Excerpts from The Wobbit (A Parody)

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The Wobbit A Parody
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Post by The Wobbit A Parody Wed Jul 27, 2011 1:01 am

Chapter 1

AN UNEXPECTED BRUNCH

In a wholly below-ground apartment there lived a wobbit. His apartment was not as nasty, dirty, and wet as a hole, but it wasn’t as fresh, bright and fun as a beach house. It was definitely at the “nasty” end of the home spectrum. Plants can cheer a place up, but the wobbit’s apartment only had the mold in the walls and the mildew in the bathtub. It was a basement apartment, and that means fungus.

The wobbit was not very well-to-do, and his name was Bunkins. He worked as a barista at a local coffee bar, which was honest work, at least. Prior to that he was in banking.

The Bunkinses had lived in the village of Wobbiton, in the modest Bug End neighborhood, since time out of mind. The Bunkins in our story rented his basement apartment from Virginia, who also owned the beauty parlor in front of the building. He liked the location. There was a laundromat nearby, where he could wash and dry his little waistcoats and corduroy pants.

Bunkins kept to himself, avoiding block parties and yard sales. Talking with his wobbit neighbors always left him feeling inferior. The neighbors felt this was because Bunkins was truly inferior, even to other wobbits. Despite his solitary behavior, everyone knew all about Bunkins because of his ancestors. For generations, Bunkinses had been so stodgy and predictable that if you knew one of them, you knew them all. No one ever wanted to know more than one.

This is a story of how a Bunkins had an adventure, doing things that he found terrifying and saying things he normally kept to himself. In the end he still couldn’t earn the neighbors’ respect, but he gained a fortune and a magic ring that—but perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself.

The mother of our particular wobbit—what the hell is a wobbit? I suppose wobbits need some description, since they have become rare and shy of Big People With Good Jobs. They are short, really short, and this is accentuated by their poor posture. Wobbits are so short they regularly get beaten up by leprechauns. Wobbits are so short they are shorter than most children, even their own. Wobbits are so short some of them have legs that aren’t long enough to touch the ground. You get the idea.

They have no beards, not even neck beards or patchy Van Dykes. There is little magic about them, except for the everyday sort that helps them disappear quietly if you ask them to help you move or take you to the airport. They wear no shoes, which makes it impossible for them to dine at non-wobbit restaurants. Their feet are hairy and large, although really they may just look large since wobbits overall are so short. Like the way horizontal stripes make you look fat.

As I was saying, the mother of this particular wobbit—Bulbo Bunkins, that is—was the fabulous Primadonna Dork. It was said that long ago one of her Dork ancestors must have taken a fairy husband, but this was based on several sad misunderstandings of the fairy lifestyle. The Dorks were regarded by most wobbits as “queer,” and that’s saying a lot. They were forever indulging odd interests, drifting aimlessly from comic book conventions to wargame tournaments to renaissance faires.

By some curious chance one morning long ago in the quiet of the world, when there was less noise and more disease spread by rats and raw sewage, and while Bulbo was standing at his door enjoying a large hazelnut latte and an even larger breakfast burrit¬o—Pantsoff came by. Pantsoff! If you have heard a quarter of what I’ve heard about him, then I’ve heard 400% of what you’ve heard.

Not much of it is true, of course. The one really remarkable thing about Pantsoff was his brilliance in self-promotion. This is why, after his long absence, wobbits considered him legendary, like Paul Bunyan or Robert Downey Jr. He carried a stick with a magical blue top, and wore immense black wing-tip boots. Around his neck he wrapped a scarf that was pure affectation.

He had a long, bushy moustache. If he didn’t keep it trimmed it stuck out further than the brim of his shady-looking leather hat. Older wobbits who had seen Pantsoff years ago believed that it was actually nose hair run wild. This was because most elderly wobbits had to trim their nose hair constantly.

“Good morning!” said Bulbo, and he meant it. But Pantsoff just looked at him from over his bushy moustache.

