And the Nobel Prize for hair and makeup goes to ...

Two guys just won a Nobel Prize for inventing a way to pack more data onto computer hard disks. If you’ve ever spent 24 or 48 straight hours playing online games, now you know who to thank. Because of their discovery, so much realistic blood and gore can spout from your virtual victims that you’ll want to wear a gaming poncho to deflect the splatter. Without their Nobel Prize-winning discovery, it would be almost impossible for angst-ridden teenagers to send important messages like “How r u?” to their friends a classroom away in nanoseconds. And gamers would still be playing Pong on computers the size of small refrigerators.

It makes you wonder, as prestigious as these awards are, why isn’t there a yearly, four-hour long Nobel Prize Awards show on television. I mean what’s the matter with these Nobel people? Are they stupid or something? How smart do you have to be to put a little pizzazz in your awards ceremony?

First, get it out of Sweden. Your really big stars like Lindsey Lohan and Britney Spears aren’t going to go all the way to Sweden to hand out a dinky, little medal to a bunch of elderly scientists. Do the smart thing and move the whole shebang to Los Angeles. Give celebrity presenters big swag bags and a chance to plug their latest movie, CD or marriage on national television.

Even then, the Grammys, the Emmys and the Oscars will trounce the Nobels in ratings if they don’t drop Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden as the emcee. No offense, but he’s no Billy Crystal I. If they want to go with royalty, get Queen Latifah or Prince. Maybe both. If not, get someone like Regis Philbin or Conan O’Brien or Diddy to host. You don’t even have to invite Joan Rivers to stand outside and criticize the winner’s clothes, jewelry and hair. All you have to do is say the words “red carpet,” and she shows up, camera ready.

Of course, make sure you limit the speeches. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We all want world peace, do-dah, do-dah, do-dah. Cue the orchestra, get ‘em off and move on to Ricky Martin doing a hip-shaking tribute to the Nobel Prize in physics. That’s ratings gold, baby!

It wouldn’t hurt to add a few new categories, either. The six Nobel categories they have now – physics, chemistry, medicine, economics, literature and peace – aren’t getting it done. You’d think Alfred could have left a little money for things like TV chefs, ballroom dancing, supermodeling, surviving and extreme home improvement.

Winning the Iron Chef competition is nice, but wouldn’t winning a Nobel Prize for inventing breakfast pizza look good on the resume? You could really lord that over Bobby Flay and Mario Batali. Your agent could get you your own cable show with that under your belt.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the Nobels could probably sell enough ads to pay for the new prizes, if they’d just class their act up a little bit. Announce the nominees a month ahead of time like they do on the Oscars and let the buzz build. Who will win literature? Dan Brown? Stephen King? Nora Roberts? Janet Evanovich? For a whole month, the press would talk about who would win, who should win and the politics of it all. There would be office pools, a Las Vegas bookie would announce the odds daily. If they made a few simple changes, it wouldn’t be long before the Nobel Prizes could get as much publicity as, say, the Country Music Awards. In a few years, they’d be up there with the People’s Choice Awards. If only those Nobel people would wise up.

Jim Mullen is the author of “It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life” and “Baby’s First Tattoo.” You can reach him at

Copyright 2007, Newspaper Enterprise Assn.

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