28

2018 Animal Olympics – Week 2

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Riki T. Tavi here. Welcome to our summary of the second and final week of the 2018 Animal Olympics. Of course, the big surprise this week was the withdrawal of the highly favored reindeer team from the Sleigh Pull.

Rumors have swirled that members of the team failed a drug test. The truth is that the “failed” test was a pregnancy test. Roxy, the leader of the team, is going to have a calf in the spring. Animal Olympic rules prohibit participation of pregnant athletes due to the possibility of being kicked.

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The Dall Sheep had their appeal over the conditions of the ski slope rejected, so the standings are unchanged.

The week was full of surprises. Now on to our commentators.

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Harold Hare – Cross Country Tracking

The non-carnivore competition was a real disappointment. First, only four teams qualified for the race. Of course, the snowshoe hares were brilliant in finding the food we had distributed on the track. The beavers fell asleep and missed the race entirely. The squirrel team was fun to watch although their constant playing on the track was somewhat of a distraction.

Gold: Snowshoe Hares; Silver: Squirrels; Bronze: Mice.

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The carnivore competition was much more intense. Generally, the field is all mammals. The birds prefer to compete in the Raptor Grab. However, this year the arctic owls decided to enter the tracking hunt. With nests on the ground and their outstanding hunting skills, they were sure to be a threat.

The arctic foxes weren’t intimidated. They had inspected the field closely and were confident of their abilities. The wolverines had edged the wolves in the semi-finals to get the last spot in the finals.

It was a good fight. Unfortunately for the owls, one of their players got side-tracked by some non-competition prey and was eliminated for leaving the track.

Gold: Arctic Foxes; Silver: Wolverines; Bronze: Arctic Owls.

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Bruno Brown Bear – Ice Hockey

In recent years, the sport has been dominated by the bears. A combination of intelligence and strength has been the key. But this year there was a surprising new challenger. The dogs decided to enter a team of border collies.

The bear teams weren’t concerned. Who ever heard of dogs on ice? They concentrated on their usual threats, the otters and the seals. Both teams were fast, with plenty of experience moving chunks of ice.

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Fans were stunned when the border collies beat the black bears in the semi-finals. The dogs were fast learners and agile on the ice. The final four teams were the brown bears/grizzlies, seals, polar bears, and collies. The match-up between the brown bears and the seals wasn’t close, with the bears winning 6-0.

In the other game, it appears that the polar bears may have gotten a little over-confident. The collies took them to double-overtime and finally won, 2-1. So it was brown bears v. collies for the gold and silver, and seals v. polar bears for the bronze.

Gold: Brown Bears/Grizzlies; Silver: Border Collies; Bronze: Polar Bears.

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Arnie Kestrel – Raptor Grab

As usual, the Raptor Grab was an intense competition. The rules state that the contestants can only score with specially marked fish. However, there is nothing in the rules about taking another competitor’s fish before crossing the line.

A new member of the arctic owl team repeatedly brought back ineligible fish, leaving the team out of the finals. The bald eagles were eliminated when two of their team members lost fish in fights.

The finalists were the red-tailed hawks, the snowy owls, and the golden eagles.

Gold: Snowy Owls; Silver: Golden Eagles; Bronze: Red-Tailed Hawks.

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Rodney Reindeer – Sleigh Pull

As Riki said earlier, the favored reindeer team withdrew at the beginning of the week. As a result, we saw some different competitors joining the now-favored moose in the finals.

The sled dogs decided to field a team this year. Traditionally a strong competitor in the race, the dogs have been sitting out a suspension following that unfortunate incident in 2010. That team turned over the sleigh, but continued to run for a distance. The bears riding inside were dragged along with the sleigh. Once the bears and the dogs were released, there was a terrible fight.

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The final place was taken by the horse team. The horses fielded a good team, but their lack of experience at an elite level showed. It turned into a showdown between the moose and the sled dogs. The dogs had an emotional edge, trying to redeem their reputation. They edged the moose by less than a second.

Gold: Sled Dogs; Silver: Moose; Bronze: Horses.

It’s Riki again. I hope you enjoyed our coverage of the 2018 Animal Olympics. We hope to see you in 2022 when we’ll be covering the Winter Animal Olympics in Beijing.

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13

The Truth about Black Cats and Halloween

There are many stories about black cats and Halloween. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at what they really do on October 31.

They make a list and check it twice

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Gotta make sure who’s naughty and nice

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First the naughty:

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Mouse in the bed here

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Missing candy there

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Making mischief everywhere

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Then the nice:

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Watching for trouble

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Protecting the treats

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Nuzzles and snuggles that can’t be beat

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At the end of a long night

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They can be seen

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Asleep in their beds, enjoying a dream

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This post is dedicated to Tigger, my parents’ first cat. She was a beautiful, long-haired tuxedo cat who would sit very still in the back corner of the porch and watch the trick-or-treaters. Every once in a while she would move, startling the kids who thought she was a decoration.

