You mess with Harpo Marx, you get the horns.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Ignored! Ignored and shamed!!

Well, I am disappointed. I was browsing the WWW looking for some information about the 2005 Weblog Awards (The Bloggies, which sounds like one of those 60's British Bands that didn't make it), when lo and behold, I discover that the nominations period is already over.

What is it about the name "The 2005 Weblog Awards" that their owners don't understand? By my calendar, the year 2005 doesn't end for another 29 days, and yet nominations for these awards were finished - kaput, at the end of November 26th. Clearly a plot is in order to favor those bloggers who didn't have anything better to do than sit around and waste October and early November waiting and wathcing for the nomination window to open, when they could have been writing perfectly good stories about squirrels, face transplants, and how Bob Dylan has been replaced by an animatronic robot with more coordinated lips than the original.

Instead, the Bloggy people, who are clearly on the Pre-Gregorian calendar, or were some of the few people who were actually affected in some way by Y2K (I mean besides those people still living in shelters, drinking bleach-preserved water, and hoping that, should they survive this, Brendan Fraser or Alicia Silverstone will play them in the movie and not Christopher Walken or Sissy Spacek...who are, by the way the better pair of actors...but I digress) the Bloggy people cut off all nominations well before the year was completed, which can only mean one thing. They plan to get stinking drunk on New Year's and pass out in a tequila coma for 3 months. So they did the awards thing now rather than in April.

I did the only thing any self-respecting blogger, who has poured out their heart and spleen into their blog and not got one single bleeding nomination, could do. I wrote them an angry note.

All right, angry is a bit much. I mean, we don't want them cross with us when the next nominations roll around in July of 2006 do we? So, anyway here is not only the gist of what I wrote, but the entire post itself, which can be alternately seen at this site. (Scroll down to the comments...yes, I know we don't have them, but just scroll down anyway...and quit your ruddy griping!) Update: That page is no longer active. Hmmmm, I wonder why? Further Update: It's back. Someone must be reading this post or paranoia has finally caught up to me. By that I mean "completely caught up".


To Whom It May Concern,

The nominations are over? It's bleedin' November! I was reading this site and saw "The 2005 Web Blog Awards" only to find out that it's "The 2005 January to November Web Blog Awards". Did someone cramp up while sprinting over to the calendar? Did someone's dog eat the page with December swimsuit model, so you all thought, "Ah, never mind. She was a sweet bird but we'll just skip to November"?

Fair is fair, mate. I mean, what if some really smashing blokes come up with a great idea for a web blog, post some brilliant content and do deliriously well in the month of December? Voters have got to wait in silent suffering and adulation until the end of 2006 to show their appreciation? They might as well be at the Golden Globes! It's still 2005 lads (and ladies)!!

Write-in candidates, that's what you need...and all those who agree can show their support by writing in The Dictionary of Unfortunate Ideas ( into the best blog category(or "best humor blog" [Earl's note: Yes, I know it's "humour", but they might not!], or if such a category exists, "best off-beat, slightly disrespectful, with a well-meaning, yet fiercely independent, and currently preoccupied with squirrels and face-transplants blog", where we're sure to be winners.)

Or you can send freshly killed squirrel meat to this address, just for fun:

Squirrel for Bloggies
The New York Times
229 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036

The nude protests will commence soon!!

Quizzically annoyed,
Earl Fando
Co-Editor and Contributor
The Dictionary of Unfortunate Ideas

PS - If these forms of protest are too taxing, simply visit the site an drive up the hit counter. I'll tally the numbers and forward YOUR MESSAGE OF PROTEST to the Bloggies.

PPS - I bought a box of gallon size Bloggies today. They're quite sturdy.

PPPS - There is NO PPPS! (Old joke, but I love it so.)

Update: Sorry! These aren't the "Bloggies" apparently. Apparently there are two Annual Weblog Awards. Soon the winners of each will get together for a unification bout to see who wins the enormous and gaudy belt with the word "Blog!" molded on it in solid gold-painted nickel.

Apologies to those of you at the Bloggies, who clearly know what you're doing.

Oh, well. Hope the Times likes squirrel meat. At least we're still in the hunt for an award, If we don't forget about that one too, and if anyone besides us and our loyal 4 fans nominates us. Oh well, we can continue on in our careers as dangerous outsiders, right? Hello? Is this blog on??

