Friday, January 29, 2010

Reader Mail

I know The Typing Monkey doesn't have an advice column, but I don't know where else to turn. Last night I was entertaining and my guest spilled her wine on the rug. Any suggestions? I really like this girl, and my landlord just put in new carpet.

Tom in New Castle

Dear Tom,

How are things in New Castle? Congratulations on getting that third date. (We're presuming that your lady friend has already vetted you in a public place a couple times before deciding that you we worth a home visit.)

The Typing Monkey also presumes the spill was red wine or you wouldn't be writing. So here's what you do: Tell her you'd like see her again, and soon. Arrange something low key at your place again. Maybe rent Le Samourai or The Wild Bunch. A lady who enjoys a film of that stripe is a keeper.

Buy some good quality dark chocolate, a bottle of club soda and another bottle or red, perhaps a malbec or a sturdy zin. When she arrives, pour some wine, eat some chocolate and enjoy the movie.

At some point during the evening, "accidentally" spill some of your wine on the same spot. While it's still wet, pour some club soda on the stain, and dab it up with a clean dish towel. Then switch to proseco.


Have a question for us? Send tips, tricks or complaints to

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

From the Vice Desk

From our friends at Arts & Letters Daily come two entertaining stories:

Der Spiegel Online recently published an article about Patrick McGovern, an archaeologist from the United States who theorizes that our neolithic ancestors didn't start planting grain crops for bread -- the current accepted theory -- but rather for beer. Kind of changes the notion of the forbidden fruit, no? Read it here.

History Today has Lucie Skeaping's excellent explanation of the "jig" as it relates to Elizabethan theatre. What's a jig? At the turn of the 16th century it was a bawdy performance that went on after the more respectable stage show had ended.

Like network television and basic cable after prime time, Elizabethan theaters offered filthy songs and ribald dances for the giggling masses who knew to hang around for the second show. Get all the dirty details here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bein' Happy

January 21, 2010 marks two years of Typing Monkey blogging. We're going over the budget for the fiscal year in order to make sure we can keep this thing going.

In the meantime:

The Who
"Happy Jack"

[courtesy: coldhearted06]

Yeah The Who did Tommy and Quadrophenia. But this little one-off indicates that perhaps John, Pete, Keith & Roger missed out on an opportunity to do their own silly adventure in the style of Help! or A Hard Day's Night.

Bonus entertainment!
A fellow called "Seanbaby" has a Website with various pop culture remembries. It's arranged nicely and easy to navigate, even if the majority of it is lost on us. He does however, have a page dedicated to those Hostess advertisements from the back pages of comic books in which superheroes fight crime by handing out fruit pies. [Accompanying text is PG-13, and not terribly clever. But you can't beat those high-quality scans. -- ed]

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Whoa! No-Show for Poe

For the past 60 years, a mysterious visitor has left flowers and cognac at the Baltimore grave of Edgar Allen Poe to acknowledge the writer's birthday.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Monkey Reads: Ditko's Outer Limits

Strange Suspense
The Steve Ditko Archives, Vol. 1
Introduced and edited by Blake Bell
Few artistic creations merit the adjective "lurid." Strange Suspense leers confidently from the shadows of that small crowd.

Before Ditko gave life to Spider-Man and took Jack Kirby's deliberate comic book art into even weirder, angular places in the 1960s, he slargged away in the mid-'50s as a artist and scripter for Charlton publishing's horror comics. This collection assembles that work in all of its cheap-inked beauty.

Charlton was the off-brand to EC's superior product, but as this book shows, Ditko's editors at Charlton seemed to let their creative staff do whatever they wanted. So the reader doesn't get only the expected Creepshow style horror tales with twist endings.

Sure there's plenty of the straightforward stuff. But Ditko mixes genres too. An extra-terrestrial soldier cheats at poker with a bunch of circus performers. Crooked cops of the Jim Thompson variety get tangled up with femme fatales in the distant, space-traveling future.

