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Ask Cool Daddycat…
Dear Cool Daddy: If you can read this…I’ve been following the Syracuse men’s college basketball team…now 20-1….lost Saturday to Notre Dame, but won Monday against the Cincinnati Bearcats. But it got me thinking: what exactly is a “bearcat” …well, besides the old Stutz Bearcat sports car? …from Capt. Horatio Herkimer, Cicero NY
Dear Cap: Actually, a bearcat is a lot of things. If you google the word and hit “images,” you’ll see a bunch of pictures of a Southeast Asian omnivore (above, left and right) that resembles a small wolverine (center.) “Bearcat” is a nickname in some locales for the wolverine and also the cougar. This modern day bearcat is more commonly known by its native name, binturong. I say “modern day” because in the past, both the black & white Giant Panda and the smaller Red Panda have been called bearcats, supposedly translated literally from various local languages.
Now at various times, the University of Cincinnati Bearcat has been more bear-like or more cat-like…the current incarnation is on the red background, above, middle of the lower row. But its specific origin is due to a human being…and it goes back to Hallowe’en Day, 1914. The UC football team is playing their arch-rivals, the Kentucky Wildcats, and their star player is one Leonard “Teddy” Baehr…yes, pronounced “bear.” Behind the chant of “You have the wildcats, we have the Baehr-cat!” they win 14-7, and a cartoon in the paper the next morning shows a “Bearcat” critter chasing down a bedraggled Wildcat. Teddy graduated 2 years later, but the nickname stuck. That’s pretty much the whole story.
But what is a bearcat? As you can see surveying the other school who are also Bearcats, it’s either one or the other or a combination of both…and one school even filches the Marvel superhero Wolverine.
I’ve even seen some prehistoric mammals referred to as “bearcats,” altho ironically enough, modern bears are more closely related to dogs than cats. 60 millions years ago, a group of small carnivores called “miacids” began evolving into 2 lines…bears and dogs on the one hand…cats, civets, hyenas, and mongoose on the other.
Looks like the Dallas Family Tree won’t arrive till Sunday…and even then, it will only be a rough draft. Lots to sift thru, over 14 seasons and 357 episodes…plus the 2 sequel movies…and the prequel…sheesh! But the new show doesn’t debut on TNT till June, so there’s time…in the meantime, here’s a look at the “original” cast…not the way it eventually turned out, is it?
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