Squirrels and Dogs...The war begins

Stew, this is troubling news about the squirrels. Bob Geldof's nutter song aside (although I did like the line "I shake my hips in anger" - We should all do that more often), I fear that this is only the opening salvo in a massive squirrel counterattack to pay back dogs for the centuries of oppression, misery, and marking of trees that they have inflicted upon them.

In fact, intelligence agencies in this country have stumbled upon documents produced by squirrels that indicate they are planning to attack en masse. A particularly sinister document is reproduced below.

Clearly, these nut-storing, bird feeder-raiding, roof-invading, squeaky-talking little bastards have big plans afoot. Watch for packs of squirrels coordinating activity and keep your dogs close at hand.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Roving packs of vicious...squirrels???

Reporters across the pond today brought the startling revelation that a wild pack of hunger-crazed squirrels attacked and killed a dog somewhere in Russia. When I was finally able to verify that this wasn't a Weekly World News story - I should have known since there was no mention of Sasquatch - I quickly researched the topic. It seems shortly after the story cleared the news wire in England, Bob Geldof attempted to recruit Bono and other celebrities to his new cause: Pine Cones for the Squirrels 2006. It seems that Bono was too busy with other causes and was unable to help his old pal, saying in a press release, "While I feel sympathy for the squirrels, Geldof is a loony."

Unable to snag the U2 frontman, Geldof settled for the talents of George Michael and the hip swiveling Shakira. "I mean squirrels are people too, right?" said Michael, who I found trying on a new set of $50,000 sunglasses. He added, "We've got to do all we can to get these little buggers some pine nuts. It's what drives me." Shakira, who could not be directly reached for a comment, said through her agent: "I watched the Chimp and Dale cartoons; I know the fear they suffered when denied food by the sailor duck. How can we now turn our backs on these cuddly, furry little creatures?"

When I was finally able to catch up with Bob, he told me that a song is in the works. Here is a sneak peak at some of the lyrics.

Feed the Squirrels (Alimente las Ardillas)
by Bob Geldof and George Michael

(George Michael sings)
From Lazo to Vladivostok
From Gorky to Odessa
I hear it on the wind
I know we're gonna bless'ya.

(Shakira sings)
A squirrel cries itself to sleep
It is nothing but skin and bones
I shake my hips in anger
Dónde está el pine conessssssssss!!!!!

Feeeeed the squirrels! Feed the squirrels!
Let them know you care, my we have fabulous hair.

See their elegant feathery wings
Touch the sky as they soar.
Will the eggs they lay tonight
know a better world than before?

(Shakira - spoken)
And the world is silent now,
turning its backs on their plight.
Where are the politicians,

(both sing) As these furry fowl take flight?!?!!!

Feeeeeeeed the squirrels! Feed the squirrels!!!!!
Let them know you care, my we have fabulous hair.

Feeeeeeeeeeeed the squirrels! Our hips are shaking!!!!
Feeeeeeeeeeeed the squirrels! Our hearts are breaking!!!!

A different tack to take for visage transplantation

Stew, I thought the tacked on face was a good idea, especially since I already have a large push-pin permanently stuck in my head, due to an unfortunate office accident.

All right, I'm kidding about that, and besides, if it were permanent it wouldn't do me much good. How would I get the thing out to put on the face in the first place?

I must admit, this has been one of the creepiest threads we've done on this blog since the "enema cocktails" one. I can't help but think of all the practical jokes people could play with face transplants:

  • Someone falls asleep at a party. Quickly transplant the face of the family dog on to their heads and vice versa. Watch the fun when you playfully call for "Fluffy" to come in the room and they are confronted with their own face, doing the things that dogs do (let's not get into detail here, please.) Also, watch their embarrassment as they suddenly develop a "kick spot" when they try to scratch an itch.
  • Surprise Ben Affleck by transplanting Nathan Lane's face onto Jennifer Garner's head. Thrill to the horror on his face as the words, "Don't you still care for the mother of your child?" come out of Nathan Lane's gob. Cringe as they reconcile and vow to have more children, even if the girls all have Mom's five o'clock shadow.
  • Transplant your elderly grandpa's face onto grandma, and vice versa. See if they notice the difference!
  • Switch George W. Bush and Howard Dean's faces and watch the poltical media go absolutely nuts as Republicans are shocked to hear the President's face mouthing calls for withdrawal from Iraq, and Move On types attack Howard Dean's face with a cluster bomb of pies for saying that the tide is turning in Iraq.
  • Transplant Brooke Shields' face onto Michael Jackson's body. He's been trying to do this for years. Watch his shock as he finally thinks he's succeeded (before it slides off like a plate of goo.)

