Thursday, December 27, 2012

A New Breed of Terrible Lizards!

Dr. Steve has cloned a host of prehistoric creatures: Stegosaurus (left), Guanlong (background), Inostrancevia (front center), Scutosaurus (right front), Dracorex (far left)
Finally, it's time! The moment you all have been waiting for - we finally get to know what Dr. Steve Stevenson, head geneist (a scientist who works with genes and DNA) at Animal Adventures Institute has been cloning these last few months. And it has been a lot. When we heard Dr. Steve was finished with his latest cloning project, my trusty junior photographer Daniel P. Smithwater and I headed over to his lab to check it out. In one of our earlier issues of Smiley's News: Waking the Sleeping Dinosaurs, we discussed that Dr. Steve had just received the fossils from Dr. Samuel Adamson's latest fossil hunting expeditions. Well, those specimens finally came to light. So who are these new creatures? Well, considering I had never seen any of these creatures before, we put that question to Dr. Steve. He says, "We've cloned a host of creatures to live on the planet once again. As you already know, most of the creatures we've cloned here at the institute were brought back from Dr. Adamson's fossil hunt. The one exception is the Stegosaurus. We've had Stegosaurus DNA in the "Fossil Storage" for a long time. I actually forgot it was back there. Most of what's back there is unidentified, so whenever we are going to clone creatures from the "Fossil Storage" we never know what we're going to get!" Then I asked Dr. Steve what was so special about these new animals. "Well, let's start with the Inostrancevia," says Dr. Steve, "she's a member of the gorgonopsid group, that's a group of reptiles that acted a bit like mammals. They grew about as big as a bear and have twice the ferocity in the wild! You might have also noticed that she has a pair of four-inch saber-teeth in her mouth. Saber-toothed cats weren't the only saber-toothed animals around. Our Inostrancevia uses those canines to rip into prey, which would have included another animal we've cloned: Scutosaurus." When I asked him if he was going to feed it to the Inostrancevia, his response was, "Of course not, but that's what they ate in the wild. The Scutosaurus is a turtle-like reptile that weighs a full ton. Fortunately then, that it was a vegetarian!" Then the scientist moved onto the Guanlong, "Guanlong we just cloned might look like an insignificant dinosaur, but it's actually a cousin of the much larger and much more famous Tyrannosaurus rex! The crest on it's head was used for display purposes. That then brings us to our final animal: Dracorex. Now Dracorex has a really interesting full name: Dracorex hogwartsia. The first name is due to its appearance to a medieval dragon and the last name, as you might have guessed, is relating to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from the Harry Potter books (which this paper does not endorse, by the way. Check out the link I provided by clicking on "Harry Potter" in the previous sentence). Dracorex was a pachycephalesaur living in North America back when dinosaurs lived on our planet. He's an omnivore and enjoys a mixture of fruits, leaves, nuts, young roots and shoots and insects in his diet." I then recalled the Edmontosaurus he mentioned in the "Waking the Sleeping Dinosaurs" article we had a few months ago and asked why that wasn't cloned. Dr. Steve is quoted for saying, "Unfortunately, the Edmontosaurus specimen didn't yield DNA, so we shipped the fossils off to the Museum of Natural History so they could study them. Whenever our fossils don't yield DNA, we always just send them to museums around the United States so that they may use them." Well, even if the Edmontosaurus wasn't "clonable", I'd say that Dr. Steve has definitely cloned a great set of amazing prehistoric creatures God once created to live on this earth, all those thousands (not millions) of years ago.

Bonus Story: The Pitter-Patter of Tiny Three-Toed Feet
Morgan Parasaurolophus with her parents
Along with the excitement surrounding the new creatures Dr. Steve cloned, there's even more news! The Parasaurolophus eggs we mentioned in the Dinosaurs Reproducing After Their Own Kinds article we had a few months ago finally hatched! Well, one did. Dr. Elizabeth Sorkin (the head veterinarian at Animal Adventures Institute) wasn't sure why the other four eggs didn't hatch, but the proud Parasaurolophus parents are just glad to have been blessed with kids. "We're are just so excited!" says Mrs. Parasaurolophus. "I've always loved babies and this one is no exception! We hadrosaurs (or duck-billed dinosaurs) are famous for our nurturing habits. Did you know that one of my cousins, Maiasaura is named "Good Mother Lizard" because many of their fossils have been found next to neatly arranged eggs?" When asked what they named the newborn, she says, "We decided that she looked an awful lot like a Morgan. Yes, she looks just like a Morgan!"

