Thursday, December 27, 2007

Non-Stop Snowmen


Today's Snowman will continue it's usual news day shortly – I just finished ten radio interviews within 24 hours ranging from all corners of North America from Edmonton to Southern California to Florida to Montreal and points further north in Canada. Above is exactly how I feel!

A Sneak Peek Inside The History of the Snowman: From the Ice Age to the Flea Market


A longer musical preview can be found here. If you're a bookstore and want a 8-min. looping movie for your window display, please contact me.

Introduction
The Search for the First Snowman

Chapter One The Age of Expansion The Twenty-first Century

Chapter Two
The White Trash Years 1975-2000

Chapter Three
The Hollywood Years There’s No Business Like Snow Business

Chapter Four
The Golden Age of Advertising Since the Early 20th Century Snow Sells

Chapter Five
The Dean Martin Years Drunken Debauchery and Other Misgivings

Chapter Six
Snowman Deconstructionism Literary Circles

Chapter Seven
The Birth of a Media Star 1870s-1910s

Chapter Eight
Snowman Photography Since Mid-19th Century Mr. Soundbite

Chapter Nine
The Revolution of 1870 The Snowman’s French Roll

Chapter Ten
Made in America The Snow Angel of 1856

Chapter Eleven
18th Century Snow and Ice Sculpture From Russia with Love Handles

Chapter Twelve
Early American Snowmen, 17th Century New World, Fresh Snow

Chapter Thirteen
Snowman Exploration in Late 16th Century

Chapter Fourteen
Belgian Expressionism The Miracle of 1511

Chapter Fifteen
Early Classism in Snow Sculpture Politically Incorrect Fun

Chapter Sixteen
Italian Snowballs from The 15th Century The Two Ball Theory

Chapter Seventeen
The First Snowman

Chapter Eighteen
The Ice Age Who Came First, the Caveman or the Snowman?

Conclusion
The Complete Meltdown

Monday, December 24, 2007

'Twas the Night Before Christmas


Chris Trapper is a talented musician and really nice guy I met on The Joey Reynolds radio
show and he has a fantastic new Christmas CD out called It's Christmas Time. Here's a sample.


Lenore Skenazy is someone else I met recently through my book – very funny and scary talented. She has a hysterical Christmas songbook out called The Dysfunctional Family Christmas Songbook. There's a great sampling of her music, also at here.


Tired of the holidays and actually need snowman break? If it's just funny you want I recommend my favorite show, The Jeannie Tate Show.

Friday, December 21, 2007

In the Meadow We Will Make a Snowman...


Today's Snowman might have given the wrong impression that the snowman is only a hot item with contemporary artists in England but we've received a couple of beautiful pieces of art straight from Chelsea from readers (although, unfortunately, they came without proper credit – if anyone can please forward that info so I can give credit were credit is due, I'd appreciate it).


Special thanks to Christine, owner of a very cool bookstore, WORD of Greenpoint, Brooklyn where a good time was had by all last Tuesday night. I've been getting requests for signed copies and I know many have told me their local store is currently out of The History of the Snowman, but WORD has signed copies in stock, will ship orders if need be (call 718-383-0096 or info@wordbrooklyn.com) and if you buy a copy from them I will personally send you a free copy of The History of the Snowman poster, a fine addition to anyone's den or library. Just give Christine your snail mail address at time of your purchase.

One more snowman masterpiece for the road...

...and the feature on CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood was bumped to Dec. 30th.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

London Calling


Choreographer Jasmin Vardimon. Photo by artist.

LONDON – The newspaper The Guardian Unlimited just asked England's top artists to reinvent the snowman and came up with the following results.

In my slide-show talks I've been explaining that one motivation for writing my book was to find the dark side of the snowman and turn him on his head...like what David Shrigley did here. In his own words, "A few years ago I went to St. Moritz in Switzerland. I decided to build a non-conformist snowman. When the art collector who owned the hotel saw it he became very excited that I had created an artwork in the grounds of his hotel. I had to explain that it was not an artwork - it was just a snowman. It’s an easy mistake to make." Just a snowman? Mistake?!? I have problems with this quote.


