Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thunderbirds Are Gone!

Gerry Anderson, creator of Thunderbirds and several other espionage/action shows aimed at kids, died on December 25, 2012.

His puppetry and wonderfully detailed set-pieces influenced many kids who grew up to generate their own crazy shows. Matt Stone and Trey Parker of South Park fame paid homage to Anderson's work with their film Team America: World Police.

We'll speculate that Tim Burton, Henry Selick and Robert Smigel are fans as well, not to mention the Screen Novelties crew and many others.

If Thunderbirds is unfamiliar to you, please enjoy the opening credits from the show, which will tell you just about all you need to know about why those who love it, love it.



(And yes, we already regret that headline. Thank you Mr. Anderson, for what you created. Rest in peace.)

Message in a Gravestone

An Oregon woman bought some fake gravestones at K-Mart in 2011. The Halloween decorations were put into storage unopened.

A year later, she opened them to put them up for the October holiday and found something far scarier than the cold embrace of the grave: a note allegedly written by a Chinese laborer at the factory where the disposable-income item was manufactured. It's a plea for help, detailing the harsh working conditions in which the item was made.

The note sets of The Typing Monkey's baloney detector, though it's entirely possible that it's legitimate. We don't deny that many things we buy -- including the computer used to write and post this information -- are crafted and assembled in conditions our well-fed and generally secure selves would find deplorable and unimaginably cruel.

Yet the note seems a little too good to be true in terms of human rights-riling. Why is this making news two months after the note was discovered? The timing seems off, given that many Westerners have recently spent millions (billions) buying things we don't need to celebrate Christmas.

Read it and draw your own conclusions.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Wassailing from YouTube

A demo/unreleased recording from Simon & Garfunkel. It's "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" but on the Old Friends collection it's titled "Comfort and Joy."


[courtesy mwebber69]

Friday, December 21, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

'Zat You, Santa Claus?

Last year, Smithsonian published a slideshow of 24 depictions of Santa Claus that are not the typical Jolly Ol' St. Nick we imagine today when the old feller's name is mentioned.

You could vote as to which was scariest, and we didn't bother to look to see which creepy Santa won. What was far more interesting was that most of the frightening-elf Santas were pre-20th century or rendered by European artists.

That shouldn't be a surprise if you've read even a little bit about the folklore of Santa Claus, or paid attention to traditions still in play in northern Europe, where the Krampus terrorizes kids to let them know the world isn't always going to tussle their hair and give them a piece of hard candy just because.

Here are three of our favorites:


Santa Claus, in this storybook image from the 1870s, looks like a mad badger-man, and he's carrying the switches normally associated with Black Peter and Krampus. Look out kids! (That little punk about to dip into Santa's bag is going to get a right-good beating.)

For the photo below, we'll just quote what Smithsonian had to say:

In the 19th and early 20th century, a popular tradition for Pennsylvania Germans was to go belsnickling on St. Nicholas Day, or December 6. This meant that at least one person in a neighborhood—the “belsnickle”—would dress up, usually in raggedy clothes and a mask, and visit the homes of their neighbors, delivering either candy or coal to the children.


Bellsnicking, sure. St. Nick's cool by us, but is that Cthulhu on the left?

And finally, we give you a detail Will Crawford's illustration of Santa Claus from the cover of a 1912 issue of Puck, a humor magazine.

Crawford's illustration, titled "Hands Up!" has the caption: "As Santa looks to some of  us."


Take a good long look at the whole gallery here. And if you have a chimney, consider building a big fire come Christmas Eve.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hisss! Give up! Alien can't be beat!

Typing Monkey publisher and unofficial cultural ombudsman, S.L. Kreighton, tried to shame us the other night by regaling the staff with tales of Christmases past.

Apparently the man grew up a street urchin in Victorian London, where a tangerine, some Brach's candies [the neapolitans were delicious -- ed.] and perhaps a fresh pack of Authors cards was the best a lad could hope for on the morning of December 25, provided you didn't die of consumption and scabies first.

We think he's full of shit. However, by chance we showed him the following commercial for Kenner's Alien doll, circa 1979 and he fell into a funk so deep, it would shame Charles Foster Kane on his death bed.



We're sorry you never got the Alien doll that year, Kreighton. Perhaps it's time to let go.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

"It is usually about murder ... "

At some point in your life, maybe not this very moment, but some time in the future, you will hear reference to Raymond Chandler's "how to write a good mystery story" guide disguised as a critical essay "The Simple Art of Murder."

You will wonder: "Have I read that?" Which means you probably haven't. Luckily, the University of Texas at Austin's American Literature Archive has made it easy to read Chandler's incisive work anywhere you have access to the Web. From 1950's ink-on-paper, to your 21st century electronic device: ta da!


And, should you care, they also have a virtual copy of Flannery O'Connor's 1960 essay "Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction."

Friday, December 7, 2012

Let's Look at the Show

Seeing a pipe organ in action is almost as much fun as hearing one in person. Same with a Wurlitzer theatre organ.

Where the latter is often designed to give a bit of a show, the former is simply a wonder to behold and even better if you can see the player in action. Aside from a drummer on a trap kit, we can't think of another musical instrument that actively requires all four limbs if the performer wants to make as much sound as possible.

The sheer mechanical spectacle of a "Mighty" Wurlitzer theatre organ still has the power to amaze -- for us, anyway.


Pipe organ virtuoso Cameron Carpenter lays waste to "Sleigh Ride" by Leroy Andreson in this video from his Youtube channel. He plays it almost too fast to keep up with himself, but dang if he doesn't look like a cartoon octopus while covering all the orchestral parts of the winter tune:


Less manic and more hypnotic is David Dunlap playing the same tune on a Wersi Scala organ -- basicaly a Wurlitzer with a motherboard instead of bellows, pipes and levers. Prepare to be mesmerized:


Then enjoy falling down a rabbit hole of organ performance videos, because that's what happens. Either that or you go ice skating.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Jazz Impressions of the Next World

We'd planned on posting something else today, honest. But then Dave Brubeck died, one day short of his 92nd birthday.

Good bye Mr. Brubeck and thank you for all the amazing music you made while you were here.


[courtesy of claudiofilippi1]

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Month Late ... Who Cares? So What?

As of this posting, it's still November for a few hours. Thanksgiving happened a little earlier in the month than usual, which the already rabid HOLIDAY! marketing machine interpreted as a green light to double-down on all the red-and-green commercialism that's supposed to make us feel warm and loved.

Take a few minutes then, and enjoy these two quizzes that we wished we'd had our hands on during October. As far as The Typing Monkey is concerned, it's always a good time for reading about things occult and/or pagan.

BBC History Magazine's December issue has a piece on 10 of Britain's most infamous witch trials. As a complement to that, their History Extra site offers the "Witch Test" -- a quiz to help you determine if you'd have been burned at the stake during England's witch hunts of the 16th and 17th century.