“What do you mean?” he finally said. “What do you mean by ‘good’ and what do you mean by ‘morning?’”

“Um, what?” said Bulbo.

“Enough small talk,” said Pantsoff. “I’m here to make you the offer of a lifetime! I’m looking for someone to share a short, simple adventure that I’m arranging. So short and simple, in fact, that I thought of you immediately!”

I just met this guy, and already he’s doing ‘short’ jokes, Bulbo thought. But he decided to be the bigger man, and so he remained polite.

“Here in Wobbiton we are a plain, dull folk,” said Bulbo. “We have no use for adventures. They use up all your vacation days and interrupt your lawn care.” He looked into the distance, as if he was totally involved in enjoying his latte. But the old man didn’t move or say anything more.

“Good morning!” Bulbo said at last. “I don’t buy Girl Scout cookies, so I’m certainly not going on any adventures that recruit door-to-door. You might try somewhere else, like Bug Heights or Bugland Park or West Bugville.” He took a huge bite of burrito, and it squirted salsa on Pantsoff.

“What a lot of things you use Good Morning for!” said Pantsoff. “Too bad you can’t use it to remove salsa stains. I just bought this wizard robe at Ye Olde Navie.”

“Have we met?” said Bulbo. “I don’t think I know your name.”

“No—but I know yours, Mr. Bulbo Bunkins.” This was not very impressive, since Bulbo was wearing his name tag from the coffee bar.

“And you know my name, though you don’t remember that I belong to it. I am Pantsoff, and Pantsoff means me! That’s right, me! Pantsoff! To think that I should live to be good-morninged by Primadonna Dork’s son, as if I were selling adjustable rate mortgages door to door!”

“Pantsoff!” said Bulbo. “Not the wandering wizard that gave the Old Dork some magic ruby slippers that would take him home when he forgot where he lived? Not the fellow who used to tell such wonderful tales at parties, about the Man From Nantucket and the Young Wench From Peru? Not the Pantsoff who was responsible for so many frivolous lawsuits and Ponzi schemes? I beg your pardon, but I had no idea you were out of jail.”

“I was never in jail!” said the wizard. “I made a deal with the D.A. Too bad my colleagues were all so obviously guilty. All the same, I am pleased to find you remember something about me. I may give you what you asked for.”

“You’ll give me your pardon?”

“No, I’ll give you an immense black wing-tip to your little tuchas! You’ve been asking for it ever since you got salsa on me. Fortunately for you, though, I need your butt intact for the adventure you’re going on.”

“Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you. Good morning!” But Pantsoff still wouldn’t move. Bulbo reconsidered his rudeness, just in case any of the old stories about Pantsoff were true. He added a polite, if insincere, postscript.

“Please stop by for brunch tomorrow, it’s my day off. Yes, brunch tomorrow, that’s the ticket!” And with that the wobbit turned and scuttled, as only wobbits and hermit crabs can, back into his hole, shutting the round screen door as quickly as he dared.

“What was I thinking?” he asked himself as he went to the kitchenette. He thought a drink might steady his nerves. There was a crusty bottle of blackberry brandy that had been around too long. Dreadful or not, it would do.

Pantsoff in the meantime was lurking outside. After a while he stepped up and stenciled a queer sign, queer even to Dorkish eyes, on the wobbit’s aluminum (or al-u-minium, as the wobbits called it) screen door. Then he slunk away, as Bulbo finished his second cocktail. Bulbo was so shaken he took a sick day.
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Post by The Wobbit A Parody Fri Jul 29, 2011 2:39 am

“What’s this about a dragon?” asked Bulbo.

“Weren’t you paying attention to the lyrics during the banjo and mandolin number? The map? The prospectus?” said Borin. “Really, Pantsoff, is this guy the best you could do? Fine, we’ll sing our theme song again.”

The dwarves sang it again. “I’m still not getting it” said Bulbo. “Could you do an interpretive dance, instead? Or maybe just tell me?”

