25

Who’s Our New Neighbor? – Part 3

Image result for cats and meerkats"

Where we are: Calico Corners has welcomed a meerkat construction company from Africa to the neighborhood. They have brought over their lion financial/legal team to finalize the paperwork. You can read part 1 here and part 2 here.

The lions have hit a few roadblocks that no one in Africa had mentioned. They met with the meerkats to discuss things.

Leonard Lion: Mikki, were you aware that the broker had you buy property that’s not in the desert?

Image result for meerkat on grass"

Mikki: It did seem odd that we had to request that the lawn be taken out. Usually you need to have it added. So, where are we?

Leonard: It’s a place called the Midwest.

Marcel Meerkat: What’s it mid-west of?

Leona Lion: No one really seemed to know.

Mikki: They have nice dirt to burrow in. It may not be a problem to work here.

Image result for cold lion"

Leonard: The dirt isn’t the problem. It’s the weather. It gets really cold here.

Leona: And it snows.

Giselle: It gets cold in the desert at night. But what’s snow?

Mikki: It’s white stuff. It looks pretty, but it’s like fluffy frozen rain.

Maria Meerkat: We can’t live in that! We’ll freeze.

Image result for fluffy cats in snow"

Giselle: It does explain why the cats here have such thick, fluffy coats.

Maria: And houses.

Mikki: So how long does this snow last?

Leona: It could be up to 4 months.

Mikki: That’s not good.

Image result for concerned meerkat"

The meerkats looked at each other. No one said anything. Finally, Giselle broke the silence.

Giselle: Let’s go talk to the cats.

Everyone gathered, and Mikki explained the situation. Oddly, Cielle didn’t seem surprised.

Image result for beautiful calico cat"

Cielle: I’d been wondering what you were going to do in the winter. Then when the lions asked me about the weather, I realized no one had told you about winter.

Tammy: Oh, you poor things! No one told you about the cold?

Leonard: Unfortunately, no.

Mikki: It looks like we’ll have to return to Africa. I hate to say that because we’ve come to love all of you.

Image result for cats and meerkats"

Everyone looked distressed, even the lions.

Cielle: I had an idea, if you’re interested.

Mikki: Definitely.

Cielle: My family has several businesses and there are lots of air ducts and other small passageways to maintain. You could work for us when it’s too cold to construct.

Image result for meerkats"

The meerkats huddled together and chattered excitedly.

Mikki: We would like to take you up on your very kind offer. We can learn to sleep inside for that time.

The lions still looked dejected.

Image result for sad lion"

Leonard: I guess it’s time for us to go.

Tammy: Actually, we’ve been talking. You two are very kind. We were wrong to be afraid of you. You’re welcome to stay if you’d like. If there’s no company job, you can be security. No one else knows how sweet you both are.

The lions looked at Mikki.

Mikki: Of course. There’s plenty of room for all of us in the house.

The cats all clapped and cheered. And they all lived happily ever after in Calico Corners.

Image result for cats and meerkats"

Pictures courtesy of Google Images

12

Who’s Our New Neighbor? – Part 2

Image result for cats with lions

Where we are: There’s a new family moving into Calico Corners and they sound a little strange. They have a lot of children and requested that the lawn be replaced with extra dirt. You can see Part 1 here.

The family moved in a few weeks later. The next day, several residents went to Cielle Calico’s office. Cielle had been expecting them ever since he learned more about the new residents.

Image result for family of lions

Cielle: Good morning, all. It’s nice to see everyone so bright and early.

Sammy: Good morning, Cielle. You sold that house to a family of lions.

Tammy: It looks like they brought their own prey. It’s disgusting.

Image result for lion cubs

Frankie: I’m not sending my kids to school with lion cubs. What if the cubs get hungry?

Sammy: What about us? We’ll probably be next after they run out of what they brought.

The cats all began to talk at the same time. There were even some growls.

Cielle: Please calm down everyone! I did not sell the house to lions. You should know me better than that.

Image result for angry cats

Sammy: So why are they living in the house?