It's all in good fun, but does offer some sobering details about the realities of the situation for those who didn't fit certain social expectations.

On a significantly lighter note, Kate Beaton of Hark! A Vagrant fame has been on a quiz-writing tear of late, turning in a very funny one for Halloween, that we just discovered last week.

Take 'em both and let us know how you fare: typingmonkeyATlive.com

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Today in Vampire News

Let's get the sillier of these two news items out of the way first:

The movie-rating board of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has officially endorsed the film Twilight: Breaking Dawn 2 due to a strong family values message.

The board, which is officially called the Catholic Initiative for Enlightened Movie Appreciation, or CINEMA, says the film "brings into focus the value of marriage, the need to protect life in the womb and the importance of family."

We don't really have any comment on this. Catholic residents of the Philippines are free to watch this final installment of the Twilight series without guilt now, and that's cool.

The news doesn't affect anyone at TMI headquarters beyond the fact that we've now strung a piece of red twine between three pegs on our "conspiracy speculation board" -- the Catholic Church, Stephanie Meyer's Twilight books and the Mormons -- all connected now. We're keeping an eye on you all.

***

The second item concerns the frightened populace of the Serbian village Zarozje. News outlets are generally reporting the story as "news of the weird" or with an implied wink. That's to be expected.

The report concerns an dilapidated shack above the Rogacica river, long believed to have been the home of Sava Savanovic, a man also long believed to be a vampire who would attack and exsanguinate anyone bold enough to take their grain to the nearby mill.

Curious tourists have braved visits to the shack, but the family that owns the property and the shack have not kept the place up due to their fear of Savanovic. The shack recently collapsed, prompting the population of Zarozje to fear that the vampire is now on the loose, seeking a new home and a hot meal.

Whatever the truth of the story is -- and surely this vivid folk tale sprang up for some reason -- can you imagine living there? The mayor of Zarozje himself has recommended garlic rubbed and/or displayed on windows and doors, and crosses throughout the home to protect locals from Savanovic.

We visited the Sava page of Zarozje.com and found this haiku-like arrangement of text:

"Dobro dosli

Dragi posetioci,
ova stranica je u izradi.
Posetite nas opet."

Thanks to a Web translation engine, we now know that this simply says "Welcome. Dear visitors, this site is in the making. Please visit us again." Yes, we hoped it was some sort of poem or perhaps an incantation to keep Savanovic at bay. Alas.


[A deep bow to the Fortean Times for these.]

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

In the Gallery After Closing

Just this week we learned of two art blogs that recently ceased publication: Covered and Repaneled.

The former was the creation of artist/writer/illustrator Robert Goodin. Covered had various artists re-imagining and re-interpreting covers from comic books. If you like that sort of thing and, like us, somehow missed this blog, you are in for a treat.

Anthony Vukojevich, cartoonist and illustrator, was directly inspired by Goodin's blog when he created Repaneled. If you haven't guessed, Repaneled does what Covered does, but with individual panels from comic books.

Both blogs closed down recently, but are still live for jerks like us to wander around in and spend time enjoying the weird, fun work therein. Even if the source material is unfamiliar, both sites are worth a look.

Hooray for the Web, where nothing ever really goes away! (Except when it does.)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Q: You know how I know you're gay?

A: You posted a poem on your blog.


Poem
by Frank O'Hara

Lana Turner has collapsed!
I was trotting along and suddenly
it started raining and snowing
and you said it was hailing
but hailing hits you on the head
hard so it was really snowing and
raining and I was in such a hurry
to meet you but the traffic
was acting exactly like the sky
and suddenly I see a headline
LANA TURNER HAS COLLAPSED!
there is no snow in Hollywood
there is no rain in California
I have been to lots of parties
and acted perfectly disgraceful
but I never actually collapsed
oh Lana Turner we love you get up

[From Lunch Poems. Copyright © 1964 by Frank O'Hara. City Lights Books. All rights reserved. Re-posted from Frank O'Hara.org.]

***

If you'd like to hear Mr. O'Hara himself reading this poem to an audience, and we highly recommend it, click here.

Friday, November 9, 2012

We'll be right back after these messages.

This song will give you early onset diabetes.


[courtesy of leonderaet]

Norton!

Perhaps you missed the news about a "Frankenstorm" called Sandy that slammed into the Eastern Seaboard just before Halloween, leaving unavoidable destruction of the natural disaster sort.

As residents of New Jersey, New York, et al. clean up and assess damage, the staff at Norton Records found that their Brooklyn warehouse took quite a bit of water damage.

There are few things that make us sadder than books and records (CDs, LPs, 45s and such) being destroyed. And Norton does good work, providing new and re-issued music that concentrates on the r&b, soul, early rock, surf, garage, jump blues and general outsider tunes from the first half of the 20th century. They've also been re-issuing obscure pulp paperbacks too, which you can imagine got us all in a dither.

Norton's staff is still cleaning up the mess, but when they're done, help 'em out by buying something. The wheels of Capitalism are greased with your hard-earned dough, so you might as well grease the wheels you like, no?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Blastissimo

We could talk about the English band Angel Witch and how they were part of the NWOBHM but were often unfairly derided as a Sabbath knock-off, when to our ears they have much more in common with Sweet, Queen and early Def Leppard.

Or we could discuss them reassembling to tour and even put out a record of new material this year, As Above, So Below, that defies typical "we're gettin' the band back together" disappointment by being really quite good.

But instead we'll just show you this picture of [roadies?] unloading a speaker that's part of their stage set-up:

Giddyup.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween, punkins

Ooh baby. This song gets a lot of play at TMI headquarters, but it's never more appropriate than on Halloween. The vintage radio-drama organ stabs and shocks, eerie sirens call in the distance as the drums clap thunder to keep you awake long after dark. And Mr. Cave spins a deep baritone tale of Southern Gothic dread, dropping Robert E. Howard horror into the modern age. Ice. Cold.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Spanish Inquisition-ers Must Have Really Been Bored

In a serendipitous bit of Web surfing -- where intent and chance run wild in the brain -- we've been reading a bit about the Basque witch trials of the early 17th century. The Wikipedia article is a fine a place as any to start, and should the subject stimulate your brain, there's more to read on the Web and in print.

The Basque witch hunt was the largest of any perpetrated by the Spanish Inquisition, with estimates of nearly 7,000 people in Basque Country investigated, accused and/or tried.

And as is often the case, minorities were targeted for persecution. Women were the primary victims, as midwives and herbalists, steeped in the non-Christian [and totally compelling -- ed.] folklore of the region, faced accusations. But plenty of men and children were charged as well, including Conversos, descendants of the Jews and Moors who had converted to Christianity.

It ended as quickly as it started, but not without a body count.