Etc. etc. It's so often a cruel world we live in. We might as well find some amusement from time to time.

Stove-top sloughing

Earl, I am sensitive to your fears of facial sloughing, post facial implant so I have been working with the researchers at The Adelaide and Meath Hospital in Dublin on a proper cure for this potential problem. Although they've mostly been trying to fondle my bum they have come up with a few ideas. The first was a zipper attachment that could be used to take the face on or off as one desires, eliminating the worries of rejection but bringing up the possibility of the person being insulted as a zipperhead. The second possibility would have been to make duplicate copies of the face and then if one sloughed off, just slap the next one on. Since this would have involved advancing medical science approximately five thousand years it wasn't deemed feasible. So they finally decided on this...

I'd go on but I'm scheduled for a 10 o'clock bum fondling with Dr. Lear.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A face that only a mother could love

Stew, I very much enjoyed the post on people transplanting faces from one head to another. This is exactly the kind of thing I think should occur more often these days, and I'd just like to go on the record right now by saying that, heaven forbid, should Harrison Ford snuff it any time soon, I'm calling firsties on having his face transplanted onto my head to replace my current one, which resembles Daffy Duck, without the bill (but with the teeth.)

The only caveat on this is that I only want the transplant if Harrison's face hasn't got too wrinkly. My back up is to have the face of Orlando Bloom transplanted onto my head. They'll have to stretch it a bit I'm afraid.

There was one part of this news from another article on the French surgery that troubled me. (No, no, it wasn't that they were French. I have a few French friends and find that French people not involved in government or waitering are very nice. Not coincidentally, the same is true of Americans, English, and Norwegians. Chinese and Mexican waiters and waitresses are quite friendly, though the government people in those countries will gut you as soon as look at you. Where was I?) Oh, yes...The part that troubled me was where they described the potential drawbacks of the surgery, the anti-rejection drugs and, most alarmingly, the following quote:

"The main worry for both a full face transplant and a partial effort is organ rejection, causing the skin to slough off."

Having Harrison Ford's face will do no one any good if it's constantly sliding off your skull. On second thought, I'll just stick with my own. If it's good enough for the wife, it's good enough for me. It's not like I have to look at it, except when I shave and creatively tousle my hair.

One last thing...bravo on chasing that rude reader off. I saw him lurking about the "Next Blog" button awhile ago though and I had to tell him to shove off again. I think it was Howard Stern. He was tall and leering at the picture of Cameron Diaz in a habit. Of course, that does describe several thousand people on the Internet right now, but he was wearing shades.

Of course with our massive readership, we can tell off the occasional trouble-maker, right?

(For those who missed it, this last line was SARCASM - A message from the International Sarcasm Board - We know you really, really care about sarcasm!)

Face/Off: Part Deux

Somewhere in a seedy, back alley surgical facility in Paris, a face is surgically removed from one person and implanted on the skull of another. Sound like a futuristic psychological thriller by John Woo filled with gratuitous violence and more continuity errors than you can shake a stick at? Well, it could be. But it actually is an amazing breakthrough in implant surgery that will allow those with disfigured faces to get a face transplant. Of course it could also be used by the unscrupulous to hide their identity for more sinister motives, but it is Paris so c'est la vie.

But where is the comedy you ask? You might say, "facial disfigurement is not a laughing matter". You might even go so far as to imply that we are shameless bastards, who don't have a shred of sympathy in our hearts. Well, normally you would be right, I have to admit that. But I too have seen Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson's (really his name, look it up) stunning portrayal of Justin McLeod in The Man Without a Face, and was deeply touched. To this you might opine, "is everything a movie to you, do you go through life relating every circumstance to a film?" To answer I must use the words of the immortal Groucho Marx as Rufus T. Firefly in Duck Soup, "I've got a good mind to join a club and beat you over the head with it." We can continue this argument in a new paragraph sir.

