Saturday, May 14, 2011

Grim Lands, Great Tales

Writer and editor Howard Andrew Jones wrote a piece for NPR on three collections of pulp fantasy writing worth your time. Naturally, he calls out Robert E. Howard.

Jones also reminds The Typing Monkey that we've been meaning to read some Leigh Brackett and introduced us to the work of Manly Wade Wellman. That's right, an action/sci-fi/fantasy writer named Manly.

In a bit of serendipity, the day before we stumbled across Jones' recommendations, we heard super-librarian and astute critic Nancy Pearl discussing genre fiction. We'll paraphrase her wise words here: It's a shame that literature is judged by its best work while genre fiction is judged by its worst.

True. True.

That reminded us that we owe you a review of The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane. We read it in spring so that you might read it during the summer.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Open The Good Stuff, Drink and Remember

Norma Zimmer, aka The Champagne Lady from The Lawrence Welk Show, is dead.

If your first reaction is "who?" then you are either too young, or grew up in a household that didn't tune in regularly to the Welk Show. Zimmer was a singer and dancer who joined the show in 1960, thus spending more than 20 years with a show that ran nationally for nearly 28 years.

Her singing style recalled the Hit Parade era of Doris Day and similar pure, unaffected delivery of pop tunes that sound schmaltzy to the modern ear. Let go of irony and your rock & roll ways and Zimmer's buttery vibrato feels like a hug -- possibly a hug from grandma, but who couldn't use one of those from time to time?

[Image courtesy of]

Zimmer's death falls into place after a string of deaths we should have noted here. Yvette Vickers' passing was certainly the most tragic. Gone as well are Arthur Larents, John Walker, Body Snatcher rebel Dana Wynter and Dolores Fuller.

We probably should have given a nod to Wynter's passing, for if you need a smart woman by your side as alien invaders gradually infest your sleepy coastly burg, she was the lady for the job. And Vickers -- what could we say that hadn't been said already?

Norma Zimmer died on May 10, 2011. She was 88. There are other Welk Women still dancing, singing and playing, but only one got the title The Champagne Lady.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Squirrel on Water Skis, and the Squirrel Has a Machine Gun

First we must wish Kermit the Frog a happy 56th birthday. That Muppet is an inspiration for life.

And in the spirit of juxtaposition that often fueled Kermit's comedy we bring you this slightly stale news item that's worth seeing if you haven't already:

[Courtesy of our news partner KING 5]

In case that video renders weird, here's a link. Despite our usual distaste for animals-as-weapons and/or espionage agents, it would have been pretty badass to have a spy network of crows. It could go so horribly, biblically wrong.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Put Some Clothes On (Again)

Some true believers also have a sense of humor about reading superhero comics because, well, muscular men in tights and capes. Also most comic book consumers are grown-ass men. Therefore:

That's right, bunkie, it's a t-shirt.

Mighty Fine does other pop-culture tees too but we've a particular affinity for their Marvel line, which has some serious and some silly depictions, but digs fairly deep into the character well too. Where's the company credit card ...

[Post script: Does Daniel Dumile know about this?]