Though not directly inspired by the Basque witch trials, the late 18th century painting "Witches' Sabbath" by Francisco Goya, intentionally recalls medieval and early Renaissance beliefs in what went on during a black sabbath:


You'll pardon our modern eyes for thinking that with the exception of the creepy skeleton baby, this looks like "Awesome Storytime With Uncle Goat" and not some heinous gathering of ill intent.

***

Bonus witchcraft-y weirdness!

Major Thomas Weir, a 17th century Scottish soldier who, at 70, suddenly claimed not only to be a warlock, but to have engaged in all manner of taboo acts with his sister Jean. All of this flew in the face of their very public life as devout Christians. As their confessions continued, the claims grew even stranger, and both were executed, despite any compelling evidence beyond their claims.

A BBC documentary made in 2007 examines the likelihood that Maj. Weir was largely the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Movie Time!

Surely you have a three minutes to spare for some George Melies magic circa 1896?



Watch more like these at Silent Film House's Youtube channel.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Great Old Ones

Wanna read some H.P. Lovecraft but don't have any scratch to put toward buying new books? Or maybe your local library banned you after that unfortunate misunderstanding regarding the copy machine?

The H.P. Lovecraft Archive has you covered. A disturbingly generous selection of Howard Phillips' writings are available to you with just a couple clicks of the mouse. It's there, deep beneath the surface of the Web, undistrubed in its slumber, waiting, but still stirring a nagging feeling in the dark recesses of your mind ...

[Cthulhu image courtesy of The H.P. Lovecraft Wiki]

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Casual Friday Wolfman

Found another terrific art blog for things fantastic, gruesome and just plain fun: Fantasy Ink. In blogger Tom's own words, Fantasy Ink collects "comic and fantasy art plus artwork from the Golden Age of Illustration and whatever else sparks [his] interest."

And we'll share with you the image that was our gateway into Fantasy Ink:


Don't you love how the Wolfman, despite being in full-moon mode, is still neatly buttoned and belted in his circa 1993 Gap fashions? He's totally going to ruin that woman's French beat-poetry party.

That painting by R.L. Allen was done for a series of Universal Monster-themed jigsaw puzzles by Whitman in 1969. And if you like it, there's more to see at FI.

Also because of our undying love and appreciation for The Creature From the Black Lagoon, we strongly encourage you to click here. In the words of Haley Mills (as Pollyanna) -- it's gorgeous.

Finally, we once again thank Monster Crazy for turning us on to these. If you're not visiting Monster Crazy and Monsterbrains regularly, your eyes must be so bored.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Monkey Watches: Melty!

The Incredible Melting Man
Dir. William Sachs
(1977)
Poorly executed B-movies don’t always deserve the drubbings they get from critics. And by critics, we mean everybody on the internets, ever.

It’s too easy to rip apart something that gives the distinct impression that it’s held together by masking tape and misguided dreams. Yet The Incredible Melting Man, another entry in American International Picture’s (AIP) long list of low-budget genre films, is kind of asking for it.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 probably did the best job of beating up this movie. We’ve never seen that episode of the show, but Incredible leaves itself wide open for the kind of snark and barbs the MST3K team did so well.

You can probably wring nearly as much joy from the user-submitted review of the film on IMDB. However, we suggest you watch the film yourself, aided and abetted by friends, family and, if you bend that way, whatever mood enhancers you prefer.

In the interest of clarity and er, journalism, we watched it stone sober and violently alone. Yet still we lobbed our share of critical Molotovs at the screen, wondering how such a wickedly pulpy idea could be so boring.

The answer, we believe, is a two-parter.

1.  Allegedly, The Incredible Melting Man was conceived as a comedy – designed to be a parody of 1950s era “atomic monster” shockers. Some of the film was already in the can when AIP decided to switch to straight horror. Unsurprisingly, the movie shifts in tone throughout.

2.  Every single character in the film behaves in ways that no human being ever would, except for the title character, who we have lovingly dubbed Melty.

The plot concerns a manned mission to Saturn, but something involving solar flares kills off two of the astronauts, leaving Steve West (Alex Rebar) the only survivor, who tumbles back to Earth, waking up in a top-secret military/NASA/whatever hospital room, swathed in bandages and … different.

To paraphrase Elaine Benes, yadda yadda  yadda, he murders a nurse and escapes into the hills above Burbank.

Whatever turned astronaut Steve West into Melty has also driven him mad. And who wouldn’t be? He’s literally decomposing in the most gruesome, moist way a fellow can, and because this is a horror movie, Melty’s madness includes uncontrollable urges to kill.

Burr DeBenning plays Dr. Ted Nelson, the man trying to determine how Melty got that way, and, once Melty escapes, charged with finding him before he kills again.

Now you’d think a man who is slowly liquefying shouldn’t be that hard to track down in the scrubby fields surrounding a secret space-accident research facility. You scramble a couple helicopters, call the Eagle Scouts and start looking for the trail of gross that leads from the door of the building into the wilderness.

You’d think that, but you’d be wrong. Dr. Ted Nelson decides that he should first head home and eat some soup because chasing Melty is going to be tough and you don’t want to do that on an empty stomach. Then he gets a Geiger counter to track Melty, even though the man is surely leaving his disgusting mark wherever he goes.

What’s that? You want to know how a man with a Ph.D. decided a hot bowl of Campbell’s was the priority when a horrific abomination is loose near the borders of a housing development? You stop that right now. That’s not how we catch monsters in this universe.

There’s a decapitation, a weird excuse to show boobs, children are endangered and Gen. Michael Perry (Myron Healey) shows up to help convince local law enforcement that all these dead bodies are surely not the work of a space mission gone terribly wrong.

Gen. Perry has a Jeep too, which is a good idea since Melty’s gotten pretty far while Dr. Ted Nelson fiddly-farts around not pursuing him.

Despite the Jeep and, we assume, the U.S. Military’s knowledge of Melty, Dr. Ted Nelson and the General stop by the Nelson home again to have a couple drinks and accidentally break the news to Mrs. Nelson that there’s a murderously inclined creep running around out there, and well, he’s melting too.

Poor Melty. He gets very little screen time despite being the title character.

Some of the “comedy” footage is preserved in a puzzling and unfunny aside involving an old couple who stop to pick some lemons on the side of a dark highway. There’s finally a showdown and Dr. Ted Nelson tries to save or catch or do something about Melty, but it’s too late. [Watch the gruesome finale here, but be warned, it spoils the ending.]

Various sources say make-up artist Rick Baker had four distinct “phases” to the Melting Man costume, to show how Melty’s problem was worsening. But budgets got in the way and instead Melty looks like cheese pizza throughout. The make-up is still the best part of the film and Baker deserves his status as one of Hollywood’s great monster men.

