Thursday, February 11, 2016

Let's All Dance Like a Caudipteryx!

Though Chen the Caudipteryx looks like a wacky bird, he can pull off some sweet moves on the dance floor! By Matt Martyniuk Dinoguy2 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Alongside modern animals, dinosaurs and Dr. Dodo are given a lot of attention here at Animal Adventures Inc. (AAI.) But dinosaurs aren't the only animals that have been genetically engineered thanks to Animal Adventures Institute (a division of AAI.). One of these creatures in none other than a colorful animal called Caudipteryx zoui. Since we haven't really devoted much (or any) attention to this creature, my trusty, junior photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater and I decided to pay him a little visit to help our readers get familiar with him.

The Caudipteryx living at AAI. goes by the name of Chen, and when asked to describe himself, he is quoted for saying, “Well, firstly, I'm quite flattered that you'd be doing a special newspaper article about me, I'm poorly known. Anyways, I'm a Caudipteryx, as you already know. I'm a species of bird that's been found in Cretaceous China.” I asked why he was so poorly known. His response was. “Frankly, I'm not sure. Most extinct creatures aren't very well-known in the public eye. They only usually get famous if they've been in a movie or two. I mean, take Velociraptors. Before 1993, most people wouldn't have a clue what a raptor was. But after the movie Jurassic Park was made, based on the Jurassic Park Incident of the same year, Velociraptor is almost as famous as T. rex!”

Chen said that even though his species hasn't appeared in practically any movies, he is famous for being one of the first feathered “dinosaurs” found. “It's crazy,” he says, “evolutionists so anxious to prove their theory that dinosaurs evolved into birds believe that I am a feathered theropod (carnivorous) dinosaur!” So I asked Chen what the truth about his identification is. “Well, I'm actually a bird. See, in order for the theory of dino-to-bird evolution to be true, evolutionists believe they only need feathered dinosaurs to prove their theory. Therefore, any bird that has any similarity to dinosaurs is regarded as a transitional form. This is what Archaeopteryx – a true bird – is famous for: being the much-needed transitional form between dinosaurs and birds.” But Chen explained that his species really isn't good evidence that dinosaurs evolved into birds because according to evolutionists, Caudipteryx lived in the early Cretaceous Period, long after the first birds were around! “Even Archaeopteryx is a problem for evolutionists,” Chen says. “Evolutionists believe that Archaeopteryx – a true bird – lived in the late Jurassic Period, before the bird-like dinosaurs that supposedly evolved into birds. In fact, the earliest in the dino-to-bird evolutionary line (according to evolutionists) was a dinosaur that lived at the same time as Archaeopteryx with no confirmed evidence for the presence of feathers on it.” In closing of the topic of dino-to-bird evolution, Chen is quoted for saying, “Whatever evolutionists try to make of me, I am a unique species of bird, with a mosaic of non-transitional features. I have fully-formed feathers, a toothed beak and clawed wings. Other birds that aren't claimed to be transitional forms also have these features.”

I decided to question Chen upon the subject of his diet. “Well, I'm an omnivore,” says Chen. “Here at AAI. I eat a mixture of fruits, nuts and insects. Chef Rack-Coon fixes some of the best fruit and insect salads in the entire tri-state area! Here's an interesting tidbit about me: I may have teeth, but they're useless for chewing. So I'm designed to swallow small stones. The stones – called gastroliths – sit in my stomach, rolling around in order to grind up my food.”

Daniel couldn't help but inquire about Chen's feathers and whether or not he could fly. “No, I don't fly,” said Chen. “My wings are too short to get my body off the ground for long. Evolutionists love this fact, because to them, I'm still practically a dinosaur since I can't fly. But in truth, many modern birds are flightless, such as the ostrich (which, I might add, also bears clawed wings, but no one considers them  missing links!). My feathers are able to keep me aloft long enough some extended leaping. My species also uses them for impressing the females. Unfortunately, Dr. Steve hasn't cloned any other Caudipteryx yet. I should talk to him about that...anyway, these feathers are also really wonderful for busting some moves. When trying to attract a date, male Caudipteryx would often dance, flashing around their feathers in a brilliant display. They're also good at dancing at other times of the year too, check these moves out!” Then Chen demonstrated some of his dance moves. He waves his wings around in the air while lifting his beautiful tail (which has a feather-fan on the end). He also bobs his head and leaps into the air while performing his dance. I don't know about you, but I think he's pretty good at dancing.

So there you have it; now you know a little bit about the beautiful Caudipteryx, a unique species of ancient bird that also knows how to dance. In closing, Chen said, “I may not be the proof that dinosaurs evolved into birds that evolutionists are looking for (and thank goodness I'm not!), but I am still a wonderfully designed bird, fearfully and wonderfully made, by God Himself, our loving Creator!”

Written by: Mr. Smiley
Photographer: Daniel P. Smithwater
Edited by: Christian Ryan

Weekly Cartoon

Next Issue: Ligers Born at Riverville Zoo!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Dr. Steve's New Dinosaurs of 2016

Yue-Yan the Yutyrannus is just one of the creatures Dr. Steve brought back from extinction.
Ah yes! The new year is upon us! And as usual, Dr. Steve Stevenson – head geneticist of Animal Adventures Institute – and his colleagues, especially his assistant Oliver Oviraptor have genetically-engineered a new batch of ancient creatures from the realms of the past thanks to fossils and amber discovered by paleontologist Dr. Samuel Adamson last summer. So my trusty, junior photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater, and I headed over to AAI to check out the new terrible lizards roaming the earth for the first time in over 4,000 years.

Dr. Steve is quoted for saying, “We're especially excited to announce the births of three extinct creatures we've brought back to life. This year, we successfully cloned Yue-Yan, a large Chinese predator called the Yutyrannus, Peter, a small parrot-beaked dinosaur called Psittacosaurus and Adeline, an ancient bird called Archaeopteryx.”

