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 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, 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 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, a website for Plenty magazine.

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