Keith Tyson, artist of this frozen blockhead: "Snowmen are the first way in which children come across the idea of human vanitas and impernanence. We live under the myth that if we produce things, they’re going to last. When in fact, everything we make is like a snowman – it’s all going to melt in the sun eventually. This sculpture, on the other hand, is built to last. It’s made of glass-fibre polycarbonate painted to look like real snow." Now that's an artist statement: thought-provoking, overstated and chock-full of words I can only guess what they mean.


Meanwhile, I meet with England's GaydarNation.com, the number one gay website on the web and discussed Frosty, the holidays and my sexual orientation.

GaydarNation: I believe there’s a section in the book about gay snowmen! Tell us more…

Bob Eckstein: Well, I explored whether or not Hans Christian Andersen’s Snowman is gay, something some scholars conclude (probably due partly in the fact that Andersen wrote two novels before his fame of his first collection, Fairy Tales, which contained homoerotic scenes – but, unfortunately, not with snowmen).

Anyhoo, I’m pretty sure from my research that this is not the case as The Snowman was hot for what he thought was a woman. Hans Christian Andersen himself, I’m convinced, was bisexual if not asexual. An argument can be made that his stories were a reflection of rejection and frustration.

Actually, the snowman’s first kiss took place sixteen years earlier when Andersen wrote The Snow Queen, about a northern femme fatale made of ice - a parody of and a retort to the Swedish singer Jenny Lind, the object of his affections who wouldn’t give him the time of day.

In a nutshell, the story of The Snow Queen is about man’s lifelong quest for validation by women and the pain of unreciprocated love. All familiar ground for men. All very familiar ground for Andersen. Needless to say, we know from the recent merciless exposing of Andersen’s frank diary that he didn’t “close the deal” with anyone besides himself. He had so fabulously struck out with the ladies that it seems he simply expanded his dating pool to men to hedge his bets.

There was recently an obscure off-Broadway play of a gay theme called Snowman but there the snowman was in name only and not an actual snowman.

More...

Monday, December 17, 2007

There's No Business Like Snow Business

NEW YORK : Author of the book, The History of the Snowman will be on live on the Joey Reynolds show on 710 WOR New York City 1 am and repeated at 5 am, Monday night/Tuesday morning. (earlier in the day he appeared on shock jock Mancow Show in Chicago)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Things Are Moving!


Sorry faithful readers. A small media blitz has kept Today's Snowman stagnant for a couple of days. (Charles Osgood interviewed me for a feature which will air December 23rd on CBS Sunday Morning. Today, Friday, there will be a little spot on NY1, which can also be seen on demand on channel 1110 or on NY1.com. I will also be interviewed today by NPR Fordham University, NY Times and Gaydar.com. Saturday I will be speaking in Honesdale, PA (details on right hand side of page) and Sunday I will be featured in The Toronto Star. To hear interviews I just did with NPR Albany and NPR The Bryant Park Project just click the links. We will return to our normal snowman broadcast soon. Thanks for your patience.)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Snowman Amusement Park in the Works


MAALSELV, NORWAY – A small town in Norway's far north hopes to become the "snowman capital of the world" as it seeks a share of the lucrative tourism boom in the Arctic by building a snowman amusement park, organizers said.

The project is still in the early stages but will likely feature a snowman theme park "inspired by the Disney parks", a snow hotel, and open air activities across northern Norway's yet-to-be-determined [sic]. A group of peeved investors in Maalselv, a town of 6600 inhabitants located far above the Arctic Circle, decided there's no point in building infra-structure anymore and are hell-bent to compete with that annoying town, Rovaniemi, in neighboring Finland, home of the very popular Santa Claus' Village.

"The snowman is the authentic and natural character that you associate with winter. Santa Claus is a vulgar, commercial and plastic figure who is not recommendable for children," the project's mastermind Even Hegbom said. "The starting point is better here: we have spectacular landscapes, we're close to the fjords and the sea and high snowy mountains, while Finland's forests and piddily mountains are somewhat less impressive," he laughingly said.