There, I hope we can be a little more friendly down here apart from the unfortunate little row you started above. Anyway, we are not here to make light of the facially disfigured only to explain, in a hopefully humorous manner, this new procedure and elicit a few cheap laughs by doing this bit. The reader then might rudely inject, "cheap laughs is all you usually elicit." There you go again, that's it I can't go any farther with your abrasive comments, get out of the blog!!

Is he gone now, sheesh, how'd a guy like that get in here? Anyway, now for the punchline to this exceedingly schizophrenic piece.

"Let's just hope we don't see something like this."

(cue rimshot)

Oh alright, I'm just trying to pump up the hits on our site by using Cameron Diaz's picture combined with that of Roseanne Barr. I AM a shameless bastard. Did I mention it was Cameron Diaz?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Welcome Back Miller

No that's not some weird, hybrid spinoff of 70's situation comedies Welcome Back Kotter and Barney Miller, starring Hal Linden as an ex-teacher who returns to the force to break down juvenile punks named Barbarino.

It's actually my welcome to our old friend Stew Miller, who has been missing, presumed recuperating, this last week. I have to admit that Sunday evening, when I saw a blog with all Earl postings for the week, I was beginning to get a little panicked. It's bad enough that Juan Carlos and Zimpter don't post enough to where we can tell if they're still living or obsessed with collecting Warwick Davis (in Juan Carlos' case), but for my fellow co-editor to vanish for so long made me begin to feel like the blogging equivalent of Sigourney Weaver at the end of Alien. Everyone's gone and the ship's unnaturally quiet. Except, I'm a bloke and fully dressed. Also, I'm allergic to cats, so they'd have to stay in the suspended animation gizmo the whole time.

Anyway, welcome back Stew, and don't sweat too much about the deadlines. I fully expect you'll meet your backed up quota of 47 posts by the end of tomorrow. If not, Zimpter is preparing the boiling oil bath, which will at least clear out those sinuses.

Like finding a needle in your haystack (never heard it called that before).

Medical news to rival Salk's polio vaccine and the discovery of penicillin graces the nodes of Reuters News Service today. It appears that researchers have discovered...wait for it: LONGER NEEDLES ARE NEEDED FOR FATTER BUTTOCKS. (Applause) Yes, these randy little "researchers" as they call themselves have set the calipers to your buttocks in order to realize what most fourth graders would gladly tell you. However, now that this ridiculous epiphany has been made we are left to wonder what practicle use can be made and indeed what changes we may see down the pike, no pun intended. With that amazing set-up out of the way let me now bring you the list of new needles being developed based on this research, if it can be called that.

  • The Cottage Cheese Shiv - This new needle will not only deliver the goods but comes with a handy liposuction feature to remove that unsightly cellulite. Needle sizes from 3 to 12 inches.
  • The J Lo - Also known as the Sir Mixalot, this one is not for the fainthearted, it is only for use on those whose backsides are pumped up due to plastic surgery. It has a silicone avoiding mechanism that won't pop your implants.
  • The Tough Tush Tackler - This needle is made of titanium and is set on a 10,ooo psi hydraulic pump to tackle those tight rearends. Mainly for pro atheletes and the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes, this baby puts the "post" in posterior.
  • The Jared - For use on those who have lost enormous amounts of weight and whose rearends are hard to properly locate. Since the skin isn't as elastic as we wish it was some peoples buttocks may end up floating around their midsection. This needle will seek out your fanny, locate it, isolate it, contain it, and deliver the shot before releasing you back to the wild similar to Marlin Perkins on the old Mutual of Omaha's: Wild Kingdom.
  • The Oprah - Can be shortened or lengthened as needed for those who have odd weight swings due to uneven dieting.
  • The Fat Albert - Hey, hey, hey this is the needle for those really big ones that need a lot of sticking power. Developed and produced by the people at Roto-Rooter.

