Yertle Goes Hollywood

When last we checked in on our saucy little friend, Yertle the tortoise had just moved from Chicago to Las Vegas where he was running with a fast crowd, playing craps all night, and lounging in the pool all day.

Well, the Vegas lifestyle has clearly been good to him. Yertle is now an Internet phenomenon. A celebrity if you will.

And like all celebrities, he’s decided to endorse a product. Specifically, sandboxes. You can see him here at

Somebody better put some salad on this plate or it’s about to get crazy all up in here!

I hope he got PAID. I mean, Beyonce gets $20 million lending her likeness to marketing campaigns by Armani, Nintendo, and L’Oréal, among others. And she doesn’t even have a big hump. Oh, well, yeah, I guess she does now, but that’s not going to last forever.

Yertle 2
Ah, that’s better. I did not want to throw my weight around like that, but somebody was hungry. Now go get me a diet coke.

It hasn’t been all kale and flashing bulbs for Yertle, though. He did have a tiny bit of a mishap this summer, falling into the pool. I personally blame too much hibiscus flowers in his diet. Makes a tortoise a bit loopy, if you know what I mean.

And so we learn that tortoises do not make good swimmers, apparently. Luckily he was rescued, and thus was born the need for a sandbox containment mechanism. Now, Yertle is safely sunning himself outside, without taking anymore dips.

Yertle’s also off on an adventure this weekend, and is road tripping it to San Diego for a little R&R at XFE’s sister’s house. I guess the rigors of being a celebrity spokesman have been quite stressful on the little man.

It will probably be his last vacation before hibernating for the winter. I wonder what kind of music a tortoise takes on a road trip? Maybe “Happy Together” by the Turtles? But seriously, how many times can he listen to that one song?

Holy weirdness, the Googles tells me there’s a song called “Road Trip” by a band called Turtle Tank!! What the what!? That is too crazy a coincidence!

Yertle 3
I was hoping for a little ‘Party in the USA’ or maybe some Brittney.

Be sure to check in on the blog the next couple of days. Lots of good stuff coming up, including a very big poolside-bikini-photo shoot from a couple of weeks ago. I think you’ll be amazed. I mean, I’m no Yertle or anything. I don’t think anyone’s going to be approaching me to model a sandbox or anything in the near future, but, you never know. These are pretty special pictures.

At Last: The Yertle Interview

Welcome to ThePoeLog, Yertle. You’ve cancelled this interview four times over the last three weeks. What gives?

Yertle: Get off my shell! I’ve been busy. I just moved from Chicago back to my native habitat of Nevada (I’m the state reptile, you know). And, well, let’s just say I’ve been settling in.

“Settling in”

ThePoeLog: Let’s take a question from one of your readers. Masha asked, “Is that your cat?” Other readers pointed out that you appear to be a turtle. What exactly are you?

Yertle: Yeah, I get that a lot. Well, not the cat part, but the turtle stuff. Big difference: I’m a desert tortoise, native to the Mojave and Sonoran Desert of the Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico. I’m way bigger than a turtle — I weigh 10 lbs, but some tortoises can weigh up to 15 lbs when fully grown.

Also: I hibernate, which turtles don’t do. And, frankly, I’m more special than a turtle. In fact, I’m an endangered species in the wild. It is unlawful to touch, harm, harass or collect wild desert tortoises. You can, however, adopt one bred in captivity, which is how XFE’s family found me.

ThePoeLog: So how old are you?

Yertle: Well, XFE got me when he was about 10 years old, so I’m around 30 years old. But I could live to be 80 or even 100 years old. I’ve got really good genes and I keep pretty active. You know, at the craps table.

ThePoeLog: Where do you live and why don’t you live with XFE?

Yertle: Like I said, I just retired from the Chicago grind after 16 years, and moved to Las Vegas full time. I live in the house, but I like to spend a fair amount of time outdoors, getting some sun.

Pool time
Lunch at the pool.

I don’t live with XFE because 1) I like where I’m at; 2) I hear XFE has stairs, which I’m not too good at; 3) I’m not too sure about that whole cat thing. I already live with a dog (Frankie) and we get along pretty good, so I’m not really looking to mix it up with a cat.

ThePoeLog: Do you not get along with other animals? How do you defend yourself? Do you bite? Do you have teeth?

Yertle: Whoa! Slow down! No, I don’t bite or have teeth. As for other animals, I do my thing and they do their thing. But if they get too close, I will hiss. I also hiss when I get picked up. Mostly, I just want to be left alone.