Maalselv aims to make northern Norway a top tourist attraction in the region, outdoing Finnish Lapland which each year draws hundreds of thousands of tourists from around the world who don't know better, including many Europeans — Britons, Danes, Germans and French — who occasionally make a one-day return trip to meet Santa Claus. The cost of the project was not disclosed but experts predict it would cost "an arm and a leg" with the projected plans expected to take at least 15 years to see the light of day, providing global warming is a hoax.

"The Finns made a mistake by positioning themselves on a market that only works a few weeks a year. We want to be operational year round," Hegbom said smugly.

Norwegian airport authorities have already begun the process of changing the name of the local Bardufoss airport to "Snowman International Airport," he added. The Maalselv Welfare Center is proposing a similar name change, minus the airport part.

Friday, December 7, 2007

This Day in Snowman History


DECEMBER 7th, 1968 – Renown Dutch astronomer, Gart Westerhout (on right) has historic meeting with a snowman. Mr. Westerhout inquired where was the best place to eat in town (College Park, Maryland). Photo submitted by friend & NYPL librarian, David Smith (whose quote appears on the back cover of The History of the Snowman book).

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Snowman Presentation at Barnes & Noble Thursday 7 pm


Please come on down and bring your loved ones. A 25 min slide-show, which is guaranteed to enhance the reading of The History of the Snowman, is followed by a Q&A and then a signing. First hundred attendees get a wooden snowman book mark. Thank you.

(By the way, in the morning I'll be appearing on The Bryant Park Project on NPR around 8:30 - 9am. I'll be interviewed by NY1 later in the day and the B&N book event will be filmed by CBS Sunday Morning.)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Show Me the Snow!


BURBANK STUDIOS, CA. – Some people are up in arms asking how could there be a snowman contest without any snow yet? True. And with the political climate and the holidays approaching, I've been accused of making everyone even more anxious for the white stuff to arrive.

No, I'm not suggesting you drive somewhere far with snow – and using gas unnecessarily. And no, I don't subscribe to fake snow – according to Plenty magazine, snow machines are tremendously wasteful to the environment. I know there's alot of skiers out there (and I love cross-country skiing myself) but I'm sure not many realize, for instance, that Vermont Killington Resort uses 720,000 gallons of water an hour to make snow during it's peak times.

Well, as I mentioned, snowmen come in all forms and we needn't wait for a storm nor resort to any snow resorts. Here's a snowman quilt from Karen From Georgia, who has a blog for primitive quilting (another old folk art which, like snowman making, dates back the 14th century).

I was actually going to build a snowman out of artificial snow for my upcoming book event. A Hollywood special effects company which specializes in fake snow was going to help with the pricing. In the end, it proved to be too expensive – a six-foot high snowman made indoors with fake snow runs around $3,000.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

World's Most Important Snowman Contest 2008 Is On!


ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO – Starting New Year's Day 2008, Today's Snowman" will begin a monthly snowman contest which you the readers will vote on. Submissions can be emailed here and will be posted in competition.

Even though there hasn't been much snow yet and voting won't begin until January of 2008, entries have already been coming in (as far as Switzerland). Keeping with the recent global warming theme on Today's Snowman I received the following photo of a snowman made out of tumbleweeds hitch-hiking in Albuquerque, New Mexico from a friend of The History of the Snowman book, Pam Woodruff, the Executive Secretary of Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority (say that five times fast). She just wanted me to see the "snowman" they built this morning but I hope to include this fellow in the competition (This is the best picture they could get because the ideal shot would be made by standing in the middle of the freeway!).

