Monday, October 11, 2004

The "Dump Bush" Pumpkin-Carving Contest

Sharpen your wits, creativity, and that old set of Ginsu knives. It's time for the First and (we ardently hope) Last Annual Online "Dump Bush" Pumpkin Carving Contest (FALAODBPCC).

Spurred by the near-simultaneity of two uniquely American events -- the annual Trick-or-Treat fest on 31 October, and the Most Important Election Of Our Lifetimes on 2 November -- and taking advantage of the creative resources of the blogosphere's tens of thousands of pajama-clad pundits, the FALAODBPCC seeks, quite simply, the Jack-O-Lantern that most convincingly, creatively, and engagingly conveys the message "Dump Bush!"

The Categories. Entries will be accepted in two categories:
Pulpy-Palms Division (PPD). The entries in this division will be snapshots of real, honest-to-God physical pumpkins, lovingly carved with their own anti-Bush messages. Entries will be judged on overall creativity, clarity of presentation, carving skill, and (to a lesser extent) internal-illumination concept. Pictorial, verbal, and mixed treatments will all be considered.

Hyperreality Division (HD). Raw pumpkin, as all are aware, is an unforgiving medium. For those who lack the requisite cutlery skills, but who still wish to participate, the Hyperreality Division award was created for Photoshopped or otherwise "enhanced" pumpkin images that carry an anti-Bush theme. Entries in this category will be judged on creative use of the electronic medium, power of political message, and how obvious the little squiggly lines are where you pasted stuff into the background.

[Note: If your entry straddles the line between these two divisions -- say, a picture of a pumpkin you've carved, Photoshopped to increase its political or emotional impact -- please enter it in whatever division you think best captures the spirit of the entry. I would tend to think that even a Photoshop-enhanced rendering of a pumpkin you actually carved would more likely belong in the PPD rather than the HD. But use your own judgment.]
The Rules. The rules for this competition, such as they are, are relatively simple:
  1. Keep it clean. As satisfying as it would be to explore certain adult themes (and, where Bush is concerned, one orifice in particular comes to mind), we'd like to keep the entries at a PG or G level.
  2. No excessive gore or violence. Entries in the Hyperreality Division in particular should endeavor to avoid anything too graphic.
  3. No "Bush = Nazi" themes or similar inflammatory material. We don't want to give Karl Rove even the smallest excuse to portray President Hissy Fit as a victim.
  4. Enter at own risk. Know your own skills and limitations in this dangerous work. Ahab cannot take responsibility for severed fingers, arterial bleeding, brain concussions, black hairy tongue, insanity, carpal-tunnel syndrome, or any other injuries or ailments that result from participation in the FALAODBPCC.
  5. All decisions final. Entries will be evaluated by our distinguished panel of judges (basically Ahab and Mrs. Ahab, with the nonbinding input of our two proudly Bush-hating offspring). Complaints are likely to be met with a sepulchral silence.
  6. Contestants retain all rights to their images. Ahab asks only for the privilege of posting the entries of the winner, second-place finisher, and honorable mentions on Personal Effects.
  7. Although the emphasis is on anti-Bush pumpkins, pro-Kerry treatments are also welcome.
How to Enter. To enter the contest, please follow these simple instructions:
  1. Create your pumpkin, following the rules outlined above.
  2. Post a GIF or JPEG image of your pumpkin on a publicly accessible Web site. Be sure that your pumpkin image stays at this address at least through the election and, preferably, through the post-election litigation period.
  3. Send the address of the pumpkin image to Please do not send the image file itself -- only the publicly available address of that file (sorry -- we can't provide bandwidth for images). Important: Please include the category you're submitting your entry to in both the body of the E-mail and in the subject line. In the latter, use the abbreviation "PPD" for the Pulpy-Palms Division and "HD" for the Hyperreality Division.
  4. Optional gloss. For some entrants, the image will say it all. However, others may feel a perfectly understandable, very human need to explain themselves. Therefore, at the contestant's option, they may submit a brief (less than 25 words) caption for their image.
  5. We would prefer entries by E-mail at the address above. If you are uncomfortable sending your entry in by E-mail, however, you can post it as a comment to this blog entry (though it's possible I won't see it there).
  6. The deadline for submissions is midnight PDT on Friday, 29 October. The winners will be posted on Personal Effects on Sunday, 31 October. During the entry period -- time permitting -- we will, until we get sick of doing so, periodically post the addresses of selected entries we've received. Of course, it's possible that we won't get any entries at all, in which case we won't post any.
The Prize. The winner will have their entry displayed in the Winner's Circle here on Personal Effects on Halloween night, adorned by a spiffy (and yet to be designed) virtual blue ribbon.

What . . . you wanted more?

Sorry -- that's it. This contest is for the glory alone. And, of course, you will get the satisfaction of joining our squashroots effort to unseat the Great Pretender and bring legitimate government back to Washington. Remember -- this is a vital and close election. The right pumpkin, in the right swing state, could tip the balance and send Bush back to Crawford. Let the games begin!

[Special note to the three people who actually read this blog: Tell your friends! Who knows -- we might get as many as six entries that way . . .]


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