Best of all, Ditko fans get more of the artist's bizarre depictions of human physiology. He twists faces into freakshow territory that clearly influenced Charles Burns. Ditko's psychedelic backgrounds turn mundane libraries and dark roads into funhouse distortions that key in directly to the ugly psyche of adolescent boys. Plus there's enough flop sweat to fill an Olympic-size pool.

The stories themselves don't lift beyond rejected Night Gallery ideas, but the accompanying images splash cubism and surrealism onto the unsuspecting page.

Reference material: If the infected, deformed teens of Black Hole inspired the reader to linger on each page of that magnificent book, Strange Suspense is worth a look. And for the Ditko-curious, this isn't a bad place to start.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Laff-Track Not Included

Yes, you're absolutely right Beware, There's  a Crosseyed Cyclops In My Basement!, Grape Ape, Mumbly and Captain Caveman competing in the 50-yard dash is required reading.

BTaCCIMB! offers all 13 issues of the Marvel Comics adaptation of the Laff-A-Lympics for download.

This world isn't so bad.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New Monkey Love

Out with the old, in with the new. Our Monkey Love list has changed, but only a little bit. Same love, a few new objects of affection.

New Monkey Love

"White Center's Finest Tijuana Brass Tribute Band!"

Dr. F. Beldinstein left Seattle in August. It took him five months to start this new blog. That's not a criticism. Cutting a new path takes time, and as the title says, he walks on the outside. It's best just to follow. aggregates the numerous projects masterminded by the Seattle-based writer and appreciator of things. As a longtime associate of The Typing Monkey, we apologize to him  for taking so long to add his work to the Monkey Love list. (His sites will also act as The Typing Monkey's unofficial sports page.)


Old Monkey Love

With their debut album We Wish You Well on Your Way to Hell finally available to the consuming public, this mission is complete. Do turn an ear toward the glistening chamber pop of these Michigan residents.

To all the Girls we've loved before ... Das Thomas you retain your spot in our hearts.

With the launch of I Walk On the Outside comes the close of this document of Dr. B's time in Seattle. It's still worth rooting around in though, because there's plenty of nutrition there.


A post-script: Longtime target of The Typing Monkey's love, The End Times, no longer exist as a band in the traditional sense, but their LP (and that's 12 inches of vinyl) is nearly here. Participate please.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Good Bye, Art Clokey

Yet another death to report, coming on the heels of two recent obits in The Typing Monkey scroll.

Art Clokey, creator of both Davey and Goliath and Gumby, died on Jan 8, 2010. The San Luis Obispo Tribune broke the sad news.

Though it makes us sound like doddering grumps, there isn't really children's entertainment like Gumby and Davey and Goliath anymore. The former certainly has descendants in the forms of SpongeBob Squarepants, yet the latter has no modern equivalent. 

Yes, Davey and Goliath had an outright Christian message with Davey learning a lesson from the scripture in every episode. It was produced by the Lutheran Church. But the show aimed squarely at simply encouraging its audience to be better, more considerate participants in life, and what's wrong with that?

An interesting side note: This past Christmas, The Typing Monkey watched the Davey and Goliath 1965 Christmas episode "Christmas Lost & Found." The plot concerns Davey not feeling very festive despite the abundance of cheer going on around him. In spite of this, he accepts an offer to direct the Christmas play the kids are putting on at the local church. Goliath, Davey's talking dog, offers some comic relief -- even impersonating various animals he can portray during the play. After some soul searching near the Christmas tree lot, Davey rekindles his seasonal joy.

Sound familiar? A Charlie Brown Christmas came out the same year. Perhapas Clokey and Schulz compared notes? See the entirety of "Christmas Lost & Found" here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Club MySpace: 2009 Year-End Edition, part II

The new year is young enough that posting the second half of our what-we-missed list isn't too weird is it? Besides, intern Marie skipped several parties staying late to research this stuff, and we don't want to let her down.

So without further blather, here's the part two of a feature nobody asked for and fewer read.

Benjamin Wynn is Deru, and his slow-build electronic instrumentals tend toward hissing clatters of percussion with bell-toned melodic passages that cycle in and out like warning lights in the fog. It's so detatched and hazy it's nearly relaxing -- good stuff from Mush/Ghostly International.