Snowmen may include those you made yourself or simply one you see somewhere. Pictures can be either shot with a digital or conventional camera or cell phone. Yes, hand-made drawings are welcome. Rules include no steroids, no gambling, no snowman porn, and/or no ice balls. Persons related to Burl Ives are not eligible. Please do not send any images larger than 1 MB. Winners will be notified one week after voting closes and be announced on Today's Snowman. Winners will receive a prize (possible prizes include a History of the Snowman mini-poster, a snowman bookmark and signed copies of the book). This contest will be permanently posted on the right side of the website. Good luck snowmen and snow women makers!

The Inconvenient Truth


The other day I visited bookstores to ask if I could sign their copies and find out if they would be interested in the new snowman poster. But none of the independent shops I visited even had a copy of my book. I went to independent stores throughout Manhattan like The Corner Book Store, St. Mark's Book Store, Crawford Doyle, Book & Berries, Shakespeares..."We don't carry children's books," "Snowmen? Don't think our buyer was interested..." "I HATE SNOWMEN! And for no particular reason!" Luckily, I ran into one book buyer who loved the book when I showed it to them. Rizzoli Bookstore made an order right there and asked me to return next Thursday.

There's an old Peruvian proverb; "Ask locally, act fanatically." In other words, if you are unable to find my book in your local bookstore, please ask and maybe they will consider stocking the book. So many shops are just dismissing it as fiction or as a children's book.

Another way to help keep the snowman book from melting away is to write a review on Amazon.com. My publisher keeps telling me reviews help fuel enthusiasm for a book. At the time that I'm writing this there's been only one review left so if you did enjoy the book and like being a tastemaker, feel free to express your delight on the information highway and I will thank you by adding you to my will. I can't tell you what that translates to financially at this time but I would greatly appreciate any help.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Hamish & Henry & Bob


(Tabletop display courtesy Hamish & Henry.)

Saturday afternoon I visited the very cool Hamish & Henry bookstore in Livingston Manor, NY for a book thing. Owners Sue & Jeff are gracious hosts, supplying much needed spiked eggnog after suffering technical difficulties. The first 20 minutes spent there I was dealing with a granny's knot of cables & wires and frantically tried to get the projector to make a proper handshake with the Keynote show on my laptop. At one point I tried to joke that this was fulfilling a lifelong dream of mine – to be a movie grip. No, no one there found that funny either.

But once the show get started (only 10 minutes late), it was off and flying – if I do say so myself, a wonderful collection of rare snowman stills and Frosty film clips.

If you're ever in Sullivan County a must stop right on Main Street, Livingston Manor. For events check their blog.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving


Today's Snowman is taking a break from the usual newscast to thank everyone who helped make the book, The History of the Snowman possible. Aside, obviously from my family, I wish to thank my agent Joy Tutela, editors Ursuala Cary and Terra Chalberg, the Spotlight team; Jennifer Robinson, Kelly Stocks, Lucille Rettino, Carl Raymond, Matthew Schwartz and Jane Archer. My friends for their support...Len Belzer, Emily Squires, Jay Sylvester, Randy Smith, Christopher Grotke, Christine Murray, Everett Sherman, Mike Dermansky, Marcy Dermansky, Mark Kalinoski, John Kascht, Dolores Motichka, John Marchese, Bob Hoffman, Kurt Opprecht, Adam Penenberg, Rob & Nani Rombout, Melissa Scheld, Tina Simms, Mike Stevens, Jill Weiner, Ben Wolf, Susan Stauber, Wayne Alfano, Gail Eisenberg, Charlotte & John Kuczynski, Bob Farley, Joe Savo, Thomas Foyer, Ray Lang, Sue Carter, David Smith, Matt Reiss, Steve Meltzer, Marylou Ambrose, Marianne Garnier, Manu Geerinck, Leigh Rubin, and David Humphrey...and some new friends I've meet recently through the book who have been kind to the book; David Callahan, Darryl Price, Bill Bush, Aleca Breneman, Wendy Corbin, Lenore Skenazy, Steve West, Nina Burleigh, Sue & Jeff, the owners of Hamish & Henry bookstore in Livingston Manor, NY, Alison Boteler and Plenty magazine editor & publisher, Mark Spellun.