I decided to ask Dr. Steve what Yutyrannus actually was. He told me that Yutyrannus was a species of tyrannosaur, a cousin to the larger Tyrannosaurus rex. “I'm particularly glad to add Yutyrannus to our batch of genetically-engineered creatures because it is actually a rather new discovery,” Dr. Steve explains. “It's discovery was only announced in 2012. What also makes Yutyrannus unique is that even though it is a tyrannosaur, it's much more lightweight than T. rex, and has three fingers on relatively long arms rather than the two-fingered tiny arms we're used to seeing on T. rex.” Yutyrannus reaches about 30 feet in length and would have stalked the forests of ancient Cretaceous China, looking for prey. What did it eat? “We haven't found very many large species of herbivores in this region of China,” Dr. Steve explains, “but we do know Yutyrannus co-existed with a host of sauropods and a strange herbivorous dinosaur with sharp claws called Beipiaosaurus.”

Surprisingly, another dinosaur Dr. Steve and his assistants cloned is also from the same region of China: Psittacosaurus. “Psittacosaurus is a small member of the ceratopsian (horned) kind of dinosaur,” Oliver Oviraptor told me. “Ceratopsians were a much more varied group of dinosaurs than most people realize. While Triceratops is the most famous member of the group, with its two large brow horns and smaller nose horn, some ceratopsians have one large horn on the nose and no brow horns like Centrosaurus and Styracosaurus. Others have no nose horn at all, but instead possess cattle-like horns, as seen in Nasutoceratops. Some have a large bump on the end of the nose and not a horn at all, like Pachyrhinosaurus. And finally there are some ceratopsians that lack a horn, have a very small frill, like little sheep-sized Psittacosaurus.” He went on to explain that a feature all ceratopsians share with each other is a parrot-like beak. “Their beaks are rather similar to mine,” Oliver explained. “But while I use mine to scoop up fruits, nuts and small animals (none of whom reside here at Animal Adventures Inc.!), ceratopsians use their beaks to crop vegetation to eat. In fact, Psittacosaurus actually means “parrot lizard”, in reference to its parrot-like beak.”

It is also worth noting that Psittacosaurus is an interesting dinosaur in many other ways. For example, its tail is endowed with a double row of porcupine-like quills. As Peter has demonstrated, his species uses these quills for both display and for defense; upon shaking his tail, Peter can cast out loose quills. This is similar to what modern porcupines can do with their quills. But juts like modern porcupines, Psittacosaurus can't exactly aim and shoot their quills, contrary to popular belief, meaning they tend to fly in all directions...better stay out of the way when Psittacosaurus gets angry!

Dr. Steve said regarding Psittacosaurus that, “I didn't even know we would get the opportunity to clone this dinosaur. See, when Dr. Samuel Adamson came back from China, in addition to the fossils of Yutyrannus, he also found amber containing fossilized biting insects. It turned out that one of those insects was holding Psittacosaurus DNA inside its gut. Of course, we couldn't know what species it had sucked the blood from until we cloned it. Imagine my surprise when we got our first look at the Psittacosaurus. Absolute wonder.”

And finally, Dr. Steve wanted to show me a creature he is particularly proud of – an Archaeopteryx named Adeline. “I haven't been able to clone very many extinct birds,” he explained. “Until last year, the only one we've successfully cloned was Caudipteryx. Adding Archaeopteryx to our collection is a real treat.” Archaeopteryx was a species of perching bird uncovered from the Jurassic rock layers of Germany. When discovered in the 1800's, what made this creature such an incredible find was that Archaeopteryx represents the first fossil skeleton ever found with feathers. “Evolutionists like to use Archaeopteryx as proof that evolution occurred in the past,” Dr. Steve explained. “Proof that dinosaurs evolved into birds; because Archaeopteryx has many reptilian features, including a toothy jaw, clawed wings, a long bony tail and so on. However, these features occur in other extinct or living birds. Plus, Archaeopteryx's DNA, which we analyzed, clearly makes it distinct from dinosaurs.”

The wonders of paleontology, geology and genetics have once again allowed Dr. Steve Stevenson and his lab assistants to bring just a few more creatures back to life. “I hear Dr. Adamson will be going to Africa this summer,” Dr. Steve said. “I can't wait to see what fossils he brings back so that we may bring yet more animals out of extinction.”

Written by: Mr. Smiley
Photographer: Daniel P. Smithwater
Edited by: Christian Ryan

Weekly Cartoon

Next Issue: Let's All Dance Like a Caudipteryx!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Rerun Article: School's Buzzing at Snowflake's Christian School for Animals

The Snowflake's Christian School for Animals is a newly opened school, a great place for animals to learn Mathematics, English, Science and many other skills.
Note: The article you are about to read describes the actions and what was said during Lizzy's first television interview with Snowflake's Christian School for Animals.

