originally published September 3, 2012
It’s Labor Day, the day when people around the world (or in whatever countries celebrate Labor Day) try to do the opposite of the day’s namesake by sitting on our asses for one last day before September kicks in. But some of us still have to toil away the holiday. Kids staring down the barrel of a new school year tomorrow will still sell you beef jerky and Fresca at your local gas station; waitresses will still fling coffee down your throat; writers embroiled in ridiculous projects will still pen a kilograph of something for your reading pleasure.
But today I’m going to make you, my audience, work. A few months ago I ran a quiz on Father’s Day – today’s quiz is on fictional birds. As always, the link at the end of each question will provide the answer, if your heart fails to do so.
- Introduced in 1980 as the first female character to counteract the sausage-fest of McDonaldland (though I’m not totally clear if ‘sausage’ applies to whatever Grimace is hiding down there), her purpose was to bring attention to the breakfast items. She was clumsy, and a rotten flyer. The lady who provided her voice in the commercials also does the voice for Martin Prince on The Simpsons. Answer.
- Physically attracted to ‘svelte buoyant waterfowl’ and appearing more like a puffin than the penguin he claims to be, this star of the Sunday funnies married a sculptor, ran for vice-president, and played tuba in a heavy metal group called Deathtöngue. For anyone who grew up in the 80s reading the comics, this will probably be one of their favorites on this list. Answer.
- Remember on Sesame Street, there used to be an owl who played saxophone? No, neither do I. But he was apparently quite an important character. He taught Ernie to play sax in the hit song “Put Down The Duckie,” which sounds more like it was about substance abuse. He was retired in 2001, but returned four years later to help Cookie Monster transition from a baked-goods junkie to a veggie eater. To continue with this drug theme, his name sounds like it was inspired by marijuana intake. Answer.
- Introduced in 1963 and originally voiced by the God of All Cartoon Voicery, Mel Blanc, this creature is one of those television enablers who wants your children to be addicted to sugar. In 2011, Kellogg’s got into a battle with the Maya Archeology Initiative because the logo they wanted to use was too close to the image of this colorful sweets-peddler. Answer.
- Just a reminder, we are two days away from the kickoff of the 2012 NFL season. While Baltimore fans have to wait a few more days to see their Ravens take the field, they will no doubt be watching this creature as well. This mascot apparently ventures into the parking lot before games, hopping from tailgate party to tailgate party, in search of the perfect cheeseburger. His monicker makes perfect sense when you consider the team name. Answer.
- An oversized canary that can ride a unicycle? Sure, why not? He’s a full-body costume, but the person inside has no way to see out. A small television is strapped to the human’s chest in order to facilitate visibility. He has called himself a golden condor. He was on Hollywood Squares. He appeared on The West Wing. He also owns a teddy bear named Radar, given to him by Gary Burghoff from M*A*S*H. Come on, you know this. Answer.
- A pin representing this bird was worn originally as a protective totem, it’ll go on to represent a rebellion in the next two movies (spoiler!). If you sing a song, it will repeat the notes perfectly with its whistle. This would be great if you want to start an intense whistle-heavy round of “Row Row Row Your Boat” in the forest, for some reason. If you have the ability to shoot one in the eye – though why would you? – you might be Katniss. This one’s for the kids. Answer.
- Woody saves this little penguin at the yard sale, which sparks the events of Toy Story 2. His singing voice was provided by Robert Goulet, though Will Ferrell is listed as the guy who’ll be doing this in the next film in the series. This seems like a minor plot-point spoiler, as we learned in Toy Story 3 that this fellow was sold at a yard sale five years after the second movie took place. I guess Andy’s mom really wanted to get rid of him. Answer.
- This sizeable chicken appeared in commercials for Geico, Oscar Meyer Hot Dogs, and for some reason, KFC. He may have an accent that comes from Virginia or possibly Kentucky. He doesn’t get along well with dogs, and sometimes finds himself paired against a weasel named Bill who wants to eat him. “That’s a joke, I say, that’s a joke, son.” Answer.
- A red-billed hornbill, this character was originally voiced by Rowan Atkinson. He was Mufasa’s right-hand bird, the consigliere of the kingdom. Later he bows to Simba after Scar’s defeat. In between, he’s a prisoner. If you remember this character’s name, then you watched The Lion King a hell of a lot more than I did. Answer.
- This comic strip character speaks in tick-marks, yet still finds a way to express emotion with them. He didn’t get a name until June 22, 1970, at which time his creator named him after a cultural milestone from the previous year. The bird is a mechanic who can fix World War I-era planes. He is also employed as a caddy. Specifically what kind of bird he is, we are never told. Answer.
- This chicken is a love interest for a purple, alien, sort-of bird-like thing. I’m not certain what sort of weird fetish one would require in order to find this hot, but whatever – Jim Henson wants us to figure that out, I guess. She was originally voiced by the great puppeteer Jerry Nelson, known best for bringing Sesame Street’s Count to life, and who passed away less than two weeks ago. Answer.
Sorry to end on a downer note. But if it helps, try to imagine Gonzo having sex with that chicken again. There, now I just ended on a weird and disturbing note. Happy Labor Day!