Thursday, December 29, 2011

From the Fortean News Desk: Science Gives Middle Finger to Yeti Finger

"The finger was taken from the monastery by Bigfoot researcher Peter Byrne and was smuggled out of the country, so the story goes, by beloved Hollywood actor Jimmy Stewart, who hid it amid his wife's lingerie."

Oggity-oggity-oggity! Though the finger was not a lopped-off digit from a snomwan, abominable or otherwise, the story still titilates and fascinates.

Read it all.

Things the Intertoobs Taught Us in 2011

Most media outlets publish carefully cultivated best-of lists for the end of the year. Some take it very seriously and that’s fine. Journalists and other media types generally like to argue and debate so making best-of lists feeds that urge.

The Typing Monkey is not immune to such impulses but we simply don’t consume enough new material to effectively create some sort of all-knowing inventory of things we think matter in music, film, television or whatever else.

Like the average jerks we are, we just mess around on the Web and document the things we find that entertain us. Some of those things make it to the blog.

In the spirit of year-end wrap ups and the critic’s inflated sense of influence, here is the first (and possibly last) "Things the Intertoobs Taught Us"

A. Dd+
Dallas-based MCs Paris Pershun and Slim Gravy (!) slipped passed wider recognition. Too bad that, because they’re funny and smart, willing to lob lines such as “surprising everybody, reading a damn book” (“Likeamug”) in the midst of the kind of throwback boasting that workaday schmucks can actually visualize. On their March LP When Pigs Fly the duo was backed by wonderful soul-soaked production from Picnictyme. Grab the free download of their singles-collecting EP Loosies and thank A.Dd+ by paying for a copy of Pigs Fly.

CHRISTIAN MISTRESS Given the TMI offices are in Seattle we must apologize to this Olympia, WA quintet for not discovering their classic blues-based metal until this year. Singer Christine Davis may have started smoking in the 3rd grade in order to get that voice (tremble men, you can’t handle her). The rhythm section knows when to boogie, when to boom, and the clean, dual guitar leads muscle in right next to the Saxon patch on your denim. Get on this already, they’ve been at it since 2009.

“I’m In Your Church At Night” by ACTIVE CHILD Pat Grossi, the man behind the name, has released plenty of good music over the past year. This single came out in November 2010 but we didn’t find it until February of 2011 so we’re including it here because nothing else he’s done moves quite like this majestic, crystalline work of weirdo pop. Dig the video and it will all make odd, wintry sense – just lovely.

BELL WITCH A drum/bass duo from Seattle (again, where were we?) whose funeral-doom rumbles come with uncharacteristic peals of bright, cleansing light in the form of madrigal-like harmonies. The match makes perfect sense and the band gives the six-string bass guitar a home. Four dollars gets you their demo and that’s four bucks well-spent.

NYEMIAH $UPREME -- A Queens rapper whose mixtape Bad will probably draw comparisons to more mainstream/current peers but sounds more to us as if she's standing on the shoulders of MC Lyte and high-fiving Fannypack on her way up. There's a day-in-the-life narrative to Bad that actually works amid the sketches of beats, bass and police-procedural keyboards. Bad could come off as typical "because I'm worth it" aphorisms wrapped in party music. A deeper listen reveals an independent woman a little pissed off that too many men around her are there because they think they're worth it, and more, that she should agree.

“Mountaineer” by WHITE SEA The video for this single gets the teens-being-teens aspect right but missed an opportunity to craft the John Hughes homage that the song embodies. Soaring, tragic, self-aware, Morgan Kibby sings the lyric “it’s a teen dream” as if she’s trying to reassure a teary heroine, and the whole affair has you running back to give that sensitive rich kid another chance because maybe you two can make something of this after all. “Mountaineer” is pure Kate Bush-style drama with all the synthesizers and crashing drums to realize its grand ambitions.

Worth Following – We doubled up our coverage of SP-33 and XII Boar since we discovered both their free EPs on the same day. The former is Chicagoan Ezra Funkhouse, whose Escape the Carter smeared Lil Wayne vocals onto bleak synth grime from John Carpenter's soundtrack to Escape from New York. The latter is a stoner-metal quartet from England who managed to graft some hardcore fury and pumelling doom onto their resin-stained melodies.

Since then SP-33 has put out a woozy ambient mix and an original single titled "These Moments" both of which show Funkhouse deliberately branching out. Meanwhile, XII Boar promises a new release in 2012 and continue to play around the UK and the continent.

Reference material: We wouldn't know about three of these bands without regularly visiting the essential Cosmic Hearse blog. The Typing Monkey staff also spends a fair amount of time at RCRDLBL, Ill Roots, and enjoy mining for great rewards at Cover Me.


Friday, December 23, 2011

A Kalle Anka Kristmas

December 23rd is officially Festivus, so please air your grievances and demonstrate your feats of strength safely.

In the meantime, we had planned on having a review of Roald Dahl's collection of ghost stories up in time for Christmas Eve but failed miserably when someone offered to buy us a drink and things got hazy.

