Off Beat

How to Write a Best-Seller

Off Beat was feeling uncharacteristically, um, inspired last week. So inspired, in fact, that we commenced writing a, um, genial satire about, oh, let's see, a local public radio personality whose patches-on-the-elbows humor and dweeby musical stylings have endeared him to a national audience, and, well, he's also a best-selling author, but he's been suffering writer's block, until, until...until a former professional wrestler is elected governor of the state, and before the bullet-headed shovel-faced mutha can say "six-figure advance for my 'instant' autobiography," our hero dashes off his own fictional account of the events. Meanwhile, hmmmmm...meanwhile, the governor, who doesn't yet know anything about the radio show host's plan but feels stung by comments in an article he'd written for a national magazine just after the election, has proposed cutting off state funding for public radio and commented that he'd like to see the host's W-2. None of this, of course, is of the slightest concern to the host, who gets paid more than a quarter of a million bucks a year for his radio work but whose salary wouldn't be affected by the move. We'll fill you in on how it turns out, but before we write any more we're gonna shop this baby around to some literary agents.

Just Don't Tell the Ketchup Advisory Board

On an entirely unrelated note, tongues are still wagging (figuratively, of course) about an unlikely local source of Internet porn: Garrison Keillor. The host of Minnesota Public Radio's A Prairie Home Companion has been moonlighting for Salon ( of late, dispensing biweekly advice to the lovelorn and writer's-blocked under the nom de plume Mr. Blue. In a recent installment, Mr. Blue counseled a woman whose spouse has become obsessed with computer technology. "How did my writer/musician husband turn into a geek? How can I get past this disparity in our interests?" she asked, signing herself "Sincerely in Seattle." Replied Keillor: "Your feeling of isolation-- is that because he's engrossed in boring Internet shit?... Lower the boom. Tell him, 'I'm sorry but this has no meaning or beauty to me whatsoever, so talk about it someplace else. Talk to me about the stars and music and our first date and how beautiful you think my pussy is.'" Mr. Blue on a blue streak? Keillor didn't want to comment. Off Beat was inspired to pantingly peruse the Mr. Blue archives in search of similar smut, but sadly, we found nothing remotely as saucy as the guidance Sincerely in Seattle got.

Jesse Who?

Just one more little woebegone thing, and we promise we'll move on. Off Beat is waiting with bated breath for the release of Me--by Jimmy (Big Boy) Valente As Told to Garrison Keillor. Gov. Ventura's blessings notwithstanding, we'll be there when the, er, genial satire hits the bookstores. We just want to see if it bears the typical title-page disclaimer. You know, the one that goes, "This novel is a work of fiction," blah, blah blah. "Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental."

Fear and Loathing on the Post-Campaign Trail

Never mind Bill Greider, there's nothing like the election of a Jonny Lang-lovin' guv to get Rolling Stone interested in politics again. The magazine's March 4 Jennifer Aniston-loves-Brad Pitt issue features a two-page review of Gov. Jesse Ventura's inaugural throwdown. Remember Ventura's testy ripostes to local reporters who questioned his crooning abilities? Well, apparently he's a pussycat when the biweekly arbiter of hip comes a-calling. Not only does RS scribe Matt Hendrickson get away with characterizing Ventura's "Werewolves of Minneapolis" duet with Warren Zevon as "remarkably off-key," but the gube himself weighs in, admitting, "I should have let Warren sing the ah-oohs. My singing sounds better when I'm drinking beer with my buddies." Hendrickson also opines that Minnesota's First Lady Terry Ventura was "dressed like a heavy metal babe" and reports that Zevon served as a gonzo go-between, bearing a "sealed package" for Ventura from none other than Hunter S. Thompson. Off Beat couldn't help but wonder what was in that packet from Woody Creek, but Ventura spokesman John Wodele will say only this: "It was a personal thing between Warren and the governor and Hunter S. Thompson, and I wouldn't be at liberty to share it."


At Off Beat our motto is "Staying informed so you don't have to." Call us at (612) 372-3788 or send an e-mail to [email protected] with any poop that's fit to print.

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