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Wood Chucks, Redneck Nation, and Never Being Sorry

June 5th, 2005 · No Comments

It’s that time again, when all your questions are answered by a real professional, Author guy who has no practical life experience and instead sits in a office all day making little black marks appear on a screen…

Katarina Navane Writes with several questions.

1. how much wood would a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood?

Answer: Of course it depends on the size of the wood chuck, but I think given and average size woodchuck, he or she should be able to chuck about a thirty cubic feet of wood per hour.

2. Should i (try to) read Don Quixote?

Answer: Yes. You should definitely try to read Don Quixote, but if you find you can’t make it through, grab one of the Norton Anthologies of World Literature from a used bookstore (or used online book store) and read the condensed version there. It’s a cultural literacy issue, KN. You need to know about storming the windmills, the word Quixotic (and picaresque), Sancho Panza — it goes on. You will encounter references to Don Quixote throughout your life, having read the book will give meaning to the references and allow you to use such allusions and references with authority, to the complete embarrassment and ownage of lesser beings. That said, it’s a fucking huge book, so the condensed version as well as some analysis may serve you just as well.

One side note: In Bloodsucking Fiends Tommy names his Volvo Rosenante, which is the name of Don Quixote’s horse, which translates to “Hack”. A lot of layers of literary allusion to go through to get to that little bit of irony (since Tommy wants to be a great writer — hack — get it?). Not that it takes anything away from the story if you didn’t know that, but still, it kind of reinforces the point that you should read D.Q. (No not Dairy Queen, you git. Don’t make me come over there.)

3. Should a wood chuck try to read Don Quixote?

Answer: No. Rodents and epic novels do not mix.

4. What are you afraid of? And don’t say something rational like “Time” I want to know the irrational ones, like “cucumbers”

Answer: Well, I was fine, but now that you mention it, cucumbers are kind of scary in the wrong context. I’m also very superstitious about the thirteenth of the month and Friday the 13th in particular. Used to be that I wouldn’t fly on the 13th, but it got where I couldn’t indulge that particular superstition and go on book tour, so I let it go. It comes not from some arbitrary fear, but from the fact that I totaled two cars on two Friday the 13ths. No kidding.

5. what is your favorite hiccup remedy? I’ve had the hiccups (on and off) for five days now. They’ll go away, and then come back an hour or so later. giant hiccups that make my stomach hurt, too. It sucks.

Answer: Gotta go with holding the breath. And you have to keep trying it. It works as well as anything else, which seems to be not at all.

Fan Girl Writes: Hey Author Guy,

What does the “YKK” displayed in zippers stand for?

Answer: It stands for the YKK fastener company.

This is from their web site: YKK was founded in Japan as a zipper manufacturing company in 1934 by Tadao (pronounced in English as Tah-dah-o) Yoshida. In the early years, Mr. Yoshida’s company carried his name; it was called Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha–or “YKK” for short. (That long Japanese name translates roughly into English as “Yoshida Company Limited.”) Over the years, the letters “YKK” were stamped onto the zippers’ pull tabs, and thus YKK became known as the Company’s trademark. Today, the name of the brand is also the name of the company: YKK Corporation.

MooreFanInKY writes: Dear AG,

Do you read any comic books? Also would you ever want to adapt any of your novels to comic books?

Answer: I don’t read comic books, although I did when I was a little kid. I liked Sgt. Rock and Jeb Stuart and the Haunted Tank, as well as Spiderman. I sort of switched over to Mad magazine about fifth grade and never went back to comics except to visit. I’d love to see my stuff done in graphic novel form, however.

Jaandlu writers:

Hey Chris, Why does Catfish play through a Marshall? A Fender Prinston or Twin seems more classic blues man to me. But I assume you have a very good reason for using the Marshall. Maybe a hero of yours played through one? And what model Marshall? Finally do I have OCD because that bugs me? Alot. I’ll get over it but I think it’s going to take alot of therapy. I seriously need to hear the back story on Catfishs’ Amp.

Answer: Two words: Jimi Hendrix. I was thinking loud, not authentic. You’re right, a Fender Twin would be more authentic to a Blues man. Give me credit for keeping the National Steel Guitar. My editor kept wanting me to cut it to steel guitar because she thought I was advertising for National. I had to explain a couple of times why those two things aren’t the same.

Stackyroo42 writes in with several questions:

Why do girls always drop their friends when they get a boyfriend?

Answer: Because they are useless tramps with no self-worth outside their value to a man. Or, if not, that’s how they’re behaving, which is sort of the same thing, isn’t it.

How much should I be feeding my 9 month old Golden Retriever/Newfoundland cross per day?

