Inner Monologue of Bandit the Panda

Bandit, the rascally baby panda born to Mei Xiang and Tian Tian at the National Zoo in Washington, DC, gives interested readers the inside track on his world.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Post-Christmas Musings

Whew, it's brisk out there. I love it.

Christmas was pretty sweet. I got lots of presents, including a new game for my Xbox 360--though Paolo's been up for the past 48 hours playing it nonstop and doesn't want to deal with a split screen, so I've been having fun outside instead.

As for my dinner, Hobbitbuddy was all over that. I had roast crown of bamboo, roasted sweet potatoes with marshmallows, pear compote garnished with bamboo leaves, bamboo stuffing, leaf eater biscuits, bamboo salad with carrots, and bamboo crust pie filled with apples. Not that I remember all of it--my eyes glazed over about midway through the bamboo stuffing and from that point after I ate until I could hardly breathe.

Still, I'm told that was the menu.

I hope all the rest of my peeps had as good a Christmas weekend as I did.

Mom still doesn't like how much I climb on limbs and stuff, but she told me she'd stop pestering me if I posted a nice picture of her up on my blog. This is close enough. I know she'll forget about her promise in a few days but at least until then, I'm golden. Plus, she didn't say I couldn't put a caption on it.

Paolo has also forewarned me that Mom may go AWOL Saturday night, but when I asked him why, he just laughed and patted me on the head. Tool. Just wait until I find a way to use the dirt Hobbitbuddy dug up on him (see comments on my Dec. 23rd posting).

I haven't added to my photo gallery lately because of the annoying lack of new photographs of me in all the major media outlets. Ally sent me some dead sexy full size pics but now that more of you are getting tickets to see me, I'd love to see any you might have. Just send them to my email address at Ally's pics will go on my photo gallery page later today.

Everyone says I'm doing some kind of yin and yang thing in my washtub, but I'm really practicing for my go round at the Olympics. I hear they'll be in China in 2008, and so will I, though we try not to think about that. I'm thinking I could sweep the Panda Gymnastics division, of which washtub excavation is a key medal component.

Besides, I'm still enormous for my age. No one can stop me!

Friday, December 23, 2005

FREEEEDOOOM! Well, almost.

WARNING: The following post contains undignified, childlike assessments of the sky and other flora and fauna.

Outside is BIG! You people never told me it was so wide open out there! Eeesh, the sky's like...I don't know...a hundred feet high? Whatever, I'm bad at distances, I'll just say it's big.

I checked the fences as soon as I got outside--I think I may be foiled in my escape plans for the time being...though really that's no big hardship because at least here, my public knows where to find me.

Grass is kind of cool feeling--spongy. Oh and the trees kicked ass. I wanted to climb all the way to the top but the stupid clownmunch zoo put metal thingys on them to keep me from going any higher. The Man's always trying to keep me down.

Mom caught me and came out honking. She was like "This is only the beginning young man--soon you'll be running with gangs and getting into knife fights--Trees are a gateway drug!" and tried to pull me off the limbs but know I won that argument.

Time to catch up with some correspondance. Wingy came to visit me on Monday and afterwards she wrote this:


We just went to see you at the zoo. You were, as could be expected, truly the most adorable thing I'd ever seen. The coolest part was when you backed your little butt up to a tree stump and started scratching away. If people insist on watching you all day, you might as well keep it real.

I also saw that they had a stocking with your name on it down the hall--so I bet Santa will be bringing you lots of presents!

That's for darn certain, Wingy, I keep it real here because if it weren't for me, Mom would have her own dressing room, and Paolo might actually get the "escorts" he's been demanding. Really I don't understand him sometime. What's the big deal about having people walk with you places. I thought only girls needed escorts--to like, dances and weddings or something.

Speaking of weddings and escorts, Hobbitbuddy sent me this note:


Forgot to tell you, you made People Magazine last week! You were in there with Brad and Angelina (you're more beautiful than either of them), Paris Hilton, Nick and Jessica and all the rest. You have DEFINITELY arrived! Congratulations!!!!!

Thank you, thank you. I don't know who Nick and Jessica are, but I'd better win most Badass Panda Alive at some point. Is there any contest?

Pandaholic wrote next:


I am coming to see you! I am bringing 5 of my closest friends. We will be there on January 12th!! Can't wait!

