Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Haunted Disco

Perhaps this stretches the thematic content idea a little thin, but music label Ghostly International gives out free songs often enough that it's like Halloween there all the time. Just drop by their Website and chances are they'll have some forward-thinking electronic musical delight to sweeten your ears and make your life better.

Though it's more than a month old, the nine-song Ghostly Essentials: Rarities Vol. 2 may have slipped past your senses. Rectify that as soon as you reach the end of this post, and in no time you'll be looking out the window at the changing leaves and graying skies while Locsil's cold, cosmic "Umbra" worms its ambient digital textures into your brain.

The Typing Monkey also digs the game of musical tag played between analog bleeps and something that sounds an awful lot like an acoustic guitar in "Between Rooms" by Myers Briggs. And the instrumental version of JDSY's "All Shapes" bounces with a flabby square-wave bass melody -- like The Great Pumpkin walking home all self-satisfied as the light of November 1st begins to bleach the sky.

Did we mention that it's free?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

He Paints Too?

The painting below is by Ray Bradbury, for his novel The Halloween Tree.

[Image courtesy of Every Picture Tells a Story] 

He painted a cover for his own book. If you have $350 burning a hole in your pocket, you can have a print of your own. Reading the book is more or less free and very much worth the investment.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Atypical Girl

The news is old already, but The Typing Monkey would be fools to not acknowledge the death of Ari Up, especially given this.

So many lesser musicians owe a major debt to Up's methodical envelope pushing. Is there a better way to dismantle expectations than to just get inside the machine without asking permission? No there isn't. No manifestos or drawing attention to the fact that she was a woman making post-punk weirdo reggae/dub/pop. Up just did it.

The AV Club's obit sums her up well. We shall now retire to the lounge and listen to The Slits magnificent version of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine."

[As longtime Typing Monkey associate Kevan says: This news bums me the fuck out. -- ed.]

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Great Ghost Dots Crisis of 2010

Fact: Ghost Dots are delicious.

In 2007 the Tootsie Roll company debuted this Halloween-themed version of their gumdrop candy, Dots, to much acclaim. Well, the staff at The Typing Monkey offices really enjoys them. The packaging [see below] promises G-rated candy fun.

The individual Ghost Dots do not have smiley faces or arms, nor do they glow in the dark. But they do retain an air of mystery by being all the same color despite boasting different flavors, all in the original Dots taste array of green, yellow, orange, light red, dark red.

Each year since the debut of Ghost Dots, we've sent our intern out to buy a couple bags. This year's sucker, Maire, came back empty handed. After scouring the greater metropolitain area, the sad truth is that this year, you can buy only the movie-theater style boxes of Ghost Dots. This also applies to the recently introduced Bat Dots (blood orange flavored) and Candy Corn Dots (the handsome scarecrow mascot makes up for the fact that they're candy corn flavored).

That's right. Try as you might dear reader, you won't find a bag of "fun-size" Ghost Dots this year to gorge on hand out to trick-or-treaters. We realize the crass nature of our plight, but our grief persists.

Please contact your local candy representatives and lodge a stern but well-worded complaint, and tell 'em The Typing Monkey sent you.

Monday, October 18, 2010

"... when someone whistles"

The Tin Pan Alley/hot-jazz tune "Mysterious Mose" spins the ballad of a ghost who haunts the bandstand. Mose hangs around graveyards and deserted houses too -- he's pretty much responsible for that shiver you get when you're alone at night and have that strange feeling that you're. being. watched.

But it's all in the name of fun and er, doing the Charleston. Oh! And puppets and animation:

[courtesy of turbannedruffian]
That version uses the Radio All-Star Novelty Orchestra's recording from 1930, sometimes billed with bandleader Harry Reser's name above the orchestra.

Max Fleisher used "Mysterious Mose" as both a soundtrack and a basis for the "plot" of a Betty Boop cartoon, with Boop's sidekick Bimbo taking the role of Mose. [And yes, Ms. Boop has dog ears. This was 1930 when she was transitioning from her original canine self to the flapper temptress we all know.] Watch all six minutes of the cartoon here.

And if you're not tired of hearing the song yet, a marionette performer and "soft yard haunter" named Larry Schmidt did a puppet routine to another version of "Mysterious Mose."

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Big Bag of Treats

The Typing Monkey didn't register for this year's Countdown to Halloween blog roll, but we would never stop you from taking a swing at their pinata full of links to seasonally themed sites around the Web.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Post-it Horror

Do your Post-its do this?

John Kenn's do. Visit his gallery for page after page of playfully macabre artwork, all done on plain yellow Post-it notes.

[Yeah, found this on Monster Brains too. See what you're missing?]

Friday, October 8, 2010

Happy Birthday John

John Entwistle would have turned 66 on October 9. It's not up to us to speculate how he felt sharing a birthday with another, arguably more famous, John. What we will do, and encourage all of you to do, is pick any old song by The Who and pay special attention to The Ox's bass playing -- rarely imitated, never duplicated.
[Image courtesy of Wiki Media Commons]

And in keeping with the season, play the clip below to see and hear old Thunderfingers taking a lead vocal turn on his composition, "Boris the Spider" during a 1975 performance by The Who in Houston, TX.

[Courtesy of EmVisconti]

Scumps to Mr. Entwistle!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Halloween News Network

Typing Monkey publisher S.L. Kreighton, like any sensible human, loves Halloween. Frankly, we think he loves it a little too much, as he spends most of October regaling unwitting staffers and our intern Marie with tales of Halloweens past, particularly those of his childhood. Kreighton claims his parents threw fairly lavish Halloween parties for him and his siblings.

Now he's discovered the Halloween News Network (HNN) podcast. It's delighfully square and sincere enough to warrant the blessings of The Great Pumpkin. Basically, if you have been charged with putting together a haunted house for your school, church or just want to make your basement spooky, HNN is for you.

The tips and tricks are fairly cheap and effective if your audience isn't too demanding. Kreighton has been taking judicious notes and we're already working on excuses to get out of the party he's no doubt planning.

If you don't want to bother subscribing to the podcast, you can see most, if not all, of the HNN episodes on YouTube.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I Don't Want Anyone To See Me Like This

This month of all months is a good time to go on over to Monster Brains and put your peepers on Aeron Alfrey's amazing art blog -- quality stuff all year long.

[This nifty werewolf illustration by the amazing Steve Ditko.]

She's Crafty

The BBC history page has an article detailing the life and troubles of Helen Duncan, the second-to-last woman to be tried for witchcraft in the U.K.

That's right, she's the penultimate convicted witch in Great Britain. A woman named Jane Rebecca Yorke gets the honor of being the last witch on the books. Her story is equally interesting, but being elderly, Yorke didn't serve any jail time. Helen Duncan did.

[Tip of the pointy hat to Jen Newby's Writing Women's History blog.]

Friday, October 1, 2010

... Frenzy!

October. Regular readers know that means two things -- National Donut Month and Halloween. As in years past, we'll start the month off with a not-at-all subtle reminder:

[Image from the Wiki media commons -- allegedly these are pumpkin donuts]

For a little complement to the fried dough, and a breather before we dive headfirst into the orange and black cheer, here's a video from 1983 of the mostly female dub/reggae/pop group Amazulu, touching three of the globe's four corners:

[Courtesy of fritz51318]