Cielle: That’s just temporary. They’ll only be here for a few weeks to finalize the paperwork for the new business.

Tammy: Who did you sell the house to?

Cielle: Mikki Meerkat, the owner of MM Construction.

Image result for meerkats tunneling

The cats looked confused.

Morrie: What’s a meerkat?

Cielle: They’re the other animals you saw.

Morrie: Those skinny things? They don’t look like any cat I’ve ever seen. They did tunnels and sleep in them.

Image result for weasels

Cielle: They’re not cats. They’re more like weasels. They’re very nice. You should go introduce yourselves.

Morrie: Maybe tomorrow. I need to think about this.

The other cats nodded in agreement.

Later that day, Tammy’s two kittens came racing home from school.

Image result for running kittens

Abby: Mom, guess what happened at school today.

Before Tammy had a chance to answer, Andy broke in:

Andy: We got new students today. But they’re not regular cats. They’re meerkats.

Abby: And meerkats aren’t really cats at all. They’re totally pawsome! They can stand on their back legs and look around.

Image result for meerkat and tunnel

Andy: And they make tunnels! Can we invite them over?

Tammy: Not until I meet their parents.

Abby: Can we all go over there now?

Tammy: It’s not polite to just show up at someone’s front door.

Image result for kittens with mom

Andy: But, Mom. The parents are really nice. They dropped their kids off at school and stayed to talk to us. They speak pretty good Cat, too.

Abby: Please, Mom?

Tammy: Let me call over there and invite the family for dinner.

Abby and Andy: Thank you!

Andy: By the way, their favorite food is beetles.

Image result for meerkats eating

Tammy: Oh. I wonder where you buy those?

Mikki and Giselle Meerkat came over with their three pups. Abby and Andy were right; they were extremely nice and told wonderful stories about living in Africa. The kids had a great time. Tammy promised they would do it again soon.

Tammy spread the word to the other cats about the great time they’d had with the Meerkats. She organized a welcome party for the entire clan. Before long, the Meerkats were part of the group.

Image result for meerkats tunneling

Next week: Did everyone live happily ever after?

Pictures courtesy of Google Images.

13

Humans in Cheeseland

Image result for puzzled mice

We recently received an email that we found a little puzzling. The writer was a human who accused us of not paying appropriate attention to people in our writing.

What puzzled us wasn’t the question. Rather it was how they had found us in the first place.

Generally speaking, there are only a few people who would go to a blog that openly proclaims that it is edited by mice. For some reason, there is a prejudice against mice in many parts of the human world.

Additionally, it seems to us that there are enough magazines, blogs, videos, and so on dedicated to humans. There are magazines for potato farmers, croquette players, and lighthouse keepers, and everyone else (it seems).

Image result for german shepherd

However, humans are mammals. In light of our non-speciest pledge, we decided to speak with this person. We sent Lexi, our language specialist.

Lexi: Welcome to Cheeseland. I’m Lexi.

Human: Hello, Lexi. I’m Charles. Thank you for meeting with me. I hope you don’t mind that I brought along someone to document our meeting.

Lexi: I guess not. Why is he wearing protective gear?

Charles: I was hoping to meet someone a little more, um, exotic.

Lexi: Really? Like what?

Image result for crocodile

Charles: I was thinking a crocodile or hippo.

Lexi: You realize that we’re not in Africa, don’t you?

Charles (embarrassed): I didn’t think I was going to be meeting with an actual animal.

Lexi: Excuse me?

Charles: You know. A non-human. I thought this was a gimmick for some type of animal rights group. You are an actual dog, aren’t you?

Image result for confused german shepherd

Lexi: Of course I am.

Charles: You wouldn’t mind me touching you just to make sure, would you?

Lexi growls.

Charles: OK. Don’t get excited. Just let me talk to the humans who work here.

Lexi: What are you talking about?

Charles: You know. The people who write the articles.

Image result for cat at computer

Lexi: Have you actually read Cheeseland?