We don’t expect much from our b- and z-grade horror and science fiction movies. But when you have the basic idea of The Incredible Melting Man right there, standing on the backs of various Twilight Zone and Outer Limits plots, and leaning heavily on The Quartermass Xperiment, it shouldn’t be hard to make that movie fun.

Reference material:  Oh, so you’ve seen The Hideous Sun Demon? Then you’re perfectly primed for this. Also, you only have to endure the first ten minutes before you get to the only gag in the film that works: Two short scenes involving a ridiculously long hallway.

Friday, October 19, 2012

I Love You Anyhow

This live performance of "I Put a Spell On You" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins jettisons the baritone sax that filths up the 1956 studio recording replacing it with a carnival-esque organ and Duane Eddy guitar.

That change takes away the nudie-mag bomp of the original but cranks up the song's late show histrionics.

Hawkins' woody baritone sounds great and his stage performance -- how we wish we'd been around to see the man at full power.

Now get yer creep on:

[courtesy of nedalivzjatmojnik]

Why didn't he ever host The Muppet Show?

Ghosts Eat Marshmallows

This isn’t a book review because we haven’t been able to find a copy of this book and the last time anyone here at The Typing Monkey read The Marshmallow Ghosts by Priscill and Otto Friedrich, was too long ago to remember specific details.*

In essence, the story tracks a family of ghosts who’ve emigrated from Ireland to the United States, and the ghost kids – that’s right, ghost kids – want to experience Halloween American style. In doing so, the spirit children find that if they eat marshmallows, their ghostly vapors turn solid, allowing them to go trick-or-treating like kids who aren’t ghosts.

We bring all this up as a seasonally appropriate gateway to remind you of the illustrations (and also writing) of Louis Slobodkin. Go back to the books you read as a kid and chances are one of them was illustrated by him.

Sadly, the website dedicated to Slobodkin’s work went dark sometime during the past year, but Page Books has a fairly robust Slobodkin page with a good cover gallery.

Whether illustrating his own writing, the collaborations with his wife, or the work of others, there’s an utterly charming post-War warmth to Slobodkin’s art.



*[Sincerely, if you find a copy of The Marshmallow Ghosts snap it up. It's long out of print and we won't mind if you mail it to us.]

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

It's Them $@#% Goblins Again!

The animators at Screen Novelties do good work. And The Typing Monkey has swiped their content before to show you why we think that.

Here's another great piece of stop-motion and puppet animation work Screen Novelties crafted, inspired by Wladyslaw Starewicz's seminal work. It's both sweet and creepy, and that's not easy to achieve.

Check it:


You like? Here's a link to their Vimeo page for more, more, more.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Can't Look Away

The drudgery of day-to-day tasks might well put us over the edge if it weren't for the great images, artists and films we've been turned on to by Monster Crazy, a site that puts Tumblr to good use.

By visiting recently we found the work of Jon Kelly Green:

You can see much more of his work, including pictures of cats in groovy sweaters and boot cut pants, at his site, Action Art! [punctuation his -- ed.]

And if that weren't enough, Monster Crazy also alerted us to the fact that Arbogast On Film has risen from its slumber, possibly only for this month, with a series called "31 Screams." Each day of October, film critic/historian/scholar Arbogast parses some of the great screams in horror films.

It's mesmerizing and you must go now and enjoy it. [Understand some of the images on that site are NSFW.]

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dinosaur Dracula Loves Halloween

We've pointed you toward a site called X-Entertainment before. It sounds NSFW, but it was about as harmless as the web gets. We refer to it in the past tense because Matt, the man behind X-E, has closed that site and moved on to Dinosaur Dracula.

And just like his previous site, DD catalogs toys, candy, cartoons and questionable breakfast cereal with both fondness and comedy. Plus Matt is a Halloween freak, purchasing, testing, consuming and reviewing just about every disposable-income item you might see on the shelves any given year during October.

Check out his new site and if you want to get a feel for what it's all about, we recommend the "Count Chocula Through the '90s" feature.

Fun fact: X-Entertainment's Countdown to Halloween inspired The Typing Monkey's own Halloween Frenzy ... and now we're sad.

Monday, October 8, 2012

"... every sort of filth."

Dig this fan-made video for "Wizard in Black" by doom-metal legends Electric Wizard. It's eight minutes of punishing, bleak guitar fuzz and brontosaurus beats with Lovecraftian lyrics rasped for maximum effect. And that's just the music.

To accompany this crucial cut from the band's Come My Fanatics... LP is a series of horror film clips of corpses rising from their graves, ostensibly coming to tell you to turn down the goddamned noise and put the bong down because you have work tomorrow. Or maybe they just want braaaiins.



And if you want to know which films were used by the video creator, "thofilo13," here's a list straight from the source:

Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974); City of the Living Dead (1980); The Plague of the Zombies (1966); Tales from the Crypt (1972); Zombi (1979) The Beyond (1981) Return of the Living Dead Part 2 (1988).

Gruesome!

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Monkey Reads: Roald Knows How to Pick 'Em

Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories
Various; Introduction by Roald Dahl
(Macmillan)
To curate this collection of haunted tales, Dahl read more than 700 short stories, which he admits with a wry “so you don’t have to” attitude in his superb introduction. Note, these are not stories written by Dahl, but rather stories he found to be of high quality and wanted to share.
 
His original intent was to adapt these stories for an American television program – an anthology show in the vein of The Twilight Zone and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. But after a pilot was produced, the show was nixed and Dahl was left with a stack of stories to share.

The best entry in Ghost Stories is Robert Aikman’s “Ringing the Changes.” This tale of a newlywed couple on their honeymoon in a quiet, nearly abandoned seaside village in England has its own strange rhythm that rewards greatly with sheer creativity as it builds a genuine sense of dread at what’s coming.

Edith Wharton and Cynthia Asquith contribute a story each, with Wharton’s “Afterward” burying the scares under an affecting sense of loss, confusion and grief, as a woman attempts to figure out what happened to her missing husband. Asquith’s “In the Corner Shop” has such descriptive prose that it works even though you know where she’s headed after a page or two.

Jaded, over-stimulated modern brains will recognize the plots of some of these stories, as they’ve been repurposed many times, and, as with “On the Brighton Road” by Richard Middleton, read like urban legends.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t still take pleasure in high quality writing of A.M. Burrage’s “Playmates” or F. Marion Crawford’s “The Upper Berth.”

Reference material: Own a copy of The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories? You may have already read some of these, but can likely find something new. And anyone who will stay up late to watch a favorite episode of The Twilight Zone should enjoy Dahl’s collection.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

It's Only a Gumdrop

Regular readers may recall the Ghost Dot Crisis of 2010, which spilled over into 2011 as well.

