You mess with Harpo Marx, you get the horns.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The GAN Is Back, Baby!

The Great American Novel may yet be within the reach of readers. That's if DOUI writers decide to participate in National Novel Writing Month*. The goal of this interestingly deranged enterprise is to enlist as many people as possible to write a 50,000 word novel in the space of a month. To make it more difficult, they picked November, a 30 day month, the daring lunatics. On the plus side, they not only expect the vast majority of the writing to be crap, they are counting on it. Clearly, these are people who believe in realistic expectations.

I would participate, but it's been hard enough finding the time, energy, and some would argue, the jokes (and you know who you are, Zimpter) for this blog.

Actually though, I've worked it out. 50,000 words is just under 2,000 words a day, or about a quarter of one of my usual posts, when I'm really feeling in the mood. So, what I could do is simply write the novel and then publish it in installments here, instead of posting on, say, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes latest placenta paella receipe, or the many ways in which Kim Ill Dong will manage to blow him self up, if the citizens of North Korea play their cards right.

This will have the duel affect of shaking up the blog a bit, and embarassing my co-contributors to participate more, just to cover for whatever daft nonsense I'm writing in the throes of trying to churn out so much verbiage. Also, the pressure will justify my one bottle of beer per evening habit through the autumn months.

My only dilemma then is what kind of plot to use. Here are two suggestions:

  • Blog on the Run - A world famous blogger decides to write a novel in a month to satisfy the capricious whims of crazed online novelphiles. He is constantly thwarted by Chinese Communists, working through their front organization, a world famous online search engine. He finally succeeds when he realizes that the content of the novel doesn't matter, and finishes the work by holding the "a" key down on his keyboard for 12 hours straight, much of this whilst unconscious, due to a single beer and a very weak constitution.
  • Nuclear Samurai Rock Star - A young aficianado of Japanese sword fencing is accidentally doused with radioactive waste, whilst at a Hootie and the Blowfish concert. Whilst trying to clean himself off with Hootie's sweat towel, he accidentally falls into a time machine and finds himself in the court of little known Tokugawa Era Daimyo Shoji Tabuchi, who happened to fall into another time machine, hidden behind the Jim Stafford Theatre. Using his newfound atomic sword powers, he elevates Shoji to Shogun, relocates the Shogunate to Branson, Missouri, and makes country-rock music the official music of Japan (due to the radioactive DNA from the sweat towel). In addition to this, the loo technology of ancient Japan is raised to a high art form.
Now, I've also considered the possibility that my colleagues here may wish to enter this novel novel-blithering contest as well, and may be struggling with their own needs for plots. So, here are some suggestions for them as well:

  • Stew - Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Little Blog Gone? - A well-known blogger and golf maniac becomes obsessed with hitting 300+ yard drives to the extent that he can no longer remember how to access his blog. This begins a deeply existential journey into the mind of the writer, who symbolically visits Tiger Woods, Byron Nelson, Gary McCord, David Feherty, and the Batcave. Finally, he is guided by Lukas P. Short, who looks like Jim Morrison, only with a really elaborate cowboy hat, and a magnum of Jack Daniels...scratch that, Morrison would have had that, also... anyway, he is guided back to the blog, where he profusely apologises to his co-editor and makes up for his wanderings by posting 12 times a day for the next year.
  • Nuffy - Looking for Mr. Northover or Five Times I Weep - Pretty much the usual stuff from Nuffy, only in narrative form, and starring Crispin Glover as Oprah Winfrey. The entire novel takes place on the back of a used tissue on the floor of The New York Stock Exchange, after Dick Cheney fills the place with buckshot during a Haliburton junket. Written entirely in Esperanto.
  • Jorge - Life in the Big House - Jorge relates the daily life of an inmate in one of the most notorious prisons in wherever it is he's at. Actually, I think it's minimum security, which will be a relief to everyone who was dreading the first prison shower scene in the novel. Instead, Jorge is mildly accosted by Martha Stewart when one of his begonias accidentally blooms too close to her patch of chard. The resulting shiv fight is the highlight of the book.
  • Linus - The Super Intellect and Why Women Dig It - This is the only bedroom farce to include a hyperdetailed explanation of epistomological foundationalism in a neo-Armenialist context. Also, lots of dog poop jokes. The plot revolves around a popular online writer who decides to develop a theory of universal human interaction and discovers that the key element to understanding and predicting all behavior is the same chemical formula as Flintstones Fruity Pebbles. Unfortunately, all the writer's subsequent calculations are made using the chemical formula of Cocoa Pebbles, which triggers World War III, when Fred finally catches Barney with a bowl of them and beats his brains in in the UN General Assembly.
  • Zimpter - I Am Here, I Am Not Here - The story of a well-known writer who joins a blog and then disappears for several years. The story ends when the other bloggers locate him at his palatial Hollywood residence and force him at gunpoint to blog about his dinner party with Clay Aiken and Martin Short, who turn out to be the same person.

