The Park’s hibernating community will breathe a collective sigh of relief today.
Less than a full day before this year’s new official date of hibernation, the Park Election Office finally has been able to declare a winner in the 2014 POPS election.
PEO head Gerritt Wezel made the announcement this morning at a hastily-arranged but well-attended press conference.
“The Animal who will fulfill the rôle of 2014 Park Official Prognosticator of Spring is Solange Graciela Marmotte,” he said.
Reading from a prepared statement, Wezel thanked Park citizens for their patience and commended his staff and all the volunteers who joined the recount effort.
“Without your help, I would still be counting votes and Park citizens would have lost all confidence in this process,” he said.
As it is, many Park citizens have expressed their disillusionment with the POPS selection process after this year’s fiasco. Nevertheless, many seem willing to let bygones be bygones and to move forward with their plans for hibernation.
“This is definitely something we will have to revisit come Spring,” said Killeen Echidna, president of The Monotreme Alliance. Echidna spoke on Toro Talk Radio as part of a discussion forum on the subject after the election announcement was made.
“In the meantime, we’re grateful to have had a bit more time to prepare for hibernation. Now, we’ll all be glad to go under and Solange [Marmotte] has our full confidence. She will do a great job as POPS in February,” she said.
In an effort to raise awareness of their kind and to shed some light on their continuing struggle for equal treatment, The Park’s shortest-lived citizens will host a series of one-day events beginning next month that will pose the important question, ”"What Would You Do With A Minute?”
“All over The Park, we hear Animals bemoaning their busy lives, saying they don’t have time to do the important things anymore…that they don’t have a minute to themselves,” says event coordinator Consuelo Abeja.
“We thought it might be fun to offer them a little perspective, to show them what we can do with a minute since, for many of us, our lives are made up of very few of them,” she says.
While that may seem a bit hyperbolic, Abeja is quick to point out that some of her best friends have had lifespans of less than a week.
“And, yet, they managed to accomplish all they needed to,” she declares, with a glint in her eye and just a touch of nostalgia in her voice.
Next month’s inaugural event will highlight the short but productive lives of The Park’s Opossums, Rabbits, Mice, and Chameleons. Abeja says she hopes that other Park species will bring an open mind to the event and that they will be ready to rethink their ideas about their fellow citizens.
“Our lives will be on display here, in a way that they never have been before. And our hope is that other Animals will stop to look and listen and, maybe, contemplate…without comparison or judgement,” says Abeja.
The event will take place at the Ancient Open-Air Theatre on December 15, from 10:00 until sundown.
“There will be a little bit of everything at the event. Food, art, music, even a bit of sport,” says Abeja. “But our main goal is to raise awareness of our abilities and our commitment to work. We don’t believe we should be judged by the length of our lives so much as by what we are able to accomplish within that timespan. We want you to know, if you’re hiring, we can do the job. We hope this event will be the beginning of a new relationship between us and our longer-lived compatriots,” she says.
The sun shone brightly this morning as Malinda L. Hamster, president of The Park’s Small Animal Hibernating Community (SAHC), surrendered the symbolic nut to 2014 Keeper of the Nut, Giuliana Imelda Lontra.
“Historically, the Surrender of the Nut was a solemn occasion. It was a recognition of the trust that Animals place in each other for their very survival and the Keeper of the Nut is a symbol of that. It has always been a very powerful moment for us.” Beatrice Zilonis, Professor of History, University of West Terrier
Lontra clutched the nut, and spoke the traditional oath of the Keeper of the Nut:
“I swear to keep this nut from harm and to preserve it intact until such time as the hibernating community requests its return. And I do so with respect for all Park citizens.”
With that, the solemn portion of the day was done, and the crowd began to enjoy its half-day holiday.
While attendees partook of the vast array of goodies supplied by The Compost Heap, Provisions by Petrounel, Ants in Your Pantry and Florette’s Fine Edibles, talk turned to memories of past Surrenders and to the evolution of the occasion.
“Historically, the Surrender of the Nut was a solemn occasion. It was a recognition of the trust that Animals place in each other for their very survival and the Keeper of the Nut is a symbol of that. It has always been a very powerful moment for us,” said Beatrice Zilonis, Professor of History at the University of West Terrier.
Park Historical Society president Clark Cascanueces agreed.
“The Return of the Nut is also very powerful… the idea that it is returned unharmed and intact, no matter what the Winter was like, that no harm has come to it, even if there was a shortage of food, it wasn’t eaten. I find that very moving. The nut is sacred and so few things are anymore. To me, there is also so much symbolism in both occasions being half-day holidays. The two parts come together to make a whole. The symbolism in that is amazing,” he said.
The Board of Governors of the Park Museum has come under fire for appearing to blame members of the Association of Professional Park Construction Workers (APPCW) for the ongoing strike at the museum.
In an open letter addressed to the museum’s future patrons, the Board contends that it has bargained “in good faith” and been conscientious about attending negotiations with the APPCW’s representatives. The letter appears on the museum’s web site.
“At no time did we threaten to void our contract with the Builders’ Guild (APPCW), as was reported, nor have we ever failed to attend negotiations. We believe that we have bargained in good faith with the members of the APPCW and, to the best of our ability, we have met members’ demands,” the letter begins.
Some critics, however, have accused the museum’s Board of Governors of “whitewashing” and some have even suggested the letter is a form of sabotage.
“I think they might be using that letter to bait the APPCW,” said Gareth Shepherd, Park Police Officer and President of the Federation of Canine Security Workers (FCSW).
“We’ve seen this kind of thing happen and it can turn very ugly,” he said.
Construction of the main building of the Park Museum ceased on September 14, when talks between the APPCW and the museum’s Board of Governors broke down. In the letter, the museum’s Board of Governors appears to blame APPCW members’ “demands” for the current impasse, something which Shepherd says is common tactical error.