Hiding in the shade
Anyone seen that dog?

I’m also pretty fast, faster than some people might expect, and I’m pretty stubborn. I’ve been called a tank, because I just go and I don’t really let anything get in my way. I’m not going to lie: One defense mechanism the tortoise has when it is handled is to empty its bladder. It’s not pretty, but effective.

ThePoeLog: That brings up a good point – where do you go to the bathroom? Do you go outside like a dog?

Yertle: I don’t really drink a lot of water, so it’s not like I gotta a lot of pee or anything. Hell, I can survive up to a year without water. I also have a very large bladder and can store over forty percent of my body weight in water and waste. But basically, I go wherever I want, and whenever. It’s a tiny bit, so it’s not a big deal. My peeps clean up after me.

ThePoeLog: What do you eat?

Yertle: I’m straight up herbivore. I eat a lot of kale, salads, you know, with spring mix. I like tomatoes, strawberries, green beans. I like to treat myself to hibiscus flowers once in a while. I eat a lot during the summer to store up for hibernation time. No spinach though. I don’t like spinach.

Lunxh closeup

ThePoeLog: Tell us about your hibernation – how long is it? How do you know it’s time? Where do you sleep?

Yertle: I generally start slowing down in late October, as the days get colder. What better way to escape a cold Chicago winter than to go to sleep, am I right? By October, I’ve got some nice fat stored up with reserves around my legs and shoulders. I like to sleep under the bed in the master bedroom. I burrow down into some blankets and get my dream on. My peeps check on me periodically and I’ll respond if my foot is touched. When the days begin to warm, around March or April, I start to become active again, slowly moving around, looking for something to drink (I’m real thirsty). Within a week or two, I’m back to my normal level of activity, eating, exercising and sunbathing.

ThePoeLog: So, what do you do all day when you’re not hibernating?

Yertle: I like to be in the center of the action, so I hang out in the kitchen a lot. I like to find a corner to put my head in and then just chill. You never know when a bit of kale might fall to the floor.

In kitchen
Hmmm, I thought I smelled some mesclun mix around here, no?

I also go outside and work on my tan, maybe roam around the yard, looking for any opportunities to escape. I like my home, but I’m of course interested in the world at large. I’ve gotten out a couple of times, but I always get caught and brought back. Dude’s gotta try, right? I’m also big into digging. My front limbs have sharp, claw-like scales and are flattened for digging, so I’m pretty good at that.

ThePoeLog: You have a pool. Does that mean you’re a good swimmer?

Hanging at the pool

Yertle: Not at all. I’m a terrible swimmer. This shell really doesn’t do me any favors either.

ThePoeLog: Everyone thinks that turtles are slow. Is that a fair portrayal?

Yertle: You know, I’m really glad you asked about that, because I have a real issue with the media’s portrayal of turtles and tortoises. Listen, if you were carrying a house on your back, you wouldn’t exactly be a sprinter either. The way that companies like Comcast portray tortoises is totally irresponsible and just not accurate. I mean, the Slowskys? Really? That’s pretty funny coming from a company that can’t get its act together. Every time my peeps try to use their OnDemand, it doesn’t work. And if you call customer service, they tell you that it’s a free service and therefore, you shouldn’t really get your scales in a fluff if it’s now working. Which is ridiculous! First of all, it’s provided with the package that people pay for – that’s not free! Anyway, sorry. I get quite worked up on the Slowskys issue.

Face off
Facing off with a stone decorative tortoise. That dude is SERIOUSLY slow.

ThePoeLog: One last question – MelgFox asked, “how do you pronounce XFE. I have a friend who is now following thePoeLog blog and we were just wondering. Is it just X. F. E. BTW love the name Yertle.”

Yertle: I think the X is kinda like in Xavier, which also sounds like Javier, so I would say the X sounds like a soft “h.” Which would mean XFE sounds like “jefe” which is Spanish for boss. XFE = boss.

Close up 1
XFE may be the boss of Old Town, but I run this joint. I’M the jefe.

Bolting to New York

I”m on a Bolt Bus headed to New York, trying to mind my own business but since I’m a nosy Rosy, it’s not so easy. Especially when your seatmate is discussing the intricacies of financing a group house on the Jersey Shore. And the logistics of getting said group and money where it needs to go? Fuggedaboutit.