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

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

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


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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Reindeer Girl Power! Special Christmas Edition I

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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Thursday, December 6, 2012

The New Swimmers (and Squawkers)



Tyler Tylosaurus (top), Leo Liopleurodon (middle) and Dr. Dodo (bottom) are three of Dr. Steve's latest cloned creatures.

Ever since the 1980’s, there has always been a lot of talk about cloning dinosaurs, creatures that haven’t seen the light of day for thousands of years. Yet, only a few companies, such as InGen, a.k.a. International Genetic Technologies, Zoo Tycoon Inc. and of course Animal Adventures Institute, or AAI (the section of the famed Animal Adventures Inc. that studies animals). Even still, out of these few companies, only a “few” species of extinct creatures have been cloned. Why? Well of course you need DNA to clone any type of creature. Most of these cloned creatures have been dinosaurs, but the head scientists at AAI, Dr. Steve Stevenson recently received the fossils from the latest fossil dig of Dr. Samuel and Indiana Adamson PhD and what they brought back aren’t dinosaurs! They are mostly marine reptiles! (Yes, Dr. Steve is still working on the extinct creatures he mentioned in a previous issue of Smiley’s News, but these are the animals he was working on before the animals he mentioned last week, so the ones in today's newspaper were cloned first) “Finally, something other than dinosaurs,” says Dr. Steve, “I was so excited when the latest shipment of fossils came in. Now we can see what I can get out of these bones this time!” A few months after the fossils came in, new creatures were born. The new creatures are Tylosaurus proriger (named Tyler), and Liopleurodon ferox (named Leo). These two creatures are not dinosaurs, but swimming reptiles. Dr. Steve also was able to clone something else from DNA found in the “Fossil Storage”. He explains, “We have an extensive fossil storage out back. The amount of fossils back there has built up over time due to the past digs of my two paleontologists and their team. So we have some pretty neat stuff back there!” And what else should Dr. Steve clone, but one of the most famous of all extinct animals – Raphus cucullatus, aka the Dodo Bird! Yep, now a living breathing Dodo Bird is back from the brink and living at AAI (but more about Dodo Birds later). To find out more about marine reptiles, my trusty junior photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater and I went to interview the creatures themselves. When asked what exactly she is, Tyler is quoted to saying, “I’m a Tylosaurus proriger, not a dinosaur as some people would like to think, but instead, I’m actually a mosasaur, a type of lizard God created to dwell in the ocean.” Yes, you read right! Tyler is a lizard, and a big one at that. When asked about her size, she responded, “Well, I’m a full 50 feet long from nose to tail, and I weigh approximately 10 tons in weight.” I then asked her about some of the “adaptations” God gave her to help her live in the water, as most lizards are land dwellers. “First of all,” she started, “God gave us paddle-like flippers and a shark-like tail to help us propel through the water. I can hold my breath for over an hour if need be. Mosasaurs don’t only come in big packages however, one of my cousins only grew about three feet long and was semi-aquatic. You also may have noticed my jaws and teeth are perfect for chomping down whatever I wrap my teeth around. We were predators back in the day. My kind literally ate anything that moved, even Jaws would have steered away from me! If you were to look in my mouth, you’d see that I have two sets of teeth that I can move independently of each other. And my teeth point backwards, so when I hold onto something, there’s only one way to escape – down the gullet!” We also had a brief interview with Leo the Liopleurodon. When asked if he was related to Tyler, he says, “No, I’m not a mosasaur, I’m a pliosaur. There is a difference. We use our flippers for propulsion, as mosasaurs use their tails.” He also went on to say, “You might also be interested to know that I’m a full 49.5 feet long and I weigh 10 tons as well. Yet, I'm still not yet fully grown. My jaws are ten feet long and full of sharp teeth, as you can see.” And what big teeth Leo has! They are almost a foot long, and that’s not including the root! Leo also says, “We’ve also a fine sense of smell to track down our prey, which in the wild, would consist of big fish, sharks, dolphin-like reptiles called Ichthyosaurs (of course, here at the institute, he doesn’t eat those things), and . . . well, pretty much anything that moved. I especially like squid (this he can eat at the institute).” Now earlier, I did mention Dr. Steve cloned a Dodo Bird, so naturally, my photographer and I went to interview him as well. (He prefers to be called “Dr. Dodo” by the way). He is quoted to saying, “We Dodos don’t have a very good reputation, I mean, almost as soon as humans found the one and only island we live on, they exterminated us! Ever since, we’ve been pictured as fat, clumsy, dumb birds. But this is not true! People seem to assume this because they drove us to extinction. It was their own fault we went extinct anyway. This isn’t very fair anyway! Consider the Bald Eagle, humans almost drove them to extinction and do they call the Bald Eagle dumb? Nope! Not at all! But now that we Dodos are back from the brink, we have a chance to fix our reputation.” When asked how he plans to do that, he responded, “First, we definitely must show our dignity, ‘always dignity’, as my good friend Dr. Dreyfuss always says. Maybe if I learn Tae Kwon Do-do that will help impress some people too.” So Dr. Steve has been busy, busy, busy cloning new (and quite astute, I might add) creatures back from the brink of extinction. In a few weeks, things at the institute will eventually calm down . . . until Dr. Steve’s next batch of extinct creatures is cloned of course!

