Mammalian Daily signs on to media’s “Month Without Metaphor”

Month Without Metaphor

The Mammalian Daily will participate in The Park’s media-wide “Month Without Metaphor.”

It’s a bold idea that is sure to make waves. And, this morning, managing editor Orphea Haas confirmed that The Mammalian Daily is coming on board.

“That is music to our ears,” said Alvin Tinamou, publisher of The Avian Messenger and one of the organizers of The Park’s “Month Without Metaphor.”

The media-wide initiative, which is set to run for the entire month of May, promises to shake up what many regard as a moribund industry. And as of yesterday, almost ninety percent of The Park’s newspapers and magazines had agreed to participate in Tinamou’s “Grand Resuscitation.” The Mammalian Daily is the largest and latest to do so.

“We’re thrilled about it,” said Tinamou in an interview this afternoon. ”The Mammalian Daily is such an influential paper in The Park and their participation gives us another quiver in our arsenal.”

The idea of the initiative, Tinamou says, is to “tell it like it really is…no embellishments, no idiotic comparisons, no ridiculous painting of pictures for the reading public. Just the facts. We think they’re enough. And not only do we think the facts are enough, we think all this metaphorical reporting is obscuring those facts and distracting our readers’ attention from the important issues. What we need is clarity, particularly during these challenging times, and we very much look forward to seeing how our readers react to being offered a month of just plain facts.”

The Park’s media-wide “Month Without Metaphor” will run from May 1-31, 2014.


Park Museum, ISML battle over home for beloved book

The AutoZOEography of ZoeCat

The Park Museum and the ISML are currently engaged in a battle over the establishment of a permanent home for one of The Park’s most iconic literary works

The Park Museum is engaged in a contentious battle with The Institute for the Study of Mammalian Life over the establishment of a permanent home for one of The Park’s most iconic literary works.

The AutoZOEography of ZoeCat was written by Zoë, the sister of Jor, The Park’s first leader and the founder of modern zoocracy. The book went missing ten years ago, but was discovered last July by workers excavating at the site of the new Park Museum.

After the workers alerted the ISML to the discovery, Chief Archaeologist Catriona Cairn-Terrier convinced the Institute’s Board of Governors to provide a home for the book there.

According to Cairn-Terrier, no discussion about a time frame for housing the book ever took place.

“Our decision was never challenged and we assumed that it was permanent. We sectioned off a part of our lobby and built a display case that would protect the book from deterioration. We did all this in full view of everyone and at no time did the Park Museum voice any complaints. Now, they want assurances that we will hand it over to them. Quite frankly, I don’t know why they think we would agree to that,” Cairn-Terrier says.

For its part, the Park Museum contends that it is “intuitively obvious” that the book should be housed at the Museum.

“ZoeCat was and is still revered in The Park as a great thinker and as an important influence on Jor and, therefore, on the development of modern zoocracy. Every one of the 6,975 pages of her book is a part of Park history and the citizens of The Park deserve to be able to visit the work in the building that was constructed to house our history,” says Sukuta Rhinoceros, one of the founders of the Museum and a member of its Board.

The autobiographical tome, which is filled with Zoë’s personal, political, and philosophical musings, was never formally published. The book that was found by the excavators is believed to be the only extant copy.


DWBS warns hibernators: skip Return of the Nut ceremonies

 Depending on the weather and temperature, hibernators may want to watch the Return of the Nut ceremonies from the comfort of their homes this year, says the Department of well-Being and Safety. Giuliana Imelda Lontra is scheduled to swear the ancient oath at 11:00 tomorrow morning.

The DWBS has told newly-awakened hibernators that they may be better off watching the Return of the Nut ceremonies from the comfort of their homes this year. Giuliana Imelda Lontra is scheduled to swear the ancient oath at 11:00 this morning.


The Department of Well-Being and Safety (DWBS) has taken the unusual step of issuing a health warning to The Park’s newly-awakened hibernators: skip this year’s Return of the Nut ceremonies. The full statement reads as follows:

In our opinion, the stresses due to this year’s shortened period of torpor, in combination with the sudden increase in temperature, pose a serious health risk to our newly-awakened hibernating citizens. On the advice of experts in the field, we urge The Park’s hibernating communities not to attend this morning’s Return of the Nut ceremonies and to remain in your homes for the next few days in order to ensure your full recovery.

