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By Pollard

We animals are having the darndest time trying to find out who made this Hail to the Chimp game to which we are, each one of us, dangerously addicted. The shadowy Addax Seropian who brought us this evil product came and went in the night leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. Why, we can hardly cobble together a workable news crew at this point. This game might just top Vertebrexstracil and Snausages combined on the addiction scale. Now if we could only figure out how to invest.

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OBITUARIES

Recently Deceased:

George Marlin, 71
Comedian

Santa Monica, Calif. - Even those of us who do not choose to laugh couldn't help ourselves when Mr. Marlin performed. For he wasn't a cornball, a silly goose, a birdbrain, or a dunderhead. He was brave, intelligent, and honest in his speech. That is what set him apart from others in his field and that's what made sheep and lemmings mad. He was the funniest fish in school, and darn it, if he's not dead. It is true. He went belly up just two nights ago.

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HOROSCOPE

It's Your Birthday!
June 30, 2008

You don't have to be an animal born on this date to be distracted today. If you are merely in the forest, ocean, plateau, plain, savanna, lake, swamp, or pond with a June 30 birthday of any species you are likely to feel pulled in 30 directions. The GRR News Horoscope Department advises you to isolate the June 30 animal creating chaos and quarantine him, her, or it until this sign's moon safely passes overhead. If you ARE the June 30 beast in question, then lock yourself in your den the night before and don't let anyone set you free until July 1 under any circumstances.

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THIS DAY IN HISTORY

June 30, 2008
GRR News H.Q. - We are making history, friends! Today is the first-ever automated remote-driven robotic newscast. Not only are our robots reporting the news, they are creating and writing the news, too. We'd love to take credit for it, but we have to thank Toshiro for lending us his blueprints, if not his tools. Today's day in history is tomorrow's history! Or something like that. Go team robot! The best thing about robots is that they don't seem to want to cut in our game...sweet.

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World Report
Game Over: Woodchuck Chumley of GRR News Takes On Addax Seropian of Wildload Games! FINISH HIM!

By Woodchuck Chumley


GRR News Headquarters – Today started out like any other day in this business we call broadcast news. We, the reporters who comprise GRR News, commuted to work on our regularly scheduled paths and then mingled as we do in the break room, making senseless small talk about the previous night’s Primal Time television shows as we waited for the hot coffee to finish percolating. Once it finished we poured our cups, raced to our respective offices, and pulled the blinds. I was six pages into the newspaper when then the receptionist called.

“Mr. Chumley, there’s an Addax Seropian here for you.”

One does not know panic until he has forgotten a live, televised interview. “Thank you, Sparkles. Hold him up for ten minutes, won't you? Show him the trophy wall."

The newsroom scrambled to find out what it could about this mysterious Addax Seropian, who admittedly sounded important. I, Woodchuck Chumley, pitched in by firing up one of the search engines bundled here on my computer to see what I could find. Naturally, I punched in the most obvious search string: World Leaders Visiting GRR News Today. But my search returned nothing but a two-year-old story about a barely-known narcoleptic opera singer - not the one who ate my brother. This goes to show you can't trust technology with the fundamentals of bringing animals the news. Fortunately, the interns figured it out and were keyed to discover that this guest, Addax Seropian, was bringing a video game, of all things, to the GRR News studios. No serious journalist in his or her right mind would be caught covering such a thing, but Seropian's animals claim that this game is different. This one, they promised, is important.

I raced into makeup and onto the set just as Addax strolled in with his gizmo and his game. He was younger than I'd expected, lean, serious, an antelope I could talk with, drink with. I relaxed.

This reporter looked at him and said squarely, “You have a game, I see.”

Addax smiled the smile of an animal with a secret. The heretofore-silent Addax plugged this thing into the wall socket and handed me a gizmo without a word between us. We sat in front of a large screen we usually reserve for crime-scene analysis and spotting stalkers and celebrities in crowds (where you find one you generally find the other). "This game is called Hail to the Chimp," Seropian said. "It's about the elections...."  He probably said more, but I had stopped paying attention.

There, before my very own groundhog eyes, was me, Woodchuck Chumley, only thicker, shorter, and by all means a heck of a lot sillier. “What’s this!?” I exclaimed, hardly able to maintain my composure. “That looks like me there on the screen, only with fuller cheeks, rounder eyes, a shorter nose...and where's the gravitas?”