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

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sarah's Wild Drive-Off!

The three Dilophosaurus (left and center background), Mr. Fish (front left), Mr. Gregor (center left), Sarah Bus Stop Guy (center right), and the police (left) standing in front of Mr. Peter and his truck in the background.
Here in Riverville, New York, some people can be a little crazy. And this craziness runs in the family. Just this Monday, the P for Prize Toy Company was driving through Riverville to deliver some new toys to a nearby toy store. Little did they know they had a tag-a-long: Sarah Bus Stop Guy. My junior photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater and I know Sarah very well, so we had to hop in on this news. Who’s Sarah Bus Stop Guy? Well, she’s the 12 year old daughter of the Mr. Bus Stop Guy and they are locals of Riverville. (I’m sure the last name sounds a little weird, but rumor has it that it has something to do with Mr. Bus Stop Guy’s previous occupations) Mr. Bus Stop Guy is a little cuckoo you see. So this weirdness must have been passed on to her daughter. So as the P for Prize truck went driving down the road, Sarah opened the trunk so a few things fell out. So when the driver, named Mr. Peter, noticed something was going on back there, he went out to investigate . . . and this is when after he closed the trunk, Sarah hopped into the driver’s seat and drove away! “At first I didn’t know what was happening to my expensive truck,” said Mr. Peter. “I thought I forgot to put the break on until I saw a little figure in the driver’s seat.” Mr. Peter called the police and they were on the hunt. But they couldn’t find her. Fortunately, two other locals named Mr. Fred Fish and Mr. Gregor (he was on the front page a few months prior) saw a large truck driving like crazy down the road and realized that someone they knew was inside! “I knew Sarah was crazy,” says Mr. Fish, “But I had no idea that she was that crazy.” Mr. Gregor said, “After calling the police, all I could do was hope that Sarah would finally learn her lesson after this escapade!” Unfortunately, Sarah was better at driving a truck than you’d think. She just drove around the curvy mountain roads. The police even had trouble getting hold of her. What could anybody do? Well, it just so happened that that day, the Dilophosaurus (Die-LOF-oh-SOAR-us) trio from Animal Adventures Inc. was taking a walk that day on those mountain roads. For those of you who don’t know, Animal Adventures Inc. (aka AAI) is a large company run by Nigel Milligan who is famous for films such as “Animal Face-Off: Lion vs. Tiger” and “Animal Face-Off: Velociraptor vs. Protoceratops”. Now AAI also has an institute called Animal Adventures Institute where they clone extinct creatures such as dinosaurs (and yes, the animals are taught fluid English). So three Dilophosaurus (two males and one female) were taking a walk when they saw Sarah driving the truck down the road. So the three dinosaurs got to action, they ran toward the truck and hitched a ride. They then managed to force Sarah out of the driver’s seat, take the wheel and safely drive the vehicle back to its owner. The female Dilophosaurus, named Dilo, is quoted to saying, “Sarah is a nut-head alright. Believe me, we’ve known Sarah for years, but I never thought she’d do this! Fortunately, we were able to force her out of the driver’s seat. And get the truck back to the owner.” When I asked how the Dilophosaurus how she managed to drive a truck without fully-opposable thumbs, she simply said, “It was ‘interesting’.” After getting the truck back, the Dilophosaurus were each given a free chew toy and Sarah was put in time out. When I asked Sarah about how she felt about her situation, she replied, “Mr. Smiley, you’re so nosy! Bye!” Well, I just hope Sarah learned a lesson from this, because I firmly believe, she’s on Santa’s naughty list this year for sure!

Written by: Mr. Smiley
Photographed by: Daniel P. Smithwater
Edited by: Christian Ryan
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Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Gobbler's Protest

Dr. Turkey making his speech to his fellow game birds.

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. Here’s a good place to start: www.efoul.com/turkeys_for_sale_s. There, you can buy turkey’s and other game birds. Before the interview, I had no idea how game birds felt. I guess Dr. Turkey really is a motivational speaker . . . or is that gobbler?

PS: Dr. Turkey left a few things out of his quote, to see the rest of the quote, see this link.