For the uninitiated, Tootsie Roll Industries makes a seasonal selection of their Dots candy, the best of which is Ghost Dots. During the past two Halloweens, they've been increasingly difficult to find, especially in the fun-size boxes one might hand out to trick-or-treaters.

Last year, on Nov 2, our legal team drafted a stern letter to Tootsie Roll Industries [ didn't intern Eileen just fill out a form on their website? -- ed.] and got a response within 24 hours from a nice lady named Susan:

"Thank you for contacting us. Ghost Dots were available, but apparently, no retailers in your area ordered them. Sorry."

We have yet to really scour the region for Ghost Dots, but found this Halloween candy page on Tootsie's online store, which does not bode well.

Those lonely howls you hear on Oct 31 may in fact be the agonized baying of all at The Typing Monkey, as we drown our sorrows in the pumpkin patch. Don't let us down, Tootsie Roll Industries.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

And So It Begins

Here we are three days into October and you probably feel like we've left you at T-ball practice and it's starting to rain. Relax, get yourself a beverage and grab a donut -- you know the drill.

Welcome to the 5th annual Typing Monkey Halloween Frenzy. For the next 30 27 days we'll do our best to pollute your innocent eyes with as much seasonal evil as possible.

However, we will stick with tradition by easing you into things with a video from filmmaker we featured last  year. This one's not Halloween related, but might scare you and your cats.


Catnip: Egress to Oblivion? [Classroom Drug Educational Film] from Jason Willis on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sexy Astronomers of History [No. 6]

Collect 'em all!

Johannes Kepler
(Dec 27, 1571 – Nov 15, 1630)
Birthplace:  Free Imperial City of Weil der Stadt near Stuttgart, Holy Roman Empire (now Germany)
Culture-shaping contribution:  The laws of planetary motion, which proved mathematically that planetary orbits around the sun are elliptical. Really there's much more to it than that, but suffice it to say that Kepler's math checked out thanks to his groundbreaking use of physics. His theory fueled Isaac Newton's laws of universal gravitation, even though at the time Kepler published his theory, Galileo and Descartes thought it was nonsense.
Fun fact:  Kepler's mother, Katharina, was arrested in 1620 for witchcraft. The charges had been levelled at her in 1615, during a wave of accusations that snared herbalist Katharina. Johannes took her away, but upon her return she was arrested. Her son managed to argue for her freedom in 1621. She died a year later, a free woman. [This is a "fun" fact? -- ed.]

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sexy Astronomers of History [No. 5]

Collect 'em all!

Tycho Ottesen Brahe
(Dec 14, 1546 – Oct 24, 1601)
Birthplace:  Scania, Denmark (modern-day Sweden)
Culture-shaping contribution:  A Danish nobelmen with a gift for math, Brahe shattered the idea of a fixed celestial realm. By building on the work of Copernicus and Ptolemy, and making accurate observations without a telescope, Brahe proved that comets, supernovae were not atmospheric disturbances, but astronomical phenomena happening well beyond the Earth and moon's orbits.
Fun fact:  At a wedding dance on December 19, 1566, Brahe argued with a cousin regarding a math problem (!) -- it escalated into a duel during which Brahe's nose was cut off. For the remainder of his life, he wore a false nose, likely made of copper, glued to his face. It is unknown if Brahe ever got busy in a Burger King bathroom.
Bonus fun fact:  Brahe also had a pet moose that met a tragic end. Ah, the pasttimes of the wealthy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sexy Astronomers of History [No. 4]

Collect 'em all!

Carl Edward Sagan
(Nov 9, 1934 – Dec 20, 1996)
Birthplace:  (Brookly, NY, United States)
Culture-shaping contribution:  Made astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology appealing to the masses via his unequalled educational television series Cosmos, based on his book of the same name. Is also responsible for the Baloney Detection Kit, an invaluable guide to testing arguments.
Fun fact:  Wrote an essay on the benefits of smoking cannabis for a 1971 book Marihuana Reconsidered. Sagan, using the pseudonym "Mr. X", claimed his use of the drug had not only enhanced sensual and intellectual experiences but had also inspired some of his works. Mr. X's true identity was revealed shortly after Sagan's death.

Friday, September 21, 2012

3:49 a.m. Pacific Time

In the wee hours of Saturday morning, Sept 22, 2012, the Autumnal Equinox will happen and per the calendar most of us follow, it will officially be fall in the Northern Hemisphere.

No matter when you're reading this, please take a moment to pause and reflect on your summer. The Typing Monkey hopes you had fun and managed to get out and feel the sun on your skin.

And now this:

[courtesy of metalboombox]

A Bedside Grimoire

As you've no doubt read, heard or seen by now, a historian of early Christianity at the Harvard Divinity School has gone public with the story of an aged piece of papyrus with Coptic script referencing Jesus and his wife.

It's an interesting item, a good story and, if legitimate, something that might force many Christian churches to rethink some of the tenets they've been following for about 1,500 years.

However we're going to use that tale of a lost text as a launching point to talk about another lost text recently resurfaced, The Long Lost Friend. It's a new translation of John George Hohman's Der lange verborgene Freund ('The Long-Hidden Friend') -- a book of practical magic originally published in 1820.

Hohman was an immigrant and published his book in America, with translations making the rounds quickly, as many in and out of the frontier took quickly to the book's German folk medicine and Native American herbal remedies, as well as the easily recited/copied incantations to keep witchcraft and evil at bay.

Friend is practical magic, don't forget. It's not some spell book with oogy verses in dead languages that will bring monsters forth from the bowels of Hell. The spells all apply directly to the things that any reasonable person in the still-wild United States would want to protect.

Friend was so popular for a time that both the medical establishment and clergy in the United States worked hard to discredit Hohman and his text. A major reason for their disdain was not just the medicinal recipies and magic that cut into their respective businesses, the doctors and preachers were defending themselves, as Hohman often derides both in the book.

Read Stefany Anne Golberg's review of Daniel Harms' translation of The Long Lost Friend. Her take casts Hohman's work as America's first (and finest?) self-help book. She might be right.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sexy Astronomers of History [No. 3]

Collect 'em all!

Ibn Yunis
(c. 950-1009)
Birthplace:  Egypt (assumed)
Culture-shaping Contribution:  Collected his celestial observations in a volume, al-Zij al-Kabir al-Hakimi. Half the collection has survived the millennium that's since passed and his calculations are considered incredibly accurate, including predictions of eclipses and conjunctions.
Fun fact:  Yunis, whose full name is Abu al-Hasan 'Ali ibn 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Ahmad ibn Yunus al-Sadafi al-Misri, used a large -- as in 4.5 feed wide -- astrolabe to work out his calculations. Since we don't have a picture of Yunis, we've included a picture of an astrolabe instead.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sexy Astronomers of History [No. 2]

Collect 'em all!