Isn't scientific research and discovery fascinating? I hope they can do something for hairy backs next or maybe solve the plague that is stinky feet. Oh, where will we find the Alexander Fleming of toe funk or the Marie Curie of the follicular challenged? One can be sure that they're not at The Adelaide and Meath Hospital in Dublin.

Monday, November 28, 2005

If you were a tree...Get off the couch Tom!!!

Tommorrow Barbara Walters hosts her latest special programme: The Ten Most Fascinating People of 2005.

I know, I know, more bleeding entertainment news. I'm sick to death of it myself. However, Ms. Walters interviewing style is so unique and remarkable, that it makes for easy ridicule, and as I'm knackered and it's late, that's a good enough reason for this bit.

Among her guests are Tom Cruise, Teri Hatcher, Kanye West, Michael Jackson's lawyer Tom Mesereau, Lance Armstrong, and U. S. Condoleezza Rice. Obviously Barbara had some help with the list.

What follows are some of the questions I think she will ask them:


"Secretary Rice, if you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be and would that tree seek war with nations beyond Iraq, such as Syria, where I have met with and spoken to the charming President Assad, or Iran, where I recently interviewed..." (and so on and so on until just before the next commercial break.)

Recommended response: Slap Barbara with a wet noodle and then talk about American football.


"Lance (Armstrong), if you were a tree, would you be a fast tree? Also, what kind of tree would Cheryl Crow be?"

Recommended response: "Trees don't ride bikes Barbara. Are you on dope?"


"Kanye (West), if you were a tree, would George Bush care about you?"

Recommended response: "I'm not a tree. I'm an African-American man, dammit!"


"Tom (Mesereau, Michael Jackson's lawyer), if Michael Jackson were a tree, would he place himself inappropriately in a grove with saplings?"

Recommended response: None. Crikey Tom. She's nailed you there. You're on your own. Just be glad Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog isn't doing the interview.


"Teri (Hatcher), if you were a tree, would you continue to appear in top-rated programming on ABC?"

Recommended response: (Dramatic pause. Wipe away a tear from your left eye.) Yes. Yes I would... (Hug Barbara) I've never been so happy!


"Tom (Cruise, as if you didn't know), if you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?"

Recommended response: Do not mention Scientology, psychiatry, psychology, Katie Holmes, Scarlett Johansson, Oprah Winfrey, couches, sofas, settees, water pistols, sexual preference, sonograms, Scientology, paparazzi, Nicole Kidman, Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, Thetans, cruise ships, or Scientology. Also, do not keep bragging about how you've knocked Katie Holmes up the duff and under no circumstances should you deep kiss Ms. Holmes on camera.

In fact, this is your recommended response for life.

Cameron Diaz! The Sound of Music!! The Sound of Music???

Julie Andrews revealed that if The Sound of Music is ever remade, she thinks Cameron Diaz would be perfect for the role of Maria, the nun who leaves the convent to marry an Austrian father of seven, and to while away the hours singing endless songs with his incomprehensibly cheerful brood (Their mum died and they're surrounded by Nazis...hardly a few of their favourite things.)

Tomorrow's headlines: "Julie Andrews addicted to crack cocaine!"

Nothing against Ms. Diaz, whose numerous mentions here, as I've pointed out, are some of the big reasons people come to our blog, and then immediately navigate away when they realize this is a comedy blog and there isn't a single picture of the Charlie's Angel dish in or out of a bikini. (I'm hoping the included picture - lifted without permission in true blogging fashion - will continue make up for this in some small regards whilst allowing us to keep the few shreds of integrity we have left...thin though they may be.)

However, imagining Cameron Diaz singing the title tune of this "very big musical" is a bit like imagining John Cusack crooning "Maria" in West Side Story. Well, I can imagine him playing it on a boom-box, held over his head the way Liverpool supporters hold up their team scarves while singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" I'm afraid I may be mixing my metaphors here, though.
What Dame Julie Andrews was thinking when uttered this memorable quote is beyond me. Perhaps she was thinking of the scene in Charlie's Angels where they dress up as nuns? Perhaps she was thinking of this after her seventh vodka martini? Perhaps she had accidentally ingested LSD and was labouring under the misapprehension that she was a Fig Newton biscuit?