A Lizard is seen playing a game on her iPod.
“Umm, Miss we're on the air!” exclaims a voice behind the camera.
“Oops umm...Hi, this is Lizzy the Lizard and today I'm going to Mrs. Snowflake's Christian School for Animals (or SCSA), where the school year has started a bit earlier than usual. I, Lizzy, decided to interview some of the students and staff to see their opinion on the school.” “It's great, there's so many sports like Basketball, volleyball, track, and soccer,” exclaims an anxious joey, named Roo, as we walk down the hallway. “I'm trying out for basketball. The games area totally awesome! There's flags and banners...the best part is the food, there's...”
“Thanks for showing such enthusiasm, Roo,” I say.
“It's fun, Mrs. Hippo...I mean Mrs. Snowflake makes sure that kids in my grade get the education they need, but my favorite time is snack time!” states a first grader name, Jelly the Field Mouse. “You should go talk to my mom, Peanut or Butter, my little sister.”
“Peanut, Butter, and Jelly, huh um... How original,” I remark into the camera.
“It's time to go into the teacher's lounge,” I declare as I continue down the hallway. “Hello Lumpy," I ask a heffalump (elephant), "what do you think of the education here at SCSA?”
“Lizzy, what are you doing here? Aren't you supposed to be in class?” questions the heffalump.
“Umm I'm kind of doing a documentary of the school for a blog,” I answer before turning to the camera man, “We can delete that part, right?”
“Here we have the cafeteria, where the students eat and . . . um . . .” I walk over to the kitchen area. “What's you're take on the food here.”
“It's the best” exclaims the Penny the penguin as he slaps some fish-smelling paste with bits of fish parts in it on some bread. “I make it myself.”
“I think I'm gonna be sick!” I exclaim, camera zooms at me as I rush out of the room.
I finally return. The camera man takes a close up of my face as I say, “You don't....umm.. like regurgitate the food and serve it...right?”
“Nonsense, I only do that for Penguinia-Ann, my little sister.” the penguin reassures me.
“That's nice to know,” I exclaim, “Now let's get some feedback on how the food tastes.”
“It's magical!” exclaims a kindergartner name, Puff (the magic dragon).
“My mom's cooking is better,” remarks fourth grader, Snowball Hippo.
“I'll like peanuts,” states another fourth grader named, Butter the chipmunk.
I'm seen taking a spoonful of mac& cheese.
“This is good,” I exclaim, checking my watch. “Well it's almost time to go so this is Lizzy the Lizard coming from the Mrs. Snowflake's school for animals!”
The video ends with Lizzy gobbling up the Mac & cheese.

Written by: Lizzy the Lizard
Photographed by: Daniel P. Smithwater
Edited by: Christian Ryan, Joy Hammond & Mr. Smiley

Weekly Cartoons

Next Issue: Dr. Steve's New Dinosaurs of 2016

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Rerun Article: Lizzy the Singing Lizard

Lizzy the Lizard loves her music!
Hey everyone, Lizzy here and I've been busy this week. I got home and I started listening to music on this app: Pandora. I found many of my favorite songs on it. I have no clue what I'd do if music was never here. I listen to music constantly, like when I'm writing my stories, cleaning around the house and my room, and before going to bed. Sometimes I love the song so much that I play it over and over. Lily, my sister, is a little annoyed when I play the same song over and over again but I can't help it. I've tried to write a song but Lily read it and said it wasn't very good, even though I think it is. Anyway, our topic today is music (as you can tell). I decided to have fun today and I looked up what music was and here's what came up:
"The art or science of combining vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotions."
Here's my definition of music: music can either lift our spirits or trash them. There are clean and uplifting songs and then their are in appropriate and dirty ones. Today I will show you some of my favorite song and why I like them.

I have so many good songs but I decided to pick the top seven. 

1. It's time for Africa by Shakira
Most of the time when I listen to songs on YouTube, I usually look for the lyrics video instead of the music video because I like seeing what words are in the song first. Anyway, I like this song, not only because its energetic but because its feels encouraging to me. You'll see why after reading the first verse.
You're a good soldier, choosing your battles. Pick yourself up and dust yourself off, and back on the saddle.  You're on the frontline, Everyone's watching. You know it's serious, we're getting closer. This isn't over. The pressure's on, You feel it. But you've got it all, Believe it.
It seems encouraging to me, maybe you have a different opinion but when I'm out on the field playing soccer or anything else that's a competition or hard, I'm gonna have this song in my head.

2. Radioactive by imagine dragons
I wasn't sure how to explain how I feel about this song. It may seem dark but that's not how I feel about it. Trying to look for the right words, I looked up what the song means. Dan Reynolds, who sang the song has this to say, "Radioactive to me, it's a very powerful-sounding song, and the lyrics behind it, there's a lot of personal story behind it, but generally speaking, it's a song about having an awakening; kind of waking up one day and deciding to do something new, and see life in a fresh way. A lot of people hear it in a dark way, but, I think, without saying the word too many times, it's empowering, and so we wanted to display that in a way that the listener wouldn't see normally." Reynold's had been struggling with depression and anxiety issues for most of his life. He put it like this: "Coming out of a pretty serious spell of depression and having a new awakening and real vigor for life."

3. Tell the World by Lacrae
This song also has a very powerful message to it. I've listened to it over six times in a row. That's how much I like it! The message is about being brand new in Christ. Near the end of the song, it says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, Behold, the new has come." That is based on one of my favorite verses, reminding me that I'm new in Christ and nothing should ever change me back. 

4. Fingerprints of God by Steven Curtis Chapman
Although this song seems to be meant for girls, the song has many important statements. My favorite is, "never has there been and never again, will there be another you." It makes makes me feel special and unique, knowing that no one is like me.

5-6. Fearless and Nothing's gonna stop me now both by Olivia Holt.
Both these song are upbeat and encouraging. I feel confident when I hear these songs. I find myself singing the songs, often. I guess songs can have that effect on you. Songs will change your attitude about things, that would also be why you have to be careful what you listen to.

7. Good time by Owl City and Carly Rae Jepson
This is the last song I'm going to talk about. It's all about having a positive attitude throughout the whole day. "It's always a good time", is the phrase used throughout song. Yep, this song is very catchy, especially the chorus.

Well that's all the time I have for today so this is Lizzy signing off!

Written by: Mr. Smiley
Photographer: Daniel P. Smithwater
Edited by: Christian Ryan

Weekly Cartoons


Next Issue: Rerun Article: School's Buzzing at Snowflake's Christian School for Animals

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas of the Nativity Fever!

 “It's happening all around us,” said Nigel Milligan, CEO of Animal Adventures Inc. when my trusty, junior photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater, and I interviewed him last Tuesday. “Every year, I get more concerned about Christmas because it seems that with each passing year, the true meaning for this season gets lost in the shuffle, even by those who claim to proclaim it!” Nigel knows that way back when, America as a country considered Christmastime a time to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (Though Jesus existed before He was born on earth – because He is One with God the Father – Christmas is the time we celebrate when Jesus was born as a human being – because He is also human) “But times are changing,” Nigel explains. “If you talk about Jesus Christ, people call you intolerant; nativity scenes and other Christian symbols are being removed and forgotten, and it's even often times forbidden to say something as simple as 'Merry Christmas'. My girlfriend was shopping in some of the department stores the other day, and she said she couldn't find one Christmas card with the Nativity, or Mary and Jesus on it? 'What is this world coming to?' she said. In fact, it's so bad that some have begun calling it 'The War on Christmas'.”

As Christians should know, Christmas is the time we set aside to celebrate Jesus' birth. But even many Christians seem to forget this. Nigel is quoted for saying, “Department stores and other businesses are trying to sell things as quickly as possible, and we the consumers are running around like dodo birds in a thunderstorm trying to buy, buy, buy and find that perfect gift for our friends and family. While giving to others is a good thing, we tend to focus more on ourselves during this time of year rather than on Christ. Without Him, there is no Christmas.”

I asked Nigel if there is any connection between the lack of focus on Christ during Christmas and Santa Claus, a popular icon for this time of year. “Yes and no,” Nigel answered. “No, I don't think Santa Claus is intentionally trying to lead people away from God. However, people, children especially, are always focusing on Kris Kringle...[They're] trying to be good so they can get presents on Christmas Eve when he flies their way. Parents, television and friends of these children sow the seeds of commercialism in them during Christmastime. Sure, many parents may assume their children already know about the true meaning of Christmas, but what if they've been paying for attention to the false meaning of Christmas; what if when asked Who the center of Christmas is, they answer, 'Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman or Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer?'; what if when it's time to sing Christmas songs together, they can't seem to remember the words to 'O Holy Night', 'Mary, Did You Know' or 'Away in a Manger', but know 'Jingle Bells' and 'Santa is Coming To Town' perfectly well? I've seen it happen so often in children of this generation.”

Adults too, Nigel explains, fall into the world's trap of commercialism and focus on everything but Christ during Christmas. “It's saddening,” Nigel says, “to see how many parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and other family members remind their children that they need to rush out of church so they can get home and fix a meal before the family comes over, or so they can run to the store and get that last minute Christmas gift.”

Nigel says, “For this Christmas, I have some advice for everyone: slow down! Slow down and consider what you are doing for the holidays. As Christians, we should show those around us through our actions Who are focus is on and who we are in Christ. Are we really doing that when we're acting just like the rest of the world this time of year? That's why, we at AAI. have decided to start the 'Nativity Fever'!”

Nativity Fever, is, as Nigel's calling it, an attempt to get people thinking about the true meaning of Christmas. “Jesus was a radical person,” Nigel explains, “and I believe that He wants us to follow in His footsteps, so we should be radical too, even if other people don't like it. Hey, I mean, not everyone liked Jesus in His time either!” Inspired by the recent Minnesota Nativity Scene occurrence, Nigel and everyone at AAI. will be setting up nativity scenes around the property and several designated areas around the town. In addition to that, they will be conducting a mini-parade through the streets of Riverville featuring a live nativity. “We will have many human residents participating, as well as many animals: sheep, donkeys, cows, goats and camels, things like that. However, we'll be careful to be as biblically accurate as we can in our portrayal of the Nativity; for example, we will not show the wise men and their camels near baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph in the manger because, according to the Bible, they didn't visit Jesus until He was a 'child', perhaps a year or two old.”

It's a small step, but what Nigel believes that this parade and the Nativity scenes he and his company will set up will be a good witnessing tool. Lord-willing, it will get people thinking about Jesus, the real meaning of the season, and give Nigel and the others a chance to share with unbelievers (and remind believers) that Jesus Christ came into the world as a baby almost 2,000 years ago so that, 33 years later, He could sacrifice Himself by dying on a cross for the sins that each and everyone one of us commit each day so that if we call upon His name to save us, we will not have to suffer the penalty of sin – eternal separation from God – and exist with God after we die. And to prove what He said He came to earth to do was true, He rose again.

To coin the phrase,” Nigel says, “it's time to put Christmas back in Christ!”


Written by: Mr. Smiley
Photographer: Daniel P. Smithwater
Edited by: Christian Ryan

Weekly Cartoons

Next Issue: Rerun Article: Lizzy the Singing Lizard

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Rerun Article: Star of Wonder, Star of Treasure Discovered!

The three gifts the wise men gave long ago

“Through mountains and valleys it led them each night, a star of most radiant light. The wise men rejoiced as they journeyed afar, to behold such a beautiful star!”
sung by Kathy Mattea

These are the words to a beautiful song called “When They Saw the Star”. This song talks about the wise men that had visited baby Jesus and presented him with gifts. But this is where many people get the Nativity Story wrong: if you were to go out and ask a bunch of people walking down the street right now and asked what they know about the wise men in the Bible, most, if not all of them would say that they visited Jesus in Bethlehem as He laid in the manger. Well, go get your Bible and look in the book of Matthew in the second chapter. That’s where it talks about the wise men. Does it say they visited Jesus in the manger? Read it for yourself in verse 11: “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him . . .” Does that say anything about a manger? Noooooo! It clearly says that they visited Jesus when he was living in a house with His mother (and His dad too). Yet, we see the wise men visiting Jesus in the manger in television shows, movies, plays, nativity sets and so forth. However, the wise men really did follow a star to find the Child. They followed this star until they finally reached the place where Jesus was. Then they presented Him with three gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh. We don’t really know how many wise men there were, but since three gifts were given, it is assumed by many that there were three. However, after the gifts are given to Jesus, they mysteriously disappear. As far as we know, they don’t appear in scripture anywhere. They kind of just floated off into the unknown . . . right? That’s what everyone thought until one day, that famed explorer and archaeologist, Indiana James, took a little trip to Vermont to visit his grandparents. While visiting, he went in a little antique shop and saw something in the corner of his eye sitting in a box in the very back of the store (the store was really junky, the antique dealer just bought antiques and piled them into piles or onto shelves in the store, so for the most part she really didn’t know what she had to sell). He took a look at three little “jars” in the box and realized there was something very peculiar about them . . . they looked strangely familiar. “I don’t know how on earth these would have looked familiar to me,” says Indiana James, “considering I really had never seen them before. Maybe it was just pure providence. Yeah, it probably was.” After taking a few minutes looking at the beautiful objects, he opened one of them up to reveal some strong smelling spices. He recognized it as frankincense. He opened another container and realized it was a bright, shiny object called gold. And the final container was filled with myrrh. He instantly knew the kind of find he had made and quickly bought the objects he found. He tried asking the antique store owner how on earth these three objects got from the Middle East to Vermont, she shrugged. So it was up to Indiana James to find the origins of these little “jars” to see if they were in fact the same ones given to Jesus. How would he find out? Well, he first found out where the antique store owner bought the pieces from. She said she had bought them from an old lady who lived up by Champlain Lake. This is what Indiana did with all of the people who had once owned these valuable artifacts. After doing his research (and eventually flying all the way to the Holy Lands), he believes he knows how on earth these pieces made it here to the U.S.: the lady at the antique shop bought the “jars” from an old lady. The old lady got it from a friend of hers who had had it in her family for at least three generations. The “three-generation” family kept the artifacts because a man in their family named Pilot Gorge Kingston, had it in his possessions during his piloting during World War II. How did he receive the treasures? Well, he bought it from a merchant in the Middle East who found the treasures in an old shed. The shed used to belong to a “police” who had confiscated the treasures from thieves who stole it from an emperor who had received the “jars” from a poor man. This is where the story is abrupt. “I looked in all the resources I could find,” says Indiana James, “but nowhere could I find how the treasures got from Jesus’ family to the poor man. All I know is that this poor man lived in the area Jesus grew up in. This mystery will have to wait for future generations to solve it . . . if I don’t discover it before I am dead and gone, that is!” So as the archaeologist says, this mystery will have to wait to be solved. But regardless of how it got from Jesus’ family to the antique dealer, we mustn’t forget that this is not the reason for Christmas in the first place. The real reason for the season is not the wise men’s gifts, instead, it commemorates the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who left His throne in heaven and humbled Himself. He came to earth for one main reason – to die for our sins. He took the punishment for our sins so that we don’t have to. Thanks to Jesus, when we die, we can go to heaven to live with God. Thanks to Jesus, all we have to do to get admittance in heaven is admit that we have sinned and need Jesus’s salvation, next we have to believe that Jesus is 100% God (yet he’s also 100% man), and last but certainly not least, we must confess our faith in Jesus and chose to live for Him. And that’s what Christmas is all about! Have a merry, merry Christmas from all of us here at Smiley’s News!

PS: The wise men’s treasures are now safe and sound in the Riverville Museum of Natural History, thank goodness for that!

Written by: Mr. Smiley
Photographed by: Daniel P. Smithwater
Edited by: Christian Ryan

Weekly Cartoons

Next Issue: TBD

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Rerun Article: Reindeer Girl Power!

Elizabeth Sorkin and a pair of reindeer, Elizabeth is one of the scientists involved in explaining how Santa's reindeer do certain things, such as fly
You know their names, we all know their names. I think just about everybody knows the names of those helpful little animals that, come every Christmas Eve, help Santa Claus pull his sleigh. You know – Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph. Those nine reindeer faithfully, every year pull Santa Claus’s sleigh to help him deliver presents to all the children of the world. Over the years, a lot of myths have come up about these deer. One of the biggest myths of all is also the most surprising. How can I break it to you? After careful research, scientists have concluded that Santa’s reindeer buddies aren’t the majestic, awe-inspiring bucks we often see depicted. Instead, these reindeer are majestic awe-inspiring . . . does (pronounced as doehs)! Yes, you did read right. Santa’s reindeer that haul the sleigh full of toys are actually female! How is this possible? Well, my trusty junior photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater and I headed over to Dr. Elizabeth Sorkin, the veterinarian at Animal Adventures Institute to learn about this reindeer myth. Dr. Elizabeth says, “The reason why we now know Santa’s reindeer are female is because of a few reasons. First of all, right after the rut in the winter, male reindeer, like all other deer, lost their antlers, while females keep their antlers all year long. Also, soon after the rut, reindeer bucks are tired from the fighting with other males over females. The reindeer pulling the sleigh have to contend with a load of toys AND a plump little man while they fly through the night air.” After asking why male reindeer are normally what is seen in Christmas movies, she says, “This is because most Christmas movies are actually filmed in the summer. Very few Christmas movies are filmed in the winter. During the summer, reindeer bucks are big and strong, even stronger than the does. So naturally, they choose these deer for the movies and ever since, people have always been confused.” Wow, this is shocking, I mean, we’ve all grown up thinking these deer were male.

On the topic of reindeer, I decided to ask Dr. Elizabeth another popular question came to mind: How do reindeer fly? Dr. Elizabeth is quoted to saying, “A lot of people have different ideas about how reindeer fly. This is because no one knows. I have my own theory: if you’ve ever seen the movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”, you’ll recall that Charlie and his grandpa were able to float because of this special drink they drunk. The drink filled them with gas and this was how they could float. (However, unlike the movie, reindeer have more control in the air and don’t have to burp to get the gas out of their body). I did my research and found out that the drink was made from a special type of corn that grows only in below freezing temperatures. It is called Zea mays hellifer, a.k.a. “Magic Feed Corn”. I believe that “Magic Feed Corn” is fed to the reindeer and this is what lifts them off the ground and helps Santa deliver presents to children all over the world.”

Then yet another question that has puzzled me since forever: how does Rudolph’s nose glow? “No one is quite sure why Rudolph’s nose glows the way it does,” she says, “but there are many theories. One theory – the Sun-to-Nose Theory – is that light from the sun, moon, or whatever light source is around hits the nose and something inside the nose makes the light bounce back from the nose and to every other direction. One problem with this theory is that the light from Rudolph’s nose shines on and off, with or without another light source. Another possibly theory is the Hot Nose Theory. This theory suggests that Rudolph’s nose is lit up by the hot air coming out of her nose. Another theory – the Firefly-Nose Theory – is that perhaps inside Rudolph’s nose, there are two chemicals, luciferase and luciferin, the same chemicals that make a firefly’s tail shine. So perhaps this is why her nose glows.”

Wow! We learned a lot about Santa’s Best Friends. Now you know how they fly, what gender they really are and why Rudolph’s nose glows. Most of the reindeers’ names are unisex, so there’s no problem with most of them. If the name “Rudolph” sounds a bit boyish to you, you can simply call her the name in the song that we can now all sing, “Rudolpha, the red-nosed reindeer, had a very shiny nose . . .”

A reindeer

Written by: Mr. Smiley
Photographed by: Daniel P. Smithwater
Edited by: Christian Ryan

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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Rerun Article: The Mysteries of Saint Nicholas

Does Santa Claus exist? There's plenty of "evidence" that he doesn't . . . but how valid is it? Read this week's article to find out!
Saint Nicholas, also known as Santa Claus and Kris Kringle, is a hot topic this time of year. (And by hot, I mean HOT!) Many people firmly believe in him, others do not. But what's the truth? I mean, how else do all those presents get under the Christmas tree? I've heard plenty and plenty of so-called evidences that Santa Claus doesn't exist. I've heard them time and time again and it gets awful annoying. I seriously believe some people are paid to prove Santa Claus doesn't exist. This past Monday, I was bored in my office at Smiley's News (which, as you might recall is a part of Animal Adventures Inc.) with my trusty, junior photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater, Lizzy the Lizard, another writer at Smiley's News and a ton of arguments on the internet that Santa Claus doesn't exist and what was I to do? Well, my photographer and I decided to get to the bottom of this and find out evidence that Santa exists! I firmly believe that he exists with little or no evidence, but other people aren't so convinced so . . . oh, my photographer just informed me that I'm babbling so I'll get right to the point. Daniel, Lizzy and I did our own research to find a conclusion. First of all, I'll refresh your memory on just what Santa Claus has to do every Christmas Eve – as we all know, Santa jumps into his sleigh with his red bag and tons of presents and he flies into the sky thanks to his nine reindeer. Now, let's look at each of the arguments against Santa Claus' existence and I'll put my arguments forth and we'll prove once and for all that old Saint Nick exists!

Argument #1 – No one can deliver presents all over the world in one night, not even Santa Claus

Well, let's look at the facts: there are around seven billion people in the world and around one billion are kids. Here's the math: Santa has 24 hours to deliver all the presents, and one billion divided by 24 equals 41,666,666 kids per hour! And we're not finished yet! After dividing 41,666,666 by 60 (as there are 60 minutes in an hour), you get 649,444 kids to be visited per minute. After dividing 649,444 by 60 (as there are 60 seconds in one minute). That's 11,5574 kids per second! How does the old guy do it? Many Santa-disbelievers object to his existence because they think it's impossible to visit that many kids in one night because the day's simply not long enough. So, how do I counterattack this? Well, my assistants and I visited Dr. Dodo Bird, Animal Adventures Inc.'s psychiatrist (he does other stuff as well) to offer a few theories as to how this could be done. “First of all, a lot of people believe that Santa can't deliver presents to all the children of the world,” Dr. Dodo says, “but many people forget that not everyone celebrates Christmas in the first place! So if you count out those kids that don't celebrate Christmas, you still have a lot of kids left to visit. That's where the Time-Continuum Theory comes in!” Dr. Dodo explained that in the Time-Continuum Theory, Santa Claus could travel in his sleigh in the direction of the setting sun. So if he leaves the North Pole at 12:00 pm. he would start in Australia, in the earliest time zone, and then fly west. As he passes through different time zones going westward, he gains an hour each time he enters a new time zone. Dr. Dodo is quoted for saying, “Even though this theory is quite popular among Santa-believers, it's probably not enough time for Santa Claus to make his delivery. That's why I invented an all-new theory of my own: meet (*drum roll*) . . . the Time-Travel Theory!” According to the Dodo bird (who isn't much of a dodo after all!), Santa would have to travel extremely fast and thanks to a presumably reindeer AND jet-powered sleigh, this can be done. Dr. Dodo explains, “If Santa could travel extremely fast – say, jet-airplane-speed – strange things could happen. Going at extremely fast speeds could possibly result in the ability of time travel! (It might seem weird, but flying at light-speed might actually accomplish time-travel) And if Santa is time-traveling, he might be able to travel back in time and therefore add time to his time limit!” So much for this argument!

Argument #2 – Reindeer can't fly

Obviously, most reindeer can't fly. So how would Santa's Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Doner, Blitzen and Rudolph take to the air? Since it turns out we already covered this article last year in an article all about Santa's best buds, I'll just sum it all up: it's theorized that the reindeer gain their power of flight by consuming a special type of corn (called Magic Feed Corn) that fills their bodies with gas (not the rude kind of gas) and they can float into the air. By kicking their legs while in the air, they can move quite gracefully through the air. If you're thinking about trying some of this corn, I wouldn't advise it – side effects may include throat rashes, hair loss and strange hallucinations and dreams concerning Santa Claus and the North Pole-themed shopping centers.

Argument #3 – The North Pole's in the middle of the Arctic ocean

It's true, if you look at a map of the world and look at the North Pole, you'll realize that it's smack dab in the middle of the deep, blue ocean. How can Santa Claus's workshop be in the middle of the ocean? Well, it turns out that up in the pole, it's obviously bitterly cold, so icebergs often floats in the ocean all year round. My sources have led me to conclude that Santa Claus might have special techniques not only to keep the icebergs the size they need to keep the workshop floating, but also to keep the iceberg in the same location so we don't find Santa's workshop floating somewhere in the Southern Atlantic Ocean. Many have also wondered why we don't find satellite-imaging evidence for Santa's existence, but perhaps his workshop's inside instead of on top of the iceberg? Something like in the Santa Clause franchise? Then we might never know he's there (which is kind of the point). While doing my research, Lizzy brought up another suggestion: “What if he's not in the North Pole at all?” “What do you mean?” I asked. “What if we think he's in the North Pole? He could be living in the South Pole for all we know, and we'd never know to look there because we think he's up north!” Then it hit me – Lizzy's got a point! So in summary, Santa's workshop could be either in or on top of an iceberg in the North Pole or at the South Pole in Antarctica.

Argument #4 – “I saw my parents putting 'presents from Santa' under the Christmas tree.”

One of the most common arguments of all is that kids claim to have witnessed their parents putting “Santa's” presents underneath the Christmas tree. How on earth can we argue against this? Well, my assistants and I thought long and hard about this . . . and we finally thought of an incredible solution! Santa Claus needs to be kept secret, right? And nonbelievers in Santa wouldn't be so inclined to find him, especially if they remember putting presents underneath the tree for their kids. What if Santa has an ingenious invention to ensure people don't make serious searches for him by causing them to forget with – what else? – an amnesia-inator? If this supposed amnesia-inator exists, one of Santa's elves could easily press a “global-extent” button and people would not only forget not-putting presents under the tree and “remember” doing just that, but (some) kids might “remember” seeing their parents doing the deed. Isn't it ingenious? Of course, it must not effect everyone, or we'd have one too many unbelievers and that's not good.

So there you have it! Four evidences against the four most common arguments against Santa's existence. So you readers can now scream to your unbelieving friends, “Ha! Mr. Smiley told me evidence that Santa does exist!” Now that you've read this article, I have a question: do you (now) believe in Santa Claus? My assistants and I know our answer full and well, and it was the same one given to a certain young girl who asked about Old St. Nicks existence: “Yes [Virginia], there is a Santa Claus!”

Written by: Mr. Smiley
Photographer: Daniel P. Smithwater
Edited by: Christian Ryan, Joy Hammond

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Next Issue: Rerun Article: Reindeer Girl Power

Monday, November 23, 2015

Rerun Article: A Gobbler's Protest

Disclaimer: The views presented in the following article do not represent the views of Smiley’s News. Please note that they are merely the views of the interviewee.

Thanksgiving is rounding the corner. Wait, I’m wrong, it’s here! Oh the joy! A lot of people will be doing special things for Thanksgiving this year. Some will be watching football, some will be doing something special with other family members, some will go over to a friend’s house. But no matter where you are, there’s one thing we probably all will be doing this Thanksgiving - eating turkey! Turkey is prepared in dozens of different ways, most will probably just lay it out on the table, others will be putting their turkey in sandwiches, others will have turkey slices, others will eat theirs right off the bone, and some will even be eating it inside Apple Pie like my grandma does. Boy, she makes her pie weird too. Take her crust for instance. In order to get it just perfect, she takes her false teeth out and . . . wait a minute, I’m getting off topic here! Anyways, this Thanksgiving, some citizens will be going to turn Thanksgiving upside-down! At Animal Adventures Inc. (AAI.), in Riverville, New York, a fowl by the name of Dr. Turkey Curkey wishes to (naturally) change the Thanksgiving tradition of, you guessed it: turkey hunting! He’s quoted for saying, “I don’t like turkey season. Never have. I mean, I’m safe here at AAI., but I have to be careful where I go when fall comes because it’s not often that you see a turkey just walking on the sidewalk. I have to be careful in the spring too.” Dr. Turkey has PhD. in psychology and human behavioral studies and views turkey season as just a chance for humans to go crazy. Recently, he had a speech in which hundreds of regularly hunted and eaten fowl (along with myself and my trusty, junior photographer Daniel P. Smithwater) gathered to hear him. On the issue of turkey season (and fowl season in general), he said, “I believe that the hunting of fowl has gone out of hand. I mean seriously, turkeys and other fowl are living things just like humans. We may not be made in God’s image, so it would make since that we are not treated the same, but still, I firmly believed we are undertreated.” He also went on to say that even living conditions for turkeys and chickens on farms are not satisfactory. He believes they should be cleaned out much more often and they should not be fed that GMO stuff. “Turkey’s hate the taste of GMO and growth hormones,” Dr. Turkey says, “but the only reason why we eat it is because that’s all we’re given.” Dr. Turkey isn’t really for the eating turkey on Thanksgiving, but he understands that humans just have a habit of doing that. Not only that, but he also recalls God’s words to humans in Genesis 9:3, “” On Thanksgiving Day though, he recommends another thing to do instead of killing “poor and innocent” turkeys. “Instead of killing turkeys,” he says, “humans should be generous and adopt a baby turkey for a Thanksgiving tradition. I mean, compared to animals such as dogs and cats, turkeys require much less care. Humans don’t have to brush them, pay for weekly visits to the vet, pet them often, play with them often, buy toys for them and etc. Turkeys, chickens and other fowl make much better pets than food. We turkeys are generally looked down on, but it wasn’t always this way. As a matter of fact, Benjamin Franklin wanted the national bird to be a turkey instead of a bald eagle. Here, check out this quote from a letter he wrote to his daughter named Sarah Bache on January 26, 1784. He wrote:

‘Others object to the Bald Eagle, as looking too much like a Dindon . . . For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our country. He is a Bird of bad moral character. He does not get his living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead tree near the river, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the labour of the fishing hawk[Osprey]; and when that diligent bird has at length taken a fish, and is bearing it to his nest for the support of his mate and young ones, the bald eagle pursues him and takes it from him. . . . he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank coward: the little king bird not bigger than a sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the district. He is by no means a proper emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the king birds from our country . . .
I am on this account . . . displeased that the figure is . . . known as a bald eagle . . . For in truth the turkey is in comparison a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original Native of America. . . He is besides . . . a bird of courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his farm yard with a red coat on.’