The Do [the "o" gets a slash through it.]
Hey, this is alright. A Finnish/French duo playing pop so deceptively sunny it that could almost fly as music for children, save for those lyrics. "Playground Hustle" is well creepy -- a Village of the Damned drill team anthem.

The Drums
Young men recycling late '50s/early '60s surf, instrumental and doo-wop styles without sounding like any of the obvious reference points. In the best possible way, they sound like an actual '80s band because they did what the post-punk/college-rock bands of that era did best: mining the past for "new" ideas.

He's an MC from south Florida, reminiscent of Jemini the Gifted One. Crafty production of the straightforward drum machine & samples variety actually feels refreshing in the age of silly bombast. There's even scratching! [Do they still do that? -- ed.] We don't know how hard it is to get a guest spot from Slick Rick or Jazzy Jeff, but that shows good taste on Dynas' part.

Eva & The Heartmaker
Is Norway the new Sweden? Because duos are the new trios. From Oslo comes this giant, gleeful pop with a woman singing teenage love angst lyrics. That's really all there is to say.

Rival Consoles
From London comes Ryan Lee West, aka Rival Consoles. As the name implies, his music sounds like a mid-'80s video game, and it's killer. If Daft Punk's tendency toward both mindless repetition and Vocoder overkill put you off, come join the Berzerk vs. Tempest disco jams of Rival Consoles.

The Slew
Ever since Steven Tyler busted through the wall of Run DMC's rehearsal space, rappers and rockers have been teaming up from time to time, with the results frequently exposing the weaknesses of both forms. The Slew gives history the finger, flipping the usual rock/rap tag team of live guitar & sampled bass and beats. Dynomite D & Kid Koala splice blooze rock guitar samples over the flesh and blood rhythm section from Wolfmother. Disposable fun.

The treated vocals go a long way to making these ladies a lot less Norah Jones by way of PJ Harvey, and a lot more primitive mystique. We tried to resist liking this, but it makes such a fine alternative to all that ridiculous Paw Tracks mumbo jumbo. "Elephants" is particularly good.

This Austin quartet cooks up high-grade pop of the jangle/power variety. Kevin Peroni's voice serves the melody without melodrama or unnecessary quirk. They deserve more attention than they'll get, perhaps.

Their MySpace genre tags are "psychedelic" and "black metal." It's ambient noise instrumentals with a serious occult vibe. We shall call it "bleak metal." There. Please remember you read it here first. Also "Flying Witch" will make children cry.


DJ Food
File under: honorable mention. The DJ Food moniker used to drape over a sizeable collective of Ninja Tune label artists having loads of fun sampling and tape looping. Now the title masks but one: sampling pioneer Strictly Kev. He's still crafting top-shelf sound collages ideal for headphone trips, and he looks like a university professor.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Mash It Up

DJs professional and amateur continue to blend existing pop songs into mash-ups. And though the form enjoyed a concentrated dose of popularity around the turn of the century via brilliant, seminal works by 2 Many DJs and DJ P & DJ Z-Trip, it was going on long before then and will likely go on much longer.

Ryan Brockington of The New York Post's "Popwrap" section posted for free download a 22-song playlist of mash-ups made in 2009. 

Some of the source material is unfamiliar to the ears of The Typing Monkey staff, but that's one of the precise joys of mash-ups: For every clever piece that juxtaposes two or more known compositions into a fun, new context, there are mash-ups that lift the best bits of hits we missed, often making them more fun than the original.

Of course, some mash-ups dull the dazzle on otherwise solid pop tunes. (We're looking in your direction, DJ Lobseterdust, as your Lady Gaga vs. Nirvana mash "NirGaga" just doesn't move us.) But that's the the way this works, isn't it? 

Roll the dice with the free download link here.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

We'll Be Right Back After These Messages

What we were searching for when we found this is far less important than the fact that we found this, and that it exists:

[courtesy Gabriellandon]