What troubles me is that she used the word "perfect", as though to say, "No one else could possibly be as good in the role." Cameron Diaz, "perfect" as a singing nun? Maybe as The Flying Nun, if the role had originally been played by Tuesday Weld instead of Sally Field.

I wonder what Dame Andrews "perfect" complete cast for that remake would be? (Cue annoying dream transition)


Dame Julie Andrews' Perfect Cast for a Remake of The Sound of Music
(as imagined by Earl Fando)

Cameron Diaz - Maria
William Shatner - Captain Georg von Trapp ("Farewell!! FARE -WELL!!!!!!")
Christopher Walken - Max Detweiler
Roseanne (Barr) - Mother Abbess
("Climb every...what was that line? [Giggles])
Goldie Hawn - Sister Margaretta
Drew Barrymore - Sister Berthe
Crispin Glover - Rolfe
Lucy Liu - Sister Sophia
Warwick Davis
- Franz (Nod to Juan Carlos - still imprisoned, apparently)
Angelina Jolie - Sister Bernice
Courtney Love - Baroness Ebberfeld
Paris Hilton - Liesl von Trapp
Jack Black
- Friedrich von Trapp (Hey, he can actually sing)
Maccauley Caulkin - Kurt von Trapp
Whoopi Goldberg
- Brigitta von Trapp (She's too obvious for the nun roles)
Kelly Osbourne - Marta von Trapp
Rosie O'Donnell - Gretl von Trapp
Meatloaf - Nazi

Stew, in magnificent Techni-color!!!!!!

I'll bet you thought you'd never have to see another post of Saddam in his BVD's or a hear of the adventures of Lukas P. Short again. Well I'm sorry, but I'm here to destroy that little myth although at points early last week I would have laid a sawbuck you were right. I won't go into the gory, disgusting, repellent, revolting, vomitous, offensive, and shocking details of the week... you can find those here. What I will do is awaken the sleeper that is my comedic idiom and boldly leap into a bit that will surely sicken most of you to the point I was only approximately five days ago.

Ah, Thanksgiving weekend coming off an illness, what a wonderful and glorious time. I would like to give you a rundown of at least the last few days starting with Thanksgiving day and moving through the weekend.

Thanksgiving Day - I drag my keister out of bed and put on my fuzzy bunny slippers, soon realizing that one of them is the dog. (The screams were incredible - Steve Martin, The Cruel Shoes) I make my way to the kitchen and put on a pot of my favorite brew Old Hobo's Bootstrap #3, enhanced with the great taste of toenail. I turn on the television and fear that I have nipped a little too much Nyquil the night before I realize it's not Matt Lauer floating over New York but SpongeBob Squarepants. Twenty-five "alot of hot air" and "let's talk turkey" jokes later I am forced to turn the channel hoping to find an episode of Charles in Charge or McGyver but only finding more parade coverage. After being regaled for another thirty minutes by high school bands playing traditional Thanksgiving classics like Macho Man, Love Shack, and My Sharona I imbibe the remainder of the Nyquil and soon find peaceful dextromethorphan induced slumber. Later in the day I watch football, eat about two pounds of turkey and dressing, and another bottle of Nyquil to keep the buzz going.

Black Friday - They call it this because retailers go into the "black" on this day due to the high volume of sales, however, my credit card goes into the red and doesn't recover until early next year. This is also the day when you drag down the Christmas decoration and realize that those cute little snowglobes don't do well in a freezing attic. Then it comes, the bane of man's existence, untangling the Christmas lights. After about two hundred attempts my wife finds me in a fetal position on the floor of the garage muttering something about daggers and castration of light manufacturers.

Saturday - Still hanging Christmas lights, realizing that the gutter clips which have worked in the past are now rigid shards of plastic that snap off and embed themselves very near the bone. Head to Wal-mart to buy gutter clips wasting another $20 bucks and fighting the hordes of hill folk who have come down to buy a Quizenart for $12.99. That night we see Chicken Little and are generally pleased with it although I am forced to watch the last 30 minutes standing in the exit aisle alternately holding and watching run to the door a 22 month old who shall remain nameless and if he does it again, inheritance-less.

Sunday - uneventful... other than nervous breakdown when I realize that I have to go to work for the first time in over a week.