Percival Lowell
(Mar 13, 1855 – Nov 12, 1916)
Birthplace:  Boston, Massachusetts
Culture-shaping contribution:  Building the observatory that bears  his name on a high-elevation piece of land, away from city lights, in a climate where cloud cover is infrequent, a standard for terrestrial observatories ever since. His search for the apocryphal "Planet X" helped lead to the discovery of Pluto.
Fun fact:  Lowell spent years observing and sketching Mars, convinced that surface features he saw were canals, and thus proof that Martian life was not only real but an intelligent species. Though his notion was doubted even at the time, he set the public's imagination into motion and his thoughts about civilizations on the red planet influenced science fiction writing, including H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

"Who will do that now?"

The BBC News Magazine recently published a sad, strange story about women in Ghana who are accused of witchcraft. The accused are usually old and the assignment of guilt, just as it was across 16th century Europe and the American colonies in the 17th century, springs from coincidental events that have nothing to do with the women.

In a kinder, gentler twist, the Ghanan women have taken to living in witch camps. Read the whole thing here.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sexy Astronomers of History [No. 1]

With Labor Day behind us, summer is unofficially over and kids across the country are back in school. So in the spirit of learning stuff, The Typing Monkey proudly presents:

SEXY ASTRONOMERS OF HISTORY
Collect ‘em all!

Nicolaus Copernicus
(b. Feb 19, 1473 – d. May 24, 1543)
Birthplace:  Torun, Poland
Culture-shaping contribution:  The comprehensive heliocentric cosmology.  Copernicus broke the news to 16th century Europe that the Earth was not the center of the universe around which all heavenly bodies revolved. Though he did claim the sun was the center of the universe, his heliocentric theory was a major step in the right direction.
Fun fact:  Copernicus was a true renaissance man. Among other endeavors, he was an artist, physician, lawyer, and spoke at least four languages fluently.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Don't Waste It

Do something you rarely do, or just go outside after dark and look up. It won't happen again until 2015 and you were probably too tipsy to care last time it happened.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

No. 1 Rule of a Hoax: Don't Die

A 44-year-old man from Kalispell, Montana died on August 27 when he was struck by two cars, allegedly while attempting to perpetrate a hoax. The man was wearing a ghillie suit, possibly to incite reports of Bigfoot sightings. Instead, he walked onto Highway 93, was hit by one car, and run over by another.

We like cryptozoology stories, hoax stories, and Fortean tales of the unexplained as much as the next little-read vanity blog, but you're not supposed to die while executing a hoax. The story reads as unfortunate, to say the least. And two teen drivers now have to live with this man's death hanging over them.

And anyone who buys one of these signs now is going to feel like a big, fat jerk:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Fellow of the Fuzzy Sort

Summer break is over, mostly because we ran out of rum and some jerk from accounting couldn't hold his liquor. His negligence resulted in a band of raccoons getting all the hollowed-out pineapples we'd been drinking from.

To ease back into the grind, and let this hangover fade, enjoy the fun video from an album we reviewed.


Françoiz Breut - "Nébuleux Bonhomme" from charlie mars on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

We'll be right back after these messages.

ABC get the shaft, at least here in the United States, when it comes to recollections of 1980s music and specifically, the second British Invasion. Singer Martin Fry ["F-R-Y" -- ed.] was the heterosexual, soulful, and ultimately more fun, predecessor to Morrissey -- all dry Noel Coward wit but clearly ready to charm a lady after the show.

Their '85 LP How to Be ... a Zillionaire! aimed squarely at that decade's crass consumerism, but coated the pill in tasty danceable pop boosted by some impressively huge synth-bass sounds. Plus, "Be Near Me" is one of the best calls to romance of '80s pop. FACT.

The sort-of title track from Zillionaire! has a fun animated video, that looks like a lost episode of Jem. To the dancefloor!


How To Be A Millionaire by SirCumstance

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Oh, no

Farewell to Chris Wedes, better known to Puget Sound residents as J.P. Patches. He died Sunday July 22, 2012.

His passing set frequent Typing Monkey contributer Kris Kendall to reminiscing about The J.P. Patches Show. It's entirely possible Kendall's still talking, with a faraway, misty-eyed look, about Wedes' importance to local television.

We've taken this valuable piece of information from his ramblings and posted it here:

"By 1980, when J.P.’s show was three years from cancellation, I think I was the only kid at my school who still watched. Most mornings during the school year, my friend Mike would ask me, as we walked to school: 'Did you watch Star Blazers this morning?'

My answer was always 'No, I watched J.P.' And  I couldn’t understand why he didn’t."

Good bye J.P. Patches. You're one of the rare ones, about whom we can genuinely say, they just don't make 'em like that anymore.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Jinkies!

Berberian Sound Studios looks interesting. We'd say super-awesome but we haven't seen it. Even though the lie of sound engineering/manipulation has been explored before in films, Berberian takes a novel approach and it stars Toby Jones. That's a winning combo. Let's hope the flick lives up to all this promise:


[courtesy of Artificial Eye Film]

Thank You, Donald J. Sobol

There are two Leroy Browns in pop history. Well, two that we know of: Bad, Bad Leroy Brown, who receives a royal beatdown within the confines of Jim Croce's jangly, loose pop hit.

The other is Leroy "Encyclopedia" Brown, boy detective. Encyclopedia Brown's creator, Donal J. Sobol died July 11, 2012, but the news only came to public attention the 16th. Any kid who likes to read has probably spent some time trying to solve the mysteries that Brown cracked.

The books were not only a great way to encourage readers, and critical thinking, they were also a gateway for many into other mystery-themed writing, telelvision and film.

Coolest of all is the deatil in The Washington Post's obituary for Sobol: He was still writing the books and one final Encyclopedia Brown book is due out this year.

We didn't realize how much we'll miss Sobol until now. It's too often like that.

Friday, July 13, 2012

"can't hold one stick ..."

Buddy Rich played drums. That's an understatement, but also true. Like us, some of our readers may have learned who he was by his appearance on The Muppet Show.

Surely Rich had many great stories to tell about his glorious career redefining how musicians could play the trap kit. But it's just as likely many who met and worked with him have their own stories to tell about Mr. Rich.

One of those is the equally legendary music promoter Bill Graham, who, in his autobiography, My Life Inside Rock and Out, shares a real doozy about convincing Rich to bring his jazz band to San Francisco to play for a bunch of kids raised on rock & roll.

It's a wondefully foul-mouthed tale of bridging the generation gap via grudge-drumming. Read it here.



Rim shot to Cover Me for the link.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

SPIN Likely to Save Trees Soon

We've come to like SPIN magazine during the past few years. It's one of the few publications Typing Monkey Industries maintains a regular subscription to.

The days of leaving it folded open to a good article are probably numbered now with the news today that Buzzmedia bought SPIN.

Read SPIN's announcement and a New York Times piece about the transaction.