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


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Next Issue: Sarah’s Wild Drive-Off!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Waking the Sleeping Dinosaurs

Dr. Steve (left), Dr. Indiana (center) and Dr. Samuel (right) admiring a fossil bone of an Edmontosaurus

My trusty junior photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater and I both got a kick out of this next story. Dr. Steve Stevenson PhD at Animal Adventures Institute (AAI) is back to his cloning projects. His latest attempt is to clone the extinct creatures brought back from the Adamson’s trip. Dr. Samuel and Indiana Adamson PhD are two married paleontologists who have worked in just about every corner of the world. Recently, their trips to western North America, Russia, and Europe have revealed the fossils of numerous extinct creatures. “I have cloned quite a few other extinct animals, including dinosaurs,” Dr. Steve says. “I can’t wait to get started once again.” The animals brought back from the fossil digs are a large hadrosaur or duckbilled dinosaur called Edmontosaurus, a small pachycephalesaur or bone-headed dinosaur called Dracorex, a large pterosaur or flying reptile called Hatzegopteryx, a sharp-toothed gorgonopsid called Inostrancevia and a turtle-like reptile called Scutosaurus. Dr. Samuel Adamson believes these fossils hold proteins inside them, and proteins could contain DNA, and if we have DNA, then it is possible to clone the dinosaur or other extinct animal. “These fossils weren’t preserved in the best preservation state,” Dr. Samuel says, “but they could be a lot worse. At least we can tell what they are. Some fossils we have dug up in the past are in a terrible state and we can’t give the slightest clue of what it is.” The fossil bones are taken out of the ground and then shipped by helicopter back to Animal Adventures Institute in Riverville, New York. That is when Dr. Steve comes in. He then examines the bones and takes a very thin slice of each species and looks at them under the microscope to see if they are viable for cloning. If they are then he takes the slice, makes a mold for it so it can be put back on the original fossils and then he must extract the DNA out of the bones by using a super computer. Dr. Steve shares the rest of the cloning process, “After the DNA is out of the bone and the computer is finished working on it . . . well, I’m not sure how much you know about genes and DNA, but fossil DNA is not complete. It’s full of fragments. This is what has caused scientists trouble for years!” Dr. Steve has had a rich history when it comes to his cloning experience. In the 1990’s, Dr. Steve was one of the first scientists to help with cloning dinosaurs. He was cloning dinosaurs for a type of zoo called Cretaceous Park and they experienced the DNA gap issues. The head geneist (a gene and DNA scientist) at the time was Dr. Lora Sorkin (contrary to popular belief, she was not killed by a prehistoric creature as everyone believes). She suggested that the park take some time and figure out how to get the full DNA sequence. But the board of directors didn’t want to take that kind of time, so she was “kicked” out of the lab and sent to do field research. Dr. Henri Wu was the replacement chief geneist. He was hired to be chief geneist because he was able to figure out that you could fill the DNA gaps with frog DNA and get the job done quickly. Nowadays though, Dr. Steve had figured out how to fill in those gaps without frog DNA (which can produce some strange dinosaurs). He instead just uses dinosaur DNA from multiple fossil samples of the same species to complete the sequence. “We don’t know yet which of the fossils yield DNA,” says Dr. Steve, “but we also have what I call a ‘fossil storage’ out back where we’ve put all our unidentified bones from previous digs and there’s some pretty cool stuff in there.” What wonders will Steve clone? We’ll just have to wait and see . . .

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

PS: For more on the story of Dr. Lora Sorkin and Dr. Henri Wu, please visit this link, this link and this link.

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Next Issue: Thanksgiving Day Special - Gobblers Protest

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dinosaurs Reproducing After Their Own Kind