7

Cheeseland News Classified Ads

 

Image result for help wanted sign clipart   Help Wanted

Dam Builders. We are looking for some strong beavers who don’t mind working hard for the community. We are building dens for beavers left homeless by the recent storms. Must have good dental hygiene. We provide temporary housing. Potential long-term position for the right candidate.

Guard for senior mouse village. Must be alert and flexible in ability to respond to a variety of dangers. Experience preferred. No carnivores please.

Locksmith. Looking for someone who can make our house child-proof. Particularly young, blonde females. Something easy to use with paws. Must not be afraid of the woods or large bears.

 

Image result for for sale sign clipart  For Sale

Cat door. We have finally trained the humans to let us in and out on demand. Some damage from dog trying to squeeze through. Newer model. Both entrance and exit functional.

Empty nest. Perfect for those couples who were surprised to find out that they need a permanent abode for the season. Secluded location, safe distance from the ground. Furnished with rabbit fur and dryer fluff. No leaks. Sheltered from the rain.

Running wheel. Husband wanted to run to keep in shape. Ran after girl next door instead. Barely used. You won’t find a better deal.

Sheep’s clothing. Full set, size XXL. Slight smell of wolf should disappear with airing.

 

Image result for heart clipart  Personals

Image result for calico tomcat  Handsome Calico Tom looking for beautiful young kitties seeking fun and adventure. Weight proportional to bone structure. Not looking for an exclusive relationship.

Image result for brown bear  Lonely Male Brown Bear looking for ongoing relationship with a kindred spirit. Someone who likes long walks in the woods and long naps together. Ideally you will also love fishing and tree climbing. Not interested in an aggressive partner. No taste for humans.

Image result for gray squirrel  Female Gray Squirrel looking for foraging partner. Someone to gather nuts with and play chase around the woods. Must have good memory. Potential winter nest for the right guy.

 

Image result for money clipart   Business Opportunities

Perfect opportunity for feline entrepreneurs. Get in on the ground floor of Catnip Unlimited. Develop your own field of specially developed, extra-potent catnip. Easy to grow, easy to sell. Franchise opportunities available in many locations. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Potential franchisees will be subject to a background check for history of addiction.

Always wanted your own humans but didn’t know what to look for? Try time-sharing with other animals. You can buy into this unique arrangement for a small down payment. See whether you like living alone with humans, with of other species, or fellow animals of your own species. Our humans have been carefully chosen for their ability to get along with a variety of animals.

Are you tired of your food and belongings smelling of human? Need some extra money for the holidays? Become a Human No sales agent. Practically sells itself. Comes in a variety of scents. Will remove even the most pungent smells. Makes your home smell like home again.

3

Annual Cheeseland Staff Meeting

Once a year all, the reporters for Adventures in Cheeseland get together to describe major projects they are working on for the next year. George and Lenny are responsible for herding the cats (so to speak).

Image result for two miceGoogle Images

George: Happy New Year everyone! Thanks for taking the time to come to Michigan for this meeting. Cat has a few things that she would like us to mention at the beginning of this meeting.

Lenny: First, we have to commit to having something to publish once a week.

(Under his breath: that’s her fault not ours. General snickers. George takes over.)

George: And our readership seems to be trending a little intellectual. She want us to get a little more mainstream.

mehitabel: Not gonna happen.

Ahab: Not with me. I didn’t sign on to be dumbed down.

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(Agreement around the table.)

George: Cat thought that might be your response. So she hired a freelancer for our first attempt. I’d like you to meet Les Sloth. He is going to the convention with Cat’s daughter to get a first-hand view of modeling competitions. (Groans all around.) He’s posing as her bodyguard and PR rep. If it works out, he’ll be a regular contributor.

Image result for sloths  Google Images

(Les looks around and gently smiles at everyone.)

Ahab: No disrespect Les, but how are you going to guard B? Aren’t sloths rather (searches for correct word)

Les: Yes we are slow. But we are also very cute and that tends to disarm people. While they are looking at me, I have a buzzer to B’s traveling companion who works as B’s wing person. She will be able to talk to people and explain that B is there for work, not socialization.

Ahab: That actually might work. Welcome to Cheeseland.

(The others welcome him as well.)

Ricky T. Tavi: So what are you calling your piece?

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Les: Cat and I agreed on “Slothly Ruminations on Human Behavior.”

archy (snickering): That title should draw in the Twitter crowd.

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George: If that’s what Cat wants, that’s the title.

archy: It wasn’t a reflection on you, Les. You seem like a nice guy.

(Les smiles at him.)

George: So what else is happening this year?

mehitabel: We’re looking into adulteration at a cheese-puff factory. They may actually be putting cheese into some of their products.