The DWBS further advised those who should not or cannot attend the ceremonies that, for the first time in Park history, the Return of the Nut celebrations will be broadcast in their entirety on Park Broadcasting Corporation Television (PBCTV). The broadcast begins at 10:30 a.m. Park time.

Giuliana Imelda Lontra, the 2014 Keeper of the Nut, is scheduled to swear the ancient oath at 11:00 this morning.


As hibernation ends, Park prepares for major health crisis


This year’s truncated hibernation period may result in an increase in deaths due to premature awakening.

Not since Small Ball Fever hit panzootic proportions seven years ago has The Park been in such a state of high alert, says the Department of Well-Being and Safety (DWBS).

At a press briefing early this morning, DWBS Director of Public Relations Cornelius Kakapo confirmed the “All Paws on Deck” state at the Park Hospital for the Afflicted and Infirm, as well as at all specialty clinics, as The Park faces the official end of hibernation tomorrow.

“December 1 was the best and safest date we could come up with under the circumstances. But we still knew we’d taken a risk with Animals’ lives.” — Dr. Jagger Zebu, Professor of Mammalian Medicine at the University of West Terrier 

“Even last year, [after the] Tulip Map debacle, when we saw the largest number of Animals suffering from Tulip-Related Illness…that is going to look small in comparison to what we believe we’re about to face,” he said.

Last year’s jump in the number of cases of Tulip-Related Illness (TRI) was due to a fault in the official Tulip Map, which is used in the Spring by a large number of The Park’s residents as a tool for sourcing food.

After the map’s producers discovered the presence of toxic substances in the bulbs’ planting areas, they deemed the map unsafe and recalled it. Unfortunately, the recall came too late for the majority of hibernators and that resulted in a huge spike in the number of cases of TRI.

“Not to diminish the importance of TRI, but this year, due to our delayed hibernation, The Park’s hibernating population faces the possibility of decimation as a result of deaths from premature awakening,” says Dr. Jagger Zebu, Professor of Mammalian Medicine at the University of West Terrier.

Dr. Zebu, who is one of the authors of a report that documents the rise in the incidence of deaths due to premature awakening, was among the experts consulted by the 2013 Archons and the DWBS after the problem with the POPS election caused a delay in the official hibernation date.

On the hot seat recently as a guest of Yannis Tavros on Toro Talk Radio, Dr. Zebu admitted that the date of December 1, a full two weeks later than usual, was “the best and safest date we could come up with under the circumstances.”

“But we still knew we’d taken a risk with Animals’ lives by delaying hibernation at all. We are hoping for the best outcome possible, but we know we will have to do better in the future,” he said.

See also:

Archons bow to pressure: hibernation to begin December 1
Hospital braces for flood of Tulip-Related Illness Victims
Deaths from premature awakening on the rise: study
Park braces for panzootic as Small Ball Fever claims new victim



Groundhog Day organizer on shadow lawsuit: “They’ve brought shame on the POPS and on the celebrations.”


Mammalian Daily live coverage of The Park’s 2014 Groundhog Day celebrations: the tweets above show how the controversy over the prognostication began

Of all the things the chief organizer of The Park’s Groundhog Day celebrations has had to worry about over his decade-long career, the validity of the official prognostication has never been one of them. Until now.

“I’m in a state of shock,” said Wyatt Whistlepig, Jr. in a telephone interview this morning.

Roused just before dawn to attend the ceremonies, Whistlepig had every intention of returning to his burrow in the afternoon, as he has done every year. Instead, because of the shadow controversy, he has been awake for three days now.

“If this doesn’t constitute premature awakening, I don’t know what does,” he says. But he’s not complaining:

“Dealing with this and anything else that comes up, that’s just part of my job. And it’s a job I love.”

The controversy began just seconds after Solange Marmotte, 2014 Park Official Prognosticator of Spring (POPS), declared that The Park could expect another six weeks of Winter because she had seen her shadow. A group of disgruntled spectators claimed the shadow that Marmotte had seen was not her own, but one that appeared as a result of a fault in the Prognostication Pad.

Immediately, the organizers brought in experts to rule on the matter. Executives from Simply Structures, the firm that designed and built the Prognostication Pad, checked the structure for faults while artists from the Hani Gajah School of Art traced the shadow. Eventually a team of shadow experts ruled that, given the paw and claw that appeared on the artists’ tracings, the shadow must indeed have been Marmotte’s. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Justice Augustus Dindon signed the Official POPS’ Proclamation.

“At that point, I thought it was over,” said Whistlepig this morning. “We moved on to the other events and I didn’t give it another thought.”

Little did he know, though, as attendees listened to the Archons’ Address and partook of the tasty treats at the food stations, that the disgruntled group of spectators were planning to become litigants in a lawsuit that, in Whistlepig’s words, “is bound to tear The Park apart.”

That lawsuit alleges that the POPS did not in fact see her shadow on Groundhog Day and that, consequently, her prediction should be declared null and void. The suit was filed yesterday, February 3, at noon.

For his part, Whistlepig thinks the whole matter is a sad and, ultimately, silly one.

“To me, it’s a moot point. By the time the suit gets through our court system, Spring will have arrived, whether Marmotte saw her own shadow or not. All they’ve done [in launching the suit] is brought shame on the POPS, shame on the celebrations, and shame on the shadow. It’s a rain of shame, and for what?” he said, sighing.


Mammalian Daily exclusive: an interview with Chief Archon

Moose, Buckminster Addison Carlisle Harris  (Chief Archon)

Official portrait of 2014 Chief Archon Buckminster Addison Carlisle Harris Moose


The Mammalian Daily has snagged an exclusive interview with 2014 Chief Archon Buckminster Addison Carlisle Harris Moose.

At a press conference held late this afternoon, managing editor Orphea Haas said she was “at once honoured and delighted” that the new Chief Archon agreed to sit down with the newspaper’s senior political reporter for a “one-on-one chat.”

“I believe this speaks both to the openness of our new government and to the authority of this newspaper,” she said.

The interview, which will be conducted over a two-day period in the week following Groundhog Day, will appear in the newspaper the second week of February.


Tavros to host third annual “Pundits’ Parlour” on Monday


Yannis Tavros will host another “Pundits’ Parlour” on Toro Talk Radio this Monday

For the third year in a row, Yannis Tavros will host Toro Talk Radio’s “Pundits’ Parlour” on Monday, February 3.

Manfred Stier, spokesAnimal for the radio station’s programming director, confirmed today that The Park’s best known political pundits will again have the chance to express their views on our incoming government on Tavros’s popular show.

“Yannis [Tavros] will once again relinquish his usual talk show format to moderate what has become a very popular annual forum,” Stier said.

This year’s guests include Magnus P. Marmoset, who holds the Simian Chair in Political Philosophy at the University of West Terrier, historian and author Pieter Paard, Professor Ludwiga Saimiri of the Cuthbert School of Journalism, UWT Law Professor Fionnula L. Fox, Park Historical Society President Clark Cascanueces, UWT Professor of History Beatrice Zilonis, and Gertrude C. Owl, Mammalian Daily senior political correspondent and Dean of UWT’s Cuthbert School of Journalism. Other participants include Ronald Grouse, chief political analyst at The Avian Messenger, Yuri Sturgeon of The Kaluga Register, Camlin “Cayuga” Newt of The Salamander Evening Post, and Noreen, Mammalian Daily advice columnist and UWT adjunct Professor of Human Studies.


UWT defends new course in Human studies

UWT Coat of Arms

A new course offered in Human Studies at UWT has become the subject of heated debate in The Park

Members of the Department of Human Studies at the University of West Terrier are scrambling to defend a new course offering that has garnered a lot of social media attention in the past few days.

The course, “Living in the Human World,” was developed by Mammalian Daily advice columnist Noreen, who is also an adjunct professor in the department. The course was intended, she says, to enlighten Park Animals on the day-to-day aspects of life in the Human world.

But many believe the object of the course is to teach Animals how to live with Humans.

“What they’re doing, in a covert way, is trying to groom us for lives as pets outside The Park,” said one popular post on GooseBook.

The University strongly denies that.

“We were honoured to have Noreen join our faculty and we wanted to make use of her expertise. After all these years of observing the Human world, it would be a waste of her talents not to allow her to share her knowledge,” said Bibiano Montanaro, spokesAnimal for the UWT president.

Many on The Park’s social media sites, however, are suspicious of that explanation.

“Maybe if paired with a history course or something like that, then maybe,” said one post. Yet another summed up the feelings of many Park Animals:

“If it offers a critical view of Human society, then okay. Otherwise, it’s hard to see it as anything but recruitment of us as pets.”