Charles: A little. You don’t expect me to believe that cats and a mongoose and an elephant write articles do you?

Lexi: Why not?

Charles: What do they do? Use their furry little paws to type? And their furry little brains to think?

Lexi growls again.

Charles: OK, OK. Let me see the newsroom. I can decide who to talk to there.

Image result for cat writing

Lexi: Fine.

They walk down the hall and enter the newsroom. There are a few cats, a couple of dogs, a hedgehog, and a couple of ravens.

Charles: Very funny. A room full of animals making a bunch of noise.

Lexi: This is the newsroom. And these are the reporters. The editors are next door.

Charles: There aren’t any real computers in here.

Lexi: Those are real computers. They have voice recognition technology instead of keyboards. That way we don’t have to use our “furry little paws” to type.

Image result for gentle cat

Charles: Let me talk to one of the reporters. I want that cat over there.

He points to a gentle-looking mixed breed. Lexi talks to her.

Lexi: Dar, this man would like to speak to you. He has the strange idea that we’re all humans dressed up like animals. You’ll have to listen carefully, he has a very thick human accent.

Dar: Hello. My name is Darlene. How may I help you?

Charles: Will you please take me to the humans who are running this place? I don’t understand all the animals running around thinking they’re people, but I’m going to get to the bottom of this.

Image result for animal as human meme

Darlene: Why would we think we’re people? We’re happy the way we are.

Charles (frustrated): Just show me any human.

Darlene: We don’t have humans, just other species.

Charles: There has to be a person somewhere.

Lexi: The only human we know is Cat. She pays for the blog.

Charles: I knew it! Take me to her office.

Image result for animal in office

Lexi: She doesn’t have an office. She doesn’t live in Cheeseland.

Charles: Fine. I’ve had enough. You get all of this, Willy?

Willy: Yep. But people are never going to believe it.

Charles: That’s OK. It’s not fake, so they’ll know there’s something weird out here.

Charles and Willy returned home. They posted the video to YouTube and waited for the response. The only comment they got was “???”. When they looked at the video again, all it showed was Charles talking and a German Shepard barking. Then Charles talking and a cat meowing.

Image result for animal in office

8

Treat Them Like Animals – Part 2

Image result for lioness

Previously – Animals Protecting Animals (APA) has caught a group of poachers in South Africa. They have been taken to APA’s holding facility in the middle of the Sahara Desert to await sentencing by a panel of lions. You can read the rest of the background here.

The following morning, three lionesses arrive. After a brief conversation with Carl, they ask that the defendants be brought to the interrogation room. Carl joins the lionesses to take notes.

The defendants are brought in by Vince and Albert. The camels stay as guards. When the men see that they are going to be tried by lions, they become nervous. They have heard about the poachers in South Africa being eaten by lions.

Image result for south africa game park rhinos

Head Judge: Give us your name, age and home country.

Number 98: Mandla, 23, South Africa

Number 99: Adamu, 30, Kenya

Number 100: Narong, 32, Thailand

Number 101: Lamon, 35, Thailand

Image result for south africa game preserves

The judges confer among themselves.

Head Judge: We would like to know your role in the crime.

Mandla: My family is starving and they told me that they would pay me to show them the way to the park. I left when we got there. They told me they would kill me if I told anyone. I’m sorry I ever took the money.

Image result for south africa game preserves fences

Adamu: I was a guard. My job was to kill anyone who tried to stop us.

Narong: I was also a guard. Additionally, I shot some of the animals.

Lamon: I was responsible for removing the trophies from the dead animals.

Head Judge: What happened to the “trophies” after you removed them?

Image result for asian open market

Lamon: Narong and I smuggled them out of the country and sold them on the black market in Asia.

Head Judge: What did you do with the money?

Lamon: We needed the money to pay for personal expenses.

Head Judge: Did you send any of the money back to Adamu or Mandla?

Lamon: No. We paid them before we left. We consider them a cost of doing business in Africa.

Image result for south african money

Head Judge: Adamu, did you need to shoot any humans?

