Friday, December 31, 2010

Ooh! My Head

The Typing Monkey would like to wish you a happy new year.

And if you plan on greeting the later hours of January 1, 2011 with a hangover, understand that no matter how bad you feel, you'll never have the same kind of headaches Kazuyuki Fujita had. From comes the story of this mixed martial arts fighter whose greatest gift (and ultimate downfall) was his skull.

[A tip of the party hat to lifelong TMI operative, No. 5, who sent us this year-old link when it was still fresh.]

Thursday, December 30, 2010

From the Science & Technology Desk

The first item is mainly for the amazing picture from National Geographic, an x-ray image of a bolt of lightning. You can read about how it was done and some speculation on what it means, but shouldn't you have clicked by now in order to see an x-ray image of lightning?

Second comes a report with editorial (new journalism is nearly the only journalism now) from Slate. The article heralds a piece of audio hardware that allegedly makes those compressed, tinny MP3 files you downloaded sound all analog warm.

The USB-DAC could be the gold-coated CD of the 2000-teens or it could be the next stereo component you actually need.

Go science!

Monday, December 27, 2010

R.I.P. Lady T

Teena Marie died on Sunday, Dec 26. She was 54 and as of this report, died of natural causes while asleep.

The Ivory Queen of Soul was a songwriter, Rick James collaborator (and longtime friend/former lover of Mr. Superfreak) and one of the best voices of the post-disco funk era. She gave herself the "Ivory Queen" title, but Motown, the first label she signed to, nicknamed her "Lady T."

Any kid who listened to Top 40 radio in the mid-'80s heard her crossover hit "Lovergirl." The circular irony of that song's success was that two of Marie's contemporaries, Rick James and Prince, helped open the pop market for slick, race-be-damned r&b ladies via their respective girl-group creations, The Mary Jane Girls and Vanity 6/Apallonia 6. Yet those groups couldn't have happened without Teena Marie first blasting through via her late '70s and early '80s Motown recordings.

We shall now go listen (again) to Teena Marie's joyful 1981 single "Square Biz."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Trampled Underfoot or Be Cool, Svjatogor Has a Hammer

Petar Meseldžija, a Serbian-born visual artist, lives in the Netherlands. He paints and does wonderful color illustrations, many of which depict characters and scenes from Russian folklore. Here is his painting of a mountain giant named Svjatogor:

The Typing Monkey knows only a tidbit of Russian folklore, thanks to a childhood spent wringing the public library for all it was worth. We will be looking into this Svjatogor character, as he seems to have a tragic story arc that ends with him accidentally crawling into his own coffin. [Translated via Google.]

"Alla prima" is the technique Meseldžija used to do the painting, which the artist explains in detail on his blog, without ever getting too lofty for us plebes.

He has many other amazing works you can see online and some you can even buy.

[Another tip of the winter hat to Monster Brains.]

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dark and Then Some

The wee hours of Dec 21, 2010 will mark the first time since 1638 that a total lunar eclipse will coincide with the winter soltice. That's right, the night before the longest night of the year will be darker than expected as the full moon is blotted from the sky in most of the northern hemisphere.

Here's a handy chart from NASA's Website that displays which parts of the globe will experience the total eclipse. (Sorry Eastern Africa, Middle East and India.)

What does it all mean? Probably nothing, except that those of us in the Northern section of the Western hemisphere must endure two nights that are, as Nebraskan moms say, darker than a well-digger's ass. However, any unexplained phenomena experienced during the solstice eclipse should be reported immediately to

And please let's remember: The winter solstice marks the mid-point of winter, not the start.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Death and the Mouse -- Finale & Epilogue

Yes, we're late in sharing the nearly cliched conclusion of the ongoing saga of the first murder and first suicide in Celebration, FL.

On Dec 6, police arrested a homeless man and charged him with first-degree murder. The suspect knew the victim. In the realm of criminology, the mechanics of this crime are mundane.

More compelling about the sudden pall cast over this Disney-built town designed to emulate an Eisenhower-era idyll is the likely cause: money.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Death and the Mouse -- Part II

Yesterday The Typing Monkey joined the crowd of horrified/mesmerized/guiltily titillated onlookers and shared the story of the very first homicide in Celebration, FL.

Today brings more fascinating Lynchian news from the no longer quiet village.

We could blurt out some collegiate nonsense and dig into the sociological, philosophical and cultural implications of these stories. But TMI is confident that our readers can and will do that on their own. So stop reading this and go talk to somebody about murder and suicide in the town that Disney built, as it's very much worth conversation.

But keep it civilized please. Two people are dead, afterall.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Death and the Mouse

In Florida is a town called Celebration. Disney built the planned community in the late 1990s. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, somebody murdered on of the residents of Celebration. It's the first murder in a town designed to shelter its residents from the harsh realities of the outside world.

That's all there is to say about that, though you should read this if you'd like to know what little else there is to know. Speculate, because you know we are.