Update About the Site and the Book

I thought I had reached a point where I was almost done with the book and would have more time to focus on the site again. Sadly, I was mistaken. It turned out that there was still a LOT left to do (clearing permissions for images, finishing a few chapters, editing, etc.). So that's why I haven't been posting much stuff lately. And I might as well admit that until July, I may not be able to post anything more because I really need to focus totally on the book. But come July, I have to be done, because my wife and I are going on vacation then (a long-planned vacation), and she's told me that I WILL NOT still be working on the book then, so that's pretty much an absolute deadline. So I should be able to resume posting then.

My wife and I will be doing a driving tour of hoaxes and wineries in the Northeastern U.S. After spending July 4 with my parents, we'll be driving up to Grovers Mill in New Jersey (where the Martians landed in 1938), then on up to Cooperstown, NY where the Cardiff Giant is. We'll next spend some time in the Niagara Falls area (visit some wineries in that region), then head over to Detroit where the fake Cardiff giant is. Next we drive to the Forevertron antigravity machine in Wisconsin, and finish up in Minneapolis where we're visiting family. Hopefully we'll also find lots of other interesting stuff along the way. I'm bringing along my laptop, so I should be able to post pictures of the trip as I go along (if I can find wireless internet connection along the way).

On another topic, after much debate my publisher and I have finally settled on a title for the book. My original title was the FAKE REALITY FIELD GUIDE, but that got canned because it was deemed not fun/quirky enough. So instead we've settled on HIPPO EATS DWARF: A FIELD GUIDE TO HOAXES AND OTHER FORMS OF B.S.

Hippo Eats Dwarf refers to the media hoax of the same name. We chose it basically because it's such a strange phrase, so it provides some indication that the book is full of strange things. I was a little worried that the dwarf (or 'little people') community would take offense, but I hope not. 'A field guide to hoaxes' is obvious. 'And other forms of b.s.' was settled on after a lot of discussion. The book is full of things that are kind of hoaxy, but not quite hoaxes: botox masks, Michael Jackson's nose, imaginary girlfriends, bizarre reality tv concepts, staged political events, etc. I was referring to all of this as 'fake reality', but my publisher convinced me that most people browsing books in a bookstore wouldn't know what that meant. So we settled on 'b.s.' instead because there seems to be a surge of interest in studies about b.s. (such as Harry Frankfurt's On Bullshit, and Laura Penny's Your Call is Important To Us: The Truth About Bullshit). The marketing people at my publisher figured that 'b.s.' would better convey what I was talking about. Plus, it's funnier.

I'm still kind of fond of 'The Fake Reality Field Guide', but my publisher is probably right that not enough people would understand what I was referring to.


Posted on Tue Jun 21, 2005


Big Gary in Dallas said:

"Hippo Eats Dwarf" has got to be the greatest headline since "Jesus Wept," or at least since "Stix Nix Hix Pix."

Ooh, a Variety-speak reference! How about "Wall Street Lays An Egg"?
Posted by crankymediaguy  on  Fri Jun 24, 2005  at  06:14 PM
Alex, personally, I think the title "DWARF EATS HIPPO (in one sitting)" would have more impact. But that's just me.
Posted by BugbearSloth  in  earth, 3rd planet, sol system  on  Fri Jun 24, 2005  at  06:53 PM
Wow, you really have been to busy to update. I've been away in London for quite a while now and this is my first time since I've been here that I've check for MoH updates. Actually, it's just because I went to the computer lab, and then it started pouring rain, and now I'm waiting for the storm to pass so I can walk back to my flat, but that's a whole nother story. I thought there would be hours of reading to catch up, but all I saw were 3 new posts. Oh well, I'm sure your new book is going to be excellent, and I'll be sure to order it when I get back to the states. Also, I think your publisher is quite right on the book title, The Fake Reality Field Guide may be more accurate, but it doesn't sound very interesting. Dwarf eats Hippo sounds way funnier and more interesting.
Posted by Razela  in  Chicago, IL  on  Tue Jun 28, 2005  at  01:08 PM
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