“Ace” Sopp: I am looking into a secret group of sub-Saharan animals who are putting together a peace-keeping group to try to help their northern human neighbors.

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Ricky T. Tavi: Unfortunately it appears that there may be some doping on the Bengal Tiger surf team. Since Ahab is the head of the commission for the summer games, we are working together to try to prevent a scandal.

Ahab: Unfortunately, we are finding evidence that the problem may be more wide-spread than we first thought. The human surfing social habits are spreading to the animals.

H. Chris Andersen: I am looking into the beginnings of socialized medicine for animals, particularly in Scandinavia. We are hoping to avoid some of the start-up glitches the humans have experienced. For example, most animals can’t wait several months for tests and surgery.

George: I assume we will be sending someone to the human Olympics this summer?

Ace: Ricky and I drew the short straws because we live in hot climates. I hate dealing with humans. They always act so condescending.

Ricky: Like they’re better than we are. Les, you’re welcome to join us. It’s in your neighborhood and you’re studying humans right now.

Les: I would like that.

George: Great! It looks like we have a good start to the year. Remember to keep us updated on what you’re doing. Don’t forget about the time the Tasmanian devil almost bankrupt us trying to recreate a typhoon.

(They all laugh and adjourn to the dining room.)

0

What Do You Bring to an Inter-Species Potluck?

Like most other offices, “Adventures in Cheeseland” has a holiday party between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Probably the only difference between ours and yours is that being inter-species, we don’t allow meat. It would definitely ruin the ambience if someone saw a friend/family member in the stew.

Being in charge means that Lenny and George (they are the mice in the header) need to make sure that everything runs smoothly. They are looking at the sign-up sheet to see what else is needed.

George: It looks like almost everyone is bringing something.

Lenny: Oh, no! Sigmund Squirrel has signed up to bring acorn squash again. It’s your turn to tell him that smashed up acorns are different than acorn squash.

George: Fine. But you tell Hortense Hen that it creeps out people when she brings in deviled eggs. Everyone knows where they come from.

Lenny: Eww! I forgot about that.

George: It appears that Snoops and Kommando are getting together to make catnip brownies. Do you think that’s appropriate for an office party?

Lenny: If you think it’s a problem, you tell them. They scare me.

George: They’re harmless. Cat won’t let them near us.

Lenny: Don’t you remember what happened last year at the party? Snoops threatened to make me the main dish!

George: I’d forgotten all about it. Well, you did make her pretty mad.

Lenny: I thought she’d like me bringing kitty kibble.

George: You brought kitty kibble from her secret stash.

Lenny: How was I supposed to know that?

George: It was behind the kitty bed in Cat’s office.

Lenny: Oh, yeah. I told you we should have gone in together and gotten pumpkin spice ice cream and pumpkin spice coffee.

George: Most of the staff doesn’t like pumpkin.

Lenny: But it was a great sale!

George: So do you have any ideas for this year?

Lenny: I think so. What are you bringing?

George: Well, I was going to bring a cheeseball. But when I bought one last year, the kids ate out the core. They didn’t think I’d miss it. So I’m thinking almond cookies. I can go down the street to the Chinese restaurant to get them. That way, the kids won’t even see them.

Lenny: That’s a great idea! Almost everyone likes almonds or cookies.

George: So what’s your idea?

Lenny: I was thinking hot chocolate. Well, not really hot chocolate because it’s served cold.

George: So you’re bringing cold hot chocolate?

Lenny: Yeah. I found it in an old book. It think it might be someone’s family recipe. Do you want to try some? I made a test batch and brought it in.

George: Sure! I love chocolate!

(They go to Lenny’s office and close the door. Lenny brings out a pitcher and two small glasses. He pours a brownish liquid into both glasses. George sniffs and wrinkles his whiskers.)

George: This smell kinda weird, Len. Are you sure you made it right?

Lenny: I followed the recipe exactly.

George: Okay. Well, here we go.

(George takes a large mouthful, turns green, and spits it back in the glass.)

Lenny: What’s wrong? Don’t you like it?

George: That is the worst cold hot chocolate I have ever tasted. Let me see that recipe.

(Lenny pulls out the recipe and gives it to George.)

Lenny: See, it says it was put together by some doctor in Spain in 1631.

George: It says “Take one hundred cocoa beans, two chilies, a handful of anise seed and two of vanilla (two pulverized Alexandria roses can be substituted), two drams of cinnamon, one dozen almonds and the same amount of hazelnuts, half a pound of white sugar and enough annatto to give some color.”

Lenny: Yeah, it didn’t say what kind of chilies, so I asked the guy to give me a couple of hot ones. And I told you it wasn’t served hot.

George: Did you try this?

Lenny: No. The smell made me sick.

George: And you want to serve this at our party?

Lenny: I said it was an idea.

George: It’s a terrible idea.