“That’s not you,” Addax said. “That’s a character we invented for the game. If it was you, we'd probably have to license your image or something.  But since it's not you, no worries!” Addax explained that this political game of his mocks every aspect of the animal world elections from the campaign trail to the media covering it. It even includes fake broadcasts from a fake GRR News. Uncanny. Players control these animals, the candidates, as they cast their clams. Chaos ensues. “But look at the screen and you see Ptolemy, Hedwig, Crackers…just as plain as day,” I said. Addax interrupted, “Cut! Cut!” Cut? Was this Addax fellow trying to interrupt my broadcast? That takes one frisky nerve.

“The candidates featured in the game are not modeled after the candidates in the real animal world election,” Addax said with an authority usually reserved for fibbing politicians and moneymammals up to no good. "They just happen to share the same names, in a stunning string of coincidences." Just then I directed my eyes toward the screen and saw Toshiro topple Murgatroyd. And yes, I saw it with my own eyes and not those of that grotesque caricature of me, Woodchuck Chumley, on the screen.

Addax continued to play this game, round after round, battle after battle, like a merry-go-round that would not stop. Floyd, or a Floyd doppelganger, dashed across the screen.

“You can’t tell me that’s not Floyd,” I said to Addax with consternation.

“That’s not Floyd,” Addax said resolutely. “I mean, it is, but it's our Floyd. He's a walrus and shoremammal. He hears strange messages from afar. He’s a bit of a guru. But he doesn't wear any fancy shirts in our game, so he's not the Floyd you're thinking of.”

This reporter scratched his head. A weather turtle took to the screen to deliver a dead-pan comedy skit presented in a mock news fashion. “That’s Rusty!” I cried out.

Addax shook his head slowly, walloping the onscreen “Hedwig” with Bean’s meaty onscreen fist. “How many weatherturtles named Rusty are there in the world?  Do you have any data that says it's not the most popular name for weatherturtles?  I didn't think so. All characters or events portrayed in this game are purely fictional. Any similarities to real persons, living or dead, or events is purely coincidental.”

This reporter stroked his chin. "How can you say there are not similarities when they appear to be exact replicas of each of us, or at least most of us?" I asked.

"Nope. They're not. Just a coincidence," Addax maintained.

Juliet appeared in the picture on the television in front of Addax and behind me the entire curious staff of GRR stood lurking in the doorway.

“I look like that?” a shocked, real life Juliet inquired, her voice (and knees)  considerably shaky.

“It’s not you,” Addax said, now seemingly exasperated. "It's just an ostrich who happens to share your name, job and mannerisms. No matter how many interviews I do about this, you media types never seem to get that part right."

Rusty, unfazed, sat down and lifted the gizmo Addax called a "joypad" from my frozen paws, since I had ceased my vain efforts to derive joy from it. I couldn’t see how the thing related to the screen and did not know I was to use my paws to control this ME on the screen. "You can't control you, Chumley," Rusty said. "You're an NPC." Right.

Rusty placed his rootbeer float on the floor and took to the gizmo right away. Must have been all that ping-pong over in the Bog.

Addax, relieved to see Rusty’s enthusiasm, handed a controller to Zeno, who was glad to chip in yet disappointed to find that he wasn’t in the game. Not even an NPC, whatever that is.

“Zeno didn’t work at GRR yet when we made this game,” Addax said. It made sense.

Gizelle bumped me from my anchor seat to join in on the fun, heartbroken, too, to not have made the final cut for the game. “You were in Dubai,” Addax reminded her.

I, Woodchuck Chumley, left the younger crew that had grown to a healthy gathering of at least 20 and headed to the comfort of my private dressing room. I poured myself a cocktail and when I could no longer take the anticipation, turned sideways to inspect my profile in the full-length mirror. That thing in the video game has thirty pounds on me if he has one. That is not a little joke. 

GRR News plans to bring you 'round the clock coverage of this new political video game that has nothing to do with the actual animal world election but just the same seems to replicate it exactly. Oh yes, and we will bring you more on the real animal world election just as soon as those polecats wrap up the recount.


Is it I, Woodchuck Chumley? Or just an incredible simulation? Apparently it only costs $40 to find out.

