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An attempt to rewrite DaVinci's Notebook to become a Paul and Storm article.

'snot done.


Paul and Storm

DaVinci's Notebook
Paul and Storm
Origins Arlington, VA
Genre(s) Comedy rock
Members Paul Sabourin
Greg "Storm" DiCostanzo
Discography Opening Band (2005)
News to Us (2006)
Gumbo Pants (2007)
Do You Like Star Wars? (2010)
Ball Pit
Producer N/A

Paul and Storm are a comedic musical duo, consisting of Paul Sabourin and Greg "Storm" DiCostanzo. The duo has contributed the songs Ballad of The Sneak and Theme from Stinkoman to Homestar Runner.

Sabourin and DiCostanzo are former members of a cappella comedy music group DaVinci's Notebook, where they performed alongside Bernie Muller-Thym and Richard Hsu. The group was active from 1994 through 2004.

Contributions to Homestar Runner

Although it is a point of contention which band member first discovered, DaVinci's Notebook became fans of the site after seeing a The external website linked here contains offensive language and/or content. content warning July 4, 2001 post on Paul used his "mad Interwebs stalking skills and a phone book" to get in touch with The Brothers Chaps — finding Don Chapman's information through a WHOIS search and eventually convincing the brothers to come see a DaVinci's Notebook performance in Atlanta. Remarking that "it was early enough in their career that they were more flattered than creeped out when I tracked them down," a friendship was born.

"Ballad of The Sneak"

The Brothers Chaps asked DaVinci's Notebook to write a theme song for The Sneak. Aside from describing it as the Old-Timey version of The Skate Party's The Cheat Theme Song, The Brothers Chaps gave free rein in the songwriting.

Storm drove the direction, structure, and writing process, and passed lyrics back and forth with Paul (mostly over email). The line "The Cheat, The Cheat" from the original song was used as a starting point, and the song structure roughly follows the original. The chronological inconsistencies (references to Tammany Hall, the Hully Gully, the Kaiser, prohibition, etc.) were, for the most part, intentional; partly to keep with the overall feel The Brothers Chaps had established with the toons, and partly to see if people would point them out. The trumpet instrumental at the one-minute mark was originally made for a previous Paul and Storm project that similarly used an old-timey style.

Paul did much of the vocals and recording on a Gateway 2000 PC. A long Christmas wrapping paper tube was used to make it sound like it was being sung from a megaphone. Storm recalls that they finished fairly quickly; though they worked on it in between a lot of other projects and tours over a month, the actual work time was only a handful of hours. Paul and Storm gave no input on the animation; even the random sound effects were added mainly to see what visuals The Brothers Chaps would create to accompany them. The "Ballad of The Sneak" toon appeared on the Homestar Runner site about a month after the song was completed.

Paul and Storm consider "Ballad of The Sneak" to be inadvertently the first "Paul and Storm" song, as the other two members of DVN had no involvement in its production. It was later released on the Paul and Storm compilation EP Shame and Cookie Dough. When rereleased on Homestar Runner Original Soundtrack Volume 1 in 2020, the song is credited to "Paul & Storm" rather than "Da Vinci's Notebook".

"Theme from Stinkoman"

A theme song for Stinkoman was briefly played at Georgia Tech in 2007, remarked as being from "The guys from DaVinci's Notebook [...] the same guys who did this cartoon called 'The Ballad of the Sneak' on the website". The full song would not be released until 2020, first on Homestar Runner Original Soundtrack Volume 2 and then in the Stinkoman 20X6 Intro Cinematic later that year; both releases credit the song to "Paul & Storm".

Other work with The Brothers Chaps

The Brothers Chaps also helped with animation, writing, and voice work for Paul and Storm's 2014 parody holiday special "The Paul and Storm Nondenominational Perennial Holiday Special".

Matt Chapman also appeared onstage at their shows to perform such songs as Trogdor and the Strong Badia National Anthem.

Dragon Con 2008

Strong Bad introduced Paul and Storm at Dragon Con 2008:

STRONG BAD: Ladies and gentlemen! Klingons and Daleks! Bobas and {disappointed} Jangos. B-list celebrities and their entourages of hangers-on! I am called Strong Bad! I urge you to take a moment, put down that vinyl bust or that pewter figurine you're thinking of buying, and give a warm, sweaty welcome to Stormy Paul and the Forecasts! ...What? Paul and Storm? Well that's a huge waste of one cool name and one Paul name. I'm outta here. Anyways, give it up for Paul and Storm.

