Friday, October 31, 2014

A Very Sticky Situation

The maple syrup incident that occurred here in Riverville was a great sticky mess, but it was nowhere nearly as bad as the Great Molasses Flood of 1919, as seen in the photo above.
Last Friday, it was a normal day in Riverville, the town in which Animal Adventures Inc. is located. Birds were chirping, the sun was shining, people were walking to their lunch breaks and children were learning new things in school. I was sitting at my desk finalizing last week's article. But the peacefulness changed at 11:48 a.m. when people near the Dandy Candy Factory heard a loud rumbling noise. People looked at the factory and realized that the sound was coming from a 50-foot tall, storage tank that was 90 feet in diameter filled with 2,300,000 gallons of maple syrup. Suddenly the tank exploded and 2,300,000 gallons of maple syrup spewed out as if from a raging volcano!

Around this time of year, people – kids especially – love candy and sweets, but this was too much! The maple syrup began rapidly flowing through the surrounding area. People began running in terror from the sweet-tasting flood. Mr. Fish came to my office to inform me of what was happening elsewhere in town, so my trusty, junior photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater, and I headed to the scene of the mayhem. Upon arrival, we found ourselves instantly surrounded by city officials – firefighters and police officers – who tried to keep the crowds back and loads of civilians who all wanted to see the action. I couldn't believe my eyes! Loads of maple syrup was flowing freely down the street at 35 mph. Upon its initial release, the wave of syrup was 25 or so feet high and as it continued along its path of stickiness, it leveled out to 3 feet in depth!

I spoke with police officer David Tooters to learn more about the situation at hand. He is quoted for saying, “No one knows as of yet why this happened, but we do know that we've got to rescue as many people as we can before anyone gets hurt. Maple syrup is only good in small doses.” Due to the dangers of the situation, I wasn't able to get very close, but from what I could see, the syrup was a powerful force. Some people were being quickly swept away by the torrent. At times, the firefighters blasted the maple syrup with high-pressure water hoses to make a pathway to the helpless people stuck in syrup. At one point during the day, the syrup even trapped someone's horse! Fortunately police were able to rescue the creature without injury to themselves or the animal.

After what seemed like hours of saving people and animals from the mess, some large snowplows were brought in to move the syrup. This went on until about 6:00 p.m. and finally the majority of the syrup had been swept away to someplace where it would be of no more danger. (I was unable to verify where). One question that was still on my mind was why the syrup exploded in the first place. To answer this question, I checked with CEO of the Dandy Candy Factory, Danny Scrumptious. He is quoted for saying, “Well at the time we were heating the maple syrup because we were preparing to start packaging it up to ship to grocery stores, and one of my workers, named Phil Tumor, was in charge of the operation. Phil decided to take a lunch break, accidentally left the heater on and the heat pressure built up so much that . . . well, I think we all know what happened.”

Then, I asked Danny if they had ideas on how to prevent this from happening again. “Of course we do,” Danny says, “for starters, we're not going to allow people working with the maple syrup to take lunch breaks or any type of breaks until after the heating process is over. We're also going to make some adjustments to how the whole system is run. We definitely don't want this to happen again, because not only was that lots of money wasted, but civilians' lives were put in danger.”

Thanks to the quick work of city officials, the syrup was cleaned up and no one was injured in the event. Now that its over, what happened today brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, “There is such a thing as too much sweets.” Keep that in mind this October 31st!

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

Weekly Cartoon

Next Issue: A Gobbler's Protest

Friday, October 24, 2014

Rerun Article: 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

Weekly Cartoons

Next Issue: A Very Sticky Situation

Friday, October 17, 2014

Rerun Article: What Big Teeth You Have!

Dr. Arizona (left) and Mr. Gregor (right) next to the gigantic skull found in Mr. Gregor's yard.
A weird animal skull was recently discovered in Mr. Gregor’s backyard. Don’t recall Mr. Gregor? Well, I’ll tell you about him. Mr. Gregor is a multi-billionaire living in Riverville, New York. Now while most rich people simply use their money for themselves, this man uses a good bit of money for charities and about 10% of it for tithes and offerings (if he’s doing a really good job making money, he’ll put in 20%). Mr. Gregor and I are very close friends so my junior photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater and I were gladly welcomed in to his house get a good story on this amazing find. “I was just taking a walk in my backyard one day,” Mr. Gregor recalls, “when suddenly . . . I realized a little rock with holes on it at the corner of my eye. I went over to it and realized it was a skull, a giant skull. I had no idea what it was.” And frankly, neither did I. As you can see in the picture above, the skull is probably from a carnivorous animal, considering the needle-sharp teeth in the jaw. I wasn’t sure if I should publish this paper at first because I wasn’t entirely sure this story was worth publishing . . . that is, until I learned what Dr. Arizona Stevenson PhD. was coming over to Mr. Gregor’s house (it’s actually a mansion) to indentify the skull. Arizona Stevenson is a local zoologist so Mr. Gregor figured that she’d be the perfect person to identify this find. “When I saw it, I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Arizona said. “The skull was larger than I had expected. I couldn’t tell if it was a feline or a mustelid.” After I asked what a mustelid was, she responded, “A mustelid is an animal related to a weasel. Ferrets, badgers, otters and skunks are in this group.” And yes, they all can squirt a foul-smelling liquid. Fortunately for us, skunks are the only ones that do this often! After examining the skull, Arizona concluded that it had to be from an extinct mammal, since no animal alive today in this region has a skull quite like this one. Since it isn’t fossilized, it probably died recently, per se, in the last decade or so. Mr. Gregor said that it might have been in his yard under the ground for years. The recent heavy downpours probably exposed it enough so he could see it. The skull was sent to Animal Adventures Institute for further study by Dr. Arizona, her husband, Dr. Steve Stevenson PhD and a bunch of other scientists. The presence of this skull so close to town is mindboggling. And one thought stuck in my head after leaving Mr. Gregor’s house: considering this skull is from an animal that died recently, does it have other friends lurking somewhere in the state of New York . . .?