Reader Feedback:

I want this game so bad but I can't find it anywhere! It seems to have come out of nowhere! I read GRR News every day and yet I never heard of it. Haven't these animals ever heard the word "PR"?
-Lloyd, Badger, Minnesota

There was a great article about it in the Preytown Whisperer in Central Duluth, Lloyd. Maybe you just weren't looking! I had no problem finding it, loser!
-Sarah, Brown Mouse, Minnesota

I don't think the one in the game looks like the real Woodchuck Chumley, either. Chumley's cheeks are fat, but not THAT fat. They made him look all cartoony. I'd be so mad if I were him. Rusty looks about right, though.
-Tara, Beagle, New Jersey

Hi guys, do you happen to know if there's going to be a European release? We are excited about the game over here, too, you know!
-Ari, Gull, Leeds, U.K.

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Chumley's Blog: The Protean Truth
Video Games, Ottergraphs, and Poor Speech:  Bellwethers of a Career Whose Time has Come

By Woodchuck Chumley

The following is a transcript of a live broadcast made on GRR earlier today.

Friends, fawns, and gentle animals. Woodchuck Chumley here in a somewhat familiar space. Last I came to you from Juliet’s Monday time slot, she was incarcerated, up the river, in the clink. Seems like another era, really. I suppose it was. Juliet’s not in prison again, not our Juliet. This time she’s gone on a bit of a mental vacation along with her co-workers. Thank sweet corn we don't have a newsstation to run. Oh wait, we do. Each one of the animal reporters of this fine institution who cuts a bi-weekly check is tragically wrapped up in that ludicrous video game. Vanity? Perhaps. Maybe they like seeing themselves in megapixels. I suppose if I felt the game bore my likeness I might like to play, too. Me? Ho, ho, no. I’m not bitter. It's just that someone has to keep order around here and they don't call me the patriarch because I'm Irish.

If you’ve just joined us, I’m discussing the power of words. In this business, having a good-looking snout is one thing but the ability to speak with meaning lassoes the Bullitzers. I know; I had to build a new wing of my house to hold all of them. You like a good story you say? I'm good at stories. Here’s a little anecdote for you about words, as pulled fresh from my memory just this morning. A young mammal sent me a letter a couple of weeks ago. “Woodchuck Chumley,” he began, “could you please at your earliest convenience send me an ottergraph.” I love it when they end a question with a period.

Being the genuine article that I am, always remaining professional while  remembering my humble beginnings and looking out for younger generations, I sent the little tyke a fine 8 x 10 press photo with my John Peacock scrawled  across the bottom. He wrote the next day, “No, no NO! Your OTTERgraph.” I, being of sound mind, assumed the little one had created a scheme by which he would collect signed ottergraphs from me and then sell them at school. He had not returned the other, so I decided to play along. I signed another photo and dropped it in the mail to our eager young one. Sure enough, he wrote again the next day including the shredded bits of photo. “Your Ottergraph, ottergraphs, those GRAPHS you showed on the news, fool!”

No need to call names. After a bit of memory jogging in place with the interns, I remembered the very graph in question. Last year GRR News ran a story about a strange terminal illness afflicting otter populations worldwide. Some sort of otterimmune thing, something having to do with otterantibodies or a type of otterintoxication. You get the point. This young viewer who sent the otter graph request must be, well, I’m sorry to say afflicted himself. I sent the only intern not too busy playing (or cheering on while others play) Hail to the Chimp to dig through the archives for this graph. This otter graph. He found it so let’s take a look. Jerry? Cue it up please for the viewers at home. There it is now:

JERRY ROOLS CHUMLEY DROOLS! JERRY 10 CHUMLEY 0 GAME!

[Chumley looks down and neatly stacks the papers spread about his anchor desk and evens the stack with his paws. The silence is deafening.]

JERRY! You’re fired!

[The screen goes dark but for the GRR News logo gyrating in the bottom right corner. From the silence, Chumley’s voice is heard.]

Jerry. I was only kidding. You know I’ve had a long day.

[The screen comes back.]

