Thursday, October 30, 2008


“We’re not supposed to trick or treat the houses with no lights on,” said Jack.

“Can’t hurt to check,” Sophie answered. She readied her sack and rang the doorbell again.

The door was opened by a man dressed all in black. Like a ninja. He had a sack, too.

“Trick or Treat!” the kids sang.

“Oh, right,” the man said. “I forgot. Let me see.” He rummaged through his sack. “Here. A pretty brooch for the Little Mermaid, and a golden candlestick for the vampire.”

“Wow. Thanks,” said Sophie, looking at her new brooch. “We thought maybe nobody was home.”

“Nobody is,” the man replied, and he ran off down the street with his sack of treats.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Not Safe for Kids, Possibly Not for Work Either.

If you're here looking for Haiku Contest results, kindly skip to the next post.

A while back I made a little video about the Hulk's singing career and posted it here, and on YouTube, and on Funny or Die. Then a spectacular amount of nothing happened for five months. Now, suddenly, this video is being reposted all over the place, and apparently it was mentioned last night on cable network G4. If you don't want to watch the whole thing, Hulk coverage starts about 5:50. And again, this isn't a program for young kids:

Given that no one was paying any attention to this video before my friend Irene Gallo posted it over at a few days ago, I think it's safe to blame her. Thanks, Irene!
Here's the uncut Hulk at the Tropicana, 1965, in case you missed it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


What a great bunch of kaiju haiku I got. Go read 'em if you don't believe me. There were more than 180 entries, but there can be only one GRAND PRIZE WINNER. Oh wait, no, there's two:

That kaiku was written by Lily, age 5. This next one is by Anna, age 12:

I got such a wide age range of kids that I thought I should have a GRAND PRIZE for both a 3-8 category and a 9-13 category, and those are they. My attractive celebrity judges also selected three runners up. In no particular order...

by Veronica, age 9:
Cerberus is sad
he wants a ball, a bone, and
someone to play with

by Trevor, age 4:
Dad, I know what the
important thing about horned
monsters is: the horns

by Jack, age 3 1/2:
I love aliens.
One, two, three, four, five of them,
flying in spaceships.

The GRAND PRIZE winners will receive the original art posted above, a signed copy of Frankenstein Takes the Cake, and a lunchbox filed with mysterious things. Runners-up will receive books with their haiku drawn on the title page. I probably won't send anything out until November, as I'm about to leave for North Carolina for a bit. I need Jack and Veronica's parents or guardian to email me so I can get an address to which I can send your books. I think I can reach everyone else through the email addresses posted on their profiles or blogs.
I think that's it.

Off to North Carolina

I'm proud to report that I leave soon for Winston-Salem, where I'll be receiving the North Carolina Book Award for Frankenstein Takes the Cake.  

Anyone in the Raleigh area?  I'll be appearing at Quail Ridge Books from 3-5 PM on November 1st, which readers of my book Frankenstein Takes the Cake will recognize as Folloween.

Regardless, check back here tomorrow for the winners of the KAIJU HAIKU CONTEST.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

May I interest you in another contest?

You haiku writers need another outlet for your Halloween-flavored creativity.  Get thee to Brian Biggs's blog, where he needs your help naming and describing his Ten Trick Or Treaters.

And then check back here this Wednesday, the 29th, for the winners of the Kaiju Haiku Contest!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I will be appearing at Politics and Prose this Thursday, the 23rd, from 10:30 to 11:30 in the morning.  Afterward, why not have lunch in their cafĂ©, take a long nap in the Travel section, and await John Hodgman's apearance at 7PM?

More on the contest soon.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Headless Horseman Here.

The sympathetic people at have agreed to reprint one of my blog posts here, and I thank them.  Of course, I'm opening myself up to the usual sorts of thoughtless comments in the comment section, so I could use a little support.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Contest is Closed.

We are no longer accepting new haikus for the competition. Any haikus posted after this note will be ineligible for prize consideration and will be displayed solely for the betterment of mankind in general.
Thanks for all your excellent submissions. I'll have news soon.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mystery Judges Revealed

You may have noticed we're having a Kaiju Haiku Contest right now, and I am pleased to announce the contest's celebrity judges:

Jarrett J. Krosoczka!  You may know Jarrett 
from his book Punk Farm, or from his latest, 
Punk Farm On Tour.

Lisa Yee!  You may know Lisa's 
Millicent Min, Girl Genius or 
So Totally Emily Ebers.

Finally, Lane Smith!  
You may know his book, 
John, Paul, George, and Ben
or his latest, Madam President.