“O very well,” said Borin. “My grandfather, Flor, built SmithiBank up from nothing, from a little building & loan into a banking monolith. Depositors from far and wide brought us their gold and jewels. Borrowers came to us for mortgages. Through outsourcing, automation and lots of hidden fees we made SmithiBank huge and very profitable. But mortgages were the source of our greatest wealth, and our downfall. Back in those days, being in the mortgage business was like having a license to print money, which Floor also had, for a time. He guaranteed his stockholders unlimited prosperity forever, but perhaps he was being unrealistic. In any event, SmithiBank soon became the largest issuer of mortgages in all of Little Earth, especially near the Only Mountain, in Lake City.

“As happens from time to time, a dragon showed up and adjusted the market, ruining everything. His name was Smog, and he moved into Lake City. All the wise men and analysts said this would cause a huge loss of equity, and then Lake City property quickly devalued. Investor confidence failed and depositors, especially the gremlins and brownies, would have withdrawn all their gold and jewels if Smug wasn’t sitting on them.

“We tried to sell some of the loans to recover. We tried to recapitalize. Nothing worked, and all that’s left of our bank is a bunch of near-worthless loans and a corporate office plaza occupied by a dragon. My grandfather and I and the few board members you see here were the only employees to escape being arrested by regulators or eaten by Smug. We bravely ducked out the service entrance that Pantsoff mentioned. But the key was thought to be lost when my grandfather suddenly left to hike the Moisty Mountain Trail. Pantsoff, just how did you get hold of it?”

“I didn’t ‘get hold of it,’ I was given it” said the wizard. “Your grandfather was killed, you remember, in the Moisty Mountains, by Agog the Goblin King.”

“Yes, I do remember that,” Borin said. “Floor was my grandfather.”

“Yes, yes. Well, I ran into him at the Goblin King’s Moisty Mountain summer home. It turns out we were both there to, um, visit Agog’s wife, the Goblin Queen. But the Goblin King arrived unexpectedly and we thought it best to leave. I quickly took the lead, to clear a path for my friend. He was lagging behind so I went back to help. He had needlessly weighed himself down with valuables, so I took the key and some of his other heavy personal items, like the map. It was no use, but I did my best, so on the whole I ought to be praised and thanked!”

“Let me get this straight,” said Bulbo. “Pantsoff, even though you’re the brains of this outfit, you want me, a consultant and former teller, to figure out how to get rid of a dragon?”

“That’s it exactly, my boy! You’ve cut right to the heart of the matter. You’re even more perfect for this project than I thought! Look at how he’s thinking outside the strong-box!”

Realizing that this was the best job offer he’d had in a long time, Bulbo decided to sleep on it. Instead of leaving, the few dwarves that hadn’t passed out yet started to lie down and sleep where they were. Bulbo’s Dorkish side was being chased away by his essential Bunkins-ness. He was hoping that he would wake up tomorrow to discover that this was all a dream. A smelly, insulting dream.

As he folded out his Murphy bed from the wall, he could hear Borin still humming to himself. Oddly, the humming had lyrics:

Our stock will soar, champagne we’ll pour at this locality
Come have a heaping helping of our hospitality
Dwarf, that is
Sit a spell
Take your boots off
Ye all come back now, aye!

Bulbo went to sleep with the song in his ear: the song, and also one of Borin’s fingers. It was really crowded in Bulbo’s apartment. He would soon discover, to his disappointment, that the dwarves’ visit wasn’t a dream.
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Post by Orwell Fri Aug 12, 2011 10:32 pm

Mmm... very American, I guess. Got some laughs but will have to get my head around all the financial lingo. You write well though, so I'll try and get my head around it. (Americans and Money - why is that? Laughing )

"al-u-minium" - that's proper Ozhobbitstannish, but you make it sound irregular! Damn cheek! Mad

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Post by Wisey Banks Fri Aug 12, 2011 10:41 pm

Two prospecter hobbits, who dug for gold,
Found instead a silvery kind of something,
Bunsen the Americohobbit said,
"What's this the orcs' been dumpin'?"

