesn’t matter as long as you can outrun your opponent, and so in honor of the Flash and the frighteningly skinny people who win marathons, racing is the second category.

Simply put, if it’s good enough for Robin Hood, it’s sure as hell good enough for me.

Pie Eating: Persistence, mental toughness, a strong stomach, a good appetite, and a powerful toilet are just a few of the things needed to be a successful pie eater. And as my uncle always said, “So what if you can kick my ass, beat me to the weapons shed, and shoot me square in the head with a bow and arrow? You still can’t eat more fruit-based deserts than I can.”

Chess: It’s not just a way for nerds to feel a sense of intellectual superiority, it’s also a superb test of strategy and long term planning.

Swimsuits: What contest would be complete without a swimsuit portion? The only better way to evaluate beauty is with a naked portion, but that’s just inappropriate objectification. So long as small pieces of cloth cover the parts of the body that are somehow directly involved with either making or feeding a baby, the objectification is tasteful and PG, and that’s just how we Americans like our objectification…except when we’re watching porn, at strip clubs, paying for legal Nevada hookers, or…well yeah, you get the point. Swimsuits: a staple of beach volleyball games, the Olympics, and being judged by your peers.

Wine Tasting: Because refinement is best measured by one’s ability to match smells and tastes with French words. But on some real talk, powerful smelling and tasting senses are serious assets. Just look at bloodhounds and the Iron Chef and you’ll know what I mean.
Plus there’s no spitting out your wine in this tasting, so alcoholic tolerance comes into play as well. And what better way to end a battle for excellence than with drunken refinement?


Short: In which I put two opponents through an unbearably rigorous and entirely fictional set of contests to decide who or what is better. Just ask and I'll answer.

So there you are, sitting at a Mexican restaurant in Ohio, wondering why you traveled all the way to Ohio for Mexican food, when it hits you, like a panic attack or a UFC fighter who caught you with his girlfriend: who’s more awesome, The Rolling Stone or The Beatles? It’s a clichéd question, you realize, but you don’t want to know which band makes the better music, you want to knows which band would kick the other’s ass, beat them in a foot race, own them in archery, pwn them in pie eating, school them in chess, out sexy them in a swimsuit strut, and wow them in a wine tasting. Well, coincidentally, you came to the right place, because here I judge two opposing forces of any kind, on all those levels, and give you, the man who confused “Ohio” with “Cabo” (hey both have four letters, right?) an answer. Just ask.
And while you’re there, I hear the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is nice. But seriously, stop eating those burritos. Burritos aren’t even real Mexican food.