Where Is My Home?
Who am I?
When did I sleep?
What have I done?
What did I say?
What are these games?
What's On My Mind?
What is this flower?
What Did I Say?
I open my mouth to feed a line
to a charming girl I think is fine.
She slaps me and walks away.
What in the hell did I say?
 

Baseline Receives Accolades

Back in November 1991, a small engraved envelope appeared in the mail from MacUser magazine addressed to Baseline Publishing. Inside was a pleasantly illustrated invitation for us to attend the 1991 MacUser Editor's Choice Awards ceremony. We were pleased to be invited and didn't think much else about it.

Days later our janitor, Nirvanen Bucketslosher, noticed a small letter that was left in the envelope from MacUser. When he read it he jumped for joy and quickly rushed to the executive suite. Inside, the corporate fathers were having another daily staff meeting.

Nirvanen tried to enter, but was repelled by the yelling, screaming, and dangerous gymnastics that accompany these meetings. He persisted in his attempts to enter and was only noticed because he was the only person in the room with short hair and a tie. He quickly handed the letter to me, Matthew Lewis Carroll Smith, the larger-than-life President, and scuttled out of the room.

MacUser Editor's Choice Award I read the letter with a surprised face and informed the unruly management thong, "The Talking Moose has been nominated in the Best Desktop Diversion category for the 1991 MacUser Editor's Choice Awards!"

We all took the day off from our Lambada lessons after that stupendous announcement and after much rejoicing we woke up the next day in another state.

After the initial glow of the nomination had worn off, we took a look at the competition. Berkeley System's More After Dark and Thought I Could's Wallpaper were our rivals in this contest. Our hopes of winning immediately sank; both products were fantastic, popular programs. How could we, a small southern software publisher, hope to prevail?

So January arrived and we saddled our buffaloes and headed to San Francisco. Actually, we were riding Beefalos because they would be much tastier if we got trapped in the Rockies like we were last year.

We arrived at the MacWorld convention center and set up our booth, then quickly checked into our hotel and put on our tuxedos... our specially prepared Tennessee Tuxedos.

The awards ceremony was held at Moscone Convention Center next to the San Francisco bay. It was a veritable who's who of Macintosh developers, reviewers, distributors, and celebrities. Gold encrusted limos arrived every few seconds to disgorge crowds of sycophants from the big software companies. ("So that's why their software costs so much," one attendee was heard to say.) Of course, we didn't look half as glorious sitting on our buffaloes, but then, we don't charge a lot for our software either.

I caught the eye of the infamous Bob LeVitus (aka Dr. Mac) and he sauntered over to us.

"Bob," I said in a conspiratory tone, "are we going to win? I'll make it worth your time." I gestured towards my flask of fermented goat's milk.

Bob grinned and practiced a bit of his Texas drawl, "Do you really want to know, Matthew?"

Dark visions of things-man-was-not-meant-to-know, black cats, and long-forgotten actor's superstitions briefly clouded my eyes. "Well... I guess I can wait," I replied.

Bob just ginned at me with a elfin twinkle in his eye and sauntered away. That twinkle should have told me something, but I was too preoccupied to notice.

The hall interior seems to stretch for miles. There was a prominent ice sculpture at the entrance way, but we couldn't tell what it was supposed to be because desperate ad reps had chipped away at it in an attempt to cool their 200 proof drinks. Tables nearby laden with food were under siege by corporate technical .types. As we watched a fight nearly broke out; a programmer was holding three waiters at bay with the sharpened edge of a plastic pocket protector because they had interrupted his attempts to abscond with the last shrimp from a nearly empty serving tray.

We plowed though crowds of dapper computer yuppies talking techno-trash to their compatriots. We heard numerous disgusting and doubtful comments.

"...and Sculley took the broadsword and pointed it right at Jobs..."

"...then I saw Gasse pull off his shoes and squash the offending grape..."

"...but no one told me it was Phillipe Kahn, so naturally I was horrified when I saw him bite the head off of the man's baby..."

Finally we found a table in the section of the hall devoted to "Paranoids, Schitzos, and Small Publishing Companies." We gratefully took our seats.

While we waited for the ceremony to commence we were briefly entertained by a number of members of the Ziff-Davis Publishing staff. At one point we saw Henry Norr, editor of MacWeek do a hilarious Groucho Marx impression, but they made him sit down. Apparently Henry wasn't supposed to be part of the planned entertainment.

Just as the band was about to play it's first set, the lights dimmed and the ceremony was going to begin. To bad, we never did get to see Mitch Kapor and the Killer Klowns from Kansas perform. I always did have a soft spot for those old time "Program Along with Mitch" tunes.

With a tinny blare of trumpets and other obnoxious noises that were obviously beep sounds from somebody's Mac, the event officially began. First we heard truly riveting speeches from the Chief Editor, Editor, Sub-Editor, Assistant Editor, Editor's Assistant, Minister of Editing, and a Pressman. Each speech harped on similar themes like how wonderful we were for giving MacUser something to write about and how MacUser was an innovative publication because they printed on both sides of the page and numbered the pages in ascending order.

