http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2008/10/31/the-fur-is-flying


Pleasanton Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - October 31, 2008

The fur is flying

Pleasanton author Douglas Kendall throws cats and dogs into the election mix in humorous take on presidential politics

by Janet Pelletier

Douglas Kendall makes no apologies for his humorous books he self-publishes through iUniverse. And why should he? During a time when the economy is in crisis and people are bombarded by politics, the Pleasanton resident aims to take a more light-hearted approach on society and turn your frown upside down.

A software consultant by day and author in his off-time, Kendall has written a total of 12 books. His newest are two spoofs on the upcoming presidential election, which is inching closer by the day. The first one "America's Reigning Cats and Dogs," and its sequel "America's Reigning Cats and Dogs: Book 2" are satires of this political year, which many would agree has been more exciting than usual.

Kendall began writing the first of the "Reigning" books earlier this year and plans to write a finale after the election is over on Nov. 4.

"I just had a feeling that this election was going to be a lot of fun and I thought, 'I want to do a book and bring dogs and cats into it, like Dilbert where he has Catbert and Dogbert," Kendall said. "I thought, 'What if America was run by cats and dogs?'"

Laughter ensues. Kendall has clever character names that are eerily similar to some prominent candidates, like "Jowls McCanine," and "Barkat Y. O'Mama." He also takes on Bill and Hillary Clinton, Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage. The newest books were written before the vice presidential candidates were named, so look for them to be character-ized in the finale. Kendall said he's already thinking of making Sarah Palin an arctic cat.

It doesn't matter which side of the aisle you lean because Kendall is an equal opportunity offender. Of course, it's all for the sake of humor. In the "Reigning" books, the political figures are separated by party as cats and dogs who want to rule the country and the book takes the reader along on the campaign trail.

"America takes its elections pretty seriously and it's fun to poke fun at them, bring them down to size a little bit," Kendall said.

The married father of three said he's been interested in humor ever since he was little. First it was MAD magazine and later National Lampoon movies.

"I think I get it from my mother," he said. "She's got a pretty good sense of humor."

Putting his comedy into writing began when he was a teenager.

"I remember as far back as middle school when I did homework assignments and I was pretty bored with school so I'd spice up my homework assignments by adding spoofs," he said. "The teachers didn't appreciate that but my classmates got a kick out of it."

In eighth grade, he wrote a play called "Star Trek Meets Santa Claus," combining humor with another of his favorite subjects, science fiction. In fact, some of the first few books he wrote were about the sciences. In high school, teachers encouraged him to take creative writing classes.

As an adult, he found time to write some of his books when he moved to Saudi Arabia for work. Born in Chicago, he lived in Canada before trekking to the Middle East.

"I couldn't bring my family over at first for a few months, so it gave me lots of time to write," he said.

It was there he wrote "Missionary Kids in Space," a sort of Christian version of Harry Potter where three children and their missionary father live in a world filled with aliens.

His next book after that is one that residents may take the most interest in. That's because it's a spoof on the city of Pleasanton. Called "Pleasantopia," the book chronicles three teenagers whose friend is kidnapped by terrorists who are developing a 'super weapon' at an atomic lab in the city's neighboring town of Sycamore. All the way, Kendall spoofs places in Pleasanton, including town innuendo, word plays and contemporary pokes at the local culture.

"I actually walked down Main Street and made a list of all of the businesses and then spoofed each one," he said.

There's Biker Plaza, Primary Street, Astro's Barbershop, Cartoonist's Restaurant, Moses' Bagels, Early Rising Loafers and even Stonehenge Mall. No one is safe.

Kendall said he chose the title "Pleasantopia" because Pleasanton is such a perfect place to live--a utopia of sorts.

"I was driving under the Pleasanton arch and was thinking about the Arch de Triumph in France so I started calling it the Arch de Affluenza. Pleasanton is the wealthiest (mid-sized) town in America right now, so that's pretty amazing."

Kendall jokes that he could only hope to find a vaccine for the "affluenza" that his 13, 18 and 20-year-old children have from living here.

Writing satire is an outlet for Kendall, who works in the very serious profession of software consulting.

"I'm in nerdland, cubicleland," he said.

He finds time to write while on the way to and from work.

"This year, I took the ACE train a lot and was working in the Silicon Valley and I had all this time on the train, so I grabbed a laptop, plugged in the memory stick and just wrote, wrote, wrote, wrote," he said. "It was fun. I'd be bursting out laughing and people on the train would be giving me funny looks."

His books are self-published, an easier route for casual authors who don't have the stamina to hunt down publishers, but it also requires the aid of friends' editing and his own publicizing. IUniverse was started by Barnes & Nobles bookstore and designed the cover art for his books. The Barnes & Noble and Border's Books in town carry Kendall's books, as well as downtown bookstore Towne Center Books and Amazon.com.

Author signing

Douglas Kendall will sign copies of his "America's Reigning Cats and Dogs," books as well as his other books from 1 to 3 p.m. Nov. 8 at Border's Books, 4575 Rosewood Drive, Pleasanton.

To learn more about Kendall, visit www.dougken.com.

Comments

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 31, 2008 at 9:41 pm

I picked up a copy of "Pleasantopia" earlier this year at Towne Center Books. I'm about a third of the way through, but started reading a different book so I haven't finished it yet. It is cute and enjoyable. Unfortunately there's still a need for further editing. The typos can be distracting sometimes. I had been hoping for a little more spoofing of Pleasanton politics in the book where neighborhood is pitted against neighborhood and the smallest but loudest group wins through masterful demagoguery. The mayor in Pleasantopia has been in office for a long time because no one else wants the job. That seemed unbelievable to me. Any resident can really appreciate this book though as the mental map of Pleasantopia closely matches real life.

I'm still waiting for Cholo's "Plutonia".


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Nov 3, 2008 at 3:23 pm

You're going to have to wait because I've been off fishing!

Try the Nimby Banana for size!


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Nov 4, 2008 at 1:19 am

Cholo,

Where were you fishing and what were the results...:)

Due to the time of year, I'm guessing you were "ocean fishing".