Wally from Ozhobbitstan looked down,
Into the hole that Bunsen delved,
"Hey mate, that aint a silvery kind of sumpin',
It's a useful metal I do hear tell,

Not normally found in this natural state,
Look close, it's been refined,
A wonderful thing for window frames,
And those post-modern window blinds!"

"It be alum-in-num," drawled our Bunsen,
(They say all Americohobbits drawl),
Wal sez: "Nuh, mate, it's al-u-minium -
After that, they had a brawl.

So let this be a lesson, friends,
Never let Americohobbits or Ozhobbits go,
Fossicking in them Boney Hills,
Along the route oft used by Wells Fargo.


"Miners of the Wells Fargo Path" by Walt Whitman (unpublished)

Wisey Banks


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Post by The Wobbit A Parody Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:15 am

Orwell wrote:Mmm... very American, I guess. Got some laughs but will have to get my head around all the financial lingo. You write well though, so I'll try and get my head around it. (Americans and Money - why is that? Laughing )

"al-u-minium" - that's proper Ozhobbitstannish, but you make it sound irregular! Damn cheek! Mad

I've been in the financial services industry for thirty years, and it STILL doesn't make sense to me. When I wrote that section I never imagined that anyone would actually be paying attention when they read it. Thanks for the compliment, Orwell!

I'm glad you liked the al-u-minium gag. I heard the British version of that word on "Robot Wars" years ago, and I was glad I had a chance to use it. You and PT may be the only people in the world that enjoyed it. Very cool.


Last edited by The Wobbit A Parody on Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:28 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : I'm a moron.)
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Post by The Wobbit A Parody Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:26 am

Wisey Banks wrote:Two prospecter hobbits, who dug for gold,
Found instead a silvery kind of something,
Bunsen the Americohobbit said,
"What's this the orcs' been dumpin'?"

Wally from Ozhobbitstan looked down,
Into the hole that Bunsen delved,
"Hey mate, that aint a silvery kind of sumpin',
It's a useful metal I do hear tell,

Not normally found in this natural state,
Look close, it's been refined,
A wonderful thing for window frames,
And those post-modern window blinds!"

"It be alum-in-num," drawled our Bunsen,
(They say all Americohobbits drawl),
Wal sez: "Nuh, mate, it's al-u-minium -
After that, they had a brawl.

So let this be a lesson, friends,
Never let Americohobbits or Ozhobbits go,
Fossicking in them Boney Hills,
Along the route oft used by Wells Fargo.


"Miners of the Wells Fargo Path" by Walt Whitman (unpublished)

Wisey Banks


Wisey, I love your poetry! I used to do Slam Poetry (I was on Team Chicago when we won the 1991 National Championship), and that doesn't necessarily me make me an expert, but you're great! I wish I knew more about the poets you channel. because I feel like I'm missing some of your best jokes. Sort of like Orwell and American banking jargon. Thanks!

-Paul
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Post by Wisey Banks Tue Aug 16, 2011 9:33 am

'tis an arcane art
this channelling
not just to anyone
dare i go tellininen

for the Secret Channellers
it's fair to mention
would hang me up
at a high suspension

if i was ever to
reveal our method
which i can say is
both queer and blesséd

as to how you join
our Great Fraternity
go to Alberta
turn left to Eternity.



"The Promeathan Art of Olde: or, Put Down Whatever You Think of and then try to Rhyme or Semi-Rhyme What You've Got":- T.S. Eliot, Proposed Works.

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Post by The Wobbit A Parody Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:04 pm

Wisey-

There are few things I enjoy as much as a fake word invented ("tellininen") just to force the rhyme-scheme! Wisey, you are a kook!

Did you see Orwell's quatrain in the first chapter of Jack? He is also very clever.

