The Brunching Shuttlecocks Ratings

The problem with dragons is that you only hear about when they get killed, thus leaving the impression that dragons are huge, fire-breathing, enormously destructive creatures that are really quite easy to take down. They need to add more background material to dragon stories, along the lines of "Chapter 14: Smaug eats another well-armored and well-trained adventurer who never had a Smurf's chance in a blender." The other problem is that dragons rank second only to vampires in the list of "Mythological creatures that people tend to identify a little too closely with." The level of denial is adequately illustrated by the following searches on AltaVista: "I am a dragon": 157. "I am a sales clerk": 0. C+

If you weren't well-acquainted with modern American culture, you might be inclined to think that unicorns were pretty cool; one-horned uber-horses with a thing for virgins, chock full of psycho-sexual goodness. The difficulty lies not with unicorns themselves, but with airbrush artists. Three decades of putting misty renditions of unicorns between the sad harlequin posters and the David Cassidy/Scott Baio/Hanson posters have made the unicorn only slightly more effective a symbol of wild purity than Pekkle the Sanrio Duck. D

I could make a crack about "Vampire: The Masquerade" being D&D for people who own "The Downward Spiral," but I have a copy of both, so I'll limit myself to observing that with the increasing popularity of vampires, we're on the verge of the unicorn syndrome all over again. If it hasn't happened already, in a few months look for airbrushed posters of sad vampires in Wal-Marts everywhere, and in a decade look for female college students saying to each other "Were you into vampires when you were nine? Me too! We were such dorks!" C

The most incredible power of mermaids, of course, is their ability to keep their hair covering their nipples at all times. Or, in the case of cartoon mermaids, the ability to wear seashells as a bra without bitching about the rough edges. At any rate, I don't buy the whole "Sailors mistook manatees for mermaids" line. Manatees are among the least mermaidenly of all mammals. It would be easier to mistake Al Gore for a lovely young fish-woman. More likely some sailor had a thing for manatees, and invented the mermaid-mistake story to keep the other sailors from ribbing him about it. C-

It's said that ancient legends have lessons for humanity, even unto the present day. The most important lesson we've learned from the legend of the werewolf is "don't cast Jack Nicholson in a role requiring him to run in slow motion." Aside from that, though, werewolves are pretty cool. You turn into a murderous, slavering wolf every full moon. Simple, yet effective, and much better than turning into a B-movie-style furry guy with fangs, which to me just looks like my ninth-grade shop teacher. B-

These are the most famous example of the "Grranimals" school of mythical creatures, where you just take two or more sets of animal parts and jumble them together. I imagine less successful results included things like a creature with the head of a badger and the body of a potato bug. C

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