Adamu: No. We didn’t run into any humans.

Head Judge: Did you kill any animals?

Adamu: No. My job was to stand guard.

Head Judge: Take them back to their cage.

Vince and Albert return the poachers to the tent. The judges talk over what they have heard. They reach a decision on each of the defendants and Carl writes down what they decide. He brings the defendants back to the interrogation room.

Image result for south african animals

Head Judge: We have come to a decision on each of you. Please step forward when I call your name. Mandla, you’re first.

We have taken your circumstances into account and given you a lenient sentence. You will spend 30 days in our facility in South Africa with leopard guards. Then you will become a paid apprentice at the animal reserve. You are not allowed to carry a gun for two years. If you successfully complete your probation, you will become a full officer with all privileges.

Mandla: Thank you for the opportunity.

Head Judge: Use it well. You won’t get a second chance.

Image result for kenya animals

Adamu, please step forward.

We were not as lenient with you. All that kept you from killing was circumstance. You were lucky that no one came near your group. Regardless, you were a lesser player in the crime.

Therefore, you are sentenced to 15 years in our central Kenya facility with lions as your guards. You will be near your family. Use your time to find another profession.

Adamu: Thank you Judge.

Image result for siberia

Head Judge: Narong and Lamon, please step forward.

Honestly, we could not find anything redeeming in any of your actions. You are sentenced to life in our Siberian facility. The tigers only get our worst cases, so you will be with good company.

Narong: Don’t Siberian tigers eat people?

Head Judge: I haven’t heard of it happening at our facility, but I suppose it’s possible. I would be on my best behavior, just in case.

The judges leave the room. The prisoners are led back to the tent to await transportation to the various facilities.Image result for siberian tiger

10

Treat Them Like Animals – Part 1

Image result for africa camels

At a remote location somewhere in the Sahara Desert.

Carl Camel (speaking into the phone): That’s great news! We’ve been trying to get them for months. When will they get here?

Listens and writes down the information.

Carl: Excellent! Thank you and your group for all your hard work.

Hangs up the phone and turns to his coworkers. They work at the holding area for Animals Protecting Animals (APA), a group dedicated to finding and punishing poachers. The location was chosen for its inaccessibility.

Image result for rhino africa

Carl: The Southern Africa group has a huge catch. They got the group that killed Ricky Rhino and others. They should be here by the end of the week.

Vince: Let’s tie them up and cut off their noses.

Sandra: We could tie them up and leave them out for the birds.

Albert: How about fire ants?

Carl: I know Ricky was one of us, but we have to follow the rules. Otherwise, we’re as bad as the humans.

Sandra: We know. Just letting off steam.

Image result for pride of lions

BREAKING NEWS

Everyone looks at the radio

A PRIDE OF LIONS HAS JUST KILLED A GROUP OF POACHERS IN SOUTH AFRICA (Fox News 7/5/18)

Carl: That’s fantastic news. We don’t have any lions in South Africa, but we can use all the help we can get.

Sandra (grinning): Even if they killed them?

Image result for camels walking

Carl: It’s not the APA way, but we don’t know what the circumstances were. Poachers are killers after all.

A few days later, the poachers Carl is expecting arrive by camel caravan. The four men are dirty and tired.

Carl: Welcome to Club Camel, gentlemen. Your first stop on your guided tour of Animals Protecting Animals.

The men swear and try to get down from their camels. The camels nip at them and force them back into their seats.

Image result for sahara desert

Carl: It’s OK ladies, we’ve got them. Go over to the oasis and have a rest. Good job.

Poacher 1: Four camels, four men. We shouldn’t have any trouble getting out of here.

Carl: I suppose that might happen. But even if you try, you’ll die of thirst within a short time. Besides, you haven’t met our guards yet.

A group of Desert Horned Vipers slithers in. The men shrink back.

Image result for desert horned viper

Carl: Don’t worry. They have excellent manners unless you misbehave. Their bite may not kill you, but you won’t get very far.

Vince: So, this is them, eh? Trip didn’t do anything for their looks.

