Sunday, September 10, 2006

The third noblest of the mouth-instruments

I received this e-mail tonight:

Dear Mr. Liang,

Hi! My name is Jennifer Chang and I am writing on behalf of Expanded Books (a broadband television production company) and Workman Publishing. I came across your blog while searching for sites related to humor, and I noticed your site's banner graphic. I was hoping that you'd be able to help us!

Workman recently published a book called "The Complete How to Kazoo", which is a book that, as expected, teaches readers how to play the kazoo. It is also part of a larger campaign to make the kazoo the national instrument of the United States! Really! This is an actual campaign, with thousands of backers writing letters to their congressmen in support of the cause.

I know this may be a little offbeat, but if this news is something your readers may be interested in, or if you find the campaign inspiring or (let's face it) even just amusing, we'd like to kindly ask you to include the link to the campaign video in your next update. Here it is!

This video is currently airing on Yahoo!, MSN, Google, Youtube, iFilm, and Revver, and will likely be featured on network television news shows in the very near future.

I'm also attaching the official press release so you can learn more about the book and roots of the campaign.

Please let us know if you decide to post the link, and we'll express our personal thanks.

And in the meantime, our thanks to you for your consideration!

-Jennifer Chang
Associate Producer, Expanded Books

I mean, I'm pretty sure it's not spam. A spammer would have to be pretty damn smart to build a bot that could look at banner photos and analyze them for the presence of kazoos. The website looks pretty legitimate, as does the press release. So I suppose that I am flattered, unless it does actually turn out to have been spam, in which case I am impressed by the spammer's 1337 skillz.

The campaign to make the kazoo the national instrument of America, though -- that's something I can really get behind. Devoted readers (of which I have more than Peter Lynn over at Man vs. Clown!, apparently, according to Dave and BlogLines, but that's neither here nor there) will know that I am a devotee of the kazoo. The kazoo was probably my second instrument, and I like to think it's probably my best instrument also, as I am a decidedly above-average kazoo player. I keep a kazoo -- and not a cheapo $1 plastic one, a $2 metal one with replaceable resonator -- in my jacket pocket at all times. Also, I'm not even American, and so the campaign to make it the national instrument of the US can't possibly hurt me at all; thus, I deem it worthy of my support.

So let it be known that the Internet's Foremost Dickolas Wang supports the campaign to make the kazoo the American national instrument. Sure, the book she mentions costs $11USD and teaches you something that people ought to be able to pick up at age 5 or just by reading the Wikipedia article1. Sure, the kazoo is about as much a musical instrument as a distortion pedal is. Sure, I'm not even American. But I have a passion for the kazoo, and I want the world to know.

I felt it would be appropriate for the occasion to re-post some of my finest kazoo moments, both taken from my videoblog over at Enjoy (again, or if you don't read, for the first time)!

1. While this is true, over the years I have fielded a surprisingly high number of questions about how you play the thing. You'd be astonished how many people have never figured it out. To be fair, the description of the book mentions lip positions, plural, as well as the "balalaika effect", none of which I have any idea about, so I could probably learn something from the book. Also, the usual instruction to "hum, not blow" is misleading; you need to hum and blow a little bit. Oops, I think I may have just spoiled the first chapter of the book.


dinning said...

"You need to hum and blow a little bit".

Too easy.

Dickolas Wang said...

Hah! Oral sex.

Agent Banana said...

I propose that we make the recorder the national instrument of Canada.

Peter Lynn said...

I can't say if it's spam, but Jennifer Chang sent me a similar e-mail, except it didn't refer to my banner graphic, but did call mine a "political humor blog". I'll forward mine to you for comparison's sake.

Cameron said...

Hey I may have mentioned this long ago, but your Spanish Flea rendition inspired me to start a kazoo band. Fate would have it that today I officialy began inviting people to join. I have three kazoos, (two metal one plastic).

Steve Kwan said...

I would like to point out two things.

One, I made that banner.

Two, the Steve Kwan dot com theme song has a kazoo solo at the end. So why was that not linked?

Dickolas Wang said...

Because that's a harmonica, dipshit.