Monday, May 17, 2004

Lions and Tigers and Bears…Oy Vay!

It’s not everyday that you get to go and watch a friend graduate from animal training school. But this is Hollywood, remember. In Hollywood you get to go and watch ferocious looking animals eat raw meat off of sticks! (insert ethnic restaurant joke here)

We went to a place called Hollywood Animals to watch Julie try her luck in a no-holds barred cage match with a Grizzly Bear named BamBam. Don’t let the name of the place fool you, it’s nowhere near Hollywood. It’s out in the middle of the desert hills of LA County (which, of course reminded everyone of what Hollywood must have looked like before Thomas Ince got his hands on it). They call it Hollywood Animals because of the function of the place. They provide “animal actors” to various productions.

I always hate myself when I get around a group of actors that have way more impressive credits than I do. Weezer video…sure, I can jump on some stupid iron platforms too! Do I ever get called to be in music videos?! No! I have a degree damnit! I’ve trained for eight years! I can growl and roar and eat marshmallows! I enjoy eating meat off of sticks!

Sorry, I’m doing it again. I just get so jealous.

It was a good time, like a circus without the creepy clowns. I took a lot of pictures.

We started the day out watching the big cats; a panther, a spotted leopard, a couple Bengal tigers, a white Bengal tiger, and a lion.

The trainers in-training would get up and say a few things about the animal that they were going to present.

I learned; 1) that there are a couple things that perverted white tigers like better than meat on sticks, 2) lions can be pretty juvenile when you comment on their hair color (no thanks, lion, I use toilette paper!), and 3) that Bengal tigers like to act superior while smoking long cigarettes.

Julie got to handle a tiger also. Here they are scrounging for half-smoked cigarette butts.

Then it was Julie’s time to speak. She gave a highly informative presentation on bears. Here’s a transcript:

Blah, blah, blah…Bears. Blah, blah, blah…Bears.

I learned a lot. Thanks Julie.

But just when she was about to start her presentation, the bear attacked!

Don’t worry, Julie eventually got the upper hand. She kept herself alive through complicated animal confusion techniques.

She promised BamBam a belly rub…

She took a cue from classic Bugs Bunny cartoons and raised her baton – thus compelling the bear to perform an aria from Carmen…

She hid marshmallows under BamBam’s stand…

And then she ran around in circles, attempting to run so fast that BamBam would confuse her for a whole gang of animal trainers.

The whole ordeal left BamBam very thirsty. Luckily, there was plenty of Gatorade on hand. Gatorade should be paying Hollywood Animals for this kind of puplicity!

Oh Yeah, there was a monkey too. It also drank Gatorade…and put on funny hats.

And an Elephant that ate an entire watermelon! Here’s a picture of her – not eating a watermelon.

You know, Tanya can eat an entire watermelon also. Although, in Tanya’s defense, she takes the rind off and it usually takes her about a week.

Finally, the long day at Hollywood Animals was over. It was a good time. Thanks again Julie for inviting us -- and for proving that true love can exist between a woman and a bear.

Fun Fact: There is a hot debate going about which bear is the largest on earth. Some say Polar bear, some say Kodiak bear. I say… get a life bear people! No one cares!

Besides, the answer is Polar bear! I have spoken. The Kodiak bear reminds me of chewing tobacco. And I can’t support the spokes-bear for lip cancer!

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