That's awesome, Pandaholic, I will mark it on my wall. Some of my other staff are planning on stopping by that day as well. My editor, publicist, and maybe my lawyer will be there taking notes on the crowds close to 1:00, so I guess Jan. 12th is Staff Appreciation Day here at the Panda House. Yeah, that should please the Panda Employee Union.

Next time I go out into the yard and try to look in Dad's pen, he'd better make himself present or I'm going to cry alimony and demand that he buy me a baseball mitt.

And a Hummer.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Vengeance is Mine

Sounds like the zoo has finally caught on to the real me. Their blog yesterday called me a "wild child" which isn't the same as "badass" but hey, they're getting closer. They also said that between me and Dad, we could have the making of a "Bad Panda" movie. Ha ha. Ha. Ha. Ahem.


So this morning, as I was on my way out to the rock enclosure to go check out the mural (what is UP with that thing? Does it serve a purpose? It looks like it goes on forever but it's just a big picture on a wall. Gives me vertigo), Paolo sneaks in and starts calling me "Butterstick." Ha. See what a funny guy he is? Apparently, one of the other fennec foxes uncovered a really old picture of me, and Paolo thinks its the funniest thing he's ever seen.

C'mon, what's so funny about that? I'm like, proto-cute or something. But here's the conversation as it went down.

Paolo: "Morning, Butterstick."

Me: "Huh?"

Paolo: [holds up picture] "The boys and I kind of agree you looked like a stick of butter."

Me: "Hey that's not cool, Paolo."

Paolo: "Ha ha" [snort] "Butterstick. Ha ha"

Me: "Dude, you do NOT want to mess with me. I'll get you back so bad you won't be able to show your ears around here for a week."

Paolo: "I wonder...if you looked like a stick of butter then, what do we call you now...Butterstick El Grando Family Size?"

So Ladies and Gents, I give you...

Bandit's Revenge:

Earl at 3 weeks of age:

Looks a bit like E.T. doesn't he?

But see, I never just get even. I always take it one step past the bounds of common decency.

Picture taken from the wall of Earl's den:

Paolo, my friend...

You can't say I didn't warn ya.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Christmas Discovery

I've been giving my chef a hard time--not responding to a question she sent me nearly two weeks ago:

Dear Bandit,

As a Buddhist bear, are you planning to celebrate Christmas, or are you going to ignore it? I need to know so I can plan my menu for you

I remember seeing this and wondering "am I really Buddhist?" because let's face it, Mom isn't the most coherant of teachers, and I'm not even sure her particular brand of religion is recognized by anyone else in the world. She calls the Sun "Big Daddy On High" and every time she breaks a glass bottle, she has to shout "Purple People Eaters" 10 times fast. I wouldn't think that a world religion as established as Buddhism would involve that kind of behavior, but since I know next to nothing about it, I could be wrong.

My reaction to being asked if I would do Christmas this year

So I tabled the question and forgot about it. Then last night, Hobbitbuddy wrote this:


You need to get back to me on whether you plan to have Christmas dinner or whether you're skipping Christmas because you're Buddhist. Your Mom probably wants you to follow her religion, but Christmas is fun! You get to eat tons of food and you get presents! So, let me know.

Love, Your chef.

And I was like "Whoa, hold the PHONE. Presents?! Dude, why didn't someone tell me about this sooner?" I asked one of my zookeepers if this was true, and she kind of screamed a little and left the den as fast as she could. They're still weirded out by me talking. Very inconvenient.

So then I asked Paolo if he knew anything about it, and after enduring a long rant about how Italian girls never "put out" (whatever that means) during Christmas, he finally told me that yes it's true, and that you eat so much food that you can't even walk--he said I could probably just lay on my stomach and push myself around by my paws, which really doesn't sound so bad. I consider food one of the greatest inventions in the history of the world.

Mom tells me I take after my father.

Bring on the food Hobbitbuddy!

And as for presents and the rest of you, you know where I live.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I never knew I needed a personal stylist...

...until I read this. I asked Mom if she thought I should hire a stylist. She honked about my ego getting out of hand or whatnot, but I really think she's just jealous.

This person has put together a pretty tight application, so I've copied it here and want everyone to welcome VP of Dior to the staff.