Folks, it’s been a long week. Possibly the longest week of my life. The election ended in pandemonium and we still don’t have results. Gizelle filed her resignation. The entire staff is sucked into the vortex of a video game and refuses to work (even Rusty). My drycleaner boxed instead of hung my shirts. Zeno said good-bye as he heads off to college. And now Jerry, dear Jerry, toys with a terminally ailing young spawn. Why? Oh, to generate a few laughs, I suppose. I try to remain optimistic but I fear this is a bellwether. You've heard my prediction before and I feel confident speaking of it once again: One day you will get your news from comedians. I suppose that’s just fine if that’s how you like it. Me? Well, I won’t stoop to that level. I, Woodchuck Chumley would rather retire with the mantle of gravitas tucked under one arm and my Bullitzers tucked under the other than become a sideshow act for the masses. I apologize, for I seem to have a case of the blues. Maybe Juliet’s right, maybe I should loosen up and have some fun. Maybe I should play that video game. Alas, not before I get my beauty sleep, for if I don’t I just might end up looking like the Woodchuck Chumley character in that mudforesaken game. Chumley here, signing off, heading to bed, and possibly into retirement.
 

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Arts, Entertainment, and Style
Romps & Frolics with the Fecund & Famous: Going Away Party for Me!

By Gizelle

GRR News Headquarters – What a year it’s been for this hoot hoot! Once a reporter covering the local fashion school scene, Gizelle has finally made it big time, even co-hosting her own television show. The point is that a lot has happened during this past year at GRR News. The animal election brought a whole new dimension to Gizelle’s reporting. Fortunately, a few of the candidates knew a little bit about style and marketing themselves (bleat out to Hedwig and Ptolemy!) to keep Gizelle’s pages interesting. From Toshiro’s alleged air guitar routines on stage with major bands like GarterSnake to Ptolemy’s massive parties in the desert, animals got plenty of entertainment from what most of us expected would be another collection of boring hoot hoots talking to us about money and education.

Santo brought a message of beauty and goodwill, turning dozens of ordinary, ugly animals cities into what looked like movie sets! Bean promised to whip us all into shape. Moxie swore she’d make us smarter or die trying. Hedwig, Hedwig! Owning fine boutiques worldwide! What more could an animal want from a president?

This year wasn’t all about the politicians, though. Gizelle discovered new restaurants, clubs, resorts, and films. She stayed on the ever-changing fashion news scene and kept GRR viewers and readers informed about her love life and all related drama at all times. Remember the story about Ptolemy’s love child? Yep, Gizelle brought you that, too. It’s difficult to recount such a fabulous career filled with so many accomplishments in such a small space, so I’ll get to the point. Each of these stories aside, there’s one critical lesson Gizelle learned this year (besides the fact that it's ok to wear white after Labor Day). The best hoot hoots aren’t the ones in Hollywood or even in the designer studios. They are right here around me every day at GRR News. I couldn’t pull anyone away from that video game long enough to give me a quote, so trust me when I say that everyone feels the same. Leaving GRR News is like leaving family, which brings me to my last point.

2008 has been a year of great success, but it has also been trying for Gizelle. I gained two pounds, my fur lost its shine from March to April, my long-time blue chip professor broke up with me and after a string of other relationships Mamba Cass nearly swallowed me whole on the set of The Hoot! My condo flooded twice and the drycleaner lost my best dress. Gizelle has learned that we have to take the bad with the good. With all of this in mind, though, I have decided that it’s time to take a break, a little sabbatical from GRR News. What Gizelle needs is some time off to perfect a particularly complicated Pilates routine and to catch up on the last three seasons of Sex and the Kitty now on DVD. It’s summer, after all, and who wants to be indoors working when there’s frolicking to be done?

Don’t you worry, though, Gizelle will be back on the scene one day. Rusty, your makeup tips have been priceless. Juliet, you’ve taught me how to be a pro. Alfred, you are the BEST to gossip with. Pollard, I appreciate that tip you gave me on ICE (made $20!). Nipsy, you’ve been like a father to me. Eartha, you remind me that it’s not all about fashion (although mostly). Zeno, you remind me to have fun, even when the chips are down. Gertrude, you remind me to read. And Chumley, dear sweet Woodchuck Chumley. You taught me everything that I know. Why, without you I wouldn’t have made it only to the set of The Hoot! where I was nearly eaten. How can I ever repay you?

I will miss you all, and I will miss sharing my entertainment and arts stories with the world. In the meantime, if you need Gizelle, I’ll be on the beach!

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