There's just a few days left to get in your entries.  I'll take them through Friday, October 17th.

What terrible formatting.  I can't seem to get it right.

Monday, October 13, 2008

You've won this time, Billy Collins...

This is a little sad. My latest book, Frankenstein Takes the Cake, was reviewed in the New York Times Review of Books yesterday.  Not the sad part yet.  Wait for it.  Sales of Frankenstein received a small bump, insomuch as I could tell from the Amazon sales ranking (this is also not meant to be the sad part, though you may each of you appraise for yourself the existential sadness of checking one's own Amazon sales ranking).  While I was checking the progress of this ranking, my wife noticed that among books, specifically literature and fiction, specifically poetry, specifically United States poetry, specifically 20th century United States poetry, Frankenstein was currently the #2 seller.  Mine was the number two bestselling 20th century United States poetry book on Amazon.

There it is, right beneath former Poet Laureate of the United States Billy Collins.
Of course, the really funny (and also sad) thing here, is that my book wasn't even published in the 20th century.  But then neither were the books before it or after it.  That's Amazon for you.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Race for Hope

With everyone madly haikuing for the contest I mentioned in my previous post, I thought I'd try to grab your attention for a moment about a 5K run for brain tumor research in which I'll be participating on November 2nd.
Any small donation would be great.  If you're able, Go here, and click on "Donate Now."

Monday, October 6, 2008


Those are a couple of Kaiju Haikus from my latest book, Frankenstein Takes the Cake. "Kaiju" means "strange beast" or "monster" in Japanese. A haiku (and I realize most of you know this already) is a kind of Japanese poem that usually has five syllables, then seven syllables, then five. Here's a not very good haiku that explains what a haiku is:

First, five syllables,
and then seven syllables,
and then five again.

This is all a very simple explanation of haiku, but I bring it up because I'm having a CONTEST! A KAIJU HAIKU CONTEST!
-Submit your best haiku about monsters in the comments. You can also email them here, if you prefer, and I'll post them. It doesn't have to be about a Japanese monster, it can be about any monster or monsters. Even one you made up yourself.
-It DOES have to be 5/7/5, like the examples above.
-You must include your age. The grand prize will go to a kid, but adults can win as well.
-I'll delete any entries I consider inappropriate.
-I'll take haiku entries through creepy Friday the 17th.
-Afterward, the winner will be selected by celebrity judges. I'll announce who these people are soon.

GRAND PRIZE: The kid who wrote the winning entry will receive an illustration of their haiku, drawn by me. It will be on fancy art paper and suitable for framing. This kid will also receive a signed copy of Frankenstein Takes the Cake, a set of Frankenstein wedding bubbles, and a Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich lunchbox filled with weird things.

THREE RUNNERS-UP, of any age, will each receive a signed copy of Frankenstein Takes the Cake with his or her haiku illustrated on the title page.

Teachers! Want to submit the entries of your entire class at once? Post them all together in one comment, or email them to me and I'll do it.

Enter Now! Enter often!

I Only Steal From the Best

I love making up names for imaginary products and businesses and putting them in my books. MicrocosMart. The Wall Street Taco Exchange. Noda, the Soda Substitute. All of these appeared in my novel The True Meaning of Smekday, and one even appeared in Pssst!
Smekday also has a passing mention of a foodstuff called TUB! that comes with its own spoon. Last night I was watching an old Simpsons and noticed something in the following clip:

Is it a coincidence? Did I steal it without realizing? Dang.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Elkins Park Appearance

Just another note to say I'll be at the Elkins Park Library (in the Philadelphia Area) this Monday evening (the 6th) from 7PM to 8:30. ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN! Although it will almost certainly be a lot of reading and signing.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Right Back Atcha, Chicken Nugget Lemon Tooty.

No, I wasn't hit on the head while typing that title. This blog has been hearted by the kids over at Chicken Nugget Lemon Tooty, a blog of drawings by Issac, Grace, and Lily Zenz. They're always on my sidebar, but maybe you haven't visited in a while? Don't you want to see the best cut paper Jawa ever made?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

NYC Books of Wonder

Just a note to ask all you New Yorkers (yes, all of you. Even the ones in the back) to come see me at Books of Wonder in Manhattan this Sunday (the 5th) from 1-3. And if you don't much care for me there will also be Jules Feiffer, Lane Smith, Kate Feiffer, Nick Bruel, and Diane Goode! Do you know how many Caldecotts there are in that group? I don't either, but it's a lot.