Albert: Or their smell.

Carl: Well, let’s get started. Sandra, did you assign them numbers?

Sandra: Yes, I did. Congratulations, gentlemen. One of you is lucky number 100 in our capture list. Not bad for a group of dumb animals, eh?

Going down the line, she counts off: 98, 99, 100, 101. The men are looking less sure of themselves.

Carl: Excellent. Vince, please take the gentlemen to their temporary home. Albert, get them something to eat and drink.

Image result for desert tent

Home is a large three-sided tent with a cage inside.

Vince: Here you go. Nothing fancy, but it will shelter you from the sun and keep the sand out.

Albert: And here’s dinner. Of course, it’s vegetarian. But the water and figs are fresh. Enjoy!

They slide the bolt, and the snakes take their places.

Related image

Carl: The judges will be down in the morning to listen to what they have to say and determine a punishment.

Sandra: Good. The less time we have to look at them, the better. Do you know which judges will be coming?

Carl: The lions are coming. The hyenas have a separate case and the desert monitors are under investigation. Apparently, they tried to eat a defendant. Some sort of rodent.

Sandra: Good. The lions seem to intimidate the humans.

The camels settle down for the night.

To be continued.

Image result for night in the sahara desert

 

All pictures courtesy of Google Images

18

At the Watering Hole

Image result for savannah watering hole

Mid-morning at a watering hole somewhere on the African savannah.

Zebra 1: Beautiful morning isn’t it?

Zebra 2: Did you hear that Ryan finally got up the nerve to ask Tammy to mate?

Image result for zebra

Zebra 1: No! They’re so cute together. I bet they have beautiful colts.

Zebra 3: Hmmmph! She is such a flirt! She led my Tony on that she would mate with him.

The first two zebras look at each other.

Zebra 2: Well, I’m sure Tony will find a nice girl too.

Zebra 3: You bet he will. Then she’ll be sorry.

Further along.

Image result for warthog

Warthog 1: This is a nice place. How did you find it?

Warthog 2: I was talking to a guy who told me how to get here. Said there was a lot of good water and a fairly low predator to prey ratio.

Warthog 1: You should have brought him along.

Warthog 2: Unfortunately, he got eaten not too long after we met.

Silence.Image result for gazelle

Gazelle 1: Did you hear the hyenas last night?

Gazelle 2: It sounded like there were a lot of them.

Gazelle 1: I know. It was very strange. The last time I saw the pack there were only 3 or 4 of them.

Image result for hyena

Gazelle 3: I heard a rumor that they have some kind of machine that can make it sound like there are lots of them even when there aren’t. I think it’s called a fone or something like that.

Gazelle 1: Should have known. Those guys are always trying to figure out some kind of scam.

The watering hole goes silent as the group of lionesses approach. Slowly the animals start to back away.

Image result for lioness

Lioness 1: Take your time. We’re here to relax, not hunt.

The other animals quickly move away.

Lioness 2: They never trust us.

Lioness 3: Well, we do eat them.

Lioness 2: That’s no excuse for bad manners.

Lioness 1: Did you hear what Leonidis said just before we left?

Lioness 3: I wasn’t listening.Image result for ostrich

Lioness 1: He’s bored with eating zebras and gazelles. He wants something exotic for dinner.

Lioness 2: Did he mention what this exotic dinner was supposed to be?

Lioness 1: He wants an ostrich.

Lioness 3: There aren’t any ostriches around here.

Lioness 1: The new girl told him she had eaten a couple and they’re delicious.

Lioness 2: Then let the new girl get one for him.

Image result for lioness

Lioness 1: He wants her to teach the new cubs how to pounce.

Lioness 2 (sarcastically): Well, isn’t she special.

Lioness 3: I wish Leonidis hadn’t heard that human refer to him as “King of the Jungle”.

Lioness 2: I know. It went straight to his head.

Lioness 1: Humans are so much trouble. We don’t even live in a jungle.

They hear a roar in the distance.

Lioness 1: Time to get to work.

