Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Friday Challenge - 2/15/08

We were unable to reach a decision last night, so we called in some expert help. Between that delay, and the protracted and heated debate that followed, and of course the traditional Saturday afternoon spent fixing my daughter's car while lying on my back on snow-covered pavement — it just wouldn't be a proper February without it — we have finally come to a decision.

The 2/8/08 Friday Challenge was presented as follows.
It's a few years in the future; you're a freelance writer working for some publication whose nature you're free to define; and you are writing a review of the controversial new children's book: Heather Has Two Mommies, Three Daddies, A Pig's Spleen and a Baboon's Heart. What do you want to tell your readers about this book?

If you haven't read the written entries yet, you'll find them right here. If you haven't listened to Vidad MaGoodn's entry via YouTube, go no further until you have clicked the Play button and heard the entire thing.

And now, the judges' decision. kremben, you scored big with:
The photos are garish, glaring and much too gory for this writer's taste, though my four year old nephew was quite enthralled with the monkey heart lying on the bright, silver pan before installation.

And installation is the right word. The child that Heather becomes is nothing more than a showpiece, paraded like Mozart before the kings and queens of science. Showing off her silk purse of an ear and her small but efficient four chambered heart she combines the worst elements of a carny's wildest fantasies, sideshow freakishness in the darling outfit of childhood.
Keep up the good work; very promising. You have good ideas. Don't be afraid to stretch out and go longer.

Henry Vogel, this line had us cackling:
Finally, it brought tears to her eyes when PETA surgeons, working from a mobile hospital, removed the pig spleen and baboon heart from “Jeanie” and quickly transplanted them into a pig whose spleen had failed and a baboon who had a weak heart.
What a wonderful condensation of animal rightist misanthropy down to a single thought. The image of the younger female person in the PETA Scout uniform was also unforgettable.

WaterBoy, by our count you introduced not one but two new terms: "genofacture" and "faith-born," as used in these terrific lines.
Why Dr. Hie chose to include this particular information is bewildering, as it would seem to undo any goodwill toward the genofactured that he may have engendered in the preceding chapter by reintroducing the idea of differentness. Perhaps he was trying to forestall animosity by explaining in advance the anomalous behaviors such as feces-flinging and mud-wallowing that faith-born youngsters might encounter in their assembled peers.
"Faith-born." I can definitely see that one entering the common lexicon in the not too distant future.

As I said, it took us a long time and a lot of debate to come to a decision, but now that we've reviewed the top entries, here are the results. WaterBoy, you are declared this week's winner, so please select your prize from what's behind Door #2. Henry Vogel, it was a very close miss, so while we don't normally do it, we'd like to offer you a consolation prize, which is your choice of a book from the We're Doomed! collection.

Vidad MaGoodn, if you're wondering why your entry wasn't picked as the winner, it's because you've taken things to a whole new level, and I'll be talking about it at length in tomorrow's post. (Which was supposed to be today's post, but, you know, snow and socket wrenches and all that got in the way...)

Now, as for this week's Friday Challenge: like many writers, I had a long string of lousy, miserable, stupid, and sometimes dangerous jobs while I was getting my writing career off the ground, and I have this great story I can sometimes be persuaded to tell about the absolutely worst of those jobs and the day I quit it. Unfortunately, this story involves a piece of machine shop equipment called a "butt welder," and every time I try to tell the story, the audience seems to get hung up at the point where that machine enters the tale and I rarely get to finish the story.

So today, I'm not even going to try to tell that story. I'm just going to say, "butt welder." BUTT WELDER!

OK, got it out of your system now? Good. Because what we're looking for this week is your best story about the worst job you ever had, and what, if anything, you learned from the experience.

As always, we're playing for what's behind Door #2, playing by the completely unenforceable rules of the Friday Challenge, and even if you don't enter, you're encouraged to comment on the other entries.

Ready? Then hey, people, the whistle blew already! You're on company time now, so let's look busy!