Monday, April 28, 2008

Meet the Snowman; Jeff Monson

Jeff Monson is one of the world's top submission grapplers and is coming into his own at the highest level of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). The main event of Global Fighting's GODZ OF WAR on June 21st pits Jeff "The Snowman" Monson vs. Kevin "The Monster" Randleman. (Oh, you gotta click on that site, believe me.) Tickets for the Snowman's fight are going for upward of $500.

Monson got the nickname, The Snowman, in 1999 at the Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Grappling Tournament. The Brazilian Fighters said he was like a snowball: white, compact, and rolling downhill, getting bigger and stronger as the tournament went on. Snowball was translated into Snowman and Snowman stuck. "Snowball or Snowman, in a fight he is an avalanche headed straight for you."

Jeff is from Olympia, Washington, a Brown Belt in BJJ and studied psychology, Pankration, Jiu Jitsu and wrestling (I won't be saying anything smart-alecky for fear of Jeff breaking both my legs). Go to the official website of Jeff "The Snowman" Monson to see Jeff's schedule of speaking engagements and personal blog which gets inside Jeff's mind.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

White Stuff People Like

Photo by friend Ben Wolf (his new movie) © 2008

Not to be confused with Stuff White People Like, a popular blog which I think is much to do about nothing (ugh, book deals, Kurt Andersen stamp of approval, blah, blah, blah) and borderline racist. Conversely, I present White Stuff People Like.

1. Snowmen. (In a South Florida mall, Gary Hume from The History of the Snowman is one of the featured artists displaying his Back of a Snowman, a 10-foot tall enamel on bronze, installed outdoors amid tropical palm trees.
2. Cool-Whip. If my family is any indication (they put it on everything three meals a day), this dessert topping is the bomb.
3. White powder. Most every American is addicted to some form of unhealthy white powder whether it be, white flour, sugar, cocaine or some other drug.
4. Snowmen, yes, again. Free range, free standing, Up-standing, Upright, but not up tight, snowmen!
5. Ice Cream. One of the world's most popular foods, the most popular flavor is, you guessed it, vanilla.
6. Milk. In all it's variations, cow, goat, almond, soy, rice, coconut, mother's...white beverage is one of the most popular things in the world, not to mention cheese, which I think is made from milk.
7. White balls. Golf balls, baseballs, soccer balls, snowballs...all make the world go round.
8. Paper. The world changed when paper was invented and white paper has been by far the most popular color. Pink is the least.
9. Moon. Who doesn't like the moon? I think without it we wouldn't have gravity or something. Don't hold me to that.
10. Polar bears. Our generation's endangered Duck-billed Platypus.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bear in Mind...

Thanks to friend of a friend, I received this amazing image of a Frank Verbeck illustration of bears making a snowman courtesy of Fred Taraba of Taraba Illustration Art, LLC. I am grateful to Fred for sending this piece (sold years ago by The Illustration House). Fred's collection of fine illustrations include all the artists who persuaded me when I was a kid into the field of illustration...Bob Peak, Bernie Fuchs, etc...and Taraba Illustration sells their originals to the public. Frank Verbeck (1858-1933) was known for themes with bears. Below is my two cents (a cartoon I pitched to The New Yorker) and maybe the start of my own bear period.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Last of the 2008 Snowmen

Suicide snowmen in Atlanta after the forecast of a warm week. After a three hour stand-off, police successfully talked the jumpers down.

ALASKA – This is the saddest part of the year as the snowman officially becomes an endangered species. Today's Snowman has received reports across the country of horrific measures of snowmen taking matters into their own hands. These include a fluffy snowman in Montreal using a tanning bed and in Vancover comes the story of a snowman eating soup.

Janet Gattenby sent in this snowman from what looks like the last big snow fall in her hometown of Kenai, Alaska. Stay strong everyone.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Tough Time For Snowmen Worldwide

EAST SUSSEX, ENGLAND – Celebrity Dakota Blue Richards has angered a community by flattening a neighborhood snowman. The 13-year-old actress, who appeared with Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman in last year's The Golden Compass kicked down a beloved snow sculpture, proving again that Hollywood stars think they're all that. Abe Restato, a newsagent who helped build the snowman, was baffled as to why anyone would deliberately destroy his hard work. "We put our heart and soul into that snowman. Now I don't even want her autograph. She went from cool to very uncool in a very short space of time." Neighbor John Conrad added, "It seems kids today can't help being inconsiderate yobs even if they are film stars."

