Friday, February 27, 2015

Lizzy and the Glass Harp

I walked through the streets when I heard some beautiful music. I hurried over to see a man playing music with glasses of water! I was curious. As the man collected tips from the crowd, I went over to the glasses. I took my tail and tried to make music like the man did, but then I accidentally hit the glass too hard and it broke. The man turned around and saw me.
“You Lizard! Look what you did!” He yelled, furious. “How am I supposed to play my music with a broken glass?”
I was a little embarrassed.
“I could get you a new one?” I suggested.
“No, no that will not do,” the man stated, “these glasses are unique for this glass harp.”
“ A glass harp?” I asked in wonder.
“Yes, a glass harp,” the man responded, “you play music on it.”
“How do you get the right pitches?” I asked, curious.
“You change the water level in the glass,” he replied. “You can also use different sizes of the same glass.”
“Cool! Can I play?” I state, excited.
“ just...” he starts to instruct. “Wait a second! No you can't play it, look what you did to my glass!”
“I'll pay for it!” I volunteered.
“You have $155 with you?” he says curiously.
“Er...not really,” I admit, “lizards don't carry around much money.”
“Well then I've got an idea...” the man said.
I found myself being his assistant for the day, collecting the tips and getting him more water for the glasses.
“You are lucky that I brought a spare set,” the man nods as he played the glass harp.
After a long day and a bunch of apologies, I head home. As I was leaving, I smelled a delicious aroma and ran over to it...PIZZA!

Written by: Lizzy the Lizard
Edited by: Christian Ryan

Weekly Cartoons

Next Issue: Semi-Aquatic Spinosaur is Unveiled at Animal Adventures Institute

Friday, February 20, 2015

Cleaning the Water Division at AAI.

Here at Animal Adventures Inc. (AAI.), the buildings and land animals get most of the attention. After all, as we are also land-dwellers, this makes sense. But few know that there is a whole other set of creatures that live under the water. You see, at AAI. there is a large lake and this is where several species of aquatic creatures make their home. You can find everything from great white sharks, to dolphins, clown fish, manatees, mosasaurs, ichthyosaurs, pliosaurs, star“fish” (they actually aren't fish) and even several whales...and loads of other sea creatures. Like the land animals, they have apartment rooms in which they live (well, except the whales, for obvious reasons).

But the water is land-locked and it needs to obviously be cleaned every once and a while, normally in the springtime. The person leading this operation is Adam Adamson, head of the AAI. Janitorial Services. “However, we do much more than just janitorial work,” says Adam proudly. “My job features all the duties of not only a major janitor company, but also a housekeeping company and a major zoo. After all, there are hundreds of animals on campus to care for, both above and below the water.”

Hearing that Adam was heading another aquatic cleaning operation, my trusty, junior photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater and I decided to learn more about the procedure. Adam was happy to talk to us. “Keeping the lake clean is no easy task,” Adam says, “for we have to make sure its clear of trash and other debris, make sure about 10-20% of the water is replaced, measure the amount of acidity or alkalinity in the water, keep a healthy balance of salinity in the water, keep enough fresh water running into the lake and...well, there are a lot more things we have to do too.”

I asked Adam about why water salinity was important. He is quoted for saying, “Well, we have...[a] wide variety of animals in the lake. Unlike a natural lake, our artificial lake hosts both fresh and saltwater creatures. Actually, that's not quite true: you see, many of the animals living in the lake are saltwater, but several others are semi-aquatic, like the platypus, beaver and Spinosaurus. And there are loads of other animals that like to spend time playing, bathing in or drinking water from the lake, like elephants, sauropods (long-necked dinosaurs), tapirs, tigers and humans – us. The problem is that with animals drinking, playing and swimming in the lake is that they can't all stand the same level of salinity. This is why we have salinity monitors installed. They make sure the salt in the water isn't too great so that the water is undrinkable, but its salty enough for saltwater animals to survive.”

Adam also took time to explain why it was important to keep the water clean of debris. “When plastic bags or other translucent trash (or sometimes balloons) is thrown into the water in the wild, creatures like sea turtles (specifically leatherback sea turtles) sometimes mistake them for their favorite food, jellyfish...They try to consume the plastic bag and unless they are helped, they choke on the bags. It's really sad. This is why we don't like trash to get into the lake. We have to be very vigilant to watch for trash. Animals living in the lake also look out for trash and clean it up before it becomes a problem.”

Adam loves to clean the lake because he likes to provide a clean living environment for all the wonderful aquatic creatures living at AAI. However, this job also reminds him of the importance of taking care of the habitats of creatures that live in nature too. “God Himself instructed the first humans, as well as us, to care for nature and the rest of His creation,” Adam explains. “Genesis 1:28 says,
'God blessed them [humanity]; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.' (Words in the brackets are my own)
“It clearly explains that we need to care for the earth He created. After all, wouldn't it be terrible for our children to not have a clean ocean or clean air? Great forests and jungles? It wouldn't be nice at all.”