External links

209 Seconds (Rough Estimate)

(The entirety of 160 Seconds, but with "160" in the intro replaced with "209")

4 branches: HOMESTAR: Chinese b-

the chair: STRONG BAD: Class!

what i want: MARZIPAN: Forgettably precious.

looking old: MARZIPAN: Up to your chin right

strong badathlon: STRONG BAD: To the wrong athletes

unnatural: STRONG BAD: Kill him? STRONG SAD: We do-

the movies: HOMESTAR: -tuce. Throw

your funeral: HOMESTAR: Abraham Lincoln

from work: HOMESTAR: -veges. It helps

rough copy: STRONG SAD: -tellectual property.

underlings: STRONG BAD: Get Mrs. Hard-

more armies: HOMESTAR: Saaay

the paper: STRONG BAD: Doesn't quite

mini-golf: STRONG BAD: In this infernal pl-

concert: STRONG BAD: Nope. They're a

hygiene: STRONG BAD: No matter what he does.

original: BUBS: B'zuh!

bike thief: STRONG BAD: Side of this couch

pizza joint: MAN IN PIZZA COSTUME: It burns!

slumber party: STRONG BAD: Can you guys start

web comics: TAKE DAGGER: Hiya

business trip: THE KING OF TOWN: Units? STRONG BAD: What

yes wrestling: HOMESTAR: The power... of

diorama: STRONG BAD: -lupe Hidalgo

nightlife: HOMESTAR RUNNER: More...more

environment: STRONG BAD: -pliant sticker!

winter pool: HOMESTAR: You're such a good

fan club: STRONG BAD: (screams)

pet show: HOMESTAR: Potion. A taste

licensed: (Strong Bad slides) STRONG BAD: What's

buried: BUBS: Is! STRONG SAD: Uh

shapeshifter: COACH Z: Coming to your concession

rated: BUBS: Bake sale!

specially marked: (The Deleted buzzer, and a message reading "SBEMAIL 194 IS NOT INCLUDED BECAUSE IT DOES NOT HAVE A 194th SECOND")

love poems: HOMESTAR: Apples!

hiding: STRONG BAD: Coma!

your edge: STRONG BAD: Where'd you check?

magic trick: STRONG BAD: But now, not only does

being mean: HUNGRY SHARK: Makes me wanna

email thunder: (Strong Bad runs out of Homestar's computer room)

hremail3184: COACH Z: Bad! I was gonna

imaginary: LIL' STRONG BAD: -ti! I'd like you to meet

independent: STRONG BAD: Solid gold sc-

dictionary: STRONG BAD: To Z

videography: STRONG BAD: (chuckles)

sbemail206: ANNOUNCER: For all your consummate

too cool: STRONG BAD: Mysteriously with no return

The Next April Fools Thing: STRONG BAD: -low lives, and this

parenting: THE KING OF TOWN: I've got this seven-

Alternate HRWiki


While animation in America and Europe have been in constant circulation with each other, Japanese-style animation, or "anime", developed in relative isolation, and as a result, developed its own style quite different from anything seen by the rest of the world. It has only been in recent years that Japanese animation has developed a considerable fan following in the rest of the world, from the more "mainstream" anime to the culturally unique products that could only be spawned in Japan. While Japanese animation comes in styles as numerous and diverse as any other type of animation, the general impression of anime is minimalist motion and degree of expression in favour of highly naturalistic settings and high concept. Anime tends to be less kinetic than its American contemporaries, and much more ponderous; anime often forsakes episodic conflict for long, sweeping storylines of mythic proportions. Given the status that Japanese animation holds in our modern culture, it was somewhat inevitable that Homestar Runner and friends would eventually attempt to parody it in some way.

Prompted by an E-mail from "James F.", Strong Bad postulated how different he and his world would be if he were in a Japanese cartoon. Despite admitting to limited exposure to the genre, Strong Bad proved proficient in remembering all of the clichés and conventions normally associated with Japanese animation. In his own words:

"First of all, my head would have to be... a little bean. With real, real big eyes. Get rid of my thumbs, make me all shiny... My boots would be a whole lot cooler. Like, robot boots. And for some reason, I got blue hair. You gotta have blue hair! Then there's my mouth: real tiny when it's closed, ridiculously huge when it's open."

As Strong Bad speaks, we see a picture of him change and distort to match his description. It is notable that while the only real changes to the character are that of scale and proportion (excluding the blue hair), it doesn't take long for the character to be completely unrecognizable as Strong Bad. True, there are some other reasons, including the loss of colour blending and outlines becoming thicker and more pronounced, but there is also something intangible lost between Strong Bad's regular form and this new creation. Perhaps the very essence of a character can be lost in translation?

What follows is a whirlwind montage of various scenes that could be considered definitive of generic anime. The parody is simultaneously gently affectionate and brutally honest. What the Chapman Brothers seem to be recognizing here is the fact that what is normal in one culture can be and often is almost unbearably bizarre in another, and that Homestar and friends' regular look may well be similarly unusual in Japan. Differences between cultures can be used for comedic purposes just as much as they are used as excuses for violence and prejudice.