Richards' publicist released an official statement insisting the teenager did not mean to offend anyone, "It was a game that obviously somewhere along the way went awry" and insinuated the snowman probably would not last forever. Later CNN reported that the rude gesture "was not nice." Meanwhile, bloggers are calling snowman-maker Abe Restato "a drama queen."

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Here's the Last of the April's Snowmen

First up is Tirehead! Alicia Snowden (left) submitted this snowman made one evening in the middle of a snow storm by her husband Jeremy and younger brother Jesse (they were actually going to jump on the trampoleine in the background but decided to build a snowman instead). The photo is by sister Jaci. That's a plastic play-phone for the mouth and a real tire used for a hat! (Apologies to the whole family for the delay getting their snowman into competition. This snowman has been ready to go for awhile now – I'm sending out some snowman posters for the inconvenience!)

Abominable Snowman is entered by one of the finest directors today, Ed Nachtrieb, who produced the hilarious short Pitch Season. A vote for this snowman is a vote for quality cinema.

Finally, is Queen of Queens from Queens by Marcy Dermansky, well-known movie critic and fiction writer (the critically acclaimed Twins). (I've actually read the book myself – highly recommended!)

Good luck contestants. May the best snowman win.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

April's Snowman Contest

MEDICINE HAT, CANADA – Here is the first group of entries for April's Snowman Contest. First up is Dutch Snowman is from Christiaan, a NYC graphic designer (whose credits include the book for The William J. Clinton Center).

The haunting photograph, Springtime for Snowman, enters the contest uncredited. Even the way this piece was submitted, an unlabeled envelope passed under my bathroom door, is shrouded in mystery.

This rather straight-forward snowman is actually from the other side of the world (if you're on my side of the world. Otherwise the other two snowmen would be from the other side of the world.). Jordan Snowman is photographed by Today's Snowman regular Wa Sapnin.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Congratulations American Snowman! Winner of March 2008 Today's Snowman Snowman Contest

Beating the competition by a suspiciously large margin was American Snowman by Eric Krause and his son who both reside in Clifton Park, N.Y. They will receive a signed copy of The History of the Snowman and a year's supply of free snow.

Tomorrow Today's Snowman will parade out the entries for the April contest, the last contest before summer. It's not too late to enter. Submissions can be emailed here and will be posted in the competition. 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 and no ice balls. Persons related to Burl Ives are not eligible. Please do not send any images larger than 1 MB.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Hurry! Last Day to Vote

Marc Snyder © copyright 2008 (created with ice cubes made with colored water)

Quick reminder – last chance to vote on March's Today's Snowman Snowman Contest.

Here's an excerpt of the Snowman Index from The History of the Snowman;

Usage rank of snowman out of words spoken or written : 44,427
Length, in minutes, of the 1896 silent movie Snow Men : 3
Years it appeared after the invention of the first silent movie : 1
Number of silent movies made about snowmen : 4
Number of them that survives today : 0
Number of those snowmen that survives today : 0
# of snowmen in Shiramine Village, Japan during snowman week, 1993 : 2,000
Number of those snowmen that survives today : 0
Number of people who were living in Shiramine Village : 1,200
Number of Americans, per 100 million, with the surname Snowman : 130
Number of those who live in Alaska : 0
Those who live in Florida : 21
Number of pieces of art on record at The Hague’s Royal Library : 8,000,000
Number of those defined as “winterscapes” : 15,000
Number of snowmen found within that collection : 2
Estimated number of searches made per day on internet for snowman : 1,400

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

BREAKING NEWS; Obama Chooses YouTube Snowman As Running Mate!

SCRANTON, PENNSYLVANIA – The snowman's time has evidently come! Democrat Party presidential candidate Barack Obama has shocked millions by just announcing the You Tube Snowman as his running mate. The immediate reaction among the media and political experts is as expected. Only an outragious move like this could have derailed Obama's clear path to the White House. But just a couple of hours old, the news has already become fodder for late night comedy.

Political satirist Jon Stewart quipped during his taping, "In what has to be the smuggest move in election history, Obama picks, what is essentially, an animate object as his running mate. Am I reading this right?!? This is trash talking on the highest order."

The New York Daily is running with the headline tomorrow morning Black Guy Picks White Man.

Reached for comment a stunned Oprah Winfrey released this statement; "I'd be lying if I didn't say I thought Barack would be asking me. There's your dream team."

Now the question is how will the nation take this news... and who actually is the You Tube Snowman.

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