-Paul
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Post by Wisey Banks Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:40 am

Some are tryers,
I'll give Orwell that,
But only a channeller
knows where we're at!

For channellin's a higher art
than mere poetry hard made
though Orwell - that worthy chap -
does his best to make the grade


but is he Aristotle,
Eliot, Yeates or Frost
or Byron, or Keats
or any Great Poet lost?

I think not, no,
until he can empty his mind
he'll never be a channeller -
though One should be kind

and never make him feel
at all inadequate
so i give him faint praise
(that's only edicate!)



From "Future Utterances and New Discoveries: Poems in Six Folios" by Sir Richard Burton. Folios burned by his mad wife after his death, and channelled by Wisey Banks

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Post by Orwell Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:45 am

I don't begrudge Wisey his "Gift" (nor that Eru granted him such a seemingly unfair advantage in the High Art), but I do find his smugness abominable! Mad

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Post by Eldorion Sat Nov 30, 2013 4:07 pm

FEAR! FIRE! FOES! AWAKE!

The Harvard Lampoon has stolen the title of Paul's book! affraid

Some of you guys may remember that Paul Erickson posted excerpts of this parody of The Hobbit on the old forum while writing it (and later in this thread too), and gave us a special mention on his site.  Unfortunately he hasn't posted here in quite some time, but I suspect most of the older members here will remember him.  Well today, I'm shelving books in the humor section (while trying not to hack up phlegm over them, something I was successful at incidentally Very Happy) and what do I find but a book called The Wobbit: A Parody?

Excerpts from The Wobbit (A Parody) EOD26Zs

"Well great!" I think.  "Paul's made it into Barnes & Noble with an actual physical book, not just Amazon e-books.  He's making it into the big time."  But then I notice that the book is credited to the Harvard Lampoon (the comedy collective responsible for the classic Bored of the Rings way back in the '60s).  "Huh, maybe Paul's affiliated with them somehow," I think.  But nope, no mention of Paul anywhere in the book.  And the publication date was November 2013, well after Paul's book had first appeared.

So I come home today and check Paul's website to see what's up, and apparently the the Harvard Lampoon "borrowed" the title of his book without Paul's permission.  Now I get that neither Paul nor the Lampoon are the first ones to write a parody of The Hobbit, but the Lampoon blatantly copied Paul's title and even the subtitle.  (Interestingly, the "A Parody" subtitle used in Paul's Wobbit and copied by the Lampoon has also been added to the latest edition of Bored of the Rings, despite never before having been used for that book in over 40 years of publication.)  So now when one searches for "the wobbit" on Amazon the first result is the Lampoon's version.

Doing a bit more poking around, it appears that Paul has enlisted the help of a friend who writes for the Chicago Tribune to try to get the word about that.  The Lampoon's (hilarious) justification for the title similarity is that it's a coincidence, and that they are in fact different because Paul did not use a colon. Mad

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-10-23/entertainment/chi-the-wobbit-book-title-battle-20131023_1_hobbit-title-defense-the-butler

I liked Bored of the Rings (though I can't imagine any of that book's authors are still with the Harvard Lampoon), and having flipped through the Lampoon's Hobbit parody it seemed fairly funny as well, but this really kind of pisses me off.
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Post by Bluebottle Sat Nov 30, 2013 4:56 pm

That's a shame to hear Eldo.

I'm not sure a book title would qualify for copyright. A single word would certainly not, even an invetion like "Wobbit". Though an 8 word sentence was deemed as fullfilling the demands for copyright protection by european courts. But with them copying out the entier title, it's probably a borderline case.

Paul could of course have tried to get other not copyright based protection, like registering Wobbit as a brand and so on.

But one can always hope, with the way the american justice system works, if The Lampoons version ends up doing well Paul will end up as quite a rich man.