Lenny: OK. What do you think I should bring?

George: We still need napkins and paper plates.

 

References:

http://www.thenibble.com/reviews/main/chocolate/the-history-of-chocolate.asp

http://albanykid.com/2011/12/11/hot-chocolate-hot-cocoa-and-xocoatl/

3

The Great Zoo Escape – Epilogue

My apologies for this story getting to you so late. Apparently the mice running this blog did not realize that there is a difference between black bears (me) and grizzly bears (my subjects). It was a lot more complicated than they thought. (Ed. Note: All bears look the same to us: big, furry, sharp teeth, long claws. How would we know that grizzlies have been known to kill and eat black bears? We are sending Bosco to two apple festivals to make up for it.)

Coeur d’Alene, ID – When I left Bonners Ferry, I didn’t really have a plan. All I knew was that the grizzlies had headed to Canada, and I don’t speak grizzly. So I headed north.

I had just passed into British Columbia when I saw a family of grizzlies by a river. They didn’t look too intimidating, so I took a chance. As it turned out, they were up from Idaho visiting family, and the children knew a little of my dialect from school friends. They explained to their father who I was and why I was there. He seemed a little suspicious and smelled my entire body.

Once he were convinced that I had no human scent, the father invited me to sit with them. Through the children he told me that his brother had said something about some American escapees, but he really didn’t know anything. He pointed me in the direction of the nearest Inter-Bear Information System (IBIS) station and told me where I could find some berries.

Ibis Communications Network (Google Images)

I walked up to the IBIS station and was relieved to find it staffed by a combination of grizzlies and black bears. When I told them who I was, they needed to smell me again. (I thought Canadian bears were kind and trusting. Maybe these are transplants from the U.S.)

Once they were satisfied that I wasn’t sent by the human authorities, they told me what they knew about Brutus, Julius, and Marc Antony.

Brutus had received an urgent message from his family via IBIS. They didn’t say what was wrong, but that he needed to be there as soon as possible. Marc Antony is from the same group so he wanted to go home too. Julius is not related but saw an opportunity to go home. He separated from them as soon as they knew they were safe.

I asked if they could let me know how to get in touch with Brutus. They really didn’t want to, citing the privacy policies of IBIS. They finally relented when I told them that the other animals were concerned about his safety. They sent me out with a guide named Beowulf. I’m not sure if being with Beowulf made me feel any safer. A couple of times I think he was sizing me up for dinner.

We finally made it to Brutus’ family. They were surprisingly friendly (and they didn’t have to smell me). They pointed out Brutus to me. He looked relaxed and happy. He was sitting with a female and laughing. When he heard who I was, he motioned me over.

 

(Google Images)

I asked him if everything was all right with his family. He told me that the family was fine but that a strange bear was trying to take over with his lady friend. He made it home in time to convince the other bear that it was time to move along.

So there’s the answer. Brutus wasn’t planning a rampage, he just wanted to save his girl from the clutches of a strange bear. It’s really kind of romantic.

I made it back to the border with Beowulf. He apologized for scaring me. He said he usually did his “bear act” for the tourists, but was bored when he met me. He’s actually a very refined, well-educated bear. We promised to keep in touch via IBIS.

(Aside from Snoops: I am so proud of the alpha male human. He came home from work and told us that he had caught a mouse. Finally. Of course, he didn’t bring it home or have pictures. Hmmm.)

7

May I Introduce to You

As promised, we are making some changes to Adventures in Cheeseland.

The 15 or 20 of you who were around during the early days of this blog may remember that the point of the title was that it was going to be about my work in the cheese department of a big block store.

Before too long, I got bored with that idea. It was either because those of us with bipolar minds have a tendency to jump topics or because it was a pretty boring/limited topic to begin with. I imagine it was mainly the second.

Which left me with a rather sizable problem: what to do with a title to the blog that was related in no way to what was written in the blog. I was advised that under no circumstances should I change the name of the blog.

So I’ve been searching for a way to bridge the disconnect. Occasional cheese features? Alternative world where cheese rules?

Hmmmm. Where have I been headed? Eureka!

Welcome to Adventures in Cheeseland: Possibly the Only WordPress Blog Hosted by Mice

We’re adding some new contributors, but will remain basically the same. Without further ado:

Owner and CEO. Editor-in-Chief: Cat (me)

Managing Editors: George and Lenny

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Staff Writers: Super Snoops, Kommando Kitty, and Horatio Hedgehog

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City Desk: archy and mehitabel

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African Bureau: “Ace” Sopp

Asian Bureau: Ricky T. Tavi

European Bureau: H. Chris Andersen

Latin America: Still interviewing. The sloths are cute, but won’t commit to deadlines. The snakes scare the rest of the staff.

Oceana: Ahab

All in all, we’ll be the same strange combination of real reality and alternative reality you’ve (hopefully) come to know and love.