“More often than not, it backfires,” he says. “[Their] use of the word ‘demand’ is the first indication that they are trying to sway public opinion with the letter, rather than just using it to inform future patrons of the delay. Their hope appears to be that donors and future patrons will place the blame for the delay and for escalating costs on these ‘demands’ rather than on both parties’ inability to come to an agreement.”
The full letter appears here.
The anti-tourism group NoPARKing has claimed responsibility for the mountain of garbage that is obstructing access to The Park via its northern entrance.
In a statement released this morning, NoPARKing president Emmanuelle Musaraigne said that she and her group are proud of the work they have accomplished so far on behalf of The Park’s citizenry.
“It took our members all night to build this mountain of garbage and we are confident that this concrete representation of the damage that unrestricted [Human] tourism can do to The Park will change the way both residents and government see this issue,” the statement read.
Constructed entirely of garbage left in The Park by Human tourists, the mountain rises 30 metres high and stretches across 50 metres.
Park Police were notified of the “mountain” shortly after dawn this morning, a spokesAnimal said.
“We immediately attended at the site and confirmed the incoming reports. Shortly thereafter, the group in question confirmed their involvement and we took steps to halt any further construction at the site,” the Police spokesAnimal said.
Balthasar Alouatta, press secretary to the Archons, said neither the Archons nor the Park Finance Office had any plans to alter the 2014 Budget, which awarded 3% of the total to the promotion of tourism.
“While we take our citizens’ concerns seriously, we have no plans at this time to alter our vision for the future of The Park,” Alouatta said on behalf of the Archons.
Legendary Park rapper Jargonhead announced today that he has signed on to rap at the Beats of Burden Music Festival this September.
“I’m all in,” he said in a statement released by his manager this morning.
“I love the way they think outside the box. They’re really pushing the envelope here… IMHO, I think this is going to be a game changer.” – Jargonhead
The rapper, who embarked on his Ducks in a Row tour last Winter has been performing outside The Park for several months. On his return last week, he was advised of the upcoming festival.
“He was so impressed by what the Beasts had done to set this thing up. He called them right away and just about begged them to let him participate,” said his manager Jukka Ankka.
“He said to me, ‘I love the way they think outside the box. They’re really pushing the envelope here and I want to be involved. IMHO, I think this is going to be a game changer,’” Ankka said.
The Beats of Burden Music Festival will take place September 14-16. All proceeds from the festival will go toward assisting The Park’s refugees.
PIFF. The Park Interspecial Film Festival is just two months away. We eagerly await the announcement of this year’s lineup, special events, and news. Behind the scenes, we’ve been interviewing past participants and we look forward to sharing with you what we’ve learned from them.
THE BUDGET What would Summer be without the big presentation from The Park Finance Office? This year’s budget promises to be controversial and, of course, The Mammalian Daily is happy to join in the discussion. We like to think our reporters and columnists bring some expertise to the table.
PARK LIFE We’ll be taking a critical look at the direction the Archons are moving in, and our analysts will share their opinions about unemployment, the big weather question, immigration issues, and the great tax debate.
THISBE SPEAKS Will they or won’t they? Rumours abound that Thisbe and the Barkettes plan to reunite “one last time.” Well, surprise! We’ve snagged an interview with the only one who truly knows! That’s right. Thisbe’s first interview in over twenty years will appear in our pages in the Autumn.
INTERSPECIAL SUMMER GAMES They’re less than two months away and we’ve got all the information you need to watch with a suitably critical eye.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY The University of West Terrier’s cutting edge research has yielded some remarkable results. Read more here in the coming months.
SURVIVOR PROFILES We’ll continue our series of survivor profiles. Next up: The Endeka Elephant Band: A circuitous route to citizenship for eleven euphonious Elephants.
NOREEN She’s not just our advice columnist anymore. She’s Adjunct Professor of Human Studies at the University of West Terrier and she’s been busy putting the finishing touches on a book based on her most recent research. She’s got a lot to tell us about her favourite subject and we’re eager to hear it.
That’s just a taste of what’s coming in the next few months, so keep logging on. And, Happy August!
The book that was recovered by workers excavating at the site of the future Park Museum is a beloved Park tome that went missing ten years ago.
In a statement released to the press this afternoon, Catriona Cairn-Terrier, Chief Archaeologist at the Institute for the Study of Mammalian Life (ISML), confirmed the identity of the find.
“It is with great pleasure that I confirm for you today that, after extensive testing in our laboratories, we have concluded definitively that the book that was discovered during excavations at the site of the future Park Museum is, indeed, The AutoZOEography of ZoeCat,” the statement read.
Cairn-Terrier also commended the workers from Burrows and Beyond, the construction company that was hired to prepare the ground at the Park Museum.
“They called the ISML as soon as they found the book. They showed a real sensitivity to the find and I commend them for it,” she noted in the press release.
The book, which is much beloved in The Park, went missing ten years ago, after a storm toppled the display in which it was housed at the front of the Ancient, Open-Air Theatre. The book had resided there for seven years after the death of its author, ZoeCat, in 1996. Every day, a page was turned so that ZoeCat’s followers and other passersby could read a new entry.
“ZoeCat is revered in The Park,” says Park Historical Society President Clark Cascanueces.
“She was a great thinker; she had the highest IQ of any Animal in The Park and she was the older sister of Jor, our first leader and the founder of modern zoocracy. Her influence on him must have been immense,” he said.
In all, the book’s pages number 6,975 and span the years from her early Kittenhood until a month before her death. The autobiographical tome, which is filled with her personal, political, and philosophical musings, was never formally published and the book that was found by the excavators is believed to be the only extant copy.