Print media's extinction has already been analyzed and editorialized enough. But when the grid goes down, we'll have some back issues to read and remember what life was like before the collapse. And then we'll tear those old SPIN pages into strips so that we can keep the fire burning as we huddle for warmth and pray for sweet, forgiving death.


A solemn nod to The AV Club.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Victor, You're Okay

The source eludes us, but trust us that somebody, likely a musician, once said British jazz players tend to make up for a lack of soul with eagerness and enthusiasm.

Victor Feldman begs to differ. The multi-instrumentalist (started on drums, later switched to vibraphone and piano) is the type of musician who, once you learn a bit about them, prompts you to wonder how it is you got this far in life without knowing the joy of that performer's work.

Feldman's short tenure as the pianist for The Cannonball Adderly Quintet cemented his reputation as a generous sideman and afforded him opportunities to compose. Listen to the cosmopolitain swells he plays at the start of "Azule Serape" -- foam-crested notes that deliver the horns to the melody.


[courtesy of sbdante]

Prior to his time with Adderly's group, Feldman joined up with bassist Scotty LeFaro and drummer Stan Levey for the LP The Arrival of Victor Feldman. He plays vibes and piano on the record and on the tune "Bebop" the trio plays so fast it'll make technical metal players sob into their yerba matte.

Now contrast that brain-buster with his reading of "Summer Love" with tenor saxophonist Ronnie Scott. It's the kind of soft touch playing that many probably conjure in their heads when they see the word "jazz." But it lets you know just how versatile Feldman was. Never mind that he was in Steely Dan. What?

Yup. You've got some reading to do. More importantly, we've got some listening to do.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Incidental Poetry: Wikipedia Edition

Typing Monkey publisher S.L. Kreighton blustered out of his office to alert us to the following: Look up the word "chthonic" on Wikipedia and you'll come across this wonderful sentence at the end of the opening paragrah.

"It evokes at once abundance and the grave."

Whoever wrote that, thank you. It's possible the best thing we've ever read on Wikipedia, no matter what it's about. We read it over and over and in our head, it's always in the voice of Sir David Attenborough.

If it isn't grabbing you in the same way it did for us, please know that Kreighton showed us this passage while he finished a sleeve of Oreos.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

We'll be right back after these messages

Summer officially arrives any minute now, opening a few buttons on her blouse while she eats a popsicle. You're going to get plenty of windows-down, tube-topped, sun-burnt and beat-heavy tunes coming at you for the next couple months.

But at some point amidst all the brightness, you'll have that sad feeling built into everything around us that cannot last. And you'll feel like a teenager and want to hear something like this:


[courtesy of SeaOvJapan, and yes, the title is really spelled that way]

Look Over Here

We love good visual art as much as anybody who has at least one eyeball and a heart. The comic and fantastic is were the fun stuff tends to live. As such, we gravitate toward those places.

There are many good art blogs out there cataloging these things, so please spend some time at Monster Crazy and Monster Brains, where you are likely to lose hours at a time just taking it all in.

Now that that's out of the way, we must point you to the work of Christopher Mitten, an artist and illustrator working in comic books. He's been at it long enough to have a crackerjack resume but we just learned of him and are looking forward to reading some of the books he's worked on.

Stylistically, his work recalls Bill Sienkiewicz and Mike Mignola. And like the former, it's especially fun to see what happens when Mitten interprets iconic characters from sci-fi, horror and pop culture past.

His Skeletor will erase any memory you might have of the silly Filmation toy commercial cartoon from the '80s. That's a villain to be feared kids.

And don't you just love Mitten's fin-enhanced Creature from the Black Lagoon?

Mitten is launching a new site soon, so keep looking at his Tumblr, where we guess he'll post more in the meantime.

["Creature from the Black Lagoon" illustration by Christopher Mittens 2011. Copyright applies, so don't copy it without attribution, ya dig? Commissioned by Ashcan Allstars for a Universal Monsters theme.]

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Reflections of Little Green Men

Just two days before Ray Bradbury died, we read Lauren Miller's essay "The Cosmic Menagerie" from the Jun 4/Jun 11 issue of The New Yorker.

Her piece traces the earliest depictions of extra-terrestrials in literature, how those depictions reflect the cultures they were dreamt up in, and how that in turn reflects on us. You should absolutely read it.

Her writing reminded us that we have been seriously deficient in making good on promises to read more of Ray Bradbury's writing. Then the man himself departed this world for another and we felt strange about the coincidence.

Imagine our further beweirdment when we flipped forward several pages and found a short essay in the very same issue written by the Martian Chronicles author himself.

Bradbury's "Take Me Home" is exactly the kind of work that makes him an American treasure. In just one page he captures the magic and melancholy of childhood wonder like he's catching fireflies in a jar. If ever there was a link to click on, this is it.

 
[Edward Gorey illustration swiped from The New Yorker]

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Exit Mr. Bradbury

He had to go sometime. His short stories are always worth reading. Dig into the novels.


[Image courtesy of Poe Foreward]

Friday, June 1, 2012

Folks

"For You who loves the folklore" says the tagline on the music blog Rare World and Folkore Music. [Caps theirs. --ed.]

We figure that's us, so we dug in and oh boy, what a spread! Some of the download links are expired, and the posts are about as sporadic as The Typing Monkey's. But those complaints don't even register when there's so much there to explore.

If you don't loves the folklore, perhaps you are a bold and daring media consumer who enjoys listening outside of your comfort zone. Click, scroll, read, download, listen, repeat. The blog's contributors (Varvaras, apelsin and Folklore Maniac) are doing the Lord's work.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

arROOO!

Slobbering press materials say Game of Werewolves [Lobos de Arga] will do for werewolves "what Shaun of the Dead did for zombies."

We respectfully reserve our hyperbole until we've seen the goods. Regardless, the trailer indiates that writer/director Joan Martinez Moreno's horror-comedy is at least a stupid good time. You can't ask for more of a horror-comedy.

Sure it would be nice if they were all smart, funny and genuinely scary. (E.g. An American Werewolf in London, The Evil Dead) But keeping expectations in check is just good thinking. That said, we're fully on board with the Lon Chaney Jr./Oliver Reed-style lycanthropes.

Here's a trailer for Game of Werewolves. If you require subtitles, the movie's Website launches a subtitled version of the trailer immediately.


[courtesy of TodoElTerrorDelMundo]

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Q: What do you want to do with your life?

A: I wanna rawk! (And then tidy up the place and steam-clean the carpets after I'm finished.)

Goblin Attack: A Snake With Shoes

"[S]ome neighbours confirmed that strange things were taking place at the Sithole homestead. Others went on to claim that snake-like creatures wearing sunglasses, a suit and a pair of shoes had been seen at the homestead."