Name: VP of Dior

Position Applying For: Personal Stylist

Qualifications: First, let me say your coat is amazing. Black and white is always in. Black is especially making a comeback this year, BTW. I have been a slave to fashion for 23 yrs and believe that one's personal style should represent taste and passion. I have styled myself, family members, clueless ex-boyfriends, doggie companions, and hapless sorority sisters in need. My biggest client was Dolly, the cloned sheep, who I inspired to embrace the wonders of Diane von Furstenberg wrap dresses.

DC is not known for its fashion savvy. Do not fret--I will make you even more bad-ass and avoid anything that resembles a Brooks Brother wool sweater. I see you rockin' a younger, polished version of Brad Pitt's style (let's face it you're just as hot as Pitt!). The Denim Bar in A-Town has fabulous distressed jeans that will look great on that little tushy (no doubt the time with the trainer is paying off!). Perhaps mix a D-squared bomber jacket with a new t-shirt from your own line, and throw in Dior shades. And to keep things down to earth pair it with a vintage brim hat from Eastern Market. You would be the most stylin mofo up in that zoo piece!

If you are not sure about this style, I will gladly listen to your wants and needs. I shall avoid any designers who use fur, including the heinous J-Lo. I hope you like my vision and it would be my great honor to style you.

I actually noticed she has a blog of her own, so I'm adding it to the links on my sidebar. I think I'd look pretty badass in a bomber jacket riding around town on my chopper, so that's cool. I think I might look a bit like a tool in jeans, but hey who really knows about these things until they try them. My fur is the most important priority for me. Mom makes it pink when she licks me, which is NOT cool.

Ok VP of Dior, do your thing--make her stop!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Meet Paolo the Fennec Fox

So I realize it's been awhile since I told a new story. This one's about Dad.

You may wonder how I know anything about him since the Zoo won't let me see him, and according to Mom he must look something like a cross between Smokey the Bear and the Fonz. Very strange mental picture.

But the geckos aren't the only one at the Zoo with an elaborate network of spies and informants.

Allow me to tell you about the fennec fox. The zoo likes to say they only have a handful, but really, they run the most extensive system of wiretaps in DC. The government studies THEM to learn the tricks of the trade.

Being the highly foresighted panda that I am, I've befriended a fennec fox who goes by the name Paolo. His real name is Earl, but he thinks he's Italian, so I don't correct him and we get along fine. I let him play my Xbox 360 (yes I do have one now) and he brings me the word on the outside. The pic is of Paolo.

So apparently, Dad's been writing to another woman. It's kind of gross, because she's a polar bear in another part of the Zoo and he's a way cooler panda, but I try not to think about how that might work. I think he's just lonely because Mom spends so much of her time with me he doesn't think she likes him any more. Still, as much as Mom annoys me and pisses me off, I didn't want Dad to hurt her.

So Paolo and I intervened. The fox network intercepted a note meant for a gecko underboss to expose Dad's secret to Mom. Simultaneously, some of the foxes crept into the polar bear's lair (they're some of the most badass little animals I know) and stole all of Dad's letters, burying the evidence in a big cart of poo as it was on its way to the waste disposal facility.

Then, some of the foxes got some information from a wiretap that the geckos had squirreled away some letters just in case of such a situation, and that even as I was getting the report, the letters were on their way to Mom's liquor cabinet (the only place she would notice them).

Thinking quickly, I broke into her liquor cabinet and hid myself in the far back (yeah, the cabinet is that large) waiting for the unsuspecting gecko errand boy to deliver the letters.

Let's just say Mom never found those letters, and the geckos still haven't figured out what happened to their errand boy.

Paolo had a long talk with Dad, who admitted he thought Mom had lost interest in him, and Paolo smacked him on the nose for being such a clownmunch and told him to go buy her something pretty with lots of zeros on the pricetag.

Like I said, Paolo fancies himself a great ladies man, so he couldn't resist doling out the advice.

Keeping peace at the Panda House is a full time job.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Grand Opening of Bandit's Mindblowing Emporium of Badassness

Yes that's right my peeps--my store is up and running! Click here to visit. It looks like there are discounts if you buy today too. Like I explain on the store's page, a dollar of every item purchased will go toward panda conservation. I've got everything I need so I'm not keeping any for myself--we gotta look out for my fellow pandas, even if they aren't quite as cool as me.