To sate your hungry mind until then, please read this interesting, if a little misguided, piece from Slate about Sweden's holiday tradition of gathering the family to watch a collection of vintage Disney cartoons compiled for the old Walt Disney Presents television show.

The special, called "From All of Us To All of You" originally aired in 1958 and is a strong modern tradition for Swedes during the Christmas season. Writer Jeremy Stahl seems to think it's strange, but so is dragging a tree into your house and decorating it yet nobody questions that with any sincerity.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Jeer

A Jetson Christmas Carol
(Hanna Barbera; 1985)
Subject yourself to this retelling of the already tired Dickens tale and you may root for Mr. Spacely’s Scrooge before the Christmas spirit gets the best of him.

The story barely follows the story arc of Dickens’ hoary holiday heartwarmer. George Jetson, the comic everyman of the 2062, stands in for Bob Cratchit, with his boss, Cosmo G. Spacely, president of Spacely Space Sprockets, as Scrooge.
Spacely wants Jetson to work late on Christmas Eve. The boss’ demand is supposed to be seen as a heartless act of cruelty on par with Scrooge’s abhorrent treatment of Cratchit in the source material.

If the reader is at all familiar with the upper middle-class/retro-futurism of Orbit City, the setting of The Jetsons, then the reader also knows it’s no analog to Victorian London. Please apply that same math to the Spacely::Jetson equation.

Meanwhile George’s wife Jane and the kids, Judy and Elroy, head off to the mall to finish their shopping. Again: The Jetson family wants to finish their shopping. None of the Jetsons will greet a bare floor beneath the tree come Christmas morn.

Astro, the family’s talking dog, gets into the gifts already under the tree, breaks a toy and accidentally swallows a sprocket – a sprocket manufactured by Spacely Sprockets. The dog is in a bad way and may die. And because it’s 2062, there are no 24-hour emergency veterinarians.

Spacely has his Scrooge moment, visiting a past where he is supposed to be depicted as a selfish young man. Instead, he seems like a pretty reasonable guy. He meets and falls in love with his future wife and is working hard to be a successful business owner.

Not to get all objectivist on The Jetsons, but what’s wrong with Spacely’s motives in his early life? The implication is greed and the eventual disregard for those he loves. But in A Christmas Carol, Scrooge has no one and may die unloved and unremembered. We know that Spacely is married to the same woman he met years ago as a teen and based on the Jetson family’s standard of living, Spacely pays a respectable wage to his employees.

The alternate future via Christmases Present and Yet-to-Be has Astro dying and the Jetson family suing Spacely for all he’s worth and using their litigious wealth to purchase a mansion and fancy clothing.

Pardon us if we feel that this whole setup makes George Jetson seem like a bit of a jerk. Spacely didn’t cram the sprocket down Astro’s throat, and it was an act of pure chance that nobody is home to get help when the dog is in need.

Regardless, Spacely is moved to bring his personal vet to the Jetson home, Astro is saved and Spacely gives Jetson a raise. The viewer is excused if overcome by the urge to grab Spacely by his future lapels and slap some sense into him.

The problem here isn’t that A Jetson Christmas Carol feels cheap and lacking sincerity. (It is both of those things.) A Jetson Christmas Carol comes off as if it were written by a kid who only ever watched the dozens of bad imitations of A Christmas Carol that television has churned out over the decades.

Dickens’ story is sentimental hogwash for sure – a template for too easily converted villains to come. But at least Dickens gets the tone right by keeping the Cratchit family broadly sympathetic and Ebenezer Scrooge dry and despicable till the last act. The folks behind this Jetson conversion didn’t even get that right.

Reference material: You'd be better off watching the Disney adaptation from 1983 which packs plenty of charm by comparison. However, if you must watch the Jetsons version, you can see the whole thing here. You'll need to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas twice just to get the taste out of your mouth.

[Orbit City image sourced from; London street scene sourced from]

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Reader Mail

To the staff at The Typing Monkey:

It would appear that the recent cutbacks at your parent company have caused a deficit of good sense. Friday is trash day and the bins MUST be left in the loading dock area or the trucks can’t get down the alley and the other tenants in this building will not have their waste removed.

This is the second time in a month the bins marked “TMI Ste 23” have been left in the alley near the smoking area. Please see to it that they are not left there again on trash day. Our firm has shredded documents that can’t be left on the premises.

If your organization no longer has a maintenance staff, or any able-bodied person who can follow simple facilities instructions every tenant in the building receives as part of the lease, we can discuss a work-share program with our capable janitorial staff.

Love the site! Are you going to put up any holiday related content?

C.K. Aster-Mums
Baby & Sons LLC

Dear C.K.

We do plan on posting a couple seasonal articles.

The Typing Monkey

Remember, you can send questions, concerns, advice or other good stuff to We'd love to hear from you.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Oh You! (Pretty Thing)

Just in case she's reading, this one goes out to The Amazing Mrs. Kendall.

[courtesy of EMI Music ... right?]