Answer: Four cups of puppy chow or one medium Dominos sausage pizza.

Who coined the phrase “The birds and the bees” and why?

Answer: Cole Porter, in the song, Let’s Fall in Love. “Birds do it. Bees do it. Even monkey’s in the trees, do it. Let’s do it. Let’s fling some poo.”

How should I go about getting rid of snails in my garden?

Answer: I like using a shotgun, but that’s just me. But only a .410. A twelve gauge is overkill and unsporting for snails.

Do you like Led Zeppelin?

Answer: I like the song Boogie with Stu. Other than that, I find them kind of irritating.

Jilly axes:

Which one of us would you say has to be the most annoying person on the board, outside of Kitty and myself, of course? Who is the hottest (remember this is a trick question), who is the smartest and who is the most congenial?

Answer: Think Insane

Plastique Jesus writes: American Idol. Why? Hick hop (oohhh…believe me, it’s coming). Why? Steve Martin as Pink Panther. Why? Why do we swallow all of this bad art? I’m beginning to sympathize with Osama, and hate our “freedom”.

Answer: I’ve never watched American Idol or any of the other “we pluck you from the crowd and make you a celebrity” shows. Put it this way, if there was no demand, there would be no supply. Just like George Bush, the War in Iraq, and Hope and Faith: If the American public wasn’t buying crap, no one would be selling.

Hick hop? Of course. Jeff Foxworthy is now touted as the most successful comedian of all time. He’s sold more comedy albums than anyone – by giving Rednecks a set of parameters to define themselves — and let’s not forget that Carlin and Cosby have been doing it for forty years. (Don’t get me wrong, I think Foxworthy is a talented and funny guy, but damn – the most successful comedian of all time?!)

Nascar, Toby Keith, and again, George Bush: the majority of the American Public LIKES the idea of being unsophisticated, nationalistic, violent, and just plain stupid. They pride themselves on the ability to be able to pair-up and breed, as if it were some sacred rite even when it can be performed in a pick-up truck, a petri dish, or by rodents. Of course they would co-opt the artifices of hip-hop, and how convenient that much of the content is already, ignorant, violent, and misogynist — now all they need to do is add Jesus and the Flag and we got ourselves a party. “Back up that badonkadonk for Jayzus, biatch.”

Steve Martin as Clousseau? The guy does great physical comedy, and he’s the only big name comedian that does. Martin Short would probably be brilliant, but I don’t see him carrying a movie of that ambition. (That’s not me talking, that’s the way they think in Hollywood.) Roberto Bennini tried it, but he was hurt by the fact that his outrageously accented English is actually outrageously accented English.

Goudron writes:

So what’s the homeless scene really like in Hawaii?

Answer: Well, on my island, it’s very poor Filipino people living in corrugated metal shacks, cooking on open fires, and living off odd jobs and fruit they find in the jungle — or, it’s white Rasta people camping at the beach until they are told to move on, then sleeping in their cars until they can find another place to pitch a tent. Honolulu is a city, however, and it’s different there.

There are a lot of working homeless who live on the beach until they can put the money together for a deposit on an apartment or find some roommates. There’s a huge ebb and flow of young people coming and going from the islands all the time, trying to figure a way to just surf and live the good life. Many of them will spend some of their time here living outdoors. The truth of it is, though, it sucks to be poor anywhere. It just might not suck as much that it’s not cold.

Dan writes:

Dear Mr. Author Guy, What mode of transportation do you prefer? Planes, trains, automobile, bike, foot, etc.

Answer: Sort of depends on how far I’m going. Planes if I have some leg room and a long way to go. Trains if I’m just going a few hundred miles and I want to get some work done. Car if I’m around home. And on foot, bus, or street car if I’m in a city. (I don’t like the subway. I’ve never gotten used to it.)

Question: Also, is there any moment too late to say you’re sorry, or a moment in time that too late to reconnect? (I’ve done a fair amount of screwing up in my life – whoopsie)?

Answer: It’s never too late to say your sorry if you don’t mind your apology not being accepted, and if you don’t’ expect absolution. Thus, it can very well be too late to reconnect. You apologize because you have wronged people and they need to hear it, but more often you apologize because you need to perform and act of contrition. No growth can occur without it. You doom yourself to remain the same dumbass that you’ve always been. Resistance to apology is something that fathers seem to pass on to sons, as if apologizing is some sort of failure, as if admitting that you whave been wrong is a sign of weakness. This is a curse on our sons, not a blessing. It results in hard-headed, narrow-minded, self-centered, dishonest, frustrated, unhappy men who carry on with nothing to value in themselves except a stubborn consistency and a bullying nature.

Finally, what is your preferred drink? Answer: I like coffee.

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