I realize that the following cartoon could be construed as insensitive toward animals. Hopefully the cartoon takes enough of a leave from reality that nobody is offended. But it must be weird for animals when they learn they're on the menu.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Snowman Goes to Plate for Lou Gehrig

MONTREAL – Every year for the past seven years, a Canadian skating rink sets aside snow to create Snowman Joe to kick-off a fundraiser for the ALS Society, which researches amyotropic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The items will be for sale at the Dollard des Ormeaux Civic Centre at Plaza Pointe Claire, 269 St. Jean Blvd. starting today to 23rd. For more information about Snowman Joe fundraising, call 514-696-5455. The ALS Society can be reached at 514-725-2653.


To raise money Louise Boucher (left) holds Tiffany Couvrette, 11, as she adorns Snowman Joe with a pipe during last year's annual fundraiser. Photo by Gordon Beck of The GAZETTE

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Frosty Projection for Our Planet

QUEBEC – The Arctic Ocean could run out of ice as soon as 2010 or 2015. This has happened for more than a million years, according to a leading researcher. Louis Fortier, director of ArcticNet, a research network, said the sea ice is melting faster than predicted by models created by international scientists, who forecasted the Arctic Ocean could be free of summer ice as early as 2050. But Fortier told an international conference in Quebec City Thursday that the worst-case scenarios are becoming reality.

Getty Images

"The frightening models we didn't even dare to talk about before are now proving to be true," Fortier told CanWest News Service, referring to computer models that take into account the thinning of the sea ice and the warming from the albedo effect - the Earth is absorbing more energy as the sea ice melts.

The great melting, uncovering vast stretches of the Arctic Ocean, will open up the Northwest Passage as a shortcut to Asia, something explorers have been dreaming about since Christopher Columbus reached America.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Retraction! Celebuwreck Lull Pronouncement Premature

HOLLYWOOD – It wasn’t three hours after the our celebuwreck story broke that Lindsay Lohan, having heeded the warning of Today’s Snowman, promptly checked into jail. Ms. Lohan didn’t even bothering to perform any mischievous acts, proceeding directly to jail in the process nullifying our previous post and getting her name back in the press, which had been missing from the headlines for what seemed like years.


Attempts to speak to Lohan’s publicist were unsuccessful except a brief statement released to the public, which said, “Ms. Lindsay Lohan today served her debt to society spending 84 minutes in the Lynwood Jail & Spa…which we’d like to note is 2 more minutes than that handful Nicole Richie."

When told of this news Britney Spears do not comment but responded instead by running a red light in an automobile at a video monitored Los Angeles street corner shortly after tipping off members of the paparazzi. This sparked speculation among the media that this will inspire Paris Hilton to jump into her car wherever she is and cause havoc.

Reached for comment, Today’s Snowman chief editor Bob Eckstein stated, “We're sorry it was Today's Snowman that lit a fire under these girls and triggered this flurry of news releases. Yes, we have egg on our face for our premature conclusion that Lindsay Lohan wouldn’t be in the news anymore but I’d be lying if I said anyone here is surprised. You must remember that everytime we mention Lindsay Lohan’s name, or for that matter, Paris Hilton’s, or Britney Spear’s, this website quadruples it’s traffic and it's in our best interests to work their names, they being, of course, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and/or Britney Spears, into any story...even if it's not snowman related. What can I say except thank you...Lindsay Lohan...Paris Hilton...and Britney Spears.”

Asked if there was no shame to the crass marketing of his new book, The History of the Snowman: From the Ice Age to the Flea Market to which Today’s Snowman acts as a false front, author Bob Eckstein replied, “No.”


“I was just in Togo on Saturday hawking the book in an open air market. Monday I’ll be doing a book reading in EuroDisney. We’re in negotiations now with my mom to read my book while riding the subway all day dressed in a snowman costume.”

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Celebuwreck Lull – Snowmen Pick Up Slack

HOLLYWOOD – Trashy snow-women have now stepped up to plate to fill the void left from the alarming absence of non-stories. A litany of troubled snowmen have infiltrated clubs and drug rehabs lining Hollywood Boulevard, attracting the attention of the paparazzi by stepping out of cars without panties or scarves and covered with a white powdery substance.