Image result for savanna animals

all pictures courtesy of Google Images

18

The 2018 Supper Bowl

Image result for animals with football

The resident male human (Cat’s husband) loves to watch American football. He watches it all fall, but at the end of the year there seems to be a lot of “bowls”. Watching with him, we noticed something strange. The winner of the Rose Bowl didn’t get a bowl of roses (or even a bowl), the winner of the Orange Bowl didn’t get oranges, and some of the bowl were for gifts that didn’t even make sense. (Who’d want a weed-eater as a prize?)

It seems that the biggest game of all is this weekend. They call it the Super Bowl. What’s so super about it? Apparently it shows who has the best football team in the country. But they still don’t win a bowl. Instead, they get really big rings. You can’t eat out of a ring.

Image result for animal food bowl

So we decided that we needed to sponsor our own bowl, The Supper Bowl. And guess what the winners get? Silver bowls with their names engraved on them and a year’s supply of their favorite food (funded by an anonymous donor.)

We had to make a few adjustments to the game. Since few animals are bipedal, runners can carry the ball in either their hands or their mouths. Unless the game is between two bipedal teams, passing is not allowed. Finally, field goals are not allowed because of the difference in animal heights.

Image result for lions

Image result for bison

After an 8-game playoff, the contenders in the inaugural Supper Bowl are the Lions and the Bison. It’s a classic match-up of speed and brawn. We’ll see if the Lions’ stealth is any match for the brute strength of the Bison.

Now, on to the game with our commentators, Biff and Zoomer:

Zoomer: Well, here we go. The Lions are kicking off to the Bison. That was some kick. The Bison ball carrier starts slowly, but now he picks up speed.

Image result for bison playing

Biff: Oh my goodness. That Lion defense is pretty impressive. Two go for the legs and one jumps up in front of him. There’s no gain.

(Two more attempts and the Bisons turn the ball over to the Lions.)

Biff: Now we’ll see how good that Bison defense really is. The Lion runner takes off but has no where to go. No gain.  Running through the Bison line is not going to work for the Lions.

Image result for lions running

Zoomer: There he goes again. He sees a little daylight around the end and runs for it. The Bison line is slow to react. Touchdown! The Lions lead 6-0.

Biff: OK, now the Bison need to make sure that they come back strong.

Zoomer: Oh no! two of the Bison players have collided. This is not good. They need to be helped off the field.

Biff: The offense is already down players from previous injuries. They’re going to have to put in rookies.

Image result for seesaw animal

(seesaw)

(As expected, the series doesn’t go well for the Bison and they don’t score. Things go back and forth for most of the game. The defenses manage to keep either team from scoring until late in the game.)

Biff: Well, this is it for the Bison. If they don’t score here, they’re out of time.

Zoomer: Right you are. Here we go. The Bison form a group around their runner. They move as one. The Lions have no choice but to move out of their way. It looks like we’re headed to overtime.

Image result for football overtime

(The teams take a break to discuss their strategy. Whoever scores first wins the game.)

Zoomer: Since the Bison had the ball first in the game, the Lions will get it first in overtime.

Biff: Rumor has it that the Lions have been practicing a trick play. If it’s true, now’s the time to use it.

Zoomer: We’re back on the field. The Lions have the ball. The carrier goes to the left instead of straight ahead and runs into his own player.

Image result for running lions

Biff: No! He didn’t run into him. He gave him the ball. The Bison look confused. The new runner passes the ball to a third Lion. He takes advantage of the confusion in the Bison defensive line. He leaps over two Bison who are wandering around and heads for the end zone.

Zoomer: And the Lions win the Supper Bowl!

Biff: Let’s go down to the field to talk to the victors.

(Fortunately for fans everywhere, the teams have disappeared into their respective locker rooms and are not available for interviews. The Supper Bowl will be presented the next day at a banquet.)

Image result for american football ball

Alert readers should have guessed the outcome. We are based in Michigan, home of the Detroit Lions.

All pictures courtesy of Google Images