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Post by Eldorion Sat Nov 30, 2013 4:57 pm

Yeah, it doesn't sound like Paul has a legal leg to stand on, but it feels pretty douchey to me.
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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sat Nov 30, 2013 5:02 pm

Thats really shitty. No 

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Post by Bluebottle Sat Nov 30, 2013 5:05 pm

Certainly is. Nod

I would advise him to talk to a lawyer with copyright expertise before comming to any conclusions, though he's probably already done that.

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Post by Ringdrotten Sat Nov 30, 2013 6:19 pm

Damn, he didn't deserve that after all the work he put into it. It's an excellent parody, by the way, I loved it from start to end. It's actually been translated into both Russian and German, which should say something about the quality of it. Heartily recommended Smile

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Post by Mrs Figg Sat Nov 30, 2013 6:48 pm

I would sue their asses off if it was me. Mad 
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Post by The Wobbit A Parody Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:22 pm

Eldorion, Petty, Ringdrotten, Mrs. Figg, it's so nice to hear from you all! Bluebottle, I'm pleased to meet you. Thanks for all your support and encouraging words.

The whole thing with the Lampoon is pretty weird. The attorney who was quoted in the article (in Eldo's link) actually teaches entertainment law, and spent 15 years as the general counsel at Playboy, so he knows much as most on the subject of copyright and trademark. He was good enough to send a cease & desist letter to Harvard at no cost to me, hoping that they might flinch. Sadly, they didn't, and he suggested that I had far more to lose than win, so I have suspended legal action. Suing them would be a poor choice, given 1) the limited amount of money my books have made so far, 2) the limited potential they have to make a huge amount in the future, and 3) the low cash payoff of parody writing in general. The good news is I am writing "The Two Towers Strike Back," and I enjoy selling The Wobbit and The Superfriends Of The Rings at comic cons and science fiction conventions in the Chicago area.

I hope to have Superfriends available for Kindle in a week or two. When I do I would be happy to provide everyone at Forumshire with a free download, If you could post a positive review on Amazon, that would be great! I'll let you know when you can participate in the free download, if you're interested.

Thanks again for all your support as I worked on The Wobbit. You have no idea how much I appreciated it. I haven't been around for YEARS because I felt like I didn't have time once I started working again. I'll have to make more of an effort.

How is Odo?

-Paul/Bulbo/The Wobbit
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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:26 pm

Great to hear from you again Paul.

The whole Lampoon thing sucks- sadly all I can do is boycott their parody and products in the future in protest.

I hope you get the time to drop by again more often. But its good to see you here again now.

As to Odo, last I heard I think he was going to his lawyers to pursue you over royalties or something, I'm sure that was it.

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Post by bungobaggins Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:50 pm

I was unaware of your book until today, but I will definitely be checking out The Wobbit and Superfriends, soon.

Oh, I've looked up The Wobbit on Amazon and I love the cover! It reminds me of the watercolors on the old paperback versions of Hobbit and LOTR.

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Post by Ringdrotten Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:05 pm

Paul! Very Happy Good to see you back Smile This whole thing sucks, but like Petty I'm never buying or reading that book. Sounds like you're having fun marketing your book, though! I am happy for you, I'm glad you've reached out to as many as you seem to have. As to Superfriends of the ring, I was just thinking about that a few weeks back - I'll gladly take you up on that offer (again)! Very Happy

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Post by David H Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:32 pm

Hi Paul,
We haven't met formally. I was just starting to post here about the time you were last a regular.

I hate injustices like this, so what I'm planning to do next time I get to a Wifi connection is:
1. go to Amazon and buy a download of your Wobbit.
2. read it and give it an honest favorable review.
3. post a 1star review on the Lampoon version, saying it's a pity they don't even have enough originality to come up with their own title.

And if somebody else beats me to 3, my feelings won't be hurt at all. I will definitely flag it as 'helpful'. Twisted Evil
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Post by Ringdrotten Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:47 pm

Problem is, you can't review it unless you bought it Mad

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Post by David H Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:49 pm

Hmm... How about if I buy it and return it?
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Post by Ringdrotten Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:50 pm

Clever Very Happy

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