I think there's a lot of potential there. No actual writing, but a lot of potential.

*Hat Tip: Jonah Goldberg

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Blogger and Graphics and Me...

...A volatile combination.

You may have noticed that there are much fewer graphics on DOUI these days, Stew's Life Magazine extravaganza notwithstanding. The reason is simple: Blogger won't let me publish graphics anymore.

I don't know whether it's the homepage is too large, there's some sort of secret security setting on my PC, the folks at Google got tired of me suggesting they were the Chinese Communists' "special boys" and passed along a tart memo to their underlings at Blogger, or all of the above. I have no idea. All I know is that everytime I try to post a picture, Blogger's graphics interface spins around in that faux clock manner it has, freezes midway like Elaine Benis dancing The Hustle in an episode of Seinfeld, and then leaves a blank, gaping hole where the graphic was supposed to be, mocking me the way a steak buffet mocks a recently-converted vegan.

I've had some good ones planned, too. For the baseball post last night, I had a graphic of Kenny Rogers hand, with the smudge, and a giant red arrow pointing from his ear to his hand. I also had his backup band in the background, playing Coward of the County.

For the Paul McCartney/Heather Mills marriage fiasco post, I had a lovely picture of Paul and Heather smiling daggers at one another. The alternate graphic was Sir Paul bathing in a bathtub full of 100 pound notes whilst Ms. Mills crawls along the floor besides him like a very uncoordinated "adult" dancer...fully clothed, mind you, after all, this is a PG blog, more or less. She was wearing a French Maid outfit.

For the Kofi Annan/Ban-Ki Moon post, I had a picture of Kofi and Ban recreating their triumphant performance as Bialystock and Bloom in Mel Brooks' Broadway musical version of The Producers. Boutros-Boutros Ghali can be seen as L.S.D. in the background.

For the flip-flop post, I had a picture of Godzilla, wearing giant flip-flops and stomping around the american Music Awards. DMX has a precious look of horror on his face as Godzilla tramples his bling underfoot.

Finally, for the Kim Ill Dong post, I had a picture of a giant ICBM (that's Intercontinental Ballistic Missle for those of you under 21) riding up Kim's polyester backside. The ICBM had a picture of Madeline Albright on it and the words, "Dance with this, creep!"

All for naught, I'm afraid. I suppose I shall have to give up the massive and detailed recreation of the Battle of Trafalgar with Neil Diamond as Lord Horatio Nelson and Chris Rock as Hardy. Pity, as I was so looking forward to sprinkling the Beatles amongst the crew, Sgt. Pepper-like.

Blogger needs to clearly spend less time tinkering with their "new" version and fix some of the bugs on the old one.

Not that we're going anywhere. Blogger does have one hold on us. The word "free."

Update: As I try to post this, Blogger goes down. The Chinese Communists are most definitely involved.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Grip it and rip it...or stick it?

All right, prepare to be shocked... I'm writing about baseball.

Blimey, Stew almost fell out of his chair. I'm sure he thought it would be a John Daly post.