I completely agree with him!

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

Weekly Cartoons

Next Issue: Unknown

Friday, February 13, 2015

Birth of the Raptors

At long-last, Animal Adventures Inc. once again hears the pitter-patter of dinosaur feet with the latest birth on the property. A pair of baby Velociraptor mongoliensis just hatched last Tuesday. The happy parents are Buck and Ginger Velociraptor. These are not their first children – that title belongs to Molly, their daughter, but the parents are excited nonetheless.

After hearing the wonderful news, my trusty, junior photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater, and I went to the Velociraptor's apartment room to check out the happy family. The new baby raptors, Robert and Charlie, are only a few days old, but they're already on their feet and moving about. “Raptors are born precocial,” says Ginger Velociraptor. “That means when they hatch, they can stand, walk and run all within their first few hours of life.” “However,” Buck added, “that does not mean they are by any standard ready to live on their own. We raptors still require much parental care when we hatch, something I, as a genetically engineered specimen, didn't have growing least, I didn't have parental care from a Velociraptor.”

Right now, according to Buck, one of the most important things about being a raptor is knowing how to stalk and successfully hunt prey. Buck is quoted for saying, “We never hunt other animals or humans on Animal Adventures Inc. property...well, there are a few certain, pesty, rather annoying humans who can drive us nuts, but we don't hunt them...usually...anyway, since we don't hunt anything on the property [it's against the rules, for obvious reasons], we go to a nearby hunting reserve, where we can hunt deer and other wild animals native to the Riverville.”

I then asked Ginger how she likes being big sister for the first time. “I think it's an interesting experience,” she says. “I'm proud and all, but I can't really say much more than that, because I lack the experience of helping Mom and Dad care for little siblings. They're pretty cute at this stage, but I'm sure they'll probably drive me bonkers once they get a little older. But no matter how annoying they are, they will always be my little brothers, and I love them.”

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

Weekly Cartoons

Next Issue: Cleaning the Water Division at AAI.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Rerun Article - Valentine's Day Special: The Love Box Tradition

The Original Love Box that little Vermont sent to her big brother, Alfred in 1985
Valentine’s Day is now upon us! This is the time of year when department stores make millions (if not billions) on Valentine cards, chocolate and all the pink and red stuff you find in special aisles devoted to this time of year. With nothing exciting happening around Riverville, New York (unless you think “Mr. Mill Wins Local Pie Contest” is exciting) , I thought today’s story should be a tribute to a very special moment in history – in 1985, the year the very first Love Box was shipped across the world. It was February, so naturally, everyone was getting ready for Valentine’s and a little 9-year old girl named Vermont Greene (who “coincidentally” lived in Vermont) wanted to send her 21-year old brother, Alfred Greene who was fighting in Afghanistan, a special valentine to cheer him up. She wanted to send something special, something that would be remembered but something that wouldn’t tear up so easily. She decided on a cute little wooden box with a few Valentine things inside. So she and her parents went to the local carpentry shop where a friend of the family, Philip Woodward worked and asked him to handcraft a little box so Vermont could send it to her brother. Philip took on the assignment and made a 4x5 box shaped like a heart that said, “I love you!” on the front. So Vermont sent her little box from Vermont all the way to Afghanistan. Pretty soon, a lot of Alfred’s co-workers were getting a little jealous because they only got cards for Valentine’s Day. Since it isn’t wise to have jealous friends, Alfred went to a local craftsman and had him make a counterfeit box so he could occasionally rent the box to his friends so they could have it for a while (he didn’t want to use the box his sister gave him because then it wouldn’t be very special). He found that by putting perfume on the box, he could charge it for a little more than usual. Next year, in the February of 1986, the war was won and one of Alfred’s friends, Timmy Greenwell wanted to send a “Love Box” to his girlfriend named Maggie Pitworth, so as you can imagine, it started catching on. Then some of Maggie’s friends got a little jealous because their boyfriends only sent cards so she started the renting thing as well. Now the boxes were starting to catch on a lot! The idea was made known nationally by William Sty, who did much to promote these Love Boxes and that’s what they are called today, as the tradition continues. Today, people will stuff these little wood boxes with a card, chocolates and other things and ship them to their lovers. But it all started with a little girl named Vermont who wanted to cheer up her brother. So why not go down to the store, or better yet, your local craftsman and get a Love Box and share it with someone you love?

From all of us here at Smiley’s News: HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

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

Weekly Cartoons

Next Issue: Birth of a Raptor