A family from a village in Chipinge South, a costituency in southeastern Zimbabwe, belives they're being targeted by goblins. This was reported in the Zimbabwean news site Zimdiaspora on May 22, and brought to our attention by The Fortean Times.

Whatever is happening to this family, at least some of them believe it is supernatural in origin. In North America, would we blame the same series of events on ghosts or extra terrestrials? Demons?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ladies of Sport and a Love Letter to Disco

The real story here is that Typing Monkey publisher S.L. Kreighton has joined Twitter. Please, just ... you don't know what the past week has been like. He reads and chuckles all day, mumbling about Drunk Hulk and Snake & Bacon.
However, he has shared a few items of value with us and we would bebad friends if we didnt' share the following link with you:
 

It's U.S. Library of Congress photos of Victorian era (and just beyond) women who played sports -- in full Victorian dress. You'll see the Bennett Sisters and many others.

***

In the interest of variety, we also highly recommend reading Dorian Lynksey's convincing argument from The Guardian, asserting that disco lives on in the form of most modern pop music. "Long Live Disco" will either make you nod in agreement or hassle the person sitting next to you with your counter argument. You will lose.



[Photo: Detail from "Miss Isabel Tennant"]

Monday, May 21, 2012

We'll be right back after these messages

We've all been quite busy working on our annual reviews and preparing PowerPoint decks to present to the board of trustees in hopes of securing a budget to keep this thing going for another fiscal year.

As is often the case, while we're locked in a conference room arguing for our very existence, news is breaking. Farewell Duck Dunn. Au revoir Chuck Brown. Good bye  Donna Summer. We'll miss you, Robin Gibb. There are likely others we're forgetting.

Instead of barraging you with links and YouTube clips of the dearly departed -- we trust you've been inundated with such things already -- The Typing Monkey will post this vintage clip of singer/songwriter Roger Whittaker performing his tune "New World in the Morning."

If you don't know Mr. Whittaker's work, it's not hard to find him. He's an under-appreciated gem from the era of Judy Collins and Cat Stevens.


[courtesy of geralddonais]

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

No Crime Too Small

Flavorwire has a terrific gallery of miniature pulp/noir/crime scenes constructed by artist Jonah Samson. Go look at it.

[Detail from a portentious scene in Mr. Samson's gallery.]

Friday, May 4, 2012

Wise to the Demise

Adam "MCA" Yauch is still our favorite Beastie Boy.

Tracing the influence of King Adrock and Mike D in terms of vocals is pretty easy. Rappers from Eminem to MC Paul Barman and beyond employ the nasal delivery of those two. And Adrock especially, whose punkish, puckish delivery defines the Beastie Boys for most listeners, despite Mike D's deadpan delivery of hilarious lines.

But few emulate or approach MCA's dry howl. Even as he's helping create a false origin story for the band in "Paul Revere" his voice has a the crispness of an elder statesman. He could get at both the winking comedy of early career Beasties -- drawling as if he'd been up all night pounding brewskis and bumming smokes from your girlfriend -- and the conscious rapping/positivity of the trio's later material.

He's gone, it sucks, and he'll be missed. We're not sure how long this eulogy will be up on the landing page of the Beastie Boys site, but you should read it. That's how you spend major label money and influence.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Many Kinds of Close Encounters, Apparently

The sordid tale of former U.S. Senator and vice-presidential candidate John Edwards' affair with a videographer named Rielle Hunter has provided miles of column inches for newspapers, magazines, tabloids and Websites since the story broke.

Old and often repeated, the story of infidelity and apparent cracks in the moral character of a public official (gasp, faint, etc.) is far less interesting than a detail of the scandal brought to light via the court testimony.

That detail being that Rielle Hunter, the videographer with whom Edwards fathered a child out of wedlock, wanted to claim she had been abducted by aliens. This was part of an effort to deny that Hunter and Edwards had been romantically involved.

The Typing Monkey wants to make it clear to any politicians, celebrities, spin doctors, historical revisionists and public relations flacks that we think this is a marvelous idea.

Have a starlet who needs to lay low in rehab for a few weeks? Tell us she is taking time off to document sightings of the chupacabra.

Grassy knoll and second shooter theories are no more provable or easy to deny than, say, a coven of Satanists eager to assassinate the first Catholic president. See? You really can't handle the truth. [You're mixing up your Oliver Stone films. -- ed.]

We'd like to posit that William H. Seward got such a deal on Alaska when he purchased it from Russia in 1867 for $7.2 million because Russia agreed to evacuate all of the Yetis residing there, hoping to bring them all back to Siberia so they could create an army of abominable snowmen. The U.S. got a gold rush untroubled by Yetis, Russia gained an army of cryptids.

The Loch Ness Monster attacked and sank Nazi U-Boats during the war? Why not?

Take any historical controversy or even minor event and make it more exciting by adding paranormal explanations and interference. Our tabloid political climate could use some actual tabloid fodder instead of this banal baby-mama drama.

Many believe the famous Patterson-Gimlin footage, taken in 1967, is definitive proof of the existence of Sasquatch. What they fail to realize is that Bigfoot is, in fact, a courier on his way to pick up The Pentagon Papers from then-Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

No Take Aways

It's Beltane sweethearts. Let's listen to Bow Wow Wow and practice whistling with a blade of grass.


[Courtesy of HOLLYwoodgoesFRANKIE]

Thursday, April 26, 2012

What He Said

AV Club writer Keith Phipps' latest entry for his "Secret Cinema" column details the joys and faults of Goeorge A. Romero's film Season of the Witch. In case you're not an employee at The Typing Monkey, you may not know that we've waxed rhapsodic about this film before.

And much like Joe Bob Briggs' wonderful examination of why The Creature from the Black Lagoon is so good, Phipps' essay on Witch sums up our feelings about the movie almost exactly.

Give it a read and allow us to sit back and smugly stroke our chins. Then see it if you haven't.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Cartoons Can Be Funny

In March 2012, Cartoon Network debuted it's programming block called DC Nation. It's various animated series based on characters from the DC universe, to varying degrees of engagement for grown-ups who are willing to spend time watching this sort of thing. (Or, you know, want to.)

The real joy of tuning in to DC Nation's programming is that each Saturday they debut two new short 'toons from a group of creators who forgo any heroic posturing for the characters and instead aim for comedy. And they're all pretty funny.

The two stand-outs are Lauren Faust's Super Best Friends Forever, starring Wonder Girl, Batgirl and Supergirl doing things that we'd all do if we were them.



And Aardman Studios gives Superman, Batman, Catwoman and The Joker the Creature Comforts treatment by having them voiced by little kids saying things wholly unrelated to the business of crime fighting. DC World's Funniest is delightful.



Tune in for some of the other shorts, but do scour the Web for more of the DC World's Funniest shorts and, you lucky dog, io9 has all of Faust's Super BFF work up for your entertainment.