The media has been asking what has happened to our nation’s celebuwrecks questioning their commitment toward screwing up their privileged lives. Even with Britney Spears increasing her driving altercations to once-a-day this left the press with hours in which nothing really did happen.


Dylan Garrison of Entertainment Inside said thank God for the recent flurry of skanky snowmen. “If I were Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton I’d be worried. There is no guarantee we will stalk them forever – we may move on to snowmen or meter maids. We’re an unpredictable bunch.”

Others are looking ahead to the big picture.

A spokesman close to ex-Met Bud Harrelson was asked to comment on recent reports of Lindsay’s shopping addiction, “Sorry that’s not going to cut it. I’m afraid some of these young women are too na├»ve how this works and are straightening out their lives. It may be a long time before I see Lindsay Lohan's name in the news again for drunken driving or something and as a result it’s going to be the snowman now enjoying the glare of their spotlight....er, sorry, I gotta run, I'm being paged about some breaking story...”

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Snowmen in the News

CEDAR FALLS, IOWA – Everyone’s favorite global warming snowman is not dead yet, according to sources who spotted the You Tube sensation in early November at a John Edwards campaign event in Iowa. Despite the state enjoying an Indian summer, the politically charged Frosty was in attendance to spread his usual global warming spiel reports a spokesperson close to the snowman. Most noticeable to many was the snowman’s obvious weight lost to which many blamed on the ever increasing warming of our planet due to increased gas omissions. But the frozen lobbyist says this is simply not the case;

“It’s hot as hell in this costume. I'm sweating like a yak! Can someone, for the love of God, get me out of here?!”

As for what the future held for this walking political statement, he asked America not to worry (about the melting pounds) and that he planned to put back on his usual winter fat around Thanksgiving.



The global warming snowman addressing the press.



The issue of global warming is of biggest concern to our children.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Global Warming?

There's an "intermission" inside The History of the Snowman book, a chapter made up of some of the world's best snowman cartoons (I would say, in my book literally, definitively the best but even I have to admit that is subjective). One thing everyone would have to agree to is that the list of cartoonists in the book is astounding – over a dozen cartoons from New Yorker's top cartoonists, including Sam Gross, Danny Shanahan and Michael Maslin. Also the top two cartoonists in the world named Charles; Charles Schultz and Charles Addams (The Addams Family)...the late Jerry Marcus, creator of the famous Trudy...the creator of the popular and very funny Rubes, Leigh Rubin...my personal hero, the world famous cartoonist, John Callahan...and for good measure, '60s icon Robert Crumb and Paul Coker, Jr. of Mad magazine and creator of Frosty the Snowman. I befriended Paul when I gave him an oil painting I found on eBay. It was a portrait had he made in art school over 50 years ago. As thanks, he drew an original Frosty for my book.

(Why no Calvin & Hobbs? The artist is reclusive while other cartoonists (or their living family) were excited to be in the book. The publishers of C & H were only interested if no other cartoons would be in the book. Besides, I wanted the book to surprise. The C & H snowmen cartoons have saturated the internet and are a bit mainstream – the only reason to include them would be to be comprehensive. For the same reason a couple of excellent Family Circus cartoons were, unfortunately, edited out from the book.)

For a snowman cartoon from the book scroll down to The Snowman Cartoon Corner on this page.



A cartoon which recently ran on Plentymag.com, a website for Plenty magazine.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Snowman Cometh

Well, the book is officially on sale (as a matter of fact, you can already buy the book used or get an illegal copy of a soft-covered galley or if you wish to pay four times more it's sticker price on Amazon's private stores – Merry Christmas!) and with that the grand opening of Today's Snowman, America's leading source of everything snowman...or at least my book The History of the Snowman. Five years in the making and now I really need a nap.
Pictured here is the window display at 66th & Broadway Barnes & Noble.

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