So, this is a very short post indeed. I’ll definitely try to post more tomorrow, although, I do have a pretty jampacked weekend planned. The main reason I’m going to NY, (other than to see my lovely friend Emilia is to see the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Met. I. Am. Beyond. Excited. So I’ll definitely post on that as well as other shennanigans.

I know I’ve been promising a Q&A post with Yertle. But Yertle is kinda busy these days. He’s got this big massive project due at work on Monday, so he’s not really in the mood to humor my questions. I know. What a diva. Petunia Potpie offered to fill in, but I don’t think anyone’s really got questions about a run-of-the-mill, albeit-slightly-overweight house cat. But Yertle assures me he will be available for a sit down interview on Sunday. Until then, here’s a little something to tide you over.

"Yes, I'm eating a salad! I've got to keep my figure in check. I'm not getting any younger you know, and I can live to be 80-100 years old!"


Five for Rambling Friday

1)      My human-alarm-clock-life-partner XFE is out of town for the next couple of days. On top of that, my running buddy Amy had the day off from work today and chose not to get up at 5:30 to come meet me for a run (rude), BUT I got up all by my little self (ok, Petunia may have head-butted me into consciousness) and ran all alone with my music. I know, poor me. I really am quite brave and self-reliant.

2)      Speaking of running, somebody please, please, please run this race.

Hot Chocolate

I really want to but I’ll be in Puerto Rico. And I swear, that was not meant to sound as smarmy as it came off. But there’s chocolate and a running jacket. Oh, here’s a fun fact: I only run races for the swag. I do not run for the community spirit or to try to better previous race times. I enjoy all that, but that’s not why I run. And I will not run for a cotton t-shirts. If there’s no tech shirt involved, I’m not coughing up the $65 entry fee. And yes, I know it would be cheaper if I just bought my own tech shirts. But where’s the bragging potential in that? And I would so loooooove a running jacket! I’ve never been in a race that gave away a jacket before. Plus there’s chocolate. Double win.

3)      I’ve been following this story in amazement this week. In case you’re too lazy to click and read, I’ll summarize: a woman in Oak Park, MI was potentially looking at jail time for planting a veggie garden in her front yard. Thanks to public outcry, the charges were dropped. Which is a big relief, because currently, our front “yard” (ok, it’s really just a glorified flower bed — actually, I take that back. It’s really nice) looks like this:


What can I say? We like our caprese salads. So we’ve got tomatoes, jalepenos (you can see that plant just on the lower left), bell peppers, basil, mint and rosemary growing in various places. We were going for a homemade pico de gallo garden, but the stupid cilantro died. Lame.

4)      American tabloids should hang their heads in shame. The UK’s Daily Mail is making them look like total chumps. It’s embarrassing. The Daily Mail covers useless and mundane U.S. celebrity doings way better than their American counterparts. It was the Daily Mail that told me that Tiger’s ex is now dating a bazillionaire. It was the Daily Mail that showed me Miley Cyrus eating a hot dog at a food truck (Stars! They’re Just Like Us!) And Alicia Keyes in “unflattering denim hotpants.”

“I’m laughing because I’m rich and beautiful. Thanks for the piles of cash, cheater!”

What news did Us Weekly break this week? Oh, that’s right, Duchess Kate brought 40 outfits on her 11 day tour of North America. No kidding! She’s a PRINCESS. She changed like 4 times a day! And she probably had all those not-hot commoners’ germs on her. Geeze, Us Weekly. You better step it up and represent.

5)      As mentioned XFE is out of town. He’s back in Chicago for the second week in a row, and currently leading the pack for the Best Son of the Year award. I miss him dearly but I was excited for this trip for one reason: I finally got some pictures of Yertle the desert tortoise.

“Hmmmm, that foot looks yummy.”

Yertle, who lives at the XFE homestead in Chicago, is actually one of XFE’s childhood pets. Weird, right? XFE doesn’t think so and has to patiently answer a litany of questions whenever the subject of Yertle comes up. And Yertle comes up fairly often because I make it a point to bring him up in casual conversations with friends and acquaintances as much as possible, thereby eliciting a whole bunch of questions and a whole bunch of exasperated sighs from XFE, who is the only one that can answer them.

Anyway, I’m going to do XFE a favor and allow Yertle to answer any and all questions himself on the blog next week. So send in your questions! Ask anything. Yertle the wise ol’tortoise will answer them all.