The proud new parent Brachiosaurus (top) and Parasaurolophus (bottom) pairs.
A lot has been happening at Animal Adventures Inc. (AAI.) lately! But the most recent news is happening at Animal Adventures Institute (a section of AAI. that studies animals). In the first time in hundreds of years, some of the species of dinosaurs at the institute have laid eggs! This isn’t the first time this has happened at the institute. The first dinosaur eggs laid by the already cloned dinosaurs themselves were T. rex eggs back in December of 2009. Three T. rex babies hatched (named Jane, Little Clint and Eggbert). In 2010, the next clutch to be laid were that of the Institute’s Spinosaurus and Apatosaurus. They each hatched two eggs. In 2011, a baby Triceratops and two baby Stegosaurus hatched. Now in 2012, more dinosaur species have laid eggs. When I heard about this, my junior photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater and I had to check it out. The proud parents are Mr. and Mrs. Brachiosaurus and Mr. and Mrs. Parasaurolophus. Now Brachiosaurus is one of the largest long-necked or sauropod dinosaurs, and Parasaurolophus is one of the duckbilled or hadrosaur dinosaurs. Both parents now have five eggs each. Head scientist Dr. Steve Stevenson explains, “This is really revolutionary! No one alive today has ever seen living Brachiosaurus or Parasaurolophus eggs. Actually I take that back, no one alive has ever seen eggs from these two species, living or fossil.” The eggs are big, each one is about the size of a football. In the wild, sauropods didn’t care for the eggs. Instead, the parent dinosaur would lay them and move on. Here in the institute, the parents aren’t going to care for the eggs either, instead, they get to care for them once they hatch. “No offense to the sauropods,” Dr. Steve says, “but they don’t have very big brains. The reason why wild sauropods left their eggs was because having a very small brain meant they probably had trouble determining where their head and feet are verses where the eggs are. So that’s why we’ll return the eggs to the parent dinosaurs after they hatch.” The creature selected to care for the sauropod eggs is Mr. Oliver Oviraptor. He is a dinosaur Dr. Steve has cloned and is very capable of taking care of eggs. "Oviraptors can take very good care of eggs," Oliver says, "Even our fossils have been found of us guarding our eggs from the potential dangers of the dinosaur world." Hadrosaurs, on the other hand, did care for both the eggs and babies in the wild since they had larger brains. We know this because relatives of Parasaurolophus have been found with fossil nests. My photographer and I also had the chance to interview the proud mothers of each brood. “We are just so excited,” says Mrs. Brachiosaurus, “We’ve been here for quite a few years and haven’t had any children. This is exactly the opportunity we’ve been waiting for. We aren’t sure how many of the eggs will hatch, but hopefully at least one, or two, or three, or . . . well, I want all of them to hatch!” Mrs. Parasaurolophus also had something to say about her brood, "I am also excited about the eggs. Once they hatch, I'll be able to show how good at mothering a mother dinosaur can be!" She went on to say that baby dinosaurs hatch out of eggs much more mature than human babies. "Baby hadrosaurs can talk at a few hours," she says, "they can walk within a few months and they can run with the herd within maybe a few months to a year, it all depends on the health of the baby." So maybe Animal Adventures Institute will hear the pitter-patter of little dino-paws sometime soon. You can be sure Smiley's News will keep you posted on this one!

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

Bonus Story: The New President of the Town Board is . . .
I'm sure you all have been waiting impatiently for the news of who the next President of the Town Board is. As most of you know, the two who were running for election were Mr. Edward Scott and Mr. Otis Ostrich. So who won the election? Well it was very close, but the winner is, drumroll please . . . Otis Ostrich! He won by 10,994 votes, meanwhile Edward got 10,991 votes. "I am so excited to have been elected!" says Otis. "All the voters really made a good choice. And I promise, I will do this job the best way possible, the way Christ Himself would!" Needless to say, Edward Scott wasn't too happy about the situation, but it is surprising to hear his response to this, "Well, I'm still bummed that I'm no longer President of the Town Board, but maybe it was for the best. I must admit I really thought I was a Christian, but I then learned the truth: salvation cannot be gained by mere good works, but by grace and by grace alone and faith in Jesus Christ. If I had won the election, I might not have been humbled enough to finally submit to Christ." Otis Ostrich also has a few final words to say to all those who gave him the much-needed support, "Thank you everyone who voted for me, but I still will never forget that it's God's Will that I'm here at all!"

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Next Issue: A New Breed of Extinct Creatures


Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Politician's Petition


Otis Ostrich giving his speech to hundreds of people prior to the election (yes that's my head in the foreground)
Election Day is coming soon! It’s on the 6th of November and people are already talking about who the next president will probably be. Let’s hope the right person is elected (personally, I’m voting for whoever is going to carry out governmental business the Christian-way). But here in Riverville, New York, another governmental battle is about to take place. Two people are competing for the role of President of town board. This is a big spot to fill, and the two people are very interested in the position. These two people are Mr. Edward Scott and Mr. Otis Ostrich. Yes, you read right: Otis Ostrich! As his name suggests, Otis is an Ostrich and he’s from Animal Adventures Inc. (AAI.) one of the few places in the world with animals that speak fluid English. When my junior photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater and I heard that Otis was going to run for President of the town board, we headed over to AAI. to find out more. “I know this is a little strange, having an animal be the President of the town board,” Otis says, “but I have been involved in politics before.” Otis wants to become President of the town board for a number of reasons, he says, “I think that this board desperately needs a new president. I mean, they’ve made some pretty bad choices lately with Mr. Edward Scott! They cancelled the town’s yearly Day of Prayer and replaced it with a Muslim activity! For Pete’s sake! That was a terrible choice on Edward the Evil’s part!” When Otis went up to do a speech prior to his hopeful election in front of hundreds of people, he also said that he wishes to: 
  • To protect the life of the unborn (or unhatched)
  • To protect Christian liberties of repealing and replacing Edwardocare
  • Reduce taxes for everyone without discrimination
  • And to have smaller government-more individual freedom and responsibility
So as you can see, this bird is serious about his hopeful role in the society. When asked why Otis is being so . . . “negative” about Edward, he said, “That Edward dude is a completely fabricated, untrue, unjust, untrustworthy, unreliable . . . guy. I mean, the man claims he’s a Christian, but what Christian would replace a Christian day with a Muslim activity! Now don’t get me wrong, other than their disbelief in the real Bible, I have nothing against Muslims, but Edward was rejecting God in a sense! Now this really appalled me, considering the guy is supposedly a Christian and all. He actually endorsed Halloween this past October!” After hearing this, my photographer and I headed over to Edward Scott to get his perspective on the election. “Otis the Ostrich? Oh please, don’t worry about not being elected. I mean, he’s a bird for Pete’s sake! Birds are dumb. I’ve done my research and concluded that Ostriches have a brain the size of their eyeball, that’s pretty small. So I know for a fact I’m going to be elected.” When asked about his Christianity, he is quoted for saying, “Of course I’m a Christian. I have been really, really good ever since I was born. I often read my Bible and I attend Church every Sunday." When I started to talk to him about how no matter how good you are, you still aren't allowed in heaven unless you except Jesus' free gift of salvation, he instantly changed the subject . . . hmm, his so-called "Christianity" is pretty suspicious if you ask me. Otis Ostrich is also hopeful in the coming election and so is his few week-old son named Enik (he's in the foreground to the right my head and to the left of that man in the yellow sweater). Enik says, "I believe my Daddy can be a great President of the Town Board. He's much, much better than that fool-headed Edward guy and if I were old enough to vote, my Dad is the one who gets my votes!" When asked when an Ostrich is able to vote, he said, "Well, I'm not sure, but I'd suspect it's as soon as we reach adulthood." (Even though this Ostrich chick is only a few weeks old, he already has the verbal capabilities of a six or seven year old child!) So who will win the election? No one knows, but I encourage you to please take our poll to cast who you think should be the next President of the Town Board. Simply post a comment by typing in who your vote would go to at the bottom of this page and then put anonymous or your name in the box below the comment box and then click preview. (After that you will have to put in either two words or a word and a number that comes up on the screen, just try it. Believe me, it's not as hard as it sounds) Next week, along with the main story, we will also reveal who will be elected President of the Town Board!

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

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Next Issue: Dinosaurs Reproducing After Their Own Kind (and we'll find out who's the new President of the Town Board!)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Harvest Day Special - The Great Pumpkin: Myth or Reality?

The Great Pumpkin spotted walking back to the pumpkin patch.

One character surrounds Harvest Day more than any others, and that character is no doubt the Great Pumpkin. Who’s the Great Pumpkin? Well for those of you who don’t know who the Great Pumpkin is, I’ll tell you. The Great Pumpkin supposedly a large pumpkin that spends most of his time sitting in the pumpkin patch until Harvest Day night when he rises out of the pumpkin patch and gives toys to all the good little children. There are a group of people known as the Great Pumpkin Foundation (GPF) who are determined to prove that the Great Pumpkin exists. The president of this group is none other than Linus van Pelt. You know him well, remember that kid on Charlie Brown who’s always carrying a blanket? Yep, that’s him. He has always been a strong believer in the Great Pumpkin. Every Harvest Day night, he still waits by the pumpkin patch hoping for his arrival. When asked how long he’d believe in something that supposedly wasn’t true, his response was, “When you stop believing in a fat man with a white beard in a red coat that says, ‘Ho, ho, ho!’” He also is famous for saying, “There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.” The Great Pumpkin tale has been around for a long time, but there has been no firm proof of the Great Pumpkin’s existence . . . until now! Another advocate of the Great Pumpkin, Jack Stevenson has got firm proof of the Great Pumpkin, so he says. Jack Stevenson is the son of Dr. Steve Stevenson who appeared in our paper a few weeks ago. “I was merely taking a walk by myself one day,” he recalls, “When suddenly I saw something big and orange walking by. I almost didn’t believe my eyes, it must have been the Great Pumpkin!” That is when he took the picture you see above. There are basically two views of the Great Pumpkin, one of course is that of Linus and Jack, they firmly believe in him (they even suggest singing pumpkin carols). But others, such as Lucy van Pelt believes that the Great Pumpkin does not exist but instead, people such as Linus and Jack are confusing the Great Pumpkin and Santa Claus. Anyway, to continue the story of Jack and the Great Pumpkin, Jack says, “So I took the picture and the Great Pumpkin dashed back over to the pumpkin patch. I followed him but by the time he reached the patch, he was already camouflaged with the other pumpkins.” This is the first actual recorded appearance of what could be the Great Pumpkin. We also had a brief interview with Sarah Bus Stop Guy, a 13-year old that lives here in Riverville, near the Great Pumpkin sighting and has the same point of view as Lucy. Sarah doesn’t believe in the Great Pumpkin at all (even though a supposed picture of the Great Pumpkin was found), when asked what her opinion on the Great Pumpkin was, she was quoted to saying, “I think Jack and Linus . . . [have] got the Great Pumpkin mixed up with Santa Claus, cause he’s a myth. Ok, that’s it. You said this was the last question, goodbye!” (She then erupted from her chair and ran to her room) Unfortunately for the GPF, many other people believe that the picture is counterfeit. However, because of Jack’s picture, many scientists, called cryptozoologists, are starting to have greater studies of the Great Pumpkin to see if this vegetable really exists or if instead of a Great Pumpkin, it is really just a Great Fairytale.


