Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday Cheer

I was watching Rudolph the other day — the one with Burl Ives, tho I don't know if there's another one — and something struck me: What's up with the female reindeer?

When Rudolph first goes to reindeer training, Rudolph's new friend (Rocket? Maybe?) explains what the reindeer games are and says it's a great time to show off in front of the does. Because, of course, the does don't get to do any flying or gaming of their own; they just stand on the sidelines, watching.

Rudolph's poor mother doesn't even have her own name! They just call her Mrs. Donner.

But now wildlife experts at Texas A&M University are saying that Dasher and Dancer, as well as all the others, Donner and Rudolph included, were probably female:

"'Santa's reindeers were really females, most likely,' said Alice Blue-McLendon, a veterinary medicine professor specializing in deer who cites the depictions of Santa's helpers with antlers as the primary evidence. It turns out reindeer grow antlers regardless of gender, and most bulls typically shed their fuzzy protrusions before Christmas.

But Santa's sleigh helpers might also be castrated males, known as steers, said Greg Finstad, who manages the Reindeer Research Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks."

Finstad said sledders often use steers because bulls are typically tuckered out from rutting season — when they mate with as many as a dozen does — in the months leading up to Christmas.

Read more here.

For those who don't celebrate Christmas, here is a nice little story about potato pancakes. Seven pounds of potato pancakes, that is.

A 23-year-old mechanical engineering student recently ate 46 latkes in eight minutes to win a Long Island deli contest:

"Pete Czerwinski says he'd never eaten a latke before consuming about seven pounds of them Sunday at Zan's in Lake Grove. The Toronto bodybuilder says he's just 'a power eater' whose brain never signals that he's full, according to the Long Island daily Newsday.

Association of Independent Competitive Eaters Chairman Arnie Chapman says Czerwinski demolished the contest's previous record of 31 latkes, set in 2006."


No comments: