Millicent Hayberry releases statement on death of Imogen Aardeekhoorn


Actress Millicent Hayberry has released the following statement on the death of playwright Imogen Aardeekhoorn:

IT was my honour and privilege to portray Imogen Aardeekhoorn in both the stage and screen productions of “Mixed Nuts,” the adaptation of her brilliant memoir.

An actress could not have asked for more. Imogen’s brilliant lines, deep insights, and both her sense of humour and her sense of tristesse made my job an absolute delight every afternoon and evening.

Imogen and I first became friends in 2007, on the set of “Mixed Nuts” at the Park Repertory Theatre. As members of one of The Park’s founding families, we found we had much in common and we remained friends throughout the years. She visited me on the set of the film adaptation of her work and she later visited me in hospital when I fell ill during the shooting. It is my deepest regret that I was not at her side when she died. 

As all of us in The Park were, I was shocked and saddened when I heard the news of her death. The Park has lost a great figure, wrapped in a tiny package. Her voice was strong, but her will and her spirit were even stronger. The truths she told in her work will live on and provide solace for many generations, but she will be greatly missed by those who knew her personally. Au revoir, Imogen. Until we meet again.



Humans implicated in Data Tree hacking: investigators

tree hacked

Humans may have been involved in April’s Data Tree hacking

Humans may have been involved in the April hacking of one of The Park’s largest Data Trees.

At a press conference held this morning, C. Astrid H. Ant, Head of The Park’s Ant Security and Intelligence Service (ASIS), confirmed that members of her team had witnessed a scene that some now see as foreshadowing the events of April 9.

“Some members of my team, while at work on a different case, witnessed a scene that we now see as suspicious and could well have been related to the hacking,” Ant said.

“On the morning of March 31, a group of Humans arrived in a small open truck and stopped at the Oak Tree. My team reports that two male Humans exited the vehicle while a third, the driver, continued driving until he stopped at the edge of The Park. The two male Humans stood staring at the Tree, examining its trunk and taking measurements of it. This went on for approximately five minutes, after which the two in question went to join the driver in the truck.”

According to Ant, her team members lost sight of the Humans after they joined their driver and they have not seen them since. Ant could not confirm whether the small truck carried weapons of arboreal destruction (WAD).

Ant was joined at the press conference by Chief Inspector Maurice Addax of the Park Police’s Specist and Hate Crimes Unit (SHCU), who said Park Police had taken the ASIS team’s statement and were working some other leads together with Inspector Antonia T. Fossa of the Interspecial Investigations Unit (IIU).


“Snag, land, dive in, sniff out”: Month Without Metaphor’s mid-month results

sheep_006So, how is your favourite publication doing?

The mid-month figures are in for May’s Month Without Metaphor and, if we do say so ourselves, The Mammalian Daily is not doing badly at all. But, we wouldn’t want to blow our own horn brag.

The number of infractions thus far total 1,427, with the Dingo Boomerang leading the pack taking in first place in terms of transgressions, with 88 metaphors published over the past two weeks.

While The Marsupial Messenger published the fewest metaphors overall, in an ironic twist, The Eagle Star was caught using one while reporting on a mistake in The Messenger’s May 12 issue: The Star ran a headline that read “Did The Marsupial Messenger fail its readers? The jury is still out on that one.”

Here are the mid-month results:

Publication          Number of Infractions
The Dingo Boomerang                                88
The Mollusk Messenger                                83
The Salamander Evening Post                                81
The Burro Beacon                                78
The Noodlefish News                                77
The Canary Courier                                76
The Halibut Herald                                74
The Equine Cho                                70
The Eagle Star                                69
The Robin Reporter                                67
The Galliforme Gazette                                66
The Kaluga Register                                65
The Cosmopolitan Pest                                62
The Bluebird Free Press                                60
The Polar Bear Post                                57
The Avian Messenger                                55
PRANCE Magazine                                52
The Blackbird Informer                                51
The Ornis Interpreter                                47
The Mammalian Daily                                44
The Raccoon Reporter                                38
The Simian Spectator                                35
The Marsupial Messenger                                32



Toe-Hair Contest winners have “bright futures,” while losers struggle: study

dog with gold medal and cupA week after The Park hosted its 19th annual Toe-Hair Contest, a new study out of the University of West Terrier’s School of Medicine confirms what many have observed, but few will admit: winners of the unique competition go on to have, as one researcher put it, “bright futures,” while contest losers experience abnormally difficult struggles in their lives.

There is what we call a ‘spillover effect’ that causes others to view winners in a more positive light. And, so, win begets win… – Dr. Chloris Cougar

“It’s perplexing, but our numbers confirm our long-held suspicions, which were based on observation,” said the study’s head researcher, Dr. Chloris Cougar.

Cougar, who is best known for her groundbreaking study of Feline depression, “Even Miaowgirls Get the Blues,” says she sees a similarity between the feelings and behaviour displayed by Toe-Hair Contest losers and that of the subjects she studied some years ago, who suffered from Mating Dance Blues.

“I believe that, in both cases, the cause is partly due to the raising of expectations to a ridiculously high level. When this happens, obviously, the fall is far greater than it would be under normal circumstances,” Cougar says.

As for those few who do, in fact, win the contest, Cougar found their ongoing success isn’t necessarily linked to their toe-hairs or to any other physical attribute.

“As with all competitions, a win affects both the winner and those around the winner. The combination of winning, with the attendant boost in confidence, and being seen as a winner, is very potent. There is what we call a ‘spillover effect’ that causes others to view winners in a more positive light. And, so, win begets win, whether or not it is deserved,” Cougar says.


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.