Written by: Mr. Smiley
Photographed by: Jack Stevenson
Edited by: Christian Ryan


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Next Issue: A Politician’s Petition

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tricera-Clash!

A family of Tyrannosaurus rex are preparing to attack a herd of Triceratops
Recently, in the badlands of what is now Montana, scientists have uncovered evidence of a prehistoric clash of the titans! A team of paleontologists, lead by Dr. Samuel Adamson PhD., and his wife Dr. Indiana Adamson PhD., were on a fossil hunt when they found the fossils of not one, not two, but three horned dinosaurs, called Triceratops Horridus were discovered. Triceratops Horridus means “Horrible Three-Horned Face” in Greek and Latin. This find sounded really cool, so my junior photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater and I rushed over to the scene. We interviewed the two paleontologists to get a full scoop on the story. “We were just walking around the site when we noticed a pointed object sticking out of the ground,” recalls Dr. Samuel. “We took a closer look at it and realized that it was actually the horn of a ceratopsian, or horned dinosaur called Triceratops. So that’s what we’ve been digging up lately.” And that’s not all they found – they also uncovered the remains of six predators nearby. They weren’t just any old predators; they were the most famous predatory dinosaurs in – Tyrannosaurus rex! There were two adults, one sub-adult and three juveniles. Dr. Indiana believes that this is more evidence that giant predators such as T. rex, who were traditionally viewed as being solitary hunters, might have hunted, or even lived in family groups. “This is the third find of more than one T. rex at one location,” says Dr. Indiana. “I think this is incredible evidence that dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus hunted in packs.” Although the T. rex were probably hunting the Triceratops, the paleontologists believe a force of nature killed these behemoths – perhaps the second most terrible event in history (remember, the first most terrible event was the Fall of Man) caused their deaths, and that catastrophe was Noah’s Flood. As the animals were hunting, perhaps the water level rose rather quickly and drowned all these dinosaurs. “The area we are searching in has more fossils than expected,” Dr. Samuel says. “We hope to find many fossils out here that will help us learn more about the dinosaurs living in this environment. We have already learned that this area was covered with grasses and cycads plants in the plains, and a variety of ancient trees formed the forests. One thing we will be especially happy to learn is exactly how many other extinct creatures are out here.” It seems to me that Dr. Samuel and the team still have a lot of digging to do!

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

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Next Issue: The Great Pumpkin – Myth or Reality

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The THINGS We Do For BALLS!!!

The balloon seller, the customers, the balloon cart, AND Buddy went up high into the sky, yes, that's Buddy hanging by his collar (thank goodness he was alright!)

The account you’re about to read sounds pretty ordinary at first, but believe me, I thought this was a pretty remarkable story: one morning in the park, Earl Bradley was walking his dog, Buddy, a Black Labrador. Now a preteen girl named Sarah Bus Stop Guy was rolling a ball around in the park that greatly resembled Buddy’s favorite ball at home. Buddy thought that Sarah’s ball was his own ball so of course he ran after it. Earl tried to grab hold of his leash but he missed, and as he later found out, he was glad he missed! “I really tried to catch Buddy before he got into trouble,” Earl said, “but he is always way too fast for me when he sees something he wants, in this case, his ball. When Buddy wants something, nothing can get in the way!” Then the trouble started as the ball rolled around a balloon sales man and some paying customers. As Buddy chased after the ball, one of the customers saw Buddy was loose and grabbed his collar. Big mistake! While Buddy ran around the balloon cart, the sales man and the customers, Buddy accidentally tripped over a weight that kept the balloon cart on the ground and the cart, the people and Buddy started to rise into the sky! Earl forgot his phone at home so I loaned him mine (see now I’m a hero!). Earl quickly called 9-1-1 and the fire department, police, an ambulance truck, a helicopter flight squad and the Doggy Pants Society rushed to the scene. After it was all said and done, it took a whole 12 hours to get everybody safely down (it turned out the Doggy Pants Society just wanted to take a picture with Buddy and they left the scene). Boy, Buddy is one bad dog!