The universe in which the Japanese Strong Bad and his companions exist is entitled Stinkoman K: 20X6. The "20X6" of the title is an obvious play on the introductions to several poorly-translated video games, in which a chaotic future takes place in the year "199X" (which was meaningful until the year 1999). Interestingly, 20X6 does not take place in the majestic, unblinking world of modern anime, forsaking realistic backgrounds and iconic characters for a more cartoonish approach. In this respect, 20X6 resembles the quaint look of the work of Osamu Tezuka, considered by many to have invented the modern anime genre. (Incidentally, Tezuka based much of his design off of leading American animators of the day; art begets art indeed!) Another factor is the music, its beeping, repetitive refrain (stolen from the Nintendo Entertainment System game Rad Racer) much more reminiscent of anime from the 1970s, as opposed to the more eclectic "J-Pop" of modern days. 20X6 is a place of grassy meadows clashing with an immaculate futuristic cityscape, the vastness of space reduced to a few colourful locales. It is also the host to a bizarre collective of characters.

The 20X6 Strong Bad, as can be inferred, is named Stinkoman (the name comes from Homestar's affectionate nickname for Strong Bad from a previous e-mail). A good idea of Stinkoman's physiology can be gleaned by reading Strong Bad's monologue reproduced above. In physical terms, Stinkoman's proportions are closer to that of a real person than Strong Bad's (which isn't saying much). His extended arms, legs and torso, combined with the smaller size of his head, give him a rather more adult look, as well as the impression of a more muscular physique. Appropriately, Stinkoman's personality can also be seen as a throwback to Strong Bad's earliest incarnations. Challenges and fighting are what drives Stinkoman; he is never content with his current level of strength and always ready to further his personal growth. The ironic futility of such an existence is subtly shown; the viewer instinctively knows that, as with all monomaniacs, Stinkoman will never be satisfied with himself, but is fortunately too thick-headed to realize it. As with the prototypical Strong Bad, thus is Stinkoman; he is a blustering incarnation of id, sporting all of the threats, boasts and childish self-obsession but none of the wit, charm, and vulnerability that make the current Strong Bad such a figure of fun. There is nothing sympathetic or appealing about Stinkoman, as he is too much of a two-dimensional cipher to provoke anything aside from scornful laughter, at both his unwavering ignorance of anything that does not accord to his myopic lifestyle, as well as his barely-concealed effeminate side. Perhaps this is a play on how characters from Japan tend to be "dumbed-down" when translated for American audiences, with complex motivations reduced to basic cues. Another product of poor transition between cultures is Stinkoman's marvelously realized voice. It shares many traits with Strong Bad's regular voice - it is gruff, hoarse and sports an indeterminate accent, for instance, but Stinkoman's stilted speech patterns, combined with his ludicrous dialogue and the poor synching of his words to his mouth movements, give the voice a hollow, artificial quality. It is almost as though Matt Chapman had to unlearn everything he had put into Strong Bad's voice to give it its down-to-earth and naturalistic quality, but the effort paid off. Stinkoman's voice sounds just as flat and uninspired as his personality.

A few characters have received the 20X6 treatment beyond Strong Bad, but only Stinkoman has made anything more than a very brief appearance. 20X6's Homestar Runner (who has never been named) is portrayed in an extremely iconic anime style, which fits his physique better than Stinkoman's pseudo-realistic design would. His head is large and proportioned like a child's, and his boots are given a more striking design, in accordance with Stinkoman's "robot boots". Gone are the lunk-jaw and blank stare, replaced with a cherubic visage with a constant expression of rapt excitement. This version of Homestar is portrayed as Stinkoman's loyal admirer, and his enthusiastic toadying is constantly quashed by his ideal's indifference. Homestar, however, continues his unquestioning hero worship. While sounding childlike, it is interesting to note that his voice is not much different from Homestar's regular voice, save the lack of speech impediment.

Very brief roles have been played by the other characters, seen only at a distance. 20X6's Marzipan, rather daringly, has been portrayed as what seems to be most anime's idea of a "typical young girl". Tall and slender, fully figured and proportioned, complemented with arms and legs, 20X6's Marzipan is so intensely human and blatantly feminine that it is only upon close inspection of her hair (though substantially longer) and dress (though substantially shorter) that one realizes that it is indeed her. Virtually the only thing unchanged about Marzipan is her smile, which looks odd coupled with her china-doll face and wide, innocent eyes. Pom Pom's analogue, Pan Pan, has virtually nothing in common with his predecessor aside from his physique. Pan Pan is not intelligent, romantic or loyal. He is not even a Pom. Instead, he is portrayed as a grotesque, obese panda with a perpetually vacant facial expression. Pan Pan's sole purpose seems to be for crude physical slapstick.

Stinkoman has proved to be relatively popular, and has occasionally broken out of 20X6's restraints to make brief cameos in "reality". However, he is largely confined to his original world, and it is unknown as to whether 20X6 will produce more adventures and characters. Only time will tell.

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