The strange skull found in Mr. Gregor's yard.

PS: If you think you can identify this skull, please send an email to                

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

Weekly Cartoon

Next Issue: Rerun Article: The Great Pumpkin: Myth or Reality?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Rerun Article: Cretaceous Park Breakdown

Elizabeth after the power was switched back on standing in front of the sauropod enclosure.

One fine day at Cretaceous Park, a type of dinosaur zoo located on an island just 200 miles or so off the coast of Costa Rica. It didn't look like anything could go wrong at all. But I, Mr. Smiley and my trusty junior photographer Daniel P. Smithwater, was right on the scene to capture all the action on paper. Now let’s cut to the chase: A young woman named Elizabeth P. Bat Mitten decided to turn the park's peacefulness upside-down. Her plan - She and her robotic hat helper Max were to sneak into the power room of Cretaceous Park to shut the power down. No one is still sure why. With the power out, dinosaurs at the park could escape from their enclosures. One such called Tyrannosaurus rex (nicknamed Big Red) broke out and literally terrorized the people at the park! So did the Velociraptors and Dilophosaurus. Since they both were pack hunters, they were twice as dangerous. Not to mention that Velociraptors are very intelligent; they have the intelligence of a dog or a lion, and we wouldn't call a lion dumb would we? Fortunately, no one was killed by these beasts. The most destruction actually came from the plant eaters. When they broke out, they roamed around the park eating the flower beds, stripping the trees of their leaves and devouring 9,895,923 bags of cheese curls. Who knew dinosaurs like so much cheese! Even though the carnivores did the least amount of damage, they still caused some trouble. After the incident was over, they had successfully eaten all the ham and turkey burgers, hot dogs and other meats the park had. My photographer and I spent most of the time hiding from the carnivores in a very small flower pot. After a while, manager of the park, David Milligan (who is also famous for his movie, "Cretaceous Park: The Game: Triceratops Trouble") managed to jump into one of the ranger helicopters they had at the park. He mustered each and every one of those dinosaurs back into the cages. Elizabeth and Max were arrested. Instead of going to jail for doing such a terrible crime, the police decided it would be better if they did community service. “Everything in the park is back in order,” says David, “The power is back on and we know have posted guards by the power room so no one can sneak back in there again. So Cretaceous Park is still one of the greatest animal parks in the world!"

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

Weekly Cartoon

Next Week's Issue: What Big Teeth You Have!

Agent X - Operation Eden pt. 1

(Image will be uploaded as soon as possible)

“Name's Agent X, that's all I'm gonna say. I solve very strange cases from back in the past. Before you even ask, yes I can time travel. I have a device called the Timer3000 that allows me to travel through time. It's funny. I never planned on solving cases that were in the past. As an agent, you're lucky enough to even get an interesting case. It all started in my office when I received a letter.”

So, you want to learn the truth, right? About the origin of all this evil, you have to go to the very beginning. Allow me to introduce you to the case of the forbidden fruit. -Anonymous

I flipped the card over and found numbers on the back, coordinates actually.”


“I opened my desk drawer and grabbed the Timer 3000. I plugged in the coordinates and pressed the start button. This would be my first journey into the past.”
“I found myself in the most beautiful garden I had ever seen. Naturally, I got scared and hid when I saw a giant T-Rex coming toward me. I was sure I was a goner. That was until I saw the dinosaur go over to one of the fruit trees and started to eat from it. I wondered where I was. What kind of place was this that everyone, even carnivores, ate fruit and vegetables. Where are all the people? I walked around until my timer3000 started beeping...incoming message.”

Welcome to the Garden of Eden.

“I scrolled down and it revealed a whole paragraph!”
Two people in this garden have eaten a forbidden fruit, but they are blaming a snake. I brought you here to figure out who dunnit and learn about how evil entered the world. -Anonymous.

“I trudged around the garden, looking for the two humans. I spotted them weating fug leaves. I was curious, why didn't they wear clothes like normal people.
'Excuse me,' I asked the man. 'Are you the one who ate the forbidden fruit?'
'Yes but it was Eve who gave it to me!' He yelled.
'Adam! I'm telling you, it was the serpent.' The woman standing with him, insisted.
'How can a serpent tempt you to do something?' I asked. 'They can't even talk!'
'I beg to differ' hissed a voice behind me.
I turned around and jumped. Standing before me was a serpent, a talking serpent that had legs!
'Okay,' I said, 'now I've seen everything.'
'You haven't seen a talking serpent before?' asked Adam.
'Who are you?' Eve asked, 'God only made two of us...that is unless....”
'What? Oh my name's X' I introduced. 'I'm just passing by...uh can anyone tell me what happened here?”

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

Weekly Cartoon

Next Week's Issue: Rerun Article - Cretaceous Park Breakdown!