Yes, I know...most of the regular readers of this blog know that I care about baseball only slightly more than I care about whether or not American guards are tampering with Saddam Hussein's Doritos before he gets the bag in his cell. (Gentlemen, do the words "Dorset Naga" mean anything to you?) I'm a football man, true and true. That's "soccer" for those of you west of the Atlantic coastline.

Nonetheless, the controversy about whether Detroit Tigers pitcher Kenny Rogers had a foreign and illegal substance on his hand during Sunday's "World Series" Game 2 is quite intriguing. Many people have speculated that Rogers had pine tar on his fingers, a substance that produces extra stickiness on the ball and thus better movement on curves and other breaking pitches. It's like a cricketer with a sticky ball in the bowl.

Rogers contends that it was only a smudge of dirt on his hand. Of course, if it wasn't, he'd probably be quite embarassed to admit it, it between reditions of "Lucille." Obviously, the real truth may lie somewhere in between. So, with apologies to a certain Mr. Letterman (who may have already done a similar list... I've haven't seen it) here are my top 10 suggestions for just what exactly was on Rogers' hand and why.


10. His ears started itching and before you know it he's got a load of ear wax on his pitching hand. Obviously it's his scratching hand as well. He could have made a little candle.

9. A little KFC pre-game meal inadvertantly left some gravy on the hand. Use a fork next time, you slob.

8. It was a bruise mark from a hand slap during a mid-day poker game. He obviously didn't know when to "hold 'em" or "fold 'em."

7. It was just another blotchy sunspot that he forgot to cover up with skin cream. I get them all the time...just not on my hands.

6. It was the remnants of the clumsy removal of his Dixie Chicks hand tattoo, after country fans soured on them. Why a hand tattoo? Don't ask.

5. It was left over plastic explosives from secret night job as a special-ops guy. That does explain the "explosive" pitching.

4. It was ink stains from all "The Gambler" album signings. (...Last Kenny Rogers, country-singer joke in this post, I promise.)

3. It was a spare bit of Cruex, just in case the ole' jock itch flared up out on the mound.

2. It was a hicky from Barbara Striesand. James Brolin is seriously pissed.

1. He had an itch, but it was in a different, more posteriorly-oriented area. I won't say more.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

"Adopt?!?" I thought you said "borrow!!"

Ah yes, more celebrity news on DOUI (what, would you rather I continually complain about the dearth of posts from my co-contributors, the lazy, baseball-watching bastards)!

Madonna and her filmmaker husband Guy Ritchie (no relation to Lionel) have adopted a child...well, we think they've adopted a child. The father of the child they adopted said so, but then he said he didn't realize what "adopt" meant and thought that the child was just going to live with Madonna for awhile.

In fact, from what I can tell, the story goes like this. Madonna hears that children in Malawi are orphans, so she decides to adopt one from an orphanage in Malawi. The orphan she chose however was not an actual orphan but had a living father, who just happened to have put the child into the orphanage after the death of the child's mother, because he couldn't take care of it himself. After finding out Madonna was taking custody of his son, he agreed, but only because he thought the arrangement was temporary, and who wouldn't want their child in the care of the Kabbalah-practising, multi-millionaire, highly photographed (and from all angles, mind you) hedonistic pop star? Plus, there was the added attraction that his son would learn a craft: Either singing, directing, self-publicizing, or male freestyle dancing.

Whilst I'm certain Madonna's intentions were good, it might have been slightly wiser to adopt say ...a child with no living relatives. Now, this little bloke's dad is confused, having to stare down Madonna's expensive Malawian lawyers (F. Alan Chinula), and doesn't even have the promise of a regular place in the singer's palacial guest house, or a job in the road crew for her next concert. You'd think she'd at least promise him a ticket or two.

It's almost tragic this confusion, but I'm sure Guy will make the best of it, and he's probably writing the screenplay right now. Madonna will star, with Denzel Washington as the father of the baby, and Gary Coleman as the confused, foul-mouthed "orphan."