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

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Next Issue: Tricera-Clash!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Elephant Outbreak!

The elephants wrecking the Spooky Day Parade
The morning started normally as my photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater went to go get a report on the Spooky Day Parade. What is the Spooky Day Parade? Well, it is essentially a pre-Halloween parade (A Christian like myself doesn’t really participate in Halloween, considering its deep roots in Pagan customs). This parade has gotten very scary in deed over the years. The costumes get creepier and creepier every time the parade is held. And worst of all, the people in scary costumes often scare little kids. This is terrible considering that it’s normally such a nice day outside. Then, as the parade started to march down the road, Daniel and I were in for a big surprise. Suddenly, coming from the opposite direction, was a herd of African Elephants from the New York Africa Zoo was stampeding down the street and towards the parade. The people ran in all direction, but for some odd reason, the elephants seemed to charge more at the people doing the parade. They went over the floats and used their tusks to tear them apart. Confetti flew around everywhere. Daniel and I would have left with the other spectators, but why miss out on such a good story. And besides, Daniel wouldn’t have gotten the picture above. One of the women spectators said, “AHHHHHH!!!” In other words, we didn’t get much out of her. Most of the Spooky Day Parade marchers escaped before the elephants could hurt them, but two of the spooky dudes got trampled by Martha the elephant. They didn’t get killed, but instead got Floaticus Maximus. This non-life threatening disease makes the person bloat up like a balloon. The two men had to stay in the hospital for two months until they finally shrank back to normal size. No one is quite sure how the elephants escaped their cages. But zookeeper Manny Minlens has a theory. She said, “I’m not exactly sure how the elephants escaped. But they have been playing with the door lock lately. Perhaps they finally figured out how to unlock their own cage. It looks like we’ll have to put a new lock on.” Scientists aren’t sure why the elephants targeted the marchers, but they think it’s because some of the marchers had been eating peanuts, mangoes, bananas and other fruits before marching. The smell of those foods was probably on the floats and attracted the elephants who may have not liked the music the marchers were playing and so they tore up the floats. The elephants were returned to their enclosure at the zoo and it looks like the Spooky Day Parade is cancelled forever. Hooray!

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

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Next Issue: The Things We Do For Balls!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

All Nuts for Nuts!

Once a shy creature, Cronopios are rapidly spreading across the North American continent, and they are nut-crazed!

The little mammal from the movie Ice Age is called a Scrat, or Saber-toothed Squirrel. Now when the movie-makers made this movie, they completely made up Scrat. He was supposed to be a fictional creation. Well, recently, it turns out God really did make such a creature! It was first discovered as fossils until a living population was discovered in September 2012. Before 2012, these squirrels were hiding in the remote forests of the Taiga in northern Alaska until they realized how many acorns could be collected when living in close quarters with humans. The “Scrat”, called Cronopio by the scientists, is roughly a foot and a half in length, including that bushy tail. “Scrat” are squirrels from the Ice Age that have a complete hanker for nuts. As a matter of fact, fossil skeletons of these guys have been found still in the position of “chasing” after their treasured nuts. The “Scrat” uses its long incisor teeth to break open the shell of a nut after grasping it in their paws (if they can hold onto the nut, that is). The brain of this little mammal is only about the size of a walnut, often resulting in bad decision making. “Scrats” will also clean their nuts before either eating or burying it so it can find the nut later. These squirrels are not very social. The only time they seek other squirrels is during mating season. Autumn precaution: NEVER GO OUTSIDE AND EAT NUTS. “Scrats” have been known to steal nuts from humans and will even go to the extent of ganging up in packs to tackle humans with nuts. Despite them not being so bright, they know how to open unlocked kitchen and car and can open refrigerators. So don’t leave nuts exposed, especially during the fall. Fortunately, these nut-loving rodents were easy for my photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater to take a photo of one. We simply put an acorn on the ground and waited about two minutes before one showed up (you may have noticed the teeth on the individual in the photo aren't all that long and the tail isn't all that fluffy, this is because it's a sub-adult). These animals are definitely nuts for . . . well, nuts!

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

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Next Issue: Elephant Outbreak!