Millicent Hayberry in conversation: My Groundhog Day

MillicentHayberry YOUTUBE sizeGroundhog Day has its roots deep in the Animal tradition of weather prognostication. The Park’s celebration of the prediction of the Park Official Prognosticator of Spring (POPS) attracts tens of thousands of Animals annually, making it one of our most important occasions.

Today, The Mammalian Daily speaks to actress Millicent Hayberry about her recollections of Groundhog Days past and her feelings about future celebrations. This interview was conducted at the end of November 2013,  just before Millicent Hayberry went into hibernation.


TMD: Millicent, how important was, or is, Groundhog Day to you and your family?

MH:  Groundhog Day has always been a special event in my family. It’s always had a special meaning to us.

We’re hibernators, of course, but we’ve always made a point of getting up and out on the second day of February to greet the celebrants and to hear the Groundhog’s prediction. I can’t recall a year that we didn’t do so and I can’t imagine a year that I wouldn’t do so.

TMD: How is Groundhog Day different now? Or, is it?

MH: In some ways, it’s tremendously different, in the way that we celebrate it, although it still keeps to its basic function and idea, which is to predict the future and to celebrate our survival.

In the old days, there wasn’t nearly as much fuss about the day as there is, today. Now, almost all of us hibernators decorate our burrows before we settle in. My next-door neighbour hangs ribbons and flags outside his burrow. Every year, I choose a different colour to decorate with and then I add splashes of that colour on my door, on the floor of my burrow, even on my bedding. When I finally settle down for a good Winter’s sleep, I drift off while thinking about all the delectable food that they’ll have ready for us on Groundhog Day. And that is one of the differences.

TMD: How so?

MH: When I first started attending the celebrations, there was no fancy food and there were no food tables. We had what they called a “food exchange.” Everybody brought something they’d made and they shared it with the others. It was wonderful. And enlightening. And it was a way of getting to know about your neighbours and about other species. There’s nothing like food to bring Animals together. Or to rip them apart, of course. But the wonderful thing, in those first years of zoocracy, was that we were really trying to get to know each other and to make zoocracy work. We had a lot invested in it.

TMD: Do you miss the celebrations of those bygone days?

MH: Do I miss them? Sometimes, I must say, I miss the simplicity of them. Groundhog Day was a small celebration, then. There weren’t such large numbers of Animals attending in those days. You can’t have that kind of simplicity with so many Animals in attendance. But, these days, members of all species attend the celebration and I think that’s a wonderful thing. And, so, Groundhog Day has become one of the high points in The Park’s social calendar and I wouldn’t trade that for all the simplicity in the world.

TMD: Getting back to food for a minute, do you feel we’ve lost something by having the event catered and not providing the food ourselves?

I do not. We are so fortunate in The Park to have such an abundance of comestibles, even with a relatively short growing season. And this fantastically large celebration gives our many great chefs the chance to showcase their skills. It’s a wonderful opportunity for everybody! And, I have to say, that nutritious and innovative cuisine they serve fuels my dreams throughout hibernation.

TMD: When you were young, how did you prepare for hibernation?

MH: When I was a young Chipmunk, hibernation preparation was the most exciting time of the year. Now, it’s Groundhog Day that’s become the focus, but preparing for hibernation is still exciting and I still think about those early years with great joy.

Around the middle of October, my littermates and I would begin our daily food-gathering excursions with Mother. We’d hunt for acorns and nuts and seeds and any other delicious food we could find that would fit in the food storage chambers of our burrows. We’d gather everything up in a big basket, which Mom would carry for us. Every night, when we got home, Mom would divvy up the supplies and we’d scurry off to our own burrows to fill the storage chambers. What fun it was! There were five of us and we were very competitive with each other. Each one of us wanted to have the fullest chamber. Mom knew that desire would motivate us, so she never discouraged it. But, after the food gathering was over, she made sure we all had the same amount of food in our burrows.

TMD: Do your litter mates still live in The Park? Will they be attending the festivities this year?

MH: Three of my litter mates live in The Park. One moved east, but she visits regularly. The four of us here will, indeed, be attending as a group this year. And I look forward to seeing Mammalian Daily reporters there, too.

TMD: And we look forward to celebrating with you and your family, Millicent. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us. 

MH: It was my pleasure.