Then the real award giving and accepting began. It was really rather enjoyable watching ill prepared executives stumble on stage and try to croak out a decent acceptance speech. Some were so dazzled by the lights they just stood there, mouths open, profusely sweating. They reminded me of dear caught by a car's headlights before their brains were scattered to kingdom come.

There was a brief pause while special Eddys were awarded to some key industry people. They received the MacUser equivalent to the Irving Thalberg award for just being great guys and possibly because their companies spent enough money on ads in MacUser to make all the ad reps insanely rich.

With another disgusting musical flourish the awards were doled out again and the moment of truth for Baseline was rapidly approaching. Suddenly a strange and terrifying thought crossed my mind. What if we were going to win? I certainly didn't want to look like a real boob because I didn't have a speech prepared and I ended up saying something idiotic like, "Gribble oook zorbid mxbidle." I quickly began scribbling an acceptance speech.

Inexorably, the time of reckoning arrived. For some reason the music segued into the theme from Jeopardy as Bob LeVitus took command of the stage to present the Eddy for Best Desktop Diversion. My mouth was dry. My legs trembled. I felt hot and cold. The Reader's Digest Condensed version of my life flashed before my eyes. It didn't last long so I let it flash by twice. As Bob read the list of nominees my stomach did somersaults. In fact, the performance my stomach gave was rated a 8.9 by some nearby Olympic judges.

I was snapped out of my revere upon hearing Bob say the those fateful words, "And the Eddy goes to..." A torrent of adrenaline poured into my system, washing away the last vestiges of the Malt Duck Brut I had been served. Bob opened the envelope and removed the card. Time slowed to a crawl as I heard the spirit of the Moose say, "Use the Farce, Matt, use the Farce." Bob LeVitus joyously yelled, "Talking Moose and his Cartoon Carnival 4.0!"

I was stunned. I was electrified. I was very proud. I was also extremely well dressed and wanted to get on stage as soon as possible to show off. My assistant and I leaped over 40 feet onto the stage. There was a brief embarrassing moment as we both grabbed at the Eddy and wrestled for it. We just pretended we act like this all the time, which we do come to think of it, so I don't think anyone noticed. My assistant graciously thanked all the parties responsible while I bit on Eddy's head to see if it was really made of gold; it wasn't.

Then my turn came to say my piece. I pulled out the set of 85 cue cards I had quickly prepared and made Bob LeVitus lay on the floor and hold them for me. I took my position on center stage and looked the audience in the collective eye. My resolve and authority whooshed out of me like methane from a cow. I was looking straight at over a thousand people, and their cameras, and MacUser's cameras, and the hired help. I felt my grip weakening. I knew I had to belt out my speech before the crowd became restless. "Beware restless crowds," my mother used to say, "they are subtle and quick to anger." I croaked out my well crafted words and quickly left the stage.

As I approached our table there was much hand shaking and back slapping. I turned to my assistant, "how was I?" I asked. "Great, just great, they loved you," he replied. Then in a more conspiratory tone he asked, "by the way, what does 'Gribble oook zorbid mxbidle' mean?" I was too choked up to explain. The choking continued until I let my staff see the Eddy. For some reason I was having trouble letting go of it and they were choking me to get my attention.

So they ceremony was over and the general partying began. There were some unpleasant moments when rivaling companies began taunting each other. "Nyah, nyah, nyah, we won and you didn't!" "Oh yeah, you byte heads, wait 'till next year." I informed my staff that under no circumstances were they to act that way unless I started it. But there was no need for that kind of behavior now... it could wait for our fall ad campaign.

It was great having our very own Eddy. Numerous people approached me just to be able to touch the Eddy. "Oooh, it's so big," and, "he looks like Captain Picard," were the most popular comments. Several desperate Product Managers offered to buy the Eddy, but we turned them down. I understood their plight all too well; they were directed by the heartless Venture Capitalists they worked for to either come back with an Eddy or commit professional-ritual suicide.

The night was waning and we made our way to the exit. Outside Bob LeVitus, wearing a ten gallon hat and chartreuse chaps, hailed us from his mighty steed Elmer. We saddled up a shuffled over to him.

"Well, stranger," he asked, "what are you up to next?"

"Shucks, Bob," I grinned, "a publisher's gotta do what a publisher's gotta do."

Bob tilted his hat back and scratched his head, "and just' what may that be?"

I shifted around in my saddle, "Well I recon makin' the world safe for humor would be a good start."

Bob laughed, "and I suppose you are gonna do all that with a Moose?"

I wheeled my trusty mount Cuthbert around and stared him in the eye, "Smile when you say that, partner."

We made good time riding out of town into the sunrise. I was glad it wasn't sunset because buffaloes can't swim.

1995-2003
Matthew Lewis
Carroll Smith
Where
is my
home?
Who
am
I?
When
did I
sleep?
What
have I
done?
What
did I
say?
What
are these
games?
Who
are these
people?
What
is so
funny?
What's
on my
mind?
What
is this
flower?

(This is an archive of Matt Smith's webpage.)

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