So, there you have it and now let me scour the land for comedy and happy things and good times. If that doesn't work I've still got another bottle of Nyquil.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Legends never die, they just get animatronicized...

Bob Dylan's latest concert tour has kicked off in Europe. The folk rocker, now 174 years old (Although his record label bio says he's just 127...Ha!) is still on the road making music and defying music critics to say anything remotely negative about him, knowing that the moment they do, they will be set upon by hordes of bat-wielding yuppies and teenage European nostalgia hooligans.

I called the Zimster (from Zimmy, from his birth name Zimmerman - see The Rock Snob's Dictionary for details) and we had a short chat about the tour. Actually, I should say that one of his assistants and I had a short chat, because I couldn't understand a bleeding word the man said. It was like ordering fast food at a Burger King, only without the static and repeated interruptions to ask whether I wanted that in a Value meal. The assistant did their best to translate.


Earl: Please extend my greetings to Bob.

B.A. (Bob's Assistant): Bob says "Hey." and also, "Weasels always swim in circles," or something like that.

Earl: Fascinating. Anyway, why did Bob decide on a long tour of Europe for 2005?

B.A.: He didn't.

Earl: Well, who did then.

B.A.: No one.

Earl: What do you mean "no one"? Did you lot just hop on a plane to Europe one day and wander from sold out arena to sold out arena?

B.A.: We're not in Europe. We're in Bel Air.

Earl: Bel Air? Wait a tick. There's a CNN article from last week that says Bob's in Europe.

B.A.: Oh, I know what you're talking about now. No, that's the Animatronic Bob Dylan European Tour (TM). It's been a big success. It was Disney's idea, and Bob thought, "Why not?" along with something about J. Paul Getty and turnips. I think the turnips sealed the deal, at least in Bob's mind.

Earl: So, let me get this straight, the performances over in Europe right now are not real. They're all animatronic?

B.A.: No, no, misunderstand me. The backing band and crew are real. It's only Bob that's animatronic. That's why he doesn't ever leave the keyboard when the lights are up. Animatronic characters don't walk so well...or at all.

Earl: So they just carry him in...I mean it in?

B.A.: Him. We call him Bob Jr. We were going to call him "Mini-Bob" until Bob pointed out that he was full-size, and that he had roosters in his pants. As it turned out, there were no roosters, but Bob was dead right about Bob Jr. being full-size.

Earl: Right, so they carry Bob Jr. in and set him up in front of the keyboard.

B.A.: Actually, he rises up from underneath the stage.

Earl: What if the stage doesn't have an opening to bring him up through?

B.A.: They lower him by helicopter.

Earl: What if it's indoors?

B.A.: They ride him in on a hovercraft. The audience just thinks the noise is feedback.

Earl: What about the sound quality? I mean, can't people tell the animatronic...

B.A.: Bob Jr.

Earl: ...Bob Jr. is just, well...lip-synching?

B.A.: Actually, we spent a lot of time and money to get Bob Jr. programmed so that his lips and the words were perfectly matched. As it turned out, the test audiences spotted Bob Jr. as an animatronic immediately. It turns out that kind of precise synchronization is completely unrealistic where Bob Dylan is concerned.

Earl: I should have thought of that myself. Don't the audiences notice that Bob Jr. is made of totally synthetic material?

B.A.: Did you spot it in the CNN photo?

Earl: Hmmm...That's a fair point. Surely though in a live setting, someone must notice?

B.A.: Actually, the concertgoers have all been commenting on how rejuvenated Bob looks. It's amazing what you can do these days with polystyrene and a bit of varnish.

Earl: True enough... So, what's next for Bob Jr.

B.A.: Well, we're thinking about movies next. We had considered a romantic comedy, but Bob decided we should go with an action flick.

Earl: Won't the walking problem make that difficult?

B.A.: Nah! We're looking at scripts about race car drivers and airplane pilots. Bob Jr. will shoot all his scenes in a vehicle.

Earl: How about a film about a folk rocker who fights crime and performs concerts from his giant hovercraft?

B.A.: Hey! Hang on a second. (Muttering in background. Loud indeterminately pitched yell.) Bob likes that idea! Could we use it?

Earl: I was joking.

B.A.: Well, it's got promise. Also, Bob says something about racoons growing on his tonsils.