Today is also the last day to enter the picture caption contest currently going on in my Amazing Photo Gallery. Remember the winner of the contest gets a free t-shirt from my store--a customizable prize because I'll have my editor put whatever you want on it (so long as it has something to do with me). So keep posting!! You have until midnight tonight.

I've been enjoying the entries enormously--sometimes I go sit and read them in the corner, chuckling quiety to myself and making Mom really suspicious. She keeps asking me if I'm on drugs. Tool.

And finally...I made Express today! This is like the coolest thing that has happened to me since I first scared the snot out of my keepers by barking at them. Here's a link for those of you not fortunate enough to live near me (and therefore unable to pick up a copy of Express).

Ok now that the business is out of the way...I get to see my fans today. I'm so excited it's embarassing. I'd better see some little kids down front instead of blocked in by adults. We can be badass and still be cool about it. I hope some of you come back with stories to share. Since the clownmunch zookeepers won't let me come out and mingle with the people, this is kinda the only way I can keep it real.

Oh and get this. The zoo didn't give any reporters free passes to come see me today. They had to acquire tickets like the rest of you. I think that may be the coolest thing the zoo has ever done. The press had their own day to see me, now it's time to let the people have theirs!

Power to the panda fans!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Hell Hath No Fury Like Bandit Wronged


Today's Express features a blog from some clownmunch POSING as me AND using that hated name. I hate to legitimize a blog that's so completely offensive but I need my fans to go look at it if for no other reason but to join me in my rage.


One of the 8,000 things that has me so mad: Express calls it my "personal blog"--uh hello. This person makes me sound like a pansy idiot and about as intelligent as the next doorknob. Like Tarzan, only way less badass. "Me Stick--huh huh--You...WAY TOO COOL TO WASTE ANY MORE TIME READING THAT MORON'S VERSION OF MY LIFE!"

I wanna go tear into some geckos or something. I gotta take my rage somewhere.

Ok, I'm back. Don't ask what I just did to the pile of straw over by my favorite climbing rock.

My editor has suggested I make a list of all the things wrong with that blog, and that maybe that will help me work through my OUT OF CONTROL FURY (yes Anonymous, the media's trying to keep me down because of that very reason):

10) The presence of that name
9) Frequent references to that name
8) Started a mere two days ago. In reality, I've been blogging for over four months
7) The idiot manner of speaking of oneself in the third-person
6) Mom is referred to as Momma (what a baby! geez) and is an obvious rip-off of Bobby Boucher's Momma in The Waterboy
5) That clownmunch subtitle "Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful"
4) Positive and SEXUAL references to Wonkette **shudder**
3) Obvious lack of photo editing talent
2) Makes me sound pitiful and sad. Tell me homies, when I'm chasing the zookeeper around, and tumbling off rocks and barking and hamming it up for reporters, do I sound lonely?

And the #1 reason why that blog sucks...

COMPLETE LACK OF FANS! My fans rule!! I meant to give you all a big shout out for coming to my defense last week when some rag posted something saying that my name is Butterstick and that I'm perpetuating fraud or some munchish nonsense like that. That was way cool of you. And don't worry. That anonymous poster will suffer mightily for daring to insult me.

Now let's go out there and make sure my REAL voice gets heard.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

That Name Returns

Something you may or may not have noticed about me:

I am one contrary panda.

In the days leading up to my field day with the press, everyone was talking about how "panda toddlers are very unpredictable" and it would be difficult to make sure I was even visible to the press. So you can bet your last 1980's era Push Pop that I went out there and put on a real show for them.

If the zoo had been all like "Tai Shan will perform for you," I'd have been like "shoooo...I'm outta here" and they wouldn't have seen a bit of me.

Sweethearts, that's just the way I am.

I was on the cover of every major newspaper in the local area yesterday. Go me!!

But all the extra publicity has brought along some unwanted side effects. I know I rant about this every few days but can we please let the Butterstick name die? It's embarassing. All the other panda cubs are laughing at me. I'd go kick all their asses if they weren't thousands of miles away and I wasn't doing time here at the Zoo, but that's the way it falls.

Here, lets play a little game. This was the headline and the cover photo from yesterday's Express.

I ask these people who persist in using That Name to look at this picture and tell me:

Do I resemble a stick of soft yellowish or whitish emulsion of butterfat, water, air, and sometimes salt, churned from milk or cream and processed for use in cooking and as a food?

Didn't THINK SO.

My editor and her dictionary come in handy from time to time.