So as you can see, I firmly believe the turkey, and all other hunting/eating birds, need more respect than they are getting.” Wow! What a powerful speech for such an . . . amazing bird. So why not get a pet turkey? Look around the area where you live for farms that sell turkeys. Before the interview, I had no idea how game birds felt. I guess Dr. Turkey really is a motivational speaker . . . or is that gobbler?
Written by: Mr. Smiley
Photographer: Daniel P. Smithwater
Edited by: Christian Ryan, Joy Hammond

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Next Issue: Rerun Article: The Mysteries of Saint Nicholas

Monday, November 16, 2015

Rerun Article: Mac Dee Dee's First Harvest

Here is a section of Mac Dee Dee's farmland. Corn is very popular this time of year!

On 7, 2013, Mac Dee Dee and his family opened a farm in Riverville, New York with a mission – to use “old-fashioned” and organic methods of farming to grow and produce food that wouldn't harbor evil growth hormones and would also be a good place for the animals and plants they grow to spend their lives (until the day they're butchered of course). Remember that Bible verse that explains how we “shall reap what we sow”? Well, Mac Dee Dee did just that – that is, his first major harvest – on the 17th of September. My trusty, junior photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater, and I went to get an exclusive interview with Mac Dee Dee himself to learn more about the operation. He's quoted for saying, “I've always been so excited about this day! Of course, we've been harvesting vegetables, fruits and animal meats and animal products since we opened. But as everyone knows, most of the things farmers grow and produce (corn for example) are harvested big-time in the fall. So this is our first major harvest! I for one am so excited about event.” Mac Dee Dee went on to explain that their farm is approximately 50,000 acres of land and is the perfect place for growing all sorts of food to feed a large population of people. Many health food stores, organic grocers and local buyers have already started buying and (in the case of stores) reselling his products and, in Riverville at least, he's becoming quite popular. While my photographer and I were at the farm, Mac Dee Dee and the others were harvesting potatoes in one part of the farm, cantaloupes in another and corn in yet another. It looked like a lot of work to do! “You have to be so careful when you're doing potatoes,” says Mac Dee Dee. “When we harvest potatoes, we use a large hoe-like piece of machinery and drive it pull it across the potato fields using a tractor.” He went on to explain that they plant the potatoes in long rows. Earlier in the season, they had dug out long trenches and placed the potatoes in each trench. Then they cover the trenches with soil. As the season wears on, the potatoes they planted (called Mother potatoes) sprout baby potatoes of their own and since they grow outwards instead of straight down into the dirt, Mac Dee Dee and the other farmers pile more and more dirt on to keep them covered. “A green potato is a bad potato,” Mac Dee Dee explains. “Green potatoes are toxic, so we don't pick them for consumption and put them in compost instead.” Finally, during the harvest season, Mac Dee Dee and the other farmers work together and use the hoe-like machinery to pull the potatoes out of the soil and remove the top soil-layer. After this is done, they grab the potatoes and place them in their crates to prepare them to ship out. Compared to potatoes, harvesting corn, cantaloupes and the rest of the lot sounds like a piece of cake! (I think I'm going to make some cake this afternoon by the way . . . wait, I'm getting off topic!) Apples are also among the fruits to be harvested during this time of year. While we were at the farm, Mac Dee Dee let Daniel and I eat one, and boy was it sweet! I would have loved to share it with you guys, my readers, but it's kind of hard to do that in writing, sorry about that! In yet another part of this large farm, Mac Dee Dee's farmers were butchering cows, turkeys, chickens, pigs and other animals and gathering the eggs of chickens, geese and others. “We plan on selling a lot of turkey this year,” Mac Dee Dee tells me. “We all know how much people like to eat turkey during Thanksgiving and Christmas, and it's also organic. That's why we're produced hundreds and hundreds of turkeys in addition to the other animals we produce. But unlike most farms that keep them all cooped up, our animals are free-ranging within a (REALLY big) fenced area for them to live and feed naturally – that's why we need 50,000 acres of land.” We also checked out the milking area for the dairy cows. It's a huge place to house their hundreds of milking cows when it's milking time. While I was there, I got to hear the deafening sound of Mozart's music playing from large speakers. Mac Dee Dee says, “There's a rumor that cows produce more and better milk when Mozart music is playing, so we figured we might as well have it playing just in case it proves to be true!” But after milking time's over, not only is it a great relief to my eardrums, but also it's time for the cows to go back out to the pastures where they can graze, just like their ancestors did before the big commercial farms that keep cows locked up in tiny stalls all day long came about. Mac Dee Dee's farm is part of a growing movement to make America's eating habits better and therefore in prove better lives. “Our farm is so big that we're rivaling other non-organic farms. And that's a good thing, because it's time that we as farmers turn this eating thing around and get people to eat a better way, especially during the upcoming holiday season – to eat organic!”

Written by: Mr. Smiley
Photographer: Daniel P. Smithwater
Edited by: Christian Ryan, Joy Hammond

Weekly Cartoons

Next Issue: Rerun Article: A Gobler's Protest